Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Creative Space

Eloise went back to kindy on Monday so afternoons are being spent at home, just pottering, playing and having fun.

 Crazy Maisy (our kitten) is providing endless entertainment. It's amazing how many hours you can while away playing with a cardboard box, a sister and a kitten. I remember doing the same when I was a child. I'd spend hours making elaborate cardboard box houses with shutters and tunnels for my cat Snoopy. Maddy asked if that was why I was so good at making stuff. Probably :o) .
 In spare moments at the playground, I've been knitting little brown kitties for a lovely lady in Australia.

And these faceless sock monkeys are due to get their individuality and character during Glee tonight.

How is your Creative Space going? Can I recommend you grab a cuppa and pop over to Kirsty's?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Ellie

I took the girls to Auckland Zoo yesterday. Burma the elephant put on a wonderful show, throwing sand onto her back. She looked so pleased with herself! She's a very creative elephant and apparently paints everyday (they sell the paintings to raise money for the zoo). How cool would it be to have an elephant painting on your wall? Definately a conversation starter!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Corban Estate

Corban Estate ran their annual Summer School last week. I was on the original tutor list to teach during the week but unfortunately the class got cancelled as there weren't quite enough people signed up to make it viable.

Some of the knitted graffiti that was going on during the course of the Summer school week.
I am teaching a shorter, weekend Sew Inspired course on Sat 26–Sun 27 Feb from 10am–4pm. The fee is $105 (including some materials), so I'm hopeful that the hours and fee will be more accessible for people. If you are interested, you can find out more and sign up here.

The Summer School had an open day last Thursday and as I was keen to go along to see all the classes in action. I had a piece in the Tutor exhibition as well.

Bronze casting in action
I had the chance to visit all of the classes in action. The painters and sculpturer were all looking in deep concentration so I didn't feel I could take any photos of those classes in action but the works being produced were incredible!
The chapel on the left was home to a writers course for the week
 The Estate is absolutely beautiful and definately a location to inspire creativity. If that wasn't enough, there was a fantastic Summer School cafe which had been set up for the week to feed all the hungry artists.
Look! There's my name!!!
 I had a great time having a wander around and finished my tour with a visit to the gallery. Soooo exciting. My contribution to the Tutor Exhibition was there and my name was on the wall. Not very professional of me to go so completely gaga over this but honestly, I was so excited! I think I'm allowed for my first exhibition aren't I?
How cool is this? That's my piece in the middle there. My first exhibition. So thrilled to be part of it.
I'll be posting more about next term's weekend course over the coming weeks so you can see the sort of thing I'll be teaching. In the meantime, if you are keen to sign up, then pop along to the Corban Estate website and sign up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Come hell or high water

I'm not entirely sure where that phrase comes from but recent awful events in Queensland and Victoria have certainly brought it to mind a lot. There's an explanation here which is pretty fitting. The determination to carry on no matter what is running strong and it's wonderful to see so many of my blogging friends pulling together to help out where they can. I've joined in Steph's campaign and posted off a parcel of softies last week. There's a dolly drive too and plenty of other ways to help if you want to.

We've had our own adventures with water here in Auckland over the weekend. These photos sent in by the public to the NZ Herald over the weekend show just how high the tide got (3.5m) and how the addition of torrential rain didn't help much either.

Auckland Harbour Bridge at high tide 23rd January 2011

Lake Road Devonport

Our basement (where my sewing room is) ended up under about 3 inches of water, despite the pump working overtime. Unfortunately, my sewing room which usually stays relatively dry, got completely soaked.

My sewing room after the carpet and most of the water were removed
 I'm usually pretty diligent with making sure everything (particularly electric things) are off the floor, if I think it's going to flood, but of course I completely forgot this time and my sewing machine foot got wet.

My vintage toy collection stayed nice and dry up on the window sill
When I realised just how wet the room was, Richard and I decided to pull the carpet up completely to let it dry out. When it's dry, we'll pull up the old carpet in Maddy's room and replace it with this one which is much newer. If it's getting this wet in the middle of Summer, I expect we are going to have a very damp winter and I just can't bear the thought of a perfectly good carpet going mouldy.

The contents of my sewing room waiting to go back into the room. Time for a sort out I think!
I'm actually quite enjoying the plain concrete floor now that it is all dried out. It's much easier to scoot around on my little office chair (lazy I know!) and a sooooooooooo much easier to clean up bits of thread and pins. 

Cute pink tulle for Flower filled fairy skirts
My overlocker is luckily still working so I'm doing as much as I can with that and I'm taking my sewing machine to a repair man this afternoon in the hope he can fix it. It is about 20 years old now but I do love it and I'll be very sad if I have to replace it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Flowers ready to go into Fairy Skirts.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My new little helper

Our home has been turned upside down by a new addition. Her name is Maisy and she has come to help our big grey Moggy, Kipper, in his efforts to disrupt daily life by getting in the way as much as possible.

 Although she hasn't quite developed Kipper's incredible talent for in-the-way-getting yet, she is showing great promise.
 Her curiosity is definately a bonus.
She wasn't a huge help whilst blocking this baby cardigan but she did make me giggle a lot.

She was absolutely no help when I was making plum pickle.

And I managed to sneak a bit of monkey tatooing in whilst she napped.

 I think we are going to be firm friends.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Songbirds by Sarah Bird
Jan 2011

I've got a piece of art in the Corban Estate Summer School exhibition this week. It's my first time exhibiting which is pretty scarey, but also pretty exciting.

The piece is called "New Zealand Songbirds" and includes the names of iconic Kiwi female musicians which have been double stitched in place to represent their permanence in New Zealand culture. 

 You can't see it in the photograph unfortunately, but the Tui's have mirrored wattles which shine in the light and represent the way Tuis reflect the sounds around them in their song. Did you know that the songs of Tuis vary from district to district? They are such wonderful birds. If you aren't familiar with the Tui, you can hear their song here. And a funny piece about Tui's mimicking their environment here
I have used both vintage and new fabrics in the work and really enjoyed trying out new techniques to make it. It's being displayed (and is for sale) at the Corban Estate as part of the Tutor showcase this week. (14th - 21st January). I'm unfortunately not running a course this week due to lack of enrolement numbers but I'll be doing a weekend course next term which should be more accessible in terms of time and money. I'll fill you in with details soon. If you want to visit the gallery and see my work and that of the other tutors, pop along to the Corban Estate this week. You can get directions and more details here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Limited service resumes :o)

Happy New Year to you all! How were your Christmas and New Year celebrations? Are you back into the swing of things or still taking it slowly?

One of the Christmas cakes Mum made and decorated with her Grandchildren. This one was done by Thomas.
It's been a great and much needed break for me and I'm feeling well rested (and much healthier!). I had two wonderful weeks with my family in Brisbane. I'm so glad we went over before all this week's dreadful flooding events. To all of you affected, I wish you a safe and speedy return to normality. My parents and siblings are thankfully unaffected so far (although my brother was in the city yesterday helping to sandbag properties on the river and stopped to help one of his favourite restaurants load up their vans in an effort to keep some things from being damaged).

The scooter cake Mum made for my nephew Ollie

It's my Mum's birthday today. She and Dad were meant to be going away to celebrate but have understandably (and thankfully cancelled). Some of you will know that she is the main reason and inspiration for my creativity and as it's Thursday (Creative Space day), I thought I would dedicate my first post back to her Creative Space.

Our yummy starter at Christmas. The glass holds chilled cucumber and coconut soup which is divine.
Mum's Creative Space is mostly cooking these days as her eyesight isn't good enough to cope with detailed sewing and cross stitch anymore. All the photos in this post were taken during the 2 weeks we were with them in Brisbane. Pretty impressive isn't it?

Chocolate berry roulade
I particularly loved the extra touch to this dessert. She just dusted cocoa powder over a spoon and fork. It looks so effective. I'll definately be stealing that idea! 

So Happy Birthday Mum. Hope it's a good one despite all the floods and rain. xxx

I'll be back posting on a limited basis until the kids go back to school (and a little of my sanity returns!)

For more Creative Spaces, pop over to Kootoyoo.


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