Saturday, October 22, 2011


A holiday to Golden Bay is a wonderful thing. We watched 6 hours of the delicious Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, did some walks, ate some chocolate, and drank some coffee, some of it on this rather spectacular little Espresso Boat parked up at the Pohara Docks. Then we nearly met up with a blogfriend but just missed her, and came home, feeling all holidayed-up and full of silly ideas for craft and Christmas gifts.

I was so overwhelmed by projects I could do that I started them all while the iron was hot. A friend came over when I had a half-stuffed knitted sheep and donkey on the chair, an apron all cut out on the floor, a skirt in 4 pieces ready to sew, my crochet blanked draped over the back of the chair so that I would remember to sew in all the ends, and a bag of vintage fabric on the other chair. She looked around, then looked at me, and said "I understand you're excited about having some free time, but you need to focus."
So true. First I focused on finishing this wee sheep. He is part of something very Christmassy.
Don't worry about the lack of legs, he is a lying-down sheep. I promise they have not been prematurely removed for the Christmas roast leg of lamb, although that would also satisfy the "being part of something very Christmassy" in a very comical way.
Then, I threw the bag of vintage fabric up into the air, whirled my arms around with a pair of scissors in each hand, and they landed like this:
It's gonna be another patchwork quilt. I've made three in my life, each of them imperfect but endearing in their own way. A bit like me really.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's soooooo easy

I said to my sister, I mean my uber sewist sister, I was going to use a Simplicity It's So Easy pattern to make up some vintage seer sucker I got an Estate sale recently.
She was mortified. "Where's the fun in that?" she demanded to know, "where are the welt pockets, the lining, the tailored features?!"
Well blogreaders, I am telling you that all such tricky features are rather delightfully absent from Simplicity 2231, and I did not miss them at all.
This dress has simple raglan sleeves and a gathered skirt. The sleeve and neck edges are simple elastic casings to gather up the fabric. All made up, it's just as I hoped it would be. In fact, it's probably my most successful sewing project for ages.
Here is the front view:
And the back, with the simple ties to pull in the fullness:
It was a 6th birthday present for my wee Sylvie, and she was good enough to love it. She wore it to school with some purple leggings with silver stars on them, blue T-bar sandals, and a thermal top underneath. It was very 'Tokyo street fashion' and absolutely gorgeous. I love her style.
Well, it's almost school holidays, and in a few days we are heading off into the wild blue yonder of Golden Bay for a week or so. I'm taking some wool, a pom-pom maker or two, some very silly ideas, my two small children and my sister, some magazines and books, and lots of coffee, chocolate, and nice dinners. It's gonna be fantastic. See you all when I get back.
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turning Six, with Pink Lamingtons

There has just been a sixth birthday in our household, and we decided we'd have a classic after-school party to celebrate. We did all the old-fashioned stuff: pin the tail on the donkey, an egg and spoon race, pass the parcel, and lamingtons (pink of course), chippies, and sausage rolls on the afternoon tea table, with camelias from our neighbours garden and our best table cloth to make it all pretty.

I tell you blogfriends, I am an old woman trapped in a thirty-something woman's body. Actually it's not a bad place to be. It was worse when I was trapped in a teenager's body.
But I digress. I was about to tell you about making lamingtons. These are a NZ/Australian classic. They are sweet and delicious and so peculiar in their own way.
To make a lamington, you first need to make a sponge cake. I make a 3-egg sponge from out of the Edmonds cookbook*, but any sponge cake will do. You could make it easy and buy one. Here is a top tip: you can do this a week ahead and put it in the freezer till you're ready for assembly.
On the day of assembly, make up a raspberry or strawberry jelly with 1 and 1/2 cups water instead of the usual 2 cups. Add 1/4 c of sieved red jam. I used the last of the grape jelly I made last summer. Let the jelly begin to set. When it reaches the consistency of raw egg whites, cut your frozen sponge into squares and roll it in the jelly. Then roll it in dessicated coconut, and you're done. You have just made pink, fluffy, super-special party food, good enough for a lady of 6, 38, or 88.
It's always a big relief when the birthdays are over for the year. I enjoyed my lamingtons immensely, but enjoyed my two glass of wine after the party even more.
*Basic sponge cake (from the Edmond's cookbook)
Beat 3 eggs, 175 g sugar, and a pinch of salt until thick- about 7 minutes with an electric beater. Fold in gently 125 g flour sifted with 1 t baking powder. Then, add 50 g butter melted with 2 T boiling water and fold in gently. Bake in a square tin for 25-30 min at 180 degrees Celsius.
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