Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Miracles . . . & "Life According to Pippi"

Rainy Day Greetings dear friends & readers,
It has been nothing short of a miracle that I have anything even slightly craft related to show you this post 
The days are lost in a blur of cleaning cat bowls, bedding, kitty litter trays & feline related activities in general

It took me the best part of two days just to cut out two hottie covers 
.... as you can see, I had some "assistance" along the way

I managed to make up the two hottie covers, one is for a gift & the other is stock for the Cottage

I lined each one with lovely soft flannelette fabric ... so cosy & warm

A couple of months back, Vicky had given me a cross stitch that was done by her late Nana.  It was one of the last things her Nana had ever stitched so held sentimental value for Vicky, but she didn't wish to frame it & wondered if I could do something else with it.

I suggested making it up into a cushion that she could have sitting out & still get to enjoy her Nana's work

I "framed" it in some co-ordinating fabrics & made it up into a cushion. I used a nice piece of neutral linen for the backing & stitched on the words to show the area in the U.K. that it represents

Vicky was really thrilled with her cushion when she collected it this morning.

When I am spraying my section perimeter I also wander over into the depot yard next door & spray the boundary for them.  I often notice the area out the back where they put their "scrap metal".  This wine rack had been sitting there for a couple of weeks so I asked if I might perhaps have it ??

(sorry I forgot to get a "before" photo of it when Pippi wasn't using it for a jungle gym)
Firstly I scrubbed it ... surprisingly, under the layers of dust & grime, it was actually in immaculate condition 
I spray painted it with some cream spray paint I had in the cupboard ... then I embellished it a little ...

It turned out so lovely .... sort of fresh, clean & feminine looking ...

I have popped it for sale in my Cottage    :-)

I have decided that seeing as Pippi dances merrily over the keyboard when I am typing (& deletes alot) that she can jolly well do a post today ...

" Life According to Pippi "

(1) Seeing as My Father chose me, he told my Mother that she could name me.  She named me Pippi Longstocking.  He says it is such a mouthful  . . .  he calls me "little one"

(2)  I have been trying to get Little Blackie to play with me.  I honestly don't know why  they call him Little Blackie ... to me he looks like big fat Blackie.  I have decided from now on, I shall refer to him as Fat Black ... a name much more suited to him, the big lazy oaf who won't get up & play with me.

(3) My Mother tells me I have some serious personal hygiene issues I need to sort out.  She wants me to "watch fat Black" washing & grooming himself & learn from him!!!  I can think of much more fun things to do instead of wasting time grooming myself.

(4) My Mother likes to pursue crafty pastimes.  I don't actually know why she does, but when she gets fed up with me, she lets me play with the things on her sewing desk ... its quite fun mostly & when I get a little bored, I just chew on her machine cord & she quickly stops sewing!!! She tells me she knew a girl once called Julie who had time for creative pursuits & a reasonably clean house, but now she thinks perhaps she was just an illusion in her head or a figment of her imagination??!!   I have no idea what she is on about.
Re-organising my Mothers bobbins for her                                                Chewing on the machine cord    

(5) Sometimes when My Mother is doing chores, I like to "help her".  I know I can be most helpful.  The other day I "helped her" wrap a birthday gift for her friend
(as you can see .... I am warming the paper up before she uses it - helpful aren't I??)
(6) The other night I heard My Mother yell loudly at my Father & use at least 3 bad words in the one sentence!!!  It appears my Father had left the toilet seat lid up & I accidently fell in when I was pirouetting around on the seat. I have never heard My Mother use 3 bad words in one sentence before. My Father just rolled his eyes & smiled.
In the mornings when My Mother uses the toaster I like to sit in the appliance cupboard amongst the crumbs for a bit

(7) My Mother tells me I am "such a pain" but when she strokes me in her (quite large) lap, she tells me she loves me.  AND she puts a wheatbag in my bed & my blankets in the clothes drier to "warm them" for 5 minutes before I go to bed, so I guess she must care a little tiny bit.
. . . & so I think . . . all in all . . . I am kinda lucky I came to live in this rather odd little house.

I hope you all have a week filled with love & kindness,
thank you all so much for your visit,
with much love & friendship,
Julie, fat black little Blackie & pain Pippi

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I fell in love . . . twice ! ! !

Hello dear friends & readers,

My trip to Mums went well except it was bitterly cold down there ...

Mt Taranaki Egmont was wearing her winter coat for the first time this year

Mum has purchased herself a new "family member" & I must confess I fell in love with this little sweetheart

Her name is Marley & she was found abandoned living under a school hall feeding her litter of kittens
(though she must've been just a kitten herself still)
Her kittens were rehomed & Marley was speyed ... Mum purchased her from the S.P.C.A. - she is 1 year old 

Her little nose looks like it has been outlined with eyeliner - she has the most adorable nature & is so gentle
Though my photos make her appear quite large, she is in fact, rather small & fine.  I bought her a soft ball .... she took it everywhere with her ... I don't think she had ever had a toy in her entire life.  
Though she will not have a greatly stimulating life at Mums, she will be very well cared for & fed & kept warm  :-)

I was lucky enough to be able to visit with my friend Claire on my way down to Mums ... this is always a treat for me.
We had a cuppa & a catch-up & Claire had made a citrus/coconut cake especially for my visit . . .

. . . it was soooo delicious.
I always tell Claire when I visit, if she doesn't feel like chatting too much, I am more than happy to just wander around her gorgeous home.
She is always an inspiration to me with her crafty makes & her decorating skills.
I clicked my way around her rooms & would love to share some of my photos with you 

Top right ... an small Easter table in the entrance
Bottom right ... new pillowcases freshly sewn by Claire

Top right ... Claires recent purchase, a very old Panda bear
bottom right ... gorgeous pastel low volume quilt made by Claire

low coffee table vignette in Claires lounge 

doiley torso on lounge wall - made by Claire
(although I tried really hard I did not manage to sneak this into the boot of my car unnoticed!)
small vignette in spare bedroom

The beautiful Easter display on Claires dining table

Another fairly recent purchase - an antique sampler cross-stitch
(Claire - if this ever goes missing ... it could very well be at my house!!!)

But I think the thing that captured my heart the most would have to be this beauty   . . .
A gorgeous standard lamp with a shade that Claire had decorated herself & added her unique touch to . . .

. . . just sitting in the corner of her lounge - L*O*V*E it 
Thanks so much for the visit Claire - just wish we lived closer
(So I could pinch borrow treasures from your house !!**!!) x x x

Although I was definately standing in the wrong queue when they handed out the "knitting gene" I still try to pick up my needles every now & again. 
Mum has always been the most beautiful knitter & it was always easier to just get her to do it for me

I found some dishcloth cotton/bamboo scraps in her wool basket & have just finished these 3 dishcloths. 
 I really like the double moss stitch pattern which is a freebie from here
I hope to make some more of these over winter - some to use myself, & others will be popped in with gifts for friends.

And upon my return home I find we have acquired a new "family member" ourselves ...  ???***!!!

Once again, found with her Mum & 4 siblings, abandoned & starving ... 2 kittens didn't survive but the other 3 + Mum were taken to the Vets, then the Animal Rescue Centre.
Whereupon it would appear The Mr bought her. 
 I have named her Pippi as in "Pippi Longstocking" - another pale ginger haired rascal, just like this one . . .
. . . really hard to photograph as she never sits still for a minute.
And so it would appear, I have fallen in love again ... twice in one week !!!! Goodness gracious me !!!
Thanks so much for stopping by today dear friends & readers,
May the rest of your week be filled with things that bring you joy,
with much love & friendship,
Julie, Blackie & Pippi Longstocking

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Piece of Linen ... Some Apples .... & a Gift

Hello dear friends & readers & Happy Friday to you all 

Earlier this year, while having an hour to fill waiting for a wheel alignment on my car, I wandered into the Habitat for Humanity Thrift Shop
I remembered that down the very back of the store they have a large banana box filled with fabric remnants & old textiles.  
After a good old fossick I unearthed this lovely old piece of embroidered linen

I absolutely loved the detail on it ...
 (I must confess it was most certainly not this colour when I purchased it ... it was rather grubby & unloved)

I loved the combination of colours that someone had used ... it would not be colours I would put together but I adored it.
A gentle soak & a wash & it definately changed colour, & was in remarkably good condition

As it was two pieces of linen joined together - with holes to crochet a small picot edge - I wondered whether it had perhaps started out its life destined to be a cushion cover ??  
As I do not know how to crochet, I decided to make it into a penny rug 
It spent about 3 days on my lounge floor with several pieces of felt thrown across it ... this is how I choose which colours to use ... I have to "walk past it" over several days before I can decide.
After choosing the colours for my pennys, I just worked on it in the evenings over a couple of months ... I find stitching the felt very therapeutic work when my eyes are tired at night

When finished, I backed it with a piece of grey wool I had in my scrap bag  -  once again an Op Shop find

What do you think dear readers??  
I have it sitting on my old travelling trunk with my large wooden trug on top ...
Although I usually blanket stitch the edge where the pennies meet, this time I chose to just copy the row of stem stitch that was already around the inner edge

As I said earlier - not normally colours I would have chosen - but it definately adds a splash of cheer to my dull dining room . . .
. . .  & I think what appeals to me most of all is the combination of vintage (with the old embroidered linen) & slightly primitive (with the felt pennies)

My lovely friend Kerryn has recently been on a quick visit.  She purchased some of my fabric apples, but on her return home, realised she needed more to fill her tin dish, so she requested another 6 in "country colours please."

I really enjoy making these little apples ... I think the pattern originally came out of a Tilda Book ... though I have long ago lost the instructions & am just left with the apple shape.

Though you are supposed to insert a twig into the centre, I always use a small piece of cinnamon stick.  
When I scent this with my cinnamon/clove oil ... the smell is just divine  :-)

My friend Pauline is turning 60 this weekend.
Many of my friends & I have chosen to no longer exchange gifts ... we feel we all have enough "stuff" & would rather spend a pleasant couple of hours together enjoying a nice lunch to celebrate our birthdays.
However I wanted to make something for Pauline as I feel those 10 year birthdays are quite special.
I used one of the patterns from dear Jenny's Stitchery Club ... & stitched up this little friendship design using 2 Cottage Garden threads

The piece of white linen was in a bag of fabrics given to me.  In the bottom of the bag was a pair of white ladies trousers - cut out - but never sewn up.  I have used the linen for lots of projects now.
As Pauline loves buying the handmade soaps I sell in the Cottage, I decided to make my stitchery into a little drawstring bag & pop some soaps inside

Pauline loves her garden so - after coming across this sweet little cup & saucer with 2 birds on it, I chose to make it into one of my teacup birdfeeders as I knew she didn't have a birdfeeder

The saucer base screws into a green garden stake & can be easily moved around the garden.
As well as the soaps she often buys my cottage garden potpourri so having just made a fresh batch, I filled a noodle box with it for her

We are off for morning tea tomorrow morning & I have her gifts all wrapped & ready to go
(phew !!)

My dear friend Catherine sent me this really delightful little verse about "angels with fur"
I just loved it, but I was having an email conversation with friend & fellow cat-lover Willie  ... & we both agreed we were not too sure about the sentence "cats will pay your rent if you let them" !!!
So I put the question to little big Blackie ...

Thanks so much for stopping by today dear friends
I am off to my Mums on Sunday for a few days - she is turning 86 - so I will have no internet until my return.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with things that bring you pleasure & joy
with much love & friendship,
Julie & Blackie x0x0

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Revamping, Repurposing or Upcycling ???

Hello there dear friends & readers & Welcome to my lovely new followers

Do you get confused by the different phrases "revamping", "repurposing" or "upcycling" ???  I sure do ...
Its pretty much one & the same to me !!
This week I have spent some time revamping & painting some wooden opshop treasures out on my deck table ... 
It has been really enjoyable in the pleasant autumn sunshine we have been having lately

These 2 little wooden shelves were the first to get a makeover
Although I forgot to take a "before" photo, they were in rather a sad looking state

They got the usual "threadbear treatment" ... a wash, a wax (wipeover on edges with old wax candle), a paint, 
& a sand (lightly sand the edges for the distressed effect)

This little two-tier shelf was in very bad repair ... I do love it now though

When Sue came to visit me in this post here she bought me a boot load of goodies
This little varnished shelf was in amongst Sue's treasures ... it came up beautifully with a revamp & some shiny new hooks

Thank You So Much dear Sue

Also unearthed in my sleep-out this week, was this wooden tool box

I should say "mini tool box" as it is only 13 inches in length & veeerrry cute

After the clean/wax/paint/sand proceedure, I cut a square of thick cardboard for each compartment
I then glued wadding to my 4 cardboard squares & covered them with fabric
Then the fun part begins  .  .  .  .  embellishing   

. . .  some wooden embellishments & some rub-on words . . .

 One end had the name "T Rise" engraved into it, which you could still faintly see after my painting over it

 I solved this dilema by mod-podging doilies on each end
(should you come across T.Rise at any stage, please don't tell him I have his tool box !!)

showing the four lined compartments inside
I just love my mini tool carrier & can think of 101 uses for it   :-)

My friend Gail is closing her Gift shop after 20 + years  -  all her stock is reduced by 50%
I purchased this frame thingy from her  .  .  .

As the frame was $15.90 I paid the princely sum of $8 for it 

It is actually a jewellery hanger ... you hang your necklaces etc from the 4 hooks
I didn't especially like the colour or the style of it ... but I did have something else in mind .  .  .
First I removed the hooks & filled the holes
After waxing it I applied a couple of coats of my cream wall paint
However, when sanding it back to distress it, I kept getting yellow coming through & couldn't seem to get down to the raw wood underneath
(this serves me right incidently, for not thinking it through properly & just firing ahead impatiently)
To solve this I wiped the whole thing over lightly with some wood stain I had on hand ... just lightly with a rag, let dry, then gave it another coat of cream paint
Then I sanded it all again . . .
When happy with the finish, I replaced just one hook in the middle & hung it up

"well that looks interesting" the Mr noted on his way past ... "pity you forgot to put the picture in it" !!!???
I wound some wire tightly around the rim of an old jam jar, tied a lace bow around it, & also to hang it from
(what - no cream lace on hand - only white?? Just dunk it in parisian essence for 2 minutes)
I tied a small dainty key charm onto my lace bow
Although there are limited pickings in the garden just at present, I found some rosemary which smells wonderful
(Note to self . . .  remember to put some water in the vase Julie !!! )
I am so delighted with my hanging vase-frame & look forward to trying camelias in it when they start to bloom
Thank you all so much for your visits today dearest friends & readers
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter break

I hope I have inspired you to go rummage in the shed for the Mr's old tool box, perhaps a frame, a jam jar or two??
with much love & friendship to you all
Julie & Blackie x0x0x
Willie ... please note ... no leg in the air today !!!!!