19 February, 2016

Tea light holders

My sister-in-law's parents also spent Christmas with us in Acton and getting them a present was a bit problematic as I've only met them once before. Kate suggested a pair of tea light holders like the ones I'd made for her the year before (always nice when people like your stuff!).

The idea came from this tutorial, but it's actually a lot more work to get them looking nice than the light sand it implies you'll need at the end - try a LOT of sanding as the facets you cut don't dry flat or smooth. But when it's all done they look really neat, I love those angles and different shades across the facets.

Candle holders made from air dry clay. I love the play of light across the angles.

Like the ones I did for Kate, I decided to put a bit of gold Rub 'n Buff on a couple of the facets, but first I decided to seal them with some Modgepodge so they wouldn't be so vulnerable to water. Big mistake! When I pulled the off the tape I'd put around the facets to put on the Rub 'n Buff it pulled off the layer of modgepodge and it looked awful! I just about cried.

Gilding the lily, aka total crafting fail at the last stage. It's not ruined but I'm definitely not almost finished anymore!  #craftfail #gildingthelily

Luckily I was able to sand off the modgepodge fairly easily and that fixed the wonky edges as well so it wasn't a total disaster, just a lot more sanding! The candles were a little big to start with but they'll burn down to a good size fairly quickly.

Finally finished. I'll be very happy to wrap these up and send them on their way. I think I still like them but it's marred somewhat by the ridiculous amount of work I made for myself by experimenting when I should have kept it simple. #candles #candlehol

Entirely unrelated but I just stumbled across a couple of new online New Zealand fabric/pattern shops that I hadn't known about until now so I thought I'd share in case anyone else is interested! They're Miss Maude, which sells some lovely fabric, haberdashery, scissors, vintage stuff (including fab buttons) and a few patterns; and Dresses and Me owned by the same person, which sells Indie paper patterns. I found them when I wanted to buy the Cascade Duffle pattern. It seems a little crazy to be considering warm clothing at the moment, but I'm sure it'll be cold by the time I get around to making it! I had initially wanted to buy the Caramel jacket from Waffle patterns but it's only in small sizes and although Yuki does offer a personalised drafting service it was just too expensive to justify! So a Cascade it is, and I'll make it a little more A-line which will be simple enough. I'll definitely be making it in plaid (The Fabric Store here I come!), and with the buttons at the top like on the Caramel. Let's face it, an Auckland winter doesn't require many buttons on a coat! I'm half tempted to try the Woodland Stroll cape by Liesl + Co. too. I saw someone wearing one a couple years ago and it looks great.

16 February, 2016

February already

Holy cow, how did it get to be February already? I went a little quiet before Xmas because of all the things that I couldn't show but then somehow I forgot to get back on the blogging horse after spending 6 weeks in Canada and the States soaking up enough cold and snow to last me for another few years. Sadly, thanks to global climate change, it wasn't all that cold (up to 20 degrees C in Acton just before Xmas!) or snowy but I enjoyed it very much anyways.

I went a little nuts with making stuff this year to be honest, but I got it all done and I think that aside from stuff for Hazel and Mat, I made most of the presents. I have no idea why my immediate family doesn't qualify for handmade but there you go! I might string it out over a couple posts just to make them a little easier to wade through.

I made a couple of lap quilts for my brother and his wife and they were actually done in plenty of time.

I made another red and white 'maths fact' quilt for Mike because he loves the Swiss cross motif. I do like this pattern even though I find it awfully repetitive to cut and sew! I think if I were to do it again (never say never) I might just do the plusses instead of alternating them with the multiplication block.

I made this quilt for my brother for Christmas, it looked perfect with the tree! The pattern is mathfacts by @crazymomquilts #quilt #mondaymodern #patchwork #swisscross #xmasinacton

I think their gigantic Christmas tree sets it off to perfection!

For Kate I made a Sweet Daisy quilt (pattern by Red Pepper Quilts). This photo is from before it was quilted but I didn't get a good one of it all finished up. I had an awful time with either the batting or backing shrinking and just about despaired but some very vigorous stretching while ironing got it flattened out to a reasonable level. I'm not a wrinkly/puffy quilt fan, but I definitely had to get over it for this quilt!

Lap quilt using the Sweet Daisy pattern by @redpepperquilts and various Bonnie and Camille fabrics mixed with solids. Fun and fast! #quilt #patchwork

 I did the back in a zigzag pattern which I liked almost as much as the front!


We spent Xmas in Acton, just outside of Boston, where Mike and Kate live in the most amazing old house. Such a lovely part of the world even with no leaves and no snow. The house backs out onto woods that merge into a regional park so it feels like you could walk for days (aside from the occasional golf course and large house)

A walk in the woods this morning. I think it must have gone up 5 degrees C while we were out, really strange! It's up to 20 today 😳#acton #xmasinacton #christmas #massachusetts #unitedstates

Beautiful little lake an hour's walk from my brothers place. The light mist on the water doesn't really show but just added to the picturesqueness of it all. #nagogpond #acton #xmasinacton #massachusetts

Concord, Massachusetts (apparently pronounced Kon-kerd by the locals so now you know), is also nearby and in addition to buying nice cheese and looking in nice shops and admiring freaking amazing old houses, we visited the old cemetery and I loved paying my respects at Louisa May Alcott's grave where, along with other authors there, people leave pens next to the headstones.



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