Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Claiming my blog

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Following the demise of Google Reader, you can now follow me on Bloglovin (or whereever else you want, I'm a fan of Feedly).

Cross Stitching: Eternity

So on the stitching front I'm still plugging away on Iris. Half the background stitching and the backstitch to go! I did take a small break from it just before Christmas though. Last year I started a tradition of making an ornament for hubby and me. You can see last years one here. Last year I just picked a design I really liked, but I decided this year I'd try and find something that symbolised the past year for hubby and I.

This is from the Brookes Book Bride's Tree collection, which I thought was appropriate as we got married not once, but twice, last year! This particular design symbolises eternity, but is also nice and Christmas-ey. I finished it as a flat fold using Vonna's excellent tutorial. The background fabric I found in a shop in the tiny town I work in half the week - I'd tried so many other places, it was so hard to find a fabric that was Christmas themed but had elements of pink!

That's all for now,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quilting: My First Quilt Back

Last year I finished my first quilt top. . .I shared some progress photos, which some of you may remember. I'm pretty sure I shared the finished top, but I can't find the post! In any case, since I finished it it's been sitting folded up nicely in our spare room, being studiously ignored. I admit, I was a little nervous about the next part, actually doing something with it. But my dressmaking class has given me a lot of new found sewing machine confidence. I also recently got a walking foot for my machine with a gift voucher I got for my birthday. So. . .  time to take the plunge. Which meant I needed a quilt back. . .

It's pretty simple. Just a strip of leftover charms on white, but I like it. Originally I was just going to do plain white, but then a quilty friend asked me when I was discussing it with her 'if in 20 years I would regret not making it more special'. I thought it over and decided she was right.

So now for putting it all together. .  which will hopefully happen over the next few days. I'm staying with my parents while I'm at a conference and they have a big enough wooden floor to spread out on, unlike us!

p.s Yes I know the white seam is massive! I'll trim it, I promise :D

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baking: Muffins and Tarts

Sometimes life gets away from me. I'm working full time, studying part time and attempting to have a social life, quality time with my husband and a clean house. It's easy to let one of the many juggling balls fall now and again. I'm also the type that gets easily wound up about letting those balls fall. I have to make an effort to relax and be a bit easier on myself. I find that baking helps (if I can get over the fact I'm making my kitchen even messier!)

Black Forest muffins and jam tarts. I would give you a recipe, but the tarts are really just circles of homemade shortcrust pastry filled with jam and baked. The muffins I'm still trying to perfect. These ones were to much like plain chocolate and to cakey for my liking. Back to the drawing board! Though they all disappeared anyway.

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dressmaking: Japanesy Tunic

This was my second project in my dressmaking class, a tunic (Simplicity It's So Easy 2322). With this one I had my first major dressmaking mishap. By which I mean I attached a sleeve inside out and managed to overlock it before I noticed. MAJOR unpicking required! It took me over a week to face it. Does anyone else need to take some time away from a project before tackling a major mistake? I know I do.

Is it just me, or do I look like I have no arms in this picture? Anyway, here's the end product (sleeve corrected). It has a more Japanese kimono type look than I expected it would, but I still like it. It's light and breathable fabric - don't ask me what it was because I can't remember - and is easy to dress up for work.

I'm not entirely happy with the fit in the sleeves - they're too tight when I lift my arms above my head, but it's a problem I can live with :)

This and my dress were my two projects in my first term of dressmaking. I'm half way through a second term now and planning projects for term three! So expect more dressmaking to share.

That's all for now,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Whiling the Day Away

Today I've been whiling the day away. Finishing my book (Insurgent, by Veronica Roth). Planning my next project for my dressmaking course. Thinking about, but not actually getting around to making, black forest muffins (that's on the agenda for tomorrow). Spending some time with a new cross-stitch magazine and a cup of tea. And watching episodes of QI with the hubby while stitching away.

I'm still working on Iris. I've been stitching this one for close on a year now, with only one break for a very small Christmas project, which I'll share with you some time. It's almost finished now, close enough that I don't want to show it off! For those of you in the UK, yes we get stitching mags three months behind out here.

Hope you're all having a beautiful weekend.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cross-Stitching: A Good Marriage Framed

You may remember that when I left off for my bloggy break I had just finished Lizzie Kate's 'A Good Marriage' and was eagerly awaiting seeing it framed for the first time, which for me was going to be in the Home Industries Pavilion of my hometowns A&P show (similar to a county fair).

It's now in pride of place on our bedroom wall. I just love looking at it every day, I think I can say it is honestly my favourite cross stitch I've finished for myself ever.

I don't think the photos do justice to just how beautiful the framing job is. It's gorgeous. And how did it do in the show? I was extremely lucky. This piece got first place in its category (cross stitched sampler). I also got two other firsts (unframed cross stitch, framed cross stitch 15cm-30cm2) and a third (framed cross stitch 15cm-30cm2). Which meant that every single piece I entered placed! When I went to pick up my pieces the ladies were so welcoming and were truly pleased to have a young person getting involved in the handicrafts sections. I'll certainly be entering again this year. 

That's all for now,

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Getting into Dressmaking

At the end of last year I started taking a dressmaking course. It's something I'd been wanting to do for a while and the city we moved to in March last year just happened to have a FANTASTIC sewing store that had exactly the type of class I was looking for (where you choose a pattern and the instructor is just there to help you when you get stuck). Unfortunately the classes are so popular that when I registered in May I had to wait until October to start!

My first project was a dress - Simplicity It's Sew Easy 2884 (I did version B). It was lots of fun and I was thrilled with the result, because it's BY FAR the most constructed garment I've ever made.

Here's a front view. The fabric was from Spotlight (which is a homewares and craft store here in NZ, my nearest one is two hours away, so I don't get to visit often). Now for the back, complete with odd tan lines from our holiday!

The only thing I'm not completely happy with is the fit at the top front of the bodice. It tends to hang forward a little, until I'm at risk of exposing my chest to the world! I think I might be able to fix it with some thought and time though.

The neck strap is one of my favourite features - the button was such a good find! Now I just need lots of semi-dressy occasions to wear the dress too! I haven't had one since I finished it!

I'll be sharing more of my dressmaking class pieces soon. It's such a fun class and it's so nice to have three solid hours set aside once a week for my sewing machine.

That's all for now,