19 April 2015

Gallipoli rose - cistus salviifolius


ANZAC day is a little more special for our family this year.


It's the 100th anniversary of our New Zealand soldiers landing on the Gallipoli penninsula - where a couple of our forebears were killed in action among others that served and returned home.

One, will be actively commemorated with the honour of being asked to lay a wreath in a dawn ceremony in New Zealand; and the memorials of both will be visited in Turkey.  [Close family were offered a very late ballot to attend the dawn and ANZAC services - a once in a lifetime opportunity they are taking albeit in primitive and challenging conditions].

So as we rally our troops (the children that is) to get up before the sun rises on Saturday, we stand with family up and down the country and around the world to honour the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom; and to find a short moment of solitude to be grateful for the present and future we have together.


I have the opportunity to assemble the wreath being laid here in Aotearoa and thought others might be interested in the Gallipoli roses that I made for it (above).



  • White felt
  • Scrap of yellow felt
  • Pin with yellow head
  • Yellow embroidery floss (I used 6-stranded)
  • Needle
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Disappearing fabric marker
  • Template

The felt I used was somewhat stiffer than the soft acrylic you can usually buy - more like cardboard.  Either ought to be fine but I liked the idea of it holding it's shape.

Download the template for the petals, trace and cut 5 pieces from the white.  Cut one circle for the centre back also from the white.  Cut one piece from the yellow felt for the stamen area at the front.



Cut a length of floss and strip it (separate the strands from each other and then put them back together again - you could probably skip this step but it's habit for me so I do it regardless).  Use all 6 strands together and sew from the front to back and return leaving about a 6 mm tail on both ends before you cut it.  You don't fasten the floss at this point so be careful not to pull them out accidentally.  Continue until the centre of the yellow felt looks as if it has enough 'stamens'.  Push the pin in from the front through the centre of the yellow felt.

Take the circle of white felt and lay it in the middle of your work area.  I marked the centre with a pencil to help laying the petals in the right place.  Dab a little hot glue on each petal point and apply to the circle in a clockwise direction, overlapping by a few mm.  The 5th petal will be over both the 4th and 1st and that's okay.



Push the pin with the yellow felt through the petal pieces and when you've got it in the right place apply a dab of hot glue to fix (bearing in mind you want a point of the yellow felt to be centred in each of the petals.  This fixes the floss stamens at the same time.



Pin directly into a foam wreath or cut off the pin stem and sew a small safety pin to the back to wear this week.  

I plan to use the pin to twist around the rosemary and olive wreath I will make on Tuesday.

[Download the template for a rose to wear as well.]





NZ Government website for the 100th commemoration of ANZAC day - find a service to attend.

Auckland Museum online record of all who fought - Cenotaph - find your ancestors and add their stories.

26 February 2015


Art Deco weekend is overwhelming in it's sights and sounds.  Whereas you can wander around the streets any other day and your brain is trained to block out the normal (attire) during Art Deco it simply can't.  Everything is an assault on your senses.  Working with that we find it helps to choose just one or two events to focus on.  This year it was the Born to Move dance encore (for the girls) and the Automobilia parade.


The former gave a top notch hour-long dance performance, and the later boasted over 250 cars this year.  


The parade was definitely too long to really captivate and hold one's attention and unfortunately inconsiderate public stood right in front of where our family had been waiting in the blazing sun for 45 minutes for it to begin.  Disappointing.  


The dance encore however combined story, music, theatre and dance - one of my favourite being the Gershwin's 'Blah, blah, blah" below.  The infatuation between the couple was palpable and had me wishing I was their age falling in love again.


[These images were taken from about 50m away from the stage unfortunately so not as crisp as I would have wanted but good enough without a telephoto lense.]

Bringing Gershwin's 'Blah Blah Blah' to life


Originally written for East is West
Used in Delicious (film) (1931)
Resurrected for Nice work if you can get it on Broadway in 2012
(Music by George Gershwin)
I’ve written you a song,  
A beautiful routine.   
(I hope you like it.)   
My technique can’t be wrong:   
I learned it from the screen.   
(I hope you like it.)   
I studied all the lines that all the lovers sing;   
Then just for you I wrote this little thing:  
Blah, blah, blah, blah, moon.  
Blah, blah, blah, above;   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, croon,   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, love.   
Tra la la la, tra la la la la merry month of May; 
Tra la la la, tra la la la la ‘neath the clouds of gray 
Blah, blah, blah, your hair,   
Blah, blah, blah, your eyes;    
Blah, blah, blah, blah, care.   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, skies.   
Tra la la la, tra la la la la la, cottage for two--   
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah darling, with you!   



Madison Bowey, http://www.starnow.co.nz/MadisonBowey



Sailor's proposing to their captain that they need women on the ship!



A couple of the multitude of Art Deco buildings that can be seen any day in Napier if you only look up; and a couple of fly-over shots.


Emmerson St, Napier


Public Trust building, Napier


Fly-over up Emmerson Street, Napier


Aerobatics at the top of Upper Emmerson St, Napier

Hawke's Bay
19 February 2015


Due to hosting exchange students in our earlier family life, and home educating our children, we are always on the look out for how to discover our local community, events and activities.

Initially there was and still is the free local community newspaper (most areas have these) delivered to our letterbox; but now there is also a nationwide website Eventfinder to help find out what's on.  It seems that an increasing number of new individuals & organisations are using this medium making it more of a comprehensive go-to guide. 

The useful option with Eventfinder is that you can subscribe to their RSS feed and get alerts straight to your inbox, and this is what we do for any free events.  Occasionally you get the surreptitious marketing of a free-but-you-really-pay event and the gig-in-the-pub-which-actually-is-an-invitation-to-drink event but on the whole for our area there are at least a couple of family-friendly activities that we can choose from each week.

The trick, especially leading up to the coming Art Deco weekend is limiting the number of 'things' you do or see.


It's probably preaching to the converted if you do have young children but my advice is only one per day preferably in the morning when children are more rested.  Well at least that's what we find and particularly if not all of the family are on board with the chosen experience - you can't please everyone all of the time. 


Here are some of the things we do to get the seven of us on the road and try to stay sane:

  • Let the children know where we are going and what exactly we are doing.
  • Tell them how to dress for the outing; and if they should bring a back-up activity like a book.
  • Set a leaving time and if possible let them know when we are likely to return.
  • Take our going out basket with plenty of water and food; and sun-block if summer.
  • Plan for toilet / playground stops / breaks.
  • Catch the children being 'good' and reinforce good attitudes (we're still working on this)


In our house sometimes 'what's there to do?' actually involves consciously choosing 'nothing' and staying home to relax and just be -  usually at the parents insistence as younger children always appear to have the energy of the Everyready bunny (if it's for something they like!).  We might get a dvd out to watch, work together on a(n art) project, bake or cook together, or play board/table games - those that want to that is.  

There is always someone who would rather not participate which as the CO-parent (Chief Operating parent) I find frustrating.  I am learning that a child's 'do I have to?' is really just their way of saying 'I want to feel as if I have a choice too please' and am trying to work with this.  Sometimes this means giving them the choice of not participating if this is an option; of acknowledging their feelings and apologising that for this time they don't have a choice; or finding out what they would rather do and trading it off against what is planned.


Hawke's Bay

How do you manage balancing your family's needs and wants?