Thursday, September 26, 2013

op shopping

The last 10 days have been a tad busy, with a ballet exam (not mine, but being a ballet mum is almost as hard!), a small operation (which has taken longer to recuperate from that what I thought), organising and having a table at a craft market and hanging my 100 sharpie drawings in an exhibition (there will be a blog post soon I promise).

So yesterday was the first day I had time for a quick op shop in what felt like ages. I decided to go to Motueka for a change of scenery. And lo and behold in the Sally Army I found a little bit of op shop serendipity in the form of a black pottery mug.

If you saw Max's op-shop show-off post two weeks ago she shared a lovely black dish made by Chris Weaver a West Coast potter. And I lamented to her how I'd once found one of his teapots, but had in a fit of purging sold it on Trade Me. Reasoning that I'd buy another one, with the wooden handle, from his Iron series.

Well now I am the proud owner of one cup from the same series, and I'll not be selling it on Trade Me.

Linking up with this weeks Op-Shop Show-Off.

Now in a completely different tangent, a sunset from last week.  For some reason we don't get a lot of brilliant sunsets. I'm not sure if it's because we're too close to the mountains, or what, but when we lived on the plains we saw a lot more than we do now. And I discovered how to make a palette from a photo. These programs might be a dime a dozen, but this was the one I used.

It's the last day of term 3 tomorrow, so the school holidays are about to kick off! Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Yesterday as the southerly storm thrashed the South Island, I stayed at home and sewed. Luckily our area was not badly affected, there were some loud thunder claps overhead, enough to make me unplug the modem to avoid the computer getting fried, but compared to other regions we escaped damage.

Daisy had the right idea and slept all day on a pile of freshly thrifted and washed woollen blankets.

Before I could get down to the business of making I had admin duties for the upcoming Mapua Makers Market that I'm organising with my friend. It's the 4th one we've organised and I wished it got easier, but alas not yet. 
By the end of the day I had seven freshly made zipper pouches/purses. I'm trying to be more efficient in my sewing, but as each piece is a one-off it's hard to get a production line going. I make according to the materials I have on hand, what inspires me, and often one thing leads onto another.
I enjoyed the free stitching, or as The Teenager said "Mum it looks like you can't sew a straight line". So now I'm ready to try this on a larger scale and make some cushions.
A couple of weeks ago I found a 95% compete tapestry of a Constable painting at the dump shop. After a warm wash and iron, I turned it into four zippered pouches. I love these so much I've kept one for myself!
All of the materials that I used to make these pouches were sourced from an op shop (or the dump shop) - the wool blanket, the fabric used for lining, the zips, the doilies and the thread. As my motto for Mahana Redlegs says "I'm upcycling as fast as I can."

Linking up with Christina's Made By Hand and Leonie's Show & Tell.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

poultry collection

It's been a while since I've talked about chooks, way back here in fact. Since then there have been a few changes in our hen house.

The chicks which we got in December grew and grew. The two pullets, Wanda and Betty started laying at the beginning of July, right in the middle of winter.

Wanda in April
Wanda in July
Note Wanda's crazy floppy comb, a feature of Leghorns. Yes it flops right over one eye!

Betty in April
Betty in August
Unlike children you can have favourites with chooks, and Betty is mine. She's a Black Orpington, which is a very fluffy and friendly breed. She likes to visit me at my studio, she hasn't come inside yet but it's only a matter of time.

Lucky in April
Lucky in July, along with some of his admirers
Yes Lucky has grown to be a very large and handsome Leghorn rooster.  Unfortunately as he has matured he's also become aggressive to me and Miss L. Which is slightly frightening terrifying for us and not very good for his life expectancy if someone doesn't buy him off Trade Me - soon. Apparently it's a trait of light breed roosters, while heavy breeds such as Orpingtons and Barred Rocks are much more placid.

Along with these three, we still have Mumma Chook, their surrogate mother, and Molly the Silkie bantam. Molly went through a tough time a few months ago when the pullets started chasing her. Yes Betty, who is so perfect in so many ways, is a bully. The solution has been to remove a board that was under the gate, so Molly can squeeze out of the pen and free range. We feed her separately, she only has to compete with the goat for her food now.  She has also taken to sleeping rough by squeezing under the hen house. She now is quite happy and knows to keep away from Betty when the rest of them are let out every afternoon.

If you look carefully Molly can be seen behind Lucky
To add to the dynamics we also have a rescue rooster, Mr Frizz. As his name suggests he's a Frizzle, a breed which has unusual feathers that are curled backwards, so they always look dishevelled. But Mr Frizz has taken dishevelment to another level.

Unscrupulous people dump  roosters on one of the country roads around here. A couple of weeks ago we noticed a new trio there. After stopping to feed them the crumbs off the back seat of the car, Miss L declared we had to rescue the most bedraggled and unattractive rooster that I've ever seen. So armed with chook food, the washing basket and a piece of wood attached to a long string, the trap was set and the desired rooster was caught. I did feel bad that we left the other two behind.

These photos of Mr Frizz don't really show his true sorry state. His neck is completely bald, and he's lost almost all his tail feathers, plus he's had both his wings clipped to stumps. I wanted to write this post with before and after photos, but realise the after photo is going to take a while.

Unlike Lucky, Mr Frizz has a lovely nature, will eat out of my hand and doesn't have the attack gene. He is confined to the small coop until I let the girls and Lucky out into the paddock, then he can have the freedom of the run. Sometimes one of the girls stays behind to keep him company.

So that's the politics of the hen house. Despite the ups and downs I get so much joy out of this motley collection of poultry. It's a great stress reliever to watch them out and about, only now I have to watch my back to make sure Lucky is not coming for me!