Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tuesday Treasure

My trip to the fruit and veg market on Saturday landed me not only a fridge full of delicious fresh produce, but also two wee china treasures for my cabinet. They were sitting on a table labelled with $1 and $2, who could resist that? The little green dish is Carlton Ware and while the jug is a bit stained it'll be just perfect for holding a dahlia or two, the floral design is so pretty.

The mirror I bought on Sunday from a second-hand/antique shop in Carterton. We took our fat piggies over to the abattoir in Gladstone then stopped in Carterton for coffee and cake on our way back home. Carterton has some lovely shops and cafes, and a great playground for the kids so everyone's a winner.

Linking up with Max's Op-Shop Show-Off over at Blackbird Has Spoken.

Sunday, 24 March 2013



 This year my cherry tomatoes have been amazing, from memory the yellow variety is Sungold and the other is Black Krim. Initially they were slow to start ripening but since they started they just haven't stopped. In fact, from time to time I've found myself inwardly groaning at the thought of having to go and pick them...then I get a grip on myself and smile about how grateful I am for this bounty and how proud I am of growing them.

This abundance of cherry tomatoes is keeping me busy in the kitchen. I've been:

:: semi-drying them in the oven

:: roasting them with capsicum, garlic, onion, tomato paste and rosemary then blending it all into the most delicious saucy concoction

:: boiling them up with salt then putting them through the mouli to make passata


:: making tomato sauce


I'm not sure I like the colour of the passata, the yellow cherry tomatoes don't look as nice as the red varieties when cooked but I'm sure I won't mind that when I'm eating it as soup in the dead of winter.

And despite the drought and despite the drop in temperature at night, there is no immediate end is sight, my plants are still flowering and setting fruit which is incredible given it's March and there are still a lot more trusses to ripen. 

So what would you make with an abundance of tomatoes? I was thinking about a nice relish but the old recipe I use requires them to be peeled and there's no way I'm going to peel cherry tomatoes....

Saturday, 23 March 2013



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

Ella: This beautiful girl was upset when the optometrist announced she didn't need glasses, we on the other hand are relieved and pleased that it gives those who can't tell them apart another wee clue as to who's who.
Lucia: Enjoying the world with her new vision, who would have thought that trees were more than just green blobs from afar, that mum had white flecks in her blue eyes, or indeed that train tracks sat upon stones not concrete fuzz.... Amazing!
Marcus: Not to be left out in the glasses photo action - sunglasses upside down is definitely the way to go!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Yarn Along

I'm still working away at the Old Shale scarf I started a while back, I'm nearly finished the second ball of yarn and it'll need another one after that I think. Because I'm easily distracted I started on Ella's Playful Stripes cardigan. Ella chose the main colour and it took me quite a long time to pick the contrasting colours for the stripes, then it took me even more time playing with the colours to work out the best order for them. It's cast-on though and I'm excited to see how it comes along, I'm hoping I've got the colours right.

On the book front, I've added these to the stack by my bed. I can hardly believe it but we are off to Japan in a few short weeks so my reading has been fuelled by my desire to know a bit about where we're going. We'll be staying in Tokyo where Anthony will be working during the week and the kids and I will be free to wander. We're hoping to escape the city on the weekends and explore further afield. Having lived in London I'm used to big cities but the mere mention of 36 million people in one city both thrills me and sends me into a panic - I'm so worried I'll lose someone! 

I found We Love Food on the returns shelf one day and I love it, I was feeling a bit stuck-in-a-rut with our meals and this was just the inspiration I needed to shake it up a bit. Last night we had Pork and Bean curry with rice and everyone ate it up greedily. I've also made the Anzac biscuits with cranberries and chocolate chips and they were so delicious they were gone within two days....hmm, perhaps not so great for the waistline! 

Joining in with Ginny.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tuesday treasure

With the rain falling all the things I wanted to do outside today fell by the wayside leaving me with a guilt-free morning treasure hunting. I love op shopping, I love the thrill I get when I stumble across a book I've been looking for for ages, or find another matching piece of the dinner-set I'm slowly collecting. Today did not disappoint!

I finally found a copy of the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft, this has been on my wish list for a long long time. It's the 1980 edition, chock full of clever things and since I have one of my own now, you can have your book back Jae :)

I also picked up Golden Hands Encyclopaedia of Knitting and Crochet, I've not seen this book before but the design on the cover had me sold the minute I spotted it. Printed in 1973 the photos and styles are beautiful, clever and hilarious all at once. After my quick perusal the item that screamed out to me the most was wedding coat, such delicate lace, imagine how long it would take to make that?! Definitely a labour of love.

It's also got lots of useful information on stitches and I particularly loved this illustration of the dangers of not knitting to the pattern's gauge.....

And last but not least, a gorgeous vintage apron, the fabric is so pretty and I especially like the contrast binding. I love to wonder at who made it, for whom it was made, and why it was never worn.....  

Joining in for the first time with Max's Op-Shop Show-Off.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


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

I don't have many photos of the kids on my camera this week, there are a lot of photos of
tomatoes though but they won't really do will they! So, I snapped these just now while they (and I) were enjoying a moment of peace on this showery day, the girls were watching a movie and Marcus was playing Snap with himself.

And yes it's raining, I honestly can't remember when it rained last. The whole of the North Island is declared to be in drought now and while it's cheering to see the grass wet, sadly the fleeting light showers we've had today will not make a jot of difference. I really feel for the famers whose livelihood for the year has literally turned to dust, and  I worry about how we're going to get our livestock through the winter ahead without the growth of grass much needed at this time of year.

Saturday, 9 March 2013



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

I've been having fun playing this week, I still haven't got to grips with my camera settings but Picasa has blown me away by what it can do to an ordinary photo.

Ella: Bolshy on the outside, painfully shy within, this girl's got spirit and we love her for it
Lucia: Shy but confident, life will shift up a gear for this gorgeous girl of ours when she gets her glasses, we had no idea she couldn't see properly.
Marcus: Our clown, there's nothing else to say really, this boy entertains us all day long.

Friday, 8 March 2013

A knitted gift

I love knitting for babies, their clothing is so teeny it takes hardly any time at all to conjure up a garment out of a ball of yarn. The Milo pattern by the talented Georgie Hallam of Tikki Knits is my go-to new baby knit. I love all the different variations you can do with the cable section. I've mostly stuck to true cables but for this wee vest I knitted the hearts pattern and I love it, it's so pretty, perfect for a baby girl. I'm not really one to knit in baby colours, I much prefer the stronger colours and this beautiful red seemed just perfect for the wee girl I had in mind.  The yarn I used is Willow by Zealana. This is the first time I've knitted with this yarn, I found it at Holland Road Yarn Company in Petone and I'm impressed, it's a NZ merino cashmere mix and it feels so soft and has a lovely drape. And if that wasn't enough, it's machine washable, just perfect for a new mum.

And so, with some pretty wrapping and a card handmade by my girls, this wee vest will wing its way to England where it will be delivered in person (not by me unfortunately) to my good friend Suzanne for her brand new baby girl Skylar. I hope they love it as much as me.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Yarn Along

There's something new on the needles this week. A lovely friend of mine in the UK has just had her first baby and with Anthony travelling there this weekend I thought I'd just have enough time to knit a wee Milo for her. I love this wee vest pattern, it's a quick knit and is really cute, not to mention versatile with all the different cabling options. Everyone I've gifted it to has really and truly loved it, it's not one of those knitted items that you feel the need to hide at the back of the drawer... everyone's done that before right?! In my haste I borrowed this yarn from the balls I have had sitting here for Ella's winter cardigan. It's a gorgeous soft NZ merino and cashmere blend and I love that it's made here in New Zealand too.

In reading news, I've finished with Alexander McCall-Smith and have been dipping in and out of Growing Great Girls by Ian and Mary Grant. I'm in need of some parenting wisdom, I'm finding eight year old girls quite a challenge at the moment! I've also been enjoying the latest Mollie Makes magazine and getting some gardening inspiration from the trusty NZ Gardener Magazine.

Joining in with Ginny again and looking forward to checking out what everyone else has been working on and reading.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

I love Tuesdays

I've declared Tuesday as being my day. Forget the to do list, forget the "I should be doings", focus instead on what doing whatever makes he happy, no guilt allowed.
Last Tuesday I spent the entire day working on my quilt, bliss! It's coming along nicely now that I've stopped second-guessing every fabric placement! I am indecisive by nature, I find it difficult to make big or small decisions and spend a lot of time getting nowhere, paralysed by my indecision. Quilting I'm finding is a good exercise for me, there are many many decisions to be made and I'm learning that my first instincts are generally right, I'm learning to trust myself more.

Today I have an oven full of cherry tomatoes roasting on a low heat and making the house smell delicious. I have two lovely friends coming for coffee this afternoon so I will be baking my microwave chocolate brownie to share with them, and I have a little knitting project on the go that needs to be finished by Friday so I hope to sit and do some of that. And then of course there's my quilt, I have a few more strips to sew together before I need to cut and assemble some more.

What's not to love about Tuesdays?

Saturday, 2 March 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.
Ella: Playing with her new friend, I suspect this is the wee ratty that has been nibbling on the peaches I had stored in the garage. I can't see a favourable outcome for Ella and her friend...
Lucia: Our budding artist doing what she loves the most, writing and drawing and leaving bits of paper everywhere, especially everywhere I want to work, sit or walk....
Marcus: Trying out Dad's helmet for size, he's desperate to have his own but Mum's said NO to a motorbike. He's trying his best to change my mind with his cheeky grins and his "you're the best girl in the world mum, I love you more than monster trucks" declarations.