Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Rainiest Night.

Today our house has been an ark while over 7 inches of rain fell into the cocoa powdered earth. The boys and I huddled inside with my brother and his girlfriend (her hands are featured above) who kept vigil knitting as all good women do during times of need. Jonno however, went out with steely grit setting his jaw at right angles and tenderly alleviated his cows' swollen udders. Their tendrilled breath sent whispers of steamed thank yous to their gentle-eyed master. Jonno has just corrected my vision so I am now imagining a hot and sticky shed with the cows languid and Jonno wiping sweat from his beleaguered brow.
Hugo is having a little pre-birthday morning tea tomorrow and his little goodie bags are bursting with anticipation. My baby will be three on Monday. When did he stop crawling?


With your scent of hope and youth, thank you for returning to us this year.

Friday, February 27, 2009

a good book

what an appropriate book for me to be reading at the moment. so good though, a little bit brutal at times but certainly prods you into thinking. also the kind of book that you chew over long after it has finished and continues to taste like warm toast. it is also very easy to hold with one hand and happily stays open on the page of interest rather than trying repeatedly to convince you that the only worthwhile bit of reading is on page 133.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


just a little note to say my best fingers have received nasty cuts from a mixing bowl and are now covered by a doctor's embroidery and swaddled in felt-like cocoons. i will be putting up lots of photos still but will be sparing with words as this sentence has taken me 6.5 days. unable to craft in any way i think i might try and work out just what it is that people do when they don't make stuff all the time. by the way, this is the little cluster of things that have a little bit waiting to do before they join their little piece of the world.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cath Kidston Lampshade

I think I may have over picnik -ed this painting - a little bit like too much botox where lines are removed at the expense of humanity and emotion. Oh well. Good to be back on the blogging machine. We had a little break in Auckland and went to the zoo. Hugo carried a little tin around filled with grass and carefully selected the animals he would feed it to. The rhinoceroses were the lucky recipients. He was a bit disappointed they didn't rush over to his outstretched chubby little hand but understood that if he threw it over the fence, they would eat the grass later when it was quiet. Once again the most disturbing thing was seeing the orangutans, their play reflecting our children's too strongly. It just seemed so wrong to be looking at them through bars. We should have been eating cake with them, or fleas.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

the shoemakers

I bought a new book last week 'Green Crafts for Children' by Emma Hardy. The projects are not only appealing to children, but are irresistible to the creatively inclined adult. The book is filled with things like the shoes above, walnut babies, salt dough tea sets and felt sushi roll necklaces.
Now, did I take this particular craft session with Hugo a little too seriously? Maybe. Hugo and I were surfing a wave of creativity and we followed it to the end (which incidentally, was a nap). Feeling pretty fancy we now get to walk around the house just looking at our feet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Morning Scene

This is the peace that seeps through the doors once the children have gone to their places of learning. Small brushes creep out of cupboards, paint worms from tubes and colour like butter slips across the canvas.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Beautiful Breakfast

Hugo reached far into his soul this morning when asked what he would like for breakfast. He thought porridge with honey and flowers and sugar and birdies would be good.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Splash of Cath Kidston Bag

A splash of Cath Kidston, some linen, a bit of bias binding and one of my own prints.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Boat Day

Am weak with exhaustion. Archie had his school's 'Boat Day' today. Kayaking, sailing, boating, rowing, fishing, sand sculpture, etc, etc, words are beginning to fail me. Jonno was supervising fishing and I had a little bit of time with Archie's class kayaking before picking Hugo up from pre-school. In fact, Archie and I won the final kayak race by a margin of 50 metres. Apparently word around the other parents was that maybe I took it a little seriously. I honestly didn't mean to punch the air in triumph. It felt amazing to beat a class of five year olds. One day I will be old and their arms longer, I rest easy knowing they will have their day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Little Bit More Cath Kidston

Too humid to do anything but ponder over a painting I began the other day.

And a big thank you to young Evie for the gorgeous parcel that arrived in the mail today. What a thrill. I dare not open the bath melts until the humidity begins to subside. By then I will probably be ready for a bath. Until then Eve, I am just going to inhale their prettiness.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Mail Box Full of Cath Kidston

With everything going on in Australia it feels odd to have a normal post but I know that my eyes are craving colours beyond destruction at the moment. Note the green steps behind some delicious Cath Kidston fabric that arrived today. The colour is very new. We are still adjusting. The change occurred while Jonno was away fishing for a few days.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Support For Victoria

My Mum's garden at Christmas.
What can I say. Like so many overseas, I am consumed by helplessness and am obsessed with any coverage of the Victorian Bush fires. The immense scale of devestation and loss of life fills me with shock and sadness for this country I love so much. My family are still safe thank goodness but all my thoughts and prayers are with them and will be until the last flame is out. The only thing I would like to say is please visit my sister's blog, Lucy Bowler as she wrote a terrific post on just what we can do to help.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Morning's Harvest

Hugo's contribution to the day - a burst of beauty

The Hens' contribution - a little bit of protein

And the orchard's contribution - some late ripening nectarines so full of sweetness the gods have been circling our trees

Australia, I Love You

I am sitting at my kitchen table in New Zealand with cicadas screaming and the shade from our trees trapping secret patches of green grass. All my thoughts however are over in Australia where the grass and trees are instead being devoured and flames send swirling hints of smoke kilometers away to my family's farm. The computer is constantly flicking to The Age for any new coverage and I am just waiting for everyone to wake up across the ocean so I can find out how they are coping.

Do I tell them yesterday afternoon was spent at the beach where the children paddled in the cooling harbour. It feels like I am living a double life. This is the expat guilt where your heart exists in a different place to the piece of earth on which your feet wiggle. Do I keep our green lawn a secret, quiet the roses unafraid to open beneath the sun's full midday face? Hydrangeas green leaved and glossy? Sprinklers on just for children to dance through? My guess would be, probably not. Strangely enough, even with all these blessings, I still wish I could somehow be with them at the moment.
Australia, I am madly in love with you, my heart rests with you.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Little Things

Two little things to make happiness spring.
Someone to watch television with.

And an unlikely friendship between a fresh sheet and patch of wildflowers.
They played tag peacefully all day.

Archie's Winter Jumper

The jumper on the left is the sort of pattern I have trying to find for years.

These colours will be the stripes that will make it ours.

And this is the book it came from.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Soon I Will Be a Cardigan

This is the very beginning of a new cardigan for winter. The sleeves will be ruby red. In my head I am already wearing it... and it makes me look amazingly slim.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Plum Jam

It's early in our house, a time I am usually and staunchly in denial of. But this morning Hugo woke at 5am needing some resettling and once back in bed, I began to sink into the world of unfounded worries that plagues me when I wake with darkened hours to spare. Instead of burying my head under the pillow, I crept downstairs and made a cup of tea with an assurance to my soul that I would recapture my day's allotment of bed hours with an afternoon nap.
On Friday morning before leaving for our little beach holiday I made this year's batch of jam. The farm we live on was bought by Jonno's grandfather when he returned from World War Two. I am unsure whether he planted it or not (I will ask Poppa - Jonno's Dad), however, Jonno's family have been celebrating the plums for the last seventy odd years. Even when we first met in Australia Jonno reverently told me of this plum tree with big fruit, small pips and the sweetest red flesh imaginable. They were worth moving for, even the skins are without that sourness that so many of the blood plums have.
Last Thursday Archie and I met Jonno at the top of the hill where he set a ladder for us and left us to fill our shopping bags. And the following morning I captured summer so we could taste here and there when we start to sag under the weight of winter. Jam is bottled sunshine and happiness and green shade on a hot day... it smells like it anyway.
The recipe is from my 'P.W.M.U. Cookbook'
4kgs plums
4kgs sugar
4 cups of water
Boil plums in water until softened and then add sugar. Continue to boil quickly until a cold drop of jam wrinkles when you push it with your finger - this is the setting point. Bottle up.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Beach Holiday

Just back from a glorious and rare weekend at the beach. The weather was so warm our souls emerged from the scratching business of the last two months and relaxed, dragonfly-like in the sun. We are so lucky to be living in the Bay of Plenty. I am still amazed that we can live on a farm and have beaches like this only twenty minutes away (let alone a harbour within a five minute drive). It's worth its weight in gold immersing ourselves into the surrounds - the best medicine possible for the dreaded home-sickness bug that on occasion, creeps like an unwanted visitor around the edges of our house.


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