Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Bit'O'Christmas

Today, we constructed! I opted out of making my own houses this year and bought them. I don't think the kids will remember that Mum couldn't be blowed baking this year. I don't think they noticed my blood pressure rising as nose-pickers touched lolly bowls and white icing went all over our (rental!) carpet;-) I hope they'll just retain this activity as a sweet family Christmas memory.

We love our Christmas books. I buy a new one (oops - five this year) every year. What are some of your favourites?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finished Knitting

As much as knitting is about the journey for me, it is always immensely satisfying to get stuff finished!

A Jane Austen Dress for I6 - this was made from yarn AND fabric stash so extra satisfying.

My February Lady Sweater - quite pleased with this. It's inspired me to keep doing stuff for myself;-)

This headband will form part of a Hugs & Kisses With Love set, with some handwarmers, for a good friend returning to study in Canada. We're hoping she'll feel our love with her when she wears this soft angora/merino.

Monday, December 15, 2008


The kids and I sat down a week ago and made this beeswax modelling clay Nativity. (Mainly to make up for the fact that Mama still hasn't knitted one!) According to A3.75, every good Nativity needs a snake in it (bottom left).

His Joseph, apparently, also needed a bit of a rest with his pillow and blankie as he was tired. Must have been the exertion of that labour in the stable eh? Poor guy.

Grow Your Own

This film is a must-see if you garden, and particularly if (like us) you actually have an allotment;-) And what's with Eddie Marsan? I'd never heard of the guy till recently but he's been in three films I've watched in the last three weeks!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stash Busting

I'm on a determined mission to use the weeny bits of yarn that clutter my stash at the moment.

Felix Cardy in Ashford Tekapo Wisteria:

Rainbow Dress in The Wool Company Utiku Gems:
One Skein Baby Bolero in Paton's Washed Haze Aran:

Not a bad effort in the last week and a half in which one small family member had an ED visit head injury and all of us suffered a tummy bug.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Re-fashioned Cowgirl

Take one homemade Cowgirl top, too small to ever fit the Mummy, thrifted by Aunty Larraine.

Lop off the straps, fold over the top for a waistband, thread with elastic. You have one new Cowgirl skirt for the resident Prairie Girl!

Thanks for the superb op-shopping, Aunty Larraine!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Poffertjes at the Farmer's Market this morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Suburban Livestock Part Two

Along with our worms we also have a herd of yeasts and bacteria.

East India Pale Ale:
Ginger beer bug:
Water Kefir:
Here is a gratuitous shot of our recent harvest of purple broccoli. After all my concern over my brassicas the broccoli has finally come through for me. (My red cabbage remains doubtful.) This beast was easily twice the size of a supermarket head so we were able to share half with friends.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Suburban Livestock

When you're a Suburban Homesteader about all you have room for is a worm farm.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Democracy Sodas

'Twas time to exercise my democratic right this afternoon since I'll be out of my electorate on Saturday.

And because I'm not feeling at all confident that it will go the way I'd like I bought icecream and lemonade for consolation sodas.

Kiwis - don't forget to vote on Saturday!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christmas Craft Planning

It's clear to me, observing the piles of fabric breeding in my craft room (a.k.a my bedroom), that I need more fabric like I need a trepanning session on my skull.

But does that stop me? No - especially when it is COWBOY fabric. Cowboy CHRISTMAS fabric!! Dude - this was so coming home to my house as soon as I saw it!! So, what shall I do with it? I need some great Christmas crafty ideas for each yard. Otherwise, it will simply be turned into drawstring bags to use in place of Christmas wrapping paper that we can re-use each year.

How could I resist this with all the young ladies I sew for!! What to do, what to do with it??

I've had to let go of my plans of finally having a knitted nativity scene this year as other knitting and sewing projects bump it further down the queue.

So what Christmas craft inspirations do you have for me?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

We're challenged by Sharon Astyk's list of "Things you can do to get ready for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Difficult Times" in her Depletion and Abundance.

Firstly, we're trying to feel encouraged about the things that we are already doing. Here are a random selection of some of them that have been very achievable for our family, so maybe yours too:
* Plant a garden and grow some of your own food.
* Start walking and biking more.
* Start baking your own bread.
* Start a compost pile outdoors.
* If you don't have a lot of space but are trying to grow much of your own food, grow root crops like potatoes.
* Encourage your religious community to reconnect with the agrarian roots of your faith.
* Learn to preserve food.
* Teach kids how to ride a bike and about basic bike safety.
* Put up a clothesline! (Actually I consider it a patriotic duty for New Zealanders to do this!)
* Buy a hand-pushed lawn mower.
* Have you considered homeschooling? Why yes, Sharon, we have!
* Brew your own beer.
* Learn a skill that can be done in very low light conditions. Knitting, crocheting;-)
* Now is the time to convince your business, school, church, mosque, synagogue to add a garden on that empty lawn.

And our exciting new one!
* Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) if you don't garden, and learn to enjoy the bounty of a seasonal diet.

We are anticipating our first delivery on Thursday from the Simply Good Food CSA that we just joined. It feels right to "invest" in an alternative positive venture in these times of instability in the traditional financial sector. We know we are unable to grow ALL our own food in our small suburban back yard and our allotment at our community garden so this is another step towards food security.

First Preserves

M9 made her first preserves by herself in the weekend - a Seville Orange Marmalade using a recipe from Carla. It is good! She makes dinner with her Dad each Sunday night and last night did bread rolls and tomato soup - all from scratch, with only hot oven help from Dad. Proud Mummy!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'll show you mine

Ms SweetP Knits showed her February Lady Sweater progress so I thought I'd show mine. I'm obviously not minding it as much as she is;-) It's being modeled by my 9yr old. No, I'm not as small as a 9yr old and am vaguely wishing I'd cast on the XS instead of the XXS. It meets with a weeny stretch over my not-so-ample bosom. I do have a tendency to make/buy clothing slightly too large for myself so I'm hoping I'll be comfortable with this being more fitting.

I'm liking how my gull lace is turning out - I'm not liking the acrylic yarn on my plastic Denise needles - no where near as pleasing as nice wool yarn on my Knitpicks Harmonies.

At the rate that I'm going (i.e other projects jumping the queue) this really WILL be a February Lady Sweater.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Current W.I.Ps

I'm sure I've confessed here before my slight weakness for knitting books;-) One of my latest acquisitions is the new Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside The Lines. As well as being pee your pants funny there are stunning patterns in there that are now clogging my project whiteboard.

I quickly whipped up the Leafy Reticule in some hemp from my stash. I already had the thrifted wooden handles put away for a sewing project but they were there and the right size. I've started a Monteagle Bag in some olive green hemp too.

Just look at that gorgeous Jane Austen Dress! I am definitely making one of those with a matching shrug for my two-year old niece's Christmas pressie. I'm sure at least one of my young ladies will end up with one too.

My February Lady Sweater is trudging along - at snail's pace since this new book has come along to distract me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shower Caps and Apple Trees

I had a couple of pieces of pretty waterproof fabric in my stash that was designated for making nappy covers for new babies but I chose it for funky shower caps for the kids.

We bought an apple and a lime tree yesterday. Seems a bit odd to be planting long term fruit trees at a rental house but it feels good to put down positive roots that we or future tenants can enjoy. Hubby and kids also dug out the grass under my new herb garden box.

I finally finished the cowboy tote bags for A3 and his cuzzie. Thank you, again, Claire for your super embroidery machine. Nothing like a personalised bag for a 3 year old boy to keep his treasures in. Recognise the inner fabric, Judy? Yet another thing I've had sitting around in the stash unused for two years - thanks!!