Monday, August 30, 2010

For the girls

Over the weekend I made these two skirts

and this apron,
kindly modelled

by master A,

for my two neices, just because I love them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

tears and tantrums

I bet the title of this post made you think I would be talking about my children. But no, not today. Today its me that wants to throw a massive tantrum, shed a few tears, scream and yell and kick and thrash around on the floor for a while. You see I tried to follow a pattern for a dress for myself. I think I am giving up on patterns for good this time. I just can't get them to work!
I was trying to make this dress from this pattern

out of this fabric (it's actually a little darker than this photo but the camera just wouldn't get it right).

It failed. I had to make so many alterations to the bodice part that the skirt part didnt match up. I then had to alter the skirt part to try and get it to fit onto the top part which I finally managed to get it to do only to discover that the whole thing doesnt fit. Not at all. It looks ridiculous. I am too embarrassed to show you. This honestly happens everytime I try and make something from a pattern. Perhaps it really is time to give it up!

I hope you are all having a more successful day than I am.

Have a good weekend

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Creative Space

In my creative space today.....

Two pairs of just finished pants for the big monkey who seems to be growing at an ever increasing rate! Every pair of pants he has only reach his ankles, including ones I only made a couple of months ago.

Also this wee embroidery, the pink bits are yet to be stitched.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday!

Its week two of wardrobe wednesday and I am just as nervous as last week. eek! I actually realised yesterday that in the past week I have worn last weeks skirt a total of three times, work clothes twice and then trackies one day which meant I had to dig around in the wardrobe or in my case the piles of washing (clean i might add) on the floor to find something new. Thats what this is all about right? Making an effort, getting out of the usual boring clothes.
The three year old took this photo, thats why my head is half chopped off. Secretly I was thrilled when he did this because my hair is in desperate need of a wash but who has time for such things!
Well here it is.....

I made the dress out of some blue cotton from spotlight. I copied the pattern from another dress I found on trade me. It was a really easy dress to make, it only took me abiut 2 hours from start to finish. It is sleeveless with an elasticated waist (yay for eleastic!) The fabric for the original was much more drapey and works a bit better than this blue which is a bit stiff for this pattern and makes me look a little, ahem, pregnant (or so I have been told).
The cardi is just a boring ol' black glassons cardi, add some black tights and boots and there you have it.
If you want to join in, head over here and leave a comment with a link to your wardrobe wednesday pic!

Friday, August 20, 2010

baking day

This weekend Callum and I are both going to be working here so the wonderful grandparents are going to look after the boys for us. My nieces are also going to come around to play so I thought that I had better do some baking so there is something in the house for them all to eat!

So we made some muesli bars

And some Jam Drops. Ever since my dear friend Melissa made some here and brought some round, the boys have been begging for me to make some too. I used this recipe for mine, and a mixture of apricot, raspberry and boysenberry jams that we made over summer. I can tell you that they are very very popular in our house!

Don't you just love the colours?

We couldn't resist them and had to try one fresh out of the oven.

We also have these bananas just begging to be used so I think I make a wholemeal banana bread loaf once the boys are in bed.

That should surely keep them happy. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday!

Right, here we go. Wardrobe Wednesday. Stemming from this post by Clare over at Green Valley Crafts and a suggestion from Rhiannon of Toast and Life fame the idea of Wardrobe Wednesday was born. This is the very first one and I for one am terrified of revealing my total lack of style to the rest of the world. However if this inspires me/shames me into making a bit more effort then that would be great!
So here it is. Week one. This is an outfit I wear all the time. It is very much an everyday, nothing special outfit, I wear it walking my boys to preschool, around the house, out for coffee, you get the idea.

It consists of a skirt with a front pleat that I made myself out of fabric from spotlight from the kiwiana range, a merino top from glassons, black tights and my everyday brown boots. Apologies for the terrible photo, it was taken in the evening after the kids were in bed, hence my slightly bedraggled appearance.
I think I will have to do some sewing before next wednesday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

morning walk

I often make the 45 minute walk across town to get the big one to his preschool but as of today I have decided its going to be a "real" walk. One that involves actual exercise, instead of a quiet morning stroll. I might eventually lose the rest of the baby weight (can it even be called baby weight when your youngest is nearly 2?) if i do this often enough. I hope so anyway. So this morning I donned my sneakers (YUCK!) and my trackies (yuck! I actually caught my reflection in a window and have sworn to never wear those ass enhancing trackies ever again)

See, ugly ugly sneakers, and ugly ugly track pants. Do you think that the blurry photo means that my legs were moving super fast? I think thats what I will choose to believe
I also got out the ipod and set the pedometer. Now the problem with me and ipods is that I always forget that other people can't hear the music. I always always forget, and I always sing along. I just can't seem to halp myself and the biggest problem here is that I am a TERRIBLE singer, and I mean seriously awful, there really aren't enough words to describe just how bad I am, therefore I attract a lot of stares/glares/strange looks on my way. It can be rather embarrassing to say the least. Must remember to NEVER EVER sing out loud in public!

Despite the fact that it is a beautiful sunny day and I can almost convince myself that summer is nearly here it was pretty cold this morning so the boys were wrapped up nice and warm

Something I love about our neighbourhood is that it is very communtiy based. For example along this street they planted nut tress and around the bottom they have planted strawberries for the locals to pick and eat.

Our morning walk really is a nice one, I think I will try and walk at least three times a week, at least one way. Surely that will help with the weight loss. Surely!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Disaster has struck

I am all in a tizz. I have lost my pants patterns. I am not sure how I did it but when I went to find them so I can start getting stock levels up ready for summer they were gone. I have searched and searched and then searched some more. I have emptied drawers and cupboards, put everything back in and then emptied them it all back out again. I yelled, I swore, I may have even shed a tear (or two) then did it all again. Hours and hours of work gone! So now I am going to be spending hours and hours redoing the petterns instead of spending hours and hours making the pants. GAH! Thankfully I still have some pants pieces already cut out but not yet sewn together that I should be able to get some two of the sizes from but I still have to figure out all the sizing again which is the really time consuming part. I remember so clearly folding the pattern pieces up and putting them in a zip lock bag. Where they went form there however......
I think I will make multiple copies this time and lock them up in safes!

Friday, August 13, 2010


It truely is a miserable rainy grey day here today

Do you know what the best way to spend a miserable rainy grey afternoon is?

In a hut that takes up the whole living room...

...reading books with your brother

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today was the first day of lemon recipes. I have some friends coming over this evening for a craft/stitch and bitch night so I thought that I would make something using some of the many lemons and this is what I came up with. Lemon muffins with lemon honey.
The recipe I used for the lemon honey comes from this book. From what I can tell it is very similar to every other lemon honey recipe out there.
The muffins are made with a recipe that I have had for many many years. I can't remember where I got it from or even the first time I made them. They are one of my all time favourites.
Lemon Muffins
2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cups sugar
75gm butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup milk
grated rind of 1 large or 2 small lemons
Combine self raising flour and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a seperate bowl and mix until well combined. Pour the milk mixture into the well. Fold until just combined. Spoon into greased muffin tray. Bake at 200 degrees celcius until golden brown.
If desired juice the above lemons and add 1/4 cup of sugar and pour over the hot muffins. This gives the muffins a delicious crunchy topping.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


It is a wonderfully sunny day here today

so we made the most of it by spending the afternoon outside in the garden

feeling very happy that the rosemary is flowering again despite being dug up and relocated about 5 times in the past year

and getting excited by the first strawberry of the season starting to grow

and trying to figure out what to make with the masses of lemons growing on our enormous lemon tree. Any ideas?

and enjoying the feeling that spring is on its way

and knowing that the rain will be here again soon so making the most of out time in the winter sunshine

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the costumes

I loved how the boys looked dressed in their 1930' costumes. They looked so cute. I almost wish they dressed like this everyday, although then I guess it just becomes the norm. For their costumes I knew I wanted shorts, long socks and a waistcoat as that seems to be what the young boys in all of the old family photos from this time wore.

I couldnt find the fabric that I wanted at spotlight and was trying to think of an alternative when I saw just what I wanted at the local hospice shop. It came in the form of two matching wool blazers. Unfortunately I didn't think to take photos before I cut them up. For the shorts I used my basic pants pattern and for the waistcoat I took a pattern off a small waistcoat i found at the same hospice shop and then adjusted it for the two different sizes.
The older child loved posing for photos wearing this, he insisted I get one from every angle.

Unfortunately you can't really see from this photo but I managed to use one of the existing pockets from the blazer as a back pocket.
they don't seem to make white knee high socks for boys any longer so they got girls ones. They also don't seem to make really small knee high white socks for girls either. We had to fold the top over 4 times on the small child.
but doesnt he just look so cute?
Finding the perfect dress for the party was an impossible task. I searched all of the costume hire places for a dress for myself but it turns out that I just don't seem to fit any of them, they were all either miles to big or miles too small so I decided I would make my own. I tried to find an original 1930's dress pattern but the ones I found online were all very very expensive so I just took bits from various pictures I saw, like this and this and this and designed my own.
I really like sewing for myself without a pattern. I find that if I am not restricted by trying to follow a pattern I make something that fits me well and that I will actually wear. Everytime I follow a pattern I seem to end up with whatever it is I'm making being the wrong size, length or shape. If I make it according to what I picture in my head then it tends to turn out the way I want it to. That's not to say that I don't make mistakes or need to make alterations. I am constantly altering and thats what makes it work, I can alter it to fit me exactly. I lack the confidence to alter a garment made from a pattern in that way. Basically I knew for this dress that I wanted a simple shape with a medium 'v' neckline.

I decided later on to add the ruffle around the neckline and make it into a sort of faux wrap. I refused to put a zip in, I hate zips, I really really hate zips and if i dont have to use one I won't. It did make it a rather tight squeeze and I had to kind of wriggle my way into it. Totally worth it though.

The sleeves are cap sleeves and I gave them shaping over the top by adding some pleats. I think the sleeves are my favourite part of the dress. I love the pleats and the way they make the sleeves lie.

And the outfit was finished of with my great grandmothers pearls, some red lippy and an incrediably frustrating and time consuming hairstyle.

Monday, August 9, 2010


This past week has been a very busy one for us, mostly spent hanging out with family, with great nanna's and uncles visiting and of course with the many family members that live here in Nelson. The reason for all of this family time is that the boys great nanna, Callums nanna, is turning 80 soon and has come down from Auckland to have celebration with all of us. I was also kept very busy sewing costumes for myself and the boys, which I of course left until the last minute. The theme was the 1930's because thats when she was born.
the birthday girl and daughter (my mother in law)

All of our food and drinks were served on antique china with antique glassware and silver as well. It was so beautiful.

The party took place in Founders Park inside one of the buildings there, Duncan House

Duncan House is the house my boys great grandfather grew up in before it was sold and then many years later it was moved to its present location.

The cupcakes were made with rosewater and tasted amazing!

Align CenterJust look how much the boys are enjoying them!

It really was a wonderful day. I think though that for the next dress up party I will be a little more organised and hopefully won't still be sewing buttons onto waitcoats the morning of the party.