Thursday, 31 January 2013

12 Unfinished Projects - #1

It's the end of the month and I've finished my first project of the year. This is my Row of Hearts cushion. I started this late last year and it must almost be a world record for me to finish it so soon after starting!

 Originally I wanted to recreate this beautiful pastel cushion, from the September issue of Country Homes & Interiors. I love the rows of colour, and it would work great as a granny square. I still intend to work out the pattern some day, but in the meantime I came across the heart pattern via Pinterest. Here is a link to the pattern at Dutch blog CharAmi - if you scroll to the end of the post there is a great diagram.

 This is a rectangle cushion. It's a really good size for when you want to tuck a pillow behind your back. I also like not having all cushions the same size and shape.

 I used buttons from my stash in a random mix of colours that match the yarn. In hindsight I'd add an extra button and have less space between them, because it gaped a lot more than I imagined it would. To make the buttonholes I just single crocheted up the edge, doing 4-5 chains to make the loop and joining with a slip stitch at the base of each loop. (Make sure you secure the ends really well when sewing on buttons, as they are quite prone to working their way loose otherwise!) I sewed the cushion inner from an op-shopped pillowcase, and cut open another cushion inner (also op-shopped) to stuff it.

 As a bonus, here's a granny square cushion I made a year or so ago but never got around to showing here. The pattern is one my mum saved from a magazine. I never quite liked this cushion until recently when I put a bigger size inner pad in it, and it suddenly looked much fuller and nicer! It was a bit saggy before.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the couch, someone was making himself comfy. Who needs a cushion when you have a kitty for a pillow?

My next unfinished project to tackle will be the polka dot skirt. See you back here in a month for the big reveal...

Monday, 21 January 2013

2013 - the year of unfinished projects

I spent some time this summer cleaning and reorganising my craft room. It's not finished yet, unsurprisingly, and I also came across many unfinished projects strewn around the room. Some I've discarded in a huff, some are just taking their sweet time, and one or two I don't even remember starting. I realised that for the sake of being organised I need to either throw these things out or finish them, so I decided to make a list here and attempt to finish them off at the rate of one a month. I'm not good at finishing projects for some reason - I seem to get three quarters of the way there and run out of steam, or interest, or supplies, or something. So that's my goal and I'll see how I go. The trouble is that exciting new projects are always coming along and capturing my attention, so hopefully I can squeeze those in as well!

So here are the 12 Unfinished Projects of 2013:

Ripple Blanket of Doom
Started in October 2009! It's an easy pattern but the problem is that I've made it much too big and it feels like I'm not getting anywhere with it. Also, the sage green yarn I was using has been discontinued so I either have to find a replacement, or cut my losses and just finish off the blanket as is.

Summertime Patchwork Quilt blanket
Started in September 2011. I still enjoy working on this from time to time but blankets are just so slow if you want them a decent size!

Rose necklace
This was fun at first but then I got bored. I have to make one more ball, one more pink flower and one more double sided rose, then string them all together and embellish with beads.

Rag doll
Nearly finished, I just ran out of stuffing! And I might make her some clothes.

Happy Things embroidery sampler
I like working on this, I think I just put it aside to work on something else.

Little Embroidered Christmas Tree ornaments
I remember making a big batch of these for a swap in 2009. I fully intended to keep one for myself but I also used them as Christmas presents so the one for myself never quite happened.

Polka dot skirt
I made some easy elasticated skirts over summer and now I'm trying one with a pattern! Well, it was getting late that particular night and I was tired so when the cat decided to wash himself in the middle of the cutting station, I quickly agreed to put this off till another day.

Granny Square Skirt
I started this one as a bit of fun in March 2011. I now have absolutely no idea where I was up to in the pattern.

Fuzzy Fingerless Gloves
I don't remember starting these, but it will be good to finish them by winter.

Row of Hearts cushion
Well, this one hasn't been abandoned, but I might as well finish it so I can move on to the next thing!

ATC display frame
I have to be in exactly the right frame of mind to sit down and draw or paint. We'll see about this one.

Wooden birdhouse
It just needs a coat of paint and something interesting for roof tiles. I can visualise this one in my head but I haven't gotten round to bringing it to life yet.

So those are the projects in no particular order! I'll aim to post about them at the end of each month. The first will be the Row of Hearts cushion, because the end truly is in sight for that one.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Book stack

I love to have a good pile of unread library books in my home. When I get onto the last book in the pile I start getting panicky in case I run out, because there is nothing worse than having nothing to read. Luckily I'm only a block away from my library so I'm there most weekends stocking up. This is the stack from my last library visit.

I find quite often when I'm at the library, I'll pick up a book which is about, say, a female private detective in Victorian London. Then I'll be randomly browsing and I pick up another book which is also about a woman in Victorian London. Or it might be two books about people who run away to join the circus. I'm not talking about when you consciously go browse the Historical Fiction section, just the random picking up of books that are uncannily similar!

I did that this time with The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, which is about a woman divorcing her husband who goes to Hawaii to escape the stress. The next book I picked up was Honolulu by Alan Bennett, about a Korean picture bride who travels to Hawaii to marry. And then there was Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan, which is also about mail order brides. (I have yet to discover if they end up in Hawaii.)

I also got The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett (it's so rare to find a Discworld book I haven't read already), The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg, and Hers: Design With a Feminine Touch by Josephine de Montravel.

So, that's me set for the next week or two. What about you, have you ever had this funny thing happen of finding similar books (almost as if the library was trying to give you books it knows you'll like??)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

January flowers

 This month the dahlias are beginning to take centre stage. They haven't bushed up to the stage where they flop and become ungainly, but they are covered with lots of fresh looking flower heads and glossy leaves. The sweet peas are soldiering on and I pick the blooms every couple of days for scented posies for the kitchen and bathroom. Special mention goes to the lemon tree - it's finally recovered from its winter pruning and has put out many little fragrant clusters of blooms. It's scenting the whole area by the front door and the best part is, if I leave the bedroom window open the beautiful fragrance drifts in.

 Also, I bought a hydrangea. I didn't need it, especially since my mum grew me a cutting of a lovely white hydrangea that I already put in a white pot to brighten up this dark corner.

I didn't need it, but look at these beautiful tiny pink petals blushed with green. Imagine how stunning they will be in vases. And I didn't even have to think too long to decide on a place for it in the garden. The white one will stay in the pot, but I'll plant this one in the ground so it can grow into a nice big bush that I can pick like mad.

What's blooming in your garden this month? I'm linking up to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day as usual.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Pictures from the perennial border

 On a warm summer's morning I took a stroll through the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Some of the plants were receiving an early morning freshening, before the heat of the day took its toll. (Behind the garden bench is the conservatory, which has sadly been closed to the public since the earthquake. I posted a tour through the hothouse back in 2008)

 I wandered through the rose garden and past the dahlia beds. They were stunning but I was here to see one thing in particular...

 The perennial border. Full of textures and colours, I'd been dying to see it in its full summer glory.

 I am in love with dierama. Delicate grasslike leaves, graceful arching stems with bell shaped flowers and perfectly round seed pods. I've got some seedlings at home that I grew from seed. They are tiny now and nowhere near flowering but I can't wait till they are all grown up like these! Mind you, these are rather huge... some of the flowering stems were taller than I am! I'll have to think carefully about where I place them.

I don't know the names of many of these plants but they are certainly pretty. They would make some lovely flower arrangements...

Spiky eryngium is one I do know. I am intrigued by it's form but I don't think I'd have it in my garden. I generally like my flowers to be softer and a bit girly!

And here are some hot summer flowers for a hot summer's day. Red hot pokers are a classic.

I hope you enjoyed strolling with me, I'm off now to find a shady spot to rest a while and ponder the placement of shrubs in my own garden...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Corners of my home: Living room

 I'm starting a new feature on the blog called Corners of My Home. I love home tours on blogs and I'd like to give you one, but my house is never tidy enough, so I thought I'd just do corners. It's easier to clear all the junk out of a corner! I have kind of got redecorating on my mind, as we are hopeful that this will be the year our earthquake damage to the house is repaired. So you never know, maybe some time the house will be cleaned out and painted and tidy enough to show. In the meantime, this is a corner in my living room, or as we call it, the lounge.

 In Timaru there is an amazing Salvation Army op shop where I always score lots of good things. Most recently it was this beautiful tapestry panel. All I had to do was sew it into a cushion. It's sitting on my hexagon quilt blanket, which I still work on sporadically. Over the back of the couch is a panel destined to become another cushion - see the heart pattern? I'll tell you more about that at a later date.

It's January, so it must be time to pick buds from the Cecile Brunner rose and put them in my bubble vase. This little posy looks cute anywhere, whether it's the lounge or the bathroom counter or my bedside table.

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my home. More soon!

(Linking up to Op Shop Show Off at Blackbird Has Spoken)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


 With the warm summer weather, the potager is thriving. It's such a joy to pop out there in the evening, pick something, and cook it for dinner. In the front right bed I've planted some sweet corn seedlings. They were an impulse buy - I'm not sure if it's too late for corn - but I put them all in, in a block because I seem to remember it grows best that way. We had some strong winds after I planted them and half the plants were bent in half. Happily most of them have now come right, so I'll keep hoping for their survival!

In the front bed on the left are carrots that have gone to seed. I like their soft, billowy flower heads so I've let them be. Behind them are some spuds ready to be dug, so the whole bed can be cleared when the spuds come up. After that I'll plant some brassicas for autumn harvesting.

 The beans are looking lovely with their salmon pink flowers. They are covering the arch in a most pleasing way. I like it when plants do what they're told.

 Borlotti beans are tumbling gracefully at the front, with a few cosmos just because I like them. In the back is a little tent I made from a scrap of net curtain and some bird netting. It's to keep butterflies off the cauliflowers. I'm not expecting it to work, really, but I have a few test subjects which didn't fit under the net, so we'll see.

 These are the outdoor tomatoes, planted companionably with some basil and chilli peppers. I'll put some lettuce seedlings in the front. Then all the salad ingredients will be together.

This is all I've been harvesting in the last month! I must say I'm most pleased. The garlic haul was the most disappointing, as some of the bulbs were tiny. I think they got crowded out by some rogue phacelia. The gherkins have been steadily producing, and I bottle a jarful every week. We've had broccoli for stir fry, cabbages for coleslaw and boysenberries for fruit salads. (Actually, after the Christmas glutton-fest of trifle and fruit salad, I haven't been in the mood for more berries. So these have gone in the freezer for a rainy day.)

Life is so so good at the moment. For me, warm weather makes everything easier. I've got my lounge chair and my umbrella, and I'm going out to sit and look upon my little kingdom. I hope you're having a good start to the new year, and enjoying the summer weather if you're lucky enough to be experiencing it. (Keep warm, my northern hemisphere friends!)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

New year, new name, same blog

It's a new year and I've decided that it's time to rebrand my blog a little bit. When I first started blogging here I intended it to be an art blog, but over the past few years I've become more of a homebody, doing my house and garden and pottering happily away in my small corner of the world. I try to make my life beautiful and that's what I want to share here on the blog.

I chose the name Camellia Rose because those are two of my favourite flowers. I love tending my flower garden and picking the blooms to decorate the house. It also represents two opposite seasons. I try to live as seasonally as possible, which means embracing whatever is blooming or fruiting in the back yard and allowing that to influence my life indoors, from cooking to decorating.

Aside from the name change everything is going on as normal here. My web address has stayed the same, however if you have linked to my blog on yours, it would be great if you could change the link name from Deep Into the Darkness Peering to Camellia Rose.

I have also created a couple of pages (at the top of the blog under my banner), so far there is an About Me and a Potager page. Thanks to everyone who stops by and reads my blog, and especially those who leave comments. I really appreciate hearing from you. Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Photos from a rose garden

While I was on holiday over Christmas, my mum and I visited the Timaru Botanic Gardens, and took a stroll through the rose garden. The roses were all blooming beautifully and smelled gorgeous. We also walked through the fernery (the scroll patterned door above) and through the scented herb garden. You can see the cutout in the hedge that leads to the herb garden in the first photo. I wish my garden was big enough for a hedge with cutouts. I'd also like some of these scented roses, but of course I didn't write down any names.


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