Monday, August 30, 2010

Fabric de-stash

Well more of an organisation, or tidy up than a de stash.  The problem with having small children is that there are lots of reasons to keep small pieces of fabric.  I suspect this says more about hoarding than about children though.  However, my small fabric stash has become very unruly, so tidying is the name of the game this week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

And finally, because I have managed to do an amazing amount of sewing this week, I also made a top for J for Christmas as well.

I was going to make J another crossover top with a merino jersey that I cut down, but I decided to do this pattern instead.  I've made a few of these for P and it is just such a handy top.  It can be worn on its own in spring or autumn - or even cool summer day - and it can be layered under or over other tops in winter.

I got the idea for the ribbing from this tutorial and because I had some around the neck line I decided to appliqué on a little heart as well.  I used one of my biscuit cutters for the heart shape.  My top has slightly different sewing up instructions than the 90minute one, but its pretty much the same in all other respects.  I used the bottom of the jersey so I didn't have to hem it - it also makes the top a bit longer which is nice, because both my girls are tall for their age.  Instead of hemming the sleeves, which I always find a pain, I just did a tight zigzag in the white thread to match the ribbing.  This week was definitely a success.
I made some tails to go in P's dress up box.  Both fabrics are from my stash, one is a cat print, and the other some zebra print velour (I am aware that zebras don't actually have tails like this, consider it a zebra patterned cat tail instead).  They were really easy to make, just a rectangle of fabric that I stuffed with polyester fill.  I sewed a seam before I sewed on the velcro so that the fill didn't go all the way to the top.
The velcro is so that the tails can be attached to a belt or tie or even a belt loop on some pants.  I'm going to make a 'belt' of elastic so that P can interchange tails, or even wear more than one tail at once.

I also made some ears to match the cat tail.  I made the headband from some ribbing that I had.  The seam is not great because I had some issues figuring out that I couldn't sew both the long seam and the short one and still turn the ribbing in the right way.  Did I mention I've lost my unpick?

All in all, I'm very excited to see the dress up box in action.  Hopefully everything will fit P and she'll have hours of fun with it.  I realised that since we are going to my parents for Christmas this year we'll have to cart the suitcase in the car with us to the other side of the island, but it'll be worth it when she opens it.

P's dress up box

I googled 'dress up box ideas' and found plenty of sites that had great ideas of what to include.  So I've put in some of my old clothes; a butterfly top, a skirt, and a couple of dresses (believe it or not I wore the orange one once while I was pregnant with P).  I also found a hat and a lei in my hunt through my wardrobe.  I think P will love pretending to be a grown up in them.

I also made a couple of big rectangles out of some pink material that I had lying around.  These are multi purpose, they're large enough that P can use them as items of clothing, or as blankets for her toys or anything else that comes to mind.

I found this tutorial in my googling and thought I could make a wizard's cloak out of some blue velvet trousers I had in my fabric stash (that's why there are so many seams in the finished cloak).  The tutorial is fairly self explanatory, but I think I stared at my material for a good half an hour trying to figure out how it would work. I think it was the sleep deprivation at work.  Instead of making it reversible I used my roll hemming foot on my sewing machine to hem the cloak.  This was a mistake, it appears that roll hemming feet don't like velvet and as a result the cloak has possibly the worst hem in the world.  I almost unpicked it and did it by hand, but since it is a dress up costume and I have lost my unpick I just did the best I could.  It appears that laziness trumps perfectionism.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I read an article in the Sunday paper a while ago that suggested children need a connection with nature. More specifically, that they need to have a special piece of the natural world that they consider theirs, that grounds them to nature. Its a similar concept to that of turangawaewae, or standing place, that ancestral land that is your spiritual and physical home. Seeing P at my parents farm made me appreciate how important this concept is. She loves it there, and the range of hands on natural experiences that she has is amazing. She feeds out the cattle in the morning, feeds the chickens and dogs and puts them to bed, and at the moment is helping my Mum feed a lamb. Hopefully her memories of the farm are that connection with nature that she can carry around with her later in life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dress up box

P is currently away with her Grandparents. I miss her like I miss a part of my own body (a very noisy part). However, having her away seemed like a really good opportunity to get cracking on her Christmas presents. She has reached the age now where if she sees something that is hers she will remember it, and also want it immediately.

For her big present from Father Christmas, she is getting a dress up box. I got a hard shell suitcase from - you guessed it - the Hospice shop, and the plan is to fill it with dress up items. So this week my project is to make the dress up costume stuff that goes in the box. I have some ideas, but I may need to scour the internet for some others.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kids crafts

I recently subscribed to this website. It looks great, and really how could I resist a weekly themed activity? If you click on newsletters, you can see all the fun ideas grouped by a common theme. I can't wait to do them with P (and possibly J, although I think her contribution is more likely to be in the eating/smooshing department).
My week of knitting was a qualified success. I did knit, but the top is nowhere near finished. I think that's why I'm not very keen on knitting as my weekly project. It takes too long, and I feel like I'm taking up time I could be doing other things - because its a 'sitting down, relaxing' kind of activity. I guess I prefer the instant gratification. I will take a photo of the half finished front of the top to prove that I have actually completed something.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More knitting

I took part in a yarn swap several months ago and I received this gorgeous yarn from my swappee. The theme of the swap was "I love you", and all participants had three words that had something to do with love to use as inspiration for the swap. The word my swappee used was "Aotearoa". The wool is entitled "misty morning" and I also received a lovely tuatara puzzle for P with it. At first glance the wool seemed to be semi solid, but actually there were several different colours that all complemented each other really well - greens and browns.
I decided to knit this cardigan (you need to log into Ravelry), and it was as fast and easy as the pattern promised. The bottom is knitted in one piece, with the moss stitch border done at the same time. I love the way the wool knitted up - not always a given with variegated wool. The only problem I found was the decreases on the raglan sleeves. Because I'm left handed, the decreases at the beginning of the row didn't match the ones at the end, so when I joined it they weren't the same. This bothers me because I like everything to be 'right'.Notice the incredible brown carpet in our living room - its awesome!
A while ago I dyed some 4ply baby merino to knit some little vests for my friend who was having a baby. She didn't know what she was having, and I thought about knitting them up in white and then overdying them once she had the baby, but I wasn't sure it would look any good. So instead I used my trusty slow cooker technique. I used yellow food colouring and the wool came out looking amazing.
I then knitted up two little vests/singlets. The pattern is my own, based on a very simple rectangle shape. However, I didn't write down the variation that I created, so when I come to knit it again, I'm going to have to recreate it from memory.

My friend loved them because she had a winter baby and they were great to layer over other outfits. Its definitely a great option if you're looking to knit for a winter baby because they get heaps of wear out of them - they work in almost any weather, and are nice and easy to get on a newborn.

See, knitting and blogging - my project is going great guns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things are very busy here this week so my project needs to be something I can pick up and put down, so I will try to complete my current knitting project (although secretly maybe I'll do lots of catch up blogging this week instead). I've lost my knitting mojo a little at the moment, my WIP is a tunic/dress for a friend's baby's first birthday. The birthday is in a couple of weeks, and so far I have completed about six rows. Its not looking good.
So my computer and camera have made up. The first picture is a copy of a Van Gogh that I did with acrylic. As you can see, she has no feet - I hate drawing feet and hands. Most of my figures' arms end at their wrists. In all honesty this picture looks better in the photo than in reality. The colours are a little darker in real life.
I had every intention of mounting the Llama drawing in this second frame, but when I actually came to do it, I realised that the opening was too large. So instead I cut out some material and felt and stuck them onto the board to create some 'crafty' art. At some point in the future I may take it out and do something a little more 'art', but I only had the morning to knock something up, and several frames with the same style of artwork would probably look quite cool as well.

There will definitely be more art projects on the cards for me, now that I have rediscovered my love for art - I just need to buy the supplies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Well my week of artifying my house has been a success. I bought some pen drawings from - you guessed it - the Hospice Shop, and I also framed some of my own art.

Unfortunately my computer and camera aren't playing nice at the moment. So the llama is all I managed to upload. Looking at the works I did before I had children was really invigorating. It all looked much better than I thought at the time, I think there will definitely be another making art week some time in the future.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My project for this week is 'art'. I love art, especially Renaissance stuff, but since I obviously can't afford anything by da Vinci, I'll have to make do with what I've got on hand. Since I moved all the photos into our hallway, I have all the walls on the living room to adorn with art. First stop - the Hospice shop. At the very least, hopefully they will have some frames for the artworks I already have.

I have a large empty wall over the fireplace that I have a plan for a large artwork in the shape of NZ. The only problem is that I'm not sure that DH will like it, maybe I'll just do it and see what he says once its up. Watch this space.
I have finished all my presents for J's birthday this week. I am very excited to have it all done.

A sunhat for J

And a little crossover top - the light when I took the photo was terrible so I haven't put it up. P found the presents that I had wrapped and had a go with some sellotape as well. I did have to take it off her because she got a bit too enthusiastic about the unwrapping part.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My project for this week is to finish all J's birthday presents. Her birthday isn't until November, but with that, and then Christmas and then P's birthday in April, I need to get onto it all. So far I have sewn a hat, and found a cool wooden puzzle from my local Hospice shop. I just need to finish a top for her and I will have achieved my project. Photos to follow.
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