Sunday, September 30, 2012

Auckland Zoo

A trip to Auckland today, and a visit to the Zoo.

 The perfect way to start the holidays.


The hippos looked SO happy in their mud pile. If this is what hippo life is like, I could totally come back as one.

Burma the elephant almost ran us over! The kids looked totally amazed to see an actual live elephant walking past.

This is my favourite photo of the day :) Perfect timing.

I think the primate enclosures were my favourite. Hard to see here but there are spider monkeys all over the bank- just going about their usual lives with a human audience. Near to here was a gibbon enclosure with the most amazingly loud gibbon - makes me realise how noisy a jungle must be. I really wanted to see Janie the chimpanzee but she must have been resting inside as we couldn't see her.

This photo makes me smile. The last time we were at the Zoo, Big M was 5 and there were only 2 heads looking over the fence (Little M was a baby in the buggy). I must try and find the pic sometime and compare. 

A fabulous day - very hot (maybe spring has finally arrived!) and tiring but loads of fun.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


 If you follow my projects on the Ravelry friend activity feed you will have noticed an abundance of crochet projects!

After learning the basics of normal crochet, and how to make amigurumi at KAN everything seemed to have clicked into place for me and I have barely knitted a stitch in the past month!

My first ever ami piece (penguin finger puppet pattern used in the class - I made mine into a's wonky but was immediately claimed by miss 5).

A bit boring but cotton dishcloths are always useful. This was a good practice piece to work on my tension, and to practise going around corners. The worsted weight cotton was nice and smooth - very easy to see each individual stitch and I think a great choice for a beginner.

This is my first "proper" ami piece - owl two ways. This is an easy pattern and I'm really happy with how she turned out. I think I've had the safety eyes in my button stash for about two years! so it was good to finally use them.

Following on from owlie success I made a mash of monsters - just for fun :) A great way to use up some worsted + leftovers.

Right now I'm working on a crochet blanket. It's a bit of an epic project but I'm still finding crochet SO QUICK! It's been great to learn some new stitches and to really consolidate my new found skills :)

Happy hooker is hooked!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


At the end of August I attended Knit August Nights in Napier. My first ever 'knitting conference' - it was, as you can imagine, so much fun. It is incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by crafty folk - everyone single person 'gets it' (no awkward 'yes I knit' explanations required!), and to look around a room and see needles (and hooks) in every hand.  It was also very cool to meet fellow Ravellers that I had "met" online before, or recognised from ravatars.

I shared a room with lovely Jackie (we have exchanged so many emails and texts so it was fantastic to finally meet !) and clever Frances of sourkraut spindle fame. We shared knitting stories and yummy treats and I really couldn't have asked for better company to share my first KAN experience with. Our room was right on the harbour - lying in bed listening to the sea, and waking to the sunrise over the water was just beautiful.

On Friday I attended the traders market - scoring some much coveted Vintage Purls Max, some  lovely Knitsch (funnily enough also in green/purple), a very gorgeous owl shaped shawl pin and some other wooly bits and pieces. While classes were on I sat with some friends (old and new) and knitted and enjoyed a drink. Really a perfect Friday afternoon in my opinion!

Saturday I spent in classes. Totally exhausted myself but now find myself able to crochet, make amigurumi and hand-felt. I have wanted to learn to crochet for a long time and found the class to be perfectly pitched and the handouts to explain everything just how I would have worded it myself. I went (somewhat ambitiously) straight from the crochet class to the amigurumi class and while I struggled, I also didn't find it too difficult once I got going. I have to say since returning home I have become somewhat enamored with the hook and have barely knitted a stitch!!

Sunday was spent exploring beautiful Hawkes Bay - attending the amazing Farmers market in Hastings (a must see if you are ever in the area on a weekend....just wow), the Arataki honey centre and of course, a wine tasting (at the exquisite Te Mata winery). I flew home later that afternoon feeling tired but so fulfilled, inspired and wishing the event was over a week instead of just a weekend!

Maree and helpers do a fantastic job of organising everything, the venue is great, the atmosphere even better and I will definitely be back next year!! (I'll also try and remember to take more photos! - the 'official' photos are here)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Book review: The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible 
Barbara Kingsolver

I've had a borrowed copy of this book on my shelf for about 2 years. Last month I was gifted a copy ina swap and it was the push I needed to finally read this celebrated novel. I am not sure why I procrastinated so long - I devoured it in a little over a day.

The Poisonwood Bible is the story of a misguided Evangelical preacher who drags his wife and 4 daughters to the Congo in the 1960s to work as a missionary. Naive, unprepared and blinded by righteousness the family struggles to survive in their new found home while around them the country is in political turmoil as the Congo seeks independence from Belgium.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints - something I often struggle with in 'epic' type novels - but here it works well with each woman having a distinct voice. I particularly looked forward to Adah's chapters with her clever word play and her insightful observations which she was unable to verbalize . At times though the characters feel a little like over emphasized caricatures - the doormat wife, the tomboy, the cripple, the innocent, the airhead. Particularly Rachel - unwittingly providing the comic relief in what is otherwise a bleak and pessimistic novel - her self absorbed view of the world and her ironic misuse of words is funny to begin with but does grate by the end of the book. Whilst I most enjoyed the descriptions of daily life in a Congolese village, I also loved how each woman chose her own path out of the Congo and how these choices were followed decades later providing an insight into how 18months in the village shaped each of their lives.

Kingsolver doesnt pull any punches and the excesses and political interference of the West (particularly the US) are not glossed over. Kingsolver's political views are fairly clear and perhaps this will be a turn off for some - I appreciated that she shared her viewpoint and took on a subject as complex as this.  It is an eye opener - a unflinching one at that, and at times it made me feel ashamed and uncomfortable -  reading this book with a full stomach while there is no clear solution to right all the wrongs (still) happening in Africa.

I wish I had read this book years ago.
4/5 stars.