Friday, December 3, 2010

Xmas at the PCE

Christmas is gold for a craft-mad person like me - so many things you can make: presents, food, cards, decorations etc.
This year I'd love to make a heap of skirts to give to friends' daughters. They are super quick and easy to make. But, dammit, I never have the time; December is always madness. Hopefully this Wednesday I can make something Christmasy. A few cards? Nougat? Maybe even a skirt or 2. Any ideas - I'm keen to hear them.
By the way I'd love to teach a non-sewer how to make a girls skirt - let me know if you are keen.

Here's our Xmas flyer... 

I love this image of these women. 
Happy crafting. See you this Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Craft Session tonight

Hi all - I'm in deepest darkest Piha News Land so I'm flagging the craft session tonight. We'll have a Christmas extravaganza next week. Hope you can make it. Apologies for the postponement.
Take care.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Strawberry Sauce Anyone?

Did I say we were going to make strawberry jam - sorry I meant sauce; delicious, sweet, RUNNY sauce. Mmmm. So ok it didn't go quite to plan but I had a good time anyway and I learnt a lot, like how not to make strawberry jam...

Thanks to the fabulous women who came along and helped. Let me know if you have any ideas on what to do with this stuff! So far I've used it in apple [and strawberry] pie, on pancakes with yoghurt and in ice blocks. However there's still a swag of jars here so drop me an email and I'll pop some in your mailbox.

The next session is on the 1st of December. I'm not sure what to do. Perhaps we could make some Christmas cards or some simple Xmas presents - things like stuffed toys and skirts are easy to make. I'm open to suggestions. Christmas Mince Pies? Christmas decorations? And being such a mad time of year I think this next session will be our last for the year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jam Session

This Wednesday we are going to make some strawberry jam. I'm looking forward to it as I am a jam making virgin. As children we used to 'help' my mother, who was a big preserver of fruit and marmalade maker, but I've never made jam on my own before.

Helen has kindly offered her preserving pan and expertise and we'll whip up a batch. Email me if you are keen to come along as I need to know how many kgs to pick. I think we'll go to Janita Gardens
on Henderson Valley Rd. Also bring along some jars (with lids) and a paring knife so we can all pitch in and hull the strawberries.

I'm yet to confirm this but I also think Tasha is going to show us how to make yoghurt. Apparently it's super easy and of course miles better than using the bought sachets.

See you there - remember to RSVP.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Session 9

Thanks to Sue, Tasha and Clare for coming along. It was another late one again: sewing, eating, drinking and talking - all my favourite activities.

Clare did some more work on her beautiful cross stitch...

The process looks so analogous to how a printer works; row by row, little dots. I don't think my eyesight is good enough for cross stitch at that scale. Although for years I've wanted to try my hand at either Blackwork embroidery or Sashiko, a Japanese technique that's similar to Blackwork. I recently got this book out of the library...

It has some beautiful projects. Perhaps next winter I'll make a start. And here's a photo of some cute Sashiko work and a sample page of various Blackwork patterns...

Tasha brought in a stack of sarongs she bought in Malaysia. She re-hemmed them, then very kindly gave one to each of us. Thank you Tasha, I love mine. Not sure whether to keep it as a sarong or make it into a wrap-around skirt. I have a pattern somewhere. It could be a good PCE project.

Tasha also worked some more on her scarf...

I started on another library bag and began converting some of Lenny's ankle-breezing pants into shorts for summer.

Sue also made repairs to various Keio garments. It's good to know that he doesn't need that bulldog clip to hold his pants up anymore - poor child!

The next session is on the 17th. We're planning an activity for it, so stay tuned for that.
Take care,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Next Session - dance costumes

The next session of the Piha Craft Exchange is this Wednesday (the 3rd of November). This week a number of us are going to work on the costumes for the children's ballet concert which is happening at the end of the month. As Lenny isn't involved in the dance classes I'm not completely sure what's planned but I think we're having a go at making something for the little ones.

So if your child is involved in the Dance classes you are welcome to come along to the craft session on Wednesday and put something together for them to wear. I'm popping into Spotlight on my way to work tomorrow so I'll grab some fabric.

Spied this on the net - thought it looked an easy thing to make. It's just some ribbons tied around a waistband...

Surely we can make something like that!?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Piha Market Day

Last weekend we had the annual Piha Market Day extravaganza which is a fundraiser for the local Preschool. PCE members Clare and Anna are the main protagonists in the organising and running of the event - they do a wonderful job. Thank you for your efforts, it was a fun and successful day.
The PCE didn't have a stall this year, I'm hoping that we'll have one in 2011. However PCE participant Anissa did and it looked amazing. Full of beautifully made items; bibs, bags, children's clothing, iPod wallets etc, made with vintage and re-purposed fabrics...

Anissa has also been accepted into November's Kraftbomb - or perhaps it was October's?! I'll get back to you on that one. Best of luck Anissa, you're an inspiration to us other PCE crafters. Her blog can be viewed here.
I'm not sure whether there were other crafty bits at the Piha Market this year as I was busy dishing out the salads - here's a photo of them...

Amy, our local master chef, whipped them up and they sold like hotcakes. Thanks Amy - we had a lot of people returning and asking for the recipes; they were delicious. While I'm at it: Amy is a fantastic caterer, so if you're planning a function and need some yummy food, leave a comment below and I'll put you in touch.
Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Session #7

Many thanks the lovely ladies who came to the PCE's seventh installment. Being the school holidays I thought I'd be there on my lonesome but thanks to Fiona, Shirley and Tasha I had some wonderful company. One of the best things about the PCE is the conversation. Along with the crafty bits we often end up reflecting on our lives and the experience of living in a community like Piha.
A special thanks to Fiona for persuading Shirley to come along. Although I'd never met Shirley before her crafting prowess is well known. Many of Piha's babies wear her booties and while there she churned out another cute pair - All Black rugby boots no less. I hope you can join us again Shirley.

Tasha's scarf is progressing well. Getting some length happening...

I made a summer top for my niece Gigi. The fabric was from a muumuu I found at a second hand shop in the $2 bin.

Fiona brought along her (major!) project. A beautiful striped crochet blanket done in double crochet stitch - I think. It's very wide, extremely neat and when finished she's calculated that there'll be over one million stitches - phew! Now that's an heirloom piece for sure.

So the next craft session is coming up this Wednesday. Hope you can make it - we're keen to spread the word and increase our numbers to cover the cost of hiring the hall. I thought is would be a good opportunaity to make anything that's required for the up and coming market day. Clare - do any signs need painting etc?
And don't be shy about coming along as a learner. We always bring spare knitting/crochet needles and wool. Or have a play on the sewing machine. Or just come along for the company and the awesome conversation!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Re-purposed Jerseys

In August I posted some images of slippers made out of felted jerseys I spotted on Etsy. They inspired me to buy a couple of knitted garments from the Sallies. Fortunately they're already pretty well felted/matted. Perhaps I'll give them one more heavy duty blast in the washing machine and they'll be ready for the chop. But wait, don't be so hasty with those scissors... look what I spied on Anthropologie's site...

They look so cozy. And easy to make?
When laid out you can really see that they are large sections of jerseys pieced together. I'd like to try something similar although I may crochet a border around each piece first then join them together. What do you think?

Pretty cool huh? Although the architect in me wants to make the pieces more regular in shape - must resist! The pockets are a cool idea that kids would love.

Later this week I'll post some pix from the last craft evening. A special thanks to Fiona for bringing along Shirley. It was lovely to meet you Shirley and I hope you can join us again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Session # 6

I had a great time at the 6th (already!) edition of the PCE, although I didn't intend to be there that long! After a casual "what's the time?" from someone we all gasped - 11:45! All too absorbed in our projects and the far-ranging conversation. Hope you guys didn't feel too tired today?
So thanks for coming, especially new-bie Amanda - hope you can make it along to another one some time soon?
I took a few snaps of the projects on the go...

Clare's beautiful cross stitch. I think this is the Christchurch store she bought the 'kit' from. Some beautiful crafting goodies to be had there apparently.

Hannah is nearly there with the knitted cover for her draft-stopper.

Amanda did some pencil drawings of [NZ native?] birds. Applying ink is the next step.

Anna S is one mean knitting machine. I think she started this cute tunic at the beginning of the session!
Sorry Tasha but the photo of your scarf didn't upload - bum - as I wanted to show the progress you made (and no dropped stitches all night).

I mucked about joining some deleted swatches together from work. Maybe a cushion cover, a bag? It wasn't until today that I remembered what I was going to do. Last weekend I cut out a top for my niece with great plans for sewing it on Wednesday. Oh well it will have to wait until the next session - 6th October. Take care til then (and hold onto your hats - it's gonna get windy).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Next Session This Wednesday

The next session of the Piha Craft Exchange is this Wednesday (15th), 7:30 onwards at Barnett Hall. Come along and make something. The trusty (and easy to use) Janome sewing machine is set up for all to have a whorl. I'll also bring along some spare crochet hooks and wool for those who are keen to learn; I'm always keen to teach people how to crochet.

Once you know how to hold the wool and have the basic 'hooking' sorted you'll be making granny squares in no time.

This is also worth a mention (thanks Anissa): A new craft shop has opened in Pt Chev. It's called The Little Craft Store, at 201 Point Chevalier Road, the Chev. They have a blogspot site here. Looks like they have plenty of crafty goodness and I'll definitely be checking it out.

See you on Wednesday evening.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Just a quick reminder about the Vintage Textile Fair on tomorrow. It's at Alexandra Park Raceway, Epsom, from 10am to 5pm. Think of me while you are there, snapping up a gorgeous bargain or two - unfortunately I can't make it. Let me know how it went and whether it's worth checking out next year.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

PCE Projects

I said I'd post some images of the PCE projects on the go. They're mainly things done by myself and Hannah as a Playcentre meeting coinsided with the last session robbing us of our regulars!

Hannah as gone some way getting over her sewing machine phobia by making a drawstring project bag...

I had a go at making some pasifica patterned booties...

Clockwise from the top: a draught stopper was started. They're easy to make and super useful in winter; I got busy eating some chocolate brownie cooked in the hall oven (thanks Hannah); Another knitted item from the Hannah Slade production line; The next garment coming together.

I also crocheted some flowers for a baby's cardigan - but forgot to take a photo. The pattern can be found here.

Our next session is on the 15th. Come along and make/learn something - be there or be... at home not making something.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The no-review Kraftbomb review...

This evening I had planned to put together some thoughts on the recent Kraftbomb event a few of us checked out last Sunday.
Firstly to accompany this insightful review I'd need to scrounge up some images; in my usual style I had forgotten to take the camera along. Luckily Anissa was far more on to it and brought along hers. She kindly suggested I drag and drop some images off her blog for my review.

Well you know what... Just go to Anissa's blog and read about Kraftbomb there. Being the professional writer she is I think her review is a great take on the afternoon. And there's pretty pictures.

Review done - sort of.

Have a good weekend everyone. At some stage I'll find the time to add a posting about our last two Craft Exchange sessions where we actually made some things! Stay tuned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Next Session and Kraftbomb

I'm going to Kraftbomb this Sunday - aiming to get there around 12:45pm (it finishes at 2pm). I think Hannah and Anissa are joining me,  so come along too - the more the merrier.

Also a quick reminder about the next PCE session: this Wednesday, 7:30pm at Barnett. Hopefully the weather will come to the party too. It's very hard to leave a cozy house in a SW squall! Fortunately the hall is not too bad once the heaters kick-in. See you there!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Up-cycled Booties

I'm keen to make a pair of slippers for Lenny using some stashed felt and leather, so I've been trawling around the net looking for, you guessed it, free patterns. There's a reasonable number out there, such as Tacky Living, Oh Helene and Stardust Shoes. I recently had a go at making up the latter pattern but I'm not completely happy with the result (I'll post a pix soon).
While on the net I stumbled across these cute slippers...

They're made from 'up-cycled' jerseys which have been felted. Next time I'm in the Sallies I'll have a better look at the knitwear and have a go at making some in all my spare time. May even make some for myself.
Anna B

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don't forget about the kitchen...

We had a lovely children's dinner party at Anna Shattky's on Thursday (thanks Anna - Lenny had a ball). While there Anna mentioned that she and Tasha are planning on making some Sauerkraut at a PCE session; brilliant idea! Of course cooking is one of THE original crafts and the hall's kitchen is there for us to use. I understand that Anna and Tasha have participated in a food fermentation course, something I'd like to learn more about. 
Here's a link to a podcast about a pickling-mad woman in The States which whetted my appetite for all things fermented. Her Kombucha looks amazing too.

Anna also recommended the above book to me, which includes a lot of recipes for fermented foods and fascinating ideas about what/how we should be eating.

The Barnett Hall kitchen area could be used for all sorts of crafty things: fabric and wool dying, felting, balm and salve making, candle making, preserving, soap making etc etc. I encourage you to put it to good use.

Don't forget that our next session is this Wednesday (18th Aug - 7:30).
Have a good weekend.
Anna B

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Forgot to mention Kraftbomb... it's on the 29th August (Sunday), 11am - 2pm, at the Grey Lynn Community Hall. Is anyone keen to come along with me? It's a fun outing with yummy food, and with the playground in the Hall grounds, it's very child-friendly. And afterwards we can refresh ourselves at the Gypsy Tea Room across the road (not so kid-friendly).
Anna B

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Start Saving...

Thanks to Claire for the heads-up on the impending vintage textile fairs - there's two of them coming up. The first is at the Coatesville Hall on Thursday the 19th of August. Apparently it starts at 6pm but I can't seem to find any more info about it. Can anyone fill us in?
The second is the Auckland Vintage Textile Fair, on the 12th of September at the Alexandra Park Raceway, Epsom. It's being held in the Tasman Room. I'll paste the flyer below, or click the link above for more info. I've heard that it's a great place to gleam some gorgeous fabrics for not too much $$. Of course I need more fabric!

Perhaps we could get a crew together and go along - anyone keen?
Anna B

Monday, August 9, 2010

Purler of a site...

Here's another website to drool over...

While there's a number of 'ad-posts' there are also some great projects to make and helpful tutorials.
The patterns for these hats (newborns) was a recent project they posted up...

Nice to see some hats for a baby that aren't loaded with fou-fou bits and in lolly pop colours.

Hope you find something you like at Purl Bee.
Anna B

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Session # Three

Hi all, thanks for coming out for the third instalment of the PCE. I know that you are all very busy people so Hannah and I appreciate you coming along. Thanks too to Norma for bringing her table loom. I hope you can bring it along another session Norma as I didn't get the chance to really check it out - too busy talking sewing.

Sue and Clare did some mending - sensibly getting it out of the way before starting a new project. The $30 sewing machine seems to be working well for that sort of thing.
Hannah worked on another knitting project (vest?)...

I started a duvet cover for Lenny using a tootie fruity Scandinavian print.
Tasha continued with her knitting - with a wee re-fresher course from Norma.
Sarah is making a cute knitted owl with felt and buttons.

I'm a sucker for owls so I'm keen to see how it's going to be put together. I had a flash-back the other day to a book I had as a child - "The Happy Owls". It was one of my favourites at the time but I haven't thought about it for years. Did anyone else have this book? I'd like to find a copy for Lenny - although with a nil vehicle count it may not be his cuppa - sigh.

Happy crafting - Anna B

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beautiful FREE Patterns

Just came across a beautiful website with some great free patterns. Yay - I like free patterns! Click on the link...
For some stylie patterns...

I've checked out the About page and it's put together by 2 friends who live in Norway.

I have a whole raft of craft sites I regularly visit - will add some links in the next few weeks.
If you have a website to recommend please let me know and I'll add it.

Anna B

Big (Craft) Day Out - Review

What: Craft Out West

When: 24th - 25th July 2010

Where: Waitakere Trusts Stadium

What we saw: Lots of Grannies, acrylic throws, cheap and nasty knitwear. A few quality handcrafters.

What we liked: Miniature knitted dolls, teddies, cartoon characters and tea cosies- amazing!-(see first image below); One crafter was selling good value-for-money handcrafted dolls and toys (second image). We loved her use of old scraps and remnants (including some left over billiard table cloth); It was good to see someone selling crocheted cotton dishcloths; One charming older couple were selling some good quality handmade doll beds, pushchairs etc.; A few stalls were selling vintage toys/cloth/tablecloths/teatowels/fabric; There was a friendly, fun vibe and it was a nice touch that the proceeds of the entry charge were going to the West Auckland Hospice.

What was missing: Pacific arts and crafts- would’ve loved to have seen some tapa cloths, tuvaevae, or weaving; We were disappointed no one was selling patterns or wool remnants. Where can you get cheap bags of leftover wool these days? And where was the Granny Chic? We were hoping for inspiration from other young crafters looking back to older patterns and reinventing them, making them contemporary and stylish. Two elderly women were selling beautifully crafted baby blankets, they used funky colours but they were all acrylic- what a shame!

It was a fun afternoon but there weren’t very many young people around, either behind or in front of the stalls. We were left with the impression that craft out west really needs to be revamped. Perhaps we should take it upon ourselves to do so!

What: Auckland Art and Craft Fair

When: Saturday 24th July 2010

Where: Art Lounge, New Gallery

What we saw: Craft in the design/art sense of the word.

What we liked: Much of it was very slick, humorous and trendy, some of it was beautiful, but there was nothing in particular that struck us as exceptional.

What was missing: Once again, there were no Pacific or Maori crafts. There was some work using textiles, but almost nothing in the home textile craft tradition. It would seem that the dichotomy between domestic craft and art/design craft objects that Rosemary Mcleod alludes to in her Thrift to Fantasy – Home Textile Crafts of the 1930s – 1950s is alive and kicking.

Perhaps the KraftBomb at the Grey Lynn Community Centre on Sunday 25th (and the last Sunday of every month, next one Sunday 29th August, 2010 11am-2pm) or the Devonport Craft Market at Devonport Community House on 1st August (and the first Sunday of every month, next one Sunday 5th September) might prove us wrong. Surely there are many other crafters (or consumers for that matter) who appreciate and value, as we do, the tradition, the history and soul that handcrafted, individual objects bring when we place them in our homes.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Have your hair in order...

I spotted this advise from a 1949 sewing machine manual. Hannah - that could be the reason why you have panic attacks when sitting in front of a machine - your lipstick's not on...

Jeez what our fore-mothers had to contend with!