31 December, 2009

Little Pups

As part of the gifty meme from earlier this year I made a wee stuffed dog from the More Softies book for my friend Jennifer in England. The pattern is called 'Little Pup' by My Little Mochi. He turned out so well that I made another for Hazel for Christmas.

Little Pup(s)

When I first got the body sewed up it looked pretty dodgy, not at all like the one in the book! But as I stuffed it it looked better and better and by the time I got to sewing on the arms I was in luurve. The nose is a triumph of cute.

Little Pup(s)

30 December, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009, originally uploaded by Ansis68.

We're back from our two weeks away, though I'm not entirely sure how rested and relaxed I am! My main fear was getting there and back in holiday traffic, the drivers here can be a mad, bad and dangerous bunch at the best of times, Christmas seems to bring out the worst in some of them and that's saying a lot! Why such a nice bunch of people turn in to angry maniacs behind the wheel has always puzzled me.

Aaaaanyways, the weather was lovely, the family were lovely (as usual) and we got Gran home for the day from the hospital which was also lovely. Hazel now has more My Little Pony stuff than is decent and I'm drawing the line because I think if I hear that awful theme song much more I might do something drastic which would scar her for life! My handmade gifts went down pretty well, the slippers got the best reception, although I hear my mum's tea cosy went down well on the NY end of things.

26 December, 2009

Mum's tea cosy

Remember these spots?


They were from a tea cosy I made for my mum

Mum's tea cosy

I hope she likes it! It seemed a good pattern for a cold winter's day - perhaps the bright colours and busyness will confuse the cold molecules :) It also comes with a wool pad to sit the tea pot on (not shown because it's boring and grey).

Mum's tea cosy

17 December, 2009

Season's Greetings!

Christmas decorations

I'm off to my in-laws in Marton for Christmas, so I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Season's Greetings, Happy Holidays and other non-denominational salutations that slip my mind at the moment. I'll be back on the 30th! I've scheduled a few posts with Christmas gifts that can be unveiled after the day, so there will be a small drip-feed of things to gaze at if you need :)

Those of you lucky enough to have snow can think a kind thought for me if you want, I know the Kiwis love Christmas at summer but it doesn't feel quite right to me, even after all these years!

15 December, 2009

Business card wallet

I think I'm safe putting this up... if not Hi Mat!

A couple months ago Mat suggested that a business card holder would be a good present, and then I promptly forgot all about it. I ended up getting him a disposable pre-loaded Visa card so he can buy obscure reggae music online - and then I remembered the card holder idea. I did a quick Google and came up with a great little tutorial and this is the result:

Card holder 1

open it up and voila! some Heather Ross Mendocino fabric. I think it's fairly 'guy-looking'.

Card holder 2

Perfect to put the Prezzy Card into and partially disguise what it is when wrapped. I'm half-hoping he doesn't like it and I can take it over, I think my "business card" looks pretty snappy tucked in there!

14 December, 2009

Sewing Green slippers

Sewing Green slippers, originally uploaded by Ansis68.

Here are the slippers I was working on in the '5 Minutes Peace' post. My brother-in-law Ewen requested a pair for Christmas after seeing Mat's - which is very flattering! They're made from the pattern in Betz White's 'Sewing Green' book. I originally made myself a pair, and then Mat liked them so much he commissioned some, and now I'm on to the extended family!

It's a bit tricky making them for someone who's not around because all I had to go on was a tracing Mat made of Ewen's foot and it seemed improbably long and skinny. Well I know the long bit is right anyways, big feet run in the family!*

They're made from an old woollen jacket (woven), unfelted, and cut on the bias to give them stretch. They're a bit tight at the ankle getting them on, but works well elsewhere. The cuff is wool knit, also unfelted. The main reason they're not out of a sweater is that none of the ones I had were large enough (after felting) to get the pieces cut out! I had to enlarge the pattern 105% to get a size big enough. :P It's also why they have the leather on the bottom as the pattern called for and not the whole sole as I'd prefer - no leather long enough. Like I said, big feet are impractical! I'll leave the blanket stitch around the edges until he's tried them on and I've made any size adjustments.

They look so lovely and Christmassy, unfortunately they probably won't get worn for another 5 months or so until our winter kicks in!

*And no, this does not refer to the usual jokes on this subject, I just want to know why do guys have such big feet? They seem impractically big. It's not like either of them are a third as big again as me, while their feet certainly are!

13 December, 2009


Anglaspel, originally uploaded by Ansis68.

I bought this a couple of years ago in Sweden, in lieu of a larger wooden German one like my parents have. As it turns out, brightly lit summer evenings in NZ aren't exactly the right time for things involving candles so my burning desire for the wooden variety has lessened somewhat! This little silver äglaspel by Pluto Produkter is perfect because it reflects the sun and makes the kitchen look like a disco in the morning as it revolves around. I wish I'd bought more now! I see from their site they sell all sorts of themed ones, and they are available from various online shops about the place. I might look into getting some more!

12 December, 2009

My Place and Yours: Just Five Minute's Peace

Ha! I wish :) The theme this week at Meet Me At Mike's My Place & Yours is Five Minute's Peace, chosen by Pilgrim:

where do you retreat to for that sanity-regaining break? i am interested in what or where in your home your sanctuary is...

My place of peace is at the sewing machine at the moment, and in quieter times as well! It's a place I'm willing to insist on my time at, willing to put with complaining and where I can ignore mess and other pressing concerns. It stills my mind and I (usually) feel a sense of accomplishment while I'm at it.


At the moment I'm finishing up a pair of Sewing Green slippers for my brother-in-law's Christmas present, made out of wool from a thrifted jacket and some wool jersey fabric a friend gave me. I think they're going to look splendid, although the wool isn't so nice to sew as it's a bit prickly. Still, I love sewing wool like this, it's so...compliant!

What I'm up to at the moment

2+2 blouse, originally uploaded by Ansis68.

Amongst the many projects I have on the go at the moment is this Oliver + S blouse from the 2+2 pattern. I bought the Lecien 'My Foklore' fabric a fair while ago for this exact purpose and I can honestly say I think it's one of my favourite fabrics ever. The photos don't do it justice, but the little pops of red are just sublime in their perfect redness.

Mat said "that's too nice to give to Hazel!" and of course what he meant was that she may very well refuse to wear it and I think that would break my heart (again). But what else was I supposed to do with it? It needs to be worn by a little girl in some shape or form, and if I didn't make the size 4 now I wouldn't have had enough fabric to make the next size up. It was close as it was! I had initially thought that I'd put it in her stocking as I'm confident that she would wear it if she thought it was from Santa. But I'm not sure if I can bear her not knowing that I made it. It's totally an ego thing I know! I'm still really undecided about this - any advice would be welcome.

All the potential angst aside, just look at that fabric, the gathering, the sweet little ties at the neck. I might have some quibbles with the technical aspects of Oliver + S pattern construction at times, but you can't deny they make the cutest kids clothing patterns around!

09 December, 2009

Christmas frustration

Christmas WIP, originally uploaded by Ansis68.

I knew that this would happen, but it's still driving me nuts. How can I blog about my marvellous creations when the recipients might read about it? It's frustrating, so I'm going to pass on that frustration by taking mysterious (or not so mysterious) photos and hopefully that will restrain me from blurting it all out and ruining someone's surprise. Some of you may recognise what this is, if you do just smile knowingly and enjoy your superiority in silence. :)

08 December, 2009

What you're into when you're four

Hazel's collage

Hazel has started making up little paper envelopes (or pouches as she calls them) at créche and filling them with images she's cut out of magazines. I think they're a gorgeous way of tracking her interests and I'm going to start recording each batch!

I have to agree with her on those Perrier Jouet bottles, they're utterly gorgeous and OTT in these days of minimalism and cutting-edge design.

07 December, 2009

And the winner is...

And that number belongs to Elizabeth from Empty Elizabeth who said

I live in Wisconsin, USA... near Milwaukee. That is such a great little zip pouch! And thanks for the tutorial link, my zippers never turn out quite right!

Wheee! This was such fun! Look out for another proper bloggoversary giveaway in January and we can do it all over again :) I'm still in awe that I got 285 lovely comments O_O You are all so nice! Thank goodness I figured out how to number them because I think I'd have been cross-eyed counting up to 176! If anyone else wants to try I used the tutorial at The Computery. It worked for my template (Minima) when several others I tried didn't.

Christmas to-do list

Xmas To-Do list

Making the list, checking it twice... The only way I'll stay even vaguely organised to get things done this year! We're off to the in-laws for Christmas on the 17th, so I get cut off then - though I'm taking the sewing machine down with me so I can work on a shirt I'm doing for Mat. He's been waiting for it for so long and is quite desperate which is too flattering to resist! It's going to be out of Heather Ross's Glass Beach fabric from the Mendocino line. It's nice he likes it as much as I do, though I suspect it's more because he's very interested in archaeological fish bone than that it's just fabulous design! I'll take what I can get though.

You'll notice on the list that I've been very bold and scheduled in some clothes for me! All very simple knits I think. I had visions of getting something done from Twinkle Sews but that's probably best left until after Xmas when time moves a little slower! The things I'm going to work at are: a couple of tops, a dress and maybe a wrap/cardie. One top will be based on a favourite I bought last year from H&M but that has seen better days. I'm going to take a big deep breath and cut it up for the pattern. The other one is 'Our Fave Top' from Sew Tessuti (link top right of their sidebar) which looks fabulous and easy to make. The dress is View C from McCall's 5423

The cardy/wrap is the Origami wrap sweater from UN Journal. I want something fairly light just as a cover-up for cooler evenings and days and I think this could be just the ticket. I certainly plan on making it again for winter in something more snuggly!

So we shall see how I go with this list thing, so far so good! Except I noticed this morning I neglected to add blogging anywhere in there so I'm taking some time away from designing a course to teach at Uni next year to do something completely unrelated to the 'Bioarchaeology of Death and Burial" That's not a very fun title though, I'm toying with something based around the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - War, Famine, Pestilence and...ummm...Conquest (thank you Google!). I think this would be the first image I'd put up, it's been a favourite since Art History days!


06 December, 2009

My Place and Yours: Wherever I lay my hat...

Another toughie for the My Place and Yours meme over at Meet Me At Mikes! This time the theme queen is Tania at Myrtle and Eunice and this is what she's specified:

What are the treasures in your house that signify ‘home’? Is there anything that reminds you of a childhood, a life overseas, a loved one? Is there a blanket you always curl under, a teapot that brews the perfect cuppa? Do you have a ‘Droopy Dog’ like that one above – a twelfth birthday present who fits perfectly in the crook of a sleeping kid’s arm and who may or may not have ventured to Europe in a backpack, ahem, three times?

So this time it was more a case of narrowing down a plethora of options to one or two! I have lots and lots of things that remind me of a life lived overseas, a few things that remind me of childhood, books that I'll never pack away, but what makes me feel like I'm at home?

If you'd asked me this just over 4 years ago the answer would have been different, but now there's Hazel and so the answer would be that anywhere she lays her head is home to me. I love my stuff, and I love archaeology, but my life revolves around her these days.


On a slightly less sappy note, one of the other things that caught my attention was the mention of things from childhood and items that may or may not have accompanied you on backpacking trips. My stuffed mouse Timothy qualifies for this in spades, and he also makes home home.


I got Timmy for my 4th birthday so that makes him 37 this year (quick, do the math!) and he is what my Dad has always called "a well-travelled mouse". He's been to Europe a couple times, around the South Pacific at least twice, around New Zealand at least 3 times (including when I was in my 20s), Australia and Syria. And he's not small either! On the plus side, he makes a fabulous pillow.

02 December, 2009

Sew Mama Sew December Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway, it's been such fun reading all the comments! I'm off to generate the winning number and will be posting it above shortly.

Welcome to my giveaway for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! Up for grabs is this cute little bag made from dark grey wool and lots of felt spots.

Spotty bag 1

It measures approx. 19 x 10.5cm (about 7.5 x 4") and is lined with pink cotton. The spots are wool-blend felt and and the buttons are from my button box.

Spotty bag 2

I had an awful time trying to photograph it so that the colours were true, the camera couldn't handle the intense orange and pink of some of the spots! I've desaturated the photos a little so you can see the details, in real life it's a bit more fun and vibrant.

What do you need to do to win this wee bag? Well I'm going to make you really work for it - in your comment I want you to tell me where you're from in the big wide world. That's it. :) I'm happy to ship worldwide too (because let's face it, pretty much everywhere is overseas from New Zealand!)

The giveaway will be open until 2pm, December 7th NZ time which works out to 8pm December 6th EST. The winner will be chosen by random number generator. Please make sure that you've either left your blog URL or an email - if you have your Blogger profile set up to be private I have no way of contacting you other than to post your name here, and I'll redraw in 24 hours if I haven't heard from you. The bag will be mailed immediately but I'm not sure it will make North America or Europe by Christmas, so might end up being a nice little post-Christmas pressie.

Spotty bag 3

I should add that I got the bag pattern from this great tutorial and I love the way the zipper is put in, it makes it look really professional.

ETA: I just have to add that it's already killing me not to reply to some of the comments but I know if I do it'll screw up figuring out what post belongs to the winning number. I'm being strong, but it's going to be a long few days (and the official part hasn't even started yet!).

Cross stitch for Christmas

This is the end result of the cross stitch plants I've been doing - a small bag and a larger shoe bag for my sister-in-law in the States.

Embroidered pouch and shoe bag

I'm really pleased how it all turned out! I made the shoe bag following the tutorial over at //Between the lines//, complete with french seams and all! It looks great. The little bag was my own pattern, hence its slightly blobby lines, but hopefully she'll be so distracted by the embroidery that she won't notice :)

Embroidered bag and pouch 2

01 December, 2009

A stream of consciousness ramble

Got the package off to NY on the last mailing day so I'm feeling pretty good about that! Now I just have in-laws and a daughter to buy for. Oh and a husband... And I've just realised that the really good idea I had for a gift for him has completely gone out of my mind! Grrrr....

I also finished up my Sew Mama Sew giveaway item, although I'm awfully paranoid about missing that very important deadline on the 2nd! That's tomorrow here so I think I'll post it up before I go to bed, even though it'll be fairly early. I'm really very au fait with time zone differences, having spent the last 15 years anywhere from 4-10 hours away from my loved ones, but when it comes to something like this my confidence evaporates! Must remember to photograph it tomorrow. I used one of the little Hazelnuts fabric labels I made up on the inkjet printer in it, the first time ever! I was thinking about putting them in some of the little things I'm making for the female in-laws but maybe that'd be a bit wanky?

Over at Scribd, where I have my bunny and superhero mask patterns, I'm getting about two new subscribers a day which would be good if they weren't all completely unrelated to what I'm doing there. So far they're 100% male, middle-aged or older, and a little...odd. The first couple were consipiricy theorists I think, although it's hard to tell from their profiles. Then I attracted a couple religious nutters with many tracts on whichever religion they practice. Just today I had two novelists or authors of some kind start following me. They seem normal enough but who knows! I don't flatter myself that they are attracted to bunny tutorials, they all follow tens of thousands of people, but why on earth am I suddenly being targeted by these people? Today I removed most of the personal information on my profile, especially the words "researcher" and "archaeologist". Other than that I can't think why my profile is suddenly coming in for this kind of attention. It's bizarre. I keep telling myself that they don't care about me, that it's all completely anonymous but it's still creepy because they seem to come in clusters that are related in interests, like they watch each other to see who they are following. Unlike Twitter you can't stop someone following you, otherwise I'd be blocking these guys immediately!

When I was marking all those final exams the essay question was on the topic of the mosaic evolution of hominids. Mosaic evolution is a species that has both ancestral and derived characteristics - so an Australopithecine that could walk bipedally but also still had upper body adaptations for living in trees. The students were meant to discuss why hominid evolution was an example of mosaic evolution. After awhile it started to get to me because it's only mosaic in retrospect. At the time they were what they were - just like us. In a million years (supposing we manage to survive the coming climate catastrophe and our basic stupidity) will other humans look back at us and discuss our primitive and derived features? In theory yes they would, although I'd love to know what our primitive features would be!

Ok, I need to go and search out felted sweaters up in the attic, my brother-in-law has requested a pair of the Sewing Green slippers after seeing Mat's. Though considering how hot it is today I don't really want to have to touch wool! If it's this warm and muggy in spring I'm really dreading summer...

Dog pull-toy

This has to be the quickest present ever!

Dog pull-toy

I think it's fairly safe to show this as my brother's dog Duncan probably doesn't read my blog on a regular basis. I followed the instructions here, and it took me about 20 minutes to do after I located the fleece and sherpa in my stash. I did a four braid which I thought would give it a bit of bulk (Duncan may be small but he's fierce) and it ended up being beautifully striped, just like a candy-cane! A pleasant and totally appropriate outcome. It's lovely and stretchy and should provide at least a couple hours of fun on the day. I have no idea how sturdy it will be though! As I said, he's fierce.



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