Friday, January 21, 2011


Sometimes I really miss NZ, especially when it's so cold and dark.

Here's a poem:

New Zealand/Aotearoa

Are you my home?
Your wide clear day
showing up for bright green the grass
and for corrugated the fence
beside the field where children play.
Are you my home?
small square veined town
tarmac oozing in summer sun
blaring with pied piper ice cream vans.
Your valleys are cloaked in mysteries
of somber green
ornamented with hidden birds
darkly singing to the fathomless sky.
Your fields are flecked with wooley backed
clinging with all four feet
ceaselessly gnawing
at your outsides.
Your hills
lie stark and trembling
lashed to the bone
and waiting to be washed away
in the merciless rain.
No gentle beauty
No faded grandeur,
a narrow lock of land
hemmed by great sweeps of grey
fumbled relentlessly by the hands of the southern seas
scattered with the black bones of bonfires
you do not welcome me softly
with your too-cold wind
and your too-fierce sun
the thorn of your wildness snapped in my hand long ago
and I have left it there
a dark mark under my skin
so I wait
to feel your soil under my bare feet
for your wind to toss my hair into my face
for my heart to rise gleaming
like the tui
to the kowahi tree
and to speak
I am home again.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I love street art, I always keep an eye out for it in new towns we visit.

We recently went down to London, and stayed with our brilliant friends Tim and Lucy, who organise a weekly session called 'make' on Sunday afternoons, open to anyone who wants to come along and make things together. The weekend we were there, their friend Ben who runs Graffiti workshops came along and taught us how to make stencils. We either drew our own pictures or got inspiration from magazines, tracing pictures out of them. Quite hard to do, as you have to imagine everything in reverse, as the bits you cut out are the bits that show up darker. Lots of fun. I will have to put my new skills to use, it's amazing what you can do with building up layers of texture. I also put to use the inside cut-outs of some of my stencils, like the teapot.

I think the tricks seemed to be - a sharp scalpel, cutting mats, stencil paper (strong and slightly waxy) and spraymount (spray on glue), which allows you to stick the stencil down flat before you spray it. You then wait a couple of seconds before peeling away the stencil, and you have your image.

Here are some pictures of the stencils I made. Unfortunately I never took any pictures of the boards we made up together- great collaborative art!


I am so sorry about the groan worthy titles of some of my posts. I can't resist sometimes.

Anyway - when one of our housemates moved out, he gave me a whole lot of old t-shirts he was going to throw out, which has been a great excuse for some renovations of old garments. One tunic type dress I had was a little tight, too high necked and frankly quite boring. With a strip of t-shirt sewn together (to make it long enough) and carefully ruched, I now have a cute little brown tunic.

The next thing I made involved two T-shirts,one 'base' garment, and one for the ruffles. I modified the shape of the grey base T-shirt to make it a bit more fitted,then cut strips from the contrasting colour T-shirt, sewed lace onto the end of the strips using a zig-zag stitch, did a line of large stitches down the other side that could be pulled in to make them ruffled. I then attached the ruffles, overlapping them slightly, and finished off the sleeves with lace and buttons. Finally, I put a strip of the contrasting colour T-shirt around the bottom to make the top a bit longer and to balance the colours a bit. Result- slightly Japanese street style shirt, that I really like!


Some wet-felting results:

I have been making a few little baby booties for the tiny toes that are proliferating among the folks we know. They are a nice sized project for the small space I have to felt in, (The benchtop in our Cabin bathroom), and such a satisfying result.

Crochet lampshade

Now that the lamp has been safely delivered to its recipients, I can blog about it!

Inspired by a similar lampshade in a Kensington yarn shop, and my newly acquired powers of crocheting, I set about knitting and crocheting loads of little patches, and then stitched them all together around a wire lightshade. Result? A pretty, whimsical multi-coloured shade perfect for a little girls room!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I love new years! I'm a big fan of resolutions, and of recyling- so I'm re-cycling my resolutions! Unfortunately, for various reasons i haven't kept many of my New years resolutions... still fun making them again though.

The one resolution I have more than kept is blogging once a month. It's been a fun little journey having a blog, it does feel a bit self indulgent and I do hope my posts aren't too boring/random/odd. But I am enjoying it so much I think I'll continue.

Last year I wanted to join the Oxford Gospel Choir, but it is on a Tuesday, and it is half way across town, which is a bit epic when you add a 40 min return bike ride onto the practice. So I'm changing that to a more local Thursday night belly dancing class (whoop whoop). great for your lower back/core muscle strength and co-ordination which I could do with more of. Sorry gospel choir, maybe I'll join a choir another year... wish I could do it all.

My hour a week of poi practice - hasn't happened. But I want it to, so I will try that one again.

Running- hasn't happened, and can't see a happy way of making it happen, but instead of running, maybe half an hour of yoga and/or pilates/or meditation five times a week. There. four resolutions. Maybe running. will see.

My old enemy, RSI/Upper limb syndrome/ Occupational overuse syndrome has made a re-appearance. I feel pretty gutted as I'm in pain lots of the time, my muscles are extremely tight and sore, I have to take a steady stream of painkillers, and it makes me tired, grumpy and a bit miserable, and it makes crafting hurt, worst of all, my work is stealing my leisure. The occupational health lady recommends I give up my extra hours of work, sad when we're trying to save for Africa. We're just not made for computers, me less than others! So part of my poi/yoga/ dance resolutions are finding a way to manage this problem, as it won't go away in a hurry.

Any tips for managing this problem are recommended....

In a less resolutions to 'do' kinda way, this year I'd like to live more greatfully, always aware of the bounty that comes my way each day, without me even noticing much of it. I'd like to live more graciously, being more forgiving, less quick to judge and less in need of other people accepting me before I accept them. I'd like to live generously, not seeking my own benefit in every situation, but always challenging myself to give, of emotion, of energy, of belongings... So I pray that not only the big decisions I make this year would be wise ones, but each of the many tiny choices I make each day would turn me further toward greatfulness, generosity and grace.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

On the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
(2 cor 4:16)

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