30 December 2010

a handcrafted christmas

Each Christmas my father sets to work crafting something original for us (myself, my brother, my sister and also Lucy and Audrey). I have complete and utter faith in his aesthetic and more often than not he adds some ingenious detail (such as Lucy's bedhead with built-in bookshelf for her third birthday). I have been (idly) looking out for a bench seat for our hall for an eternity, so when Dad asked me if I'd like something handcrafted (uh, YES) I made the suggestion.

This little beauty is from recycled rimu, and is as heavy as sin. The length and style and colour (natural wood, oiled) fits in more perfectly than I could imagine. Along with the typography print my brother bought for me for Christmas our hall has been transformed, and since then I have actually found myself sitting in the hall reading, or chatting with my mum (who just left to go home today, wah..)!

For Christmas presents I also did some crafting of my own, with one of the gifts being this cushion for my dad. It's a mix of wool, leather (applique, piping) and suede (applique). Falkirk is the name of his property, and he lives and loves and breathes all things western so a horseshoe and stetson (of which he owns a number of) seemed to be most fitting for the front of it. I almost added a few pockets to the back of it for his remotes (I was thinking of something unexpected yet practical like he often does) but decided not to in the end. Still not a bad idea for keeping track of those roaming remotes, especially with kids around.

Whooee, almost New Years Eve.

24 December 2010

Joyous Light!

Franklin Road, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
8pm, 23rd December 2010

What started as the occasional family decorating their house has grown and grown each year into one of Auckland's most popular festive spectacles. As we wandered through the long, leafy, gentrified neighbourhood I wondered how competitive the houses felt towards each other, and who was inside looking out checking to see how many photos their house was garnering.

The clear winner (judging by the constant crowds outside and the amount of flash bulbs going off) is the last image in this series. The house was actually playing music (Snoopy's Christmas, of all songs, when we were walking past) and the lights flashed in time with the tune. Talk about dedication! To refuel midway I stopped in for a soy flat white at Agnes Curran, the dearest cafe in a tiny space, at the top of Franklin Road. The staff were very merry, with the walls of the cafe barely containing the myriad eager customers.

Anyway, it's time for me to wish you all, dear readers, a very Merry Christmas!
I hope you have a very lovely time.

Thanks for stopping by here this year xx

23 December 2010

tricky presents to wrap?

What's the most difficult thing you've wrapped? I almost didn't watch this as I thought it'd be an awful video and I'd get upset, but as it turns out the star of the video is a willing participant!

22 December 2010

a colourful winter

London-based Donna Wilson's colourful menagerie of blankets, scarves, hats, pillows, cushions, and odd little creatures. I would never feel cold surrounded by this much colour!

21 December 2010

Flowergirl Lucy: Pt I

We're back from the land of the wed, but alas I found my 'lost' camera the night before we were flying home so I am waiting for photos from my dear siblings. I did manage a few on the return plane trip (how thrilling for you). Above, Audrey waits patiently for passengers to disembark on arrival in Auckland.

What I can tell you is that the setting was utterly idyllic, the wedding cake was something I'd never seen before and the bride and groom had obviously been working out as they both looked beautiful and handsome (and rather hot). We had the best time, however our post-party 6am wakeup (champagne and parenting don't mix too well) was too awful for words. I'll post again before Christmas.

P.S. Speaking of which, only four days to go!

14 December 2010

ready to flower

Well here we have it, a short flowergirl dress to tie in with the bride's dress, (my first cousin's fiancé). The length was intended to be a touch longer, but overall I think she still looks cute and innocent and can get away with it. The bride wanted something classic and simple. What do you think?

Speaking from experience, it's must less harrowing designing and sewing a flowergirl dress for your own wedding when you know it's just you that you have to please. This is in an ivory silk dupioni with an organza skirt overlay and grey silk ribbon tie belt (matches the men's ties and the ringbearer dog's ribbon). We managed to find the grey ballet flats she's wearing today, with only days to spare. I almost indulged in some Bopy ballet flats yesterday, but was quite relieved when the shop owner said they really didn't fit right and recommended I didn't buy them (rare for a shop owner to say). They were..$120, ack, but it was the shape that was winning me over (the toes were not unlike Repettos). Today's pair were at the much more palatable price of $35, and they'll be just fine for the day.

Lucy also had her very first 'proper' haircut today - yes, I've been doing it all along, so I was pretty darn excited to go to a real salon, and a fancy one at that! It's the same place I had my bridal party hair done at (bettjemans), and the stylist Ardita was a honey. Both Lucy and Audrey got tiny mugs of hot chocolate and a lollipop too. And they offered me a coffee, all for a $27 kids haircut. Pretty impressive. Mind you, I did walk out having spent a fair amount on (finally I caved) Moroccan Oil and Kevin Murphy's Born Again masque (which she really couldn't recommend highly enough). Can't wait to try them both. I'll let you know the verdict on them soon.

Between the flowergirl dress, sewing the girls t-shirts (with my new coverstitch machine - heaven!) and sewing my own dress for the wedding, closing my etsy shop early really hasn't made life much less hectic. But I guess I must like it that way.

9 December 2010

the magic circle

I really don't know if this will work again (nor how it worked in the first place), but I drew this circle in the sand with a shell and it magically contained Audrey. She just ran round and round inside, never straying outside the line.

And this morning I was mean enough to photo-document Audrey having a wobbly at a quaint beach spot. I find baby tantrums (toddler or younger only!) rather hilarious. Not that she has them often, but Audrey gets an A+. She flails about, stamps her feet and pounds her chubby little fists on the ground. Maybe babies suffer from frayed Christmas nerves too?

Lucy, on the other hand, enjoyed every minute.

4 December 2010

three dresses

I wish I had remembered to take a photo of us going out to the party I made this dress for, but amongst feeding and bathing and settling two children I just forgot. It's like leaving for the door in the middle of a tornado. This new dress may slightly (ha!) resemble one I took a shine to a month or so ago (and I don't think I need to tell you which is which), and though I rarely wear black (it makes me feel flat) I thought this style really called for it. The only thing I didn't flog from it was the front split at the hem, which I do actually really like. The dress is by Giambattista Valli and it was a fun exercise. I draped the initial dress, and then played around with the flounce collar. If I did it again (in a jewel colour perhaps) I would choose a stiffer fabric for the flounce collar but other than that I was pretty happy. I've made lots of shirts and casual things but not a more formal dress to wear to an actual event.

On the topic of 'finishing', oh what I would do to be a fly on the wall in a French couturier’s workshop. I loved seeing the seamstresses working in the movie Valentino. Mind you, You Tube is very good for learning new sewing tricks. I don't (and likely never will) twitter or facebook, but I would be a little heartbroken if YouTube ever departed.

As well as sewing this dress, I've almost finished a flowergirl dress for Lucy to wear at my cousin's wedding. It's looking a little meringue-ish and although lots of *poof!* is right up Lucy's alley I'm not so sure the classic-simple bride will agree!

And....! A new dress in a liberty print. She didn't need another dress for another party, but she said she did.