Accessories · Christchurch · Crafts · Handknit · Handmade · Indie Dyed yarn · Knit · Knitting · New Zealand · Rosewood Wool · Shawl · Yarny Love

Boneyard Shawl

This shawl started as a knit along with my friend. We both decided to use Rosewood Wool , mine is 12 ply while hers is 8 ply I think.

Soon after , she started working at a school and I left for India, our knit along kind of took the back seat.

Coming back from India dealing with all the change in weather and home sickness, I started knitting on it  with  Amber sitting on my feet for company acting as a little smooshy cushion  , listening to podcasts , munching on Nagercoil banana chips….

(  I mention Nagercoil chips in particular because ,there is a huge difference between Lakshmi Vilas Nagercoil Banana chips and Banana chips available in other parts of the country. Nothing comes close to it and it is one of the those comforting taste of home food)

Also because knitting on this shawl was more like eating chips, cannot stop with one.`And before I knew it I had finished  two  of the three skeins I had, along with my stash of chips I brought back with me from India..

Then I had a chance to go to an afternoon to Handy Dandy craft group at the library and in the almost two and a half hours I was there, I had reached the end of the third ball and only the border was left to be done.

Back home, little more knitting and   just like that this shawl was done. Much like the  packet of banana chips that finished before realisation came about! (So regretted not getting more of this taste of home , and now that I write about it, I’m craving for some ) 

Project Details:

Pattern : Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West

Needles : 4.5 mm Chiagoo Fixed Circulars

Yarn : Rosewood wool Romney Aran in Shepherd’s Delight Colourway.

Baby Blanket · Baby Gifts · Drawstring Bags · Handmade · Home Sewn · Quilt · Quilt Making · Sew · Sewing

Spring Sewing

Come spring in Christchurch, specially in Hagley Park , Daffodils ,Hyacinths , Cherry Blossoms, Kowhai,  Magnolias, against the bright clear blue sky , together with   brand new green leaves on  the trees,  put on a spectacular show for all to enjoy.DSC_0393DSC_0425.JPGDSC_0428The flowers, sunshine and the bird songs does something to the mind and automatically uplifts the spirits.

I was in the mood for tidying up my messy craft corner.As I was cleaning, I realised that I had  posted about this very special  bag only on Instagram.This space being place to record all the things I make, I decided this bag had to be on the blog. DSC_0123First of all,it was the fabric name ‘Makers’ by Cori Danitini  that caught my attention and then of course, the print  was too hard to pass by.DSC_0128I decided to make a reversible bag using a picture I saw on Pinterest, as reference. Since I used the entire panel for the pattern, I only used the panel size as the size of the bag and kind of made up as I went along. I also used the panel for lining so that it would be truly reversible.DSC_0131I also referred to Ayumi’s Reversible patchwork bag pattern for attaching the drawstring casing.

The beads I got in India, came in handy for adding finishing touches to the cord.

The sweet print and pattern came together so well and quickly became a personal favourite finish.

The flowers , birds and the general magic of witnessing the earth come alive in a myriad of colours, cast a spell on me and I had to do something to celebrate the promise of warmer days in the air.

I tried the same pattern I made for the previous bag but this time with fusible interfacing. It did not turn out exactly as I envisioned it. Will keep trying though.

The bag and the tulips that grew in spite  my negligence  of my garden ,had to be documented and hence they are here.DSC_0346

The Putitputi pouch collection  was inspired by the desire to bring all the delightful elements of spring into the craft space.

Putiputi by the way, means flowers in the Maori language  These pouches were well received and I was thrilled with the positive feedback I got on them too.

Of the two people who bought from this collection, one of them has received her package and was extremely happy while the other unexpectedly  has not yet received hers thanks to NZ post. Fingers crossed it will reach her soon. I can’t wait to hear what she has to say  about her bag.

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The other couple of projects I made were commissioned by a lovely lady from church. She wanted two baby blankets  in blue for friends who were both expecting baby boys. Her other brief was  something that will not be available in the regular baby sections of stores.

I decided to go with my ever favourite woodland theme for both.

For the first quilt I went with a simple squares and it measures 30″ x 35 ”

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For this quilt, I used the Fast Four -Patch Pattern from Diary of a Quilter

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In my hurry  to pack and give it to her, I forgot to take pictures of the backing. Both the quilts are backed with dimpled minky fabric.

It completely made my day to  see the happy smiles on her face and hear her say that it was hard for her to choose which one to give her favourite friend .

Accessories · Bags · Crafts · Finished Objects · Sew · Tote bags

Scrappy Happy Tote

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This everyday catch all tote has been in the making for a long time.

The exterior and interior  fabrics I got  a long time back from my favourite local fabric store Forget me knots , with the intention of making a tote.

I love combining a patterned fabric with the News print fabric, so thats what I decided to do for this tote.I had cut out the fabric . I added the slip pockets (using the same method I learnt long back at the bag workshops in Kuwait. It is my trusted go to method.)DSC_0307

For the pockets ,I just pulled out a few big enough favourite fabric scraps from my stash .

Then  I wanted to add an inside zipper pocket along with the slip pockets. Since I did not know how to do that, ‘procraftination’ happened.

A few tutorials combined helped me figure that out, however, this tutorial in particular.helped me a lot.

I wanted a pop of colour against the black and white lining fabric and  decided to add a bright red zipper that I had bought in Kuwait, back when .

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That the silver metal teeth of the zipper kind of matched the bag interior was an added bonus.I prefer silver, and copper coloured metal teeth zipper to the nylon and gold ones.

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The colourful lining to the zipper pocket was to keep up with the pop of colour theme and to add a little surprise element to the tote.

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And while I was at it , I thought I’d add a key fob too.

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The lovely owner of Forget me knots once told me that it is always a good idea to use darker colours for bag handles as that is one of the places to get dirty first . So thats what I kept in mind choosing fabric  for the handles.The fabric was part of a precut Fat quarter bundle,  I purchased in a sale.

The bag is interfaced with fusible batting and the handles with a thinner interfacing for flexibility and sturdiness.What's in my bag?

I learnt a lot making this bag  as I went along, adding elements that I would like in my dream tote. It’s still a work in progress even though I’m happy with how this bag turned out.

Baby Gifts · Handknit · Handmade · Hat · Knit · Knitting · Lifestyle

Antler Hat

Every single winter since I came to New Zealand, I’ve wanted to get a cabled hat. A cream one. Now I’m not big on wearing hats but that’s another story. Anyways, every time I see a cream cabled hat in Kmart, I’d come with some excuse not to get it .The underlining  fact behind all those excuses is one and only reason .And that is ,like every maker, I always think I can totally make that  .

Only, I never get around to making it because I’m distracted by something or the other . Another reason I’ve realised over time is that when something intimidates me, I keep putting it off until I work up enough courage to tackle it. Thats what happened to the cabled hat as well.

Then in one of the video podcasts I watch, I saw a baby cabled hat and heard of the Antler hat pattern from Tin can Knits.Since this site is widely spoken of as a beginner friendly pattern site, I decided to give the baby Antler hat a go, the smaller size seemed less intimidating. The sizes run from baby to adult size.

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A few false starts later, it was smooth sailing. I still made a few mistakes because I was too tired   and sleepy to count properly or distracted.

I used one whole skein of Heritage Polwarth   and 5 mm Chiagoo needles.

Project Details :

Yarn : Heritage Polwarth 8 ply  shade : 404 Karr Pink  Batch 103932-33

Needles : 4mm and 5mm Chiagoo needles

Pattern : Antler Hat by Alexa Ludeman

Tid Bit : “Now I’d actually pay you to make me something like that ”  Those words coming from an usually disinterested teen is high praise  I think and says a lot about the pattern 🙂

DSC_0349This hyacinth plant is special because  it reminds me of a friend who came by to spend half a day with me. When she came to visit me, she brought this lovely hyacinth plant for me. I never knew hyacinths had such  sweet scent before then.We shared a meal, learned a little bit about each other, exchanged recipes and bid good bye.

When the flowers withered, I planted  the bulbs and did not remember  about them until I saw the flowers.

They remind me of  a lovely time and also that spring is slowly making her entrance .Can’t wait to see the earth bloom and come alive with flowers of different colours.

Crafts · Finished Objects · Handmade · Life style · patchwork · Quilt · Quilt Making · Sew

Mod -Cot Quilt

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canva-photo-editor-11.pngIt’s been ages since I made a proper quilt. .

I set out to draft my own pattern  with my own measurements from a picture I had saved on my iPad .Not sure from where .It was more of a  ‘making as  I go  along ‘ kind of  project and  I struggled with it. I did not know  what size would make a big enough quilt for a baby.

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Then I saw the mod cot quilt pattern for sale on the instagram account of one of my favourite online fabric store stitchbird.co.nz. .Since it looked very similar to the quilt I was trying to make, I decided to purchase the pattern.

Having the instructions on hand, really did help.

I used the fabric I had recently purchased with the fabric that Shanna gave me.These are all free Spirit fabrics, one is Tula Pink and the other I forget. I was surprised that the colours all from the old and new fabric went together so well.

Along with the pattern,Lori also sent me the cutting layout on a fat quarter which was so helpful.

The blocks were fairly quick to put together. It was after I put the blocks together I realised that I did not have enough fabric for backing. or for binding. canva-photo-editor (4)

I resisted the temptation to use a Minky  fabric as  backing, like I did for previous baby quilts I ‘d made.

Ordered a metre of fabric for the backing, as I have only fat quarters in my stash . In my hurry to finish the quilt quickly, I did not read the pattern that  said I needed 1.5 metres for the backing . So I had to improvise and make a pieced backing. A first for me.

dsc_0072.jpgI put it  aside a bit,  looked at ideas on Pinterest , most of the ideas I saw were too advanced for me and then finally, it clicked, I just cut the one metre cloth into two equal parts and cut two other co-ordinating fat quarters to add in-between.

I wanted to do the self binding for this quilt but when I did the straight row quilting, I somehow messed up. I did not think of looking up for tutorials on You tube.So went for the bias  binding. IMG_0652

I did remember some of the lessons I learnt earlier in my quilt workshop in Kuwait about how to do the mitred corners.  I machined sewed the binding too. Another first.I would have liked a better finishcanva-photo-editor-8.png

I tied and hid the knots, washed in the washer and its ready to go now.
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Eating out · Food · Life style · Restaurant Review · The Good Home

The Good Home

Having witnessed this restaurant being built from scratch, we have wanted to try this restaurant for a while now. Situated in the Landing area of Wigram Suburb, in Christchurch,the Good Home , Wigram restaurant has a spacious outdoor seating area . img_4110One is greeted by a warm, relaxed atmosphere as one walks in. The large open space with comfortable sofas for seating, dark modern art deco floral wallpaper ceiling, the wooden bead board on the side of the wall,the display cabinets with little knick knacks and books, the large TV above an artificial fireplace, not to mention the white piano ,all create a  homely, relaxed and very pleasing ambiance.The  friendly and attentive staff in their checkered blue, red and white shirt  and jeans uniforms (which was a welcome change from the drab black and white one usually sees in restaurants) added on to the cheery and easy vibe that the restaurant exuded. We ordered the Summer Salad, and requested the Gluten free version for the toasts and Mussels steamed in thai green curry. The service time was good as we had enough time to catch up on all the weekly news,but did not have to wait too long.

The flavours of the salad with Gluten free toast, goat cheese, salad greens, toasted walnuts, pear and beetroot with lemon vinaigrette all worked very well together . It was a fresh and refreshing side to have with the other dish we ordered .img_4318.jpgThe other dish we ordered was the Mussels steamed in Thai green curry. This Mussels dish came with toast and fries. Again we requested Gluten free toast which the staff accommodated for us.Speaking of the Mussels dish, the Thai green curry was so flavourful and yummy, that we wiped the plate clean! The mussels themselves were seasoned just right, juicy , tender and cooked just right. The Good Home Wigram offers great value for money as the portions are quite large. Plus they offer a good selection on the menu to cater to all the ages, with a kids menu and pizza too on their Menu.

The Good Home Wigram is definitely a great place to visit for lunch or dinner with friends or family.

Eating out · Food · Life style · Preserved Cafe · Restaurant Review

Preserved Cafe

Nestled in amidst the stunning scenery of the Diamond Harbour village sits a quaint little cafe called Preserved offering locally produced , sustainable food.img_0205.jpg

Taking the ferry ride from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour Village and visiting the Preserved Cafe to grab a bite were the two top things  on our to-do list for the day.

After the walk to the jetty in Lyttelton, the 10 minute ferry ride , the stroll up the hill to the Diamond harbour Village and peeking in and around the historic Stoddart Cottage, we were so ready to have lunch .

The interior of the cafe has a heartwarming rustic charm with burlap and lace buntings, fairy lights and distressed wood industrial type seating. Carrying on the rustic theme, there is a lovely child friendly outdoor seating area on a deck, overlooking the lush green fields, hills and tall eucalyptus trees. 
They had a variety of cabinet food and beverages with a fair amount of gluten free offerings to try . We decided to order three dishes from their to share menu when some of our choice dishes were not available. It was understandable considering their menu is tailored around locally produced seasonal ingredients.

We ordered the Parmesan Polenta Fries which came with inhouse made aioli sauce, the Pork Bites encrusted with seasame seeds came with a vegetable purée and were sprinkled with white snow drop flowers as a garnish and Mussels cooked with chilli and garlic which came with a lemon slice garnish.

The polenta fries were as crispy and cheesy as the name suggested and were lip smacking paired with aoli dipping sauce.The pork bites were soft and succulent with a nice crunch from the  roasted sesame seeds. The vegetable puree was a nice touch and was yummy and the flower garnish was so pretty.
img_3031.jpg The mussels were done just right ! Juicy, tender, fresh mussels with the chilli, garlic and lemon giving the dish a nice kick and tangy zest. This was my favourite dish.

Prices are nominal and the atmosphere relaxing and friendly . The attentive staff dropped by our table twice to check if we were enjoying our dishes. The verdict between the two of us: we both loved the polenta chips and the mussels. I’m not a big pork fan and after the flavourful mussels I couldn’t appreciate the pork bites much.  Louise, however, loved them and if you’re a fan of pork recommends you definitely try them.

All three dishes were gluten free.

We both would have liked a little more vegetable or salad  garnish to go with the dishes.

If you are looking for a cozy ,out of the way fun place, Preserved Cafe provides the perfect spot.

Bags · Crafts · Handmade · Home Sewn · Life style · Sewing · Uncategorized

Sew Happy

I just love sewing bags .This bag has been in the making for a while. I go about gathering stuff to make a bag n then let them sit.Then after a long long time, I suddenly get the urge to get it done and get it done in a day.

 I’ve added some of my favourite features in a bag_ quilted exterior, polka dot lining and pockets . I wanted to add a magnetic snap as well but misplaced the one I had . So I went ahead and finished the bag. And wouldn’t you know?! Found the said snap as soon as I finished the bag. Oh well, there will be more bags and I will add them then.

Handmade · Home Decor · Life style · Sewing · Works in Progress

More Sewing

I missed a big chunk of Winter  , but coming back from really hot weather, it has been hard. We have had cold, gloomy rainy days. However I try not  to let it get to me.There are so many things to be grateful for .

Sewing  my hold and cherish bag over and over again has made me so comfortable with my sewing machine that Sewing has become my craft of choice lately.There is not one thing that  I don’t like  now. Not even ripping out seams!

The pattern  is a bit addictive in its simplicity and the variety of results that can be  achieved with the change of prints and colour in fabric.

The previous quilt blocks I made  as part of the quilt along are still not complete. I will get to it sooon. Only the last set of blocks remain but I have as usual got distracted with new shiny stuff.

A local fabric store is offering a beginners quilting class . The hours and distance were convenient so I decided to go for it. Laid back  and friendly , it was a good first class.

The shopaholic in me was secretly delighted to have a store full of assorted fabrics to choose from .

I decided to go with this purple and aqua combination for my first block which is the simple Nine patch.

Each block teaches a new skill .One done, eleven more to go.