Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finished Finally!......
I started knitting this jersey for my son last winter and have finally finished it. It is made of 100% wool and in natural tones. It is made of my and my husbands unpulled jerseys and this is the last of the wool left, hence the co-ordinating striped look. It has a hoodie which is essential on any 7 year old boy with fashion sense. He initially complained it was itchy but the warmth and coziness has won him over. He is wearing the jersey with the jeans I refashioned from an adult pair. These are his favourites and have only come off him for washing since I completed them.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today is one of those days best spent doing very little. It is cold, sub antarctic type cold. The kind of grey damp day you spend at home. My daughter is sick so I have been conned into doing her paper round.
Today I am wearing an Altica top by Kathmandu, down vest by Kathmandu, canvas sneakers by Levis, self knitted scarf using feathers in black/grey/white and wool blend brushed knit lycra pants based on McCall's M5251. I combined the straight legged crop version with the cullottes and lengthened and narrowed the leg to achieve the result I wanted. These are the most comfortable pants I own aside from the cropped version I made for spring/autumn. Being not a big fan of anything remotely trackpants like, these are my walking pants. Sorry about the picture of this one. I had to have it taken before my daughter caught the bus at 7.30 in the morning and the light was not the best for photo taking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yesterday was a lovely crisp sunny day so my daughter and I took our faithful friend for a walk in the park. Her name is Zero and the park is her favourite place in the whole world. The highlight of her week involves chasing balls, sticks and other dogs in the park, followed by a swim in the stream that flows through it!
Today I am wearing an asymetrical cowl neck printed tee, self designed and a boiled wool vest which I also drafted myself, stretch velvet trousers by Ezibuy, and leather boots from Number One Shoes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Last week I bought some upholstery remnants cheap so decided to run up some cushions. Because the fabric is so bulky I decided against piping them which is my favoured technique so instead for interest I made the back and fronts in co-ordinating fabric.
This weeks project is costumes for my sons school production. I can't say I am overly enthusiastic but given my son has one of the lead parts, I can hardly say no now can I?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Natures Bounty
This is a little off topic but certainly caters to the creative as well as frugal side of this blog...
My house does not sit on a large section, unfortunately, we try to make the space we have count so have crammed in as many fruiting trees and bushes as possible. This autumn we were rewarded with more pears than we knew what to do with. Consequently I spent a lot of time bottling and freezing pears for breakfasts and deserts for the winter months. Yesterday, I set to and made some Pear & Vanilla Crumble Muffins for my kids lunch boxes. They love these and it is a great way to get their 5 plus a day.
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup Sugar
410g can of pear quarters
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g butter/margarine
3 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp oats
* Grease a 12 hole muffin tray. Preheat oven to 220 deg C or 200 deg C fan assisted.
* Sift flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Stir through sugar.
* Chop pears into small pieces
* Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla essence. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture with the melted butter and chopped pears. Fold ingredinets together, being careful not to over mix. Fill muffin trays.
* For the topping, mix the sugar and oats together in a small bowl. Sprinke a little over each muffin.
* Bake for 12-15 minutes until the muffins are golden and spring back when pressed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Dress
I bought this beige/grey heavy jersey knit fabric at my local fabric store because I loved the weight and feel of it but when I got it home I couldn't decide what to make it up as. I flicked through some magazines and pulled out my favourite patterns and consulted my fashion sounding board, who just happens to also be my teenage daughter and she came up with the idea of combining two patterns into one. This is what we came up with.... I used Butterick 6933 which is a vintage pattern I pickup up second hand and hadn't used before, for the bodice and Burda 8281 which is my favourite skirt pattern for the skirt.
The verdict...I love this dress! Not only is it comfortable but teamed with a merino, tights and my trusty heeled leather boots by Capezio I feel quite stylish. When my fashionable 21 year old hairdresser admired it I knew I was onto a winner!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

When I was making the jeans for my youngest the other week, I confess I hacked up a pair of jeans and realised that I had cut them wrong and I couldn't get the jeans out of the fabric I had left. I shoved them in a bag and put them aside. This has been bothering me ever since.
When my daughter asked for a banana bag like the ones you buy at Country Road, I had a light bulb moment and thought the discarded jeans would make the perfect bag. I cut the legs into strips which I stitched together to make the body of the bag and found a piece of fabric for the circles at the ends in my stash (it had been sitting there since my 12 year old was little) and ended up only buying the zip and webbing. Job Done!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Todays Outfit
I am getting cabin fever so it is time to see what is happening in the big wide world. Today I am wearing a merino blend cardigan and black and purple knit dress which I adapted from McCalls M6120 which is actually a top pattern. I made the front of the skirt wider and added a few gathers under the bust for a fuller skirt. For the cardigan I used Simplicity 2603 which is one of my favourites and has been used on 3 different occasions with slight variations to the collar and length. The scarf I knitted using feathers yarn.

Bibs, Bibs and more Bibs....
I had a pile of kiddy prints left over from my nappy making days so yesterday I got stuck in and made some bibs. It was good to have something to focus on but didn't require too much concentration which is sadly lacking when you are existing on minimal sleep. The fronts are made of cotton knit and the reverse microfleece.
On the earthquake front....the kids are back at school today. My oldest has damage to her school which is unfortunate as she is already school sharing with another school that was badly damaged in February. Luckily the damage is to the administration block and not the classrooms.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Back to Square One....
I had great plans to do a bit of sewing yesterday but my plans were rather ruined by two large earthquakes under the city.
After the first, a 5.5, I walked down to my sons school and collected my youngest son who was sitting in the playground waiting for the buildings to be safety checked. My older son was at another school and would be back by bus at 3.00pm. The second earthquake came at 2.20pm, and was a lot more terrifying than the first, at 6.0. We didn't sustain any damage but the swimming pool overflowed quite badly and has made quite a mess of the yard. Again I walked to school to collect my older son as the school has a policy that in an emergency parents need to collect their children from school. The buses were late due to the increased traffic on the roads and by the time they returned the children were quite distressed and the teacher was looking very stressed indeed.
Fortunately this time we have power, although a large portion of the city does not, not a good thing in the depths of winter. Sewereage is out in large areas of the city and we are back to boiling water. Large holes have again opened in roads and yards and are spewing water and silt. Thankfully nobody died but more buildings have collapsed and one poor family had their house fall over the cliffs in my earlier photo. The church you see in partial collapse in my earlier post is now no more, reduced to a pile of rubble.
For today, my kids are once again home from school as the cities schools all need to be checked for structural defects. Today will be spent keeping my childrens spirits up. Maybe later in the day, a nana nap to catch up on the sleep I missed out on last night, listening for the aftershocks to roll through.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The last few mornings have become very frosty. I have dug out the jackets and gloves for the daily walk to school and the heating has gone on in the house, so that means winter.
Both of my sons are mad keen rugby players and are both very excited about New Zealand hosting the Rugby World Cup in a couple of months, so when my oldest son found this junior black wincyette in the fabric shop, of course he wanted pyjamas. I raided the charity clothing bag and found the black shirt which was one of my husbands many sports team shirts and another tee shirt with white sleeves to cut up to make the top. Being 12, I didn't think I had a hope of getting my son to pose for the camera in his pyjamas but he was so pleased with the results that he was more than happy to oblige.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree....
My daughter is quite keen on sewing as well. A new cousin in the family was the perfect opportunity for her to make some clothes for the baby. I found her a pattern I had used when she was a newborn and a remnant out of my stash and this is what she came up with. the fabric is polar fleece with a star embroidery and she used snaps between the legs and at the back.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mother Natures Fury.....
Three months on from our second and most deadly earthquake, we thought it time to check out the cleaning up progress. Monday was a public holiday so we decided to spend the morning walking the perimetre fence of the CBD as we are still not allowed into the centre of the town, it remains an eery ghost town. We nearly didn't go for safety reasons as we were rudely interupted by a 5.5 aftershock which rattled our home and nerves at 9am. At this point, small aftershocks have become part of our daily lives but the large ones still frighten us especially when they come in the dead of night.
Before making our way to the CBD we drove to the beachside suburb of Sumner as we hadn't been that way since February when the earthquake struck. It was an amazing site to see swimming pools suspended in space above rubble where the cliffs below had collapsed. It was a very eery site seeing the school at the base, knowing the playground was full of children when the cliffs collapsed. It must have been terrifying for those school children.
The CBD hadn't changed much since our last visit at Easter. You can see in the photos above the espresso cups still where they had been left outside coffee shops, autumn leaves lie in the gutters where they have blown, the clock sitting on the precise time the earthquake hit and a row of shops with their facades collapsed. You can just see a chandalier on the second story of one of the buildings. The Hotel Grand Chancelor which is 23 storeys high precides over the surrounding buildings like a drunk guard, threatening to fall on surrounding buildings. It is a strange feeling seeing all of this destruction. On the one hand I find it quite depressing, all of those lives and heritage lost, on the other hand I feel compelled to visit. I almost felt like it was not quite real, that I was standing on a movie set but not any old movie set...this set is straight out of a horror movie.................

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

4 Day Weekend
This weekend was mid term break so we took the opportunity before the winter hit to get out of town.
My oldest son had been asking to go to Kaikoura to see the baby seals since summer (wnter is breeding season). We weren't sure quite where we were going or about to see but the two hour drive was worth it and we were rewarded with one of the most awesome sights I think I have every seen. We parked the car on the foreshore at what my son assured me was the correct spot and walked 10 minutes into the bush along a track beside a stream. At the end was a huge waterfall with a pool at the base which was teaming with baby seals. There must have been 50 baby seals in the pool. They were about the size of a small dog and all frolicking and playing in the pool. They were very curious and came right up to us but we were careful not to touch them in case they bit. They were just soo cute!!! My youngest son wanted to take one home....not sure how that would work once it got bigger!
After leaving the waterfall we drove further down the coast and found some adult seals. They were most likely males as aparently they leave the breeding females and bask further down the coast. The third photo above shows my oldest son standing on a rocky outcrop with an adult seal basking in the foreground, by the chimney.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Upcycled Jeans
I was at my mothers house last week looking through a bag of lightly used clothing that she had been given and came across a nearly new pair of jeans which didn't fit anyone in my house. Thinking they were too good to throw out, I thought I would have a go at downsizing them for youngest son. I was a little apprehensive about sewing denim as my previous attempts had been frustrating, even though successful and wondered how my Janome would handle the thickness. I settled on a plan of attack which involved unpicking the waistband, belt tabs and zip for reusing and cutting out new backs and fronts from the existing backs and fronts, leaving the back pockets and yoke in place. I used a pattern that I had used previously some years ago for my daughter which I had drafted from a Topkids book and since my son would only wear skinny jeans, added some length to the legs to match some existing jeans he already had. I then made a trip to my favourite fabric shop and matched the topstitching on the existing jeans with a roll of jean topstitching thread which set me back $3.80. The lady in the shop said not to use it in the bobbin and don't lock stitch as the machine won't like it (I found this to be true and just tied the ends). I put buttonholes in the waistband on the inside and raided a pair of too small shorts for the buttom up adjustable elastic which I put through the waistband for a custom fit.
I am really please with the end result as is my son and don't think I would change a thing if I did this again, which I am quite keen to do.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mothers Day Outfit
Today I had to play taxi mum because my son and the rest of the school council are attending Young Leaders Day. It is a bit overcast today so thought I would wear the two piece I made for Mothers day. It is made of merino. The blue I picked up at a factory closing down sale and the black was a remnant from another project also bought at the same sale. I had enough for the cardigan which has a draped front but made the patch work tunic out of leftovers by patching them together. I was really quite pleased with the result. The geometric look has a kind of 60's retro feel to it and it is extremely warm and comfortable to wear...bonus!