Wednesday, December 26, 2012

summer camping

Months and months ago we booked a long weekend camping at one of the National Parks on the East Coast not far from Auckland. Tawharanui. It turned out to be the perfect weekend of summer weather.
 The little fella's found some beautiful rock pools. Ideal for learning to snorkel in.
 And rich in hermit crabs, kina (sea urchin), little fish, cats eyes and friendship.
We went with my cousin and his family. He and i used to be tight back in my tomboy days. And he has the coolest lady out as his partner and mama to his kids. I do believe my cousin and i just may have tried our first cigarette together under their house. Only to blow into bubbles you understand.
Now we get to watch our kids at play together. The boys just went off for hours. Adventuring about. Laying traps, spying on the wildlife and sneaking off with homebaking from time to time.
It was a pleasure to step out of daily life for a bit. To be on the east coast, not quite so crazy waves as where we live and white sand, as opposed to our black.
The campground is run by DOC. (Dept of Conservation) and the whole park is surrounded by a predator fence. There are kiwi! If you're looking for electricity and a camp store, this is not your place. It has a long drop toilet and a tap for water. All we need. It was awesome.
 And those boys...i just love it.
They spent hours combing the beach for these jellyfish washed up by the high tide...there were two rather large piles of them by the end of one beach trip. They found a dead blue penguin too. And dutifully buried it, with a little ceremony. Special days. I can't wait to go again.

So, we're all packed for our road trip, the housesitters are ready to move in...but i have a little guy with a fever still and we're just seeing what each day brings. In case we do get to adventure off tomorrow, i will say my goodbyes now. Fare thee well friends. It's been a pleasure sharing this space with you.
I have loved your comments and emails (so many!) and treasure the connections and friendships that have grown from this blogspace. Wonderful!
I will see you in the New Year.
I'm thinking it's going to be great.
xxx

Monday, December 24, 2012

these days...

May these days bring you love, joy, connection, good food, safety, cosiness, clean water, friends and family close. Whatever you believe, whatever you celebrate, whatever hemisphere you dwell in...may these days bring all you need. And more.
I am cosied up close with a little fellow with a fever. I feel blessed. To be here, to be on this journey with this old soul come to me as my son. To be happy in this blog space, with you all. To be looking out over stormy skies and a strangely calm sea. To have a clean bill of health from the doctor today, despite a broken toe, broken vein in my finger and a piece of labadorite embedded in my palm. (Honestly, the wierd random things....you'd think the universe was trying to tell me something...)
I feel grateful for budding traditions, for the Solstice fairies and their escapades. For homemade goodness , vintage gifts and our garden's bounty.
 For Jed's discovery of a peppermint cream recipe that begged to be tried. Simple, fun and deeeelicious!
 And even more so dipped in chocolate!
 And the ever decadent peppermint bark. All the more special for only being made this one time of year.
I am grateful for the make-do, make it yourself attitude we have around here...utilising vintage jars and thrifted ribbons to package up home-made sugar cookies and sweets we made ourselves. We have been busy, Jed and I. Learning about how love is an ingredient in cooking, and how touched folks are to receive a beautiful handmade gift. And how very good it feels to give.
And I am grateful for family. Biological, created, chosen, adopted and in it's many guises.
Happy days my lovelies.
I look forward to sharing the New Year with you.
xxxx

Friday, December 21, 2012

i love my red shoes

 Look what arrived in the post!
My very own red clogs from Lotta from Stockholm. I had been coveting these on various people and blogs and lookbooks for ooooo, awhile now. I put them in the 'out of my range' basket. But, if they ever popped up on trademe.co.nz or, miracle upon miracle...the thrift store, in my size, i would fall upon them in a trice. Less than that, whatever a trice is.
As it turns out, none of the above miracles were required. Inspired by the stunning pair the lovely Ange bought Gabrielle for her birthday (you know who you are!), I went onto the Lotta from Stockholm website and wondered. If i earned enough from markets, did a few commissions and started a wee 'red shoe' fund...could i do it?
Shipping to NZ wasn't clear, so I emailed Lotta to find out costs. She offered me a blog prize. Swoon, me, yes, really! I didn't hear from her for ages and part of me thought it was too good to be true. But I wondered, was she okay? People don't just disappear like that. She was just run off her feet, poor thing. They are in hot demand, these shoes. Now I have a pair, I can see why. Part vixen, part little red riding hood, with a vintage vibe but thoroughly modern, these shoes are well made are super comfy. I was surprised how comfortable they were. I got the soft sole version and I am glad, I love them.
I had wrapped an extra-special book up for Jed to celebrate our first two terms homeschooling (such an awesome journey to be on) and when these arrived and i was dancing around with my new red shoes on laughing...Jed joined in. He looked up and said, 'Mama, I think these are your prize for being the best homeschooling mama ever, in the whole googolplexes of worlds and universes.' Aw!

Lotta has a sale on right now, click on over and check it out. These very same shoes are on the sale list.
Click HERE to be magically transported. Say hi to Lotta for me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

mountain rescue happy

We have the best time, my boy and i, coming up with good presents for his people.  Jed's cousin Arlo just turned 4. He lives in the mountains in New Zealand's South Island and is really, really into rescue.
So...we got to work.
The mountain rescue shirt, accompanied by a 10 metre length of soft cotton weave rope, was the result.
Arlo had a pirate theme party...but he wore his mountain rescue shirt. Success!
Giving something heartfelt and handmade (ish) is such a buzz.
Jed is proud and still riding that high. (And, planning many more handpainted tshirt designs...it's shaping up to be a busy week around here!)

An aside: Folks, i am loving all your wonderful comments and emails, i really am. I am touched and honoured. And i will reply to them...it may take me a wee while, but i'll get there. xx

Thursday, December 13, 2012

a gift to self

I'll let you in on a secret. Each gift giving time I give myself a gift. Yup, no disapointments then! Kidding, it is more about valueing myself and what i do. I don't get alot of that in my current occupation. It can be something simple - a bunch of roadside weeds, a picnic with a friend or sometimes, every long while, a long coveted little something.
I stumbled across this fabric in the sale bin at Spotlight purely by accident and knew it had to come home with me. That night i bought my first Colette pattern. I have been admiring Sarai Mitnick's work and had requested one of her shirt patterns for repeated birthdays to no avail. I took matters into my own hands. Usually my pattern acquiring involves me designing it, or borrowing and adapting Burda magazine patterns from the local library.
The pattern looks like it will be easy to follow (my spatial dyslexia will put that to the test!) and i love the vintage look to their work. This next week looks busy, but you can be sure i will be eyeing up the moment to get sewing. I'll let you know how it goes. xx

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's hotting up....

...and i don't just mean the weather here in the Southern Hemisphere. Although this sunshine is mighty welcome. There is so much going on at this time of the year. I am taking care to step out of it all. Just sometimes. In small ways. A cup of tea,  moments lingering in the garden picking salad, a quick meditate (yes, folks, there is such a thing!), remembering to take a few deep breaths. I stole half an hour in the weekend. Bliss.
 I headed out for a walk.
 And remembered how very GOOD it felt to do that. Take time for me, even in busy times.
 It doesn't take much time to remember to smell the flowers.
 The tree lucerne along the sand dunes was in full bloom and it smelt like something out of heaven.
 It was not much time to take, and it fed me for days.
On another note: the little man picked the winners of the giveaways today.
Winner of the Sew Mama Sew GrowMama giveaway is: Mel from Mel's Daisy Patch.
Winner of the Extracurricular magazine and Plant Medicine Handbook is: Georgia.
Thanks for all your entries and congratulations to the two winners, i am emailing you now...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tutorial - vintage pillowcase to bag

This is the long awaited tutorial detailing how to make your own shopping tote bag from a vintage pillowcase. The blogpost i wrote about the design a few years ago (HERE) has had thousands and thousands of hits and many of you asked for a tutorial....here it is: (in timely fashion...they make great holiday gifts!). If you are looking for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway post, click HERE.
Take your vintage pillowcase. Choose one in good condition. Thrift shops have them in abundance.
Iron pillowcase to begin. Fold your pillowcase in half and cut the shapes above out of your case. You will have two scrap pieces, one of these will become the pocket. Set them aside for now.
Unfold the top of the pillowcase. (The bit that would fold over to secure your pillow inside the case)
Pin as above to create the bag's handle.
 Sew handle. I make two seams to make it super secure.
 Turn inside out. You will use the existing side seams.
 Fold over and pin to create a hem out of the raw edges.
 Sew.
Box the corners. This is pictured above. For those new to boxing corners I will post a seperate blogpost detailing the process of boxing corners and link it to here.
Turn your bag right way out and iron. You can see the nice rounded edges the boxing gives the corners here. This is the basic bag, but if you like you can add an inside pocket:
 Take one of the scrap pieces, zigzag the edges and iron to create a pocket. Pin and sew.
Add a bit of velcro to keep the pocket's contents safe. This way you have a seperate pocket so keys, phone and wallet won't go walkabout.
And there! You made a tote bag out of a vintage pillowcase. I keep one handy so i don't have to use plastic bags. I don't want to contribute more plastic to the world, and besides, these look much cooler.
Whether you are carrying shopping, library books, garden produce, finds from thrift stores or swimming gear...it's perfect. I love easy projects with a beautiful outcome...don't you?!
I design all of my GrowMama gear, this has been a big favourite over the years...I hope you enjoy it too.
xx

Update: in response to all your requests, i have posted a tutorial on how to box corners, the technique i use in making this bag. Click HERE for the boxing corners tutorial.  And for all those lovelies who have been bugging me to add a Pinterest Button...i have!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

the sew mama sew giveaway!

A big welcome to those of you visiting from Sew Mama Sew.
Here's your chance to win some of my best selling designs: GrowMama's CD or DVD holder and i-phone or i-pod holder...both in rare vintage cotton print, made with love and designed by me.
Leave a comment below and tell me your favourite holiday tradition to be in to win. I am also throwing in a GrowMama headband in the same vintage fabric. Er, um...i probably wouldn't wear them all out at the same time...might be a bit much! Giveaway open to internationals and winner is drawn on December the 7th, from the hat, by the smallest member of the household.
 Phone holder closure by velcro, lined in soft flannel. Keeps you phone safe from falls and....
 ...perfect for those powerwalks...you thread it through your belt...and voila, hands free.
The fabric CD/DVD holder is perfect for popping into your bag, has pages for four CD's and closes by vintage button.
The giveaway for this issue of Extracurricular magazine and a copy of the Plant Medicine Handbook is still open...click HERE to be spirited away to enter that.

Click HERE to return to Sew Mama Sew's fantastic Giveaway extravaganza and big thanks for stopping by!
Have fun out there, i am looking forward to meeting some new crafty blogs through the Giveaway pages.
xx

Coming up on the blog: Holiday gift ideas with a twist, Plant Medicine Workshop dates announcement, kids seasonal crafting brilliance, book review, outfit post, the space pod unveiling, the garden chronicles, living simple in mayhem season ...see you then.

Giveaway is closed. Thanks to all who left comments, i loved reading your holiday traditions.
The winner is Mel from Mel's Daisy Patch. Congrats to you Mel.