I hope you had a good weekend. We had a warm and friendly Easter time, surrounded by more family and friends than we've seen in a long while. We celebrated with roasted vegetables and chicken, wine and walnuts, homemade bread and cake, feijoas and apples. And chocolate eggs, of course. It's certainly a great time of year for food around here.
It's misty-grey and smoky outside, but I still managed to find lots of green. The perfect day for staying inside by the fire and reading novels, if the children will oblige.
When the sun catches the yellow leaves of the birch trees outside our window, it looks like they're sparkling gold. Jewel-trees.
We're on holiday here, the children are running around outside and the day's baking (afghans with almonds) is cooling on the kitchen table. I'm enjoying this song- Heirloom, by Sufjan Stevens- it seems so perfectly suited to this golden autumn-time here. I even spent the morning pulling out wilted heirloom plants.
I wish you a happy Easter weekend, if you celebrate it. See you back here again next week.
We don't have a sweets shop in the town where I live, which is rather sad, I think. When I was little there was one that we'd go to sometimes with my Mum. It was tiny and dark with lots of shelves holding clear containers filled with candy of every description (here in NZ, we call them 'lollies'). My favourites were the pastel-coloured powdery bonbons because I was sure they had come from France.
Pictured above are garments I sewed up for my shop update today. When I was finishing them off yesterday, I realised that I was going for a bit of a sweet shop theme without realising it! But I couldn't resist those colours: mint-green, strawberry-pink, grape-purple.
The cardigan was made from an oversized Laura Ashley garment I found at the opshop. The intarsia butterflies spoke to me, they didn't want to be on an adult's sweater anymore. The edges are finished with pink bias trim and the buttons are sewn over plastic snaps for ease of wearing.
I heard on the radio yesterday that groups of monarch butterflies are over-wintering at the tops of trees in the warmer cities of NZ. They cluster together and wait out the cold season and we can contact the NZ Butterfly Trust to report sightings. I'm very keen to find one of these orange clusters- I need to start carrying my camera with me everywhere!
When Keira turned six last month, her aunty and uncle gave her a small disposable camera and a blank album, with a card suggesting she could document her life at six. It turned out to be such a great gift- the actual taking of the photos over a week, (great fun in itself) then waiting for me to remember to get them developed (perhaps not so much fun) then collecting them and looking through for the first time. Next it was time to stick them in the album, and she's half-way through labelling each one.
I plan on copying this idea and giving disposable cameras as future kid's birthday gifts.
It's going to be such a fun thing to look at later on, this week that she turned six. She went to the beach, the supermarket, to visit her grandparents, and had a tea party with her friends. Looking through the photos gave me insight into what it's like to be her, too: the photos of people seem to be taken from so far below them. I'd forgotten what it was like to be so small.
This cooler weather we've been having makes me want to knit every evening. And because hats seem to be the only garment I have the attention span for these days, Arlo got another one made for him last week. For this I used one complete ball of dark grey yarn (Moda Vera, 8 ply) and a 4mm circular needle, and I kept the purl stitches on the outside. The pattern was just sort of made up as I went along. The pompom was a request from A, and I tried to get him to make it himself, but he quickly lost interest- you know what it's like.
Two links on the internet that made me smile over the weekend:
This is another recent library book find of mine: Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris. I found this to be a hilariously funny read. I think it's a must-have for craft blog fans, and not just because the dust jacket can be turned into a stylish bonnet (instructions are given on the back flap.) There is also the plain fact that someone has sharply parodied the handmade movement. And you must admit, we were asking for it.
'Simple Times' draws inspiration from those retro craft books that your Mum used to have on the shelf, you know the ones I mean. Packed full of strangely-technical projects for household items that are more decorative than useful. Amy's book is packed full of such projects, and many more, complete with ambiguous directions and hilariously styled photos. Some projects are extremely dodgy and suggestive. Just so you know.
It's so hard to pick a favourite, amongst all the wonderful ideas packed into this book. There are many things to make with acorns, for example. There are instructions for a fake fringe (bangs) that you can sew inside your hat or wig. Popsicle sticks are another well-used medium. And who doesn't love a well-photographed guide to before and after-crafting stretches. But I think by the end I most admired the Mouse Ghetto (a thoughtfully derelict home you can make for a dying mouse or rat to spend their last moments in.) I love the way A.S thinks.
I'm starting to make some new clothes for the children, and I found this great 1980's cotton fabric in a vintage store near our house. Something about those shades of pink and blue mixed with black really appealed to me. And the grid-like print reminds me very much of the exercise books we used for arithmetic when I was at school. Actually, I'm not sure if that is a good thing... I really loathed learning maths.
The cardigan was made from a much larger jersey-dress that just wouldn't have been flattering on any adult, I don't think. But it was in perfect condition, and black lambswool blended with soft angora made it too good not to use for a child's cardigan. I made bias trim from fine cotton lawn to edge the neck and front of the cardigan. And tiny vintage mother-of-pearl buttons to fasten, because I like them. I made extra clothes for my etsy shop update this week: the angora cardigan and some maths-book skirts-to-order.
K is trying to show that maths-book style doesn't have to be boring. Go, grid-paper!