Sunday, 24 June 2012

Of Pomme, Josephine & Open Hearts

I have been thinking a bit lately about when I had small children & we were involved in play groups & kindy & you'd meet new people all along the growing up way and the kids played with other kids & made new friends all the time. Then there came a day where they would all take themselves to school & gradually that social contact changed & diminished & if you're a quiet sort of person with vintagey sort of interests & you don't really like to sit around talking to people for hours or feel like joining the local women's netball team it's actually quite a challenge to meet new like-minded people, in fact, you could be forgiven for concluding that there weren't any out there at all!
You ever found that?
Until....I started blogging & lo & behold I discovered that I was not alone at all!
And in that community & with all the other contact that it generates (like friends & aunties checking in too) I have discovered that the world hasn't changed so tragically after all...phew!!
There is still so much goodness & kindness, care & concern, so much sharing of patterns & recipes, gentle advice & encouragement, that for the first time in my life, I have to say that the world is a good place to be & I no longer feel invisible or alone. Thanks to you all...just being there, I can live my life more fully & bravely & I am so grateful.
The door of opportunity is always open to learning, growing, making a new friend, supporting & encouraging someone else, believing (truly believing) that their really is love & kindness & goodness in the world.
Suddenly, I can hear the words that Mary spoke at the end of the Secret Garden so clearly:
"The spell was broken. My uncle learned to laugh, and I learned to cry. The secret garden is always open. Open & awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden." 
   I am so glad to have made a new friend over the last few months...Julie of My Threadbear Life.
She lives in the Waikato here in New Zealand
 & has the dearest little Threadbear Cottage set in a country garden, only 6 minutes out of TeAwamutu. I'm sure that you couldn't miss the spot with Isabella on the job out the front waving to all passersby & visitors.
 Julie's little cottage is full of handmade crafts & other sweet collectables. Do pop in & visit her blog here or click on any of her photos. I know that she & the charming "Josephines" would love to see you.
Early this week we managed to get ourselves over to Napier (only 20mins away) & finally do some of the errands we'd had planned for a while now.
 Of course, one of the most important being, to have coffee together at The Kitchen Table.
One of us had a cheese scone.
The swan was our table marker.
 Not sure what we were meant to do with the knitting needles?
 We had a marvelous time dropping things off to the auction to be sold & selling some other bits & pieces to the Antique Centre...which all amounted to exactly enough to buy this wonderful big glass water dispenser from Madisons for our larder.
I had a very illuminating chat with a friend a week or two ago & discovered that just down the road, right in the middle of my beloved Showgrounds sits a large bore with a tap so that the water comes straight out of the ground & is NOT fluoridated. So for making things like my apple cider vinegar & kombucha this scheme will be perfect. And should there be a disaster & the jar managed to not fall off the table, we may even have some clean, spare water to keep us going.
 I came across this great chalkboard on Pinterest the other day.
 I might add, the actual author of the words & concept can be found here.
 So I did buy vintage like I showed you last week....& the face of our Improved Salter Family Scales came up beautifully don't you think?
 This morning, early, was very crisp & chilly & there were furry creatures lurking in the plum tree.
 Being chilly as it was, gave me the urge to unearth my embellished cotton sweatshirts (what a silly term...a!!) This one was originally a beefyT & is a lovely heavy cotton & just the right pink.
 The beads on our Melia tree are like sunshine in the sky even on the most dismal day through the winter months.
 I am so glad that Mitre 10 Mega (more ugly words!!) moved premises to just a block or two away from us. They actually have quite a reasonable garden department & these potted colour plants are really good value. Aren't these obconica primulas so sweet?!
 I heard whispers on Facebook of a new pop-up shop opening in town on I went hunting & found...
 Pomme d'amour a dear little shop full of an electic mix of vintage
  & retro treasures.
 And best of all, Florence...a local fellow blogger and wonderful photograhper!
 I am sure I'll be catching up with Florence again soon.
 Pomme d'amour is where I found this colander. There is something so creamy & delicious about it. i just love it.
 We have now just passed through the winter solstice here & despite frosts & very chilly mornings I was still able to pick these true winter roses in the garden today.
 The pretty tablecloth I found in the Hospice op shop in Napier during our visit last week.
 I am always in awe of such fine handwork...& the quality of the cotton fabric used.
I think I'll be in love with vintage linens my whole life!
Thank you for being such a sweet & lovely part of my life!!
Hope you have a peachy week...with some sunshine & rainbows where ever you may be in the world.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lackadaisically Speaking...

Or not!
No lackadaisy going on here I assure you
..more like bumpsadaisy because really all I can say is
..this week has been Pants!! 
(as in, not so great)
I do love words don't you!?
And I love Sophie of Fading Grace for giving me at least half of my knew found vocabulary of late. 
 I do, however, really, really like my newly found scales.
Might clean up the brass face this week...what do you think?
 Why is living with other people such a challenge?!
Which leads me to one of my best words ever "chimdunichick".
 I think I may tell you more about my best word quite soon.
How sweet it was when I went to pick up some more walnuts from my friend Ruth (I'm the one with the stall out just now) to find that she had picked me this glorious bunch of winter narcissus..& snowdrops.
  Most of these are "stars" & they smell heavenly.
 Then, when I popped in to Savemart early in the week I nearly burst in to tears, when way down the back (2nd hand clothing warehouse) I glanced up & saw my favourite Sanderson of all time peeking out the side of some ugly stuff.
 Isn't that funny, but I felt overwhelmingly loved at that moment as I clutched the single bedspread tightly to me. I couldn't believe my eyes when I found the $5 price tag.
 Kale used to be the naffest thing you could grow after marigolds & nasturtiums but I think it's brilliant stuff to grow through the winter months. It looks so amazing in salads & stir fries..
 after all, it is just a brassica with pizazz.
 Sometimes I struggle to grow pansies well but this little pot must be in just the right spot as it is truly flourishing & I can assure you it is freezing outside tonight!
 I am glad I'm getting braver as I get older otherwise I might have siddled out of this wonderful opportunity..
 and never encountered this precious little fantail.
 So I asked the man nicely & he let us go & pick some of what was left of his gold kiwifruit crop.
Sugar really bothers me.
 It's actually bothered me for years & years after what I read about it's appalling effects on the health of whole communities..societies that used to have excellent health & well-being until sugar settled itself in to the midst of everyone's affections.
Interestingly, the issue has come up again recently, with even more compelling research backing.
The dilemma for me most of all is that I love tea parties & the idea & loveliness of tea parties but I just can't do the cup cake much sugar, so why not simple things made pretty?
 There's something deeply comforting about gold & amber & yellow in the middle of winter.
Even if it's just water in a jug.
 I don't know if you've ever tried gold kiwifruit..but I adore them & I never, ever get sick of them &
 they're golden & sweet & not nearly as furry as the green ones.
Ruth gave me old fashioned persimmons to sell too, but funnily enough, NO one wanted to buy them.
They're weird things..they make your mouth all furry unless they are jelly ripe & even I said weird.
The birds, I notice, are having a fine old feast!

 I have just planted the David Austin rose Evelyn.
I think she is just magnificent & so sweetly fragrant too.
 As you know by now, I'm a Singer kind of girl so I figured that you might like some Singerly advice for this week. (Thanks Caroline for passing it on). Click to enlarge for better readability...I hope, or else put on your very best reading glasses, ok.
You have no idea just what a blessing you are to me!!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Fairy Sweeper Helpers and Other Sparkly Things

Some people have Garden Fairies..
I, have Fairy Sweeper Helpers..and they can be girls or boys!
 I also have sparkly things in my garden.
 I am grateful for the gift of my garden chandelier every single day.
Anything that is warm & sunshiney & sparkly in winter is good isn't it!?
The light comes in lower...sneaking up on us with pretty surprise rainbows.
Even with our feather duvet on it's a wee bit chilly in the night here just now but I find myself quite pleased about that because it means I can get out our precious handmade bedspread & treasure it some more. I hate to think how many hundreds of hours that it took for someone to lovingly make it.
My dearest friend Cheryl came & shared her birthday with me yesterday.
We had such a precious time.
"Look, she said, there's a rainbow on your arm".
I'm glad that it's her nails you can see & not mine!
Garden Fairies are frequently too busy to pay much attention to such things as fingernails.
 I called in to St Andrew's road on Friday..the tree ripened apples at the stalls down that way are exquisite.
 The truly tree-ripened fuji apples have this funny translucent thing going on inside. I wonder what the effect is called?
 Margaret, from round the corner, popped these gorgeous poppies in to me yesterday to say thank you for us helping to organize a pot swap next door. Aren't they amazing.
 She has them growing close to her house where they are sheltered & the soil is very dry.
I love their silky crinkliness don't you?
They look lovely in the old amethyst glass vase I found last time we were away.
There are monarchs over wintering down at the Showgrounds..wasn't this great camouflage!
As we scrunched amongst the crisp leaves we found quite a number of butterflies sunning themselves on the ground.
Matt came home this weekend (got a ride back with friends) so it seemed the perfect time to cut our 12 kg Musque de Provence pumpkin. The one that we bought from Clyde Potter at the Farmer's Market a few weeks back. Inside, it is the most amazing colour!! And yes, we've shared it round the neighbourhood.
I made two small jars of guava jelly this week using 1/2 the amount of sugar & adding just a squeeze of lemon juice. I wish you could taste makes people close their eyes & swoon. We kept thinking that there was something very familiar about the flavour...something we were missing & then Rob got it! It tastes like the most divine tangy, perfect turkish delight you have ever dreamed of. 
 I remembered an old recipe of Nan's the other day. I used to love her fruit delight. I would often help her to make it with all different kinds of fruit. I wrote the recipe out in to a special book when I was 15.
Firstly I made it with lemon & just as the recipe says. You can find it here in our kitchen blog.
 Only I forgot to take a photo until it was nearly all gone!
So while Matthew was here we made another version..
  using some tamarillos.
 I love the colour it went! It is such a nice light dessert, very versatile & actually really good for you since it has eggs, fruit & gelatine in it  & not much else.
Last Sunday afternoon we popped out to Haumoana, which is near the coast & about 10 minutes away, to pick up some mandarins.
As we came up over Black Bridge I saw the sea & a new walk way. 
It was freezing but we hopped out & walked briskly to keep warm as the sun was almost setting. 
 What we found at the end of the road was truly Paradise.

As we left, the moon that Jupiter was about to cross, appeared quite suddenly & enchanted us all the way home. I was so overwhelmed by our serendipitous adventure & so thrilled with my photos I made a little movie which can be found just here.
It is so nice of you to visit...thank you!
I hope there is some simple wonder & good food going on for you this week too.
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