Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Seeing as I'm currently enamoured of my children's picture books, I couldn't resist singling out this gem. "Podivanky", the name of the book, is a play on words. Because it's Czech, and Czech is a mad language, I'm not going to try explaining exactly how it is a play on words, but basically the title means "Seeings" as opposed to "Sayings". I love it. There are so many things to see. I love, in the bottom picture, the little transparent bag of fish the boy is carrying. And in the second to bottom picture, in the bottom right-hand corner, there's a crouching man dressed in green. He seems to be patting one of the fish.

Monday, November 29, 2010

peter and the wolf

I absolutely adore this book - both the illustrations and the story itself. When we were kids, we used to listen to Peter and the Wolf on the radio. In fact, I think this is the first time I have seen this book - having heard it so often and loved it so much as a child; but never having actually read it. I found this edition in a second hand shop recently. I can't believe its previous owner parted with it! I'm so happy that the illustrations capture perfectly the beauty and terror I felt while listening to the story ... 30 years ago (!).

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Our last hurrah - a visit to Wellington Zoo. Vincent & Izmae were transfixed by the lions. There were three sleepy lionesses lounging by the window and the kids didn't know whether to be afraid or amazed. In the end, I think, there were both; and stood, amazed and afraid at the window, watching.

We've been back home now for a couple of weeks and it is so good; good to be home and good to be a complete family again. The garden turned in to some kind of extraordinary, wild, blooming, vegetable extravaganza while we were away. It blows my mind, every year, how seed + earth + sun + water = masses of happy, growing, edible things. My current experiment is to grow flowers amongst the vegetables - all kinds of flowers. Today I planted a veritable city of poppies next to the corn. I want colour and life everywhere!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

kathe kollwitz

I love Kathe Kollwitz. This photo is of a print hanging in my parent's house. I love it for so many reasons, not least because she looks so happy; in contrast to the more .... hmmm ... severe? intense? self-portraits she has done. I love those works too though. I fell in love with her woodcuts as a teenager. Sigh ... she's just so great.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


At the moment, Vincent, Izmae and I are staying at my parent's place in Wellington while David is away for work. One of the things I really enjoy about staying at their place is rediscovering things I made an eternity ago, like this pottery head. I love him. There's something of the ancient body discovered in an English bog about him.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

embroidery experiment

 I have embarked upon an embroidery project. I've never embroidered before, but one evening recently found myself armed with hoop, an old cloth nappy, needle and thread. David was reading on the couch in front of me so he was first. I considered ironing it, but I think the wrinkles and creases give his face a similar character as in life. I might iron around his face. We'll see.

And then it was Vincent's turn. He woke up before I managed to finish his ear. But sneakily, today, while he was crying on my lap, I picked up a pencil and paper and drew his ear - it was even on the same angle! So, terrible mother that I am, I put my son's grief to artistic purpose and may actually get to finish his portrait.

Monday, August 16, 2010

mt arthur adventure

On the weekend two friends and I went tramping in the mountains and it was so good! We found a giant native nz snail on the path (and managed not to step on it), heard kiwi calling in the night, and were joined by a friendly robin and several inquisitive weka. It was so beautiful up there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

wet sand

A few weekends ago we explored the estuary at the end of the road. At high tide, this area is covered in water, so we waited for low tide and went for a walk to an outlying island. Vincent reveled in the wet sand and together Izmae and he searched for treasures in the puddles.