Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Kiddies Activities

Lots of photos in this post!
We seem to have been busy, busy, busy lately so over the last few days I've made a point of doing kiddy things with the girls - and we've had a lot of fun.

Using these to draw on the patio (and the planters and the bench seats and the decking!):

Maia's pavement art. Don't you love how she signs her work?

She actually does this right at the start!

Then onto some painting:

When we were out that morning Cassia said that she'd like to do painting and hey presto in the Sallies was a canvas already painted black!!! Having seen Janelle's children painting on similar over at Heart Felt I bought it and Cassia produced this:

Next a bit of gluing and sticking (we cut out all the butterflies and insects when we were back in UK and bought them back with us!)

When Maia got back from Kindy she saw the paint and of course wanted a go! She made these two lovely cards for two little girls:

and today she wrote in them:

I'm off to my first Parent's Centre meeting tomorrow and we have to bring a plate so I thought we'd do some baking this afternoon. Delicious Ginger Crunch:

You can see there are some squares missing but as Maia says "We can't do the baking and then not have some, that's not really fair!" - luckily I agreed with her!

Monday, 29 June 2009


The little grubs definition of peacefulness:

a few days away at the beach with no phone, no mobile reception, no computer and no TV - absolute bliss!

The little grubs definition of frustration:

wanting to work on the garden (I know I should be planting garlic and strawberries already) but being faced with this:

Probably more frustrating is having actually cleared some beds and planted some lavender only to find it looking like this:

The little grubs definition of delicious:
handmade granola atop stewed apple with greek yoghurt - yum!

For the definition of craftstipation click here!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

My creative space ...

Having seen a few of these over the last couple of weeks I thought I would play along too.

It's all crochet at the moment. It's just too cold to leave the room which has the fire in and I don't really want to bring the sewing machine, and all the associated paraphanelia, into the lounge!

Brown and pistachio Mary Jane slippers from here - I've reworked one and I'm happy with it just have to finish the second one

Bag of odds and ends that were used for making this blanket

Bag of purple and pink yarn originally used to make a blanket for Cassia and I've a few ideas for the leftovers

Green hexagons - I started this in the UK and love it but I bought new yarn, albeit on special for 100% merino, for it and when I worked out what it would cost to make a cot size blanket, let alone a single size like I originally intended, I decided to make it into a bag - obviously this happend yet but the thrifted handles might be called into action soon

Some new heart patterns I've been playing with and a shockingly bright yellow doily! Please excuse the colour it was the thinnest cotton I had, from a bag of thrifted cottons, and having never made a doily before I thought I would try with this first

The grey and blue yarn is making some crochet slippers for Cassia

A stripy neck warmer for Cassia

and finally, and probably most importantly a book and a pen - I always think I'll remember what I've done but of course I don't so I'm going to try to write things down so that I don't have to re-work it all out when I crochet the second or subsequent items!

And, surprisingly, all this fits into this bag (a recent and very wonderful thrift find):

which is pretty lucky because we're heading to the beach today for a couple of days so it's all ready to go!
Hope you all have a lovely weekend. x
To see other creative spaces click here.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

A new addition to the family ...

well 4 in fact! They came to us via the Sallies for the princely sun of 50c. Mum has unfortunately lost an arm and a leg, and the way my children play the other members of the family may soon follow suit. They are settling in nicely and have been happily adopted by Maia and Cassia. Cassia is so taken by them that one or other (or all!) sometimes end up in bed with her! x

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

I finally admit defeat!

I'm not very good at admitting defeat but these curtains have beaten me I'm afraid to say! I had 7 curtains of various sizes and conditions and I thought it would be more than enough to fit the windows in one of the rooms in the house. I thought, I measured, I thought some more and I finally thought I had it. The scissors got to work and I was happy. It was always going to be a jigsaw to get them done (they were too short for our windows and even a simple border top and bottom wasn't going to suffice) but I reckoned I'd done it. I even sewed one side. I assumed that both sides would be made the same (that's how I make curtains) but of course they weren't. The border they had put on was all out of pattern match. I could have carried on and I could now have something at our window BUT I stopped. I realised that no matter what I did I wouldn't be happy with them - they would always look like a botch job - and that although they only cost me $7 they were going to take a lot of time and energy. So back to the drawing board on that one and still very cold rooms without curtains!

In fact I was so fed up with them I have folded it all up and put it up in a high cupboard - I don't even want to look at the fabric at the moment! The only good use I can think of at the moment is if a local production of The Sound of Music is performed and I could make the von Trapp children's outifts to run on the hills!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A sucker for punishment ...

I finally got these curtains finished (apologies for the rubbish photos I just wanted to give proof!):

and I've now started on this material for another set!!!

A lot of ripping, washing, ironing and jigsaw piecing to see if I can use the material for any of our windows!

Monday, 15 June 2009

What kind of collector are you?

I saw the title on the spine of the book and just had to get it out from the library:

A Passion for Collecting - Caroline Clifton-Mogg
Now seeing as most blogs I've read feature collecting (aka hoarding) in one form or another I thought you might like to see, according to the book, what kind of collector you are!!
The Antiquarian ...
collector is the direct descendant of the Renaissance and eighteenth-century devotees, and is lured by the siren call of the classical and the antique. The Antiquarian collects everything from fragments of ancient art to shiny neo-classical pieces
The Explorer ...
collector is a natural discoverer. While today this may not mean travel to uncharted polar or tropical regions, the Explorer's interest is still global - a fascination for objects strange and different, which illustrate the beauty of other lives
The Inheritor ...
collector is a person with a past; it may be an actual past represented by an existing, inherited collection, or it might simply be a keen sense of the past. In either case, the Inheritor is commited to collecting in the manner of his forebears, maintaining a tradition
The Perfectionist ...
collector will only consider acquiring the most perfect example of its kind - depending, of course, on the definition of perfect. It may be rarity or flawless condition or great beauty. But whatever the definition, the Perfectionist will accept nothing less
The Naturalist ...
collector is really one of nature's enquirers, fascinated by and drawn to objects from the natural world, whether mineral, flora or fauna. From shells and fossils to feathers and flowers, the variety and beauty of natural life is worthy of endless study
The Utilitarian ...
collector is one who sees beauty in the commonplace, and who revels in the practical and familiar objects that are a necessary part of our daily lives. From rolling pins to radiators, the Utilitarian appreciates and understands the pure simplicity of function and form
The Enthusiast ...
collector is that sympathetic character, the all-rounder, who cannot resist accumulating everything and anything that appeals. Imaginative and artistic, Enthusiasts are always on the brink of another collection to keep them enthralled - until inspiration strikes anew
The Decorator ...
collector is that talented person who has the ability to invest every collection - no matter how unpromising - with interest and charm. And when it comes to display, where the less perceptive proceed with caution, the Decorator designs with consummate style
The Miniaturist ...
collector is the descendatn of those keepers of legendary cabinets of curiosities, where the charm of the diminutive was celebrated. The modern Miniaturist is fascinated by the tiny, the delicate and the beautifully made, whether it is of china, glass, metal or wood
Me? Well definitely the Enthusaist, with a lot of Utilitarian and some Naturalist, Inheritor and Explorer thrown in for good measure!
So what type are you? x

Sunday, 14 June 2009

June is for finishing - crochet blanket

At the beginning of the year I read on someone's blog (sorry for no mention here but I can't remember whose!) that they were going to use up everything they already had before buying anymore (they were talking about wool I think but it really could apply to anything!). I thought this was a great idea and decided to use up all my wool bits to make a blanket.
Little did I know how much wool a single sized crochet blanket was going to take! Not only did I use up all of my bits and pieces I had to go and buy other people's odds and ends too! So it's finally finished:

To begin with I didn't know if I was going to like it. I'm not very good at doing random and this certainly was!

It was literally use up one bit and start with another. Sometimes I did finish on the end of the row but there are colour changes midway through rows too. When I ran out of yarn I kept thinking "Oh well that's big enough" but Maia had already taken a liking to it and had asked for it for her bed so I kept hunting for the yarn and crochetting on!

What a good use of odds and ends and practical too. Hopefully it'll be keeping us warm for many years to come. Do I like it now? I certainly do.

OK so I said it was finished but there are some ends that still need to be darned in but in my mind it's finished for now - it's on the bed, it'll keep us warm and that's all that matters for now.

This was a really easy thing to have on the go - you could just pick it up and do a few rows here and there, it came away with us a couple of times and it was something that you didn't have to think about - you knew what you were doing and there was no pattern - great for those evenings when you're brain dead after a full-on day with the children!

Now I just have to tackle all my other WIPs! x

Saturday, 13 June 2009

An Epic Meme!

I was tagged for this epic meme by Janelle at Heart Felt. So after some deliberation here goes:

What is your current obsession?
Op shop trawling and finding bargains

What was the most interesting thing you did today?
Craig told me about a place in the city called ARC – Art Recycling Centre. It’s tucked out the back of Square Edge Gallery and it’s AWESOME. Lots and lots of interesting things to buy – so, so cheaply.

What are you wearing today?
Thrifted jeans, handmade woollen socks, thermal, jumper from my mum, very pretty green/yellow necklace purchased at car boot in UK.

What's for dinner?
Just had it - homemade pizza with lots of help from the girls

What's the last thing you bought?
World Sweet World winter issue

What are you listening to right now?
Goodnight Nurse; Top Ten Hits of the 70s; ABBA

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
New Zealand – that’s why we came back!!! Exactly where? Not quite sure – maybe Otago Peninsula or maybe Coromandel or maybe Motueka …..

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
A desert island – somewhere with no other people and just the sound of the waves lapping on the shore with lovely clear warm blue waters to swim in

Which language do you want to learn?
Te Reo Maori

What's your favorite quote (for now)?
"We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We are borrowing her from our children"
- Seneca proverb

What is your favorite color?
Red and green at the moment

What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
My recently made handknitted scarf – it’s on me constantly even indoors when it’s cold

What's your favourite magazine?
Toss up between Good and World Sweet World

If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
A pair of leather winter boots

Describe your personal style?
What personal style?!

What are you going to do after this?
Watch the ABs play France

What's your favorite fruit?
Strawberries in summer and pears in winter

What inspires you?
People coping with adversirty; people standing up for what they believe in; lots and lots of crafty/green mothers who I’m finding in blogland

Your favourite books?
Too, too many to list. Two books that are really inspiring me at the moment are Recycled Home by Mark and Sally Bailey and Off-grid by Nick Rosen.

Do you collect anything?
Oh so many things!!!! Retro suitcases; aprons; embroidered linens; fabric; baskets; children's chairs – just to name a few

What are you currently reading?
Off-grid by Nick Rosen; various craft/sewing books from library; Good; World Sweet World

What makes you follow a blog?
Great pictures; interesting and innovative crafts, especially using recycled materials; sustainable/eco living; seeing what other families living the way that I dream off

What do you love most about where you currently live?
The country – my little family is much, much happier being here – we all have smiles, the space and cleanliness, the freedom the girls can have here, the people. The town – we can walk everywhere. The house – an awesome woodburner, space to get a veggie patch going

I'm now supposed to tag eight more people:

Lien (Lovely Living); Steph (Lovestitches); Becks (Different Choices); Gina (Clutterpunk); everyone else has been tagged already! If anyone's reading this who wants to play along then consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

A much needed family outing

Sunday morning dawned cold but sunny (and I do mean cold - thick frost on the ground) so we took ourselves off to the nearest beach which we had yet to explore.

A little walk to the beach

My family on the beach - enjoying the fresh air and sun!

Important treasure in little hands

Found while beachcombing

A series of photos of the same shell:

Good job we went too because Craig and Maia now have the flu that's been circulting our house and the rain has come!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

I did it!

I got the Mary Jane slippers finished last night. Hurray - a project started and finished in one day! Although as you can see they're not quite symmetrical!

The pattern didn't say how much yarn to use so I thought that one ball of each would be plenty (in fact I was already planning what I was going to make with what was left!) - obviously it wasn't! However, they are finished and kept my feet lovely and warm last night. I actually changed the finishing and closure on the second so I guess at some stage I'll undo them and get two slippers the same. However, last night I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do a project in a day because I have way too many unfinished things laying around. In fact tomorrow I'm going to join Gabes from sweetp knits in her June is for finishing and sort out all my WIP and try to work through those before starting anything else! x

Friday, 5 June 2009

I'm so happy ...

that I thought I'd do two posts in one day!
I'm feeling a bit better today (many thanks for all the good wishes) and so wanted to do something crafty. I've been getting withdrawal symptoms - all this blog hopping and insipration has been great but not being able to do anything has been really hard. On my travels I found this pattern for Mary Jane slippers and thought they'd be perfect for today. I still have that kind of head that if you lean forward it feels like it's going to explode so a bit of gently crocheting on the sofa seemed a good idea.
Pattern - sorted

Wool - I don't have a big wool stash so Cassia and I ventured into town for some (and a coffee!)

Result - see below!

The button's not exactly the one I'd have chosen but I had it and it's now sewn on (as opposed to waiting for the perfect button and the slippers taking residence in a box/cupboard/under my sewing table until kingdon come!). Now the eagle eyed of you out there will notice that there is only one slipper - you're right! OK I know I may be a bit premature in posting about something which I'm so happy about because it all came together in a day but I know I can start and finish the right foot today. Check back tomorrow to see if I've succeeded in my challenge! x

Thrifting happiness ...

Yesterday I mentioned a 1/2 price sale at our local Sallies - so of course I had to buy!! Nothing like a spot of good thrifting to make you feel a bit better!

First thing I saw were these pretty little glasses at the bargain price of 25c each:

I aim to limit the amount of plastic in our house and certainly haven't bought anything plastic for a long time. Subsequently the girls have been drinking out of glass and china since they were old enough to hold it (I mean I hate the taste of drinks that have been in plastic so wouldn't little ones?!) so these are a great addition to our collection of 'small glasses'.

Next up were men's ties - 50c each.

Since I very quickly made this skirt for Maia for Kindy (JUST REALISED I NEVER SHOWED THIS SKIRT SO WILL HAVE TO POST LATER!!!) I've been on the lookout for some more because with a little thought, preparation and careful sewing I think I could make something quite nice! But the price of things, especially men's ties has stopped me buying any. The most expensive I've come across yet in a op shop was back in the UK recently - 2.75 pounds, that's about NZ$7.40!!!!!!!! Now I could have a huge rant about this but luckily for me someone else has done it!!! Take a look at what Steph at lovestitches has to say over here. Couldn't have put it better myself!
Next stop - the material/linen area and this stash of fabric:

And then to the last aisle where all the bedding, sheets and curtains are hung up and I came across all of this!!! A pair of unlined curtain in this fabric. Each one measures 3 1/2 ft by 11ft (no I didn't measure them but an old tag was still attached!). So skinny and long but I loved the fabric - not sure whether these are destined for curtains or alternative use yet.

And then this fabric - much heavier and warmer than the first:

and much more of it!

There are 7 'bigger' curtains and 2 'smaller' curtains, some have sun fading on some areas and some are made better than others! However, I'm sure that with all the fabric available I'll be able to make some curtains for somewhere! And for $7, that's right $7 it's not a fortune if they don't work out. I was talking to someone at the weekend who paid $32.50/metre for curtain material so I am very, very happy with this purchase. It may not have been my first choice of fabric if I had been in a shop but I think they will make up really nice ance suit our style of house (1930s Californian bungalow).
So to add it all up I got everything shown, oh and the little one below, for $21 - now if that wasn't good bargain hunting I don't know what is!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A great little winter warmer ...

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup

I wasn't really in the mood for cooking tea tonight but since I had just popped out to the Sallies I was obviously 'well enough' to cook for my family! It was a good job I went to because they were having a 1/2 price sale - can you believe that an op shop is having a sale?!!!! Lots of lovely goodies to share but all the excitement and cooking has tired me out so you'll have to wait until tomorrow.
For now a lovely recipe. I borrowed The Soup Bible from the library last week and this is from it. Originally it was Corn and Crab Meat Soup, but does offer the alternative of chicken instead of crab meat. We had some roast chicken leftovers so I whipped it up! Here's the recipe - my amendments are on bold:
Serves 4 (two hungry adults and two children!)
115g chicken
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger (if you like ginger I would use twice this)
finely chopped garlic - I would add some garlic in with the ginger next time
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp cornflour
2 egg whites
600ml vegetable stock
225g can creamed sweetcorn (I used a full can 400g?)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped spring onions to garnish
  • Mix chicken and ginger and garlic in a bowl
  • Blend milk and cornflour until smooth
  • Beat egg whites until frothy
  • Add cornflour mixture to egg whites and beat again until smooth
  • Bring stock to boil in saucepan
  • Add creamed sweetcorn to pan and bring to boil again
  • Stir in chicken mixture and stir gently until blended
  • Season to taste
  • Sprinkle with spring onions to serve
Now a question - what to do with the egg yolks? I think I'm right in saying you could make mayonnaise but we're not great fans so the only thing I can think of is to add to other eggs for scrambled eggs. Any other ideas? x

Pen Pal wanted

Every day my two little girls run to the post box to check the mail, more often than not it leads to arguments between them but I won't go there!

When Maia gets to check the post box on her own she's always disappointed that there's nothing for her (not that we get any exciting mail either). So I just wondered if any of you out there had a little one who'd like a pen pal. Obviously they won't be exchaning fully fledged letters but Maia loves drawing/painting etc and would love to receive some in return.

If anyone's interested maybe leave a comment or e-mail. Many thanks. xx

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

A post about the credit crunch ...

Not much going on at our house today! However, I have managed to do some blog hopping and found this awesome post on a blog called Wardrobe Refashion. I too was wondering how the governments can say spend, spend, spend your way out of the recession - was it not too much spending that caused it in the first place?!!! Think I'll be popping back there too because 'Wardrobe Resfashioning' is something right up my street.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

It was inevitable really ....

Maia caught a cold shortly after we returned from the UK.
She very generously gave it to her Dad a few days later.
Cassia was next in line, although her's was a lot worse than her sister's and her Dad's.
Cassia was getting better at the end of last week and I thought we could start June out and about.
This morning, of course, I wake up with it!
If I have what Cassia had I now know why she was so ill and grumpy - isn't hindsight wonderful?
So here starts the 4th week of sickness in our house - aaaarrrrghhhhhhh!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Welcome winter!

Today heralds the official start of winter, and with the snow coming down on the mountains all around us it certainly felt like it yesterday. Some things that we're going to count on this winter. First and foremost is this:

Generally New Zealand houses don't have central heating so you rely on the woodburner a lot. This is the first house where we've lived in in NZ that has such a great fire - and we've a woodshed full of dry, seasoned wood to boot! However, the fire is only in the living area so for the bedrooms you need these:

flannelette sheets! I tried my best to find some second hand but the local op shops were not forthcoming, and when it gets so cold at night you can't really wait for them to turn up. So these are new but so worth every cent when you get into them at night! However, I was more imaginative when it came to Maia's bed:

When Maia was born we had brushed cotton wraps which we used for wrapping her. They were then used for Cassia and have now been re-invented into a patchwork top sheet for her bed and a pillowcase. I was pretty pleased with this little conversion - it cost me nothing and it took about 10 minutes! Even with flannelette sheets you still need lots of these:

the left one has such beautiful colours that I would really like to turn it into something but it has only been loaned to us so it just looks pretty on the bed! The right one was an op shop find and has been cut up into a single blanket and the other half will be used for something, eventually!

The pink blanket is one I made for Maia when she was born - it took me months - what was I doing? The bottom one was one my mum nade to use up her scraps and which Maia took possession of when we were home recently!

This is still a work in progress but may be called into action if it get too much colder!

And this is one I relieved my mum off when we were back - daughters are good like that I find! It was crocheted by my Nan and I hadn't seen it before. It's lovely to have something made by my Nan in my house. In fact there's three generations of crochetetd blankets in my house - pretty cool eh? So for outside of the house we'll need these:

these (with not a handmade one in sight unfortunately!):


and these:

And finally if all else fails this little lot can help boost you up!