Thursday, January 31, 2008

Out and About

Thinking about exercise and keeping fit for this year I decided to join a yoga class with a friend.
Yesterday was the first day, and I recklessly assured the teacher after her question "have you done a shoulder stand before"...."Oh yes" nodding my head confidently. Of course the reality is that the last shoulder stand I executed was way back in the seventies.

Today I can feel every muscle in my body, especially my shoulder and back muscles...uum if it wasn't so hot I might be tempted to spend the day here with a big pile of books and my knitting. If only.........

The day before I was out in town shopping with my daughter and granddaughters and we all agreed it was a perfect time to have a raspberry milkshake. There is a dear little cafe right on the beach with a great playground for the children, a favorite place for families in the summer.

Today is the last day of January, how fast this first month has flown by........

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blanket love

I have been thinking about blankets, quilts, afghans, throws, shawls, pashminas,wraps, in fact anything that can be wrapped around a loved one, or to cover them in bed, or to wrap them up in warmth and comfort whilst having a sickie on the couch.
For me personally, I find this to be an ultimate expression of love for that other person. To make them them a shawl , afghan, wrap (any of the above) and to see it giving warmth and comfort brings such delight and satisfaction. Nurturing !

Talking about nurturing make me think about Joan ( Ian's Mum)
My mother-in-law didn't sew, knit, crochet, spin or do any of those handcrafts that other rural women , raising a family in the fifties, and sixties did.

She grew up being fostered by a relative who didn't make time to show her those skills. Instead she showed her love by enveloping everyone that came to her door with wonderful hospitality, and marvellous meals, and a sweet graciousness.
She was a wonderful teacher to me in the early days of my marriage. This cake was a firm favorite of ours when our men were out in the paddocks haymaking.

Pineapple Christmas Cake
1.5 kg mixed fruit
450g crushed pineapple
3 cups flour
1tsp.cinnamon and mixed spice
225g butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp.each of vanilla, almond and lemon essence
6 large eggs

Place mixed fruit and pinapple in a large bowl and leave overnight in a warm place.
Mix spices with flour. Cream butter sugar and essences then beat in eggs one at a time, adding about two tbsps of spiced flour with each egg.Toss tog. the prepared fruit and the remaining spiced flour in a large bowl. Stir in creamed mixture. Put mixture into a paper lined 23 cm cake tin and bake at 150c for 1 1/2 hours then 130c for approx.2 hrs.

I am loving every minute spent making the ripple afghan and am already thinking about the next crocheted project..uuum yes another blanket. I might have a go at this one, the Babette Blanket in the Interweave Crochet mag 2006

Of course I should finish this woven blanket for Alexander , although as it is his birthday on 1st April, I still have plenty of time. It has been a little too hot to sit at my loom for very long.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Pleasures abound when Treasures are found

I have taken on the task of visiting local recycling centres and used clothing places to hunt out fabrics for Melissa. I have had a" rummaging around outing" twice this week already, and I am sorry to say that no barkcloth, or vintage fabrics, no delicate little embroideries for Melissa's baby shoes could I find.

However I thought I would share these treasures. When my eye spied these and I handed over a few dollars for their purchase, I have to say I sang very loudly in the car on the way home!

This is Royal Winton, and before you all gasp with amazement, it does have a small hairline crack running from one side into the middle. Nevertheless at $5.00 I couldn't believe my good fortune. I adore the colour of this piece. It doesn't show so well in the photo, but it is actually a beautiful turquoise shade.

Then more browsing around and I found an old pile of music with these treasures

This fits in very nicely with one of my New Year spend a little time each week playing my piano before I lose the skill completely. Years ago it was a pleasure that I indulged in daily, but the violin superseded that, so I plan on reclaiming some time.

This dear little pink botttle found it's way home with me, and the rose is Aotearoa.

It seems a little mean to show this next pic. I am sorry Melissa, I know you are missing a feast of these at the moment, but I wanted you to see your green bowl and I thought the colours together were great!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Caring and Sharing

Not many words today, but this is what I have been doing in the last few days:

Caring for two of our granddaughters, enjoying all the shared activities and now feeling more than a little flat that they have gone home.

Swimming here in a snatched hour or two when it was too hot to work.

Sharing a cup of tea and some sugared almonds with my patchwork friends,

and finding a little time to quilt .

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Amongst the beans and strawberries

I have been spending the days this week digging weeds and mulching the garden, and lots of watering time!

The weather has been very hot, and each day I have seen lots of new growth everywhere.

I haven't spent many hours with any crafty intention, although I am sticking to the schedule of trying to spend some time on this garden every evening.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Jacaranda Tree

There is a street that I drive through on the way to do my shopping. It has become very familiar over the years, but this is the time of year that I love passing by the most.
There are several large jacaranda trees growing outside people's houses, quite close in fact. The abundant blossoms give a wonderful purply shade to those who loiter underneath the branches.

I think it was three years ago that I planted our own Jacaranda tree in the garden. It is growing well and seems to be healthy and happy, but there are no signs of the characteristic blue and purple flowers yet.

About the same time I started stitching a Jacaranda tree.

See the bird perched on a branch. I bought this from a dear little haberdashery shop in Orvieto in Italy. I would have loved to linger to gaze at the many button trays displayed so tantalizingly but the bus was waiting to leave, and I felt very fortunate to be clutching my tiny purchase as I clambered on board.

Maybe the Jacaranda tree growing in my garden will decide to flower when I finish the stitching!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Big Bowl of Cherries

"Life is a bowl of cherries", so they say.

I felt like eating some cherries today but I might curb my natural instinct of making a pig of myself over them. There has been a nasty tummy bug in this household all week, and I have managed to steer clear of it so far. My DH has been very miserable and "not like himself".

Another big thing that has happened is our computer also became ill and needed major surgery, in fact I would go so far as to say that it ended up with several transplants. Things taken out and put back in a different order, the worst of which is my email history and address book which has gone,gone GONE, never to be retrieved again.
A clean sweep!
Oh well, cest la vie.

Once I got over the drama of it all and faced the withdrawal symptoms of several days without a PC, I actually found it quite liberating, and am now contemplating a computer-free day once a week....maybe.......hmm perhaps not.

I managed to finish these for the Creative Fibre Stall on Friday. I really don't know why one vest turned out bigger than the other.

I think I am a little addicted to the cyberspace and all the info at one's fingertips, not to mention important communication with one's loved ones on the other side of the world.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Patchwork Today

I love the start of a New Year and I especially love a diary or a little book with new clean pages to write thoughts and "things to do".

I have a little black diary for all the books I will read this year and the knitting , patchwork, weaving , spinning projects etc.

I think I will include the plants and bulbs I plant this year in its pages too.

I spent some time today sewing squares together and listening to the Debussy and Ravel String Quartets played by our NZ String Quartet. These two quartets are my favorite and well worth a listen if you click on the link.
Actually I am not sure if this link thingy is working, so you might have to google it instead.

The music helped to make the sewing flow together.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Splashing about

I had my first swim of the year today and it was very refreshing and just what I needed to do on a hot windy afternoon.

My eldest son manages a big dairy farm about an hour and a half from where we live, and he and his little family live in a beautiful farmhouse with a verandah all the way around and climbing roses on every they have a swimming pool!

Splashing about in the pool with the little ones shrieking with glee , smelling the farm smells and listening to the bird calls in the trees surrounding the property was bliss, and to think that I very nearly didn't go because I wanted to work on this:

I started this late on New Year's Day. I was thinking about Melissa and her family and wanted to do something that didn't require me to engage my head, just my hands. So I mindlessly cut lots of squares from fabric I have had in my stash for a while, and kept cutting and sorting and cutting and sorting until I had covered the spare bed ( so recently vacated ) in squares of aqua, blue and green.

I am still not wholly satisfied that the squares are in their rightful places, I might need to play some more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year and a new beginning in Norway

My New Year's day started early this morning.We were at the airport bright and early to see our eldest daughter Melissa (tinyhappy) and her family off on their first part of the long journey to Norway. This day has been building up for weeks but they went off with smiles and only a few shiny tears, and we know this is going to be a wonderful adventure for them all and for us when we visit them later on this year!

Safe travels Melissa and Tom, Arlo and Keira.

Haere ra whanau aroha nui !

I will play some of Greig's music tonight and think of you all, and imagine the landscape that you will soon be living in.