Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another something just for me...

Summer skirt
A quick and easy summer skirt made up in a "New York" themed print. I am not usually drawn to buying themed fabrics but this one seemed to stand out to me as one that would make a unique skirt. If it had a New Zealand theme or Kiwiana theme I would have steered well clear so if you're from the US I can understand if it's not your cup of tea.
Anyway I'm really pleased with how this skirt came out and how quickly it came together as it took only 2 - 3 hours to whip up. It is quite a flattering style that sits nicely on my hips and therefore not cutting into my waist. The only thing I changed is to make it a little shorter so it comes to my knees.

For a bit of added interest I added some mini blue ric-rac around the bottom edge of the top band and normal sized red ric-rac around the hemline. I used an invisible zipper on the side seam using this tutorial which shows just how easy these zippers are to install. The pattern is  "New Look" no.6595 if you're interested in making this skirt too. Now all I need is a couple of tops or three to go with it! 

Monday, November 28, 2011


 We had almost perfect weather this past weekend except for the strong winds that are hanging around at the moment. On Saturday afternoon Caitlin and I went for a coastal walk to see if the Pohutakawa's were flowering. This walk takes in the coast line between Onemana and Whangamata. We did this same walk last year but this time we walked 20 - 30 mins further to another beach. The above photo is looking north and out to Slipper island.  

 Looking southwards down to Whangamata

The water was a beautiful colour and amazingly clear.

 Our first glimpse of the beach...not a sole in sight. 

To have this beautiful beach all to ourselves and so close to home reminded us of why we are lucky to live on the Coromandel.

 A little starfish enjoying the quiet waters amongst the rock pools...

...along with these sea snails that Caitlin had fun re-arranging.

Some sweet and tiny wild forget-me-not flowers growing along the pathway.

Sunday was spent weeding in my garden and picking these roses for inside.
This coming week I have numerous sewing projects to get on with, some just for me, many that are Christmas gifts, one for a giveaway and something for my shop. Best I get on with it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A pretty summer top...

A summer top
I've been doing a bit of sewing just for me for a change and I'm really enjoying  it. I haven't sewn something for myself for about 3 years so I was feeling a little out of practice but it didn't take long to get into the grove.
Last Monday I had a day out shopping with my Mum and bought 3 different prints for a top, a skirt and a dress. I almost always are drawn to the blues and greens but this time I picked different colours without even realising although its fair to say there weren't many blue/green prints to be had. Anyway Spotlight had 40% off all fabrics so for less than $70 I will have 3 new pieces to add to my summer wardrobe.  I used patterns that I already had so that also saved a bit. This pattern is 'New Look 6179' and the fabric I used is a really soft Swiss cotton that drapes beautifully. 

The one thing I changed to this pattern was to add 5 rows of elastic shirring approximately 5 inches up from the bottom. I used to be scared of doing elastic shirring until I saw this video on Heather Ross's  blog about how easy it was and it is very easy and satisfying.
The pattern uses bias binding around the bottom of the armholes and for the casing around the neckline.  I just happened to have some perfectly matching red bias binding in my sewing box. I also added one of my wee labels to give it a little professional touch.
 I'm looking forward to wearing this top and feeling more feminine as I'm a little tired of my shorts/t-shirt wardrobe rut that I seem to be in at the moment.
Next up is the skirt!

Monday, November 21, 2011

This weekend I...

Spent lots of time in my garden, planting, re-arranging plants, weeding and harvesting a crop of carrots. They don't look as uniform as carrots that you buy but I'm sure they will be much tastier.

 Filled up the biscuit tins for the coming week. I made Chocolate Chippies (with big chunks of dark almond chocolate) and Chocolate mint cream biscuits, a recipe I put together myself which is just a plain chocolate biscuit sandwiched together with peppermint icing. This is the second batch I've made because they disappear very quickly!
...noticed some unusual cloud formation out our kitchen window on Sunday afternoon. 

Made pizza for Sunday night dinner which is become a family tradition in our house this year. I actually make two, the other one has garlic/potato(thinly sliced)/fresh rosemary & Parmesan. Sometimes the girls help me and sometimes not but the bonus of having pizza on Sunday night is I always save a couple of pieces for the girls lunches on Monday making it a quick lunch to put together on Monday morning.

And today I finally got around to making our Christmas cake. I have had the dried fruit soaking since Friday night meaning to make it over the weekend but both days I went out into the garden and completely forgot about making it. I have also been sewing today. It is something for me and something I haven't sewn in a long time so its a lovely change. I shall share in the next day or so;-)

Hope you too had a lovely productive weekend.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's in the details...

Bliss Cushion
Okay just one finish this week but I'm pretty pleased with this one. My original plan was to have some little yo-yo's in the centre but they just didn't look right. Too much pattern I think no matter what I did with them and then I remembered a 3D fabric pinwheel I had leftover from this fabric wreath I made.

Bliss Cushion
I think it looks quite perfect framed with some pale aqua ric-rac that I found in my  ric-rac stash. It is quilted  in diagonal lines with some variegated thread.

Bliss Cushion - back 
This is the back which I love as much as the front. I used this tutorial that I had pinned ages ago. I love it when I actually use ideas that I've pinned. Makes me feel that all that time that I spend on Pinterest is not completely wasted.

Bliss Cushion- back
The fabric covered buttons are totally handmade. I was going to purchase a covered button kit but my local craft shop only had one size stocked and of course it wasn't the size I wanted. Luckily I knew how to make my own thanks to the very clever Michele. Here's a link to the tutorial here!

Handmade button
These buttons do take a bit longer to make but are worth the extra effort just to get that satisfying feeling of having made some entirely from scratch.
I've added this cushion to my shop even though I'm sure I could find a home for it in one of my daughters rooms.
Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have been......

Strip piecing these squares....

A peek at a work in progress's a little peek at what I created today and am hoping to finish tomorrow....

harvesting rhubarb and strawberries... the rhubarb with some granny smith apples to go with our breakfast cereal, yum. This is especially nice with a little orange juice and rind but today I settled for a little natural vanilla essence in the absence of oranges....

....and I am often found with my nose in this book lately. Jodi Picoult's books get me every time. 

Friday, November 11, 2011


Another bliss project
I spent a good couple of hours today sitting in the sunshine, listening to National Radio and also enjoying the sound of the Tui's singing outside whilst cutting up these squares leftover from my 2 Bliss quilts.  It took me a while to come up with a design that would make best use of what I have leftover which also includes a few little yo-yo's.  I hope you are not tired of seeing this pretty fabric collection here as I'm afraid that this will not be the last project I make using these fabrics. I still have those triangles to incorporate into something plus I still have quite a bit of Bliss yardage left.
I think we are in for a pleasantly warm and sunny weekend which will make me want to get out in the garden rather than stay inside to sew. Wishing everyone a pleasant weekend too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another finish!

Baby girl Bliss quilt 
Just finished this little baby girl quilt early this afternoon and I'm feeling pretty chuffed to have finished 2 quilts in the same week! This baby bliss quilt is made up of leftover blocks from my original Bliss quilt and at 30" by 50" is the perfect size for a baby quilt. 

Baby girl Bliss quilt 
As you can see I went to town when I pinned it to make sure it didn't move when I quilted it and it worked. All those extra pins were worth it.

Baby girl Bliss quilt 
I did some simple straight line quilting down each side of each seam and also diagonally across the squares with the same variegated thread I used on the other Bliss quilt then added a little yo-yo to each intersection.

Baby girl Bliss quilt
Here's a photo of the quilt back....I like how the intersecting quilting lines have made tiny little stars. And yes this is the same print I used on the baby boy quilt. I bought a couple of mitres as I knew they would go so well with a lot of fabrics in my stash.
Baby girl Bliss quilt
I used one of the pink Bliss prints for the binding just to give it a really girly look.
I now have only 2 quilt tops left to quilt so I think I'm doing well so far in keeping that pledge I made here to have no more quilt tops hanging around waiting for their turn to be finished. 

This quilt is up for sale in my etsy shop :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby boy circle quilt...

Baby boy circle quilt 
This is the finished quilt I have been working on this last week and the one I showed a little snippet of in my last post.  It is for the same baby boy that I made these gifts for. I thought after making the ball and bootees I would quickly whip up a simple quilt for him and immediately thought of this quilt but I always like to put my own spin on a pattern and also wanted to incorporate a bundle of fat quarters I had in my stash that included the zoology print by Michael Miller and some coordinating spotty fabrics that seemed perfect for a boy. The idea for the tree came from the Zoology print which has the same simple tree amongst the animals. 
Baby boy circle quilt 
The words are done in a Amy Butler stripe and to make them stand out a bit better I used a machine embroidery thread in a bright turquoise to blanket stitch around them.
Hand quilting nesscessities
I was going to quickly machine quilt it but then had the idea of some hand quilted various sized circles to keep with the circle theme I had going on. I found the perfect colours in one of Anna Maria Horners boxes of Pearle cottons and used a Fiskars circle template that I had for scrapbooking to get perfect circles.

Baby boy circle quilt 
I couldn't resist adding this sweet little bird to one of the branches which I found in one of my quilting books, and used another Amy Butler floral print.
Baby boy circle quilt 
The backing fabrics are nothing fancy but ones I wanted to use up from my stash. I found the 'abc' print and just added fabrics that went with the colours in that print. It felt so good to use these very old fabrics!
Baby boy circle quilt
The background spotty print is one from Spotlight and the binding print is the same print but the colours are reversed.  We gave the quilt and the other handmade gifts to my niece on Sunday and I think it's fair to say she was very pleased with everything.

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