Tuesday, June 11, 2013

:: training Olive ::

 meet Phoebe's dog, Olive - a Shih-Tzu - whom Phoebe loves and adores and also has the unenviable task (since she is her mistress!) of training!
 the weekend before last we had beautiful weather and some friends come to stay, one of whom is an expert dog-trainer!
 Since Olive has huge potential for training (read: needs lots more training, since she is still a puppy) it was agreed a lesson was in order...

 Phoebe learnt a new technique for letting Olive know a)who's in charge and b)I'm not happy with that behaviour, Olive
 There was also the method of using a stick (not as any form of punishment!!) as an extension of the trainer's arm, allowing control over the dog at a greater distance - eg - commanding 'sit' and 'stay' and being able to walk further away from Olive, while she thinks Phoebe is right next to her - the stick is part of the trainer = genius.

soon Olive was trotting along pretty happily on the lead, much to the delight of us all :).  Thank you so much, John - much appreciated.

:: little house update ::

 the shelter we have been building as part of Phoebe's Class 3 'shelter' study has been slowly creeping along. Partly because there is only a little bit of this:
and the scene usually looks more like this:
(note the missing character from this shot!) Partly, pondering what to do at each stage, partly time available and mostly, interest - after all a project is much more fun if one actually wants to be involved!  And this we as adults learn more slowly, it seems.
As the little house takes shape and the structure with it's leftover pond-lining cover is now a little bit weather-protected, there suddenly seems to be a lot more interest - outdoor play is now centered in the little house. SO, we shall see how swiftly this project will complete from here...
We just need another push to get the cladding attached to the exterior - this sounds like fun - clay daub onto wire mesh...hmmm...old clothes only, methinks.
This picture shows a remarkable plant weaving and winding it's way right up into the upper reaches of this large, old apple tree - I'll admit it's not the clearest photo - so - the plant - a cherry tomato plant - is higher up the tree than Miss P, who is climbing up amongst the boughs - it extends all the way to the very top left of this photo.
and the tomatoes are still ripening!

Monday, June 10, 2013

:: the good wood ::

This is Aaron, Wendy's husband. So this post may not have the elegance of Wendy's posts.

I have been chopping wood and thought I would share some images of the process including the 'tools' I use to make it easier.

The Saw Horse
I think this is what it is called. Made out of 10 pieces of treated 4x2 it is an old invention with incredible usefulness and increased safety. Oh and better for your back as well.

Saw Horse with wood stack in back.

I have been gifted access to about 5 acres of Kanuka timber. The farmer next door to us has dropped the lot in order to return to grass.

Saw Horse and Chainsaw

Kanuka is a very good burning wood. Very hard and full of heat. Really important to cut as soon as possible after felling as it gets harder by the day. The only downside is that the pieces can be small due to the stringy nature of the way it grows.

Tyre Chopping

I found this idea on http://www.instructables.com/ an amazing website with a constantly increasing number of member submissions on how to do just about anything.

* Get a tyre tube and place it on a wood block
* Put a number of pieces of wood in
* Hit real hard with splitting axe
* Done!

This is such a simple - Recycling - and safety idea.
Not long ago when not using a tyre I was chopping wood and one piece flew out at me and hit me so hard on the knee that I almost passed out. And it happened twice!

You can walk around the tyre chopping away until you have the number or size of timber that you want. So easy.

I also use a splitting axe. This is quite different to a wood 'cutting' axe as it has a large head - bit like a sledge hammer with a cutting edge. Very useful and a timesaver.

Garden fence and mist on DOC Reserve

And woolly wet (needs a haircut) DOG

Thursday, June 06, 2013

:: snowcoat ::

you wouldn't normally get to see this - because I'd be a little reserved about going public with my 'makes'.  I was 'encouraged' to post this today :).

We have some travels planned to a home education camp in the middle of Winter - somewhere where it's highly likely there will be snow, even!  It does get cold here, but not that cold.  And Miss P did not possess a warm enough coat to help layer in the warmth....

...that is until a lovely 100% pure NZ recycled (upcycled?!) wool blanket in 'sunshine colours' snuggled up next to some floral retro sheet scraps in the ECS - 'essential creative stash' - and the above pattern (I did learn the skill of pattern-drafting, yet - for $10 I have saved myself HOURS in that rusty skill department!)

Also in our stash were some lovely old buttons, Miss P particularly liking the faceted clear glass one...and here she is - one happy and warm girl in her new 'snowcoat'.

As well, this snowcoat ticks my 'use what we've got' box - in total, I spent only the $10 for the pattern. The blanket probably cost between $2 and $10 (op-shopped long ago for another project), the sheets were left over from previous curtain-making efforts and the buttons, thread and interfacing from the 'collection'. And I feel even better for that :).

Monday, June 03, 2013

:: we don't know how lucky we are, mate! ::

 Here in NZ we mostly have a very, very wonderful life - wouldn't you say?  When Lisa at Big Little introduced her latest project - The Hottie Project - for anyone who could to please create a warm and cuddly hot water bottle cover for a child in need in Christchurch - I felt I couldn't not!  We have warmth and security, insulation within our walls and a roaring fire to sit near during this chilly Winter.

But that is not so for many, many children in Christchurch, again this Winter, the second Winter with so very many of them in 'unresolved' housing situations - many with only building paper on their home's exterior walls - no cladding, still! (oh - if they have a proper home to re-settle into).

I toyed with embroidering "good night" on my hottie cover - but, alas, I realised this may not be true for so many wee ones, either - suffering from the repeated trauma of THOUSANDS of jolts of the aftershocks has left many - young and old - with less than optimal sleep patterns...maybe one little person will find some comfort and warmth and hopefully be able to rest well...
If you feel similarly-inspired to get creating, your efforts will be welcomed (+ Lisa can mail you this easy-peasy pattern in PDF form, too!).