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.