You may have seen me make mention a couple of times of a group that I’m part of called the WSBN: Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network.  We’re a group of somewhat single like-minded women who share a joy of sewing.  In the middle of winter, Gemma from Sixty Six Stitches suggested that we kickstart our mid-winter blogging again with a tour of all our sewing rooms.  Most of us acquiesced, the tour started on the first day of September (the first day of spring!) and now we’ve arrived at the end (slightly behind schedule, I will admit (and it’s all my fault).

If you want to start at the very beginning, pop on over to Gemma’s post, which was the first stop on the tour, and follow us all the way through.

Now, when I signed up for this, I knew I had a holiday booked, and a market to prepare for the day after I got home (and for the two weeks before I left) but I was feeling confident that I could still make it happen, as long as I had a couple of days grace after my return.  So I was scheduled for the 22nd.

For your titillation, I actually did take some photos on the 21st, while my workroom was in full post-market chaos.

WARNING, it ain’t pretty. Read the rest of this entry »

Oops, today was supposed to be my turn on the WSBN Sewing Room Blog tour, but I had an unfortunately long day at work today, and I’m not going to be able to finish it all up tonight.
The wonderful Maryanne from Sent from my iRon has offered to step up and add her post a day early, so that you won’t all be left hanging today, and all going well I’ll be back with my post tomorrow.  She’s also rounded everything off very nicely with a full list of ALL of the stops on the tour, in case you’ve missed any, or are totally new to the tour!

 

Last week I told you all about day one of my awfully big bike ride: as much of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail as I could manage in 24 hours.  And I promised you pictures, which the absence of rain made possible.

The morning of December 31 dawned nice and early. At least I presume it did, it usually does at this time of year. And I’m usually still asleep when it does.  I had every intention of getting up early and setting off somewhere between 9 and 10 am, but in all truthfulness, it was the first night we’d spent in our own bed in a week, and it was rather lovely to not wake up in one of our mothers’ spare single beds or on the single mattress on the floor beside it!  In the end, I started pedalling away from Maymorn station at 10:58 am.

Maymorn to the car park at the start of the Rimutaka Incline.

Maymorn to the car park at the start of the Rimutaka Incline.

I’d had some misgivings about the first section of the second part of the trail. Read the rest of this entry »

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Harakeke

Harakeke (NZ Flax) on the path to the Petrified Forest in the Catlins

As much as I curse them as they try to slap my face as I’m cycling along the waterfront on my way to Wellington, I think that harakeke in bloom are a thing of great beauty.  In fact, I might even be a little bit obsessed with drawing them – if you ever come across a page of my doodles, you will almost certainly find a few of them.

I also love the statuesque forms of cabbage trees (ti kouka) striding across the landscape. Even in utero I had an obvious affinity with them – my mother’s waters broke while she was at an art gallery looking at a painting of a cabbage tree!

So, when I did a introduction to screen printing class last year at Wellington Makerspace, and needed an image at short notice, it’s little surprise that this is what I came up with.

Ti kouka me harakeke

Oops, I only have a tiny camera phone picture of it!

One of my current business objectives is around starting to create my own fabric designs. Now, this is definitely a bit of a stretch goal for me, for although once upon a time I was going to be a primary school teacher specialising in art education, somehow over the last 20 years I’ve drawn less and less.  I guess this is going to force me to draw more!  I also have a bit of upskilling to do in terms of my digital image manipulation, so I can begin designing fabrics for digital printing as well. But in the meantime, I’m looking forward to rekindling my teenage love of printmaking.

All this brings me to the first fabric of the week for 2014 – my own design, Ti Kouka me Harakeke, screen printed onto calico or upcycled heavy white drill, in chocolate brown or dark green.  Products you can have made from this are:

  1.  Simple calico tote, Height: 40cm, Width: 35 cm – $25
  2. Market bag, white cotton drill, reinforced flat bottom, Height: 35 cm Width: 33 cm Depth: 10cm – $40
  3. Small piped cushion, calico, with vintage button closure on back, Height: 35 cm, Width: 35 cm – $60
  4. Lampshade, calico, design printed multiple times around circumference, Diameter: 30cm, Height: 27 – $90

Here’s what it looks like made up as a cushion.

A handmade cushion featuring my Ti Kouka me Harakeke print

Ti kouka me harakeke (Cabbage tree and flax)

 

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A couple of years ago to took up cycling (again) as a form of rehabilitation. When I started my year of productive non-employment in mid-2011, one of the things I wanted to do was get myself back into shape. The means of doing this that I’d chosen was the Couch to 5 km programme from Cool Running. 4 weeks into that however, and I discovered that my ankle injury from late 2010 wasn’t going to let me do it. Months of physio, sports medicine, injections and other interventions later, it was clear that I needed to keep my ankle moving, and cycling seemed to help rather than aggravate it. By the start of last year I’d seen one of my friends increasing posts on the cycling she was doing, and felt pretty inspired by it.  By that point, I’d already achieved my initial goal of cycling into Wellington (20km) a few times.

My bicycle

This is my bike. It is pretty, and it is comfortable.

I started to look for some challenges to keep me going (cycling there and back wasn’t providing enough of its own incentive). I decided to sign up for the GrapeRide, but I was realistic about what I could achieve in 3 months, and went for the 42km option.  At that point I also decided that by the end of the year, I’d be capable of cycling 100km in a day.  Now, as we know, I didn’t quite make the GrapeRide, but it certainly gave me motivation to keep going on my bigger goal – and I still plan to sign up for the 101km version this year. I also decided somewhere along the way that I was going to earn my new bike – putting a dollar into the budget for every kilometre I cycled. I can’t quite remember when I made that decision, but I tracked 1022 km of cycling in 2013 (I suspect there may have been a few unrecorded trips), so that’s my budget.

Now: did I do it? Did I cycle 100km in a day in 2013. Well, yes and no. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here we are, the start of 2014, and the time of year when people talk about their New Years Resolutions.

I’ve never really been the sort of person to make them. When I was younger, I was pretty much of the attitude “Well, I could make some, but I’m never going to stick to them, so why bother?” As I got a bit older, it was more “Why set an arbitrary date to turn your life around?  If something needs fixing, start working on it when you recognise it.”

I never really considered myself to be a goal-setting kind of person either – I think because of the fact that when I was a teenager, my friends were setting themselves resolutions, and even goals throughout the school year, but I wasn’t. So it was a bit of a surprise recently when I met a friend of a friend, who had earlier that evening also met my husband.  When she twigged the relationship (he wasn’t present), suddenly she was telling me how awesome and inspiring she thought I was, based on how Ryan had described me to her.  Apparently I’m a closet goal-setter after all! Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Monday, 10 days before Christmas, and I finally feel like I have a little chance to breathe after the madness of Christmas markets and extra busy days at the shop.

Apparently Indigo has a sweet tooth

Apparently Indigo has a sweet tooth

 

I’d love to spend the day lazing around in my pyjamas, and being amused by the neighbourhood cats, however, there are a number of things I have to do today, so here’s a little list:

Things I HAVE to do today:

  • Wash fabric, let it dry, cut out and get started stitching up a bespoke satchel that is needed before Christmas
  • Make some more wallets
  • Make some more visual diaries
  • Do the weekly sales report for the shop
  • Get a massage (that one is locked in)

Things I really Want to do today:

  • Go for a bike ride
  • Make myself some shorts (I have none, and it’s starting to be so summery)
  • Make myself a new dress for Christmas Day
  • Catch up with friends for a drink (unlikely to happen, as the timing for my massage would mean two trips into Wellington)

I wonder how many from both lists I can fit into today…

What is your day looking like?

 

P.S. Fabric of the Week will be back in the New Year.  I’ve been so busy making stuff for markets that I’ve been using too many different fabrics to mention.

 

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Hello!

I’ve been busy catching up on all sorts of things, and I’ve been meaning to post all week, but here I am, just managing to get to it at the end of the week.

I’ve got a few markets coming up over the coming weeks, and seeing as it’s Christmas and all next month, I thought it would be nice to make a few toys.  So this week I’ll be cracking out the polar fleece.

It's a pile of polar fleece!

It’s a pile of polar fleece!

Ok, so it doesn’t look to fancy like that, but remember these guys: Read the rest of this entry »

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Hello folks.

I’ve decided that as I’m still trying to get caught up on my making from the last fabrics of the weeks, I’m going to take a little hiatus this week.  I think it’s better that I do that, than try to push myself madly and end up getting run down again.

In the meantime, here’s something else I’ve worked on recently…

It’s WoW season at the moment – a big event in the Wellington cultural calendar.  Entries are received from all over the world for the extravaganza, and many tourists from around New Zealand, Australia and further abroad too.  The retail sector in Wellington has a bit of fun with these type of events, and many stores will have fantastically decorated windows as part of the festivities.  We do this sort of thing for major movie premieres too.

This year it was my turn to do the WoW window at Made it.  I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a year or so for this, so it was pretty satisfying to turn it into reality.

Detail view of the bodice on our WoW window dress. It is black, and features external boning made from umbrella ribs.

Dress for the weather

Wellington has a bit of a reputation for being a windy city (you can say that either way – wind speeds of 100+km/hr aren’t that uncommon, plus all the hills make our streets rather sinuous).  You can always spot the newcomers on a rainy day – they’re the ones trying to wrestle with an umbrella.  My record for having one turn itself inside out and collapse was half a block. (I did take it back because I figured that was ridiculous!)

City bustle

I liked the idea of doing a representation of that in a wearable garment.  This dress incorporates the ribs both in the external bodice boning and in the bustle, which is shaped like a collapsing umbrella (literally – I cut the fabric using an umbrella as the pattern).

Front view of the dress

Umbrella ribs form the boning – with a nod to architectural styling from the 1920s

 

 

The underside of the bustle, showing the umbrella ribs supporting it.

The bustle is also supported by umbrella ribs. I’ve certainly seen many umbrellas that resemble this after a typical Wellington gust.

I had lots of fun making this.  It probably took about a day of work all up, and there was lots of problem solving along the way, especially in attaching the ribs so that they would wrap around the bodice and support the bustle.  I had to temporarily wire them in place while I made the overskirt and stitched it in place.

When I was buying the materials, I chanced across some spools of vintage sequins, so they spill over the umbrella like raindrops (totally on-brand raindrops, as they match our brand colours for the shop).

Full length view of the dress.

This is what it looks like from the front.

 

Have you had a chance to check out some of the other windows around Wellington? If so, which is your favourite?  I think my favourite is the dress made from broken sunglasses at Sunglass Style (number 22 on the map, and just around the corner from us).  And if you got to go to WoW, what did you think of it?  I’ve never made it yet – I really must get myself organised next year!

 

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I’m sorry I’m a day late this week: we had a night out with friends yesterday, that turned into a very late night after a little incident with a parking building that changed its night time access…

I’m going simple this week.  I’ve always loved this print in pink and orange diamonds, with a sweet floral detail.  For some reason it reminds me of old-fashioned wallpaper, and at the same time Roald Dahl books.  I think it is somewhat reminiscent of the Quentin Blake illustrations.

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I’ve had this fabric for a while, and I have made some notebooks and wallets from it in the past.  I have just enough left of it for a lampshade, and maybe if I’m parsimonious with my cutting a coin purse too.

I know that’s not a lot, but I came down with a virus a fortnight ago that really knocked me around.  I don’t think I’ve ever taken as much Ventolin before as I had to this time (plus I was on other meds too).  I ended up having to cancel two fairs last weekend as I was just too ill to leave the house.  I also didn’t get much sewing done in that time, so I’ve got a bit to catch up on from the last two fabrics of the week as well.

PS It was really lovely to log in and see that so many of you had checked in since yesterday. Thank you!

 

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