Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just a little bit of sewing.....

 These four cushion covers are at this moment making their way to a new home in North Carolina.  They were a custom order which as you may know I love to do as it means I get to find out a little bit about the person I'm sewing for. These covers are going to a rustic stone cabin and will bring a little spring into their owners lounge.
 The backs are just a simple envelope closure with a little of the spring flowers print added to the edges.
 The fronts are backed with a light layer of batting then quilted with random wavy lines in coloured embroidery threads.
 And this quilt top is what I've been working on this week. It's once again a custom order and will eventually be making its way to Ireland . I pretty much had creative license on this baby girls quilt except that it should be predominately blue and the fabrics should have a very modern vibe to them so I have included fabrics from Amy Butler and Heather Bailey who just happen to be 2 of my favourite fabric designers.
I have used a traditional patchwork pattern called 'tumbler' and I thankfully had the foresight to cut out enough blocks to make 2 quilts so one will be up for sale in my online shops. I am planning to hand-quilt this little quilt in simple swirly circles.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A good days work.....

 Yes I can finally reveal another finished re-upholstered chair and yes this is the twin of this chair that I recovered a couple of months back.  I had to wait until my neighbour who generously helps me out and lets me use his workshop had some free time in his work load plus I too have been busy working on orders from my Etsy shop. Last Saturday we were finally able to get together and work on it for most of the day and then on Friday I put the final touch of applying the braiding to the bottom edges. 

I have to say I was a little nervous about starting this chair as I thought I may have forgotten all the techniques I had been shown, not to mention using the super fast industrial sewing machine again but most things came back to me and I seem to be getting used to using a bigger faster sewing machine. Just like learning to drive a car, the more you do it the more you get used to it and it becomes second nature eventually.
 I am pleased with how it turned out too. The fabrics are still quite a bold look but a little more mellow than the other chair. These photos are taken in our backyard and are kindly photo-bombed by Amelia's cat.

So now that I've finished these chairs I guess I need to think of what my next furniture re-do will be next???

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Perfect few days....

Nearly 2 weeks ago now I had the privilege of spending 3 days and nights out on a beautiful yacht with some special friends. We had talked about going sailing a few times but this time the weather was perfect and the time seemed right even though I only had a couple of hours to organise myself, my girls and pack what I thought I might need. I like doing things spontaneous or unplanned. It makes life more interesting don't you think :-)

We ate quite a few scallops and I even ate some raw,  finding them surprisingly sweet. We sailed as far north as the Mercury islands where Ngaire and I paddled around in kayaks on crystal clear blue waters while Lloyd dived for our dinner.

We stopped off at Slipper Island and walked to the lighthouse....

...My friend Ngaire and I......excuse my wind blown hair, I forgot to bring my hairbrush so had to be content with running my fingers through it each morning ;-)

We took in stunning views, like this one looking out to the Alderman islands......
....and to the other side looking back towards Tairua and Pauanui 
and further south to the beautiful long and often deserted beach of Opoutere.

And I'll finish with this beautiful sunset taken on the second night from where we were anchored just off Great Mercury island.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pushing through my colour boundaries....

 I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I have my favourite colours that I'm always drawn to when I make, buy or choose something. For anyone who knows me it is fairly obvious that I like all things blue and green, actually I lean towards the blues more but green is often in there too. So when it comes to making things to sell in my Etsy shop I have to really push myself out of my blue and green comfort zone and remind myself that not everyone is a fan of all things blue and green. 
 So this past week I intentionally chose fabrics out of my colour safe zone to make up these nice, bright and happy writing folders/compendiums. Yes I know there is a green one in there :-) but not much blue at all.
 The green one is actually green and brown with a little splash of red and okay just a minor hint of pale blue.
 And here's the inside with lots of pockets for pads and sketch books and pens with not a hint of blue :-)
 Each one has a handmade button like this one on the yellow writing folder/compendium.
 Each compendium is made up of scraps of coordinating fabrics that I then embellish with a variety of machine embroidery stitches in a variegated colour thread.
 For me the fun part of making these compendiums is adding the little details like the different stitches, the pretty ribbon down the centre of the inside and the handmade buttons. All these things do take time but I think that is the beauty of buying handmade items on places like Etsy and Felt. Each item is made with love, care and attention for those all important details that make it unique.
Each of these compendiums can be found here for purchase on my Etsy shop. And if there is a colour I have not made I am happy to make a custom item just for you ;-)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mid-week dinner...

 I spent the day in Auckland today getting through a list of things to do and buy then came home to whip up this yummy summer meal of Courgette fritters stacked with bacon and topped with avocado, plain Greek yoghurt and tomato salsa. This meal is always a hit with my girls who would normally turn their noses up at eating courgettes ;-)
 It looks impressive too but is simple to make and put together which is exactly what I needed after a day driving around Auckland not to mention the 2 hour journey there and back. Actually I don't mind the driving there and back as it's a good opportunity to listen to a podcast and some of my favourite music.
So if your interested in a quick summer meal full of fresh flavours not to mention that it's a good way to use up any abundance of courgettes from the garden, here's my recipe .......

  • 3 medium sized courgettes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh herbs ( coriander or chives or both are good )
  • salt & pepper
Grate courgettes then put all ingredients in food processor and process until well mixed. Heat oil in a heavy based frypan and pour in about a tablespoon of batter for each fritter. Turn when fritters begin to form bubbles and keep warm while cooking the remaining mixture.

To serve : Arrange lettuce (any variety) then chopped tomato and cucumber on plates. Layer fritters with slices of bacon then top with slices of avocado, Greek yoghurt or sour cream, tomato salsa and any fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


 I woke up on Sunday at 6am to go for an early morning bike ride with my cycling buddy neighbour and was greeted with this stunning sunrise as I stumbled into the lounge. It certainly made getting up early on Sunday worth it. It was a bit of a chilly start but once we warmed up it was a beautiful calm morning for a bike ride too with the bonus of very little traffic at that early hour. 
Yesterday I was reminded of how very grateful I am of the people that have been put into my life in the last couple of years. When you go through something challenging in life you learn quickly who in your life are true friends that 'get' what you are going through and know exactly what to say at the right time. They are the ones that stick around and are not just there for the big dramas. One such person is Lily who lives far far away from me in Dubai. We have actually never met but have connected through our blogs originally and now keep in contact as regularly as life lets us. Lily is a very talented creative person and I wish she lived closer. Every now and then, usually when I am least expecting it a 'surprise' parcel will arrive from her containing beautiful things, often made by her for me and my daughters.  She made all of the above earrings and .....
 picked out this selection of Washi tape on her recent trip to Tokyo. She also made me an ' infinity scarf ' of which I forgot to photograph before the light faded tonight. It is of course beautifully sewn and made with some bright colourful fabrics thoughtfully chosen for me. Thank you Lily for your thoughtful, generous spirit and your faithful friendship.
 Yesterday I spent most of my day in my little sewing attic sewing these new journal cover sets for my Etsy shop whilst listening to podcasts and music. My girls are now back at school and it was nice to be able to completely focus on what I love to do and that is to create beautiful things.

These covers fit A5 and A6 journals and with the elastic band that keeps everything together plus with a penholder on the front of each one they are all ready and waiting for inspiration to strike. The small one is the perfect size to fit in a handbag and the larger A5 one also happens to be the perfect size to double up as a mini Ipad cover/keeper as one of my other good friends found out recently.
I sell them as a set of two over here in my shop

Friday, January 31, 2014

Hand embroidered cushion designs...

Just added to my Etsy shop are these hand-embroidered cushion designs that I've been working on for a couple of weeks now in between other bigger projects. The front one is my favourite with the two "lovebird" centred flowers plus I love the colour combination of aqua blue and grey. It looks quite at home on this chair too ;-)

 I've had a bundle of Kaffe Fassett prints in my stash for a while now waiting patiently for that perfect project to use them in.  Each print is so unique, colourful and bold, that I decided to just add some simple hand-quilting in a variety of colours using some Perle cotton threads to compliment the colours in the prints.

A simple wave pattern was added to this bold tropical flower print which I think is enough to add texture but not too much to take your eye away from the print. While the hand-quilting does take a little more time and effort it does give me something to do at nights while watching TV :-)

Each cushion has a handmade button and loop enclosure on the back using some of the featured print from the cushion fronts.
These cushions are now available for sale here in my Etsy shop
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