Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bundled in Blankets and Crocheted in Colour

This morning we squidged through the mud and shuffled through the ground cover leaves to find ourselves a possie in the spring sunshine, down in the back garden where the fantails flit & other (borrowed) sun-baskers happily emerge from the bushes.
 We haven't been able to mow (or should I say, Rob hasn't) the back lawn for an absolute age due to an over abundance of the wet stuff. Looking more like a meadow just now, but the self-sown primulas are happy & my largely neglected orchid has managed to produce four pretty flower spikes..
Why ever are orchids called spikes & other things are called sprays, I wonder?
 The tentative advent of spring was so welcome & embraceable we drove out to Havelock North yesterday morning, on a whim...& found the most magical place to walk and picnic!
 Plum blossom is always so eager & fragile & passes all too soon.
 Back home, I found some more in our own garden.
Isn't it so fresh & bright?!
 We had more rain earlier in the week & keeping picnic inspirations firmly in mind, we decided to gather all of our vintage blankets from everywhere they have been hiding & sort them in to piles.
 Some are needing some care & repair (master of the blanket stitch!)
 Many have delightful, story telling labels..

 Some people have a blanket folding gift..& others do not!
 Eventually we sorted out a perfect picnic pile.
 Some are personal favourites, of the boy variety.
What do you think..this seemed like a good idea for bundling up blankets & whisking off on an adventure?
 We fiddled around with colours & combinations of was fun.
I found the blue English china in St Vinnys. There were 16 pieces in all, for $10.
I like the plain pastel blue & pleasing shape of the cups.
 I love this tiffin's going to be very handy I'm sure.
 I'm not very good at being a girl.
I'm forever getting grubby & doing silly things with my clothes, like getting green paint on my sweet pink (op shop) top, when re-painting the fruit sign!
There is a pocket either side so I made these teeny tiny hearts from Lucy's Attic24 pattern & I think they've managed to save the day..who knows what I'll manage tomorrow!
 When I made my crocheted wreath a week or too ago I ended up making lots of pretty crocheted flowers. I have kept going & made enough to encircle this lovely old tapestry. I have attached it to some nice thick vintage green blanket & made it in to a cushion.

 I have also made a few more jam jar covers & many, many thanks to Bev at Kainga Happenings, we now have an interpretation of the chart that I started out with.

 Crochet Jam Jar Cover

Start with a loop. 
Round 1. 8 double crochet into loop. Slip stitch together to close round.
Round 2. 3 chain, 1 treble. “ 2 chain, 2 trebles together, 2 chain”  Continue to end repeating “2 chain, 2 trebles together, 2 chain.”  Slip stitch into top of the 1st 3 chain.
Round 3. Slip stitch across to the 1st treble of round 2, 3 chain, 1 treble,  one chain, one treble. 1 treble into the two trebles together of previous round.  Continue on with “1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble.”  Slip stitch across to the first 3 chains. You will have 24 trebles.
Round 4. 3 chain, 2 treble, “1 chain, 5 treble.” Repeat “1 chain, 5trebles 7 times.” 1 chain, 2 trebles. Slip stitch to top of first 3 chains.  You will have a total of 40 trebles.
Round 5. 3 chain, 3 trebles, 1 chain.  “7 trebles, 1 chain, 7 trebles.” Repeat “7 trebles, 1 chain, 7 trebles.” 7 times. 1 chain, 3 trebles. Slip stitch across to top of 1st 3  chains. You will have a total of 56 trebles.
Round 6. 3 chain, 1 chain, 1 treble, 1 chain, 1 treble.  Repeat until end. Slip stitch across to top of first 3 chain. You will have a total of 32 trebles.
Round 7. 3 chain, 3 trebles into the 1st treble. Double crochet into the next treble. 4 trebles into the next treble. Continue around to end.  Slip stitch to the top of 1st 3 chain.  17 patterns on final round.
(Round 7. on actual pattern. 3 chain, double crochet, 4 trebles on next treble together. Total 16 pattern on final round.)


I have figured out better how I actually made mine...a little bit made up as I went along, I think & I like it so here it is too:

1. Centre: 3 ch sl st = O
2. 2 ch sc into circle x 7 = 8
3. 3 htr 3 ch x 8 = 8 sets (24 htrs)
4. 4 ch, 2 htr between each htr cluster, 1 htr in gap, 1 ch repeat
5. 1 htr all way around= 40
6. 1 htr 2ch 1 htr...
7. sl st to next gap, 3 ch, 2 tr, 1 htr, 1 ch 1 dc 1ch, 1 htr 2 tr 1 st to close.
Weave in ends & thread ribbon through the 6th round.

Hope that all makes enough sense.
Have a lovely week dear ones.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole...Ooh Yes Let's Have a Picnic

Hello my sweet readers and visitors!
I fear these past weeks have seen me slide down the rabbit hole and round the corner.
I wasn't entirely sure, at times, if I was ever going to make it back, but after thrashing back at the fleas in the carpet (how did that happen??!!) & shaking & hanging & drying & cleaning everything in sight due to persistent dampness & wet I think we just may be winning. 
In the midst of the marauding hosts I began to feel the pulsing surge of new life thrumming through my veins, calling me to knew enterprises & creative dreams: only to be met by one small obstacle & locked gate after another.
I think we may be pushing through the dark & sodden ground at last!!
Oh my goodness here begins dear, welcome, Spring in all her random splendour!
Signs of new times & new energies can arrive by any means, as I expect you know.
Even as deep thoughts lay as dormant seeds awaiting the signal to unfurl into life in my heart, on the surface I was captivated by these gloriously colourful & fun pages of my most recently acquired summer English Country Living Magazine.

Poddling along beside two clever & talented friends, as they put together their freshly inspired vintage hire businesses, somehow opened a space for our own concepts to emerge during this particularly dreary winter.
 And out of all this, have come two thoughts.
The first: A Vintage Picnic...hire.
We've unearthed all of our vintage blankets (& found a few more), gathered together our fishing creels & other baskety things..
Delighted ourselves by remembering our various picnic china, ousted from the cosy comfort of a wicker picnic basket some long time since past...
acquired a tiffin tin & a thermos or two
& most importantly of all, filled old jam jars with fairy mushrooms. 
We have so many ideas & plans but I really will need your help.
I'll tell you a little more soon!
Meantime have a wee think about your favourite picnic food for me.

The second arm of this enterprise, took a good deal longer to take it's own shape...that of,
The Tiny Tea party...hire.
When we found this gorgeous old oak tray in the second hand shop in Taradale a few weeks ago we just knew this was the "other" bit.
Oh look at that...we did have some sun one day!
Please do stay for tea.
I have bought some Royal Albert, Old English Rose China.
It has an elegance & grace about it that is difficult to surpass & has the ability to evoke warm memories & sentimental attachments like no other china that I know.
I also have some sweet & simple lily of the valley in the china cupboard that might quite like to join us in service if asked nicely. may be saying,
 but here is my heart.
What I would like to present is this.."A Tiny Tea Party" for
~Best of girlfriends to bless each other with grace & beauty,
~A special very personal gift for a treasured family member...aunty, Nanna...the legacy of sweet memories.
~But most of all, you know when you have a friend, who has a chronic illness & life has been hard, or they have lost a loved one & grief has become a dim & colourless place...right there, in just such a time a tiny tea party brought to them (or a sweet picnic for that matter) might make all the difference in the world.
I have a friend who has recently made contact again & is struggling with very difficult circumstances, she told me yesterday that she still has cards that I have written her from over 15 years ago & they still comfort her..
how deeply humbling.
Could a tea party create comfort & give the gift of simple tailored beauty in just such a way?
I really, really hope so..
What do you think?
I have recently read the ethos of the "Greengate" people. They are based in Denmark & sell lovely nostalgic goods along the lines of Cath Kidston.
It goes like this:
"Greengate from Denmark believe the simple, everyday moments in life can be the most memorable and worthwhile. They aim to ‘slow down time’, by enriching and giving meaning to these moments shared. Every Greengate product and design has been inspired by these beliefs and hope that they can bring warmth and life back to places, objects and moments long forgotten."
As I set the fire the other night, crumpling up handed on newspapers, I came across a delightful article about tea.
 I love it...Stephen Twining says "A day with fewer than nine cups of tea is an unsatisfactory tea drinking day"
Look what I came across in the supermarket last week..our very own New Zealand Earl Grey.
 We won't be preparing food at home for our "A Vintage Picnic" enterprise (bylaws & commercial kitchen obligations & all that) but I'm sure that there are ways of still supplying the items, the ideas & some foodie things.
The picnic baskets or tea things would be picked up from here or dropped off if necessary & I would lend a hand if required. 
Now get your thinking caps on & give me a hand..oh please say you will! 
And I'll go back to battling all the IT nonsense that has very nearly done my head in!
Just before I go...dear Bev of Kainga Happenings has translated the crocheted jam jar cover for us & I have it right here & will pop it in to the very next post, so keep you're eyes peeled.

SO lovely to see you!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Swanly Grace

There is something so graceful & regale about a swan, to me.
 I just love the way that they glide & their dignity.
People don't write stories about swans or paint them quite so much anymore, but back in a time, not so long ago, when sentiment was firmly woven into the very fabric of life, swans were painted & esteemed in most homes around the nation; in the same way that daffodils & ballet dancers graced the walls by mirror picture or framed print, coaster or breakfast tray.
Vernon Ward knew a thing or two about swans & lakes & willow trees.
 It was a very nice thing to add a swan or so to a birthday card, along with blossoms & tranquil streams & perhaps a horse shoe for good luck & good measure.
 This past week has been dismal & just a tad strange.
A solid week of persistent rain is not so common in our parts...shame, since Rob had an extra couple of days off. I am not used to being "caged" by damp & dimness. Sometimes though, out of the unpredictable & unexpected comes something space for the growing of other things.
Have you ever noticed how fast a week disappears, yet how so much can happen in that same week?
We had decided to have ourselves a "staycation" (staying at home on holiday & doing vacation kind of things) that we did decide to stay home with the rain, but it didn't overly feel like a fabulous holiday much of the time. Rob's uncle died early in the week (which was sad) & that catapulted us into the why is our family sooo dysfunctional dance..
by Friday we drove the 30 minutes to Waipawa past winter flooded wetlands..  
 & grey (it was about here that I found a single, lone onion growing in the grass on the road side!)
 & waterlogged
 & startling
 & witnessed the harbingers of spring at last.
We fossicked around in second hand shops & stopped at the Paper Mulberry Cafe for some superb Earl Grey tea. 
 People are crafty & clever all over the world aren't they?
 Aren't these adorable?!
Unfortunately, my wee florist toadstools didn't fair so well in the rain, but look what I found in the Waipawa community craft shop. I'm sure this concrete chap won't melt any time soon.
 One morning, I was amazed to see the rain had stopped for just a moment.
Not to be deterred, I discovered that the garden had forged on regardless..

 Unable to be outside I continued with my internal gardening activities & managed to finish my crocheted wreath. I am so pleased with it!!

I am also so very glad that such sweet & generous women like Lucy from Attic 24 have invested their time & passion to make such clear & inspirational tutorials as this one.
I am coming back to you on the pattern for the jam jar covers..won't be long, promise!

 Last week I mentioned some books I'd picked up on the discard table at the library. I can't say that I have ever heard of them before.."The Lord of the Rushie River" is the first of the pair, written & illustrated by Mary Cicely Barker & was printed in 1938. 
I love this heartfelt story about a small girl called Susan.
When her Dad goes away leaving her with an elderly care giver Susan never imagines that she will be so mistreated & abused by the old lady she's left with.
Her father is a kind man who helped & nursed a young swan with a broken leg at one time. This now grown swan "John", comes to Susan's aid when all seems lost & looks after her & cares for her until her father's eventual return. 

 Feeding her with gathered scraps foraged from around the village & giving her a little down bed amidst the rushes to lie on, he devises a plan to find Susan a new dress before her father's arrival, as her clothes are by now all torn & raggedy. So sweetly, Susan explains to him & his mother, that he cannot just go & unpeg one of the Baker's daughters dresses off the washing line, even if she has many more than she needs, as in the human world that's called stealing.
Hearing that Susan's father has arrived back by boat John Swan flies off to ensure that it is indeed him & sees the most beautiful child's dress flapping in the breeze..
 "And indeed it was a wonderful sight as the setting sun lit up it's glowing colours. Around the hem was embroidered a border of leaves & flowers of every lovely hue. All over the dress butterflies & little birds & falling blossoms were worked with delicate skill; except where, on the breast, was a golden sun, with long rays that went glinting down between the birds & flowers. At the neck & wrists, on a narrow edge of deep blue, were many tiny silver stars.
The oldest sailor, a little wrinkly man, looked at the dress closely.
"That's fairy stitchery" he said..."
A story of forgiveness & kindness & restoration & of swans with the finest grace & good character.
On the day of her father's return little Susan makes a garland of Old Man's Beard for her hair, also known as Traveller's Joy..
also by Mary Cicely Barker.
 The dedication in the front.
I found this little swan on trade me just recently...also full of grace.
Some very interesting new shoots are thrusting themselves up through the soil of our lives just now..out of the moist fertile darkness..surprise!!
I'll tell you about them next time as I need your help with one or two things & you're just the person to ask. Meantime, take care & thanks so much for coming to visit.
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