Vintage Easter Cards

Vintage Easter Cards

I thought I would share with you a few Easter cards from my vintage card collection. The Italian card at the bottom was posted in 1943 from a father stationed in Italy during the Second World War to his young daughter in New Zealand. The others aren’t dated so I’m not sure exactly how old they are. If you click on the image, you can see a larger picture and read the greeting.

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

vintage Easter card

Little Houses

Originally posted on Wattle Lane:

little house 1

When I first saw this little house for sale in a local shop, it instantly made me think of the houses in my Wattle Lane novels – two and a half stories high, with gingerbread trim and an attic tucked beneath the eaves. The miniature houses are made by a local couple who have a laser cutting and engraving business http://www.micara.co.nz. They make a range of different style houses, and also make them in a larger scale for doll houses.

Front and side views Front and side views

Back view of house Back view of house

The little house, just 10 inches tall, sits beside me on my desk while I am writing. When I look at it, I imagine the little scrapbook shop on the bottom floor, and of Angeline sitting in her attic studio at the top of the house, making her paper angels.

Now I just have to decide what colours to paint it. Perhaps…

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A Love of Herbs

A Love of Herbs

My love for herbs began many years ago when I became interested in natural remedies and decided to do a correspondence course in herbal studies. The course involved the study of a wide range of herbs, their healing properties, and how to make herbal medicines and treatments. While studying the course, I got a job at Weleda NZ Ltd., a manufacturer of natural and herbal medicines and body care products. I worked in the despatch department, picking and packing orders and invoicing, and occasionally helped out in other departments, including a brief stint in the manufacturing department where I had hands-on experience in the making of the herbal medicines. It was a lovely place to work, surrounded by biodynamic gardens of healing herbs.

Weleda homestead

Weleda homestead

After working at Weleda for six years, I left to pursue my dream of a writing career, but my love of herbs continued in my garden at home. I grow herbs to use in cooking, herbs for healing, and some just for their beauty, and for the folklore and magic associated with them.

Whenever I feel a sore throat coming on, I make an infusion of sage and thyme and gargle with it several times a day.

Thyme

Thyme

The sage is lovely in stuffing balls at Christmas time.

Sage

Sage

To help relieve congested sinuses from a cold, I put a few sprigs of rosemary in a bowl of boiled water, cover my head with a towel, then lean over the bowl and breathe in the aromatic steam. I use rosemary a lot in cooking – rosemary shortbread, rosemary focaccia bread, rosemary roast potatoes, or a few sprigs thrown on the barbecue.

Rosemary

Rosemary

I add a few fresh leaves of stevia, the sugar herb, to fruit when stewing, to replace sugar. This year I’m going to dry the leaves and grind them into a powder to use in baking.

Stevia

Stevia

Borage is a good companion plant for my strawberries, and it helps to attract the bees.

Borage

Borage

Lavender is also a great bee plant. I use it in herbal crafts, and often pick a few sprigs to keep in a vase on the kitchen bench.

Lavender

Lavender

I keep a pot of Aloe Vera on hand in case of burns.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Foxgloves just because they are one of my favourite flowers, and I love the folklore that surrounds them.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

The leaves of lemon balm have the most beautiful lemony scent and possess many healing properties.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

I use garlic chives a lot in cooking, and their flowers are so pretty.

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

I use basil, parsley and mint a lot in cooking, too. The smell of minted potatoes always reminds me of holidays with my grandparents. It’s nice to be able to go outside and pick herbs fresh from the garden whenever you want to add them to a dish.

Mint

Mint

Anise Hyssop is another great bee plant. It is also very pretty and I love the aniseed fragrance of the leaves.

Anise Hyssop

Anise Hyssop

Feverfew and calendulas self-seed throughout our garden.

Feverfew

Feverfew

Calendula

Calendula

I used to love the mass plantings of echinaceas in the summers when I worked at Weleda. They are used in their medicines to support the immune system and to treat infections.
This year I grew my own echinaceas.

Echinacea

Echinacea

Echinaceas

Echinaceas

I am also growing bay, arnica, angelica, and comfrey, but they are only small at the moment.

Garden Journal – The End of Summer

The last month of summer, here in Napier, New Zealand, brought lots of sunshine and hot temperatures, but little rain. Flowers bloomed in the garden, while in the vegetable beds, beans, zucchinis, beetroot, chard, and salad greens were plentiful. Our blueberry bush provided a steady supply of berries throughout the month. The tomato plants gave us enough for salads and sandwiches, but not enough for preserving. We had loads of basil in the garden that we wanted to use, so while tomatoes were cheap to buy, we bought some for making pasta sauce and we now have several jars in the pantry and the freezer to see us through the next few months.

garden journal

garden journal

Heritage Scrapbooking

Originally posted on Wattle Lane:

Heritage scrapbooking is a great way to document the journey of our ancestors, to tell their stories through journaling, pictures, and memorabilia, brought together in a beautiful album for generations to treasure.

In my novel, The House in Wattle Lane, 29-year-old Neave learns about the lives of her ancestors from older family members, and the journey that took them from Ireland to England, and to the small gold mining town of Kerrigan in New Zealand. In a heritage scrapbooking class, Neave documents their lives, beginning with a family tree page like the one below. This is a fictional family tree of the family in the novel to show the sort of thing you could do with your own family tree.

There are many examples of family tree pages on Pinterest and on Google images that can give you ideas. On mine, I used scrapbooking paper, watercolour paints, and cutout…

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Garden Journal

I started a new garden journal this year that I plan to fill with collaged pages of photographs, sketches and journaling. These are the first pages. I’ve added some embellishments from Graphic 45s Time To Flourish collection, which has lots of pretty floral stickers, scrapbooking papers, chipboard tags and journaling cards. On January’s page I included a layout plan of our veggie garden to aid in planning for crop rotation next season. Garden Journal Garden Journal

Vintage Tearoom

Originally posted on Wattle Lane:

The inspiration for Chloe’s Coffee Shop in my Wattle Lane novels came from one of our local cafes, Port ‘O’ Call, situated in the picturesque village of Ahuriri. To view their website click here. Port ‘O’ Call has a wonderful vintage tearoom in one half of the shop, a place where you are transported back to the fifties, with food served on pretty vintage china.

vintage tearoom10

vintage tearoom1

You can choose your own vintage teacup, for your tea or coffee, from the lovely display on the shelves behind the counter.

vintage tearoom4

It is hard to decide what to choose, from the Devonshire cream teas, to the delicious cakes and slices and freshly baked breads.

vintage tearoom2

vintage tearoom3b

vintage tearoom5

The mouthwatering food is adorned with flowers, adding a touch of romance to the delightful setting. My pot of tea came nestled beneath a charming knitted tea cosy, like the one I use at home that my mum knitted more…

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