It’s all good

I had such a good time with Master 4, Miss 2 and their mother on Friday. It was a welcome break in the middle of another day getting through more ‘to do’ list items.

One of the reasons it’s so refreshing being with young children is the enthusiasm with which they tackle things. They have no fear of making mistakes. As we were looking at the pictures in the story together I suggested “Find the picture on the wall,” to Miss 2. She pointed to the clock on the wall on another page. “Yes, that’s the clock. Can you find another picture on the wall?” In the end I had to point it out to her. Did that bother Miss 2? Not a bit. Beside us, Master 4 was doing some water painting. He was happily sloshing water around on the page, and the image was messily appearing. It didn’t worry him in the slightest that the green and the orange were merging – he was having fun!

What a wonderful lesson for ‘grown ups’!

Stopped clocks

Although it has now been repaired, for years the heirloom clock (given to DH’s grandfather after 40 years in the railway workshops) sat atop our piano, but didn’t go. For some reason the hands were usually set to read five past seven, and when asked the time, someone in the family (no prizes for guessing who….) would almost always point to the clock and say “It’s five past seven, isn’t it always?”.

Today I went to a lovely dinner with library colleagues, to celebrate a significant birthday for one of our number. Imagine my delight to realise the clock on the restaurant’s mantelpiece didn’t go, and the hands were set to …..

(Sorry it’s such a blurry photo – but I hope you can see the time reads five past seven!)

Taking photographs

In 2010 I took a photo every day (or mostly – if I missed a day I just took an extra photo the day after). I love the photographs that were put into  my Project 365 album, and look at them often.

There are many photographs in each month’s computer folder for 2010, because I always had my camera with me. I was constantly looking out for opportunities to capture at least something of my day. I often had several very different images to choose from when it came to selecting the photo that would represent that day, and the others remain in the folders and instantly bring back memories when I review them.

In 2011 the folders have far fewer images because I didn’t do the project, and my camera was sometimes at home when something captured my attention – I have no idea what those things were now, because there is nothing to prompt my memory.

So in 2012 I have again tried to take a photograph every day. The monthly folders on my computer are full of images and I am happy to have these reminders for my fickle memory to rely on. Today we are again in the midst of winter as a southerly front has come through dumping snow on the hills and cold rain and hail over us here in the valley. However I can look back on my photographs for August and find images that remind me it is really springtime, and that summer is undoubtedly on its way.

10 on the 10th – oh wait, it’s the 11th

Thanks to the wonders of the time difference, my contribution to Shimelle’s blogging meme 10 Things on the 10th is a day late. However it will hit the blogosphere at the same time as many of those actually written on the 10th in the northern hemisphere. Go figure.

For my list this month I’ve decided to give a shout out to the awesome women who’ve influenced my scrapbooking.

Sue – the first person I knew who actually scrapbooked (after I understood what it was, I thought I’d quite like to try it).

Rosalie – without whom I would possibly not be a scrapbooker. I attended a class she taught at the local craft store and was hooked.

Stacy Julian – I read her book Simple Scrapbooks before I even knew what ‘scrapbooking’ was. Rosalie pointed me in the direction of Stacy’s on-line education site, Big Picture Scrapbooking (now Big Picture Classes) and I was inspired all over again.

Amy Sorensen – who tutored the first Big Picture class I ever enrolled for – Write Now. It was amazing and I still refer to the class notes from time to time.

Lain Ehmann – whose Layout A Day (LOAD) challenge I signed up for in February 2009.

Krislyn – who was a participant in the same LOAD challenge in 2009, and who invited me to meet up in real life. As a result I joined the on-line group she co-ordinates and got to know the other members – who are also inspiring scrapbookers.

Cathy Zielske – whose books Clean and Simple Scrapbooking and Clean and Simple Scrapbooking II made it OK for me to make layouts that were, well, clean and simple.

Ali Edwards – whose ‘week in the life’ idea inspired me to make my first mini album, and whose blog is full of real life stories.

Shimelle Lane – who with her alter ego Glitter Girl, is so inspiring every week!

Becky HIggins – whose Project Life system provides such an easy way to scrapbook daily life that I still have some creative energy left for other projects.

And do you know what? I think I could list at least another 10 inspirational women who have made their mark on my scrapbooking! Thanks so much, gals, for everything!


Everything I ever needed to know about quilting…

… I learned from these women.

These are some of the members of my stitching group Village Quilters, who meet every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm. The meeting room we hire is part of a renovated church building and it’s lovely and light – just right for a craft involving decisions around colour and placement. I don’t know if it’s obvious to you, but when I look at this picture I see women sharing ideas and knowledge. Everyone is in conversation with someone else, and they may be discussing just about anything quilt-related, and a good deal that probably isn’t.

I have received advice on the colours of fabric that might look good, had my layouts rearranged (for the better) and learned how to join my quilt bindings with an almost-invisible diagonal join. I have had great discussions on books and have a long list of titles I now want to read; I know which current movies to see and which to avoid; and I have learned the recipe for lemonade scones. Above all I have learned that a group like this is a fantastic support network, caring and sharing love through quilts with its members, their families and the wider community.


Learn a new skill

I have an on-going challenge this year as DH and I transition to vegetarianism. Learning new ways of cooking and coming up with interesting (and tasty) food on a near-daily basis is sometimes difficult and I have to confess that lately I’ve fallen off the ‘try new recipes’ wagon.

However the weekend brought some renewed enthusiasm to return to the fray and I opened my copy of The Accidental Vegetarian, Simon Rimmer’s book first published in 2004 (but only out in paperback since 2010, which is the edition I have). I chose the Lancashire cheese sausages with onion gravy, but had to do a rather fundamental substitution as we can’t get Lancashire cheese here in NZ (or if we can, not at shops in the rural heartland). So what you see below is Tasty Cheddar sausages frying happily, with the onion gravy behind.

The verdict? They were tasty and – most importantly to my DH – fulfilled the criteria of being “properly balanced between the four food groups: sugar, starch, grease, and burnt crunchy bits”.  (Thank you Terry Pratchett, for this wonderful quote – from Men at Arms).

Today I have not only learned a new way of creating sausages, I have also found a gravy that I can use again and again – it was absolutely delish!


Every life has time that might be called ‘in-between’ – I’m thinking especially of time spent travelling from one place to another, or transitioning from one activity to the next. Over the last two years – the time my ‘day job’ has been a 2-minute commute from home – the amount of ‘in between’ time I have is much reduced from years before, when I had at least a 30-minute trip..

I did a lot of thinking during my commuting time – much of it involved gearing up for the day ahead, or winding down afterwards, but there was also time to ponder other things. I think that is why I now especially value the hour’s drive from home to where my Dad lives, a trip I make every couple of weeks, as it provides two fairly long blocks of ‘in between’ time that is otherwise scarce in my life.

Mind you, the road contains quite a few twists and turns, when it’s advisable to concentrate directly on the job of driving!



Two prompts to cover today as I missed out on blogging time yesterday.

#5 was to think about the passage of time, and to look back or forward from the present moment while looking for today’s learning. I actually did both!

Ed was home for the day helping out. He’s always been a good helper:

March 2006 – Ed and Richard processing the timber from pines we had cut down.

The task we tackled today was labelling the new season’s bottles of olive oil, ready to supply our retail outlets and sell at markets. Before we got that far though, I needed to do the grocery shopping, and Ed tagged along, making himself useful throughout the process. Here he is loading the boot of the car:

It’s just possible that the chance to influence purchasing decisions may have provided some incentive to lend a hand (and caused the grin on Ed’s face)!

My learning for today – that we have been fortunate to have had Ed around to help with work on the property and business over the past six (and more) years; but the time is fast approaching when we’ll need to find other ways to manage the work flow.

#6 was to consider the things we are grateful for – big things and small. I have always been keen to approach life with “an attitude of gratitude” – but I realise that the short lists that I used to note at the bottom of my daily journal pages (three or four things I was thankful for from the day) haven’t figured for many months. I’m not sure why.

My learning for today: I want to resurrect that habit, and I’m going to start tonight.

Among the things I’m grateful for today are spring flowers – I love seeing the kowhai flowering and hearing the song of the tuis that flock to enjoy the nectar.

One step at a time

Putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to get to the top of a mountain (with snow, in November!). Taking the first step, and then another, and keeping going (moving forward) is what makes it happen, but it takes time.

In my life right now I think I need to do a bit more of the one step at a time thing. Today I made a list of the things I wanted  to do, and the things I needed to do. I crossed them off as I did them. At the end of the day there are still items remaining, but I got a lot further than I would have done without the guidance and motivation of the list.

Today’s lesson – make a list, highlight the top two and do them first, and then chip away at the rest, one by one.