Jan 23, 2009

Past Creations.

Just to show you that so now and then I actually do go into my lovely studio and make stuff! These I made end last year , I love the idea of bunting , it is great for parties ; kids or grown-ups. Or to just decorate your porch or rooms. I've seen some very simple examples where only one piece of fabric is used , and no seams. I'm not sure how long those would last flapping in the wind. So mine have 2 sides , sometimes the same , sometimes not ; depending how my Muse whispers to me . ( She floats above me in the studio , I'll show her one day )
The little flags above are made with what I call Green Garden fabrics from my stash. All recycled ofcourse , including the ribbon.
 And these are made from checks and stripes and bright colours. No pink so that it can work for any child.  I personally hate it that some colours have become gender loaded. Retail clothing  stores sometimes seem to push that whole issue , in which one section is pink overload and the other side is navy, green and brownish. We used to find it difficult to find girl's clothes that didn't have pink and hearts or otherwise a glittery princessy slogan on it. My girls hated it and still do. Often we got shorts and shirts from the boy's department. They have never liked being pushed into an assigned role. It makes me feel very proud of their attitude!
That's not to say I don't like pink. I do. It just isn't my uniform. Here is a super feminine shabby chique bunting , using 70's sheets , 60's and 50's tablecloths , and gorgeous hand embroidered doilies . It sold within a week! I like putting all the colours together , but it takes ages on deciding which fabrics to use.  I like  to make them between 3 and 4 metres long , that gives more scope for decorating.
This was made on seeing a tiny picture in junkmail. So I grabbed my hook and rescued yarn and away I went. I felted it afterwards in the washing machine to make it stiffer and sturdier. I keep thinking of Little Red Ridinghood when I was working on it. It is just a small handbag size, but a pleasing shape.
Another pleasing shape is this bucket bag. This time I did use a pattern and rescued acrylic yarn for strength. It has a round bottom. I loved making the flowers. Plenty of space in this one.
Crochet is a lovely thing to do while watching something on tv or waiting for an appointment. It is very portable as well. There is something soothing in the repetition of the stitches and the feeling of the fibre in your hands. And although you are working away , you actually get more and more  relaxed . 
I wish you happy Summer's days ahead! 

Jan 11, 2009

Lazy Summer Days...

A few days after Christmas our family foursome went on a holiday to York Bay , which is on the other side of Wellington Harbour. We were being luxurious this year and rented a cottage for a whole week. Thank goodness for my job... We planned on doing a bit of shopping , reading books ,eating easy meals , no obligations to anyone and relaxing. It worked brilliantly! I spend my pocket money on secondhand clothes; very good outlets in Wellington , mainly Rebound. I have a whole new wardrobe ,including 7 shirts and tops , 4 gorgeous floaty skirts , one of them silk , hush puppy shoes , 2 handbags and a green beret. Also a pair of glasses , the frame of which suits me very well , so I'm going to have new prescription lenses put in them. That should save us 100's of dollars.  So all those items for about 110 dollars, I am well pleased with how I used my yearly xmas money.  Also found a felting book second hand.  We twice had a really good look around the Cuba street shops , some really imaginative boutiques and both the girls spend some of their money there. We ate in cafe's and an Indian Restaurant. We used the train and the bus service to get into Wellington , so no parking hassles. 
 And that is me in the outside bath , which had piped hot water from the house. I watched the sunset from there while 2 tuis fed their young in the nest above me in the trees. Absolute magic!!
We had marvelous views from our little house on the hill. The weather was great most of the week , one night of rain and high winds was all. Lovely sunsets in the west. Since we live on the East coast , this was wonderful to watch.
A large deck was on one side of the the cottage , which had every thing we needed ; bedding, basic cooking stuffs , cd-player with a drawer full of music , tv , woodburner , and a fantastic shower , washingmachine, comfy furniture. We'd love to come back. My brother and his wife came over one evening to catch up , and we had fish and chips together on the deck.
Wellington does look so good on sunny days! You can tell it is windy though by the way the trees are bend over. My love had 3 weeks off work in all , something he hasn't had for a couple of years due to him having changed jobs a few times. So he enjoyed himself  , I loved having him home all that time. 
Back home we went to the local auction house for a morning , and I "won" a cardboard box full of haberdashery , I never have to buy ric-rac or embroidered braiding again...!

Jan 10, 2009

Lush Summer Garden.

Some gardening news now. This is our front vegie patch .When my love and I look at this we both feel very satisfied with how this is going. Those worms sure are little miracle critters ; they just made the best compost. Every spade full was positively crawling with them. Those potatoes on the left; they came up by themselves , from the eyes in the peelings I threw out . So we left them ; to see how they go. I understand that we shouldn't use the eyes from the new potatoes again , since you lose some of the disease resistance in the next generation. The other potatoes we are growing are from seed potatoes, and they are growing in a stack of old tires down the back. Just look how everything has just shot up compared to the beginning of the garden in the picture below!
The one thing we are not growing is cauliflower , they are actually quite tricky without spraying poison , and have turned full of beasties and rot in the past. And the soil is actually to rich for growing carrots in , we found last year. They stayed very short  , the roots didn't need to go down far to find nutrients.
These  are our climbing beans. We got the original handful of beans off a friend about 5 years ago , we have no idea what they are , but each year we keep a few seeds and plant them again . They are very tasty , prolific ,and no strings ,no matter how long we left them on the vine . We also grow yellow butter beans, dwarfbeans and purple beans.
The tomatoes are doing their thing , lots of different varieties. I hope I will have enough to make pasta sauce , which will include courgettes , basil , chives and paprikas or bell peppers.
And the snowpeas I got from my father's partner. I was actually ready to pull them out ,when they just grew and grew without any flowers. I was afraid that she had taken seed off a hybrid plant , which the next time is infertile. She is Thai and her english isn't very good , and explaining about hybrids is kind of complicated.  However after we went on holiday for a week and coming back there were suddenly flowers and peas! Great for in the stirfry or boiled quickly. Yum.

Jan 9, 2009

Loaded Summer Trees.

And so we rolled into Christmas. I was late putting up the tree. The weather had been hot and the x-mas feeling just hadn't hit home. This year the whole Northern Hemisphere theme of snowmen and fake ice just didn't make sense. So I bought a big bunch of silk flowers from the cheapo dollar store in reds, pinks, purples, white and orange , 40cm of sparkly green organza  from Spotlight , and a new set of the cheapest non-flashing lights from the Warehouse . I then spend an entire evening and part of a morning ripping all plastic bits of the flowers  and pushing the fabric petals around the lights. I used an antique bone stiletto to widen the holes. Then I ripped the sparkly organza into long strips , causing my living room to be sparkly with glitter for days. And for some reason also the toilet floor... Also purchased this year was some new silver tinsel and 4 delicate silver glass baubles , and a 5- pointed silver star for the top of the tree , to signify the pagan symbols of the 4 elements and the spirit pointing upwards. Added some white vintage lace ribbon recently purchased for a dollar.  Hey and now that box of homemade lavender hearts from vintage linens and buttons; perfect! 
I asked my teenage daughters and their cousin who was staying with us for Christmas to use all these items to decorate the tree 4 days before  the big day. They did a wonderful job!! A few angels were added, since they are not a winter theme , but an every day reminder.
It is a perfect summer flower tree , and now I'm having trouble taking it down.. At night all the flowers glow in soft fairytale colours. And the lavender smells great , a good substitute for pine, plus it relaxes the senses.
Other ways to keep busy just before x-mas ( yeah right...!?) is to plant an apricot tree , the sort that ripens just around that time. A friend down the road owns an orchard ladder , very handy!  
This year I actually managed to bottle apricots without them turning to pulp straight away, also some pulp and the leftover juices went into sauce  , all flavoured with cinnamon , allspice and star anise seed. Apricot crumble will be beautiful in the winter!  Here are some of the jars I made , including apricot jam with orange juice and grated ginger. This year I put the cooked apricots through the little moulineux hand sieve to remove any of the hard fibres from the place where the pips sit against the flesh.  So it should be a smooth jam this time , and a jam made on purpose  , not because everything turned to pulp with the wrong sugar content.  A bit of a Domestic Goddess Moment for me at the end of the year...!
I love the crocheted afghan blanket I picked up at the Sallies for a mere $4 . I can't crocheted that for such a small amount of money. 
Christmas Day itself went very well , my father and his partner , brother, sister-in-law and nephew came for a lovely easy bbq with  yummy meats ,salads and fresh fruits and pavlova and trifle for dessert. We all sat outside by the swing seat and relaxed with wine and nibbles . After dinner we went inside  and chose our presents from the oxfam website. This is something we decided on doing this year , instead of drawing names out of a hat as we usually do. Combined we came up with $190 and that bought mosquito nets , a toilet , agricultural tools , seeds , schoolbooks , a baby emergency kit and last but not least ,a goat ! We all agreed that we should make this our new family tradition. We chose Oxfam , because they sponsor projects closer to home; in the pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea. So our Christmas was not as stressed with trying to shop like crazy, trying to think of things to buy , and hopefully someone else has now less stress in their day to day living with our few donations.