Wednesday, December 28, 2011

5 Ways to Kill a Man by Edwin Brock

There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man;
you can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it.  To do this
properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.

Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince and a
castle to hold your banquet in.

Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him.  But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats mad of steel.

In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch.  All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation’s scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that on-one needs for several years.

These are, as I began, cumbersome ways
to kill a man.  Simpler, direct, and much more neat
is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there. 

I've been clearing out the basement of things of the past that I no longer need.  Some still resonate, like this poerm - I think it is just amazing.  I wonder how Edwin Brock (he died in 1997) would have written up the Twin Towers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chasing the Perfect Pumpkin Pie 1

Since the experiment with blind baking and making individual pumpkin pies for Halloween, I've decided to find the perfect recipe before 31 October 2012.

My friend from California, Michelle, tells me that its made with a custard and adding a pumpkin pie.

The filling was better, as this time I roasted the pumpkin then made a custard from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson (using egg yolks!) and added pumpkin mashed with cinnamon, ginger and allspice (1/4 teaspoon of each).  The flavour of the roasted pumpkin and its consistency were amazing.  I will never boil pumpkin and mash it again for a pumpkin pie - too much liquid seeps out.  However the flavour of the spices needs to be stronger.

I then thought that perhaps a brandy basket might work with the pumpkin custard as a filling.  I purchased a box of 6 - all but two were not broken.  Raced back to the supermarket, where they had to open two more boxes to get me six unbroken ones.  Alas, its a good idea, but the pie mix made the bottom of the baskets soggy.  Back to square one.

I've been reading Nigella Kitchen, and she has a recipe for Chocolate Brownie bowls which bakes using a 6-cavity desert shell pan ... now this could be just the ticket.

Early Saturday morning seems to be a time for waking early, reading and blogging.  Oh well, you've got to fit it all in somehow I guess.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Patu - Facing and overcoming the challenges life presents.

Patu - A close combat one handed weapon ... a handmade striking weapon, imparting a blow with a horizontal thrust straight from the shoulder at the enemy's temple.  If the foe would be grasped, then the patu would be driven up under the ribs or jaw.

Preferred material - pounamu (Greenstone); also ordinary stone, whalebone, wood.  Patu made from Green stone is called "Mere".
Source:  Wikipedia

I much prefer this Wikepedia definition for Mere:

Facing and overcoming the challenges life presents.

This quilt is made from a scrap of fabric that was a gift from Distressed Threads / Chris Tait / Catherine McDonald/Cheryl Comfort.   It was orginally a small notebook cover which begged to be a wall hanging.  I had to cut and re-piece the scrap to achieve the motif image.  This is so hot off the press that it hasn't had a final pressing nor do I know the measurements - it's around 30cm x 85cm.  This quilt spoke with a loud voice and took about two days from start to finish.  Masking the words took almost three hours ... and then there is always the irresistible urge to peel the mask off before the paint is dry.  I had to put it up out of sight to not be tempted - even though I know waiting gives the best result, it gives no support at all to my heart wanting to get on with it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

Handbag & Mug holder

I have been busy sewing ... when I can.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I had a birthday last Saturday and my wonderful friends Loreen and Keith gave me red and white fat Quarters - now the decision is - what to make with them ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A little bit of Christmas ... from Elizabeth

It took a day of sickness, but it gave me the time to stitch this gift from my dear friend Elizabeth.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How old is ric rac?

Well its a fair question but not one that occured until a conversation with quilting friends.  I'd guessed it to have been the 1950's - but the truth reveals just what a baby I am in braiding knowledge.  Its of my great grandmother's generation.  Back in 1886 they were crocheting on to ric rac.  I see the possibility, have inherited some incredibly fine steel crochet needles - but I still wouldn't want to attempt it.

Of course the question came up because of using ric rac in my current quilt.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Orange Peels

I found a wonderful new blog to follow and I'm completely inspired by Kathleen's Orange Peels.  Her blog is called - It's all About Colour.

My scrap box has been calling for a while - getting too full of scraps basically and I need to do something with it all.

I've been awake since 5am this morning looking at blogs and art online.  We are having a wet and wild holiday weekend in New Zealand - perfect for loads of creativity and an extra day off for it all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Claudia Nice

I've discovered an artist:  Claudia Nice.  she has published a series of books on sketching in pen and ink, drawing and watercolor.

Here's the list:

Down by the Sea with brush & pen draw and paint beautiful coastal scenes
How to see, how to draw: Keys to realistic drawing

Sketching your favourite subjects in pen and Ink
Creating textured landscapes with pen, ink and watercolor
Creating creatures of fantasy and imagination : everyday inspirations for painting faeries, elves, dragons and more
Painting country gardens in watercolor, pen & ink

Painting your favorite animals in pen, ink and watercolor
Painting weathered buildings in pen, ink and watercolor

Putting it all together

I started some drawings for a quilt today from a sketchbook idea.  It occurred to me that I've had some fantastic tutors, who have each taught me something that will work towards the finishing of this quilt.  Gloria Loughman, Sandra Meech, Jennie Bowker and Hollis Chatelain.  Thank you ladies.

Here's the beginnings:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bugs Quilt

This is an Amy Bradley design - now ready to be quilted.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Remarkable Symposium Queenstown 18 - 22 April 2011

These are images of my choice, hand painted with fibre reactive dyes which I did in a three day class with Hollis Chatelain.   It was such a gift to do a class with Hollis as I've been thinking about going to the States to do a class with her for several years now.  And, to have it held in my favourite place in New Zealand - just magic.  Hollis also teaches drawing - that's now on my list of things to do.  I've come home from Symposium with these two (fat quarter size) pieces to paint with thread as the next step.

You may recognise the hand; its is from the Pieta - the original is a marble sculpture by Michaelangeo Buonarotti created (1498-1499) and it is housed in St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

"Michelangelo carved it when he was 24 years old, and it is the only one he ever signed. The beauty of its lines and expression leaves a lasting impression on everyone."  (Source)  My photo came out quite brown and pink in colour and that's the reason for the choice of colours of dye.  I intend to quilt with threads that will further reduce the colour to give more of an alabaster look.

I think it is a very powerful image.  The next image is also very powerful and others in the class asked me if it was Abraham Lincoln or Sir Edmund Hillary.  That says to me that its an image that everyone finds someone they know to recognise in its dramatic lines.  He looks to me as if he is about to look up and I've been thinking alot about how to quilt this to encourage the viewer to feel that he will indeed look up.  In Hollis's class I learned a technique to audition quilting lines!  Superb stuff and it encourages you to expand your quilting repetoire without needing to make a stitch.

The original is a piece of art by Henry W Dixon a watercolourist from Florida. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Milford Sound - Piopiotahi

The Maori name for Milford Sound which means 'a single thrush' is said to be drawn fromthe legend which told that when Maui lost the treasure of immortality to the goddess of death, Hine-nui-te-Po,a thrush flew to this place to sorrow for the death of its mate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Distressed Threads - Fabrics With Attitude

Oh wow!  A new fabric dyer with fat quarters at the Remarkable Symposium.  These wonderful fabrics are the work of Cheryl Comfort, Chris Tait and Catherine McDonald.  Very hard to resist a couple of purchases - if you want to know more, contact Distressed Threads.  Congratulations girls - it is fantastic fabric.

Here are some samples:

The next two are the same piece of fabric with the reverse side showing.  It's a very tough decision which side will get to be a quilt.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Here is the beginning piece of fabric for another quilt.  Every so often I find a piece of fabric that just speaks to me, a quiet whisper at first and when completed its voice is clearly heard, its message revealed.  I've decided this collection of quilts is my Extension series.

I don't make them one after the other, (exploring many ideas off one central idea), just when the fabric inspires and speaks.  This one will be the third one in the series.

Other posts on this kind of work are Last Breath and Freedom, which I made prior to beginning blogging in 2006.  I'll have to get it out and photograph it.

So here is the latest piece of fabric.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Success is more than just physical, intellectual or economic performance.  Or endurance.  It also requires some sense of whether the activity behind and around it was worthwhile for the participants, and for those served by it.   Ricardo Semler, Semco

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Piha and IRB Magic

We had a company team building event at Piha SLSC today.  I got to ride in an IRB - talk about the utlimate in fun park rides!  This beats em all. Our wild west coast is something else.  It probably doesn't look much but these swells are 6 -7 foot!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Five out of Five

Five quilts out of Five quilt entries have been accepted for the National Exhibition in Queenstown at the Remarkable Symposium!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Friends Day

I have a lovely tradition with two friends - once a year we have a Friends Day - its lunch out, or spending some time together.  This year, I also got to skype with a friend overseas on Friends Day and doodled with drawing while chatting to her.  Here's the result:

Friday, January 14, 2011

A new project for 2011 - Art Journal Everyday

Well the idea is to draw, paint, or create some art for 10 minutes of every day.  This was done on Sunday 8 January.  So far I'm finding that its easier for me to draw from life eg a flower, or to use something to bounce off eg a newspaper clipping which is what inspired this picture.  Actually that is probably the way I design quilts as well - having a beginning point.  Of course the hard thing is that I know I will spend more than 10 minutes because I just get so engrossed in it ... but its loads of fun using my new Inktense Watercolour pencils - I love them!

If you want to know more about Art Journal Everyday it is the inspiration of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  She got 365 artists inspired so far ...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Arts and Crafts Textiles

I've just read a fabulous book:  Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement (Linda Parry), and while the text was interesting the images of textile designs has really captured me and opened my eyes to designers from the Arts and Crafts Movement other than William Morris.

This is part of a textile designed by Walter Crane, called "The Colonies".  It was designed for the Royal Jubilee of 1887.  The pattern was descibed at the time as 'a kind of apotheosis of the British Empire expressed in a figurative way.' (part quote from the book:  Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement (Linda Parry)).

Looking at the colonies depicted raised some interesting thoughts and questions.  They are from Left to right:  south Africa, Australia, India, Britannia, Canada.

Thoughts and questions:
* Australia is the only woman wearing shoes.  Canada, possibly has stockings on, while the other three women are barefoot.
* Headwear is another interesting distinction.  What is that obsession with Britannia wearing a Roman, or even possibly as Spartan helmet?
*Each country is depicted by its textiles - eg lepoard skin for South Africa, Wool for Australia, fur for Canada, silk for India
* Where are the other colonies - is New Zealand in the original fabric, or Malaysia?
* The depiction of South Africa as a blonde woman, with european features and a sunburnt skin - seems at odds with what women of the age would have been doing - ie staying out of the sun
* And prehaps an odd thing to notice, that of the women who face forwards Britannia has the biggest boobs?

How much reflects what the artist new about each colony, and how much is modelled on women he knew?