free nature mandala*

*those of you who are ancient like me, might get the bad pun in the title…


I love mandala. I often make little ones out of windfalls and flowers, in my backyard or when I’m out and about. I love the idea of art that sits there until the weather scatters it off in all directions. It’s meditative to make, then it goes…perfectly biodegradable art.

Here’s a simple one I made over Easter at Lake Taupo – there wasn’t much around so I had to hunt harder for materials – gorse flowers, pumice, kowhai pods…



For some colourful mandala inspiration, check out my Pinterest board on this topic HERE.





bicycles and raindrops

My lovely friend HELEN bought me back some delicious small pieces of fabric from her trip to Melbourne last year – raindrops, dandelions, bicycles BICYCLES?!! ahhh….yum yum yum…


On the weekend I sewed them into a simple patchwork scarf, using some vintage floral (this was a dress which I thrifted for the fabric) for the back. I love KANTHA style stiching, so I stitched three rows at the bottom of the scarf. scarf_2

It only took about an hour to make, so was quick and satisfying – the way I like my craft!


I am looking forward to wearing it a lot this autumn, sometimes with the bicycles outwards, and sometimes with the floral outwards – depending on what else I am wearing.


Candy Floss Trees


These trees are all in leaf now, but a coupla weeks back we took a walk to the Victoria Esplanade to check out the Cherry Blossoms and they didn’t disappoint. Candy-tufted trees looking all ridiculously Dr. Seuss-like.


I think I’ve mentioned before, Jolie Holland has a song called ‘Springtime Can Kill You’ and I feel like I really went through it this spring, with a long bout of illness which dragged on for almost six weeks….but I’m through the worst of it now and we’ve had some glimpses of summer, and today the wind stopped long enough for me to get the prize plants I posted about yesterday into the garden.


It’s been a year since I finished my job at the library and have been working from home. I do love being able to stop work to go and plant some vegetables or get the laundry in, to be able to deal with life-tasks as they occur to me, not to have to wait to ‘after work’, and in the last couple of months, I’ve put a toe back in the world of activism after a long break…it feels pretty nice to be working with some inspiring people to make the world a better place.

Here’s one thing for sure – each day starts with a long list of tasks and aims and wishes and demands on me…..and when I rest my head on my pillow at the end of the day, I never see the end of that list…..but I am getting much better at living with the endless list and not feeling stressed about it. Life is full. I carry what I can and try to make sure what falls off is nothing too important.

I felt like I got really behind when I was sick, but then a friend said to me ‘Give up the idea you will someday ‘catch up’ with life, if you believe that, you will always feel like a dog chasing it’s tale.’ (I have very wise friends.)

There’s a Buddhist idea that instead of stressing and worrying, we should just turn our attention to today and then do ‘the next right thing’….

….quite often for me, ‘the next right thing’ involves making more tea. (Work-horses need good fuel.)

I’m glad to have made it through another spring!


a wish for you, a wish for me

Recently I saw THIS NECKLACE on etsy and fell in love. I’m going through a bit of a love affair with Dandelion. It’s a mysterious yet common plant – it has manifold healing properties. It is rich in history and symbolism. You can eat all parts of it. You can’t ever kill it off your property. It grows pretty much all around the world. To me, it’s a magical, special plant – I find it sad that people see it as a weed….I love a lot of ‘weeds’.

I thought, ‘maybe one day I will treat myself that necklace’….but then, I was in Spotlight and I saw some small glass bottles with cork lids, and I had an ‘aha’ moment. Why buy dandelion seeds from America when I have them all over my own back yard?

So I bought a couple of the wee bottles, harvested some dandelion seed, poked the seed inside with a knitting needle and voila! dandelion seed necklaces for me and a friend who was having a birthday!




Dandelion seeds represent wishes – I think it’s a nice ‘totem’ to carry a bottle of wishes around your neck through the world.






Dahlia Fan Club, goes into the ground

I’ve planted my first Dahlias! I made a special new bed, just for bulbs and planted two dozen daffodil/earlicheer bulbs along the front of the bed, and dahlias through the centre. I didn’t bother photographing it at this stage, because it would be a photograph of some dirt with punga trunks around it….boring….but I will when things emerge.

Here is what greeted me when I went to the garden centre to look for dahlias. A dahlia bulb wall! So exciting.


Unfortunately, I had the kids with me and they said ‘Can we choose one?’

‘Sure’, I said, inwardly thinking ‘Noooooo! My colour scheme!’

I had planned a bright romp of pinks and oranges, but as it turned out – they chose OK. Not what I would have chosen, but okay…I’m not sure about M’s choice of BROWN (sigh)….but nor did I want to be a ‘Mommie Dearest’ kind of mother who says ‘Sure you can choose one, darling….NOOOO, NOT THAT ONE!!!!’


At $6 a pop, they cost a bit more than I had anticipated, so I am going to be on the look out for tuber-swaps next autumn.

So, anyway, as dahlias have names like roses, we have ‘Edinburgh’, ‘Sparkler’, ‘Nuit D’ete’, ‘Lucky Number’ and ‘Peaches’.

I chose the bottom row, Magnus chose the BROWN and Willoughby the orange. I am particularly excited to see ‘Edinburgh’ in bloom – I think it’s beautiful!


I hope hope hope they bloom big and busy and you can count on the fact there will be manifold photographs here if they do.



new jewels for autumn

(I say ‘jewels’ ironically because I’m not a precious gems person. I’d rather have a new fabric brooch than a BLOOD DIAMOND. )

March means autumn, and autumn means….cardigans! And cardigans means brooches! Brooches are my favourite kind of adornment – they are like tiny artworks which you pin to yourself. I have an extensive brooch collection.

So, here are some new brooches I’ve come by over the summer which I’m looking forward to wearing as the weather gets colder.

This big beauty was made by Rhiannon of Toast Clothing and Croutons. Being a child of the 70s, I feel very comfortable with orange and brown together!


This lovely number I picked up at an op-shop. I am pretty sure it is an early 1980s specimen, as I remember friends of my Mum wearing them:


This one I got for a song, as in not enough to have covered the maker’s labour, from Urban Charm – a wonderful vintage and handmade shop on George St, PN. It will definitely cheer up my winter:


Lastly, this one isn’t new, but I rediscovered it when I sorted through my jewellery box last week. It is made of wool felt by my friend, the poet Maria McMillan. She found an old wartime pattern book for felt flowers. Isn’t it lovely?


And not a brooch, but a necklace – I usually avoid the mall but I was in there shopping for birthday presents for F and, ahem, ending up splurging on a little something for myself – this bunting necklace from LOVISA:


Thanks for indulging me in my Primer One-like ‘show and tell’!

In other news, my youngest son and I reviewed a book for Booksellers Blog – a highly cerebral book called ‘Maisy Grows A Garden’ – you can read the review here. 


a spot o’ sewing

In the interests of clearing out a bit of ‘chi’ in THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN CRAFT, I finished off two skirts I had half-made ages ago (like, years…)

One was a simple wrap skirt, but I used three different fabrics for the three panels (why stick to one??)…two thrifted bits and one piece of new fabric with darling little head-kerchiefed girls on it.

The other one was a simple A-line skirt made from cotton drill, and a beautiful Tui tea-towel my friend HELEN gave me. I thought it was far too nice to dry dishes with.

I embroidered the title of my favourite Dinah Hawken BOOK on it – ‘Oh there you are, tui!’. I can’t see a tui now without saying that line…and she’s so right, you usually hear a tui before you spot it.

But wait, there’s more! Last week I thrifted some wonderful 70s t-shirting for two sweet dollars. It was a real memory trigger – & 70s t-shirting is so very SOFT. There was no mucking around with this one – I wanted that fabric on me! I could see a summer top for wearing under cardigans. I sewed a singlet out of it, just by drawing around a singlet I wear a lot – super easy peasy!

It was good to finish off some abandoned projects and get back into the crafting groove, but mostly I remembered how I don’t much like sewing for myself. The finished items are never as good as I envisioned them and so I think these will be the last things I sew for myself for a while.