Sunday, 30 December 2012

Holiday Making

Now the Christmas rush has passed we have had more time for leisurely crafting.  On boxing day we took off for some summer camping.  In the mornings we explored the surrounding area on our bikes, poked around in the dirt and swam in the VERY cold creek:

The afternoon heat was too fierce to venture out in so we hung out in the shade reading books and doing some holiday craft kits.

Before school ended I bought the book :Show me a Story by Emily Neuburger - craft projects and activities to spark Children's Storytelling.  Georgie spied it when it arrived in the post and has been pestering me ever since to make something so today at home we  used the river stones idea.

We painted them , then modgepodged pictures cut from fabric and magazines on to them ( fabric works best because it is flexible).  You'd be amazed at how much fun this proved ( and very amusing), Georgie delighted in us all making up stories based on the pictures.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Last Minute

I had a few quick items on my making list that I wanted to do.  Over the past weekend I managed to do just enough sewing , in between swimming and biking trips, to make these 3 items.

New Pj's for Georgie - I had intended to make these for the solstice but was a bit late , so she got to  open a present this evening and has worn them to bed tonight.
( Sew liberated blossom blouse and a pair of shorts to match cut off some old pj's).

A hat for my niece - she missed out last year so I made one for her this Christmas.  The bucket hat from oliver and S.  Always surprises me how easy it is to make.
Lastly an upcycled blanket into a cushion for a friend who is about to move to her new house.  This really was last minute - I was sewing it up at 2.30 this afternoon before she arrived for a Christmas eve meal with us.
I hadn't intended it to be so "Christmasy" but that's what I put together with limited time.
That's it - no more gifts to make, a salad to make in the morning for a lunch and then a day with family.  Forecast is for a hot sunny xmas day. One year I'd like to have a white xmas but Summer christmas is good too.
Merry Christmas

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Crafting

Last year I purchased a polystyrene wreath and this year I got around to covering it.


Basically a no sew project that took about 2 hours in total. ( I sewed a few scraps together when my scraps were too small).  I cut strips about 5cm wide and 1 m long then folded them in half lengthwise.  Then with a gluegun I stuck to the ring hiding the joins at the back.  Fabric roses were made with the glue gun also.  I just tied a knot in one end of the strip then wound the fabric around and around using the glue gun to secure as I went and another big blob of glue on the back of each fixed them to the wreath - easy.

The advent calender ( here), this wreath and the felt decorations for teachers were the 3 Christmas crafts for the year I wanted to do , anything else is a bonus. Four more days to go and as many social functions so maybe one or two gifts if I get time?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Last Week

Last week, this week - all turning into a blurr.

We have been doing a little making, a little biking and time is flying by.

Snow flakes and snow ballerina's. 
Georgie's skilll with the scissors has improved since last year and she really enjoyed this.  The large snowflake and the small one under the ballerina are hers with no help from me - pretty good huh.

Felt xmas decorations for another  teacher.

A new  Birthday cruiser bike for me, with basket - not so sure the bike park is a great place for it but the basket totally rocks for local errands.
Hanging out:
Finally warm enough for a paddle in the lake.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Xmas decorations and Cameras

I have a new camera , ok confession I have two new cameras!

A panasonic DMC FZ200 which has a mega amazing zoom 25-600mm., f2.8 and looks like this:

The zoom is truely awesome - I was standing 3 m from the mirror when a took this shot . I had to clean the mirror as the camera kept focusing on the dust - how cool is that ( not the dust on my mirror, that is why it's a slighty fuzzy shot)

I'm excited and am just coming to grips with the basics of this camera.  We made xmas pine cone decorations.


These are the first play with the camera - in poor light - I think there is hope.
This is what the zoom can do
View from the couch
And zooming in  from the same spot on the couch  ( I know crappy photo composition but you get the idea).  Yep really excited about this zoom - can you tell?  I am hoping it is going to allow me to get much more natural shots of people without having to get right up close and stuff like that.
Now the second camera is a smaller panasonic DMC- LX7 which looks like this

 It's handbag size - I know a bit hard to tell in this pic, actually it's quite big handbag size but the FZ200 is a big camera , too big to put down inside my jacket front when I ski and to take biking etc .  So thats my justification for 2 cameras. This is small and takes fast shots but not much zoom. 
I decided to buy the same brand as only 1 system to learn .  The price of these 2 was pretty much the same as a digital SLR with interchangable lenses - which to be honest I didn't think I was quite up to photography wise.
Both of these are point and shoot or manual adjustment - so far so good.
I know excessive buying 2 new cameras - but hey I have a Birthday and xmas coming up.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Xmas gifts -Felt decorations

Sitting down to make these decorations was a good contrast to my hectic weekend.

The pattern for these decorations is from this book
I chose to hand stitch mine rather than machine the felt figures on -I like the unplugged chill out time making these gives me.
I'm thinking these will be a present for Georgie's teacher

Monday, 3 December 2012


At some point in December I always end up feeling really cranky
On top of the whole xmas thing we have 2 birthdays in our house and I always feel as if I have some impending deadline. ( self imposed "to do" list before Dec 31st).
This year I have cut myself some slack - I'm not going to try to do the whole handmade gift thing this year  and my siblings and I are opting for a relaxed family BBQ for xmas day.
This last weekend was pretty busy:
Friday night - fun girls night out starting with tapas in a local bar ( 2am bedtime!)
Sat - early start to a Christmas Fete with girl friends a 2 hour drive each way - good fun despite pouring rain. I got home in time to go to pick up Georgie from a Birthday party at 5pm - as I walked in the door the father of the birthday girl greeted me with a glass of champagne and a cheese platter - oooh like their style!
Sunday morning I woke at 7am to a friends text - I had forgotten I had offered to help with a fund raiser Garage sale - so I leapt out of bed and went around to her house.  11 am I got home in time to take Georgie to a family fun day with crafts and luge rides etc.
Now for some silly reason I decided this was a good time to buy new shoes for Georgie since we were in town. We were both seriously cranky( she was on a post cookie decorating sugar high and I was just plain in need of caffeine) - she spent most of the shoe shopping experience either lying on the floor or leaping around the shop.  Eventually we walked out with a pair of shoes that were even in a half price sale = slightly less cranky mummy.  But really what was I thinking going shoe shopping with tired child.
You'd think I learn but after all this I had promised Georgie we would do todays activity from the activity "make xmas biscuits" when we got home. Actually this was a pretty good wind down for the day and we made these cute biscuits (cookies).

Ginger bread recipe with icing snowflakes made using a snowflake cutter - super easy and looks effective.
Yes  I did finish the advent calender:

Each day has a card in the pocket:

In the laundry cupboard was a new xmas DVD.
I have tried to mix up the days with making and giving things and a few pockets have little gifts, things like stickers and a treasure hunt to find a  xmas book .
Some advent ideas from ours are:
Go gold panning (easy local activity)
Go to the Museum
Take a day trip ( am planning something like a trip on a local steamship or similar)
Make paper snowflakes
Make xmas cards
Go on a bike trip
Wrap xmas presents
Write a letter to Santa
Watch a xmas DVD
Read a xmas book
Do something nice for someone ( am planning on cooking something and giving to neighbours)
Take a present for your teacher ( this is for last day of school)
Georgie loves getting up and reading the card each day, it is also helping speed up the getting ready for school process as she needs to be dressed and ready before she checks the card.  Don't you love 5 year olds - so honest - even though the cards are all there she never looks before the correct day.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Works in Progress

I realised this morning that I had only 2 days left until Dec 1st , so today I am working on the advent calendar

Actually this was on last years making list but it never happened, so I decided hand made xmas was a work in progress - an item or two each year.
With the xmas making starting Georgie got excited and demanded the xmas tree
This too is a work in progress, decorations to make - both Georgie and mine.
Note the very summer dress, it's hot , no snowflakes here.

Lastly my vege garden, with my love/hate relationship with gardening I finally planted some radishes and carrots a couple of weeks ago and yeh they are growing - no small feat for me. The strawberry patch has all but taken over the rest of the garden so it's a select few plants - salad ingredients in my vege patch this year.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Chicks ride

Once a week, for the past few years, in summer I meet in the evening for a girl's mountain bike ride. I have been threatening to post a pic on my blog for a while so here is last weeks ride:

Three of us were in the same antenatal classes and from there I became friends with a group of local women who like to Mt bike.  The 5 of us in the picture all have kids around the same age and are into the outdoors - skiing, biking, camping etc. Central Otago rocks when it comes to outdoor stuff and so do my friends! These weekly rides are one of my weeks highlights - plenty of laughs, great riding and a chance to catchup. For the past 2 years we have also gone on a  Chick's biking weekend - mt biking, good food ,more laughter and a bit of shopping - what more could a girl ask for.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Winning Toys

Georgie's room has become over run with toys in the last month or so.  We moved some of her toys out of the lounge when I shifted her art table and ever since I have been tripping over boxes of toys in her room.
Derek had been muttering about the mess for a few weeks, but that's from a man whose garage looks like this:

so I took that with a grain of salt! ( note pile of banana boxes top right are mine - he does not have a big stash of old blankets.)
So we emptied Georgie's room of all her toys
mmm - reality check here - there were a lot of toys for 1 child, behind those pink crates is a smaller row of boxes filled to the brim with little toys.
We had had a talk over breakfast about giving away or donating toys we no longer use and she was actually really good about deciding which toys she would part with.  A few she asked for a final play with first and then later put in the out pile. A friend of mine is having a fundraiser garage sale for a little boy with leukaemia so we will take most of them to that.
We ended up with a size able out pile
And a much tidier room

Under the bed there are 2 pink boxes - one with soft toys and the other with dolls and dolls clothes. A dolls bed and dress up clothes are also in her room.  Puzzles and art supplies live in the sideboard in our lounge.

It's a good reminder pre xmas to avoid excess consumerism.  I know I've been guilty of buying way too much stuff for her in previous years. 

Winning Toys that I do rate and would recommend are
1. Wooden blocks
2. Dolls house ( just saw these totally amazing ones on scroll down to see dolls house)
3. Plastic animals ( I think Schleich animals although expensive are worth buying as they are much more solid and seem pretty much indestructible while the cheaper ones fall over and bits seem to get bitten off them etc. I used to suggest them as gift ideas and we got one or two new ones for long plane trips and gradually built up a set)
4. Dolls and dolls clothes - interestingly most of the kids that play with ours prefer the bigger older dolls I got off trademe or in thrift shops. I think it's because they are easier to dress and they seem to like carrying them around.
5. Wooden train set
6. Duplo or lego - while I am not a fan of plastic toys with lots of little pieces these always seem to be a hit with kids and you can buy little sets to give as gifts as add ons .
7. Sandpit - a total winner
8 Swing of any kind
9. Bikes
10. Scooters

I am guessing if you have boys the list will vary a bit?

Things which I don't like,( $$$, mass marketing, not very eco friendly etc) but Georgie loves and plays with a lot so we have kept are
Polly Pockets - expensive for what they are and the clothes rip easily and most of ours are now amputees of some form as the limbs fall off. Despite this she still loves them .
Littlest pet shop toys - a bit more robust than Polly Pockets but damn expensive for little bits of plastic.

I am pleased though that some of her favourites include the Princess and the Pea set  I made and little hand made Felt red riding hood toys.

I am still debating what to get Georgie this year.  I just read this post byTricia of Little eco footprints and really like the idea of  ‘something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read.’

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Work interruptions

It was a bit hopeful packing my knitting when I went away for 10 days of work  - not a stitch done.  By the time I had finished work I had run out of creative mojo - I did manage several trips to spotlight ( large craft store) . They had a 30% off fabric sale and I couldn't help myself.

Confession -  this is only about half the fabric I bought - the rest is in the washing machine as I write this. It was soooo cheap compared to the stores here at home.  Some of it I just liked but have no project in mind - the top one is destined to be a skirt for Georgie and there is a small black gingham in the machine that is to be another Tova shirt for me. 

I've spent the weekend ingnoring the piles of washing waiting to be put away , the unloved sewing room ,  my half unpacked bags lying on the bedroom floor. Instead  a sleep in and then hanging out at the skate park today - Georgie's latest love.  All good.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Getting it

Georgie has been riding her bike for about a year now, but really only because we want her to and entice her out with something at the end - a trip to the library or a cafe . She has come out for a ride but not with any real enthusiasm. This week she has progressed , she gets it! - the fun of riding, the speed on a down hill, the effort it takes to get up hills - she is loving it and so are we.

Now the weather is warmer we have been making the most of the fantastic tracks on our doorsteps - roll on summer!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tova shirt

Actually it's more of a Tova tunic - I made it about 10cm longer than the shirt so I can wear it with tights or jeans.

The fabric is a Japanese Nani Iro that I got here at Stitch Bird Fabrics in Wellington. It is a super soft double gauze. The back of the fabric is white and because it turns open at the neck I put a facing in here so the front of the fabric is on both sides. I really like this pattern it's easy and comfortable to wear. 

I had a complete mission though trying to get a self portrait of it - I mean how many unflattering photos can you take?, I took about 20 and then gave up - that's why my face is not in these pics.

Then I had a play around with my camera and tried to get some different angles from my bike

It's really quite difficult to ride and take photos. 

I am going to buy myself a new camera for xmas - so far I am considering the panasonic LX7 - it's small and takes good action pictures ( and not too expensive) - I like to chuck my camera in my bag on bike trips or in my pocket when I ski.  I know it's a real compromise when it comes to good quality photos so I am coming around to the idea that maybe I need 2 camera's in the longer term - a digital SLR and one like this little panasonic. I also like the look of the sony alpha Nex 7 - again quite small for a DSLR but reviews look good.  If you own either of these I'd like to know what you think of them.

These pictures are taken on my old Leica - its little which I love but I just can't get great images and need want to upgrade.  The new Leicas that are bigger are just too pricey -that's why I like panasonic - Leica lens and controls are very similar. I have been reading lots of reviews - but wow so many choices I just can't decide.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Where did it go?

Where did that last week go?
I swear time accelerates towards the end of the year.
I had great plans for the last week, few of which I achieved.
I did manage to make a Halloween costume and organise a trick or treat round here in our cul de sac. Not that any of the kids understand Halloween here in NZ , other than you dress up and the neighbours give you lollies.  I pre asked all our neighbours to make sure they were ok with it and everyone seemed to have a fun time.

I did very badly with photos sorry.

I made bat wings out of fleece - no heming and just the seams for the arms and hood. Georgie wore a black top and tights under it.   Specific instuctions for a fruit bat! , she wanted a brown body but no brown fleece available at short notice.   Then I made a little felt mask - she was happy with this.
Pattern for the bat wing here at My little poppet, I added a hood as well but probably works better without.

I made a couple of Halloween themed food item , no picture but spooky spider eggs from here:

And some spider web cupcakes: very last minute so no spider on these just the web.

I seem to have been busy with not much to show for it aside from the above. 

Our garden had turned into a wilderness -not in a good way, long grass between my strawberries, weeds everywhere in the paths - uugh - you get the picture. So I made a pact with myself to just do 1/2 hr a day in the garden. It now looks way better and tonight I ditched the collection of dead succulents from my pots on the veranda ( a combination of relocation stress , too little love and hard frosts has seriously reduced the count). Instead I filled them with herbs which I am hoping I can keep alive - not a green thumb in sight here. I love the idea and look of a vege garden but the reality is it takes time and actually I'm not sure I even like gardening that much. And there you go my week was done.

I do have another Tova shirt for me almost finished - photos tomorrow but with a course and extra work in the next week that is probably all the sewing I can get done. I hope your week has been more productive than mine.