Wednesday, May 29, 2013

winteriness finds

Yesterday we woke up to winter. Can't complain too much it was worse for those further south, it just seemed to happen quite suddenly. Its slightly strange to get used to the new view, the mountains will look different for the next 4 months (see photo at bottom of post).

At least the sun has been out, so I can take photos of my latest op shop finds.

Find of the week courtesy of the Richmond dump shop is this Kosta Boda sunflower candlestick (ID-ed thanks to Google images). I'm not a big glass collector, probably because my sister is, and I didn't want to compete with her on Trade Me auctions - back in the days when I used to bid on them. But I can still spot something half decent from a few paces,as soon as I picked this up I could feel the weight, and knew it must be something Scandi. Thankfully the "$3 lady" wasn't on duty so I got it for $2. As for the design, it's not the best -  it took me almost half an hour in the kitchen sink to scrape the wax out of all those nooks and crannies, to bring back the shine.

 I've also added to my cheese dome collection (well not quite a collection as I need one more to bestow it such a title!) The front greener version was scored at the Richmond Sally Army for $4. I need to get the beeswax onto its base to restore it. It goes well with the first one which I got back here.

And yes I've been adding to the vintage sheet collection. I can't go past a good one (or two) especially when they're $3 each. This is the shameful pile sitting on top my couch waiting to be put away in the stash. One of my good friends asked me what I was going to use them all for. Good question - one I haven't quite got an answer for yet, unless I suddenly take up quilting. But look!

Yes, I finally cut into a sheet, to make a skirt for the budgies cage. It doesn't quite fit, due to dodgy corners,  but hopefully it'll keep some of the seeds off the floor. Those of you who regularly read my musings (thank you precious few xx) will know that we had a budgie catastrophe a month ago. Sometimes the best way to get over such grief is to replace what you lost with some more of the same. So a couple of weeks ago we purchased two baby budgies.

Sammy and Sylvie who are much more delightful than Jackie. We can actually touch these guys without painful bites, and they can be taken from their cage for a bit of exercise around the hall.  It also made me realise that Jackie was probably not very happy being in a cage all by herself.

Linking up with Max and everyone else at the Op Shop Show Off.

Here's the rosey-tinted snowy mountain shot from our deck  (a bit of zoom required as we're not that close to the mountains!)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

getting crafty

I've had a few craft projects on the go over the last week or so, and this weekend I completed a few of them. Firstly I finished a couple of small embroidery pictures I started when we went away two weeks ago. I still need to frame them in the old metal frames that I collect then they'll be ready for the market. 

I've made two scarves which I've termed the "Frogging Scarf" because you knit it then frog half of it. I'd never done this before, my good friend was showing the kids (who are learning knitting at school), as it is what her grandma taught her when she was learning to knit. It sure is a great way to get fast results.

 I made one for myself, in a lovely soft wool that ended up giving an ombre effect, as can be seen with the three different colours above. Please excuse the bad selfie (complete with air freshener in the background!). Next I whipped up one for Miss L out of some wool I frogged from a hat that I got at the op shop for $2.

If you want a quick project try the Frogging Scarf.  Grab some thick and soft wool and the biggest needles you have (I used 10mm). Cast on an uneven number - 17 & 19 stitches worked for the two scarves I made. Knit in garter stitch for as long as the ball lasts or you want. On the last row as you knit across drop every second stitch, then cast off into every second stitch on the cast on row to make a loop. Sew in the ends.

Then for the fun bit - where you pull and undo every second stitch, all the way down to the cast on row.  Suddenly your scarf grows and turns into a light and lacey scarf! This one grew to 112 cm from 41cm of garter stitch. This wasn't as long as I wanted, as it only gives two loops around the head, but it was as long as the ball of wool I had, and Miss L is happy!

 Friday was a  bit of a wet and miserable day so I stayed at home and made a blanket bag, which has already been "baggsed" by a friend! She actually encouraged me to buy the two doilies at an op shop earlier in the week, when I tried to protest and said I already had plenty of doilies. I thought I'd better use them, so I sewed them onto felted wool circles with embroidery floss. She chose the first one which I sewed onto dark red wool. I thought I'd taken some photos of the finished bag, but it appears not - so here are the embellishments only! If you're interested in what my blanket bags look like here's a link.

Finally I made a kitty cat pencil case. I've been meaning to get around to making a batch as I'm going to be at a market in July, and these are one of my best sellers. Plus I've just been mentioned in a online magazine called The Jam Jar, so I thought I'd better at least have one in my Felt shop!

Linking up with Creative Spaces and Show & Tell.

Friday, May 10, 2013

dear christchurch

We've just returned from a wee break away in Hanmer Springs and Christchurch. We barely spent 24 hours in Christchurch, but it was enough time to stay with my sister, have wontons for lunch, visit an op shop (I was the only taker), take a bike ride through Hagley Park (the rest of the family), have dinner with some friends, watch a funny man, and have a wander around the city centre before the 5 hour drive home.

Trying to gather my thoughts and feelings and write coherently about them is a bit like trying to take a family selfie in front of the Christchurch Art Gallery. I thought it would be easy, but it's not.

I lived in Christchurch for about 9 years. It was the first city I'd lived in and the first I got to know and love.

Christchurch is where I met my husband. Our first date included a trip to the art gallery, but not this one, the old one.

Our second date was to the movies in the Arts Centre. My car was parked very close to where those sculptures outside the new art gallery are now. It was probably about there that I realised the guy I'd just met might be "the one".

I brought my first house in Christchurch. Soon after the guy I'd only recently met moved in with me. I made my first garden, and we did our first renovations together. We got our first cat from the SPCA.

We moved from Christchurch two years later, and headed to Wellington for new jobs. I always enjoyed trips back, to old familiar haunts, shops, cafes, op shops. I could even still manage to navigate myself around the unique one-way road system.

But now when I return I wander disorientated and disbelieving. So much has gone, so much has changed its hard to get one's bearings, to remember what used to be there. It's so sad. So many people have been affected.

Things have changed a bit since our last visit in September last year. More buildings have been demolished, and the cordon area has been moved. New Regent Street has just "re-opened". But apart from people walking about in hi-viz gear there are not many others on the streets, just a few "tourists" like us. Walking about trying to take it all in.

These last two photos are from the Sept 2012 visit, as the Bridge of Remembrance is now surrounded by scaffolding and re-construction.

 There is more public art than there used to be. But there needs to be.

Over two years later there are still stark reminders, of the day the world changed for this wonderful city and its people.

Driving home through the beauty of North Canterbury I told the kids not to let this put them off living in Christchurch. On the other hand I feel glad that we no longer live there, that we haven't had to go through what the people of Christchurch have had to endure. I don't know how I would have coped. I don't know how they cope. My heart goes out to Christchurch and its people.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

patched up

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post - I just wanted to share it! Last weekend we went to see my aunt and uncle who live about an hour south of us. On the way we stopped at this cute old abandoned church. On the gate there were bunches of faded artificial roses. I had to tart the photo up a bit in Pic Monkey, if you haven't tried out this online (free) photo editor do.

This is what I want to show you - my first patchwork quilt. Well I'm not sure that it really qualifies as a quilt as there is no batting or quilting. But there is plenty of patching. I've made it for Miss L as she needed another layer on her bed for winter, instead she's ended up with two layers, as I've backed it with another woollen blanket, so it's quite heavy and very warm.

 It was quite time consuming cutting out the squares of blanket. Wool is quite hard to cut as it moves around on the mat. The squares are 30x30cm, and it's 5 squares across by 6 long, which means it's not quite symmetrical for the pattern. I used five different blankets, and made sure I had enough of the bright pink left to use as the backing.

As I've never done any patchwork before I used Susie from Flowerpress' tutorial for joining the squares together. As these are blankets it made very bulky seams and corners, and I couldn't find any other similar quilts on google, so had to make the rest up! Which was to top stitch, and clip the seams where the joins are, this worked a treat and it made the quilt look much flatter.

 It was a bit tricky getting to the middle squares with my little sewing machine. While visiting my aunty I mentioned I was looking for an overlocker and ta-dah she lent me hers! I've never used one, and it needed rethreading and cleaning. The Teenager was most excited and jumped to the rescue, as he's used the same model at school. So glad he's learnt something useful in Year 8!

So with the overlocker I went right round the edge of both the patchworked and plain blanket before sewing the two together. It was a bit of a tight squeeze to as the backing blanket was slightly too small, so the blanket stitched edge needed unpicking. I gave this task to Miss L who in her exuberance with the unpicker managed to make two small gashes in the blanket! Never mind mum to the rescue, I zigzagged over the area with another piece of blanket underneath, then embroidered her name and 2013 on it. Hopefully an heirloom in the making.

 Everything I used came out of my stash, and prior to that from the op shop. I did use quite a few reels of cotton up, so there are two slightly different colours on the top stitching. So it was upcycling at it's best.
It's the last weekend of the school holidays I should be getting the house tidy and packing bags as we are going to Hanmer Springs tomorrow, and then on to Christchurch, to see Danny Bhoy. If you haven't seen/watched Danny check him out. We all enjoy his dvds, so the kids are a bit miffed they aren't been taken to the show. One of the kids favourites is his skit about the Fruit Police.

Before I cleared the kitchen table I whipped up a wee drawstring pouch to put my camera in with the leftover pink blanket. I even found a patch with a panda doing aerobics for the front!

I'm linking up with My Creative Space and Show & Tell (yes I'm that chuffed with finishing this project!).