30 June 2014

{Facebook Find}: Like A Girl

How was your weekend? Bet you're all dying to know if you were the winner of the magazine giveaway. Or maybe you aren't. Because you DIDN'T ENTER. Cripes guys, way to make a girl feel loved. Are you breaking up with me? Clearly, I need to avoid any jobs in sales since I can't even give things away. I considered extending the timeframe by a few more days, but I rather suspect it would be a little like nailing jelly to a tree. So, *streamers and ticker tape raining from the sky* Lisa from Big Little, the magazine subscription is all yours. Congratulations!

In other news, this video was on my Facebook wall this morning. If you have a girl, married a girl, teach a girl, work with a girl, live with a girl or you are a girl, this is for you. Yes, this is a clever marketing strategy, but I am less interested in the product and more interested the responses by a boy and a young woman who appear later on in the ad. Please take a moment to watch it and think about what message we send to our children when told that they do things 'like a girl'. It's brilliant.
Let's give all our pre-teens the belief that they can win the race.

Have a great week.

24 June 2014

Hazed {Weddings Edition}

Hazed magazine's winter issue arrived today. I had the opportunity to either go sweat some lard off at floorball training this evening or lie on the couch and read the magazine with a packet of Tim Tams in my jimjams. The couch won and I really enjoyed reading all about people carving out names for themselves in the wedding industry in this country. Personally, I think it is the best edition yet, and I can say that without bias because I didn't conduct any interviews this time.

A diverse range of businesses are showcased including a feature on Wellington wedding gown designer Sally Eagle. The stand-outs for me though were the Q&A interviews with Twig and Arrow, a stylist specializing in floristry and Wink Loves a Party, a custom party decor business, simply because I had not heard of either business before and I love Hazed's mission to unearth hidden talent.

One Lovely Day owner and event stylist Claire Donaldson talks about her gorgeous off-shoot business One Little Wagon, a retro 1975 caravan converted into a bar that can be hired for special occasions. There is also a ring bearer's cushion tutorial and some lovely decadent recipes to try. It really is an issue that will have something to interest everyone.
I have mentioned time and time again how strongly I feel about supporting independent designers and what a great job this magazine does of giving them a voice. Now, here is an opportunity for you to discover it for yourself. Share a memory of your wedding day with me and I will put you in the draw to WIN a one year subscription to Hazed magazine.

If you are currently planning your wedding, let me know if you are using any of the businesses mentioned above or if you have other recommendations. If you are happily (or unhappily) single, you can still enter - if you win at least you will have a new magazine to cuddle up to every three months and it won't hog your blankets or put its cold feet on you.

Open to all followers of my blog who are resident in Australia or New Zealand.

For an extra entry, follow Hazel Loves Design either on her blog or on Facebook and leave me a second comment saying how you follow her.

I will draw a winner randomly and announce it here on the blog next week.

Thank you to Hazel Schreiner, creator and editor of Hazed for enabling me to offer this generous giveaway to one of my loyal followers.

Good luck, Moonies.

17 June 2014

Birth of a quilt

Fabric is so beautiful to me and some of the bundles in my stash so hard to find that the thought of cutting in to them is really difficult sometimes. I need to remind myself with each new project that those lovely pieces of cloth, so pretty all stacked on top of each other in their coordinated glory, can be turned into something else that is not only beautiful but useful and that can be enjoyed by others too. Even having written that, I will struggle to let this quilt go. It is wonky and imperfect, but it has a piece of me in it. How fitting then that something I love should go to someone I love.
Like any mother showing her newborn off for the first time, if any unflattering comments are made, I will cut you.
This is a birthday gift for my one year old nephew. It took longer than I thought it would to make. Knowing what I know now about quilting, finishing it a little over a week past his birthday is really not too bad at all. There were moments when its completion seemed so far from reach and then all of a sudden, it was done. I am sure many of you experienced quilters will be able to relate to that feeling of satisfaction when the binding is on. 

Here it is, back when it was a just a twinkle in its mother's eye:
It slowly grew square by square, strip by strip, panel by panel.

Into this.
I have made just one other quilt before, but I didn't sew through the layers with that one (I'm not sure that even counts as quilting then?). Both were fairly simple patterns, but this one took so much longer to assemble. There's quite a process: Working out the size of the squares to determine the best scale of the plus signs on the finished cot quilt, deciding which colours and patterns looked best where for balance, basting, stitching and making and adding the binding.

Of course, no project of mine ever seems to run smooth. I used a grey pure cotton fabric that, while beautifully soft, frayed instantly once cut and continued to fray when handled too much. It surprised me given it was found with the other quilting fabrics in Spotlight. It was mixed with very lightweight gingham and heavier fabrics like suede alongside regular quilting cottons so the differences in weight resulted in some obviously wonky squares.

Being the awesome mathematician that I am, my calculations resulted in, shall we say, an unconventionally sized quilt. The quilt top ended up being wider than the width of my backing fabric. There are many ways to solve that problem, the obvious one being to cut down the top which would make the squares on the edge of the quilt noticeably smaller than the others. Cry you a river, I know, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I made the edging wider on the back. Because I didn't want machine stitching showing through on the front of the quilt (can you tell I had a clear vision of how I wanted the finished quilt to look?), I ended up hand binding the edging.

Bamboo wadding is really lovely to sew through even with a regular sewing machine foot. I didn't even think to change the needle at the quilting stage and had no problems whatsoever. I topstitched around the edges of each plus sign with the stitch length on 3 and it produced some really lovely outlines on the back.
I am also really happy with the edging I used. It is black with tiny off-white dots in an arched pattern. It's striking yet does not overwhelm so that the plus signs remain the focal point of the quilt.

Thank you Leonie and Helen (you need a blog so I can link to you) for your words of encouragement and advice throughout my project (smooch). It looks like a walking foot and some decent quilting pins will be high on my wishlist as my standard pins were inadequate and I ended up dispensing with them completely in frustration. I started quilting from the centre and worked my way to the outside, smoothing the layers out with my hands as I went. I read somewhere online after I had finished that it is not recommended to start quilting in the middle. With not using pins, it seemed a good place to start for me! At any rate, I've learnt my lesson; basting is important if you want minimal puckering.

Now I am looking at my fabric stash in a completely different light and seeing endless possibilities. I have started a Pinterest page for inspiration and it is likely to be my fastest growing album because there are just so many amazing quilts out there. I can fully appreciate the work that goes into highly complex patterns but for now, I think I will stick to making simple geometric shapes and blocks. I quite like the modern vibe they create. What are your favourite quilt patterns?

Quilt details:
Finished size: 118x135cm/46.5x53"
Edging: 6cm/2.5" Kona Bay Fabrics: Exotic Garden Dots
Backing: Grey shot cotton (Spotlight)
Bamboo wadding (Spotlight)
Squares: 10cm/4"
Orange triangle, light blue spots and stripes quilting fabrics (Spotlight)
Gingham, suede, dark blue polka dots and stripes, Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets and Sarah Jane Pirates fabric from my stash
Seam allowances: 5mm/1/4"

Joining in with Leonie's link-up this week. Come over and see a really sweet 5th birthday card invitation and other lovely makings.

10 June 2014


So, this quilting thing. It's more complex to construct one than I thought. Or maybe I just underestimated the process. I am even more in awe of this one now given that I am doing possibly the least time-consuming piecing that is quiltingly possible by stitching 10cm/4" squares together into a cross quilt. I have made a couple of rookie mistakes in my fabric selection which I will go into in more detail when I finish it.

It has been raining steadily here for a few days and having a couple of unwell children has given me a really good reason to slow down and plug in the sewing machine while the girls rested. One or two of you have been quite keen to see how the quilt is all coming together. There are sneakity peeks over on Instagram, but here's another photo for you. Because ironing never looked this good.
I have decided to wait to show you any more until it's completely finished because, yanno, impact.

Truthfully though, the idea of a big reveal might motivate me to finish it, unlike my poor crochet triangle blanket which has not progressed much further at all from when I last wrote about it - way back in March. Maybe this cooler weather will spur me into picking up the crochet hook once more. We'll just have to see where the mood takes me.

05 June 2014

Hottie Project covers

And just like that, it's Show and Tell day. As promised, I am back to show you my Hottie Project contributions that I made in moments stolen over the weekend. These hot water bottle covers were all made from a black terry towelling bathrobe which, by the way, was Humongous Man-sized. It was given to me by my sister who discovered articles of clothing left behind by a former tenant. I don't know if that's particularly ethical, but really, tenants, don't leave your unwanted belongings behind for someone else to remove. That's just piggy.

Even after washing it, there were a few unusable patches so I feel pretty happy to be able to get four covers from the material.
I can confirm that my appliqué did not improve on my second or third attempts. Maybe I should stick to straight edges for a bit until I get it all worked out. They're wonky with wobbly embroidery to match. Bet you're thinking my appliqué needs work but damn that girl can monogram. This was already on the bathrobe so I incorporated it as my little feature. Hope someone out there is a Brad and Ange fan.
I have to confess that when I saw Leonie's spaceship and rocket offerings this morning, I unpicked Legoman and had another go at stitching him because his crookedness simply Would. Not. Do. That was the moment I realised how much of a nightmare it is to appliqué (digression: does that acute accent annoy you? I'm sorry, it's the pedantic French language lover in me) onto a project that has already been sewn together. So, for the sake of my sanity, I decided that the balloon and the heart covers would just have to be sent as they are. Just don't put them right next to Leonie's ones in the care parcel to Christchurch, please. Ha!

04 June 2014

Hazel Loves Design Treasure Hunt

Holy moly, guys. I must have been asleep when the memo got sent out, but have you heard that Hazel Loves Design is hosting a most amazing treasure hunt? Clearly, some of you have as at the time of writing this, there are over 1260 entries. So, I thought why not further decrease everyone's odds by announcing it on my blog? You're welcome.
Some very clever and generous New Zealand designers and artisans have come on board to supply a diverse range of prizes that include homewares, jewellery and childrenswear - and randomly (but yummily), CAKE. Add to that a one year's subscription of Hazed magazine and a Hazel Loves Design marketing package to promote your indie design business. One lucky person is going to win the bounty worth over $1500.

In. Sane.

You had better head on over and check it out for yourself. I'm entering it just for the cake alone. And the iphone cover. There's no conflict of interest with me being a Hazel Loves Design blogging partner, is there? I'd probably feel bad if I won. But only a little bit. I'll share the prizes if I win, okay?