Sunday, 27 July 2014

Down at the Bottom of the Garden & About a Boy

 Just now the days here are bitterly cold; bone chilling.
I don't think this wrap will help the girls very much but it certainly adds a touch of glamour to their winter.
 Some days are a tad warmer...
early morning sun makes the world seem brand new; especially after rain.
 I've been tidying up all kinds of corners, like in here under the old plum tree where we put down a little bark (not too much's a wee bit ugly). Winter sun is sneaky, it turns up in places it never thought about in summer.
 Winter roses or hellebores are such a welcome sight
 on these crisp, cold days.
There are some new additions to the fairy garden...
 the little lass is a wee bit shy.
See what I mean.
 Ah, there she is with her pretty sunhat
& flower basket.
 This little one is away-with-the-fairies (& the birds) for sure.
There's lots flowering in my garden in sheltered possies.
 I just adore this primrose. I've never seen this colour pretty.
 I think that my new bird feeder has become the star attraction at the bottom of the garden...look at this crowd waiting their turn.
I had to remove a few bits & pieces with all the riotous enthusiasm & carry-on. I have put fat in the coconut shell & anchored the pear with an old metal flower frog. The wild bird seed is scoffed in no time at all & everyone seems to enjoy the sugar water. The tui has even descended to take a quick drink.
I have managed to do a few inside jobs too like painting this old washboard that seemed a bit dowdy & plain.
 I used a test pot & a few scraps of my favourite Cath Kidston antique rose white wallpaper.
 This tray from the op shop was just as dull as the washboard (plain brown) so I painted it with Pearl Lustre & used Cath Kidston spray flowers oil cloth for the bottom.
Much better!
 I also revamped this tray but seem to have some air bubbles now that it's dried. Any suggestions on how to remedy the bumps or do I peel it off & start again?
Our lovely boy said goodbye once more just over a week ago & headed off with all his worldly possessions to a little place called Gordonton in the Waikato to work on (manage) a blueberry farm. We'll miss him...a lot, but it's so good to see him making his way in the world & going new places, meeting new people & learning....all the time. He's becoming quite fluent in Chinese!
Thank you for your visit lovely friends.
Have a wonderful week...whether keeping warm or cooling off!
See you again soon.
Much love 
Catherine x0x0x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Marvellous, Charlie and Oh dear!

A deep, penetrating cold has settled over us this week. Freezing days call for corduroy pants, scarves, boots & layers....& a thermos or two
of this wonderful gingery winter brew that sits in a jar in the fridge. Grated whole lemons, fresh ginger, tumeric & lots of honey. 
Do you ever read those pamphlets about how to avoid colds & 'flu? There's advice available all over the know use tissues, wash your hands...a lot!, avoid people with colds & 'flu (right!) & all that jazz. Well, personally, I've never found any of it helped in the slightest & every winter I likely ended up with a sore throat, then a cold, kindly followed by an irritating persistent, annoying cough, that goes on for months & months & keeps me up many miserable nights. This winter I decided that some other tips that I had read about were certainly worth a try. No. 1 fermented cod liver oil...yip! & secondly, a daily dose of the elderberry tonic..
that I made back in autumn. 
Now we are dead (well not actually dead) in the middle of winter & everyone around me seems to have had a "dreaded lurgy" of one kind or another; they've fallen like flies at Rob's work, yet Rob most especially, has been robustly, marvellously well. As for me, I was doing really well until last week when I developed a sore throat was time for the third thing in the winter support chest: liposomal vitamin C. I made a brew of this & 24 hours later the throat was better, no cold, no cough. Then came the bitter cold & I wasn't feeling quite right again so more chicken stock was made & another lot of vitamin C. 
Now what's so good about liposomal vitamin C...well you may ask? Apparently you can buy it quite readily at a great price, I read about how to make it for myself & ended up with a very simple version that works. All it takes is some lecithin (that I get from the organics shop) 
In a cup add 1 tbsp lecithin granules & 1/3 cup of cold water, stir well & sit for an hour. You'll find it becomes very thick & gloopy. Now, add a teaspoon of complete vitamin C powder. Stir well. Take a teaspoon of this mixture as often as you think of it through out the day. Take it in a jar if you're going somewhere. Take more & more & more until you forget to take it because by now you're feeling a whole lot better!! The lecithin is a kind of fat that gives a different delivery of the vitamin C so that is is way more available for the body to use (something like 80% instead of 20% for the regular stuff). There are lots of fancy recipes out there but this simple version really works too. Yes, the mixture has an odd taste & texture but what medicine tastes yummy? The fat in the lecithin helped hugely to soothe my throat through the night & resolve the irritation quickly. The first thing I've ever found that could truly turn a sore throat around.
So I am delighted with our experiment & will never face another winter again without my new winter medicine chest. The cost of the cod-liver oil, lecithin & vitamin C is nothing to the expense of time off work, throat lozenges, cough syrup, more cough medicine, tissues, paracetamol & general misery!
The cod-liver oil also provides deep nourishment to help strengthen teeth & bones & vitamin D which has a whole host of other benefits.
Great article here.

The little winter table garden is flourishing.     
We may have empty trees & icy winds but we also have sun-showers &
And flowers. 
I was so pleased to find this flower picking basket at the market a while back. It's a genuine old willow job, just like the old washing baskets.
I was inspired by a lovely lady who is a lover of birds, to create my own bird feeding table. There is a sugar syrup mixture in the blue cup, just in case the tuis might like to pop in for a drink. there are seeds in the little jug & water in the rose cup & I find that all the different birds adore ripe pears!
I have had a wonderful winter shifting plants & redesigning bits of the garden. While I was working away down the back one day my eye was caught by a little mouse running along the fence. I saw him half a dozen times that day. I was so relieved to feel quite calm about our encounters & mutual observation. In the past I have felt all jittery & weird about mice, perhaps due to the vivid memory that I have as a preschooler of my mother standing on a stool in the passage screaming her head off because she'd seen a mouse in the house. I don't recall being offered a screaming stool of my own, however!
He was actually so sweet but too quick for me to photograph, but looked just like this. I named him Marvellous.
Picture found here.
Next day, it became apparent that Charlie (borrowed cat) had got wind of Marvellous too.
Charlie was quite certain he'd caught the distinctive whiff of mouse....perhaps he went this way.
"Well I can't see him anywhere I think I'll just sit & ponder a bit until he turns up."
The story didn't quite end there. 
Meantime, my Trade Me Sanderson lily-of-the-valley bag arrived in the mail.
Such a sweet find.
As were these two little cloths that I came across in Decorum in Napier.
Truly vintage adorable fabric.
I think it may be my most favourite vintage fabric ever.
At the Napier market, the nice man with all the tools, had this little vase tucked in the amidst of the practicalities.
My lovely Eve print arrived from Susan Brown some months ago now. At first I wasn't quite sure how to frame her, but then Rob remembered the vintage glass picture frame up in the roof, that was just the perfect size. I like her in this corner.
My new mirror.

Rob quite often says that our house is a Brambly Hedge house.
I think he may be right. Especially since Marvellous decided that he'd really rather come & live inside! We heard him playing with the stray marbles under the fridge. He is evading all efforts of capture & release, just presently. Oh, oh....CHARLIE where are you!
Charlie!!!! Come quick!
Happy, healthy week to you my dear friends & readers.
Thank you so much for popping in.
Much love, Catherine x0x0x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Dog House and The Fairy Garden

I truly only went to buy some more lovely free range eggs from The Curiosity Shop (antiques)....but while there, I spotted this dear little picture. I instinctively recognised it as a Margaret Tarrant and indeed it was.
Some of those old pictures just seem to warm my heart and I never ever tire of them.
Aren't camelias such a fabulous compensation for winter.
So pretty in Lucy.
Yes, it's winter & now we've even passed the winter solstice but some days here are really just quite balmy! Last thursday was definitely a shorts day....yipee!
When I returned home from gardening, the man (on a day off) had managed to do some cooking!! He made bread & butter pudding with some of those curious eggs & a loaf of sourdough fruit bread. What a nice surprise.
Sometimes it's hard living with "people" isn't it, even when mostly they're perfectly nice. It's been a bit interesting here in the last month. When you have two crazy-awful family legacies & try as we might to become better people, things can go very pear-shaped indeed; from time to time. So the bread & butter offering was sweet & so were the bees wax tea lights all set out in Lucy. I had no idea we had so many of the dear little green butter dishes...but someone managed to find them all.
I bought some flowering stock that day, just one whiff transports me right back to Wairoa & making sand saucers at Nan's for the local church flower show held during the May school holidays. With that one sniff I remembered just how very much that I loved working with those flowers....their colours & scent & I made myself a sand saucer. Not a lot to work with at the moment so it's not very regular & a tad bright but who cares; the scent is heavenly.
The arum lilies love winter & I'm so glad that they do.
They last for weeks in a vase...
ever so good of them.
The hyacinths have joined in the profusion.
But they will go & stretch their necks out a bit too far for their own I gave them a little assistance.
I'm not sure whether my fluffy tui friend is actually chilly or just showing off again, but I'm very happy to wake to his early morning song & constant melody through out the day.
It was time to reorganise the fairy garden, which meant a full shuffle around, clean up & replant.
That was the other thing that I loved to do at Nan's...the constructing of miniature know with moss, little mirrors for the pond, plastic animals & real flowers. Did you make miniature gardens when you were little?
Meanwhile, I found a wonderful old dog kennel at the new second hand shop in town, when I went to get the milk on Monday. Alise is such a honey & lovely friend & dropped it off for me on her way home from work. Rob noticed that I tied it in the tree! He says he'll make it a little platform. It's only for fun, not an actual dog...perhaps it might become a gnome house. What do you think!?
I adore obconica primulas, they come in such pretty colours & flower all winter long.
The fairy garden has been refreshed (the light seems to be a bit of a challenge at the moment for my photos).
There's still a little more to do but the fairies will be so relieved...a bit overdue, don't you know!

See why I needed to tie my kennel up there.
More obconicas at the front steps.
And large polyanthus at the back.
Happy veges flourishing in an old babies bath, set in just the right spot down under the feijoa tree.
Winter sun is just so wonderful & precious!
Now dear friends & readers, I am aware that you may not all regard yourselves as older ladies but this little video I came across this week is just quite priceless. It's sure to give you a lift & a giggle...which ever you may be.

So lovely to see you.
Thanks so much for popping in.
Hope you have a wonderful flowery week.
Much love Catherine x0x0x
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