Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Giving The Fairy Feet

I've never really been a wishful thinker or a flibbety-gibbet. I'm not a dreamer or a schemer, nor do I get lost in fairytales. I would have liked a happy life.
Just that.
But we don't get to chose our heritage, do we. We are given what we get!
And then it's our work to do, to resolve, heal & redeem.
My journey has been hard. Many times I have nearly drowned, yet here I am, having plumbed to the bottom in the murk, now gliding in calm clear waters.
The tools I need to build with are now in my hands, the strength is in my back & the fairy now has feet, at last.
I am well practised in the language of authenticity & the arts of imperfection. I have let go all the structures & the judgments of the past & I now rest.
I rest in being me; fully.
In the early days of blogging I "met" a dear kindred soul who wrote at Fading Grace. Many are the metamorphoses of Sophie who quite recently wrote this truly charming dedication to her followers & friends over at 
hettie brown

...."It seems a shame to me to give way, to the more popular, more stylish, younger, thinner, perfect bloggers, although they too have their place. What about the not so perfect, the slightly wonky, the ones who admit to their failures and crapness at times, I think we are worthy too.

So I continue to scribble away here, with my heart on my sleeve, with my successes and total pants failures. I am being brave, I have no idea who reads it, and some idea of those who do who i wished didn't.  When i dont write , I miss it, when I stop missing it, Ill stop writing.....

So I dedicate this blog and all its writings from this post onwards to the

Wonky, broken people who happen to stop by,
to the shy and introverted, and maybe not so,
who always drop their dinner down their fronts and mostly look like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards,
to those who wear big knickers and knit their own socks,
who are fraying and maybe greying a little round the edges......
To all the misplaced souls who strive for perfection and never quite reach it

I write this blog for you

Love


Here I am one of the wonky & not quite so broken ones, only dropping my dinner down my front on occasions. As to the big knickers...well you'll never know!
Sophie's words make me feel right at home; found.
Another friend passed on the writings of Jeff Brown on Facebook about New Year. Every day I am encouraged & expanded, empowered & strengthened by what I read.
It's about giving the fairy feet.
It's about finding romance in the naked fires of everyday life.
Oh yes!
Jeff Brown
(The little ballerina is me, by the way)
So what does all that mean?
It means taking Pollyanna & making here real, grounding her...& I don't mean sending her to her room! As an old Pastor friend once preached....let it work grace.
In the fiery yet enervating heat of summer we fill our paddling pools in the garden & sit & rest & chat, not fussing that there's nowhere to swim. 
We fill our pretty jug with cool water & lemon & we drink!
A little music might be nice...streaming jazz is great, the reception not so much.
So he put the little speaker up here. That's better.
A kindy teacher from way up north kindly sent me some of her giant sunflower seeds. I figured growing up the nice high wall might be good
 but the traitors just stand there waving at the neighbours!
 The birds come & feast on the early figs & they are welcome, yet time & again I go to the tree & find one is being eaten & right beside it one is ripe yet untouched. That's kind sharing, don't you think?
 Bright & early one morning, quite recently, there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find...
 a long package containing a stick!
Fortunately the other half was waiting in the letterbox.
Shoes everywhere, leaves & debris scattered all around.....not so perfect (fairy feet)!

A spontaneous & thoughtful gift from my dear & treasured friend Julie who lives a creative, crafty & truly inspiring life near Te Awamutu.
Our birds are so used to us by now, they made themselves right at home immediately.
I have been trying to grow hollyhocks in my garden for years now, without success & especially trying hard to grow the double dwarf variety. I've tried them in all the places I was sure that they would love & even in pots but time after time they would curl up their toes until...just one, grew right here. Apparently they are an oak-leaf variety.
 I have tried some more along Margaret's front fence next door. Some are single, some are double most are quite wonky but they all make the most delightful hollyhock fairies.
 I think I may need face drawing lessons.
 It's easy to walk in to the Garden Centre (Green Door...marvellous place!) & see everything flourishing & vibrant & fabulous & feel discouraged that at home it's all flagging, messy & pooped
 and that the snails have crept out night after night & munched through the middle of your petunias,
 that even though you followed the instructions for pruning hydrangeas to the letter they are so late & lanky & are being very sparing with their flowers, like there's a shortage.
 Sometimes life just feels like the paint spilled in the middle of the plan.
 But then you turn around & look again & there...right there in front of you is the most stunning fragrant beauty that you'd forgotten you even planted & you inhale the heady fragrance & wonder whoever chose the name Heart Broken?
Outside the kitchen window high up in the neighbours elm tree we realise that the tuis have built a nest....right here in town! The tree should have been a golden elm but part of it reverted & got taller & taller & made suckers that come up through our garden...yet, had it not, the tuis wouldn't have built 
right there for us to watch them & hear them feeding their babies.
But even in the beautiful & happy-go-lucky world of the tui things go wonky. This wee one arrived on to the middle of the lawn. early one morning  The parents were extraordinary & we all looked out for him for a week until one day it all became too much, his wing was damaged & he'd never fly. Margaret found him last week under the fig tree, dead but unharmed. So....we rang Anna & she came & collected his wee body & will use the rarely found & beautiful feathers in her flax weaving.
And so...having "got to the bottom of things" in me, it was interesting to notice as I drive past every week the old house, the funny little place where we lived when I was little...where I fell madly in love with feijoas, made my first attempt at concocting perfume, got a little potato stuck up my nose & had to be carted off by flustered parents to see Dr Earle to have it removed, 
where we lived when I first started school & where my best friend Wendy lived just down the road (still a bestie after 53 years!) was empty & being prepared to be removed. 
Just the right time to say goodbye to the past.
Peace.
Everything seems overwhelming in the sweltering heat of summer & we wonder how we normally manage to do life & feel a lot less prickly. Best idea is to plan an hour or two at the river & revive,
however, upon arrival the river banks were busy, someone was in "our" spot, another crowd had their builder's boom box up full bore tuned to the radio & there was rubbish all over the show so...we had a little paddle & a wander round & found another little shady spot to picnic that was quite perfect & very soon the noisy one drove off on his way,
leaving us to gently descend in to peace & tranquility.
Life is just about the moments.
So here's to hettie brown & Jeff Brown (entirely coincidental!) & Pollyanna...to the wonky ones, the cheerful ones, the kindly ones, the ones still getting-to-the-bottom-of-things, to fairies' feet & you.
Much love,
Catherine x0x0x

Saturday, 9 January 2016

On a Mission to Home

Now let me tell you a giddy wee story of home....
The essence and heart of Sunshine Vintage began almost three years ago in a most unexpected way- with a celebration...a birthday afternoon tea in our garden for Pat who had lived in our house some 60 years ago with her grandparents. The event was a delight for us all, a friendship forged that has proven to be a blessing beyond anything any of us could have imagined.
(There's Pat in red)
So surprised & delighted was Pat by her birthday tea party & the opportunity to view the old house that still held a special place in her heart, she sent us a gift voucher for The Mission restaurant in gratitude. Time went by & we had safely saved the gift for a special occasion, when it just so happened that our Matthew & his lovely Sarah returned to Hawke's Bay & came to stay with us awhile. The romance was sparkling but the means were limited so we decided to gift our voucher to the two lovebirds &....off they went on their first "real" date.
The following January they were married!

We let Pat know what we'd done & just how perfect it all was & of course, how grateful we all were for her kindness. But my goodness what did she do...gave us yet another voucher insisting that this time we use it for ourselves. So one steamy night last January we headed off to The Mission for my birthday
Dining out is not something that we do very often so it was a very special treat.
It may sound a little odd but we studied the menu carefully before we went
& we were so pleased that we did
as it enabled to make the very best choices.
 What utterly delectable food.
We savoured every bite.
A romantically memorable evening.
In the middle of a mission of building "home".
So lovely!
You may be getting a little dizzy in my story about now but such is the warp & weft of building connection & memories; as history unfolds in both the predictable & in surprising ways.
Matthew & Sarah organised their own wedding down in Kumeroa where they were house sitting at the time. Yet another remarkable encounter had lead to an idyllic setting for a small & perfectly formed wedding. Before they left we visited with them for a few days.
Such lovely country side.
Eventually it came time to leave the grand old house & move along.
 They soon found themselves up the Coromandel way at Prana Retreat Opoutere 
where Matthew has been running a commercial kitchen & they have catered for large crowds at various music festival events, including this last New Year.

It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since that sweet wedding.
And such a happy day.
An impromptu duet a little later...

And so the thread of connection is once again tucked back in here at 625N Nelson Street.
A humble bungalow, but one that has gifted many with warm & lasting memories of what is truly home. 
It's that time again & our dear friend Pat has popped in once more bearing kind Christmas offerings. 
Old-fashioned bumble bees have been shared amongst us & we have told the story once more to our other son & his friends as they tasted the sweet treats of connection. 
Happy birthday dear Pat.
We'll do our best to take care of the old place.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Comfort and Joy

Welcome and hello!
Happy New Year dear friends and visitors.
I have to say there's a certain kind of grand satisfaction in becoming a sassy menopausal woman.
I have been following my own rhythms of the season, saying no to that which is un-necessary or unappealing & since we are having a rather gentle coolish summer just presently, happily catching up on lots of my Hedge Fairy work right here in our secret garden...
There is so much to pay attention to, harvest at just the right moment, dry, sieve, label & store so that I can lay my hands on it all again when it comes time to sell or sow this year's round of seeds & plants & bulbs & corms. I am very found of this graceful wild flower-pink Canon Went linaria.
And I am thrilled with this little blue woodruff. And yes, dear Betty many seeds can be happily posted overseas. These were originally sent to me form Canada.
We have had so many lovely visitor ensembles come to tea in Lucy over the last few months.
Who would have thought when she first came all that way that she would become so much more than just a vintage caravan. I never dreamed that she would also become friend to many, healer, salve & sanctuary & bring us all so much joy!
Golly, there were 6 visitors this day, so we thought we'd better make "boy" seats & space outside, but as it was the two young girls just spent their time exploring all around the garden. Catherine's parents were out from England & her mum loved our garden as she is a guide at Kew Gardens. We sent her on her way with various seeds.
It works so well for visitor's to bring their own food with them...
although on this occasion two lovely ladies had come for a secret garden visit & just happened to stay for tea.
I have found a third pink enamel teapot. They work so well with roses & alstroemeria.

It's so nice to be able to create simple seasonal vignette's in Lucy. Our raspberries were so delicious too.
I found an idea much like this on Pinterest...
but haven't had the opportunity to use the concept just yet. Needs more than just the two of us to fill it up.
We've had a visit from a fairy princess where upon there was a fairy the party shared with Uncle Rob when he arrived home from work one afternoon.
Lilies are magnificent especially this double one & fill the air with their heady scent...where ever they are placed. Close Lucy up & in the morning she is drenched in loveliness.
I've been on the look out for Jesus for ages & ages. I found him one day along with his mum & dad in St Vinny's window but the lady from the Little Red Book shop had beaten me to it & nabbed them all, so I had to be content to visit them in her shop in town. But finally I found him at the market in Napier sitting on the end of the stall with all kinds of um-er-well junk. He's a little too perfect for my liking...needs to be a bit mussed up, perhaps. The elderly lady whose care he was released from evidently dusted & fussed over him a good deal, during his stay with her; same cannot be said for his mother...the stall owner's told me she was in a very batteredly, poorly way.
I am amazed that there is always more to learn; things that you never ever knew about before.
I didn't know about Linden trees until this Christmas. I had just been reading about harvesting Linden flowers from Susun Weed & how they are so fragrant & nourishing & anti-inflammatory & I had observed what the flowers looked like & so set about finding a tree. One day I was buying some organic veges from Clyde at the Farmer's Market when I looked up & saw an enormous linden tree in full flower right behind him. Clyde I cried...it's a Linden tree!! Yes..said he, rather nonchalantly, the streets of Berlin a lined with them. I soon returned one sunny afternoon to fill a little basket full.
But oh silly me...Linden trees are everywhere! I've walked past them in our own Cornwall Park a thousand times but never identified them. In the language of flowers Linden flowers represent peace, truth & justice....perfect that they are all flowering right on Christmas here in New Zealand! The dried flowers make a lovely gentle tea that is calming, may help with sleep issues & overcoming colds... they are also anti-inflammatory. Linden trees are now my dear friends & so is the Melia tree in the middle of our back lawn.
  I came across a nice looking recipe for raw strawberry macaroons last week & had a go & making them. They are delicious & so summery. You can find the recipe here.
As I mentioned a while back I have been doing some deep, necessary healing emotional work. It is the kind of work that rises unbidden & cannot be rushed. This is the peculiar nature of my life journey....light & dark, joy & struggle. Joy has been a fitting word for this passed year's journey...all the places of joy have made themselves fully known to me. There are so many joy-germs in my life & I am so grateful. They're rather obvious really. I'm sure that you can see them too.
The darkness, well that's another story...really, truly another story because the imprint & the impact  of the darkness happened to a small, innocent, sweet child a long time ago. I did not chose that story, nor did I have any hand in writing it....yet it has shaped my life profoundly; left an indelible mark like acid on skin. When I was five years old I came home from school with my father at lunch time, to find my mother had attempted to take her life. Panic, phone calls, ambulance, blur.....my mother was taken away & I never saw her again....for a very long time. My father told me what I needed to know, that she was in the special part of the hospital & that children weren't allowed to visit, that she was very sick & eventually, that she would never be coming home. I felt sorry for my mother but I didn't grieve her departure. There was much going on that lead to all this....she was to go on to make another three suicide attempts, the last when she was 7 months pregnant with another child.
Through all these years no one talked to me about my losses or how these events made me feel. No one was there to share the sadness with me or help me make sense of the mess the adults had made.
I carried the weight of the secret on my little heart for always. I carried it for the adults because they were so busy fussing about themselves.
Then 50 years later, quite unexpectedly, I discovered that my mother doesn't believe or accept that any of this (suicide stuff) transpired. No, she is not fragile & broken.
 Now...the emotions finally crashed in on me.
I am telling this here because I am also choosing to take back my own life...to find comfort in my joy life & all that I have that is so truly good. No longer will I carry the dark secrets that should have been shouldered by those who were entrusted with my well-being.
I have found comfort in SARK's illuminating words (from her book Bodacious Book of Succulence)...in our family you were not allowed to have your emotions in front of others without being shamed or ridiculed. I wasn't "allowed" any emotions at all, nor opinions. Certainly not unpleasant ones!
I have connected with my anger...so much rage!!!, in all of it's disguises.
This year I intend to live like I matter.
I am going to gather comfort, joy & nurture around me & wear them where-ever I go.
I am going to look for the sun shining through every prism of life & rest in being me.
(I found this chandelier in a secondhand shop for $35 a few weeks ago...I could hardly believe it!)

I am going to act like I am as valuable as these wee boys.
 And believe that I deserve tender care & protection & love too!
Look out...I am not just a menopausal woman 
I am a big cup of wonderful, covered in awesome sauce, with a splash of sassy & a dash of crazy!

Happy New Year dear friends!! 
Thank you for your visit & your kind thoughts.
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