Saturday, 21 December 2013

Seven Little Chicks

Last Wednesday was very exciting - our second broody hen was due to bring out some babies.   We were hoping for a few more than the first brood, and were delighted to find seven little chicks being fussed over by a dotting mum.

Excuse the quality of these photos - I was concentrating on the chicks rather than my photography skills.

A Black Orpington chick - but it could be a Barred Plymouth Rock?
Three of the chicks appear to be either Black Orpingtons or Barred Plymouth Rocks, while the other four are Partridge Plymouth Rocks, with one being a bantam version.  The mother is a New Hampshire Red.
A Partridge Plymouth Rock chick
Our first chick, the Blue Cochin pullet, is now hanging out with the big girls.  She's still a mum's girl, and like any only child demands a lot of attention!

Trying to keep up!
She still moves too fast to photograph!
We have our Buff Cochin sitting on eggs as well - so in just over two more weeks we'll hopefully have some more chicks to adore.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

More Cowls

I have been busy knitting more cowls for birthday and Christmas presents.

I made these in a lovely soft grey 8ply wool I got at Knitworld's sale a few months ago.  They used nearly three 50g balls over the two cowls.  Both will be gifted to farming men in my family - wrong time of year now - but I'm sure they will be appreciated in winter.
I also made one in a red based yarn by Twilleys (yes - not kiwi yarn - sorry!) 'freedom spirit' that I bought a number of balls of at the same sale.  I will be knitting many more of these, they feel so yum!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Swimming Bag

I suddenly had the great idea that K didn't have her own swimming bag - and I could make one for her a Christmas gift from us.  Not from Santa - she had already seen the fabric I had chosen from my stash!

I'd bought this fabric about three years ago from Bolt of Cloth in Christchurch but it had sat unused as it really didn't appeal as just fabric - it looks much better as a bag!

I found a great set of blog posts by 'Sarah Jane Sews' and copied her measurements and slightly adapted the corners to suit my needs.  I also made a small pocket for the inside - it is lined in the same waterproof fabric as the inner - so that K can put small change, a note or card in there, and it will be safer than on the outside.  I also made my own cord from double fold pink homespun cut grainwise (not bias).

A great project as all the supplies came from my stash.

Ssshhhhh!  Don't tell  - K doesn't know about this yet!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Pencil Roll

I've made a few of these before but this was the first time I documented my finished effort.  They have been very popular as presents so this was made as a gift for a niece's birthday.

I heavily adapted a pattern from Joelle Hoverson's 'Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts'.  Instead of a variety of fabrics I just used one with a stripe.  I also made a velcro tag rather than a tie, easier for five-year-olds to put together.  The pencils are good quality Faber-Castell triangular ones, just right for young fingers.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

K and her matching owls

I made this Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse for K recently with fabric I had used before.

Last Christmas I used the same owl fabric with a contrasting yellow to make an Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for a niece.  It was number 31, seen here.

Last summer I also made a shortened version of Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo pants for K using the leftover yellow and owl print.  I love the front pockets in these!  They were number 49 in my O+S count, here.  K really liked the owl print so I managed to track some extra down at Spotlight to make the blouse.

I adore the Class Picnic Blouse pattern and am getting very quick at making it.  K enjoys wearing it - and as a mum I like how it covers most of her neck/shoulder area from the sun.

This is number 67 in my O+S count.  :-)

I reached a plateau in my Christmas sewing by completing my final birthday gift and some festive presents for family in the North Island.  These were posted off yesterday.... along with a tree decoration and some hand-me-downs for the younger niece.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Summer Getaway (Blouse)

Me... go away on holiday at the moment???  Not a chance!

In among the Christmas sewing I snatched the chance to make this blouse for myself:

It is the "Weekend Getaway Blouse (and Dress)" by Liesl+Co.

The fabric I purchased at Spotlight - it is a very lightweight cotton voile and will need to be worn with some type of singlet.  A lovely top to wear on hot summer days. 

It was difficult to photograph - especially as the above image was by a photographer who is under five and standing on a picnic chair - so I have included a close up of the print.

I'm mostly pleased with the blouse - it was super easy to make (no buttons etc) and the pattern gave great advice on finishing techniques and sizing.

I'm not quite sure if I got the sizing right, or even whether it is the right style for me.  I think I'll try making it in a darker print and maybe go a size down next time.  I will make it again - I'll just have to hunt for another great fabric.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Little Hat

I caught up with a school friend recently who is expecting her first child.  I wanted a quick and easy gift so chose a knitting pattern I had been keen to use - Just Jussi's 'Aviatrix' baby hat.

It was a fantastic pattern to knit - I used a double knit (8ply) in a possum/wool mix that I had bought at Milton's wool mill shop in April.  It was a 300g hank and I paid only $8 for it!  I made this hat in size 6 months and it took about 35g of wool.

I have been sewing away on my Christmas list and had this gorgeous pile of fabric this afternoon:

I'm not saying which pattern, but an experienced O+S sewer would recognise the layout!  Two in size 4, three in size 5 (one for K) and one in size seven.  Most of the fabric is from the Lisette range at Spotlight that I mentioned here.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Gift for a Niece

One of my nieces has a birthday soon so K and I made her a flower purse.  It's very pink and very girly so I'm sure she'll love it.

Just the sort of thing that can be used for play and for taking on real shopping trips!

The pattern is a free one on the Ottobre magazine's website.  The direct link for the pdf is here.  I recommend the pattern as it was easy to follow and quick to complete - the only thing was that all the measurements are in metric so you have to convert back to imperial if you are like me and need to use your patchwork rulers.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Garden Update

The garden has been keeping me very busy recently - and it is mainly the vegetable side - I have barely done anything to the flower garden apart from water it.  I did plant out some buxus and perennials, plus two pear trees, at the edge of my boxed vegetable garden.  See this post for earlier photos.
The obelisks have either runner beans or sweet peas growing up them.
I am really pleased with how it is looking - I love the 'english' style of gardening.  I need to add more bricks and when possible, continue the edges to meet up with other bricks.  Apart from the large pear tree ('Conference') I grew everything from cutting or seeds.  The smaller pear tree is a Williams' bon chretien and as they are used as rootstock for most pear varieties you can grow them from seed.  The rose in the distance is a cutting from my mother's 'Graham Thomas', but it looks very neglected as it has been in a pot for too long.

Everything is growing fast - including the weeds - and it is the season for planting out those frost sensitive vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and pumpkin.
From back:  Potatoes ('Rocket'), Peppers (Capsicum - the rest are in my glasshouse), spring onions, and miserable looking carrots and radish.
From back:  Strawberries and lettuce - with the odd potatoes sprouting through.  I'm going to plant cucumbers where the lettuce are.  Young rhubarb are in the background.
From back: Celery, cabbage with lettuce, then broccoli with lettuce - I'm trying to maximise space.

My 'ordinary' garden has tomatoes, carrots, more potatoes, leeks, onions, more rhubarb, asparagus, and the berryfruit.  I now have the paddock garden fully planted with potatoes, peas, yams, heaps of onions, garlic and shallots, pumpkins, corn, some beet (for chickens) and sunflowers (for K).

We're eating heaps of asparagus and strawberries.  I almost filled a 2L container with strawberries yesterday, but that was a catch-up on the previous few days.  Time for jam!
An earlier pick!

Our wee chick is growing fast: but we now think it is a blue cochin rather than an orpington.
Photo taken a week earlier - the chick moves too fast for my camera!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Puppet Theatre for Playcentre

K and I go to a local Playcentre twice a week and it is a great opportunity for her to get involved in all sorts of exciting play.  She loves dressing up and acting out stories and adventures.  One of the goals at our parent-run centre is to get children more into storytelling.  So I volunteered to make a puppet theatre to help facilitate this.

I chose to make the Oliver + S 'Little Things To Sew' Puppet Theatre.  This pattern is from my favourite craft book and was great to follow - and I was even able to add width to my theatre easily (just 4").  I have also used a thicker piece of doweling for the top and drilled holes in each end of it to thread some string - so I didn't need a tension rod.

I have plans to make another one - and will remember next time to use quilting weight fabric (or similar) for the curtains - I used curtain fabric and it is too thick for a child to pull across the rod.  I'll also make the next one a bit fancier and may play with the layout of the windows... plenty to plan for!

This is number 66 in my O+S count!  Whew!

I'm going to join in with the 'Little Things To Sew: Cover to Cover Challenge' run by 'Bartacks and Singletrack' as I have plans to make even more from this wonderful book.

Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Little Pouch

After working away in the garden and making presents for male family members I decided I wanted to make something pretty - so I had a go making one of Noodlehead's Open Wide Zippered Pouches.

I made the medium size using a print from 'Sew Stitchy' by Aneela Hoey and various matching pink homespun cottons.  The outside is made using a 'quilt as you go' method on to batting and canvas.  This did make the sewing of the pouch tricky because of the thickness involved - but it all worked well and I am super happy with the result!  The pattern is fantastic - for the first time making I wondered how it was all going to work but the pattern repays that trust with a very clever design.  I can see why this is such a popular tutorial in the blog-sphere.

I made it as a Christmas gift - but somehow my knitting has used it as a new home - and well it was easy enough to make I might have to sew up some more!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Oliver + S Items 41 - 60

I've been super busy in the garden... lots to do in spring!

And I have made a good start on Xmas gifts - but of course I can't share most of those until after the big day!

So I thought I'd better finish of my list of Oliver and S sewing.

See previous posts here and here.
  1. Pop-over Sundress in Cape Ann pink dahlias.
  2. Pop-over sundress for 4 year old niece
  3. Pop-over sundress for gift - here
  4. LTTS Bear Carrier in pinks - here
  5. Another LTTS hat in chambray and pink (Cape Ann - remnants of #58)
  6. Sleepover PJs in light pink with broderie anglais trim - here
  7. Sleepover PJ pants in green and blue - here
  8. Badminton skort as skirt in fine red/white stripe
  9. Field trip cargo pants as shorts - yellow
  10. Field Trip raglan in striped merino - here
  11. Field Trip raglan in white knit
  12. Field Trip raglan in cream merino - here
  13. as above - I made two!
  14. Field Trip raglan in blue - here (as above)
  15. Hopscotch top in white - here (as above)
  16. Fairy Tale dress in blue - here
  17. Sunday Brunch skirt in denim
  18. Family Reunion dress in Cape Ann fabric - one of my favourites
  19. Roller Skate dress in pinks
  20. Roller Skate dress with flowers - here
I have also cut out a LTTS apron, another hat and have plans to use one pattern for Xmas presents.  Plus many other plans!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Something Old and Something New

I have three sewing machines and an overlocker - all of which work. 

My first machine was a Globe Cub I got pre-loved for my fifteenth birthday.  It was a gem and I sewed many miles on it.  Then when I got into patchwork and realised that any form of quilting was impossible on it (no walking foot, no lowering of feed dogs) I purchased a Bernette 65.  It does a good applique stitch but I can't really think of many other ways to praise it.  A year after that my Nan passed away and I was lucky enough to get her Bernina 930 - an awesome machine!  It's a really solid machine and great for both clothes sewing and quilting.  I think of my Nan every time I use it and I'm sure she's pleased it is so well loved.  I also have a Bernette 004D overlocker (serger) which I am assured is as good as a Bernina.  I'd be lost without it too.

But.. recently I've been wanting a machine for purely decorative purposes so have been browsing our local auction website.  Last week I won a vintage Singer sewing machine for the great price of $1.50 (one dollar fifty - this font is hard to read).  I don't think they made much money out of me as I noticed that it was first listed for $75.  It doesn't have a powercord or a foot pedal but does appear to work by turning the handwheel.  It is in 'good' condition but I'll try to clean it up a bit.  For a first attempt at buying a vintage machine I'm happy.  I've googled it to find that it was made in February 1932 in Clydebank, Scotland.

Dear H asks if I'm going to sell any of my machines - but no - I'll keep the Cub for K and the Bernette is a back up for my Bernina. 

Onto the new - I've been sewing in knits and the only thing I've completely finished and am happy to share are these gorgeous undies for K.

They are from the pattern 'that*darn*kat Children's Undies' that have appeared in numerous blogs.  I like how you can use any knit fabric for the main and match it with a cotton lycra for the bands.  The fabric I used was a small piece of Hilco (I think) interlock that feels really nice.  Next time I'll lower the front slightly but K is very happy with them so I am too!

The fabric reminds me that we've eaten two strawberries from the garden and see many more starting to turn red!  Yum!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Chook Developments

I've been spending a lot of my time recently walking to and from our chook/lamb paddock.  Luckily it is only through the yard - but there have been lots of things to keep an eye on.

Firstly we have got a new hen-house for our girls.  It's second-hand but we've got good value for money because it is solid and well designed.  It came from the same retiring breeder we got some of our hens from, so we know that it is going to do the job.

It was rather a mission to move, especially as we had gales blowing and a hi-ab driver who cut his head on another project.  We had to remove the skids while it was being held up by the hi-ab but it sat well on the trailer. 

When we got it home dear H had the very clever idea of using two loaders to slowly lower it in place.

Yeah!  H, K and I have been busy setting up our chooks' new home and now that they have moved in we're all very happy!

Now - onto the next development.  See this wee thing... it is our black Orpington chick that came out on Sunday.

We had hoped to have some siblings for him/her but the eggs didn't produce what we had hoped.  The mum is super-devoted and we do have a thing about single child families on this farm.  :-) 

It just might take a while to fill our new hen-house.

In case you're wondering the lambs and hens don't seem to bother each other - unless the lambs are trying to get into the hen-house and I have to herd two mobs of animals!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Flower for Jewellery

I've had my eye on the Straight Stitch Society Forget-me-not Jewelry Pouch sewing pattern for a while and I finally made it for a family member who is having a birthday soon.

 It was super easy and looks really fantastic!

I made it in three pinks from the 'Sew Stitchy' range by Aneela Hoey for Moda and love how they make it look.

I didn't have a great look at the photos that went with the pattern and somehow I thought that the petals were inside the pouch - I just didn't realise there were two versions in the pattern.  The petals are gorgeous but the pouch would still look great in a vibrant fabrics without them.  I think I'll try it like that next time - it would make a great quick gift - and use less fabric and fiddling to cut them out.

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