Monday, December 26, 2011

Seasons Greetings

Hope eveyone had a wonderful Christmas Day with family and friends, and here's to 2012 - may it be happy and healthy  :)


Friday, December 23, 2011

Look! It's not a leotard!

13 - yes thirteen - months since I last had a cross stitch finish (it pays to actually DO some stitching of course) here's the one and only for this year:
It also helps that it was a little one  :)
M Designs "Love Tree", over one on 22ct hardanger using Chameleon threads "olive"; for a friend's annual Christmas gift. 
Here's to 2012 Rachel!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

From the archives...

Well, from the depths of the drawer in my doll cabinet actually, where she had been hiding for over 10 years.
A visit to the dolls hospital, a new knitted vest (thank you Grandma!) and a new outfit later (slightly modified vintage Simplicity doll pattern), she has a new lease on life.

She's a UK made Pedigree hard plastic doll circa early 1950s.  She was given to my sister when Liz was very little (Grandma can't remember who by) and travelled out when my family emigrated here in the mid 1960s.  Unlike all the other similar vintage Pedigree dolls I found on the internet, this one isn't a "walker" and doesn't have a voice mechanism.  Those are sleep eyes though, as they should be.
My girls are quite taken with her.  I wonder if Liz will want her back?

Daisy Chain

Found these photos while uploading others...

One of our neighbours had a wonderful crop of daisies, and Tink spent a lovely afternoon in the sun about two months ago making this very long daisy chain. 
It was for Jess, she said. 
So it stayed in the lounge until Jess got home to admire it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brag Time part 2

Since Tink got her dance exam results at her class this week, we knew that Jess would get her results tonight.
Jess had been a bit concerned about her jazz exam: it's her first year doing jazz and I put her into the Grade 5 class because the timetable suited us (and I thought she'd be ok going in cold at that level with 6 years of ballet and 2 years of rhythmic gymnastics behind her).  Contemporary she was comfortable with: Miss Emma at SABA had laid a solid foundation in last year's Level 1 class and, mother's rose tinted glasses or not, I felt Jess was one of, if not the, best dancer in the class because of it.
I wasn't wrong.  Jess came beaming out of her class tonight with, for both Contemporary Level 2 and Jazz Grade 5, the result of:
High Honours!!

Way to go Jellybean, Evil Gym Mom knew you could do it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brag Time - part one

A month ago, on the weekend after the Shore Junior competition, the girls had their dance exams. 
NZAMD Jazz, much like BAL ballet and RAD Ballet, have two parts to the results:  what the child did in each section and an overall "mark" categorised in words such as "pass", "merit" "honours" etc.
RAD issues a beautiful A4 certificate with the pass level in a big font and another A4 sheet listing the ten sections that made up the exam, with the marks the child got in each section, adding up to the overall number that then became the pass level.  For example, a mark in the 75-100 range meant one got Distinction.
NZMAD and BAL also issue beautiful A4 certificate with the pass level on it.  Their "score" sheet however is a bit different - and way better in terms of feedback, I think. Instead of only four awards (not achieved, pass, merit and distinction) there are nine levels starting from 55%, going up in 4% increments, giving a much finer grading.  I always wished RAD did it too.
The NZMAD and BAL score sheets are the actual notes from the examiner as written during the exam.  The big bonus here is that there is always a comment about what the child did well, and something about what the child needed to work on. Fabulous feedback!  Very encouraging for the dancer.
Finally, at last night's jazz class, Tink got her score card.  She had been hoping to do at least as well as last year (honours - meaning 85-89%) and really wanted to do better.  Her teacher had said to me that this year's examiner, while very lovely to the girls during the exam, was known for being a tough marker.  Uh oh, I thought - there goes Tamsin's hopes of a better mark than last year....
Well, Tink and I were tickled to find this in the result box of the score card:
Along with some lovely, encouraging comments from the examiner telling her to work to maintain and improve the lovely style Tink is developing.
How cool is that?
Way to go Tinkerbelle!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just when you think it's over

Tink had her last 2011 competition today - the Shore Junior competition.  While Tink competed at the annual Shore competition earlier this year, the Level 1s and 2s were taken off the schedule at the last minute due to scheduling/ space difficulties.  As a result, Shore promised them a junior competition after Nationals to make up for it.
It was a very pleasant, small competition held at a very nice venue - the North Shore Table Tennis Stadium.  Tink went out and did a nice freehand, all smiles and a held cossack balance; and two cautious apparatus routines.  Her scores were mid 7s for rope and ball, and a very nice season high score of 9.5 for free.
While she didn't come anywhere overall, we got the lovely surprise of "...and we have an apparatus placing: 3rd in freehand, Tamsin from Xtreme."
Go Tinkerbelle!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

All done for another year

2011 Gymsport Nationals is all done.
Tink and I did lots of volunteering and happily spent the day yesterday doing nothing (well, I got lots of washing done!) and Jess did 3 days of competing and also spent yesterday chilling out.
So how did it go?
Like last year, Jess was tracking 13th going into Nationals. 
Day 1 was hoop and clubs which didn't go as well as she wanted:  she dropped her hoop for the first time all season and got hammered by the judges in clubs (no drops, but no flair or height in her throws etc - it wasn't her best clubs routine) so one very unhappy gymnast. 
Day 2 was freehand, where she was tidy and pulled herself up the rankings a little and ended up 10th overall.  Go Jess!  Top 10 two years in a row!!
Day 3 was Grade IV Group, which had been giving the coach nightmares all season.  Groups do two showings, and swap gymnasts in/ out for each showing (Jess is in the first showing for her group).  So Jess and co go out and do a really nice, tidy 1st showing with no drops to the joy and relief of all concerned.  Then the 2nd showing was also tidy with only one small drop, again to their joy and relief.  I was working in the competition office all day so only got to watch the AKL showings, but I got told that all the other groups were chasing their apparatus all over the floor and appeared quite nervous.  So Jess came home with a gold medal for Grade IV Group, as AKL won both showings and got the gold by at least 2 marks overall.  Go Xtreme!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's almost time

NZ Gymsports Nationals 2011 is almost here - next week in fact. 

Well, for trampoline, aerobics and rhythmic anyway.  Artistic didn't want to play with us this year, so they're having theirs in November in Timaru.

Jess made the Auckland team, for RG Level 5 and Grade IV Group.  Most of the holidays are being taken up with training.

So, if you've nothing to do on July 28-30 and you're in Auckland, come join us at the North Shore Events Centre. 

Details are available at NZGymsports.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just one more

Tink goes to a small Montessori primary school of about 40 kids.  This year they decided to test the schools gymsports waters and attend TriStar's gymsports festival - which is designed to encourage schools to participate in gymsports.  It was a fun event, well run by TriStar.
The school arranged for 6 kids, including Tink, to do some training at the local YMCA to participate.  It was all done in rush in the three weeks prior to the event.  Due to some confusion, Tink ended up being entered in Artistic as well as the Rhythmic sections.
She had plenty of RG leos to choose from for the day, but no artistic ones.  Since I have the lycra stash, the sewing machines were still set up and I am mad, I made her a new leo the night before:

It really popped out there on the gym floor.  Helena, Tink's teacher for the day, reported with much amusement that when Tink took off her school jacket, the other girls all said admiringly "cool leotard!"  Tink responded with a nonchalant "thanks, mum made it last night" which garnered a drawn out "wow" from the girls and a "clever mum" from their teacher!
She may have been out of her depth in comparison to the other girls gymnastics wise, but she definitely had the brightest, coolest leotard on the floor.
Even if I do say so myself!

Highs and lows

Two highs to report...
Firstly, Jess has finally made it to 5 feet tall!!  She was getting a little desperate there for awhile, LOL.
Secondly, it was Xtreme Rhythmix's AKL Champs this weekend at ASB Stadium.  Groups went ok for both girls - big relief since several gymnasts were away requiring swaps and newbies.
Jess went out for Level 5, steady as usual freehand and hoop routines scoring mid 16s, incrementally better clubs and increased her score for the 5th time in a row to 15.3 - yay!  And best of all was prizegiving:
4th clubs, 2nd hoop, 1st freehand, 1st overall!
Go Jess, woohoo.
Now the low: Tink went out for Level 3, did three ok routines (all remembered, no big booboos, only the one drop) but came last.  She's a bit upset cos she was trying hard to improve her skills.  I saw improvements: her stag leap was better, her cossack balances were held longer, her rope was caught better (except for the last big throw) and her ball generally was better.  But I guess the skills weren't better enough.  I vidoe'd her this time and she wants to look at them to see what she needs to fix - she really does try hard.  It really breaks your heart when it doesn't always pay off.
Nevermind, she has Midlands next weekend, then Shore Junior comp first weekend in August.  Jess has Midlands and then Nationals last weekend of July.  And THEN we'll be done for 2011 - gymastically that is.  Still the fun that is jazz exams (3rd week of term 3) and jazz recital to go...
I am definitely, certifiably, nuts!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brag Warning!!

It was the Gymsports NZ National Secondary Schools Championships this weekend, when school teams from around New Zealand converge on TriStar to contest hip hop, artistic gymnastics, aerobics, rhythmic gymnastics and cheerleading.  It's noisy and busy and lots of fun.
Jess goes for the social event that it is (she and I get to catch up with lots of old friends as she used to train artistic at TriStar) and it's the only time she can represent her school (Marist College).
Last year she was frustrated and upset as she came 2nd to last in her division - Club B, which encompasses Levels 4, 5 and 6.  However, she still improved her scores and as we know, went on to do well at Nth Is Champs and Nationals.
This year, she improved her club score, did a steady hoop and had lots of fun catching up with everyone. And then at prizegiving to her delighted astonishment she got 3rd!!

Go Jess!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

oh look - another one!

Jess didn't get any new leotards this season made by me, even though I had bought some lovely fabrics to make a clubs leo. Instead, the 2nd hand leo we picked up in February became the clubs leo and her clubs were decorated in blue and lime accordingly. For freehand and hoop she has insisted on wearing the leos I made last year, saying that she "loves them" and that they're "good luck leos" (as she wore them with success at Nationals among other comps).

So the fabric bought specially for this season stays in the stash cupboard for next year.

I, on the other hand, now dislike them intensely and wanted to make new ones.

Jess has grudgingly agreed to wear a new one at this weekend's National Secondary Schools comp as it isn't part of the qualifying comps for Nationals, meaning good luck leos are not so crucial.

So I rummaged in the lycra and bling stash, and this is what resulted:

Jess has admitted that she likes this one now, and will happily wear it on Sunday.
We're wondering if it needs some crystals on the purple... what do you think?
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Saturday, June 11, 2011


This is my mum's best friend, Barbara - with her husband David.
Mum and Barbara have known each other forever.  Seriously - since they were born, even.  Barbara is my godmother. 
It's Barbara and David's 50th wedding anniversary (June 10).  Way to go!
Posted with much love from the Antipodes. 
Outside Winchester Cathedral, Sep 2009

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caught on camera

Shore Champs is held at the North Shore Events Centre, home of the champion Breakers basketball team and is a good venue for video.
So for you loyal followers, here's footage of the girls from the weekend:
No individual routines of Tink sorry - the L3s competed in the small gym next door and the audience area there is not conducive to filming, a bit like Counties.  I'll rectify that at  her next comp in early July - Auckland Champs held at ASB Stadium Kohimarama which is a similar venue to the Events Centre.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My kind of rapture

Us gym moms, after spending what felt like the whole weekend incarcerated in the windowless building that is the North Shore Events Centre, decided that we wouldn't have noticed if the world had ended anyhoo.  Far too much bling and bright lycra where we were, teehee.
This weekend just gone was the largest gym comp this side of Nationals - the annual Shore Rhythmic Champs.  Margaret Woolfe manages to get, every year, gymnasts to turn up not just from around NZ but from Australia and the likes of Malaysia and Cyprus.  The Cypriot girl who came 2 years ago was just amazing.  The Malaysian girls who came this year were delightful - their Grade IV group in particular were very "squee" (and very good).  The Australians were nice, very tidy with clean routines.  The god of dropped apparatus was very even handed in his attentions - no cultural barriers for him! 

As for the rapture:
Groups - this hasn't been a good season so far for the Xtreme groups.  Tink's Grade II group hadn't even competed as the routine wasn't finished til last week, and having all 4 of them at the class at one time was not a regular occurrence.  Jess' Grade IV group kept having drops of apparatus and hadn't managed to make the qualifying mark for Nationals; with the same for the two Grade V groups.  Needless to say, it was very tense in the warm up area at the comp - as this was the last chance to get them all to qualify (not Grade II, they don't go to Nationals).  Anyhoo, Tink's group went out, remembered the routine, didn't have the splat fest that over anxious Evil Gym Mom thought they would (the potential is there, no matter what the level of the gymnasts - that's the joy of rhythmic gymnastics!) and got two ok scores, for the silver medal.  OK, there was only two Grade II groups competing, but they earned that medal rather than getting it for simply showing up.
Grade IV went out, did two much cleaner routines and got just over 30, well over the qualifying mark of 24.  The Grade Vs did much the same.  Much relief all round amongst the evil gym moms, I can tell you!
Now for the individual competition:
Tink went out and did her perky freehand, a fully remembered rope, and a fumble ball (3 drops) - but that was ok because up til now, she's been sooo cautious with ball that her routines look cramped and awkward.  This time she "opened up" and actually had the ball away from her body like you're supposed to!  As Marnie, the head coach, says "I don't mind you dropping your apparatus if you actually throw it in the first place."
Net result?  A very happy Tink and Evil Gym Mom because she was 15th overall, with a 10th for free and a 10th for rope.  Yeehaa.

Jess went out, did her usual clean routines (no dropped clubs still! yay!), ok scores - nothing startling and a bit down on previous comps.  So prizegiving was a lovely surprise with 6th overall and 1st hoop!  She was over the moon with that (especially as she still has a couple of difficulties that aren't getting counted).

Prizegiving at Shore is always held right at the end with all the gymnasts in attendance (if they haven't left to catch planes!) and while it's a pain to have to go back to the venue, it's rather cool to see that many gymnasts all lined up and have them all cheer the place getters.  Very encouraging for the little girls to have the big girls clap for them, I think.

Time to breathe again, as the next comp for us isn't till the end of June.  Might actually get some housework done...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On the road again

It was the lovely Spiralz competition this weekend just gone - held at the fine ASB Stadium in Te Awamutu.  Once again, it was a well run, friendly and happy event.
Check out this photo of the L5 prizegiving - I think the girls look very friendly and happy to be there (and it had been a looooong day: 7am warm up for Group, then wait till 3pm to warm up for L5)
Yes, that's Jess - 5th overall and 3rd in hoop.  She was happy as she increased her scores.
It's a bit fuzzy - make that very fuzzy- but here's Tink about to go on for L3 ball (1pm of the next day - I did a lot of driving!)

The lovely leo is one we picked up at the 2nd hand sale - it was one of Clemmie's from her first year of Stage 3.  Her grandma made it; she makes the most AWESOME leos for Daisy & Clemmie, absolutely stunning.
I wish I'd video'd Tink's freehand cos she rocked it for a 9.12 - very cool score for a routine she only got a week ago!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yes, that last post

did feature another new leotard:

Just experimenting.... seeing what happens when I try ideas.
Can't resist that neon peach lycra either!  It's one of my faves, teehee.

Look what I can do!

After much angst (she's been able to limber for well over a year, but the kick over just wouldn't happen), Tink now has the technique and confidence to do "proper" back walkovers.  She got a "rhythmic" version last week of term - limber then kick over - which has its uses, but the proper way (i.e. artistic) uses better technique meaning no sore back and a faster, better connected move (long term) so that was the one she really needed to master.  This one isn't one of her best, but practice will tidy them up  :)
Forward walkovers are still someway away....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here we go again

The 2011 competition season has started.  It was the Counties Manukau Rhythmic Champs on the weekend.
Tamsin competed L3, and had a disaster.  Only two routines ready, memory issues, me getting her there late for warm up and she freaked out - running off the floor barely into her rope routine for an automatic score of zero.  Ball, while no drops, was full of small fumbles and shuffles so got the blah score of 6.65.
Discussion with her coach needed.  What to do?

Jess, on the other hand, went out and did clean, solid routines and came away with scores that she's really happy with.  Result: 3rd free, 2nd clubs, 2nd hoop and 2nd overall with a 44.65.  This is up on this time last year - GO JESS

Holiday training this fortnight, then back to school for term 2.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Do you know your ABCs?

Spotted this on From Fat to Marathon Runner's blog (was StitchieKiwi) and thought, why not? looks fun!

Age: 43
Bed size: Queen (need room for up to five cats you see, never mind DH!)
Chore you hate: dusting
Dogs: fine mostly - better if I know them (e.g. brother's lovely chocolate labrador Bella)
Essential start of your day: shower
Fav colour: yellow
Gold or silver: either
Height: 5'4"

Instruments I play: I learnt the piano when I was 10, tried oboe in Year9
Job title: HR Admin
Kids: Jess (nearly 14) Tamsin (9)
Live: near Auckland Airport, NZ
Mom’s name: Betty
Nicknames: Evil Gym Mom
Overnight hospital stays: 2 for childbirth, once in the run up to childbirth, once for eye op age 3
Pet peeve: bad formatting of MSWord and Excel docs - setting tabs is soooo easy people!
Quote from a movie: One ping only, Vassily - Hunt for Red October; You are soo blonde, Chelsea - St Trinians
Right or left handed: left mainly

Siblings: elder sister and brother
Time you wake up: 5.30amish
Underwear: Got to have it.

Veg you dislike: where do I start?! And I work in horticulture, lol.  Beans definitely
What makes you run late: reading
X-rays you have had done: Teeth, foot
Yummy food you make: choc fudge
Zoo, favorite animal: tiger
Give it a go, I dare ya!

El Matador

Tink wanted a red, black and gold leotard, her rope is red, and her music is called "the bullfighter" - so this is what emerged:
Like the previous leo, it is too large... sleeves too floppy and the butt very baggy.  She has rope next year (Level 4) but I suspect she'll be taller, but no wider/ rounder so it still won't fit.  Oh well - it was worth giving matching the music a go!  But it definitely means she's a size 7 with extra long arms.
Anyone need a size 8 leo? or two?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where there's lycra, there'll be leotards...

Still stitchin' and blingin'
This one was done for StitchItAndie's 8yro DD who has just started gym:
It arrived safely at its new home; most importantly it fits!
This one I made from the lycra stash cos I love the colours - both separately and in combination:

It's a size 8 and too big.  I'll keep it to hand in case Elianor has grown out of her birthday leo by the 9th (mock comp, with first real comp the following weekend).  Else it will be up for grabs - need $$$ for more lycra doncha know!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To the people of Japan

oh. my. god.
Huge thoughts and sympathies to you all re this awful awful earthquake with its resulting tsunamis and fires.
THANK YOU so much for your brave, professional and extremely hard working rescue teams that were here in NZ in Christchurch.  They are on a plane right now, heading back to you.

the people of New Zealand

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Another weekend, another leotard

I bought the black fabric last year cos I just couldn't resist it for Tink, even though she had plenty of leos at that point.  Picked up the contrast colour a couple of weeks ago from Angel Fabrics when shopping for this year's leo fabrics.  Then had to let the ideas and construction method simmer for awhile... the success of the daisy leo for Elianor gave me the confidence to just get on with it.  So here it is, the first of Tink's three comp leotards for the 2011 season:

She and Jess think this one is cool - yay!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

While the cat's away...

..or in this case, DH was off fishing with his brother, Jess was staying over at Nana's and Tink was happily entertaining herself, and so look what I managed to make during one day of peace and quiet:

I really like this one.  Love the base colour, love how it all came together in one day from cutting out through to the last crystal going on.
It's a birthday gift for one of Tamsin's team mates, a sweet kid who is turning 8 three days before Tink's 9th birthday (next week, yikes).  Cross your fingers that I haven't made it too small...
Either way, one done in a day and 3 leos in one month - gotta be a record, no?

UPDATE:  Elianor loves her birthday present, and the fit issue?  Her mum, Elianor and I are all glad the season is early and short this year and are hoping she doesn't grow too much over the next 4 months as it fits very very well....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Yet another leotard!
Next on the experimental list was to see what size Jess is this season, so I made up something in a size 12, as she's having trouble getting last season's ones on. 
It was easier to get into, but too long in the body - making it wrinkled above the skirt and have a baggy butt.  Jess has my sister's build: very broad across the back.  I think I'm going to have to expand my skills to include using invisible zips in leotards...

One good thing about these photos: I can see where more flowers and leaves are needed for aesthetics and "coverage"!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rene la Frog

Another statistic to cancer...
A fabulous fellow stitcher, whom I met on the Yahoo group 2muchXS and whose blog is in my sidebar, lost her battle with cancer last week.  I had been worried about Rene's failing health for some time now (meaning she wasn't posting), but managed to find via the stitcher blogs a post with the news - thanks for the update Floss Junkie.
May you be stitching in your heavenly armchair Rene, safe from that which makes reverse stitching necessary.
Miss you, and my thoughts are with your husband and family who you loved so much.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

playing in the lycra stash again

Experimenting with sizing as the girls have actually grown - and not just in limb length for a change!  Going sleeveless is both quick and avoids the obvious "my arms have outgrown the leo before my body has" look, teehee. 
Conclusion drawn from the experiment: Tink will now be in size 6 leos for the 2011 season.

It needs more bling... currently there are crystals on the points of the stars.  I think I'll outline the stars in crystals, but that's all.  That'll take long enough!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

do not adjust your sets

I made this leo for Jess, as an experiment in construction and applique skills.  I thought it was fab (it's still my favourite of the 7 I made in 2010), but Jess was very reluctant to wear it, although she came to like it and it was worn for freehand at the last few comps of the year, including Nationals. 
She thought it was too loud.

It's known as "the frangipani leo" and it is eye popping on the comp floor - which is the point of RG leos, no?