Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Wednesday 27 February 2013

I'm off to Sydney

I'm off to Sydney in 2 days! Whoop! Having my first ever girlie weekend with one of my old best friends from when we lived in Melbourne 10 years ago! I am beyond excited!
I adore Sydney - this will be my 3 rd trip 3 years in a row ow. It is made even more exciting that Kristy has lived there too, so I am looking forward to seeing the real Sydney if you like!
I have only ever been in the CBD area. We are staying at Rushcutters Bay which is just on the outskirts of the CBD. I love seeing new parts of big cities.
I am even feeling confident about catching the train from the airport ( it is amazing - come on Auckland! So incredible that you can be n the city within 15-20 minutes or so!) , swapping at Central Station and then jumping on the Bondi line. I have never been to Bondi Beach.

I think we' ll have dinner somewhere late Friday night, Saturday catch a ferry over to Manly ( new for me too and have been told about gorgeous shops there) and also maybe Gap in the city and the Australian Museum ( I have never walked through the Botancial Gardens and up past the State Library to the Australian Museum).

And Mardi Gras is on too - the biggest Mardi Gras in the world apparently !

And a wool shop - I know where one is - my fist ever visit to an Aussie wool shop! I wasn't into knitting when we lived in Melbourne sadly.

Love big cities! Can't wait! Any other good ideas for things to see? I'd love to go to IKEA too but think we might run it of time!

I am sure the husband will cope. :)

Monday 25 February 2013

Moment in time

I have a new niece born this afternoon! Lovely but the boys are basically growing up without cousins due to living elsewhere around NZ or overseas or the 7- 14 year old age gap between them in Auckland. Boys not bothered at all by the arrival!

Cast on a pink kina for the lady.

Finished another sock over weekend so I have a matching pair.

And the scarfs has been knitted and undone and knitted and undone but I seem to be on a winning streak at the moment.

Good tidy house too ( and library as well!)

Sunday 24 February 2013

Gadget for Kitchen Swap

The kid taught me how to make a gadget for the Kitchen Sawp. I guess you can now add this to your blog to tell other bloggers about it? This is all so new to me!

Quiet weekend - stunning weather in Auckland which really has been TOO hot and I have rarely stepped out side - sat inside with bi-fold windows and french doors open with fan on!
Carried on with my knittting of the shawlette - lots of knitting and un-doing and knitting and un-doing....
Finished another sock and started a new one as well!

We have painted another set of bedroom windows too - one more room to go!

Lazy weekend really - bbq to finish it off! Sydney next weekend - looking on wotif for cheap hotel prices - cheap and Sydney do not go together! Am leaving it up to my Melbourne mate to sort it out!

happy weekending everyone!

Thursday 21 February 2013

Kitchen Things Swap

I have finally come up with an idea for a swap! A kitchen things swap!

I have enjoyed the 3-4 swaps that I have taken part in and have been racking my brains for an idea!

We will swap four things -
One tea towel
One kitchen item - ie utensils/ mug / kitchen stationery/ notecards / cupcake tins or cases / baking item / coasters etc
One hand made item - ie kitchen decoration/ oven mitt/ mug rug/ place mat etc
One food item - ie tea bags / chocolate/ baking item - small things

I will take sign ups till March 8 and then post the swap partners on my blog.
Please state whether you want to post worldwide or just to your own country.
If you do not have a blog, please leave your e- mail address in the message.

Please try and have your items posted to your blog partner by April 12 - that should be plenty of time. :)

Now to get the 14 year old to make me a button!

Hoping it is as much fun as my other swaps!


Crunchy Lemon Muffins

Today i have eaten the sum total of an apple and a muffin....(now 6pm). Food is just not doing it for me at all. :(

One recipe we cook over and over again is crunchy lemon muffins. (thanks neighbour for a ton of lemons - being a single guy he has 2 huge over laden trees which we are allowed to raid anytime we want!)
This recipe is from Alison Holst's (a New Zealand legion) Marvellous Muffins book.

I always double the quantities too .

2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup sugar

75 grams butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
Grated rind of 2 small or 1 large lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Measure flour and sugar into bowl and toss to mix.
Melt butter, add milk, egg and lemon rind and beat well with a fork to combine.
Add liquids to dry ingredients and combine only intel dry ingredients have been dampened, but not thoroughly mixed.

Makes 12 - make sure your tins are well coated with sprayer use muffin cups.

Bake at 200deg Celsius for 10 minutes.

Mix lemon juice and sugar together and drizzle over muffins before removing from tray.

Yum. Great to freeze and pop into lunches from freezer! I always have 1-2 frozen muffin obtained sin the freezer.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Lately dealing with...

I have been whacked!

Dealing with having zilch taste and not eating a lot at all. Hate it!

Dealing with trying to help an 11 year old deal with new homework schedules and learning how to manage his workload at a very academic school. He loves the school and has thrown himself into it, being at school at 7 am two mornings a week to join in with the running club and soccer practice. He is one of two boys in his that were interviewed by the principal yesterday to be the class rep.

Dealing with having not a lot of motivation to do much. Not even knitting or letter writing.

Dealing with trying to get year 7/8 students to try and learn how to research and to take notes and for them to realise that nothing will help get their homework done if they do not have these skills.

Dealing with the fact that the library is not at all anywhere near being used as it should be.
And after only being at school for 8 days this year, it is already driving me crazy.

Dealing with a 9 year old that goes to sleep way too late (on going since 3-4 years old) and then obviously struggles to wake up in the morning!

Dealing with telling boys that they have to take a shower every night ( the principal of the local high school just wrote a letter to all parents telling them he was sick and tired of smelly children. It happens at every school !) and following through. (they fight and fight this!!)

Dealing with husband informing me he may or may to have a job in a month or two. Great unknown!

Dealing with intermittent ear ache.

BUT feeling pretty good other wise!

Monday 18 February 2013


Visiting the city
Seeing the start of Auckland Fringe Festival at Myers Park
Boys listening to first ever live jazz
Visit to the city library (I was the only one to take out books! We have so many at home on our own bookcases boys don't need to borrow anything!)
Watching Ryan play table tennis in the city (first time and tricky for a left hander!)
Visit and a wee impulse shop at the Japanese $3.50 shop - divine -
Knitting socks
Admiring lettuces and cucumbers and peppers in my vege garden (watering a ton as we are in a drought basically!!
Eldest made gorgeous waffles for Sunday breakfast
Cousins over from France for dinner ( no photos - forgot!)
New striped merinos - love merino! Love stripes!!
And listening to a poor child try and figure out how to fit a ton of new homework in around his social life!! Time management will improve over time! New schools are great but a huge learning curve!!!!!

How was your weekend?

Thursday 14 February 2013

My swap package

So these are the items I sent to Tracy at Mad About Bags, as part of the Daisy Row Springtime/ Easter swap.

It is of course coming up to Autumn in New Zealand but Easter decorations still do seem to be Spring orientated. I only know of one shop (Bed, Bath and Table) that does do Easter themed items ( and I haven't been to it lately )- but then maybe I don't get out and about and usually only go to one shopping centre.

I had bought some egg cosies years ago when the boys were younger, so just copied them - I wish though I had higher quality and a thicker felt than what I found at Geoff's Emporium though, but still think they are quite cute.

The other bits and pieces were found at various shops! Luckily all the Easter chocolate is in the shops too!

Sometimes I wish we did have a lot more themed things around seasons available in NZ, but that is life! We aren't really a big celebrations sort of country and events like Valentines Day and Easter, Halloween etc are not hugely celebrated. (at least not in my neck of the woods.) these things are also not big at schools - religious events are but not commercial things.

I loved this trade - I thinks the idea of it going into an icecream container was brilliant!

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Daisy Row's Springtime Easter Swap

Daisy Row's ( Springtime/ Easter swap was the first swap I have signed up for this year. I was paired with the lovely Tracy from Mad About Bags blog. We have swapped before, so I was delighted with my swap partner - Tracy is an incredible sewer!
We had to swap Springtime/ Easter goodies and these had to fit into either a 500g or 1 litre container. Luckily I had an icecream container (or 4!) in the freezer after my tonsillectomy. We never buy icecream as we have a child who is very impulsive and who would try and eat the contents in one day. And I refuse to deal with the arguments around this, so it does not come into the house! And we buy our butter wrapped too, so don't often have any plastic containers!

My swap arrived today! OH MY! A whole container of goodness! I love stationery and these sweet cards (I wish wish wish we had decent stationery in NZ but you would struggle to find notecards here!!!!!!!!) are perfect. I have never seen wool like this before and love the colours. I might make a wee cowl for myself with this.
Chocolate for Easter - yummy - and I will save this until I get my taste buds back. ( I had chocolate around an icecream last week and hated it!! Very sad. I have tipped wine down the sink ; cannot stomach cereal , milk, jam or toast for breakfast - bit of a disaster at the moment!!)
The pins are fantastically long and will be great for quilting.
And look at those carrots! Aren't they just the sweetest thing ever? I love the fabric choices. These will go on either a kitchen table display for on the mantle piece.
And the buttons are very sweet too - there is even a butterfly one!
I am in a mad cross stitch phase at the moment, so threads are fab! And tulips are my favourite, favourite flower - I adore this fabric. (I wish flowers were a lot less expensive here too!!!)
And a sweet clothes peg - this will go onto the side of my kitchen calendar to peg school notices etc too.
And adorable ribbon!

Wow! I love it all so much and think this is my favourite swap ever!! Sometimes I do wish we lived in a country that had more distinct seasons - well I could move south I guess and I most certainly would! (Dunedin would be awesome....)
Thanks so much Tracy.

I will blog about what I sent another day, as mine has not turned up as yet in England.

Have a look at Tracy's blog - she does lots of fantastic sewing and will sew on order and always has items for sale!

Monday 11 February 2013

New artwork and cross stitch

Nothing makes me happier than framed and finished cross stitches up on the wall.

I adore Miffy by Dick Bruna. When we were in The Netherlands 16 months ago , I was thrilled to be able to go to the absolute beautiful city of Utrecht and see the Miffy Museum. I suggest you hang out in Amsterdam for a day or two and then run over to Utrecht and explore a less touristy city! This wasn't the first time I had been to Amsterdam, but I was gob smacked at how over run the place was with tourists from my last visit in 1996/7! We walked out of the train station and voompf! Get out of my way tourists and take your trolley bags with you! :) . I hauled the boys away from there and we walked and walked around the city all day long (with stops at the amazing Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank's House.), but trying to get away from the hordes and big groups of tourists obviously on group tours. (not a fan of travelling like that!)

Utrecht was gorgeous and while it did have the odd tourist, it was so much more pleasant ! Tree lined alleys and bikes and gorgeous shops and goodness - even the AH supermarket is enough for me. Let's scan all our own groceries - so popular with the boys and then download the scanner and pay for it at the end. No queuing! And Ryan being able to use a computer at the end of the aisle to keep himself occupied while the rest of us international supermarket geeks were in heaven!

The Miffy Museum was not large , but had enough of Bruna's artwork and books in various languages to keep me occupied for a couple of hours. The shop was to die for... I came out with this cross stitch, a bag, a pencil case, a mug, postcards, bookmarks etc - luckily the boys were a lot older as I really could have gone to town with Miffy childhood items. The boys were good sorts too as really they had NO interest in Miffy! (nor my sister- in- law or nieces who called it "that stupid Dutch rabbit".) I still have some of my childhood Miffy books up in the attic and will hunt for them one day amongst the boxes and boxes of books up there...

I am delighted with Kieran's artwork from last year and it looks great in a cheap $14 frame above our mantelpiece ! I would love for it to be made into note cards!!

I have no Utrecht photos on this computer, so I will take photos tomorrow of the Utrecht scrapbook pages - I could easily live in this city! (well The Netherlands full stop!!!)

Sunday 10 February 2013

Grrrh - just threw i- pad across room and sadly it still goes! *** BAG swop details ***

I had typed out a whole post and then the stupid thing just blanked out and came up with an apple on the screen! Fully charged too!

Here we go again!

Supermarket swap - not a big take up! Oh well. Two great Aussies can swap with each other - Tracy from www.sunny-corner- and (no name) from Total Procrastination at

Please contact each other and swop addresses/ bags etc :).

( I can not , for the life of me, figure out how to do links on this i- pad either. Can anyone help me?)

Before Christmas I signed up with Katie's New Zealand Christmas Cracker swop. (Katie is at www.mummy- . My swop partner was Lydia from
Life got in the way of Lydia and I received my cracker yesterday. It is very sweet and I especially love the crocheted dish cloth! You can never have enough of these. The gorgeous ribbon, glitter and button will come in handy for a crafty make one day. Thanks very much Lydia and also Katie for hosting the swop! I will need to look for my photos of what I sent her before Christmas!

Back to school tomorrow for me after nearly two months off! YIKES!!

Friday 8 February 2013

Oh How I love thee Book Depository

I have done my first Book Depository order this year. ( - free postage worldwide. I buy thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of books a year - mainly for a school but a decent amount for home. I do support NZ bookshops too but find I can get a wider variety from The Book Depository. Plus they usually can arrive a lot faster even from England than with a NZ distributer!

Late last year the orders were taking 4-6 weeks to get here and there was a backlog of 12,000 (!!!!!) books to come into NZ but my orders this year so,far have taken 10 days which is brilliant! I already have my 2 nd school order ready to go.

Last year I bought the "Little House on the Prairie" box set for something like $60 - so cheap for 8 books! ( please believe me English people - your book prices are so, so, so cheap compared to NZ and Austrlalia!!). I have started reading the series this past week - what a divine read! Oh to liven the times with kerosene lamps, stitching at night, making cheese and butter, making your own wooden pails and collecting syrup, travelling by horse and cart - it all sounds idyllic to me! (but probably a lot more work really!!!)

I ordered some gems for me these holidays - "Prep" and "Thimble Summer" were both recommended reads from 2 blogs. I read "Prep" yesterday - it is like acting of the age story with 14 year old Lee going from Indiana to a posh boarding school in Massachusetts. -A class act says the NY Times. Easy to read in a day! I don't know if I will read it again though.

"Knitting for Good" is about how we can change the world positively by knitting, how it can slow us down and help support communities. Has patterns spread throughout it and I will read it shortly.

I adore the Pip Lincoln notecards - I also have her " Make Hey" notebook but still have to get the
"Make Hey" craft book. I would love her other books too one day!

And my most favourite book? " Embroidery Companion" by Alicia Paulson. Alicia has a blog called Posie Gets Cozy and is is one of my most favourite blogs! Look at the double page spreads!!
I received a cross stitch kit from her a couple of weeks ago too and after I have finished my 2013 NZ summer kit, I will start on that one - just in time for winter!

What books have you bought lately? Or borrowed from the library? I must go to the library a lot more!!!

Thursday 7 February 2013

100 Post Giveaway Winner

Shaken by the 14 year old and also drawn by him..

The winner is...... Tracy of Mad About Bags in the UK!

(Lucky her - I have just posted a swap parcel to her today too!)

I will try and get your wee prize in the post over the next week. I am back at school next wee and think it will be CRAZY.....

( I need to learn fast how to do links!)

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Nothing Much

Nothing much is happening here! Just a bit of letter writing the old fashioned way, sock knitting, fancy lacy scarf knitting and cowl knitting! And I'd love to start a baby kina - just waiting for the baby due in a few more weeks!

Plus some swap organising ( in a one litre icecream container) and painting of children's window sills ! So desperately needed!

5 more days off work and I will be back into a normal crazy life!