Monday, May 31, 2010

kusudama crazy

I have often looked at the inside of envelopes that arrive in the mail thinking that the print inside is often too pretty to be hidden away and I only really use them as note paper. I had made some single Kusudama flowers a while back and had a thought that maybe I could make some Kusudama balls with the pretty envelope prints. I formed them around a wooden chopstick and they remind me of a hydrangea. The nights have cooled and I don't feel like sitting at the sewing machine in the evening, so sitting in bed making these flowers seems a warmer option.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

a gift

About a year or so ago my mother had a large tree trimmed on her property with all that trimming came a tiny birds nest. Miss E keen to also have a little nest of her own has been looking out everywhere. On all our walks we have been looking, wishing and hoping that we would come across one of our very own, but with no luck. I started to think that maybe I could make one to satisfy this urge.

I had a pair of linen pants from the thrift store that I had in my stash. Cut a leg into a strip and crocheted a little nest shape. I wove silver birch fallen branches in and out of the crochet and them sewed some around the outside. I lined the nest with some florists moss (that was quickly discarded by miss E and hasn't been put back in, apparently "it doesn't need it mum"). I needle felted a few little eggs, I thought about doing some little papier mache eggs too but the needle felted ones were a quick option.

So it is now very much loved, I was asked "did a bird give it to you for me?" I wish I had thought about making one much earlier.

being brave

Last week I decided to be brave, well just a little brave. I spotted a red guava tree at a block of flats not far from our house, there was a carpet of red guavas beneath it going to waste. So while walking past I spotted someone at the flats and asked if it would be alright if I took some. I had the kids with me which helped I'm sure, who can say no to a mum with a couple of kids. The response was positive and I was invited to take as much as I liked. So we did, miss E was really into it and we gathered several kilos of fruit. I can sincerely say that nothing beats homemade guava jam on hot pikelets on a cold rainy day, yum.

Monday, May 24, 2010

getting cosy

I love the slipper designs by Lisa of Holland Designs and I love to crochet "cables" so I fell in love with this pattern and had to have it. It's not easy to see from the photo but the cables run up the sides, it's such a pretty pattern. I've got more photos and notes on my ravelry page here. I made them quite a while ago but it's only in the last few weeks that I've been wearing them. Pink is not my favourite colour but it's all I had enough of in my stash, and I must admit the colour in growing on me, and I do have cosy toes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

outdoor knit

I recently discovered this blog and decided to make a few flowers and leaves to add to the project. Acrylic yarns were recommended of which I have little if any, but I did have some in autumn colours. I really wish I had known about this earlier as I would have loved to have made lots more and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished trees. I wish I lived closer to Wellington and then I'd check them out for myself.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I used my urban foraging skills today to pick these. The tree is on a council reserve on our walk to and from preschool. I thought they were macadamia nuts, but now I'm not so sure. I quick look online and all the pictures I come up with look slightly different. So I need some help, do you think that they are macadamia nuts? I hope so, I have a few recipes in mind that a few free macadamias would be great in. Also my online reading leads me to believe that I have to dry these out for 6-8 weeks before cracking them, it seems a shame to waste all that time on something that might not be edible!

Happy weekend to you.

OK an update - I wrote to the NZ Gardner magazine and they identified these for me. Unfortunately they aren't edible, they suggest that they are Indian horse Chestnuts. the nuts are toxic and shouldn't be eaten but they are sometimes used in herbal preparations after treatment, boiling.

So there you go - if you spot some - don't eat them. They were however very fun to gather and now they will be delivered to the compost bin so all is not lost.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

by request

My husband takes his daily work apple in an apple cozy like this one. I've made so many of them I've lost count. They were the take home goodies for miss E's party, I've never seen children so excited to see an apple before and they all left munching away on their apples.

There has been much discussion at my husband's work about how bananas were more deserving of a cozy than apples. Then a request came, "could I make a banana cozy?" Well obviously the answer was "yes". For a split second I thought I'd pop online to see if there was already a pattern out there, then thought - why not just make up my own, so that's what I did.

My husband told me he proudly whipped out his banana at work today and asked "jealous much?" hmmm, I'm not sure if they were but his banana was pleased I'm sure. If I get a chance over the weekend I might have a go at writing this pattern down as I didn't as I crocheted this one. but who knows I might get another request!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


We had a little party to go to on the weekend and I made this little bag for the birthday boy, I popped in some matchbox toy cars inside. I found the cool retro car pattern here. I am really quite a basic sewer so I didn't even realise there was such a thing as adhesive backed fusible web, it was only after reading about it in Bend the rules with fabric by Amy Karol that I decided to hunt some out at my local fabric store. Who would have known how easy it makes doing appliques! I wish I had know about it sooner. I plan to make a few more bags with this little car on the front for the collection of vintage matchbox cars around here, they were my husband's when he was younger and they would be one of the most favourite toys to be played with in this house. At the moment they live in the corner of the lounge mainly because they are always in use it doesn't make sense to put them away. But maybe they would be quite at home in one of these bags.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

chutney love

With the abundance of feijoas around here, besides eating loads of them, I have been making feijoa chutney. It's quick and easy and so far fail proof. I am making many batches at the moment to stock pile for the coming months. The recipe is as follows:

12 feijoas - I use medium sized ones
2 apples
2 onions
1 t salt
1 C vinegar (I use white)
1 T pickling spice (I grind mine done or you can tie it up in a muslin bag and throw it out at the end)
450g brown sugar
a small chunk of fresh ginger peeled and grated - approx thumb sized

Finely chop the feijoas, apples (both with skin still on) and onions. Put in a large pot with salt and pickling spice, vinegar and ginger - cook until soft. Add the sugar and simmer until thick. I use a stick blender to make it a bit less chunky - an optional step. Bottle in clean, sterilised jars.

yum! I love this chutney with cheese and crackers or added into a stew. Enjoy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

new clothes

There was much talk over the last week about the lack of warm clothes for this dear little doll of miss E's. It's a lovely doll from melissa of tiny happy. She came with some lovely summery clothes, a dress, pretty skirt and some summer pants. But as we have started to wear more layers it has been decided that she should also have some extra layers. So I started a little bit of special sewing. A warm had, a little jumper that was made from some left over felted jumper, that was also used here and here. Little pants that I sewed from some fabric that miss E had chosen herself. I dressed her up in her new clothes and snuck into miss E's room and placed her on her bed so she would get a surprise when she woke up, she did.

No I haven't learnt to knit, but we were at a church gala over the weekend and miss E spotted this little pink jumper and thought it was perfect for her doll. I was worried it would be too small and was trying to get her to buy a super cute red cardi, but no the pink it was. A little bit of stretching later and it fitted. Now she's all set for the cooler days ahead.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

lucky me

I was so lucky to win this brooch over at Cotton Kiwi, for Sarah's one year blog anniversary. I love it, so cleverly made from a tape measure! I used to wear a lot of brooches before the children came along and hopefully mr A will soon be old enough to stop pulling at them and I can wear them more often again. Thanks again Sarah (if you are reading) I love it. Sarah also sells these brooches, you can find them here on felt or here on etsy.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Over the last few weeks I've been collecting guavas on our walk to preschool. There are two large trees on the walk and I pick up a few each day. Today I had finally filled a large container in the freezer and decided to make some jam. It was a mixture of the red guavas and the yellow ones the fall from our neighbour's tree over the fence to below our washing line. Mainly red "guilty" guavas because this year the yellow ones seem to be eaten by the birds and very few are making it onto the ground without big holes in them. I feel ever so guilty about picking up the red guavas on our preschool walk, but if they are out on the footpath and no one is picking them up what a waste, right? I think guavas must have a high pectin content because I never have any problem getting it to set, I think it should be the only type of jam I ever make. Yum.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

under the sea

We had a trip to the Auckland Museum this week. I was struck by this little installation that they have going there. It's a "crochet sea garden" and over the school holidays they had crocheter's there daily doing live crochet adding to this wall (I wish I had known I would have loved to see that). If you visited over the holidays you could have the chance to do some crochet to add and some of the pieces are tagged so you can see who contributed what. Some of the pieces are really quite stunning and I can certainly appreciate all the work that has gone into them. There will be more pieces added as they are made, fibre artists from all over Auckland are contributing pieces.

In case you didn't know and you are a Aucklander - the museum is free for Aucklanders till the 31st of May.

Monday, May 3, 2010

to eat or not to eat

We do a lot of walking around town and miss E is a collector (yes, she gets that from me) of all sorts of things during our walks. Pine cones, small and large, seeds and seed pods, feijoas, guavas, pecans,leaves and the list goes on. There are many edible things in our garden too that she grazes upon too. There in lies the problem, there are heaps of plants and berries and seeds and nut like things out there that she can't eat and how does a four year old tell the difference? especially when there seem to be so many that are OK to eat.

I have been taking photos of the things we find as we find them and I've started to put together a little book, a reference guide for her so she knows what's OK and what's not. So yellow guavas that fall over our fence from our neighbours house are OK (although I really want them all saved up to make jam) and the beautiful toadstools that we found on a walk last week are not OK. I'm leaving a little space to write in the names of all the things so we both can learn the proper names. Hopefully this little book in combination of asking mummy first will mean no calls to the poison line!