Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Week: Around the Neighborhood

Lately, I've been feeling particularly fortunate to live in such a gorgeous spot.  Because we're not sure just how long we'll be living where we do now, I feel all the more appreciative.....

 ....of the sunrise from our kitchen window....

....of the view from a friend's house....

....of the roads and hills around our town....

....and of the scenes outside the window of our car on a Sunday drive.

These views and so many others (the ocean, the vineyards, the mountains, the valleys, the rivers and the orchards) surround us.  By now, S is used to hearing me exclaim, "Aren't we lucky to live in such a beautiful place!"  No matter how long we end up staying here for, I don't think I'll ever take this country's natural beauty for granted....

Monday, March 22, 2010


The above is what my workspace looks like at the moment.  Cup of coffee, check.....forgotten bits of toast, yup.....toddler fiddling with the sewing machine, yes, of course.   It's not a studio, a room, or even a closet, but I love having this small piece of the house to sprawl across. 

This week I found a wonderful source of organic baby-wear.  Local, family-run, perfect.  Because the organic clothing is so incredibly beautiful, I've been thinking and planning quite a bit about what I want to do with it.  So....I've been spending a lot of time here, in my workspace -- in the evenings, mostly (after busy and curious little ones are tucked up in bed.)

 I've been able to work on two designs thus far.  Below is a preview of one (as yet unfinished)....

 And the other (an organic sleeping gown) can be found in my updated shop.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Week: Projects

This was one of those weeks where sick kids, nap-less babies, and things liked dental appointments (in other words: life) prevailed.  When I finally got one child to bed, the other one inevitably woke.  Thus, work was eeked out in tiny increments -- 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there.  Fortunately, the bibs I began last week are an easy crafting fix.  Bibs, bibs, and more bibs.  How many does one baby need?  Probably not nearly as many as I've made.  However, they'll make great gifts, and I'm sure a few will end up with a new nephew soon enough.

All those bibs have left a lot of leftover fabric scraps.....with winter fast approaching I felt inspired to make my first patchwork quilt-cover for S's new "big kid" bed.   This is my first attempt at anything like this and I was gratified to find that it was a relatively simple, quick project.  Two evenings, max.

For the top, I used large alternating strips of cotton and corduroy, and on the back, a light-weight cotton canvas.  It snaps at the bottom and inside is a large fleece-y folded blanket.  Super warm and cozy.  Winter, do your worst.

This weekend we got around to a few bigger projects; S had his first try at painting a wall, and subsequently asked to do a bit of painting on his own.....

Meanwhile, I've been trying to figure out a creative way to re-use the paint-chip cards we seem to acquire by the handful whenever we undertake a painting project.  This worked well; first, some work with the scissors done by bigger hands:

Followed by some pasting, placing, and multi-media artwork done by little hands:

Beautiful!  As soon as that last coat dries, this will be hung in our newly-painted bathroom.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Morning Tea

Confession:  I'm not much of a recipe-follower.  I'm much more of a recipe-maker-upper.  Sometimes my kitchen creativity yields great success....and sometimes not.  This morning I wanted to make a healthy snack for the kids; this muffin mixture uses heaps of fruits and veggies, whole wheat, and no added sugar.  It turned out pretty well.  S was able to help with the mashing and mixing and subsequently ate about 6.  Give or take.  Not a problem, since they're so healthy.

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit)
2 bananas (mashed)
1 apple (chopped)
1 med zucchini (grated)
handful of dates (chopped) 
1/3 c canola oil
1 cup milk (soy, rice, or regular)
2 big shakes cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups whole wheat flour

Bake in muffin cups (greased, or I like to use silicone) 25 minutes or until fork comes out clean.


Monday, March 8, 2010

This Week: In the Garden

 Green Cicadas
Green Lemons
New Green Lettuces

Even though autumn is in the air, the garden is still green green green.  This week saw a lot of work outdoors -- clearing out our summer harvest and planting a few fall veggies like spinach, broccoli, and lettuce.    The kids and I re-potted our herbs and enjoyed some serious dirt play.   Dirt in mouths, dirt in hair, dirt between toes.  What could be better?

Maybe only the chance to rinse off afterward in a sudden afternoon thundershower.
(Complete with rainbow!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Merino Me

While the rest of the world waits for the early signs of spring, in New Zealand we're seeing the first hints of autumn.   The light has shifted, the cool morning air smells like woodsmoke, and today I pulled a sweater down from the top of my closet for an early walk into town.

On the odd weekend, I tuck $10.00 into my pocket and head down to the flea market.  This morning I stumbled upon one of our local merino shops clearing out fabric and samples.   I picked up five swaths  -- each a different color and knit, but several meters of merino each -- all for five dollars.  Total.

I don't think you can tell from this photo, but it's a lot of fabric.  And just gorgeous.  Holy mother of merino!  This was a fabulous flea find.

Even though the days still feel warm and summery, I can tell that the indoor part of the year is approaching -- I'm excited to have some warm and cozy projects on the horizon.