Monthly Archives: March 2013

Down to the basics

Once upon a time I was an avid viewer of Martha Stewart’s TV series. Yet, despite my avidity, I think I have only  incorporated a couple of Martha’s ideas into my household ways.

The first idea was Martha’s method of stacking cups and saucers.   (http://www.marthastewart.com/275482/kitchen-organizing-tips/@center/277007/kitchen-design#end )   Although my cup and saucer collection is paltry compared to Martha’s, her system worked exceptionally well for me…..until….. the earthquakes, when I decided that stacks of cups/saucers were not the way to go. To be fair, my small monuments to Martha’s organizational genius didn’t even teeter in the first big earthquake. They remained rock solid, but I thought they looked too precarious to survive any further assaults on their structural integrity, so I deconstructed the stacks and rearranged my cups and saucers in a plain and simple fashion. Like this.Plain, simple, secure

Very bland, and hopefully very secure and safe. (Particularly safe if I remember to latch the cupboard door. Before the earthquakes, I had a reputation for leaving the contents of kitchen cupboards fully exposed. I have improved my lax ways.)  I am sure Martha would give me points for clean and tidy, but  would she be compelled to roll her eyes over the uncoordinated nature of my china? I fear so.

The second Martha ‘idea’ to enter my life was in the form of her recipe for Potato Frittata. As with the cups and saucers, I have adapted the idea/recipe to suit my circumstances but it is a frittata that I make regularly.  It is completely delicious and completely easy. I love it.

Here’s Martha at work on the frittata ( http://www.marthastewart.com/254051/potato-frittata), and here is my handiwork. Not bad, if I say so myself.Fantastic Frittata

Four ingredients; onions, olive oil, potatoes, eggs; a pinch of Martha and me and there you have it; a good basic meal. A salad, and a crusty loaf of bread on the side, make for mouth-watering perfection. Hungry?

© silkannthreades

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

I was perusing my birthday cards and gifts, and wondering where to display them, when it occurred to me that the cards, so thoughtfully chosen by friends and family, were like special snapshots of my life; the yesterday, today, and tomorrow of it.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is the common name of a flowering plant that used to grow in the garden of my childhood home. To us, it was known as Morning, Noon and Night.  I was fascinated by it because it had the prettiest flowers. Some were white and some were dark purple and others were in between.   A plant with three different coloured flowers! How was this possible? I didn’t know then that the colours of the flowers represented their ages and stages, but I did know about grafting because I had watched a man graft two hibiscus plants for our garden.  So my little head imagined that a very clever person had managed to graft together a Morning Plant, a Noon Plant and a Night Plant to create this  wondrous hybrid. The fact that no one seemed to own a Morning Plant or a Noon or a Night one  was a puzzle but not too concerning. The world was full of puzzles yet to be solved.  Fellow blogger Pleisbilongtumi  at http://pleisbilongtumi.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/inside-the-beauty-of-brunfelsia-uniflora/#comments has  beautiful photos of  this  garden treasure as it is in his part of the world.

Other treasures, for me, in our family garden were the frangipani trees. I loved them for their rich satiny and sweetly perfumed flowers. I loved their shade. I loved climbing them. I loved watching the ants climbing them. Here is my Yesterday birthday card from my parents and my sister. In  Yesterday,  I dawdled completely absorbed in  natural beauty and my greatest concern may have been nothing more than the whereabouts of the Morning Plant. Well, yes, that and the annoying boy who had a go-kart and who lived in the hotel around the corner  and refused to be my boyfriend. What was he thinking?Memories of Frangipani

Here, from a dear friend who has been beside me almost since the days of Yesterday , is the Today Card. Today is a Balancing Act. I have to negotiate the mundane and often precarious materiality of the adult world. Yet, in the tumbly jumble of that world, the preservation of my soul depends on my rushed efforts to  consciously apply and reapply beauty and graciousness  lest I lose sight of them.Today's Balancing Act

From my brother comes the Tomorrow card. It is a little bit in Yesterday, too, because our first cat, Tiddles, looked similar to this creature. Tiddles enjoyed sleeping comfortably  amongst the gerberas.Tomorrow? What's that?Now I am not intending to, and my brother doesn’t intend that I should, follow the words on the card and sleep my way through the future. I will leave that to the current cat of the house. The Tomorrow card is an aspirational card. It expresses a wish for contentment, peace, relaxation and an accepting oneness with both the natural and man-made worlds.  Tomorrow can be here as soon as the next breath but, in the long term view, it  contains the hope that keeps the heart beating.

What happens when I mingle these cards of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow? How does my life look?  Is it  beauty or mess? Or some of each?RenderedEither way, can you see the heart in the middle of it all?

Peg note: If you are wondering why my cards are pegged on a line, it’s because, in contemplating the cards and their relevance to my life, I was, in a sense, “hanging myself out to dry”.  The cards, hung by pegs, also remind me of photos being developed and brought to life. And, on the mundane side, it was scorchingly hot indoors, so it was much nicer being outside taking photos in the shade of the pergola.

© silkannthreades

Tea and Cake; a birthday sampler

It’s my birthday.

Many years ago, on a tropical evening, towards the end of the hurricane season, I was welcomed in to the world. A lot has happened since, but not a lot happened today. Not a lot if you ignore yet another visit from tradesmen measuring and muttering over the ongoing saga of the repairs to my house. But a little, or a lot, I am posting now to honour my birthday which, when I had time to consider it, seemed to take care of itself with tea and cake.

Here is a sampler of my birthday

From family in Australia, the tea. Don't panic; it's only a birthday

From a  friend close by; the cake.Cake for a Queen

From the  garden; more tea!Sasanqua CamelliaFrom my  daughter; the soundtrack  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMeT5Qcsh0s

Extras:

The card, from my family in Australia, is not actually a birthday card. It was a ‘fun’ card which happened to arrive in time for my birthday. The real birthday card is still negotiating postal services and has failed to arrive on time.

The  delicious cake, under the nasturtiums, is made using a recipe from the Royal Family. I think it is called The Queen’s Favourite.  One of my favourites too.

The sasanqua camellia is one of several that bloomed TODAY (just for me?). I was so busy looking at blue flowers in the garden yesterday that I failed to notice the buds on the camellias. I was very surprised to see them flowering this afternoon. I have had the camellias for a few years, espaliered along the back fence, but this is the best flowering since they were planted. Tea?

Perfect timing

The leaves of the sasanqua camellia can be used to make tea.

To all you dear people who sent cards, text messages, Facebook greetings, emails,  or who phoned or skyped or brought gifts, You are gifts to me THANK YOU.

Take a bow. Take a bow I cherish your love, support and friendship.

© silkannthreades

Late Bloomers

‘Leo the Late Bloomer’ is one of my favourite books. (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/225542.Leo_the_Late_Bloomer) Written by Robert Kraus, the story tells us, through the character of Leo the little tiger, that each of us will bloom in our own good time. ‘ Leo the Late Bloomer’ is  usually referred to as a children’s book but I think the theme of the story has universal appeal. So I, on my own authority, have decided to delete the ‘children’ from the book’s description. Sorry, kids, but you can’t keep all the good books to yourselves!

Occasionally, I think of the story’s theme in relation to myself but, today, my attention was caught by the late bloomers in my garden. Here they are, in collage format, because I wanted to emphasize the visual impact of the  blue hues of their lateness.  The actual flowers are scattered thinly in different parts of the garden.Bluetiful

In two of the photos the blueness has not yet emerged; later than late bloomers, those ones. Some of the blooms may, more accurately, be described as stragglers, or long-lasting bloomers, but the plumbago is my true late bloomer having only emerged for the first time this week. But each flower is beautiful and, at this time of the year, very precious. The borage is especially precious to the remaining bees.  In fact, the bees are probably the reason that most of the late bloomers in my garden are blue toned. The colours that we perceive as purple, violet and blue are the colours the bees see best.

Thank you bees, thank you beautiful late bloomers and, as an afterthought, because the word ‘bloomers’ can never quite be said without a giggle in my brain,

No Thank You to those horrible blue garments we once had to  wear to physical education classes. They were bloomers too and were certainly not beautiful, nor intended to be. They discouraged any notion of birds and bees.

© silkannthreades

In the pink with juice and jelly

The other day, when I was operating in thrift mode, ( https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/heeding-the-needing-for-thrift/ ), you may remember that I boiled up some apple peelings and a few cranberries to make a base for a fruit cordial.  Today, with the help of another brew of cranberries and apple scraps, and a small pot of sugar syrup, I did, indeed, make the fruit cordial; about 2 litres of it.  And I then had enough of the basic fruit juice  to make two little cups of apple cranberry jelly, as well. Now is that nifty thrift,  or what? A bit of this, a bit of that, sweetened by syrupy sugar and stirred with some moments from time and there it is ; complete deliciousness in the very pink of thrift and palatable pleasures. In the pink

And, for an extra helping of good feelings, I decided to add a slice of home-made ginger cake to my plate. Ginger it up

Sweet!

I have heard it said that the colour pink can act as an appetite suppressant. I guess that’s why, after my light refreshment, I didn’t feel like eating  dinner. 🙂 Oh wait, maybe that was the sugar hit.

© silkannthreades

Which way does the path take us?

Remember the best bus stop in Christchurch that I mentioned in my previous post. Here it is again from a different view point.Still no bus?

I am looking at it from across the road in Erica Reserve. The Reserve is a continuation of the restored natural habitat we visited yesterday. It includes a playground and picnic tables and room to run and jump and squeal, none of which we did because it was such a languid afternoon.

Instead we watched ducks being ducky and listened to water gliding by with a little ripple and chortle here and there. Ducks on Water

And we let the warm breeze float over and around us and rustle off  over the stream and through the trees.The rustles of the breezeWe sat on the park bench and wondered if we could hear the grass grow. I can't hear you. But we couldn’t. We listened so very closely and carefully  yet  our ears were too dull to catch a single sound.

So we sat in silence on the park bench and absorbed the sunshine in the gentle company of another seeker of sun.Let the sunshine in

At the end, or may be it is the beginning, of the Erica Reserve pathway there is a bridge Bridge to start, end or journey on through across the stream and some wetland ponds. To the right of the water pools is a retirement home, or village as the owners like to call such places. It looked very tranquil in its restored wetland setting.  Thinking of all the work and repairs awaiting at home, I was almost tempted to knock on the door and ask “May I come in?”Where to from here?But, then, I remembered the elderly gentlemen we talked to, yesterday, on the pathway across the road on the other side of the bus shelter. He lived in another retirement village close by.  He said “It’s a fine place. It’s really the best place for me but, you know, it’s not like home.”

So we stretched and eased ourselves slowly off the park bench and went home for a fine supper of chicken, followed by apple sponge pudding.

© silkannthreades

Recreation in restoration

Welcome to the best (as in the most beautiful) bus stop in Christchurch. It is on Grants Road in the suburb of Papanui.A beautiful bus stop!

From the bus shelter, it’s a short, short walk to the sculptured entrance way to one of our city’s treasures; a walkway that follows a waterway that was once little more than a drain. With careful planning and planting over the years, the waterway has been transformed into a lush habitat full of thriving native plants.

The entrance way Sculptured Entrance

The sculpture represents a restored waterway with all its many forms of life.

Swirls

Here is the waterway in its abundant new form.Happy waterWhere are the ducks?

Considering how little rain we have had, you can see, by the amount of water still in the waterway, that proper planting of riparian areas does help conserve water. Proper planting

Whichever way you look, there are rich vistas of native plants Plants and more plantsAlong the path

Our city council receives its share of fair and unfair criticism especially in these stressful post earthquake times. Today, I want to praise the council and their workers, and all the hard-working ratepayers, who make possible wonderful walkways like this. We had a jewel of an afternoon under glorious blue skies gently warmed by the autumn sun.Jewel of an afternoon

© silkannthreades