Friday, December 23, 2011

Cut away pieces

The Art fibre Dunedin site has a couple of photos of me and my things but I thought I would post a couple of my own pics as well because I did two of them and Pat got the photo the wrong way round:)

The orange and blue thing was using a piece we did at the marbling event earlier along with a few bits of plain commercial stuff. I was rather pleased with the outcome as I have struggled to use this fabric in other directions (there's a derelict piece hiding in the corner looking at me mournfully right now!). Then I got keen and set out with a piece of fake fur in lurid yellow, a piece of old curtain net. part of an old blouse and a bit of reject dark brown stuff. The result was definitely interesting. Somehow there are animals in that set of random shapes :)

I think I might explore this type of design a bit more.....


ps the yellow is much brighter in real life - I should have used the flash or something :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

small pictures

I got keen for a bit last week and decided to finally quilt up the four little pictures I made a month back. They have been sitting in a dejected heap since then so now they have nice new clouds and waves. I had thought I might keep one but now I don't know which as they all have their good points. The rest are to go for sale eventually - probably on 'Felt' where I have already put a few bits and pieces.

Someday I'd really like to have my own shop site just to display stuff and sell the odd thing.

See what you think is the best:)


And just for good measure - a small felted picture


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas bells

Its been Christmas bells all the way round here. I think over half the kindy and school have already gone there and so have a selection of adults. I have to admit that they do look good. We have used ex kindy paintings this year (the ones either not named or done by teachers/helpers) as they are on pretty good quality paper and cut up really well.

The bells are easy to make. The kindy ones I make with three sides and bells around the bottom edge. Even the three year olds can tie a few knots and cut a bit of line when encouraged :) The senior kids and adults make the eight sided ones. I have found that pegs are great for holding things in place whilst knots are tied.

I tried lining one with gold paper but it was a large amount of work getting it together and it was really stiff to fold. I didn't think it was worth the effort so won't go there again. If anyone would like the pattern, leave me a note on e mail and I'll get back to you :)


Monday, November 21, 2011


William got a part in the Royal Ballet performance of The Sleeping Beauty. It was more than a walk on part this time. The four boys had to actually dance with the big people this time and they all did very well indeed.

William was the Arabian Prince (junior) so without further ado, here are some photos.

(I made him take off the socks under his tights after this!)

The last image was taken during the technical rehearsal. Very impressive sets!!!!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Island woolly thing

I have at last got access to the photos taken on St Martins Island.

For the record, we had a blast and nearly everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves. I got a little sunburned which I wasn't expecting. It was just about a perfect day. The felting went really well and I'm only sorry I didn't have a chance to do all the other activities. I did have a go at spinning with a spindle and, despite not having spun anything for 10 or so years, I did manage to turn out a reasonable thread on a spindle made out of an old stick and a potato.

The dyeing looked wonderful hung out along the fence and I did manage to get photos of most of the felt pieces although my battery did die a bit too soon for my liking.

I took the spindle idea to the kindy on Monday (where I occasionally do relief work) and we made a spindle out of an old apple and a twig. Several of the 6 year olds got quite a reasonable thread. I'm aiming to tackle the dyed fleece this week once I give the spinning wheel a long overdue overhaul. Anyhow, here is a selection of the photos (not all taken by me).

These are not in order btw.


I forgot to add this. Matt took this photo of the boat returning with us from the island.

And this of us unloading at Port Chalmers.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Just a quick post to say I'm still alive but down to dial up speed because the boys used all the data.

William got his plates today so his mouth is full of correctional gear and he isn't speaking right yet although that will improve with time :)

It is raining fit to burst outside so my garden efforts are put off briefly until the sun arrives back. There should be lots of late blossom to photo by then as the trees are well budded up and colouring now. The rhododendrons are looking spectacular through the rain. Hopefully they will hold until the weather improves so I can get some good photos this year. Both the new apple trees are doing well and we have a brand new crab apple courtesy of the council which accidentally ring barked our last one whilst weed whacking the empty paper road next door. The new one looks about the same age as the old one so we haven't lost out and we are happy with the outcome. The man from the council said that they take on lots of temporary staff at this time of the year so there are occasions like this. I'm just pleased they apologised :)


Monday, October 3, 2011

wet felt pictures

It occurred to me that some of you might like to know just how these pics are wet felted so here it is.....

Materials needed

one piece bubble wrap with the bubbles facing up
one piece whitebait netting (the square kind) enough to fold over the top as well as the bottom.
various multicoloured fine merino wools (carded)
an old plastic bag
soap and water


lay out the bubble wrap and the netting
Cut two pieces of wool (three if the top is to look plain) and tease out carefully to the size wanted. These should be very thin and see through for the best (and quickest) result.

Lay the first piece horizontal, the second piece vertical and then make the picture piece horizontal on the netting (sandwich like).

Fold the net over these three layers keeping the fold away from the edge. Damp down carefully with water and then rub with soap.

Work with the plastic bag crumpled up horizontally and vertically checking every so often by lifting the net (this also helps prevent too much sticking) When the piece is solid enough, turn it over and work the back. When the three layers are bonded so that they don't separate when pinched, wash the felt and then bash it lots. (the children had a great time throwing theirs at the floor :) This will make the fibres close up and the whole thing shrink.

This whole process should take about half an hour. Then let it dry and embellish as you like :)

Note - if you want more even edges it pays to lift the net and fold or push them into place well before finishing the rubbing.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I teach several craft classes at the local Steiner School where my kids attend/ed and for the last three weeks we have been making felt pictures using a wet felt technique and then adding embellishments by needle felting or sewing things on. I took a number of pictures so here they are...

These are class 4 and 5 students (and their normal teacher)

And the obligatory Sprocket pic.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Gutbuster

I got a few photos of the annual gutbuster so here they are :)

The beginning

Going up

Action shot of the guy that won

The children and young peoples race

The girl that won

Panoramic with our house

The walk

Bad hair day:)

viv in nz

Saturday, September 17, 2011


There was a whisper in the air. The promise of summer was almost past and the chill of autumn was just about suggested in the little breeze that wafted in the tall grasses. The child herding geese stopped and sniffed at the wind and thought of the long winter to come. For now the memory of warm fires and woolly blankets was pleasurable. No more looking after the geese for a while. There was the small matter of having to do school work but that could be ignored with a little effort. Anyhow the legends of the past were at least interesting unlike the struggle to do the numbers.

The geese straggled out in front of her. They knew the way just as well as she did and sometimes they herded her as much as she herded them. The farm hove into view and she ran to open the thornbrush gate that led into the protected inner yard. There had been no sightings of the wild dog packs for a while but they would doubtless be back when the year got old enough and they got hungry enough. With these thoughts she gave the nearest farm dog an extra pat as she made her way to the enclosure where the geese spent their nights.

There was a mild kerfluffle behind as the goats were also coming in for the night and they were still mostly young and playful. Their elders were lined up ready for the evening milking and there was a promise of dessert flavouring the draft from the kitchen.

"Karianne is that you," her mother called from the kitchen, "Have you any berries for us today?"

"Yes mum." she called back, "There were lots down by the river. Mostly blackberries." She took the satchel off her back and headed to the kitchen with it and thought that life was pretty perfect when there was pudding for dinner.
"Go wash yourself before you come in dear." Her mother took the satchel and Karianne made her way to the pump. She filled a wooden bucket with water and, taking the bar of rough soap and the ragged towel, she washed her face and hands before removing her heavy sandals and scrubbing her feet. She then went to the kitchen door and into the mud room where she left her sandals and took a knitted jersey from a nearby peg. It was getting colder at night now and a little extra covering would be welcome as her summer garb was merely a strip of cloth tied round her waist. The jersey was old and patched but it covered her down past her knees which was a great advantage. She wondered who had been its first owner. With all its patches, it was hard to tell what it originally looked like and its colours were faded away to almost nothing. But clothes were precious and owning such a garment was not to be taken lightly.

In the kitchen, the table was set with wooden platters and horn mugs. There was a large earthenware jug of beer along with vegetable soup and hot baked potatoes with the last of the summer peas and sweet corn. There was a generous amount of cheese and butter and a pile of the usual oatcakes. In the middle of the table standing by itself on a precious pottery platter, was a small loaf of real bread. She stared at it longingly.

"Where did that come from?" she asked finally.

"It was a trade in the village for some scrap metal your brother found whilst minding the goats." said her mother.

"He has all the luck!" She said.

The rest of the family started to drift in through the various doors. First, her father from the gardens along with her eldest brother and his wife with their toddler who was still too young to have a formal name. Then her eldest sister and her grandmother along with two aunts who worked to make cloth for use and for sale. Her brother, the goatherd was next but mother sent him out again to scrub a little more carefully. There were also two farm hands and an elderly cousin who was mostly blind but still spun the finest thread. Missing was her grandfather who was now bedridden and was taken a tray. She would go sit with him later for a short time before bed and he might tell her stories if it was a good day.

Dinner was the most important time in the family because that was when everyone caught up on what had happened during the day. Today was even more special because of the bread. Grain was difficult to grow in this climate because of the changeable weather. She had heard that there were big fields of it waving in the breeze further south but that was beyond what she could imagine. There were oats of course but that didn't make bread like this! Finally the thank you to the earth spirits was said and dinner was begun. The bread was saved to be the last course and each person got one slice to embellish as they pleased with butter or jam or both.

Karianne looked at the slice on her platter. The anticipation was great. Would it live up to her expectations? She spread a little butter on one end and nibbled at it. "Like eating a cloud", she thought, "No substance but melt in your mouth." She spread jam on the rest and ate it slowly.

"Reminds me of that trip I did down south when I was young." said father.
Mother said it reminded her of home. (Father had brought her from the south when he did that trip. They had walked for several weeks to return to the farm). Some said it was like edible white wool only tastier of course. Others just ate and contemplated their own voyages of discovery when it would be their turn to leave and find a partner.

Dinner was finally over when the last crumb had been scooped off the last plate. The younger ones cleared the table and washed up quickly before heading off to their various evening chores. Karianne took her knitting up the stairs to grandfathers room and settled in to keep him company until the light was gone. She enjoyed hearing his impossible tales of carriages that moved by themselves and machines that flew in the air. How unsafe must it feel with only air beneath your feet. She knitted fast and accurately to complete the socks she would need this winter. The wool she had spun was still not as fine as she would like but it would make strong socks that might escape the inevitable darns for some time. Next birthday she would be 10 and allowed to weave on the small loom. That would be a real step up. She could feel almost grown up then although her adult name would still be some years away. Sometimes the waiting just seemed interminable until she turned 15 and joined the adult world.

Hastily she refocused on what he was saying. The story was one of the old ones about the Library. This was supposed to be a vast place bigger than their entire barn and outbuildings combined, just full of books. Thousands of them just waiting to be read. Like pebbles in a riverbed they were and all full of information and stories. There were only a few books at the farm. They filled just one bookcase and were only read by the few who mastered the art of reading. She had read them one by one, carefully. Most were about gardening and farming. One was about herbal medicines and the names of the herbs along with worn pictures of how they looked. One was a book with maps in it and names of places she could only imagine and then there was the one full of stories. That was her favorite. She had read it every chance she got and the thought that somewhere there might still be a library with other such books was like a pain in her heart. Maybe she could search for that when she finally grew up.

Meantime she asked grandfather once again if he had ever seen a library for himself and did he know where it might be. The answer was the same. He had never seen such a thing but his grandfathers grandfather had. It was supposed to be somewhere to the east. With such crumbs she had to be content.

When the light had finally faded too far to knit, she said goodnight to grandfather and made her way to the room she shared with the other single women of the household. There was a platform bed along one wall with woollen mattresses and a good supply of blankets and quilts. As the youngest, her place was near the center and she was usually grateful for this as it meant warmth in colder weather. However it also meant being careful not to wake others in the night and being rather too warm in hot weather.

It was cool enough now for her to enjoy snuggling down into the quilt and sleep came fast. She dreamed of Libraries........


Friday, September 2, 2011

September already!

Hard to believe that spring is more or less here. We had a couple of very warm days but it is cold again just now and there was a sprinkle of snow too although it didn't settle.

I seem to have become a wool repository at present with several people giving me odd boxes of this and that. One of them came with a half knitted jumper. The front and back were knitted to the armhole but there was no pattern and very little extra wool so it couldn't even be knitted as a sleeveless top. However, I looked up a pattern with the same number of stitches and added a striped top section. So now it is bright green, gold and orange with brown bits :) I'm hoping it will fit William as it isn't full sized. The rest of the wool has migrated to either my own collection for socks etc or will go to the school for their efforts. (There are some bigger amounts that I will keep for further jumpers too).

Matt got the deck finished to the kitchen and now is on the hunt for enough materials to close it in. Especially the roof! There is also the vege garden to arrange but it is still far too cold to do more than prepare the ground in that department. The plum tree has blossom all over just now so perhaps we will actually get some this year - last year a wood pigeon stole the lot! There were only a dozen but still.....

Sprocket tried to get into the rubbish bin again but now he has got too big for the one in Matts room (see previous photos) so he got into mine instead! He only just fits so I think that won't last very long. He does like small spaces. He also likes a brief cuddle under the bedclothes in the morning - just about 5 minutes on average. For real napping he still prefers to be in the wool basket so I have added an old jersey and a piece of furry fabric to protect my wool!

The photo is our friend Rob who did a fundraising event up our street for his handicapped daughter to get further medical treatment overseas. He got himself sponsored to do the street 26 times carrying a 50 kilo backpack! There were a lot of other people doing stuff too and they had a very successful day raising over $5,000. He has been training for a while so he did manage the whole lot!


Monday, August 15, 2011

more snow

Matt worked hard on Saturday and got the little deck connection to the back porch finished so we no longer have to go down the very big first step to get to the kitchen/toilet. Then it snowed..... and snowed and there is no school today and there are still the odd snow flurries around. You have to understand that snow isn't a very common thing round here so the kids have gone off with a friend to play in the snow despite their teenage status :)

It also meant that you had to pick your time for the kitchen etc with care or dress for the outdoors because the snow tended to go down your neck and stick to your clothes...brrrrr! We had to sweep it rather a lot too or wade through the snow in slippers. Not recommended.

Eventually there will be some kind of cover but not yet. I might add that I am typing this in gloves and a woolly dressing gown over my clothes and sitting over the heater - there are still way too many gaps in this house and you can see snow outside from the shower with no intervening glass/wall. Its not too bad in here and will warm up in a bit but generally it is just cold!

In other news, mum is back from the hospital and seems about where she was before which is great :) Her stitches will be removed next Thursday so that is ok.

There was a small bird which hit the window and stunned itself the other day. It sat on my windowbox for quite a while recovering itself but was ok. It is what we call a waxeye but is also known as a silvereye and rather cute.

For those who wish, there is a competition over at Frugal Kiwi too. I really like that site so this is a plug for it too :)


Hope you like these


Friday, August 5, 2011

Hospital - again!

At least this time it wasn't me! Just to put your minds at rest. The week started normally with the kids back to school and my teaching going completely to rule. The Knitting Squad was good too and then we come to Thursday!

I took mum for a routine blood test in the morning and that was running late and took forever as she is hard to get blood from. Consequently I ran late getting back to the person I had offered to teach to knit and she was a bit doubtful about ringing the bell after the door knock didn't work. She saw no car in the drive and thought we must be out. Actually, we just don't have a car :) So that went out the window. After that, mum went out to a birthday afternoon tea with her cousins and had a good time. She was brought back at about 5 and I had invited her and my aunt in to inspect the new bedroom and to hear James playing his new piece. She got out of the ute ok and was heading for the path when the slope caught her out and she fell onto a pile of bricks beside the path. I could see she was falling but was too far away to catch her and she missed her grab at the fence post. It was a pretty gentle fall though and she has solid bones so I wasn't expecting to have to do more than pick her up and dust her off. So my aunt and I did that and then things turned to custard. There was a 4 inch gash in her leg and it was bleeding very badly so I raced inside for a handtowel (fabric sort) and held it over the gash. It was still bleeding furiously right through the cloth so I got the boys to fish out an elastic bandage and applied that over the towel with pressure and a large safety pin. By this time I'd sent hubby off for the other car which we parked right beside her, loaded her up and went rapidly into A&E that being somewhat faster than waiting for an ambulance. Turns out she had nicked an artery so they did a small operation with hallucinogenics and local because they didn't want to risk her under a general anesthetic because of her heart problems. She has to stay there until Monday and be fed lots of water and blood etc because she lost rather a lot even with the pressure bandage. She didn't feel it much at all - said it just felt like a graze so that was good and she can now say she knows what LSD feels like (although it wasn't that but similar in its effects) She said it was quite interesting :)

So I spent most of last night sitting in an uncomfortable chair whilst she was in an uncomfortable bed being investigated. I now have a rather gruesome lot of clothing to wash. We threw the towel and bandage out as they were just completely gory. At least my sister got there to share things and we were relieved at about 10.30 by my brother who stayed until the op was done and she was settled for the night. She looks not too bad today but is very tired. She should be fine by Monday with any luck.

My knitting beginner came at lunchtime today and looks to be a pretty good prospect as a knitter so that is ok. I spent the morning at the high school with William who is going there next year. They got shown around the various classrooms and were plied with a magnificent morning tea as well. James is already at this school and I think it will suit William as well. So next year it will be all Logan Park High School except that I will still teach at the Steiner. They are going to go to the open day there on Sunday as well - I think they enjoyed themselves! Looks like all his present class and his best friend from earlier will also be there so he won't be short of friends :)


Monday, August 1, 2011

Finished - well....

It was hard work but we got the room habitable just before the kids got back from Arrowtown. There is still the small matter of the skirting boards and the rest of the wallpaper and a heap of sorting of 'junk'. I ran out of wallpaper so I hung my largest hanging on the wall and will use the scraps of wallpaper round the edge - just don't look underneath! Someday I may have the money to do it all properly but in the mean time it will be ok.

We put the remains of an old picket fence along the edge of the upstairs piece so that William feel safer. He helped to paint them white to match the rest of the woodwork. They don't look too bad in their new home :)

The 13th birthday party was the same day as the jaffa race so I didn't bother to organize anything special. With about 30,000 jaffas racing past who needs anything organized! So we now have two teenagers!!! I let him have a friend to stay the night so the sleeping platform has been trialled good and proper and has been a great success. Even the cat thinks it is a bit of all right :)

Its back to school tomorrow. The fortnight holiday seems to have just vanished. Probably due to working so hard on that bedroom! William gets to take a look at his new school for next year at the end of the week. James is already there of course but I imagine won't own up to having a little brother anytime soon :) Although you never can tell....

Sorry about the lack of relevant photos - I will get some up soon - promise :)

viv in nz

These are from above Abbotsford in Dunedin

viv in nz

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The boys are away skiing with Grandma this week so I decided, in my wisdom, to do over Williams room. At present it is a corridor between the kitchen and toilet on one side and the rest of the house on the other. Sort of an en suite kitchen :) It is his birthday at the end of the week so I thought we could get it done easily in the time. Ha! Fat chance. First Matt got a really super bad cold and couldn't do anything for several days and then, just as we put in the outside door with access to the other rooms minus the handy little porch yet to come, it snowed! We could see it through the huge hole in the wall left from the removal of the window. And feel it of course. The only saving grace is that it opens into a hallway which we don't heat anyway. Having a shower was rather 'interesting' as the back door is now in what remains of the bathroom. The shower is scheduled for relocation sometime soon (I hope).

I had rallied the family in to help but, due to the snow, they had to go almost before we got started. They did help get the main bed frame into place but that was about it and now it is weekdays and they all have jobs.

The frame for the upstairs bunk is almost done and I have spent most of today filling cracks in the ceiling which seems a mile high (I'm not that keen on heights and I need to be one step off the top of the tall ladder!!!!!!). I need to paint the ceiling (two coats) wall paper the walls (mostly to cover imperfections as I can't afford new wall board yet) and set up the room again with all its bits and pieces like bedding, drawers etc.

The boys are due back midday tomorrow.........I get the strange feeling that William will end up helping to wallpaper his own room!

viv in nz

These were taken a few years back but the view is just the same only snowier!