Saturday, February 27, 2010

magic beanstalks

The wonder and the serious work that these boys put into harvesting the first round of beans was just incredible to behold.

We'd been eating the young green beans earlier in the summer but there was something magical about choosing the biggest fattest pods and opening them to see those bright pinks and purples framed in the vivid green of the pod.

It reminded me that IS magical...we grown ups forget that stuff sometimes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

beachy keen - day two

I have missed my long evening walks since Jed was born. These glorious late summer evenings are shrinking and i am determined to get out in them. SO! Into the stroller he goes with favourite books and puppy. The mama striding in the sunshine until the dusk...along the beach and back. Bliss. Jed reciting the names of all his friends who were in bed already. Talking about the day between books and wildlife spotting.

It felt good to bust out of our evening routine and do something fresh.

A keen babywearer, I hardly used the stroller for the first year and a half. This photo was taken along the was good surf and all these crusty surfers were cruising by, oohing at slowed right down and said " hey, dude, what are you reading?". Jed replied, 'my baby book - look, here is baby coming out the yoni". I do believe he spluttered and drove off without a word. Pretty funny.

Jed is really into bellies, babies, birth and the idea of a little brother or sister.
Looking for a great kids book about homebirth?
Hello Baby by Jenni Overend!

That, or perusing some of the other headlines will disillusion anyone who still buys into the NZ 100% pure clean and green media myth. Don't get me wrong, i love this country (i came back after 16 years didn't i?), it is full of beauty. Full. That beauty is just juxtaposed with the same challenges most Western countries face. What shall we do about it, you and i?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

seven days of blogging...celebrating the waning of summer

Such yumminess. The chubby hands AND the tomato.
I don't like eating raw tomato. I wish i did. Every year i try. Once i grew eighteen different varieties in search of the one i could love raw.
Apparently it was my first solid food. Perhaps that has a little something to do with it. I do love the weight of them. The red red of them bursting off the vines. The satisfied faces of those who love eating them. And i love boiling the crap out of them and making sauces and chutneys to crack open in the winter. That taste of summer, of garden fresh summer when its stormy outside...mmmm.

These are long evenings absconding from the craft table and the writing desk to eek out the last days of summer. Squeezing it out and relishing every minute. The cicada's are singing at their peek. The stick insects are retreating. The garden harvest is there for the picking. The swimming just right.

Join me in seven days of consecutive blogging to celebrate. Just because every day is worth celebrating. Spread the word, see you there.
(And let me know if you take up the blogging for seven days idea too!)

Monday, February 22, 2010


I do believe it was my first morning off since Jed was born two and a half years ago. I fled. Fast. Into town for a change of scene, to walk among the over-caffeinated and those with places to go. Strangest thing, there was no paint or food stains on anyone's clothes. Ah, except, quite possibly, mine.

I went to Salvage. A great little vintage textile shop in Mt Eden, Auckland. I've been trying to get there since i heard about it a year ago. Anything that boasts vintage, secondhand or fabric gets an eyebrow raise in my world but combine the three? Rummaging bliss. Buttons. Many buttons. Folks, this is your place to go for buttons. Most affordable and who can resist running their hands through baskets of them? (Okay, i know, a bit carried away)

I didn't spend much money (spending much more would be very easy to do but i need to source my fabric from the likes of second hand shops) but came away with my vintage pillowcase shopping bag jingling and bulging just a wee bit.

AND handkerchiefs. One for him and one for me. I haven't had much luck finding them secondhand and i do so love the vintage ones. We use them all the time.

So nice to trawl at my leisure. Count your blessings those of you with grannies and other extended family/tribe nearby for childsharing purposes. I am thinking of placing an ad...Local granny required to love and cherish small boy...

Friday, February 19, 2010


Still into stick insects around here. "Awwww, he loves me mama".
"I am going to take him for a ride on my bike".
You know, with all the stick insect fraternising all summer there has not been one fatality . Not even a lost leg. (If they get too freaked out they can drop one and grow it back later - how cool is that?). This bundle of small person loves a 'rough and tumble' but is so gentle and loving. He hangs out with the stick insects awhile and puts them back where he found them. We have a rule though. No disturbing stick insects if they're mating. Because, well, some things are sacred aye?!
You need your stick insect eyes on to find them. They are good at hiding. This one is doing a good impression of being leaf veins.

Life was a flood of green today. This green dress leapt out at me from the opshop racks as i was innocently passing by minding my own business.

The garden is awash in greens and blasts of colour like Jed's dwarf sunflower. We've been besieged by vegetable bugs and caterpillars this year and its Jed's job to chase them off the vege's. A job he takes very seriously and makes for some highly amusing garden eavesdropping. Now if i could only work out a way to set up my sewing machine down there....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


We are spending alot of time with these folks.
Skittles! They've been languishing at the back of the toy box and Jed has just got the hang of it. Great fun for everyone passing through the house. One of those old-fashioned games that'll never fade in the fun stakes. Also, a game you can play alone as well as with a friend.
These ones are delightful. Fair trade Trade aid handcrafted from wood, and hand painted. I, um, got these ones secondhand.

Makes me want to take up woodworking.

Friday, February 12, 2010

ambushed by pink

Actually, the title to this post should read....My problem with pink. Because that colour has been problematic for me for years now. I think because of it's associations with feminine stereotypes etc etc. But! I am a reformed woman. Sort of. I have been on the lookout for a sewing basket i can lug around with all i need for hand work and lo, i found it. I wasn't sure about the pink, but beggars can't be choosers and all that, it is now mine. And i love it. It does the trick nicely.

Besides, it's red inside.

The perfect size for scissors, needlecase, fabric pencil, measuring tape, pins and all the wee components to the project at hand.

In the pink too, is this retro shower curtain that came my way. It is destined to be upcycled into dirty nappy bags (you know what i mean) and swimming bags. In the meantime, it has been snagged by Jed, who loves pink.

On a fairly full skirt, this embroidered hem makes up a lot of pink. Much admired by friends passing by just on the washing line, it will be interesting to see if i can bring myself to wear it. Its a beauty but you know how some things you love are just better off on other folks?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

upcycling away

Ain't she gorgeous? This is the lovely Ava, wearing her first birthday present. A tunic top created by her friend GrowMama. I don't often get to see the clothes i make on the little people they are gifted to and i just love it when i get to see the clothes i make come to life like this.

A huge fan of vintage fabrics (as you know), one of my favourite things to upcycle or re-purpose are vintage pillowcases and sheets. Even the well loved vintage sheets that are worn or faded in the middle have fabric that can be salvaged around the edges. I love this print on Ava's.

And would you lookee here?! A very successful rummage at the Op shop. I had a bunch of projects in mind and found fabric aka vintage sheets and pillowcases for every one.

I am on a bag jag. There are four new designs hot off the crafting table sporting most delicious vintage fabrics. And this sweet harvest bag. I'd been wanting a bag to take down to the garden to haul up vegetables and that would squish down in my other bag when i'm out and about. I don't like to use plastic bags and this is a great alternative. It's been getting loads of comments and a few commissions already. It's made out of a vintage pillow case. I used the structure of the existing pillowcase, boxed the corners to give it more shape, and used bias binding for the cut edges. Inspired work aye? Just don't zoom in as i realised after i took the pic that i hadn't finished sewing the binding. I think i'll try hemming the next one. I am feeling pretty pleased with myself about this one. Except someone said at a market this morning that they thought they'd seen a tutorial online somewhere for one very similar. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

sneaky adventures on the crafting table

'Sneaky' adventures because there's been alot going on and i feel like i am sneaking in that creative time. My inner dialogue has been piping up and says i really should be doing X, X or X. You know the voice. The noise of the sewing machine drowns it out! He he. Try it. Ah well, getting into my creative zone oils the wheels of the daily grind. I am still deep in the 'finding the beauty in the ordinary, the magic in the mayhem' groove. The creative moments of upcycling and creating gives me the juice to keep on at it.

So! There were eleven projects in various stages of creative chaos on my crafting table a week ago and six left today. Fun stuff. Lots of new designs and some fantastical on-the-fly no preconceived ideas, late at night upcycling sessions. Here's one:

Was: a groovy patterned vintage table placemat. Fabric a lovely soft coarse weave linen.

Placemat is now: a handbag!