Thursday, June 30, 2011


I had Jed in stitches when he came to the table to this on his plate. (First he looked at me to see if i was is a serious matter around here)

I'd been deep in creative land...writing in between sewing up a storm of things to sell at the GrowMama Kraftbomb market stall. Then i had to feed my boy. When i am in the creative zone that energy oozes out into all areas of life...thwarted in my creative pursuits it had to come our somewhere. Hence, you find crazy things on the plate for dinner....

...and writing in spaghetti on the chopping board.

Much fun was also had testing whether the pasta was ready by throwing it up to the ceiling to see if it stuck there. Also, to see whether spaghetti makes a good moustache...hilarious when you are an overtired almost four year old apparently.

Does a body good to laugh. My sides hurt. I hadn't done that in awhile. Good times.

Monday, June 27, 2011

solstice afternoon

What goes up...

...must come down.

Spontaneous child led learning to write... sand. Then running down to the waters edge and shouting his excitement about writing his 'u', and 'j' and 'c'. I sat on the sand dune and just marvelled at the thirst for learning and the sheer joy of it all.

And just sitting in the late afternoon light. Sitting in my love for this wee man. Sitting in the beauty that surrounds us. Watching the seasons turn. The seagulls swoop. The waves crash.

Just sitting.
Not thinking about all the things i need to catch up on now i am well again. Not thinking about the upcoming photoshoot, my messy house, the sewing to do...nope, no sir.

Just sitting. (Okay, I busted myself on not being in the present a few times, managed to laugh about it and let Jed lead me astray.) Just sitting some more. Perfect.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

empanada nyum

Okay, so i am willing to admit they are not THE most appealing of foods to look at. But, oh the taste.
These, my friends, are empanada's. South American wonder food.

Empanada's make great winter fare. Or the ideal summer picnic food. I make a bread dough, plonk a hearty spoonful or two of filling and pinch to close.

This time i had leftover red kidney bean chilli and added some red pepper, chopped spinach, extra salsa, cubes of feta cheese and a sprinkle of grated cheddar. We took these away on our long weekend away for lunch the next day. They make great travel food. Mmmm. No nasty soggy sandwiches or roadside crap for us. (This time 'round anyway, i know too much about life to make a universal statement here!)

I make vegetarian ones but there are many other versions. The base of the recipe i use is from one of my favourite cookbooks, Cordon Rouge: Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from the Red Herring -a workers co-operative from Northern England circa the 90's. (I'll always be grateful for this book Jo, it was truly a gift that keeps on giving, i still use it all the time.) Secondhand copies are still available on

Every recipe i have tried from it has been a winner. And a repeat item on the menu in the kitchens i have cooked in around the world. I made empanada's for 100+ people at Twin Oaks Intentional Community one memorable friday. Ah, i miss that kitchen - the company, the visitors assigned to help prep, the industrial kick-ass kitchen, the loud music and impromptu grooving in between the skillet and the serving table. One day me and my empanada's shall return. With a assistant in tow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

rainy day survival in small house

This was rainy day number three. Huts got made. Baking warmed the house and the soul. There were expeditions into rainy garden and windswept beach. The craft box made an appearance. Burrows get made (in mama's bed), naps were taken and rare patches of sunshine were curled up in like cats. Day one saw me haul out my stash of air dry clay. Jed and i built leaf beds, bowls of fruit, stones and toadstool tables for his 'gnome world'. Day two of rain they dried in the hot water cupboard. Day three we painted them. Fun times.

The next rainy day (lets face it, it's the west coast of NZ and it's winter...there will be more rain!) we're making our own paper from paper scraps in our recycling bin.

But for now...sun is shining folks! We're outta here....

Friday, June 17, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment i want to pause, savour and remember.

Inspired by Amanda Soule - check out her delicious moment HERE and scroll down to her comments for her reader's beautiful moments.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

in honour of summer

My last dash through a thrift shop saw me swoop on this lovely book. (Gone are the days where Jed and i would fossick together in a timely fashion, sigh)
The Kids Garden Book by Patricia Petrich and Rosemary Dalton. It dates back to 1974 and is clearly created by folks who know and love children. It is 177 pages of loveliness...all hand printed, hand drawn and includes many brightly coloured kids pictures. We are big on natural history, hands on gardening and any kind of project or experiment is always greeted with wide eyes and rampant enthusiasm...this book has it all.

According to the titlepage it is one of many 'Nitty Gritty Cookbooks', some of which i would love to get my hands on...Paris and then some cookbook, The Compleat American Housewife 1776 (i mean, really?!) and the Sunday Breakfast cookbook to name a few.

And to top it off: i finally found a flower press. I did a little dance in the aisle, much to Jed's delight. I have wanted one every since i began my journey with healing plants many a year ago in Eastern Europe.

Roll on summer! G'night all...i am off to light the fire. x

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

a few days out

It was a good long weekend away. We sneaked an extra day in.
Lots of rest for the recovering mama, lots of sea air, a wee cousin and aunty and uncle to play with, good food, a boat, beautiful scenery.... ...colourful autumn leaves to play in.

A delicious stop at the Matakana Farmers market. (Check out Logi's Lothlorien Feijoa wine folks...very delish and Jesse's I love Pies. For those of you in far flung places, NZ has a strange but fierce love affair with the perfect pie)

Stumbled across a great morning out at the Leigh Reptile Park, nestled in the bush are alligators, chameleons, skinks, water dragons, tortoise, frogs, even a most unreptile -like pair of monkeys. Cue a deep conversation with a small boy about animals in captivity. Deep thinking thrown into the mix with alot of fun, an ample splattering of mud and a splash of learning.

Goat Island Marine Reserve and the beaches in and around Leigh. Rock pools to explore, shags nesting in the pohutakawa's, enormous snapper, caves, dragons, fairies, starfish and all manner of wonders for people small and large.

And, today was our first day since the ambulance night two weeks ago that it has been me and Jed, at home, no houseguests and just in our own groove. Laundry. Cooking. Reading. Playing. A nap. Trying to get my head back into where it should be. Loving it.

More houseguests due tomorrow!

Friday, June 10, 2011

where i sit

I like seeing pictures of crafty folks creative spaces and i love tips on how they make their unique spaces work for them. I thought i would share mine with you.
My crafting space, where i am sitting typing this right now, is actually one wall of my bedroom. What you can't see is the view out that window during the day. It is nothing less that inspiring: i look out over our garden, bush, hills and the wild west coast of NZ. Earlier this year i was on the phone up here and i saw a whale. Yup. And yup, i know how blessed i am.

My crafting/work space is a work in progress. Last weekend i went on a mission to find shelves within my meagre budget to organise my work space better. It was too cluttered and i was struggling to free enough table space to work well on.

LOOK at all that table! And the $10 vintage 1m x 1.6m folding Knitwit cutting board i found at the Salvation Army means i have doubled my cutting out space and now have an easy background to pull out to photograph my creations for sale. Simple changes but they are truly life enhancing.

Everything has it's story. What garage sale or thrift shop it was from, or who gave it to me, or best of all, artwork given to me by talented friends.

Don't get me wrong, there are still piles...this one is a pile of vintage sheets waiting to become bunting flags, bathroom mats and pyjama's. And take a look UNDER my table! But the piles are culled into things i will definitely use, and they are mostly contained, not sprawling as they were beginning to do.

I find my mind clearer when the space i work in is orderly. I would have cringed writing that a few years ago, but it is true.

Monday, June 6, 2011

When you live in 80m sq with two other creative people, space management is at a premium.
Now, having lived communally and done long stretchs on the road with just me and my backpack, i have a few ideas about how to eke out a little space into what's needed.
I have been on the lookout for two small shelves to organise my craft/work area (otherwise known as the far end of my bedroom) into a more user friendly, aesthetically pleasing space.

Super low haemoglobin count be damned, i needed to get out. So out i got. On a mission.
I braved the traffic and rummaged through thrift shops and came up with exactly what was needed and within my meagre budget too. One shelf was $3, the other $5.

I have been looking for one of these icing bags for an age too.

And this, a vintage Knitwit cutting board. It measures 168cm by 92cm and folds down concertina style to slot neatly into my wardrobe when not in use. A dream for me. I have been wanting one to photograph my creations on - to post them in my online venues, and to lay it on the floor to cut out on. Jed has worked out it makes a nifty house too. Win, win.

Other finds: the linen tablecloth at the top - soon to be upcycled into a cover for my overlocker.

And this: a sneak peek at the $3 shelf before it was put up.

Next up: a look at the great craft/work space transformation of 2011! Funny how little tweaks to your living or work space can have such a big effect. I am hoping this current incarnation means i up my productivity. I'll be linking to a few other crafty mama's wrangling of small spaces into their creative havens. See you then.

Friday, June 3, 2011

In very recent memory we adventured in T shirts...
...then in long sleeves, vests and wilfred hats (named so from Wilfred of the Brambly Hedge stories)...

...then we dusted off our winter coats. And today we're talking scarves in the mix too.

I am kind of relieved, it was just wrong and all climate changey to be swimming in winter.

But what do i find myself crafting now that winter has come crashing in? I finally got around to altering a summer dress that has been languishing in my to-do pile. I got lazy though. I lopped it off and made it into a skirt. The waist is a double layer of super soft cotton jersey left over from a jed shirt. I am a big fan of waists like this. Discovered during pregnancy they are just super comfortable and so easy to whip up. The fabric on this is a joy to wear and i love the wide green palette. It will just have to be layered with leggings and boots until next summer.

And i am happy to announce i am off bed rest and slowly, very slowly recovering. Thank you for all your email wishing me well. Much appreciated. Makes me actively appreciate mobility, energy and good health...there are so many in the world that live with chronic illness. Good to try on other shoes, maybe i can manage that without the drama next time!