Sunday, 30 October 2011

Fairytale and the time of the Enchantment

In a time where people wore fine clothes & still had manners, when children had real childhoods & played with gay abandon, maids were still to be found in the scullery & the nursery & something was stirring in the imaginations of the creative & the open-hearted all across the world. In the space of a few short decades, 1860 to 1895 some truly remarkable people were to make their timely arrival upon the scene. Beatrix Potter was to sketch a dear little rabbit, name him Peter & send him on garden adventures. Mary Cicely Barker was to demonstrate to us so tenderly the beauty of the fairies that inhabit all plants & flowers in this remarkable world of ours.
While her friend Margaret Tarrant was to gift us with some of the sweetest pictures of children, fairies, angels, animals & Jesus that I have ever seen.

 J M Barrie was to imagine a nursery that would touch the heart of every child for decades to come, where fairy beasts were waiting out the window for every naughty child & Tinkerbell was ever ready to carry them off on nightly adventures.
Albert Einstein announced that "imagination was more important than knowledge"...
and our own Katherine Mansfield was beginning to add her troubled voice to the grand writings of the time. I am ashamed to say that I had not read Katherine's works until I was introduced to the first paragraph of her short story "The Garden Party" by dear Stephanie at Millefeuille only a few months back. I'm sure that you'd love it too. Here it is:

"And after all the weather was ideal. They could not have had a more perfect day for a garden-party if they had ordered it. Windless, warm, the sky without a cloud. Only the blue was veiled with a haze of light gold, as it is sometimes in early summer. The gardener had been up since dawn, mowing the lawns and sweeping them, until the grass and the dark flat rosettes where the daisy plants had been seemed to shine. As for the roses, you could not help feeling they understood that roses are the only flowers that impress people at garden-parties; the only flowers that everybody is certain of knowing. Hundreds, yes, literally hundreds, had come out in a single night; the green bushes bowed down as though they had been visited by archangels."

It was in just such a fertile cerebral climate that two young cousins Elsie & Frances were about to enchant the world with the notion that they indeed played with fairies at the bottom of their Cottingley garden & they had taken photos to prove it.

The effervescent, irrepressible child that resides in us all is still secretly enamoured with the possibility that fairies are real & imagination might actually be important, which is why I am sure, that in 1997 a movie was produced entitled "Fairytale a True Story" & a delightful portrayal of all that is sweet & enchanting was gifted to the children of the world.
 These two young girls are just perfect in their roles.
Elsie & Frances carrying the fairy house down to the burn for the fairies.
 You can watch a preview just below.
I do hope that if you haven't seen it & you watch it that you love it just as much as I did!
Below is the 5th & last photo taken of the Cottingley fairies by the girls entitled " Fairies & Their Sun-bath" & is the one that Frances insisted to the end was genuine : ) 
via wikipedia
 Have an enchanted week.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Meandering & Recuperating

Today has been the most perfectly, glorious, full-to-the-brim, exuberant sort of day. There were families doing lovely things together (being a Public Holiday) all over the place, including taking a wee stroll around the block. 
The floral magnificence all around us is still truly captivating. I adore the duet of Souvenir Dunne Amie gracefully draped through the pretty flowering cherry tree. I find myself in awe of their perfectly timed synchronization, precisely the same as last year. Aren't they clever!  
I always think of Mary & the Secret Garden through this time of the you love this movie too?
 I knew what a banksia rose was when I was 10..I loved flowers even then. My favourite was making sand saucers with Nan's stock. When I catch the whiff of a stock anywhere I always think of her.
I loved this lovely arrangement down the road, a banksia rose arching through such vibrant new foliage.
 A few weeks ago we headed out to St Columba's Fair in Havelock North. I am always delighted by how community-spirited people still are & how they come together with whatever that they have to offer year after year. Whether it's marvelous looking scones & a hand with serving tea,
 or a good old wheeze on the bag pipes.
 Rob did jolly well rummaging on his own while I was looking at the linen & buying bags of dried pear that someone clever makes each's so delicious!. He got to fill a bag for $5 which included these beautiful leather shoes that have Made in Spain stamped on their bottoms.
 I found these cute bits & pieces: a very vintage children's Christmas book, a lovely side plate with saucer to match, a little felt needlecase & a well loved dolly tea cosy which has washed up nicely & should be fun for a wee girl's tea party one day.
 Today I am feeling so grateful for the gentle kind man who is my husband. My health is not quite bouncing back as had I hoped & his attentive tender care has been so reassuring & undergirding. Sometimes you just need quiet, steady reassurance & kindness when fear is lurking around every corner.
I couldn't get to our Farmer's Market a week or two ago as I was working but I was pretty keen to catch up with the new seasons asparagus..when I arrived home from work I found this fabulous arrangement on the bench. Wasn't that lovely!
The following week we were able to go together. I stepped out of the car to this gorgeous canopy of green. I love our Market. 
 It's so full of goodness!
 Don't you love this cover of even more goodness.
 It's perfect biking weather just now. I think that I might get out my bike  as soon as I feel a little better. I think I rather fancy something like this lovely some day.
 The article in the Good magazine is called "Beginners Guide to Bike Chic" isn't that fun? I love this bit.."Auckland bike chic blogger Unity Finesmith is always on her bicycle, but has never owned cycling gear. Cycling in style is about showing people that riding a bike doesn't have to involve lycra or sweat..."
 My dear Margaret (neighbour) has been so kind too. She said one night last week that she'd send Charlie over to check on me. Surely enough, first thing in the morning here he was, on the job, puzzled as to quite why he couldn't just walk right in! (Rob is fixing the kitchen face, hence the stragically placed scaffolding).
 Tender's worth a great deal to the fragile human soul.
 Do you know what this movie is? I came across it is quite recently & it is my best, best movie ever. I'll tell you all about it very soon.
I'm so glad that you dropped by. Do hope that you have a wonderful week.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

A Charmed Life and Collywobbles

I've had a very unusual week. One I hope, not ever to repeat. I was taken hostage & dragged off to the land of Collywobble and Toothache. I did not like it there at all. And for a while, held grave fears that I would not return home in one piece. However, I have journeyed far and returned at last (from ED), in tact, I think? You have no idea how glad I am to know that you are still here!!
I have a wee journey ahead of me to find full healing but I am now on the right side of that process and am feeling immensely grateful for the love and support that I received. It is the times of crisis, I feel, that most effectively put the important things in life in perspective.  
A few weeks ago a dear girl called Alisa posted an interesting list, a list that she came across at Pink of Perfection, entitled The Charmed Life Challenge...finding the delight & beauty in every day.
 Since that is my life quest...finding delight & beauty in every day and especially in light of recent dramatic events, I quite readily warmed to the idea of the challenge and especially after my eventfull week. I have been following Alisa's blog Finding for quite a while now & I find myself filled with admiration for her strength, tenacity, creativity & determination.. to make her life work, despite incredibly challenging odds and she's a fabulous mother to 3 kiddos. So, thanks so much Alisa for the list. I thought that I would pass it on to all of you.. dear ones because one thing I know for sure..we only have now. All the just another days are what life is really composed of with a few sparkly moments in between. Imagine if we taught this to kids as they were growing up..that no matter what happens through life if we know how to look out for our own soul goodness & find the beauty just right there in front of us, who knows, we might indeed come to believe ourselves to have a Charmed Life. 
So here is the list with just a few tiny tweeks by me.

Have a look through & see if there's anything that might work for you.

1. Give something broken a new life (a skirt, a squeaky wheel, scuffed shoes).
2. Put something beautiful on a blank wall you see everyday.
3. Wear something you love that you think "just isn't you".
4. Send a thank you note, for anything.
5. Spend an afternoon reading.
6. Cook in a vintage apron.
7. Have luncheon, a slow mi day meal with cloth napkins & wine.
8. Go out of your way to do something kind for a stranger (offer a seat, hold a door, leave your copy of a magazine somewhere).
9. Donate 5 items from your closet that don't make you feel unstoppably gorgeous.
10. Take care of a nagging life admin item (a trip trip to the Post Office, filing an insurance claim, making a doctors appointment).
11. Buy an utterly frivolous piece of lingerie.
12.Invite friends over for cocktails, dinner or brunch.
13. Wake up an hour early to have a leisurely morning.
14. TRy something that looks like pure fun (accordion, crochet, burlesque).
15. Dance. In public, in the living room, with a partner, with yourself.
16. Flirt with a stranger. (Smiling counts).
17. Get rid of 5 things in your home that don't bring you pleasure.
18. Go to a parfumerie or department store in search of a signature perfume.
19. Buy flowers for home or office.
20. Make a recipe from a fruit, vegetable, meat or fish you've never cooked before.
21. Walk barefoot in the grass or on the sand.
22. Have a media-free day.
23. Write down everything you feel grateful for.
24. Hold a baby.
25. Pet a puppy.
26. Ask someone to tell you their life story.
27. Read a biography of your favourite glamorous screen star, or the bravest real life heroine.
28. Eat fresh picked berries right out of the punnet or even better pick your own.
29. Create an occasion to wear your most impractical pair of shoes.
30.Write down your wildest dreams.
31. Take an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny step to make one real.
32. Have a proper weekday coffee break, china cup, idle gossip & staring out a window.
33. Visit a playground & swing.
34. Make lemonade (literally or figuratively).
35. Go to a junk or antique shop. Consider what your favourite object has been in it's life.
36. Give someone a hug, let them let go first.
37. Look at the stars.
38. Jump in to a body of water. Float.
39.  Replace one utilitarian item you use everyday-a measuring spoon, a file folder, a key ring- with something really, really beautiful.
40. Pamper your body witha massage, an overdue haircut or a soak in the bath.
41. Research something that sparks your curiosity (Arthurian legend, photosynthesis, investing). If you're still curious after a 15 minute google session, dive deeper.
42. Make a collage of beautiful things that resonate with you.
43. Read aloud to someone you love.
44. Forgive yourself.
45. Forgive someone else.
46. Spend an hour in silent reflection.
Dine by candlelight on a week night.
47. Take a walk after dinner.
48. Wear your no-fail, cheer-me-up lipstick. 
49. Give a genuine compliment to an acquaintance.
50. Have a glass of champagne just because.
51. Spend one day, or one hour taking pictures of everything you find beautiful.
52. Describe your perfect day in writing.
53.Block out an afternoon (or day) on the calendar to make some (or all) of it real.
54. Select one draw or surface and organise it.
55. Write a love letter.
56. Do something you loved as a child.
57. Do the one thing you were relieved/sad wasn't on the list.
58. Pretend for one day that you are as confident and amazing as you want to be.

  I thought it might be fun to make our own list. If you'd like to join in, do please email me or leave your ideas in a comment sometime. Perhaps you've adopted sweet rituals that have become an essential part of your day, self care or that you value in your relationships. I am observing, just now, the contrast between situations where people feel valued & appreciated & those where that just doesn't happen. I have quite quickly come to the conclusion that most people don't thrive on being taken for granted, so I'm including some conscious kindness & appreciation in my days.
Today I have been playing The Glad Game and went for a quiet wander in the park. There I found the very things of a Charmed Life right in front of me.
  Simple childhood joy.

The strong arms of an ancient tree.
Fascinating clouds in a blue sky. "Papa", said my 4 year old nephew this morning. "Can you stand on clouds? If you stand on them will they break?"
Then as I sat in the sun sorting some things in the front room late this afternoon I looked down to find our Pollyanna prisms at work, right on my shining through.
Have a wonderfully, blessed & charmed week my friends & don't forget to leave me a message with your thoughts. I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Surges, the Power of Blossoming

We all know about the pretty bits of spring, the blossoms & the lambs & the longer days & new green shoots pushing through the earth but I have never truly considered before the power of the season; the phenomenal force of nature behind this astonishing emergence. Of course we know it'll happen, it always does, but how does it all know to rise with such remarkable volcanic power..millions & millions of flowers & leaves bursting out of trees & shrubs & weeds & perennials all shouting out "present" & remembering their very own names. It's not as if the foxgloves will produce apricots this year or the silverbeet turn in to daffodils. And then along come the bees. We stopped just to listen to the harmonious thrum of a myriad of bees on this pretty flowering cherry the other day. And yet I have never seen "cherry blossom" honey for sale have you?
I know that the green is chlorophyll but isn't it so amazing!
and how does each flower know just exactly how to replicate their very own signature scent, precisely the same as last year? It's not as if we find ourselves reflecting that lilacs no longer smell the same as they did 10 years ago. The scent of this wisteria is all there encapsulated inside the tight formed bud, waiting expectantly for the Master Conductor's come forth in glory.
I kind of imagine it all a bit like did make me laugh when I found the sea concerto.
via tumblr
Perhaps it's the spring surge that has inspired me to make up this pattern that my mother kindly gave to me quite some time ago. 
 It was certainly time to use this wonderful old Sanderson cotton for a sweet project.
 The pattern was horrible to follow, but probably because it was meant to be more patchworky. I like my simple approach.

 My mother also made this pinny & embroidered the front with these sweet words.
 I found this apron at the Restore shop last week. Somebody's school sewing project no doubt. I have soaked & washed it & added the doily & button. The angel I found at a Church fair years ago..she's just had her first bath, ready for Christmas.
 A fortunate find at Connections, the Hospice shop this week. 36 cottons for $7.20..wonderful!
 I also found one more vase/parfait glass to add to our collction. It is amazing how, eating even breakfast, out of something lovely makes the meal seem different. I have collected these to use for family occasions most especially. Even simple deserts seem like a more celebratory treat when served in these, all at once.
 And a fancy spoon is even better.
 This bellis perrenis makes me happy.
 Even small posies can brighten your day & bring the loveliness & the fragrance outside in.
I picked these for you..can you smell them?
Thank you so much for calling in to see me. I do hope that you have a lovely week, whatever season you are in & where ever you are just now.
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