Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Our garden will never feed us all the fruit and vegetables we need. It's just too small. But I really want my children to learn about growing food and how even with just a little space you can grow quite a lot!

They both enjoy tending to our small patch and I try not to be too precious about it all - after all we don't rely on it to feed us. I like them to have a go and if they end up planting all the bean seeds in one spot and not evenly spaced - well so be it. For me it's all about "planting the seeds" for the future.

The both enjoy eating beans, one of them more than the other, see this post, or this one. We saved some seeds from last years harvest to plant for this season. I planted some a few weeks ago and they are now making good progress. I'm really looking forward to "bean season".

The variety that we are planting are "King of the blues" runner beans. A purple bean that turns green once cooked. I've got a few seeds left over to send to one blog reader, would you like to grow some this year? Just leave a comment in this post and I'll draw a name by the weekend. Open to NZ residents only please, bio security and all!

Is there something that your children like to grow? If so let me know, I'm always on the look out for things for them to try.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Last weekend my kids had a day with my mum. When they arrived at the door miss E was beaming and had something under her arm. I knew in an instant what it was, even though I haven't actually seen it for more than twenty years!

Back when I was a child, you had to queue to be seated in our local Pizza Hut. I remember waiting and waiting, and finally getting seated and then fun with the  free spinning tops and the paper place mats that had little puzzles and games on them. Also the best little red pencils ever that you got to take home! We didn't eat out much and if we went to Pizza Hut it was a really big treat. It's funny I can't imagine anyone waiting around to be served like that today. This was before the days of "all you could eat" pizza too, you ordered off the menu and again the waiting for the pizzas to arrive. I'm not sure how we ended up with the mini pizza box but I was inspired to make the above "pizza" out of salt dough to put inside. I can't really remember playing with it, but I'm sure I must have. Mum had it tucked away in her hot water cupboard as salt dough does tend to get a bit soft, obviously quite forgotten for many, many years. Miss E has added it to her play food collection and has been delivering my pizza ever since.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christmas ornament swap

(not what I'm swapping by the way - just couldn't post without a pic)
Sew funky is organising the NZ Christmas ornament swap again this year. Sign ups are open now. Check it out here. I've taken part in the swap for the last two festive seasons and it was lots of fun opening all the ornaments and hanging them on the tree, miss E especially loved the wee packages in the mail. I'm excited to see what will arrive in our letter box this year!


The kids and I had lots of fun one afternoon in the recent school holidays. I froze some food colouring in some ice cube trays let them "decorate" some white t-shirts that I had from a local thrift store. They loved watching the colours melt and merge into each other and having a race to see who's ice blocks would melt first. I (somewhat foolishly) thought that if I ironed the colours they would be colour fast - can you see where this is going? Well turns out the answer is no, I was very surprised to find two white t-shirts in the washing machine! Eeek! Miss E took it in her stride, but mr A, very proud of his "rainbow" shirt no so. I've told them that we will have a go a tie-dying them. Of course I'll be using -PROPER dye for that!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

slow progress

(puzzle mr A and I did in the holidays - he's 3 and puzzle mad!)

(our favourite side dish at the moment - recipe below)

(wash cloth stack - growing!)

It seems that I've got lots of things on the go and nothing quite finished! I'm hoping to change that this week, finishing off lots of  things! Yes I will!

We have been making this cauliflower side dish lots lately. It seems the WHOLE family love it! I love it not only for it's taste and the fact that EVERYONE will eat it but it's easy as well.

It's based on a recipe I saw on Pinterest. Preheat your oven to 180oC. Cut the cauliflower into florets, or chunks. Toss in a small amount of the oil of your choice.  Lay on some baking paper on a tray and pop in the oven. Bake for around 1 hour. Turn a couple of times within that time. The cauliflower should go brown in places and a bit crispy. Sprinkle a little bit of sea salt and serve! Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

kcwc - part 2

I don't know about you, but an hour goes really fast! Especially when it comes to sewing. I was committed to the challenge and did at least an hour each day. But I didn't achieve as much as I'd hoped. No shorts were completed - but after a second look in mr A's drawers I found he actually did have more pairs of shorts than I originally thought.

I completed a couple of special things for him though. The first was a little painting smock. I found at a local thrift store a printed panel that needed to be cut out and sewn up. It was only a dollar and I knew it was something he would like - he hates getting dirty! Or wet too! It was easy to cut out and sew and I only needed to add some bias binding around the neck and add some ties at the back.

The second thing I made for him was a shepherd's tunic for his preschool Christmas concert (great to have this done nice and early!). The girls are always angels and the boys shepherds. Most boys just have a tea towel over their heads and that's fine. But I had made an angel costume for miss E so it seemed right that I make some effort to make mr A a costume too. Also it will be great to add some more "boyish" costumes to our dress up box.  The fabric was thrifted, crazy cheap like $0.50c or cheaper! It seemed to say shepherd to me. The pattern was easy and I think cutting out the pattern and fabric too longer than sewing it up! I bought the pattern last year when Spotlight was having a super sale. I thought it looked like lots of options for many costume making years to come. He tried it on and LOVED it, which is saying lots as he's a super fussy dresser. It just needs a "rope" type belt and a tea towel to finish the look.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

kcwc - part 1

I whipped this dress up yesterday for E. It's a thrifted singlet and the bottom of this top (before it was dyed). Some cotton lace from the edge of some vintage linen and a quick dip dye. It didn't turn out exactly as I had in mind and be being in a rush when I dyed it meant it wasn't the best dye job either. Neither of those things seem to matter to her, she loves it and has been prancing around the lawn in it today - in between rain showers that is!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

now you don't

now you see them,
now you don't!
A long time ago I saw an idea on Pinterest. It was a bean bag type cover made to hide soft toys away in. Brilliant! (is it not?) Miss E has a somewhat large collection that even after a few secretly disappeared they seemed to take over a corner of her room. I found some great vintage fabric at a local thrift store that I thought would perfect. It's a brushed cotton, similar to flannel, but it's thicker almost upholstery type fabric, also in pinks and purples which seems to be the favourite colours in this room. I used a pattern that I bought online ages ago, the Rollie pollie by Dana of Made (great blog by the way). It's about the fourth one I've made, it's a great pattern. To say that it's been a hit is an understatement! I love that there isn't a mountain of toys to look at and she's got a little spot now to sit and read some books. That cute velveteen rabbit on her desk is by Melissa of tiny happy, we love it! I couldn't bear to pop it inside the bag to be sat on.

As for kcwc, I have been sewing and cutting out over the last three days. I just haven't taken any pics yet. It's school holidays after all and I'm thinking I might do a wrap up post at the end of the week.

Monday, October 8, 2012

tis the season

I've just signed up! Click on the picture to take you to the sign up page :) It's open internationally and it's a one on one swap. So you just have one swap partner and one ornament to make!

Friday, October 5, 2012

wee walk

Add caption
 The weather hasn't been too great over this first week of the school holidays. We have ventured out each day, but only for short, close to home trips. It seems that we were suffering from a bit of cabin fever. I suggested a little walk in the park across the road. It borders an inlet where a lot of large pine tress have been recently cut down along it's banks. Miss E was keenly gathering up pine cones (apparently the pippin leader needs them next term!), cursing me (not actually cursing! She is only 6, just putting on a grump)  for not bring a bag for her to carry them in. Mr A however was only interested in shiny metal, bottle tops and pull tabs and he filled his pockets with them!

Miss E is wearing a number of handmade clothes made by me. I had actually pulled the green cardi (made in 2010) out of her draw as it had got too small and I didn't feel that she needed it. Well I was certainly put in my place when she declared that "the short sleeves made it the PERFECT cardi for warmer weather and when, you know mum, it's not so cold!" She's probably right about that too, rereading the post about making the cardi I now remember that the sleeves were never very long to begin with.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

tick tick

 I spotted this "top" in a local thrift store. I tried it on
and I liked the cut and fit, but it was, I'm pretty sure,
a nightgown. I was really looking for Summer tops and didn't need a nightgown. I thought maybe it could be transformed, a touch of dye, some length cut from the bottom and a wee bit of embroidery on the bodice and ta da! I must admit that when I was purchasing it, the lady at the thrift store commented on how nice it was and looked oh so very shocked once I told her I was going to dye it! She didn't really want to sell it to me after that. Imagine if I'd told her I was going to chop the bottom off it too! That's one Summer top transformation down.

This is transformation number 2 (no before pic sorry) I found this cotton top on the same thrifting trip. It ticked all the boxes, light weight cotton, long sleeved, it fitted! and in good condition too. The only problem was, it was bright aqua. Not too much of a problem really, it just seemed a bit brighter than I'd normally wear. I was inspired by this tutorial by Dee, but I wasn't convinced that bleaching was the way to go for me or this top, darker is more slimming right? Who doesn't need a slimmer mid section? I basically followed what Dee did, but with dye instead of bleach! It worked well and I'm pleased with the results. Transformation number 2 - tick!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Just a few pics from the weekend. I was spinning in public for the first time as part of a local "arts and crafts" festival. It went well and I didn't get asked too many tricky questions! I also managed to get a couple of bobbins filled too! My neighbour bought along one of her Angora rabbits, which stole the show and was a the major draw card. We had a wheel set up for people to have a turn on and we had quite a few takers They all were really good! It was great to see all the children having a go, they seemed to be more keen than the adults. It was amazing to me just how many people had spinning wheels at home but didn't know how to use them, just goes to show that New Zealand is really the home of spinning wheels!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm making slow progress, transforming some thrifted tops into part of my Summer wardrobe. I have a panic each year about this time as the weather starts to warm. It's like I totally forget what I used to wear the previous Summer and nothing seems to go together. I'm not a fan of showing off a lot of flesh so I never seem to find enough comfortable Summer clothes.This year I'm hoping it's going to be different. I've sourced about 5 tops from local thrift stores, they all need some changes before they will be a comfortable addition to my wardrobe. The one above I hope to finish tonight, it's change has been the most dramatic!

In other news, I'm going to be a stall holder at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair in December! Exciting and daunting all at the same time! It was a last minute application after I was accepted for another local fair. It seemed to make sense to craft for two fairs at the same time. So that's what I'll be doing!