30 March 2010

Free and Easy

It was a tough week. Bills seemed to be on a continual, relentless drip feed. Drip drip drip. The usual ones and then the unexpected, like the car needing an entire arsenal of brake things for its warrant. How many months (maybe years) do I age every time the car goes in for a warrant? I spent a day feeling sorry for myself. Writing posts like this and being inspired by other people's (thanks, Meet Me at Mikes) helps me out. This week's five favourite things were all free(ish). And pretty easy. It's the little things that make a difference.
  1. A feel-happier mixcast from Kitsune Noir. Hurray for music, and the people who share it.
  2. Yoga. It usually hurts, but I feel better afterwards, and it stops me looking too much like this.
  3. Beach walks. Guaranteed to clear the head at any time of the year.
  4. Cups of tea and the first sneaky hot cross buns.
  5. Having a go at drawing again, and looking at other people's amazing work here: Drawn, Illustrationmundo and Illustration Friday.

28 March 2010

More Autumn Light

My continuing obsession with light and shadows on walls! I love the light in the evenings at the moment.

24 March 2010

Sewing Things

Five favourite things for this week, inspired by Meet Me at Mike's. It's all about sewing. I'm not a very adept sewer, but last week I made a cushion cover and even put a zip in it, accompanied by much swearing and grinding of teeth.
  1. My little sewing boxes, picked up in opshops. I'm always on the lookout for new ones.
  2. Retro buttons and buckles on their original manufacturer's cards. These ones are from Switzerland; I found them stashed away in a seconds shop among piles of plastic buckets.
  3. Salvage, a fantastic vintage and trimmings shop in Mt Eden, Auckland. (Image from Lovely Shops NZ) 
  4. My trusty old Singer sewing machine. It doesn't do anything except stitch forwards - not even backwards, but it goes like the clappers.  I have just discovered a secret compartment under the machine, containing the original manual. It's a Singer 99K, made in Clydebrook, Scotland, in 1948.
  5. Threads, a website full of handy tips and even videos for beginners. There is hope  for me yet... 

    22 March 2010


    20 March 2010


    Becca and Sean's house sits on a ridge, high on a hill in Laingholm, West Auckland. Each year, sometime round summer, they host a  tennis championship party/gathering on the public tennis courts over the road. The standard of tennis varies from excellent and skillful to flailing and giggling (me). I spent some time sneaking photos around their house. They didn't mind. There is lots of Crown Lynn, vintage signage, Duraware and general Kiwiana. The view is fantastic, and there is always a barbecue at the end of the day, with people wrapped up in blankets, eating sausages and beetroot salad. Thanks, Becca and Sean! I promise to practice before next year.

    17 March 2010

    Autumn Light

    The light is different now that the days are shorter and the sun is lower. It's warmer and more intense, early in the morning and evening. I've always had a thing for light falling through venetian blinds - probably all those Humphrey Bogart movies I used to watch. These pictures are from our not very film noir kitchen taken one ordinary morning at breakfast time.

    13 March 2010

    Nighty Night

    There were some big events happening in Auckland today. Pasifika (world's biggest Pacific festival - more than 200,000 people), and a public appearance by Buzz Aldrin (second man to set foot on the moon). I wasn't there. I'm sometimes a bit crowd-shy. I was pottering round the house and sorting out the last little bits of the linen cupboard. I love fabric because it is often so  specifically linked to a particular place and time. Small pieces of personal history. These pictures are parts of a disintegrating pillowcase that was my absolute favourite thing when I was quite little. I thought it was me because I had red hair too.

    My brothers had matching pillowcases. They shared a room and spent a lot of time fighting. I never really liked the boys in these pictures; I thought they had mean faces. These little fabric pieces may not last much longer, and I thought it was important to save them while they were still semi-intact.

    9 March 2010

    More Brave

    7 March 2010


    Acrobats, Sydney, 1930s, from State Library of NSW Collection.

    Being brave for me isn't about extreme things, like jumping from very high places. It's the small but consistently scary things that I tend to write on a list and then ignore from that moment on. One of those things was to go and do a dance class again. I've been getting the timetable for at least six months and diligently reading it every week, but that's about it. On Saturday I finally went, but I have to say it was like getting a three year old out the door. A million excuses and an inability to find anything, especially my tracksuit pants.

    In one of my other lives I was a dancer, and did it professionally for a while. When I stopped I decided it was because I preferred telling other people what to do (ie choreographing and directing) but the biggest reason was that performing made me just too anxious. To go back into class - and it's been ten years at least - was for me about seeing if I still loved doing it, just for myself, without any of the other stuff. The performing stuff. To see if I could still do it, for a start. To see if my legs would hold out. And my dodgy back. And my old gammy hips that were not designed for the places they have been pushed. Today my legs are two very stiff unbending planks of wood, and something in my Achilles tendon is squeaking, and I'm hauling myself around wondering if I am having some kind of mid-life crisis. But I did it, and for a while there it was slightly exhilarating. Nobody laughed loudly and shrieked, 'Oh my God, you are so old!' Nobody offered to show me the way to the seniors' chair dancing class. Nobody cared, really. And that was good.

    Talking about brave, it's this week's theme at Illustration Friday. Something to replace Thing-a-day, and keep the momentum going, I hope. It's a weekly illustration project, which will allow a bit more time to finish things. And will I be going back to class? Ask me in a few days, when I can walk again.

    5 March 2010

    R is for Rocket, and Robot

    R is the letter of the week in L's class. The entire playground is covered in little rockets, robots, roads and various other R words.