Thursday, December 2, 2010

Before the Embroidenator discovered embroidery and quilting...

...she was potty about pottery.
I love this dish, with its strawberry border. Perfect for serving the real thing! And to think she thought this wasn't very good. Le sigh.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've been making things!

Things have been a bit quiet around here because I've been flat out on two major projects - Coast to Coast and the DCM craft market at work. Here are some of the things I've made:
 More tea cosies! The one on the right was a commission. My favourite so far is the one in the middle, love the parchment and black thing!
 Bag-in-a-bags, from two different angles:
Now this may not seem like a lot for the time taken, but I have sold three teacosies and had to make a set of pot holders to match one, so the more I try and get enough stock, the more I sell. This is not a bad thing, of course, but I confess a part of me wants to stop anyone buying my stuff! How illogical is that! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Flirty at Thirty

Joie de Vivre turns 30 this week and to celebrate, had a bit of a shindig on Saturday night. The occasion definitely called for a cake.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Put 20 November in your diary!

...but only if you live in NZ and quilt ;-)
20 November is Coast to Coast, a two-yearly event for quilters that incorporates a chance to show your work off to others, learn about quilty things, spend money on quilty things, and hang out with similarly daft persons without having to explain yourself. It's heaven! :)
I've set up a blog about it, that I'm updating regularly. If you can't make it then at least you can read about it! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My colour wash quilt part 2

My sister tells me that I am making a 'colour wash' quilt and it is "very '90's". HA!!! *tosses hair*.
Hana and Jo, I tried the opposite border thing but I got stuck on what to do next, and was fossicking in my stash when I found this:
As the quilt starts in warm reds and finishes in apricots and browns, I thought this would make a delicious border.

However, light triangles between it and the quilt look stark, so I opted to use a black backgrounded sprig fabric to fill them all in, which will blend into the border:
Half way done...
All done. Now all I have to do is sew the strips together and add that yummy border.

Amelia's First Quilt

My gorgeous and fabulous stepdaughter Amelia, aged 11, has taken to sewing big time.
This is she cutting strips from which to build her first quilt.

Amelia chose all the fabrics herself and has gone for a scrumptious pallet of "fluoro" blues and browns with some black and white and a hint of metallic gold. I love the way she has played within this range of colours.
The block we are doing is a variation on "Pussy in the Corner" which appeals to us as Amelia loves cats.
The reason why we've pinned them into these odd shapes is experimenting with order of colours in each block.  It's so good having a design wall!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Using up bits

Last night at the committee meeting for our quilting club we were talking about 'charity' quilts. Not a term I like but I do like what it means - giving quilts to those who need comfort - the comfort of something physically soft and snuggly, and the comfort of knowing something was made with love. Quilts fulfil both of these types of comfort.
It got me thinking about what I had in my stash that I could whip an emergency quilt with, and I remember the 7,000,000 charm squares I've been hoarding. Yay! A rummage through them for all the florals and a sort into colour values and I came up with this. Finished, it will be a queen size quilt. since taking the pic I've moved a few squares around in the middle.
So, tell me, what am I using as a border? Do I use one fabric, or graduate it through colour values like the squares? I have a bunch of fat q's in a black background, very fine floral that may do it, but ideas are welcome! And lace, is it that kind of quilt? Help me!
It feels good to make a small dent in the charm collection!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What the Embroidenator has been up to

Remember my clever mother and the beautiful needle case she made me? It came about because she made herself one and I lusted after it in a most obvious way.
The other night at our sewing group I took a couple of shots of it.
Isn't it gorgeous!! Birds are her other favourite thing after flowers, and I think these are fairy-wrens because of their cute little tails, and that I know she adores them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why so quiet?

So much to share, so much to show off! The apartment is looking gorgeous and I've got a quilt, some presents and all kinds of other things to show. HOWEVER, our camera is nearly flat and can we find the charger? No we can't! So, I have finally given up and bought a new one. When it arrives and the camera is ready to roll again, I promise to be more interesting.
It's the award ceremony for the Plain English Awards tomorrow night. I've got my frock sorted out, still not sure what to do with the hair though. Luckily I am on stage for the first two awards only, so I can get it over and done with, and enjoy the rest of the night. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On Productivity, Puppies and Pinkness

A few weekends ago I headed up north a short distance to a wonderful craft retreat centre with some like minded guild members. There we sewed up a storm, gossiped, got fed and looked after and helped one another out on various projects.
As a result, it was a very Productive weekend. I started with two quilts with the tops cut and went home with both completely finished even to the binding (although one I had to hand stitch that night), a smaller baby floor quilt, and a new teacosy and pot mit set.
The quilt I want to show in this post is all about Puppies and Pinkness. Two extremely important qualities to its five year old destination. As she knows that she is getting something pink and puppy covered but not what, the heat is on to get it to her! :)
Here are the lovely Jacqui and Shirley pinning it out for me on the floor. Watching these two I learnt a lot about pinning out a quilt! For those who don't quilt, pinning out is where you lay out the three layers (back, batting and top) and pin them through with safety pins so they can be quilted.
And here it is, completed. Pinned, incidentally, to the huge design wall in my new studio. :) Instead of an inset inner border, I went with a 3cm wide chocolate satin ribbon. It's even mitred!
This is the back. I have recently got my head around the idea of 'using things up', especially extras left over from the front and bits of fabric. The only fabric I had to add to what I already had was the pink marble at each end. A gorgeous pieced back, and me not having yet another bundle of fabric left over. Yay!!
Detail. I love every one of these fabrics. All dogs and puppies. I love the chocolate with the pink too.
So there you have it, one pretty, pink, poodly and puppy strewn quilt. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My excuse!

We're moved. That was the easy bit. Unpacking all the boxes is the hard part!
This end of the living room is even worse than the one I am flaked out in! (MrC is taking photos from the stairs)
The studio is so solid with boxes, I can't imagine ever being able to sew in it.
The funny thing is that the amount of boxes totally overrepresents the amount of our stuff - the packers use so much paper and bubble wrap, each box is easily a third just that.
mind you many of the boxes in this last pic are fabric and things that don't break and are chocka. Hmm.
Anyway, am I excused for not being a good little blogger?!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am Versatile, it's official! :)

How cool is this! The wonderful Dreamstress  gave me this award a while ago and I'm sorry it's taken so long to put it up and post something :) This morning is the first time since P2P I feel like I've been able to just sit and blog.
Anyway, I have to tell you seven things about myself and nominate 15 blogs to give it to. I don't even know of 15 blogs so I will do my best!

Seven things about MrsC
1. I love RED. Almost every shade of it. I love to wear it, to live surrounded by it. I find it soothing and inspiring. The only thing better than red, is red and gold together. The bedroom in our previous apartment. Red, gold, maximalism :)
2. I love PURPLE. I love to wear purple, but not so much to live surrounded by it. I got married in purple velvet (among other fabrics and colours) and I love red and purple together. My favourite shades of purple are the redder ones, like royalty wear, although I am also fond of ultraviolets.
Yes it is very, very dark purple silk/rayon velvet. My many attendants (the joys of stepkids and nieces) wore cherry burgundy velvet, among other fabrics and colours.
3. My favourite roses as in the kind you buy cut from a florist not the kind you plant in a garden, are Leonidis and Bluebell (although I think it's odd to name one flower after another!) They are the roses in my wedding bouquet and in my hair. Leonidis is the terracotta one, Bluebell the deep burgundy one.
This image is a little fiddled with in photoshop, and it is the background on my PC.
4. I recently remet my first boyfriend (17) and was rather touched to find how I had it right the first time. He is lovely and very like my husband. I did spend most of the intervening 20 years with the wrong kinds of blokes. Like many fairly smart people, I can be a slow learner...
5. I love weather. I love hail, wind, rain, scorching sun, warm or cool breezes, the whole gambit of it. I would hate to live somewhere where the weather never really did much. I like weather with personality! No wonder I love Wellington and Christchurch! People in these cities talk about the weather because it is interesting, not because they have nothing else to talk about :)
6. Is it a cheat to include the revealing truth that I am a maximalist? Maximalism is a movement my friend Terry and I invented, shocked that it didn't exist already. Minimalists have had all the press. Maximalists believe that "More is More". A maximalist believes that you should add something, not take something away. The mistake minimalists always make when they judge and dismiss a maximalist piece is that it is chaos. IT IS NOT. It is much harder to make something work when it has many components. Well, I would say that wouldn't I..
7. I love Art Nouveau. I suspect that this really is a cheat as of course a hard core maximalist would love Art nouveau. I also love the Arts and Crafts movement.

Right now though I have to run away! I will nominate some wonderful blogs for a versatility award very soon :)

I'm still here!

Sorry my devoted readers, to neglect you for so long. Life has been...textural...lately.
Best news is that we are now the proud owners of one gorgeous inner city apartment, converted from 1920's warehouse and with covered parking. All miracles. The complementary news is that we are soon not to be the owners of our lovely townhouse, and the upshot of course is that the contents of House B need to be moved to Apartment A, but not before the contents of House B have been scrutinised for ongoing relevance in our downsized life, and dispatched to new homes, hopefully occasionally with shekels changing hands.
So, because I have gorgeous photos taken for online listing, I am devoting this post to House B. It is not its fault that it is too far and uphill from the city. We will miss the tuis singing in the trees, the quiet and peace and loveliness of its setting.
This is our front view. We fell in love with the cute cottageyness of the place
Sunspots through the cabbage tree - MrC gets artistic :)
I love this view from our landing down into the front hall. The long interior window is all that is left of the original and unnecessary kitchen door. Reclaiming the space allowed the magic to happen within.
Our dining area with the famous WLW (World's loudest wallpaper). I like this is as it shows the library dresser my Dad made, the chest I painted and the chair I had powder-coated and recovered, twice now.
The other end, living room. It is bigger than it looks but it is not big.
You've seen this room even if you don't realise it - it used to be my studio. Who'd have guessed that under all those cupboards and shelves there lurked a tranquil, tasteful master bedroom? I am very proud of this bed - it is a blow up queen mattress balanced on a bookcase lying on its back, still full of books. Anyone sitting on it would have ended up on the floor with a duvet flung over their head hehehe.
Ironically, the new owners are running their business for this room and they are in the sewing machine business!
The inner sanctum - our room. You can't properly see our dear little chandelier. I love the curtains in this room, the fabric is so William Morris and it was a bargain from D Alexanders back when Doug was still there *sob sob*. Still, party of the fun of a new place is choosing new stuff. And I've already done most of that!
the view UP from the landing to the upstairs. Our room to the right, bath straight ahead, spare room to the left. It shows off the lovely paintings my M-i-L gave us as a wedding present. I had them framed and the Chinese couple who own the framers were amazed a westerner wanted gold mounting. But it suits the style :)
So, that's what we're giving up. when I get some good photos of Apartment A, I will post. It is about to get a semi makeover so that should be interesting!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cosy to a T...

It's just got to be this weather that has me obsessing about Tea cosies. Making them is time consuming but not endless, and they are cosy to make, and hot tea is nice when it is so cold. So how can I resist?

Black and white - it's so very pleasing to the senses!
I love blue and white in this context, it looks like a teacosy made of broken china.
And of course, the homage to Clarice Cliff. There was a CC tea set on the Antiques Roadshow tonight, only two trios but a full teapot, sugar and milk, and they valued it at £2,500!! I wish my tea cosies would sell for that, but it won't be quite so much ;-)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's just a jump to the left...

...and a step to the right!
On Friday night Husband and I donned our silliest Rocky Horroresque outfits and headed off to the Embassy to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a BIG screen. It is a VERY silly movie isn't it!
We didn't take a photo of DH as he went as Prof Scott (ambulatory)- all tweed and corduroy. Quite boring really. Moi wore the Fabulous PVC jacket gifted to moi by the Fabulous Ang Reeves. It starred in our production of Silly Cow and what it lacks in tastefulness it makes up for in sluttiness. Every woman needs a PVC garment of no taste or discernment in her wardrobe, just in case she goes to a Rocky Horror viewing or party. ;-) I think it looks rather nice with the red bustier gifted to me by the fabulous Trees Maclean of the recent second baby.
Hmm, now I just realised how many Fab women pass on their slutty clothes to me. What are they trying to say?!?! I assure all readers that I am a very sensible person and behave very well. Most of the time!

By Hoki Quilts turns Two!

By Hoki Quilts is a shop in Hokitika on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. "By Hoki" was an exclamation made popular in NZ by Selwyn Toogood, a TV host with one of those wonderful rolling voices that fill a theatre. A great name for a shop in Hokitika!
Mich'ele is having a giveaway on her blog of a lovely Moda jelly roll and matching charm squares. I am addicted to these!
Happy Sunday, all :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cosy and comforting things for this cold weather

I don't know what the weather's like in 'furrin parts', but here in Kiwiland it's ferkin' cold. And wet. And windy. All the winter things!
Anyway to warm up our thoughts, I've been thinking about cosy things. Like tea cosies, and plunger cosies.

Here are both views of one I made this weekend that is travelling all the way to the UK as a present for some people who have willow pattern china. It's crazy patched - I'm not usually a blue and white lover but I am LOVIN' this one and am going to make more. Also the whole toile thing, I LOVE it!
Now this set I made for my kitchen. It goes very well with it too. Suits the oranges and reds etc. However now I am in love with toiles I'm not so sure I love this. How can I be so fickle at my age??!!
This is a vegetarian calzone I made for a pie competition at work tomorrow. I've made it look pielike in case someone decides that calzone is not really a pie. Pick, pick, pick. I made a fern for the top as it is my company's emblem. It's very yummy too - aubergine, tomato, red onion, spinach, cheese and olives. YUM. So there you go, comfort food and cosies. Bring on the winter weather, I can hack it now! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Quilt Exhibition 14-16 May 2010.

What a weekend it was. Like stepping into the past. Johnson Bros teacups and saucers lovingly preserved by the Horticultural Society, in which we served tea and coffee accompanied by home baking. People wandered and looked at quilts, some of which are FAR more modern than the tea service!
I exhibited three things.
1. Amish Dramish
So called because it is an amish block, but the Amish never used silk, in these colours, nor did they quilt dramatic art deco motifs in varicoloured rainbow thread! This quilt I made for some male friends, and I wanted it to be masculine, luxurious and in colours that match their decor. I am told I have succeeded! :)

2. Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge is our bed quilt, it is 7' by 7' (212cm x 212cm) and has 61 fabrics in it. It is a friendship quilt which means that other people contributed blocks to it. In this case, I provided the fabrics and colour placement guidelines. It's called Moulin Rouge because it reminds me of those black and rose fringed silk shawls that remind me of Paris in the 1930's (Blame the movie Victor Victoria!) and because the placement of the reds forms windmills around the centre of each block, not that this shows up much in the finished quilt! :) It won first prize in the First Time Exhibitor category. Woohoo! :)

3. Cherries on the top

There was a challenge to make a bra bag, and this is my effort, made from two bras. Each side is a bra, with the top edges sewed together, and then sewed to one another along the wire line. The top opening is the armhole edge of the bra. I saw these cherry bras and couldn't resist. the cherries and leaves are made from PVC fabric.
 I was very proud of KayJay for winning with her gorgeous and witty entry!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hush, not a whisper...

Sorry I've gone radio silent on my blog. Life has been happening too fast! Here is a sampler:
We fell for an apartment and want to sell our house.
We've turned what was our office/sewing room back into a master bedroom including taking down built in shelves, packing away contents, paint and wallpaper. Erk
On Friday when we moved the PC, it died.
I spent the weekend at a quilting retreat. And got heaps done. Including all the bits of laurel dress I had to finish.

A mixture of clouds and silver linings...
I'll be taking photos of as many things as I can, to show them off. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Yay! A box arrived from Amazon at last with my birthday present. I asked for contributions towards buying all four Patterns of Fashion books and got enough to buy two which is an exciting start!
These are the ones I wanted the most anyway :) I am drooling over them whenever I can, especially the 'black' one as I've already almost memorised the other over the years. I love Janet Arnold!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Life! It has a life of its own!

Well, now, it looks like Julz just may have won herself some cupcake things! :) Although my lovely Joie de Vivre who has tried and failed to get Google to let her have a presence, swears (literally) that cupcakes are better than Google apps!
I've not listed my next giveaway because - on Monday we saw an apartment just because it's good to keep one's eye on the market, and fell HOH in love. I was liking the downstairs a lot but feeling a bit disappointed that there probably wasn't room for all of my making and doing, but upstairs was a 'bedroom' that is really just a big space with sun and room and - it's gorgeous! It's easily half again as big as the space I have now, which means we can put the sofa bed up there too - nice place to sit (and dump projects) and somewhere for guests.
So, the upshot is that we're trying to sell our house. I know! Can I take my kitchen with me?
So, please bear with me a bit longer for giveaway number two. No Dreamstress, alas it won't be my house hehehe.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fifteen Followers! Fantastic!!

Very exciting stuff. To celebrate, I am doing three giveaways, one a week, all around the different things I make and do, so you can choose the giveaway that matches your own passion, or try for the hat trick! :)
This week's giveaway is all about cupcakes. There are well over 150 cupcake papers here for every occasion, including the stand alone ones, and five plastic icing bags (they are disposable but also very reusable).
Sorry to my lovely international followers but because this one is quite bulky, it's only open to kiwis. (sorry Duchess!) however, the next two are going to be sewing related and will be open to all! :)
All you have to do is to post a comment telling us all why cupcakes are better than [...] (which can be anything you choose) I will include my cupcake and butter cream icing recipes with the giveaway so you'll have everything you need to get started (or keep making if you are already a cupcake convert like me!)
I'll leave it open until next Sunday kiwitime. International followers and commenters are welcome to join in, you never know, it may get you brownie points towards the next two giveaways! :)

You learn something every day!

This is my mother's favourite tea pot and I have to say it makes a wicked cup of tea. Perched on its handle is a parrot made of fabric lined with some kind of batting. Apparently these were quite common once, as a sort of  'ovenmit' for the hot teapot handle. Who knew! If I had come across a parrot like that, I'd not in a thousand years guess what it was for.
As an aside, I wasn't trying to take a fabulous photo but overall I think it came out really well, don't you? And you can just make out the photographer and her mother reflected in the teapot's surface. :)

And finally...!

The finished cake. It tasted great and went down a  treat. Could have been half the size, but hey, the children of quilters all over Wellington are well pleased that I didn't make it smaller! :)