Saturday, November 27, 2010

Celebrating the pretty stuff.

I love the work of Jo-Anne Coletti. She paints the most beautiful romantic rose paintings and decorates in true romantic style. It is fairytale like.

She's just put out a new book, which I have reserved a copy of. Here is the link, for all you lovers of romantic and shabby chic decorating.

Jo-Anne's look reminds me of coconut ice, floral tea sets and old lace. It's totally feminine, and without the edginess of say Rachel Ashwell, or the random improvised style of Cath Kidston (both of whom I also really love).

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend blog chics. I am baking a Christmas Cake. This morning I made a small calico Christmas mouse. I am planning another gingerbread house this year too.

But more of that later.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A small obsession with chairs.

I have my old couch back. Completely transformed. It is a thing of beauty.

Just as well Hubby is immune to flowers and pink and general shabby chicness. Because there is rather a lot of it about!

He takes the extreme pragmatists view that it is just something to sit on. It doesn't matter what it looks like. I consider myself fortunate to have such licence to be floral!

It can work the other way though, as it is also his view that all gardens should be made up of large areas of concrete for parking cars! I just keep planting the fox gloves and mowing the lawns, and the lack of concrete is only mentioned in passing when a "wind up" of "the sheila" is required.

So I have spent time moving the chairs about and then back again, resettling things into a state of zen-like calm and tranquility.

And the Tail Cat has slept on each of the three cushions in turn, testing which is the best one no doubt. No reports on weather the porridge was too hot or too cold!!!!!

For me the whole arrangement is right in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone.

But I don't think there is room for one single more chair anywhere in the house.

No matter how I re-arrange them.

I shouldn't think that will prevent me from acquiring any more.

I don't think there is any known cure for addiction to chairs.

It began many years ago when my God Mother Jill had her old suite re-covered in blue gingham.

I was captivated, and realised that there was a whole world of chairs out there just waiting to be discovered. And they didn't have to be brown and velour. Truly a moment of enlightenment, similar to discovering that tea cups and coffee cups did not have to be brown and made in Temuka.

Life is full of such serendipitous discoveries really, thanks to Fairy God Mothers and interiors magazines. And the blog chics out there who remain such a source of inspiration.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In which I tie up a few loose ends, and the Magpie Cat is diagnosed with renal failure.

The Magpie Cat has renal failure. She's an old cat, so it's not entirely unexpected.

She spent the night at the vet's recently having blood and urine samples and a thorough investigation. I was pretty sure what the outcome was going to be. Now she has a very flash renal diet and will have follow up bloods in a few weeks time to see if it's working.

The hard part is that she's such a vacuum cleaner, it's difficult to get the Tail Cat's left overs out of the way before she comes looking for them!

Anyhow, we are experienced at dealing with renal failure at our place.

I finished the sheep jumper last week. After the longest stretch of sewing in ends!!!

I took it into Janine at The Black Sheep wool shop in town to choose some buttons.

Here is the finished article. I love it.

Don't know what I'll do with it. Probably just keep it in the cupboard and admire it every now and then. I just get so excited every time I finish something!!! But there is some law of physics existing that means when you finish something, the net sum of unfinished projects remains the same. Because you have started at least one more in the meantime!

Does this happen at your place Blog Chics?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A country day out, at Cross Hills.

It was a lovely warm day, not too hot, a beautiful setting - Cross Hills rhododendron garden at Kimbolton near Palmerston North, and I swear there must not have been a Nana left at home in the Wanganui, Manawatu or even Taranaki. They were all here!!!

Except for a few who had gammy hips I suppose.

There were great migratory herds of Nanas. Even some with walkers with wheels.

I spotted a few Grandads too, the type wearing short shorts, long socks and sandals mostly - and sun hats. They are so cute. But why do Nanas let them out looking like that?

Our Nana is a Granny, which has slightly different connotations. They prefer smaller family groups without an alpha male, and do not opt for the migratory wilder beast MO.

They are more your tall tree browsers, like giraffes.

They admire corrugated iron chooks at a leisurely pace.

And guard their personal space when traversing the trail.

These little dresses were lovely, but there were few things that measured up to the Magpie Chic standard for handmade with love and skill. I think Katie and Sweet Mary in the Hawkes Bay have a much higher standard of hand crafted lovelies available at their fetes and markets.

The garden was the real star of the show.

This was my favourite stall. Gorgy shabby chic aprons and shoulder bags.

There's always time for a rest and a sit beneath a rhododendron.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In search of the spirit of Christmas - could it be a hedgehog amongst the driftwood?

You know how you hear people muttering in supermarket cues about Christmas starting earlier and earlier each year and how stressful it is and all that...

Well I don't subscribe to any of that! I just LOVE it! the whole thing, from the first appearance of the Christmas Ezibuy catalogue to the disposal of the very last piece of Christmas paper. I love all the adds for Farmers with cute kids under a massive Christmas tree, (hate the ones banging on about wide screen TVs and laptops!!!), all the shop window displays, planning what to make and buy, finding the PERFECT book for your Dad on the day that Paper Plus has a book sale, that moment of eureka when you think of something cool but conservative to give Grandad!
I start thinking and planning and scheming sometime in about ... August i think!

A few of the shops in our town have begun to decorate their windows for the season.

This is the window at Wishing Well Flowers. "She"and I had our Sunday walk to check it out in all it's close up magnificence yesterday afternoon. We get very excited about every new detail.
The owls were eerily beautiful and real looking, perched amongst the more antipodean aspects of her decorating.

The aforementioned hedgehog amongst the driftwood. Is he the embodiment of the spirit of Christmas do you think? As good as any I reckon.

Peta M's Gift shop is going for a more traditional take on things.

Today I had a serendipitous day off because one of the Docs took the day off and consequently there was an abundance of nurses. So I wandered up town at lunch time and who should I bump into but, "she" who was wondering up town at lunch time. Well actually she snuck up on me while I was taking a photo of the huge Christmas tree they've put up in the middle of town.
She was overcome with love for the little white reindeer in the window at Peta M's and had to buy him and take him home to live at her place.

Bah humbug to Christmas whingers! But I know we are lucky to have a tradition based around happy memories.

For us it's six weeks or so of unadulterated anticipation and planning. We start talking about the menu as soon as the Christmas Issue of NZ House and garden arrives in the letter box.

There are sad moments when we remember the people we miss, but we also remember those Christmases we had with them and feel lucky that we had that magic and those traditions to share, and so we have the memories too.

Just enjoy it I say. The tinsillier the better! Add in the odd hedgehog for good measure!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Magpie Chic request session.

Sarah from Red Gingham requested a closer look at my Christmas Quilt. So I braved the spring equinox and took it outside for a photo session.

I have a somewhat grotty iron fence with some rather magnificent fox gloves growing against it, all self seeded.

Which made a perfect back drop, when not horizontal

Then I tried the picket gate in Piggling Bland's garden.

It's out of this book by Anni Downes. You can get it from Annie's Country Quilts by mail order.

I've made a few things from it besides the quilt.

This little wall hanging, and the Santa's sack that I made for my nephew Alistair, brother of the more famous Woozle.

I often think that there must have been some very small foxes around; for someone to have imagined one putting it's hand into a petal when in need of a glove. But a very pleasing image all the same. Would it have been a formal occasion, or just a chilly morning, that necessitated the wearing of such a glove?
I love this time of year, when my garden becomes the Beatrix Pottter landscape of my imagination. It lasts such a short time.

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