Wednesday, September 26, 2012

mushroom magic

 I love it when we stumble upon magic. It's all around us, all the time, i know. But, there is a trick to being open to seeing it. Kids have a hotline to magic and it is an honour to share it with them.
We were biking. It was an ordinary day. It started way too early (for this night owl anyway), the morning involved breakfast, dishes, gardening, homeschooling session and a bike ride.
While biking, Jed spotted these mushrooms growing down by the beach. We walk past there all the time and had never seen mushrooms there before. They were emerging before our eyes. The ordinary day took on an extra dimension as we crouched there marvelling at their strange fungussy beauty. I love that deep woodsy mushroomy smell they have.
And i love thinking about the mycelium all underneath where the mushrooms grow...a kind of network under the soil. The mushrooms are like its fruit. Wrong terminology i know, but i geeked out all the same.
Did you know some mycelium can be hundreds of football pitches big? And live for 1000's of years?
Cool. (I did say i was geeking out did i not?!)
Our world is such a rich and beautiful place.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

brunch in pyjama's - mexican eggs

Today was Sunday and i spent all morning in the garden. In pyjama's. It was the first quiet day in awhile. I had just gotten dressed when there was a teeny knock at the door and dear friends from town 'dropped in' needing a friends and nature fix. We have both in abundance here. The kids just disappeared for hours doing their thing. Excellent. Perfect Sunday. The sun even shone.
I whipped this delicious little brunch number up today. My friend Sean Samoheyl used to make this Mexican egg dish on the commune. (I mentioned Sean yesterday, not quite sure why he's in my head so much these past few days. But it's nice to have his company, even remotely. Random fact: we share the same birthday)

Sean's Mexican Eggs

Splash olive oil into your pan and lightly fry:
handful of chopped red pepper, onion and garlic.
Meanwhile beat two eggs and scramble those into your pan.
When eggs are partway cooked, add a handful of finely chopped spinach
When eggs are cooked toss in:
handful of grated cheese, handful of crushed nacho chips and enough tomato salsa to taste.
Mix well and keep stirring until cheese melts.
Garnish with avocado slices and fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves.

So fast and so very yum. The perfect weekend brunch treat.
These quantities are for one serving but you can tweak it to feed more.
I love Mexican food.

Friday, September 21, 2012

extra goodness

The latest Extracurricular magazine landed in my mailbox yesterday. Ellie, the editor, was off gallivanting in Europe (and feasting with good friends of mine in my old haunting grounds in the Pyrenees) and so, taking up the editorial helm for Issue 9 was Sonya Nagels of A Lioness You. She did a stellar job. 
Perfect to sit in the sun with a cuppa.
The theme for this one is music. I got to interview Holly from Tiny Ruins, The Terrible truths, and Steve Abel. I lead a charmed life really. If ever i figure out how to get paid for all my charms i'll have it down.
Get a sneak peek into the pages HERE. The extracurricular blog also has a list of all their stockists, get your copy, they are flying to good homes and you want to be on that list. It's good.
The illustration on the cover sort of stayed with me, and later that night, inspired this quilt top for a playmat/changing mat/baby's bed cover. Made from upcycled vintage sheets of course!
A little link love for those of you with procrastinating to do or time on your hands....
See Holly of Tiny Ruins HERE...
The Terrible Truths HERE (for a little postpunk surf with Diamond)...
and a duet of Steve Abel and Kirsten Morrell of Goldenhorse HERE. Love that video. Puppets. Reminds me of my friend Sean Samoheyl. Puppeteer, forester, father, and artist extraordinaire. You can meet the puppeteer Sean HERE and the artist Sean HERE. I miss living with you buddy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

spring vintage

It's been awhile since i hit the vintage sheet bonanza at the op shop. Today was a fleeting visit and i came away with some spring floral loveliness. I came home inspired to sew. Market season fast approaching, eek!
 I have never seen anything like this one and rather fancy stashing this one to make something for myself.
 I like the icy blue floral too.
 And this showstopper of a spring dress is for one of Jed's friends. How beautiful is that print? Those colours! The detail on the back is very sweet too.
Sorry about the rabbit. Gets a little tricky taking fur free photos on the deck these days.

So, my question to you: whats your go-to, easy peasy, whip 'em up pattern for a summer dress?
I'd like to try something new.
(Failing that, i will dust off my copy of the Japanese pattern book, 'Stylish Dress book'...a classic if ever there was one. )

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

field trip

Jed was super excited to go on class field trip to the Arataki Visitor Centre at the tippy top of the Waitakere Ranges. I was excited to avoid the Auckland rush hour traffic we (unusually) find ourselves into get to class once a week. And the Arataki Centre is a pretty cool place to explore New Zealand's flora and fauna. Not to mention the views.
Their incredible teacher, Vanessa, led the way (well, apart from Jed and another 'scout' ensuring the track was clear) on a bush walk before going into the centre itself. Just when the kids energy was really flagging and interest was waning, she pointed out the plant named 'Bushman's friend'. Useful if you find yourself in the bush, needing to er, go and with no toilet paper. Yup. Nothing like a bit of bottom or excrement talk to get the 4-6 year olds focussed and re-energised. Funny little people.
This was my favourite stop of the day...a 600 year old kauri tree. They can get to 2000 years old. The stories they could tell. So cool to see all the kids slow right down and just gaze up in awe at it. They get it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

what to do with eeyore's

Jed had a bad case of what we call 'big feelings'. It is super rare but i could see we were heading for a clash. You know how it goes, Jed had gone all eeyore. Nothing was right. We left the dishes and opted for some fresh air, sunshine and some good old fashioned biking fun.
 The puddles were a bonus.
 The cure worked a treat.
A duck even came and joined him in the puddles.
Note to self:
Changing the scene and getting out there helps sometimes. Sometimes that means throwing the plan out the window and making it up as you go along. Follow your heart.
It leads to good places. And good people.

AN ASIDE: I am on a crafting jag and am rediscovering SJD - my soundtrack for the evening. Check out his song Beautiful Haze...Those A song for the revolution. Or just to sew too. Either way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I can get into a bit of a bog thinking about how much there is to do. I call it a case of 'overwhelm'. Thing is, if i let it, the overwhelm can stifle any sort of creative impulse. The overwhelm is like a cloud that blocks out light and gets in the way of the magic. I can't think straight and flap around alot with not much getting done. Not good right?!
So, every day for the last week, i have been doing something that has been languishing on my to-do lists for ages. Those ones feel stink. They must be done. They ARE being done and sheesh its a good feeling.
When i downloaded the pics on my camera i found a bunch Jed had taken. This here, is me in full overwhelm mode. Flapping around at my computer procrastinating. It ain't pretty! How he managed to leave the piles out of the frame i don't know. But he summed up a moment for me and it helped me galvanise myself to move through it.
Sometimes stillness is in order, to be open to hearing a deeper wisdom, for clarity and for revelation. Sometimes i just need to keep moving.
Now is a keeping on moving sort of a time.
Very springlike. And on a sidenote, i am so looking forward to the Sew Fun Retreat this weekend. Oh my do i have plans!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

viking salt

Last week we looked at the vikings. Fascinating. Jed researched all about how they lived (we built a longhouse in the lounge), what kind of food they ate and learnt how they got their salt. So, we did the same. We went down the beach one blustery stormy day, scooped up a few jugfulls of sea water and hauled it home in a bottle. We boiled it down in a big pan while we read and did some viking battle maths. I skimmed a few impurities out that floated to the top in the first half hour or so.
It took awhile to boil down, but look what we were left with. Amazing quality sea salt!
I don't think i will buy sea salt ever again. Jed's viking salt is so much better than what we had been buying.
He is very proud.

(I should note that we are blessed to live by pristine waters, i am not sure i would be so keen to make viking salt from the harbour beaches here.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

the week of the bird

Spring is busy working it's fecund magic out there. We had an inadvertant week of the bird lately...We got to feed and visit with next door baby bantams while they were all out at work and school. Little guy was very happy about this arrangement.
 He does have an affinity. This photo cracks me up.
While out walking the path to find a good picnic spot, Jed spotted a nest hidden in the grass near the stream. Bird poo and feathers were his clues to what kind of bird has rested there. 
 I love hanging out with kidlets for the way they see the world. I woulda charged right on past this beautiful nest - it was totally hidden to adult eyes in the long grass. I love it when those magic moments hijack you and leave our eyes full of wonder.
 We let out cheers for exuberant blossoming trees, and gentle sighs for more spring babies. Town babies this time. Cygnets. Jed is adamant 'cygnets' is a silly name and insists on calling them swanlings.
 I'm with him. Cygnet doesn't quite fit.
After lunch with friends we don't see nearly enough of, we ventured down to their beach. A different one for a change...and took Jed to see the Gannet colony at Muriwai. They were just in from abroad and beginning their sexy season...all nesty and frisky.

Bring on Spring i say!
I am ready. You?

Monday, September 3, 2012

accidental spring outfit

When i spotted these trousers with my eagle opshopping eye i headed straight for them. I did wonder awhile...about whether i'd actually wear them. I loved them, yes, but would i wear them?
The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes.
I am glad I splurged the eight dollars. They make a nice, colourful change from jeans.
 Even the crazy big buttons i like. You can't tell in these pictures but they are all flashy white and gold. Most unlike me. But seemingly not! Hmmm.
I hauled this jacket out of the same bin as the trousers. Also a radical choice for me.
When i came out of the changing room with them on my son said...'you look nice mama'....'sort of oldfashioned woman soldier'. Okay then. Home they came. It's good to push an edge or two sometimes. Clothing is a nice easy place to start.

Have you snaffled any new spring time looks?
Or autumn goodies if you're reading over there in the other hemisphere?

Saturday, September 1, 2012


We did the letter Hh.
Which led to a lovely weeklong exploration of the word Home.
What it means to us, how others in the world live, what homes have looked like in the past.
One of my previous homes was a tipi.
The little guy's eyes bugged out when he heard that.
I forget he has only known this domesticated mama version of me.
It reminded me of something a friend (a mama of two young 'uns) posted on facebook.
'Beneath this conservative exterior lurks a wild woman'
                                                                              Uh huh!
To make a tipi:
You need a handful of kebab sticks(we used 12), 3 toothpicks, corrugated cardboard (we upcycled a box), scissors, fabric, string and glue. Rocks and lichen for staging are optional.

Get your child to draw out a circle on your cardboard.
Insert pointed end of kebab stick through one layer in at four points of the compass on your circle drawn on the cardboard. (This works because of the thickness of the cardboard...the kebab sticks are inserted through one layer of paper, not pushed all the way through - try it, you'll see!)
Pull together the sticks and tie to secure.
Add other kebab sticks between these until you have a good framework, tie these all at the top of your tipi.
Play around with a piece of paper to get the pattern for your tipi 'skin' ... you want to leave enough fabric at the front to overlap.
Cut out your fabric using the paper pattern you made.
Wrap your fabric around the tipi framework.
Using toothpicks cut in half...insert the pointed end through your fabric at the front to create the closure.
You can paint the base, glue down some moss or lichen to create a whole scene. The resident little guy here was in too much of a hurry to play with it to wait for any paint to dry.

Ours was a little short at the bottom and left a pretty big smoke hole at the top but it worked.
It is now home to a family of rainbow gnomes.
And the tooth fairy stopped by in there too.