Sunday, October 31, 2010

On the Radar

Gosh we've had a busy weekend. It all started with a fantastic evening out to a fundraising show featuring one of my favourite NZ television personalities, Te Radar. His show (which lasted over 2 hours) was a hilarious tour through some of the unfortunate and remarkable characters long forgotten in New Zealand history. Entitled "Eating the Dog," the show was absolutely brilliant. And even better, I got to meet and chat to Te Radar myself. One of the unfortunate gentlemen selected by Te Radar did, in fact, eat a dog. I, myself may have also been persuaded to eat a dog if I had nothing but fern roots, which caused grievous constipation. I also never knew that an intrepid Australian decided to build a submarine, called the Platypus, to obtain gold in Otago. Unfortunately it was a complete failure, and nearly killed the inventor, plus the seven idiots who were on the test run. If I was to build a submarine, I would ensure there was a way to open the door from the inside.

Te Radar and dog. Just a companion. Not a snack.

After that brilliant start, the weekend has been full of social activities and plenty of gardening. In fact you could sandpaper a piece of furniture with the incredibly rough palms of my hands. We have been sorting the last of dirt mountain into beds three and four of the raised potager beds. I've been the official stone and weed picker outerer. I planted peas, coriander, peppers and tomatoes today. Fingers crossed for clement weather this week while my babies get settled. Johnny did an amazing job digging and wheelbarrowing the dirt around. Plus he put a board along to mark the edge of my big corner woodland garden.

I'm hoping for a good week at school. My foot is mostly better. I stayed off it for two days and that was the best thing to do. Right, I've got school work to do. I wish it was sewing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I had a little accident yesterday. I was zipping out to chuck a dead ranuncula flower out in the compost before we had six friends around for a barbeque, when I rolled my ankle and fell over. At the time there was some severe groveling and ouching, a bit of amused sympathy from Johnny, but as the visitors were about to arrive I had to get up and carry on. Nothing much hurt while I was doing stuff. But by bedtime I couldn't put any weight on my foot and had to crawl to the toilet. It hurt so much the bedcovers made it ache. This morning I still couldn't walk on it, so I had to stay at home. It looks a bit fat but doesn't actually hurt until I try to stand on it. So much for dancing on the lawn, but at least I've had some time to dedicate to crafty projects (once my nose stopped bleeding, but that's another issue altogether - although possibly related to hitting the deck hard).

I decided to get onto finishing the border for the runner. I really wanted to do mitred corners. Auntie B. gave me a lesson last year, and after intense scrutiny of instructions in one of my books, I had a go. I must admit, there was some unpicking due to idiotic actions made by the injured party, but my mitres are all lying beautifully flat, and I'd be happy to have a go on my next quilt. The advantage of learning how is that you have to make four corners, so have plenty of practise.

The runner still needs a back, but I want red and don't have any.
Look at that lovely corner. I'm so proud.
Here is the runner sitting where it will eventually live. I still haven't chosen paint for this piece of furniture.

This was inspired by Jane Brocket's Tulip Fields quilt. It uses mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics, although the border fabric is not one of his. It has that lavish over-the-top floral feel about it though. I am very pleased indeed.

I'm not so sure about this foot. I couldn't get a doctor's appointment today (everyone is desperate for medical help after the long weekend apparently). The problem is that I am moving so slowly it would take ages to get from the office to my classroom, and should all Hell break loose, I can't get out of the way. What I need is some crutches, so I can both walk, and defend myself with them. I've got an appointment for tomorrow morning. I'll probably be a lot better by then. Not quite ready for a dance on the lawn, but maybe to sort of walk, rather than gingerly hobble, from one end of the house to the other.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Labour Day Holiday

I thought I had better get cracking and get onto the computer this morning, as I've got so much to do today and I'd hate to miss out on telling you about my visit to see the most gorgeous long legged baby. This is Fraser and his gentle mummy. He is nine days old in these photos, which were taken on Saturday. He is apparently an incredibly curious and brave foal. Most foals won't let you go anywhere near them, so what a privilege to be able to touch him, and to have him come up to snuffle us. He especially liked Johnny, so I called him the horse whisperer.
He is going to be dark like his mother, and probably taller, judging by the very long legs.
His mummy is called Zanny (or possibly Xanny??) and is so relaxed and happy to have a cuddle and scratch.
When we crouched down Fraser couldn't resist a close inspection. His nose is covered in long whiskers, which will disappear as he grows. He has little teeth on the bottom, and is trying to nibble on grass, but hasn't quite worked out how to reach down to it yet.
One day he might be a champion eventer. He will have the right person to train him. His owner rode in the Badminton Horse Trial several years ago.

On the home and garden front, the daffodils are almost finished, and the tulips are fading fast. The bearded iris are appearing. I've really got to go shopping for some new, beautiful ones. I don't mind these ones, but in a small garden you really want to have things you love. I have several big clumps of these thanks to a plastic bag left by the door. They are velvety and rich looking, and look good against the house.
Very exciting rose news. I spotted the first blooms today. Here is Mary Rose. She is always a reliable early girl.
And this is Kathryn Moreley (I think), who came with me from the old house, and is trying extra hard this year, after a dismal showing in 2009.
On a slightly curious note, I have a rampant crop of these toadstools. Sadly not edible mushrooms. They look rather Halloweenish among the flowers.
The pansies are continuing to give spring their full attention.
And the ranunculas are stunning. They are like swirling silk ball dresses.

I'm very stressed as I've got my appraisal at school, and since things can be pretty hideous in my classroom (I've got a big bruise to prove it), who knows how things will go. Oh well, if I get fired I can always garden and sew all day. Yay! Actually the main thing I don't do well is some of the paperwork, as I haven't got the energy after struggling to keep the class on the straight and narrow all day. I wish I could run away and sew myself a ball dress out of silken petals, then dance on the lawn in bare feet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Today has been a bit of a frustrating day because I haven't got all of the things done I would have liked to. Never mind, there was lots to see in the garden.
There are brilliant splashes of colour in the front border.
The parrot tulips are rather a muddle of petals, like custard and raspberry jelly. Not sure what the black middles look like- flies in the pudding? You can see the bearded iris getting ready to open. Unfortunately they are a dark browny black. They arrived in a plastic bag on the doorstep. I love the colour of the strappy leaves against the house. I'm going to search out some prettier coloured ones and replace them, but these ones will probably go over in the cemetery. No, not in a coffin.
I love these delicate michelia flowers. They are so beautiful. This wee bush is still only a metre tall, and I'm looking forward to it putting some serious effort into growing.
This pasque flower was a fabulous find at the supermarket. It is fascinating to look at. I've always wanted one, but they tend to be expensive. I hope it does well for me.
Apart from the poets, these wee treasures are the last daffys out. They have a wonderful fragrance and seem to have multiplied merrily in their two springs with me.
Today The Crafty Neighbour lent me this contraption. It is for pressing flowers in the microwave. Interesting to experiment with, and since it only takes about a minute to dry out the flowers, it doesn't take long to get results.

Here are some of the pressed specimens. They keep their colour better than the ones I have done in the past in heavy books.
I've been working on the first of the handmade birthday presents, and was annoyed that I didn't get as much done as I wanted to today. I've got a busy week as I've got the usual school meetings, plus a bank appointment and I have to go to the doctor sometime as well. All sounds a bit tedious compared to enjoying the glorious colour around here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wonderful day!

I had a shocker of a day yesterday, but handled it fine. I wasn't sure how today would go, but I went in to school and decided to spread a bit of joy around, hoping some would come back. And it did. You never know in my job. I work with an incredibly diverse and unpredictable group of young people, and I see the best and the worst of them. Today they were a delight. Tomorrow is Friday, and some of my students can tell me that the weekend is coming (we're learning about the days of the week). Yay!

I thought I'd share these gorgeous tulips from my lovely Mummy's garden. I adore tulips. I thought I loved the double ones the most, but this year I've changed my mind. I'm fascinated by peering into the deeply cupped blooms to study the colours and shapes inside. The stripy ones please me very much.
Mauve spikes:
Feathered edges:
Hand painted:
Glorious sunset colours:

Other things to report. Hmmm...
  • Miss Dog is trimming her toenails with her teeth. Lucky Daddy isn't home, he always grumps when she does that.
  • Johnny is at the junior concert at his school. Fun.
  • One of Emily Butcher's horses had a foal. I will get to visit it soon. Fantastic.
  • Tuna in cans is highly over-rated. Let the dolphins, whales, giant squid and sharks have the tuna.
  • My front garden looks fantastic!!!!!!!!!
  • Ronan Keating just said the girl on X-Factor "nailed the vocals." I beg to differ. Actually I beg to differ with all of the judges. She was out of tune.
  • I wouldn't be watching X-Factor if Johnny was home. We would have Motorway Patrol on.
  • I'm very sorry to hear that Cam's friend lost her battle with cancer. Terribly sad.
  • I haven't seen a photo of my gorgeous niece, Lucy, in a while. Hint, hint.
  • We got a lovely card from the vet clinic today. It made me want to cry, but I resisted after my great day.
  • We had a cracker of an aftershock yesterday, and a smaller, but very noisy one not too long ago. Miss Dog barked in indignation and fright. We seem to be having about 3 earthquakes a day.
Have a brilliant day tomorrow!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Birthday Boy

We decided to make an unscheduled visit to Nelson for the very special birthday of our wee treasured nephew, Henry. His first birthday is tomorrow. We had a family gathering on Saturday at his house, with balloons, presents and lots of delicious food. We had whitebait fritters - yum! Plus Mum's famous meringues. We also had the birthday cake, which was a cosmetically enhanced bought one and was delicious. Much appreciated by the birthday boy himself. Although there were many lovely presents, the highlight was the three piece tool kit with interchangeable sander, circular saw and reciprocating saw, all in classy matte plastic, with noisy sound effects and lights. Uncy Jim decided that every baby needs to start building his tool collection.

We are missing dearest Monty. I'm learning to sleep without him. I planted a pretty garden for him, and he is among the roses. It was hard to water the garden with him in it, because he didn't like getting wet. Horrible to think about him in the ground.

I finished "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on the way back home in the car today. What a great read- and a great movie. I'm going to start "The Girl who Played with Fire" tonight. Excellent. Must go to sleep early though, because it is back to school tomorrow. I've got to remember why I go to school - to fund my craft habit.

Happy Birthday dearest little man Henry! Stay as sweet as you are forever! XXXXXXX

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goodbye Darling

My heart is broken. The cat love of my life is gone.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Flat at the wrong moment

Yes, I'm talking about the camera. Just when I was about to show you my homemade ice cream in the middle of the process, nothing happened at the critical moment. Of course, with cream and egg whites whipped and looking super frothy, I didn't want to dally. Let's just say that it turned out brilliantly, and the teaspoon of golden syrup and Crunchie bar I added in little chocolatey and hokey pokey hunks were a taste sensation. Thanks to Miss S for the tutorial! I'll have to make it again to take photos before I provide the recipe.

What have I been up to since my last post? I made some excellent progress on the bright quilt. I've been working on the runner for the top of the sideboard Johnny made (with the TV in it- I hate to call it an "entertainment unit"). So far no paint has been chosen for that. However Johnny made me another bookcase to go in the bedroom which will be a soft blue - very pretty. Johnny has also been busy painting the fence with his noisy sprayer. It looks brilliant!!!! I had fun pottering in the garden while I supervised the painting. I moved a few things around, including some teeny tiny lettuces that have come up in the raised bed No.1. I'm thinning them out. I also planted some corn seeds and discovered why my first lot of basil didn't germinate- old seed. I remedied the situation and am expecting a more enthusiastic response from the virile young seeds I sowed today.

Monty is very quiet today. He got up, snacked, vomited, then went back to bed until the afternoon. The got up moved to the sunny couch and slept. When it cooled down he got inside John's sleeping bag (don't ask- when Johnny had the flu he got it out and has been enjoying snuggling in it in the evening) and slept. He is now on Johnny, who is inside the sleeping bag.

I've got to get onto doing some work for school tomorrow. Sigh. Plus some more sewing. Yay!!!