Sunday, December 27, 2009

Train trips and Christmas morning

Took a trip into town on the train the other weekend. Mr 6 was delighted! Had the most delicious gelato from Valentino's in the Ferry Building.

Thought this sequence of photos was quite amusing...

The night before Christmas

Mr 6 wakes up at 6am - starts sorting his into a pile...

Mum persuades him to just open one while waiting for Missy Moo to wake up. ('Scuse the jammies). *yawn*

Mummy gets dressed and caffeinated...

Missy Moo modeling her front pack I made (needs some adjustments) while picking her nose... charming.

I'm busy relaxing.... toodle pip.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a bit of sewing

My machine saw the light of day!
Got some other projects planned for the days I'm off work :-)

Both these are for Missy Moo.  She seems to like them - especially the "arphalents" on the apron.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

November Reading Round Up

The Indian clerk : a novel / David Leavitt.
Based on the true story of the strange and ultimately tragic relationship between an esteemed British mathematician and an unknown - and unschooled - mathematical genius. ~from the blurb
Okay, I will state right up that the bits covering the math theories got skimmed by me because they went right over my head.  But I did enjoy the fictionalisation of this relationship.  I felt the portrayal of the various characters were entirely genuine and typical of the time.  The tensions between them kept me agog.

Where memories lie / Deborah Crombie.
Detective Inspector Gemma James and her partner, Duncan Kincaid, must navigate the shadowy and secretive world of London's monied society to discover a jewelry piece's connection to a murderer and a pair of refugees from Nazi Germany.~ from the blurb.
This was great - very much enjoyed the crime story, back story and development of the main character's relationship through the chapters.  Will be looking for more of her work.

Home : a memoir of my early years / Julie Andrews.
Since her first appearance on screen in Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews has played a series of memorable roles that have endeared her to generations. But she has never told the story of her life before fame. Until now. ~ from the blurb.
Ms Andrews tells her story with honesty, dignity and gentle humor.  I hope she continues with further books because I'd like to read them.  Well worth the read.  Interestingly, I made an attempt at Christopher Plummer's autobiography and gave up - he writes in a unique way that I just couldn't stick at.  Might try again when I've got less going on.

The law of dreams : a novel / Peter Behrens.
The Law of Dreams tells the story of a young man's passage from innocence to experience during the Irish Famine of 1847. He embarks on an epic journey through Ireland and Britain and across the Atlantic to 'the Boston states'. ~from the blurb
Some of the events in this story I found harrowing but this was a terrible time in Irish history so the author is no doubt pulling on historical truth.  Some interesting relationships develop through the book and it has a slightly unexpected ending.  Not a bad read.

October's Book of the Month: Dewey : the small-town library-cat who touched the world / Vicki Myron, with Bret Witter.

Well, I finally got my copy to read!  November's book is still coming (I'm 400 out of 647 - think I might have to succumb and pay to read the BestSeller copy).

Summary from the blurb
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa. Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

I enjoyed reading about the cat and what he got up to in the library. Libraries (and bookshops) have a long traditional relationship with cats, including some from New Zealand.

I did feel the author was a bit heavy handed with the anthropomorphism and imbuing Dewey with feelings/emotions that perhaps were a bit OTT. But still, it's clear he filled an important role in her life in particular as she seemed to have more than her fair share of Bad Things Happening. Not sure I'd really recommend it, except perhaps to cat lovers like my mum. :-)

Message to Book Circle Members, Current and Potential

We've got 2 more months to go before we finish our 12 months of books. There are a couple of things to consider as we get near the end of the cycle.

1. Do you want to continue?
       I'd be keen.

2. What books would you like to put forward for consideration?
        Have a think about it and be ready to send me some suggestions that we can put up for voting.

If you have been watching and would like to join the book circle, then feel free to email me.  There is no cost to join.

I'd like to make a suggestion though.  I haven't made any hard and fast rules for this Blogosphere Book Circle because I didn't want to make it a chore or huge obligation.  However, I do have a list of "members" in my side bar so if you're going to be part of the book circle, I think it's fair to ask you to commit to reading at least half of the books on the list.  (That would be 6 if we do another 12 months from Feb 2010).  I don't mind which 6.

I think it's disappointing to have the links to members who aren't active.  I know life interferes with good intentions and I'm not making some judgement about folks who haven't participated - but if you say you're coming to play and then don't ... well, it makes me want to go and sit in a corner and sulk. ;-)  I hope that isn't too draconian to put people off.

I'm curious to know the following (and this is where I would really like the poll function of Wordpress).
If you follow these reading round ups, do you go out and read any that have been reviewed?  Let me know in the comments.

Friday, November 27, 2009


A couple of weeks ago my boss rang up and said "I'd like to have a Unitec presence at National Digital Forum, would you be willing to go?"  My answer, "Does the pope have a balcony?!" or words to that effect.

So on Monday at 6.45am I flew out of Auckland down to Wellington to this place here - Te Papa.

The conference was worthwhile and you can read my thoughts about it on The Room Of Infinite Diligence.

On Monday, during my lunch hour I was lucky to be able to meet up with Melissa - it was great to finally meet her IRL after being online friends for a fair while now.  In my daze I managed to forget to take a photo *smacks hand* but it did happen!  Thanks for the biscotti Mel, I have them at work so I don't have to share them - hee hee!

I also managed to visit with this... we didn't exactly have much conversationally to share, but still quite fascinating.  Just to let you know that theory about 2 degrees of separation thing in New Zealand is well and truly real, I have to point out that Steve O'Shea (the squid man) was my lab demonstrator back when I did marine biology at University.  He's a great teacher by the way. ;-)  I have him to thank that I can still name many marine species from the littoral zone. Heh.

By the end of the first day I was shattered and made my weary way up to the hotel.  I turned off the light at 9.30pm!

Next morning I spent some time at the water front by Te Papa absorbing the tranquil harbour views.  I was so impressed by so many Wellingtonians bussing, biking and walking to work. Well done!  Of course it helps that the public transport down there is so much better, and that a lot of people work in the CBD which is so compact.  I also noticed how New Zealanders love to wear black.  We need more colour in our fashion.

The waterfront looking towards the city.


This chappy doesn't have any undies on.  I checked.


At lunchtime I managed to catch up with Janine and this time I did manage to take a photo... though it took me a couple of tries!! Again, it was great to catch up in real life!  The hand cream is delish.


Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Beverley and some of the other Wellington girls (like Jenny) who would have been stuck at work.  :-( Next time I will get the flights arranged a bit better so I can! 

I was so tired on the second day and very glad to get home to the bosom of the family.  I drove into the drive and saw DS's head poking over the window sill watching out for my arrival.  DD was asleep so she only saw me the next morning.. "My mummy!" was her comment.

It was good practice for next Feb when I'm going to the VALA conference in Melbourne, Australia.  Not looking forward to the flying or missing my family, but the conference should be good.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Food p@rn

"Fish Cakes" made for SIL and MIL's birthday.
The cupcakes are the Edmonds recipe, iced with vanilla butter cream.  I used the chocolate minnows for the top.

Maple pumpkin rum cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Orange Chocolate Mousse served in my Grandma's crystal glasses.
This is one of the easiest mousse's to make.  It's vegetarian friendly too (so long as they eat eggs) since it has no gelatine in it.  The original recipe uses rum but we prefer Cointreau.

from Sweet As / Alessandra Zecchini (2004) Auckland: New Holland Publishers pg. 54 (this is a great book by the way and you should definitely buy it if you like desserts, baking and sweet things! )

3 eggs (I like Rolling Hills free range eggs)
3 teaspoons brown (or Muscovado sugar)
15ml/ 1/2 fl oz dark rum (I put a little more in when using Cointreau)
100g / 3 1/2 oz dark chocolate, melted
250ml / 8 1/2 fl oz whipping cream
whipped cream to serve (opt)
chocolate shavings to serve (opt)

Half fill a medium saucepan with warm water and set over a medium heat.  In a bowl, whisk the egg mixture together with the sugar using a balloon whisk or electric beater, then add the rum.  Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and continue to whisk the egg mixture until creamy and frothy.  Remove the bowl from the heat.  Melt the chocolate and slowly add to the egg mixture, folding it in with a spatula.   Allow to cool, stirring from time to time.  In a separate bowl beat the egg whites into stiff peaks.  In another bowl, whip the cream.  When the cream is almost stiff, add the egg whites and whip for a further 30 seconds.  Slowly add the chocolate mixture, whipping slowly and continuously.  Pour into 6 serving bowls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Decorate with whipped cream and/or dark chocolate shavings if desired.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

October Reading Round Up

Bones to Ashes / Kathy Reichs
Discovering the skeleton of a young girl in the neighbourhood of a childhood best friend who had gone missing thirty years earlier, Temperance Brennan investigates suspicions that the victim and her friend are one and the same.~ from the blurb
The usual - but still enjoyed it. 

Pliny's warning / Anne Marie Nicholson
"Vulcanologist Frances Nelson is in Italy to work with an international team assessing the world's most dangerous volcano, Mt Vesuvius, responsible for the destruction of ancient Pompeii. Instead of the straightforward scientific task she expects, Frances is thrust into a sinister web of nepotism as greed, corruption and Il Sistema fill the streets with violence and pollute the countryside with toxic waste. To her horror, she realizes her work is being compromised, her team's findings suppressed and the people of southern Italy put into a perilous situation. A vivid and compelling story unfolds, drenched with the flavours of Italy, the ghosts of the past and the spice of dangerous passions in the streets of Naples and the Aeolian Islands. Meanwhile, the tragic events of a fatal explosion on White Island, in New Zealand, provide a dramatic emotional counterpoint. The shadow of her recent past adds poignance to her budding relationship with a colleague, providing a romantic twist to this fast-paced contemporary novel." -- Back cover
I liked this one.  It's a nice mix of romance, mystery and crime with sufficient character to make it an enjoyable read for a holiday on the beach.  Nothing too intense. 

Harriet & Isabella / Patricia O'Brien
A novelisation based on a nineteenth-century sex scandal traces how the downfall of Henry Ward Beecher divided the nation and severed the loving relationship between his sisters, author Harriet Beecher Stowe and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker.~ from the blurb
This was quite good but I did get a bit annoyed by the structure of the novel.  It had alternating present time/flash backs that got a bit disjointed at times I felt.  Still, I was interested enough in it to see if the library had the author's previous novel. It doesn't. *insert rant about lack of acquisition budget for Waitakere Public Libraries*

An imperfect lens: a novel / Anne Roiphe
"With a keen mind and dedication to his work, young Louis Thuillier has impressed his mentor - famed scientist Louis Pasteur - enough to be sent to Alexandria as one-third of the French mission searching for the source of the cholera that is terrorizing the city. Along with the other members of the French mission - scientists Emile Roux and Edmond Nocard and their enterprising servant Marcus - Louis longs to find the cure, bringing glory to himself and to France. Este Malina is the lovely daughter of a respected Jewish doctor, whose family has lived in Alexandria for hundreds of years. A life of comfort has made Este a romantic, and she hopes to marry a man with the heart of a poet. Neither expects to find a soul mate in the other, but when Este begins to assist at the French mission's lab, a deep bond forms. Este, though, is engaged to another, and Louis is not Jewish - her family would never allow them to marry." "In spite of their many differences, the lovers' desire grows and their fantasies threaten to distract them from their work. In Alexandria, the disease rages on, as mysterious as it was a thousand years before. Political intrigue threatens to separate Este and Louis permanently. Their love, as fragile as the glass slides they use in the lab, is in danger before it has had a chance to thrive."--BOOK JACKET
Totally enjoyed this book despite the sad ending.  It followed on quite nicely from the book I read about diseases and the discovery of their cures or vaccines against them.  Made me very glad we have clean water to drink!

The spectacle salesman's family / Viola Roggenkamp
How do you look to the future when all around you are living in the past? This coming-of-age story explores life in a 1960s German Jewish family with all its contradictions, frustrations and occasionally, mesmerising glimpses of light. ~ from the blurb
Not sure I got what the author was trying to do, the writing style was a bit hard to get into.  Parts of it were great, not sure about the ending.  I certainly got a sense of that intense, confused time that I remember from growing up.

Farewell to the East End / Jennifer Worth
This final book in Jennifer Worth's memories of her time as a midwife in London's East end brings her story full circle. As always there are heartbreaking stories such as the family devastated by tuberculosis and a ship's woman who 'serviced' the entire crew, as well as plenty of humour and warmth such as the tale of Megan'mave, two women who shared the same husband! Other stories cover backstreet abortions, the changing life of the docklands, infanticide, as well as the lives of the inhabitants of Nonnatus House. We discover what happens with the gauche debutant Chummy and her equally gauche policeman; will Sister Monica Joan continue her life of crime?; will Sister Evangelina ever crack a smile? And what of Jennifer herself? The book not only details the final years of the tenements that but also of Jennifer's journey as she moves on from the close community of nuns, and her life takes a new path.~from the blurb
Last in this autobiographical series.  Mostly wraps things up - bit sad in places.

Blood of the Isles / Bryan Sykes
Bryan Sykes, the world's first genetic archaeologist, takes us on a journey around the family tree of Britain and Ireland, to reveal how our tribal history still colours the country today. In 54BC, Julius Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain. His was the first detailed account of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the Isles. But where had they come from and how long had they been there? ~ from the blurb
Not as easy to read as his previous book, The seven daughters of Eve - the "meat" of the book is in the last chapter.  Still, it was interesting and gave me some insight into my genetic ancestry.

Daisy Fay and the miracle man / Fannie Flagg
"Sassy and irreverent from the get-go, Daisy Fay takes us on a rollicking journey through her formative years on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There, at The End of the Road of the South, the family malt shop freezer holds unspeakable things, society maven Mrs. Dot hosts Junior Debutante meetings and shares inspired thoughts for the week (such as “sincerity is as valuable as radium”), and Daisy Fay’s Daddy hatches a quick-cash scheme that involves resurrecting his daughter from the dead in a carefully orchestrated miracle. Along the way, Daisy Fay does a lot of growing up, emerging as one of the most hilarious, appealing, and prized characters in modern fiction."--Publisher description.
Classic growing up story - love the honesty and quirky characters.

The Darcys give a ball : a gentle joke, Jane Austen style / Elizabeth Newark
As Jane and Lizzie make plans for a lavish ball at Pemberley, the Darcys' second son falls for the Collins's daughter, Juliet Darcy nearly elopes, and Georgiana's timid daughter Lucy becomes caught up in Caroline Bingley's meddlesome plans, in a story of the next generation of characters from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.~ from the blurb
Kind of cute and a bit twee but also fun.  A bit of froth ;-)

All my patients have tales : favorite stories from a vet's practice / Jeff Wells
A heartwarming and funny collection of stories by a dedicated veterinarian featuring wild horses, porcupine-quill-covered dogs, male cats in labor, an extremely ornery pygmy donkey, an enormous hog, as well as many other domestic, and not so “domestic” animals.~ from the blurb
Kind of things you might expect from an autobiography of a vet!  I like reading about animals and their antics.

I haven't read the book of the month because I'm still on the hold list!!  But some of the other book club girls have reviewed it.  You can see their reviews by clicking on the links in my side bar.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Couple of layouts

I was lucky enough to be a winner in Scrapbook Outlet's Gok Inspired Fashoin Competition.  Andrea very kinly and generously sent me a box with some Prima goodies in it - Thanks!  I'd not used their papers before, and these are their stitched mulberry range which has a nice texture to it... kind of spongey soft and chunky.

This one I didn't do much to actually apart from silhouetting DS's daycare photo from when he was almost 2.  I wanted an aeroplane pulling the title so paper pierced one, and DS wanted the elephant to be riding the 'plane so that's what he got.

I caught Miss Moo after her shower looking for something in my cupboard wearing nowt but her "heels".  I blanked out the bare botty bit but you get the idea.  Naturally we all would like to be naked and wearing high heels when working in the kitchen so here is someone who is brave enough to do it. Ha ha!!

It was a pleasure to work with these papers - their texture really lends themselves to rolling, distressing and other sorts of manipulation.  You can get them from SBO :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Camping Trip to Tawharanui

Over Labour weekend we stayed at Tawharanui Regional Park.  It's a lovely spot.  We had great weather for the Sat/Sun, though Monday was a wet pack up and we've had to dry out the tent in the garage over the last few days.

Missy Moo got some bug that has been going round so she spent a lot of the time being out of sorts and dosed up on Pamol.  Mr 6 had a blast though.  I blobbed around reading books, doing some sketching and enjoying doing nothing in particular.  I could have easily spent a week of it but would have needed a few more books to read.  In my efforts to pack minimalistically I didn't take enough "entertainment" things for me or the kids.  So the Hairy McLary book got a beating!

This is the second time we've used the tent and we're pleased with the way it works for us. In fact, we were pitched a bit further along on a bit of a slope the first night and a flatter site became available the next morning.  So we undid the pegs and dragged the tent down a few metres to the flat. The first night wasn't that great actually because it felt like we were sleeping on a mountain side and there were a bunch of idiots pickling their brains until 3.30am and making lots of noise. A couple of us complained to the ranger and they got sent packing - yay!

Missy Moo discovered my ear plugs in my hand bag.

DH got up every morning to do some sunrise photos and spent every evening doing sunset photos.  He came home with a full memory card and is feeling quite pleased with himself.  You can see some of his efforts on his blog.  We also did a few family rambles.  Missy Moo was happy when we stopped for DH to take photos but wasn't if we were walking and moaned for me to carry her everywhere.

The beach is lovely.  Bikini clad wenches were out in force!  But I wasn't one of them ;-)

Mr 6 made some stone constructions.  This one has 2 chimnies, a hot water cylinder and pipes apparently.

Missy Moo kept showing me rocks - "Look Mummy!  I found a rock!"  Perhaps my enthusiasm wasn't quite up to her requirements but given their prevalence I wasn't too surprised about her discoveries...

Looking forward to going back with more books, less sickies and for a longer time!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6: Gok Inspired Fashion Competition

The last layout I managed to do for the Scrapbook Outlet's competition.  The challenges included silhouetting and a journalling spot (not pre-made).  Stamping was also a challenge but I didn't manage to get it on this layout and ran out of time for another one I'd planned.  Never mind!  The odds aren't in my favour for the draw but I'm glad I've got a few more layouts in the album which is all that really matters.

The journalling is about my first job.  I actually had 2 first jobs since I worked 2 part time jobs for a year.  This one was at Hebron Christian College.  The principal used to be my Form 2 teacher and I met him by chance just when I was looking for part time work and he was looking for a part time librarian.  Actually, I don't think that one happened by chance! ;-)

Anyway, fortunately for me, the head librarian B was happy to take me on his recommendation and we turned out to be a good team.  We did a lot in the library that year and I was able to use the stuff I learnt during my studies to good effect.  We wrote a new collection development policy which replaced an older set of guidelines.  We started to automate the library - this was 1996 and that project was finally finished a few years later.  I think we had one computer when we started!  I know poor B really wondered if it would ever be finished!  We gave the library a good weed and started the process of updating the non-fiction which was badly in need of renewal. 

Sadly, one of the library helpers in that top group died the following year from a brain tumour she had had since childhood.  She was in her early 20s.

They were good times, good people and it really felt like we were making a difference.  It was the kind of job that gave me a good grounding in grass roots librarianship.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Gok Inspired Fashion Competition Catwalk#5

Sadly I didn't manage to do #3 and #4 of this challenge - other stuff had priority but I did manage to squeeze this one out just before the deadline closed Wendesday night!!


Mr 6 is spending the last week of the holidays with his Gran and Grandad in Whangarei.  We rang last night to see how he was getting on and all seems well.  He'd been to the library with Gran and had got out a Richard Scarry book, one of his favourite authors.  He devours the pages for machines and then goes and constructs them with his Mobilo.  My conversation with him consisted of him telling me in excruciating detail how the wheat is grown, harvested, taken to the mill..... and finally made into flour.

Miss 2.5 is missing her brother.  She had to speak with him twice on the phone and asked me, "Daddy getting Tim?"  So sweet.  Pity their interactions aren't always so tranquil.  I feel like I need a blue beret at times, the amount of peace keeping that has to go on.

Monday, October 05, 2009

September Reading Round Up | Blogosphere Book Circle BotM

Smallpox, syphilis and salvation : medical breakthroughs that changed the world / Sheryl Persson.
Since ancient times the search for cures for the great scourges that have afflicted humankind has been an ongoing quest, but it is only within the last 200 years that major breakthroughs have occurred and the development of modern medicine has accelerated. The stories behind these miraculous cures are those of intense rivalries and jealousies, bitter public humiliation, unswerving dedication, subterfuge, and great personal struggles. Often these medical advances have truly changed the world.~from the blurb
I've always been interested in disease and health so I enjoyed this book. It's easy to read and follows a similar format for all the different diseases covered. Very informative. The dedication and resolve of some of the researchers to finding and developing vaccines to diseases that were once real scourges is impressive.

The taint of Midas / Anne Zouroudi.
For over half a century the beautiful, ruined Temple of Apollo has been in the care of the old beekeeper Gabrilis. But when the value of the land soars, he is persuaded through unscrupulous means to sign away his interests - and hours later he meets a violent, lonely death. When Hermes Diaktoros finds his friend's battered body by a dusty roadside, the police quickly make him the prime suspect. But with rapacious developers threatening Arcadia's most ancient sites, there are many who stand to gain from Gabrilis's death. Hermes resolves to avenge his old friend and find the true culprit, but his methods are, as ever, unorthodox.~from the blurb
Think I've discovered a new crime series that I'll enjoy perusing! Yay - love it when that happens. And I am tickled that I'm reading an author who's last name starts with Z. Yes, I'm weird that way.

Skeletons at the feast : a novel / Chris Bohjalian.
As Hitler's Third Reich crumbles, an aristocratic Prussian woman and her child flee west away from the approaching Russian army. Eventually they form an unlikely alliance with a Jewish man escaping from the concentration camps.~from the blurb
Oooo - really liked this one. Especially since I read a non-fiction book about the time that this book is set in. Engrossing. Some sad bits though.

The next thing on my list : a novel / Jill Smolinski.
June Parker's life is meandering along until a freak car accident leaves Marissa, her 24-year-old passenger, dead and June wracked with guilt. June discovers a list Marissa had been keeping of 25 things she wanted to do by the time she turned 25. After a run-in with Marissa's brother, June resolves to complete the list. Kissing a total stranger and throwing away her scale prove far easier than pitching an idea at work or changing someone's life. But June approaches the list with aplomb, daring to speak up about being passed over for a manager position, and becoming a Big Sister to a quiet, studious Latina teen named DeeDee. But when June uncovers a secret of DeeDee's, she realizes changing someone else's life might involve changing her own as well.!from the blurb
Heh - chick lit, what can I say. I put it down half way through to read another book and then picked it up again. A bit of froth.

Portrait of an unknown woman / Vanora Bennett.
Passion, painting and politics in sixteenth-century England. The year is 1526. Hans Holbein the Younger is at the beginning of his remarkable career when he travels to England under the patronage of Sir Thomas More. His arrival brings the Renaissance in painting from Europe to Britain. As a guest in the splendid More household in Chelsea, Holbein begins to paint their first family portrait. The great household of the courtier and scholar, Sir Thomas More, was famous for its liveliness and learning. Two people visiting the great house find themselves irresistibly drawn to Meg Giggs, one of More's foster daughters. One of them is John Clements - dark, tall, elegant - an erstwhile tutor, now practising to become a medical doctor; a man of compelling presence and mysterious background. The other is Holbein himself - warm, ebullient, radical and foreign - sent by the great Erasmus to paint the More family portraits. Meg will find herself powerfully drawn to these two wildly contrasting men. She will love one, and marry the other.The two Holbein family portraits frame this remarkable story with its background of love, family, and of religious and political turmoil.~from the blurb
This is a great book. I've said it before, but if you like Phillipa Gregory, then Vanora Bennett writes similarly. I liked the picture she paints of what is behind some of Holbein's famous painting.

How many planes to get me? / Jonquil Graham.
Heartwarming tale of a family in Golden Bay who adopted nine children, five from Eastern Europe, and fostered many others. This tells the story of adoption, shows the tragedy of children without families and the difference that true parenting makes to both the children and parents.~from the blurb
You can't help but admire these folks and the way they've opened their house and hearts to children who needed a family. (Almost makes me want to adopt, but we don't really fit the criteria for most countries that do inter-country adoption - DH sighs in relief).

Behind closed doors : a startling story of an Exclusive Brethren life / Ngaire Thomas.
A biography of a woman and her family and their expulsion from the EB church, their struggles and subsequent recovery. Very interesting read for me - I had several EB friends at school during some of the era this book is set in and I remember stuff happening that puzzled me at the time.

Echo in the bone / Diana Gabaldon
As battle-scarred Jamie Fraser and his twentieth-century time-travelling wife Claire Randall flee from North Carolina to the high seas during the American Revolution, they encounter privateers and ocean battles. Meanwhile in the relative safety of the 20th century Brianna (Claire and Jamie's daughter) and Roger MacKenzie, Brianna's husband, search for clues not only to Claire's fate--but to their own fate in the Highlands.
I have been waiting for this book to come out so was peeved with Whitcoulls at Westcity who had sold out of their stock by the time I got there. (They had a whole stand full of unsold Dan Brown's book though - maybe they need better market researchers for that store?) The Warehouse had a sign up saying they'd sold out too, but when I asked they remembered a new box of them had arrived that morning so I got my copy. Yay me! Anyway, as always I found myself absorbed by the story and found it hard to let go to do other more "important" things. There is quite a lot "stuff" happening in this story and you need to concentrate to keep things in your mind. Some things get cleared up, and the story moves along at a rapid pace. But... if you're a Jamie/Claire fan be Warned! There are some major cliff hangers in the last few pages. DH watched in puzzlement as his crazy wife had a tanty at 11.00pm Thrusday night when I finished the book and realised they weren't going to be resolved until the next book. If you don't deal well with waiting I'd say you'd better put off reading Echo until Gabaldon has made a substantial start on book 8. Because my fingernails are already suffering.

September's Book Circle Book of the Month

Beautiful boy : a father's journey through his son's addiction / David Sheff.
Before meth, Sheff's son Nic was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candour, Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs, the denial (by both child and parents), the 3 a.m. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the attempts at rehab, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for each other too, lest they become addicted to addiction. Meth is the fastest-growing drug in the United States, as well as the most addictive and the most dangerous - wreaking permanent brain damage faster than any other readily available drug. It has invaded every region and demographic in America. This book is the first that treats meth and its impact in depth. But it is not just about meth. Nic's addiction has wrought the same damage that any addiction will wreak. His story, and his father's, are those of any family that contains an addict - and one in three American families does.~from the blurb

Meth (or P, as it's called here) is something I've kind of heard of, but from the media rather than in this form - an autobiography of a family dealing with it. Like Mel, I identified with the Dad and found it hard to understand the choices that the son makes. It makes for gruelling reading in one sense but what kept me going was the perserverance of the rest of the family to support each other and the addict.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

these boots

Another entry to the SBO's competition. This time the challenge was to use pearl bling, sewing and fabric. I combined them all on one layout.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Catwalk Challenge #2

Another entry for the Gok Inspired Fashion Competition at SBO.
Rules are here.
The Catwalk #2 challenge is here. I've combined 2 into one... elements of nature and a diecut' / 'lasercut' shaped or lace background. Used some Bazzill bling as the base, my Stampin' Up! stamps as well. Clear journaling tag is Little Yellow Bicycle.

The car has been towed off to the assessors so we shall see if it gets a fix or not. Meanwhile, we have some suspicions about which company the tanker trucks belong to but we can't prove it. The paint we got off the car is a very close match to the trucks - Rod went up to the company's yard and could see some of the tankers but none that he could see had any damage. However, there were 2 others he couldn't see from the road, and it's possible there were other trucks parked elsewhere. He passed on the information to the police (having made a report directly after the accident happened), but they weren't interested at all. *sigh*

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No tanks for that

Anyone know of a tank cleaning/water tank / cabling company that has lime green trucks? One hit us last night on Don Buck Rd around 6.30pm and didn't stop. We think it likely they are based round Kumeu/Greenhithe.

We are all ok, just got a fright. Thankfully it was Rod's company car and not ours - his is much more robust. It was inches away from Lydia. :-(

Wheel was knocked out of alignment and the hub cap damaged.

Green paint chips

Panel was split open - that's Lydia's door it just missed.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Gok Inspired Fashion Competition at SBO

There is a competition running at Scrapbook Outlet at present - it's quite a fun one, and the prize is sweet. I'm having a crack at it, though at the rate I scrap I doubt I'll get many entries! Never mind. :)
The rules are here
The first week of the competition is here

This is the single entry I've managed (unless I get time to do one tonight... not too likely).

The criteria for entry was to have a paper pierced fashion accessory.

Monday, September 07, 2009


Trying to get photos of Miss 2 is nigh on impossible. Check out this series...

A pensive look

"Smile for mummy?"

"No! Open your eyes!"

*sigh* "You are a wally"

"Okay - one more chance"

*gives up in disgust* LOL! I have every respect for people who successfully take photos of their children without coming away with no hair left on their heads.....