Thursday, May 21, 2009

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.....or so I hope!!!

I knew it had been awhile since I last posted a blog entry but the reality of the situation truly hit home when I began uploading my photos. Some serious image editing was required, and even with that, prepare yourself. . . this might take awhile!

Apparently, I've not only been playing hooky here at Piccalilli Days, but also in the garden. I was shocked to discover how much greenery has popped up out there. . . .the dandelions, chickweed, and ragweed are thriving! But so too are my chives! Our original clipping came from a dear neighbor the very first year we moved in. In the ten years since we have split our mound many times over creating numerous plantings in our yard and the yards any neighbors or friends willing to adopt some. It does have a bit of a garlic odor when you clip it but tastes delicious on cottage cheese or in omelets.

Another staple in our summer menu is basil. Every year I buy a small pack like this at Market Basket, our local grocery store, for a mere $1.79! It's got six small plants in it but by the end of the summer they're practically bushes, which is a good thing considering how much of it we eat.

This I found a bit unusual. . . . clusters of morning glory seedlings come up every year in all the spots where seeds from last season's blooms spilled to the ground. This is the first time ever, however, that I've seen them munched on like this. The one patch by our patio seems to be quite popular with an entire fleet of some strange sparkle beetle bug. I suppose I should do something about it although I'm a bit hesitant. . . . to tell the truth I think the little bugs are quite beautiful and what I would imagine one would get if you crossed a ladybug with a fairy.

Lawns must be a man thing. . . . to me, if I can mow it down and it looks green at a distance it's all good. My husband, however, is always in the process of fertilizing, dethatching, seeding and reseeding and of course stressing over a wee bit of clover here and there. He was in one such debate with himself recently concerning what course of action to take against it when our youngest hatched a "Save the Clover" campaign. His logic being not ecologically friendly but rather that you might find a four leaf clover in there! And guess what. . . .

. . . .he did! What luck! So with dad's help they pressed it flat, let it dry, and framed it. It now resides in the boys' room where I imagine little clover fairies make their pilgrimages and give praise for their salvation from any number of lawn treatment plans out there.

Speaking of luck. . . . have you seen one of these yet? It is a Lucky Penny Book made by my lovely friend Maggie. She sells them in her Sweet Scarlett shop on Etsy and in a real storefront shop in England too. This one came as a surprise treat in my mailbox along with a glorious bag of Typhoo tea, of which I am partaking a cup right now!
Yes, that is a real antique, out of circulation Queen Victoria penny you see there! On the flip side, however, I had my doubts about the whole "Natalie Jo the Genius" claim.

But then I read the quote contained within which made me think that just perhaps. . . . oh never mind, my eldest has informed me I have no less than sixteen spelling errors and two serious grammar faux pas thus far and I'm not even half way through (I told you it might take awhile!)

The mail has actually been very good to me recently. Let me introduce you to our new arrival, Miss Prim. She is the creation of another sweet friend Bekah, who recently began sharing her talents through her Etsy shop, Full of Bliss. I was lucky enough to catch her on opening day and snap up this little beauty. Ever so cute, and with a green gingham base to boot I didn't imagine it could get better until I saw. . . .

. . . . her delightful parasol! As lovely as it may seem here, please be sure to visit her blog for some truly amazing photos. Mine just do not give it justice!

I must confess I am not the only Full of Bliss fan around here. Miss Lily Red caught wind of some Easter Bonnets by Bekah's hand last month and has been green with envy ever since. Imagine her surprise to find a wee package for her tucked in snugly along with Miss Prim. Dare she hope? Could it be? Quick as a wink Lucy put scissor to twine and all was revealed!

It was. . . . the hat of her dreams!!! And a perfect fit at that.

So filled with emotion, the poor dear was rendered speechless. Thank goodness for the written word!

Etsy is great not only for the handmade items but also for vintage treasures and wonderful supplies. Mattie Cakes was actually the first seller I ever purchased from. I love her seam binding and all the little added touches she makes to the packaging. I needed to replenish my supply of lavender for a special order I had and decided to treat myself to a few extra selections at the same time.

I've really no excuse as to my extended absence here at Piccalilli Days. Maybe it was all those TV finales I just had to watch . . . . Lost, Survivor, Hell's Kitchen, American Idol . . . some of them a whopping three hour long broadcast! And if it wasn't that it was our pile of Vicar of Dibly DVD's recently arrived from Netflix. Yes from John Adams to Geraldine my husband and I are addicted. It's not been all play and no work, however, as I've had some custum orders to fill as well. Here are all the little bits and pieces that went into making. . . .

. . . . a special May Belle for a secret sweet someone.

She was a delight to have around but her visit was short as she had places to go and people to meet. A few of the girls popped in to wish her luck on her new adventure.

And so off to the post office we went. Yes I know, not the most exciting of pictures, but what's inside the white envelope is, for contained within is my half of a Doll Quilt Swap I participated in with Humble Needle. Once the swap is complete I'll share everything, but until then. . . .

. . . . my plate is clean. Well sort of. A recent purchase at the quilt shop filled the last of my tally card making me eligible for $25 worth of fabric for FREE!!! After careful consideration (another hour roaming the bolts!) I decided to be daring. I have always loved Kaffe Fassett's books and fabrics but have never actually worked with them. The prints are a bit bigger and bolder than I usually feel comfortable with but the colors were just too pretty. And so here they are, as they sit on my ironing board, wondering whatever is to become of them. . . . Oh Miss Maggie, I do hope you were right!


  1. Hi Natalie Jo, nice to see you back. I thought you'd been on vacation but now I can see what a busy bee you've been. I enjoyed all your links, what a talented lot you are across the pond. I wish we had your craft supplies over here. Poor Maggie really misses them, I guess she'll come back fully laden from her trip home. I too love Kaffe Fassett books and his colours are wonderful, but a recent look round his home (on TV) left me totally dizzy. It is highly coloured and patterned from top to bottom. I felt I needed to step into a pure white space to recover! Love his fabrics though. I have his pansy fabric and have made a shoulder bag from it. Happy gardening this weekend, Eli

  2. Wonderful blog. Know the feeling oh so well - my own garden is filling with weeds in direct ratio to the number of new creative ideas I have.

    Love your photos, creations and blog.

  3. You are too kind, Natalie, showing your little book to your readers and plugging my shop for me!
    One of your readers has come to my shop and has purchased two books!
    I appreciate her purchase and your commentary and referral, too.
    Your dollies and garden are beautiful! I wish our garden has some good earth in it so I could have a wee vegetable patch. I am hoping to get something together so we can at least have some fresh tomatoes and herbs, but the clock is ticking! I have been unable to find yellow summer squash over here so I brought some seeds back with me from the States, and need to get a small spot prepared to grow them. So I had best stop so much computing and crafting and get outdoors in the real world. LOL!

    I will write a bit about my whirlwind visit to New York City on my blog soon.

  4. Hi my friend, Natalie Jo! Thank you ever so much for plugging Mattiecakes for us! We love our customers and it never ceases to amaze me how small our world is through Etsy and you wonderful bloggers! We appreciate your writings and beautiful photos so that we can all enjoy the beauty. Thanks so much and stop by our shop anytime. Coffee pot is always on...or tea made special! Nancy

  5. Oh thank you so much Natalie Jo!!! Not only for showing Miss Prim Rose but for including my links as well. You are too kind! I just love the other items you shared as well, I can't wait to go check them out. I too have been torn between season finalies and gardening(now that we have some sun). How about end of Lost!?! I tell you what, I just LOVE that show. Hope you are having a lovely holiday weekend and thank you again for all the sweet words and pictures!