Saturday, 27 December 2008

Okay I have gained 2 kilos!

Christmas day started at around a quarter to five in the morning. Anna and Nick were allowed to open their stockings, but to be honest it was kind of hard to get back to sleep after that, even though we had a 11.30 to bed on Christmas Eve. (I thought I was so organised... and still it was a late night!). So it was Mikes breaksfast for about 14 people at around 8 am, and then onto the lunch onslaught. Our families stared arriving around 12, we ate around 1.30 - 2.00 ish, and I think the last person left around 6pm. At around 8pm my legs threatened to explode, from being on them all day, and its the day after boxing day and I still feel like Iv'e gone ten rounds! I will leave you with a few pics of the day. Even after all the exhaustion, it was a wonderful day with our families, and not forgetting our candle lighting tradition, for those not with us,especially some long lost cousins we have just discovered, which was the most amazing Christmas present, before my older sister Pauline says Grace, and everyone tucks into far too much food.

Yaay one of the kids, but seriously I dont know why Matt always has to have something on his head!

Me with my two adorable sisters Pauline on the Left and Lee on the Right.

Me and my nephew Damon.

and with my neice Sarah, the coolest little chick!!

And here is my sister in law Maree. Mikes two other sisters live in Oz, and we miss them!
I should have a whole lot more but they are on everyone else's cameras. Anyway Im off to put my feet up!!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

With love and blessings...

Getting my kids together for a photo seems impossible. This was taken last Christmas, and Matt will not thank me for the silly hat! Anna, Emma, Matt, and Nick.

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And here are Mr and Mrs Busy, which was taken about three years ago, because, I am hardly ever on the other side of the lens, and when I am its some rogue shot the kids have taken when I have dried egg down my top!!

With love and blessings from my family to yours. Be safe, be happy, and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year...

Friday, 12 December 2008

Easiest Christmas Cake... hic


1 Cup Flour
1 Cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
2 cups dried fruit
Lemon juice
1 can of Red Bull
1 bottle of Vodka

1. Sample the vodka to check the quality. (VERY IMPORTANT)
2. Take a large bowl, check the vodka again.
3. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup of vodka and mix with a little Red Bull and drink
4. Repeat.
5. Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
6. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
7. At this point it is best to make sure the vodka is still ok.
8. Flavour with Red Bull to taste.
9. Try another cup just in case, turn the mixerer off.
10. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in a cup of dried fruit.
11. Pick fruit off the floor.
12. Mix on the turner.
13. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry loose with a drewscriver.
14. Shample the vodka to check for tonsisticitiy, flavour with a little Bed Rull.

15. Next, ssifffft two cups of salt. Or something Who giveshz a shi*
16. Throw a pinch of Bed Rull over your shoulder.
17. Pick up the can, mop the floor.
18. Check the vodka (shee steps 3 and 4).
19. Now shift the lemon and strain your nuts.
20. Add one table.
21. Add a shpoon of shugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
22. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
23. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
24. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the dog.
25. Fall into bed.
Cherry Mistmas!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Teachers present - Solved!!

I thought maybe a softie, but I got these little plastic sewing kits at spotlight for 20cents ages ago. (Now I wish I had picked up a thousand of them). Coupled with a travel pack of tissues, and a little bag for them to go in I think they are not quite as predictable as a box of chocolates. I only have some sample sizes of this lovely fabric, and have been wanting to use it for ages. So Ta Da - teachers gift solved. Yaay. Now if you'll excuse me I have a tip of a house to tidy

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Outside my kitchen window...

This is Cleo and we love her...

This is a Tui, and we love them too...

And here is Cleo again, looking like she is not really interested in Tui's at all ...

Friday, 28 November 2008

Okay I have a real blogging problem and need some help!!!!

When I try and do a little story with pictures in between, it all ends up back to front. Some really lovely bloggers do tutorials and everything, and its all in order. (You know the beginning at the beginning, the middle where it should be and the end ... well the end is ... AT THE END). But me, the computer illiterate fool that I am, start telling a story and want to put a picture in and then continue with the story, but I end up with the beginning at the end, so I only ever put in one picture because I can't get it right. I keep thinking perhaps I should be doing the whole thing backwards, but to be honest its hard enough getting my thoughts to go in a straight line, and forward in the first place so to start at the back and work backwards ... well all I can say is, I hope they do a nice line in straight jackets somewhere. So if there is anyone out there in blog land (who in fact reads my blog) can you just point me in the right direction. Like where would I find instructions, because I have looked in the help section, and frankly it didn't really help, and all I have done for the last half hour is wander aimlessly in cyber space, when in fact I should be preparing for the onslaught of ten 8 and 9 year olds who are all arriving for Anna's 8th birthday party at 10am in the morning. Dang I was going to be really organised this weekend as well......

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Traitor and a letter to Santa...

Dear Santa
I’m not sure how your finances are looking this year but in case you have a few bob stashed away somewhere, because you have the elves on minimum wage, and have not being paying their union fees, then could I put in a request?
The thing here is that it’s not so much for my benefit, but for Ms Jones (my sewing machine). She has been a real trouper and constant companion for the last 20 or so years but I really fear that the arthritis which has been bothering her is starting to set in. You see her presser foot, which we have been taping up for quite some time now, has really started to deteriorate. In fact just this morning the tape holding her altogether came apart and her insides started to spill out all over the carpet. I did get in a bit of a state, and the men that are working on putting our tv in, must have wondered why I was on the floor talking to my sewing machine. I was really just trying to keep Ms Jones calm whilst I put all her bits back together. She is want to sudden outbursts you see, so a calming tone is sometimes necessary.
The duct tape seems to have held it in for the moment, but there is a creak to her crank shaft now. Ms Jones really does try to soldier on but sometimes she just slows down for no reason, and then at other times just forgets to stop altogether. As I said she is want to sudden outbursts and I ‘m reluctant to use the word out loud in front of her but do you think sewing machines can suffer from Alzheimer’s?
Anyway Santa I hope this finds you and Mrs Santa and all your lovely little elves in good health? I won’t keep you as I know you must be flat to the boards, with all those demands from those delightful children, whom, may I just point out are probably only just starting to behave themselves because they know the big "two five" of December is fast approaching.
I, on the other hand have been consistently behaving myself. (Apart from that one occasion after a couple too many wines, when I got a bit lout but I went to confession the other day so I’m all good.)
Take Care and give my best to the Reindeer.
Busy Lizzie

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Here is what that fabric turned into

Ta Dah...!!!! June Jetson (ish). I am a bit nervous of putting pictures of the kids on my blog, but other nice bloggers do. Any way here is my youngest darling daughter Anna. Top made of two sample squares of silver fabric. Silver Skirt is wrap around style, and the purple cape is made out of one of those disposable plastic table cloths. Anakin Skywalker aka Nick, left his costume at school, but it was sort of done from a dressing gown pattern. The kids were chuffed to bits, and I won Mother of The Week!! Next big thing ... Anna has the lead part in her class school production as the Grasshopper in The Grasshopper and the Ants, so it will be something green. And then Nick is Angel Gabriel in his EIF (Education In Faith) production. Anna is also an angel. (For those of you wondering EIF, is for Catholic kids that don't attend Catholic School.)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Book week at School

Is a big thing at Owairoa primary, and as its theme this year is Rocket into Reading, ie space, can you guess what all this fabric is about to become? Um ignore the lovely flowery fabric at the bottom of the pile. That is the skirt that I was supposed to finish last week!!! I'll keep you posted.

Vintage Books

Mikes parents are cleaning out underneath their house. I have often heard, about "under the house", and seeing as though they have lived there for 51 years, it has been reported to hold lots of treasures. Mil (mother in law)saved me some books. A vitamizer recipe book and this old old one that must have been her mother's. It is fantastic. Amongst the High Chapperal and Lindy Annuals there was a New Zealand Woman's Weekly from January 1976, complete with full back page advertisment for Matinee Extra Mild cigarettes; "the gentle taste that satisfies". Oooooh yuck!!! I do love the fabric and dress on the front cover though.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Waihi? Good. Weather? Not good.

So we came home yesterday. Wednesday. I'll leave you with a picture of the toi toi's. Be back soon when Iv'e got the washing up to date!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Eggmosis and the Little White Lie...


Anna doesn't like eggs. But she is partial to an "eggless" omelet... So here she is making herself some french toast. We are able, by Eggmosis, to change the egg from an egg, to ... um well a 'not' egg. I told her we made the egg "eggless" by Osmosis, and its all in the whisking. Something was lost in translation, and now she acclomplishes this amazing feat by "Eggmosis"! Here is Nick and Anna both enjoying a very eggless french toast. Whadya think? Ya reckon my kids are going to end up in therapy? On second thoughts don't answer that...!!!
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We are off! (yeah I thought I could smell something... boom boom)

As you can probably tell, its time we had a bit of a holiday, so we shall be off on Saturday or Sunday down to Waihi Beach. Mikes Aunty and Uncle are very kind and let us use the beach house, which is right on the beach. It is fantastic and has everything you need for a very relaxing holiday. Anna has already booked Mike in for their daily run down to the dairy for a bottle of milk and the NZ Herald. Not sure the weather will be warm enough for a swim, but looking forward to a relaxing break. We are leaving Matt, the appendectomy son at home. He is recovered and getting back to work next week, and with my big girl Emma, now gone flatting, he will be home alone. Hmmmmm. I have warned him about having parties and the like, so this is a big test. (probably more for us than him!) I might take some embroidery or knitting with me for those luxurious quiet moments. But this is the beach we shall be strolling. Lucky eh?

I did say I would introduce you to this little chap

His name is Weggie. Its really pronounced Reggie, but he has a little speech impediment. He also got the name Weggie, because his mother pulls his little flowery pants up far to high. He's a bit shy, but the kids have taken him under their wings, and he's coming out of his shell a bit now. When this picture was taken he was found gazing out the window at the kids riding their skateboards up and down the drive. But don't worry he's out there now doing tic tac with the best of them. :)

Going with the pink theme

I did do something during those awful wet cold winter months. I made a bag, so thought I would throw it in with the whole pink thing going on!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Got the camera charged

So here's what youv'e been missing. Mmm. I probably did give it a bit of a build up.

Perhaps the answer to my previous post?... Hmmmm...

Best Menopause Question Ever
Q: How many women with MENOPAUSE does it take to change a light bulb?
Woman's Answer: One! ONLY ONE!!!!
And do you know WHY? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT!! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the #&%!* lightbulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CABINET for the past 17 YEARS!
But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them, 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT!!! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE FREAKING LIGHT BULBS CAME IN!!! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER PICKS UP OR CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE!!!!
I'm sorry. What was the question?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

I have had a crush on bunting for a while now

and so I made some for Anna's room, with A N N A applique, which looks quite nice. Now I would show you a photo, but the batteries have gone flat in the camera, and that was about two days ago, and I still haven't put them in the charger. I discovered that the batteries were flat about 5 minutes before I had to take Nick and Anna to their Kapa haka concert. There they were, 2 scrawny little white kids, all dressed up in Maori costume, and I grab the camera, and yell, "stand there quick, while I take a photo", after which comes the obligatory bad word, which lately and excuse me for all you good non swearing people, is Bloody Nora! Yeah yeah I know its not that bad, but really I shouldn't in front of the children, and I am trying to become a non swearer. I'll try and keep you posted on that one, but please don't hold your breath. I seem to be doing dumb things like running out of camera batteries for important events in the kids lives, and letting the cell phone get down to one line on the battery icon, whilst I am trying to rush my teenager into hospital for an emergency appendictomy, (which incidentally was NORMAL!). So whats up with me? Beggared if I know, but please place all answers on the back of a envelope and post to, "The Mental Woman of Howick". Its bound to reach me. Anyway stand by I will charge the batteries, but I will have to do it tomorrow, because I don't want to plug them in and then forget them and then wake at 2.16 in the morning and lie there for 40 minutes worrying about it and then try to convince myself that it will be fine, the house really, probably won't burn down. But it might. So in the end I will have to get up anyway, and go and unplug the darn thing, after which time I will be well and truly awake, and mulling over the next bunting I might like to make... As I said "Mental Woman of Howick". It's bound to reach me...!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Well its been a while...

and for anyone who actually reads my blog, you might be forgiven for thinking I fell off the earth or something. Oh nothing so dramatic. I just ground to a complete halt this winter. It has been the wetest and most miserable winter I can remember, and I think the lack of sun has had a detrimental effect on my creativeness (is there such a word? Never mind there is now...) I have been watching everyone else being creative via their blogs, which added to my misery because I have been wasting all that "indoor" time, and doing nothing. Well I was looking at Molly Chicken. Please forgive me I do not know how to have her blog name all highlighted so you can just click and go there, but she is very inspirational indeed. She did a cute little spotty hedgehog softie, and so as Im apt to do, I went a bit mad one night and made some little critters myself. I have fallen in love with them, and so have Nick and Anna. They think they might make nice pressies for their teachers at the end of the year, so I think my problems of trying to find a nice bath bomb for the teacher might be a thing of the past. Nick's teacher is a man so a both bomb might look a bit dodgy. Mind you getting a little soft toy might not impress too much either. But what the hey?! Ive promised one to my little niece Jaimie in Australia so will have to get it wrapped and down to the Post Office. there is a little chap at the back who I will introduce you to in a minute, but hopefully this little basketful of cuties has got me back in the sewing saddle. I certainly hope so. I must also apologise if this post sounds a bit disjointed, as I am a very tired Mother today. My little (big 17 year old) boy, Matt was rushed into Middlemore hospital on Tuesday night with appendicitis. They took the appendix out on Wednesday and kicked him out of the hospital on Thursday. So at about 1am he was writhing well he wasn't in fact writing because he could not move with the pain, and Im just about to call an ambulance to take him back to the hospital. But we managed to get through the night, and as long as we are on top of the pain killers I think he is okay. My poor wee baby. Boy I feel like you do when you bring a newborn home from the hospital, and you are so knackered you dont know your armpit from your elbow!! But I think he's on the up and up, and I can't wait for him to start arguing with the other kids again!
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Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I have two lovely sisters

But this post is for Pauline, my other lovely sister. She does not knit me slippers, but she is wise beyond her 27 years - she also has a very good sense of humour, hence Nicholas and Anna believe that she is in fact 27. (she is closer to 30 probably!!) She has done more for me than she will ever know. When I was young she was my big sister, but now she is much more than that and I can honestly say she is one of my best friends. Here she is in a photo shoot we had done on our home for Home and Garden magazine. So this is for you my lovely sister!!!! xxx

Friday, 6 June 2008

Autumn leaves are falling ...

Every time I pull into the driveway our Oriental Planes whisper in their golden tone, "hey its winter..."

they seem to be putting on a nice display I think because the weather is so fine and crisp. The sun shines through the leaves, and they make a lovely welcome home ...

So then...

I had to do this button up scarf, which is also cute. Well they look cute on Anna anyway. I even managed to do a button hole, so perhaps my knitting is improving?
I think I'll call the pink stuff, the Candyfloss range.

And then...

And then I did this little shawl one with some crocheted yo yo's. I like the fluffy detail.

Knit wit

Yaaay! I did the poncho! In fact I did two. The first a rainbow one, which is two strips of knitting sewn together. Easy peasy...

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

And here are the slippers

I love my sisters!

A pair of slippers from my lovely sister... she is on the right...

When the kids got home from school today there was a parcel in the letter box. My darling sister, affectionately known as Aunty Lee Lee, had sent Nick and Anna both a pair of socks, and then slipped in a little pair of knitted slippers. She is a good knitter, and I will have to get her to teach me how to make some myself. I can only knit rectangles like scarves, which kind of limits what I can make. I cannot follow a pattern, but I think this is due to laziness, and it takes so long to get anywhere, whereas with sewing I can see something coming together instantly. I'm all for instant gratification me!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Ms Jones,my sewing machine gazes forlornly out the window...

I havent done much this week because Mike has been suffering all week from the flu. I dont mean the male version either, as we all know how they can play up the symptoms a bit. He really has been crook and laid up all week. I have done the good wife thing, and tried to be kind. I informed him that the "Nice Nurse" would turn into the "Matron from Hell" if he didn't start getting better though, and yesterday "Matron" arrived. He asked me if I was going to administer Euthanasia, but I just told him he would only be wishing I would. I told him he could forget about me running up and down stairs making bacon butties, and cups of tea that are left half drunk, and if he was able to sit up on the sofa, then he could help me get those shelves I just bought, out of the back of the car!! A bit mean because he looked a bit knackered after that. I really wanted to play in my sewing room/office, but its really hard with the other half around, because to him it probably looks like I'm just mucking around and not really doing anything. (like housework and all that rubbish) and I can see how that must look to him, but he just doesn't get to see all the stuff that is happening in my head!!! (probably very fortuante for him). I have been drawing lots of little pictures of what I want to do, so its not like it's all been in vain. I have also been knitting. I want to make Anna a poncho, but I'm not sure its quite how I thought it would be... so if anyone has a really easy knitted poncho idea, please once again form an orderly cue and let me know!! I have put a picture of my office in this post, as you will see it could do with a damn good tidy up, but once I start "doing stuff" it all just goes to custard really.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Where I came from - kind of...

I love this picture that my cousin in Scotland sent me, of the signpost near where my Mum was born and grew up. The little village of Whiterigg no longer exists unfortunately and all that is left is a field. Thanks JT!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Op Shop find

One of my recent favourite Op Shop finds was an old Farmers Trading Company bag full of that old fashioned crochet work. I dont know whether some of the wee pieces were samplers or the start of some project that never got finished. I should imagine they would be from a deceased estate, and that I have now become the new owner of someone's Nana's "old stuff" that no one wanted or knew what to do with. Well thats how I like to think of it anyway. Seeing the old Farmers logo brings back memories of catching the Farmers Free bus from by Karangahape Road, and going up to the top floor of the Farmers Department Store to have lunch in the restaurant, where you could go into the childrens area and ride around on three wheeler bikes, and try and get Hector the parrot to talk. (I think his name was Hector) I should imagine that having a live parrot in a restaurant area would break every by-law and OSH regulation in the book these days. But to me as a small child it was the height of sophistication and poshness. None of this McCafe rubbish. Going out was a real treat, when shopping wasn't a National past time, and a trip to the shops either meant running down to the dairy for a loaf of bread, or it meant you needed new shoes for school, the latter normally only happening a couple of times a year. Yep the older I get the better it was.... sigh.

I've been sorting out some trims...

I start out all good and organized and then it all just goes to custard really. My box that I keep my trims in was in a right state, and I ended up with ribbon all tangled up, and making it worse by clawing my way through it looking for something I needed. Anyway I have sorted them now and may have to find a better filing system for all those bits. I'm sorry I didn't take a before picture, because you might not appreciate the effort that went into it! I also found a use for some cute little pegs that I bought at the dollar shop at Christmas, and I got them because... um well I just like them...

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Happy Mothers Day

Its Mothers Day tomorrow, and I wanted to put in this picture the only one I have of my maternal grandmother, Annie Lee Houston. My mother (Mary) one of the babies, and we are not sure which one, with her twin sister Isa, and one of their older sister's (Lizzie, my namesake). My grandmother was the unofficial village midwife, in a little Scottish village called Whiterigg. But she also helped with laying out the dead as well. Both ends of the spectrum. My mum was the youngest of 13 children, and my grandmother died when my mum was only 14. How I would love to sit down with her one day and have a chat. I get the feeling she was a quiet spoken woman, and as I look at her now, I realise how much my mother looked like her.

Friday, 9 May 2008

It Mothers Day soon and the sewing machine is out!

I think I work better under pressure. Its Mothers Day here on Sunday, and the little photo frame that I bought my Ma In Law, looked a bit stingy, so I thought I might whip her up something, and seeing as though I am quite good at sewing square sort of things, I thought perhaps a travel laundry bag might be the way to go. Mikes Mum and Dad frequently travel to Australia to visit Mikes two sisters over there, so it might come in handy.

And I love the look of simple applique, It was so easy peasy and it only took me about an hour, and that was sifting through fabric and wot not and generally putting the idea together. Its quite cute, and I like the little bow on the knickers. I hope my Ma in law likes it, but I think she appreciates anything I make her. (She's good like that!).

I might whip up a few more because my sisters might like one as well, and seeing as we don't have our darling mother with us anymore, I might do theirs with a lovely gingham heart. We love and miss our Mum so much, so it somehow seems appropriate. Happy Mothers Day Mary Lewis x x

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Fabric Fabric everywhere and not a stitch in sight!!

I have all this fabric which is really getting into a bit of a mess, because I keep going through it, and then lose all momentum. I'm not sure what is stopping me, but instead of moaning I may just have to get on with it and start sewing!!! Ya think?

So I have started working out some colour stories. A couple of which I will show just in case your'e interested. I have some ideas of what to do with them, and I have really been wanting to make cupcake pincushions, don't ask me why, but I really am loving cupcakes at the moment, thankfully Im not baking them, because I could do with shedding a few kilos right now. I need to find a really good tutorial on cupcake pincushions because I'm a bit hopeless it seems. So if you have any links that can help me, then please form an orderly queue. I'll keep you posted on my efforts! You might want to go and make a cup of tea or something though because at this rate it might take a while...