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 ...you 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,

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

A Week of Birthdays

Greetings lovely friends & readers

Gosh didn't March disappear rather too quickly?!  Here we into another shiny new month already . . . . .

Since Easter it has been a week of birthdays.  First we had Sid's 7th birthday which we were all keen to celebrate after last years sorry episode.

This soccer-mad young boy got new clothes in his favorite players colours, a soccer ball & Sid's Dad built him his very own goal.  He had 4 school friends for a birthday party & then all the family came for a pizza dinner.  It was wonderful.  
I looked after him Tuesday & Wednesday as he was unwell.  Tuesday he seemed most definately sick but Wednesday he was fine & I think the idea of a day crafting with Granny appealed way more than a day at school.  We made plaster-of-paris dinosaur fossils in molds & Sid painted them. 

A couple of days later was Sid's Mummy's birthday.  I bought this beautiful bunch of flowers from a local stall & gave to Nicole along with a gift card, choccies & a gardening magazine. I also made my usual banana bread for them as it seems to be popular in that household.

On the weekend my dear friend Julie celebrated "a special birthday" & I was invited to afternoon tea.  We had a lovely time with drinks, nibbles & the most delicious Chocolate Mud Cake.  (I have cropped the other 4 ladies out of the photo as I don't have their permission to publish)  Read about Julie's gift a little later on in this post.

And then today is my dear Mum's heavenly birthday.  Mum would've been turning 95 today.  I miss her incredibly & I've played her favorite Ed Sheerin songs all day as well as buying 2 pots of pink cyclamen, one of Mums favorites - & potting them in my wall hanger.  
(Mum's birthday is the 8th, I started this post yesterday but had internet issues hence I am a day late publishing)

For 3 days last week we had the Tree Trimming Men here.  We've had a couple of big old trees removed & many pruned.  I currently have 4 piles of mulch to spread on my gardens even though one pile did go to my daughter in laws.  They still have a half day left to finish up. 

There is wood to be cut up for firewood & much cleaning up to be done.   The old walnut tree out the front of our house was pollarded & has let a huge amount of light into our house.  We have to get this done approximately every 4 years as otherwise it grows over to the power lines.  I have been gathering up buckets of fallen walnuts. 
Although the tree trimming men were lovely I found having them here incredibly stressful.  If I felt stressed can you imagine how 3 furry beings felt??!!  The noise from the chain saws & their huge mulcher is very loud & constant.   

I wanted to make 2 soy candles for gifts - the one above was for my friend Julie's birthday, mentioned previously.  
I had earmarked this pretty china trio to make into a candle for Julie.  
When the wax set I was admiring the smooth top on it & thinking "how wonderful" when I realised I had completely forgotten to put a wick in first (!!!)  😲 Seriously friends I could not believe it - that is how stressed I was with the constant noise & tree crashing. 
 Thankfully I managed to slide one of my wood wicks down into it before the wax fully set.  The fragrance is French Pear as I knew Julie loved this.  She was thrilled with her gift & I've yet to share this story with her 😉

When the noise got too much I went down to the Pond to finish some weeding I'd started before Easter.  Little One usually appears when I am working down here as he is fascinated with the goldfish in the pond.  I snapped these pics of him trying his hardest to get to them - I did warn him if he fell in I was not rescuing him but it fell on deaf ears, as most things do with him.

I loved this photo of him sitting under the ferns with the suns ray shining down.

Easter was very quiet in our house as The Mr is in full calving mode & not home much.  I found this board purchased in my large op-shop haul in this recent post..  I gave the flower a light sand, then painted it with 2 coats Vintage White chalk paint before applying some of the leftover transfers from Juno's suitcase in * this post *..  It made a sweet little Easter sign on my outdoor deck table.

Although March was decidedly chilly here I am pleased to say April has warmed up a bit.  I am not quite ready for winter just yet.  I sat out in the sunshine (with Blackie) on Easter Sunday & stripped this native timber stool that I've had for Ever.  It's Rimu & a solid heavy piece.  I often used to stand on it for painting as you can see.  It came up really well & I was so pleased I took the time to clean it up.  A couple of coats of furniture oil was all it needed to finish it off nicely.

I took the enamel candlestick that I paid $1 for in my thrift haul, dug the old wax out of it, then put it through the dishwasher.  It came up beautifully so I tied a lace bow to the handle & added a simple taper candle.  I'm enjoying it on my nightstand. 

Thank you for staying through this long rambly post dear readers,

Wishing you an enjoyable week ahead - remember to be kind to yourselves & to each other,

With much love & friendship to you all,