new language

With the small amount of leisure time I have had this week I've been indulging in my new library book - Florence and Giles by John Harding. I have another of Harding's works, One Big Damn Puzzler, and it is one of my favourite novels. These books and Harding's other titles are quite different to each other - OBDP is light hearted and Florence and Giles is gothic and quite dark  - but the common thread between the two is the play on linguistics and modern language. I definitely recommend them if you are a fan of character driven witty novels.

In other news I have been pursuing the embroidery thread (oh hilarious pun!) and this is my latest effort - incomplete.


vitamin d

To become a brooch

unfinished daffodil day
I have been trying out my embroidery skills using inspiration from the stylish Melissa. I'm quite pleased with the results and how easy it was. I used standard DMC cotton and scraps of calico.

Outstanding day today, you would think we are in summer already (short-sleeves!). C and I helped clean up the neighbourhood this morning (was a bit icky at times) and spent the afternoon soaking up the vitamin d in the backyard, bliss.


go retro

Found these on pinterest. They also reminded me that I have been meaning to write about this article  for a while now. Great news on the 'living like your nana' front - the fact that it can make you feel younger (hmm seems contradictory..) certainly increases the concept's appeal. So turn off your teles, have a convo and play some cards.
Back to the dresses for a moment though, they are getting me quite excited about the love vintage fair in October where Kelly Doust will be signing books and there are ACRES of vintage items for me to spend a whole day in. woo.

I am exhausted from the week,  I have been in corporate training (joy). Looking forward to the weekend ahead with some projects and web-wasting (my new terminology for surfing your time away). What are your plans? Whatever they are I hope you find joy in them.


busy hands

Hurrah! I'm excited about cleaning. Sad I know, but my first order from Wendyl's Green Goddess has arrived. The starter set is fantastic and covers most cleaning requirements of an average home. The label of each product has a (super simple) ingredients list and instructions on how you can make it next time. Also, they smell amazing with their essential oil aroma bases.

No major projects taken on this week as work is leaving me in a bit of a daze. To keep my hands busy with mindless activity I whipped up this tie/scarf last night. Wore it today and loved the bright red.

Other musings:
Have recently discovered roast parsnip. For nearly all my life I thought I disliked parsnip, turns out I was wrong. Lovely.

The internet chews up so much time, where do the hours go? Pinterest is the biggest time waster of all for me at the moment. I'm building my own boards and will link them soon.

Handy hint:
Do you get the mineral build up at the bottom of your kettle? Easy fix, chop a lemon into quarters, fill the jug, boil it and leave overnight. Empty the lemon pieces and water in the morning and rinse. Shiny new kettle. Yay.


all zipped up

The little zip purse! This one I put together in the french provincial-style fabric to hold all my little goodies (perfume, lip balm, mints) in my bag. This is probably one of the most simple sewing projects you can do, all you need is some fabric cut into squares, a zip and a sewing machine - with a zip footer. If you'd like me to put a tutorial on here, do let me know.

We've had a busy weekend with dinners, breakfasts, dvds, library visits, craft fairs and thrifting. One of my favourites purchases was this book

Fantastic reference guide for (just about) everything. As you can see it's got Earaches to Earthquakes to curing forgetfulness (I need this one! My long-term memory is especially bad).

Sadly now I'm suffering from sunday-itis and feeling impatient for the next weekend to roll around.

Oh and it's Keep NZ Beautiful week! Sign up for your local clean up event or start your own. We have signed up to clean up the river on saturday morning, maybe I'll see you there.


on the side

tomato and zucchini gratin

This is a really simple and very flavoursome side dish. I started making this a few years ago and we tend to have it once a month. This recipe is for two people.

Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 zucchini
2 tomatoes

Preheat your oven to 180 celcius
Wash your veges (especially if from the supermarket)
Put around a tablespoon of oil in the baking dish and add your crushed garlic. 
Slice zucchini and tomato (around 1/2 cm width - try and keep this consistent)
Layer the zucchini and then the tomato (if you are feeding more then keep alternating the layers, adding crushed garlic between them)
Sprinkle grated cheese on top and bake in the oven until the cheese is golden brown and the zucchini is cooked. 

Back at work yesterday and quite a shock to the system! Most of the snow has melted now but is creating a new potential hazard. See the pics below:

the river two days ago  

the river now!


golden brown


I wouldn't normally go for yellow or brown things and I picked up this fabric at a jumble sale with no real project in mind. However after some washing and drying to remove the smell, and 40 mins of sewing, I think the stripes worked really well for this carry bag. It's a great size for library books/market shopping.

It's day two of the snow. It is so thick now that if I venture outside I have to tuck my pants into my socks a la Tintin. Note to self - purchase galoshes. Hot blackcurrant has been keeping my insides warm and cabin fever is yet to set in. Glad I have a pile of books, plenty of work and a project (a new purse) to keep me occupied. Oh and (I couldn't forget) Happy Birthday Jumon!



Crafty Minx mittens. Made with sleeves from an up-cycled wool jumper.

It arrived. After a baited-breath wait, it arrived. Now it seems like the whole country is covered in snow!
C and I ventured out this morning to build a snowlady and walk down to the park where kids were sliding down the hill.

Keeping warm inside now with mini pies made with the leftovers of last nights casserole and mini sewing projects. Mmmm mittens to protect my extremities! The 'cold snap' is meant to last for a few more days yet, I wonder how productive I can be?


We stood awkwardly at the top and waited for someone to offer their board. No one did.

Snowy the snow lady. The belle of the snow-ball (ha ha snow ball). 



This zesty lemon slice was the perfect afternoon pick me up while working through some projects. My friend passed on the recipe and here is how to make it:

The base
175g butter chopped
300g caster sugar
2 eggs
70g self raising flour
220g plain flour

500g lemon curd (if you have a spare 1/2 hour you can make this from scratch, otherwise use an off-the-shelf)

The topping
2 eggs, beaten lightly
75g caster sugar
2 cups desicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Line a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.

Sift the flours and stir them into the butter mixture.

With lightly floured hands, press the mixture evenly over the base of the prepared pan.

Freeze for 15 minutes and then bake for another 15 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Spread the lemon curd over the cold base.

Combine the topping ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well and sprinkle over the curd.

Bake for around 30 minutes or until browned. Let cool before cutting into slices. DELISH!
Still no sign of the snow yet, the anticipation is certainly building as the mercury drops.
With a casserole in the oven, a glass of pinot and some good company we're ready for a cosy night in


button it up

Buttons are versatile (not just for securing one bit of fabric to another!), and this is the latest way I have been using them. I got the ring pieces for around $5 ea, superglued a fabric covered button and then another on top. Easy peasy finger accessories.

You would think the world was ending with the state of the supermarket today, at the second one I visited (no parking at the first) I couldn't get a trolley, had little to choose from on the shelves and spent more time in the queue than in the aisles. With my little basket of food I was part of the minority as most people had more than one trolley. It was panic shopping at the disco for the on-coming snow storm. A fellow basket-person behind me assumed it may be a grocery/metservice conspiracy in an attempt to bump profits. Interesting theory.

Looking for some toe tapping jive funk? You may have heard it, but crank it up and get your groove on for your saturday night.


all eyes on

What a week! Bit out of routine and quite dazed now we are at the end of it. Early morning flights, late nights and dinners have left me feeling quite guilty for my lack of 'blogging'.

Most of our eyes have been on all things english this week and just found this video which I thought was worth sharing.

What I'm quite excited about this week is a new book that I'm reading by Caitlin Moran. If you're a woman, read this book. It's marketed as the new feminist doctrine but I disagree, I think this is simply a summary of some incredible experiences in Caitlin's life and her perspective on the world. It is filled with hilarious stories of Caitlin growing up in a family of 8 in Wolverhampton. Do warn you though, it's not for everyone, you do want to retain an open mind as she tackles some rather 'hot' topics.

More snow is on the way so I'm ready to bunk down and finish some crafting!


shanky lamb

This is a great hearty meal for a winter sunday. Very much a 'chuck it in and walk away' scenario with bold flavours. This recipe serves two.

Olive Oil
2 Lamb Shanks
1 onion
1 tsp ginger
3 garlic cloves (or however many you prefer)
1/2 tsp chilli (add more if you want the heat)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 can tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
2 carrots, chunky sticks
1 tsp honey
300 ml water

Pre-heat your oven to 150 celcius.

1. Brown the shanks in oil in a casserole dish. Remove the lamb from the dish and pour off any excess fat, leaving around 1 tsp in the dish, add the roughly chopped or processed onion and fry gently until soft.

2. Mix together the ginger, garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander, pepper and paprika. Add half the mix to the onions and tip in the tomatoes.

3. Pop in the shanks and cover with 300ml of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 min.

4. Cover and put the dish in the oven for around 1.5 hrs.

5. Remove dish from oven and stir in the remaining spice mix and your chickpeas, carrot, honey and salt. Return to the oven for around 45 mins until the carrot is cooked and the meat is falling off the bone.

6. If your casserole is still watery add a handful of split red lentils and gently simmer for 10 min.

Serve it with couscous, mash or with some green veg and a chopped coriander garnish. So easy, so heartwarming and so delicious!


i felt it

I think felt is one of the most versatile craft mediums. These little pieces are quick creations that I have made to decorate the house. The fish was for C to congratulate him on catching one of the smallest fish I have ever seen.

You can really make anything from felt, it's cheap and easy to use. Just perfect your blanket stitch - mine still needs some work - and open your imagination. One of the most talented felt crafters is threadmark, take a look at her blog.


hold it!

Keys by the front door

For big necklaces
  If your house is anything like mine there are always those little bits and bobs that don't really have a proper place in a drawer or on a shelf. Solution: Fabric Holdy-Boxes. That's the official name I have given them, not very marketable but descriptive at least.

I made up the pattern and I used 4 strips that were 30cm wide, 15cm high. Choose a contrasting fabric, or a print with a calico inner like these and have 2 strips of each fabric.

Pin the two strips of the same fabric in a cross shape, both right side up, sew the internal square.
Repeat for the other fabric.

Pin up the sides of the cross, right sides together and sew to create a box. Repeat with the other fabric.

Pin the two boxes around the top rim, right sides together, (leave a little gap to fold out) and sew the boxes together.

Fold out the right way through your little gap and fit one box into the other. Sew up your little gap. Ta da! Now put your bobby pins, earrings, keys, pens, receipts and whatever else is lying around in your holdy-box for instant tidy times.


toaster tidy

I finally came across a project where I could use my kitchen-themed fabric that I picked up at a fabric fair a few months ago. The retro colours in stripes and a utensils print are so cute and now I get to admire them all the time.
The pattern is from sewmamasew. C was a bit confused as to the purpose of covering the toaster but you don't have to explain aesthetics!



While I'm not feeling my best one thing that helps me escape the mucus is remembering the weekend we had up north.

C and I made the ferry trip on an overcast friday morning to the highly recommended Waiheke Island. A $1.50 bus fare got us from the ferry terminal to the small township of Oneroa. To stretch our legs after the ferry ride we wandered around the town to decide where we were going to have lunch and to take a look at some of the local artisan stores. We came across a clever little store that I could have spent hours in (reduce, reuse, recycle - can't find a website sorry). Not only does Waiheke have an art gallery, it has a full arts centre, with artists in residence and exhibitions from local and international artists. On an after lunch walk we began to understand why this space is so inspirational, the golden beaches, tropical flora and relaxed lifestyle all contribute to an escape from the everyday and allow the locals to find their creativity (or so I assume).

Wishing we could stay longer on our seat on the beach we were dragged away with only having seen a small portion of what Waiheke has to offer but enough left to justify a trip back soon!

While we were in Auckland I had to take the opportunity to do some shopping as there is little to offer in Christchurch of late. Two purchases that are now brightening my wardrobe are

Sheer fabric that will need to be taken in at the waist, but there's no way I could have said no to that colour!

This skirt got my attention straight away, the fabric is a thin corduroy with vibrant reds, so comfy too!

Thanks K Rd, hope to see you again soon.