Dec 26, 2012

A very Berry Xmas to you!

Our garden is full of flashy red pohutukawa flowers, and very busy tuis, bellbirds and silvereyes, all having their seasonal feast.
 Our Christmas today was at my brothers' house, not far away.

This is the dessert table, what a summery spread!
Our sis-in-law is such a good hostess, she makes the most wonderful traditional concoctions.

A marvelous trifle with alcohol drenched cake, custard and many different berries. Boysenberry jelly and my contribution were organic Dawson cherries.

A summer bread pudding with boysenberries and cream, beautifully presented.

Oh we all ate too much, especially after the prawn cocktails; roasted new potatoes, kumara and pumpkin; pasta salad; chicken and b.b.q.-ed scallops, and b.b.q.-ed lamb chops with rosemary and mint; and the first sweet corn of the season...
Luckily there was a big break between the 2 courses, and some vigorous games of outdoor ping-pong.

We had expected a proper rainy day, as had been forecasted, due to a nasty cyclone passing New Zealand. And it was a bit moist in the night, but it got quite hot and muggy today, and all doors and windows were open. We all sat outside on the deck, and this was our view:
(Of course I didn't put the new house being built right next to the fence in this picture...)

The light was gorgeous when the sun started setting this evening, and made the landscape look like an old painting.

What a lovely relaxed day we have all had!
I hope you had the same, wherever in the world you are.
Merry Xmas to you all!

Dec 13, 2012

Open door...

Heart of a pink lotus.
(I love my camera..)
 We are in need of this Bali lotus tranquility.
 We have had a weird week; my husband was made redundant last Friday. This came as a surprise, as he thought that he would surely get one of the new positions at his work after all the team leader and supervisor positions were made "disestablished".
But, no...
As if a light radiated from within this lotus flower.
We have a breathing space, due to his redundancy money. He has worked there, with a few years break, since he was 19. So a surreal feeling for him at age 47...
Now what?
Well, he knows all about gardening and dealing with staff, paperwork, machinery, grass, trees, sportsfields, dealing with the public, traffic, planning and designing, not to mention his botanical knowledge.
Plan B has sprung into action: Gardening as his own business.
 The pamphlets are looking good, ready for dropping into the right letter boxes; he bought a small truck yesterday, which today was getting an enormous clean; he has been talking to a lot of people; and tomorrow he'll be doing 2 gardening jobs already.

Breath-taking beauty rising from the mud.
We really believe that when 1 door closes, another door opens. Or a window or 2.
 But you have to make yourself go through it. You can't quite see if there is a deep step behind it or if you have to leap, or a soft cushion to land on.
But sitting on the doorstep, looking back and wringing your hands doesn't work either.

Bikeride in the local vicinity.
So moping was not an option he decided.
Sunday was beautiful weather. We grabbed our bikes and headed to our towns' lovely bike-tracks.
Discovered some new areas we hadn't yet been to before.
And grabbed a coffee and a muffin, closer to home.

Hawkes' Bay looking northwest.
Oh, we do live in an awesome landscape, if I may say so, in a completely biased sort of way.

Bird estuary.
You can tell it has been good weather lately, the hills are drying out and becoming yellow.

Looking homewards across the silty pond.

Our house is close to that big pinetree on top, middle-left.
We do hope we can keep on living here, we are getting attached to our house now!

Dec 9, 2012

And speaking of Hobbits...

My Halfling Home all finished.

At last I finished something I started quite a while ago, my hobbit hole had been languishing in a corner for ages. 
Much sculpting was done on the corners to look like a tree-root system. I think it worked very well. The difficult part was the front panel, it had to be fitted onto the front of the Home, yet needed to look like it had grown there. Then a hole needed to be cut behind it, big enough for a child to be able to put their hands inside the play-house.
And that was the point where I got stuck for a while. I couldn't vision it, and I was afraid I would ruin it. Since the whole thing was just an idea in my head, I did not of course have any instructions or a pattern.
Coming in for a cup of tea?
 I rang the bell, and look who opened the door!
Of course designing the wee Halflings was the best fun ever, and I had actually already cut out all their little clothes before I saw the Movie Hobbits last week.
A view from the back of the halfling home.
This is the back of the Halfling Home, it has 4 windows in all. 
That's the boy and girl of the family, they're very friendly!
Unlike my "Bush Babies" their hair was done with a variegated boucle yarn, instead of Mohair curls.
Meet the whole family.
 And meet Mum and Baby Halfling too. Lots of greens and yellows, cause hobbits like those colours.

The Halfling family off on a Tookish adventure.
Here they all are, probably going to see the wood-elves. They are wearing their warm travel cloaks, which close with a little hook and eye.

Opening the round front door with its' brass knob.
The size of this Play-house is a bit deceptive in this picture, I actually need 2 hands to hold it up, although it is very light-weight.
Halfling Home with the front panel opened.
The front panel closes with small strips of velcro fastener. Light comes in through the windows, which i love.
Dana the cat frightening the hobbit children!
 She just had to be nosey and she would have gone right inside to curl up; nice and warm in cosy woolen felt! But luckily the little girl hobbit shooed her away...
And yes, this glorious Halfling home, with the dolls will be for sale very soon! I will notify you when I will list it.
Please leave me a comment to tell me what you think of this, I shall try and respond to all comments!

Nov 30, 2012

"Hobbit" Film World Premiere Day.

"Squash them into jelly!"said Bert the troll.
 I had to be in Wellington to support my daughter  with something and in the afternoon I took the opportunity to walk into town to experience the big Hobbit-fever. Spotted my brother and his team of Tolkien enthusiasts, too. He and his wife were having an awesome day, to put it mildly!! Fully booked with interviews and a surprise premiere ticket for him as well. Good on you mate!

Trolls in Wellington!
Tom, Bert and William about to squash Hobbit and Dwarves, but luckily it was a sunny day and they had been turned to stone!

Red carpet crowds.
You couldn't even get close, thousands of fans were lining up the half a kilometre long carpet, and had been for hours. Splendid weather for it! The atmosphere was very festive and good natured.

Mr.John Rhys-Davies and companion. There he was, just getting out of the entrance tent, and hardly anyone standing there, so I got a great picture.

Evangeline Lily. She will be in film 2, playing a new character as a  warrior elf. She looks very fit.
Good to have strong female characters, unlike the book.

Evangeline working the crowd. Very energetic and generous.
And that is a super tall girl standing there.

Mystery v.i.p.s looking serious. No I really don't know these people, but was wondering about the sensibility of taking a wee child in to see a 3 hour movie with scary scenes, starting after her bedtime....
(It's the mum and teacher-aide in me, can't help it, haha)
Is the guy with the leather jacket the same one that was on the oliphant in the big battle, L.O.T.R.3 perhaps?
Jack, please tell me...
Then I got tired trying to spot stars. They're just people you know...But all of a sudden I spotted a dozen hobbits laughing with the crowd. A chance to see them up close and check out their costumes, Fantastic!

Proudfeet! Where does the latex stop and the real feet start?

A jolly well-to-do hobbit. Marvelous coat!

Lovely soft pink dress with boning and lacing, petticoats and cap.

Embroidered skirt material, a laced waistcoat and an up-cycled vintage doily as a handbag.

Soft moss green velvet waistcoat, made to look as if it has been worn for years, with wrinkles put in on purpose. Marvelous brass buttons.

These feet looked very realistic, as if they'd seen much wear and calluses. The toes were not floppy and could move individually. Well, I think they were latex....Maybe they were real!

Yep, this was definitely the highlight for me!

Nov 26, 2012

Textile; historical and vintage

Framed Heirlooms.
     While I have enjoyed putting up "new" decoration in my gorgeous room, some things are more familiar. I found a good place out of the sun for my framed textile heirlooms, above all the family portraits, which I thought very fitting.
 The dress was given to me by my Oma (Nanna in dutch) when I was a little girl. She told me that I should look after it, because it was special. I often dressed a large doll in it.
Then I put it away carefully, and it migrated along with us. It is hand-made of a thin, sheer cotton with little white dots woven into the fabric and printed with little sprays of flowers.
The 2 butterfly-fairy prints are postcards she sent me as a child.
The beautiful lace, which is in one piece with edges of roses, belonged to my other grandmother, my Beppe (Nanna in frisian).
Oma as a young woman.
Here is a picture of my Oma as a young woman. She is wearing the original dress.
It was just after the war (WW2) and nearly everything was rationed, and you needed coupons to buy everything from food to clothing.
I'd say she would have had 2 children already, and her husband and her are not well off at all. And then, I've been told, she was given a dress by a relative which had been worn to a wedding.
You can tell she feels very pretty in it. After she had worn it, no doubt, on numerous occasions, perhaps to church as well, she made it into a little girls' dress for her third and fourth daughters.
And that's why I like it; she wasn't too proud to say no to a hand-me-down; wore it with pleasure; and used her creativity to re-make it for her little ones. She must have loved that dress, for she kept it, and gave it to her eldest grandchild decades later.

Paternal Grandparents.
Here a picture of my Pake and Beppe, all dossed up in their finery. I don't know if it was their own wedding or if they had been to one, but they are wearing buttonholes. My Beppe is even wearing a flower in her hair. This photo is from the 1930's, they married late. She was born in 1901 and gave birth to her 5th child and youngest son (my dad) when she was already 40 years old. My Pake ran the village butchery, just like his father.
I didn't get this photo until a few months ago, when my Dad moved to Thailand for a while. Those old photos taken from glass plate negatives were very sharp focused. With a magnifying glass you can see all sorts of little details.
And I suddenly noticed the lace collar on her dress coat. It is the same bit of lace I have framed!
I have always wondered how she wore it. I thought that she might have had a Frisian costume, and I'd always assumed it had been part of that. But no, far more bourgeois than that.

I love having 2 photos of my Grandmothers wearing the textile that now hangs in my room!
Super special bit of family history.

"Bush Baby" Oak Leaf Gnome.
This week I have been busy getting my little web-shops back up and running. They had been in-active for a while, but back to work I go!
This little Bushbaby and many of its' friends are up for sale!

Treasure Hunt Show Case
Thrift score of hand dyed embroidery floss.
One of my latest finds in an op-shop (Sallies!) and what a score! 69 unused skeins of the most beautifully hand-dyed embroidery cottons. Some from a local textile artist, and some from America. First I was trying to choose the prettiest colours, and then I thought, "what the heck, I'll buy them all!"
I paid about $20...
Delicious Goodness.

Fabricabrac Nov. 2012 Newtown.
I attended another Fabricabrac market at the beginning of November. Again in Newtown , Wellington. My love and I had a nice weekend in the city, we had managed to get cheap rates for a mystery hotel, which turned out to be same hotel we had recently stayed in, so very nice! We caught up with my brother and sister-i-l and also with our daughter, who cooked us dinner.

My humble stall.
I came with 2 big baskets of fabrics and sundry, and left with only 1, and some freshly bought fabrics, intended for making hobbit-cloaks out of soon.
Although the market was not as well attended as last time, probably because they had to change venue due to earth-quake building regulations on the original hall, it still got pretty busy.
The people that came were intend on buying and sewing.
 Or perhaps just hoarding...
Anyway I made some extra pocket money, and we had a great excuse for being in the capital!

A break in the crowds.

Nov 7, 2012

Dressing my New Room.

Mums' old doll.
It has been absolutely delightful to have been able to play and arrange my treasures in my "new" workroom/ diningroom.
Here is my Mums' old doll, she has no arms or legs left.  Made from a now brittle hard plastic, and marked "Minerva 5 Germany" on the back, her eyes are glass  and have real lashes. Once upon a time Mum was going to find replacement limbs for her, but it never happened. I like her moulded hair and the little smile, and Mum played with her as a child.

My lovely white Crown Lynn vases.
My husband and youngest daughter however, find her creepy! They have of course watched far too many horror movies together, she really isn't going to attack...

The 2 nautilus vases (crown lynn) also came from my Mum. They are a classic shape. She was a huge shell collector, and this sometimes extended to shell shaped objects.
Mum knew what she had; a great collectors pair. However, Dad wanted to chuck them out.
And there they are.
The large vase I found in a Petone opshop. In excellent condition, it was a shop without price-tags, you just took it to the counter and there they decided how much... I remember I paid $7.
My heart was racing with excitement over the find!

Just like a lollie shop.
This room is lovely and sunny in the morning. It shines into this dresser that I bought off my friend N. It  is made from blond oak and has mirrors in the back, reflecting light and doubling the collection of glass jars . I filled coffee jars with buttons, felt beads and fabric yoyos.

Up-cycled Lamp Before.
Here something I uhm-ed and ahm-ed over for 3 weeks before buying. A very "twee" lamp from the salvation army store. An awful shade, ground marble base and loads of fly-poop. Every week I'd pick it up, and put it down again. When it was still there at week 3, I considered it mine.

Up-cycled Lamp After.
I cleaned the marble base with warm soapy water and chucked out the horrid shade. A new bright lightbulb, and a $1 lampshade from a school gala last week completed the make-over.
I did consider painting the base in a bright turqoise to modernize it. But this is better.

Too cute!
Now I love it! And it gives a lovely soft pool of light.

The sunny morning-room.
A dirty, rickety stepladder was lying in the free-bin at the St.Vincent de Pauls-opshop, with a wonderful scruffy and scuffed paint-job in pastel colours. I cleaned it up, a new screw was put in by hubby, and there we have a new display stand.

Do you like the picture-rail with hooks? I saw the idea in an old homestead and wanted something like it in my workroom. This way you can shift pictures wherever you want them, and add stuff, without drilling or hammering more holes in the walls.
And guess what, they still sell wooden rails and seperate picture hooks in the mitre-10 shop!

Bossons plaster plaques from the late 50's.
Yes, well... I've had these for about 3 years. Tucked away for maybe one day when I would have a gorgeous vintage chique room.
Super uber-kitsch, plaster 3-d plaques from 1958-9, British Bossons, handpainted.
But they have a certain charm.
I hadn't even shown my Love, for fear of his horrified reaction.
He didn't notice them for an hour...
And was even complimentary about the colours. Phew!
Very polite of him...

Kitschy mirrors under the skylight.
The Mary and Child Jesus mirrors are shining under the skylight.
At least we both loved the funky radiance clock straight away when we saw it in a Wellington shop. It looks superb on the box that hides the electric switch board.
Don't the ceiling cornices look great! Stylish!!