Friday, June 29, 2012

sewing love

My sewing machine and I have kissed and made up. No more tension troubles, it's all just plain sailing sewing from now on ....... thanks to my best friend coming over and reading the instruction manual VERY carefully. Yes I was using the wrong bobbins, only a couple of millimetres wrong, but that's enough to make everyone jumpy and jittery and not happy. So to celebrate this wonderful new phase in our relationship, I had to sew. It took me a few moments to work out what I wanted to do, then I remembered I wanted to make zippered pouches/purses. I googled a tutorial and followed it very carefully although it all sounded terribly convoluted. Which it was, I then had to uppick what I'd done and redo it without the convoluted, clever-dick steps. And to my amazement I made something! So I quickly made two more, and then the next day I had to raid the op shops of Motueka to find more zips and I made two more.

All of the fabric is out of my large bag of assorted table linen, which I've been buying because I can't bear to leave things at the op shop. The fun bit is matching up some other interesting fabric, another napkin, sheet or pillowcase for the lining.
So I'll be making some more for the craft market in November, and have popped some into my very neglected and unloved Felt shop.

I also finished off another "End of the Line" brooch - it was a commission from the June market. I know it took me almost a month to make one tiny wee brooch!
It's the last week of term, so I think that has helped me get cracking. Because I also so did some painting! It's still a work in progress, but I can share a wee 8x8 canvas I did last week for an art gallery fundraiser. I actually found it quite hard to work on such a small scale. It's called "Atomic Flower'.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

weekend in beavertown

We went to Blenheim last weekend, for Miss L's dancing competition. It's the nearest town/city to our area, and is a 2.5 hr drive over some very windy and hilly roads. We stopped off for an early dinner in Havelock at our favourite cafe overlooking the marina (as seen here). I had mussel fritters, as one must in the Green-lipped Mussel Capital of the World.

Both Saturday and Sunday were early starts as we had to be at the theatre at 8am, ready for dancing to kick off at 8.30! Saturday was a long day with a break in the afternoon then back to do 3 team dances in the evening - we left the boys watching the All Blacks punish the Irish on the rugby field. Sunday morning the weather had improved and we went out to find a cafe open - not an easy feat at 9.30 on a Sunday morning in this town! Thankfully kind locals sent us in the right direction and we went to a lovely place on the banks of the Taylor River, which flows through the town.

 Yes we found some beavers too! These ones were released into the wild in 2005. Blenheim's nickname is Beavertown, as when it was colonised it was very damp and swampy!
Miss L with her ballet bun! As a friend whose daughter also dances says; we've got degrees but now spend our time trying to be beauty therapists!! For the record she danced really well, got 3 seconds and 2 thirds out of large classes of 12-18 dancers, so proud parents. It makes all the nagging over practice worth it.

And totally unrelated are these birdie photos I took.
 There were two budgies hanging around in our trees for a couple of days. I think they must have escaped from an aviary, as we don't have a tropical climate! Unfortunately we have had some very cold weather, so I'm hoping they went back to their home.
 Now this big guy is a native wood pigeon or kereru. I think he was puzzled as to why some strange woman was wandering around under the tree pointing a black box-thing at him.

Monday, June 25, 2012

snippets from the week

Sharing some pics from the week that was was from my instagram and linking up with {tinniegirl}.
I'm also having a wee rant at the bottom of this post, so not to bore anyone!

beach time with hubby

Miss L's fingernails match the sugar!

view from cafe at Havelock

I love playing on instagram, but unfortunately not as much as I'd like to, due to being on a severe Internet Restriction Diet (IRD). This IRD is due to not being able to get broadband even although we can see the bright lights of NZ's 9th largest city! We do live in a rural area, but it's mainly small blocks so there are a few of us on our road. However, the "box" where the connections are made is full, therefore we are on a waiting list. We eagerly anticipate seeing SOLD on the real estate signs, so we can move up the list, we are still 4th after 8 months! Instead of broadband we have a T-stick to get mobile internet, which we pay twice as much for a 10th of the data, a mere 4GB a month - hence the IRD. One day we hope to be back in the 21st century and have a wireless modem so I can happily instagram away to my hearts content.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

crafty pieces

It's been a bit of a funny old week, I always find it hard to keep motivated in winter. Apart from making lots of soup and doing all the things that it takes to keep this place running I don't seem to have had much "me" time. Also following the crafty production that was necessary to get ready for the Mapua Makers Market, I've gone a bit flat. I'm often like that after an art exhibition too - it seems to take me a while to get my mojo back!

So sharing a few things I made over the last couple of weeks!
trivets made from two circles of felted woolen jumpers

draught stopper made from one I found at the recycling centre which I recovered with a nice piece of woolen blanket
A pile of six wheat bags made from one flannelette pillowcase purchased from an op shop eons ago
some more doily brooches stitched onto a felted woolen jumper
my sewing table looking remarkably tidy for a change!
No wait I did make something this week - I knitted a pair of fingerless mittens - which I have yet to take a photo of, so sorry for the out of focus shot of the work in progress! The best thing about them is that I found the wool at the recycling centre and it only cost 50 cents, as it was a vest. As soon as I picked it up and felt the soft wool I knew what I'd do with it. Now I have enough wool left to make a few more pairs!!
it was the first time I'd knitted with double ended needles too - now I'm looking for more at the op shops!

I also sort of made a crocheted beanie - but really I can't take much credit as I found it lying forlornly in the free bin at the St Vinnies! So I grabbed it and took it home for a wash and discovered a wee hole in it, which I mended then sewed on a granny square which I'd brought a handful of at another op shop a few weeks ago, and voila! the perfect hat for walking on the beach with!
Well here's to next week being a bit more "productive"! I'm linking up at My Creative Space here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

random snippets

I have a few photos that I want to share which don't have a lot in common! Above are two tui in a silver birch tree, and yes I did fiddle a bit in photo editor to get the sky looking like that, it was actually taken at dusk! If you look very carefully (or click on the photo) you can even see the white tufts under their chins!

The lavender are such troopers still flowering away.
I love these letterbox flags, they come in a number of styles - this one being the kowhai. We live in a rural delivery area which means our postie drives a car and if we have mail to post we put it in our box with stamps on it, and raise our red flag, and he stops and collects our mail, as well as delivering it. They are available from the Mapua Country Trading Store, so I have no excuse not to get one.
I'd been meaning to take a photo of this wee man looking at the arrow all summer. It's not often that you see street art around our district. This one resides at Rabbit Island, and we've been driving past it all summer, so when taking Mister H and his class on an orienteering trip to said island, I finally walked past it. I did however feel like peeling off the "chopp" sticker, and I'm not too sure about the purple tag either. Both were recent additions.
While I'm on a road theme, this is the intersection by the school. I took this photo on a "walk to school Wednesday". We live about a kilometer from the school, but I usually drive the kids as it's a narrow and windy road with quite a few blind corners. We do try and walk on Wednesdays - if it's not raining. Opposite the school is  a winery, which has this very large and impressive metal sculpture beside the road.
Welcome to my new followers. As an introvert I do feel a bit strange, I've been blogging away in my own wee corner of the blogsphere for over a year without making any ripples, and now there are expectations to be met! Actually it's nice to get "to know" you all.

I'm linking up with Cathy of tinniegirl  - check out for more Sunday Snippets

Thursday, June 7, 2012

winter wildness

Well winter has come, especially to those further south than us. Christchurch had it's coldest day in 130 years (which is as long as records have been kept), and is covered in snow. There's a great satellite image of the South Island almost entirely covered in white here.

But first I'd like to go back a couple of days to Tuesday. When I heard there was a heavy rain warning, I headed straight to the beach after dropping the kids at school. I don't think I'd been to the beach for a week or more and needed to have a wander before it rained.
It was all rather gray and ominous looking, wth spots of rain on the stones, but thankfully the weather held off and I had quite a long walk. For a change I walked the opposite way I usually go, which is in front of a number of houses that look out over the beach.

I always walk with two bags, one is for rubbish and the other is for my "treasures" which are also rubbish, but are things I take home as I have an "idea" for a few art projects. I am always amazed and saddened at how much rubbish I pick up along this stretch. Maybe the people who live here don't think that it matters that there is rubbish in the oceans. I was very cross to find one home owner had dumped a pile of lemon branches over their wall and onto the beach. They may be biodegradable but it's still an eye sore.

Anyhow enough preaching from me, as it was such a gray day I found some colour in the semi wild flowers that were growing above the high tide mark. Although a number of the plants were not happy about the lack of sun either!

On the way back I came across a very angry little dog that barked and followed me menacingly. I was too scared to stop and take a photo of it! Thankfully a small flock of sea gulls didn't mind me and were very busy preening themselves as the waves lapped over their feet.

We did get the rain later on in the day, but Wednesday was very wet and cold. Winter had arrived. This morning when I opened the curtains we saw snow on the mountains. The sky was a soft pink from the sunrise in the opposite direction.

Those two photos were taken straight after each other, one looking west and the other north east. Our animals were also very happy to have a fine day, and to see me with the hay!

"Shiraz" or "Razzy" as she prefers

"Chardonnay" or "Chardy" as we prefer
And yes the alpacas are strange and snooty animals! But they do a good job of keeping the grass down in the paddocks and keeping Mumbai company!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Today was the first Mapua Makers Market, which my friend and I have spent organising from a mere dream to reality in six short weeks. It was also the Queens Birthday holiday. Which is a good day to hold a craft market as lots of people are wandering through the village of Mapua looking for things to look at. We had an amazing response in our wee village hall (well only in half of it), and are already planning a Christmas market for 4th November.

While I was getting ready yesterday I grabbed the top suitcase in the stack I have in our entrance way, to use as a table prop. I have 4 old suitcases full of family memorabilia as the designated family historian and eldest in the family. When I opened the suitcase the first thing I found was an old school scrapbook of my mother's. Just look at the cover, serendipitous or what?!
 I love the title; My Royal Scraps!!! This was a book my mum used for a school project on her village of Wakefield when she was 12, the same age as H is now. The first page has this delightful story about their pet sheep "Black Mary" having quads - priceless. Miss L can't believe how beautiful her writing is!

I only managed to take two photos of my table at the market. I had lots of lovely comments from people, I'll ignore all the ones where people said not so quietly to their friends, "I should make something like that"!!

And here's my lovely friend and co-organiser's beautiful table of fused glass.
She also had her photo taken by a local photographer who has a stunning blog of daily photos from the Mapua area, called Portrait Mapua. Which is well worth having a gander at if you want to see some nice pics of the area. Now I think it's time for me to have an early night for a change, and prepare myself for Friday night which is the launch of Kahurangi Gallery. an online art gallery I run with another friend.