Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Hawkes Bay

Just a few pics around our house on Christmas Eve in New Zealand...
We have had this nativity scene since the children were little and still like to put it out each year and remind ourselves what our Christmas celebrations are truly about.

We have family staying so lots of fun and extra presents under the tree.

Candles to light when it gets dark.

Stockings up, ready for you know who to fill.
Merry Christmas to all our family and friends - and to my blogging friends also! xxx

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Sweet Life

The night before I left for a few days in Auckland I ran another Sweet Mary stall at Black Barn. It was a twilight market running from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Most of the stalls were food stalls but it was good to be there and chat to customers and visitors and I sold more than enough to cover costs.
Looking out from my stall in to the centre of the market - its a permanent stucture of about 20 stalls in a circle surrounded by trees and the lovely landscape around Black Barn.

We returned from our very busy but fun trip up to Auckland to find the sweet peas in the garden desparately needed picking - they smell so good.

I did a spot of fabric shopping for my Sweet Mary business while up there and also came home with a nice little stash of presents from the family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Summer Christmas

I am away for a few days - leaving in an hour but thought I would just put these couple of photos up on my blog for family overseas to look at. Hi everyone!
The lounge has the real tree and the living/dining has the fake tree.
These photos were taken early in the morning even the house one - it looks great in the early light I think. Hope you are all getting in the Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Buckets of Roses

Now, if you had so many roses blooming in your garden that you were picking a huge bucket full each morning you would be thinking what to do with them all. After filling the house with vases of roses, giving rose bunches away to friends there is only one thing left to do and that is make rose potpourri.
So, for weeks now I have had baskets of rose petals balanced on the shelves in the airing cupboard slowing drying out enough to go into the "master mix" with dried lavender and a few other pretty things from the garden. Here is a large bowl full below - being bagged up for sale on my next stall and through my FELT site ( left of this post, click on Felt - online).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Lavender Doves

I made these beautiful lavender filled doves especially for Redcurrent in Havelock North.
They looked so pretty I really did want to keep them for myself to decorate my small tree - as opposed to my big tree which always has everything but the kitchen sink on it. It really should be called a memory tree as most of the decorations have a story attached to them.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Farmers Market Produce

Home from an early visit to our local Farmer's Market in Hastings with our bounty. All of this is locally grown - no food miles ( km's ) here! We are growing our own courgettes and broad beans but the rest is grown within a few kilometres of our home and we can chat to each and every one of these growers. Can't get better than that.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Hearts

These three little cuties are for sale on my Felt site - just click on Felt to the left of this post - then double click on individual pictures for more information. There are 5 of each for sale.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Garden Vignette

Early evening with dinner cooking in the oven I went out to water the pots. We have a cute courtyard that has been created within the confines of the L shaped house and two outside rooms called "sleepouts" here in New Zealand. Its warm and sheltered and everything grows very well so I find I have to cut back on a regular basis to keep it looking nice. Watering done, I thought the pretty lavender against the wall could do with a trim so that I get another show in about 6 weeks time. I did mean to do this a couple of weeks ago so they would be flowering for Christmas but oh well...
So pretty - it does seem a shame.

Piled up on the table ready to be bunched up for drying in the airing cupboard alongside the rosemary and rose petals already there. I use the rosemary in my Sweet Mary "men only" sachets. My lavender goes into my Sweet Mary lavender hearts topped up with lavender that I buy in from a beautiful New Zealand lavender farm as I don't produce enough. The roses are dried for pot pourri.

Off the courtyard is a little walkway with an old iron gate at the bottom which looks over the woodland area. Our cat Annie likes to sit very still just inside the gate and watch the early evening goings-on in that woodland, her ears twitching madly. Its also a cool place for a cat to stretch out on a hot day.

Around the front of the house is where we are growing our sweetpeas which are just starting to flower.

The beautiful rose garden - every morning its a joy to look at all that gorgeous colour.

Last but not least - no idea of its name but this is my favourite rose. Its cream and crimson and reminds me of raspberry ripple icecream.
Hope you enjoyed my short descriptive essay!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sweet Mary Goes Public

I have been selling my Sweet Mary lavender hearts through some New Zealand shops ( see left) for a year now and with a little encouragement thought it was high time I faced my public! So I expanded my range and set up, ready for business on the first day of the three day Holly Trail in Havelock North and what fun I had. Can't wait to do it again.
The cushions I made out of antique linen and faded paisley fabric were snapped up and though I was happy that happened I would have also have been very pleased to have taken them home again as they looked rather nice in my bedroom.

Last minute, as you do, I made what are called my "Sleep Hearts" which turned out to be big sellers, in fact I had sold out of them by the second day. They are larger but flatter than the other hearts and tuck nicely betwwen pillow and pillowslip to help you sleep.

I also thought it would be good to make something for the men so I made my "Men Only" sachets filled with lavender, rosemary and cloves. They also sold well and one lady bought two to put in each of her husbands gumboots!

The beautiful Te Mata House was the venue for the fete and lunches - this is early morning of the third day with the stall holders setting up. A blue sky, spring day in the Hawkes Bay.

The view out from the house over vineyards and the empty paddock waiting for cars and people.

Last day, set up (with a few gaps) and surrounded by Sweet Mary treasures. Hanging on the display tree are "Merry Christmas" lavender hearts made with a red/blue stripe back and a hand printed red and white starburst pattern on the front. Unfortunately I could only get a small amount of this fabric so just have twelve hearts left. My notice boards were also good sellers and after good customer feedback, I plan to introduce a children's range soon.
Special thanks to all friends and family who have encouraged me in my Sweet Mary adventure especially my wonderful husband, my mum and my sister-in-law Sharyn. I was lucky to have Nic of Nicolas Daisies helping me on the stall and she has even been inspired to set up her own little business.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The roses in the garden are blooming! Lots and lots of the most beautiful blooms.
These are the notice boards I have been working on to sell at the Holly Trail next week - just a few more to do and maybe a few kiddie ones as well.
As the next week is going to be very busy for me with lots of last minute things to get ready for my stall I will take a wee break but get back soon after next Nov. 9th with photos from the event.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lavender and Lilac

Looking through the lavender to the rose garden and beyond.

The heavy downpour of rain last Friday left a casualty - a big section of the lilac tree came away from the trunk right down to the ground. For the meantime it is staying where it fell as I can't bear to dispose of all those beautiful flowers just yet. Though I did pick a lovely bunch for inside the house.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Green Things

The broad beans are growing well in our newly filled vegetable boxes but not ready for eating yet as the beans are only just forming and very small. They were planted out for about 6 weeks in the other house before we moved so have had a bit of an interruption in their growing life. I thought they may not survive the move but they seem happy enough. The lettuces are growing at such a rapid rate that we can hardly keep up. Freshly picked lettuce is a world away in taste from the days old lettuce from the supermarket. If we don't have a salad for lunch we have it for dinner most days. Any leftovers go to the grateful worms in our worm composter. We have had the worm farm set up for about 2 months now - no smell, great compost to come and the bonus of worm juice from the tap at the bottom. All very easy. Maybe the secret to our healthy plants is the worm juice! I would have popped outside to get a photo of my worm babies - you have to have special red worms and they are tiny, to put on this blog but it has just started to pour with rain. Cats came flying in as the heavens opened. I want to run outside and protect my little plants from the beating they are getting.

Salad leaves, chives and rocket from the garden, feta from a local cheese maker, asparagus (very cheap here in NZ) from the Farmers Market = yum.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Roses are Red

Last April my friend Nic gave me a gorgeous piece of fabric as a birthday present which I thought was a great idea. What could be more perfect than a piece of fabric for someone who loves it so. The weekend just passed, I used that piece of fabric to cover this pinboard in my play room and I am very pleased with the result. I will be selling my pinboards (different fabric!) along with my lavender hearts from my stall at the Holly Trail which is coming up soon.

There was a small piece of the fabric left so that got made up into a few lavender hearts to add to my stash that I am building up for my stall. One went to Nic of course.

The first rose to flower in our rose garden. I counted over 50 bushes in the three rose borders.

It is going to be a wonderful sight when they are all in bloom. Below is the rose garden two days ago with the single rose on the far left side. Just imagine...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Making a Home

Friends dropped by in the weekend - Nic made this very pretty patchwork bag which now hangs on my side of the bed. It was full of goodies to eat which we have duly done and a packet of Green Gate paper napkins which really are too nice to use. I guess they will be put away with "the" collection. Though in my new mood of wanting to clear out stuff I may have to use them (eek!).

Annie, our baby has been very exhausted by the move. So many new places to explore that a full afternoon snoozing on the sofa is the only way to cope. Our older cat has taken to the spare room only making quick forays out to eat, pee and scratch up the sofa to show her displeasure on the way.

Over the weekend I also managed to restock the yellow dresser which doesn't seem to have made much differance to the mountain of boxes growing in the living room. I am quite perplexed as to where all this stuff has come from - surely the moving company have dumped someone elses junk on me.

On a more positive note they are lots of pretty views to be captured outside. The one below is my favourite - at the end of the rose garden there is an old brick wall with a wee picket fence gate leading to the paddock. Its framed by huge trees and looks out on the blossoming apple trees. Very Beatrix Potter.

Honey mowed the tennis court lawn Saturday morning...

Then had to cut the bamboo back so I could hang out my washing!

The beautiful view outside our bedroom window - a treasure of a woodland garden.

Well, still lots to do before it feels like home but we are getting there and spring is in the air!