Sunday, May 30, 2010

Time for Tea?

We had friends over for afternoon tea today.

Teacup Teatowel by Cotton Kiwi. Available at the Devonport Craft Market and shortly on

Lemon and poppyseed cake 
Recipe in the June issue of Your Home and Garden Magazine

I do love afternoon tea. It gives me an excuse to bake and get lots of pretty plates out and be very girly.

It was a gorgeous sunny day which made it even better.

Can you see my reflection in the spoons?

And I get to wear my very girly apron from Fireworks Agnes (available at The Devonport Craft Market).

How was your Sunday?

Friday, May 28, 2010


"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”"
From the Velveteen Rabbit by Marjorie Williams

Sometimes as a Mother, I feel like I have grown all loose in the joints and rather shabby. But who wouldn't want to be real?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Creative Space - Escaping the rain

It's still revoltingly rainy here in Auckland and our basement is more than a little damp. My sewing room is in the basement so my Creative Space is in the kitchen today. I'll be wearing a lovely ensemble of thick wooly socks and extra long cardigans and trying not to cut any of them as I crawl around on the floor cutting out patterns and fabric. Know the feeling?

I have some little red shorts to make for my Dolly Donations soccer player.

If you can spare the time to make a dolly, please do. It's a great cause. All the info can be found via the link above. All you lovely ladies who can crochet and knit can join in too. There are free pattern's on the Dolly Donations blog to make knitted and crochet dolls. The deadline isn't until 1st November so there is plenty of time for you to get creative!

I've been doing some more knitting myself. The green sweater has been put on hold briefly while I make a warm ballet cardigan for Maddy. Mum is going to make Eloise's for her which is a very good thing. I hate making the same pattern twice (my knitting bag is full of single socks and booties). Do you have that problem too?

I'm also slowly adding a few bits and pieces to my Felt shop. I've just finished this little size 2 pinafore dress to list in the shop. It has gathered strips on the front which I really like the look of. I think I might do this on a few of the kid's t-shirts too. To make the gathered strips: 
  • Cut out three or four 2 inch wide strips about 1 1/2 times the length you want them.
  • Set your machine to the longest stitch length and stitch down the middle of each strip. Carefully pull one of the threads to gather your piece to the length you want it.
  • Pin all the pieces to the front of the outfit you are decorating (I used a pin at the top and the bottom and one in the middle to secure it).
  • Stitch down each strip (remembering to adjust your machine back to the normal stitch length), removing the pins as you go. Back stitch at either end to make sure the strips are secure.
  • If you use knit fabrics, the strips won't fray. You could do something similar with wide grosgrain ribbon.
Let me know if you do this as I'd love to see what you make.

What's your Creative Space today? Pop along to Kirsty's Kootoyoo blog and see what amazing stuff she has been doing (and spend the day in awe of all the other creative spaces.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Look

As you can see, I've been busy playing around with the look of my blog today. What do you think of the three columns? Too busy or looking good?

I've found some lovely graphics while I've been trawling the web for ideas and I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you. Can you tell I've got a thing for vintage dolls and kewpies?

From a 1923 Needlecraft Magazine.

And my favourite, this paper doll from The Graphics Fairy. Isn't adorable?

Find it here

I think I'm going to be printing a few of these off to decoupage some boxes for my girls. Wouldn't they look gorgeous on a t-shirt too? I can feel lots of new projects coming on!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dolly Drive

I popped in to Jennie's blog earlier today and she was talking about a lovely lady called Sarah who is organising a second Dolly Donation drive to go to children in Haiti. They are in particular need of boy dolls so I decided to make a couple to send over. She mentioned that soccer is a very popular passtime amongst the boys of Haiti so I googled the Haitian National soccer team.

And here is one of my almost finished dolls.

He still needs some shorts and I'm toying (excuse the pun) with the idea of writing Haiti with a fabric marker on his front but I'm scared of wrecking him.  What do you think? Shall I risk it?

I know you want to join in with this worthy cause too so why not visit the Dolly Donations blog and get all the info? There's a free pattern on the blog that's designed to use scraps. I've used my own pattern. The deadline isn't until 1st November so you have plenty of time to make one or two and get them over to America. So if you can sew, there is no excuse

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Cat that likes to get in the way

You may have read in the little "About Me" section in the sidebar of my blog, that I live with a cat that likes to get in the way. This isn't an exaggeration. The kids have both been home sick today so I brought in the stuff from their wendy house and let them turn the living room into their own little house. They had a dining room, a nursery, even a sewing room (and yes, I got roped into making them a cardboard sewing machine before I had even managed to have a shower).

(It says 'Eloise' on the other side because mean-Mummy refused to make two!)

So what's this got to do with the cat? Well, the next few photos should show you how Kipper reacts if you aren't involving him in the game and how the girls are so used to it, they just use him as an extra accessory.

He was lying on one of their plates so they decided he could be a plate instead.

And it didn't stop there. Maddy went to bed a little while ago to read a book. Guess who decided to be helpful again?

Look closely and you will see he is lying on her book.

He did the same to me last night, lying smack bang in the middle of my knitting pattern. He was wet too so I was really pleased! Luckily, I had just finished all I was going to do on this little bunny for the night. All she needs is clothes.

Edit: My blog layout seems to be on the blink! Fingers x it resolves soon. In the meantime, apologies for the random photo positions!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Weekend in photographs

Auckland's weather surpassed itself this weekend in its complete randomness. We went from torrential rain and a very cold spell on Friday to this beautiful day on Saturday.

Kipper found himself a sunny patch and didn't budge all day.

Today (Sunday) was freezing and miserable again but we managed a trip out to the Royal Oak Market where these gorgeous Monarch butterfly caterpillars were.

I caught up with lots of friends who were exhibiting and the girls had their faces painted so they were very happy!

We've got two very tired little girls now. Poor Maddy has a stinking cold so I'm expecting a day at home tomorrow. Fingers crossed I'll get a chance to work on some knitting or tidy up my sewing room in between providing hot lemon drinks and blankets.

How was your weekend? Hope you got some sunshine.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pretending it's Spring

It's hideous weather here in Auckland today (and I don't think we are alone. The whole of New Zealand seems to be getting a taste of winter today). It's been bucketing down with rain all night and all today. After a late night visit to the Emergency Room with my youngest (who is fine today), I'm feeling in great need of a pick me up today. A day sewing with some gorgeous floral corduroy was just what was needed. Looking at these beautiful flowers and butterflys all day has allowed me to pretend it's Spring (in my head anyway!
The rest of me was freezing!)

I've just listed this little dress and hat on my Felt Shop. It's size 3-6 months but the dress would probably last longer than that. It's made from a printed cordouroy.

The hat has a soft rib edging.

I've got some homemade bread rolls baking in the oven and I'm going to make leek, potato and bacon soup to go with them. We're planning on doing quite a lot of this after dinner.

Hope your evening is warm and snuggly too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Creative Space - Tape Measure Roses

My Creative Space is turning these...

into these.

 I've just listed them all in my Felt shop (which was starting to look a little bare!).

and I have finished the korker hair accessories I started last week.

The tutorial for them is here.

I've also been rather brave and gone from this hair colour (which I've had since university)...

to this one...

My children have told me I look like I have old lady grandma hair and my other half didn't even notice. I like that I won't have to colour my hair so often and that it is closer to the colour of my daughters' hair. But then again... I'm not sure I can take much more of the "you have old lady grandma hair" taunts that the girls are finding so hilarious! Maybe I should go back to being platinum blonde. What do you think?

Pop along to Kootoyoo to see what everyone else has been up to.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Silly hat anyone?

I found this in the op shop today. Isn't it wonderful? I'm going to need more space on my sewing room wall for all these patterns that I intend framing one day. That 'one day' pile is getting bigger and bigger. Do you have one of those too?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lazy Sunday

I did some baking with Eloise today.

I told her she could lick the bowl. Of course, she took me literally. What was I thinking?

We just had a day of pottering and catching up on jobs. It was a lovely feeling pegging out the laundry this morning and realising that about half of my childrens' clothes were handmade. I haven't made any more additions to their wardrobe this weekend but I think I've done my fair share of hours to be allowed say that I've completed the Elsie Marley challenge. It's been great fun seeing what everyone else has been making and finding gorgeous new blogs to follow.

The one crafty thing I have done this weekend is this little bit of embroidery.

I have cheated a great deal by personalising a doily but I think it is lovely nonetheless. I really want to turn it into a lavender bag but it has to be posted to Australia and I'm not convinced it will get through customs. I think I will play it safe and make a little zippered purse. It's for my lovely Nan. She had a mini stroke on Thursday. Thankfully she is okay but it has given everyone a dreadful fright. When the paramedics asked her if she could remember her name, she thought for a long time and said "Nan". A touching moment out of a very scarey day. She is so important, not just to our family but to so many people all over the world that I am keeping my fingers doubly crossed that the mini stroke isn't a precursor to a big one. She is an incredible, fun loving, bright and gorgeous woman. This photo was taken at a family birthday party a few years ago. She was racing the 30 year olds down the driveway on a moonhopper (and still managing to look totally glam and gorgeous!

Isn't she amazing?

My beautiful daughters took themselves off yesterday and made her the most gorgeous get well cards without it being suggested. I would love to show you a photo of the cards but I can't find them at the moment (the kids have set the lounge up as some sort of nursery and there are prams and dolls everywhere!). Hopefully, we'll find them later so we can get them in the post with her little purse tomorrow.

On a completely different note, there's a very cool giveaway over on Every Spare Minute. I'd say please don't enter but I know you are going to. The fabric is too gorgeous to pass up a chance on winning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Reversible Dress

The low down on the dress!

I've had quite a few emails about the reversible dress I made for Maddy earlier in the week, asking for the pattern number. It's a vintage pattern, Butterick 6875.

I've googled it and it's not an easy one to find. It would be fairly easy to copy if you had a pinafore dress pattern already or even a pinafore dress that fits your child that you could draw around to make a pattern. I hope I'm not breaching copyright laws by posting this but the pattern is out of print and must be over 30 years old so I think I will be okay! If you believe otherwise, please do let me know!! Here's a picture of the pattern pieces:

Piece 3 is the back (cut it on the fold). Piece 2 is the front piece. Cut 1 back piece on the fold and 2 front pieces from each of your 2 fabrics. To make your own pattern, I would suggest tracing out the front and back pieces of an existing pinafore pattern. Use the back as is and then adjust the front by drawing a curved line from one shoulder down to the armhole on the opposite side. I haven't tried making a pattern this way myself so I'd recommend trying it out on some cheap fabric first. 

To make the dress up you do the following:
1. Sew the side seams of both dresses. The shoulder piece of each front piece laps over the chest to the opposite shoulder.
    2. Do the same with both dresses. Place one dress on top of the other, right sides together and stitch all around the sides, armholes, shoulders and neck edges (everything but the bottom hemline).

3.Clip curves, turn the dress right way out and press. Put button holes at each shoulder. Try the dress on your child and mark where to put the buttonholes and buttons (just above waist level). Make button holes and sew 4 buttons on each side of the dress (2 on either side of each back shoulder and 2 on each side of the dress at the waist level placement).

4. Make a separate hem for each dress and tack the hems together at the seams.

I've used this tutorial from Polkadotbug to turn a normal pinafore dress into a reversible dress before as well. It's a really good one and I would highly recommend it. I didn't do the ribbon ties, I made button holes instead. My one hot tip for these reversible dresses is to use as lightweight fabric as you can manage as otherwise they get really heavy and your child just won't wear it (she says from experience!). Do let me know if you make a reversible dress from these or any other methods. I'd love to see them!

Gathering insanity - Day 5 Elsie Marley Kids Clothes Challenge

I spent the day sewing at the beach today. My lovely friend Soo has just moved into the most incredible house right on the beach. I took one look at her dining table in the brightly lit front room and invited myself around for a day of sewing, coffee and chat. So much nicer than sitting in my basement sewing room on my own!

Look at that gorgeous Marimekko fabric.

Lunch. Homemade Leek and Potato Soup. Yum!

And this is what I made. (The skirt and one happy little girl.)

Kipper the cat had quite a lot to say about being disturbed from his nap for a photo shoot.
(and if you are wondering about the title of the post, that's what it felt like everytime my gathering thread snapped whilst making the skirt)

Visit the Elsie Marley Flickr Group to see what the others have been making.


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