Saturday, 21 June 2014

Seed Packets and Sun Showers

I am delighted to find that I am enjoying winter...
really loving it, in fact.
And so are these bright & happy birds, come rain or shine.
Wonderfully simple, nourishing food makes you feel so good.
With heavy rain outside, I spent a morning this week making baked custards, chicken liver pate & pomegranate & rosewater jellies. They all last so well in the fridge & taste amazing. I have a pot of chicken broth simmering most days too. It is such a marvellous & healing food no wonder that it's also known as Jewish penicillin. I used to think that the nick name was just a wild hyperbole, but now I know better. This stuff heals so many things, builds your immune system & nourishes deeply.
We had so much fun at a vintage sale called Faberdashery one recent Friday evening. Rob came too & he loved it. Lots & lots of stalls in the St John's Hall, all nicely crammed in & cosy. I bought this gorgeous piece of vintage floral cotton from a sweet mother & daughter. With a good soak it has washed up beautifully.
The little dolly wardrobe just had to come home with me too.
A little bit startling to find this pair tucked on a shelf inside!
I listed them on Trade Me:
"Well I say that they are Scottish dolls but really, they're stowaways, if the truth be told.
They travelled home with me hidden in the top of shelf of a dolly wardrobe that I bought quite recently.
Imagine my surprise when I opened up the door & discovered them tucked in there.
I don't think I fancy bedding them in with the pretty dolls but someone else might quite like them...for your own reasons!

Our lad with the bag pipes has had a scuffle somewhere along the line & has suffered a dislocated shoulder injury.
Well hello, he plays the bagpipes! (...just joking)
The wee lass really does have quite pleasant eyes when she's upright & not legless!
They're an odd couple, yet quirky & endearing..& very vintage.
Some rather interesting detail between them.
I bet they have some tales to tell.

And just like that...they were sold. They are heading off to their new home tomorrow.
But it was Rob who found The Smoother & it's little red traveling case.
He thinks it should live in Lucy.
The little ironing board I came across in The Dog Shop a week or so ago.

And the blue highchair was sent from Christchurch wrapped in a heavy curtain.
I am always so inspired by the clever transformations that go on over at Thread Bear Cottage so when I saw the rather plain brown tray I knew immediately that I could manage a wee make over of my own.
 With a test pot & a small piece of Cath Kidston oil cloth a prettier tray emerged.
I collected quite a lot of seed from my garden over summer & have been happily selling it on Trade Me, which is so nice as some things like my blue woodruff, are really hard to come by & it's good to be able to share it. I was a bit stumped for a while as to how to present the seeds, but then I found a great template here.
And then one day I came home & Rob had had a lovely time making seed packets.
Wasn't that nice. They're getting better & better as he goes along.
I loved this picture in a Country Living magazine..just lifts my spirits with it's profusion of colour.
Since my red wheelbarrow developed a hole in one corner I figured it would drain fine so I planted it up with polys & pansies & parked it in the sunshine.
And did I tell you I bought 20 bales of peavine straw to bed down the garden(s!)
I love the low winter sun.
With sun showers on Tuesday.
And rainbows too.
Perfect for a birthday.
A boy who now climbs mountains & not just out of highchairs.
He traveled by bus way down south in May. With just his bike for company he traveled hundreds & hundred of miles, then he walked & biked & ran...
& marvelled
at all the wonders that he saw.
He also leaned out in a very scary fashion over the edge of the Clay Cliffs to take a picture to record his intrepid journey. A journey traveled with great courage & determination in celebration of life...his, all 25 years.
My youngest son inspires me to live well, to be my best me.
This week I plan to fill my world with all the beauty I can find & stretch myself a little further in the challenges to believe that life really is good & wonderful.
Thank you so much for popping in.
Have a lovely week my friends.
Much love to you,
 Catherine x0x0x 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Time to Release and Return

 Hello dear friends & readers.
I really do have to say that I was delighted to be reacquainted with my jerseys this week and I had a good old rummage around for my scarves. The mornings are chilly and the vegetables at the Farmers' Market so inspiringly beautiful.
 This watermelon radish is startling & very tasty.
It looks so good with radicchio, don't you think.
 I love the sculptural shapes
  colours & textures of these winter veges.
 And these little ulloco (or earth gems) are just the craziest of them all.
Last year I gave a few to my lovely friend Gaye at the Market & this year I have bought some back!
I am inventing new ways of serving them. They taste a little like a cross between a new potato & a beetroot when cooked.
I've always been of a mind that colourful vegetables are really, really good for you.
The beetroot dressing was amazing!
When we were in Taupo I found a little pink rabbit cup....a friend for pink elephant...I do love a little vintage silliness!
 Sometimes it would be nice to swap some these very upright high backed chairs that sit around our dining table. They really are about the only thing that does sit around that table these days apart from dust. I left it there so you could see my prowess as a housekeeper!
However, our house likes the chairs & that's just fine. Next best thing to a swap was to use some of the Cath Kidston oil cloth that I have been selling & at least pretty up the seats a bit.
 The brown mock leather was pretty bad. Clever Rob has done a fabulous job & recovered all the seats with this Bloomsbury pattern cloth.
 I wasn't quite sure if I would keep this lovely picture I found in the Salys a couple of weeks ago but it was certainly way too sweet to leave there, at $10. Rob decided that it should hang out in the larder & so off he went & put it up. It says on the back "The Ballet" after an original painting by Dame Laura Knight.
 It's quite a performance hauling out bags of jerseys from high cupboards, exchanging summer sandals for sturdier wear & swapping light summer duvets for feather inners so that we don't freeze. I hated handling the awful old plastic bags this time around so I set to & made some simple heavy drawstring bags that feel much better...
  hold more & are so much prettier!
 I love the journey of the low winter sun & how it warms the back porch in the mornings. I decided a few weeks ago to set up a table, out of the potting shed, high on the porch where winter lettuces & greens can catch the warmth & light any morning the sun shines down on us.
 I got brave & repurposed the some of my worn vintage enamelware. Seems a bit dishonouring, but some of them have really had their day. I haven't made deliberate holes in the bottoms but then again I don't plan on drowning the containers.
So I think we should be fine. The bulls blood beetroot seeds certainly think so!
 Corn salad (lamb's lettuce) is one of the most useful winter salad greens (back left pot). Like coriander & chervil it enjoys the cooler weather best.  It's so tasty, keeps brilliantly once picked & is full of protein, so Gaye tells me.
 I love raking leaves & use them all back on to the garden. One day my soil will be deep & loamy, surely!
 Souvenir du Ami flowers along happily with this cherry in the spring & again as it loses it's leaves in the autumn. And really flowers most of the winter up there too. How amazing is that!
 This is such a "breath out" time of year. There is so much excess & return. The garden doesn't hesitate to let go & release that which is now complete. I am taking note & learning to do the same.
 I have done so much work in the garden over the weekend but I couldn't help but wander in awe at the glow & shimmer in the early morning light on Wednesday.
 The cycle never leaves us entirely bare, however...spring festival already holds & heralds the promise of the season to come. Meantime I will enjoy my jerseys & my chicken stock, the warmth of a wood burning fire & use the evenings to catch up on other "material" things.
 Funny old get around.
 Amazing what there is to pick when you look a little & forage just a little too.
 I love living in an old, friendly, timeworn house. It never demands perfection & it breathes.
Soft winter morning light comes like a whisper bringing peace.
That's good 'cos I often sneak in here when I wake in the night. Adrenal overwhelm & menopause aren't sleeps best friend. It's pretty in here. One day I plan on sleeping well. One day.
I hope that this week is a nourishing, friendly one for you all.
Thanks so much for visiting.
Much love,

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Persimmon Holiday

Hello lovely ones!
It's getting a bit chilly here now.
The leaves are nearly all down, the first frosts have abruptly decimated the Busy Lizzies and the persimmons have all been picked and mostly sold. 
Sold so well, in fact, that we managed to make enough from them to pay for two nights away in Taupo.
 We returned to the Cottage Mews.
 It's so nice there; homely & sweet, with lake views & plenty of room to cook & relax.
We read about an interesting cafe with a "mosaic living room" that's around in Acacia Bay called L'Arte Cafe & found that we just had time to get there for a cup of tea before they closed.
Quirky mosaic installations everywhere
 & really large sofas...
 that get a teeny bit cold & slippery in the cooler months.
 It was an engaging & energising place to visit & they served fabulous Earl Grey tea.
 We spent the afternoon in hot water.
 Back here at the divine Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Spa
We stayed until the sun went down.
The following day we walked in Taupo's Botanical Gardens.
Planted in 1963 & maintained entirely by volunteers.
Eek!! I wonder who bit that?

 Almost in camo today!
The Lake was still 
& the mornings tranquil.
The second day we drove most of the way to Rotorua to boiling waters!
 This area is fascinating with all of it's thermal prowess & passion.
 Fortunately it's a little cooler in the infinity pool.
The Salvation Army in Taupo have recently relocated & their new premises is enormous!
Directly over the road is Storehouse, a fabulous urban space where they sell retro stuff,
  & great coffee.
 A serious rummage in The Salys turned up this brilliant wood basket.
And these dear little friendly creatures (amongst other things!)
I'm a little behind just at the moment but hope to catch up some more in the days to come.
I do hope your week is a friendly one.
Thanks so much for visiting.
Much love to you all.

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