I'm lucky enough to have four neices- soon to be five, actually. Plus a small collection of younger cousins to make gifts for this year. You're probably much better organised than me, and have done all your gift-making/shopping already. But if not, I thought I'd share some of what I've been sewing this week for the small girls in our family.
First I made pencil cases and purses from my favourite fabrics, to wrap things like lip gloss, chocolates and hairclips in. Then for my neices aged from 4 to 8 years old, I made some little satchel bags, with matching coin purses for each one. The bags are padded (the one in the first photo above was made from a vintage table mat that was thick and quilted) with a button and loop closure. And then I had some inspiration for the shoulder strap- old leather belts from the recycling centre. I pulled off the buckles and other metal bits, and used the remaining holes to secure the straps to the side of the bags.
Other gifts I have yet to make include a couple of dolls and two ballet skirts. Phew.
Now i've finished my sewing work for the year, my attention is being drawn to lots of other little jobs there are to do- like completing the half-made projects lying around and mending, etc. I did make some stripy clothes for three members of the family: a bright t-shirt for Arlo in stripes of red, white and yellow, and some nautical-style wide legged pants for Keira. Great for running on the beach and stuff like that.
The orange and brown striped shirt is one I made for Tom a while ago, and never got around to mentioning on the blog, but when I pulled it out today I noticed how worn and washed it's gotten already. So I might make him another one if i can find some more stretch cotton on the shelves somewhere- what a mess my studio is in! Sigh- that's yet another project for the holiday.
Here are the pattern details for these garments:
stripy pants- my own pattern (traced from some others that we liked)
Tom and I escaped from town this weekend, to the beautiful Abel Tasman national park where the sun was shining brightly and the cicadas were singing. We attended a friend's 30th birthday party at his family bach- nestled in a little bay accessible by boat. It was a really beautiful place, and such a luxury to be away camping at this time of year. The day before we left, I heard news reports of snow throughout England and emails from Norwegian friends who were looking out of their windows at a white world. I'm loving our warm weather here but I felt a pang for that Northern European Christmas cosiness and made a snowflake ornament for our Christmas tree and another for a friend. It's embroidery on wool felt, and inspired by this, of course. Hope you're enjoying Christmas preparations, whichever season you're in.
The first poppies came out in our garden yesterday, and to celebrate I made this little felt poppy brooch- I wish we really did have blue poppies growing but they all seem to be red around here.
And today is Keira's last day at kindergarten for the year, so I also made some small flower pins for the team of ever-patient, ever-kind teachers that work at her school. Arlo helped me wrap them up. He's good like that.
In the eternal search for Christmas gifts, some friends and I joined forces to make batches of soap throughout November. We cheated somewhat, in that we didn't make our
soap from scratch with lye or other chemicals. Instead, we used the
remilling method, as described here. We bought blocks of plain soap base (handmade locally- if you're in NZ you can buy it here) and grated it up, added water and melted it in a double boiler. The fun part was choosing the additions - in most batches, we used essential oils (lavender, lemongrass, mandarin) but i made a batch with just vanilla beans scraped from their pods (that one is the least scented.) It was fun to do it with friends and drink a glass of wine or two and have a good chat. Although perhaps it's just as well we didn't make it with the dangerous chemicals- I can be clumsy with wine in hand.
My idea was to wrap the soaps in waxed paper with string, and add a handknitted washcloth to each parcel of soap. Just like the ones in the photo above. Aren't they beautiful? They were a gift from Suse in Australia. Thank you, Suse. Maybe next year I'll start my gift-making a little earlier so that I can include a bit of knitting too. But I say that every year...
I've put some new things in my etsy shop today, and I think this will be my last 'shop update' for a few weeks- I'm really looking forward to having a break and making some presents for Christmas and maybe some summer clothes for the kids.
But, I want to offer a little sale in my shop for all my kind and dear blog readers- to thank you for your amazing support of my work this year. It's so very much appreciated! I will refund 15% of any purchases made this week- just leave the code 'swans' in the 'message to seller' box.
If I send parcels overseas this week I think there's a pretty good chance they will arrive before Christmas, but I can't guarantee it. I'll do my best to send orders promptly though.
Thank you again for following my blog and supporting my work and just being generally awesome. See you back here again tomorrow...
We had a blissfully un-busy weekend, so I took the children for a play and walk at a nearby river. Truth be told, I had an ulterior motive because I've been dreaming about making some wreaths for Christmas and I saw my chance: some spare time, a forest, a pair of scissors and two willing children to collect pine cones and other bits and pieces from the ground.
When we got home, we made these wreaths- one for our front door and one for some friends. To make the frame I used lengths of green willow-branch and twisted them into circle(ish) shapes, and tied them in place with small pieces of florist's wire. I think string/twine would also work. Then I wrapped small pieces of wire around the base of the pinecones and attached those to the frame- and tucked in some other leaves, seeds and those little green magnolia-type flowers. I managed to attached some of the decorations by tying them with toitoi leaves, which are very strong and supple. And I was thinking that I might tuck in some fresh flowers on Christmas day, too.
And so we have a rustic, summery, Southern-hemisphere wreath for our pink front door.
Here are a few things that came out of my little sewing 'studio' this week. The two well-dressed dolls were made for a custom order- for two sisters. And the flower brooch is a piece of very old fabric that I loved and wanted to rescue- even though it was so small.
I couldn't resist trying Margie's idea for making a fabric basket, which I saw on her blog, here.
Have a happy weekend! I plan to do as little as possible.