Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas!

The tree is up and the house is decorated, mince pies made, potatoes and strawberries grown and ready for the big day. A special thankyou to customers who over the year have supported craft, handmade and local. Merry Christmas everyone, see you back here in the new year, sometime around mid-January.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Market

Button Cards.
Sleep Hearts

Christmas Decos.

Only two Craft&Design Markets left, one this Saturday and the next, the following Saturday. I will be at the first one this weekend but not at the other. I have some Christmas decorations left after selling most of them at the Holly Trail fete but a good mix of my other stock: pillowcases, haberdashery, lavender filled hearts, vintage buttons etc. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I have been busy listing some of my handmades for sale recently. Click on the felt icon on the right or click HERE. Happy days.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Garden Tour

Pumpkin seedling in vegetable bag covered with coffee sack.
Strawberries in half wine barrels, fig tree in middle one, broad beans on far wall.
Spoilt princess in fave spot.
Clematis flowering on pergola and sweet peas in foreground nearly there.
A little trip around our garden, taken by my husband a few weeks back. Growth has happened, the broad beans are nearly finished and the first sweet pea bunches have been picked. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Holly Trail 2014

Toile linen cushions
Black with cream spot & ricrac.

This is the week for the much anticipated Hospice Holly Trail event held in and around the Havelock North/Hastings area every 2 years. Lucky ticket holders can visit the open homes and gardens over a 3 day period, breaking up this huge fund raising event with a visit to the Birdwoods Gallery on Middle Road where they will also find the always popular Fete set up in the grounds behind the gallery. The Fete has 35 individual stall holders and is open to the public for a small donation.
I will be manning my Sweet Mary stall for all three days and have posted pictures above of my cushion "offerings". I will also have other new items that I have made especially for this event that have not been on my regular craft stall in the village. If you would like more information please click HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes, really.

Christmas decos.

Surely its not time for Christmas shopping again I hear you say! But really, Christmas is less than nine weeks away which means there are only a few more craft markets where you will be able to buy Sweet Mary Christmas decorations. This year I have mini doves and hearts filled with either lavender or rosemary which would look sweet attached with a gift card to a specially wrapped present.
The next Craft&Design market in Havelock North is just over a week away on November the 1st and as usual it will be packed with clever makers showcasing their wares.

Christmas is a time of celebration and part of this celebration is the making and consuming of "celebration food". On a coolish day last week I made our Christmas cake, a different recipe from my usual and although I can't cut into it until the day, it did smell amazing. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly but this cake smelt so wonderful that I was tempted to cut it there and then. Maybe it was the cider! HERE is the recipe if you would like to try it - please use real butter, there is no substitute for me. I didn't have apple brandy, just ordinary and would probably cut the 6 tablespoons down to 3 as the cake seemed very wet. Its wrapped up tightly now and away in the back of the pantry snug in a cake tin so maybe the brandy will just make it all super amazing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Weekend.

Sweet smelling violets
Mint syrup, vanilla essence, water kefir and crystallised violets.
Bliss balls.
Yes, it was a homemade weekend for me but it was in the kitchen this time not the sewing room. I collected together the different recipes I wanted to try and made an afternoon of it. The first one, vanilla extract, was easy. Vanilla pods in alcohol, leave for a month - HERE are the instructions and its a beautiful NZ food blog to look around too, so make sure you do. As its spring in our part of the world the mint in the garden is growing well and the idea of preserving that delicious fresh taste was pretty enticing. The recipe is HERE and when I found it I knew it would be a good one as its from a River Cottage handbook - one that I now have out from the library. I have this idea that my mint syrup is going to go very well with my strawberries in the not too distant future. A few weeks back I tasted water kefir at a friends house and loved it so that got made too - recipe HERE, though I used raisins not figs. Last but not least was a late addition as my visiting daughter raved about these healthy treats that she had made for a work morning tea. If you have a sweet tooth and crave sweetness late afternoon or anytime really as I have discovered, MAKE these little beauties. They are aptly named - Bliss Balls.
Don't forget to click on the highlighted words for the recipes and further information.
The crystallised violets will have to be redone as not a great success - too much rushing!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Saturday Shopping

Rain, rain, go away and stay away please. Either way, come along to the market this Saturday and start your Christmas shopping nice and early. Armed with a coffee you can meet the makers and buy something handmade and truly original.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Well, of course September can turn into the strangest month weather wise. Down here on the east coast of New Zealand's north island we have had the usual showers and the usual sun, a good mix that heralds our spring and starts off all that lovely new growth in the garden. But today is downright weird - gusty winds blowing over bins and flower pots, cold, cold rain and then pockets of brightness and a hint of sun. Its just here for today and tomorrow will be a more normal 20 and sunny. Every time the gusts blow the chickens flap their wings and cluck excitedly, the gusts stop and their heads go down, bottoms up looking for treats. I sat  in their run for ages one afternoon trying to get a "cute" photo. Eventually I realised that they are always going to look mad in photos, its all in the eyes! Anyway, the girls are called Rosy and Posy and sometimes Zinnia and Petunia when I come over all Darling Buds of May. We get two delicious eggs each day and lots of entertainment for ourselves and the cats who watch them like its a chicken soap opera. Maybe it is.
I have planted seeds, easy to grow Nasturtiums and a new to me, Blue Woodruff and Rosebud Salvia from Catherine who also gave me the sweetest smelling violets a few years back. I have more hydrangeas too and lots of spectacular calendula (Indian Prince) planted with the broad beans. The winter vegetables are nearly over, mainly due to hungry hens but the cavelo nero will keep going for a while yet I think. I planted potatoes and to my surprise have had great success with carrot seeds thrown into an old pot of soil. I will take more care with their planting next time. The strawberry plants have started to flower and look on their way to a good Christmas crop. Lots more to be done but I'll write about that another day.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pillowcase Prettiness.

I have been making pillowcase pairs out of all my favourite fabrics, some are linen, some cotton and some are a mix of both. All the fabrics are pre-washed, ready to use immediately! A good sized flap to tuck the pillow in neatly and well sized to fit the highest pillow.
I'm still not sure about these rainy days we are having and I know we haven't had rain around my home today but the forecast is not good for the weekend. Please come back to this page for confirmation either way for the first of the season Craft&Design Market, Havelock North, this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sewing all winter.

Peg Bags
Lavender Hearts
Just photos today! I have run out of time - come back tomorrow. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Button Cards
Fresh baked bread rolls
Good greens

Having a break from markets over the winter has mean't that I have immersed myself in other things. After years of not being entirely happy with my bread making I practiced with online mentoring from THIS blog.
When I say online mentoring. I just mean that I read and read all the bread-making posts on this blog I could find. Its written in a very simple way - perfect for me. I also planted more good greens, much, much more, they are sprouting up everywhere which is especially gratifying now that I have two more mouths to feed. Rosy and Posy, our two hens came to live with us a few weeks ago and man, can they eat!
As visitors to my Sweet Mary stall will know, I sell vintage and vintage style buttons. I have beautiful whole set cards, bought in South of France markets but I also collect locally. These local collections never produce whole sets, maybe 3 or 4 of the same if I am lucky. The top photo shows how I have decided to display these buttons, as cards that can be used as a pretty decoration and pulled apart if you need to use them. These would make gorgeous presents for the sewing fraternity.
It has been raining all day today, I have fingers and toes crossed that it will be fine by Saturday for the Craft&Design Market.
Come back tomorrow to check my next post.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Market

Hello and welcome! I am back after such a lovely break to recharge my batteries. Come back over this week to see what I have been doing and to get a glimpse of some of the goodies that will be on sale this Saturday at the Craft&Design market.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Creative Break

Last Saturday's market was our last for the season, returning again on the first Saturday in September.
Its the first year we have had this break and as I think it is a good idea to recharge the creative batteries, I have decided to have a break too. Just for a few months and I too will be back blogging in the spring - see you in September.

I will be doing the Winter Warm Up in Napier on June 13th and 14th so keep an eye on THIS page for details nearer the time.

Remember, if you need a Sweet Mary lavender heart during my break, you can buy from my FELT shop, click on the FELT icon on the right.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sweet Mary - where to buy.

Lavender Hearts

If you can't manage a visit to my Sweet Mary stall at the monthly Craft&Design Market in Havelock North, you can now buy my lavender filled fabric hearts from my FELT online shop. Click on the big FELT box - top right of the page.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Gifted passionfruits, home grown eggs, butter and sugar all join together to make a once a year treat of Nigella's Passionfruit Curd. Sublime.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Farmhouse Kitchen

Sesame seed covered bread sticks ready to be baked.
Sour dough after kneading, ready for shaping.
Hot Cross buns, bread sticks, sourdough and yeast buns, foccacia, pretty flowers.
French St. Plum Jam

On a blustery Saturday afternoon in Hawkes Bay, a friend and I set off to attend a bread making workshop at the Farmhouse Kitchen just out of Havelock North village. We were both pretty keen to learn how to make sourdough bread, which we did, but also to brush up our basic bread making skills. Pauline taught our small, eager group how to make all of the above breads ( lots of handy hints) with her husband Chris teaching us all about the sourdough and most importantly how to get the sourdough starter started! We even came home with a small jar of the starter to feed and nurture now knowing that a good starter is the key to good sourdough bread. I loved it all and felt I was  like a slightly annoying child wanting to be part of every little thing - read: very excited person. Not that Pauline and Chris made us feel anything but welcome as they lead us through the many delicious things that could be made from a basic dough. My standout faves were the Hot Cross buns but really it was all delicious and we got to take a good mix of the bread home with us.
I came home very enthused, and can't wait to get baking.
Click HERE for the website and have a look at the classes page to see the range available - cheese making next!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things

On Monday, my helpful other half and myself visited our friends at the extremely supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Department... at 14 Hastings Street, Napier.
We were there to take photos of Sweet Mary lavender hearts but also had to take some of the shop as it looks so wonderful, packed with an eclectic mix of handmade goodness for you to enjoy and purchase. Please visit - they have sweeties too!