Wednesday, January 27, 2016

First 2016 Make - Ashland Fairy Dress

I actually made this dress a few weeks ago now, but I'm only getting around to sharing it now. Here's my first make of 2016 the Ashland Fairy Dress!
I named the dress after two things, firstly the pattern itself which is called "The Ashland Dress" its by and indie sewing pattern company called "Sew Liberated".
You can buy the pattern from the Sew Liberated Website, the above image is also from the website. I also have a couple of their other patterns I want to make up as well, the Clara and Brynna.

This is my first time using a pattern from Sew Liberated and I found it pretty great to work with and easy to understand, it also came with bra cup sizes which was really helpful for fitting the dress.

So where does the "fairy" part of the name come from? The fabric of course!  Because I'm an adult and make adult life choices.
I bought this fabric from Fabric Destash Central on Facebook, which if you are in New Zealand is a great place to pick up fabric on the cheap. I'm trying to not look at this page at all anymore as my New Years Resolution is to not buy any more fabric. It's just too tempting!
As the fabric was pretty cheap, this dress is really a wearable muslin. I am mostly happy with the fit, except for through the shoulders were there is just too much fabric. I will need to work out how to fix that, as I do really want to make this pattern again.
The pattern has a few different variations, I choose to add sleeves because I'm pretty much always cold. I didn't add the cuffs to the sleeves as this is only a wearable muslin but I will add them next time I make the dress.
With this pattern, you can choose to make "real buttons and button holes" or fake it - I chose to fake it with these butterfly buttons I had in my stash. I think I may have gotten them from a WSBN get together at some stage.
I made this dress to wear to Ria's birthday high tea - I didn't really take any photos at the high tea, but it was held at Louis Sergeant and I have blogged about it before here. I'm also going back there this weekend with my friend Emma (but not for high tea) so I will take some more photos then as its a really cute place.
Overall I'm pretty happy with this dress and I will make it again and hopefully nail the fit issues. I will finish off with one more thing though - the most miraculous pattern matching I have ever done, which was a total accident by the way.
Even Rich was impressed by this, if only all pattern matching occurred with zero effort!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Years Holiday 2015/2016

If you've been following my blog for a while you will know that we usually  go away somewhere for New Years, this year we visited Blenheim, with a bit of Kaikoura on the side.

We booked a bach (as we say in the North Island of New Zealand, I think the South Islanders would call it a crib and the rest of the English speaking world would say holiday home).

Actually our friend Shelley booked a bach, then she, Ross and their daughter all became sick and couldn't make it! So we shrank from a group of seven to four pretty much overnight. Which was a bummer for everyone.
 I felt especially bad they couldn't come when we arrived at the place Shelley had booked for us all. The bach was called "Black Cottage" and it sat within a vineyard (Blenheim is well known for its wine) there were also a lot of olive trees, its the kind of place that's just nice to wander around. Especially if  you live in the city like I do.

We did do quite a lot of walking, eating, reading and cross stitching (well I cross stitched) as it was a holiday.

We did also have a few adventures as well, first up was out day trip to Kaikoura which is a tourist town about two hours from Blenheim. I really wanted to go to Kaikoura to see Fyffe House, I  read about it in the Heritage New Zealand brochure. The house was built in 1842 and if you're from Europe or Asia I'm sure that seems like pretty much last week, but in term of New Zealand history that's  pretty much a million years old (New Zealand only became a country in 1840).

Also Fyffe House has been pink, and that's not a recent flight of fancy by Heritage New Zealand - its ALWAYS been pink.
The house is all that remains of an old whaling station, its had two different owners in the early days with slightly different names - Fyffe and Fyfe.

The house was orginally painted in red led, white led and whale oil - that's why it is pink! 
There were a few relics of whaling times sitting around we got to look at, including this jar of whale blubber.
We also got to look around the house, it included some very interesting displays and the top floor and kitchen area were still set up. The last person  who lived in the house died in 1980 and left the house to Heritage New Zealand. For a while they had caretakers living in the house as it was considered too "remote" for people to visit. But that's changed as Kaikoura is a busy tourist town (people visit to go whale watching - ironic really) so they have now opened it up to the public.

Although I was the one that really wanted to go to Fyffe House, everyone seemed to enjoy it - its worth going for the view alone!
While in Kaikoura we decided to go for a walk and take in some of the views, it's a pretty amazing part of the country.

Here's a few sites from a pit stop we did on our way back to Blenheim, as well as whale watching,  Kaikoura is famous for its crayfish (that's what we call lobsters in this part of the world). In fact  the name Kaikoura means to "eat crayfish". It's too bad I don't like crayfish.

The other fun thing we did was visit Omaka Aviation Heritage Museum, the museum seems to be a bit of a "work in progress" at this stage, it includes a World War I exhibit which includes planes and artifacts from that time owned by this guy, you may have heard of him, he's made a few famous movies.  Over time they will be adding additional exhibits including planes from World War II.

It's hard to capture just how amazing the exhibits are at this place on my simple point and shoot, they are amazing. The sets are created by Wingnut Films and Weta Workshop so this isn't a dusty old small town museum (although I'm pretty into those as well to be honest). Also some of the artifacts are pretty amazing - they have the Red Baron's jacket here as well as various World War I uniforms from both sides. Including some countries you never really hear the stories from (at least here in New Zealand) like a Canadian Uniform and one from the Ottoman Empire.
One of my favourite things was this display of handmade poppies from throughout New Zealand in commemoration of the beginning of World War I. Some off the poppies have notes on them as people crafted them in remembrance of their family members that lost their lives in the war. There aren't any in this picture, but some people had created purple poppies in remembrance of the animals who had lost their lives in the war, I had never seen the purple poppies before, but I think its lovely to remember our animal friends in this way. 

One of my favourite things at the museum was these old propaganda posters that I would have bought as a print or a postcard for sure, if they sold them in the gift store.

To finish off, here's a few more photos from around Blenheim and at Black Cottage.

This trip already feels like so long ago, we are now well and truly into the swing of things for 2016!