On Blankets, Birthdays and Endangered Parrots

It’s been a whole month since my last post , time keeps on zipping by me and although I’m not wasting any of it I have very little to show you currently.

I did get my Seaside Stash Busting Blanket finished – and absolutely love it!   Here is a pic of it spread out on my bed complete with the obligatory poser

dav

If you have a good sized stash of yarn – and even if you don’t – head on over to Eleonora’s place and follow her weekly installments, available on her blog under the header picture.

I did have an almost significant birthday a few days back and amongst the lovely cards and gifts was a most wonderful surprise from my youngest.   We will head off in a few more days to trek through the evening bush to visit with Sirocco, the world famous kakapo.

What?  You haven’t heard of Sirocco?  Where have you been for the past decade?  Come on, you are about to meet a pretty hilarious and amazing parrot!

Kakapos are another of our almost endless supply of nocturnal, flightless birds under attack from the almost endless supply of introduced  rodents and predators who have ravaged the population.   Here he is in a pic I pinched off Google, looking perkily ambassadorial

sirocco

Kakapos are the only flightless parrots in the world.  They are big, heavy birds who climb trees using their claws and beaks.  They mate irregularly and have a prolonged and unusual mating ritual that involves ‘booming’.  They were almost extinct and are being clawed back from the brink by dint of human determination.

Sirocco’s behaviour on Stephen Fry’s series of ‘Last Chance to See’ some ten years ago resulted in world wide fame and instant You Tube infamy and as a result he became New Zealand’s official spokes-bird for conservation and most importantly the conservation of our native flightless bird population – and even more importantly the kakapo of which there are now 149 up from their lowest point of just 25.  This short clip kind of sums it all up

If you are interested in learning more, the link below will take you to some relevant pages on Te Ara, the encyclopedia of New Zealand.  I’ve started it with the male Kakapo sitting in his bowl ‘booming’ his mating call out in the hopes some wandering female will pop by …….  He’ll do it for hours and days and it becomes pretty obvious predators aren’t the only reason why these quirky birds are endangered!

https://teara.govt.nz/en/video/10577/male-kakapo-booming

Kakapo generally have a reputation of being fearless, inquisitive and friendly birds.  An early Governor of New Zealand, back in the day when kakapo were still plentiful, was said to have been given one as a pet and compared it favourably to a dog.  Sirocco’s ill health as a chick meant he was taken from his mother and hand raised.  He imprinted on humans and, it seems, specifically the male of our species and as a result has no interest in ‘booming’ for kakapo hens.  He will boom for humans though.  Despite a couple of years in therapy and some training in acceptable behaviour (some of which you can see on YouTube if you do a search) he is not likely to assist in the increasing of the kakapo population, so Sirocco happily takes himself off round the country from time to time, sets up digs in a suitable outdoor hotel, is waited on hand and foot by his adoring servants and accepts brief visits from small groups of his adoring public  – of which I shall  happily be one.

Not many of us get to see a real live kakapo.  They now live only on two small islands that are kept scrupulously pest free – no rodents,  no predators of any kind.  The only humans allowed are those entrusted with their care and scientific research into their lifestyles.  Given those living conditions and the fact that they sleep all day we are really fortunate to have a bird who likes people and who enjoys looking at them as much as they like looking at him.

Any how, I’m really looking forward to it,  I just hope I don’t get lost in the bush on my way to my date with Sirocco   🙂  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

Still June!

Oh, lookit me go!  It’s still June and here is my second post for the month  🙂

I celebrated the winter solstice by finishing two handcraft projects and thought I’d share them before the newest projects take over my attention fully.

First here, please admire the gorgeous Persian Tiles blanket being pressed for the last time by the equally gorgeous Orlando – still convinced I’m trying to steal his soul with that damned camera…..davThe colours are pretty accurate in the above photo – aren’t they fabulous!  The yarn is wonderful it’s Corriedale Wool purchased from The Wool Company which is based in Taihape New Zealand, but has a global reach.  My friend Jan from The Snail of Happiness  arranged a wonderful surprise for me back in February and it has all gone wonderfully smoothly – all I had to do was choose the colours and follow the pattern.  davThe colours are a little washed out in the second photo, but you can see the texture and the pattern.  The edging needs to be blocked to finish the thing properly, but that won’t happen until the weather warms up a little.

And now, let me introduce you to Miss Petui ButtonbottomsdrHer name grew organically as I read your various comments and proposals and suggestions in the previous post.   Karen said she needed to be a Miss and I agreed; Val said Petunia and Norah mentioned the same name, but was more connected to the ‘P’ for Pauline and et tu (you too) which she had jumped to from ‘etui’  I liked the idea, but in the end decided to stay with ‘etui’.  So you can pronounce it Pet-you-ee or Petwee as you please.  Her last name grew from Geoff’s suggestion of ‘Leadbottom’ which made me laugh, but you will see soon why I changed it a little.  (Sometimes it’s obvious even to me that I have way too many hours to wonder around in LaLaLand!)

Miss Petui stands just on 50 cm (15″) tall and her many pockets hold all kinds of toolsdavHere I can find pen, pencil, awl, ruler, thimble, measuring tape, needles of various sizes and sharpnesses, two pairs of scissors, quick-unpick, long vision specs and cleaning cloth, a variety of stitch markers, a reel of thread, a row counter and a small magnifying glass.davHer head scarf holds pins and unseen is a large amount of blocking pins hidden in her hair.  She wears my reading specs, always ready to do a bit of stitching, hooking or sewing repairs.

Have you wondered yet how she stands up so steadily?  Miss Petui has, hidden beneath her long dress and busy apron, a container of buttons.  I found a bottle of the right height very early in her creation and worked to its specifications.  The bottle is now filled with a selection of small buttons which keeps them to hand and gives her stability and weight.  I tried to get a photo but found it almost impossible now she is finished – not to mention somewhat invasive of her privacy!  You will just have to believe me, she really is ‘Miss Buttonbottom’.

You’d think that would be it wouldn’t you – after creating my very own etui doll from scratch with no pattern and only stashed materials.  But the minute she was pronounced ‘done’ I found myself with a tiny hook and some chocolate brown yarn making another lot of rounds, growing another head – much smaller, much neater – but definitely a head……  I have no clue what this will be, but I’ll keep you posted…… Maybe…..

Here’s  a cute shot of Siddy, just so he’s not left outReady to go home March 9

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

June Creations

While I think and muse and potter and walk and create and just be, time keeps on flowing by and my mind turns to the fact that soon – soon – we will be at the mid winter mark of the longest night and the light will begin to return my way.

I always miss the light the most when I am in winter.  I don’t mind the cold, the wet, the sleet even.  I mind the shortness of the days at both ends and I miss the feel of sunlight on my face.  I don’t miss the heat.  I quite like not having the energy sapping, robust glint of hot summer days.  But I miss the hours the sun stays in the sky.  Soon I tell myself, the season will peak, the world will turn and the sun will start to move back towards my hemisphere.   I walked in mist this morning thinking these thoughts of waiting.  And, as we exited the park and looked up to the hill ahead, the sun glinted off the windows of houses through the mist and made me a most delightful fairy tale castle of sparkling light to guide me on and make my waiting happy.  Later, at home, I realised that only in this season can such a wonderfully serendipitous meeting of mist and light occur at 9 am.  I appreciate the reminder to be okay with where I’m at!

But still I wait, and while I wait I hook.  My Persian Squares blanket is close to being finished.  Orlando has helped, oh such a lot!

davHe pretty much ensured every component of the blanket was pressed, whether I desired it to be or not.

 

As I write this one half of the blanket is draped over the back of a dining chair

btrIt ought to be finished but I got sidetracked.

I made this

dav

Now, here’s the story that goes with ‘this’.  Do you want to hear it?  (Err, come back – that was a rhetorical question folks!)

Back in the days when I was still intermittently going onto Facebook, I logged in and the first thing I saw was a picture of a crochet etui doll.  At the same moment that I was falling in love with it, facebook did that thing it does and updated my feed in a tumbling rush of alternate posts and I lost her.  I searched, wasted an hour of my life and didn’t ever see her again.  Maybe that was the moment when I decided to quit social media (except for blogging).  Any how, I searched around and had myriad conversations, but never found another etui doll.  Maybe they aren’t called that any way – but I don’t know what else to call them.  Then, one day, when searching through my stash of yarns for something else I found a bit of brown that said to me ‘I make doll!’  “Okay!” said I and gathered it up and off we went to Happy Hooking Land.

Now I have never made a crochet doll before, I have no clue how to make one.  But undaunted I set to with hook and yarn and made a head, the rest just followed along.  I also kept no notes of what I was doing, so now have no clue how I got from the first stitch to the last.  But I do know what I’d do differently.

I also took no photos until I got to the final stage of face features placement.  As you can see from that photo I used pearl headed pins to get an idea of placement and size – and grabbed the camera.  I had my reading glasses on and when looking for a place to put them down, realised she was, among her many other talents, the perfect specs holder!

dav

I’m just the teeniest bit in love with her

 

As you can see from the pockets close-ups she holds all things sewing and hooking related.  There is more to come and her face to be finished – and a name to be given of course – any ideas?  But this has to be the most fun thing I have made in forever!

So that is why the blanket hasn’t yet been finished.  Nor this – which insists on photographing brighter and lighter than reality, but gives you an idea that at least some progress has been made…….

davFinally, here’s Siddy in his posh winter gear to say “Hello!” or “Grrrrruff!” to you all, just in case you need that kind of puppy cheerfulness in your life…..

btr

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Handcrafting Happiness

Well my friends, March disappeared in a puff of smoke, snap, just like that and the first week of April has also hiked through pretty quickly.

I crocheted with my beautiful Corriedale Yarns  and formed the first Persian Tile after a couple of false starts just getting the colour relationships right

dav

With one down fifteen to go, I decided to streamline things and am now forming four tiles at a time

IMG_20180405_094726.jpg

If you read last weeks post you might remember I mentioned the colour of the pink yarn wasn’t showing properly – it looked red, here you see it actual shade – isn’t it stunning set alongside those blues!

I’ve been playing with my coloured pencils, my alcohol ink pens, distress inks and various other bits and pieces and making more cards.  Having a stash of cards to meet all possible festive occasions, or just to send little notes to friends, is never a bad thing.

I worked on some I had started earlier and felt needed a bit more work – it’s important they look as finished as possible.  These three are made using embossing folders and inks to achieve deeply textured, yet simple card fronts.  I need to make more that are suitable for giving to the male of the species.

These next two are the same idea, just bigger.  The textured background is inked and  silhouettes made from die cuts added.  A bit of bling and I have two A5 cards ready to go

dav

Using my Spectrum Noir colour pencils and Gamsol – which is a brand of odourless spirits – two more cards were produced.  The Gamsol acts as a blending agent with the colours and also can be used to blur the lines slightly, softening the effect, though I’m not that sure that I like it personally

dav

And this one, which like the last card above, was photographed in its cellophane jacket, hence the slightly blurred and muted aspect – sorry about that.

dav

Then I moved on to produce a couple of A6 size cards made with alcohol ink pens on Distress inked backgrounds

dav

Again a Distress Ink background with a die cut house.  The girl is stamped  and fussy cut and attached with foam dots slightly off-set from the background.  IMG_20180405_094442.jpg

I’m enjoying the vibrancy of the alcohol ink pens and plan on doing more cards with them.  Though really, I can’t say why I’m making all these cutesie girly cards – maybe I’m pining for my lost youth  🙂  (Where did I put him?)   All I can say is it’s a good way to bring myself back into using these different mediums and finding my feet again so to speak.   I’m hoping I’ll be feeling ready to make originals again soon.

If you have a favourite, I’d love to know.

And of course, we celebrated Siddy’s fourth birthday on the 4th day of the 4th month – most assuredly an auspicious occasion!

hdr

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

Crafting Again…

There’s activity in the happy making room again …  well, I shouldn’t say ‘again’ in some ways it didn’t really stop.  I made lots of cards there for a bit, but forgot to take photos of any of them except this one, which kind of reminds me of Siddy and so I kept it

dav

But there’s been some playing with beads going on

A few new light catchers are emerging – I’m playing with odd colour combinations to see what happens.

Also, somewhere along the line I had decided to make a concerted effort to rid myself, or at least make a serious dent in, the cupboard full of of left over and unused yarns that have been accumulated over the past two decades.  I had been on the lookout for an idea or inspiration and then happened to mention it to Nana Cathy who sent me over to Coastal Crochet and voila!  The perfect thing for me and, at just nine weeks behind,  I caught up in two weeks.  As you can see my yarn cupboard holds many different shades and hues of blue and even that green has a blue thread running through it – I have no clue how that grape colour got in there!

dav

It’s a slow project, the designer Eleonora is adding just 4 or so rows every week, leaving plenty of time for other creative projects to continue too.  Which is really good, because on arriving home from my Blogging Babes Reunion and collecting a bag of mail from my lovely neighbour I found it included two big letters.

One, from The Wool Company, contained a catalogue and a gift voucher and a note saying to do nothing until I received an explanatory letter….. and the other from my friend who blogs, Jan, over at The Snail of Happiness containing the explanatory letter and a ‘Persian Tiles’ crochet pattern

dav

Jan explained she had seen a comment I had left on a mutual friends blog who was making the Persian Jewels blanket, that if I lived in the UK I’d be definitely buying that kit to make up and she decided that not living in the UK was no reason to not be able to make my own ……

You can see why I wax eloquent about the joys of blogging right?   I am once again made speechless by the kindness, love and generosity heaped on my tiny head by fabulous people!!  I sat in silence for a long time reading and rereading Jan’s letter and looking at the note from The Wool Company, then I packed it all up and drove off to my daughter’s place and showed her and we both sat in silence and revelled in the wonder of having wonderful friends, met purely through blogging.

A week passed by while I looked and considered colour options, eventually this is what I chose – it’s 100% NZ Corriedale wool, 8 ply from The Wool Company

dav

Aren’t those just the best colours!  Though that red hank is not red, it’s ‘Azalea’ a bright pink.  There are seven different colours and as soon as I have finished wrangling those 200g hanks into giant balls I will begin to crochet my first square – I can’t wait to get it underway!

You know it is going to be mostly blue don’t you  🙂

Jan you are brilliant and thoughtful and kind and I am so happy to have you as a friend – thank you so much!!

And to finish, here’s a shot I took of Siddy and two of his favourite admirers having coffee a couple of weeks back – I wonder what they are talking about …..

dav

That’s what I’m up to, I’ll be back with more in a week or so.  What are you making right now?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

Siddy Goes On Holiday

Hello friends!  We are home, settled back into normal life and Siddy has pretty much slept for the past few days.  He wakes up with me for first breakfast, followed soon after by morning walk and second breakfast.  He snoozes until it’s time for elevenses.  He takes a wee nap until time for twoses rolls around, which is followed by another little snooze  until first dinner.  A short game of fetch follows second dinner and then he takes himself off to bed for the night.

You may well ask why is this busy little pup so very tired?  Well, you all know we went on holiday yes?  The previous twelve posts have all dealt with this momentous event in some form or other – Gosh, I hope you aren’t bored with all this just yet……  for right now it’s Siddy’s turn to share his adventures.

Because yes, of course, Siddy came on holiday too!

Every day there was greeting and companioning duty to be done

Feb 26 Dinner

And breakfasts to be had.  Here he is offering assistance to Kelly with her breakfast

IMG_20180226_114246.jpg

He rode in the car – a lot!   Here he is tapping on the window because, don’t you know,  tapping makes the window roll down

March1 AM Siddy

He had lunch at a pub in Alexandra

Alex lunchtime Mar 1 DK

Helped Steven with barbecuing the evening feast at the holiday house

IMG_20180305_184833-ANIMATION

Siddy loved the holiday house.  It had many doors and a garden that wrapped right around the house.  He could often be seen trotting out one door, trotting through the garden, past windows and other doors until he chose which door to enter back in by to greet everyone again.   It was such fun!!

He went out almost daily for coffee, but preferred to wait for the snacks to come

IMG_20180309_115547.jpg

He went for early morning walks with his mumma when the moon was still up and nearly everyone else snoozed on

Early morning walk March 4

He was first assistant to Laurie when she sorted her photos and wrote her blog posts – it is very doubtful that she could have put up so many great posts without his assistance

March 7 LB

He lunched at Speights Ale House, where he patiently waited for the food to come and his good manners were remarked upon by other diners

Siddy at Speights Alehouse March 8

He enjoyed his final lunch in Queenstown at the Frankton Arms – after enjoying a fortifying glass of chardonnay

Final lunch Frankton Arms March 9 LB

He companioned everybody in turn.  Here he is with Laurie, keeping her out of trouble

S and Laurie March 9

And he rode in the car every day.  This is the best part of car riding, wind and smells and the joy of speed……..

He’s one worn out little pup – but he sure did have a great holiday with all his family and new friends, he didn’t want to say ‘Goodbye’

First Farewell March 8

But he did, so it’s goodnight to all,  and thanks for the great memories ❤

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

*There’s one more Blogging Reunion post to come from me and then it is back to the art room.

** Photos are courtesy of the holiday makers whose cameras were constantly clicking away when mine wasn’t.  Thanks darlings!

Back On-Line Again

Surely there’s a song in that title – the closest my in-head song repertoire is coming up with is Willie Nelson et al being ‘Back on the Road Again’  – can you do any better?  Share a link in the comments if you can.

It’s been an interesting few months – regular readers and friends on Facebook have the gist of it, with a lot of falling over that began at the end of October (me) and continued on at the end of November (YD) dealing with the results of those, Deep Vein Thrombosis (me) and breaks and fractures (YD) –  interspersed with losses and Christmas and slow healing and excessive and unusual heat, plus thunderstorms and downpours more suited to the tropics than the Riviera of Antarctica…….  and let’s not forget a laptop that completely gave up the ghost on Christmas Day followed soon after by a mobile that went out in sympathy leaving me briefly but entirely devoid of any contact with the outside world.

When life goes south on you it is always a wonderful opportunity to become mindful of how many ways you are loved and supported.  We have had many opportunities to be mindful and grateful.  At the top of my list is my eldest daughter who dropped her life and flew in to care for her sister for the first week she was home from hospital.  And when my phone was declared deceased immediately funded a new one.  Second is the phenomenal rallying around and support offered to YD by her friends and work place as she recovers and after 50 days at home begins to take her first tentative steps back into the world in a moon-boot.

Next comes my phenomenally generous and kind ‘friend who blogs’ the amazing Alys over at Gardening Nirvana who sent a note that left me speechless along with the money for a new lap top.   I was left silent and humbled in the face of such powerful generosity of spirit!

I’m also grateful for an understanding of therapies and foods that feed the body and soul and hasten healing.  I’m grateful for the ability to look at incidents like this and see a bigger picture.  I’m happy that YD and I can laugh at ourselves and support each other even if it is like a couple of old crocks.

But my goodness after almost three months of on and off trauma I was tired out and so was poor Siddy – he has been so busy with visiting and caring and helping out, his little eyes just droop as soon as we get to a ‘sitting’ or ‘waiting’ part of the day.  We were both longing for a day at home in cooler temperatures.  And today we got our wish at last.  Good things ALWAYS arrive if you are patient enough!

So here we are – to say ‘Happy New Year’ even if it is three weeks late and to thank you all for those comments, emails and messages that have kept me buoyed up and forward looking even on days when I wasn’t.

The tiny courtyard garden has thrived this summer and in a few quiet moments we have enjoyed visiting it no matter the weather or time of day.  This was us taking a short break one evening just before getting the hose out ……..

Siddy Jan 18

garden 2 Jan 18

garden 3 Jan 18

Siddy’s new safety gate arrived and was quickly assembled so we can have the kitchen door open and enjoy any passing breeze (and passing people won’t get mobbed and harassed by an over enthusiastic puppy who is convinced they are there just to see him).  Orlando doesn’t think much of it however

O at door Jan 18

I also found time to gather, combine and make up a light catcher and sent it off on its journey to its new home – a delicious combinations of pinks and oranges and coppery hues; sea jasper beads, tiny coral beads, seashell pieces and masses of crystals

hdr

hdr

And as days return slowly to a normal rhythm I have even begun to work once more in my art room, stay tuned for anything coming out of there.  And my mind turns also to the upcoming reunion of friends who first met up in Washington DC almost three years ago and who first met through reading each others blog posts here on WordPress.  Stay tuned for more on that…….

Thanks for coming by today and catching up with us here, I love that you do!