Sunday, March 28, 2010


To all those that receive my newsletter - I said I would host a give away to celebrate the new shipment of fabrics - well here it is.

I am relatively new to blogging and this is my first giveaway, so I am not entirely up to date on all the giveaway etiquette, but here goes...

What goodies are being given away - two people will receive $40 worth of fabric (your choice) from my shop Stitchbird Fabrics, some lovelies from my stash - maybe buttons, trims, lace, or more fabric (I promise it will be something good), plus some handmade goodness.

To enter - please leave a comment on this post letting me know what fabric you would choose if you won, plus tell me about your favourite fabric that you had made into an item of clothing as a child.

I would love it if you were to mention the giveaway in your blog, if you have one, but it is not mandatory.  It would also be lovely if you came back and visited my blog again, maybe even come out of the lurking cupboard and become a follower.

Who can enter - I don't want to limit entries, I know the postage maybe expensive, but I enjoy reading blogs from all over the world and I love that blogland creates a world wide crafting community - so where ever you are please enter, if you win I will get the goodies to you.

Closing date for entries - 5 pm Wednesday 7th April

My favourite fabric that I had made into a piece of clothing as a child, I have two (I have always been greedy when it comes to fabric):

My mum made this granny print into a long (to the floor) dress for me.  The other was a cream fabric with squirrels and other animals on it that my Mum made into a halter neck dress (very cool).  I have a piece of that fabric somewhere too, but I can't find it.  This may give you an indication of my serious fabric problem and the size of my stash - I still have fabric from when I was 10 years old and I am now forty mumble years old! In my defence I did do hexagon patchwork with them at about age 10.

Looking forward to hearing your stories.

Happy Stitching

Saturday, March 27, 2010

sticky pages

I can always find my favourite baking recipes because they are the extra thick pages in my recipe book, where cake batter and everything else has splattered on the pages over years of use.  Often I have to gently pull the pages apart.

Lemon Cake/Loaf is one of these recipes and it is from our local school recipe book that was done several years ago as a fund raiser.  I like that these recipes are the contributions from local families of their tried and true recipes.

Melt 125 g butter
Add 2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup milk

Stir into that
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
Grated rind of one lemon

Pour into a greased loaf tin and cook for about 35 - 40 minutes at 170 - 180 degrees celsius

Mix juice of lemon
1/4 cup sugar

Pour over cake while still hot after taking out of the oven. 

In our house the cake does not get a chance to cool, the first slices are eaten while it is still warm.

Friday, March 26, 2010

wrinkle love

I love it when quilts go all wrinkly and crinkly after their first wash.

I backed and bound the quilt in Heather Ross's Dandelion Fields white.

I am so pleased with how this has turned out - it is beautifully soft and the colours have a wow factor.

For anyone interested in making a similar quilt, the strips of Heather Ross fabrics are 4 inches wide (cut 4.5 inches to allow for seams).  The vertical white sashings are 1.5 inches wide (cut 2 inches) and the sashings at the top and bottom are 3 inches wide (cut 3.5 inches).

Apart from the width I did not measure the length of the Heather Ross fabrics, I just cut and laid them out on the floor in an arrangement I found pleasing (I don't have a fancy design wall).  The finished size of my quilt is 97 cms wide by 115 cms long approximately 38 inches by 45 inches.

I have added a Heather Ross quilt fabric combo pack into the shop with a special price for anyone interested in making their own Far Far Away quilt.  There is enough fabric for the quilt top.  There will be left over fabrics (maybe for another quilt) or you could make a bigger quilt, or a different design.

Happy Stitching

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

it's raining, it's pouring

Resuming transmission..... all fabric is cut and sent on its way, the Knack market on Saturday and the school fair on Sunday were both successes.  I am starting to regain some control in my life.  It was like riding a run away horse there for a bit.

Today it looks like our late summer may be coming to an end :(.  Today we have been blasted by wind and rain and I have had some time to sit and knit.  I am not the best or fastest knitter, more of a plodder really, but it is nice to have something that you can sit and do while watching a TV programme.

This is a sublime pattern but I have used Naturally Merino et Soie which is very reasonably priced and lovely to knit.  My hands sometimes get irritated and itchy when kniting with wool, but not with this.

We have just got the final total for the craft stall at the school fair, we made an amazing $4,400, just from the craft stall!  We were very fortunate in that we received some great designer fabrics as donations from a local design store and we had a pre-fair fabric sale, as well as making cushions and aprons from the beautiful fabrics we received (thank you Estilo Design).  Also because we had so many items for sale, we had pre fair sales just after school drop off and before school pick up in the week leading up to the fair.  Fortunately/unfortunaely this was right next door to the second hand clothing boutique and I managed to spend/score some great items of clothing at a very reasonable price.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

cutting, cutting, cutting

The new fabric shipment arrived late Wednesday as scheduled.  I have nothing but good things to say about the freight forwarders I use, pleasant, efficient and accurate in terms of timings, this is a plug for Jenners, they are great.

Since then all I have been doing is unpacking and cutting and cutting and cutting more fabric.  I love making things, but I hate cutting out, so there have been many moments of "Are we there yet" a la Donkey from Shrek. 

All this was made more difficult by tearing the ligaments in my left thumb in my netball game on Monday.  You don't realise how really useful having an opposable thumb on your left hand is until it's not working properly.  

Sorry, it's late and I go off topic... yes back to fabric.  Well I can say as of tonight I am almost there, the end is in sight, there are only four more new fabrics to cut into - Yippee!!  So tomorrow it will be finished and then I just need to correctly box the wholesale orders to send out.

On my breaks - and I need plenty of these - I have been loading new fabrics onto the website.  I think there may be another 10 fabrics to load on.

I hope your weekend is treating you well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

one more sleep to go!

Tomorrow the new shipment of fabric is being delivered.  Yeah - I can't wait.  Last time I practically hyperventiallted when I was unpacking it all.  Here are some peeks at what is coming...

Alice in Wonderland

Ornament in Turquoise

Little Red

Monday, March 8, 2010

cat toilet checklist

nice easy to dig soil - tick

blood and bone - tick

sheep pellets - tick

satay stick up your bum ?

New seedling protection system

Sunday, March 7, 2010

big weekend

It has been a big weekend and I am enjoying some quiet time at home alone, while the rest of my family is at the Phoenix's semi final.  Time to cruise some blogs and do some sewing.

Saturday was the second Martinborough Fair. Miss M and I go over very early in the morning to act as market assistants for my sister and her husband.  Lesley is a glass artist who makes beautiful glass jewellery and my brother in law is a toy maker.

One of Lesley's landscape beads at the market...

And one of the toys at the market, the snail's shell comes off and is a rattle.

Martinborough Fair is a long day - the market starts at 8 am and finishes at 4 pm and there is one and a half hour drive to get there and home again.  The market is outdoors, around the town square and we arrived to find that the council had dug up the area we have our stalls to lay some new cables, then it rained and we had mud, mud lots of mud.  Not a good way to start the day!

Luckily it did not rain for too long, we had a lovely day together and the market was very busy.  So busy at one stage that one "shopper" decided to take a 5 finger discount and stole a couple of bracelets off the stall.  We know who it was, but by the time we realised they were gone, so had the person.  We felt bad about it, but did not want to let it spoil our day. We also heard that one unfortunate stall holder had their whole cash box stolen.

Apparently markets have become more of a target with the recession and we have certainly noticed that more has been stolen in the last 12 months than ever before. 

Last night J had his Birthday get together/sleepover so we had six 15 year olds to feed.  Luckily gone are the days when Mum and Dad have to provide the entertainment, our roles are strictly catering and clean up duty.

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

fabric stories and the cool people you meet in blogland

One of the blogs that I like to read is Mee a Bee aka Jacqui a Kiwi living in Japan.
This week Jacqui blogged about the Goats Posting fabric - I love this fabric but didn't realise that it was based on a folk tale of goats that write each other letters but end up eating the letters before reading them. You can read about the goats here. Now I like the fabric even more.

Jacqui makes fabulous kid's messenger bags. 

Aren't they great and here is one of her boys modelling them.

You can check out her bags in her Mee a Bee shop.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

15 years ago

15 years ago today we had our first baby.  Our baby boy is 15!  Where did that time go. J is now 6 foot tall and gorgeous on the inside and out.  He is a fun, gentle, kind and loving person and for that I am very grateful.  He is still a work in progress when it comes to picking up after himself and doing it now not later, but I am sure in time these things will come and my nagging will pay off.  Most probably in time for someone else to reap the rewards!

This morning I baked a birthday cake.  Gone are the days of Thomas the Tank Engine and pirate ship cakes.  We have a special chocolate cake recipe which has become the birthday cake of choice in our house, we call it the Chocolate Fish Cake.  The first time I tried this cake I bought it at the local church cake stall and it was yummy.  Luckily a firend of mine knew the person who baked it and I was fortunate to get the recipe.  I am sorry I don't know the person's name because this cake is divine and easy to make.

WARNING this cake is not for the faint hearted or diet conscious!

Chocolate Fish Cake

125 g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup homemade raspberry jam (if you don't have homemade try and get the next best thing in terms of store bought jam, here in NZ it is Anathoths for my money).
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add jam. Mix well.
Sift flour and cocoa together.
Dissolve baking soda in warm milk.
Add alternately to creamed mixture with flour etc
Fold in choc chips
Sppon into a prepared cake time - 22 cm round or square cake tin, lined with baking paper.
Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes depending on size of tin.
Cool on cake cooler.
Ice with your preferred chocolate icing.  Decorate with chocolate fish, marshmallows etc.


15 minutes after J and a friend came home from school.