Thursday, January 26, 2012

Patched Hearts

Two patchwork lavender hearts, two of the many Sweet Mary items now for sale at Coco and Co in Hastings.
I have also listed a few more items in my Felt shop - click HERE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Wool Story

Te Koha organic, biodynamic wool, fresh from the sheep.

Cleaning and sorting the wool to use in my lavender and wool filled pincushions, see the previous post.

One gorgeous pile of the softest, sweetest smelling wool for me to use.

Now to the story which my friend Bev, of "French Street Plum Jam" fame, told me last week. I have typed it out exactly as it was written:

I was five years old when my mum invited me and my five siblings to go wool picking and the wool would be made into half-quilts for our beds.

Mum would make a picnic of fresh homemade bread, butter from our churn and delicious plum jam made into sandwiches and a bottle of cordial for each child which we stuffed into our leather school bags and slung over our shoulders. In our hand we each carried a sugar sack to gather our wool in.

We walked up hills and around the fence lines picking the wool off the barbed wire fences where the sheep had stopped to scratch, leaving behind little tufts of wool snagged on the sharp wire. The sugar sacks quickly filled with wool and for the smaller children the sack was heavy to carry but the thought of stopping soon for the picnic spurned us on.

Time for lunch and how we scoffed those delicious gooey sandwiches, licking the last of the jam off the wrapping paper, the jam staining our lips. The cordial had already been opened earlier as we had got thirsty so we finished off the last of it.

Some time later Mum said it was time to get going home as Dad would be home from his farming chores and be wanting his tea. It was hard to get going again as the nearly full sacks were heavy and it was harder to pull them back to the homestead. It was a slow walk now.

Next day Mum handwashed the wool with soap and hung it in the sun to dry then combed it to fluff it up, making it bulkier. Mum cut up squares of leftover material that had been gathered over the years - pretty florals, old curtains, too-small dresses all cut to perfect squares with no pattern in mind to make half-quilts for the girls. Little embroidered rosebuds scattered over the plain material embellished some patches and these were all sewn together and stuffed fat with the wool to put on our beds.

The boy's quilts were more masculine looking made with coarse cotton, khaki serge and even pieces of old blankets and how thrilled they were with the warmth on those frosty, frosty nights.

Thankyou Mum.

I love that story, thanks for sharing it Bev.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coco and Co

If you walk down to the left, outside Bay Espresso in Hastings city centre (Market St. South) you will find a fabulous shop called Coco and Co. Its the latest venture by Jess and Jo of Fruit Bowl Craft Jam.

The contents are an eclectic mix of vintage and vintage style homewares, clothes, gifts, toys etc.

There is just so much to look at and bring a smile to your face.

Shop hours are 10-3 on Thurs,Fri and Sat. each week. Click HERE to see the website.

From late next week I will have some Sweet Mary products for sale at Coco and Co., including these beautiful pincushions stuffed with wool and lavender. There is more of a story about the wool but that is for my next post in a day or two.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jam Making

Yesterday turned into a jam making day as I had not been able to resist these two pots of freshly picked blackcurrants at our local organic growers shop. Click HERE to go to their website where they also have a link to a short YouTube video - the little shop is right at the end of the video. I call in every few days to see what they have and if you go there, buy the juice, its delicious. They also have wonderful looking garlic at the moment and apple cider vinegar. I love that little shop.

I used THIS recipe but cut it down to quarter measures as I only had 500gms of blackcurrants.

I also used raw sugar as thats what I have and didn't do the initial washing, just picked them over followed by a quick rinse. Warm homemade jam is something else and I know this because I ate quite a bit of it yesterday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Morning

Its Monday morning and fortified by one of my husband's excellent coffees, I am now at my computer writing this. My favourite beans are Mojo from Wellington and my personal barista produces a fantastic cup every time on a very basic machine. Nothing fancy here, its all done in the hands of a natural coffee extractor. Although, I did give him a burr grinder for Christmas which has improved the brew and the authentic sounds within the coffee lovers home.

Yesterday I made two new Sweet Mary hearts, lavender filled, to put in my Felt shop. Click HERE to have a look.

Whilst finishing the lavender hearts with some hand stitching I decided to watch this DVD I had bought a while back. Sophie Dahl is famous in her own right but what most attracted me initially was the memory of the wonderful books that her very famous grandfather wrote. We all loved these books as our children were growing up, not only to read but to play on long car journeys. The joys of the BFG ! The D.M.D's DVD was gorgeous as only the delicious Miss Dahl could be but what I enjoyed the most and kept rewinding to look again were the views into her "vintage" home. A delight.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Strawberry Love

Remember when I planted up my strawberry bags last November? Well, here are the strawberries, growing well, fruiting fairly well and tasting very, very good. I pick about this amount each day which is enough to top our breakfast muesli or add to a fruit salad after dinner.

The very pink bags faded quickly in the sun and of course were pretty soon covered in the greenery. It was a great idea to put the bags on top of the old day bed and my husband artfully arranged bamboo sticks around to hold the bird proof netting.

All this "strawberriness" puts me in mind to make something for my Felt shop (see Felt icon to the right) but I will need the weekend to think about what that might be. So, have a happy two days and see you back here next week.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I have just listed some tablecloths for sale in my Felt shop - click HERE to have a look.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Balmy Nights

The really excellent thing about hot days is that they often end in balmy nights. Less than an hour ago we sat down to this meal in our garden and unlike last night, the flies stayed away this time. Maybe they prefer steak to chicken. Or could it be the two delightful but odorous young men who shared the meal with us!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Beginnings

Happy New Year to you all - family, friends and fellow bloggers.

I do get excited by the beginning of a new year. Its the sense of all the new things you may do or even just think about, a sense of positivity and what may be. Weirdly, I get a similar feeling on Friday nights, thinking about the weekend to come.
We had a busy but fun Christmas with family and friends joining us in the celebrations. Probably a little too much to eat and drink but so nice to sit around and talk and laugh. I personally received all my favourites as presents: books, craft magazines, fabric, Christmas decos, candles, soap and hand cream. Oh, and bubbly and pretty coloured glasses to drink said bubbles from. My husband gave me a new outside chair which lasted 3 days in the rain before the paint started to peel so that went back to the "big red box" for a refund. Refund was then spent at the garden centre on new plants for the garden so not a bad outcome. I'm happy.