Sunday, August 31, 2008


I could almost weep with relief that we are now officially in Spring. Winter and I are not good companions but I got through with lots of knitting, crafting with the kids, snuggling together with good books, and great coffee made by The Man Who Works In The Shed.

I started a little spring display by making these birds with some repro vintage 1930's prints from my local quilting store. I used the pattern from Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts. I6 has added a paper butterfly and we'll make pink tissue paper blossoms for it too.

I am completely into children's books at the moment, particularly those with captivating illustrations. We borrowed Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art from the library and it is FANTASTIC. We read about a few of our very favourite illustrators this morning: Mitsumasa Anno, Quentin Blake and Eric Carle. The respect with which these published artists speak to my little 'already artists' is wonderful. The kids all had a go at Eric Carle inspired collages.

I feel the same about art as I do about poetry. School did me no favours in this area. I would love to learn more about making my own art one day - particularly drawing and watercolours. Yet again, my children inspire me with their passion, interest and creativity without boundaries.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Love the Swapsies

I get a total buzz out of doing swaps in the Craftiverse. It's fun wracking your brain thinking of something perfect for your swapee, then getting those fingers busy, and the satisfaction of posting the package off, hoping nervously they'll like it.

This week was full of swappy abundance. Here's my "very me" necklace from Kate. I love how she gets me without having met me (yet!).

I got my eagerly awaited package from The Nappy Network Hand-dyed Yarn Swap. My swapper chose the Indian festival of Holi as her theme for me. Look at those colours!

My parcel included some dried fruit - a traditional Holi gift, chai tea, incense, a pattern for a knitted Indian camel and some Indian recipes which we'll definitely try (we even have ghee & jaggery in our house).

How did she know I needed more stitch markers?

I feel the yarn is calling to be showcased on its own rather than on the camel so I'll knit him in a solid colour at a later stage. I'll buy some of the Holi dyes I've seen at our Indian supply shop and the kids and I will recreate it in our backyard.

I love the connections that are created through these kind of swaps!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dangerous Hobby

I'm sure needle-felting must be as dangerous as base jumping or crocodile wrestling. Have you seen the needle you use? It's barbed! Anyhoo...I thought the big girls and I would try needle-felting for our Wednesday craft afternoon.

Here's my first effort - my Wise Old Woman.

Miss H11 did a super job on her girl. We both agree there is quite a Scandinavian vibe to her.

M8's woman is still in progress so we'll attack her in a voodoo doll-like fashion for a wee bit longer.

I'm now awaiting the new felting book in our library to get through processing so I can nab it for ideas. Check out Nova's Mama & beautiful.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Joy of Yarn

On our way home from our fantastic family weekend away we drove through one of my favourite spots in the lower North Island, Greytown. Imagine my delight, and excited squeals, when I saw a cute pink shingle hanging outside a gorgeous cottage proclaiming "Sock Yarn Boutique". Hubby knew to screech to the side of the road immediately (good boy).

The girls and I got to explore the sweet wee "Joy of Yarn" boutique at the back of Scarlet Oak Cottage (romantic sounding huh?) that had just opened a couple of days previously. Unfortunately I didn't have large loads of cash on hand and the Eftpos machine wasn't available so I managed to scrounge enough coins for a ball of Regia Bamboo sock yarn for I6.

James is stocking Knitpicks needles and Vintage Purls limited edition sock yarns among the Opal and Regia yarns. I look forward to a child-free visit to have a good poke and fondle AND for his online store to open so I can nab some more Bamboo in MY colours;-) The wee boutique is open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-3pm - well worth a stop!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pretty as a Princess

I've had a lot of fun participating in an online hand-dyed yarn swap with some friends. I was allocated the lovely Leah who has a self-confessed obsession with all things Disney. I chose colours that I like myself around a "Princess" theme. I used Procion MX dyes to create the Amethyst, Sapphire and Jade worn by the Disney Princesses Ariel and Cinderella.

I included a Work in Progress bag and zippered pouch in fabric that leapt off the shelf in my local craft store last weekend, demanding to be taken home with me. What's a wee pressie without some TradeAid chocolate too!

My gorgeous buddies Christine and Nova both tagged me with the purty Kreativ Blogger award. Right back at ya ladies! Christine - you crazy craft lady - you know I'm in awe of you! Nova - I'm loving seeing the cute Steiner inspired stuff you're doing with the kids. And you don't freak out too much when I hug you despite being somewhat less exuberant than me;-)

I have to tag my refound buddy, Pauline. We knew each other on an online forum years ago and even met when she traveled up my way (I think maybe even before A3 was born?). We lost contact so I was excited to rediscover her this year and learn of all the crafty stuff we have in common. She's a total inspiration - a Mum to her 4 gorgeous offspring, a fantastic teacher AND still finds the time and energy to create amazing stuff AND zip around on her sexy motorbike with her hubby!!

Righto, off to pack Hubby's Sock WIP and a novel (how cool - I found one to match our theme for this term) for a weekend away in Napier with our good friends. It better be fine enough for Ali & I to hit the Farmer's Markets.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sunshine and Poetry

Confession: High school English managed to crush any love of poetry I might have possessed. I've carried "I don't 'do' poetry" ever since. I'm excited to discover that I can find a way back to an appreciation of the written and spoken word through my children. See - they have a lot to teach me!

We grasped a rare gloriously sunny afternoon for our kids to recite their memorised poetry outside (after a good repast, of course).

H12 wrote her own poem for us. Two brothers collapsed into a fit of giggles at their poem. B10 played a tune from Pirates of The Caribbean.

Even K2 participated in her little way. C7 captured the essence of being a boy with his pick. H11 wrote a speech about the human eye, delivered impassionately.

My "extra" daughter, K6, did great. M8 can easily overcome her reservedness in this environment. L4 loves the stage (funny that).

I6 enjoyed reciting little verses from her first wee Bible. A3 did a croaky (darn cold) rendition of 'Do, a Deer' from Sound of Music.

Methinks I may have to issue a challenge to the three mums to come up with something for next time. (I know you're reading this, Ali!)

The rest of the afternoon was spent running wild in the big backyard with perfect climbing trees, and sticks for all sorts of games. Just as it should be. Charlotte Mason would have been proud.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Current W.I.Ps

I don't like too many projects on the go at once...but I do like more than one knitting option to choose from. My current Works in Progress are a pair of DK socks for me fulla, at his request. Although judging by the look of his other socks I'm not sure they'll get the Knit Love they deserve. Hopefully the hand knit factor will boost them to a higher level of respect and care.

This is a baby pinafore in a 4ply bamboo which takes a slightly higher level of concentration than the socks. A friend coordinates hand-knitting donations for her local SANDS chapter so this will be coming her way.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It works!

Yes, a bit of a thrill when you are holding two socks at once in your hot little hands. I can see it will be a bit of a mission making sure I'm knitting from the correct ball of yarn for each sock, but the process wasn't too scary at all.

Hopefully Y16months won't mind that they don't match;-)