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Exploring my wasteland

I live at home, in the ‘burbs, bringing up my wee 2 year old boy. Rarely do we go into town. If we do, its Hagley park, big enough to never need to venture beyond, or the hospital (for many reasons it has been way to often in the last few years). So when we do go to town to look around, each time I feel like I am some tourist in a creative, destroyed wasteland. Not in my home town visiting a local cafe. New sparkly buildings contrast with the remains of old skeletons and rotting remains of what were once the most beautiful. Dying prematurely. Miserable aren’t I?

There are many thoughts and emotions running through me as we walk around, such anger for it all leaving. So suddenly. With such sadness in its wake…  And relief at the new pretty ones popping up. Curiosity, the artworks that are appearing everywhere fascinating me, drawing me in. Graffiti is king in Christchurch right now (thankfully its not just tagging). I watch and wait for things to improve as we slowly, building by building, claw our way back to having a city again.
This is to our left,
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And this is to our right,
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Big holes for new buildings,
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Cleaning up after demolishing another,
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Art in windows,
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and on walls,
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Shrink wrapped buildings – quite a few of these,
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And old facades that look beautiful even from the back,
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Health Message Video


She’s pretty intense so don’t switch off because she scares you! Libby Weaver has a really important message. If you can only take on a small amount on she can help. I have drastically reduced how much sugar I commonly eat, or caffeine I drink in the last 6 or so months. I decided to do this after I brought her cookbook and read her introduction. I usually just grab it for ideas and jump off points as it has good guidelines to follow in terms of what not to eat when your eating potatoes or rice ect and what foods will help you get what you need from your food. I also try and get in more nutrient dense food throughout the day. With smoothies and healthier snacks. Not just the sugar and flour options that seems to be the easiest to make and find. I feel SO MUCH better than what I did and I now keep to a nice enough weight to keep me from feeling rotten about myself. Without the huge amounts of exercise (which I need to do more of!). I love her “rushing women’s syndrome” message too. I guess what I am trying to say is that I hear how people are struggling with sugar addiction, or going on chocolate binges – I have been there and it never felt good. This little change in attitude and constant desire to try other sorts of food has been an enormous help.  I have not gone totally health mad overnight, just a little bit here and there and its working and I’m not stopping. There are little “off the path” sugar binges but then I get straight back to eating how I was and those sugar binges are becoming less and less attractive. In fact now if I am given a yummy baked goods, I give it to Kylie to take to work and be shared among many after I have one piece with a cuppa and REALLY enjoy just that, instead of scoffing it all back for a “pick me up” throughout the day. I feel like I have a way to go though. I really want to have less wheat (not no wheat, just less) and try to figure out how to make good food that toddlers/kids like and adults.. that is easy and quick to make (with a toddler interrupting constantly)! I will probably write more about all of this in future because I have come across quite a few good recipe websites and blogs, books and even made up my own recipes along the way. I would love to share them more!

Preserving madness

The garden has done pretty well this year. To make me quite happy the tomatoes went a bit “bananas”. I have never to date managed to grow so many. I can tell you what I did, but as most gardeners can tell you, I was also lucky; avoiding ravenous insects and disease.  But the slightly mad thing was me, designing and drawing individual labels for each batch of preserves.  I am still a designer at heart and the latest design trend is “hand lettering”. I have always rather admired this and decided to hand draw, scan and print out our preserve labels this year. Not just one “blank” label, but specific labels for each thing. Yup mad. I did three. Then made a blank one. :) I did have a few self imposed”rules”. It must be hand drawn (no re-touching just sizing and pencil lines maybe allowed). Below are the results, pretty “newbie” looking I think, but I am still pleased, if I had let myself tidy them up (or trace them and make look professional) they would have never have made it on the bottles.

Tomato ketchup tomato sauce courgette relish

Liqueur label

First I would sketch out a super quick idea, then measure the label in my workbook to twice the size. Then pencil out the final, colour in with black ink pen. Scan, size down by 50%, digitally rub out errant pencil lines I forgot to rub out then repeat them across a A4 size file and print them out, cut them up and attach to the jar/bottle!

workbook labels

Needle Felting – yet another craft

Every time someone asked me if I had tried needle felting, or indeed any type of felting, I would feign dis-interest or answer honestly; “I have too many crazy hobbies as it is to add anymore to the mix” Well that was then and this is now. I now have a child who plays with things and well, woolen felted people and animals are so much nicer than their plastic counter parts. They have more texture and personality. Without further ado here is attempt number one:
Feltman
I used this tutorial initially. Changed it up a little. Followed some videos from this lady and then kinda made the rest up. Its not what I want totally but its a start. His legs are not bendy and he cannot stand up by himself. I also used mostly wool I had lying around (brought the skin colour) and I was gifted the foam pad and needle.

I have decided needle felting is awesome and I have designed the man’s lady friend in my workbook (it will of course be an “improved version”). I have brought the colours for her hair and outfit and am ready to stab myself by mistake over and over again for my craft. I had no idea how satisfying it would be to watch it all mat up and compress to make a shape YOU specified (even when bleeding!). Oh the possibilities…

All you need to do is look on Pinterest for some amazing work. Do not take my attempt as an example of even a inkling of what is possible with my new found hobby! I have of course started my own board

Oh and does my child like it? He smiles and says “man” when he sees it then when it does not fit in his siku digger he puts it “way” in his toy box. But if he likes it or not its irrelevant for version 1.

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A walk around town

Quinn and I met Kylie in Hagley park on friday, it was a lovely sunny spring afternoon and I brought homemade scones and quince jelly (feeling very domestic these days.. except when it comes to cleaning). After Kylie dashed back to work Quinn and I went walking – I had heard rumour of a photographic exhibit and I have been getting some pretty bad culture and art withdrawals these days so I took the first chance I could get to go and find it.

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I still avoid town to be honest. The desolation and memories of how it all was, get me down, but as time goes by it stings much less and is becoming more and more “thats just the way it is” with no emotion attached. Thank goodness for the park that has not changed a jot, except in growth of course!

We found the exhibition, it was very child friendly with big black boxes in the center, of a ‘u” shape made out of container rooms with large images hung inside. I got to have a good look and Quinn got to wander around the outside area, pointing out all sorts of things to complete strangers.

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What I really liked was the art around the newly opened square. The fences had all been decorated by Sara Hughs and Chris Heaphy with plastic cubes that slotted into the mesh, creating patterns and effects with light. It looked like a cross stitched/pixelated tapestry, all in cheerful bright tones, a contrast to the empty lots and still half collapsed cathedral whose fate is still being fought over in the courts. Nice to see something lovely to make a person smile!

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Then there is the temporary shopping area where the old shopping area used to be, new topiary animals and plantings were out and looking luscious, beautiful with a dash of fun.

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Thats my report on town! We had to speed back to the car at that point as Quinn with the endless energy also has a bottomless pit for a stomach and needed MORE food.

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dude, whats with all the videos?

Yeah, so true. Kylie was telling me pretty much the same thing the other day.

 

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Sanna Annukka – Lovely video

You may have noticed I love videos about printmaking, textiles and the like. Here’s another lovely video for you to enjoy this Autumnal Sunday!

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Featured Pinterest Board – Textiles

pinterest textile board

textile + fiber art – Curated by “Catherine T”

I have had this particular “Pinterest” board up on my saved tabs to gaze at everyday for the last week. I thought I might share. So many of these textile works of art inspire me… they even inspired me to get out the needle and thread!

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Project finishing – Crewel Embroidery

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Once upon a month or so ago I looked at my tall boy (piece of furniture), which, as it happens, is the place I hang my “project bags” – the cloth bags that I keep my knitting, embroidery, crochet, hand sewing and whatever else took my fancy that day many moons ago. It was covered in project bags, any time now my little antique handles would probably break off under the weight. I declared it was time to finish some stuff. Here is the first project…. Last year while still getting up to feed the little Quinn in the middle of the night. I took some Crewel embroidery courses in the evening at our local and delicious embroidery shop “Broomfields“. I was usually pretty jaded by then but I enjoyed them immensely! Our Tutor was amazing and had such knowledge about all things embroidery that I came to every session that I could manage and took notes! :) We did two different types from existing patterns. The first one I pulled out all stops to get done before the next class so I could use the same frame. Did you know that “crewel” embroidery means to embroider with wool? I just thought it was the stitches used.. like cross stitch. But its not Crewel embroidery is to embroider with wool. Jacobean crewel embroidery is the most commonly seen sort.

I also ended up buying this great book to help out with future projects, Crewelwork (Essential Stitch Guide)

Now I just need to get these babies framed and decide on what the next embroidery project will be.

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Newness and not having to go back there again!

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The newborn Quinn.

I went to see a new mum and her delicious bundle of joy the other day. One month old and completely sleepy, making those tiny baby sounds that one forgets about about when yours becomes a screaming giggling chatty little busy man. He moved in such a small baby way – that does tend to freak “new to baby” people out (even me a little). I was there amazed at how well she seemed to be going, remembering my just hanging on – but loving it too.. It took me back in ways I would not expect. Yes I was clucky again for newness! Goodness yes, but after hearing the broken drifting conversation between the two new mums – as I made sure my one year old was fed, I was fed and he did not break their house… would I go back to the virgin couple with newborn mode? h**** no! Knowing so little figuring everything out as you went, reading books and crying out “MY BABY DOESN’T DO THAT!!”.  By far the worst (and still is) is the constant second guessing yourself and the caring about what other people thought when it came to diapers, clothes, how he was crying, should or shouldn’t he be having a dummy, when were his naps, breastfeeding blah blah blah…(you mums know what I mean). GO back to that, I don’t think so. So in a few words, being a mum to a small boy and not a baby anymore. Loving it, I feel like I have my feet, my routine and my life on track. Being back in that foggy haze of new mum land.. as much as those wonderful hormones rocked my world… so so happy I will never be there again, in quite that way. When and if number two comes along I will be a slightly more mature (maybe?!) seasoned mum and will know whats ahead and will have made all those decisions already. So that I can get on with my life in a way that means no conversations about diapers, dummies and the like. My baby turned one on Saturday, he really is looking very little boy now. I love him so much like this, he makes me burst out in laughter all the time, his absolute love for anything and everything, the giggles when he buries his grubby hands in cat fur, his furious passionate screams when nothing goes as planned… Ahh my son you are taking on life full steam ahead.