Home again and a special package waiting for us!

We’ve spent the last week holidaying in the Coromandel – which is about 2.5 hours away from where we live and on the upper east coast of the North Island of New Zealand…

It’s a beautiful seaside town…

And we spent much time exploring the coastline (The children are seen here crab hunting):

They found some tiny (tiny) crabs…

We even managed some exploring by boat 🙂

Parts of Coromandel are pretty famous

You may recognize this beach – Cathedral Cove – from one of the Narnia movies?

We had lots of walks, especially in the evenings, which even though its getting dark much earlier now, are a lovely way to wind down after dinner.

But it sure was nice to arrive home after a week away.  I love my home and love arriving back from a stay away. There’s something wonderful about returning home.

And that first nights sleep in my own bed.  Heaven!

More importantly, there was a very special package waiting for us when we got home! The children ravaged it open as soon as they were in the door… seems we don’t get much mail these days!

Inside a cute ladybug tin were some special hand painted rocks, which had travelled by mail all the way from Berlin, Germany. The lovely Julius had seen our earlier posts about our rock painting endeavours and suggested to his mum Carina, that we could exchange rocks… which of course we were very excited to do!

There was also some gorgeous self striping sock yarn in the package, which I was very excited to see. Thank you Carina and Julius!

One thing I love about blogging is the amazing people you ‘meet’ through shared interests (as an aside nobody in my family understands my love of crafting – my brother often shakes his head and tells me Im an 80 year old woman trapped in a 40 year old’s body!). I have followed Carina and her blog Häkelmonster for the last few (maybe 4 or 5) years and always enjoy seeing what she has been up to. It intrigues me that although we can be half a world apart we can have so much in common, from sock knitting to child raising and much in between.

If you are interested you can read Carina’s post about the rock exchange here and see what our NZ rocks look like 🙂

Have you received any exciting mail recently?

Have a lovely week, friends. Janette xx

Rocking and rolling

DSC_0468Tron rock hiding 5Recently the children have been obsessed with painting rocks. These rocks are decorated and hidden in various parks around our city – Hamilton – for others to find, love and re-hide. Dubbed Tron rocks (colloquially Hamilton is known as the Tron), this simple process has brought much joy to our family.

Tron rocks

And as a result, the win for me, lots of family outings on rock finding and hiding missions!

Tron rock hidingTron rock hiding 2

Which is a win-win I’m sure you will agree.

Tron rock hiding 8Tron rock hiding 3

Somewhat more sedately my crochet project is coming along nicely…

DSC_0476

The motif for this section reminds me of the cheery faced pansies growing in my garden.

Pansy

I’d forgotten how quickly and effortlessly crochet grows, and the colour palette is gorgeous. So bright and uplifting!

Hygge week4

So that’s how we’re rolling here just now, I’ll leave you with this pic of the kiddos and Dad at the balloon ‘night glow’ last weekend. Oh they loved it, all the way from riding their bikes there, all kitted out in high vis with their bike lights on before the sun had even set, to finding friends in the crowds and dancing crazily with their glow sticks. They really were rocking and rolling! Jxo

Balloons 2017

Pizza night and a bunny

The school holidays are coming to an end this weekend, come Monday we’ll be back to the school/work routines. It’s lovely to take the time together to make some meals a special celebration of the season, the holiday and just being together.

We love a pizza in this family, and now that autumn is here and the evenings are fine but cool, it’s the perfect time for cozying up in front of the pizza oven.DSC_0247Ready to come out…
DSC_0211Maia set the table for us, including picking a bunch of autumnal leaves and flowers and making little place setting name tags…DSC_0215Of course, the pizza was delicious… there are never any complaints about eating dinner on pizza night!DSC_0234And as you might have noticed in the first photo, dessert was also cooked over the open flame – well the marshmallows were anyway 🙂DSC_0255If you follow me on Facebook you might have seen that I recently taught Maia to knit. She picked it up really quickly – I’ve tried and tried to teach her to crochet but it just hasn’t stuck – but she’s taken to knitting like a duck to water…13010748_1170263153026284_6216425662650888505_nDon’t you love the look of concentration?

I found this really easy pattern to make a knitted bunny, which is basically just  a square which you sew up in a triangle to make the head and then along the seam to make the body… that doesn’t make much sense, but  you can find a much better explanation here!

Stuffing the body…DSC_0204And sewing the final seam:DSC_0208Love that tongue!

Here’s the finished bunny, cute huh…DSC_0279Pretty nifty how two of the corners make the ears! Im thinking it would work just as well with a crochet square, and even better if you had a furry yarn. She was very pleased with herself, and I am very proud of her yarny creating 🙂

For me, Im working on sock two of my second pair of socks, this pair is MUCH easier than the first was!DSC_0293This is taken this morning, while having breakfast. Green smoothie and blueberry and apple pancake squares… the raspberries have finally finished for the season.DSC_0295Don’t you love the colors, these self striping yarns are awesome!

What’s going on at your place, what are you working on?

Have a great week everyone!
Janette df

The weekend

Summer has drifted slowly into autumn, and although the weather is still warm, we’re well into the cooler season mode. I’m certainly struggling with moving far from home, enjoying the quieter change of pace that the change of season brings.

Autumn mornings are the perfect time for raspberry pancake squares (yes we are still picking raspberries – yum!)DSC_0047
So what did I get up to this weekend?

DSC_0107 (1)Can you spot what’s peaking out from under this beautiful orchid?

Yes I’ve started knitting a pair of socks.

It’s many a year since I’ve knitted, but I’ve seen so many gorgeous socks being produced all over the internet, I decided I would give them a go.

After the initial fiddling and fumbling with the tiny circular needle, no less than 5 starts on the rib(!), and more than a few dropped stitches, I pulled myself together and finished a sock. I’m well into the next one and I’m happy to report that it’s growing on the needles much more smoothly (and quickly ). Im following this most excellent beginner sock tutorial on Winwick Mum.

Don’t you love the lovely self striping sock yarn?

DSC_0101I also spent a few hours on Saturday making a whole new wardrobe for Maia’s Barbie family (interestingly, not one of the them is called ‘Barbie’!)…

DSC_0057Certainly not my favorite dolls, but I’m actually quite proud of how modest,  yet stylish, they turned out! Plus its the only time I’ve made 3 skirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 1 dress and 4 tops in one day. Maia: “You should go into business making Barbie clothes, Mum. They are so much better than the ones they come with.” Thanks love, will keen that in mind if I need to find a new job!

As with most weekends, I also spent some time in the garden. The winter vege garden is in, and while the summer flowers are all but done, there are some pockets of color still holding on…DSC_0076This time of the year I adore the hydrangeas…DSC_0075Their mottled colors are  so beautiful as they dry on the bushes…DSC_0072I know they are probably not for everyone, but to me they are more beautiful now than when they are in early bloom.DSC_0069I will cut them off, but not until they are completely dead (sometime in the middle of winter), for now I enjoy their shabby chic beauty…DSC_0066So that’s what the weekend looked like at our place. What did you get up to? Ever knitted socks? Got any tips to share? ~ J xox

December and January

There isn’t any snow falling, nor fires burning or chestnuts roasting… but our festive season has had a lot of sun, sand and smiles 🙂

Just before Christmas we spent a week at Mt Maunganui, which was glorious!Mt MaunganuiPohutukawa Mt MaunganuiPohutukawa M & CWhile we were there, my baby girl turned 9!Maia turns 9Since Christmas we’ve been for lots of hikes, and even managed some mountain biking. Not to mention plenty of time in the pool.Hiking 2016Hiking 2016 2I always love finding a heart shaped rock!Heart shaped rockHiking 2016 3I’ve spent much time tending my garden… which is looking lush and green thanks to a couple of days of rain this week! garden jan 2016It’s very productive too – artichokes, potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers – I’m impatiently waiting for the tomatoes, they just need to hurry up and ripen! garden jan 2016 2garden jan 2016 3Of course we still have one of these; Christmas tree 2015And there were plenty of presents, and all the usual things you would expect at Christmas – like us all eating more than a reasonable amount of festive-y food!

The summer still has another month or so to go, but work starts again later this week which will be a rude wake up call for those of us that have been lazing around in bed until a very late hour (ie, me!), but I’m sure we will manage to fit in plenty more outdoor activity before the children have to go back to school next month.

maia and janette mtSo my friends, I want to wish you a (little late) but very merry Christmas, and all the very best for a wonderful new year…

What’s happening in your world? What have you been up to?

J xox

Rag Quilt

Yesterday I made a rag quilt for Maia… Rag quilt 2Actually it would be more accurate to say that I sewed it together yesterday. I cut out the squares some time ago but lost interest over the summer in sewing it all together (how unlike me!). So in a marathon effort that even gave me a leave pass from making dinner (excellent ploy to remember for future – sorry I cant tonight I’m up to my eyeballs in sewing which I promised Maia I’d finish today) my most excellent helper and I sewed a gazillion squares – first together (batting sandwiched between slightly larger layers of cotton and flannelette) with big crisscrosses, then in rows and finally all the rows together to form a quite lovely pink and purple, flannel backed raggy quilt.Rag quilt

The beauty of this type of quilt is in the imperfectness of it. I promise you there is not a perfectly uniform square in it, and the rows? They don’t exactly line up. I’m ok with that. I know there are some accomplished quilters out there (Nola I’m looking at you) that will not love this quilt. But I’m going with that its supposed to be rustic (can a quilt be rustic?) and of course if it was all perfect it wouldn’t be gorgeous and raggy!

Today its been through the wash, and flapped on the line in the cool autumn breeze for most of the morning, before heading into the dryer for a spin. Out it came, all fluffy soft and frayed and wonderfully snuggly, just asking to be crawled under and read to. Fortunately I know just the girl for such a quilt 🙂

Rag quiltI think this type of quilt is perfect for beginners (like me), and for those that are not that keen on getting everything perfect (truthfully I’d rather poke a needle in my eye than spend days lining up a gazillion squares and then trying to sew them all together neatly –  I can only imagine how much unpicking that would have involved).  Speaking of which I broke three needles in the one afternoon I was making this. One went through my finger so we can’t really blame that on the layers of quilt – this was slightly traumatic for both me and the 8 year old, but the other two were through pushing them and the machine too hard. If I was to attempt this again (which I may), I would buy some stronger (heavier?) needles.

Construction was pretty simple. I got the idea off the interweb, where there are some particularly helpful people who have made many of these quilts and put together lovely tutorials – like this one, this one and this one.

Aside from the cutting and sewing, a few hours last night was spent snipping all the edges to help them fray. My thumb is going to take some time to recover from all the exercise!Rag quilt 6So that’s that, would I recommend it? Yes? Will I make another??? Hmmmmmmm, we’ll see.

The weather has cooled down significantly here this week, and with it the light is fading, so I took the quilt outdoors to get some photos… supposedly just with Maia and her new quilt…

Rag quilt 5But someone else wanted in on the photo shoot 🙂

Rag quilt 4And now he wants in on a quilt too… PLEEEEAAAASSSSSEEEEE Mummy!

When I sat down at the computer tonight to send this I found a couple of other posts which I had begun which I haven’t got around to posting, so all going well I will get those finished and you will hear from me again soon, but until then I hope you are having a wonderful week friends!

J xoxoxo