Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas part 1

It  was a lovely day in rural Orinoco, filled with the sounds of a whole lot of Ukes (the craze has spread through the whole family, even my mother-in-law has one (yellow!)), children, good food and plenty of sun.  A lovely present from the talented brother, a customised babushka doll.

joy on the face of a babe receiving his baby. ( as his mama  I love to see his nurturing looks, cuddles and snuggles- we must be doing something right!)

Reminder....Have to be in it to win it (family and friends welcome....) leave a comment (delurk) to enter giveaway. Entries close on the 3rd of january.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Its my birthday....
My blogs birthday that is. On the second of january. i will giveaway  a felt stitched tiki cheque book holder, needle case or glasses case and a brooch. The winner will be able to choose which of the above they would prefer, and I will make it to order! I am away over the christmas new year period, so will draw the winner on the 4th of january 2010. I will ship all over the world! So to enter, leave a comment, and an email contact!  I will figure out how to get get the computer to randomly pick a winner (it will take me that long to figure out I am sure!). Here are some examples of  my work.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Buttons, I love buttons! I am running out of stash, if anyone finds some collections anywhere I'll pay you for them!  A bracelet for a belated birthday present....

p.s with this blogs first birthday coming up on jan2, I feel a birthday giveaway coming on, more details to come...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finally, and a great find at market!

Today we got a great heads up from my good friend Gillybean  at the local market: an estate clearance sale! I was there late (all the stall holders got in first, I heard!), but still got some great finds! Some beautiful hand embroidered linens and tablecloths and some lovely old books about baking form 50s new Zealand. I am totally into my baking at the moment after receiving this great book from Struan: Ladies a plate. Full of beautiful baking photographed on vintage linens, so look at what we had for morning tea!

 So, My wild garden has been tamed slightly with some weeding and planting out but still grows in joyful (unruly) abandon!

The christmas elves have been busy too (i have told the children that Santa's elves have outsourced some of the manufacturing for christmas as they are just soo busy this year!...)

here are some pics of babes in varying states of completion and crowns and wallets for other family members.

(Please excuse me while I get my head around blogger: obviously a lot changes while I take some months off!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Soon... we will get a camera (thanks Oma Rietje), soon... I will post photos of the christmas presents I am making slowly, soon... it will be school holidays and struan will be home, soon ... i will have time for my own interests at least some of the time (the garden is a wild jumble of weeds, flowers and straggly tomato plants!) I have toyed with shutting down my blog but I really think having a camera will help inspire me to share, and writing will (hopefully) challenge my mind! If you read this blog check in again this weekend!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Away from my blog....

It has been too hard juggling a clean- inspection ready house, an extra child some days, kindy dramas etc and my blog (especially without a proper camera). This images were take in that time with the idea of posting more regularly (which obviously didn't happen), on our digital video camera, but it is a palaver to upload them. We have spent a few days in Totaranui, Golden Bay at a DOC camp, which is hugely popular in summer, but we only had to share with a handful of campers/ trampers and tourists. We even got the children tramping: only over to the next beach but it was a stretch for them...! We were lucky enough to see and watch some native birds : a weka, kea, paradise ducks, kereru. On the way home yesterday we stopped at a GREAT children's store called Grasshopper where we found a cD with songs about new Zealand's indigenous creatures for children Its very good, and funny! Its called "little blue and the living treasure band" by wildbeet productions.
We are at an anxious stage with our farmhouse purchase as it seems another offer will come in (cash unconditional) so we have a week to sell with no one interested at present. Everyone project/ pray for us please!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


As you may know, our house is on the market and therefore I have packed up my sewing stuff, boo hoo! And of course I actually have inspiration at the moment! Spring does that to me! So I am throwing myself into knitting as a tidy and instant antidote to cleaning!!!! unfortunately I am also inspired in the knitting department with many projects in my mind, and I am labouring over a vest for Struan's birthday ( I know its passed already!). I don't want to start anything new until its finished otherwise he may not receive it until next year! So I surf the knitting and yarn sites and knit. The vest is from the book son of stitchnbitch. A very cool book for patterns for males. I have been enjoying the knitting patterns in the Living Crafts magazine, and yesterday found The Backwards loop, a very cool site with beautiful yarn and patterns. Anoushka is knitting a gnome for her friend, and we are watching the garden start to awaken from its winter rest. Today is a grey and drizzling day, perfect for knitting! What are you knitting?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy 30th birthday Struan!

An early birthday breakfast on a cold but sunny day. My lovely turns thirty now and commented this morning that he didn't feel any different despite having been nervous about it this week! he certainly kept his nerves quiet! The girls did some lovely stitching on linen as hankies for him to carry in his pocket. And of course any birthday money he gets goes straight into music:Age Pryor, Dan Sperber and Tiki Tane:all good new zealand artists!
locals check out the new deli on high street, Motueka for lovely goodies, local and imported. Can recommend their hot chocolate and elderflower cordial!
The beautiful daphne from the lady who delivers my raw mik, in a jug from the op shop. have a nice day!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Open Home and surprise!

A BUSY weekend, trying to prepare for an open home in the pouring rain! And I knew we were having a wee party for my husband! He didn't guess, which is amazing! A lovely afternoon and a few pics: The winter rosehips and my first daffodils.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How time flies....

Wow, nearly two months, how slack of me. I certainally haven't crafed much to write home about, but had a lovely inspiring morning with a group of crafty mums. We have been painting, readying our home for sale in the hope of a move to the country. Check out our listing here.
I recently celebrated my 30th too. Here are some grainy photos of the lovely things my husband and children gave me.

Thats all for now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our journey to homeschool

Ahh, what more could a crafty mother wish for?! The eldest daughter has started knitting, this was the second time she asked. The first time a few months ago we did a few rows together, but this time its really clicked! We use a little rhyme to remember the steps, and after only a week she could sit on the couch and do a few rows without any help! She knows when she's got a "problem" (her words), and sometimes can sort it out herself or she'll ask for help. What more of an excuse do I need to sit and knit in companionable silence!? She often does a few rows while the other two go to bed.

And the photo of the pink blanket/coat at the lantern festival at kindy last week. This week though she has been home by choice. We asked her why she wanted to be home and she replied that it was more fun. I/We must be doing something right if home is more fun? Days seem to flow nicer at home and I have more energy to really encourage their creative endeavours and extend on interests a bit. We are slowly making the commitment to home/unschooling as it sits with out philosophies on life etc and seems to flow on from some of our other parenting choices. At this stage and it may seem like a cop out, she can go to kindy (if she wants, why force a four year old to rush places ?) and "if it doesn't work" for whatever reason school will still be there! (GULP!)

On one of our home days the girls made a garden, digging it and composting it and we've planted a few raspberry suckers and strawberry plants for instant gratification. Now we've got he seed catalogues out and are choosing or thinking about what else to plant. Of course now I am reading and dreaming and making lists and thinking about light levels etc. Spring seems so far away but will come soon enough....

Monday, June 22, 2009

A month of flurries...

Wow nearly a month gone buy in a flurry of creating and crafting, baking and making for a three year old's birthday and general maddness. I finally unblocked my knitter's block and finished the other sock for husband.. still don't think I've seen him actually wearing them... and in the following week,knitted a pair of mittens, a cardigan a nearly finished the rainbow cardigan as "specified!" by the now three year old. She has specified a lot recently, yesterday insiting I wear a pink skirt and pink higheals to pick up Anoushka from kindy. I kept trying to hide them (the shoes) but as we were leaving she came running out with them and said "you can't forget these mama!" So I wore them while trying to juggle four children (an extra for carpooling) their stuff etc while sinking backwards into the winter mud! not the most practical shoes for picking up children at kindy. Now I would love to post a whole lot of photos of the various creations from the past month but the camera is broken and apparently not worth fixing! Posts maybe boring black and white for a while. Here is one photo though of the birthday girl and her new woollen coat, with (my)machine quilting lining and poodle buttons, and a button on hood. Anoushka has a similar one made of an old pink blanket and sheet for lining. One day I may find a photo of that too. In the meantime, happy crafting, knitting, playing, enjoy the winter or summer wherever you may be!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning Stories

Maaike collected these shells and sticks at the Kumeras yesterday while they had a play on a family bike ride. All the family made sandcastles at the beach, and Maaike decided her collection of shells belonged in our sandpit so that she could make another sandcastle. This morning at 7.30 (it wasn't even properly light yet), she went out there and made her sandcastle . "take a photo mama" she said.
What do I think is going on for her? She is certainly able to determine her own tasks and actions, remember her own plans and follow them through. She also knows how to document something that she feels is significant to her learning and development (or just being).

During a game of buses on Sunday, Anoushka decided to write a list of toys who couldn't come on the bus that day for various reasons. She sat down and occasionally asked me for help with the spelling of names. i find it fascinating that her letters are having directional challenges where they weren't awhile ago.However she is also writing more independently and not asking for help with forming her letters so that may have something to do with it. Sorry i can't seem to turn the photo right side up. My next challenge perhaps?

creating and wild spaces

A trip to Rabbit Island in the Tasman District on Saturday. We spent hours there, playing in the sand, following tracks through the bush, finding mushrooms, climbing trees. We had a yummy picmic lunch: Homemade sourdough seed bread, beetroot lacticfermented, homemade feta cheese, pickled chilli carrots, fermented cider, kiwifruit and apples. Yum!

We took our foraging bags and sketch books and Maaike here was drawing the sand and sea and a lone seagull with great effort.

Along with our efforts to eat no processed foods we thought we'd try a recipe for soba noodles I found in a book called The HArvest Wholefoods Collection. Here is the recipe: 1 cup Buckwheat flour
1 tbspn Oil
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients and knead for five minutes unitl smooth. Roll out and slice into fine noodles. Refrigerate for a few hours. Cook in boiling water with oil added to prevent sticking for about 3 minutes.
We served ours with an asian inspired dressing and sesame seeds.

A head band made to tame wild tresses featuring some of the dutch ribbon I bought from Holland Fabric house on Etsy.Hope you all had a good weekend

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Family times

A quick outing to the local river bank for a bit of blowing out of cobwebs!

We were also inspired to have a family drawing time (after a week of sickness and snot and indoorsness, we were all well again to do something new) after reading this recent post by soulemama. Equipped with a still life (or just some objects )for inspiration and paper, charcoal, crayons etc we all had a go. It amazed me what my reactions were! I initially though my attempts were good, having always thought of myself as arty, then looked at struan's, which blew me away. my initial reaction was to call him a showoff (how very tall poppy of me!), then think of mine as crap. Every comment he made of mine made me feel as if he were trying to make me feel better thereby being condescending, however, and of course it was not intended that way. To think drawing can evoke such feelings of competition and inadequacy in me! I must practise more to draw and be accepting of the process and really think about how what I say can affect others by putting a competitive spin on something that is not intended that way. More Family Draws to come for sure. And more reflections on schools, competition, language of commentary or praise too.

A Foraging/ finding bag, quickly whipped up to save mam being the carrying bag for treasures found at the beach. They are cut down out of a pair of my old jeans and are adorned by some stitching the girls have done themselves(the one pictured is anoushka's handwork. They are big enough for a sketching pad or notebook and a pencil and enough treasures but not too many to carry. They were inspired by this blog post by tiny happy (but not nearly as nice. More utilitarian perhaps?)

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Lesson in Geometry(A Learning Story)

We've all been home this week with sick children. No Kindy, no friends, no pressure(no sleep, but that's another story). Last night Anoushka, while drawing said,"I'm drawing lots of shapes". A circle, a triangle,a square. I saw a "teaching moment", and said "what other shapes do you know and can you draw? " "A heart and a diamond and stars. Mama how do you draw stars?" So I tried and explained my method of drawing stars (two triangles) but that didn't click for her so I suggested she ask her father as he has different (better) ways of explaining things, and sure enough after only two demonstrations she was away and drew about twenty more stars. "I can do it, mama! I can even do it with my eyes closed!" "You are so proud of yourself, anoushka"we said.

Interesting that when something is self initiated and really learnt that there is that element of self imposed practise until there is mastery of the achievement objective (to use some jargon!) We see it all the time in wee Tobin's quest to conquer new heights (literally).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May Days and Mother's day

Its been a while, so here are some highlights of the month so far! Some bread bags, inspired by thispost by Amanda, and made out of a vintage tea towel and vintage tablecloth which was getting a bit holey. I'm looking for a bread bin now, to give our bread some space of its own, on the bench. I make sourdough bread twice a week, which is fermented for at least 48 hours and has yummy things like pumpkin seeds, cumin and fennel seeds and sunflower seeds, added. As Anoushka says: I love your bread mama!
A skirt by Delume, the designer who has a little, very cool shop in Nelson who kindly stocks my stuff. I love that it reminds me of a fifties housewife/tea towel design! It is made with a wool fabric and she screen printed the design onto the skirt directly.

A tee shirt design by Struan's brother: stylised pics of five grandchildren/nieces and nephews(my three are on the left)printed on a tee . Thank you uncle Alasta!

And finally some bits: New fabric and gorgeous ribbons from Holland Fabric House found on Etsy, some groovey retro fabric from a friend's very talented garage sale mum! And my mother's day gift: a small cheese mold for making feta and Haloumi cheese; my latest kitchen adventure. (note to self: three children underfoot, papa home late, no bench space and preparing food on stove top= small kitchen fire!!!!!)
I have been really enjoying reading and cooking from my new cookbook, Nourishing Traditions and will blog more about this in future posts. If anyone else is into this and other alternatives like unschooling, we would love to hear your comments!
I read yesterday in one of our books how real learning starts with a question. I know how that works as a fundamental principle in Early childhood education here in NZ, but the more we talk about this together, the more we know it is not easily possible in a class room situation for each child, nor are real questions really encouraged....If a child is curious enough about something to ask and then you can learn together, then it will be LEARNT and remembered...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


A moment alone...

go by fast,
a blur of learning to bike ride,
short visits with family,
a first birthday even.

Enjoying the autumn weather,
sunny days,
the last warmth before the real frosts start.

So much to do,
but so easy to be distracted,
children drawing, playing,

Learning to cook all over again,
Nourishing Traditions, Making my head spin.
No time for sewing,
but lots of time for planning,
where to begin?

A few treasures, pictures , found on the beach by airport after dropping off oma and opa. Did you know you could walk all the way around the perimeter of the airport and theres a beach and no-one else, right there in the middle of the flight path?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shop update

As promised, some images of items for my shop update, completed this morning (it pays to read the help pages!) Also delivering some stock to Delume in Nelson this morning.

I am so excited, we are also going to print in hard copy some lovely photos of Tobin for his inaugural birthday album update! His birhday is tomorrow! My last baby is one already..... An era is slowly (but too fast for me) coming to an end.