Tuesday, November 30, 2010

hot, dry, tired

The summer has arrived, well I think it arrived a few weeks ago really. It's hot, the garden is dry and I'm tired. The garden is exploding with growth and it's nice to be able to go out and pick some lettuce and miss E has been sneaking any peas that she can find! I can't seem to keep up with the watering of the garden, it's so dry and everything is thirsty and I seem to have too much to do rather than spend the time in the garden. But I know I can't not water it or everything it will die! I don't really want to wish for rain, because I do so love how this warm weather keeps the kid entertained in the garden, it would be great for the garden. It would also be great for people in the north too, they are already on water restrictions and there is talk of a drought. So please can we have a "little" bit of rain. Might be time for a rain dance.

white on red

I made a few of these felt tags over the weekend, similar to these. I made them square and used a thrifted doily. I was thinking how you could put a photo in the gap instead of a message, either a photo of who the gift is from, or the recipient! Very quick and easy and also helping me cut down the pile of thirfted goodness I have.

Monday, November 29, 2010

giving

Each year I like to donate some things to the Salvation Army Christmas appeal. They have a large box in our local library where people can donate food, toys and other things for people in need of some Christmas cheer. Each year they get lots of things for small children, but often the older children aren't in the minds of those who are donating. Bearing this in mind, this year I hope to donate some gifts to cater to this "tween" age group. I'm sewing up some little lined zip purses and putting some cosmetics and maybe a few chocolates inside. If you are like me and accumulate a number of beauty products through the year, from gifts with purchase, free samples and other gifts, maybe you would consider doing the same? If you find you do have some products that you don't need I'd love to include them in my purses, you can email me if you are interested in helping out. No good deed should go unrewarded so anyone who sends me something to include, I will return the favour and send them a little something.

Friday, November 26, 2010

sunny

Miss E and her dad planted some sunflower seeds a little over a week ago, they have popped up but are still a long way off flowering. Quite disappointing to an impatient four year old. So, while we wait for some beautiful yellow flowers to appear in the garden, we can look at this crochet sunflower instead. I made it from a thrifted yellow singlet cut up into strips. I really like to crochet with fabric, anything works up in no time at all!

Have a safe and happy weekend!

My hearts go out to all the families who lost dear loved ones in the Pike River mining tragedy, and to all New Zealanders what a very sad time, for them and our country.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

tag it

I want to give some home made (home grown) strawberry jam this year for Christmas. I don't want to gift wrap the whole jar so I came up with these little tags. I crocheted granny square machine stitched to two circles of white felt. One side has a hole cut out and paper inserted to write a little message on. Why didn't I stitch all the way around? Well if you take the ribbon off the top you can pop a new piece of paper in for next year! Hopefully the recipients will reuse them.
If you wanted to make something similar but can't crochet, check out thrift stores for crochet doilies, they would look great stitched on to red felt or even a forest green. I might get out my doilies and make some more. I think they would look great on a Christmas tree, maybe with a photo instead of a written message.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

tick, tick


Pack up and post all the ornaments for the Christmas ornament swap - tick (that isn't what I made for the swap, but another ornament, I'll post what I made once everyone gets their parcels)

Too tired to do any proper baking so I tried this recipe instead - Tins filled - Tick (by the way it's super yum and the tin won't be full for long)

Monday, November 22, 2010

tick #1

Drop off a box of crafted goodies to my local Art Gallery for their Small Packages exhibition - tick

for notes

I've been doing a lot of crafting lately in preparation for the Auckland Art and Craft Fair in December ( it's sneaking up way too fast). I was working on these notebooks last week. I've been delving into my collection of embroidered linens to make these covers, they fit a standard 3B1 notebook so the notebook cover can be reused on a new one once the old one has been filled. I must find the time to make one for myself as I love how the cover creates a little pocket for little notes or receipts, something that is always floating around in my bag. I was pleased to come up with an idea for using the linen as my collection is getting rather large, it seems I can't pass up them when I see them in the thrift store,when reasonably priced that is.

Friday, November 19, 2010

harvest

The strawberries are coming thick and fast here in our garden. They won't win any prizes for size but they are tasty. It's been a race between us and the birds with the birds winning I think. I've started picking them before they are fully ripe and letting them ripen up on the windowsill. The kids haven't been too interested in them at this stage so I have been squirreling them away in the freezer to make jam before Christmas, so far I have one full ice cream container and I'm making a start on a second one. Any large ones that the birds have pecked have the pecked part cut off and the rest added to the freezer. It's certainly a part time job going out each day, and picking the ripe ones and removing the pecked ones so they don't rot on the plants.
What I am really excited about however is my boysenberry plant, after 3 years of producing very few berries is absolutely laden! Probably me moving it to a better sunnier position has a lot to do with that. The berries are only tiny and green at the moment, but it won't be long till they are large and juicy. The bonus part is that I moved it close to the kitchen window and for many weeks now we have enjoyed watching all the bees come and go pollinating the flowers, those bees are certainly very busy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

for miss E

There has been alot of waiting around here, waiting, waiting for her turn to have a stone. She's seen them gifted to friends, packaged up to be sent away and always asking " Is that one for me?"
I was given a huge box of crochet cotton recently (yay!) and in amongst all the plain colours was this rainbow variegated ball. Not really my thing, but perfect for a little girl who has been patiently waiting. I worked on it while she was asleep as to keep it a surprise. She was very pleased and took it to preschool for show and tell. Look at the sneakers will you, apparently that is the only way to wear them, with the tongues hanging out!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I see red, red, red

My favourite colour has long been red. Then green took over and over the last few weeks I've noticed more red creeping back. My new shoes, that I got from here, after I read how inexpensive the international shipping was here (thank Ella!). I was all prepared to buy some lovely brown ones, being sensible about what I could wear them with, then I realised that as red is my favourite colour I have tons of clothes that would go with red shoes. I'm glad I did, I do so love red shoes. They are so super comfortable, after an initial panic that they were too small. The exchange rate is oh so good at the moment to they worked out to be really reasonable, and they look like they are going to last for many, many years, much better than buying a couple of pairs from the No 1 Shoe Warehouse and them only last a season ( something I'm very guilty of doing). So yes, I have happy feet!

I have had some great red thrift store finds too, that red Citta bag, brand new with tags on for $5, and those cute Japanese mugs for miss E to drink milo from for only $0.20 each! Bargain.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

weekending

It's been a busy weekend, I've been trying hard to fit in some crafting time here and there. It has been slow going but I've got a couple of new crochet/ceramic pendants finished and a couple of brooches too. They are destined for my stall at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair in December, which is creeping up very, very fast, gulp!

We have been having some beautiful sunsets lately, a true sign that summer is nearly here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

more roses

Not long after I read this post by melissa that I found I was surrounded by roses too. There was a lucky find of a sheer embroidered cloth from my local Salvation army(in perfect condition), the kind that you cover up food with. It has beautiful roses embroidered all over it and a crocheted edge, just what I need now as the "fly" season approaches. There are the rose cards that I had just finished stitching, gorgeous prints from a vintage botanical book that I picked up at a secondhand book sale recently (they are now listed in my etsy shop). Lastly there is the iceberg standard rose that is planted outside our front door now in full bloom and giving off a divine scent. We had ten standard iceberg roses here but I sold all but one as I didn't like the idea of spraying them to keep them looking good(and they were taking up space that could be a vege garden instead). The one that I kept was the healthiest it always seemed to be the last that got the dreaded black spot (the curse of growing roses in Auckland) and I planted it right outside our front door.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

pine

In desperate need of some more stationery I set about making some more stitched cards from a vintage botanical book. It had a large section of pine and conifer like images that reminded me of a Scandinavian Christmas, I've kept some for myself and added a small set in my etsy shop. I like things that have the a Christmas feel without being all about the tinsel!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

berry good

Hull and prick with a skewer ..........
cover one third with castor sugar .......
cover with vodka! ......leave in a dark place for a month ......strain and then hopefully it will look like this picture from a magazine. Strawberry liqueur. The magazine suggests using it in a trifle, pouring it over ice cream ...... any other suggestions?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

wrist pin cushion tutorial

Thanks for all the nice comments about my wrist pincushion. So I've put together this little tutorial so you can make your own. Hopefully you will be able to follow my directions (this is my first tutorial), if you have any questions I'm happy to help so ask me any questions or tell me it doesn't make any sense!. I haven't included measurements as it will vary depending on what size lid you use, but hopefully all the photos are clear enough on their own. Lets get to it.

You will need:
Some small pieces of fabric for the top and bottom of the pin cushion.
A jar lid
Some elastic, around 2.5 - 3cm wide
Stuffing, wool or fiber fill
A small length of ribbon or braid
I have used a lid from a jar of olives it measures 6.5cm in diameter, but a slightly bigger or smaller lid would work just as well. Place your lid on the fabric you have chosen for the bottom part of the pincushion. You need to cut a circle from the fabric that is about 3 cm larger than the lid. Place to one side. (the circle of fabric doesn't need to be perfect we are going to gather it up soon to cover the lid)

Next we need to cut a casing for the elastic wristband. Place your lid on the fabric and cut a similar shape to the one in the photo above.

With an iron turn over and press all the raw edges. Check that the size that you have pressed it to will fit the underside of the lid, so if your lid is 6.5cm in diameter this piece should measure approximately 6cm and no more than 6.5cm.

Pin it to the circle of fabric that you cut earlier.

Stitch on both of the short sides. Check that the elastic you have fill fit through the space that you have sewn, with a bit of room to spare.

Now we need to gather up this circle. Sew a running stitch around the edge ( just as if you were making a yo yo or Suffolk puff). Pop the jar lid in the middle and then pull the thread up to cover the lid. You should end up with something like the picture above. You need to pull this quite tightly and then secure the thread. That is the base part finished.

Pop the base part down on the fabric you have chosen for the top of the pincushion and cut out a circle. This needs to be about 3 - 4cm larger than the base all around. Again the circle doesn't need to be perfect as we are gathering this up too.
Ok, just like the base. Sew a running stitch around the edge and pull gently to gather up. Once it's a little bit gathered stuff it with your chosen stuffing material. I've used wool. Once it's stuffed nice and firmly secure the thread and cut off.

Now we want. to stitch the top to the bottom, stitch it all the way around. Don't worry about your stitches too much as the braid will cover it.

Sew on the braid or ribbon, folding over the edge to create a neat finish (ok like I can talk, look at that messy stitching of mine). That is the top part all finished, now on to the elastic wrist band.

Cut a length of elastic to fit around your wrist, allow a little bit extra as a seam allowance. Then we need to cut some fabric to cover the elastic to create a casing. It needs to have a small seam allowance on either side and it needs to be one and a half times longer than the elastic.

Sew the seams on either side (or on one side if you can cut the fabric on a fold). Turn so the right side is on top. Thread the elastic through the casing leaving the elastic showing at each end.

Thread the wristband through the casing created at the bottom of the pin cushion.

Overlap the elastic and with a wide zigzag stitch, stitch several rows to secure the elastic.

Pop one end of the casing over the other and stitch in place, this will cover the ends of the elastic.

Put the part that you just stitched under the casing at the bottom of the pin cushion. You can then stitch it to the casing but I have found that it just stays in place. Add some pins, pop it on your wrist and you are done! Phew! Hope that was easy enough to follow. Please do let me know if you have any questions, or let me know if you make one I'd love to see it.