September 3, 2011

Blogging for Bliss

It's a quiet Saturday morning; the boys have left for soccer after an hour of housekeeping. I'm sitting with my coffee reflecting on my week. I've been knitting in class again; a new summer cotton top for myself. It was hit and miss whether I bought enough yarn but it seems that I have. I'm using the skinny dyed cotton by Blue Sky Alpaca from South Seas Knitting. I'm using a pattern by the same; a sleeveless wrap that ties with a ribbon.

I'm also finishing up the angora shawl that I showed you about a month ago.  I had a gentle reminder from a knitting friend that I should finish it before the Spring. Well, it's Spring in NZ but Fall in Canada. Perhaps it will become a Christmas gift.  The weather never dictates my knitting because I live in a virtual world where the temperature is always perfect for any yarn to be knit!

Just a quick reminder that I've moved my blog to

August 17, 2011

A Winter Wonderland

It's been a cold few days here in New Zealand. The blogs are showing snow covered landscapes.  Take a look over at where you will see an example of the weather in the south of the North Island!

Our views haven't really changed.  There is a little frost on the rooftops and smoke coming from a chimney.  We have a gas fireplace which is getting some use in the mornings.

Here is a quilt that my friend has been working on.  The squares aren't sewn together yet but we laid them out on the bed and took a photo.  Isn't it going to be gorgeous!!?

I have moved my blog to so please come and visit me when you have some time.  It's a work in progress.

July 24, 2011

The Winter Holidays

We're on winter break here in New Zealand. It's delightful to have time to knit, time to cook, and time to think again! I'm cozy, knitting a shawl, under a crocheted blanket that I found years ago in an antique store. It is a beautifully hand made wool throw.  This shawl pattern is really weird. Can you see the way the pattern is not symmetrical?  The stripes go straight up and down on the right, but angular on the left? I don't know whether to keep going or not? Any thoughts?

Naturally Sensation Yarn 70% merino/30% angora

July 7, 2011

Back in class with my knitting

It's great to be back in the classroom again!  Last month it was all about Human Resources, what motivates people, employees, and volunteers.  It's so interesting to consider what makes people want to participate in work and volunteer based organisations.  It begs the question, what motivates me to volunteer? What is it in my work or play that motivates or demotivates me to give of myself?

I recently decided to start tutoring French for my son's school.  I certainly don't have more hours in the day but I was motivated by the need to give back, the hope that my French would still be somewhere in the recesses of my mind, and the desire to be a part of my children's lives. My son, Ben, loves to learn and speak French.  He has found some keen students who also want to improve their French language and so we started a conversation class after school. If anyone has any ideas on how to get teenagers to speak French, please let me know!

What rewards do we need to help us keep going?  It's not all about money for me. I think recognition is high on my motivator list but that rarely happens. So maybe it's the journey? The sharing of knowledge?  Taking it to the craft room, I am motivated to finish a quilt when I have someone in mind who will appreciate it.  I would not get the same satisfaction if I were to sell it at a craft fair. I'd like to think that it's all about the cause, the person or group. Sharing knowledge of crafts like knitting and quilting are great ways to give back.  Last Saturday, a few women got together to make some quilts to give to a woman that I work with.  Jacqui goes to a local maternity ward and visits newborn babies and their mothers.  We made three cot quilts with another almost done.  I just have to quilt them!

One woman makes knitted toys like small teddy bears and balls to give to Jacqui for the newborn babies at the maternity ward.  I found two gorgeous patterns that I want to try but I'll probably just give them to Elizabeth.  She churns them out a lot faster than me!

June 10, 2011

Comfy Couch

Broadband is up and running today!! Yayyyy!  I'm so relaxed browsing my little world of antiques on trademe and quilts on my favorite blogs.  It's so nice to receive comments from my friends around the world who read my blog. Thank you so much.
Here's a quilt that I'm working on... it's been in the cupboard for years! Time to finish it and give it away!  I've been looking at Dear Jane again.  It's always fun to flip through the book and choose a new block to try.  I'll take pictures as I finish each one.

June 8, 2011

Starting to feel normal again

It's been a little while since I blogged the last post. Too long. I'm starting to feel back to life again.  The worst thing to lose in a move is your internet!  I've finally bought a plan that gets me around the lack of broadband. Hopefully I can keep up to emails and the blog now.

My sister is asking for some inside pictures of our new place.  Here are a few of the upstairs. The sunsets are gorgeous.  I'm pleased to also tell you that the sewing room floor is clean and I've been sewing quilts again.  Pictures to come soon.  I'm back!

May 11, 2011

Life is good!

I've been so tired lately, that I have found myself driving in the wrong direction. You know that feeling when the road just takes you where you have to go and you don't have to think.  Problem is, when you have just moved, the road doesn't know where you want to go?! I have been cleaning the old house and have finally finished.  OK, some of you who know me will know that by cleaning, I mean calling the cleaner, but really, I've been cleaning too!  Boxes and boxes fill my garage with no place to put anything. I have amassed stuff in my sewing room (yes, the spare room is mine!).  I just need to find the floor one day so I can actually do some sewing. I'm pleased to say that the house is warm and my furniture fits nicely in most rooms. I have not redecorated yet but when the boxes find a home, I'll go shopping. 

With all this moving, memories move too.  Boxes of junk that have moved with me since I was a little girl.  Prescious Moments, yes, those little figurines have made the move again!  I just unpacked perfume collections, hats, dolls and teddy bears.  What do I do with such treasures?  Maybe I need a bigger sewing room?

I'm thankful the move is over. But I'm also thankful for my family and my sisters who both emailed me this week. Here's to a new chapter in my life.  The Beachlands chapter.

April 29, 2011

Moving and Redecorating

Greenspace behind the house

I'm on the move... from a country setting on 43 acres to the beach! It's going to be great for walking and exploring a new area.  Pine Harbour has a ferry to the city (Auckland) and a French Market on Saturdays.  There are two golf courses in the area as well as 2 family sports centres (Formosa and Te Puru).  When we first moved to Auckland, we joined Formosa and used the swimming pool all the time.  My boys are looking forward to riding their bikes to the pool and the dairy.  They didn't have this kind of freedom in Clevedon.
Susan's new sewing machine

I have an entire room currently devoted to my crafts so it's hard to imagine sharing a room with my family, especially two teenaged boys. Where am I going to put my spinning wheel, fabric, sewing machines, and wool? That's the most important decision for my creative stability. I will be marking my territory tomorrow morning!  It's always fun to rearrange the furniture too.   I've decided to do some redecorating in the upstairs living room.  I'm moving the current living room suite down to the family/rumpus room along with the oversized TV (always hated that ugly thing in the living room).  I think rugby can be watched in style downstairs.  This leaves me with a new living room to redecorate completely.  I've left some Mexican glass and iron tables in Vancouver that I'm having shipped to NZ.  I think it's time to have a linen slip cover made for the pink couch and I bought some Sanderson fabric in Australia to recover either a small arm chair or large footstool.  It's all on! I'm on the look out for a new/old table and chairs to go in my new dining area. While the Kauri table and chairs were nice in the country home, it's not the right look for this house. I haven't fought my husband over the spare room yet.  He thinks it's going to be his office!  Another thing I'll be looking for is art and a feather sofa (traditional, overstuffed with rolled arms would be nice).  I've been on the Pottery Barn website and found a couple of beautiful rugs. Well, it's time to focus on the packing.  I'm watching the Royal wedding out of the corner of my eye. Bye for now!
Side view of the house

April 26, 2011

A new Country Living magazine

The UK Country Living has been my favorite magazine to find inspiration for the rural life.  But I recently came across a NZ House and Garden Country Living.  It's pure heaven from tea and scones to kitchen decor.  It's got NZ country images on the porch and in the living room. I'm loving the vintage linen. Glass and enamel ware, shabby chic country tables, rubber sealed vintage jars filling the pantry, and china tea pots to die for.  I'm telling you, this is my new favorite magazine.  I sure hope it's a regular on the newstand. Rustic ambience with stylish kitchen hobs, recipes which I have even made!

Last week, I made the gingerbread cake and the apple cake.  Check out the scrolled feta and pesto scones.  Today, I'll make the humingbird cake.

April 23, 2011

A New Homemade Escape

This is a quick update to let you all know that my Homemade Escape in real life is moving.  Sorry for my lack of posts but it's a major thing buzzing around in my mind and with so many factors to consider, (like sewing room, study, kids bathroom, kids lounge, big kitchen, parrots and neighbours) I had to focus all my attention to the decision of where to live.

We have been packing all weekend and now have a moving date -  April 30th.  Sorry knitters, May 1st won't be a good day for me to meet for knitting. You are all welcome to come to my house to unpack my kitchen! Hehe!

Friends and family will be most welcome to visit us in Beachlands. We have views of the ocean looking out towards the Coromandel.  Looking forward to getting this move behind me so I can get back to my knitting, quilting, studying, etc.

April 18, 2011

Grandmother's Garden Quilt in Australia

Here is a beautiful quilt that I came across in Patchwork Addiction, Windsor, Australia.
The quilter wanted to remain anonymous.  She was not quite finished the top of the quilt but what an amazing achievement. The hexagons are the size of a Canadian quarter or a NZ 50 cent piece. This is all hand sewn!

April 17, 2011


I've been away this week.  I was visiting my beautiful sister, Susan, in Sydney.  She was a wonderful hostess and we made great memories over her black and white quilt.  I hand quilted for the first time in years.  What a relaxing way to hang out and gab. 

We also went for lunch at her friend's, went shopping, to the movies, a yarn shop, two quilting stores, and for lunch at Riverside Oaks golf club.  It was a fantastic holiday.

Here is a picture of the gardens where George does his magic on the buxus hedge. Take a look at my knitting on the chook.
My sister, Susan

Inside sandstone house

Authentic shabby chic china cabinet

Sandstone house

Side view

Back of the house

Buxus chook with my knitting

Buxus in shape of teddy bears

April 7, 2011

Pauanui and Hot Water Beach, Coromandel

As you may have gathered, I like to escape to NZ's beautiful beaches with my family!  This weekend was no exception.  We went to Pauanui on Friday morning and had a wonderful relaxed weekend with no less than 3 days of sun! How cool is that!?  We watched Amazing Grace on Saturday for my Influencing Public Policy paper.  It was a fantastic movie! I knitted and read my magazines, hubby did lots of reading, we walked, and the boys played with their computers and LOTR models.

On Saturday, we went to Hot Water Beach and were amazed that it was April and still hot!  What a beautiful day.  The beach was busy and we forgot our sunscreen.  Oops!  I did discover this wonderful artist at the Surf Shop, doing Harakeke weaving (NZ flax). Her name is Jess White and she can found at Enjoy her beautiful art!

March 28, 2011

Quick update since I've been so slack!

Slippers made by Elizabeth Todd.

I have been a bit slack with my blogging lately.  I've been tied up with all sorts of odd ball creations.  I know that I'm schizo when it comes to crafts but I'm actually quilting again so my niece's quilt is getting finished.  I've been collecting fabrics for my next quilt project which is very exciting.  

Today, I thought I would tell you about a present that my sister sent me.  It was goodies for my knitting personality (a reference to my schizo state of mind these days).  Thanks, Cheryl, for the great gift! I can see socks, mittens, or maybe a pair of slippers? What can I make with two skeins of my favorite Koigu KPPPM?  That's a tube of lipstick called "Sexy mother Pucker." (Yes, I spelled it correctly and it's hard to actually type that!) And last but not least, a fabulous magazine called "A Needle Pulling Thread" because she knows how much I love my magazines! Do you see the iPhone cover and the fabulous knitted dishcloth? You're awesome!

Another thing I've been doing lately is scouring the site for furniture. I came accross this gorgeous table for my craft room.  It needs a little TLC but I love it!

March 22, 2011

Artist and friend

Landscape by Billie Mallet (ignore the shadow on the left side)
This post is of my English friend, Billie Mallet.  She left for Vancouver the other day today so I thought I would capture some of her paintings before she left.  She comes to NZ every year, escaping the winter months in Devon.

When asked what she enjoyed most about her trip this year, she said, "I enjoy the feeling of coming home and meeting up with friends who have become more than acquaintances. I've enjoyed discovering the landscape. The biggest thing as far as my work is concerned; I really think I need to paint from reality because there's a vibrancy and directness that comes when you paint from life rather than photos, as photographs make your choices for you."
It's always wonderful seeing Billie's inspiration from NZ landscape and people.  Billie started painting when she was young and went to West Surrey School of Art & Design in Farnham, before she was married.

You can see other images of Billie's paintings on her website here.

March 21, 2011

Inspiration from the internet


1)  I found these vintage bracelets made from silver spoons!  This is such a good idea for anyone who has their Grandma's flatware but never entertains.  Get out the silver and turn it into something useful! Or purchase one already made from this Etsy shop.

2) Embroidered vintage linen is another of my favorite things. I love this blog post from Struan Farm.

3) Have you ever bought anything from an etsy shop?  My first purchase was from a NZ designer.  Here is a beautiful embroidered bird on vintage linen.  Agnes Coy is one of my favorite shops!

3) I also found this simple embroidered design gift set. The blog is really beautiful and has quilting blocks of the month (BOM)  and cooking and other creative temptations!

March 13, 2011

Christchurch, NZ

I wanted to write something about Christchurch but I have only visited once. It was a short visit of two days in November 2010 right between the two earthquakes.  We walked around the city, in Hegley Park, and even in the cathedral.  It was a beautiful place with a lot of stories, statues, gold, and stained glass.  I'm so glad that we went when we did; it was such a beautiful place. I'm at a loss for what to say. The devastation in NZ's second largest city is enormous.  Reports tell us that thousands of people have left the city and even the country for good.  It seems that many still have no power or water in their homes and their jobs will be impossible to return to.  It's amazing that I went there when I did.  At the time, my husband and I were making the most of a week without the teenagers. We hadn't been to the South Island together and we especially wanted to go to Christchurch. I took some photos.  Enjoy!

March 12, 2011

Watercolour cheats

I went to a card making workshop last night and made these two treats!  The best part was discovering a new technique using blender pens and the Aqua Painter tool with ink.  It's so easy to get this effect from black Jet Black Staz-On ink and Stampin' Up's ink.  The stamp set for this box is Every Moment by Stampin' Up.

I also used these accessories and tools:the colour spritzer to make it look a little bit vintage
old olive textured and Very Vanilla card stock
old olive grosgrain ribbon:  30cm
sticky strip
Aqua painter
1/16" Circle punch
Big Shot
Fancy Favor Bigz XL die

March 11, 2011

Castle Hill

I picked up a book from the library last week.  It was The Road to Castle Hill by Christine Fernyhough.  A really interesting read of High Station life in the Canterbury Alps of New Zealand.  She was a "townie" from Auckland and after experiencing life's ups and downs chose to change her direction and became a farmer.  It's a wonderful story that kept me riveted.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the triumphs of a woman who has given the better part of her life to philanthropy and community.