Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Beautiful New Zealand

Fia has had a very successful 4th birthday party with friends old and new, and now can proudly say she's going on for 5. Nine delightful children, their very pleasant parents and a delicious birthday cake made it a very happy afternoon. I think she enjoyed the party more than getting presents, which seems like a nice attitude for a little girl to have.

I'm heading off tomorrow, first to stay with friends for a couple of days, and then to New Zealand. I had my first major bookbinding lessons at the Auckland Institute of Technology and Bill Downie, the first of two wonderful teachers, set a very high standard. I saw Bill and his wife on my last trip to Auckland and he remains one of my bookbinding heroes.

The first half of my month in NZ will be spent in the South Island in the Marlborough Sounds, at Picton, staying with friends of many years, who own The Portage Resort Hotel in Kenepuru Sound. One of the most beautiful places on earth. The Marlborough region is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wines, and I'm looking forward to trying new labels developed since I was last there. I'll also visit Nelson, and track down some blogging and Facebook friends. Then I'll catch the Interislander Ferry, a 3 hour trip in a very large car ferry, hopefully on a calm sea, which will take me to Wellington, capital city of NZ, on the southern tip of the North Island. A quick plane trip will take me back to Auckland.

The second half of my holiday will be spent in and around Auckland with bookbinding friends, some of whom I met all those years ago at Auckland Inst. of Technology. We have a lot planned, people to see, places to go, and I hope a little book making thrown in. My hosts live at Muriwai Beach, another beautiful place - one thing you have to say about New Zealand, each place is prettier than the next. Do click on the link to see this wonderful beach and the Gannet Colony - just spectacular. I'm taking my new camera, lots of art materials, and just a few clothes. Something to do with priorities.

I'll be home on 30 March, with all batteries recharged I hope. I'm leaving my Secret Garden in the hands of my capable family. I'll be glad to get back to my garden but even more to see the little children again. And then I have books to make, and even more books...

Monday, 15 February 2010

One World One Heart give-away winner...

The winner of my Magic Carpet journal is Diana at Adventuring through Life - a really warm and gentle blog and one I'll be visiting often. Diana comes from Olmsted Falls OH, United States, makes beautiful earrings and bracelets and you may see these in her Etsy shop. Congratulations Diana, I hope you will enjoy using your new journal. I'll email you to get your address details.

At the last minute I decided to choose another visitor (both were chosen by a random number generator) to receive a magazine that showcases country Australia. This goes to Sandra, from Virginia, United States, who lives in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains on Thistle Cove Farm. Sandra, I'll email you too, to get your address.

Do visit both these blogs - they are delightful and heart warming. I'm so pleased that my gifts are going to such good homes.

I'm sure I've already said I was overwhelmed by the response to my journal. I had 490 comments and I would have gladly given every one of them the book. People generally put effort into their comments and it made me feel people were really talking to me. My intention is to visit all 490 visitors but I'd like to do that at a gentle pace so I can read, look at photos, visit shops and leave comments. I imagine this will take a long time but I'll do it. Thank you to all those who became following friends - I'll be visiting you too.

Thank you to everyone who commented, to Lisa Swifka of A Whimsical Bohemian for organising the event and to Eva (Lady Artisan) who alerted me to it. Now I have some emails to send - to Diana and Sandra.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Something that makes me smile

I thought this post shouldn't go by without a book photo. This is a tiny concertina I call Mardi Gras,  a very simple exercise in sewing pages into concertina folds. Quite cute, totally useless but pretty in a rather tizzy way.  Every time I come across it on my shelves I can't help smiling at the silliness of it, and we all know that smiling is a Good Thing.
The response to my One World One Heart giveaway has been overwhelming to say the least. There just aren't hours enough in a day to respond to everyone (at this time over 480 comments) but I will try to visit everyone over the next few weeks, or maybe months. I will certainly be visiting my followers to say hello.

Drop in on Monday 15 Feb at 6:00 p.m Sydney time when I announce the winner.