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Showing posts from May, 2013

The Good Earth and the need to get past talking about food

So I've now read The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck.  I don't know what the 'S' stood or stands for, but obviously Mrs Buck thought it was important.  I can't call her "Pearl" because really she is an author of stature and old and dead to boot, and I keep thinking of the song "Pearl's a Singer" which isn't quite seemly.

I liked the cadences of the prose.  Really, I did have such a pretentious thought.  I like how it has a fable-like quality which I have decided is because of all the Bible saturation which Pearl S Buck, daughter of a missionary, experienced.  I quote:
"Men labored all day at the baking of breads and cakes for feasts for the rich and children labored from dawn to midnight and slept all greasy and grimed as they were on rough pallets on the floor and staggered to the ovens the next day, and there was not money enough given them to buy a piece of the rich breads they made for others." (p.113) It reads like the Bible to …

perfect weekend

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This is what the trees look like in paradise.  First I spent the day reading and finishing Claire Tomalin's Mrs Jordan's Profession.  I loved it.  I found myself thinking about the biographer easily as much as Mrs Jordan.  Mrs Jordan was the mistress of William IV, and bore him ten children, living as his de facto partner for many years before he rudely got rid of her in response to the advice of his royal advisors.  She was also a superb and very famous actress, both before, during and after her relationship with William (the Duke of Clarence while they were living together).  She was born in 1761 and was on the stage from the age of 14.    She worked through all of her pregnancies (13 live children and still more miscarriages) and was back on the stage within a month of giving birth.  Tomalin, herself a very interesting woman, often draws explicit links between modern day parenting and Jordan's effective parenting and caring skills.  I'm keen to read more of Tomalin…

fripperous news. not in pink.

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So I went to the hairdresser's yesterday, where they had NZ House and Garden.  My novel stayed in my bag while I flicked through the magazine instead, and fell for the red lino in the photo above.  One day, I'm having red lino in the kitchen.  A few years ago, also at the hairdresser's, I found the perfect nautical blue colour for painting the kitchen walls.  Both together might not quite work, but budgetwise I'm pretty safe from a making a hasty and regrettable decision any time soon.

In other fripperous news (fripperous may not officially be a word, but it should be), I bought two ready made items of clothing last week.  I'm wearing the emerald green hoodie top and it's comfy and I've been wanting something emerald green for a zillion days and now I have one.  I've just been altering the skirt as acording to the pattern drafting of the skirt, I have a ridiculously sway back.  Doing the alteration was faster than sewing a skirt, though buying the skir…

hockey dinner

8.25am Climb in car in dressing gown.  Deliver husband and children to work and school.
8.40  Get dressed.  Hang out washing.
9.00  Turn slow cooker on high. Slice two onions, and three carrots and put in slow cooker.  Roughly chop one black pudding, one white pudding and three chorizo and put in slow cooker.  Pick four bay leaves from tree outside and add to slow cooker, along with some red lentils, a tin of tomatoes and some water.  Stir it up and put the lid on.
9.15  Eat leftovers from last night's dinner for breakfast (noodles and stir fry).  Put a pear and a banana in a bag to take to work for the rest of breakfast.  Clear table of breakfast things, and remove the laundry the laundry monsters scatter through the house.
9.40  Drive to work.  Do busy work things at work.
2.00pm  Drive home.  Drive back to childminders to drop off hockey gear.  Drive back home.  Bring washing in.  Pick kale from garden.  Washed and chop the kale and add it to the slow cooker.  Stir.  Turn slow…

Food matters, most importantly if you don't have enough

This morning was lovely.  For starters, I slept in.  Next, my husband and lovely children all hugged me and wished me happy mothers day.  This is especially touching considering they did it all two weeks ago.  There's no Mother's Day advertising on National Radio and we don't have a telly, so somehow I got my dates wrong.

At some point in my deliciously lazy Sunday morning, I checked my email and facebook, and a friend had sent me a link to a Salon article on the politics of food and gender.  It's a very interesting article, but don't be fooled by the title:
"Is Michael Pollan a sexist pig?"  
I'd wager that Emily Matchar didn't choose any such title, or indeed the subtitle:
"Femivores" have made DIY domesticity cool. But critics who blame feminism for obesity and fast food have it wrong."
Matchar's analysis has, I suspect, been plundered for impact and sensationalism by the Salon editors, something which this rebuttal identifi…

Me made reflections

There is no logo down the side of my blog for me-made-May this year.  Last year I put one up and then realised, rather pitifully, that I hadn't nearly enough home sewn or knitted clothes for a month's worth of wearing.

Nevertheless, I have entertained ideas of doing it anyway.  I've extended my home sewn wardrobe quite a bit in the last 12 months.  On the first day of May, I had my very favourite and certainly me-made polka dot skirt on by accident.  On the second day, which I think was when I realised that MMM had started, I was poorly and fragile and spent the entire time in my shop-bought jammies.  We are up to ten days of May, and I've jumbled through without much MMM design.  When I get ready dressed of a weekday morning, I'm thinking about the kids' lunches and what is coming up at work, not the provenance of my clothing.  I aim for clean, and anything else is a bonus.

Today, after kitting Brighid out in hockey gear (something called funsticks starts tomo…

Waihi Oratorio

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I was all set to buy a bag off Felt.co.nz until I remembered about the mechanic's bill. So I found the inspiration and time to make a bag I've been contemplating for a long time.  The outer is red wool tweed which my sister gave to me after a trip to Wales. I boil-washed and dried it to get the strength I wanted. The inner fabric and the lace are from the wonderful collection my father in law gave me after my mother in law died. The inner fabric, red and blue hats on calico, was probably meant for dresses for my twin sisters in law more than four decades ago (I have the same version with green and blue hats as well). The beautiful lace is from my parents in law's travelling shopping trip through the traditional lacemaking towns of England. Even the toggle and the thread are from either my mother in law or grandmother in law's collection.  The pattern is from Tiny Happy.  Thanks Melissa for making this available online for us all to use - I've made this …

polka dot pav

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The polka dot circle skirt reveal.  These photos are taken at the end of a long day, full of fun, playing, cooking, socialising, and doing copious amounts of laundry.  It is made of cotton with a little stretch in it (not much, and not needed for this pattern).  I can see (we have no full length mirror at home, but the camera can do full length) that the polka dot socks are a little overkill with the skirt, but mostly I wear it with plain black long socks.

The pattern is Pavlova by Cake Patterns and I love it.  I have cut the top out in black merino.  Last week I bought some red and black checked fabric for another skirt, but I'm making myself do the top first.  I really like the top, I'm just in need of careful concentration for the sewing of a new style of top.

I love school holidays.  Love love them.  Especially days like today when the sun shines and the kids play with their friends and I get to make cake and have lunch with my friends at the same time.  Annabelle White&#…