Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Nature Table & Lost Things

Hello there!
I do hope that you've had a lovely Easter; whether springy or autumnal, chocolatey or Churchy;
or, quiet & filled with grace & work, like ours.
With so many wonderful friends sharing tales & pictures of the goings on in the "upper" hemisphere I have become especially aware of our upside-down-ness down here, this Easter season.
No daffodils, hares, eggs or spring blossom here. Rather, an abundance & excess that is almost embarrassing in it's exuberance, urgency & splendour.
I found myself gathering armfuls of harvest & arranging a kind of "nature table" as a kind of thanks, over the weekend.
I discovered fresh roses in the cherry blossom tree,
a few figs that the wax eyes actually hadn't pecked & the first glowing sweet persimmons from our laden tree.
The little heart tomatoes are still going...
& the sun is now lower in the sky; washing our front verander with welcome late afternoon sunshine.
I had little people coming to visit on Thursday so I made a Jewish oatmeal cake with feijoas & tart dried apricots. We used to make it often when we were young & living in Taranaki, a time when friends would share recipes & you'd all be making the cake. It's still great 30 years later & more like real food than cake...which always works for me! I have just realised that I haven't posted the recipe yet so I will do that very soon.
 It really struck (as I said) this year that bunnies & eggs & all things spring are really rather silly in the middle of our lovely autumn Easter, so inside, I gathered all kinds of meaningful bits & pieces & put together a sacred scene that bought focus & stillness & gratitude to these restful days.
Of course the lily-of-the-valley isn't just seemed nice. The hearts were called "sacred hearts" at the organics shop...for my niece & nephew. Mary is awfully battered & chipped, but the whole ordeal was pretty hard on her at the time, so that kind of fits.
Now, I have been told that this may be St Anthony. I bought him on Trade me last week in support of a Hospice shop. If indeed he is St Anthony then that would make him the Patron Saint of Lost & Broken Things...that's me (thought I) he'll be perfect!

What a funny old thing to crochet, a cross...I love it though. It's very old. I wonder who made it?
Of course, there always has to be a butterfly to remind us of liberating, metamorphosing grace.
Autumn, Easter & menopause...who ever would have thought there was a theme in that!
Transformation. Shedding the old. Completion.

Still, there's something to be said for imagination....& silliness!
A return to innocence & a child-like heart is always a helpful approach on any occasion, in my book.
Wishing you all, sunshine & happiness in the coming week & maybe a little skipping.
Thank you so much for popping in.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Drips, Drupes & Bumblebee Sharpening

Hello there!
How lovely to see you!
Do make your self comfortable while I tell you a little story...
Here you have the faery songs, the golden, glad, and airy songs, when all the world was morning, and when every heart was true; Songs of darling Childhood all a-wander in the wild wood, songs of life's first loveliness - songs that speak of you!
Thomas Burke 
(Many thanks to Barbara for the verse & picture) 
I think there may be part of me that will remain a little girl of about seven, now, forever & ever. Eternally drawn to sweetness & light, make-believe & fairies, The Land of Kindness &'s such a lovely place; there are flowers everywhere & wooden swings in all the largest trees. The sky is almost always blue & there is a gentle brook that laughs it's way to the sea. The green moss is soft & tender & makes the perfect fairy's bed. Would you like to come & play with me...we could sip honeysuckle tea from tiny acorns & wander in the wild woods singing songs of life's first loveliness?
There are darling little creatures in that wood like Mr furry Bumble bee. 
Every now & again he must zoom in to visit Blacksmith Gnome for sharpening & repairs.
Illustration: Eric Heinemann
Then back to work he goes.
There is harmony & wholeness, 
(I found her in the Dog Shop...isn't she sweet)
tenderness & 
compassion in the Wild Wood.
The thing about compassion, however, is, it doesn't always come as part of your legacy.
I grew this guava tree because of memories of my Nan..her jams & jellies & resourcefulness.
I loved her guava tree & the jelly that she made every autumn...the drip, drip of the jelly bag hanging over the old claw foot bath.
Not one to show emotion or talk of feelings (like many of her day), Nan kept a spotless home & a rigid schedule. I have gratefully gathered in my memories of my grandmother but I want so much more from life...
I want to be present in/to love. To chose compassion with knowledge...& boy do I want to know!! I love to learn new stuff every day...pushing past the "oooh but I feel so dumb", when at first run through, it all seems over my head & a little too much for my struggling brain.
I made my jar of jelly & then I pushed the guava pulp through a sieve with some cooked figs from our tree & made an amazing fig & guava paste. It is so good with soft cheese.  
The thing is...what I've learnt these past few months, that matters most of all: if you don't learn how to love yourself unconditionally, truly accept yourself just as you are, you haven't got a chance of loving anyone else in healthy, fabulous ways.
If I have the right to be here...just as I am. Then I need to stop fussing & fluffing & just be me, in all my quirkiness...
& delicious succulence.
I asked the man at Te Mata figs last week about our amazing un-named fig & he said that it is an adriatic...the quintessential Italian original. The best. And when I told him about the tree in St Aubyn street where I got my cutting & he knew it straight away. We have strict instructions to take good care of a local treasure, & so we shall!
Such a lot of rain this past week & a great deal of melody from this fluffy tui chap.
I wondered what his enthusiasm was all about & then I remembered what our friend Don had said about the the birds feeding on the fruit of the totara tree. And so I went looking..& found a drupe. Yip, that's what they're called: drupe! They're edible & yum but very small.
Our wee fantail friend has taken to popping inside for a squiz around. When he's done he finds his own way out again.
Today I looked in to the face of a flower & I marveled at the extraordinary profusion of colour & form, pollen & glory. 
I know I have a choice to make today: will I see the world that we live in as friendly & good or scary &  bad? Will I chose to be the change I want to see in my world?
And it's really not so kind of goes like this:

Much love to you for visiting.
Thank you & bless you!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

With Flowers In Her Hair...

A few days ago, I received an intriguing invitation from my lovely artist friend Susan Brown; an invitation to join her in her dream of creating a magical place of community.
She says.. 
 "When I was envisioning this project at its completion I pictured the beautiful decor, the exquisite music, the various people sitting together laughing and sharing....I invite you to imagine yourself in the Venue I'm creating. Really, can you imagine who you could be in this setting? Could you play? Could you get up and share yourself in this magical place?"
As I read Susan's words I pondered her I sing, do I dance, what is there that I have to share?...there was a moment of silence in my head, when nothing at all came to mind & then I looked up & saw this picture...
and I burst in to tears!
I gasped, as I instantly recognised myself.
At the beginning of this year when I set my intention to "bloom" life quickly became very challenging & it just hasn't let up since.
There is some very deep work happening for me.
I have come to realise that I have been locked in the snare of looking in the mirror held by another (it's been that way for 50 years). I've been bound by various shades of guilt & shame that don't belong to me. They never belonged to me. They are all lies. The truth has been banging on the door of my heart, my body shouting in pain..wake up, wake up & then I looked in the mirror of Susan's picture entitled "Eve" & I knew that I would never believe the lies again. 
My new truth is just this:
  "I have the right to be here, to be me. Just as I am."
It's hard to keep going when you feel you'll never get there, but this is my new dream:
You know...
via Pinterest
I have sent for a print of Susan's wonderful Eve & you can see more of her fabulous work at Bohemian Romance on Etsy (unfortunately she lives in the United States).

Several weekends ago..I looked up to see a bride walking by.
That's a little odd, I thought to myself.
And very soon I saw a bus...a bus full of brides, in fact!
Right outside our house!
I couldn't very well go & stand on the street & take photos so I crept out on to the porch & snuck these pictures. A friend solved the riddle later that day...apparently a confirmed single girl was turning 40 & decided it was her best shot at wearing a wedding dress, so she & all her girlfriends (one of them being a neighbour), dressed for the event & then hopped on a bus for a road trip to wellington for the weekend.
All returned the following day, looking a tad worse for wear & no longer very bridal!
The entourage of dad's & husbands turning up to retrieve each one was rather entertaining too...especially the ones with small children in the car!
I had fun making this dear little Cath Kidston tablecloth recently & then sold it on Trade me. I hope it makes someone smile. The lady who bought the duraware was so lovely & brought her husband back to visit Lucy.
Dear Lucy went off to the testing station with "Liley" & Rob last week for her warrant of fitness check up. So peculiar seeing her heading off down the road without me!
The sky is so azure just now as we head in to autumn.
Look, He made me a heart with a lovely long tail....thank you.
I love this Maori family...they have an orchard on a busy road & they sell their fruit so cheaply.
You can help yourself to apples & pears for 50c a kilo just now. Isn't that such a good thing to do!
My best friend & her lovely mum..
came back again...for a week beside the sea.
We went to the Farmer's Market together & then we had a little Lucy morning tea.

It was so nice to see them & a lovely celebration of Lucy being with us for a whole year.
I love my autumn raspberries, they taste the best.
See what I mean about blue! The bog sage (that's not a very nice name is it!) flowers match perfectly, don't you think?
I found these lovely daisy crocheted doilies in Finder's Keepers last week.
Such a clever pattern & so much work.
I also found a few more plastic knitting needles to add to the knitting vase.
Thank you Lucy for being such a blessing!
The red & white striped ticking discovered in Aaron's Emporium looks rather smart.
I thought this thermos picnic basket might be quite handy for transporting the flock.
Yesterday after Rob finished work we went out to Haumoana for a walk & to be by the sea.
Daylight saving finishes here this weekend..
the days will quickly begin to close in again.
But right now, they are still balmy & warm & very, very dry.

Thank you for being so lovely & visiting me.
I hope that you have a wonderful week.
Much love, 
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