Nov 4, 2008

Pixies at the bottom of my garden.

Now I'll show you some reasons why my blog had to wait a bit. First of all a large group of Bushbabies were created for several orders. Here they all are just before some off them flew off to a new home. Eleven went to a birthday boy of 3 years , to live in his birdcage"dollhouse" and have wild adventures , no doubt at the bottom of his garden...! Will possum's baby run away? Will fantail rescue blossom from the treeclimb gone wrong? Will tui's and dragonfly's flying competition have a good ending?   I will never know...
And then spring cleaning hit me. My whole studio has been tidied and cleaned and sorted , I even managed to get tough on myself and throw some things away! Now I can walk from one end to the other again. And all that empty table space ; I  can't wait to get started on new projects and finish some u.f.o.'s. Everything has it's place again. I used photocopy-paper boxes , which I got through work , to store fabrics and doilies etc in . I glued old wallpaper onto their fronts to disguise the bright yellow labels which I didn't like. Each box is labelled with its contents . I have a kitchen step so I can easily reach them .
 Maybe I should do something about the ironing pile next. Not as much fun I'm afraid....
I have a lovely view of the back garden and I can see the street side at the same time, while I'm sitting there sewing and doing other things. I always listen to the radio , or play c.d.'s. 
A close-up of the dragonfly child . I love the colour of his/her eyes.
And little short tail bat stretching it's wings. Probably thinking about Halloween. Although looking scary isn't working...

Nov 1, 2008

A little more trip and homecoming.

So after about 3 hours on the ferry , we still needed to drive 4 more hours to get to Christchurch. Our 2 teenagers were sleepy from seasickness pills, which they took just in case , and are listening to music in the backseat. We made a stop at Kaikoura , famous for whale watching, and the weather was still sparkling.  Check out the scenery we got to look at for a long time... We could actually see the wind blowing up the snow at the ridges so now and then. If you click on the photo you can see on the right of the left mountain top a small white stripe ; it is the jetstream of a plane coming from Antarctica , on a cargo flight. It's the only jetplane we ever get to see here in New Zealand. 
We spent a great week with our family in Christchurch , had many homemeals together , and lots of family photos taken. We popped into the city on the bus , they have a very good public transport system there , sniffed around in some cool little shops. I often avoid the main shopping streets because they are full of mainstream chainstores , and frankly we have those at home with the same things. I am far more interested in the little boutiques and quirky shops that you can find in big cities , with their own designers and individual tastes. There are a number of shops where they sell things made from recycled fabric and other materials , one shop (Cherry Blossom) sells vintage kimonos and things made from the silk. I bought a lovely 1950's dress from Tete-a-tete , which is a tiny upstairs shop that sells only vintage clothing, and then only very nice examples. My daughters , whom like to dress a little different than other girls their age , also fell in love with some items and bought gloves , 1960's 2 tone shoes and a 1960's dress with a little white twiggy collar.
And back on that ferry , luckily another easy cross over . I sat and stitched , and sold a fantail Bushbaby to the lady sitting at our table. (ka-ching!)  But now we all just wanted to have the trip over and done with. See our cats and sleep in our own beds. Still a few days before hubby had to be back at work.
And look what happened to the apricot blossoms from a month or so ago. I think I better keep all my jam jars from now on , because it is going to be a beautiful crop!
And now the garden is blooming . I used to love the autumn the best as seasons go , but spring here on the East-coast is warm and fresh and colourful. Yes , chilly in the mornings , but by 10 in the morning you can , more often than not, open the doors already and eat lunch outside. Most people are kind of waiting for real summer , but often it gets so hot , or rainy , the flowers have faded , and much dust. Spring is under rated. We have already had a b.b.q. at Labour weekend last week. 
So I made a new display in the livingroom with deep blues and much pink and purple.
That's my new wee-willy-winkie candlestick I picked up for $2 at a school fair last week. It is a multi coloured enameled piece. Well , I liked it..

Oct 31, 2008

Trip to the "mainland" in spring.

It's been a few weeks since my last post . I'll show you later some of the why's.
 Here a picture of our front yard. Since we have good soil it seemed a waste not to use it. Most people have a respectable lawn which only gets used when mowed. But these are our new raised beds from salvaged materials , and the worms in the compost bins have been working very hard with providing us with the best black compost , with help from my friend J's horses. We are planting them up in a "staggered" manner after the last dangers of frost have gone. Stuff the ancient veges in the supermarkets at daft prices...!
This photo was taken just before we hopped in the car to go on our trip to Christchurch. I just wanted to hug this gorgeous tree in front of our house , and hoped that I wouldn't miss the whole display by the time we got back. As it was ,I still enjoyed a week of it before the rain took care of it. I love the way it turns our street into a pink confetti party left-over.
After a 4 hour trip to Wellington, a night in a cheap camping batch , we boarded the ferry. Bye stormy Wellington . Love the clolour of the waves when it is mixed with airbubbles , aqua-blue.
Well ,we saw this brilliant ship just out of the harbour. An Argentinian naval training vessel. I grabbed my thick llama and wool coat and sprinted up to the deck and click ; I had it. Husband said he was sure we saw this ship before : in Amsterdam at Sail 1990. Not sure how he can tell one pirate ship from the next, but I believe him. You can really imagine the first colonial settlers coming to New Zealand like this. Not much of a harbour to sail into either. Probably had to load everything off with rowing boats onto the beach. What a pain it must have been to get your little leather button-up booties wet! And all those petticoats...
After a good 2 hours of steadily chugging along ( I did some sewing on my Bushbabies ,and saw a dolphin jump in front of the ferry!) we reach the lovely Sounds. Sun shining warmly, and checking the water for seals. Most people on deck ( I eavesdropped) were fantasizing about living in one of the  little houses along the coves with tiny private beaches. Nice for a holiday , but not so cool for supplies or in a storm , in my opinion.
More in my next post.

Sep 26, 2008

Felting all weekend!

I seem to get very busy during the week these days. After I come home from my part-time job , it's lunch then another load of washing , some household chores , some days I run an errant, and before you know it the girls are home from school and it is time to make coffee and  to have a sit down with my hubby. Then take the washing down and start dinner. While they do dishes , I usually fold the clothes and put them away. This week I had an order to fill for some Bushbabies so I then stitch all evening. Somewhere along the line I need to get more studio time in. Preferably in the afternoon. Which means I have to just leave some of the chores to later in the day. Which makes me feel kinda guilty. At the moment I pay my eldest to vacuum clean. My youngest is now helping with the dusting , since she complained of not enough spending money. This really helps ! But I have these self made rules ; I should have my chores done before I get to play. But as everyone knows ; a woman's work is never done. I've kinda set myself up for failure there... 
So last weekend I was asked to give a workshop in a felting technique by the extension group of the local embroidery guild. I taught about 15 talented stitchers how to make 3-d felted flowers. We all had a fun day.
          All these busy hands! Kneading and shaping and rubbing.
            And they all had success ! And these lovely flowers lend themselves so beautifully for embellishing and embroidering and beading. I'd love to see them after these ladies are completely finished with them.
                  Quite a few ladies bought my little wool kits and were not scared at all in trying my black and white and red colour mix. As a matter of fact , you could really notice that they were the extension group , not panicked by mistakes; instead they either tried to fix the mistakes by themselves, having already worked out how you can adhere wool to other wool , or they creatively used the mistake as part of their design. But there were not many mistakes made. 
        The felting class was held in our local Rudolph Steiner school . A wonderful building with a lovely feeling.  On a gorgeous spring day too.
On Sunday there was the HB Felting group at Keirunga , which I run. A lovely lively informal group of felters, who like to come together to work on their own projects , and help each other and inspire each other. This time there were no beginners that needed tutoring , which was really nice actually , this way I could work on my own thing and socialize. 
Last week of school term and then we go to Christchurch for a family visit. Looking forward to it. I shall take some stitching with me. 

Sep 18, 2008

Threads and Dewdrops.

My lovely bloke put some absent bids on a few things in a local auction. He likes to tinker with bicycles and sound equipment. And we saw these bobbins of thread on a fairly unclear photo on the auction house's website. So he put in a bid on them too.  And won them. It was an astounding amount of new sewing thread; 78 bobbins still in their wrappers! For $20. All swedish molnlycke.  My Dutch bargain brain is trying to work out how much money I have saved.....! Not that I had it in the first place of course.  I love it when people don't want their stuff anymore.  This week at school, where I work part-time, I left my merino cardigan in another classroom . When I returned to collect it, 2 teachers said to me  , "oh was that yours. We were looking at the label and thinking that we couldn't afford that on our wages." So I said "neither can I , I got it at an opshop , they provide my labeled clothing."  lol!

Some other beautiful threads in our garden on a misty morning this week. Sparkling and shaking in the morning breeze. In the background are the yellow star flowers of the forsythia , which is just brimming over this year.
And I have finished the first kowhai pixie this spring. I just love the boots on my bushbabies ; I think it gives them a bit of attitude , as if it really is quite possible they are rummaging about at the bottom of my garden. 
This is the poppie plant coming up by my washing line. There had been some spring showers that morning . What the picture doesn't translate is how each droplet shimmered with a rainbow of colours when I moved my head ever so slightly.  Just a bit of everyday magic. 

Sep 7, 2008

Bonus for last weekend.

     Last friday I had to be in my neighbouring town , Napier , which is only 20 minutes away. I picked up a book for my spinning club and bought myself one too. Not a fibre book this time , but a book I need to read for the book club I belong to.  While I was there I decided to try my luck in a few little opshops.  Another tablecloth with pink fruit , an aqua-blue gingham fabric ,a neat floral fabric with the same aqua colour in it , and a cute flannel piece with white teddies on a swing. Cute teapot doilie , but you should see the back : huge knots and long strings left on!
In case you are wondering ; no, none of my finds came this lovely looking. I have already soaked and washed and ironed them in the picture , they were all yellow with age and quite a few stains.
     And a handful of embroidered serviettes and cloths. It was a colour coordinated shopping spree. I might make some more bracelets out of these.
   And some vintage patterns. I just love the pictures. That red apron is totally adorable.
The drawing style of the old patterns was so different . You will need to wear some foundation garments if you want to actually make these lovely frocks fit.  Love the gloves. I can remember wearing little white gloves to church when I was a very small girl in the 60's. It meant you had to sit quietly , because otherwise they'd be black in an instant and mum would be cross.
  Well I had a great weekend with a big party to go to , it was a dress up with the theme being 70's t.v. show.  Everyone was really into it , my man went as a gumby from the Monty Python's flying circus , and he had me laughing all night. I went as Sapphire from that weird sci-fi show Sapphire and Steel. I found the perfect blue nylon dress in an oppshop of course , it was quite sexy , and I danced a great deal. The party was held in a 100 + year old house, which actually has a ballroom , and it was filled with people. Sometimes you just need to let your hair down.
  I didn't drink , since I'd be driving , and also on Sunday I was looking after my nephew , who is 1 yr old . You need to be clearheaded for that sort of job! 

Sep 2, 2008

Spring has sprung!

      The apricot tree in our backyard is blossoming. A bit iffy , because we can still get some frosts here , and we sure aren't going to order a helicopter to fly over our garden early in the morning ,  like the big orchardists do around here . Some years we get a few dozen and some years we get absolutely hundreds of apricots on our 2 trees. Time will tell. 

     I finished a blossom pixie on the weekend. I have started making my BushBabies with embroidered faces lately . This way I don't have to worry if their faces are smudged ( don't actually know if they do) . The next pixie is half finished , and then I'll make some Kowhai flower pixies. 
  Don't you just love that fragile pink blossom against the pale blue sky? Gorgeous.

Aug 29, 2008

Cake and Presents.

    Here is a delicious cake baked by my eldest for her boyfriend. I had to go and deliver it yesterday at his high school in lunchtime. Apparently his friends are now bemoaning the  fact that their girlfriends don't bake. Ah , the love of a man does go through their stomach...

    And here is a "cake " I baked a little while ago for my friends birthday. I used some of my own found fabrics ( in an opportunity shop that is) and some of hers that she was throwing out due to lack of space ; a vintage apron in greens and white and one of her late grandmothers' embroidered doilies.
   My friend likes to draw , so I got her a visual diary with good paper and proceeded to make her a cover for it. The appliqued plants and insects came from a shirt , and are zig-zagged on.

   With the book I added an art roll for pencils etc. and included some  basic colours of water soluble crayons. It rolls up and ties with the apron strings. And since the first blank space in a new art book can always be a bit daunting to start on , I collaged her a title page.  Now her grandmothers' embroidery can be put to good use. 

Aug 27, 2008

Not just Browsing.

Last week Friday my love and I went on a little excursion to nearby Napier. He had a day off and when I came home from my part time job we grabbed a few hours together doing a bit of op-shopping. Now I know I am lucky that he likes to find treasures like that as well. Although his idea of a good score is in clothing and shoes. We had a great afternoon ; we hit 4 shops and found something each time. Big buzz!  This doesn't always happen , very often you won't find anything at all. He found a new leather hat for the summer , a pair of expensive Reiker shoes with  the price still on it , some nike shoes for the weekends , and a lovely merino-possum blend jersey. All that and money left over for icecreams.  I came away with 10 vintage tablecloths , all with romantic flowers in shabby chique faded style. Here they are on my washing line , all these colours go well together. 
 I also found some old fabrics , a sturdy cotton with bright florals and a polished cotton with pastel florals.  Also an old  hand embroidered semco cloth on linen. All the flowers are done but the hems were never finished , it probably should have had a crocheted edge , the thread drawn holes are all around . What shall I make with this?
Isn't that blue and red and white 70's fabric with the egyptian theme just hilarious. I can't imagine making anything with it , it is so retro!!

Aug 26, 2008

Shake it!

After much thinking I have decided to just start a blog. I often want to share things I have found or made or experienced . When  I read other people's blogs I find it inspiring and perhaps a little comforting to know they go through some of the same things that I do. I have learned there is a whole lot of people out there in our wide world that are inspired by the "small stuff".
Maybe I can inspire someone else  , or at least make them smile for a minute.

So I'll start off with a bang , just like the earth did for us here locally. At 11:30 last night , just when I was getting ready for bed , we had a little earthquake . Well it didn't feel very little actually.  It was a 5.9-er only 10 km away, 30 km deep.  Our wooden house from the 1930's gave that particular familiar little creak , which makes me hold my breath. Rattle and roll , here we go!  I headed for the doorway of the bedroom , it felt a bit unsteady to get there. Whoa , big one..!
My love yelled something from the livingroom , and I bellowed; everyone out of bed under the doorway! Our 2 teenage daughters arrived in their doorways nearly immediately.  We all put our backs against the posts to feel the quake ebbing away. Not long , but things did fall over and made clinking noises , raising our anxiety levels.  We waited for a bit , in case there was another one , just like at a  railway crossing. Then eldest daughter ,and hubby went back to bed , but I made some hot milks for the youngest and myself , to quieten our heart rates to sleep mode.
We checked the news , nothing yet , and listened outside. A few shop alarms in town had gone off , some scared dogs barking , and weirdly : a chorus of blackbirds and thrushes were singing their little hearts out in the middle of the still night.
Nothing broke at our house , just a little mess of buttons and portraits in the hallway.