Thursday, November 28, 2013

I tried to "Just whip it up"

I finished this quilt top two nights ago. It is another quilt for the orphanage that I support in Eldorat, Kenya. The material was donated by someone and came to me with all the centre squares cut (5 1/2inches) and some of the outside squares cut. To make it large enough I cut a few more of the big outside squares (8 1/2 inches). But somehow the maths did not work and I think that could be why the person gave up and donated it. I am sure that no child is going to look at it and criticise the red border as not being the same all the way around!! So I just got on with it.

I read so many blogs where the quilt was "just cut and made last night" or just whipped up over two nights. I thought that if that was ever going to happen to me it would be on this quilt where most of the cutting was done. But no, this still took me four nights to sew together. Maybe I am a slow sewer, but I think too that by the time I have the kids in bed and everything done it is about 9pm and so I sew slowly as I am tired and really have to concentrate.

I might get this one finished by Christmas as the wedding is tomorrow and so all the organising and sorting clothes etc , that has been taking my time, will be done.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A retro style fascinator

Last night I got out all the bits and pieces in an attempt to make a fascinator to match the dress I made for the wedding. Now this is all a bit of procrastination for in-spite of the fact that I do need it, I also need to make some adjustments to the dress. The straight colour blocking of it just seems a bit too harsh.
I started with the basic pink rose that I had pulled of the pink hat I am wearing for the wedding outfit. Then I added a frill of the material from the skirt. Then I consulted with Aaron, who decreed that as it was a wedding - I should go a bit more over the top. 
So I added some hat netting (well I have no idea of the correct name). Then I had seen a technique in the Molly Makes magazine, where she punched felt using a hole punch and put the dots around the bottom. So I got stuck in (almost literally if you are using hot glue guns!!). 

So I now have this to go with

I was determined to make one that had better proportions than the first one I made. I am much happier with this one.

So an alteration to the dress, some mats to make for under the flowers on the tables and off to the wedding I go.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wedding refashion done

This morning I finished all the hand stitching of the facings etc and the dress is done.
Wedding outfit
The front
 It makes me feel like the middle of summer, bright and cheery. Aaron did comment that if the entire top was orange instead of the pink it would look better. I have to agree, I think it does look a bit cut up. But I really wanted the sleeve detail that was in the pink top.
The back
 Yesterday after I finished the sewing I got desperate for shoes. So in a fit I went to the three local Op Shops and thanks to the Methodist Mission I have white shoes to go with it for $4.

The back detailing
So this dress has cost me $12.50 plus the shoes and a blue cardigan I got a couple of years ago for $4.

Here is a reminder of what I started with - A orange linen tunic, A pink linen top and a almost floor length floaty skirt.
I used the cap sleeves

This was cut down

This is the main top

All I need to do is make a fascinator.

I made this entire dress using my dress dummy and pining it to it etc as I have seen a lot on Project Runway. It was a difficult way to make a dress but it has worked!! I had wanted to use a pattern but it had not arrived in time.

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Friday, November 22, 2013


Well a lot of our glamping seems to be food focussed. So the last long weekend when we trotted off I had strawberries from the garden, eggs from the chooks and bought some bread locally.

Ever since we bought the caravan we feel we are up in the stakes and glamping as it has all the mod cons.

French toast and strawberries for breakfast is such a winner for us. We tend to sleep in and not have breakfast till about 10am, always after our first swim of the day. So it keeps us going for our adventures.

No matter what the weather we jump in the river once awake - we have even done it after unexpected snow one morning (we ALL screamed that morning). This weekend was no different as most of the time it was hot but the morning cold and so we had a few overseas people in vans (all dressed in trousers and jackets) watch us and laugh as we jumped in.

On our way home we stopped at a "cafe". The local Hororata church ladies set up the church and gardens as a cafe every Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 as fundraiser to do the earthquake strengthening required. Most glamorous and the best value food ever!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sweat, tears and bruises

Yes, that is what has been happening in my world since I last posted. Having said that we did have a glorious three days away in the caravan over the long weekend.
The bathroom, finally all painted

Though so much has gone wrong that we nearly did not go. Now for those who follow my blog you will know that we have been redoing the bathroom. We finally got paid the EQC money for our house and work has begun. But this is really the end of the happiness. Anything that could go wrong with this bathroom - has. To fix the crack in the floor twice as much resin soaked in than should and the crack was still there - so use another substance.

Go to put in a replacement shower only to find right at the last minute that our shower cavity is not standard, get the builders to extend the shower cavity for the new shower. The shower arrives (10 days late) and we find that it is too small!! by 25mm on all sides. Alter the shower cavity and the shower goes in, then the glass door goes in and by the time the builder gets to the lounge there is a huge noise and the door has disintegrated.

Yes we now have a shower door on

Then there is no hot water coming through the mixer and now we have a constant drip still to be repaired.

Decide (foolishly) that if all the bathroom is being redone then I should paint the ceiling. Start to paint it and the ceiling is obviously under wear and starts crumbling and cracking all over the place. Five attempts later I now think I have fixed all that and have one paint coat to do. (fingers crossed).

Paint the walls and the paint spits and bubbles - like little pop bubbles. Roll and re roll, sand and try again. The one part that has worked well is the enamel paint. But I think I am going to have to do a light sand and a third coat.

Book the vinyl layer, having been told that there is about a two week wait. Go in and pay the deposit and the earliest they can get me in is in 4 weeks!!!!!

So I went outside on Tuesday night and decided to take my frustration out on chipping the motar off the bricks for the garden redo. I hit my thumb and hand more than the bricks and although that stack is now ready my hand HURTS.

Sigh. Garden is a mess, house is a mess, have to get on with my dress for Kerryn's wedding next weekend.

So we may have a finished bathroom by Christmas (fingers crossed)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What I am working on.

Happy Birthday Sarah
 Firstly the boys and I took a bit of time yesterday to pick and arrange the most gorgeously scented Peonies etc for lovely Sarah. It was her birthday and she is still living in EQC temporary accommodation 3 years after the earthquake, so we took this gorgeous bunch to her.

Starting the bodice section
The back detailing

Once we got home I started sewing again. I am attempting to make a dress for Kerryn's wedding from three Op Shop items. A $10 skirt, a $0.50 shirt and a $2 tunic top. It is taking me a while and I have only been sewing late at night (which is more difficult). But so far I am pleased. So here is a wee shot of the start on my dress dummy.
The linen shirt whose sleeves took my fancy
The $2 linen tunic
The $10 skirt
The cute sleeve detail that I really wanted to keep
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

A luscious surprise in the garden

I have been looking after my niece and nephew. One of my things when looking after kids is being outside. Kids expel energy, are often calmer and can explore and use their imagination. Well they were both occupied with the sprinkler and getting "rained on" and I took a wee moment out to look around the garden.
growing strawberries

Wow was I surprised when I looked under the strawberry bird netting. STRAWBERRIES GALORE. Now this might not seem odd to you considering it is a strawberry patch. But this is the earliest I have ever had a crop of such size. Last year it was the 23rd November and that was early, but this year has blown me away.

And they were yummy yummy, full of flavour mmmmmmm.

So I was taught how to be a proper ballerina, we drew with chalk all over the verandah, went to the park and played on swings and see-saws, got wet under the sprinkler and then got tired!!!

Mieke teaching me to dance

Mieke showing off her new hair clip I gave her

Alex had to have a clip too

The wee man does lots of eating

Drawing on the verandah

All was happy until she decided to get off while still swinging!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sleigh Bells are ringing

home made Christmas gift
Just confectionery with a flower hair tie
So last night I finished the fabric flowers I had been making. I went out to morning tea with a friend and bought some hair ties and clips and hot glued them onto these. Then I have used them as the final flourish for these Christmas sleighs.
The finish hair accessories
So last night was production line with the hot glue gun. I now have all the "under $5" presents I need for all those Christmas do's that we ladies go to. And a few for some children who I like to give a wee something to. The boys might make some as a teachers present at the end of the year.
The great thing was that when I went to the supermarket yesterday (countdown) they had the kit kat bars for only $1 each on special and the other chocolate bars were 5 for $4.
This is not my idea but something that was linked to me on facebook - I have tried to get back to the original owner of the post but cannot find it. They just stacked piles of chocolate up.

For the boys for Christmas I am going to do some that have a lego minifigure on top.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fabric and button flowers

fabric manipulation

I finished these yesterday. What are they for? Well everything you can thing of..... to go on a clip for your hair, to be a broach, to be decoration for the hat or bag you make,..... I was thinking of it being the centre of a fascinator. So not quite  a finished product yet but I will keep you posted on how I finish it all off.

I was finishing my fascinator and started perusing the net for ideas as I want to make a couple more, smaller and better finished. I found the pattern for these flowers and they just took my fancy. Just a wee note. That I found if I followed the sewing instructions exactly that the flowers went a bit wonky. So once the petals were all pulled together and that tied off, instead of doing some diagonal seaming as instructed. I just went to the back of the flower shape and completed two more sets of running stitch through the bottom of the flowers. This tightened it and yet the flower kept a good shape.

It is so simple, easy to do in front of TV. So I got a bit carried away!! Just need a bit of scrap material and a button and you are away.

I would like your opinion - do you like the black background on the photo or the white? I chose the black as the photography of the flowers was better but I think if I had the composition right then the white would be good.

Do let me know. I link to these places.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ciabatta Buns for school lunches

bread rolls
At the moment I think that my sister and I are in sinc. I had just made these gorgeous Ciabatta buns for everyone's lunch last night and she posted photos and a recipe for the bread loaves she makes. On Monday I was just posting about the asparagus lunch with poached egg and hollandaise and she posted a photo of her lunch - the same but sans the hollandaise.

The recipe I use is from a bread making queen. Jennie Shapter - Bread Machine - how to prepare and bake the perfect loaf. Oh it is so easy and the bread comes out like you would expect. Big holes, soft outside, it is amazing. As I get concerned about copyright I have not put her recipe in here, but go to the library and get the book out.

So for breakfast Eli and I had toasted Ciabatta buns with homemade raspberry jam (and I felt so good as I did not have butter!!!).

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

A purple quilt

This is another quilt for the Orphans at Hope Homes International. As it is for children it is backed with a lovely flannelette. The quilt blocks I picked up from an Op Shop for $5, the border materials came from Hazel as off cuts from one of her quilts and the outer border and binding came from my stash.

This quilt has been sitting on my sewing table for about 6 weeks. Partly quilted. So I finished the quilting and bound it - as I already had the binding prepared.

Well today started very early with the boys all getting up for a soccer game. Liverpool vs Arsenal. Unfortunately once they got up I could not get back to sleep. I was feeling so blurry that we did not even get to church, though for once we were awake in time. By 9.45am we were all back in bed.

The scallop border I quilted

I only quilted on the cream to make the purple stand out

The quilting on the final border.
So we have had a very quiet day all catching up from lack of sleep. So for once instead of painting or catching up on the garden I spent a bit of time on my sewing machine.

Happy to have it off the sewing table and put in the pile with the others.

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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....