Archive for November, 2013

I have a mental block when it comes to sewing. Not the sewing that involves making quilts. That’s not a problem. But the sewing that involves making other things gives me pause.

Perhaps it comes from failing sewing in Year 8 at high school. I avoided it altogether in Year 9, opting to do woodwork and then in Year 10 scraped a C-. After that I chose all the academic subjects and my schooling in sewing was over.

So when it comes to sewing things I tend to procrastinate a little, and then I’m always amazed when they work out. Today I finished some sewing projects for Gorgeous Girl.

My MIL worked in China for a while and brought back a significant amount of novelty cotton yardage for me that she had found in the markets. I turned most of it into a top sheet last year. Last weekend I cut out part of the fabric and today cut out the rest, and sewed it to make a pillowcase.

I used a tutorial from an Australian magazine (either Handmade or Australian Patchwork and Stitching can’t remember off hand and it’s been put away already) that I picked up last time I was in Australia. I was very pleased with myself when this fitted the pillow.

Buoyed on by this success I turned my attention to a drawstring bag for Gorgeous Girl’s marble collection.

I used an online tutorial and in retrospect should probably have reduced the size of fabric they started with. My bag turned out huge. I also had problems squaring off the corners. Need to play around with that a little more I think.

Gorgeous Girl choose this fabric when we were still living in South Africa. It’s been used in a soft toy for her and now this bag and there is a little bit left to find its way into quilts. She chose the sheer purple ribbon for the closure. I have my doubts as to how that will hold up. But we will replace it if necessary…

Time to go and crash on the couch with my crocheting for an hour or so before tackling a new-to-me recipe for dinner.

What did you get up to this weekend?

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Last year was a very poor year for mangoes. The rain came at the wrong time and we didn’t get a single mango off the tree (there were a few on the tree, but they got picked by people other than us before we could get to them). This year we have so many mangoes we are giving them away.

The black is from the sap and they are perfectly fine inside.

I did not grow up in the tropics, so I was really surprised to see that mangoes grew on really long stems like this.

I always thought they grew closer to the branch like apples…

It’s not just people who are enjoying the mangoes. The flying foxes leave evidence of their visits as well.

Unfortunately, I have confirmed that my severe allergic reaction last year was related to being in contact with the mango tree. I’ve been really careful, Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl have done all the picking, and Gorgeous Man has dealt with all the peeling of the mangoes because I was being careful to avoid the sap. But it would seem that eating them causes a reaction as well. I woke up this morning with tiny  blisters on my lips and looking like I’ve had a collagen injection and a few hives here and there. So no more mangoes for me.

We’ve frozen a lot for Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl to enjoy once mango season is over.

One thing I wanted to do when we found out we were moving to Papua New Guinea was grow orchids. We’ve amassed quite a collection in the last 20 months.

This one is flowering at the moment.

I really like the curly petals.

I finished this shawl ages ago, but have delayed photographing it. I think one reason is because I’m so disappointed with it. I spun the yarn, got gauge, and followed the pattern, but it turned out tiny.

It’s Gorgeous Girl sized, and then only for a little while. 😦

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This weekend Gorgeous Girl pulled out her fabric stash.

It’s just a small stash. Some fabrics she got for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa, a fat eighth pack we picked up on our holiday to Cairns and some fabric I found in an OpShop (thrift store). She declared that she was going to make something.

Fabric was selected. A design was drawn onto the fabric, I was not allowed to help at this stage. There was some help with the cutting out. I really need to look for some left-handed fabric scissors when we are in Australia over Christmas. Embellishments were drawn. I helped with ironing on the heat and bond because, as talented as she is, Gorgeous Girl is still only 6 and I do have some reservations about her using the iron. Also, in the humidity the heat and bond has separated from its backing making it rather tricky to use.

Then there was some sewing. Seams were sewn mostly on her own (there was a little help with cornering). There was a little bit of assistance with the outlining of the windows, but she did the door outline on her own. Finally her first self-designed project was complete.

(I ladder stitched the bottom closed for her). A house pincushion. She was so excited she took it to school on Monday for show and tell.

I’m doing a crochet along with a friend at the moment. We’re both working on the same pattern. So here’s an update for her, and the rest of you get to enjoy it as well 😀

The colours are fairly accurate in this picture. The yarn is handspun. I dyed the fabric for this in South Africa in 2008, and finally got it spun up this year.

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I’ve done the after-thought heel.

As you can see from the photo the sock is stretched very tight across the front of the foot opposite the heel.

I’m wondering if I have started the heel in the right place, or if I should have made it deeper?


The sock from the front. Fits well on the foot portion.

Yes, I had to reknit a portion because I pulled the stitches out when I tried it on.

I finally put all the finishing touches on my oral presentation and written chapter that I have to submit as part of my thesis programme, so I rewarded myself by casting on a new project.

This is a crochet shawl in handspun.

It’s more purple than blue, but I can’t get the colour right.

The yarn starts out dark and gets lighter, so it will have a dark centre and a lighter edging. Yarn is a lace weight and I’m using a 2.5mm crochet hook.

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It’s taken three weeks since the idea first popped into my head to make Gorgeous Girl and her best friend matching cats.

Gorgeous Girl’s cat has one pink eye and one sparkly eye.

She’s very impressed with herself for finding a glitter covered button in the button stash.

We have a play date this afternoon and Gorgeous Girl’s little friend is carrying cat around the house so I think it might be a hit.

I needed a card and so dug out the paper and punches. I used my new punch (corner rounder for the first time). I’m pretty pleased with this one.

I’ve worked out where my scrapbooking mojo has gone. It’s so hot that my arms and hands leave puddles and smudges on the paper. If I have the fan going, then the bits and pieces blow everywhere 😦 I think I need to clear a workspace in a cooler part of the house and see if that makes a difference.

I did the afterthought heel on the sock. The fit is odd. The sock feels very tight across the bridge at the front (where the ankle is). Any sock gurus out there who can tell me if this is because I began the heel in the right place, or if my foot/leg is too big? The sock fits fine in the foot.

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We have an area under our house where we are growing orchids. We’ve also planted some basil seeds in a pot under here. They have sprouted and I’m hopeful that they will do well.

There are orchids in pots on the ground and some that need to hang.

The two orchids on the right are in coconut husks and coconut fibre is used as the growing medium. There are a couple of cute little frogs that often come and spend the evening in the orchids.

On Friday night, Gorgeous Man went downstairs to lock up and called out that we might like to come downstairs with a camera as something very special was visiting.

A little carpet python. We left it alone and in the morning the snake was gone, but it had shed it’s skin during the night and left that behind which was very cool.

One thing I love about Gorgeous Girl is that she plays creatively. For her birthday she received some furniture for her dolls house. She’s been spending a lot of time playing with it. Most of her play with that toy involves packing all of the furniture onto one of her toy trucks and “moving house”. I guess kids really do play what they know.

This morning she called me to come and see what she had done. She’d set up a little kitchen outside to do some “baking.”

Mud pie decorated with frangipani petals.

Crochet Cat Number 2 is nearly done. All pieces have been made. They are drying now, hopefully tonight I’ll be able to add a face, and stuff and sew it up.

I have a pair of Mojo socks on the needles. Ironically, I seem to have lost my mojo on them. I’m doing an afterthought heel for the first time and am unsure as to whether I’ve put the waste yarn in the right place. I think I’ll do the heel before I’ve finished the leg and see how it fits and then make a decision as to whether to progress with them.


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