I made this pincushion for my friend Jess - it's such a fun thing to make and choosing the fabrics is even better. Oh and choosing the buttons too, it's just a satisfying process. And to top it all off it's such a quick and easy project to make. Maximum result for your time and effort. Made from the 'Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts' pattern I blogged about here (along with links to other pincushion patterns I like), and the fabric scraps here.
29 April, 2009
A lonely washing basket waiting (probably in vain) for the rain to clear and the blue sky to come back.
Oddly enough, this basket has appeared in two other blogs (here and here) in the last couple days - is there some sort of laundry basket 'in-crowd' that I've inadvertently joined? Please report any future blog sightings to me :)
28 April, 2009
Now memory games are a dime-a-dozen but this one is special because not only are the tiles so lovely and thick and rounded on top, but the artwork is stunning. Several notches above the usual kiddie art or commercial dreck we're served up in fact.
The blurb on the box says that the artwork was inspired by Charley Harper's work and I can see that when you check out prints like this one available at Fabulous Frames). Or any at his official studio website Such cool stuff! And all from a little memory game...
Eeboo have some fabulous gear on their website, even the notebooks are great. I loved these 'tot towers'
27 April, 2009
26 April, 2009
A few issues to resolve - the face is too long and the body is too wide. There's something up with the arms and legs too, although that may simply be a consequence of the body being a bit too big. They look spindly somehow. I've never been hugely happy with them and now I'm even less so. Perhaps I need a rethink on shape and proportion. The ears are pretty good though, better than the original. So I'll do the changes to the pattern and try again. I do need a different fabric for the face and paws though, the wool I've been using is too liable to fray and too hard to work with, despite the fact I like that it's wool and it's a lovely creamy white. I'm sure I can find something more suitable if I hunt around. Any suggestions from readers? The reason I like it is that it's slightly stretchy but not too much, so it stuffs well and holds its shape while being soft and squishy.
Today Olive is modeling a lovely pinafore made from Amy Butler's French Wallpaper fabric and a shirt made from Ginger Blossom by Sandi Henderson in Vintage Dot, as well as Lime Bouquet Toss for her sporty little bow*. She's undergone eye surgery to replace her original dark blue eyes the better to resemble her adoptive mummy Nicole.
As she sashays away, we see the sweet crossed straps of her pinafore and the splash of lime from her bow.
Bye bye Olive!
(One down, how many more projects to go?)
*Not sure of the shoe fabric, it was part of a scrap bag but I'm sure I've seen it somewhere so if anyone knows the pattern I'd love to give it credit!
25 April, 2009
I just wish I'd read it before I started blogging last year! Not that I'd have done much different I think, but even the section on how to choose a platform would have been great. I ended up here at Blogger sort of by default through having a gmail account, and I must admit to lingering doubts as to whether I should have gone with Typepad instead :P Plus she mentions that Blogger accounts get looked down on as being less professional - has anyone come across this? I was surprised to be honest because so many of my favourite blogs are on Blogger so how could it not be a cool place to be? Perhaps I'm the kind of dork who doesn't know they're a dork ;)
I also like the discussion on attribution and the importance of commenting and giving back to the community. I'm thinking particularly hard about the latter because I'm constantly bowled over by the generosity of other bloggers (such as this book!) and have so many free patterns and tutorials and images sitting on my hard drive it's like a treasure-trove.
24 April, 2009
1/4" quilting foot, originally uploaded by Ansis68.
I haven't used it yet but I'm really very excited and wishing I'd come across the mention of this accessory in my sewing machine manual before I started Amy's quilt. It was a happy co-incidence that Spotlight was having a 20% off all sewing machine feet sale in which I planned to get a walking foot (and did) so I got out the manual to look up part numbers (pointless, they're different now anyways) and discovered that such a thing existed. I think it's what they call a Eureka! moment.
The really brilliant thing about it is that it has these lines front and back (marked with red arrows) that show you where to start and stop sewing to leave 1/4" unsewn at either end if you need to attach more blocks. I don't need it for this quilt, but it would be so handy to have for other projects.
21 April, 2009
It's not the kind of thing I usually wear, but I love the idea of it. I've been re-reading all my Agatha Christie books as my 'chapter before bed' and I can just picture wearing this dress in one of those stories. Of course I've discovered that the best thing about the Peterman catalogue is the descriptions of the clothes! There's a couple shirts I'd quite like too...
Curse the weak NZ dollar - not to mention I've been told by an equally excited friend here that they don't ship to NZ, only to Australia. Sheesh. So much for the company that adventures around the world and all that guff.
Tonight I got incredibly excited by this post at Sew Mama Sew and cleaned my sewing machine. I blame the music they played in the video, it made it all seem slightly James Bondish 007 sewing machine. Mat came in and danced even, although I noticed in the comments to the post that some people didn't like it (the music, not Mat dancing). Philistines! So I got out the tools and opened up the machine and took out enough lint to stuff a small bunny. My manual says not to oil so I didn't get to do that, but I'm hoping the machine will run a little better now. I think it still needs a professional tune-up though. I feel like I actually DID something tonight, it's a very satisfying feeling.
19 April, 2009
Then we started on the jam. I decided to make blackberry apple because I hadn't picked quite enough blackberries off our bush before it stopped producing last week, plus I thought the apples might contribute more pectin for setting. Looks promising right?
And this was the result
Four jars of blackberry apple
Ok, back to Powerpoint and my lecture.
I've got an hour and half lecture to give tomorrow afternoon so today I need to devote myself to getting that ready and being a domestic goddess in the kitchen. Hazel wants to make Lamington muffins and I want to make blackberry jam. Or maybe blackberry and apple jam. Or blackberry and plum jam. Can't decide!
18 April, 2009
17 April, 2009
The problem with real life is you can't Photoshop out unwanted details.
Feeling much better and back at it! I've been working on Nicole's replacement Dahwee and really enjoying working with this pure wool felt. I was a bit worried about it when it arrived because it was so much thicker than the synthetic blend felt I'd used for the other dolls, but it's really a dream to sew - very malleable and soft. The felt is a bit paler than I would have liked, but I think once she's sewn up she's going to be gorgeous!
15 April, 2009
My name is in the phone book and so what do sales people call me when they ring? Mrs. C, because obviously since I'm an adult woman answering the phone I must be married to Mr. C, whose name is in the book because he's the man right? Same if I'm in a waiting room and they want to call me. Must be married, must be her husband's last name, must be Mrs. I'm sorry but where does this reasoning come from? Where? It seems to be very widespread. I can sort of understand if they see me in person because I wear a wedding ring - but on the phone? How many unmarried women are these people insulting inadvertently I wonder? Not to mention all the married ones! Men don't have this problem, their marital status is in no way involved with their title. They pretty much start out as Mr., unless the get called Master when they're very little, and they stay Mr. Girls start out as Miss, they're Miss for years and years and years until they either get married or become a radical feminist and call themselves Ms. So Miss Hazel at 3.5 uses the same title as Hazel at 20. Bizarre. Even using Ms. is telling the world something about yourself. Then we get to call ourselves Mrs., even when we've specifically told someone we're not. It drives me bats**t insane. Now I get to add Dr. to the list of titles people can ignore.
I'm not at all against being a Mrs., if people want to call me Mrs. C— then that's fine, if Mat's elderly aunts want to call me Mrs. Matthew...— then I'll laugh and be amused. But calling me Mrs. C is just rude and presumptuous and it makes me angry. Typically, it's useful for Mat because if someone calls up and asks if he's Mr. C then he knows they're a telemarketer and hangs up on them. If I get the Mrs. C it's a 50/50 proposition whether it's a telemarketer or some idiot who actually does know me.
/rant over - and it wasn't small either so I do apologise for the misleading title.
I made this blanket for my friend Steph's second baby, who turned out to be a little boy named Isaac. He's heading towards two now, yikes!
Embroidered wool blanket, originally uploaded by Ansis68.
It was a surprisingly easy pattern to do - looks daunting but just takes time more than anything. The bees were the hardest because I get really nervous about doing things that require multiple steps because I'm convinced I'll screw up the final step and ruin the whole thing! Amazingly no bees were harmed in this process. Actually I lie, the hardest part was getting the eyes right, I had to rip those things out about 4 times until I got an expression that didn't contain pure evil. Seriously, the first attempt it looked like the most malevolent duck ever, holding the flower and thinking "I'm going to rip your throat out in a second". This one just looks a bit malicious but by then I'd given up caring about low-level evil. Overall I was quite pleased with the whole thing.
The binding is so wide because I dyed the blanket myself and ooops! it shrank from being just big enough to not quite big enough. The colour was absolutely perfect though. The pattern is from "The world's most beautiful embroidered blankets" by Inspirations Books. Australian I think.
Fabric-lovers should head over to Bunte Fabrics for her most amazing fabric give-away, and how perfect for me heading into winter too! Not that I ever win these things but what the heck, I love those printed corduroys and knits, we just don't see them down here in that kind of quality!
13 April, 2009
I got nothing fresh for you internets, nothing. So I've decided to take a quick stroll through the archives at Hazelnut central* and pull out a few of my favourites.
This little trio are from the Wee Wonderful's Olive and Archie pattern which has proved to be a good investment as I've made eight all-up. If you're interested there are more dollies if you click through to the Flickr set. The ones on the left are Hazel's pair, the Archie on the right was for her friend Luca who has brown hair and blue eyes. It's kind of fun customising the hair and eyes to match the kid. Unfortunately I used a wool blend felt that I was assured wouldn't pill but of course does, and it stretches too. So all that hard work with a fabric that doesn't stand up. That still annoys me. I need to make another to replace Nicole's Olive who has been worn out through sheer love, and I've bought some proper 100% wool felt in a decent weight this time. No half measures! Nicole has chosen some great fabric for her second 'Dahwee' as she calls her, I'm looking forward to making her up.
I'm such a huge fan of the Wee Wonderfuls patterns, they have this great retro-yet-very-modern appeal. No doubt there will be more gracing this blog in the future :) And check her 'freebies' page as well!
*MacBook Pro on the desk in the spare room
12 April, 2009
Happy Easter to you all and may judicious amounts of chocolate be consumed with no ill-effects :)
Am feeling somewhat better and fever is gone but still coughing and feeling tired. I did manage to tidy my half of the bedroom though, which is no mean feat! I was so exhausted I had to have a lie down afterwards.
11 April, 2009
Enjoy your Easter weekend everyone! I'm off to plant the easter egg hunt clues for tomorrow and then collapse into bed to listen to the radio and sweat and shiver. TMI? I just want lots of sympathy :)
08 April, 2009
Perhaps I'm luckier than my mum was when it comes to making Hazel clothes - the styles at the moment lend themselves to being replicated or made at home, little crafty details are in, great fabrics are easier to source, and I think most importantly I have a very keenly developed sense of what it feels like to want to belong, to not stick out and be marked as different. Mum was a New Zealander in Canada in the 70s, she was attracted to the hippy-ish style, she was emminently practical and non-consumerist. I'm not necessarily any of those things, or at least...well I might have tendencies (not the hippy thing though) but I still remember how much I longed for a pinky, frilly party dress from this kids store in Edmonton, and how I was never going to get it because Mum just didn't buy or make clothes like that. Hazel got a Barbie tshirt in a bag of second-hand clothes I got her for going to daycare and she was so over the moon about it. I felt bad because it's so not the kind of thing I would ever buy her new, but I could see how much it meant to her. Same as the 'Ballerina Kitty' tshirt she got as a handmedown from Nicole. So I'm thinking that the trick to making clothes for kids that they actually like is to make them for them, to pay attention to what they want and to not insist on your own style preferences. But on the other hand why should I fork out for Dora the Explorer tshirts or duvet covers or Barbie sunglasses when I abhor that kind of merchandising? It's my money, I'm the parent! I want to teach her that buying that kind of thing is just doing that company's advertising for free and strips you of any vestige of individuality you have. I can see it's a fine line, maybe if we both end up being unhappy at various times it means I'm keeping an even keel on the subject. Though I most certainly will draw the line at themed duvet covers and beds. Yuck yuck yuck! But a tshirt occaisionally won't kill me.
06 April, 2009
After that I blasted through some more pleasureable projects :) Mat was bugging me to start sewing the quilt blocks last night, so I did up 5 of them. Harder than I thought, particularly because my sewing machine is definitely a metric one, so despite my ease of dealing with imperial (hem hem), my machine is not interested At. All. It has no way of reliably sewing a 1/4" seam, even if I put bits of tape all over the place to mark it. It's just about the most awkward measurement to try for because it falls about half way across the right presser foot prong. I tried putting tape in various places and nothing was particularly satisfactory. Neither were my seams. I think it'll all even out in the end, especially if I square up the blocks before sewing the strips between them.
After that I re-drafted my bunny pattern (Bunny 3.0 now). I have no idea how similar it will turn out to the original from which I took the pattern! I should probably do a test bunny to see...
And lastly I drafted up the pattern for an actual iPhone cozy using Shelly's emailed tracing of hers after making up one for me as a trial last month. I've located an iPhone to try the cozy on before sending it off thank goodness, so she can be assured of something that fits! I suppose I could attach some pencils to mine to make it wider and a bit taller too... I've also cut out the fabric but I'll leave that so that she can have a bit of a surprise when it gets to her.
05 April, 2009
The quilt proceeds apace, with 5 central squares cut and surrounding borders. I'm so struggling with inches though, it's just so clunky and difficult to remember compared to metric! Luckily my cutting mat is also in inches or I'd be going even more mental. I suppose I could convert everything but it gave me something to swear at instead of the tv while I watched Miss Marple being butchered in some dreadful remake of 'Nemesis'. What's wrong with the original story that they had to hack it around like that, completely change it, introduce new characters, and change Miss Marple's way of doing things? It really doesn't make sense and it makes me sooooo mad. Now she's just the same as any other old detective, she's not unique, she's not a fluffy old pussy anymore, she's a gimlet-eyed, prune-faced old bat. Sigh. But of course I watched it all the way through to the end just to really get myself good and ticked off. :P
These tulips were given to me by a friend on Thursday and and this morning they just glowed in the sun pouring into the kitchen. I took this as I ate my breakfast in blissful solitude after being gifted a sleep-in by Mat and Hazel.
04 April, 2009
I'm making Amy Butler's "Pink Bliss" but using all sorts of different fabrics so goodness knows how it will turn out. I'm trusting that having similar colours will mean it will be ok in the end, but I'm getting quite nervous about how well the various fabrics actually go together. Totally second-guessing myself here! Oh well, too late now, I refuse to start looking for new fabrics. :P The quilt is based around blocks seperated by multiple strips of fabric so I'm starting with the centres of the blocks and slowly working out block by block, adjusting fabrics as I go. I want to use the most striking fabrics as the centres of the blocks (mostly florals) and surround them with polkadots and mostly geometrics. Since there are 14 blocks and I only have 9 centre fabrics I've had to duplicate a few.
The fabrics are a mix of Amy Butler and 'Botanica' by Art Gallery Fabrics and I think they go quite well. The only one I'm both nervous of, and tentatively excited about, is the larger pink flowered Amy Butler (sorry don't know the pattern off-hand). It will either look great or totally out of place. I'm such a newbie at this that I'm not sure how using differently-scaled patterns works, and even if it's a matter of personal taste I have no idea what mine is on the subject! I know what I don't like in quilts, but pinning down what I do like is harder.
The most striking thing I've come across so far is in the fabric quality - the Amy Butler is streets ahead of the Art Gallery, which is thinner, not as well printed and the pattern isn't always printed with the grain which leads to such a dilemma, cut with the pattern or the grain?
01 April, 2009
In finally putting all my fabrics together and sorting them by colour I discovered that I did indeed have blues, but still very few oranges or yellows. But at least now I know :)
Ah look at those dead and antiqued hydrangeas in the background - autumn is definitely coming. Aside from a few flowers, the garden is looking tired and scruffy and in need of a tidy-up and a rest. I noticed some of the bulbs already poking their heads up ready to go in a couple months, so I can look forward to primulas, poppies, bulbs and spring roses in the not too distant future (there are some benefits to not having a real winter!).
Metrosideros 'Tahiti Sunrise' (or sunset, I forget)