Goodbye 2014…..what a year!

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I had to get a final post in for 2014 especially as I managed to spectacularly fail to deliver any festive posts! The run up to Christmas was a flurry of planting out seedlings, cutting sweetpeas for the market, making up wreaths and table decorations and dancing up and down with glee at the first sighting of a flower in the Wildflower Meadow! Yes, that’s right, we had flowers in the meadow for Christmas Day.

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I need to go back to my seed supplier to identify them properly but it looks like a type of poppy, phacelia and borage and a couple of unidentified beauties so far (any ideas let me know!). Can’t wait to see the other varieties as they come into bloom.

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Th photo at the beginning of my post shows the table runner decoration I created for Christmas Day Lunch. There’s something very satisfying about spending a bit of time spearing oasis with buxus, rosemary and ivy…..

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…..then gradually building up interest with gum nuts, baby quince….

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…..hypericum berries,

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….fejoa buds and seed heads and scabiosa starball………

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….and crowning it all off with three rather sculptural artichokes. A few days after Christmas the artichokes flowered with a purple spiky crew cut! That’s one of the things I love about using freshly cut flowers from my garden; they carry on growing and developing because they haven’t been treated with chemicals. I love the wildness of this.

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I also made a Christmas vase of flowers to go on the drinks table next to the BBQ. It was quite a different vase of flowers compared to last year. The Tiger’s Tail I used last year wasn’t in flower (not even close in fact)…..

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so I went for another tall and spiky favourite – the lupin.

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Teamed with immature hydrangeas, soft greenery…..

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…dreamy larkspur and the surprise element of a shocking pinky orange snapdragon I felt that they added a very festive feel to the day.

 

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We had some vibrant salads to go with the bbq-ed pork and oven cooked turkey and stuffing……

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I made some mincemeat although didn’t quite manage to get them into mince pies (!) and some reindeer biscuits for the children (who am I kidding!) and up went the festive bunting. I did lose a saucepan after a huge Chutney Making Disaster. I make Nigella’s Christmas Chutney every year – why it burnt this year? Who knows. To Mr Fig’s credit he didn’t even mention the blackened saucepan smouldering away malevolently in the carport. The dog didn’t go near it either 🙂

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I can’t write my final post for the year without a mention of the sweetpea love that has been blooming away for the past month or so. When I think how sick they looked when I transplanted them after months of over wintering in the greenhouse I can’t quite believe how well they’ve performed. They have been used in a wedding bouquet, a Golden Wedding Anniversary and a birthday and have graced the homes of numerous Farmers Market shoppers. I like to think I’ve spread a little joy through these scented lovelies!

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My home has resembled that of a florist recently as I’ve picked buckets of flowers from the Cut Flower Garden. I’ve been making up all sorts of flower arrangements.

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I’ve learnt quite a bit along the way about the need to condition flowers well before arranging for maximum vase life and also the importance of foliage and fillers as well as the flowers. Still loads more to learn….

I always make a point of NOT making New Year’s Resoultions but I do like to Make A List of Things I’d Like To Achieve or at least Aim For. In 2015 I’d like to:

  • carry on with the Cut Flower Garden Dream and perhaps turn it into a small but perfectly formed business venture
  • develop the herb garden and make some lovely herbal tea blends
  • develop the underplanting in the Nuttery

I’ll stop there before it turns into a list of Resolutions! I’d just like to say Thank You to everyone who has happened upon my blog and for taking the time to read my posts. To friends and family (for whom I started the blog so they could see what I was getting up to out here in NZ) I hope you like what you’re reading and that you still feel part of my life even though I’m So Far Away! To my friends in NZ who read this blog Thanks for your lovely comments and encouragement. We’ll be seeing New Year in on my friend Mrs Egg’s Farm so Happy New Year Everyone! See you in 2015!

 

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There’s nothing like a Bit of Bunting….

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It’s so true. There aren’t many occasions that can’t be brightened up by some cheerful little triangles fluttering in the breeze. I made some gorgeous vintage bunting last year to hang out on the veranda for Christmas.

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Super special isn’t it. I got a great mix of fabrics

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and I love the fact that I can wheel it out year after year so it becomes very much part of the fabric of the Figlets’ Christmas memories. Now I actually went a bit mad last year and made too many triangles.

Unfinished bunting

Look here they are. They’ve been sitting in a box all year long waiting for someone to help them to fulfil their destiny and be fully fledged bunting hanging on someone’s wall at Christmas time. How can I possibly thwart the desires of half made bunting? I can’t, so I’m going to show you how to make bunting and then I’m going to parcel it up and send it off to someone to enjoy!

I’d better start by saying I can’t sew. I can’t knit or crochet with any kind of panache either but then you can take cheer from this sad fact because if I can make this bunting then anyone can. Begin by making a cardboard triangle 18cm across the top and 21cm for the sides. I’m using my gingham red triangle in the photo that was already cut out from last year. Simply pin the triangle to the fabric you’re cutting….

Lay out

……and snip, snip, snip along the edges with pinking shears. I love pinking shears because they stop the fabric from fraying. You can use normal scissors though. I backed each triangle with red gingham because I had a huge roll of it to use up. You can use the same fabric for both sides or buy a cheaper backing fabric. A friend used the red gingham side of the bunting for a Farmyard Party last year – I love versatile bunting!

Cut with pinking shears

Now turn the right sides together (the right sides are the good sides, the ones you want to display), pin together and simply sew along the two sides. Don’t bother sewing the top. You will be hiding the top when you sew the binding tape along.

Right sides together

Now turn the right way out and use a pencil to poke the pointy point at the bottom of the triangle and make it super pointy! Then iron flat. Ironing your triangles is Really Essential. They look so much better all flat and crisp. Now all you need to do is make a few more!

Turn right way out and iron

Once you have your triangles all sewn up you can start on the binding tape. You can use coloured binding tape or a thick ribbon but I am making my own out of one of my pieces of Christmas fabric. Simply cut a strip about 6cm wide and as long as the material. If you’re using a patterned fabric make sure it’s the right way up. See my little birds are the right way up? We don’t want wonky birds.

Strip of binding

Now turn the top edge down about 1cm-1.5cm or there abouts and iron it flat all the way along and do the same for the bottom edge.

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Now you can start to pin your triangles into the binding tape.

Start pinning triangles Getting there

Keep going gently laying each triangle on the binding and folding over and pinning. Pin, pin, pin and you’ll soon have something like this….

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Now take a deep breath it’s time to sew it all together. I have a love hate relationship with my sewing machine. Sometimes it works like a dream, purring away happily like a cat and sometimes it gets tangled up, spits out too much thread, runs away with itself like a defective stream train. We’re a Work In Progress you could say. My best advice is to Take It Slowly. Bit by bit, centimeter by centimeter sew along the edge of the binding keeping the fabric nice and straight. And remember, Sewing, like Life, is a marathon not a sprint.

Start sewing

And here it is.

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Really pleased with it and can’t wait for it to reach it’s destination and Fulfil it’s Destiny! Here it is all wrapped up ready to send. Post a comment on my Facebook Page when you receive it won’t you Lucky Person!!

To be sent