So far blogging stuff has been a really enjoyable passtime, it's easy to write and show stuff when life's plodding along quite nicely. It's hard however to know weather to reveal more personal stuff to the blog world especially emotional hardships. This is for me though and it would be fake not to include what's going on. I've had a trying couple of weeks, my Mum had a cancerous lump removed from her leg, it wasn't really a big deal but then things started to get a bit complicated. The specialist didn't know what kind of Cancer it was and started talking about another operation. Mum's waiting results from more blood tests and a chest x-ray. She's very positive and as a born again Christian she veiws this as a test and is kind of embracing it. I've tried not to dwell on it but I'm a bit of a secret pessimist and it feels very strange to be positive about scary stuff. Then if that wasn't bad enough she started having blackness in her vision, Arraaaahhh BRAIN TUMOR the pessimist screamed. Luckily Mum got it checked out straight away, it was something fairly common but potentialy resulting in blindness, detatched retina maybe? I forget, it's a bit of a blur. NOT A BRAIN TUMOR that's all I heard.
So with all that going on I havn't had a lot of sleep, how could I cope without Mum? The teenager has thrived on my snappy moods enjoying the short temper as an oppourtunity to argue all the injustices he has to face, I think he has a built in radar to notice weakness or PMS, cos we always end up fighting if I'm not on top of the game. The small children havn't benifited from many quality conversations either.
The volunteer job I do has become a chore and the main focus for my anger, why should I do this when my family needs me? Not very nice mind speak resulting in headaches and more crabby thoughts. A bit of a vicious circle. I'm trying to look at it all as my own test and though I don't like to compare, it's sometimes helpful for getting things into perspective. My life would be down right boring without a few hiccups and a bit of drama thrown in for good measure. With that off my chest I'm feeling a bit better.


From Grandma's stash

My pile of unfinished objects is growing again as I get ideas and try them out just enough to see if I like them or not. Both my small children need new winter clothes so I need to get a few things finished. Last week I started these baby gowns, finishing them off yesterday. One will be for my friend who just had her third baby girl. The fabric of the yellow one and the blue one is viyella or clydella which my grandma had in her stash. She had 8 children and handmade all their baby clothes. Fabric was precious and she saved all the smallest scraps too. The blue piece must have been a favorite because it appears to have been bought and not made into anything. It's my favorite but the colour might be too boyish for a girl?

All my babies wore gowns, most pre loved and worn by Grandmas children. (nice links to the past). Grandma was too tired to make much by the time I had children but loved seing the things I was knitting and sewing. I didn't really realise what a wonderful craftwoman she was until she died and all her treasures came out. I know she would approve of these gowns I made as she hated seing babies in stretch and grows. Not many friends bother with gowns now but I think they're adorable. For a new born we wrapped a "flannel nap" she called it (soft woollen square) over the nappy rolled the gown down over the top then baby was wrapped in a shawl snug as a bug. Not very practical for outings I know, but so adorable. My only bother with the gown pattern I used is the bais binding tie at the back, it wasn't until I was finishing that I thought domes might have been better. Buttons are out, ever tried buttoning up a cardy on a wriggly baby? Probably why matinee jackets and the like had a tie and only three buttons.
This is a smocked gown that we thik my great grandmother made it's my absolute favorite made of silk. PJ wore it a couple of times when she was a baby but I was terrified it would ge ripped so it's stored now, I'd love to display it but the light would probably make it deteoriate quicker.



I had these grand plans of dunging out the house in the holidays. There's no excuse I just didn't do it. The small kids room got sorted but that's as far as I got so here I am last day of the holidays and it all looks pretty much the same. In fact the big boys room looks worse. They're not awake yet and what they don't know is that Mum's going to make a huge pile in the middle of their room of the stuff they've neglected all holidays. I did however achieve a few good sleep- ins, weeded and replanted the glasshouse for winter, made bread, caught up on some sewing jobs and read some good blogs.


What a lovely way to spend a day off. (The afore metioned room did get cleaned before we left by the way). We drove about 45 minutes out of town to Dovedale Playgroup car boot sale. Isn't it an idylic setting for a boot sale? There were about twice as many vendors as this but wern't too many buyers when we were there. It would have been a beautiful day and spot for a craft fair. The kids and I had a picnic and picked up some hazel nuts from the roadside on the way home.

A very cleaver friend of mine who was at the boot sale, took a fancy to one of my bags a few weeks ago so we have done a swap. This is a beautiful example of the handmade nappies she does. I'm going to provide her some flannelette to do another one. Baby G the red head, doesn't say many words but he said "warm" when I put this on him and that says it all really.

I couldn't resist a pic of this old whare, probaby an old tobacco workers accomadation or the like. I got very excited when I saw a for sale sign further down the fence line, but inquiry at "the old Thorpe Store" craft shop revealed it is part of a 8 hectare property with a villa on it further down the road. The price tag of around $695,000 a little out of my price range, like 5x more than I can afford. It's not that I don't love our spot either I just yearn to be in the country again.



In spring I grow far too many plants so I give seedlings to all my favorite people. It's always interesting to see how things grow in other peoples gardens compared to my own. I didn't have much success with the Luffa I planted but one of my friends rang me yesterday for instructions on what to do once they've grown, so if you have luffa in your garden here's how to turn them into great back and foot scrubbers. Leave mature fruits in a dry place with the ends cut off and the seeds extracted. The flesh will wither leaving a network of cylindrical fibre. Easy eh? I also gave away lots of these Austrian oil seed pumpkins you just cut them in half and dry out the seeds for storage. You know it's ready when the pumpkin starts to go orange. I got about 3/4 of a cup from the first one I did, which isn't too bad considering if I'd bought the seeds from the shop they'd probably have been heat treated to stop them sprouting and flown here from goodness knows where, so I guess I'm doing my bit in my own garden to help towards stopping global warming. Now if only I could use the pushbike instead of the car sometimes. The catalogue says the flesh is lovely to eat but I find it quite watery like squash and give it to Skatey Boy's pet rats or the chooks, who incedently have stopped laying, autumn is obviously turning into winter for us here in the southern hemisphere. Wharepapa our Mt Arthur mountain range had a sprinkling of snow the other night but it would be very rare for us to get any down this low.


After Easter

It's a relief have Easter over and done with. Schools out, we can sleep in and blob around. Visitors come round and there's not a time limit on anything, don't have to get home in time for anyone after school and don't have to get up and organise anyone. The kids have lots of friends over so the house is full some days but the best part of that is that they go to their frinds house too so it's empty sometimes. My mission for the holidays is to clean up and dung out the house. I made a tentative start on Monday going through all my clothes and the baby stuff. I tried not to get too emotional about it all, just looking at baby stuff makes me cluckky ( I had baby dreams last night) but I don't want to keep so much stuff. I'm not a clean and tidy person by any stretch of the imagination but I do find myself getting miserable as the hallway and craft room pile up with stuff. Also I really enjoy giving to people now, I use to try and sell everything but get a real buzz out of giving now. After all money just passes through the purse too quickly, I've already spent all my takings from the Easter Fair. We had a lovely day at Mapua on Sunday, the weather was perfect and the Easter Fair was popular as usual. I love to walk round and see what new ideas people have come up with since the last Fair. A huge house bus was parked down from us selling beautifully crafted wooden furnature, these butchers blocks took my fancy. I also found some handknitted then felted bags, I wish I'd had my camera as I've been thinking about making myself one this winter. My stall didn't look as good as it usually does, I still havn't figured out why it didn't come together nicely.I think I need to figure out a good way to display bags and probably book L his own site for Manuka seats, he sold three. Also I had a friends T shirts on my stall which was probably a mistake as they take up alot of room. I caught up with lots of friends and sat quietly in my friends coffee cart watching her run off her feet, by 3 o'clock talking to herself "flat white, flat white, flat white" so she'd remember what she was making. It's still making me smile three days later. Market folk are great.


What a score

Can you believe the dealers over -looked this clock? I put it on the most disgustingly dusty shelf in the house but I'm so loving it. It didn't have a key to wind it but L managed to wind it and it has a beautiful chime and keeps great time. $6 Yay didn't even break the budget! The weekend garage sales were a bit of a let down except for this. I can't understand how the dealers get to every house before me and then I waste time coverting what they've got! Arrrah. Caught up with some good mates though, the garage sale scene is really taking off here, there use to be about 5 of us but last weekend there were about 12 cars racing each other round.
Meeting tomorrow for the Education Review Office visit to Playcentre, then head down bumb up finishing stuff for the Easter Fair. Hopefully the grumpy teen will give me a break for a few days, it seems I'm the baddest Mum ever because I think an English assignment is much more important than computer games. Currently we're at a stand off he won't read and I won't let him play games. I can still make him smile when I tell him he's georgous though so all is not lost. Help does anyone have a manual on teenage boys?

Count blessings

My bad mood nothing's working mojo ends today! It's been one of those weeks in the kitchen, the garden and at the sewing machine. Thank you to my blog friends for the constant stream of new comments on my blog I often try to reply but am unable to. I always check out your blogs though and have alot of "favorites" to catch up on in the school holidays. Thanks to my local friends who've called and visited and listened to my moaning. I'm not having any more bad dreams about the upcoming Education Review office visit to Playcentre, what will be will be. Just remind me to count my blessings every now and then please.
Do you like my wooden spoons? They were my Christmas present to myself from local woodworker PJ Heath. The long one is especially fabulous for preserving. You can find him at the Pokororo Fair and the Motueka Market.
I put the call out for a Sweet Chilli Sauce recipie. ( Thanks Mum)This is a beauty.

20 oz Sugar
20 oz Red Peppers
6 oz Chilli peppers
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
5 large cloves garlic
1 packet of jam setting mix
2tsp salt

Process chilli, peppers and garlic until pulpy. Heat vinegar and water disolve sugar and salt in it. Add pulp and boil 10 minutes. Add setting mix and boil til thickens about 10 mins. Bottle into sterilised jars. YUM.