Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye, Bye, Boris

Today was Boris's last day with us and I thought I would try to capture a few pictures before departure.

As always, he was a bit camera shy, but I did manage to get a couple of shots with his eyes open even though the morning sun was against me.

A little later I noticed he was taking a nap on the cane chair that was one of his favourite spots and seemed a fitting last shot to take of him.

The buyer had sent a cage for him and I was successful in placing him in it so my sister and I could transport him to the airport for a 40 minute flight to his new home.

He was not happy about the car trip one little bit but imagine my surprise when I turned in the car to see that he had forced the cage door open and was making a bid for freedom.

Oddly enough Bella had done something similar before she left us, forcing a bar in the cage to manage an escape before being recaptured for departure.

We were able to pull over in the car and get Boris back in the cage and I held the cage with him in it while we returned home to reinforce the door before embarking for the airport once more.

This time we were successful and after a bit of paperwork he was on his way. Last reports he was tentatively surveying his new surroundings.

Have a long and happy life, Boris, we wish you well.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Boris and Bella

When we decided to combine households, combining cats did not seem to fit. Two cats in a house is good but four - just a tad too many, I think.

So, after postponing the hour, Bella and Boris were advertised on Trade Me (our New Zealand brand of eBay) and I had well expected Boris to be first to go.

In fact, he did sell first, but the buyer has asked me to hold him until the end of the month, when he will be air freighted to Wellington for a new life.

My sister spoke to the people at our local vet clinic and told them we had a cat looking for a new home and amazingly, via word of mouth, an expression of interest was made for Bella and she actually went before Boris.

For one normally so shy and retreating I was amazed at how readily she took to her new cage and seemed really interested in what was ahead for her in her new life.

She has a new home, backing on to a reserve which I feel will suit her fine. Her new owner lives on her own and once Bella has adjusted to her new life style will probably think she is in cat heaven.

Today's image is the last photo I took of Bella before she left us.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in our New Home

When the children have grown up and flown the coup, the need for presents and Christmas Trees and decorations is not quite the same, but family connections are the constant, for me, anyway.

With three sons in Sydney and one in Dallas, there was not going to be a get together with them this year, but, instead, our brother Norman was with us and it is many a year since we have shared a Christmas with him.

This was our first Christmas in our new home and so we shared a lovely, relaxed day. Just five of us with some visitors who came briefly for a midday drink.

Sister Linda cooked up in great style with what has become something of a tradition in our branch of the family, roast turkey with all the trimmings followed by lovely trifle, strawberries and cream.

The table was set in classic style and with a lovely outlook whilst we ate, what more could we ask for.

There is a small established rose garden on our new property and Linda was able to pick two beautiful apricot roses at the point of perfection. They had a delightful heady scent and harmonised just nicely with the table setting.

Friday, December 25, 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas

when my sister, brother and I went for a walk up our street.

On the way we observed this blow up nativity scene which took me on a trip down memory lane to Dallas, Texas some four years ago.

I was visiting my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas and their street had similar adornments in most of the front yards.

For me it was something totally new and I had decided that this was something that happened only in America. Not so! Someone in our own street, in our own town, in New Zealand obviously likes to do the same thing.

Along with the sentiment of the scene, Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another of Life's Little Surprises

Just recently our garden presented us with another lovely surprise.

We have had a succulent growing in a pot which looks like a miniature of a cactus you might find in the desert in the northern hemisphere.

I don't recall it ever having flowers but, suddenly, this year the circumstances must be just right for it to do so.

The blooms are majestically red in colour and with the use of my brother's new camera I thought the images I took were particularly good.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Moving House

We needed to get an en suite done for my Mother before we could entertain moving to our new home.

As I write, the bathroom alterations are in progress. We are assured they will be finished for Friday and so, crazy as it may seem, we are moving on Friday.

It will be so good to pool our resources and put our energies into getting our new home in order as well as the garden area.

My image of the day is that of sweet peas. This is only the second season I have grown them and I have to say I love the mix of colours as well as the heady perfume they surrender when in full bloom.

I think we can find lots of space for sweet peas to be included in our new garden too.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Gazanias, Gazanias and more Gazanias

Gazanias are another plant which I did not think much of at first but which have taken me by surprise.

The ones pictured today came with us to our current home in a copper pot from my Mother's place.

I am not sure how old the plant was when we came but this is its third summer here and the blooms this year are the best yet, with masses of buds just waiting to pop open.

I have bought gazanias in hanging baskets and then transplanted them into other parts of the garden during dormancy. The rewards have been more than I could have asked for.

One plant in particular did not have any flowers at all when I transplanted it and I was convinced it would never come to any good but yesterday I was in the garden and there were at least six of the loveliest, brightest gazania flowers you could hope to see. So nice to have such pleasant surprises right here on our own door step.

These plants are such good value. The ones we have start to flower in the spring and will continue, most probably into autumn. A brief respite for winter and they will be back, as bright and cheerful as ever.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Humble Cornflower

Last year was the first time I planted cornflowers.

I was probably influenced by my sister who had embarked on creating her own wildflower garden and cornflowers were an integral part of the whole scene.

I had not given much thought to this plant becoming part of my garden but I decided, because they are some of the taller annuals that I would use them as a backdrop to other plants and when they did flower I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only do they provide a good backdrop they flower prolifically over a long period and so I have come to believe they are really good value in the garden.

The other thing I hadn't appreciated about them was the lovely range of colours, soft pink, bright pink, lavender, deep purple and last but not least the true cornflower blue.

I try to keep up with removing the dead heads and am amazed at the number of buds that continue to appear.

Being cornflowers they volunteered to come back in the same spot as they had been last year, so this year I now have them in two different parts of the garden.

The new plants for this year are near the front door. They have taken very well and the flowers are in abundance.

If we were going to continue to live here maybe cornflowers would eventually take over the whole garden but with plans to move on I guess we will never know.

If you look really closely you can see a bee on the cornflower in the bottom right hand corner.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Accidental Gardener?

I am never quite sure how to describe my gardening abilities but sometimes the things I like best in the garden happen more or less by accident.

Last year was the first time I planted poppies and I just loved them.

I had to give them another go this year but was not at all confident that I would do as well a second time around.

More by good luck than good management, I decided to plant some dwarf echium in amongst them and what a pleasant surprise, when just this last week I noticed these lovely lavender shaded flowers appearing just below the poppy flowers - magic. I had no idea what a lovely combination they would make - just a bit of accidental gardening, I think.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Sister Said,

that I should have yellow flowers at the door to welcome prospective purchasers to our home.

I found these Osteospermum at one our of local plant shops. Lovely daisy like flowers in the palest shades of yellow. Very warm and inviting.

Fortunately the transaction for buying them was pretty well stress free. On two previous occasions I have bought this plant at other stores and when I got to the checkout they had great difficulty in being able to process the transaction. Something about the name of the plant that doesn't seem to sit well with having it in the database for the checkout. Glad it did not happen this time or I may have given up on ever buying this plant again.

In spite of its warm and inviting flowers, I did not get any visitors for open home today. Hope the flowers still look just as good for next week.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The View From Home Is Better

My sister, Linda, and I had the opportunity this week to go and spend the night at The Chateau, courtesy of my son, David, and his wife, Lisa.

It had been a Christmas gift to Linda and her husband but he was not well enough to go so I got to go in his place.

The Chateau is a lovely old hotel, built in the 1920's during the Great Depression to provide employment for some in difficult times. Built along the lines of the Art Deco era, the decor and ambiance is just lovely.

Our room was well appointed and we dined in the Ruapehu Room. The food was excellent, our surroundings very peaceful and throughout the evening there was very pleasant piano music to listen to.

The Chateau is situated in the Tongariro National Park at the base of the three mountains grouped there, Ruapehu, Ngaurahoe and Tongariro.

Normally the views are spectacular but for all of our visit was overcast and so we did not get to see much of them, but never mind - we knew that we could see the mountains so easily from afar when we got back home.

If you ever happen to be in this part of the world it is well worth a visit to The Chateau, even if it is just to sit in the lounge, look out the windows at the view and have some tea or coffee - the peace and tranquility will do your heart good.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The weather is miserable here today. In fact we have had several days of inclement weather and it is not over yet. However, the month of November was particularly dry so the rain is welcome for both the gardens and lawns.

To brighten my day I have been looking at photos I took in our new garden.

The foxglove is out in abundance at the moment and is looking very pretty and bright amongst the green foliage.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The reason for our weekend at our new home.

My nephew, Graeme, had entered the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

This challenge has been going since 1977 and now attracts over 11,000 participants from all parts of New Zealand and from overseas as well.

It was the first time for Graeme and he got such a buzz out of the whole event that he is keen to do it all over again next year.

The route around Lake Taupo took approximately 7 hours to complete and Graeme said it was a tremendous feeling to come back into the Taupo township and pass over the finish line.

By going to our new home for the weekend we were able to give Graeme and his family the use of our unit which worked out well for all concerned.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Room with a view.

I am so looking forward to being able to move into our new home.

The image I captured for today's entry is the view from my bedroom.

Red hot pokers are in full bloom in the foreground and the Waikato River lies beyond.

Out of the scope of the image and to the right the mountains can be seen as well.

We had a lovely trial run in our new home and I can't wait until we return permanently.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mum and I are staying in our new home for this coming weekend.

Today we took Mum there a day ahead of me and she went into her new bedroom to take stock of things.

Almost instantly, Kaiser, the Burmese was there, hopped up on the bed and made himself at home with Mum.

What better welcome could she have hoped for.

We were so glad Kaiser was willing to stay the distance so the moment could be captured.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Frozen in time.

I know I posted about roses yesterday and did not intend to post about them again so soon but this morning I was in the garden early and this rose caught my eye.

To me it was as though it had been frozen in time - not closed like a bud nor in full bloom but somewhere in between and for all the world it looked like it might be frozen in time and stay that way forever.

Just about the nearest thing to perfection.

I had indicated that the rest of the roses had not started to bloom but with a couple of days of very warm weather here it is all happening.

I have no idea what type of rose this is. My brother bought it for this garden three years ago and this year it is really flourishing so I think we are in for lots more roses yet.

As the flower opens it will take on more of an apricot tinge before the petals are spent.

Although I don't consider there to be enough blooms on the rose bushes yet, I could not resist, after seeing this rose, and cut some more to place in a crystal bowl which I have set on the kitchen bench to enjoy close at hand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My knowledge of flowers and gardening is minimal compared to many but I do know that I love roses.

Always have done. The queen of flowers for me and if they have a strong perfume, even better.

I am told that the Dublin Bay is one of the best and so last year I planted this climber at the front of the house and I am impressed.

Can't say it has much of a perfume but the blooms are just beautiful and they last and last.

It has done quite well in its climbing efforts and this is only its second year of flowers so there will be much more to come from this delightful plant before its life is over.

I had previously planted a clematis in this spot but after appearing to do well it curled up its toes and died. I would like to think this plant will fare better. So far, so good.

We have two more rose bushes in the garden but they are yet to come into bloom. It will be nice when they join the party with Dublin Bay.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Livingstone Daisy as a singular plant could get lost amongst other flowers in the garden.

Planted in closed proximity to each other, when they come into flower, they take on a collective life of their own.

The warmer the day, the happier they are. The flowers close up overnight but once the warmth of the sun hits them they open right up.

With an occasional clean up of the spent blooms their life is extended for weeks and weeks.

This cluster of the daisies has pride of place in our front garden.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November is the month for poppies in New Zealand and we have them in adundance in our garden at the moment.

I have been waitinng for the red poppies to burst out of their buds and this week it has been happening and there's masses of buds yet, so lots more enjoyment to come.

The fern beyond the poppies makes a lovely backdrop. It is in its third year and with lots of rain in the early spring it is doing really well.

The cream poppies volunteered themselves in parts of our garden this year. I transfered several to the front garden and they have blossomed and blossomed during November - the rich creamy yellow of the petals is just a pleasure to behold.

Friday, November 20, 2009

No more room for cat napping in this part of the garden and Boris seems to have accepted that this is what really should be the purpose here.

The New Guinea Impatiens have been planted and I hope they do well in this part of the garden.

They should be warm but without too much direct sunlight and as long as I remember to water them..................

I remember, many years ago, when I was first married and certainly knew even less about gardening than I do now, I bought a New Guinea Impatiens and thought I could grow it as an indoor plant. Silly me, it did not like it at all. I hope I do much better with these ones outdoors.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We are moving house!

It has been fun developing and learning about gardening where we are now, but we have an even bigger more lovely garden to move to.

In some parts of Taupo the rhododendrons are looking a bit tired, but where we are moving to the blossoms look so fresh, I just had to get my sister to take some pictures.

This particular rhododendron tree has lupin growing at the base and the combination just sparkles.

I am so looking forward to moving to our new home and enjoying all that it has to offer us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One of the ladies in a quilting group I belong to recently lost her sister to cancer.

Some of our group have decided to make 'healing heart' quilt blocks for her in her favourite colours, blue and yellow.

I don't always take up the call to do this, even though I think it is a lovely gesture for anyone going through difficult times.

When I do make them, I like to incorporate a touch of crazy quilting into the traditional quilting blocks.

Many years ago I created a crazy quilt block in foundation piecing for a heart shape and it is an all time favourite for me. I have used them on many greeting cards as well and they are always a pleasure to make.

More of a cat is a cat and that is that.

Just when I had all my heart blocks ready to be photographed Bella came inside and sat right on top of them all.

Good photo opportunity, I thought. Not me, says Bella, the eyes close and she refuses to co-operate.

A few minutes later she was gone - back into the world outdoors.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A cat is a cat and that is that.

Yesterday I looked out the kitchen window and there was our cat, Boris, having a sleep in a corner of the garden.

I had only just removed a plant from this spot in the past few days and was contemplating what to put there in its place.

Boris obviously was several steps ahead of the game here. If his owner had created a spot in the garden, surely it must be for his benefit and no one else's and what better thing to do but curl up and have a sleep.

I can think of other uses a cat might have for a freshly dug up spot in the garden, but Boris had more respect than that and chose it for a bed.

I bought some New Guinea Impatiens plants today so napping time in this area is strictly limited.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In the days when I only did crazy quilting I used to say that the only weeding I did was with the fabric that I worked with.

Now, it seems, I have exchanged the fantasy world of crazy quilting for the real thing.

I have only taken up gardening in the past three years, am still very much a novice and still naive enough to be fascinated with the process of the seasons in gardening.

Spring is a delight in the gardening world. Plants that have lain dormant during the winter months suddenly spring to life again.

The local nurseries abound with fresh seedlings to tempt and there you are, all the colours of spring emerge once more in freshness and vibrancy.

Certainly helps one to feel good about life.

My photo for today is of a dahlia which is yet to surprise me again this year. I really had begun to think it had succumbed to the very cold winter we had just had. Just when I was about to give up hope I saw those lovely fresh shoots peeking up from the soil.

This dahlia has bottle green leaves and they are offset beautifully with the bright orange colour of the flower - nature, again, in its perfection.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Perennial cornflower - during 2008 my sister and I took our Mother out for the day.

We stopped at a roadside stall and bought some unmarked plants at bargain basement prices.

When we got home I planted them all in the same pot and they duly blossomed and produced some lovely flowers during the summer and spring.

I was unfamiliar with the perennial cornflower and enjoyed the process of its growth.

Winter came and the plant died off but come spring it has come back to life, more prolific than before and is making more of these delightful blue and purple flowers for our pleasure.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

In recent times I have been doing more traditional quilting items in craft but I have had a pin cushion in mind for a while and recently completed this one.

The green and gold segments are scraps of dupioni silk and I embellished the seams in a kind of crazy quilting style.

Our local quilters are having a show in a couple of weeks and this will go on their sales table to raise funds for the club.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The weather in Taupo over the past weeks has produced more cold and rain than anything else.

The garden has suffered and the lovely colours of summer have disappeared.

Still I have some images to remind me of what was there.

This image reveals the portulacus I planted out in our front garden late January.

They were called 'fuschia' and their lovely bright pink colouring certainly reflected the colours of the fuschia plant.
A lady from England saw some of my crazy quilting work in a local craft shop and asked me if I would make a cushion (pillow) cover for her
along the same lines.

Her King Charles Cocker Spaniel had recently passed away and she felt she would like to commemorate its life in this way.

She had a photo with her of the dog so I transfered the image to fabric, made a 16" square crazy quilt block in shades of cream and then embellished it with motifs, beading, stitching and silk ribbon work.

She was very happy with the outcome and I was pleased to have been able to make this for her.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

James and Amber came to visit with us last August and since then have been asking for a return visit from me.

James's birthday is in April, so I decided to be there for that and decided to make a quilt for him to celebrate.

I decided to use fabric from my stash and came up with this scrappy quilt based on the disappearing nine patch concept.

It was well received and with colder days approaching I feel sure it will be much used.

When I had completed James's quilt I still had some blocks left over, so another excuse to use up my stash.

The result a good size square lap quilt for Amber.

Both James and Amber were happy with their quilts and there was bit of competition over who had the best one.

I knew that my friend would be a great grandmother by the time I arrived in Sydney. Would I have time to make a quilt for Isabella before departure? Amazingly yes, with a day or two to spare.

It was lovely to meet Isabella and her Mum together with great grandma on the day I handed over the quilt.
My visit to Sydney proved to be a good opportunity to catch up with friends I had not seen for some time.

One such catch up was with my cousin Owen and his wife Pam.

As well as being well and truly cared for in the food department, it was good to catch up on news from both sides of families.

Oroton is a real 'tiger in the grass' at his home in Sydney.

In the warmth of the Sydney climate little lizards abound in the back yard and Oroton loves nothing better than to bring them indoors as a real live toy to play with.

He is a Burmilla, very lively, friendly and with the best of purring motors.