Sunday, February 28, 2010

Every Hood has a silver lining....


I made this hoodie for Annarose to take back to Wellington. She chose the fabric which included a piece of silver ever so stretchy lycra for the linings.  I may be on a sewing roll because now Tom wants one too, and so another project will soon be gaining momentum. He and I are planning a shopping trip to get a pattern and fabric but I'm going to have put my foot down on sewing with silver lycra - stunning it may be but to sew it is an absolute nightmare.  It slipped and stretched all over the place and in the end I had to sew it with tissue paper under the pressure foot. It got me thinking about that saying " every cloud has a silver lining".  It would seem to me that any benefits won by hardship are indeed well earned but does everything have to be so hard! There must be an easier way to sew lycra!!


It wouldseem the effort was worth it. Annarose said she had lots of comments on the silver lining when she wore it to University today. 


One of the reasons why I had my own back garden paradise constructed was because  this is the view from my kitchen window. Not very appealing you might think. You would be right and is probably one of the reasons why I won't live in this house forever. However yesterday when I was cooking dinner in the kitchen I happened to look up and noticed those sunflowers in the second garden over. It's not the best photo but there they were looking bright and cheerful and amazing over there! I couldn't believe that all summer I hadn't noticed them ! I wonder what I've been doing when I look out the window which I do all the time?  How unobservant is that? This week Im going to consciously look for lovely things in dull surroundings.

When Rosie came home for the summer I wondered if I would find anything of interest to write about as blog entries and I was surprised how there was always any number of possible posts. Now that I am back to sending parcels I wonder if any readers of this blog are still interested in seeing what goes in a parcel ?

I shall leave you to ponder the answer. Have a happy week. Marg

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gardening - a cautionary tale .......

Last year when my garden was getting off the ground , I just planted plenty of whatever took my fancy  and then proceeded to feel very virtuous about all the rapid growth. The garden looked good and no one could argue that those plants weren't super busy growing. 

But of course these 2 photos will by now have alerted you to a very serious problem in the vegetable patch.

There is just way too much going on in there - so much so that nothing is happening - green foliage everywhere and the plants all stomping over each other - pushing and shoving for room and sunshine, and hardly any results . When Miri was down last weekend she gave me valuable advice. Pull out anything that is not going to be productive and create some space to give those things that will produce something some time to grow.  So this weekend the tomatoes are coming out, also the broad beans, probably the peas and the last of the pumpkin vine that has gone crazy and is completely out of control.

Ive been thinking that in some ways, that garden you see, is what happens when I get way too busy in my own life. I try to pack too much in, and from a distance one might think  there's a lot going on. However ,what I have found by experience, is that there is often  not enough of what matters most to me going on. Since last year  I have been consciously working to eliminate things that don't add value to my life - even if on the outside it might look like a great or glamorous opportunity.  It's kind of a shame I am such a slow learner but I think I'm getting the hang of it.  Slowly that is.

Still all is not lost on either the home or vegetable front. I did get these out of the garden over the weekend and I did turn down an evening out last weekend in order to spend an evening with Rosie before she heads back to Wellington this  Saturday. 
Finally it was today last year that we had Dad's funeral.Today when I got home there was an invitation from the Hospice saying that on March 4 there will be an ecumenical Remembrance Service - where Dad's name will be readout with a list of others then afternoon tea served. So if those who are closeish by - Ken and Mary? Miri and Bill? feel like going I have the details.

Anyway here's to another week of well chosen priorities!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another holiday , another time , another place....

For the last 7 days I have shrugged off adult responsibilities and worries about taking another holiday after I just had one at Christmas, and left them neatly packaged in my car at Bluff while the kids and I enjoyed our first holiday all together ( not counting attending funerals) in 3 years. 

We came to Stewart Island - the photo above is a  view from the crib we were staying in. It was the first time for Rosie. Tom came down here when he was 12 and again 13 and sailed around the Island on a boat called the Elwing
 and I came down here for work last year but that had been the first time back since I was a teenager.  

For me it was the perfect holiday - as much for the suspended reality as for the amazing scenery of the place. Every day we did a walk - no shortage of bush walks to choose from here. I think the childhood experiences of making the children go walking  are paying dividends. They willingly came with me !!
I read all my library books I brought with me and then some more  off the shelves while Tom and Rosie amused themselves with the jigsaw puzzles in the house. We caught up with Ken and Mary and baby Louis who also spent a weekend on the Island ( thanks for having us to lunch  - great to see you!).  We ate at the Kai Cart, the kids went out on a fishing boat and caught blue cod - I went the museum and we all joined in on a team at the  weekly Sunday night Quiz night which is held at  the pub.

Every night as a tribute to the puddings our Mother always made for my kids when we visited her, we made jelly with fruit. The photo above is the deluxe version we had on the last night. Jelly , fruit, cream and grated chocolate. So simple - so delicious! 

these are two of my favourite shots- Rosie and Tom - enjoying each other's company - brother and sister - carefree - nothing matters here - life begins again for all of us tomorrow. May the strength of this holiday sustain us all year long. 

Have a great week - Marg 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When losing your way is better than finding it ....

The day started with high hopes. We were off at the end of a long hot week on a day that started with mist and rain to go on an " art in the garden " tour.  Sounds like great fun. It is - especially when you get to the Taeiri plains with only a map of Christchurch to guide you. (Of course your failings win again -For me,  I am great with the overall concept and fall short on the details - like knowing where exactly we were supposed to  be going )    So it was a mystery tour through the back streets of Wingatui.  So much to see and do. First stop - the topiary hedge
Followed by the good luck of finding chicken manure for just $5 for a hefty sack - ( my compost sighs with relief- now we can get some heat cranked up in there) - then as luck would have it we stumbled across one of the gardens. This is my favourite image from that place. 

Not one of the art works - but far more evocative and meaningful at least to me of anything we saw. We slunk in and out of that garden and right there and then ditched the rest of the tour.  

I can tell you are wondering about the apricots  in the first picture?  What? you couldn't care less about them?  Let me show you a thing or two you can do with apricots. 

you can take a photo of them...

..or you can turn them into jam and chutney. The jam I am especially pleased with because you make it in the microwave.  To be truthful I do not really use my microwave for cooking ,but I was inspired to try this recipe because it promised - full flavour and no possibility of burning the jam. The recipe was as good as its word. The jam is great and so so easy. 
Here is the recipe. 
4cups of cooked apricots. ( put raw and stoned apricots in microwave and cook for20 mins) Then add 4 cups of sugar to apricot pulp. Cook 20 mins in microwave. Bottle in clean jars and cover when cool. The chutney recipe is another gem from the Stewart Island cook book. I was especially happy making it because this week we are going to Stewart Island for one week before Rosie goes back to Wellington. I am looking forward to it. After that it will be back to sending parcels. 

Yours in anticipation