Monday, January 31, 2011

Check this out

Check out Hugs to Hold a fantastic idea aimed at putting a smile on the face of the children who have lost everything in the recent devestating floods in Australia. A soft toy seems like a small thing but could make a huge difference. I hope to get something completed for this soon and hope many of you will join in as well :-)

Also take a look at this awesome giveaway on Heart Felt . She has three beautiful zip purses from Atticus Finch to give away.


Today I upgraded one of Mr A's christmas presents.  Santa gave him this awesome car wallet from Lulu's Closet and he loved it for taking cars out and about (you can never go anywhere without cars round these parts).

Anyway the way the velcro was stitched on meant that a lot of his slightly bigger cars didn't fit so I decided to upgrade it to allow more vehicles to be taken out on adventures.  So I removed the velcro (and the button wheels in the process), added snaps and replaced the wheels.  Voila!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Dress That Nearly Wasn't

Well that says it all really.  THE dress is finally done.  Anyone who knows me IRL or online will have heard me mumbling and grumbling about this creation on and off over the last couple of weeks.
So here's the general idea
I should have known from my very first oopsie that this wasn't going to go well but it went something along the lines of
* Forget to cut the skirt out on the fold so had to get more fabric so I didn't have to have big joins front and back of the skirt (about now I should have started to think twice about continuing, but did I... NO).
* Sewing the underneath romper part I put the elastic on the wrong side, unpicked it and sewed it again on both legs only to find out that it was right the first time and have to unpick it ALL again and redo it (time to stop sewing for the day you might think?  Well if I had half a brain yes, but I soldiered on!)
* Time to attach the skirt to the bodice and although it worked I'm sure I did it in the most difficult way possible.
* The end is in sight.  Miss M is awake but happily playing so "I'll just quickly sew the romper on and it will be done" - NOT!  Somehow I managed to attach the romper not only inside out but back to front, and I overlocked it before I realised.  Queue throwing the dress in the corner, turning off the machine and going in search of chocolate.

Anywho after that somewhat embarrassing array of errors I got back to this today and here is the final result.

And thankfully for my sanity and that of all those around me it fits with room to grow :-)
And here's my wee girl showing off her latest trick!  Yes she is standing just by holding onto the toy box and yes she is only 4.5m old.  So much for my sit quietly in the corner baby - hehehe.

So after this sewing debacle you may think I will pack up the machine for a while but no.  Look what arrived in my letter box last week.  
My new ottobre mag and some yummy Michael Miller cord earmarked for a winter pinafore for Miss M.  I need to make a new nappy stash for Miss M as well so there will be more sewing posts over the next wee while.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nowhere To Park

So what is this post about?  A trip to the mall?  The library carpark on a rainy weekend?  Nope!

Mr A, who is dead nuts on vehicles of any shape, size or variety got the coolest roadways set for christmas.
He was playing with it with Daddy last weekend when he proclaimed "But there's nowhere for the vehicles to park Daddy".  Queue the cogs slowly starting to turn and a trip to the local hardware store for mdf, black spraypaint, a test pot of white acrylic paint and a drill bit.  And so the process of carpark making began.  After measuring, cutting, drilling out the holes, black spray painting, masking and painting (with the help of Mr A, if you decide to try this at home the combination of a 3.5yo and acrylic paint isn't necessarily a good one) we had this.
Remove the masking tape...
and play :-)
Mr A was thrilled and the cars seemed pretty pleased with the results as well.  Now to wonder if 23 car parking spaces is enough or if an extension will be required before too long.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family Time

Around the start of the new year we decided that we needed to make some changes to how things happen around here in order to have more family time.  We had slipped into a pattern of the weekends vanishing in a flurry of getting the groceries and odd jobs and we never felt like we actually 'did' anything.  So far it's been going really well and we all seem a lot better of for it.  Here are a few of the things we've been getting up to....

A picnic at a local Reserve:
A day at the beach:
And yesterday a wander through the Gardens and play at the playground:

Here's hoping we have many more to add to these over the coming weeks :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And finally.....

Here are the first finished projects for 2011 :-)

First up is a nappy that I started making approx 6 months ago - oops.  Thought I better finish it before Miss M grew out of it and it took me all of about 10 mins to finish it off.  I do love it though, first minky nappy I've made (well second actually I made another one for a gift at the same time but that one actually got finished) and it's so soft and scrummy.  I just need to find time to make a whole lot more now to turn our boring unisex/boy nappy stash into a scrummy girly stash.

And my first real finished project of 2011 is this shirt for Mr A.  This is a pattern out of an Ottobre magazine (3/2010) and I made a size 92cm with 98cm length (roughly a size 2 with size 3 length) which fits nicely.  I did have a few troubles getting the sleeves in and sitting nicely but I'm not sure if that was an issue with the pattern or the machine operator.  Mr A loves cars so it was a real hit and even got proudly worn to daycare today.  We did have to have some discussion after he chose orange star shaped snaps for it but in the end he decided the plain cream ones would be okay as well :-)

I love the Ottobre mags and will hopefully be making a lot more clothes for both of the kidlets out of them.

Friday, January 14, 2011

These Lazy Hazy Days

I have to admit I love summer. I often tell people that I'm solar powered, I seriously struggle during long periods of grey rainy weather, and lets face it you can't beat a warm, clear, calm summers day. Unfortunately where we live the hot sunny weather is usually accompanied by a gale force wind but this summer we've been really lucky and had quite a lot of calm(ish) days where we've been able to get out and enjoy the weather.

For me growing up the lazy hazy days of summer were spent here...

At our bach that is (or beach house for those non kiwis amongst you). We would while away the summer holidays swimming, boating, playing on the beach, scrambling over rocks and soaking up the sun. This is still what I think of when I imagine a perfect lazy summers day.

Today however I had a lovely lazy summer day kicking back at home with the kidlets, and it was even quite productive. While Miss M slept Mr A had a ball tearing up and down our (rather steep) driveway on his wee ride on motorbike while I hung out the washing and even tackled the garden, the horrible creepy vine thing might not thank me but the flax bush I found underneath looks a lot happier :-)
Mr A and I baked this...
and he cleaned out and sorted his toy boxes with the help of Miss M and myself.
Then after more gardening and bike riding we figured we'd earned some afternoon tea.
We even managed to fit in some colouring, card games and playing cars before Daddy got home :-)
So often I think we have to go somewhere or do something to have a good day but today has reminded me that's not necessarily the case.

Oh and what could make a good day better? News of a new LYS opening soon ;-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ysolda Love

Yesterday I took some time to catch up on some blog reading which I haven't been doing much of lately. I try to follow a lot of blogs and have many favs but one of the ones I love to spend time catching up on is that of my current fav knitting pattern designer Ysolda Teague. I discovered Ysolda's designs through Ravelry and after reading her blog discovered that she lives in a city that I think of as my second home, Edinburgh. I spent 3 years living and working in Edinburgh and it still holds many fantastic memories for me and I find the gorgeous photos on Ysolda's blog often take me back there.
Anyway back to the point. While reading some recent posts of Ysolda's blog I discovered that her new and much awaited book Little Red in the City is now available for pre-order and will be available in time for my birthday - squeeeee!
I already own both of Ysolda's current books, Whimsical Little Knits and Whimsical Little Knits 2, and wholeheartedly intend to get myself a copy of her new book as well. I have knit a few of her designs already and not only love the easy to follow patterns but also find I always get to learn some new technique along the way. Here are my Ysolda offerings to date




Of these my Veyla mitts would have to be my absolute fav, in fact they are probably one of my fav FOs of all time.  I adore the pattern and they are knitted in the stunningly soft and squishable cashmere/merino in Dreich from Old Maiden Aunt (more about these yarns in another post later I'm sure).

Just before christmas Ysolda set up a 'holiday shop' and as a result I was lucky enough to receive this as a slightly late christmas present last week.

And inside a gorgeous WIP bag featuring the Ysolda design Sophie :-)

Now to find the time to cast on another Ysolda design to keep inside it, I think next on the list for me is the Scroll Lace Scarf knitted in Old Maiden Aunt alpaca/silk in Red red rose as shown in the pattern picture.

Monday, January 10, 2011

In Progress

My crafting seems to be slowly crawling into 2011 with not much progress anywhere so I thought I'd do a wee post about what I currently have in the pipeline.

First of all on the knitting front I am inching my way through a test knit for the lovely Elena of moreknits at an embarassingly slow pace, not helped by a sick child and a baby who doesn't like to give me any time in the evenings. It will be a hooded long sleeved jersey for Mr A eventually (well actually hopefully quite soon), but here's it's sad looking current state.

So with the knitting going nowhere fast then what about sewing? To be honest that's not much better. I do have fabric here for clothes for both Mr A and Miss M and I did finally get around to doing some cutting out today (and making some stupid mistakes in the process). My sewing machine has had to move from our bedroom to a new home in the computer room to make room for Miss M moving out of the bassinet and into the cot.  This should theoretically give me more sewing time as I can now sew while Miss M is asleep, but it wasn't much use until I bought an extension cord today so I can actually plug the machine in. Here's a wee peek at what is in on it's way....

I'll aim to have more finished projects and less WIPs in my next craft post.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Thanks to those of you who commented on my Pay It Forward post and are wanting to spread some RAOK cheer throughout the year. Pookee, marshmellowmagic and happychic I will be in touch when your RAOKs are organised. I'm am loving planning these and those that I will do from the facebook version of this. I hope that anyone who reads these posts now will think about putting together some RAOKs of their own. Since posting earlier in the week I hae already been the recipient of a lovely RAOK in the form of some bibs for Miss M, and today I posted off a wee something to someone special ;-)

Fun with Food Colouring

Just before christmas I was lucky enough to get a take my turn with a travelling swap box a group of friends organised earlier in the year. The box when it arrived was a treasure trove of delights and after much deliberaion I chose the following:
That is some Baby Bella bamboo yarn, some gorgeous Needlefood sock yarn in Mango Smoothie and a wee pack containing playsilks and kool-aid for dying.

So when we were faced with some free time with nothing to do bwtween christmas and new year Mr A and I tackled some playsilk dying. I let Mr A choose the colours and he chose red and blue, and as we didn't have any red kool-aid we just used standard food colouring.
The first step was to soak the playsilks in a solution of white vinegar and hotnwater for about half an hour. While this wa going on we mixed up the dyes, the blue was two packets of berry blue kool-aid in 2 cups of water with a splash of vinegar and the red was a random amount of red food colouring in some water with a splash of vinegar (very scientific of me I know).
Drain the playsilks and add to the dye solutions
Cover and microwave for 2 mins on high, then a further 1 min then stand to cool.
Rinse the playsilks in cool water until the water runs clear, this was straight away with the blue one but the red took a lot of rinsing, I think I may have been a bit overzealous with the red food colouring.  Then hang on the line to dry.
Now play!  Mr A adores these and has been really creative in finding different ways of playing with them.
And Miss M wasn't one to miss out on the fun either!
I'm really pleased with how these turned out and it was a great activity to share with Mr A.  Ours turned out with a mottled look but we could have got a more solid colour by agitating the playsilks more in the dye solution.  The same dying technique can also be used for wool :-)