It is nearly Christmas isn’t it?

I love to get magazines as well as books from the library. In my most recent collection was a Christmas issue of County Life or some such. Now, I’m not remotely religious but I like planning a few Christmas decorations. I guess I’m dreaming that I might be in my new house by then. Here are a few ideas I took from the issue and gleaned from other places.

Not sure December is apple season for us in NZ
My angel Christmas dish cloth. There is a bit more knitting in this one so I would need to start early.
I thought I might make this cutie into a tile but may not have things out of storage early enough.

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As soon as I have finished my blanket I am going to think about what I can make for Christmas. My sister is making lots of lovely things but i am not good at detail and sewing and embroidery like her. Her range of angels is particularly lovely. Message me if you want to buy any or check out Facebook Bee Stitching.

This one is called Hope 🙂
Not strictly a Christmas angel but.. so cute and would make a great present any time of year.
I’m not sure she has a name but I think of her as Miss Prim.
The three sisters… just like us
These gorgeous handcrafted angels are 50 dollars each and of course don’t reflect the hours of work and hand stitching involved.
These little stars and hearts are for door handles (or wherever actually) and are stuffed with NZ wool with a little lavender sachet inside. At just 10 dollars, I am going to send these to my friends in France this Christmas. You can’t see the details here but there is a little snowflake tied on to the star and a little charm also on the heart.

Design and Style

As you are aware my friend and I are buying identical houses two doors away from each other. C is a neat freak and loves Scandinavian, Japanese and is generally a minimalist. As you are also aware I will never manage minimalism or being a neat freak. I do love Scandinavian and some Japanese style however. in fact, she and I really like each other’s style, even though we wouldn’t do it ourselves. That got me thinking about style and what it actually means. A lot of my “stuff” is associated with memories. some are gifts, others are things I bought at particular times in my life. I can’t imagine having a “stylist” do my house. My house will be eclectic, probably messy, practical and hopefully warm and welcoming. It won’t have chairs that are uncomfortable or couches you can’t take your shoes off and lie around on.

I read a library book the other day called, “Designers At Home” and there wasn’t a house in it that I would emulate but I did enjoy their different definitions of style. Here are a few of my favourites.



I gravitate towards homes and people that are inviting, warm and authentic – Tammy O’connor

Fear of expression is style’s biggest enemy- Ken Fulk

Stylish living is having a relentless sense of curiosity and a spirit of adventure about all things- Malcom James Kutner

I equate stylish living with a personal blend of grace, kindness and charm. Style should reflect a person’s character- Jan Showers

Many homes are perfectly designed but they fail to reflect the personalities of the people who live there. The absence is disturbingly visible- Rose Tarlow

Style is understanding who you are and knowing how to say it in your own language – India Hicks

So there you go, it’s all about authenticity. It doesn’t mean one person has “good” taste and another “bad”. It’ all about authenticity and reflecting your personality in your style. C will never be shabby chic, and I will never be minimalist but it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate each other’s style.

Trouble is my ideas and tastes change from day to day, does that mean I have a disturbed personality?? Yesterday I went looking for material to cover my old couch, and found I gravitated to the romantic. Tomorrow it will be velvet I’m sure.

017ac8af2dffae01be2c2facceb4b8886b314c4025 I like some monochromes but would prefer that soft blue/green to the grey. I do like the headboard though and might apply it to the whole room!

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Feel is important to me and these have feather pillows. Although, thinking about it, my paintings always come with me as an anchor to whatever else goes in a room. In fact, I am a little homesick for some of them, especially my Picasso dove.


I am just a sucker for ducks I guess
Don’t tell the other angels but she is my favourite. I bought her in a village in Holland many years ago. I like her because she is a little bit tatty and a little bit flawed.
How can you resist a dog in a hat with musical notes on it? (I do know people who can resist…)

Yes it’s stuff but it’s my stuff and it reminds me of people and places I love. Have a good week. Fill me in on your style. FG




A yellow jug, some amber beads and a Swiss army knife

I went to a writing group the other night and our exercise was to imagine opening a box tied with string to find a yellow jug, some amber beads and a Swiss army knife.

We then had 15 minutes to write about. It was a lot of fun. I particularly liked the one that involved Scotland Yard. Like me, he too had murder on his mind. This is my unadulterated version.Try it, it’s fun.

I’ll send a tile to anyone who has a go! (maybe that’s a disincentive….)

Warning: Contents may be dangerous

A yellow pottery jug
Yell-ow, corn-coloured, ripe for
pouring into a cup, onto a foot,
into a goblet.
Weighty, unwieldy, a serious jug
for a serious occasion.
The sheen of amber, stringing us
all along, reminding us of her, the way
they slung themselves, with ownership,
around her lean neck. Now
separate, poised, coiled, signalling
they are not to be handled.
Let’s not forget the knife, although forgettable.
Silly gadgetry, an impotent red cross, well yes,
a blade, you say, but no match
for amber beads and a vessel.
If you want to kill, choose the jug.
A sharp crack to the back of the head, shards
of terracotta, yellow-trimmed, raining down.
Or amp it up with the amber, forever amber,
a good garroting, death by broken heart as the beads
split and clatter to the tiles.

Forget the knife, or if you must, trim your nails with it,
neatly, afterwards.

Sue Heggie


Haha, murderous thoughts for a Friday. Hope yours are more cheerful. Send me your version! I’m off to HP to check out my windows.

Beautiful day here.

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Although whenever I see a magnolia, this refrain goes on and on in my head. “Poor Mister Magnolia, poor Mister Magnolia, had only one boot. He had two lovely sisters who played on the flute….” etc. etc a blast from the past. Have a great weekend and buy the book if you have a small person to love. FG


A flying visit to Christchurch

One of the great things about working two days a week means that you can grab a mini break  at any time. I got some Grab a seat fares for less than $100 return so I took the chance to visit family and friends.

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I made  return visit to The Tannery and it was as lovely as ever. I called into Portobello Vintage store and there were faces glaring or staring at me all around.

The Tannery also had a beautiful photographic exhibition on of scenes from the earthquake.




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Unfortunately you don’t need photos to see what is happening ( or not) post earthquake, so much is still a wasteland.

The Government really should do more to fund the university….
Attempts have been made to beautify the wasteland like these charming elephants but they are still behind bars.



I saw facades of lovely old restaurants ripped open to the elements. I used to visit La Petite Croix and now it is just another building torn apart.


I managed also to catch up with one last film in the festival as it was still on down there. Called Iris, I left not knowing what to think. Yes I could admire her talent at putting clothes and accessories together, and I enjoyed her sprightly 90 plus year old mind and yet there was also something obscene in the collection of literally thousands of clothes, beads, brooches, furs, and so on. Even she in the end, admitted it was rather meaningless. She appeared immature, courting attention like a teenager doing selfies.


The best part about going to the film was the gorgeous venue- the completely refurbished Isaac Theatre Royal. I felt as though I should be wrapped in furs and bedecked with jewels. They have done a fantastic job of it.

A few lighting ideas…
A full house
It would be lovely to see a ballet there.

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I also tracked down Graham Bennett’s sculpture, Sextant, that I wrote about in an earlier post. It is down a little lane just off the top of Victoria street

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It was great to catch up with old friends, especially my oldest and dearest friend, Rose, who lives in and adores, Lyttleton. We had a delicious brunch together at Freemans. nothing fancy, just good pizzas and friendly serviceon a cold and rainy day.


' . get_the_title() . 'Lyttleton was pretty devastated by the earthquakes and they have lost some lovely buildings but it is definitely rising from the ashes. If I moved back to Christchurch i would definitely consider living  there.

We peered through the windows of a very simple, spare little restaurant called Roots which beat out The French Cafe for best restaurant of the year. They say, “We are a small restaurant in the port town of Lyttelton featuring an open kitchen, two dining rooms and a private courtyard. We offer degustation menus crafted from high quality ingredients sourced from sustainable local farms and foraged ingredients from our surroundings as well as from our own garden. We celebrate seasonality and what our ever-changing environment has to offer.”

Rose has a big number birthday coming up in October so I might have to go down again and try it out!

It was quite cold and there was a lot of rain but I think if you have a well-insulated house and you enjoy a proper change of seasons, Christchurch has a lot to offer. Think of the money you could save by selling in Auckland and shifting there.

I arrived home to celebrate my son’s 23rd birthday. We had a lovely day, buying him shoes, going to the Lucky Buddha for lunch and going there and back via the Devonport Ferry. It was yummy Asian fusion and good for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Thanks for the recommendation and the company, Bruce.

I always feel lighter once I come to Sammy’s birthday, the mornings are getting lighter, the days a bit longer and Spring feels a bit closer.

Leunig always makes me smile.

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Good luck for the rest of the week. FG

Moody blue

I mentioned recently that I am getting very covetous as my house gets underway. So much for simple living…. I just love duck egg blue and I would go so far as to say it moves me. I take pleasure in looking at it, having objects in that blue and even wearing it. I note however, not everyone feels the same about their environment.

On a recent visit to a friend’s new house (male) and where my son also lives, I mentioned that the nasty grey/beige curtains needed to go. They both looked at me blankly, shrugged and said, “We open them in the morning and close them in the evening, who cares?”

Well, I do. The pleasure of fresh sheets, a newly made bed, a duck egg blue colander are immeasurable. not to mention the lovely duck, a single brass candle or a dog and a quilt.

A little indulgence at the Hobsonville Market. thanks Maisie and Grace


My sister sells these cuties see the Bee Stitching Facebook.


The perfect Christmas angel
I made this tile from a picture I snapped in Quillon in France

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Have to fly, off to Christchurch for a week. Back soon, hopefully without buying anything…. FG

A series of unfortunate incidents

It’s been an up and down week. It started when I lifted my electric bike on to the bike rack to get it checked out. I got it down to the bike shop and then walked off down the road to the bank. About half way there I had shooting pains down my back and couldn’t breathe comfortably and it wasn’t going away.

On the up side I decided to visit the doctor at Hobsonville Point and it was by chance their first day open, I enrolled on the spot and Dr Ahmad was lovely. The pharmacy next door opened on the same day and is being run by what appeared to me to be two fifteen year old school girls. Apparently they both qualified about seven years ago and it is their business. You go young women! Both these services are literally two minutes from my new place as will be the coffee shop, the kebab shop and the convenience store. I am hoping to use the latter more than the former…

The following day I drove to work and admit that I did notice steam coming off the bonnet of the car but assumed that was some rain/heat transfer thing going on. Oh alright, I admit the temperature gauge was rising as well.

Today I visited the osteopath at the recommendation of my friend Patsy. Boy did that chap know how to press my buttons.

I drove off feeling suitably prodded and creaked and saw the temperature gauge on the rise as well as knowing I needed some new bulbs in the rear car lights. I also knew secretly in my heart, that my car needed servicing. So I drove down to Browns Bay where the blokes seem cheerful and honest and they are next door to the WOF place which is handy. With more prodding and poking but on the car this time, the verdict was that something was amiss with the temperature control, (lapsing now into vague terms). I was shown with some horror on his part, the filthy filter I was driving around with.  It didn’t look too different from the filter on my vacuum cleaner so I couldn’t work up much of a sweat about it.

After a bit of negotiating, well not negotiating really, more just telling me it would be in the several hundreds I decided to leave my hot car there. He did tell me I had a very reliable and economical car and had it been European it would have cost a lot more. So sucks to my mocking friends who tell me I drive  a farmer’s car or worse, a farmer’s wife’s car. I read the Dog and Lemon prior to my purchase and can report that the Toyota Camry is described as the safest and most reliable  car on the planet. It also said it was akin to marrying your accountant as it ranked very highly on the boring scale.


If my car had ever been cleaned it would look a lot like this, I call it champagne coloured, my brother calls it 90 day beige. Why? because that’s how long this colour languishes in a car yard.

So having abandoned my trusty steed, my solution was to walk around the corner to the bike shop and audaciously ride my bike back to Greenhithe, ambitious huh?

The lovely man at the bike shop had the pink peril all ready to go, clean, charged up and repaired. He loaned me a helmet (which, as it turned out, was fortuitous) and off I went. While mine is a Pedago, this company also makes their own and they are rather cool so if you want an electric bike I recommend them.

I started to relax after I reached the top of the hill and actually enjoyed going across country through pretty little bike trails. I did get a bit bewildered in Unsworth Heights, as of course I couldn’t use the motorway. Eventually found my way to Greenhithe. It was at this point that I became a little over confident and decided to go for broke and check out the building at Hobsonville Point.

All was well until the return trip when I was rounding a corner, missed the curbed and went ass over kite into a substantial planted area which had been subject to considerable flooding. If the entire Brickworks apartment owners had glanced out of the window at that moment and maybe they did, they would have seen me fall face first into the muddy abyss. If I hadn’t been the star of the show it would have been extremely funny. I would have taken photos as the depth was quite impressive but
I was sodden at the time and the schools were about to close for the day.

Pointing and laughing probably going on.

With as much dignity as I could muster, I clambered onto my dirt bike and tried to assume an air of unconcern as the hoards of school kids passed me. I shivered my way home praying the battery wouldn’t die on me and got under a hot shower. I have continued to find bits of bark and a few leaves on the floor and among my clothes.


Cost for the outing:

$30 Doctor ACC

$40 ACC Osteo

Free for my bike, so kind and thanks Bute Bikes

$xxx for the car

Loss of dignity- priceless

Future medical bills? Who knows, my back is sore in a whole lot of different places now.

I intend to stay put and keep on knitting and enjoying my hobby indoors. Have a good week, FG

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Saturday afternoon delight

It was a beautiful day in Auckland yesterday so I met a friend at the Catalina and we did the Hobsonville Market  and took a walk around the new part. I stopped in at the Hobsonville Medical Centre and Pharmacy and they were in a high state of activity as they open on Monday. I am going to sign up there as it is across the road from my house. I’ll probably join the dentist there as well. (I took my son Sam to see the house the other day and he was clearly not riveted. “It’s really just a whole lot of scaffolding…” He obviously doesn’t see the beautiful new kitchen and lovely paintings and the linen duvets…. )

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Following this we drove to find the Nood outlet store in Westgate.We then cruised out to Kumeu and spent a lovely time in the Westie’s answer to Nosh. It is called Boric.

It does bother me that I am constantly coveting these days and not living as simply as I’d like to. In the end it is just a whole lot of stuff but I am a total homebody and love planning my nest. Still knitting… This is for a friend’s 80th and is coming along. It’s great to knit in winter as it keeps my knees warm while I’m doing it.