Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Sewing

Strike a pose...

This is Burda 9573. Midget decided she would prefer loose sleeves rather than the elasticated ones.  The sizing is very generous and I would be inclined to go down a size if I was remaking it, but Midget is happy with it so who am I to say!  Midget chose the fabric which is Heather Ross Snails Orange and Blue from the Far Far Away 1 range.   I used the selvedge to put a wee motif on the pocket.

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing

Monday, December 27, 2010

E is for Elephant

In case you were wondering this blog is mainly about crafting, but you may have had your doubts lately.  That was because with all the end of year and pre-Christmas rush I just did not have the head space to be creative.  Migraines have been lurking - I think I was more stressed about my son's end of year NCEA exams than  he was.  Then Midget finished at the primary school she has attended for the last 8 years and that was all very emotional as it ends a 11 year assocaition with the school.

But getting back to craft - I love elephants, they seem such gentle giants and they keep reappearing in my craft.  Above is some doodling that I finished today.  The guy below was made a couple of years ago and he stands guard at our lounge door proetcting us from the Wellington winds that threaten to slam the door.  (Didn't realise how dusty he was getting until I took this photo). 

He is very proud of his tail...

These guys have been lurking in my fabric stash.... I must admit to finding it hard to cut them up.  I need the perfect project.

And these guys have been added to the shop recently, they are by Laura Wisbrun.

I can feel some more sewing coming on over these holidays!  Happy sewing everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Meri Kirihimete

  This is the wonderful Pride of Auckland Choir singing Rudolph.  Meri Kirihimete everyone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Me and Lois Part II - The NZ Christmas Mincemeat

For WandaFish :) if it is good enough for Lois (or her husband) it is surely good enough for me!

NZ Christmas Mincemeat
175g seeded raisins
150g sultanas
100g mixed peel
150g currants
30g almonds blanced, peeled and finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 navel orange
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup medium sherry
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
75g butter
150g dark brown sugar
2 large ripe bananas

Put the seeded raisins, sultanas and peel in a processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Tip out into a large bowl and add the currants, almonds, zests and juices, brandy, sherry and spices.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a moderately low heat and use a wooden spoon to stir in the brown sugar.  Peel the bananas and slice finely.  Add to the butter and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon.  As the bananas soften crush them into the butter and sugar mixture.  Continue cooking for several minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Add this mixture to the remaining ingredients.  Stir well and cover.  Leave at room temperature and stir again the next day before putting in a covered plastic container in the fridge.  If possible store for days or weeks before using.  (Not in my last minute house!) Makes enough for 3 dozen mince pies.

I also like the tradition that you can count on a happy month for every Christmas mince pie you eat in a different house (or cafe).  55,56,57..... just kidding! 

Happy eating

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Me and Lois - Only in New Zealand

It has been crazy at my place recently as I am sure it is for most people at this time of year.

This morning I have been baking my Christmas Mince Pies and using the recipe by Lois Daish (a food writer) that appeared in The Listener several years ago.  I always use this recipe and every time I do it makes me smile because behind it is a story that I think might only happen in New Zealand. 

It was Christmas Eve in 2004 and I had been hanging onto The Listener magazine ready to follow the recipe that I saw for Christmas Mince Pies, but when I came to use the recipe - could I find the magazine? - NO!  Mr S had been busy tidying up and had put it out for recycling that day and it was gone. 

Not to be put off I turned to the internet to see whether they had the recipe on-line.  NO.  But there was the number for the Listener in Auckland, so not caring about the toll call, I rang. I wanted to make those Christmas Mince Pies.

NO, says the Listener they cannot give me the recipe, but would I like to ring Lois and ask for it?  WOW, you mean I can ring Lois?  So I rang Lois at home and spoke to her very understanding husband who without any fuss gave me the recipe I was after.  Only in New Zealand!  I wonder whether they would do it today?

The recipe is yummy - but beware do grease your patty pans!

Almond Pastry
 250g standard flour
50g almonds (I use 70 g as that is the size of the packet and I cannot bear the waste)
100g icing sugar
190g hard butter
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp very cold water (don't let your husband near it because mine tips it out when he is tidying up!)

Put the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a processor bowl.  Cut the butter into dice and add.  Pulse the processor until the mixture has an even crumb like texture.  Combine the yolk and water in a cup and add to the processor.  Pulse until the mixture starts to clump into larger crumbs.  Stop the machine, lift the lid and press a few of the crumbs together between thumb and forefinger.  If they do not readily hold togetehr, add a few more drops of cold water and pulse again.  Top the mixture into a bowl and press together with your hands.  Wrap in a plastic wrap and put in a cool place for 20 minutes before rolling out.

Makes about 24 small mince pies (I use mini muffin tins and I get about 36)

Lois also gives a recipe for the Christmas Mince which I must admit I do not use any more, being a last minute person I buy some good pre-made Christmas mince and use that instead.

I use mini muffin tins and bake the pies at about 190 degrees celsius in a fan forced oven for about 10 minutes. 

Also because my children do not like dried fruit I usually make some raspberry jam pies as well - just use raspberry jam instead of Christmas Mince.

Happy Baking

Friday, December 10, 2010

frocking good - a new dress for Christmas

Need a new frock?  Then check out the lovely ones at Cast.  I have just received mine.

This is not me modelling, in case you did not realise (in my dreams I have this figure!), but the lovely Catherine who is the designer, machinist, model, sales woman and everything behind Cast.  I met Catherine at a recent market I was selling at and her clothes are beautiful and flattering, even to the more generously proportioned figure.

I also had my dress lengthened by an extra 10 cms (because I like to hide my thighs).  Three days later my new dress, which I am in love with, arrived by courier. 

Now I am working out how many times this will be worn between now and Christmas Day.  I can see it becoming a firm favourite.

Thanks Catherine I love it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

good bye to the old and hello to the new - baker's twine

If you have made a purchase through Stitchbird Fabrics your parcel will have arrived tied with a piece of red trim.  Unfortunately the red trim is coming to an end and based on the age of the spool it came from my guess is that I will not be able to re-order.  A google search did not even find Lawrence Textiles :(

So what to use in the future.....

Baker's Twine!  Not only will parcels come tied with Baker's Twine you can also buy Baker's Twine in the shop here.  With names like Maraschino, Peapod, Lemon Drop and Pink Sorbet who can resist.

Just a few photos to tempt...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

a beautiful day

The sun is shining and I spent the morning at the Kibirnie Library sewing and talking to people about crafting.  The mail had a couple of the Christmas decorations from the Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap I am particpating in.  And this afternoon I have been cutting fabric, filling orders and getting ready for this weekend's market at Frank Kitts.

One customer's fabric selection, I love seeing the combinations that people select. (Thanks Fiona).


From Ella and yes I love it.  It also has some cloves inside - so not only does it look good but it smells good too.

From Dione the organiser extraordinnaire behind the swap.

I am one of the last ones to send as I have been dithering as to what to make - too many ideas and not enough self discipline to stop procrastinating and just DO IT!!  But I am pleased to say they are all finished and will be sent out tomorrow.

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are and if it is not that you are warm and cosy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wellington Advent Calendar

If you live in Wellington, please click on this link - it is magical.  (You can even click on it if you aren't in Wellington).  It is fun.

Wellington Advent Calendar
Welcome to the Wellington Advent Calendar. Every day until Christmas we’ll reveal a wee treat for you, thanks to some great Wellington businesses. All you need to do is find today’s door and click on it to reveal what’s hidden. Come back every day to see what new treat has been revealed! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Daisy is getting ready

Daisy is a bit nervous about the market tomorrow, wondering if she and her friends will find a new home.

She will have to be up bright and early (no Saturday sleep ins).  She has been watching all the cutting and packing going on  - loads of fabric, cushions, lightshades, a gazillion head bands, hair ties and hair clips - a girl gets tired just watching.

P.S. If you would like to see Daisy and her firends she will be at the Christmas Knack Market at Berhampore School, 105 Britomart Street, Berhampore, Wellington from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OMG - what have I got myself into?

We are very fortunate in having a wonderful library and I am a regular, checking out magazines, novels and lots and lots of crafting books (the latest is above, Dare to be Square Quilting).  Well the number of crafting books has not gone unnoticed, because now I find myself down to do a demonstration not only at my local library but also the neighbouring suburb's library - the topic - patchwork, christmas decorations and christmas gifts - a subject range broad enough to give myself plenty of wiggle room (or room to hang myself).

The library is running a series of art and craft demonstrations to show case the books they have available for loan.

Only thing is now I feel like a fraud - I am no sewing expert - I do things because I like doing them and I make plenty of mistakes along the way.  For me sewing and crafting is not about perfection.  But now the questions is what exactly to do?   My thoughts in no particular order are:
  • a baby's bib
  • cool cards from old book illustrations (but is cutting up old books sacrilege in a library?? What is the etiquette here?).
  • the house and heart christmas decorations  - as seen here, maybe some others?
  • a bag
  • and some patchwork blocks, including the wonders of appliqueing with vliesofix
What do you think?  Any suggestions - what things do you make for quick and easy gifts?  I also thought I could take some completed things with me.  Like this pencil roll

Which came from the pattern in this book:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Free Hugs Campaign

I just found this video clip via Sandrinha's profile on Blogger.  Thanks Sandrinha - it is just what I needed today.  Hugs everyone...Lyndy

Monday, November 15, 2010

a joint effort

In my last shipment I received these bag patterns.

A lot of internet shops say how easy these patterns are to follow even though the instructions are in Japanese.  Either I am really thick (this is a genuine possibility) or they are stretching the truth in the interests of sellling a pattern. 

So with the help of Yuki, who translated the Japanese into English and my sewing knowledge we have tried as accurately as possible to translate these patterns into English for you.  So a long time later they have finally made their way into the shop.  When you order you will receive your patterns with the translated copy included.

Happy stitching

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I am thinking of buying an overlocker, also known as a serger.  I have only ever used my sewing machine and until recently I was using the basic bernina which I received for my 21st (just a few years ago).  Which still goes incredibly well and now resides in Miss M's bedroom for her sewing.

But I would like to give clothes and bags that professional finished look and possibly even try some knits (sweaty palms and initmidated by these as well).

When I go into the shop my eyes glaze over as they start to tell me what is the best machine that does not cost a gazillion dollars.  And lets be real here I am a home sewist, I do make and sell a few bits and pieces for markets but it won't ever have to deal with more than that.  The machine recommended by Wellington Sewing Services is the Babylock 097 pictured above.  The good thing about it is the front opens completely up for threading which I gather can be a bit a nightmare on some machines.

Does anyone have any recommendations?  Things to look for?  Avoid?  As always your comments are appreciated.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

my hat runneth over and the winners

Amazing!  Thank you to everyone who left comments on my giveaway.  I went to use the hat for the draw but there were just too many entries and they would not all fit.

So Plan B - one of the totes from the shop (Mr Stitchbird's suggestion and very appropriate too).  He also insisted on taking a photo of the draw including me.  YIKES and without the red eye reduction double yikes. 

So onto the winners:

The first name drawn and winner of the Heather Ross set is Amy Seven Stitches whose favourite fabric is the plain linen.

The winner of the boys fabric selection was Abi who came and visited me when I did Stash Rehash in Christchurch earlier this year.

The winner of the Zakka Style collection is Viv from Highway Cottage Quilter.

The winner of the Midget hairties and the Aunty Cookie appliques is Faith Hope Cherry

And finally and it is one of her favourite fabrics Jacqui from Hazelnuts (this was not rigged!) gets the Echino Birdsong.  I hope you are feeling better soon.

I will contact you all via email tomorrow 'cos it is getting late.  My apologies for the late post by the way but I have been the taxi service to touch rugby and water polo.

I wish you all could have won - so as a wee concellation (is that the correct spelling?) if you pop the word "gift" in the promotion code at the checkout in the store you will get a 10% discount off your purchase.

Happy stitching everyone

Monday, November 8, 2010

the coveting is over

I have been coveting this book (Nuigurumi Style) for a long time now and when I saw it on etsy I squealed.

The book is now out of print so finding a copy can be a bit of a mission.  I have been saving some brown velvet which will be perfect for the rabbit.

 I am in love!

A big thank you to everyone who has entered the giveaway (next post down, if you still wish to enter) I will be drawing winners on Wednesday (NZ time).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Birthday Giveaways

1 year ago today the Stitchbird Fabrics shop opened for business.  To celebrate and to give back to everyone who has supported me during the year I am hosting a giveaway.  Before I get onto the details of the giveaway a big THANK YOU to fellow bloggers, blog readers, customers, suppliers and all the really cool creative and helpful people I have met along the way, I am always amazed at how giving and lovely you all are - I wish I could have you all round to my place for a party.

Seeing as I can't I am hosting a giveaway and will think of you as I have a wee wine tonight in celebration!

The giveaways...

1. A Heather Ross Far Far Away II Fat Quarter Selection

2. A Selection of Fabrics for Boys

3. Zakka Style Fat Quarter Selection

4. 2 Pairs of Midget Hair Ties and 4 Cookies Ready for Appliquing

5. .6 of a Metre of one of my Favourite Fabrics (enough to make a cushion, cover a canvas, make a bag) - Bird Song Green (as seen here made into a cushion)

OK - so now you have seen the goodies how do you enter? 

To enter just leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favourite fabric is in the shop.  If you are already a follower or become a follower you will receive 2 entries and if you share the love and tell others about this giveaway on facebook or your blog you will get 3 entries (just let me know if you have done this).

These giveaways are open to anyone, wherever you may live, as the support I have received has not been limited to New Zealand.  Each giveaway will be drawn separately.

Thank you and arohanui to everyone

PS Please make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you if you win :0)

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED READY FOR THE DRAW.  Once again thanks to everyone for your awesome support this year.  I will be back to blog about the winner later.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

screw perfection

Today I did a market and like so many markets there are lots of people who said they would like to craft, sew or whatever but don't because they are scared that what they do will not turn out perfectly - to them and everyone with similar thoughts - I say screw perfection.

Crafting is not about perfection.  Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.  Random and impefect can be cool and quirky.

This book has a lovely intro...

Stitched in Time by Alicia Paulson (from the introduction and I have paraphrsed a bit here, I hope you don't mind Alicia) " for me, sewing is about enjoying the process, not necessarily making a perfectly executed heirloom.  Perfection is relative. .... if you are new to sewing, don't get hung up on whether something is easy of difficult - I believe in "love at first sight" when it comes to projects.  Pick one that really speaks to you and just jump in.  Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes - sometimes they can be the most endearing part of the any finished project, and may provide further evidence of your unique personality and skills.
Dreaming about a project and shopping for supplies is a major part of the expereince - sometimes it is even the best part (there I said it)."

Alicia I like your style.

This is a lovely book not just for the ideas and patterns, which are beautiful and accessible, but also for the sentiment.

Happy stitching ... Lyndy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

tweet dreams

More picture spotting in the latest NZ House and Garden - the Bird Song cushion modelling in the style supplement. 

Also just to give you the heads up - next week will be the first birthday of Stitchbird Fabrics, the shop opened on 2 November last year.  It has been a crazy ride, with lots of twists and turns but through out it all I have felt very fortunate to be doing something I love and to be in contact with wonderful, creative people. This job (if you can call it that) feeds my soul.

And in a well honoured blogging tradition and in the spirit of giving back, I will be hosting a giveaway here next week - so stay tuned.  I am yet to dream up what it will be - but promise it will be good.  I am also open to requests...

Happy stitching

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

other people come back with a suntan....

.....but I came back from Sydney with a cold and more fabric.  (Because really a girl can never have too much fabric).  These are some of the new Saffron Craig fabrics and some of the oldies but goodies back again.

Also based on Jacqui's suggestion I checked out the Kinokuniya book shop in Sydney.  WOW WOW WOW shelves and shelves of girls' porn .... do you wanna see....

I need those hedgehogs!

The latest Cotton Time magazine full of Christmas ideas and a Girly Style Wardrobe book.

A few more photos...

Now all I need is some time for some sewing please.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

sydney suggestions

What is a crafty girl to do in Sydney?  Has anyone got any suggestions?  I will have three handbrakes with me in the form of two teenagers and a husband but if I am very crafty I will be able to slip one or two places onto the itinerary. :0)

Special interests - vintage fabrics, fabric, buttons, cool handmade stuff, fabric, a market, fabric, books

P.S.  Also good food and coffee places and anything else that is on your must do list - Thanks

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a christmas swap

Decorations for 2008 Swap

For the last two year's I have participated in the Kiwi Christmas Decoration swap organised by Louise over at Twenty Cent Mixture.  Louise is in her first year as a teacher and is too busy to manage the swap and so Dione at Sew Funky has kindly taken over the role as organiser extraordinnaire.

 Decoration for 2009 swap

It is lovely crafting for fellow crafters as you know they appreciate the effort that goes into the making.  Also it is fabulous getting exciting mail, mail that isn't bills or bank statements.

You don't have to be a blogger to join in the fun and if you have never been involved in a swap before this is a good one to start with.

 As the banner says Join Now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


After almost a year I have finished the mini quilt advent calendar!  When I knew I wasn't going to complete it in time for last year - I went off it and put it away.  I am pleased I got it out again and finished it off. 

Now I want to start a Kiwi themed Christmas wreath that I have stuck in my head - if I start now I might have it finished for Christmas 2012.  Good things take time in this house.

Friday, October 15, 2010

save the date

The trend now is to send out little cards letting people know when you are intending to get married and asking them to save the date.  Well this is a bit different because it is a save the date for fabric lovers.
Not only do you get to see what has been lurking in other peoples fabric stash but you get to feel good about it as Fabric a Brac is a fundraiser for the Mary Potter Hospice.

So note it in your diaries now - 13 November, 9 am to 1 pm, St Anne's Hall, Newtown.

See you there!

Monday, October 11, 2010


This is one of life's essentials to me..... a visual diary.

So that wherever I am I can scribble a saying I like, doodle a picture or an idea that pops into my head.

Self Portrait?

My visual diary also takes on a communal life with various children (mine and others) and other adults adding their mythical beasties and doodlings. I like that.

PS  Blogger has started putting boxes around all my photos, which I don't like.  Does anyone know how to get rid of these?