Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.
Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.
Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow
on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.
No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.
Just another Wednesday
you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday’s saucer
without the slightest clink.

– Billy Collins

luurve…and jam

There is a cool article from the Times Online which I have just found, regarding falling in love. This bit made me laugh –

There is a highly dangerous literary subset to this, most vividly exemplified by Elizabeth Smart’s novel By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept, which privileges true love over all other considerations. You can lay waste to families, other people – entire countries – but it’s all fine because you are doing it in the name of Love. If you ever find yourself leaning towards this view, we suggest that you have a strong cup of tea and read something enlightening about pig husbandry until the delusion has passed.

The article is by the wonderful Tania Kindersley and Sarah Vine (there is a link to their blog on my blog roll) and you can read the rest of the article here,  Does love make you sick?

I have made the peach and rose petal jam with no actual recipe as I couldn’t find one on the net.  I have made jam before – three times, the first two (strawberry) didn’t set at all. The third time was marmalade which set after an extra boil up, so far so bloody annoying.  This peach jam was setting in the pot as I was pouring it into the jars – and it’s not meant to have much pectin (the setting agent) in it so is supposed to be troublesome.

The recipe I used:

1 kg peaches

1 kg white sugar

1 large lemon

1 cup rose petals

2 tsp rose-water (be very careful with this stuff, too much and it is overpowering)

Smoosh up the peaches, removing the skins if you want (I didn’t) and chuck the stones.

Put lemon juice, peaches and sugar in v large post and turn to medium heat until sugar is well melted in.

Bring to a rolling boil for 30-40 mins.  Stir every so often to make sure it’s not catching and burning on the bottom, as mine did a little.

Test for setting by dropping a little into a plate of cold water, it should skin over and be fairly solid instead of dissolving.  Turn off when set and add rose petals and rose-water, stirring well.  Let cool for a bit.

Pour into sterilized jars,  make sure they are hot before pouring the jam into them or, of course, they will crack – not a good look!

Fear, Peaches and Feeder Dogs…

Didn’t quite get done what I wanted today, but that’s o.k. I’m easy about it..

Ended up in Greytown just after lunch, buying a quilting foot for my sewing machine.  The countryside around is getting pretty crunchy brown looking as the dry weather continues, hot enough to boil a frog for sure.

Greytown fruit and veg stalls are loaded with summer fruit and I scored a 18 kg box of peaches for ten bucks.  Going to make some peach and rose petal jam tomorrow.  Caroline at Bambino Cafe gave me a taste of hers last week and I’m hooked.

The quilting foot didn’t work for what I wanted, I think it needs one of those kick ass, monster sewing machines, while I just have a light weight tiddler that can’t even retract its feeder dogs.   Still I will be able to use the quilt foot for some free style sewing and in the mean time I have just learned how to lift the straight stitch foot a tad to move around.

I have been feeling slightly nervous of late regarding our move to the U.K.  Partly I think because we do not have a house to sell this time so funds will be a lot less.  And partly because the last couple of attempt have ended with the old tail between the legs  scenario because of my illness.

I do know that worrying is not helpful and actually  a complete waste of time – but.. you know how it is.   Then I bumped into a friend in a charity shop yesterday.  She is a woman who I met through the Green Party and the Wellington Community Choir.  We don’t get to see each other that much but I love it when we do – she is from Germany and I love our differences and similarities.   She is a bit of a hero of mine – a designer, computer geek, major athlete in her youth and the only person I know who has fallen while climbing a V big mountain (her companion did not tie her on properly)  breaking every bone on one side of her body,  recovered after long convalescence and kept on climbing those mountains.

She enquired after my plans and I told her about our forthcoming trip and I  expressed some of my reservations.  She looked me in the eye and quoted one of those well used clichés – feel the fear and do it anyway.  If anyone else had said that I would have brushed it off – but she meant it and has had so much experience of doing it.  I thought, yes, sod it – she’s right..

Scrap brooches

and I am thankful for it..

Outstanding weekend, so outstanding it would have been impossible to write my blog yesterday even with the threat of a cattle prod.  I had been up late for two nights and something had to give..

I love going out to my friends place in the country but when a brace of her  siblings decide to descend, one of  whose birthdays it is, you know the celebration will go on for some time.  Next thing you know the sounds are up, you’re on your forth wee dram of some mighty fine scotch and getting a sudden urge to shake your booty with no embarrassment what so ever.

I did do something healthy on Saturday though – went for a icy cold river swim, just what was needed to clear the head in time for Saturday nights fun. We had beautiful weather throughout with temperatures around 28c both days, and cloudless night skies.

I am remarkably chipper today and have got a bit done in the studio so am feeling pleased with myself.  I am also happy because today I have heard really good news from two of my best buddies.  One has just purchased the most beautiful house, after losing out on a previous one that she really fancied.  The other has just found out that the hugely bad financial problem she has had hanging over her head for the last 18 months has resolved itself.  So – it’s all good..  and I am thankful for it..

Mangatarere Valley - the river I swum in, brrrr!

Fuzzy Slippers..

My first go at felting slippers was a bit nerve racking, but fun.  I did some research first, looking at many and varied websites and the odd book, but in the end I mostly followed the instructions on this blog –  For The Love Of Felt and it worked a treat.  Not perfect of course but the next pair will be better.

Felted a spectacle case today to house my much abused glasses.  I need two pairs now as I have become long sighted as well as short.   I was going to make another pair of slippers, trying out the boot style, but I already had a commission to make a curly heart brooch, my studio was in need of a purging and I had a friend calling for coffee so felted boots were not created.  Everything takes a lot longer when you are starting out to learn.

The studio purge has meant that I have FINALLY thrown out my uni essays and my teenage poetry.  I kept the essays because of all the work I put into them and some of them I was really proud of – but the poetry? I have no excuse for keeping them for so long.  Really I could have given the Vogons a run for their money.

We are heading out to the country to spend the weekend with our friends Julie and Blair tomorrow.  They live deep in the Mangatarere Valley and I love it there, I love the darkness and utter silence at night – except for the odd Morepork (owl) or two.

First slippers


Millennium hand and shrimp!

I am not in the happiest frame of mind.  Once again I am spending a weekend stuffed up with hay fever.  It’s not much fun and doesn’t make me feel like doing much.  In saying that we have been out this morning to have coffee at Bambino Cafe and enjoy their selection of mags.  T has taken Polly dog for a walk to give me the space to write.. not that I felt like doing this either but I haven’t blogged for three days now and must not get out of the habit.

I have been doing all sorts of crafty stuff this week, in the main I have been playing around with tee shirts.  I do not suit high neck tee shirts and so, inspired by several clever women on the web, I took scissors in hand and whacked into the necklines.  This took a surprising amount of bravery but once I had assured myself several times that said tee shirts were from charity shops and could easily be replaced if ruined, I set to.

Not liking the raw edges I have added new edges/collars with ribbon, ripped up silk scarves and scavenged linen from a  pair of worn out trousers.  It’s fun experimenting and so far successful.  I still have a few to do yet though..  As you will be able to tell from the photos, I am from the rip, shit or bust school of sewing.   Although they don’t look so good in the pics they do look good on. Or I think they do anyway…

A Tooth Tale..

Back in the dim, dark ages, when I was a little girl, dental nurses cared for the teeth of young children.  Each school had a dental clinic building  (called the murder house by ourselves) and every year, usually your birthday month, a child would arrive at the door of the classroom holding a large card  with your name on it and you would be sent off with it clutched in your reluctant little hand for an appointment.

In those days the powers that be didn’t believe in wasting money on high-speed drills for children, so we had to suffer the excruciatingly slow speed drills that seemed to go on and on and on for ever.

Visits to the dental clinic were a nightmare for me and I lived in dread of the day when the card appeared at the door.  I was about eight when I got all the way to the murder house door, card in hand , the dread got to much and I dropped the card and ran all the way home.

This was one of those early and major lessons in life – some things you just can’t avoid.  My Mother put me in the car, took me back to the clinic, where I received three fillings and had a tooth extracted.

Nowadays  I’m still completely freaked out by visits to the dentist.  Even when I know that nothing particularly painful is going to happen, I still have to work very hard not to drop my card and run.   Today I visited my very kind dentist, Mr Wong, who is a lovely man and who promptly rescued my tooth from its old coating of concrete glue and stuck it firmly back in its rightful place.  There was no pain, just a little discomfit –  but the smell of the place and the sounds and the way I pushed myself  back against that chair as if it I could escape into it.   I fairly staggered out of there, exhausted with the tension I had put myself through.

But hey – I have a lovely, clean tooth back in place and I no longer look like the wicked witch of the west.

And I am a grown up – I had a choice,  there’s lots of good things about being a grown up…