Monday, March 30, 2009

Into the hills

Lucky me, in the weekend I went tramping (a.k.a. hiking for all you american readers out there) in the hills around Nelson. Have you ever wondered what the Nelson region looks like from Mt Arthur? Well here's a photo so you know. It's got mountains either side, and a big warm bay in the middle. Virry nice.

As well as the four friends I went tramping with, I caught up with some other old friends, some native alpine plants. You know I like plants, right? Now you have to suffer through some photos of them.

This little daisy had just finished flowering. "The end of a love, or a season"

This plant is rather charmingly known as "Vegetable sheep". It grows all over the rocks, and from a distance it looks white and woolly like a sheep.

This is a Hebe of some sort (feel free to add species names in the comments section, if you know them). They really are as lime green and sweet and orderly as they look. I love hebes, they're so symmetrical and perky.
What are your favourite native plants? Native to where ever you are, I mean, I'm not fussy.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Golden Queen

My lovely neighbour Joy went to an orchard yesterday, and brought me back 8 kg of Golden Queen peaches. I love Golden Queens. They're the biz. I'm gonna get all hausfrau and bottle them.

When she handed the box of peaches over the fence, Joy said "Here you go love! These'll have you shitting through the eye of a needle!"

Then, when we were chatting about her reaction to something that happened in her family, she said "I was halfway between a shit and a shiver!"

Later, Simon was talking about something going very fast, and he said "It was like shit off a shiny shovel"

Sorry about all the bad language, but those three expressions made me laugh like you wouldn't believe, and I just had to share. And I figured that with all the bottling fruit/sewing cushion covers/quilting talk that's been going on lately, we could do with a little wickedness around here. I wouldn't want you to think I'm toooooooo wholesome.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Making progress

Of the 15 cusion covers I need to make, 6 are finished and are, as we speak, on the cushions at preschool. People said nice things about them, which was very nice. Nice, nice, nicety nice.
The maisy quilt is alllllll finished, bound, sewn up, finito. Here it is on Harry's bed. I left the lego lying on the floor so that you could fully appreciate the 5-year-old-boy's bedroom experience.

Harry was so excited that it was all finished he decided to model it himself.

"I am the ghost of Maisy's quilt" he said.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sewing Purgatory

Is it any wonder I don't feel like sewing, when the top three projects on my list at the moment are so DULL? The three things I must do before moving onto anything fun are mending my favourite winter trousers, making curtains, and making 15 cushion covers for the preschool, all with zips. Hmmm. Putting zips in doesn't scare me, but putting 15 zips in does.

Actually the curtains won't be so bad. I've always liked ticking, and once they're done I think they'll be cool. It's just the measuring, then pinning and sewing those long, straight, boring seams and hems that makes me a little unexcited about the project.

In those personality tests that large organizations do to motivate their workers, one of my strongest personality traits was that I like to get projects finished. This is good, because you tend to have lot of things on the go, but it's bad if you only enjoy them when they're finished, because you spend most of your time working towards that, and the moment itself is so fleeting.

So, I will make an effort to stop thinking of these three projects as things that must be got out of the way, and try to enjoy the sewing on the way.
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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blog friends, part II

I've said it before, I know, but one of the best things about blogging is the connections with people. Before I had my own, I thought that blogs were quite static, in that you post whatever you're interested in and the odd person passing by might leave a comment or two. But actually, it's so much nicer than that. You find that you post about all sorts of other stuff, and you get a group of regular visitors who meet you at your blog and have a wee chat. It's all real.

On the subject of great blog friends, look what I found on my front step the other night!

A parcel all the way from the great U S of A. It was full of interesting tidbits- books of poems, fabric, cards- carefully selected for me and Mary Anna by Christy. Thanks Christy, what a wonderful surprise!

And below is my favourite poem so far. I love the thoughts encapsulated in "every hour of the thousand thousand coming to this". It makes me think about all the people, the twists of fate, choices, and paths that led to this moment. This moment is pretty good, I have to say.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hey guess what?! It's our wedding anniversary today. It only occurred to me when I was checking my deadlines for today and thought, hey, wait a minute- it's the 17th! To celebrate, Simon is away all week and the house is a mess.

We had a very simple but very fun wedding. We invited 76 of our closest friends, got married on the beach, and had a big party afterwards in a country hall. The last revellers left at 6.30 the following morning. It was really, really fun and I am so glad we did it. Crikey, that was 8 whole years ago. It doesn't feel like that long.

Being the thrifty type that I am, the wedding was very, um, inexpensive. We got Mary Anna to do the ceremony part, and just gave a small donation to a legal celebrant to be present to witness the documents. Getting married on the beach was free, but we did have to get a permit because it's a reserve. The hire of the country hall was $120 for the weekend, and my sisters did all the food. Altogether, we spent $3500 on our wedding, and that included our clothes and wedding rings.

Just in case you're interested.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happiness is a repaired object

I love when I stumble accross repaired objects in junk shops. It makes me think about the life that object had before. There's something very sweet about the fact that someone took the trouble to mend it when it broke. Perhaps this size 4 knitting needle was the only one that someone had, and the end came off as they were knitting and all their stitches fell off the other end, causing them to swear like a sailor? Perhaps?

What's that crazy fabric underneath those knitting needles? Oh I'm glad you asked. At the moment it's an old lady's skirt, tidy pleats etc. etc., but soon it will be a new robot.

This tablecloth is another example of a lovingly repaired item. It has some real whopper holes in it, but someone has gone to the trouble to turn the edges under and sew on a piece of white sheeting. I'm serious, they are big holes, but someone loved this enough to want to keep on using it. I can see why- don't you love the design woven into it?

I bought this tablecloth because it has a large, undamaged piece in the middle that I am intending to recycle into pillowcases. But the more I think about how much time and energy someone put into it to repair it, the worse I feel about cutting it up.

Do you ever get craft guilt about cutting stuff up? Tell me everything. Perhaps we could set up some kind of support group.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The devil's photo tag

Recently, Iris tagged me for this photo tag. You go to your 6th folder, post the 6th photo on your blog, and then tag 6 other people to do the same. Mary Anna has already wittily pointed out that the 666 reference must surely make this the Devil's photo tag game. But mine is more like the 66-infinity tag game because I get totally seized up when it comes to tagging 6 others, so I will just put it out there that if you wanna play, jump in!

Back to the photo. This was Harry and Me at our neighbour's house on his first birthday. one sense it wasn't so long ago. In another sense, it seems like a different lifetime where we had only one child.

Hey! I've got an idea. I can complete the last 6 in the devil's photo tag by telling you 6 random things about myself.

1. When I was 25, my friend who is an Entomologist named a beetle after me. It is a central Otago chafer beetle, and it's latin name is Prodontria jenniferii.
2. I have a little tattoo. It is of Piglet, from Winne the Pooh.
3. When we were driving to Dunedin a couple of weeks ago, we laughed out loud when drove past Washdyke and Clandyboye. Those truly are great place names.
4. I eat almost anything, but I do not like celery. No, not one little bit.
5. I have a degree in botany and so does my husband. Lots of our friends do, too. Fun people study botany, and that is a fact.
6. My favourite music changes all the time. Right now, my top three are Samuel Flynn Scott, The Handsome Family, and Jim White.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Re: Poetry

I haven't really been into poetry for years. I went through a stage in my mid-20s when I read it a lot, but then I got into reading other things and it all went out the window. I was reminded about poetry by my Dad's funeral. He wanted no hymns, no prayers of any sort, so it was funeral made up of real words that people spoke as they came to mind. Can you say a great funeral? If funerals can be great, that's what it was.

One poem that did make it into the proceedings was a Robert Frost one called Reluctance. Dad wrote the first verse of this poem on the blackboard in the kitchen on his last day at his job, when he'd been made redundant after 30 years there. Somehow, it also fitted the mood when he died.


Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Robert Frost

I've thought about the last verse a lot. Going with the drift of things, well I try to do that every day. It could sum up my parenting style, I'd like to think. Yielding with a grace to reason? I like to think I do that too. Bowing and accepting the end of a love or a season. That's the hard part when someone dies. It's so very hard.

If my children were to try and come up with a poem that meant something to me, I hate to think what would surface. The only one they've heard me say a lot is "When I walked down the street one day/ My head fell off and rolled away/ But when I saw that it was gone/ I picked it up, and put it on.
That would set the tone for a very funny funeral.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stash bu(r)sting

My fabric stash is getting completely out of hand, so I decided I'd use these pieces of fabric to make a quilt for Sylvie.

I just needed a couple of extra bits to go with it, so a wee trip to the fabric shop was in order.

And while I was there, I picked up some nice red NZ wool and some new knitting needles.

Hey- hey wait a minute. Wasn't that supposed to use up my stash?
How come I now have even more fabric and some wool?

I've been duped.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

End of the line

This small robot in pink is the last little felt robot I feel like making. It's been fun, I've enjoyed the journey, but the small felt robot days are at an end. Ever since it clocked over to 2009 I've only wanted to make big goony robots in silly tartan, houndstooth, or checked fabric (troublemakers like Nigel and Les). I've just lost all inclination for little, cute, and felted.

Speaking of changing craft proclivities, does anyone else find themselves inexplicably drawn to knitting when summer becomes autumn? My fingers are getting all itchy to knit some kind of cosy.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Dressing Gown

Sigh...they just don't make pattern covers like this anymore, do they. My personal favourite is the moustachioed ginge in the foreground there. Now that's what I call loungewear.

While I may have bought the above pattern solely for "silly greeting card" material, the one below was bought expressly to be sewed. I needed a summer dressing gown that I wouldn't be ashamed of, after a nasty "being-spotted-at-the-letterbox-in-my-hideous-old-dressing-gown" incident. What's worse, it was a very beautiful family from school who were all on a Sunday jog who spotted me. The shame, the shame!

And here's the dressing gown I made. Loud blue paisley which, apparently, brings out my eyes. At least it would, if I hadn't have just been beheaded.

I believe that the correct procedure for a sewing blog is to add more photos showing how neat my seams and stitching are. Well, ha! I'm not going to! They're okay, but I'm no Mary Anna. Suffice to say that when Mary Anna saw this robe in person she said, somewhat incredulously, "Hey, this isn't bad!" That'll do me. Incidentally, this is my first ever contribution to Pattern Review, have a wee look!
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