Sunday, 27 January 2013

Beans and Onions

I am determined to grow as much as I can of our own food - but it is a learning experience.  Some grow well one year - but not another - and only sometimes can I work out why.
Onions has been my nemesis this year.  I sowed heaps in punnets but some were just too late.  Hence I have some great onions...
and some not very good at all...
Next year I'll plant them all earlier as I have since learnt that onions need to have well grown leaves before the longest day - after that they concentrate on bulking up the bulb.  They are day-length sensitive plants.

Over the last few years I have been experimenting with beans for drying - kidney and pinto - and this year looks good!
I planted them originally as ordinary eating dried beans from 'Piko Wholefoods' in Christchurch and this is the third year of replanting.  I planted these last October (after the risk of frosts) and they have grown well since then.  They are podding up now and I anticipate picking dried beans before April.  Both Red Kidney beans and Pinto beans are bush beans.  We live in Canterbury, NZ, and are about 43 degrees south and probably have a climate similar to central France.

Update in April:  Started harvesting beans in mid February.  All the red kidney and pinto harvested within the month.  The black beans were slightly later - but had been planted a little later as well.  Great yields - am very pleased.

I have also tried growing Black Beans (left) and Chickpeas (right).  The beans look promising, while I am a bit short on pods on the chickpeas - but there are still many flowers on them.
April Update: Harvested a bit late but got a good amount of chickpeas - if I had been more prompt I would have saved many more from small animals.
Here is a view of my beans alternating between rows of 'Agria' Potatoes - the very best! 
We are lucky enough to have access to extra potatoes direct from the paddock of a local grower.  So I think we'll have plenty this year!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Small Delights

I had some fabric left over from two dresses I had made as gifts so I decided to use some for K.

I had seen several of these doll/soft toy sleeping bags on Pinterest so thought it was about time I had a go myself.  Much easier with pre-made bias binding.  Must do more of it!

This was a huge hit with K as well as Scotty Bear.

As I still had some of the fabric left I used it to make some more boxers.  The pyjama pants are made with a different colour of the same fabric (DS Quilts - from Spotlight).  Both need matching tops - but I plan to make those from knit fabric so will wait until I have changed my sewing machine over to ball point twin needles.

Friday, 25 January 2013


Made this from 'Homespun no. 107; vol 13.4' as a gift for my sister in law. I really enjoyed the stitchery part and it makes me think about future projects.  The fabric is from the range 'The Sweetest Thing' by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Summer Tidy

The hot weather has meant I am keen to find easy jobs inside and one of them has been to tidy my sewing room.  To make storage easier I have completed two long thought out projects.
One has been a spool holder to keep my reels out of a tangle and well away from little fingers. The workmanship is not the greatest but I am really pleased with it.

The other item is this set of pockets. Made to replace a net curtain on the door it reuses the cords that were top and bottom. It was very easy to fill!

Here is a quick snap of some gorgeous sweet peas. I planted too many for the obelisk, but they are stunning.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Just like mum

K had been talking about having a dressing gown for a while especially since I got one for an early Christmas present.  So I used a pattern from a 1970s book. The bias pink gingham trim was a huge help in making it a very easy and quick sew, although the sizing could be better. Next time I make a garment like this I'll use raglan sleeves as they accomodate a variety of sizes.

Elmo love!

I have been meaning to make this set for a long time. The sleeping boxers are a pattern practise - they will be slightly shorter next time. The tee was a purchased plain white one.  I found the Elmo face in a colouring book and appliqued it with steam-a-seam. To add durability I raw edge appliqued the shapes.
A very popular pair of summer jim-jams.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Favourite summer dress

The 'Popover Sundress' from Oliver + S has been a favourite for K this summer so we made another one as a gift for a friend.

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