Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birthday Celebrations

Today is my birthday - its been a great day, lovely presents and cards from friends and family. Many thanks to all of you and also thanks to family for my beautiful e-cards and phone calls. Spot the cute hedgehog handmade by Hazel.
My friend Donna took me out for a special brunch and as usual we talked and talked and laughed alot.
Last night my husband took me out to a local restaurant called The Old Church. I know the photo is not brilliant but hopefully it shows you how stunning it looked as we pulled into the driveway. Framed by tall trees and fairy lights the converted church was a delight to behold. We had a delicious meal in a quite dramatic setting - fairy lights everywhere and so pretty. Below, I have included a pic of the pud - creme brulee with autumn fruits. Perfect and the best part of any meal in my opinion.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vintage Collections with Memories

Our children have returned to uni after their 2 week break and while doing the general tidy up I cleaned out a few to my cake tins - our son especially loves to find them full so he can have the pleasure of emptying them for me. That little job got me to thinking about my cake tins and the memories associated with some of them. So I decided to pile them up on the table for a photo. Long ago I realised that I was a collecter and a hoarder. I can't seem to help myself - I start with one item then another , and another. Things always look good in groupings of 3, 5, 7, right? How many cake tins does one family need but they do look gorgeous piled up in the pantry, on top of the cook book bookcase, filling up a small plate rack (no room for plates). Thats another collection! My friend Nic knows about and appreciates this passion and recently gave me two tins that belonged to her granny. Another one is from my mum and quite a few have come from friends. I will look after these treasures which have that extra special significance of being "given". But my absolute favourite is the green/blue one with the large red rose which I found in a great treasure shop in Waipawa (Hawkes Bay). Enough about the cake tins, one day I will write about all the other things I collect but maybe in a drip feed sort of way - it could get boring...

Yesterday, 25th of April was a very important day of remembrance for New Zealanders and Australians - ANZAC Day. Its a public holiday here so in between enjoying the beautiful sunny, autumn day we watched memorials from around NZ and the world - always a day of reflection for us, remembering those brave men and women.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Organic Food

As usual, we were at the Hastings Farmers Market bright and early yesterday. It was dry but very cold so we raced around to our favourite stalls buying up what we needed for the week and having a quick chat to the stall holders. We have been going to this fabulous market ever since we moved here five years ago. The price, quality and choice is truly amazing. I can buy all my vegetables, fruit, plants, meat, olive oil, cheeses, bread, coffee, flowers and preserves and deal directly with the person who has either made it or grown it - sometimes both.
The organic vegetable stall (above) is always my first port of call while my other half goes off to buy the flat whites. Yesterday I bought yellow chard, celeriac, agria potatoes and the most delicious carrots with their gorgeous green frilly tops still attached. I always get some fresh coriander and until recently, huge bags of basil to make pesto for the freezer - a little taste of summer in the depths of winter. I think we are really lucky to have this market and as its so well attended, lots of other people must agree with me!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lavender @ Sweet Mary HQ

The photos above show one of the reasons I haven't blogged all week - I moved my sewing room from the sleepout (outside room) to a room right in the middle of the house, with a sweeping view over the front garden. Now this new room was actually my son's bedroom but as he is at uni most of the time, he very reasonably said he wouldn't mind moving to the small bedroom next door to this one. I am delighted with this move, not only did it give me a much bigger work space, I also got a chance to sort through all my stuff which was a bit of an eye opener - I had truly forgotten about some of my treasures. It was an exciting few days making these discoveries. Also nice not to be tucked away but to be in the centre of everything - phone and computer access, not to mention kitchen for hot drinks and the loo! Spot the order of freshly made lavender hearts waiting to be packed up and sent off.
We live in an old farmhouse which often seems colder inside than out. Lovely in the summer but testing during the winter months. We do have a wood burner so last night we had our first fire of the season. A cold southerly came in late afternoon and by the time my "fire-building" husband came home we were all ready for some warmth. Of course, after a few hours of that warmth coupled with a glass or two of wine, we were both nodding off in the middle of a gripping thriller on the TV. Our children are home on their uni holidays which is always fun if not a little noisy and messy. Another reason why blogger activity is curtailed - I have to negotiate for my time on the computer. I am going to get this posted and hopefully blog again later on today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Baby

The above photo is of our younger cat, Annie, taken soon after she came to live with us.

I discovered Annie crying underneath our bedroom window a few weeks before Christmas of 2006. I fell "in love" immediately and she has been my baby ever since. She had either been abandoned or somehow lost - so was a frightened little girl for a while. At this stage of her life she thought it was very daring to explore all the pots outside the back porch. When I look at this photo, I find it hard to believe she was ever that small. Sixteen months on and Annie is quite a lot bigger ( its all fur I tell everyone) and loves running to the top of trees and then down again.

So, the photo below shows Annie half way up her favourite tree, pausing and posing for the camera. Actually she was watching a bird but I always imagine more than that.

The tree is one of many in the garden around our home, most of them are huge and great for climbing cats. I love tall trees, especially when they sway and rustle in the wind. Lying underneath them on summer days is a pretty close second. Third has to be the beautiful autumn leaves that fall off them at this time of year. Three good reasons to always have tall trees around you but I am sure there are many more.

Thanks to all

I have been sitting at the computer for ages trying to bring up the photos I want to use on my post this morning - no luck, my skills are pretty basic but I am learning so I will try again this afternoon when I get home from work. But I do want to say hello and thanks to all the people who have left comments - very supportive and special thanks to Nicola for giving me an E for excellence award! As it was Nic who helped me set up this blog, she may just be a little biased.
Until this afternoon my blogger friends...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Beginning

I don't really know where to start with my first blog so I thought I would just write a bit about my day and something to go with the photo.
Lots of good things happened to me today. My friend, Nicola came round this afternoon to help me set up this blog - something I have been meaning to do for ages. She brought me a lovely bunch of fuchsia coloured flowers which I mixed with the yellow ones from my garden. They are a pretty sight to behold on my kitchen table surrounded by "bits of me" If you look closely you will spot my Country Living (UK) magazine which arrived in the mail all the way from my old home town in the UK. The dresser was a find from a neighbour and after a few paint jobs ended up this deep red which makes me smile everytime I see it. On top of the dresser is part of my china collection and tucked amongst it is a painting done by my mum.
I think that is all - I will post again tomorrow and if I keep practising it will all feel quite natural by the end of the week!