Monday, 18 February 2019

A Day in Devonport

The root structure on this old fig tree is amazing.
Wouldn't this make a great backdrop for quilt or garment photos

Looking over towards the Ports of Auckland

This tidal rock pool was built for soldiers rehabilitating after WW1


As a requirement for her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, Miss B has to attend a two day first aid course in Devonport.  This suburb is on the North Shore of Auckland approximately an hour away from where we live.  Devonport is quite an old suburb (for NZ) with lots of beautiful old villas and homes.  It is also home to the New Zealand naval base, and has lots of historic buildings and points of interest.

Yesterday was the first day. Rather than drive back and forwards twice in a day, I spent the day in Devonport, walking, exploring, perusing the shops and reading in a park while listening to a folk music festival. Overall it was a lovely relaxing day.

I get to repeat the trip in a fortnight's time.  I wonder what I'll do then.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Things Here Lately

  • I was so inspired with my Carolina Chain  quilt after my last post, that I ended up finishing the quilt over the next two days.  I added a charcoal shot cotton  border, which has taken it's size to approximately 51" square.
  • While perusing the online fabrics at Drapers, I found a lovely double bordered fabric in the remnants area, as soon as I saw it I  was visualising it as my next Eva dress.  Again definitely more than 10 minutes a day sewing, but so worth it.  
  • I have also been applying the "10 minutes a day" principle to other areas of my life too and I have found it is definitely making life a little bit easier and I am feeling that I am slowly accomplishing things on my to do list.  Currently it is rather long, we are getting the carpet replaced in all living areas and bedrooms in a couple of weeks.  There is a lot of stuff to be cleared out before we can rip the old carpet up.  Especially in the kids rooms.  Little and often is my motto at present.
  • My poor garden is very dry at present. we have had a heatwave for the past couple of weeks, so there is not a lot of colour. I try to have plants that can survive with out being watered frequently over the summer months ( as we pay for water usage).  This mandevilla is providing a continuous splash of colour.  It wasn't doing to well as a climber in my garden, so I moved the pot, and it seems to be thriving as a potted shrub.  Look carefully for the wasp inside one of the flowers.
  • I am very lucky, this little beach is probably only 500m walk from my house, sometimes I  remember to walk down there and enjoy seeing the sunset.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Sew 10 Minutes

For the month of February, Nat from SewforLife_perth is running a challenge, called Sew 10 Minutes a day.  The idea being that with our busy lives, by sewing for 10 minutes a day, we will achieve things - slowly yes, but rather than projects sitting there waiting for a free day or the next weekend, or holiday, we attack them in bite size pieces.

Linda nudged me along to join up, and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to finish making blocks for my Carolina Chain quilt and get it to a finished quilt top stage and also a dress I would like to have for summer use.

Yesterday I rummaged around on my messy cutting table and found the three blocks I had cut out about a three weeks ago and sewed them up.  then realising I only needed to make another three before I can sew them altogether, I cut those out too.  This morning before I went to work I sewed them up.  Literally 10 - 15 minutes work.

Thirty six blocks are now  ready to  be sewn together,  so I figure one row a day for the next six days, then I'll get really industrious and sew all the rows together in one sitting.  That dress is really wanting to be sewn.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Drop Sleeve Top

I treated myself to some new fabrics last week.  the denim coloured linen is destined for a dress (pattern is printed and waiting to be assembled) and the embroidered cotton and cream silk/cotton blend are for tops.

My wardrobe is severely lacking in smart casual tops for work and days off.
I'm looking for the perfect top pattern to make with the embroidered stripey fabric.  I wondered if the Drop Sleeve top, a  free pattern from The Avid Seamstress, was going to be it.

After carefully looking at the finished garment sizing I made size 1.  Before cutting into my good fabric, I thought I'd make a toile (practice top) from some rayon I bought last year, (but decided after I had seen it on a lady in a terribly, dare I say frumpy shirt, that I didn't really like it),  I figured if the top turned out well, I could use it for work.

I decided to omit the sleeves, so have little cap sleeves, which are perfect for summer.  The back does up with a button and loop.  I had problems getting a loop made that I was satisfied with.  Probably something to do with the slippery nature of the fabric.  I also topstitched around the neck line, even with understitching I felt the facing didn't stay where it was supposed too.

Overall it's a wearable top, and has been cool and comfortable for work today.  When I make it again, I can probably forgo the button and loop closure, because it fits over my head without having to undo it, and do a bound neckline as I have on my Eva Dress.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Weekending - Hiking in Karangahake

The old tramline on the right

Looking down into an overgrown kiln

One of the windows in the tunnels

Monbretia in bloom

Remains of one of the batteries

In the old rail tunnel

Today The Scout, Miss B and I ventured to Karangahake Gorge, to test out a day hike,  The Scout is planning for a cub group later in the year.

We did the Windows Walk, which was an easy walk along the river and through the old mining tunnels (yes I did get wet feet doing this, and I was glad I had a torch) with the windows out to the gorge. 

Old tram lines and lots of old mining equipment litter the walkway, which is very scenic everywhere you look.

After lunch we did a short hike on part of the  Karangahake Rail Trail - the highlight being a walk through the old rail tunnel which is 1km in length.

It was lovely to get away from Auckland, before another week of work.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Lois Dress

Well that's another dress knocked off the bucket list.  This time the Lois dress from Tessuti Fabrics.

I had long admired all the Lois dresses I had seen, some in linen, some in silk or rayon.  Mine is made from a soft cotton I bought from Draper's Fabrics.

On the whole the dress was as an easy make, Tessuti patterns have clear written and photographic instructions. I made a size 8 and cut the hem length only for size 12 to make it a little longer.

The only really challenging part was inserting the invisible zipper into the dart and side seam.  I know that mine isn't perfect, and some of that could be because I don't have an invisible zipper foot for my machine.  However I can live with a little imperfection.  I had hoped I could get away with the dress not needing a zip, a lot of other makers had said the dress sized up larger and they could get it over their heads without one - no such luck for me.

I knew it had a low cut neckline, I have yet to decide whether to stitch it up a little or just make sure I wear my low cut push up bra for maximum impact with it.  Obviously if I stitch it up a little, it is more work suitable.

I didn't put the bands on the sleeves - the downside of using a directional print became rather obvious with the bias cut bands, I simply made a bias binding and bound them as I did on the Eva dress,

Overall, I'm pleased with the look and fit of the dress, I'm not sure if I would make this pattern again, however maybe that's just the fear of zips putting me off though.  I am loving wearing dresses at present,  in this lovely summer weather we are experiencing.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Things Here Lately

A little of what I have been doing so far in January.  Please excuse the quality of the photos - my good camera is away with the teens (hopefully being looked after), so these are all done with my phone
  • A few more blocks for the Carolina chain quilt have been made - this brings the total to 30. I'm still debating whether to make another six, or just put bigger borders on these when I piece them together.
  • I made another pair of Palisade shorts after the success of my first pair.  This time in a woven tencel that has a linen denim  look.  I made these a little longer too.
  • I've started another dress using this printed cotton fabric.
  • Over the New Year holiday I visited Alberton House with a friend. This beautiful homestead is still filled with a lot of the original furniture and housewares.  Of special interest was the sewing room.
  • I read and enjoyed the latest Adriana Trigiani book - this one set in America during the Big Band era.  
Hoping you are all having a wonderful January so far.