Wednesday, 25 February 2009

little (sustainable) house in the big woods

This past weekend I visited some friends who have started a new life for themselves out in the bush. He built this house almost entirely by himself, the dream is to live as sustainably as possible.

He got the lumber to build the house from a mill that had logged some huge trees and then realised their saws weren't big enough to processes them into boards. They trees had just been lying there for years, what a waste. So he bought the logs for a very low price, and had them processed at a nearby mill for next to nothing

Their organic veggie garden is still at the beginning stages but they had a big vision for what it can become. The composting centre is just to the left of this photo.

craftsmanship counts. I love the detail, reminds me of gingerbread houses from fairy tales.

You wouldn't believe the perfectly good things that people throw out. He sourced all the doors and windows for the entire house from second hand places, dumps, inorganics days, and things he found on the side of the road.

Upstairs, their bedroom feels more like the tree house of your childhood dreams.

This beautiful wood burning stove hooks up to the plumbing and heats the water for the home, keeps the all the rooms warm, and did I mention it cooks?

She on the other hand has been busy taking care of this wee bush baby, and with another one on the way, you know things are going to be busy. Out here, clothing optional.

If you want to see more, check out my flickr set about their developing house and lifestyle.

Hope you are all inspired by this, I sure am. But I think there are ways you can incorporate what they are doing into your own life with out having to make a drastic change like moving to the bush. For me, living in the centre city is a way of being sustainable. Using less space and land means less waste. Also living smack bang in the middle of things means shopping locally and supporting small businesses, it means no commuting, and it means using shared resources like public transport, parks, libraries. These things all help lighten the load.

We can all do more though.


Thursday, 19 February 2009


Delivery of Japanese treasure. Love love.

The ones in the first photo are fabrics by Olympus' line Soleil , which specialises in reprinting ancient kimono motifs. Precious. I got those mainly for my girls (yes, we'll have two of them soon). I have to invent some passion fruity kimono-type garments worthy of the textile now.

The second photo is of
Kokka's antique Ume (plum-blossom) natural linen. Lovely.

The last photo is a nice stretch of double gauze by Naomi Ito for Nani Iro (another Kokka product), it looks like a canvas with gold brush strokes and for once, I'll make something for myself from that. The double gauze is so soft, I've worked with this material before, heaven!

Speaking of, Nani have only just released the new 2009 line, it's sweetest poetry... Be sure to browse on to the wonderful new 2009 sewing projects on the site and to designer Naomi Ito's space.

Yes many a thing Japanese inspires me deeply, I think it's perhaps the sublime abstraction from nature that has been innately refined in these man made things (oh ye paradox) , I love to look here :

Salvia - wonderful craft inventors
Issey Miyake - on Etsy even!
Raak - stunning.

Have a soft weekend then...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Dresses, dresses, flowers...

We got the little baby clothes out (I'm getting all clucky and nesty, only 7 weeks now). Of course teddy and polar B had to sample. Lieveke put one of Gabriel's ever frilliest smock-gowns on teddy, really he (Gaby the baby) wore it when he was, well, tiny. Which is quite awesome considering he's now 6foot6.

Some time ago I made a halter dress out of a Marimekko panel for Lieveke. Our neighbours Helen and little Lilly had to have one too. As Lily has bright ginger hair, I chose green and white for her and I couldn't resist making a little skirt too with some happy orange.

The Lotusflowers I just added cause they're so pretty (Valentines from us to us).

Monday, 16 February 2009

happy valentines

These are some Vvalentines day cards I made for the markets.

I hope you all had a special day of love. I have noticed that in NZ, valentines is really seen as only for those involved in romantic love. I wished someone a happy valentine's day at the markets and she looked puzzled. Her reply was, "oh I have no boyfriend," as if that meant the holiday weren't for her. too bad.

Growing up valentine's day was for everyone and was meant to celebrate many different kinds of love. Friends exchanged cards, teachers with their students, parents with their children, and yes of course those in romantic love celebrated as well. I can't help but enjoy this holiday. No I am not a cynic, and its only a 'greeting card' holiday if you make it one.

Anyway, I spent most of this day at the Cross Street Carnival markets with Lies and other stall holder friends. We braved out the rain and cold, huddled under our leaky marque, and ate cookies someone brought. Surprisingly, people turned up, and we had on okay day selling our goods.

Though I admit I would have rather been home, warm and dry, with my guy.

I hope everyone else had a good weekend too. I have been thinking of those suffering from the bush fires in Australia, and my thoughts go out to them. Hyena in Peticoats, has blogged a bit more about this with some actions you can take so if you want to learn more go HERE.

I missed writing on the blog last week, some exciting but busy stuff came up but more on that later.

until later,

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Little notes on lace...

Lieveke thought it was time I knit something for her instead of the baby.
Lieveke needs a very practical warm garment but hey we're breezy unpractical types.
I was bored with straight garter/stockinette/seed, you name it.
This wonderful pattern is acceptably not too easy, not too difficult.
And so I'm adapting it into a tunic for Lieveke.
Kidsilk, in a perfect taupe-heather-lavender hue.
-and I'm very happy so far!

Lace knitting...
Requires concentration (counting, focus, endurance).
But you get a break on the wrong side everytime : all purl there.
And it's really not so slow.
After a while the pattern speaks to you/for you.
-and the concentrated knitting becomes a natural (high) joy.

And oh! this blog.

Have a really nice week, the moon is new tonight.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

books! glorious books!

In case you don't know this about me already, I have a thing for old childrens books. Anytime I go into an opshop, I run straight for the kids book section and entirely lose myself in the colourful, gorgeous illustrations. That is if I am lucky enough to find some good books. But since I am not the only one into these old treasures, it's getting harder and harder to find the good stuff.

Recently I had my MY MOST SUCCESSFUL BOOK HUNTING DAY EVER, and collected this entire stack.

All of these are from the 1950s, WHICH IS ABSURD! You never find beauties like these all at once. Some of these books are close to 60 years old, which technically makes them vintage not just retro in case you were wondering.

And this lot is from the 1960s and 70s. I couldn't believe my luck. It was as though they were put there just for me by some devine, cosmic working.

Lets look inside a bit, shall we? The Cats go to the Market, 1969

Jolly Dogs, 1950's

Animal ABC, 1957

WAIT A MINUTE! Hold the phone. This book was printed in MY HOME TOWN! Racine Wisconsin! whoa. What are the chances?

If that were not enough, take a look inside Bruno and Minne at the Zoo....

Mulder publishing? no. way. That's my last name! Or it was until I got married. Finding these books was like going through the story of my life.

Finally and totally unrelated... I found more cuter than cute japanese eraser toys. Here is the entire collection so far, let me know if you see any more of these babies around town.

Hope you guys are finding good treasures as well. Keep you your eyes peeled.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Purple and yellow, as it happens

Funny how sometimes the colors of things in the house are all coordinated... I got the sweet green crochet teddy from Joanna at Organic Island Baby - where I have some new skirts for sale. The teddy 'beertje' is for our second girl (30 weeks now!), but Lieveke is 'minding' it for her. I did sew the 'comic clouds' cushion cover Beertje is leaning on. The glads are from Gabe, ta love. And yes, some belated knitting pics (knitted during our holiday) : a cardy, a stripey hat and more mocs - all in size XXXS.

Here are some gorgeous knitting inspiration blogs :

-Black Dog Knits (with excellent links to other fab knitting spaces)

-Water and Wool (plus yum food!)

-Assemblage (beautiful sigh...)

ps. been having heeeeps of trouble with our broadband - 'outages' the experts call it, 'xcept that those lovely experts still haven't fixed it... I can post on the blog and surf (at times - with a lot of patience) but am currently receiving no Emails at home... If you've written, so sorry, it should work soon (arghhh...)