Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A small person decides there must be endless treasures inside her big brothers hut in the lounge so goes for a visit :-)

Jewellery Making

Mr A has loved making wee bead bracelets for a while now, ever since an activity he did along these lines at daycare.  The bracelets he made there became very prized possessions and were worn for many many months until the once shiny red and green beads were all a dull shade of grey.
Last week I was looking in the back of a cupboard and came across a container with a few beads I had left over from bracelet kits I made for all the kids at his birthday party last year.  There were just enough beads for two more bracelets so Mr A studiously sat down and made these.  Then there was a cry for more beads but I couldn't magic some up out of thin air.  At a pinch we resorted to my bag of scrap yarn and picked out colours for some plaited wrist bands.  I did attempt to get Mr A doing the plaiting but he found it a bit frustrating and settled for picking the colours for me to make them from.
It was about this time, as I was wracking my brains thinking of things we could make a necklace from (we had moved onto necklace requests by this stage) that I remembered making necklaces out of those funny shaped polystyrene packing chips you used to get threaded onto string.  A quick email to Daddy and he arrived home from work with some of said packing chips (well actually the more eco equivalent today that dissolve in water but they do the job).  So the following day armed with a blunt darning needle and some yarn Mr A made his own necklace :-)
Carefully threading...
...pulling through the yarn.

The end result
Okay so it's not exactly the height of fashion but Mr A was very pleased with it and it was a great wee activity to utilise his fine motor skills :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Patterns For Christchurch

Although it was nearly a month ago that the devastating earthquake hit Christchurch it is lovely to see that so many people are still 100% behind the people of canterbury and want to help them rebuild their homes and their lives.
There are several very talented and generous local designers who are supporting the people of Christchurch by donating money from their pattern sales to the cause, so take a look, buy or gift a pattern and help get Christchurch back on it's feet.

The lovely Julia of Just One WIP is donating 100% of the pattern sales of her gorgeous Teacher's Pet design to the Red Cross for Christchurch until the end of April 2011.  Teacher's Pet is a beautiful wee dress with many different style options available in sizes 3-6m to 4 years and knitted in 8ply or 10ply yarn.  This pattern can be purchased on Ravelry or via her blog above.
Teacher's Pet 
 Also if you get in before the end of March you can buy any of the patterns designed by Rachel Evans and again know that 100% of the proceeds go to the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Fund.  Rachels's patterns include the Kaia Babydoll, Spring Butterfly and Paige Babydoll as well as dolly sized versions of these.
Kaia Babydoll
Spring Butterfly
Paige Babydoll
Another member of our local knit group and designer Catherine Hall is donating all proceeds from her patterns until the end of march.  She has some beautiful hat patterns available in baby, child and adult sizes including the Seaspray Bonnet and Gingham and Lace Bonnet.  Catherine will also soon be releasing a new pattern which will be an ongoing fundraiser for the Women's Refuge.
Seaspray Bonnet
Gingham and Lace Bonnet
And finally the donation period has just ended for the Tiki Mittens pattern by Genny Stevens raising a total of $540 for earthquake relief.  I was lucky enough to be gifted this pattern during the donation period and I can't wait to have the time to knit it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: MinkyBots Cloth Nappy

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to review a cloth nappy from MinkyBots thanks to Kiwi Mummy Blogs.  I am already a cloth nappy user but as I generally sew my own I have very few branded cloth nappies in my stash and those that I do have were nearly all second hand.  So I eagerly awaited my fluffy mail and I can tell you it was well worth the wait!

The nappy that arrived is just gorgeous and very well made, and it's minky so it's soft and scrummy.  It came with two microfibre inserts and although I don't usually use microfibre, especially not on it's own, in the interest of the review I gave it a whirl.
The nappy I received is a med and it is a good fit on Miss M who is currently 8kg and 68cm long.  I like the fact that the thighs and waist can be adjusted accordingly, it takes account for Miss M's rather chubby wee thighs :-)   She isn't on the tightest setting so this would fit a longer leaner baby well, but she still has plenty of room to grow in it so I think this would be a good long lasting nappy from the perspective of fit.
Having used this nappy several times now I am more than happy to rave about it and recommend these to anyone looking for a stylish and functional pocket nappy.  I even found that the two inserts received lasted Miss M for 2-3h no problems, and the nappy stood up to the requisite poo explosion test!
At the bargain price of $21 for a minky pocket nappy and $3.50 per microfibre insert I would say they are a winner.

Here are a few pics of Miss M showing off her new nappy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FO: For A Special Ballet Girl

One of Mr A's very dear wee friends is turning 4 this week.  This is a friend of ours from our antenatal class so we have known them since before the kidlets were born and they have become fabulous friends over the last few years.  I always like to make gifts (or at least a part of a gift) where possible, i.e where time and inspiration allows, and have had a lot of fun with this one.
This wee friend of Mr A's is absolutely mad on all things ballet at the moment so I thought it only proper that she should have her very own 'ballet outfit' to play in.
On my last visit home I rummaged through Mum's stash and hit the jackpot.  I found an old abandoned cut out leotard that would probably have fit me (shudder to even think of that these days) and some nice floaty silky material that matched it.  I also snaffled Mum's trusty retro KnitWit leotard and footless tights pattern, this is an awesome wee base pattern for any kind of leotard and she may not ever get it back ;-)

First job was to 'upcycle' the leotard.  I drafted the pattern to a size 2 with extra length since the recipient is a tiny wee thing, and cut it out from the old leotard.....

and voila!

And of course every wee ballerina needs a floaty skirt for over their leotard so.....

The skirt is a simple circular skirt with a slight gathering at the waist on a waistband with velcro.  I asked Mum for a skirt pattern and laughed at me and said "You just make them, you know how to do it!"  Very helpful indeed but I did kind of know and I'm happy with how it turned out.  I did actually take pictures as I did the skirt so if I get the time and inclination (or if anyone wants it) I can post a 'how to' tutorial for it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

FO: Vanilla in Venice

So I have finally finished knitting something!  Actually I've finished something else too but it needs seaming and is a gift so I can't show it here yet.  Anyway this wee soaker for Miss M should have taken me about 2 days and instead took me over a week.  I blame a sick baby (which in turn lead to a very tired Mummy) and a busy pre-schooler for that.
This is knitted using the Vanilla Soaker pattern which I bought about 2 years ago and have finally got around to knitting.  I bought it to make a soaker for Mr A but he was toilet trained before I got around to it - oops.  I love the pattern and will definitely be making more (she says boldly!).  The pattern comes in sizes nb to extra large and details are given for both 8ply ad 10ply yarn so it's really versatile.  I love the construction of this wee soaker and the pattern is well written and easy to follow.  
Here I have knitted the 8ply version in size Med.  I probably could have got away with a small for Miss M as it turns out (the pattern does run quite big) but it is to go over her night nappy so I figured bigger was better.  I knitted this in Skeinz Random Print in colourway Venice and I'm really pleased with how it knitted up.  The contrast bands are some Utiku possum/merino in lipstick that I had in stash :-)
P.S  Please excuse the big scratch on her forehead, that's one of the disadvantages of having an early mover!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Charlie's Chocolate Cake for Christchurch

Feeling pretty removed from the current chaos in Christchurch and pretty hopeless I was looking for any way possible to help.  As a massive financial donation was out of the question I was pleased to hear the DPs work was having a week long 'bake sale' to raise funds for the Earthquake Appeal.  So last Thursday Mr A and I set about making one of my old faithful and ever popular cake recipes "Charlie's Chocolate Cake".  This is actually a recipe of my Gran's, hence everything is in ounces, and it always seems to be a favourite.

Charlie's Chocolate Cake


3 oz butter
6 oz sugar
1/2 C milk
1 dsp golden syrup
Cool this slightly and add
1tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2C milk (or 50:50 milk and water)

In a basin:
1C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cocoa
Stir in the liquid and mix thoroughly with an electric beater (I use an electric egg beater), giving a runny mixture.  Pour into a tin and bake at 180 degrees C for approx 30 mins.  Generally with a doubled mixture this takes more like 40-50 mins but I just keep checking it.

I didn't get any decent photos of the end result but this gives you an idea and next time I make it I'll pop up some photos of it cut :-)

P.S The bake sale raised about $700 which was matched dollar for dollar by the company - woohoo.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Holland Road Yarn Company

So I have a new local hangout yarn store and it is about as fab as fab can be.  I mean what more could one want than a place to knit, chat, have a coffee, drool over patterns and fondle yarn?  All this has come to pass at Holland Road Yarn Company.
Images stolen with permission of Tash

As you can see there is a lovely array of yarn and fibre in every colour imaginable.  There is a lovely balance of local and imported yarns including Knitsch (of course!), Red Riding Hood yarns, Spinning a Yarn, Cascade, Vintage by Skeinz, Fyberspates and Malibrigo.  

Here are the spoils that have made it to my house so far, some knitsch sock seconds, fyberspates scrumptious merino/silk 4ply/sport in cherry, skeinz vintage (6 balls for a cardy for Miss M) and the gorgeous Autumn Vines Beret pattern by Alana Dakos (Never Not Knitting). 

So if you ever find yourself near 281 Jackson Street in Petone do pop in for a knit and a chat you wont be disappointed.  Tash doesn't even mind loud squealing babies ;-)

P.S  For those who can't make it you can always check out and shop online.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On The Needles

Well with all that has been happening here I haven't been doing much crafting lately so I decided a "what's happening" post might give me some encouragement to get some things moving along and finished :-)

So here's what I currently have on the go:

A Vanilla soaker for Miss M in some lovely random print yarn from Skeinz called Venice.  I wasn't too sure about this when I got it but I'm really liking it knitted up.

This is a wee secret project that just needs seaming, finishing and delivering to it's new owner, more to come hopefully soon.

And I must admit that I love winding yarn from the hank.  It always heralds the start of a fresh project and I often get bouts of "start-projectitis" and end up with several things on the go at once, which could be why I have so many hibernating projects.  Anyway the other day I wound this gorgeous Knitsch yarn in Gwyneth to make a Victoria Cardigan for Miss M.

The aim now is to report back about the completion of at least the first 2 over the next week or so.