Thursday, May 30, 2013

the hottie project

Have you heard of the hottie project yet? I'm joining in to help the children of Christchurch. It's a truly touching thing to do for all those little ones still struggling with the events and effects of the Christchurch quakes. You can click on the image above to take you to the information page on Lisa's blog - Big Little. I also urge you to read this post by Deb of Works in Progress to help you understand just a little of what some of those little children are going through, it just might convince you to join me in this great cause.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Yesterday was the first time that my our soup bowls hit our table for the year (wet, windy and hail - perfect soup weather). I thrifted a set of 5 way back here in 2010, not long after I found another two sets by the same company, same colour but a different design, they are made by Tams of England.
I use them only for soup, it makes our soup eating just a little more special I think. Yummy pumpkin, with some garlic bread. I always add some red curry paste to my pumpkin soup, adds a nice little extra warming kick! Do you have special serve-ware that you only use for a special something?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rose tinted

It's been a slow creep, the kids have slowly but surely taking over my kitchen cupboards with their craft supplies. It started as one shelf in a corner cupboard, perfect for keeping felt tips and coloured pencils handy, along with scrapbooks and other paper goods. Then it was art works, colouring in books and all sorts of other supplies. Jammed in, every time the cupboard door was opened supplies would spill out all over the kitchen floor and it it never seemed to find it's way back in. So a solution was in order.

I found this set of drawers at a local thrift store, the drawers pulled out easily and they looked the perfect size for the corner of our dinning area which is where most of the crafting happens anyway. Not to mention the perfect number of drawers, one each plus one for shared supplies . It's taken me a long time to do a little "makeover" on them. I added new/old ceramic handles. I Mod Podged some rose pictures cut from a vintage botanical book and gave it an extra couple of coats of Mod Podge, to protect and seal it.
They are not perfect and the outer drawers need a new coat of paint, but seeing as they are going to get bumped around as art supplies are taken in and out, and art works are created, I don't think I'll worry about that for now. I'm so glad they are done and the kids loved cleaning up the old cupboard to pop all their things in the new drawers. They both also LOVE roses, mr A especially, every time he visits my Nana she lets him cut a rose from her garden to bring home.

Now that's one more thing ticked off the "must do" list! Have you ticked anything off your "must do" list lately? I'm kind of excited about the new space in my kitchen now too!

Friday, May 24, 2013


I still had one sick child home with me today, while she napped in my bed I did a wee bit of crafting. It's a project I've had in mind for quite a while now. It's a place for all the Pippins pins that miss E has made over the last couple of years at Pippins events. There are a few more scattered around the house that I must track down, a sure sign that I should have got on to this project earlier. It brightened her mood once she awoke and it's now hanging pride of place on her bedroom wall, she's graduated to Brownies now and we are going to make another for all the pins she'll make in the coming years, then I won't have to track any down! The fabric I used was a from a little tunic I made way, way back here. It was a little cover up for preschool all those years ago, the front was all stained from painting adventures so I cut the unstained back to make the frame (the Pippins symbol is an apple that's why I used the apple fabric!)

While I was at it, I made a little frame for my bedroom wall too. One to house all my brooches, I find if these sort of things are on display I tend to wear and use them much more, look at all my Tiny Happy felt brooches! I love them. I finally hung the thrifted Tui cross stitch and my lovely name badge from Max. A lovely little trio on my wall now.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I had two sick children at home with me today, it meant some DVD watching and washing being FINALLY folded as I tended to the sick and needy. I also managed to get some stitching time in, completing my hottie cover for the 2013 Hottie Challenge. All the hottie covers will be exhibited at Open Drawer, Art, Textiles and Learning Centre. Once the exhibition is over all the hottie covers get donated to the Margaret Pratt Foundation that raises funds for supporting people who have had heart and lung transplants, cool huh?

I don't know why I came up with this design! I was thinking of crocheting a green base and sewing a bunch of crochet flowers all over it, like a crochet garden. Then one night when I was almost asleep this idea popped into my head. It's a bit crazy, but the sick children agreed they would both like one! The best part was I didn't buy a single thing to make it. Stash busting at it's best.

Some hotties have already been finished, check out this post to see some. It's not too late to enter if you too would like to donate a hottie cover too, you can find all the details here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Late last year the super talented Lisa from Big Little asked me if I would be interested in being a pattern tester for her girls pirate jacket. I had already been  lucky enough to test way back here for her Pirate Jacket pattern, so I wasn't about to say no! Miss E was desperately jealous without a pirate jacket of her own so I was pleased to see that the new pattern went up to larger sizes (up to size 6). I love all the little details Lisa puts in her patterns, the treasure maps are such a inventive idea and I often spy the kids out in the garden looking for treasure with their maps. The patterns are so easy to follow which makes them suitable for sewers of all abilities. The kids wear their jackets out all the time, getting lots of comments, especially when they are out together.

If you would like to make your own pirate jacket you can buy the amazing pattern from the Big Little Etsy Shop, or if sewing isn't for you, Lisa can custom make one for you! Check out the other great things Lisa has in her shop, I have my eye on a hot water bottle cover!

Monday, May 20, 2013

weekending luck

 I'm quite a homebody, especially over the cooler months. We'll often spend the entire weekend at home and  in the depths of Winter probably the whole weekend indoors! It's quite lucky that most of my favourite pastimes can be done snuggled up inside, and made all the more enjoyable in the cooler weather. This weekend was a rainy, stay inside kind of weekend and I did just that.

I like to keep a stock of handmade booties and other wee things for gifting to new babies, my stocks have been running low lately. It's a good excuse to use some nice hand spun yarn and try out a new pattern. I've got several pairs finished now just awaiting the right buttons.

We did actually briefly brave the rainy weather to drop off a bunch of stuff to the local thrift shops, while there I picked up some amazing linens. Each is a large square tablecloth, two are in pristine "I can't bear to cut them up" condition. The bottom one with Autumn like leaves however has a number of holes and stains so that one will be made into some notebooks. Each tablecloth (1 metre by 1 metre) was just $1! Crazy I don't know how they slipped through the pricing cracks as teeny tiny pieces of linen were priced at $8 each! The young girl at the counter didn't bat an eye as she announced the "grand total" - I high tailed it out of there before I was found out. I felt like I was stealing them at that price. Lucky for my linen collection that we braved the rainy weather.

Do you like rainy weekends?

Friday, May 17, 2013


 I've wanted to make some fabric yarn  (spun on a spinning wheel) for a long time, but with lots of other projects on the go I haven't really had a chance to sit down and experiment. I did get a wee chance over the weekend, nothing like a rainy Autumn weekend to be nicely tucked up inside and creating.
I started out using a very soft vintage sheet that was a bit too soft to sew with. I'm not going to sugar coat it, it wasn't as easy as I had imagined. I stopped, did some online research and tried again. Still slow going! I'm not a patient crafter, ahem and that's putting it mildly if you ask my husband. SO there were some grumbles and then I decided I'd try another day, but it's been bugging me ever since as to why I couldn't get it to work how I wanted it to.

 I've heard the weather isn't going to be so great this weekend, so I might give it another try then. I've got a new idea about how I might go about it. Are you a patient crafter?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

into the clouds

I'm pretty sure I'm no different to any other child (or adult), when lying on my back staring into the sky, I imagine what it would be like to sit in one of those fluffy looking clouds as they float on gently by. I have very vivid memories of this from my childhood, they look so inviting, don't they? 

 It's with these fond memories in mind that make me fall head over heels in love with this book - Mr Bear Branches and the cloud conundrum by Terri Rose Baynton (written and illustrated by! - super talented huh?). It also happens to be a finalist in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. 

It's a lovely story about two friends, one with a dream of playing and sitting in the clouds and the other a "realist" or a spoil sport to put it bluntly!

It uses some pretty sophisticated language when describing why, playing/sitting in the clouds will never be a reality. This use of the correct terms delighted miss E who had studied the water cycle at school and knew all the correct terms. 

I know my two also harbour dreams to sit and play in clouds and we've laid on our backs together in long grass before, watching the clouds drift by. So I wanted to create a "cloud" for them. I told them to gather up all the pillows off each bed in the house, including the ones on mummy and daddy's bed (the ones they aren't allowed to play with!) and bring them to the lounge. 

They were just like this character in the book, Lintfrey Longfellow, they had "growing curiosity" as we placed the pillows into a circle and draped a crisp white sheet over. I hung a sheet behind them also. Then I dished out some "cloudy" snacks, popcorn with a meringue for afters. 

It was quite magical and we sat and read the lovely book. Made all the better by our cloudy surroundings for sure!

my camera didn't do a great job capturing the true magic of the cloud - so I magic'd them up a bit with pic monkey!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Frogged is a yarn term that I've only recently discovered. It means to unravel knitting/crochet, maybe
because you've made a mistake - or in my case, because I'm recycling! 

I found one of those enormous wrap style tops, the kind that are just a  giant rectangle with two slits for arm holes. It was just $3 and I knew that there was LOTS of yarn hiding in that rectangle. 

So I've started to unravel it, with plans of making a cardigan for Miss E, she loves the colour (me not so much though). I had in mind a tutorial to show you how to recycle yarn, but then I found this recycling yarn tutorial, so that should help you if you want to recycle too, and why wouldn't you?

Crafting can be expensive! Seriously, I think sometimes they see us crafters coming and rub their hands together with glee! Recycling yarn is a great way to keep costs down, look for big items in mostly the same colour, like jumpers or jerseys. These yield the most yarn.

I've read some pretty staggering statistics recently about how much textile waste is going to landfills around the world, kind of super scary stuff people! I know I can't change that too much by myself, but I'm determined to make a small difference how and when I can. For me personally that means trying to make careful clothing choices for my family (think quality over quantity and making the most of thrifted clothes) and I and recycle when I can! It's got to be better on the pocket too and that's always a win!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

market + wee giveaway

When I was in Christchurch for Around the table, there was an amazing market on the Friday night. There was a huge array of talented crafters and designers there, seriously. Each table seemed to be filled with things I wanted to take home with me.  I was restrained by the cash I had in my wallet and that was probably a good thing. 

 I love this brooch by Little Fritter. I was taken by two brooches, this one that features some sweet liberty fabric and the other was an acrylic one shaped like a fantail. I wanted both, but after a lengthy decision I decided on this one, I can always buy the one from the Little Fritter shop!

 I loved everything from In my backyard, Stella and I both bought a print and some fabric scraps too - such copycats aren't we? I loved the wee scrap packs, mainly because I'm a terrible fabric hoarder. I just hate cutting into beautiful fabric, but you see the cutting has already been done! So I can happily use these pretty wee pieces.

I didn't buy this one, but it was included in the great goodie bag from Around the table. The super generous Emma from Emma Makes donated a notebook and pencil for each blogger attending the conference. Super duper generous I say! Check out her lovely Emma Makes shop.

And I know all of you NZ bloggers who missed out on attending Around the table, are feeling totally left out after all these posts popping up about what an amazing event it was. Here's you chance to feel (in a small way) like you were there. I've got the above items to pop in the post for a NZ blogger who didn't make it and would like a goodie bag of their own! The first comment of "yes please" will get the lot. My favourite thing would have to be the cool postcard by Stella! "I'm kind of a big deal on my blog"

*Open to NZ bloggers only, first comment by a blogger who didn't attend Around the table will win!  Giveaway closed
Congratulations to Sally!


Last week a group of kind bloggers got together to send off surprise packages to a lovely lady, nice huh?

You can read about what she thought and look at some of the other beautiful "bunting bombs" sent  here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

spreading the love

Two super blogging friends are having AMAZING giveaways on their blogs at the moment. Do check out their lovely blogs and while you are there, enter their giveaways supplied by super generous sponsors! 

image source - the golden adventures of a very dark horse

First up Stella's totally amazing Rainy day giveaway! Wow huh?

image source - green valley crafts 

Clare from Green valley crafts is giving away a pair of these beautiful shoes from All about Heidi


I was meaning to post this over the school holidays but I didn't get around to it. I treated the kids to two midday bath sessions over the holidays. Once because we got a bit wet and muddy from our adventure, the other, just because!

It kept them occupied for quite a long time, playing in the bubbly water and you know what? They emerged calmer, cleaner kids! I Let them get into their pyjama's early too. An super easy not to mention cheap thing to do, a break from routine and they loved it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

crochet tips #1

So, it seems like everyone is interested in picking up a hook and having a go at crochet. I couldn't be happier about this. I LOVE to crochet and I actually have a deep need to always have a project big or small on the go. In the many years that I've been crocheting I've picked up lots of little tips and tricks. Mostly things I've learned myself from trial and error, I thought it might be helpful to share some of that knowledge here!

To start off I've picked the "adjustable ring" to share with you. Why? Well because once I discovered it I was surprised at the difference it made to the look of my crochet. You'll see. If you love granny squares you'll love this technique.Before we begin I must add that I'm left handed and I've flipped the photos to show the right handed way, fingers crossed they make sense to you right hand people out there. OK lets see what this adjustable ring thing is all about.
adjustable ring on the left - chain centre on the right

Ok from my lovely flashing gif above you can see two crochet buntings in action. On the left is the bunting triangle made with the adjustable ring method and on the right is one made with a chain centre. See how nice and tight the adjustable ring makes the centre? See how it makes the bunting a nice shape? And that sits flat? Amazing huh? It can do the same for granny squares too, making your blankets, cushions etc sit nice and flat without the need of much blocking (eek blocking I hear you cry? I'll cover that in another post!). 

To make an adjustable ring, you need to wrap the yarn around your fingers a couple of times, do the beginning chains as per pattern instructions. In the example I've chained three to stand as a double crochet, then do the required number of stitches into the ring.  Once you've done all the required stitches, put your thumb into the middle, the pull the yarn end until it's tight on your thumb. Make sure the ring is smooth and no yarn is popping up, then remove your thumb and pull tight. 
You'll end up with something like this, a nice tight centre! How cool is that? Below is the right hand pics. 

So when would you use this technique? Well for example this bunting pattern said "chain 6, then join to end to form a ring" - So in this instance you would forget about the chain part and just do an adjustable ring. It works well for hats and basically ANY pattern that suggests you "chain x amount" and then join into a ring. I find this works really well, especially if you are substituting yarn and find the number of chains the pattern suggest means that you can't fit all the stitches required into the ring. 

I'd love to share more tips over the coming weeks, and I'd love to hear from you if you've got a crochet question or something that's had you scratching your head that I may be able to help you with. 

Monday, May 6, 2013


 You may remember a hand printed fabric swap I mentioned a while ago, well the last of my fabrics arrived just before I headed away to Christchurch. Once the first wee parcel arrived, with some amazing fabric and a detailed account of how they went about printing theirs I realised I didn't let me swap partners know how I printed mine! So I'll let you know in case you want to do some fabric printing at some stage, with things from around your home. It's nice and simple and a perfect wintertime activity to do with your kids, very little mess!

I've always thought the bottoms of celery look like beautiful flowers as I cut them off, seems such a waste to be popping them into the compost. So I used the base of some celery as the basis of my design. 

 I inked the celery up with some Versa craft textile inks that I had bought kind of a long time ago (crazy craft supply hoarder collector here, ahem). Easy to use and just needs to be heat set for the ink to be permanent on fabric.

I carved some simple shapes from a eraser, a leaf and a twirly scroll.I also used the eraser tip of a pencil for the middle of the flowers. I tried to keep the pattern fairly consistent across the four fat quarters that I need to print, I cut them all initially, but I think I would have been better printing on yard and then cutting. 

All wrapped up ready to send! I really hope that my partners liked the fabric they received from me. 

These are the amazing fabrics that arrived in my letterbox! I'm really in love with the leaf one at the bottom, so much work went into that one, inking the leaves up to print, it's really stunning! 

Speaking of swaps, did you see that the travelling stash box is up and running for a second trip around New Zealand? I missed it the first time, but I've signed up for it to stop off at my house this time round! As a great craft supply hoarder collector I'm pretty sure I can find some crafting things to add to it. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Quite a few things seem to be flying off my crochet hooks at the moment. One is this  demi cape that I was pattern testing for a very talented local designer. It hasn't been released yet, but when it is I'll post the link. It was quickly worked up and miss E was happy to pose in the crunchy leaves. Dancing about in a skirt that I got from a local thrift store a while back, it's the "thing" to be wearing at the moment, as she's hardly worn anything else all holidays! She's quite keen to change quickly once I mention that a trip to the local skate park is on offer though! Then it's back to shorts.