Monthly Archives: March 2014



i have finished my first large cross stitch project for about 25yrs!. i’m stoked with it!.


this is Little House Neighbourhood, by Little House Needleworks. begun on the 6th August 2013, and finished on 31st March 2014.

i’m not going to start my next big piece til May, so i can catch up on the Christmas ornaments – i have 3 to do!.


two things……


i’m trying really hard to meet my self imposed deadline of finishing the neighbourhood by the end of the month = monday!. i’ve sat and had a couple of really good sessions on it this week and i think i may be able to make it after all.

this is where i ended today – the border meets up at the top as well!. massive phew!.


all thats left is the leaves on the tree, the second woman and a basket beside her, then the remaining leaves and flowers around the border. i’m going to need to buy another skein of thread for all the leaves. the pattern doesnt say you need two skeins, but i’m going to need another one!.

the other thing to report today, that i’m a little giddy about is this plant to add to my small but growing stock pile of self reliance plants for the future. its a pine nut tree!. for some reason this morning i was thinking about looking into growing pine nuts, and low and behold, when i took my mother to a garden centre, there they were!. on top of that, the price was reduced at the till, so i saved money!. my mother thought i was bonkers!!.



i’m reading Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel at the moment, and i think thats where the idea for being prepared came from, re the pine nuts!.

plus, i am bonkers really!!.

hexagon blanket.


so, yesterday i had planned to spend some time playing with the hexagon shapes i’d crocheted thus far. when i went to my crochet bag, this is what i discovered!.

the resident furbaby has discovered the properties of wool – both warmth and fun, and was having a lovely time. i even got skewered when i tried to rescue my bag.

eventually i was able to collect up the shapes and put them  back in the bag!.

so, you get an idea of some of the colours, and how much i’ve done over the course of a week – not heaps, cos i want to finish the cross stitch by the end of the month (not looking likely at the moment!)

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i’m working on a set of green currently and then a set of white. if i can get into my stash of wool in the boxes in the garage, i hope to add some blue as well.

i have no idea how many hexis i’m going to need until i start joining up what i’ve done so far. i will do that once i have a set of all the colours i’m planning on using.

treasures and crafting.


while i was in Wanaka, i took a walk down the main shopping street. i came across a charity shop and headed inside. what a lovely surprise. so far in CHCH i’ve only found charity shops with clothing, no homewares to speak of. in Wanaka the shop had everything and plenty of everything. i spent a good while poking through the homeware section and ended up leaving with 2 items!.

this flannel sheet, billed as a double, but i’m not convinced. however, it was $3 and in great condition!.


this caught my eye and i spent the entire time in the store walking round with it under my arm incase someone else picked it up while i was deciding if it was worth $10!. i decided it was. its the best part of 12″ tall and has ‘Eastman Kodak Co, R0chester NY’ on it. from the days when photos had to developed in a dark room with chemicals. it will make a good vase as well as add to my collection of glass.


Back in CHCH, i was running some errands with my father when we passed a RSA market. the RSA is Returned Services Association, doing good for all our servicemen and women. so we stopped and i picked up this very pretty pair of sheets for $2. again in great clean condition. wished i’d gone over the rest of the pile better!.


on the crafting front, i haven’t gone back to the Christmas ornament per month stuff yet. i will catch up once i finish the neighbourhood. i’ve started the hexis for my new crochet blanket. now the rugby season has started here and in the evenings, i can get about 6 or 7 of these made per game. its slow going cos i have to keep checking the counting and fend off a ginger furbaby who thinks wool is fun!. the first F1 GP ended up being too interesting for me to crochet, but in future i’ll get plenty done during a race as well.



i would say the neighbourhood is 85% complete now. i finished the last house at the weekend. no more 712( the framing for the windows – may have the number wrong!) on light fabric – arrgh!. i have another woman, tree and bird i think, to complete on the left part of the top row, then the remaining border. i should be able to get this done by my self imposed deadline of the end of March. the red house looks wonky in this picture, but it isnt really – its just cos of the way i’ve had the fabric folded as i stitch.




i hope all my northern hemisphere friends are beginning to feel the effects of spring – more sunshine and the temperatures rising! (as we begin to feel the effects of autumn!). i loved noticing the light change when i lived in London, as well as seeing all the bulbs beginning to poke their heads thru the ground.

Paradise found!


a week ago i was walking along Lake Wanaka, and loving every minute of it!. i took a mountain of photos of the trip down to Central Otago. i’d never been to this part of NZ before!. i loved every minute of it and want to move down there permanently!. i have ancestors from this area, although we didn’t go hunting any this trip. the purpose of this trip was for my mother to spend time with a 91yr friend summering in NZ from the UK. its highly unlikely when she leaves we wont see her here again, she’s so frail now.

i have selected a few photos from the week away. enjoy!!.

this is the Church of the Good Shepard on Lake Tekapo.


Mt Aspiring, not often and easily seen due to cloud cover.


Lake Wanaka

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billed as the most photographed tree in NZ on the shore of Lake Wanaka. i was staying in a house just behind the trees to the left in this photo.


just to demonstrate how clear the water is!.


Glendu Bay. look how blue that water is!.


i was taken for a drive into one of the valleys behind Glendu Bay. eventually the road ends at a river gorge and becomes private. beyond is a high country station once owned by Shania Twain, and now held by her ex husband. through that land an extreme race is run, the Motatapu. the participants run or cycle over the ranges/mountains from here to Arrowtown on the other side!. not for the faint hearted!. as we were heading out we spotted this rocky outcrop that appealed to us, so photos were taken!.


i went on a road trip to Arrowtown and Queenstown, via the Crown Range road – the highest road in NZ!. This is the view from one of the lookouts, looking down the Shotover river over Queenstown airport to the town and Lake Wakatipu.


we hit Arrowtown first, and i have to admit to being a touch emotional when we rounded the corner and saw this routemaster. i’ve used the no.12 route many times during my time in London.


Arrowtown is famous now for its preserved history and setting. in the autumn the leaves all turn and its just beautiful. i was a few weeks too early to experience that. the town itself dates back to the gold rush in NZ in the mid 1800’s. these are original workers cottages on the main street.


then we went onto Queenstown. because the day was so clear i went up in the gondola from where i snapped these couple of pics of the town and lake.

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while i was waiting for my ride, i had a wander around an old cemetery. lots of lovely craved headstones, and i was struck  by the amount of Irish buried there. Central Otago is often thought of as having Scottish heritage.


another day trip….this is Lake Hawea, which is next to Lake Wanaka.


Lake Dunstan, which is a man made lake. at certain times of the day if the water is still you can get great reflections on the water.


this is the Clutha river at Cromwell, another historic town we visited.


on the way down we stopped at Lake Pukaki where if shes cooperating, you can see Aoraki Mt Cook, NZ’s highest mountain. going down, she was completely hidden to water level by cloud, but on the way home you could see a little more. so that’s Mt Cook with the cloudy veil!.



this is a beautiful part of the world and i hope to return again.

I quit sugar…..sort of!


a month ago i made the decision to begin taking sugar out of my diet completely. quite timely as it turns out, given the WHO has halved the amount of sugar an adult should have it their diet.

i’ve had mostly good days, and some bad days. i’ve lost the sugar cravings, and if i do have something sweet, i dont need much. i have fallen off the wagon a bit – one particularly bad day involved half a packet of  sweets, that resulted in a chronic headache and vomiting within hours!. 1/2 a packet!. in the old days that would have been nothing!.

i’ve had no chocolate bars at all – just the odd bit of chocolate on a cake or slice. when i made the decision to do this, i brought a bag of mini boxes of smarties, and i havent touched them!. my plan was to use them to wean off sweet things – one box a day, then every other day, but i managed to do it without needing to do that.

my biggest problem is finding filling lunches, so i have no mid afternoon snack quandries.

when i’ve fallen off the wagon, i havent beat myself up about it, just got straight back on and got on with it.

my plan is to keep sugar out of my diet but if i want to bake, or i visit someone and they offer cake, i will have a small piece. i’m going to try a few recipes from a sugar free cookbook that has baking in it and see how they are. they replace sugar with better alternative like stevia.

i also need to up the exercise routine. while i was in Wanaka, i was walking by the lake a few times which was lovely. now back at home, i need to start walking round the block and get that into gear.

in other news –

i’m working through 300 photos of my trip away and hope to do a post in a few days.

i’ve finalised my crochet blanket pattern and added a few new colours to the mix. i’m looking forward to getting starting, and am hyped the F1 season is about to start – grand prix are great crocheting events!.

Bonsai at the Ellerslie Flower Show 2014


in my second post about the flower show, i wanted to just share pictures of the bonsai i took. i really think i am going to give this a go. once i’m back from my trip away i shall get a few books out from the library and find out more.

most of these photos show plants that are over 25yrs old, so its not an instant hobby!, but if i start now, i’ll have something pretty to take to my rest home, lol!.

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