Saturday, 26 July 2014

Kids Clothes Week


So, I actually sewed three items for Kids Clothes week but never posted them as I had a rather reluctant model this week! I bought a new over locker (serger) secondhand not long ago and one of the projects I have been itching to try was to sew a hoody, Problem was I couldn't find the right pattern as I wanted something plain and simple to begin with!  Funnily enough a couple of days after I started my search for the pattern Jen at Mend and Make New posted this test  she had done of little Kiwis Closets Street Smart Sweatshirt which was exactly what I wanted to make! Gosh talk about easy and quick, I can't wait to make some more...I can't believe I finally made something in knit without  a stretched front. Whoop.

Fabric- All op shopped except blue cotton which was spotlight.



Following on from the hoodie I made yet another Bohemian Baby doll from Elegance and Elephants 
see below for the previous two, I think the reason I can't stop making them is 1. they are reasonably easy to sew, 2. they are awesome for everyday play but still super cute! The skirt fabric is actually a cotton denim with sparkle but doesn't show very well on camera!
 
 Since I found this cute left over cord at Spotlight I also made a 30 minute skirt, this is the second one I have made, nothing like some some quick rewarding sewing to start the day right!  


And then previous to Kids Clothes week I pretty much just made Bohemian Baby Dolls.....
 


It's not often I want to sew something again straight after I've sewed it but the latest dress I made poppet the Bohemian Baby doll from Elegance and Elephants dress was one of them! Poppet has had super fun playing in these dresses, shorter in the front is perfect for climbing, and I liked the fact there were no zippers, or buttons of snaps!

Anyone recognize the awesome beach where I took these snaps....one of the best I would say :) But then I'm slightly biased. 






Monday, 30 June 2014

Handmade Clothes Swap- Recieved vintage cuteness












 I have had lots of fun over the last month after joining with Mend and Make New's Handmade Kids Clothing swap.  I was lucky enough to be partnered with Tarryn at Butter and Buntings and got to make her little man some sweet pants and shorts. In return Tarryn sent some lovely homemade goodies to us as well! Poppet got a lovely little vintage dress with the most sweet blue floral fabric, I love the way Tarryn has added in the sleeves and front for some extra vintage pop, I have always wanted to do this to a piece of clothing and just never found the right way to do it! Little man got a cute woolen vest, nice and snugly for these chilly days and some cute picture book bunting which he immediately wanted to hand on HIS side of the room! The whole swap has been super fun, and I have already spied some sweet dress patterns to try myself!

Here is what I sent Tarryn for her little man! Mix of vintage and new fabrics

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Sew lately

I'm joining in with the Mend and Make New's clothes swap  and really enjoyed reading both Jenny's post here and Butter and Buntings post here.

So much so that I thought I would do a bit of a sew lately, as it has been awhile!





I purchased Big Little's classic coat pattern over a year ago and had it sitting in my mind for this winter along with a pink vintage blanket I had found. And although Poppet has cried every time I photograph her in it, its been brilliant to take out on colder days and looks super cute with her dresses. The sew itself was really easy, the hardest part was the sewing of the thickest layers but my machine made it with no major hiccups! I lined the coat with some vintage sheeting so the biggest cost were some snaps and the buttons!




I had been eying up the roly-poly pinafore for a while before I decided to purchase it, so glad I did I think so far I have made 5 some for poppet and some for gifts! I love that the pattern goes right up to a size ten and that I can make one in such a short time! This was my first attempt and a great project to use this lovely vintage material I had stashed away. On the reverse I used a cute pink light corduroy with a vintage rabbit pocket detail, its hard to choose what way to put it on some days.


I made poppet a couple of hats this summer which I found extremely rewarding since she was in them pretty much everyday. I used the free Oliver and S pattern but this tutorial and made mine fully reversible which I found WAY easier.


This Georgia Twirl dress started out so well, was awesome in fact until it came to hemming the bottom, so honestly no one better look too closely! One layer is just over locked and the other looks like a wiggly worm sewed it! In saying that the instructions and fit are just lovely, and Poppet thinks its an amazing dancing dress. Anyone got any hints on hemming a circle skirt that doesn't include bias?



I finally purchased the full Geranium pattern after having a practice go with the free 0-3 pattern. I made poppets the size 3 top size, and I have to say it was super easy and actually really lovely to make. I will definitely be making her some more and I love that the pattern has a few variations to change it up.


And of course little man got lots and lots of shorts!



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

22/52




End of the day, playing out in the late winter sun, afternoon tea still smeared on little rosy cheeks.


Joining in Here with the 52 Project.

Monday, 19 May 2014

20/52

Poppet thinks it is hilarious to see her brother wearing her op shop fairy wings!

Little man decides if you have fairy wings on then you probably should be running


Joining in with the 52 Project Here.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Watch Out, Snail! Review and Giveaway




I was lucky enough to be sent one of the picture book Finalists from the New Zealand Post Book Awards Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland to review with the help of my preschoolers. Since my son had just gone mad for insects after studying them at Kindergarten I knew that Watch Out, Snail! would be right up his alley, in fact both my Son 4.5 and Daughter 2.5 loved it.

The first thing that grabs you when you pick up the cover and start reading the book is the glossy slightly raised shell of the Powelliphanta snails, my children and I noticed this straight away and immediately started to trace the shape of the snails spiral shell. The shell has been printed with a smooth film over the illustration and on every page my children's hands were drawn to it. I love the idea of a tactile representation in books that may encourage a more tactile learner to be involved and engaged in the story as well.

"Darkness is a time for hunting"

The forest sets the scene for this picture book and the epic battle of snail and worm, and the dangers the snail faces from other creatures. The book teaches us about the circle of life within nature, it is true to the world of the Powelliphanta snails and includes an array of animal, birds and insects that live in the bush. For my younger daughter the creatures were the main interest for her in this book. The illustrator has done a beautiful job, sometimes the whole creature is represented on a page but sometimes it might be part of its feet, or tail or snout. The perspective also changes on each page, so that you see the scene from different viewpoints. My daughter delighted in finding the creatures hidden away in the native forest and learning all their names, the changing perspective on each page meant she had to look at each page anew.

"Snails the winner, worms the dinner"

 The snail eating the earthworm highlights the main characteristic of this native snail and allows children to then explore the differences between the Powelliphanta snails and your normal garden snail. My son wanted to know why the snail was eating the worm, why is it carnivorous? what does this mean, why does it have teeth? Luckily the author has included information about the Powelliphanta snail in two parts in the back of the book. Two pages of information with pictures for younger children and then more text information in the back for those older children and slightly older than that readers...(MUM!) There is also a small glossary of Maori words for some of the creatures in the book, which is another great resource for learning.



Photo taken at Denniston Plateau

Glistens, shimmering, gnarly, twitching, fossicks, rasping are just some of the words used in this book The language that makes the story work so well is descriptive and expressive, it opens children up to new words they may not have come across and poetically sets the scene and sounds of the native forest at night.

Overall my children and I really enjoyed Watch Out, Snail! the beautiful creative language and stunning artwork kept all ages absorbed in the story, from the two year old spotting creatures to the 4.5 year old learning about this great native snail, even Mum learnt a thing or two! The only thing I would have liked is Powelliphanta sounded out, because every time I say Powelliphanta it comes out a little differently!




I was kindly sent a copy of this book to review, but the opinions in the review are all my own.


To win your own copy of  Watch Out, Snail! please just leave a comment below telling me your favorite New Zealand native creature.

Competition is for New Zealand and Australian Residents only. 


Closes 23rd of May



Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Watch Out, Snail! Q & A with Author Gay Hay



 Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay and Margaret Tolland is another of one of the stunning finalist picture books in the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014. In a post tomorrow I will be reviewing Watch Out, Snail! and giving away the book if I can sneak it back off my daughter.... In the meantime here are some Q&A's with the author Gay Hay who also wrote Fantail's Quilt.



Gay Hay – author of Watch Out, Snail! (Page Break Ltd)
1. As an author, you must have a lot of ideas floating around. How did you decide to write this book?
 In my head I have a series of books about some of the smaller, less known creatures we share NZ with. When I was teaching I was in charge of the school library and always looked forward to sharing the latest NZ National Geographic magazines with the children. The images from Nga Manu photograher, David Mudge showing a rat invading the fantail's nest, stealing the babies and leaving mother fantail helpless was the inspiration for my first book, Fantail's Quilt.
I think the DOC video of our native powelliphanta snail slurping up a huge worm was the idea behind Watch Out, Snail!

2. Tell us a bit about the journey from manuscript to published work. What was the biggest challenge you faced in publishing this book?
 At first I thought my idea was great and I wrote the story very quickly. My editor, and friend read the story and said, "No!" - after your first book, the next one has to be even better. I went for a walk to the beach, thought about it, probably even shed a few tears. But I knew she was right. I had to keep bouncing ideas around in my head and sharing my ideas. Suddenly I knew what I had to do. A picture book has few words, so they have to be the right ones. The story has to have tension and resolution. I think, Snails the winner, worms the dinner, is my favorite page. I want children to relate to the story, but also learn some interesting factual stuff, kids love knowing real things.

3. Did you tailor this book to a particular audience – or did you find it found its own audience as it was written?
 I am trying to target young children starting out as independent readers wanting to know real things.

4. Can you recommend any books that you love, that inspired or informed your book in any way?
 I was very involved with the NZ Reading Association when I was a teacher. I had lots of opportunities to learn from Margaret Mahy, which was so wonderful. I also love Mem Fox and her lessons of searching for just the right word. I have lots of favourites: Shaun Tan, Lynley Dodd, Tessa Duder, Gavin Bishop, Pamela Allen, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Brown, Mere Whaanga -Schollum, Dr Seuss, Salina Yoon, Alison Lester's One Small Island, John Burningham, Shirley Hughes.
I have a very cool book from the Tate Gallery called, In the Forest, by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud that I love.

5. Tell us about a time you’ve enjoyed relaxing and reading a book – at the bach, on holiday, what was the
I am lucky to not have to go to work every day, I don't even make myself sit at the computer writing every day. I like to go for walks along the beach or in the bush having time to stop and look and think. I have 2 grandsons living close and they come to play and make wonderful creations. I like listening to their talk and clever ideas. From our Discovery Time programme for teachers, my friend and colleague and I go to schools around New Zealand sharing our ideas about the importance of children learning from play, they need time to create and explore, to discover for themselves. It's important that they have time to notice the small things – like our native snail.
I also belong to a book club of friends – we share and swap books like a mini library. I always go to bed at night with a book.

6. What are your favourite things to do, when you aren’t reading or writing, and why?
  I love making things. When I stopped teaching I went to art classes at Pataka (Porirua) and that's when I became friendly with Margaret Tolland, the educator at the gallery. I asked her if she would illustrate my books and that was the best thing I ever did. She has done the fantail, the snail, and now just about completed the green gecko. I spend a lot of time at our local school and community trying to make it a better place to live in. We collect seeds, raise trees, take cuttings, clear rubbish and plant new areas.

Further information: Radio NZ Storytime have contracted to read Watch Out, Snail on their storytime programme.




Here are our Snail Art Prints based on the book we recycled coasters that had broken after the CHCH earthquake, we had to watch very closely to get our spirals going in the correct direction!


We used glitter glue to finish off our creations! Learn more about the Powelliphanta Snails Here.
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