Monday, September 26, 2011

Dan's back

I've just realised that I've been very slack in letting non-Facebookers know that knitted Dan is back. He was stolen from the wharf just over a week ago (poor Miss E burst into tears when she heard he had gone). Being the practical sort, I knitted another Dan. He's been back on the wharf since Friday night, complete with a chain through his middle to avoid any further pinchings.

Whilst I was attaching him, I got chatting to one of the cleaning ladies who works at the wharf. She had developed quite an attachment to our knitted tagging and had been holding on to bits and pieces that had fallen (or pulled) off because she didn't know who to contact about replacing them.I was thrilled to discover she had Elmo's missing arm and the missing owl so both got reattached whilst I was down there. Miss E was so pleased to have both arms back on Elmo and Miss M loved seeing the little owls having a hug.

 If you haven't been to see the Wooly Walkalong yet, it'll be up (hopefully) for the duration of the World Cup. Fingers crossed Dan stays for the rest of that time!

Dan's STILL our man. Replacement Dan on the wharf on Friday night, complete with padlock and chain.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Job

I'm sure I could happily fill all the extra child free time I've got now that Miss E has gone to school but the things I do to fill that time won't generally allow us to fix the roof and paint the ceiling! I've been looking for a job since E started school in August. I've been so lucky to be at home with my girls all this time. It's really important to me that I'm still home for them when they get home from school everyday and as many of you know, it's not easy to find part time work in school hours let alone work that you will enjoy. I was thrilled when I say that Parnell Farmers' Market was looking for a new Market Manager. It ticks every box on my wishlist and I was thrilled to be offered the job. I've just finished my first week as the new manager of Parnell Farmers Market and it's been fantastic. Yesterday was my first market day and the weather couldn't have been more perfect.

Pukeko Bakery
All the stallholders were wonderfully welcoming to me. 

Clevedon Proteas
I met quite a few regular customers too. Everyone was happy to have a chat. Baskets were laden with goodies (I had to force myself not to go and buy everything I wanted. So many scrummy things)
Miranda Farm Shop
 Look at these lemons. Aren't they beautiful? There were so many lovely yellows and oranges on the stalls. Citrus fruits, yellow tulips, baby  carrots, pumpkins.

Heirloom Organix
I know some of these beautiful organic seedlings are going to end up in our veggie garden before long.

NZ Cheeseman
So many scrummy cheeses. Mmmm.

Cake Concepts
The kids love these sausages in blankets. Those pasties are definately on my lunch list for future markets.

Bethany Flowers
 The sights and smells at the market were heavenly. Managing the market means I have to get up at 5.15am on Saturdays now but seriously, how could I mind that when I get to enjoy these beautiful sights?

I love how these gorgeous veggies were displayed. They sold out within a few hours.

Sunset Eggs
These eggs come from very happy chickens. The NZSPCA regularly audits them to make sure they are truly free range. Happy chickens make me happy.

The Farm Gate
I got home from my morning at the market to discover that M had learned to ride her bike and had made it all the way around the block on her own. Happy days! She is just so pleased with herself. Don't you love it when your kids are proud of themselves? I'm sorry that I missed that moment but I'm so glad that I can do a job that I enjoy and still be there to pick them up from school at 3pm and  hear all about what they've done at school that day (bad and good). If you think you'd enjoy coming down to the Parnell Farmers' Market, it's on every Saturday from 8am-12pm in the Jubilee Building car park at 545 Parnell Road, Parnell between the library and museum. I'll still be running the Devonport Craft Market and Cotton Kiwi. The next Devonport Craft Market is on Sunday 2nd October (next Sunday). Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


My knitted Dan Carter was pinched from the Devonport on Friday night :o(

Photo Knitty Graffity
Believe it or not, it made National news and was even listed on the Yahoo homepage.
Replacement Dan is well on his way to being knitted and will hopefully be up on the wharf by Friday or Saturday.

I'm writing the pattern down as I knit him this time instead of just making it up as I go along. I am planning on selling the pattern to raise money for Christchurch. Any volunteers to pattern test for me? I've got one but I think a couple extras would be good. You'd need to be happy using double pointed needles and a quick knitter because I'd like to get the pattern up for sale asap. Leave a comment below if you are keen or email me. If you fancy donating the Dan you knit to be auctioned off then let me know that too

Friday, September 16, 2011

My inflatable giraffe is no longer distracting.

Do you know how to really upset a 50 something year old man who works in a hardwear store? Tell him that you need to buy some spray paint to cover an inflatable giraffe. Really. It makes them do this kind of squirmy dance while they try and work out if you are pulling their leg or possibly escaped from a mental assylum. Women working in craft stores, on the other hand, don't tend to bat an eyelid when you go in and ask them to help you match the skin colour of Dan Carter to a ball of wool. Mars and Venus. It's true.

Once the poor man had gotten over his shock and realised that I did actually really need spray paint to cover an inflatable giraffe (and once he had established that I was over 18.... hah!), he helped me find this awesome retro green colour to spray paint my giraffe (I also spray painted some other stuff but that's another post). Thanks to the lovely ladies who commented on my last post and answered the question that I hadn't asked as well as the one I had! ;o) You were totally right. I did love giraffe as he was but now he's even more awesome and much less distracting. If any of you have need to spray paint an inflatable giraffe, I used fridge spray paint and it's holding up pretty well and feels very flexible so I should be able to keep inflating him. I will be using a pump to do it though. No intention of putting my mouth near that paint!! In between my spray painting shenanigans (and the upsetting the hardware salesmen shenanigans), I've also been doing a spot of sewing.

 I found this incredibly cute retro sausage dog print in Spotlight last week and had to have it. I've made it into flat fronted board shorts. So cute! And then I found this perfect blue and orange t-shirt to go with it and added a little sausage dog to the lapel. The set will be on sale at Crafternoon Tea tomorrow. I've got some gorgeous lion fabric too so I'm hoping to get the time to make a few more pairs of board shorts between now and tomorrow. So much to do!!
 Oh and I've been making little headbands too. I absolutely love these and can't wait to see little girls wearing one of my flower filled fairy skirts or a little summer dress with one of these in their hair. I wish it would stop raining long enough so I can get some photos of the kids in the outfits. Maybe over the weekend. These will be on sale this Saturday at Crafternoon Tea too so pop along if you are free.
I'm off to play on my sewing machine for the rest of the day (well at least until I go to do the school pick up!). Yay!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Freaky or friendly?

I was in the $2 shop earlier today getting some stickers for my girls who've been really good lately. I spotted this little inflatable giraffe and knew that he'd be the perfect thing to display my bibs for me.

I've also dug out one of my childhood dolls to help with my stall display.

Hopefully she won't freak too many people out. Even in the lilac dress she has a look of scarey movies about her. What do you think? Too spooky or cute?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wow! Wooly Walk Along

I was lucky enough to be part of an awesome team helping to put up the Wooly Walk Along on Devonport Wharf yesterday. Over 75 metres of knitted and crocheted goodness made by 90 people from around the world. My knitted Dan Carter (after a lot of discussion) was placed next to a piece with a single word: Wisdom. I was so proud to be a part of the group. Well done to Knitty Graffity for all her hard work organising it!

And here's my Dan Carter looking very happy in the sunshine!
The Wooly Walk Along will hopefully remain in place for the full 6 weeks of the Rugby World Cup so pop along to Devonport and have a look if you can!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Possibly the best slice in the World.

Do you have a favourite slice that you make? I discovered this one a few months ago and it's been a big favourite ever since. Not only is it extremely yummy, but it's flexible (you can include different things each time depending what you have in your cupboards) and it's super quick and easy to make (always a bonus in this house!) Want the recipe? Here it is:

Sweetened Condensed Milk Slice
1 packet (250g) super wine/digestive/plain/malt biscuits
110g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chocolate pieces/chips or buttons
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 1/4 cups walnuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk (approx 400g)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Put your biscuits through a food processor until they resemble fine crumbs (or pop them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin).
  2. Pour your melted butter into the biscuit crumbs and give them another whizz in the food processor (or stir the butter through the crumbs in a bowl.)
  3. Pour the butter/biscuit mix into a slice tin (around 30x25cm is a good size) and press them down with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  4. Pop your chocolate, cranberries and walnuts into the food processor (don't worry about cleaning it in between making the biscuit base and this part) and give them a whizz to break down the pieces (or do the bag and rolling pin thing again).
  5. Sprinkle the chocolate mix over the top of the biscuit base evenly.
  6. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk all over the top of the fruit/nut/chocolate mix. Bake it for 25 minutes.
  7. Leave it to cool then cut into slices.
  8. Watch it disappear!
You can adjust this recipe using your own ingredients. Substitute dark chocolate for milk or white chocolate (the white would make it too sweet though I think!). Swap the cranberries out for any other dried fruit or even coconut and substitute the nuts out for any other nut you like or leave them out and add more fruit instead.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

RWC supporters dresses for girls tutorial

You may have noticed... New Zealand has gone a little RWC mad. There are seas of plastic flags covering every available surface in Auckland and the souvenirs are flying out of shops as everyone gears up for the first game tomorrow. Our girls had a RWC mufti day at school today. The idea was that you came dressed in your team's colours. M chose England and E chose the All Blacks.
In the interests of trying something that I've been meaning to try for a long time (and in saving myself a lot of money), I decided to make them little dresses to wear. These are super simple to make but you will need a little patience when making the freezer paper stencils but trust me, it's all worth it.

What you will need is:

Fabric in your team's colour (get the amount you need from the pattern. I just used calico because I had some at home)
Contrasting bias binding
matching thread, scissors, pins etc
Freezer Paper (you can buy this from most quilting shops and you only need enough to make your design)
Exacto (craft) knife and board or small sharp scissors
Fabric paint (If your team logo has lots of colours, I'd recommend getting a bottle of acrylic fabric painting medium. It will turn your acrylic paints into fabric paint and makes things a lot cheaper.)
Paint brush (ideally a stippling brush but you can use a make up sponge or other kind of brush. Whatever you have)
An iron
A sewing machine

England and New Zealand battle it out on the pitch

First things first. Cut your two pieces of fabric out from the pattern to the size you want. Grab one of the pieces and pop it on your ironing board. Find an image online that will represent your team and print it out so that it fills a page of A4 paper. Cut roughly around the edges and tape the image on the non waxy side of the freezer paper. Using an exacto knife (or small sharp scissors) cut out your stencil. Don't panic if you cut through small lines. The freezer paper is going to be ironed on to your fabric and you won't notice the break in the join if you iron it on carefully. Keep it simple. Don't try to do too much fiddly stuff if your image is complicated. As long as you get the rough outline, little jaggedy bits on leaves etc aren't going to be missed and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Once it's all cut out, remove the printed piece of paper and put the freezer paper stencil on your fabric where you want the design (make sure the waxy side is next to the fabric). Iron it in place making sure that you iron it all on firmly and there are no gaps between the freezer paper and fabric. Turn your iron off and take the fabric and stencil over to a table. Pop the fabric on top of several sheets of newspaper and paint over your stencil in your chosen colours. A large stippling brush works best but you could use any brush or even a make up sponge if you haven't got a stippling brush.  If you are painting white onto black fabric, you are going to need 3 or 4 coats of paint and you can use a hairdryer to hurry things along a bit if you need it to dry quickly in between coats.

Now this is the important thing, put it somewhere inside to dry and leave it there until it's completely dry. Don't do what I did and put it outside to dry. The wind will inevitably kick up the edges of your dress and splatter paint everywhere. You should also avoid lifting the edges of the freezer paper before the paint is dry, because you are so impatient to see how it's going to turn out and then realise that you should add another coat of paint but the bit you lifted up isn't very sticky anymore and the paint seeps under it and ruins your design (ask me how I know that?).

Once it's all dry, peel off the freezer paper and use Retro Mummy's instructions to make up the dress. You can of course use the freezer paper method on any clothing. You could go and buy a t-shirt or simple dress and then there's no sewing at all. Just lots of messy painting fun!

Oh and if you really don't like rugby, you could use this method to put any stencil design on your daughter's dress or your son's t-shirt. There are lots of other tutes out there for freezer paper stencilling. Just google them and you'll get loads of ideas. Have fun!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An interruption to our service.

Sorry kids but its been suggested by a very nice media person that I remove knitted Dan from my blog in case his image gets 'borrowed' before time without my permission. He'll be back in service on 10th September.


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