Oct 30, 2011

Say Cheese!

Fun party!
 So my brother had one of his famous dress-up parties, everyone always gets into it, and it means you are already having fun weeks before the event; trying to get your gear and props together. The theme this time was "Life of Brian" and they had hired a small movie theatre, where we all had drinks and middle-eastern snacks, and we watched the film . Most people were dressed as Romans or Arabs, a few bearded ladies, a seller of rocks for the stoning (my Dad looked like he always wears arabian dress). My brother actually made most of his Roman Centurion outfit himself, and his lovely wife looked an amazing Roman goddess.
However my man had come up with a related idea: we came as Brian and Hannah Tamaki. Those 2 are the self-proclaimed leaders of a church here in NZ, they get an income in the 6 figures, derived from the tithing of their followers, some of whom are the poorest and most under-privileged people in this country. Brian calls himself a bishop and she a pastor. She has been in the news lately with trying to worm herself into the leading role of the Maori Women's Welfare League, by rigging the votes in her favour.
As the "Wife of Brian", it took a lot of bronzing powder, and with big gold earrings and a plastic pink tiki around my neck , it got pretty tacky.
"He's not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy!"
Luckily for us most people got the joke!
There were some big Monty Python fans in the crowd, who (disturbingly) knew a lot of the script. But we all sang along with the end song "always look on the bright side of life!"

Happy Birthday M!
Our eldest is back in the country, she turned 20 in transit, so we had a little celebratory cake at her aunt & uncle's house. Little cousin was allowed to blow the candles too!

Yoghurt and ricotta.
And with my sis-in-law I attended a cheese-making course. It was very interesting, and much easier than you think. Hygiene and temperature are the key. On the left is yoghurt, so creamy it felt sinful to eat. On the right is ricotta, sprinkled with salt and herbs. Ricotta is made from the protein left in the whey, left over from cheese making. And I used some of the whey again to make pancakes!

My first little cheese.
This is my little brie-cheese, 2 weeks ago. Sis is making a washed rind cheese, which started out the same. Since then I have soaked it in brine, and turned it lots of times.
Brie about to be wrapped.
It now looks like this; covered in a furry white mould, which will give it its flavour.  Now it will mature wrapped up for another week or so, and then we will try it!
It's very exciting!

textile lollies
I have also been busy with needle and thread again, these are little danglies for on my zip pouches.
The colours make them look like lollies!
I even re-use some of the cut off bits of zips, you can roll them up and sew them into a little flower.

Time to eat!
And to top off our week, we had a lovely lunch on the deck with friends!
Oh I hope we will do this lots of times in the coming summery weather.

Oct 13, 2011


Chartreuse Light.
Our Oak tree has burst into leaf in the last 2 weeks, they are a chartreuse colour. Even the light outside seems tinged with it. It is a glorious spring colour and has a delectable name as well.
Chartreuse... mmm!
Also known as wax-eyes, they have the same lovely chartreuse colouring. They are very busy, fast little birds that never sit still, and live in traveling groups. They eat bugs and seeds and like the nectarwater. They quarrel and make squeaky peeping noises. The male can sing a wonderful high pitched song.

I put bits of threads from washing fabric outside this time of year, the birds sometimes grab them for making their nests.
Oak in flower.
The leaves are still feathery around the edges from newness, and the whole tree is flowering. You don't think about oaks having flowers, but the acorns have to come from something, don't they?

I was outside talking with my neighbour this afternoon, and an older gentleman stopped by. He turned out to be the son of the man that built this house. In 1941 he  had helped his father with the building of their new home. The tree was already there! He said that he used to do his study underneath it in the hot summer. It was a very interesting conversation, nice to have met him.

This evening we had a thunderstorm, and with the dark blue rain-sky, yet still plenty of light coming from the west, the colour was all lit up.
I sat on top of the kitchen bench with the window wide open , while I cooked dinner. The sound of the occasional thunder and the rushing sound of water and wind in the tree was refreshing. The bellbird thought so too and gave me a private performance.

Yellow and Green finds.
Since it is school holidays I did a little op-shopping in the shops that are only open during the time that I work. Some are only open once a week.
Zips in fresh spring colours, a vintage pattern and a 1901 music sheet for my paper packs, a golden yellow linen serviette for a zip pouch, and 3 skeins of gorgeously hand dyed embroidery cotton.

Wakey, wakey!
On Monday morning I was expecting to have a little sleep-in. But was woken up at 7:20 by a strange bird sound. I could not place it, so I got up, grabbed the camera, and found a partridge in a peartree a californian quail up in the Jacaranda tree.
 He flew away smoothly with a loud chookchook alarmcall.

She sees the sea shore.
The neighbours' jacaranda tree has now lost all its leaves (they hang on until the tree gets ready for the blue spring flowers), and there is a small sea-view out of the kitchen window.
 We can hear the waves crashing on the stony beach !
Leafy barkcloth.
Mint-green damask serviettes, hand embroidered roses from long ago, and a gorgeous length of 50's/60's barkcloth. Although just 22cm in width, I can still use it. Probably for zip pouches or handbags.

Having a spring-break at home is just fine with me!

Oct 12, 2011

My Handy Hubby!

Water labyrinth.
It's high time for a Bathroom Update. My bloke is spending every bit of his spare time watching the rugby working on our bathroom.
 The last photos were of the room being stripped of walls and ceilings. Then the plumber paid us a visit and got all the plumbing attached. It meant that the room below (my storage room) had to be emptied as much as possible, and the ceiling panels taken out, so that the waste-pipes could be gotten to.
 Luckily our eldest daughter is swanning around Europe somewhere, so all my fabrics and wool etc, is now heaped up in her room.
The Amazing Zucchini Brothers Circus Balancing Act.
 The heavy ceiling panels were next to go up. Thank heavens I didn't witness this....
Apparently this was a 1 man job.
Worked first time!
We have light.
 Then the electrician came around, and installed the lights, heater and extractor fan.
Insulation and braces.
Now insulation needed to go into the walls before the waterproof  panels went up. A friend with welding abilities made us some steel braces which the Man attached inside the wall. These are for supporting the wooden shelves in a seemingly floating manner. Clever thinking, huh!

It fits first go!
 Now he had to cut the 'villaboard' in exactly the right places so he could just slot all those braces and plumbing pipes straight through.
Bingo! No swearing required!
 He also drew on the plumbing diagram, so he wouldn't drill a hole into the pipes...
Closing up small and large holes.
The big hole in the wall where the hallway cupboard used to be is now covered up, and all nail holes are plastered in. Please note the earmuffs and dustmask.
Thanks mate for looking after yourself! I still want to be able to talk with you when you're an old man!
A paint job.
 Cornices/scotia are added to the gaps in the corners and a few licks of paint too. Now it's starting to look professional don't you think?
Time to cut the floor tiles.
 Oh dear a bit of swearing... One of his advisors (thanks MvdV) has informed him that it would be better if there was no paint on the bits of wall that will have tiles stuck to it.
Quite a bit of sanding later, and Man and home covered in fine dust, ready for the next step.
Which was leveling the floor with this goo, before laying out and cutting the floor tiles.
The floor tiles fit!
Wow, it's going to look fantastic! These will be glued in, then grouted.
 And that's where we are at the present.
 Our eldest girl is coming home from her O.E. next Monday (if all goes according to plan in Greece), and the plumber will not have been by then, so we just have to clear her room and fill it up again another day when he does have to connect stuff.
But that's just how it is. No big deal.
 Till the next update!

Oct 11, 2011

Cutting and Ripping.

(Is this 'Sting' I see before me?)

Apart from working at school and keeping the home rolling along, I have been playing with my 'new' old sewing machine. My brother, who is a Lord of the Rings tour guide asked me a while ago if I'd make a Fellowship cloak, so that his tourists can get into character while posing in the locations where parts of the film were shot.
 So I had a go. I followed some instructions from a LOTR fan site, and here are the results.  I was given permission to use these lovely peoples' pictures.
LOTR fan all dressed up on location.
I also made the Elvenleaf clasps, from fimo and silver wire. It is sewn on, and a hook and eye takes the strain of the closure. It was great fabric, but there was only so much of it. I thought the cloak turned out nice, although a little short.
Small sample of books for ripping up.
I also prepared a new batch of vintage papers for my packs that I sell for artists to use in collage etc.
Yes I rip up old vintage books. (stop crying you librarians out there!) . It's fun ! These books were all heading for the dump, and now they are going to be part of someone's art.
Piles of Pages.
Many people have been frightened by librarians and teachers and parents to be extra careful and respectful of books, so they just can't do this. A mental block. But I've gone and sinned for them, and now it's much easier to rip, cut, glue, paint, glaze, layer, stamp and even burn the paper further.
 Some of the paper is very old, like 80 +years, and has lovely old fonts and staining and foxing.
I have used dictionaries, encyclopaedias, chess, shorthand, music, storybooks, foreign languages etc.
It does mean I have to have a large stock, but I'm a natural 3d generation hoarder, so that's not a huge problem. I have a lot of kitchen cupboards not in use now...
(oh, stop rolling on the ground with laughter! )
Long hood on my elven cloak.
I really wanted to make a full size cloak, but was unable to find the right colour fabric in an affordable price. However I found this deep turquoise wool blend. Which is proving to be impossible to photograph, and I have really tweaked these as it is. It must be Elven Magic as Sam would say.

Embroidered with Oak and Hollie leaves.

I lined the long pointed hood with light blue satin and added an embroidered border of oak and holly leaves in a shiny deep blue. 
Again I made an elvenleaf brooch, this time white-silver coloured. The cloak has a wonderful drape and heaviness to it.

Silver and white ivy leaf brooch.

Another happy fan.
And it's already in use! Which pleases me no end!  Happy Birthday JM.

Oct 10, 2011

Exploring my Neighbourhood.

Coloured Bobbins and the Child.
 Another little display of the lovely bobbins with bright colours and a plaster child Jesu of Prague.

I haven't written for the whole of September! And I was going so well; regular-like.
We have just been getting on with the business of going to work, keeping things going at home, such as the bathroom. Which is going slow but steady, no hold-ups or disasters, not much swearing coming out of that room...Hahaha! A very good sign. Even most of the bills are paid!
Up, up, up we go.
We have been exploring our neighbourhood, and found a new way to get into town; more strenuous, but more panoramic too. We go over the hill and through a little park back down the hill to a coffee shop.
My blue sky neighbourhood.
 And when you look back you see our place from a whole different angle. Didn't get that in Hastings!
Our tree filled gully and drive.
I imagine you can't see this in the summer months, now we can see through the trees. Isn't our Oak tree massive!
Still amazed this is ours!
 I can see my kitchen curtains, haha. And on the deck is where we'll be sitting with our lunch.
Bananas in someone's garden.

Napier town through the trees.
 In the little park we zig-zag our way back down to get our Saturday morning coffee on a terrace in town.
McLean Park ready for the Rugby Cup.
We can see this sports' stadium from the end of our street. This whole country has gone super rugby mad ( that is even more than usual!) and I am so sick of the whole thing!! Amazingly enough I have actually watched parts of 4 games so far. I do have to wince each time they slam into each other though, and I even say "ouch" out loud...
 We've had the French and Canadians and the Japanese supporters here in town and Napier has been very welcoming to our visitors. It has been lovely hearing all the foreign languages in town.
Textile graffiti on the trees in Napier.
 These have really been liked by many people, local knitters and fibre artists "graffiti-bombed" the palmtrees in town. People have been stroking and patting the trees.
Pania knit bombing.
 I would like to have shown you the 3-d mermaid, or the knitted Canadian flag, but they got nicked...
Some naughty thief is cuddling that mermaid ...
Canada versus France world cup Rugby.
This was a cold night, but the singing and cheering was loud! Sorry, I forgot the score. ;)