Monday, January 19, 2015

Things I made (2/52)


The countdown is on till the end of the school holidays and that spells the end of my Summer holidays too. Our days are filled with trips to the school pool, trying to escape the midday heat and not much else, it's a lazy sort of existence. Perfect really, it also means my "makes" at the moment are easy too.

I was gifted a fabulous piece of fabric at Christmas from my sister in law (lucky right? Someone who gifts fabric?) It's not the sort of thing I'd probably choose for myself, but I love it! It's from Ikea, which unfortunately is still not building a store on our fine shores anytime soon. The design is printed on cotton canvas and each project I thought I could use it for required cutting it up, not something I was keen on as it would loose too much of the overall design.



So from the pictures you can see what I finally decided on, a tablecloth! I simply hemmed the edges, leaving two edges long in case we finally get a table that sits more than four. 

Quick and easy and I love the bright bold colours (yes even the pink!), something I'd normally shy away from, slipping a plain tablecloth on instead. 



Sometimes it's good to break out of your comfort zone don't you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Zoological

It's not often we pay for family entertainment, we frequent local parks, beaches, the local botanical gardens etc making the most of free activities in and around our city. The kids have been asking to go to the Auckland Zoo for quite some time and as luck would have it I won a family pass! 



The last time I visited the Zoo I had a baby in my belly and that baby has just turned 6, so it's been a few years. I was so blown away by all the changes. While the kids were busy looking at the animals I was taking in the landscaping and plants! Possibly not what every visitor notices, or really appreciates but I really think it makes the Auckland Zoo a world class attraction.



Tribal and African-like details around the "Pridelands", Maori carvings and rustic fencing in the New Zealand bird areas, all in perfect harmony with the animals that live there.







We have two Meerkat loving obsessed kids so they were the total highlight! I think they would have just watched them all day, but the offer of ice cream  finally got them moving!


Hopefully it won't be another six years till we visit again! There is talk of going on a Safari Night!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Things I made (1/52)


Late last year I challenged myself to spin some thick/chunky yarn. Each skein I've spun since I started learning to spin has become more fine and even, to the point I'm left with extremely thin yarn that I end up doubling when I crochet with it, it seems a little absurd, all those spinning hours wasted. As it turns out however it's extremely hard to return to spinning a thick yarn (I was warned of this when I first started), my fingers just didn't want to co-operate. In the end after much frustration I spun one thick and one thin and plied them together to create quite a bumpy yarn.


By chance I stumbled across a knitting pattern for a shawl that I loved, I haven't knitted in a very long time. I also only know one stitch, but luckily that is all the shawl pattern required! Unfortunately the yarn doesn't show the stripes of the pattern made by changing needle sizes and I also ran out of yarn! So it's ended up quite a bit different to the pattern and the image I had in my head. I also crocheted a small border along one side to cover up the fact I ran out of yarn half way through the last row and I had no idea how to rip back the stitches, hmm I don't think I can claim it's from any pattern really.


It is however super soft and snugly organic merino, all ready for those cooler months coming soon I hope! Anyone else melting just a wee bit? Summer is not my season.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hello 2015


Hello 2015! I must admit I'm really pleased to see the back of 2014, it was a year filled with ups and downs. Returning to work after 8 years of being a stay at home mum was a big shock and I totally underestimated how tiring that would be. That lead to a reasonable lack of creativity and the one thing I know about myself is that when I stop making, I'm not that happy. I am a maker, I need to make.


It doesn't have to be big makes, making or creating anything seems to fill my "happy" tank, with that in mind I've decided to join in with Clare from Green Valley Crafts and her 52 project. I'm hoping that it will see me return to this space more regularly.



I'm really looking forward to 2015 and also those Blackberries in the second photo ripening!

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)
Capsicum
Fresh herbs - We used chives and Thyme
Tomato
Feta
Ham or Pastrami
Mushrooms
Capers
Olives
Mushrooms
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

Regal



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

daisy



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

BINGO



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!