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Showing posts from 2013

New Years Eve Review

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Twelve months ago I was jumpy and scared.  My thyroid bulged, I was tired despite being on holiday and being very well cared for.  I snapped at the children and sometimes consequently burst into tears.

It wasn't nice.

Today, I'm not jumpy and I'm not scared.  The medical peoples were useless but thankfully I did find some other things which helped.  I did three months without any alcohol and then was mostly alcohol free for another three months.  After that I had maybe one, occasionally two glasses of alcohol per week.  It helped.  I took increasing care about what I ate at night before bed and that helped with insomnia.  I cut my sugar intake back.  I set out to cut my bread intake back but that is always my health-kick nemesis.  I'm not sure if the alcohol elimination  is specifically a "cure" for the thryoid difficulties - I suspect that my liver is challenged because of haemachromatosis and this is linked to the arthritis (so 2012 for me!!) and the thyroi…

Manui and Lesili

Today we wept.  We wept for Lesili Langi, 15 years old, and his mother Lavinia Manui Langi, 43 years old, who died in a car accident earlier this week.  In a beautiful service at the local high school hall, hundreds of people from our small wet town honoured two short and beautiful lives.

I wept for the challenges of their lives.  I wept to hear of Lesili selling his fish so he could buy a loaf of bread so his little siblings could have lunches for school.  I wept at the honouring of Manui's efforts to have the seven children looking beautiful for church.  Her dear friend Atu spoke with grace and power of Manui's secret - she went to the Salvation Army and then she took home the clothes and washed and ironed them so the children had nice clothes for church.

Frankly, I felt profligate with my takeways and fancy foods and the material wealth of my children's lives.  Afterwards, Brighid and I went home and chose some pretty dresses and also black clothes for the mourning peri…

Tutus on Tour

Tonight we all went to the ballet.  The Royal New Zealand Ballet right here in our small wet town.

It was magic.  I felt so very lucky that we could afford tickets - if it was the only thing we did for the Christmas spending season, it would be the best choice.

I just want to record the magic, even if I don't stay up long enough to try and recreate it in words here.

tira-velvet

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I had banned myself from sewing.  I have deadlines spilling out every corner of my life and the only way to get the book chapter done was to ban myself from reading novels or sewing.  Or so I figured.  But this weekend my superwoman cape fell off.  It lay in a puddle somewhere near me for most of the weekend while I worked out how to manage without it.

I've written to the editor of the book my chapter is for and explained just how much extra responsibility I have taken on at work since we were last in contact.  I can get the chapter done close to the end of November, I explained, but not by the end of November as originally agreed.  He was fantastic.  I don't like the extension of deadline route as everything has to be done some time and more deadlines stockpile behind the first very easily until everything is out of control.  But paid work has to take priority over unpaid writing.

Handling the line between home life and work life has been quite challenging and I'm sure th…

The riot of paisley top

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I only bought 1.5 metres of this fabric, which starts out pale paisley and moves to bold paisley colours across the width of the fabric.  I originally planned a hummingbird top, but decided the crossover was a longer lasting option - I think the peplum will be a one season wonder and I already have two wearable hummingbird tops (and one unwearable first make).  So this is a Cake Tiramisu pattern, with the skirt pieces cut shorter for a top.  I like it, and wish I'd bought enough for a dress.  I've got it on with the skirt I wore to work today, but it does need something narrower underneath it ideally.  I think I've got the best first up fit with the neckline and this is my fourth Tiramisu make.  This time I stretched the band tightly the whole way along and snipped the excess off at the end.

I think more dresses are in order.  I have the Cake Red Velvet pattern on order, and fabric ready to go.  I've got plain black for the trial, and a soft black with pink dots for v…

flax and twirls

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Above: big flax.  Very big flax.  We were so excited when we were gifted these little flax bushes six years ago.  We were broke, the fence was ugly and suddenly we had attractive vegetation.

Six years later, they had overtaken the area and were so big that we only got them out through the kindness of a neighbour and his crane.  Down at the recycling centre, the second load was do big we couldn't even slide it off the trailer yesterday.  Today we came back armed with forks, a machete and a hatchet.  We won!  Even better, the neighbour helped us get them out as he wants to change and paint the fence. 

Birthday party season continues.  Brighid models today's birthday present, which I made for her friend who is teeny tiny and quite a bit shorter than Brighid.  I didn't have enough bias tape to do the hem in one colour, so the front is navy and the back is red.  The fabric comes all the way from Brixton, London, where I went looking for an authentic and strong African print t…

sewing notes

I made a successful top out of my black merino fabric.  It isn't the pavlova top, which is sitting in disgrace back in its box after I triple stitched the neckband on backwards.  It is the hummingbird peplum top which I made from the leftover merino fabric.  Without another layer, then it's a little thin but this afternoon as soon as I finished it, I added a lovely wrap top I was gifted which is also not quite enough clothing on its own and now they work together just fine.  I do need to make the neckband smaller.  I thought I did this time, but clearly not smaller enough to help it lay flat.

No photos.  Some days, I can pretend this blog communicates to a world beyond my own head.  Others, like today, it's my personal journal working at its most basic level - completed a top.

There is lots more sewing I would like to do, but there is the smallish (maybe not so small) matter of a chapter for a book to finish, so I may have to ban myself from the sewing machine until the ch…

tulip love

I read Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and I loved it.  I had quite a lot to say about it and started writing this morning, but whereas I blogged happily about gardening for years and still can about gardening and sewing, my responses to Lean In are both personal and also linked to my work.  I realised that I wasn't comfortable posting a full response to Sandberg's book online.  Such is life.

But as I'm still blogging about sewing, I can report that I made progress with the merino pavlova top I cut out many months ago.  Until I didn't.  I made darts successfully and then I sewed a complicated piece on back to front using a stretch stitch on my machine which isn't easily unpicked.  Unpicking black triple stitched thread from black fabric without a quick-un-pick is im-poss-ible.  I don't know where my quick-un-picks go.  I lose them all the time.  Not through lack of use during sewing time, that's for sure.  So tomorrow I will buy a-noth-er one.  One day when I…

spaces in paradise

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So, Sarah Wilson is my new favourite blogger and health guru.  I like to have myself a health guru, sometimes three.  Today she wrote Build gaps in your life.  Pauses.  Proper pauses, which I really liked.  She quotes someone called Thom Yorke who if you like Radiohead will mean something to you.  It didn't mean something to me, but nevertheless I could see the value of his comment (also quoted by Sarah Wilson):
I think what makes people ill a lot of the time is the belief that your thoughts are concrete and that you're responsible for your thoughts. Whereas actually — the way I see it — your thoughts are what the wind blows through your mind.
Then I found a link at the bottom to an older post from Sarah which is also pretty good: Sunday life: on the importance of having space. and then this: Sunday life: in which I plunge into mess.  There were more but you get the picture - Sarah Wilson is an inspiring read.  This is a great title as well as post: Sunday life: the gorgeous…

Family weekend

In which my baby boy went away for a hockey tournament without any of us because he desperately wanted to go with his team and without any of his whanau and he was sick on the way over Arthurs Pass and he still played four games and got player of the day this morning and now he is safe and sound in bed.

In which his sister missed him and wailed that the last time she saw him she was brushing her teeth and she wanted to go with her father to pick him up from the turf but actually for most of the weekend she had fun being the only child until this afternoon it seemed to get a step too lonely for her.

In which the Village Milk outlet opened in our small wet town (it rained to celebrate the occasion - we are proper dairying country here, no pilfering of water needed for basic amenities on this side of the alps) and we got to have a good look through and really enjoyed talking to the farmers involved (both our local farming couple and the Village Milk pioneers from Takaka) and had sausage …

celebrating womens suffrage

Today is 120 year since women gained the vote in New Zealand.  Twenty years ago I was an enthusiastic history student at a conference celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage in Wellington.  My strongest memory is not of the conference itself (though I remember enjoying that) but of the function at Government House where the first female governor general, Cath Tizard presided.  I was unsure of what I would do after I finished my honours year, just weeks away at the time, and made jokes about growing sheep to make wool and knit jerseys when very kind and well meaning people asked me.

Tonight I didn't make it to the function celebrating 120 years of female suffrage in Kumara, fabulous though it sounded.  After a day at work, my two lovely children and I ended up stepping off the whirl of activities which usually settles on kung fu on a Thursday night.  I made them endless toast for their post-dinner hungry tummies and then we read Whacky Wednesday and The Lorax in the big b…

oxtail and merino

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1. Remember this pattern?  It's the Cake Patterns pavlova skirt and wrap top:
I've made two circle skirts from this pattern, but the top, which I cut from lovely fine black merino many months ago, is still in unassembled pieces.  Tonight I took it out of the box and had another look at it.  I drew the lines in on the dart markings as per the suggestion of some reviews I've read online.  It's time to make it, not least because the weather will get too warm for merino if I wait much longer.  I'm putting it up here to record the pledge to complete it.

2. oxtail.  It cooks up beautifully in the slow cooker and even Brighid liked it.  Now I need to work out what to put in the slow cooker for tomorrow night's dinner.  Maybe some concoction with bacon, anchovies, chickpeas and pumpkin?  With greens added in the last hour...

Anyways, I'm back on a blog roll, so another kitchen report is likely.  I'll keep writing until I have something to say - knocking women b…

useful skills

Useful skills or knowledge from the past few years, in action today:
1.  sewing presents.  Brighid went to two sixth birthday parties today, and each little girl got a pink knit circle skirt which I made last night and this morning.
2.  more sewing.  I altered the waistband of one skirt this morning, and am part way through altering another now.  Inwards not outwards.
3.  gardening with compost.  The tumble composter we bought two years ago is made of plastic, which turns out not to be strong enough for the job when the compost is heavily wet in the West Coast spring.  It refused to rotate for me this week.  I emptied some of it out onto the garden today.  Favourite Handyman cleared the chook coop out and put fresh wood shavings in it.  I made two spots in the garden for piling up the wood shavings/chook poo mixture and put a big dollop of compost/worms in it to get it going.  I'm thinking about how to disassemble the composter and make it work better.  If we took the barrel off t…

To the food purists

To the people who want all foods made from scratch and like great grandma would have eaten (shame if Great Grandma was poor and had to make do on awful food, huh?) and have as their third hobby to find a new food travesty to uncover or read about every fortnight, I want to say...

It's not all KFC and health disaster if I reach for the pre-prepared curry mix.  I may not be at home to make everything from scratch and nothing was certified organic, but we're rocking along in good food land nevertheless.  Detailed breakdown:
1. Before bed, Monday night: pull frozen chicken pieces out of large bag of chicken pieces which was on special two months ago and put in slow cooker to thaw (slow cooker off).
2. Tuesday morning, 6.15am: spoon chicken stock and fat left over from last roast chicken over the pieces.  Spread spoonfuls of shop-bought red curry paste over chicken pieces.  Scrub and slice potatoes, peel and chop garlic and shallots and carrots, peel and finely chop ginger, and sprea…

guest post

Once upon a time there was a woman called Rose.  She owned a shop.  She made shoes and dresses to sell in the shop.  They were so pretty that everyone bought them.  Rose was rich until one day Rose had children.  They were twins.  One of the twins was a girl, the other was a boy.  One day a robber stole her children and kidnapped them.  When Rose found out that her children were gone she closed the shop down and started to look for them.  She looked everywhere but she couldn't find them anywhere.  Then one day she found them.  The same robber that stole them was guarding them so Rose rang the policeman to come and put the robber in jail and he did.  Rose rescued her children and they lived happily ever after.

Brighid, aged 6 1/2.

reflections on an intermittent voice

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  It's fantastic and really important and I'm so glad we got it as part of the Book Discussion Scheme for the local book group I go to.  Thinking about what to do next in terms of the challenge to action against injustice to women (specifically, sex trafficking, maternal mortality and female genital cutting) and how to involve my own children in understanding and making links.

I'm not quite ready to give up blogging.  I started six years ago and that's a pretty good haul in my view.  But whereas then my blog gave me an outlet for my thoughts and to develop ideas and responses to my world while I was in the thick of nappies and kindy, my situation has changed a lot over time and staying up late to reflect on this blog is something I opt not to do, favouring instead getting some sleep or going it to work to get things done at a time when no one is around to give me more jobs, or doing laundry or organising hockey trips (…

Ruhlman's salted chicken

Michael Ruhlman is my latest food/blog/writer discovery.  I tried his recipe for roast chicken today (the key new thing for me was putting lots of salt on the skin) and the result was very very nice.  I haven't worked out the science of why the meat was so juicy with the salt on the skin, but that it was.

I've also been gardening in the sunshine.  No photos, but much pleasure.

I also challenged myself to a weekend laundry marathon.  My challenge was to get through the household laundry (including the many odd socks I found when I cleaned our bedroom) which had built up all week, carried on through the weekend AND get it all folded and away.  Only one basket left to fold.  I don't record it because it was or is interesting, I record it because it was such a big challenge.

My other challenge for the week is to get lots of sleep every single night.  Which is not compatible with further pontificating here.

apron etiquette

You can take multi-tasking too far.  Maybe you can't.  I did.  I cooked dinner and organised the laundry and considered the news on Syria and tried to organise the smallest child to make herself useful and mostly laid the table myself and we all ate dinner and I dropped Favourite Handyman off at kung fu and the children and I collected Mary K (86) from the rest home and we were unfazed by the potential meltdown over unmatching stocking-socks (anyone looks, Mary, you poke them with your stick and tell them off) and we got to the local high school hall and I put the kids in the queue to pay to get us in to the Talent Show and skipped the queue to get Mary safely inside and sitting down and the kids joined us soon enough and with programmes to boot and all was going pretty well.

Then I noticed red checked fabric on my knees.

I was still wearing the apron I'd put on to cook dinner.


I was grateful indeed for the coat I  was wearing over the apron. 

In other news, I went to Christc…

Circle skirts aren't just for skinny girls

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They are for absolutely anyone who fancies one.  Or two.  I finished this last weekend.  Yesterday, thinking that I might look in the posh shop with the 50% off sale at black skirts as my usual funeral skirt has a torn (beyond repair) hem.  I can't find a picture online, but it's a David Pond black skirt with red side panels and some lovely detailing back and front, and I bought it.

I also juggled work and two sick children successfully this week and made all the commitments I had at work and got the children better and got to a funeral of the father of a good friend today and tonight I have made the most enormous shepherd's pie for Fionn to take on his hockey tournament trip to Blenheim and I think that
a) medals are in order, though some for my bereaved friend long before me of course.
b) my lovely childminder R is the most wonderful and special and helpful person and I'm so lucky that our respective part time work commitments dovetailed so well yesterday and today

garden

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More kale, less hair. 

Yesterday's gardening: After weeding various places, I sowed beetroot, oriental mesclun and rocket, 'cos that's what I found in the shed which would work right now.  I also bought yellow primroses and yellow poppies and (Brighid's choice) pansies.  I'd not seen punnets of exclusively eye-popping colour splotches of yellow poppy before, and they were irresistible.  The children and I spent ages debating the merits of different colours of gladioli, but ultimately left them at the shop while I think about where to plant them so we can see them really easily and they won't be blown over by the wind. 

Today I had a present at my front door from a friend: two bags of perennial leek plants which needed a new home.  Yahoo!  Must magic some gardening time tomorrow to plant them.  Gardening by torchlight could work.  I'm sure I've done it before.
 A flowering succulent in the cactus garden.
 First crocus of the season!
 You can see it mor…

reflections on select supplements

Just like pharmaceutical drugs, vitamin supplements are never guaranteed miracle cures.  I've a documented propensity for developing immune dysfunction symptoms which doctors have no idea what to do about, and I've spent a lot of time successfully dealing with these symptoms by alternative means.  I've no longer got arthritis and or bells palsy.  I've reduced my hyperthyroid symptoms significantly, but there is still a big bulge of a goiter on/in my neck.  This year, taking a multivitamin with no iodine (generally counterindicated for hyperthyroid persons) and no iron (no good for haemochromatosis persons) twice a day, every day, has made a HUGE positive difference to my general health.  I've had only one mild cold this year!

Tonight I thought I'd document what hasn't worked for me.  Mostly because I've trawled the net many a night looking for information which isn't there.  Here's one story.  Vitamin C is supposed to be bad for haemochromatosis…

more eating than blogging

Still blogging ... just.  I've compiled a few posts in my head about fundraising and the school gala.  I won't relive the buildup to the gala here after all, but the actual day turned out really well, we made $14 000 which is fantastic for a school of only 170 pupils in a town hard hit by recent economic changes.  I learnt that I still don't mind working hard on the day, and that making candy floss the night before is kind of fun, but that I should not volunteer to make cakes, buy the ingredients and then discover I cannot find the time to bake.

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater is hilarious, even for me the kale afficcionado.

In the absence of a local butcher, and given my dissatisfaction with supermarket meat, I decided to try Gourmet Direct, on the recommendation of a foodie friend's stepmother.  Of course.  How else do you find a butcher?  All very Hansel and Gretel so far.  Armed with a free delivery code, I made a selection of meats I couldn't find eas…

Mokihinui River bliss

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The most wonderful holiday, at the Rough and Tumble Lodge, on the banks of the Mokihinui River.

goldfields poetry

Poll the Grogseller by Charles Thatcher c.1860 Big Poll the Grogseller gets up every day
And her small rowdy tent sweeps out;
She's turning in plenty of tin people say
For she knows what she's about.
Polly's good-looking, and Polly is young,
And Polly's possessed of a smooth oily tongue;
She's an innocent face and a good head of hair,
And a lot of young fellows will often go there;
And they keep dropping in handsome Polly to court,
And she smiles and supplies them with brandy and port
And the neighbours all say that the whole blessed day,
She is grog-selling late and early. She is grog-selling late and early.

Two sly-grog detectives have come up from town,
And they both roam about in disguise;
And several retailers of grog are done brown,
And have reason to open their eyes. And have reason to open their eyes.
Of her small rowdy crib they are soon on the scent;
But Polly's prepared when they enter her tent;
They call for some brandy - "We don't sell it…

The archives box

Tonight I pulled out my archives box.It doesn’t look like anything so formal as the descriptor “archives box” implies.It’s a plastic box with no surviving lid that is full to overflowing with filing cards.It’s the size and type which people sometimes used to use to organise their recipes.The chaos is contained, just, by an ageing, plastic, tattered, pale green Pak’n’Save bag.
This box has been with me since 1995.Back then, it was my workhorse of an organising tool for the details of the lives of women involved in the liquor industry in Central Otago between 1861 and 1901.After I submitted my thesis in 1997, I moved on and became a secondary school English teacher, first in Auckland and then in London.It came with me.I became a parent and the box didn’t suffer for the vomit and mess which babies seem to bring with them, because the box was tucked away in a bookcase, or under a desk, out of my mind and the baby’s grasp.
I moved back to goldfields country and to another round of motherh…

Hummingbird peplum top # 2

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Well, that's much better, isn't it?

Cake Patterns Hummingbird top.  Size 40 with the following modifications: a forward shoulder adjustment of 18mm.  An extra 3-10mm on the sides (more on the front than the back).  A 1cm wedge out of the back.  The neckline is a bit wider than the green version, and the depth of the front neckline is in between the blue and green versions.  I dropped the arm curve about 2cm.

In another version (which I may well do), I would slice a tiny curve off the top of the shoulder.  I wouldn't mind trying the dicky version.  This gorgeous version from Leila of Three Dresses has convinced me that it's worth a try.  I bought some pale blue fabric, for reasons that I wasn't even sure of at the time, except that I was on a speed buying mission, and it didn't feel right to leave without some blue fabric.  For the dickey insert, I'm thinking of repurposing a striped blue shirt which Favourite Handyman has declared uncomfortable and unweara…

The night time secretariat

There was a fashionable mantra a few decades ago, aimed primarily at working mothers, where it was all about working smarter not harder.  Haven't heard so much about it lately, possibly (I like to think) because someone clipped some smart-arse over the head for quipping this when said everyday superwoman was actually working smart and hard.

When I started a new working life in Auckland in 1999, it was pre internet banking and really difficult to find time to go to the bank.  Now, I can do almost anything online in financial terms and I can do it at 3am if I so desire.

Once upon a time, post internet banking and deep into the (earth)motherhood phase, I made hummous without electricity (e.g. here and here).  Just re-reading those posts is a reminder of another life.  All that home made bread - I'm so impressed with my four-years-ago self.  Now, as a mystery ghost cracked the top of my perfect-sized hummous making whizzy bowl which came with my super-whizzy stick, I'm oblivio…

Hummingbird alterations

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Forward shoulder adjustment, dropped armhole curve, a wedge out of the back, raised back and front necklines and a smidge extra on the sides of the front and back.  I found some tape (the label on the inside says "future protect") which is much easier to work with than sellotape.










I think I'm ready to cut out the Cake green hummingbird (with blue sleeves) peplum top for a second time.  The first version was ugly.  I've got a choice of fabrics which I purchased in a speed buying trip to Fabric Vision in Christchurch earlier this week.  I got to Papanui (the suburb where Fabric Vision resides) at 1.15pm, and had to be in town, parked and at the hospital by 2pm, preferably having had some lunch.  Not quite the perfect conditions for careful evaluation of the options, but I had thought ahead about what I wanted to use the fabric for.  The pink in the photo is what I think is known as 'slinky knit' and was very cheap.  The other pattern is a soft knit which I hope …

The fundraising festival

They call it the school gala.  As a title, it seems to encompass a one day event.  In practise, the runup is akin to Lent.  Give something up every week and send it to school.  Read the list of what everyone has volunteered for and notice the gaps remaining.  Every week.  So far, I've not remembered to send corn chips, or butter, or sugar, or condensed milk.  I have volunteered to bake, and to help on the candy floss stall and serving the lunches.  I said that if they were short on the lunches, I would do the candy floss in the lead up the night before and on the morning, and then do lunches during the event.  My eyes were open as well as briefly noble.  They never have enough people for the lunches until the verrrrrrrry last minute.

Today, when one child was dressed in uniform and I was realising that my laundry strike this week meant the other had no clean school top, some bright relative remembered it was mufti.  Bottle-O Mufti.  They went off to choose outfits, while I pondere…

How does she do it?

You know when people say "I don't know how you do it?"  Whether it's having a child at all, or having more children, or studying while working, or working and parenting, or living on a very tight budget or [insert your permutation]....?

I haven't always chosen to share the first thought that used to come into my mind, which was "I simply don't do housework."  Sometimes my children wanted to play with the children of the speaker, and I didn't want to scare everyone off.

Anyways, I made the decision to pay for two hours cleaning each week this year and it has been brilliant.  I almost never mention it in conversations though - some sense that it isn't quite the thing to mention.  But now that we have that support from the wonderful H each week, I realise that of all the women I've wondered "how does she do it?" at work, they probably all have a cleaner, and nearly all keep silent, just like me.  Over the years, I have gotten bett…

hummingbird top experiment #1

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Exhibit A: tired woman, late at night, in ill fitting sewing experiment.

Outcome 1: I am going to try again, with more flexible fabric and a forward shoulder adjustment (new addition to my alterations knowledge base) and possibly a full bust adjustment.

Outcome 2: I did go to bed very soon afterwards and rested my weary bones.

Outcome 3: I don't like ponte di roma fabric, despite the most exotic sounding name.  I won't use it for a top again, but I may use the rest up on a simple knit skirt.  I might even line it as I go.  Straight skirts hiking up leggings or tights in winter is a bad and uncomfortable look.

slam poetry and London fiction

Earlier this week I fell in love with Carrie Rudzinski.  As it does, life had to go on in its 'normal' and relatively petty fashion, emails and teaching, parenting and washing clothes, meals followed quickly by more family hunger...  But out there are more people who also love Carrie Rudzinski, and one of them filmed her at a poetry slam and posted it on youtube.  For me and for you.  The fifth one who walked away.

I was going to post about Kate Atkinson's Life after Life.  It's a great novel, and her structural technique of the life which is lived again and again with small details making a very big difference, is brilliant.  I bet loads of authors want to copy it, but as it's so unique, it's a bit obvious to do so.  It's set in London, the Home Counties English countryside and Germany in both world wars.  I loved this kind of book from as soon as I was reading adult fiction, and then I loved the 'real' London when I lived there, and now this '…

Carrie Rudzinski in Hokitika

Carrie Rudzinski.  Performing here.  I got to hear her perform her poetry tonight in Hokitika and she was utterly wonderful.  I think I'm a bit in love with her actually.

So you're saved.  I was on the verge of blogging about buying bedlinen and my odd feelings about respectability.  I was even on the verge of confessing my interest, dating back to my childhood, in British Royalty, and what a weird and frankly sinful socialist that makes me.  Some people watch reality tv, or Shortland Street.  I can tell you that Kate the pregnant royal who spawned a thousand brown updos and probably caused sales of peroxide to plummet, wore a pink Harvey McQueen to a prestigious horse/birthday show the other day.  The linen is a worse story - best you are spared it.

But it's okay.  I went out and got myself some seriously wonderful culture, learnt what poetry slam is, discovered codes for such a thing, discovered that I can drive, sort out offspring squabbling (well sort of), plan dinner …

slipping prospects

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New project.  Refashioning, re-laceing and making slips.  The photo doesn't show my blue slip to the left.  I bought it for 50 cents from the Sallies and now the lace hem looks grey and is unravelling.  I bought black lace to change the hem.  The back middle is an enormous slip I bought on trademe which I can probably turn into two half slips or more.  I've bought matching lace for the hems.  The lilac fabric on the right is nylon elastane and four way stretch and I'n going to make  stretchy slip drafted from a bought one I own, except a bit wider and longer.  The bought version doesn't come in a big enough size for it not to wriggle upwards to my knickers during the day.  I bought lace to match that as well but probably won't use it as it will restrict hem movement.

The green envelope in the foreground middle is my Cake Patterns Hummingbird which arrived today!  I'm in Susan's house for the sewalong.  I've just now realised the sewalong starts on Mond…

The phenomenal growth rate of laundry

One head of garlic planted.  Not all of this year's garlic bed is ready for planting - some of my buried bokashi hasn't broken down completely.  Though the many and large worms are testament to the goodness of the bokashi. Hopefully the rest will be ready later this month.

One only slightly forlorn gooseberry bush found in the sad and cheap section at the far end of Mitre 10 and planted.  I've had no success with my first gooseberry bush, but gooseberries taste so good and are rarely available outside of home gardens, so it's worth persisting.

Six celery plants and six soldier poppy plants planted.  I helped the celery along with some sheep dag and wool mix I found in the shed.  The soldier/ANZAC poppies should be flowering for Lou's birthday in October.  Lou was a Prisoner of War in WW2 and a very wonderful man and we like to particularly honour him on ANZAC day and his birthday.

Two full bins of bokashi buried, and much weeding done beforehand.  I think I dug out…

Fat and the shawl

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Here it is, the latest crafty project, draped over the chair back.  You can't tell the triangle shape as it is all bunched up circular needles behind the chair.  If it looks home made and home dyed and homespun, that's because it is, though the only homemade part that I have contributed is the knitting.

It's quite thick wool, which makes it grow fast and warm, and I quite like the colour.  But it's not going to adorn a ball frock anytime soon or a work outfit.  I see a great future for this shawl as I sit up in bed and read.

I spent much of the day practising for using the shawl by sitting up in bed and alternately reading my own book (Kate Atkinson Life after Life) and reading White Boots by Noel Streatfield to Brighid.  Thyroid care, you understand.  Preserving and nourishing my health so my children don't have to step forward into this world with an unwell mother.

Last night I attended a rather notorious organisation - the middle class ladies' literary leag…