Last week was a quiet week for crafting – I’m blaming a dirty lurgie that snuck up on me while my defenses were down. I’ve been a sniffly, blocked up, sore eared mess for the last week – finally feel like I might be getting on top of it today after a glorious 9.5 hour sleep last night! Glorious for me… Not so much for my husband who had to vacate to the spare room due to Olympic-level snoring. Sorry ’bout that!
So in between nose-dabbing and sorry-for-myself-feeling, I haven’t felt inclined to do much of anything until this weekend, in which I finally made some headway on my crazy-patch footstool cover. I have taken some photos in progress which I’ll post once it is all finished, with a tutorial to explain how I did it. Warning: quilting purists possibly shouldn’t read that tutorial, I think I have broken some rules! Namely the use of heat-bonding seams, and machine-stitching the decorative top stitching. I think I probably could have knocked the project off last night but I ran out of thread – who would have thought! So I’m off to the Little Craft Store in Pt Chev at lunch for a dose of heaven and to purchase the thread. They have a fab special in store until tomorrow (Tuesday 14th August), so I am probably going to walk out with more than thread. What a lovely way to spend lunchtime (away from day-job AND in craft heaven)!
Once the footstool project is finished, I think it might be time to up-hook and get back into some crochet. For a blog that was originally supposed to be largely about my love for hooking, it has taken a bit of a backseat and I’m feeling guilty. I think my next project will be a Granny Square throw in bright popping red, baby blue and one other colour yet to be decided upon. I’ve never made anything more than the one granny square, so it will be quite an undertaking to finish a whole throw. Stay tuned – once I get started I will take pictures as I go.
My old favourite teddy bear (“Ted”) has recently made a comeback, and he’s back in the bed! Husband is mildly bemused but never mind – Ted deserves a bit of loving. Only problem was that his old outfit was falling to pieces so over the weekend I took it upon myself to give him a natty upgrade. Staying true to his original red jacket and the heart on his chest that was cuddled off long ago, I’ve chosen a lovely large check and a wee appliqued black heart. I think he looks adorable and will be sure to stick around for another 31 years thanks to his new garb.Love you Teddy!
Ted 3.0: Looking very handsome in a natty new suit!
We had some wild weather in Auckland over the weekend. Saturday was actually stunning, so I enjoyed a day out in the city checking out the Auckland Craft Fair then lunching at the Northern Steamship Co in Britomart. Thoroughly enjoyed both – the Craft Fair was packed with people, so didn’t get to see quite as much as I would have liked, but hey! Great to see so many people out in support of handmade.
I also popped into The Embroiderer in Birkenhead for some help on my blackwork. I have to give a big shout out to these guys – the lady was so very helpful and reassured me that I was doing well and had indeed come a long way with my technique, from the first tiki I attempted. Hurrah! She showed me a beautiful book (Made in France: Blackwork by Sonia Lucano) which of course I had to have. The lady – darn, wish I had gotten her name – was really kind – she showed me the book as an example of how a stitch should go, then I think might have thought I felt pressured to buy, so we did a little dance of “I want it” “You don’t have to buy it” before she finally succumbed. I have a bit of an obsession for crafty books – some people like cook books and can’t walk past them, and I am like that with craft books. Made in France: Blackwork doesn’t have a lot of words – just lots of beautiful, inspiring pictures and the helpful charts at the back so you can get started on the various projects. In light of it being light on words, I think I will focus on this book in my first book review, later today.
Sunday brought rain and wind, so a perfect day to nestle down and get stuck into some crafty pursuits. First on the list was my pukeko applique that I’ve been procrastinating on, mainly because I haven’t been able to find a pukeko template to have a go at. I am wanting to applique this into a onesie for a friend’s 1 year old baby, so revisited this project yesterday afternoon. It certainly doesn’t look like a pukeko, so has now morphed into another bird of indeterminable species. I’ve never done anything like this before so am enjoying the tiny little stitches – need to redo that beak though, it’s looking very clumsy!
The pukeko that wasn’t
Then of course it was Tiki-time. Finished all of the white ones and think I could possibly knock off the first and only black version tonight. Must remember to take a photo!
A couple of months ago, I attended a professional development thingy for day-job. I actually presented for the first time during it, which was an interesting and terrifying experience – I was exhausted at the end of it from all of the nervous energy that was whizzing around. So on the second day of the thingy, I opted for the fluffier sounding workshops, one of which was titled “A creative approach to goal setting” and involved creating a visual board. Imagine my delight when I walked in and saw the glue sticks, scissors and magazines for cutting up.
Before they would let me at the craft tools, we first had to do a visualising exercise: imagining ourselves in 5 years time. The facilitator would prompt us with questions (“How do you feel in this future?” “What work are you doing?”) and my co-professional developers would furiously scribble down their imaginings. I was flummoxed – there was nothing there. All I could think of was my current day-job location and my current self. Then I started to panic – I don’t WANT to be here in 5 years time, quick, DO SOMETHING. Out of sheer desperation, I scribbled on my page: “Pink pens are everywheeeeeere!”
As soon as I wrote it down, I felt better. Imagining my future working environment is too big an ask – I have no idea what I’ll be doing in 5 years, my dreams change every week! But if I follow that philosophy and make sure that pink pens are everywhe(eeee)re, I think I’ll be ok.
[Side bar: I’m at day-job right now, and do you think there is a pink pen in sight? No. Note to self – buy a pink pen at lunchtime and start living the dream. While there are no pink pens in sight, I myself am having a very pink day. I am wearing the fluffiest (SO FLUFFY!) pink jumper you can imagine, my nails are painted pastel pink and I am carrying a pink purse. Would you believe when I was a kid I wanted to be a boy? I don’t know when pink became so dominant in my day to day palette.]
So once again things have gone quiet on the blog – no surprises there for anyone that knows me. (Not the quiet part – I am very rarely “quiet”. But the falling off various wagons – that happens all.the.time.)
I wish that I could claim I had been busy doing this and that, but I really haven’t – day-job has been busy, I’ve been on a conference/holiday to Melbourne and in the background I have of course been crafting. But nothing really to write home about. Oh I LIE! I have recently discovered cross-stitch and am addicted. I made a cute little coin purse that I gave to a friend who wasn’t quite as excited as I was, but never mind – maybe she was “yippeeing” on the inside. Will eventually post some pics of said purse, or other similar varieties. Since the cross-stitch discovery, I then moved into blackwork, something that I had never heard of – again, addicted. I started with these groovy guys and I just love them. I’m working my way through the white aida cloth backgrounds and am enjoying seeing the progression of my stitching – my current attempt is by far the best. Again, will post pics once they are finished. Last craft obsession is needlework (are you sensing a pattern here?), actually I don’t know if that is the correct term for it. I guess decorative stitches might sum it up best. Recently I bought another Cath Kidston book, “Patch” to try and help me get into patchwork stuff – I find her projects easy to follow and just the right size to get a feel for something. Anyway – there is a crazy patch pattern in there I’m going to have a go at a stool cover (see DIY ravings below) and it requires some really pretty stitches. So last night I set about learning a feather stitch, double feather stitch and others. Looking forward to starting this weekend!
But the purpose of this post – which I realise it has taken me two paragraphs to get to! – is a new found love of DIY. Last time we went down this path I was a self-confessed DIY disaster. Not lacking in skills as such (I confident in wielding a hammer or paint brush), but SERIOUSLY lacking in motivation. Now I have previously bragged about my dedicated craft room, which is a haven – I love it. But since we moved in earlier this year the room has been dominated by hideous dark green shelves that I have found oppressive. A couple of weekends ago in a burst of motivation I made a start on sorting out these shelves and a week later, voila! I am so pleased with the results. Here’s how it went down:
Roughly sand all wood covered in green paint
Apply one coat of primer
Apply three coats of semi-gloss white paint to wooden surfaces
Measure the size of the backspace (??) of the shelves. Note: some fool previously covered this in loose hessian sacking – a NIGHTMARE to paint over. You will see from the before photo (actually a mid-photo, but hey!) that I quickly lost interest in attempting to paint the backspaces.
Using a jigsaw, cut MDF shapes to fit.
Rigourously sand the wooden shapes until they fit the spaces. 6a – try not to loose interest at this point. 6b – make a note to be more precise at point 5, if you ever embark on this journey again!
Cut polyester wadding to size of shape. You can afford to cut smaller in order to use less of the wadding – it is stretchy.
Cut various fabrics to size of shape. Allow a minimum of 1.5cm “seam” (?) allowance around all edges.
Starting on a short edge, sandwich wadding between wood and fabric, pull fabric around to wrong side of wood and gun staple into place. Repeat along all edges, making sure to fold corners in as required.
Carefully flip over to admire your handiwork. Be careful! At this stage you will have the two sharp points for every staple applied poking through the right side of the fabric.
Take a hammer and knock each point down as flat as possible. This doesn’t have to be perfect – once they’re in your shelves, they won’t really be a problem – unless of course your shelves are in a child’s bedroom and sticky little fingers could reach them. In that case you may want to be very careful!
Knock your shapes into their corresponding shapes, stand back and go “Aaaahhhh”. If you have been pretty accurate with your measuring and cutting with the jigsaw, knocking into place should be sufficient. A couple of mine will need to be fixed to the wall – I plan to try this with Velcro dots first so I don’t have anything (nails!) showing through my lovely fabric.
I’ve had a couple of craft-free evenings this week, instead it has been rather social which has been a nice change. On Wednesday night I went to a cooking demonstration called “All about soup” with my Mum and sister, which was really neat. I am not a big soup drinker, and definitely not a soup cooker, but it was my sister’s suggestion for a Mother’s Day gift so I bought into it and went along. I was pleasantly surprised! It was informative, fun and YUMMY! We learnt about three varieties of soup: Avgolemono (Greek lemon chicken soup), Zucchini, white bean and leek soup, and Puchero (pork, beef and chicken soup). The Puchero was my favourite and I was disappointed that I’d scoffed the first two bowls as I couldn’t finish this one!
We also learnt how to make a simple corn bread, and Pandebono (Columbian cheesy rolls). Both were also delicious – I think I’ll have a go at the Pandebono this weekend. Because it is gluten free and full of cheese, I know it will be a hit with my husband. Yummo.
Last night we were out to dinner with a bunch of his friends from architecture school – it was a really lovely evening. I have spent a bit of time with two of the couples, but there were another two couples that I’ve only met twice before so very much enjoyed getting to know them better. We went for Thai which I absolutely love and don’t get to eat often, as my husband is a bit of a fussy eater we usually opt for different cuisines when eating out.
I’m looking forward to a weekend of crafts and catchups – tomorrow morning I am going on a crafty road trip with a friend. We will go to The Bead Hold first, and then make another trip to The Little Craft Store. We went there for the first time (long time blog stalker, first time store visitor!) and met Helen (I think – sorry if that wasn’t you!) who instantly made us both feel very welcome. I wish I was a local – I think I would be there all the time!
Tomorrow night is a catch up with my sister, a dear friend and my cousin – we are making a Japanese banquet, which is always delicious. If I remember I will take some photos of the lovely food we will be preparing, I can’t wait!
I’m naughtily typing this at my day job, so better get back to it – looking forward to leftover Thai for lunch, and sitting at my desk working on a pair of two-toned G_loves for a colleague. Will post a pic once they’re finished.
So have finally knocked off a few projects that have been lingering. Funny how the “discovery process” of figuring out a new pattern quickly becomes painful when there is too much trial and error.
Anyway, happy to have figures them out and completed them, and sent them off to happy homes. 2 x lacy hats, 4 x button flower attachments, 1 x bobbly baby hat and 1 x plain hat with a stripe. Oh and one other project – punk/classic mash up baby onesie for a pregnant friend who specified skulls and no pink in her wish list for soon to arrive baby girl. I am loving that steely blue/grey at the moment so made a bobble hat to match the grey felt background of the appliqué. Not sure if you can tell from the photo – the motif is inspired by vintage cameo brooches with a punk twist… You likely?