Pretty As A Pansy

Pansies are one of my favourite flowers. Their sweet faces brighten up the winter garden, and I especially love them in shades of purple and blue. When I saw this pansy fabric on Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting website, I immediately began planning what I could do with it.

I made a patchwork table runner to cover my art table when I’m not using it.

Then with the leftover fabrics, and strips cut from the coordinating picture panel, I made a small wall hanging. I added some buttons, lace, and stitching, then I found two sticks in the garden – one from which to hang it, and one from which to dangle beads at the bottom.

Finn kept an eye on what I was doing.

This sweet pansy is called Matrix Denim.

In the language of flowers, pansy means friendly thoughts or think of me. These pansy cards are from my collection of vintage greeting cards.

With friendly thoughts from me to you, wherever you are in the world.

Finn

We recently celebrated Finn’s third birthday with a trip to one of his favourite river spots, where he loves to run, explore, swim and chase sticks. I made this scrapbook page for his album, which is filling up fast.

Here are some close-ups of the details.

I love to layer papers.

finn4

The burlap gives it a natural feel.

finn6

I used collage elements and did some chalking through stencils.

Washi tape and ribbon co-ordinate with the colour theme of water and nature.

This pretty sticker was from Graphic 45’s Botanical Tea collection.

finn5

 

In My Studio

Craft Studio

I have been doing Danielle Donaldson’s online art workshop, All Creatures Lovely and Small, learning to draw and watercolour whimsical creatures and create mixed-media story blocks. Good fun!

He’s not quite finished yet. I still have to add some embellishing around the pup.

Lavender, rosemary and peppermint picked fresh from the garden bring the aromatic scent of herbs into the studio.

Finn keeps me company while he has his chew.

Once the echinaceas have finished flowering outside, their seed heads make an interesting arrangement indoors.

echinacea seed heads

Beach Wall Hanging

This little wall hanging was inspired by a recent visit to Waimarama Beach. I rummaged around in my stash of fabrics for blues and golds to accent the colours in the photograph. I sewed them onto a burlap background with wavy lines of stitching, then sewed on strips of ribbon and trim, and added some buttons and some driftwood and shells from the beach. Hanging from the bottom are vintage tassels I found at a recent antiques fair.

beach wall hanging

Finn had a wonderful time chasing his toy, then burying it in the sand. He even found a playmate. Although he loves to swim in the river, he has always been a little hesitant about going into the ocean. But on this day he was happy to follow Nick into the water, and to retrieve his toy from the shallow waves.

My Craft and Writing Studio

I have always dreamed of having my own little creative space, a place where I can keep all my art and craft supplies, where I can spread out and work on a project and leave it out at the end of the day, instead of having to tidy it away. A place where I can be messy, a place that is inspiring to write in, a place where I can shut myself away and write and create and forget about everything else for a while.

Now, my dream has come true! Nick and I bought a kitset garden room and together we built it in the garden. Well, Nick was the one who made sense of all the instructions, and did all the heavy lifting and construction, and knew just what to do. I just helped where I could. It was hard work, but well worth the effort. My little studio is just 10 square meters in size, it is made from Scandinavian redwood, and I love it!

The inside is a work in progress as I organize all my art and craft paraphernalia into boxes and drawers. I’ve got fabric to make curtains, and Nick is going to build me a wall of shelves.

Craft and Writing Studio

The planter is covered in netting to stop Finn from jumping in and digging out all the pansy seedlings we planted.

It even has a little verandah and decking out the front where Finn can lie in the sun.

Finn

Life with Finn

 

Our puppy, Finn, is 9 months old now and has become a beloved member of our family. He is very different to our last dog, Cody, who was very gentle and affectionate. Finn is much more strong-willed and demanding, but he has great character and is an awesome, fun-loving little companion. In the last few weeks he seems to have calmed down a little, and sometimes, now, he will even let us sleep later than 6 a.m. in the weekends!

One of my favourite toys!

One of my favourite toys!

In the mornings I take Finn for a walk at a local reserve, beside a creek, where he sometimes meets up with his furry friends, Jess and Sam. They have a wonderful time playing together and it is a good opportunity for him to socialize. Finn is very friendly and loves to play with other dogs, but he hasn’t learned yet that some dogs are old and don’t want to play. He can be a little over-boisterous, so I have to keep him on his lead until I can be sure that other dogs we meet are happy to play with him.

Now that the days are longer, we take Finn to the river when Nick comes home from work, where we can let him off his lead, there is nobody around for him to bother, and he can run and run to his heart’s content. He loves the water and has learned to swim, although he is still a little hesitant about going in out of his depth.

In the weekends we go for long walks in the country, along rivers, or sometimes to the beach. During our explorations, we have found lots of new places to take him.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

 

There's lots of space to run around here!

There’s lots of space to run around here!

We have a beautiful sandy beach about a forty-five minute drive away, and if we go there on a weekday, sometimes we are the only ones there.

Hurry up and throw the stick!

Hurry up and throw the stick!

I wonder if it's safe to go in and get it.

I wonder if it’s safe to go in and get it.

That wasn't so bad!

That wasn’t so bad!

I think I might bury it now.

I think I might bury it now.

We still have a long way to go with training him not to bark at the hose, the vacuum cleaner, or the neighbours, not to jump up on Grandma and Granddad, not to dig holes in the lawn, chase baby birds, steal socks, or chew the edges of rugs, toes, or watering cans.

Yes, he is a handful, and can be challenging at times, but we wouldn’t be without him.

This is a nice sunny spot for relaxing after a hard day's play!

This is a nice sunny spot for relaxing after a hard day’s play!