April – Slipping By …………

The month is slipping past and while I am daily engrossed in blog land and catching up with the writing, photography and daily doings of you my friends – not much attention is paid to my own posts.  So, more to keep a record than to add pleasure to your day, here’s a quick catch -up.

It’s Autumn here and the last rose in the tiny courtyard is making a break for it

Courtyard April 16The crochet shawl got finished – it’s beautiful and oh so soft………..  worked in an alpaca/silk mix and edged with beads.  Learning the art of blocking is finally paying off – I just wish my photos were better.  Each edge scallop has ten tiny red beads hooked through.Jo's shawl April 16

There’s some new light catchers being worked on – some simple ones and some very ornate ones.  Here’s a glimpse of two versions of the Simple Single Rainbow ‘Catcher.  Can you spot the difference?Simple Rainbow x2 April 16

And just for Alys, in lieu of a ‘fairy garden’ here is a glimpse of the guardians at the front entrance…….Entry Garden April 16

Can you see them? No?  Move closer to the door and look down.  They make me smile!

There’s the green wobbly headed dog with the waggling tail and little Winnie the Pooh smiling hopefully up at visitors.  Everyone smiles!

I’m not a collector of twee garden ornaments usually.  These two turned up in my Christmas stocking and wandered out to the front potted garden and stayed…..

Entry Guardians April 16Everything in the garden is dying back now, even though the weather remains unusually warm for this time of the year.  Soon the tiny courtyard will be without any sun and will stay that way – barren and unloved until next August when both the sun and I will return to replant and enliven once more.

I’ve started work on an open vest for me for the cooler days – the knit pattern stolen from the jumper knitted for ED for her birthday last monthVest 1

I’m moving it along a pace because I want to start this – more alpaca and silk and maybe some beads too ….  Isn’t it a stunning colour?Artesano Shawl April 16

April has been a time of concentrating on health and well-being.  Walking and creating and reading and spending quiet times concentrating on gratitude for all aspects of my life and enjoying the quiet way everything unfolds around me.  I live simply, I make time every day to hold others close in my thoughts and also to seek understanding of what is going on in the world.  There’s more good going on than the news media would have us know, I look for that and do not give my attention to the other.  This long Indian Summer lingers on and Siddy and I go walking every morning, me enjoying the subtle changes in nature and Siddy- well Siddy just enjoying being alive really……..  I say it often – and mean it – I love retirement!!March 16 3

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

Happy Birthday Siddy!

So many of you who have been following along, these past two years especially, are familiar with possibly the best puppy in the whole world.  For our new friends and casual readers, here’s a wee overview of the boy himself and for our longtime friends I hope you enjoy the recap.

Two years ago today a little Shih Tzu and random mixture puppy came into the world.

He was still so tiny when I met him at six weeks old

first meeting 2014

 

And took him home – even though I was at first reluctant to take on this little ball of energy …..May31 First walk3

 

Orlando and I did not know what had hit us!

Yikes!

after siddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I quickly discovered I had been found by my own personal happiness guru

12 6 14 profile

He was named Sid-Arthur, for Siddhartha the Prince who became the Buddha.  I had no idea at the time how fortuitous that was.

RedshoeOrlando meanwhile had retired to the top of the refrigerator and other high places and there he spent most of the ensuing year25 10 14 1

 

But even he eventually caved – how could he resist?Play3aa

 

 

 

Morning Smooch

sleeping duo June

Who knew one little black and white ball of happiness could change my life so completely?

2nd Bday 3

 

Happy Birthday Siddy – 2 years old today  2nd Birthday 1

 

He made a gif with his second favourite person for your amusementS&D gif

 

 

 

 

And today he will celebrate being a big boy by visiting the older students at the Sara Cohen School for Special Needs who have just completed a module on how to interact with dogs.

Soon he will be visiting a local Retirement Home to spread even more of his particular brand of joy.  Life is going to get busy for Siddy the Happiness Guru!

Thanks for coming by today, we love that you did!

Pretty Things

I’m currently having a few days in Wellington with my eldest, it’s her birthday month and we are making the most of it.  The Official Photographer went first and spent several days helping the celebrations get off to a good start…..

"Oh," she said "this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ......"

“Oh,” she said “this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ……”

Then she came back to baby-sit

Siddy Jan 16

He misses his mumma when she goes away.

Prior to deserting my boys, I was playing with beads.

I put some new light catchers in the shop, including this little beauty ‘Marine’

1 2a 3a 4a

Which is just chock-a-block with crystals and shimmery goodness – I’m a little in love with this one!!

I made some bracelets

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

 

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

Bracelet 5 Bracelet 6 Bracelet 7 Bracelet 8

As I like bracelets, and they are the only jewellery I wear these days, I’m learning how to make simple ones that are robust, don’t fall apart and are fun to wear.  I’ve been wearing this selection for over two weeks now, gardening, housework, playing with puppy – so far so good.

The knitting was blocked.

I discovered a rubbery – foamy kit-set type of mat at Mitre10  [local DIY store] used for kneeling on in the garage, lining the car boot [trunk] or the children’s playroom or suchlike and did my best Archimedes “Eureka!” impression  [minus the bath tub].  And Lo ……

Blocking

You get a pack of four jigsaw sided pieces, each about 50 cm square so you can use what is needed to meet whatever shape you are making.  It works brilliantly.

All the parts were blocked separately, then sewn together, washed again and laid out to dry – someone said  ‘Oh, for me …..how kind………’   Sigh

b'day present 2016 w Tig 2

The project was finished on time despite attempts to sabotage – wrapped in pretty paper and delivered to ED who kindly modelled it for you despite having on her red sneakers and standing in the baking heat of Wellington

Model jumper

And now I’m working away at my crochet project a very fine alpaca and silk scarf, currently about one third assembled – destined for the birthday girl sometime after her birthday, but hopefully before Christmas.  Please note the careful colour matching………Shawl

If I’m missing from your posts, please forgive me – I’ll be back to normal in a few more days.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Books Piled Beside the Bed – Pt 3

This edition of the Book Pile features reads from some fellow bloggers – I hope you will check them out and see for yourself what has so pleased me.  And as a complete aside, today happens to be my third anniversary on WordPress – what a great three years it has been – thanks to all you lovely folk out there xoxo

Bits of a Boyhood

An on-line biography found here subtitled ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’

I have never liked reading electronically, though many have told me the kindle is eye friendly- I just like books! I like the weight of them and the smell of them and the feel of them. I like reading covers and back covers and author profiles. I like rifling the pages and fiddling with my book mark which is tactile and friendly in my hands when the story is winding down or I am winding down ……….  Despite that, late last year I spent some time reading an on-line biography written by Mr Bruce Goodman of Weave a Web fame. Covering the fifties and sixties and set in rural New Zealand the story is told compassionately and humorously of growing up in a large, rambunctious, Catholic family.    I know much of the era and the areas and the descriptions resounded strongly for me.  The pathos and humour of a boy sometimes struggling to understand the complex world of older siblings and grown-ups was a delightfully innocent read.  Do wander over and have a read, it’s free and it’s delightful and give my friend Bruce a thumbs up.

And, coincidentally, Just to stay in a similar vein, I began this past months reading of real books with the delightful

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle – Geoff Le Pard

DeadFlies

I should start by admitting I’m not much given to reading a book where the protagonist is a nineteen year old youth …..  and I continued past the first pages only because I had promised to read and review Geoff’s book.  And yep, was I glad I did!

I’m a fan of Geoff’s writing style –  found on his blog TanGental.  I loved his month long supply of short stories back in November and marvelled over his ability to swap genres and weave on-going dramas for the same character.   My question was would his ability with short stories bear up in the quantum leap to a novel?

I can’t remember when I last read a book where the story unraveled so clearly and independently before my eyes in the form of a movie.  There is something in the author’s writing style that allows the reader, or at least, me; imaginative space to ‘see’ the characters and the context in it’s entirety, the whole scene unfolds like a movie – the entire book is a movie waiting to happen!

The story is wryly witty, the ongoing movie informed me when incidents evolved into laugh out loud comic moments or segued into moments of despair or desperation.

In the end what I loved most was the manner in which the story unfolded and revealed itself only as much as it did to the poor befuddled teenager, Harry.  Girls are a mystery to him and these ones were to me as well.  His parents behaviours and words make no sense – what is going on?  Harry’s love and care for his grandmother is a tender side story that weaves throughout, though even she is now a mystery to him.   As Harry twigs more to what is going on, so do we.  The characters reveal themselves sometimes in surprising ways and the end denouement is exactly what Harry himself would have wanted!

I’ve got another book by Geoff Le Pard in the pile.  I deliberately didn’t pick it up straight after finishing this one – I was so tempted, but I wanted to give this book time to settle.

[But I’ll tell you about the next one, next month, because now this post is up, that book is open!]

So I started in on

The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith

I actually struggled to get into this little book. I found the character of Isabel Dalhousie a bit stiff and unreal and not quite right…….  I wonder if it is because it is a man writing – and his descriptions of a woman’s thought processes and emotions are not necessarily actually accurate.   Or maybe I have just never known a woman of such a degree of philosophical ilk.  Despite this, the thing I really like and appreciated was that the story stayed real, quite relatable to how real people I know might have responded in such a scenario.  In other words, no derring-do, no flights of fancy, no taking on the baddies in the face of great odds.  Just a slow peramble through gentle nosings and visits and the unravelings of the mystery.  When the gripping bit does come it is actually chillingly real. I know I’d respond the same way.    I don’t know if I’d read another one, but I might.  If you are a fan, please do share your thoughts on these books, I’d love to hear them – I might be being totally unfair and judging prematurely and thereby missing out on further good reads.  [Heaven forbid!]

SundayPhilosophyClub

Included in the ‘currently reading pile’ are two little volumes I’m opening at random and reading a page from most evenings.

One –  [A Compendium of Inspiration]

The first is a gift sent to me by my friend Norah which I mentioned in my last post.  The photo shows the cover which bears the inscription ‘How many people does it take to make a difference’ alongside the giant digit one.  Inside the front flap poses the thought: Instead of asking ‘What can I get from life?’ watch what happens when you ask “What can I give?”  Which is a philosophy I thoroughly approve of!

One

 

It’s filled with little inspirational texts and quotes to ponder and muse over and take into sleep.  I feel really honoured that Norah thought of me when she saw this book and went to the trouble of sending it to me.  It’s appreciated and enjoyed Norah, thank you.  It makes a lovely gift!

A Certain Age – Cynthia Jobin

The second book I’m picking up every evening is an anthology of poetry from the pen of the rather delightful Cynthia Jobin who blogs at littleoldladywho where you can savour her words both written and spoken.

ACertainAge2

Cynthia writes about the commonplace, the every day, she writes too of love lost and love found.  She writes of her animals, her family, the seasons and festivals.  And sometimes she writes and I wonder, ‘Now, what triggered that?’

The art of the poet, I feel, lies in making the reader share the experience, in causing the breath to catch, the eye to burn, the ‘Oh!’ to form or a chuckle to rise and so often, having read, to sit and let silent contemplation fill the soul.  I so often experience one or more of these responses when reading the work of Cynthia Jobin.  Do wander on over and see for yourself.

That’s it for this month on the reading front.  Do share what you are reading and add in any thoughts to the books I’ve mentioned.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

 

 

 

 

 

February Creations

Hello Y’all!  It’s already almost half way through the month and I feel as if I’m playing catch up with my blog already.  I’ve been busy – no, no, really I have – well sometimes I’ve been busy – other times ………  let’s just say I’ve watched a few movies, and read a few books and done a bit of knitting

Jos jumper 2

It’s a richer brown than is showing, flecked with gold  and this is the pattern

Elation free Cable Aran Knit Sweater Pattern Elation or buy as knitting kit

It’s a free pattern from Artesano Yarns in the UK – isn’t it lovely!!  My ED will love this for our coming winter.

And I’ve been receiving gifts!

I’ve been really touched by the kindness of people in this blogging world again.  In a recent post on the blog Love Those Hands At Home I mentioned to Kerry that I loved the little white crocheted place mats she was readying to put into her shop.  The next thing I knew they were delivered by my friendly postal lady and Kerry’s placemats now adorn my table and a couple of other places too – aren’t they pretty!

Kerrys mat 1 Kerry's mat 3

The post delivered a completely unexpected thank you gift just over a week ago.  Robin was a recipient in the Christmas Light Catcher giveaway and she sent me a thank you note and a copy of her CD – a collection of lovely folk and contemporary music played on her flute.  I was surprised and delighted by her kind gesture.  Thank you Robin, I am enjoying it very much – I’m so in awe of people who can make music!

Flute CD

Then I received another gift – from my friend Norah in Australia who didn’t receive a Light Catcher in the giveaway, but who did nominate her friend Robin [above] and who simply decided to send me a beautiful thank you note and a lovely inspirational book which has made it to the bedside table for dipping into before sleep.  Isn’t this the kindest thing?  Aren’t all these actions so thoughtful and so generous – and so happily welcomed!

I am constantly really touched by the generosity of people in the blogging world – and just want to say thank you, thank you.  I am really, truly blessed and absolutely require no more gifts!

Norah and I recently had a bit of a discussion about education.  Those of you who know me well, know I was once a teacher and am rather opinionated about that and about childhood in general.  Norah and I think alike and so she sent me some questions and ran a small Q&A type interview on her blog.

Part I is here and Part II is here if you should be interested.

*****************************************

My shop was cleared out of Light Catchers by Christmas and I have finally made several new ones, of which three have made it into the shop [found at the top right of this page, under the header picture if you are interested in having a look].  There’s a ‘Mellow Yellow’, one called ‘Purple Haze’ and another called ‘Aqua Lights’.  Here’s a sneaky preview

Mixed pizap

There are three more still in production and I keep experimenting with curly-whirly, mobile types of danglers that will sparkle and jingle and tinkle too.  I haven’t yet found something I really like that is actually affordable for anyone short of the Sheikh of Araby to purchase ……. but I’m working on it.

Here’s a peek at the six strander I made for my kitchen window recently – lots of fun with this one bouncing rainbows and sparkles all round the room.  As always I apologise for my photos and the lack of colour – it is of course all shades of blue  :-) 6 Strand Blue pizap

And for all his fans here’s Siddy again, just going for a drive all windswept and tousled and loving it – and yes, I must clean the car mirrors sometime soon – but really, he doesn’t mind!

driving2 nov 15

I’m thinking about gifts and kindness and contentedness a lot these days.  I feel blessed!  I hope you do too.

Thanks for coming by today today, I love that you did!

 

 

 

Clouds From Both Sides

My friend Geoff over at ‘Tangental’ has just brought my later than normal morning coffee to a full stop, favourite coffee mug half way to my mouth, filled with the wonders of experiencing life in all its multitudinous wonderful choices – please read and enjoy and choose to be awesome too!❤

TanGental

I was reminded tonight of the fabulous Joni Mitchell Song

Both Sides Now

This line stuck, stuck hard in my throat, my head, in every little bit of me

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

There’s an image I adore.

View original post 421 more words

Bedroom Makeover on a Budget

I moved into my tiny flat in May 2011.  Built in 1972 it was in ‘original condition’ and in a state decor wise which is best described as ‘tired’.

In the intervening four and a half years I have done what I can to make my home a place that works for me. It is all looking pretty good – except for one room.  The small back bedroom, which at the end of moving in day 2011 looked like this

craft Room 2 May 11

and a week or so later looked like this

craft room

This room was intended as my art space, but after a few weeks of trying to squeeze my supplies and tables and me in, I decided to turn my big bedroom over to my art and squeeze my bed into this room instead.

This is a montage of my art room – just in case you have never seen where I create….. It’s not as tidy as this usually………..

pizap

There is, as you may have noticed, the most wonderful 70’s yellow floral wallpaper firmly adhered to the wall of the aforementioned tiny bedroom.  It wasn’t going to budge and investigations into removing or painting over required either more than my miniscule budget could afford or the use of chemical sealers that would likely kill us all in our sleep.

The yellow flowers had to stay for the time being.  I did my best:

Bedroom 28 8 14

But it really wasn’t good enough!  Time passed by, I went into the room only to dress or sleep, often never turning the light on.  It was a necessary room, but not an inviting one.

Recently I became very aware of the need to change and improve my evening ritual – I wasn’t sleeping that well and my reading time was also curtailed.  My room needed to be a place I wanted to spend time in.  I wanted to spend time winding down in a pleasant manner – taking a shower, putting on my pj’s making a cup of herbal tea and tucking into bed with that soothing drink and a good book and spending a bit of quiet time before sleep.

I needed my room to become a welcoming haven.

But how do you turn a tiny room into a welcoming haven spending as little money as possible?  You inveigle invite Youngest Daughter/Official Photographer to help and set to work and do a makeover in three days.

The plan: to remove the layers of curtains from the windows and streamline the area as much as possible while retaining privacy – the window looks straight onto an ugly old brick house next door and is also on the shared pathway between my flat and the back flat.  Take off the wardrobe door and replace with curtains.  Paint out the ugly wallpaper and rearrange the furniture.

Day one, clear everything out.  In a tiny house the issue becomes where to put everything.  Rain doesn’t help!  So, haul the bed into the lounge, shut the front door and don’t let anyone else inside.   Stop breathing and paint the walls with sealer.  Purchase a dozen onions, cut them up and put them in the room.  Close the door and don’t go back until Day Two.

Brm01

Finding ourselves still alive on the morning of Day Two, the Official Photographer and I painted, in the palest hue of green you will ever see, three coats onto the walls. [It looks white in the photos but is in reality a soft green that glows beside the cyan blues that are used in the furnishings.]  Endless rain doesn’t help with the quality of my photos either …………..

In between coats the windows were covered with a faux stain glass effect privacy film

Brm4

And also in between coats, a headboard was constructed from two large [100 x 80 cm] canvases that hold paintings I don’t currently want up, but don’t want to throw away.  An old blanket was used for the wadding and an unused piece of stretch fabric from the stash was the perfect size to cover the canvases.  It was all stapled together.

Brm03

It has to be duly explained here that all this is the brainchild of Youngest Daughter/Official Photographer who also doubles as our ‘Engineer Brains’ when I have a good idea but don’t know how to make it a reality.  Isn’t that a great headboard!

Brm6

Did you notice above the lace curtains that were retrieved from storage and cover the wardrobe instead of a door?

On the wall opposite the bed my favourite ‘soul’ picture, painted almost a year ago

Brm7

A new duvet cover was purchased in a sale and the 1500 thread count sheets [sigh, slurp!] were a Christmas gift.  And of course, there is no show without Punch Siddy

Brm1

 

Total cost of makeover

Sealer and paint  [on sale, saving 30%]     $97.00

Bedding [on sale, saving 60%]   $35.00

Headboard $0.00

Two girls, three days medium labour.

I can’t tell you how very happy I am with my room!  It may be tiny but it has everything I require and I find myself wanting to head off to bed at 8 pm now!

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!