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.
Originally posted on Wattle Lane:
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.
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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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.
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.
The sage is lovely in stuffing balls at Christmas time.
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.
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.
Borage is a good companion plant for my strawberries, and it helps to attract the bees.
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.
I keep a pot of Aloe Vera on hand in case of burns.
Foxgloves just because they are one of my favourite flowers, and I love the folklore that surrounds them.
The leaves of lemon balm have the most beautiful lemony scent and possess many healing properties.
I use garlic chives a lot in cooking, and their flowers are so pretty.
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.
Anise Hyssop is another great bee plant. It is also very pretty and I love the aniseed fragrance of the leaves.
Feverfew and calendulas self-seed throughout our garden.
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.
I am also growing bay, arnica, angelica, and comfrey, but they are only small at the moment.
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.
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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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.
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.
You can choose your own vintage teacup, for your tea or coffee, from the lovely display on the shelves behind the counter.
It is hard to decide what to choose, from the Devonshire cream teas, to the delicious cakes and slices and freshly baked breads.
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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