Spring things

I'm being tempted out into the garden by all the spring goodness. Housework, study, and crafting blah!! The garden is where it's at. I got home from two nights away and everything looked so springy.Christmas plum just starting to flower:
Tomato seedlings on the kitchen mantle:

I'm dreaming of zucchini and tomato and rushing round trying to find the right spot to plant everything. The end of winter came quite quickly one moment I was pruning the fruit trees and almost the next week their buds were moving. I'm hoping the arrival of spring will cheer me up and energise me a little. I'm feeling really uninspired in my craft corner, last week I made myself some pants which are too loose, a skirt which is too tight and a pair of tights for PJ which she just hates for no reason! So if you can't find me I'll be out in the garden.



The kotuku may have been hunting these:

L went fishing on my birthday to try and get me a whitebait treat for dinner. Not quite enough for a feed yet but an encouraging start to the season.



Late yesterday afternoon. We saw there was alot of seaweed at the mudflats and stopped to collect some for the asparagus bed. There were several kotuku fishing in the low tide and I saw a spoonbill, my favorite, but he/she was too shy for a photo. I scared the kotuku trying to get a close up. I use to spend ages at these mudflats as a kid, my brothers and I would go and catch eels at low tide and fish and waterski at high. As I got older I looked for birds, it was a nice early birthday present for me to see 4 of my favorites in the low tide yesterday.

My visit to ECO Fest earlier in the day had got me thinking about my environment and my impact on it as I drove home. There were lots of alternative energy displays but I just can't see a way to afford installing solar panels at our place yet. Something I've wanted for ages is a system to deliver the washing machine water directly to the garden instead of me doing it all by bucket, but they were thousands of dollars too. Hopefully the government or council will show some foresight soon and offer subsidy's for installing these systems, a no interest loan would suit me. The council were however helpful in my mission of getting a good worm farm for Playcentre, I am going to apply for a grant this week which will hopefully cover worms, wormfarm, a bokashi bucket and education in using them. So that's a step in the right direction. There were lots of nappy displays as expected, which reminded me I need to make the red head a few bigger ones to last him until potty training starts. The best part was people watching, every body at Eco fest looked interesting with orginal clothes and hairstyles. It's on again in Nelson today. Worth a visit.


Wonky week

The snow came down very low on our hills earlier in the week.
My beautiful brassicas are getting damaged by the frost faster than we can eat them. Then there wasn't alot of eating going on for a couple of days with half the family struck down by a tummy bug. It's been one of those weeks actually where nothing goes smoothly or to plan and I feel like I've totally lost my battle with having enough time to do everything. Skatey boy who usually plays the relativly safe game of soccor played rugby for the winter school sports tournament and broke his nose! His biggest concern was that I'll never let him play again. I really don't want him playing but it's got to the point now that he's passionate about it and who am I to stand in the way of a boy and his passion. Perhaps a few more broken bones will change his mind. It is such a rough sport though I really want to say no way! It doesn't help that my Dad and sporty brother think a broken nose is some kind of trophy wound and are stoked that he wants to play rugby. Actually I think impressing them might be influencing his decisions.
Before the week went all lopsided and off track I did a beautiful freezer paper stencil for my red head's t shirt. I'd have to say I'm really impressed with this technique and can't wait to do some more. I'm liking doing skulls, bats and spiders instead of flowers and hearts for a change too.



I just have to share what we did today, it is so much fun crafting with a group of friends and amazingly we all got 2hrs respite from our small children to share crafty ideas and life experience. Hopefully this will be the first of many crafty get together's. We were delighted and very spoilt to have Melissia come and be our first expert/teacher with freezer paper stencils. Most of us are huge Tinyhappy fans and very inspired by Melissa's creations. Lucky, lucky us!
I stuck with a simple and pretty popular image to make patches for my "skatey boy's" pants. I'm so pleased with how it turned out and he was quite impressed with it when I got home. I did a spider as well which he told me is "a bit crooked Mum". This old reference book has some great silhouettes of NZ birds and insects which I'm going to try over the next week.

The rest of the weekend is a bit of a blur, my teenager turned 14! I baked like a madwoman to provide 8 hungry mouths with enough to sustain them while they played paintball for 3 hours thisafternoon. It was a real treat for my teenager, a birthday he'll always remember. He came home very impressed with his old Dad's ability to outwit and outlast the young fellas. I was quite emotional when I saw all his old school friends together today, I can remember most of them at his 6th birthday party and now they're all bigger than L and I and turning into awesome young men. I watched the red head (2) sitting amongst them and thought by the time he's their age they'll be 22 yr old men! It's going so fast.


space suit

A space jacket for a rocket keen 3 year old. It's got a hood and a big rocket on the back, the pants didn't photograph well and they look more disco than space man but I'm very pleased to have achieved crafts on my crafty day. The video player babysat while I sewed and the red head called out "shut up Mummy" for evey seam I sewed with the overlocker!


Bird seed bell

Yesterday at Playcentre we made these lovely bird seed bells which are so simple that with a bit of help even a 2 year old can enjoy making one. We've been eagerly looking out the kitchen window all morning to see if the finches and yellow hammers have discovered them yet. I know the're hungry at this time of year because there aren't many seeds or bugs around. Here's how to make your own bird seed bell.


A variety of seeds. We bought a wild bird mix from the supermarket, but you could save corn, millet, wheat, buckwheat, radish, sunflower etc in autumn. Grind up bigger seeds like sunflower and corn.

Egg whites. 2 for every cup of seed.

Small terracotta pots.

Glad wrap or an oven bag. To line the pot.

Thin wire. So you can hang the bell.


Beat the egg whites till they're a bit fluffy, but not as if you're making a pavolova. Kids can do this bit. (the 2 year olds had a go at seperating the yolk from the white with messy results as you can imagine.)

Then they can pour in the seeds and stir them up while you line the terracotta pots with gladwrap. When you've done that let them spoon the mixture into the pot and flatten the top.

Take a length of straight wire make a coil at one end, then insert the straight end of wire down through the mixture then out the hole at the bottom of the pot until the coil is submerged in the seed mix. Position your pots in a cool oven, right way up with the straight bit of wire pointing down through the oven rack, for one and a half to two hours. Allow to cool then tip the bell out of the pot peel off the gladwrap. Make a loop at the top ready to hang in a tree.

An alternative to the egg whites to hold the mix together would be melted fat, you wouldn't need to cook it but I don't think it would look as nice.


In my garden

So far the plan to seperate work and craft days is going OK. Tuesday was a craft day but my dear old angora rabbit "Snuggles" died. He was very old so it was a relief that he didn't have to endure any more of the cold weather, I will miss him though he was always there to talk to when I was in the back of the vege garden and loved to eat dock and chickweed while I gardened. He was a good listener too. Luckily a friend came by for a visit because I couldn't have concentrated on sewing anyway.

After work today I got about an hour in the garden to plant seeds and have a good poke around. The small children helped to sow pea, corriander and rocket seed and skatey boy covered a path with mulch. My old asparagus patch is getting some new babies this year, I was delighted to see these tiny spears poking up in a seed box. I've just about had my fill of winter veges and am dreaming of replacing brassicas and root vege for asparagus, salad greens and tomatoes.A peek at my new favorite bag. I fall in love with about one in every three bags I make, the lining on this one started life as a shirt, it looks much better in my bag. Somebody's getting all the vintage and retro fabric around here lately and it's not me. I'm getting withdrawal from the buzz you get having got an op shop or garage sale treasure. I settled for some fruity prints from the interior design shop today. They sell off bits from their sample books usually they're pretty awful but I found some with potential. Watch this space for fruity bags.