Saturday, February 26, 2011

Little Chicken Feather.

I have a brand new Great Niece called Rebecca.
I hadn't made anything in preparation this time, because I didn't know if we were getting a boy or a girl, and mainly because I just wasn't so organised this time.
So when she was born, a little lightbulb went off in my head and I thought I'd use my favourite bag pattern (super nappy bag I thought). And Little Chicken Feather, whom I just adore.

So if you don't want to spoil the surprise Emma, don't read on!

This is my favourite design from Little Chicken Feather.

I had just the right fabrics for a girly bright gelato looking combination, and there had to be some yellow. Just about everything has been recycled or a left over from some other project, which is handy when inspiration strikes you at 2 o'clock in the morning. A bit difficult to nip off to the shops then.

I've been sneaking round to my Mum's house to sew, because I have packed my sewing machine up here.

Isn't she gorgeous!

I love it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Open to View.

I am having such trouble sleeping at the moment!
My mind goes around in high revving circuits continuously.

I am mentally placing our furniture in our new house, my washing on that clothesline in the meadow.

My concrete chook in that garden.

I remain in a holding pattern, in house limbo.

Reflecting on how I will miss this house, but in my mind I am already gone.

I've been looking back on some of my favourite photos. Favourite memories.
Of each season in the garden, the Christmas my brother rode the kid's scooters up the drive way, flat out as fast as you can with a prosthetic leg,
coming home after 7 weeks at Starship after Callum's first kidney transplant. All those homecomings.

All those first flushes of spring.

Re-decorating as each child left home, as a kind of compensation package for losing them.

All those tea parties.

And all the faeries I may or may not have found at the bottom of the garden.

Things I made with this house in mind.

The start of so many creative processes. The formulating of "Magpie Chic".
Luckily it is all movable, transformable and re-inventable in a Provencal Farm House kind of way.
Our first open home was on the sunniest day in February, so everyone was doing lots of other stuff and not coming to open homes LOL!
We had two people! But we've had quite a few people through during the week. Early days say the Real Estate ladies. I think this is what's keeping me up at nights reading blogs and watching the living channel, trying to avoid watching Christchurch or hearing about it on the radio. It is so awful I just can't even bear to talk about it.
I feel so lucky that my Mum and sister are no longer living there. I feel so lucky to be thinking about houses in such a way, when the people of Christchurch will be thinking about houses in an entirely different way. There's something about the guilt of the survivor about it.
I just feel so lucky.
I am making things again! I'm sneaking round to use the granny's sewing machine and making a mess at her house. Because you can't have a mess in house limbo.
Here at the Magpie House we are always "open to view".

Friday, February 18, 2011

One Must Always Balance One's Frills.

On a recent "ladies shopping" expedition with she who is proficient at separating eggs and he who looks better with his hair cut (who came a long because he had nothing better to do and takes a macabre interest in the psychology of "ladies shopping"), we stumbled upon one of those little pieces of advice that have become family lore very quickly.
"He" was heard to remark to his sister that the items she had assembled had a few too many frills. And apparently it is his observation that you must balance your frills.

So today I am the enviable recipient of a special tea party apron. Designed for me by my sister Jo, who received her initiation into the art of the tea party while on holiday here last month. And the advice about frills has obviously taken root.

It is a bespoke apron (love that word!!!), if such a thing can exist. No-one else will have one. Not even the Granny. Because apparently the frills on mine were so potentially injurious to sanity of the maker that she vowed to stick to the pattern when making one for the Granny!

The lists are taken directly from my favourite tea party menu.

I remain devastated that she didn't have any Doris Day music on her ipod the day of Granny's birthday tea party.

I myself being way too un- hooked from technology to own an ipod on which to put my own Doris Day music onto!

The last item on the list is of course a reference to our fine Taranaki weather!

The apron looks so "House And Garden" hanging on the apron hook, and is sure to be the thing that sells my house after the first open home on Sunday!

People will stop and admire it!!!!

As do I, every time I go past. I can't wait to actually wear it! With some Doris day music in the background of course! As you do, when your frills are properly balanced

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Magpie Jam.

Our old plum tree produces a great crop of damson plums every year. Goodness knows how with that huge hollowness in the middle of its trunk. Not quite sure what's holding it up.

Perhaps the bora holding hands?

It's where the kids had their tree hut (cut down from the cab of an old landrover - as you do in this part of the world).

The tree hut blew down one night in the big storm of 2004.

Lucky no -one was stationed underneath it at the time.

This tree is one of the many things that I'll miss about this house.

But as the saying goes, you can always make sour plums into Magpie Jam!

Which is what we shall do. Or rather, what the Granny will do, because she alone holds the key to the mysteries of making jam set without much sugar.

AND she didn't go to Hogwarts either - or Jo Seagar's cook school for that matter.

You'll be pleased to know that i had plenty of supervision today as I painted the shed window and harvested the plums with my ladder.

First open home next weekend blog chics, so it has to be perfect.

I edited the advertising copy and added a few of my magpie chic photos to their catalogue and culled a few of theirs. They had done an ok job, but it was all in Real Estate speak and i needed to add a little House and Garden speak, and give them photos framed by trees, and photos with the rose in the foreground looking at the deck.

They are very accommodating with all my editing and Magpie Chicing of the portfolio. I think they just probably raise their eyes and smile. But someone will just fall in love with this house if it's presented as i see it in my mind's eye.

It will just be serendipity of course.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Letter to myself.

I recently saw an article in a magazine in which Terry Irwin wrote her sixteen year old self a letter, offering sage advice and council about the years to come. The concept appealed, although Terri Irwin sadly, did not. At the risk of appearing self indulgent and sentimental. I thought I might have a go myself. Writing with the hind-sight of forty four years.

Dear Jacqui,

wherever life takes you and whatever you do, while you may wish you could change a few things, you'll look back on it all and be very happy with the way it's turned out.
Every cloud has a silver lining. It is not often obvious to start with, but you must look for it, and it will reveal itself eventually.

You are about to embark on a career that was chosen by default. It will be an intermittent career, but you will make such good use of the knowledge you gain from it.

There will always be the echo of your mother's advice in the matter. Appearing at their loudest in those moments when you are most thankful that you know what to do, and are not encumbered by a fear of the unknown. " A training for life".

However, you WILL look back and wish someone had suggested becoming a theatre costume designer or a photo journalist!!!

Remember that the beautiful people don't necessarily stay beautiful.

You will have happy children. You have chosen well. He has all the best qualities that you identify in your father and none of the worst ones, that make you weary and distrustful and fearful. It was a gamble well worth taking.

You will find joy in the small domestic craftings that you learned as a right of passage for the women of your family. They will become transformed into your art. Your expression of creativity. You will understand it to be part of your personal concept of "soul".

You will experience loss and grief, as everyone must at some time, but you will have had a lifetime of practice and preparation for it. It will add to the sum of your experiences and to the person you are, and the memories and symbols will become woven into your daily life.

You will always worry. The worrying makes you safe.

There will be many days like today, when the sun is shining and the cicadas are loud in the birch trees outside the window. A perfect day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I have fallen in love ... with a house.

The Magpie house is for sale blog chics, for i have fallen in love.
It happened on my birthday. I saw it across a crowded room (na, I saw it in the local paper actually), and i did swoon, because it was the very house that magpie chic dreams are made of.
And the bloke that lives with me could find no holes to pick in the perfectness of it's construction (half the battle), and the only caveat he put on was that he make haste with the construction of a large and in charge garage in the paddock at the bottom of the garden, cos the double garage is not big enough. And i was fully expecting that and do not care about garages in my meadow as long as they are far enough down the hill so as not to obstruct the view!
And the Granny loves it equally which is just as well cos she'll be moving in when we sell all the family jewels including her house. But the not big enough garage will convert to the perfect granny annexe.
We are all in love.
So i am very busy painting the window sills and weeding the garden, so forgive me if i do not blog about doily bags for a while. I've packed up the sewing machine till we move in.
If you would like to have a squizzy at it it's HX1011393 harcourts
i bet you fall in love too. But i think there is only one of them.
You know that thing about pinching yourself to believe it's real. Well, i am black and blue (metaphorically you understand!!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perfect... for the dress ups box!

Well blog chics, it was kind of successful, kind of not, in a very mutton dressed up as lamb sort of way LOL!

I do admit it looks pretty, but i just can't get over the fact that it's really made out of the bottom of a nightie!!!!!
BUT; it would be perfect for a little girl's dress up box.
So if anyone has said little girl who might like it, please let me know in the comments, and I'll happily send it on. If I get more than one offer to re-home it I'll just draw names out of a hat, in a very official manner.
Too much work to get chucked in the re-cycle part of my sewing cupboard.
And it was a fun experiment. I stayed up till 1 am making it, cos I knew I had to mow lawns and pull weeds today before (A) it rains again and (B) I have to go off and vaccinate a few more babies.

I think what i need to do is find a pattern that is exactly what I want, because the jigsaw thing wasn't entirely successful. The bodice doesn't quite fit properly, and the sheerness of the fabric while pretty, meant that I couldn't hide my seems completely.

Kind of off the scale on the mutton dressed as lamb o meter!!!
Would probably look quite good on a 14 yr old ha ha!!!
But it's very pretty and made me happy.
What more can you ask really out of a $3 table cloth and the bottom of a pink nightie!
Oh and I'm 44 tomorrow. Had to do the maths to work out how old because I just forget now days.
Don't worry about it too much because Doris and Audrey were fab in their 40s I'm absolutely sure!!! That's Day and Hepburn, in case you were wondering blog chics.

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