31 August, 2010

Doxie Dachshunds and a giveaway

My ever-expanding pack of dachshunds made from the Doxie Dachshund necklace pattern in the Wee Wonderfuls book.
Doxie Dachshunds 2

I'm really quite addicted to them.
Doxie Dachshunds

Hazel loves them as well - she has two already and would like several more. The first one I made was the spotty one and she's worn it to school several days in a row which pleases me no end. The second one is red with white spots but he's a wild one with no collar or ribbon so he's not in the photo. When I first looked through the book it was this project that really jumped out at me and my first thought was "Hazel would LOVE this". And then I started second-guessing myself and wondering what kid would really wear one for real and whether this was just going to be one of those things that seem like a good idea but don't work in real life. But no, it's a total success! Apparently 5 year old girls really DO like wearing stuffed dogs around their necks. I should never have doubted.

Doxie Dachshunds 3

Doxie Dachshunds 4

So now on to the really fun part, the bit where I FINALLY get around to do a little giveaway to celebrate hitting 200 followers. Of course there are 239 of you lovely and wonderful people now but hey, the more the merrier right? So if you'd like a pair of Doxies of your own (the dog, not the lady of easy virtue) then just leave me a comment below! The giveaway is for followers, RSS readers and actual visitors to my blog - no restrictions. You can choose from the fabrics above, or a different colour or whatever you want, I'm happy to customise! They can come as a necklace for the younger set, or as a brooch for the more mature amongst us (I'm going to do one for me), or one of each. I'll leave the comments open until the morning of Tuesday 7th September NZ time and then draw a winner with a random number generator as my own little bundle of randomness will be at school. The giveaway is open to all, local and international.


30 August, 2010

Spring has sprung

It's officially a few days off still, but today just felt like spring.


Jasmine is one of my favourite flowers ever. I used to have a plant growing up the back of our house but it was a bad spot and it got sooty mildew and we pulled it out. Since it's meant to be a noxious weed here in Auckland (not allowed to grow it) I didn't replace it. But darn it, everyone else has it growing, great big freaking hedges of it in places, so I'm going to give it another go. Not sure if this bit I found on the side of the road will root or not, but I'm enjoying the flowers and I can always go back for more cuttings after they've stopped flowering.

29 August, 2010

The Wee Wonderfuls book

 Wee Wonderfuls cover

I've had this book for a couple weeks now and it's growing on me every day.  Sounds a bit like a distressingly personal kind of disease doesn't it? ;)  But really, the projects are just so cute and I'm busy sewing up a small pack of dachshund necklaces (yay handsewing!).  Pack of dachshunds...why is it that the words "pack" and "dachshund" just don't really go together?  Pack implies something purposeful and dangerous, not the words that immediately spring to mind when considering dachshunds. But anyways, there will be a post on them in the next few days so in the meantime I thought I'd just share a few of my favourite projects in case you've been wondering if the book's for you.  And to be honest, even if these ones don't grab you it might still be a goer because these are a very biased collection! I love Hilary's dolls and patterns and have done a few of them in the last few years, including a bunch of Olives and Archies.

Melvin and Marion the Librarian Bears.  These would be for me and I would stand firm on that in the face of the inevitable blandishments and whining from Hazel. I mean really, librarian bears?  Even the name makes me want them. On the list of 'jobs I could have done if I hadn't been an archaeologist' librarian comes right after palaeontologist.  Hazel says she's going to be a palaeontologist when she grows up (she loves dinosaurs) so perhaps I can go on digs with her when I'm retired.
Melvin and Marion

You can get the pattern for this Mermaiden from Melanie Falick Books. Hazel picked this one next after the dachshunds. I like it when she chooses the easy projects!

 The Ellie bag.  I think Hazel has too many bags that she doesn't use enough but this would be a good addition to the collection.
Ellie Bag

The Tag-a-long doll.  It reminds me of the Olive doll I made for Hazel a few years ago, but the construction is heaps easier and the pigtails are so cute!
Tag-a-long doll

Bjorn Bjornson - would totally be for me and I'd love him and kiss him and call him Bjorn.
Bjorn Bjornson

Little Miss Storybook - she comes with the most adorable red cape so I guess she can be Goldilocks or Red Riding Hood - or any of the other blond fairytale heroines!  I was explaining to Hazel how she was a goldilocks too and she thought that was hilarious because there was no way there were any bears around.
Little Miss Storybook

I'm really looking forward to doing at least one or two of these toys, particularly if they're destined for my desk! There is a Flickr group for the book if you're interested in seeing some of the other toys.

27 August, 2010

I'm excited about tomorrow!

One of the great sadnesses of my life here in Auckland has been a complete dearth of decent craft supply shops but that's about to change tomorrow when "The Little Craft Shop" opens up in Pt. Chev!  [insert wild flailings here]  I've been following its progress for the last week and even though Mat has banned me from ever visiting it already (HAH!), Hazel and I have plans to attend the opening tomorrow.  In fact, when I mentioned it the other night, you know, just casually, and at the same time as Mat was laying down the law, Hazel was saying very excitedly "yaaaaayyy and I can come with you!"  Of course she thinks I'm going to buy her something but really I have my eye on some of these reds because I'm trying to collect enough reds and oranges to do a lap quilt and that one just under the patterns is just the ticket I think. Well it'll be the ticket after I finish of the other quilts I'm supposed to be doing first that is!  Doesn't that sound like I'm a total pro at quilting when in fact I've only ever done the one?  "How to Bluff your way in Quilting" - a book I could probably write.

24 August, 2010

Fa la la la Felt

A few weeks ago I had a lovely email from Sew Mama Sew letting me know that I'd won the book Fa la la la Felt in a giveaway they were doing. Aside from the fact I was so gobsmacked I'd actually won something I was excited because the projects I'd seen looked fun, I love felt, and I had it on my wishlist over at the Book Depository.  I've been anxiously awaiting it in the mail ever since!

fa la la la felt...and guess whose trio of trees is on the cover!

It came yesterday so I thought I'd just share some of the projects that caught my eye.  I've realised that several of them were from the same designers, Cathy Gaubert and Esther Coar, it's kind of neat when you connect to someone's work so consistently!

fa la la la felt :: gingerman + sugar cookie friend


These little guys are my hands-down favourites!

fa la la la felt :: portraits

Hazel's in love with these

Candy garland

Good enough to eat!

snowflake baubles

The layering and embroidery on these is lovely.

There are so many other great projects, including a swathe of stockings, it's definitely a book worth looking into!  The Flickr Group is here.  It's also available as an ebook from Zinio which is pretty cool, and it's cheaper than buying the actual book. I have to say though, there's something very satisfying about having a book in the hand!

20 August, 2010

Hazel's sewing box

As I said in my previous post, my original present idea for Hazel was a sewing box filled with all sorts of notions and girly sewing needs.  I found a great wicker one in an second hand shop and it came filled with odd 'n ends, old wooden spools of thread, embroidery thread etc. Naturally I kept that for myself and bought Hazel new stuff - I mean, she's not going to appreciate wooden spools is she?

Sewing Box

The box was essentially sound but looked a bit dry and the inner lining was in dire straits on the bottom.  The padded top was in ok shape, a bit battered and stained but I love the folding and wanted to keep it in lieu of a pincushion.

Sewing box interior

Sewing Box interior detail

Sewing Box lid

I  deliberated about the interior for awhile, to keep intact or not?  In the meantime I gave the outside a light going-over with Danish Oil which improved its appearance markedly. But made it stink. It still does a bit!

Sewing Box

Then I decided that I'd replace the bottom lining and put new braid around the edges.  I had a scrap of Liberty that suited it perfectly.

Sewing box interior

Gluing down the braid was heinous and I didn't do the best job ever. Though having said that it looks a LOT wonkier in this photo than it does in real life!  There's definitely an art to it that I'm not privy to.

Sewing Box interior detail

Hazel seems quite pleased with it, though like many presents from the day it's languishing somewhat due to all the competition!

18 August, 2010

Dumpling Dynasty Bunny

Along with the Mee a Bee bag, I wanted to put together a sewing kit for Hazel for her birthday, she's been asking and asking for one. I found this great vintage wicker sewing basket in an op shop, full of odds 'n ends (and 3 silverfish!) and refurbished it (another post because I'm doing this one from University during my office hours ahem). Then a bit later on as part of the Ice Cream Social I needed the pattern and found it over at Kelani Fabric Obsession. Of course on such a nice website it would be criminal not to browse around and look at the loveliness and while doing that (and studiously NOT looking at any of the fabrics) I found this little kit - the Dumpling Dynasty Easy Sew Bunny Kit. I mean, how could I not add it to my cart? They also do a cute little sewing kit but that would have rather defeated the purpose.
The really appealing part of the kit is that it comes with everything you need and the holes already punched into the fabric
which makes Hazel actually sew properly instead of the free-form she's currently producing. Which is all well and good but it needs to get directed at some point! You also get a wee journal and pencil to record your adventures and a gorgeous little tin to keep it all in. I especially love that the two girls on the front look a lot like Hazel and her friend Chloe (awwwww!) and the little phrase 'Make with Joy' top right. I'm sure it's just pandering to all my preconceptions of Chinese products but it's damn cute!

Hazel really enjoyed making it, though she's incredibly impatient and still has to learn that there are steps that need to be completed first - boring things before the fun. But this is such a great way for her to learn that and she gets a cute bunny at the end. We've finished the bunny and the dress is still to go - I think Hazel is actually quite happy with her fuzzy pink bunny ("it's fur is SO FUZZY LIKE A KITTEN mummy!") that the dress is a bit incidental. Plus of course the mini-me American Girl doll and fuzzy puppy arrived from NY a few days later so much has fallen by the wayside since then :)

16 August, 2010

Prolapsed disks and lapsed blogs

I'm not actually lapsing my blog, I'm just on sick-leave! This bloody disk and the resulting sciatica is causing me no end of pain and unhappiness and is not improving much so I'm off to a back specialist. Of course I have to wait a couple weeks so I don't anticipate much improvement in that time, nor immediately after unless he's got a magic wand! There's no disguising the fact that this really really sucks and all I can do is hope that I'm not heading for an operation and that it doesn't affect my trip to Canada at Christmas. Aaaanyways, my sitting time is pretty limited at the moment and I'm using almost of all of it for working on lectures which means that blogging and sewing is off the menu for awhile yet.

This is terrible of course because I've got a list a mile long of things I want to sew for myself (for once and look what happens), Mat and Hazel and I just got the new Wee Wonderfuls book in the post today and of course all I can do is gaze longingly at the projects because there is no way in haitch-eee-double-hockey-sticks that I'm going to get to them until well into next year! Frustrating to say the least!

And yes, it's also terrible because my lectures aren't quite all they could be either, and I feel bad for the students (occasionally). But mostly it's terrible about the sewing and blogging.

Ok, enough blogging, back to lectures!  I'll try and pop in with a few posts I have burning holes in my brain but can't promise when. I do hope you can stick around despite the slow posting :)

ETA: Oh! Oh! There IS something I can do from the Wee Wonderfuls book, it's a little fabric Doxie Dachshund necklace that is all handsewn, so I can sit on the floor in perfect cross-legged yoga pose (the only sitting that really works although the rest of me gets very sore and stiff) and be crafty. Btw, I had no idea that not only does a doxie mean a lady of easy virtue, but it's also a common name for dachshunds.  Huh. Well there you go :)  What does that say about dachshunds though, and are they aware of this slur?

11 August, 2010

The Mee a Bee puppy bag

Here in New Zealand kids start school the day after they turn 5 so not only were were getting ready for Hazel's birthday but we also had to start thinking about school stuff!  Because she's been going to créche for several years it wasn't such a big shock and we had lunch boxes and all that, but we needed a good school bag.  One of my first thoughts was a bag from Mee a Bee. Hazel and I had a good browse around but as it turned out the bags were too small to fit her lunchbox in so they weren't an option for school - but Hazel had fallen in love with one made from fabric with dogs on it.  I got in touch with Jacqui and it turned out that she had a larger dog one partially made so I bought it for Hazel's birthday.  It came with a little extra in the form of some super-cute Japanese stickers and a writing set, which I neglected to take a photo of before they were used!  Despite having two boys Jacqui obviously knows the way to a little girl's heart :) But here's the bag (it has a lovely pale grey striped lining)

Mee a Bee bag

I saw another Mee a Bee bag at a children's play last month and they're very distinctive, I spotted it right away! It's funny how that works, I look at the website and then literally the next day there one is across the room.  They're just so small and cute! Perfect for littlies - and this one being a bit larger is perfect for a 5 year old because you can fit in a Barbie or two (if only that was all she had!)

Mee a Bee bag detail

The swing tag is still there not because I'm trying to garner favour with Jacqui but because Hazel won't let me take it off. I tried, I was there with the scissors and she was all "NO! Leave it!" and when I asked why she said "because it's cute" which is pretty much her raison d'être these days and I don't dare argue with it.

09 August, 2010

Party invitations

Well phew, so that's all over and Hazel's off at her first day of school. Talk about cramming it all into one weekend plus the farewell at créche on Friday (which reduced me to tears if not Hazel!).  I've been battling sciatica as a result of a slipped lumbar disk too, so sitting hasn't been all that fun for the last couple weeks - nor has anything much! Ladies, Do. Your. Abdominal. Exercises. after your baby is born, let me and my lack of muscles be a dire warning to you.  Here I am 5 years later paying the price for my laziness and procrastination.

After a lot of mind-changing Hazel had settled on an animal 'theme' for her birthday - I use that term loosely as the only thing animal about it, other than the behaviour of the kids which was distinctly feral at times, was the invitation and the suggestion that the invitee should dress as their favourite animal. That actually got them incredibly excited and there was a lot of "Hazel's mum, Hazel's mum! Guess what costume I'm going to be wearing to her party!" when I picked her up on créche days. As it turns out, princesses are a kind of animal - did you know that?

The invitation got a lot of compliments and I was pretty pleased with how it all went so I thought I'd share it with you - and make the photograph available for people to download if anyone else has a small party animal to plan for.  Click on it to go through to Flickr and then Actions/All Sizes/Download (original size)

Birthday Party Animals

It's simply a photo of some of Hazel's Schleich animals that has been Photoshopped till it begged for mercy and then Mat found some appropriate clip art to finish it off.  Hazel thought the photo corners were hilarious but they made me miss real photo albums and the process of putting photos in and licking the corners. Well ok, so I've never really done that on a large scale, seeing as plastic photo pockets had been invented by the time I got my own camera and albums! But you know, my parent's albums and my baby photos (in black and white!) look pretty classy with the photo corners. Besides, I've had a packet of them lurking around for years so I was pleased to get to use them!

Party invitation

I printed off the photos myself (3 per page) so they would fit on the front of half a sheet of A4 paper folded in half - whatever measurement that is, with the text printed on the inside. Pretty easy to set up on Word or in Photoshop and print off yourself.

02 August, 2010

Ice Cream Social Dress

When Badskirt's Ice Cream Social for the Oliver+S dress pattern of the same name came up last month I thought I'd make one up for a birthday present for Hazel. Partly because it's a cute dress and a good excuse to make it, but also because I thought that feeling like I was part of a group experience would spur me on to get it done even though it's been a really busy and stressful month (add to that a slipped disk and excruciating sciatica and now a cold, WTF universe?! Luckily I'm slowly on the mend from the sciatica if not the cold).

Icecream Social dress

The yellow/orange seersucker was a bit of vintage fabric I picked up at Lucy-Mae Sparkle Boutique at the end of June. I've never sewed with it before and was expecting problems but it was fine. I love the soft puffiness of it and it feels super soft and...puffy! Doesn't take well to ironing though! I have to carefully iron the sateen while not flattening the seersucker but it wasn't too hard.

The dress was fun to sew, nothing too challenging although you do need to make sure your seams are exactly spot-on or things won't match up. I had some issues with the bottom panel in that regard. I think next time I'll fold it up on the inside so that it's not such a big deal, though I can see the appeal of the fold being on the outside design-wise. The notches on the pockets went perfectly, but of course by the time I got to the neck one I was getting cocky and so it's not as nice and I made it worse when I ironed a crease into it. That sateen is pretty unforgiving in that way, no ironing out a crease after the fact!

Icecream Social dress pocket

To be really honest, I'm not sure I like the colour combination of the yellow and pink as much as I thought I would. Well I love the combination, I'm just not sure about them on the dress together if that makes sense! But if there's one thing I've learned this year is that I really have No. Idea. when it comes to predicting what Hazel will like. So the jury will rest until Hazel unwraps it on her birthday and either wants to wear it or says she'll wear it "tomorrow" which is the kiss of death for any item of clothing. Tomorrow equalling "never".

01 August, 2010

Little Pink House

I've been wanting to do the little pink house from the Sew Mama Sew tutorial since they first posted it, but it took Polka Dot Daze's Craft Day to get me going on it.  I only got the house done that day and slowly added the spots over the next couple weeks.  This was my first experience at gluing something into an embroidery frame to hang on the wall and I did my Hazelnuts header as one too (how long has this trend been big?) and I'm a bit of a fan now - only tempered by the problem that now I have no embroidery hoops left!

Little Pink House

My hoop was a bit bigger so I ended up with more circles to fill it up - plus I just couldn't seem to stop adding them in! I obviously have a bit of a 'thing' for felt circles - if only there were an easier way of cutting them than by hand. Any suggestions? I wondered about the circle templates and cutters you can get for papercrafts but not sure they'd go through felt.  Anyways, great fun choosing the combinations, even if I did fret and change and curse trying to decide on colours at night! Which you can't really, so most of the choosing happened during the day and most of the sewing at night.

Little Pink House

Love the whole thing, it's just gorgeous!  Originally I intended it for Hazel's room. Then I decided I wanted it, and then she decided she wanted it. So now it's in her room.  Typical really.

We were no longer good society

Who can craft when there's this to watch? 


Related Posts with Thumbnails