10 months today

Non-stop, on-the-go, all day action. Max is clapping, crawling, climbing, standing, and giving walking his best shot. As well as trying out some words: mama, dada and ladle ladle adle.

Made especially

My lovely old Singer Featherweight is going strong but I need zig-zag. So I invested in a new sewing machine. Well, new to me anyway. A 1980's Bernina which came with a sewing desk, which used to belong to a lady who inherited it from her late mother. The desk was filled with all sorts of old treasures. Patterns, letters, notions and unfinished projects. I spent an afternoon sorting through it all and feel like I know them both now. 

For me sewing is intrinsically linked to my own mother. I remember sewing teddy bear clothes with her when I was very little and cutting into her fabric stash to make my own precious collection. She taught me to sew, even though I often I didn't listen. She was too embarrassed to take me into the sewing store as a teenager because I refused to hem my skirt. Oh, what a rebel I was.

Better than porridge

I spent a rainy day baking oatmeal, raisin and chocolate chip cookies. Perfect for a winter's afternoon tea. Max helped out by pulling out every pot and pan out of the cupboard.

The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen, which is my favourite food blog. And I added about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Because chocolate makes it better, of course.

Studio time

Toby and I have dreamed for years about having a studio at home. It's not quite the cottage down the back of the garden, and it has to double as the guest room, but we are so happy to have some creative space. This is my desk, under the window. Already a mess, of course. I'm working on some embroidered jewellery ideas, these are just tests. For some reason, what I see in my mind's eye is not translating into the physical. So frustrating, but I'll get there. It's good to be working again.

When life give you lemons

We have an abundance of lemons. Like way too many.

Preserved lemons

Scrub the lemons well. Cut them into quarters, almost to the base where the lemon attaches to the stalk, so the lemon remains whole. 
Sprinkle the inside of each lemons with a big tablespoon of rock salt ( apparently you don’t use iodised or table salt as it will make the lemons bitter). 
Add a large handful of more rock salt to the bottom of a sterilised jar then start packing in the lemons as tightly as you can, along with a couple of bay leaves and coriander seeds. Push down hard, no gaps!
Top up the jar with freshly squeezed lemon juice, then add a little olive oil so the lemons are covered. Try to get rid of any air bubbles, then screw on the lid. 
Leave in a cool dark place for at least a month before using. It pays to occasionally turn the jar upside down. 
Once you've opened the jar, store in the fridge. And to use them, remove the flesh and white pith and just use the lemon skins. They should be soft now.

Looking back on the future

Brothers. Fathers. Uncles. Cousins. I had one of those moments when suddenly you realise, this is it. This is the time you will look back on in old photos and smile. And laugh at the Dad's haircut. 

Views and hormones

A drive in the Hawkes Bay hills with Great Gran. We made it to the top of Te Mata peak, no small feat in a borrowed hairdryer moonlighting as a car. When we got up there, the car park was filled with teenagers, smoking in their cars and awkwardly holding hands.
Max slept through it all, oblivious to the views and the hormones.

Soups up

Parsnips are in season. It's cold. What else are you going to do, other than make parsnip soup?
I used the recipe from the cookbook Tender by Nigel Slater. It's a good recipe and a gorgeous book. Makes me want to start digging up the lawn and plant radishes. Or just make soup. That'll do for now anyway.

His father's eyes

Since Max was born, I could see myself in him. But not Toby so much, until now. That there is a Morris gaze.


 We've just been down to Napier for a double family birthday. I had sworn I would never board another plane with Max again after the last one. Fortunately the flights went smoothly.
New Zealand is stunning from the air. It's rugged landscape reminds me of the legend of how Maui caught the fish.