Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Op shop show off - Spotty bowl heaven

I have a thing for a particular type of retro plastic bowl from my childhood. Spotty bowls ! We used them for tramping and picnics. Now days they are hard to find and come at a premium - I have seen them for sale on trademe for up to $25 dollars each.  So when I stumbled across this beautiful yellow one in mint condition for just 50c at the local op shop - I was in spotty bowl heaven.

And it looks really cool with my brown, green and orange ones:

Georgie was also pretty pleased with her fairy book find for $1

Linking up  with http://www.blackbirdhasspoken.com/ for op shop show off

Sunday, 28 April 2013

KCW Days 6 & 7

It's with a bit of relief that the week and sewing frenzy is over for a bit.
Yesterday I finished making the Burda Jacket I had been working on:

Burda 9501 in the shorter style.  I made a size 6 , it's a little on the big side , especially the sleeves which are a bit long and because of the detail tabs hard to take up. Hoping that it will fit well into spring. If I made it again  I don't think I would bother with the wrist details as can see for kids they will just get in the way a bit. Georgie's favourite detail is the buttons, which is funny because I specially did the embroidery with silver thread to appeal to her since I did not think whe would be that keen on a grey jacket otherwise.

The other thing I made this morning is the pink pinwale cord skirt she is wearing above.  It is an Oliver and S pattern - the sail boat skirt.  These are great patterns - the fit is good ( I did alter mine a little but just made a size 4 but length of a size 6 as Georgie is so petite).  The instructions are fantastic - just when you think something is a bit weird - you read the next part of the pattern and it explains it all.

It was really quick to make and not nearly as complicated as it looks, plus Georgie likes the way there is only elastic across the back so meets her comfort criteria.

It's proved popular on the swings and scooter too.

Now I just have another ice cream dress cut out and half sewn up to finish for her and she has a complete winter wardrobe. I did have a sailboat top on my list but it's more because I want to try the pattern rather than the need for a new shirt so it can wait.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

KCW Day 5 - buttonholes

I spent a couple of hours sewing yesterday but have little to show for it.

I went to sewing class with the jacket I am making Georgie. One of the things I did was make button holes. The great things about classes is learning how to make finishes tidier and more professional looking.

Two tips I learnt:

1. sew a straight lines of stitches where you are about to put the buttons hole - this is more for fabric with stretch or where you are putting the button hole perpendicular to a seam or edge and it is a bit harder to keep things straight. ( Yes I know, somewhat ironic that the one picture I took does not show a straight but a curved line of stitches but you get the idea!)  I found it much easier to put the buttonhole in so will probably do this in future for all buttonholes.

2. Use a buttonhole foot - this may seem obvious if you do a lot of sewing but I never actually knew which foot is was until I did classes last year.

You can see it has 2 little grooves on the base to keep the button hole straight.

Here is one made using the button hole foot: Not perfect but once cut and a button in it will look fine.

Compared to one without a buttonhole foot:

Note, this one did not have the row of staight stitchs first so not only is it a bit wonky but the fabric has stretched differentially.
Hope this helps if you stuggle with button holes.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

KCW Day 4 - the good, the bad and the ugly

Day 4 has been a mixed day, productive but with a few hiccups.
This morning I posted about the Oliver and S, ice cream dress here.  Good thing I took pictures immediately after it went on. Mid morning Georgie played dress ups with a friend and took it off. Then comes the bad - she put it back on but instead of pulling it over her head she tried to step through the neck and pull it up - loud ripping sound ensued according to her. I mean what was she thinking - thats a teeny hole.

That beautiful little V I so carefully made even in the front was no more - replaced with a large gapping rip- eeek. Because I had bar tacked across the back, the front was obviously the weak point. Actually probably better as I imagine if it had ripped at the back it would have gone way down the bodice - although probably easier to seam up and fix.

Georgie said " I'm really sorry but you can fix it can't you"

I have a friend who has a kids clothing label (Scarlettandvictor.co.nz) - her care tags read :

 Get it dirty
Scrub it with wonder soap
Wear it

With this is mind I said, yes I could, I was a little upset as it was new but it was just a dress. Then I told her a story of wearing a new dress my mother had made to school. I ripped the skirt of it in a big 3 corner tear under a skateboard wheel the first time I wore it. I worried all day that she would be mad - I don't remember her being upset but I know she fixed it and I continued to love that dress until it wore out. I was 5 and I still remember loving the clothes my mother made us and treasuring them - I hope my daughter does too.

I fixed it, in my eyes it is a little ugly, in hers it is perfect.

What was ugly though was the state of the sewing room:
I am too embarrassed to let you see the whole room , this is just a peak through the door!
Just to prove I don't live in a complete pig style - here is a photo after a quick tidy up
The good : I did some work on the jacket from sewing classes
And I cut out another icre cream dress and an Oliver and S sailboat skirt
Hoping to finish at least another garment tomorrow.

KCW April 13 - Day 3

This was a late night finish so had to wait for the photo shoot this morning.

Really pleased with how this dress turned out, the cord was a bit of a challenge to get a tidy finish on but this pattern was surprisingly easy to make.  I lined the yoke with light cotton as a double layer of cord too thick and did not double the bottom section for the same reason.
Am thinking this is going to be a winter wardrobe staple - pockets are already proving very popular.
I think I might need to make another version of this dress for winter.
It is ANZAC day here in New Zealand - a public holiday when we commemorate and remember the people who died in the wars - the ANZACs - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who went into battle at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) on 25 April 1915.
We have some books to read to Georgie about it and some poppy making and wearing to do ( and hopefully a little sewing on the side)


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

KCW April 2013 - day 2

This is why not much sewing happened:

Boat trips were more important.
But  did made a start tonight on an Oliver and S  ice cream dress .

Very annoyed to run out of tissue paper after cutting only the yoke pattern so had to resort to baking paper - let me tell you not ideal as paper but adequate in a sewing emergency.

Then I got side tracked while google searching making of the pattern by hoola hoop tricks ( random I know). Now time is up as I got up really early to squeeze a yoga class into my day , I need some exercise amidst sewing/school holiday action. Now I need to sleep.

Monday, 22 April 2013

KCW day 1 April 22

It's not very often that my day actually goes to plan but it did today. Despite an extra child for the day, a school holiday library programme and a swimming lesson I managed to make 2 things!  woohoo. I decided to go for instant gratification rather than work on the jacket and made these items.

A very long nightie ( as per the wearers request) and a pair of winter Pj's

I made the sleeves a little longer in the pj's - not sure if it really works but am hoping the pants will become 3/4 and the top still fit until next winter.
Both are from the blossom blouse pattern in Meg McElwee's book sew liberated. It is a very easy and quick pattern. I have made variations of it about 10 times now.
Tomorrow looks like it will be a bit of a sewing write off - might just try to cut out the Oliver and S dress.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ambitious list for Kids Clothes week

Kids Clothes week starts tomorrow. I have a big list - along with holidays, swimming lessons and a big course manual I need to read in the next two weeks .
First up is actually a finishing project:

I am making style B - the shorter coat in grey stretch velvet with the blue fabric as the lining. I have been working on this in sewing classes but have some hand embroidery, sleeves to set in, buttons to make holes for and lining to attach. ( like I said - this is an ambitious list with this at the top!) I want to make that hat too , which is another pattern, and I think for another week.
Next two projects are some new winter nightwear

2 fun flannels to make a long nightie version of this top from the blossom blouse pattern and also a pair of PJ's. Hoping these will be quick and easy.
Project 4
An ice cream dress in fine cord.
Project 5 and 6
More Oliver and S - a sailboat skirt in this bright pink fine cord - I could not get a true colour in the photo - it's a real bight barbie type pink . I plan to use the free mollie makes rose buttons on this.  For the sailboat top I have the grey stripe with the pearly vintage buttons I got at a craft market.
Mmmm - an hour a day? - I don't think so - can see a few late nights in this list .
Check out Kids Clothes week if you want to learn more about the challenge.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I love to travel but home is a great place. New Zealand has some really beautiful spots - in the area  we live Autumn is spectacular.

Despite saying I need to capture Autumn every year - this is the first time I am making a real effort to do so. There is a small window of only a couple of weeks when the trees turn beautiful colours , and its just started in the past few days. The light at dusk and dawn is beautiful at the moment too - the top two photos were taken about 8am after it rained. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013


I seem to be in a perpetual cycle of sorting and organising our possessions.
This week I have tidied my sewing space (again) and Georgie's art space ( trying in vain to contain her prolific production)


This is the latest edition to our craft space - Derek has done up this old set of drawers ( handles ordered and somewhere between the etsy trader and our house). I am hoping this will help contain the endless bits of paper , stickers and other necessary art material that gets spread around our lounge.

In a rash moment I have reduced my magazine collection by a 1/3 and decided not to re subscribe to any magazines - I have inspiration overload! There is so much beautiful handcrafted stuff on line and in magazines that my "to do " list seems to be ever increasing.   I am planning an "unplugged" school holidays based around home , no new projects just finish a few that are in progress.

Georgie meanwhile is contiuning the fairy and rainbow theme:

 No lists in her head - just makes as the mood dictates

Sunday, 7 April 2013

It always happens when you least expect it

It always happens when you least expect it.
Actually I should have known, I was about to go away for work for 3 days and she always gets sick when I am away. I was unusually organised and had the next day planned : yoga class in the morning, pack in afternoon before school pick up, swimming lesson, early family dinner out and I would head off so I didn't' have a 2 hr drive before an early start the next morning.
Here I was the night before at 10.15 pm framing a piece of her art .

 Derek was looking at Bored panda ( be warned easy to waste hrs looking at this site!) when we heard a funny noise and then a plaintive call "mum".

She met me at the bedroom door wearing just her knickers - not a good sign as she went to bed in a nightie.
 "Mum I tried to make the toilet but it happened too fast and it's on the floor" (pointing towards her bed)
" Never mind, it happens some times , lets clean it up"
I flicked on the light expecting to see a wet patch on the floor, it took me a few moments to register the smell and realise that the stuff all over  the walls , the bed ,  the floor and in her wardrobe was vomit.
Seriously it was everywhere, over about a 3 sq metre area, unfortunately she must have got out of bed while vomiting and the wardrobe door next to her bed was open so she managed to spray in there too. Roast dinner - lots of it.
I then started towards the bathroom and couldn't believe that it too was covered in vomit. I think she took her nightie off in her room, which probably helped increase the coverage,  and then headed to the bathroom for a second round - poor baby - she was looking pale and miserable. It was so spectacular I almost took a photo but then I thought that was going a bit far- you don't need the visuals.

It took us a good 40 minutes to clean up, shower her and get her back into bed before she vomited again, fortunately mostly into the bucket I'd placed somewhat hopefully beside her bed.

"mum can you give me some medicine to stop this?"
"Sorry honey , I haven't got anything but it should stop soon"

Luckily the  rest of the night was better, no more vomiting. The following day DVD,s for her, washing for me ( a zillion towels and 2 complete sets of double bed linen).

wishing you all an illness free weekend.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Outdoor Art

Georgie has been reading several books which have reference to art - all three have Jackson Pollock paintings or similar in them.
Not that you would call them "Art books" but Fancy Nancy - Aspiring Artist by Jane o'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Purplicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann and Olivia by Ian Falconer have all inspired us. A quick google search of his paintings and how he did them followed.

The idea of throwing paint onto the canvas really appealed to a 6 yr old - no surprises here.

We started dripping the paint off sticks but that wasn't enough - pouring and using a spoon to drip it on was way more fun. Playing with the paint after she had finished the picture was apparently just as much fun - pouring the colours in together - got a bit messy and she needed a bath at the end.  Next time I need a separate canvas - fun outside art for a sunny day.

Monday, 1 April 2013


6am Easter Monday : uncharacteristically early for me to be up,  but I am a wee bit stiff after carrying a pack for the last few days. We took Georgie on her first overnight Tramping trip. As I pulled my gear out to pack I realised it has been over 6 yrs since I last used this pack. Sure we have been day walking, skiing and done plenty of ourdoor stuff with her but none that needed us to carry any more than a small pack.
She protested at the thought of walking a long way but once we got going it all became a fun adventure and she managed the 3 1/2 hour walk ( pretty much all uphill!) without any problems.

We walked into a 8 bunk hut about 40 minutes drive from home.

Georgie had insisted on packing a few toys: she never even took them out of her pack - instead running through the long grass and poking sticks in the river. Her trip measured in the animals we saw - hawks, grasshoppers, spiders, a stoat, sheep. When she heard there were mice in the hut she tried to stay awake to see them - lasted about 5 minutes before tiredness got the better of her.

Overnight trips opens up a whole new range of adventures, now we know how easy it was I need to plan another.

Happy Easter