Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Checking In

I'm back from a few days away for Christmas. We stayed in a lovely little cottage in Greytown in the Wairarapa. It was lovely and private, with tame chickens roaming in the garden. Apart from Christmas Eve, the weather was perfect and we were able to fit in a couple of runs in Greytown park plus visits to the Putangirua Pinnacles, Cape Palliser lighthouse and Mt Bruce wildlife centre. Plus plenty of lazing around, eating, knitting and board games of course.

Greytown Christmas mosaic

I won't be blogging much in the next few days as we are trying to paint the outside of our house while the weather is nice (a much bigger job than I'd expected, but it will be good to get it done). I'll be back in the New Year to share some finished knitting projects. I hope you're enjoying your Christmas break, perhaps getting some crafting done and keeping cool or warm wherever you are.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Berry tart

Vegan fruit tart

One of the things I love about this time of year is the fruit - berries, stonefruit, melons. Yum! I must investigate planting some berries in our garden so we can have homegrown ones next year. The berries above just came from the supermarket, but they made a rather nice vegan fruit tart. We had some friends over on Saturday night for a pre-Christmas get-together and I made the tart for dessert. Recipe once again was from The Joy of Vegan Baking.

We are off to the Wairarapa tomorrow for a relaxing, quiet Christmas by ourselves. Normally on Christmas Eve we are packing up the car and making the long slow drive up the country to my family in Rotorua. This year we thought it would be nice to have some time away together close to home before the rush of study and work starts again in early January. I'll be taking a blog break at the same time. Merry Christmas to you and yours. See you in a couple of weeks.

PS: totally unrelated, but I think this must be the coolest thing I've seen this week

Monday, 22 December 2008

Ornament Swap Roundup

Some of you may have already seen these in the flickr pool, but I wanted to share them here as well. I've now received all the ornaments from my swap group, plus a few extras:

Group 1 Ornaments
Above are the ornaments from my group: Robot from Jenny, Angel from Helen, Flower from Jessicah, Bauble from Nikki, Owlaments and Stocking from Dione and Pohutukawa made by me. Thanks ladies, they are lovely! Also special thanks to Jessicah for including some vegan chocolate (mmm Whittaker's dark, my favourite) and vintage buttons in her parcel. And to Dione for filling her knitted stocking with more vintage buttons!

Bonus ornaments
I also received some bonus ornaments to thank me for organising the swap - these gorgeous snowflakes from Marrianne and cute little present from Mel. Aww guys, thanks so much!

You are a talented bunch - my tree is full of handmade loveliness! Thanks also to everyone who participated. In the end I had 38 people sign up - way more than I expected. Since it went so well this time, I'm planning on running the swap again next year.

The flickr pool is looking great. If you haven't yet uploaded any photos of your ornaments, please do, so that we can all admire them. And if you participated but aren't on flickr, please feel free to email me a photo of your ornaments and I'll post it on the group so we can all share in the Christmas crafty goodness.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Baby Dresses

I made a couple of dresses for my cute niece for Christmas. She'll be 2 1/2 months on Christmas day so I made what I thought was the 3-6 month size, but they still look huge. I think she'll have to grow into them...

Strawberry baby dress
Strawberry baby dress
Tulip baby dress
Tulip baby dress

I really like these styles of dress. Once they are too short to be dresses anymore they can be worn as tunic tops. They are both different views of Butterick 4784, dated 1987. I picked up the pattern from the op-shop for 50c a few months ago. The yellow strawberry dress is made from Japanese fabric that a friend brought back for me from Kyoto. The tulips fabric was on the sale table at Spotlight a few weeks ago (I love $4/m fabric!). Because I already had the fabric in my stash, the only thing I needed to buy was the cute lime green buttons for the tulip dress. Apologies for the bad light in the photos. I took these at night just before I wrapped them up.

The strawberry dress, with all that homemade bias, was a bit fiddly to make, but I whipped up the tulip one pretty quickly. I'm planning to slightly tweak the pattern and then make some more of the tulip style ones and put them up in the shop in early January.

I've now received all of my ornaments for the swap, plus a few bonus ones. Pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

First sale

I made my first sale in my felt store yesterday! You should have seen me - I was so excited you'd think I'd won Lotto.

To celebrate, I've uploaded the last of my current stock to the shop: some appliqued baby tshirts (some of which match the shoes and bibs already for sale), and a couple of cosmetic bags/small purses.

Baby tshirts

Pink leaves cosmetic bag


I'm working on a few new design ideas at the moment, but with the rush of Christmas, I don't think I'll be updating the store again until early January.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Pohutukawa flower

Thanks for the offers of help to try and revive our external hard-drive. The blogworld really came to my rescue this time. Thanks to Steph's very talented boyfriend Dave, our photos have been recovered, mostly unharmed and a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We have learnt our lesson and now have copies on our new external hard-drive plus two sets of backups on DVD (one set now kept at Alex's work). I really believed we had lost most of our photos from the last two years. As well as the holiday snaps, photos from family get-togethers and photos of our beloved moggie Frank who died 18 months ago, I'm also pleased to have all my random craft and garden photos back. Like the one above, taken in our garden a couple of years ago.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas ornaments

Wrapped Ornaments

I think everyone in my group has received their ornaments, so it's safe to post a picture of what I made for the handmade ornament swap.

Pohutukawa ornaments

I decided to go with Pohutukawa flowers since they symbolise Christmas to me in New Zealand. For anyone reading this from overseas, the pohutukawa is a native New Zealand tree that grows by the sea and flowers in December. It is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. I noticed last weekend that a few trees are already flowering on Petone beach, and the one in our backyard is about to start flowering. I love how the crimson red stamens (or are they petals?) end up strewn about our lawn.

The ornaments are hand-stitched from felt and some ribbon I picked up in London in June. I had to re-teach myself blanket stitch to make these, so some of the stitching is a bit wonky, but it adds to the charm I think. I made the bags the ornaments were wrapped in with paper that I'd potato stamped. I don't think I've done potato stamping since I was a child! It was a lot of fun and in addition to the brown paper, I also stamped some plain calico that I'm planning to use for another project.

Once I've received all my ornaments, I'll post a picture of them together. I've received three so far and they are fantastic!

Unrelated, does anyone have a recommendation for a file recovery specialist in Wellington? Our not-quite-two-year-old external hard-drive chose yesterday as its day to die and we have some photos on there that are not stored anywhere else. We do have quite a few stored on DVDs and printouts of some, but there are still a lot that I had yet to back-up. Any recommendations for experts who can help would be appreciated! And if any of you have photos that are not backed up, my advice would be to burn them to DVDs right now. I felt sick when I realised we might have lost our photos.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

At Long Last

baby shoes

Bing-bong! Attention blog readers. The Twenty Cent Mixture Shop is now open for business.

Yes, that's right. After months of talking about it, I actually got round to listing some of my craft for sale online. I've opted to go with felt rather than etsy, due mainly to the bad state of the NZ dollar against the US dollar at present, plus I figured most buyers would be NZ-based. I'm currently sorting out the process for international buyers.

I'll be listing more items in the next few days, but at the moment there are baby shoes (all the pairs in the photo above are for sale), bibs and a couple of bags in there. Go on, have a nosey, you know you want to!