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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Makey - McCalls 7286 the Unicorn Version


You may remember the whale top I made a while ago using the McCalls pattern 7286. I really liked the raglan sleeves and the general fit.

Then I came across some adorable unicorn fabric in spotlight one day and it somehow came home with me!

I decided to make a dress version, because really a stretch t-shirt style dress is just a nighty in disguise that's appropriate for day wear!

I adore this dress, it makes me all kinds of happy... I think there will be more!

love you more than a stretchy unicorn xxx

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bookish - How Maui Slowed the Sun

Mauri Ora!

If you grew up in my era in New Zealand the book How Maui Slowed the Sun by Peter Gossage will probably be instantly familiar to you.

Maui's slowing of the sun is probably one of the best known legend's of Maui's exploits and the illustrations have a distinctive style. The story follows Maui's scheme to lengthen the days to help his people have longer for the things that needed to be done each day.

This new version is a board book - larger than a usual small square book it is more like a novel in height and length which makes it a good size for holding.

The text is all in English so it is a great start for those who want to introduce the legends of Aotearoa. There is some use of Te Reo Māori in the book as well but where the words might be new the English partner is offered in brackets or incorporated into the sentence.

A beautiful book for your little person that still needs board books but with more text and narrative than many others.

Details - Penguin Random House, November 2017 RRP $15.99 Board Book

love you more than a plaited rope xxx

Monday, November 6, 2017

Family Making

Kia ora koutou,

In the school holidays the boys reminded me they wanted bean bags. We found this lovely simple tutorial online and I let them have a rummage in my stash.

The boys helped with all the steps but I did the zips and overlocking.

It was great fun to make something together and only took an afternoon. Sometimes its only a matter of saying yes and we all felt great about ourselves.

love you more than a relaxing afternoon in a bean bag xxx

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Bookish - Christmas Picture Books

Heya Christmas Lovers,

I always try to buy my boys a new book for Christmas so we have a nice big stash that has grown over the years.

This year I'll be adding two new kiwi-Christmas books. These should already be on the shelves of your favourite book store. Make sure you show your book shop some love this Christmas. A bookshop adds so much to its community.

The Christmas Looky Book by Donovan Bixley is a fun and festive book with all sorts of puzzles to solve.

Each page is essentially a poster with a problem to solve  - can you match the people with their gifts? find the 20 reindeer hidden on the pages? or post the difference before and after Santa's visit? It's a fun book to look at together or just to entertain those who need a little distraction while the gingerbread house bakes. Bixley's illustrative style is playful and the scenery is particularly kiwi - no wintery Christmas here.

Details - Hachette NZ, October 2017 RRP $19.99 PB

The Christmas Tree Tangle by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Sarah Davis is another new-to-us title.

The book is a delightful Christmas adventure that starts with a kitten stuck at the top of a Christmas tree. One by one animals come to give a hand and they all end up tangled up and stuck. The rhyme scheme is excellent the the illustrations perfectly complement the story. Will the kitten ever be rescued or will he fall? What about the rest - who could rescue them?

A fun and funny addition to your Christmas reading pile.

Details - Penguin Random House, November 2017 RRP $19.99 PB

love you more than a Christmas carol playlist on repeat xxx