Sunday, December 27, 2009

The week after Christmas

The week that I love the most in all the year is the seven days between Christmas and New Year.
Here in New Zealand it is a time for relaxing and having fun in the sun with friends and family.

Actually there wasn't much sun in the afternoon on Boxing Day, but it was lovely for swimming and flying kites.

Although sometimes we are busy making hay, this year it was all finished on Christmas Eve.

Today after a delicious afternoon picking berries, I came home to have a quiet hour before dinner.
I cast on 26 stitches to make a border for a blanket made out of odds and ends .
I will show a proper photo later on when it is all completed.

I have knitted lengths of handspun yarn, lots of handspun scraps from previous projects, a bit like a patchwork quilt, and have knitted them together to make a cosy blanket. Too hot to spend a lot of time on this, but it is OK if I put the blanket on the table and not on my lap.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The end of a school year.

Time now for playing on the beach and building sandcastles,

picking plums,

and eating Sarah's delicious pavlova with berries and passionfruit couli. You might want to check out Sarah's new blog. It is called Spoon and Spatula and she has been cooking up a storm since her arrival home a week ago.
It is fantastic having your very own resident chef, believe me...she even cleans up !!

Watching some budding ballerinas have their last lesson for the year,

a proud moment for some doting grandparents.

Not many more sleeps now till Christmas.
I have been enjoying listening to this all day and dancing around the kitchen with my little ballerina

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gold Fortunes

Gold in the garden today,
and I have found another treasure that has been mislaid for a while. My much loved copy of From Breadballs To Brazil and Beyond by Bonnie Kennedy-Grant

This is a book about Bonnie's art and her craft and a memoir on her fascinating life. It is full of her embroideries, needlework and patchwork, with lots of anecdotes, stories, personal recollections and little lessons on how to create your own personal work.
This is a page on her little bullion flowers. There is much gold to be had amongst the pages of Bonnie's book. I am so glad I found it again.
I then found a little embroidery that I had started a couple of years ago using a scrap of Kaffe Fassett's fabric. I intend to finish this and put it on the wall before the end of the year.

But now for the real thing !

A gold fortune of chocolate, perfect payment for kisses from the grandchilren.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly

I am trying to imitate some of the colours I see in my garden right now with my hand dyeing.
It is always a surprise after spinning the dyed roving to see the finished result, and I am pretty happy with these soft lavender colours. The handspun yarn is 50% merino and 50% silk, 245 yards and is 12 w.p.i...soft, soft,silky soft.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Festive Times

Sarah (youngest daughter) is home for a few weeks, and today is baking Christmas cookies with Keira (4 yr old granddaughter)

I have made a couple more patchwork blankets/throws for the shop

and this
arrived in my letterbox from Lori Ann.
Lori lives in California and her blog is definitely a beautiful place to visit.
I am the proud recipient of the beautiful book My Nepenthe, a lovely colourful thick book, packed with lots of photos,delicious recipes and stories and anecdotes from Romney Steele, a writer, cook and food stylist and granddaughter of Bill and Lolly Fassett.
I can't wait to try some of these mouth watering recipes....thank you so much Lori, I LOVE it !!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Open Strings

Great excitement here on Saturday. I had all six of the grandchildren helping to decorate the Christmas tree, and as they arrived Esmae couldn't wait to show me something special.

Esmae now has a violin and has had a lesson from her Mum (Tamsin)...check out the bowhold !

New heights have been reached today.

and I shall spin and smile to myself, remembering other little fingers mastering those open strings.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good Times

Can one's life get any better that a big bowl of deliciously red cherries.......

Oh yes, when this big bag of silky soft fibre arrives in the letterbox.......

But this surpasses all that has come before............

YES...!!!!!!!!!!you are looking at a ticket to see and hear JAMES TAYLOR and CAROLE KING !!!
I can hardly believe it myself. I have been listening to these two fabulous musicians since I was fifteen years old. The very first LP I bought was Carole King's Tapestry and then soon after James Taylor's Mud Slide Slim. I have every song and every CD now, and what's more I know all the words and all the riffs !!!!Their music has documented all the special and important times in my life, and the sad ones too.
Last night they were on being interviewed about their concert here in NZ and I could hardly breathe whilst I was heart was doing little flip flops all over the place. Goodness knows what I am going to be like on the night I am actually THERE watching them on stage.
It's happening now , while I write about it !!
I think I should go and put some of that squishy squashy merino/silk fibre in the dyepot and see what colours I can come up with today. Phew, and find a fan super quick !

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day Tripper

I had a wonderful day in Wellington yesterday with my youngest daughter Sarah.

Sarah has just finished her last year of university and is starting work in January, she is coming home at the weekend for a month but then heads back to Wellington to a new life with a career and wages ....very exciting !

Wellington is always buzzing and yesterday was no exception. We didn't mind that it was drizzly with rain, Sarah had wheels and the parking fairy helped us get parks outside all my favorite shops !
One of the highlights of the day was a visit Minerva , the most fabulous textile bookshop in New Zealand. There I found this magazine

Quilts Japan

Lots of inspiration here and it doesn't matter at all that I don't understand Japanese...the diagrams and pictures are great.

We had some delicious food and I met Sarah's friends and new workplace. We spent time at Kirkcaldie and Stains beautiful Christmas display and I bought some Christmas presents for the family.

I flew home laden with bags and a happy heart.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The morning after a concert is always a delight.
I can sleep late and then have a lazy lie in with a cuppa and a good book ( or browsing the blogs, of course ).
This morning I did just that, and then wandered into my workshop and saw my loom and thought...I have time, I could finish that blanket today.

So I did.
I have woven a twill using a blend of possum/merino and alpaca/merino. The little orange stripe that you see is tussah silk.
It is very soft and light and is destined to become a warm cot blanket, I think, or perhaps a lap rug for my Mum when she is out and about in her wheelchair in the winter.
I am thinking I might do a similar one using all the odd balls of handspun that have grown into quite a large stash. I was saving them for knitting projects , but I think another blanket might be a good idea, while I have the loom set up.

Tomorrow I am off to Wellington. I am setting my alarm clock to 5.00am and meeting my daughter in Wellington for breakfast.!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Italian Symphony

On Saturday night our orchestra is playing The Italian Symphony by Mendelssohn, and this week my head is full of all things Italian...snippets of Italian conversation , images of Venice, and Florence and Rome, the sound of whispered voices and feet in churches, the church bells in Assisi, my own steps on the stone pathways in Orvieto, and many more.
Puccini statue in Lucca

It has been lovely to revisit all these memories again, almost as good as being there.

We are playing some Puccini, Verdi and Donizetti too and there will be a huge amount of energy released in the auditorium that night. It is going to be our last concert for the year and then we have a party and talk about the programme for 2010.
This year has flown so fast and the other day I discovered my amaryllis in the garden about to open up. I can hardly believe it has been a year since I saw her last in all her finery.
To help with the build up of pre-concert energy, I have found spinning to be wonderful. The rhythmic flow of hands and wheel is perfect to free up the mind to listen, and just be.

I dyed some corridale fleece in soft watercolours and then have spun it over the last couple of weeks. It is always a surprise to see the colours that appear after dyeing. This soft mint green and wisteria blue is one of my favorites. I am adding this to my shop this week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flower petals

One of my granddaughters was a little flowergirl at a wedding at the weekend.

Keira had her very own basket of rose petals to throw on the grassy pathway.

these are the flowers I love the most........sweet peas, and they are the first out of my garden this year.

I have them growing beside the beans and the leeks and the reason for that is they don't get overlooked when it comes to having a drink of water.