Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Halloween Crafting for Vany - Part 1

So here's another post of some stuff I actually made ages ago! If you guys follow my blog regularly you will know that each year my friend Vany and I do a craft swap and  I usually share what I've made. Vany wasn't able to play along this year (but its ok, she's coming to visit in February!) and I still haven't finished all of the stuff I wanted to make for her (I'm still two days short) but I thought I would share what I  did make - even if we didn't have it as together this year as we have other years.

The first thing I made Vany was a cross stitch - I had a design in mind to make for Vany, it was one of Rich's designs and as soon as he finished it up I knew it was perfect for a Halloween swap! The pattern I chose is available in Rich's esty store if you're interested.
Here it is off the hoop, I really love stitching patterns like this, you feel like you have quickly achieved a lot by stitching up one motif at a time - I think I stitched quite a few of the motifs in one night, which makes for satisfying stitching.
Here's a bit of a close up, the eyeball is probably my favourite part of the design.
The second thing I wanted to share with you today is the bag I made for Vany, its a satchel style bag that I've made before - see here and here. I didn't make too many changes from the previous times I made the bag, however, this time I used some amazing fabric that I had been "saving" (all people who sew do that right?).
Here's a wee bit of an action shot in the making (sadly I didn't take too many) the fabric was incredible (like I already said) it was pretty much Hammer Horror fabric and I loved it SO MUCH. But I only had a metre, not really enough for dressmaking, but plenty for a bag. This time I lined the inside with black cotton that was a bit of a pain to work with (I don't know why, its black cotton) but I got there in the end.

For the earlier versions of this bag I had to rely on a door handle, but this time around I had the help of an actual model (thanks Rich). I really did enjoy making all of these bags and would like to make more in the future, but I always get put off as it seems so difficult to get the hardware for bag making - maybe I should just stop overthinking it and actually see what I can find and make more bags.

It probably seems a bit out of place to be blogging about Halloween stuff now, but in my world every day is Halloween and I really loved making this stuff so I wanted to share!

Hope everyone's countdown to Christmas is going well!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugary Sweet Dress

It will be no big surprise to my regular blog readers that my blogging slowed down in the second half of 2016, but that doesn't mean I still wasn't doing stuff and making stuff - I promise you all I was!

I didn't blog about a lot of it though and I would still like to share some of these makes, even if I made them MONTHS ago and worn them a bunch of times since then. First garment that sits in this list is a dress that I made to wear to the New Zealand Chocolate Festival with Joy.
The Chocolate Festival was held at Te Papa and its the second time I've been along, it was spread over two different conference rooms. The first room was full of demonstrations with everything from a 3D printer that was printing chocolate to more traditional chocolate making techniques from some of the culinary schools.
There were also some pretty impressive cakes on display, including this rockabilly lady and also a model of Te Papa in cake form.
Unfortunately the bottom of the museum had been eaten by the time we got there - so we didn't get to see it in all its glory.
There was also a chocolate fountain, but there was a big line to get to the fountain and only two marshmallows per person (I guess that's the only way the line will keep moving).

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the first room as it was fun, but it wasn't really a lot for the ticket price. The second room was the vendors room and I thought it wouldn't be that great, just people trying to push their product onto you.
While the room was full of vendors, it was the exact opposite of everything I thought it would be, it was full of craft chocolate companies from all over New Zealand.
People were more than happy to share very generous samples with you and tell you all about their company, it was really awesome and I felt like I learned about chocolate.

One of my favourite things was the Cacao Husk Tea - Mayan Man Cacao Husk Tea, made from the Cacao husks of the beans other companies use to make chocolate - they told us they bought the Cacao Husks from Wellington Chocolate Factory and other companies.

We had to try a few things along the way of course (on top of all those free samples) to make sure everything was fresh - obviously.

Anyway that's enough about chocolate for one post - now onto my sugary sweet dress!
Just ignore my less than glamorous bag in the corner there, one day I will spend some money and get a real grown up bag (actually that's pretty unlikely).
 I made the bodice of the dress from a pattern I've used many times now, the Sigma Dress from Papercut patterns. This is now my go to basic bodice pattern, part of me wonders if it fits so well with no adjustments because its made by a New Zealand company - probably not the case, but I like to think it is. The skirt is just one big gathered rectangle - nothing too fancy.
Here's a close up of the fabric, its covered in lollies (or candies, or sweeties, depending where you're from). It was on sale a long time ago at Made Marion (well before the chocolate festival) I bought some because it was so cute and I couldn't believe no one had bought it!
I also wore my chocolate skull and candy skull shoes as it seemed completely appropriate for this event (also I love these shoes).
I wore this cute candy heart necklace that I've had for years, as it seemed in them, I also wore this bat that Vany craft ninja made me - just because its awesome.
Finally to finish off, a selfie of Joy and I at Te Papa - you can see her necklace is made of cupcakes which is pretty appropriate as well.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Square Dancing Outfit

Hi Folks - thanks for all your kind words on my earthquake post, I think I have now recovered from in personally, by saying that I mean every time I step into an elevator or bus I have stopped asking myself "what would happen to me if there was an earthquake right now". I'm not sure the city has recovered quite so well, around 10% of the cities buildings were impacted by the earthquake and there's lots of repair and demolition work happening, but life is even harder for folks in Kaikoura so I am pretty grateful.

Onto something a bit more cheery now, I made a square dancing outfit! WHAT?? For our work function this year the theme was "Wild West" (which I may have chosen along with a work college) anyway a work function calls for a costume and as the theme was Wild West it meant I could finally use this square dancing pattern I bought for a couple of dollars when Arthur Toye fabrics was closing down.
My original plan was to make a square dancing blouse and a skirt from the Colette Ginger pattern. A few months back when I was at fabric a brac I found some great fabric for the top - this fun cowboy boot fabric, I loved it from the minute I saw it and as I had a wild west party on the horizon I knew I had to have it!
The fabric is a quilting cotton and pretty much perfect for what I wanted to maker - each boot has the name of a different state in the US. As always, I had my trusty assistant nearby to help me with my project.
She sat down on the fabric pretty much as soon as I took it off the shelf - as soon as I pull out fabric or a pattern she must sit on it immediately.
The pattern was a pretty easy sew, with four main pieces and elastic in the neckline and sleeves. I didn't have a whole lot of fabric so had to piece the sleeves together bit the fabric is so busy its hardly noticeable.
As I was sewing up the blouse I decided that if I was going to go dressed up I may as well take it all the way, so put away my Colette pattern and made the skirt pattern as well as the blouse from the kwik sew pattern. I really love gingham, but have a tendency to hoard it and not really wear it so decided to use some of it for this project. The red gingham I bought from Arthur Toye fabrics and the yellow was from the very first fabric a brac I attended!
Mia again was happy to "help" me with this part of the project, she sat on the red gingham as I tried to cut out the panels.
 The skirt is a pretty easy make (it has an elastic waist casing so no fitting issues) but its time consuming as there are so many panels to sew together and the frill on the bottom is actually huge - so much hemming.
Here's a photo of all the patterns sewn together, before I added the bottom frill and elastic at the waist - SO MUCH FABRIC!
In the spirit of "everything last minute always" I finished up the skirt the night before the work Christmas party, the finishing isn't the best on the skirt - but it's a costume so it doesn't matter too much.

On the day of our work party, I did win best dressed! Although the prize was a pair of possum fur nipple warmers - but I still won!

I didn't really take any photos on the night of the event, but Rich took a few photos of me wearing my square dancing outfit earlier today (Mia joined me for the photo shoot - of course).

I wore the skirt with this crinoline petticoat I've had for a number of years that I always think I should get rid of, but never do and it turns out that its a really handy thing to have in your wardrobe.
Also on the day of our work party we had a secret Santa and it turns out that my secret Santa understands me completely because I received this book:
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying or avoiding the lead up until Christmas - whatever you prefer!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Shakey Isles 2016

Last night around midnight we were woken by a lot of shaking in the form of a 7.5 earthquake that was centered in the South Island (near Kaikoura).

It was the biggest earthquake I've even been in and also the scariest, as we took cover in our bedroom (including Mia, who took shelter under our bed and wouldn't get out) we heard a lot of smashing sounds - I was certain it was our windows, fortunately for us it was only a few picture frames falling over.
This is pretty much as bad as the damage in our  home got - we are very lucky
We are very lucky - we still had electricity, internet and clean water. A lot of other people weren't so lucky and many of our friends in the lower lying suburbs had to evacuate their homes due to the threat of a tsunami.
Glass smashed in the central city by the earthquake, the glass from these windows was still on the footpath below
Although Wellington was fairly badly hit, our friends in the South Island were much worse off, particularly those is Kaikoura and the surrounding area. They are completely cut off by road due to slips and various other areas of the country have sustained pretty seriously damage.

I don't remember an earthquake being felt so far and causing so much damage to so many places in the past.
Glassons on Cuba Street 

Neither of us could go to work today, we both work in high rise offices buildings and all of these buildings need to be checked by engineers before people can return to work. At this stage Rich can't return to work tomorrow. My building has been checked, but its damaged, so I am not sure if I can go back yet.
T2 on Lambton Quay

The message today was to stay out of the city, but that's a little bit hard when you live in the city and its your home. We did go for a walk and despite what the media said about Wellington being a "ghost town" there were actually quite a few people around and cafes open. The city is a ghost town on Christmas Day - it was quiet today.

We are safe, but really didn't sleep last night and there were a lot of aftershocks last night and today. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day x

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My new and improved sewing cave!

I have a brand new sewing cave, well not quite, but it may as well be new because it's like a totally new space. I've spent the last few weekends getting it into order and now you can even see the floor!

The problem with the sewing  cave is that I just didn't have enough storage for everything, which meant it was a disaster and was going from bad to worse.

This was my fabric shelving before, this poor bookcase was literally falling apart, it wasn't designed to hold the weight of so much fabric. I couldn't fit all my fabric in here, so the rest went in the cupboard.
But the cupboard storage was far from ideal, there aren't any shelves in the cupboard and the buckets I had for storage were overflowing.

There was also random "bits" everywhere because I had  no room to put anything!! There were patterns , projects and other sewing stuff throughout the room which was making it almost unusable.
Mia was really the only one who was happy with the room, because it meant she had lots of places to hide! The first thing I needed for the room was more storage, so we bought some big and solid shelves that we thought would actually be stable enough to hold ALL my fabric! We had some kit set shelves delivered from Warehouse Stationary and Rich built them for me. However, before we could get them in the room, I had to empty out the current bookcase and get it out of the room which was difficult as there was so much "stuff" in the way!

Mia was again pretty happy with all of the piles of "stuff" to play in, she loves to burrow in fabric.
I bought the new shelves in and they were SUPER heavy, which means they are surely strong enough to hold all my fabric right?

Next up was the biggest task, fitting ALL of the fabric into the new shelves. I wasn't convinced it would all fit. The only way it would fit was if I rolled all of my fabric up to store it, this took a while.

I decided to put the biggest lengths of fabric and the bulky fabric in the bottom cubes, I made a cube especially for my stretch fabrics (I only have one cube! I have much less stretch than I thought) and I made a cube of fabric a brac fabrics. All the other cubes I filled up with my wovens. I'm not going to lie to you guys this took a LONG time - as it about a week and a half. I just did it in small bursts as there is only so much fabric rolling a girl can do!
I was a good chance to go through my whole stash as well and I now have another bucket of fabric for the next Fabric-a-brac (as long as we get a table again!).
Fabric-a-brac fabrics
woven fabrics
More wovens
stretch fabrics
longest fabric lengths/bulky fabrics
longest fabric lengths/bulky fabrics
With ALL of my fabric FINALLY in one place, it was time to tackle the rest of the room. Rich was able to repair the old bookcase, so I put that inside the wardrobe so I actually had storage space.
All kinds of crafty bits are in here - my unwanted fabric (hopefully to be sold), sewing magazines, notebooks, printed PDF patterns as well as other sewing room essentials like my heater and iron.
I moved my bookcase with my sewing and craft books on it, the bookcase had been a little messy but moving the magazines into the cupboard helped to clean it up. Also that's Rich's yoga mat as he now actually has room to do yoga and stretches in the sewing cave!
 I didn't want this to be a boring space, so I put some of my patterns (more in the cupboard) and treasures on top of the bookcase. I love the little skull cameo Ria bought me back from the USA. I'm hoping to frame a few more cards and prints I'm got lying around to create a wall of fun pictures.
 I've got a couple of bowls with useful sewing things - one bowl with machine needles, quick unpick (or seam ripper, depending where you're from) and other odds and ends. The other bowl is all patches - I really need to use some of these! The purple sewing box is from Ria, as are the tiny bunnies. The little Guedetama (egg guys) are from my friend Lillian in Hong Kong and they are actually stamps!
My one and only monsters high doll from my niece a few years back, skull piggy bank from Vany and a few other treasures.
Final view of my new cupboard - on the left hand side the top cube is only half full, the bottom cube has notions and current projects and the middle cube?
It's Mia's bed of course, she didn't like it that much when there was only one of her blankets in there so we added a few fabric scraps to make it feel like home.

The sewing room is ALMOST complete, we've ordered a futon as well so when friends and family come to stay they can have a real bed instead of a air mattress.