A birthday and things

I’m not one for formal introductions or knowing what the right words are to say at the beginnings of things so I’ll skip all that and get on with it. Here’s a snippet of my week and some things I learned, discovered and enjoyed.

I took three days of annual leave this week from my serious grown up job. The first was spent creating with my partner’s birthday in mind. I cross stitched on to some clothing for him in an effort to hand-make most of his gifts and to learn a new thing. Learning number one: How to do simple cross stitch. Learning number two: I don’t like cross stitch. At all. It was so unbelievably slow and my poor fingertips were a mess of puncture wounds by the time I was done. I don’t mind working on knitting projects for weeks at a time, or even months so perhaps I need to try again without a deadline so I can take it slowly and enjoy the process more but I think I won’t be doing that for a while. I need some time to heal from the trauma of this experience. R liked the things I made and he has been wearing them non-stop so that’s a win I’d say. I think that he really does appreciate all the painful stitches and that’s a pretty good feeling.

It’s likely I broke all the cross stitch rules with these because I really just had an idea and went with it (could also be why I found it so unpleasant). I hand-basted aida cloth onto the jerseys after carefully measuring and aligning the cloth for the perfect placement, drafted out my designs on some maths paper stolen from my big kids old maths book (resourceful!) and got to stitching. When the pieces were complete, I frayed away the aida cloth, leaving the stitches on fabric. It was a massive gamble really, I had no idea if it would work, what it would look like after I removed the aida cloth, or even if I’d be able to fray it away as planned after stitching onto it.


I also knitted him a hat using some vegan cotton yarn, double stranded together as a substitute for bulky weight yarn. I used the same yarn to make him some fingerless gloves a month or so back so now he has is all matchy-matchy. All the yarn was stash yarn too, which was satisfying. The pattern was Brassica, by Tiffany Kuzniar and I made a few tweaks to the design to make it work for his style. The key changes were in the ribbing band, which I stopped working after only 3cm rather than continuing on as the pattern said and I made the hat much shorter than the original design as R is most definitely not a slouchy hat kind of guy. This knit was much more my kind of project and was made over a few days of bus rides to work and back in order to be sneaky and not have him know what I was up to.

For his actual birthday-day the kids and I got up and made him a “custom breakfast” which Edie had decided he should have on his birthday. She decided this and told him of her plan without consulting me and I’m feeling very lucky she didn’t choose something completely unrealistic to bestow upon him that I would have to try and make happen. His choice of breakfast was pretty simple really, bagels, vegan cream cheese, vegan “facon” with avocado. After gives (this is what Edie, 7, calls gifts and I love it) and breakfast I went off to take care of our little store in the city, hence the annual leave from my other job. When you run your own business you don’t really get annual leave and time off is hard to put into practice. Because I have a full time job outside of the store, I can book in annual leave and then share it with R. It’s not an ideal set up but it’s not forever. The store is still just a baby really, and in time we’ll make time off more doable.

After my day in the store R and I went off to The Botanist for dinner. Thanks a whole bunch to my Zoe who came and babysat Edie so we could be out of the house at the same time with no kids in tow. A rare thing indeed. Wellington on a Plate happens to be on at the moment so we got to enjoy delicious festival food that was very satisfying and made our pukus very happy.

Apart from birthday celebrations, this has been a quiet week here but I’ve spent some time working on my uniform cardigan and thinking about ways that we can reduce our environmental impact and consume less products with plastic packaging. R was given some reusable produce bags as part of a birthday give (hehe) from his mum and it prompted me to get a few more for bulk foods and start thinking seriously about other things we can do to reduce waste. I’ll write more about it another time but if you have any thoughts or ideas then please let me know!


Nau mai, haere mai!

Welcome, friends!

I’m a māmā of two, living in Te Whanganui-tara, Aotearoa (Wellington, New Zealand). My ancestors are from Te Atiawa in Taranaki and on my dad’s side, Germany. I have two kidlets, my oldest is Jay and my baby who is not a baby is Pai.

I live a somewhat ridiculous life, being a māmā to my two tamariki (children), working full time at a busy not-for-profit, helping out around the edges to run the business that my partner and I own. I work a lot. When I have any minutes to spare, I sneak in time for making. I’m pretty loyal to knitting, sewing and crochet these days but if I see something I want to make, I’ll find a way to teach myself how. My other passion is te reo, the language of my ancestors on my mum’s side of my family. I’ve been on this learning journey for more than 10 years and have struggled to get beyond a basic conversational level. Through inspirational friends, a workplace that embraces te reo and smooshing my two passions together here, I hope to be able to continue learning and growing and making.

Also, my dad calls me Millie and don’t tell my siblings but I’m almost certainly probably possibly his favourite.

Ngā mihi māhana,

Nā Manda