Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wardrobe basics, retro style

Recently, my sister blogged about sewing wardrobe basics. Or rather, that she never gets around to sewing wardrobe basics but instead works on quirky extras. I am quite similar, except I don't get around to sewing wardrobe basics or quirky extras, because the sewing machine is in the kitchen, which is freezing at night.
But I digress. I haven't got around to sewing my wardrobe basics, but I've planned them alright. Oh yes. These patterns form the basis of my ideal retro wardrobe.

View 4, A-line skirt with patch pockets. Sweet, 70s style personified. I imagine this skirt in denim or corduroy with crazy loud fabrics for the pockets.

View 1, the shirt with BIG pointy collars. I imagine this in a small print, perhaps a paisley, in pale blue. The top stitching would definitely have to contrast, perhaps red or orange.

Ah, the evening dress. For hot dates and dancing. Oh stop that, I meant with my husband! This would have to be made in something stretchy with lurex sparkles. A diamante detail on the circular front gather would be very cool.

View 4 skirt. So hard to find an inverted box pleat in a skirt these days. I'll make it a tad longer than in the pattern, and I'm thinking about making the back of the box pleat contrast with the rest of the skirt. Perhaps a glimpse of red cord behind blue denim, or maybe I'll make the whole thing in cotton drill, with a small leather triangle at the top of the pleat.
Now all I need is two uninterrupted weeks of sewing time.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

The week-long birthday

It's wonderful but ever-so-slightly exhausting that birthdays seem to last for a week or so for my children.
The few days before the actual day are characterized by breathless anticipation, parcels arriving in the mail, and inability to sleep for all the excitement. The actual birthday starts with a family pile-up in the big bed, and frantic unwrapping of presents, then pikelets for breakfast, and a very special day at school filled with all sorts of birthday specialities (sitting in the special chair at news time, etc.). Later in the day there's the dinner of choice (Harry's was macaroni cheese, self-saucing chocolate pudding, and cake) with special guest, Grandma.
But it's not over after that, oh no, because there's birthday money to be spent and the party as well! I'm constantly learning new things about parties. One of the best things I learned this year was to consult the 7-day weather forecast over at metvuw. Then you can plan an outdoor party, even in winter, knowing that the weather is going to be good. This year we had Harry's party at the Tahunanui trains, which are a whole lot of fun and a snip at only $4 per child (6 train or boat rides).
My party cakes have got a whole lot simpler now that I go for the lollies and props method of decorating...

And as well as all the beautiful cards and the lovely presents that were brought along for Harry, one of the lovely mums brought me some flowers.
I smile every time I look at them.
Oh! I must add, the day after his birthday Harry said to me "Mum, I really like my new robot". But you know what? It doesn't trouble me whether he likes it a lot or a little, since I make them because it's something I like doing. It's fine with me if he's into other 6-year-old boy things.
Have you got any tips for making parties easier and more fun?
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The BirthdayBot

July 23, 2009: Harry's 6th Birthday
Model: The BirthdayBot
Function: Birthday Fun and Love from Mummy
Added later: Harry's response
"Mum, I love my transformer and my DVD and my new pens and my birthday money, and I quite like my new robot. But Mum, I don't really like brown."
Bless his little heart.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I posted a picture of this beautiful little doll already, but the tiny picture in the midst of all the others just didn't do it justice. Every time I look at this wee toy, I think how extremely clever its maker, Miss Flossy, is. I love its cute Japanese styling and I love that it is so girly and pink.
I didn't always love pink. When I came home from the hospital with a little girl my neighbour said in concerned tones "How on Earth are you going to handle all the pink?" I laughed naively and said "Just because she's a girl doesn't mean I HAVE to dress her in pink." But guess what? It does. Pink is her very favourite colour, and every morning she chooses a top-to-toe pink outfit to wear.
So I'm embracing the pink. I'm making her a patchwork quilt with two types of solid pink, pink stripes, pink gingham, pink floral, and a teeny bit of blue and green, just for interest.

I'm free-wheeling with this quilt, big time. No pattern. No layout. Just me, my scissors, my sewing machine, a plan forming as I sew, and a whole lot of lovely pink. I love it because it's Sylvie's favourite colour. Motherhood has changed me.
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making cards- The 1961 Home Journal Series

Blogfriends, my card making has stepped into a new phase of fanciness, because I bought myself a CORNER TOOL. Yup. A CORNER TOOL. It makes nicely rounded corners.
For this set of cards, I bought a 1961 Home Journal magazine from the junk shop (50 cents). It has some great illustrations and photos. Some of them have been "corner tooled" then pasted onto a card as illustrated below.

Some I kept nice and square on the corners, because it would be a mistake to go crazy on the cornering, just because I have a CORNER TOOL.

May I recommend card making if you're a little overwhelmed by big projects? It's fun and creative and you can do with a friend as you drink coffee and chat while your children play unsupervised in other parts of the house.
Speaking of big projects, my socks are coming along nicely and a very pink quilt is half-pieced. I can't wait to show you them when they're done. Enjoy your weekend, toodle pip!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prepare to be amazed

Last week, while we were on holiday, my blogfriend Miss Flossy came and stayed for a night at our place with her family. When we got home we found this treasure trove of crafty and thoughtful gifts- how lucky are we?!

First, a vintage tablecloth, ironed what's more. A handmade hexagon brooch for me; some deeeeelicious lemon cordial that is just right for our disgusting headcolds now that I've taken a photo of it complete; a beeeautiful pink and blue doll with the sweetest little face; some knitting and crochet books packed to the gunnels with dolls clothes, handbags, and teacosies; and some fancypancy soap all wrapped in paper. And there was more, too! A little leather bag full of wee figures, which I am not allowed to take a photo of right now because Harry is busy with them, and a new vintage teatowel and red gingham pinny, which are in the wash.
The moral of the story: Invite Miss Flossy to housesit if you ever get the opportunity! Thanks Miss Flossy!
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

So ridiculously relaxed

Oh hello! We have just been away for a week in Collingwood, one of our favourite spots. See the wintery skies? I love beaches in winter, yes, I do. Maybe it's because I'm from Dunedin and most beach trips there feel quite wintery.

Under the wintery skies we build shelters on the beach, read magazines in the sun, and have glasses of wine far too early in the day. The kids even went for a swim! Aiyeee!

Collingwood is a wonderful but tiny town. There's a beautiful long beach, a river, a shop, a tearooms, a community hall, a cafe that closes in winter, a chocolate shop, a post office, and a company that runs tours of the spit. Would you believe that in all the years I've visited Collingwood (10, if you're a "details" person), I've never gone on a tour of the spit? Shameful.

But then again, there's just too much to do hanging out being in holiday mode. We don't take over a whole lot of toys, because it's fun making do with what we have. Same with dinners. We sometimes end up having pasta, olive oil, and salt for dinner. Can't beat it.

On the handmade fun front, our friend Vicky had a great idea to turn a box into a dolls house one afternoon. Oh my, it was so fun. We all went nuts with the scissors and housey magazines, "dressing" our house with furniture, people to live in it, a car, a garden, and food in the kitchen. See? Home made fun is the best kind.
Do you know, while I was away I didn't miss the computer at all. Well, I missed all of you of course, but it was great to have a week of not checking emails, not looking in online shops, just living in the moment with a cup of coffee and a sea view to die for.
How are your school holidays going?
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