receptacles, ted hughes and a pony

Happy spring!

*cue ubiquitous Daffodil photograph*

I took this photograph at Mount Lees Reserve which was a-romp with daffodils. I don’t even like daffodils! but they are eye-catching en masse….


Here is a recent op-shopping haul:


I’ve been looking for some kind of baskety receptacle for when I pick things out of the garden – this basket is perfect, big enough and sturdy enough. You can expect to see a lot of it as I take yet more photographs of stuff what I grew.

A great little tool box, which still smells like a grandad’s shed – kind of smokey and engine oil-y…I’m going to keep embroidery cottons and tools in it in a nice feminine/masculine mash-up.

A book of essays by Ted Hughes about writing poetry. Fantastico! The sort of book which is impossible to find in book shops…plus it has a lovely fox on the front, The Thought Fox perhaps?

A pretty top for summer. I buy less and less clothing these days, op-shop or otherwise, but I find it hard to walk past a small-scale floral on a dark background…

& A little horse posey vase, for a friend who loves horse-kitsch.


If you, like me, get a vicarious thrill from reading about other people’s op-shop finds…do I have the blog for you! OP SHOP MAMA. A New Zealand lady who op-shops til she drops in Hamilton. I love her blog partly because I enjoy seeing what she got and partly because she buys so much stuff she makes me feel better about my own modest-in-comparison magpie habits. These days I op-shop monthly rather than weekly and am heaps more selective about what I bring home, partly because I’m trying to save money and partly because I’m heading more towards simple living….less is more….zen yada-yada. So yes, I read Op Shop Mama and it’s like op-shopping without the actual parting with cash or then trying to figure out what to do with the random stuff I just bought…. 😉




three things from recent days

1. The women who come to my yoga class are all naturally generous, thoughtful souls and every week someone brings plants to share, or bags of clothes, or magazines to pass on…and last week Barbara bought me this wonderful 1960s cloth from her home country of Germany. I love it, thanks Barbara! Yoga classes grow community!


2. I like the way my local cafe, The Joseph Street Kitchen, looks to be 80% plant, 20% building at the moment.


3.  It’s too late to be growing basil probably but I couldn’t resist trying and am hoping to keep them alive by moving them inside as the weather cools. Is there anything cuter than baby basil?


What do you think of the new blog banner? It’s part of one of my journal scans – the message is from a hilarious 1930s detective novel.

mattress textiles lately

I might have been gadding about enjoying summer lately but it doesn’t mean the mattress project has stopped! Here are some recently spotted mattress textiles:

mat_2 mat_1


My favourite of this batch is that last one – the rose is wonderfully bright and then look at that insane background – turquoise, hot pink, gray….woah!  There’s even a white paisley in there. Love it.

You can see the whole ‘Mattresses in Second Hand Shops’ pool of photographs 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.

sunny side up

Here’s the latest of my ‘mattresses in op-shops’ finds – a sunny 70s floral. The bathroom of my childhood home had wallpaper very similar to this. 70s florals are like an instant time-travel to being a kid again for me.

My flickr group of mattress photos is slowly growing, come and play HERE if you want to…

I invited lots of my my american flickr friends to the group, but one of them reported sadly that american op-shops don’t sell mattresses because of hygiene laws….can anyone stateside confirm that this is the case?

My favourite photo in the pool so far is THIS ONE by talented local photographer Megan Young.


It’s Mother’s Day and I just got a card with a ‘delightful’ drawing of a cute bunny with a dagger through it’s head from my 11 year old – aaah boy-humour. He also baked me a banana-cake with chocolate icing. I love that my hard work teaching him to cook all these years is paying off and he can now independently bake cakes! He gave it to me at about 7.30am and said ‘Can we eat it now?’. Um, no.

I might as well have eaten cake for breakfast, mind you, because then I got presented with a stack of pancakes with banana and home-made raspberry jam.

Lucky, lucky life.

Big ups to all the mothers out there.*

(* I crack myself up trying to do white-girl street speak.)

harvest weekend

It was a big harvest weekend in the garden – I did a lot of garden/kitchen stuff which I will tell you about over this week.

Here’s a start: I pulled all the dying summer crops out of our biggest garden bed – all the tomato plants, harvested the pumpkins, the last celery, lettuces going to seed, picked some corn for dinner.

Then I weeded the whole bed and gave it a deep feed of my Dad’s magical fish-guts fertiliser, dried blood and sheep poo. Gosh, it’s a glamorous business, gardening. By the end of all that I was covered in dirt and stunk pretty bad.

After a wash, a cup of tea and a sit down, I wandered down the street to the supermarket which has a great selection of Awapuni nursery seedlings – came home, planted stuff for winter: brussel sprouts, spring cabbages, leeks, spring onions, beetroot, more silverbeet and moved some self-seeded purple kale from the backyard to the vege garden. It looks pretty unimpressive right now – but I’m hoping to have a terrific mid-winter-garden photo to compare it to in a few months time:

Roasted some pumpkin to to made soup:

Here are some of the other pumpkins – they look a bit mutant because they are self-seeded ones out of the compost so they probably cross-pollinated or something – but they are still entirely edible, even if they wouldn’t win any rosettes at an A&P show! There are another six still growing around the bottom of the corn, so we are going to be eating a lot of pumpkin:

After being so covered in dirt in my gardening threads most of Saturday, on Sunday I felt the need to wear something pretty, so out came my bloomers and sari-skirt – however, I ended up wandering out to the garden again late morning and next thing I know, I have a trowel in my hand and my bloomers have big grass stains on the knees and then I ripped my skirt on a nail. Proof that a) no matter what I start out in, I always end up looking a wreck and b) wear ridiculous clothing when you garden at your peril!

But who cares? The garden got a heap of loving, it was grand for my body and soul and I have enough kitcheny/gardeny tales to tell from the weekend to last me through the week. Hoorah!