30 December, 2010


I forgot to say thank you so much for all the comments you've left over the last couple weeks that I haven't had a chance to respond to. Generally I like to reply to every comment you leave, but it's just too hard at the moment as I make little runs at blogging and then dive away again with only a couple comments answered but hopefully no-one feeling hurt that it wasn't theirs. I'm reading them all and will be much better at replying when I'm home again at the end of January!


Well the kind that lives in our yard that is.

This hare (though we call him our bunny) hangs out in the front yard most days, secure in the knowledge that he's so well camouflaged no-one can see him.  Bunnies aren't very smart.

There is also the squirrel who tears around at a mad pace up and down trees, along his little paths and down tunnels in the snow, popping back up in other places and then doing it all again with a great deal of manic energy. I miss squirrels so much in New Zealand and sometimes I entertain the notion of smuggling a few back in my underpants.

I made these ornaments for my friend Jess whose tree fell over last year (the great Christmas Tree Disaster of '09) and who lost a lot of precious decorations. The pattern is from Fa La La La Felt and they're very cute, this totally awful photo doesn't do them justice. The instructions say to cut the circles out freehand after doing the embroidery and so I did but oh boy it's hard to abandon perfect symmetry and embrace the wonk. Mum did one of them and had the same problem so I think it's probably an inherited thing ;)
Felt Ornaments

28 December, 2010


After we arrived in Edmonton my paretns took us down to Drumheller to see the Tyrell Museum and all the dinosaurs (we're all huge dinosaur fans) and then went up to Lake Louise to stay at the Chateau there. Wow. Our big thing while there was taking Hazel on a sled ride with huskies. She had no idea about it until we got to the parking lot and we met the teams. The dogs were Alaskan huskies, distinct from Siberian and Malamute dogs.

Husky team

Then we squeezed into the sled and were away! It was pretty amazing - both the way we were travelling and the scenery.

Husky sled

Hazel had a hard time with the cold, she's just not used to it and thinks she's dying every time her toes get a bit cold, but she enjoyed driving the sled with Holly who was our...dog sled lady. I'm sure there's a technical term!

Hazel on sled

Merry Snow Mermaiden!

A belated Merry Christmas to you all! I had great intentions of having a lovely winter image to mark the occasion but things got busy and then there was a tummy bug fiasco on Xmas Day and so here we are a couple days after the fact.

I'm still coming to grips with taking photos in the snow, which is proving more challenging than I'd expected! Not helped by me always being taken by surprise when it starts getting dark at 3:30pm, I really need to take photos in the AM! Naturally this has meant that I've spent more time than is rational trying to get rid of the horrible grey cast that a badly exposed snow photo has. Look out for more Photoshopped madness.

These were the Mermaiden I made for (from left) Hazel, Nicole, Danielle and Amy, the pattern is from the Wee Wonderfuls book.

Snow Mermaidens

I love the final product but boy they're a lot more work than I thought they'd be! Of course I realised this after I'd mentally committed to the project, but just be warned if you are going to take one on - read the instructions first! Also, I'd recommend popping a bit of stuffing into the highest bit of the hair before inserting the head, it gives a much nicer finish. I did it for the pale pink hair but not Hazel's on the far left and you can see how it hollows out beyond the head. You could also put some stuffing into the tail, although I've been told by those in the know the floppiness adds to the swimminess.

18 December, 2010


I asked Hazel to pick out a pattern from one of my toy books to make for her cousin Rebecca. She chose Maisie from 'More Softies'.


I have to admit that this wouldn't have been my first choice and I'm still not that fussed about it. I hope that I'm just seeing it from an adult's perspective as Hazel was quite adamant this was the one to make! I was angling for Polly or Mabel Monkey from the first Softies book myself.

16 December, 2010

Red apple pincushion

My friend Jesse lent me her much more superior sewing machine to do the free-motion quilting on Ben's quilt and some Mermaiden I'm about to do, so I made this pincushion to thank her - especially considering how nice she was when I emailed her to say that I thought I'd broken it as the bobbin wasn't working all-of-a-sudden. Luckily it seems to have fixed itself (naturally I'd done nothing wrong). And look, I found a use for leaves - putting needles into!

Apple pincushion

When you read this I should hopefully be in Edmonton, warming my toes (in their red slippers) by the fire with a mug of eggnog in hand. Hopefully I'll be able to do a few posts over the next 6 weeks as I think I'll take my laptop, but they'll probably be of snow and not much crafting unless you count the fabric I plan on buying!

14 December, 2010

Red wool slippers

Awhile ago I came across a slipper pattern reviewed on a blog (can't remember which one unfortunately)and although I don't usually click on advertising the slippers looked so gorgeous I couldn't resist, and got the pdf pattern for them from Shoeology on Etsy.

There's three patterns in the pack and I made the Sunday Morning version, the others are essentially the same but with straps.  I widened the pattern across the top of the foot and angled the toes a bit more. I also made them a bit shorter which I shouldn't have done as they're not a bit snug across the big toe but I'm pretty sure the seams will flatten and fabric will stretch and then they'll be perfect.

I made them out of heavy red wool fabric I re-purposed from an old jacket I had and lined them with cotton. The pattern also suggests covering a pair of foam insoles with fabric and I'll do that when I get time to buy some insoles.


I couldn't resist adding the felt roses, they're just so pretty! Next time I'll aim for a looser flower but I loved the way they came together. It's weird I'd never made any roses before yesterday and then did two different lots with different techniques in one day. I'll definitely be doing a few more pairs and refining the pattern to my foot. The construction means that there's no seam inside, it's all encased and it gives a great finish. The wool is very thick and stiff so the seams need to flatten out so the lining will sit flat. I would have put suede on the soles if I'd had any, but we're leaving in 2.5 days so no time to spend hunting some down! These will keep my feet lovely and warm over Xmas in Canada, even if the thought of wearing them right now makes me feel a bit ill.

12 December, 2010

The Bunny-hug Jacket and beret

I made this jacket for Hazel to wear when we get to Canada but it's so hot and humid right now that there is no way I'd get a photo of her wearing it, she'd expire of heat stroke by the time I took it (see the jacket in action here).  It's adapted from the faux-fur jacket in Ottobre 4/2005 which is designed for a fake fur that has a nice fabric on the back of it, which means you have only the one layer and just bind the edges with bias. Naturally getting something like that here is a non-starter, so I used a sort of stiff velveteen with a fluffy knit lining and a layer of polar fleece in the middle. It wasn't too hard to sew up, although it's a fairly bulky coat! I also made the beret that goes with it

Ottobre jacket and hat

The jacket has snap fasteners and is also meant to have two ribbon ties along the edge, although I'm undecided about those at the moment as Hazel doesn't know how to tie bows and they'll probably end up dangling around being annoying and looking silly unless I tie them myself. Naturally she's keen for them!

The hat has a lovely little rose decoration, the first time I've ever done a fabric flower and it was surprisingly easy. It's made from minky and velour.

Ottobre beret rose

The jacket is so soft that we've been joking it's like being hugged by a bunny. And of course the hat is a bunny on your head. Awhile ago I remember reading a blog that asked the question whether readers named the projects they were working on and generally I don't, but this one was definitely 'The Bunny-hug Jacket'.

08 December, 2010

All matchy matchy

About 6 months ago I bought some vintage flannelette (or flannel, what's the difference exactly?) from a shop called Selvedge. Sadly they closed down not long after that, although in some ways it may have been good for my pocketbook! Anyways, I had all this scrummy soft fabric and it really just screamed out pyjamas, specifically the Oliver + S ones I love so much. Sadly, Hazel was hearing "nightie!" instead so that's what she got. As luck would have it, I had the book "All Dolled Up" out from the library and it had a 'Classic nightgown' pattern for girls AND their dolls. It really is an old-fashioned nightgown that's for sure, ruffles and all. I made the ruffles from plain pink flannelette - the selection of those kinds of fabrics are somewhat limited in the middle of summer here!

Nightie for Hazel and her doll

It's funny seeing Hazel and the doll together as they really do rather resemble each other, except for the doll's skin (referred to as "fair" on the American Doll website) - a tan that dark is something Hazel's never going to have!

The pattern went together well, all pretty straightforward except I must have hit a pin or something with my overlocker and it suddenly started chewing on the fabric instead of cutting it. For some reason I persisted for longer than I should have, nearly ruining the sleeves but managed to rescue them with lots of unpicking and using the regular machine. It would be up to 10 days to wait for the blade to be sharpened so that's a whole lot of clothes for me off my 'to-do' list because they really do need the overlocker. At first I was rather upset because I wanted a few nice merino tops to wear, but now as the deadline for leaving looms closer I'm kind of glad!

07 December, 2010

Mysterious Christmas present No. 1

'Tis the season for teaser shots of presents that can't be shown in full. I bought this fabric for Mat to make him a shirt after he saw it in the Sew Mama Sew shop and fell in love with it. Luckily there was enough left over afterwards to make up this little item. It has polar fleece sandwiched between the cotton on top and linen on the bottom, and the the whole lot is box-quilted and bound with orange drill.

I'm using the same binding on Ben's Rabbits and Racecars quilt, so I guess I must be really liking orange at the moment! Which I do, particularly with blue. Being a child of the 70s I have an instinctive horror of brown, orange and yellow together, but somehow this combo manages to look more 50s retro than 70s.

06 December, 2010

Ben's quilt

Ben's quilt, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

When my niece Rebecca was born a couple years ago I made her a small cot quilt for Christmas from Heather Ross' Rabbits and Racecars fabric. Then her brother Ben came along 6 months ago so I thought I should try another one. I love this fabric hugely, it's great fun to trace along the roads, looping around and looking at all the little cars. My favourite is the car that's rolled and is lying on its roof for all the world like a beetle on its back (the yellow one in the middle bottom third). I couldn't bear to cut into the fabric and disturb the traffic flow so I decided to leave it whole and quilt along the roads. That was such a no-brainer that even Hazel suggested it quite independently! I borrowed a better sewing machine from my friend Jesse (and am now even more dissatisfied with my old one!) and embarked on free motion sewing. There are some distinctly dodgy bits and wobbles and uneven stitch length, but the design is so forgiving that it doesn't actually matter. Love that. The quilting gives the fabric a lovely dimensional quality that's even better than I'd imagined. I'm going to bind it in orange, put a label on it and that's done and dusted.

Thanks very much for all your thoughtful and interesting replies on my money and crafting post. I really enjoyed reading through them and thinking about what you all had to say. There were a lot of perspectives but I think what I came away with was a real desire amongst you not to be sucked in by the pretty blogs and into spending money and to do it the thrifty way. So it seems to me that there IS a divide in this respect, whether it's driven by income or simply attitude. I have to admit that I come down on the money side of things more than I should, I just don't have that op-shop mojo and am willing to spend money to compensate for that lack of initiative and time. But I could put more effort into using what I've got before buying new, which I find hard for some reason - probably deeply psychological and Freudian! It's great to read about all of you who DO manage that and it inspires me to try harder. It's one thing to save buttons and trims and feel all thrifty like I do, and another to actually USE them! I think it might be my New Year's resolution. Ok, so I don't actually do those anymore as a result of bitter experience and failure in the past, but it's a good thing to aim for.

04 December, 2010

Gingerbread men

Gingerbread men, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

I've been super-busy the last week, trying to work on 50 billion projects, skipping from one to the other and back again like a squirrel on crack. But I'm slowly finishing things, or at least getting towards finishing - there are two items waiting for binding that I'm avoiding but will get done in the next couple days. I have less than two weeks to wrap this up before I get on the plane for Edmonton. I wonder if they allow needles in the cabin? I could manage quite a few felt things if so. Oh, but probably no scissors. Does anyone have recent experience in this regard? I wonder if there are scissor substitutes...

Here are the first cab(s) off the rank - my little gingerbread and sugar cookie people. I can't tell you how cute these guys are in person! I couldn't get the brown one to show much detail, black on dark brown is hard to capture on film. The sugar cookie is rather full of himself for being so photogenic though. The pattern is from Fa La La Felt. I could totally do a couple more of these, they are the perfect project for doing in front of the tv.


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