Thursday, 3 July 2014

Yarn Along

I've been knitting this blanket for a while, but it's nearly finished. I saw it here and immediately fell in love with it, and really what's not to love -  it's colour blocking, garter stitch and super cosy looking. Instead of the gorgeous yarn Laura's Loop used I used the more local and affordable Ashford Tekapo yarn, a good New Zealand staple. I've used six colours and have just knitted each skein until the end. Nearly there!

I haven't been reading as much recently but I have just managed to finish The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved this book and didn't want it to end, I loved the Congo, the people and the twin aspect of it was really interesting too. Currently on my bedside table is A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor. It's the third book of hers that I've read so I know I'm bound to enjoy it, I just need to keep my eyes open a bit later at night to get stuck into it.

I'm joining in with Ginny and I'd love to hear about what you're reading and knitting too.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Autumnal rambling


 I love Autumn. I love the colours I can see out my window from my special spot on the sofa, I love the crunch of leaves underfoot, I love the light spilling into the house in ways it doesn't in summer, I love the blaze of orange across the hills after the shade has engulfed our garden, I love the feijoas and the last of the summer garden coming inside.... so much goodness in Autumn.

It's time to dust off the winter woollies and light the fire each day, as we move more into Winter the fire will stay on all day every day. Winter sports have started so Saturday's are a bit of a write off with hockey (Marcus) early in the morning and netball (Ella) in the afternoon. It's the first season for both of them and we're really enjoying watching them. There are practises added to the calendar as well as the Saturday games but we've given up swimming for the term so it kind of balances out. There are lots of tidying up jobs to be done outside, the road hedge needs a big haircut and the veggie garden needs attention. The other weekend I planted garlic, cabbage, broccoli, celery and cauliflower but there are broadbeans and pea seeds sitting on the bench reminding me they need sowing. I've finally made a start on the driveway garden, it's been an overgrown, neglected eyesore for a few years and with a big effort from my gardening group's working bee, it's now been cleared and Anth has put up a windbreak fence. Now I need to get on with buying the hedging plants and mulching it.

I managed to read a number of books and get some knitting done last week when I was laid up on the sofa with a sprained ankle. After finding some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky in my stash I whipped up this scarf, I haven't got around to putting it up on Ravelry yet but it's called Rambling from memory and was a free pattern, super easy and super squishy to wear. I really loved reading Cheryl Strayed's Wild, it is such an inspiring story and has made me want to go tramping - not on my own though and nowhere where there are bears and snakes. Somewhere like Fiordland perhaps, I turn 40 this year (arghh?!?! how did that happen?) and am keen on the idea of walking the Milford by way of celebration, not sure celebration is the right word... I need to save up though as it's not a cheap thing to do unfortunately. Wild is not really the best book to read when you've injured yourself though, I'm feeling very frustrated that I can't get out walking the hills right now!

What do you love about Autumn? What are you reading and or knitting at the moment? Have you read Wild? How would you celebrate turning 40, or would you ignore it?

Thursday, 1 May 2014


I lost my knitting mojo a while back.  I was sad it had gone and I missed having a project or three on the go. I had tried to get started on a couple of things but they were never quite right and sat in my basket, neglected. Then in the knitting void I took to reading. I went through a phase of spending all my free time devouring books, escapism pure and simple. With all that reading there was no room for knitting although I should have been more organised and listened to audio books. 

Through this knitting hiatus my favourite Aunt (aka my knitting coach) would message me about her exciting projects and it was with her help and encouragement that I cast on my first jumper - a Ysolda Teague Blank Canvas (more on that another time).  I mucked around on that a while but things really got moving when my dearest friend asked me to knit her a pair of socks for her birthday. I went from bingeing on reading to bingeing on knitting - by ignoring all but the most basic of house duties her socks were completed in a record four days. Then I was hooked again! I love knitting socks but had given up as I couldn't get them to fit right, all the patterns came out too large. But that problem has been solved by my knitting coach, it turns out that my tension was too loose and by wrapping the yarn around my little finger twice, I've managed to knit my first perfectly fitting sock, yay! It's the Hearts and Flowers sock from Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up.

I have a few books on the go at the moment. I'm dipping in and out of Rhonda Hetzel's Down to Earth again. I read the book cover to cover when it first came out a couple of years ago and learned so much from it, she's a very inspiring lady and I'm in need of being inspired at the moment. I already practise a lot of her simple living advice but there's always room for improvement and I've been reminded of a few things I used to do but have fallen out of the habit of. I'm also reading The Matchmaker of Perigord  by Julia Stuart, it's the first book of hers I've read and I'm finding it quite entertaining so far.

Joining in with Ginny.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Making me smile

It's been such a long while that I was worried I wouldn't remember how to log in to this little space of mine - turns out I did, so here I am!
We are a week into school holidays and after spending last week away in the caravan, I'm looking forward to a nice quiet week of lazy mornings and no rushing about. Amongst the four loads of washing, the repatriation of items from the caravan to the house and feeding people big and small, I got my much neglected camera out and fiddled around a bit. Here are a few things that have made me smile today:

1.  Hydrangeas are one of my favourite plants.  I love this one dried even more than when it's alive on the plant.
2. My new purple slippers. If they're not on my feet then they're bound to be on the feet of one of the girls, a pair for each has been added to my list. Ravelled here.
3. Bright spots of red amongst the green -  tamarillos. They'll be ready to pick in a few days.
4. Goodies brought back from the UK by Mum and Dad. They had lunch at one of the River Cottage canteens which makes me green with envy.

 5. Using up the last of my zucchinis in a chocolate brownie recipe I found on a new to me blog
6. Treasure hunting among the feijoas. A month ago I checked the plants and they only had small fruit and not a lot of it, I was very disappointed. I went for a wander today and was surprised to find heaps of them scattered under the trees with a lot more yet to ripen. And, they weren't teeny tiny anymore, some of them are huge! It feels like it's rained all of April, there's only one blinding sunny day that springs to mind but all is forgiven now, the feijoas have definitely benefited from the rain.
7. We love feijoas in this house, so much so I'll have to stop the kids scoffing my first bowl full in one sitting. And if I want any for myself, I'd better hide a few.
8. Over Easter we spent a wonderful few days with the NZ contingent of my extended family. There was much chatting, swimming (the kids mostly), dog patting, eating and knitting. I'm very grateful to my knitting coach (Hi Florence!) for ending my sock knitting drought. I'd given up as all of the patterns I was using were turning out too large for my feet. All it took was a trick with the yarn tension and here I am, nearly finished sock one, and it fits perfectly. I can't wait to wear it/them!
9. After all the rain, and being away the lawns have been much neglected. Anthony mowed a track for the kids that kept them entertained for hours. Marcus is playing hockey for the first time this year and took that chance to get a bit of practise in.

Monday, 13 January 2014

The week that was

It's been a while so I thought I'd just jump right in and join Emily at The Beetleshack with some snippets from our week. Here goes:

1. Our first apples of the season, we've got to be quick to beat the birds so they're a bit tart. I made an apple shortcake yesterday and I'll stew the rest up today.

2. Strawberry jam and tomato relish, the relish didn't work very, it's a bit overcooked I think but the strawberry jam is the best

3. Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers, shame they don't last more than a few days cut

4. The caravan is shaping up well, all the cabinets are made and it's almost ready for painting. Time for me to get cracking on the pretty things, I'm making some cushion covers with these fabrics

5. My favourite place to sit inside, especially when everyone else is outside...

6. Cousins we wish we saw more of

7. Biker girls with their Dad. Uncle Warren brought the motocross bikes down and the girls had a blast tearing around up at the Green Hutt in the Akatarawas. They had so much fun they want their own bikes now?! I need some convincing...

8. The end of a hot day, cooling off in the river

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.....