Friday, 11 July 2014

Pay it forward

I have made my second Pay it forward gift and Amy has now safely received it.  Amy makes lots of beautiful things on her blog and has a knack for putting really pretty fabrics together so I tried to use fabrics I thought she would like.  I made Amy the Kite Tote designed by Charise Randell from the Playful little paper-pieced projects book.  I also made her a necklace which was a kit from Close to my heart and found her a fat quarter cupcake.  Charlie and I made ourselves a necklace each too from the same kit.

Charlie is back on Saturday from the mission trip in Vanuatu.  That's her below - in sunglasses, third from the left.  It sounds like everything has gone well and they made two water pumps for the villages.  I am so looking forward to seeing her after her two weeks away with very little contact.  I am going to make her favourite home made ice cream as a welcome home treat!  Wendy xx

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Inspired to make

Jenny from Elefantz is one of my favourite designer blogs to read.  She writes very inspiring and encouraging posts and has beautiful projects and tutorials as well.  Recently she wrote about raiding her craft room to make something, which turned out to be a beautiful quilted cushion making use of a stitchery she had completed previously, see here.  I was instantly inspired to use the gorgeous little cat stitchery I had received from Michelle last year as part of a swap.  After an evening of sewing I had a new cushion using craft supplies I had on hand.  Thanks for the inspiration Jenny.
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Winter loves

Homemade butter chicken soup; pumpkin soup made from home grown pumpkins (isn't this the cheeriest colour on a drab winter day?); Saturday morning soccer; knitted fingerless mitts (as requested by Charlie for her best friend/cousin, the Nalu Mitts pattern, information here); scrapbook pages completed; pot plants filled with pansy's.
Butter chicken soup is one of our favorites, it's a hearty filling meal and actually low in fat.  The second day we often have the leftovers on extra rice so it becomes more like a casserole.

Butter chicken soup
1 large boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into small chunks
1 finely chopped onion
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 can tomatoes, chopped with juice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup lite evaporated milk
Spray large pot with oil and add chicken and onion. Stir constantly until chicken is sealed. Add the dried spices and ginger, then stir in tomatoes and chicken stock. When simmering pour in basmati rice and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix together tomato paste and flour and whisk this, a little at a time, into soup. Add brown sugar and evaporated milk. Season to taste with salt and ground pepper.  (Recipe from Sophie Gray)
Enjoy, Wendy xx

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A date and a dress

Paul had a day off on Friday so we visited the Hamilton gardens.  It was a perfect winter day, the sun was shining and it really felt more like autumn than winter.  The gardens are a beautiful place to visit and cover a large area with many different collections. My favourites are the Italian and English gardens.
I had also finished a new dress so Paul snapped some photos for me.  The dress is the Darling Ranges dress by Megan Nielsen, my first time sewing one of her designs.  Dear Julie gave me the fabric, it's a polyester (I did a burn test) with a nice soft, silky feel and drapes beautifully.  I finished the seams by overlocking and the neckline with bias binding as the pattern said, I do like the clean finish this gives.  I made the size medium with the following alterations:
  • removed 1/2" from top back seam for my narrow shoulders
  • added 1/2" to each side seam at the bust
  • removed about 4" from the skirt to reduce the fullness and gathers
  • added 6" to the length
  • I didn't add the elastic casing to the sleeve cuff or add the back tie
I really love this dress, I like how I can dress it up with a belt or just leave it plain.  Thanks so much Julie for the gorgeous fabric.  I've entered my dress into The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern dress competition. I'm not really one to blow my own trumpet but in this case I have to indulge in a bit of self-promotion. If you feel so inclined you can click on the button above to view the dresses and cast a vote for your favourite (it doesn't have to be mine but of course it wouldn't be self-promotion if I didn't gently nudge you in that direction). :) Wendy xx

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Knitting and thrifting

We had a long weekend last week and it was pretty wonderful: no Saturday sports, Paul was home, I went scrapbooking for a day and we went to the movies on the Monday.  I did unfortunately get the cold that the rest of the family had but am now almost back to normal apart from a stuffy nose.  So I haven't felt as much like sewing as usual; knitting has been the craft of choice, it's so easy to sit near the fire and relax with needles and yarn.  I now have two socks and they are very comfy.  I made my own 'blockers' from foam sheets, not wanting to pay $60(!!) for sock blockers from the wool shop.  I also finished my hat, I love this pattern and have worn it a few times already. It is the Skeppe hat by Truly Myrtle.
Occasionally I make time to pop into my local vintage shop and recently I found a beautiful lace table cloth and two scarves, one silk and an organza one.  Today I visited a vintage and craft fair, I love seeing what the local crafty community are making.  I found the succulent in a china bowl, a silk vintage dress and a hand crafted necklace made with felted balls.  The dress is lovely, fully lined, really nicely finished inside, and it fits!!  It is actually a dark navy although it looks black in the photo.  Oh, and I also bought a couple of yummy cupcakes that didn't last long! Wendy xx

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Fastest quilt in the west

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a "fastest quilt in the west" class.  I started with 10 fat quarters and the tutor had bought some examples of her quilts to give us ideas of final layouts.  The morning was spent measuring, then measuring again, then cutting; and after lunch we were finally able to make blocks.  Once all our blocks were made the fun part started, moving them around until we were happy with the layout.  My quilt is for Josh (14 years) who in the last year has shot up to just over 6 feet tall and needs a bigger bed.  I made him a Boys Story quilt in 2011 here and it is now too small!  After trying different block arrangements, the class consensus was the zigzag design as a more boyish look.  I was amazed to get the main part of the quilt sewn together in a day, now it needs some borders to finish it.  I'm thinking they may take longer to do than the first part!
Oh, and look, I made a sock!  Wendy xx

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sewing with knits

I've been sewing with knits which just happens to be The Monthly Stitch challenge this month.  The fabrics for these were my Christmas spend and are really nice quality.  The dress is the Ultimate Wrap dress by Sew Over It and was a nice easy make.  I made size 14 and altered it by adding 7" to the length which meant I didn't do the curved hem.  I also did two small darts in the back neck to remove gaping and made a self-fabric binding to finish the neckline rather than using the facing and I like the neat finish this gives (you can see this in the close-up).  I love this dress, it is the perfect weight for autumn/winter and is easy to wear.
The top is the Ensis Tee by Papercut patterns.  The fabric is a rayon lycra mix with a stretch lace for the shoulder contrast.  I made size medium with variation 1 sleeves (love the cuffs) and variation 2 hemline which is more flattering for me.  The only alteration was to take in each side seam by about 1.5 cm to make it less boxy and more fitting.  By the way, Bess the chook was hanging around my feet so I thought she could be in the photo too!
These are some of my favourite makes, clothes I love and feel good in. Wendy xx