Saturday, July 15, 2017

100 Days Challenge 21-30

'Sup peeps?

So I'm still going (not going to use the word strong - just going!) on my 100 days challenge. I'm not sure at all how I feel about the coat, the thinking or even doing the days but I feel like completing something for 100 days has to be good for me - like broccoli and exercise but with less sweat or cutting involved.

Here are days 21-30

Who knows what this will look like at the end...

love you more than a sense of focus xxx

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bookish - The Music Shop

Kia ora lovelies,

Here in Christchurch we are waiting for the promise of snow and hoping not just for sleet. The fire is on and I am reading - oh the bliss! I've just finished The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.

I loved it.

I expected to read it and enjoy it like I do with a lot of 'mainstream' fiction. I expected it to follow a man and a woman, and follow the inevitable route of near misses and true love... my expectations were so superseded.

The book is based in 1988 in Frank's music shop, which staunchly refuses to sell anything other than vinyl, on Unity St. Frank's gift is knowing, being able to hear in a person they most need to hear and leading them to that. Frank's community is Maud, tattoo shop, Kit, music shop assistant, Fr Anthony, religious shop owner... it's a small community but lovely until Ilse Brauchmann enters it.

Or rather until she faints outside the door...

and Frank hears silence.

This book is so readable and so human. It's about people and wounds that walk with them everywhere they go. Sure, the characters are all quirky... aren't we too?

I laughed and I cried. It's a heart filling read and the final part of the book.... oh! yes!

And I will absolutely read other books by Rachel Joyce.

Details - Penguin Random House (Doubleday), July 2017 RRP $37.00 (and it has playlists to go with the characters on this link!)

love you more than a book that delivers more than you were expecting xxx

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pepernoot Coat by Waffle Patterns

Heya Stitchers,
Last year I was thrilled to win a pattern of my choice from Waffle Patterns and I had such a hard time choosing. In the end I went with the Peppernoot Hooded Coat
The thought of sticking so many pieces of paper together lead me to the local copy shop to get the copyshop sized version printed out – never going back! SO much better.
This pattern is absolutely not a quick sew. The patch pockets on the front utilise a ‘welt-style’ opening for the zips and just doing those two pockets with their zips, ironing down the seam allowance and top-stitching took me an hour! The coat is fully lined and I overlocked every seam as well. I went through a spool and a half of thread so that’s a good 150m of machine stitching. (Not including all the hand stitched hems or the overlocking).
The pattern itself isn’t difficult per se, it’s more that there is a lot to do and a lot of extra features like the sleeve tabs, a separate panel down the hood, front and back yokes, concealed zippered front with tab, a lot of top-stitching and it is fully lined.
Overall I think the instructions are good and there are heaps of diagrams for the more visual types. There were 2 parts in the pattern where I had to stop, re-read and then apply my own sewing knowledge and look to the next steps. Because of this, I’d say this is a pattern to attempt once you have a few makes under your belt and some personal confidence in your ability as a sewist.
I used some fabulous fabric from IKEA that I have had for a while. I also have a dress from this fabric– which I made for IPM in 2015. The contrast fabric, for the front and back yoke and strip on the hood, is a cotton sateen that I was given recently, I like the way it breaks up the intensity of the pattern. It is lined in a very lightweight peachy coloured cotton with a tiny polka dot. Keeping with my mission, this fabric is all from stash, although I did have to buy the zips.
The sleeve buttons are some vintage buttons I had in my stash. I love the slightly deco style of them with the curves.
When I measured myself I think I came out as a size 46 (or maybe larger) but when I looked at the final measurements I decided to cut a 42. I felt a bit scared about it as I didn’t want to have a final garment that didn’t fit! I don’t tend to be someone that get very cold so I knew I didn’t need a coat with room for hundreds of layers underneath.
I am pleased with the final fit. I needed to shorten the sleeves slightly and the ‘waistline’ sits very high on me as well so if I were to do another version I may lengthen the bodice. (Being brutally honest though I can’t usually be bothered with altering patterns so I’ll probably just leave it as it is!). 😉
I love this coat. Reading blogs, many sewists seem to start out making all ‘party, party‘ clothes and then work out they don’t really wear them and start to make more ‘wearable staples‘. As y'all know I live in the ‘party, party‘ style of dressing so this make is very reflective of my overall style.
Don’t bee fooled by the ‘black outfit’ I have on under this coat. It’s a top I bought from Zara about 13 years ago and a petticoat. I took off the dress I was wearing over said items (in the carpark after church no less!!!), so that you could get a decent feel for the coat. See how much I love you all?! 
May your top-stitching run straight, your size choice be accurate and your makes bring joy and workability to your wardrobe.
love you more than the sound of fancy fabric scissors cutting through fresh fabric xxx

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Philippa Dress by Muse Patterns

 it’s Indie Pattern Month over at the monthly stitch blog, the time we all go crazy making awesome patterns, celebrating Indie design and sometimes win prizes!
My gorgeous sister Naomi and I do a lot of talking, scheming and ‘opinionating’ (it is totally a thing!) together coming up to IPM. A few days before the challenges were announced we did a full Indie pattern inventory (we had more than we realised) and did some sharing, as good sisters do.
I was really keen to make the Philippa dress by Muse Patterns. I like its 60s vibe and as a dress maker and wearer I thought it would fit my wardrobe. This year I have set myself a challenge of buying no new fabric (second hand is fine) so I had to dive into my plentiful stash.
The fabric I really wanted to use turned out to be too small so I dived again and came up with this fun green, lime and aubergine number cotton drill. Last week I was also given some beautiful fabric offcuts so I used a jade green cotton sateen from the pile for the contrast panels.
In terms of the pattern this is the first Muse Pattern I have made. I measured myself and came out as a 40. I used the D-cup panel option – it comes in a B-cup or D-cup and as a 12E I thought the D would give me the most service!!
I am not a toile maker or pattern hacker I just cut and go, which usually serves me well. And when it doesn’t I’m not too worried, the benefits of not being a perfectionist! 😉  (We’re also having ‘where the heck is our camera' issues at the moment so a *very* wiggly 8 year old took these – less than focussed photos on my phone!)
I liked the order the dress was put together in and found most of the instructions very straightforward to follow. I even used an invisible zip and I am really proud with how it went in.
I was careful when doing the pattern placement to try to keep the central design evenly balanced.
Luckily for me the side seams were the last part of the construction with the exception of bias binding the armholes (SO much better than facings) and hemming. The seam allowance across the pattern is 1cm and I ended up taking a 4cm seam on both sides and then pinning the dress on inside out to curve into the waist part as well (up to another 1.5cm+ at the deepest point).

I’m not sure if the pattern is supposed to have a lot more ease than I wanted but it did seem very large enormous on me in the originally finished state. I was glad that the problem was too big which is much easier to fix than the other way! It was good to be able to adjust it with the side seams though and I was glad to not lose any of the main fabric.
I love this dress. I will definitely make another one (not this week though!). It’s comfy, it’s cute and I can imagine myself having fun with using print on print with the contrast panels. Also, pockets! We all, well most of us, love pockets – amiright?! (And the perfectly matching cardi was a handmedown from my mama last week!)
May your thread be matching, your interfacing be enduring and your sewing room be just the right temperature.
Love you more than an invisible zipper foot xxx

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bookish - Our Stories

Hey Friends,

Recently I was sent some gorgeous board books to look at. Even though my boys are well past the board book stage I still have a large basket of 'perfect for little readers' at home for our littlest visitors.

Having the privilege of teaching in a Maori environment has made me think lately about how important it is for us to be publishing more books in Te Reo.

The joyful thing is that there are children growing up around Aotearoa in Maori speaking households. Children whose parents want to read them books that affirm their first language and give them the same joy that children get in discovering the wonder of beautiful books. It is my very strong belief that these books in Te Reo Maori need to be as well written and as beautiful as any book on offer in English or other languages. We also need to work in Aotearoa to make sure there are a wider selection of these books.

Imagine going into your favourite book store and only having 2 or 3 titles to choose from for your beautiful child?

I know our book market is smaller than most and so this makes it difficult for publishers to maybe justify these choices but thankfully there is also a swell of people who want these books, including non-fluent homes who want to learn, honour and embrace Maori language.

All this to say...! I was delighted to receive the board books Colours for Kiwi Babies and Counting for Kiwi Babies both by Matthew and Fraser Williamson. These simple colourful books feature iconic animals and objects (pavlova) and are written in both Te Reo Maori and English.

These are perfect for any family in Aotearoa and would also make a gorgeous gift for families overseas as well. A little slice of beautiful Aotearoa wherever someone is.

Also on offering is a Hide and Seek Hairy MacLary board book with lift the flaps on each page. Lynley Dodd is an iconic New Zealand author who has justifiable reputation around the world. This one is a nice robust introduction to some of our best loved characters. The book is only in English.

My boys loved Lynley Dodd growing up and we had a board book of Zachary Quack which I think was the first book I lost the will to read for the 4000th time - which goes to show how well it was loved. I remember a particularly long and car sick road trip where we tried to recite all the lyrics with our then 2 year old to distract him from the motion sickness.

Great books for little people you love and the present box.

Counting for Kiwi Babies, Penguin Random House, July 2017 RRP $12.99
Colours for Kiwi Babies, Penguin Random House, July 2017 RRP $12.99
Hairy MacLary, Hide and Seek, Penguin Random House, July 2017 RRP $17.99

love you more than a celebration of beautiful books xxx

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bookish - Saints for All Occasions


The end of term is drawing nigh and winter is deep in so it's the perfect time for novels and hot chocolate and quilts near a roaring fire.

Saints for all Occasions by J.Courtney Sullivan is just the right kind of book for such a season.

The book centres around a few key time periods in the lives of Nora and Theresa Irish sisters who set off to America in 1957. One with the carefree joy of being the younger sister on an adventure without responsibilities and the other the responsible and care-filled older sister off to meet her fiance whom she's not sure she'll still love after time and distance have kept them apart.

The novel opens in 2009 with the death of a son.

I won't say more as I do like to explore a novel and let it tell its own tale without too much background detail already planted.

This book is really enjoyable reading. It's scratches the itch of a moving narrative that has main characters who both see the world from their own perspective. It's also really 'clean' to read - you are going to be able to recommend it and lend it to a friend without apologising for the awkward/ intense sex scenes, terrible swearing or violence.

I really enjoyed the historical context and lives of the characters that were given as much depth and feeling and 'realness' at each age of their lives.

Definite winter time read by the fire literature.

Details - Hachette NZ, June 2017 RRP$34.99 also available as an ebook.

love you more than a winter evening and a good book xxx

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Bookish - A Royal Lullabyhullaballo

Kia ora,

Mick Inkpen is the author of the 'Wibbly Pig' series which was a very firm favourite in our lives when Flip was very small. So I was keen to read his latest offering A Royal Lullabyhullaballo.

The book is all about a little princess on her way to bed and all the distractions that need to be dealt with. The book features fold out pages which are popular (if somewhat hard to keep in good condition with little people) too.

I like Inkpen's (what a great last name for an author/illsutrator!) style and the book is one of those fun ones I can imagine being read for a million goodnights by a little person who decides it is their favourite.

Details - Hachette NZ, May 2017 RRP $19.99

love you more than a perfect goodnight routine xxx

Friday, June 30, 2017

100 Days - day 11-20


I'm still going with my 100 days project. Here are days 11-20. Hoping to manage all 100 days this time round!

For some reason I can't locate my saved picture of day 19!

More details on my project are here.

love you more than embroidery floss xxx

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bookish - Come Sundown

'Sup Peeps,

So I may be exposing myself here a little but I think Come Sundown is the first novel I've read by Nora Roberts. I have heard of her, of course, but not read her. I came to this novel expecting it to be along a similar vein to other big name female authors whom I have read. I was surprised.

The novel is set in West Montana and revolves around ranch and resort owners the Bodine-Longbow family and especially manager/boss/ daughter/granddaughter Bodine Longbow.

The novel initially, after a shocking first chapter, was what I thought it would be in terms of 'chic lit' style. (I'm never sure what term I should use instead of that?!). However it quickly becomes much darker and much more of a 'thriller' in terms of style. The novel is not for the faint of heart - it features rape and domestic violence. By the end of the novel the threads of both stories have woven together and I spent a good part of the novel anticipating the worst for the central characters... I won't point out if I was right or wrong on that.

On the whole, this novel was probably too 'gritty' for me. I appreciate that Roberts has a massive following and I think she has cleverly woven the thriller and chic lit styles together in this novel which is an impressive undertaking. If you are a fan of both genre then this novel will really appeal.

Hitting the shelves in NZ at the end of May.

Details - Hachette NZ, May 2017 RRP $37.99 also available as an ebook.

love you more than a pair of cowboy boots xxx

Monday, June 12, 2017

The 100 Days Project

Hey Hey friends,

I've been trying to keep up with the 100 days project this year. I tried to do the project a few years ago (when I was a lot less busy) and I didn't finish but I do feel like I generally do better on things when I am busy.

The link to my project with all my commentaries is here but here are the first 15 days for your viewing pleasure. My project is all about exploring blindspots, being courageous and beautiful friendships.

Have you ever attempted this kind of project?

love you more than an unlimited supply of embroidery thread xxx

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bookish - One of Us is Lying

Heya Peeps,

Lately I binge read, you know when you keep reading the book you started until you finish it at midnight?, One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus.

I really enjoyed reading this book it has some nice character and relationship developments and moves at such a pace that you keep reading 'just another chapter'. It's a YA novel and covers a lot of 'the' topics - drug use, parents, cheating, homosexuality, friendships, controlling relationships, being yourself...

Five students walk into a detention maintaining it was a set-up. One student dies and then it all unravels from there. Who did it and why and what will the leaked information do to all of them as the case builds?

Initially the characters appear as the typical American teen stereotypes but as the book unfolds they become more than who they appear to be. The book is told from 4 perspectives and transitions between each without unveiling the whodunit until the very end. There are clues along the way but you may or may not interpret them.

Mainly I enjoyed this because it was a mystery and as things became less and less clear cut the characters became more entwined and interesting.

Details - One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, Penguin Random House, June 2017 RRP $21.00

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Nga mihi o te ra,

Doing the 100 days challenge has been meaning I'm being creative but not in a 'completed projects' kind of way.

However I did find a morning to whip up a cute little DIY purse pack I bought a while ago from The Make Company. (When they closed the shop I may have also spent rather a lot of money on... 'this and that'!)

It was very quick to put together and I really like the final result. The friend I made them with said I should do one with embroidery on it - I love that idea so I'm going to have to order some more purse clasps.

Sometimes it's good just to get something made to scratch an itch.

what are you working on at present?

love you more than pink and yellow xxx

Friday, June 2, 2017

Bookish - Option B

Kia ora Peeps,

When I read the blurb to Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant I requested it right away.
Resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us. Even after the most devastating events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and gaining greater appreciation in our lives. Option B illuminates how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can be applied to everyday struggles, allowing us to brave whatever lies ahead. Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity. “I want Dave,” she cried. Her friend replied, “Option A is not available,” and then promised to help her make the most of Option B.

Then when it arrived I thought, 'oh gosh I actually have to read this book and reflect on it and it could be a hard slog.' Thankfully I was completely wrong about the slog. What Sandberg and Grant have achieved is the perfect mix of narrative with good psychological research and information.

I underlined so many sections in the book and I read it fast. Then I started recommending it in conversations which is always a good sign that it is in fact a book you really, really think is worthwhile.

Essentially I feel like this book is a great read for anyone doing life. We are all faced with challenges and each of us needs the tools to both develop resilience in ourselves but also to be able to respond with compassion and intelligence to the people around us who are facing trauma. Intelligence may seem a strange choice of word but what I mean is to have actual real tools to journey with people we love who are in trauma, rather than just feeling the feels with them. This book provides both of these.

Personally I also felt there was a lot in the book for me to challenge me about my own attitudes to failing and making mistakes and what I can learn from them.

Straight after I finished reading this book a colleague from my work died unexpectedly and we were launched into an incredibly draining and difficult week (and season). Dealing with this as a teacher is a strange thing, there is the sadness, shock and grief that the staff have experienced and then you are also still dealing with children, their responses and their learning needs in the midst of it.

All this to say that this book is such a worthwhile read and it is very readable. I think that the challenge of a well researched book that is grounded in science is to hold the reader. Sandberg and Grant have also really made a wide net - the book could have been one woman's journey through her own grief and related only to losing a spouse but they have stretched the horizon so much broader than that.

Super highly recommend.

Details - Option B, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. Penguin Random House, May 2017 RRP $45.00 (or ask your local library to order it in and place a hold.)

love you more than knowing more than I knew yesterday xxx

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Simple Makeovers

Hey, hey lovelies,

So ages ago I picked up some very 'nana sneakers' in an op-shop for $4. I figured I'd play around with painting them and see how it all unfolded.

Gold acrylic paint + new blue shoelaces = done.

Overall pretty pleased with the results for $4 and about 20 minutes (or less).

What are you making this winter?

I've also joined the 100 day project this year which will hopefully be interesting. This is my project description:
I am going to explore the concepts of 'blind spots', the fear of them, the courage to confront them and the friends who love us enough to journey with us as we expose them and change. To do this I have made a garment from gifted fabric but not sewn the last few seams together. As the 100 days unfold I will add some stitches every day and as they draw to an end I will complete the jacket. A collection of tiny stitches each day and maybe a sentence to go with them... a meditation on courage, surrender and rich relationships. A declaration that I will be more than I am right now. Phil 1v6

love you more than instant projects xxx