Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What's on your windowsill?

Here is a fun thing to do.
I saw KitchenMaid has shown us what is on her windowsill,
and interesting vignettes came forth from looking at what was on her windowsill.
So here is what I have on my windowsill.
On the left side of my windowsill is a blue collection.
The little vase is from Fez, Morocco, and the three carved wooden spoons I bought in a country souk there.
The one little spoon by itself is a gift from Budapest, from the family cyclists who biked 800kms down the Danube last year.
The little blue teapot came from Japan, a gift from niece Nicola.
Mo loved it and used it always when I was away teaching during the day.
The tiny teabag holder I brought back from a trip to see Nora in Ireland.
The gorgeous cake slice is a gift from my gorgeous daughter-in-law, Ann, who gave it to me, her whacky ma-in-law!
It was bought in Soho, London.

Down the other end of my windowsill where my tagine lives, is my mortar and pestle, a gift from my lovely sister, Linda, so I can grind up spices and herbs for Moroccan cooking.
The tagine shaped condiments and the little teapot all came from Morocco.
On the left is my tiny lady grater, too cute to put away, a vase my dear Aunty Vyver made at pottery class many years ago, a pink pig egg cup, a gift from teacher friend Kay long ago, and a pot of mint to save me running downstairs to the garden.
The little wooden tulips and Aunty V's vase, were on my farmhouse windowsill, and travelled with me to a new life in town.

There...would you believe a few objects on a windowsill could hold so many memories.
Do have a look at KitchenMaid's post too.
What is on your windowsill?

PS: do you think my windowsill is nice and tidy? It always is because my neighbours look right down into my kitchen. Coming from a farm with nearest neighbours several paddocks away, I always feel as though I am on a reality cooking show. I said this to the young people who rent the house once. They assured me they don't look. Then one lad said 'yes we do and sometimes we wish we were coming to dinner'!
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Spring Has Sprung! .

At last I have been back at my sewing!
I have procrastinated for so long about this quilt but this morning I rose early
(it must be spring..the sun is up earlier and so am I)
and I have actually been quilting.

Around my workroom wall, like patron saints,
I have pictures of some NZ women artists
to encourage me to be creative and industrious.
Each one is in a favourite room of her home,
surrounded by wonderful art.

Jacqueline Fahey

Rosemary Stokell

and one of my favourite writers Elizabeth Knox.

I have taken these pictures from The Sunday Star times magazine which I love to read on a Sunday morning with my coffee. I especially like these double, full page "home" pictures that feature each week. I sit with my coffee getting all excited about whose room I will be looking into this week!
I love Jacqueline Fahey's room with her wonderful paintings. It has actually featured twice, so someone else must like it too.

Elizabeth Knox has a lovely rabbit picture behind her and is that one on her T-shirt? I loved her book The Vintner's Luck. I was disappointed with the film. So much of the book was left out.

Elizabeth came to our Arts Festival and Josie and I went to her garden party in a big marquee at the gardens. She talked about the angel from The Vintner's Luck and while she spoke the sun created angel wings behind her on the canvas wall. We looked behind the marquee afterwards.. it was the shadow of a stack of chairs! I think she liked me telling her about the angel wings. It was a little bit spooky really.

I don't know much about Rosemary Stokell but I read she takes art tours to Europe. Mmm. That sounds interesting.

Oh well. I hope my patron saints on the wall inspire me to keep sewing on my quilt tomorrow.
I am determined to have this quilt finished by the end of this week!
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A Song For Penny..

This is special thank you for Penny who had a special post message for her kiwi friends in New Zealand. With love from NZ for Penny, and all our blogging friends around the world. Arohanui...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Light on the Water..

I was reading Juliet's post about the beauty of the light track on the sea..
and remembered a lovely experience I had when on a Mediterranean cruise
my Aunty V. aged 87, in 2005.

This is a page from my diary of our amazing journey together.
We were heading towards the Greek Island of Corfu.

I rose early every morning to see the sun come up from the top deck.
The first morning I was alone and as the sun rose
it made a track of light straight to me.
A man arrived on the deck but further along and he too was watching the sunrise.

It struck me how the sun still made a red-gold track only to me..and not to the man..
To the man it would have appeared that the sun was making a track of light only to him, and not to me.
The wonder of having eyes of course.
I had this overwhelming feeling, the universe was telling me something, a parable of nature.
That each one of us is loved beyond belief.. unique and special.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sepia Saturday:

I thought today for Sepia Saturday I would introduce you to
Mo's great-great-great grandfather

Edward William Stockman
..intrepid adventurer..

Edward an Englishman, arrived in New Zealand in 1832, living in Korarareka, now Russell, in the Bay of Islands. He looks quite the gentleman in his suit doesn't he. In his early days in New Zealand I imagine he would not have looked so dapper.
Korarareka was a notoriously wild place then of sealers and whalers, living among the maori people.
It is believed Edward had a de facto family in Korarareka.
It was probably whaling that took Edward to the island of Rotuma
for some time, where he was 'artistically and elaborately' tattoed on the body and legs.

A family legend tells of his capture by natives while the rest of the crew were killed and eaten, but an old woman saved him from death, deciding she would keep him as her husband. He was then tattoed on his rear as an indignity because he refused her. A great family legend!

Returning to New Zealand he travelled to Kawhia (near where I live now) and ran a trading store.
Here he married a woman of the Ngatiawa tribe, Emma, and had three children.

The story is told how a group of maori threatened to attack and loot his store. Edward sat himself upon a barrel of gunpowder with a lighted stick in his hand,declaring he would blow up himself, his store and the attackers should they proceed. The attack was forgotten and Edward gained much respect from then on.

Being a fluent speaker of maori, Edward moved to Taranaki, becoming an interpreter first for the Imperial troops, during the so-called rebellion, and later an interpreter in Maori Affairs.
In 1855 a jury list states him as a farmer of Mangorei, and in 1856, the owner of a racehorse.
He had indeed become a gentleman it seems. I imagine this photo was taken during prosperous Taranaki years.

He married his second wife in Taranaki and his daughter Hera/ Sara was to become Mo's great-great grandmother.

Edward is certainly the most colourful of Mo's ancestors, found among the family sepia photographs.

The knowledge of the family history is thanks to Renee Sharman, a great-great-great grandaughter of William, who has spent many hours researching , and from The Taranaki News report of Edward's death.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Film Festival comes to an end..

Friend Kath and I have been enjoying a feast of films..
in our lovely Lido Cinema.
The carpets, the space, the chandeliers, the comfy seats, the delicious coffees ....
all add to the experience of going to the movies.

The last festival movie for us was Certified Copy, Starring Juliette Binoche who took the Best Actress Award at Cannes in this role.
It was by far my favourite of the festival movies.

It is a movie I would like to see again. It is complicated and fascinating , dealing with many male/female life situations, art and nature... and all set in gorgeous Tuscany. The beautiful setting alone is enough reason for seeing this film.
Kath and I had plenty to discuss afterwards over our lunch at Swirl. Was he really the husband? No. Was she a bit crazy. Certified? What was true , what was copy. He the writer, was happy to play along. Writers are interested in how life happens. She is a journalist. We never know her name. This journalist definitely thinks outside the square. What fun making up life stories as you go. Definitely a film worth seeing.

Now the festival is over. We'll be waiting for that other wonderful movie experience,
coming later in the year...The New York Met Operas.

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Daffodil Day.. in NZ

a daffodil

flower of spring
the season of new life and rebirth..

cheerful flower of captured sunlight
brightly reminding us of life and hope,
and the joys of the new season ahead..

This vase of beautiful double blooms was a surprise gift
this afternoon from some very special friends..
memory flowers..
thank you, thank you!
They came with a delicious fruity loaf.
It is so lovely when someone gives you a gift out of the blue.
How spoilt am I!
This little daffodil I bought today at the supermarket door for Daffodil Day, in support of The Cancer Society. Too many of us know the impact of cancer in our lives.

We grieve the loss of our loved ones ...
and give thanks for those who survive...

and we buy daffodils today to help those who search for cures.

Daffodil Day has become a special day in NZ that really fits the season. That makes me feel happy! We need a few more festivals like that.

PS: Penny tells me thay have Daffodil Day in the States in their spring. There lies my dream.. for our festivals to be seasonal. We could have Easter in our spring and Christmas in our winter, just like our Daffodil Day fits into it's proper season.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday ..Printmaking Class..

..so how is my printmaking going in the etching class?
This is my first ever, very small, etched zinc plate. (50mm x 60mm)
It has been bevelled, sanded, polished and covered with grounds.
The design has been etched into the grounds..and into the acid bath for 20 minutes.

This is the first simple print.

Now I'm deciding what will be light and what will be dark.
Shellac is painted on to protect light parts
and into the acid bath again at least twice more.
I wish you could see the prints that my classmates are producing. Inspiring I tell you!
I'm into tents.. thanks to Meliors lovely quote..
"for my children I am a house and a door...for my lover I am a silk tent flapping"
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I count myself so lucky to have such a lovely ten minutes walk
from my place to Arts Post and the Print Room
on a Thursday morning.
We had rain last night and it was still cloudy.

On the way home the sky was blue and the clouds were disappearing.
Can you see the tiny aeroplane ever so high, a little white dot..
I wonder where it is going and who is travelling.

I am a little in love with clouds!
Sometimes I just can't believe I really live on this amazingly beautiful planet!
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When I walk with my camera in my hand
I am carefree and living in the moment,
noticing the little things...

the beauty of a single wild daisy

the first tiny daffodil in my little vege garden,

the faces of the pansies,

and the glistening drops of water still there from last night's rain.
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...and what could be nicer for lunch at home
after a morning of creativity and learning,
but some extra delicious fig and walnut sour dough bread
from the little bakery Volare just down the road a bit.
Now it's mow my lawn, apricot chicken for tea,
then off with Ylane and Kath out to Te Pahu for Book Club!

Oh. I forgot..for supper I am taking those big fat dates stuffed with Halawa
and sprinkled with chopped pistachios..
thanks to The Kitchenmaid who introduced me to Halawa. Delicious!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Colours of Australia..

Some time ago I posted a photo of a bowl of orange persimmons
and then went looking for orange around my house.
Touches of red but not much orange.
Cousin Adele from Australia
said she would remedy that...and true to her word..
look what arrived in the mail today!

Three kitchen towels of the most gorgeous colour.
They are so lovely I could keep them in the living room!
Adele tells me the red one is to match my red tagine.
Isn't she wonderful.

I love the Aboriginal designs on the material.

This is an earlier towel Adele made for me and it is in constant use.
There is another but it is in the wash!

The new towels match the small Aboriginal painting I have on my wall.
Thank you Adele. This is such a lovely gift and I will think of you every day as I use these lovely kitchen towels.
My little kitchen will glow with colour. They will remind me of your Australian birds of wondrous colour, your wild flowers, and the art of the Aboriginal People. Australia is an amazing country..and my Aussie cousins are wonderful! I look forward to seeing you again.
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A beautiful clear blue sky day today
and the magnolia has begun to bloom.
Spring is coming
and I feel the need to plan and sort and clean...

and sure enough
the big moon that visited Vicki in the mountains in America
where Autumn is around the corner...
is shining on us in Aotearoa-New Zealand tonight.
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Tuesday: off to dancing...

put on a dancing skirt
tie on the jingling coins
bend and sway
to an eastern beat

something mystical
ancient and womanly
dancing dancing
on my happy feet

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Crazy Turkeys...

Vicki, on her blog (Vicki Lane Mysteries) has written about turkeys.
It reminded me of the free ranging turkeys
that visited us from time to time on the farm
at the foot of Mt Pirongia.
What characters they were.
Although rather handsome, I always felt there was something ridiculous about them.
Once the whole flock went through or over our roadside fence apart from one.
He could not work out how to get through and went up and down the fence for two days.
We tried to help but to no avail. Back and forth he went.

Once we came home from town to find our back garden full of turkeys.
They strutted about complaining, as if they were telling us
(to be read in your best turkey voice)

"Oh. So you've come back have you.
We thought you'd left for good and we were just moving in...
Gaaah gaahble gobble gobble gobble!"

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Greta Bradman..forest of dreams..

Beautiful lullabies for babies? Me too I'm thinking. I heard Greta interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ this morning, while I cleaned my kitchen. I was entranced.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


today is a day
for remembering with love..
another spring comes

you planted roses
Dublin Bay..Double Delight
by the wooden fence

I imagine they
are still there with fresh spring leaves
and roses coming

Mo...22 August 2004
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sepia Saturday .. Haymaking 1947

My first Sepia Saturday was Haymaking In Taranaki in the 1930's.
This is haymaking in The Waikato in 1949.
The young man standing on the right is the grab handler.
It is Mo who was the little boy in the first photo.
His father is the stack maker standing on top and his brother Rex is driving the new tractor.

The family left Taranaki in 1947 and went to the Waikato
where there was a greater chance of 50/50 sharemilking and farm ownership.
Mother Hazel's family had arrived in Taranaki from Cornwall England in 1842
and leaving Taranaki meant leaving her sisters and her extended family.

Rex , driving the brand new tractor is sweeping the hay to the grab.
The hay has been turned to dry several times over a day or two depending on the weather.

Mo places the grab over the hay, then leads the horse..out of the picture, to pull the ropes and pulleys on the pole which lifts the grab full of hay up to his father on the top of the stack. He has to be careful not to knock his dad off the stack.
It was Dad's job to build a stack that would withstand wind, rain and sun.

Notice there are no neighbours helping now. The three men can manage to bring the hay in themselves. The tractor made a difference to haymaking. It would have seemed more important to take a photo of the new tractor than the poor old horse.
The family sharemilked for five years in the Waikato before buying their first farm at Tahuna in 1952.
So the shift to the Waikato was worthwhile. Both brothers Mo and Rex later became farm owners themselves as did younger brother Robert, who was aged 3 in 1947.

Oh..by the way. Little did Mo know his future wife was growing up on a farm, miles away on the Manukau Peninsula. That was me.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

What is a Bubble..

a little water and a little soap
and a mother can make magic for her little girl

the bubbles rise and float down down down
and little Eve claps her hands and laughs with sheer delight
and chases the delicate spheres so silently landing
only to vanish at her touch into nothing
oh the mystery

my mother made bubbles with the circle of her thumb and forefinger
in the bath for my little sister and me
more more we cried
wanting the magic to never end

such a simple thing
water air soap

and love

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