Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Toilet storage completed

From this messy
To this tidy
For Mothers Day last year my boys made me a gorgeous Rimu shelf for the toilet. I did not like having all the clean toilet paper in the basket on the floor as well as feminine products on the windowsill that the boys had to look at.

The shelf took it all out of sight - situated above the door. But all I did was chuck the stuff up there. I have had this project in mind ever since the shelf went up. I made a container to put that feminine stuff into so that no one had to look at it. The inside fabric was a first aid fabric I was given in a fat quarter swap. The outer fabric is hessian. There is a very solid stiffening ironed to the hessian to ensure this keeps it's shape.

I am thrilled with the container, pleased that the shelf now looks tidy and one more job ticked of my to do list.

I also finished the other - shirt into apron - that I needed to do. One more Christmas present made.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Super prepared - making Xmas Presents

Childs cooking apron, apron
Well I have started the mission that is called the Christmas Present List. Tick off the second. (The first was some zip pouches). Last year I made my first apron from an Op Shop (Charity Shop) man's shirt. A lot of kids that I have among my group of friends have admired it. So I decided that it totally fits my ethos for Christmas presents.
1. Does not take too long
2. Is not expensive (I got this shirt for $1)
3. Utilises what I have on hand
4. Is useful
So I am now going to Op Shops with this present in mind. I sewed this one in the hour while waiting for dinner to cook. I have one more cut and ready to go. Should finish it tonight. I love getting things on my list actually completed!

To keep it looking good I would have used Red bias on the edges and for the ties, but I did not have any in my stocks and I want to use what I have rather than go shopping.
upcycled, recycled
The shirt getting chopped - use a sleeve to make a pocket

Adding a bit of trim to give it pizazz

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Featured and Funny

I have been featured for my summer dress redo at http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/before-and-after-wednesday_24.html. It is a great feature, but what I think is really funny is the comments people have made on the post.

The Dedicated House very clearly say that it was made by me, with links to my blog etc. She also talks about how her mother is a great sewer. The comments are all "your mother could be a model too!", "Your mother is so creative and what a great sewer". So I have a lot of compliments but not directed at me!! very funny.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A couple of nights in Milford Sound

The beginning of our holiday involved a lot of travelling to get all the way down to Milford Sound. We were going with a purpose. To spend a night on the Milford Mariner - out in the middle of a fjord. We had such an amazing time that we now want to cruise and spend the night in Doubtful Sound.

I cannot rave enough about the crew we had. They were so amazing with our boys. There was one other younger person - but he was about 13 yrs old. They let our boys eat the evening meal first. They totally looked after them during activities. Told me not to worry and trust Eli (only 7 years old - I did keep saying) and let him Kayak by himself out in a massive fjord. Aaron also went Kayaking and stayed with him. I should not have worried as I was in a tender with Jakob racing around and every once in a while one of the crew would canoe over and check on Eli. He was ecstatic!! It was amazing. He had never Kayaked before and I expected him to stay around the boat but no - he went all over Harrison Inlet.

Real Journeys
First in line to get on board
There are only two rooms on the boat that have four beds in. We had one with an en-suite  Fantastic shower and good clean toilet.

The food was stunning. We were enamoured.
Milford Sound Cruising, Real Journeys
Waiting to board 

Under Stirling Falls
Independent Eli in his kayak
Aaron and Eli out in the Fjord
Gorgeous Food. 5 course evening meal!
Aaron swimming after Kayaking - COLD!!!
Milford Sound overnight cruise
Cruising the Fjord the next morning

Me taking photos from the Bridge

The boys with the Captain

Aaron in the morning

The next morning off the boat we went and stayed at Milford Lodge. This is the only place you can stay in Milford Sound. What a disappointment. Staff were good  but the kitchen was cramped. They have added heaps of extra units etc but no more in the way of facilities - to say that they were pushed is a total understatement. Pathetic showers, no insulation in the walls - you could hear everyone in all the rooms around you. It is such a shame as it could be good. If you spent close to $300 for the night you could get a motel to yourself and that might have been ok.

Fabulous Feijoas

We came home from an amazing holiday to the scent of gorgeous Feijoas now ready to eat. So for our first meal back home we started with a couple of fresh feijoas each. Ahh the aroma, the taste....sigh.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Resurrecting the Quilt

Quilt, Hourglass

I stopped doing this quilt over a year ago. I had initially thought it finished. But when I put it on my bed I realised it was too small. I wanted a quilt that hung over the edge, not a bed topper. I made an edge of one white row, patterned squares and then another white row. I was seriously unhappy with that, it still wasn't big enough and so I parked it.

What was also in the mix was that I totally ran out of material to make it any bigger. Then the middle of last year I found some of the material line at the online shop Sew Pretty. (now you can go to The Make Cafe if you are in town - fab!). I still sat on it.

Finally yesterday I was watching the worst movie ever with Aaron, what a waste of 2 hours of my time. So I pulled out the quilt and the ironing board and cut material. I was going to unpick the entire border I had put on but today I have sewn a new edging on and it is looking more finished. And it is looking the right size. So now it is actually a finished top. Just the quilting to do (and that will be no mean feat as it is a huge quilt!!).

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Friday, April 19, 2013


The amazing coloured Quince Jelly
Today I picked up the last of the Quinces. Chopped out any bad bits and removed the main core. Put them into a roasting dish and covered them with water and a bit of sugar, then poached them in the oven for two hours. Over the years I have found this to be the easiest way to keep quince looking good when preserved and nice and soft. After poaching the skin just slips off.

So for pudding tonight we had warm poached quince with thick cream. Yum.

This method leaves lots of juice. So I put it the liquid in a pot, added a couple of cups of sugar and slowly simmered it for 30 minutes. This has made the most amazing coloured jelly that will be fabulous for adding to gravy or having with cheese and crackers. This is the simplest way to make Jelly as the liquid does not go cloudy if stirred as there is no fruit in it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A boys Refashion

boys hoodie
The finished hoodie - Jakob trying to be Dr Spock.
In a week we are going to Fiordland. It is predicted to rain, rain and rain some more. Which it does anyway (it is not called a temperate rainforest for nothing!). With rain comes the cold. The Merino jersey that I made Jakob last year was not so sucessful. The hood was too big, the Merino wool was a bit too light.

So I had a rush job on. Make a boys hoodie with pocket by Friday. And it is done. It took me two nights (approx 3 hours altogether). I am much happier with this one, the Merino jerseys I chose were heavier and so held their shape better. Also I was pedantic about the finishing and have used bias binding to prevent stretching around the hood / neck area. The sleeve ends look a lot tidier too, the boys love the semiglove end that a lot of tramping gear has and I know it will be handy down in the cold. I also used stitch number 15 on my Bernina sewing machine, rather than the overlocker and this was very successful.

So what started as two ladies Merino jersey's bought from the Op Shop, are now one boys hoodie to keep him warm.
The two ladies merino jerseys I started with
Chop off the arms
bind the edge of the pocket
stitch the pocket on at the top and bottom, matching side seams

Cut sleeve down to size and re-inser
Sew up the arm and side seams, then add the cuffs and hood.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Fun on my Scooter

The front bars are a nifty place to put my handbag

Going to church on my scooter has become normal practise for me. I love that I don't need to use the car and get there a whole lot quicker than when I walk. So the boys jump on their scooter, me on mine and Aaron tends to run.

Last Sunday when the boys were away tramping by themselves I scootered to Church as normal. The funny thing is because I was by myself I had all sorts of people looking at me, some tooted and waved, others talked to me on the way past and one person even hung out their car window and took photos of me on their phone!! It all just makes me laugh as I know that my look is not what people expect. They see the grey hair and a dress or skirt and just about fall over when they realise I am on my scooter. I went Grey at 25 and a lot of people cannot get past the colour of my hair and think I am the boys Nana, well I don't care as it is me and I know I am young. BUT I must say that sometimes I play up to it and have a laugh at other peoples surprise when I do crazy things.

Church was awesome as the Sunday School were sharing what they had learnt for the last term. All about the Armour of God. They had slowly made their armour over the term. It was fantastic.

my boys trying to hide from the photo

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fantastic Food

This weekend has been very busy, but in amongst all that we have had some awesome food.

On our way home from Soccer at Oxford, Jakob and I stopped in to see Colleen. Had a chat and cup of tea and came away with a crayfish!! Wow, one of her friends gives her them occasionally and she gave it to me. We had it grilled with garlic butter for an entree for Saturday night dinner.

Then on Sunday I had some monkfish to cook for dinner and I wanted it to be quick. So I went to one of my recorded programmes for Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals and wrote down the Greek couscous recipe. Of course I changed it to what herbs etc I had in the garden. But his idea of whizzing all the ingredients up in the food processor was great and saved heaps of time. Also as I pick my veges from the garden I have a bit of cleaning and prep to do with them first.

And it was so fantastic that we all kept nibbling it before dinner.
Herby Vegetable Couscous
My version of Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals - Herby Vegetable CousCous

1/2 cup cous cous into a bowl with a lid
1 cup boiling water into that bowl and put the lid on.

1 cup baby frozen peas into a small bowl, cover with boiling water.

Into food processor put:  (American names)
2 charred red capsicum (peppers)
2 green fresh capsicum (peppers)
5 Spring Onions (green onions)
1 Big bunch coriander stalks and all  (cilantro)
1 green chilli - seeds removed

Whizz using the pulse button until well chopped but not mushy.

Into serving dish put juice from half a lemon and 2 tablespoons oil. Placed the whizzed veges into the bowl. Drain the peas and add, Add the cous cous.  Mix well

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Quilted and Bound

The boys declared the quilt very comfy

Aaron trying it out after work

The quilting
Well the quilt for the caravan is finished. Whew and finally. Over the week I have been quilting it. I went for a sphere shape based around the diagonal seam. Never again. For a couple of reasons....
1. It meant the quilt went through my machine on a diagonal which was just too much bulk to push through the arm of the machine. Horrible to quilt - would do a cot or throw like this but never a bed quilt.
2. I like geometry- quilting this with a sphere shape takes away from the definition of the hourglass block and merges it more together. Now that is the effect you want on some quilts but not this.

The binding also should have been unpicked and redone as the larger part of the binding is on the back. But I had sewn the binding on by the time I realised and as this is for the caravan, therefore does not need to be perfect, I just left it as is.

So now Aaron and I have a flannelette quilt for our big bed and both the boys have ones for their beds. We will all be snug as bugs in rugs!!!! you can view the boys quilts here and here.

To look at the making process you can go to these posts on my blog.
pining out the quilt
patchwork finished
starting the piecing

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Simple Things

Lovely relaxing bubbles
snuggling under a quilt

Comfort food

Sometimes you just need to hunker down and enjoy the simple things. We have all been a bit overwrought which resulted in Aaron being off work sick today and Eli crying and beside himself this afternoon.

So all things cancelled, we did not go to swimming lessons. Instead we wound down and are having a slow night.

We are all having lovely relaxing bubble baths with the lovely lush bubble products. I have had mine and read a magazine, Aaron is in it at the moment and Eli is getting ready to jump into one after dinner.

Eli and Morris had a big rest and time out on my bed. Nothing quite like snuggling under a quilt and we have having comfort food for dinner. Pasta bake full of lovely home grown veges and little bit of salami made from my sisters beef cattle.

I trust you are all resting up and recharging too.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Emergency supplies bag

patchwork and quiltingOn Saturday evening my sister came and joined me for some serious quilting. Sigh... only Anna got some serious quilting in, mine went pear shaped (just to continue on from smashing the shower I guess). But we did enjoy yummy takeaways from our local indian restaurant.

Anyway Anna quilted heaps of her quilt. I was finding it hard to get into it so I decided to make a zip pouch from left overs. I had a little bit of left over laminate that I decided would make good lining, so I made an "emergency" bag. (great for presents for someone going away for the first time, putting in sunscreen, toothbrush and maybe some chocolate) Using a sleeve off a linen shirt and a wee scrap of green from when I made some toy dinosaurs. I was thrilled with the result but it was a bit tall. So I thought with the scraps of the scraps I would make a better proportioned one. Hmmph. It took me two hours!!! I unpicked more than I sewed. I put panels sideways, I sewed the zip inside out - basically everything that could go wrong did. But I am happy to have to presents ready to go when I hear of a need.
The inside of number two.

Today in the Mall I bought some Lush products to put into said bags (they may become emergency treat bags I think).
The inside laminate on number one
Anna quilting madly

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A gorgeous break in Rarotonga

Woo hoo, A holiday with no kids for 11 days. Bliss, relaxing and warm! BTW it was an early 20th wedding anniversary present to ourselves....