Showing posts from January, 2014


When I started blogging, Brighid was seven months old.  Now she is seven.  She loves dressups and so I made her a princess dressup dress for her birthday.  This morning (day of the party), I was working on finishing the dress when I discovered I had nowhere near the right size zip.  In a small town where shops are closed on part of Saturday and all of Sunday, I was very grateful to get there in time for an appropriate zip.

The party was a wonderful success, and after a short rest, we went to the 21st birthday party of a special young woman who has babysat for us, whose mother is my right hand woman who cares for our children when both of us are at work and who is a fabulous mother in her own right now.  All the celebration of youth and hope and joy and exuberance is so special and I'm appreciating it so much more as the flip side to the stories of struggle and decline we have been witnessing and sharing in our family in recent months.

Super Uncle has been visiting, and had the au…

golden days full of hobbies

The New Zealand Journal of History is online (bar the most recent two issues) and so I don't have to be a student or employee of a university to indulge my history desires.  Today I found this article:
‘I don’t care what it is going to cost, I am prepared to pay’ MEN’S VOICES AND ABORTION IN NEW ZEALAND, 1919–1937 which I found completely fascinating.
I also sent off a draft of my review of Susan Upton's book on barmaids to an historian friend.  In and around ineffective attempts to get my daughter to eat her dinner or clean her room, I removed more rubbish to the dump, booked her birthday party venue, weeded more of the garden and sewed more of my hummingbird skirt.  I now have an almost complete skirt - it just needs hemming and a button and buttonhole.  It looks quite nice, very wintry but that will come quite soon enough.  But nothing presses my finished object buttons so much as a dress.  I need some more cardigans or jackets but the fabric in my cupboard is all winking and…

nesting for workers

So very soon I start my new job, a job which I anticipate is going to involve 60 hour weeks with startling regularity.

Beforehand, I'm all about the kind of nesting which prepares us for the long hours of me away by making food which cannot be bought, and planting food which cannot be bought at the same quality and freshness.  Last night I made another batch of muesli and put a chicken on the slow cooker to make stock.  This morning I made eggy courgette muffins fromThe Edible Journey Cookbookand then strained the stock and chopped up the chicken meat.  The kids and I did errands in town and then bought punnets of silverbeet and cavolo nero seedlings.  While Brighid danced, I took bags of things we have grown out of to A, the very wonderful leader of our local Tongan community.  After our town lost a mother and teenage son in a car accident before Christmas, my eyes were opened to need I had been far too oblivious to beforehand. 

I weeded and watered and fertilised and planted bef…

various sprouts

I tried sprouting quinoa and it didn't work.  Not a single sprout.  I figured it must have been heat treated on entry to New Zealand.  Today I bought some organic red quinoa and the second quinoa sprouting experiment is on my windowsill now.  O bought a healthy heart brassica and mustard mix for sprouting as well today.  I declined on mung beans.  There has to be a line in the sand somewhere.

Bonfires are special.  Bonfires on the beach with family from across the oceans and fireworks to boot is extra special.  We will all remember last night for a long time. 

New haircut.  I look like my Mum.  Not terrible - my Mum looks very nice.  I like the cut but wish I had been more adventurous with colour.  Brighid suggested purple, but I'm not so sold on that.  I've made the exact same comment before, so next time needs to be action time!

I tried clothes on in the sales at the flash clothes shops today.  I would have been better off spending the time sewing.  I want a tailored or …

Comfrey fertiliser for rainforest conditions

Comfrey fertiliser for rainforest conditions: Step one: pick comfrey from front garden, where I foolishly planted this wonder plant at the height of my hippiedom.  I'd rather have flowers there now, but comfrey never leaves.

Step two: rinse and cut central stalk out.  Even at the leaf end, the central rib is too tough for the food processor.  Chop into halves or thirds.
 Step three: whizz in the food processor.  Add a little water if the leaves do not behave.

 Step four: you now have a bowl of chopped comfrey.  Don't make it into liquid fertiliser if, like me, you live in an area currently under deluges of rain almost every day.
 Step five: sprinkle chopped comfrey around the kale plants.  With enough love, including the killing of white butterfly caterpillars, this will grow into a fine forest of kale and feed us all winter. Yesterday I sprinkled quash pellets around the edge of the garden as half of the six lettuces I planted round the kale had succumbed to the ravaging sna…

2014: the sewing and gradening begins

Above and below: Cake espresso leggings: successful.  I've a second pair awaiting elastic and plans to make more.  I like wearing dresses more than trousers for work and I don't like faffing round with pantyhose (nor does the work dress code require them), so leggings are perfect for winter.  Usually I can only buy plain black from the cheap shop and they pull apart at the thighs long before any other part has worn out.  I'm looking forward to a longer life from these made to measure leggings.  For details of the pattern and why the customisation makes it brilliant, see here.  In case you are concerned, I don't plan on wearing the leggings as trousers - but the photo does allow you to see the leggings in some of their glory.

Less successful: McCalls 6408.  Very comfortable.  Like a tent at the back, so I put elastic in all the way round which would have been quite good except I didn't put in straight (I was under the illusion it was straight all the way until it w…