Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fortune Favours the Floral

.... so friends,

I seem to be sewing again, which is something considering the general lack of anything shared here!

I made this skirt using a mashed up (very mashed) version of a cynthia rowley pattern by simplicity 2512. I used the back panel and cut it on the fold twice for the underskirt and then sort of made up the over skirt bit.

The underskirt is in a bright yellow broadcloth which is also the same fabric as the waistband and then I used an organza type fabric with embroidered daisies over the top. I hand stitched the non embroidered selvages up into the skirt by hand (those who know me may keel over with shock here) and I hand stitched the back of the waistband in too - alll whilst watching a film with subtitles - I can hardly believe my own brilliance *wink*.

I wore this to church this morning and it received admiration from young (3 years) and old (grown ups).
I love this colour combo. It does make me realise though I need some other kind of top to wear with it as the black doesn't really spin my wheels.

What colour combos spin your wheels?

love you more than buttercups xxx

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Buy My Book


Recently I decided to take the plunge and get an ISBN and do a physical print run of my book. Because the book is for children and families it just makes so much more sense for it to be a proper physical book (in my mind).

**For those bookish types, in NZ you can get an ISBN number without cost but you have to provide the national library with 2 copies of your book - one for the archives and one for loaning. Which I love the idea of.

This is of course a bit of a risk - when you decide to publish a book yourself you pay all the cost of the book at the front end with no guarantees that you will break even at the other end. Writing this book was never a money making venture of me (tbh, most authors, whatever route they are published don't make a lot from it), but I would love to break even.

example of a page - there are 24 like this

I decided to get my book published locally - about 5 minutes down the road. I know it would have been much cheaper for me to get it done off shore but, as much as I can, its nice to support local people in local jobs and also the thought of trying to do this kind of thing by distance does not excite me.

I also decided to get my book published on the very best paper I could get - 100% recycled, at the highest of international standards and bleach and chlorine free. This felt like the right thing to do too - even though it made it a little bit more expensive for me.

So now 100 copies of my little Advent book are printed! Which feels like a big number to sell but hopefully kind of realistic.

Of course I'm aware we're not even at June yet, but if you like to get things like this sorted early (or you need a whole year to get through the activities - which I completely understand!) you can get yours now.

You can read more about my book here
and you can also read reviews of the book here

Because I want to live hands open I would like to give away the first copy of this book (I can sign it if you like). I am happy to post this anywhere in the world. If you'd like to win a copy just comment here, on my faith blog or on my facebook writer's(!) page.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book, (yay!), it is $25 plus p+p. If you live in Christchurch I may well be able to drop you off your copy - or we could have a coffee??!

In NZ I can post this out in an A4 prepaid envelope so the total cost will be $27.90. At this stage copies can only be purchased from me. Because the mark up is so low it is unlikely at the moment that it will be sold through shops but I'll let you know if that changes at all.

If you live somewhere else and want to purchase a copy/copies please let me know and I will calculate postage and let you know.

You can still buy the kindle copy via amazon which will only set you back about the cost of a coffee if you still want one but your budget won't stretch to a hard copy.

I think that's all for now. you want to buy a copy of my book?

love you more than a big brown box full of a book I wrote! xxx

Thursday, April 7, 2016

So I Sort Of Made Something Else

Babes, How are you?

So, way back in February the Monthly Stitch (way more fun than the general 'monthly') had a UFO challenge - which is essentially about finishing projects you started and abandoned because something better came along.

Surprisingly, given my bone grating difficulty in finishing things (I'm a very enthusiastic starter!), I don't really have UFOs in my sewing room. Also I currently have no sewing room but that's another thing.... anyway

I remembered that I had 2 dresses from op-shops that I needed to do some work on before they could be worn out.

This genuinely vintage number cost me $30 from the red cross shop in Adelaide which is a lot for me to spend in an opshop, but.... the fabric, so good!

I really made very little change to it at all - the hem had been hacked off and required something other than a raw edge. It was a little large so my mama pinned some back darts in and also the side seems were slightly too wide for an a-line. (I think it must have started life as a maxi).

I love this dress - it makes me feel like a 1960s Air New Zealand stewardess. It gets a lot of comments too.

The guy I'm hugging? I don't know his name but he walked past while my sister and I were doing outfit photos at The Tannery. I am a full hugger kind of person - I just don't do limp insipid hugs, urghhh (although there is a too-much line as well, just sayin).

Here's to any kind of creative projects that are finished even if the deadline was ages ago. The Atlas saw the photo titled 'before' in our email box and his face paled as he said, with the dread of a man who hasn't appropriately noticed, 'Have you had a haircut?'

Bless him.

What op-shop scores have you had lately?

love you more than a half hour job that could have been done months ago xxx

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Yeah... I did actually make something!

For someone who's been committed to making something every week for the last few years it's been a lot less making so far this year.

The main reason for this is that we're currently staying with my folks until our lovely tenants move out of our place in May.... It will be 5 months of suitcase living by the time we get into our place, which is a LONG time for a home lover like me.

Recently Deb - one of the most generous people I know - had a clear out and brought it to an evening catch up that Sophie arranged not long after I returned. We all scored big time and I got a pile of fat quarters in my favourite colours (along with a whole lot of other things).

One of the boys had a birthday party to go to and he asked for a Creeper cushion (you've seen enough of those from me so I decided not to post about it). I asked a mum at school who I knew would have a cutting mat and rotary cutter so I could complete the project.... So, I had her stuff for a weekend and the temptation was too great not to play with the fat quarters while the opportunity was there.

Stack and slash I do love you.

Yes only the top is done but without proper sewing space this is as good as it gets at the moment.

Tell me what are you making at the moment?

I have some other plans and a couple of refashions I need to share ... in due course.

love you more than a blue, green and purple combo xxx

Monday, April 4, 2016

Summer Reading - All the Big Themes

So I've been working my way through some novels - while packing and living with others. (urgh! Please can I not be packing and sorting next Christmas and New Years?).

It's always nice to get some reading done during lazy summer days. Again, I'm enjoying the variety of the books that are coming my way, these books to contain some trigger warnings and some are not an easy read. It's amazing how fiction reading can be incredibly challenging.

American Blood by Ben Sanders

This New Zealand author is making big waves with the rights for this book already picked up and Bradley Cooper cued to play the lead. If the Bourne movies/stories are your thing this will be right up your alley. Following a former cop who is now in witness in protection - a missing woman pulls him into a world of drug dealers and underworlders, all the while with a target on his own back. A word of confession, I didn't actually finish this book - the level of violence is a bit high for me and I decided that it wasn't something I would cope with. It is a very compelling read though, intersecting characters with question marks over who is who and where the reader should put their allegiance. * trigger warning - high level of violence.
Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2016 RRP $29.99

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

Another heart stopping read with lots of suspense along the way. This book tells the story of Alex a journalist drowning in her own alcoholism and resulting waning career. It also tells the story of Amy a teenage girl locked in a coma for the last 15 years. Very readable with strong female characters and intrigue. As Alex investigates the story of Amy the walls close in, will she be able to find the answers the police couldn't and will she stay safe along the way? Intense, sad, hopeful...
* trigger warning rape/unwanted sexual encounter. Dealt with carefully and not in explicit detail.
Details - Allen & Unwin, Jan 2016 RRP $29.99

Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe

It's daunting when you get a book to read by a person who has won a Nobel Prize for literature! However, I found this book so much more readable than I expected it to be. Set in Japan and following aging author Kogii Choko as he returns to his home village and assists a group of young actors putting together a play around his books and what promises to be a great revelation as he revisits his mother's sealed box of documents after she dies. The book is slow and expressive, it deals with the big themes of life - relationships, relationship breakdowns, mortality, secrets, pride and sickness. The book as a very fluid kind of feeling and large sections of people's internal thoughts/letters etc. It was a much slower read than I am used to the style forces the reader to emerge into the text and it feels very intense. A totally different read than I am used to.
Details - Allen & Unwin, Dec 2015 RRP$39.99 HB

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I picked this one up from a book sale at a church ladies event (I love how jams and twinsets that term sounds). It's true Picoult, many stories told from different perspectives dovetailing together seamlessly. It's a hard story to read Holocaust accounts from survivor and SS perpetrator. It's a story of redemption, hate, forgiveness, prejudice and more. I wouldn't say readable -I squirmed and grieved while I read it - knowing these kind of stories are still playing out on a world stage while we chose to turn our heads the other way. Much to learn and ponder. * trigger warning murder and concentration camp vivid recounts included. I found these aspects very difficult to cope with but I equally felt this was a very important book to read.
Details - Allen & Unwin, March 2013 RRP $29.99

So what are you reading and what books have challenged you on deep levels?

love you more than an evening of reading xxx

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Summer Reading - Bounce and Flip

Hi Friends,

It's Bounce and Flip here to tell you about some of the books we've been enjoying this summer (while Mum and Dad pack our house ready to move again - it's been pretty messy in here!). We made a great start on these reviews and then moving put everything on hold for a bit!

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This is a book we bought for Dad for Christmas. He's been wanting to read it to us ever since we were born but Mum has been holding him off. The story is about Brian Robeson who ends up stranded in the forest - alone with no help except the hatchet at his belt.
Bounce says - It was good and he survived which is very, very lucky and I loved the book.
Flip says - I like that he managed to make stuff. I really liked how realistic it was especially the bit about the wolf. I think 7+ would enjoy reading this book.
Mama adds - This is a book I used to start the year reading to my year 7 students. It's an engaging and powerful read for children towards the end of primary school, our boys took a little bit of time to get into it but they really engaged once we started. * Contains - divorce and an affair (no details other than the son seeing his mother kiss a man in a car park that wasn't his dad). Paulsen also has a series of simpler adventure books to read as well as some follow-on novels from this one so if it's well received there are some good options to follow it.
Details - Macmillan November 2005 RRP $14.95

Diary of a Tennis Prodigy by Shamini Flint

Another in the stories of the sport hating Marcus, whose father is determined to see him become a sporting star.
Flip says - I like that he finds a new sport in the end (hint: it isn't tennis!). When he was in stealth mode at the start I thought that was really funny and also when he got hurt with lots of tennis balls. The tennis ball machine fired them and he was supposed to hit them, but it didn't work. I really enjoy every one of this series so far and I hope there's lots more to come. This book could be enjoyed by 5+.
Mama adds - This book was pounced on and instantly consumed when it arrived. There was out loud laughing and repeat readings. Illustration rich while still appearing a novel these books are great reads for sport lovers, kids who enjoy humour and less confident readers.
Details - Allen & Unwin,  January 2016 RRP $9.99

Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and Nicola O'Byrne

Here we are trying to read a nice little story about some little ducks when things go awry!
Bounce says - I liked the book when he tried to get out of the book but he couldn't and he just bumped into the book. Children who are 3+ will love this book. It was great.
Mama adds - This is a great book to read aloud to littlies. Lots of anticipation and a naughty croc with holes in the pages. I know this would be a firm favourite with the under 5s.
Details - Nosy Crow September 2015 RRP $ Board Book.

The Last Book Before Bedtime by Nicola O'Byrne

Right, it's the last book before bed and the three little pigs seem set to take out the billing until some other fairytale characters get involved - then things get a little crazy!
Bounce says - I love how all the characters got really naughty and they ripped the book - that was so naughty and funny. It was good how they worked together.
Mama adds - O'Byrne clearly has a real love of the classic tales and interacting through text with her audience. This story takes some of the especially well known stories and mashes them together giving personality to each character. Whose story will win? Will it be romantic, adventurous or scary?
Details - Nosy Crow, January 2016 RRP $27.99 HB

Lafcadio the Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein

Bounce says - I liked that he liked marshmallows even though he had not seen a marshmallow before. I think the ending was good and sad. It was really funny when he wanted a marshmallow suit.
Flip says - I thought it was really funny when he wanted marshmallow everything and whenever someone said no he 'Grrrrr'd' at them and they said 'yes sir, of course'. It was also funny when he made the elevators go up and down heaps of times.
Mama adds - The beautiful book The Giving Tree was penned by the same author and he has a very distinctive way of drawing the reader into the book and including them in the story. The boys loved this book and we all had some lovely laughs along the way. It is not without a more poingnant underlying message of being true to who you are. A great read - I had to read it aloud in one reading because we kept wanting just a bit more!
First published in 1963 this new edition was released to celebrate 50 years.
Details - Faber Factory, Dec 2015 RRP $22.99 HB

The Grunts on the Run by Sir Philip Ardagh and Axel Scheffler

The boys really enjoyed this book. There are lots of 'near misses' and quirky characters for them to love. Definitely a book they could both read independently but we do love reading aloud at our place.  I had a lot of fun putting on the voices and enjoying the boys delight in the humour.
Details - Nosy Crow, October 2015 RRP $17.99

We also got the Beano Annual, the Captain Underpants Annual and Calvin and Hobbes (we are a Calvin and Hobbes family). Have you been finding some holiday time for reading?

love you more than a packed and sealed box xxx

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Swap

ummmm... hi and stuff,

it's been a while

So how's it been gorgeous people? I've been thinking of y'all. :-) Just not blogging.

The wonderful Kimberley, who I suspect may be the sole reason that NZ post hasn't gone under, arranged an Easter swap and I got paired with lovely Glenda. (She doesn't have a blog)

This is what I sent her. Glenda told me she's not much of a chocolate lover so I held off on the chocolate and went more for the birds.

And here is the wonderful parcel I received from her, so many gorgeous treats to enjoy!

Swaps are a lot of fun to do because you have all the joy of putting treats together for another person and all the excitement of knowing an unknown parcel will arrive for you.

So, how's life lovelies??

love you more than a brown paper package tied up with string xxx