Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finger puppet friends

I made J some little finger puppets to go in her Christmas pillow case.  I was inspired by this idea, but it seemed a bit silly to make winter finger puppets in the middle of summer.  I eyeballed the pattern and came up with these four little ladies.

Aren't they just lovely?  I had an idea in my head that hand sewing was laborious and time consuming, which I think is a hangover from when I was a teenager, and anything that took more than five minutes was far too difficult.  But when I sat down to make these finger puppets I was pleasantly surprised by how easy and it was, and how quickly they came together.  It just goes to show that my idea of time consuming has changed significantly since I was younger.  They were actually much faster to make than knitting something up. 

Now also seems like a good time to mention the blog that the Winter finger puppets came from, Adirondack Mama.  This is one of several blogs that I've started following since discovering Rhythm of the home, and I'm really enjoying it, definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Te Harinui

Glad Tidings of Great Joy

Have a wonderfully merry Christmas and I'll be back in the New Year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemon Star biscuits

P and I also made lemon star biscuits.  They are only a little burnt on the edges.  People who know me in real life will know that my food often ends up 'only a little burnt', and I feel I must defend myself by pointing out that my oven has some kind of issue.  I never have to bake things for as long as recipes call for, and I often need to cover cakes or slices with tinfoil to stop the tops burning while the underneath cooks.  So when I bake something for the first time, I often don't quite get the timings right.  Although I also have to confess that I sometimes get distracted by the girls and don't check my baking quite as often as I should.

Anyway, P had a great time using the biscuit cutters and peeling back the dough to reveal our shapes.  She was quite keen on the man and duck shapes, and I'm just glad she couldn't find the pig shape when we were making these, since I'm not sure I could call them Christmas Pig biscuits with a straight face.

The recipe was just a basic biscuit dough:
125g butter
3/4C sugar
1      egg
2t     lemon zest
2C   flour

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and mix well.  Sift in the flour and lemon zest and mix until it forms a soft dough.  Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30min before rolling out and cutting.  Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 12 mins until golden (not dark brown on the edges).

Feed the world

Well I did plenty of baking this week
 I made blueberry muffins using this recipe for my work Christmas do.  DH was very worried that I might take all of them to work with me, but I left him a few for his lunches.

I also made some lemon star biscuits (post to come soon) and then some Christmas cake slice.  This is an Alison Holst recipe, but when I pulled out my recipe book I found that I had lost the page that has this receipe on it.  This was a fairly major disaster, so I tried my best to recreate this from scratch.  It was alright, but not quite right.  DH said that the base was too dry and the topping not gooey enough.  It didn't stop him from eating several pieces however, so I can't have made too bad a job of it.

Our biscuit tins haven't looked this well stocked since I started work.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Jenny! Congratulations on winning the fabric.  I will contact you shortly (I'm having some email issues, but I will get in touch).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway - Santa Claus is coming to town

I have decided to enter Sewmamasew's Giveaway Day.  But since it is a bit last minute, I've only got some fabric to give away.  Its approx 1 metre of a beautiful blue striped cotton.

Close up detail
The fabric in its entirety.

Its really simple, just leave a comment in this post and I will draw a winner from them.  I'll be using my trusty scrolling up and down the list of comments with my eyes closed method of drawing a winner.  Unfortunately, given the prize and the time of year, I'm not in a position to ship internationally this time.  The giveaway ends on the 17th of December.  Good Luck

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We wish you a Merry Christmas

And a happy New Year

My project this week is to do some Christmas baking.  I have a couple of Christmas parties coming up this week, and I thought some home made goodies would make a nice present for our Nanny as well.  Plus I haven't been doing much baking lately, and I feel in the mood to get creative in the kitchen.

Check back here tomorrow for a giveaway post as well.  I have decided to enter Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Silver Bells

I was supposed to be making Christmas decorations this week, but things took a bit of a difficult turn when I sprained my ankle at work.  For those who are interested, I was walking across a perfectly flat piece of carpet in my flattest shoes, and I rolled my ankle.  I am just incredibly grateful that I didn't break it.  For the last few days I have been sitting on the couch with my leg up, so my plans of making salt dough decorations with the girls did not come to pass.  However, I did find that sitting around was good for doing some hand sewing so I created these little felt decorations.

Its the first time I've attempted blanket stitch, and I'm quite pleased with the result, even if it is a little rough.

This was supposed to be a dove, but P declared it looked like a duck, and I have to agree with her, so it is our Christmas Duck.
J was also very taken with the duck, and spent quite alot of time cuddling it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deck the Halls

With boughs of Holly

My project this week is to make some Christmas decorations with P and J.  They have been threading some ribbon through old Christmas cards at play group for the last couple of weeks, so those have gone on the tree already.  I’m going to try making salt dough to make decorations out of, and I have heaps of felt scraps that we will sew into some shapes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Joy to the World

P and I left early this morning and went out to get our Christmas Tree.  We went and chose the tree, and then I chopped it down by myself.  We had to check out a few different trees before we decided on this one.  But when I got it home, it was too big for our house (its always better to go bigger though, you can always trim it down).  DH had to go to work so he said he would chop it down this evening.  I pointed out that I could do that, and he expressed scepticism that I would be able to carry the tree outside, saw through the trunk and carry the tree back inside again.  Little did he know my determination.  So after some very sweaty, hot minutes, I had the tree in just the right size for our living room.
 And because I had cut the tree a bit shorter, there were some smaller branches for P to use as a tree for herself.  I thought she might want to put it in her room, but she decided that it should go right beside the big tree.
 And here they are all decorated.  J's contribution was to put all the baubles in her mouth and then drop them into their container.  There is no angel on the big tree.  My family have a very old angel that takes pride of place at the top of their tree, and I haven't yet found the right one for my family.  I think that will be our project over the next couple of weeks.

After getting the tree and decorating it, I felt a great sense of not only accomplishment, but also of joy.  Christmas is a really important time of the year for me and my family, both because it is a great time for family and holidays, and also because Christmas is so significant for my faith.  I feel a sense of rightness with my life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

P's creative space

My creative space this week is actually P's creative space.
Her playdough eggs are going for a ride in their car egg cups.  You can check out more creative spaces here

Monday, November 29, 2010

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Yes, it is that time of year.  J's birthday is out of the way, so its time for some Christmas spirit.  I love Christmas. I have incredibly fond memories of Christmases as a child, and I really want P and J to feel the same way about this special time of year.  So my project this week is to get the Tree and decorate it, complete with Christmas carols and squealing excitement from my two girls.  I suspect J's contribution may be to pull decorations off the Tree and try and eat them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Our raspberries have been ripening up really nicely, and both P and J love to visit the raspberry canes to pick up yummy morsels.

Check out more seasonal stuff at Seaside Siblings

Monday, November 22, 2010

My baby is turning one!

My project this week is birthday preparation.  J turns one at the end of the week, and we are having a party to celebrate, so my project is to clean up my house again.  The moral of this story is that if I had kept everything clean after my birthday, then all that would have been required would have been to do a once over.  Unfortunately I did not do this, so there will be much frantic tidying this week.  But on the more exciting birthday front, I am making a cake for J!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mama Pads

I made myself some Mama Pads this week, and it was such a quick and easy project, I wondered why I didn't do it weeks ago.  I used this pattern from Jan Andrea, but as she says, its pretty forgiving.  You could just make rectangles if you couldn't be bothered with the hourglass shape.

I used up all the scraps of PUL, microfleece and cotton flannelette that I had left over from nappies. The most time consuming part was cutting out all the material.  Rather than stitching and turning, I laid out all the material right sides out (the way they would be in the finished product) and then zigzagged around the outside.  As I already mentioned, they were super easy, and a really quick sew, just what I needed after the fiddly baby shoes I did last week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I made a lovely pair of baby shoes using this pattern. 

The pattern calls for bonded fleece for the soles, which I don’t have, so I used some cotton batting sandwiched between the two fabrics, so they are all nice and soft on the bottom. 

I got the idea in my head that since baby shoes are small, they would be, if not easy, at least quick.  I was mistaken.  While these are not the most difficult sewing project I have ever attempted, they are not a particularly quick or easy project.  The small size and all the corners makes them a bit fiddly, although it wasn’t helped by my machine having tension problems.  Despite following the pattern pretty well, I couldn’t get mine to sit properly, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what I’ve done wrong, which is always disappointing.  I’m hoping that once I get the hang of these I will be able to make them more quickly, as they are a great way to use up those smaller bits of fabric that you just can't bear to part with because you must be able to use them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Products of a feminine hygiene nature

My project for this week are things of a feminine nature.  I’ve been meaning to blog about this subject for a little while, but I was too chicken.  If you think this kind of subject should not be discussed in mixed company it would pay to close this blog now.  I’ve decided that since I am pro cloth in a number of other respects, it’s about time I extended this to my own feminine hygiene products.  There are a number of websites that sell these kinds of products, such as Mothers Instinct, and Ecomoom but I have decided to make some of my own this week.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seasons - So close to summer

I love my garden in the summer, there is so much going on.  For more seasonal things, head over to seaside siblings.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baby shoes

My project this week is to make some baby shoes.  I have some friends having babies, and I thought some cute baby shoes would make a great gift.  Also, I refuse to be defeated by the two scraps of leather, taunting me about not being a pair of shoes for J (I mentioned my sleep deprived state already didn't I?).  So I figured if I made some other ones as well, I would be less daunted by the leather ones.

The point of blogging

So I've hit a bit of a blogging slump since the highs of blogtoberfest.  And it made me wonder what the point of blogging about my life is? Does it matter if no one reads my posts? And how to I judge the value of my blog? By my followers? Pageviews? Comments?

Tell me, oh internet community, what you find worthwhile about my blog.  (If this all seems a little deep for a Monday morning, I should point out that J woke at 4.40am this morning so I find myself a little spacey this morning)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


So my week of photos was very successful.  I didn't manage to put any photos in albums, but I got plenty on the wall.  Its so lovely to be able to really see the fruits of your labour (pun intended).  And because I got hold of some glue, I also got some art sneakily on the wall as well.

To be honest, when I first glued all the birds on, I wasn't all that thrilled with the end result.  I had hoped that viewed on the wall from a distance, it might look a little better.  And while it does look nicer on the wall, especially since it is in J's room, which is otherwise very plain, I'm still not entirely happy with it.  There are a couple of birds that I think could go in a slightly different position, and its not as dynamic as I had hoped.

But check out the photos (no don't adjust your computer, they're blurry on purpose).  I love the arrangement and the pictures I've got up on the wall, and I often find myself stopping as I walk through the doorway to look at them.  So last week was very successful.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All about me

My project this week is all about me, after a hectic but fun October, I feel the need for a little bit of down time.  I have a personal project to complete, and I think I will buy myself some fabric to make some clothes for myself.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An important day

Today is my Mum's birthday.  So my post (and the last for blogtober) is simply to say what a wonderful mother she is, and how I aspire to be as good a mother as she is.  Affectionately known as Nana Noosa by P, she's a wonderful Nana to both my girls

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I can't believe that blogtober is over already.  This last week has really crept up on me.  So what has blogertoberfest meant for me?

The good: I have new followers and visitors (which is always nice), and I found a blog solely through blogtoberfest that I am now following and really enjoying.

The bad: I had intended to post about a couple of things that just didn't happen.  My knitting pattern remains unpublished (although at least finished).  And I did slip up on the posting everyday - extra points if you know which day it was.

The ugly: Blogging every day is actually quite hard and time consuming.  Deciding to take on blogtober a week after starting work, while still trying to keep up with my one project a week was, in retrospect, a mistake.  Why then did I not give up on blogging every day? I'm an all or nothing kind of woman.  If I decide to do something, then I will do it, regardless of how difficult it turns out to be.  Failure is simply not something I do.  (If you only needed to know one thing about me, this is it).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chasing cheerios

I have rediscovered this blog recently, and it is so inspiring.  The activities that she has for her two children are really interesting and clever.  Her youngest is almost the same age as J, so its great to see the kinds of activities she's into.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My creative space

I'm knitting a singlet for P for her birthday.  DH complained that everything I knitted was verigated, so I decided to use a rich solid blue.  I really like the colour, hopefully she does too. The pattern is Mission Tank.

You can find more creative spaces here

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Something a little different

This ain't no 'Toto' song is a blog by one of my previous co workers (back in the deep dark past before I had children).  He got to do the cool operational policy stuff, while I worked on the front lines.  He's spending a year in Tanzania as a volunteer, and his blog is a fantastic read of his experiences in Africa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

4 things

4 things that I always carry:

• a coat or bag

• keys

• wallet

• phone

Actually, these are things that I carry most of the time - there isn't anything that I 'always' carry.
4 things that are in my bedroom:

• a little greenstone statue from Vancouver 

• a pile of children's books

• my fabric stash

• too many dirty clothes

4 things that I would like to do but haven't done yet:

• go to Vegas

• bike the Otago rail trail

• run a marathon (although this is very unlikely)

• buy a piano

4 things that you don’t know about me:

• Grapefruit give me hives (but I love them anyway)

• I've never dyed my hair

• I've worn the same perfume since I was a teenager

 I worked as a summer camp instructor in Italy

4 things I often wonder:

• if parenting ever gets any easier

• why we have a television

• why my house can't clean itself

• how I ended up with such wonderful children

I got these questions from Mahka Crafts, a blog I found through blogtoberfest.  Check her out, the blog is pretty fantastic.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My project this week is photos.  More specifically, I need to put the photos of P and J into some albums, and get some picture frames to put a few more photos of the family on the walls (and if I happen to put up some art as well, all the better).

Sunday, October 24, 2010


So this week was all about Art, and in terms of actually getting art on the walls, it can only be described as a failure.  My prints from my parents, and my llama picture remain stubbornly unframed.  And as mentioned, the making of bird prints from vinyl records requires some specialist equipment.  Apparently I need a hot knife, which I gather is some kind of soldering iron.  DH has found one on the internet, so that project is on hold until I get one (although if anyone knows where I can get one in NZ, please let me know).

But since I am not one to let go of an idea once I have it, I decided to use my bird templates for another project.  I had a calendar from several years ago that I couldn't bear to throw out because the art was so beautiful - lets call it forward thinking rather than hoarding.  So I cut out my bird templates, and painted a canvas blue to stick them onto.

You will notice that there is no picture of the completed artwork.  This is because I have no craft glue, and the  supermarket failed me.  In fact, the supermarket failed me completely, it didn't even have picture hooks for the cute felt canvasses to go into P's room.

So no art on the walls this week.  But I did get the chance to do some 'arty' things, including some sketching so I actually feel quite pleased about how this week went.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kitchen sand

DH got a book before P was born with all sorts of activities for babies, and one of them was kitchen sand.  Essentially its a sandpit in a dish.  The book suggested using cornmeal, but that is really expensive so I thought I would be able to substitute wheat semolina, which is much cheaper.

It was such a nice day today that I took the sand outside and let P and J go wild with it.  It kept them busy for minutes, and it also kept them from digging up the garden.  The semolina worked really well, although it did get a bit gluggy when I tried to wash it out for J's hair (P quite happily admitted to pouring it onto her head in the first place).
 And sometimes when you leave a 2 year old alone, they impress you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bib and Tucker

If you're interested in cloth nappies, you should definitely check out Bib and Tucker.  The nappies are designed and made by the lovely Kate.  She has a fantastic range of One of a kind nappies, as well as other gorgeous prints.  I was lucky enough to get one for J from a recent swap, and its just such a nice fit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My creative space

I thought it was about time I joined in with this, so here we are:

I tried to cut out my records today, but I think I will have to invest in a hot knife.

So then P and I made some paper instead.

You can find more creative spaces here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Art in progress

So it turns out that cutting up vinyl records is moderately more difficult that I expected.  Actually that’s not true, I always expected that it would be a little hard, and it is.  Apparantly the key is to heat it, which also releases toxic fumes.  So not the kind of activity that can be done with little ones around.  I will have to leave it in DH’s capable hands as to what kind of heating implement I should use.

Blogtober #19

I have hit the wall.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blogtober #18

There are so many wonderful knitting blogs out there.  I've previously mentioned Sheryl's, but there is also Tikki, and Julia's blog Just One WIP (or work in progress).  All of these women are talented designers in their own rights, so check out the patterns for sale on their blogs.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Art!

My project this week is art.  My parents bought me a couple of lovely prints of native birds that I am going to frame, and I thought this week would be a good opportunity to finally get my llama picture mounted as well.  While I was out looking with my parents, I saw some really cool cut outs that were made of vinyl records.  It looked like something that I could do, so I thought I might give it a go this week.  I know somewhere I can pick up old records really cheaply! Of course, like many things that look easy, it might in fact be very difficult to produce something that looks any good, but I'm happy to give it a go.  I am super excited to be doing art again this week, especially after a week of tidying, where its hard to feel like I've actually accomplished anything.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


We had a great day today catching up with friends, and I got to talk 'shop' with several about babies and cloth nappies etc.  Its great being able to tell people that its okay that their baby doesn't sleep, and that eventually things will settle down (settle, not necessarily get easier.)  Its been a long but happy celebration, and all the preparation was worthwhile as the house was not a complete tip.

And because I feel obliged, and since its a guilty pleasure kind of day, check out my favourite (well only) fashion blog - Go Fug Yourself.

Friday, October 15, 2010


It seemed appropriate to talk about housework since this week I have been frantically tidying everything I can find for my BBQ.  I think we (as a society) are obsessed with having a 'clean and tidy' house.  I guess its because we don't (generally) have to worry about freezing to death, or starving, or dying from disease.  What a luxury to be able to worry about vacuuming the floor, or making sure the toilet is clean.  I try really hard to rise above some of the housework worry - not least because I am not very good at it, and then I get all stressed out because I 'should' have a tidy house.

However, it would be remiss of me not to mention FlyLady in my blog post about housework, and I have to say that this website is a fantastic tool when you get too mired down in housework issues to know where to begin.  I especially like the way she breaks down housework into manageable chunks.  My favourite technique is 5 minute tidy up.  I often find myself overwhelmed by the seemingly insurmountable mountain of toys etc that need to be put away.  I set the alarm on my cellphone and run around the house trying to put as much away as I can in that 5 mins.  You would be amazed by how much you can get done in this timeframe.  P often likes to run around behind me yelling at the top of her lungs.  She doesn't actually want to help, just to be part of the action.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I thought it was about time to mention blogtoberfest (and put the button on my blog).  There is a list of bloggers who are taking part at tinniegirl.  Its been fantastic to see all these other blogs, many of which I didn't know about.  Its a great chance to browse through a whole lot of different kinds of blogs, and possibly find one or two that you just have to follow.

Actually, tinniegirl's blog is worth a visit for its own sake.  Her art is breathtaking.  Its the kind of stuff I wish I could do.  Perhaps if I had more time, money and talent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

And the winners are:

Seaside siblings for the comments, and Verity Hewitt for the followers! - I'll be messaging you shortly.

(Yes I know I said I would announce on Tuesday, but given the late flurry of interest it seemed only fair to leave it another day).  I have to confess that although I used to chose from my followers, I did scroll up and down the page with my eyes closed and then click on someone when choosing the winner from the comments.  I highly recommend this.

While we are (tangentially) on the subject of babywearing, you should definitely check out slingbabies for heaps of fantastic information about babywearing, including some great how to instructions.  I especially love the wrap back carry, so comfortable to wear J - all 10kgs of her.  Even P has had a go on my back in it, and I was uncrippled from the experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well my week of Christmas presents was an almost success.  Despite my best efforts, I didn’t make a start on shoes for J.  Unfortunately I have already cut them out so I do need to sew them sooner rather than later.  But I did make a hat for P for Christmas, as well as the “hugs” for my parents.  The hat was an interesting experience.  I made one for J’s birthday a little while ago, and P saw it and declared that she had to have one as well.  However, the hat I made for J was already at the largest size on the pattern.  I thought about getting a different pattern for P, but decided that I would try to upsize the one I already had.  There are only three pattern pieces, and they all increase in standard increments, so I just increased the sizes by one more and then cut it out of newspaper.  It all went well until I came to attach the brim to the crown of the hat.

 It turns out that the brim needs to be increased in size a little more than the other two pieces.  I managed to make it work, but it did involve some hardcore pinning, and a little bit of sneaky gathering at the back.  You can’t really tell in the finished product though so I’m sure P will be very pleased.

I also picked up some books for J for Christmas from the Hospice Shop.  I feel so well organised, all wrapped and waiting.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday organisation

My project for this week is preparation for my birthday BBQ.  While this sounds like it will be a weeks worth of looking through recipe books, and stocking up on luxury party items, in fact this week is dedicated to cleaning my house before my guests arrive.  Far more practical, but also significantly less exciting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Hug" Tutorial

One of my friends suggested a great idea for Christmas presents for my parents.  She gave her parents in law two "hugs" from her children.  They were two lengths of material with hands at the end, the same length as their arms, so that the Grandparents could have a hug from them whenever they wanted.  What a special and unique present.  So I decided that I would do this for my parents, and here is my tutorial:

Materials: You will need some felt for the hands, and some soft, stretchy material for the arms.  I found a couple of arms from some woollen jerseys that I hadn't been able to find a purpose for, but hadn't wanted to throw out.  We'll pretend that I was forward thinking rather than just hoarding.

First, measure the length of your child's arms and back from wrist to wrist across the shoulders.  This proved easier for P than for J.

Next, pin the sleeves at the appropriate length, and cut the sleeves.

Next, place one of the sleeves inside the other, with the wrong side out, and right sides together.  Pin the two sleeves together in a circle.
Note: You could omit the above steps and just cut the sleeves once they are inside one another, but I found it quite difficult to get the two sleeves even with one inside the other.

Sew the two sleeves together (you'll have to turn your head because I haven't managed to rotate it around).

You should now be able to turn the sleeves right side out and have one long tube of material.
Note: You could of course simply sew a tube of material rather than using the sleeves.

Next, trace around your child's hands on the felt.  Again this proved much easier with P than with J.  I had to guesstimate a little with J's hands.

Cut out the hands

Pin the hands to the end of the sleeves

Sew the hands onto the end of the sleeves.  You could hand sew this, or do some kind of fancy stitching if it took your fancy.  I just straight sewed the hands on with my sewing machine.

And there you have it, "hugs" from your children for their loving grandparents.  I know my parents are going to adore them.

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