Flower power

April 20, 2014

In preparation for our wedding I made these.

Two boutineers, a corsage and a bridal posy bouquet. It took a while to figure out how best to make the blooms and they took ages, but I think they were worth it.





Making happy stuff

April 20, 2014

A few days off in a row has meant a little bit of time to make stuff. What a treat!

I’m trying to use up my fabric stash so I made this little beauty.

I went a little crazy with the mix and match concept, but the idea was to make something that makes you feel happy when you look at it.

And I think it does.

It’s a wee gift for a good friend who has been a superstar lately.

I used the pattern and instructions from here.





Traditional Hens

April 18, 2014

As some of you know I’m getting married soon.

I’ve always had quite strong feelings about marriage. I’ve been strongly opposed to getting married. Not opposed to other people getting married, but opposed to being married myself and opposed to the idea that some people weren’t and in some countries, still aren’t, afforded that right.

But this blog is not about that.

I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had since my ‘Hen’s night’.

We weren’t really sure what to call it, and my buddy, who helped organise the event, ended up calling it ‘Celebrating Karin’ which seemed a rather sweet way around it.

I had mixed feelings about it. I wasn’t sure initially if I needed one, but then I decided that I wanted one. Why not? An opportunity to sit with friends and drink some drinks. My friends were keen and their enthusiasm was contagious. However the only examples of hen’s nights I had ever seen were gaggles of drunk girls in New York City 80′s clubs.

The wedding is to have a Rockabilly theme so a hair and make-up person was booked to show us some tricks and friends arrived with 50′s themed food. (Devilled eggs and lavender champagne if you’re wondering).

The night was so much fun, marred only by the absence of some of my dearest. We laughed while I had my hair curled and teased and victoriously rolled. The experience of getting thoroughly ‘done up’ was fun and novel and surprisingly entertaining to watch. Even though I worried that it was too ‘girly’ for my generally down-to-earth attitude and friends, it turns out that, in this case, being ‘girly’ was fun.

But what followed was even better.

We sat around and chatted. We talked about how my buddies had met their significant others and the host show us the most beautiful photo I’ve ever seen of a bride from her own wedding day. We swapped stories and secrets and there was a feeling of openness, of sisterhood which I only experience rarely.

It’s led me to acknowledge that some traditions may appear unimportant but that their true value may only be revealed once you’re immersed in them or even after they are over.

I imagine that the bachelorette night was once one of the few events when multiple generations of women gathered to swap stories and secrets, advice, warnings (Yes hun, it’s supposed to look like that) and recipies.

The opportunity to gather with women and talk frankly about matters that are most personal are few and far between. There is something special about these spaces and they are deserving of our time, effort and almost veneration. They are sacred, not as a result of a connection with a god or gods, but because of the connection to one another in those tender conversations.

This is tradition I can get behind. I’m glad I didn’t have a wild night on the town at an 80′s club with a fake veil and other embarrassing paraphenalia. Oh I’m sure that is fun for some, it’s just not my kind of fun.

Give me the quieter conversations, the honest exchanges, the genuine connections where we can appreciate ourselves and our various journeys, truly reflecting on and appreciating all we are and have to offer.

Give me those anyday.



… and then I waited for the response somewhat anxiously.*

I’m one of those people who takes on loads of commitments. This has pretty much been a lifelong habit. For most of my life this has also been a successful strategy for personal and professional development and has contributed greatly to my achievements in life.

Taking on new opportunities and challenges has enabled me to learn new skills knowledge and set myself apart from my peers. It was a way of communicating to anyone who cared: “Hey, I’m good, just look how busy I am and how well I take on new challenges”.

And it worked. That old adage of “if you want something done, give it to the busiest person’ seemed to apply and people would ask me to do more and more. I started taking on formal leadership roles at university and got my first management role in my late 20′s. I got headhunted and for a time being, quite highly paid. So it was not only a successful strategy but a strategy for success.

I kept putting my hand up, driven by an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, social justice and of course, good old-fashioned ambition. But for the last couple of years, that strategy hasn’t been adding to the quality of my life, it’s been detracting.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been coping with pain and discomfort in my wrist, forearms and lately, upper arms too. The lack of balanced activity in my life (too much time at the computer and not enough opposing activity) has left me with weak upper arms and shoulders. Fortunately my physio confirmed that I do not have any cartilage or tendon damage or problems with my carpal-tunnel. For that I’m grateful. These aches and pain are manageable, curable even.  Not everyone is so lucky.

The shooting pains and pins and needles have driven me to reexamine my life and how I lead it (again). It’s clear that I need to reprioritise. So I’m trying to slow down, increase the amount of exercise I do, focus on doing more of what I enjoy. But slowing down also means doing less.

The idea of giving things up, fills me with dread. “People need me” my overdeveloped sense responsibility would whisper. “Because I can, I must help”. If I tried to quit a group, all someone had to do was express dismay and I would quite possibly, come running back.

But here is the thing. It’s not just a sense of responsibility and social justice that compels me, there is clearly a strong ego-driven competent here. Some of you might think this has been obvious all along, but it wasn’t that obvious to me. And if it was, I did a pretty good job of pretending it wasn’t.

The truth is that it feels good to be asked to do things. It feels great to get thanked and praised and receive those imaginary gold stars of recognition.

That whisper of “They need me” may be true (and often it isn’t) but that doesn’t mean they can’t get it done without me. To make a blanket assumption otherwise would be nothing short of arrogance. Why would I assume that I am so integral? Why should I doubt the capability of and therefore devalue the people around me?

I’ve always been a know-it-all, confident in myself and perhaps a bit arrogant. But I’ve also prided myself on my leadership skills. I suppose what’s dawning on me is that sometimes leadership means not doing something because you place your faith and confidence in others, thus empowering them to do whatever it was they asked you to do.

Writing this reminds me of one of the first leadership roles I ever had. I ran a group of peer educators for a number of years at university and worked closely with a friend called Liz to run the events. She made a point of telling me one day that she had never thought she would be able to take on leadership roles like that and credited me with empowering her to do so.

From my perspective she had always been capable, she just hadn’t had an opportunity or someone who believed in her abilities. That’s a form of leadership that isn’t discussed as much as some of the other, more obvious traits. In this case leadership can be about clearing space for others and demonstrating our confidence in them.

So I don’t have to sacrifice well-being to help save the world and I sure can help build the belief in others that they can make a difference.

* by the way, I can happily confirm that this responsibility has remained relinquished.

A rotten card indeed

A rotten card indeed

Oh har har. So fucking funny right?

Because only women like Maroon 5 right?

And so if you like Maroon 5, you must be a woman right? *

Because women don’t like metal right?

And being a woman is just so awful that calling a man “a woman” is apparently a terrible insult, right?

Is that why it’s funny?

Or is it because liking Maroon 5 must mean you have your period, because of all those womanly emotions and stuff….?

I fail to see why insulting people by calling them ‘female’.. is funny. I am a woman. So are 50+% of the population. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to be a woman. So stop treating my gender like an insult.

C’mon folks. Think before you post stupid shit like this.


* Newsflash, not all women use or need tampons. Not all women menstruate. Imagine that. Diversity of biology within our gender.


What the Fox?

November 3, 2013

Foxes are pretty trendy at the moment and I can see why! They are super cute, wily and function extremely well as design inspiration.

This hoody was inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest. Someone way more talented than I came up with this idea.

This was also my first time doing appliqué and I think it came out super cute!





October 18, 2013

We left two of our beloved toys at a friends house. And this happened.

“Pay the ransom or the doe-eyed giraffe gets the knife”


“Last warning or the fat cat gets the sharp slice”


“Fat cat so scared”


“I warned you”


“Electrocuted kitty nipples smell like burning chicken”


I submit

October 10, 2013

I have been struggling to find the words for a submission to the select committee inquiry into funding for the sexual violence sector. I thought I would write this epic, moving, eloquent, analytical piece of brilliance.

But I couldn’t do it.

Instead, I’ve submitted to the emotional exhaustion that comes with caring so much about all the harm that it keeps you working and working and working and just said the only few lines I could think of.

I’ve submitted this:

I volunteer for a sexual violence support agency.

The work that is done there is some of the most important work in the world. Lives are saved. Regularly.

The experiences of survivors need to be validated. All survivors are entitled to a safe and accessible place to talk about the harm that has been done to them. Current funding does not enable services to meet the need. People are left to cope on their own.

The workers who support survivors should be valued through strong salaries and the support they need to continue to do the work. Current funding means they struggle to make the organisational ends meet, they worry about the sustainability of their own livelihoods and may even be harmed themselves through prolonged exposure to this work if the right support systems are not in place.

The Government must increase funding for sexual violence support agencies.

The Government must take a strong, explicit stand against sexual violence, sexual assault and rape in our communities.

Everyone’s life is harmed by the existence of rape and sexual abuse. As long as rape and sexual abuse exists, we are all survivors.

Do not leave it up to charity and volunteerism to pick up the tremendous cost of this difficult work.


If you would like to make a submission. Here are some links.


Wellington Rape Crisis Submission guide – http://www.wellingtonrapecrisis.org.nz/blog/submissions

A video message about submitting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upki0L3yP4Y
MAKE YOUR SUBMISSION HERE – http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/sc/make-submission/50SCSS_SCF_00DBSCH_INQ_12392_1/inquiry-into-the-funding-of-specialist-sexual-violence

Some sewing

October 6, 2013

Yesterday, I tried to refashion a huge dress I found at the tip-shop, but I gave up after I butchered the neckline. I felt pretty discouraged, but today I completed three sewing projects.

The first was an adult dress which became a peasant style tope for Anabelle I just loved this fabric!



Then I turned this adult sized skirt in to a dress for Kadie. (I died it last weekend)


And then I made this tee shirt dress for Kadie and I plan to make one for Anabelle tomorrow.


And just because it’s hilarious, check out this photo. Anabelle try to be cool and dad playing the fool. (Shades of things to come…. )


DIY Princess dress

September 26, 2013

For years we’ve encouraged a range of interests for our girls. This year we fully indulged the princess theme for the birthday party for the seven year old and I made the dresses.

You know those pink mosquito net things that some kids have? Well ours had them, but it only took the dog jumping on the bed a couple of times for them to start tearing. They would have let a mosquito the size of a cat through, but I knew there would be a way to recycle them.

So I laid them out, folded them (Which was a HUGE pain to do as they are pretty unwieldy) chopped them up and folded again. I added a casing so I could loop some of the material through to tie them around and added more loops as a halter tie.

Added a spangly bit to a big ribbon to cinch the waist in and ta-daa!

The end result was pretty good for a Friday night effort!

Princess Kadie


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