Monday, December 18, 2006


I almost forgot... if you want to see some recent family playground pics, go here. Cheers

Mirror, mirror (mirror, mirror, mirror, etc.) on the wall...

Okay, so we've lived in New Zealand less than a year, but that is PLENTY of time for us to start accumulating more crap (and when I say crap, I mean cool crap, good stuff...crap in the nicest sense...). My favorite (or favourite, even), well, new acquisitions, are kiwiana mirrors. They are right up our kitchy alley.
Our D. Cyzon original smoking mannequin head. The *only* person allowed to smoke in our house!!! The picture doesn't do her justice, but take my word when I tell you that she is ubercool! GREAT work Diana!!!!

Well, not sure if I will post anymore anytime soon, as we are leaving the day after christmas on a loooong road trip around the South Island! Hope to be back the end of January with some great pictures from vacation!

Happy Yule, Christmas, Channukah, etc. everyone!!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sin Kitty

Here's my first attempt at amigurumi - my own design. Probably aboutg 2.5" tall.(?) Named for his tell-tale tail... Kinda cutsie, but I'm damn proud.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Pictures from flickr... my new inspiration. Working on two projects right now (and ordered a japanese book off of ebay...). Should be interesting. Some results photos to be posted within a couple of days... Had to brush the dust off of the hooks, but they are still in fine order. More soon...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Backyard tea party

Not to worry... treats to be shared by all. Mimi and Mason were quite patient, I must say.

Andy enjoyed it too, even though he might not admit it (you do what you gotta do to get the treats...)

There were other distractions in between bites

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Good weather, good times

I've taken the liberty to borrow the above pictures, although I must say, I could have taken pictures like this, as this is exactly like the scenery witnessed in the past couple of days. Fact is, we've become lazy with the cameras, as we've started taking the amazing landscape for granted.(!) However, we realize that this journey to New Zealand will come to an end before we know it, and will want more than stolen internet pictures to show for it!!!!

Yesterday, I went up to Gore to visit one of my students on Practicum placement, and decided to go exploring with my wife and kids since we had to do a little traveling anyway. We went to Dolamore Park Scenic Reserve, which is one of those "out of the way", places that you hear about from locals. What a GREAT park. We want to go back some time when we can stay after sunset to see the glowworms.

Went to Riverton (guess I could repost some pictures from my linked blog...) with the family this morning and picnicked at Moore's reserve and went tramping in the bush. Mason and Mimi (ages two and three) did brilliantly on the walk, as did our 8 year old, Andy. The weather was nice and CLEAR and WARM which is a nice change from the recent trends. Although I have heard that there is an iceburg on a collision course with the southern coast....

The bottom picture is of a Tui bird. They sound a bit like R2D2 from StarWars. We heard quite a few tuis and bellbirds out and about. They really add a mystical element to the already amazing atmostphere. Still waiting to see a hobbit out in the wild...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

yin and yang

Top five things I love and, well, don't, about NZ:

Five good things:
1) There are only around 4 million people in the entire country, and 3/4 are on the smaller, north island
2) The scenery is breathtaking
3) Within 30-45 minutes in any direction, we can go on a pretty cool trip; within 2-4 hours, we can go on a REALLY cool road trip
4) The abundance of local parks
5) Seals, sea lions, penguins, etc.
...oh yeah, and how could I forget... W. doesn't run this country!

Before I go into the next list, let me say that some of these things apply to the area that we live in, rather than the entire country...

Five "other" things:
1) The tertiary education system is audited to death and more laden with paperwork than I could have ever dreamed...
2) The medical system
3) The sucky local grocery stores
4) The price of most everything
5) The lack of adequate heating in most houses (yes, I'm a spoiled American...)

I had to post, because we finally broke down and got a computer and broadband internet. This is the first laptop I've ever owned, and I'm quite happy with it so far.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hot time in Rotorua

Still behind in posting. Hey, moving around the world uses up some energy.

Early this month, I presented at the "Imagine Better - Building Inclusive Communities" conference in Rotorua (on the north island). My workshop was on community inclusion for adults with severe and persistent mental illness from a therapeutic recreation perspective. If you are still awake, and interested to read more about it, you can go here. I think mine is the 10th down.

Anywho, while wandering around town, I came across a park with boiling mud, simmering ponds, etc. Also made time to see the government gardens which were quite stunning. The rhododendrums (sp?) and tulips were in full bloom. The museum was actually pretty interesting too. I look forward to revisiting Rotorua with my family to see some of the larger parks outside of town (with large geysers, colorful ponds, buried village, old-growth and redwood forests, etc.) that I didn't have time for on this trip.

Active volcanic towns are neat. Too bad they smell like arse...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

To be continued...

It's been a looooooong time, but everything is going very well. so GREAT to be reunited with my fam! Work has been busy, busy, busy, and of course every other waking second is spent with my wife and children. I'm happy to say that everyone is adjusting quite well to the change.

I'm going to work on my blogging again soon. Tis difficult since we don't yet have a home puter and my work one blocks blogger all together! Of course, there isn't quite the free time there was a few weeks ago to visit my favorite scuzzy computer cafe either.

Anywho, I'll be in touch soon!!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

...but what happened to their bodies?!

One of our most talented friends has started making these beautiful hat stands. Aren't they pure art? It is Diana's special method of paper mache over a styrofoam base and then of course hand painted by her. I'll have to get her to send some more pictures, because she also makes some amazing boudoir (sp?) dolls and has crocheted a giant, life-sized girl which is simply amazing. Diana puts these up for sale from time to time on ebay. If you are interested, check out her auctions under "misspandudabakers" as the seller, or email me and I will put her in touch with you!

Poor Rosa... makes her look kind of sad in comparison...

For those that are starting to think that I'm making this whole New Zealand thing up, here's a photo that a friend took on their camera phone at McCracken's point last week.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

interesting story..

Okay, so no fun pictures today, but I offer instead an entertaining (?) story.

We were fortunate enough to have another beautiful, sun-filled day that I've been told we just don't get here this time of year. I got to see some beautiful scenery and walk on a nice beach with some of my new NZ friends. Later in the day, I decided I wanted to go see the sunset at the beach. I was almost too late, but found an amazing, isolated stretch that I hadn't seen before (this was in-town as opposed to the other beach walked on today...). When I say isolated, I mean the tide was just starting to come in, and mine were the only set of footprints in the sand. Amazing, eh? It was completely undeveloped (as most of the direct waterways are around here; something about belonging to the queen...), so it was water, beach and tall forest (I believe it is a logging area).

So I walk and I walk until I realize the beautiful pinks and reds of sunset were almost gone and replaced with the indigo of impending night. So in the light of dusk, I see a big lump in the sand that I decide will be my turnaround point. As I get closer, I let my mind play tricks and see a large dead goat, horns and all. When I finally get to this object and let my eyes adjust, I realize that my brain had a very good reason for trying to make this object into a dead goat. It was a dead goat. A dead goat without eyes by the way... So I decide that this is, in fact, the perfect turnaround point. Suddenly, I realize that it is no longer, dark, but now it's DARK. Fortunately, the moon was eerily rising behind the pitch-black forest At one point, I swear I heard something running up behind me. But alas, I made it back to the van without being mugged by satan-worshiping goat killers or goat zombies or anything of the like. I thought I was walking at a good pace out towards the goat, but I think it took me almost 30 minutes to reach the goat, and about 5 to make it back to the van. :)

I realized that I was also lucky that I was the only one out, because if I hadn't noticed my footprints cutting back up to the path which led to my van, I would have certainly passed it.

I do wonder what that goat was doing out there. Even without eyes, he looked sort of happy. I've always thought that goats were eternal optimists...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I'm such a tramp...

So hiking is called tramping and trekking over here, and since I prefer the shorter variety, I'm called a tramper. Here's some pics from some of my tramping around. From Oreti beach here in town:

This is from some trails in Kilmock Bush which in a park on the way to the beach. These yellow flowers smelled amazing. I didn't know it, but the trail this day ended here at a river.

This is from Moore's reserve overlook in Riverton. Riverton is the cutest town and has some amazing views from up here. The dense bush I walked through to get to the top is just like a rain forest.

To see a few more pictures from these walks, go here.
Mo Momo Mohair
So my favorite LYS had this great mohair on clearance. I decided to make my mother-in-law a shawl/wrap out of it. Okay, so she might look like a psychotic peacock in heat while wearing it, but it is some really fun yarn!

Unfortunately, I started this project while watching foregin films, and didn't pay enough attention to what I was doing. This thing is six and a half feet long!!! I'm not sure what to do, except keep on going and finish it up. I guess if she gets out of hand while visiting, I can always make it into a mohair straight jacket and tie her up! Any other useful suggestions on what to do would be GREATLY appreciated! ;)

A scout is thrifty...

While my wife is busy getting rid of all of our accumulated 'stuff', I'm over here busily hording new stashes. How can I help it when I've found such a groovy thrift store near bye? I'm trying to show some restraint, but I have to admit I've already brought home TWO cool 50s kitchen tables...
This is a really cool set (I love old plastic stuff...) that I think once was part of a picnic set. I figure the little ones will have fun with it in their play kitchen.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mason's 2nd birthday!

Okay, so I stole these off of my sister's blog.... you do what you have to do when you are continents away....

Hmmmm.... he really favors me in this picture.... ;)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

It's kind of a sad easter here...missing my youngest's 2nd birthday. Sounds like everyone back home had a good time though!

I have wheels! I am free! Think I'll take a quick drive to the beach after this... If you want to see more pics from my friday drive, click on the lighthouse!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Films and sea lions

Okay, so after a month, I finally broke down and bought a TV and DVD player Friday. I don't get any channels right now, but I rented a crap-load of movies. Some I really enjoyed. I HIGHLY recommend 'Monsoon Wedding', and also enjoyed 'Garden State' and 'Sweet Sixteen', although the latter was a bit depressing... It is also funny that it took me a few minutes in Sweet Sixteen to realize that they were speaking English. Don't worry, there are subtitles for those of us that aren't used to true Scottish accents. I did pick it up quite a bit by the end.

I also watched Blade 3, and although I don't put it in the same category as the above films, it was exactly what I expected and wanted on Friday night. I'm quite addicted to vampire flicks anyhow.

Last, and probably least, (I really binged on movies this weekend, eh?) there was Dangerous Game. Not the worst film of all times, but didn't really do too much for me.

Surprisingly enough, I actually also mowed the grass, did SEVERAL loads of laundry (including hanging them to dry), attended a 'gypsy fair', looked around car lots and went to the coast. I was thrilled to run into Patti and Patrick (the first kiwis I met...actually, they are of the American flavor...) while walking home. They took me over to the coast, just inside the Catlins, and I saw an amazing view of sheep, ocean, sea lions, mountains and a cute lighthouse. The weather couldn't have been nicer.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The bearable lightness of blogging

Welcome to my neurosis. The other day, I actually starting wigging a bit over whether or not my blog was an appropriate representation of myself. It's too 'light'; if I died, people wouldn't think of me seriously enough; my life is so much more than just yarn and pictures.... SO WHAT? Finally, I came to my senses and realized that blogging some fun things is much more important than journaling all of the mundane and stressful parts of my life. I'm a recreation therapist. I need to start acting like such. Anyway, YARN IS IMPORTANT. Right? ;)

I'm still playing with that great natural wool yarn, making a 'throw'/TV blanket. I'm trying to make something for each family member before they arrive. You can also see my new living room suite. I really like the ottoman! The picture is a little dark, but you get the idea...

If you are interested in seeing more local pictures (mostly of Queen's park...), click on THIS picture... (much better lighting, I promise!)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Stroll

Not sure if this will post or not. Blogger is acting funny...will have to upload the pictures later.

It is a GORGEOUS Sunday afternoon here. Can't describe just how blue the sky is. Forgot to wear sunblock before leaving on my afternoon stroll, but found quite a bit of shade to walk in. Don't think I'm cooking too badly. There is no ozone here, and a white boy like me needs to be extra careful!

The gardens around here are amazing. What I've always called "English gardens" are quite abundant around here. Queen's park has some especially amazing examples. The rose gardens are especially nice (with rose bushes taller than me!). You can smell them from quite a ways away. Spent some time strolling through the aviary in the park today and feeding the ducks. I felt kind of bad that I didn't bring more bread since the ducks are so plentiful and eat like pirrhanas!

I've found a GREAT LYS. It's called 'Wool Mart', and the selection and prices are really great. I purchased a 200 gram hank (almost 1/2 a pound) of some amazing all natural wool yarn (10-ply, about avarage worsted-weight size) for less than $9. It is a really nice taupe color (taupe is the new black, you know) and sooooooo soft that I couldn't believe it. They also have a nice selection of mohair and possum-fur blends. Like I said, the prices are certainly right. The lady who helped me asked if I would like for her to wind up the yarn for me, so of course I said yes. Then I watch amazed as she winds it up into a ball by hand. She told me that the mechanism she usually uses was broken, but did all of this with a smile. I think I'm in love...

I've made pretty good progress on the throw that I'm making with the yarn. I need to go back and get some more to match...I had no idea I would like this yarn so much!

Well, gotta run before I run up a big tab in the internet cafe. Need to do some laundry anyhow!

Later taters.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

House in Invercargill

Here is our rental house in New Zealand. It's in a nice walking neighborhood near shopping and an amazing park. Only a little over a mile to work, so I will be walking there as well until I get wheels. This house has a lot of great character on the inside, and a lot of light!

Monday, February 27, 2006

crafty closure

Okay, so today is my last day in the states for quite a while. Don't you think that is a good time to dig through your garage and find a random project to complete?

Introducing Rosa.

I dig paper mache (sp?) projects, and sometime right after we moved to Indiana (Fall of 2000), I somehow became inspired to create Rosa. I had several thoughts along the way on how she would evolve; at one point, she thought about being a vampire or zombie even. Now she is just a body-less socialite who still thinks a fur collar is okay to wear... Oh Rosa.

I actually went into the garage to dig out some shoes. There was Rosa, peaking out of a pile of other random 'stuff'. I also noticed nearby were a couple of wrapping paper rolls that I used to start decorating her with way back when. I figured she at least deserved a complete head of hair. Although I know it is controversial, I even helped complete her fur collar.

Now that she is as complete as a stand-alone head can be, she told me that she does NOT want to travel to New Zealand. Guess it is time to move on. I am therefore sending her to a friend in blogland who I think might enjoy Rosa's banter better than I do.

Oh, to have a psychotic break right before packing.....

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SIT for a spell...

I can't believe that I only have two days left with my family before flying around the world and to the southern hemisphere! This is a picture of SIT (Southern Institute of Technology) in Invercargill, where I will be teaching.

This week has been psychotic in dealing with last second details related to my work visa (which was approved and arrived Thursday!) and finishing up my last days at my current job. My co-workers through me a huge bash last Saturday night (I think I've recovered...) and we had a big party at work yesterday afternoon for staff and clients. Walking out of a job that I've put so much of my heart into for five and a half years was a very emotional experience. It was neat to see little bits of me almost everywhere I looked in the program. As much as my job stressed me out at times, I will greatly miss it and all of the great people I worked with. Hopefully some will stay in touch!

Well, back to my checklist of what to fly over and take time for a few extra deep breaths.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hi Hillary.

Okay, so I can't help myself when I come across some sort of poll/quiz linked from someone else's blog. Today, I had to see where I was politically (as if I didn't know). I took the OkCupid Politics Test, and ended up with my thumbtack right on Hillary's face At least I'm close to Ghandi (although it would be cool to be Darth Vader too, right?...). Apparently, I'm a socialist. Hmmm... I guess my dreams of anarchy are shot...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

charge it to my visa

Interesting fact: Growing tulips in New Zealand is a specialized gift brought by Dutch migrants back in the 50's. Now the kiwis export millions of tulip bulbs back to the Netherlands and around the world. This picture is of a commercial tulip farm outside of Invercargill (the city we are moving to).

I've been in semi-crisis mode as it didn't seem like I could possibly get my visa in time to start work. Much of this is due to my ignorance of the ENTIRE process. I kind of fell into this job, unlike many US migrants who researched and prepared for years before finding a job in NZ. Regardless, we're working it all out, and it looks like with a lot of work in a short amount of time, everything should fall into place.

Now, where to start with cleaning out my office at work????...

Monday, February 06, 2006

the hook in my head

Okay, so this picture has nothing to do with anything outside of my immense desire to own this knife holder. HOWEVER, I refuse to purchase any more 'stuff' before my international journey. ALTHOUGH, can I really live without this???....

As preoccupied as I am with moving around the world and such, I often flip to my preoccupation with crochet ideas. Not many of these ideas are coming to life right now as I am actively downsizing my stash and trying to finish up WIPs (remember Elise's poncho?...). I take my daydreaming of future creations as a good sign though... gives me hope that I will continue to practice, improve, and create.

Anyway, thought I would post for the sake of posting today. I HOPE to finish the poncho this afternoon. I'll post pics as soon as it is completed!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Because I FELT like it...

Guess I had the upcoming move to NZ on my mind when I made this little flightless bird today. My stovetop attempt at felting him had limited success, but he is a little sturdier right now. Our friend Jenny gave me some hairy, organic, burgandy wool yarn that I thought would be good to use. It became even hairier after cooking the little kiwi a bit!

Reminds me a bit of a nanlet. Guess it would actually be more like a stevelet. Hmmm...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Project KIWI

OMG! We are moving to New Zealand!!!!

On a lark, I applied for a faculty position at the Southern Institute of Technology, teaching Recreation Therapy classes. Not only was I offered the position (with great moving assistance, etc.), but my wife and I have decided to leave sanity behind and move around the world with our family!!!!
I'm moving in about 4 weeks, so I'm SWAMPED with work and stress. However, I do have time to say that I've already located a LYS in Invercargill (the city we will live in). I'm thinking with all of the sheep on the south island, they should have some AMAZING wool yarn available. (?!)
More soon!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

my jellyfish!

So yesterday, I had THREE long, boring meetings to sit through (why call it human services if I'm not ever available to serve the human's that we are there for?...). By the third meeting, I had to occupy my mind with something fun so that I didn't start sobbing in front of my supervisors.

My mind wandered to Lady Linoleum's amazing crochet jellyfish. Although I am certainly still a novice when it comes to crochet, I've been thinking alot about how to work different things recently. SO, I had this idea, and today had to see if it worked. I pulled some vintage Coats and Clark "Baby Wintuk" - 'Pompadour' and my trusty H-hook and started hooking away.

Although it pales in comparison to Regina's, I was ecstatic to see that it worked! I really am happy with it! One thing I like about this yarn is the extra strand of 'bling' worked in; I don't think you can see it in the picture. Reminds me of the refractive quality of some of the jellyfish we saw recently at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga (if you are ever passing through, GO!).

Can't wait to make some more!!!!

Additional comment: Due to insomnia, I've created a pattern that I hope others are able to follow. If you want to try to make your own jellyfish creature, go to my new pattern page!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

back again

So, inertia kicked my ass and I haven't started back blogging like I thought I would. The important thing is that I'm getting back in the swing of doing some 'stuff' again worth blogging about! ;)

My dig cam is still packed up from vacation, so I'll have to bore you with words for now. My latest, greatest obsession is soap making. Using my program's budget, I recently purchased some glycerin blocks, a "Life of the Party" soap kettle (glorified crock pot) and some misc essential oils and such. Craft group went way better than expected Monday, and I wish I had pics to share of all of the great soap that we all made! For sure I'll have some by next Monday since we are doing it again (but adding more cool stuff like oatmeal and such).

I haven't been hooking much yet, but I'm actually designing my first afghan square. Conceptually, it is really cool, but I haven't had the guts to try it for real yet. I've got some practice yarn that I will use. It is actually one of two patterns I want to try to work out. The one that I'm actively problem-solving is inspired by the eye of a peacock feather. The other one will be more of a free-form lily-pad/pond kind of thing (I think). I'm really excited about putting my thoughts into action. If I ever get a semi-coherent pattern worked out that actually looks decent, I will certainly post it on the site to share.

Well, gotta get back to work, but wanted to post so that I'm officially blogging again!!!