Saturday, 20 December 2014

Finished Projects: Bucilla Felt Christmas Stocking

I did it! I finished my first Bucilla Felt Christmas Stocking Kit! And just in the nick of time! I really enjoyed this project. It was quite a challenged and I needed to learn quite a few new sewing and embroidery techniques, but overall, the instructions were fairly straightforward and I didn't have too many problems. 

Saturday, 13 December 2014

D.I.Y: Easy Christmas Door Wreath

Now that the Thorndon Fair is over, I feel like I can join the land of the living! I also want to do anything but yarn crafts! I've have a few ideas for Christmas projects that I wanted to do this year, but they've been on the back burner until the fair was over. I am hurriedly trying to do something so I can enjoy them while we are still in the Christmas season. This particular project has to be one of the quickest and easiest I've done all year!
I've always wanted to hang a wreath on my front door. Something about a door wreath is super Christmassy to me! While I admit I probably didn't look very hard, over the years I hadn't found one that I liked enough to buy. I also thought I could probably easily make my own, and I was right! Armed with my glue gun and a few other bits and pieces I literally made this wreath in less than half an hour! I chose natural neutral colours to go with the green and silver theme that we have going on in our house. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Thorndon Fair Experience and Gallery of work

***Warning photo heavy post*** Hello poor neglected blog!! I am still here! If you have been reading along for the last few months you would know I have been otherwise occupied! This past 6 weeks I was just too busy making for the Thorndon Fair which was on Sunday 7th December. With all the best intentions, unfortunately the Wellington weather did not play ball, so the fair itself was almost a complete washout. It didn't start very well when at our original stall site we were literally blowing away. We ended up moving across the road to an empty site which was slightly more sheltered but not really. I spent the majority of the time standing with my umbrella trying to shelter the table at the same time trying not to let the drips from the umbrella fall on the table! While I did manage to sell a few things, it was definitely disappointing. Especially considering this is something I have been working towards for the past 4 months or so! AND for the other people I shared the stall with as well as only one of the others managed to sell a few things. (Check out Lara Dawn and Meghan Maloney Photography). But, as I like to say, you live and learn, and I will take away a lot from the overall experience. The most important thing I think was that stall location is everything! We were at the distant end of the route, which meant we either got the last stragglers, or people just starting who wanted to wait until they'd seen other stalls before purchasing. As it was just soooo dismal, we ended up packing up our stall early and going home. The majority of stall holders around us were doing the same thing too. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Cheese Twist Scones

Here's another recipe from the archives of my Mum's Little Red Recipe Book. My mum grew up on a farm, and I'm sure there would have been a lot of home baking done, along with ingredients being readily available. I would categorise this recipe as farm style baking as it's not particularly healthy, but a comforting, tasty treat. Especially on a cold, wet, windy (Wellington) day with a nice hot cup of tea! 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Work in Progress: Felt Christmas Stocking Part 3

Just a minute update re: the Felt Christmas Stocking. It's on the back burner due to my crazy knitting for the Thorndon Fair. I thought I would just show you where I'm up to though. I did get a bit further than the last update here. If you can't be bothered to go to the other post though, this may refresh your memory:

What it looked like previously:

Monday, 27 October 2014

Baby Boots Parade!

I have written before about how much I love this Baby Bootie pattern, but seeing as I am making so many for the Thorndon Fair, I thought I would do a post showing all the different combinations I have knitted to date.  

If you want this pattern you will need to buy it here. Buying the pattern gives you permission to sell your finished items, provided you credit the pattern designer, Judy Nemish of Double Diamond Knits. The pattern is called "Oh Baby! Baby Boots".

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Chocolate Pink Crochet Granny Blanket

As you know if you've been reading along for a little bit, I'm currently trying to make a few things to sell at the Thorndon Fair. So far I've made a few hats, several pairs of booties and a blanket. I really wanted to do another blanket and was pretty set on doing a ripple blanket. I had a few goes at the pattern over at Attic24 blog (brilliant tutorial worth checking out if you want to do a ripple blanket!), but I didn't really have enough of the right yarn to get the hang of the zigzag ripple pattern. The yarn I was using is (I think) a cotton blend, which seems to crochet up quite loosely. This made making the ripples quite tricky... 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hello Sewing!

Things are super-exciting around my house right now. This is because I have inherited my Mum's sewing machine! It's a bit of an old beast, but being a Bernina, it is still in great condition and as far as my novice sewing knowledge can tell, sews pretty well too. The model is a Bernina "Minimatic". My mum bought it in the 1970s, and as far as I know, it was quite expensive at the time. I have lots of memories of mum sewing for us as kids. When my sister and I were little, she almost exclusively sewed all of our clothes. She also sewed a lot of her own clothes too. I don't really know anyone these days that would sew the majority of their family's clothing. Probably the main reason is because it's so cheap to buy mass produced clothing now that it's not really economically viable for people to buy patterns, fabric and then spend the time sewing along with running a household, and for a lot of (mainly) women, also hold down a full time job. I also remember mum sewing a lot of our dolls clothes, including teeny tiny Barbie Doll stuff. I don't think I have the patience for those kinds of fiddly jobs! 

The machine has arrived with a lot of accessories! Firstly, the snazzy red hard case, which packs everything inside neatly. It has an extension arm which can be stored in the case. Also a clip on little box to store your scissors, pins and extra bits and pieces you might need while sewing. The major part is something I didn't discover until I was putting the machine away, a treasure trove of extra needles, sewing  machine feet and bobbins! I had gone to Spotlight to purchase new needles, thread and tools to remove the needle. I used all these, and then when I packed the machine up, I discovered a box hidden at the back of the case. I hadn't noticed it before as it was stowed away at the back!

Check out that sneaky stowaway!

Inside the box was everything I had bought! HEAPS of spare needles including denim and twin needles. EIGHT different feet- not including the one already on the machine! Eight bobbins. And all the little tools that are needed for adjustments. I am definitely completely set up for some major sewing now! 

There is definitely something special about this machine. I could buy a new one, a fancier one, an electronic on/off button one, but this machine is just what I want. Maybe it's all the memories of my mum sitting at her sewing desk making things for my sister and I. Or the familiar smell of the bobbin box and sound of the machine whirring away. I think maybe it's that if I own this machine, I own a little bit of my mum too. And that is a very bittersweet feeling as really I'd rather have a new machine and be asking my mum for advice, than have her old machine and not have her. So even if I don't get much use of it, even if it sits in it's case for the next wee while, every time I look at it I will remember my mum. And those are definitely happy thoughts. 

Anyway, my main reason for wanting a sewing machine is actually fairly simple. I want to be able to easily mend or alter clothing for our family, as well as make some simple things for fun. I had a couple of ideas in mind for a few pieces of clothing that I like, but would love if I could alter them slightly. The last time I took something to an alteration service, they charged me $20 for a very simple fix-- something I knew I could do myself if I had my own machine.

The first item for "fixing" was this Staxs tunic I purchased last year. I absolutely love the fabric, but I hated the sleeves! I also find with Staxs clothing, the sizes run quite big, so this tunic was quite baggy on me, making me look bigger than I actually am. All I wanted to do was remove the frilly, flappy sleeves, and make them plain. I just unpicked the frilly hem of the sleeve, took it off, folded a new seam and sewed around. SUPER SIMPLE! And it worked perfectly, the tunic looks 100% better and fits me better without those sleeves. I wish I had taken a "before" picture!

Frilly sleeves be gone!
I'm not a really fancy sewer, I can only do really basic things. If you look really closely, you will see that the seam isn't quite perfect and the thread doesn't match exactly. But as a first go after not sewing anything in at least 15 years, I think it's a good effort!

I got pretty excited about how many things I could alter after such great success with this tunic, that I pulled everything out of my wardrobe that I wanted to change! Another top that I quite like, again has these ridiculous puff sleeves. This has turned out to be a bit trickier due to the amount of volume in the sleeves, a work in progress! 

I am very pleased to be able to write about my sewing adventures now here on the blog! Watch this space!
For now my family heirloom has gone back into her home while I continue creating for the Thorndon Fair. See you again soon!

Skip To My Lou

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Cinnamon & Raisin Scrolls

When I was in America in 2010, one thing I ate changed my life forever! One of the great things about the USA is the ability to make the most shockingly bad for you junk food taste unbelievably amazing! On a day trip down to San Diego from Los Angeles, we stopped for a snack in a mall. It was one of those places with heaps of options for food. I picked out a Cinnabon. I was sold. I couldn't stop thinking about this gooey, sticky, warm, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon bun. My memories of cinnamon buns are of a somewhat dry scone. A Cinnabon is anything but! I only ate one more in the three weeks we were travelling around the States. The second was during a stopover in Delaware in transit from NYC to Washington DC on the world's dodgiest bus (Only $20 a ticket- we were certain there was some illegal cargo on board....!) We couldn't eat on the bus, so I save my little Cinnabon until we got to our hotel in Georgetown. Even after 4 hours travel, it was still amazing! 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Toy Story Party

Last month my baby boy turned 3! We flew up to Auckland for my son's birthday party. Most of our families live in Auckland so it made sense to have a party up there, rather than have all of them travel down to us. 

My boy has been into Toy Story for quite a while now, and so we had a Toy Story themed birthday. I tried to keep things as simple as possible, so that I could easily transport the things I needed to from home, as well as making the party a bit more interesting. Seeing as he is only 3, I don't feel like we need to go all out yet in terms of making completely themed food and heaps of decorations. Maybe once he is older we will be a bit more full on with completed themed food and everything!  

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Finished Projects: Mellow Yellow Crochet Blanket

You may have noticed if you're following me on Instagram, that I'm working on building up some stock for the Thorndon Fair in December. My goal is to try and use yarn only from my stash. I've got quite a haul of wool now, the 45 balls I won at Spotlight, and also a HUGE box of mixed yarns gifted to me from an old work colleague. I can't really justify buying new stuff when my yarn storage box is literally bursting at the seams! (Although I confess I did have to get extra white yarn to finish joining and the border!)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What I've Been Baking & Recipe for Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Wow wasn't that a mouthful of a title! The last few months I have been trying a few different new recipes. Nothing I can take credit for but I wanted to share in case you're lacking some inspiration! I also thought I would share what I've been doing along with a recipe for some really cute mini cupcakes with a decadent chocolate ganache frosting. I made these for a baby shower recently and they went down an absolute treat!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Work in Progress: Felt Christmas Stocking Part 2

Since the last update I've really been getting into the groove with this stocking. I really think that the lettering/name was the hardest part! I'm  now up to step 33, whereas last time I was only up to step 4! And that was 10 days ago! The numbers actually correlate to the piece that you're working on. At the moment I'm working on Santa's arm, which uses pieces 31-33. I've really enjoyed seeing Santa's face take shape, going from just the face to the whole puffy beard and moustache!

I'm enjoying learning and using all the different kinds of embroidery stitches. It's also a good lesson for me in following instructions, as I usually like to deviate from a pattern. But in this particular craft, you have to be quite careful and more of a perfectionist. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

DIY: Easy Name Canvases

I love it when you are just going about your day to day life, and suddenly you're struck by amazing inspiration! The other day I was in Pete's Emporium, trying to find some sequins for my Christmas Stocking, and I came across these wooden letters. Instantly I loved them and knew they would look cute as names on something. I got letters for my son's name and also for my nephew. I have a thing about named stuff! My Lucas has lots of things with his name on: a cup, a bowl, a train, a mini numberplate, an artwork and quite a few initials. I have no idea why I like having so many things with his name on but I think it's really cute! 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Recipe: Jamie Oliver Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

I used to always make this cheesecake for special occasions or if I was asked to make a dessert for a pot luck (bring a plate) dinner. As I had a pretty significant birthday (30!) in the weekend, I thought why not! I haven't made it in a while as it's very decadent, and makes a really large cake! If you haven't tried a baked cheesecake before, you're really missing out! It has a lovely smooth, velvety texture that melts in your mouth. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

What I've been reading... September 2014

Ok so it's been a loooooong time since my last reading post, but it's not because I haven't been reading. It's more likely I've read so many books I haven't had time to do an update! One book in particular that I read really got to me (in a good way) and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, some of the others were easy reads and trying out something new. You might also be pleased to see I've got to the trouble of sourcing images for all the books I've read! So you can have some lovely colour pictures instead of black and white Kindle screen shots! Also, do you like my new bedside table set up? My snazzy giraffe, toddler-made monkey and assorted reading material?!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Coconut Walnut Truffles

As you may already know (or guessed) by the other recipes on my blog, I stick to mostly old fashioned home baking and treats. We don't have any food allergies or intolerances in my family, so I basically cook whatever takes my fancy. I am however, happy to cater to anyone else's dietary requirements. If I am visiting someone or having a friend over, I'm more than happy to make something that they can eat. 

This recipe I came across while I was cutting up the Wiggles magazine to make this garland. I was quite surprised to find this recipe and see that it was not only easy to make, but yummy sounding too. Maybe it's just me, but I don't generally expect to find many adult friendly (i.e. food adults will eat) recipes in a children's magazine!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

D.I.Y Paper Heart Garland Tutorial

Two things I need to say before this post: 1. I realise not everyone will like Wiggles Themed ideas (please use your imagination to think of something you would like) 2. This is home handicraft idea and therefore it has that certain homemade "je ne sais quoi" (looks like a 5 year old made it) to it! Just go with it...

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Work in Progress: Felt Christmas Stocking Part 1

If you've been following me on Instagram, you may have seen that I've started to make my son's Christmas stocking. I started now, because I don't know how long it's going to take me, and I want to be finished before Christmas! 

I bought the kit last Christmas in the after-Christmas sales. I got it out of the packet and looked and all the pieces and then stuck it straight back in! You may have seen last Christmas that I have the same type of stocking myself. The stocking I'm making for Lucas is the exact same brand! My very crafty Mum made one for my sister and I. They have to be at LEAST 20+ years old as I remember having them when we lived in Auckland. This is one instance where I really wish Mum was still here as I could definitely use some advice on hand stitching and embroidery. This is part of the reason why it's taken me 7 or 8 months to start the stocking as I'm a bit afraid! Hand sewing is absolutely not my forte! 

I'm currently up to Step 4...of *gulp* 57. I'm taking it as slowly and carefully as I can to get everything right. The hardest part by far, and I think of the entire project was the personalising of the name. The pattern was for a red coloured thread but I thought I would make it special and go for that metallic thread is a pain to sew with! What I finished up with is by no means perfect, but all the same I'm proud of what I'm doing. I'll keep you posted as go.

Recipe: Honey Jumbles aka Rice Krispie Treats

Once upon a time, someone gave my sister a Kid's Microwave cookbook. It had some great recipes in it, for example, how to make scrambled eggs (!) And like most of the other cookbooks we had at home growing up, we only ever used the sweet section! I kept the book for awhile but really only so I could have this recipe. We gave the book to the Salvation Army store awhile ago, but I tore out the page with this recipe on it! (Incidentally there is a good recipe for meringues on the other side!!)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Why I Write & introducing Miss Dotty!

I was nominated TWICE to write this piece on why I write, so I thought I'd really better get on to it! If you're interested in the origin of these writing prompts, head over here. It's quite hard to write about yourself, so firstly I'm giving a bit of a blurb about the two gorgeous ladies who nominated me! 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Finished Projects: Square Circle Granny Blanket

I shared a sneak peek of this blanket a while ago here. I meant to do an update but I thought I would rather just do a proper post once it was all completed. You might notice that the original squares changed! I dropped out the purple squares as I didn't like the way they looked once I was arranging them altogether. So this is the new and updated version!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Recipe: Apricot Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's been quite a while since I posted a recipe on the blog! It's not for lack of baking however. I've actually done quite a bit, just nothing original. Will share what I've been baking in another post....

Monday, 21 July 2014

Happy 1st Birthday It's Marie Made!

Today marks exactly one year since I started this blog! I can't believe how much I've achieved in that one year. On average I've managed to write one post per week. I've racked up nearly 10,000 views in total. I've posted over 800 photos on my @itsmariemade Instagram feed. I've managed to get over 130 "likes" on my Facebook page. I've had my content featured in an overseas blog. I've started reading over 100 blogs, supporting both local Kiwi bloggers and also lots of interesting overseas blogs. (You can find me over at Bloglovin here)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Little Boy Blue Hat & Boots

Wow haven't these school holidays flown by?! I feel like I've been busier with activities than in term time! We've had play dates, story time to kindy, swimming, Chipmunks, family dinners, birthdays, the library, playing at the park.... I think that's enough for one almost 3 year old?? 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Work in Progress: Square Circle Solid Granny Squares


Another quick check in to show you what I'm up to! Although I have that "To Do" list I'm slowly working on, I also keep thinking of new projects to start on! I'm sure I'm not the only one that works this way?? I find it so much easier to do a project I'm really in to at any one time, rather than plodding away at things that I should be doing. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Finished Projects: Stripes and Bows

Another quick check in to show off a couple things I finished off this past week. These were meant to be part of my Just Create June challenge, but I couldn't quite get them done before the end of the month!

Firstly a neat stripy hat off to a friend in Auckland. She sent me a picture of him wearing it yesterday, and the colours are just perfect on him. It's so lovely to see someone using and wearing something you've made isn't it?!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

How to Make a Ruffle Scarf with Mesh Yarn

If you are a regular reader of my blog (I'm hoping there's one or two of you!) or you follow me on Instagram (@itsmariemade) or Facebook, you may have seen the huge bucket of wool I won at a competition at Spotlight. 
There were lots of weird and wonderful yarns in that bucket and I've given myself an unofficial challenge of trying to create something with each of them. Some things I knew as soon as I saw the yarn what I would be able to make. Others, like this ridiculous furry yarn and these mesh and eyelash yarns, I was at a bit of a stalemate. From extensive Google research, it seems as though the only thing people make out of these are either scarves or teddy bears!
For this particular project, I decided to use the mesh yarn, Moda Vera "Catalina" and knit up a scarf. There is pattern on the back of the ball band, but after a few tries, I realised it's actually not that obvious how to knit with this type of yarn, so I thought I would do a photo tutorial showing you. I call these scarves "Ruffle Scarf" because I can't think of any other name for them! I hope you find this useful. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Something Finished....Peachy Baby Boots & Hat

Just dropping in to show off a hat and bootie set I made as a gift for a baby shower this weekend. It's lovely to make something in girl colours for a change! I'm totally in love with the pastel shades of this wool. It's girly but not overwhelmingly pink!
(Incidentally, this is the yarn I bought when I entered the wool competition! I guess it was a worthwhile trip!)

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Just Create June: What I've Been Making

I have been a bit absent from this space for the last few weeks! I have been doing quite a bit of making, and my "To Do" list seems to be growing daily! I am the classic procrastinator where by I always find something new today instead of finishing what I started and seeing it through to completion.
At the end of last month I read this post on Sugar Crumbs blog, which was a bit of a challenge to create as much as you can during the month of June. For me, I decided I would like to crochet and knit through  my "To Do" list. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Stripey Crochet Granny Monkey Blanket + Pattern and Border Tutorial

As soon as I found out my brother-in-law and his wife were having a baby, I knew I wanted to make a blanket for the new addition. I was already working on the Crochet Baby Granny Blanket and also the Granny Square Scrap Blanket but I had a few ideas floating around in my head. I really liked the way that the Baby Granny Blanket turned out in the random stripes, so I was thinking about something along those lines but different colours. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Vintage and Retro Children's Books Part Two

Carrying on from last time and sharing some more of the books I read in childhood. These books I rescued from the school that my Mum used to teach at. She kept a selection of our favourite picture books from childhood and read them to her new entrants class. They were known as the Christmas books because a lot of them were special books we would only read at Christmas. 
When Mum passed away, another teacher held on to them until I collected them several years ago. 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A trip down memory lane... Vintage & Retro Children's Books

I think I may have mentioned before that I come from a book friendly household. The most common activity in our house when I was growing up, was to be reading a book. My mum was a huge reader and we would go to the library almost every weekend to bring home a HUGE stack of books each. I would usually take at least 10 or so books, all different kinds of stories. Mostly fiction and sometimes kids science books. I read The Baby Sitters Club, some Sweet Valley High (sometimes I wouldn't be allowed these as the story lines were a little to mature for an 8 year old), The Borrowers, The String Family, R L Stine, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Paul Jennings, John Marsden, Tessa Duder... and the list goes on! Most of these books from the 1990s!  

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Granny Scrap Blanket: Part Two- Joining Up

Hopefully you will have seen the previous post here in which I showed you how I started making a granny square blanket from a whole bunch of scrap yarn I had lying around. The next thing to do once you have all your squares, is to join them up!

I had in my mind, an idea of how I might like to join them. I didn't want to just sew them directly together for two reasons 1- because they looked too bright right next to each other; and 2- I am not a great sewer, and my poor skills would have been exposed in this type of project. What I was thinking about was some kind of border that linked all the squares but also created a border around the whole thing while being flat, even and uniform. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Three years ago I went on a bit of an OE (Overseas Experience) with my husband. We mostly travelled in America. On my list of things to do, was to eat Red Velvet cake. I really didn't know that much about it except it seemed to be really popular, and it was red! I didn't even know what kind of flavour Red Velvet was! 
I managed to taste a Red Velvet cupcake, Frozen Yoghurt and a Red Velvet layered dessert. (I also became a huge fan of peanut buttered flavoured desserts while over there so sometimes I picked that flavour!). 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Granny Square Scrap Blanket: Part One- The Squares

After finishing my Granny Stripe Crochet Blanket I am totally hooked (excuse the pun) on crochet, and in particular, the granny stitch. I can't believe how easy it is (once you know how). I had heard this before but I wasn't sure until I decided to have a go at making granny squares myself. I found it a bit tricky to find instructions that were confusing until I came across this tutorial with PHOTOS (Hallelujah- you know how much I LOVE photo tutorials!) by Little Tin Bird. It was so straight forward and simple, before you know it I had knocked out four granny squares just like *that* (bearing in mind I had to read the instructions three times and redo my first square three times because I didn't follow the pattern correctly the first time!). I used a few scrap yarns I had lying around from last years hat and bootie projects (check out herehere and here). I am notoriously bad at buying one ball of yarn for a small project, and so I had quite a build up of bits and pieces. Then I remembered these stupid kits I had lying around. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Woven Paper Easter Baskets

The idea from these baskets is from my mum. She was a new entrant teacher (first year of school teacher). Every year for special events or holidays, she would make these baskets for her pupils. Usually at Easter and Christmas time. I would often get roped into making the baskets as they can be a little tricky for 5 year olds to master on their own! I think the original idea came from her Danish friend as I believe they are a common decoration in Denmark. Depending on the type of paper or card you use, they can be very sturdy, so hold lots of Easter eggs or other treats. They would also make great party favour bags-- you could even get guests to make their own. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Completed Project: Granny Stripe Crochet Blanket

I am so proud of myself for persevering with this blanket and finishing it off (See previous post here about my failed attempts!) While it may not be perfect, it's still very usable and (I think) looks pretty great!
If you would like to have a go at this blanket, visit Maybe Matilda and check out the pattern here. The very BEST thing about this pattern is that there are step by step photos.  I don't know how many times I had to go back and refer to the pictures to see if I was doing it right. So helpful. I really don't think I would have attempted it without the pictures (so Rachel if you read this, here is one very grateful fan!)