Monday, September 29, 2008

21st birthday

This last weekend was spent in Wellington celebrating our youngest daughter's 21st birthday. Even though the weather was cold, rainy, windy and horrible we still managed to have a thoroughly great time in her flat with all her friends and quite a lot of family.
Phoebe was very interested in the decoration of the cupcakes...especially the jaffas.
Sarah wanted it to be an afternoon tea party outside in the garden, she had envisioned little cupcakes, cream scones, cherry cake, chocolate cake, lemon drizzle cake, platters of tiny sandwiches, etc, get the picture.

Instead her flatmates did a splendid job making the flat very festive and all the food was brought out in relays, as everyone kept eating steadily throughout the afternoon.

No more 21st birthdays for a while Mum's 80th next . I hope the sun will shine that day !

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We have several large kowhai trees that are home to a pair of tuis. I stood and watched their antics today as they were hanging upside down to extract the last drop of nectar from the kowhai flower. Do you see the black tui shape in the middle of the photo ?

The kowhai brings me inspiration to work some more on this, although I think I need more yellow in the blocks

I like the orange tulip with it too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Colour and Kuler

My garden has certainly been a huge source of inspiration in recent days. Yesterday I picked a big bunch of freesias and bought them inside and I was immediately drawn to spending some time on this crocheted blanket. I have written an earlier post on this afghan which is made up of lots of squares of different sizes. The designer was inspired by the colours and designs that Kaffe Fassett uses and you can find out all about it here.

I really enjoy working on this. The wools that I keep in a little cane basket and randomly select for each crocheted square are a visual treat alone, not to mention how they feel in my hands with a crochet hook , so fine and soft.

I was given a link to this wonderful website called Kuler which I must share with is a very exciting place to be, especially on a grey and dreary day.

The site is linked to photoshop but is extremely easy to use and you can create colour themes within your own photos. For instance in the photo of the flowers above...through kuler I can select seven colours from the photo and play with them..creating different shades of colour and changing them to suit. A wonderful resource for artists. Do go and visit if you have time, it opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Colour of Spring

In my garden I have so many wonderful things going on...the tulips are growing tall on their lovely long stems and the anemones have such sweet cheery faces. The stocks are sending a very strong perfumed message to the bees and the weeping cherries are weeping very prettily.

I have lived and worked in this garden for thirty three years and I can remember on many occasions when friends have visited and made comments like.."oh I can see that you love gardening, you must spend hours and hours looking after it all" !

I nearly always would reply "No I don't like gardening, I would much rather be in my workshop sewing...gardening is too much like housework!"

This morning though, as I was wandering around looking at all the new flowers that seem to have appeared since yesterday, I had a wave of extreme thankfulness wash over me and I realised that this garden is such an amazing gift, a legacy left to me by the previous generations of Ian's family...the mother, grandmother and great grandmother. How very lucky am I to be the custodian of this place for now!

A special request

This cute little person has been staying with us for the last few days and she has made a special request....she couldn't decide between the mermaid or a mouse so has chosen both.......

They are found in this book .

Phoebe's big sister Esmae has requested a Magic Unicorn which I have started already.

I think my knitting needles are going to be red hot and busy, busy, busy with all these special requests !

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Music Making

I have been spending lots of hours trying to make my fingers move faster on this piece. It is the Ibert Flute Concerto and our orchestra is hosting a Young Musicians Concerto Concert this Saturday night.

We have seven concertos to play and seven very talented young soloists. The Ibert is difficult but very exciting and you can hear the 1st movement here.

Along with Ibert, we are playing some Mozart, Beethoven, Telemann, Vivaldi, Haydn,
Saint Saens and Weber.

Read all about the programme for Saturday here.

I have been thinking about comfort food to get myself through all the rehearsals and today I have a big pot of vegetable soup simmering on the stove, and these just came out of the oven.

There are lots of recipes for flapjacks out there but this one from Yarnstorm works every time, and now I am going to take a break from "TOO many notes "and have a cup of tea and a flapjack.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Ballerina Bunny

I had a little diversion this week and took time out from Tristan's Cobblestone Pullover to make this little rabbit.
She is going to amuse my grandchildren I am sure.
The pattern is in this book, which is full of delightful handknits for children, and I couldn't resist

the dancing bunnies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Would you like a slice

Would you like a slice ??

of my Cherry Cake ? Yes, I've made another one and it tastes just as good as the first, so I thought I would share the recipe.
Here goes:

Cherry Cake from the W.I.recipe book


4 ozs glace cherries, 4 0zs butter, 4 ozs margarine( I used Weightwatchers Canola Spread),8 ozs castor sugar, 3 large eggs, 4ozs ground almonds, 8 ozs plain flour, 1tsp Baking Powder, 1 tsp almond essence,1 tsp demerara sugar for sprinkling on the top of the cake.


Heat oven to 140 degrees C and prepare and line a deep round tin. Wash and dry the cherries and cut in halves. Cream butter, sugar, and margarine together. Whisk eggs and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Add almond essence and cherries. Fold in gently the seived flour and B.P. and the ground almonds. Put mixture in tin and sprinkle demerara sugar on the top of the cake. Bake for 2 1/4 hours at 140 degreesC or 275 F.

Good luck!!!

Blanket for Billie

I have two dogs Basil and Billie. Unfortunately they are not the best of friends. Basil is nine and Billie will soon be two. I had to pose them for this shot because they don't usually even sit or lie down together.

Yesterday I decided to make a new blanket......I thought that perhaps they might share it happily

But no, Billie claimed it for his own and Basil raced off to the bathroom to zealously guard his faourite spot on the heated tiled floor, along with my slipper.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Simple Pleasures

The importance of taking time to stop , smell the flowers, enjoy a cup of tea, knit a few rows and delve into the latest knitting book from the library cannot be underestimated !

Listening to the latest CD from Dave Dobbyn...Anotherland

lifts my mood a lot. So does this book

A Fine Fleece..knitting with handspun yarns by Lisa Lloyd. I think I shall probably have to buy this book from here, because I cannot have it on permanent loan from the library. On every page of this book there is something I would like to !!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Needlework and Stitchery

Recently I was given a little book full of needlework, knitting, crochet, and sewing patterns. It is missing it's cover and the first few pages, but the rest of the book is complete and transports me back to 1914, with patterns from a ladies camisole to the latest fashion in inexpensive motor bonnet !

This book is a dear little gem, full of ideas, suggestions and instructions on needlework and stitchery. It also has lots of advertisements for all manner of goods that you could buy in 1914.

The caption under this one says...Under these circumstances knitting progresses slowly.

I was so thrilled to receive this book, it even has some poetry and quotes.
I rather like this one :
He who is silent is forgotten, he who does not advance falls back, he who stops is overwhelmed, distanced, crushed; he who ceases to grow greater becomes smaller; he who leaves off, gives up....H.F.Amiel

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Life

We had a happy day on Sunday visiting our son and his family on the dairy farm he manages.

They have struggled through three snowfalls over the winter months, which is highly unusual for this province, but now there are signs of spring everywhere.

This little puppy is almost two weeks old and has eight siblings.

Storm, the proud hard working Mum.

These are a few of the many calves that our daughter-in-law Sylvia has been hand rearing. They are just beautiful, and their shiny coats prove the loving care that they receive from her.

These two are both friesan calves but the one on the right has a special gene..the red factor.

Number 10 became very curious. I think she rather liked my knitted jacket, she might have been hoping that I would knit her something stylish too.

Perhaps a warm bonnet, with openings for the ears, a fetching little number in red. That would make her stand out from the crowd !