Saturday, November 14, 2009

Craft Hope

Just a quick post this morning. I have added a new button to the right for Craft Hope. I've only just become aware of this site and I can't wait to become involved in the next project, alas I am too late for this one. Please take a moment to check it out and see if you have time to help too.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Here is our new baby Keely. She is about 14 weeks old and a red heeler cross (we think). She is from the Humane Society so another rescue dog She and Honey seem to have taken to each other, a few little squabbles but no teeth and no fights so far.

They both slept in the same room yesterday, they even squished their beds together so I think that's much more positive than last time

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Me time

So I had been planning to make something yummy from one of my new books. Something that I wanted to make, maybe even something I wanted to make and keep for me. Yeah right! I spent yesterday evening making a pleated skirt for Gage, she has a costume day at school and wanted to go as a manga/anime character and needed a black pleated skirt. I made one, quickly, it won't win any prizes but it's a basic pleated skirt and it does the job.

Great, now on to my things, ha! Neil asked me before he went to school this morning to check something he had been working on and if I got time to type it up. He is in a planning meeting after work today and won't be home until late and of course he has left this particular task until the last minute, he needs it for tomorrow. Yes I did it, read, checked and typed waiting to be cut and pasted into whatever he needs to put it into.

Great now on to my things, hahahaha. Evie is having a loud shirt day at school tomorrow, not content with just wearing something we could find in the wardrobe she decided she needed to decorate a shirt herself. It's a fundraiser for deaf children to enable them to get cochlear implants so of course I said I'd help.

After school we headed out to get some supplies and also new ballet shoes for her and me, we had to get the shoes today as the little shop is only open for 2 hours on Thursdays and 2 hours on Saturday. Shoes bought, supplies for the shirt decorating bought we headed to get burgers for dinner. All of a sudden from the back of the car I hear "Mom, I feel sick" I quickly emptied the ballet shoes out of the bag and threw it to her and she promptly vomited, great huh? Head back home, give her some neurofen to get rid of her headache and within an hour she was all OK again and decorating her shirt. Here it is.

Gotta love being a mom right? Here's my little stash of felted jumpers, waiting for me to get to them. Tomorrow I'm going to make time for my things.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Books to Inspire

My birthday was back in July and my parents had asked me what I'd like but of course I had no idea. I had been making a list of books I wanted to get myself so a week or so back I emailed my dad with three I was keen on and asked if they might get me one of them. I spoke to them couple of days later and he told me he had ordered them for me, all three WOOHOO!

They started to arrive last Friday, the first one was Betz White's "Warm Fuzzies" which is full of fabulously inspiring fun thinks to make from recycled wool sweaters. The second one arrived on Monday; "Weekend Sewing" by Heather Ross, another book full of wonderful things to make and I have already decided the first one I want to try is the kimono dress. We are just in spring here in NZ at the moment and I think it will be a great dress to have for those lovely spring mornings. The final book arrived on Tuesday; Amy Butler's "In Stitches" which again is full of inspiration. All three books are chock full of beautiful pictures and wonderful ideas. So not only books (which I just love) but beautiful and useful ones, what more could I ask for?

It was the arrival of these books that set me on my way to the op shopping (thrift shop or charity shop if you are not in NZ) I did on Monday which resulted in 8 lovely sweaters which I felted and am part way through cutting up. I''m not sure what to start on first, the dress, some lounge pants or something fuzzie; whatever it is I'll let you know when it's finished.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Baking

After a quiet day of thrift store shopping and playing with Callum yesterday I am back to work today looking after Krysta. After having an extra day for the weekend with her mom she wasn't really in a being at mine frame of mind so we opted for one of her and Callum's favourite activities; baking.

I wanted a flapjack type slice to put in the kids lunches so we made one, didn't have a recipe I wanted to do so we just made it up as we went along, it turned out brilliantly so I've jotted it down so I know for next time. Best of all it's dairy, egg and nut free so suitable for all of us and Evie's best friend who has allergies.

If you want to give it a go here's a list of ingredients;

100g dairy free margarine
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g rolled oats
100g plain flour
100g dark chocolate chips
100g dried chopped strawberries

To make just melt the margarine and syrup together in a pan, mix all the dry ingredients and then add the margarine/syrup mix to the bowl. Combine well and then pop it into a baking tray and bake it at 190c for about 10-15 minutes. Slice while warm and then enjoy!

We also made some coconut cup cakes using egg sub and they worked well. Haven't tried one yet so I'll have to let you know how it worked.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

House of Sickness

Yes this week we have been the house of sickness. We had a selection of vomiting, sore throats, headaches, runny noses, coughs, colds, aching bones...well you get the picture right?

So Sunday has rolled along and we are finally all on the mend because obviously we weren't all sick on the same days so we spread it out and made each other miserable feeling sorry for ourselves, except Callum who even through the vomit and the subsequent snot fest managed to stay happy and full of beans. What is it with toddlers and energy? I really need to get myself some from the same place he gets his as it's so much longer lasting than the adult variety I have!

I haven't had much time to do anything much creative but here's a necklace I made for our most recent beadswap. It was inspired by Christi Friesen's candy focal beads.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's a boy

Hooray a new addition to our family and a friend for Honey.

His name is Nike and he's six months old, we got him from a family who had only had him six weeks but hadn't bargained on the time and effort a dog, particularly a larger one, takes. They in turn got him from the Humane Society which is where we got Honey from so both are beautiful rescued dogs. We introduced them last night, some playing, some nipping and a little bit of full on biting as they try to decide who's the boss. Honey already knows her position in our family and is obviously not willing to allow a new dog to be in front of her. He is good with the kids though he is big and strong and we need to teach him how to play a bit more gently. We took them for a walk together last night and again this morning (hello 5.45am, I haven't seen you for a while!!) and they both behaved really well outside so I think with a little love and attention they'll become friends.

Here's our baby girl Honey who is 13 months old in the art canvas that Evie made.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Beautiful Spring

Hooray, it's officially spring and the weather has been sunny and bright as if to emphasise the fact. I'm so glad that winter is over. Winter is mild in Auckland, at least mild compared to the winters I am used to in the UK, though of course everyone still bemoans the cold, rain, get the picture. I think I must be getting soft too as I am so grateful that the weather has changed. Here's the view from my deck on this lovely afternoon, what a stunning blue sky.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday Beading

I spent Saturday afternoon hosting a 10th birthday beading party. I designed 2 simple necklaces and one bracelet for a group of (mainly) 9 and 10 year olds to make. I set all the beads out and after a lot of oohing and aahing they set about choosing the design they wanted to make, once that decision was made they had to choose their beads... that took a LONG time. It looked like it was quite painful for some of them deciding between colours and some opted for a rainbow of beads when choosing one or two proved just too hard.

They all worked really hard, listened to my instructions and asked questions when they weren't sure. You would never believe that 10 girls could be so quite, you could have heard a pin drop between questions and the occassional sigh and giggle when things went wrong. A lot of them found the crimping near the clasps and the covering of wire a little too tricky so I helped a bit but the majority of the work was theirs.

After finishing the necklaces they all put them on and went for a break, cake, present opening and some running around. After that they could choose if they wanted to make a bracelet, some opted not too and instead ate more food and did more running and laughing but five made the bracelet. This was a lot quicker as it was a simple beading design and they were all soon outside running off their sugar highs.

It was a great success, the girls had a lot of fun and Katrina (the birthday girls mom) said she was really pleased at how well it went and how much fun they had. I even gave out my details to a couple of people who are interested in doing something similar for their girls. Here's how they took them home.

It's so great to do something you love and have other people love it too. Evie was invited as she knows Brianna and she had a great time, here's what she made.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding serenity

I am struggling at the moment to find time for myself to do the things I want to do. I seem to be spending all my time looking after kids, my own and for my job, cleaning and cooking. I am so tired all the time as Callum hasn't slept through the night for about 6 months now and it's really taking it's toll. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. It started off with him having nightmares but now I think he is sleeping so lightly that any noise is waking him; birds, cars, the dog taking a drink.

To this end I have a really short temper at the moment and am feeling very harrassed. The kids are getting shouted at and I am feeling thoroughly unloved, hence the need to find serenity. I was hoping to just pop to a local shop and buy a bag of it but apparently that's not an option. Instead I took a walk in the beautiful suburb where we live and tried to take in the scenery. The picture is Rangitoto Island which we can see from the beach at the bottom of our road, it's beautiful and I'm so glad we made the choice to come here.

It helped a little but I'm just still so tired. Ideas?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Star is Born

Evie has been doing ballet for about 2 years now and was lucky enough to be involved in her ballet school production of Cinderella. To be honest the dances the little ones did had nothing to do with Cinderella but as far as they were concerned they were the introduction to it and Evie loved every minute of it. Especially the costume and the lipstick.

They started learning the dance about 4 months ago and built it up week by week. I was so please with the way she danced and even more so with the way she behaved after. They were allowed to come into the audience to watch and she behaved impeccably, now I just have to figure out how to get her to do that at home!!

They danced at a proper theatre, albeit a smallish one, with proper lights, music and costumes. She's a natural performer so she cant wait to be a bit older and have a bigger role in the next show.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pallina Designs Giveaway

Amanda from Pallina Designs is an amazingly talented jewellery and handbag designer. I have had a number of handbags from her (three for me and two as gifts) and Gage bought me a pair of her earrings for Christmas last year too. She is having a giveaway on her blog at the moment so you should go check it out and leave her a comment to be in to win. You can find it here. And here's the brooch she's giving away. Good luck.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Life on the Island

I found this blog a while back through Deb Batten, Life on the Island is the blog of lampwork artist Paula who makes wonderful glass beads. Some are exquisite pretty colours and others are the most amazing little critters. Her dogs are wonderful and they always make me smile. She held a giveaway a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to win, my prize is an amazing pair of one of a kind earrings and they arrived in wintery Auckland last week.

The green pair are mine, I was so excited when I opened them up and found the most amazing shimmery green glass. It is lovely and has patterns that go right through, you can follow them to the centre and back out again, amazing. I am off to a show on Friday with a girlfriend so I may just premiere them then.

Marie-Madeline Studio Giveaway

Check out this beautiful quilt that's being given away by Marie-Madeline Studio. It's fabulous and it's up for grabs so go take a look.

What fantastic colours, great for cheering you up on a cold New Zealand winter morning.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bookmarks and bead parties

I have spent the last couple of evenings finishing off the bookmarks for my friend. Although I don't ever duplicate an item (unless it's requested for a bridal party or something similar) I did use the same layout for the bookmarks. I used different colours and styles of beads and I was please with the variety it led to. I asked Neil what he thought when I had finished and he said he really liked the glass ones but the flower ones looked a bit childlike, perfect I said they are for under 10's to which he replied that's OK then otherwise they wouldn't really be any good!! Like he's suddenly an expert on bookmarks and beads, typical eh?

A friend of mine has a daughter turning 10 next month and she has asked me to organise a beading party for her. I have been working on a design for a necklace and bracelet that will appeal to ten 7 to 10 year olds which is also relatively straightforward to make. The problem is I want them to be able to have some input into what they make but most of them have never done any beading before so I have to keep it really simple and also within the budget given. I think I will make two or three necklace designs and the same for the bracelets and then have a selection of beads in different shapes and colours, that way I can guide the design but they can still have the jewellery that suits them. If anyone has any ideas of how I can better do this please let me know, all suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creative People

I have a good friend, Nickie, who can do the most amazing things with photos and paper. She used to run classes from home but decided earlier this year that she wanted to get back into the workforce as her youngest child is now at school. Evie used to go to her after school classes and has made some amazing things, even though she is only 6 and was 5 for all of the year she did classes. Nickie is brilliant with the kids and Evie learnt so much, the classes weren't just about quick sticking they learnt lots of skills including design layout and what products to best use for sticking different mediums, this along side the normal skills of cutting, sticking, painting etc. This picture shows some of the brilliant things she created through the year. She also made christmas decorations, a suncatcher and mosaiced riverstones amongst other things I cannot recall.

When the classes finished Evie was very upset but Nickie now runs kids holiday classes at Scrapbook Studio where she works. The concept of the class is simple, Nickie creates a design and then the children are open to interpret it in their own way, they are supervised and offered guidance but the finished product is very much up to them, their only contsraints being the products they have available and their imagination. This past school holiday Evie attended one and made this fabulous mixed media canvas which is currently being showcased on my bookcase.

Hard to believe it was made a 6 year old isn't it? Evie also recently expressed an interest in knitting and sewing and can generally be found carrying her bag of paper, pens, glue etc. around with her. I hope she continues along this creative path as she gets older and I hope she continues to have wonderful people like Nickie around to show her the way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This week

has been just fantastic. I have had a great time celebrating my birthday and managed to stretch it out for 6 days, not bad even if I say so myself. Monday was family day, the food was fantastic and the cheesecake delicious. My friend Nickie came over with lovely gifts for me, there was chocolate too but I ate it before I got round to taking pictures!

Tuesday Neil surprised me with tickets to Cirque du Soleil, Dralion. It was just the most amazing show. I loved everything about it, well actually I had a little moan about one of the costumes but everything else was brilliant. It was made even more fantastic as I didn't know what we were doing and Neil arranged everything.

The rest of the week was more normal, work, kids, cooking etc. but last night we had some friends over for a few drinks. Well it lasted well into the wee small hours and ended up with us doing a search for a missing person, I won't name names but it was a funny end to a great evening.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Yep, my fortieth birthday and apparently I am supposed to be sad and depressed because I am no longer youthful. Well I hope I'm not disappointing anyone but I feel OK. No depression, no mid life crisis I'm doing just fine thank you very much.

I would like to thank everyone who sent cards, called, emailed, left messages on FB and Twitter and told me in person to have a great day. It's great to now that even from the other side of the world friends who I haven't seen for years still remember and take the time to call.

I had some lovely presents, a gorgeous watch, yummy handmade chocolates, clothes, a book and some gift vouchers plus more to come. No big plans for tonight, family time and a chocolate orange cheesecake which the kids and I made earlier. Then tomorrow Neil has a suprise planned of which I am completely in the dark, it's very exciting. All I know is I have to be ready at 6 and wear something nice!!

Anyway my food will be here shortly, the kids have been at the movies giving me a much appreciated 2 hours of peace and quiet and they should be coming back with takeaway from the local Italian restaurant.

Then it's onto that cheesecake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not so yummy sewing

Yesterday started so well, by 10 o'clock I had made four bookmarks, tidied the house, done some laundry and made a train track for the kids. Then I got out my camera and light box and prceeded to take photographs of the new jewellery I have made. Alas my breeze of a day was not to continue.

A couple of weeks ago on a trip to Spotlight Neil saw some ripstop fabric and decided (on the spot) to buy some to make bibs for Evie's football team, which he coaches. I did a bit of a double take, I may even have made a slight mocking scoff and asked him if he was sure and did he know how to do it. He did than typical man thing, shrugged his shoulders and said 'how hard can it be?'. Famous last words me thinks! Yesterday he decided he was going to make them which is where the not so yummy sewing comes in. It turns out he had not a clue, not even an inkling. Didn't know you had to make a simple pattern let alone how to make one, didn't know how to cut the fabric, how to pin or tack and he certainly had no idea how to use a sewing machine.

So I spent a good part of yesterday cutting, pinning and sewing. Now I have a number of sewing projects planned that I would rather have been doing but once again they got put to one side so I could do something I had no interest in. Be a mom anyone? It's a job full of tasks you don't want to do for people who think you can do anything! Which of course you can but really they do take advantage of that don't they?

Well six bibs are now almost finished, just need to do the tabs at the side and then maybe I can get back to my own projects. What are the chances aye?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I have a friend who is Hindu and each year they have a celebration which I believe it is called Raska Bahndan which celebrates the relationship of brothers and sisters. My friend celebrates by giving all the sisters and younger cousins a gift from her husband and son. Last year she asked me to make eighteen bracelets, we worked on a design and I made 18 different bracelets for the occasion. They were a great success apparently and this year she asked me to come up with another idea. I suggested bookmarks and she agreed. Some of the girls are young, four to seven so for them I have decided to make flower bookmarks and instead of using glass I found these cute acrylic beads which I thought would be a safer option for little girls. The first four I made this morning.

So four down, fourteen to go! I may use the same design as I have above with with different colours and styles of beads, I'll let you know how I get on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

This last week has been filled with sadness for me for various reasons so I have no words to share. Instead I am giving you pictures of places and things that make me smile or have happy memories. I hope you like them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My firstborn turns 18

Wowser, how did that happen? Just the other day I was giving birth and now she is turning 18, I'm pretty sure that somewhere along the way someone stole some of my days/weeks/months/years!! I think Evie might have been at least as excited as Gage, she jumped out of bed and rushed in to wish her happy birthday. I made cups of tea and then we sat down with the little pile of presents and cards.

A few grown up presents and lots of money, it's times like this that you appreciate the pound to dollar conversion. I'd like to thank everyone who sent cards, presents and money, it's great to know that even though we aren't in the UK anymore you all remember these special occasions.

Here's the cake Gage requested, she went for grown up and sophisticated.

We went out for dinner to a local Thai restaurant, the food was fabulous and the only down side was Callum fidgeted and got a bit bored. Gage excitedly had a beer with her meal, the first legal drink. Then back home to eat cake. She is having a party on Saturday with her friends which I anticipate will be a little bit wilder than her actual birthday with us.

Happy birthday Gage, I'm so proud to be your Mom. I love you. xx

Friday, June 12, 2009

Deb's Beads

I just have to share with you the most incredible bead artist, her name is Deb Batten and she is a Christchurch based New Zealander. I first came across her beads about 18 months ago and thought they were stunning, I bought a few and made some jewellery for friends and family. The beads were lovely and the jewellery a huge success.
I have since bought a number of beads from Deb, I guess I'm a regular now and recently she has been making the most amazing beads with a new glass made in New Zealand by Gaffer Glass. The glass is Chalcedony and gives beautiful shades and depth of colour. Deb's beads have a stunning organic feel to them and the shapes and colours just flow. What I love most about them is the way you see so much in them, they aren't just a flat picture of a flower or a pattern, they pull you in and every time you look at them you see something else, another colour or reflection in the light. As you can probably tell I'm a big fan. Her latest listings are amazing and here are a couple of my favourites.
If you get a minute or two you should really check out her site, it is well worth the trip. Thanks Deb for being such an inspiration and also giving me encouragement in my own polymer clay bead efforts.