Friday, November 30, 2012


Can you keep a secret? I hope so. I found this cool vintage Sylvanian Families log cabin at my local Salvation Army store. It's just perfect for miss E for Christmas - don't tell her!. Sylvanian families obsessed would be putting it mildly. There has been lots of ticks and circles in the Sylvanian catalogue. A house has been on the list from the start, but boy the price of those things and I'm a bit unsure if they would hold up in my household strength-wise. But when I saw this I knew it was just what I was looking for. Sturdy, wooden, priced right and perfectly vintage. The only problem was it was a little dusty!

I know not everyone would consider buying second hand for Christmas presents something that they would do. I don't see a problem with teaching my children not to expect everything new, learning about recycling (caring for our environment right?) and also looking after/valuing their things so they could be passed on to someone else. Would you buy second hand for presents?

Thursday, November 29, 2012


An art installation after my own heart - now on at my local art gallery by Akiko Diegel. You can find more photos here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

hanging out

I often get stuck in an accessory rut, end up wearing the same earrings and necklace with every outfit, if I wear any at all. I suppose it's a lot like the outfits I wear too. I once heard a statistic that we were 10% of our clothes 90% of the time. The biggest obstacle is seeing what I have in order to wear it - of course along with that is having easy access to it.

Last Christmas I made my mum one of these earring holders (using some of the special fabric stiffener that I use to make my crocheted Christmas ornaments) with a doily and an embroidery hoop. It's taken me all year to make one for myself to hang my earrings on. I'll  have to track down the rest of my earrings, they seem to be hiding away somewhere, I do have more than five pairs.

I've made a few for my up coming markets too, I'm trying to decide which one I'll keep for myself. I do love the geometric one in the bottom pic. Luckily the doily was big enough to make a couple of hoops!

Monday, November 26, 2012

playing favourites

Over the last week I've had a huge production line, sewing up as many of my embroidered linen notebooks as I could. There were a few hold ups, running out of cotton, vilene and patience - not exactly in that order.

It's always hard crafting for markets, you never know what will be your best seller and what people are looking for. It can vary from market to market and time of year too. Last year at the Auckland Art and Craft Fair I totally sold out of these notebooks and I was sure I'd made heaps too. This year I'm hoping I've made enough! I've made 40 and counting!

Each one is cut from a piece of vintage linen, it's actually really hard to find the right linens for the notebooks. Most vintage linens have the embroidery right on the edge, which means all the pretty embroidery would be tucked away on the inside of the notebooks. Large tablecloths seem have the embroidery in the right place. I only like to use linens that have stains and holes and work around them. It seems such a shame just to cut into perfect vintage linens. Which means that I have a growing collection of "perfect" linens that I refuse to cut up. I do try and use the crocheted edges too, including them in the notebooks where possible. I've also got a growing collection of crochet edges, I've got a few ideas to put them to good use too. I don't like to waste such beautiful handiwork!

I'm quite attached to each notebook as it's finished, deciding it's my ultimate fave - that is till the next one is finished! I think it will be hard to say goodbye to some special pieces of linen from my stash!

Friday, November 23, 2012

nz style

This Christmas I'm trying to stay away from snowflakes and other Northern Hemisphere type Christmas decorations. It's time to adopt a more "Kiwi" or "NZ" style of Christmas, including how I wrap my presents.

My local $2 shop sells large squares of woven flax and I picked one up wondering how I could make something out of it. (I'm pretty sure these woven squares, and the kete that the shop sells aren't made in NZ *sad face*, how could they be if they are selling them for $2? ). So this is the result of a bit of playing around on a Friday afternoon (procrastinating over market crafting I really should be doing!)

Draw a square on the woven flax with a fabric marker (the kind that disappears without water)

Stitch along the lines of the square. Use a jeans needle, loosen your tension and choose a longish stitch for 
best results. Try stitching a little section on the edge first to check it's sewing properly.

Cut around the stitching, leaving approximately 1cm allowance.

Fold one corner to the opposite corner, then stitch along that line to create a cone shape.

Give it a squish in the middle and along the sides, or not, it will be more "rounded" if you don't "squish" it

Ta da! Add a little present inside, or some Christmas baking and top it off with some tissue to keep everything in place. Add a ribbon to brighten it up a bit if you want!

You can make them any size you like. Try small ones to hang on your tree, just attach a ribbon to the top. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Who are you crafting for this Christmas? Your mum, sister or children? Well what about taking some time to craft for someone else's mum, sister or child? For the past couple of years I've been making some little zip purses and filling them with some cosmetics and other small treats for people who might not be having a "very merry Christmas". The Salvation Army has a toy and Christmas gift drive with drop off points at my local library. Each year I see lots of stuffed toys and things for small children in the drop off box, so I thought my time would be better spent focusing on older children - tweens if you will. My mum and I and a few friends save up all sorts of little things throughout the year to gift at Christmas time. I feel especially strongly about doing this, this year in particular. It has a lot to do with this post by Nin. Also it's nice to do something nice for someone else, right? So maybe when you are busy crafting for your family and friends you could take just a bit of extra time to make something for someone who needs a special Christmas too.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Another mum at preschool also loves Pinterest - She often asks me what I've made or done from my pins and I ask her too. The response is nearly always the same - nothing! All these grand plans and inspiration but not too much action. Often it's just about waiting for every thing to align. I saw this pin and thought what a great idea, easy enough. Glue magnets to the back of old puzzle pieces. Problem, no puzzles that I could do it with (well the kids might notice if I stole all their puzzle pieces!). So I've been patient, keeping the idea up there waiting. Then last week I found a bag of Fireman Sam puzzle pieces with no puzzle at a local thrift store $0.20c!(I've seen plenty of puzzles but they have all been complete and it seems a shame to make magnets out of them if someone will use the puzzle). So now mr A's magnet tray/board has some magnets! The perfect place for him to show off his paintings, making some room on the fridge for other things.

Friday, November 16, 2012

friday finds

a bunch of thrifted embroidery hoops! - Lovely portrait in the background by the also
lovely Stella
set of four brand new black crocheted place mats by
French Country Collections - thrifted. Stunning roses
from my lovely neighbour!
Probably the best ever metal tray to be converted into
one of these.

I've been busy cutting out up lots of vintage linen (working around holes and stains) for my notebooks. I was all prepared to sit down and sew the big pile up. But alas somehow the cotton has decided to tangle it self all up inside my machine! Arrgh! So instead I'll do some more cutting out until my husband comes home to rescue it. Why don't I attempt it I hear you ask? Well there are some things that he is just better at than me and fixing mechanical things is one of those things. 

Happy weekend! I'm hoping mine involves a lot of sewing!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Last weekend was a local A & P Show (Agricultural and pastoral). I took part in a spinning demonstration with some other members of our Creative fibre group. I suggested to the kids that maybe they would like to enter some items in the kids section of the show. So an uncooked slice, vegetable person and sand/Vaseline saucers were entered, along with some entries by me in the handcraft sections.

Miss E was delighted to find that she had won prizes for all her entries and mr A also took home a place for his saucer. Miss E took home a grand total of $10 in prize money which she was super excited by. I also took home a few prizes :) 3 firsts a second and a third. I was very surprised! Especially with my first place for spinning!  I've only been spinning for a short time and didn't expect to win.

I had made some baby shoes from some woollen men's trousers and added some crocheted flowers using Jessicah's beautiful silk/merino yarn (colourway Hydrangea - 2ply). I crocheted lots of individual flowers and stitched them close together in the hope they'd look a bit like hydrangeas. The have leather soles too.  I'm hoping that once I've finished all this market crafting I'll get a chance to make some more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

felt garland tutorial

After I'd cut out all the pretty green and red pieces from my holey woollen picnic blanket - I was left with lots of other little pieces. I didn't want to waste them (no surprises there huh?). I wasn't really sure what to do with them. Working around all the holes I was only left with small pieces. I started cutting circles - not sure what I was going to do with them. A garland came to mind. It's hardly a tutorial at all really, just a few easy steps. The same idea could be used with any felt, or stiff material for that matter. I've seen acrylic/felt blends at Spotlight that have a glittery finish, might be perfect solution for those who like a bit more "bling" in their Christmas decorations!

Cut lots of circles from your chosen fabric - My circles were 7cm in diameter.

Fold one circle in half and place under your sewing machine foot. Have a second one, also folded in half butted up against it. The two folded pieces should form a complete circle. Sew along the middle of the circles.

Have another circle ready to follow on from the first two. It should be folded in half and in the opposite direction to the last circle. Carry on folding and adding circles and sewing till you've run out of circles or you've reached the length that you want.

I wanted to add some strings on each end so I could tie them on to things. I cut a slightly smaller circle and stitched it on, with a folded length of red string underneath. Easy.

Possibilities are endless, you could have large and small circles, have a colour pattern of circles, you could sew smaller circles in the middle of each larger circle group........ A great way to use up little scraps.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Nothing like a Spring hail storm, the perfect time for a 6 year old to be outside! I now have a freezer full of collected hail.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

baking soda

I often find lovely vintage plates at thrift stores. Often they are scratched from daily use and stained to boot. It puts me off and I usually leave them there. I came across a number of these Crown Lynn Shibui plates, no chips or cracks, but stained scratches (at a super bargain price!).  I gave them a good wash, but the stains remained. I have a LOVE of baking soda and use it for all sorts of cleaning and other projects, that is what I turned to to fix the stains.

I just dropped a small amount on the plate, wet it ever so slightly so it was a thick paste. I gently used my finger to rub across the stains in a circular motion, then rinsed with water and ta da! Stains disappeared! Easy as that. The plates looked amazing once I was finished - none of the hand painted details had rubbed off and they were gleaming. So think again when you see some stained plates at thrift stores - the answer to make the look like new might just be baking soda!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Thank you for all the well wishes, this virus is still hanging around, but I'm pretty sure we are all a bit better than yesterday.

I've finished a bunch of the Pohutukawa decorations that I started yesterday, I had a few sneaky minutes using my sewing machine! I cut some into circles and others I left as rectangles. I sewed some red cotton thread into the tops, rather than loops, so they could either be hung on a tree or tied onto presents - versatility is key! They are listed in my new felt shop! You can find the link on the top right of this page. But don't go rushing there yet, despite having a previous felt shop I've still got to have my first 5 listings verified before they go "live".

I've got quite a few things I want to list over the next week, I'm trying to pop some of my market stock in there, for all of dear blog readers who can't make it to my local markets. So keep an eye out for a special giveaway hosted by a dear blogging friend over the next few weeks!

My local op shop has a few Christmas treasures out at the moment, most of the stock is newish (from China) and not that inspiring. But I did find a box of vintage glass baubles (just one missing) for $0.50 and a cute crochet Santa and a vintage angel! I'm actually looking for some wooden ornaments to make something a little like this, but I haven't had any luck so far.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

cough, cough, cough!

There is a very unwanted visitor here at our house. It's a virus that has caused some very nasty coughing. Most of the house is affected by this nasty visitor and we are certain it's outstayed it's welcome!

I thought I was pretty on task for all my crafting for up coming markets, but I hadn't taken into account we might all get sick! My sewing table is in our bedroom, which is currently a quarantine zone for my husband so sneaking in for some sewing time is out of the question. To be honest I don't feel one bit like sewing anyway. But in order to feel like I'm actually doing something, I've been doing a little bit of rustic hand sewing.

I found a woollen picnic blanket for $1 at my local thrift store. It was marked as a pet blanket, ie. suitable for only pets to sleep on due to the fact it had a few holes. The colours appealed to me,  I love green and red and I could easily work around the holes! I thought it would be good for some decorations. So over the past few days, I've been stitching a few little pohutukawa flowers. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to finish them, I was thinking they might look good as circles - but that might change. It's been the perfect little project to tend to between tending to patients.

Better late than never, congratulations to Lisa of Big little the winner of the bean seeds! I'll pop them in the post this week for you.