stripy sock studio :: welcome

Tuesday March 30, 2010


Due to ‘in-real-life’ demands, ambitions and distractions, Stripy Sock Studio blog is on sabbatical until further notice.

If you need a fix:

there’s my flickr account

I’m on facebook

you can anonymously ask me any question you like on formspring

me and the other Helen are still doing our thing here

I tumble here

(no, I don’t twitter - there are limits)

there’s always email (on the right there), too

or *gasp* come around for a cuppa tea and a biscuit if you are in town. (ooh, scary!)

Love to you all. xxx Helen

Wednesday December 16, 2009

happy holidays, lovely people!

I made a cupcake tower for my friend Lisa’s birthday on the weekend. We split a bottle of Lindauer and ate cupcakes and Hawke’s Bay cherries...most festive!

I thought I might squeeze in a few blog posts before the holidays began, but it is proving too hectic so I think I will sign off for 2009 now.

Thanks to those of you who responded to my request for feedback on the blog - I ended up receiving a lot of compliments, which wasn’t why I asked (honest!) but was lovely nonetheless. One thing that you all said (except for one person!) consistently was that you miss links and comments. I have plans, plans, plans for my wee corner of ye olde interwebby for 2010.

2009 was NOT good for me in a lot of ways that never made it on here ... but I limped along and things are looking up and I am feeling optimistic about 2010...I do love the New Year rituals. A new year, a fresh start, summer loving ... all that ... yes! watch this space - I will return in February all fresh-faced and bushy-tailed.

Over the next two months I plan to: play mini-golf with my brother, swim in the sea and in rivers, eat outside as much as possible, read all the Moomintroll books I collected this year, add to the family photo albums and make use of having extra adults around to take afternoon baths and naps as much as possible!

Have a lovely summer (or winter in the Northern hemisphere!) break with good family time, rest and recreation (but mostly rest!) ... eat lovely seasonal, local food, give into your baser desires and read some trashy books, get out in nature and roll around on the grass (or snow!) ...

...see you in 2010! xxxxxx

Tuesday December 08, 2009

lavender blue

Recently I was in the organics shop buying some essentials and I picked up a bag of dried lavender. As I carried it around the shop I suddenly thought - ‘why would I buy this thing that I have an abundance of in the garden?’ so I put it back and that afternoon picked a bag of lavender flower heads. I put them in wooden bowls in the hot water cupboard to dry. Once they are dry (it takes a good few weeks) I plan to make some small lavender ‘pillows’ for putting into drawers to keep clothes smelling fresh and yummy. Once the heads are dry, you simply rub them between your fingers over a bowl to get nice, fine dried lavender so that whatever you make with it won’t be lumpy.

Reader survey of sorts:

School ends for the summer this Friday, so as I do most years I will soon be taking a blog break so that I can focus on family and relaxing! I am planning a freshen up of the blog during this time, so I would appreciate any feedback you might have for me - what you enjoy, what you don’t etc. This year was an experiment in trying to write non-ephemeral blog posts, that is, posts that have an enduring quality at odds with the blog medium. However, as the year progressed I found this harder and harder, and I think it recent months I have pretty much abandoned that idea and have been blogging as I used to - about the small everyday this’n’thats of life. So - yes - any thoughts or ideas much appreciated while I meditate on how this space is going to be next year. (See ‘contact me’ link at right of here.) Thanks for that & thanks for returning to read - I appreciate your eyes and minds and hearts.

Monday December 07, 2009

make believe

It’s all make believe, isn’t it?

Street art, George Street, Palmerston North.

Tuesday December 01, 2009

green cake

"I want to be the girl with the most cake.”
-Courtney Love

If I am having one of those loooonnng afternoons with Magnus, we bake. Baking distracts us both, makes him very happy with all the stirring and licking and also ‘fills the tins’ for school and kindy lunches.

Yesterday was a grey and very rainy day. We made afghans (without the walnuts, as the fusspots pick them off) and green cupcakes. The dishes piled up. The house smelled like warm vanilla & before we knew it, it was time to go and pick Willoughby up from school.


Wednesday November 25, 2009

the C word

Christmas, of course.

It is one month from today! & how that month flies with all those end of year activities and gatherings!

Check out this interesting link from the Smithsonian Museum - artist’s handmade christmas cards in their collection (on the right, there is a great photo gallery). I loved seeing these handmade cards - many of them quirky and non-traditional…

I like a handmade Christmas. I try to make some gifts and every year I do some Christmas Craft with Willoughby so that we add to our collection of (rather eclectic) Christmas decorations.

We also do lots of baking because I think a tin of baking is a lovely present for teachers, friends etc, rather than yet another box of chocolates or novelty mug. We usually make ginger shortbread, Russian Fudge, and Iced Christmas cookies.

Last year I signed up for Twenty Cent Mixture’s ‘Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap’ which was enormous fun. I enjoyed thinking of something to make (I made christmas angels - see photo) and it was lovely getting six sweet handmade things in the mail through December. If you are curious or want some Christmassy inspiration, you can see last year’s gallery of handmades here.

I’ve signed up again, but I need to get a rattle on! I have gathered my materials, now I just need to put on some Christmassy music and spend a night or two making…

I won’t be playing Bob Dylan’s new Christmas record (yup - I know - wrong. deeply wrong.) though - check this out for frightening - what is it with that WIG?!

On the upside, it’s one way to put your children off Christmas forever.

Monday November 23, 2009

white bouquet

I like to walk around the yard and find flowers for cutting. My wee bouquets never quite look like lush florist jobs, but I think they have a different charm - because I grew them and they are from our place. This posy is Mexican Apple Blossom (smells really good!) and white Granny Bonnets (Columbine).

My garden is a mass of weeds at the moment - I’m feeling a bit behind and a tad overwhelmed - so I have decided I will get into the habit of doing an hour or so after dinner each night. With the longer evenings now I figure it is the perfect time - household duties are over for the day, no danger of getting sunburned, it’s cool, and it is a good time to fiddle with plants - watering, transplanting, planting out etc.

Sort of like the advantages of night-swimming...I wonder if there is an REM song about pulling weeds in the twilight?

Monday November 16, 2009

climbing mountains

This time last year I was in fitness training for walking the Tongariro Crossing. I knew I could drag myself over it in the state I was in, but I wanted to walk it easily and enjoyably so I started a fitness regimen which, once I got into the swing of it, I really enjoyed.

I climbed the crossing with Fraser and enjoyed all of it except perhaps the last half hour - when the blisters on my feet were killing me and I was dehydrated and wobbly from all the stepping down big rocky steps. Afterwards, though, I was on a total high for days.

There are magic mountain lakes up there (see photo). They really are that colour! No photo-twiddling, I swear. They are well-worth the climb.

I always find winter so hard to keep inspired and motivated with exercise and we have had a difficult year emotionally and in terms of weather - a very very long winter this year, which seems to be still going. (I am wearing merino and tights today!) Once again, I’ve undone all the great work I did last summer with too much sofa-sitting, hibernating and cosying inside. Also, using a glass of wine in the evenings as a de-stress, rather than a good walk or a swim.

So, back to square one, and I’ve started again with the fitness regime. I’m only a week in, but feeling much better for it already. My energy levels are up and my muscles are feeling zingy and well-used.

My biggest goal this time around is not so much to climb a mountain - although, if the opportunity comes up, I won’t say no - but to try and make this a way of life rather than something I stop and start, stop and start. It’s easy to write that down, not so easy to implement it. When you are a mother of young kids - the days are so full and you are so constantly in demand.

So yes, this summer - not so much the physical mountain as the big, rocky mental one.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday November 10, 2009

amusing signs

I spotted this sign in early October when we had some unseasonal snow storms in the hills and - much like people going to look at the approach of tsunami - it seems a lot of Manawatu-ites scrambled into the hills to get a look at the snow, prompting one farmer to try to deter them, thus:

Ah - rural humour.

(If you can’t quite read it - it says “Road Closed, Fool.")

On the same tiki-tour, we stopped at a very fine dairy in Woodville for ice-creams and I was amused to see this on the sign outside:

How handy to be able to pick up an Azalea with your pie and newspaper. I know I often have a burning urge for an new Azalea bush of an evening. Random is not the word + there were no Azaleas to be seen in the shop. . Maybe they keep them under the counter *nod nod wink wink*.

Finally, I spotted this sign on the community notice board of a New World Supermarket:

Personally, I hate shorts - but the tone of this notice is so upbeat I almost rang him up! Almost.

Thursday November 05, 2009

Death at the Supermarket

I work off images a lot & I saw this photo over on flickr a while ago, by one of my favourite photographers over there ‘Dumpster Diver‘. Her photostream is totally worth a look if you have a moment. Anyway, I love this photo. I can’t stop looking at it. It kind of sums up death, to me. It’s not some abstract, ephemeral, distant thing - it’s here, present, all around us, all the time. It isn’t morbid to know that. It’s sustaining. Keeps a person appreciative and awake. I wrote a poem from the image. I can’t imagine any NZ Lit.journal would ever publish it, so I’m just going to post it here:


You have come to me
down phone wires, once
into my email in-box.
You’re sneaky: creeper,
reaper, great white light.

Last time you ran off
with someone I love,
I swore I’d plant a tree
but I never did. The living
are traitors.

With our hot hearts and wet veins.
We eat flesh, secrete bile. We
keep moving. We move on.
Leave the holes where people
once were. We fill them as teeth are filled:
with pain, money, an amalgam.

Still, I can go for weeks without
thinking of you, but then on Tuesday
choosing oranges in the vegetable aisle,
I looked up and there you were. If you were
a talker you might have said “Boo!”

You like to turn up
when I’m otherwise
distracted, keeps
my nerves tight, keeps
our relationship


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