Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I was totally inspired by this post by Dee, about using a tray from the thrift store as a magnet board. This wasn't however what I had in mind while searching for one. I was looking for something that might look good with a makeover of mod podge and fabric, but I loved the design on this one so much I didn't have the heart to cover it up - so the hunt goes on. This lives in my pantry now, the perfect place for my shopping list and recipes to try. Things I want handy but not necessarily on the fridge for all to see. For a hanger I used "liquid nails" and a pull tab from a tin can. I have a warning though, while you wait for the "liquid nails" to dry to leave it anywhere near a curious five year old, needless to say it doesn't look as neat on the back as I would have hoped - lucky it's just the back huh?

See that little certificate at the bottom? Well I recently made a scarf for my neighbour from her Angora rabbit homespun yarn and at a national rabbit show she went to, entered it into the knit/crochet garment section. It won first prize! I was certainly amazed as I didn't even know that she was entering it. What a nice surprise.

Monday, August 29, 2011


It's funny how time can sometimes slip through your fingers, I started this shawl quite a few months ago. Working on it a bit each week at a creative fibre group I go to on a Monday night. The bulk of it worked up very quickly but it's lay unfinished for quite a few weeks now. The thing is tomorrow I have to hand it in for a local competition. So all of a sudden after weeks of inactivity it's finished, washed a blocked and labelled. Only thing is I've got no one on hand (other than a two year old)to take a photo of it for me from behind as I intended it to be worn, so you have to settle for a terrible self portrait. It's shawl size but it's worked in lace weight yarn (50/50 silk merino) from Jess of "Spinning a yarn" so it can also work quite well as a scarf too (so you could easily wear it around your neck as I am here). The yarn is stunning, Jess dyes it and this colour way is lilac, you can find her etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/spinningayarn

It's great to have it finished, another item checked off the list. Now to get on to the rest of the long list of "to do's"

The pattern is an improvised one by the way - sorry no link :(

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Recently my local Salvation Army store was overflowing with silver, framed needlepoint and some fabulous vintage fabric in pristine condition. I got the feeling that they all came from the same person and perhaps a deceased estate, which seemed really sad. All these lovely collections ending up there, but it was nice for me to have a peek through all the collections. I picked up a little something from each collection, a lovely framed needlepoint of nasturtiums, some amazing fabric that I'll share once I get back into sewing mode and this silver centerpiece. I've been looking for a centerpiece for sometime and never seen anything that I liked or any centerpieces for that matter. Anyway I thought that this was perfect for what I was looking for, it's got a bit in the middle for pushing flower stems through but it can also be removed if you want to fill it with something other than flowers or float a flower in the middle. We celebrated my husband's birthday last week and the kids loved eating by candlelight, so much so we have been eating by candlelight ever since!

I'm really looking forward to bringing it out lighting the candles at many more celebrations in the years ahead.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

for the birds - part 3

Each year in Winter we have been feeding our local wild birds - by local I mean the ones that visit our garden. We made pinecone feeders the first year.  Last year we made bird cake and hung it in bags, but this year I was inspired by something that I saw on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/pin/118534946/ . It was really easy to do and instead of using straws to make holes I just used the end of a wooden spoon. We hung them up using some hemp twine from Trade Aid. They look nice on the bare Winter branches, a bit like decorations.

No birds have taken advantage of the free food yet, but just like previous years I know that once they find it it won't take long till it's all gone.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Edith & I

I love Edith Holden's botanical work, it's stunning and I so wish that I could paint like she did. I recently purchased (from Trademe) a book about her life called " The Edwardian Lady", it was really interesting to read more about her life and to discover that we share the same birthday. Edith died tragically as she was gathering botanical samples to paint at Kew at the age of 48. Like many artists she found fame long after her death, in her case nearly 60 years later when her book was published "The country diary of a Edwardian lady".

I had a very tatty copy of that book almost every page had fallen out from it's binding and when I discovered a copy in much better condition at a local secondhand book sale it had sat quite forgotten on a shelf. It was hard to cut up the pages as I love the images so much, but as I do have another copy now it seemed a sensible thing to do. A friend is heading overseas and wants to take some of my stitched cards with her to give as gifts so I've made a bunch of Edith Holden ones for her to take. I also abandoned the sewing machine for some of them and hand sewed some of the images on for a very "rustic" look, I love how some of the images wrap around the card and the stitching shows through. I've bundled them up in groups, like birds and "bramble" ones and pretty wildflowers. I do have some spare that I'll hopefully pop in my etsy shop over the next few days.

After a very bad start to the week weather-wise, it even snowed (a teeny tiny bit) here in Auckland! It's a stunning day today, clear skies and lots of sun, I'm heading out into the garden to make the most of it. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I was quite excited when I saw this lidded pot at the local Salvation Army store. I thought it was a vintage piece of milk glass and I'm sure I'd seen something similar in a Martha Stewart magazine. I popped it in the pram and headed home to wash it up. As I did I spotted something that disappointed me somewhat a maker's mark or in this case a brand on the bottom, can you guess who made my piece of milk glass???? - Avon! I am a little disappointed that it's not as old as I thought, but I still like it. It's on my bedside table at the moment but with two little ones who like to visit for snuggles in the morning it might need to find a new resting place.

Have you had any fabulous finds at the thrift store that weren't quite what you thought when you got them home? No? Just me then.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

new week

I really don't know what went wrong this week, it started off so well. I've been trying hard to keep on top of domestic duties, like clearing the bench of all dishes before bed and organising dinner early or better still in the crock pot. It's a nice feeling to start the day with a clean bench and the morning seems to go so much better. The start of the week went well, bench cleared, washing hung out and put away (rather than just left in a heap on the couch or in a basket) dinner in the crock pot for the first few days = very little dinner dishes to complete, I was feeling quite smug about how organised I was becoming. Then snap, come Wednesday it all turned to custard and quite quickly. By Thursday there was washing everywhere, I found myself making breakfast amongst dirty dishes and also the clean ones that I hadn't put away. I cut up some grapefruit and soaked it overnight to make some marmalade, then discovered that I just couldn't fit the cooking in and had to pop it in the fridge till the following day( I hoped). The dishwasher was empty, but no dirty dishes seemed to be making it in, I was quickly running out of bench space all together. Then Mr A headed outside, ignoring all the mess, we made the most of some sunshine and got to work in the garden, planting and digging together (and mr A, pulling out the plants I'd just planted).

The thing with the housework is it NEVER ends, there will always be more dishes, dinners to cook, washing to fold and toilets to clean. But there won't always be sunshine to garden with your two year old, working together in some winter sunshine. A new week lies ahead, maybe I might be more organised and have a clean and tidy bench or maybe I might just leave it and make the most of some sunshine instead.

I did get around to finish making some marmalade and also some lemon curd, but the bench was a total mess when I'd finished, that's why they are cooling on the windowsill!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I've added a few more Orchid upcycled cards to my etsy shop, a few people asked if I had anymore so I thought I better get a move on and get some listed. I've got a few more things to list too so keep an eye out.

That's all for today, the sun is shining outside and I'm keen to make the most of it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

citrus love

There has been lots of citrus love around here lately, lemon curd, preserved lemons, fresh grapefruit and oranges too. It seems it all can't get eaten and used fast enough. My friend gave me some grapefruit and inside the bag she included a great recipe that I'm excited to share as it's so EASY and well, we all need some easy in our lives. So here it goes:

Natalie's magic orange cake

1 whole orange washed and chopped roughly
125g melted butter
1 C sugar
2 med/large eggs
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t Baking powder ( or 1 1/2 cup of self raising flour)

Preheat the oven to 180 oC

Put all the ingredients into a food processor, yip that's it.

Pour into a cake tin or loaf pan or muffin pans. Cook until springs back when touched. I've found that is around 35 mins for a cake or 15-20 mins for muffins.

You can ice it or drizzle some orange syrup over it or leave it plain. I have made it with a grapefruit instead of a orange and it was nice if you like a tangy muffin. I've also made a version with a cup of grated carrot in it and some raisins as muffins for the school lunchbox. It seems to freeze well too! Yum!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The last day of the school holidays was the most stunning day (weather-wise) that we've had in a very long time. Wanting to make the most of it we headed to a local beach to have some fish and chips for lunch. Miss E was very keen and waded into the water! There were actually children swimming! in July! You know like July as in the middle of Winter! Admittedly it was very warm in the sun but still. It was great fun and all the talk on the way home was about the up and coming warm weather and lots more trips to the beach. A perfect way to end the holidays.