Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Introducing The Girls

Because there are different types of girls at our place we've given them different names.  Theres the fluffy girls:

Theres the buzzy girls:
This is a Warre hive

And then theres our darling girls:
Laura and Ella

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Yay I Finished

Ok so it was late into the night before Laura's birthday that I finally got her cushion cover finished but it is finished.  Thanks to Sew La Tea Do for the idea to use the front of a shirt for the back part of the cushion so that it can be unbuttoned for washing.  I really like that idea.  I love reusing/recycling clothing for other projects. 

And the back using a preloved shirt.  The pocket is still there in the top right hand corner, just the place for a teddy or tissue.

and Ella made her this gorgeous scarf

Crocheted in white with blue flowers.  Looks so cute on.

Eco Dyeing With India Flint

The black markings come from wrapping the bundles in something made of iron.  These are all silk.  Silk and wool (being protein fibres) give the best leaf outlines and markings.   Silk third from the left is made from oak leaves.  They look wonderful hanging where they can catch the breeze.  They come alive.  Silk is wonderful to work with.

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a 3 day workshop with India called Landskins.  We bundled silk and other fabrics using eucalyptus leaves (lots of different leaves were tried) and various found objects, simmered them in various metalled pots and stitched and finally felted it altogether to make a wrap.  I had already purchased her book Eco Colour because I have always wanted to learn about natural dyeing but did not want to use chemical mordants.  The workshop was amazing.  Each time since when I have boiled eucalyptus leaves with the smell filling the house, I am transported back to that magic time and I dream of the many possibilities........  Thanks India for the inspiration.

The silk on the left was made by wetting the fabric in vinegar and wrapping around a rusty old fashioned door knob and left in a sheltered place outside for a few days/weeks.  Looks like the sun I think.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Just For Me

For a while now I have been making something handmade to give each child on their birthdays and at Christmas.  Theres been the birthday skirt and trousers for Laura's birthday last year, (they still get called this).  Theres been the birthday crown and pyjamas for Ella's birthday this year. For Ben theres been pjs, and theres been reuseable drawstring bags for all.  The children are always grateful and feel fortunate to have been given something designed and handmade specifically for them.  For Laura's birthday this year its a patchwork cushion.  Despite having not finished it yet and her birthday this Sunday, I thought there was something else I wanted to begin.  Nothing like a bit of last minute pressure the day before a birthday to get you focused!!  But there's always time for the important things right?  So here it is the other project.

small beginnings

I thought I would call it 'Making Friends - celebrating people's differences'  Because thats what friendship is.  I think this one's just for me.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

My view in the morning

When I wake up each day, these are some of the things that I see:

This is the ceiling.  You wouldn't think I live with an electrician would you?

The suns streams in the windows and leaves lovely decorations on the walls.  Because we're on a hill we are bathed in the first rays of sunshine, sometimes long before people on the flat parts of the city feel or see it.

This is a mural painted on the wall/roof  painted by a friend of the previous owners.
Everything is curved in this room.  Its like waking up in a womb.

Friday, 26 August 2011

In The Pink

There is a growing feeling around us, by that I mean in people and in the garden, that Spring has already arrived.  Its a good feeling after what seems like a long,long Winter.  I've felt we've faced the greyness of Winter since the February 22 earthquake.  For me Spring is about the colour pink.  It exudes a sense of hope, of rebirth and renewal.  That maybe, just maybe we have got through the worst of it and everything will be better from now on.   A few sunny days lately have been wonderful, hinting with the Sun's warmth that longer, warmer days are nearly upon us again.  There's lots to do in the garden.  (I mean LOTS AND LOTS).  There's chickens to move and fence in.  Because up until now they have been free ranging around the whole property.  Betty has been jumping the fence of her temporary enclosure, walking up the drive, scaling a retaining wall or two on the way and trying to lay an egg under our pod.  Lovely to go out and hang out the washing and hear her small murmurings of contentment and to see her comb just above the foliage.  There's beehives to expand, the glasshouse to plant out, retaining walls to be fixed, potatoes to plant, a long list of seeds to be planted in the raised vegie gardens and a treehouse/creative space to be worked on.  Did I mention the moving of the garden shed and the construction of a honeyhouse?  Yes I have BIG plans.  Some of them probably wont get done, but usually the important ones do.  After all I have four (usually) willing helpers.

I love sculpture in the garden, this is one of my favourites

     A spot of spinning
Camelias are wonderful right now, always the first to show a change in season
Rhubarb rebirth.  We love this baked with brown sugar and butter/margarine - delicious

Monday, 22 August 2011

Our view

We feel very fortunate to live in this beautiful city and feel like we are living in the country  all because when we look out our window (round or square) this is what we see:

- view from the kitchen window, 3 metres off the ground, just like living in a treehouse!

All things round, oval and curved

In the garden.....

Not to mention the round garden shed or the oval honeyhouse or the rock walls which had to be shaped in a curve or the front steps which were curved before the concrete was poured and the retaining walls and......

 In the kitchen..........

   In the bathroom.............         

Love to collect............


Yes we have a love affair with anything round or oval.  It just seems to be attracted to us and us to them.  And yes constructing a house with this love in mind has been a mixture of laughter and tears, mainly mine.  I really felt it was important to stay true to the original round/curved design despite the extensions being constructed from different building materials than the futuros.

Thanks for stopping by.

Works in progress

These are Guardian Angel felted pictures using an idea of weaving strips of cloth.  See here
All natural dyes.  Silk was dyed using eucalyptus leaves.  Waiting for outlining of angels to give them more definition.
This is to be a patchwork quilt for Laura
This is to be a cushion cover for Laura's 5th birthday.

In the garden

This is Wilfred
We redesigned this garden approx 11 years ago.  I say approximately because that was when the major change came.  We had decided that in order to continue to live here and make this a family home we needed better access (and a bigger house!)  When we first shifted here the only access to the house was a steep set of about a 100 steps (ok there were only about 32 I seem to recall, but coming from living on a flat section to a hill it seemed more like 100).  We really wanted to be able to drive onto the property and have better access to the garden, especially since we had also purchased another futuro.  You see this journey of ours has evolved (and continues to do so).  As our family has grown, so has our house.  So about 11 years ago a very large digger was employed to cut a driveway from the top of the property down towards the bottom.  The soil and rocks were used to make two terraces of reasonably flat areas towards the lower part of the property.  This was to be the skeleton of our garden today.  Flat areas are so important for the enjoyment and use of our garden.  The steep areas very rarely get visited and used (which is why it is called The Wilderness Area) so for us they were important to establish.  We garden organically.  Having vegetable gardens is central to this philospophy.  The terraces became the places for our raised vegie garden, trampoline and glasshouses and beehives.  We have had many adventures along the way with our chickens, ducks and bees.  And many, many challenges with the unusual structures of our house with the council and builders.  But we have met some wonderful people along the way too.  Our architect, engineer and surveyor stood by us and helped make our dreams a reality.  They are amazing people.  They believed in what we were trying to do and often helped us to reply to council letters/demands, answering many ,many questions to gain consents so that we could add on to our house.  We will always be so grateful to them.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Following along on this journey of ours...........

It was 14 years ago this month that we bought this property of ours.  We had looked at this strange building 5 months earlier and after opening the huge (curved) white gate to the property and seeing the pod at its largest, I quickly got back in the car and said there was no way I could live in that.  Whats it like inside everyone asks?  Well Its like a big round caravan.  Because most things ever invented by man are square or rectangular all the furniture is built into the curved walls.  You really need to alter your thinking and we have.  Regular furniture just does not fit.
So 5 months after the initial visit we came back for a better look around. The garden - and its a big one was everything I had imagined and wished for in our house searches - and more.  There was a man made waterfall and small stream with little bridge, secret paths, fruit trees and swing trees, a domed glasshouse, wilderness and groomed areas.  It was all so magical.  There was a shed on the property with a brass door knocker in the shape of a foxes head.  A sign that this property was meant for us.  Despite other people signing up for the property, those sales all fell through.  It was indeed meant to be ours.  So 14 years ago this month with the Satsuma plum tree in full blossom with its perfume wafting around us as we looked and explored and dreamed, this property became ours.  And every August as that tree blossoms I am transported back to that time and remember the magic and trepidation of taking on this huge adventure. Because after we bought this property we bought another Futuro house from a friend of a friend.  We really needed the extra room.  When we started there was just Tony and I (Jacqui).  Then came Ella, Ben and Laura.  When we came here we were 2 peas in a pod and now we are 5 peas in 2 pods!  We installed the 2nd Futuro next to the existing one and added living areas between.  And so our house which we called the pods has now become HOME. 
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