Sunday, November 29, 2009

arty fibre group

We had a great time dyeing lots of cool patterns last weekend. I could get to like this a lot!

Apart from that things are just the same and totally different if you know what I mean :) The two boys (hubby and youngest) had a blast at the Steiner Olympics in Hastings and now we are into end of year concert/performance season. We have done our french horn (James and me) thing already with the Saturday morning music class for the old folks in the retirement home next door to the classes and now have one last performance for family and friends plus a small party next Saturday. The ballet is putting on Cinderella this year so that will also be next weekend (a bit rushed for my liking but at least William doesn't have a major part this year!). There is a concert for the cellists (William again) next week some time or the week after and there is the school camp for the last week of school. After that it will be Christmas already!

Then we might get a holiday but I'm not holding my breath as sales are well down this year and there is still renovating to be finished.

As for meaningful thoughts - not just at the moment!

viv in nz

Friday, September 18, 2009

Doesn't seem like so long since I was in here but the dates have changed rather a lot!

Renovation has taken another stride onward with Matt moving into James old room and us converting what was supposed to be a bathroom into a small but adequate bedroom. It's going to be mayhem round here this weekend but I should be able to open the shop again by the end of it and Matt should have a good workspace too. I also hope to get the small bedroom lined properly but am not holding my breath because that is one heck of a work load!

We seem to have a surplus couch and fridge out of things so may have to consider where they get to live or whether they just get disposed of. The piano has to go next door too (it is my mothers and she is next door and does think she can fit it in which is good.).

One more week until the end of term for the kids and maybe they will get to go skiing with other grandma but that all depends on things like snow etc. Only one term left of primary school for William and one of intermediate for James. It doesn't seem that long since they were toddlers! In just over a week we will have a teenager!!!

viv in nz

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


We finally got a lift up bed in the living room so we now have an actual living room during the day. It isn't one of those fancy jobs but just a box with hinges so it is still visible to all. I'm intending to cover it up with a curtain/board arrangement complete with some permanently attached art.

Matt is going to shift into the back bedroom - he hates being on the street frontage and visible to all passers by. (there are thousands too) I quite like it myself but can understand where he is coming from and James certainly doesn't mind either. It will also give him a bed for emergency nights so he won't wake me if he is late and a place to nap after said late nights :)

We planted the crab apple tree and now are hoping to add several more trees. The plum is flowering in the bank so maybe this year we will get to see what it is! It was self seeded but can stay if it is a decent one.

viv in nz

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I thought I might put down a few things from my childhood just because Sharon reminded me of how much fun country fairs/shows are.

These were major events in our calendar as they gave people the chance to show their stuff, meet everyone, eat candy floss and ride the fairground rides and maybe even win a kewpie doll or two.

My preparation as a primary school student was to plant a garden from a school package and show the results in situ. I also got to decorate a saucer with flowers and make a few things. I won the button hole and spray contest every time - I was good with flowers.

The town hall would be decorated with flower arranging, vegetables, preserves and handwork, knitting and sewing. My mother won overall three times I think but never entered the cooking/preserves because although she was a good cook she said her stuff wasn't pretty enough. She mostly won knitting, embroidery, flowers and that sort of thing. She has a stack of first prize cards along with seconds and thirds - sometimes for the same competition. I have a small stack of these cards myself hidden away.

After that, we would go look at the sheep, cattle and pigs etc. Sometimes there would be a wood chopping contest and those were almost my favourite (after the hall displays). There was always horse riding and off to one side there was a small fairground with carousels, coconut shies and, if we were lucky, a small ferris wheel. It was a difficult choice as to which ride to go on because we only got a small amount to spend. Dad always got us candy floss though and several times won us toys (he had a really good aim).

There was also fizzy drink which I didn't really like but was part of the whole deal. That was the only time we got fizzy so it was a bit of a novelty. (now it just seems every day which is a shame really). And then we would go home happy.

My brother had a favourite part too and that was the tractor and implement displays. They were great shining beasts to us and sometimes, if the man in charge was in a good mood, we would be allowed to sit in or on them. They seemed very high to us and made us feel important.

Later as a teenager, I got to enter the embroidery contests at the main Otago fair and this was a big deal as I was in the senior and open grade and I won three major prizes. I got a stack of book vouchers for this and lots of kudos. I also annoyed the embroidery teacher as she didn't know I had work like that due to the fact that I was relatively new in the school and was catching up on some basics in her class. She neglected to ask about what I'd done previously as she knew I had no formal lessons and just assumed I was a beginner. I was too shy to say anything because I always felt inadequate for my lack of qualifications. She was so mad with herself because I was apparently just the sort of student she dreamed about and she had me for two years and I wasn't returning. My loss too of course. I don't think she would ever make that mistake again.

The agricultural and pastoral shows still happen although they have lost their importance with easy travel available for all. I suspect that fuel availability may influence their renaissance and that will be a good thing as it does help draw the communities together and prevent too much isolation.

viv in nz

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No drive????

I've decided to list the trips our car does for the week just to see what we can achieve.

So here it is.....

Monday - school car pool in the afternoon (17 km round trip)
Tuesday - morning and afternoon school car pool (34 km)
- ballet pick up pool (8km)
- St Johns pick up or drop off pool (4km winter only)
Wednesday - Afternoon teaching and car pool (17km)
- Orchestra drop off or pick up pool (8km)
Thursday - Afternoon car pool (17km)
Friday - nil
Saturday - music class, ballet class (20km approx)
Sunday - nil

Fortnightly meeting for Matt (8 km)
Twice monthly patchwork meetings (2km average)

Those are the trips I can't get out of mostly. Seems a lot but will hopefully improve next year at least in the summer when the boys will be on their bikes. Bus transport round here is expensive and inadequate which is a shame. There are also some massive hills to traverse for most of these trips which means bikes can be more of a nuisance than a help - only the fittest can ride Baldwin Street and the school at the other end is up the second steepest street here. Night trips for the boys are out - they are too young yet although growing up fast :)

I do plan all my shopping trips around these other trips so nothing is generally done with single trips. The large tripping stops with School holidays too at which stage travel becomes very infrequent.

viv in nz

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Well, I got through that shift more or less intact. This is definitely not my favorite thing but needs must and all that. The boys are out at grandma's farm until tomorrow so it is quiet round here and I will hopefully get their rooms a bit better set up by the time they get back.

We have finally moved William out of the old bathroom and into what we hope will become a nice private bedroom in a few days. At present it is still half passage between the kitchen and the rest of the house. At least we can now take a shower when we want (solar water allowing) instead of waiting for William to not be in bed or something (there was a curtain between him and the shower/hand basin). His old space is now the hall cupboard and already packed with stuff...sigh!

Sometimes it gets a bit hard to be poor and have unfinished bits of house but we know that eventually it will be a good space to be in. Especially the new bathroom and the revamped kitchen. We eventually hope to add a conservatory/dining room to the kitchen with a connecting door to the front of the house. That will increase the floor to about 1500 sq feet. We will move into James bedroom eventually when he leaves home and that will give us back our living room/work room which has our bed in the middle at present. In the mean time we hope to install one of those beds that transform into a book case by day :) We have some time to go as James is just coming up 13. A spare bed in the computer workshop (Matt works from home) should solve the problem of an extra bed for emergencies.

Then we get to improve the outside. We need to make raised beds at the low end of the grass and do some sort of drain as it is like a swamp at the moment. So is the hen run. Matt and a friend are going to work on that tomorrow.

There is always something to do.


Thursday, July 2, 2009


I had a little time
I used a little time
I'd like a little time
To take a little time
Just to live!

I have now completed my food safety certificate so I am free to serve the public their pies at the local dairy. Now I need to complete their course on weekly gambling and I can work shifts on my own. The pay is minimal and irregular but heaps better than nothing. I keep wishing Matts work was a bit more regular too. That way we might have a finished, winter proof house.

Anyhow we are trying to get Williams bedroom done because everyone is fed up with him being in the cubby hole in the bathroom. It means extending the outside entry way at the back so that we can get to the kitchen/toilet without going through what will be his room. We will close up that door completely then. It means a somewhat colder trek to the toilet as the outside passage won't be insulated but that is just tough! The kitchen is always icy in winter anyhow (and baking hot in summer) so that won't change....unfortunately.

Plastic usage took a bit of a hit this week because I did a massive sort out. At least I can say it was mostly old plastic!

viv in nz

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

plastic for a week

I did this for the Fake Plastic fish. It covers the whole family (4 of us).

Monday - lolly wrapper (behind child 2 bed) trash
- milk bottle (they only come in plastic here unfortunately) recycle
- cheese wrapper ( only plastic here too) trash
- bread bag (I wish someone would do paper at a reasonable price!) trash
Tuesday - 2 muesli wrappers (kids lunches) trash
- 2 lemsip packets (bad cold) trash
- sardine tin cover (why???) trash
- 2 pie bags trash
- bag from salt trash
- plastic shopping bag from butcher (this will change!!) trash
Wednesday - 5 wraps off peanut slabs (boys) trash
- pastry bag (freezer and old) trash
- frozen peas bag trash
- mince bag trash
- jam top (must look into alternatives here) trash
- cake wrap (indulgence) trash
Thursday - bottle top trash
- milk bottle recycle
- organic bacon bag trash
- polystyrene tray and wrap (no excuse really) trash
Friday - tetrapak trash
- bread bag trash
- tag trash
- biscuit bag trash
- meat bag
- old shopping bag trash
Saturday - bread bag trash
- piece of tape trash
- cake container
Sunday - 4 pie bags trash
- milk bottle recycle

weight minus recycle 1.2 oz

There was some paper which I didn't count but not a huge amount. There was a cardboard box too which got missed for weighing. That got recycled too. The recycle truck caught me out :)
Looks like I need that new oven to bake goodies in. I only have a bench top one at present and it only does bread buns and cheese on toast really. I think I can cut out the meat bags at the butcher. The hens get all the scraps. This was a fairly typical week on the whole except for the trip to the bakery which seems to have delivered most of the excess plastic.

viv in nz

Thursday, May 28, 2009

not much

Everyone has mostly got over the cold bugs. The weather has improved to cold but clear and sunny (if you can penetrate the pollution from all the fireplaces out there! And a kitten has turned up. Its too young to be out so some kind teens picked it up and knocked on doors up and down the street unsuccessfully. So we took it for overnight and will give it to the SPCA tomorrow. It isn't wild so hopefully somebody will claim it. I'd take it myself but our older cats are not at all willing.

viv in nz

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Snow,ice etc

Its winter again and I have a cold. The heater is on and I still need a blanket (better slippers would be a help.) The cat (Chainsaw) has buried his nose in his tail and James is in the bed also with a cold and off school for 2 days. The washing is dripping rain and ice on the line and the items I did bring in needed a spin to remove the excess water from the extra rinse cycle outside.

Its supposed to improve tomorrow.

viv in nz

Thursday, April 30, 2009

school again

The kids are back to school this week. yay! I love them heaps but they are noisy in a small house even though they spend heaps of time outside. The weather is packing up somewhat after a really hot autumn patch which ripened a lot of my tomatoes. I think these late, hot times are getting hotter and later every year along with drier periods. Not a good look.

I've been making trading cards after a class of arty fartyness. They are a great way to try out new techniques. I have some 'interesting' results and will make more as it really is fun.

viv in nz

Sunday, April 19, 2009

School holidays

we now have the usual two weeks of mayhem whilst the boys are home. I do the juggling act of trying to keep them off the computer/tv when its nice outside and try to keep them fed and watered. I think I need a maid around now.

They did go away with Grandma for three beautiful days which was absolutely marvelous. They had a ball apparently. Lots of tramping and beaches and waterfalls and caves.

Matt cut the last of the hedge which was blocking all the light to no real purpose. We are going to plant some fruit trees along there instead as there are no near neighbors on that side. That way we get some return on it. Probably apples and plums I think with some lower growing gooseberries, cranberries etc.

There was a bit of drama when he hit a wasps nest. Fortunately no-one was stung and we applied some poison to it overnight. We now have to decide how to cope with a driveway full of old hedge plants. There are too many to compost - would take about 6 years I think. A friend will take the big stuff for her wood stove but that still leaves heaps!!

viv in nz

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I just finished two big jars of peaches. Then I went to the living room for a cup of tea. There was a large crash. Now I have only one jar of peaches and a sticky floor - what a waste!!!! Far as I can make out the jar broke with the heat of the fruit even though it was pre-warmed.

Very irritating to say the least.

I got a lot of Autumn pics at the local gardens today so will post a few. The colours are still a bit muted but that is normal for this area. (We have lots of evergreens).

Monday, April 6, 2009

Council rant

Well, they gave me a form to fill in regarding their proposed plan for the next year and I told them exactly what I thought of it. Basically rubbish! They are stealing all our money to build a totally inappropriate stadium which will only be used about 14 times a year and will have only an average of about 4,000 attendees per game and we have to pay 198 million for it. That means that our house rates (tax) will increase lots for no perceivable gain just so little empire builders can say "Look what we've got". Our whole population is only 130,000 and rather a lot of us are poor and will never be able to see a game anyhow. Our one aim now is to not vote for any of the supporters of this stupidity ever again.

And for this they've bartered our souls without our support or consent.

The PTB are mad!


Thursday, April 2, 2009


The middle of the week already and all I seem to have done is make apple preserves and worcestershire sauce (very yummy but it did stink the house out with the vinegar). I've got cucumbers and onions soaking in brine for preserved relish tomorrow and I suppose I might look into some more jelly - this time as fundraiser for the school.

Autumn is all go go go round here. Even the tomatoes are going to have to be delt to shortly and become green or red relish (mostly green from the looks of things).

The craft class children have finished their work bags and pencil cases and are moving into crotchet and knitting next with the odd cross stitcher as well. All looking good so far.

We are doing the puppet show again and this time I get to be Snow White with the odd bit of dwarf and handsome prince. Unlike me, she's very pretty. It is fun doing these plays for people.

We are also going to get rid of the car before it finally bites the dust. We will share the car my mother has next door with my brother and buy a couple of new bikes. I mostly take mum places anyhow so not much will change. None of us are big car users.

viv in nz

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The boy himself though this pic is from the end of last year when they first started doing stilts. This was his first run up Baldwin Street.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The gut buster

It was the gutbuster race on Baldwin Street and this year William wasn't going to race as he didn't feel fit enough so I said why not go on your stilts and he did.

He got right to the top and back and almost won the race that started after his race was finished. He got a new record for the first competitor on stilts and a photo in the local paper with a short interview too. Not bad for a 10 year old.

viv in nz

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Nine bags of apples sitting on the floor
Nine bags of apples sitting on the floor
and if one bag of apples is given to a friend there'll be
eight bags of apples sitting on the floor

and you get the idea.

One bag to my sister and half to mum and half more to another friend who made us a plate of biscuits - yum

Two bags made into fruit for breakfasts and frozen/bottled.
One bag made into apple jelly for our toast.

Added a bag from a stray wild tree - those will be kept for school lunches as they are delicious just to eat.

Add two bags more from the farm and the result is still five bags of apples to deal to - sigh!
Add two large bags of pears also from the farm which I've preserved, juiced or jellied and I think its clear what I've been up to recently and what I'll continue to be up to for a while. I've already done a few bottles of apricots and tomatoes and there is still our own apple tree to pick.

I want my new kitchen!

viv in nz

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

teaching to sew

Well, I got through my first session of teacher aiding quite well. The children are a delight and the felted pencil cases they are creating are coming on well. All I needed to do here was help with the odd tangled thread and show how the zip went in. I could get to like this teaching lark.

For what its worth, these are a very clued up bunch of 7 to 9 year olds - boys and girls. The next session is on Thursday. Most should have their cases finished by then as they have been making them for several days now. Then I get to teach them how to knit. They get to call me Aunty Vivien because I probably won't answer to Mrs or Ms (insert surname). Just not me.

viv in nz

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arty Stuff

Spent the whole day doing creative patchwork. Lots of new stuff to learn and lots of fun too. This new group we have made looks like it might become a really good thing for us. It definitely gets us out of the traditional patchwork which most of us have got a bit tired of as it doesn't allow us much leeway to create really off the wall stuff.

I made a hen out of my first creation as it was really just an exercise rather than an art work. The second piece has more potential and I may do a bit more with it yet.

We're going messy next time with plaster and dyes and paper and stuff. Should be fun!

viv in nz

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hot Heat Fire Haze

Its hot here today. We're melted! The trouble is that it isn't hot here much so we aren't used to it. It was also oppressive humid cloud with a very orange glow from the Australian bush fires. It was dark enough to put lights on inside at one point. Phew - it is set to get cooler though. Probably too cool again. The bedclothes don't know if they are summer or winter or any time inbetween.

The moon tonight is also orange with the smoke haze. I feel really sorry for those caught up in the fires. It must be awful.

viv in nz

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


We did our final performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the opening of the new school year and it was good. I got hubby to take a few photos and here they are.

I can't believe it's February already!

viv in nz

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Tomorrow I become a puppeteer again as the seven dwarfs interspersed with a bit of handsome prince. My dear little dwarfs are all on one leafy branch which I get to move round lots. There is one detached dwarf who lives mostly with his friends but then goes off to sit by the glass case with Snow White. He gets passed around a bit.

Its our second production as a group and we are definitely improving.

Us puppet manipulators don't have to say anything as the whole thing is read by a narrator. The set is mostly draped pieces of silk in various colours hung on small wooden frames and we are visible all the time so we have to not wear bright colours etc.

Its all good fun and I'll post a photo or so if I get the chance.

viv in nz

Friday, January 9, 2009

new year

I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted in here. All sorts of things have gone on and I haven't written a thing. Its a bit late to do so now but I can at least say that I haven't made any new years resolutions mostly because it is something we have never done in our household.

I am a bit ambivalent about setting anything out in concrete here as I never did take this stuff very seriously and see no reason to change now. I either mean what I say or decide to vary my actions according to need at the time and so this day has never been any more important than any other day.

It did have some neat fireworks though and I am a sucker for fireworks!

viv in nz