Friday, December 30, 2011

and other things

Making a variation of the Banana, cranberry & pecan muffins in Julia Thomas's book Cake angels - gluten, wheat and dairy-free baking of delicious wonderment + Listening The harrow and the harvest by Gillian Welch + Reading No one belongs here more than you by Miranda July. You might remember her from her film Me, you and everyone we know + Watching Tomboy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Greetings from Darwin

I've made another tea towel bag. This one is linen and has Australian wildflowers on it. The colours are lovely - really vivid. I've lined it with a navy blue ticking stripe.
I find these cloth bags really useful. They fold up quite small so are easy to stash into your bag - perfect for that unplanned visit to the library. Also good as market bags.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One week to Xmas

If you're in run-down to Xmas panic mode, have a quick read of Nuno Magazine's online holiday mini edition. It has some interesting gift wrapping and decoration ideas using re-purposed materials as well as good general gifting advice - including some wisdom on giving handmade gifts. Time spent with paper + scissors + glue has to be good for you. At any time of the year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday favourites

Liking: Rifle Paper Co. I love Anna Bond's art work. Naive yet clever.

Reading: Blue nights by Joan Didion.

Listening: Does anyone remember this from the 1960s musical Hair? Listen carefully to the lyrics. They are mystical. Gribby gloop gloopy .... nibby nabby noopy...

Monday, December 12, 2011


Here is the cot quilt - finished! I'm pleased with it. It has lots of straight rows of hand quilting so I got in plenty of practice. It probably could've benefited from a contrasting coloured thread for the quilting but I wasn't confident that my stitches were up to such scrutiny. It feels great to have finished such a big, time-consuming project. I started this in May.

I like this simple style of quilt. I'm wondering about making one with no piecing at all - perhaps using a solid on one side and a patterned fabric on the other. And maybe using a bobble trim instead of binding - a bit like this. So many possibilities ...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday favourites

Making: White Christmas slice using a very easy recipe from Australian Women's Weekly The cake stall. I made this for a shared morning tea at work and it was a big hit.

Watching: Beginners. Oliver (Ewan McGregor) comes to terms with his mother's death, his 75 year old father "coming out" and his own relationship issues.

Reading: The knitter's life list by Gwen W. Steege. This is not a book of patterns but a book of possibilities - techniques, inspiration, challenges, resources.

Listening: Wounded rhymes by Lykke Li.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blue Rabbit

I often make glove rabbits - like this one - as gifts for new babies. But I'm losing my nerve about the handmade gift. We like to think that a handmade gift will become a treasured belonging but not everyone is going to like the stuff you make. Will they feel compelled to keep it just because you made it and they appreciate the effort and time involved? Maybe it's better to go to a store and buy something they can exchange?
Of course, this then raises the question about what to do with the stuff you make. Even though there is much joy in giving, I've decided no more handmade gifts. I'll continue to make things but only for myself and for anyone who asks.
So... I changed my mind about Blue Rabbit and decided to keep him for myself. I've sat him on my work table. He seems pretty content even though he looks a little on the sad side. Maybe he needs a friend. He reminds me of the song we used to sing at school Run, rabbit. Run, rabbit. Run! Run! Run! Do you remember it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday favourites

Eating: Strawberries fresh from the garden.

Reading: Why be happy when you could be normal? by Jeanette Winterson. About her life growing up in Lancashire as the adopted daughter and only child of dysfunctional Pentecostal parents.

Listening: The history of the world in 100 objects on National Radio on Sundays. Brilliant. You can download a podcast here from the BBC. Or read the book by Neil MacGregor.

Watching: Re-runs of Mad Men.

Monday, November 28, 2011

what we had when we had it




These are new additions to our Crown Lynn collection. Crown Lynn was a pottery started in New Zealand in the late 1930s. It had its heyday in the 70s and, sadly, closed in 1989. Mostly it made everyday china and, back in the day, everybody had it. One of the best things about Crown Lynn was that you could buy individual pieces. So, if you broke a plate, you could easily buy a replacement. It's been having a bit of a renaissance and is now quite sort after by collectors.

There is an exhibition on in Auckland until 14 January and these swans are just a peek of the delights in store for you if you go.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday favourites

Reading: Make hey! while the sun shines - a deceptively simple craft book by the lovely Pip Lincolne from Meet me at Mikes.

Watching: Tabloid - the documentary about Miss Wyoming beauty queen Joyce McKinney and her obsessional love for a Mormon missionary.

Joyce McKinney

Listening: Camera Obscura. As always. Especially this. Abba never sounded so good (imo!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Channelling Jane

I listened to Jane Brocket who advises buying quilt fabric whenever you see any that you really love rather than waiting to buy it when you have a particular project in mind. The yellow nursery fabric with bunnies and geese and kittens is from Spotlight. Its a lovely custard yellow and I bought 2 metres I loved it so much. I might use it as a backing. I'm not thinking about the next quilt but having nice fabric on hand does make it tempting to contemplate.

I found the two grey fabrics at a market in Wellington. You can also get these fabrics here. I especially like the dog fabric - chasing a red ball with a blue mouse and trails of little paw prints everywhere. Perfect.

And speaking of dogs ... meet the "debonair dachshund". He is from an old knitting book Double knitting toys - one of the Weldons Practical Knitting series. I'd guess it's from the 1950s. The book has patterns for nine toys : lamb, teddy, doll, ball, golly, dachshund, rabbit, clown and elephant. But I thought the dog was the cutest although the more I look at him the odder he seems. But his face really is cute and I love that he's described as having "an engaging air that appeals to young and old." Very important.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wear with freedom

I'm very pleased to have my own copy of this book - Stylish dress book : wear with freedom - by Yoshiko Tsukiori. It has patterns and instructions for making 26 simple dresses and tops - perfect for summer. The photos, fabrics and styling are lovely. I'm inspired that others have successfully made patterns from this book here, here and here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the week that was

I've had a wonderfully busy week - going to the movies (Contagion), seeing my all-time favourite comedian, Eddie Izzard, and spending all day yesterday on a garden tour of Waiheke Island. The tour was an opportunity to visit twelve private gardens and to support this charity.
How was your week?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

mo love

Finally I am happy with my little raindrops. I struggled mightily with the moustache. The original had a moustache cut from felt but I think this simple crocheted version is more robust and more forgiving. Trying to cut a symmetrical moustache from felt is no easy task. The crochet ones are a bit wonky but they add character. I can now say that the design part of The Drip Project is over.

Speaking of the moustache... do you remember 'Where do you go to, my lovely?' by Peter Sarsdedt? Such a talented artist, such a wonderful song and such a tremendously splendid moustache. Yes, it is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monkeys in my suitcase

I'm off to Wellington for a few days - to see friends, catch this and this and deliver these monkeys to their new home.
See you next week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

While the sun shines

These photos of the cherry trees in my garden were taken over a month from late September to today. The blossoms arrived late, burst into glorious pink wonderment and then, suddenly, the leaves came and now it's all but over. Still, the blossoms were as beautiful as ever and attracted loads of bees.
I've been thinking about taking a photo a day for a year of the trees and then running them all together as a slide show. Probably its already been done and I'm not sure that I have the discipline to do it but it would be amazing to see the trees go through the seasons in a matter of minutes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking the good with the bad

Do you remember this book? It's about a boy, Alexander, who wakes up with gum in his hair. From then on his day just gets worse and worse. The moral is that everyone has a bad day now and then - even in Australia!

And even in New Zealand. Well, actually not the whole day just the bit after work - which should be the good bit.
  • On the bus on my way home, I had my ipod but no headphones (bad)
  • As the bus pulls in to my stop, it starts to rain (not so good)
  • I get home to find the rubbish bin, even though today was rubbish collection day, didn't get emptied (bad)
  • I get to the front door - no key (very, very bad)
  • I phone The Husband to find out where the spare key is hidden. He remembers (very good)
I hope you've had a good day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rocky Raccoon

This raccoon, named by me after the Beatles song, is from Brenna Maloney's book 'Sockology'. Even though I have so many things to do - like finish a quilt - I simply had to make him. He is pretty cute. I knew this was procrastination but I justified it by deciding I could give Rocky to the Softies for Mirabel campaign.

If you're into making softies out of socks as I am/was you'll like Brenna's book. There are some cute and weird things in there and the instructions are so well described and illustrated that they all seem pretty easy. The raccoon though is my favourite.

Monday, October 10, 2011

monkey do

The Mirabel Foundation - with help from Meet me at Mikes - is running its Softies for Mirabel campaign again this year. People from all over the world knit, crochet or sew soft toys for the Mirabel children. The foundation is an Australian charity that assists children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family.
You can read more about the Softies for Mirabel campaign and sign on to participate here.
Donations of handmade toys need to be in Melbourne by December 5. No time to lose. I'm thinking about joining this year. Maybe make a monkey or two.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A little bit more cute

After a bit of detective work - and, after all, what is a librarian if not an information detective? - I have tracked down the maker of my little, blue rabbit. Her name is Aksinia and she has an online shop with loads of great things that you might like to take a peek at. I really love the felted acorns.