Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Year that Was


This year I kept a list of the books I read... I've often meant to but this year I managed it. It's been a good reading year for me - 41 books! Some are children's novels so there is a mix of time needed to read them.

I'm also partway through several other non-fiction books which I hope to complete in 2018.

I've put my absolute favourite/s in bold. (At least one per category)

I've blogged a lot of them because I was kindly sent them for reviewing - I really do like being sent books for review. In 2018 I am planning to start studying again (part time) and working (part time) so I'm not sure I will manage as much reading.

Here's the books - in categories:

Children's Novels
The Young Magicians and the Thieves Almanac
The Changeover
Helper and Helper
Wave Me Goodbye

YA Fiction
See You in the Cosmos
Midnight Sun
Things A Bright Girl Can Do
Catch Me When You Fall
The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

Adult Fiction
Her Mother's Secret
The Earth Cries Out
The Last Debutante
Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay
Little Breton Bistro
Keep Me Safe
The Suicide Club
Come Sundown
Saints for All Occasions
Trip of a Lifetime
The Music Shop
Sensible Shoes - Sharon Garlough Brown
Two Steps Forward - Sharon Garlough Brown
Barefoot - Sharon Garlough Brown
The Club of Queer Trades - G K Chesterton

Non- Fiction - mainly about creativity, faith or the arts
The Knowledge of the Holy - AW Tozer
Found - Micha Boyde
Walking on Water - Madeleine L'Engle
Personality and Prayer - Ruth Fowke
Gastrophysics - Charles Spence
The Insect and the Buffalo - Roshan Allpress
Option B - Sheryl Sandberg
The Choice - Edith Eger
The Contemplative Pastor - Eugene Peterson
Called or Collared - Francis Dewar
Every Good Endeavour - Timothy Keller
The Artisan Soul - Erwin Raphael McManus

Kneeling in Bethlehem (Poetry) - Ann Weems

There are some other books I read but I only counted books that I read every word of.

What books have made you smile, laugh, delight in 2017?

What's on your reading list for 2018?

love you more than a proper list xxx

December Makery

Hey Up Friends,

So I've been trying to get some making done and dusted before the year winds down.

As part of Dressember I was sponsored to make two new dresses.

Vogue 8469

I made this in a crazy patchwork look fabric and paired it with a beautiful shot dupion silk sash. Both fabrics  are second hand.

and my totally TNT pattern The Ruby Dress by Simple Sew

I have lost count of how many of these I have made (this isn't the only one I haven't blogged about). I made this out of second had denim I got at the Steiner fair recently. I absolutely love this dress and I'm all kinds of excited about how much fun I will have accessorising it.

I also made to large drawstring bags for my boys to unwrap on Christmas Eve because we had temporarily misplaced our stockings.

Re-sewed several zips.

Made 9 produce bags for my sister for her to use when shopping.

Fixed The Atlas' jeans

and let out the seams in a dress that I had done the wrong seam allowance on.

So, you know, there has been sewing it's just the blogging that's been disappointing!

love you more than mending jobs done xxx

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wearing all the Dresses

Hey Y'all,

So as you may have read I have been doing Dressember which is a fundraising drive for two charities - The International Justice Mission and A21.

It's been amazing and I've ended up with sponsors for every day of December which has really blown me away.

As part of that mission I've been getting the ever faithful Atlas to take pictures everyday and sometimes my sons.

Because I've been a bit missing from here lately I thought I'd share some pics of the December that has been Dressember so far.

I do hope you had an appropriately well-fed, family fueled Christmas.

I've spent today clearing out my sewing room with my favourite sewing partner in crime, my sister. I might share some pics.

Also apparently I love putting my hands on my hips! ;-)

love you more than keeping up to date xxx

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Simplicity 3688 Version 3

Heya Lovelies,

I bought this lovely creasy fabric from Annah Streton fabrics a while ago when they had a big sale on.

I quite this Simplicity pattern. It's high and fitted across the waist and really wide in the leg. Which either makes the pants look more formal or like PJ pants... or both simultaneously.

I'm looking a bit dishevelled in these photos because I've been teaching all day and it's end of year concert o'clock!

I discovered once I'd made them that these pants will only be appropriate with beige coloured giant nana undies. (It's an exciting life I lead!)

Top and necklace also handmade by me.

Done! Now tomorrow I'm into a month of dresses for a great cause.

love you more than the perfect set of undies xxx

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Makey - Another Ivy


A while ago I made an Ivy pinafore in flamingo fabric which I adore. As part of my birthday gift this year my boys sent me to see the World of Wearable Arts in Wellington.

It was a beautiful weekend with some lovely friends and I wanted to make a dress for it, as you do.

I've had this fabric in my stash for a few years now - it started as a black and white print which I used fabric paints and hand stitching to embellish.

Since the event I've continued to wear it for day to day, because I believe in dressing up!

I think all the stitching over the 100 days project has really re-ignited a love for hand stitching in me.

The pattern is from an NZ designer called Jennifer Lauren, fabric and paints from stash, lining also from stash... which is good because I recently fell right off the buy no new fabric wagon.

love you more than fabric sale xxx

Friday, November 24, 2017

Dressember - Changing the World A Dress At A Time

Kia ora Lovelies,

It appalls me that people are bought and sold today, every day. Too often I feel overwhelmed by the scale of injustice and unable to demonstrate my love and solidarity for others. As Helen Keller said, 'I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.' This year I am wearing dresses every day in December and I am asking you to partner with me by doing your 'something' and giving what you can give.

"Dressember" is a month long fundraiser for International Justice Mission and A21 who are both charities set up to end modern day slavery, and people trafficking. They work with victims, governments, set people free and educate people to stay safe from trafficking and recognise trafficking within their communities.

INCENTIVES - Need some motivation?

Donate over $15 AUD - pick a dress and the date I will wear it. Donate over $40 AUD - Special dates choose what I wear on - My birthday (1st), Christmas Day(25th), Speaking at Church (17th), Last Day of School (14th), My Son's Dance performance (18th) Donate over $100 AUD and select from a pile of fabric and I will make a dress especially for the day you chose with the fabric you chose. :-) Yes I will! (only 4 available)

On the day I wear 'your' dress I will also tag you on instagram or facebook (if you have them) while wearing it. Dates (these will be filled in with donors names and choices) 1- My birthday Dress 53, Sponsored by Lorraine :-) 2- Dress 40 - For Isla's Birthday! Sponsored by Nin and Isla :-) 3- 4- Dress 2, for Asher's Birthday! Sponsored by Jen :-) 5- Dress 60, sponsored by Megan in honour of her mama 6- Dress 27, sponsored by Naomi :-) 7- Dress 55, sponsored by Anita :-) 8- Dress 22, sponsored by Kate :-) 9 - Dress1, sponsored by Rachael :-) 10 - Dress 3, sponsored by Stella :-) 11- Dress 16, sponsored by Ian :-) 12 - Dress 54, sponsored by Cat :-) 13 - Dress 36, sponsored by Sharon :-) 14 - Dress 21, for the last day of school - sponsored by Karen :-) 15 - Dress 9, sponsored by Amanda :-) 16 - Dress 49, sponsored by Georgina :-) 17 - Dress 37, for speaking at church - sponsored by Nina :-) 18 - Dress 41 for my sons dance performance - Sponsored by Gwenda 19 - Newly Made Dress! Sponsored by Sarah and Izzy - a surprise for them between fabrics b and e. :-) 20 - Dress 6, sponsored by Juliet :-) 21 - By Sue :-) 22 - Dress 5 by Alison in honour of Rory :-) 23 - Another new dress, sponsored by Sarah :-) 24 - Dress 25, sponsored by Melissa :-) 25 - Dress 34 for Christmas Day sponsored by Kate :-) 26 - Dress 26, sponsored by Ange :-) 27 - Dress 39, Sponsored by Sarah :-)
28 - Dress 63, sponsored by Eve :-) 29 - Dress 15, sponsored by Haley in honour of beautiful Millie :-) 30 - Dress 10, sponsored by Marc :-) 31 - Dress 26, sponsored by Gill :-)

Together we change the world. Ngā mihi nui Miriam

Donate here then tell me what dress to wear! :-)

love you more than changing the world by being who you are xxx

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bookish for Older Younger Readers

Heya Friends,

Intrigued by the post title? I've recently finished reading three extremely different books - even though two are by the same author!

Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (author and illustrator).

This book is aimed at a late primary audience and follows Jimmy and his dream to be an author, publishers, bookshop owner. He is only a 'kid' and he faces many obstacles along the way which he conquers with ingenuity and support from likely and unlikely friends. It is an easy read with short chapters and supporting illustrations. The book also highlights a heap of great reads for kids by weaving them into the narrative. I wasn't sucked in to the book but it has fun, good themes and a readability that I think would appeal to many readers who need an easier in to chapter books.

Themes: perseverance, developing friendships who support you, following your dream no matter what, + having fun and heaps of book recommendations along the way.

Details - Penguin Random House, September 2017 RRP$ 19.99

Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond (co-authors)

It's hard to believe that the same author of the previous book also (co) wrote this title. This is definitely a teen read and has a lot of the themes that sit it firmly in this genre. It follows the unfolding lives of Theo, Jude, Sasha and Parker. All expelled just before the end of junior high. Three of them maintain they were framed, and have no other options. One of them goes off to private school even though he's actually guilty. Theo won't let the injustice of it rest. He's determined to discover who framed them and why. As his dogged determination moves them forward inch by inch what will they discover? How will their lives intersect and cross over and will they actually find the culprit? If they do, will anything change? This book dives head first into some very weighty topics but the narrative doesn't tend to feel weighted down by them. Easy to read, the narrative moves at a good pace.

Themes/content: injustice, unlikely heroes/underdogs, steroid use in high-school athletes, adult suicide, incest, liberal swearing, making friends with unlikely people, secrets, stereotyping.

Details - Penguin Random House, November 2017 RRP $23.00

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

The women's suffrage movement in the UK and 3 young women from very different walks of life find themselves on the wave. Evelyn rich, clever and assigned a life of marriage and babies even though she wants to study. May Quaker, sapphist, pacifist, suffragist but not necessarily suffragette, determined to see justice without violence. Nell who is poor, dresses like a boy by choice, isn't afraid of violence and fighting for a cause. Which of them has the most to lose and who is likely to be prepared to give the most to the cause? Following the history and stories of the women's suffrage movement and the second world war the author has used history to present a fictionalised account of the fight for votes. The story is told from three perspectives and covers the period of 1914-18. I especially appreciated the witty interchanges between the women campaigning on the streets and their hecklers. Also gave me insight into the British voting system.

Themes/content: womens suffrage, imprisonment, PTSD after war (although not called that), homosexuality, educational rights, independence, poverty, pacificism, the Quaker faith, hunger strikes and forced feeding.

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2017 RRP$26.00

There are so many themes explored in novels for younger people these days. While on the whole I think this is good I also wonder sometimes about how much less we explore the things our children are reading and what they are thinking about than we do when they are less independent readers. I hope that high-school English classes are encouraging reading and discussion and that families continue to talk about and share the big themes that can be explored in writing, art and various artistic ways in very meaningful ways.

love you more than the final page xxx

Monday, November 20, 2017

Makey - Simplicity 9613 and McCalls 7120

Kia ora,

Here is a couple of makes in one post :-)

I purchased this sheer fabric from Annah Stretton fabrics when they first opened and all their fabrics were $5m.

I decided I wanted to do a long version of the hi-low McCalls 7120 dress. I'd already done a couple of shorter versions.

But I needed a slip to go underneath so I had a rummage through my patterns and landed on Simplicty 9613 which I omitted the zip from. Unfortunately I only had yellow FOE so it's not the most invisible make but it definitely does the modesty job I needed it for! I may also use it under the giant pink caftan I made in Australia.

The fabric for the slip came from a large op-shop haul.

I french seamed the few seams on the sheer dress as I knew it would be a fraying nightmare.

I quite like this dress :-)

Worn with
Shoes bought for me by a friend at an op-shop
Necklace by Trade-aid/ Oxfam
Earrings handmade for me by a friend
Bracelet bought in a second hand shop

love you more than a giant polka dot xxx

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bookish - Books for Giving

Kia ora Readers,

So these reviews are all of books that I think would go very nicely under the tree. I love giving books - the gift that can be enjoyed again and again. :-)

Here's some I think would make good gifts this Christmas - all from Penguin Random House. (Guys you have no idea just how much I love reviewing books! I get so excited when a parcel of books I have especially requested arrives, joyful!)

The Line: An adventure into the unknown by Keri Smith.

We have Smith's Wreck This Journal which is very popular in our house and this one happened to arrive on a day when Mr 8 was unwell.... it even came with it's own pencil. What I love about this book is the invitation to get free with mark making. I'm one of those people who tends to save things and not use them up but here is a book that pushes you to scribble on pages and cut them!! It was amazing to watch my son just go at the instructions with joy and abandon. If you have a friend who needs some creative freedom or licence or a younger person who loves a challenge/doodle/ sketching this would make a great gift. We have a long plane flight coming up and I can see this would be a perfect way to while away time. Fun rating = high!

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2017 RRP$21.00

The New Zealand Cycle Trails, Nga Haerenga by Jonathan Kennett.

I was planning to squirrel this one away immediately for The Atlas as a Christmas Present. I know he will absolutely love it! However, before Christmas he is biking the Old Ghost Road and it has excellent information about the ride so I'll have to share it with him now. The book is incredibly comprehensive. It grades the rides, talks about the kind of bike + supplies you will need. For each of the 22 rides it also includes information about the area, accommodation, side trips, short cuts and the likes. There are maps (The Atlas, clearly a map lover!). The photos are lovely both historical and current and some great history as well. If you have an adventurer who likes biking in your life this is the gift you've been looking for. The downside? I know he'll be planning more cycle adventures with his cycle buddies. (I actually love that he's an adventurer, and I can see us enjoying using this to plan adventures as a family).

Details - Penguin Random House, October 2017 RRP $50.00

5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver

As you can imagine this is a not your average 5 ingredients book (you know: butter, sugar, flour, chocolate chips and vanilla essence - which is my usual five ingredients on a Sunday night when I realise there is no baking in the house!) All the ingredients are beautiful and you sometimes add the odd pantry staple like olive oil or salt. The book is organised into chapters like salads, beef, veg, rice& noodles and sweet treats - I may have read that chapter first! Each recipe includes photos of the finished item and photos of the 5 ingredients as well as straight forward instructions and nutritional info at the bottom.  This is helpful when you want to make the frozen banoffe cheesecake (yes, thankyou!) but you don't know what hobnobs are. (Total prep time 18 minutes + overnight freezing...) A beautiful book for the person who loves quality ingredients, good food but doesn't have the time for overcomplicated 95 ingredient recipes. Also, give the gift and invite yourself over for a meal about 2 weeks later. It's just the right thing to do! You can peek inside on the link too.

Details - Penguin Random House, August 2017 RRP $65.00 HB

Summer Days by various authors is one of those books you see on display at your favourite bookshop, actually happened at Scorpio Books the other day.

It's a hardcover, large, yellow edged pages, includes a ribbon to mark your place, book to treasure and wish for. Including books by legends like Joy Cowley and Pamela Allen the book is a treasure trove of stories to share again and again. I love that they have included the original illustrations with each one so there is visually heaps of variety as well as in the voice of the story-tellers. There is also poetry included in the story and the whole selection all has a wonderful summery vibe as well. I can't wait to snuggle up and share these treasures with my boys, little visitors and children I teach. There really is something for everything. A perfect New Zealandy but universally appealing collection. It would also be a lovely gift for friends and family who live overseas as well. Definitely a book for special occasions like long lazy reads in the summer and quiet spots to appreciate all the amazing talent packed into one place. There's also nice little bios about the authors and illustrators at the back.

Details - Penguin Random House, November 2017 RRP $45.00 HB

love you more than the whole Christmas list sorted in one easy shop xxx