Monday, 28 January 2008

I've been tagged

I have been tagged by the Stitching Surgeon to write seven random things about me. This is the first time I have been asked to do this particular meme, so I have taken the opportunity to tell you a few more things about me so we can get to *know* each other better...

  1. I have the same model of sewing machine as my Mum - an Elna Air Electronic SU, circa 1978. I learnt to sew on her machine when I was about 4 or 5, and then when I was 8, I was given my own second-hand Elna Lotus machine – great for beginners as it only does straight stitch and zig-zag. A few years ago I decided it was time to buy a machine that had a few more functions and when I found a second-hand model of my Mum’s machine for sale, I knew that was the machine for me!

  2. I am a vegetarian and have been so for just over two years. I am an animal lover and have always felt slightly uncomfortable about eating meat. On New Year’s Day 2004 my husband and I stopped eating red meat. Two years later we stopped eating all meat. We still eat free-range eggs and vegetarian cheese. The non-vegetarian food I miss the most is marshmallows.

  3. I don’t like raw tomatoes. It is a texture and acidity thing. I will happily eat them if they are cooked (like in a pasta sauce), or raw but mushed up with other things (like in guacamole), but I cannot stand them in sliced up in salads or sandwiches and will pick them out. Luckily my husband loves tomatoes and is always willing to eat the tomatoes I have picked out of whatever I am eating.

  4. I am currently reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time. I own the BBC series on DVD (Colin Firth is divine as Mr Darcy!) and have watched it many times, and read other Jane Austen novels, yet I have never read Pride and Prejudice. I wish I had done so years ago – so much is lost in the translation from text to small screen!

  5. I am a cat person. Ever since I was quite little, I have had a pet cat. I like to give my cats “human names” – we have had Sam, Sally, Frank, Lucy, Molly. I think it makes them feel more like part of the family. Although you have to be really careful you don’t use up a name that you might want to use for a future child!

  6. My favourite bird is the native New Zealand fantail (or Piwakawaka). I love the little “cheep cheep” noise they make and the way they follow you when you walk through the bush, dipping and diving, looking for bugs that you might have disturbed.

  7. My breakfast of choice, regardless of the season, is a steaming hot bowl of porridge. I make my porridge in the microwave, sometimes with dates or berries cooked in with the oats. I like to mix in a little yoghurt once it’s cooked and top it with sliced banana. Yum yum.

Rules for tagging:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I would like to tag the following kiwi craft blogs:

Ben and Lottie

Tales of the Red Haired Devil Child

Spinning A Yarn



Seven Stitches

Cherry Berry

I think your blogs are great and I try and check them most days. Some of you I have been reading for a while and others are relatively new discoveries for me, so I would love to find out more about you. I apologise if you have been tagged before. And I will not be at all offended if you don't participate!

And just so I can post a photo, here is a knitting WIP. Getting closer to having something to show you. Can you guess what it's going to be?

Friday, 25 January 2008

Patons Bazaar

Last year when I was visiting my Mum, she gave me a couple of knitting and crochet books that had belonged to my grandmother. She is now in her 80s and has failing eyesight which prevents her from crafting any more, but in her younger years she was a great crafter and I remember her sewing and knitting lots of clothes and toys for me when I was a child. She, along with my mother, also taught me to knit, which I am immensely grateful for.

Here are a few images from one of the books that used to belong to her. It is a Patons Bazaar book (#178), printed in Great Britain. It is not dated, but I assume from the pictures that it is from the 60s or 70s. The book is a collection of knitting and crochet patterns for things to make for fairs. Obviously when this was printed, fundraising fairs were a common enough occurrence to warrant a whole book of patterns dedicated to them.

There are an awful lot of patterns in here that I would never make, but there are also some gems, like this set of tea-cosies (I especially like the knitted windmill one):

And the crocheted black bag with the flowers on it on the back cover:

I also quite like the granny square hot-water bottle cover in this photo:

I only learnt to crochet last year, so my skills aren't up to crocheting a whole granny square afghan yet, but I think I could manage enough squares for a "hottie bottle" cover. Don't know about the green crochet tie just above it though...

If you are interested in some more vintage goodness, I have scanned all the colour pages from this book and put them on Flickr.

Monday, 21 January 2008

A Perfect Day

Today was a public holiday in Wellington. The weather was fine and pretty hot – it reached 28deg C (82.4F), which is pretty rare for us. I had a near-perfect day: a sleep-in followed by a long run along the beach near our house, brunch (at Sweet Mother's Kitchen) and a movie (The Darjeeling Limited) with my love, and then an afternoon and evening of crafting accompanied by a glass or two of NZ Sauvignon Blanc. If only everyday could be as sweet.

Here’s a project that has been on the to-do list for a long time. I finally got around to it this afternoon:

So simple I almost feel guilty posting it. I stretched some Lara Cameron fabric over an artist canvas and secured it with a staple gun. It’s now hanging above the bed in the spare room. I like it so much I might have to move it to our bedroom instead…

I also got some knitting done on a WIP that is not quite ready to post yet. Maybe next week.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Backyard Bounty

The lovely hot weather we have been having over the past few weeks has had a great effect on our vege garden.

The runner beans have now taken over the flimsy trellis I built them, and I have had to attach wire netting to the fence behind them to allow them to grow even taller.

We have had a few good crops of beans off the plants now. There is nothing like stir-fry with beans straight out of your garden!

The roma tomato plants are starting to produce baby tomatoes. Let's hope I can keep the pests away long enough for them to ripen. Looking forward to fresh pasta sauce.

Damson plums on our tree, ready to be picked and made into jam and chutney and maybe even Damson Gin (I've never made the gin before so any tips would be welcome - I hear it is divine).

Lettuce plants conveniently located by the back-door for last-minute picking..

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Dishcloths and another tote

I'm back at work this week and we're getting busy again, so I only have time for a quick post.
Here are a couple of finished projects, completed in the last week or two.

Two more knitted dishcloths. Made using Sirdar Just Bamboo. The front one is made using the Pear dishcloth pattern found here. The other one is another Grandmother’s Favorite dishcloth. The latter is made from two different colours of yarn because I ran out halfway through and the LYS didn’t have any of the same colour left when I went back. For future reference, one skein of the Just Bamboo made 2 ½ dishcloths so it pays to buy more than one skein! Apologies for the skewed shape of the Pear one. I didn’t block it and took the photo quickly because I wanted to start using it straight away.

This is another leafy tote, almost identical to one I made for a Christmas gift, except the newer tote has an internal pocket and shorter straps. The main body of the bag is black cotton drill with an accent of Japanese craft cotton. It is lined in a natural coloured homespun. The straps have a contrast lining of the leaf fabric. This one is a birthday gift for my sister-in-law to be (my brother-in-law proposed on Christmas Day!) who lives in Melbourne. They are getting married in November in Melbourne – I am already making a list of craft stores and markets to visit while I’m there!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Artsy Clutch

We went out last night to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary and I decided the occasion warranted a new bag:

I used the Artsy Clutch pattern from Bend-the-Rules Sewing and more of the Kirinco "Red Riverstones" linen fabric I used on the Pleated Beauty bag I made my Mum for Christmas. I decided to use plain natural coloured linen for the lining because I didn't want to detract from the wonderful design of the outer fabric. Instead of the called-for elastic cording, I just made a short length of bias tape from the lining fabric. In hindsight, something stretchy would probably be better because when the bag is empty it has a tendency to pop open, but once it has a few things in it, it's fine. And hey, I'm not going to use it empty anyway. The button is actually two buttons sewed together.

I really love this bag. To be honest, the pattern didn't really grab me when I first looked through Amy Karol's book, but after seeing all the wonderful variations around blogland and in the BTRS flickr group, I realised how nice it was. It's such a simple, easy design that comes together really quickly, but it looks fantastic.

The bag will get its second outing today at a family lunch to celebrate my husband's grandfather's 80th birthday. I have a red skirt in exactly the same shade that I think will look great with it (ha ha, now I'm planning my outfit around the bag).

Thursday, 10 January 2008


I went back to work on Monday, but since it wasn't too busy, I decided to have another couple of days on leave, so yesterday and today I have been at home relaxing and crafting.

Yesterday I decided to finally do something with the used birthday and Christmas cards and old calendars I have been collecting to reuse. A lot of them I cut up into squares of various sizes to be used as gift tags; others will become bookmarks; and a few of them I turned into cards:

I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. They were really quick and easy to make - I just cut A4 white card in half, folded these pieces in half and glued on one of the squares I'd cut from a card or calendar page. I think they would also look really good made with black card.

On the bookmarks front - do any of you have any suggestions for how I could make them sturdier? I have just cut long rectangles from the old cards but I think they need a bit more substance to make them last. I'm not really a fan of laminating, but I was thinking maybe a couple of coats of clear glue (PVA) might work?

Monday, 7 January 2008

Button Fun

Wow, this past week has gone by really fast. Most of it was spent outside working on the house (treating borer in the wooden weatherboards, touching up paintwork) and in the garden (weeding, preparing a garden for bark, pruning trees), so I don't have many interesting photos to show you.
I spent yesterday afternoon trying to sort out my craft stuff, but got distracted when I was sorting through my buttons and made this:

The bright red buttons are cheering me up on this otherwise dull day (not helped by the fact that I am back at work today when I really feel I should still be on holiday).