Sunday, February 27, 2011


I have been trying to write a new blog post for almost a week. Since last Tuesday, 22nd February. The day of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch.  
 Every time I decide to start, I stop. Before I have even started. It seems so pointless, so trivial to even try.
 No matter where in the world you are, you will have heard about the Earthquake in the news, seen the heartbreaking images, read the stories that make you weep. Here in New Zealand everywhere you go flags are at half mast, it is all anyone is talking about, everyone is stunned, wondering what they can do to help. Shops, churches, volunteers in the street all collecting donations to try to do just a little bit.
What can be said? Nothing I or anyone does can bring back those loved ones lost.  To sit here safe in my home, the sun shining, my kids playing, the worst of my worries what to cook for dinner tonight...seems so unfair, and I feel so helpless when others are homeless, suffering, coping with the loss of loved ones, homes, historical buildings.  The city will recover, the people will rebuild their lives and their city, but nothing will ever be the same again.  I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like. Nobody can, unless they are there or have lived through a similar situation. Seeing blog posts and Facebook updates from the people I follow who live there, with photos and descriptions of their experiences make it all so much more real.

Yesterday I came into my lounge to discover a puddle on the carpet, a dark line on the ceiling where water was dripping through and  wrinkled bulging lining paper. Something in the bathroom above must be leaking through. For a few seconds I felt like bursting into tears, another thing to deal with, the cost of a plumber, the repair,  the worry of the damage done... Then I stopped. How trivial!  This is nothing, nothing at all. It is so insignificant it is laughable.  I have a house, working sewerage, running water, power, phone. I, my family and friends are all alive and well.  It suddenly put everything into perspective for me.

There are lots of organisations and charities doing their bit. You can of course donate through the Red Cross  or the Salvation Army by calling 0800 53 00 00. All ANZ Bank branches are accepting donations through the account number 01-1839-0188939-00
Vodafone customers can donate either $3 by texting 'Quake' to 333 or $5 by texting 'Quake' to 555. 
There are many others raising funds, but please, please be careful, it is sickening but true that there are those out there that would take advantage of the goodwill of people at this time, and scam emails, fraudsters and fake ids are all over the place. I can't say what I think should be done to people like that, they are the lowest of the low. It makes me feel sick and so, so cross. 
Here are a few ideas,if you want to help out in another way. There are of course many more legit charities and groups out there doing their bit too.
If you make handmade items you could consider donating something to Handmade for Christchurch. This is being run by the most amazing group of NZ women, all freely giving their own time and expertise to run fundraising auctions on Trade Me Regardless of whether you have anything to donate yourself, you are sure to find something there that you would love to buy, and with no guilt as you know every single cent of the purchase price will be going to the Salvation Army and Christchurch Womens Refuge.
 Li'l Magoolie is running a fundraiser Here 
Charity Auctions for the Christchurch Earthquake 2011 are also running auctions on Trade Me, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. 
For those of you in the Christchurch area, know that the rest of us are all here behind you, sending prayers, strength and love, just wishing there was more we could do. Stay Strong. <3

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paris in Canada!

Recently I sold one of my 'Paris je t'aime' prints to a lovely lady from Canada, Kathy, of Katie's Cows and Udder things. (Don't you just love the name?!) who told me she had plans for it as part of a mixed media canvas. Well, I always drool over anything like that, so was really excited about seeing the finished piece... and here it is! 
 I took the photograph of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Created the print with it in New Zealand,(with the fan going full blast in 90% humidity/28 deg heat) sent it to Canada where Kathy created this (in colder than I can begin to imagine temps!) No doubt the other lovely things she used to create the canvas came from all over, so it really is a worldwide creation! You can see it properly and also more of the amazing work she does on her blog and Etsy Shop I'm in love with her painted signs and bottles!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Felt Faves!

It's been ages since I updated my Felt Faves, so long in fact that all items were related to Christmas!
So after a lovely browse for new 'got to have it' things here is my new Felt Faves, featuring works by Studiok, Whiteleaf, Sweet William, Poetry and Cloth, greenwarenz, Messagemark, waltzzz and me :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just a Minute - February

Somehow I managed to totally miss January?! Not sure quite how that happened, but here is Februarys 'Just a Minute!'  Once a month quick summary of events.  If you are doing this too, or would like to start, please share your posts, I'd love to see!

Reading... A girly novel I picked up for £1 in Asda the day before we headed home! (Can't even remember what it's called, and it's too hot to go upstairs and find it! :)) 
And my most favourite cook book right now, Annabel Langbein's The Free Range Cook.

 My children clubbed together and got me this for Christmas. I'm not totally convinced that there wasn't a slight element of "maybe NOW we'll get something decent for dinner" behind the idea!  Either way we are all happy, I'm getting to try out some wonderful new recipes, and they are more than happy to be guinea pigs!
So far we have had Spicy Chicken Skewers, Creamy Moroccan Cucumber Salad, Baked lemongrass and chilli chicken and Ultimate Chocolate Cake. 
There was also the attempt at Crusty Flat Bread, but we won't go there. Suffice it to say, always check you actually have 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast left before you start...!

 Watching... Border Patrol (or is it Border Security?!) Piha Rescue, Big Bang Theory. Rented the dvds 'Letters to Julliet' and 'The Blind Side' at the weekend which were both enjoyed.

 Loving...Being home! Although we loved being away, had a fantastic time, and never wanted it to end, there is nothing like coming home after a long holiday. 

 Craving... An ice cold strawberry and watermelon smoothie. Mmmmm. I've got the watermelon, might have to pop out and find some strawberries! 

 Learning...  That buidling a website is not easy, even if the software/templates etc try to fool you into believing it is!! Anyone out there with experience of Joomla? I'm seriously at the end of my tether with it all, and ready to scrape around in the bottom of my bag for some cash to get it done once and for all!!

 Planning... The future of Fantail. Whether to take big scary steps or plod along happily in my little groove! Also planning for my daughters 21st birthday in June. I have a few ideas up my sleeve. ;)

If you’d like to do this on your own blog please leave the link in the comments I'd love to see! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


OK, so I know I've been really slack at keeping up with this blog while we were away, but now we are home it's catch up time!  We had a fantastic time away, it was so great to catch up with family and old friends, see all our old haunts and just generally live life back 'home' for a couple of months. One of the things we did was spend a couple of days in Paris, so I thought I'd share a few photos ...
First stop was Sacré-Cœur 
Then the Louvre

It was amazing!
 So much to see, it was just incredible actually being there! Here is the Vénus en armes, 'a marble statue dating to the 2nd century in Italy, discovered in Rome in the 16th century. She originally belonged to the collection of Tiberio Ceuli, and was bought by the Cardinal Scipion Borghèse in 1607, where she decorated one of the niches of the large living room at the Borghèse villa. The Collection Borghèse was purchased by Napoleon I in 1807 and brought to Paris.'
The Wedding Feast at Cana. I had no idea how HUGE this really was in real life!
'In 1553, Veronese was summoned to Venice where he gave free rein to his decorative talent in vast canvases that blended masterful composition, splendid contemporary costumes, and luminous colors. The Wedding Feast at Cana graced the refectory designed by Palladio for the Benedictine monastery on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore. With masterly freedom of interpretation, Veronese transposed the biblical episode to the sumptuous setting of a Venetian wedding.'
  Venus de Milo statue of the Greek goddess of love, discovered on the island of Melos in 1820

 And of course we couldn't go to the Louvre without saying hello to Mona..!
 Just a little security around her, a glass case (making it hard to get clear photos) and a wooden barrier! I always imagined this painting to be bigger than it is for some reason.
My children thoroughly enjoyed absorbing the culture...
Next stop was the Eiffel Tower

Where we briefly considered the iron staircase, then opted for the lift to the second floor. 
After booking into the hotel we went for an evening stroll to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. This was when I really wished I'd taken a tripod!
 The view from our hotel window. There is something about French shutters and flowers on the windowsills!
The next day we took a bus tour. Hopping on and off all day to see different things.
I'll never complain about SH1 again! The traffic up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées hasn't got any better since last time we were there.

The Place Vendome had the most amazing Christmas lights and decorations. We weren't quite sure the Ritz would let us in for tea though, so we saved a few Euros there! This photo is the moment I had to finally give in and admit it. My son is now taller than me.

 Awesome display in a ballet shop window.
 Notre Dame in the evening. Again, I should have carried that tripod around!
And of course, what trip to Paris would be complete without a few croissants and a pain au chocolat?

We had a wonderful meal at a restaurant recommended by our hotel. One look at the prices and I decided it must be owned by the receptionists brother and we walked on by! However, after investigating all other options in the area, this restaurant suddenly seemed quite reasonable, so with the excuse that it was a good cultural experience for my children, and $120 NZ later, the 3 of us had eaten! No entrees, no dessert just a main course each, tap water and one glass of house red for me.

 But oh was it Gooooood!
 Here is the restaurant, Le Septième Vin, 68 avenue Bosquet. If you ever find yourself in Paris I'd highly recommend it! The menus are on blackboards, and an English version is available too, if your school days French is a bit rusty, as mine certainly was!
All in all a fantastic couple of days, which we will remember for years to come.