Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm back

I am sorry about the lack of crafting, the lack of posting, the lack of.......well everything over the last week or so. There have been various illnesses round these parts leading to a total lack of energy for anythung but the things that have to get done on a day to day basis.
But all is well and we are back! I even sorted out my wee sewing corner.

See how tidy! For those of you that know me, you will know what a change it is for me to not have a thousand and one things strewn all over the desk, the chair back, the floor. I do love this wee corner, I do dream about a whole room with lots of space and storage and tables but for now this corner sure beats the dining table which is where I was sewing. At least here I can leave the machines set up and I can have things like to look at on the wall in front of me. Things like the painting my brother did for me, postards and pictures from my travels, cards from friends, photos of my life. Also note the overlocker. My wonderfully amazing friend Amelia has leant it to me while she takes a wee break so now I am back in action. I have a long list of projects lined up but more about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

a new craft

Alfie and were fortunate enough to be invited to spend the morning at the nelson community potters by our dear friend Tony Schraufnagel, who is a very talented artist from Texas. He and his family have been living here in Nelson for the past year and in around 4 weeks time they will all will be heading back to Texas. We hope that they will return one day. Tony is teaching pottery to children over the holidays and was kind enough to ask if Alfie and I would come along and give it a go.
This is the inside of the building looking towards the work tables at the back. I had never been into a pottery (is that what they are even called?) before and had no idea what to expect.
alfie had a fantastic time making shapes and rolling the clay out. They had moulds of many different shells and he loved using those and pretending that he was finding fossils.
The kids lined up ready to use the wheels
My lump of clay ready for me to have a go. I was so nervous about this. Tony had stressed that it was someting that took a lot of practice b ut he was also very deterined that I give it a go. I am so glad he got me on there
I'd just like to point out that this is tonys hand first of all. I may have rather large unfemine hands but they are not quite as hard worked as his
And this is my finished attempt at a bowl. I am quite proud of it to tell you the truth. I had so much fun and found it so satisfying. I am determied to go back again as many times as possible before Tony leaves for the states and who know, perhaps I will try and continue after he has gone.

This is Alfies finished work. His hand, which he carried around a lot which is why the fingers are all a little skewed. He cant wait to go back and paint it.

This was such an amazing experience, one that I would love to repeat many many times. It was one of the most enjoyable mornings I have had in a long long time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The death of an overlocker

As mentioned very briefly in the previous post my old overlocker has died. I took it in to get it serviced and see if they could fix a few things. Apparently they don't even make the needles for this particular machine any longer and it would need major alterations to adapt it to fit standard double needles and the cost of this is probably not worth the expense. All of this without even looking at the other things that are wrong with it, like the fact that the bottom thread keeps breaking and the timing is out (according to my mother who knows far more about these sorts of things that me).
So it's a sad day here. No overlocker means an end to my dreams of sewing pants to sell. For now at least. I therefore need a new plan to create an income, one that doesnt involve having to leave my boys and get a "real" job. Hmmmm what to do, what to do.....
The other sad thing about this particluar overlocker is that it was my mums, she had it before I was even born. It was the first overlocker I ever used.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lemon and honey

Today I woke to the biggest frost of the year and a stinkin' head cold. I also found out today that my overlocker isnt worth fixing so I am feeling a little sorry for myself so I decided to take the evening off from sewing and sit in front of the fire watching trashy mindless tv with a steaming cup of lemon and honey.

Tomorrow will be a better day

Monday, July 12, 2010

curtains and cushions

A little while ago my mother in law gave me some of the curtains they took out of the family bach when they were doing some redecorating and just love love love them.

The big pile is a gorgeous fair ground print, I think its bark cloth and along with three curtains there is two quite large pieces of unused fabric. Its was never used and has just been stored all these years. The smaller pile is two pieces of cotton with horses and carriages printed on it.

I have decided that I will make some cushions from this fabric to take back up to the bach. A way of keeping a piece of this history there.

Now all I need to do is work out what to make with the rest of it. Any ideas?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lake Rotoiti

We had such an amazing two nights away at the family bach which is located in Nelson Lakes National Park.
We were lucky that the weather was nice for us, we had beautiful sunny days, not a cloud to be seen. A few weeks ago it was snowing here. The bach itself is a very simple and cute wee cottage. It has been in Callums family since the 1950's. Originally all food was cooked over the open fire and you had to go outside to use the longdrop. I can't imagine having to do that in the middle of winter when it is snowing!

There have been changes over the years, the addition of a kitchen and a bathroom and extra bedrooms but it remains very simple. No TV, no stereo.

Instead we.... talked, played games, drank beer (Founders of course),

drank many many cups of mulled wine (I adore these little cups)

went for walks,
and skimmed stones on the lake.

I don't think we could have asked for a better way to spend two winter days.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

going on holiday...

Today Callum and I are leaving the boys with my mum and going away for two whole nights without them with some friends who are visiting from overseas. Callums family have a bach at Lake Rotoiti. Its such a beautiful place to visit. The bach itself is a very simple cottage and the whole surrounding area is a national park. I will take lots of photos to show you when I get back.

Its quite isolated there and we have to take all the food we will need so I have been cooking and baking like crazy. I thought I would share a couple of the recipes for some of the things I have made.

Spicy lentil and tomato soup:

I love this recipe especially on a cold winters night sitting in front of the fire, which is exactly what we wll be doing. The quantities are a little made up, I make it a little different every time.

2 onions sliced

2 cloves of garlic chopped finely

2 tsp curry powder

2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp cumin

cayenne pepper to taste

approx 1 cup of lentils (any kind will do)

2 tins of tomatoes

enough water or stock to make it soup consitency (we usually have ours pretty thick and almost curry like)

soften onions in a little oil along with the garlic. Add the spices and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until lentils are cooked.

So easy and so delicious.

Sticky Lemon Slice

This recipe I pinched from a cafe I worked at. Its in the oven as I write this so i will have to post a pic later on.


250gm butter, softened

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 1/4 cups plain flour

cream butter and icing sugar together in a food processor. Add flour and process until a ball forms. Press into a lined 32 x 21 cm tin. Bake for 15 mins and 170 degrees celcius. Prepare the topping while the base cools.


2 3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

4 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

zest of 3 large lemons

120 mls lemon juice

Put all of the topping ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Pour over the base. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is firm to the touch and golden brown. Cool in the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

kokeshi stitchery

I have a confession. I love trashy tv. I really really love it. However I can't sit and just watch, I get too restless. Perhaps the trashy tv is not enough to hold my attention? So for the first time ever I been doing some embroidery during my evening tv watching. This is what I have been working on.

Its a little bit wonky and a the stiches are a little uneven but I am really enjoying it. They are little Kokeshi dolls from this book. I am already planning my next project.