Thursday, 30 October 2008

Kiwi Handmade Christmas Ornament Swap

For the last few years, a couple of craft bloggers in the US have run a huge handmade Christmas ornament swap. I found out about it too late to participate last year and have been thinking about signing up this year, but the cost of international postage has made me a bit reluctant to join in.

I mentioned this to Nikki last week at the Juniper craft night and she suggested I should run a New Zealand based swap instead. I’m hoping that there are some more of you out there who love handmade ornaments as much as me and want to participate.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Sign-up by sending me an email to luubeeluu at gmail dot com. You need to include your name and snail mail address, plus your blog if you have one. Signups will close on Friday 7th November. Sorry, but to limit postage costs, this swap will only be open to New Zealand residents.

2. I will assign you into a small group of 6-8 people and send you the addresses of everyone in your group. I will not send your address to anyone else.

3. You need to come up with an ornament design that you can easily replicate – it can be crafted however you like (knit, sew, crochet, embroider, print, gocco, paint etc), but it must be handmade.

4. Make enough ornaments for your group, and post one ornament to each person by Friday 12th December.

5. Sit back and wait to receive some wonderful handmade ornaments in the post just in time for Christmas.

If you need some inspiration for ideas, have a browse through the flickr group for the 2007 US swap.

This is the first swap I've run, so any swap veterans out there please let me know if I've missed anything.

Edit: Sign-ups now closed. Thanks for all the interest. I will email out the details for your group on Sunday 9th November.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Quickfire Craft

On Sunday I was in need of some quick craft gratification - the sort where you can finish a project in one sitting. And I managed two in just under two hours.

Mum mentioned that my new niece likes to be swaddled, and with the cold weather we've had in the past week or so, I thought a merino wrap would be ideal. I had some jade green really soft merino knit in my stash leftover from another project. After consulting with another friend about the ideal size for baby wraps, I cut it into a square approx 100cm on each side. I used a dinnerplate as a template for the rounded corners, then finished the edges with the overlocker. Done.

Merino baby wrap

And for no other reason except that I wanted to use some of the ribbons I bought overseas earlier in the year, I made a little ribbon tag blanket for her as well. I first heard about these on Craftster. Apparently babies like to play with the ribbon tags. I choose velvet, grosgrain and satin ribbons plus some ric-rac so there are a variety of textures. The main part of the blanket measures approx 30cm square. I think it turned out rather cute, don't you?

Taggie blanket

While we're on the subject, I just have to mention the new Dad present I got my brother - a CD of lullabies incorporating the tunes from Metallica songs (yes really). It appealed to the former teenage bogan in me and I've been waiting to buy it for someone who will appreciate it. I think it will go down well. And who knows, maybe the baby will like it too.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008



I've got a few crafty things to show you later in the week, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo of our dinner last night. I made a spinach-basil-walnut pesto (minus the parmesan) and stirred it through cooked pasta, potatoes and peas. It looked so nice and tasted delicious. The recipe was adapted from a great cookbook called Vegan Italiano. The original recipe called for green beans rather than peas, and linguine rather than spirals, but I think my version worked quite well. There's some pesto leftover which I think I'll use in a salad later in the week.

I've just realised today that my one-year blogiversary came and went a couple of weeks ago. Stay tuned for a belated giveaway celebration sometime next week.

Monday, 20 October 2008


bedside table reading

The pile of library books on my bedside table show what I've been occupied with lately.

First of all, I've made a decision to go back to university next January and study for a Post Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching (one year full-time). Teaching has always been something that I've thought about doing "at some stage". My mother is a primary school teacher, so I've been around teachers a lot and I have always enjoyed working with children. I've been wanting a change from my current job for a wee while now, and this is the ideal time to go back to full-time study, before we have children of our own. I'm going into it with my eyes open hopefully - I spent some time in my mother's classroom a few months ago and I've also been training as a Brownie (young girl guides) leader since August, so I know I'm comfortable with larger groups of children. It's a big change for me, but it's exciting too and I'm really looking forward to it.

The other big change in our lives in the last few weeks is that Alex and I have decided to make the shift from being vegetarian to going fully vegan. It's not something I ever thought I would do - it always seemed too hard to give up dairy, but I've discovered it's a lot easier than you'd think. In the past few months we've been listening to a wonderful podcast called Vegetarian Food for Thought (which I found out about through a Ravelry group forum - everything leads back to craft I tell you), which played a big role in our decision to change. Each episode of the podcast addresses different topics related to being vegetarian/vegan, including favourite foods, nutrition, cooking and animal rights. I'd highly recommend the podcast to anyone who is curious about these issues. The woman who presents it, Colleen Patrick-Godreau, is very articulate and passionate about her cause without being preachy and makes you feel like you can make a difference. Having said that, it still took us a few months of listening to the podcast, reading books about nutrition and food ethics, and some serious thought before we made the change a few weeks ago. So far it is going great. We're trying lots of new foods and I'm currently relearning how to bake without eggs or dairy (again, much easier than you'd think). I'll keep you posted on progress and post some photos in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Just call me Aunty Lou

My gorgeous niece Ella arrived safe and sound yesterday afternoon.

I'm looking forward to some cuddles when we go up to Rotorua to visit her in a couple of weeks.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Craft2.0 sum-up

Craft 2.0 October 11th

Yay - it's over! I had a great time at Craft2.0 on Saturday. Because of the sunny weather there were less people through than at some of the earlier fairs, but I still managed to sell quite a bit of stuff. I do have about half of it left over though (I wanted to have too much rather than not enough), so once I get time to photograph it, the online shop will be opening.

Late nights beforehand meant I was in serious need of caffiene at set-up time, but I brought my crafty helper-fairy (Alex) along to help me and sent him off in search of coffee while I set up my stall. I had a dream the night before that I didn't sell anything all day, but my first sale of a bib, shoes and a tshirt made me feel much better!

Thanks to those of you that came by to say hello (Nikki, Tash, Martha, Rochelle, Kimberley, Sharron). It was nice to catch up and meet some of you in person for the first time. I'll happily do another fair in the future, but not for a while yet. I need time to recover and my sewing machine is suffering from overuse I think - it's making a weird ker-chunk ker-chunk noise that makes me think it's time for a service...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Sneak Peak

Craft2.0 is tomorrow! If you are nearby, try and drop in to The New Dowse between 10am and 3pm tomorrow. Get some early Christmas shopping done. Or buy yourself a present just because. And if you do go along, make sure you come by my stall and say hi.

Over the past week or so, the Craft2.0 blog has been profiling some of the crafters who will be there tomorrow. Click on this link to check them out. Below is a mosaic of some of the stuff that will be for sale tomorrow. And below that is a sneak peak of some of the stuff I'll be taking with me. I'll be back next week with a full post-fair rundown and hopefully some pictures of all the crafty goodness for you.

Have a good weekend!

Baby shoes

Baby shoes


Zipped pouches

Friday, 3 October 2008

Making progress

Sorry for the blog absence. I have been pretty busy preparing for Craft2.0 next weekend. My stock is slowly coming together, but I still have a whole lot of sewing to do between now and then. At this stage I'll be taking baby shoes, bibs, appliqued baby tshirts, small zipped pouches and tote bags. I'm really worried that I won't have enough stock, so I'm probably making too much of everything, but I figure the leftovers can be used to open my much-talked-about but not-yet-started Etsy shop.
Here are some pictures of my progress from the last week or so:
My sewing table piled up with WIPs and fabric

Carrybags made from recycled picture books, using Melissa's great tutorial here