29 August, 2011

My new sewing box

My sewing box situation was rather dire up until a few weeks ago, a couple of old biscuit tins and a cardboard box for my spools of thread to replace my old larger box that had finally given up the ghost. I never had what I wanted with me and it was a pain carrying two boxes around with things spilling out of them and everything all jumbled. I've always wanted one of those lovely wooden expanding sewing boxes, some of them stand on long legs so that everything is just where you want it. But they're rare and expensive and probably more suited to delicate ladies doing embroideries in their sitting rooms than being carried back and forth between the spare room and the kitchen table! The ones available from sewing shops are useless and hideously over-priced. So one day when I was in a big hardware store (Mitre10 Mega for those Antipodeans) I had a brainwave and went looking at tool boxes. Something big with lots of compartments was what I was after. And what did I find? Cherry red, expandable and pretty much perfect for $30, I present to you:

Expandable sewing box

I love that the lids lift up so I can have all the frequently-needed stuff right there

Red metal sewing box

And it expands out for all the other less frequently used things

Red metal sewing box

I have great plans to make up cute dividers etc., which will probably come to naught, but it works well as it is. The only drawbacks are that my pincushions are too big to fit in the top trays and that the trays in general are fairly shallow, so no big objects. But I can make a new pincushion (oh the hardship!) and put the bulky objects somewhere else.

I'm a happy (and semi-organised) camper.

26 August, 2011

Sew Mama Sew BOM

I finally caved and started following along with the Sew Mama Sew 'Modern Block of the Month'. I wasn't going to but August's block looked so interesting I had to try! So I did July's first just to do it all right and proper-like :)


That was easy, but August - well that was a challenge! The cutting of the strips was fine, but assembling them was a lot harder than I'd expected from a technical standpoint, not so much the 'artistic' one. I had a bunch of pieced strips that were somewhat shorter than the others because of the combinations of the first lot of strips I'd chosen (randomly cut and different widths), and that made piecing a bit hard. If I were to do it again I'd definitely try and make sure the strips were roughly equal in length. Anyways, I was unsure whether it was going to pull together and look like a block instead of a random assortment of unevenly sewn bits until I'd squared it up and suddenly bing! And it looks even better with the borders:

SMS BOM August

I'm quite excited about how they look together already! SMS BOM July and August

Looking forward to next month's!

ETA: Fabrics are: Amy Butler Full Moon Polka in Slate, Simon + Kabuki Juicy Blossoms Bubbles in Pewter, Dena Designs Taza Geo in Neutral  and Kona Snow

25 August, 2011

My life on Instagram - August

Instagram August, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

Things have been pretty hectic around here - the living room and spare room are plastered and ready for paint, but we won't start that for a week or so so I have a chance to take a deep breath for a bit! My parents are here for a short visit before taking off for Christchurch and Australia for a month and a bit, and I have a yukky cold that is making me feel like someone's attacked my sinuses with a stiff brush. I'm off to try a bit of sewing though, perhaps that will distract me from feelings of dying and martyrdom!

17 August, 2011

Knitting for the Comfort Doll Project

A few years ago my friend Donna set up a charity with a friend called the Comfort Doll Project. "A Comfort Doll is a small knit doll that Icross uses instead of packing foam when they send HIV medicines to African clinics. Once the meds are unpacked, the dolls are given to the local children, many of whom are HIV positive and/or AIDS orphans" I noticed on her Facebook page that they are looking for more dolls to send to Malawi in November. Now I don't knit or crochet but I know lots of you do, so I thought I'd post up this picture of a happy recipient and let you know about this worthy cause! Knitting and crochet patterns can be found on the Comfort Doll Project blog. They ask that the yarn for the skin be medium through dark brown to black.

Photo © 2010 Colin Zacharias

16 August, 2011

Tulle pompoms

I forgot to take photos of quite a few things I did for Hazel's party, like the jelly in old fancy teacups (which rather unexpectedly was a HUGE hit) and the only photos I took of the other thing I made, the tulle pompoms is just a crop from a larger photo taken on a grey, rainy day with a flash.

They were fairly easy to make, though I really wished I hadn't bought the cheapest tulle on offer because it's stiff and scratchy, makes them stick to each other like velcro and is not nice to handle! I had a bit of softer stuff and the pompoms it made were much nicer and fluffier, as well as being easier to make. I really had a hard time getting them to stay fluffy though, and ended up cutting two snips to the middle on each side after I'd tied them up so they wouldn't just fold back up flat. Even then you can see the string tied around the middle. If I did them again I'd use monofillament, but I couldn't find mine with everything packed up so string it was. And hey, once you add streamers and bubbles who's looking?

For anyone who's interested, the original tutorial for them can be found here.

14 August, 2011

I am a frontierswoman


I made butter over the weekend! I've always wanted to try, and when Hazel did it at school and came home from school with the 'recipe' I had to give it a go. I put a cup of cream into an old mayo jar and shook for a surprisingly brief period of time until I thought perhaps it was butter. But it didn't look quite right, so I kept going even though the shaking seemed a bit ineffective and more like slopping a mass from side to side, and then suddenly there was buttermilk and this glorious yellow butter! I mean really, how do you get yellow butter from white cream? Magic. A little pinch of salt et voila! I doubt it's economical but it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Apologies to my Instagram peeps who are probably thinking "not the butter again!"

09 August, 2011

I'm a winner!

Several weeks ago I entered a giveaway for some Kona solids over at Rachel's lovely blog Stitched in Colour, sponsored by Etsy shop Whipstitch . She asked how we decide what colors to use in our projects - I did it from my iPhone and it kindly corrected a mispelled "door" to "dodo", so what I told Rachel was something along the lines that I always walk the fabric over to the windows to get the natural light, and since that's usually next to the dodo it always makes me feel like people think I'm about to make a run for it.  I had to laugh about it with Mat after I realised what had happened, though me being me, it was a bit embarrassing to have a hideous typo right there in public. Anyways, I won that giveaway, chose my Kona fabrics at Whipstitch (and a few extra bits - so much for not buying fabric this year!)

Fabrics from Whipstitch

The Kona Snow and the Kate Spain orange flowers will be used in my vintage sheet quilt(s), the pale blue and pink square dots are Sherbert Pips and will go into the Far Far Away quilt I need to make up for Hazel, the red has a purpose (hush hush) and the others...well they just are and will get used in something I'm sure!

Thanks Rachel and Whipstitch!

08 August, 2011

Tissue paper pompoms

Tissue paper pompoms, originally uploaded by Hazelnutgirl.

I finally tried the famous Martha Stewart tissue paper pom-poms for Hazel's party and they're surprisingly easy! If you're looking for something that makes people ooo and ahhh and pay you lots of compliments for very little effort, these are your answer. I used 10 sheets of tissue and ended up having to cut the curves for the petals a few layers at at time because otherwise the edges had a rather chewed look from the scissors struggling with the thickness. I thought the pointed ends were most effective, but the round ones were cute and possibly more suited to a kid's party?

The party went very well, despite an extremely violent southerly change that swept through Auckland about half an hour before the party started. I haven't seen it rain that hard here for ages, and our street flooded across the sidewalks and up onto lawns despite having the drains redone a couple years ago. It was exciting!

I bought the cake btw, before anyone offers me compliments on it! I also ordered macarons from the same shop because I've always been curious about them - and now I actually do understand why people go a bit mental for them.

Goodie bags

I was quite fond of the goodie bags too. They were meant to be closed at the top, but the stickers I bought to go in were too big so the tops had to stay up, which in the end made them look a bit prettier I think.  All the invitations and tags and stickers were made up with a set I bought at mygraphico, I'm a bit of a convert to buying a clipart file and doing it yourself now! I'd seen these exact same images used on invitations from a site that specialises in customised invitations and I was going to use those until they wanted to charge me upwards of US$40 to mail 10 invitations, envelopes and thank you cards, which was more than it cost to buy them. The mygraphico file was $5 (and it's on sale now of course!)

04 August, 2011

My life on Instagram

I told you Instagram would be the only way you'd know I was alive this week! I'm done with wallpaper stripping but have to head straight into Hazel's party preparations! I can't wait for Monday when the plastering starts and the only thing I can do for a week is sew at the kitchen table!


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