Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sick Days

It was obvious this morning that I wouldn't be going to work today . . . I'm sick :(

It's funny how my immediate reaction to calling in sick was thinking 'yay, I have a day at home. I can catch up on everything! I'm going to do the ironing, write some of my essay, finish my book . . . '

Of course, I'd forgotten that as an adult, when you're sick enough not to go to work, it means you're too sick to do anything else either. The most I've managed to do today is catch up on the sleep I missed last night, and a little crochet with episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee. . . I think I needed that a whole lot more than I needed to do the ironing!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Today is ANZAC Day. It is what we celebrate instead of Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. It is a day to think about those who gave their lives so that we could have the world we live in today. Those who fought to defend their country. We celebrate it on this day because of the battle of Gallipoli, which was the first major campaign fought by New Zealand and Australian forces during World War I. We were both, in the modern sense at least, very young contries and we lost a lot during that battle.

ANZAC Day means more to me as I get older I think. As a student of modern history, you realise that a lot of war is pointless. But some battles are worth fighting. What the world would be like now had WWII gone a different way is something that horrifies me to think about. Those men (and women) truly did serve and die to protect what we have now and I am grateful that thanks to them I have the life I do.

Today the New Zealand armed forces are a peacekeeping force. We tend to be there to clean up the mess, rather than fight the wars. But our people still occasionally don't come home. Today, I will remember all of them, the ones that come home and the ones that didn't, and thank God for them and what they gave for us.

Least we forget.

Monday, April 22, 2013

IHSW April 2013

Joining in over at Random Ramblings

Thanks to an awful lot of rain and a general lack of other plans, I actually managed to get a heap of stitching in over the weekend! Which is good, as this project has a firm must-finish-by date which is fast approaching.

I went from this. . .

To this . . .

Not bad progress! Hope you all had a productive weekend too!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sinking my needle into something new

You know what this means. . .yes, Iris is finally finished!! After almost a year!! And it looks won-der-ful. I'll share some photos, as soon as we get a day with some decent light. In the mean time, I'm enjoying sinking my needle into something new, guilt free

This is a small and simple design from a French book I have. I'm loving every single stitch, and have plans for the finished product already.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sewing: The Get-around Bag

This is another dressmaking class project. I've been meaning to try some serious bag-making for a long time, but it's taken my recent leap in sewing confidence from dressmaking to actually get me there!

The pattern is this one. I made it as is, though I think if (when) I make it again, I might make a few changes, especially to the construction of the inner pocket. But I loved every single step of putting this one together. It was just one of those projects where everything goes right and I'm thrilled with the results.

This bag is for me, but now I know I can turn out bags like this, I think there may be a few for friends and family in future. Love it.

One small word of warning for anyone else contemplating this pattern - it's a great pattern, but it does call for something called 'gucci style bamboo handles' with a broken link to the pattern designers supply shop. After failing to find any reference to such a thing anywhere else on the web, I emailed the shop - they said they are no longer stocking the handles, and also refused to give me the dimensions. Which I thought was quite poor, considering they're commercially selling the pattern. I had to wait until I'd finished the rest of the bag, then have a measure up so I could source handles. For anyone else wanting to make this bag: making it as is, you need 9 - 9 1/2" width handles. The ones on my bag are 9 1/2", I got them from here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I quilted my quilt!

Yep, I did it. And it was so much fun! I actually really really enjoyed the process. In the end I did go for the simple rectangle from the original pattern. It took me about 5 hours, with plenty of breaks, to quilt. I'm so happy with how it turned out! My machine is such a good little workhorse :-)

Today I spent some time spritzing with water to take out the marker pen (which all came out fine, phew). Now I just have to wait for the fabric I've ordered for my binding to arrive.

I sort of picked and choose which online advice to follow and think I did ok overall. I didn't use gloves, and felt fine without them. I did make sure I marked every line. I did concentrate on just keeping the bit I was quilting flat, and not worrying about the rest.

The best information I got (and what I would recommend to other beginning quilters, especially on small machines) was from this video and this book.

Now it's quilted, I can't wait to finish it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taking the Plunge

So, I have a quilt sandwich. It's beautifully unwrinkled and completely overly-pinned (I think I have about 150 pins in that thing, which seems like a lot for the size of the quilt!). It's lying in my spare room, all ready to go. I've been reading tutorials on straight line quilting and quilting with a small harp space. I still have to decide 100 % on my pattern - the quilt I based mine on (here) uses a rectangle box, but I'm not sure if I want to go for that or just lines, or intersecting lines. . .or. . . .

Anyway! This weekend will be it I think. I have some time (even enough time to push furniture around to make a big enough table to do it on). I'm going to take the plunge and quilt my first ever quilt. After I've done a practice swatch or two. And tested that my blue soluble marker REALLY will come out of VERY white fabric.

So quilty followers. . . . any last things I need to know? Tips and hints of the trade? How crucial is a new needle? wearing gloves? will it all fall apart if I take a break? Tell me now or forever hold your peace. Any help is much much appreciated :)

Wish me luck!


P.S I apologise for the lack of photos with this post. I had taken one of it all nicely pinned, but it was in low light on my phone and turned out unrecognisable.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An Easter Break

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and a chance to reflect on what the holiday means to them :) Hubby and I took off for a few days to the Catlins, a fairly unpopulated region at the very south of New Zealand, and Dunedin, a city I haven't visited in years. Both were on husband's New Zealand bucket list of areas he hadn't seen before. Here's some of the wonderful scenery we took in

Slope Point, the southernmost part of the South Island of NZ

This is how the trees grow in the Catlins, it's so windy!
The Jurrasic period fossilised forest at Curio Bay
Cathedral Cave
McLean Falls
Dunedin's historic railway station

As you can see, I had a wonderful weekend!