Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where have you been?

Where have I been since the last time I blogged, and what have I been up to. Ok well I have been busy crocheting as always; I am busy with some stripy tea cosies.  
They are lovely cute tea cosies and turn out very pretty with an appliquéd crocheted heart or cup cake on the side just like the one in the photograph.  We, that is Sophie and I have also been very busy building up our stock of tea cosies as they are going into a coffee shop very soon for sale to the customers.  So we had better get cracking or should I say crocheting!  
In the meantime, it has been Emma's 6th birthday and as always I have totally exhausted myself in throwing a birthday party for her and baking an absolutely beautiful cake for the day.  Thankfully we only have one birthday per annum which allows us to totally forget about all the hard work that went into organising the previous birthday party. We, I say, meaning Tara (my eldest daughter) and myself gave Emma a Disney Princess birthday party.  Having viewed quite a few "Cake Boss" shows on TV and Googling for some images for Princess Castle cakes, we came up with a castle cake creation of our own.  It took Tara and me about 2 hours to ice the cake; it was great fun with everybody, including my Andre and Joshua sitting around the table while we were icing the cake.  We had to do a lot of guarding (from Andre and Joshua) of the sweets which we had poured out into bowls on the table for decorating. 
Emma with her Rapunzel Barbie from her Nanna and a beautifully knitted jersey from her Granny!

 Before all of this I finished a tea cosy for my mom for mother’s day, popped it into the post to Port Elizabeth and other than that, have just had my parents in law visiting for the weekend.

Excuse the grammatical errors as I am sure there are, but I must go and make supper now.  Busy, busy, busy, but all very enjoyable!
There is always time to bake scones on the weekend for breakfast!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pretty in Pink

I love soft pink colours, in flowers, on teacups, on tea cosies, in roses and more.  I do not wear much pink though I do have a pink summer jersey. Here are a few photographs of some of the pink items I have photographed.
Pink Chrysanthemums

Pink rose with soft yellow stripes.

There is much inspiration in nature to get me crocheting another tea cosy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Life

My blog today is about new life.  I am always in awe at the amazing colours of autumn especially the colours of the showy Maple trees lining the streets.  The colours of the leaves change from green to yellow to orange and red and drift through the cool autumn air to the ground to make a magnificent carpet of leaves below the tree.  Soon, the tree will be bare and fully exposed to the cold winter air and frosty mornings.  In other parts of the world the trees are exposed to the harsh winter winds, snow and very low temperatures.  Throughout all of this process, the tree stands tall as if proudly and confidently knowing that Spring will come and new buds will appear and new life will sprout forth from its’ branches and twigs. 

Herewith a little insert from an article I found on the internet:

It Has Been A Restful Winter For 
Northern Utah Trees
By Dennis Hinkamp
It's still winter in Northern Utah and most trees are still sleeping. This is always a concern during February. What could happen if the trees begin to grow too soon and then we get an extremely cold spell?
According to Jerry Goodspeed, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, trees are a lot like humans when it comes to rest. Each tree needs a certain amount of sleep before it can perform to its maximum potential. We rest at night, and most trees rest during the winter. This rest period is called dormancy.
"In Northern Utah, this period is during the coldest part of winter," Goodspeed explains. "In late fall, the trees acclimate to the cooling temperatures, becoming more and more hardy as the freezing temperatures approach. Eventually, they harden enough to be able to withstand below zero temperatures without dying."
To get their proper rest, most trees need temperatures to be between about 30 and 40 F. If it is too hot or cold, they do not rest well, or accumulate enough "chill" hours, he says.
"If a tree gets waken up too soon, much like us, it can become grouchy and cranky," Goodspeed says. "They show this ugly mood with a reduced amount of leaves and fruit, and a generally unhealthy appearance. This seldom happens here in Northern Utah, but it can when trees need a long dormancy, and we have a shortened winter."
He says a more common scenario occurs when the trees get enough rest accumulated by mid January, and then just wait for the weather to warm up so they can start their season’s growth. A warm February (or January) gets the trees all excited and their buds begin to swell as they awaken. As this happens, the sap begins to flow, and they start to loose some of their winter hardiness, making them more vulnerable to sub-freezing temperatures.
If our weather stays relatively cool, the trees should be fine. However, if the weather warms too much and then we get very cold again, it can kill some buds and tender wood on the trees, Goodspeed says. There is really nothing we can do to prevent this from happening. The good news is, most trees are resilient and recover quickly from some die-back.
"Fortunately, most of our trees are getting enough rest so they will wake in the spring refreshed and ready to grow," he says. "The trees I have observed this year also appear to be sleeping well and have not been affected by the relatively warm winter we are experiencing. Most buds are still tight and are not starting any spring swelling or growth. This should help them withstand most of the cold temperatures we will experience in mid to late February."
Additionally, he says the warm weather and bountiful rain have replenished the soil for evergreen trees and shrubs

Interestingly enough, I read that Oak Trees retain the old brown brittle leaves and in spring the new buds push the old leaves off of the branches. 

Perhaps you feel like you are losing your leaves and life is looking a little bleak, the months that are lying ahead for you look like winter and you cannot seem to envisage spring right now.  Be encouraged that just like these trees that know the right amount of rest they require, we too go through seasons in our life where we may require more rest than normal.  In those times, it is important to allow yourself the rest and recuperation for in due course, spring will arrive again and you will feel the promise of new life and a renewed energy!
Psalm 27 v 13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
         That I would see the goodness of the LORD
         In the land of the living.        
 14 Wait on the LORD;
         Be of good courage,
         And He shall strengthen your heart;
         Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

A Mother's love is something
that no on can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.
                                                                                       - Helen Steiner Rice

My mother was always there when I came home from school and needed a listening ear.  We often thought in sync, when it came to “what shall I make for supper tonight?”  Shopping at Pick n’ Pay was always so special, I remember trying out a new chocolate almost every time, a Tex, Bar One, Crunchie, Lunch Bar, and Caravan etc.  Our selections were not as great and confusing as today back then, so we had soon tried them all out.  My mom’s favourite was always the Bar One or something chocolaty with toffee in the centre.

My mom made the most delicious "vetkoek" and crumpets and even though baking was never her favourite, she passed those lovely recipes on to me. It’s  not just those two recipes as there many others too.  
My mother never needed to worry where I was concerned; I did enough worrying for the two of us!  We loved movie night, I especially as I got  myself all comfortable on the couch and then have a glorious sleep right through the whole movie!  
When my dad went away on business trips, we always ended eating something with curry in as my dad was never fond of “hot” food.  I especially loved the beans and roti.  
My mom is a creature of habit and let me tell you, make sure you put things back where they belong.  The scissors belonged in it’s drawer in it’s compartment, the cellotape belonged on a shelf in her study in a certain spot, her pens in the stationery holder and a slab of chocolate possibly in her top drawer : - ).  One generally knew where she kept everything in the house, I was often asked whether I had seen something she was looking for and could most times successfully direct her to it.
 Macaroni and Cheese was our Saturday night supper regular, Hot dogs for lunch on a Saturday alternated with hamburgers and I think savoury mince on a Monday night.  I can still not get my hamburgers to taste as juicy and good as hers. 

 There are many more stories and they are like treasures in my treasure box.  Happy Mothers day today Mommy, you are a treasure to me.  Enjoy your present when it arrives; remember to send me a photo of it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Autumn Scuttles

I feel like I have been on holiday forever, schools closed on Friday the 25th March and then re-opened two weeks later on Monday the 11th April, we then closed again on Thursday the 21st and have only just come back today after the whole Easter break and additional public holidays that we have had in South Africa.  I am not complaining and feel quite rested and refreshed but as to what day it is and what date it is, that is where the confusion creeps in.  Anyway, we are officially in May 2011 with winter just around the corner.
I finished the poncho for Emma but still have to sew all the threads in; Emma has been wearing it regardless and loving it very much.  She did not seem too interested in it while I was crocheting it but loves the warmth of it around her.

After the poncho, I was anxious to get started with another tea cosy which is for my mom for mother’s day and I am just about finished sewing it all together and the must get it ready to post off to her. 
Autumn has only just really settled in and the leaves are profusely changing colour and drifting through the air down to the ground.  I really wanted to get up early one morning in the holidays to go take some photos around Johannesburg of the trees but my bed was just too warm and comfortable.  But before Autumn is up I am definitely going to get those photographs on my blog!

I was not particularly looking forward to today as it meant back to work, back to school, back to sitting in the daily traffic, back to getting up early and getting out of the house by 6.30am etc.   By the time I poured myself a cup of coffee this morning, it was cold and so the day began!  Anyway, so far my day has turned out quite alright and I think having some kind of a routine and rhythm going again would be rather good.  Whatever your day, whatever daunting thing may be lying ahead for you, hopefully at the end of today you will be able to say, you have managed to get through it all “quite alright”.
My highlights for May are: 
·        Mothers Day on Sunday the 8th May
·        My baby’s 6th birthday on Wednesday the 18th May, which incidentally is another public holiday for voting in our country and ideal for having a birthday party on the day!
Hopefully as the month progresses, I can add some other highlights to my list.