Writers & Readers Week 2010 - first installment

Wednesday, 17th March, 2010

Writers and Readers week is always an exciting, stimulating time and this year was no exception.

The main disappointment for me is that there are no longer NZ writer focused sessions at the Dans Palais. In fact where has the Dans Palais gone? I know it was a small venue but it was so charming.

Also didn't the Gala Opening used to have drinks afterwards? I guess they are cutting back on costs, shame.

I managed to be privy to basically all of the events at the Embassy including the schools events on Tuesday, which, by the way, really raised my hopes. No matter what the media says, there are plenty of smart and engaging youths in our community. Some had travelled from as far away as Picton.

As I mentioned earlier, the Gala Opening on Tuesday night lacked the sense of occasion it seemed to have in previous years although the session itself was a great little intro to the week, chaired by the glorious Kate de Goldi. Kamila Shamsie, Neil Cross, Gil Adamson and Audrey Niffenegger chatted about their novels. If I had to pick one author to read out of the four I would try Shamsie with Gil Adamson a close second.

Wednesday opened with Sarah Waters, the session was chaired by her publisher Lennie Goodings. It's unusual for a writer's publisher to interview them on stage, it runs the risk of being a glammed up press conference. Lennie had been interviewing her on the whole world tour and they had it down pat, a bit too pat, which was a shame, as I'm sure a good Chair would have teased some great moments out of the hour. Still Waters was charming and the audience loved her.

In contrast Emily Perkins with Caroline Baum was a great session. I hadn't heard of Caroline before, her bio says: Caroline Baum was the arts editor of Melbourne’s Sunday Herald and the features editor at Vogue Australia. She has presented ABC TV’s book show Between the Lines, and was executive producer of ABC Radio National’s Arts Today. She has also hosted Foxtel’s book show Talking Books. Caroline became the founding editor of Good Reading magazine in 2001. In 2006 she produced and co-wrote her first television documentary, In Search of Bony, for SBS. Her company, Two Heads Media, currently has several TV projects in development. She is a regular contributor to national (Australian) newspapers and magazines.

No wonder she is a fantastic interviewer. Emily was smart and sharp. Quotes I liked: “When we tell stories we are controlling time” “Writing is a mapping process”. Emily also said something along the lines of being sick of “illuminating endings” or just any endings or seeing life as a narrative arc. Hmm sounds like she's been hanging out with Damien Wilkins.

I'll continue with these notes shortly

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Away so long

Sunday, 14th March, 2010

You may well have thought that I had fallen off the face of the earth this year and I have had a very low profile online over the last couple of months.

We had a very relaxing time away over summer in Motueka, Golden Bay and Abel Tasman during January.

February was a month of settling back in to school and work. I've been doing a little contract work for a Wellington publisher and last week I spent the whole week running around at New Zealand Post Writers & Readers week. I'm typing up my notes now (which I'll post later this week) but it was a great with plenty of stimulation, a bit of drama and a few laughs.

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Frida's Wardrobe

Monday, 14th December, 2009

Frida shirt

A while back now I started up Frida's Wardrobe flickr group. Now a year and a book later I'm starting to sew again.

I made this shirt using Alexander Henry fabric and this Built by Wendy pattern that I really like and have used before.

Its not exactly period Frida but I think it captures the spirit of Frida and she would have loved it!

Have any of you got some Frida style to show me?

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Happy Birthday Stellar-Mia

Sunday, 13th December, 2009

Hand in hand

Stellar likes to decorate her own cakes now. Hard to believe my youngest is 7 years old, 7!

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Have yourself a very merry vintage yule!

Thursday, 10th December, 2009

N. Z. Best Yule Tide wishes. [Card. 1900-1919].
Reference number: Eph-A-CARDS-Christmas-1900/1919-01
Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library


This lovely vintage Christmas card is from the National Library, they have a whole flickr set.

I think this is my favourite.

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Merry Christmas

Tuesday, 8th December, 2009


Seasons Greeting, Happy Holidays and all that jazz!

I love this little birdie my friend Billie gave me.

If you click on him it will take you to flickr and you can select "All sizes" and print him off.

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Wednesday, 2nd December, 2009

Well I had some money in my PayPal balance when I spotted these cute vintage patterns, I just couldn't resist.

I can't wait to sew them up in the new year!

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End of the line for Red Rag

Tuesday, 1st December, 2009

wash day


My online store Red Rag will be closing for good at Christmas. Thank you so much to all my loyal customers, I've really enjoyed meeting you all over the last few years.

It's time for me to go to work back in the real world now the kids are both at school but luckily I still have Show Your Workings and Helen Squared to satisfy my online cravings!

So, if you always meant to but didn't get around to it, now is the time to head on over and pick yourself up a Mooncup or some cloth pads. Your body will thank you for it (not to mention the planet).





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Welcome to the new site

Saturday, 28th November, 2009

Cuppa tea


Welcome to the new site. I've been wanting to try something new and Mr SYW suggested a Drupal site. We're big fans of Open Source software so it seemed like the logical step.

You'll notice that there have been some changes but it looks almost exactly the same, that's because all the whizz-bang stuff hides behind the scenes (like Mr SYW).

So please come on in and have a look around, update your rss feeds, take a seat and have a virtual cuppa.

I have some great vintage give-aways lined up for 2010 - including new ephemera scans along with new sewing and knitting patterns for all you crafters. In the meantime why don't you revisit my cute vintage Christmas gift tags free download.

For the readers why not join in my Book Club? We are starting with a new New Zealand novel - Somebody Loves Us All by Damien Wilkins. Grab a copy, have a read and join in the discussion.

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