Thursday, May 16, 2024

These Busy May Days .......................................

Greetings lovely friends & readers

We had a week of -1 degree frosts last week & I picked these hydrangeas before they became all blackened & frost bitten.  I just adore the colours of them   💗

Today is rainy, dull & gloomy outside - the maple trees are changing colour & their leaves are falling ... this is taken looking out my Lounge window.

Remember in this post when I took my friend Carolyn on a surprise outing to Splashy & we painted ceramic dishes?  They arrived by post last week having been fired in their kiln - they are certainly brighter looking now.  The "finger bowl" was a gift to Carolyn ... Splashy do this when it's your birthday so you have a momento of your visit there.  We both had to put our painted fingerprint on the bowl. 

Sid played soccer last Saturday over in Hamilton & was delighted when he was chosen as Player of the Day.  He received a certificate, a Trophy which gets returned next weekend, & a McDonalds voucher.

Just yesterday I finished an Order for 3 lavender/lace coathangers for my dear friend Shirley - I just have to scent them with lavender oil before she collects them. 

I also finished an Order for a dozen bags of my Cottage Garden mix Potpourri ... these are waiting for me to take to the Post Shop.  They are scented with Rose/Geranium Oils & smell wonderful.

Slooooowly as time & energy allows, I am getting the mulch onto my gardens.  I have done one & a half piles so far - I like to put it on really thickly so it takes me ages.  First I have to weed & clear the area ... I found all my rusty hens underneath the flaxes when I cut them back ... they must've gone roaming 😉

These 3 above are newer & are still turning rusty  - the rain & weather makes the corten steel gradually rust over time.  One of them had a wobbly leg so I managed to wire it up so the hen didn't fall face first into the mulch.

I found this wooden box in The Mr's shed so I stole borrowed it to make a "hen house" & sat the nesting hen on some hay tucked into the box.  Maybe she'll lay some eggs for me  ...............

It wasn't long before Little One came along to investigate what I was doing  ...............

Yesterday he got drenched (funnily enough standing in the pouring rain will do this).  He seems to like it when I towel him dry & he starts to purr.  He ended up on my bed - as you can see I put down a sheet & a towel but he - of course - had other ideas (!!)  

Also yesterday Blackie decided to take up residence in the clothes dryer because of course there are No Comfy Sleeping Spots in the entire house !!!  😐

(From motherinthenorthernlands on Instagram)

I saw this verse on Instagram & really liked it.  I would like to print it off & put it on my fridge.

Thank you as always dear friends, for your welcome visits here today,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Thursday, May 9, 2024

A Revamped Wood Box

Greetings lovely friends & readers

And Welcome to the month of  May !!

 Last week, while searching way down the back of the woodshed for a tarpaulin, I came across this wood box.  It must be 20 odd years ago now that my friend Carolyn gifted it to me - it was an old box that she had painted & mosaiced the lid.
  I used it for many years as a woodbox & then somehow, it ended up in the woodshed & got covered in other junk paraphenalia.  It was in a sorry state.

Its a solid heavy piece, hence I needed my wheelbarrow to cart it over to the house.  A good scrub down revealed that the paint was in a sad state ... I didn't mind this to be honest as I was never really drawn to the brighter blue shade that Carolyn had painted it.  
I decided to use the green paint that I used on * this table *- the colour is Resene Paddock & I hoped it might go well with the green tiles on the lid.

We had a real mixture of rainy cold days & fine sunny days last week so I used a combination of places to paint the box ... sometimes by the fire indoors, sometimes on the dining table, & other times outside on the deck table when the weather permitted.  

Little One takes his Watching-Paint-Dry duties very seriously (!!)

Because it comes in two pieces - a solid mesh outer & an metal insert - it was actually a horrid thing to paint.  Trying to cover the darker blue with the lighter green took 3, sometimes 4 coats.  Covering the mesh was the hardest - but finally I was happy with it all.  I gave the mosaic a good scrub with vinegar water & it came up beautifully.  I thought the bird was a pukeko but Carolyn thinks it is a Takahe.

I have positioned it right outside the back door where it is easy to access the wood as needed.  In the past I have used buckets, banana boxes & often the wheelbarrow parked up on the deck - this looks so much nicer.

I am really happy with how it turned out & the Paddock is such a nice shade of green   💚

A friend gifted me these gorgeous Tulip bulbs last week for pet feeding duties so I planted them in an old terracotta pot of Mums.  I've not had the Peony variety before.

Whilst I was having a good old rummage around in the woodshed I came across The Mr's deer antlers, broken off their mount & fallen behind some planks of wood.  I cleaned them up as I wanted to do some sort of a winter display on my deck table.  After I'd painted the wood box I gave the table a clean down & a scrub - it gets very dusty & dirty being outdoors. 

I decided I didn't want to have any planter pots on it over winter so I just used what I had on hand to do a "very rustic" display .. pinecones, Mum's pedestal pot, my green Cloche from Christmas & some random bird nests that I always collect when they fall out of the many trees on our property.  What do you think dear readers?  I quite like the natural, wild effect of it for a change (I think) 😉

I have a vivid memory of visiting Mum one time & she was most excited about her latest purchase ... a duster with an extendable handle.  I clearly remember thinking to myself "who on earth would get excited about such a mundane purchase".
  Well guess what ? Last week I purchased a new brush & pan for the fire & I was so ecstatic that it came in a pale duck egg shade to match the paint around my fire place!!!  How wonderful is that ??!! (probably don't answer that)

This one's especially for you dear Willie.   Blackie & Pippi over the past 2 chilly nights here ... first on the bed & the next night on the couch, tucked up together ... maybe one for your pussy cat folder? 

If you click on the pic it will enlarge it

And we mustn't leave out Little One.    Last Saturday was opening day of Duck Shooting Season here in my area & I awoke hearing lots of shooting around our rural property.  Later that day I spotted Little One outside following around a new friend. The Mr thought this was a Paradise Duck - probably its mate had been shot as it seemed very lost & disorientated.   I felt sad for it & after half an hour it wandered off into the paddock & disappeared.  The Mr said alot of these breeds mate for life.  

Well dear friends - wishing you a VeRy Happy rest-of-the-week,

Thank you as always, for stopping by here today,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

School Holidays, Book Clubs & Other Bits

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Just squeezing in a last post on this final day of April.

 If I scratch around I can still find a few flowery pickings in my late autumn garden  💗

Right after I hit Publish on my last post I lit the first fire for the year.  I gathered all my potted plants that usually grace the hearth & moved them down to the hospital corner at the end of my lounge.  This area gets lovely afternoon sun through the French Doors & the plants do well here over the winter months. The quilt is covering The Mr's exercise bike which never ever hardly gets used 😉

The fire has gone most days since I first lit it & various furry friends take turns at sleeping in the prime spot.

School went back for another term yesterday & I breathed a sigh of relief.  I usually enjoy having the Grandsons for the holidays but this time round, for some reason, I found it felt a bit exhausting.  

The first week, when they were mostly here together, we did arts & crafts.  Sid is always right into this, Alec not so much.  I also took Alec to the movies to see Ghostbusters.  This would've been far to scary for Sid to watch.  

During the second week Alec flew with his Mum to Wellington & went on another wonderful tramp together in the Tararua Ranges.

I took Sid to the Domain to practise his soccer skills when the weather permitted.

We made robots together.  Mine is the smiley face one & his is the rather sour face one .......... 

I took Sid to the movies & we saw Kung Fu Panda.  He had an extra large box of popcorn all to himself (!!)

He asked to go Op-shopping 😜 - I parked outside the Op Shop & gave him a talk about how "we don't buy it just because its there & we have to buy something - we buy things we like & need & that are a reasonable price & not trashy or just junk"  (actually Hark at Me as I buy quite a lot of junk !!!) 😉
It clearly worked because we visited 4 different Op-Shops & he only purchased this soft toy Dolphin for $2 ... whilst Granny bought the pretty pale green plate which she fell in love with for $4.

I thought it might look pretty with the green accents that I currently have in my bedroom & felt it went just perfectly when I hung it on the wall   💚

After the Grandsons went home again I did my usual big clean-up & managed an autumnal display on the table in my dining-room corner, using up some of the lovely faded hydrangeas that are currently in the garden.  

I found this casserole dish from Mum's china cabinet that I'd bought home when I cleared out No 44.   It had been an engagement present for them so it's well over 60 years old. It's silver with a glass bowl & lid that sits inside it, very discoloured as you can see.  I remember Mum only ever used it on a couple of special occasions. 

Look at those sweet dainty little feet on it.

I polished it with Silvo & it came up beautifully.  As I was making up a fresh batch of rose petal potpourri I filled the dish & scented it generously with Rose/Geranium Oils.  The lounge smells wonderful & I'm enjoying having the dish on display.

Although I have belonged to my local Paper Plus Bookclub for over 2 years I have never actually attended a meeting, always having good intentions but my going-out-at-night-skills are somewhat lacking.  I knew I wanted to go last Wednesday very much because one of my favorite (local) authors Danielle Hawkins was speaking about her new book. 
I have all 5 of Danielle's earlier books, just love her writing & think she is a wonderful, special person.  The last time I saw her was when she walked in my driveway - you can read about that in this post from 2017.  I loved listening to her talk & then afterwards she would sign our books if we wished.  So it was lovely to get to speak with her again & when I told her I was a Granny now the first thing she asked me was "do you do arts & crafts with your Grandsons?"  Why YES I do!!! 

I am about a quarter of the way through this, her latest book,  & enjoying it immensely. 

Thank you all so very much dear friends if you've stayed til the end.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,

Thursday, April 25, 2024

My Friend Carolyn's Birthday

Greetings lovely friends & readers

My friend Carolyn & I first met through our eldest sons Zane & Aaron.  Both boys were 5 at the time & soon turn 43 so it is a friendship that has spanned 38 years through all the trials & tribulations that life brings.  Carolyn moved away down the South Island for 10 years but now lives in the North Island though she is still 4 hours journey away.  We have kept in constant touch all those years & met up whenever the opportunity arose.  She is definately a                Lifetime Friend !

You can read about Carolyn's last special birthday when I flew South to celebrate with her in this post from 10 years ago!.    Another decade has passed & another special birthday was looming.  I wanted to make her a handmade gift but at our ages, it is very much about the practical gifts as we both have homes full of stuff treasures.

I was inspired by this apron print fabric I found in my stash as Carolyn sews beautiful vintage style aprons & sells in a trendy cafe in her small coastal township. 
 I sewed a length of the fabric to a new linen teatowel, then made her a matching coaster/hotmat scented with cloves.  The teatowels came as a pair so I wrapped the botanical one up with a new hand-knitted dishcloth & a scrubbie along with a lemon myrtle soap.  

Then I decided to make her one of the hanging handtowel dresses that I used to sell in my craft cottage.  You can read about an order I had once for 12 of them in * this post *  I love how this turned out & even tied it over the door handle of my own oven just to try it out.  These are so handy & are fully reversible.  I thought the apron print fabric went nicely with the sage green & I know Carolyn adores green 💚

As she is an avid reader I wanted to make her a Bookmark that I'd seen somewhere on the world wide web.  It's a corner bookmark made from felt with a Liberty print hexie stitched to it ...  I lined mine with Liberty & some stiffening to give it a bit of body. I tried it out on my book & it worked perfectly. 
Carolyn had been away with her sister for 2 weeks so when she flew back to my area I organised to pick her up & take her on a mystery day out!

I drove us all the way out the other side of the city to visit Splashy.  This is a wonderful venue set in an old church can read about it * here *.  I decided we would do something creative firstly, so we both chose dishes & set about ceramic painting them.  Carolyn's is the flowery one & mine is the bunting one (I think I should mention here that I disliked mine immensely & wanted to paint over it all in black & start again but the lady didn't recommend this as it would show through once fired). Once painted the dishes get fired several times & I have arranged for them to be posted back to me so I'll share the photos when they arrive in a couple of weeks.
Then I drove us back through the city to visit the Hamilton Gardens..
We had a lovely lunch in the cafe here & then spent a good few hours walking around seeing all the different gardens.

The Italian Garden  ... one of my very favorites.  

I have not visited the gardens for 2 years - the last time was in * this post * when my stepson got married in the Italian Gardens.  Since then 3 new gardens have been opened & I was keen to check these out.

The Katherine Mansfied Garden.  This was wonderful - both of us thought the house was old & original but it is actually just a facade made to look VeRy realistic.  We had both tried peeping in the windows. 

The Egyptian Garden is also new ... some stunning features in this garden.

Surprisingly the Surrealist Garden just blew me away.  I could not stop looking at all the different topiary shapes that looked like they could just start moving any time soon. 

Everything was on a huge scale ... like being in a Giants garden.  

We both absolutely loved it all & very much enjoyed our outing.  We stopped at a little stall & ate icecreams, drank coffee & just meandered around.  These gardens are currently free entry but there will be a $20 entry fee bought in next year.  You can read about this * Here *

Carolyn took a selfie of us ... I have a tendency to chop heads off (!!)

I have had Grandsons here for the school holidays & also been over looking after Alec.  Upon my return a Happy Mail package was waiting for me.  Fiona has been diligently cleaning out her sewing room in recent months & came across this Tilda book she thought I might enjoy.  She posted it all the way across the Ditch to me & when I opened the first page all these mouthwatering Tilda fabrics just blew me away.  The kindness & generosity of fellow bloggers never ceases to amaze me.  Thank You So Very Much Fiona 💗

It is Anzac Day here in New Zealand today & I have a lit a candle for my dear Dad who served in the Army & the Airforce, as well as The Mr's Dad who served in the Navy.  

It's a grey gloomy day here & I have made my very first Fridge Drawer Stew for the year, which smells amazing in the slow cooker.    I am also going to light the fire for the very first time this year.  The house feels like it needs warming right to its very bones & Pippi has been dropping hints to me for days now about the fire  😉

Thank you as always dear friends, for your visits here today,

Wishing you a wonderful rest-of-the-week ... remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,