so I went op-shopping again…

Yes, you can take the clutter away from the girl, but you can’t keep the girl out of the op-shops. To be fair, where I used to op-shop weekly (even daily when I had a small baby I needed to walk to to sleep in the pram and we lived two blocks from an excellent op-shop) – I’m now go perhaps once every two months. I enjoy it a lot more for going a lot less, too.

It had been so long since I went, I had a great time. I saw an old mattress base with this incredible 50s fabric on it, which I didn’t buy but photographed for your enjoyment:

I bought some very useful work-clothes in the op-shop’s half-price sale and I also bought these sweet, and useful Agee jars. I’ve never seen the little lidded ones before. I have a soft-spot for Agee jars – they were always what bottled peaches and plum jams came in when I was a kid and people used to preserve more. I love the old-fashioned font – it might say ‘Agee’ but it says ‘Happy’ to me.

& they make sweet vases, right?


My clothes are wearing me.

Trying me on, shrugging me off.

I don’t fit right – although the mirror is kinder than the mind.

Who are these clothes, with their demands and attention-seeking pin-tucks?

The synthetic sparkle sloughs my skin, glamorous sandpaper.

The Mexican dress makes me all the more gringa.

I have woken up today and decided that polkadots are foolish.

I am wearing bathwater, I am wrapped in sweat and tea-dyed calico.

Fanciful, fantasy, frayed old jeans. Break off this salt-crust.

Hand-forged, recycled, who?

Craft Country this Saturday! Yeeeeeha!

This weekend I’m having two blissful kid-free nights in Featherston at my friend Emma McCleary’s house. It’s my little treat before the school holidays and a whole lot of intensive parenting begin! Emma is a great host and we always have a good time.

Emma co-runs the Craft Country Fair in Greytown (this Saturday, 10-3,Town Hall) ¬†and both she and I are having stalls there on Saturday. There will be lots of great sellers, who make beautiful, handmade art and craft. I know the selection of sellers is very particular, so the items available will be the most original and interesting…

You can read all about the fair on their website HERE.

Emma did a great post about the fair HERE.

Emma made cool montages on flickr of all the sellers. Mine is HERE. Emma’s is HERE. All the other sellers are over there on flickr, too – have a look around!

If you are in the Wairarapa, do come! Or come over from Wellington and have a day out – there are lots of fabulous shops and cafes in Greytown, Carterton and Martinborough, too. Plenty to make it a great day trip.

I’m selling softies, collaged cards, brooches, bunting and……my book – which is not strictly handmade, but Emma said I could!

Doe-see-doe, and swing your partner! Yeehaa!

beets and pieces

First some writing news – Fourth Floor Literary Journal is up and I have two poems in it! Yay! You can read them HERE.

Back HERE I mentioned my friend Helen wrote an essay about ‘Taking Care’ (killing) ‘Of Animals’. It’s also in 4th Floor. It is a funny, chilling read – you can read it HERE.


I continue to be tired. It’s like when you’re on a Merry-Go-Round and you jump off and you have to run so you don’t fall over and then you feel a bit dizzy and woozy until you get your balance back. That’s me right now.


Back HERE when I was cooking the beetroots, I mentioned that the liquid makes a great vegetable dye (the vinegar in it acts as the ‘fixer’.)

After we ate the beets, I had some beautiful hand-spun wool that a friend had given me, but it was in pastel colours. I prefer stronger colours so I dyed it with the beet juice. Here is how it turned out:

(I realise this would be more meaningful if I had remembered to take a ‘before’ shot, but I am a human, not Martha Stewart – lol. The top wool was blue and lemon and the bottom was pale apricot. You’ll just have to visualise it.)

What am I going to use the wool for? No idea. Back into the stash cupboard it goes for now.


and Iran*

Further to yesterday’s post – I also made this giant floor cushion on the weekend.

Fraser and I travelled to Turkey in our 20s, and while there I bought some textiles made in Iran. This was a fringed tablecloth, but somehow I never felt right using it as a tablecloth. It seemed too beautiful to drop food all over.

So I decided to make it into a floor cushion. I recently changed the boy’s duvets from polyester ones to down ones, so I recycled one of the old duvet inners for the filling of the cushion, and like yesterday’s cushion, I used grey wool army blanket for the bottom.

In this photograph, the cushion is sitting on the rug we also bought in Turkey – it’s been the centrepiece of every living room we’ve had since and I still love it:

*this title will only make sense and be amusing to those who were teenagers in the 1980s

mind the gap

I dusted off my long-neglected sewing machine on Saturday. I should have been making things for the CRAFT COUNTRY fair which I have a stall at in December, but instead I finished a project which (like many projects on my craft shelves) has been a work-in-progress for far too long and I was keen to get finished. I felt like making something for ME.

I bought a linen London tube map tea-towel from an op-shop years ago. It had never been used so was in pristine condition. I lived in London for a year in the 1990s, so feel great affection for the city and the tube map – which as anyone who has lived there knows, you learn like the back of your hand.

I immediately thought I’d like to wad it and embroider along all the tube lines. At that stage, I thought I would gun-staple it to a frame and hang it on the wall, but then I changed my mind and decided to make a tube-map cushion.

Then, in a later op-shop session, I found a pair of cotton Marks & Spencer shorts made of Union Jack fabric, which I grabbed for the Union Jacks.

So to the corner of the tube map, I attached one of the cotton union jacks and embroidered it with coloured thread also.

A friend who was visiting commented that she almost preferred the reverse of the map – an abstract ‘tube map in reverse’. I could see what she meant but I wasn’t persuaded.

I really enjoyed stitching along all the tube lines – as I stitched, in my head I revisited all the places I had been on those lines. I highlighted in thread the tube stop most significant to us – the place we lived: Brixton.

I used my favourite material for cushion backs – grey army blanket – for the back of the cushion.

Here is the finished product:

It felt good to finish a WIP (work-in-progress) I’ve been working on for a long time. It made me want to tackle my WIP pile. Mind the gap!


‘The Comforter’ has a cover!

My book is going to print at the end of this week! I can’t believe it.

Helen Rickerby, who owns Seraph Press and edited the book, has somehow made the process of editing and co-ordinating the book (seem) effortless AND even fun. She is a wonderful editor who really gets behind the poets she publishes, deeply engages with the writing and works to present the poetry in the best possible way.

So anyway, drum roll please, here is the cover! (There is much more to Sarah Laing’s design than just the front cover – there is a beautiful back cover, book flaps, inside cover and illustrations within – however – I want to leave some of it as a surprise for the ‘in real life’ experience of the book!)

So for now, here’s the front:

The textile art is by Melissa Wastney, a friend whose artwork I love very much.The book design is by multi-talented writer/designer/visual artist Sarah Laing.

I wanted something for the cover that combined my love of nature and textiles, and which was elegant and understated. I think Sarah has more than achieved that. Thanks so much, Sarah! I love the texture and wrinkles of the slubby linen and the way the trees look like they could be underground…

(The book will be launched in Palmerston North on the 2nd December and in Wellington on the 3rd December. Launch details to come.)