Wednesday, March 31, 2010

easter treat

I've been busy saving egg shells to make these little Easter treats. There seem to be some really pretty egg cartons in the supermarket lately, yellow, green and blue. They seem too cute to rip up and add to the compost so I've been saving them up. I washed out the egg shells and once dry filled some with a little soil and a succulent and the others a little bit of tissue and some bird like Easter eggs, they are candy coated but they have a chocolate center. I ripped the lid off this one as it is for my Easter table, but the ones I made for friends I left the lids attatched so they travel better ( I removed the brandname stickers on top). Easter wouldn't be Easter to me without some of those little yellow chicks made from chenille stick or pipe cleaner type stuff, with tiny beads for eyes. For as long as I can remember those chicks have been around and when I was very little they were more precious to me than chocolate eggs.

Monday, March 29, 2010


The weather has turned quickly here, one minute it seemed like summer was going to last forever and then all of a sudden the roads are lined with fallen leaves and it's so much cooler in the mornings. I have a girl who loves hats and although she has plenty of warm hats that still fit I felt that she should have a new one for this winter. I used some more of the jumper that I used for these little pants, it's super soft and cosy. I was inspired by the project in Handmade Home by Amanda Soule, I didn't actually use her pattern, rather just looked at the picture in the book and went from there. I thought I might crochet a little trim around the edge, once I can pry it off her head! it seems to be an instant favourite.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

my luck

I feel that I have a lucky streak when it comes to finding brand new vintage sheets at thrift stores and the like. I often find lovely vintage sheets still in the original packaging all stiff and never been out to smell the fresh air. I once found at a local emporium sheeting fabric on a roll, hemmed both top and bottom ready to be sold by the meter, the rolls containing many, many meters were only $8- $10 a roll ( got a few, I made miss E's wigwam from some). My recent lucky find was a twin pack of single sheets (still in original packaging) pictured above (I should have ironed them before taking a photo). I could sew with them over and over again, I love them so much. But I do have a few ideas for bags and a dress for miss E. I often wonder when I find these sheets in packaging, decades old, why they were never used? Were they a wedding or engagement gift that they didn't like? or did they receive so many sheets that they never used them all? Either way it doesn't matter, they have all found a new home with me where they are used and have been released from their plastic packets.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

hanging on

I made this bag earlier this week. I wanted something to sling across my body and also hang off the handle of my pram. I have a number of homemade bags already that meet that description but I wanted something a bit bigger. I think it's easy to say no to a plastic bag if you have somewhere to put the items straight away and also have them out of sight, who wants to feel like a shoplifter? ( which is one of the main reasons people still want plastic bags apparently). The big front pocket is a thrifted embroidered linen and the lining is a thrifted curtain. The bag is completely reversible too. I know that often if you carry a big bag you end up carrying more stuff, but as a mum of two preschoolers I often need to carry lots of stuff so it's perfect for that. The handle is knotted at the ends so the length is adjustable for creating the perfect length for pram, shoulder or across the body.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I recently stumbled upon this blog, loads of great ideas there! Dana also sells some patterns and the Rollie Pollie caught my eye. It caught my eye because almost since the day that miss E was born there has been a power struggle between her and my husband over our single bean bag. I've been meaning to make one ever since especially as now there is a third player on the scene. I was limited in my fabric choice as I wanted to work with what I had and I didn't really have much in the way of large pieces of suitable fabric, but I'm pleased with the printed light denim. I really enjoyed making it and I have plans to make another for mr A as he is the only one without now, as for me I enjoy everyone wanting to sit on a bean bag so I have the choice of couches all to myself.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


There is a change in the air, the mornings are cooler and there is a autumn smell to the air too. I decided this was going to be the year to have a winter vege garden, Auckland's climate is mild with no snow and only mild frosts so I don't have any excuses really. We cleared out some of the last of the summer veges, the beetroots above were grown totally by miss E, she chose the seedlings, planted them, watered them (and pulled up a few before they were ready) and harvested them.

I've always grown silver beet (swiss chard) and lettuce year round but I haven't ventured any further than that with winter vege. So we headed to a nursery on the weekend and I chose the following to try, Broccoli (green midget), cabbage (cannonball) and Brussels sprouts (maxim). I also bought a packet of pea seeds but they suggest planting those in April, now I just have to find a spare few inches to pop them in. I'm already learning that there are new pests for me to look out for, the white butterflies have invaded in large numbers laying eggs all over my tiny seedlings, I'll have to keep a close eye on these new crops.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Making jam scares me, I'm always worried it won't set properly and the thought that all the hard work of saving those berries (rather than just munching on them in the garden) could be wasted terrifies me. So when I saw the Chelsea jam setting sugar in the supermarket I thought it would be worth a try. The sugar requires 1kg of fruit and I had saved much more than that in the freezer of strawberries from the garden. It's amazing how many I'd actually manged to freeze with all the little mouths that snack on them in the garden and how few strawberry plants I actually have. I was quite pleased with the results, the taste is amazing but I would have liked it so set ever so slightly more. We all agree it tastes best on freshly made pikelets on the weekend, yum.

Monday, March 15, 2010


A bit of luck on the weekend and I'm the proud owner of Jamie Oliver's book Jamie at home for just $1 ! A local genealogy group has an annual book sale and there was the Jamie book in brand new condition, I couldn't believe my luck especially as when I got home I had a quick check online and found it sells for around $70. It's the kind of book I'd never buy myself but I'm so glad it's now in my possession. Not only is it filled to the brim with great recipes, beautiful photos and great artwork it also has some great information about growing vegetables.

Mr A is very mobile now (he's 14 months) and his favourite place seems to be the pantry. He pulled down a stack of saucers and 4 of them smashed. Once I mourned the loss of some favourite thrifted finds I went in search for some new ones. I found some cup and saucers at a local thrift store, they are by NZ's Crown Lynn and the pattern is Clematis. I love them!

Melissa shared this recipe on her blog on Friday and I had to try it, it's official they are delicious and will be on my list to try again. I did use much less sugar than it recommends and also about half the amount of chocolate chips as that is all I had in my pantry and I feel that was enough for my family. I also made them smaller than they suggested to make them go a bit further although it was a bit of a waste of time because it meant that everyone wanted a second one!

Monday, March 8, 2010


We removed a large palm from our section last year, as we dug up the stump I discovered all sorts of buried "treasure", I wrote a little about it here. I wanted to make something with all the little bits of broken ceramics that I found, there was enough (almost) to make a paver. All the ceramics are from the garden except for the blue outlining the flower which was a chipped thrifted plate. I only found small bits and pieces from much larger items, which made me wonder where the rest of them are? Maybe waiting to be excavated. I'm really pleased I have returned all the ceramic pieces back to the garden, but in a much nicer form, a sort of a time capsule.

Friday, March 5, 2010

happy swapper

I took part in Heather's vintage swap and my fabulous parcel arrived this week from Emily. I was blown away by all the goodies she sent! That little fawn embroidery, oh my! it's long and has the same image at each end, double the cute. I don't know how Emily parted with it, I certainly won't be. There were lovely mother of pearl buttons in a little drawstring bag, more lovely embroidered linens, a generous amount of fabric, a cute little apron, lovely braid and the list goes on. I was so very lucky and I can't stop looking at all my vintage goodies.

Not only is the swap a great way to get some vintage loveliness but the blogroll is an impressive list of blogs to read, check it out.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

birthday wishes

We celebrated a birthday here this week, my little miss E turned 4. I made her a special doctor's/nurse's kit. I made a big bag from a thrifted denim skirt lining it with some red and white check fabric, the apron was a man's shirt with a bit of felt sewn on for the cross. I used the button hole strip on the shirt for the neck band of the apron so it could be adjustable for comfort ( costumes have to be comfy or they quickly get discarded around these parts). I added doctor's kit from Seedling which had a great real stethoscope in it which is really the best part as far as miss E is concerned. I found all sorts of other things to add, some little bandages, a few plastic syringes, an empty medicine bottle to name a few. After checking all of our heart beats, the birthday Hansa chicken got checked out, it was decided that although it looked very realistic it was in fact "just pretend mummy, it has no heart beat" ah yes.

I imagine there will be lots of patients around here for quite a while.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

a change

My change for February was to use less and recycle more paper. This involved ringing up some companies that I was on mailing lists for and cancelling those. That went well and was much easier than I thought. I made a couple of bags to hang in rooms where there wasn't any recycling bins set up, our bedroom had the biggest impact. It is our office/workspace as well as a bedroom and I often would just pile up paper for recycling and it would sometimes not make it into the paper recycling bin. But now I have a cloth bag to pile it into and I can pop it in with the rest of the recycling on rubbish day. I was really aware of trying to fill up every piece of paper I was using this month, even if it was just the back of an envelope that I was using as a shopping list. I feel we have made a big change in the way that we use paper this month.

My change for March is to grow more vegetables. I grow a lot over summer however I don't grow a lot over the winter months despite many vegetables growing well over these months. So I hope to plant some vegetables that I've never planted before, this requires a little research on my part about what to sow and when. I better get busy!