Sunday, January 27, 2008


Meet Katie the dog and Andi the cat. Andi does look rather evil in this photo, but she is quite fond of me as I sometimes give her her dinner when we visit. She is good at hissing and growling, but her bark is worse than her bite. Katie, however, is amazingly ferocious when she thinks the safety of those she loves is at risk, and I wouldn't want to be on the other end of her big wolfie teeth when she gets upset. She loves me, so I am safe.

My lovely sister came on a brief stopover on her way to Wanaka for a conference thingy today, so we picked her up and had lunch at a lovely garden centre cafe called Terra Viva. I had the iced chocolate. I am thoroughly naughty and should be punished (probably will be with another roll on my tummy flab). She is coming to stay next Saturday night, on the way home, so I am thrilled about that! That will take my mind off the impending school start day. I am sad cause one of my brilliant teacher aides is going back to university, so I have to break in a new one. Or my students will break him or her in (hopefully not literally).

I love secret garden nooks and crannies, so I enjoy prowling around in Mrs CT's garden as there is a little path around the bottom. I discovered a patch of clover plants down there that always have four leafed clovers. Apparently the new Glasson's breast cancer range of t-shirts is out, and I always get one. This year there is a four leafed clover one, my sister tells me. So maybe this week I will have to pop in and see, plus get my hair cut, as that usually makes me happy.

Have a happy week everyone. I will be at school every day getting organised. We have teacher only day on Friday. XXX

Ps. Also making me happy- the latest Country Living magazine. Yes, Christmas is over, but I'm still excited to get the December edition.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One week of holidays left

How sad. The holidays are almost over. I have been to school and started preparing, and will spend most of next week there. There really hasn't been much happening around here. So I will take up the 7 random things about me challenge made by Alicia who gave an open invitation to anyone who hadn't done it. She said that she couldn't be bothered tagging seven people.
1. I hate clowns.
2. Bananas give me a sore tummy.
3. I can't walk past a pet shop without feeling sad for the animals.
4. I don't like things with a bitter taste, including coffee. However I love coffee cake.
5. I'm never seen out of the house without makeup. When I accidentally forgot to wear eye makeup to school one day last year, heaps of people asked me if I wasn't well. However, one of my bestest friends told me I never wear makeup, so I must be doing it right. I don't like seeing ladies with the wrong colour foundation on.
6. I love wearing skirts and don't like to look scruffy ever!
7. I really want a fish pond, but Miss Dog would spend every minute she could swimming in it like a hairy crocodile.

As you can see, life is not very exciting, however I am all nervous about school, and that has put a dent in my creativity. I will try to squash the anxiety and take some pretty photos for my next post. Today I send you a rose.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A wee note with no pictures

Today we went to the World Buskers Festival and watched a couple of acts. We saw the Chippolata Brothers, which featured music and juggling. Then we went to see Tumble Circus which involved two acrobats. They were fun to watch. I found it quite hard being among such a big crowd of people who all seem to be expecting everyone else to do the laughing and clapping. I'm sure the performers find it hard too (or maybe they are used to it). When I see performances with the students from my school, who all have intellectual disabilities, you couldn't get a more enthusiastic audience. So I am used to giving it heaps, cheering and clapping really loudly. And no one cares. So I felt a bit hindered by the polite scatterings of applause barely making a ripple.

Of course no trip to town is complete without an inconvenient need for a trip to the bathroom. So we popped into the library and I came out with my very own copy of Thomasina Beck's "The Embroiderer's Floral" which has lots about the history of floral embroidery, plus ideas and examples for inspiration. It was $3!!!! Mr B managed to drag me to the door with only three books ("We're supposed to be getting rid of CRAP, not getting more!). One is a murder mystery and the other is a Christmas craft book (great for school). In addition to gathering books I also got a bag of cherries- big, plump, deep red, gleaming beauties.

By the way. Crafty Challenge update. My cuff is complete, and has been seen in public at the Buskers Festival. It will feature in a post at the end of the month, along with one other entry that is being concocted and created as I write, by my very dear sister, Ruby Two Shoes. February Challenge has already been devised. Sorry, you will have to wait to hear about that!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Things!

I have hit one of my lows, which makes everything so much harder. Feels like my gumboots (wellies) are stuck in the mud and I am struggling to get out. However, there are a few bright spots, one of which is cherry season, and I am indulging frequently (including right now). Today I have a mixture of deep red and yellow cherries (with a blush of vermillion). They don't taste a lot different, although the deep red ones have more depth of flavour, so I have to say I prefer them. I like my cherries to be fat, juicy with a crunch when you bite them. I know the Mother in Law likes them that way too. By the way, we loved having her to stay. It was very helpful having back up when keeping Mr B behaving himself, and for going into pretty shops. Anyway, other happy things:
  • The lovely Jane Brocket, famous author, wrote me a reply to a comment I made on her blog. You must check out her blog and her book ( pictured above). Her blog is Yarnstorm.
  • Ooooh, I made my first link!
  • We have the first three series of MASH on DVD. We are addicted. It takes us back to our childhood.
  • I successfully made meringues. I've done it before, but not for a while. They were utterly delicious. Crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Yum!
  • Pebbles. You can't go wrong with a wee box of those.
  • Miss Dog's coat is so shiny and beautiful I just love looking at her. She is the blackest, black imaginable. Her ears are like soft, thick velvet. I love to kiss them.
  • Check out my embroidery threads. I've been working on the wee hearts while watching MASH. The colours make me so excited. I have to sew up the hearts later. I have recipients for two of them. Special people!
  • I am having a wonderful time working on a birthday present for my very special friend, Mrs Canterbury Tales. No, Mrs CT, I'm not telling you what it is!!!!!
  • Watermelon and corn season are coming up. Both are hard to eat with braces, but I am sure I will manage.
I had better go and have a shower. I managed to entice Mr B to go for a jog with Miss Dog and I today. Of course he can walk faster than I can jog. By the way, Doc Martin was fantastic last night! He got engaged last week. There was a brilliant crazy old lady scientist on last night.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mr Black's Birthday

Today was my darling man's birthday! He is not at all crazy about his birthday, unlike myself, and he didn't want a fuss at all. We decided to visit Orana Park. You can see some of my photos above. Take a look at that delicious lion paw. Unfortunately it was the hottest day of the year (possibly the century) and we were all grateful to find shade whenever we could, and so were the animals. Mr B, his mum and I all love animals. We could totally understand the lack of animal activity. There was one delightful young lioness who was rolling around on her back next to a bunch of teenage boy lions. How cute, were the happy comments from the gathered crowd, especially when she leaped up, danced around and flopped down on one of the boys. Her intentions, however, were not so innocent, as we discovered when he rather reluctantly hauled himself up and climbed on top of her. One small boy was heard to say "I want to watch the lion jump on the other lion," as he was moving off with his family. Personally, I don't think Mr Lion could be bothered to do his duty to the best of his ability on such a hot day. No man could.

We went to the house of Mr and Mrs Canterbury Tales for tea. Mrs CT greeted me with great excitement about the impending visit of Mr and Mrs So Tread Softly. We are both very thrilled! They are gracing Christchurch with their honourable presence in March. Apparently a trip over to Akaroa has been planned. Lucky things! I love it over there, especially since my dolphin swimming experience.

I started my morning runs again today. Up at 6.30 am with Miss Dog. I could feel the downward spiral starting so decided to take affirmative action, despite wanting to curl up in bed until midday. I think I will sleep in tomorrow, and do another run on Monday morning. I have done some successful crafting. I have to finish my wee project off with my sewing machine. I have started both needle felting and some embroidery, so I am pleased with myself.

Happy Birthday to my sweet man! Have another great year, with lots of fun and success, learning and achievements. XXXXXXXXX

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dad's Birthday

Today is my precious Dad's birthday. He is hopefully having a roast and pavlova for tea. As you can see from the pictures, Dad is a creative soul. He has an enormous shed, which he has added to over the years as need arose. The house has had a similar history. Dad is a carpenter of the traditional school. He is scathing of the unskilled youngsters brought into the business as cheap labour. Dad has built whole houses by himself. It is remarkable how difficult I find it to whack in a single nail. Sadly, his building skill was never passed onto me. Dad has come in very handy around our house. Actually one of the saddest things about leaving here is leaving behind my gorgeous kitchen shelves and cupboards designed by me, and made by Dad. Mr B and Dad had a brilliant time building our deck together. Luckily I can take my bedside cabinets with me, and I have plans for two new coffee tables and a kitchen table (you know you want to, Dad).

As you can see, Dad's shed is typical of many a creative person. He know where everything is. He is suspicious of anyone in his territory, and will mysteriously turn up if anyone is attempting to use his tools. I don't think Mum and Dad can ever move house because of all of Dad's treasures. The odd metal creation is one of Dad's most recent productions. It is for our film making exploits. Ever since we were little Dad has been an eager supporter of our leisure activities. He dug us swimming holes, made tree huts, horse jumps, wooden toys and a barrier to stop the twins getting into our bedroom and breaking our things. He glued our dolls heads and bodies back together with industrial products. He still whips up a pen every time we bring Merlin the rabbit on holiday, and we have the best (and most rustic) barbeque area in the country. Dad has also been Mr McDaff, a happy and hardworking sidekick to Mum's daffodil growing empire. He has displayed extraordinarily delicate skill at staging daffodils for the show for a man with only 7 fingers and 1 3/4 thumbs. He is also willing to carry Mum's purse in public, an admirable quality in a man.

So happy birthday Dad and all of my love and hugs to you! XXXXXXXXX

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Mother in Law in the House

Mr B's lovely mummy has arrived today. We took her out to the show home to show her sort of what our new house will be like. She was suitably impressed. We also dropped into Hands which is a craft shop. She got a cross stitch bookmark kit to do while she is here, and I picked up some embroidery thread and needles for a wee project. I started working on some needle felting for my cuff project, but am not sure whether it would make a better picture. I'll work on it a wee bit more, then decide. I've got a buttony idea for the cuff that might be better for public viewing.
Take a look at Abraham Darby. It smells utterly delicious. That is a must-have for my new garden.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A New Friend for Miss Dog

Miss Dog and I were invited to play at Dorota and Saba's house after lunch today. Dorota made a delicious poppy seed cake which we enjoyed while Saba the Boxer and Miss Dog tried to decide who was the boss. They had never met before, and Miss Dog was super good. Plus she was really gentle with Dorota's children. I was thrilled with her. We all trooped down to Jellie Park where the dogs had a thoroughly brilliant time playing in the water. Miss Dog was like a black hairy crocodile cruising the Nile among the bobbing ducks. I was pleased that she showed no interest in eating them. She came whenever I called her too, except when greeting a strange dog, at which point her ears turned into pieces of vintage black velvet. Strictly for decoration. Saba decided she was the boss because she wouldn't let Miss Dog keep a couple of fat sticks that she fetched from the deep water (Saba is a wimpy swimmer). She has a ferocious growl which Miss Dog decided wasn't worth messing with. I still think Miss Dog thought she was the superior hound. Well, fun was had by all and we hope to repeat the experience very soon!

Now take a look at Monty- is he not the picture of comfort in Grandma's quilt. I love the way his wee arm is casually draped down the front of the couch.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A nest of cats on holiday

Gosh I am hot! It is overcast and muggy, and Miss Dog and I just went for a big walk. We both have to try to overcome the excesses of Christmas eating. Today Mr B and I bought a lounge suite! It is chocolate leather and has a 2 and a 3 seater couch. It is being delivered later in the month, although we don't really need it until we move into our new house. Since we saved over $1000 we struck while the iron was hot. We also went to the library today. I got lots of great books, including some inspiring crafty ones. Fantastic.

I'm not full of inspired ideas today. Never mind. At least I can share the delicious nest of cats made up of Mummy Black's babies, Henry, Oscar and Lily. Lily has been very sick, so is looking rather dainty and fragile. Oscar was once my baby, but we took him to the farm on holiday and he wanted to stay. We couldn't bear to take him back to the city. He is Chocolate Lynx Spotted Oriental. Oscar has a remarkable personality, and has the most expressive voice of any cat I have met. Everyone loves Henry. He is just delicious. Henry and Lily are both seal point Siamese. So is Monty. I got Sasha for my birthday when I was about 10. He was our first Siamese, and was a chocolate point. He was our family's first introduction to the world of pedigree cats, and we have never looked back. They have such neat personalities, and are incredibly people centered. I love cats!!!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Doggy Friends on Holiday

Three dear friends, Miss Dog, Miss Poo (Stellar) and The Blonde Bimbo (Daisy) always love their holidays together. Miss Dog is super good on the long car trip to the farm. She gets so excited to see Daisy, and of course when Stellar arrives life is just perfect. This year Flynn came to visit too. He is a Kelpie Lab cross (I think?) and is a bouncing ball of energy. They all loved playing in the creek.
By the way, Stellar is wearing a delightful blonde wig. Isn't she delightful!

Lucky Girl!

I was so lucky. I got lots of lovely Christmas presents. I would like to insert them one by one and write under each one, but having messed around for quite some time trying to do that, I am giving up and letting the pictures all go at the top as usual. I've managed to make 2 drafts disappear, and can't seem to retrieve them. Anyway, from the top we have my new bag in fabulous, lavish velvet. Lots of fun. Then my gorgeous wee cupboard. It is about 30cm high and perfect for my new house. And yay! I got 3 new books. The Vintage Fabrics and the Quilt ones seem to be made to go together, despite coming from two very different sources. I am dying to have a go at a project. Must finish 2 others first. I love books so much. The necklace is a masterpiece in beadwork, which makes me want to learn how to put beads together in new creative ways. Not another hobby, Mr B would say. I also got the Asian inspired tea seat. I love the aquamarine colour inside the cups. I need a geisha outfit, complete with wooden jandals and toesocks. I am thrilled with the pretty heart. It had to come out into the garden to pose for me, as it is so sweet. Perfect for the new house too. I haven't taken a decent picture of my two potted orchids, which are to grace my new lounge. They refused to take an elegant photo, so remain unblogged. No, they are not real, but Mr B thought they were, so are very good fakes. I got some other goodies too. Thank you to everyone who gave me a treasure. XXX
Ps. As usual, my photos haven't gone the way I wanted them. I'm sure you will figure it out!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Twelve Crafty Months

The challenge is on. Sister Black and I are challenging each other to a year of crafty creations. Each month during 2008 we have to create a specific item. January's challenge is based on some very cute cuffs found in a shop in Nelson which were smothered in buttons. We confidently announced to each other that we too could create something of equal greatness. So the first crafty creations will be cuffs. The rules are:
Be as creative as possible.
Any media may be used.
The item must be able to be seen in public.
It must be shared at the end of the month on this blog.

I am excited! Plans were being hatched in the night for something with a watery theme. Embroidery will feature. Ruby Two Shoes, I hope you were kept awake by similar creative thoughts! Of course, if anyone else wants to join the challenge, they may. Go forth and create! 

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Home again, home again, jig-a-jig-jig!

The travellers return! Not exactly victorious, as I wanted to stay forever, but managed not to cry as we drove away from the family farm. We had a fantastic time, saw lots of the relatives, received lovely presents (must take some photos for you) and had yummy food. My dear Miss Dog had a fantastic holiday with her friends Miss Poo and the Blonde Bimbo. Merlin had fun in his big run, and Monty basically relaxed in his usual fashion. Mr Black donned his movie making hat and tackled another particularly grotesque production with a variety of family members starring. I, myself, featured in the most hideous outfit and wig with a pair of spectacular painted on brown eyebrows. I gave it all for my death scene, ending up lying in the mud with my head in the creek, tomato pulp and fake blood dribbling over my denim pinafore (two sizes too small).

For my first holiday entry I have selected some photos from Sister Black's house (aka Ruby Two Shoes - blog under construction). She painted the very cool picture with the goat. I love her pink Olga Berg handbag, pictured against the wall of the blue room, which is so pretty. She also has an interesting Katie Gold vase which was a gift. Katie Gold lives in Upper Moutere near Nelson. She has a fantastic cottage garden. Her work sells for lots of money. I also spotted the gorgeous gollywog (no, I'm not going to be all P.C. - we grew up with hoards of gollywogs, thanks to Sister Black's obsession with them). I got this particular man as a surprise for my lovely sister when we were exploring in one of Nelson's antique shops last time we stayed with her. And most importantly, I have caught the delicious, velvet coated Miss Poo curled up on the couch. She is an absolute delight. No wonder my sister wants to take her ears to work with her so she can take them out of her purse to kiss whenever she needs a pick-me-up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Home tomorrow

Back home tomorrow from our holiday jaunt. Much fun has been had, so will update as soon as I can! Happy New Year everyone. I will fill you in on 12 months of creativity too. XXX