just like yours

just like yours - Recorder covers

just like yours - Reading Pouch

just like yours - little minx large Pencil Case

Over the past couple of years I have made most of Mia’s pouches and pencilcases for school, and her desk has turned into quite the advertisement for little minx. I started with a Reading Pouch for her homework books – the ones you buy only last about a year and then you have to buy another! I was pretty sure I could make something more lasting. Next she needed a new Pencil Case, so I had a play with some of my vintage vinyl collection and created this bright number. More recently her class has started to learn the Recorder, so I made her a cover for that as well. At the start of each term the teacher moves all the kids around, creating new desk groupings, and Mia has made a new friend at her new seating arrangement. Her friend is having a birthday party tomorrow, and Mia came home with a detailed list of what I was to make as the gift – a Recorder cover, a Reading Pouch, and a Pencil Case! Well, that made my job easy x

the story begins

the story begins - Otago Harbour from the Lookout

the story begins - boat poles at Back Beach

the story begins - big sky Port Chalmers

the story begins - roadside daisies Port Chalmers

It is the stars,
The stars above us, govern our conditions”

Shakespeare (Kent, King Lear)

It has been 7 years since we moved to our little cottage overlooking the ocean and, due to some pretty large changes happening in our lives, we have recently decided it is time to move on and shift into town where we can be a little closer to day-to-day life. Granted, it will be a few months before we are ready to up and sell, but we are all very excited by  the prospect of such a change.

This morning, for the first time in a long time, I went on my morning walk. It has been such a blessing to spend the past seven years here. As I walked up the hill to the Lookout I marvelled at how stunning the harbour is, and at what breathtaking colours the hills, sky, and ocean cast. As I continued around Back Beach the familiar array of seabirds were flying, feeding, diving, and sunning. Watching a Cormorant dive into the channel again and again to find fish I remembered doing the same thing with an 18 month old Mia in her pram, pointing out the ripples it cast as it disappeared, and watching and counting how long it would be under the water for. Where has all this time raced away to? This is such a lovely area, I’m so glad we have lived here.




beautiful - the path to the Organ Pipes

beautiful - misty outlook from the Organ Pipes

beautiful - gorgeous New Zealand native shrubbery with yellow flowers

beautiful - the view from the top of Buttars Peak


We have it cold, gray, and drizzly here today, a rather typical winters day. With the forecast promising a lift in the cloud and rain for a few hours across the afternoon, we made the decision to go for a bush walk up to the Organ Pipes and Buttars Peak. As it worked out the forecast was completely wrong, and the cloud did not lift at all. We walked through a fairly steady constant drizzle, and ended up all rather sodden by the end of it.

No matter what the weather however, this is one area that always takes my breath away. It is so so beautiful, with the native bush making you feel like you’re walking through an ancient forest. There wasn’t much view from the top, but that doesn’t matter, what you could see is still breathtaking. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

Crafty Freaks #2

Crafty Freaks 2 - in progress

Crafty Freaks 2 - detail

Well I have found this weeks Crafty Freaks challenge an absolute joy – I have rediscovered my joy of sewing, my mind is buzzing with all the things I could make myself, and I have a new dress! Couldn’t ask for more really. I started out with the idea of making one of the many dresses I admire from my vintage pattern collection, something I still aim to do, but saw a picture of a women the other day wearing a floppy and casual gathered dress made from a knit, and decided I wanted something similar. I used Simplicity 3692 with a deep olive green Japanese Knit. I have used this pattern once, years ago, and it was an abject failure. The main reason for this is that I chose to completely ignore the suggestions on the pattern that mentioned it was designed for stretch fabrics and, deciding I knew better, made it in a light, stiff cotton. It was awful, there were tears.

This time round, however, it becomes clear why it is designed for stretch fabrics, because it sits just beautifully. After I finished making it I think I sent pictures of it to about 6 friends and family – making me realise it’s been a long time since I was so excited about something I had made that I simply had to show anyone who may be interested. Being that the Crafty Freaks challenge is all about doing something you want to do just because you want to, I think the outcome so far for me has been very much a success story.

Crafty Freaks 2 - wearing me new dress today - Simplicity 3692


See – I like it enough to show you me wearing it! Now the challenges for me in making this were to conquer my fear of sewing stretch fabrics and to hit on the head my reluctance to use my overlocker for more than just the occasional pretty edging. Both of these fears have been fully assuaged, though unfortunately now the overlocker fear is done and dusted I seem to have broken it somehow.. off to see the fix-it man because I want to make this (and lots more) again!

What went right – well, I am no longer afraid of stretchy fabrics, and I love the dress.

What went wrong – I haven’t quite mastered the hemming of stretchy fabrics, so the bottom hem and the sleeves have a slightly rolled look which I’ll need to figure out before next time. I also added about 2 cm to the width of the dress wanting it to be really floppy, but I should have just trusted the pattern as when I put it on it didn’t look floppy, it just looked far too large so I ended up removing the extra.

Crafty Freaks 2 - finished dress - Simplicity 3692

Want to join in the challenge? Please do! We have quite a few joiners, and there is some great stuff being made already. Not everyone is choosing to do something every second week, so if the 26 projects is putting you off then just do what you feel able to – it’s all about freeing your creative time up to do what you want to do, and it’s a lovely warm and supportive bunch of clever people. Details on how to join are here.

Check out what the other Crafty Freaks are up to on our Pinterest Board.

Happy making everyone,

Joanna x

humming along

Spotty Harem Pants for Mia 1

Spotty Harem Pants for Mia - detail

Mia in her new Trou

Today has been one of those lovely yummy, hummy days. I’ve spent all day pottering, moving between a few household bits and bobs, a little cooking, and a lot of time in the studio sewing – bliss! I have completed my project for the second Crafty Freaks project, and I can’t wait to show you all tomorrow, I’m so pleased with the results. After that was done I tried my hand at some stretchy Harem Pants for Mia (being that my Crafty Freaks project involves delving into the scary world of Stretch Fabrics). They’ve turned out closer to loose leggings, so some pattern adjustment is needed (always the way on the first attempt), but all in all went rather well and she really rather likes them. Success! I will fix the pattern, and the amount of fabric bought, and will definitely have another go. I hope you all had a yummy hummy day too x

365 Grateful (June 2014)

little minx #365 Grateful - June 2014 - library adventures

library adventures – time for a new book! Love these moments x

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - Mia's Popcorn

‘Mias popcorn. do not eat. has germs’ about sums up the sickness passing through the house. humour, however, unaffected it seems

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - complete happiness

complete happiness – carrot cake, coffee, and a good book at my favourite cafe

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - live theatre love

live theatre love x

little minx #365Grateful - June 2014 - I'm on top of the world!

“take a photo of me, I’m on top of the world” A day with Mia & her best friend

little minx #365 Grateful - June 2014 - Brian Brakes camera

this moves me so much – Brian Brakes camera

Looking over last months #365Grateful it seems that, although busy, this month doesn’t seem much different from the last… hmmm… I think  I need to figure out moments to breath, or I need to join the #slowliving movement. Although I would probably end up having to face facts that slow living would never work for me with my busy family and lists of to-do’s, but it’s a nice thought. If you are on Instagram you can follow me here.

We are having quite the impressive polar blast here – flurries of snow and gorgeous moody colours everywhere you look. The kids, as always, are hopeful for a decent snow dump that could lead to a day of snow play, and a day off school. I am hoping that won’t happen so I can get to working on my Crafty Freaks project #2… it’s very hard to pick with so many ideas swirling around in my head that I want to try. Better decide quickly – it’s due this Friday!

Keep warm everyone,

Joanna x


Lens on the World

Otago Museum Cafe - winter day in Dunedin

Otago Museum - Mia in the Brian Brake exhibition

Brian Brake's Leica

Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes, or at least eat their food. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move”

Have you seen the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? It’s such a wonderful film, full of beautiful scenery, gorgeous colours, fabulous graphics, and an inspiring message. When we watched it here the first thing I said when it finished was I loved that. Today Mia and I spent some time together at the Otago Museum, and went to the Brian Brake exhibition Lens on The WorldHis work is so stunning, he had such a unique style of photography, and such a modern and adventurous take on his art, but what I found really interesting was how his life panned out. It was full of chances, leaps of faith, and what was clearly a strong desire to live a life as he wanted to. He travelled extensively, doing amazing photography assignments all over the world, and largely for Life Magazine – the magazine The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is based around. One story had Brake asking Life if he could fly to a remote part of England if it happened to snow, to catch a glimpse of what life would be like for a lonely Roman Centurion. He bugged Life so much about it that they eventually sent him a message that read “if it snows then go Brian”. He did – he flew by jet, then caught a helicopter, at the cost to the magazine of $5000, but he got his shot. That was 1965. The more we wandered the exhibition and read the stories, the clearer the parallels between Brake and Walter Mitty character Sean O’Connell – to the point where I wondered if this character was based on Brake. Maybe it was, or maybe this is just what life as a photo journalist is.

Of late I have been working a lot of days, with very long hours (hence the quiet on the blog), and this tends to mean I drive the same circular route day after day, with the same views and same experiences. It can get a little dull, I start to crave for the time to climb a hill. Then I read the quote above from Anthony Bourdain, and as I wandered slowly around the exhibition it occurred to me that today I have managed to move.