Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The winner of the Hazed subscription is Kerrie! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment.

We have been busy saying farewell to some very dear and familiar places over the last couple of weeks. Like our local playgroup that we've been attending almost every Wednesday for seven and a half years. It can't quite be possible that we've been going for so many years, it seems like it's all happened in a few short months rather than seven long years.

We are still caught up with end of year happenings for the next few days, including an early birthday celebration for a little one. But I'll be back next week for a Handmade Christmas wrap up!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hazed - Giveaway time!

Have you heard of Hazed magazine? No? Maybe you've heard of Hazel loves design? Well let me fill you in if you haven't been lucky enough to stumble across either.  Hazed magazine is dedicated to showcasing New Zealand Indie design (yes!) and has been an online only read for the past year. But now you can actually hold in your hands the latest issue of Hazed, yes it's now in print!

I loved flicking through the pages recognising a few familiar faces, Justine from Redflax and Sophie from The Sisterhood. My favourite read was about the man behind Fat Spatula. I've long admired his oh so clever products! Especially the Man Shawl, but I see he's just released a range of notebooks, with the one titled "things that are totes amazeballs" one my favourite.

The Hazel Loves Design website also has an online emporium, filled with lovely handmade gifts! As you know I'm big on promoting handmade especially locally handmade items, that's why I answered the call when Hazel was looking for blogging partners. You can read my interview here. (if I knew the photo of me was going to be so BIG, I would have sent a different one!)

So how can you get your hands on the latest issue of Hazed? You can buy it here!

Hazel has been so super generous to donate a subscription for one year to Hazed magazine to one lucky NZ Green Buttons blog reader! Open to NZ readers only.

Just leave a comment on this post to be in to win. I'll draw a winner on Wednesday the 18th of December.

Maybe you could tell my something handmade you've made or bought lately or been lucky enough to receive? You know how I love handmade!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Lego Club Christmas gift! 
I really try to think "outside the square" for presents for little ones. I've given Lego club memberships for a few little people that we know for special birthdays over the last year or so. The Lego club is a one off payment and the child then gets an interactive magazine, stickers and sometimes a small Lego set several times a year till they are 11 or so (when the membership needs to be renewed annually). All for just under $20. The mum's have all said what a great idea it was and how their children have been enjoying getting something special in the mail every few months. At the time of the gift giving I wrote up a little card saying I'd signed them up and added a wee Lego minifigure. In each case I did speak with the mum before hand to make sure they weren't already signed up!

Have you seen this list? It's sixty gift alternatives to toys for children. I love it! I especially love the section on experiences. Often people with children struggle to fit admission charges into their budgets, a trip to the zoo can be really costly for a family these days. That's where Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles could chip in to buy a pass to the zoo, movie money or paying for swim lessons etc. Putting money towards experiences and creating lifelong memories must be better than toys that might not last until the next Christmas. I remember getting a Whitcoulls voucher (a local book store) when I was young, I loved being able to go in and choose a book that I really wanted for the first time ever.

Is there something you've gifted or been gifted that was "outside the square"? I'd love some more ideas!

Friday, December 13, 2013


Kids have fantastic memories, I don't know if it's because they haven't filled up their memories with experiences yet or just because as adults we stop remembering all the little stuff. What ever the reason my kids remind me of all sorts of things I hoped they had forgotten.

When children have fifth birthdays at preschool they usually give out small gifts to the other children, stickers, a sweet, balloons and pencils are popular. When my daughter left I made a bunch of little notebooks, stitched on my sewing machine and a pencil.

I had quite forgotten about this, but seems the kids had not.  I was recently reminded and told that I had to do the same for my son who is about to start his last week of preschool. A bit of a production line was started up again. The covers cut out on one particularly long car trip. The stitching done in stolen moments and before I knew it they were all done!

I've teamed them with some small pencils that I found on Trademe, I ended up buying a "gross" which is 144 pencils! SO there will probably be more of these popping up in the future. I really hope they like them, I think I might like one to keep in my bag!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


A close up might make you think I've been busy crocheting Christmas ornaments. I have in fact been crocheting a Kokeshi doll from a pattern that the talented Cait from CHD designed. You can find the pattern in her Etsy shop - Along with some other seriously cute crochet patterns!

I have a rather large (and ever expanding) collection of Kokeshi dolls, I'm always stuck by the differences in their styles and the decorations on their Kimonos. Cait's pattern gives you that flexibility too, you have a couple of options for decorating the top of the head and also free reign to decorate the body as you wish. 

I ran out of the black bamboo yarn I was using for the hair, so my doll has a "cropped" hairstyle! I also stuffed her body with coloured wool roving, I hate seeing white stuffing poking out from behind the stitches.

I think this one will be right at home on the shelf with the other wooden Kokeshi!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I often add to our Christmas decorations at this time of year, avoiding all the chain stores I head the the local op shops or thrift stores. Last year I was so lucky to pick up a number of vintage glass baubles. This year I spotted these wee candle holders, made in Germany. They have a ceramic top and a red wooden base.

I love their Scandinavian style, but once home I realised that we didn't have any candles to fit. After a rummage in the cupboard I found some cake candles, not a perfect fit, but good enough to get the effect.

I think candle light can really set a scene, don't you agree?

Do you add to your decoration collection each year?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

it's a wrap!

photo credit: Meg from Growing up.

The lovely Meg from the blog Growing up has just shared this wonderful tutorial for making some reusable fabric wrapping. Isn't it a great idea? I always feel a great wave of "ugh" when I see the "sea' of wrapping paper on Christmas morning, all those trees!

I'm making a bunch of these this year for sure! Thanks Meg!

Monday, December 9, 2013

no sun

After a November that topped the temperature charts (the hottest November in Auckland since 1959), we've been met by a bit of a rainy December thus far. It's meant that I haven't taken photos of all the things I've been up to. But it gives me a chance to share some things that I have forgotten to share.

I made this Owl mug hug for teacher that was leaving preschool. It was super soft, I want one too.

I finally gave up on searching for pine needles to mulch my strawberries, instead I bought some straw. I also painted some rocks red to pop around the plants to deter the birds. I haven't lost any berries to birds so maybe they are working? But I do often find a teeny tiny slugs curled up on a strawberry munching away. So how do I deter teeny tiny slugs?

Speaking of berries, I've been busy picking boysenberries and raspberries. The raspberries disappear very quickly, popped into mouths and lunchboxes. The boysenberries are going into the freezer and into crumbles!

So it turns out it's mostly a berry post! Here's hoping I get a bit of sun soon and I can share a few more Christmas projects.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I do 99% of my grocery shopping online, it helps me stick to a budget and I tend to avoid all those impulse buys that sneakily add lots of dollars to my bill. It does have a downside however, I tend not to learn about new products when they hit the shelves or new companies. So when I was contacted recently to see if I'd like to try some Donovans chocolates I had to do a little online search to find out a bit about the company and the chocolates too before I said yes.

I found that they are a New Zealand, family owned company, handcrafting chocolates since 1991. Great right? Made locally means that they employ local people, big tick from me.

The chocolates look handcrafted too, almost so handcrafted that you could pop them in a jar and pretend you handcrafted them? OK I don't think I could quite pull that off, but they do look lovely for a quick and easy gift.

In the top photo I took the one pound box of Peppermint delight, which Donovans have specially released for Christmas, and turned it inside out and glued it back together. Tied with some red string and a wee Christmas decoration and you have a lovely gift!

Did I mention they are quite delicious too? Try and support local businesses this Christmas, I am!

*thanks to Donovans for supplying the chocolate - all words and opinions are my own, but you knew that already right?

Inko dye - part 1

In a previous life I worked in the photographic industry, in one of the largest professional photographic labs here in New Zealand. So it's no surprise that I have a bit of a fascination with photographic processes, it's a bit like magic really!

I loved the idea of doing some "sun prints" ever since I heard about the Cyanotype process, around twenty years ago when I was at school, it's taken me a while to get around to doing it. I'd been put off by the chemical process a bit. Then I discovered Inko dye by Lumi which gives you the ability to print on fabric and wood with the power of the sun, with out all that fiddling around. 

You coat your fabric with the dye in a darkened room, it doesn't have to be completely dark, just away from direct sunlight. Then lay a "resist" on the top (the options are pretty endless there!) in this case I've used a plastic lace table runner (what use as a resist will get coated with the dye, so don't use a heirloom piece of lace that your granny made!) . Then pop it out in the sun. It changes very quickly right before your eyes! Magic I tell you. I left it out for around 20 minutes to give the dye a chance to fully develop, it was a really bright day.

You can see above some "soft" areas in the printed design, that is where the plastic lace wasn't sitting flat. This was my first print! But I didn't quite wash all the dye out and when I hung it out to dry it developed a bit more and went a lighter blue, but I'm still really pleased with my first attempt.

Inko dye is really concentrated so I also had a go at doing a diluted print too (that's it above). I did a wee bit of hand stitching to outline some parts of the design.

I turned my second attempt into two zip purses, one as a Christmas gift for a friend. I'm popping in a few crochet hooks and some hand spun yarn.

The same print, the top one is the reverse side of the printed fabric

The people at Lumi have just released six new colours of Inko dye! (it previously came in just three colours). I've been collecting up a few different things that I want to print with I've got lots of experimenting ahead. My first attempts were on a natural linen, I'm keen to try out the dye on some bright white cotton. Watch this space!

I'm planning a post too on the mistakes I've made, things not to do things I've learned! Just in case you want to try it out too.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


OK there is no ignoring it now, the growing to do and shopping lists, busy social calendar, it all points to Christmas! I always try and be organised, even planning a few extra gifts to have at hand for those surprise extra guests or last minute invites. Even with all that organising I still sometimes fall short, so it's good to have something reliable in mind for a last minute gift or "bring a plate" emergencies.

Last week I was sent a delicious parcel of goodies from Bakers Delight. Some fruit mince tarts and a Christmas fruit cake. You might remember last year I was lucky enough to try their Christmas cake, but this was my first time trying their fruit mince tarts.

I loved how the tarts had a little foil base, made them look just that bit more special than the supermarket ones, I think they would look sweet in cellophane bags tied with a handmade ornament. They were tasty and full of fruit, they disappeared quickly.

Look at that cake! Argh I wanted to keep it just like that and present it at my Christmas table passing it off as my own, shameless right? But alas in the name of giving a thorough review we cut into it. It was moist! Just how I like a Christmas cake to be, full of currants and sultanas. You can buy a large Christmas cake or Bakers Delight also offer single servings! But why would you just want a little bit? Am I right?

What is your favourite baked treat at Christmas time?

*Just in case you are wondering, Bakers Delight supplied me with a box of fruit mince tarts and one Christmas cake. All the words and photos and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Many years ago I was let in on a little secret, if you freeze bananas then pop them into a blender they whip up into an amazing creamy mixture, a lot like soft serve ice cream. Problem is though, making it is really hard on your blender/food processor. To be honest, although it was a totally delicious, not to mention a super healthy snack option I stopped making it, I was worried I was going to blow up my blender and my food processor too!

Skip forward a decade, and it seems that someone has purpose built a machine for making frozen fruit into delicious ice cream like treats! The machine is called "Yonanas" and I first discovered it's existence on Stella's blog. After I read her review I felt like rushing out to get one, I've got one child who isn't that fussed on fruit, yet turn it into an ice cream and it's a different story. So I thought this could be just the thing to get some more fruit into him. Looking at the machines online and in store I just couldn't bring myself to get one, ah yes, the need verses want dilemma. Not to mention I'd need to find space in my cramped kitchen cupboards for a start! But just as the saying goes, "good things come to those who wait" they did! I spotted a Yonanas machine at my local Salvation Army store, it quickly came home with me.

I can tell you it's been a BIG hit with every one, we've tried out lots of combos. It's a great way to use up our little homegrown strawberries that are a wee bit little. I like the idea of using up the over ripe fruit too, like the kiwifruit that has a soft spot that makes it hard for me to stomach. Once frozen and popped into the freezer it's a different story.The combo pictured above is banana and peanut butter with a wee bit of cocoa and maple syrup. It's a bit of a naughty combo but I was trying to convince my husband of the merits of the machine! I still haven't found it a place in my cupboard, ahem.

Linking in with Max again this week with the op shop show off. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The nice thing about getting your birthday presents before, on and after your birthday is that it's just one big long gift receiving season! I like it even more when some of the presents are in fact, cash. It's nice to be able to choose something you've wanted for a long time, something a bit different that isn't just store bought.

I've long admired Jennie's beautiful dolls, so much personality and detailed work in each one. I was also keen to get my hands on one of her beautiful stitched neck-pieces.

I love the bright colours in this one. Despite it's large proportions it's light weight to wear.

If a neck piece isn't your thing, Jennie also does some amazing brooches, hand drawn with free motion stitching and also some are hand painted.You can see a little bit of her process here. Beautiful works of art!

Buy handmade!

Friday, November 22, 2013

um ...

I've fallen off the handmade Christmas bandwagon *hangs head in shame*

I was lucky to win a box of Macarons from J'AIME LES MACARONS via the Mend and Make New Blog. I didn't want to eat them, they look so pretty right? But my family had different ideas. Salted caramel was the winner! I actually had a dream about them.

It's been crazy hot this week. I need it to rain. My garden is dry.

I'm counting down the last few weeks before my baby finishes preschool, seriously where did the last five years go?

I've been finding snippets of time to try this amazing product out, I'm excited with the results. I'll share more next week. It's been a while since I've been so excited with a craft product.

Hay fever is not my friend.

Motivation has eluded me over the past few weeks, I'm determined that next week will be different.

I'm working on some exciting things, just waiting for them all to fall into place so I can tell you all about it!

Happy weekend friends!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

crochet a Christmas tree!

Here's a little pattern for a sweet little crochet Christmas tree, or a "pine" inspired tree if you will. They are quick and easy to make and use very little wool!

Crochet Christmas tree

You will need:
A small amount of yarn in green and brown. Also a contrast, a different green or for a snowy look, white!
Embroidery thread (optional)
3.5mm crochet hook (or hook of your choice to work with the yarn you like )
Small pom poms
Sewing thread
Felt (optional)

Note: Tree is worked from the top down.

Row 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc, here and throughout the pattern) 2 dc in 2nd ch from hook (3 dc)
Row 2: Ch 2, 1 dc in same space as ch 2. 1 dc in next stitch, 2 dc in last stitch  (5 dc)
Row 3: Ch 2, 1 dc in same space as ch 2. 1 dc in next 3 stitches and 2 dc in last stitch (7 dc)
Row 4: (decreasing row) Ch 1, slip stitch in next 3 stitches. Ch 2, dc in same space. Dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch. (5 dc)
Row 5: Repeat row 3 (7 dc)
Row 6: Ch 2, dc in same space as ch 2. Dc in the next 5 stitches, 2 dc in last stitch ( 9 dc)
Row 7: Ch 2, dc in same space as ch 2. Dc in the next 7 stitches, 2 dc in last stitch (11 dc)
Row 8: (decreasing row) Ch 1, slip stitch in next 3 stitches, Ch 2. Dc in same space as 2 ch. Dc in the next 4 stitches, 2 dc in the next stitch ( 8 dc)
Row 9: Ch 2, dc in same space as 2 ch. Dc in the next 6 stitches, 2 dc in the last stitch (10 dc)
Row 10: Ch 2, dc in the same space as 2 ch. Dc in the next 8 stitches, 2 dc in the last stitch (12 dc). Fasten off.

You'll end up with a shape similar to the one pictured above. I've used hand spun yarn so it's not perfectly even. Now it's time to add some contrast. This is done by attaching the chosen contrast yarn to one side of the "decreasing rows"

Ch 4, then insert your hook into the next stitch. Repeat along the width of the "decreasing rows" and also along the bottom of the last row. Use the photo below for reference. You could use embroidery thread for this or just a contrasting colour in the same weight yarn as the main part of your tree. Each row could be a different colour, like your tree is covered in tinsel! I particularly like the white for a snowy look.

The trunk is crocheted as follows:
Row1 :Ch 9, sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each stitch till the end.
Row 2: Ch 2, sc in each stitch till end. Repeat this row 2 more times.
Row 5: Fold the 4 rows in half and slip stitch the two long ends together. This creates a long tube. Fasten off leaving a long tail for stitching to the back of the tree.

Decorate your tree! Add mini pom poms, or sequins or any other little decorations. You might opt to leave your tree plain? It's up to you!

Stitch the trunk to the middle of  back of the tree! I wanted to make my hand spun go a long way so I stitched some felt to the back of the tree to cover up the trunk and the rest of the messy back. You might want to crochet a second tree and whip stitch them together?

Add some embroidery thread to the top with a needle and hang it on your tree! Or tie it on a gift. I'm planning on hanging these off the teacher presents this year.

One tree can look a little lonely, so why not crochet a forest of them!

I'd love to see your trees if you make any!


I have at long last had the chance to stumble across this game on a thrifting outing, it was only a matter of time before I found one, I live in New Zealand afterall, but I have in fact been looking for several years! It's just the game I probably needed as a child (still do, just quietly) you see I have terrible knowledge of New Zealand geography, I'll blame it on my lack of local travel.

From Auckland to the Northern tip of the North Island I'm fine, below Taupo is where my knowledge dies. I've got the main centres locked in, but it's the little towns in between make me stop and wonder when I hear them mentioned in the news. Is that in the North Island? On the West or East coast? It's shameful and I'm not sure why I'm sharing this information with you. But there you go, now you can think less of me and my lack of geographical NZ knowledge.

Now my kids and I can play this game and learn a little bit about the location on some of the smaller New Zealand towns.

Like the town that my husband spent fond childhood years in and how he yearns to relocate us there.

Places I visited for the first time in my life earlier this year! Only problem is there isn't actually a map of New Zealand to locate all the places, so I might still be in the dark.

It's such a pretty game, to have it hidden away seems a shame. If I had a games/rumpus room I think I might do something like this with it, a cool idea don't you think?

Joining in with Max at Blackbird has spoken with the Op Shop Show Off!