The Bed.

I can’t believe I forgot to post these images! Craig and I had a little dilemma in our bed making process. We had two very long pieces of wood for the sides of the bed, we had decided we wanted to use floating tenons to connect these pieces to the bed, well the only problem with that is we needed to put mortises in the ends of them. So how did we solve our dilemma? We took the router, clamps, jig, power cables and the wood out to the common house balcony and hung it over the edge 🙂




I had to build a safety barricade (with chairs) around the worksite to ensure nobody got anything dropped on their heads. But as crazy is it seems, it did the job. We’ve now finished the mortises and tenons for all the large pieces and just have the decorative work (you’ll understand when you see the final pictures) and the slats to do. We are hoping to knock most of it off this weekend, or at least I am and Craig just might find himself chained to the workshed 🙂

And here’s one of Craig in the workshed working on a tenon.



Long weekends

We just finished up a long weekend, spent in the way that I most love to spend them. Day 1 we went off on a drive north to Waipu for an antique fair which turned out to be a very little fair with not a great deal of interesting stuff, although Craig did pick up a metal working lath (?) from the antique shop around the corner:

lath   lath

Day 2 was spent lazing around in the sun doing mostly nothing, I say mostly because I finished my first ever ball of handspun.

Niddy Noddy (on the niddy noddy prior to a hot and then cold bath)

Ball of handspun (all rolled up ready to use)

It’s not the greatest ball of yarn ever I must admit, but it is my first, I am self taught and so to me it’s great. I’m still trying to decide what to do with it, should I knit or crochet and would should the something be?

Details: WPI = 10-11ish

Weight = 90 grams (no idea how many meters)

This was spun from Ashford roving that I purchased a long while ago and now I can’t remember what type of sheep it’s from (Coridale maybe?)

I believe this converts to somewhere in between a Bulky and a Double Knit/Worsted Weight yarn.

Day 3 of our weekend was the really productive one. We spent the entire day (after brunch) in the workshed building our bed. we have not cut and dressed over half the wood we need for our design so we are making great progress (ok I will admit that a few pieces were ones someone else had dressed a while ago and said we were welcome to use as he’d finished with them). The bed will be made from mostly recycled Rimu (sp?) with only the unseen parts (slats etc) possibly being from other wood. We forgot to take any photos yesterday but when there is something more interesting to see then pieces of wood I’ll take some and post.

However, today is a normal day and there is housework to day, washing to be done and gardens to plant.

And we’re back!

I have so much today now that we are home and rested a hardly have the time to stop and write this post.

I’ve just ran around to the house of a lovely lady from Auckland Freecycle who has given me several bags of Romany fleece (white and black). My Ashford Book of Spinning tells me that Romney is a great fleece for beginners to spin, which would be me. If you don’t know about the Freecycle network you should seriously research it for your area. It’s a great resource for those 3 R’s.

Ashford Spinning WheelAmong our clothing and christmas gifts I also managed to bring back my spinning wheel and spent a lovely time (except for the bit when I was swearing at the stupid screw thinging that wouldn’t go back into the hole it had come out of and had to grumble until Craig came and fixed it for me – love husbands *grin*). Anyway, I mostly happily put my spinning wheel back together, which gave me a much better understanding of how it all works, oiled up all the oiling up parts and now have a lot of reading and practice to do.

My new drum carder should arrive on Monday (yay), so I need to make sure that I wash at least some of the fleece I now have (I think I now have about 8 big bags). Researching my drum carder and my spinning wheel as made me realise there are still few things I need to add to my arsenal of wool craft tools. The most important ones right now being that it seems I have only 1 bobbin for my spinning wheel – which will become a problem very very quickly and I don’t have a Lazy Kate (but I may be able to make one or improvise) *sigh*

Aside form the crafty things today, I’ve also been in kitchen whipping up a batch of Kombucha Tea (or Manchurian Tea, whichever you prefer). This tea is apparently renowned for all sorts of health wonders, it’s a fermented iced tea, basically, and I tried some and liked it so am now the proud owner of my own “Kombucha mushroom” (which is the started, somewhat like you would do for yogurt or sourdough). Once I finish writting this I will FINALLY get around to having a go at making my sourdough starter.

Woodworking wise, Craig and I purchased a bed on, only to get it how and find it was WAY too short so we drove al the way back to the North Shore (North East of us) to give it back (long story) and thus we have decided to make our own bed again, so this Saturday is early morning farmers market shopping followed by bed making in the workshed, should be fun.

Gardening – my three sisters are doing wonderfully and people have been telling me how many courgettes they’ve been taking, the corn is coming along wonderfully and the climbing beans look so cool  winding their way up the corn stems. I also purchased a bunch of new seedlings for the balcony planter box (spinach, basil and chives) as well as an aubergine (egg plant) to go in a garden somewhere. I need to clean out the last of the “potato box” broadbeans and tulip bulbs and I’m going to fill it with some lettuces. I left paper bags over a few things – spinach and celery) to collect their seeds but it didn’t really work – partly because it seems that a few bugs really like to nibble at the paper resulting in big holes *pout* so my seed saving in that regards has failed. It also seems that all my broad bean plants have been harvested and sacrificed to the new clothes line/pagola and nobody has mentioned saving much of the seeds (which was the point of that planting) – so my seed saving efforts for this past season have gone a miss, ahh well, it’s the journey and the learning right 🙂

The last thing I wanted to share today was the recipe for tonights dinner, I really enjoyed it and before I forget what I did I need to get it down:

Chili Bean & Pork Mince

  • Heat pan and oil
  • Add garlic, chilli and onion – fry till fragrant
  • Add 1/2 kilo of pork mince – brown
  • Add a dash of saki, tamari and sesame oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (frehly ground of course)
  • Add a handful of flat beans  cut into 2cm lengths and cook  to taste (we like our beans to still have some crunch).

Serve on a bed of lettuce (next time we would add some light items like cucumber to the lettuce and perhaps also serve with some asparagus).  Delicious!

Garden plans

Yesterday we started weeding the area infront of the Common House Rotunda in preparation for marking out our garden plan. The idea is to follow the lines of the rotunda and divide the area into smaller raised garden beds about 40cm high.Rotunda Garden Rotunda Garden

We are dividing the garden into two main sections and I’ve put up wool to mark the border (red line on second photo) on the right and also the two sections divide. We are going away for about 2 weeks (to work on a self sufficient, 5 acre property in another more rurl eco-village called Otamatea). When we get back I hope to finish off the weeding in this area, move the swale plants that have been placed in this area temporarily and then mark out all the beds and paths with sawdust (bi-product from the workshed). Once we have the defined areas we can start to plant in them until such time as we can actually build the raised beds. This way we can get a real feel for the final look of the space, the workability of it and also actually use it rather then just saying “when we build this”.

How to warp a rigid heddle loom

There is no point in me doing another page on warping a rigid heddle loom when I have just found a perfectly good page in All Fiber Arts with all the info. This is the same way I warped up my first few projects and works well if you are doing projects like a scarf or you are able to setup your peg a good distance from the back of your loom (a few meters) but can be a pain in the but to walk back and forth across the room (but good exercise) and can cause problems getting the tension right when winding on.

To that end, and due to the disaster of the cloak, I decided I wanted other warping options. I browsed the net for a while and decided that ultimately I  would like a warping board. I’m going to have a go at making a warping board I found at In the wood shop. There are fully illustrated instructions on this sight but you still need to know your way around a wood shop to build this frame.In the wood shop warping board Note that this sight is American and so measurements are in yards and inches (1 yard = 91cm). This project is going to require me poking Craig and distracting him from his projects but he loves me 😉

This is going to be a little ways off so in the mean time I decided to make some warping pegs. 5 minutes later I was in the workshop and with in a few hours I had created 2 sets of 3 warping pegs, 2 single warping pegs and a frame to put spools of wool on to assist with easier warping (sort of like cotton spool holders on an over-locker).

I used a drill press with a spade bit to cut the holes in the wood for the dowel rods, the holes are smaller then the wood for a tight fit,

Warping pegs then I whittled down the ends of the dowel to taper them,

whittleing the ends  popped in some glue and hit them with a wooden mallet.

Making warping pegs Finally (and I should have done this first), I sanded the dowel rods a little and rounded off the tops.

warping tools

the spool holder has two pegs with a hole above each peg to feed the wool through. I still need to either find very small clamps to clamp the warping pegs to a table or to make some, which would require an “L” shaped partially threaded piece of metal, drilling a hole into each peg base, a couple of washers and a little piece of wood on the “L” (the Ashford pegs have a clamp like this)

My next weaving project, oddly, is another woodworking one, I’d like to make a stand for my loom. I’d like one that can be folded down and slid under the couch or a cabinet or stored in a cupboard (if I had one), sort of concertina style. It would mean that when I have a project on the go I can just leave it on the stand and move it around to wherever I want to sit and when I’m not going to use the loom for a bit I can store the stand away.

Herb Rack & Final bookshelf

No rackBefore

Herb rackAfter

And the last installment of the downstairs bookshelves:

bookshelf 2

As with our other wood working projects, these were all made from the ground up. We sourced the wood from the lumber mill, dressed the timber – which takes the longest part of the work (putting it through the thickniser and then several stages of sanding), The bookcase is screwed together and then we made our own macrocarpa plugs to cover the countersunk screws.

Everything is oiled with CD50. I found it was important not to apply too much oil as, of course, it doesn’t dry evenly, I like to oil with a brush and then remove the excess with a rag. It’s so nice to have so many of our books out and on shelves we made. There are still a huge number of books needing shelves but they will be in the bedroom and that requires a lot of planning. We’ll be holding off on some of these bigger woodworking projects for a while as there are loads of smaller things we’ve put off to complete these big ones. I have a stand for my heddle loom to make and Craig needs to finish his router table, still need to hang our pictures on the wall and hooks to hang my loom and I wanted to make a few more shuttles and then there are the garden projects I want time for and I think I’ll stop there…

Book Shelf – Part 1

After about two full days worth of work we have completed the first half of our lounge room bookshelf.


Draw Tidy

I have completed the draw tidy for the kitchen draw. I did all of the work on this from design to oiling except for on lot of cuts on the triton workbench (I prefer to keep all my fingers on my hand and that thing scares me).

It’s made up of two sections, the bottom section fits snugly into the draw and has 3 large divisions and a forth division split in half for the tea spoons and cake forks. The top section is divided up with one section for each cutlery item and can be lifted out of the draw or slid back and forth to access items underneath.

Wood, wood and more wood!

We made a trip up to a saw mill in Kaiwaka today and filled Buffie’s van with Macrocarpa. The plan is to use this wood to create some downstairs bookshelves, a half pantry and maybe some more shelves for the bathroom or bedroom depending on how the supply goes.


Potato Box

Craig has completed the potato box, and it looks great.

Potato box