About Me

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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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Winter Cold Remedy


I have a confession: I’m not a gardener. I love gardens; I love the idea of being a gardener; I even like planting things. But, I’m not driven to make beautiful things grow, tend to weeds or anything much like that. It’s quite sad really and I can only hope that as age continues to grow, so will my gardening genes I know I have in my family history.

I say this, however, having spent the afternoon in the garden with my mother (who most definitely is a gardener) planting trees. And, feeling like death with yet another nasty winter cold, I’m settling into the evening feeling so much better and can only think that it’s due to being out in the sunshine putting beauty into the ground.

My house has the advantage of gaining lots of sunshine. This, as a winter feature, is fabulous. In the summer, however, it simply serves to make indoor temperatures in the mid 30s. So I’ve picked out some trees that will provide shade in the summer and gorgeousness in the spring and autumn. The first is the one above, a liquid amber. It should grow to about 10 metres tall, has masses of glossy foliage in the summer and these beautiful colours in the autumn. I’ve planted it to shade the lounge through the summer and will hopefully mean that I can use my little patio too. It’s the most private spot and I would love to be able to sit out there on summer afternoons doing some crochet or some such.


The second tree I’ve planted is a Silk Tree or Albizia. These trees grow to about six metres and form a natural umbrella shape. I’ve planted this just off our large patio so that, once it’s big enough, we can move the outdoor table under it and enjoy its gorgeous and delicate flowers and dappled shade. This is still a couple of years off but it’ll be worth the wait.

As for crafts, I’m currently working on a big, cosy jumper for myself. The back is almost complete and I can’t wait to get onto the front where it will finally get interesting. Knitting with chunky wool so so much fun as it flies by. I don’t think I’ll be finished by the time I go off my my solo holiday in a couple of weeks so that’ll be something to keep me amused during my solitude. I’ll tell you more about the holiday nearer to the time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Winter Madness


Yesterday morning Janae managed to get into the linen cupboard and find some bathing suits. Before I knew what was happening she had her pyjamas and nappy off and these togs on. Thankfully she had enough good sense to keep her singlet and hat on. Needless to say I couldn’t resist taking this photograph and it’ll probably be one of those that graces the photo board at her 21st birthday.

With terrible weather yesterday, three children in their places of education and a mother promising to take me out for coffee before we did the grocery shopping there was nothing for it but a trip to the library. This was cleverly disguised as the need to return books from the school holidays, but for me it was another chance to browse the knitting/crochet isle again. And I’ve found a treasure.


I love this book so much that I’ve ordered my own copy. Brand new they retail for over $100 US and I managed to get a second hand copy for $25 NZ so I’m very happy. What’s so great about this book? The fact that you can mix and match body styles, sleeve styles and neck lines to create a unique garment. I knew that I’d never have the opportunity to either peruse or use this book to it’s fullest while on loan from the library so I made the decision to purchase it last night and I’ve had an email this morning telling me it’s on it’s way. Now only a few weeks to wait.


This picture makes it difficult to see how it works (I’ll try to take more detailed photos when the children aren’t playing human spinning tops right next to me) but it’s reminiscent of children’s books where half the page turns independent of the other half. Each body pattern indicates what sleeve shape (ie dropped, raglan etc) works with the style, and the same for the neck line. Wooo Hoooo. At last, a knitting book I’m going to love as much as I love my Happy Hooker crochet book.

Well, that’s enough procrastinating. I’ve got some friends over for a game of Cranium and a couple of glasses of wine tonight. I’ve made the hummus, have tidied the kitchen, made the beds, but my living room still looks like a war zone so it’s back to work for me. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What a Buzz


Making Janae’s fancy and lacy cardigan was a highlight of my knitting life but this garment has been even more of a buzz.

I can’t understand quite why this very plain cardigan has felt like a milestone but it has. I guess it might be because I’ve done the whole thing by myself, the knitting is the neatest I’ve managed and it’s got insert pockets and a collar that I thought was going to be difficult but wasn’t. I bought a zipper for the front today and as I have absolutely no skill in sewing I’ve left it and the cardi at Nanny’s house so she can whip the zip in for me and then Rogan can wear it next week (if I keep nagging).

I’m not all that happy with the pockets but I’m not going to be too hard on myself. So what next?

I know I put a picture of a blanket I was going to do as my next project but I’m loving making garments at the moment and I feel like I’m on a bit of a roll so I’m going to make Janae a cardigan next. I have one more batch of four ply wool that was given to me last year that has enough balls to make clothing and I don’t really want to waste it on a blanket. So tonight I start ribbing again and get on with the next one. Of course it means that if I’ve made something for the little ones I’ll have to make something for Kayley. This will involve purchasing wool for the first time in a very long time but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baaaa . . . the great outdoors


Just the other day I was sounding off about spending much of the day outdoors and how wonderful it was. Well, yesterday the great outdoors wasn’t so much fun.

We had a lovely white frost and the girls had a fabulous time finding frozen water and smashing it like bits of glass. What wasn’t so much fun was finding a stray sheep in the garden. Grandad raced over to our house and we spent half an hour coaxing the little cherub (you know that’s not the word I really want to use) back into the paddock with her pals. Whew.

And hour later and I look out the window to this view. All summer I chased peacocks away from my tomatoes and other vegetables and now it seems I have to chase sheep away from my winter plants. Alas, after two shoes being thrown at her, a lot of expletives and the expense of my patience and the little that’s left of my sanity after a week of school holidays the sheep wouldn’t budge and I have no garden left to speak of.

I think I’ll just level this area off, plant it in lush green grass, get some outdoor furniture and forget about gardening from here on in. I don’t really mean that I’m afraid. I’m so in love with being able to pop out the door and slice off a lush white cauliflower, grab and handful of beans or dig up some potatoes for our dinner that I can’t give up just yet.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Great Outdoors


I enjoy my indoor pursuits so much that I often forget just how wonderful it feels to get outdoors and get some jobs done there. Today is one of those glorious winter days where there’s not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind and it’s just warm enough, if you keep moving, to feel invigorated. I’ve achieved such a lot this morning that I won’t feel a bit guilty to plant myself at the table, in the sun and knit the afternoon away.


Yesterday evening I collected some more camellias for my hedge and dug some out of Ann-Marie’s woodland and this morning I set to digging holes. I’ve got almost all the hedge planted now and am so pleased with it. Please, no one take a ruler to the line because there are one or two plants slightly out of alignment, but I’m happy overall with the finished product. I can almost see how lush, thick and green this hedge will look in a couple of years.


I’ve got the roses pruned at last. Well, let’s be honest . . . I put the clippings in the wheel barrow while mother pruned them. I love seeing roses like this because you just know they’re sleeping soundly, gathering their strength to sprout out beautiful blooms come spring time.





And I’ve got the barbecue area tidied away for the winter. I love deciduous trees throughout summer and autumn but I do despair of the leaves everywhere once they’ve all fallen to the ground. Now they’re all swept away and things are tucked away tidily until next summer.

I’ve also assisted Grandad while he “squared up” the floor for the garden shed, I’ve made it to the bottom of the laundry hamper once again and it’s all hanging merrily on the line and I’ve swept out the garage. See . . . there’s absolutely no reason for guilt for continuing with the indoor pursuits this afternoon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lots’a Books


As promised here are the books I got from the library this week. There are so many things I want to make in the bottom two that I know I’m just being greedy. I need to pick just one item and concentrate on that. Unfortunately, as much as I love Debbie Stoller’s crochet book, this one on knitting was a little disappointing. I guess I should be happy as it means I won’t be rushing out to have my very own copy.


So this is the project I’ve decided to concentrate on once I’ve finished with winter jumpers. It’s got it all, textures, beads, cables and gorgeous colours. I won’t be sticking to the colours seen in this picture, but will be mixing it up a bit with my own conservative sense of colour. This pattern comes from the bottom right book “Blankets and Throws to Knit”.


And here is the bolster that I’m certain will be outside my level of skill right now. I’ll keep this in mind for next winter perhaps when I’ve done a lot more knitting. It’s quite funny really to think that I see a picture of something crocheted and I can see how it’s constructed and know that, if I read the pattern carefully, it’ll be a piece of cake. Knitting does not yet have that for me . . . and I wonder if it ever will.


And here are the instructions for DSCF1175making a ball of wool out of skeins of yarn. I’m going to have to sit down tonight, once the angels are in bed and study this carefully so that I can replicate it with my newly straighten yarn. It’s sitting on the kitchen bench just waiting for me to roll it all up but I’ve got this need to finish Rogan’s jumper first (which is DSCF1176




still quarter of the back, two sleeves and a collar . . . not to mention sewing together, away from being complete).

Now it’s time to gather up my two children so we can do another swap and bring Kayley home and send Rogan off. It’s been something of a child round-about here this week. Long may it continue!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Playing with Wool


I had to be up and about early this morning as it’s rubbish collection day and the Sky TV guy was coming to put in a new aerial point so we can turn our lounge furniture around to benefit from the lovely fire. So, I’ve had lots of time to do things I keep putting off. One of these things was to wash the wool I’ve had awaiting knitting. It’s so much fun pulling apart old garments knowing they’re going to make something new and exciting.DSCF1170

I think I’ve got enough wool here to make something for Kayley next and last night I discovered another stash of ‘virgin’ four ply that I can knit into a jumper for Janae.

As you can clearly see, knitting is the flavour of the month right now. I’m currently half way through the back of Rogan’s cardigan and am eagerly anticipating getting to the interesting bits of decreasing for the sleeves. I must say, making children’s garments is great as they come together so quickly. But I am thinking it might be about time to make something for myself.


I say this but yesterday I had a long browse around the Tauranga Library and discovered some books I had to take out (photographs tomorrow). There are two Sampler Afghans I really want to make. The first is made with beading, cables, bobbles and lots of lovely girly colours so I’m eager to try that out. I have a feeling I may be re-issuing that book for some weeks yet. I also got a book of patterns where there’s one pattern for each decade over the last 100 years. A beautiful bolster cushion has taken my fancy but it’s knitted with three strands of cotton and, apart from the expense, I’m concerned it may be outside my level of expertise just yet.

Well, I’d better go and rescue my skeins from the clothes line before the afternoon damp starts to settle. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a chance to try winding them into proper balls (as shown in Debbie Stoller’s knitting guide book, also got from the library yesterday). I’ll let you know how that goes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

There's Always a Solution

This evening Janae decided to assert her independence and demanded her pink pajamas. I thought she meant the warm snuggly ones with puppies on the feet but no, she'd been hunting through her wardrobe and found the summer ones I'd hidden away. Being too exhausted after a very long day to argue I had to come up with a solution that kept her happy and warm at the same time.

She looks like something out of a horror film but she was indeed happy.

I put on another pair of long and all covering pajamas underneath and added the summer ones on top. She's off to Nanas for a sleep over tomorrow night and I'm wondering if she'll insist on taking this ensemble with her. That'll have interesting results I'm sure.

The blue pajamas she wore last winter but I had to abandon them as she'd just learned how to pop buttons and I'd go in to do the last check before I went to bed and would find her completely naked (she'd also learned to take off her nappy) and uncovered. Brrrrr. As she was sleeping in the bathroom at the time (we were still living with my parents) it was just too cold to allow this very early independent streak to continue. So, it's with a bit of trepidation that I am about to go into her room and see if she's managed to keep all this lot on tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.

The Holidays Have Arrived


It’s only Sunday but the Holidays have arrived at our house. It’s a bleak, cold and horrible day outside and I’m feeling something like death warmed up so I haven’t the energy to disperse hut making to another room as is the usual practice.

The dining room chairs are all in the lounge, every blanket we own scattered across every cushion and squabbles are erupting about who’s blanket is to be sat on etc. As you can see, we haven’t graduated to clothes yet either.


This is in stark contrast to yesterday’s activities. I mentioned the arrival of our new garden shed soon and yesterday we had a little chain gang going laying the bricks for the floor. We are now about three quarters of the way through now so it’s starting to get exciting.

You will remember my last post I said something like “I can’t imagine what it will be like to wake up without being woken up by someone” well, I still can’t. Having been unable to sleep I watched a bit of the tennis in the middle of the night and finally went off to sleep about 2am. I woke at 8 ready to tell one of the kids off for turning on my bedroom lights and realised they were not here and it was the sun streaming through the window. Straight back to sleep I went to be woken up by the phone at 9am. Who was it? Kayley! Once again I was woken up by the kids and they weren’t even home. I swear . . . next time they’re all away I’m unplugging the phone and turning the cell off too. Now they’re all standing around begging for cups of tea and milk shakes so I’d better go sort them out.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Even More Hats

Here's the hat I was describing in my last post. And, I'm pleased to say, I'm over cables for now. It was a project that held my interest right to the end due to the concentration level required. Not only were there the cables but there were also ribs where you had to knit and purl into the back of some stitches and not others.

You will have to forgive my bleary eyed little girl. She's really ready for the school holidays and is at the point where she's waking at about 5.30 every morning and getting into mischief . . . ie. I've had to clean up the kitchen after her breakfast experimentations every morning.

This model is a little chirpier, thankfully. It was interesting with this particular hat that the patterns are designed for adults, so I made the smallest size in the hope that it would be okay for the children. Strangely it's a little too small for Kayley. It fits Rogan okay, but, as with all the hats in this house, it has been claimed by Janae and seems to fit her perfectly. Once I've finished Rogan's cardigan (another project I've started because I still haven't washed the wool for the first one) I might make one of the other hats and make it in the largest size just for Kayley.

And the other exciting development around here this week is the eagerly anticipated garden shed. I'm fortunate enough to have a  lovely double garage attached to my house but my father is of the opinion that a garden shed would be useful because I can lock away all those gardening things the children really shouldn't be around. We've acquired a 3 metre by 2 metre shed and we're in the throes of laying the foundations. While Dad's been busy leveling off crusher dust and putting up the boxing for the floor, Mum and I have been uncovering 20 year old bricks and loading them onto a pallet to be laid on the floor. It's not too bad work in these lovely cool days and the best bit . . . the muscles in the backs of my legs are aching so, while I'm not really into physical labour, perhaps I should do more of it.

Now I'm off to bed knowing that I'm going to be able to lay in bed late tomorrow. Rogan's off at a sleep over, Janae and Kayley are at Nanny and Grandads and I'm all alone. It took a couple of hours but I've started feeling like a human being again, rather than a growly, grumpy old trollop. And I can't even imagine what it's going to be like waking up without hearing lights being turned on before six in the morning, fights over which channel the children want to watch before six thirty and Janae shouting to get out of bed before seven. (On that note, I leave her the side of her cot down every night knowing she's capable of getting out all by herself . . . as she does when she's put there during a tantrum . . . and yet she won't get out of bed in the morning until I come in to her. It's quite frustrating really and I'm sure it won't be that way when she graduates to a bed.)