Saturday, May 29, 2010

Buttoned scarves

Gosh, it's nippy today. Can you see? That's me trying not to shiver too much while modeling by the back door. Glamorous, hey.
So this is what I've been busy with the last couple of days. As usual, it took a bit longer than expected. Just try and unpick a badly positioned buttonhole from some boiled wool, and you'll know what I mean. These scarves are based on a design I made last winter, but this year I've shortened them and added some beautiful buttons. The linings are all old scarves, mostly silk, and the outside fabrics are all wool from my stash. There's boiled wool, thick felted wool and thinner woven wool. All sure to keep your neck toasty, either nicely under a coat or on its own. Here's a few you'll see on my table tomorrow at Kraftbomb. I'll also do a shop update on Monday and list a couple.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Button envy

My work yesterday had me delving into the button box, so I thought I'd share a few photos with you; they're so beautiful, and I've never met anybody who didn't like buttons... This here is my 'good' button box: all the nice colours and shapes, no boring bits in this container.
My black and whites. I really like the shaped plastic ones from I suppose the 40s and 50s; they're all so geometric. A lot of the detail is lost in this photo; I should do some close-ups soon.
And now for some cheery colour; these look so delicious.

While I've got you, just look at what I scored for $3 today: a little basket filled with mother of pearl and leather buttons, some old button cards, beautiful woven ribbon, vintage knitting and sewing pattens, wooden knitting needles and a piece of screenprinted fabric.

And tomorrow night I hope to show you what I've been making for Sunday's Kraftbomb, so do come back for some more button action :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's starting to rain outside; apparently there's some serious weather on its way. Our little family spent this afternoon huddled in the lounge around the fire, knitting, watching rugby and eating pikelets. And tonight we watched our favourite scenes from 'Mary Poppins'.

This past week I read the boys the Mary Poppins Little Golden book based on the movie, after which I joined a new DVD rental shop just to get a copy. The book was one of my favourites as a child; one of the first English* books I took out from the library. It was every bit as magical as I remember, and the boys have fallen head over heels for Mary. When I couldn't fit everything in my hands into my bag the other day, Daniel even suggested I should try to be a bit more like Mary Poppins! I don't know where I can get my hands on a capacious carpet bag like hers; let me know if you do...

*I only started speaking English in primary school; it's my second language, which I'm sure explains a lot :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Meet Elena

She's finished... Phew. I've had to do a lot of work to this young lady, but at least that means she's not looking like a confused French girl in a peasant costume any more. Here she is, complete with peasant blouse, new hair and name. Thanks for the name suggestions, by the way, but I think she's sufficiently Russian-looking to warrant the name Elena. She's even dreaming about potatoes as we speak; see that wistful look in her eyes?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


As promised, here are some photos of today's progress. First, a bit of background. When I make a doll, I start with a collection of fabrics, trims, buttons, jewellery that inspire me. For this one, I wanted to do a Russian peasant, with many patterns and colours, a headscarf and some embroidered fabric. Here she is, looking a bit like Sinead O'Connor in the 90s, with potential hair to the right. I made this little cloak out of an old lambswool cardigan with collar that I dyed on Monday.

Here are her undies, made with the fabric that I had left over from making brooches out of vintage embroidered handkerchiefs.

The hardest part is finding the perfect hairstyle. I dug around my wool basket, and found these redundant ear flaps from a knitted hat disaster. Perfect for curly hair! But as soon as it was stitched on, she looked very French and much too proper for what I was after. Here she is for now, but there's still a bit of work to be done. She's wearing a peasant dress, apron and silk scarf. Now all she needs is a peasant blouse, new hair and a name. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I had a lovely weekend with my girlfriends: eating, drinking, laughing, talking, solving problems and being lazy, some knitting, some reading, some sleeping. Just what I needed after the last few weeks.

Energised for the next project; the one I had been hoping to get into and now have confirmation for: I'm going to the Auckland Art and Craft Fair!! I'm going to sell some dolls there, not my usual 'market products', but my art. I started a new doll in expectation last week, and now I'm so relieved to know she's got a 'purpose'. I'll show photos of the process tomorrow; she's all made but I still need to dress her and choose hair. This is the fun part, the bit where I can accessorize and play around with fabric. Until tomorrow then...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy happy

It's my birthday today and I'm just popping in for a quick hello between meeting some friends for morning tea and packing for a girls' weekend away. It's the most beautiful, warm May I can remember; it really does not feel like my normally wet and cold birthday. To brighten things up even more, my choice of lovely Felt finds has been featured on today's Felt like Friday.

But wait, there's more! I also discovered my 'Aladdin' journal in the Felt favourites of Wellington indie folk band Rosy Tin Teacaddy. I first heard about them in the lovely World Sweet World summer music compilation; beautiful music. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I was thoroughly spoiled this morning when I got a sleep-in and breakfast in bed for Mother's Day. My personal waiters Daniel and Joshua were very excited about the event and kept running in from the kitchen to report back on exactly how far the bacon was and how chef Craig was managing. I sat there thinking just how special these everyday moments are, and how easily we forget them. I hope one day when the boys are older, they might read this blog and see glimpses of themselves as enthusiastic little explorers, affectionate little brothers and sons. Earlier this week I've also been quite indulgent, as today's title suggests. I'm knitting a scarf because I fell in love with the yarn. It's Moda Vera Fiammone, from the big 25% off yarn sale at Spotlight last weekend. I decided on a simple stocking stitch broken up with eyelets for a bit of interest. It should be finished very soon, 10mm needles are such a quick knit.

On Friday I had a much-needed spring clean in my craft room, and sorted through all my fabric. I rediscovered a piece of linen I got from the kindy (they had all sorts of fabrics donated to them) that I've been meaning to sew up for ages. I made another lovely layering dress from my Japanese book Sewing Talk; it's the only thing I've had the guts to make out of it so far.
And finally... My new best friends. It was love at first sight; an early birthday present to myself. I love the military style/Victorian feel they have, and they are sooo comfortable. I'm sure they'll see a lot of use this winter.
Hope you have a lovely week!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm back, and I'm exhausted. It's been such a busy couple of weeks, and here are the products of my hard work: a blanket, a cake and a hat. Of course this only symbolises what has been happening in our house: a 5th birthday, followed by two birthday parties with cakes, and tomorrow a 3rd birthday and the first day of school.

So without further ado, the blanket:
I spent quite a few nights working under cover of darkness to finish this, and I'm pleased to report Daniel really loves it. It's made with a NZ wool op shop blanket and I used only fabrics that I had in my stash (all wool as well). In fact, I didn't buy anything to make this, the cotton was also in my stash. Here's Venus:
And my favourite, Saturn:Jupiter:And Earth with our moon:I just have to show off the pirate birthday cake too. Let's just be clear that I am really bad at icing cakes, so I normally rely heavily on props. This year I've added jelly to my repertoire. The rocks are Big Bugs 'n Mud (cereal, not insects), the sand made of shortbread crumbs. And it was really delicious. Finally, Joshua's hat. What a nightmare. Love the wool, the design, the fact that it knits up in one evening, but the pattern really had me cursing. It's the Fair-Isle helmet by Sirdar, using their wool too. I tried the smallest size (4-6), which looked like a pixie hat. This is the adult size, and it just fits Joshua, age 3. I've got the right gauge, the right yarn, bigger needles than they recommend; what have I done wrong?! Oh well, the boy likes it, which is more important than his mother's annoyance, right?

And now I have to go and prepare myself for Daniel's first day of school. He seems fine; don't know about myself though...