Monday, 27 August 2012



Isabelle definitely gets the lions share of the clothes that I sew. I think this is largely because there are so many more cute and inspiring girls patterns out there than there are for boys.

Because of this when I was recently offered a special deal* for the 'Blank Slate Patterns' e-book by Melissa of Melly Sews, I jumped at the chance. (*I was offered this deal because I had previous bought her Blazer pattern.)

And inspired by my new patterns, I took a break from sewing for the market and whipped up two 'Blank Tanks' last night.


My usually uncooperative model proved very co-operative for the small price of a cookie. (Although it was pretty hard to get a photo of him without his mouthful!)

I found this pattern really easy with great instructions and fast to sew. I have an overlocker/ serger but the instructions are for those that don’t, so I would recommend it to all.


My fabric selection, in case you are interested is as follows: Knit fabric used throughout (as per instructions); owl fabric from Spoonflower; grey and white stripe – from an old top of my Mums, purple and green and white stripe – from my MIL’s stash.

The idea with the Blank Slate patterns is that you can customise them anyway you want – this is what I’ve done here with the different coloured fabric on the backs (actually I was just trying to make my owl fabric last as long as possible!

I’m very happy with these – but first we need some better weather for Noah to enjoy them in, it’s raining here now! I also recently bought the Wiksten Tank pattern for me and am looking forward to whipping up and wearing a couple when Summer finally arrives!

I could even use the same fabric, so Noah and I can be alll matchy-matchy! (Maybe not!)

Have you made anything fun recently?

Joining in with 'Our creative Space' and Make it wear it Thursday – later in the week.

Jenny x

Some things I have learnt recently

1) The above is very true. Especially when it involves Isabelle and margarine.

(Andrew and I were enjoying a sleep in the other day – only to discover the TV had been turned into a margarine sculpture.

2) If your husband puts a bag of his smelly gym clothes in the washing pile and says “it all needs to be washed”, it is still worth checking the contents.

3) If an electric shaver does go the wash cycle it can still work provided you first dry it out in the hot water cupboard… However, after a short while it will start eating your husband’s face.

4) A 1.5 year old can consume an average of 3 Weetbix for breakfast, and on special occasions 4.

5) I have quite a complicated answer to the question; ‘What kind of bread do you like?’ The answer is usually multigrain – but can depend on the context.

For example, with sausages and tomato sauce the answer is always white, but for toast then the answer is almost always multigrain (preferably vogels) although if it is with eggs then it depends how they are cooked. Poached = vogels toast, fried = white toast. I think I need a flow chart.

6) It is not a good time to wear non-waterproof mascara when:

a) Playing Balderdash with your husband and he gets the word “swazzle” and it’s your turn to read them out (and his self confessed main objective of the game is to make me laugh.)

b) When swimming at the hot pools and you decide to put your head under.

7) I need to invest in some waterproof mascara and a new shaver for Andrew.


Have you learnt anything new recently?


Thursday, 23 August 2012

Crafts with Noah


Meet Noah and Isabelle of the cardboard (and felt and fabric) variety.

Our local ‘dollars and cents’ store is closing down and is having a half price off everything sale. I went there yesterday and spent about $5 on these little cardboard people and some felt.


Isabelle slept through the crafting session but Noah had a blast.


Noah also made a bed for his little men – at this point he was scolding the yellowed-haired fellow at the bottom of the picture, for wearing his shoes in the bed!


I made a little Noah and Isabelle – do you see the resemblance?


It turns out it is MUCH quicker to make clothes for 2 dimensional cardboard kids than the real ones.

I’ve saved a few of the cardboard people because I have a pretty nifty idea of perhaps using them to make dress up/ paper dolls. I think I’ll make a few hairstyles and outfits and then scan them onto my computer and add tabs, so they then call be printed out on cardstock.

If there’s enough demand I might even make free printables for you good people too! 

As for little Noah and Isabelle … well they’ve made themselves nice and comfy in their new home on Noah’s pin-board.


Have you done any fun crafts with your kids recently? (I think the best ones are where you get to have fun making something too!)

And did anyone else have dress up/paper dolls as a kid like me? I have so many great memories of playing with mine – such a simple yet classic toy!

Jen x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Twirly Skirts

I’ve made a few twirly skirts to sell at the market and have a few more (as well as a whole lot of other things) in the works.


These 3 are size 1-2 based on Isabelle’s measurements. I will probably make some smaller and larger too – but want to make sure I get the sizes right. (Anyone got a link/chart of lengths of elastic required for little girl’s waists?)

Again your help is also needed regarding pricing. I think $15 and Andrew says $20, so we have agreed on $17.50… what do you think?


You must think I’m a bit obsessed with this beat up old shed, which I seem to use as a background in A LOT of my blog photos. I think there’s something a bit beautiful when you combine pretty and rustic, don’t you think?

I keep getting inspired by different bits of fabric and trims in my stash, it’s quite possible that I might end up with a bucket load of these little skirts. I think I’ll also have to restrain myself from keeping too many for Isabelle… the girl doesn’t really need too many more clothes!

Joining in with 'Our creative space' – head over there for HEAPS more inspiration.

Jenny x

Monday, 20 August 2012


The Hawkes Bay/Hastings City Council should really offer me a job as some kind of virtual tour guide. Having only lived here for around a year and a half we still have the wide-eyed appreciation of tourists, but also the benefit of a bit of local knowledge and pride. A perfect combination in my book.

On Saturday we went to Waimarama. I don’t think we’d been there since our lovely camping holiday with Poppa and Granny-Lynn earlier in the year. (Ohhh look how little Isabub was!)

Anyway we had a great time and now have a lot of sand (still) in the car to prove it!


Due to some better than anticipated weather and some close encounters with the water, the kids soon stripped off their jeans and footwear.

Isabelle discovered her shadow and was seen pointing at it and telling it to ‘go over there’. Andrew managed to catch these precious moments on camera.


She tried to run away from it and was quite surprised when she turned back around that it had managed to follow her.

We had some family stay on Saturday night and then we all went and enjoyed a soak at Ocean Spa on Sunday night. A good weekend.

What are your favourite things to see and do in your region?

Jen x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A ‘parliament’ of owls

Turns out a group of owls is called a parliament… I did not know that! You learn something new every day!

Parliament is definitively in session here at our house!


I’ve been busy making these little guys for a craft market my church is holding next month. I’m also making bunting flags, little skirts and various other things. There has been a bit of a fabric explosion on and around my sewing desk.

This market has come at a great time, because I was starting to think I had more sewing ideas and passion than need and was thinking of selling some stuff. It is also a great way to de-stash!

monster market

If you make, bake etc and live in the Hawkes Bay area or plan to be here in September then you should hold your own stall too! Or at very least turn up to sample our wares!

You could even walk away with one of these guys if you so choose!


I think ‘old vintage doily wings’ is my current fave…


… And these two are lovers… I may have to sell them as a set…

Plenty more to come!

Joining in with 'Our creative space'

Jen x

Monday, 13 August 2012


I’ve drawn the winner of my Owly Baby giveaway via I tried to copy and paste the graphic from there, but it didn’t work – so instead you’ve got these pictures of Noah doing his best ‘winner’ face.



(We made the salt dough medals using this tutorial, in case you’re interested…)

… but, I digress…

The winner is (drum roll please)…

Entry #14 – Aussiemumbecc

Congrats – I will email you shortly and then pass your email address onto Becky at Owly baby who will email your choice of patterns…

And for the rest of you remember that you can still get 30% off all PDF patterns (except bundle packs) at the Owly Baby etsy shop, using the code ‘MakeNew30’ at the checkout!

*EDIT: I should have noted that the discount code applies until tomorrow, Tuesday 14/08/2012. My apologies!

Jen x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sunshine and rain

IMG_5223b and wIMG_5224

On Friday we had a beautifully sunny day. The kids and I went on a lovely little adventure with Toby (my brother-in-law), Natasha (his fiancĂ©)and their friend Jarred. We went to Ocean Beach, ate fish and chips, and cupcakes from here and then stopped at this lovely waterfall you see pictured on the way home. (I’m told it’s called Maraetotora falls.)

Then the last couple of days it has rained, at some points torrentially and has been pretty rubbish weather really!

Life can be a bit like that really, with all it’s ups and downs. Generally speaking though I only blog about the ‘ups’ or sunny times. This is because my blog is for a way of focussing on the positives and counting my blessings in what is often seen as the mundane and thankless role of the stay at home Mum.


A cookies and cream cupcake from the Sugar Queen Bakery – note the surprise Oreo biscuit on the bottom.

But please can I assure you that my life is NOT all cupcakes, sunshine and perfectly happy smiling kids! Far from it.  

I’d been wanting to do a ‘keeping it real’ post for a while now, and after reading Sarah's awesome one this morning I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

I’m a firm believer that social media (blogging, facebook etc) can be wonderful but also can be dangerous.

I while back I read this article entitled 'Is Facebook making you depressed?' and remember thinking about how easy it is to look at the happy smiling photos and status updates chronicling success and fun times and get caught up in comparing ourselves to others. (In fact I wrote a little about how the internet age can be a bit like “keeping up with the Jones’s on speed” previously here.)

When I read other’s blogs, or go on facebook, I try to be happy for others joys and successes, while at the same time taking everything with a grain of salt.  I try to remember that, like me, most people are putting their best face forward, trying to focus on the positive.

I saw this quote on Talia Christine's blog recently and couldn’t agree more.

And as a Christian, I would add that the only one I want to compare myself to, is God, to see how much I fall short from His perfect holiness and realise my need for salvation – which is my TRUE source of joy.


But, you say … you said this was going to be a ‘keeping it real’ post, but so far you’ve only ranted on about the dangers of comparison, interspersed with sugar coated pictures of cute kiddies. (Sorry, I have too much to say on the topic and too many pictures of cute kiddies – my bad!)

Here’s the reality: We face the daily stresses that come from trying to survive on a one income budget, just like many other families. Also Andrew is self employed and while owning your business opens up lots of possibilities, there are stresses that come from this as well. He also works away from home 2 nights a week. We manage, but this can be hard at times. Like most Mums I worry about whether I’m doing everything right. And today; both kids have the sniffles, Isabelle woke up with conjunctive itis in one eye, and I only showered (while Noah banged on the door) and got dressed at midday, until which point I was still in my snot-encrusted (the kid’s not mine) PJs.

Real enough for you?

Thursday, 9 August 2012



1 & 2 – a recent op shop haul ($11.50 all up). I especially love the vintage patterns and the pin board for Noah. Isabelle loves her new little handmade doll.

3 – enough sun to justify a sunhat

4 – some super cozy slippers knitted by my mother-in-law

5 – a pretty little collection of colourful dishes

6 – some lovely fabric that arrived in the mail from here

7 – ‘An Octopus’ – by Noah (see all the tentacles and the waves?)

8 – many hands make light work

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway – it closes on Monday!

Also be sure to check The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse blog later today – the lovely Stella has me over there guest posting as part of her party month!

Jen x