Friday, 3 May 2019

Of pies and patches

I'm trying to whip up some creative spirit, after feeling quite dull in that department for some time. I am getting to grips with a large patchwork quilt project, and yesterday I made a pie for tea, with the most amazing pastry (thanks Jamie Oliver for the Cornish pasty pastry recipe!)

Today I visited a quilting exhibition held in a huge room which is part of a national car museum (Southward Car Museum at Paraparaumu in case anyone is interested to visit) Husband happily roamed around the cars whilst I went looking to jump start my creative engine next door.

I was delighted to find that there were a number of traditional quilts on display as well as the huge and imaginative quilts sewn by machine. The first few pictures are the style of quilts I have chosen to dabble in over the years, using fabric garnered from unwanted clothes or offcuts.

I was especially impressed by the number of quilts which incorporated embroidery - one was animals of Africa, so I had to photograph the warthog (my favourite creature from that neck of the woods)

Another autumnal quilt really touched the soul as it was covered in embroidered birds

The variety of beautiful creations took my breath away. Here are a few more

Then I found the fabric I had been hunting for on one of the many Quilting stalls - pomegranate design. It is as rare as hen's teeth.

So now the creative engine is chugging away happily.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Birthday cards

I was born at the beginning of the 1960s which I think was one of the loveliest periods to be a child. I connect strongly to the designs of the time. It is why I saved all of my childhood birthday cards. This is for those of you who like retro stationery.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Passover, and why the Egyptians wore short skirts

Today is the feast of Passover, which I celebrate with my husband. Tonight we are seating eleven guests around our table. It is pretty tiring, getting everything ready, so taking a moment to sit to catch my breath, I watched my little ginger huntress in the turning circle in front of our house, playing with a mouse. I decided to go out and photograph it, as it was so adorable. It seemed quite easy to approach, but I was being given the evil eye by our cat - she was saying "Don't you mess with my mouse!"

I took my eyes off it for an instant and it vanished. It didn't take me long to find out where. It had shinned up my trouser leg, on the inside and had made it as far as my upper thigh!

I yelled for my husband and captured the wee thing by holding the fabric on the outside. I couldn't stop laughing. Between us, we managed to get my trousers off, on the front doorstep and evict the cunning little thing.

There is a certain synchronicity to this event. I am trying to imagine how the Egyptians managed with a plague of rodents. Probably better than me, as mostly they wore short skirts and not trousers!

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Servant of the Vineyard

He has been captured watching the boundary of the vineyard next door.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The kindness of neighbours and strangers

Our neighbour messaged me last night on her way home from work "Would you like some pears and chestnuts?" Wow! This is the same neighbour who has gifted us pumpkins and dessert grapes from their garden. This evening's offerings were one step removed however. She had been given rather a lot of both by a customer and had divided the bounty. Generosity a step removed. Thank you whoever you are who grows and shells perfect chestnuts.

Chestnuts appear in some of my earliest memories: of St Helen's Square in York, where in the 1960s vendors could be seen selling from braziers. It was an early autumn treat to go into town and consume them from a cone of brown paper. Later, on bonfire night they would be the treats to eat whilst watching rockets and Catherine wheels explode and make you dizzy.

Memories of my years living in Austria roasting them in our apartment oven. The horse chestnut variety were an excuse to take a walk in the Vienna woods, to kick away the leaves and collect a basketful to dry and make into decorations.

Later, in a park in northern Athens, I collected a handful and took them back to my desert home, vowing one day to live in a cooler climate where chestnut trees would be the norm.....and here I am and here they are.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Beauty in the small places

It has been a terrible few days. Our country had the most hideous crime perpetrated against our citizens; a massacre in two mosques when Friday prayers were taking place. 50 are dead, over 20 are dangerously ill with injuries, 10 more hover between life and death. The nation is living with grief and will do for some time to come.

As an introvert, I process the highs and lows of life quietly and alone. I find great peace in small things. Here are a few from the last 48 hours, mushrooms in our garden, and feathers from the doves my friend keeps as pets.

Then the colour from some wild flower seeds my husband scattered recently.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The before and after

All of our cats are terrified of the man who brings his ride on mower to cut our lawns. One solution is to hide under the sofa cover

After the cacophony has passed, it is time to go and explore what the shorter grass reveals. Or at least hang out in the wild corner of the garden to see what 'takeaway' can be found of the rodent burger kind.

Ms Ginger sits and guards (read 'dozes') whilst Giant Ginger perches on the stack of bricks, then also dozes. Good to know we are in good hands.