Thursday, October 31, 2013


We had a long weekend here in New Zealand, the last "break" before Christmas. Nearly every year it rains and it's a bit of a downer. This year however bucked the trend and it was nice and sunny, so we made the most of it and took the kids to the beach. They swam and played in the sand for hours, we finished the day off with fish and chips for dinner. Perfect.

We took a short coastal walk too, the fields were covered in buttercups, a gentle yellow haze. Did you spot my Croutons bag? It was a lovely gift from a blog friend, made by another blog friend! Spoilt! I love it.

Although I'm not a big fan of Summer, I'm quite looking forward to more days at the beach, finished off by fish and chips of course!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I found this little dress/costume at my local Salvation Army store last week. I snapped it up, not sure if it would fit miss E or not, it does! It's so beautifully made and it makes me wonder who made it and for whom?

It was made in a time when you couldn't just pop down to a chain store to buy a costume, one of those modern costumes that just fall apart at their silky seams. A time when a mum, big sister or perhaps an Aunt would have sat down with a pattern (or not) and made something that would instead last for years. It's in amazing condition apart from the elastic that had perished in the sleeves, I'm not sure if I'm going to replace it yet.

The twirly barkcloth skirt is made of lots of little pieces stitched together, maybe using up all the scraps from some homemade curtains? Isn't that woollen embroidery sweet?

I'm slightly amazed (yet so pleased) at it's popularity here, it's been the clothing of choice each afternoon. Once the school uniform has been discarded it's on, maybe it's got something to do with the twirly skirt?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


 I was pretty quick to sign up for the dishcloth swap that Leonie organised recently (I'm pretty addicted to making them too Leonie). I made a couple of my favourite woven crochet pattern, I've made so many of them over the last few years. I can make them with my eyes closed, it seems like my hands and fingers seem to magically know what to do, crochet still seems like some magical power to me!  The other wash cloth was "fruit" inspired, my own design, apple maybe? It has two sides which makes it nice and thick, long lasting too. I posted them off to my partner a week or so ago, so hopefully they have arrived safely.

Now to crochet lots more for Christmas gifts .....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

first and last

Hits Blitz 86' was my first ever cassette tape, the first music I owned. I was seven. I clearly remember seeing the cassette advertised on TV, knowing it was something I needed to own. I begged and begged my mum to have it for Christmas. I remember so vividly being so excited to find it under the tree, and playing it non stop for weeks, feeling so grown up that I had my own music.

I remember playing it at a sleep over at my Nana's house, down a long hall in her spare room, with the door closed because I wanted to play it louder than anyone could stand. It has been played many, many times over the last 27 years. Funnily enough it's been played more than ever over the last few months and that has been it's downfall.

You see it's popularity now is due to the fact my husband and I named our daughter after one of the songs, and she loves hearing it over and over again, who wouldn't want to hear a song featuring their name? Anyone know a song with a "Louana" in it? She is also 7, the same age as I was when I first got lost in the music it contained.

Well today that came to an end, my precious Christmas gift got tangled and mangled and broken beyond repair. I feel silly even feeling sad about it, it's just a cassette right? But it's funny how hearing music can take you right back to a time and a place when you first heard it? Or when something happened? Every time I hear "I saw the sign" By Ace of Bace, or any Ace of Bace song for that matter, I'm transported to my 4th Form school camp, it was so popular at that time and my friends and I listened to it over and over.

So that's that, my first cassette is now my last ever cassette, there will be no more.

Do you still have any cassettes floating around?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

her hands

Every festive season I'm inspired by the lovely things that Melissa from Tiny Happy  makes for her friends and family and her shop. They are mostly simple ideas, but in her hands they are transformed into something really special, maybe that's the secret? Seeing all those beautiful goodies makes me want to be on her "gifting list".

Melissa has taken the time to answer some of my questions about her handmade Christmas makings. I've also had a look through her archives and chosen some of my favourite projects. If you click on the photos it will take you to Melissa's post and you can find out how to make/bake them too!

Tiny Happy - Pepperkake

Do you have any favourite gifts to make at Christmas?

Not really- I do like to make food-y things for friends and family though. Things like lemon curd or jam/marmalade, or Christmas cakes or sweets. I also really like making gifts from gardeny things like dried lavender, seeds, herbs, etc.
I have a great time making things for my nieces and nephew every Christmas. In the past I've made soft toys, art sets, quilts, clothes and bags

Tiny Happy - Peace dove

Do you have any family Christmas traditions?

The kids get swept up in a frenzied whirlwind of Christmas card making every December. Keira makes cards for everyone she knows, including other peoples' pets. We have a few traditions such as making and wrapping gifts all together, attending an evening carol or cathedral Christmas service, and Tom and I always give each other a stocking filled with nice bits and pieces from the supermarket. Really. For example, last year I received some nice chocolate and moisturiser and a copy of my favourite magazine. Often on Christmas Eve we drink wine or cocktails with friends. Okay so that's not so much a 'family' tradition but rather one that Tom and I take part in! As for wider family traditions, both Tom and I come from big families and we alternate attending their Christmas gatherings each year.

Tinny Happy - Wreath

Have you received a handmade present that stands out in your mind?

I remember one year my sister made my whole family knitted slippers. It was an unexpected gift and they must have taken her ages to make. We were all very grateful for them when Winter rolled around!

Tiny Happy - Little totes

What is on your Christmas make list this year? Without giving any secrets away of course! 

This will show my terrible organising skills, but I haven't even thought about it yet. But thank you Louana for the reminder! As soon as I finish work for the year I will break out the craft supplies and have a good think about it. 

Tiny Happy - Pine tags

I know the Pepperkake recipe on your blog is popular, what else will you be baking this Christmas?

Ah yes making pepperkake was something I loved learning while living in Norway. I still make those even though they do seem to suit a wintry Christmas and are nice to hold in one hand with a glass of Glögg in the other!

I love making shortbread and use Christmas as an excuse to bake a double mixture and eat more buttery biscuits than I really should. But I fully intend to do that again this year.

I'll also bake the usual Christmas cake and maybe a Christmas pudding (although Tom made a beautiful one of these last year and it kept him busy for about 4 hours.

Tiny Happy - Dress up wings

Thank you so much Melissa! I think your Pepperkake recipe will be on my bake-list this Christmas.

If you want to check out more lovely things to make on Melissa's blog, she has a handy list on the left hand side. It's a good place to start if you are looking for things to make for loved ones this Christmas! 

How are your Christmas makings going? Mine, slowly, very slowly! But I've ticked at least one off my list. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

buttercups and daisies

Do you remember the wool I spun and dyed recently? The "spring green" wool has been transformed into a "Buttercups and Daisies" cushion. 

The Buttercups are crocheted with some 50/50% Silk Merino that I had in my stash, the Daisy petals are 100% silk that I spindle spun! The colours look a little washed out in the photos, the green is darker and more vibrant in real life. I used a thrifted woollen blanket in a soft green for the backing.

I'd love to crochet a big picnic in the same style, it would be like sitting on a summer lawn! I doubt I've got the patience (or the pockets) for such a project, but wouldn't it be fantastically magical? Perfect for a Winter picnic in the lounge.

Friday, October 18, 2013


It's that time of year again to sign up for the Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap!

Click on the image to take you to Sew Funky to find out all the details. I've participated over the last three years, my kids love finding the little ornaments in the letterbox to hang on our tree. Handmade decorations are so much better than store bought don't you think? Will you join me?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ice battles

There has been a battle raging at our house these school holidays, the ice battle. I filled an ice cream container with water and froze it, I had envisaged the kids spending some time playing a "soccer" type game with it, kicking it to each other. That's why they are wearing gumboots. It seems though, that my visions were not aligned with what the kids had planned, the story of my life.

Let the ice battles begin. They worked out a game where they both chucked up their blocks of ice, letting it smash down on the ground. Then the race was on to gather up as much of the ice as they could, jamming it back into their containers. The battle raged on for a long time, while I prepared dinner. I heard giggles, and a few cross words too (it was a battle after all) eventually I was greeted with some small slivers of ice and instructions on how I was to keep them safe in the freezer, um yeah.

There has been talks of "ice battle #2", luckily the battle supplies are easy to gather. What have your children been up to these holidays? Any ice battles? No? Just my children then!

Monday, October 7, 2013

spring green

I love that first burst of Spring growth, it's a colour of green that you just don't see at any other time of the year. The foliage is baby soft as it unfurls, a vibrant green, a true sign that Summer is on it's way.

A sign of longer days, of getting washing dried in mere hours (can't wait!) and cooling off at the beach.

So it's a bit of a surprise to find inspiration for dying wool amongst all that vibrant, warmth heralding green! Last week I spun some Merino and a Merino/Coopworth blend that I had been given in my "to spin" stash, I spun it thick and within a few hours it was done. I delved into my dying supplies, hoping to recreate some of the greens that are gracing my garden at the moment.

I was pleased with the results! A bit of a relief, my dying has always been a bit ht and miss, ahem.

I've got a "spring-like" project in mind to use it up. Watch this space .......

Friday, October 4, 2013

and the winner is .....

Thank you SO much for all the enthusiastic comments on my Makedo post! The winner of the Makedo set is comment #5 - Creative Mama ! Congrats! I'll be in touch.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

a little show

I have been meaning to share with you this amazing little find from a local thrift store for quite some time. It was tucked away under a bunch of puzzles in an op shop that has seldom yielded any really good finds. But I keep looking there anyway, you just never know right? There was something about the edge of the box caught my eye. For the grand sum of $0.50c it came home with me.

It comes with five little figures and two sets of scenery, one printed on each side.

The edges of the cardboard are a little frayed, but I'm planing on slicing off the bottoms to even them up. I might paint the edges with some clear glue too, to add some strength.

So at the moment I'm chief scenery changer! But I've just challenged the kids to create their own scenery and put on a show for me. I've traced around the old background pieces for them,  it might save me from being a kill joy as I remind them I have to change it over. Did I buy it for them to play with? Probably not, ahem.

Have you had any good thrift finds lately? Pop over to Blackbird has Spoken to see what other "thrifty" people have found.