A Touch of Spring

The days are noticeably lengthening, the air is light and warm and there is the soft  scent of new mown grass on the air.  Blossoms adorn the edges of branches that have been bare for too long – yellow flowers bob up and down the grassy hillock where Siddy runs on his daily walk.  He sniffs them warily, licks one bright head ‘hello’ and moves on.  The daffodil blooms on.  I skirt the still muddy areas of the park.  Ground laid bare by days of rain and frosts and ice and happy dogs turning it all to sludge.  Gone is the heavy padded jacket, the woolly hat, the scarf wrapped about three times for maximum warmth, the array of colourful Mimi mittens that have adorned my hands on our morning walks.  Gone the thick boots made for water protection, slip proof [mostly] and warmth.

I walk lightly – hatless, scarfless, gloveless.  Siddy looks up at me and smiles and we walk on both of us enjoying the warm still air, the golden light, the scents of spring.

Spring enters into my work room too.  My rediscovered love of working with beads evident everywhere.  Light catchers sparkle en masse in front of the window.   This is a wee peek at ‘The Purple Bohemian’ a new one destined for my shop, it’s really pretty!

2purple 4

Beads scattered over the work table catch and reflect sparkles of sun light.


I play with the idea of beaded bracelets – trying things out, working out how to arrange sizes, shapes and colours pleasingly; how to start and how best to finish things off.  I don’t know why I’m doing this.  Perhaps this first touch of spring makes me want to have some pretty beads to wear.


I’ve read a few books this winter.  Not many, I don’t read as much as I used to – I don’t know why.  Again, for unknown reasons, I steered clear of philosophical or spiritual content and read only what I had been given.

I read a surprising amount of first novels

‘Wise Men’ by Stuart Nadler, his first novel.  The story kept me interested and I appreciated the writer’s ability to have his protagonist have an incidental real life while keeping us enthralled with the mysterious pull of times past.

‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel.  The Georgia Flu has wiped out 99% of the population and in this horribly realistic view of life twenty years after the event the author invites us to consider the place of fame, of theatre, of relationships, that reach through time and events and touch and sustain our lives.

‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton.  A first novel.  I struggled with this book – I kept reading a little more every night and in the end read it to finish it.  It is an odd tale, atmospheric yet cold.   Maybe not such a good thing in a novel.  Did you read it and feel differently?

‘The Paris Architect’ by Charles Balfoure.  Another first novel.  I generally don’t like reading about war and man’s inhumanity to man, but this novel grabbed my interest.  I loved how the story revealed the architect’s evolution from cool disdain  to caring about the fate of others and how in times of desperation, we find those we need to find.

‘Bits of a Boyhood’ by Bruce Goodman.  An on-line book found here   Written with integrity and honesty and not a little humour Bruce reveals what it was like growing up in New Zealand in the 1950’s.  I laughed and sometimes cried my way through this first part of Bruce’s autobiography.  I’m waiting for the next installment!

A man of fine education and not a little talent, Bruce blogs at Weave A Web if you want to read one of his [mostly] bizarre or odd little stories every day.

Finally – Siddy waiting for his fans.  Siddy does Hollywood

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

A Postal Woopsie & A Winner

Thank you all so very much for the many and most helpful comments on the new shop window – I spent the ensuing days making changes as fast as I could and I think the perusing and information gathering is much better as a result.    There are still a few additions and changes to be made, but nothing major.

I even made a sale which thrilled me no end – even though there ensued a most embarrassing postal misadventure as a result……  Do you want the whole story?

I was super busy and trapped at home waiting for the super-fast broadband installation scoping man to arrive – and surprise, surprise he didn’t…… [that’s a whole other post!]

I had a pile of mittens still waiting to get to the post office, the raspberry and yellow light catchers to get off to their new homes and a mounting sense of frustration that I was going to miss the post again……

Enter Stage R the most amenable and helpful Youngest Daughter, Official Photographer and newbie blogger, Danella Joy.  Already stressed to the max with the health of her aged and ailing cat, an upcoming week away and what to do if dear cat’s demise and week away collide and needing to get to her night shift on time after a vet consultation, she still volunteered to visit the post office along the way and get my parcels sent off.

All but one of the packages were wrapped and addressed.  One, a set of three mittens and a card from the last giveaway, needed it’s own postal envelope and the address to be written on said envelope.

Hastily I tore off the small pad page that had some addresses written on it,  ripped off the unneeded address, threw everything into a handy tote bag and off she raced.

I didn’t realise that the small pad page had an address written both sides, both perfectly framed within the torn off seam.

You know what happened don’t you

after siddy

Two days later DJ remembered to give me the pile of postal receipts and the card she had not seen in the bag that needed to go with the mittens until it was too late and as she handed over the torn pad page with the address on she froze, turned it over and asked “Where were the mittens going?”

Yes indeedy!  Two beautifully written addresses – take your pick.  There was a 50/50 chance I guess that the wrong one would be right side up when she scrabbled in the bag to find it and send the mittens away across the ocean.   At least they ended up in the right country!

Now I have to get poor Jem to readdress and resend a package she should never have gotten and reimburse that as an added, extra postal cost….. sigh!   And Jenny, dear, patient Jenny, you will get your mittens sometime soon  🙂


But now, to happier times.

And what could be happier than a giveaway I hear you cry……….

The names were all  written out on strips of carefully cut paper


Piled into my favourite drink dispenser








‘Can we go yet?’


and – chosen!

giveaway13 paw on

I’m exhausted says Orlando – these are all winners!

giveaway14 all winners

Congratulations Kerry from Love Those ‘Hands At Home’

Which one do you want?

The pink or the blue?

Pink Giveaway Blue Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who took part – we love giveaways here in Contented Land

and there is sure to be another soon.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

A Gift, A Shop and A Give-Away

I’m feeling particularly pleased with myself.  I made a new Light Catcher; my first one in hues of yellow.  It is so pretty, like a little ray of sunshine.  And it’s a gift and is just awaiting the final touches before being sent  away to the recipient.

(The yellow colour in the background is more accurate than the subdued colour in the circles – yellow is hard to photograph apparently.)

Click twice to biggify


And, still on the subject of feeling particularly pleased with myself, I made a new page for my blog, it’s there sitting on the black bar beneath the heading picture, can you see it?


It’s called ‘The Contented Crafter’s Gift Shop’ and it lists all my creative work in the various formats that are available for sale or on commission.  I know several of you have been asking and waiting and – well – here it is at last with apologies for the delay.

Logo Image

The shop page also has links to two other sites where some friends sell their particularly fine wares. Just in case you are looking and need inspiration…….   I had this idea of a global support network that may or may not have merit.  This is its small beginning.


Now if you wouldn’t mind, and if you have the time [I know how busy you are!] I would so appreciate you taking a few moments to look and to comment with your feedback – particularly about layout, quality of photos etc; about ease of understanding the different headings or not, anything that needs fine tuning, anything that does or doesn’t appeal, make sense or offends or delights you I would really like to know about.  What do you think about linking to other sites?  Would you look?  Did you look?

As a thank you, your name will go in the draw* for a Single Strand Light-Catcher.  The winner can choose one of these:

Blue GiveawayPink Giveaway

The blue single strand light-catcher is made with large blue *chrysacolla rounds interspersed with graded blue glass square beads from which hangs a 40 mm AAA crystal sphere.  Smaller crystals and beads hang randomly from the silver chain along with a few charms.  Catcher measures approx 50 cm long.

*’Chrysacolla purifies the environment and can work to eliminate negativity within a person. It imparts an energy conducive to stabilising the environment and rebuilding relationships’.                     Love Is In The Earth~A Kaleidoscope of Crystals

The pink light-catcher is a 40 mm AAA faceted crystal sphere hanging from a run of acrylic heart beads and very pretty white ceramic beads painted with pink flowers.  A variety of clear and coloured beads,faceted crystals and charms makes up the remainder of the main and subsidiary chains.  This catcher measures  approx 60 cm long.

*the draw:  is conducted randomly with the aid of my favourite coffee cup, strips of paper with names written on them, a vigorous shaking procedure followed by a tipping motion and the randomly placed paw of one Orlando King, the worlds best marmalade cat.  [Siddy isn’t allowed to take part, in the practise run, he ate the pieces of paper.]


The draw will take place New Zealand time:  5pm  Wednesday 12th August 2015

Any comments placed after that time will not be eligible for the giveaway.

In advance, let me thank you for your interest, for your support and for your feedback. it is as valued as you are!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!