Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We've had a glorious summer here. Yes, I know I'm rubbing it in for those with snow. :)

Of course, sunny, hot days demand a trip to the beach, so last week we packed the kids up and headed south to Curio Bay. This isn't a swimming beach as such, although there's great swimming in the next bay. Instead, this was a leisurely sightseeing trip (in an air-conditioned car! Very nice in the 30+ degree temperatures).

On the way, we stopped at the Tunnel Hill walk - an abandoned railway tunnel, 246m long and pitch black. And we didn't have a torch. The minute we stepped in, all I could think of was the movie, Cloverfield, lol. DH and the kids went all the way through guided by cellphone screen light, while I kept my nephew company in the first half of the tunnel.

Amazing to think the whole thing was dug out and built by hand.

We also stopped at Purakanui Falls. The photo doesn't do it justice.

Very pretty. Except for the toilets. Note to the authorities - calling it a 'Vault' toilet does not disguise the fact that it's a long-drop! Thank goodness for wet-wipes and sanitising handwash!

We timed it well to arrive at Curio Bay about 5pm. As we arrived the yellow-eyed penguins were starting to come in to feed their chicks. They are quite tolerant of humans as long as you are quiet and still, don't get between them and their nests, or within 10m.
Unlike these idiots...
...we stayed the distance and got to see about a dozen penguins. The annoying thing about morons people who won't stay their distance is that it can scare the penguins into returning to sea and abandoning their nest, which means the chicks starve to death.

The other drawcard of Curio Bay is the Fossilised Forest. In the photo above the penguin is on a fossilised tree-stump. The straight lines you can see are fossilised tree trunks. At some time in the past (about 160 million years ago) there was a flood which knocked down the trees and covered the trunks and stumps in silt, preserving and fossilising the remains. The kids were fascinated.

Unfortunately, there weren't any dolphins while we were there although we did catch glimpses of sealions swimming out in the kelp.

We finally started heading homewards with promises of MacDonalds for dinner. Now at one point we were only 37km from Invercargill and in hindsight we should have gone to McD there. But, no, Gore will have McD we thought. Wrongly as it turned out. Nevermind, Balclutha will have one. Wrong again! Luckily, Subways has spread to all small towns so we ended up with a much healthier dinner.

It was a great day out and a wonderful end to the holidays.

(and look, Judy - not a mention of sewing, lol.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gosh, thanks...

Thanks, Sherril for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger Award - although I feel quite fraudulent as I've not been feeling at all creative lately. Sherril inspires me constantly with the wonderful clothes she makes and her impressive ability to manipulate patterns to create 'knock-off' tops which are far better than the RTW originals.

Here are the rules of the award~
1. Copy the award to your site - done
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award -done
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers - ummm....
4. Link to those on your blog
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

I really haven't kept track of who has, or hasn't been nominated already so instead I'd like to point to Carolyn's post. I think she says it so well. I think all bloggers deserve an award for putting the time and effort into sharing their creative endeavours and a part of their lives with us. Through blogs I've learned about people I'd never have a chance of knowing otherwise and I've been inspired in my humble endeavours by others creativity. So, if you read this, I nominate you! If you don't have a blog - why not start one? Go on, it's not hard. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Patternreview Quilt Blocks

I finally got around to making a quilt block for the PR Friendship Quilt. Thank goodness Deepika extended the deadline to the 19th. I'll pop it in the post tomorrow morning but I've no idea how long it will take to wing halfway across the world. It never seems to take too long coming this way.

(As an aside: I am so impressed with - I ordered on Saturday Jan 3rd NZ time, which was Jan 2nd US time, and received them the following Saturday! Wow! Needless to say I'll be using this service again as the local Spotlight never seems to receive new stock. Not the staff's fault.)

I used Kiwiana fabrics (except for the multicoloured border). The boots in the top block are decorated gumboots which just appealed to me. I'm not even going to bother counting this little bit off stash, lol.
As I suspected, I found this small dabble into the quilting world quite addictive. I'm doing my best to ignore it though - the last thing I need is another stash to house!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blogiversary, a cushion and Oven Mitts

Oops, how on earth did I miss my first blogiversary? Ah well, maybe I'll do better on my 100th post - coming in another 9 posts! Guess I'll have to keep on sewing.

Today's sewing was bought to you by the letter 'C' and the letter 'M'.

'C' is for cookie cushion....

Just to maintain DD's giddy euphoria from her curtains, I also made her a cushion. It's pink with horses. Do you see a theme in her room? :)

I made a buttoned envelope-style cushion cover. Everything came from stash, including the buttons. That's another 0.5m for the Stash Contest. :)

..... and 'M' is for mitts. Oven Mitts to be precise.

The old ones were just shudderingly grungy, despite soakings in Napisan, so I felt no guilt in helping the tear get bigger so I could see what was inside. }:-) It turned out to be towelling.

I started out by creating a pattern from the old, grungy mitts.

NB: The measurements do not include seam allowance. I added a 1 cm seam allowance as you may be able to see in the photo.
Cut on the fold, 2 of the mitt pattern from the main fabric. Cut the desired padding, also on the fold.

Cut 2x full-sized pocket piece from the lining. Fold back the extra 2cm extension and cut 2x the pocket piece from the main fabric.

After a bit of testing involving a very hot tray, towelling and the remnants of cotton batting and the piece of thermal batting I had in the stash, I came up with a layer of the thermal batting (note: this is the thermal batting for making cooling lunchboxes etc) sandwiched between layers of cotton batting.

I lined the hand pocket with a checked cotton. I made the top layer of drill 1cm shorter so the lining would show as a band.

I sewed the top edge of lining and pocket, right sides together.Then I flipped the pieces right side out and lined the bottom edges up.

Topstitch the edge of the pocket piece. Place the bottom layer of mitt right-side up. Then the pocket, right-side down.

Continue adding the top of mitt (right-side down), then add the padding layer.

Pin together and sew around edges, leaving a portion along the side unsewn so you can turn it through. Turn through and handsew opening closed.

The final result.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Curtains at last.

For about 2 1/2 years my DD has been waiting for these to get made. The Stash Contest over at Patternreview gave me the impetus to finally get around to it. That, and the thought that it may not be too long before an 8yo grows out of pink and horses (although the horse-mad 12yo has offered to have them despite the pinkness, so who can tell?) Because these are entered in the contest I've posted a review with some meagre details. I was adding the patterned fabric over partially made thermaldrapes, although it could have been easier to start from scratch, lol. Honestly, I just winged it - after all, they really are just big 'squares'. Despite that, for some reason I managed to keep the elastoplast manufacturers in business as I discovered the point of what felt like every, single pin.
Of course, new curtains meant rearranging the bedroom. I managed to spend 5 hours in DDs room helping her rearrange, sort and declutter. Phew!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's back, it's back

I'm kinda embarrassed to admit it but who could have thought that a mere 48 hours without a computer would be so hard?

Luckily it's back and we now have a gruntier machine for the 'net. Of course we also have to get used to all the new bits and the fact that all the buttons etc are in the 'wrong' places, lol. I am a creature of habit I guess.

One of those habits showed up in the stash stats for 2008. Despite my not working at a fabric store all year, I still managed to add 14.85 m to the stash totals. That's despite over 76 metres going out! If I was going to have a New Years resolution, it should be to reduce that stash. :)

On the sewing desk at the moment - curtains for DD's room - but it's just too hot to be handling that much fabric!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ottobre Hug T-shirt

I swear that the clocks all speed up at the end of the year!

Towards the end of the year there, I was feeling like my productive streak had worn off and that I hadn't accomplished a lot. The funny thing is that once I started listing it, I realised I have got quite a bit done after all. I think it's the still-very long "to-do" list affecting my perception. There's only one way of fixing that - I'm throwing away the list.... :)

One thing I could cross off the list was the Ottobre Hug Tees (01-2008-12) for my nieces, complete with matching leggings (04-2008-2). I was so glad that Meggie Lulu pointed out there was a tutorial on the Ottobre Yahoo group! With pictures!

I made these following the Ottobre tutorial, although at some point I'd like to try Mermaids method to have only the one layer in the front.

Procrastination does have its advantages as it meant I didn't start DD's version until this year. It can therefore be entered in the Stash Contest on Patternreview. :)

As a memory jog to myself, and in case anyone else finds it remotely useful, I took a couple of pictures of the first binding piece.
For the yellow top I made for my niece, I put the binding on as directed (and as Mermaids shows in the above link). However, the cotton/lycra was thicker than a woven would be and therefore made some of the bound seams a bit bulky. So for the subsequent tees, I first of all trimmed 5mm from the trim-binding width, then sewed the binding and piece 1a (left upper front) right-sides together. Then I laid piece 1b (lower front) over, lining the cut edge up with the stitching, and then sewed within the seam allowance to hold it.

Fold the seam allowances on binding in and fold down over piece 1b (lower front) and topstitch close to edge.

Sew shoulder seams. This gives a back with two fronts attached. Starting at right edge of 1b, sew the neckline binding with the right-side of binding to wrong side of neck edge. Continue up, around back neckline and along piece 1. Fold binding to front, fold in seam allowances and topstitch. The end result is a shape like this - (oops, forgot to take a photo there)

That's probably as clear as mud. :) All that's left after that is to match up side seams, attach sleeves etc. On DD's top I lettuce-edged the sleeve hems because she wanted "fluttery" sleeves. The finished result on DD -

The legging capris she is wearing are Ottobre 04-2008-18, made from a cotton/lycra from Spotlight. Because of fabric constraints I folded out 2.6cm from the bottom leg panel and a further 3 cm from the leg length. I think they've ended up a good length for a cool summer day and I plan on making more.

Tonight we lose the computer for a day or two - gulp! When it comes back, it'll be 'bionic-ed' up (better, stronger, faster.... lol) but how are we going to cope without the computer?!!