I Wonder Where Summer Went?

She was here for a couple of days earlier in the month, Lady Summer, but seems to have given way to a resurgent and surly Winter who still has something to say.

I used to call the city where I live ‘The Riviera of Antarctica’.  I had good reason for doing so, low rainfall in the extremes of the year and high sunshine hours too.    Lately though it seems we have been upgraded and now reside as the Capital of Antarctica.

There were, I was told a couple of days ago, four cruise ships coming into harbour to dispel their thousands of well-heeled patrons into our fair city to enjoy a day or two of Southern Hospitality.  (Please bear in mind I don’t read the papers or listen to the radio so all my gossipy news is picked up at the dog park, where I loiter around with a mismatch of folk while our pets chase each other round in ever decreasing circles in an attempt to keep warm.  So I may get actual facts slightly wrong.)   Anyway, they picked the wrong day to arrive.  For a ‘Weather Bomb’ also chose this time to put in an appearance.

Apparently old man Winter was really p***ed off about something and he hurled a few icicles our way along with torrential rain and winds that drove the rain horizontally against the landscape.   I spent yesterday with the heating on, tucked in a blanket watching the one hundred videos saved to my ‘watch later’ tab on You Tube and pretending I lived in the far north of Canada where I was enjoying a really pleasantly mild winter.

I have no idea what happened to the hundreds of well-heeled tourists, but I imagine they retreated back to their cruise liners and waited patiently to be taken to a more salubrious part of the world.  I did hear that one of the ships, an especially large one which sometimes has trouble making port due to time and tides and its immense size, nearly keeled over in the wind, but that might just be an unfounded rumour.

Just bear all this in mind if you ever meet somebody who says they went to New Zealand one summer, had a cold and miserable time and the hurricane level winds almost caused their gigantic ship to capsize. They were probably on that particular liner.

Any way, with all this inclement summer weather I’ve spent a deal of time playing about in the art room and trying to find my painting mojo again.

I made cards.  I cleaned up and cleared out THE STASH….  We crafters never throw anything away because it  can be used on something, somewhere, one day.  I have stuff I’ve kept for ten years or more and, as I’ve cleared out everything else in my tiny house, it’s now time to clear out some of the ‘someday stuff’ that makes up a lot of THE STASH.  I figure that if I live to be 100 and make a card every day, I still won’t have used up all the stuff lurking about in that pile of ‘someday I might be just what you are looking for’  stuff.  So, I used a lot teeny bit of that stuff on the cards I made, which slowed me down no end and made me realise why I’d never actually used it up before.   I’d spend so much time sifting through piles of stuff I’d forget what I wanted it for by the time I found it.

To be honest, I was also prevaricating.  Delaying the actual moment when I would start work on an actual canvas…….  it’s always so terrifying for me – I wonder if it is so for every other person who paints.

Any -hoo, back to the cards, here’s a selection of cards ready for next Christmas  – made using the same embossing folder and different paper remnants, some worked, some didn’t……

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The onto the stash scraps and bits and pieces.  Small note cards to start

Hisilicon K3

Large greeting cards, all made using my hand made papers and various ‘stash’ items

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

In between card making I spent some time acting as Chief Consultant and Shopping Assistant to my daughter, the Official Photographer who is doing up her new flat and who had decided she wanted a ‘pinkish’ bedroom.

We made the headboard and used that as the jumping off point for what ever came next.  While we were busily attending to the fiddly bits, young Sidd-Arthur was also busy making sure the bed was nice and comfortable for her…… that’s his rear end you are looking at


Furiously digging his way through duvet, sheets and pillows


Thoroughly rumpled and immensely satisfied


Sigh!  So funny!  Pure gorgeous furriness!

I managed some sketching.  The last two while I was keeping warm and indulging in that ‘Watch Later’ channel on You Tube I mentioned earlier

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The birds got doodled in when I tired of sketching in wrinkles…..

And finally – I have to tell you – finally, I did some work on canvas…….. it’s not finished yet, but it’s a good start.  Oh the relief!!

Unfinished 'Believe'

Unfinished ‘Believe’

So, that’s January up to date.  How’s your January going?

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






February Creations

Hello Y’all!  It’s already almost half way through the month and I feel as if I’m playing catch up with my blog already.  I’ve been busy – no, no, really I have – well sometimes I’ve been busy – other times ………  let’s just say I’ve watched a few movies, and read a few books and done a bit of knitting

Jos jumper 2

It’s a richer brown than is showing, flecked with gold  and this is the pattern

Elation free Cable Aran Knit Sweater Pattern Elation or buy as knitting kit

It’s a free pattern from Artesano Yarns in the UK – isn’t it lovely!!  My ED will love this for our coming winter.

And I’ve been receiving gifts!

I’ve been really touched by the kindness of people in this blogging world again.  In a recent post on the blog Love Those Hands At Home I mentioned to Kerry that I loved the little white crocheted place mats she was readying to put into her shop.  The next thing I knew they were delivered by my friendly postal lady and Kerry’s placemats now adorn my table and a couple of other places too – aren’t they pretty!

Kerrys mat 1 Kerry's mat 3

The post delivered a completely unexpected thank you gift just over a week ago.  Robin was a recipient in the Christmas Light Catcher giveaway and she sent me a thank you note and a copy of her CD – a collection of lovely folk and contemporary music played on her flute.  I was surprised and delighted by her kind gesture.  Thank you Robin, I am enjoying it very much – I’m so in awe of people who can make music!

Flute CD

Then I received another gift – from my friend Norah in Australia who didn’t receive a Light Catcher in the giveaway, but who did nominate her friend Robin [above] and who simply decided to send me a beautiful thank you note and a lovely inspirational book which has made it to the bedside table for dipping into before sleep.  Isn’t this the kindest thing?  Aren’t all these actions so thoughtful and so generous – and so happily welcomed!

I am constantly really touched by the generosity of people in the blogging world – and just want to say thank you, thank you.  I am really, truly blessed and absolutely require no more gifts!

Norah and I recently had a bit of a discussion about education.  Those of you who know me well, know I was once a teacher and am rather opinionated about that and about childhood in general.  Norah and I think alike and so she sent me some questions and ran a small Q&A type interview on her blog.

Part I is here and Part II is here if you should be interested.


My shop was cleared out of Light Catchers by Christmas and I have finally made several new ones, of which three have made it into the shop [found at the top right of this page, under the header picture if you are interested in having a look].  There’s a ‘Mellow Yellow’, one called ‘Purple Haze’ and another called ‘Aqua Lights’.  Here’s a sneaky preview

Mixed pizap

There are three more still in production and I keep experimenting with curly-whirly, mobile types of danglers that will sparkle and jingle and tinkle too.  I haven’t yet found something I really like that is actually affordable for anyone short of the Sheikh of Araby to purchase ……. but I’m working on it.

Here’s a peek at the six strander I made for my kitchen window recently – lots of fun with this one bouncing rainbows and sparkles all round the room.  As always I apologise for my photos and the lack of colour – it is of course all shades of blue  🙂 6 Strand Blue pizap

And for all his fans here’s Siddy again, just going for a drive all windswept and tousled and loving it – and yes, I must clean the car mirrors sometime soon – but really, he doesn’t mind!

driving2 nov 15

I’m thinking about gifts and kindness and contentedness a lot these days.  I feel blessed!  I hope you do too.

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




Summertime Christmas


Season’s Greetings Y’all!

Happy Christmas; Mid-Summer; Mid-Winter; Ramadan; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa ~ 

Whatever you celebrate may your days be blessed with your loved ones around you


The Christmas Light Catchers were all finally sent off on Monday 7th December.  The nice lady at the post office assured me I was far too late in my posting habits to make the Christmas delivery deadline for those of you across the oceans, but I believe in miracles and it turns out there has been  a number of them – were you one of them?

I feel like my Celebration season got off to an excellent start this year with that communal giveaway and it has caused me to become quite ‘merry and bright’ about the whole thing – which is not something I have utterly given myself up to in the past few years.

I’ve been fortunate to experience Christmas in both hemispheres and have found pleasure and pain in both seasons.  As a child I had a feeling of deep disconnection between the presented pictures and the reality of our global situation – which simply added to my general discombobulation with the family dysfunction which was the reality of my young life.

In the blinding heat of mid summer we were all treated to displays of fake snow scattered about shop window settings and cards featuring pretty women in long gowns trimmed with fur, their hands buried in muffs and snow brushing their pink cheeks; or robins on bare branches white with more snow….  Carols and popular songs tinkled along merrily in the background and we all sang along with them – we were dreaming of a white Christmas, hearing sleigh bells jingling, and decking the halls with boughs of holly.  We lit the lights on the Christmas trees but never got to see their glow because it was always light while we were up.  There was no waiting for the return of the sun because it was always here and always bright.  [Years later my own children, excited out of their trees by the coming event, would wake us up at three o’clock in the morning to tell us Santa had been and the birds were singing.  Stockings were introduced to the end of their beds with enough goodies to keep them quiet for at least another half hour…….]

A heavy, roasted Christmas dinner was often cooked amid faces red and sweating and eaten in the same manner while we kids just wanted to escape the heat and dive back into the ocean or river.

We had few local traditions, everything had been imported from the Northern Hemisphere by the settlers who came to make new and better lives yet continued to adhere faithfully to the way things were done ‘Back Home’ despite all  seasonal disadvantages.

As a young mother I set about making sure my children did not experience the same sense of disconnection with the festival and over the years built up a new set of traditions and displays that met our seasonal and cultural mores and addressed my growing connection with a spiritual reality that had nothing to do with religion or culture and everything to do with the need for me to unleash the ability to understand what unconditional love is and to be able to live in it on a daily and practical basis.

Christmas became the festival where I practised best.

We had wonderful Christmases and in their own lives, my girls have carried on the traditions that were begun in their childhoods.

This year we get to have one of our special Christmases.  Just the three of us make up our small immediate family and we get to spend a week together this year.  We are tight.  We are devoted and adoring and just a little awed by each other.  Not being of a religious bent, but bearing strong spiritual connections with the message of the season we will celebrate our ability to love, to share, to give and to shine.  The summer sun is bright and warm and we let it be our inspiration.

Somewhere the decision was made to make this a Christmas to remember.

So for the first time in this tiny house, a tree arrived.  It got itself decorated with baubles, bells, flowers, birds and butterflies – in our favourite colours of course.

Xmas Tree 2015

And placed stage centre especially for Orlando’s enjoyment and contentment

O under tree Dec 15

I crocheted that tree skirt in one frantic 14 hour period, as big as I could get it in the time allowed and in between my doing of ordinary daily activities ……  After it is finished with this year I shall double it in size in a leisurely fashion.

The tiny courtyard is full of flowers and little bits of bling.  The chairs have comfy cushions and there are places for wine glasses and plates of food

Tiny Courtyard pizap

The front entrance welcomes with bells and bling, cats and a green nodding doggie and even more flowers

front2 dec15

Dec Front pizap

The hand made gifts are [finally] finished and being wrapped – this is the last of them

presents pizap

The Secret Recipe Cold Christmas Pudding is made and maturing

xmaspud1 2015

And Siddy is ready for GO! (His favourite aunty Jo arrives in two more sleeps and our Christmas begins!)


And I have my Christmas hair on

Pink Hair Dec 15

[I’m transitioning people, from coloured hair to cheveux au-naturale – the time has come – as the Walrus once so famously said.  And why not have a little fun along the way?]

This is my last post for the year, thanks for being with me through this fabulous and eventful twelve months.  Thanks for your encouragement and support and friendship.  And thank you for coming by again today, I love that you did!




On This & That – and Mitten Winners

Once again the weeks slip by and my good intentions of getting a blog post written and published keep getting postponed until tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow!  Elaine sends me an email ‘…. I’m looking for your latest post …..’  Oh dear.  ‘It’s coming.’  I reply.  Four days later and here it is.  What is it they say – ‘Good things take time’  🙂

Here is Orlando suffering his morning smooch from Siddy

Morning Smooch

“Finished smooching now.  Breakfast please mumma!”

Breakfast?Even though I am very busy, I have absolutely nothing to show you.  I am not painting, everything in that department is on hold for another month.  I am crocheting and getting myself organised to take part in a most fab KAL [‘Knit Along’ for the uninitiated] over at Mollie and Claire  [Claire’s the knitter, Mollie is the beautiful black lab.]  [Claire is also beautiful 🙂 ]   I am making my own version of this – this is Claire’s ‘Lace leaf Shawl’ isn’t it gorgeous!

Lace Leaf KAL

This is my ‘yarn in use’ basket, a laundry hamper really.  I will not disclose how much other yarn is tucked away in bags and drawers and boxes for fear it may incriminate me as a yarn hoarder ….

Yarn Stash 3 15

Despite that pile of yarn, I have ordered some more gorgeous silk yarn from Silk India – I wasn’t going to and then I thought why go to so much trouble to make a beautiful shawl and not do it in the most gorgeous silk yarn ever?

Silk Indian SIN 05 Beaded silk yarn

If you are a knitter, come join us.  It won’t take long …….   Needles hit yarn on April 1st, but I won’t be starting until I get back from the US in mid April.

I was thinking the hours spent in airport layovers on my upcoming trip could be profitably whiled away by plying my knitting needles – then I remembered that no needles are allowed any more as I might decide to use one as a weapon on some poor pilot and end the flight importunately……. so I shall just have to spend those hours doing nothing crafty – and there are as many hours waiting for planes as there are actually flying!  I’m sure withdrawals will set in.  Such a waste of potential knitting time!

The suitcase is out of storage and I am sorting through clothes  – trying to decide the minimum amount to meet the changeable spring conditions of DC and Virginia and yet not look too shabby while at it……  and trying to fit a few secret extras in without hitting the overweight mark on the suitcase scale!

My suitcase has been decorated in honour of the northern Spring

Suitcase 3 15Thank you to all the folk who took the poll in my last post – it was so good to get your thoughts and opinions!

I even forgot to make the draw for the mittens and in the end read all the comments and, abiding by my own rules, decided that all the folk who indicated they would like a pair for themselves or a little relative would get a pair!*

*Provided they had commented by the time I made that decision on March 15th.

Here is the winners list:

Jenny – 2 pairs for your nieces

Claire – 2 pairs one each for Jessie and Megan

Fran – 1 green pair

Jem – 1 blue & white pair

Lisa – 1 green pair

Kerry – 1 fancy flounced pair

Sharon – 1 orange pair

If you will all bear with me the gloves will arrive on your doorsteps in due course.  I thought I would send the Southern Hemisphere ones first seeing as how winter is knocking gently on our doors and send the northern climes ones off slowly over the next three months or so.  No postage required, but addresses are if you have never received anything from me before.  My email address can be found on the ‘Contact Me’ page.

If you would like yours sooner please just let me know.

Lisa I will personally hand deliver yours 🙂

Here is my daughter ‘modelling’ her new mittens and matching infinity scarf, made for her birthday.


Here is Siddy looking all ‘Bad to the Bone’ in his new winter jacket – especially for Jill

Badtothe Bone1Back View – he did not understand a photo pose that did not have his smiling face in it



So we have this also


Here is the latest picking from my tomato crop – another two bowls like this and we will be done for the year.  Not a bug or a mildew or a mark to be seen on any of them.  So proud!  Companion planting and wicked water tubs rock!   Thanks Fran and Robbie!

tomatoes 3 15

If I’m not always visiting your blog, or not commenting as much as usual, please forgive me – I am a tad over committed at the moment and just trying to keep on top.  Normal service will be resumed soon.

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

Don’t Put Off Til Tomorrow ….

This was to be a post about an opera and some mittens – instead it will be a brief cautionary tale involving thoughts and irons and puppies and Emergency Rooms……..

You know how sometimes a day just starts off wrong?  Something is amiss, something escapes you, something is askew within your psyche…….?  My day started like that yesterday.  I was just a little grumpy, a little out of sorts, vaguely irritated with life.  No reason to be so, no idea why and seemingly no way to step out of it.  I went into the ‘just accept that today is an off day’ mode and watched the cricket, which even though the Black Caps won and We Beat the Aussies didn’t quite dispel the malaise.  And I worked a number of rows on the third incarnation of my crochet jacket [the tale of which is a whole other story] and finally toddled off to bed saying all will be well in the morning!

It was well-er in the morning, but not quite on top of my game I ignored the ironing board still sitting up in my workroom with several lightly steamed mittens laid out drying on its towelled surface.  I looked at the iron and thought, I should put that away and went on to the next thing.

The next thing was to have my shower, wash my hair and return to my workroom to begin the routine of light yoga stretches I had begun [again] to do each morning a couple or several weeks ago and had so far managed three consecutive mornings on. I lay on the floor beside the ironing board and began the alternate leg raising scenarios while puppy thumped me on the head with his latest ‘fetch’ toy.  Being ignored he gave up and skipped happily across my stomach to go sit on his chair.

Siddy had his haircut last week in a #1, he is ready for the army!

Siddy had his haircut last week in a #1, he is ready for the army!

After I finished jerking and moaning with pain from the hefty leaps of the careless puppy, I took a moment to straighten my spine out, stretch myself to my full 5′ 31/2″ and do some slow, deep breathing.  As I relaxed and centred myself Siddy jumped from his chair and something cold and very heavy, reminiscent of a brick, landed just to the left of my left eye.

For a moment I was completely stunned, then I am ashamed to say, I roared something rather akin to “Cheeses Crisp!” as I clutched at my eye to see if it was still there.  The pain was blinding and my hand did not recognise what it fell upon – something hard and cold and heavy.  I pulled it off my face with my right hand and saw it was the iron I had failed to put away.  My left hand was cupping the pain in that eye and when I pulled it back I saw it red with blood.

I don’t do blood!

Luckily there was the towel that had been wrapped about my wet hair and I used that to mop up the red stuff.

Eventually I staggered up to my feet and found a mirror to peer into.  Blood was smeared all about the top of my eye and was still oozing out of a jagged cut that would have, on any pirate, looked rather daring-do!  However on a somewhat tousled, stunned looking upper-middle-aged woman – well, it just lacked that certain debonair charm.

Feeling a tad off my game, which hadn’t been that great to start with you may recall, I sent a text off to my daughter who was on her early shift crying out for help.  My youngest daughter is terribly practical and very clever at fixing things and finding solutions to problems and is my go-to when my brain has shut down.  Which it had.

Within moments she was with me – and within more moments we were in the doors of the Accident and Emergency Dept of Dunedin Hospital where we spent the next half hour waiting to be seen and eventually I was adopted by a lovely nurse, poked with a particularly nasty biting needle, cleaned up, stitched where possible and glued in the other bits and finally eye examined for subterranean problems by a charming resident.  Eventually I was pronounced almost as good as a new one because I would likely now and forever after sport a dashing scar by my eye and sent on my way with dire warnings about wetting, touching or otherwise unduly disturbing the unstitched part of the wound for five days and a tube of antibiotic cream which I must on no account use as it would likely wet, touch or unduly disturb the unstitched part of the wound……..  so I left it in my daughters car.

So here I sit, slightly head-achy, a little the worse for wear – and my dears I am at an age when one needs all the help one can get in terms of ‘wear’ – but with no-one to blame but myself!

What I find really hilarious is that on reading a post from one of my lovely blogger friends early this morning, and still in a slightly irascible frame of mind, I had written a comment that had stated my desire that the world and her husband get their acts together and take responsibility for their choices and decisions.

Now that I have finished roaring with laughter at myself and acknowledged wryly that Karma is indeed a bitch – yes. I should have put the iron away and my morning would have been way more productive and you would now be coming to the end of a lovely post all about opera and mittens and, my friends – freebies!

I still have to write that one and if you would like to come by again to read it and find out about another giveaway, that would indeed be grand!

teal on hand

Until then – thanks for coming by today today, I love that you did!

The Adventures of Siddy

It’s time for a Siddy update – just for his fans you understand.

Do you remember that about seven weeks ago Siddy had his first haircut and returned home a very clean and cute wee pup?  This was him a few days ago

Ds first haircut before 9 11

Already looking decidedly raggedy again and with the groomer booked up until the end of February, YD decided we could do it ourselves.  I was not so confident given the way he leaps about when I’m brushing and combing him, but she was certain it was straight forward.  Her words in fact were “How hard can it be?”


Looks good right?  There are no further photos of the process as my main job was to hold him steady while she clipped along his back and sides and then to hold him down forcibly when she got to the tricky bits about his eyes and other cringe making body parts.

We took several breaks to regain our aplomb after mis-snips and close shaves, and to allow Siddy a breather and a treat or two for being such a ‘Good Boy!’   Eventually, we decided to leave the finishing bits ’til tomorrow’ and I gave Siddy a bath and let him chase the hot air of the dryer for a longer time as a special treat.

Finally, twenty four hours later we had this happy and relieved little pup



YD later reported to her work colleagues that groomers earn every last cent of their fee!

I went to Mudpuppy and promptly booked Siddy in for grooming every seven weeks for the entire year of 2015.  The groomer smiled broadly as I related our tale of home hair cutting and announced that for a first try it wasn’t too bad………….. bless her!


Siddy has always enjoyed his baths.  Right from when he was a tiny wee chap and I bathed him in the hand basin when he got covered in mud and other things better to draw a veil over, to now when he is a big boy and stands in the bath tub while I shower him down.  I lift him in and lift him out and rub him down with his towel and then turn the hair dryer on him while he rolls around and tries to catch the hot air.  It’s a lot of fun and he has a thoroughly enjoyable time.  [Although I’m usually pretty done in by the time he is dry!]   He enjoys it all so much that when we come home after a walk, and if he is muddy, he marches himself straight through to the bathroom and sits by the bathtub ready for me to do my part.

But then, two days ago Siddy taught himself a new game.

The first I knew about it was when, from the corner of my eye, I noticed him running backwards and forwards between his toy basket and the the hallway – always with a different toy in his mouth.  He is much given to arranging his toys in formation in different areas of the house, or piling them up for either Orlando or me to find later, so I didn’t think much of it.  Until there was a resounding clatter and crash and bang coming distinctly from the bathroom.  I put down my work and went to see.


After I had finished roaring with laughter I rushed to get the camera and returned in time to find him making sure everyone was behaving themselves


To finish off, here is a photo of Siddy [pre-haircut #2] enjoying time with his favourite visitor of all – there is a whole little ritual that has to be gone through and if she doesn’t call in at least every two days he starts looking for her – that’s love!

SiddysBFF Nov14

Do you notice Siddy has a new toy basket?  He ate his original lovely wicker one.

My next aim is to remember to take the camera on our morning walks so you get to see Siddy flying around the park.  But as I haven’t remembered in five months, don’t hold your breath in anticipation will you…………


My November Goalfest is to complete my ‘Dangler of International Happiness’  and I am working away happily on it every evening.  It is almost finished – expect a post about that soon.

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







Growing in a Very Small Garden

I have written before about my small flat and uber tiny garden and this year I have attempted to grow more than a few flowers and a couple of lettuces around the edges of my outdoor space.  Let’s be very clear about this space I refer to as ‘my tiny courtyard garden’.  It is really just a glorified narrow walkway that has been fenced off between the two flats.  It measures 180 x 500 cm.  One end and one side has a built up narrow garden bed.  I say ‘garden bed’ but when I arrived the soil was hard, dry, worm-less and sour.  It sported a luxurious growth of oxalis [wood sorrel].  I spent the first year digging kitchen waste in and letting it rot down.  I planted a lavender and Boston Ivy and Jasmine to cover the ugly fence.


Everything is growing so nicely – by Autumn 2011 Outdoor Sid sat beneath a flaming canopy of Boston Ivy and was so beautiful

Buddha 3 cropped

Inspired by the endless tales and photos of abundance that come streaming in from so many of the dearly loved blogs* I follow and educated beyond belief in the arts of ‘water wicked containers’ [‘Wicked’ as in candle-wick not the ‘wicked witch’ as I originally thought – insert red face here!] thanks to the sterling efforts of one narf77, I hit the sales and got myself organised over a period of about three months.

I made lots of compost, purchased two really big self watering and be-wheeled troughs and many small plastic brightly coloured containers and buckets.  I made holes all around the sides of the plastic containers about 15 cm up from the bottom, filled the bottom spaces with gravel and filled the rest of the containers up with layers of dried lavender branches, compost and good organic potting soil.  I kept buying tubs and making them up until I had no more plants left and coincidentally, no more space left.

3 sept

I wanted to go up as much as possible, but preliminary investigation made it obvious I was not going to be able to hammer in some trellis to the house walls or to hang baskets from those same walls.  They are stucco and not very good stucco either.  The windows are aluminium and there is virtually no good wood available to use as an anchor.  Back to the drawing board.

A wander around Bunnings found me standing in front of a  random collection of green plastic stakes attractively wrapped in a single piece of cardboard proclaiming themselves tomato tripods.  I bought one and took it home to play with.  It was perfect – three stakes with one end sharply pointed, nine cross bars to attach the stakes together either as a triangle or in a straight line and fitting perfectly into my big troughs and around the outside of my larger plastic tubs.   I raced back and bought five more.

While my courtyard currently looks like a harbour full of sailing ships with sails furled it won’t be too long before all kinds of yummy things and pretty things are scrambling all over the place.  I hope.

10 sept

To join in with the things already flourishing in the garden – the lavender and Boston Ivy and gorgeous Jasmine that falls over Outdoor Sid’s head, I have planted three different tomatoes, two heirlooms and one not.  Strawberries and petunias are planted about them as companions.  Ten lettuces of different varieties, arugula, perpetual spinach, silver beet [chard], celery, broccoli and cauliflower.  There is also a bucket full of peas [bit worried about these, not a lot of room for them to go up or out really]

Herbs include parsley, oregano. thyme, mint and nepeta [catmint] joining the Bay tree in a pot.

8 sept

There are three hanging baskets on the fence holding sweet peas and strawberries and lobelia, petunias and alyssum for pretty colour.  There are buckets of pansies scattered about on the shadier side and getting ready to grace the front step when ready.

For good luck I threw a handful of nasturtium seeds into the garden as well – but Orlando rebelled and sat on top of most of them as they germinated.  He’s lost most of his sun bathing spots and is reduced to communing with Outdoor Sid’s companion cat


Tig and Cat1

Or sitting atop the fence and dreaming of days gone by when he had an outdoor space to call his own and there was no helpful little puppy bounding about.  Poor Orlando!

25 10 14 1

Helpful puppy

5 sept

I seem to have made my own little eco-system in this tiny enclosed space and everything is growing like crazy.  I’ll post a follow up in a month just to see how it’s doing.

I’m already eating lettuce, spinach and arugula.  The herbs are all in second or third year and still producing.  I would have liked to put in some cucumbers and capsicums, but ran out of space.  Maybe next year.

*For those of you who may be interested in my gardening inspirations I follow these bloggers closely and all have been most generous with their inspirations, advice and thoughtful comments.

Fran at The Road to Serendipity

Alys at Gardening Nirvana

Robbie at Palm Rae Urban Potager

Wendy at Quarter-Acre Lifestyle

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

In Which Siddy Has a Haircut

No posts for almost a month and then two in two days – nothing like variety to keep us on our toes!

Yesterday I mentioned that Siddy was at the groomers.  So many of you wanted to see the new look Siddy – were you one of them?  Well then, read on – or if you are pushed for time, just skip down to the pictures.

I wrote my last post while Siddy was away on a little adventure of his own.  I dropped him off at Mudpuppy at 12.30 with instructions to retrieve him at 4pm.  I was a tad concerned, this little guy is nearly always with me, or waiting in the car for me or with his favourite aunt………..

I felt like one of those overprotective, hovering mothers who were so bothersome when I was a teacher.

I needn’t have concerned myself!  My raggedy little fella disappeared off quite happily with his new best friend and I wandered off, noticing an odd absence besides me.

When last you saw Siddy, he looked like this

14 sept

Or, in a slightly more elegant pose

Frisbee 5 9 14

Our blogging buddy Boomdeeadda did something very clever with this photo on her iphone, but unfortunately I couldn’t copy it over to here – suffice to say Siddy began to speak English, with a slight Canadian accent, in a tone that sounded exactly like the one he would have if he could actually speak!

He’s such a cute little guy, his mouth is so expressive, but you rarely see his beautiful round black eyes.  He is a rotund, fast moving, joyful ball of energy with rippling waves of long hair.

Or he was.

At 4 pm I returned to Mudpuppy and the groomer came out holding a blindingly white pup in her arms.  For a brief moment I didn’t recognise my boy, then he leapt from her arms into mine and there he was –  all short hair, clean and sweet smelling and so very, very soft.


My puppy has beautiful, expressive, deep set eyes framed by long black eyelashes


My puppy is very happy!


He is very happy to be out of his thick, long coat and now no longer simply jumps about the room – he flies!

Orlando is NOT pleased.  But he’ll get over himself soon enough.

I am very mindful of the fact that when you have a pup as happy as this one, so in the moment and so enchanted with every aspect of his life – some of it has to rub off on you.  Magic!!

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


Sometimes I Sits and Thinks …….

Sometimes I sits and thinks

And sometimes I just sits ……

                                                ~  AA Milne


I have been contemplative for a whole month.  I didn’t realise it until I arrived at the epiphany last night.  I was busy telling myself to get on with  ….. something, anything really.  I have a dozen projects at varying stages from starting off to half way through and only one of them has made any progress in the last four weeks.

I was sitting and thinking – or just sitting.  Or gardening and thinking, or just gardening.


Sometimes I was driving and thinking – but mostly just driving.

And then I was introduced to a new blog.  My pal Frank held a blog party and I went along and met some lovely and interesting new folks, including Robin and I read this on her blog

I want to be magic.  I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile.  I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree.  Or under a hill.  I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing.  I don’t want to pretend at magic any more.  I want to be magic.                                  ~  Charles de Lint


I heard myself take a sharp in-breath as I read these words and something deep, deep down inside of me sat up and smiled.  I have so much magic in my life and I want to be magic too.  I want to experience what it is like when I live every day looking into the world around me and seeing the magic in nature, in people, in events; knowing anything is possible and trusting in it and keeping that in the fore-front of my mind.  It is time, said the deep-down, smiling some-one, to stand up and be counted; to put your money where your mouth is; to walk the talk and live in the trust.  It is time to put aside all doubt, all fear and celebrate what you know to be true.  Life is a miracle and it works in you and through you and is found in every one and everything – the seen and the unseen!  I know these things, I just don’t always allow myself to live in them and with them.

I went to bed and slept fitfully.  My head and heart were tingling with excitement and possibilities and newness and potential and wonder.  Somewhere during the night I realised I had been sitting and thinking and sometimes just sitting, letting everything settle and just be, because now was the right time to simply live in the magic.  And, as always, someone else had to proffer me the way forward.  Alys had asked me if I thought procrastination was sometimes a cover for fear.  “It’s always a cover for fear!”  I had replied and heard myself. Thank you Frank, thank you Robin and thank you Alys!

And did you notice, right there we had an example of magic in action!

I have been learning a poem.  Inspired by my friend Christi who taught herself a multi-layered, beautiful poem in three short weeks, I blundered about picking and discarding and not quite finding the right one until another blogging friend, Kerry, posted this on her site

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree 

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes  dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds from the shore;

While I stand on the road way, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

~ WB Yeats

When I first heard this poem spoken, many years ago now, I wept.  For me, the perennial gypsy, it has always represented my longed for home, my safe haven – my place on earth.  Now I have learned it and say it to myself many times a day and let it be part of me along with the new acceptance of magic.

I am ready to begin work again!  And this morning, just to solidify the whole deal with another sprinkle of serendipitous magic my fat-bottomed friends posted a ‘Getting Fierce GOALFEST’ which I bravely/foolishly/fool-heartedly/wisely/positively/magically joined in with and vowed – VOWED –  to complete the mixed media painting that has been languishing around in the art room and various other rooms of the house for some three months and which is destined for my dear friend, the lovely Alys.  I have until the end of the month………

The lovely Orlando is recovering well from a bout of spray poisoning which included a quite spectacular bout of projectile vomiting.  The lovely Siddy is off getting his first hair cut – and incidentally only his second adventure sans mumma ever.  I wonder how he is doing, but I did get this post up and out in record time without him!

And to finish, here are a few more shots of Siddy helping with the gardening.5 sept


13 sept


6 sept

14 sept

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






After the Party & The Winner

I had such a wonderful birthday week – and it featured so many lovely messages and gifts from my friends in this blogging community and on face book that I almost became speechless.   To you all, each and every one of you who so loyally read and comment and interact and join in the spirit of this blog – a huge heartfelt thank you and a great big bear hug 🙂  You all really made my week overflow with your warmth and kindness and generosity.

Here is my birthday cake – well, more of a rather lovely birthday dessert really, the recipe for which, I think [I hope I remember this correctly] came to me via the lovely Fran.  It is made with dates and nuts and bananas and coconut and cacao and surrounded with these dear tiny peanut butter chocolates which were a tiny bit fiddly to make, but unbelievably scrummy and I shall be making many more of them  🙂

birthday cake

And here is the delightful Siddy waiting for his piece

Siddy on chair 5 9 14

While the mail man was kept busy bringing interesting and unexpected packages to the door for the birthday event, there were also little packages arriving with items for the ‘Dangler of International Happiness’   I now have items from Australia and Tasmania [yes I know, but it is a different land mass], the UK and Canada.  I’m not showing anything yet as there will be a wee competition held for the unveiling – but my it is going to be so pretty!  And I wish I had taken photos of the gorgeous soaps and creams all wrapped up in lace that the lovely Wendy sent – but suffice to say that when she remembers her recipe for the face cream I shall be among the first customers – it is so soft and creamy and delightful!!

When the door bell chimed in the middle of my birthday I was stuck ungracefully beneath a furry pile of puppy and cat.  My youngest daughter said to me – you have to go get that.  By the time I had disengaged myself and opened the door there was no-one there, but a beautiful bouquet of white flowers lay in front of the screen door.  “Good God!” I exclaimed.  “I brought you flowers my child”  said a cheerful, disembodied voice.  “Thank you God!” I replied.

It wasn’t actually God who sent me a bouquet of white roses and lilies and orchids for my special day – it was the lovely Alys.  Here’s me holding the bouquet looking somewhat befuddled, over-whelmed and over-come and in need of a hair cut!

And, as Alys noted, that’s Siddy attempting his first photo bombing.

birthday flowers

Throughout the birthday week, which was spent primarily with my favourite people in the whole world – my two daughters – the puppy was pretty much the centre of attention. Then Orlando decided it was time to give up his hunger strike and join in.  He began to reclaim all his pampered cat rights and climbed down from his table of discontent and returned to sleeping on the bed, sitting on chairs and knees and generally being sociable again.  Whilst nobody ever remembered to photograph anything we were treated to some lovely moments as my birthday wish came true and my pets began to spend companionable time together.

They now share a bed, a chair, my knee.  I snapped this early this morning surreptitiously so as not to disturb the early morning bathing ritual.

Caught6 5 9 14

And now for your viewing pleasure here is Siddy, his aunt YD and me as filmed by the lovely ED who was experimenting with slo-mo on her iphone camera

One of my birthday gifts was a kick start for my vegetable garden.  It included a large bag of organic compost, salady and herby seedlings and yesterday I made a big mess in the tiny courtyard and got started

Garden3 sept 14

We are going up folks – I have no idea how it will turn out, but I discovered some most handy contraptions at Bunnings which have the advantage of being both flexible and affordable.  They can be used as a trellis or a tripod and will be most handy for the likes of tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and maybe even some sweet peas just because I love them.  I’m also hoping to get some hanging baskets in but not sure what might grow best in them – any suggestions?

Today the mail man brought me my gold card – I am now an official OAP – rolling on the floor, holding my sides, roaring with laughter!  I can ride the buses for free and go half price to the movies.  Whoo-hoo!!

And now here [rather belatedly, for which I am not sorry as it is due to the extortionate amount of partying that has been going on round here] is the announcement you really came by for – the winner of an assortment of postcard size prints of my mixed media paintings.

Twenty-five names written on cut up strips of paper

Draw1 6 9 14

Placed in my favourite coffee mug

Draw2 6 9 14

Vigorously shaken, stirred and tipped over

Draw3 6 9 14

And the winner is ta – daaaaaaaa

The lovely Lady Gallivanta from the shaken but not stirred City of Christchurch.

Gallivanta, will you go to the ‘Contact Me’ page below the lovely Orlando’s photo at the top of the blog and send me your address please and then I shall mail off to you as speedily as possible a small assortment of postcards.

To the rest of you, my lovely ethersphere friends, thank you for coming by today, I love that you did  🙂