Over the past few years, I have had several novellas published in My Weekly Pocket Novels, and People’s Friend Pocket Novels, in the UK. Recently, I decided to publish them as eBooks to make them available to a wider readership. The first, Hidden Dreams, is for sale on Amazon, now, as a Kindle eBook. To read more about it, click here.
Spring is my favourite time of the year in the garden, when the flowers are looking pretty, the vegetables are growing nicely, and it’s not too hot for working outside and pottering amongst the plants.
I planted some sunflower seeds from a commemorative tin of Yates seeds that out friend, Erica, gave us, and the first flower is blooming already!
We had loads of cinerarias self-seed in our raised vegetable beds this year, and they look so pretty, I couldn’t bring myself to pull them out. So although there has been less room for the veggies, I have enjoyed looking at the lovely flowers over the last couple of months.
I covered the lettuces with netting to stop the birds from eating them all.
I hung tin foil from twine to keep the birds away from the silverbeet, which seems to have worked. Although I love having birds in the garden, and encourage them by feeding them, they seem to think that we grow the veggies just for them!
I plant lots of blue flowers to attract the bees. They love the borage, which is also a good companion plant for the strawberries.
The tomato plants are doing nicely, although the oxalis is growing rampant in the tomato bed at the moment. I don’t like spraying anything, so have to try and keep on top of the weeding.
These dianthus in our front garden have the most beautiful scent.
I think the blue lobelia and the yellow pansies look really pretty together.
This little rock rose (I think that’s what it is) loves growing under the dappled shade of the tree.
There is always lots to do in the garden, but our efforts are rewarded with beauty and bounty. There is nothing nicer than looking out onto a pretty garden, and being able to walk outside and pick fresh greens for dinner.
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly. “One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
Hans Christian Andersen
I would like to take this time to thank the people who have nominated me for blogging awards over the past months. It is nice to know that people are reading my blog, and I appreciate the acknowledgment.
Thanks to Bernice at Realistic Cooking Ideas for Busy People for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Bernice has a wonderful cooking blog with great recipes that are easy to make, and delicious. I have tried several of Bernice’s recipes and have really enjoyed them. Bernice also writes posts about hiking in New Hampshire with her husband, and shares wonderful photos of her travels.
Thanks to Monique at a reel chick for the Liebster Award nomination. Monique writes about food, animals, DIY, fashion, travel and, as she says on her ‘About Me’ page, “whatever else tickles my fancy on any given day.”
Thanks to Maxi at Scribbler Maxi’s Musings for the Reality Blog Award nomination. Maxi is a fellow writer who has published both fiction and non-fiction books. She blogs about her writing life, with musings that all writers can relate to. Maxi also has a craft blog at Love, Maxi where she shares her crafts, baking and gardening.
Thanks to Deborah at Container Chronicles for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Deborah is a fellow quilter and blogs about her quilting projects, as well as her life as a teacher in Taiwan.
My most recent nomination was from Lonnie at The Belmont Rooster, who nominated me for The Liebster Award. Lonnie has a great gardening blog. He writes about plants (of which he has an incredible knowledge) and about life on the farm, which is always entertaining.
I hope you check out all these great blogs.
Now, for The Liebster Award.
First, 5 things about me that you probably didn’t know:
My favourite colour is purple.
I am a Doctor Who fan.
I am a vegetarian.
I left school on the day I turned 15 and completed my education by correspondence.
I have worked as an office junior, a deli assistant, a fibre tester, a data entry operator, an apple picker, a cider bottler, a home help, a despatch worker, and an administration assistant.
These are my answers to Lonnie’s questions:
1) Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging as a way to promote my book, Scrappy Cupcake Angels, but my blog has become more about sharing the things I love and which inspire me to write - crafts, food, gardening, and books.
2) What do you like the most about blogging?
Being able to share and connect with others who have the same interests I do.
3) What inspires you to continue blogging?
Being a part of the blogging community, the encouraging comments, and discovering all the wonderful blogs out there.
4) What is your favorite time of the year?
Spring – when the garden is coming to life with blossom, butterflies, colourful bulbs, wisteria, baby birds…
When the days are warmer, but before it gets too hot.
When I can start planting my veggie garden.
5) What do you look for when deciding to follow a blog?
It would probably have to be a blog about crafts, gardening, cooking, writing, art journals, or books (or organics, owls, ghosts, or dogs…) Actually, it could be about anything! Some blogs just draw me into them and I want to read more!
6) When deciding to start a blog, what made you choose WordPress?
I read an article in Writing Magazine, which explained how to go about setting up a WordPress blog, and I thought I would have a go.
7) How important is it to you for other bloggers to make comments and “Like” your blog?
It is lovely to get feedback on posts and to know that people are actually reading them and liking them. Also, the comments and “Likes” help me to know which subjects people are more interested in.
8) How important is it to you to gain more followers?
It just makes me happy to know that anybody is reading my blog!
9) What do you hope other bloggers gain from your blog?
Ideas and inspiration.
10) Do you think these questions are dumb?
No. I hope you don’t think these answers are dumb!
Now, here are my nominees for The Liebster Award.
Artful Scrapbooking http://artfulscrapbooking.wordpress.com
The Cottonwood Tree http://thecottonwoodtree.wordpress.com
Sweet Mabel http://sweetmabelblog.wordpress.com
An Owl a Day Keeps Burnout Away…right? http://owladay.wordpress.com
And my questions for the nominees:
1) What was the most memorable thing that happened to you in 2013?
2) Who is your favourite author?
3) Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
4) Where was the best holiday you ever had?
5) What is your favourite food?
6) What country or place would you most like to visit?
7) What is your favourite movie?
8) What new craft/skill would you most like to learn?
9) Are you a cat lover, a dog lover, or both?
10) Who inspires you the most?
Here is a list of guidelines should you wish to accept and pass on the award.
1) Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2) Display the award on your blog.
3) Answer the questions about yourself that were provided by the blogger who nominated you.
4) Provide 5 facts about yourself.
5) Nominate at least 5 bloggers you would like to pass the award on to.
6) Create a list of 10 questions you want your nominees to answer.
7) List a set of rules similar to these on your blog.
8) Inform the bloggers that you have nominated them and profile a link to your post.
Most of all, have fun!
When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours this Halloween.
I made this little Halloween book using papers from Graphic 45′s Steampunk Spells, and Olde Curiosity Shoppe collections, as well as embellishments from 7 Gypsies, Graphic 45, Tim Holtz, and various other ephemera.
I recently discovered a range of newly released Holly Hobbie quilt fabrics at an online craft store, and I was immediately transported back to my childhood. Does anyone remember Holly Hobbie, the young girl with the patchwork dress, the blue bonnet and the brown boots? In the seventies, the Holly Hobbie character was made into a popular rag doll, as well as numerous other products. In 2006, Holly Hobbie was redesigned with a spin-off product line called Holly Hobbie and Friends. There were three new dolls released, and a movie with the back story that the new Holly was the great-granddaughter of the original Holly.
I made this small quilt using some of the new Holly Hobbie fabrics, just the right size for a doll’s quilt or a wall hanging. You could add extra panels or borders to make a lovely quilt for a little girl’s bed.
For a touch of nostalgia, visit the website Karen’s Holly Hobbie World for all things Holly Hobbie.
This is a scrappy collage page I made of our recent visit to Wellington. Although we were only there a couple of days, we tried to fit in as much as we could. We went to the Andy Warhol exhibition at Te Papa, and to the Gregory Crewdson exhibition at the City Gallery, which included photographs from his Beneath the Roses series portraying the dark heart of contemporary Americana, as well as photos from his Sanctuary and Fireflies works. We visited our favourite bookshops and art & craft shops, went for a morning stroll along Queen’s Wharf, and had dinner at our favourite waterfront restaurant.
With another winter almost over and spring just around the corner, the gardens and roadsides are coming to life with blossom-covered trees. The tuis adore the nectar they provide at this time of year. Nick took these photos of a tui drinking from the blossom flowers where he is working at the moment.
The bright yellow flowers of the wattle trees have been adding a splash of sunshine to the winter days. I wish we had room for one in our garden. I love the Golden Wattles with their clusters of small pompom flowers that we see when we go for walks.
The weather is warming up and new growth is emerging, with flowers appearing that have been dormant over the winter months. I’ve been planning what to plant in my garden this year, drawing diagrams, making sure to rotate the crops where I have room, and reading through my companion planting book to make sure not to plant things next to each other which don’t get on. I’ve started a few seeds off inside to get a head start. A little glasshouse is on my wish list, the trouble is finding somewhere in the garden to put one!
I have been keeping a garden journal for a year now. I started last September, at the beginning of spring. It’s interesting to look back over a complete cycle of the seasons and see how the garden changes.
Our broccoli are finally ready for harvesting. I cut the main heads off and and let the plants continue to grow so that they form side-shoots.
Broccoli and Mushroom Gratin
1 large head broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or non-dairy spread
2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups milk (or soya milk or oat milk)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups grated cheese
2 tablespoons butter or non-dairy spread, melted
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 180º C.
Cut the broccoli into florets and steam until bright green and just tender, about 5 minutes. Place in lightly greased baking dish.
Heat the oil and saute the onion and mushrooms until the onion begins to soften and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Spread mixture over broccoli.
Heat the butter or non-dairy spread in a saucepan. Stir in the flour until smooth, then gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened. Add the parsley, salt, pepper, and 1 cup of the cheese, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Pour the sauce over the broccoli mixture in the dish.
Stir together the melted butter, breadcrumbs and remaining cheese, and sprinkle over the gratin.
Bake about 20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.