28 April, 2011

Last of the summer roses

Last of the summer roses, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

Autumn is definitely here and the weather has been utterly foul since Easter Monday. These roses are the last from the garden I think, and are pretty chewed up around the edges and water-stained. But they look lovely on the bathroom window sill in the morning light and I almost feel like there might sometimes be a section of my place that looks like some of the pictures of entire homes I see on style blogs! I know I'll never have a pristine house with clear surfaces and no dust bunnies, but I do like to pretend to myself occasionally that it might happen, even if it's only in the bathroom ;)

27 April, 2011

Auckland Modern Quilt Guild

The Auckland Modern Quilt Guild has just started up - in Auckland natch. But I don't think that actually precludes the rest of NZ, given that the Patchwork Passion newsletter that announced it says "This is an on-line group that does meet occasionally in person too".  Being so technologically savvy (sitting on the couch with my iPhone that is) I signed up so fast I think I was the third member, although there are the four now! I'm hoping this will give me a bit more of a shove to finish the red quilt and get started on the other...four I have fabric for. Jeez, that sounds pathetic when I actually type it out. I'm clearly very good at starting, less good at the completing!

So yeah - join and make me feel less like an eager beaver with completion issues.

26 April, 2011

Letting off steam

Via Noodlehead I came across Stitched in Color's great post about things we'd never say out loud but secretly think. Go have a look and revel in the honesty of the post and the comments and add your own. It's totally cathartic. See if you can spot your bloggie friends' comments ;)

I said this:

I actually quite like Sherbert Pips although it's just one line of many - but extremely well marketed. Which brings me to one peeve - big bloggers who obviously get sent fabrics to promote things but who don't own up, or who promote things without being open about it. I'm going to stop reading them I think.

Stones with crochet around them. Really don't get it. Really don't. Who needs more crap gathering dust?

Blogs that have an insanely perky and chatty tone and who post every day. Although shame on me for reading them I suppose!

Giveaways that require you to tweet, blog or Facebook about it for an entry. If it was for something really major then yeah ok maybe, but for a potholder or something like that? Get over yourself, it's not worth it and an act of blatant self-promotion.

Oh, and commenters who ask you to visit their blog. It's so crass.

And finally, bloggers who think it's ok to knock off Anthropologie or some other big company, and are proud of it like they're so clever, but get all huffy if someone copies something from an indie designer. I believe the term for that is hypocritical.

Thanks for the chance to let off steam! And I agree about the Single Girl quilt, although one thing blogging and reading blogs has taught me is that not everything appeals to everyone, and I'm not actually the arbiter of style on the interwebs. 

And I should have added that I don't really like hexies, they look terribly old-fashioned and bitsy to me, although occasionally I see a project I quite like. I also don't care for crocheted granny blankets, generally they look awfully naff, although again, there's always someone who comes up with one I like, generally for the colours.

How about a non-crafty one that came up on Facebook yesterday - the stupid and really REALLY offensive debate about whether you have to be religious to be moral. I'm an atheist and you know what? I'm moral and I do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because I believe in heaven or hell. There. I said it. And wow, I discussed religion on my blog! Go me! I might bring in politics next ;)

ETA: oh man I can't stop going back and reading comments and I have about a billion more things I need to add to this post! Bad grammar...abbreviated RSS feeds...awful stuff in swaps...why does everyone love Jay McCarrol's fabrics? I feel depressed and anxious when I look at them en-mass...mug rugs are just coasters with a fancy name...no no, must stop!

But all this whiney negativity aside, I really do think that one of the most valuable lessons I've learned is that who cares if I don't like Jay McCarroll fabrics, he sure as hell doesn't and neither should you if you do. I used to think everyone should share my tastes and dislikes and be vaguely offended and embarrassed for people who didn't, or who put up quilts that I find dreadful and appalling. Then it occurred to me that they actually LIKE them, they're proud of them and who the hell am I to say otherwise? I'm sure that people swing by my blog and it's just really not their cup of tea and they leave without a backward glance. I mean, they're obviously freaks but finally understanding that not everyone shares the same taste and sensibilities is actually enormously liberating and I've learned to just walk away from the stuff I don't like and not obsess about the fact it exists in the world.

25 April, 2011

Seam allowance guide

I've been hanging out for these Seam Allowance Guides to become available and finally got to place my order yesterday. It will be very interesting to see how it goes but oh! if they remove the need to add that stupid seam allowance to patterns I'll be a very happy camper.  I'm also curious to know if they could be used with a rotary cutter, as I use that an awful lot for knits. Will report back soon I hope!

24 April, 2011


Phew, we're back. It was a fun trip but it's nice to be home, with the cat collected from the cattery and my own kitchen to cook in.  We stayed at the Waitomo Caves Hotel for a couple of nights and went on a couple of cave tours on Saturday. The hotel was quite the experience - faded grandeur would about sum it up, it's in dire need of some major TLC inside.

Waitomo Caves Hotel

It was built in two stages, which is fairly obvious from the photo - the bit on the right where we stayed was built in the early 1900s and the bit on the left in the 20s. We were in the older 'Victorian' section, on the second floor. Hazel's room was under that octagonal tower on top and ours is the window far right.

Waitomo Caves Hotel

The hotel is reputedly haunted but whatever, don't believe in that stuff. Well so I thought until Mat was chatting to a tour guide at the caves while we waiting to be picked up for the Ruakuri Cave tour and she asked which room we were in, and when he said 5 she was all "ooo, that's one of the haunted ones you know" and reeled off a few other room numbers in addition. So what I discovered is that believing in ghosts is sort of like being pregnant (you either are or you aren't, no such thing as a little bit pregnant) - you either believe or you don't. And the fact that I got even a little bit skittish that night must mean that despite being all analytical and matter-of-fact and scientific about life, I probably do believe in ghosts. Just a little bit. Teeny bit really. And of course nothing untoward happened at all.

ETA: I had a bit of a google about the hotel and the whole haunting thing sounds more than a little vague and certainly room 5 isn't ever mentioned. I think I got pwned!

I tried take a couple photos in the Ruakuri cave but since we'd forgotten the big camera and I was using the iPhone it was a bit of a washout. People taking photos in caves with flashes became the bane of my life though, I mean really WTF people? What kind of photo are you going to get with your tiddly little point and shoot flash anyways? Or without a tripod? So you get a camera full of craptastic photos and I'm wandering around half-blinded by random flashes in the dark. Far better to just ban the damn things and make people buy postcards in the gift shop - they'll end up with better photos and the company will make more money. And I wouldn't be so irritated (the main point). The worst bit was coming out of the Glowworm cave after a magical 15 minutes or so of silence in the boat, just us and the river and the glowworms, and as we came to the entrance of the cave in the twilight, all silent and magical, the guide said "ok people, you can take photos now if you want" and the boat exploded in a frenzy of flashes. Fer god's sake...can't we just enjoy the moment?  (grumpy old lady muttering). Check out the links for some decent photos of the caves and some videos!

I did get a nice photo of the Ruakuri stream earlier in the day though, this was taken at 1/30 second, which says a lot about photography in the NZ bush

Ruakuri Stream

21 April, 2011


View of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu from brother and sister-in-laws' station. Beautiful but bracing air! Gumboots, dogs, sheep (and sheep poo), cattle and stags on the roar. Definitely not the city!

I posted the image using the email function on Blogger but the text in the email didn't come through. So Blogpress is easier to use but at least I got a photo up without WiFi!

20 April, 2011

Hazelnuts on holiday

I've been trying to do a post from the road but BlogPress won't post the photos unless I'm on WiFi which actually makes it just a little bit useless for its intended purpose >:( Has anyone else experienced this? Anyways, more posts if and when I find a WiFi in small town NZ. I know they're here somewhere, just not at the in-laws.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

16 April, 2011

The Creative Process

I think this applies equally to academia, which I would argue is just as much a creative process as art. Certainly, this graph perfectly describes the way my PhD progressed - though I did get there despite the internet (and Hazel)!

15 April, 2011

Blockhouse Bay Beach

On Sunday my friend Janet organised some of our mum's group to meet up at Blockhouse Bay beach for an impromptu picnic. As is so often the case with our group, things that come up suddenly and that are not particularly organised, are often the most fun! The kids had a great time out on the mudflats before the tide came in, found lots of treasures (that's a log in the photo, not Nessie!), and Hazel really really didn't want to leave at the end of the day.

It's a real little gem of a beach and we'll most definitely be heading back sometime soon!

Kid's Clothes Week Challenge

Yay, Elsie Marley is hosting her fabulous bi-annual Kid's Clothes Week Challenge again! Go and grab your button and join in. If you haven't done it before it's a heck of a lot of fun!

14 April, 2011

Baby Binky Bunny

I'm pretty sure that when I give this to Hazel I'll be compelled to say "Congratulations Miss Hazel, it's a Bunny!"

Baby Binky Bunny

It's such a super-cute pattern, and is available as a pdf from mmmcraft's Etsy shop and you can also see it on the blog here. It took two days all up, so pretty fast for me!

Baby Binky Bunny

I really love the binky too. Given I was in a bit of a rush I wasn't able to over-think the whole fabric selection bit and that probably means I'm much more satisfied with it in the end! It's just two layers of fabric sewn right sides together, turned right side out and then finished with edge stitching and embroidery thread ties. The backing is a pale blue linen.

Bunny's binky

The bunny is also made from linen, with wool felt and a bit of Heather Bailey jelly beans in pink (or something like that, don't think it's available anymore).

 Baby Binky Bunny

The nose is padded satin stitch and the eyes are stem stitch. The only thing I'd change would be the mouth, it looks a little put out about something. I should probably change it to a smile. I might also attach the ears together as suggested in the pattern, I think it looks a bit cuter. I changed the mouth to a smile and stitched the ears together and am now thoroughly happy with every aspect of it. :)

Can't make the tail any cuter though!

Baby Binky Bunny Tail

13 April, 2011

I'm alive!

Contrary to what some of you may have thought (hi Mum!) the reason I haven't posted recently isn't because I have been run over by a bus or buried under a mound of bias-cut knit fabric. No, real life just got in the way. Real life in the form of house painters, sanding windows and filling cracks, teaching, helping at school, avoiding housework, and a Baby Binky Bunny.  Ok, so the last one isn't exactly real life, but it pretty much sums up my crafting philosophy of too many things on the go at once doesn't stop me from taking on something at a whim that needs to be done right now. I saw the bunnies on Pinterest, remembered that I'd thought I should make one one day, decided that Hazel NEEDED one for Easter, realised that we'll be away for the week leading up to Easter, so it obviously needed to be made straight away. It was also much easier to do that than worry that my hips and bum will look big in the skirt.  I'll take some photos of the bunny and its binky tomorrow.

You should also go and have a look at the Little Craft Store's new online store - just as nice as their lovely little shop in Pt. Chev. Hey look at that, I hadn't noticed that it's an animated gif until I pasted it in - someone's got themselves a clever web designer! (p.s. I don't do ads on my blog so all the links and buttons I have are there because I want to share them, not because I'm paid to do so)

06 April, 2011

Ruffle skirt part one

Jersey knit bias, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

When you make a ruffle skirt, the first thing you do is cut lots and lots of bias strips. Lots. Then you measure and figure out, cut a few more, then sort through them and realise you need to cut 4 more strips. Then you wander off to have a cup of tea and straighten out your back, and decide to think about those four strips when you don't feel like a hunched-over old lady.

03 April, 2011

This week I am going to...

...make a ruffled skirt.  I bought Hazel one at the Gap at Xmas and I love it waaay more than she does! Unfortunately it's too small for me so I'm going to have to make one for myself.  These are two similar ones I've found over on Pinterest.

Hazel's is more like the first one, but I like the top and length of the second.  Wish me luck!

01 April, 2011

Ashtray ideas

Oh I'm a bad blogger! I totally forgot my promise to send a little something to the person whose suggestion for what to do with the ashtray caught my imagination. Seriously, it was very hard because you are all so imaginative! In the end I had to go with Anne S's idea of a pincushion, combined with Jolie's idea of using the coils for embroidery thread cards. I loved some of the other ideas too, succulent garden (I'd probably kill it), olive holder (don't eat enough olives but it would look totally cool!), but had to plump for something I'd actually do. :) So thanks ladies, I'll be in touch!


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