Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Hiya dear ones,

Some time ago I met a new blogger and a new transplant to NZ. She was in the mama phase, dipping her toe into the water of making, trying sewing out, making new friends, living in a new country, being brave ...

As she taught herself to sew she discovered that she loved paper piecing and designing patterns. She has slowly honed her craft, started to sell her patterns and build a community of people who love her and her work.
One of Juliet's amazing patterns.

Recently she announced that she is writing a book and has a contract - I just about popped with excitement when I heard that.

I'm so incredibly proud of Juliet.

I feel like the lesson of being her friend, and this journey she's been on is...
never stop being a learner, 
don't think if you don't have it worked out by now you never will, 
that it's too late, 
or that you have nothing left to discover about yourself and your creative talents

I can't wait to see her book and celebrate with her. But for today I am so thrilled to have met her through blogging and for the incredible inspiration she is to me.

love you more than the smell of a new book xxx

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wide Legged Pants and Narrow Fabric - Simplicity 3688

Hi y'all,

So I determined that I should not stop my pants endeavour with the poopy-pants-parade! Last year in Adelaide I bought some gorgeous kimono style fabric at an op-shop. I say kimono style because of the feel of the fabric, the Japanese symbols written onto the band of the fabric, the design and the width of the fabric (very narrow, maybe 40cm).

This time I went for a high waisted, wide legged style. I used my sister's (the pant queen) pattern. A re-interpreted 40s style Simplicity 3688 pattern.

I cut the 14 but then freaked out and made the seams narrower, I probably could have done the straight 14. Because the fabric was so narrow I had to sew some extra onto the side in order to get the full crotch width required for the back pieces.

I also lengthened them a bit too because I am freaked out by not-quite-long-enough trousers.

I'm really pleased with the final result, even though Bounce said, "It looks like you are wearing your pyjama pants".

Can we also take a moment to be suitably surprised and stoked that the pattern/ line of the pattern actually works all the way around the legs and across the crotch. Colour me surprised and stoked because I didn't actually think about this while I was cutting out - yay!

I wore them for a full day of work and out in the evening - all good. Really pleased with the shape and drape.

hashtag - winforthepants!

Who knows, this could become a thing!

love you more than a completed success xxx

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Parihaka Woman - absolute must read

Kia ora e hoa,

It's been so long since I've chatted books but I'm really challenging myself to do more reading and less TV watching (unless I have a project in my hands) of late. Recently The Atlas and I got away for 4 days due to the very generous hearts of my mama and step-dad. They kid managed and lent us the campervan for 4 days of travelling around the bottom of Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of NZ).

Just before we left I was at the library and I spotted this book on the Parihaka display. The children at school have been studying Parihaka and I was very aware of how limited my own knowledge was of the events.

The Parihaka Woman by Witi Ihimaera

reading at the south end of Lake Wakatipu
The events of Parihaka are a deep and awful gash in the history of New Zealand. It involves the unlawful taking of land, from tribes who didn't even sign the treaty of Waitangi, the astonishing and inspiring commitment of Tohu and Te Whiti and their people to non-violent resistance and the dreadful use of power, weapons, imprisoning without trial... all the bad things. Parihaka is also a story of a beautiful people, resourceful, community minded, fair and inspiring.

Witi Ihimaera is a wonderful New Zealand author, probably most well known as the author of The Whale Rider. The book is also turned into an exceptional film.

Whatever your knowledge of New Zealand history or the events of Parihaka I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is billed as a novel but it also works as a recount of history. Ihimaera's ancestor Erenora is the protagonist and the book flicks between the present and the voice of the author, and the past and the love story of Erenora and Horitana. A young couple caught up in the world of Parihaka.

It's inspiring, heart breaking, awful and beautiful to read.

We must read more of our history, we must know more of our story. Every time we engage openly with the story of New Zealand, its injustice and heartbreak as well as its success and triumphs we grow.

I think this book might end up under the Christmas tree for some people in my world this year. It's also reminded me I need to read more New Zealand authors and always hold history carefully - one person's victor is another person's villain. We all have much to learn.

What have you read this year that has stretched you?

details - Penguin, Oct 2011 RRP $38.99, also available as an ebook (or grab it at your local library)

love you more than a book that enrages and delights xxx

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More monsters

'Sup? :-)

This is my final monster - 'Plug In To Your 5+ a Day'

and one The Atlas made which I love because it's the extinct + the shall survive a nuclear holocaust!

It's amazing what can be achieved with a saw, some junk and a hot glue gun!

love you more than reusing landfill xxx

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mutant Monsters and Accidental Feminist Art

Hey lovelies,

Recently we had FESTA in Christchurch and we attended the Mutant Monster workshop as the family. The premise is about taking landfill toys and pulling them apart to make new 'art works'.

We had SO much fun doing this (I may have had the most fun!).

Initially I struggled with the chopping up part but once I got started it was very liberating.

I ended up creating these 3 creatures that sort of match each other.

I call them 'I am Not a bird'.

It was fun ripping apart dolls and thinking about how 'girls' toys need a makeover in general.

I really love these final three pieces that stand alone and together as some sort of celebration of the flamboyant and also as a better version (imo) of their original forms.

love you more that a riotous pink feather xxx

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

B.M.W.B - dates

Hiya friends,

It's SO looonnnggg since I've blogged about my whanau (family) but I thought I'd share a little thing we've been doing over the last few months.

Each month I schedule on the calendar a 2-3 hour stretch on a Saturday or Sunday. The appointment says 'mum and dad dates'. During this time we each spend an hour one on one with each of our boys. They set the agenda and we are activity trying to use this time to connect with them on their terms.

Last time Bounce and I made the baby suits for his teacher and then when Flip and I were hanging out he made a rhubarb crumble. (We have a fabulous rhubarb patch that continues producing rhubarb despite our complete neglect of it).

When The Atlas was with them he and Bounce when to a ceramics studio where they are going to do some ceramics making together. With Flip they went and hung out at a computer shop (among other things).

It's been great to be more intentional about giving our boys time where they get to choose what we do and we give them our undivided attention. Of course, we spend a lot of time together as a family and with the boys but these times have been really life-giving to our relationships with the boys.

Good times :-)

How about you, do you have specific dates or ways of hanging out with your littles?

For other BMWB posts (from ages ago!) 

Becoming the Mama I want to be is about taking time to enjoy the journey of parenting, to honour it's value and to hopefully inspire and encourage any mama. 

Create Hope Inspire

Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be

love you more than the smell of rhubarb crumble xxx

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Tautoko A Mama

Kia ora lovelies,

It's actually not long until December is upon us and Christmas thoughts are no longer just for the 'crazy ones' who've been celebrating since July.

I love Christmas and I must also confess to enjoy presents - both the buying for and the receiving of!

The other day I was thinking this way and I suddenly thought about some of the beautiful mamas doing it solo that I know. As a mama it's quite frequently the case that you know every present under the tree but I think maybe more so for the mamas flying solo (and the papas flying solo).

On Christmas morning (or another morning depending on custody) she's probably not even going to be unwrapping something.

So this Christmas I'm challenging us all - to tautoko a mama.

Tautoko is one of my favourite Maori words (I have the privilege of working in a bi-lingual environment, sadly I'm not bi-lingual though*), it means to uphold, support, advocate for...

By this I mean - think of a great flying solo mama in your word, buy her something, wrap it and deliver for her and tell her to unwrap it on Christmas morning.

Just think of that something under the tree for her, something she doesn't know the contents of, something that says - 'hey I think you're rad, I've noticed you doing a great job, I acknowledge, uplift and support the job you are doing', or even just 'you're a babe'.

It doesn't have to be big - a block of chocolate all to herself, or a beautiful handmade soap can still communicate your tautoko.

It could be something special you've made. A CD that inspires you, a great book, a packet cake mix (there are surely days a solo mama needs one of these).... the options, when wrapped and delivered with love, are endless.

Will you join me?

Please do. Comment below. Take it to your social media communities, your friendship groups, your life.

There are SO many amazing, precious, hard-working, inspiring, loving, totally-ace mamas flying solo out there who need something under their tree to remind them about that.

Let's make Christmas 2016 time to #tautokoamama

* I do speak some Te Reo just no where near as much as I'd love to be able to! :-)

love you more than making a list and checking it twice xxx

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crafty Collaborations

Kia ora crafters,

Wee Bounce, (who is 8 so maybe not so wee anymore!), has a lovely teacher who is off on maternity leave. We took to the craft room to make a gift for 'pebble'.

We pinterested for ideas and he said that she liked woodland creatures.

Bounce decided to go for the giraffe. He free handed the drawing inspired by a pin and some nature photography we searched up.

He drew, cut out, re-drew on bonding stuff and then re-cut out the fabric after I ironed it onto the new fabric. Then he painted on the facial features after I machine embroidered it onto the baby suit.

I used clip art to help me with my squirrel silhouette but the incredible, inspired acorn was all my own design. (I know, sometimes I even surprise myself with my talents!)

It was fun rummaging through my stash to make these projects, spending an afternoon working together and seeing Bounce's sense of achievement with his work.

Hopefully baby pebble gets some use out of them too.

love you more than a miniature acorn xxx

Friday, November 4, 2016

Carmen Miranda Eat Your Fruit Bowl

Hello lovely reader,

Aside from the fruit headpiece I really know very little about Carmen Miranda.

I bought this fabric for about $1 or $2 a metre at some crazy spotlight clearance thing.

I decided to make a 2 layered maxi dress. I found this pattern for $1 in an op-shop (again). Really I was only interested in the neckline as the outer layer was going to be very loose anyway.

I used some bright yellow stretch already in the collection and made the under part first. Then I french seamed the outer layer (which feels like chiffon) and zigzaged the neckline and armholes before using bias binding to finish them.

I have to admit it has a slight (large?) nighty feel to it so I decided to add a super long ribbon bow to the back. The ribbon was probably the most expensive part of the dress!

While I am quick to admit this isn't the most flattering thing I've ever made I do think it will be something I'll enjoy on the can't-be-bothered-shaving-my-legs days that I have frequently through the summer!

Someone little took the photos - I'll leave you with the best of the best!

Perfect summer float about by the non-existent pool dress.

love you more than a neon fruit bowl xxx

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Making a House Home

Kia ora lovelies,

When The Atlas and I bought our first place, a little old state house, we did lots of work to it. We got rid of the peach and apricot walls, the fake wood veneer paneling, suspended office ceiling... you know, stuff! And, we did (with help) some awesome things to it but I always felt like it had to be neutral for 're-sale purposes'.

Someone said to me the other day that New Zealanders typically decorate and renovate their house with re-sale in mind rather than choosing what they want.

I feel like here in our second home I'm becoming a lot freer about doing what I want to do. So I decided to paint our laundry-toilet-bathroom space.

When we moved in it was a beige colour (similar to what we'd painted our last house). If you know me at all you'll know beige is not really a word anyone would associate with me.

So, with The Atlas' blessing (he may be described as long-suffering) I decided on a dark blue shade. The Atlas was behind me all the way but some other family members had some reservations! (extended family members). In places it looks like 2 smurfs have battled to the death but I'm not sure I'm much for bothering with fixing those bits!

Now it is my favourite (or at least one of my favourite) blue, with accents in hot pink, bright yellow... and pretty much a lot of other colours.

The toilet features some awesome stuff and is really a work in progress - there will be more added to the walls! I think it's nice to have some stuff to look at in the loo!

I've used wall decals to try and make the bathroom look like a confetti party. It's taken a while to find them but I ended up getting most of them from the awesome Pay It Forward shop - they are by Pepin Design. It's really nice to be able to support local shops and local makers when you are doing things like this. (This shout out isn't sponsored it's just my pleasure!)

These spaces make me SO happy. If we ever sell our place I'm sure the next people will want to put their own mark on the place, and maybe the bathroom won't be a real selling point... but I really don't mind that.

This space makes me smile every day!

What's your approach to home decorating? Are you a brave and personal, neutral and classy or 'resale' decisions first kind of person?

love you more than a yellow dot xxx