School holidays

I've got an obsessive need to de-clutter in the holidays, so that I feel in a tranquil space to sew. I should pretend I'm going on holiday so I don't get visitors in the first week. I managed to farm out the helpful children "PJ" and "Skatey boy" and have left at home "The red head " who's got earache again and the teen who refuses to get a job and hogs the computer all day.

Sew bags for Ngatimoti festival, keep house tidy and de -clutter a bit, make some progress on weeds, stay away from town and spending money, finish painting toilet, turn the compost heaps, help Dad at the farm, restock freezer with soup and muffins, try not to yell at kids, make some moves toward getting fit.

Man I need a month!


Garden notes Sept.

I've had two questions about a picture of a fennel flower I took last year. I've replied here as I get sent a "no reply" email address when people comment. Do any other gardeners know about allergic skin reactions to umbeliferae plants?

Washing machine is still not well. Living on borrowed time.

The garden has had my full attention recently, so much so that I think I'm forgetting how to have conversations with people. We ventured out to the Steiner Spring Fair today, what a magic day for it! Does anyone else forget how to have conversation after only talking to kids and plants all week?

I've been much more strict about following the moon calender gardening this year and the seedlings sown at the last two first quarter moons are thriving. It's last quarter at the moment so I have to resist the temptation to do anything except cultivate and prune. I have little tomatoes, sunflowers, capsicums (more than half of them got eaten by slugs tho), cleome, dwarf and cannelloni beans, zucchini and pumpkins all waiting nice and warm in the glasshouse for the weather to warm up outside. In addition I put frost cloth over them at night too. They're getting feed worm juice from the worm farm but I have had to resort to a bit of slug bait as beer traps and pot ash weren't working. It's not ideal but it's still vastly better than bought veges. I can handle eating capsicum for example that I know have been all organic except for one slug pellet when they were babies. What I really need is a couple of hedgehogs but even they have their pitfalls they eat chickens given half a chance. Carrots still elude me, last lot were eaten by either slugs or dug up by cats as they sprouted. No worries peas are flowering and asparagus is doing it's thing. YuM.

This is my constant reference in spring, helps me plan where to put everything in the garden. Highly recommended.

It's a work in progress, hopefully in a few years the garden will be so well balanced I won't need anything inorganic thus achieving my sustainable goal.

My morning routine in spring includes feeding the chooks, watering and walking round the garden watching blossoms and leaves grow. Sometimes I spend so long outside that I forget the kids need their breakfast and lunches made. For the first time in 15 years I have some consistent child free days as the "red head" is now enrolled two and a half days at Montessori. Blissss!



I get so stressed when my washing machine breaks down, usually every few years. It broke down on Monday, the guy was supposed to fix it Tuesday. He came out and replaced a part and left a reasonable bill but, I didn't get a load on until last night because I was behind with everything else. Skatey boy came in and said "Mum there's someone in the house hear that bashing?" We both looked at each other scared to death. I said "hold my hand we'll check it out" (Quite stupid looking back) Anyway it was the washing machine in what seemed to be it's death throw. Relief on one hand and gutted on the other. Called back said fix it guy who said he can't look at it till Monday. Pleading about four kids didn't sway him a bit either. Unfortunately he's the only appliance guy in our town and looking back it took him 3 goes to fix it last time too. I'm grateful they're all out of nappies to say the least. I have some cool bits of fabric that I'm dying to wash up too.

From left: cool old floral curtain, fab orange sheet, and a bit of "viyella" all found at the op shops today. As well as two super cheap bits from that Spot place. Red head boy needs new long pants and shorts, have you noticed it's so hard to find cool boy fabric second hand? Hopefully the washing machine will live again on Monday.



I visited Janelle's blog to catch up, reading this post bought a whole lot of memories flooding back about Masterton where I grew up. Castlepoint especially as it was where our family use to rent a beach bach for holidays. I remember huge sand dunes with wind blowing so had it felt like we'd blow away and the sound of the waves at night was like nowhere I've ever been since. Dad use to go diving for paua and crayfish nearby and we'd sit on the lawn gutting them surrounded by seagulls waiting for their share. It seemed like such a long trip to us, in those days I don't remember seat belts in the back of the car and my brothers and I would fight alot and stand on the seats. Probably why Dad gave a reward to "the first to see the sea". Being a farming family I think we used to go at really odd times of year. Christmas was shearing and hay baling and August holidays were lambing so I think it must have been in Autumn because I don't ever remember the weather being beautiful and the beach was pretty much deserted. I do remember Dad encouraging the farm shepherd to eat kina and us thinking it hilarious when he couldn't keep it down. Other places I remember were: the "crying onion" fish n chip shop, golden shears (shearing and wool classing competition). The horseshoe pub/restaurant where Dad use to take us to try and get us to use our table manners though I'm sure we thought we went there to play pac man and use the warm air hand dryers in the bathrooms. I remember the vet clinic near the train station, playcentre where mum took me a few times until I stuck a bead up my nose and refused to go back. I remember sitting in the car outside the pub with my brothers. Dad would bring us a packet of chips and a raspberry drink and we'd call out rude names to people walking past then we'd send our youngest brother in to tell Dad we needed another raspberry drink. We left when I was 11 but I remember going back as a teenager and working in a shearing gang going from Kaituna to Ekatahuna, I'd say it was my favorite job ever probably because I was young, fit and having a ball.

Crafters ettiquette?

Along with the other decisions I'm trying to make at the moment I've been contemplating the summer market season here. I love to sew and create things for sale but I hate the feeling of having to produce things. A friend and I recently had a discussion about market ettiquette. You know how creative people go round the market and think, I could make that, sometimes they'll even rudely state it standing at your stall, but usually they never get around to it. Market people or "stallies" will usually happily buy off each other preferring to support local crafters and appreciate the same back. I spent many years keeping my garlic plaiting technique secret as I'd seen people try to imitate it but it never looked as good. A couple of years ago I shared it with a few people who I trusted in an effort to get over my trust issues. It felt really good to share something with friends. Sometimes though great ideas get copied! I'd be interested to know what others think about it because we feel there are certain unwritten rules. Are some items OK to imitate? I do lots of knitting and sewing for my stall so I take no offence if someone else turns up to an event doing something similar. I'd probably get the pip if it was someone I knew well, or it was a "signature item". A good number of my freinds are also crafters so I think that ettiquette just comes out of respect for each other now. Is immitation just a form of flattery?

Enter online craft land. How does it then work in the craft/blog world? Is it a similar friendship/ respect thing? I've noticed bloggers who visit each other often offer similar items for sale in their shops. I've noticed tutorials which ask that you make only for private use and some that don't. What's good craft/blog ettiquette?


Try felting

I wish I could really write. I haven't blogged because alot of what I have to say in spring is the same year in and year out. Blossom, seed, rain, sun, slugs, you know how it goes.

I've really been looking inward I guess, trying to decide how best to make myself happy while continuing to support my family. I feel like 15 years of mothering has been so rewarding but I need to also reward myself now and then too.

I've worked as a volunteer and an employee at Playcentre for many years. I've resigned from 1 of my paid days at Playcentre and it feels great! The other one I so love the people I come in contact with that I'm not ready to let it go yet.

I walked into Playcentre at 20 years old, shy and naive, I was greeted with open arms literally! Most of my closest friends I've met through playcentre, we've been there for each other through post natal depression, relationship trouble, financial highs and lows, moving and buying houses, having babies, discussing abortion, immunisation, religion, death, accidents, gardening, sewing, knitting and everything. I have no idea where I'd be now without my Playcentre family, that's why I find it so hard letting go. I know I have to start now cos in only two short years my youngest will be off to school.

This week the daughter I prayed for turned 7. The son who saved me got his drivers licence. I went to the movies with the Playcentre girls; saw "Mama Mia" and I LOVED IT! Wished I'd got up and danced. Was Pierce Bosnian serious?

We had a kid free craft day. For full time Mums it's such a luxury.

We dyed using the vinegar and food colouring method.Wet felted with thrifted fleece.

Tried needle felting with one who'd done it before,
and went away feeling totally inspired.

It's amazing just to get together and try it out. The results speak for themselves and what better way to spend a spring day than with new friends and old with good food and intentions.
PS. Broke my felting needle while waiting for photos to load. Bugger! PJ wanted me to put more hair on the dolls.