Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!

Can you believe that 2012 is already here??  I for one am very happy to see the back of 2011. I have never known a year like it. There just seemed to be bad news after bad news after bad, you can sling your hook gone...go on, off you go....!

My dad is over from little old England for a few months (yay!). He was staying with my sister in Snell's Beach but  is now staying with us for a little while. The weather here has been pants over the past week (when it rains in New Zealand, it really rains!) but that hasn't stopped us. We have been on lovely long walks every day.  Yesterday we walked from Takapuna to Milford.  Oh how I laughed... let me explain....

It was particularly windy yesterday and the tide was coming in, parts of our walk were along narrow walkways and the waves were crashing up against the walls.  I ran along the walkway first and managed to miss most of the spray, then it was dads turn.  He spent a good few minutes watching the waves  trying to gauge a pattern. When he thought it was safe he made a break for it... I was watching and unbeknown to dad I  saw a huge wave coming his way.

Now, I had to make a quick decision, yell out to warn dad or get my camera out???
I chose the latter!!  hahaha, I'm laughing just as much now whilst I type this (if you look closely you can see the top of dad's head submerged in the spray)
Needless to say he was soaked through!

Today we did a gorgeous walk along Cheltenham Beach. This is one of my favourite local beaches, we walked partly along the sand, climbed over rocks, walked through caves, scrambled up grass verges it was a bit of an adventure.

Here are some photo's I took along the way...
Dad taking some time out to reflect (probably about the wave that got him yesterday)

Me taking some time out to reflect (giggling about the wave that got him yesterday)

Beautiful Cheltenham Beach and a close up of some driftwood...
Towards the end of our walk the city comes into view....a lovely sight!

We are back home now, I'm blogging whilst cooking a chilli and sipping some red wine, not a bad start to the new year is it!

Here's hoping 2012 is a good one for all of us...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

I Hope You Had A Merry Christmas?

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas? We did. After spending ages packing up the car we headed to my sister Jo's house on Christmas eve.

Because we was going to be there for four nights and because Jo had a full house we decided to pitch a tent in the garden (decorated with a  little bit of tinsel of course!) and began to relax right away...

(If you look closely, you can see the sea through the trees at the end of the garden - such a lovely spot to live!)
Tom and I took our nephew Billy and our niece Rose for a little walk along the beach...

Christmas morning was full of lots of excitement and lots of lovely pressies (Rose loved the wrapping paper as much as the toys inside!)

Everybody got very spoilt, including the gorgeous Bella who loved her brand new collar and bone!

Then it was time to start preparing the Christmas dinner.   Jo's in-laws all came for dinner too so it was a big family affair. Luckily everyone chipped in and bought something....

I have eaten soooooooooo much over the past few days I can hardly move (thank god for elasticated waisted pyjama bottoms!!)  and so now the diet begins...well, not right now, but soon....once New Years eve is out of the way!

I hope you have all indulged as much as me... after all we only get this chance once a year to eat and drink all day long don't we?


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe its Christmas eve tomorrow!  It's a dark, wet morning and I'm writing this whilst curled up on the sofa with a nice hot cup of tea. The Christmas tree lights are on and all (well nearly all) of my presents have been wrapped and are under the tree.

We'll be heading to my sisters tomorrow morning, where we will be staying over Christmas so I've got lots to do today. I've still got some presents to buy and have to pack up the car (we have sooooo much we need to take with us!!) I want to get the house all tidy and clean before we go so was up very early this morning.

So far I've only tided my art room (which always takes a while because I always seem to get sidetracked!)
All of my paints have been put neatly away....
and my artwork for sale has been wrapped and boxed up...
I dusted my pictures hanging on the walls (I drew this picture about 5 years ago...she lives just opposite my window...she likes to look out...she's very nosey!)
 and updated my pin board with all my new 'stuff' I want to work on next year!

One room down, just the rest of the house to go :0)

I'm not sure if I will have the chance to post much over the next couple of days, so I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas now!...... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Have a very safe and happy holiday!

Lots of love and mistletoe kisses


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Just a Little Sketch or 2!

Been doing lots of sketching lately for my greeting card range that I will be bringing out next year... 
Here are just a couple of my ideas...

I'm hoping to start painting these during the Christmas holiday. I've been so busy with lots of other things lately that I haven't been able to do much painting...I miss my little paint brushes and the sanctuary of my little art room.... sigh!

On a completely different note, Tom has been lucky enough to get Shingles, just before Christmas!!  It's pretty bad, he is completely covered around his middle and is being the worst  patient ever not because he is moaning about his illness but because he cannot stand being stuck inside!
Not being able to leave the house for a week sounds like bliss to me at the moment :0)

'Shingle Bells, Shingle Bells, Shingle all the way......'


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Sparkly Shells

I was on babysitting duty yesterday...although I shouldn't really use the word duty as I love having my 3 year old nephew, Billy and one year old niece, Rose. They are so much fun and have me in fits of laughter all day. 

Whilst Rose took a nap me and Billy decided to paint some shells to make them look christmassy.  I already had a bag full so we chose some nice big ones and got to work....
We used gold paint (Tip: Never let a 3 year old squeeze paint from a  tube!!!)
and painted the shells all over...
then we sprinkled them with gold glitter ....

It was so much fun...
and nice and messy....

Once they dry we are going to wrap them up in a box for Mummy for Christmas! I think they will look lovely scattered around the Christmas table or maybe we could tie them onto the napkins with string? either way I know she'll love them!


Monday, 12 December 2011

Little Fabric Hearts!

I've been making little fabric hearts for my Christmas tree. They look so effective and are really quick to make (which is a good thing as I have had to make 20 to get the look I wanted!!)

Here's how...

You need: Fabric, scissors, a couple of pins, needle and thread some stuffing,  half a heart shape cut out of cardboard and some string
Fold over your fabric and cut around the cardboard to make your heart shape
Open up your heart (for it is Christmas after all!) and pin it onto the back of another piece of fabric
Take a piece of string and make a loop, tying a knot at the bottom of it
Place your string in between both pieces of fabric
Starting from the top of your heart (and placing the knot of your string just below your first stitch) stitch evenly around the heart making sure you leave a big enough gap to be able to put your stuffing in.  I have hand stitched my hearts but you could use a sewing machine to speed up the process.
Once the stitching is completed, stuff the heart (I have used Polyester stuffing but you could use old scraps of material or cotton wool if you don't have any)
Once the heart is nicely stuffed, finish off the stitching
It really doesn't matter if your stitching is not perfect (as you can see from the one above) these little hearts look great a little shabby...
Holding your string against the heart so that you do not accidentally cut it off (I'm talking from experience here) cut around the outside of your stitching...again this doesn't have to be perfect.
And there you have it! 
I have kept my ones quite plain, but you could always add a ribbon around the top of the string, or use a different coloured fabric for the back... the options are endless!
Have fun!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Feeling Christmassy and A Little Christmas Creation!

I have to say, what with me being English and all  that I was really quite worried about how I would feel spending Christmas in the sunshine.

Christmas for me is all about knitted jumpers and gloves, the weak wintery sun disappearing by 3.30pm, ducking into small cosy pubs for a swift half to avoid the bitterly cold winds and battling through the crowds to buy  presents. 

Christmas could not be more different in NZ. Its the start of summer so the days are long and hot, there are never really crowds in any of the malls and people are walking about in shorts, T-shirts and summer dresses!

However, I am pleased to announce that surprisingly, I do feel very Christmassy!  Christmas is very big over here and everyone seems to be getting into the spirit nicely. 
Tom and I put our tree up last Saturday (I did take a photo to show you but it didn't do it justice, so I will have to take another photo and post it next time)

We opened a bottle of wine and put on my favourite Christmas CD...

and sang along as we decorated the tree.

Here are a couple of new decorations that I bought this year...

A gorgeous knitted little chubby robin (I've had to place him on 2 branches because he is so heavy!)

and this lovely little silver robin...


I'll be posting more Christmassy pictures soon...I've got some pine-cones to spray with snow and some Christmas bunting to make and hang, but for now I'll leave you with this little Christmas character I created a few years ago...


Happy Friday !
PS Dont' tell Tom, but I just had to show you what we wore whilst putting up our tree. I received a lovely parcel from one of my oldest friends Lee. It was so unexpected. I opened up the box to find lots of lovely things to get us through the Christmas period.... a small luxury Christmas pudding from good old Marks & Sparks, some chocolate money, tree decorations, a Christmas CD, a bag of my favourite sweets and these 2 fabulous headpieces... we put them on right away and didn't take them off until bedtime... Katy Perry eat your heart out!??!