Simple, but cute burlap Christmas ornaments to make these holidays…

These simple, but cute burlap Christmas ornaments don’t take long to make at all. I saw them in a store for $9.00 and thought “hey I can make that for a lot less”, so here is my take on them, for a lot less!!

Supplies needed:

Burlap fabric


Tracing paper or baking paper






Needle and thread


First make a star and heart pattern. To do this trace using tracing paper or as I did use baking a star and heart. If you have a stencil use this.


I trace the patterns on to cardboard just to make it easier.



Next, trace the pattern onto your burlap fabric, you will need 2, for front and back.


Then, use the pattern to trace and cut out the stuffing. I just used polyester filling as I already had some at home. I found it easier to have a flat piece of stuffing and cut it to a little bit smaller that the pattern. It then fits in nicely inside.


I then sewed with needle and thread the about 1 cm in around the star and heart, finishing at the top. You could use a sewing machine or even use fabric glue, the choice is yours. At the top at attached a small loop of twine for hanging up the ornament.

At this stage I gently fray the edges to get a frayed look.


Finally, paint the top left or right side of the ornament. I used Resene paints (a test pot) colour Copper Fire, because I already had this at home. It is copper colour with glitter. You can use any colour!


I made various sizes for my Christmas tree. I imagine there a lot of other shapes you could use to make these ornaments.

Hearts and Stars Ornaments

Hearts and Stars Ornaments


Burlap Christmas Ornaments


Thanks for reading my post! I hope you get to make these simple, but cute ornaments!


9 pretty herb bouquets in New Zealand

9 pretty herb bouquets in New Zealand.. can be a great alternative..

Herbs bouquets can be a wonderful way to decorate your home this Christmas! I am trying to be a little bit greener and this is a great way to do it.

First, here are some different herbs with red berries from my garden. The other great thing about using herbs in your home is they not only look good, but also smell amazing!

Rosemary and red berries

Rosemary and red berries

Bay leaves and red berries

Bay leaves and red berries

As you can see I love using my ironstone jugs and mason jars.  I am happy to have now found a great use for this vintage silver trophy cup, which had been sitting in a box for years. Do you have any silver trophy not been used at your place?

Parsley, rosemary and red berries

Parsley, rosemary and red berries

Herb bouquet with irises

A wonderful way to bless a friend is give them a bouquet of herbs and flowers when they come around to visit.

Bouquet of herbs and flowers

Bouquet of herbs and flowers

Herbs and flowers

Rosemary, chives, oregano, parsley and flowers

Herbs are really easy to grow, even inside. See my post about growing them in tin cans on your window sill here

Mint and lavender

Mint and lavender

Parsley and daisies

Parsley and daisies

Parsley, rosemary and flowers

Parsley, rosemary and flowers

Roses and bay leaves

Bay leaves and white bramble roses

Mint, roses and lavender

Mint, roses and lavender

It is really easy to buy herbs these days in the supermarkets, at the market, at a plant nursery, garden shop. When you plant them most of the time they grow without much attention. Some water in the summertime if outside, but water all year around if inside. You do have to keep picking them otherwise they grow into flowers and seed. But, the flowers and seeds can be pretty as well.

I am growing a rosemary topiary for Christmas, see my post about it here. They make really lovely Christmas decorations or a gift for a friend.

Thanks for reading my post!


Have a blessed Sunday….Havelock North, New Zealand

Have a blessed Sunday … Havelock North, New Zealand. It is another beautiful spring Sunday here in Havelock North. Thinking of everyone who are preparing for Thanksgiving this week.

Here are some shots of my post I am working on for next week…aren’t they beautiful!

Roses from my garden

Herbs and roses

Herbs and roses

Bay leaves and roses

White bramble roses

Herbs and roses


Roses, lavender and herbs

Feel so spoiled to have all these flowers growing in my garden. I am blessed!

Have a blessed day wherever you are  reading this!



A very easy fruity desert cake recipe made in New Zealand…

The fruity cake recipe comes from New Zealand cook Dame Alison Holst. I love her recipes, they are a great favourite for us Kiwis, so easy to follow and wonderful results.

This cake is going to be served  a lot over the holidays, as fresh fruit has come into season at the berry farms near us in Havelock North.

Fruity Dessert Cake

Fruity Dessert Cake

Serves 6-8 people (depending on your slice size!)


¼ chopped walnuts, toasted almonds or toasted hazelnuts (I don’t add nuts as you never know who has allergies these days)

1 TBsp white or brown sugar

150g (5 oz) butter

1 Cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ cups self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1-2 cups cubed or sliced ripe, raw fruit*

½ cup berries (optional)

*Suitable fruit includes peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, pears, kiwifruit, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries. Drained canned fruit may also be used.

First, choose whatever nuts complement the fruit you are using. Toast them lightly under a grill or in the over as it heats to 180 degreesC(350 degreesF), then chop finely, mix with the 1TBsp sugar and put aside.

Melt the butter in a microwave bowl or pot until just liquid. Add the second measure of sugar, the eggs and vanilla and beat until blended. Sieve the flour and baking powder onto the mixture, then add half the nut and sugar mixture.


Spread it evenly in a buttered or sprayed 23-25 cm (9-10 in) round (preferably loose-bottomed) cake tin.

Next, prepare the fruit, slicing it or cutting it into 2 cm ( ¾ in) chunks. Arrange the pieces, skin-side up, (I took the skin off for mine) in the batter. Sprinkle with berries then with the remaining nut topping.


Visit to apple orchard

We have so many orchards here, shots from a recent visit to my brother’s orchard.




Wattie’s canned boysenberries

I have made this recipe with different fruit and berries, but today I didn’t want to make a trip to the supermarket, (are you ever like me can’t face yet another trip to the supermarket?)  so I used apples I already had and a can of Wattie’s boysenberries (these berries are often grown here in the area, canned by Wattie’s)

Wattie's can Boysenberries

Apples and berries on the cake

Apples and berries on the cake

Bake at 180 degreeC (350 degree F) for about 45 minutes, until the cake mixture has risen round the fruit and browned lightly, and the centre springs back when pressed.

Baked fruity cake

Fruity Cake from New Zealand


Finally serve it warm, cut into wedges, sprinkled with icing sugar, if you like, with a whipped cream, yogurt or ice cream. I actually do like it cold as well.

Fruity cake

 Thanks for reading my post! I hope you get a chance to try out this recipe – let me know if you do!







It’s a beautiful day to walk the dog in New Zealand!

Welcome to Thursday! It’s a beautiful day to walk the dog in Havelock North, New Zealand!

I took Rodeo our fox terrier puppy out for a walk this morning, in the neighbourhood. It is such a beautiful spring day, the sun is shining and the birds are amazing. I wish I could record all the native tui lovely melody, with their loud flapping wings. We saw some quails and native wood pigeons.

These native Pohutukawa trees are everywhere. Love their red flowers!

Native Pohutukawa tree flowers

Pohutukawa tree

Rodeo amongst the daisies

Rodeo walking amongst the daisies





Palm tree

These large palm trees are amazing. Our native wood pigeons love to live in these. The tree across the road from us must have about 20 of them living in it – it’s very noisy!

Bramble white rose

Back home checking out the garden and the weeds!


Bramble white rose

This is a beautiful bramble white rose in my garden. It is so large that it’s held up by old wooden support structures.

Beautiful rose

Look at this beautiful rose

Roses in the garden

Native flax flowers

Native flax flowers can be yellow, red or orange

Tui in the flaxs

Tui on the native flax, see my previous post about them in our garden here

Thunder, Lightening and Hail

I have to laugh we had such a lovely walk and now as I type this post up the weather has changed dramatically. There is thunder and lightening outside, we probably only get this about 5 times a year in our area. It is also hailing!

Hail on our deck

Hail on our deck

Hail on our deck

I am sure it won’t last long and the sun will come out again. It will be back to being a beautiful day. Have a wonderful Thursday!

Rhubarb Custard Pie – Thanksgiving in New Zealand

We are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving in New Zealand with Rhubarb Custard Pie

We moved to Havelock North, New Zealand just over 4 years ago, but we still love celebrating Thanksgiving as a family here. In America we always travelling down to spend Thanksgiving with family in St Augustine, Florida. It was a great time of gathering together and of course an abundance of food. I  associate Thanksgiving with pies, pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato, never rhubarb custard pie. What’s pies do you always have for Thanksgiving?

When I got to thinking about our Thanksgiving here in Havelock North in a few weeks, I started looking at my pie recipes and came across my Grandma’s Rhubarb Custard Pie.

My Grandma's old recipe book

My Grandma’s old recipe book

I have some rhubarb growing in the garden so I thought I would try the recipe out.


Rhubarb Custard Pie Recipe

Choose your favourite pastry for the crust. I use Chelsea Winter (New Zealand Chef) sweet shortcrust pastry recipe available here.

Grease an 8 in/20 cm pie dish and line with your pastry, flaky or short.


2 level cups of finely sliced rhubarb (do not peel)

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. melted butter

2 level tsp. flour

1 scant cup of sugar

Chopped rhubarb

Chopped rhubarb

Beat the eggs, add melted butter. Mix flour and sugar well, add to the eggs, beat until light and fluffy. Then stir in the rhubarb.


Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined dish.


Bake in a hot oven 425degrees F, 220degrees C for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350degrees F, 180degrees C for 40 minutes or until firm to touch.

The recipe says to eat it hot with whipped cream, we loved this, but it was just as nice the next day cold. The rhubarb is quite tart in the pie, but it balances out well with the custard.


Earthquakes in New Zealand

We had some severe earthquakes in New Zealand last night, only felt one but it was scary enough.


Rodeo, our fox terrier is usually crazy in the morning, but after a night of earthquakes in New Zealand he is tired and anxious

Thanks for reading my post. Hope you get a chance to try my Grandma’s pie!








Time’s a ticking to Christmas – shopping at Kmart.

It was such a windy day here in Havelock North yesterday it looked like snow was falling. But really it was beautiful flower petals.

It looks like snow, but it is petals

I did a quick trip to our local Kmart in Hastings, only 10 minutes away and was excited to see such an amazing remodelling of their store.

The store was buzzing and usually I don’t want to think about Christmas this early, but I found 3 things I had to buy. And of course when I got home I had to try them out as you do.

The first thing was 3 Metal planters for only $17. One of these I was definitely using for my Rosemary topiary I am growing. See my post – growing rosemary topiaries in time for Christmas

3 Metal Planters

3 Metal Planters

Rosemary topiary in metal planter

My rosemary topiary I am growing in the metal planter

Next I purchased this adorable Ombre Rocking Reindeer for $7. I love this and it fits in perfectly with the colour scheme in my living room.

Rocky Reindeer

Rocky Reindeer

The last thing I got was a cute Reindeer bath mat for $12. I can see a Reindeer and duck egg blue theme in my home this Christmas.

Reindeer bath mat

Reindeer bath mat

Ok, so I didn’t buy much, but I was selective and I have got to say I was so impressed with wonderful array of items and very reasonable prices at Kmart.

Vintage silver trophy

One of the things I love using is the lovely silver trophy we got when I was a child. Our Siamese cat won this cup! I filled it with my lovely white bramble roses.

White bramble roses in vintage silver trophy cup

White bramble roses in vintage silver trophy cup

Old Mason jars

Another thing I love to use is old Mason Jars of my mums, here I painted the old ring with some Duck Egg Blue to add my theme colour.

Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint

Then I filled it with bay leaves from my garden and Bay blueberries grown locally in Hawke’s Bay. Filled it with water and a little tea-lite candle.

It makes the decorations special to use things from the house and garden. It also saves on the budget at Christmas!

Thanks for reading my post. More Christmas posts to come…


Reclaimed french oak wine barrel furniture and homeware New Zealand…

Reclaimed wine barrel furniture and homeware in Havelock North, New Zealand….

For a month my son, Thaddeus and his friend has been busy working on reclaimed french oak wine barrel furniture and homeware products. This was a part of their business course at the High School to create a business, make and sell a product.

Fortunately, his friend’s dad had a massive wood workshop. My son was in seventh heaven, spending hours in there.

They brought beautiful old French oak wine barrels and created amazing crafted tables, platters, candle holders, fruit bowls, and lazy susans.

In the workshop

In the workshop

Trade Fair

Last week the boys had a Trade Fair at school to display and sell what they had made. It was amazing to see the end product of all their hard work. Beautifully crafted, we were so impressed at the standard of their work.

Beautifully red wine stained fruit bowl and candle holders

Wine barrel platters

Wine barrel platters

I loved how some of the wood had writing on them and also the red wine stain still remaining.


Metal from the wine barrel placed around the side of table

The beautiful reclaimed wood products were stained carefully with natural oils as preservative. The items to be used for food were stained with pure olive oil the others in linseed oil.

Single candle holders

Single candle holders

The boys are now hoping to continue their business, selling their products through markets and online.

Candle holder

Candle holder

Thanks for reading my post!






Simple steps to repaint wrought iron furniture…

Spring is here and it is time to repaint the deck furniture. I was excited to purchase this old table and chairs set for only $25 on Trademe earlier this year. Now that the weather is sunny outside it was time to work on getting rid of the rust and repaint it. These simple steps to repaint the wrought iron furniture is something that can be done in a couple of hours.

Repaint wrought iron furniture

My son Elisha and Rodeo enjoying the sunshine

My son Elisha and Rodeo enjoying the sunshine

First it is necessary to wash it all down with water and dish detergent to get rid of dust and dirt.  Then I used steel wool and a wire brush scraping and rubbing off the rust. This is quite a messy job, but it does come off easily. Next I washed it clean again. Time to paint!


I just brought green gloss enamel spray paint from Mitre 10, (under $20 a can), but I did need 4 cans. It was already painted green, so to make it easier, I kept to the same colour. I made sure it contained zinc for rust protection. This paint dries quickly within 15-20 minutes, but needs 24 hours to cure. It is important to always follow the instructions on the can to get the best results and safety.

Spray Paint

Spray Paint

Our wrought iron table and chairs looks great now – ready for sunny spring days!

New World Little Garden Seedling Kit Collectables

I just want to tell you about the New World Supermarket Little Garden promotion recently – we so loved them. They were little seedling kits given out with every $40 spent in their stores. They were just so cute and such a great idea!

New World Little Garden

New World Little Garden

My daughter Serah just loved collecting these vegetables and herbs. They were exciting to open, plant the seeds, then watch them germinate and grow.

Seedling Kits

Seedling Kits

The kits contained a little pot made of wood pulp and peat, bio-degradable, made in Denmark. The seeds came from a Dutch company and the soil tablets are made of coconut husks from Sri Lanka, but produced in the Netherlands. All organic!

Seedling Kit


It was wonderful to see Serah so excited about growing vegetables.

Little Garden plants in the vegetable garden

Little Garden plants in the vegetable garden

Thanks for reading my post!




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