I've been looking back through this year's posts to see what I made this year and, actually, I'm a bit (pleasantly) surprised. It's been a busy year and I felt that I hadn't really achieved much but, in fact, I think there's been quite a bit of knitting and makery going on.
ReadingThe wind in the willows by Kenneth Grahame + Listening to My head is an animal by Of monsters and men
I have been thinking of ways to extend the life of some of my mother's lovely old table linen. I was very nervous about cutting any of it so I started with an embroidered cloth that was beyond repair. I figured any little bit I could save would be worthwhile and so I made these lavender bags and a few buttons.
I've also started a small lavender garden of my own. I've planted five different lavenders. The one in the photo, "True blue", is my favourite. I'm hoping the lavender will attract loads of bees to the garden. It already looks good and smells wonderful.
Here are some of my favourite quilts from my currently favourite book Gee's Bend: the architecture of the quilt.
You can see more beautiful quilts from the women of Gee's Bend, Alabama if you follow this link to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
I'd also like to share with you this video for making multiple pom-poms. I haven't tried this method yet but I think it has possibilities.
ReadingWhen will there be good news? by Kate Atkinson
I've been finding it so hard to stop making pom-poms that I've had to invent things to do with them. Hence my latest joy - pom-pom magnets! They are super easy and look strangely cute on the fridge.
Here's how to make them:
You'll need wool, cardboard, self adhesive magnetic sheet (the plastic kind that advertising comes on), scissors, things the right size to trace around, pencil
1. make a pom-pom using two rings of cardboard about 5cm (2ins) across
2. holding close to the knot of the wool string you've tied the pom-pom with, fluff the pom-pom up and away from your hand to make a flat area
3. cut a circle from the magnetic sheet about 3 cm across and press firmly onto the flattened part of your pompom
4. stick on your fridge and admire
ReadingOne good turn by Kate Atkinson + Listening to Aloe Blacc + Eating strawberries straight from the garden
These are my favourite photos from a few days of camping in New Plymouth. The first two pics were taken on the coastal walkway - our "best thing to do" in New Plymouth - although we did eat some nice meals and drank some good coffee and enjoyed the rhododendrons at Pukeiti.
The third photo/second beach is Oakura Beach where Tom Cruise stayed while filming The last samurai in 2003. The locals still talk about it.
And the last one was taken somewhere along the Forgotten World Highway on our way to the tiny, remote settlement of Whangamomona. The locals declared the town a republic in 1988 after a boundary dispute with local government. The town's most famous resident was Billy the goat - the first animal to be elected as president.
The sweet peas are from my garden. This year I remembered to plant them early and they are just starting to flower. I love the colours and how they all look so good together. And I love the smell! And the crazy tendrils twisting around everything.
The beanies are for my young great-nephews who live in the UK. I did wonder about adding the pom-poms. I asked a work colleague's seven-year-old son if he'd wear a beanie with a pom-pom on it and he said yes. My nephews could always take the pom-poms off if they don't like them. The hats will still keep them warm.
ReadingCase histories by Kate Atkinson and Gee's Bend: the architecture of the quilt edited by Paul Arnett
These drawings were made by me when I was six or seven years old. They
are from a school exercise book I found at my mother's while I was
helping her move house. Each page of the book has rows of neat letters
with drawings below. I think the drawings were
designed to help with forming letters. For instance, the kites are with
the letter 'v'. I can't remember if we were meant to embellish the
shapes or if I was overly enthusiastic. The only comments from the
teacher are "too big" or "too small".
This drawing is my favourite and, strangely, goes with the letter "I". When I was a child we lived in a suburb where every house had a rotary clothesline - just like in my picture. There were lots of kids in the neighbourhood and we had some good times over the long, hot summers.
ReadingWelcome to your new life by Anna Goldsworthy
These beautiful drawings are from a 1986 children's picture book, Anno's counting book. They are by Mitsumasa Anno, a Japanese illustrator, who is now 87 years old.
The top drawing shows children skipping amongst giant pink flowers. I loved skipping as a child especially double dutch where you have two ropes - a bit like this - well, actually, quite a lot different to that!
Some photos of spring flowers - fluffy pink stock and jasmine. I think jasmine is quite a strange plant. It can be so invasive and has tough leaves and stalks that are almost impossible to break but the flowers are so delicate and pale and beautiful.
I made the cactus pot in response to missing out on one of Stella Baggott's little face planters from her etsy shop sale last week. I couldn't decide which pot I liked best and they all sold out as I dithered.
The flowers are orchids - maybe Dendrobium? I don't know much about orchids but this one grows long stems with lots of little flowers. Most of the time it lives a neglected outside life but in spring it leaps into bud - much to our delight - and is brought indoors.
The tiny village is from Rekindle. Each piece is made from native New Zealand timbers salvaged from buildings damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. Bits of someone's home - a piece of weatherboard, a bit of floor - is now part of a tiny house living in my house.
- a mobile by Renilde de Peuter that I bought from Mr Kitly when I was in Melbourne. I have long admired Renilde's mobiles and am overjoyed to finally have one in my house. There are more photos of her mobiles here or visit her blog At Swim-two-birds.
- a necklace I also bought in Melbourne from Craft - unfortunately I can't remember the maker's name.
- and an amazing acoustic installation by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot that I saw at the National Gallery of Victoria. It's a shallow pool filled with floating porcelain bowls that move on a gentle current. When the bowls randomly bump against each other they chime. If it is quiet in the gallery and you sit by the pool for a while to listen, the chimes become a strange music.
ReadingMoving Miss Peggy: a story of dementia, courage, and consolation by Robert Benson
We have had lots of foggy mornings the past few weeks. But I quite like fog. I like how when you walk in it your hair gets wet and I like how it diffuses light. I took these photos in my garden this morning when everything was still wet with fog.
Listening Modern vampires of the city by Vampire Weekend.
We were in Australia last week staying in Melbourne and Apollo Bay. One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting the Cape Otway lightstation. The photos show the road into the lightstation, one of the many koalas that live in the gum trees in the area, the lighthouse built in 1848 and the view from the top deck of the lighthouse. In the 1880s it must've been an isolated wild place. It's hard to imagine that Mary Anne Ford, the wife of one of the lighthouse keeper's from 1848-1878, birthed seven children on her own and managed to feed them all on rations delivered once every twelve months.
It was also a surprise - as it seemed so out of place - to discover the delicate pink wallpaper. It was a Christmas gift to the daughters of a lighthouse keeper back in the 1960s. A small piece was left intact during the restoration of the lighthouse and surrounding buildings. Did those little girls dream of ballerinas? Did they grow up to be dancers? Or, maybe, they became lighthouse keepers themselves?
ReadingA sight for sore eyes by Ruth Rendall + Listening to Desire lines by Camera Obscura
- red flame tree flowers - seen everywhere at the
moment. The flame tree is one of those deciduous trees that flowers in
spring before it has its new leaves so a big tree full of bright red
flowers looks amazing.
- another baby beanie about to be wrapped in tissue and posted off to my new soon-to-be-born great great nephew, Oliver
- a pair of booties I knitted and crocheted onto sheepskin soles using this kit. I'm pleased with how they turned out - they'll be toasty warm - but they were impossible to photograph as they are a dark navy colour and fluffy (I used a possum merino yarn). Maybe next week I can reveal a big secret and tell you who they are for.
Have a good week.
Listening By the horns by Julia Stone + ReadingThe liberty tree by Suzanne Harrington
New shoes - sensible, sturdy, comfortable with stylish removable fringe bits that I think are fantastico.
And a few things bought on the recent South Island trip: another lonely Crown Lynn cup that I bought for 50 cents in Ross. I've planted a pinkish sempervivum succulent in it. And, from Roxburgh, a knitting pattern for a cute sweater (I like the fair isle yoke) and a couple of Stitchcraft magazines from the 1970s.
Reading: 365 gratefuls: celebrating treasures, big and small by Hailey and Andrew Bartholomew and Was she pretty? by Leanne Shapton