Wednesday, 30 June 2010

What have I been up to?

Can you guess what's been keeping me busy the last couple of days? xx

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The last couple of days .....

have produced a lot of highs and a few lows!

On Thursday morning Cassia woke me up with this beautiful picture:

"Mummy, it's you and friends when you went to Fairyland when you were younger.  You went over the rainbow.  That's a cricket ant on the rainbow.  He just slides around."  HIGH.

Spending Thursday morning on my own with Maia - going into the city, to the library and out to lunch.  HIGH.

I decided to bake and thought I could improve the standard ANZAC biscuit by adding sultanas and chocolate chips.  You would have thought it would work right?

It didn't!  But that could also be due to the fact that butter goes from "melt slowly" to "boil vigourously" very quickly - whoops!  Oh and did I mention they burnt a little in the oven too?!  LOW!

Being invited out by some girls and sharing a bottle of wine with them.  Feeling like I'm part of the real world again - definitely a HIGH.

Cassia wanting to sleep with me on Thursday night.  It could have been a HIGH but it definitely turned into a LOW when she was unsettled all night and I hardly got any sleep.

Feeling so tired on Friday was a LOW but sitting on the sofa with the girls and doing some crochet was a HIGH.

Receiving this delightful pincushion from Nova HIGH, HIGH, HIGH!

Figuring out an easy crochet flower pattern and being able to turn one:

into a bouquet even in a sleep induced stupor.  HIGH

Husband deciding to do some jobs that needed doing around the house.  HIGH.

Husband causing a huge water leak and not knowing where the stopcock was - so, so LOW!

Getting a knock on the door at 5.30pm and being invited to play hooky with two girlfriends by going for a coffee.  A much needed HIGH. xx

A wonderful swap ...

The great thing about blogging is finding people who make things you like and who are happy to swap their things for your things!

This was only my second swap and I love them.  That reminds me that I must show my first swap to you because I was very, very lucky (when I received it my computer had died a horrible death and was in the shop all week!).

So how did it happen?  The lovely Nova, over at a cuppa and a catch up, mentioned that she liked my rainbow bunting and I know how much I liked her pincushions so I asked if she would like to swap.  I felt a little cheeky  but luckily she loved the idea.  She gave me the choice of what I wanted (how cool is that?) but I said I would love a surprise.  And what a surprise it was!

How cool is that?!!!!!!

And the back's wonderful as well.

It is sitting very proudly right next to my machine with just the 3 pins in!  I have to let you in on a little secret - in all the years I have sewn I have never had a pincushion.  So now I have - and what a pincushion it is!

Thanks so much Nova - do you get the idea that I L.O.V.E. it?!!!!!!! xx

PS I'm totally open to the idea of swaps - for TOTALLY OPEN read WOULD DEARLY LIKE TO DO MORE SWAPS!!!  So if anyone sees anything they like maybe you'd like to do a swap - I know I certainly would.  Let me know! x

Thursday, 24 June 2010

My creative space ....

Having seen some of the crochet loveliness that has been around the creative spaces the last couple of weeks (to see more this week head on over to Kirsty's, our lovely host) I was very tempted to get hooking again.  So last Thursday evening I  dusted off my hooks, found some yarn and made these:

Unfortunately in my haste and with both girls tucked up in bed I winged it on the size.  The result?  Too big for Cassia and too small for Maia.  Very quick and easy to do so will make them both some more this coming week once I have finished what has really been taking up my week!

My creative space this week is all about hearts.  I joined the ANZAC Bee earlier this year and for my month I asked for hearts, hearts and more hearts.  This is what I received:

1. ANZAC Bee March block 2, 2. ANZAC Bee March block 1, 3. hearts for Abi, 4. heart block, 5. Abigail's blox 001, 6. Abigail's blox 002, 7. Abigails heart block, 8. Abigails heart block, 9. Abigails heart block, 10. IMG_3382, 11. Abi's block, 12. Hearts 006, 13. Hearts 003, 14. Hearts 005, 15. Hearts 002, 16. Hearts for Abi <3, 17. ANZAC Bee - March Blocks - Blue Heart, 18. ANZAC Bee - March Blocks - Brown Heart, 19. ANZAC Bee - March Blocks - stripy detail, 20. ANZAC Bee - March Blocks - Stripy Heart

Aren't they all just gorgeous?!!!  (And thanks to Nova for telling me how to do a mosaic - I think they could become quite addictive!).

They were all returned to me by April and have been languishing on the shelf.  So this week has been all about making the most of the blocks.

This is where I'm at as of today:

Phew!!!  What a job it has been but one that I'm really enjoying.  I've still a few blocks to make and then I need to join the rows and then I need to .........  OK so you won't see it finished in this space next week but it shouldn't be toooo far away!

Hope you've all had a great week creating. x

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Op shop finds and a couple more blocks ...

One of the weekend's garage sale was more like an English jumble sale - in a church halls and mostly clothes piled high on trestles.  Unlike an English jumble sale there was no queue to get in, no entry fee and you could fill a bag up for $2 - how can you not like that.  Most of the things I found are to be used for the material - silk, linen, wool and a couple of stripy jersey tops to make some trousers for the girls.

a small selection of my finds!

and a couple of items were put in the bag solely for the buttons!

Some vintage embroidered doilies from the local op shop

Embroidery detail

Now you might be asking isn't the second photo just another close up shot?  Well you would be right!  But it's the BACK of the doily.  Can you believe it?  The neatness of the work is amazing - and I got the whole set for 50c!

I'm still working away on my quilt top from the ANZAC Bee - it's maybe about 2/3 done now!  A couple of extra blocks I've made:

appliqueed tumbling hearts block

paper pieced heart awaiting border

I can't seem to be able to get into anything but the heart quilt so I had better get it finished soon to allow some other creating into my life!  (And also get the kitchen table and spare bed back!!!!) xx

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Learning something new ...

I love learning new things.  It's especially great when the raw materials are from your garden, you go to a friend's to learn, children and grown ups learn together, you share some food and you come away with something very pretty!

Freshly harvested harakeke leaves (flax leaves)

Flax flower

Close up of flax flower - so easy - when you know how!

Raranga, or flax weaving, is a traditional Maori custom.  They used it for the everyday to the ceremonial and there are lots of traditions and customs that go with it.  One tradition I learnt today is that each time you try a different type of weaving the item you make should be given away.  So the flower in the middle is my second attempt, on the right is Maia's first attempt (she didn't want to give hers away at all!) and on the left is my first attempt at simple weaving - which I have to find a recipient for!

If you're interested in seeing more images of flax weaving click here.  So many beautiful things to make so little time to do it!!! x

EDITED TO ADD:  The flax flowers are actually called putiputi and there's a tutorial over here if you fancy making one.  xx

Sunday, 20 June 2010

What a wonderful weekend ...

including lots of my favourite things.  

Saturday was filled with:

garage sales
op shoppping
clear blue sunny skies

washing drying outside in winter - including some of my garage sales finds

outside playing
being able to have the windows and doors open all day

our beautiful rosemary which will be full of the beautiful flowers from now until December

playing about with my ANZAC Bee blocks


Sunday dawned grey and wet so a day inside was called for, including:

friends for morning tea and playing
sorting through my op shop finds
reading the Sunday papers
more coffee
a little bit more sewing on my quilt top

cooking something new for tea.

chicken and mushroom pie followed by ice cream - delicious!

All in all a lovely time had by all.  How was yours? x

Friday, 18 June 2010

The birds and the bees ......

The birds are courtesy of Maia and Cassia, made this week at the library pre-schoolers song, dance and craft morning, or as my girls call it "the dancing library"!

The bees are courtesy of me and are this month's block for the Australasian Bee.  Monika, aka Miss Monny Quilts, wanted boxy stars and sent us the fabric and the instructions.  I thought it looked a little complicated but I followed the instructions carefully and it turned out alright!

I've really enjoyed being part of the Anzac Bee and Australasian Bee this year.  In fact I've enjoyed them so much that I have just signed up for another .... The Bee Seam Piecing Downunder!  I was somewhat hesitant to join my first bee seeing as I only started quilting last October but I took the plunge and have loved every minute.  I have been challenged in the blocks I've made, both in the subject matter and in the colours.  But nothing beats the little parcels of fabric that arrive in my postbox each month - it's wonderful!!!  So if you've been thinking about and haven't signed up just yet ..... GO AND DO IT!!!!!  If you're looking for a bee to join try over here.  If they all seem full at the moment keep popping back because people are starting up new ones all the time.  Happy sewing! x

Thursday, 17 June 2010

My creative space ...

is in the bathroom this week.

Although I don't like full curtains in the bathroom I knew I wanted something at the window as we came into winter.  So the answer?  A patchwork blind of course!

So 280 squares later I have a blind!  Originally it was going to be two curtain panels with tab tops but after I'd made one and put it up it looked wrong.  I took it apart and then made the patchwork top bigger by just adding on.  That's what I love about patchwork - it's very forgiving and you can change your mind all the way through.

The fabric is mostly vintage Laura Ashley pieces that were originally used for soft furnishings in the houses we grew up in.  I love using them and remembering mine and my brothers' and sister's bedrooms.  The lining was some thrifted unbleached calico so I just LOVE that there's nothing new in it.

I didn't want the formality of a roman blind so I just made some straps to tie underneath the blind as I rolled it up.  Having never made something like this I was pretty pleased with the outcome.  The curtain pole is an old piece of dowelling from the second hand shop and it's attached to the wall by two old large brass cup hooks we had in the garage.  So totally vintage, thrifted, recycled and upcycled -  I LOVE IT!!!!

This was one of the unfinished projects I had on the go when I mentioned it here - so that's another off the list - hurray! Also, due to the fact the market was sooooo quiet on the weekend I managed to get the binding sewn onto another quilt that was on the list - now I just have to take a few photos so show.

For lots more creativity head over to Kirsty's ..... x

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The little buggers got them .......

no, not the girls ...... the birds!

Back here I was confused that we had strawberries ripening in winter.  Well the birds couldn't believe their luck and had them!  Serve me right for waiting until they were totally ripe! x

Monday, 14 June 2010

And the winner is .....

Angelina over at Norwood Walkabouts!!!  This is a new blog to me and if you haven't been there already you might like to check it out.  I love finding new blogs and seeing what's going on in other places and countries.

Thanks once again for all the lovely comments - they are very much appreciated! x

How was it for you?!

Firstly, thank you all for all your kind words and wonderful comments.  If the market had been based on those alone I would have sold out twice over!!!!  But in reality things were a little bit different!  Well to be honest they were very different.

It was very slow and I nowhere near covered the cost of the stall - those are the cold hard facts!  So have I learnt anything from it?  Was there any good to come out of it?  Well I think so.

"Mummy, do I look my best?"

The best thing was that Maia had a ball and she sold lots of her things!  Some of the other stallholders had their homeschooled children with them and they all had a wonderful time playing together.

Maia's stall and her wares!

A mixed ramlbing of my thoughts follows below:

It took a lot more time to get everything together than I thought.  If I wasn't actually sewing I was thinking about it and all the things I had to do.  I realised how much it took me away from my family mentally even though I was there physically.

Familiarity breeds contempt!  Making one of an item is totally different to making several!  By the time I had made a few of an item I didn't really like it anymore.

You become very familiar with what you are making and think that everyone else will be too.  Of course they are not and I think I should have labelled some of the things to say what they were!!!  However, I was totally taken back by the following conversation between an older lady who approached the stall and picked up one of the rabbits:

Lady: "What are these?"

Me: "They are toy rabbits"

Lady: "Well, what do you do with them?"

Me: "Well ....... you play with them!"

When I recounted this conversation over tea, Maia looked at me and said "Why didn't you tell her you play with them!!!"  Thank goodness for children!

Because it was a 3 day market and quiet expensive to get a stall I checked it out last year.  I went to both the June and November ones and they were BUSY.  I remember thinking how good it was that I hadn't taken the girls because it was so busy - let alone a buggy.  This year was quiet, quiet, quiet.  The ladies around me had done the market before and said it was quiet - in fact one of the stallholders said it was the quietest market in the 10 years he'd been doing it.  So what can you do?

I met some lovely people and they all local too!  One of them gave me a contact for a shop in Palmerston North so I will talk with them later this week.

Maybe you'd like to check them out:

Rachel at hummingbird

Carmen at SmashPalace

Francine at Cocobaby

The ladies who seemed most interested in what I was selling were all sewers!!!  So of course they weren't going to buy something from me when they could make it themselves!

People inspected your clothes with intense scrutiny.  I don't really mind this because I'm very proud of how I make things and the insides look almost as good as the outsides however, do they do this in a shop?!  I know I do and when you look are things mass produced in China the insides are awful, but I'm sure most people don't and yet they inspect them when at a market.

I didn't enjoy being behind a market stall!!  I also found it very hard to engage in the necessary small talk.  It might have been different if it had been busy and there was a constant flow of people.  I don't like it when stallholders pounce on me so I was very aware of that.  I also think that with the things I was selling someone either will like it or not you can't sell it to them as it were.  Does that make sense?  One of the stalls nearby was selling drink syrups and dips so of course they had an opener "Can I tempt you with a taste?" but you can't really do that with fabric!

Where does that leave me now?  Maybe felt or etsy or maybe just have swaps.  I see so many lovely things in blogland that maybe I should ask if people would like to swap (in fact I have one going with the lovely Nova at the moment) so maybe that's the way to go.

So now I have some time for me, for Craig, for the children, for cooking, for baking (well actually I did that already yesterday Banana and Choc Chip muffins and pear crumble - yummmmm!).  Oh and for some crochet because I've been seeing some lovely things on our others people's creative spaces. xx

Thursday, 10 June 2010

My creative space ...

has been very busy these last few weeks.  I'm heading off to a market tomorrow (well just going down the road really - Feilding Craft Market, Civic Centre, Feilding running from Friday to Sunday) and have been knee deep in preparations.

Wrap around reversible baby/toddler dresses

If you fancy seeing some of things either scroll down or click here for cushions, here for neckwarmers and pencil cases or here for bunting!  Sounds rather eclectic writing it down like that doesn't it?!

Made from linen/cotton mix fabric originally from a ladies shirt
The checked fabric is thrifted cotton
The buttons are vintage mother of pearl
And the hanger is thrifted!!!  
Hence why there is a little scrap cotton tie around the hanger - 
otherwise it keeps falling through the hole!

The idea was to sell children's clothes made from vintage and recycled material but as I was making them I realised you've no real idea what size to make and you only have a limited amount of fabric of each pattern.  I have a bit of a problem cutting into fabric at the best of time, see here, and so thought that if I had some clothes for sale but then advertised that I would custom make clothes from their choice of fabric. Don't know how that will go but here's hoping!

The beige linen is from ladies skirt
The floral cotton is from a vintage pillowcase
The buttons are from my stash
The little applique bird is on the back of this one as a little surprise!

For more market items you may like to click here.

In celebration I am running a giveaway, see here for what's up for grabs, but leave a comment anywhere this week for an entry!

Phew!  And of course one last, but very much not the least, link - Kirsty over at kootoyoo is the very lovely lady who runs this each week - thanks so much!  Pop over there to have a look at other people's lovely creative spaces .... x