Dec 28, 2010

Christmas Time 2010.

I hope you all had a good Christmas time, with some over-indulgencies and laughter.
We went to Christchurch for our Christmas, to spend it with Pa and brothers and family from both Ashburton and Spain. It was a fun time with loads of laughs and boardgames around the table, but it was also a sad time. We all missed Ma badly.
Standing in her kitchen with her apron on and using her cutting knives, rummaging through the cupboards for pots, pans and ingredients.
Sitting in her seat at the table, or finishing of some sudoku puzzles she had started. I'm afraid the tears were very close to the surface the whole time.
The first year has passed now, and that was full of first times without her.

On Christmas Day we took a walk on the beach. A bit too fresh for a dip, but lovely to sniff the salty air and build an appetite for later. Miss 19 glazed the ham and I made roast veges for our late dinner for 7.
And we are still a family. Middle brother took us all to a restaurant for lunch on Christmas Eve. Just for you a lovely family photo, which you will not find often on this blog!
We all came together again on Boxing Day, for a shared meal at Pa's home. My love helped me cook nasi-goreng extra for 11 people! That got rid of most of the left-over ham, haha!

Earlier in December I attended the end of year get together of my Book-arts club, of which I am a member. Our hostess had put out lovely book projects to admire, and a sumptuously spread table awaited us, of course we had all "brought a plate" in the kiwi manner. But the best plate that was contributed was the one with the cupcakes!
Above I am holding a teeny weeny book. All handsewn and cut and pasted. Very clever and precise.
A table full of book-arts goodness! My books look pretty messy compared to these little beauties. Very nice binding techniques.
A Lady's tea table with embroidered tablecloth, pretty china, silver teapot and delicious titbits.
Super feminine!!
They were just too pretty to eat.
Well nearly....
One evening last week, the light was peachy apricot for a quarter of an hour. Gorgeous!

Weird Impulse Purchase:

This called out to me about a year and a half ago. It's the Christ child on a 1950's bevelled edged mirror.
Yes, what can I say... pretty kitschy. In a sweet vintage way.

But now I have found His Mama! There was a grown-up Jesus as well but He looked way too sad, and I'm afraid I don't believe in the whole original sin thing. So He was left hanging in the opshop. Now I have a duo. Apparently when you have 3 of something it is a collection, so I'll stick with 2.
For now...
Season's greetings all!

Dec 10, 2010

Hedgehog pixie girl.

This is a copy of the Mecki postcard I used to have as a child. I think it said happy birthday, can't be sure. So cute!
I believe the dolls were made by the famous Steiff company, the one that produced the (now) enormously valuable teddy bears. You can learn a lot from watching Antiques Road Show.
I miss discussing the episodes with my mum, she loved that show too.
But I still watch them and think of her at the same time. Quite nice!

Floral Birds and a Weaving Goddess.

A dozen birds in the hand are better than 2 in the bush , or something like that...
Made from all the small scraps of fabric that I keep in my scrap basket. Won't they look lovely in our Christmas tree! Thanks for the idea cousin B.

Many pencil rolls were made for the several craft fairs I have been selling at. These were my favourite; and all sold ! The fairytale fabric was an old curtain from the late 50's or 60's. Unfortunately I only have about 40 cm left.
Oh how I wish I could get more. Or even a new quality fairytale fabric with little gnomes and toadstool houses, but without the garish colours. Nothing like it for sale around here ...

This is what I like doing with old table linen, crocheted and embroidered doilies: salvaging the bits that don't have stains or rips, and making them into bunting. It takes me quite a bit of time to colour co-ordinate them, but I love it.
The sets of bunting are a good 3 and a half metres long, so you can really string them up across the room.
Here a picture of last weekends' market in the court yard of our lovely Opera House. It was really hot weather, and we had a lot of public come in. What a beautiful setting, with live music and singing. My stall is behind the lady in green.
I talked lots and lots, about my things and to people I knew.
The Steiner Fair a few weeks ago, had a white elephant stall with a silent auction. For those of you not familiar with the term white elephant, it is a stall which sells people's unwanted but still use-able items.
I donated my old standing loom. I decided a while ago that weaving is not really "my thing". This one is a 4 shaft homemade loom of unknown origin, everything still intact. I have used it and made 7 metres of fabric.
It has been living in the shed, so it was time to clean it up and put it on my husband's nifty truck-lette. Above the "shafts" under the top beam of the "castle" a large spider had woven an amazing web. Perhaps a funnel-web spider?

Straight away I had to think of the ancient Greek legend of the Goddess Athene/Minerva and her weaving competition with Arachne. Athene's pride was hurt when Arachne wove some of the (lustful and selfish) deeds of the god Zeus (Athene's father) into the cloth. Her wrath was terrible and Arachne hung herself. Athene felt remorse, saved Arachne, but changed her into a spider (arachnid). She weaves on for ever...
I removed Arachne-incarnate gently and put her back in the shed with the remains of her web, and an apology.

Treasure Hunt Show Case...

This wasn't a purchase, but a swop with one of the stall holders I know. Such sweet 70's goodness and a good 3 metres each. I have just the right aqua-blue cotton to go with it.

Part of my crochet stash collected over the last few years. Such pretty pastels. All ready to be used in a one project or another.

Weird Impulse Purchase...
This tiny little doll (just 9 cm tall) was in my favourite op-shop St.Vincent de Paul's.
I immediately recognized a Mecki hedgehog doll. She is made from rubber with felt and fabric clothes. She (Micki) has a white hankie in one hand and I think she is missing a mountain walking stick in the other hand. She was for sale with 2 other folklore dolls, which didn't interest me . So I left those in the shop and walked out quite excited after paying my $1 .
I have a girlfriend who has a few larger Meckis. ( hi J!) I also used to have a Mecki postcard from when I was a little girl, but I can't find it anywhere right now (probably gave it to J. years ago...).
Meckis are collectors items, after a German cartoon character from the 1950's.
I love the idea of little hedgehog pixies, I wrote a fairytale for my girls when they were little, about just such a creature. We often have one in the garden.
Not sure if that one is magical though. Certainly doesn't have table-manners : a lot of smacking and crunching sounds while dining on those pesky snails!

Dec 7, 2010

I Love Colour!

Now here is something purple I made a few weeks ago already. Merino, Polworth and a sprinkling of silk. There were other colours too.
It should be on its way to the other side of the world, to my cousin B.
I wonder what she'll make with it.
Now the lady in the post office said it was the busy time for X-mas packages and I was just in time , but she assured me it'd be there by Christmas even though that's all she could promise.

Summer treats! It's lovely eating a sweet, gorgeous smelling strawberry and you need to take 5 mouthfuls to finish 1 berry...!
There are 3 strawberry farms within 10 minutes drive from our house. When the wind is the right way you can smell them when you drive by.
They also sell seconds, (they don't have the perfect shape) and those are great for making fruit salad or jam. I got 1 1/2 kg for nz$5 (2.8euros)
I will have them with my breakfast, morning coffee, lunch and dinner.
Right now I am enjoying them in a cheesecake , made from Ma-L.'s recipe by Miss 19.

A new clutch of shopping bags ready for sale. These are made from 1970's sheets. All those patterns and colours go together (in my opinion) . I use bags like these myself all the time.
And I'm sure I recognize some of the patterns from childhood.

Orange goes so well with purple. They are on opposite sides of the colour wheel.

Lots of new felt balls for the different size heads that my Bushbabies need. I have been doing so much work in the past months. Lots of sewing and handstitching. The last 3 weekends in a row have been taken up by market stalls : my regular one and one at the local Steiner school and last weekend a 2 day one organized for local artisans. I did very well and met some neat new people and caught up with others I hadn't seen for a while.
And I met Lucy from , whom I had only met in the virtual world, nice to put a face to a very helpful person!

Treasure Hunt Showcase!
*Lovely 70's fabrics in (what else?) classic orange and brown. And neon pink!
*A mid 20th century breakfast tray-cloth. The little tea cup is supposed to have a matching serviette, but that has long been lost. The edges are crocheted.
*And a school-journal from the early 60's. I bought it for the illustration; such classic printing. I wasn't going to leave the little pony boy in the free box.....

*Some cotton with printed cats, would look great as a child's pinafore dress.
* Another school journal from the same era('65), more lovely printing.
*And those little bedtime stories are really dreadful saccharine tripe!
But the pictures are hilarious and I make new notebooks out of them, keeping the pictures in and sewing new sketching paper into the spines.

* 2 Aprons, one in a turquoise kitchenprint, and the other in mauve and yellows. The last apron has the bonneted lady on it by a well, it says "all's well that ends well".
So twee...
*The doggies in the middle fabric are printed onto genuine barkcloth from the 50's /early 60's. It was sold as a dog-blanket for $3! It was padded with a little bit of quilting. I unpicked all the stitches, soaked it in nappisan, washed and ironed it. Just 1 stain remained, yeah!
It is cute and kitsch at the same time.
*A handful of pink and purple thread to really make my sewing "up-cycled".
*And lastly the little doilie at the top, 1 of 3: the style of the little tree on the hill says 1930's/40's to me. It is made with applique and embroidery, with a tatted edge.
Now what will I transform all these into....?

Nov 12, 2010

Creations by others.

The most beautiful colour in the world: Bird's Egg Blue. On red and white polkadots.
The little egg came from my Dad's and his wife's garden, she gave it to me. The little nest blew out of a tree from our own garden last autumn.

I love bird's nests. No-one teaches the birds how to do it, they just know! I had a good look at this one, it has bits of blue plastic from an old tarpaulin woven into it, and little unravelled threads from washed fabrics on the washing line.
I often throw these threads and bits of wool on the ground on purpose, hoping the birds can use them. Obviously they do, which pleases me immensely.

So clever!!
A new flower piece by our youngest daughter, with a twist. It was displayed at school in the art room. The threads in the middle represent a dream catcher.
I like it.
And our eldest is back home again from university. She is planning on having a gap year, earn money and go see Europe next year. Then continue her study the year after. She has suddenly realised that she is free to do as she likes in this world!
She made us a lovely hotcakes breakfast on Sunday. With fresh strawberries. Delicious!

Ok, some opshop finds to show off. From left to right; a tin serving tray with the red and light blue colour combo, a large bell-tea tin in fantastic condition, so kiwiana. And another kiwiana tin; Edmonds(sure to rise) baking powder.
I put some old buttons in it.
Can I get the lid off again? Nope...
The little blue tin is such a lovely colour blue, I had to have it for 50 cents.
The little biscuit tin with the red polkadot-dressed girl sewing on her tiny sewing machine , is just my favourite. I saw it in a second hand shop in Waipukurau. But I left it there, because my hubbie kinda rolled his eyes at my collectors/hoarding bug. A year went by and I passed by that shop again with some of my felting friends. I went straight to that back shelf and rummaged through all the cake tins. And there it was, still waiting for me....
It was obviously mine in the first place.

The little blue tin was for dressmaker's steel pins. But I bought it full of little metal bobbins.
What can I do with those? Has anyone got a creative idea?

Nov 5, 2010

19 is a lot, but 30 even more.

My eldest turned 19 recently. I made her a card from an old pocketbook cover. Because she would "get" the funny retro kitschy part of it. The 60's cool speak, with puritanical overtones.
"exquisitely gay social comedy..." Laugh out loud!
It was a very boring little story. I struggled to find anything funny, except as a looking back to that kind of writing-thing.
So I wrote a message to my girl about it. I just learned how to do this kind of writing on a little demo on Utube. I love little demos, fun to learn something new.
Be warned: the next lot of writing on the photos comes from my old diary, and is in Dutch. I will not be translating. Sorry.
Last month my family passed the 30 year anniversary of our immigration into New Zealand. I still believe that it is 1 of the best things that ever happened to me.
So here an extract of those last days of my other life, and the beginning of a new one. All from the viewpoint of my little 14 year old self.
Not incredibly eloquent...

But a neat record to have. I have always journaled in some way or another. This blog is just the latest version. Thanks for reading!!

Oct 29, 2010

Bright and Colourful.

I asked a friend what things she would like to read about in my blog. She thought for a minute, then she knew: she'd like to see the things I've bought. Thrifted in op-shops that is. And she is not a frequenter of such establishments.
This intrigues me.
Why would a person with no desire to browse through other people's discarded junk, be interested in what I found, while fossicking through dusty boxes and stained linen?
Is it perhaps a shared excitement of a lucky pretty find, but at the same time being distanced from having to have ownership of the thing?
It is true; reading about other people's purchases can be nice and it doesn't clutter up your home......

So de-clutter with these little finds of mine:
Marigolds and geraniums, bright and beautiful, yet very modest little flowers from my garden.
I bought the blue patterned drinking glass for my eldest (you'll get it when you come home, babe). I just love the colour combination. It reminds me of a group of Indian women in their silk saris walking along.
A little bowl of old buttons and a sparkly glass paperweight finish the little arrangement.
Yes everything thrifted!
And some up-cycled fabrics in the same colour scheme!
I spend a whole day making this little dress. It is made in size 3 ( 98cm for you Europeans) , it is hopefully the first of many. I took an existing pattern and (oh boy..) changed it. That's why it took me all day. The lining (a soft sheet from a bygone era) is completely sewn in. The main problem I had, having made that part up without instructions, was how to turn it inside out with all the seams, except the bottom one, already sewn up. I had to unpick the shoulders again and re-sew them shut, by hand. It seemed the easiest option in the end .
But I am sure their must be another way! Luckily the afore mentioned friend told me to give her a ring next time and she'll give me a lesson. Thank you, thank you...!

Here I used some of the 70's embroidered ribbon I scored ages ago at an auction. It matches perfectly.
And a teeny button detail. The back of the dress is a turquoise fabric with a patterned weave.
I like being able to use several fabrics in the one dress, which is one of the reasons why I changed the pattern.
The other reason is, that it is now my pattern.
If only I can sew it up quicker.....

And look what is growing in our veggie patch!! Some lovely broccolis . We had some of this and a cauliflower that Miss 16 grew, and sliced carrots, all raw with a lovely savoury cream cheese and yoghurt dip for dinner. Scrumptious!

Oct 22, 2010

It's been ages....

Yes it has been a wee while since I updated my blog! I have been so busy that I have only spent about 4 sessions on the computer since the last time. And only to check a few e-mails and blogs I read, with a quick cup of tea. There has even been a 2 week school holiday in that time. I didn't go anywhere, except to see family in Napier and to my stall once a fortnight at the craft market.
I have been tidying up and re-arranging, yes I even threw stuff out and a few bags full went to thrift shops.
My darling spotted a lovely chest of drawers in the Salvation Army store. It has 9 deep drawers, with brass corners and handles. I cleaned it thoroughly and repainted all the drawer fronts in a matching white. Then re-sanded slightly, because it got too pristine. Now it doesn't look so perfect. Even though it is perfect for storing all my paints, glues, paper crafts, altered books and stacks of labelled magazine clippings for collages. It took me most of the holidays to sort through everything, which was spread in 3 different places in the house.

And now everything is totally organized in one place. I even have 1 drawer for beads. Amazingly I still have 1 drawer empty. Don't know how that happened...
Even my painting table is clear and can be used again. Such a great feeling!
Costs: nz$30 for the cupboard and $15 for the paint. Stress levels: minimal!

This is what the area looked like before.... With stacks of vintage books on the ground.
It also means that I suddenly have empty spaces in other areas of our house, which can now store other messy stacks in it, now all sorted as well.
It must be spring.. I'm sure I did something like this last year. And, this time my studio is all use-able and clean again too.
My favourite 3 trees in our garden. Silverbirches. They are about 12/13 years old. And my tree-loving bloke reckons they are about 10 to 12 metres high now. They love our good soil, and I love their white bark and the rustle they make in the breeze. Our garden isn't just on the ground but has different levels upwards.

The first flush of green!! Love love love springtime!

Unfortunately we have had many rainy weekends in which no outside work could be done, but the new daylight-saving hours are really helping, when my man comes home from work.
The sanding and painting is really coming along nicely.
As you can see, many years ago our house used to be white with blue. Even though it was the same colour as the summer sky, we are sticking to the butter-yellow with greens scheme.
It just feels friendlier somehow.