Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Brief Year in Review - 2011

As I come to the end of this year there doesn’t seem to be a lot to look back on that has been positive, and maybe that’s why I still carry this whole bar humbug feeling. The big things for the year for me where my hometown of Christchurch New Zealand falling to the ground on Feb 22nd. While I haven’t lived in the city for nearly 10yrs, a lot of the buildings that were destroyed or subsequently demolished are part of my history…..buildings I cycled past as a school girl at Rangi, or drove past as a Plunket Karitane. The headquarters of my job there was demolished….it had started life as the city’s fire station. It still upsets me to this day about home, and has made the pull to return very strong. I find the idea of being part of the rebuild very appealing. The other big change happened in the summer….the Captain who had been in my life for the best part of the previous 2 yrs left for good, and with him went my car. My trusty old Volvo finally gave up the ghost and the Captain couldn’t keep it on the road any longer so the decision to scrap was made, and with that the Captain scrapped himself also!. Due to the loss of the car, I ended up giving up my allotment. The round trip on the bus was up to 1 1/2hrs, and with no loos on site, didn’t leave much time to get much done and it started to become overgrown. I left my shed and polytunnel to 2 of the fellas who I chatted to the most and feel happy about that decision. I have some pots of berry canes on the patio here as well as some leeks. Until I know what I am doing I shall keep the canes alive!. Finally, at the beginning of the month dear wee Robbie was put to sleep, a much loved and cerished family member. The positives…..I learnt to crochet!. I made a cushion cover and a scarf, and am trying to make a woollen blanket….probably for next winter!, since this one is half way thru!. And that’s all I can think of as a positive!. I have a tough 5mths ahead of me until I can move into a place on my own, then I hope my spirits will left and normal service will return. Until then, I imagine the posts on this blog will be few and far between, I simply don’t have much to say at the moment and am not churning out much in the way of crochet!. Despite my bar humbug-ness, I wish the few of you who read this a very Happy New Year, and hope all you wish for, for the new year come true for you xx

Sunday, December 11, 2011


On friday back home in NZ one of our family cats had to be put to sleep as he had developed an incurable tumour and deteriorated very quickly. he was a lovely cat, if somewhat of a fruitcake!. we believe he was inbred at the cattery!. he was a ragdoll, the last of 3 my family had, and he last 14yrs. he thought he was a dog and adored my father, following him around constantly. my last memory of being with him is back in feb/mar when i went home following the earthquake. towards the end of my visit he had to go to the vet to have a tooth extrated. so he wasnt allowed breakfast that morning....well did he grovel for africa!. he gave up on my parents pretty quickly and came into me and headbutted me, kissed my cheek, purred loudly, 'talking' to me.....everything to try and convince me to feed him!. i kept saying i couldnt!. so wee rob, sleep well in heaven and give rosie and henry a big snuggle from me

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Suffering a lack of Christmas spirit this year!.

I'm finding it very hard to get into the festive spirit this year....i dont even have an advent calender i realised yesterday!. I started making the cover for my JYC this year, but have decided not to do an album this year, mostly due to how i'm feeling. so, i'm ahead for next year.....cover made, supplies brought!. lets just hope there is more festive joy next year!. I'm putting this lack of feeling down to my living arrangements.....i'm not happy where i live at the moment, for a variety of reasons i wont share publicly. I'm also working 6 day weeks at the moment to get students finished before Christmas, and i'm just knackered. i havent done much crochet lately either...although, i have started a granny stripe scarf which i hope to finish over the next few weeks. my blanket is currently up to 12 squares and i have restocked the wool, so once this crazy week has finished, i will get back into that, and also finding out about blocking it so i can start joining the squares up!. So, thats where i'm at.....not much to say, not much to show, not much at all!!.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

a tour of the red zone

I came across this video tour this morning, and it shows the route the bus tours will take thru the center of town starting this weekend at home. this is the first time alot of people will have had access to the CBD since Feb22, and 9mths on, you can see just how much of the city landscape has changed. all the vacant lots held buildings. its so very sad. if you do watch it, at the start of the tour, the red Plunket building....that was my HQ for my job in Christchurch....i visited that building 3-4 times a week to deliver paperwork, collect paperwork, attend sad to hear it has to be demolished. I read on FB that someone said the building was Christchurchs original fire station!. in other news, i head into my mid 40's tomorrow....time is marching on. i feel a little sad about this weekend....the Captain has featured in my last 2 birthdays and this year he will not.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

all in all it's been a good day!.

well, after the excitement of this morning, i have had a very productive afternoon, and have completed my second crochet project!. nope, not the circle blanket!. I decided to make a scarf from some angora mohair i got at the knit and stitch show at the beginning of the month. I had a look on raverly but there was to much choice!, then i remembered a scarf in a book i have that is for beginner( i.e me!). so i spent the afternoon sitting on the bed in the sunshine crocheting!. the mohair went from this.....
to this......
to this.......
once i began winding it, i decided i didn't really like the colours after all, and that reveal pic, makes it very salmony - partly thats the artifical light, but also its not far off!. so i'm not sure if i'll keep it or put it in the xmas pile!. also today, i managed to get my bedlinen and towels washed and dried on the line outside for what is probably the last outside drying day of the year.

Oh Yes!!

New Zealand won the rugby world cup.......epic!. one very happy and proud kiwi here!. but bloody hell, what a hard won game!. so many tears of relief after!. and some very touching moments.....the wee lad in the red and black of Canterbury, and all the boys hugging a very sick Jock Hobbs....a great son of Canterbury rugby. he can pass over now, seeing the cup come home, bless him.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

update on the pinterest meal.....

well, i had one of the meals i put in the freezer last night, from the meal i made last week from a recipe on pinterest. it freezes fine for me....i had no problem with it and it was still just as yummy!. this recipe is definately going to be something i make on a regular basis, especially as it then gives me meals in the freezer that dont need anything more cooked for it.....perfect for coming home late. just thaw them out and zap them and you're good to go!. all in all a great result, and i shall now be looking at what else i have on my food board!.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I cooked a pinterest meal!!

well, since i've been happily using pinterest, i decided it was time to actually do something from one of my pins. So i decided to cook myself a meal. it's called Baked Penne with Chicken, Brocolli and Smoked Mozzarella. i've shared the link to the site it comes from rather than pinterest cos its playing up for me at the moment. Anyway, back to the meal......YUM!!!. it was lovely!. i halved the recipe and then played a little with the quanities to fit with what we can buy here in the UK. i used normal mozzarella as i'm not sure we can get smoked here....well, certainly not in Sainsburys!. i have got 3 spare portions!, so have put 2 in the freezer to test how it will freeze and will have the other portion tomorrow night!. A big success as far as i'm concerned!. P.S, i'm unimpressed with blogger at the moment. i try to have paragraphs and lines between changes in topics, but when it publishes its all in one big block!. rude words!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

the picture post!.

so i've been pottering around today, avoiding overheating myself like yesterday!. i'm not sure today was as hot as yesterday. heres some views from the day. i mowed the lawn, hoping its the last time this year!. while i enjoy doing it, i dont like using an electric mower!.
i may have ordered a couple of things online this week....things for this years JYC
and 2 books from the editors of one of my favourite magazines in the world....USA Country Living.
making progress with the crocheting....have got several circles made now, so this week on the bus, i shall try the squaring off and see how that works!.
if you look closely i may have a few blueberries to round off the growing year!.
part of my new ''allotment'' aka the back patio!. in this photo are the 2 pots of leeks, my blueberries....1 big pot, and 2 small, which i will transplant in a month or 2, and my blackcurrant i dug up from the allotment.
i may also get a raspberry!!.
the other half of my ''allotment''...3 varieties of raspberries, and my boysenberry. regarding the raspberries....i dug up 2 canes of each variety, so i have a backup plan if one cane doesnt like the transplant!. i'm going to see if i can find an early pic of the boysenberry from 3 years ago....its certainly grown. its the sad looking plant on the left of the pic....i had watered all the bags of canes last night when i got in, but the boysenberry didnt have enough roots in the water so packed a sad. its had a good water when i potted it up, so fingers crossed it will be fine.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Goodbye plot 21

Well, today i went up to the allotment for the last time, to collect some bits and make sure that those who are taking things, know they can start doing it. I brought back my blue berries, blackcurrant, boysenberry, and raspberry canes of 3 varieties. i also potted up my leek seedlings and brought those back so i can have fresh leeks in my risotto!. I also harvested the last of the beans, potatoes and tomatoes. it was far to hot to be digging up stuff but today was my last real chance to do it, without things getting stressful!. it said it was 29degrees outside, in the car that brought me home!. I loved my allotment, and if i still had the car, i would have kept it, or maybe reduced the size. but without the car its 2 bus rides and with no loos onsite, there isnt much time to get anything done before you have to think about going home to the loo!. I learnt that i want to grow my food!. I learnt that i really need to do that in my own backyard, so i can potter for a little while whenever i want, and not have to plan a trip!. I learnt that tomatoes fare better in the tunnel rather than outside.....i've never had success with them outside in the 3yrs i had the plot, but this year, with no help from me, they have done better. I will miss the people i chatted to while i was there, but i am looking forward to half a day extra at the weekends now as well!. so, there we have allotment experience is over....thank you plot21 xx

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Care Package from Home.

Yesterday i received this little pile of goodies from home....oh how i love to get care packages, with tastes from home, bits of newspaper, and in this package woolly socks and something very special. this is what i got....btw, in the background, you can see the boxes of chocolate i have received lately from students who've passed their course!. i'm not short of choccie at the moment!!.
snuggly woolly socks for the winter!
fruit puffs to make lolly cake, and shrewburys.....which i'm not ashamed to say, have almost gone!!
love love love chokitos!!. these were brought in Australia, cos they arent readily avaliable in NZ anymore, taken back to CHCH and then sent to me!
mmmm......jaffa thins....i save these to last!.
perky nanas...banana flavoured choc bars!.
black knight it!
and finally, these beautiful earring with huge sentimental value. they are designed after the now destroyed rose window of the Christchurch Catherdral. apparently they are limited edition, so i'm thrilled my mum thought to get me some, i just love them and what they represent.
right.....what shall i eat next?!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


What a game!!! of the most exciting games i've seen in a long time!!!. Ireland beating Australia!!!!!!.....something that doesnt happen everyday, and for this kiwi, simply fantastic!. After my beloved NZ, i do actually support Ireland. I've had a long standing love affair with Ireland since i was introduced to an Irish pub in south London 20 odd years ago. I love the country, i love the music and i have even been known to love the odd Irishman for good measure!. (i'll leave you to decide if the Irishman was actually odd, or not!!, or i mean a couple!). So yesterday morning i got settled on the sofa, praying that the Irish would keep in touch on the scoreboard and it wouldnt be the whitewash, that it could be, given Australia are the second best side in the world (after NZ!!). By the end of the game i was jumping up and down in the living shouting, clapping and cheering them on. I knocked the laptop off the side of the sofa, which knocked over a glass of drink, which went flying and shattering glass all over the floor!!. the laptop survived, but i bent the broadband dongle!. thankfully that still works, but is at an odd angle!. I was over the moon.....just brilliant!!. And cos the game was so exciting, i didnt do any crochet!. So this morning i got up and watched the end of one game and the French v Canada game and got 2 more squares made!!. I'm loving this new pattern...i pretty much have it in my head now and dont have to refer to the written instructions often. I have 6 squares now, so need to crank it up a bit if i'm to have a full blanket by the end of the year!!. I'm going to have to come up with a way of being able to do it on the bus, and i think the answer is to do the circle part at home where you have to fasten off every row, and do the squaring off part on the bus cos it only needs one colour of wool and no fastening off til you finish the square. then do a couple of complete ones at the weekend!. We'll see how that plan works out!!.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Giddy with excitement!

for some strange reason i find i have more creative flow when theres a sports match on the telly.....dont ask me why?!!. its always been the case, and today was no exception. I showed you last night what i had done...that is, the white edged square. this morning thru to about 2pm i parked myself on the sofa with my wool beside me, my laptop on the arm rest and away i went!. Ireland v USA, one square completed....took most of the game, cos i had to remind myself of the squaring process, and the double treble stitch which i hadnt done before. Wales v South Africa, next square done mostly in the first half, so speeding up some. btw.....Wales played bloody fantastically and deserved to win....TMO for penalty kicks please!!. Then the Italian Grand Prix, (go Jenson!!), and i got the 3rd square for today completed. then i stopped cos i was beginning to get crocheted out!. so i photographed them instead!!. so here we are, the 4 squares so far towards a nice woolly blanket for the winter!. size wise, they are about 8" x 8".

Saturday, September 10, 2011

new project on the hook!.

Since i finished the bloomin flower cushion, i've been looking round for a new project. I pretty much knew i wanted to make a blanket, and had started some smaller squares for it, that i could do on the bus. then i came across a blog with a great blanket and tutorial and decided to make that my next project. I took a trip to a yarn shop and brought 5 colours. Each square uses 4 colours, but i decided that i would add a 5th colour to the next so that the blanket doesnt become to repetitive. It should also give me 20 different combinations for each square!. I ahev photographed the progress since i started this late this afternoon, but the last couple of photos were taken at night, so i will redo them on the next square in the day time. when you look at the completed square, refer back to the colours in top posts to get an better idea of what it really looks like. the colours-
the first 4 rounds-
the first corner made-
the completed square-

Sunday, September 4, 2011

photos from fri, sat and sunday

Friday was spent cooking food for the freezer. I cooked mums curry chicken and my bolognese sause. Anyone else do the last piece of carrot as you chop?!. I think its a throw back to growing up - i remember mum used to eat the carrot as she chopped and she always offered us some!.
I love looking outside seeing my clothes on the washing line in the sunshine....nothing better!.
Saturday was spent watching the rugby from NZ in the morning (yay! Canterbury winning the national title!!). after that i was surfing the net and getting to grips with Raverly, and came across a tutorial for a xmas tree, so had a go!. was pretty easy to follow and took about half an hour to make.
Then today....i've been a lazy mare!. I'm not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow so needed to take my mind off it for a while, so decided to crack on with LSNED and get up to date!. I've made notes each day so far, but hadnt even finished the cover, so this afternoon i have done it all!. I've created this little craft space in my room, and it has lots of light and the outside world to look at, so hopefully the creative spark will be lit here!.
heres the cover
and a look at how its sitting inside the cover at the moment
WOW!, i've never posted so many photos in one go!.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I ate a blue potato!

.....and i liked it!. in fact, its just the same as eating a normal potato once you get over the fact that its blue!. not only did i eat it, i also grew it!!.
So, this week i have been on holiday. I've had a major clean of my bedroom, packing some stuff up that isnt used and making space for some creativity, since i joined Shimelles, 'Learn something new every day'. I've been up to the allotment once, and saw the 3rd bloke i wanted to see about taking some of my stuff. There have really only been 3 men i've talked to there and they are the ones i want to have first pickings, so i'm pleased now all 3 know i'm going and seem keen at accept anything on offer. I shall go back tomorrow and do a few wind chores like empty pots. The guy i saw on tuesday offered me some of his runners, so i hope i can grab some tomorrow, then i might put a bag full in the freezer for the winter. this little pile is what i've grown this year...theres more on the vines.
This month, as i mentioned, i'm doing Shimelles online class called 'Learn something new every day'. All i've done so far is make a space to work at, paint some chipboard, and cut the covers to size!. I was thinking of just doing it on my blog, but it wont be as much fun!. i wonder how long i can keep up with it!. It might be a case of making notes during the week, and doing the pages at the weekend!.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Menu Planning & Batch Cooking

Today i am on holiday....well for the rest of the week actually!. I went to the allotment this morning and despite my neglect have managed to bring home potatoes, beans, tomatoes and 3 blueberries!. oh, and the potatoes are blue!. i'll take a piccie of them later on!.

This afternoon i have been working on a master shopping list and blank monthly menu planner, because i'd like to get to the point of having say 6 monthly menus planned, with accompanying shopping list, so that i just pick a menu, pull off the shopping list, add any extras and away i go. I'm hoping it saves me some money(meal planning usually does) and stops me from having rubbish dinners when i dont know what to cook, havent taken anything out of the freezer, and am to tired to cook. I've used plans before... here we've tried fortnightly and monthly, but didnt stick to it long enough to evaluate.
I'm planning on doing a whole load of batch cooking and put lots of single portion meals into the freezer that are either a meal in their entirity, or just need pasta or rice cooked to go with it.
I'm going to try a new recipe each month to expand what i usually cook, so that i can take a break from a regular recipe one month, cos there is enough variety to choose from. I did this recently with my bolognese- i hadnt made it for a while, and then made some last month and it was yum!. i'm making a double batch for Sept, and resting the chilli recipe!.
I'm thinking this process is going to take me a few months to pull together, but i look forward to feeds the organiser in me!!.
Who menu plans, how do you do it, and any tips?!.

Friday, August 26, 2011

the beauty of nature

took this photo this evening out the back of the house.....if you look closely, theres a second rainbow to the left of the main one. unfortunately i havent captured the intensity of the was really quite bright.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1st flat.....

I was looking on one of the forums i visit this morning, and came across a thread about 1st homes. i decided to add to it, and also decided to copy what i wrote to here in order to remember....

this flat was in Catford, St London and i lived there from 2003-2005.
its interesting that i read this thread this morning, as i've just finished looking at a mini book i made in 2006 featuring the place i consider my 1st home....where i lived on my own, no flatmate, no housesitting, no parents!.
i rented it for 3 yrs, it was on the 4th floor of a purpose built block along train lines in south London...the kitchen window looked out over the yards. when i moved in, it had been painted an 'attractive' mix of bright blue and neon pink....i have a photo somewhere of a small wall that was badly painted down the middle with the blue on one side and pink on the other!!. I managed to get the landlord to repaint it for me into magnolia!! made a huge difference to the light levels!.
i moved in with hand me downs....a mattress(that i still use) and a tv and my suitcase. over the time, i was given a sofa(long gone!), poof, and dressing table(still got both these items from Amanda)....the sofa had 'roll together!!'. the flat had great storage in the bedroom, so all my clothes were able to be stored properly.
I brought my first piece of UK furniture during that time....which sits beside me now as i type. it is a vintage cane table that i saw from the bus to and from a maternity nursing job i had in 2003. i was in that job for 6 weeks and passed the table twice a week on my 24hrs off. i decided on the way back to work for the last time that if the table was still there when i went home at the end of the job, i would go buy it. it was!. so the next day i got the bus to the shop, negotiated a better price! and then got a cab home with it.
I loved being on the 4th floor....didnt need nets, so lots of light and sun. great memories....the building being hit by lightning in the big storms of 2003...blew all my electricals along one wall only!, tv and dvd player. the computer was covered by insurance, and since the tv and dvd were handme downs, it wasnt so bad, other than i had to fork out for new ones!.
great memories!!.

from this flat i moved to St Albans....another place i really enjoyed living in, even if i was only there for 9mths!. Then onto Enfield, since late 2005.
I will have to try and find some photos to add for this flat, plus write about the one on St Albans to keep the memory alive.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Here it is, in all its glory, my very first ever crochet project, completed thanks to the superb tutorial by Lucy at Attic24
At the bottom is the cushion i brought off ebay for less than £3 inc postage, that i put inside. it turned out to be slightly oval rather than round, so i just did an extra row to make sure it wasnt overly stretched going round the cushion. Next time(!) i do this, i will take the cover off the cushion once i get it, as you can definately see the pink thru the stitches, but it doesn't distract from the piece...i just know its there!.

Thank you Lucy for you brilliant have taught me to crochet thru your excellent pictures and explanations.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First crochet project completed!

I started the bloomin flower cushion on the 23rd of July and finished it this evening. I only worked on it at evenings until today, when i decided to take the back on the bus to see if i could get it nearer to finishing. Thanks to the 'jolly' road works on the north circular, i was able to do 2 rounds, and when i got to work and measured it against the front(that i'd taken for show n tell!!), i realised i only needed to do the final round of petals on the back. Luckily i had taken 3 colours of yarn with me, so on the journey home i got the petals done!. then this evening after dinner, i joined it up....after having a bit of an argument with the slip stitch instructions!. finally understood what i had to do, and joined it up!!.
Sadly its to dark to take completed photos, so i will do that tomorrow night or saturday!!.
I'm so chuffed with myself!!.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm getting the hang of this crochet lark.....

So, since i have cracked the code, i've been crocheting all over the place...on the bus, at the cricket!!. Last week i tried making some granny squares on the bus. At the start of the week i could do 2 rounds of a 3 round granny, and by friday i could do a whole square plus the start of the next one. I did take photos of my pile so far, but the lighting was wrong, so that 'show-n-tell' will have to wait!.

The bloomin flower cushion is almost done....i did 3 more rounds after work tonight, and reckon theres only 3 rounds to go, plus joining the 2 sides together. I have included a somewhat blurry photo as a tease!!.

Then one evening last week, i pulled out a vintage Patons pattern book i brought of ebay a few months back and flicked thru, and came across these flowers and decided to update them with some funky colours. I've only made the 2 so far, cos i dont actually know what i'll do with them yet!.

The sultana cake i made sunday week ago is just about gone, and is still as yummy today as it was when it was first made. will have to do some more baking this weekend!. I'm thinking, in light of this new hobby of crochet, that maybe i'll make some afghans....which will only mean something to the kiwi folk!!. (Afghan is a name for a crochetted throw, as well as being a yummy kiwi choccie biccie....and a war torn country!).