Monday, January 09, 2017

Circle Line Rail "Cruise"

Here's a fun fact you may or may not know about me, I love trains, not in a trainspotter kind of way but I do love train journeys.
I wish there were more opportunities to make long train journeys in New Zealand, unfortunately at some point it seems that we decided that train travel wasn't for us and that people should get from A to B using the roads (although planes are now a lot cheaper and Rich and I use these over long car journeys whenever we can!).
However, from time to time we have a chance to take a train ride and an organisation out in Paekakariki offers historic train rides and we finally decided it was time to take a train ride!
We took this train just before Christmas and we had a very early start, leaving our flat before 6am on a Sunday to head out to Paekakariki to catch our train.
As the train journey was a little before Christmas, the train was decorated in Christmas theme and even the cute cafe in the train had some festive treats for sale.


One of the things I like about trains is that you get such a different view to the view you get when traveling in a car and some of the landscape looks so much more impressive! These photos were taken as we traveled through the Manawatu Gorge.


We also stopped at small towns that I would never normally visit - Pahiatua anyone? Population of around 4,000 in case you were wondering.
There were two options of a "final" destination (not really final as we had to travel back to Paekakariki) either a country fair or visiting a winery.


I don't drink, but we still chose the winery, it was the perfect place for a picnic in the vines (other people did actually go to the restaurant though).



It was also the perfect place to get a few photos of the train (and with the train!).



From here we headed back to Wellington, but there was another chance on the way home to stop for photos.




That's a very brief round up of our rail cruise, it was a lot of fun and I'm hoping I can do a few more of these in 2017.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Christmas Stocking Sew-a-thon

As I said in an earlier post, this year Rich and I decided to do Christmas stockings for Christmas day. We usually buy something for the house, but this year decided to fill a stocking for each other (with a maximum value of $25 dollars in presents, which was difficult in itself) the only problem was we didn't actually own any stockings and didn't want to go for what comes standards in the shops.

So its pretty lucky I can sew right? I decided  it was time for me to use up some of my stash and make some new stockings.
I'm a fan of Simply Sewing magazine, it has a lot of simple dressmaking projects as well as homewares and general "crafty" stuff. I knew I  had one somewhere with a pattern for Christmas stockings and I was right! This issue was from last year - the one downside with this magazine being in New Zealand about three months (I KNOW THREE!) after its released in the UK is that by the time we actually receive the magazine down here that when we finally receive the Christmas issue, Christmas has LONG finished.
One of my favourite things about small craft projects like this is that it means you're able to get rid of a lot of smaller pieces of fabric in your stash. I mostly do dressmaking, which means some of the smaller lengths I end up with sit around for a long time before they get used. I got this fun retro looking fabric ages ago at a fabric swap, but I got such a small amount I wasn't able to use it for dress making projects.

I made Rich's stocking first, the retro fabric above is the lining. The outside fabric is actually little cassettes which I LOVE - this fabric was from a local fabric store Made Marion.
For my own stocking I chose two different Hello Kitty fabrics (note there is also OTHER Hello Kitty fabric in my stash).
The black Christmas fabric I bought from a fabric resale group on Facebook, the red fabric I've had or a very long time! I remember buying it from Trade Me WAY back when I first started to sew, I made a wee pouch from it, so happy to be able to use up the remaining fabric.
 Finally, here's the two stockings side by side on the wall - much more fun than your standard Christmas stocking right?
After I sewed up these stockings, I realised I needed to sort out a bunch of presents for friends that we were seeing during New Years holidays.

As you all know, I have A LOT of fabric and I liked making these stockings so much that I decided to make EVERYONE (six people) stockings. I guess I've spent about a whole day making stockings - but it was worth it to see the look on everyone's faces.

HUNK STOCKING

I actually bought this fabric for a friend for their  birthday to make cushions, but the fabric arrived too late and had been sitting around in my stash. I decided that while the cushions may not have worked out, this was the perfect chance to make a hunky stocking.

I bought this fabric on a Facebook fabric resale group as well and the toughest part about this stocking was choosing which hunks would be the outside of the stocking and which would be the lining.
In the end the sports hunks won out - mostly because I loved those cheesy little quotes! Bu the firemen hunks didn't miss out entirely, one of them is front and centre of one of the cuffs.

FANTAIL STOCKING

The second stocking I made probably looks a wee bid subdued compared with the hunks, its made from some fantail fabric I've had in my stash for a while that I think was originally from Spotlight.
Unfortunately I didn't have any fabric that was patterned that worked well with the fantail fabric, so the lining fabric was green - I can't even remember where I picked up the lining fabric! I think these two worked well together though.

CUPCAKE  STOCKING

This stocking was made for a friend that has a passion for baking and is a really talented baker (especially since pretty much everything she makes is gluten free!).
Fortunately I had two different types of co-coordinating fabric in my stash - the white fabric is from a resale group on Facebook and the blue from a fabric swap.
 I chose to make the main stocking from the blue fabric as the white fabric was very thin (which is probably why it hasn't been used for anything else!) and I think it was a good decision as the blue fabric is quite striking.

Mid-Century Stockings 

The next stocking is for a friend who really loves cars and also mid-century design - turns out I had the perfect fabric for that in my stash!
The car fabric is again from a Facebook de-stash group and the lining I've had for a while, it was originally from Arthur Toye Fabric (RIP) and I made Sophiia a skirt out of this fabric when she was much younger and also my David  Bowie bag.
I really love the way this stocking turned out, the lining is just the right shade for he shell fabric and is a bit more interesting than being a block colour, but subtle enough not to detract from the shell fabric.

Magical Stocking

The next stocking I made is just a little bit magical - the shell fabric is pretty special with unicorns, rainbows and glitter!
Again both of these fabrics are from a Facebook  destash group (I went through a bit of a phase, can you tell) - I only even had a small amount off the glitter fabric and bought it for smaller crafting projects. The lining fabric I had hoped to make a skirt from, however, its super thin as I discovered when it arrived and not right for dressmaking.
Unfortunately I didn't realise just how blurry this photo was and I can't take another as the stocking has now gone to its new home! I was happy how it turned out though, with the lining creating a cute contrast to the craziness of the shell of the stocking.

Festive Kangaroo Stocking

The final stocking I made was for a friend who recently moved to New Zealand from Australia and as it turns out I have the perfect festive fabric for that.
The festive Kangaroo fabric was a fabric-a-brac find, seriously, how cute is it? The other fabric is from a vintage fair I went to AGES ago! I've never used it as I've never had quite the right amount to make anything - it was too perfect not to use with the kangaroo fabric.
 Here's my final completed (and most festive) Christmas stocking! I really love this one - the Christmas kangaroos are just so cute.

Well that's ALL my Christmas stockings (but not the last of my Christmas sewing as I still have a festive dress to share). I realised last year how much I do actually enjoy sewing crafty things, so here's to more crafty, non-garment sewing (which should also help me burn through my stash) in 2017!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

2016 - Year in review

I know that 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people in a lot of way - personally I didn't do as much last year as I had hoped to do. I didn't sew, craft or blog as much as I would have liked. I'm hoping to remedy that for 2017 - fingers crossed.

I still thought I would do a year in review of the stuff I actually did manage to blog about this year, this will help me focus on what I do want to do different in the next year and hopefully I can end 2017 feeling a lot more positive!

We spent our New Years holiday in Blenheim and Kaikoura, I'm so thankful that we made the effort to visit Kaikoura as the landscape is so changed by last years earthquakes.
  I made this fairy dress to wear to Ria's birthday party in January, I've been wanting to make another version for a while - perhaps its time for me to finally do that!
I made this cute cross stitch as part of a Valentines Day Swap - the design is by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, which is one of my favourite cross stitch pattern companies.
I took part in the Jungle January sewing challenge with Emma, we are planning on doing this challenge again in 2017.
I had a fun pre-Easter celebration with friends and Joy made us all really cute Easter treats!
I took part in a David Bowie swap and made some things I was pretty proud of, including this bag.
We visited Hong Kong (for the second time) and The Philippines (for the first time) over Easter.
Emma and I volunteered at Fabric-a-brac in matching dresses (made from the same pattern, rather than fabric).
I finally used up some fabric I'd received in the blogger secret Santa swap and made a crocodile dress!
I finally made 100 wearable items! Which was a big milestone for me in my sewing.

We adopted our precious Mia from the Cats Protection League, I've always wanted to adopt an older cat as I know many remain in shelters for years (or worse) because most people prefer to adopt kittens. I'm so happy we decided to give Mia her forever home!
We visited Auckland for my birthday and did a bunch of rad stuff, including seeing The Cure!
Also when we were in Auckland we went to a cat cafe for the first time and it was pretty magical. 
Ria and I went to our first Wellington Pin Ups event and had some professional photos taken in our fancy gear! I'm hoping to head along to some other pin up events this year.
I wrote a post about sewing failures and it felt good to get out that crafty projects don't always work out, but that's actually ok.
I  celebrate Halloween with a "secret Halloween" at work, a movie and finished up the evening at the observatory.
I FINALLY sorted out my sewing cave, after having lived in this house for 18 months and I have mostly kept it in order since the great clean up.
I made a square dancing outfit for my end of year work function that was wild west themed. It made me realise just how much fun it is to spend time making outfits for special events, I definitely want to do more of this in 2017.
I finished up the year with a post about all of our Christmas adventures and made a Christmas bow for Mia (which she hated!).
I'm still thinking about what I want to achieve this year! I do want to get back to blogging more (I still have some stuff from 2016 I need to blog about), sew more, do more craft swaps and do more cross stitch. We have some travel plans for this year, but not till later on in the year. I also want to make more of an effort to get involved in some of the groups I'm in like Wellington Sewing Bloggers and Wellington pin ups - let's hope 2017 is a better for all of us than 2016 x