Monday, 30 September 2013

Messy Play with Persil NZ - (A Sponsored Post)

Do you ever wish you could go back to being a kid for a day? Care free, fun loving without all the serious ‘adult-ness’ of life? I know I do. Perhaps this is why I enjoyed this video from Persil showing some of the All Blacks being big kids by painting blindfolded.

I love doing crafts and messy play with my kids, but I have to confess that sometimes I get caught up thinking about the ‘mess’ rather than the fun and my boring adult-ness seems to come through.
Although I try and teach my kids to look after their things, I don’t want them to be materialistic. I’d rather them value people and memories over things any day.

So I want them to learn by experience, touching and being creative – and perhaps it wouldn’t hurt me to forget my stuffy adult-ness and get down and get involved too. To feel the squelch of mud between my toes and do a finger painting. One of my favourite memories as a kid was playing ‘ewwy gooey’ in the backyard – basically Mum would give us whatever old ingredients she had in the cupboard and we would make crazy concoctions. Such fun!

So, when I was given this opportunity to work with Persil on this campaign, I was initially disappointed that they didn’t send me an All Black; but instead I decided to take a look back at some of the messy and creative memories I’ve helped create with my kids.

princess and pirate party 001IMG_6714IMG_6715Robinson Family

Is it just me or does mess seem to be proportionate to fun for kids?

The great thing about having a good washing powder/ detergent like Persil, the only permanent reminders will be in the photos not on the clothes.

What’s your favourite messy/fun activity?

Jen x

This is a sponsored post but opinions are my own.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Selfish Sewing (Sweet Scalloped Shorts finished!)

Scalloped shorts

I have finally finished my Sweet Scalloped Shorts that I’ve been making for selfish sewing week. I really enjoyed this project. It was a bit of a stretch for my sewing skills, but I felt like I wanted to learn new skills so it was a good challenge.

As I mentioned in a previous post I had a wee bit of a battle with the welt pockets – mainly with attaching the pocket bags; but now I feel confident doing them in a future project. I also did darts (I’ve only done them once before) and my first ever invisible zip.

Now I’m looking forward to making a couple more pairs in different colours to wear this Summer.

sweet scalloped shorts collage

The pattern is sweet scalloped shorts from Pattern Runway and I used cream linen fabric.

During Selfish Sewing Week I also made a knit maxi skirt (which I haven’t yet had a chance to photograph properly) and have partially made another Wiksten tank, although I’m not so sure if the colours suit me – I might have to give it to someone else.


Jen x

Joining in with Selfish Sewing Week organised by Rachael from Imagine Gnats and Jill from Made with Moxie. …(And Show and Tell, Made by Hand, and Make it wear it and Wardrobe Wednesday and WIWW, later in the week.)

Saturday, 28 September 2013



“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah, Isabelle and Pipi: We visited a local waterfall today, the kids had a lot of fun and all 3 fell asleep in the car on the way home. My favourite photo is this one of Isabelle – this pose is so typical of her.

Jen x

Joining in over here

To see more of my weekly portraits go here.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Selfish Sewing (Days 2 & 3 snippets)

Continuing on my sewing for selfish sewing week, yesterday I spent a long time battling with the welt pockets on my sweet scalloped shorts. Mainly I was just battling to understand the instructions. I worked out how to do the welt but attaching the pocket bag had me stumped. I googled it and it seemed I was in good company, a bunch of other people had had the same problem. In the end I worked out a solution that works ok.


Because of the frustration that came from the welt pockets I really wanted a really simple and easy project to lift my mood. So, today, as well as plodding on with the shorts I made a simple knit maxi skirt using this awesome tutorial. It was terrible weather here today, perfect for being inside sewing – but not so great for photos! Oh well, I said I only going to post sneak peeks until the end of the week anyway…


And here’s my little sewing buddy who kept rolling onto and dribbling on my fabric…


Jen x

Joining in with Selfish Sewing Week organised by Rachael from Imagine Gnats and Jill from Made with Moxie.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Selfish Sewing (Day 1 & some inspiration)

Hello! Did you do any sewing for YOURSELF today?

Well, as I mentioned in this post I’m taking part in Selfish Sewing Week organised by Rachael from Imagine Gnats and Jill from Made with Moxie

So what have you sewed yourself today, you might ask? Well, uh … nothing (yet). BUT I have done a lot of preparing to sew.

I don’t know about you but I prepare to sew 1 of 2 ways. The first way I run around and do all the housework first so I don’t feel guilty about sewing (also it helps if you want to lay fabric/ patterns out to have a clean floor); or secondly, I say stuff the housework, I’m sewing!

Today was a scenario 1 kind of day (I had planned on doing this all in the weekend but sickness and visiting family meant that didn’t happen.) This is how my day played out:

  • Watch America’s Cup races while nervously and speedily folding the washing (I tell you, it saved my nails a bit too, keeping my hands busy like that! Go Team NZ!)
  • Get a casserole bubbling away in the slow cooker that will last at 2 nights (freeing me up to SEW!)
  • Dishes, vacuum etc

Then I  pre-washed,  and cut out these sweet scalloped shorts 


I’m happy taking things slow because I’m really trying to do things properly;  and it seems to be my natural tendency to sometimes rush projects just to get them finished quickly.

I plan to do a few sneaky peeks during the week, and then fill you in with what I’ve made with a big reveal at the end… Just to be a bit elusive (and also by my grown up photo taker is away working for most of the week.)

So for now, here is a bit more selfish sewing inspiration that I’ve just stumbled upon via Pinterest/ other blogs etc in the last couple of days – unfortunately I don’t all the fabric at hand to make these things, but trust me I’ll be trying them soon enough!

I just found Nette's version of the Blair batwing shirt and I LOVE it. The polka dots are perfect. (Probably a post selfish sewing week project for me though.)

I just discovered this one today, via Imagine Gnats; an Etsy tutorial on how to design and sew your own leggings – AWESOME! (Again this is not something I’ll make this week though – need to buy some cotton, lycra blend fabric first.)

Free 'Kimono cool' tutorial from Elle Apparel – isn’t it (and she) gorgeous?

What have you been sewing/ getting inspired by recently?

Jen x

Sunday, 22 September 2013


IMG_1135Isabelle fluffyIMG_1150

“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Noah: drawing a sun

Isabelle: Really enjoying her fluffy at a local carnival (photo credit to Auntie Lecy)

Pipi: tummy time!

Jen x

Joining in over here


To see more of my weekly portraits go here.

Friday, 20 September 2013

‘Round here

It seems I’ve been doing so many craft and review posts that I’ve hardly had a chance to say “Hello!”

Don’t get me wrong I love showing you what I’ve been making and sharing cool products with you but I know the real reason you read my blog is to listen to me and ramble on about all the mundane details of my life, right?  So I thought it was about time I filled you in on the haps around here:

In bullets (as inspired by Stella and Ange):

  • It’s been a bit of a sick house round here. For the last 2 weeks my husband’s had the man flu and had it bad! And for most of this week Noah and Isabelle have had conjunctivitis. This has made me realise 2 things – 1) How grateful I am that I had the flu jab while pregnant with Pipi (giving the both of us immunity); 2) That it is extremely difficult to get eye drops in little kids’ eyes.
  • We’re in the throws of toilet training (Isabelle that is) – she showed some consistent early success, but there’s been more misses than hits these last couple of days (perhaps this is due to being a bit unwell.)
  • Noah wrote his own name – well it was more of a ‘Noab’ – see photo below. I painted each letter with water and a paint brush and he traced it with chalk, but it really boosted his confidence.
  • My 3 favourite TV programs at the moment are: Call the Midwife, America’s Cup footage and the Block NZ – not necessarily in that order. Such a weird collection of shows.
  • We saw our Plunket nurse the other day and she remarked at how strong Pipi is – she’s forever trying to pull herself up into sitting position. I know they always say these sort of things to encourage Mums, but my heart swelled with pride.
  • I can’t stop making and eating this stuff – I think my ‘food baby’ will start ‘showing’ soon.
  • My in-laws, Mum and her husband and Dad and my step Mum all pitched in and bought our kids a super duper awesome trampoline for Christmas, taking advantage of a great special. It arrived in boxes today and is safely hidden in the garage. Now to keep it that way ‘til Christmas.
  • Stella has a really awesome giveaway on her blog at the moment – go check it out! Although I realllly want to win!

And now for some photos by Noah. (He runs off with my camera any chance he gets!) …


What is happening at your house?


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

{Sewing for ME} Contrast Shoulder Slouch Tee


[Please excuse all the ‘headless’ photos – all of the photos of me wearing my new handmade top are either selfies by me to show the shoulder detail or have been taken by Noah aged 4. But, hey he’s getting better!]

I’ve been feeling the urge to sew for myself a lot recently. Previously I’ve made a few Wiksten tanks, a merino circle top and a purple merino wrap dress (made in my pre-blogging days). I get a lot of wear out of all of these garments.

I would love to be able to make a few more  items to bulk out my Summer wardrobe. I get frustrated sometimes shopping for clothes when I have an idea of what I want in my head but just can’t seem to find it on the shelves. Plus it helps to save me money and I get to learn some more skills along the way, all the while enjoying my hobby – seems like a win, win really! This has coincided with the added inspiration of some of my other blogging friends doing the same thing and Selfish Sewing Week being next week.

So, why sew something now when Selfish Sewing Week  is next week? It’s simple really, I saw this tutorial on iCandy handmade and wanted to make it NOW! So I did. It was a really simple sew. I used a really thin (tissue) knit I had in my stash of the main part and some cream silk scraps for the contrasting shoulder details. As I usually wear a smaller size than that provided in the free pattern I drafted my own off a top I already own which is a similar style – however, if I make another I definitely will make it longer.

And my plans for Selfish Sewing Week?


My main goal is to do a bit of sewing on these sweet scalloped shorts. These are definitely a bit of a challenge for my skill level, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I don’t think I’ll get them finished in the week, I don’t want to rush them after all – but I want to make a decent start. I’ve got some lovely cream linen to use for these.

And to give me a bit of satisfaction that comes from finishing a project or two (while I have that slow burn project in the background), I also plan to sew another Wiksten tank and perhaps another top like the one above or a maxi skirt. We’ll see – I’m aiming for fun, not stress after all!

I have quite a few other projects planned to bulk out my Summer wardrobe, but I’ll get round to them sometime, just probably not next week! … Perhaps I’ll share some of these ideas in a later blog post?

Are you sewing anything for yourself at the moment? Got any cool patterns/ tutorials to share with me? I’d love to hear from you!

(And although you can’t see much of the top here, here’s some proof that I indeed do have a head, and a cute baby and massive bags under my eyes, ugh!)


Jen x

Joining in with Show and Tell, Made by Hand, and Make it wear it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Breastmates Nourish Maternity Nursing Top Review

Breastmates Review

Recently I was very lucky to be sent this gorgeous Nourish Maternity Nursing Top from Breastmates to review. When it arrived the first thing that struck me about it was the super softness of the fabric and the great quality of the workmanship (being someone who sews a lot this is something that I tend to notice and value.)

I have to confess that apart from a few breastfeeding singlets, previously I haven’t really been the biggest purchaser of breastfeeding clothes. But then again, prior to Pipi I’d only had Summer babies; and this time around I was finding it a bit chilly lifting up my top to feed on those cold Winter mornings. Also, it’s quite nice not to have to display your post-baby tummy, especially in those first few weeks. With the Nourish Maternity Nursing Top, you don’t have to due to “easy access breastfeeding openings are via an inner vertical slit hidden behind the pleats.”

The pleat design is awesome for a few different reasons:

  • To enable discrete breastfeeding as mentioned above
  • It’s very flattering, especially how it skims over any post baby ‘wobbly bits’
  • Is designed to be worn during pregnancy also, and the pleats expand over your growing bump.
  • And beyond all of these practical reasons, it’s just a beautiful classic style – ‘Grecian’ is the word that springs to mind for me. It just drapes beautifully.


Being something you can wear both when pregnant, then breastfeeding (and beyond) means the Nourish Maternity Nursing Top is extremely versatile and great value for money. If you’re a long time reader of my blog then you’ll know I don’t think people need to spend masses of money when pregnant or with a new baby, but instead we should use what we have, recycle (mend & make new) and then when we need to, buy quality products that last and last. In my opinion, this, and the other Breastmates' products fit this bill.

I know I’ll be getting a lot more wear out of this top, that’s for sure! Thanks to Franny from Breastmates for sending it to me to review.

Have you checked out Breastmates before? I also have my eye on their clip on camis – such a genius idea!

You can also find Breastmates here on Facebook.

Jenny x

(Joining in, for the first time in ages with Wardrobe Wednesday and WIWW.)

Monday, 16 September 2013

DIY Chalk Cloth Bunting (No sewing machine required)

Chalk cloth bunting

I’m extremely happy with how this project turned out – first of all, it’s super quick and easy (no sewing machine required) and was something that I could make with my pre-schoolers. Ok – so Isabelle just amused herself by drawing on the bunting, but Noah did most of the threading for me and an older child could probably manage the whole project themself.

Secondly, it looks awesome (more than my less than average photos show) and will be SO USEFUL in that I can simply rub out the chalk and make a sign say whatever I want for any occasion or celebration. We are only limited by the colours of chalk we own and our imaginations – ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Merry Christmas’ – whatever.

chalk cloth 2chalk cloth 3Chalk cloth 4IMG_0911







Have you used chalk cloth before? This is my first time. I actually bought my chalk cloth from Spotlight for a completely different project (which I still plan to do), but then this one just kind of happened. Chalk cloth is a flexible, non-fray vinyl that can be cured* to be used as a chalkboard.

I made by bunting 5x5 inches (I usually use metric but just happened to have my quilting ruler handy at the time.) I wanted to make them even width and height so as to use the fabric most economically. I marked my template with chalk and cut them out with sewing scissors. I managed to get 17 triangles across the width of the fabric (I’d bought only a 1/4 metre and still have around a half of this left.)

Because it doesn’t fray you don’t have to worry about hemming! Bonus!

I used a needle to puncture a hole in each of the top two corners of each triangle and I hadn’t them to Noah to thread with string with a large, blunt (kid-friendly) wool needle. I helped him a bit with this. Because the cloth had been rolled up I choose to thread it the way I did to straighten it out.

Then we cured (*this is the process by which you rub chalk all over the cloth. Clean. Then repeat the process again.) ; and wrote letters on our flags.

And then we were done! Ta da!

Chalk Cloth bunting 2

We’ve been really getting into The America's Cup – so I thought it only fitting for the first use of our flags to be a banner in support of our team. Go Team NZ!

Chalk cloth 6

Noah, you know you’re not allowed up on the couch like that!

All in all, it was a fun, easy and super effective craft that I was able to do with the kids and something I know we’ll get a lot of use out of in the future.

What have you made with chalk cloth? This is definitely not the last you’ll see of it on this blog!

See here for other craft projects to make with kids 

Jen x

Joining in with the lovely Miriam