Happy Ramblings

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year to you! 2024

Happy New Year 2024

Sending you warm wishes for a happy New Year filled with love and joy. May your heart be light, your days be bright and your year be just right.

Have the happiest New Year!

Hugs, Rose xxx

Monday, December 25, 2023

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

I have been making Christmas decorations


House Christmas tree decoration
I have spent the past few weeks busily enjoying myself getting ready for Christmas. The Christmas presents are all bought and wrapped, and I have since been focusing on the Christmas Eve lunch table setting.

Instead of Christmas crackers, this year I wanted to make something myself as a gift to our guests. So, after many hours searching on Pinterest, I found free templates of little Christmas box houses and paper Christmas trees, designed by Gunnor Karita from the Wings of Whimsy blog.

I downloaded the templates, scaled them, and printed them onto glossy photo paper. They were easy to cut out, fold and glue together.


I filled each little Christmas house box with Hershey's kisses. I found Christmas mint truffle ones that are wrapped in a cute snowflake foil. Then I placed one box on top of each folded napkin.

I also printed off some Santa jokes to put inside each box.

The little Christmas boxes can be hung on the Christmas tree too as shown in my first photo.

For the centre of the table, I made a little village of paper gingerbread houses and fir trees.

I treated myself to a set of new handmade placemats which are made out of white-washed rattan. Plus, I bought a white cotton tablecloth and napkins which have a hemstitched border. They were all in the pre-Christmas sales and the napkins worked out to be free once all the discounts were applied!

The pre-Christmas lunch menu is written and all I need to do now is wash the plates and cutlery, which were in storage since we moved house. Then I have a bit of last-minute grocery shopping to do for fresh vegetables and a few odds and ends. 

I ordered the non-perishables online from the supermarket and they have already been delivered. And I am expecting a selection of cheeses to be delivered on Friday.

This is the most organised and relaxed I have been before Christmas. I have been enjoying watching Christmas-themed vlogs on YouTube, plus reading the December edition of The Simple Things magazine on my iPad via our library. I really enjoy reading that magazine.

I hope that you are enjoying the days leading up to Christmas too!

Hugs, Rose x

Friday, December 1, 2023

It's the first day of Summer today!

First day of Summer
Happy first day of Summer! 

December the 1st is the first day of Summer in New Zealand. It has been a lovely warm 24 degrees C today, slightly overcast and no wind. A perfect day to start putting the Christmas tree up, decorating the house and opening door number one of my advent calendar.

I walked around the garden, barefoot, this afternoon, with Otto following me. He is such a curious cat, watching what I am doing all the time, apart from when he is running up the trees or climbing onto the roof of the house! 

In the garden I found a few ripe boysenberries and raspberries, which tasted delicious, lovely and juicy and full of flavour. The small passionfruit vine is flowering and there is one fruit forming already.

The Feijoa (pineapple guava) is full of red flowers, but I didn't see any Tui birds nearby to pollinate them. Hopefully the Tuis will find them so we can enjoy feijoas this year.

The Pohutukawa tree overhanging our fence from next door, is absolutely full of flower buds. It's going to look spectacular when the red flowers are open. Nice and Christmassy.

I hope that you are enjoying the first day of advent too.

Do you follow any traditions for December the first?

Hugs, Rose x

Friday, November 24, 2023

Busy time for cats - making new cushions


The last couple of weeks have been very busy for Otto. He has been supervising me while I made some new cushions. The supervision was necessary because it has been well over 20 years since I made cushions with zips in. I used a YouTube tutorial to refresh my memory. Here is a link to the tutorial that I found easy to follow.

Supervision is exhausting work for a cat. Otto had to lie down a lot to rest on the material as I moved it. Then he had to thoroughly inspect my cushion template and test it for size.

Examining the placement of every pin proved to be a lot of fun for Otto, as did trying to catch the scissors as I cut the material.

When the first cushion was finished, Otto insisted on testing it for comfort and promptly fell asleep! I took it that he approved and that the cushion passed quality control :o)
I chose the bird (blue-faced honeyeater) patterned material initially to make cushions for our new outdoor furniture. The material is 100% cotton canvas and was designed by Jocelyn Proust, an Australian designer. 

When I placed a finished cushion on the settee in our living room, I liked how it looked there with the cream throw rug and the dark brown leather of the settee. The background of the material is a pastel sage-green and the stalks of the plants are a light pastel dusky-rose. I decided to keep these cushions for the living room instead of using them outdoors. 

I made 3 of the bird cushions then decided that I needed contrasting cushions with a bit more colour to lift the room. So, I went back to the shop and looked at all the furnishing fabric options. I settled on the dusky-rose pink velvet material, which I hoped toned in well with the bird material. 

The shop assistant wasn't too sure of my choice of colour. However, I liked the colour combination and I asked several other customers what they thought. They said it was a perfect match, they loved the combination too.

I bought enough of the velvet to make three cushions. I have made one already and will make the other two over the weekend.

I am daydreaming about adding some smaller cream-coloured cushions, maybe hand knitted moss-stitch, or crewel work in cream-on-cream. Maybe one day :o) 

What do you think would go with my cushions? Any ideas?

Hugs, Rose x

Sunday, November 12, 2023

More Spring surprises in my garden


Arum italicum flower
Lords and ladies - arum italicum 
We found large round clumps of white-veined, spearheaded leaves sprouting up under the trees in our garden. We had no idea what type of plant they were. 

I thought that maybe they were calla lilies, so decided to leave them until they flowered. We didn't want to dig up flowers thinking they were weeds.

Then one morning dad called me to have a look at the unusual creamy-yellow flowers that had appeared. On seeing them I knew immediately that they were lords and ladies, also known as cuckoo pint, arum italicum. This is a poisonous weed that we don't want in our gardenWe have a lot of work ahead of us to get rid of it.

Yellow willow tree catkins
Willow tree catkins
A more pleasant surprise was to find that the weeping willow trees were flowering. They had long yellow fluffy caterpillar-like catkins all over them. I haven't seen willow flowers like this before. The only ones that I have seen are the furry, silver catkins of pussy willows.

Ornamental quince flowers?
These coral-orange coloured flowers have grown over the fence from our neighbour's garden and are really pretty. The shrub has been flowering for over a month now. I think that it may be an ornamental quince, but I'm not sure.

Blue flowers of Bugleweed (ajuga reptans)
Bugleweed - ajuga reptans 
The bugleweed has produced dozens of beautiful dark blue flower spikes with unusual square stalks.

red Japanese maple leaves
Japanese maple leaves - acer palmatum
I love the new maroon-coloured leaves that have opened up on the Japanese maple. I am not used to new leaves being anything other than bright green, so was surprised when these ones unfurled from their tight little buds.

Another big surprise for me was to find that, what I thought was a dead, leafless olive tree, was not in-fact dead, nor was it an olive tree.

Over the past few weeks its new leaves appeared. I didn't look closely at them, I just thought that they were silvery-grey-green olive tree leaves. But when I decided to photograph the tree, to show you the olive tree that had come back to life, I noticed that the leaves were furry.

Most definitely not an olive tree! 

I have no idea of which type of tree this is, nor if it will produce flowers and fruit. Do you have any ideas about what this tree is?

What has been happening in your garden this month?

See you again soon.

Hugs, Rose x

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween!

Halloween greetings card

We had a fun early Halloween, called "Fright Night" on Saturday evening. 

Dozens of houses in our village were set up for the children in the neighbourhood to go trick or treating. We registered as a safe house where the younger children could come trick or treating. Others set up spooky houses for the older children. Then afterwards the children went to watch the film Beetlejuice at the village hall.

Halloween sweets in a basket

I was on a very tight budget, so spent most of it filling a basket with halloween-themed sweets and plastic spider rings. These were placed on a chair that I draped with a metre of black tulle that was decorated with ghosts.

Then I made paper decorations, both 3-D and 2-D, which I found free downloads for online on the Canon Creative Park website. I had great fun with scissors and glue making them.

The decorations were hung on the plant growing in a pot on the front doorstep. And the Halloween picture, that I printed and cut out, was taped to the front door.

I bought a length of glittery orange spider web patterned wired ribbon and decorated the basket and the plant with it. Plus I bought lots of plastic spiders and spread them around the front door.

Front door decorated for Halloween

I dressed up in black and white and wore a large floppy purple witches hat that I bought for $9 at a party shop.

Lots of children visited our house in groups with their parents. One boy said ours was the best house :o) I think that may have been because I let the children have a spider ring as well as sweets! 

One child asked if he could have a big spider, so I said yes, and he put his sweets back in the basket and took a spider lol. I tried to tell him that he could also keep his sweets, but he was too excited about the big spider. It was so cute.

The village that I lived in before didn't have children doing trick or treat because all the houses were on large blocks of land and were spaced far apart down long driveways. Instead they held a party at the local village hall for the children each Halloween.

This is the first time that I have experienced trick or treat at Halloween. Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I think as much, if not more, than the children.

Do you do anything at Halloween?

See you again soon.

Hugs, Rose