Monday, 29 October 2007

A thank you gift

A few weeks ago just before I started this blog, Jessicah at Spinning A Yarn blogged about a felt kowhai flower that she had made. I commented on her post and said she'd inspired me to make some felt native flowers for a pram mobile. In response to my comment Jessicah kindly offered to send me the kowhai to start me off. A coouple of days later I received the kowhai flower (even lovelier than in the photo), a kowhai stencil she'd made at the same time and a lovely card encouraging me to take the plunge and start blogging.


I haven't yet made a start on the flower mobile, but I have sketched a few ideas in my notebook.

This weekend I made something to thank Jessicah for her lovely gesture. I've been interested in making pincushions for a while because I thought they'd make good Christmas gifts (after all, what sewer doesn't need another pincushion?). I made this flower pincushion for Jessicah loosely following the tutorial I found here. It's made out of vintage cotton and vintage buttons with a felt stalk/hanging loop. I had a lot of fun making this. Hope you enjoy using it Jessicah!


Saturday, 27 October 2007

Look what I found at Spotlight...

Went into Spotlight to buy wool today and discovered they are stocking a few Japanese craft prints now. These ones were all $23 per metre, but I think it still works out cheaper to buy them here rather than pay for postage from Japan or the US. At the moment they seem to only have 6 variations of mushroom prints, but hopefully this is a sign that they are going to stock a wider range in the future.

So much choice

No photos today sorry. Have been busy at work and not had much chance to take pictures this week. Lots of crafty plans for the weekend. My copy of Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing arrived from Amazon on Thursday, along with Crazy Aunt Purl's book. I've been carrying Amy Karol's book everywhere with me. There are some fantastic projects in there. It's hard to choose which one to do first...

Managed to sneak out of work at lunchtime yesterday to do some serious stash enriching. I'm planning to do a couple of projects from Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor so I had to pick up some 4ply wool. Also grabbed some bamboo for dishcloths. Hopefully I will have something to show you by tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Thrifty Goodness

Here are some lovely finds I made at the local op-shop last week. Three tray cloths, a ladies handkerchief and a tablecloth. All lovingly hand embroidered. Not sure what I'll do with them yet. I don't know if I have the courage to cut them up. But they were calling to me in the op-shop and I couldn't just leave them there....



Friday, 19 October 2007

Friday randomness

Look what I caught our Molly cat doing the other night...

She knows she's not supposed to do it, as evidenced by her quick escape below. She has a water bowl full of perfectly nice water but still insists on drinking out of the toilet, the bottom of the shower, dirty puddles etc.


In craft news, I have been slowly working my way through a cross-stitch birth notice for a friend's baby. Should be able to post some pictures next week. I think it will be my last project on Aida cloth for a while. I recently completed some cross stitch on linen/evenweave and I'm a convert! I much prefer the look and the texture of cross stitch on linen. I'm also branching out and trying more embroidery stitches and these (to me anyway) look better on linen. I love some of the summer embroidery that Amanda at SouleMama was doing a while back, inspired by one of her Japanese embroidery books. Might have to put that book on my Christmas wish list...

Planning to buy some cotton this weekend and knit some dishcloths. I've been a sponge user until now, but the idea of a knitted dishcloth that you can throw in the wash or even boil seems a lot cleaner. Plus it's another excuse to add to my yarn stash! I might try some of the patterns here first.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Facelift

It is amazing how relatives coming to stay spurs me on to finish jobs around the house! My Mum and step-Dad are driving down from Rotorua on Friday for the long weekend, so the last few days have been spent crossing things off my to-do list.

We bought new couches a few months ago and at the same time, ordered some extra fabric so I could re-cover our dining chairs to match. The fabric, along with my new staple gun, has been sitting with my craft supplies waiting until I plucked up the courage to start the project.

On Sunday our dining chairs went from this:



Via this:


To this:


Yesterday our couches also finally got some new cushion covers. The old ones were a dull navy cotton, and I’m surprised what a lift the red cushions have given to the room.

Note sleeping cat on the back of the couch. It’s her favourite place to sleep – sunny and a prime position for watching comings and goings on our street.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Here comes the sun

I was so pleased to have two days of sun at the weekend (even if it was accompanied by strong gales on Saturday). I managed to spend about 6 hours in the garden, mostly boring weeding (lots of rain = mega weeds) and some mulching, but I did do a little bit of work in our little vege garden.

During the last few weeks of rain, un-noticed by me, my climbing runner beans had started to sprout. They had started to climb up the netting I have over the garden to keep the neighbourhood cats (including our furbaby) off the veges. So at the weekend I made them a teepee to climb up instead.


I made the teepees out of bamboo stakes and garden twine. This is the first year I've grown runner beans (I inherited the dormant crowns from a friend of my Mum who shifted away), so I have no idea whether these will be strong enough to support the plants when they get to full size, but similar supports made of painted metal were $20 each at my local garden centre! We shall see if cheap and easy beats expensive and sturdy....


I also planted a few seed potatoes that I have been sprouting for the last couple of weeks and sowed some carrot seeds. Next weekend I'll get some tomato and zucchini seedlings and pull out the last of the cauliflower and celery.

This is the first year that I've had a vege garden, but I'm really enjoying experimenting with what grows in our region and is it just me or do veges from your own garden taste SO much better than bought ones?

Friday, 12 October 2007

A nice place to rest


The previously mentioned horrible weather at the weekend (which has continued for most of the week – how much longer can it rain constantly?) meant that I got some crafting done for the first time in ages. I finally got around to making a knitting needle roll for my collection of vintage knitting needles. They once belonged to Esme, my husband’s great-grandmother, and were passed on to me by his grandmother last winter when I started knitting again for the first time in about 15 years. There are about 20 pairs of needles, in a range of sizes, but mostly smaller ones (for knitting baby garments I guess). I really like the fact that these needles have been part of my family for a long time and when I use them I wonder what Esme might have knitted with the same needles years ago. Until last weekend, they had been stored rather unceremoniously in a plastic bag with a rubber band around them, but I finally decided at the weekend to give them a nicer place to rest.

I didn’t really use a pattern for this – I just laid out the needles size by side to get the width and length I needed and then sort of made it up from there (although after I’d finished it, I found a pattern in my Stitch n Bitch book that would have been REALLY helpful – d’oh). The backing is plain denim and the lining and tie fabric is a cotton blend I picked up at the op-shop a few months ago. I wish now that I had embellished the denim a bit more or used a patterned fabric as it looks a bit plain when it’s rolled up, and the green contrast stitching around the edge doesn’t show up as much as I thought it would, but I’m still pretty happy with how it turned out.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Yum

The weather was pretty horrible round these parts at the weekend, so my plans for weeding the garden went out the window. Instead I did some baking and I thought I'd share the recipe.

This is my favourite muffin recipe. It comes from my well-thumbed (and food-stained) copy of Very Easy Vegetarian by Alison and Simon Holst.

I love how these muffins look - lovely and brown on the outside and a great burst of orange colour on the inside. They really do cheer you up on a dull day. And they taste very yummy too!

Best Orange Muffins
For 12 medium-sized muffins:

1 orange (about 200g)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
½ cup milk or orange juice
100g butter, melted
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup sultanas or chopped dates
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Cut the unpeeled orange into quarters, then each quarter into four pieces crossways. Put these pieces and the sugar into a food processor and process, with the metal chopping blade, until the orange is very finely chopped. Add the egg, milk or juice and melted butter, and process until combined.


Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, tip the orange mixture into the bowl, sprinkle the sultanas or dates over it, and add the nuts if using them. Then, taking care not to over-mix, fold the mixtures together, stopping as soon as the dry ingredients are dampened, but before the mixture is smooth.


Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) 12 medium sized muffin pans. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake at 200deg Celsius for 12-15 minutes, until tops are golden brown and the centres spring back when pressed. Cool in tins for 3 minutes then lift out carefully. Serve warm, plain, buttered, or topped with cream cheese.




Extra notes:
I have made these using orange juice (freshly squeezed) and milk and both versions are yummy.
This batch was made with sultanas, but I prefer the date version.
I don't tend to add the nuts.
The recipe as written makes 12 small-ish muffins. For this batch I made 1 ½ times the recipe to make them bigger.

They freeze really well (if you have any left!)

Saturday, 6 October 2007

A scarf, a hat and a Mini-Moopy

Well after some rather frustrating technical difficulties involving my browser crashing when I tried to upload images, I have taken a deep breath, had a cup of tea and tried again. Fingers crossed that this works.


As promised, here are some recent FOs.




Scarf for my husband Alex using the My So-Called Scarf pattern that Jessicah recommended a while back. Alex had been asking (nagging?) me to knit him a scarf for some time. He wanted a dark colour that he could wear with his suit to work and it had to be soft because he hates scratchy wool. It’s knit in Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra (merino/silk/­cashmere) in Clinker (dark blue). I love the almost herringbone look of the pattern, which, though it looks complex, is only a two row pattern, so I memorised it pretty quickly. It knit up reasonably fast on big-ish needles, but it took almost twice as long to dry when I blocked it (memo to self – do not block knitted items in the coldest room in the house). I have seen this scarf around blog-land knitted in variegated wool and I like the way that the stitch shows up the different colours. I’m now on the hunt for the perfect wool to knit a more colourful version for myself for next winter.


Baby hat from The Happy Hooker book. I’ve recently taught myself to crochet from this book and this hat was my first attempt at something other than a practice square. I’d do a few things differently next time, like use the recommended wool (this was some thrifted stuff that was lying in my stash) and check my gauge, but overall as a first crochet item I was pretty happy with it. It’s destined for a friend who is pregnant and due later this year. I definitely need more practice with crochet to get really confident at it (I still refer to the stitch diagrams as I go) but I do like how quickly you can finish a piece if you use tall stitches.


Mini-Moopy bunny from a Nest Studio pattern. I set out to make this as a gift, but I loved it so much I had to keep it for me. Our cat has since decided it is hers and will jump up onto the bookshelf, knock the Moopy to the floor and bat it around. Next time I’ll enlarge the pattern (it does live up to the “mini” in the name), but I think these would make a great baby gift along with a matching appliqu├ęd onesie or blanket. I had a lot of fun rummaging through my fabric stash picking out fabrics.

Sorting through my photos to find some to post, I’ve realised that my photography of finished objects still needs a bit of work. If any of you have tips for photographing your work to look its best I’d love to hear them.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Hello there

After lurking for many months on fantastic craft blogs and filling up my bloglines with links, I've decided to take the plunge and start a blog. I hope to post about a range of things, hence the title of this blog, but mostly focus on my crafty adventures (projects dreamed up when I should be working) and other goings on in my life in a little sea-side suburb in Wellington, New Zealand (Petone for those locals out there).

I dabble in knitting, embroidery, sewing and jewellery making and am always keen to try out a new craft and add to my craft supplies collection! Recent crafting has mostly been knitting and sewing of gifts for friends having babies, but I've got a few ideas for other sewing projects I’d like to complete in the next few months. I’m also hoping to spend more time in our little garden and am looking forward to sharing my progress with you.

Once I figure out how to post pictures, I will add a couple of recently completed projects.