Saturday, 1 August 2009

A bag for the birthday boy ...

Many thanks for replies to my previous post - I now know what little boys like!! As I was running out of time I rather surprised myself with deciding to make a bag!

The brown cord and green cotton were thrifted earlier this year.

It all looked rather plain until I added the train.

This is the first bag I've made so I was really pleased with how it turned out- especially since I didn't use a pattern. I've found that when using thrifted fabric you have to make something for the fabric rather than use the fabric to make a certain pattern - does that make sense?!!!

Anyhow, I really enjoyed making it and seeing it turned out well has definitely spurred me on to trying out some other things.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Giveaway results and thanks

And the winner is .....

... Michelle. Thanks for all the comments and congrats!

And I was also the lucky recipient of a box full of goodies earlier this week:

a box full of thrifted woollen jumpers which were already felted!!! A huge big thank you to Amy of Seven Stitches who mentioned she had a rather large stash and very generously donated some to me! Thanks so much Amy - I will now have to put them to good use! xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

What are little boys made of?

I have a very quick question for you.

What do little boys like?

I have been making presents for the last couple of years but this is the first time that I have to make a present for a little boy and I don't know what to do - we don't know many little boys!!! He's one of Maia's friends from Kindy and has just turned 5. If anyone can think of something to make, something quick and easy that is because it's his party on Sunday!, then I really would appreciate some advice! Many thanks. x

Monday, 27 July 2009

Giveaway Reminder

Just to remind you that I am currently running a 1st birthday giveaway for a little dress and reversible sunhat. Click here and leave a comment to be in the draw. The winner will be picked on Wednesday. Good luck!!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Crafting with 2 pre-schoolers ...

It's the perennial question that crafters, who are mothers, ask - to craft or not to craft (when the children are in the vicinity)?!

Sometimes I'm in the mood for children and sometimes I'm not. Sometimes it feels like I will never get anything done because I have the children with me and sometimes it doesn't. Do you snatch 5 minutes whilst they are happily engaged in another activity? Do you engage them in your activity and realise that progress will be MUCH slower? Do you wait until they are all tucked up in bed? And then realise that you're just too damn tired to do it yourself?

We've had friends staying for the last couple and they left mid-morning. We had a brilliant time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, however 4 adults, 4 children under 5, 2 dogs and exceedingly heavy rain does mean a certain amount of tiredness!!! Added to that a few bottles drunk, great food eaten and lots of talking - well you get the picture! Can you actually get a hangover from talking? It certainly feels like I have had one today.

So the name of the game today was to t.a.k.e. i.t. s.l.o.o.o.o.o.o.o.w.w.w.w.w. but having not done any sewing for a few days I was tempted. I took the bull by the horns and decided to start filling the patches I had made for my puff patchwork blanket. Maia was happily involved in writing 'letters' and drawing pictures for her penpal and Cassia was put to work!

The filling for the patches is the inside of an old pillow. Now, this is a compromise. I know it's not a natural material which would be my preference but it is re-using something I already have so I go with it. When old pillows become lumpy and uncomfortable they can be thrown in the washing machine and then the filling is good to fill things with! I decided to let Cassia into the pillowcase of filling. All good to begin with and she actually did fill some of the pockets however, it was not long before the filling became snow and was scattered about everywhere!

Maia then realised that we were playing with 'fluff' and decided she wanted to help too. Now to be fair she did really help and filled lots of the pockets whilst I sewed them up. My two little helpers, or is that one little helper and one little hinderer?!

On reflection was it worth it? So I had a lot of 'fluff' to tidy up and had to be the 'fluff' monitor a couple of times but, today, it was definitely worth it. I got all 108 filled and closed - hurray!!!!!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

My Creative Space

Another litte case full of sewing goodness!! I mentioned on this post about my oldest WIP so here it is in progress. To date all the patches are assembled (108) and 10 are now filled and closed.

Not that I'm expecting to do too much over the next few days because we have a houseful of guests - and I'm loving it!!!

Pop over to Kirsty's to see some more creative spaces.

Reminder: 1st brithday giveaway - either scroll down or click here

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The results of a busy Sunday ...

On Sunday we had a very quiet stay at home day and I got lots achieved - playing, cleaning, baking, mending and sewing. I made a start on a puff patchwork blanket, my eldest WIP, and did some bits and pieces for the children. I found two pretty ballerina skirts in the ardrobe when I was at home and claimed them! Even though they had never been worn the elastic had deteriorated so I replaced it and have two happy little fairies/ballerinas (they're so quick I don't have a photo yet!). And to go with the skirts some fairy leggings.

Fairy leggings? I bought both girls 4 pairs of tights last winter in the UK and they were worn A LOT. They came back with me from the most recent trip and have been worn this NZ winter. That's a lot of wear and I could only darn the toes so many times before they really became unwearable. But it was only the toes that were worn through so I thought I'd try and make leggings. I cut the feet off just above the heel shaping and did a plain zig-zag around the raw edge. The unexpected result? A lovely lettuce edge which gave rise to fairy leggings!

And if you think that you've seen this bum before somewhere else you would be right - here!
And for the easiest refashion in the world? Take one pair of pyjama bottoms that are too small for your youngest (even if she didn't have them pulled all the way up her tummy like an old man!)

and put a little trim from your stash around the bottom and hey presto you have a pair of summer pedal pushers for your eldest. So is this refashion? Upcycle? Recycle? Or just a good old hand me down - or hand me up in this case.

I do apologise for the pictures but they do look quite nice in real life!
I also turned the stitching which could be seen here into a bookmark.

It's for my mum for her birthday so features Maia's drawing of Nannan and a balloon. I backed it with a very simple patchwork piece. The pink sawn fabric I had as a child and the pink fabric on the ends was some leftovers from the first blanket I made Maia.

Don't you love how you can add some history and personalise homemade items? x

little grubs is 1 and I am having a giveaway!!!

little grubs turned 1 whilst we were on holiday

I can't believe that a year has passed already - we sure have fitted a lot into that year. I've had a look through my posts and it has been great to have a record of our family life and things I've made and, of course, my various thrift finds! It would have been nice to have had a record of the move to NZ but only having dial up at the beach put an end to the blogging for a while.

I have come across many amazing blogs in my travels and never cease to be amazed by the creativity, love, passion for life that I see in the posts. And as for crafty inspiration ........ my poor little mind is in overdrive regularly!!!! I haven't met any bloggers in person but I've learnt alot about people from their blogs and have received much support back.

So a HUGE big thank you for anyone who visits this little page! It really is lovely to know that people pop over here and I truly appreciate all the comments. So regular commenters and newbie commenters alike maybe you'd like to leave a comment on this post and be in for a chance to win a Birthday Giveaway because no birthday's complete without presents!!!

I've got a little dress and matching reversible hat up for grabs. I made the dress from a thrifted sheet and added 2 buttons from my stash and used the same material for the hat with the other side from a pillowcase. It would fit a little girl upto about 3 and is great as a sundress or in the colder months with a top underneath. So with no further ado I give you the dress - ta da!!

And the hat!

Obviously I will finish this (having someone to send it to will prompt me to get it done at last!). And the dress in action? I have a willing model but one who doesn't really take instruction, who am I kidding she doesn't take ANY instruction - she's what you'd call a freestyle model!!!

I'll leave this open for a week and then pick a winner so leave a comment and be in to win!!!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Desert Road

When we left our house to head up the island there was thick ice on the car. We travelled through sun, fog and cloud and then we came to the Desert Road. It was spectacular. I love the road at any time but had never been through it in the middle of winter so it was great to see it in all its glory.

Mount Ruapehu

Mount Ngauruhoe

Cassia and Maia enjoying the snow!

If you see in the foreground of the above picture there is a grey grainy scree on the ground (I'm not a geologist so bear with me for the right words!). When you walked on it it crackled and your footprints left this on the ground:

It was like little ice needles under the surface of the ground. I've never seen anything like this before and it was fascinating and beautiful to see.

If anyone knows the correct term for this phenomenom then I'd be much obliged!

Monday, 20 July 2009

We're back!

All back safe and sound after a lovely week away. We had a great time and I've some great photos of the mountain to post but will do that tomorrow. This is just a quick post to say many thanks to Hanna from Crafty Kin for the brooch I won in her giveaway. It arrived just before we left for our holiday and it's gorgeous! Thanks Hanna!

I have also been awarded my first bloggy award, "One Lovely Blog", from the lovely Gina at Clutterpunk. Thanks so much I'm really touched!! I've just realised that I've been blogging here for a year now (with a couple of absences!) and I've loved it. Thanks for reading and all the comments. x

Now it's my turn to pass on the award, so here goes to fellow kiwi bloggers:
Little Miss Flossy at Another Day in Paradise
Hanna at Crafty Kin
Janelle at Heart Felt
Lien at Lovely Living
Steph at Lovestitches
Have a pop over to them - you might just see something you like!
As for crafting? Well even my lovely travel craft case didn't inspire me to craft whilst I was away which was very surprising. However, Sunday was my day - I was in the mood and achieved lots. Still haven't taken photos but will get them posted tomorrow.
One of the things I decided to work on was my eldest WIP. In March 2005 I finished a puff patchwork blanket and decided straight away to make another. I bought the material and I cut out all the squares and then put them in a bag! I have dipped into the bag over the years to use some of the patches but there was still enough to make a small blanket as originally intended.

I had to cut out the backing squares, for which I used the curtain lining cut offs, and then started sewing.

60 done so far with 48 still to go, then there's just the small matter of stuffing them, closing them, joining them and backing them. Easy - if it takes as long as it has done already it'll be finished in 2013!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

My creative space

We're off on holiday (and a little bit of crafting is coming too!)

We're going away tomorrow for a week's holiday - hurray!!!! Up to the sunny Bay of Plenty (oh please let it be the sunny Bay of Plenty!). Although there'll be lots to do up there I still might have the urge to be crafty so I've packed a little case (in fact it's the first and only thing packed so far!).

The case's contents:
2 embroidery hoops
linen offcuts
embroidery silks
material marker
ball of chunky colourful yarn
bamboo knitting needles

And the best about it to me? The case was found at a garage sale for $1, the embroidery hoops, linen and silks were all received via Freecycle, the yarn is new but was reduced and the bamboo needles cost me 50c, yes that's right reduced to 50c. So a whole case of loveliness for very little money - what more could you ask?!

All packed and ready to go! Until we get back - au revoir! x

PS To check out lots of other lovely creative spaces take a peek over here.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A bit of NZ politics!

The NZ Government have (or are going to) cut funding for continuing education.

Click on the link above to find out how to voice your displeasure!

EDITED: Thanks Steph for the heads up the link is now correct - ooops!

I'm a very lucky lady ...

I've been very lucky recently so thought I would share with you.

Last week I was lucky enough to win this giveaway on Craftykin - my first ever blog giveaway so I was very excited to hear the news and can't wait to receive the brooch!

Then I found a surprise package in the post box:

A box of crochet patterns and wonderful written letter from the lovely Julie over at Dreaming of Daisies. Not expected, total surprise and I absolutely love it! Many, many thanks. x

The garage sales have not been very forthcoming recently, in fact there haven't actually been many in our little town. So on Saturday when I saw 5 advertised I was quite excited. I trawled around 4 in the cold, early morning and wondered what on earth I was doing - should I go to the last or not? Of course I should and thank goodness. I got a wooden blackboard/whiteboard easel which I am going to repaint and give to Maia for her birthday (hence no pics!) and some lovely linen.

Two aprons - the one on the left is actually quite marked on the white fabric but I will re-use the the floral applique and ties on another one.

And if you saw this post you'll know I've taken rather a liking to linen teatowels so was very pleased to find this little lot!

The one with 1967 was in brand new condition, you can just imagine someone being given it for Christmas and then not wanting to use it, to keep it for best! So in 2009 it is finally going to be used for its intended purpose.

A very cheesy colourful one. "It starts when you sink in his arms and ends with your arms in the sink"! And my favourite:

"Oxford Street Illuminations" - when we were younger my Mum and Dad used to take us down to London before Christmast and I used to think the lights were amazing so I just love, love, love this one! x

A granola recipe

Back here I made some granola and finally I've got the recipe up! As far as it is a recipe - I must have orginally had one to follow but that's been lost in one of the many moves. It's a very 'fluid' recipe - by that I mean you can really use what you like and what you have in the cupboards. I know that's not much help to those who like to follow a recipe but it'll give you an idea.

For this particular batch I used:

1 cup of rolled oats
dessicated coconut - a little shaken over the oats
slivered almonds
chopped apricots - what was left in the packet

Mix these all together in a bowl

a knob of butter - about 20g
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
2 tbsp honey

Gently heat these ingredients until combined
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix
Spread on baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 at 160 degrees

The basic ingredients are oats and then build from around there. Alternative dry ingredients are:
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
sesame seeds

For the wet ingredients you can use the following:
instead of butter I have used cold pressed veg or nut oil - hazlenut and wlanut oil are particularly nice and grape seed oil works well too - the finished granola has a slightly different texture but if you're worried about saturated animal fat it's a good alternative
sugar - you can use as little or as much as you like, I think you do need some but the choice is up to you
the honey can be replaced by maple syrup which works really well and I guess you could use golden syrup but I've never tried this
When I've tried to write down what I put in and the measurements it always turns out that the batch is OK but not one I'd want to repeat! And when I've tried to make double the measurements, because it really doesn't last that long, it's not been that nice either!
If anyone has any other ideas for ingredients or methods then I've love to hear them because I love making this - it's a sweet tasty treat that's easy to make and not 'bad' for you - what more can you ask?!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Curtains, curtains and a little something else

So these are what I spent all day yesterday making and they kept us nice and cosy last night.

After much messing around with this material here I decided that I would just have to go out and buy some curtain material. I have been looking for second hand curtains or suitable material since February and it's just not turning up! So I went to Spotlight, they had 20% off everything last week, and I bought the fabric for the lounge and our bedroom. It's not really what I wanted but then I figured that sometimes you have to compromise on your principles, and if that compromise is going to keep you warm and keep you sane then it must be worth it right?!

Craig was working on his parents' new house today and his Mum said that she'd have the girls so I have had a whole day to myself (they left at 7am and they're not back yet - 6.30pm!). I decamped to the kitchen and set about making curtains for our bedroom.

There's 1 large window and 2 small, high windows so I concentrated on the small ones today. American Idiot by Green Day got me through the cutting and side hems. The Offspring/Ixnay on the Hombre took me to fully hemmed and ready to have the pleats in.

The music then went off whilst I concentrated on getting the pleats right. One of they things I dislike about making curtains is the amount of pinning required so I was very pleased today that I didn't use one pin until this stage!

Once the pleats are sewn they are stuffed and then pin hooks put in. Ta da!!! Two pairs of finshed curtains - by 12.15pm. How much can you get done when you don't have two hinderers, sorry helpers, with you?!!!!

Sorry no pics of them up and in place but there's no curtain poles up yet. I could have put them up but Craig had all the tools with him so that's a nice job for him tomorrow!!!
And now for something completely different! The idea is from Creative Family by Amanda Soule and I love how it's turned out. Maia drew straight onto the fabric and then I stitched around it. I think it will become a small pillow for Maia's bed. Lots more of these planned - just got to get Maia drawing.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I've done it ...

It's cold, wet and windy outside but I don't care because we have curtains in the lounge!!! After a long day making them I am looking forward to sitting down with the fire going, some Whittakers chocolate and Grey's Anatomy. Some photos tomorrow. x

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A couple of sneaky peeks!

Some linen found this morning at a local garage sale

Something that's been in my head for a long time and may almost be at fruition!

Crocheted winter warmers

Obviously Cassia wasn't really in the mood to model - you're supposed to be looking at her feet not her bum!

Here's a slightly better shot:

Though why I made them in grey and blue - I don't know! Maia then wanted a pair so I made some in much more respectable girly colours of purple and pink, and she was a much more willing model!

I guess this is why I will always favour crochet over knitting - because I know what I'm doing! I can alter patterns, I can size patterns up and down, I can even make up my own patterns and when something goes wrong I know how to put it right. I know I could learn to do all this with knitting but right now it seems a step too far.
And finally, some winter warmers for Cassia.

We have one child scarf in the house and it gets argued over almost daily so I thought it was high time to make Cassia her own. However Cassia has (how shall I put it nicely?) a bloody clumsy streak so I thought a neck warmer as opposed to a full length scarf would suit her better. A quick and easy double crochet neck warmer with a button hole and wooden button from my stash. But it was just calling out for a companion so a matching hat was called for!

And just so that you can see the set properly:

Hope you are all having a great weekend. x