Saturday, April 7, 2012

Goodbye and Thanks for all the Fish!

You know there is a part in every story where they all live happily ever after and it finishes?

Well, that's where I think I've got to with Magpie Chic.

I've come full circle really.

I began at Easter two years ago,

although it feels like about ten years worth of events have taken place since then!

It began a little bit like Lucy finding her way through the back of the wardrobe into Narnia.
Instead of a snowy landscape and Mr Tumnis,
I found a whole parallel universe of kindred spirits.
Exactly what I was looking for at the time.
I didn't know that, but once I found it, I knew it instantly.
It felt like coming home.

I had found a way to process my thoughts, which at the time were bound up with a heavy burden of grief.
Amongst a world of gentle kindred spirits.

And you opened your creative lives and invited me in unconditionally, just like Mr and Mrs Beaver, Jemima Puddle Duck, Mrs Tiggywinkle and Little Grey Rabbit would have done.
I am so grateful to you all for allowing me the experience and the privilege of a glimpse into your lives.
And for allowing me to share mine with you.
Thank you for all the lovely comments, and for taking the time to care.
I will still be reading you and thinking about you, and enjoying your creative exploits, and just your world view.

Real life has taken over for me to the extent that I feel that I have said all there is to say, and made everything I'm ever going to make for a while.
But in a good way.
My real life now is a place where I am happy to be.
It's a very busy place.
I have a job where I feel as if I am making a difference. Where I feel valued as an integral part of a team.
Something I'd never experienced in nursing before, and something I never hoped to find there.
I almost gave up on it for good.
Mostly I work 10 hr days and come home exhausted. But it feels right, and I am happy to feel like that.
The other days are filled with gardens, lawns, washing, the Granny's exploits, "Mummy Lunch" once a week with "she who is proficient at separating eggs" - that kind of thing.
And it is a good life.

The grief modifies itself gradually into a way of living with itself.
When I began Magpie Chic I had just lost my brother in a heli-mustering accident, and my plan to save my son by giving him a kidney had just been knocked out of the water.
That was to happen again six months later, but this time for good.
Earlier this year he had a cerebral bleed.
High blood pressure is a common issue associated with long term dialysis.
I have had to accept that I cannot save him.
We just get on with it and he manages beautifully.
I am so proud of him.

"She who is proficient at separating eggs" continues to be proficient at everything and has just bought her first house.
I am so proud of her.

Life goes on. I feel like I am making a difference. I have endless lawns to mow, gardens to do, roses to prune, lavender hedges to cut, but what a beautiful setting in which to do it.
I feel really, really blessed.
The Granny living here has added a whole new dimension to life.
I love the fact that we so often have a house full. Three generations worth.
My kids still want to come home for the Easter Egg hunt.
I have less and less time for making things.
I always have something on the go, but they are all done in stolen moments now, so there is a long time between starting and finishing.
Way too long for gaps between blog posts.
So the time has come to say Goodbye from that point of view.
I've put a little piece of video on below my final sign off, so you can meet the members of the Magpie Chic Cast.
I will post photos of the Granny Studio when it is completed - especially for the Australian Aunties.
But apart from that, we have come full circle Blog Chics.
So it's time to say Goodbye - and thanks for all the fish!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Quality of Light and Other Acts of Nature.

The quality of light has changed. Shifted gear.

Autumn light through the the Jesus table is lower, colder but never less inviting.

The La Nina seems to have passed and we have misty cold mornings and lovely sunny days that finish early.

The last of the roses in a vase.

The La Nina has caused this to be a month or so where real life takes over form everything. Including writing a blog!

We had the most horrific storm in living memory (for me) at the beginning of March.

Luckily there was only a bit of extra firewood here, but Patea and Waverly just down the road were laid waste to. There are still roofs off everywhere, broken glass in the streets.

We lost power for three days at the Doctor's surgery and had to dispose of all our vaccine stocks.

We still have no front windows there. Sucked out by the force of 150km/hr winds.

Meanwhile work has begun on the Granny Studio.

Malcolm the builder has been the recipient of the best date scones, and is in the enviable position of being the most sort after man in the Granny's life.

A message from Malcolm (to say he'll be back next week with some french doors) is like a visitation from the Virgin Mary or indeed a message directly from above.

Soon it will look something like this, with lovely earthy wooden kitchenette and white painted plaster, floors and ceiling.

Meanwhile we have not been idle.

The Granny has almost completed the most beautiful crocheted blanket for the new studio.

I have moved the furniture about a bit more for the new season.

Covered the pink chair with an old tapestry I'd been keeping for ages for just such a purpose.

And the Granny has knitted a dog!

As you do when you've run out of goats!

They don't eat much, and they're ever such good company.

The little grey cats have nothing to say in the matter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Merry Mouse meets Vintage Sheet.

I decided to add the rows I'd made from my vintage sheet quilt into my Merry Mouse Quilt.

It just looks like it was meant to be,

and that way I finish two quilts at once.

I'm really pleased with it, and can't wait to do some more.

But today is a gardening day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Merry Mice Again.

I had a lovely e-mail the other day from a lady called Gloria from Australia.

She'd come across my Merry Mouse stitcheries while looking at some of the old posts on my blog.

She asked me for details of the publisher etc, and let me know that she had managed to find one of the books on e-bay.

Which reminded me that I have been planning to make these into a quilt for so long.

So I have finally started.

And you know how much I love to start things!

Finishing is another matter altogether.

They are from the Merry Mouse series of Patterns by Pat and Gloria, published by Doubleday in the early 1980s.

So I thought I'd use borders and lots of sashing and follow the look of this quilt from

Little Chicken Feather (Annie Downs).

I have some lovely gellato coloured fabrics to use.

And I think this might actually be the last quilt I start - for a long time anyhow.

I finally feel like I have enough quilts in my life.

But I will finish the three I have on the go.

This one will go into my Grandma stash.

It will be the very first thing in my Grandma stash.

Not that I am expecting to be a Grandma for a long time yet.

If ever.

But this quilt will be so special, because these stitcheries have such a story attached to the making of them.

They could really only be given to a Grandchild now.

Maybe I'll do some more tomorrow.

I'll let you know how I get on Blog Chics.

Friday, February 17, 2012

If You Open Your Ears to Beauty, You'll Hear it Singing its Song.

A little trite perhaps Blog Chics,

but never the less true enough.

I've been thinking a lot about gardens.

My garden in particular.
And gardeners.
It hasn't been a spectacular season for the Granny's potager.
And she's been busily ripping out all her tomato plants.
Not enough sun.
They've all been smited by a botch or something,
although we have been eating the little sweet yellow ones.
The Granny is tremendously disappointed.
She is one of those gardeners that loves gardening.

I, on the other hand am one of those gardeners who loves gardens more than gardening!

I see gardening as a means to an end.
I see my flowers as still lives and vignettes that I can run together as a slide show,
or fuse in the moment inside my mind.

We both love to have masses of fresh flowers inside in vases.
Sometimes it's hard to decide weather to leave a lovely bloom to be enjoyed through the window, or to bring it in and smell it, touch it and enjoy its composition intimately,
but for a shorter time.

For instance...

this year I succeeded in growing two hollyhocks.

One pink, one white.

They are magnificently deformed.

So I cut one and used the single usable bloom in my photo.

To last forever, or as long as the digital life of the photo.

If you open your heart to beauty....

You'll find it.

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