Sunday, April 6, 2014

lawns or thyroid? hard to contain excitement

Well well well.  I didn't write for weeks because my life has turned into a workfest, and then blogger/google/gmail got so mixed up I couldn't access my account and now, wonders unexplained, I can access it again. 

1. sewing.  I made a renfrew top which I appear not to have photographed.  I made a pile of alterations to the pattern before I made it up, and I think I'll make some more yet, and turn it into a frankpatterned mix of renfrew top and red velvet midriff and skirt.  I made another circle skirt for a 7th birthday present.  Brighid is modelling the twirl factor on it above, before we wrapped it and set off for the party.  I didn't have any bias binding and so hemmed with a single fold (looooong hem circumference) and zigzagged it which actually looked quite good.

I hemmed two tiramisu dresses which have been worn unhemmed for ages.  I used steam a seam lite for one which was really good, except unbuyable at the moment as the factory burnt down.  I used a trendy trims supposed equivalent for the next dress, and that was only very marginally better than nothing.  Hand pinning skirts which have 3+ metre hems is not something I'm willing to do without a short cut.

2. sleep.  elusive.  not very interesting.

3.  thyroid.  bothersome.  refer 2.

I've been trying to understand the relationship between liver and thyroid health.  There is a documented connection, but I'm not making much progress understanding what and how.  As for which affects which, the chicken/egg conundrum persists.  Still, I have purchased livatone plus with turmeric and that seems to be doing some good.

4. Tobias Hill.  What Was Promised.  A wonderful novel.  Took me back to the magic of London all over again.

5. Winter sport.  It has started.  Boots and raffle tickets and mouthguards and shin pads and all manner of other smelly or soon to be smelly equipment are flying around.  Our money is mostly flying out the door.

6.  Lawnmower.  If buying a new lawnmower of a very good quality as an investment in reliability given the partial demise of the old lawnmower and the prognosis of expensive and imminent full demise of said previously trustworthy machine is not full blown suburban sensibility, I don't know what is.  If I don't blog again for more months, it may be because we have no money to replace the old computer because we spent it on a machine to make our lawns accessible (I started with the r--ble word, but couldn't complete).

Monday, March 3, 2014

sewing & books

New patterns:
Sewaholic Renfrew
Image 1

Style Arc Clara skirt
Clara Knit Skirt

I still haven't got my fabric buying and pattern buying and wardrobe needs in synch.  So I have gorgeous fabric in the cupboard in bold knit print for dresses or leggings.  But I have enough dresses and leggings for the moment and a need for cardigans in plain knits.  But I have wanted a cowl top for a zillion years to echo the RTW one I bought four years ago.  I tried a Khaliah Ali one and it wasn't successful.  The review and pics on the internet suggest the Renfrew could be the one for me.  This tutorial on doing an FBA on the Renfrew is going to be my mini-bible for the Renfrew project.

I read Deborah Challinor's Girl of Shadows and loved it.  This would make a fabulous mini-series.

Special find of the week: the digi-poem Hinemoa's Daughter.  Very beautiful.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anne Else: The Colour of Food

I've long been a fan of Anne Else's writing.  Her books on womens history and particularly on the history of adoption in New Zealand, were really important to me as a postgraduate history student in the 1990s.  Last year I read Else's PhD online and for the last several years I've been reading her blogs and .  When her food memoir came out only as an e-book, I was disappointed, but ethically opposed to getting a kindle or other device as it reduced the pool of books to be sold second hand thus available to people who could not afford new books.  But all those concerns fell away last week when my lovely husband surprised me with a kindle for my birthday.  There is no going back!  The books are so cheap and to be able to choose exactly what I want to read at 11pm or 3am or Sunday morning or whenever feels really close to magic.  The very first book I downloaded was Anne Else's The Colour of Food: a memoir of life, love and dinner...

Anne writes beautifully, and I think her tying in of food, love and history is very successful in this memoir.  In her Elsewoman blog she has detailed the challenges of eating alone and adjusting to living alone in poignant detail, and now I get to learn of the rich experiences before her loss.  I enjoyed the section on Albany particularly, as I'd not known anything of this experience beforehand.  Anne writes of Elizabeth David and afterwards I was looking for Lisa Chaney's biography of David.  The Colour of Food reminded me of the pleasure of reading the lives of foodies, without having to get out of bed and actually cook.  Anne's writing oeuvre has been an important contribution to writing the lives of New Zealanders and in particular to stamping out the reality that domestic work is significant and worthy of its own story. After reading The Colour of Food, I felt prompted to make more effort to get back writing and recording my own life.  Anne reminds those of us who teeter round the writing fringes as we live our lives that everyone's story is significant, and in turn gently suggests that we all owe it to ourselves to think and act carefully and share those acts for posterity.  A national taonga.

Since then (mere days ago), I've had the even more divine pleasure of reading Tim Winton's Eyrie.  At $48 in the shops, I had no idea when I would get my hands on this treasure, but with my magic kindle, I had it downloaded for about $8 (NZ).  Tim Winton writes like an angel.  I practically swooned at times.  I'm still thinking about Winton's anti-heroes but I can't say too much for fear of ruining the end for those who have yet to read Eyrie.

I've been looking for Deborah Challinor's next book after Behind the Sun, called Girl of Shadows, for a few months now.  I was supposed to be released in November 2013 in New Zealand, and I've yet to see it in a bookshop.  But never fear, I downloaded it today for only NZ$6!  Best I go and do the dishes and other jobs now so I can go to bed with my kindle as soon as possible.  It's like my childhood when the local library always had something to love.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beautiful letters

These letters from the working mother to the stay at home mother and from the stay at home mother to the working mother are beautiful.  I want to print them out and post them everywhere.

I haven't blogged about my fiercely intelligent brother who writes wonderful letters to the local paper.  The paper have gone a bit shy on him lately and I'm keen for him to blog his letters. 

I haven't blogged about the wonderful book Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I haven't blogged about the garden, or work, or the alterations I've made to the stripey cardigan I rashly bought one cold day on holiday in summer.  I haven't blogged about our adjustment as a family to me being at work most of the time and how this week is better than last week because my kids are happier and how Favourite Handyman is the bestest support to me I could dream of.

But when I read those letters via a facebook link tonight, I couldn't let them sit without sharing them every way I could.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


When I started blogging, Brighid was seven months old.  Now she is seven.  She loves dressups and so I made her a princess dressup dress for her birthday.  This morning (day of the party), I was working on finishing the dress when I discovered I had nowhere near the right size zip.  In a small town where shops are closed on part of Saturday and all of Sunday, I was very grateful to get there in time for an appropriate zip.

The party was a wonderful success, and after a short rest, we went to the 21st birthday party of a special young woman who has babysat for us, whose mother is my right hand woman who cares for our children when both of us are at work and who is a fabulous mother in her own right now.  All the celebration of youth and hope and joy and exuberance is so special and I'm appreciating it so much more as the flip side to the stories of struggle and decline we have been witnessing and sharing in our family in recent months.

Super Uncle has been visiting, and had the audacity to comment on the decline in posts and intellectual comment on this blog of late.  Don't you worry, there is a post just for you coming up soon.

Friday, January 17, 2014

golden days full of hobbies

The New Zealand Journal of History is online (bar the most recent two issues) and so I don't have to be a student or employee of a university to indulge my history desires.  Today I found this article:
which I found completely fascinating.

I also sent off a draft of my review of Susan Upton's book on barmaids to an historian friend.  In and around ineffective attempts to get my daughter to eat her dinner or clean her room, I removed more rubbish to the dump, booked her birthday party venue, weeded more of the garden and sewed more of my hummingbird skirt.  I now have an almost complete skirt - it just needs hemming and a button and buttonhole.  It looks quite nice, very wintry but that will come quite soon enough.  But nothing presses my finished object buttons so much as a dress.  I need some more cardigans or jackets but the fabric in my cupboard is all winking and whispering d*r*e*s*s at me.

I ordered Half of  a Yellow Sun off trademe following a respected recommendation.

Last night was craft night and it was awesome.  A room full of intelligent and wonderful women, none of them concerned about tidiness, analysing local issues and thinking beyond local politics (we fitted a bit of crafting talk in and some of the multitaskers even crafted while they conversed).  They even all bought yummy food (I forgot to do that in my anxiousness to actual vacuum the lounge) and it was gorgeousness itself.  I can report that even if you do not have a coffee table (they are terrible things which mostly result in bruises apart from when you are hosting a feast in the lounge), if you upend a laundry basket (yes! empty laundry basket!  that's an achievement as well) and cover it with a tablecloth and then put the feast on your best inherited cake stands and slice plates, and all will be both accessible and delicious and not in the least laundry-ish.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

nesting for workers

So very soon I start my new job, a job which I anticipate is going to involve 60 hour weeks with startling regularity.

Beforehand, I'm all about the kind of nesting which prepares us for the long hours of me away by making food which cannot be bought, and planting food which cannot be bought at the same quality and freshness.  Last night I made another batch of muesli and put a chicken on the slow cooker to make stock.  This morning I made eggy courgette muffins from The Edible Journey Cookbook and then strained the stock and chopped up the chicken meat.  The kids and I did errands in town and then bought punnets of silverbeet and cavolo nero seedlings.  While Brighid danced, I took bags of things we have grown out of to A, the very wonderful leader of our local Tongan community.  After our town lost a mother and teenage son in a car accident before Christmas, my eyes were opened to need I had been far too oblivious to beforehand. 

I weeded and watered and fertilised and planted before and after tea.  I started to organise Brighid's birthday party.

I did squeeze in a trip to work and did some related errands, but for the greatest part, this week still belongs to family and nesting time.  Tomorrow night is crafting time with some of my favouritist and most fabulous crafty friends in Wetville.  We'll be setting the world to rights and planning what to move and shake next.  The craft is, arguably, a political smoke screen.