April 27, 2008

The daffodils are in bloom!!

Archie just couldn't resist investigating this morning.
This week has been one of varied activity in the Rethman household. The girls have been busy at school, Jemma is revising for her upcoming Biology exam in May and Amber with track and field practice several times a week.
The materials for our new deck arrived, so Craig spent most of Saturday rearranging the garage and sorting out junk for the annual Spring clean up collection. We are down to our last cord of wood now and rarely need to light the woodstove.
I am as happy as Larry to have a paintbrush in my hand again!
After waiting patiently through winter I finally got around to painting the chest of drawers in my sewing room, covering the ghastly orange varnish with a calming antique white, it's actually a bit darker than it looks on this photo.Following the painting, yesterday evening I set about filling the drawers. Sorting out a trunk of memorabilia I came across my old 'scraps' collection and my serviette collection too :) In the 70's I spent a year in Stavanger, Norway attending the local elementary school. Little girls were still very young at heart in those days (no computer, tv, celebrity magazines) Initially I didn't understand a word they were saying of course, we played with my Pippa dolls and loved collecting things. So, coming across the pretty collection of over 70 serviettes/napkins, from that year gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
The 'scraps' or 'glans' as we called them, were a huge a source of excitement at the age of 11. Every week I would take my Kroner, skip down to the local store and buy some carefully selected scrap sheets. Then I would meet up with my friends where we would swap some and carefully arrange them in our precious books. Even back then I had a fondness of the cute pictures of children, animals and especially the vintage ones! Oh and I do still have a few of my Pippa dolls hidden away in a box :D
I have another friend who has just started blogging. Kathy, who now lives in Sydney Australia. I met Kathy about 18 years ago, before we had our babies, but we only started corresponding on a regular basis about a year ago, through emails and facebook! We have discovered that we have so much in common it's quite uncanny. I only wish we lived a little closer. Both our families left SA for the same reason, the safety and future of our children (I lived there for 2 years when my daughters' were toddlers). Somehow Craig being held at gunpoint a couple of days after we had bought a house in a leafy suburb called Rivonia put a kind of dampener on staying! I became a little paranoid, totally over protective and felt like a prisoner in my own home. On that same note, my poor Mum and Dad had their home broken into last week, luckily they were not harmed as they didn't actually go into the room that was being ransacked and the intruders took off (with computer) after being disturbed. This followed another nasty incident a year ago when they were held at gunpoint in the city by five men, who took their wallets, bags etc. Now they are a little more 'aware' of the dangers and have upgraded their home security to include panic buttons and perimeter beams! (a way of living I couldn't handle) I may be living the 'simple life' but I do at least feel safe (except perhaps for the odd black bear in the woods this time of year)
Hazel xx

April 18, 2008

Writer's block?

I have been a little 'lost for words' (the written kind) this past week. Partly due to the fact that the sun came out for 3 days in a row and I wanted to be outside. At this time of year it can be highly unpredictable from one day to the next.
I attacked the veggie patch with relish, revealing some healthy looking strawberry plants that have not only survived a few feet of snow on top of them, but appear to have multiplied too! After crawling about on my hands and knees and raking out thousands of leaves, the strawberry patch now looks quite respectable. Craig came home early, which was a nice surprise and joined in. Even the girls donned bikinis and sat on the bench after school on Thursday.
Naturally along with the arrival of sunshine my windows were quite embarrassingly in need of a clean! especially on the outside. Dragging my trusty old shabby chic stool, rubber gloves and spray stuff, I methodically rubbed each and every window until my arms were practically dropping off. Not a job I enjoy, but crucial to get out of the way before the 'black fly' season hits. These tiny little blood suckers look so harmless, but give the itchiest bites that last for ages. We still have a couple of weeks before they invade us, so every minute we can get in the garden before then is precious. Today I even did all my ironing outside, while watching the little dopey bees flying around and the orchard activity in the distance (pruning I expect).
Moving on from my domestic doings. My friend Keriann and my sister Heidi have both started their own blogs, so now there is no excuse for having zero comments on my posts ladies (hint hint...) Even if just to say hi :)
One of my favourite artists is a French lady called Francine Van Hove. Craig and I bought one of her prints many years ago called 'The pink pillow'. This month I ordered another print for the lounge. Making use of a huge frame that had been lying in the basement (picked up at a yard sale last year) I hadn't got any further than giving it a quick coat of paint. This piece of art, which arrived in the mail from art.com is called 'Sphinx with dictionary'.
A close up. Amber had a new haircut this morning. It's still long, but with lots of layering going on and a side swept fringe, sorry 'bangs' as they are called here! I remembered to take along my camera and take a quick snap outside the florists across the road from the hair salon. On the subject of flowers, my dried hydrangeas have lasted remarkably well through the winter, though I am looking forward to real live ones in the garden in a few weeks. Thank you for listening again!
Hazel xx

April 07, 2008

Happy Monday :)

It's over a week since my last blog post, well I did write a quick mid-week post but somehow managed to delete it! I must have been half asleep at the keyboard or else the computer gremlins have been dabbling again! Anyway it wasn't particularly newsy, I was just happy it was finally April and wanted to get it down on paper so to speak. (don't know why this first paragraph has bigger spacing?)
This week I have spent quite a bit of time searching for and reading other peoples blogs, interspersed with bouts of sewing, photographing, listing, packaging, posting, chores, lifts etc. I have edited my list of favourite blog sites to include some lovely new ones that I hope to visit more often. There are always so many animals to sew and so little time! I have just ordered some 100% wool felt and am very excited to see what it is like to sew with. It is more expensive than my current felt which is 20% wool, so maybe I will introduce a little exclusive section.
This morning was a small domestic milestone. I actually hung my washing outside in the garden (instead of bundling it into the tumble dryer) for the first time since October last year!! I love the smell of fresh air-dried laundry. The added bonus this year is that the local pig farm is no more - yay!! happy happy, joy joy!! Every year we marvel at the buds on the trees, the flowers popping up and the birds and animals magically surfacing in the warmer weather. But... the smell of the pig farm is one delight I can do without and this year I will finally get my wish :D I feel we should have a celebratory BBQ with our neighbours in a few weeks. The farmer has closed his pig sheds and sold them to someone who will not be keeping piggies, but instead grows apples and blueberries (much nicer).
The weekend was quite special, we had a family movie evening and watched a dvd called 'The Golden Compass'. I chopped some melon, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, bananas and marshmallows. Made warm chocolate fondue and the four of us had fun dipping :) Yummy!
On Sunday Craig and I got invited out to lunch by some friends. Joinging them at our favourite restaurant The Port. It was a popular idea with lots of people enjoying our first real Spring like day.
Craig has been dabbling in the garden, fired up the tractor mower, just to check it's still alive. Aired out the barn, which will soon be emptied of cars and boats. The locals will be coming to collect them soon after storing them for the winter months.
Jemma is busy studying for her AP Biology exam coming up in May, it has been a time consuming course which has taken some serious dedication and hard work this school year.
Amber has been showing a renewed interest in photography again. I will add her deviant art site to my inspiration section on the right, as it has been dormant for a while and will possibly be awakened.
Archie is just sleeping in the sun and 'molting' everywhere! I struggle to keep up with the 'dust bunnies' that seem to be in abundance every day this time of year and I can't walk by one without whipping it up and disposing of it. On the subject of disposal, the valley is clamping down on our recycling habits in a big way. Already being in the habit of recycling it hasn't meant much of a change for us. When I lived in Norway in the mid to late 80's recycling was the norm, and those habits have remained with me wherever I have lived. I just had to 'remind' everyone in the house to please rinse and put in the correct bin!
This morning I have 7 parcels to post, including a collection of six that are destined for the top of a Wedding cake! Here is a new design this week, a little English black and white badger.

I hope you all have a great week :)

Hazel xx