May 25, 2009

Acorn necklaces.

We have had a proper rainy weekend. I mean the soil actually got soaked and there was stormy coldness and fire roaring and everything. 
We all spent much time at home ; watching movies and the girls did assignments and cleaned rooms , and Mr. chopped too much wood and got sore. And I made 4 necklaces out of felted merino wool  and acorn caps. They have some small beads added , for the rest I kept it simple (k.i.s.) . And I am very pleased with the results , so I have decided to keep one for myself , and sell the others. 
Although it was a bit of a tense weekend , with our youngest giving us a few more gray hair , it was also a pleasant ending to the week. With much talking thank goodness. 

I don't think anyone would like to repeat their teenage years , it's not easy for some.
 Hopefully with plenty of love/communication our acorns will grow into firm trees.
I'm quite convinced of that.

May 18, 2009

Birds and Finds galore.

I do love Autumn! We have quite a few trees on our property , and most of them decidious , so lots of colour and change of scenery and light and shadow. And wheelbarrows full of leaves. Some people hate that so much , they'd rather not have trees at all. How sad... Just think of it as free compost! Which is exactly what we do with them; food for the worms, and next season food for us , after we grow some more veges in it. 
We still haven't had much rain. It's been wet but nothing got soaked right into the ground. 
2 Small frosts , my paprika's are still growing , and they've even gotten new flowers!

While the man of the house was busy raking the leaves , the fantail showed up. Hoping for some insects to be disturbed , so he could go and catch them in mid-air. It is actually really hard to get a fantail photo , they are so busy busy, never sit still for more than 5 seconds. Squeeking and peeping to himself the whole time!  Usually he comes everyday , sometimes with a friend. 
 A group of wax-eyes come through our garden daily as well. They are about a third smaller than a sparrow , and they look up and down and under all the twigs and leaves for pesty little insects. They also eat berries. They are good little birds to have visiting your garden , but you won't see them much , unless you have some shelter . Like trees.
I visited an out-of-the-way opshop on the weekend , I don't go there very often . It is an old fashioned messy place full of boxes and baskets, that you have to rummage through.  I got just a brilliant score this day. A retro tablecloth , destined for cutting up. A sweet apron , it's reversible! Aqua-blue gingham with little roses, yummie! Cute white flower buttons and a reproduction Pear's Soap tea towel in linen. An old dressmaking pattern of a girl's frilly frock. And a classic 50's owl tea cosy. I put that aside at first. Then a little boy played with it , thought it was a hat. I then decided I wanted it. But I couldn't find it anymore. When it came time to pay I asked the ladies behind the counter if they had sold it. No they hadn't , so they looked for it with me. It turned up in the box of shorts , ofcourse....
Our oldest daughter , who is starting to gather things together for when she leaves home , immediately requested it!  Totally cool, mum! 
Some very sweet satin like fabric with tiny sprays of flowers. And an offcut of curtain fabric with blue bows and pink flowers. That should be good for a small bag , or romantic coathangers.
 A fifties scarf with red camellias. I have several good ideas for those kind of scarves. Sometimes they come in very sombre colours , so I only buy light colours now.
Some more old patterns , just because I liked the pictures , and 2 button cards.
And a deliciously hand embroidered semco-pattern apron. I'd say from the Fifties. When the maker wore this , did she feel as glamorous as the lady in the evening gown on the front? I couldn't believe it only cost me a dollar! Whomever she was , it wasn't her first embroidery project. Neat and even stitches , the cloth hasn't been pulled while making the satin stitch roses. Oh it's worthy of being in Rosemary McCleods' book "Thrift to Fantasy".

I think this is an tennis racket straightener , when they were still made of wood. I thought I could use it to clamp art work in it after glueing.
 I drove past a jumble sale on the way home from the opshop. Had to stop ofcourse. Found some jewellery for 50 cents.  It's sterling silver...
In a very disgusting state. Black and dull. One way of cleaning silver minus the chemicals , is to use an old toothbrush and tooth paste. That's multi action on a different level! It's also very safe for cleaning silver that goes in your mouth , like spoons and silver cups.
Here some more jewellery that I have rescued over the years. Pretty and shiny!

May 11, 2009

Glowworm caves in a box.

I work part-time as a teacher-aide at a local primary school. A day by day , ever changing kind of job , very enjoyable , lots of small rewards. Never dull! The topic in class at the moment is native animals and environment , with glowworms as the main example. So I thought back to the times when I had visited the Waitomo Caves , how fairytale they are. Lots of the children haven't been there yet , so I suddenly got inspiration to get them there . Kind of.
I made an old fashioned Diorama out of a shoebox.  With 2 peepholes. Here it is without the lid on.    
And now with the lid on. The lid has a piece of purple cellophane glued over a "skylight"window. This way it looks dark , like in the caves , but you can still see something. When you cover that up too and your eyes adjust to the darkness , you will see little pinpoints of lights; the glowworms. My eldest daughter has glow-in -the-dark nailpolish.   I couldn't make a picture of that however , sorry.
Here she is demonstrating how you use the diorama .   Everyone loved it and quite a few people remembered making them , when they were a child. I made quite a few , Mum used to help. Often in the Autumn we would collect toadstools and acorns and mosses and we would put those in a seasonal diorama (or kijkdoos=lookingbox) with a few plastic animals. I used to have a little red riding hood and wolf as well .Then I would take it to our neighbours and they would pay 5 cents or a lolly for seeing the show. 
Lots of teachers wanted to have a look. I should have charged them , lol!
And it's so simple. Aluminium foil on the bottom , then purple cellophane for the water. 4 layers of theatrical rock walls from cardboard and paint. Many spots of that nail polish. I added a cut-out picture of a little boat. and sewed on lots of threads onto the stalagtites , then put glue on them and dipped them into tiny glass beads  , which are used for stamping and scrap booking decoration. A bit fiddly , but those threads are supposed to be the sticky silk from the glowworms. In real life they catch insects with them and gobble them up. 
O.k. it's not to scale , but the kids just loved it and had never seen anything like it. I did have to explain that there were no real life glowworms in the box .  Some immediately figured out, that it wouldn't be too hard to make one of their own with other things in it.  Brilliant. I hope they will! 

May 4, 2009

Brewing new ideas.

I have had a brand new idea , and I am using all the old fabrics I have that are even slightly Dutch looking. So a concoction of red, white and blue , with a touch of orange on top. What else would I do with all those folksy farmers' hankies or bandannas. You will find out later....!
This week The Netherlands has been a little in the news here in NZ with that shocking attack on the Royal Family , killing innocent bystanders. We only got 1 minute of detail , but I found out more through the web. And although I have been here nearly 29 years , I still consider Queen Beatrix to be my queen , not distant (in more ways than 1) Elizabeth. What a horrid act!
And on such a festive occasion too. So sad..
Well , I've even done a little bit of felting lately , with merino and fine silk tissue . And I've made some lovely flower brooches and hairclips. They needed a bit of glitz , so I got out my jar of what I call my "sparklies" buttons. All clear vintage glass buttons , some with small  diamanties embedded into them. Their ages range from the 1920's to fairly recent , and this pile represents about 10 years of hoarding.  Just delicious!!
It just makes me so happy when I find a good button....I don't need a sports car or a luxurious house or expensive fashion. Give me a rainy afternoon with half an hour in a small opshop , rummaging through a box of dusty buttons , with just one lovely shiny button from long ago , and I'll be smiling all day!  And look how many times I've been smiling already.  You haven't even seen all the other coloured buttons I have stored in their jars.....
It is May and still we have not had any frosts. For those of you reading this in Holland , it is like your October here. And this time our summer weather started in September , that's like your March. We have had summer now for 8 months, in this provence that is. Crazy ...We have had about 25mm of rain in April though (whoop-tee-doo... as if that is going to do anything for the farmers around here!),  and had the fire on several times. 
My paprikas or bell peppers just keep on going. But it was time to harvest the last ones ,  because it is getting too cold for them to grow any larger or redder. I left just a few on the plants that looked they were going to change to red . I have cut them all up on the weekend and froze them into portions , so that I can just throw them into a sauce or stirfry in the wintertime.  They had just a few nibbles from snails but that doesn't bother me ; you just cut around it. We don't spray our veges except with a liquid seaweed extract for a nutrient boost ,
it seems to work just fine .