Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year

I am having trouble with various applications crashing on our computer: no photos until w can fix it... we are back from 10 days with family and friends and many happy memories to end the year with and start this one "filled up". Hope you have a happy new year and are also filled up and ready to go. Happy summer! for the next few weeks we will be swimming lessoning, and clearing the thigh high weeds I have come home to then sowing seed and planing our winter garden and harvests.

Monday, December 13, 2010

garden update

 a quiet morning crafting in the garden , experimenting with weaving and another making yet more gifts for the many people she loves.

A few shots of my ever hopeful garden. certainly no profusion of flowers yet but there are hints of flowers and blooms to come; a few brave plant souls braving the early heat, dust and recycled bath water to bloom and energise my heart and soul.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rhythm of the home giveaway

check out the new rhythm of the home winter edition  and definately this awesome giveaway !

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Crafting has been my refuge in the last few weeks, and in particular little hand stitches and repetitive crochet, little actions that require all my focus and are in and of themselves stilling and meditative. 
 We are enjoying all that advent has to offer in terms of baking, crafts and thinking of others ( yes its overwhelming at times but I'll get there, one tiny stitch at a time!). We have decorated already as we will be in Auckland  for the week before Christmas. 
 Our seasonal wreath bringing good tidings of great joy. 

Christmas bunting. There's even matching tablecloths and napkins!
 Enjoy the advent weeks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


my thoughts, condolences and prayers go to the westcoast people, miners and rescuers on this more final turn of events. xxx

Monday, November 22, 2010


 Oma on one of her many trips to New zealand, in mum's garden at Titirangi in Auckland, just before Struan and I were married in 2003. 3 Generations.
My Oma, my children's Oma Rietje,  passed away after a dance with breast cancer that spanned  many years, many of which passed by in great health as her  management method of choice was through alternative medicine and diet. To me she showed great strength and determination to have quality of life  at an older age rather than drugs and sickness, despite what the outcome may be, and that is what she maintained as long as possible. But my memories of my grandmother aren't of her illness, they are the childhood memories of her visits to new zealand and the return trips we made to Holland where she lived. Memories of amazing stories told under the bedclothes of two little children who had many adventures in forests with gnomes and other creatures. They are of a woman who in spite of not being able to further her education as a young woman ( She was 2nd oldest of many children), took many courses as an older one, learning English, french, bookbinding and art.  She used to give my sister and I drawing lessons when she visited. I remember her art eraser that you could mold like plasticine (WOW!).  

She was a great craftswoman, and I still have the bear she made for us when we were younger. In fact she made the same bear for my children when we last visited Holland in 2007, stuffed with scrap fabric. The ultimate in reuseing and frugality! She knitted without patterns and made clothes and bags. She pottered in her garden and had frogs in her pond ( My girls loved that!) She played the piano and sang.

 I lived with her for three months when I was twenty. We cycled many miles ( she was already 80 years old) and we had many cosy evenings together where we would cook together and share a glass of red  wine ( allowed occasionally on her strict diet). We even took a train trip to Maastricht, and walked around the old town battlements; she told me the stories of my family and I left Holland after that trip with a deeper connection to my extended family and history, something that had always left me slightly alien in this country so far away, where the cultures never quite fit  for me as a child.

At the end we were able to skype with her  three days before she died and she was able to meet Tobin who was conceived on that 2007  trip.  Some say I have her hobbies and her figure! She would have turned 90 on the 30th of November.  Goodbye Oma, you were inspirational to the end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Anoushka, the explorer/birdwatcher; off on a trip around the garden, with camera, binoculars, and bird identification book in bag. A self-portrait!
My maternal grandmother in Holland passed away a few weeks ago after a long  dance with cancer, a month before her 90th birthday. I am planning a  post about her, my chance to have my say and my memories. I am waiting  for some  photos to be turned into jpeg files , and for my thoughts to settle into some words I can use. 

In the meantime life goes on: A "bus trip" in the lounge becomes the best possible place for drawing and writing time ( Why not?), Anoushka writing down all the words she knows and for the first time having a go at words she  hasn't memorised and getting them, by gum she's figured out what some combinations of letters sound like! I love that sometimes in my head I think about what the next step could be or should be, and you try and help  and explain and theres that blank look like what on earth are you on about mama? And then a week, few weeks,months later, its in there and owned and I never mentioned it again.... they learn stuff when they need it, how they need it. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

secret squirreling and a celebration

(Maaike the gnome-fairy, modelling the gnome hat I finally made with my first art-yarn attempt from here ).
Our eldest daughter, Anoushka, turned six in the weekend, and we have been so focused on preparing for it that I haven't had time to post for a while, sorry! We have made a stand on commercialism-free gifts for the last three christmases(e.g, handmade or thrifted), and I often make somethingfor the children's birthdays, but this time the only thing we bought for her was handmade by the local Steiner/Waldorf school's doll making group as a fundraiser, so in other words, handmade by someone else. Of course this means lots of time investure instead of dollars.

 Anoushka had been asking for more farm animals,(waldorf style), so I made a family of cows using wool felt and tweed fabrics,using the book of patterns sew soft toys , and to complement the farmyard theme, my husband made fences from a branch donated by a friend, and a forest of trees, using patterns and instructions from Wee Folk Art,
We decorated the house with flowers and a ring with fairies and butterflies. I made her a red riding hood cape, in rainbow colours from  a living crafts mag, and a dress using bits and pieces, ruffles and lace and an old linen table cloth ( more photos to come maybe).

  We had  a whole lot of families here for her party, where we dyed some yarn as an activity, which the children ( and mamas) really enjoyed. Above are the results, drying before they all went home. I love how they were all different and  beautiful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

spring flowers

 some of the few flowers in this garden at the moment. I have come to the conclusion that we need more! We need them earlier: its been a long weird winter/ spring season and I need some colour to lift my spirits. The birds, bees and butterflies wouldn't object I'm sure! Hopefully next spring i'll be able to post pictures with masses of flowers in them as i plant and divide my way through the year. How is your spring garden growing?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

spring holidaying

Its been a holiday of two halves, so far, the wet and wild half, and finally a more mild and dry half. I don't know how long we can keep blaming el nino or la nina weather systems for the mad weather we've had this winter/spring, or whether we should start blaming global warming!  In the spring holidays  we have been lucky enough to have papa home ( benefits of a school teacher), so we've had days out and days at home. Another friend had a baby boy ( welcome Austen, the vest is for you), we've  been in a mild car crash ( We were the lucky ones, but no one in the three car pile up was hurt, and neither was our car- thank you God) , we visited the Waimarama bird sanctuary in the Brook, the Nelson Museum, we've camped out in the garden and cooked on a campfire, we've walked and rode our bikes, we've rescued a baby rabbit from our cat and then let it go again , don;t tell the farmers around here, they would have preferred it be dead; we are just lucky we managed to convince the kids that the rabbit was wild and not a new pet! And we've gardened.  what have you been doing?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

more crafts

 A friend had a beautiful baby girl last week... Welcome Nia Grace! I made her this vest.To hide or accent the fact that the pinks are all different ( I just used what I had in my stash), I crocheted a flower to match all the colours. The buttons too, are from my stash!
 And now to share a project we have been working on for about a month: A playscape! I have been inspired by many different places. The idea I saw first in the LIVING CRafts Mag about a year ago and then recently I saw it again , although in a different form on the RYTHYM of the HOME site. 
 Together with the children I felted the mat in stages that fit the bubble wrap i had, then stitched on felted pebbles ( bought), made pumpkins and a cave.  the bushes were made by the children by making pompoms, and the grass was  crocheted with an extra row of loops n top.  There are more trees coming and then I'll stitch some hessian to the bottom for added strength and longevity!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I've been really enjoying my subscription to the living Craft s magazine ( Thanks hubby!), The children are really enjoying the story table ( see previous posts) , and enjoying playing with natural toys. I've been knitting sheep from the  spring 2010 issue. I've made two for my nephew who turned one yesterday (happy birthday Wyatt!) And i'm onto my third for my children. watch out, if you have a birthday  you may also get a sheep! Today the sheep are looking o t the window at the rain, and asking where spring has gone!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Tomten

Today was a crafty day! A trip to Spotlight ( I wish we had a decent craft shop around here, some things I'm after it seems I'll have to  order online!), a play at the Tahunanui playground and a picnic snack and when we got home there were seven eggs , a new LIving Crafts mag and the book of the Tomten I had ordered, so we got right down to the business of making our own tomtens to tell stories with. And here they are! Maaike thought hers needed love hearts sewn on. Cute hey? Patterns for story table things mentioned on earlier post. I hadn't read the story before, and its lovely. A story about a gnome type thingy who has lived on this farm for hundreds of years and when night falls visits the inhabitants and talks in a silent tomten voice that the animals can understand, checking all is well.  A good bedtime story!
 And tonight we are to have a barbeque, with homemade burger buns and maybe sleep in the tent we have had up all week. My kids seem to be desperate for summer, swimming and adventures. Actually That sounds pretty good to me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

new "corners"

This week I have been creating some new "corners" and spaces in our home, trying to maintain an order that stimulates creativity and peace in our playing and tidying away. A peace that runs through the day and encourages storytelling and drama. I was inspired by this article in the online mag: Rhythm
 of the Home. Its an article about bringing books to life with props.   So by moving stuff around we now have three surfaces to create "stories" on ( One day hopefully they will be co-constructed stories, but not just yet....).
Another space in our home is this one,our treasres space; A little seasonal corner ( a lot of props have been absorbed by the story table!) , some of my opshop finds and family gifts, amap of the town  one of my Oma's in holland lived before she was too ill and moved to a care facility, and inside the cabinet two of her cup and saucers, from the set they had when they first got married. On the wall a painting of my husband and a young Anoushka done by his Brother, and some cards Struan and I have given each other for birthdays etc.
 This place is starting to feel like home (for now).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

happy Birthday to you....

A little bit of anarchy anyone?  So  amowhawk for him lest likely to actually get a real one ( not sure I'd want him to anyway); a way of dressing up for adults; a way of saying 'F' you to  the system when you want to!  Pattern from  the book Domiknitrix.  
The kids made badges , by drawing little pictures ( quite a challenge for some of them) and we used my badge making kit from Spotlight to finish them off.  Some images are only half a picture, but still look pretty funky we think.
 He also got breakfast pancakes, a mushroom kit and some spending money for the dump shops in Nelson tomorrow.  Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Shh, Struan don't look!

Incognito from here  for a birthday coming up soon. I have some more "cheeky" knitting patterns up my sleeve for him too. Question is , will he wear it to school?
Pav perfection! And I made it! It just didn't sit right that he had success and I didn't. Recipe from Edmonds cook book ( A NZ classic).
AWWW! What more can I say? ( He lives outside now, We've weather-proofed his house, and he's proven his survival instinct. 

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Look what we've got!

His name is Oscar, and he is 5 days old. His mother abandoned him, but we haven't!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

birthday/ back into it!

Its a rainy day in Dovedale today; the earth sure needs it, though maybe not so the washing pile!
 The children have done painting, Anoushka  has helped me get ready for the day, doing little cleanup chores, and now they are playing cosy tent/camping games in the bedroom. Fun!

Umm, birthday dessert: Pumpkin and apple meringue pie as made by Hugh in River cottage . It was my turn this week, and I was sure spoiled!  Can I just say, I have tried making meringue and pavlova many times and each time it has been a failure, and Sturan's first try turns out perfect. Hmm, new job in the kitchen for him: meringue maker!

 The girls, anoushka inparticular, has ben getting more interested in taking photos and documenting things that are important to her ( A child's camera may be in the pipeline), and here is one she took this morning. Her dolls had taken about an hour to dress this morning ,while she thought about what items of clothing would be appropriate for this rainy winter day.
 I also want to send out a shout to my friend Alexandra, who on behalf of playgroup gave me a bottle of wine from her own , certified organic vineyard.
Fantastic thanks! You can find them here .
 Have a nice day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Ahh, school holidays and lovely weather, perfect for getting outside and prepping the garden for spring.  ( Why school holidays when We homeschool? Hubbies a teacher so get an extra set of adult hands and eyes around the place. As good as a holiday for me too!)So this is a photo of my vegie garden. Barebones,  a before shot shall we say!  Compost bins on left, worm farm in old tub ( there must be one on every old farm property), and goats in paddock behind ( not ours yet, just goatsitting for friends. Glad they've done their adventures in the night so real farming neighbours don't laugh at our city slicker attempts at animal moving!) Chook house at back right of garden currently housing four chooks whose run is to the right of my garden and about as big. We'll be getting more.  Where goats are will one day be hoed and ready for potatoes, corn for grain and other big crops etc.
This is Bebe on left and Billy. Bebe gets milked once a day (the easiest part of goat keeping I think!)

Our girls, and my flower garden ( the driest hardest part of property, old sheep yards I think. But imagine flowers growing all over that old fence and a wee walkway with borders and round garden in middle. Probably old cottagey flowers, I think.
 My koanga Gardens  seed catalogue arrived today and some tagasaste ( tree lucerne ) seeds I ordered on trade Me. I'll be seed dreaming and ordering now and still have  some pruning of exsisting fruit trees to do too. A bit early but I think I'll focus on planning and prep for now I think. What are you growing this spring? 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

a visit from family

We are graced with the presence of my sister and her family from New Plymouth this weekend ( for my sister's birthday, today!), which means lots of feasting, playing with cousins and for me gooing and gahing over my young 9 month nephew ( SOO CUTE!!)  I've also been madly spinning and knitting to complete a cowl for my sisters birthday. The fibre was a silk hankie and some merino dyed by spinning a yarn and bought  off gillybean.
The weather has been frosty and sunny reaching quite reasonable temperatures during the day which means lots of outdoor play ( even pretend swimming lessons in the nud but no photos of that!). The highlight of the week: family and a Matariki celebration with playgroup.