Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas animals

I have finished knitting P's animals for Christmas, and I hope she really likes them.
 The pig is Oink by Susan B Anderson.  Its a pretty easy knit, and she is so cute!

 Check out the little curly tail

 And I have a partner for P's stegosaurus.  I ran out of time to knit any more of the family, but I'm sure she'll still enjoy the couple of them.

More creativity over at Natural Suburbia.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

O Christmas Tree, o Christmas Tree

Although I haven't posted lately, we have certainly been doing things.  I can feel Christmas coming.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Over dying

My lovely friend Nyree gave me some clothes that her daughter had outgrown.  They were 'kindy' clothes, stained, but still very wearable.  P couldn't care less about stains on her clothes and was just super excited to have some new things.  One of the tops that Nyree gave me was this lovely hand knitted vest.  It had a green paint stain across the front.  I gave it a go with some sunlight soap, but it didn't shift.

 Then I had a fabulous idea.  I decided to overdye it.  This is exactly the same process as for wool, but using the finished garment.  I used the same process as I do for dying wool.

I chose a purple colour because I thought it would cover the green the best, while still being true to the base colour of the vest.
 Unfortunately, Murphy's law meant that when I dyed the vest, I managed to miss some of the green stain when I put the purple dye in.  Still its much less visible than it was before.

Also Murphy's law is that I prefer the colour on the back to that of the front.

Check out more creativity over at Natural Surburbia.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Art on the walls

Or at least in their frames.  This is a bit out of order, since I realised I hadn't posted about my art project.  I did find frames for my artworks, and they are on the walls. 

I had planned to put the smaller pictures up together to create a kind of naive art look, but P asked if she could have one on her wall and I couldn't refuse.  She also asked for it to be really low down on the wall, so that it is in her line of sight, which is very cute, but also a really good idea for kids.

The pictures don't actually look all that good on the wall, mostly because my wallpaper is very busy, and it detracts from the pictures because they don't have any borders on the frames.  Once we finish wallpapering the house, they will stand out better.  I can definitely appreciate white walls for showing off art works.  I still haven't worked up the courage to sell any other pieces yet.  Maybe next time.

More UFOs

My project this week is to finish the other project that has been languishing around in my house.  More on it when I complete it - and I'm sure that I will.  Actually if you read through my recentish posts it should become pretty obvious what it is.

Finished project!

I'm so excited to finish one of the two projects that have been languishing in my home for far too long.  Some time ago (actually quite a long time ago) Marie from Softearth posted about her lovely needle felted nativity set.  She asked if someone wanted to swap for it.  I have been on the lookout for a nativity set for many years.  My parents have one that is about as old as I am, its just a little plastic figurine set, but they bring it out every Christmas and set it up.  I've been looking for something similar - not in terms of plasticyness, but in terms of something that I can treasure and that the girls will remember as fondly as I remember my parents set.  So when I saw Marie's beautiful set, I said I'd love it. 

She asked for some of the baby dolls that I made in my Steiner toys post.  Well she sent off the beautiful nativity set, and I got to work on the dolls.  And then I didn't finish them, and they sat nearly finished for ages.  Until last week - when I pulled them out of my sewing basket and completed them!

So they will be winging their way to Marie.  Who I have to say has been incredibly patient, and has not hassled me about when she is going to get these, even though she would have been perfectly entitled to, given my embarrassing delay in getting these finished.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Unfinished projects

Due to some personal circumstances, I've had to slow down a little at the moment.  So I've rejigged my one project a week to finish off those things that definitely need doing (and which I am too embarrassed to blog about until they're done), and then take a break over Christmas.

So my revised list for the end of the year,
For the weeks beginning:
7/11/11: Unfinished projects
14/11/11: Unfinished projects
21/11/11: Birthday prep
28/11/11: Christmas presents
5/12/11: Christmas Tree
12/12/11: Christmas Decorations
19/12/11: Christmas food

I know it still looks like I've got alot of things on, but trust me, this is way less than I had originally planned.  I think next year I will knock off my projects in mid November if I can manage it.

Monday, October 31, 2011


My project this week is Art.  After my hot knife failure, I took a bit of a break from my artistic endevours, but this week I have found my art mojo again.  A little while ago I was thinking about some of the art that I have made, especially the pictures I created when I was younger.  Mostly they sit in a folder in my bookcase, which just seems a waste.  So my plan is to frame some of them up and put them on the walls, and to sell those that I don't keep.

I have to say, the decision to sell some of these pieces is a little daunting.  Creating something for myself is one thing, but for someone to buy it is something else again.  My biggest fear is that I will sell something, and the buyer will be disappointed by what they receive.

Any tips on how to overcome this fear of selling stuff?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Terror and Joy

Not the actual coin.
If you read the side of my blog, you'll see that I describe having children as 'bringing joy and terror' to my life.  I meant this in a "not knowing what is going on with my life" kind of way, rather than a "choking on a small coin" kind of way.  Unfortunately this week I got to experience the latter with J.

It was an incredibly frightening experience.  J came running over to me and then started the most awful choking.  I picked her up and struck her on the back between the shoulder blades a few times.  Nothing happened, she just kept choking.  And in that terrible instant, I remembered that children die from choking, and that I might not be able to save her.  I was terrified.  I picked her up and ran towards the phone to call an ambulance.  As I was running the coin dislodged and flew out of her mouth.  Once she recovered from the shock she was fine - I needed to sit down with a cup of tea and some chocolate before I felt okay.

About 4 years ago I did a first aid course.  That's how I knew to strike her on  the back with my hand, and it helped me not to panic.  I can't credit it with saving J because it was a large degree of luck, but it certainly helped.

The moral of this story is twofold.
1) Don't assume your child won't choke, because it really can happen to anyone.
2) Do a first aid course, and if they don't go through what to do with a choking child, ask! St Johns and Red Cross both do first aid courses in NZ

Friday, October 28, 2011

Summery Christmas presents

 Check out the sunhat! Isn't it awesome?*

Well, I'm not entirely happy with it, but I am pleased.  The pattern comes from the Australian Woman's weekly craft book.  You have to upscale the pattern, and I think my version is not quite right.  The instructions also left a little to be desired, so I had to improvise when it came to piecing the lining and crown together - which is probably why it doesn't sit quite right.  Next time I will also add some interfacing to the crown section as well.

 The pattern called for there to be two brim pieces with two pieces of interfacing.  I only had enough interfacing to do one piece, so I cut another piece of heavy fabric, interfaced that and then sandwiched it in between the two brim pieces.  I really like that it is a bit sturdier that way.

 The most time consuming bit was sewing the lines around the brim.  Fortunately I completed most of this while taking a rugby sewing break.  For those of you who aren't from around here, the Rugby World Cup final was on this weekend just gone.  NZ has hosted the tournament, and the All Blacks (our team) were in the final against France.

It was an incredibly nerve wracking game, so I had to take a break during the second half and go and sew in the kitchen because I just couldn't bear to watch.  In the end we won! It was worth all the stress to win the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 1987.  And New Zealand went wild for our win.  So all I accomplished this week was the sunhat.  I was a little pre occupied otherwise.

Check out more creativity at Natural Suburbia

*Modelled by the very accommodating Kiki.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The best of the Australian Women's weekly craft book

 This book has belonged to my Mum for quite some time, and for the last couple of years I have been 'borrowing' it.  This was published in 1989 and if you can get hold of a copy I seriously recommend it.  It has all sorts of patterns and ideas in it.  The knitting patterns are great, and the sewing is also really interesting.

 Although I do have to note that the sewing instructions are a little sparse - when it came to sewing P's sunhat, I couldn't work out what to do with the lining on the crown section at all.

 But for a variety of interesting crafts and ideas, this book is fabulous.  One of the patterns for a blanket actually dates to the 19th century.  Its one of the ones I'm really keen to try.

Of course there are also some interesting '80's ideas - crochet tablecloth anyone?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cultural Swap saga

This is hopefully my last week doing this project.  It was supposed to be sent out at the end of September, but I seriously underestimated the amount of time needed to complete this project.  I finally have all the bits together, now it is simply a matter of assembling each parcel and sending it off.  I know I will feel a huge weight off my shoulders once it is finally finished.  Although getting the credit card bill after I have posted everything out will be a little concerning as well.

Hopefully by the end of this week there will only be the one project that I have to finish.  More on that when its done.

Do you have anything that you just can't seem to finish? How do you deal with it?

Friday, October 21, 2011


 One of the knitted toys for P's birthday

I'm hoping to knit another big one and some little baby ones for P to have a family of dinosaurs.  The pattern is Stegosaurus by Cassidy Clark.  You can find it on Ravelry here.  

More Creativity over at Natural Suburbia.  If you're interested in knitted toys, Linda's blog is definitely worth browsing through, her patterns are delicious.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yet more Christmas presents

My project this week is to complete yet more of P and J's Christmas presents.  I'm nearly done with the 'making' ones, and have started to collect a few of the bought items.

This week I'm going to make P a sunhat, and hopefully some small dress ups for J.  I also bought some Christmas fabric for $3 a metre to use as wrapping paper as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A wonderful weekend

My weekend away was just great.  I worked on Friday, which was no hardship at all with the people I met.  And then on Saturday and Sunday I spent time with my wonderful friends and family.  Some highlights from the weekend.

I went to Te Papa specifically to see the Toi Te Papa exhibition, and got distracted on the way by this little gallery about Vogue magazine in New Zealand.

I love the colour of  this 1960's dress, featured in Vogue
This dress was made by a young woman in the 1960's using a Vogue pattern from the magazine.  You could even get labels to sew into your finished outfit.

I love the detail on the bodice, its just so beautiful.

After I was finished looking at art (for as long as I wanted, without small people asking questions every five seconds or running up and down the gallery), I wandered through to Cuba Mall with my friends, and we had an iced chocolate at the Mr Bun there.

As I walked further up Cuba Street, I stopped into a little shop that sold hand made clothing, on the off chance that they might have some vintage patterns.  Boy was I right.  I bought two patterns for $2 each.

The first was Simplicity 7226, which appears to never have been used.

The second was Vogue 1354  Its from the early 1960s, I'm so excited to have such a great vintage pattern in my collection to work with.  I think there were some patterns there that were even older, all for $2.  I'll definitely be visiting there again.

Monday, October 10, 2011

More mama pads

My project last week was really successful.  I whipped up a few more mama pads.  They are a seriously fast and easy project.  It wasn't all plain sailing though.  My overlocker apparently doesn't like to over lock several thick layers of fabric, and getting around the curves was a little tricky.  By contrast when I used my sewing machine for the finishing, it sewed through the layers like a hot knife through butter.

These have wings (snaps to be attached when I get some more), and are about four layers of bamboo fleece.  I find bamboo fantastic for these because they are so absorbent, but cotton would work as well.  I cut the hourglass shape of the pad out first, and then cut the wing shape out of two layers of PUL.  Make sure that the wing piece is larger than the absorbent pad.  I over locked the absorbent pad together and then attached it to one layer of the PUL with two lines of stitching in the hopes that they will stay put and be comfortable.  I then over locked all the way around the PUL to create a nice finish.

I also did a couple of smaller mama pads.  These only have a couple of layers of cotton fleece, and are smaller in size to round out my collection.

This was a very satisfying project.  Its a really easy beginner project, and there are heaps of patterns and tutorials out there.  You don't need any special fabrics (although if you have cloth nappy materials they are helpful).  Give them a go, just think of all the savings you'll make over your lifetime.

Cloth pad tutorial - Natural Suburbia
Jan Andrea's pattern
Directory of other cloth mama pads
My previous posts here and here

Are you inspired? Or does the whole idea just gross you out?


My project this week is birthday prep.  And the best part is that I am going away for my birthday for a weekend without the girls! I'm very excited to see some of my friends and family and swan around the capital without two little ones in tow.  I think I will go to Te Papa, and get sushi, and do a little shopping.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Summer Blouse

*The Facts
Fabric: Two floral pillowcases from the Hospice Shop
Pattern: Simplicity 9502
Year: 2000
Notions: None
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: October 2011

Wear again? Yes! I'm wearing it right now
Total Cost: 25 cents

I made myself a top, and its awesome! 

But, first things first, its not a Sorbetto.  I had intended to make the version of the Sorbetto by Mena over at the Sew Weekly, and I printed out the pattern and everything.  Then, because I was being extra good, I actually measured the test square to make sure that the pattern had printed out properly.  It hadn't.  So without access to a printer I had to find another pattern instead.  Initially I thought of drafting something myself, but I really wanted to make something that I knew would be mostly right when I put it on (not always a given with my drafting skills).  And then I found this pattern in my stash.  Its a great pattern for using narrow fabrics with because there are side pieces to both the front and back of the top.

It was just right for my two upcycled pillow cases (they had the same fabric).

Its a pretty straightforward pattern to work with, although you do need to be able to match up curves, which seems a bit more daunting than it actually is.

I did make some modifications though.  Because I didn't have a zipper, I cut the back piece on the fold.  It worked fine, but it is a little big.  Next time I use the pattern I'll definitely have to use the smaller size.  I also altered the length.  The pattern comes with either a tunic length (view A) or a top (view B).  The top was too short, and the tunic was too long, so I cut my material longer than the top and shorter than the tunic and it turned out exactly where I wanted it to be.

I altered the sleeves as well, because the pattern looked huge and poofy.  So I redrafted them to be a little shorter, and instead of gathering the sleeves, I pleated them.  I love the pleated sleeves, its my favourite feature of the top.  It makes me look a bit top heavy but I don't really mind.

The only part of the blouse that I'm unhappy with is the bias binding.  I used the same binding as for P's nightie, and it just isn't really very good.  The orange fabric has a little bit of stretch in it anyway, and its really hard to iron crisply.  And despite all my ironing and pining and careful sewing, I still didn't manage to get the binding right.  Its really frustrating so I think I will definitely need to redo it at some point in the future.  

But all in all, I'm really happy with the top.  I wore it to work, and felt great in it, and DH didn't mention it at all when I had it on (he'd have said something if he thought I was wearing a pillowcase).

*This post is totally in homage to the Sew Weekly.  If you're interested in sewing its definitely worth a look, those are some truly talented women.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A summer number

I have to confess that I didn't manage to complete all the summer sewing I had planned this week.  J's skirt fell by the wayside as I just didn't have the time to complete all three items of clothing.  I did, however, make P's nightie (she was so please she wore it to bed even though the weather has not really been warm enough yet), and I made myself a blouse (more on that in my next post).  

So last week was really successful - J is too little to remember that she should have an extra skirt.

I didn't have a pattern for P's nightie, so I used some parts of a pattern I did have, and made the rest up.  I used the bodice parts of Butterick 4574 although since this dress was designed with a zipper, I cut the back piece on the fold, and then cut down the back once I had sewn the shoulder seams to ensure it would fit over P's head.  I measured P's body to the right length for the body of nightie, and then added a few centimetres to the width of the front.  This enabled me to gather it a little in the front.  Once I had sewn the side seams, I just attached the body to the bodice parts and voila, a nightie was made.  Because I used the overlocker, this was a really fast sew.

I found this great tutorial for making bias binding, and I made the binding around the neck and arm holes.  The only problem was that I let P choose the material, and it wasn't really suitable to make bias binding out of.  Don't be put off by the idea that making bias binding is really time consuming, because it actually doesn't take all that long, especially if you only do enough for the garment you are actually making (rather than reams and reams of the stuff).

The trick with bias binding is accuracy, its really important to cut as perfectly as you can, because it will make a big difference to the finished product.  Mine was actually a bit of a fail - more for my top than P's, but I'll talk about that in my next post as well.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...