Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An awesome apron made from a man's shirt

Finished like this
I saw on facebook a photo of someone who had made a country man's shirt into an apron. I am a big apron fan myself and have always kept that idea at the back of my mind. So while I was away with the material girls at our retreat, this was one of the first things I did.

Started as this
My shirt was a gorgeous 100% cotton cufflink shirt. So I cut the sleeves off, then the back and the cut on an angle from the armpit to partway up the collar. The collar, cuffs and back facing had a lovely contrast colour. I used the contrast from the back facing to make binding for one side and one cuff facing to make the binding for the other side. I used the last bit of cuff facing to make the pocket. One sleeve became the ties. Viola an apron that I really like (I am wearing it while I type this.)

Thanks to Glenis who makes a great official photographer.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Amazing amount achieved in 72 hours

Well I think that I achieved a lot anyway. Way more than I have ever done at my yearly retreat.
I finished

  • two entire quilt tops
  • 1 pieced quilt back
  • I sandwiched two quilts together
  • I quilted two quilts
  • bound 1 quilt
  • made the top of a patchwork cushion
  • made a funky laundry basket
  • two small bags, one for buttons and one for selvages
  • one apron from a business man's shirt.
  • Turned up one pair of jeans and put patches on it - to make it "cool" for Eli.
I still had piles of projects that I took that did not even get looked at. But I am happy with this achievement.
Over the next week I will show you each one more indepth.

And the amazing news is that next year the retreat will be FIVE days not three. I will be attending FOUR days of that. Wow can't wait for next year.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How many projects can you complete in 72 hours

I am going to my quilting weekend at Living Springs tomorrow lunch time. I think I have seriously over estimated how much can be achieved by Monday lunchtime.

I have three quilts cut out.
The scrap quilt to get to work on.
Two kids patterns to work out and template up.
Trousers to mend and put patches on.
Five bags to make.
At least 6 other containers of sorts to do.
1 bean bag seat to make.
Plus I have taken my entire stash of material from under the bed (just in case I get inspired to do something else).

I think I have an entire quilt shop in my car!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cheats Dairy Free Apricot Shortcake

I wanted to bake something for Jess as it is exhausting having little babies. As Jess is also dairy free now to see if that will help Alex with his reflux, I needed to think outside the square. Well I cheated. Instead of spending ages adapting a recipe I took the easy route and dashed to the supermarket and got a margarine that is made with olive oil - hence diary free. Oh my goodness, did you know that some of the promoted "healthy" margarines made with Olive oil cheat and have milk solids in them. I was really surprised and read labels very carefully. So good old Olivio was the only one I could guarantee to be diary free.

Then all I had to do was replace the butter content with the Olivio margarine. Simple, easy and it worked really well.

My diary free shortcake recipe:
4oz Olivio
1/2 cup castor sugar
mix those together well. Then add
1 egg and beat. Then add
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup self raising flour

This is a very soft dough. I do not roll it out as it causes problems being so soft.
Grease the tin you are putting it in (I used a foil disposable tin so Jess doesn't have to worry about returning things). Press half the dough into the bottom of the tin.

Drain a decent sized bottle of home preserves (I used apricots for Jess and blackboy peaches for our one). Give the juice to the kids to drink and put the drained fruit into your baking tin in a even layer. Flour your hands well and flatten the remaining mixture in between your hands and place on top of the fruit - trying to give even coverage. Bake 180oC about 30 minutes. (I check it every 5 minutes after 25 min of cooking).
Hey presto and yummy

Refashioned Shirt

The newly shaped shirt
Ezibuy - capture 100% cotton shirt. I got it at the Op Shop for $2 as it seemed a bit out of date and I was going to chop it up for quilting.

Cuffs altered.
Then Aaron commented on how good the colour looked on me. So I rethought. I put the cuff buttons onto the other side of the cuff so that it now does up as though they are cuff-links. Then I removed the collar, put stiffening in it and sewed it back on but with a slightly thinner collar so it will fold down or stand up. Then in the front I put a dart / shaping from under the breastline down to the bottom. At the back I put in two large shaping darts and two much smaller ones.

It may not look much in the photo but it now looks really smart, well shaped and extremely wearable.
The shirt to start with.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All packaged and ready

Yes, after my big sewing production line on the weekend I now have 8 sets of sewing accessories all packaged and ready to go. I love the colours of the material and have tried to match the colour of the snips to the material.

So each package has 1. Scissor keeper - which is a material lanyard with clip and a pair of the amazing sharp, super useful snips. 2. Finger pin cushion - this slides onto the finger of your choice and means you have pins available. I find this really useful. I thought they would just get in the way but I have not found that to be the case.

For details on how you can purchase them from me click -  here.

Some lucky people at this weekends retreat with the Material Girls will get them as spot prizes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Production Line Sewing

I am watching delayed coverage of the Crusaders and hope to have almost 8 sets of my sewing accessories finished by then.

I have everything lined up and am sewing the finger pin cushions and stuffing them while play is on. During the ads I anticipate dashing to the sewing machine to stitch bits together. I have promised a few of these sets as spot prizes for next weekend. I have three days sewing at Living Springs with a bunch of other women. I am also looking at these as Xmas presents for those near and dear who are into crafts.

7 Pirates were in my house

Yes I kid you not, there were definitely 7 pirates on my back lawn this afternoon.
Eli had his birthday party for turning 7 (which happens next weekend) and there were 7 boys invited to a pirate party.

They all participated in two treasure hunts with secret messages to be revealed (ie the clues were written in white crayon on white paper, so they had to find the clue, bring it back and "paint" it with water that had food colouring. This reveals the message for the next clue). First hunt was a practise run all around our section. This achieved a pirate monocular. The second hunt was so extensive that some of the boys ran out of puff and walked for the last two clues. It was in the Kaiapoi Domain- which we are lucky to live by the edge of. The result was a cutlass so they became real pirates.

Big sword fights on the lawn and lots of food followed. With a treasure chest cake. All good fun and the only injury was Eli who poked himself in the eye!!!. I am now having a cup of tea - whew.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Upcycling - 100% eco Patchwork quilt

There are so many quilts out there that are "scrap" quilts but you still need to buy a lot of material, batting, backing etc to complete it. So I decided to buck the trend and make a true scrap quilt. All from left over bits, recycled bits, others rubbish.
Today I spent the time making the basics of the quilt sandwich. So I made the top - out of three bits of sheeting, the backing was also made this way. These bits of sheeting were sheets purchased from the Op Shop for $3 or under, I made them into duvet covers for the boys. But the bits were left over. So I sewed them together in strips until they were big enough for a lap quilt. Then I used all the leftover scraps of batting from other projects. This took five pieces sewn together.

The picture is me putting the quilt sandwich together. So there is a scrap top, scrap batting and a scrap backing. You can see all the seams on the photo but I am hoping that at the end this will not show through. I tried using basting spray for the first time (instead of pins), it took a lot more spray than I thought and it was not as successful as I hoped. May have to revert to the pinning effort.

Anyway - I am going to use bits that I pick up from the various quilt gatherings I go to. I hate seeing waste and at a lot of places I have picked up quite large quantities of material from the bins. Generally I use those bits to make quilts for the orphanage in El Dorat So it will be stitched as a raw edge piecing and will be interesting to see how it turns out. I will keep you posted.

A school award

Congratulations to Eli. Today in Assembly he received his "growing with excellence" award. This is based on the schools values and they have to consistently portray all the values to get the award. Only two children in his class achieved this last term. So big mana to him.
He had to show Arohanui, Community, Responsibility, Respect, Opportunity and Quality.

Well done Eli.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dinner for the New Mum and Dad

My spare time today was spent organising dinner for my lovely sister and brother in laws - Jess and Stephen. They have Alex home from hospital now for 7 or 8 nights. We are all finally disease and bug and flu free so we made dinner. Eli was really excited to finally meet Alex as he had been too sick the last couple of visits.
I remember people making meals for me and how amazing it was to have. So I tried to make enough for tomorrow lunch as well. Little Mieke loves my jam and spiced apple cake. As those are both diary free I made some for her.
So dinner was cucumber salad with Lime and olive oil dressing, meatballs in lots of lovely slow cooked tomato, rice and then apple cake for dessert. Then a loaf of homemade bread and a jar of jam. With a carafe of Feijoachello for when the new mum is feeling she needs a bit of something at night.
Earlier in the afternoon Jess told Mieke that I was coming with dinner tonight. Mieke's only comment was "Karen, Cake". Then when I walked in the door she lifted her hands up to be picked up and asked for cake!!! Is that good or bad that auntie is known for making cake??

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where there is a Schulz there is smoke

You know the saying - "Where there is smoke there is fire". Well today disproved that. Smoke does not equal fire when Aaron is building it in spite of heavy rain. We were on our way back from a night in Hanmer Springs (breaking our journey home from Motueka). It rained in Hanmer but Aaron was sure it would not rain on his fire at lunch time.

When we were with my parents my Dad made me a really awesome tool. It is for cooking things over an open flame. Instead of bread or crumpets etc falling off your fork he made a square thingy that nothing falls out of. I have not taken a photo but it is very
ingenious. Anyway we were keen to try it. So at the Balmoral reserve just out of Culverden Aaron set a fire going.

I retreated as it starting pouring with rain (as I had very rightly pointed out to Aaron that it would). Smoke was everywhere. The boys were playing in a tyre swing in the trees oblivious to the rain, but they too came to my hidyhole. So we waited out the rain quite snugly whilst Aaron got soaked insisting his fire would be fine. Eventually it all cleared up and we had a great fire, wee walk and then hot toasted bread with butter and jam for lunch over the embers.

The most amazing retro inspired cafe ever

We have all been in Motueka for a few days. Aaron worked so the boys and I hitched a lift and we all stayed with my parents. We had a great time. My Mother had been keeping one surprise for us. A new cafe, coffee roastery and retro shop called Retrotonic. It is amazing. Great for men and women of all ages. Vintage cars, clothes, furniture, crockery - you name it they have it.

You order your coffee (roasted and ground on the premesis) from the caravan and then wander around while drinking. Fantastic coffee too. We thought it some of the best tasting coffee in Motueka. As much as we love Toad Hall, their food and atmosphere, their coffee isn't the greatest but this was.

So all you retro minded people, rock into this cafe.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bedroom makeover - stage 3

Well I am now down to the fine tuning of the room. The Black curtain is up - just need a hook on the wall to hook it back during the day. The blue, with yellow and orange flecks, sofa has been recovered using a black fitted sheet. The base of the bed has also been recovered using a black fitted sheet instead of a valance. The white duvets I made from old sheets - here- look great on top of the bed.
So - hook for curtain, New quilt to match the room, and fix the storage issue - the bookcase is so shallow that everything falls out of it, and then it will be done.

Teddy enjoys the new sofa

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yes we have some bananas

I have a whole box of banana's in fact. I went down Marshland Road on Saturday to buy some white wisteria from Gayle at Country Gardens. In between that nursery and the QE11 corner there is a fruit shop (actually there are several). I stopped in at the one nearest Country Gardens and bananas were $1.79kg. Bananas are great if you have been ill as when vomiting you tend to get quite low in potassium and bananas have lots of that so it is good for replacement and getting well. ( I was once hospitalised from vomiting too much and all they did was put in a potassium drip and I felt wonderful - it was the Dr there that told me to eat bananas if sick).
Anyway I went to get about 3 kg or $5 worth and there were boxes of bananas for $8 - I kid you not - 15kg of bananas for $8, so of course I bought the box. I also bought cheap apples $0.99kg and NZ oranges yummy. So we are fruit city at the moment.

Jakob and I drove past the big sign that said "nursery" the other day when we were on the way to see Jess and baby Alex. Jakob said "Mum you just missed the turn, the hospital is down there". My reply was obviously that the hospital was in town. Then he said "But the baby one is down there, it said nursery". Don't know if you had to be there but it was very funny.

I then made a quadruple mixture of Yoyo's otherwise known as melting moments. Took a lot longer than I thought it would! So tomorrow is delivery day - a little bit of sunshine in some Yoyo's and some bananas.

Congratulation Nic - winner of Melly and Me pattern

Congratulations to Nic Mckinlay-Clark who has won the Petunia giveaway. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Welcome to the world

This week we welcomed our newest family member to the world. Tiny little Alex Warwick Schulz 6lb, born safely by caesarean section. Mother and baby are well but have had a few hiccups. Still in hospital sorting things out.

Eli is a sports star

Yes Eli is in the local newspaper - Northern Outlook - again!! This time playing rugby on club day. They did a one page spread and he managed to get into two of the photos. The one in the top middle and then bottom right.

He loves his rugby and is in the Kaiapoi RFC under seven team. (well one of the teams!). It is a great club and they treat the kids really well. Eli is really wanting to get to tackle, which is what he will be doing next year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On a winning streak

Mollie Makes Issue 12Wow - I just got an email from Sew Pretty - an online craft and fabric store - to say I won their competition and it is a Molly Makes magazine.
I am stoked.
Find the store by clicking on the name above or go to their facebook site.

I also follow Molly Makes on their site - here.

Spiced apple cake - dairy free

Yesterday I had my niece for the day and she loves cake. So I thought I would try to adapt a gorgeous cake by Alison Gofton into dairy free. What a fantastic success.

Please note that this is not fat free, gluten free or egg free (sorry Susannah and Kerryn)

Everyone I know loves the original recipe for this cake. It is good for dessert with some custard or cream while hot, lasts for about 4 days just in the cupboard and holds together well for lunch boxes. I have always liked it as it is great when you are a mum. All mixed in a pot and in the oven 5 minutes later, plus having grated apple makes it seem healthier somehow.

My adaption
Spiced apple cake - dairy free version
Into a bowl put - 100ml vegetable or canola oil,
2 grated apples (skin on),
1 cup sugar,
1 egg - mix it all well
Then add
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda (this is not a typo - only B Soda is used)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp alspice (do not substitute for other spices)
1 tsp salt
Mix all till lump free (apart from the grated apples). Put into a lined tin.

Make topping in same bowl, don't worry about any mixture on the side it all just blends in.
3 T vegetable or canola oil
1/2 C rolled oats
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon - mix it all well. It will be crumbly. Scatter on top of the cake batter.

Put in the oven at 180oC for 30-45 minutes (springs back to the touch). The time varies each time as it depends on the type of apple you use. Some apples have more juice or breakdown and make the batter more sloppy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Breakfast in bed for the boys

I love being able to treat the boys when I can and this morning was meant to be a bit of a rush. Not the normal day to choose to give the boys breakfast in bed. But actually it worked. They ate breakfast and were quiet while I rushed around and sorted out our day.
So they had an Earl Grey Tea (always Dilmah) and toast. The lovely butlers tray that I got for $3 at the Op Shop has been constantly put to good use. We are a family that likes to breakfast in bed - I see it as a real treat.
So they relaxed while I did dishes, put on washing, folded washing, made diary free bread, got ready for a Health and Safety meeting with Fletchers EQR.
In spite of all this we got out the door at 8.30am with no screaming to hurry up, get on with it, or what are you doing????????

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A cold winter picnic

the big steam engine
Yes it was a very cold day for a picnic. Only 6 degrees Celsius! But we had a great day.
Aaron has been working all weekend so after church I took the boys and Mikayla out to McLeans Island to go on the miniature railway at Steam Scene.
We took a flask of hot water and had Milo and hot apple cider to warm us up. Then we had lovely cheese toasted sandwiches on the camping stove. Gosh did we need it as it was COLD. But what a great day out.

The steam coming out of the engine
Then swamping us

A bit of larking around

Lovely hot lunch

Then more train rides

Glamping food

Sometimes, when camping, I can muster the energy to go above and beyond for a meal. It tends to be brunch. In the tiny cooking space in t...