Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Hope everyone's New Year's Eve is going well - we are rather hoping it might be less eventful than last night (no - I didn't trip over again). We were sitting up the back in the garden about to sip on our wine when the car alarm went off  - some crazy guys out on the road with a stop sign and a chunk of concrete attacking some poor luckless person. Ian turned the alarm off from inside the house and was thinking about popping out to see if everything was okay when three cop cars with sirens blazing, rocked up and took control. This involved tramping through our garden including standing on the kangaroo paws (fortunately okay afterwards) looking for something - maybe a knife. While this was happening, Grant's neighbour phoned to say Grant's alarm had gone off so Ian had  to move venues - all was well. Harley hid in the background not wishing to be noticed but did spend quite a lot of time outside with us. Typical cat loves drinking water in puddles and from the waterlily pots.

Today we have finished loading all the metallic foils and I have created a new foil intro pack. Really love some of the new colours and I am pretty sure we are lucky enough to be the first people to have them. I have written the newsletter and sent it to Ian for tomorrow and we have sanctimoniously  vacuumed the car (be clean next time you hop in Jas).

Now I am getting ready to make my panzanella salad to go with the scallops and champagne.

Have a great New Year's Eve everyone - see you in 2012

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Harley

Harley is in the process of taking over - busy throughout the night peering out windows - safe as of course - likes going outside at night - sleeping on our bed - peering into everything that might be a suitable dark place to venture. Before we got her she had only eaten biscuits so tonight - first piece of real meat - not sure what to do with it....

Thanks for all the kind thoughts - no I didn't have stitches - yes I probably had concussion - yes I have a large bump but still the same mad person I ever was. I have been tripping over since I was about 10 but usually land on my knees which is why I have crook knees. First time my head has attached itself to a metal rack though.

I am still enthralled with this family tree stuff. Can't make headway with the Rollos though - I think the surname must have changed before 1752. Keeping me out of mischief but better than playing solitaire.

I have been packaging all the foils - we now have 43 different colours in regular, matte, unusual and holographic.  Do have a peep at the website in Experimentation - Metals. Ian hasn't put them on the front page because he has 3 to add still. Not nice to photograph though. And a lot to package but not as messy as Angelina.....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

nothing like a split head



I have been a little groggy today - last night I tripped over a box in the passage and crashed into a metal stand making a large gash in my forehead - so much blood. It's not really my scene. Thank goodness for Ian to the rescue with flannels and clean specs and band aids. Now it is bruised and sore. And thank goodness for Ian's new coffee grinder which Kaz and Bruce gave him for Christmas.


There is a sort of golden window opportunity of postal things at this time of the year - yesterday and today and then I don't think until Tuesday so we have had our share of parcels. CPS #40 arrived and they have all gone out tonight - we have a few left if anyone wants one. A box with 24 new foil colours arrived today - very yummy - there are new colours as we know it, but also matte ones which will be lovely and a heap of interesting holographic ones. I shall start playing with them when I get a moment. And we also got a new shipment of our lovely merino wool. It usually comes in 10 kilo bales but this time Ian thinks they weighed about 50 kilos - I am not sure what is going to happen when I break them open. Merino everywhere.


Even though we have been selling it since October, we have only just loaded the Zeelon onto the web. I know lots of people have already bought it so I am not sure how it missed out for so long. It takes acid dyes and basically anything I have thrown at it - these are coloured with Starburst Sprays - surprise surprise.

And we also got a big pile of new stencils - same size as our other ones so they fit into the scheme of things really well and we will combine the deal of any 5 and any 10 - this one is one of the 4 cathedral ones and it is Paris - after my heart.

Harley is becoming more at home and loves any dark tiny places where she might be able to hide other than her fireplace. If a drawer is open an inch, she is nosing inside. We caught her (sadly missed a photo) swinging on her front paws looking into our crockery cupboard with her back paws off the floor. She goes outside the back but always with a close eye on her rapid retreat path.

Yesterday it was 39.9 here and today got very hot but has eased off although very nuggy. Summer must be here - just so pleased it was cooler for Christmas Day.

I have been spending my time working on the ancestry thing - ancestry.com send me so many emails I thought why not - and I have disovered that my great granny Celia Prideaux Barret comes from the Prideux family which I have traced back to 1050. Now that is excitng. No wonder I love the Bayeaux Tapestry and the Normans and the like.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

sooo lazy

We have been doing little and I feel a wee bit guilty at being so lazy but Ian tells me it is normal to relax and do nothing much. I have even been watching the cricket which is silly because I don't even like cricket....
I did start some drawings today for printing and stitching so am back on track and I did finish a piece of work today. Then we went down to the river. We were going to have fish and chips but they were closed so we took a hamburger and chips instead. A seagull I gave chips to - they are herbed ones - took each one to the river to wash it first.

Hope you are all having a relaxing time too.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

the three ds

 All that work  - here is the cassata


 here is the pav


and here is the icecream. Have to say the icecream and pav were the best I have made  in 100s of years - Ibeat the eggs and sugar for seemingly hours and it paid off.  Still plenty left though.

We had a lovely day with Kazuko and Bruce and Harley was out most of the day and enjoyed her Christmas presents. We will sleep well tonight. i love it here at this time of the year because it is quiet - everyone goes to Margaret River - I hope.

Hope everyone has had a wonderful day too. I have lots of great presents as well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'tis the night before......

Christmas Roses all ready for tomorrow. We were up bright and early off to get the seafood, the meat, the vegies, the fruit and anything else I could think of in readiness for the big eat up tomorrow.


One pavlova just out of the oven waiting to be decorated in the morning. It sinks once it is out of the oven in the air and by the time it has cream and kiwifruit and strawberries added you won't recognise it. my trusty 40 year old cake mixer is back in the cupboard after a lot of work. I must say it is still in fabulous working order - a Sunbeam. I used to say when I was 21 I wanted a set of suitcases but I changed my mind and asked my parents for a cake mixer instead.

I have packaged loads of wool and slushies and caps and stuff which arrived late last night and was planning to do some creating and maybe post a taster this afternoon but I got lazy and decided to read my book.

Thanks for all the wonderful Christmas wishes - our wishes to you all. May you sleep in, eat and drink too much, talk and laugh too much and snore when you go to sleep. That's tomorrow I mean....

Harley is turning into quite a cat - pottering around the house and only popped into her cave for a few hours today. She has a wee parcel under the Christmas tree.

Friday, December 23, 2011

decadent desert day

Yes - I did finally get the tree up and it will stay for longer to make up for it. Puny - of course - we have had this little number for around 42 years and it cost $3.99. Attempts to change for another - bigger, better, more this and that, have been greeted with a firm no from all. It's like a friend apparently - even the time I put it up and it blew over in the wind and nobody - yes nobody - bothered to rescue it. Now to add the presents - they all seem to be for Kaz at this stage - apart from the big white one.

Today has been decadent desert day - I have made the 3 layers of Cassata and the Icecream and the cake mixer is feeling rather overworked. It only comes out at Christmas time. Pavlova tomorrow. In fact we are very laid back about the whole event and we seem to be on target for organisation.

Very saddened for everyone we know (and those we don't know) in Christchurch. Another earthquake is not what they need at present.

For those who are waiting patiently - I have loaded a Christmas Recipe tag but remember I take no repsonsibility for your over indulgence. I shall have enough problems with my own.

Harley had the riot act read to her last night and I am pleased to report that she didn't venture into her fireplace until late morning today. Becoming a real cat at last.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

oh no - it's getting closer

a little drawing from the Luberon. Plenty of scope for hand stitch here.

Should I be doing other things - of course.... But I have had my hair cut, sorted half of the Valdani perles (got bored half way through but I can half tick that job off) , set up my 'puter to my printer in readiness - happy happy, and found my sketch book. I have also written a shopping list for tomorrow when I go off to get the obscenely decadent stuff for to make  the deserts for 4 - the cassata, the pavlova and the homemade icecream. On Saturday I shall go get the vegetables etc. Wonder if we have any crackers?

Did you realise that Sir Issac Newton was born on 25th December?

Tonight I am making 3 new eaties from my new Tasting India cookbook. The photos are so glorious that the recipes seem incidental. If you like India or Indian food I would highly recommend it.

By the way, I have bought all the presents for under the space where the tree should be - it may not happen that tree....

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

okay - where did the next day go?

Today seem to be enveloped by packaging Corriedale wool - no wonder it disappeared before my eyes. No holidays for me. Now to put them all away neat and tidy but in order so I can find them for orders.

Excellent result though today - my laptop is now talking to my printer which means I can use it. Ian had a frustrating time and ended up taking it all to the computer man so he could download the printer software.

Have to do my shopping list tonight so I can go and buy the copious amount of food we will consume....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

getting closer

Okay-  another day has past by - we have eaten all the practice cassata -I will post the recipe in a new tag because lots of people have asked for it. Then I will get ready to make the real one for Sunday. Our Christmas tree is still not up but we have our present to us sitting where it will be..... And I have done some Christmas shopping and we have sent the Christmas cards. Not many these days but it is a long time habit - especially getting one from Mr Greenbank this year on his horse if you don't mind.

Tonight we are going out with Val and Jim and we will see what Jim got up to - he came off his bike at 30k an hour and crashed into a tree and spent time in hospital - this was while we were in NZ. I think he may have decided his biking days are over. I knew there was a reason I stopped riding my bike - apart from the fact that I haven't seen it for 20 years.

The other night we watched Tim Minchin vs the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on the ABC. it was really fantastic - he has so much going on in his head - quite amazing - great words and more.

I have finished my 12 x 12 piece - just deciding how to bind it but in the meantime I have started another piece - silk fibre based - on Provence. It is going to be quite different and it is to be 12 x 12 too. This discipline will kill me.

We have loaded the new on-line workshops - well - not new topics - I will have a new one about Feb/Mar - just working on it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

countdown time


The cassata practice run seemed to be successful - so I shall have to make another along with the pav and icecream for Sunday. Ian was just about to hoe into this piece today.

Our red Chinese gates arrived today - there are two of them. They won't be up for a wee while but it rather exciting. Certainly will look different around the side of the house.

My Piece of work is making progress - I have to think about the edges.

Today is the 12th day of the facebook 12 Days of Christmas. It has been going very well and we are thrilled with the response.  Next year I shall be more organised and try to start on time. I was inspired to do it by Tim Holtz' 12 tags of Christmas. They were fabulous - you can always relate them to fibres and textiles and all sorts of mixed media.

Harley coped pretty well with all the visitors last night - she even came and sat outside for a while - just not near us.
Hope everyone's progress so far this week has been good.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Keep Calm - it's nearly Christmas

You know - we don't really get over excited about Christmas in this house but we always do the foodie stuff and presents of course. Haven't put the Christmas tree up yet but I have ordered the meat. Tonight we have Bruce and Kaz, Jarrad, Pete and Sarah coming for a bbq and I have made a trial run cassata - Haven't made my famous cassata for a few years but I was busily telling Kaz that mine was better than Il Pastos so I said I would add it to the Christmas pud scene along with the pavlova and hand made icecream.


This is the top layer - well it will be the bottom layer when I turn it out. Quite an involved process but it will taste okay for sure.

A piece I have been working on

with something to be part of it

messed up a bit but as soon as I have finished I will post it. It has to end up being 12 x 12 which is hard for me as I never measure anything.

Friday, December 16, 2011

it's Friday at last

I had lots of excitements today - first a parcel of Hurricanes shoelaces from Rebecca - thank you so much - everyone knows the 'Canes are my team although I have been unhappy the way things happened this year and I do not like the coach and would prefer it if they sent him back to the South Island. But I have decided to stay with them with my support for 2012 - Ian as usual will be wandering chasing the golden egg. So I now have my own Hurricanes shoelaces - I shall have to do something more than just wear them in my shoes, Rebecca!

My other excitement is a product which we have been selling since 2000 but which I have had to buy through a middle man so to speak. I have been trying to find it myself since 2000 and was becoming quite desperate since the middle man has decided to retire and not import any more. Ian can vouch for the hours I have spent on the net searching. This morning I got an email from a company who sell it and this afternoon I have ordered and paid for a shipment and shall sit and wait patiently - you would after 12 years! It has been a popular and big seller for us and I am so excited to have finally cracked it. Ian says the champagne is in the fridge.
I have also been indulging in wonderful books - Tasting India - you may not cook from it (although I do intend to tomorrow) but the photographs are absolutely wonderful.


and Al Brown's Stoked is also well worth it - and I have already tried something from this. I am chasing another cookbook as well which looked glorious but I haven't heard from them. Must try again.

India Flint's new book Second Skin arrived yesterday as well. Very valid book and India's philosophy shines through. I am enjoying the little I have read.

Naturally we haven't done anything like put the Christmas tree up, or order the meat, or buy presents but there are a few days left. Our main present to ourselves will be the painting etc of the bedroom but in our usual manner it will take a while. It sure is tidy and empty of lots of stuff right now though. I think we may have to move our bed into the lounge while we paint.

Harley is getting braver and slightly more relaxed although she is still sleeping in her fireplace during the day. Last night we were sitting outside and she came out for an explore - very brave. Then she went for a wander around the side and next door's cat which is ever so unfriendly and she - got into a fight. Ian was worried but Harley came back indoors far less panicky than every other day. And settled down in the lounge like she had always been there.



even cleaning herself like all good cats should. So we weren't kept awake at night and I think she was out and about in the house while we slept and she didn't wake me up. It must be pretty traumatic being moved to a new home without explanation so we are hoping it means she is becoming all settled and discoverig we are pretty boring.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

new restaurant

Last night we went to a fabulous new Chinese Restaurant in our area - the fat Dragon. Very good food and lovely staff. We shall go back. Yummy - now we have avery good Italian, French, Vietnamese and Chinese all pretty close - well we have to drive to the Italian. Not to mention Cantina which I love and there will be a new Mexican coming soon as well. too spoilt for choice.

Today I found out that Workbox magazine ceased to function some months back. I had wondered why I hadn't been hassled for an ad, nor received my magazine. I always enjoyed it and when I thought about it, I didn't see them at Ally Pally either.

We are finally up to date with orders after our little NZ break - I am frantically stitching for an article whihc has to be finished tomorrow. And still looking at a long list without ticks. Time to think about the Christmas shopping not to mention ordering the meat. Oh dear - all that work to do.

Santa, the fireplace cat, aka Harley - is still busy in the fireplace during the day and out and about at night. Must change habits soon.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Mother of all Rain

Perth had some record amount of rain last night in the space of about an hour and I reckon almost all of it fell through our roof into our office. Just about to go to bed and I went in to pick up my phone and water was pouring in. Two giant buckets and almost all of our towels later. Luckily the box of Romeo and Guliette and things like that were safely out of the way. Ian had been up on the roof clearing out leaves before we went to NZ but that was for fire - certainly not expecting rain. And loads or lightning and thunder as well. No time for photos while holding up buckets.

And Harley came out about then from her fireplace for dinner and was not impressed that we did not give her our undivided attention. She did go and inspect the water on the floor in other places  (only a little elsewhere) and then punished us at 5am with a lot of noise - as cats can do - out come the claws on the wooden floor. Barbara used to do that as well as scratching down our window when she wanted to come in and was too lazy to use her cat door. Dear o dear.

I discovered yesterday when I was web looking that both of my classes in Canada and New Zealand are full - that is very exciting stuff.

And of course - how could I forget to mention the cricket - first win for NZ in a test in Australia in 26 years. WOW!  It's not as though we watch it or anything....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

new resolution before the real ones....

This little cat, Harley, has nocturnal habits which need to change. She is still sleeping in the fireplace but comes out in the wee hours of the night for attention, Exhausting stuff. Anyway we have been clearing out our bedroom in readiness for painting and thrown out mountains of stuff. Like a box of videos - does anyone own a video player these days? Some we kept and popped in another box and down to the cellar they went. My clothes rack has gone to my studio which means I have to go up there to decide what to wear each day. Ian has been vacuuming and Harley has now hidden herself in the antique wardrobe where all of Ian's jerseys are - little does she realise that that will be going too along with the sideboard - why we have a sideboard in our bedroom is a mystery. Anyway the new us in the bedroom is what we are giving ourselves for Christmas.

 I have started popping sample photos on my Workshop page - this is using Romeo - will add more in the next day or two. The workshops are actually filling up quite well.

Yesterday we went off to Howard's Storage and bought a shelf system for the office and got lots of stuff off the floor and into organisation. Then we visited a shop and found some wonderful Chinese doors/gates for the side of our house. Had to come back and measure the spot but we think they will do nicely. So it is all go go here.

I have loaded another taster in the taster tag - hope you enjoy it. Off back to the studio to carry on with my hand stitching.

Friday, December 09, 2011

life in a fireplace

 This is the lovely fireplace in our bedroom where the new member of our family is settled in. Ian took the top off so we could try and entice her out. During the night (mother's ears don't ever stop working), i heard her come out, use her kitty litter tray and then she jumped on our bed and ran down between the two of us. Ian didn't even wake up. Then off she went to the kitchen and ate all her food and went back into her 'house'.

Kazuko coaxed her out with food -

 but then she heard a noise and back in she went......

more enticement - amazing what food on a hand does.

Now she is getting rather brave but any noises outside frighten her so back in she goes. I think she likes being an indoor cat somehow. Wait until we start moving things out of the bedroom this weekend so we can start painting it.

 Embellish 8 arrived this afternoon - we will send them all out on Monday with the orders we haven't quite got to finish - we have had a very busy week. Don't forget to pop over to facebook for the 12 Days of Christmas. Something new every day when I load it. 

I have lots of stitching to do this weekend and quite a few other things with that persistant list. However a bbq is in order tonight first.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A brand new member of the family

Welcome Harley - our new family member - not that we have seen her much as yet. She belongs to our neighbour's nephew who lives in Harley Street. He is shifting to Melbourne and can't take her so somehow she is ours. Our neighbour has said she will look after her when we go away. We were never going to get another cat after Barbara died and in fact had the sofas recovered. This little - well actually rather rotund - girl is about 5years old and this was the photo sent to tempt us. We have hardly seen her - she raced in the door and hid under our bed. Once we tipped it up she had to emerge and then hid in some of the excellent hiding spots in this house. Finally we lost her and went to bed wondering where she might be. About 5am we heard a tiny meow and there she was up in the chimney of the fireplace in our bedroom. Ian coaxed her down and blocked it up and after a quick eat she hid in our wardrobe. However she is a bit cunning and managed to clear his blockage and is now back up the chimney. James did say she likes to hide..... We have managed to pat her and she has purred so I guess she will come good before too long...

More important - we have just sent out the newsletter so if you don't receive yours, send us an email.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

welcome to December

Yes I know it is now the 6th but I forgot all about the December cat - Kazuko came for morning tea with lovely goodies and then I remembered! He has been waiting patiently for me to photograph him sitting on the bench, knowing he is the last one for 2011.

We have been very busy today and got all the remainder of the QA out and nearly all the DUTs out in the post - just a few left for tomorrow and we have nearly caught up with the orders. So - the first priority for tomorrow is to finish the newsletter so hang in there folks. Somehow I have another long list without many ticks on it. Mmmmm.....

I bought myself a woven flax basket when I was in NZ - much nicer to take shopping than those awful recycled things you keep being given. It got the stamp of approval from Australia quarantine.

Vale Sarah Lawrence

Rest in peace Sarah - a friend and a colleague and a truly talented person. We shall miss you.The textile art world will miss you.  Our love to David, Tom and Fran.

Monday, December 05, 2011

yes we are back

We are back home now - arrived yesterday afternoon but along with a pile of people, had to wait forever at the airport because one lot of suitcases couldn't be delivered for some reason. At least we got our suitcases.
We had a fabulous week - loved the far north and would easily go again. I didn't even read past the second chapter of my book which is amazing for me. And above is the only stitching I did but it is all in a good cause.
Loads of parcels for Ian to collect this morning including the QA54 which is half done and the rest will be off in the mail tomorrow.


It has a couple of articles on discharging and de Colourant which I have enjoyed. I think there are a few copies left over - not many though.

 and finally Down Under Textiles 6 has arrived. These will all go out tomorrow. I have 2 little articles - on Evolon and Romeo - 2 of my favourite goodies to work on.

The newsletter should be posted tomorrow and then I will pop up another starter. Also do visit us on facebook becasue I have my Christmas treats starting soon as well.

By the way - one of us swears that 43 years is cardboard - not even corregated either......

Very sad right now - we have just found out that a good friend has died. Hold onto your health - it is so vital. Nothing else matters.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Driving south

Long drive to Auckland down the west coast - on the car ferry to Rawene

Baked Hokianga flounder for late lunch - lovely if long drive

Friday, December 02, 2011

Lunch and look

Today we went to Keri Keri via HiHi - another lovely little peaceful spot

Lunch at Marsden Winery - fabulous food and wine - named after Samuel Marsden who happened to plant the first grape vines many many moons ago. This is Ian walking in the gardens. Keri Keri seems to have grown somewhat since we sailed in and lost our anchor.....

Cape Reinga

Today we went to Cape Reinga - right up the top of NZ. Well worth a visit - where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific. This Pacific side looks so peaceful but it was pretty windy

The lighthouse. The Dept of Conservation have done a wonderful job - I always thought it was just a lighthouse out on a limb.

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