Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Joy of a Hand-crafted Life

Do you find that?
 That there is a joy & a satisfaction in living a well hand-crafted life that just doesn't come any other way? Add a bit of vintage style & life seems to acquire a richness that truly nourishes.
Rob has just gone back to work after a couple of weeks of annual leave. His holiday time has been so richly satisfying & fun we are both quite chuffed. We have built a certain flexibility into our lives so that we can rearrange things when opportunities arise & spend as much time as possible doing things together.
We went over to the market on the Marine Parade last Sunday...just loved this vintage basket & found the Swift beater later in the week.
 There was a lovely lady selling some interesting bits & pieces, like this long length of Sanderson linen.
 After so much moisture recently & with a bit of a quirky, leaky back porch, I had a clean out of the old hospital tea trolley that I keep up in the corner..thought this oil cloth might work.
 I am so glad to have a pile of old washing baskets...they are so useful for all kinds of jobs.
That's a bit better now. It seems that with all my cultured food projects & homemade stuff I need a large range of glass jars & bottles.
 I thought perhaps a cover might help & found this old sheet for $3..then decided to anchor the corners with some past their use-by-date kitchen tools.

One fine day, Rob did a bit of trimming of/in our mental old plum tree. 
It might all come crashing down one day...meantime we've propped it up & trimmed it best we can.
 We spent time in the larder...just needs a little more work, but I adore this space.
It's like playing house!
Rob has rebuilt the grottiest old shed you have ever seen & now it's the loveliest most useful, larder-y sort of room. The bed is still there for when David needs to stay. It used to be a bed settee in my grandmother's house. One of those metal fold up jobs.
 My wreath found it's way out there. I hope David doesn't figure out that I put Ginger Bons inside the gingham parcels!
  Might be quite a nice place for a wee afternoon nap.
 A spare fridge or useful when there is extra fruit in the summer.
 So much better having easy access to my Ranzware.
I love finding stray, out of sync blooms...especially friendly ones like foxgloves.
 With our daylight saving coming to a close tonight I guess the late season flowers will begin to pack themselves down to sleep.
 I came up with a wee idea for after school hours...the boys especially just love it! Now I hear shouts of "Thanks Miss!!" most brilliantly. Probably should just let the Stormers' know a few doors down, that they will have a plum forest in a year or two!
 I have been half-heartedly looking out for another wheel barrow as the old one has to have a sack in the bottom to stop everything falling through. Amazing what you might find in an Op Shop these days!
 Now I can stop pestering Rob about the dead animal under the house...think it might have been my sheep manure after raiser for St Luke's church! Best I move it down the back tomorrow I think.
Deciding that it was time for another little adventure, we checked the weather for the week, shuffled things around & on Wednesday set off for what proved to be one the happiest of days in the "country".
Rob was so sweet to screech to a halt every time I cried STOP...& look what we found! The biggest, juiciest blackberries sitting in a hedgerow.
 There were others keeping a look out for us..
Next stop was Puketapu Domain (about 20mins from home). We really went out that way because we recalled seeing large walnut tree. We also discovered...
 the coolest flying-fox ever!

We did pick up a few walnuts that we can sell at the gate along with the fruit & that will all help pay for the petrol.
Next stop was when I spied this patch of nettle. Stinging nettle no longer stings when cooked & is in fact, the most delicious green I have ever tasted. It also makes a medicinal tea reputed to be most useful through menopause.
 I find it fascinating that if you should get stung by nettle the best antidote is to rub a dock leaf on the will almost always find dock growing near nettles.
 When I got home I ate some for my dinner & made tea with the rest.
 Now, our true destination that day turned out to be the most wonderful place possible..but quite where is a secret (well, just for now as it deserves a story all of it's own so marvelous it is!)
Along the tracks we found rosehips..real ones!
 & all kinds of foragey things...more blackberries too!
The story I wish to tell you..very soon, involves the celebrated New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield. In her letter home from this location she wrote"...Grubby, my dear I felt dreadful- my clothes were white with dust- we had a accomplished 8 miles of hill climbing- so after dinner (broad beans cooked over a camp fire and tongue and cake and tea) we prowled around and found an 'aged, aged man' who had the key...."
See you again soon!!


  1. You've had many exciting things happening the last few weeks. Having hubby on annual leave and having the opportunity to have adventures together. What fun. Your pantry/spare room looks lovely. I'd love one of those. One day perhaps.
    Anne xx

  2. I love it when I discover you have made a new post - your photos and words are so much better than any magazine or tv program. I could just live in New Zealand tomorrow after finding your blog Catherine! Just before I clicked on your blog I had been looking at oilcloth on ebay to cover a table top that once had a glass top and now has ply - how funny. The shed looks so cosy I could curl up there right now.

  3. What a holiday/staycation you two had! I love the "free fruit for kids" idea! Brilliant!
    What a fun post! You're the BEST, Catherine!

  4. I can't wait. (And I love Katherine Mansfield.) I can't wait!

  5. everything is delightfully charming!

  6. Lovely post!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  7. Hello Catherine, just discovered your blog while I was "surfing" through some others - how delightful and inspiring & so lovely - thanks for making my day :-) Look forward to reading future postings, kind regards from a fellow N.Z er - Julie :-)

  8. Reading your blog is always such a delight, so inspiring!


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