Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Woodland Dominoes, Racey Helps and Three Wise Men

Hello lovely ones!
Aren't baby things adorable.
 They're designed that way to melt our hearts!
This wee fawn caught my eye at the market last week.
He's quite at home tucked under all the foliage.
Priced at a dollar because of the chip...I'll just give it a wee paint, or not.
Some things are still just precious, even in imperfection.
I found some tiny rose buds, the first double violet & a wild strawberry.
Tiny things are endearing too.
Funny old owl tea cosy came home from the Saly's with me.
Someone was being innovative a good few years ago.
I have sold him now...I hope his new owner likes him too.
Rob found himself a really fancy shirt in an Op Shop recently; linen, New York label.
Pretty much brand new.
 I popped it through the wash (on it's own -imagine the blue running through everything!)
When I went to peg it on the line I looked down & saw a bit of white plastic peeking out of the collar.
Funny...little pointy collar stiffeners.
One on each side.
I was wondering what Burt's secret was yesterday? Becoming quite positively manky & balding over the summer, he has regained his youthful top piece in recent weeks; albeit with a few extra grey feathers. Perhaps it's all the cat biscuits he scoffs from Charlie's bowl, the second that it's unattended.
Rob had a birthday last weekend...
His apple, feijoa cake was delicious!
The days are certainly shorter...time for tea lights in Lucy, once more.
Pretty & romantic.
Looks a bit odd with the mustard in clumps, but this proved to be a wonderful way to cook a little salmon...just popped on top of the roast veges & baked another 10 minutes.
If you come with me through the garden gate (spotted in a cafe the other day)...
you'll find my little friends, laying about under the raspberries.

The man at the market said that they came out of the cornflakes packet back in the day (1950s perhaps) Anyone remember them? I would have loved to have found them in my cornflakes!
These old agee jars are maybe at least as old as the pixies. This one's missing the metal rim for the clip down bit so I thought this arrangement might be quite useful.
Dear Rob wanted these chaps for his birthday present.
And so are these two.
A wee while ago I found this Woodland Dominoes set in the Dog Shop...
darling little animals on the cards. Only trick was neither of us can remember how to play the game!
Oh dear...any assistance gladly received.
As it turns out, I have been rather fond of Racey Helps & his illustrations for quite sometime.
These pictures via Pinterest.
"Angus Clifford Racey Helps was an English children's author and illustrator. His books were written in a simple style and feature woodland creatures and birds, with illustrations by the author."
Isn't this one just adorable.
I found a lovely little expose of "The Sack Race" & the picture here.
Inspired by a recent birth of a tiny "Lily" (grand daughter next door) I had a fiddle with a crocheted crown. Jane was happy to be my model. Apparently her head is precisely the size of the average newborn. Now, Wally...yes that's his name, seems to have surfaced from somewhere! (Rob) He was once blown up, in a tree (but survived) as his star role in a home movie. Matthew & his mate Mark were around 14 at the time. Wounded Wally, captured David's heart (younger brother) & he set to & made him some remedial clothes, all by hand. 
More baby things...
& the dearest, most remarkable story of baby animals I've seen in ages.
I'm quite sure that you'll love it too.

Much love to you all
Catherine x0x0x

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Nature Table & Lost Things

Hello there!
I do hope that you've had a lovely Easter; whether springy or autumnal, chocolatey or Churchy;
or, quiet & filled with grace & work, like ours.
With so many wonderful friends sharing tales & pictures of the goings on in the "upper" hemisphere I have become especially aware of our upside-down-ness down here, this Easter season.
No daffodils, hares, eggs or spring blossom here. Rather, an abundance & excess that is almost embarrassing in it's exuberance, urgency & splendour.
I found myself gathering armfuls of harvest & arranging a kind of "nature table" as a kind of thanks, over the weekend.
I discovered fresh roses in the cherry blossom tree,
a few figs that the wax eyes actually hadn't pecked & the first glowing sweet persimmons from our laden tree.
The little heart tomatoes are still going...
& the sun is now lower in the sky; washing our front verander with welcome late afternoon sunshine.
I had little people coming to visit on Thursday so I made a Jewish oatmeal cake with feijoas & tart dried apricots. We used to make it often when we were young & living in Taranaki, a time when friends would share recipes & you'd all be making the cake. It's still great 30 years later & more like real food than cake...which always works for me! I have just realised that I haven't posted the recipe yet so I will do that very soon.
 It really struck (as I said) this year that bunnies & eggs & all things spring are really rather silly in the middle of our lovely autumn Easter, so inside, I gathered all kinds of meaningful bits & pieces & put together a sacred scene that bought focus & stillness & gratitude to these restful days.
Of course the lily-of-the-valley isn't just seemed nice. The hearts were called "sacred hearts" at the organics shop...for my niece & nephew. Mary is awfully battered & chipped, but the whole ordeal was pretty hard on her at the time, so that kind of fits.
Now, I have been told that this may be St Anthony. I bought him on Trade me last week in support of a Hospice shop. If indeed he is St Anthony then that would make him the Patron Saint of Lost & Broken Things...that's me (thought I) he'll be perfect!

What a funny old thing to crochet, a cross...I love it though. It's very old. I wonder who made it?
Of course, there always has to be a butterfly to remind us of liberating, metamorphosing grace.
Autumn, Easter & menopause...who ever would have thought there was a theme in that!
Transformation. Shedding the old. Completion.

Still, there's something to be said for imagination....& silliness!
A return to innocence & a child-like heart is always a helpful approach on any occasion, in my book.
Wishing you all, sunshine & happiness in the coming week & maybe a little skipping.
Thank you so much for popping in.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Drips, Drupes & Bumblebee Sharpening

Hello there!
How lovely to see you!
Do make your self comfortable while I tell you a little story...
Here you have the faery songs, the golden, glad, and airy songs, when all the world was morning, and when every heart was true; Songs of darling Childhood all a-wander in the wild wood, songs of life's first loveliness - songs that speak of you!
Thomas Burke 
(Many thanks to Barbara for the verse & picture) 
I think there may be part of me that will remain a little girl of about seven, now, forever & ever. Eternally drawn to sweetness & light, make-believe & fairies, The Land of Kindness &'s such a lovely place; there are flowers everywhere & wooden swings in all the largest trees. The sky is almost always blue & there is a gentle brook that laughs it's way to the sea. The green moss is soft & tender & makes the perfect fairy's bed. Would you like to come & play with me...we could sip honeysuckle tea from tiny acorns & wander in the wild woods singing songs of life's first loveliness?
There are darling little creatures in that wood like Mr furry Bumble bee. 
Every now & again he must zoom in to visit Blacksmith Gnome for sharpening & repairs.
Illustration: Eric Heinemann
Then back to work he goes.
There is harmony & wholeness, 
(I found her in the Dog Shop...isn't she sweet)
tenderness & 
compassion in the Wild Wood.
The thing about compassion, however, is, it doesn't always come as part of your legacy.
I grew this guava tree because of memories of my Nan..her jams & jellies & resourcefulness.
I loved her guava tree & the jelly that she made every autumn...the drip, drip of the jelly bag hanging over the old claw foot bath.
Not one to show emotion or talk of feelings (like many of her day), Nan kept a spotless home & a rigid schedule. I have gratefully gathered in my memories of my grandmother but I want so much more from life...
I want to be present in/to love. To chose compassion with knowledge...& boy do I want to know!! I love to learn new stuff every day...pushing past the "oooh but I feel so dumb", when at first run through, it all seems over my head & a little too much for my struggling brain.
I made my jar of jelly & then I pushed the guava pulp through a sieve with some cooked figs from our tree & made an amazing fig & guava paste. It is so good with soft cheese.  
The thing is...what I've learnt these past few months, that matters most of all: if you don't learn how to love yourself unconditionally, truly accept yourself just as you are, you haven't got a chance of loving anyone else in healthy, fabulous ways.
If I have the right to be here...just as I am. Then I need to stop fussing & fluffing & just be me, in all my quirkiness...
& delicious succulence.
I asked the man at Te Mata figs last week about our amazing un-named fig & he said that it is an adriatic...the quintessential Italian original. The best. And when I told him about the tree in St Aubyn street where I got my cutting & he knew it straight away. We have strict instructions to take good care of a local treasure, & so we shall!
Such a lot of rain this past week & a great deal of melody from this fluffy tui chap.
I wondered what his enthusiasm was all about & then I remembered what our friend Don had said about the the birds feeding on the fruit of the totara tree. And so I went looking..& found a drupe. Yip, that's what they're called: drupe! They're edible & yum but very small.
Our wee fantail friend has taken to popping inside for a squiz around. When he's done he finds his own way out again.
Today I looked in to the face of a flower & I marveled at the extraordinary profusion of colour & form, pollen & glory. 
I know I have a choice to make today: will I see the world that we live in as friendly & good or scary &  bad? Will I chose to be the change I want to see in my world?
And it's really not so kind of goes like this:

Much love to you for visiting.
Thank you & bless you!!

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