Dec 29, 2011

Our little Paradise with Passion.

Here is our 20 year old making meringues in our 70's plastic-wood-decor kitchen. I think a pot of cream coloured paint won't go amiss in the near future...
She likes to potter about in the kitchen and I don't mind at all. Yum yum!
Luckily she has her supermarket job to tie her over in the next few months until University starts up again. She can save some money if she gets enough shifts. 

No, I haven't visited some exotic plant park! This grows downstairs by the washingline... We can grow quite different plants here than in Hastings, even though Napier is only 20 minutes further north. The advantages of sitting in a frost free pocket in the hills, with sea breezes.
It does look a bit like a strange bird's head like this, don't you think?

Flock of Birds.
Last night my man and I went to the movies. There is a little theatre in the area, that only shows art house films and documentaries etc, it only seats 40 people on comfy leather amchairs and couches, and they come and serve you fresh coffee or a glass of wine. Very luxe and about the same price as the normal theatre. Excellent if you are into watching international films!
 We watched "When a city falls" a doco about the earthquakes in Christchurch.
 It was really good! Quiet-making but with a feeling of hope. There were quite a few people and they all stayed till the end of the credits, in a  very thoughtful mood. After all, we all live in Napier; resurrected from the 1931 quake.
It was also a neat feeling to see our own country on the big screen.

Waxeye in nectar paradise.
 The Pohutakawa tree (or the kiwi x-mas tree) is looking Magnificent at the moment, and there is one male tui aggressively defending it from all other birds. He makes grating sounds and snaps his wings while he bomb dives the smallest sparrows, who dare land in it!
This little waxeye managed a quick drink.

How does our garden grow?
Vege-beds 28 Nov'11
Check out the growth rate in these 2 photos, 4 weeks in between. We are already harvesting fresh salads and radishes and bok-choi. Nasturtiums grow wild in the bit under the oak tree, which are delicious in a salad. There are baby tomatoes and capsicums on the go and the zucchini has flowers.

Vege-beds 27Dec'11
4 Different beans are going nuts, new tomatoes in the third bed and celery is thickening nicely. The oranges have bloomed their heavy fragrance and new fruit is developing. My lovage (maggi-plant) root taken from the other house has survived, and rhubarb and lemon-balm are thriving!
Just fantastic! We'll add another bed soon, so we can plant perpetual silverbeet and beetroots and I'd like to put in some carrots.

Passionfruit flower.
And the former owners planted 3 Passionfruit vines last year, so we should have a great crop.
Aren't they just the most ridiculously complicated flowers!
But well visited by the bees and bumblebees.

Young Passionfruit.
And the fruits look like little green eggs! Now we have to wait till they go black and slightly shrivelled up before we harvest.
Young fruit with passion.
And here is our 17 year old sporting a new "hairdo". There had been a dreadlocks experiment, which didn't work out and after that there is only one option: a close shave...
Luckily she has a beautifully shaped head, and at least now we get to see her blond hair again! And her uncle and Opa welcomed her to their club, hahaha.
She has worked very hard this year; she has gained her land-skills certificate, and also the national certificate in animal care . And was presented with the prize for best improved student of the year. Considering that most of her fellow students were much older than her, we are astoundingly proud of her. You have come a long way Darling!

Dec 27, 2011

Christmas Time 2011.

Merry X-Mas!
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, with good cheer , food and people you love! Some of you might have had snow or just cold weather, but most of New Zealand had glorious summer sunshine! With soft sea breezes, icecream and strawberries, cherries and barbeques.
Its precisely what we had as a family in our new house, on the deck next to the flowering pohutakawa tree. Fresh new spuds, beans and asparagus, green salad straight from the garden. Steak and chicken and "huzarensalade". And for afters a marvelous trifle (Thanks sis-i-l, and you are right; trifle is wonderful as breakfast too! ) berries and meringue with  cream .
We will obviously still be eating part of it in the next few days.... Too much!!
On Christmas day a bunch of us visited the cemetery to my Mum's grave. That felt good with my brother and dad there. We had no flowers, but little nephew put 1 in the vase. It was very busy at the cemetery, and people leave all sorts of thing at the graves. I'll blog about it another time.
Last night (boxing day) we all watched Love Actually, which was Ma L.'s favourite movie, so she was with us too. I always cry at some parts of it, but also because I remember some of her comments when we watched it together. Of course we ate chocolates...

Our Pohutakawa/ Christmas flowers

We did not do presents, except for the little 4 year old nephew, because we have all we need.
How fortunate we are; all in jobs, with roofs above our heads, and food in the cupboards.
Yet my Love reminds me sometimes that that came about not through luck, but through hard work and making the right decisions. He's right.
 Life doesn't just happen to you; You have to make things happen yourself. Every day there is choice, sometimes small, sometimes astoundingly big.
Sure; you get thrown uncontrollable events like earthquakes or deaths. But you still have control about how you would deal with that.

Pohutakawa tree starting to bloom.
I have been away from school now for 10 days or so, and I have a tidy house (my girls' rooms don't count), had a great christmas day, and have already read 4 books! There have been a few walks with my eldest daughter who is home for the summer, and a lovely bike ride with my man yesterday.
And in the cool cupboard downstairs, against the hill side, 3 little camemberts are developing a good covering of white mould.
This week I intend to get back into sewing and making. Unfurling new ideas!

Our beautiful bathroom is finished and in use! He was so meticulous and it looks so stylish and chique !

Beautiful tiling and shiny metal.

Luxurious shower.
Chique decor!
What a handy and clever guy ! "Golden hands" says his family!
Thanks Darling for making it happen.
Yo-yo bracelet up close.
I just stuck to what I know, textiles. At work we did "secret santa" with the staff, and I made a bracelet with blue vintage fabrics for my recipient. I think she might have guessed who it was by the end of the week, but if I'm getting a signature look in the things I make every year, hey, that's cool!
Unfortunately when they get picked by a teacher-aide they might have to expect budget presents, since we don't exactly get the same income as the teachers.... As a matter of fact the teacher-aides have been told that next year we all have to start work a quarter of an hour later every day. Better than losing one of us I guess.

Yoyo-bracelet in vintage blues.
I think I want one for myself too!
X-Mas Pixie!
And this is a new "Bushbaby" , she is a X-Mas Pixie, and she has the same dress as the Snowflake pixie, but in different colours. It was a special order through my web-shop (see top of page) but I think she might become a regular around this time of year in the future!

Dec 11, 2011

Paper Snowflakes Tutorial.

Cats, owls and fairies, and a x-mas tree.
It is the last week of school before the big x-mas holidays, and the children at school were making decorations, including paper snowflakes. I had a go too, and got completely hooked! I haven't made these since I was at school myself. I did some at home and they were turning out really nice, so here is a tutorial for you, dear readers!
Can you spot the mouse in the one with the owls?

step 1
You need a sharp pair of paper cutting scissors,
 a soft pencil (so you can rub out any mistakes easily)
 and a rubber ,
ordinary copy paper ( so it's easy to cut tiny snippets through 6 layers of paper)
 and I used a saucer to get a quick circle.

Step 1: Draw a circle on the paper with the help of a saucer and cut out.

step 2
 Step 2: Fold the circle in half, making sure that the edges are exactly on top of each other. Make a sharp fold by using your fingernail or the handle of the scissors.
step 3
 Step 3: Fold in half again. Make sure the folded edges are exactly on the other folded edge. Make a sharp fold.
step 4
Step 4: Fold in half again for the 3d time. Edges on the edges and rub on that edge with some pressure.
step 5
Step 5: Now you draw on your design. The trick with that is ; everything has to interconnect, otherwise it will be cut off. I will cut past the tail of the sitting bird all around the snowman's fingers and his body, back up the snowdomes' circle.  If I had attached the bird's tail to the circle then I would not be able to get to the next area with my scissors.
Everything that is on the edges of the paper will mirror image.
Don't worry, you will make a few mistakes, but the paper is really cheap!
step 6
 Step 6: start cutting the small fiddly bits first, that way you still have plenty of paper surface to hold on to with your fingers. If I had cut out the thin half circle first, it would probably have broken later when I had cut out the bird and star.
step 6, little details first
 Try not to cut with the point of the scissors, but rather with the part closest to your hand, it will give you more control.
step 7
Step 7: Don't worry if the paper bends or curls up. The whole snowflake can be ironed on a low setting later to flatten it again.
step 8
 Step 8: Find the middle fold and unfold very gently. Don't just pull it open but use your fingers to open out little areas at a time.

 Here you can see that the bird and star are now 2 birds and a star connecting the snowdome circle.
step 9, oops I forgot some details!
 Step 9: Unfold the second fold carefully. Oh no, where is my snowmans' happy smile!
I'll have to fold it up again and cut out his buttons and nose and mouth!
step 9
There he is! He is so happy with his 2 singing robins.
step 10
 Step 10: And unfold the last fold.  Carefully does it!  No pulling!
Now you can iron it flat (make sure your iron is clean).

Use it to decorate your tree or your window, or get it laminated to protect it from damp glass, or photocopy it with black paper behind it and make cards, book marks, make them smaller for labels.
And who says all the pictures have to be x-massy, make fairytales or easter themes, dancing children or flowers, teapots and cakes, babies and prams. Draw whatever you fancy.
The snowflake itself will make even elephants and giraffes look  festive.
more paper snowflakes.
 Top: a x-mas tree with 2 little birds in a snowdome with a hearts and stars guirlande.
left: deer and little trees
right: squirrels, acorns and oak leaves.
and even more paper snowflakes!
Top: Dancing girls holding hands and reaching for the star
Left: I love strawberries and cherries with Christmas
right: roosters and hens and lots of eggs.

Nov 25, 2011

I got you, my Pretty!

Saturday-morning pleasures.
I like weekend mornings. Who doesn't? We wake up at a fairly early time these days, around 8 a.m. sometimes earlier. Must be our age, or maybe the birds singing...
Having a cuppa tea and toast with homemade jam, and a big glass of delicious raw organic milk (from a local farmers' cooperative), while enjoying the morning sun.. It's just the best!!
Fox thinks so too, and waits patiently until I'm not looking , so he can lick my milk!  He is such a sneak sometimes.
I am in love with peonies this Spring. I have found a dairy that has a big bucket outside, full of peonies in bud for $2 or even $1 each. And they last really well. Luckily I have just purchased the perfect vintage vase for it the other week. In a matt soft green ceramic, glazed inside with butter-yellow.

Frothy Pinks.
Thousands of petals in huggable pinks. They just look unreal!
Little vintage purchases.
3 Weeks ago however we did not have an easy morning, instead my man woke me and our eldest girl at 3 a.m. We hopped into the car and drove to Wellington for another stall at the Newtown Fabricabrac.It was super busy, and I sold lots of fabrics and replenished my savings somewhat.
 It was a great excuse to get away from it all for a weekend, and for my hubbie to have a break from the bathroom for a weekend. We stayed the night at a cheap B&B. Our daughter caught up with her friends and couch-surfed for a night.
Yes I did buy a few items, but was fairly restrained. Which , believe me, is very difficult when surrounded by vintage fabric and notions.
I bought the ballerina tapestry, she is actually very ugly, and looks like Pop-eye's wife Olive Oil. ($1)
A string of flower buttons ($1) and a lovely roses sampler (50ct) and a bunch of vintage belt buckles for making brooches ($6).
Speaking of making; I have been updating my little shops on the web, (see top right)
and have also had a very successful market stall at the big Rudolf Steiner School Fair last weekend.
My stock is starting to get low!
I love you, Pip Studio Cup...
Ooh, and then on Saturday afternoon we popped into Cuba Street and there I found a Pip-studio cup all the way from Holland! Recognised it straight away and chose the prettiest one: Total Impulse Buy!!
And it wasn't even cheap...
No I'm not telling!
Sweet Tweets.
Those little birdies are on a raised medallion, 3 different ones.  Pretty pretty pretty..

Homemade cheese!
Brie update: It turned out really good, soft and creamy, with a good brie smell.
I'm amazed; I made cheese!

Homemade shelves!
This is kind of how our bathroom will look, with recycled rimu shelves and green glass basins. The rimu planks looked like absolute rubbish when the Man bought them from some-one in the neighbourhood. But after loving care, sanding and oiling them 7 times by now, they glow!
He's so clever...
Slick and Stylish.
All the tiles are now up on the wall, and this weekend they will be grouted. I am getting excited to think we might have a working bathroom by Christmas!! 
Thank Goodness we still have another shower in the house...

Nov 11, 2011

Blue Rock-and-Roll lady and creations.

front number 1
I've made a whole bunch of new zip-bags , all made from re-purposed vintage linens, zips, thread and beads. I'll show you some of my favourites, they turned out sweet!
back number 1
They all have a little embroidered "danglie", just for fun.
front number 2
I loved this 70's embroidered linen.
back number 2
I backed it with a folklore motif tea towel. Blue polkadots on the inside. And a zappy lime-green zip.
number 3
This serviette had a great colour combination with blue-green. It is backed with red linen.
number 4
This one is a nice pencil case size. Also backed with red.
Chrome and dials.
Here a sewing machine of mine, a Toyota automatic zig-zag. I have seen the same machine on the internet also named as Morse Fotomatic IV.
About 2 years ago I found this lovely fifties machine in an opshop (ofcourse). I think she cost me NZ$45-. She came with a manual of a slightly newer machine, but it all works the same. And also a linen-covered wooden case, a blue foot pedal and a blue tin box with some extra parts.
I tried her out in the shop, on my knees on the ground in the shop.
This sewing machine is made of cast-iron. Neither the shopkeeper nor I could lift her... But I fell in love at first sight anyway, all that shiny chrome, she looks like an american car from the fifties.
We managed to get a nice bloke to put it in the back of my car, and at home I managed to get it into the house on a lifting trolley, then I had to wait for my man to come home to lift it up the table.

Toyota automatic zig-zag.
As you can see she sits on an old fashioned wood block: you can store things in it, by tilting the machine sideways. It has a wooden side-board on it which folds upwards to fit it into the case.
She would have been made between 1953 and 1961. The electrics have been checked over by the shops' electrician, and she sews fine, sometimes she skips some stitches though. So maybe I should have her checked over by a repair man.
 I adore all those chunky buttons, it makes big loud clanks and clicks when you turn the dials to the right stitches. Very re-assuring mechanically operated, no motherboards or micro-chips to break down, no tiny soldered connections to rattle loose. 
She was built to last!