Friday, November 25, 2011

Catching the Cupcake Fairy.

You know how I love to start projects Blog Chics.

I started this one almost 18 months ago, then packed it up in a box when we moved house.

Never to be seen again till now.

I blogged about it here when I had the initial flash of inspiration that you can't ignore when you want to start something new.

And here it is, the finished article.

I will add more and more pages, but I have three complete ones now.

You have no idea how long it took to get that far!

The Cupcake Fairy is my Grandmother as a little girl - with wings of course.

Reminds me a bit of when I was little and we would have wallpaper or flour and water paste and collage and papier mache and scissors and magazines and make a huge mess for days at a time.

I remember asking for a stapler for my sixth birthday!

You know what Blog Chics.... we have way better glue now days.

I love having no lumps!

And the Granny has finished Morton's little brother!

Have a great weekend Blog Chics.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flowers From My Grandmother's Garden.

There is an enduring memory from my childhood in which a letter would arrive in a fat airmail envelope; with an Australian stamp and my Grandmother's beautifully old fashioned handwriting on the front.

My mother would read it through a couple of times, and then I would be allowed to have a go at deciphering the beautiful handwriting.

It was like unlocking a secret code.

I remember they would go something like this...

"...I am watering the garden every day now... " and she would go on to describe what was flowering and what was looking its best, and there would be all the minutiae of a gardener's life there in the detail.

Evey now and then there would be something like ...

"...Stephen killed a brown snake today and hung it on the fence..." which would keep me interested when descriptions of the colour of the dahlias had become a bit tedious.

Forty years later I am composing letters in my head to my Australian Aunties.

As every new rose appears and every new hydrangea flowers, and the Granny asks me to dig the potato patch and she plants the tomatoes, and we plant some more sweet peas to climb the frames that the beans climbed last year.

And they go something like this...

...Dear Doreen and Kathy,
it rains at least a couple of times a week at the moment, and the equinoctial winds blow outside our shelter hedges.
The clothes dry quickly in the meadow and some days the grass lies almost horizontal.
But inside our shelter belt of hedges, it is relatively calm.

All the roses have begun to bloom.
I pruned them, fed them and mulched them a bit and it's worked wonders.
I really thought they were on their last legs when we came here at the end of last summer.

The climbing hydrangeas have burst into flower and will be perfect as shady umbrellas in the summer.
We plan to put the Jesus table out there under the biggest one under the walk way.
The Jesus table was a lucky find in the local antique shop in Eltham (The Bank).
Barb had all her religious icons displayed on it when we came in out of the rain one Sunday and bought it for the Granny annexe.
It is a rustic French looking affair, round, and the perfect size for breakfasting on or taking outside on summer evenings.
It shall be forever known as the Jesus table.

The Granny cuts the blooms as they become completely open, and fills our collection of little china jugs with beautiful velvety roses.
The kitchen is filled with the scent of them when you come in from outside.

I have never had such a collection of reds, russets and black-burgundy roses.

In my other garden I favoured old fashioned roses in pastel shades.

Here I have bushes and bushes of healthy iceburgs lining the walkways and the sweeping down the driveway alternated with lavender.

They have just burst into flower and have the prettiest hint of pink when the buds have just opened. They fade to white by the time they are ready to be picked.

And yellow. I have yellow roses!

I don't have any stories of snakes to tell. Only cats who plonk themselves in the middle of a patch of catmint and roll around in ecstasy.

What is it about catmint that makes them love it so much?

They follow me around with the wheelbarrow up and down to the compost heap.

This is where we'll put the Jesus table in the summer.

The Granny fancies sitting under the climbing hydrangea with a glass of wine.

And I have to confess I got a "man out from town" to cut the hedges.

Well, actually it was a man and a girl.

The Granny and I went round afterwards with the secateurs and the hedge cutters and evened everything off and neatened it all up.

And sweapt the paths of buxus cuttings and put them into the compost pile in the paddock.

It is early morning here now as I write this and the birds are all starting to wake up.

The sun has risen over the mountain and has left a red tinge on the snow line through the cloud.

The wind has already started. The branches in the tall trees shift outside my window.

Today I will be mowing and weeding and digging in compost for the Granny's potato patch.

And hoping for some sunshine.

In your gardens you can take that as a given; but not here.

Not even in late November.

But I think I would trade that for the possibility of finding a brown snake amongst the


Friday, November 11, 2011

Customise and Embellish.

Every now and then a girl has to re-arrange things a bit.

A certain amount of re-shabbying goes on, this time inspired by a day in bed reading lovely books.

It's almost worth feeling poorly to have the excuse to just indulge, sleep and indulge again.

Rachel Ashwell's new book is just a pure confection.

The Granny has vowed to strew lilacs across her feet in the manner of Rachel on the front cover.

Never mind that we don't actually have any lilacs.

We have climbing hydrangeas that are equally frothy.

All the text across my photos is from a gorgeous book I got from the library

called Boudoir, by Hilary Robertson.

She categorises the many styles of romantic and vintage glamorising of the boudoir in the most resounding way.

I find I am strongly inclined toward the "material girl", with a strong influence of "vintage girl" and a dash of "boho".

She says, "the danger of vintage is that the whole thing can become madly busy and "Grannyish", but the vintage girl avoids this by balancing pattern with plenty of white paint on the walls."

"...a collection of mismatched rosy china cups is infinitely more charming than a conventional tea set."

Material girl has "magpie instincts" which draw her toward anything decorative or glittery.

"...Material girl is more likely to hang a particularly delicious frock on the wall than tuck it away in a wardrobe..."

"She likes nothing better than to scour flea markets and thrift shops for crepe de chine slips or floral tea dresses."

"...fondant shades of pistachio, lilac, duck-egg blue and sugared almond pink are mixed and matched with abandon". -one can tell you how to be eccentric, but if you follow your heart you will inevitably get the "boho" look..."

...Material girl has never graduated from childhood's dressing up phase..."

I just love the text in this book. It's spontaneous and insightful and not in any way cliched.

Rachel tends to be a little bit NOT these things sometimes.

Have a lovely weekend Blog Chics.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Which I go on an Expedition with Pooh and Piglet to Martinborough - and Bring Back a Mirror.

When planning an expedition, you must first decide on your destination.

For ever such a long time I've had a hankering to visit the Wairarapa for an expedition up the main streets of Greytown and Martinborough.

Gorgeous little antique shops and boutiques and yummy little delis and French Bakeries.

I hadn't been there for about ten years.

The next thing you must do is choose your accommodation.

We chose Walnut Cottage, up one of the cute little side streets, up a long driveway,

surrounded by orange blossom, granny bonnets and self seeded poppies.

Set in the garden of a very nice man called Kevin.

As well we weren't looking for a woozle on this particular expedition, because I don't think we would have found one in Kevin's garden.

It was not the kind of garden in which to find a woozle.

But we did find a variety of funny little dogs.

And the next most important thing to have on an expedition of course, are the provisions!

Pooh and Piglet had made very sensible arrangements with table cloths to guard against Municipal bird poo, plastic knives for the blue cheese and other such practicalities.

Piglet is an ideas sort of a person and has a solution for all eventualities, which you will see further evidence of later.

My contribution to the provisions was Katie's date square and a big thermos of coffee - and the Granny's best marmalade for breakfast.

It was necessary to borrow the Granny's thermos and her latest jar of fresh marmalade for the event.

Katies's date square was a huge hit with everyone concerned and you can find the recipe here.

This particular "stopping for provisions" event was on the way back.

We had yummy french bread and left over cheeses, tiny peppers, buffalo mozzarella, avocados and strawberries left over from our dinner the night before.

Katie's date square was just as delicious after a day in the tin.
I am wanting to say here "a day in the tin in the Wairarapa sunshine", because that would sound so inviting and has such poetic ring, but alas the first day was freezing, with snow in the South Island making its presence felt. But we did have some lovely sunshine on the Sunday.

And it was in Martinborough on Sunday that I found the mirror.
Such a mirror as I had lost all hope of ever finding.
A French Country inspired mirror, the right dimensions for above my fireplace, with the right aged look.
And when I found it, it was a moment of instant recognition. This mirror was a kindred spirit and was made for my fire place, but how to fit it in the back seat of a small suzuki hatchback?

Piglet and Pooh are never without good ideas and steely determination when it comes to pieces of the heart and kindred spirits.
A girl just knows how important it is to have things come home with you, not wait for them to turn up on a courier van a week later.

And so it was arranged.
I cannot tell you how, but they did it with pieces of string to measure with and highly developed spatial skills.
Somehow they managed to alter the laws of physics and matter displacement.
I just watched and let them get on with it. As you do.

And I found this treasure along the way, which I will spend the next week with.

And here it is.

I can't wait to get it on the wall.

But I'll have to wait till the Mister comes home and can get out the chainsaw, the hacksaw, the micrometer, the spirit level, whatever it is that blokes need for these occasions.

And just enjoy it.

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