Sep 9, 2010

Quakes, and more cheerful things!

First I think an update, on what is on our minds here in New Zealand this week. On Saturday morning the 4th Sept there was a major earthquake (7.1 Magnitude on the Richter Scale) in Christchurch, South Island. And although that lies a whole days travel away from Hastings, our father(-in-law) lives there and we know the city. Incredibly no-one died , although some were wounded by falling glass and chimneys. And one fatal heart attack.
This lovely city has some beautiful early 20th century stone buildings with a particular character; these however have been severely damaged, some destroyed and others need to be pulled down. Many homes also have been declared unfit for living. Roads have cracked and sewer and water pipes broke under the roads.
It sounds however as if all emergency and civil defence systems operated in an organized and as prompt as possible fashion. The army is helping, city council workers and neighbours help each other. At the moment a voluntary 1000 strong student force is helping to clear peoples' properties from the wet sand silt that came up out of the ground through cracks in concrete and gardens within minutes.
But all this sounds deceptive; you see, when there is a major earthquake, you get aftershocks. A lot of them, some big, some hardly noticeable. Some big enough to get people running for safety (under a table for example). Some cause more damage to already weakened structures.
But the biggest damage it seems, is to peoples nerves. No-one is getting good sleep, everyone is on edge and especially children are traumatized .
To give you an idea of the amount of tremors that have hit Christchurch since Saturday morning click on this link christchurch quakemap . The larger the circles, the bigger the Magnitude which comes up on the right hand side. The colour of the circles tells you how deep they were, and the quakes timespan is shown by how long the circle stays on screen. There is a stopwatch of the passing days in the right hand corner.
Usually you would hardly feel a 3.5 Magnitude, but of course it depends on how deep it is or if it's right under you. For example the 7.1 in Christchurch woke up our daughter in Wellington.

On Tuesday and today we have had a few quakes ourselves here in the Bay. Today there were 3, but we didn't feel 2 of them. I happened to feel the one on Tuesday, I was sitting still in the classroom, but the rest of the children were too busy in the room to notice . So the teacher and I just looked at each other, took a breath and carried on with our reading groups. Today there was a 5.3M at 20 past 4 and I certainly noticed that one with my youngest. You hear the house creak, you intake a breath and tense your muscles for the jump under the door post, you raise an eyebrow to each other.Is it going to get sharper or is this rolling "it"...? You look around to see the lamp and plants swaying gently, today I caught our gate moving back and forwards. We stayed in our seats and talked to each other and continued watching a programme on t.v. That's life here!
I wish all in Christchurch restful nights and much strength in the coming weeks, when the rebuilding starts gathering force!
Some crocheted slippers for the Uni-daughter. I saw a tiny picture in some old magazine and thought; I can do that! And not for $69 ...
I got some old handspun, which had yellow stains in it, that sometimes happens to sheeps' wool. Crocheted them up 2 at a time, so I could do the same to each slipper, since I had no pattern. Then I threw them in the pot of fresh beetroots that I was cooking, thinking I could dye them a lovely pink. Silly me, I forgot natural dyes don't quite work like that....
They came out a sickly shade of greeny-tinged dirty yellow. (The beetroots were o.k.)
Now what... I still had a bottle of Jamaican-Lime cordial in back of the cupboard, sugar-free. It was quite old and had gone a light green, so I added a few drops of green food-colouring to the pan of water and cordial. Then added the slippers, and simmered for half an hour. Nearly all the colour was gone out of the pan, into the slippers. Pow! Funky green!!

After rinsing and using a bit of softener, and drying, of course, I added an edge and flower of bright pink. They fitted exactly and she loved them. Apparently they are just right for going down to breakfast with, in her hostel dining room.
Here another gorgeous bouquet made by our youngest girl. She gathered the flowers herself from the neighbourhood. Not many flowers around yet at this time of year. And there has been so much rain lately!.. Right now it's pouring down again, already for 2 days on and off.
The ground is saturated and can't absorb the water properly.

Recently I have learned how to make books from scratch at my local book-arts club. We did some soft-cover books with stitched spines. The book on the left has an open spine. I used drawing paper so that they can be used as sketch books. And the covers have had vintage curtain material glued onto them. The spines and "signatures" are stitched together with linen threads and the book on the right has glass beads as well.
They turned out sweet and floral and very feminine. They are not perfect but good enough for me.
I'm so happy with what we have , in so many ways.......