Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mary Rose it is!

The very first rose to bloom in my garden this year was Mary Rose, which is a surprise...
And here she is.

I'm enjoying filling my vases with spring flowers at the moment. And re-arranging the furniture for spring. My old couch has gone off to be re-covered, so what else is a girl to do?

When the couch comes back I'll show you all the end result of my make-over efforts. May well have re-arranged things at least three times by then.
Then there's finding places for at least two Christmas trees....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm just waiting on the roses.

Just about everything has bloomed that's going to bloom in my garden for spring.

I'm just waiting on the roses now.
They usually appear right on cue in the first week of November.

Graham Thomas is usually the first, and Compassion. Cecile Brunner isn't far off either. The banksia rose climbing the veranda post is already out.

The snowball bush came from a sucker off another one I have in the front garden.

Fancy a spell on the veranda with a good book? I can recommend The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Foxgloves, granny bonnets and a banksia rose.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The house is filled with the smell of flowering pinks, and the roses have begun to bloom.
The snowman in my linen cupboard came out for an airing the other day, for a dummy run I expect.

My new book arrived from my friends at, and I'm ready to be inspired.

"She who is proficient at separating eggs" was inspired by the little Christmas boxes in the book. She bought supplies and has been coming home from work at lunch time to make Christmas boxes on my kitchen table all week. She doesn't have a kitchen table at her place, so we've seen quite a lot of her this week.

And ... we went shopping the other day and Farmers had their Christmas Shop up and running.
So I bought my first Christmas decoration for this year. She's irresistible don't you think?

Time to really get out in the garden too. The fox gloves have opened their little flowers and the Granny bonnets are in full bloom. The snowball trees are fluffy with new blooms too. I must capture it on camera while the weather is fine. It is my favourite time of year in the garden.
Come Melbourne Cup Day, I really get that Christmas feeling. Not long now blog chics:P

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink.

Finished this quilt top ages ago, and have been trying to decide weather to have it machine quilted or to hand quilt it. Decided on getting it mchine quilted, because there is just so much detail in it. I love it's vintage colours and 1930s fabrics. I got to use a lot of my favourite tiny scraps for the applique and the umpteen 2 inch squares in it.

I think I was proabably attracted to it because of the tea set in the middle block.

But there are so many pretty bits. I loved making it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Homing Instinct of the Garden Snail.

This year I have read three memorable books.
At the moment I'm reading "The Elegance of the Hedgehog."
Normally I am weary of such delightful and serendipitous titles,
as in my experience they prove disappointing.
The Sound of One Hand Clapping, God of Small Things,
and anything by Salmon Rushdie and dare I say it - Janet Frame.

I tried so hard with Salmon Rushdie and Janet (said in reverent hushed tones) Frame.

However literary and eloquent the writing, I could not find the story in them.
Beautiful and eloquent prose are all very well, but I find it pointless after a while,
without a story and some characters to care about. Shame on me?

I once made myself wade through Terry Wait's account of his captivity in Lebanon,
or wherever it was, because I thought I might gain some valuable insight.
Something that I may be able to save for a rainy day.
Well I suppose I did - don't bother persevering with boring books.
The Emperor really is wearing no clothes.

So if I were writing a book, I think I would call it, "The Homing Instinct of the Garden Snail." Somebody on Radio NZ last week mentioned that there has been some research ,
attesting to the fact that they have one.

So the first really good book I read this year was "The Help." By Kathryn Stockett.

You can read a good review here. I loved it. Haven't loved a book so much in ages;
in fact not since my Wilbur Smith phase. Then I read the first Stieg Larsen book.
I was just waiting for the guy to get the girl at the end, preparing to be underwhelmed.
Didn't happen.

Which brings me to The Elegance of the Hedgehog. (image from
It's a compelling book. Full of truths, through the voice of a thirteen year old girl,
and an aging concierge in a Paris apartment.
Mostly about the naval gazing that goes on in the world,
and any other kind of parallel universe that can only be defined by the consciousness
of those who perceive it.
Ha! perhaps the key to appreciating a Janet Frame novel!
It's making me laugh. Especially the thirteen year old girl.
I keep expecting her to come up with some reason for making sparrows into composite images! It speaks to me; with the recent familiarity of raising teenagers.

So I've been playing tea parties a bit by myself,
appreciating the Domestic Godessness of it all.
And configuring my consciousness with rhubarb and coconut cake and afghans.
And proving my existential weightiness by not eating them.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When life hands you a little yellow duck.

When life hands you a little yellow duck, it makes you happy!
I found mine in the Hospice Shop for $2.
It will go so well with my little yellow bunny at Easter. I will arrange them with little foil eggs and other Easter accessories yet to be imagined.
In other news, my virgillia tree is a mass of blossoms. And they don't smell like cat's wee, so I can bring them inside.

And display them with yellow ducks and rhubarb cake.

And move my quilts around a bit, to welcome in the springtime.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Cats Quilt.

A few years ago Burnard Silver wrote a book called Why Cats Paint. The cover photo was a cat standing on it's hind legs painting a picture, brush in hand. It was very tongue in cheek, but I heard Burnard interviewed on Radio New Zealand once, and he said there was a small readership of well healed little old ladies who believed it to be all true. Obviously they had not come from a Sunday night tradition of watching Country Calender spoofs such as the remote controlled sheep dog and guinea pig farming in Wellington.

This weekend while I have been working on my yeo yeo vintage sheet inspired quilt, the Magpie Cats have never been very far away from the action. And whenever I try to lay a quilt top out or put a few blocks down to arrange them, they are immediately sat on by the nearest cat.

My Mum's cat sleeps on the finest of crocheted edgings, and considers it her absolute right to do so.

I planned to write about it in this blog post, and had the photos ready to go, text half written in my head, when this appeared in the letter box today, sent by my dear friend Katie of
An Angel in the Garden. She said she just had to send it to me.

It's beautifully written. The story of a tabby cat who loves her smelly old patchwork blanket so much that she goes in search of it in the rubbish bin when the mother throws it out.
The language is beautiful. The illustrations even more so. Tabby is very cross when her blanket is thrown out
"I think I should send this family away," she says.
"I shall have the milkman here to lodge instead."

When the inevitable happens and Tabby gets picked up and taken to the rubbish dump with her old patchwork quilt, it is the milkman who finds her wandering around looking for home, and gives her a ride.

And the mother washes the blanket, which is exactly what she should have done in the first place. Nobody I know would throw out any kind of patchwork quilt in any state of disrepair. Especially if it belonged to a cat. That's my only beef with the book. The mother in this book does not look the type to throw out a cat quilt. She reminds me so much of the mother in Margaret Mahey's The Lion in the Meadow. And she entertained dragons in her broom cupboard and all sorts of interesting nonsense, and hung out her patchwork on the washing line in the meadow.
This mother looks like one of those mothers, so I am absolutely sure she would not really have thrown out the patchwork.
Thank you Katie, it's the lovliest book.

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