Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Creative Space

As my last few posts have been dominated by the project I'm currently working on I thought that this week I'd showcase my actual creative space. . .where my craftyness gets stored! I'm a full time student living with 5 others that have less of a crafting capacity than I do and more of an average student activity capacity (I'll leave those activities up to the imagination). Shared space is ruled out for storing things I don't want lost or broken. So I'm limited to a smallish double bedroom that holds the majority of my life, let alone craftyness. Nevertheless, here we go.

My beloved creative space, containing some leftover wool, a few crafty magazines, my fantastic big book of needlework that I picked up at a used-booksale for $4, a filefolder filled with patterns and various paper bags containing kits, fabric, beads and the like. Oh and a lovely and very decorative pincushion that I made earlier in the year. It's small and shares with my DVD's/CD's and a couple of travel guides to Budapest, but for now it's what I have. Got to love it. 

(I admit I do dream of having a craftroom. One day. . .)

Apologies for the quality of the photo, I was in a bit of a hurry. Off to windy Wellington this weekend for a much awaited conference so Poppies will be temporarily halted. That being said it's coming along, slowly but surely. 

For more creative spaces click here.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Poppies in Progress 2

This will just be a short one, because really I haven't been doing much in the crafty line lately apart from continue to work on Poppies. I've been busy with assignments, finding somewhere to live for next year, a job for the summer and the like. Although I haven't actually made an awful lot of progress you can start to see the colours coming together, yay! It was my mum's birthday a few days ago now but I just gave her a card with a picture of my progress and a note to say it might be finished by my brother's birthday in a months time!

I'm wishing I had a sewing machine right about now. I'm taking a trip to Wellington next weekend for a conference and the dress code is business casual or higher. I don't own a clutch purse as I've never found one that I like, but I love this tutorial over at Noodlehead. But not only do I need a sewing machine, I need the time!

That's all for now

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Crafty Day Out


So the highlight of my weekend was attending the New Zealand Craft and Quilt Fair. A lot of quilting stuff and I mean A LOT, makes me wish I had the time and patience to learn how to quilt. Although it's on my list of crafty skills to have under my belt eventually and my man has told me multiple times he'd like me to make him a quilt one day, it's a fair way down the list for now. Good thing there were plenty of other bits and pieces at the fair to keep myself and mum (who also isn't a quilter) occupied. There was enough beautiful cross stitch kits to make me wish I'd win lotto even though I don't buy tickets. Here's a photo of one of the display walls; you should hopefully be able to click and enlarge it so you can see how beautiful they really are!

 Apologies for the photo quality. It was hard to get good pictures, the place was very crowded with lots of people to bump me while I was taking a photo or walk in front of the camera. One of my favourite things at the show was all the toy patterns. I particularly love patterns by the designer "Melly and Me" and would love to do a couple one day! But with children of my own a wee way off yet and no other young ones who would appreciate the gesture immediately springing to mind it might have to wait for a while. 

All in all the fair was very inspiring! I didn't buy anything myself, but my mum picked me up a Christmas present at my request. Although I won't actually get my hands on it for another couple of months yet I'm very much looking forward to trying out some of the patterns in it! They really are stunning and the cover statement is true; "for every occasion."

Love love love it. After the fair we went for lunch and a bit of shopping. My only pick-up was this great knit hat. I admit I had to be convinced into it a little, as I figured that with luck soon enough I'll be able to knit something similar myself. There are plenty of similar looking patterns online, like this one at Aesthetic Nest. Crochet is definitely on my list of things to learn!

Hows that for a photo smorgasbord! All in all a fantastic day. I would give an update on the poppies, but honestly there hasn't been an awful lot of progress since my last photo. It might have to wait until later in the week! I'm the type that has to have something in the background while stitching and I've run out of suitable TV programmes to have buzzing away. Oh well no doubt something will turn up. 

Thank you for all your wonderful feedback through email! Nice to know someone reads this thing.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Poppies in Progress

The poppies are in progress! Likelihood of finishing before my mother's birthday? Absolutely zilch. 12 days to go, have been working on it for 6 and have so far completed 1 and a half colours out of 19 + beadwork. Luckily mum knows about the project and is able to be forewarned that it is unlikely to be finished on time! Here's what I've done so far . . . 

It is starting to take shape. The linen was a bit of a challenge at first; I had to be especially careful with counting as it's stitched over two squares rather than one. I also found out quickly that linen doesn't take to stretching in a hoop as well as aida does, it pulls the squares out and you end up with rather large and obvious holes between stitches. Not what you want! But if I just bolt it in loosely it seems to be alright. I wasn't so sure about the colours at first, but now I've got more than one in I can see how they're going to come together. I do admit . . . I didn't start dead in the centre as one usually does, as it was smack bang in the middle of the beading and I'm putting that off until last!!!

What crafty things are on my mind at the moment? The craft fair I'm going to this weekend!! It's the biggest in Australasia, I may pick up a few bits and bobs, take a class or two and if nothing else enjoy looking around! 
I've also just discovered that my local library has a fantastic collection of craft books, and stocks two cross stitch magazines in its magazine section. My opinion of the Christchurch city libraries has just gone up by far! 

That's all for now,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Stash and a New Project!

Over the last few weeks I've been adding quite a bit to my small stash with the view of starting a new special project. I've picked up a few other bits and pieces as well along the way. As everything I need has now finally arrived it's time to show off everything new!! And let in on my new project. My mum's birthday is coming up and I'd been looking for a challenging (for me) pattern featuring poppies (for her) for quite some time. Unfortunately a majority of the ones I found were well outside of a student budget. I finally hit paydirt quite by accident - while I was rather ironically shopping for a father's day present, I spotted a copy of a cross stitch magazine that featured exactly the type of pattern I was looking for on the cover! Here's a preview of 'Poppy Summer' . . .

It's a lovely pattern and will be a new challenge for me for a couple of reasons. But before I elaborate on that, voila! The stash! 

Here we have
1. A tea-cup themed fat quarter of fabric I picked up after spotting it a few weeks ago, it should be perfect for 'finishing' my kitchen cross stitch.
2. A beautiful new cross stitch pattern, 'Tuscany' by John Clayton, a present from my parents after their recent overseas trip. Totally unexpected and totally beautiful! They were even thoughtful enough to pick up the aida and cotton I'll need to complete it one day. You can tell from the poppies that my mum picked it
3. A container of black seed beads for my 'Poppy Summer' project. This will be the first cross stitch I've ever done involving beading and I'm looking forward to it with slight trepidation
4. The packet of cottons I'll need for a 'Poppy Summer'
5. A swarth of 28 count Antique White evenweave Linen, also for a 'Poppy Summer.' This will be my first time stitching on Linen instead of aida. I've chosen the linen as each stitch is over two squares instead of one - meaning that for a design with lots of half stitches you don't have to split the fabric. It will also hopefully make the unstitched background more delicate looking. 
6. An offcut piece of 18 count aida I picked up for $3 from a store in town - bound to come in handy :)

So that is my wonderful new stash and I'm ready to make a start on 'Poppy Summer' over the next few days. In other news I went for a walk today and found the most brilliant wonderful crafty store only a few blocks from my home! I can't believe I've lived here almost a year and only just discovered it now!

Any readers out there might notice a few changes in the next wee while as I prepare for perhaps sharing this writing of mine with a few people that actually know who I am! The layout has already had a few changes and today I've added a project list to keep track of what's on my mind in the way of crafty things. It amazes me that I've had comments and even a follower already without even telling anyone this blog exists! If anyone's reading this, please know that your thoughts are very much appreciated. 


Friday, September 10, 2010

Something Different: Button Doll

I've had this kit in a drawer for literally around 10 years, but only once before had the urge to even open the packet. However I soon lost patience with the attempt and it took almost true desperation for me to look at it again; my last stitch piece finished and waiting for various pieces for my next one to arrive. So 60 buttons and a lot of glue later I came out with. . .

She's rather cute but honestly was extremely frustrating to make! Even following the instructions to a tee the legs and arms stuck out rather awkwardly and her dress didn't quite fit right. In the end I had to do a lot of chopping and pulling back together to make it work. I guess though that's to be expected from a kit that probably cost $3 from a chain store 10 years ago! Her lack of sturdiness was demonstrated quickly, as she was left on the bench where I took this photo overnight and by the morning had become a well-battered cats plaything in need of major repair. 
I think though rather than being repaired she may be disassembled, I can honestly think of far better uses for those buttons!!!! And I'm sure even the wooden body and head can find a home elsewhere. But she was a nice diversion from all the earthquake relatedness that has dominated my life lately! 

Good news! The last piece I need for starting my special project arrived today :) On the whole along with these pieces and a few other bits I've acquired lately my stash has increased quite a bit. So time to get started on a new project and thinking about some more. . .


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More from the Kitchen

As I've had some free time over the last few days and stitching is on hold until the cotton and aida for my next project arrive (it needs to be finished by later in the month so I don't want to start anything to ambitious in the meantime) I've turned to the kitchen! Which fits in quite well considering the nature of my last cross stitch! As I've said previously, I am really a beginner, but a very enthusiastic baker. My scones and cookies are firm favourites but I haven't branched out much. Over the last few days though I decided to try something new, including my first attempt at carrot cake. . .

Carrot Cake is MORE than a family favourite here and is usually my brother's speciality cake, hence why I've never given it a whirl before. I admit, I'm also not very experienced with cakes. But all things considered I think it turned out pretty well, even though I over-softened the butter and the icing was extremely runny, as you can see in the photo! The taste must have compensated though, as less than 24 hours after I made it there's none left - I had to have a slice for breakfast to make sure I'd get a piece! 

Today I went for something more on the savoury side and made pinwheels. I love savoury pinwheels because they're yummy, incredibly easy, and if you use ready-made puff pastry make hardly any mess!  I've seen instructions online usually use a tomato paste based filling, but I prefer one my grandmother used to use regularly; a thin-ish layer of marmite (I know I'm a kiwi and I'm meant to love marmite, but seriously, use it lightly), cheese, ham/bacon and finely diced onion. Glazed with beaten egg and whacked in the oven for 20 minutes and they're done. 

Scrummy as! And fills in a bit of time :P 
On another note I've noticed that the girl in the cross stitch I just completed looks superficially rather like me, so I now have a stitchy profile picture! 
I'm looking forward to new bits for my stash arriving so I can get started on a special cross-stitch project, but more on that when the time comes. . .


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kitchen Stitchin'

I put the last few stitches into this piece this morning and although it probably won't be 'finished' for a while (as I have other projects on my mind, more on that coming soon) it's looking pretty good! I love the colours and the design looks far more detailed and complex than it actually was to stitch. I have the perfect fabric for finishing it. . .in my head, I admit I haven't got hold of it yet. For now it will be stored safely until I have the time and inclination to make it into the wall hanging I have it pictured as. I also have to either get hold of or make a decorative wooden dowel hanger, I haven't yet been able to find a stockist in New Zealand - online or in a store. I'm sure it will sort itself out eventually! 

 "Complaints," by Joan Elliot (Design Works Craft).
Stitched with aida and threads supplied.

In other news a major 7.1 earthquake hit Christchurch (the city I live in) yesterday so with an extra week off university and having temporarily gone home to my parents for drinkable water/to escape the aftershocks, I expect I'll be using up a bit of my free time with crafty things! 


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sewing Machine. . .meet Sarah

Here we are, with my newest actually finished project. I decided to reaquaint myself with the sewing machine while visiting my parents and this was the result; a simple square pincushion. It took me all of half an hour and even though some of the sewing is kind of wonky, I think it turned out pretty snazzy. The instructions I used are here.

Although the method's designed for use with old hankerchiefs, I used just a square piece of fabric from a pair of old pyjamas, a couple of old buttons and some replumped stuffing from a cushion inner that had seen better days. So best of all it was completely free! I even found some matching pins. 

Lots of progress still to be made, but as far as brushing up on the sewing machine goes I don't think it's such a bad start!