Sunday, 31 May 2009

An Outing To Cambridge

We had an impromptu visit to Cambridge on Saturday morning. The day looked fairly reasonable, so we packed the car with a picnic, jackets and my crochet bag, of course!

Cambridge is a lovely town about 1.5hrs south of Auckland. I used to spend the occasional weekend in this town when my parents lived there a number of years ago. A. and I also spent a number of holidays there too, before children. It's such a pretty place, a typical rural town, and very friendly.

The weather turned grotty as soon as we drove into the main street. Oh great, just what we need to spoil a day out! It's really difficult to amuse four children in the rain. Never mind, we had a bit of shopping to do first. Of course after we found a toilet for No. 3! Don't you hate those toilet stops?

This place is called the 'pink church' to the locals. It houses beautiful crafts like knitted garments, pottery, souvenirs and a cafe.

The Farmers Market was just closing when we arrived. Bit expensive anyway. The cauliflowers were $4 each and they were tiny compared to mine! No great loss there, I don't think.

We brought most of a picnic and also bought a couple of extra items at the local supermarket. I'm so grateful we live in a large area with a huge supermarket. It's so limiting at these smaller ones.

Well, as it was still raining, we parked next to the town hall and gardens for our lunch(photo above and at top). A small 2 year old voice piped up, "Picnic Mummy!" Oh dear, no honey, it's raining, I said. Well, that just wasn't good enough apparently. She really wanted to set out the polka dot blanket on the grass and do the real thing, rain or not. We have got used to picnicking in the car as it often rains on these outings! She did get over her disappointment eventually, but she wasn't in the best mood anyway.

The shopping didn't go too well either. I badly wanted to visit Kate Fitzpatrick HOME. It is a beautiful, overly full shop, selling gorgeous things for the home, including CK. I knew what I wanted as I had been online looking for tea towels weeks ago. Mmmm, the pink gingham ones were what I was after. Very nice they are too. I only bought three, no I wasn't thinking straight!! No. 3 cut her hand going into the shop and was crying, No. 4 was wailing because she was forced into her pushchair under great protest and there wasn't much room to move. A quick look around and out again.

That was really it as far as shopping went. Oh, we did go to a pet shop. I saw a patchwork fabric shop which would have been nice to visit. But, I've never seen such a tiny shop ever! We would never have fitted in.

After shopping and lunch, we journeyed across to Hamilton, about 25mins away. We visited some friends for the afternoon, where A. and the girls tried out Wii tennis and boxing. Not my thing, but the TV certainly was. It was massive!! 70" I think. We still have one of those tiny screens, where you miss the sides of the movies because it's square.

It was a loooong day and probably best without children next time. Sounds like a good idea actually! We hardly ever go away without them as we quite enjoy having them around. But this would be lovely, at some point in time.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Autumnal Colours

What a lovely morning the little girls and I have had on this beautiful, fresh, autumn day. We had a stay at home day, which is quite a rare thing unfortunately. Usually there is something that needs doing or someone/place to visit. Not that I'm complaining, of course! I love going out, but occasionally, it's so nice to take it easy and stay put for a change.

So what did we do you ask? Well the little girls played very nicely with the Duplo and then the felt board and magnets. That's all they did, and boy did they enjoy themselves. Right little homebodies those two are. And me, well I'm sure you can guess from the photo, I sewed my aprons, finally!

The tea towel came with the birds appliqued on and the pretty floral border so these aprons were pretty straight forward. I made several altogether, so not bad going. I have now run out of the strap stuff. I can't remember what it's called!

I was looking out my bedroom window this morning after getting dressed, and this lovely colour took my eye. The trees are just so beautiful in our garden at the moment.

This one is a Silk tree and when it has finished flowering these lovely seed pods arrive. They look like they would make a lovely rustling sound when dried.

Here it is again over the Puka tree. The Puka is native to New Zealand. It has the most fabulously large leaves that dry big and crackly - great for stomping on. Dreadful for picking up off the paths.

And finally, my favourite in the garden. The Acer Maple (I think it's called), with it's small leaves in every colour autumn has to offer. Unfortunately, all these wonderful coloured leaves end up on the ground. I love to sweep them up, but I'm still enjoying them so will wait a while longer.

Now, take a look here. Look who's got green fingers! Yes, that would be me apparently.

I can't really take much credit for these fine vegetables though. They really did look after themselves rather well. But look at the whiteness of that cauli!! Isn't it supreme?

Yesterday, I gathered two cauliflowers and broccoli, and dropped them off at my parents and my Gran. They were also impressed and very happy to receive them too. I have quite a few more in the garden still growing. A cabbage seems to be coming along nicely too now that the caterpillars have frozen and died.

I will have to go back to the garden shop this weekend and see what else I can grow over the winter. It will be much better without the creepy little critters eating all the leaves.

Oh dear, look at this mess! It had been in my crochet bag, out for photos, and rummaged through whilst finding crochet hooks. My lovely Gran insisted that I bring it to her to sort out. I felt rather bad about this, BUT, she did insist. She rang this morning to say it was all in a nice tight ball now. Oh, and it only took her about two hours to do!! Golly, just as well I gave her those veges!

She also suggested, that next time I buy shanks of wool, that I give it to her immediately to ball up. Whoops!

I hope all you lovely people over in Europe/UK and anywhere else who has it, are having a fabulous Spring Break. Enjoy the holiday and the warm weather too I hope. Hope to catch up with some of you when you return. Should be some lovely photos to oogle over.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Wasted Edges

Look at all these glorious fabrics piled up in our wardrobe. They really should be in the linen cupboard with the other fabrics, but somehow they always seem to end up in here. I'm very slack when it comes to putting things away.

I have found some very interesting blogs lately. Have you ever heard of joining selvage edges to make your own fabric? Well, it was quite a shock to me in the beginning. I've never once considered these edges as anything other than something that you cut off. Imagine being able to design a completely unique fabric for free! Have a looksie at this blog if you fancy.

Well, what do you see peeking out from my crochet bag? Yes, it's my latest project!! I'm very excited about it actually, as I have been itching to try a selvage project, for quite some time now. I don't have a great supply of selvage edges, so I needed to find a small project. Well, after making my Gran a roll for her crochet hooks, I knew just what project it would be.

Ta Da! Here it is!! Isn't it just the cutest little roll you ever did see?

My trademark ribbon keeps it all neatly tied together. Daughter No. 3, who is just 4, was practicing knots and bows on it this morning, at Gran's. She was pretty good at it too. A very exciting and important step to learn before going to school.

Here it is complete with crochet hooks. I only have five but they look so lovely in their beds. Speaking of beds, Daughter No. 4 thought I was making her a new bed! I have used the same fabrics that I used for her duvet cover.

I have bound the edges with gingham binding to give it an all over red gingham look. I've used three different types of red gingham but they all look fine together.

Here is the selvage fabric made up on the front of the roll. I've used the written edges, as well as the colour charts. I also left a small amount of the fabric showing, for added colour, otherwise it is a bit bland for my liking.

See, the gingham edges have sneaked in too? I couldn't resist. They don't have printed edges, just woven and frayed. Often the selvages are straight stitched in matching thread, but as it is a fun project I decided to use red zig zag stitching to add vibrancy.

What do you reckon? Something you would be interested in trying? On the plus side, at least it won't cost a cent to make! Now that is a pleasing thought isn't it?

I'm not sure what my grandmother thought of this project idea. She sort of laughed! Usually that's not a good sign is it? I love it anyway, and it's going to save me a lot of time hunting around my bag of wool for missing hooks.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sandcastle Birthday Book

This is the latest, of the birthday books, I have made for our children. It was given to Daughter No. 1 on her tenth birthday last Wednesday. She chose all the papers and adornments herself, so it's very special to her. The theme is a pretty sandcastle, so blues, greens and sand colours were chosen.

I bought some lovely ribbons, on rolls, at Spotlight. Very reasonable and matched the theme perfectly.

Aren't the butterflies lovely? They look like they are made from lace, then covered in glitter.

There are flowers of sand and blue, and gems in blue and green. I do enjoy the decorating part.

This was her 7th birthday cake. It sums her interests up well. Penguins and the Antarctic are her passion, and have been for as long as we can remember. The wiggly ribbon is a lovely velvet in the softest green colour.

The paper with the circles, was perfect for decorating with gems. I stuck gems over some of the dots to highlight certain areas. The gems are also from Spotlight, but all scrapbooking shops sell them. At only $1.99 a packet, they are a bargain!

I remember making this cake vividly. We had a new baby who wouldn't stop screaming, and we were up to midnight finishing the icing. The icing machine fell apart right at the beginning, but my clever husband rigged it up so it worked better than before. He actually did a lot of the piping too - and thoroughly enjoyed himself as well. The black lines, are from liquorice strips, cut down the ridges.

Now, I'm not sure if I was going mad or what, but the night before her party, I decided to make a mini book. It was for her friends to each write a birthday message in. It only took a couple of hours to do, as it was a simple round. I used the same papers and embelishments so it would match her birthday book.

Her friends thought it was really fun to be able to write in it. They each chose a round to write a special message on. We used a silver pen to match the silver "10". I love the front cover with all the pretty flowers on it. The gem in the centres make it a little more special.

I used plain coloured papers for the backs so it was easy to write on and also read. They wrote some interesting things, very ten, and very sweet. I'm sure she will remember her party well when she reads her little book.

Well, that's the end of Daughter No. 1's birthday week, and the last of our childrens birthdays for the year. Big Yay!!!

Now I will be able to get back to my sewing and crochet again. I've actually finished all the crocheted granny squares during my spare evenings, and now have to make lots of pretty flowers to fill them all. They are very time consuming little things, but quite fun to make.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Party For A Beauty Queen

One of the most important items at a birthday is 'the cake'. I always let each of our children choose what they would like. It makes it more personal too, as it relates to their interests. So what did Daughter No. 1 choose?

Yes, a make up bag cake! She's only 10 remember! She dreams of eyeshadow, I'm sure. She begs at the discount stores for me to let her buy some. Actually one of the party girls did show up with eyeshadow on - her older sister's idea. Can't girls just enjoy being young for a bit longer?

Here is the cake with the candles lit. They looked awesome in the dark in a fan shape. I always struggle to find room, or the nerve, to poke holes in a cake I've slogged over for a few hours. You know what I mean? Often, I resort to decorating a cupcake and placing it on the tray with the cake.

The eyeshadow, to my daughter's disappointment, was edible dusting powder from the cake shop. Very similar looking so perfect for the eyeshadow pots.

Nail polish, lipstick, mascara, mirror and eyeshadow pots completed the final look of the cake. All edible and made of icing, coloured with gel colourings.

Luckily I have a drawer full of cutters so finding suitable ones for the heart and flowers was easy.

Look at her trying on the lipstick! Oh, how she wishes it were real!!

Did you see the lovely boxes up at the top? You did? They were made by my daughters at the party. I had my lovely kind mother paint them the day before the party - actually, she insisted thank goodness, as I was up to my neck in jobs.

The girls all were given a box in their party bag, along with gemstones, flowers etc to decorate one box each. I thought they would be all finished in five minutes flat. But no, they had a fantastic time and took about an hour to complete their beautiful piece of art. Give me a ten year old's party any day! They had manners, lovely compliments and someone actually wanted me to be their mum too! Like I don't have enough girls around here!!

Dinner at the restaurant went very nicely as well. Lovely girls the lot of them! Usually I can't wait for the party to end, but not this one.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Such Treasures!

I have so many things to show you that it's difficult to know where to start. I think I should probably do it in order of them happening. I'm thinking it might make it easier to keep up with.

So lets begin with Friday's 'Bring and Buy' sale at my grandmother's retirement village. I admit, I was a little disappointed when I first walked into the lounge room to see only a few tables of items for sale. I managed to convince my mother and aunt to attend this event with Gran and I. You never know when you might find a bargain, I said.

Well, after a quick look around I was left a bit disappointed once again. Nothing much really of interest. But... Daughter No. 3 spied a beautiful red glass necklace and announced to Nana that it looked like Mummy's sort of thing. Quite right she was too. A daughter in training, yay! No prices to help me decide so I just picked up what I thought was lovely.

Oh yes this will do just nicely!! I wonder if they are real pearls? How can you tell? Love it anyway, genuine or not. Such a pretty rose in the centre.

And this scrumptious ring with a little coral, I think, in the centre. Another rose maybe? Loving the rose theme. Looks like it's missing some green glass around the edges. One piece is left but sadly not the other ones. Made to look like leaves I guess.

Ooh, these lovely cuff links will make a nice pressie for Husband A. He has a growing collection of these and this will be a lovely addition to it.

OK, how much for this little lot I asked. $2 you say? Goodness me no!! How would $10 be? I hate to rip little old ladies off.

I have to admit I was actually feeling really guilty by now, like I was ripping them off. Stashing my valuable treasures away in the pram hood hoping no one would see. I don't think I'm made for these sales. Too much of a good bargain!

I moved along the tables a bit and picked up this lovely red wool scarf. Looks new and handmade. Not sure if it's crocheted or knitted. Jolly clever stitch whatever it is. I guess it took someone a very long time to make, but I'll be warmer in it for sure.

3 nice white zips will come in handy I'm sure.

I was standing next to a very lovely lady who saw me picking this vase up. She looked it over and announced it a great deal, as it is Crown Lynn with a number on it's bottom. Wwweeell, that sold me! I actually thought it was rather sweet anyway, but isn't it funny how appealing something suddenly becomes, when you find out it might be worth lots of money?

Now, I have no idea of it's value and wouldn't know about finding out either. So I'll just enjoy it in the meantime. Of course, if I find out it's worth lots of the paper things, out it goes!!!

See the photo at the top? That's it, with some roses from our garden. Isn't it wonderful?

Take a look at this wonderful piece of silver. The lovely lace detailing it has. A bit grubby, but most silver is if it's not cared for. Don't worry I'll sort that wee problem out.

Here we go. Nice and shiny once more. The outer side is very good but there are some marks inside the dish which I can't remove. Must have been eaten away. Still, with some goodies in it, no one will know.

That's the lot. Think I got a good deal for $20 all up? I certainly think so!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Eye Spy Something Green!

Look what I found in blogland today. An eye spy game, with the colour 'green' as the theme this week. OK, I'm a bit late as it starts on Sunday, but I couldn't resist playing along.

So, a quick scan around the house this morning, in the freezing cold, I might add. Shame the colour wasn't purple! My hands could very well have made the cut otherwise.

So first up is... a bottle of lemonade, Sprite to be exact. Left over from our fish and chip party on Wednesday. I know I should throw it out, but I'm not good at that. I hate to throw food out too. Keep them in the fridge until they start to grow, is my motto. Seems less wasteful to me. Gross I hear you say? Too right, but it's just the way I operate. Sorry!

And my sweet little succulents, outside our front door. I just love the way these ones grow. They actually remind me of my crochet flowers I've just made. Maybe I should crochet some green ones too?

A Maisy cup with green pencils. Most need sharpening but we seem to have thousands of the jolly things, so no one is motivated enough to do anything about it.

My green cutting mat I use for scrap booking. It seems to be living in the kitchen at the moment. Can't remember why, but it's in one of those cubby hole whatsits, down beside the oven. Not too sure what you're supposed to put in those thingies. Too small for a bottle and I'm sure as eggs not going to put my ornaments there just to get broken!

Ahh, the lovely pile of green pressies Daughter No. 1 received on her birthday. She was very excited when she saw them, I can tell you. She's a good present opener, you know the sort who just rips them open. Lovely. Waste of paper I guess, but who cares. I'm usually just as excited as her to see what's in them.

Now, off to Daughter No. 3's bedroom. Here's a lovely book with plenty of green on it. Its got flaps and feely things. These two things make for a very good book in my opinion.

And a lovely piece of artwork. Probably done while she attended kindy for a few weeks - before bawling so much and having to be taken out. We'll try again later on.

I love these punches. Very fun to use and quite useful too. The heart and star ones are my favourites. Great for card making, or the girls to make a lovely, pretty mess on the floor with.

OK, I'm getting to the end of my trail now. Off to our en suite. Ah ha, a lovely green cup for husband's tablet taking. Bought by one of our daughters after a trip to the Auckland Zoo. Now that's one brilliant day out!!

Last, but not by any means least, is the lovely necklace I won on Sally's giveaway a few weeks ago. Doesn't it look lovely against the green of my summer top? Won't be wearing that for a while I guess.

OK, now that my fingers are actually freezing up, I must go and organise myself. I have to go to the supermarket for a few items. Then off to Gran's village bring and buy. Really excited about this one. Hoping for a few good bargains. Really, really hoping someone is getting rid of their button collection to be quite honest.

Then home to bake a birthday cake and decorate it like a makeup bag.

Greet the in laws who are staying for the weekend.

Pop out to the shops for some wrapping paper and paint etc for the party craft.

Wrap the present for the party tomorrow.

Make a card to go with the present.

Order the fish and chips as I'll be too stuffed to cook and reheat the apple pies from Wed night.

Good grief!!! Not sure how I'm going to fit it all in, but I guess I will.

Hope your day is more relaxing than mine! Have a good weekend and to those of you in England have a good holiday.