My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The kidlets and I embarked on a baking adventure - chocolate cupcakes from my sister's blog, Just This Side of Chaos. A little bit dry, because I used milk instead of sour cream, I think. So I iced them to make them a little more appealing.

Well, I don't know how appealing that gruesome icing is but I was experimenting to see if I could get a pink without food colouring. Sure can - blackcurrant syrup! Makes for a very sweet icing, but that doesn't bother the kiddies one little bit! And, um, I think I need to work on my icing technique.

Then this little bland pic is from today. I've wanted a big, like REALLY big, calendar for ages. I found one one Flylady (can't post a link, it doesn't seem to like me at the mo), but really didn't want to pay the US dollars and then the postage . So I sat down at the computer and it didn't take me long to have a one-month-per-two-page template. Some number inputting and a bit of glue-stick later and I have my own personalised calendar. Now I'm just that little bit more organised.

The folder in the background is my control journal (thanks to Flylady again). It was my life saver when going back to work with a changing roster. It has my week planner, my daycare schedule, my month-by-month calendar, my master grocery shopping list and my to-do lists in it (I never got right into the whole 'zone cleaning' thing of Flylady). But it's not so convenient for my husband to see at a glance what is happening when. Hence the REALLY big wall calendar.

Now I'm still using my control journal, but this is now also where I'm adding my bits and pieces of knowledge that I've found, like green cleaners. I wrote about my worries about losing access to all that wisdom here.

It was my MIL's birthday a little while ago and I got all enthusiastic and made her a present wrap to put her present in. It's made of christmassy fabric on one side - for use at Christmas time - or is that completely obvious? And flowery fabric on the other for non-specific occasions. Right sides together, sew, turn out then topstitch the edge. Simple and effective. Goodbye rolls of garish, designed-to-be-thrown-out, wrapping paper. Thanks Towards Sustainability.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ug, me big hunter.

Dear hubby came home VERY proud of himself! Terrible photo I know, but taken in the dark with me holding a torch and using the flash, and a grimacing husband saying polite words about hurrying up because it's rather heavy! It's a hapuka which is beautiful eating and lovely smoked.

Son and daughter had just been put to bed, but they heard the boat rattling down the drive and had to come and see daddy's catch - they weren't disappointed.

Not much else happening round here. I've been doing another set of antenatal classes. They always make me nervous to start with and I always wonder if I've told them enough, made it interesting, covered what they need to know, hope I don't offend anyone..........stressful.

Next month I am going to a workshop in Auckland called Breath New Life into your Childbirth Education Classes. Run by an Aussie woman, (whose name I've temporarily forgotten) she comes highly recommended, and as I've had no formal education on giving classes, I'm hoping it will give me a few ideas.

The garden is on hold again (I might just die of frustration!). We've decided to extend the shed. Because we decided to live in the shed, now we have no actual shed - no place to store the tractor, the tools, the wood we had sawn for our house building and all those other bits and pieces you need to keep out of the weather. And, of course, nowhere for the man of the house to retreat to. So, off to the left of the shed in that pic up there (this is before we converted it), will be another big bay. Plus we are going to put up a big verandah extending all the way along the front of the house.
The upshot of all that is there will be some site flattening to do and all the topsoil from that is going to be moved onto my garden site for raised beds. It makes sense to wait for this to be done, but it's sure driving me crazy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The girls have been laying like crazy lately. I had my first day of 10 eggs (from 10 hens) yesterday.

It's been beautiful weather. Nice enough for me to get a little sunburnt when planting some trees. Time to break out the sunhats, sunblock and build shady huts for the kids where they can guard their treasure!

Frozen blueberries (one day they'll be my homegrown ones), a litte sugar and some homemade yoghurt - who needs plastic punnets with artificial bits and pieces? Am I mad to dream about owning a housecow?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I made the leap!

My dear hubby mowing the grass with his favourite toy!

I've been reducing my use of plastic shopping bags, just like most people, the ad campaigns are hard to ignore! But every now and then I would do a grocery shop without my reusable sacks, just to get enough plastic bags to use as my rubbish bin liners. They fit my kitchen bin perfectly, make it really easy to lift out the rubbish to put in the big rubbish bin outside and keep everything nice and tidy. Convenience at the max!

But I got thinking about it. Why do I do this? I'm just putting another layer of plastic into landfills and I don't really NEED a liner anyway. I have a compost heap, a wormfarm, chickens and dogs so no food scraps ever go near my bin. I wash my meat wrappings out before they go in the bin so they don't smell and I hardly ever use disposable nappies. So my rubbish is far from offensive.

So a few weeks ago I took the leap and stopped using a bag to line my bin. And it was fine! Truly it was! The first time I needed to empty the bin I just upended the bin into my big sack outside, gave the inner bin a quick squirt with the hose, let it dry and, hey presto, all done! Why, oh why, did I not do this before?

I was listening to Radio New Zealand the other day about one of the large supermarket chains retracting their 5 cent charge per bag due to customer pressure. There was a man from the ?Packaging Association or somesuch who was saying that with the drop in plastic shopping bag use, there has been a corresponding rise in the purchase of bags for rubbish bin liners. Well, I'm happy to say - not by me!!

PS I put the photo of the tractor up, 'cause I didn't think you wanted to see the inside of my rubbish bin!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nap Naps

My little girl is toilet training. It'll be great, but it's kinda sad too. One more step towards growing up.

I really like cloth nappies. I plug them at my antenatal classes, showing them a few of my 'stash' and letting them know that there is soooo much more choice than the old flannelette squares and plastic overpants. I mean, if you have to wear something large and unwieldy over your butt, you may as well have some funky colours and some nice soft fleece next to your skin.

The above pic is most of my stash, minus a few in the wash and probably one insitu. I use pocket nappies because they combine ease of use with quick drying. My fav New-Zealand made brand is Tweedles, good quality fabric, cool colours and patterns and nice fit. Although Harmony are pretty good too, except with the envelope opening at the front you can't stick your hand in and test the wetness of the inner very easily. I made my own inners, figuring I could save a bit of money (I did), but knowing that in my post-baby fug I wouldn't be able to manage sewing the whole outer too. I bought my microfibre and my hemp from Greenbeans.

The one thing I hadn't considered with toilet training is the trouser fitting problem. It's very amusing watching previously snug-fitting trousers slide southwards when worn over knickers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back again.

Little quilt for the hospital I finished with all my internet-free time.
Thanks everyone for your supportive comments in the trialling broad-band-free time that I've been through ;)

I rang the 'really-cheap-but-lacking-in-customer-service' internet provider this morning and they said,"Your broadband has been active for almost two weeks, did you not receive a phone call to help you access it?" Well, no, actually I didn't. Perhaps that's why I'm ringing you?
Actually I wasn't quite so sarcastic, but I sure felt like being witchy. Anyway, water under the bridge, I have internet again.

I knew I liked the web, but it took this enforced break to realise how much I actually USE the net (as opposed to just passing time on it). There were recipes I couldn't look up, gardening sites I couldn't access for advice, people I couldn't keep in touch with and vice versa, phone numbers I couldn't find, questions my son asked me that I couldn't answer, and I felt quite isolated as I couldn't access blogs of like-minded people and people who I feel I'm learning a lot from at the moment.

It made me a little concerned. What if the world does all turn pear shaped and we all suddenly have to be a lot more self-sufficient? What if, for whatever reason, I lose the internet for good? There is so much knowledge to be had on the web, it amazes me. I don't really buy 'knowledge' type books anymore as I feel that I can find anything I need on-line. But if it all went bust, where would that knowledge be?

My recent Op shop finds: a jersey that felted fantastically and a book of soft toy patterns

In conclusion, I've started thinking about a few things. Like wondering if I should do some formal sort of learning around gardening and sustainability, like these workshops here. I've also decided to do some thinking about goals - what do I want to achieve, where do I want to be in 2, 5 ,10 years time, and what do I need to get there? (Very deep and meaningful, I know).

And I'm going to start being a little more organised with my interests. This means getting some folders with labels on the outside and writing or printing out the tidbits I find and keeping them in hard copy. I will endeavour to write recipes down when I find them instead of trying to find them again later, or worse, forgetting about them completely. I'm going to start using the local library's online service to request books I want instead of writing them down and then losing my list!

Simple lemon cake - I recipe I DID write down.

And last, but not least, I'm going to try and meet more local people, interested in the things I'm interested in, by making the effort to get along to local meetings. For example, I'm a member of Forest and Bird, yet I have NEVER been to a local meeting, not once!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


More than a week ago I changed my internet provider. I must say they are VERY efficient at calling up my previous provider and cancelling my account.....however, they are lagging just a TEENSY bit on getting me hooked up again through them.

I feel like having a little tanty.

But I'm scared that will prove I'm more than a little addicted to the web.

I'm at work and it's six o'clock in the morning and I've been reading all my favourite blogs.