Sunshine in my shadows

Welcome to sunshine in my shadows. This blog is my space to share all the stuff that makes up my every day life. Family, friends, crafts, recipes, books and all the little things that add 'sunshine to my shadows'. We all have a sprinkling of sunshine and an equal sprinkling of shadows in our lives. Hopefully you will find more sunshine than shadows to read about here and on the days when shadows fall, know that the sunshine is peeking just around the corner!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wedding fever...

I wonder what it is about weddings that brings about such delicious excitement as we have seen in the weeks preceding the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I watched with a certain delight myself and oohed and ahhed over the dress and a gazillion other little details. I have enjoyed reading the many blog posts dedicated to the Royal wedding.

Pure coincidence saw me move the box containing my own wedding dress and mementos from my own wedding in 1990 from my old home to my new one just this week. My marriage ended in 2003 and I am not really sure why I am keeping my dress. In the slim hopes perhaps that it may eventually become a treasured possession of one of my children or grandchildren? My dress is NOT an exquisite gown from a bridal shop. (Oh how I longed to have one of those) We got married on the cheap my ex and I. My dress was homemade of the cheapest fabrics I could find. (I did choose a nice lace with a scalloped edge, an extravagance whose cost I did not share with my skinflint husband to be.) I look at it now and think how tizzy and 'un-me' it is. I guess I wanted to be a princess for a day just like most little girls grow up imagining they will be on that one special day. I can't share a photograph of my 'tizzy' dress here as I don't have one on my computer.
The bridal charms pictured here are some of the many that were placed on my arm on my wedding day. Interesting to note some of the horseshoes are upside down to 'keep the luck from falling out'. My bridesmaids wore pink so all the pink fitted in nicely. The little bride and groom mice were lovingly handmade by a friend of the family, one of my much loved 'adopted' aunties. (no relation at all)
The beautiful wedding photo at the top of this post is a relation of my partners.It was taken in the 1920s. How beautiful the dress and veil are. I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to wedding dresses. I love the beautiful vintage frocks from past eras. The 1950s were another era of stunning, feminine gowns.In fact I think I love the 1950s best.
I saved flowers from my wedding cake and although the 'baby's breath' have yellowed with age I'm still glad to have them. I hope the joyfulness of  the Royal wedding this week has brought sunshine to your shadows. It has mine and many memories of the time I was a princess too, just for one special day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A very special award....

This week I was absolutely blown away, excited and delighted to be given this award from Bron over at vintageandart . I had seen this award on other blogs but never dreamt my humble blog would ever be given such an award. Thank you Bron for such a lovely compliment. Apparently I now need to tell my readers ten things about myself and share ten of my favourite blogs with you. So here goes...
  1. I have a faerie tattoo on my shoulder blade.
  2. I have an irrational fear of standing underneath power lines.
  3. I never finished High School.
  4. I studied classical ballet until I was about 15 years old.
  5. I am diabetic and struggling to adapt my lifestyle to suit.
  6. I love chocolate!
  7. I began studying to be a community welfare worker but stopped to care for my daughter full time when she became ill in her teens.
  8. I would love to travel the world.
  9. I love owls.
  10. Procrastination is one of my biggest bad habits!
Choosing ten favourite blogs is really, really hard! I follow so many wonderful, creative and interesting blogs, many of them covering very different areas of interest. Here are ten wonderful blogs from my followed list in no particular order.
  1.  My Friends Call Me Nelly
  2. Hill & Vale
  3. Tiili Peninsula
  4. I forget to floss
  5. thimbles and crumbles
  6. My Owl Barn
  7. The Pages of Avalon
  8. Heaven is a bookstore
  9. Bluebird Notes
  10. She Dreams Big
Phew!! Please note I chose 10 of my favourites at random from my followed blogs. I know I have left some of my friends off this list :( but the rules only allowed for 10. If I am a follower of your blog it means I love what you write/share and post! I hope my readers may discover some new blogs to follow from my list. Thank you again to Bron for giving me this my very first blog award. Definately a 'sunshine' moment in my day!

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday trinkets 2

Sharing a bit of a mixed bag today. I'm sorry some of the photos are not that good. Diamantes are very difficult to photograph due to the amount of light they reflect.
I suspect this lovely necklace may be a slightly more modern piece. Perhaps from the 60s or 70s but it is lovely just the same. The diamantes have lost none of their original sparkle.

A very pretty necklace from the 1950s featuring pale blue and clear diamantes. Pieces with coloured diamantes are often worth slightly more than those with just clear ones. Pale blue was very popular in the 1950s.
Another similar style necklace in blue and clear diamantes. 1950s
Pink diamante necklace circa 1950s. The pieces with chains appear to be less well made and I suspect were likely cheaper jewellery than the necklace in the first photograph which features diamantes all the way around to the clasp.
Now for something completely different!

Exquisite old pearl choker. I am unsure of the age of this piece but it is quite old. I purchased it from a lady in the USA. I imagine it was possibly worn as a bridal necklace. The lady who once wore it must have been quite tiny. It measures approximately 10 inches which sounds a lot but isn't. I think the average measurement for a bracelet or bangle today is around 7 inches. I have found that a lot of my vintage pieces seem very tiny by todays standards. Many of my pieces barely fit my daughter Kate who is a very small 18 year old. I hope you have enjoyed todays Tuesday trinkets.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Day...

 **I took this image from google images and hope the rightful owner will forgive me using it for this blog post. The site it came from did not give credit for the photograph. If the owner of the photograph should wish it removed please email me and I will do so immediately.

On this beautiful Anzac Day morning I'd like to share this wonderful poem I found online.

Not a Hero
The ANZAC Day march was over - the old Digger had done his best.
His body ached from marching - it was time to sit and rest.
He made his way to a park bench and sat with lowered head.
A young boy passing saw him - approached and politely said,
"Please sir do you mind if I ask you what the medals you wear are for?
Did you get them for being a hero, when fighting in a war?"
Startled, the old Digger moved over and beckoned the boy to sit.
Eagerly the lad accepted - he had not expected this!
"First of all I was not a hero," said the old Digger in solemn tone,
"But I served with many heroes, the ones that never came home.
So when you talk of heroes, it's important to understand,
The greatest of all heroes gave their lives defending this land.
"The medals are worn in their honour, as a symbol of respect.
All diggers wear them on ANZAC Day - it shows they don't forget."
The old digger then climbed to his feet and asked the boy to stand.
Carefully he removed the medals and placed them in his hand.
He told him he could keep them - to treasure throughout his life,
A legacy of a kind - left behind - paid for in sacrifice.
Overwhelmed the young boy was speechless - he couldn’t find words to say.
It was there the old Digger left him - going quietly on his way.
In the distance the young boy glimpsed him - saw him turn and wave goodbye.
Saddened he sat alone on the bench - tears welled in his eyes.
He never again saw him ever - but still remembers with pride,
When the old Digger told him of Heroes and a young boy sat and cried.
Clyde Hamilton

I found this poem here along with many other wonderful pieces of Anzac Day themed poems.
I hope you will go along and read some of them. They are truly a wonderful reminder of what Anzac Day is all about.


wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vintage Easter...

I have a large collection of vintage postcards and I thought I would share some of my Easter ones on my blog. As far as I know none of my cards are valuable in a monetary sense, many of them are marked, creased or faded with age. I feel their imperfections add to their shabby charm and love them all. The cards I am sharing today are mostly from the early 1900s. I enjoy reading the messages on the back and wonder about the lives of the people who wrote them. Interestingly a lot of old postcards are written on in grey lead pencil. I have been told that this is because ink was expensive and many could not afford to use it.
Beautiful chicks
A gorgeous embossed cross.
More cute chicks!
A pretty floral card featuring a perennial favourite in pansies.
This lovely chick card is a Tuck design. Tuck was a famous designer of the times and his cards in mint condition can fetch good prices. I don't know how anyone could bear to sell such treasures!
Another embossed beauty.
Obviously I find chicks appealing ....
My photo doesn't do this superb card justice. I wonder what the artist's would think if they knew their designs were being loved and cherished after all this time?
Just for something different, an easter bunny.
I couldn't find any with lambs but this one has sheep :)
I hope you enjoyed looking at my cards as much as I enjoyed sharing them. I'd like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Easter.

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Old fashioned favourites....

My inner domestic goddess came out to play again yesterday and I decided to bake a cake for afternoon tea. I made a Cinnamon tea cake, a good old fashioned favourite that is so easy to make I don't know why we ever buy cake from the shops. The smell of a baking cake is so yummy and you just can't beat the taste! I almost forgot to take a photograph and when I went back to take one somebody had already snaffled a piece of still hot from the oven cake. Usually I would bake this in a round tin but could only find the loaf pan so had to make do.
Cinnamon Tea Cake
1 cup Self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
vanilla essence
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
extra butter melted

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar

Beat softened butter with sugar until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat well.
Sift flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to bowl alternately with milk. Mix well after each addition with a wooden spoon. Pour into a small greased cake tin, round or a loaf tin is fine. Use baking paper to line tin if desired. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 30 minutes or until done. A skewer inserted should come out clean. Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Brush hot cake with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix. ENJOY!
**Recipe adapted from the Australian Family Circle Cookbook.

Wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Autism awareness....

April is autism awareness month. As a mother of two children on the autism spectrum I like to take any opportunity available to raise awareness and education on this lifelong disorder.
Most people when asked what they know about autism will immediately give the example of the character from the movie 'Rainman', the stereotypical autistic savant. Only a small percentage of people with autism fall into this category.

Autism is best described as a group of characteristics and behaviours that affect communication, social interaction and imaginative thought. Individuals with autism share some similarities but they will all have varying degrees of severity of the disabling characteristics and behavioural traits of autism.This is why autism is called a spectrum disorder. Imagine a line with very low functioning individuals at one end and very high functioning individuals at the other. In between are people who are affected by the impairments of their autism either more severely or less. Some individuals with autism will never live independently while others will go on to lead productive and very successful lives.
** Temple Grandin is a highly successful person with autism. I swiped this photo from Wikipedia. Read about this inspiring lady here:

I like to call autism an invisible disability. We cannot tell a person has autism just by looking at them. Sometimes a person with autism may display behaviours that are considered odd or strange or be mistaken for bad manners, rudeness or just bad behaviour. These behaviours are usually due to frustration, anxiety and difficulties with communication and the different way people with autism think about things. (I was labelled a bad mother many, many times before my daughter was diagnosed with autism at almost 8 years old. I still carry the psychological scars from that time in our lives)

Some of the signs of autism are:
  • Poor eye contact
  • Lack of interest in people
  • Poor social skills
  • Repetitive behaviours
  • Obsessions
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases )
  • Rigidity around routines - intense dislike of even the smallest change
  • Flapping or twirling of body parts
  • Flat facial expression, lack of smiling or smiling or laughing inappropriately
  • Sensory issues - extreme sensitivity to noises, smells, refusal to wear certain clothing
This is of course by no means a complete list and usually there are concerns about a child's behaviour long before autism is diagnosed. Always seek professional advice if you are concerned about the possibility of your child having autism or any other developmental issues.
If you wish to learn more about autism here are some sites to visit. I have no affiliation with any of these sites, they are just sites I think may be useful.

Living with and raising children with autism is very stressful, often on a daily basis. Especially for those who have little family support. It takes a heavy toll on the entire family and the relationship of the parents. My understanding is that the divorce rate for parents of children with autism is higher than the norm. Certainly I know it places extreme stress on the relationship. My observation has been that whilst support services (including respite care) have improved a lot in the last ten years there are still many, many families who continue to struggle with very little by way of practical day to day support. If you know someone with a child with autism learn what you can about how autism affects their lives. If you can offer to babysit and you may well be giving that parent a much needed respite that will give them the strength to get through another difficult day. When my children were very young I was too ashamed to ask for help but I would have gratefully accepted if someone had offered. (I did eventually learn to ask for help, many stress filled years later)

My children are on the higher end of the autism spectrum. My daughters diagnosis is Aspergers syndrome and my son High Functioning autism. Often my children did not meet criteria for support because they were high functioning. This was very frustrating for all of us as they still suffered severe impairments due to their autism. (they still do) My hope is that one day ALL children will get extra support when they need it based on need alone not on ticking certain boxes on beaurocratic paperwork.(especially within the education system) ALL children deserve to have every chance to attain their full potential.

If you have an interest in Aspergers syndrome I highly reccomend reading any of the books written by Tony Attwood

If you have read this far I thank you and I hope you have found this post informative. Please feel free to share it with a friend.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday trinkets...

Several years ago whilst browsing ebay I came across a lovely old leaf brooch. I bid on it and won it. It was a little shabby but I loved it's shape.Little did I know this small purchase was to be the beginnings of a long love affair with vintage costume jewellery. At first I just bought leaf brooches but soon I discovered all kinds of treasures just waiting to be loved again. I thought I would start a 'Tuesday trinkets' post to share some of my lovely old finds. Most of my jewellery has little real value with the possible exception of a few cherished pieces that are marked by their designer. (A mark is a signature or logo used by a specific designer or company to identify their work)
This brooch is made from pressed metal. I'm not sure what era it is from but I love it's shape.
This double leafed beauty is also made from pressed metal. I'm guessing it's from around the 1940s era but the simple red glass cabachon suggests an earlier time.
 Mother of pearl brooch. Probably 1940s or early 1950s
Red and white diamante brooch 1940s
Gorgeous pink lucite and diamante brooch from the 1950s. Lucite was a type of plastic that was used extensively in jewellery making in the 1950s and 1960s.
My photograph does not do justice to this glorious copper leaf. I purchased this from a lady in Canada. I am not sure what era it hails from but it is a REAL leaf coated in copper! Isn't it just gorgeous?
A divine example of an enamelled leaf brooch. I'm not sure what era this is from, perhaps a slightly more modern time? I fell in love with the colour.
I hope you have enjoyed my Tuesday trinkets.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sentimental Sunday....

I spent a lovely day yesterday celebrating my Aunt's 50th birthday. There were lots of family there that I usually only catch up with at special occasions. I had a brilliant day and came home thinking about how much I really miss the time that we used to spend with extended family all through my growing up years. Somehow as the years passed various family members moved away and contact became less and less frequent.Now like many families many of us only see each other at birthdays, funerals and weddings.

I'm a very sentimental person and keep cards and letters and various other little mementos of people, places and things. Sadly I recently realised I have very few photographs of myself, my parents, my siblings or of my extended family. I took the opportunity yesterday to ask one of my aunt's if she would have a look through her photo collection for me to see if she has anything relevent that she could copy for me. She wasn't sure if she had anything but promised to look for me.

I was checking my watched blogs this morning when I visited Linda, a lovely friend of mine. I have Linda to thank for the inspiration for this post. Do pop over to Musings from my heart and read Linda's post on Sentimentality.  I really related to what Linda was saying and so the seed for this post of mine was sown!

I own a 'sooky' box - a box filled with things I keep for purely for sentimental reasons. Many of the items contained therein are baby items that belonged to my children. 'Coming home from hospital' clothes, baby shoes, first drawings and other miscellaneous items. I have boxes of cards, letters and more personal treasures also tucked away for bringing out and enjoying memories of times long past.
I know some people think of these treasures as junk and worthless but to me they are priceless beyond measure and I hope that some time in the future one of my children will look at them with the same dewy eyed sentimentality that I do. I would have shared photos but my 'sooky box' is packed away with lots of other belongings right now.

How about you? Do you have a soft, sentimental heart and keep a 'sooky box' too or are you too pragmatic and practical for such fancies?

wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nature's bounty.....

I've had a grand old time here this week pretending at least for a short while to be a real domestic goddess! Housekeeping and the like has never been one of my greatest strengths despite being a dedicated stay at home mum for years. I'm messy, disorganized and relaxed about housekeeping standards. (I do like to think I practice good basic hygiene however especially in regards to food handling)
Beginning with the apples I stewed on Tuesday I have been cooking up a storm to deal with the bounteous harvest from our fruit and vegetable gardens. First up was the job of stewing the rest of the bucket of apples left from Tuesday's efforts.

Don't they look oh so scrummy and kind of cute all packaged up in their little freezer proof tubs? The only way I can think they would look nicer is to be in beautiful preserving jars. A batch of fowlers vacola jars and a sterilising unit is something I'd like to look into buying at some time.

Next to get my attention was this MONSTER beetroot!

Yes it's a beetroot and it weighed about 4.5 kilos. It is a different variety to what we grew last year and is long and tubular in shape. (No it's not deformed) Most would be picked and eaten well before they reach this size but we just had so many beetroot this year that despite pickling two big batches we still have heaps left in the ground. We also did very well with our carrots this year although they have gone a little nuts and are turning into weird little things with lots of twisted, hairy and bent legs! It makes them a little difficult to peel and chop but their home grown sweetness is so worth the effort.

We planted three pumpkin vines this year and they have given us more pumpkin than we can possibly eat. Pumpkin soup was an obvious choice for using up at least some of our pumpkin although I am still searching for that 'best' pumpkin soup recipe.

I was busy having 'Cinderella' visions whilst admiring this beauty.

Look at that colour! Isn't it fabulous?

I blended the soup up this morning and now have a nice little stockpile in the freezer. I roasted some vegetables for last night's dinner and am still left with half a pumpkin. Pumpkin scones may be on the agenda this afternoon or tomorrow.
How is this for a fabulous soup pot btw? Some of you will be aware I only recently moved in with my partner of three years. The house was originally his parents and there are oodles of things here that belonged to them. I've yet to explore fully what vintage treasures might be waiting to be found but I know his mum had some wonderful old things in her kitchen. This soup pot is fantastic, it's Bessemer ware so I suspect from the 1980s era. It is HUGE and so heavy I can barely lift it empty! It is also a non stick pan and I can see it is going to be well used in the future!

Look at the size of that baby!
I had a full day in the kitchen yesterday and STILL have rhubarb and quinces to deal with. I don't think it will happen today but there is always tomorrow.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

She'll be apples....

Well Winter arrived early here today with the rain from all through the night continuing on throughout the new day. It was definately a do something inside day and since we had the wood stove going I decided to stew up a batch of our delicious home grown apples.

We only have a wood stove here and whilst it's lovely it sometimes limits my baking creativity and choices. Usually it remains unlit for 6 months of the year. (We do have a microwave, toaster oven and electric frypan to cook with in the warmer months) Today was the first time we have had the stove lit this year and it makes the whole house so deliciously toasty warm.

As I enjoyed the homely warmth in our kitchen my beloved partner strode bravely off into the elements to collect windfalls and pick above mentioned apples. We have 5 or 6 different apple trees in our garden, they are all different varieties and ripen in quick succession. We lost a bit of fruit this year to the dreaded coddling moth despite our best organic methods to reduce the problem. We also expect each year to share the bounty with the resident possums and visiting cockatoos and various garden grubs. There is always way more than we can possibly eat.

There is something special about home grown apples. They smell so divine, something that you just don't get with supermarket apples. It was a literal sensual feast for me today as I peeled and sliced.
The crisp white flesh of the apples looked so pure and fresh. Juice oozed onto the chopping board, my knife and my hands. Then the added scent of sugar, cloves and cinnamon added to the pleasure.
I'm not really supposed to have the sugar since I am diabetic but my dietician did tell me all things in moderation so I'm taking the liberty of taking her advice quite literally! I'm still learning to cook on a wood stove and added a little too much water to the apples today but I will know for next time. A few batches in the freezer and I made a yummy apple crumble for tonight's dessert with the rest. We still have a bucket full of apples to be stewed so I will be doing some more in the coming days.
It's been a while since I've been quite so domestic and I enjoyed it. Now who's for apple crumble?
wishing you sunshine in your shadows

Monday, April 11, 2011

Button, button who's got the button?

I was rummaging in the linen press today when I found one of my boxes of vintage buttons. I spent a happy half hour playing with them, running them through my fingers, sorting and generally enjoying them. Such divine little treasures! I began buying vintage buttons several years ago when I stumbled across them on ebay. I literally bought them by the tin or box full which is rather hilarious considering my sewing skills. I have no idea what I thought I was going to do with all those boxes and tins of old buttons.
**This very badly lit photo shows a tiny part of just some of my buttons in a plastic laundry tub. I have begun sorting them into plastic zip lock bags.

Of course in the many tins and boxes I bought I also received plenty of drab, boring and sometimes plain ugly buttons. The buttons I found today are just a teeny fraction of what I have packed away here in the house and shed. (Imagine a dragon with his hoard of treasure!)
I fell in love with all kinds of buttons from pretty filigree plastic buttons to big clunky coat buttons and everything in between. My favourites however remain the lovely glass buttons. The photos I am sharing today are a bit of a variety, the box I rediscovered today has some of my prettier buttons inside. The dragonfly buttons are an early obsession. Czech glass is so pretty.

**variety of vintage glass buttons, mostly czech glass. I have lots more of these beauties!
**I adore my dragonflies and have them in many colours and sizes. My photographs really do not do them justice.

I first fell in love with old buttons as a young girl. I can remember a neighbour lady who sewed had a huge button jar that she would allow me to play with. I thought it was like a magic treasure chest and it absorbed my rapt attention for hours as I sorted and admired. Actually her whole house was a treasure trove of haberdashery items, lace, ribbons and vintage frocks. So I fondly remember and say thank you Mrs B for giving me a lifelong love of old buttons and all things vintage! (Mrs B also handed me some lovely old gowns to play dress ups in, Oh how I wish I still had them now!)

**An assortment of vintage plastic and wooden buttons

**Pretty pastel plastic perle buttons. I believe these are from the 1950s.
**All these lovelies are plastic. I just love the swan!

I hope my pretty buttons have brought some sunshine to your day. I know they did to mine.
wishing you sunshine in your shadows