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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Weekend Away

They say a change is as good as a holiday and we've managed to combine both this weekend. Although my parents live only 10 minutes away it's so different from where we live that it's very much a change. Dad's away hunting so we've come for the weekend to keep my Mum company. The weather's been pretty much awful but that hasn't stopped us from having loads of fun.

There have been numerous trips down to the thermal hot pool. Here's Janae, Rogan and Nanny enjoying a morning swim. The night before I took the kids down and soaked in the hot pool with my kindle. It's a rare form of bliss.

Janae finally found the courage to try out her 'new' bike. About a year ago we were given two bikes by a family in our village. These had been given to their kids who had outgrown them so they passed along the blessing to my little darlings. Janae's hands, until now, have been too small to reach the breaks but she's off like Flynn now.

You should see her racing about. There are numerous cuts, bruises and scrapes from her first day adventuring but she seems to have got the hang of it now.

Here she is racing out the drive. I know she should have a bike helmet on. Thankfully Nanny and Granddad live on a quiet, private road with no traffic so they're as safe as houses.

And due to the horrid weather I've had lots of opportunity to knit. Do you remember Dr. Baxter Bunny? Well I gave him to Di so that she could pass him along to her brand new grandson. Di loved him so much that we just had to make a bunny just for her.

I'd been desperate to get the new bunny finished by yesterday. Unfortunately swimming, making meals and playing cards got in the way a bit and I finished Professor Beatrice Bunny last night.

Beatrice is a botanist who loves being outdoors among the flowers and plants. Hopefully some of her love for gardening will rub off on me.

Well, in the way of life it's perfect that she wasn't finished until last night as it turns out it's Di's birthday today. We've invited her over for afternoon tea and we'll present her new best friend. Di loves to garden so I'm sure they'll have lots in common and find special ways of spending time together.

Now I'm working on my next project . . . Tessa Teddy. I thought that Tessa was a granny but it turns out she's a teacher. Her vocation may change as she's only got one leg and I'm finding that as I create my friends their stories come to life. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meow . . .

 And here he/she is all finished. I'm afraid the face is a little lopsided - that may be due to my eagerness to get this project finished. And the fact that Kayley is away tonight and I wanted it complete for her to come home to tomorrow.

I'm quite pleased and have to say a huge thank you to Just Jen for sharing this pattern. it's very different from other toy patterns I've made as the body is just one piece. But other than that I've enjoyed making it.

I'm also looking forward to putting away the pink and purple and getting into colours more to my own tastes. I've had a major tidy up in every room in the house today (the classic last-day-of-the-hols activity) and so Kayley's bed is tidy, made beautifully and just waiting for this new addition.

Unfortunately it's too late to start something new tonight so it will have to wait for tomorrow night. And I'm still thinking about Tessa Teddy. I think she'll be sitting in an arm chair to start with.

I hope you've had a great weekend and the week ahead treats you kindly.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crafting Fun

It appears to be all about bunnies in our house at the moment. Maybe it's the spring weather.

The children had a visit with their mum this morning so I've had two blissful hours in complete silence knitting while overlooking the Tauranga Harbour. It's amazing how a couple of hours of silence can make you want to face the world again. So this afternoon - after Janae had found a secret stash of goodies in my wardrobe - I decided I'd help her make this.

This is a craft that had been given to me by the Lovely Janet. One of the many things she treats herself to when out and about and a few years later realises she'll never really get around to making it.

Janae did a great job with stringing on the body parts, learning to stitch a gathering stitch and firing the hot glue gun - not to mention the awesome job with drawing the face.

Our bunny doesn't have a name yet and has been put down in favour of racing about the lawn with the kids next door but I'm pleased we finally got the chance to do some crafting together.

Now it's back to work on Kayley's cat. With a little bit of effort I may just get it finished tonight. And while I was enjoying the solitude this morning a little bear name Tessa Teddy popped into my imagination. Hmmm I wonder how that will pan out.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Well, hello there. I know it's been some time since my last post, and that I'd mentioned I'd got so busy with life that blogging was something I needed to let go of. Well life got so hectic that it became necessary to just stop for a while. Part of my therapy has been to pick up the knitting needles again and get creative.

I've spent the past year working crazy hours, raising three children (who are gorgeous by the way), studying theology part-time and trying to help care for an aging and ill parent. Finally the serotonin levels got alarmingly low, my folks made the family doctor give me a call and the rest, as they say, is history.

Isn't it strange how we don't view mental illness in others as weakness but when it comes to judging ourselves it's a very different story. So I've decided to suck it up, be honest and embrace the very different person I am these days. But one thing that hasn't changed is my love of craft. I'd almost forgotten how cathartic and restful it is to create something beautiful. So I introduce Dr. Baxter Bunny. I had a week off work last week and it was school holiday time. Thankfully the weather was just awful so we hung out in our pajamasaround the dining room table and just enjoyed being inactive. A neighbour of my parents is expecting their first grandchild and Mum asked me to make something. I was going to throw together the bog standard crochet blanket until I saw Primrose on Mary Jane's Tearoom. I just had to make the bunny using yarns left over from jumpers for the children. As he came to life he stopped being Primrose and became a personality all of his own. Yes, he was difficult to give away but he brought me so much love and peace that I know he'll do the same for Baby Charlie (who was born today).

So the bug for making little friends for my children and anyone else who wants them is underway. I have a dining table currently covered in yarns and patterns and other paraphernalia and I'm just loving it. I'm currently making a Tea Room Doll for Janae. I'm not entirely happy with her as I couldn't find the gorgeous hair yarn, but Janae loves her even though she has, as yet, no arms and legs. Following that I'm going to be making Just Jen's cat for Kayley. So hopefully I'll be back with some more shares.

Now I need to keep going for another 15 minutes. I need to be very disciplined these days and get to bed on time and I'm into a fabulous book by Ann Cleeves - murder mysteries set in the Shetland Isles. I treated myself to a Kindle about a year ago and I've read more books since getting it than I have in the past four years. Best investment ever.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon. xx

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hearts full of hardanger

I know it’s been a very long while since my last post but I’ve something very exciting to share . . .  my latest obsession!

I had a brainwave in the wee small hours of the morning a couple of months ago that I fancied doing a cross stitch again. So since then I’ve done not one but two and they’re due back from the framers tomorrow so I’ll endeavour to take a photo and share them; however, during the cross stitch process I was reminded that I’d once toyed with the idea of trying out hardanger embroidery and while I had the embroidery bug, and I was waiting for Rogan’s cross stitch pattern to arrive from Australia I thought I’d give it a go.

Well, as only one who is obsessed with hand crafts knows, I very quickly became addicted and I wanted to quickly share my toils.


I started out with this little gem and it got me on the track to finally working out what to give the teachers for their Christmas gift this  year. This is the first of my bespoke decorations.


I moved on to something a little more difficult with the Christmas stocking. There was a fair bit of unpicking but I got there in the end.





Then this one where I used gold thread, something I’m not keen on doing again as it’s horrible to work with.



And finally the bookmark, which I totally adore.

The decorations were terribly floppy so tonight I have soaked them in mod podge and laid them out to dry. They’ve hardened nicely and I’ll attach some thread so they can be hung on a tree.

Something I’ve had to work hard at since completing these is the buttonhole stitch. Not for the first time in my life have I given thanks for you tube. There are some fabulous tutorials there that very clearly explain how to do all kinds of stitches.

But that’s not where the display ends. Having worked hard on a buttonhole stitch and having realised that attention to detail and pinpoint accuracy is key with hardanger, I’ve embarked on this gift for my mother . . .


It’s still a long way from complete but I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had so far. I’m working on the buttonhole stitch border now and then I can begin taking a pair of scissors to it to create the filet effect and begin the long and slow binding process, but I’m fairly sure it’ll be complete for Christmas day. It’s been tough keeping it a secret from said mother, but I know she’ll love it.

This project started out as an experiment to see if I could hack making a table runner and I’m fairly confident that I can. I’ve ordered a couple of pattern books and once they arrive in the post I’ll be hardangering my way through the summer hols.

Maybe once the cherubs are back at school I’ll have something more to share.

If you’re interested in trying hardanger embroidery check out you tube and pinterest. There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of free patterns out there (probably due to its obscurity) but the local library is sure to have some books that can get you started. Be warned though, it’s highly addictive.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Practicing the Art of Positivity


Having been through a month of chicken pox, sleepless nights, long days and juggling work, sick children and all the other activities in our lives we have all been fractious and struggling to get along. When Janae prayed three nights in a row that she was thankful even though she had the ‘crabbiest mummy in the whole-wide-world’ I decided it was time for a different tack . . . bring on the positivity. And this morning’s picture was proof that it works. I was busy packing school bags etc and Janae wanted her hair brushed so her beautiful brother decided he’d help out. How gorgeous is that!

And I have a finished project to share. All this positivity has allowed me greater focus. Check this out.


I’ve really loved making this and only experienced the “I’ve got to get this done” feeling in the last three rounds. Today, after all the ends were weaved in, I made a twisted cord, folded and rolled the blanket into a cone and tied it neatly. I can’t wait to give this to it’s recipient because the whole point of gifts is the joy of giving them away.

So now I’m embarking on something I keep putting off . . . the knitted blanket.


I’ve started countless knitted blankets and never got far as they seem to take an age to get anywhere, while a crochet blanket almost makes itself. This particular one is done in panels of 35 stitches so it should feel like it’s going quickly. Well, here’s hoping anyway. I found this pattern on bernat.com in the ‘new patterns’ section.

Well, all the children are home and, there’s a gap in the rain that’s hopefully long enough to go and check to see if we have any more lambs.

See you soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Popping In

Well, hello. I can scarcely believe it’s been so long since my last post saying goodbye. I’m not entirely sure if this is “hello” again or merely “hi” in passing. But I’ve been beavering away on so many projects and it’s just not so much fun when you can’t share so I’ve dug out the camera, dusted it off and taken a couple of pics to share.

Firstly though, if I were to say to you “such fun” in a plummy almost “awfully” English accent who would you immediately think of? Hopefully my new heroine . . . Miranda.


My very gorgeous friend Sara loaned me this book and for the first time in quite possibly years I’ve been unable to put a book down. To put it very simply, it’s hilarious. In fact, I get quite worried of an evening when I’m tucked up in bed reading that I’ll wake the children with my raucous laughter. I HIGHLY recommend this as a read. And it’s available on Kindle too. Now I’m just hanging out for the next series to find out which proposal Miranda accepts. (Hopefully it’s Gary as he’s so much better in the way of eye candy.)

Anyway, work is going very well. I’m loving the job, am challenged mentally on a daily basis, have some very exciting projects in the pipeline and am happy to report that I’ve only wanted to resign twice and that wasn’t the fault of the job really. And I’m also pleased to report that I’m still yarning along every chance I get. I’ll show you.


Here’s a blanket I started about three weeks ago. I don’t have a pattern to share as it’s something I remember from many, many years ago when someone tried to teach me to crochet but I was too young, too interested in boys and crochet just didn’t fit my image back then. I’m trying to ‘stash bust’ with this one but still keep it looking a little cohesive with the white as the constant. I got a little carried away with the starting chain so it’s about the width of a double bed and each colour stripe is taking about half an hour. But that’s all good as this is one project I don’t feel I have to finish before starting another, which is good as I have a number of WIPs going at present.


And another blanket I started yesterday. A lovely lady I know has a five month old grandson that she will be caring for two days a week when her daughter goes back to work. This particular lady is a real inspiration to me so I decided I’d like to make her something for her gorgeous boy. I do have a pattern for this one on a website a friend shared with me the other day . . . Bernat. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but it’s new and exciting to me. You can find the pattern here. I’m having a ball with this one and today I got a little blue fluffy yarn to do the final round, just to give it an ‘edge’ so to speak.


And the last thing I’ll share is a project I’ve asked my yarny friends to join in on. Our oncology department at the local hospital needs hats for those undergoing chemotherapy. This is the hat I’ve made and I’ve asked others to make one or two so we can take them up and keep those dear patients warm while they have their treatment. This is my first attempt at fair isle and I’m so pleased with it. Knitting fair isle feels like you’re racing through as something different is happening every round. I will definitely be trying something like this again. And if knitting things for your own hospital is something you’d like to do get your friends involved. There are always needs in geriatric care, paediatrics and oncology . . . and many other departments too.

As for my little darlings, we’ve been held siege by chicken pox for the last three weeks. Kayley is the last to go down with it and she’s suffering a bit poor wee lass. The astounding thing is that she is NEVER sick so, while her lack of appetite was something we expected, her lack of conversation is astounding. Just the other day I informed her that she doesn’t need to fill every silence with words, and now I feel a little guilty about that. I’m just grateful they’ve come in the winter because I can only imagine how awful it would be to have chicken pox in the summer.

Well, thank you for taking the time to catch up. I have a feeling that I may post a bit more as projects get finished; well, I hope so anyway.

Lovely seeing you again.

Belinda xx