Apr 30, 2010

What to Do when you are Sitting Down a lot.....

On Monday I had an appointment at the hospital. New x-rays, and a (gentle) examination. They took the plaster cast off and this is what my foot looked like after 2 weeks. Puffy and swollen with deep bruising on all sides, and my ankle bone had disappeared from view entirely. It looked kind of reddish-brown. Very nice to feel the fresh air.
I was given a "moon-boot" and told to start putting a bit more weight on it over the next few weeks, and then start some physio. Hurray, I can take showers again!
It feels so much better now on Friday; I have put my whole weight on it a few times today, but only with the boot on. Without it hurts a lot. But I shall be so pleased when I can walk without crutches again, very frustrating not being able to carry stuff....

Autumn colours. One of the last peachy roses, a dahlia like a flame, and a knobbly orange pumpkin. So exuberant!! The pumpkin will be used soon to make pumpkin-curry soup.
I have been reading this book lately, by Rice Freeman-Zachery. It's written to help you find the time and head space to find your creativity, and fit it into your life. I really like it, and the book has beautiful art work on all pages by lots of different artists, there is loads of different advice from real artists in it, which is very comforting. None of them have perfect lives.
It has a lot of talk about what I call "creative flow", when you are "in the zone".When time disappears. It's really a wonderful feeling, one I like to keep going.
Until you get a phone call from school and your daughter asks if you are going to pick her up at all.....
This has happened a few times over the years (blush) At least they were safe!..
The book gets you to do these exercises, lots of writing things down. So I decided to make a journal to do that in, so I keep the "flow" going. I used an old cook book, this one had bound pages and was a good size. I pulled out half the pages and glued the left over pages together in pairs. Then gesso-ed everything, and started decorating with old papers and water soluble crayons etc.
So here 4 of my favourite pages. I actually finished the whole journal before I have started using it this time.
Strangely enough it turned into a weird little story about a girl being lost in the woods and then realizing she actually lived there and knew the way after all. I used text cut from a children's encyclopeadia from the 50's. The original had a different storyline, but you just put words together to make a new story.

Leaving lots of room to write with flowing ink pens in different colours.

I go over some of the glossy pictures with coloured gesso, otherwise the writing inks won't show up or wipe off again. The gesso gives it a bit of roughness.

Of course I had to make a bookmark for it as well, with the words "keeping it simple" and an elmtree on the back. A length of antique lace, a red vintage button and a pretty white feather from my brothers' pigeons sets it off nicely.
And what are the odds of finding a monogrammed dressing-table coverlet, with my own initials on it??!!.... (I believe 1 in 676)

Apr 18, 2010

Family fruit.

Continued from the past Easter Weekend;
Enough cutting wood already! Time to visit some family in Napier. We all went to see my brother and sis-i-l and their wee boy.

There was some harvesting going on in their garden. My brother was in the avocado tree with an ingenious little gadget ; a little net with blades attached to an expandable pole. That way you can get to cut off fruit that is out of reach.

Here are some of the avocados, the tree has been having a hard time in the last year. We have had a few dry summers in a row, but this year was much better and it has brightened up a bit.

Our eldest looking down into the sloping garden, and watching her uncle with amusement.

And some of the lemons are ready too. Always funny to see lemons in all different stages on the one tree, even flowers still.
The big old walnut tree is throwing down it's treasures as well.

And even some ripening tamarillos with their tigerstripes .

My man is getting a check-up on his knee by our nephew, just like his mummy does on her patients. "All better!" And off he runs again.
It is nice to have family close by, just 15 minutes driving.


Our Easter weekend was spent in some work and a bit of pleasure all combined. Like a lot of people, we rely on fire wood to keep our house warm in winter. One of the only perks my husband still gets is free fire wood, through working for the local council. But you have to get it in your own time with your own tools.
A lot of people don't take advantage of this perk, but we always do. It saves us a lot of money, especially because our woodburner also heats the water for showers etc. And it is a sustainable fuel, this way.
This time there was a dry cut down willow at the river. Already in large pieces. A good wood to burn first to start the heat spreading fast.
The girls had a walk in the river and explored the opposite bank.
The temperature is cooling down now, but still nice and refreshing on a hot autumn day.

Not only does he cook and knows how the washing machine works, he also does all this macho stuff..... I am so lucky!! Thank you for looking after us, it makes things so much easier when I can't do things with one good leg.
And he's got another nice hobby; making beer and whiskey. My dad showed him how to a few years ago and now he has taught other people in turn. They share tips and recipes, and have taste testings....
Left contains whiskey and right is beer , ready for bottling. And no that is not illegal in NZ, there are special shops where you can buy all you require for it.
Of course you just have to monitor your alcohol consumption , it's too easy to get in trouble.

This is what my eldest daughter likes to do when she is home ; bake biscuits and cakes and make fudge. Very dangerous too, especially at the moment with me being a bit immobile and on the couch a lot...

Apr 16, 2010

Autumn walks and autumn fairs.

It really is autumn now. The fire has been on a lot already. The wind is coming from the south and the trees are colouring up. And lots of toadstools this year, due to a wet summer. Our youngest has taken a liking for finding unusual toadstools and mushrooms. Like this one.
And these cute shiny ones. So we all went for a walk up Te Mata Peak by the redwood trees.
We took quite a few photos crouched in between the leaf litter and bushes.
These looked amazing, feeding on a dead tree, all blue green and as big as your hand.
We were nearly back at the car, when I mis-stepped and twisted my right ankle. I felt a nasty crunch . And nearly fainted...Ouch!!
The rest of our Sunday afternoon was spent in the emergency department of our hospital, getting x-rays and a half-cast plaster on. My ankle had gotten a swelling the size of an easter-egg while I was still on the ground, and I was told that I had torn a ligament, which had ripped a fleck of bone off as well. No wonder I felt a bit funny...
Still a week of the easter school holidays to go... I am not allowed to put any weight on it. Walking with crutches is fun for the first 5 minutes. But it is 5 days later now and I am frustrated and sore. My left leg has muscle ache, my shoulders ache, my hands are bruised from the handles and I managed to get a blister on my hand as well. I thought I might get stronger, but I seem to be moving around slower now. The worst is I can't carry anything. Like a cup of tea. But I am so lucky to have my Love popping in from work and my youngest getting me things and doing some of the housework.
Today we went to the doctor, I'll be off work for a wee while. We got some other crutches from the hospital, I'll put some extra padding on them. Hopefully I will get a new plaster-cast in the next week , one that will allow me to put weight on it, (if my foot is up to it), or a waterproof one, so I can have a shower.
So I guess I'll be updating this blog a bit more often.
Here a picture of me at an autumn craft fair at Hohepa Homes .That's a residential community for people with intellectual disabilities, with protected work places and schooling. They have an anthropological philosophy and are closely connected to our local Rudolph Steiner school. There is a working farm, they produce organic cheeses and vegetables. My Mum-i.l. used to work there in the weaving workshops, when they still lived in Hawke's Bay. And every year they have a large fair with art and craft stalls, food and entertainment. So here my own stall. It didn't go as well as I had hoped, but I'll go back next year again. My youngest daughter helped me that day, the oldest was just visiting us on the photo.
I did 2 fairs in March. I quite like it. Even though we got rained out on the other one.

In February my daughter asked me if I would make her a new schoolbag. Crocheted please. I was amazed. She wanted me to make her something everyone would see? Sure thing.
I showed her some of her Oma's hand-spun and dyed yarns. She loved it. She drew a picture of how the bag should look and how big (big!), with a zip. So I made one and lined it with a sturdy rib, because I didn't want the crochet to stretch. I added a few big inside pockets as well.
It closes with a chunky zip , "made with love".
She uses it every day and all her friends think it is very cool. Here she is in her school uniform ready for her day. Now she has a bit of Oma-L. with her to keep her company.
She has been doing so much better the last few months. It's like we have the original girl back with us. It is a real relief. It is amazing how both our girls have coped with so much sadness in our family the last 3 years. And it has been very difficult .
Grief lasts so long, it will never quite go away. It just softens at the edges.

Apr 15, 2010

Fabrics, family photos and fantails.

Having moaned in the past about my traditional pincushion not working for me; I have in the meantime found a brilliant pattern for another one. It can hold my small works in progress, small scissors and reels of cotton. It has a flat bottom and can be created from tiny scraps of vintage fabrics.
I added the little strawberry with iron-sand in it, from the original pincushion, that sharpens your needles. Now I down loaded this pattern quite some time ago, and I'm pretty sure it was one of Anna Maria Horner's, but when I looked it doesn't seem to be on her blog anymore. Lots of other cute free patterns though.
The bottom has a piece of stiff cardboard sewn into it, so no more rolling away when you put it on the end of one's comfy chair. I'm pleased with how it came out and use it all the time now. The fabrics came from aprons, kitchen cloths, an auction piece, sewing room scraps.
This is my hallway display. I dusted and cleaned, and re-painted all the photo frames. These were all different colours and it looked messy. I have painted them an ivory white , left little bits of gold paint on them, and some have now had small pale coloured buttons added to the frames.
I feel it has pulled them all together as one collection, and it looks much calmer.
I added an old cream bottle full of buttons in the same pale shades and some orange "lanterns" still from my Mum. Now I still feel I should re-paint the little hanging display cupboard, the wood is too dark; you can't see what is in it.
My man and I went to Christchurch a month ago to see Pa-L and we visited a lovely garden there. I found a bird's nest in a tree, I guess from a fantail, but I could be wrong.
A fantail in our own garden. This was a lucky shot, those critters never sit still. I really like the fantails, they are very cheeky and will fly around your head. Unfortunately they are not instinctively afraid ( predators have only been in NZ for about 150 years) and our cats think they are a great toy to catch. Sad...
There is an old Maori legend that says if a fantail enters your home he brings a message from Tane, the forest god, to tell you that some mis-fortune will happen to your family. In other tribes it is a good message.
I am afraid to say that I half believe in it: in 10 years of fantails visiting our garden, with doors wide open for at least half the year, a fantail has only been inside 2 times. The first time my Mum had a heart attack that night, and the 2nd time she was already in such a bad way that I shoo-ed that bird out quite upset. I told it we already knew.
Perhaps silly , but I have heard that in the big red chainstore in town, when a fantail gets in their high ceilings, no-one is too willing to take the responsibility to help the bird escape.
Stranger things have happened in this country. Like when a tribe managed to re-route the highway , because there was a mythical monster threatening to cause accidents.

Apr 6, 2010

She's leaving home...

And so the end of February came and it was time for my eldest to pack and stop earning extra money. Time to leave and become a Uni-student. She took her music and her best books and most retro clothes.
Everything was packed into her beloved tiny car, and the overload went into the family car. And off we went to drop her off, 320 km away. Only 4 hours away....
She and I drove in her car , and Dad and our youngest up ahead. The i-pod was plugged in and we sang along while driving. Gorgeous weather to make the trip easy.
Just follow that car over the hills and through the gorge and past the sea.
Here the big sister shows the little sister how to hand over a smack of money, so you have a hostel room with board to stay in for the first trimester.
Thank goodness I have a part-time job, because we are not out of the woods yet.....
We unloaded all her belongings , and this took 4 people going back to the cars about 5 times, crossing a busy road, and squeezing past the other new students and their parents and their boxes. I started unpacking all her clothes and putting them away in her cupboard, so she wasn't stuck with a huge mess straight away. I then put her fresh bedlinen on her bed . I thought the colourful florals brightened up her room considerably. Only then was I ready to leave her to it....
After we all had sushi for lunch in the city we went our seperate ways.
Yes :I felt quite sad, and had to wipe away some tears. But I am allowed to!
But we have been ringing and texting lots , and she came home for a weekend , and is now home for a week for the Easter holidays.
That spare room has been really handy already; we had my fathers wife sleep there while he was in the hospital , I am storing some of the wool in there , it is a quiet place for my love to practice his guitar in , and I slept there myself when I had bronchitis a week ago.

Apr 4, 2010

Taken to Taupo.

For my birthday in the beginning of February ( yes, I am one of those chaotic aquarians , which is why I am only just now writing about it) I was taken to Taupo for a weekend by my lovely man. He borrowed a racy little car from my brother, and took me to a lovely bed and breakfast up in the hills. It was utter peace and quiet with a gorgeous view, and luxurious surroundings. We ate nice meals in cafe's and drank strong coffees on a terrace. We enjoyed the lake's beach and swam in the cool water. And of course we took a sleep-inducing dip in the local A.C.Baths which has 30'C + water , heated geothermally by the earth.
Here I am going for a stroll accompanied by a black swan. Keeping a look out for "sea"-glass.
Our privileged view of Lake Taupo and surroundings.
And just as pretty at night. Especially with a wee drop of homemade whiskey.
At this spot there is a new large wooden bench , where I plonked myself down the next morning with a book. We had just finished our morning coffee across the road in a cafe , and my bloke wanted to check something out in town. So I installed myself here. After a while I looked up from my book to find 3 people standing close by with cameras and looking at the seat. Their accents were a heavy Scottish and it suddenly dawned on me, that they were there to pay their respects at this wooden bench , which had been placed there to commemorate the tragic and violent death of a young scottish tourist in Taupo in 2008. Karen Aim had been killed by a teenager who was trying to become a gang member.
So I stood up and offered them the bench to photograph and reflect upon. The middle-aged lady spoke to me and I understood (very heavy Scottish accent)they were friends of her parents, having come to see what it looked like and to lay some flowers . I told her that I wasn't from Taupo, but that I nevertheless was aware of what had happened , and how shocked people had been about the senseless-ness of it. She told me that Karen had always been a loving young woman who loved giving hugs, and that it was so tragic to think that the young man who killed her, would have been so much better off, if he had had hugs like that in his life too.
I thought that her pity for the killer was an amazing way to deal with this awful thing, instead of anger and revenge, although she said they were pleased that it had all been dealt with properly by the courts. Mainly because there was a kind of closure for the family...
I couldn't begin to imagine what it might feel like to lose a family member due to violence.
How fortunate we are, really. And how fortunate Karen's parents are to have such good friends, who travelled across the other side of the planet, to make a photo of a wooden bench, just to be able to say; yes it looks good , it's allright.
I did read some more of my book there, later. But it felt very different, sitting there.