Friday, August 31, 2012


Yesterday would have been my mother's 70th birthday. It was a bit of a struggle. A walk on the beach and the warm spring sunshine helped.

 Then I went to my studio and painted, which also helped. It has been 18 years without her (and 16 without my dad) but it's my mum I miss most.

This morning on the way back from walking to school I picked some violets. My mum loved plants, she had an amazing knowledge of plants, she knew so many by their Latin names, and she was a tireless gardener.

This afternoon I went and visited my parents gravestones. They do have a lovely view of the area, the farm where we spent most of our lives together is near here.

I picked a red camellia from the bush at the church. Someone else had recently placed a bunch of camellias on her grave, but they had died. And a wee clump of blue soldiers (muscari) were bravely growing in the stoney ground.

This is a blog post that I've been writing in my head for the last two days, and I'm still not sure whether I should hit publish. On one hand I tell myself if I'm going to keep up with this blogging thing I do need to move past the pretty photos and reveal a little more of myself. On the other I think why do it? Because it's very much part of me and I think its good for me to do so. Here goes .......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Yes I like spring, but when do you know it's here and winter's gone? It's hard to tell sometimes, and when you think the season has changed it flips back.

Some of the signs of spring are that the weather is very changeable, this weekend was an fine example of that -  lovely Saturday, crap Sunday! Blossoms are starting to appear. Lambs are being born. The pollen is here, my sinuses are in overdrive. The beach was covered in yellow, I've never seen that phenomenon before.

 And just to confuse you we preserved some Granny Smith apples we were given a week ago. They are great keepers, they were probably picked 5 months ago - but I think they're close to the end by the smell that was coming out of the box! My mum was a "preserver-extraordinaire!" She would bottle enough fruit so that we could open a jar a day! I cannot compete, it's quite disheartening when one large pot only produced 4 jars. We have not finished the box, we need to keep on with the preserving*.

*preserving = bottling, canning of fruit in jars for future use.

The jars we use in NZ are called Agee jars, and the metal lids on the top are called Perfit Seals, and the metal ring is a band. The way I make stewed apple is the way my mum did it. Fruit is peeled and sliced, thankfully we have a nifty gadget to help do this. The fruit is stewed by slowly boiling, with just enough water to stop them sticking, and no sugar is added. Jars are washed in hot soapy water, then placed in an oven at 100 degrees C. Seals are put in a small pot and boiling water poured over them. When the fruit is soft and mushy fill a hot jar almost to the top, then using tongs take a seal and place on the jar making sure there is no fruit around the rim, then tightly screw on a band. The next day check that the seals have worked, they should be slightly sunken, if not the fruit will need to be kept in fridge and eaten quickly. Remove the bands and put jars in cupboard to have stewed apple whenever required. Around here we use it for apple crumbles and apple sauce when we have roast pork.

I'd be interested to know how others preserve apples in other parts of the world.

After that long and rambling post I'm linking up with Cathy at {tinniegirl}

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I have been busy making more zippered pouches to sell at the Mapua Makers Market in November. It's quite addictive, and the only thing I've had to buy is more zips (from the op shop, of course!) Part of the challenge is matching the fabric, lining fabric and the zip, and no two are alike. I have a large stash of fabric, which is not well organised, and mostly resides in large carrier bags or boxes and is stored in our large shed with all the other things that have never fitted into this house from our move 10 months ago. But that's another story.....

My favourite fabric is vintage barkcloth. The second and third photos are of barkcloth pouches. I had enough of the gray geometric piece to firstly make a cushion cover, then three pouches with the scraps, some of which are patchworked together. I'm very pleased with how I managed to find the right coloured zips, these ones will be hard to sell. Because yes there has to be a reason why the dining table has been covered in sewing paraphernalia all week (and the last few weeks too!). Hubby is very good at inviting friends over for dinner on Saturday nights (don''t worry he does the cooking) so that I have to clear the table, and shove every thing back into the spare room - which is supposed to be the craft room, but I find it a bit claustrophobic in there, so prefer the kitchen!

Not everything I've made is to sell. I found an old linen tea towel at the op shop recently, and decided I need a stag on the couch, hubby is still not sure about this though. I managed to make one pouch with the left overs.

Look how "Monarch of the Glen" he looks - yes the couch wasn't that tidy before I took the photo! In case anyone's interested I took photos of the paintings in our dining/kitchen area.
'Heart Thief' by Eion Stevens, brought after a messy break up years ago!

'Dreamtime Friends' by Pooaraar, brought in Sydney many moons ago

Sue Symes and Cyril Hector, both West Coast artists, although the oil is a Nelson landscape
Below these paintings is the dining table in all it's messy glory! It's just as well we have a breakfast bar to eat at!

Linking up with my creative space and I'm also going to try and join in everyone on instagram as well. No more excuses now we are on broadband (yes it happened last week! - see my rant here if you're wondering what I'm on about.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

week of snippets

It's been quite a wet week, but I managed to catch a few shots on the phone. Today I discovered Picmonkey, so mashed up some of my Instagram photos, now I'm twice as dangerous!

Today was actually quite lovely, there were even signs of spring to be found in the garden.

The top photo is of the Mapua Wharf, and the recently unveiled statue of Hamish the White Heron. Hamish visited Mapua each winter for over 15 years, but last year he didn't come back so the worst was presumed. So now he has been forever immortalised. From a distance he looks quite real, but on closer inpection the nails and wire to stop the seagulls landing on him make him look like he's having acupuncture .

Linking up with {tinniegirl} here, even although I never play the game properly and always add some words!