Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Our Summer Holidays – Part 2 {Camping at Mahia}

Mahia 1

We’ve just enjoyed a lovely week-long camping holiday at beautiful Mahia. (A Peninsula located on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, between Napier and Gisborne.)

My Dad, step Mum (“Poppa” and “Granny Lynn”) and brother Tom came up from Christchurch and my sister, Holly, her boyfriend Jermaine (and their cute dog, Boogie) came down from Auckland for the holiday which was awesome. As well as great company (including very intense 500 card games in the evening), we also enjoyed brilliant weather, great food (camping with Dad and Lynn is better described as ‘glamping’); and lots of lovely beach swims. Jermaine’s family live nearby so we had the benefit of local knowledge – he showed us an awesome river swimming hole, took us to the Morere hot pools and organised a fishing charter for Andrew and I! (I caught a Hapuka (grouper) wahoo!)

We had one heart in throat situation where newly toilet trained Pipi decided to take herself off to the bathroom first thing in the morning before anyone had woken and we awoke to find her missing! Words can not describe the fear I felt at that moment. Long story short, it all ended well and despite getting lost coming back from the toilet block Pipi managed to find a helpful lady who soon tracked us down! Oh the relief, but needless to say is not a situation I ever want repeated again!

We had such a lovely time, it was so nice to catch up with family in such an idyllic spot. It was hard to leave and get back to reality, but not to matter – we are back there at Easter with a group of friends from church! Yay!

Mahia 2

But for now, it’s stationary sorting, covering school books and trying to get re-accustomed to waking with an alarm in preparation for school starting back next week!

Have you camped with kids before? How did it go? (I find it definately helps having a few extra pairs of hands around!)

Want to read more?

Thanks for reading!

Jen x

Our Summer Holidays - Part 1

Summer holidays part 1

Wow! No time no blog! We’ve been enjoying the most lovely Summer holidays.

I haven’t pulled out my DSLR that much preferring to take most of my pics on my phone and then share to Instagram. (Gosh haven’t the cameras on phones come a long way in a short few years!)

We’ve packed a lot in these holidays, but managed to get in a lot of relaxation at the same time (well as much as you can with 3 busy kids) – it’s been great. Just before Christmas, at the beginning of the school holidays I took the kids up to Mt Maunganui to stay with my Mum and Step Dad. They have a place really close to the beach and we enjoyed a lovely few days with them, walking along the beach and around the Mount, picnicing and eating yummy icecreams. We also had a lovely swim at the hot pools and I enjoyed some child free shopping time!

We returned home and pottered around at home doing a few things like berry picking and preparing for Christmas and I completed a few sewing orders. Then we headed down to Otaki to the in-laws for Christmas day. It was such a nice time because all of Andrew’s family was there. He has seven siblings and all of them including wives/ husbands/ boyfriend and kids were there, plus Nana and Grandma. Three of my sister in law’s have had little baby boys during the past year, so it was especially nice to see my 3 new nephews too! On boxing day a few of us went out fishing on Andrew’s Dad’s boat too which was fun. We caught a few fish and saw a whole lot of dolphins, which was AWESOME! (Check out the video of the dolphins here.)

Once we returned home I sewed a couple more orders and birthday gifts, cooked a few meals from Chelsea Winter’s book ‘Homemade Happiness’ (my Christmas present to myself); and we toilet trained Pipi! (Yay!) We also caught up with Andrew’s little sister Elysia (and boyfriend, James), his Grandma and older brother, Nathan who all popped past Hastings briefly on separate occasions and then had my brother, Dad and Step Mum arrive up from Christchurch and stay a couple of nights before we all headed away on our camping holiday in Mahia.

(I’ve saved the Mahia trip to be the subject matter of the ‘Part 2’ holiday post, because goodness knows I’ve squeezed enough information and photos into this one!)

Summer holiday collage

If you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year (and Summer holidays, if you’re ‘down under’ like me!)

If you’re on Instagram and have enjoyed these pics then feel free to follow me @mendandmakenew

Jen x

Sunday, 27 December 2015

My Year in Sewing {2015}

My year in sewing 2015

As the year wraps up I’ve been reflecting on a lot of things, including the things that I’ve made during the year. As usual there are a lot of things on my ‘to make’ list that I never quite got around too (most of which come from the so called ‘selfish sewing’/ sewing for me category.)

It’s definitely been the year of  undies and pajamas, with me making Noah three pairs of PJs (rabbit, night-time adventurer and batman ), Isabelle two (merino pair 1 and 2) and Pipi just the one pair. And as for undies, I’ve literally made hundreds this year! I’ve also made quite a few baby gifts this year.

If I had to pick a favourite make it would have to be Pipi's wool coat. This was also the most technically challenging for me too. It’s closely followed by Isabelle's 'Belle' dress.

My year in sewing 2 2015

Looking back at these photos it seems that I do have a particular style, sticking to mainly a pastel colour palate, with soft pinks and mint, lots of floral, and also lots of navy stripes, black and white triangles and a bit of mustard…. and as always, a lot of grey marle!

my year in sewing 3 (2015)

I’m looking forward to sewing a bunch of things in 2016, including, hopefully a few more things for me and I’d love to learn a few more skills and acquire some lovely new fabric too of course!

What was your favourite make of 2015? What are you hoping to sew more of in 2016?

Jen x

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Noah’s Bat Man PJs (and 7th Birthday)

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Last Sunday was Noah’s 7th birthday! I am really not sure where those SEVEN years have gone, I know it’s cliche to say but it really does feel like yesterday that he was my little baby!

Noah’s birthday present from us ended up being rather ‘bat’ themed. I bought the Batman Lego alarm clock and Little Pop Studios bat hanger online, found the batman mask at the op shop for a dollar and made the PJs (the day before his birthday!!!)

Talk about leaving things until the last minute! At least they were a super easy sew. I used the Little Kiwi’s Closet 4 seasons tank and tee for the top, and the free Oliver & S Sunny Day Shorts pattern for the pants (modified to be sewn in knit with a yoga style waist band.) He loves them (so much so that he asked to wear them to church this morning…. ahhh no!)

We had a nice subdued day celebrating, after what has been a pretty hectic last few weeks! No fancy party and amazing cake for him this year, just this simple yet delicious banana cake (below) and an afternoon playing Lego. I should really have cropped the Mcnuggets pack out of the shot. Yes, there may have been a bit of that too #soclassy.

But all in all it was a lovely day.


Happy Birthday Mr Noah we all love you so much!


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Isabelle’s Beauty & the Beast Party

November has been a busy month for us! We’ve had Isabelle turn 5, start school and have her birthday party, we’ve had family visit and I’ve just helped organise a baby shower for my sister in law in the weekend just been. (Not to mention a few custom orders I’m waaaay behind on! But shhhh let’s not think about that right now!)

When the kids went away with my Mum and Step Dad last school holidays, Isabelle became fascinated with our old ‘Beauty & the Beast’ book from our childhood. Upon learning this, I, on the spur of the moment decided to make her a ‘Belle’ dress – you can read more about that here, if you wish! … And the idea of the theme for the party grew from there.


My super clever Mum came down from Tauranga for the party and made this cool costume for her dog, Moko. If you are familiar with the Disney Beauty & the Beast you will know that Moko is dressed as ‘the footstool.’ (And if not, you can get ‘educated’ here.)

I think all of Isabelle’s royal guests enjoyed themselves and the party games; and we all enjoyed the yummy party food and the beautiful ‘Belle’ cake made by my very talented friend, Katie.

My in-laws also travelled up from Otaki for the party and very helpfully brought up their silverware including a candelabra which helped give authenticity to the theme.


Happy 5th Birthday to my beautiful Isa(Belle)!

Thanks to everyone who helped make it a special day!

Jen x

Isy first day of school!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Isabelle’s ‘Belle’ dress (Beauty & the Beast)

Belle 1Belle 6DSC_0049Belle 3Belle 5

If you follow me on Instagram then you might have seen a photo I posted of this little dress right before the beginning of Kid's Clothes Week. It was around a month ago that I made it. At the time I had 3 custom orders on the go and was going into KCW, but then I had a sudden urge to make this little dress! (Craziness!)

When the kids went away with my Mum in the school holidays Isabelle became fascinated with my childhood ‘Beauty & the Beast’ book. Because of her newfound fascination we decided to go with a ‘Beauty & the Beast’ / Royal/ Princess theme for her upcoming 5th birthday (which is THIS Thursday! Eeek!) I wasn’t planning on making her dress straight away, but then Spotlight discounted it’s satin and tulle, so I took it as a sign. I bought a metre of satin (used on the bodice outer and underskirt), rayon (overskirt and bodice lining) and also a small bit of tulle (I was going to use this for a little detail around her shoulders, but decided to keep it simple.) All up it cost $13 I think.

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The pattern I used was The Little Kiwis Closet Scalloped Princess Dress with a couple of modifications. My petite almost 5 year old usually still wears a size 4 normally but I want this to last for a bit so I made a size 5 but with a size 4 skirt length. My first modification was accidental – I hadn’t bought enough fabric to do a complete circle skirt, so I cut 2 half circles with added seam allowances and joined them together. The second modification was the overskirt. For inspiration I was wanting to achieve something like this, and I found this tutorial on how to do the ruching (you essentially stretch sew pieces of elastic to get this effect.) I didn’t follow the tutorial exactly, but just enough to get the look as per my inspiration image.

Isabelle is also wearing an pettiskirt underneath which gives dress a bit more lift!

I can’t wait until Isabelle wears it at her Beauty & Beast party this coming Saturday.

Jen x

Saturday, 24 October 2015

KCW Oct 2015: Noah’s Black & White Pants

Yay! I made it! Today is the final day of Kid's Clothes Week, day 7. I’ve enjoyed it as always, but we’ve been busy with not much spare time for sewing – hence another easy project today!

Some simple black and white stripe harem pants for Noah!

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I love how they turned out and so does Noah. I’m not really into track pants but I love pants like these that are both comfy and styly. The fabric is some lovely and thick cotton lycra that I bought from Levana during the school holidays. The tie at the top is made from an old knit scrap (off cut from my overlocker) that I’d saved. It’s just for looks as the waist is elasticated.

I used The Little Kiwis Closet Hip Hop harem pattern by Little Kiwis Closet as a base, but I modified it a bit. I didn’t do cuffs at the bottom and instead of a yoga waistband I used elastic (so added a bit of length to the top.) I also tapered the ankles a bit because I wanted that narrow/ fitted look.

Noah's pants 2DSC_0055DSC_0064

I quickly whipped these up this morning and now Noah is out fishing with Andrew in them. The girls and I went out to the Keirunga gardens that was running it’s miniature railway/ ride-on trains over this long weekend. It’s a beautiful day in the Hawke’s Bay all round!

Next on the sewing list … is hemming the husband’s pants – not quite so exciting… and then I’ll finish a couple of custom orders.

What’s on your sewing list… or are you just glad to have got through Kid’s Clothes Week?

[EDITED to add – this pic of all my sewing from this KCW. If you missed any of my blog posts then check them out here.]

KCW Oct 2015

Jen x

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