Monday, August 31, 2009

a trip to the shore

We took a quick drive to the beach yesterday, the weather was a bit wild but it didn't bother us in the slightest. We walked along, found enough seaweed to fill a bucket and collected a few special rocks. I love the beach summer or winter and I'm always on the look out for seaweed to pop into the compost bin. Last year I made a seaweed "tea" by seeping seaweed in a bucket filled with water and then straining it after about 3 months. The results were excellent, the plants that I applied it too grew very well and lush. The process however has kind of put me off making it again, it smells,um it really stinks and trying to keep an interested toddler away from bucket of rotting seaweed was no fun at all. Adding it to the compost bin seems a much better option for me. So roll on the warmer weather and more trips to the beach.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Magnolias are in full bloom here, I'm spotting the beautiful blooms everywhere. The trees are rather inconspicuous during the rest of the year with their green foliage but they are really the stars of early spring blooms. Even when all the petals are dropping they look stunning, we stopped for a closer look at a carpet of fallen petals on a walk this week. I was lucky to receive a large bunch of blooms from a friend, I couldn't resist taking some closeup shots of the stunning centres of these beautiful blooms. What a magical time of year spring is.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

spring planting

Last weekend I popped some new season seedlings in the ground. Just some parsley and silverbeet or swiss chard as it is also know, one punnet of normal green and another of the coloured/rainbow variety because it really brightens up the vege patch. There will be more planting to follow but mostly that planting will come from seeds I have sown in trays, by far the most cost effective way to grow veges. I had a little helper and after turning my back for a second I found that all the seedlings were pulled out ready to get them in the ground. Luckily they were all ok and the little hands were very gentle pushing the soil around them. I did dig in lots of compost before planting that was kind of a mistake as my compost was jammed packed with worms and after I had finished planting and retreated inside for a cuppa I found myself watching all the blackbirds in the neighbourhood having a good old scratch around and devouring all the worms - scratching all my newly planted seedlings out in the process.

Friday, August 28, 2009


There is a lot of yellow around at the moment, it's such a happy colour and definitely means spring to me. From the daffodils to the Kowhai flowers and some of the colours in my little elephant. He's my very first listing on Etsy, finally. I've got a few more things to list over there but first I want to change my shop header and avatar, I did them in a rush over a year ago now.
Kowhai means yellow in Maori ( the native language of New Zealand) and after some windy weather we found this little bunch of Kowhai flowers on the grass on a walk. It comes from the very large Kowhai tree pictured and it almost glows as the sun shines on it. Even though it's not officially spring for a few days yet I really feel like it's arrived already when I look at the laden branches of this beautiful tree. It seems just the right time to be making a little elephant after the sad news of Kashin the Auckland Zoo's elephant passing away earlier this week. Kashin had been at the Auckland Zoo for 36 years and I have many a fond memory of this beautiful animal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

a day in the park

I worked on this bag off and on last week. The pattern is called "A day in the park" backpack tote, you can find it here. The pattern has so many pieces to cut out and I was a bit intimidated as I had never attempted a pattern with so many pieces. It wasn't hard to sew and the pattern was really easy to follow, fully lined with pockets on the inside. I used a thrifted vintage curtain that I've had for nearly 5 years, the colours are so vibrant and the design is called "Bo-peep". For the straps I cut up some old jeans to make hard wearing handles. This pattern is really cool and I quickly whipped another for my sister for her birthday. The handles can be pulled up in the center for an over the shoulder number or they can be pulled to the side and it becomes a backpack. Just the thing for a mum who all of a sudden needs both hands while out shopping. I'm thinking I need to make another more subtle one too, although I love this fabric to bits (it's taken me so long to decide to cut into it) it isn't quite suited to all occasions or outfits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We were told Mr A was going to be a Miss, so he was a big surprise. I had thought as we were expecting another girl the nursery didn't need any updating. Dealing with a newborn and a toddler doesn't leave much energy for decorating but Mr A is nearly 8 months and the guilt has set in that I haven't really made the effort yet. This quilt is a good start, but I took these pictures of my husband's childhood cars to frame for the walls and that is step two. I love these little toys and I think once put them in frames they will start to make the room seem more for him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

for the boy

I made this quilt for mr A a few weeks ago. I used the same ruffle quilt pattern that I used for this one for miss E. I was very lucky to be given all the fabric for the top of the quilt. It's all Designers Guild fabric and is just perfect. I used organic cotton batting for the middle and a white cotton sheet for the base. Miss E however likes this one much better than hers because of all the pirates. This one is just a cot size, but I've started a bigger one for him out of a stack of old jeans that will fit a single bed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

on the windowsill

On my windowsill this week was a big bunch of daffodils, spring is on the way and with the temperature rising it might have arrived a few weeks early.

Friday, August 21, 2009

friday finds ......

this friday finds..... me making playdough with small hands, enjoying a very warm august day at the park, spotting beautiful magnolia trees in bloom everywhere, finding a new (japanese) mug and having a curry in the slow cooker for dinner.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The season seems to be changing fast here, it's not quite Spring yet but you wouldn't know it. Everything is blooming and the weather is suddenly warmer, I hope I'm not speaking too soon. Seeing all the Spring flowers and trees in blossom I find it hard to remember all those frosty mornings that we had this winter. We pass this tree in the park on the walk to preschool each day, there are some low flowering branches which are hard to resist for a little one who loves flowers. A few blooms are collected and carefully looked after till they can be made into garden necklaces.

Monday, August 17, 2009

a first and last

These are the last things I've made with my trimmings pack from Umbrella Prints. I've never tried harder to use up every last little scrap of fabric before, some pieces were really tiny and I had to think about how I could put them to some use. I made the bird first, then the tree as you can probably tell by the tiny pieces used for the tree. I wanted to use them up with minimal "other fabric", I used some felted wool jumpers for the green bird and the red branches. The tree is sewed on some recycled denim and the bird is on some coarse linen. I tried for the first time to do some embroidery, I'm constantly inspired by Melissa's (tiny happy) embroideries , she has a lovely way of making beautiful and simple embroideries. So here is my first attempt, one row of chain stitch, a bit wobbly and not that evenly formed. I normally avoid hand sewing, but I did find all that hand sewing a bit soothing and I actually completed them a lot faster than I thought I would. There may be more hand sewing in my future.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

garden necklace

Miss E made this flower necklace with her granny (my Nana). First they searched the garden(granny's) for flowers and other things growing in the garden, they got a length of sewing cotton (dental floss works really well too) and a large needle, the sort with a blunt end. Then miss E strung everything on, tied the ends and voila! a lovely necklace. They have also made strings of flowers and attached them to short lengths of bamboo to wave about. It's such a great idea, even for small children, instead of them threading the flowers etc on, you can hold the needle and get them to push them on, or they could choose the order. I think the most fun is the gathering of all the "supplies" from the garden. Once the necklace has had it's day it can find a new home in the compost bin.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

mini tarts

Another great way to use lemon curd is these mini lemon meringue tarts. Just fill some mini muffin pans with sweet shortcrust pastry, prick with a fork and freeze for half an hour. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes or until golden. leave to cool. Prepare the meringue while the cases are cooling, beat 2 egg whites till foamy, slowly add 1/2 cup caster sugar and beat until thick and glossy and hold firm peaks. Take the cases out of the pans and place on a baking tray, fill with lemon curd and pipe (or spoon) the meringue on top. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes of until the meringue is starting to colour. Leave on a wire rack to cool and enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

more umbrellas

A few more things I've made with the beautiful fabric trimmings from Umbrella Prints. Other than the fabric that I cut up for the Giraffe I've found it hard to cut up the fabric too much, so most of the things I've made I've left the fabric whole. The little elephant pencil case and the little pouch both have recycled denim as the main fabric, I love that elephant fabric. The trio of brooches seem to be so hard to photograph I can't seem to get any detail into the black wool. I made a fabric "yo yo" from some thin and super soft merino wool and used a fabric button kit to make two buttons, the other brooch features a Umbrella Prints "yo yo".

Thursday, August 6, 2009

from the garden

a few images from my garden, violets one of my favourite scented flowers, the delicate white flower of my alpine strawberries and the first sign that spring is on the way in my garden, my raspberries are starting to sprout.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I made a few felt donuts this week, I used some old woollen jumpers that I felted for the "donut" and the "icing". I had a go at drawing a pattern myself, I underestimated how much the centre hole would stretch when sewn up so the first one didn't really look like a fat donut, more like a skinny one. Miss E and I took a sample of 100's and 1000's to the local sewing shop to buy the embroidery thread. It was a lot of fun searching for colours to match as closely as we could to the real thing. They feel great and will be used for "tea parties" much nicer than all the plastic fake food out there.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

bubble bubble

This beautiful Oliver & S pattern arrived in my letter box a few weeks ago and last week I finally got around to making one. I made a "calico" out of some purple vintage sheeting I had to check out the size and check out the pattern instructions. Luckily all the pattern instructions were easy to understand, even though there were a few terms I hadn't come across before. I think I'll make the next size up for the next one as it ended up a bit shorter than I imagined, especially if she isn't going to wear anything underneath in summer. The pattern comes with a cute paper doll to cut out, I doubt I will, it's just too cute. Miss E loves it and apparently you have to roar like a lion and stand on your blanket while posing for photos in it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

for the birds

One wet winter's day recently miss E and I made some bird feeders. We used pine cones and some wild bird seed that I bought from a local pet shop, and some peanut butter. It was a great way to spend a few hours, miss E loved squishing the peanut butter into all the little gaps of the pine cones and squashing all the bird seed into the peanut butter, it was great messy fun. The birds seem to love them, although it's mainly just a big black bird sampling our offerings, he seems to scare away all the little wax eyes and finches when they get close. I wonder if I did the right thing hanging the pine cones from the fig tree, in time figs will appear and then I'll be doing all I can to keep the birds away from that spot.