Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Geranium tunic #2

The little geranium tunic I made for a friend was so adorable that I knew I wanted to whip up a couple for miss A - I'm certain I've said it before, but they are just so quick and cute that I couldn't resist. This little one was made from two Kate Spain prints - the bodice from the range Daydream, and the skirt from Honey Honey. I made the 12-18 month size so she has some room to grow, and since it's a tunic we should be able to get away with it for a bit longer too.

 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Felt christmas tree

Ok, so since our kitties arrived I've been trying alternative christmas tree set-ups - wall stickers, mini tree on the table, anything they couldn't climb/destroy (except last year when I was very pregnant and those nesting hormones said I just had to have a tree) but somehow I had never come across this GENIUS idea - felt tree!

The tree part is just a tall triangle of dark green felt - the kind that is sold on a roll. Mine is 90cm tall (just because that was the width of the felt) and 80cm almond the bottom. Then I just cut out some simple decorations from coloured felt - I traced around a glass for the circle baubles, and around cookie cutters for the other shapes. I'll stick this up on the wall, but you can see A was quite interested in it on the floor (I laid it out on the floor to take a photo and she came scooting over as quickly as her little hands and knees could move her).

It is just so clever - since felt sticks to felt kids could decorate and redecorate as many times as they like, and you could make the decorations as simple or fancy as you liked - and they would be fun for kids to decorate. Next I think I'll cut out some christmas light shapes and sew them to ribbon to make a mini string of lights. It's the kind of thing my sisters and I would have loved faffing around with year after year (after year), and I hope A gets lots of fun out of it too =)

 

 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Advent 2014

It's no secret around here that I love advent, and that I love books. So of course I think the idea of a book advent countdown (where you wrap up 24 kids books - maybe with a christmas theme - and read one each night up until christmas) is totally genius. 24 books is a bit overwhelming to start off, both for me to find and also for A's attention span, so this year we decided to do one book for each week of advent. Here's our little pile - along with A's gorgeous new sock monkey reindeer buddy (handmade locally by Miss Creative Designs)

It was hard to narrow it down to 4 - there are so many gorgeous Christmassy board books available! We let A choose which book to unwrap, and then read it together =). This week's book is 'Father Christmas Needs a Wee'! (yes we love a bit of toilet humour ;-))

The first week of advent also means a trip to the Scandinavian Australian Association's annual Christmas bazaar to pick out an advent calendar and a few other bits and pieces =) I do love these gorgeous sparkly advent calendars - this year's features teddy bears.

And so it starts to feel a bit like Christmas - if only the weather would cool down a bit so I could make my puddings! Xo

 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

In November I am reading...

So, that should really say 'was reading', because wowsers - November is over! Loads of reading in November, which just makes me so happy! Some of my reading has been traditional books, but it has largely been because of my kindle. I can't remember if I said this last time, but my kindle has actually changed my life! I should have listened to Jo and bought one years ago! I wrote a little bit at the end of October about what I was reading, when I joined in with The Makers' Collective 'what's in your...' link up (which is still open if you want to join in!)

I did finish reading the Vampire Lestat, and I am planning to keep on reading through the series before I read the newest on - prince Lestat - which is on my christmas wish list. I found it really interesting to re-read this and Interview with the Vampire after not having read them for so long - it was nearly like reading them for the first time again. I wrote a bit more about it in my reviews on goodreads if you're interested

I also read the second and third books in the Throne of Glass series (by Sarah J Maas) - I read the first one back in October, and have since discovered that there will be six books in the series! Gosh I am really enjoying them so much, especially the two I read this month. The first book had a bit of inevitability in the story line, but there are so many twists in these books that I really haven't seen coming, but then make so much sense - I think the writing is quite clever that way! Anyway, I can't wait for the next one to come out next year.

For now I've just started reading the collection of Throne of Glass novellas - short stories about the same characters but set before the first book in the main series. Next on my list is The Raven Cycle books - another young adult series I've heard good things so I'm looking forward to it.

I'd love to hear about what you're reading if you'd like to share in the comments - I always love a good recommendation! =)

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Geranium top

I made this little top for a friend a few weeks ago using the geranium dress/top pattern and some fabric left over from a quilt I made them.
I can't say enough good stuff about this pattern - I've made it a couple of times now and i love how quickly and easily it comes together. And I just adore the clean finish you get inside - gosh that Rae knows what she's doing.
Anyway, this was my first time making the top length - there were a couple of advantages to this. First, you can cut the lower portion (skirt bit) from a single fat quarter (in this size - 9-12 months) at least. Second, our tiny girls are starting to crawl, so I figured this would leave their little knees free for easier scooting about =)
I am really happy with how this turned out (in case you can't tell ;-)), and have fabric picked out to make a couple for miss A to keep.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sewvember

Wow - I can't believe it's November already! All of a sudden I've been off work for 10 months, and my tiny girl is scooting around the house and trying to stand up! And spring is well and truly here - we are having loads of gorgeous sunny Canberra springtime days, and some warmer ones too! It's the kind of weather that really makes you want to be outside - not just because we spent winter bundled up in the house, but also because those warm days remind us that summer is just around the corner and soon we'll be spending days inside hiding in the aircon!

The change of season also means it's time for the warm weather clothes to come out, and I'm finding my wardrobe is coming up a bit short this year (even more than usual!) - last year I was in my third trimester, so depended on the couple of maternity skirts and tops I had, and the year before I spent half of our summer in the northern hemisphere winter. Plus, this year I'm home rather than at work, and of course my body is different than it has been before. I haven't found much that I fancy in the shops, so this month I'm hoping to sew up some washi dresses - I've seen so many I love and I really hope it suits me and I can whip up a couple to get me through the summer.
I'm also planning to make a few things for Amelia's wardrobe - now that she's not growing out of things so quickly (and I have a new niece we can hand things down to when they are too small). We are spending so much time outside, and even though she's covered in sunscreen, a hat and we stick to the shade I still worry about her delicate baby skin. So i have a few patterns for long sleeved tunics that I'd like to make in some light fabrics for those times that I know we'll be outside for extended periods.
The other reason I'm excited about sewing at the moment is, of course, the Bimble and Pimble Sewvember photo a day challenge! I had a lot of fun playing along with the Makers' Collective daily photo challenge, so I'm really looking forward to this one! Today's prompt was sewing space, and it was very inspiring to see everyone's set-ups! Pop over to Amanda's blog if you'd like to find out more.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's in your... Book pile?

Today the lovely guys at The Makers' Collective are asking us join in their new link up by sharing what's in our book pile. Here's mine:

All the way underneath there is the October issue of the Simple Things magazine. I love these magazines and have a subscription that is almost finished, which is a bit sad but I just don't really get a chance to read them.

Next are a few kiddy things - a finger food recipe book for babies/toddlers, since miss A thinks eating off a spoon is, well, for babies; The Tales of Beedle the Bard - we've been reading this together, a chapter every few days; and two of our favourites - Where is the Green Sheep? and the Very Hungry Catepillar. We have two copies of each of these two so we keep one copy on my bedside table to read in the morning.

Then my current novel (and cute kitty bookmark!), the Vampire Lestat - book #2 in the Vampire Chronicles series, the first being Interview with the Vampire (and oooh, I just saw a rumour that they are having another crack at making this into a film). I decided to reread the series from the start when I heard a new book in the series was being released this month (maybe today I think?) - Prince Lestat.

I also have my diary/planner nearby - I'm trying to be more disciplined in using it because I am so unorganised - and my Kindle too. I have a couple of books loaded on there to read when I'm done with my vampires =)

If you want to join in the fun and share what's in your book pile make sure you pop over to the Makers' Collective to link up, and to have a sticky beak at everyone else's book piles too =)

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New knitting



I can't remember if I've talked here about how my love of knitting is back big time since I had my daughter - funny how having a tiny adorable person to knit tiny adorable things for has reawakened the passion =)
I've made a couple of milo vests (which I adore - I can't recommend the pattern highly enough!), and some little cardis, and next up is a little sister's dress in some pretty Lucca fino, which has been hanging about in my stash for ages. I love how it's knitting up, and I t's so nice finally using some of the pretty yarns I've been collecting for that one day when I had a super special little girl to knit for.
X

Monday, October 13, 2014

Daily photo challenge

There are always loads of daily photo challenges running on Instagram, but I have never managed to be organised enough to play along. When my friend Mikaela from the Makers' Collective (formerly Canberra Creatives) announced that there would be a photo challenge to celebrate the announcement of their new name and launch of the new website I just couldn't resist.

I love the way Mikaela has set up the prompts - the month has been split into 4 weeks-ish, and there is a theme for each week and the same 8 prompts for each day in that theme - the pic below makes much more sense!

So far I'm having so much fun thinking about how to reflect the prompts in my daily photo, and checking out the photos others have taken too. You can see my first week's worth of photos below. You can play along with the daily photo challenge any time - just tag @themakers.collective and #tmcphotochallenge. If you'd like to know more about the Makers' Collective you might like to check out the Makers' Hub open day on Wednesday 22 October.

And the fun doesn't have end on 31 October - on the weekend Amanda from Bimble and Pimble announced that she'll be hosting a 'Sewvember' daily photo challenge for the month of November - if you love sassy sewists and raptors do yourself a favour and check it out =)

X

 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

In October I am reading..

...and reading and reading and reading. Because last weekend I finally decided I needed a Kindle.

Now, I love books - I will always love books. I love holding them, flick from one spot to another, the feel and smell of the paper. There will always be books that I buy hard copies of, to hold and to share and to admire on our shelves. But I also love to read, and over the last little while it has become clear that there were a few things holding back my reading that could be solved by getting into eBooks.

I have written before about how I love reading young adult fiction, and there is so so much around at the moment. The books are quick to read and few of them are 'stand alone' - everything is part of a series. And there is a lot more out there I'd like to read than I can find at my local library or bookstore. Take the Shadow Hunters books. There are 6 books in the mortal instruments series and 3 in the internal devices. The stories are so quick to read that even with only an hour or so a day to read they didn't take more than a week each. Each book is about 5cm wide and if I'm lucky I might get them for $10 each. That's nearly half a metre and nearly $100 for just a couple of weeks of reading entertainment. Suddenly I sound like the economists I work with, but I had really started to think that way, and to feel guilty about the idea of 'wasting' our money and space on books that I would burn through so quickly. I have also realised that while I have been wishing for more time to read, I have been wasting lots of time playing bubble games etc on my phone while I sit under a sleeping baby. With an eReader I can choose books that cost only a few dollars and they aren't taking any space at all and it is just as easy to manage with one hand as a phone! Win win win win =) Now I just wish I'd done it sooner!

So, what have I been reading? I've hopped straight into that young adult fantasy pulp fiction.

  • Beyond Our Stars has a very Divergent feel, and maybe a bit of the 100, and is about humans who have landed on a new planet they hope to colonise after the destruction of the earth.
  • Stolen Songbird is about a young women kidnapped by trolls in the hope she can break a curse cast on them by a witch. It took me a little while to get into this one, but by the end I was quite hooked, and now I can't wait for the sequel to come out next year.
  • Next up I'm reading the Throne of Glass books - a series of 3 about a female assassin.

As always, I'd love to hear about what you're reading, and if you have any recommendations. Also, I've updated my Good Reads account, and would love to connect with you if you're interested!

 

 

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I quilt :: slowly, slowly

I have quite a few quilts in progress at either the finished top or finished block stage - a product of the time that passed between me being confident and comfortable enough to cut into my beloved fabrics and then being brave enough to take that next step of quilting them. A couple of weeks ago I basted and quilted this one, the today is your day quilt, and this weekend attached the binding. I am absolutely the slowest binding sewer down in the world, so several two nights on the couch still has me only about halfway around. But that's ok with me - I find it therapeutic carefully making my way around the quilt - folding and wonder-clipping, fussing with each corner to try and get the mitre just right, and, in this case, admiring the perfect spottiness (no, not snottiness, but thanks autocorrect) of the binding (I do adore spots and stripes for binding!). I'm hoping to be ready to give this quilt to a friend on the weekend, so for now I'm just enjoying our evenings together =)

X

 

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Canberra Quilters Members' Exhibition

I had a fantastic time at the quilt show and craft expo on the weekend! It was such a thrill having my quilts exhibited (and very kind of the exhibition designers to hang them close enough together that I could do just one daggy photo!)

A huge highlight for me was finally meeting Caroline from Nightingale Quilts (designer of the finding formation pattern) in person - yay! Caroline gave us a bit of a sneak peek at some of her upcoming pattern and they are to die for!

It was also exciting to see my friends' quilts hanging - it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to do this on my own! Some of my favourite quilts were by Michelle, Gemma, Angie, and Sam. I got quite a thrill showing my family around the exhibition and pointing out the quilts made by my talented friends! =)

And of course the best bit, which I tended to forget in the whole process of sewing and finishing and delivering and visiting, is that now I have my two beautiful quilt home to live with us =) We're making the most of them already this afternoon

If you're interested in seeing pictures of the gorgeous prize winners from the exhibition, pop over to the Canberra Quilters website. There are also some posts on the blog with pictures from the opening and exhibition, and even more pictures on Instagram (@canberraquilters)

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Zippy wallet

Yesterday afternoon saw the sad and sudden demise of my lovely, handmade, red umbrella print wallet =( I have already ordered a replacement from the same designer (Miranda Murphy, formerly Only Midge) - a gorgeous clutch style wallet in dala print (!!) and I can't wait for it to arrive.

So as not to look too much like a hobo carrying my coins in a ziplock bag until then, this afternoon I whipped up a little coin/card purse. I used the zippy wallet tutorial on the noodlehead blog, but left off the exterior pocket. The instructions didn't include the tab on the side, I used another noodlehead tutorial (lil cutie pouch) to make sure I got that right. The tutorial is fantastic - so clear and easy to follow, and it was really very quick to sew up. I'd actually like to make pretty much every noodlehead pattern - they are so cute! I think the open wide zipper pouch is next on the list.

I used some of my Lizzy House catnap for one side, and a scrap of one of my favourite Kate Spain fabrics (from Terrain) for the other. The dots are a spotlight basic - I have some left over from backing my finding formation quilt.

I'm already planning fabric combinations for a couple more of these as presents since they are so simple and turn out so cute, and can be sewn up from scraps, which I love! The pieces are actually less than 5" square, so this would be a fantastic pattern for using up left over charm squares.

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Delivery day

Saturday was delivery day for quilts entered in the Canberra Quilters Members' Exhibition. It felt really good to have both quilts finished and delivered, and I can't wait to see them hanging in two weeks time (the exhibition runs 21-24 August).

Before dropping our quilts off, Michelle and I went to Mt Stromlo to photograph two of her quilts. Her Across the Universe quilt, which she exhibited last year, looked amazing photographed in the remains of a building that used to house a giant telescope before it was completely burnt out in Canberra's bushfires. It is such a beautiful place, but also a bit sad. Michelle wrote more about our photoshoot on her blog, but also kindly gave me permission to share a picture here - I think it's just gorgeous.

Xo

 

 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Taadaa! :: Happy Herringbone Quilt


Can you believe it's a week before our exhibition quilts need to be delivered, and both of mine are finished?! (I can't!) Michelle and I had so much fun photoshooting my finding formation quilt that we've decided from now on we're going to take all our finished quilts out for photoshoots - starting with Michelle's Manhattan Clams and my Happy Herringbone. We took the photos in a laneway in Civic - I loved the contrast of the rusty and grey and grotty backgrounds vs the bright bold colours of the quilt.

I'm not afraid to admit I'm a bit of a fabric hoarder - when I see something gorgeous I just want to snap it up so I don't miss out, and so it's right there ready when I come across the perfect pattern. So, I had a couple of Kate Spain jelly rolls hanging out on my shelf*, and when I saw the tutorial on Maureen Cracknell's blog for a herringbone quilt-as-you-go quilt I knew it was that perfect pattern I'd been waiting for!

And a perfect pairing it was. Having jelly rolls meant hardly any cutting, and because the fabrics are all so beautiful, and all work together so well, no planning of fabric placement was necessary - I could literally just grap and handful of strips and sew them on as I got the chance. Also, the strips are long enough to really showcase the gorgeous prints.

I've written a bit about the quilt-as-you-go method already, and of course all the details about how to do it are on the tutorial page. It was a really simple way to get a fabulous effect. I've mentioned before that I don't have very much quilting experience, and I think this method would be great for a beginner - I found the basting less intimidating (your fabric and batting are already sewn together, so you are only basting 2 layers) and the only quilting you do after basting is long straight lines using seams as a guide. There are a couple of things I'd note though: the first is to make sure you get a suitable batting. You really need to be able to give the batting a good warm pressing on both sides - the batting I used was kind of soft and fluffy on the 'right', and pressed well, but the other side was kind if like an interfacing. This meant I couldn't press it without a cloth, which made it really tricky to press the seams open and I think also meant my batting wasn't very stable and stretched a bit. I was a bit worried that those seams where the panels joined would be a bit too lumpy, especially since I couldn't press them well, but they weren't too bad, and actually seemed to soften once the quilting either side was done.

You can see from the pictures that the zigzags running across the quilt are 'broken.' You could definitely be more careful with your piecing to make continuous stripes running across, but I actually offset them on purpose because I suspected I wouldn't be able to get the accuracy needed for that. I also played with the seam placement a bit so that there are some fatter and thinner strips. The backing is the pink bee print from Honey Honey. I made a scrappy binding using some of the left over pinky orangey strips, and a label using some leftovers too, including a text print that I love, which says "let the sunshine into you heart". I love how it has come out - this quilt is inspired by my daughter Amelia (whose favourite song is Pharell's 'happy') and I really wanted it to have that feeling of the colourful happy 'chaos with a bit of direction' that she has brought to our lives.

* I used jelly rolls of the following ranges: Cuzco, Central Park, Honey Honey, and Daydream, as well as bits and pieces from Good Fortune, Terrain, Sunnyside and perhaps some Fandango? (I think that's all of them, but let me know if you spot something else so I can add it to the list =))

 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Finishing

I've had lots of crafty projects on the go this weekend, so I thought I'd share what I got up to.

I had an excellent candidate for 'finish it friday' this week: a stack of about 15 bandana bibs I sewed up maybe as long as a year ago, which have been waiting in a pile just for the snaps to be attached (which is a super simple job considering I have a snap press!)

During the week I was talking to a friend who happened to mention she was looking for bandana bibs for her drooly little guy - just the thing I needed to get me to pull out the bibs and snap machine and finish them up so I could drop off a few for her yesterday. They are cotton on one side and flannelette on the other, and do an even better job than I expected.

I can't remember if I've talked about the Aussie modern insta-bee I'm sewing along with this year? In any case, we are organised in groups (hives) of 12, and each month you make one quilt block for someone and receive one from someone else. I'm loving it! This month I was a assigned to make the 'stacked windmills' block in navy, red, and white. I'm really pleased with how it come out - my points are even pointy!

My Ella Funt cardi also received some attention over the weekend. There are now elephants marching around the yoke, and I am now a bit further along than shown in the photo here - I have almost finished the colour work, after which there is just the ribbed collar and then the button bands (I despise adding button bands!)

I also managed to get the binding and a label on my happy herringbone quilt, and even went out for a photoshoot today! That means it is all finished! I'll share all the details and proper photos soon (there's a sneak peek on my Instagram feed - @kraftykuka - if you can't wait), but for now here are a couple of shots I took while stitching on the couch.

 

I think that's pretty good progress on a good variety of projects this weekend - and it feels fantastic to get some things finished =)

Xo