Sunday, 25 August 2013


As you'll see I've missed a few weeks. You can imagine how surprised I was to find my last portraits mentioned by Jodi here, I nearly fell off my chair when I clicked on a link and found it took me to my little slice of blogland, I was so gobsmacked, chuffed and a wee bit proud.  Despite this boost to my confidence I've found I'm happier to take photos of the kids when we're adventuring, or when we're experiencing something rather than setting up a photo shoot, it had all begun to feel a bit contrived and if I hadn't put any thought into it, the week would end and my camera would be empty.  I have really loved this project though and I will continue to play along when I can.


Ella, Lucia, Marcus
On Saturday we headed North for a day of exploring. After a morning driving along the beach followed by a delicious cafĂ© lunch, we headed inland to the Otaki Gorge, an area settled by timber millers and farmers in the Great Depression. My grandfather was born in the settlement which was quite sizeable back in the day but nothing more than falling down dry stone walls now. We played by the river, walked the swing bridge and watched some river kayakers play in the rapids. 
Joining in with Jodi

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Yarn Along

Lately it seems I've been unravelling more than actually knitting, it's proving a bit frustrating! I'm trying to knit a sleeveless vest for Marcus who refuses to believe it's winter and wants to wear shorts and t-shirts every day. I knit and hope he might humour me enough to wear it and at least keep his wee body warm... I'm casting on for the third time, earlier attempts were way to big so hopefully I'll get it just right this time. The yarn is New Zealand perendale wool from Utiku Woollen Mills, a favourite stop of mine whenever we pass through Taihape in the central North Island, which is not often enough for my knitting habit!

I'm reading With Bold Needle and Thread by Rosemary McLeod,  My lovely aunt who visited last weekend gave it to me, I feel so spoiled! It's a gorgeous book, full of projects adapted from magazines of the era and it's written beautifully, packed full of social history, tradition and know-how, definitely my kind of book!

I'm joining in with Ginny.....

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The colour of winter

It's sometimes hard in winter to look beyond the grey but it amazes me how much colour you can actually find when you go looking for it..

Roses from a thoughtful friend
Not technically a colour but I love the sunshine coming into the house earlier and earlier each week
Rhodendron, it's an oldie but a goodie
The first kowhai flowers
Pink camellia, same age as the rhododendron I'd say
Flowering cauliflower
Hellebores, one of my favourite winter flowers
Daffodils along the stream bank
Lavender, even in the winter this flowers, the bees are most grateful

Sunday, 28 July 2013





Ella, Lucia and Marcus

It's back to school for the kids tomorrow. These holidays have flown by and my lack of motivation to do anything with them away from home has actually worked out for the best. All too often I feel as though I send them back to school after term holidays exhausted so I'm actually grateful for my lack of motivation, for a change. Today though we took advantage of another beautiful warm-for-July day and headed to the beach, it was just what we all needed, the dog included.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Sunday, 21 July 2013



Ella, Lucia, Marcus - three mud monsters - the extra load of washing was well worth the hour of peace it brought me! This first week of holidays has been a challenging one, for some reason the kids have forgotten how to get along with each other. There've been many instances this week where I have cursed myself for not having four kids - three is a difficult number, especially if you are the one who is not a twin. Looking on the brighter side, they've had a lot of fun spending time with their Australian cousins and Uncle, they proved a welcome distraction from the stresses in our life at the moment. I'm crossing my fingers that this week will be much better!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Yarn Along

This beautiful stitching (Anna Maria Horner for Anchor) has been languishing in the corner, not quite out of sight but definitely on the backburner as more portable projects have been worked on. I picked up my needle over the weekend though and was reminded again how much I love working on this, the colours are so vivid and the process very meditative, it's the perfect thing to slow myself down. For some reason I started stitching in the centre so now that section is complete I've made a start at the top, where I was meant to start I think.

I've been devouring gardening books while being stuck indoors with cold, windy and wet weather. I love the time winter gives us to take notice of our surrounds and I've been inspired to make a few changes here. I've really enjoyed Xanthe White's The Natural Gardens, she's so clever at mixing New Zealand native plants in with everything else and has some great ideas for low maintenance borders. And Organic Vegetable Gardening is so good I'll have a bit of trouble handing it back to the library! Even though I'm not a beginner vege gardener, I've learned a lot from this book and have been busy taking notes and making plans for my Spring garden. I'm itching to get some seeds in the ground but there's a wee while to wait yet, I can make a start on my new flower borders though so I'm off now to take advantage of the sun we have today.

Joining in with Ginny again.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Ella: Loving the wibbly wobbly mix of baby and adult teeth
Lucia: She has the wibbly wobbly teeth thing going on too, their swimming teacher can only tell them apart by looking at their teeth (not easy in the pool when they're wearing caps and goggles!)
Marcus: The family clown who doesn't sit still, no chance of just getting a head shot!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yarn Along

I'm making slow progress on the socks, mainly because I've been busy sewing. Some of the sewing was knitting related though, how satisfying for one craft to compliment the other. I am a big fan of Knit Picks interchangeable needles and by buying tips and cables here and there as they've been needed, I've got a good set of them now. My problem however was keeping them organised... I was forever sifting through my knitting basket looking for matching tips, not to mention buying duplicates! I did a bit of pinterest surfing, settled on a design, chose my fabrics and voila, this is what I whipped up. I LOVE it!

Back to the socks....I've finished my first pattern repeat and I'm happy with how they are going so far. I've spent a bit of time on Ravelry searching for a vest pattern for Marcus, I want it to have a ribbed v neck but surprisingly I cannot find a pattern...this is the first time Ravelry has let me down! If you can point me in the direction of a pattern for a size 4 or 5 vest I'd be most appreciative! Perhaps I should have a go at making up a pattern myself....

And on to books....I've been reading Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoyed the first novel in the series (The Sunday Philosophy Club) and this is proving a good easy read too. I'm still diving in and out of Shannon Hayes book I wrote about last week also, like with crafting, I like to have a few books on the go so I can pick and choose what suits my mood.

I'm joining in with Ginny again.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


Ella and Lucia: A sisterly music collaboration. They spent ages working on their composition and writing it all down... and surprisingly they came up with a pleasant sounding tune. It's a shame they didn't want to continue learning piano....

Marcus: He just had to write something down, you know, it couldn't wait until after he'd licked the bowl! I'm loving how his confidence in reading and writing has grown.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

PS: I can't seem to get portrait size photos to show in the right size on my blog, I've been avoiding this issue by only taking landscape ones which really is a bit ridiculous so if anyone has any top tips on sizing photos for blogs, please feel free to share with me :)

Friday, 5 July 2013


There's been a lot of knitting happening lately and I have a few things off the needles I need to show you but I don't have photos of them yet, I'll save that for another day. Yesterday morning I went to my wee local library's very first Yarn Time meeting, there were only four of us plus the librarian  but I didn't think that was too bad for the first meeting. It was fun talking about what we were working on and hearing people's stories about how they started knitting. I took my two-at-a-time socks I've just started on, it's been quite exciting for me to learn a new way of knitting socks and I'm quite keen to get these off the needles and on to my feet, it's been cold here!  I'm knitting the Seagrass pattern from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks in this bright semi-solid green yarn that I received in the Vintage Purls Winter Sock Club a few years ago.

I've been enjoying these two Issues of Country Life magazine that a good friend dropped in for me the other day, they came with a jar of Lemon Ginger concentrate which really made my day. I've also started Shannon Hayes' Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place which I'm finding really interesting. Sometimes I need a reminder to focus on where we are at now, to be happy with things as they are, to stop the "if only" talk in my's a work in progress!

Joining in with Ginny again....

Monday, 1 July 2013


And here we are again.....


Ella: Riding her tree horse, it's the closest thing she'll get to a real one!
Lucia: Playing fetch with Gem, the dog is good at fetching but not so great at giving you back the stick so she's using a two stick system - duck for cover!!
Marcus: Grandad is having a bit of a clear-out in his garage and this old lawnmower came our way. Marcus has decided it's his and from the minute I woke up on Sunday he was pestering me to let him mow the lawns. We've had a very thorough safety briefing but I still feel a bit nervous about his using it. He did do a lovely job of the patch of lawn he mowed though!

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013



This portrait project is making me very aware of how fast the year is whizzing by!

This week it's all about the storm and the clean-up, this tree fell over between my raised beds.

Ella: not a happy bunny at the moment, not sure what's going on in that head of hers but it feels like we're entering the teenage years ahead of time, is this just a preview of what we're in for I wonder? I'm hoping not.
Lucia: Thankfully she is her usual chirpy self
Marcus: As usual this boy is right in the thick of it, if he was strong enough to hold a chainsaw I've no doubt he'd be out there, right beside his Dad. For now though he's making do with a  hand saw and keeping a safe distance.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The storm of 2013


It started on Thursday, the rain set in, the wind came up and the trees across the road were roaring. When we woke up on Friday morning the wind was still strong, the rain heavy and we had no power. We listened to the radio and learned of the damage that was wrecked upon Wellington during that night, the worst storm since the Wahine storm in 1968 with wind gusts over 200km per hour, train lines lifted and undermined by the sea, the south coast sea walls broken and people finding fish and seaweed in their gardens, it seemed so unbelievable. Schools were closed including ours. As daylight came we looked around us, a big tree had fallen over in the middle of my veggie garden, it couldn't have landed more perfectly, smack bang in the middle between two beds, only slightly damaging one side of the compost bins. Our stream was raging and high, close to the top of the bridge. Looking across the road a big Gum tree had fallen across their driveway. No traffic was moving on our road, it was blocked further up by three large gum trees.  During a break in the rain we went for a walk across the rest of the farm surveying the damage. We had a young gum tree down on the electric fence, a big wattle down on another fence line, a large gum tree from behind the chook house had broken the fence and fallen into the gully (thankfully not on the chickens in their house) and three pine trees had fallen over in the forest, nothing on the power lines phew, nothing blocking the road, double phew, and nothing damaged that's not easily fixed, phew again. The rain continued for two days, the power stayed off for two days, more trees gave way elsewhere and the stream got dangerously high.

We were very lucky compared to others. We were warm and cosy inside, the fire was blazing and pots were heating water for endless cups of tea and milo. We still had hot water after 30 hours. It was a bit like camping really. I made scones in the cast iron pot and chicken noodle soup. There was nothing much else to do except knit, read and play card games with the kids. And there is much to be grateful for, grateful that we were as prepared as we were, grateful that we didn't sustain much damage and grateful for the felling of next year's firewood, now it just needs ringing, splitting and stacking, a small price to pay for the comfort it gives us.

Each year it seems some extreme weather event happens, two years ago it was a freak snowfall, now this storm. Our kids are going to start thinking this kind of weather is normal, already they expect snow every winter! These events have made us look at what else we can do to prepare ourselves for power outages and moved a few items up to the top of the To Do list - getting the wetback installed and buying a generator are right up there now.  It's also added a few things to the To Do list too though, now there are trees to clean up and fences to fix.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.

We've had a few visitors lately, my brother who lives in Australia has been and gone and my brother who lives in England is here now. It's great to see them but they've not come home for the best of reasons. Also visiting at the moment is my lovely Gran who lives a long bus ride away in the Bay of Plenty. Her great-grandchildren are always so excited to see her, yesterday she had them writing her a list of all the things they'd done to help me that morning and rewarded them with a $5 note - gorgeous!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A cardigan for Ella

I struggled with this cardigan from the beginning, not because of the pattern (Playful Stripes by Alana Dakos) I haste to add but because of my choice of yarn. I spent ages analysing the measurements on the pattern, swatching my yarn, crunching numbers only to be unhappy with the size of it. After much procrastination and more measuring I turned the pattern on its head and cast on my favourite top-down pattern, I figured using a pattern with the right gauge for my yarn would give me a bodice that fits and the rest will follow. So I cast on for Georgie Hallam's Olearia, ignoring all the ruched sections and striping my yarns in garter stitch, and it worked. Funnily enough though, by the time I cast-off I had the same number of stitches that I first cast-on as per Alana's pattern....

Anywho, while enjoying a lovely weekend with my Aunt and Uncle, free from the demands of small people, I managed to finish it. What a treat to sit and knit and chat for a whole weekend! Ella loves it and has been wearing it a lot, I wonder though if it could have been just a few inches longer....

All details on my Ravelry page here

Not technically a Yarn Along post but joining in with Ginny since it's been a while