Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Finally the space has been reached where home is home again. A sun drenched and still Sunday in New Zealand on a beautiful beach surrounded by green hills with the boys paddling on surf boards reminds me how we can exist so far away from Australia. I wonder if it is a normal thing for people to go through this short-term period of adjustment every time they travel between their two countries. My brain is beginning to spark with new ideas and the painting I began prior to leaving is beckoning like an affair (not that I have ever had one but sometimes I feel I am a little reckless with my responsibilities just so I can immerse myself in a world that is made by that moment where my hands touch a paintbrush or pick up knitting needles).

The boys are outside in the last golden light. Monday is peeping around the corner while they make the most of their dizzy freedom. The photo above was taken at Tim and Bella's house with that very same light streaming through into the kitchen. Light that is so bright but just on the turn. You feel like lifting your hands up, grasping it as if to stave away change.

Anyway, enough melancholy, pancake night now. Time to start sizzling butter and flipping thin disks of alchemical batter into the air. There will be no bending to the rules of good nutrition, we don't do savoury pancakes and there will never be anything healthy about our Sunday nights.... thank goodness.

Gluten-Free Pancakes
2.25 cups G.F. Self-Raising Flour
3 eggs
3 cups of milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Add a little bit more milk at the very end to get a reasonably thin batter then heat the fry pan, add the butter and pour.... the rest is hopefully self-explanatory - flip when it stops looking wet..... slather it with something sweet and fatty.

Picnik collage of Melbourne shops

Finally, here are the photos of the things I went mad over on my Bella's tour of Melbourne (you have to be friends with her for a while before she will take you on one though...). The picnik collage above and below consist of photos taken from the most amazing shop 'Sedonia' which can be found at 41 Gamon St. Seddon. They specialise in local handmade goods and have literally the best selection of goods I have seen on so long - I am not being paid for this I promise. The Babushka dolls and hairbands are my favourite things and the packaging is divine. I also just love the mobile in the bottom right hand corner with the little girl hanging out casually in her mother's belly.

The shop featured above is called 'Winkle', we found it by accident on Armstrong St. (Number 26), Middle Park when we were trying to track down a shop I loved ten years ago and couldn't remember where it was... just the general direction. Honestly, I did feel so greedy for colour when I walk in - the necklaces are edivine, a cross between edible and divine. Both shops were very nice and let me take lots of photos while talking like a fast paced lunatic. Thank you very much for being so kind.

The last collage has been assemble from shops that were unfortunately closed being a Monday (back in my day this simply did not happen) so I guiltily peered through the window and snapped away, Bella sitting in the ute with engine running so I could jump in for a quick getaway - hopefully next time 'Specklefarm' and 'Empire Vintage' will let me come in. And that is the tour!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another collage from Picnik

Here is another little snifter from my trip to Melbourne, I can't wait until next week when I have time to upload photos from the beautiful shops I languished in, filled to the brim with amazing hand-made stuff that I wished forlornly were of my creation.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Araucana hens

I would like to say they are running toward me but I think they found the camera a little alarming and it certainly doesn't carry the irresistible scent of rotting cabbage.

The eggs slumbering, warm and perfect.

I thought I had better elaborate on my previous post by adding that our hens are Araucana and were allegedly immortalised by one plump beauty laying the muse of Dr. Seuss's masterpiece, "Green Eggs and Ham". Our chooks were gathered from the wild and are certainly not purebred resulting in a colour more blue than green. I have read that they originate from South America but I would love to hear from anyone with further or more correct information

Picnik Collage

This is my first attempt at making a collage on Picnik and who better to include than Jonno, Archie and Hugo welcoming me home - note Hugo's new and extremely alarming habit, a nice touch having garden chemicals behind - most organic but still..... I found a tutorial on Lucy Bowler's blog (alright, she is my sister) and thought what a great way to get lots of photos up.

Strolling down to the chook shed this afternoon was sheer, giddy, heaven. The hen featured at the top is giving me the eye, she pecked me but thankfully my skin withstood the assault, who is to say however, that she hasn't acquired a taste for me.

These are the things that bring my soul home and make it settle in one place rather than having its precious gossamer stretched from one country to another. Our bright blue barn, adventurous kittens not quite ready to be weaned and fruit fattening in the orchard..... I have to say though, the nectarines are showing suspicious bites and after reading a vampire series, I am very pleased to say they don't look like fang marks.

Melbourne to Omokoroa

A sneak peek into my Melbourne photos - this is taken in a shop called Sedonia - I will trickle some more through later.

My parents farm in North-East Victoria

Taken through the window of a beautiful shop called Speckle Farm - they were closed...

Last night I arrived back on our doorstep bedraggled and slightly jet-lagged (I don't really know if it is possible from so short a flight, tired anyway) and was welcomed back by Jonno, Archie and Hugo. They have all grown so much, although Jonno's hair has shrunk, he may have had a haircut. So good to be home but very sad saying goodbye to my Melbourne family. At the moment I am feeling a little between two worlds, no doubt a good nap after lunch will help me to ground into New Zealand soil again. And a trip to the chook shed may be helpful, to feel a warm freshly laid, blue-green egg again and walk through the orchard with all the trees starting to put colour into their nectarines. These things will help.
When I have the energy I will post lots and lots of photos from the amazing shops I saw that were filled to the brim with beautiful hand made stuff. I love stuff. Off to hang some sheets on the line.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My nephew Tom
My niece Sophie

Thank goodness I have been able to get near a computer. I almost feel as though I have had a restraining order against me it has been so hard to caress the keyboard and post a post. Right now I am babysitting my niece and nephew (their faces may be familiar from the Lucy Bowler blog listed below) which sounds very altruistic except for factoring in the meal provided, wine generously splashed repeatedly into a glass and a brand new apple mac to play with.... hmmm.

It is so deliriously good to be back in Australia, I love New Zealand so much but I am a genetic piece of an Australian puzzle which makes me fit into my homeland like nowhere else. The air smells as it should and encircles me in this certain silky way that re-dresses my soul in pyjamas. And the little bit of extra nurturing that comes from having four parents is a balm like no other - as evidenced by my step dad re-ravelling my tangled wool.

A glass of wine, knitting, a verandah and the cry of a million birds rejoicing in a rare, green afternoon.

A glimpse from our delicious Tim and Bellas' new house in Melbourne, beautiful bits spring forth from their every nook (there will be no talk of crannys).

And to everyone in New Zealand, I can't wait to see you when I get back and Christel, everytime I have a cup of tea I am wondering if you are joining me. I will post again as soon as I can. Lots of love xxooxxooxx.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saying Goodbye

This is my token craft photo, Hugo in my first beanie attempt and my little brother Mike - who is destined to become a star.

My big boys this morning reading their new library books

Is any explanation necessary - Obviously Archie heading off to battle and saying farewell to the crowds with his fairy tale princess.

I am away to Australia this week with Jonno and leaving Archie and Hugo with their very loving grandparents. Archie is my biggest blog fan so I thought it might be a thrill for him to find this photo. I will try and do the occasional post while I am away but they will be sporadic at best. Take care and I will be back with more a.s.a.p. xxooxxooxx

Friday, November 14, 2008

Experimental Jewellery Making

This the beginning of my next necklace experiment.

Knitting a Forest

I will return with my words in the evening, they seem to have gone for a walk without telling me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Roses and Wool

A little bit of colour from the morning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Capturing the Light

This painting has been photographed above unfinished. The light was too good to resist.

Hugo came home for his pre-school today with a new song to learn. It is so beautiful and the words spoke to me so much in this day.

E Tu Kahikatea

Hei whakapae ururoa

Awhi mai awhi atu

Tatou tatou e

Stand tall Kahikatea

To brave all the storms

Let us embrace each other

We are one together

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hand Printed Cushions

One morning I woke early and to my surprise, this is what I found.

This photo is like finding an old love, my first fabric prints - archival craft 2007

I nap every day. By lunch time I begin to feel vulnerable and exposed and the only way I can regather my skin is by lying down during Hugo's nap-time with my eyes and ears closed to the world. This napping fetish does not mean that I am unambitious. I have this huge drive every day to create (no longer dramas and tantrums as in my youth), I need something tangible at the end of everyday that stands the test of time longer than a freshly folded pile of laundry or plate of dinner ever could.
Today however, I did nothing (although my hands are beginning to twitch for my knitting needles), instead I played with my Scottish friend Jackie MacToohey and our little boys - she also has two, Ben at school and Luke, twenty months. Hugo and Luke did all the funny things small boys do as well as feed the lamb and play with the kittens. It was heaven and to let go from my self-imposed schedule of creativity was liberating. It was so good to escape from my idea of what the day should be and instead plunge into the day as it unfurled. Doesn't mean that I am not planning to paint tomorrow though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blossom Bracelets

This is what I have been knitting towards.

This is the treat stage, when I finally begin to assemble the pieces.

This is Archie on the way to a birthday party dressed as his favourite book character, King Richard (from Robin Hood). The crown was a joint family project made at the last minute to Archie's strictest instructions. Lucy, (her address is Lucy Bowler in the links) this is where the red felt from our crafting session has ended up. I can't wait to make some more and put it to a different use.

Knitting As Food, Prayer and Love.

The Inspiration.

I am not very good at praying. If I pray, my words are short and to the point. Or should I paraphrase, I am very good at the 20 second wishing method, where you get in, complete the mission and sign off. When I want to keep people in my mind swaddled with love and light, I create. I knit or paint and keep my vigil for them through colours and texture. I imagine that all my thoughts for them weave through the layers of what I am doing, charging them with a magic not unlike the scabbard that was created for King Arthur's sword. I am not saying that scarves I knit protect the wearer from ever shedding blood, but hopefully when worn, their heart like their neck might softly warm.

At the moment my knitting is guiding me through a very sad family time where an ocean separates me from being with the people I would most like to be with and provide comfort for. I know they are within a cocoon at the moment and surrounded by all the love they need and instead, this time by knitting, I am bringing comfort to myself as I imagine the flowers that are falling from my needles floating across the water to them.

Sewing, knitting and painting must be the closest I ever get to a transcendental state. When I am involved, there is no hunger, no thirst, no need for bodily functions. I am completely whole. The minute I stop however, it is as though I am born to the world again, freezing, starving and busting. My most desperate self is in this moment as I am torn between the order of putting things into myself and letting things out.

Today being a quiet Sunday means that there will hopefully be time for this loss of self though creativity as the boys are occupied with birthday parties and watching the street car racing with Jonno. Summer shorts need to be made, particularly before they begin to protest about wearing clothes with little gnomes on them. And perhaps a new skirt for myself if there is time. And joining lots of knitted flowers together into bracelets and brooches and inner songs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Regaining My Balance

Here is a photo of my boys big and small. They are a bit more interesting than me at the moment while I recover from an inner ear virus. A current photo of me would make people shudder - think green, hag-like and puffy haired....
It is funny how much your body reflects your life. Not that my life is green (although it is Spring), definitely not puffy (although it is windy) and completely not hag-like (I have nothing to add to that one). Just in that I do feel as though I am on unsteady ground with so many things happening beyond my control and feeling slightly adrift in that great big sea of life. Hmmm, time to start visualising a big anchor, rich loamy ground (for steadiness) and ummm what else, a bowl of yogurt to return my complexion. Just as long as I can get to the polling booth tomorrow, New Zealand's turn for some political glory and intense debate with a random father-in-law who will remain nameless. At least it has given me some time to knit - I will post photos tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blossom Rings

Once again this is Archie's hand holding a blossom. Yesterday morning I just had to escape from the world for a while so I began knitting leaves and flowers - the blossom was made by knitting a circle, embroidering the centre and running a line of yarn around the top which was then pulled to achieve the shape. It's good for the soul to have a blingless ring.
I am sick in bed at the moment... It's such a wasted bed-day being unwell. I would far rather pass a day in bed revelling in books and food than instead using them to console my fevered brow (it gets a bit messy), still, good to have an easy form of consolation I guess. I just hope Jonno comes home from town in time for lunch, the toast he makes is made with love itself and simultaneously warms the belly and the heart.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Quiet in the Afternoon

This is Jonno's contribution to the world of knitting - he is very happy to drink the contents if anybody else finds themselves needing such equipment.

This is the flower from the book 'Knit 2 Together' by Mel Clark and has been knitted for stage three of the mobile project. I am obsessed with them and if I had all the time in the world, I would paint dead branches a glossy yellow, festoon them with knitted flowers and plant them around the garden.
It is now the quiet afternoon, Hugo is upstairs sleeping and Archie, finishing his day at school. Usually I spend this portion of the day napping too but like the dish and the spoon, time ran away on me. I am quite curious about what it is like to be awake between 1pm and 3pm and I have to say, the skin over the universe does stretch too thinly at this time. Much better to lie down and let it gently skim over your white sheets instead. Just about to wake Hugo and do the school pick-up. Archie needs tributes of strawberries to peacefully transition from school to home at the moment so I will begin my foraging.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Felt Ball Mobile

This is stage two of the not very mysterious project - well done Mary! I went through a stage of making felt balls while watching back to back episodes of Jericho. These balls have witnessed a post-apocalyptic world let me tell you. Lots more to do on it though, I am thinking perhaps a knitted flower dangling down next.

Archie's little hands assembling a morning posy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Felt Balls

This is the mysterious beginnings of a new project. I know what it will be but I love this stage of infancy where it is as much adventure as it is craft.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wind in the Willows Birthday Party

We were listening to Wind in the Willows late in afternoon on the ipod and I realised that I never sent home photos of Archie's birthday party. Hugo above was Ratty and Archie was Badger. I was Toad and strangely enough there seem to be no photos.... the power lies with the person behind the lens.

The boys spent the early part of the afternoon exploring paddocks around the house. At one stage there was a complete absence of sound, I walked to the top of the hill flanking our house and saw them well down the race that cuts through the farm, playing on the clay banks. Archie later explained they were in Egypt and were searching for bones and treasure.

They were perhaps slightly beyond the boundaries I feel comfortable with but I do worry that by remaining constantly vigilant over them I will rob them of the freedom we all remember from childhood. But it is so hard..... I have to keep reminding myself that a childcare expert recently came over to New Zealand preaching the virtues of 'benign neglect'. Maybe the status quo is kept by discreetly spying from a good vantage point. Thank goodness for that hill.

Saturday Morning

All I feel like doing this morning is playing with these little bundles of fur and squeaks (although they really don't want to play with me yet)

Or do some more knitting - hey I thought I forgot to make my niece Sophie a birthday present - Happy Birthday for yesterday - but I have just remembered I made this as an early birthday present - yippee yay.... I am not a bad auntie after all - although I am still owing my Perth contingent of niece and nephews their round of pressies... so maybe a little bit bad...
Instead I am going to clean the house while the boys are stalking insects in the paddock.


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