Monthly Archives: September 2014

Why Craft? photo

visit persuade “Whether traditional or innovative, art or science, on show in a gallery window or hidden away in unexpected places, making has the power to deeply satisfy. And all it needs from us is a little patience and appreciation.”

I’m sitting here, porridge to the left, tea to the right, working on an assignment for Uni about craft. The importance of craft. Because it is so fundamentally important, to me, to society, to our lives. I feel privileged to be able to write about this. I feel very passionate about this because when I’m in a state of craft, making things, projects on the goer, I feel the best. I feel l like I’ve been for a run (note I haven’t been running in about six years so that’s probably quite inaccurate). I can say this because at the moment I am not in a state of craft. I haven’t crafted in weeks. (Though I did make biscuits at 11pm last night just because). I feel at a loss when I’m not making, like I’ve lost a limb. But I’m thinking about something big. A lofty project. Spring is here and I want to craft again. Crafting makes me feel connected. It refreshes me. It inspires me to keep creating. It makes me happy. And that is especially important. Because you should do what you love and what makes you feel full and good. Actually, all I really wanted to say was that, in the middle of research for my assignment, I found the quote, above. And I really, really like it. It is from a great article by Teleri Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Editor of Crafts Magazine about the role and value of craft today. Go read. And keep on creating, always.

Happy Spaces v.17


Well hi! How was your week? I’m tired but feeling good. I’ve started knitting another scarf from a giant ball of turquoise yarn. And I spent Thursday planting in my vegetable garden. Things are happening! This is a working weekend for me but I am determined to also include slice-baking and tote-sewing antics. Plus I have this book to finish (its gripping) and of course an enormous ball of yarn to wrestle into a chunky, happy scarf.

– If life is giving you all kinds of lemons, I present you this fudge recipe. When I shared this on Facebook my bro kindly suggested “don’t make it”. I’m taking his advice. I’ve already eaten 5 peanut brownies. That fudge would destroy me. It involves Pineapple Lumps.

– Or something a bit less heart attacky. Cumin roasted carrots. This recipe is all my favourite things tied up in a neat little bow.

14 simple week-night dinners. One to bookmark (and not forget about).

– I talk myself into all sorts of stuff. Its a problem. I’ve just talked myself into making this amazing quilt. Stand back.

– I just watched this short wee video, Made by Hand, by Tatanja Ross. Its really, really great. Go watch if you’re crafty arty like drinking tea crazy cat lady generally awesome.

– I loved this house tour. So cosy and colourful and homey. I am really feeling the pull of spring and the desire to pour heaps of light and freshness into our bedroom.

– I just found a new blog to read: Foxs Lane. So far it has involved knitting, daffodils and gorgeous photography.

– And lastly, this quote. Summer is coming and I’m reminding myself to spend time outside, under the sky, breathing in the fresh spring air, away from the grind.

Kumara and Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells (Conchiglioni)


The sun is beaming from a big blue sky but just a few days ago it snowed. Like super amounts of snow on the mountains all around us. Its very pretty but brought a chilly blast. That always calls for one thing: comfort food. Besides, it will be summer and salads and lots of fresh summer bounty soon so, are you with me for one last hurrah of wintery comfort food? Yes? Good.


I bought my pasta from a speciality food warehouse but it was not expensive. The bag I bought was 500 grams so you could make this meal at least three times from it. As for the capsicum, I’m beyond pleased to say that they are $1.30 at my local veggie shop. I love this time of year! If however you can’t get your hands on a capsicum, swap it out for some other veg, even canned corn would work. The capsicum adds a nice dimension with its sweet crispness that I like and peers well with the subtle smooth kumara and savoury tuna.

PicMonkey CollageIMG_2172

Kumara and Tuna Stuffed Pasta Shells (conchiglioni)

Approximately 20 jumbo pasta shells (conchiglioni) (about 130 grams total)
500 grams of orange kumara (sweet potato)
185 gram can of tuna, drained
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of chives, chopped finely
12 a red capsicum, chopped into very small cubes
500 gram jar of your favourite pasta sauce
2 handfuls of baby spinach
About 60 grams of tasty cheese (this will depend on the size of your dish)
Salt to taste

Serves four

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add your shells. Boil for about 10 minutes or until just cooked. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, peel and chop your kumara into 3cm chunks. Place in a medium sized pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for about 6 – 7 minutes until cooked and tender. Drain, and allow the kumara to steam dry.

Add your pasta sauce to a medium sized pot (I used the kumara pot, no need to clean). Bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the baby spinach, cover and set aside. 

Tip your kumara into a big ceramic or glass bowl. Add the milk and butter and stir. Leave for a moment to allow the butter to soften. Mash the kumara until creamy. Add in the tuna, chives, capsicum and stir well, breaking up any lumps from the tuna as you go. Taste. Season with salt to your liking. 

To assemble: you need to find a baking dish that fits all of your stuffed shells. Either guess, or do some rough maths by assembling the empty shells in a dish. Pour the pasta sauce into your chosen dish. Using a teaspoon, stuff each shell well with the kumara mixture and place into your dish on top of the sauce.  Continue with all shells – they will be snug in the dish. Grate over the tasty cheese generously. Bake for about 20 minutes until hot through and bubbly.

My Week in Plates


I have been enjoying Aaron Brunet’s enchanting recipe book, Cook with Me. There is something incredibly genuine and down to earth about the way Aaron writes and the recipe he shares. I only got this on Friday and I have already made one of the meals from it: ye old fish and chips but awesomer and with a fresh twist. The way I explained it to Row was, its like a bunch of meals that we already have in rotation yet don’t. (I’m clever, right). Meals that fit in seamlessly with the way we cook and think about food, the ingredients we use. I like picking up a recipe book and instantly knowing that I can and will make several of its recipes. (Santa, if you’re out there, ya know skiving off work and reading my blog, I have been extra good this year. Just sayin’). Also: happy blueberry hotcakes on Sunday after cranking out 800 words for an assignment due next month, chocolate and raspberry muffins whipped up late at night, learning how to poach eggs, a colossal amount of potato for home-made chips.





The Midnight Dress: A Review

IMG_2125I have been reading fiction again. Its like swallowing a huge breath of sunshine. Its an antidote to the restlessness that consumes me. I can sit squished in a chair and read for hours. You get to that point in to book, say 34 of the way through, and you know you won’t stop now. You notice the sun drifting, the murmurs of the house but you stay folded between the pages, lost in the lines of text. I read Landline by Rainbow Rowell and then The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell and then I read The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee. There is always one. One book that stops in your tracks. Starting out I wasn’t sure I’d finish this. I didn’t like the main character, young Rose, to start with. Now there is a small part of me that wishes I hadn’t read it just so that I could read it again.

Do you know what love is like, Rose? It’s like having a sky, a whole sky racing inside you. Four seasons’ worth of sky. One minute you are soaring and then you are all thunderclouds and then you are deep with stars and then you are empty.

The Midnight Dress is hard to write about, good books are like that. I’ll try and sum it up in one breath. Its about Rose who moves around a lot with her drunk of a father. They wind up in a north Queensland town, a tiny town. Rose makes a friend, vivacious Pearl. The girls need dresses for a parade, an old tradition. Rose recruits Edie, seamstress and rumoured town witch to make her dress. At the end someone goes missing. But its kind of not about those things. Its the story of Edie. Its the story of Pearl. And its the story of Rose and how she falls in love with the mountain and being free. There’s three reasons why you should read this book. Firstly, Foxlee can write prose like nobody’s business. The amount of times I stopped in awe of the language, the words on the page. Its like listening to bird song. Its wonderful. Secondly, the way the stories are told is fresh and fascinating. We get snippets of the ending at the start of each chapter but you won’t guess what happens until the last pages. Thirdly, if you need (like me) a complete vacation, somewhere astronomically far away, like the moon, this book delivers. The backdrop of northern Queensland is absolutely stunning and stunningly told. I felt like I was there. Not just pouring over delightful travel photos or postcards of far away smiling beaches but there on the mountain, under the heavy blues sky, in Edie’s house with torrential rain hammering the roof.

The place they found is in both their minds, she knows it, that place where the shadows of leaves tremble on the walls and the sunlight fills up their skin to the brim and the night rolls in as huge as the ocean.



The First Taking Stock: September


So here’s a thing! Its called Taking Stock. Its like a cool bloggy thing that cool peeps do. Actually, one cool peep in particular, Pip Lincolne of Meet Me At Mikes. Have you visited her blog? Its a very cool place to go. I don’t know if I have heroes (other than my mum and dad) but Pip is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. So here is a wee slice of my ‘now’. And thank the stars its Friday. Next time I blog we will have a new government here in NZ. The whole saga has been bamboozling to say the least, this time round. All I can say is that I know a lot of people are desperately hanging out for some change. Lets not talk politics. Have a great weekend! (If you want to Take Stock on your blog, Pip has a blank list here that you can copy and paste. If you do, I’d love to read it!).

Making : Mostly just a lot of mess (and not productive mess). Also, quick chocolate and raspberry muffins.
Cooking : Not-quite Mexican burritos. Quick pasta with tuna.
Drinking : Tea. Lots and lots of tea.
Reading: Just finished
The Midnight Dress. Oh, my heart. Plus this gardening book.
Wanting: More time. Less grind.
Looking: Out at the rain.
Deciding: What to make for dinner this week (we do groceries on Friday). I feel like curry and fresh salady stuff. Weirdo.
Wishing: I had some yarn.
Enjoying: Reading again. I had a long marketing textbook induced break. Also, my new ottoman (pouf).
Waiting: For the 11th of October and 9 days annual leave.
This gorgeous garden. Those marigolds! That basil!
Wondering: Where my inspiration for making has walked off to.
Loving: My wee family. And important hugs.
Pondering: What to plant and when, in the garden.
Considering: Making a cup of tea and starting a new book in bed.
Watching: Re-runs of How I Met Your Mother.

Hoping: That I’m less hay-fervery tomorrow.
Marvelling: At all  the wonderful things people can do and make and be.
Needing: Sleep, a swim. (A long holiday by a beach.)
Smelling: Zilch. (All blocked up).
Wearing: Comfy tights and a jumper. (Come on summer!)
Sorting: Washing. So much washing.
Buying: Mandarins.
Getting: Excited about Chelsea Winter’s book tour in October.
This fudge. Hold me.
Giggling: At little cat ears poking out of a box. My fave.
Feeling: Sleepy. Content. OK.
Snacking: On Ryvita’s with Mum’s apple jelly and feta. Yum!
This print.
This Pearl Jam song and feeling the love.