Spring 2014 - Otago Harbour

Spring 2014 - Forget-me-Nots

Spring! After that rather long and dreary winter it deserves an exclamation. Hooray is all I can say – the days are getting lighter, the Daffodils are thinking about poking their heads out, and I spent yesterday with the most inspiring bunch of woman picnicking in the sun at the Botanical Gardens… heck I’m feeling grateful and blessed from all sides! These images are from my morning run – look at that sun-strike on the harbour, it took my breath away. We are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous place.

The week off has been fabulous, I feel refreshed, and have to admit to having not missed social media at all. I am guilty of visiting Pinterest once or twice, and for a quick visit to Instagram, but apart from that it has been a noise free week. I have visited with friends and family, sat in a café drinking coffee and writing in my journal, watched a film, finished a book, and spent 2 hours at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. This has been every kind of heaven to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time. Now, back to that list, there are things to be done!

just for a week

Warrington Beach

Warrington Beach - jumping over the inlet


Yesterday we had the most glorious weather – the sun came out and it was like a taster of all those gorgeous sunny days to come. Spring is around the corner and I, like many others it would seem from what I am reading on Southern Hemisphere blogs, am feeling the drag of winter and the need for change. Yesterday I took the kids to Warrington Beach. We spent what felt like half the day there running, leaping, playing, exploring rockpools, and throwing sticks for Max into the water. After 2 & 1/2 hours I felt almost like I had been on holiday. Even the moment I turned the car onto the motorway and started heading North there was a little leap of excitement in my heart at the thought of being away from it all. Needless to say, I feel a rather weighted need for a bit of time away from all the usual lists and tasks, which at the moment seem to feel a little heavy. 

Being that it is not possible to take a holiday or proper break at the moment I have decided to give myself a break from some of the “noise” in my life – starting with ignoring the lists, and removing myself from the buzz and hum of social media. I am closing down my Facebook page, removing the apps from my phone, ignoring bloglovin’, Instagram and Pinterest, and quite simply taking a week off to just be. I am not trying to be dramatic about social media, if you know me at all you know that I completely love all of these platforms. I just think sometimes it is a good idea to not be checking your phone every 10 minutes to see what the world is up to, and instead look around and experience what the world is really currently doing right where you are.Sitting down last week I asked myself what I would really want to do with my time if I didn’t have things I am commited to acheiving, and the answers flowed quick and fast – it seems there are a lot of things in my life I think I’ll do that in a minute, I’ll just finish this… and that minute never seems to come. 

  • Read
  • Watch
  • Family/Friends
  • Walk
  • Wander

These things seem simple to achieve, but they don’t get prioritised because there is always washing to fold, or things to check, or gifts to make, and I get that this is just life, and please don’t think I am complaining, I just desperately need some respite from it all. So I will be away for a week – and I look forward to being back here again in a weeks time refreshed and renewed.

Thank you all for visiting and listening to my musings.

Joanna x


Crafty Freaks #4

Crafty Freaks 4 - Bow Tie Hair Clips 1Crafty Freaks 4 - Bow Tie Hair Clips back detail

Crafty Freaks 4 - Floral Hair Clips detail

Crafty Freaks 4 - Floral Hair Clips back

On time – phew! For this weeks Crafty Freaks I have made Mia 7 new Hair Clips. Mia is not much for having her hair tied up or decorated, but recently she has taken to wearing her hair pulled up from the front to the top, partly to deal with growing out her fringe. Where she used to allow her hair to just hang across her face, something that would drive me a little nuts, she now has a quick and easy style that we are all happy with and she allows for some decoration to be added in now. She had one bow-tie clip I bought her at a market ages ago that she was wearing regularly, but somehow that has been lost, so I decided to make her enough of a selection that it wouldn’t matter if she lost one or two.

Crafty Freaks 4 - Bow Tie Hair Clip detail

I started with the floral ones – cutting a flower silhouette and then folding this in half, and then in half again,and putting a stitch through the edge of the fold until I had enough to make a puffed out flower.Then I stitched on a couple more silhouettes to the bottom and stitched this onto a small disc on pink felt. The felt discs were then glued using a hot glue gun to the barrette clip. As you can see it has proven difficult to photograph the organza one, but you get the idea.

Crafty Freaks 4 - Mia wearing her new Floral Hair Clip

I made the four bow-tie clips using this tutorial, which was very simple and easy to follow. The only thing I really changed was that once the bow was finished I again used the hot glue gun to attach them to the barrette clips. It only took about an hour to make 4, so pretty quick as well.

What went right? Um, pretty much everything. They look great, they were quick and simple, and Mia nearly squeezed my legs off in joy when I first gave them to her.

What went wrong? Turning the middle part of the bow was a bit fiddly and time consuming, so I think next time I will just iron the folds and then sew down on the right side, or maybe even just make the middle part wider.

Crafty Freaks 4 - little minx Bow Tie Hair Clips

To see what the other talented Crafty Freaks have been up to, you can check out our Pinterest Board!

Have a happy weekend,

Joanna x

and smile

and smile- Vintage Knitting Pattern photos1children looking ‘natural’

and smile- Vintage Knitting Pattern photos 2

You will note that these modern ladies looks include a Crocheted Jacket and Knitted Pants 

and smile- Vintage Knitting Pattern photos 3

Nice pose lads,nice pose

and smile- Vintage Knitting Pattern photos 4

all a man needs to be happy is a pipe,a cravat, and a ladder to lean on

and smile- Vintage Knitting Pattern photos 5

mother/daughter shopping has never looked this stylish

Do you ever look at the webpage Awkward Family Photos? That is what vintage knitting Patterns remind me of. One friend commented once that they clearly only took one shot, and if it wasn’t right then tough,they were using it anyway.This is quite possibly true..

365 Grateful (July 2014)

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 1

the sky is blue, the walls are yellow, and the guy I just walked past offered a stranger his parking ticket so she wouldn’t have to pay. all is well

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 2

so happy to have spent the past 2 days pottering in my wee studio – here’s a sneak peek of my next Crafty Freaks project

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 3

spring is sprung!

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 4

a day to myself – big plans – but starting with a wander around a bookshop (which I NEVER get to do!)

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 5

completely totally & utterly in my happy place – surrounded by gadgets & pink, Spotify humming away, with a long list of to-do’s… strengths, identified (tick)

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 6

time with family @ The Gardens, and the promise of spring

#365 Grateful July 2014 - little minx 7


There seems to be a theme developing with the past months Instagrams for #365Grateful – yes, winter is hitting that point where it is starting to feel reeeeeeally long, and any signs of spring are gratefully accepted. It’s funny really, I always love the onset of winter, but somehow it does seem to feel like the longest season by the time you get to the end of it. Not long now till Spring!

Winter Warmer Burghul Salad

Winter Warmer Salad - Veggies ready to go

Winter Warmer Burghul Salad

Winter Warmer Burghul Salad -detail

Tonight’s dinner – a new recipe made up as I went along, consisting of loads of winter veggies, some burghul, and an impromptu dressing. It was rather super yum, so I thought I would share it with you..

Winter Warmer Burghul Salad

  • 1/2 Cup cooked/soaked Burghul – I used the absorption method, so 1/2 cup Burghul to 3/4 Cup boiling water, covered for 1/2 an hour (off heat) and then strained
  • 1/4 Cup Mung Beans
  • 3 Silverbeet Leaves
  • 4 Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 Beetroot
  • Fetta
  • Greek Yoghurt
  1. Set the oven to 180-200 degree C.
  2. Put the Brussels Sprouts in an oven proof dish – cover with foil (not touching the Sprouts) and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  3. At the same time put the Beetroot on a small oven tray and put that in the oven as well – that will take about an hour, depending on the size of the Beetroot.
  4. Take the Silverbeet and remove the middle white centre of the leaf (I fold it in half and cut on an angle), then fold all the leaves together and slice thinly. Add this to the cooked Burghul in a bowl, and add the Mung Beans.

In a jar make the dressing


  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange (about 1/3 Cup)
  • 1 TB White Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • a pinch of crushed chilli flakes
  • salt & pepper

Mix all of these – if possible leave to the side for an hour as the flavours develop.

Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing and place on your serving dish. Slice Beetroot into eighths and place across the top. Crumble a little Fetta over (I used only about 30g), and then drizzle lightly with a little Greek Yoghurt and serve. Yum!

Winter Warmer Burghul Salad by little minx

Crafty Freaks #3

little minx patchwork cushions #52weeksforcraftyfreaks

I know, I know – I’m late (terrible!) I have a multitude of excuses, I really do.

  1. I was sort of working on three projects at once, and the one I really wanted to move on with I couldn’t find what I needed to complete
  2. On the day it was due we had a Snow Day here which meant we were all housebound, and some of us like to ask “what shall I do now” every 15 minutes or so, which took up most of the day
  3. My Over Locker was being naughty. I now get why people get frustrated at Sewing Machines – I mean I get Sewing Machines, so when something goes wrong I can identify the issue. I do not, however, get Over Lockers! This means that when it’s not doing what it should do I go cross eyed staring at teeny tiny threading instructions, and start pulling up YouTube instructional videos on Over Locker use. So far I have learnt two things – don’t sew with your fabric pinned, or pins too close to where you are sewing, or you will have to take it to the fix-it man and he will charge you to sharpen the blade you just dented on a pin. The second thing, but I really should have known this from experience, is that when the lady in the fabric store tells you the cheaper cotton is just fine and she uses it do not believe her! It is not fine, because every time cheap thread snaps you have to rethread your machine.

Anyway, apologies and justifications aside, I have completed my third project. This is my take on patchwork cushion covers, loosely based on a project spotted in this Beci Orpin book. (I highly recommend the book by the way)

little minx patchwork cushion covers #52weeksforcraftyfreaks 2

little minx patchwork cushions #52weeksforcraftyfreaks detail

I am rather pleased with the result – they are simplistic, but I think look rather nice. It would seem that no matter how much I think I will bring colours into our home, I do seem to return to the same palette of muted tones. I guess at least they are calming.

Crafty Freaks 3 - little minx patchwork cushions #52weeksforcraftyfreaks

What went right – I really like the contrasts of pattern, tones, and colours.

What went wrong – mutter mutter… Over Locker… mutter mutter… cheap thread.. I promise I have plans to make some non-sewn items in future weeks.

These have been officially cat approved, so I guess they will be sticking around. To see what the other talented Crafty Freaks have been up to visit and follow our Pinterest Board here. Still considering joining? Go on, you know you want to! It’s free licence to make whatever you wish, and share with other clever beavers! Details on joining can be found here.