Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Tis Christmas

I do love Christmas. I love the way our humble abode transforms as if by magic, into a Christmas wonderland for a month. Each year I love to sprinkle a li'l Christmas alchemy, here and there, throughout our home.

Every year I think about changing our tree which I waxed lyrical about here last year; but I always seem to adorn our elegant tree in much the same way year after year. Boring I know, for those of you who love to have a new Christmas-scape every year, but it's just that I have fashioned so many of the ornaments over the years which hold a sentimental place in my heart. So, as long as I am able to clamber up and down the ladder, festooning frivolous fripperies upon the tree, I will continue the annual tradition. Besides the tree is such a handsome one, sitting rather elegantly in the corner of our parlour......why change it.

This year as I decorated the tree, I did so with mixed emotions. As I placed each name on the tree I was only too aware of those who are not 'here' this year. My daughter and her husband are living for a while in San Fransisco. San Fransisco seems such a long, long way away at Christmas time.

And then there is my sweet, sweet sister-in-law who passed away several months ago. As I placed her name on the tree so many thoughts of her and the lovely times we spent together came to mind. Then there is my mum. I wish I could sit on my front porch and enjoy a cuppa and a piece of Christmas cake, reminiscing about old times and have a giggle with her. My mum was the funniest person I have ever known. She had the best sense of humour, filled with fun, wickedness and drollness. Her jolly-ness was contagious; she had a peculiar way of  making the most serious person laugh. Oh I miss her. Does one ever really fill the empty void that only one's mum can fill.....I don't think so.

Our front porch with a pleasant outlook of our garden, is a lovely spot to sit and enjoy a cuppa in the sun. Of course Christmas has to have a li'l vintage charm added to the mix; don't you think.

A few birdies flew in to sit a while and hang about......it seems they love the ambience of our pretty porch and garden. They wanted to share the message of Christmas; the message that it is a season to reflect on the joy, love and peace that our Heavenly Father gifts to us every day.

Remember Dahlia?? She morphed from a simple dolly peg into the fairest fairy of them all. The tale of Dahlia's magical transformation was penned here. Dahlia decided not to spread her feathery, gossamer fairy wings and go to live with the little girls that stitch in the magic sewing room. Oh Dahlia did deliberate for an age, but she much preferred to stay in the purpley, bluey grey house with the bright pink door. After all there are soooooo many pretties to play with and keep her amused all day long.

Yes indeedy, our front porch is one very pretty and blissful place to sit and dream awhile!

And so........the Christmas magic weaves it's enchantment to li'l corners throughout the house.

This lovely wall quilt was gifted to me by my sweet friend with the magic stitching fingers, Miss Vicki of  'A Quilter's Mission" fame. Isn't it beautiful?? 'Tis perfect in every way.....from the gorgeous pretty pastels (I LURVE pretty pastels) to the lovely quote that says "Angels are always watching over me"......love, love, LURVE!! 'Tis a lucky gal that I am!

There has been many a vase of pretty flowers to welcome visitors who have entered the bright pink door, throughout the month of December.

And so….from my home to yours,
may you have a joyous Christmas
as you celebrate with your loved ones.

May it be a season for making beautiful
new memories!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Festival of Flowers

Spring in Tassie is an intoxicating season filled with many an efflorescent delight. The sun-kissed ground awakens with a festival of flowers, all abloom with their unique beauty and delicious fragrance. Each flower captivating in it's own exceptional beauty; with no thought of jostling for singular attention, nor competing with the floral pretty sitting next to it.....it just blooms!

We have are own festival of flowers happening  around our li'l ole humble abode at the moment, but out in the wider community there have been some spectacular open gardens to enjoy over the last couple of weekends. One such 'open garden' my good husband and my good self found ourselves inextricably drawn to, was Woolmers Estate. Woolmers Estate is a national rose garden and has the finest collection of historic roses in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the earliest European and China roses through to roses of the 21st century.

For one weekend each year, they hold an open garden event which is dubbed "The Festival of Roses". And...what a festival it is! It is truly breathtaking! There are over 5,000 roses! Over the weekend, "The Festival of Roses" is designed to capture roses in their first flush of bloom; the sights and scents are truly intoxicating! To wander through the secret gardens, the li'l nook and crannies, is to experience an eye-popping sense of wonderment.

To start the day in the right frame of mind and to feed the inner man (and woman) we breakfasted at one of our favourite cafes and lo and behold, what should greet us but  an expanse of the most delicious, climbing Pierre de Ronsard roses. They trailed across an 8 metre wall, all blooming in their transcendent glory! The Pierre de Ronsard would have to be one of my favourite roses. I love the way this pretty rose slowly opens, revealing layer upon layer of diaphanous, petticoat petals. We have one of these climbing beauties in our garden.......oh how I wish mine looked like these. Oh......and the 200 year old brick wall and building ain't half bad either.

After drinking in the beauty of the Pierre De Ronsards, and with my husband dragging me away, our tin lizzie headed to Woolmers Estate to savor "The Festival of Roses".

Arriving at Woolmers Estate the fun of the festival was in full swing. There were many stalls offering delicious food, fine wine, hand crafted jewellery, books, plants, fresh veggies, honey, antiques & collectables, the odd vintage set of wheels or two, musical entertainment plus much more. There were oodles of people enjoying the ambience; enjoying a picnic on the beautiful lawns under the shade of gigantic Maple trees.

My husband took a shine to the vintage cars that were on display. How cute is this van? I really, really need it!! I really, really do!!

Mmmm....yes please!

I would have loved to have taken a few of these rusted pretties home.....

Oh....I took the 'rusty fella' home with me!!

Though there were secret gardens of Spring blooms i.e. lupins, foxgloves, delphiniums, clematis etc etc, and a lovely kitchen garden; not to mention glorious old buildings i.e. barns, settlers' cottages, conservatories, houses that typify a bygone era; Woolmers Estate at this time of the year is all about the roses.

This rose arbor is 80 metres in length and 5 metres wide which is planted with 72 Westerland climbing roses. Simply stunning!

As far as the eye could see, there was rose after rose after rose;  an evocative, impressionist canvas. In my mind's eye I caught a glimpse of Monet in his painter's garb, painting 'plein-air' amongst the rose bushes.

Yes indeedy, the Festival of Roses at Woolmers Estate is truly the most magnificent rose garden I have ever visited.

After wandering around for hours becoming dizzy from  overload of the senses, we sat awhile under the shade of the centuries old Maple trees and just soaked in the spectacular atmosphere of this amazing place. Who needs a chair when one can lean one's back against a beautiful tree, rest awhile and look up at the sun-filled sky dancing with filtered light, through the canopy of an ancient tree?? 
Not I!!

As I alluded to in the beginning of this post, our li'l garden is abloom with it's own efflorescence. Our garden is the gift that keeps giving. There is always someone to gift a vase or two of pretty flowers....and of course there is our li'l ole abode in which to fill, with many a pretty blossom. Who needs a florist when one lives with the 'gardener'? Which is just as well, because here in this far rural outpost, it is a tad problematic to whip on down to the local florist and buy a bunch of floral delight!

Yes indeedy, me thinks you cannot beat the Pierre de Ronsard rose for it's sheer old fashioned beauty and sweet fragrance!

Wisterias, Lupins, Daisies, Lilacs, Granny Bonnets, Irises, Roses, Rhododendrons, Pansies, Jasmines, Foxgloves, Peonies....just to name a few. Spring time in our garden is quite sublime! Do forgive me for the overdose of floralicious delight. I just wanted to leave you with a li'l floral pretty or two, to convey a sense of Spring; to help you skip through your week.

Peonies for thee!! Have a lovely, floralicious week everyone!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Book that Alysha wrote

For a couple of months one of my sewing girls has been busily stitching a fabric book. Earlier this year the stork delivered a little sister for Alysha; Velvet. To be just a li'l bit different, we thought a fabric book would be a wonderful present for Velvet. A present that would provide hours of fun and imaginative, conversation and play; a present that could be kept forever.....a unique keepsake, a unique heirloom.

As Alysha lives on a farm with her family, Alysha thought a book with a farm theme could be the setting of the book.

After a lot of thought, and a li'l bit of planning (we tended to make it up as we went along) Alysha started to stitch.

As I guide my kiddos along the yellow brick road of stitching, I am always thinking of fun activities they can stitch and make. My memories of sewing at school are those of which horror stories are written. Sewing teachers of my vintage seemed to have possessed a secret delight in making sewing lessons as irksome as they possibly could. The sewing teachers of old (at least mine were) always seemed to be utterly boring, with no exploration down little paths of  delightful discovery, creativity and ingenuity. I cringe when I recall Mrs Colditz's shrill-like screech....(many a parody was made of that name...not nice I know, but alas, true)....regarding the imperfections of my sewing...."that might be good enough for you, missy, but it is not good enough for me.....do it again.....and again....and again!!!!!" She would look at me and my sewing rather menacingly with a rather large ruler in her grip ready to strike one's knuckles if my stitching wasn't to her liking. Oh, she was a horrible woman!

But to get back on the happy and inventive path that the kiddos skip down at the Kim Sharman School of Stitching Excellence......with a lot of clever stitching from Alysha and with a li'l help from me, Velvet's book has been published!

We thought it would be fun it this was to be an inter-active book. A book where a small child could have lots of fun opening a house door or a barn door, to see who or what was waiting inside to say "hi".

We wanted to add a tactile touch throughout the book. The lamb has been sewn with woolly fabric; the clouds with felt to add a sense of fluffy, white clouds etc.

Alysha is one of seven girls! Mmmm.....seven brides for seven brothers, perhaps!

On washing day, the clothes can be taken out of the clothes basket and hung on the line to soak in all that glorious sunshine.

There is something not quite right about this page......can you guess?

Velvet's farm is a place filled with whimsical critters....lady bugs, li'l birdies, fluttering butterflies, sliding snails, buzzy bees and a garden filled with oodles and oodles of "Jack in the Beanstalk" rainbow-filled flowers (mmm...perhaps another storyline for a book??) Velvet's favourite place is her mummy's garden....it is a place of make believe; a fanciful place filled with a child's imaginative play.

Deary, deary me......me thinks that this 'li'l' birdy (along with the other critters)  has just flown in from the land of Brobdingnag of Gulliver's Travels fame; just to check out Velvet's floralicious garden. I hope she doesn't "fall off her perch" and land on Velvet's daddy. That could be a wee bit uncomfortable!

After a busy day of playing with the animals, helping her mummy hang the washing on the line and supervising her daddy as he drove the tractor; Velvet has snuggled with her kitty kat on the comfy sofa and fallen asleep. Yes indeedy, living on a farm is exhausting business!

The stitching of this book was the best fun. Alysha loved all the free hand machine stitching. As always I am amazed how the kiddos take to free hand machine stitching as if they  have been doing it forever. Alysha was tentative for the first 'ten minutes', but then she was off, whirring and drawing away to her heart's content. This form of stitching is so freeing and as this book was from the outset, meant to be a child's book, complete with a whimsical story and pictures, it didn't matter one iota if Alysha stitched crooked lines. Indeed, the more wiggly and naive the  lines, the better.

So there you have it. The Book that Alysha wrote! The transformation of a simple idea; the drafting of the story, the search and collation of just the right fabrics for each component; the clever stitching of each thought by a very clever girl to the stitching together of each page. Yes indeedy, a truly unique book which will provide oodles of fun-filled moments for Velvet as she escapes into  the far away land of make believe.
                THE END

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!