Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Creative Space - Good Stuff.

This is my new skirt I bought from the second hand shop. Who would throw this out I ask you? And then I can thank them.
For about the first time ever I have immediately printed out photos and put them into an album. I feel so organised.
The current obsession coming from my head and hands are big wool flowers. I am not quite sure what will happen with them at the end but I can't wait to find out.
And wahoo, it really is Autumn. The air is warm and dry, nights cold and leaves are becoming very greedy for colour.
And a pile of stuff that perhaps could be put away but is just so nice to have around. The kind of stuff that qualifies as good company.
This is my creative space at the moment. Home and the little bits of inspiration that crop up here and there from unexpected places... the little bits that then swell up into ideas and then into life.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Morning.

I am settling back into the rhythm of home life and pottering. This morning I have been finishing the unpacking and have made a chocolate cake for the boys for when they come home tired and ravenous. The sun is dull and the kitchen lights are glowing. Warmth is flowing into the room from the open oven door and my lunch is sitting, ready to be eaten. I will make a cup of tea in a minute and drink it in bed with my new book, then slide down into the sheets and have a little nap. I won't tell anyone about this.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Welcome Home Picnic.

Our landing back into every day home-life was softened yesterday by a little welcome home picnic with a delicious gluten-free upside down pineapple cake made with lots of love by my cousin, down by a stream that runs through the farm. The boys were thrilled to be climbing back amongst their favourite willow trees and I was thrilled to remember that patches of home-life are like holidays. Every day life can be wonderful and full of adventures too (I hope I don't sound too Pollyannarish but I do tend to forget this little fact regularly). And even better, I feel inspired to make things again... as soon as I finish shovelling out our camper van mess.
Here is a photo of the wool I purchased from the wool shop while I was away. The colours are quite strong but I have so many paler colours I needed something with a little bit of heft. Note the huge wool in the corner, I am looking forward to buying a big crochet hook and making some big, big flowers.
And finally, some buttons I bought from a market in Lyttleton. I really want to use them but I just love them sewn onto the card so much too. I think I need to take a really good photo of them like that and hang it on the wall, then the buttons can be liberated.
Once again, thank you so much for all of your comments while I was travelling. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about putting up our road trip photos because I knew they weren't going to be very crafty but it in the end it added an extra element to our journey. XXOOXXOOXX.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Archie!!! (and home again)

Just about to turn seven. So much to think about.

Sometimes perfection deserves admiration.
The mist tip-toeing its way out of Queen Charlotte Sound before anyone wakes up.
Hugo's duck friends - they were so desperate for his mouldy bread one bit his thumb. He cried about it for a moment and then resumed his work. The ducks were much fatter by the time we left... and had a strange glint in their eyes whenever they saw our hands.
I can't believe that this is the final night of our road trip. After three weeks in a camper van together, we now have such a good rhythm going we could keep tootling along forever. I don't know how I would go with the home schooling but it would be great having little hands and arms around to help me wind my big new skeins of wool into balls (that's right, I went to one of those wool shops by the side of the road today that had 200gm balls of wool for $13, edible colours too).
Archie turned seven a couple of days ago (we had his birthday party before the trip because we knew we would never get around to it otherwise - as was the case last year). He was a very lucky boy as we went whale watching the day before and saw Tiaki (the most photographed whale in the world...), a ginormous pod of dolphins and lots of seals.
On his actual birthday, we stumbled upon one of the world's truly amazing places, Momorangi Bay in the Queen Charlotte Sounds. It is such a quiet little place the village's only shop was closed for the winter.
The boys spent all of their time fishing, only stopping for a birthday plate of doughnuts, marshmallows and pineapple lumps. Archie said it was his best birthday ever!!! Just shows, the simple things in life are the best. Thanks so much for all of your comment while I have been away. It was such a treat to read them all. Now, home tomorrow.... xxooxxooxx.
Just a little note to say we returned home a couple of hours ago. So lovely to be back - when we walked into the house, the smell of a stew in our slow cooker wrapped its arms around us in a huge hug - Thank you Maureen!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holidays... Just the way life should be.

Bella crocheting at 'French Farm'.
LeBon's Bay.
Sunset from where we are staying in Akaroa.
Hanging out with a pretty cool duck at 'The Giants Garden', which is an amazing mosaiced garden and I have many more photos to show you at another time.
I have been trying to upload photos desperately for the last few days but the wifi connection we have bought from the ether is just so slow I keep despairing and turning the computer off. The holiday is swimming along beautifully. The kids are sleeping like logs, eating reasonably well and behaving like mischievous angels. I know I am gushing but can anyone remember our ill-fated strawberry trip to Whakatane?
We are now in Akaroa which is a little seaside village settled by the French and still has very strong affiliations with France. Reading between the lines, it would be fairly accurate to interpret this means a lot of eating has been going on.
My friend Bella has taken to crocheting like a mad spider and has been busily hooking ever since she picked up her hooky needle a couple of days ago. Thanks to Lucy from Attic 24, it has been so easy to teach her and so much fun for me to have another converted to the cause.
Tonight is our last night with Tim and Bella so I had better hop off the computer and talk to them, you know, so they might travel again with us one day.
Funny little thing, Bella really likes her food too and just admitted to writing three pages about dinner out last night in the divine little restaurant we went to.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wanaka, Arrowtown, Lolly Shops and Other Places.

In Arrowtown, we found a lolly shop...
The boys loved it for its sugariness, whereas for me, it was pure colour inspiration.
Playing in the Autumn leaves.
Wanaka, or as the boys were chanting in the camper van, "Wanaka, Wanaka, Wanaka, Wanaka"
You know how it is, Lake Wanaka, pyjamas, snow capped mountains, stones to skim.
Yea, I am fully alive again with access to wireless internet - only joking??..??... We are now at Lake Tekapo and have decided to stay on for a couple of days as we need to dig our heels into a patch of earth, read books and have a little bit of pondering time. I am also desperate to do crocheting and colour thinking so some down time will be heaven.
Our friends from Australia, Tim and Bella caught up with us in Arrowtown (one of the most beautiful places on earth) so now we have an on road caravan of camper vans with lots of walkie-talkie communication between the two hulking vehicles (in particular Archie to Tim and Bella. "Bella and Tim, are you receiving... dead hedgehog to the left").
Wanaka was astounding, Queenstown a bit impenetrable with children and a big camper van and Mount Cook amazing. Bella is keen to learn how to crochet and then I think we might have a hot pool swim and visit Mount John Observatory tonight.
So nice to be back even if it is a bit of a dry holiday rundown. Lots of love, Kate (the greedy holidayer) xxooxxooxx.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How to keep warm in the south island...

Warm, hand knitted jumpers (by Gran-Gran) and hats help to keep Hugo snug.
Archie finds hats and hoodie jumpers are a good solution.
Keep in mind, the skies may be blue but we are staying very close to this glacier.
Standing close to one another gets a bit of a warm glow happening.
Jonno in his new beanie and standing next to his big brother Todd. They were told to put their arms around each other but Jonno wasn't so sure.
But see, don't they look so much warmer now?
Yes, cuddles are the best way to keep warm in the south island!
We are travelling further south tomorrow, off to Wanaka then Queenstown and Arrowtown. I am not sure if we will be intercepting wireless reception along the way but will keep in touch when we can, even if I have to stand on the campernvan with a coathanger stuck to my head. Hot pool swims this afternoon, more knitting and an early night. All our love, XXOOXXOOXX.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wool and an Easy Hat Recipe.

These are my new holiday wool purchases. I don't even need to knit with them, just sit the on the grass and lie with them dreaming of all we could be.
Jonno's beanie has just been knitted air force style. It is the easiest hat I have ever made. Cast on 80 stitches in 12 ply onto 5.5mm, 16 inch circular needles and knit taking care not to twist when joining the cast on row. Then knit until it is roughly the right length when the brim is rolled up (Roughly 24cm). Knit 2 rows together every 7th stitch for one row and then knit 2 together every following 6th stitch on the second. Bind off, turn inside out and sew up top seam. Sew in tails. Make the person wear aviator sunglasses and salute them. This hat has been adapted from a pattern written by Mark Thrailkill for Ravelry who encourages it to be shared throughout the world - what a star.

I think I am quite happy to become a professional holidayer. Walks, looking at stuff, eating yummy (healthy) things, reading, napping, playing with the kids. It's just so good. The views above are from Uncle Todd's house, the Franz Joseph Glacier in the bottom photo. On an even clearer day Mount Cook is easily visible and I had a little glimpse of it this morning as I was bobbing about in the spa on the veranda.
This morning we headed off for a walk up to the glacier. We didn't quite make it to the icy bit as it was a very long walk and the boys were entertained enough by the streams and waterfalls along the way... and finding gold, green stone and silver.
Yes, so lots of reading as well, I have just started 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' although I didn't make it very far today before falling into a deep sleep next to Hugo. Archie accidentally woke us at 3.40pm which I was extremely grateful for. Now they are splashing in the spa. A roast is in the oven and I think a new knitting project is calling out. Tomorrow we are planning a swim at the glacier hot pools. Holidaying is definitely for me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Beach Knitting and Pikelet Eating.

My knitting came to the beach. It was very well behaved and didn't even go swimming.
This is the wild and woolly beach at the back of Uncle Todd's farm. Can you even begin to imagine this as your backyard?
Thinking of the lovely Vanessa with all of the rocks and pebbles everywhere.
Drop scones (pikelets) on the beach. We forgot plates and so thought some flat rocks would be perfect. I would know like an entire dinner set.
Hugo thought it was pretty good.
Just a little note as we are all a bit tuckered after a big day on the beach and the journey to get there (lots of river crossings). Jonno's brother Todd is the luckiest person on earth with his own beach at the bottom of the farm. Not a swimming beach though, but a good rug up, have a fire and collect stones kind of a beach.
I walked some of the way back and have come into the house a little cold. Jonno has dinner ready, his very best cottage pie and my stomach is growling.
Mum, thank you so much for your email - I am having trouble getting them out but please keep sending them to me. XXOOXXOOXX.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Butterflies, Bays, Boats and Trains.

Hugo and his little friend.
Searching for sea glass at Governors Bay.

Going through Arthur's Pass on the Trans Scenic Railway.
Busy drawing. Archie is desperate for us to give him a green stone necklace for his birthday and so has been busy making various designs. The cross above he named 'Sacred Slumber' which I think Jonno was experiencing in the background.

When I woke this morning, the first thing I saw were the white points of mountains saying 'Hello'.... oh yes, and 'Happy Easter'. As I am writing this, we are snuggled up drinking cups of tea on Uncle Todd's farm in Franz Joseph. Native stands of forest are poking out of the mist here and there and snow capped mountains and glaciers are standing quietly in shrouds of cloud.
We can't wait to begin exploring the farm but it is so lovely having a slowish start to the day. Christchurch was wonderful and we had a lovely day on Friday, visiting Governors Bay (in the water photos above) for a picnic. The pebble beach turned out to be rich with sea glass so we spent most of our time fossicking.
Hugo was very tuckered out by the end of the day and came down with a little virus that had him with temperatures all night. He had found a damaged Monarch butterfly earlier in the day and this little creature kept him company when he was lying on the couch, unable to move.
Yesterday we crossed the south island on the Transcenic Railway and were completely spellbound for the entire 4 hour journey. The boys barely moved and Archie (having loved the Eragon series) kept explaining all of the magical creatures that would be at home in all the different wild and snowy habitats we passed.
Time to sign off, Happy Easter Sunday!!! XXOOXXOOXX.


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