Sunday, 27 July 2014

Gift making

A special nieces 20th birthday called for a special gift.  I wanted it to be handmade as she has just made her first dress.  I decided this zippered pouch would be handy to store her sewing/crafting supplies.  The pattern is from Sewing Room Secrets and was an excellent pattern to follow, even the zip was easy to install following the instructions.  The pattern suggests covering a notebook to match so I did and embroidered an 'M' in the corner.  I gave them to Maddi today and she seemed very happy with them.
Our trip to Taupo last week was a two hour drive so I had a knitting project with me to pass the time.  I made the Skeppe hat again, this time for my boss as she loved the one I had made for myself here.  I do love this pattern and it looked really good on Cath, here Charlie has been my reluctant model!! Wendy xx

Thursday, 24 July 2014

School holidays

Charlie is safely home and had a wonderful time, it was such a pleasure to hear she fully participated in the experience and loved it all.  Once she was home we spent two days in Taupo, staying in an apartment that looked out to the lake.  Such a beautiful place to visit with snow-capped mountains, Huka waterfall, the lake, and geothermal attractions.  But now the school holidays are over and the routine of term three has begun.
I have managed some sewing in between working and holidaying.  I made the Colette Mabel skirt, using a heavyweight merino ponti knit.  I made size large which ended up being too big, particularly around the waist, so I altered the waistband to make it fit.  I also added 2.5" to the length.  I don't think this is the most flattering pattern on me as it hugs the hips and thighs (the area of my body I try to hide!!), however it is such a warm, comfy skirt especially when paired with my warmest, thickest tights.  I wore it in Taupo with a long cardigan and I think it looked okay.
I also made the Plantain T-shirt which is a free pattern by Deer & Doe.  This is my third time using this pattern, it makes such a great layering top.  The first one was in white cotton knit and the second in a grey and brown merino.  This last one is my favourite, made in black merino.  I added to the length by about 1.5" and added cuffs to the sleeves as I love a long sleeve in winter, keeping my wrists toasty warm.  You may notice a seam under the bust with the black one, I couldn't quite fit the front piece on my fabric so cut it into two - call it a design feature!  I definitely don't plan on wearing the T-shirt and skirt by themselves but layered with other clothes.  These makes just happen to fit in perfectly with The Monthly Stitch where the challenge this month is to sew in monochrome. Wendy xx

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