Festive table decor

Yes, much as I love pinecones and harvest themed table decor, after only a few short weeks I’m ready to go festive. It helps that my Mum is coming for a visit and so we squash all our festivities for the year into the trip and so it’s easy to feel a fiesta coming on!

Festive Table Decor3

I toyed with the idea of buying real plants – red geraniums – to go in the aqua pots I have (I use these turquoise ceramic pots to: hold the dishwash & brush, hold the table linen, and home a declining aloe vera plant) but I decided that I should make do with what I had. I tipped all the stuff out of the pots and filled them with various ‘reds’ from other projects. Repurpose!

I had some red paper roses and fading red feathers, some gorgeous plastic sweetpeas that my Mum gave to me for my first Mother’s Day (I know, cute isn’t it!) and some red berries that I use for everything.

Unfortunately, I’d stored the berries in our laundry-rumpus room and the spiders have been busy making whoopee on the fake foliage and laying their egg sacs! So I had to abandon them outside until the babies have hatched, and come up with an interim solution of pinecones, felthearts and red pipe cleaners.


For the flowers to stay in position, I  criss-crossed ‘sellotape’ across the vase in a 3×3 grid to keep the flowers in place. For the hearts in the pinecones, I skewered the hearts onto the pointy end of BBQ bamboo sticks. There’s a danger for the toddler to be interested… but so far, if it’s not a truck, it’s untouched!

Just need to make a secret ‘Welcome Nanny England!” sign in complementary colours and the vignette is complete!


Simple Needlebook

I was inspired to make a simple needlebook today – I’ve been needing one for a while, I keep my needles in a fancy Kauri wood toothpick holder but I’ve been thinking of upgrading.


Now I would have loved to do the apple or owl style that’s out there (and I will, the minute I have a spare dollar for some red and brown felt), but I was compelled to use what was in my Tardis Craft Cupboard.

So I raided my shoebox of fabric scraps, the bag of embroidery threads, the tub of ribbons. It’s not fancy, but it’s a simple needlebook with one purpose: needle storage.

While I was getting all the gear together, I made a fascinating, if slightly belated discovery… the bag of embroidery threads that I’ll be using from now until doomsday – a hand-me-down from a co-worker’s husband who found it somewhere else – contained some beige floss, wrapped around a paper tube.

I’ve never paid it any mind until today when I caught a glimpse of a red postal stamp. I took the thread off and discovered it was an envelope from Sydney Trades Hall sent to its recipients on 19 April 1945! I don’t know if that means all the thread is nearly 70 years old (holy moly!) or just the one on the envelope.


Back to the needlebook. Here’s what I had available, hot pink flannel, grey linen (from a  separate hand-me-down bag of fabric), some pink & orange cotton fabric that I loved when I bought it but only had two 3″ squares left, and some orange floss from the bag of oldies but goodies.


What I used:

  1. Pinking shears
  2. Two rectangles of fabric – one linen, one felty
  3. Smaller rectangles of felt for the ‘needle’ pages within
  4. Embroidery floss and regular cotton thread
  5. Applique paper

What I did:

I cut the rectangles out the same size for the outer and inner ‘needlebook’ cover.

Using estimates of where the hem would be, I folded the rectangle in half and sewed the embellishments on the ‘front’ first. I appliqued a heart and square. A running stitch around the square and a chain stitch on the heart.

Putting the big rectangles right sides facing, I sewed them together. I left a an opening so I could put the material the right way round. I used a running stitch to close the gap and around the edge of the whole book, because I liked the orange on the hot-pink.

A quick running stitch to attach the ‘needle’ pages to the book and it looks great in contrasting colour thread on the spine of the ‘book’.

Voila. A home for my two dozen needles!

Easter Rabbits

Some of you may remember my Sock Monkey Madness, well, in honour of my home-county’s Mad March Hare festival, I have started on the slippery slope to going Sock Bunny Bonkers…


I found this lady’s tutorial for the cutest lop-eared bunny rabbit. In my opinion, it’s the nicest sock rabbit out there online. Some of the others look cool – like those little monster creatures –  but not floppy-eared like this one.


My Marshmallow insisted, as I made it (occasionally, I craft in front of my cutie-pie while he plays with cars or blocks, as I think it’s nice for him to know what I like to do), that I should “Put eyes on,” and “Tickly!” as he rubbed its tail on his nose.  Ha ha. He was also pulling it, stretching its limbs to torturous capacity and the thread held!

Sock Rabbit 3

As for the Mad March (all year) Hare Festival in Cirencester, England, how cool is that! My Mum went on the weekend and got some snaps. As a family, I suspect we’re on Jimmy Stewart’s side with his pal Harvey!






Dream Catch Me

DreamcatcherAnyone who knows me in the real, knows that  I’ve read the Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables books ad nauseam. From the age of 11 or 12, I ‘ve read them at least once a year. Never gets old. Don’t know how the author did it. I guess, it’s because when you read as a kid, you hear a different story to the one you hear at 22 or 32. Anyway. The connection today is Anne’s House of Dreams. I’ll get there, I promise.

I saw, on Pinterest, a pretty picture of a hoop looped with yarn catching a heart in the centre, and when I read the comments, I saw that it was a dreamcatcher in progress.

It looked a little different to the Dreamcatchers of mine and my brother’s youth, but it made me look up dreamcatchers on the internet.

I found this gorgeous website explaining how to make them. I like their notions: the first one is never perfect; place a bead in the third or fourth round to represent the spider of the web – perfect for this time of year, Autumn with all the spiders busy making their webs. And my favourite part: the dreams you want to catch are decided when you make it.



So as I made mine – a prototype I think, there will be more I’m sure (watch out for your Christmas gifts guys!) – I thought what dreams I wanted this one to catch and I decided, it’s a this house dreamcatcher.

The same website has a lovely couple of paragraphs on the origins of these and I love that children’s dreamcatchers are different from adults and are expected not to last: As our dreams change throughout our lives, so should the webs we weave.

This was a quick naptime project. Completed in way less than an hour!


I used an embroidery hoop, embroidery floss, three feathers pinched from my Valentines Wreath (it’s looking ever so bald now!), and four beads from a Christmas decoration. I know, Little Miss Pinch-It. I’ve hooked it on the door of Marshmallow’s bedroom for now until it finds a real home. I hope it catches his dreams (he’s still asleep!)

What my daydream is that one day he and I will get to make a Hula-Hoop-sized Dreamcatcher together. Watch this space!

Autumn Subway Art – free printable

I saw some lovely subway art posters on Pinterest – but since Southern Hemisphere autumns are ever so slightly different to Northern Hemisphere autumns I thought I should make one myself.

I thought about our Autumn, what we do.


Just realised that I missed off ‘bomby knockers’, aka Magnolia Tree cones – Marshmallow thought they were maracas last week on one of our meadow walks.

I saw our first Crane Fly today but got to say, ‘Daddy-Long-Legs’ looks better in type.

Driving home from work at 1am, there are wispy ghosts across the road from the river-mists.  The dawn chill is truly Antarctic. Sometimes the bonfire smell is from the traditional Maori cooking ‘hangi’ but at this time of year, it’s the farmers, post-harvest.Autumn-In-Situ


So, as a thank you for the bounty of being alive in these halcyon days, I thought I’d share this printable with you.  It’s available for free to download and print as a .pdf file – A4 size – at Google Drive by clicking here.  Enjoy!

Here’s a black version I made, but it isn’t on google drive. If you’d like it, let me know and I’ll do the same.



Happy Harvest-time!



Autumn Wreath


Last year,  I was  just as thrifty and imoverished as I am this year.  I didn’t have the moulah to buy a polystyrene wreath, I had no pool noodle to hand, but I really wanted a wreath. So I used a bit of genetically provided ingenuity (thanks Mum) on how could I make one with things I had at home.

I used:

1. A wooden hanger

2. Heavy cardboard

3. Old clothes – stretchy works best – cut into strips

4. Burlap – in strips

5. The original wreath – things to embellish – pine cones, berries, & pipe cleaners to attach the goodies.

5b. The new wreath – things to embellish – two colours of felt cut into heart shapes, complementary wool to attach the goodies.

Using  a wooden hanger, I attached a cardboard semi-circle to the bottom of it – making an approximate circle. I wraapped it in old clothes several layers thick to pad it up, and then wrapped it in red burlap.   Some red berries I’d bought for $1 and pine cones I’d found for free, voila, I had this beautifully misshapen, lumpy and very heavy wreath! It looked good to my eyes. Not professional or purchased, but home-made and homey. 


It’s held up really well.

I retired it for spring and summer – you can see the Valentines wreath I made recently with the red berries, but Autumn is tapping her golden fingers in this hemisphere and so I pulled it out of hiding last week.

I was inspired by this lady blogger’s – friend’s  – St Patrick’s Day wreath at their recent craft night.

I cut out dark red hearts and little grey hearts and used some pink yarn I had lying around to attach it. I love it!



Easy Autumn Table centrepiece

Over summer, I’ve had a sad, crisping basil plant on my dining table. Don’t get me wrong, fresh basil on my pizza or on my marinading olives, Mamma Mia! But not a beautiful sight…

But now it’s my favourite time of the year, I thought I’d gussy up the dining table, remind me of the splendour of the golden season.

It’s funny how being cheap nets amazing results: by using resources that are available in the house, or outside for free.

Even better, my boy and I got to go collecting (swamp) oak leaves today for the finishing touches. We went to a fairy beach (an estuary beach) at low tide. The mud was peppered with little stones — or so I thought — apparently they are periwinkles and considered a delicacy by the Maori, we met a fella out there with two buckets and a white Tintin dog.  So watch out, we’ll be harvesting some of these little sea snails soon enough and I’ll tell you all about it!

Back to my gorgeous, golden harvest table centrepiece.

Autumn Table

It’s an assemblage really. I used the Happy Holidays tray I used for my Christmas vignette. A scrap of orange material from my craft cupboard to line the tray – although once the pinecones, oranges, apples & oak leaves are on the tray, the fabric makes negligible difference. 

I only had apples & oranges in my fruitbowl (bananas don’t go!) and I like the organic nature of the look, precisely because I sourced what I found naturally in my home, if that makes sense.

Autumn Table

Pumpkins are available in NZ, but not the big orange ones (at the supermarket, probably at a farmers market) and also I can’t bear the thought of buying something that will decay without being eaten: we do that often enough with just regular food we bring into the house! The candle was a gift from a work colleague – one of those fancy ones that smells all the way through. Unbelievably, the flavour of that candle is sweetpea. I know! Serendipity!