Tuesday, March 30, 2010

away in the sounds

For 4 glorious days we nestled ourselves along side the tui and bellbirds in the bush at Kaireperepe bay in the Marlborough Sounds. We ambled from the beach house down to the beach and back again (and again and again).
We went biscuiting behind the boat,
lost our thoughts out in the deep blue sea,
were mesmerised by a multitude of colourless and sting free jellies wafting and waving in their massage like motions,
vaguely understood what the carved tree fern people were saying when we visited the Lochmara Lodge,
waded in warm low tide waters,
to even smaller and less accessible beaches,
collected kai moana, 
marvelled at the brilliance and safety of two very long child gates, extending the whole way around the veranda, keeping her well penned in, 
encouraged a bit of make believe,
celebrated a 34th birthday... mine
breathed in and considered the canvas backdrop of the kauri timbers
felt pangs of nostalgia for the old food safe, left wanting and hungry
dreamed in dimly lit bunk rooms on spongy sprung mattresses,
felt heady in the darkness and drama of the bathroom,
saw poetry and patina in an antique plug
and laughed when I saw the brand name of the vintage washing machine planters.

It was a real privilege to stay and recharge our batteries here. It is out of the generosity and trust of the owners that they share their house, its history and seclusion for the benefit of others. Thank you Parker and Western families, for every lovely moment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

scissor hands

Check out these bad boys! I can hardly believe they're mine. They have been gifted my way via the lovely Deidre (whose blog will have you in satirical stitches of laughter). Deidre is also the force behind the fantastic Stash Rehash gigs. Both pairs of scissors are engraved in her name and one pair awards her title of "the best all round student" in 1988 at Polytech's Fashion School here in Christchurch. This kind of generosity coupled with the fact that they have obviously been sentimental to her, means that I now think of her as some kind of sewing fairy godmother whose spirit I will channel and call upon in times of sewing confusion or distress ..."Oh Scissors, tell me what Deidre would do..." 

Yes, they are heavy but they are very sexy. They cut long and make a mean sound when doing so (I'm tempted not to oil them for this very reason). Somehow I feel the intention of my every cut when I use them. The weight also means you are less likely to go swinging them around in a gesticulating fashion while you're talking and for that reason they feel safer to use because you're more conscious of them. Having said that, you want to know exactly where they are and what they are doing at any given time (had they a mind of their own, like the car Christine in the horror film and were they not under tight rein, someone might lose a leg). So, despite their somewhat intimidating presence in my sewing room (all the other scissors have run away nervously) I keep taking them down from the hook where they hang just to play with them, taking turns between each pair to cut the air.
The fabric in the background was pretty much the biggest fabric score of last year. It was snaffled up from some dingy corner of Jan Howdens legendary Mayfield Junk shop. I'm about to make cushions out of it. So sorry.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

finding fimo

Over and over again we get the Fimo out and mould and sculpt it into some strange and not so strange things with varying degrees of crudeness. We bake the pieces we are most proud of until they are quite unbreakable and use them to play with in the dolls house or to make small sets or dioramas. Grandma Becki still makes her own personalized buttons this way. The kids love it because its firmer than play dough to touch but as tactile and more permanent than plasticine. So fond of Fimo are we in these parts, that I once had a birthday whereby we stationed a Fimo craft corner as part of the evenings activities and prizes were awarded to the best creations. It was an adults party. But wait, things get weirder still..
Er yes, this is a Fimo toilet with a poo in it. At the insistent request of the 3 year old.
And much to my delight. Available from most stationary, craft and DIY stores. Go getcha selves some.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

sleepy and selfish

What a funny week that has been had. Felt like I was under some sort of a strange spell. 
There has been sickness and sleep deprivation too, so I've been relying on a lot of stimulants just to make it thru. But as always there have been lovely moments to savour.
The pears are dropping in abundance. If you live locally and want some let me know.
They are organic and from a prolific 100 year old grandaddy tree. Bon cretien variety.

I try my darnest to make sure none get wasted, but most years we resort to putting free bags of them on the side of the footpath. Upside is they have always been chocka in our freezer and make great winter crumble (with cardamon and cashews and ginger) and baby food galore. So far, no one has been donked by one falling. But the kids are in the direct line of fire as the sand pit is under the tree. Maybe I should enforce helmet wearing in the sandpit right thru march.
The veg garden has been wrapped in its snuggly winter pea straw blanket. 
I have discovered new ways to redirect the attention of the smallest child. She is dextrious and carefull enough to play with the pins in their cushion and also the old cotton reels, but alas she has tired of it lately. This is where bowls of things have come in handy. Bowls of nuts in their shells and measuring cups to transfer them to and fro in. A bowl of drift wood pieces and string. Who isn't partial to sucking on a salty piece of driftwood?I got myself a whole hour this way.

It's these little set ups that buy me time to sew along side her. A few seams in a dress that I work on and off on over a couple of days. I still feel selfish when I'm not sewing to finish an order or for the kids, but I have been working very hard to try and over come this. To proove it, I have a few garments to show that I've sewn for myself over summer.
A burda pattern, Comfy as with a side zip and lots of twirlability.

The was the first of my Japanese patterns (also from stylish dress book no.1).
It's a bit of a preggy number if you are used to things being more fitted.
But it's one that I will wear outside the house nevertheless. A good winter smock for wearing with merinos underneath.

This is a winner. A little Anna Maria number. A shape which I think would suit all shapes and sizes. I love the side seam pockets and I' m already cutting out another!

And finally, dress S from stylish dress book no.2. 

Fabric from these guys.

Had some probs with this one. But nothing that wasn't rectifiable with the seam ripper and made right again. It has a flouncy Alice in Wonderland feel to it. Not too Grand Motherly and pinny-like I hope. 

The pattern doesn't suggest you do the shirring high around the waist. But this clever lady does. I don't think it would of been right without it and it was so much fun to do, that I think I might be doing a lot more of it from now on.

It has to be said that one of the reasons I really like these patterns is because they have a lot of pleating and gathering around the neck lines. They puff and billow but look equally good cinched with a belt or shirring. This does wonders for creating fullness around a bust that is lacking or has dramatically diminished in size (having been suckled by 3 gorgeous babies for 3 years and ten months total). Not so selfish after all.