dear monday 2.3.15


The picturesque hot waterfalls where Maori warriors would bathe to heal the wounds of battle. Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand.
March 2014.




dear monday 

What? Greeting Mondays with gratitude and memories of dreams come true.

How? Sharing a favourite 2014 holiday photo every Monday in 2015. 

Why? Cos I don’t like Mondays so I’m going to fight them with sweet moments.

You? Feel free to join in #dearmonday2015 (leave a link in the comments below so we can see it!)

more about how this all came about here




homegrown love

Homegrown veggies are love. Homemade produce is love. Grandmas are love. Grandma’s recipes to make homemade produce with homegrown veggies… well that’s a big old dose of homegrown love wrapped in a comforting sentimental crocheted blankie.

Yesterday was Grandma’s Tomato Sauce day again here at Dove Cottage. It was the first time my sister and I have made it with our own homegrown tomatoes, all 17 kg’s of them! And boy were we in awe of Grandma… again. By the time we finished we were totally exhausted and wondered how Grandma used to manage it by herself as she was getting older.

There were the usual culprits on the day… giggles, sticky pots, remembering Grandma, lots of dishes, piano playing, tears, lots of stirring, overflowing sauce bottles, and a house smelling of sweet spicy tomatoes.

One of the most special parts of the day is when the Piano is played. The Piano has such a strong connection to both my Grandma and my Gran. My sister played on Gran’s Piano, using my Grandma’s music book, with skill and feeling nurtured by my Grandma… and she played Für Elise, the song I would always ask Grandma to play. I guess it’s stating the obvious when I tell you that’s when the tears came into the play for the day?

I had such a healthy crop of juicy ripe tomatoes (which are still coming), that I had enough to try my hand at some semi dried tomatoes as well. I used the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane recipe and was so pleased with how well they turned out. Tasty little flavour filled bursts of sunshiney goodness.

I also have a basket of Clingstone Peaches ready for stewing or baking into cakes. And the last of my Granny Smith Apples need picking too. Plus I’m busting to try this Green Tomato Salsa. I am learning how much time and effort goes into growing and preserving your own food. And I’m learning how satisfying it feels to do so. It’s reaffirming, I’m on the right path heading towards the semi self sufficient farmy dream. Granted there’s no farm yet, this is just the small scale suburban back yard version, but you gotta start somewhere right?

Making Grandma’s Tomato Sauce is not just about the bottles of sauce at the end of the day, though they are pretty darn good! It’s about homegrown love, sister love, remembering Grandma’s love and kindness, honouring memories, feeling grateful for lovely loving grandparents, and taking a little wander down a very beautiful sentimental lane.

How about you, is there a special recipe in your life? Do tell.

Wishing you homegrown love and sweet juicy tomatoes.

dear monday 23.2.15


Malibu Pier, LA. September 2015.




dear monday 

What? Greeting Mondays with gratitude and memories of dreams come true.

How? Sharing a favourite 2014 holiday photo every Monday in 2015. 

Why? Cos I don’t like Mondays so I’m going to fight them with sweet moments.

You? Feel free to join in #dearmonday2015 (leave a link in the comments below so we can see it!)

more about how this all came about here




crocheted north winds & african flowers

Happy Friday! Have you been zenning out on top of the Mountain? Neither have I! I’ve spotted Mount Zen in the distance but not managed a visit longer than a nanosecond this week. Ah yes, best of intentions and all…. I had a busy week at work and am now feeling oh so grateful that Friday is here. Thought I’d squeeze in a quickie update to share a couple of finished projects that I haven’t had a chance to show you.

North Winds Shawl
50% Silk / 50% Wool – main colour. 100% Silk – duck egg blue.

I finished this a little while ago and really enjoyed crocheting it. The pattern is called Eve’s Shawl and it’s a freebie and it’s super easy! That’s a double winner in my books. I’m yet to wear it but when I tried it on it felt like a big feather! So light and soft yet I could feel its gentle warmth immediately. I’m thinking a mild Autumn evening might encourage its first outing.

A colourful little bookmark that I made up as I went. I originally wanted to make a pansie flower but the pattern I started ended up looking really weird and lopsided so I gave up and just played around until this little sweetie emerged.

The flower itself is layered and worked in quite a few rounds. It’s mostly made from cotton with a cotton blend and a bamboo yarn for the green.

My first pincushion! I’ve seen so many different crocheted pincushions on pinterest! But this one using the African Flower on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog really caught my eye. Sandra has also written a great little tutorial that’s easy to follow and makes life easier for a reluctant pattern follower like myself.

I deviated from the pattern only slightly in that I changed colours more often as I wanted this pincushion to have a really strong pop of colour. I love the combination of these bright colours together and find myself branching out into new combinations and shades more often these days. And let’s face it, when isn’t Aqua appropriate? Exactly!

I must say what a lovely change it was to make a few little projects rather than the blankies. I do so love to make blankies and they will always be my favourite thing to make, but a couple of faster projects in between were thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I am so looking forward to getting back to crocheting my Milky Way Dreams Blankie, it’s like I’ve missed the comfort of an old friend. Do you feel like that when you haven’t worked on your crafty project for a while? Or is that just me? Am sure there’s a help group out there for me… somewhere…

Must dash and do what I’m supposed to be doing now, I think I’ve procrastinated long enough… productive procrastination though, so totally excusable… wouldn’t you say?

Wishing you the comfort of old friends and days filled with pretty flowers.

dear monday 16.2.15


Weaving and selling on the busy cobblestone streets of Cusco.
Peru, September 2014.




dear monday 

What? Greeting Mondays with gratitude and memories of dreams come true.

How? Sharing a favourite 2014 holiday photo every Monday in 2015. 

Why? Cos I don’t like Mondays so I’m going to fight them with sweet moments.

You? Feel free to join in #dearmonday2015 (leave a link in the comments below so we can see it!)

more about how this all came about here




being mount zen

Hello, how are you? Are you feeling a bit stressed, busy, overwhelmed? Well I’m heading to my mountain of Zen, wanna come?

mount maunganui
I remember back when I did Yoga a few years ago, our teacher talked us through this meditation at the end of class where you see a mountain, and then eventually during the meditation, you ‘become’ the mountain. Lately I’ve been finding it quite the challenge to meditate and cope with stress… and I really need to do the former in order to deal with the latter. So I’ve decided to bring back this meditation, tweak it a bit, do it often, and see if I can improve both my meditation and my stress coping ways.

I wrote a little ‘How to be Mount Zen Guide’ just in case you wanna try to be a mountain of zen too… no pressure though!

mount fuji

How to be Mount Zen Guide
Step 1
First imagine a mountain. It could be one you’ve visited, a real or imaginary one – it doesn’t matter really. Take a little walk up the mountain, it’s a nice easy walk up to the top. Find a comfy spot to sit and enjoy the view. Notice how calm and peaceful it is, feel yourself relaxing just being there. Take in the pretty vista all around for a while. If you drift off that’s fine – it happens all the time! Just go back to your comfy mountain top spot and soak up the peace. After a little while try to imagine that you and the mountain become one entity/thingy. What the mountain ‘feels’ and ‘sees’ is what you now feel and see.

Step 2
Notice the weather. Is it calm and still? Mild and overcast? Gentle? Wild? Warm? Windy? Rainy? Freezing? ‘See’ the weather happening around you and take note how it doesn’t really affect you. Your hair might get blown about, you might get a bit wet, as you feel the effects ever so gently on the surface, but that’s it – the weather doesn’t really alter you. The weather happens around you but it doesn’t disturb you.

Step 3
Now you want to relate the stressy crappy things to the weather. Let them blow around you, calmly or wildly. Notice them, but don’t breathe them into your being and let them become you. The sun rises and falls, the moon rises and falls, the mountain remains a mountain, untroubled by the passing of time and the weather. The weather/stress doesn’t have to disturb you. It can just be. It is what it is. You are a mountain and are way too strong, and stable, and unbreakable, and solid, and secure for the weather/stress to bother you. You’ve been around for eons and the stress is just a drop of rain.

When you’ve had enough, walk back down the mountain and get on with your day! Take with you the calm feeling of being all zenned out on top of your mountain, this is the feeling you want to call upon during heat-of-the-moment-stressypants-attacks. Remembering that you are the mountain and the stress is the weather happening around you, not inside you.

I know meditating and coping with stress is hard, and this isn’t a magic fix-all-pill. But if it can help us separate ourselves from the stress (instead of our heads spinning in the whirling winds of stress – or at least mine does!), then I reckon it’s worth a visit. I’ve been doing it for a little while now, and I’ve totally said to myself during stressy moments, ‘hey I’m Mount Zen and I’m not taking that shit in!’ … Feel free to use this line whenever you need to!

So, would you like to visit Mount Zen? Do you think you could remember Mount Zen feelings in times of stress? What do you do to cope with stress? Have you any tips or tricks up your sleeve to cope with trying times? Let me know if you do ok?

Wishing you calm weather and sunshiney visits to Mount Zen.

ps. First image is of Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Second image is of Mount Fuji, taken by my daughter. Third image is of the mountains of Chinchero, Peru.