Saturday, 28 August 2010

All the Pretty Colours: Violets

Just the other morning, as I went to open the curtains in the "parlour"

 I noticed something a little unusual over in the corner where Kaitiaki's duplo lives & it
wasn't one of his fancy creations..

Oh my goodness look at that would alstromeria looking for a warm place to grow!!
Fortunately,  Rob kindly volunteered to crawl under the house for the removal..phew!

I find myself perennially enchanted by sweet violets. I am not so sure that I should have planted the everyday purple variety but oh the fragrance.
In the language of flowers blue violets symbolize "faithfulness".. "I'll always be true".
 Maybe that's because once you have them they will never ever leave you, ever!
This little double parma violet is my favourite.
It is much more compact than all the others & not nearly as bossy, has smaller leaves & the flowers somehow sit above the foliage so that you can see them better. It is highly scented, gorgeously double & easy to pick.
My dear friend Gaye once had a job picking violets
...funny how you never see in the paper wanted
"violet picker" so I wonder how she got such a job?
violets actually come in more colours than you might imagine.
& of course they will happily make themselves at home
 in shady spots & under trees
 since they have spread around quite a bit it wasn't too
 much of a hardship to pick a few 
.... finding a wee late feijoa along the way...
but it was a little harder to bring myself to cook them!
 I have come across a very old recipe for syrup of violets
in a book published by Victoria magazine entitled 
"Dear Grandmother: Recollections of Love"
Basically, you pick as many violets as you like, 
add water or rose water, simmer them, 
strain them, add sugar & simmer them some more
 until you have a thick syrup.
At first my violet water was green I added a 
little lemon juice & the purple began to magically 
develop until it turned the most glorious colour of
...violets, of course!
Rob says it reminds him of Condy's Crystals : )

who knows what I will use it for..perhaps drizzled
 over strawberries??

I also adore little blue grape hyacinths. I guess they remind
 me of blue must be an amazing sight to see a 
bluebell wood..probably why I seem to have so many 
old pictures of them. 
This one is an old mirror version.
No wonder that I love the vintage Sanderson fabrics
..they are so timeless, romantic & floral!!
I was just thrilled with this fabric that I bought on Trade me
 this week. It came in the form of two single bedspreads
..wonderful lot of fabric & in beautiful condition!! 
Back outside & down the garden path, over near my 
worm farm I have made a small, slightly raised vege garden.
 It's a good little spot to catch the winter sun
& perfect for growing all the early spring salady things
I was really taken by this idea of a "shelf bunting" 
that I found on we heart it this week
so I had a fiddle with some vintage sheets & scraps of 
Sanderson & was rather pleased with this
Spotlight has some really cute bias binding at the moment
the pink spot was also available in a vintage green 
& turquoise blue.
Just tied this here to try it out : )
 I hope you've all had a good week.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Bring Back Tea Time: Port'O'Call

Beauty calls! When I saw this picture in a recent
Country Living magazine 
 I just new that it was time to return to 
my beloved Port'O'Call

While I was being enthralled
 by this fabric at Spotlight 
 here in Hastings the "girls" 
were busily making it into tablecloths, serviettes
 & aprons at a dear little shop that they just 
"made up" all by themselves over by the Port
in Napier.
...soon I was to fall in love with this charming
 little tearooms & be forever changed by
my ardour

and it wasn't long before word sneaked out
& the "world" got to see what they had created.
Here they are featured in the New Zealand House 
& Garden magazine November 2003
so many pretty china cups & saucers gathered up
& pressed back into service..each customer made
warmly welcome & encouraged to choose their
 own set to take tea from... just one of the many inspired
 ideas that made this darling place so unique.
The dainty sandwiches, the devonshire teas & the
"tea & tinies", though perennially popular, were
 probably reasonably expected fare for an old fashioned
 tea rooms (although the the wee heart shaped sandwiches
were truly superlative & dear Clare the most dedicated &
accomplished baker) ... however it was the flowers that
graced every plate & every table, knitted tea cosies on
 china tea pots with accompanying tea strainers (only best
loose leaf tea permitted..Earl Grey Superior & such like)
... carefully handmade butter curls, just whipped cream
served in individual dishes topped with rose buds, milk
 served in little old pressed glass jugs.. 
 the music of Doris Day, Connie Francis, Dean Martin...
wafting through the place transporting us all to another
era, one of romance, beauty & nostalgia... that made
the experience of Port'O'Call so poignantly memorable..
well apart from the beautiful giftware displayed in 
every possible corner, the gorgeous gift wrapping
& the delightful "hospitality" of Pene, Gaye & Sandra

funnily enough, it wasn't long before I came to work 
there..for a year or two...just part time.
 What you don't of course realize from the 
"outside" is that to create such an
 experience is actually very hard work!
There came a day when it was someone elses
turn to continue with the loveliness...  

Angela has made Port'O'Call very much her own.
Last time we popped in I could still feel the old magic

and found new lovely people like 
Denise.. isn't she just perfect
& the pinnies live on!

this is where our pink fridge came from
from just over this way

lots has changed...that's the way of creativity
& lots more has come & gone
oh long live beauty!

these wee girls dresses were just delightful

if you'd like to see more of the Port'o'Call
experience do pop in here to Magpie Chic
there's lots more to tell
.. even the simplest meal can be made special by adding
 those little touches that most people have long ago become
too busy to bother with. 
The shortbread I recently bought from the most remarkable,
spritely 93 year old woman at a local car boot sale.
 She sells jams, pickles, plants & a
 little baking to supplement her income! 


This post is dedicated to dear, dear Shirley & Jim
& their sweet devotion to one another & their
beloved Port'o'Call.

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Memory Box and Menopause

I am reading a book at the moment entitled 
"The Memory Box"
It's funny what attracts you to a particular book,
in this case, the title & the picture on the front.
Quite good book..thought provoking.
In it's own way, "keeping" a blog is a little like constructing
a memory box. An intangible receptacle in which to store
the essence, colour, flavour & some knowledge of a life..
a record capturing the "here & now" of dailiness, events
& the personality of a certain human being...each person,
 every blog unique.
Muddling through menopause.... I am finding it a little 
lonely (I've never been this way before),
 a bit annoying & sometimes most perturbing.
 Acne on your bum is definitely a little perturbing
at least it's not my face... yes, I know. 
I'm also not really very impressed being re-presented 
with my own disposition in unavoidable ways
but I figure you don't have too much call 
on the gene pool & the how you arrived bit.
Self acceptance is all very well but every where I go
... there I am!
 I am thinking that 
maybe this has some truth to it:
you didn't ask for the mix but now you've got it,
 what are you going to do with it?
The reality is that not all things can be beaten or 
changed. Some things may just always be that way

I don't ever remember being this carefree :
but it's what my soul longs for....

I have known love & tender care yet a sense of anxiety 
has been my constant, useless companion for too long.
The discomfort has, however, poked me & prodded me 
& shaped me to become an equipper & a speaker
 of truth.
One generation should be able to build on the 
knowledge & love of another but when this fails
 anxiety & depression may well move in.
Be quite nice if we could just sit upon a vintage
cushion & not worry about a thing!

when my Matthew wrote this for his blogger profile
I knew without a doubt that creating a "memory box"
is indeed uplifting the generations & there is therefore  
hope for a better, stronger future, as the memory box
also becomes a tool box.....

"I'm a single dad in my mid-twenties, to a single boy in his mid six's, living life with abundance, and with passion. Every day I attempt to grow, learn, absorb, cook, and create every breath of life that surrounds us to be of beauty. I'm a chef by trade, foodie by passion, artist by nature and through my veins runs the music with the roots to my soul. I'm a collector of vintage, and gradually I'm accumulating the integrity found deep in the ways and belongings of the past. My little man & me live on an acre of green in an old wooden house, on the outskirts of town on the west Coast of New Zealand. Right by the ocean we wander most days, beside our fresh flowing river from the hills, that offers us wild herbs growing on its banks as we meander our way along, just a season at a time." 

so what's in the "tool box"?
 the ability to find your place in the world,
 know who you are and make a difference
the art of truth telling & honesty
social skills
quest for useful knowledge
gratitude & passion 
 personal integrity
a soft heart


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Chook Egg Green And Other Ways To Capture Snails

There are signs of spring all around now
fruit buds bursting from bare wood
sol 'dor in all it's shining glory
and even whole trees drenched in spring blossom
AND lots and lots of hungry snails,
they really are voracious!
I've tried using the pet friendly natural slug bait
but I think they go pfff & eat it for breakfast.
After the terrible Charlie incidents of near death
poisoning (not me!!) some months ago
"curiosity" & all that..
I daren't chance the harsher products.. so what to do?
Definitely too much unfettered munching happening 
all over the garden. But then I saw some plastic snail 
catchers the other day at Mitre 10 & got to thinking 
about alternative snail accommodation..aha!
silly me I have these all around the garden..
a quick investigation & 
what should I discover???
..a significant family!

That's funny, I've never
noticed that number
on the 1/2 wine barrel

new homes now arranged & I know their exact address!

I have so enjoyed the bright splash of colour of calendulas
on the window sill all through this passed week.
Vibrant colour really 
helps to keep your
pecker up through the
dull months I look past 
their "splash" &
out the kitchen window
my eye is 
caught by some 
cheery pink "polys"
And a happy pink rabbit
which reminds me of the most delightful post that 
I read during this week of
a Mad Hatter's Tea Party 
I so loved the innovative adaptions & clever ideas
Here are some of the fun pop in & see
the pictures if you're interested..
"You can't have a party without old fashioned party games.
We adapted a few to suit the theme:
* Pass the teapot (instead of pass the parcel and every child 
picked out a lollypop)
* The Mad Hatter Says (instead of Simon Says)
* Pin the tail on the Cheshire Cat
* Whats the time White Rabbit (instead of Wolf)
* Bag toss Card Man (I painted a Card Soldier on a 
Foam-core board. 
Cut out a heart shaped hole in the middle to toss a 
sack filled with rice through)"
Thinking of mad tea parties I rediscovered my
quaint little triangular cracker tins recently
& had a perfect idea for what they should contain
that thought led to lunch
I loved these wee vintage heart dishes I came 
across at the Restore shop this week and extra
specially the 1/2 price mark down on this blue 
brie heart cheese!
one of the best tips I gleaned a year or so ago
was from a retired cheese maker while standing in 
the queue in the supermarket with another batch of 
also "retired" cheese..he told me that cheese, in fact,
freezes very well & indeed it does, especially
soft cheese like brie or camembert
..defrosts very quickly too.
So knowing this, of course I just had to buy two!

Eventually my tray contained actual lunch
which Rob was very pleased about : 0

I so love this old wooden tray we found in 
Dannevirke. The duck egg blue it's been
painted is one of my very favourite colours
much like the colour of these chooky eggs
from the Farmer's Market.
Or should that be chook egg green?
I was so taken with their pretty colours that they were
made to sit here on the bench for several days to
bask in my admiration
of course then the tea pot had to get in on the act
& the wee vintage cream bottles made lovely
vases for my exquisitely scented white daphne
yes, slightly awkward to work around but
such a sweet still life to nurture the soul

A small "cluster of eggs" & a useful "gaggle 
of geese".. so of course these would indeed be 
just the dearest "hug of vintage teds"
listed on trade me this week
..reminds me of the picnic atop a tea pot
Rob adored this tea cosy but you just can't
keep everything & I eventually sold it : 0
...on Trade me


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