Three and One

Max at three. Here he is at day 1, 1 year and 2 years.
Iggy at one. Here he is at day 1.

Their little frowns are identical!

Merry Christmas

Extra Curricular 15

This gorgeous new issue of Extra Curricular has been out since the start of the month- and I have only just managed to sit down and have a good read of it. This little mag has been around now for five years, and it just keeps on getting better.

I did a little series on objects that have been handed down to craftspeople. I got to interview and photograph ceramicist Tim Grocott, textile artist Nikki Gabriel and bookbinder Louise James. It was so interesting to go and peek into people's studios and hear their stories. I came away from each interview inspired and full of ideas.

So go grab a copy for Christmas. It'll fit in your stocking. Santa won't mind if you help him out a bit.

Beard & Braid is open!

Toby and I have just opened our own little family shop called Beard & Braid. We both like making stuff, but for the first time, we've joined together to sell our prints, jewellery, photos, books and paintings in one place. And we're selling paintings by our sons Iggy (1) and Max (3) too. Why not? It's a family shop.

To celebrate the launch of Beard & Braid we're giving away a limited edition print called All day Everyday to ten lucky customers. The print combines my photography and Toby's beautiful hand type into a piece that celebrates simple pleasures. A cup of tea and a gingernut. Sitting on the porch. Sunshine. Limited to a run of just ten, each print is individually numbered and signed by both of us.

Dusty cars

My Uncle Jos's backyard is filled with what Max calls "dusty cars". He means rusty, but they're dusty too.

It’s no crime to be tired of the sun,
to be secretive, hiding your pain.
We peer now into the choppy rooms,
the windows wavy with age and rain.
Let the phone ring forever, let the mail
pile up. Let the dry nest fall apart,
stuck together with last year’s mud
jammed in the eaves and shaped like a heart.

Kiski Flats - Joseph Millar

Go go Gocco

I bought Toby a Gocco machine for Christmas. An unsuccessful first attempt put us off for a while, but I was given a few tips and had another go. And it works! If you've not heard of it before, Gocco is a Japanese home screenprinting system- not a toy but quite basic. They stopped making them, so now you have to hunt online for parts and materials. It's super addictive once you get going.

Thank you to Sam and Emily for the tips.

Rag and Bone necklace

My necklaces are a mash up of things that inspire me. Textures, patterns, textiles and found objects. Each one takes form as I find materials along the way which work together. Rarely do they end up as I had first imagined them. No two are alike.

I've linked to this quote before, but it's so relevant to my current textile jewelry pieces:

"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect." - Richard R. Powell

This perfectly imperfect necklace is comprised of a hand sewn strap, made of 100% cotton repurposed fabric, a large porcelain bead, small bone beads and copper findings. It is now available in the shop. 

Lounge life

A terrarium I made while working on a tutorial for Extra Curricular. It's still alive over two years later.

Two cushions I made for our new couch. I had a major fabric crush on that gold velvet for ages.

A closeup of a print that hangs in our lounge titled "Grrr macht der Bear" by Phillip Janta. We bought in Berlin and it got toted around for a few years before we got it framed here in NZ.

Hand studies

My Opa's hands, on a blanket my Oma knitted.
Brand new hands. Still unfurling.

Uncle Dan

 Uncle's are good at making the right sounds when you're playing trucks. They are good at wrestling. They wear cooler stuff that your parents. like biker jackets. And they buy you highly inappropriate presents like gyrocopters, for ages 14 and up.

Lucia Gwen

This is sweet little Lucia. She was born fourth. Right now I am waiting for the fifth to be born and it's excruciating!


Somehow a bunch of my old school friends and I were all pregnant at the same time. Iggy was born first, Miffy's little girl Morgan arrived third. I visited them at her parent's place while she was back in NZ, I hadn't been there since her wedding six years ago. I used to spend so much time there as a teenager. Hanging out with there with our babies was surreal. But also really really nice.

A fog of sickness

We have just passed through a hideous week of sickness. Never have Toby and I both been so sick simultaneously, while trying to also deal with two sick kids. Challenging to say the least, and I fear it will not be the last time. We spent three days on the lounge floor watching Mary Poppins, eating only toast. Tummy bugs are nasty.

This was taken a few years back on my good old Lomo, somewhere in the south of Holland, near Belgium.

Next Level Cake

Cakes with feijoa in them tend to be brown and have apple and cinnamon in them. But not this one. This cake takes feijoas to a tropical passionfruity paradise. And then I put violets from my garden on top. This cake was next level.

Coconut Passion Cake

1 ¾ cups sugar
150g butter
4 eggs
2 cups coconut (I use ½ desiccated ½ shredded)
2 cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup coconut cream (or milk)
¼ Preserved Passionfruit Syrup
1 cup of fejoa pulp

Heat oven to 170C.  Line a 25cm cake tin with baking paper (base and sides).

Cream butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add coconut, flour, baking powder – folding gently into the mixture.  Alternate with the coconut cream and Passionfruit Syrup.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin.  Bake for 45mins-1hr (depending on your oven). Test with a skewer and when it comes out clean it's done.

Passionfruit Icing:
25g butter softened
2 tbsp passionfruit pulp
1½ cups icing sugar
1-2 tbsp hot water

Mix first three ingredients together together, adding the water at the end to create a slightly runny icing that will dribble down the sides a little. Ice when cake is completely cool.

Recipe (slighty adapted) from Annabel Langbein. (I just halved the icing ingredients- 3 cups of icing sugar is too much of a sugar hit for me.)

Little yellow bicycles

And here it is! I really enjoyed making this quilt. There's something about making things for little babies who are on the way. Quilting is such a home-y craft. I treasure all the quilts I have made or been given. They are such labours of love.

This quilt is for Ellie and Matta. I had been thinking about what kind of quilt to make for them and was struggling a bit. But then this scrap of tiny grey and yellow bicycles fabric was what inspired me. That fabric was just so Ellie!

What my dining table looked like for a few weeks

Here's some work-in-progress shots of a quilt that I finally gave away this weekend. It's gone to a good home.

It lived on my dining room table for ages while I played with the design. I used lots of the vintage fabrics from my Oma's stash, and mixed in lots of plain colours to help modernise it a little. Originally inspired by this design, this quilt changed and morphed into something quite unusual. I'll show you the finished result tomorrow. 

Flowers my son has brought me #3

Fresh lavender is one of my favourite scents. Max says it smells like "Bear cream," the sleep balm I put on him at night time. The beautiful bowl is made by Melbourne photographer and potter Lauren Bamford. The bottom shot, the yellow flowers, was for my birthday (with a bit of help from Dad.)

Liberty Circus Necklace

A custom Circus Necklace order for a friend. All made with Liberty fabrics, completely hand sewn.

Not pink

Next up in the quilting showcase was this quilt made for my new niece Maggie. The colour palette was chosen with Lucy, my sister-in-law, in mind and the quilting pattern for Guy, who's an avid fisherman.

I loved this quilt by Hopewell Quilts, but tried a different quilting technique - based on contour lines of a map. I wanted it to look like rippling water, to have a more organic feel to contrast with the very simple graphic nature of the design.

It was cool to sew something really different for me. It also feels good to create something special for a little girl that is interesting and pretty and not pink.

Mother, Winter

Something about this photo of Mum that reminded me of her when I was a child. There is a strange loop that happens once you become a mother. Suddenly you understand what your mother has done for you. And there are not words to give thanks enough.

The leaves are almost gone and there is a real bite in the air. I've got woolly socks and layers on. I made soup. Winter is here.


A little boy and his penguin

One of Max's favorite books is "Lost and Found" by Oliver Jeffers, which is about a little boy who befriends a penguin.

Max found this penguin at his grandparents house in Napier and it was love at first sight.