Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch Quake

As many who read this blog know, I live in the city of Christchurch, NZ. On Tuesday the city was hit by a large and devastating earthquake. Although it was technically smaller than that of September 4th 2010, it struck at the worst time possible - in the middle of the working day. The death toll continues to rise and the city I love has been destroyed. 

I live in the south of the city, which was one of the better off areas. My father, who commutes to work in the city, fought for 3 hours to drive the 10km to pick myself and my flatmate up and drive to my hometown an hour out of the city. We will remain here for the current time. For the sake of personal privacy and  out of respect for more pressing stories, that is all I will say about my personal situation, but all of my friends and family are safe. 

More information and photos can be found at the TVNZ news site

The thoughts and prayers of those who have been in contact are much appreciated. As you can imagine, my blogging is likely to be disrupted for the current time.  


Sunday, February 20, 2011

My First Longstitch

It's finished! I was planning on posting some more progress photos along the way, as it's the first longstitch I've ever done and many of those who commented on my original post had never seen one done before. . .but it just came along so quickly that it was finished by the time I got internet back after moving.

 'Summer Evening,' Seasons in Longstitch Evening Scenes Collection by Derwentwater Designs
Completed with provided materials 

I can admit I'm quite pleased with it. It's not really perfect and was very confusing in places! The design hadn't been printed quite straight on the fabric and it was sometimes hard to tell where to stitch. . . . but I did it and I can cross one of my goals for the year off the list!! 

It was so fast in comparison to cross stitch and other embroidery that I can really see the attraction, I'm sure I'll be doing a few more in future. This one I've backed with plain interfacing to protect the stitching. I would have framed it but it is going to a relative who is visiting from overseas, so will stay in this unadorned state for easy packing.

Have you ever done any long stitch or similar embroidery before? How did you find it?

That's all for now,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Creative Space: Some Quick Sewing

It's a good friends 21st next week and I wanted to add something homemade to her present, partly because she's the type that really appreciates that sort of gift and partly because it's her 21st. It's a 'special' birthday here, so she deserves something a little special. She also happens to be one of my flatmates. . . so this one's being completed in the short period when shes at work and I'm not. 

I'm not telling you guys what this is yet, just in case said friend and flatmate stumbles upon my blog between now and next wednesday. . . I would say that's the reason the photo's so bad, but that's because my camera batteries are flat. . .hello mr smartphone camera! 

You can find more creative spaces here

That's all for now,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The End of Summer

Yes I'm back online! And yes it's finally here. . .  the end of my summer. On Monday I will start the new university year, hopefully the final year of my undergraduate degree. 

The end of summer means the end of my summer reading challenge. For those of you who don't remember or have joined us since, I challenged myself to read one non-fiction book for every fiction book I read over the summer. The final tally stands at:

Non-fiction: 5
Fiction: 5

So I've succeeded; that being said it's a relief to me that it's over. Reading non-fiction more regularly definitely extended my mind but it slowed my reading down a lot. I averaged less than one book a week, which for me over the holidays is pretty unusual.   

I knocked one book off in the non-fiction section of my I-want-to-read list, one that after reading I'd recommend to anyone: 

On the other hand I also added two books, so in cutting down the list I've moved backwards rather than forwards. I guess it gives me encouragment to keep reading non-fiction from time to time. For anyone interested my current non-fiction future reading list is:

1. Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
2. Freakonomics: A Rouge Economist explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by S.D Levitt & S.J Dubner
3. Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Aron Ralston
4. Europe and the People without History, by E.R Wolf
5. King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hochschild

It really mounts to far more than that, but those are the ones I've remembered for long enough to add to the list :) 
For anyone interested in my reading habits more generally, you can find my shelfari reading record here

Craftyness will be restored as soon as I get a chance to take some photos, so that's all for now.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Back Soon

The arrival of internet at my new home is taking far longer than expected. But I'll be back soon (hopefully) with lot's to show off :)


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Making Mistakes

This is a scheduled post, as I am currently in the process of moving house and am without internet. 

Sometimes I think it's easy to get the impression from my blog that even though I call myself a beginning crafter, these things come naturally to me. I admit, I usually just post the finished project photos or progress updates from when things are going well. When I'm in the middle of a huge muck up, I'm usually too frustrated to think about taking photos for my blog!! 

But I assure you, I do make mistakes. Often. As I'm writing this I'm looking at the burnt edges on some cookies I just baked. Almost two years ago I managed to accidentally make a completely perfect in every batch of cheese scones which I've been unsuccessfully trying to recreate ever since. 

Some things do come naturally, I admit. Knitting did until I hit ribbing, which took me hours of attempts and unravelling to get right. I still don't understand increasing. Anyhows, I thought I might just prove to you all that I'm by no means the perfect crafter and I really, honestly am just a beginner muddling my way along! 

This is my  . . . wait for it. . .third attempt at herb propagating. I've been trying with 4 different types of herbs over the summer, have done it all by the book and have had one success. As you can see, mark 3 isn't going particularly well either. 

And this is a side seam from a yet-to-be-featured sewing project I've been working on over the last couple of days. It might not be obvious in the photo, but at the bottom edge the stitching I'd just done has come away completely. I'd already unpicked the seams once after realising I'd done it with a far too long a stitch length . . . good thing I was planning on going over the seam anyway with a sturdier machine stitch than just plain straight, so I won't have to unpick it again!!

There you go. . . I'm not perfect. . . but I'm loving it anyway. 

That's all for now,

Monday, February 7, 2011


This is a scheduled post as I am currently moving house and am without internet.

Just a quick stitch I spent a few nights on. It's for a good hometown friend who was recently baptised. Like myself, she comes from a non-religious background and found her faith on her own, which in my opinion made her choice to be baptised extremely special. I decided on this design as it's a simple reminder of where to find your guiding light.

I framed the piece myself, using an aperture card from my local stitching shop as a mount inside the frame. 

 'Nativity,' designed by Susan Perry, from D&C's Cross Stitch Greeting Cards
Stitched on 14 count white aida using suggested DMC thread 

Apologies for the photo quality, for some reason there was a lot of dust floating around that day! In retrospect I should have taken the photo before I framed the piece - it's amazing how much I'm learning about photography, something I really lack skill in, through blogging.

That's all for now,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Making use of the Kitchen

Over the weekend I'll be moving back to the city where I go to university and into a new flat. I'll have to give up access to my mum's huge and fully stocked kitchen and go into one that for the moment doesn't even contain a knife and fork, let alone baking supplies. So I'm celebrating the end of my summer with some thick tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, which will be taken to work tonight - my last night at my summer job. 

On the plus side, the kitchen at my new flat is twice the size of the one at my old city flat and will be shared between half the people (3 instead of 6). Once it's been sorted out, it'll be a pretty homely place and I can't wait to bake in it. 

That's all for now,

P.S After the move I will at least initially have no internet, so expect a break in regular posting, although I have done some scheduled posts in advance. 


Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Creative Space: All prepped up and nowhere to go

One of my crafty New Years Resolutions was to complete a longstitch . .  I've never done one before and recieved two beautiful ones over the holiday period. I've read all the instructions, had a quick lesson from someone with far far more wisdom on the subject than I, and have done all the prep work.

But I'm going nowhere. Why? Because I turned down an offer to lend me an appropriate frame, knowing I have one of the right size. Which I do. . . it's just in my flat at university, not here. So I'm waiting patiently for Sunday, which is when I go back. 

Anyone got any tips on Longstitch for a first timer? 

You can see more creative spaces here!

That's all for now,