Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Family emergency - blog silence for a while

Dear Blog lurkers, drop-inners, regular friends and passers by.

Due to a family emergency in the UK, I will be airbound tomorrow morning and not sure when I will return to the blog. In theory I will be back in Middle Earth mid - February, but it's one of those "don't know" situations.

Thank you for your regular readership, comments and all round bloggy loveliness. See you soon I hope.

Sparrowchatter and her furry friends

Monday, 28 January 2013

Whimsical Windows Delirious Doors 61

At the River Cottage Cafe, Otaki

Sunday, 27 January 2013

In praise of making faces

As I sat and sewed under a gazebo on our deck this afternoon, I got to thinking, did the Maker of the Universe have as much fun making and designing our facial expressions as I did making these? Did the God of Heaven sit under a celestial umbrella and dream up the nations / nationalities and variations on a theme? Fanciful I know. 
We are made in His image, so there must be a sprinkle of His creative fun in our DNA. I confess however, that I am not gifted enough to dream up a giraffe or warthog!

And in case we were in any doubt WHO we bought the new garden bench for........

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Time to reflect

After much struggling and one knee scraping trip on my face, I gave up trying to erect our gazebo alone. My next door neighbours came to the rescue, and for the next 10 days we are promised sunshine with light winds, I will be retreating under this awning on the deck. My husband is somewhere between Auckland and Hong Kong as I type this, and I am already counting down the days until his return.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Waiting for de boidies

Miss Cumin believes if she waits by the bread crumbs the birds will come and visit her.

Ruppin tries to dissolve into the background, got to love those stripes and spots!

We have raised another muesli thief. No abandoned breakfast on the deck is sacred!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Introducing Polina

She is quirky and quizzical and made from 1970s linen. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Whimsical Windows Delirious Doors 60

I just came across some photos (when looking for something else) of our trip to Israel in 2004. This was taken in the old city of Jaffa. This is a photo of a photo, so the quality isn't good. However, what can take away from that bold and beautiful bouganvillea?

Delicate outside the deli

Beauty easily overlooked. 
Outside Dunshea's Deli, Khandallah, Wellington

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cheers, it's the weekend

Wishing you a delicious Wellington Anniversary Weekend (if you are in Wellington!)
Floriditas Cuba Street, Wellington

Friday, 18 January 2013

Mutant broccoli and latte stealing cats

Today we drove an hour north of the capital to a small town called Otaki. We both needed new shoes and there are a few outlet shops on the high street. I also wanted to check out other vintage fabric possibilities for my Matryoshka dolls.

On the way we stopped at our favourite cafe in the area The River Cottage Cafe (latterly the Brown Sugar Cafe). Tom, the resident cafe cat tried twice to steal part of my husband's danish pastry. Ever indulgent, I fed him the froth off my cappucino to distract him.

The other advantage of heading to the Horowhenua region is that it is the "vegetable basket" of the N. Island. This monstrous broccoli weighed 2.1kg AFTER its outer leaves and stalk were removed. Anyone got any recipes for broccoli?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Three sisters, Olga, Natalya and Sofia

By popular request, my first three dolls. Sofia is a bit distracted and not looking straight ahead! Helena, do you recognise that spoon?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Introducing Sofia

Outside the wind is howling, and I could almost imagine a Siberian winter sitting on the other side of our curtains as I made Sofia. I now have three Russian ladies sitting amongst my Russian books - Chekov would approve. Perhaps they are the Three Sisters!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Whimsical Windows, delirious doors 59

One of the many amazing windows on Cuba Street. This used to be a Czech cafe, which became a French cafe, which is currently a very good Caribbean Cafe. If only windows could talk!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Introducing Olga

Here is my second attempt at making a doll. She is more "Woodcutter's daughter" than Natalya. I would be curious to know if you prefer the open or closed eyes?

The local hostelry of coffeeness

Until last year we had cause to complain that we couldn't get a good cup of coffee locally, without having to hop into our car and drive a couple of kms. Our local town is lovely, but somehow the coffee entrepreneurs that are every 10 metres in the capital had sped past us. Well no more. Within 5 minutes walk (down a steep hill) we now have a local hostelry of coffeeness.  "Little Bohemian". Really good coffee, great service and nice cosy atmosphere.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Great Aunt Agapantha is in town

Hot on the heels of the Honorable Foxglove (Bart), 
glides Countess Agapantha. 
She is a bit of a bully and will not be evicted
when even asked nicely. 
But her blue and white blooms never fail to impress, 
and would spoil the aspirations of a Rose Empress.
(a bit corny, but the best I could do early in the morning!)

Monday, 7 January 2013

Whimsical Windows Delirious Doors 58

My favourite independent bookshop and music emporium "Parsons", Lambton Quay, Wellington. Upstairs there is a very dinky wee cafe, and always the most amazing classical music playing. It is still owned and run by the same family after 55 years of ownership.

The local bakery in my town. This ad was obviously not a Saachi and Saachi design, but hey, it gets the message across!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Introducing Natalya

At some point in my childhood I was introduced to Matryoshka dolls. I don't know when, or who owned the set I first saw, but I was entranced.

I didn't play with dolls. I preferred jigsaws and teddy bears. So to be so fascinated by dolls was unusual. I suspect this, and the BBC adaptation of "War and Peace" in 1971, was to start my lifelong fascination for Russia.

I acquired my first set of nesting dolls during a trip to Russia in 1990 (my first visit). Three more sets have joined them since - only the traditional design. The more modern "trap the tourist" type, produced in quantities worthy of a Five Year Plan, hold no real attraction for me.

For years I have intended making my own version of a Russian Doll. I don't do woodwork, so I thought I would sew one instead. This weekend, I finally got around to making her. Here she is, my prototypskaya. I may make more, if the whim takes me, but for the moment, Natalya will do well.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Surprise on Shabbat

As you get older, "firsts" seem to have wider gaps between them. This afternoon I experienced a new "first". A lovely start to 2013.

My husband and I went for a long walk along a stretch of seashore just to the north of where we live. It is quite an affluent little village, and the village council (or someone else) has installed some very well made wooden seats at intervals along the beach. At the end of our walk, we perched on one of these seats and watched the waves and the island opposite.

Just as we were getting up, my husband put his hand on something on the seat. Thinking it was a pebble that someone had picked up and discarded, he was about to throw it onto the beach. Then he looked closer. It was a piece of beautiful driftwood. He turned it over in his hand and was stunned by what was on the reverse. Here it is.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Water off a duck's back

Keeping cool on New Year's Eve. 
Botanical Gardens Wellington