Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I designed and made a big bunch of these crochet Christmas decorations eight Christmases ago, while I was pregnant with miss E, I've never had the time or inclination to try to make any since. I was, however, recently asked if I would write up the pattern for a publication. Today marked the deadline that I didn't meet. Epic fail.

It's not like I didn't try, I did take a bunch of photos, in the vain hope it would make my written words seem clearer. I tried writing it lots of different ways, to work with the photos. I worried about my "left-handed-ness" coming across in the written pattern, would a right handed person be able to make one in the same way I described? It's complicated construction meant, lots of little steps to describe, each seemed to confuse even me, the designer!

 It's a sad defeat, one I'm not at all happy about. I wasn't the only person submitting, so I haven't let the publication down, just myself, can you tell I'm disappointed? Please tell me you've "failed" at something lately too?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

catching up

 This week is all about "catching up" for me. Emails, washing, cleaning to name a few things that need attention! This space has been neglected but - I've got an exciting review and giveaway coming up this week! I'm excited!

In other news, the travelling stash box arrived at my house last week, I picked a few treasures and replaced them with some pieces from my stash. The kids wanted me to keep the whole box, but I made a restrained choice. Bag handles, some colourful buttons, a wee bit of fabric and some embroidered linens.

We visited a few extra op shops on our school holiday travels, including my all time favourite one. All the clothes there are $1 except for jackets which are $2! I always find some amazing clothes there and for $1 it's hard to go wrong. I picked up a very cool silk shirt that is undergoing a transformation as we speak.

I found some amazing fabrics for bargain prices! I always feel less guilty about adding to my stash if they haven't cost me the earth.

I found a pair of vintage sheets in original packaging! So starchy and crisp and of course well folded, it was a shame to wash them. But they looked amazing out on the washing line. I also bought an "unfinished cardigan", which actually equated to around 900g of pure New Zealand wool, once I had "frogged" it! For $5 it also included two sets of knitting needles, the best buy over the last few weeks.

I'm joining in with Max again with the Op-shop show-off. Do go and check out all the other amazing finds! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SO soft

My fingertips could tell it was something special.

When I saw the label I knew my fingertips were right. Then I saw another jumper too!

Two Merinomink jumpers in my size. At first destined to be turned into cardigans, then once home I did a quick online search only to discover how much these jumpers retail for! I don't think I could cut into them now. I've been wearing the charcoal one for a few days now, with a mix of merino, possum and silk, it's like being cuddled by a soft animal!

Joining in with Max - The Op-shop show off!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I spent the weekend at the St Francis Retreat Centre here in Auckland. I joined other members of Creative Fibre for a weekend of learning and creating (and eating!). The St Francis Retreat Centre is a beautiful old building, each of us had our own room. I took part in only one class, weaving. Learning the basics of warping up a loom (I've just been gifted one, so I was keen to learn all I could). The rest of the time I spent spinning, crocheting and talking. The retreat centre also does silent retreats, I don't think many of us from this weekend would be able to go on one of those!

 It was a lovely relaxing time, but now I'm in the thick of two weeks of school holidays. Traditionally these Winter holidays are my least favourite, often the weather means that we don't get out too much and cabin fever sets in. This time round, I've got a few activities up my sleeve if the weather decides not to go our way. But of course now that I'm all prepared the weather has been fantastic!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

a doll

I spotted this wee doll in the window of my local Salvation Army store, It looked well made, with a loving touch.

I asked to view it, and I was told by the lady that it was one of a pair (the other already sold) and this one didn't have a label, but the sold one did. The label stated that it was made in the United States of America, by a 90 year old woman, in the 1980's.

If all of that was true, she's in amazing condition. It looks like she was never played with, her apron and other clothing is crisp and bright. The details are amazing, the little shoes with buttons, beaded necklaces and hand stitched binding on the dress, she also has a solemn embroidered face. I was kind of disappointed that the other had sold already, but I'm sure she's found a good home.

Joining in with Max and her Op Shop Show Off! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

for love

The weather yesterday was amazing for this time of year, shorts and T-Shirt type weather in the middle of Winter! The kids and I made the most of it, spending many hours in the garden, the poor neglected garden. 

We discovered some potatoes to add to our dinner, there was a flurry of little hands finding "eggs" as one of them decided. I think possibly dinosaur eggs by the overheard conversation.

I received many compliments for my ginger crunch the other weekend. Many requests for the recipe followed so I thought I'd share it here (it's not really MY recipe either). I had to make a batch especially to photograph to accompany this post, so for the love of you dear readers, my family and I will suffer through eating this batch. I hope you appreciate all I do for you!

The recipe I use is a Jo Seagar one. You can find the recipe for wholemeal ginger crunch here. I use a tad less sugar in the base, I also use Ceres organic crystallized ginger for the base. It has the most amazing ZING compared to other crystallized ginger, I think it makes all the difference. The recipe is from  "A Treasury of New Zealand Baking". It's an amazing baking book, each and every recipe I've tried is a winner. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I once saw a bumper sticker type thing saying "Spinning, because knitting/crochet is not weird enough". OK it just said knitting, but I feel the need to add crochet in there too, since I don't knit!

It struck a chord with me, I think lots of people view handcrafts in that same way. Why make something yourself (from scratch) when you can go to a shop and buy it cheaper? Without the effort? I remember the time some mothers at playgroup said, in a not very nice way "I can only make a mess" once they discovered I'd made an item of clothing for one of my kids. I got the feeling they didn't think it was worth the time and effort.

Why indeed? Why take the time to spin fibre and then crochet/knit it into something functional? Why knit or crochet at all? Why sew clothes for your children when you can buy them so cheaply at shops? Why not go with the instant option?

Well, for one, taking the time to do something, make something with our hands is something special. The act of taking the time to make something for someone (or just for yourself) means a lot in today's throwaway, instant world! It's not always about saving money (crafters know this for sure!) but creating something that isn't mass produced. It's about doing something our ancestors did and making sure the skills and information remain for future generations. It's about having time away from television and computer screens and holding something tactile in our hands.

Getting back to basics and taking time to relax and enjoy the process, knitting, crochet, sewing or even cooking! It's good for you and your soul and that my friends is - priceless!

(The pictures are of a cowl I made this week,  my handspun yarn 50/50% Merino and silk and a make-it-up  pattern.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Timing is everything right? I've heard that said a lot. I'm in agreement, especially in this case. I quickly popped in to a local op shop last week , the shop is one I consider to be over priced - all of the time. I still go in, just in case. I spotted this wee wooden Russian Doll, in the "to be priced" pile -The manager was on her lunch break, presumably, as she was no where to be seen. So I asked the "fill in" person "how much please?" - "One dollar" was the reply.

 I snapped it up! I've long held a fascination for Russian Dolls, I'm pretty sure it's to do with a wee skit on Sesame Street that I remember from my childhood. It's a Russian Doll, that dances about and opens up to reveal all the mini dolls inside, they in turn dance all about and then pop back inside the big doll. Do you know it?

I know if the manager was there, she would have charged LOTS more for such a collectible. Timing IS everything.

Joining in with Max and - the op-shop show off! 

Monday, July 1, 2013


On Saturday I had the good fortune of teaching some lovely blogging friends spinning! Five spinning wheels took over Cat's cozy lounge. 

There were lots of laughs and some yummy food to share. Luckily for me, one student didn't need any teaching at all and was able to help teach too! I was able to teach her how to Navajo ply, a technique that produces a three ply yarn with a single thread - a bit too much technical  information I know! I was glad she was able to go away with a new technique learned.

The highlight for me was that by the end of the session everyone had produced some yarn and had a go at plying and were able to take something finished home. The skein below belongs to Lisa of Big Little, isn't it delicious?

Thank you so much Cat for hosting us and Lisa, Laura and Leonie you were all great students and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with you. There is talk of a follow up afternoon, I'm looking forward to it!