Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Can’t Believe We’re Back Here Again.

How many “New Normals” can one city deal with before everyone just throws up their hands and says “That’s it, I resign.” Eight years later and we’re still hiding under the tables in our classrooms.


The same blankets and quilts comforting a new batch of students taking refuge from the chaos outside.


Paradise has never been more Lost.


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As a general rule, Golden Bay is sunny and breath-taking and beautiful and, well, golden.

But even when it’s not, we’re still rather glad we came.



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Treasure Hunt.

I counted… and 17 years is how long we’ve been doing these Easter treasure hunts. If you want eggs around here, you really have to work for them. It began with simple photo trails and jigsaw puzzles and graduated to code breakers, riddles and lines from famous poems. There have been geocaching clues and compass hunts, foreign languages and algebraic equations. This year I handed it over to the kids, mainly because my creative well was dry and they had some cool ideas, and everyone organised a hunt for someone else.

There were rhyming couplets and a real parchment treasure map. James got crazy hard maths problems. And Henry had to work the Periodic Table.

It was genius and he loved it. As always, there were little treats along the way and a big surprise at the end.

I always thought that the Easter Egg hunt would be a little-kid thing but, if anything, it’s developed as the years have passed into this huge, exciting, brain-teasing thing and now it’s an annual institution. One which, despite having a houseful of teenagers, I can’t see us abandoning anytime soon.


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Everyone needed something or other in the clothes department so off we went to Ferrymead for a fossick. Everything here is $2 and it’s right near the beach so you can run around in the fresh air when you’re done. I usually buy things to chop up and today was no exception. Two shirts awaiting their fate.


Tootal – Man at Ease. Crack me up. The girls had some brilliant luck boot wise … 2 brand new pairs of lace ups. Our home stay girl wore hers that afternoon to the mall and got some insane number of compliments including one from a complete stranger on the bus who’d been looking for a similar pair ‘forever’. She was open-mouth mad when told they cost $2 from an op shop!

The most fun, though, was Jono who was on the hunt for suits and jackets. His year level do Formal Friday at school and he’s a bit sick of his one (vintage Canterbury) beautifully tailored navy suit. He was fizzing when he found a 3 piece gray pinstripe (also vintage Canterbury, perfect fit) 4 ties for $2 and a black woollen pea coat. Back at home he had me take photos from all angles.

“Pensive? Damn, I was going for thoughtful.” (Name that movie!)

Everything you see is op-shopped. Except Jono. I got him the hard way. He’s worn the black coat every day since. I know that’s only 2 days but he’s worn it to umpire a cricket match, visit his best girl, drive to work and today at school. Score!

He also has a nice collection of pastel-ish formal shirts. And when anyone asks him where he got his gear, he takes great delight in saying … “From that thrift shop down the road!”

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Another Month.

At the beginning of each month I transfer anything I haven’t done from the previous month’s To Do list to the new month’s To Do list.

I realised, as I wrote my March list, that it’s identical to my February list which hasn’t changed since January.

Sigh. At least the kids are making stuff. Boxy Bag by Jesse in this season’s retro brights. Covetworthy.


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Summer Days

Trying to pack as much as possible into the last week of school holidays. James has spent a lot of time playing saxophones, bassoons and pianos but today was a little different. 20130120-235715.jpg

Today we drove for a few hours and then I left James in the middle of nowhere. A carefully laid plan to undertake his first solo tramp – to bring in a few supplies and walk to meet his Dad in the back of beyond.


Despite being well-prepared with maps and an emergency kit, extra food, a woolly hat and a PLB, I was on pins and needles til DOC radioed tonight to tell me he’d arrived safely. Without a hitch actually. So I needn’t have spent 4 hours worrying that the rivers were too high or that he’d take a wrong turn or that he’d fall down a crack and never be heard of again. And when DOC in Arthur’s Pass asked if there were any messages to pass on because Hope Kiwi Lodge was still transmitting, we sent through our love on the bush channel radio for the whole South Island to hear.


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The One Lovely Blog Award

Andrea from Fabric Epiphanies recently nominated  me for a One Lovely Blogger Award. Thanks Andrea – what a nice surprise! So here, in no particular order, are 7 things you might not know about me.

1. I love to sew and I have been sewing most of my life. (Okay, so maybe you did know that!) One of my earliest inspirations was my paternal grandmother and one of the first things I ever made was for her. It was the crookedest log cabin pincushion you’ve ever seen and it was completely hand-sewn. She used it until her sight failed and she could no longer sew. Then she gave it back to me.


2. Another inspiration was my Form 1 and 2 sewing teacher. She was a nightmare. It has become one of my teaching missions to never, ever , ever be anything like her. In fact, I strive to be the polar opposite. She made me cry on a weekly basis. Thank heavens for my grandmother.

3. To the horror of my careers counselor at high school, I wanted to work in the fashion industry. He was forever waving my science marks at me and pleading with me to do something else. My first holiday job (not counting years of farm work) was as a gopher for the head designer in a clothing factory. I continued to work in every aspect of the industry until I graduated from university, and I won several scholarships to help fund my study.

4. My careers counselor and I found a compromise. I have 2 Bachelor’s degrees, one in History which I did for love and the other in Textile Science. Actually, I did that one for love too. You may not know this but Textile Science is firmly rooted in maths and physics, with a liberal sprinkling of chemistry. Happy careers counselor. It also includes fashion history, garment draping and bespoke tailoring. Happy me.

5. The most important thing I’ve ever made is my wedding dress. In a decade ruled by powder puff meringues, mine was modelled on an 1880s dress in the Otago Museum. My degree also included a spot of fashion conservation. All of the lace on it was given to me by my grandmother and the beautiful collar actually came from my great grandmothers wedding dress.


6. Unlike a lot of other bloggers, I love Project Runway. I think it’s mostly because I’m really bad at making stuff up out of my head. I’m an excellent technical seamstress and can follow complicated patterns but I can’t invent stuff to save myself. Mind you, some of the designers on Project Runway can’t either but I love watching them try.

7. I now spend a good part of my day teaching 11 and 12 year olds to sew. Their lack of inhibition and their creativity inspires me. It is the most fun job I have ever had. This is Sophie and she came back the day AFTER school finished to work on her quilt.


Bonus 8. As for me, in complete contrast to the whole of my gregarious, fun-loving, larger-than-life family, I am really, really shy. Meeting new people in unfamiliar situations is not easy for me. Every day I give thanks for my husband – luckily for me I live with someone who has entirely healthy levels of self belief which he generously spills and splashes, like a fashionably brimming swimming pool, onto the people round him. (Not my words, I read them in a book once but I wrote them down because I thought they described him so perfectly.)

I know there are meant to be 10 recipients of my award but lots of people have already done this so I’m blanket-tagging all my Kathryns, Katies and Kates. You know who you are! Feel free to play along.


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