Monthly Archives: August 2013

Shopping Trip – Buying fabric for the bags

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Finally a bit of time to go on a shopping trip to look for fabric for my bag project.

June and I drove to Newmarket right after we dropped off May. I was looking at getting some upholstery fabric for the bags because I wanted something sturdier than the quilting fabric that I usually get.

I have been to these shops before and the fabric selection is amazing. First stop Martha’s fabrics. It is a pretty big shop with a huge range.

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I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for. I wanted something quite happy and summery but nothing too busy that will compete with my applique pieces. They had a lot of geometric type fabrics at the moment and I thought those would work quite well but nothing really caught my eye.

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In the end I bought this lovely green linen with birds and birdcages on it. This one will be for mum’s present. Mum’s favourite colour is green and as I grow older I am also drawn to it more and more. There is something soothing and comforting in a nice dark green colour. I am planning to make her a bag in the style of the Harrods bag.

Harrod's bag

Harrod’s bag

She has had a bag of this style for as long as I can remember and her current one is beginning to look a little worn out. I’m also planning to make a semi circular coin purse with some of the remnant fabric.

Next I went to AB fabrics. Their selection is a bit more of the flowery and stripes variety but still lots of lovely pieces. If I was making a country style bag, I would probably find something here. They also have a nice children’s selection.

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I almost left the shop empty handed when I came across a vibrant bright blue fabric. Perfect!

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On the way back to the car we popped into the “Wise Cicada” organic food shop and bought a few items for dad’s father’s day present. Dad is a bit of a health fanatic which is great because come father’s day and birthdays, I just need to pop into an organic food shop and buy a selection of interesting organic things and he loves it!

I am so pleased with my finds today.

  • Martha’s Furnishing Fabrics

12 Melrose Street
Newmarket
Auckland

  • AB Fabrics

2/4 Eden St
Newmarket

  • Wise Cicada

23 Crowhurst Street,
Newmarket, Auckland

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Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

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Dearest Sultana,

Here’s a book I recently got out from the library.

Natural Patchwork

Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

This was a lovely book about patchwork projects. Her work is quite organic and inspired by nature.

What I like most of it is her use of vintagey fabrics in muted colours. She says that her grandmother disassembled many of her childhood things, clothes, cloth toys, favourite stuffed animals… When I read this I was reminded of my own grandmother who was quite the crafter, she was excellent at dressmaking and always busy crocheting. Even when her fingers became crooked from age, she always had projects going on. And she was so fast! She could make me a bunch of crocheted grapes in under five minutes.

She would sometimes disassemble her own clothes and make them into daster (Indonesian house dress) for me. Even though the colours were rather muted, the fabric was always so soft and lovely to wear.

My own mother also likes to save our old clothes, although, not to disassemble. She only saves the better ones and passes them down. I have a jacket that was once mine and has been passed down to both my sisters and is now worn by May. That jacket has so much memory in it. When May wears it, I sometimes tell her of my childhood stories when I was her age in that jacket.

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I like Suzoko Koseki’s grandmother’s idea though. Instead of soft toys and millions of old clothes taking up precious storage space (I’m a bit of a hoarder), disassembling and reusing these pieces can produce beautiful meaningful new creations with childhood memories intact. I think I might just do that. I will keep a few of the girls better clothes and give the rest a new lease of life. What a clever solution to my storage problem and my hoarding instincts.

Another good tip she gave was when assembling the patchwork pieces instead of cutting the fabric neatly with scissors, snip a bit and tear the rest, this will give it a softer edge which will go nicely with more muted colours. Also, don’t throw away any scrap, everything can be used again. Even thin strips and irregular little shapes. The difficulty in these shapes is what can inspire new creations.

Some great tips in this book, and the whole book sets a sort of nostalgic mood and makes me feel that although vibrant rich new fabrics are definitely great (and drool worthy), there is value in the understated and everyday bits of fabric as well.

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Enjoying the Garden and “Spot it Again” by Delphine Chedru

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Dearest Sultana,

What a beautiful Friday morning we have today. Especially after two days of heavy rain.

I am having my morning coffee in the garden with June, it is a little windy but the sunshine is keep us nice and warm. I will soon have to start preparing my garden for the summer, but I think it’s still a little too early at the moment. We’ve just experienced a cold snap and there could be another one of those before the weather truly improves.

In the meantime, here are some of my plants. The feijoas are showing some promising new growth, lavender blooming wildly. I love my lavender, they came with the house and last year I was so frustrated with their unshapely growth I cut them right down. Wasn’t sure if they would be able to grow again but to my utter delight that did and there’s a nice bush of them now.

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I’ve got some fragrant freesia too, such a delight. And the goldfish swimming happiliy in their pot.

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Oh, and I happened to find some Kumquat. I’ve never eaten these before. They came with the house. It will be nice to try them out once they ripen.

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We happened upon this book while browsing the children’s section in the library

spot it again

Spot it Again by Delphine Chedru

I had to mention this book because my girls had so much fun with it. It is a variation of the “I spy” theme which is a great favourite in our family. It’s called “spot it again” by Delphine Chedru. It’s got 50s style colours and very simple repetitive geometric designs with little creatures hiding in them. It’s brilliant, highly recommended. We are going to be looking for the first of this series, “Spot It”

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Making Elephant Hair Clips

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Dearest Sultana,

While I was getting all excited about all the applique pieces I’ll be making for my Christmas gifts, I came across some remnant fabric from June’s winter daster (night gown). It has cute pink elephants as its pattern and I thought this is something easy enough to iron on to some iron on fusible, stitch over heavier fabric and glue onto a hair clip.

Elephant Hair Clips

My two girls are very girly, they love dresses, necklaces, hair clips and all sorts of accessories. And those things are expensive! I mean seriously expensive. A few simple clips can easily top $7! And for something nicer, most are in the $10-15 region. There’s just no way I’m spending so much money on something that with a little effort I can make myself.

My biggest obstacle was finding alligator clips. I thought they should be easily found at any $2 Shop but couldn’t find any. I put this idea on the back burner for awhile but recently stumbled across this awesome webshop (DIY Craft Shop) . And they have everything I was looking for and more. So I got those alligator clips (at a very reasonable price too) and some ribbons. There are an awful lot to choose from.

I readied my elephants, ironed them onto fusing, cut out and free form sewed  them onto some sturdier fabric, cut it out and hot glued onto alligator clips. I lined the clips with ribbon to make them look tidier and so that the elephant will stick better.

Elephant fabric

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That’s it. If I find some other cute designs in my fabric stash I will probably make some more of these. I like how they are so easy and yet one of a kind. I’m planning to make some other styles of hair clips now that I’ve got a good supply of alligator clips.

Here are some flower hair clips. I made these flowers last year for decoration for May’s Princess Birthday Party. I’ll show you how these were made next time I get my hands on some satin fabric.

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In the Garden – a learning experience

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Dearest Sultana,

Until two years ago we didn’t have a permanent home and the homes we stayed in didn’t inspire a lot of gardening. And to be honest, it wasn’t something I had a lot of interest in.

When we moved into our current home, just over two years ago, suddenly a gardening light bulb went on in my head. I was drawn to gardening magazines, my new favourite hang out became the garden shop, I wanted to grow vegetables myself, to inspire my girls to eat their veggies. I pored over seed catalogues and got my hands on the most beautiful and informative garden growing books my library could offer. I was inspired.

I learned about companion plants, what organic fertilisers to use, what natural insect repellent was naturally available.

I really got down to business too. We bought some mandarin and feijoa trees and planted these. I managed to convince my husband to build me a little veggie patch. I planted my veggies in my patch (from seed) there were beans, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, chicory. I was so hopeful.

Then the leaves began to grow and I was very pleased. Then I began to notice little holes on my tender cabbage leaves. I couldn’t really see what was causing those. Must be some creepy crawlies but I couldn’t see any. Did I mention that I am terrified of creepy crawlies. Totally terrified, they really really creep me out.

A few days later I could clearly see what was causing these holes. By this stage those green caterpillars have gotten as fat and long as my index finger. I was so grossed out. Try as I did, I could not bear to touch them to remove them, not even with my gardening gloves on. I used scissors in the end. But this has really put a tarnish on all my rosy dreams of organic living.

My tomatoes were still growing OK, beans too, chillies were beginning to blossom. There was hope yet. Unfortunately it was a very wet summer that year, and the tomatoes got too much water, the beans, just as they were beginning to yield some lovely green beans started to develop some fungi on their leaves. The chilli blossoms rotted thanks to the rain. The only thing that seemed to be doing OK was the chicory. Too bitter for the caterpillars and they managed to grow before it became too wet. It was a rather disappointing start to my gardening adventure.

The following year I decided that I didn’t care too much about veggies, not if I have to share them with humongous caterpillars. I did put in some tomatoes, a bit earlier this time and when the caterpillars appeared, I managed to squash them (with gardening gloves on) and took some satisfaction in that. Unfortunately this time, it was a very dry summer… But we did get some tomatoes, though not as much as hoped. We also got some short and almost round cucumbers, so refreshing in summer. We even got some beans and snow peas, pity I only grew a plant each and there was never enough for a proper stir fry.

Crunchy green beans and snow peas

Round cucumber and yellow tomatoes

Fresh garlic

Fresh garlic

I grew lots of flowers this time, pretty annuals for my girls. They picked them and threw them into their paddle pool where they took flower baths. They took their bath in that paddle pool almost every day that hot summer and after that they’d help me water the garden with the water from their pool.

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Now it’s time to start planning for this summer’s planting. I think I’ll go mostly with seedlings this time and only grow my beans from seed. I’ve got some bamboo poles and I’m planning to make a wigwam structure for them and I think it’s best to start them off from seed. I have found that beans are not hard to grow, but hard to keep alive, because I’ve had fungus attack them on my two attempts.

I want to grow lots of basil. I’ll put them together with my tomatoes and hopefully that will help them both grow better. My basil is quite a small leave variety but so fragrant (Basil Vino Verde) and this way it won’t take away the sun from the tomatoes.

I’m hoping that my chillies will grow better this year. I’m going to get some seeds from Mum. She grew beautiful chillies last year. Mum grow lovely, luscious vegetables, I think the secret is in her homemade compost. In my attempt to duplicate her success, I talked myself into starting a compost bin. Not for the faint hearted, and I’m definitely faint of heart when it comes to dealing with creepy crawlies. I’ll tell you more about my ongoing composting adventure in a future post.

There will be lots more colourful flowers. The girls love these, it makes them feel like fairies playing in the garden and it’s so beautiful when setting up our Christmas lunch in the garden.

A summer arrangement

A summer arrangement

Oh I am so looking forward to summer. There is nothing as glorious as a NZ summer. Long lazy days with lots of sunshine, ice lemon tea, ice popsicles, watching the girls run around in their togs in the garden, jumping in and out of their paddle pool.

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Father’s Day Presents – Check!

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Dearest Sultana,

Father’s day in NZ falls on the first Sunday of September. That’s this coming Sunday. I think this is probably the first year I’m prepared for it.

My husband is very hard to buy for. His favourite pastime used to be surfing trademe (NZ’s eBay equivalent) (his new favourite site is kayak fishing NZ, more on that soon) and if he needs something he will find and buy it there. Let’s say he’s a bit of a shopaholic. He is very good at finding a good deal and for the most part of it, he rarely buys unnecessarily. So come birthdays, Christmas and father’s day, it is very hard to come up with anything. And to be honest I don’t always get him something, sometimes I cook him his favourite dish, other times we just go somewhere a bit special. He’s the same with me, I don’t always get something special on my special days but sometimes on a perfectly ordinary day, he would surprise me with something special.

However this year, I have not one but two surprises in store for him. All thanks to his new hobby, kayak fishing. He took it up in January this year and since then has been fishing at least once every single week. He’s like a different person. It gives him so much enjoyment. Even more surprisingly, he has really taken to the kayak fishing website. He spends hours on it everyday, reading about trip reports from other members, commenting, planning and dreaming of the next big fish.

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I have to admit in the beginning I was getting quite jealous of all this time he’s spending on his fishing. Those first few months it took us a while to adjust to this new hobby. I think the last few months we have finally been able to find a compromise. He can go fishing so long as he reserves one weekend day to spend with his girls. It’s actually quite nice that way because the girls and I can visit with grandma or go out with my sister. And when he spends his day with us, he’s completely there for us, refreshed after a day out at sea.

The only problem with this scenario is the fish. Cooking fish is not something I’m completely comfortable with. The scaling, gutting, etc, not fun. Even when he does those for me, I will need to either fillet or cut the fish into steaks. I can cook it whole but that reduces my cooking options. Moreover, I’m not particularly fond of fish. I didn’t know this until I had this overflow supply of fish.

Whenever I tell him of my reluctance to cook his fish, he tells me we need to get a deep fryer. And I’ve always said NO! Deep fryer? Do we need another reason to eat unhealthy food? Do we have space in our cluttered kitchen for a deep fryer? And once that fryer has been used to cook his fish, it will smell all fishy and we can’t use it for anything else (I know, I don’t need it for anything else!). However after giving it more thought, and the fact that I really don’t enjoy filleting his fish and all that comes with that (sharp fins! scales all over my kitchen! blunt knives! fishiness that permeates the whole house!), I have been persuaded to get one, and what better time to present this than on father’s day!

De'Longhi Roto deep fryer

De’Longhi Roto deep fryer

On top of that, the girls and I have collected his best fishing/kayaking photos and made a collage on snapfish. It looks awesome! Now we just need to get a frame for it. Maybe May will make a colourful one for him.

PS. I promise I will still attempt to cook his fish in other styles, steaming, grilling… but it’s nice to have this option for days when I just can’t be bothered.

 

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A Productive Trip to the Library

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Dearest Sultana,
I’ve had such a productive morning! Dropped off May at school, then drove straight to the local library and picked up the book’s I’ve ordered. I’ve put down an order for quite a few bag making books, to get ideas for the bags I’ll be making for my Christmas pressies.
Here they are:

Today's haul

Today’s haul

I’ll tell you more about them once I’ve had a skim through. They also had a Peppa Pig DVD we haven’t watched yet. So that will be a little treat for the girls.
I always get so excited when my book orders arrive and almost rush down to pick them up immediately. I love our local library system. Ever since the councils in Auckland city were amalgamated into one central council, all the libraries have effectively been merged which means I can order any book in any of the 52 libraries. It is rare for me to search for a book and not find it in their system. And the service is free!
While at the library, we joined the Rhymetime session, June did some singing and dancing, and there was some story telling. Today it was “We are going on a Bear Hunt” and by the time we got home… she was all set for her nap.
Here is a picture of something May drew in school last week:

My favourite thing is to go to the bookshop

My favourite thing is to go to the bookshop

I love this! And I love that that is her favourite thing. When I was little, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a library. I’m not sure why. I know Mum used to tell me lots of stories, mostly verbally, sometimes from books. Mum was a great story teller (still is), and even when she tells them from books, she would make up the story, so the story changes everytime she tells it. She tells lovely stories to my two munchkins now. Maybe libraries were just not accessible where I grew up. So I make it a point to take the girls to the library, we usually go at least once a week.
We have a lovely library in Birkenhead. It has the best views of the city from it’s giant glass windows and a beautiful children’s section. There are often activities on offer and a little playground right outside.
Recently May has been interested in Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. She watched it as a play a few months back with Grandma and we discussed how when I was her age I used to love Pippi Longstocking too. We ordered a book from the library and it finally arrived about a week ago. We’ve been slowly reading through it during our bedtime story. Did you know that it was published in 1945! Wow, I had no idea! Even when I was little, it was already a classic.

As illustrated by Lauren Child
Before Pippi Longstocking, May was really into fairy tales, she didn’t really care for them earlier, but when her German grandparents were here, they introduced these to her and we’ve been reading the same fairy tales with lots of different variations for months. So I’m rather pleased that she is now interested in something new. Although I’m sure that we will always return to Fairy Tales and their variations.

please don't eat me
June loves books about fish, whenever her Daddy comes home from his fishing trips, she must inspect his catch and whenever she sees any fish (dead or alive or on print), she will call them Daddy’s fish. This is one of our favourite’s, Please Don’t Eat Me by Roger de Muth.

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Daster – an Indonesian Daydress

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Dearest Sultana,

In Indonesia it is  common for ladies to wear an all purpose house dress called a “daster”.

It is quite dusty in Indonesia so when we get home after spending some time outside the house it is normal to remove our shoes, usually give our feet a quick wash which has the dual effect of cleaning and cooling the feet. Changing out of our dusty clothes into some clean house clothes is the next step. These can be anything comfortable but for ladies and young girls it is common to change into a daster which can also double as nightwear. We often also take a shower after spending some time outside the house. Most people take two showers a day and they are also both cleansing and cooling. It does get awfully hot in that part of the world and the heat is relentless. It is hot all day and all night every night of the year, really in Indonesia there are only two seasons, hot season and very hot season.

When I was young and still living in Indonesia, we rarely used an air conditioner. When I think back now I wonder how we managed it. Although I’ve only been back one since we moved to NZ, I think that it has definitely gotten hotter since my days there.

When my mother in law (I call her mum) came to visit a month ago, it was the middle of winter in NZ. This didn’t stop her from getting inspired to sew some lovely dasters for my two munchkins. My MIL was a seamstress back in the day, she used to be very busy and highly sought after because she was one of the few who sewed in her village (by NZ standards, her village was a proper little city).

So when she asked me if I had any special requests for her to make, I told her that I can buy most things at the shops, but they don’t sell dasters in NZ. She sat down to make some paper patterns and told me how much fabric she needed. I went out to get some, mostly fabrics on sale, soft and light cottons that will be cooling in summer. I also bought some flannel for winter dasters.

Here are the results:

Horses on pink back ground

Horses on pink back ground

She used every last scrap of the horse fabric and managed to get out another little one for June.

Bold red flowers on fresh white background

Bold red flowers on fresh white background

This bold flowery fabric was a real steal, $3/m at 180cm width. I bought 1.5m and mum managed to get out two beautiful dasters for the girls. They look like proper summer dresses! And the fabric is lovely and cool to the touch.

This one was made from left over fabric from other projects.

This one was made from left over fabric from other projects. I love the pockets.

Daster usually has the zip or opening on the front of the dress, so it’s easy to get in and out of. It is only meant to be worn at home, but I think these are so lovely I can get away with June wearing them while she accompanies me when I run short errands near our home.

I think we are all set and ready for summer now.

She also made some winter dasters out of cost flannel and worn pretty much everyday. They get worn again right after they come out of the wash. I think it would have been good if we had another set but winter is almost over… I feel it’s too late for me to attempt another pair.

Mum did leave me basic paper patterns for both girls, maybe I’ll attempt a summer dress. She made it look so easy and gave me some good tips.

I am very grateful to have such a lovely and talented mother in law. She has had a very colourful life with plenty of ups and downs. But she’s an optimist, a survivor and she has such a generous heart. I really admire her spirit.

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

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Dearest Sultana,

I think I have mentioned before that laundry is the one house chore that I enjoy (to a certain degree). I’m not saying that I’m particularly good at it. Sometimes I miss a bit of tissue and the whole load has specks of tissue on it, often I miss some stains. I’m not overly fussed of the results, as long as they are clean and fresh at the end. A little bit of stain is not going to ruin my day.

May and I both suffer from eczema. Her eczema was really pretty bad about 2 years ago. It affected her sleeping and it was heartbreaking to see all those angry scratches on her little body. We’ve been to see the doctor of course and had allergy tests done. We’ve been to see a chinese doctor. I wasn’t sure what else to do. I myself have seen all sorts of specialists when I first had severe eczema, and none of it has really helped so in a way I had been through all of this before and the results didn’t persuade me to put May through the same thing.

So being at my wits ends, I decided to look around the internet and one thing that keeps coming up is that the chemicals in our modern lives is one of the major triggers for eczema. That’s when I decided to start looking for more natural alternatives to a lot of the chemicals that we used on a daily basis at home.

One of my favourite natural products manufacturers is Ecostore. I like that they’re affordable, as natural as possible and they smell really good. I have to admit, it’s the good smells that really sold the products to me. It’s not that strong smell you get with a lot of other products (in shampoos, soaps, detergent) but a natural smell, like a freshly squeezed lemon or grapefruit. I use all their products on my girls when they were babies, and still do (and it smells so good!). And I use their laundry detergent on my husbands dirty work clothes (he’s a sheetmetal engineer and handles grease and all that comes with it regularly, his clothes really do get filthy).

On the girls’ and my own clothes, I use my home made laundry liquid. At the time I was looking into a more natural lifestyle, I came across this book by Wendyl Nissen:

A home companion

It is full of her hilarious account into living a more sustainable life and it also had lots of great tips and recipes. One of which is the laundry liquid recipe. That recipe and many many more are all available on her website.
Here’s the recipe for her laundry detergent:

½ bar (60g) Castile, vegetable-based or Sunlight soap, grated (I use Ecostore’s soap)
1.5 litres of water
½ cup washing soda (I get this from Bin Inn)
50g or 1/4 cup borax (I get this from Bin Inn)
1 litre hot water
Place soap in a saucepan with the first quantity of water and heat on low until soap is dissolved. Stir in washing soda and borax. Stir for a few minutes until thickened and remove from heat. (If you’re using Castile or vegetable-based soap it won’t thicken straight away, but don’t worry, it will overnight in the bottles). Add 1 litre of hot water to a bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well. Fill bucket with another 5 litres of hot water and mix well. Pour into old milk bottles or other containers and set aside for 24 hours or until mixture thickens. Use ½ cup of mixture per load. It is easy to squeeze from the bottles as it is quite gluggy.
Tip: Add about 20 drops lavender oil at the end before pouring into the bottles for a nice fragrance, or try eucalyptus oil, which is great for woollens.

See, the ingredients are so few and simple and I’m telling you, it really cleans well (though not well enough for my husbands filthy work clothes). And you get about 6 litres of detergent for less than $5!!! It lasts me about half a year and I wash about twice a week. The only drawback, is that there is no fragrance to this detergent, I know it says add drops of natural oils, but I can’t smell any of it no matter how much I pour in. I don’t think of that as a drawback though. I like that there’s no overpowering smell on my laundry, it only smells of clean and sunshine.

Two years on, May still has eczema but it is mostly under control. I don’t know if it’s because we have consciously tried to limit the chemicals in our life or she’s just grown out of it. We still use steroid creams as soon as we see a hint of a flare up and that does really help a lot.

I am still using Wendyl Nissen’s liquid laundry detergent, I’m so grateful for her generosity in making the recipe available. I have to admit I can no longer stand the smell of artificial fragrance in commercial detergents.

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Swimming – May’s journey

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Dearest Sultana,

May has always been a rather timid child, in that way she is like me and June is the more adventurous of the two, just like her Daddy. I think it may have something to do with their birth order. May is the first born like me and June the second like her daddy.

When May was still very little we took her to a local beach on two occasions and both times she ended up with an angry looking rash. After that we didn’t take her back again. To be honest we were busy with other things in our lives and the beach wasn’t much of a priority at the time.

Fast forward three years, my dad and his wife came to visit and spend Christmas with us. My dad is a true German outdoorsman. He’s over 60 but he’s incredibly fit and spends his European summers climbing mountains, crossing glaciers and camping all over Europe. His wife is a great sport too and I think she enjoys the outdoors every bit as much as him. NZ is like an unexplored heaven to them.

They travelled the bottom half of the North Island when they came for our wedding eight years ago and this trip they did a slow exploration of the upper half of the north island. They always come back full of praises over the friendliness of the people, the great public facilities and the breathtaking beauty of NZ. Dad recounted to me how when he gets served at the supermarket checkout, the operator would enquire about his day and at the completion of the transaction would thank him and wish him good day. I was dumbfounded, I asked him how it is different in Germany, and he tells me that customers are expected to be as quick and as efficient as possible and it would be a very special day when the checkout operator smiles back at him. Well, you can’t argue against German efficiency.

While Opa and Oma were here, we spent most days outdoors and Opa and Oma enjoyed going to the beach as much, if not more than our two little munchkins.

So that was the first time May had a swim in the beach. And we all expected her to be hesitant and generally not too enthusiastic. Instead, as soon as she hit the water, she became a water baby. The change was so instant and unexpected but it was such a delight to watch her. And June was the complete opposite, she was completely grossed out by the feel off the mushy wet sand on her feet and was walking around on tippy toes. She looked like a little miss wearing high heels.

We went to the beach many more times that summer, to the complete joy and delight of the girls and their Oma and Opa.

With Oma and Opa

With Oma and Opa

After that I decided it was high time for May to start taking swimming lessons. The Auckland city council was doing a lot of promotions for their swim school. The course price was reduced and on top of that they were implementing a new free admittance scheme for children up to the age of 16. I enrolled May and we were lucky enough to be the only one in her session. So we had private lessons for that whole term. And we have an excellent teacher who can speak Indonesian and is very good with May.

May has taken very well to instructions and when she comes home from her lessons, she demonstrates her latest moves to June, whereby June insists on putting on her swimsuit (over her long sleeved onesies)and goggles and copying everything her sister does.

They have weekly lessons during term time, but during the 2 week term breaks, there are intensive daily lessons and these have really pushed her forward. I am so pleased to see how well and how confident she has become. Last term holiday, she finally let go of her swimming board and it’s really freed her up, she is swimming about like an otter. We still have some ways to go though, she still has to learn to perfect her strokes and hasn’t even started to learn to breath while swimming, but I’m delighted with her progress and her enthusiasm for the water.

Looking forward to summer and swims in the beach.

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