Friday, October 29, 2010

rotorua (part one)

Thanks to some very special friends (Murray and Gaye) I have just spent a lovely week hanging out on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. It is the most idyllic spot. Beth, Mikey and Holly came down for the weekend and then I spent the rest of the week on my own. It was so nice to have space - to think, pray, walk, craft, explore.... I let Auckland and all the stresses of life fall away and embraced the tranquility of my surroundings.

This is where we stayed. Our villa is straight above the trampoline.
 The view from the breakfast table.
Chess. We didn't get round to a game but lovely to look at!
Regular visitors!
Enjoying the facilities!
The local maze - advertised as the "largest, most complex about." Huh? About what?
The coolest people in the maze....
 An iced moccachino.....
 ....with Holly. Amazing!! (The drink and Holly)
Lake Rotorua. Beautiful!! (The view and Mikey)
 More swans
Californian Redwoods. They were planted in 1919 and are so massive. It's funny to be in the midst of something so American with New Zealand bush and pungas poking through!
It was a fun weekend with the family.... exploring all the cheap and free activities Rotorua has to offer (and there are a few), drinking "halvsies" (you can imagine what they are), enjoying the first swim of the season (it was so hot), Edward/Twilight/vampire style running through the redwoods (thanks Mikey), laughing our heads off (me anyway!). So I waved them off on Sunday afternoon and settled back for the rest of the week. Highlights follow in my next blog post....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

weekend away

Once a year St Paul's has a weekend away for the whole church. It's a real family event. Everyone goes - from little babies to the oldest couple in church (who are in their 80's!!). Families, children, young people, couples, singles.... everyone is welcome. I love it! I get to hang out and chat with all sorts of different people and get to know them in a way that is difficult in the busyness of everyday life. This year's theme was Hands On. This was worked out in a variety of ways. Here are some of my highlights....

....the (girls only) Colour Me Party. We sewed and embroidered fabric squares to be put together into a quilt for Homes of Hope. Sewing and chatting with the girls - two of my favourite things!!
....the opportunity to add some colour to yourself. Painting beautiful nails!!
....the Hands On workshops. Beth and I ran a Crafty Goodness workshop where we made button brooches. Thanks to Megan Robinson for the inspiration and "how tos". As you can see this was definitely enhanced by having beautiful nails!
....the gorgeous Sam Mockett's Cup Cake Decorating workshop (right next door to us). This worked out well as we managed to score some of her delicious cupcakes. They are divine!
As you can see the cupcake is also enhanced by Beth's beautifully painted nails!
....the Don't get caught red handed! "hand" printed t shirts.
....this lively bunch (who I spent a lot of my weekend with). Fun times!!
....and the venue - Totara Springs. I managed to sneak out early before everyone was up to capture some images. It's such a beautiful place. (That is if you don't count my cabin. It had a faint toilet smell! You'll be glad that I didn't include any images of that!) Back to the beauty....
Bye bye Totara Springs. See you next year!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

kitchen tea

Beth and I hosted a kitchen tea for my niece Esther. It has involved months of planning and preparation. We developed everything round a vintage, floral theme. We made a paper pompom chandelier.
We also made linen napkins, appliqued and then embroidered them with blanket stitch. They were our special hostess gift. Everyone had one to use, then take home with them.
We got out our combined stash of Crown Lynn crockery, vintage crystal glasses, linen and doilies. We also used a variety of cake plates and tiered cake stands to display the food. We styled the rooms with vintage books, accessories....
..... and beautiful flowers in glass jars and bottles.
We also cooked up a baking frenzy in the kitchen to produce some delicious home baked goodies, tasty sandwiches and treats. We owe a big thanks to Holly for baking her extremely moreish chocolate chip cookies. One is never enough!!
Everything came together really well. It was everything we hoped for.... elegant, visually beautiful and special for Esther and her family and friends. It was a lovely afternoon. We shared recipes and advice with Esther. Funny and heartfelt! There's something nice that happens when women get together to support and encourage each other. 
Here's the bride-to-be herself and yes, they are discussing her gorgeous engagement ring!!

Photos by Beth Peters (with a couple by me!)


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