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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Matakana, New Zealand

One of my Christmas presents was tickets to the Fat Freddy's Drop concert at Ascension Vineyards in Matakana, which happened just this weekend gone.

What a fine excuse to spend the weekend in the Matakana area where there are lots of galleries, vintage shops, markets, vineyards, cafes and beaches - what's not to love?!

Vintage baches at Sandspit - looks better when the tide's in.

The concert was great - despite a 20 minute downpour that just finished before the main act - one of New Zealand's best loved bands.

The sun's out just in time for the main act at Ascension Vineyard, Matakana

Fat Freddy's Drop. The trombone player obviously has a good sense of humour, and some great dance moves

We ambled home the next day, after staying at a lovely B&B, via the Sunday market in Matakana and several of the beaches. 

Matakana Sunday Market - plenty of vintage and upcycled goods - I bought some (new) stainless steel straws.

We didn't stop at the Goat Island marine sanctuary, where people can snorkel among large fish because being a long weekend there were crowds of people - a bit much for us.
Instead we found this unpopulated spot - Jones Beach. We just loved the beautiful smooth stones.

The Park Ranger's house at Jones Beach - a beautifully preserved Kiwi villa

Pakiri Beach has lifeguards because the surf is a bit wild, but the lagoon is a lovely safe spot for families with small children. There is beach horse trekking available there too.
Pakiri Beach

The lagoon, Pakiri Beach

Thanks to Derek for the great photos - he does a much better job than me!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Guitar Strings and Chandelier Crystals

My garden is a shambles right now. We went away for a week, then I had a sore back, and on top of it all the possums ate all of my first crop of corn cobs grrr!
As well as all that, it is hot and humid, so that by 9.30am I have to come inside and wait until about 5pm to carry on out there.

So, with having to be inside most of the day I am finding time to play. 
Today's post is just a little one, with some examples of what I have been up to.
I love making do with what I have. Fortunately for me, being in the band, I have great access to used guitar strings. The boys have to change these after every six gigs or so.

The chandelier crystals came from the shop Junk and Disorderly in Auckland, and were $10 for all of them.
I'm going to make drop earrings from the two smallest crystals - am thinking they might make nice Christmas presents for the end of the year (if I remember and can find them).

This pendant uses a vintage cuff button, a piece of driftwood and a chain from which I removed a tacky piece of costume jewelery, and the chandelier crystals.

This one uses a guitar string and a long wooden thing with a hole through it that I have carried from house to house in my stash for probably thirty years.
...And a guitar string bracelet.

Watch this space for more playtime productivity.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Omapere and Opononi - Small Coastal Settlements - New Zealand

Last weekend our band played at a wedding in Omapere, which is a small coastal settlement on the Hokianga Harbour in Northland, - not far from Rawene, which I included in earlier posts here and here.
There's not a lot more than a resort hotel, a takeaway shop and a petrol station there, but it buzzes with people at this time of year.
Looking down to Omapere (obscured) where the jetty is in the foreground, and Opononi in the distance

Not far along the road is another little settlement - Opononi where there are a lot of different types of accommodation, plus cafes, a pub and a grocery store .
This house would be about 100 years old or more, central Opononi

Opononi hit world news in the 50's with a friendly bottlenose dolphin named "Opo" by the locals, which would come in regularly and play with swimmers.

The bronze statue in Opononi, in memory of Opo

Both settlements are blessed with spectacular scenery.

A classic Kiwi bach in Omapere, with the dunes in the background

The sand dunes on the far side of the harbour are a popular attraction for riding down the steep slopes on a boogie board - right into the water. 
The harbour entrance can be dangerous, becoming suddenly extremely rough, and has been the site of numerous shipwrecks in New Zealand's history.

At the Hokianga Harbour entrance

Locals - Opononi Jetty

and a local sign... 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Ripples From A Pebble Cast

Oh, two weeks have scurried by since my last post, just busy times mid summer, and we have been away (found a few glorious junk shops too, throwing in a picture or three here).
I just love this unfinished paint-by-numbers that I found in a charity shop, and I bought the book just for the cover really.

If you are ever in Auckland and you are a bibliophile, you would love this bookshop on two floors packed floor to ceiling with second hand books. We lost a couple of hours in here.
The Hard To Find Bookshop, Onehunga, Auckland
The place to go for those second hand books that you can't find anywhere else
The Pebbles

One of the things I decided to use my time on last year was writing letters (emails), to support things I care about. Interesting isn't it, what sometimes comes from the small ripple in the pond when one casts a pebble.
One such email was to Transition Towns Whangarei, suggesting we could maybe make a register of all places locally where people could feel supported in shopping in an eco-friendly, no-packaging manner. This idea gained support, and triggered another group who are working on reducing plastic bag use, which they invited me to join.
From that group I have volunteered to work with Sew Good - a community sewing place, with materials and machines provided for anyone from the community to use. The group had wound down, but will be up and running again soon.
Another email I sent was to a government department inquiring about who might be in charge of banning plastic microbeads, so I am happy to see in the news that banning microbeads in NZ is now being seriously considered. Obviously I wasn't the only one there, but every little bit helps.

Onward 2016!

Another group I joined last year was Facebook No New Clothes For A Year, so for the past few months I have been back to buying no clothing items at all, as opposed to the in-between years, when I will buy second hand. In this group you make your own rules. It is interesting, and the number of members is climbing daily.
I needed to repair a pair of shoes, as these ones are one of the few with a little height that I can stand in for 4 hours while I am playing in the band. They had started to split around the top of foot at the edge.

Typical of me, I forgot to take a before photo so I have included one of a similar pair. I put a few stitches in there to help hold it all together, then used E6000 glue to glue on a few "gems" that I had saved from something else. Now if only they last for the rest of the year.
I think there could be more mending and refashioning coming up this year. I enjoy the creative side of all that.