Friday, August 25, 2017

100 Days Challenge 51 - 60

Kia ora,

The halfway mark has passed and the project has continued so I am taking that as a win. :-)

I have no idea how I will actually feel about this once it is a completed garment but I am pushing through regardless.

love you more than crossing the halfway line xxx

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bookish - Nighthawk


So the winter seems finally to be turning its head towards the spring. :-)

My hubby is a fan of Clive Cussler so when I had the chance to review one of his novels I thought I ought to check it out for myself.

Nighthawk is actually a collaboration between Cussler and another author Graham Brown. Co-authoring seems to be something Cussler does a bit which I find really interesting. It must be good for the other author if they are relatively unknown because Cussler obviously has a wide purchasing base. I wonder how it works though - how much writing does each person do? Is one person more about the planning and/or research and the other crafting the story???

Anyway, on to the book, it took me a little while to get really into the narrative. I think this was due to the number of different characters, from different geographical locations that had to be introduced. Once I was into the story and the narrative gathered pace I'm glad I stuck out the beginning.

The book centres around a top-secret (aka completely not a secret to all the enemies of NSA) American space vehicle that has gone missing on re-entry and must be found at all costs. Of course there is a leak somewhere and all the major players - Chinese and Russian are after it too.

Nighthawk was a nice change of pace for me but not too gory or edge-of-your-seat/ I can't sleep afterwards-ish.

It's no surprise that Cussler has such a large following if this is a typical offering for him. A bit of mystery, some twists and surprises and a race to the prize. Easy and enjoyable reading - although there was a distinct lack of cake and dress descriptions! ;-)

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, June 2017, RRP $37.00

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bookish - Be A Unicorn

Hey Stardusts,

When I saw the title Be A Unicorn by Sarah Ford I was keen to read it. I have a unicorn lover of my own and they seem to be 'on trend' ;-) these days.

Be A Unicorn: & live life on the bright side is a cute little (small) coffee table type book. Each page features Unicorn sharing wisdom and with an accompanying illustration.

Wisdom ranges from the heart warming and embracing - Unicorn found unlikely friendships could bring great joy

to the silly - He hadn't washed for days but Unicorn still smelled of roses.

The illustrations are simple and sweet too.

A perfect gift for a friend who's having a tough time or a unicorn lover or someone who likes colour and positive thinking.

Details - Hachette NZ, June 2017 RRP $14.99

love you more than a heart-warming casserole xxx

Monday, August 21, 2017

Making - McCalls M7286

Hiya friends,

The other day a friend came over for the evening once our littles were in bed and we sewed. I recently bought this fabric (yeah, I kind of fell off the 'buy no new fabric' this year) and wanted to make a simple top.

I had purchased the M7286 pattern a while ago with the thoughts of extending it into a t-shirt style dress. I didn't have quite enough fabric for the raglan sleeve as well so I used some op-shop navy from my stash and I love the finish.

I'm so into this fabric  and this top is so comfy and easy to wear - yay!

I made the straight size medium and just sewed it up my own way except for the neckline where I followed their instructions. I love the neckline - it sits nice and flat and I think it looks great. :-)

I will be making some more of these tops - I had to cut the paper pattern out and the top was still started and finished between 8-10pm and next time it will be faster because the pattern cutting out is always a time sucker.

yay! What yay is there in your world at the moment? Do tell ...

love you more than whales xxx

Friday, August 18, 2017

100 Days Challenge 41-50

Sup Peeps,

So I'm continuing on with the 100 days challenge. Getting closer to the end with every stitch.

What's the longest project you've ever worked on?

love you more than a consistent commitment xxx

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bookish - Together

Heya Lovelies,

I've just finished reading Together by Julie Cohen.

It's the first time I've read one of her books and I was really impressed. The whole novel works backwards from the present (2016) to 1962. The story is a love story but it's a mystery.

Why would Robbie leave Emily a note and walk out of her life forever after being her waking and sleeping moments for so many years?
What kind of love would cause a person to do that?
What could motivate such a drastic thing after so many blissful years?
How could a love that has stood the test of time and produced so much beauty be a lie?

I read this book really fast which is always a sign of an enjoyable read in my books. As soon as I finished it I wanted to begin it again and read the book backwards. Although promise you won't skip to the end this is a story to be read just the way it is written.

The book deals with some really difficult topics but does so in way that is delicate and meaningful.

The book is a story most of all but it also poses some big questions about connection and how much we are the product of secrets and our convictions.

So enjoyable. I look forward to reading other titles by Cohen.

Details - Hachette NZ, July 2017 RRP $34.99

love you more than the crackle of the fire xxx

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Making - Birthday Skirts

Happy Days friends,

We have had a few little people birthdays recently and I was out shopping with one mama when we spied some fabric she thought her wee girl would like.

I bought half a metre and whipped up this skirt on the morning of the party - I quite like it.

Do you make birthday gifts? It seems to get harder as the years go by to think of handmade things the older ones would like... maybe that's just me though?

love you more than fluro pink + linen xxx

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bookish - a couple of recent purchases

Heya friends,

This book fell into my hands at the Art Gallery bookshop recently. The next book happened to be my selection from a voucher for Scorpio that I received for mother's day. Despite the fact that I get sent so many wonderful books to review it doesn't stop me from still purchasing them. I also love to support my local bookshops as much as I can. (Sometimes I do buy online).

Most often when I am 'just browsing' I end up falling in love with a picture book. I have zero shame in buying these books for myself, although of course I share them with children - mine especially! I absolutely love beautiful picture books - I love the messages, the simplicity of language that often coveys a huge complexity of thought.

Picture books, really good ones, are some of the cleverest, most thought provoking, cherished books I own.

A River by Marc Martin

I saw this book at the art gallery bookshop and I couldn't go past it. I adore, adore the colours and the style of illustration. I love the map like qualities/birds eye views of many of the illustrations. There is such a lot of beauty in every page. I'd love some of the pages on the wall at home as art.

Bought at the Art Gallery Shop Christchurch NZ $17.99

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

The text in this book is so paired back and the illustrations beautifully capture the changing of seasons and the sweet relationship between the bird and lion. There are often pages with no text at all. It's a thick book and it is gentle and enchanting at the same time. Love!

Bought at Scorpio Books Christchurch NZ $24.99

Being a teacher makes it easier for me to justify these purchases but I also do wholeheartedly believe in the power of books, in the supporting of local shops and the enjoying of beautiful things.

love you more than the smell of a new book xxx

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bookish - Trip of a Lifetime

Hiya friends,

Recently I've been loving trying to watch the screen less and curl up by the fire with a book in the evenings. It sounds so luxurious but it's so easy to neglect.

I've just finished reading The Trip of a Lifetime by Monica McInerney. It's a perfect book for evening reading it isn't a demanding read but it's got enough mystery to keep you turning the pages and reading chapter.

The action centres around Lola Quinlan who suddenly decides she is going to head back to Ireland after leaving 65 years ago. Accompanying her are Bett her daughter and Ellen her granddaughter. They all approach the trip with a very different sense of what it will bring and be about. As the trip unfolds Lola must face her past and the person she is now.

How will the secrets she has kept from her family and the memories she has kept from herself impact on her life now and will she regret this 'trip of a lifetime'.

Back home in South Australia the family members they have left behind face their own dramas and there is all the excitement and drama of the soon to be filming series featuring some international stars.

McInerney has also written other books centred around the Quinlan family.

A really enjoyable read that makes me want to travel again. It was great to have the action centred in South Australia having lived there for 2 years. It's lovely to relive places you know through a book.

Details - Penguin Random House NZ, July 2017 RRP $37.00

Friday, August 11, 2017

100 Days Challenge 31-40

Heya friends,

Here are the next 10 days of my project. It's been strange doing something like this every day - I'm wondering if the joy of it will be in looking back at the completed project.

love you more than a box of embroidery threads xxx

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Making - Lamp Shade

So how's life?

I'm taking a break from books to bring you a make. There has actually be quite a lot of making going on of late but I've been tardy with my blogging!

I bought this fabulous lamp shade making kit a while ago from The Make Company. When I got home I realised, oh joy!, that I had enough of a scrape left of the fabulous Kaffe Fassett fabric Deb gave me to make the shade.

The kit came with everything I needed so I finally pulled it out one Friday morning and whipped it together.

Now it is hanging above our kitchen table and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

Sometimes there are things that need to be made that really are so quick and satisfying you wonder why it took so long. Maybe that explains why I have about 10 months (I may exaggerate slightly) worth of washing I haven't folded!

Anything new come out of your creative space lately?

love you more than basking in the actual glow of a recent make xxx

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Making - triple make - all the Ps

Hi peeps,

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter P! So as part of Indie Pattern Month I made an 'outfit' with three pieces in it. 
** Warning: This outfit is a lot of outfit. I can almost hear Heidi Klum saying, ‘Miriam we question your taste.‘ and I’m thinking, ‘Yes Heidi, my mother has been thinking the same forever.
Papercut Pegasus
I was lucky enough to win the Kobe pattern from Papercut  in week one of IPM. I love the shape of it and that it’s essentially a t-shirt shape (so easy to wear) but with glammy details. The gorgeous pegasus fabric is from By the Yard and the pink one, which feels like it might have some wool in it, was from an op-shop. Ideally I would have done the whole top in pegasus’s (pegasi?) but I didn’t have enough. In hindsight I feel a fabric with even more drape would be better.
The pattern comes together really quickly but I completely screwed up the shoulder pleat bit and didn’t realise that until I was trying it on at the end and wondering why it was all twisted up. I had a look at the online tutorial and unpicked the overlocked(!) and stitched seams. Re-did them, hand stitched and then sewed. I lengthened the front by about 5cm too because I have a great fear of midriff reveal! Aside from that I like the pattern. I like the little details in the pattern when it tells you to neaten all the edges at one point.
I made the size M based on previous patterns I’ve made from Papercut and I’m happy with the fit. The little feature button is a very special one I bought on a trip to Barcelona in 2004. It’s waited a long time for a special project.
May I assure you that it looks better from the back than the picture suggests – my ‘stylist’ (read husband) did not adjust as necessary or tell me that I was bunching it up… we do what we can! 😉
Philippa Pony
In week one of IPM I made a dress using the Philippa pattern by Muse Patterns. If you read my post then you may remember the fabric I used wasn’t my first pick but I didn’t have enough of the one I wanted to use. Well, saddle up cowgirls, this was the fabric I wanted to use. It’s a super cute corduroy that I had left over from another project featuring little ponies.
The pocket features are in ‘road cone orange’ fabric I picked up second hand. I’m not sure whether the constant roadworks and general construction and high vis gear in Christchurch post 2011 earthquakes has made me like this colour or not – maybe it’s a kind of Stockholm Syndrome?! The button is a very cute fan shape one I’ve had in my extensive button collection for some time.
Philippa Dress
it’s straighter in real life!
I really like this pattern as well. As the Philippa dress I made was bigger than I expected I cut the size 38 and then did a 2cm back seam and 2cm grading out to 1cm on the side seams. It has made it a really good final fit. The instructions are good to follow and I like the way the pocket part is constructed (pockets!). I cut the skirt half way between the knee length and mini length and did a fairly deep hem. Next time I would cut the mini length.
Pixie Puddles
I live in Christchurch NZ and the last few weeks have been supremely rainy. The photo below shows the river at the end of our street. There is actually a road on each side but the river had taken over. There were even rescue boats evacuating some people!
Anyway, it made me realise I don’t actually have a rain coat with a hood, so I thought I’d make one! I had the waterproof fabric in my stash already. (It’s not that thick so I’m thinking showerproof might be more accurate!). Then I lined it with a thick stretch drill that I picked up second hand.
I used Twig and Tale’s Pixie Coat which comes in adult and child sizes. I have made a couple of non-raincoat versions in the past. The pattern is fully lined but really simple and a great start for a beginner sewist. The fabric was a bit of a dog to sew with and the difference between the thicknesses wasn’t ideal for a pristine finish. I finished the top with velcro tabs and sewed a pocket on the inside. Unfortunately the velcro I had was the stick on version so my sewing machine needle got all gummy and did not enjoy the sew!
I made the size 12 with no amendments other than the fact that it’s clearly not designed to be a raincoat, and the inner pocket. I especially like the little hoop for hanging it on a hook.
It’s not perfect, but it’s fun for jumping in puddles. 🙂 I think it looks better on my 8 year old than it does on me but I can live with that!
And there it is… A perfectly practical outfit for a princess ( 😉 geddit? royalty!)  who rides ponies and has a pegasus, but also parades in puddles.  
My sewing space looks like a wild storm has swept through it. I’m pretty sure my overlocker and sewing machine need a service and I have zero sewing machine needles left, also I think maybe I need to put pattern weights on my Christmas wish-list. I used cutlery to help with lack of pin-ability on the pixie.
right I’m off for a lie down…
Love you more than fluro pink shoelaces xxx

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bookish - Pottymouth and Stoopid

Hiya Book Lovers,

I hope you've been enjoying the week of reviews for children's books.

Pottymouth and Stupid by James Patterson is a book designed especially for readers who have a sense of humour, at least one great friend and who know what it's like not to be the cool-kid.

Highly readable and filled with illustrations to support the text it's the perfect novel for the 10+ category of 'I can read, but not always enthusiastically'.

David and Michael have spent a life time with nicknames they didn't choose or like and now here they are at the front of the whole school assembly telling their story - right from the beginning. How did two rejects end up here and what has prompted this situation? Read on to find out.

A funny, silly and a little bit naughty tale with some bite. A commentary on bullying told without any of the approach we might be used to.

A great read for fans of fiction that doesn't take itself too seriously. Perfect for the middle school age group. (10-13 years).

Details - Penguin Random House - Young Arrow, June 2017 RRP $19.99 

love you more than an unexpected celebrity status xxx

Monday, August 7, 2017

Bookish - I Love Dad and Sky High

Heya Bookworms,

Today I'm back with a couple of very special picture books.

I Love Dad by Eric Carle who of course brought the world The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

There is something about Carle's illustrative style that is instantly recognisable and enduringly appealing. This small and simple book uses some of the lovely cast of animals Carle is so famous for.

It's a child's love letter to Dad - describing the characteristics of a Dad. A perfect book for a first father's day or a little person who loves to read with their papa.

Details - Penguin Random House, August 2017 RRP $15.99 HB

Sky High: Jean Batten's Incredible Flying Adventures by David Hill and Phoebe Morris is the next in a very welcome series (I hope!) about Key New Zealanders and their stories.

The combination of Hill and Morris is a good one the illustrations really enhance the text and make it a great book to read. First to the Top, published in 2016 documented Sir Edmund Hillary's journey and this one is about Jean Batten.

Jean Batten is a wonderful example of tenacity and paradigm breaking. This book is a great introduction to her. I especially like that there is a timeline of her life in the back. The story is very readable and contains some wonderful titbits about her life. A gorgeous book.

Recently I was reading a with a student and the story was about Edmund Hillary and I was surprised to discover she had not heard of him. These kind of books are important for New Zealand children to read - we have a wonderful list of characters who have played on the world stage and beautiful books help our children to meet them, be inspired by them and carry on their legacy to us.

Details - Penguin Random House - Picture Puffin, August 2017 RRP $25.00

love you more than a woman who flies right through glass ceilings xxx

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bookish - Chase

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Chase by Linwood Barclay is a thriller for 9-12 year olds. I just finished reading this one aloud to my boys (8 and 11) and they LOVED it.

The action centres around the dog Chipper - a souped up dog from The Institute who has been fitted with all kinds of technology to create the ultimate spy. But Chipper isn't happy and he escapes from The Institute to pursue an orphan Jeff Conway who has no idea that Chipper or The Institute even exist.

Will he get to Jeff and give him the message?
Will The Institute get Chipper back, harvest the technology and put him down?

The chase is on.

There are plenty of suspenseful moments in the narrative and we were broken hearted when we realised that the book is part of series/ trilogy... and we have to wait until June next year to find out what happens next.

Flip (11) put the book straight into his school bag as soon as I finished it to take it to share with his classmates and Bounce (8) asked if we could read it again.

High praise from these book lovers.

Details - Hachette NZ, June 2017 RRP $17.99

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bookish - Where Is Grandma

Hi Book Enthusiasts,

A few years ago Grandad bought us a copy of My First Car was Red which is a truly different picture book from any (of the very many) we own. When I saw Gecko had published another, Where is Grandma, by the same author Peter Schossow I was really eager to read it.

Schossow both writes and illustrates his books, we'll try not to hate him for being so talented! and he is a master at both. The text reads like a continual inner monologue as Henry waits and waits for his young nanny to get off the phone so that they can go and find grandma in the hospital.

Finally Henry takes matters into his own hands - how hard can it be to find grandma? and sets off. For anyone who has ever visited anyone in hospital you can imagine just how hard that turns out to be!

The book manages to capture the truly dizzying complexity of a modern hospital - all those doors - without ever feeling stressful or overwhelming in a negative sense. The narrative feels absolutely genuine and rather charming in an effortless sense.

A wonderful read for anyone who loves detailed illustrations and is in touch with their own inner monologue.

Details - Gecko Press, July 2017, RRP $29.99 HB - follow the link for an inside peak at some of the illustrations.

love you more than a bird on a window sill xxx