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April 2011
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June 2011

Looking back to look forward and a giveaway

Prize necklace1

Birthdays are the only times I look backwards and forwards. Normally I just focus on what's in front of me at the moment and don't contemplate the past or future much, that tends to lead to disorganization, maybe it's worth it for the sake of a little more peace of mind.

Celebrating a fourth birthday here on NM has made me realize how much I depend on this journal to document family life as well as creative endeavours. If I were to plan the next year, amongst the many things I want to do is return to documenting more in print, not just digitally. 

Pattern bundle

This past year I've loved squeezing in crochet time. I tried mixing this new crush on crochet with my old love of found pottery fragments. Inspired by Margie's sea glass and crochet necklaces, I realized I could show off some of my favourite pieces using crochet so I've made a few necklaces for myself and for gifts.

The piece above was found in our garden, it's probably Victorian. I loved finding this little bunch of flowers and knew I wanted to pair it with some vintage blue cotton and antique glass buttons. The necklace will be my first blog birthday prize.

A second winner will receive the Anna Tunic pattern by Amy Butler along with a few pieces of fabric (pattern details here). The fabrics aren't large enough to make the Tunic but they're not small enough to call scraps either. The pattern was a surprise gift when I renewed my Selvedge subscription and though I like the pattern, I know there's a whole lot of other sewing I want to do before I'd ever get around to making it for myself.

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling me what you've most enjoyed making over the past year. The contest will end on Friday, June 3rd when I draw the name of two winners. I will post each prize anywhere in the world so it is open to everyone. Please make sure your email is entered when you comment.

Bunny-pattern,-small And not to leave out another of my firm favourites, embroidery, I will offer this free pattern to all who request it. It's inspired by Gracie and the dozens of bunnies enjoying our overgrown garden at the moment, including a baby bunny that's entirely black!

On a side note, in addition to bunnies, I'm loving drawing, stitching and photographing birds right now and caught site of a pair of bullfinches yesterday - fantastic, nearly neon red breasts. Speaking of amazing birds and amazing Margie, look at these. Wish I could see the show she's curating here which features five incredibly talented, bird-loving artists.

Have a happy Monday.




Meet Verde

Light & peony w
Rescued peony

About two weeks ago a stalk with a bud broke off of one of the peony plants during a windy night. I tossed the withered stalk in a wheel barrow headed for the compost heap. Gracie took it out, put it in a juice bottle filled with water and hoped. 

A couple of days ago it began to bloom big and bold.

Verde, our new friend

The bonus to rescuing the flower is our new friend, voracious Verde; he loves peony leaves and is particularly active at night. During the day Verde is extra good at hiding, even when he's right under your nose.

Forgiving herb garden

The peonies, my pots of geraniums and the little herb garden are the only successes I'm having this year in the garden. And the herbs grow in spite of my ignoring them, our lack or rain and me snipping at them here and there.

This week I've enjoyed helping make stage props for the school summer play and being with my boy. He's enjoying more grown-up films now and wanted to take advantage of his sister being away to watch a few. So far we've seen The King's Speech (he loved it) and we're half-way through his next choice, Dances With Wolves; looking forward to part two tomorrow night.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. Giveaway to be announced Monday.

The beat goes on

T-guitar solo
Tristan fronting Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Our broadband is working at the moment so I'll take a quick opportunity to share some images of T & G performing at the rock show on Wednesday night. The school put up a big festival tent because rain threatened. 

Grace strums 1
Gracie in the Beatles finale

It was a fantastic family atmosphere and it gave the children's paternal grandparents a chance to attend their first rock concert (bundled in heaps of blankets, with ear plugs in) and they loved it as much as I did.

Tris as drummer
Tristan drumming with another band

Tristan played guitar with a band he put together and also drums for his guitar teacher's band. Gracie joined in "With a little help from my friends" to close the show. This night is a highlight of the year for Tristan - it's so much fun seeing him have fun doing what he loves.

Shutterbug mama
A friend snapped me taking pics - loving my long lens that night!

Gracie left for camp this morning and was "feeling wobbly." She's a trooper though and I'm sure she'll enjoy her week. I was up till the very wee hours making little surprise notes and treats to hide in her bag.

If the Internet gods are with me I shall return soon with a giveaway. 


Upadate: Obviously they aren't with me because I lost connection again right after typing that last sentence so now I'm back a day later.

Back soon I hope. Have a great week!



While I was photographing shots for a new article a bundle of fluff dropped from the sky onto the step just outside the window. Then the bundle's mummy dropped in a short time later. Fluff (otherwise known as a chaffinch fledgling) hopped around the step waiting for his mum to return with tasty insects. I think he sensed us watching so he pushed himself into this corner of step and overgrown grass.

We like to narrate the conversation of local wildlife, this is what they said:

Think I'll just hide here

Fluff: I'll just wait back here in this corner where no one can see me.

Mama chaffinch

Mama: I'm back; got a tasty one for you here. 

A quick snack, gotta run

Mama: Open up. There, now make it last, it takes me at least five minutes to find another one.

Hmmm, now what can I feed him


There's a little something

Mama: Okay, I see a little something here. Have this snack, then I'm off for more big game.

You watching me?

Fluff: Hmmmm, something's watching me. I'll just hide behind these leaves.

What are you doing in there?

Mama: What are you doing in there?
Fluff: I got s,s,s,s,s,scared. I thought I saw a huge dark eye watching me up there.

Here's another spider

Mama: Don't worry. Here, have a spider.
Fluff: Mmmmmm, yummy. Bring more please.

Buzz off

Fluff: Buzz off big eye.

Click the images for  a closer look.

Though male chaffinches are more colourful I love the delicate colouring and the tender faces of the females. Chaffinches normally have a clutch of five eggs and they continue to feed their young after the babes have left the nest. This little one might have been her last to fledge. We watched this scene for ages.

Cosy breakfast

Jill has been appearing at breakfasts around the world like here, here and here too. Thank you sweet Jill for keeping my egg cosy while I was toasting some special sourdough.

Our Internet connection has been off and on so much lately and it's extremely slow. One of the downsides of living in the country, but just look at that face in the first picture, must be the only downside :)

Happy Wednesday,


PS, Has it already been four years?! I'll try and be back soon with a birthday giveaway.  

Pretty tangles and groups and things

Reverse of hand and machine stitching

I've had quite a long and unexpected Internet break, apparently down to a bad circuit board at the exchange - whatever that means. It reminds me of the image above, lots of lines going here, there and everywhere behind the scenes that normally get where they need to go without us ever needing to know about it, until they don't work.

Funny group
Funny groupings

So while I've been away I've caught up a little with things I've been happily ignoring, like dusting and stinging nettles, though the latter are getting harder to ignore because they're painful. I've been noticing that when I dust I move things around into new groups, usually without making any conscious decisions about it. Sometimes just odd objects and other times colour groupings, it's fascinating to me that our brains need pattern.

Dyeing with hot drinks
Dyeing with hot drinks

And I also tackled some dyeing that I've been meaning to get to for a long while; this stack of vintage linen soaked in a fine blend of coffee and tea, I like the shade I get by mixing them. Tea tends to give a pinker shade than coffee and I find by combining them I get just what I want, a shade closer to natural linen. I'm planning on new dolls with this batch.

More baby cards
Late baby cards

This style tends to be my stock design for babies. The gifts to go with them might arrive before they each start school ;)

Tissue box cafe

And over our long weekend T & G got out the Brio train set. T received his first wooden track when he was about 18 months old and still enjoys it at nearly 13! And he doesn't even feel too cool to admit he still likes it (now that's cool). They both still like me to play along which I'm happy to do, especially if they serve tea, both of them make a mean cup. To be sure tea would be served I quickly made a café with an empty tissue box. Half a tissue box makes a handy arched doorway don't you think? 

Other things:

I'm loving this site which is probably not new to many of you but as you know, I don't get out much. I found it via very clever Erin.

And also loving the RAC, they never let me down or make me wait too long. When they arrive the drivers are the nicest people you could hope to meet, like the one who changed my tire (tyre) on Easter Sunday and said the tea I brewed him was perfect. Or the nice man who told me to wait in a cafe instead of my car when my battery died the winter before last (it was -3 outside). Of course I have no affiliation with the RAC but I feel a little more secure knowing their card is in my wallet.
BTW, I can change a tire but I can't get the lug nuts off even when I stand on the crow bar.


Lastly, congratulations to my gorgeous niece Lauren (on the far left) who underwent shoulder surgery last year not wanting her softball career to end; her high school team just made the playoffs (again).

And also a big congratulations to smart, hard working and lovely Diane who just took over from the equally smart, hard working and lovely Natalie as Editor-in-Chief at CRAFT. CRAFT couldn't be in more capable hands.

Happy weekend to you!


P.S. Hope to play catch up with all of you soon.