Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Currently crafting...

I'm one of those crafters who always has at least half a dozen or so projects on the go at any one time (and that's not including the probably dozens that are ongoing but haven't been worked on for ages!). I thought it might be good to have a (maybe) regular-ish round up on here of the projects I'm currently actively working on.

We had my mum here visiting last week, and I always imagine that having someone extra here to distract A will mean loads more crafty time for me so I spent the week before she arrived tracing off and cutting out dress patterns for A. In reality sewing time is still mostly restricted to when A is asleep - as soon as I sit at the machine she's over at my side offering to help or wanting to see what I'm doing (which is really quite cute). I did manage to get two little dresses very nearly finished - a simple little pinafore (the sausage dogs in the pic above) from the Wild Things book only needs its snaps, and the pretty strawberry gingham dress just needs a button and hemming (the pattern is Butterick 4176). I have two more dresses cut out for A (this and this) and a new Colette Myrtle for myself.

I seem to have a bit of a thing for starting a new quilting projects on a long weekend, and this was no exception - I've started a super cute quilt that I can't say very much about because I'm pattern testing for my friend Linden from Vine Lines Quilting. I'm looking forward to being able to share it with you as soon as the pattern is released.

And in knitting news, on Sunday I cast off a little pink Granny's Favourite (I mentioned it in this blog post here), which is now just waiting for buttons and blocking.

So, what's next? I see many many little dresses in the not too distant future - they are so quick and easy, and look adorable, and our first over 30C weather is forecast for the weekend so they'll be right in time =)

Xo Bron



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Books :: The Intern

My next gold Inky Award nominee review book is The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer. The book introduces us to Josie, a student who dreams of a career in journalism and lands an internship at a flash fashion magazine in the city.


This book was cute, fun and pretty fast paced. I could totally relate to Josie's experience of moving away from home - the mixed feelings of being excited about moving on to something new but also worried about the changes this will bring to your relationships with friends and family. It was a quick read, and I downloaded the sequel as soon as I finished - which is always a good sign.

I did find it read a bit younger than than the YA I'm used to reading - it's definitely more Dolly than Cosmo, I think. That said, the writing was still sophisticated - there were several of parts of the story where I could have been cringing, but instead I found myself feeling embarrassed (and sometimes horrified) with Josie rather than rolling my eyes at her.

I would recommend this for readers with an interest in writing. It had a similar feel to the Carrie Diaries tv series (I have to confess to not having read those books), or even The Hills (where Lauren has the internship) so I think fans of those series would probably enjoy this too.

I gave this 3 stars out of 5 (but would rate it at 4 stars if I was making a recommendation for a younger reader.)

Xo Bron


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Makers' box :: tassel bracelet

One of the awesome things about the Makers' boxes that I received was that they had projects in them that I had seen around and thought were cool but had no idea what I would do with them so hadn't tried yet. The tiny tassels in the tassel bracelet project are a perfect example of this!

I'm sure I say this every time, but the presentation and clarity of the instruction were just impeccable. It was simpler than I expected to make the little tassel, and I was super pleased with how it came out. And, as with the other projects, I loved that there were supplies enough to either make multiples of this project, or to use in something else (we used some of the extra beads in the dream catcher I blogged about a week or so ago).

In all honesty the finished bracelet isn't really 'me', but I wasn't disappointed - for me it was still worth trying because I learned a new skill (making the tassel - I'm thinking tassels on everything! How cute would tiny gold ones be on Christmas present wrapping?!) and the bracelet would make a super cute gift for someone else. =)

New Makers' box kits are on their way to the Makers' Collective online store soon - including this bath salts kit we had a peek at on Instagram and facebook last week which I think looks pretty awesome =).

Xo Bron


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Books :: Laurinda

Now that I'm in the habit of reading more, I'm trying to be more mindful of what I read - like trying to read more books by Australian authors. When I was looking for some aussie young adult fiction to start on I came across the short list for the Inky Awards. I'm planning to read all of them, and maybe review some here on the blog - starting with Laurinda by Alice Pung.

I loved this book! Lucy Lam is the daughter of refugees who wins a scholarship to a flash, all girls school. The book takes us through Lucy's first year at her new school, as told through Lucy's letters to a friend. I thought the writing was brilliant. It was funny and fast paced and powerful and touching - like this quote, which I just love (and I will never use the word tacky again!):

Brodie would have called the things in our home “tacky”, the term used by wealthy people to describe the most beautiful things poor people could afford.

The quote on the cover there from John Marsden uses the word 'horrifying' and that is so spot on (as if I would disagree with John Marsden!) - some of the young women (and the older ones!) in this were so awful that the only thing worse was the fact they didn't seem to realise how awful they were! I actually gasped a little "oooh no - they didn't! They wouldn't!" more than once - and the fact that the "girls will be girls" (or whatever variation) attitude about pranks (let's face it - all out bullying) is a real thing in the world totally gives me the creeps!

Anyway, I gave this 5 stars (out of 5) and really hope we'll see more fiction from Alice Pung soon!

Xo Bron


Monday, September 14, 2015

Garden makeover

I can hardly believe it has been over 7 years since we moved into our lovely little home. When we moved in, the garden was nice but it just wasn't us. It took us a few years to figure out what wasn't going to work for us, a few more to not feel guilty about it, then some to decide what we wanted (a kitchen garden!) and of course a bit more to actually do anything about it. Now, finally, we've had some work done in our backyard and I'm super excited about it!

It was pretty much a disaster out there - the garden bed was overgrown with half-dead shrubs and goodness knows what else, and the fence was falling down. It wasn't just gross, I felt like it wasn't safe for A - every time we were out there I was freaking out about what she was touching/where she was going. So when the fence repairs were inevitable we decided to get some landscaping done at the same time.

Check out those before/during/afters - such a difference (and quickly too! The work took about 3 days). And we love it. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that we are using the heck out of the space already. A loves pottering around and digging and moving dirt around.
So now I'm ready for veggie growing season! And because I'm so excited about it I've treated myself to something to kickstart things: a kitchen garden box from Kyrstie at A Fresh Legacy. It has seeds, growing instructions and recipes for 24 different veggies and comes in a gorgeous wooden seed storage box. Now we just need to wait for it to be warm enough to plant some more things =)

Xo Bron


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sewing :: tamariki track pants

The yellow cardi in my last post wasn't the only mum-made in that outfit - I also sewed those purple spotty pants =)

The pattern is Tamariki Trackpant by Little Kiwis Closet. I was super excited when this pattern was released - for one thing I love LKC patterns, and for another I had been trying to figure out how to do lined pants (winter is pretty chilly in Canberra's playgrounds!), which is one of the options given in this pattern.
These guys are super warm - corduroy wIth polar fleece lining - so we're getting as much wear out of them as we can before the weather is too warm. Also, the growing! It's outrageous! She had been wearing them with contrast cuff folded up, like in the two pictures above, but this week she wore them unfolded (that daffodil photo is from just weeks ago! And the second pic from the start of June.)

I've also used the same pattern to make some flannel pj pants - these Star Wars ones are about done, and I've cut out some Spider-Man ones to match the pair I made for her dad.

The other option I really like in this pattern, but haven't tried yet, is the elastic in the ankle - I love this for littlies who might still be a bit clumsy and trip on their hems. The patterns goes all the way from newborn up to 12 yrs, so I have no doubt we'll get a lot more use out of this one!

Bron xo


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Knitting :: Granny's favourite

Here's another project from around Easter time - a little yellow cardigan for Amelia. The pattern is Granny's favourite, by Tikki Knits (one of my very favourite designers - I pretty much want to knit up all of her designs!), and I used Patons totem merino 8 ply (find it on ravelry here).

I went with the mid-length sleeves - partly because I didn't have quite enough yarn, and also just because I like the shorter length on littlies - it helps keep the sleeves out of their way without having to roll them up. They weren't quite so short on her when she was first wearing this - so much growing! She has had so so much wear out of this already, and I think it will probably take her through spring too.

I had did have one little problem to overcome on this one - the garter stitch band kept folding up, like you can see in the picture there. I took it to instagram and in the end undid the bind off and re-did it on the opposite side (I think I had bound off from the right side and it should have been wrong side? Or vice versa?). I didn't think of it at the time, but another think I think might have helped might have been to use a smaller needle for the garter stitch. In any case, between the re-binding off, blocking and wearing it hasn't been a problem.

Basically, I would love to make one of these for myself (and totally could - there's a grown-up sized pattern! I just don't know if I could deal with all that plain knitting =\ haha). I just adore it, and definitely have plans for more - in fact there's a pink one on my needles right now =)

Xo Bron


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Makers' box :: DIY dream catcher

If you've been hanging out here for a while you might remember me talking earlier in the year about my involvement with the Makers' Collective, including my getting to play with the fantastic Makers' Box subscription goodies. The Makers' Box has been on a break while Mikaela has been on maternity leave, but she's back and has so much good stuff planned (check out the Spring class line-up - so many awesome skills to learn!) so I thought it would be a good time to start sharing my Makers' Box makes again. Starting with this pretty dream catcher.

I actually made this when I was visiting with my sister over Easter - one of the great things about the Makers' Box is that because there are a few projects you can have a craft-along with friends =)

As always, the instructions were precise and easy to follow. This was a fantastic project to have as a kit, since there you need a bunch of bits and pieces, including things you would probably buy in larger packs than you need. One of the other projects in the box was for a beaded bracelet, so we added some of the left over beads too. It came out pretty cute =)

This would be a fantastic project for a crafternoon get together and I actually think it would be a fun one for teens to do together - it's simple and customisable (with different threads/beads etc) and trendy (teenagers still think dream catchers are cool, yeah? And do people still say trendy?)

If you're feeling crafty like a fox but don't know where to start make sure you head over to the Makers' Collective website - there are loads of DIY tutorials to check out.

You can also find the list of upcoming classes - including some special fashion themed classes that are running at the Hustle and Scout Twilight Fashion markets on the weekend (the concrete necklaces and terrarium necklaces both look especially awesome!)

Xo Bron


Sunday, September 06, 2015

In September I am reading...

I started back at work on 1 July, and July and August went by in such a blur - it has been weird and a bit hard getting used to being back after 18 months at home! There has been lots of energy spent on meal planning, outfit planning (and sewing), figuring out the best buses to catch, lunches out with colleagues and being out of bed earlier than I would like.

One of the benefits of work (apart from the pay! And getting to eat out for lunch!) has been all of the extra reading time I get - it's about an hour each way on the bus, and you better believe I've been giving my beloved kindle a work out! Add to this the fact that I've discovered a bunch of bookish podcast that I am loving (check out the Book Riot website - they have four or five podcasts on different aspects of the bookish world that are equally fantastic) and my enthusiasm is sky-high. I have been reading two or three books a week, and have enough more in my 'to be read' list to last me for at least three years. I have been writing super brief reviews of all the books I'm reading over on Goodreads, but might do some mini reviews here too, and definitely plan to get back in the habit of giving updates here on what I'm reading/planning to read over the next month =)

So, September reading =) I have two main goals for the next month's reading: the Gold Inky Award shortlist (yay for Australian young adult literature! Check out the Inside a Dog website - also the source for the image above - for more info) and a re-read of the Throne of Glass series (finishing with the newest book in he series, which I am soooo excited to get to!)

As always, I'd love to hear about what you're reading this month!

Xo Bron