Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Frittata - the holiday edition

"I'm hungry" If I had one dollar for every time I heard this in the school holidays I'd be rich! It seems no amount of food will quell their appetites. By the time grocery day comes around it becomes harder to come up with snacks that will satisfy. But these frittatas seem to hit the mark and the recipe is so super easy the kids can make them too. It might just help out with that other all too common holiday phrase "I'm bored", sound familiar?

All you need to do is make the base mixture and half fill muffin trays then just add in what you have to hand, this can be a real win for fussy eaters. Cut up the ingredients and let them choose what they put in! A true "mum" trick is to let them help make the food, in my experience this means they will eat the food! Or at least try it! 

Empty the fridge - Holiday Fritattas.

Base mixture
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Grated cheese to sprinkle on the top.

Additional ingredient suggestions

Diced onion (lightly cooked till soft)
Fresh herbs - We used chives and Thyme
Ham or Pastrami
Cracked pepper
Or anything else you might have small amounts of in your fridge and you enjoy eating! 

Whisk together the eggs and the milk and half fill some nonstick or greased muffin trays. Add in any of the above ingredients to suit your taste. My kids loved this part, choosing what the put in their Frittatas, making sure they knew which ones to avoid - like my ones with the capers! 

Sprinkle with a small amount of grated cheese. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and set to the touch. 

If the weather is nice, take them outside once they have lightly cooled and have a picnic in your backyard. Everything tastes better alfresco don't you think? Especially in the holidays.

Friday, October 3, 2014


When the request was put to me for an "Elsa" dress at first I thought I'd wing it, taking some aqua fabric and see how I went. That thought didn't last too long though, the stress! Instead I called on the lovely Bronwyn from Pattern Postie .You all know about her wonderful online pattern store right? if not go and have a look! I knew that a proper pattern would mean less tears, from both of us!

 After a quick online search I located a pattern that was perfect, McCall's 7000.

I was given the lace by someone downsizing many years ago, I was so happy to find a use for it and don't you think the flower pattern looks a wee but like snowflakes? (perhaps if you squint a bit?)

I made a couple of modifications to the pattern, the back silver cape-like part came around the front of the bodice in the pattern, but I wanted a more trailing look and just attached it to the back of the bodice. "Queen Elsa" herself had picked up a few bits and pieces at Fabric-a-brac with her dress in mind, so I sewed strips of  some netting she found over the bodice part. It has glittery painted on strips, which look a bit like "fractals" Just a single strip of stitching holding it in place so it moves as she does and catches the light. (It looks better in real life, - trust me).

There is a long cape included in the pattern, with a smaller shorter cape overlay. I used the pattern pieces for the shorter overlay and made a mini "shoulder warming" cape. The velvety soft faux fur was from my stash too! Such a great feeling to be using up bits and pieces (something that needs to happen more often, ahem). The cape was finished off with snowflake buttons that "Queen Elsa" had picked up from Bronwyn at
Fabric-a-brac too (she had a very tempting stall filled with great buttons and ribbons etc). That girl of mine has a great eye for detail.

A quick cardboard glittery crown and some silvery shoes and the look was complete! No tears!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I knew there was a reason that I planted these big frilly daises - for making GIANT daisy chains. The perfect way to welcome Spring!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

building a snowman

We arrived very late to the "Frozen" movie craze, everyone was telling us how wonderful the movie was and how we MUST see it. We finally did, and we promptly fell in love, don't you agree? I bought the soundtrack to try and quell the constant requests for watching the DVD!

 It was no surprise when the theme for the school dance was announced "your favourite character" that the character chosen was one from the Frozen movie. I just wasn't expecting Olaf!

I wasn't sure that a full suit would be the way to go, lots of dancing = heat, not a good combination. Instead I made a shirt/skirt combo, with the "skirt" being easy to remove if he got too hot (or embarrassed - let's be honest). The skirt part was fashioned from quilting Dacron, I stitched some elastic around the bottom to pull it in and form a rounded shape, easy.

I painted Olaf's face on a cotton tee using fabric paints and pens. An orange felt carrot nose hand stitched on, several times, ahem. A couple of stick like arms, "coal" buttons and I was done.

It was a huge hit, with other kids coming up to him saying "Hi Olaf", he was pleased and that is the true measure of success in my book!

As for Elsa, well you can see in the below picture that she wasn't such a willing model, perhaps something urgent in Arendelle calling her away?

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Slightly wild, off the track walks are something my family enjoy. We always start off with loads of enthusiasm, but to be honest, the little members of our family often loose interest fairly quickly. I spotted this "Nature Bingo" set from Seedling and thought that might pique their interest, perhaps making our walks a little longer.

I suppose it's a bit like Mary Poppins says, "In ev'ry job that must be done, there is an element of fun you find the fun and snap, the job's a game." I find this is true in most aspects of parenting! It's also true (as it turns out) on our wild walks. The kids seem to be more preoccupied in looking for the items on the bingo board to notice how far we've walked. 

Looking out for things means we actually end up spotting many more things that otherwise we may have overlooked. Feathers, wild strawberries and seedpods are all eyed up as potential bingo squares!

The bingo boards have become a favourite part of our walks, often we have several rounds of bingo if I've remembered to pack a cloth to wipe off the chalk and we are lucky enough to spot some of the more elusive bingo squares! 

* This is not a sponsored post, I just love this product and the NZ company Seedling and wanted to spread the word! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Second Pixie

Dashing out between Winter rain showers I quickly snapped a few pictures of my latest sewing project to make it to the "finished" stage (don't even ask about all the "unfinished" projects! ........Ahem). When I say finished, I didn't quite manage to sew on the buttons before taking the photos, but they are on now, trust me.

It's another Pixie Coat, pattern by Big Little, I seriously love this pattern and making it with felted woollens. This time I teamed a couple of felted jumpers that have been in my stash for quite awhile with a soft thrifted sheet. The colours seemed to work so well together, a perfect match! I added an applique flower on the front adding some embroidered details and also a flower on a long ribbon that attached to the inside of the pocket, something for the little wearer to play with.

My sewing machine is set up on a table in my bedroom, and due to the cold Winter weather I tend to sew only on the weekend during the day, it's just too cold in the evenings. I contemplated dragging my machine downstairs to the warmth of the kitchen table, for about a second - but it all seemed like to much effort, so I hand finished lots of the seams while catching up on some quality TV time *wink*  It reminded me how little I like hand sewing! Roll on Spring and the warmer weather, I'll get lots more sewing done!

Monday, August 4, 2014

do you think it could have been the shoes?

Walking into work last week, I was greeted by the Principal. (In case you missed it, I returned to the workforce at the start of the year at a local high school)

The Principal - "You'll need to be at least five minutes earlier tomorrow" *Insert quite a stern face*

I was slightly perplexed, especially as I was already at least 15 minutes earlier than my start time (yes I am THAT person, early for everything! I hate to be late.) as a part timer I start a wee bit after school starts.

I smiled and nodded and walked on, still more than a little confused. As I continued to walk on, I heard her say the same thing again, on turning around I noticed this time the phrase was repeated to a student. It then dawned on me, the principal thought I was a student! A tardy student at that!

I had a little chuckle, I'm almost in my mid thirties and most of the time I have two kids in tow so being mistaken for a high school student is certainly not something that happens to me. As I sat down at my desk, I wondered, could it have been the shoes? What do you think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


It's official, I'll be back as a stall holder at the Auckland Fabric-a-brac on Saturday 23 August! It's time for a de-stash! (this time I'm going to try very hard not to come home with extras).

If fabric/sewing is your thing - mark it in your diary, it's an event NOT to be missed!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

frequent feeding

It was a year ago that I took part in a Matariki craft blog hop. My post was this Rustic Bird Feeder. It is my most popular post of all time! Everyday it gets views, I hope that means that people are taking time to feed the birds over these Winter months. Check it out, there is also a great recipe for making the bird balls that are pictured on the feeder. They must be delicious, they never stay long on the feeder!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Q & A

I was pleased to read the wonderful comments on my post "Wearable" - my review of Fifi Colston's book - Wearable Wonders. I especially loved Kimberley's comment that her school has 15 copies!!!! Fantastic, that will be a lot of inspired students. 

Fifi has answered a few burning questions for us, read on to discover her inspiration and what she's reading! Thanks Fifi.

1.       As an author, you must have a lot of ideas floating around. How did you decide to write this book?

I've been making costumes and Wearable Art for years and I love it the challenge of creating something from nothing. I think it makes for good brain gym- looking at something and repurposing it as something else. I also run lots of Wearable Art workshops for schools and community. My publisher (Scholastic) suggested I create a book specifically about wearable art for school kids, and I was delighted to oblige! I didn't want this to be a step by step 'how to make a dragon costume' I wanted it to be more of a 'how to see the dragon in the materials and world around you.'  Wearable art is not about costume- that's just the medium through which an idea is expressed. It's about story and having something to say.

I have quite a bit in the book about creating character and story which will be as useful to the young writer as it is to the young artist. I also wanted to showcase something about the WOW show and Weta Workshop. I've worked at Weta and learned and saw some wonderful things there and Weta sponsor a special section at WOW so they are quite involved. Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger gave me a great interview as did Heather Palmer and Suzie Moncrieff from WOW. Then I thought it would be great to have an interview with a WOW model and Sarah Ngan Kee answered all the questions someone might want to know about the experience. I think these interviews are a really important part of the book; a young designer can see what opportunities might present themselves when choosing to work in the arts. I started out as an illustrator and now look what I do! Costume, television, workshops, writing, illustration... I feel like this book has used all of the things I have learned so far in my creative life.

2.       Tell us a bit about the journey from manuscript to published work. What was the biggest challenge you faced in publishing this book?

Biggest challenge...working over the best summer Wellington has had for years in a very hot studio whilst everyone else went to the beach! I wrote the book fairly quickly, but the making and photographing of all the items took quite a lot longer. And then there was what to leave in and what to leave out. I tried to fit everything in that was useful and relevant, and if it's not there, it's in my next book, Ghoulish Get-Ups (out in time for Halloween!). I have had years of experience with glues, paints, tape, sewing and creating- this is essentially a download of my brain into 88 pages! When I finished the book I felt quite drained- like I had given everything and left nothing inside my head. I had to go on holiday for a week to recuperate. Luckily the weather was still wonderful and a road trip up the country restored my energies- plus I found lots of great materials for my next Wearable Art entry on the way!

3.       Did you tailor this book to a particular audience – or did you find it found its own audience as it was written?

My audience was the students I work with 8-14 years old, but I hope anyone wanting to delve into the wonderful world of wearable art for the first time will find it a useful book. Teachers are really enjoying it as a tool for the classroom and just perfect for all those school productions coming up.

4.       Can you recommend any books that you love, that inspired or informed your book in any way?

Every single craft book I ever read as a kid including the ever wonderful Golden Hands series from the 70's that I made my mum buy for me (and then I bought a back up a couple of years ago off Trademe!) They have all extended my learning and inspired me to try out new techniques. There is also a great book called 'Costumes and Chemistry' which is all about materials to use for stage and props work and the various ways that you can ruin your health by not using proper breathing apparatus. It makes for terrifying but really useful practical help.
As far as the look of the book goes I can only say a massive thank you and bravo to our wonderful book designer Luke Kelly. He pulled all my many pictures and instructions together and made it look simply amazing!

5.       Tell us about a time you’ve enjoyed relaxing and reading a book – at the bach, on holiday, what was the book?

I always take a book on a plane with me- it's luxurious uninterrupted reading time. I have just this moment finished Elizabeth Knox's 'Mortal Fire' (on a plane) and was gripped right to the very last line. She has a very clever mind for creating characters and magic and it draws you into the spell; which is the sign of a really good book.

6.       What is your favourite thing to do, when you aren’t reading or writing, and why?

Being in my studio making things. It's my happy, messy space and I am never happier than when I am with a paintbrush, glue gun or needle and thread. I also love to walk by the sea... and as it happens, my studio is by the sea, so the two things combine very well.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother - noun and verb

Wouldn't it be great if there was a day that celebrated not just "Mothers" or "Fathers", but all the people who take on those roles, the care-giving  roles. Mother is a noun and a verb! I'm pretty sure for every "mum" who was celebrating Mother's day yesterday, there was someone who didn't quite fit into that category but certainly deserved a day of their own too. I'm hoping that those families chose to ignore the "Mother's day" tag and just celebrated anyway! It "takes a village" people!

To all those Mums and caregivers out there I hope you remember to celebrate and thank those that you love everyday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

woollen pixie

I love working with wool, whether it be spinning it or sewing with it. I especially love reclaiming thrifted woollen clothes. Jumpers, cardigans all which have slipped through the wash on an accidental "hot" cycle. Not by me of course! I stockpile them over the Summer months while they are at bargain prices.

I whipped up this Hooded Pixie Coat, a pattern by the talented Lisa of the Big Little blog. I used up a small piece of woodland flannel that I was given recently. I didn't have enough to line the jacket completely,but instead I teamed some vintage sheeting with big patches of the left over flannel, I wanted to get the most out of it.

I added a few circle patches front and back, I just am so in love with that flannel and it seemed a waste to just have it tucked away on the inside. A bit miss-matched perhaps, but that's my sewing style!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


"Get up, get up, get outta your lazy bed. Before I count to three .................." If you recognise that line, chances are you grew up in NZ in the late 80's early 90's and watched a TV programme called "What Now". In which case you will also recognise the lovely lady in the picture above, Fifi Colston! 

I grew up inspired by her crafting projects, replicating many of them at home, scouting around for the items I needed, lots based around a humble egg carton. Fifi's talents extend to book illustrating and creating wonderful works of wearable art. 

Her latest book Wearable Wonders is a finalist in this years New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. You can find the rest of the nominees here, it's quite an impressive list!

Before I was offered the chance to review this book, I had already sought it out and borrowed it from my local library. My kids are starting to graduate from the "mummy made" costumes and wanting to make their own so this book seemed like the perfect resource for them.

It's not formulated with a "do this, do that" approach, more a guide and the perfect starting place for Wearable Art inspiration, perfect for the older child who needs a starting point for their own creation, really making it their own without just copying it from the book. 

my attempt at "Steampunk" goggles

The book takes you through all the planning stages, opening your eyes to the "tools of the trade", you probably already have some most of them, as for the materials needed, think = things in your recycling bin! Everything is taken into account, making sure your wearable piece isn't a danger to the wearer, practicalities of getting it off and on etc. 

a water pistol given a "Steampunk" style make-over

I think we'll have this book out again in the future when the call comes home from school that a costume is required! (I've also noticed that most schools also have a Wearable Art competition these days, you too?).