Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bye 2008

Well, it's nearly here, the end of the year. I loved 2008, it was a lot of fun. I really feel like we did a lot of things right.

First, lots of holidays. We ended up going away at least once every month, and that was awesome. Simon has access to some great baches through his work, and we made good use of them.

These are the tame eels over at Bencarri. You tap the water with a stick and they swim over to say hi. It's creepy, but at the same time, charming.
And here is Collingwood, it's one of my very favourite places. We went here 3 times this year.

Another great thing about this year was that I quit the day job. I was really tired of my old career, I just didn't believe in it any more. Everything I had to do there just felt like work. Now I work for myself and I like that so much more.
And last but not least, I really loved all creative stuff this year. I loved making stuff, seeing stuff that other people have made, and reading all about it on blogs. Thanks all you clever bloggers!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

It's Christmas Day, we've done Christmas Lunch, Christmas Dinner, Christmas Cups-of-Tea, and we've been very, very good. All. Day.

So now, since one of my core beliefs is that we all must take laughs where we find them, let me share an especially rude, puerile, delightful picture with you. Here goes!

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas to You. Thanks for reading, thanks for being my blog-buddies, and have a great day!

Love from Miss Smith
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A last minute gift

Sheesh! Christmas is just around the corner! Last minute gifts are the order of the day. This one, vanilla sugar, is a piece of cake, so to speak. You need two vanilla pods and 2 c sugar. Whizz em up in your food processor and there you have it. Vanilla sugar is great in baking and in cream or mascapone and homemade icecream or on strawberries or for baked stone fruit...in any number of sweety delicious christmassy things come to think of it.

And did you know that I am quite nerdy? Yes, I am. This photo proves it because nothing makes me happier than a nice basket of fresh new pegs. Can you think of anything nerdier than that? Ha! I didn't think so.

Tomorrow I have a great picture to show you all. Until then, Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Easy projects and tricky projects

I have two types of projects; easy and tricky. The easy ones, like these pillowcases, are so straight-forward. I pick out fabrics I like from my stash, sew some straight lines, and hey presto! There it is, all done.

I have other projects that are more tricky. They are usually clothing, and are sparked off by something I've seen, in this case, the great shirt dress that my sister made. I thought to myself, "Hey, what a great idea" and then I set out to make one too. I bought the fabric and set about looking for a perfect shirt-dress pattern; something without too many buttonholes because I hate doing those, and something with a certain retro charm. I didn't find one, and the project was shelved back in the darkest depths of my imagination. Like so many other projects...sigh.

But fate has had different plans for me and my shirt dress. Yesterday I was looking through my pile of patterns, and look what I found squirreled away in there! A shirt dress, from 1971, with retro charm aplenty, no button holes, and in my size. I must have put it there aaaaaaages ago because it's one I don't even remember buying it.

Stay tuned. Two more miracles are required for this project to be complete; I have to finish it, and it has to look cool.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

An apple for the teacher

I made this pencil case for Harry's teacher, Sally, for an end-of-year present. She's been such a lovely teacher and a great introduction to school life. The end of year present for the teacher thing is pretty cool hey? I don't remember doing it when I was little.

And now for a random piece of information. I am right-handed, but I've always cut with scissors with my left hand. Weird eh? What's that all about?
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meet My Christmas Tree

I just love handmade christmas decorations, and this year our tree is almost exclusively adorned with hand-made items. That's largely thanks to Louise, who organised a deco swap. Thanks Ms Mixture! The pohutakawa decoration was made by Louise, the knitted bauble by Nikki, the Owlament by Dione (who sent me two, actually, and a sweet wee knitted stocking, and some vintage buttons), The Stripy-Socked Angel by Helen, and the blue and green vintage sheet tribute was made by Jessicah (she also sent some fun extras like chocolate - all gone- and vintage buttons). The robots, the tiki, and the piglet were made by me, and the christmas tree frames were made by Harry and Sylvie. Sigh...sweet.

By the way, is anyone out there up for taking part in a purple charm quilt chain letter? You send two 6-inch squares to 5 people, and then a few weeks later, all going well, you get 72 in the mail. If that sounds like something you'd be into please email me your postal address to misssmithathome@gmail.com. I'm a crafty sort as you know, but oddly enough I don't know many quilters. Go figure.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stupidly simple Christmas presents

My Mum, who is ridiculously practical, told me that she doesn't want any "stuff" for Christmas. I think this is because she's shifted house 3 times in the last 6 months, and she is really sick of shifting things.

Instead, she suggested that I clean her oven for her, because it wasn't done when she moved into her new place, and frankly, it's kind of disgusting. Even though this is a necessary task and a noble one because everyone hates cleaning ovens, it didn't seem like the most glamorous present. I decided that to make it present-worthy I would have to raid my stash of retro magazines and make a glitzy card that felt allllllll Christmassy.

Merry clean oven to you, and compliments of the season!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

The kindness of oranges

Wow, thanks for all your kind comments, txts, emails and phonecalls everyone, it's been great. Strangely enough there have been many hilarious moments while we've all been here in Dunedin. I can tell you all that a dying person becomes very UNINHIBITED and that generates a lot of laughs, especially if you are the type that's easily amused.

Speaking of kindness, look at this great ad from the June 1963 New Zealand Home Journal. Slim Anna says Oranges are so kind to figures. See Slim Anna's roguish husband squeezing a couple of orange segments. Saucy devil.

And now here's some haberdashery, just to keep you on your toes. If you need zippers and you live in Dunedin then you can't go past the junk shop on St Andrew St.

Perhaps it's because I'm in a bit of a heightened emotional state at the moment, but I can't believe I never noticed just how grand and beautiful the buildings are in Dunedin. How come I never noticed the old BNZ building when I lived here? I'm sure I don't know.

Would you like to see something christmassy that's as funny it is disturbing? Just click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I heart Dunedin

Oooooh I love Dunedin, me. I do, I do. I wish I was here for a happier reason, but my Dad, my dear old Dad, is in his final days, and we are all descending on Dunedin to say goodbye. We are lucky, though. It's a privilege to know someone you love is dying, so that you can tell them you love them, and say goodbye.

Anyway, I spent today at the hospital, but on the way back to my sister's place I got to do a spot of junk shopping. It's been years, probably 10 even, since I had a good look in Dunedin junk shops, and my feet went on autopilot straight to my favourite sections- the haberdashery, the fabric, the patterns, the books and magazines.
I love this Woman's Home Journal, back from the days when it was okay for models to have wrinkles around their eyes and eyebrows au naturale. And be honest, have your ski clothes gone gay? Because there's no shame in it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Conversations with two robots

In the weekend I made this little robot called Orla.
As soon as she was made, she said "Hi Jenny" (because we are on a first names basis) and then "I look a lot like all the other robots you've made".
"Well, there's no arguing with that" I said. "But you are still very unique because I've only ever made one other robot with a little beating heart in a tank, and that was a long time ago".
"Yes" she said, "I wasn't complaining, I was just saying"

And then I made this little robot. She is called "Shell" which is short for something but she won't tell me what. And when I got the camera out she said "Get lost, I don't like having my photo taken" and then she went off to sulk somewhere. I love making robots with 'tude, but they can be difficult to deal with on a personal level.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, December 5, 2008

The Golly Person of Colour

I made this Golly Person of Colour for my friend's 40th. He has a boat, see, and it's called "The Golliwog". That's what it's called.

So blog-readers, I need your opinion. Do you like the smile with teeth? Or the plain old smile. Simon and I can't agree on how he should be finished.

I know these little chaps were considered deeply offensive for a long time, but I hope they aren't anymore. I always kind of liked them.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A haiku.

This is a haiku about the awful muffins I made this morning.

Burned below, beige tops
Heavy, dull, missing two things
Care and butter.

Actually, forgetting to put the butter in was just one of a number of things that went wrong with these bad boys. I halved the sugar and put in banana instead, and put in some cocoa even though the recipe didn't say to, just to try and convince my children they were "yummy chocolate".

They were so, so, horrible. So horrible they moved me to write poetry.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy in the kitchen

It's school fair season, which means I spent the weekend baking stuff to donate. First, this ridiculously easy fudge (I substituted 2 c toasted coconut for the macadamias and left out the coffee and the liqueur). No risk of burning or not-setting this one. You just melt it down and that's it.

I kept a tiny wee bit for us which I cut into little itty bitty squares and put in this crystal glass so that it would look *special*.

I made jam, too. I put twee little covers on, because sometimes I like being twee.

If you're the thrifty type, you might like to know that the jam worked out at $0.97 per jar, and the fudge worked out at $5.80 for the whole batch. I'm just telling you in case you like the idea of making a little home-made christmassy something for people who don't like craft. Cos some people just don't get craft, you know?
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Friday, November 28, 2008

And it's Happy Christmas Decoration to...


Yep, these are my christmas decorations, and this extra one is going to Sarah, one of the commenters from Monday's post. Happy Christmas Decoration to you Sarah, enjoy the peace, goodwill, and binary fun of a small christmassy robot for your tree. I only wish I had one for all of you.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ready to go!

Here they are, my sneaky secret christmas decorations all ready to be posted. They are being guarded by piglet, who Simon found amongst his box of letters and keepsakes the other day. I must have made him about 12 years ago I think. I am rather flattered that Simon kept him all this time.

I made the envelopes for my highly classified decorations from this 1965 puzzle book...

The pictures and puzzles have a rather surreal quality to them, don't you think?

Since this was printed in the 60s, I am secretly suspicious that the artists had been toying with mind-altering substances.
Lucky bastards.
Hey, and thanks for all your weekend synopses, I really liked learning about what you'd all been up to. On Friday I'll do a lucky-dip for the winner of the mystery christmas deco. Stay tuned! Same robot time, same robot channel.

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Monday, November 24, 2008


Hello there,
We have just had the most fantastic weekend away in one of my favourite places on Earth, Collingwood. At Collingwood there is the most awesome sandpit. See? It fits two children and two adults very comfortably.

Our children go wild at Collingwood. They are so excited to be there that they make faces like this.

And here is my shadow. But don't worry, I remembered to bring it home with me.

I also finished off my items for Twenty Cent's Deco Swap, but I can't show you those because then I'd spoil the surprise!

How was your weekend? If you leave a comment and tell me about it you might win a bonus Christmas Decoration, because I have one spare and I'm gonna give it to a blog-friend.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

A happy ending for the 1969 Storyland Annual

Sometimes when I'm junk shopping I come across great old children's books that some naughty little wag has defaced in some way. The 1969 Storyland Annual was one such book, about half the pages had been scribbled on, and some sneaky little person had practised cutting with scissors by going snip-snip-snip along the bottom of each and every page.
Still, being the thrifty type with an appreciation for retro that I am, I couldn't resist the pictures and I bought it anyway. I am now very happy to show you the happy ending for that book.
1. Two cards

2. Some cute pictures that I used with some plain wrapping paper to wrap my sister's birthday present.

3. Two of the cute little carry bags like the ones Twenty Cent Mixture made, using the great tutorial here at Tiny Happy.

And one more happy ending to finish off with...My left-handed sister Margaret is living without an oven cloth or an oven mitt, and sometimes her left-handed baking ends up on the floor because the tea towel she used as an oven cloth was wet or wasn't folded properly or whatever.
So here's my left-handed kitchen set, off to her place to live a happy and fulfilled left-handed life.

Don't you just love happy endings? Sigh...I do. That's why I like junk shopping.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing book tag

How exciting, Claire from Ethel loves Fred tagged me yesterday to play book tag. This is how it works:

Go to the closest book to you, not necessarily the book you have just read, or your favourite, but the closest. Turn to page 56 and copy out the 5th line, followed by the next 2 to 5 lines.

Book closest to me: The curious incident of the dog in the night-time, by Mark Haddon. Line 5 onwards:

"But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult, and also everyone has special needs, like Father who has to carry a little packed of artifical sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee to stop him getting fat, or Mrs Peters who wears a beige-coloured hearing aid, or Siobhan who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs."
And now I will tag some blogfriends to see what's in their book collections!
Jannelle from Heartfelt

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