Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Robot Workshop


When I was hastily packing for this week away I wondered about the wisdom of bringing some sewing with me. I'm so glad I did though, there's something very peaceful about sitting down with a needle and thread. This little robot is the first of five for a childcare centre in Dunedin. I am making them in a range of bright colours with some new shapes, just to branch out a bit from my previous blue square ones. The cute box was $5.50 from Plastic Box, and there are a range of really delicious colours. Happy Wednesday, where ever you are!
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knitted toy afficionados unite


As you know, we are rather fond of knitted toys around here. My sisters are the main source of said knitted toys, and catching up with them this week has had the added benefit of receiving another fine example for our collection. This knitted cat (with knitted eyes, even! knitted eyes if you please!) was from the Presbyterian Support Services shop in Dunedin.

We said goodbye to Noelene today. I don't remember crying so much ever. The service was full of so many friends, so many different people.
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Monday, April 28, 2008

Pebbles


Yesterday we took the afternoon off and went to Birdlings Flat, a wild and stoney beach just out of Christchurch. The sea is treacherous but beautiful, and the beach is miles upon miles of little perfect pebbles. Mum has a knack for spotting the special ones amongst all the grey, and we spent a good part of the afternoon walking up and down finding the agate and the schizt (sp?) amongst the granite and what-ever-else is there. She's always been into rocks, my Mum, and as a wee'un I remember geological maps stretched out across the floor of the playroom with her rock samples positioned on top. They all tell her a story about where they came from and what they've been up to.

On the craftin' front, I managed to get to Spotlight yesterday and got some new felt for the robot workshop. It felt good to sit down last night and start stitchin'.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pumpkins


We left Nelson with very heavy hearts for the drive down to Christchurch, but actually the beautiful scenery on the way was so therapeutic. The sea around Kaikoura was every shade of blue and grey, and the autumn colours through the vineyards of Marlborough were golden and warm. We arrived as the evening set in, and went to Mum's place to see how she was doing. She is so amazing, she has everything organized. The first job that we got onto today was doing jobs around the garden. I love these pumpkins and butternuts in the shed, they are so cheerful and bright. I brought some sewing down with me to doodle around with in the evenings, but I haven't done any yet what with all the drinking wine, reminiscing, and feeling sad together. "Now say something pithy and wise" said my sister, who is supervising my blogpost tonight.
Okay then. "Always watch where you walk at the dump". That's a story for another post.
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Friday, April 25, 2008

Goodbye to our dear friend.


My Mum's partner, Noelene, died yesterday. Can I tell you a bit about how great she was? She loved my Mum, and loved her just being herself. She loved people and animals, and she was a great cook. She had a hilarious sense of humour and a quick wit. She loved jewellery, stories, bargains, and stories about jewellery bargains. You could just be yourself around her and she loved you for it. We will miss her so much. We're so glad we had you in our lives Noelene, we love you. Goodbye.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who da man?

He da man! Yeah, he da GINGERBREAD man! I've always really liked Richard Scarry books, ever since I was little. For the last few weeks our nightly story book has been this one with lots traditional fairy tales in it. I love the great expressions he captures in his line drawings. This cheeky, naughty little gingerbread man picture was so irresistable, I just had to have a go making him in felt. He is a little skinny and I ran out of space to put in his nose, but the children fought over him so they must think he's okay. I will have to make another one so that they can have one each!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New labels!

Oh cool, my labels have arrived. I ordered them from Fancyweaver after reading about them here. Thank goodness for blog-advice, because I knew to ask for a good 15 mm either side of the type so that they could be sewn into seams easily. I gotta say, this was a very painless and economical craft thrill: the layout was emailed to me within a day or ordering, and they were woven, packaged, and mailed to reach me in less than 3 weeks from ordering, all the way from Hong Kong to New Zealand! Now I will have to get onto my "to do" pile so that I have some seams to sew them into!
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Monday, April 21, 2008

It's a helicopter Monday at our house

We have just been outside blowing the helicopters from every dandelion we could lay our hands on. You should try it. Happy Dandelion to you!
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Who dat?!


It's my last commissioned robot, that's who. This one has a heart. Yes, a heart. It's not a creepy heart, like you might be thinking if you've read "Never let me go". Oh no, it's a robot heart, grown with love in a laboratory from a single, happily donated cell that came from its owner. Now my first lot of commissioned robots are all done, and guess what? Last night another 11, that's right, 11, were commissioned. I am blowing all my robot money on other beautiful things that people have made, like a beautiful brooch from Rhiannon from Toast and Cupcakes.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

A (very) belated birthday, and some robot paper

I really wanted to get my brother this CD for his birthday (somewhat belated as it was last December) but it contravened my "only home-made gifts" rule that I set myself at the start of the year. I got it for him anyway, because I figure that buying NZ music is an acceptable exception to my rule.

I did, however, recycle the paper bag it came in into this robot wrapping paper, because as you all know I like doodling around making robots. Making them with a pen and paper is much quicker than making felt ones, I noticed. By the way, I have been commissioned to make another 5 robots! 01010100011001001001! That's binary for "Cool, eh!"

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Name, Louis. Sidekick, Monkey


I haven't done anything especially creative myself over the last couple of days, so I thought I'd show you this great card that my nephew made for me a few years ago. I think he was about 10 when he drew this cartoon. I just love that cheeky monkey and the whole concept of having a sidekick really cracks me up too. It's a little yellowed because it's spent the last 4 or 5 years magneted onto the fridge door. I love homemade cards the best!
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Thursday, April 17, 2008

My no end in sight ripple along scarf


Last year I learned how to crochet, at last, after meaning to for I-dunno-how-long. What really inspired me to learn was all the great stuff on the no end in sight ripple along blog. So, the lovely Kim at work showed me how, and I was away. This was my first project, my chevron scarf. Now, I need to share a wee few disasters with you. First, the scarf is wider at one end than the other. Hmmm. Next, I bought wool out of the sale bin thinking "that'll do!" because it was cheap and it was my first project that I suspected may be a learning exercise anyway, but being cheap the wool is fearsomely scratchy and thus rather unsuited to being a nice cosy scarf. Last, the scarf is a little too wide, so that it bunches up around my neck instead of wrapping snuggly around. That'll teach me to just wing it with no pattern, to use cheapo wool, and to skip doing a test square.
Or will it?
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Simplicity itself.

Are you as excited about this new pattern as I am? I found it yesterday at the Lifeline Goodwill Store, one of my favourite junk shops. It was a massive twenty cents. I love the fitted styling of the dress/tunic and straight-leg trousers are definitely my style of choice. I can't decide whether to make the dress or the tunic, because they are both so darn styley. And what fabric will I choose? I can see I'll be lying awake mulling these important issues over in the nights ahead. Lurkers/blogfriends, your suggestions are welcome.
Happy Wednesday to you!
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Miss Smith in her garden

It poured with rain last night, and there was a ferocious thunder storm. It was SO exciting. This morning the garden looked all fresh and beautiful.

Especially these red berries on the Coprosma...






This little gang of tomato plants that grew from a submerged cherry tomato looked very cute...
And these red berries on the Lophomyrtus were lovely too.














And another thing that makes me smile is that tonight I have two friends coming over to craft with me. What a cracker Tuesday!
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Monday, April 14, 2008

It's a robot armada!


Good lord, don't they look sinister lurking in the bushes! Here are 4 of my commissioned robots, I call them MAS228, MJJ2911, MRL504, and JLS0501
Lets meet them now:
MAS228 "BIP BIP BEEP BEEP?"
MJJ2911 "HOW CAN I BE OF ASSISTANCE?"
MRL504 "MY BATTERY LEVELS ARE DANGEROUSLY LOW"
JLS0501 "011010010 0100 1000101010 0010101010101 000110010101010" (That one only speaks binary, sorry).

That's how I spent my weekend, how did you spend yours?
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chocolate chippie biscuits

My project for today: Chocolate chippie biscuits.
They are my contribution to the "cakes and biscuits" stall at a fundraiser fair today.
They are from "School lunches and after school snacks" (Alison & Simon Holst), with a couple of my own additions.

Here goes: Chocolate chippie biscuits
75 g butter
1/2 c (packed) brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar 1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 t baking soda
1 c plain flour

Melt butter, add sugar. Cool a little then add egg and mix with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Put in teaspoonful lots on a baking tray. I make 20 small ones per tray, because they're very sweet and rich. Bake at 180 degrees C for 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool and store in an air tight tin. Makes about 30 per batch at the size I make them.

Here's some other useful information: You don't need to press with a fork on the tray because they collapse into perfect round biscuits while they cook. More chocolate chips make them even more delicious.
For a more "grown-up" version, you can add 1 T finely ground coffee beans and some chopped walnuts, to give coffee, chocolate, and walnut biscuits. They are also extremely delicious.
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bags of Australiana

I've been to the market this morning to get some vegetables. What better to carry them home in than this capacious shopping bag, made from a junk-shop table cloth with a stylish Australiana print? It is ably modeled here by Harry, who decided it would be fun to carry it slung around his neck, but I prefer it slung over my shoulder.
Happy Saturday to you!
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A new pattern book!


Look what I got! My next door neighbour Joy, who is a mine of information about anything crafty, was having a clear out. I had a good rifle through and came back with all sorts of goodies, including this great doll pattern book. I can't wait to make the nursey outfit, and there's some other great ones in there too. I will have to get some dolls, expressly so I can dress them with knits from this booklet. I might even share them with Sylvie.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

And it's welcome to Shuko

Browsed at one of my favourite Japanese craft books.....
Bought an earthy-type table napkin at the junk shop...
Made a bear.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Meet the gang

I didn't make any of these, but I wish I had. They are all gifts given to me, woops, I mean the children. I love how little Belinda elephant has a sporty red dress. Sylvie and Harry have named them, from left to right, as follows: Belinda, whiteybear, puppidogdog, and pink-bunny. When they are not peering out from the bookcase, they live in a special box called "The friends box" (also named by Harry and Sylvie). Whoever knitted them, please know that we love them.
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Miss Smith's mum's birthday


Now, some people are easy to buy for and some people aren't. My mum, whose birthday is rapidly approaching, is really difficult to buy for as she is just so darn practical. No, really. Here are some of the presents I've bought her previously, just to illustrate how incredibly practical she is: some organic garden fertilizer, some garden twine, stamps, envelopes, a vegetable knife...and lots of book vouchers. See what I mean? But even practical people, or perhaps especially practical people, need cloth bags to take to the supermarket. This one is loosely based on the tote pattern in this book, and is made from black cotton drill with green cotton lining, with a junk-shop doily made into a pocket. It's reversible as it happens, so if she is feeling daring she can flip it inside out and show off the louder print.
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