27 November, 2014

Pixie bonnet

As soon as I saw this little hat on Ravelry I knew it had to be made for the impending niece, and in red just like the pattern. If Hazel were younger (and living in a colder climate) she would have had one for each day of the week.

Pixie bonnet
I know, how frickn' cute is that? AND it's free! I love Ravelry so much, I really do. If I was so inclined to come up with patterns I'd be posting free ones there to say thank you back to all the nice people who have done the same for me. I buy patterns there, and they're (usually) good value for money but when you get a cracker pattern and it's free then my day is kind of made!

I used 4 ply baby merino wool doubled instead of 8 ply and it worked perfectly, bang on gauge and when I blew up the balloon to the 38.5cm of Hazel's newborn head (yay for Plunket books!) it fit perfectly. Hmmm...just occurred to me that she had a 100th percentile head so it might be a little big for more average babies - she takes after her giant-brained parents (harhar). Good thing my brother has an even bigger head than Mat or me so the baby might be well-endowed too! The shaping of the bonnet is incredibly simple - I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to work when I started and half way through I was all "are you sure this is shaped?" but voila, stitch up the back and it's all pixieish and adorable.

25 November, 2014

Christmas thyme

Three years ago I was working on one of these gingerbread men up at a bach we were renting when I foolishly put all the pieces, the skeins of embroidery floss and my scissors into a paper bag that was then thrown out when we tidied up before leaving. It took me quite a long time to get over being such an idiot but I've finally gotten that monkey off my back. Hazel asked me why the brown one has white legs and I was forced to admit I had no idea but that's the way the pattern is. She thinks it looks a bit odd but I don't - or at least I didn't before she pointed it out! Maybe I should try a different brown and do brown legs as well. They do say things in three are more aesthetically pleasing...

Gingerbread men

I'm pleased to have kicked off Christmas so early, although admittedly this isn't present-related unless doing it for myself counts! The weather here has been rather dreary lately, warm and wet, but the bright side is that my herbs are going gangbusters and the thyme is looking rather picturesque between the sage and lavender (parsley and rosemary are off to the side 😉). 

The pattern is from the Fa La La Felt book. 

23 November, 2014

Baby crochet

When I had Hazel I didn't know how to crochet and we were reliant on the kindness of others to supply hand-knitted goodies. Then I learned how to crochet but there were NO babies to be found anywhere! At last my brother and his wife took pity on me and decided to have one so I could learn to make tiny cardigans and little booties. Yay! I keep saying "just one more" because I just cannot seem to get the size down to an actual newborn, despite having the correct gauge and all that. But hey, I'm happy to keep trying! I had to find one of Hazel's newborn cardies to get an idea of how I was going and was slightly appalled how tiny it seems now!

This one is close, I think it's probably a 2-3 month old size.

Cecily Baby Sweater

The pattern is the Cecily Baby Sweater by Alicia Paulson and it's nice and simple to make up and is super-cute!

I wish I could say that we should have smell-o-vision so you could appreciate the sweetpeas but despite being touted as 'old fashioned scent' they aren't. What's the point of them if they don't smell? Sort of like freesias that don't have a scent, as much use as tits on a bull. Fortunately the roses do so spring is not ruined.

22 November, 2014

November block lotto

I'm not sure why I feel guilty that I did the December block lotto before November but I do! Here is November's made using the tutorial at We All Sew. It's nice making two blocks at once like this and I like the result, although I'm really annoyed that I messed up the direction of the lines in the blue fabric like I did. Hopefully it annoys the recipient less than me!

November block lotto

19 November, 2014

Back sewing

I must admit to sewing burn-out after Hallowe'en and I wasn't at all upset when Mat banned me from the sewing machine for a couple weeks! To be honest, by the end there I wasn't having much fun, the low point being when I realised the reason I'd had such an awful time getting the collar on Mat's waistcoat to fit was because I'd put it in upside down - I must admit to a few tears at that point. I made that bastard fit though! I've eased back into non-fraught sewing with a couple blocks for the Monday Modern Xmas meeting.

December block lotto

The block is called Migration by Lynne Goldworthy and is in the Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, issue 11 I think. It was fun to put together and I'm loving all the crisp points and lines. Next up is a churn dash block for last month's block lotto!

14 November, 2014

Clay gingerbread house

Growing up, one of my favourite family traditions was making gingerbread houses for Christmas. We baked the gingerbread and glued them together with candy glue, and then decorated them with as much icing and candies as we could fit in. When I moved down here I tried making them but the summer humidity made the gingerbread go soft and the candy colours ran into the icing and it was just horrible and depressing. I still long for them though!

In an attempt to ignore the fact it's the wrong season for Xmas here (apologies to native Antipodeans but it's true) I have recreated a scaled-down version in air dry clay. My first attempt can be seen here, this is my second.

Air dry clay gingerbread house

It's not perfect - the clay still bowed a bit despite my best efforts* so there are lots of gaps and the eaves overhang the sides too much to see the windows well but it's cute! I like the back window best

Air dry clay gingerbread house

I have to use an LED tealight in it as it gets too hot with a real flame. The flickering of the LEDs isn't quite right though, a steady light would be nicer. I'm now wondering about trying the Sculpey clay that you bake, maybe that would be better... The mental image still hasn't quite gone so I might need to play around a bit more and if I can get closer to it then it might go away.

I came across a great quote from Neil Gaiman on GoodReads yesterday that really described this process well
Normally, in anything I do, I'm fairly miserable. I do it, and I get grumpy because there is a huge, vast gulf, this aching disparity, between the platonic ideal of the project that was living in my head, and the small, sad, wizened, shaking, squeaking thing that I actually produce.
 I can't say I agree with him about what he produces, although it makes me wonder what even more amazing books live in his head :)

*Best efforts included keeping it in a cool spot, out of a breeze, turning the pieces often and pressing them down and putting a heavy cutting board on top of them overnight.

10 November, 2014

Air dry clay fail

I've had this idea for a clay house in my head for awhile and had a go at making one on Friday. Needless to say I'll be having another go at it today!

Air dry clay fail 

I think perhaps it dried too quickly so I'll try and slow it down a bit and flip the pieces often. Has anyone out there had experience with this kind of thing?

It really sucks when you have this clear vision in your mind of what it could look like and then tawdry reality hits!

02 November, 2014


Hallowe'en is done and gone for another year and I got everything finished on time and didn't have a mental breakdown!

Here we are in all our steampunk glory

Hazel got the most compliments on the night and was feeling pretty chuffed with her good idea! I think we might have done quite well in the costume competition but we didn't realize you had to sign up until it was too late - next year!


MOTAT was fun and there were some great costumes to admire and generally lots of people enjoying themselves which, to me, is what Hallowe'en is all about. There are other events to go to that have fireworks, rides or monster trucks but imho you can do that any time of the year and I doubt the vibe is anything special. Sure some of the venues fell rather flat, including a Alice in Wonderland one where most of the staff were on a break leaving the white rabbit not only late but on his own - possibly scary for him but not for anyone else! A bit more of a frisson of fear would have been good for the adults but Hazel and her friend Chloe the vampire/zombie cheerleader, were actually scared of being scared so were slightly on edge the whole time waiting for it to happen. When it did it was a group of teenage girls who had worked themselves into such a state of anticipation they gave themselves a fright over nothing and started screaming and running about, which freaked Hazel and Chloe out and made all the grown up ladies smile indulgently and remember when they were teenage girls in a state like that and how much fun it is!

Just look at that demented steam pug, who says they're not scary?!


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