Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Well Hello, it's been awhile. Life's been happening and I've been doing loads of reading of others blogs (missing your posts K), drawing inspiration from images on Pinterest and catching up with friends on, the much maligned by some, Facebook. That was when I haven't been baking, cleaning, laundering, vacuuming, gardening, pruning, which eats away at most of my days. I long for my Fri(ee)days and I've missed a few so they're being claimed back this week.

This was the state of the dining table last night at 11.30. It's the result of finding a collection of corks, saved from many a good occasion with friends. Then an idea springs from the grey matter, and the hunt is on for a piece of leftover customwood and blackboard paint from another creation, the hot glue gun and PVA. I enjoy working things out as you go along, and the discovery that you should have done something differently. Nevermind, next time, but I think this is a once off. Thank goodness for cast iron pans, very handy things for cooking, weighing things down and for dealing with philandering husbands, not that I have any personal experience of the latter.

And this is the result which, when I drag out the ladder and my favourite tool the power drill, will hang above the french doors in the kitchen. The previous occupier of the abode had MILK, and I did contemplate W(h)INE, but I think this suits the corks and me. There's many a memory contained within; the point on the G is a 1998 St Henri Shiraz which was particularly good, many Milltons corks,the 2002 vintage is well represented, perhaps because I took part in the 2003 which wasn't such a good year. Some years are good, some not so, isn't that life.

Lastly, our family has grown by five. This is Fluke, Dory and Fishy, the other two are hiding under a rock somewhere. I thought Goldfish were relatively low maintenence, keep their environment clean, feed them and Bob's your uncle, but not these guys. They will not come to the surface to eat so we have to hand feed them, because you can't let the food sink or it creates nitrogen, blah de blah, dead fish. We don't want that. I'm hoping that as the waterlillies grow and spread out they may relax a bit more. I live in hope.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas and New Years celebrations have been and gone, decorations packed away for another year, and we've been in our new home for a month. None of the traditional resolutions again for me, but there's been a lot of pondering and soul searching going on while up a ladder cleaning windows and removing spiderwebs. I don't know where to from here. Two goals that I had hoped to make happen this year have been put on hold because of the move so there's room for more. Smaller goals, baby steps.

My list so far…

    1. Free Fridays, or Freedays as coined by a good friend(you know who you are). Started last year and it's a winner. No domestic duties to be undertaken, just a day for creating wonderful things and letting imagination take flight. Will have to wait until the children are back at school! 
    2. Get to know the locals and the neighbourhood.
    3. Plant a vege patch, and some fruit trees.
    4. Sow some wildflowers in wild places.
...And that's it.

The boxes and stuff of life are finding new places to rest but I have a challenge with my magazines. I've subscribed to NZ House and Garden for years now and I've been a bit precious about them. They've been a bone of contention between my beloved and me over the last few moves as there's quite a few. I've started going through them, rereading as I go. The one above is from February 1997 and oh how times, and decor, have changed. Remember paint effect wallpaper with a floral frieze? But the recipes are still fantastic. So the older ones are going to be recycled into something else; papier mache perhaps. The recipes though are going to be saved and added to my recipe book started when in my teens. It should be a huge tome by now but in truth it has tonnes of cutout pieces of paper sandwiched in that occasionally fall over the floor, if someone else dares to pick it up. Oddly enough I can always find what I'm looking for.
On the last day of 2011 I made the pound cake recipe from the above mag and by evening it had almost been entirely devoured by my family, all but one piece that was hidden away for New Years morning for me, with coffee of course.

This was what it was meant to look like.

This was the reality, not as pretty as I wasn't patient enough to let it cool any longer before dripping it with lemony syrup, but it tasted divine. 
I tested out Mussel and Zucchini Fritters the other night as well. Delish. it will be a year of NZH&G revisited for dinner and the odd decadent dessert. 

So, as mentioned, cleaning windows and shooing spiders has been on the agenda. The tape measure came out the other day and the height of the ceiling is over 4 metres. That's a long way down when you're perched on a ladder. Determination is getting me through. We wondered what the pile of debris was that was lodged into the side of the main support beam that runs through the centre of the house. It was a birds nest overlooked by the previous owner, or perhaps kept for posterity. I love birds but didn't want them coming back to nest above the television.

The first of 3 venetian blinds came down the other day to be scrubbed clean. I loathe them but they're staying for the mean time. I was sure I'd plummet from the ladder when trying to manouevre it down, home alone as I was, but it was the concrete outside that got me. After propping up the blind on the clothesline I went to grab the hose to rinse it and walking backwards, stretching it out, I forgot about the concrete step, and ended up in a crumpled heap. Laying there cursing my stupidity I did the mental assessment to see if anything was broken. My darling dog came over, lay beside me and gave me a lick. In the year that she's been with me she's become firmly embedded in my heart. Anyway, nothing broken, a few bruises and one very sore wrist and shoulder. I should have stuck with the ladder. There's a lesson in this for me. Never walk backwards, look straight ahead so you can avoid the concrete steps. 

Looking forward to a year full of whatever life may bring, but aiming for more harmony and happiness, and more laughter.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We're home, over a week now and working my way through the boxes. We've a large space to fill but I'm actually enjoying having some empty spaces. It's quite freeing not having my usual but much loved clutter around although I'm not what you would call a minimalist by nature. Maximalism is more my thing, collect and ferret away because one day it might come in handy, but I'm coming to the conclusion it's time to shed some excess and simplify. That in itself is going to be difficult and I've enough to keep me occupied at the moment. The house unfortunately wasn't what you would call clean when we arrived here which was very disappointing, and has added more to the workload of unpacking. At least the person that moves into where we were won't have that stress.

Our plastic tree has come out of its box for yet another year. No smell of pine just the nostalgic mustiness and dust of Christmases past, favourite decorations and handmade ones by the children added. And my favourite lights, little artificial roses, add their magic. The fire surround, one of those things collected and carried around from move to move, has been dragged out and cleaned and at the moment is leaning against the wall behind the tree. I have the wall brackets just need my beloved to get out his drill and attach it securely(we've had two minor earthquakes since being here, short sharp tremors that stop you in your tracks, so it has to be big screws). My mantel clock will have somewhere permanent to sit.  

With all the big windows there isn't tonnes of empty wall space so our old dresser, Big Blue, has had to be separated and now I've nowhere to put my honeypots, teacups and dinnerset. BB has always done an excellent job of safely storing them so they might be on the list of things to rehome.

The girls are happy as the top part is perfect for a plethora of toys. Some of them might have to be rehomed too. Change is good, or so I've heard.

It's a wonderful building we've found ourselves in. Built in 1906 it's been a school for the majority of its life, where children came to learn to cook and sew and work with wood. Only in the last few years was it turned into a home, and there's still room for improvement. It has a good feeling and will be a great place to live and create. The neighbours are nice to look out on too.

What a splendiferous year 2011 has been and I'm so grateful.  

Wishing you a Christmas full of happiness


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sometimes when you have children they catch things, contagious childhood illnesses which make life uncomfortable for a little while.  

Times it by two with a week in between and that was October gone, and half of the school holidays spent at home in self imposed isolation. Now the itches have departed and the scars are fading. Life hasn't quite resumed on its normal course, there's a bit of meandering afoot. Here's a clue…

A large stack of cardboard boxes in the living room. I can't wait to get to our new home but lots of packing to do before we get there, and then that's it, we stay put. Heaven for a cancerian like me, no longer a hermit crab. Yippee! 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crikey, the last month has zoomed by. Christmas really will be here before I know it and then the panic will set in. No, calmness will prevail.

Last Friday I ventured forth on a mission to find some fabric. I love finding fabric but sadly there aren't multitudes of fabric shops here. For the first time ever I failed dismally, not one metre came home. Instead I bought some wool and a crochet hook, in an attempt to see if my fingers would remember what my Nana taught me all those years ago. I discovered it's a bit like riding a bike, you don't forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In my loathing of all things beige and blah have I made an impetuous, terribly expensive, error?

The camera slightly freaked out and didn't know where to focus, and neither did I when I walked in this afternoon to find it sitting in the living room. My beloved neglected to tell me it was back from the upholsterers and decided I'd find out soon enough.

My marvellous magenta monstrosity is giving me the happy feeling, it's just so loud, like my secret self I hide inside.

My next mission is to keep the kids from jumping and sliding on my old dear with her new dress, and keep Miss Canine off too. I've a hard road ahead of me on that front I feel. Oh and there's the new cushions to make. Perhaps a crochet granny square? The possibilities…


Friday, September 2, 2011

Sunrise over Hartbeespoortdam
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that this year would, or could, be filled with so much travel. We were invited to South Africa, Johannesburg to be exact, and the opportunity was not to be passed up.

My beloved took the camera and ran with it, taking loads of photos, so many it's a bit daunting going through them all. After looking at them though I've regretted not taking my own images. I didn't see things the same way as he did, so it's like looking through someone elses eyes. I have so many images and memories running round inside my head I need to get them down on paper. When you're driving in the rural areas the colours are overwhelmingly earthy, volcanic soil, rusting iron, shades of brown, and then a person will pop into view wearing intensely bright colours, red/orange/blue/green, or a tin shanty will be brightly painted and the effect is both surreal and spectacular.

Platinum mine

We stayed in a very wealthy suburb called Sandton, filled with shops like Gucci, Bally, and Louis Vuitton, and security guards everywhere, but step outside its boundary and the contrast is amazing. People everywhere. Traffic with little regard for any road rules. Open deck vehicles travelling at high speed on the motorway with a dozen people on the back holding on for dear life. Suburbs surrounded with wire mesh fences, topped off with barbed or razor wire, "keep out" to the extreme. People hustling to survive. Hyper awareness of what and who is around you all the time, and the main motivation for it is fear, the fear that somebody might steal from you, kidnap you or take your life. Not a way to live. Poverty and wealth coexist but not in a happy relationship. I've had my innocent eyes opened and I'm so glad, and fortunate, to live where I do.

Gandhi square
Old Johannesburg, central city
Nelson Mandela's abode in Houghton, an affluent suburb of Jo'burg

I'm thankful for the experience but happy to be home