Monday, June 30, 2008

Roys Rolls of Texture Cushions

Aren't these just the rolls royce of texture cushions? These are in one of my favourite japanese craft books, and it's where I got the idea for Shuko's little bed in the cushions that I made last weekend. I am making some more texture cushions at the moment, but I can't show you them yet because I know that the person who ordered them reads my blog often, and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Tonight I went to the spotlight sale to get some fabric to make into pillowcases for a teenage boy, no, a teenage man. Can you imagine how difficult that is? Craft for a teenage boy is a difficult task. Still, I vowed at the start of the year that no one would be safe from my craft activities and he's just gotta face the fact that his Auntie will make him something whether he likes it or not!

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Moana works it out!

You'd think little Moana here had enough troubles, what with being differently abled and everything, but to make matters worse he had no clothes. (Yes, dolls are anatomically correct these days~! Goodness me! How delightful!).

I made him some little clothes. A smoking jacket, and some checked pants. Work it out Moana!

Love that "thumbs up", Moana! Remember to keep that face pretty! Give me "cool"!

To go with Moana's smoking jacket I am going to craft a pipe and a wee glass of whiskey.
JOKING! Sheesh! But it would be funny though, wouldn't it...
No, we will call it a "lounge jacket" instead, and that way it is very wholesome.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Robots for Boo-wieze

Louise, or "Boo-wieze" as Sylvie calls her, asked for two robots, a boy and a girl. "Maybe the girl one could have wee skirt or something?" she said. Louise is scottish so when she says "a wee skirt" it sounds SO lovely. If I could have any other accent other than a kiwi one, I would have a scottish one. Anyhoo, I thought about the skirt for a long time. What sort of skirt would a robot wear? Finally I found this little stretchy trim at Spotlight and knew it would be the one. Somehow I love the ridiculous combination of a pink, fluffy robot and a texan-style wee short gingham skirtie. Craft makes me so happy.

By the way, for those who were asking about my measuring cups, they were $14 from the Mediterranean Food Store on Halifax St in Nelson.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I've got a sore throat" said Harry

Harry is at home sick today. It's amazing how perky he became when I dropped Sylvie off at childcare this morning. The improvement in his health can be monitored by his bossiness, which increased throughout the morning.
"I NEED a milo Mum! NOW!"
"What's the magic word, Harry?"
Hurrumph. I don't know where he learned to be so demanding. Cough cough.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scenes from my kitchen

Scene number 1. I call it "Blackberry jam". Did I make it myself I hear you ask? Of course I did, I take my young fogey status very seriously you know. When I'm not sewin' or knittin' or crochetin' I'm bakin' and cookin' and preservin'. Here's my recipe: 500 g blackberrries, 2 c sugar, juice of 1 lemon. Cook up the blackberries till they're juicy, use a masher if you like. Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring quickly to the boil. Boil rapidly for 5-8 minutes, checking the set from 5 minutes onwards. Remove from the heat, stir every few minutes for the next 10 minutes while it cools a little (this makes the seeds evenly distributed). Pour into hot jars and seal. Makes 2 x 500 g jars.

Scene number 2. My new measuring cups. Oooooh they're so cute I just wanna measure everything.

Scene number 3. This is how a 2-year-old eats an apple. In't it cute?
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Mission, completed!

Well, all my 'texture cushions' are finished. Here is the last one, with a little bed for Shuko in it. Shuko is leaving home. It's sad, but she's ready to go into the wide world of the childcare, where she can be cuddled more often than she is at home.

I put zips in the back of the cushions because I had some lying around. I even did it *neatly*.

And the weather has cleared up a bit so I took these photos outside where the light is a bit better.

Bye shuko! Have a great time out there! Send us a postcard!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Texture cushions"

On Friday I was entrusted with a secret mission from the childcare centre my children go to. They wanted some nice bright cushions with lots of different textures and colours on them, "texture cushions", for the babies. They had already got some fabric scraps from my favourite clothing shop in Nelson, Go Clothing, so I was rather excited to take the bag of fabric home and have a good rifle through it on Friday night. This project was SO fun. There are smooth fabrics next to fluffy ones, and bits and pieces of ribbons and trims from own stash finally found a home. The embroidered piece is from an old table cloth that I had meaning to re-use in some way for the longest time, and check out that lurex piece! Using so many different weights of fabrics on these covers had some challenges in terms of stretching and puckering, so I quilted the worst offenders onto a backing to stabilize them a bit.

PS. Sorry about the crap photos, it's too wet to go outside to take photos and the light inside is...well...rather yellow.
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Do these scare you?

Sometimes I get fabric that's just so cool or so beautiful that I am afraid to use it. These are the two pieces I have at the moment that scare the [bleep] out of me. What if I make something hideous and mess them up? The one on the right is japanese, it's a gift from my lovely neighbour Joy. The other one was only $2 a meter because obviously not everyone else thinks it's as beautiful as I think it is, but I'm still freaked out in case I ruin it. Stay tuned. If I make something great I will show you. If I make something revolting I'll show you too and we can just laugh at it.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The ultimate in craft cool- see it here!

You know, one of the reasons I started a blog was so that I could show off this very knitted nativity set that lives in a secret grotto at my sister's place. "The grotto" at my sister's place is an old meat safe (note the mini chandelier that lights this happy little scene up!). *Sigh*. To me, this is the ultimate in craft cool. Everything is knitted, even the gold, frankincense and myrrh. All my sisters and I have always secretly hankered after a knitted nativity set, and Mary Anna gave this one to Marg as a very lovely gift. I have absolutely no idea where this idea came from that we all we needed a knitted nativity set, I mean, it's not like you see them everyday in urban chic stores, is it?
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Monday, June 16, 2008

The consequences of ignoring garden advice

"What ever you do" said my mother, who is an excellent gardener, "don't put mint straight into the main garden because it will spread everywhere". I knew better, and I secretly planted it in my garden, silently thinking how smug I would be at my lovely patch of nice freshy minty mint when my Mum next visited. But guess what?! It put its sneaky little rhizomes out in every friggin direction, up and down, out of my raised beds and through the whole garden. Oh I got mint alright, I got mint for friggin' Africa. Still, there are bright sides to ignoring my mother's advice: First, it is fun and rebellious to do things that people tell you not to do. Second, I have lots of mint to make my special mint vinaigrette that everyone asks for the recipe for (olive oil and lemon juice in a 2:1 ratio, salt, pepper, french dijon mustard, oh and mint of course, lots of it).
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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Experimenting with robots

Many of you are familiar, maybe even over-familiar, with my standard robots (as illustrated above). However, I have branched out a little and last night made a robot ball for a little boy called Flynn who loves to throw things inside. Fabric balls like this are all over blog-land, here is a recent tutorial for how to make them. If they're a little wonky and don't roll straight it doesn't even matter because it just means it's been handmade with lurve. Anyway, half of the people in this country seem to be obsessed with balls that don't roll straight.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

For your next buffet party

Here's another little gem from "Be bold with bananas". I imagine it's a great one to take to a buffet (pronounced "booffay") party. Oh yes, these will fly off the plate! Mmmmmmmm!

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mary Anna's house- part 3

Today, blogfriends, I have some more items to show from my sister's place. Above, these pseudo3D-vases, and below, the patchwork quilt that Mary Anna hand pieced and hand quilted when she was a lass of about 19 or 20. Since she was making one, I made one too. However, whereas hers is beautiful and well made, mine was absolutely hideous. I used every piece of free fabric I could find, including school uniforms, a bridesmaid dress, you name it. This was in the late 80's, and I'm sure you can imagine the full horror of polyester bridesmaid fabric. Ew! You might notice I have not included a photo of my quilt here, lest I scare you away. Mine actually made it into the bin at one stage, but Mary Anna picked it out and took it away to live at her place. Neither she nor I have made another patchwork thing since these first patchwork adventures, but I can feel a patchwork project coming on soon after looking at lots of lovely blog sites with very beautiful patchwork or patchwork-related stuff, e.g. these cute pencil rolls and all sevenstitches stuff.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Red love

Yesterday morning Sylvie came into the kitchen looking rather forlorn. "I need a red love" she said.
"I have love in every colour" I quickly reassured her, and gave her a big hug.
"No!" she said "I need a red LOVE".
I was clearly missing some vital element of her request, so I said "Can you show me?".
She led me into the living room and showed me the knitting needles with a mostly finished mitten on them. Aha! I got it then. She needed a red GLOVE.
That brings me neatly to my latest craft activity. I've been knitting mittens. I used the classic mitten pattern available free from here, starting on a circular needle but quickly reverting to the 2 needle instructions because circular was just beyond my remedial knitting skills. The pattern is adjusted to have a stitch or two missing or added here or there, and to have a wonky thumb, but actually a bit of creativity in the sewing up masked a multitude of knitting sins. The next pair, shown below, were much, much, much better. That's because I didn't knit them. I bought them from the "new knitting" basket at the hospice shop that is regularly filled with beautiful new handknits from people who really know what they're doing with a pair o' needles.

And here is the full mitten-hand-hold. *Sigh*

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lower South Island Kiwiana Food: Episode 1- The dressed pie

Gather around everyone, today we are going to talk about the "dressed pie". All you lower South Island of New Zealand readers will be sighing a happy sigh right now, and perhaps musing about how long it is since you've had a dressed pie, or even talking about where the best dressed pie can be found. Other readers might be bewildered, muttering "how the friggin' heck do you dress a pie?".
Let me tell you.

A dressed pie is a potato-topped pie, topped with peas and sliced tinned beetroot, and kept in a tepid pie warmer until the lucky consumer purchases it. Often as not the peas are wrinkled and quite hard by this time, the potato is stained magenta, and the beetroot is leathery to the bite. I've even seen a dressed pie with a jaunty slice of tomato on the top, but that might be something peculiar to the Chistchurch strain. Recently TVNZ did a dressed pie on one of their cooking shows. A picture of it is below, and the recipe is here.

In recognition of my lower South Island roots, I did a "deconstructed dressed pie" for dinner last night. The pie is not just any pie, oh no, it's a MyPie pie (blue cheese and kumara). The peas are cooked only a few minutes, and the beetroot is in the form of a beetroot, tomato, and balsamic salad. The mashed potato is still just mashed potato. Here it is.

Because we find such things amusing, both Simon and I "dressed" our pies on the plate, heaping mashed potato, peas, and beetroot on the top of the pie before we started eating. The instructions of the TVNZ recipe were most helpful here, "think about what you're doing, and make it beautiful."
Next episode: Cheese rolls
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Monday, June 9, 2008

The "last supper" tote


Sometimes I see fabric that I just can't believe exists, like this "last supper" print highlighted on my latest tote bag. I found it at Spotlight (reduced from $30 to $2 a metre- score!). I would love to be in the ideas room of the fabric printing business that thinks these up. "Has anyone done "Tullia Drives over the Corpse of her Father" on 100% cotton yet?". The other fabric in this tote is a red/blue fabric sample from a furnishing/curtain shop, and junk-shopped denim. The swear words while sewing were reasonably tame and only occasional this time.
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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Black robot is the new black

Goodness me, I haven't posted a photo of a robot for DAYS! You must have wondered what on earth was happening. Well never fear, my robot factory is still in full swing (are you sick of looking at them yet?). This is one for a wee baby, so it's got a loop on the top so that it can be dangled from the baby gym. I quite like the traditional black and grey robot colours, it's a while since I made one in this colour scheme but it's good to get back to robot basics.
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