Thursday, December 8, 2011

So it's been a long while...

It's been a really long time since I last recorded my thoughts here.  Been busy (aren't we all, I know).   The highlight of the past couple of months was a holiday away from it all.  We rented a cottage in the countryside in one of Auckland's Regional Parks and it was bliss.  Right beside the beach, no crowds and lots of peace and quiet.  So we did nothing for a whole week just reading, crafting and seeing the sights.  When the weekend came around some friends popped out for a BBQ and drinks.

Mmm picnic time

Primo picnic spot
The park was gorgeous to say the least.  A bit farm land, some native bush, an estuary, beaches, a pond, an old homestead and even sculptures.  We had so much fun.
Manuka or maybe Kanuka flowers

Queen Ann's Lace 

The wetlands.
Getting away was the perfect escape from the Christmas silly season.  To take a breath and unwind. We will definitely be booking another holiday in a regional park.  It was lovely to home to the basement den however.  After a week away I was getting homesick for my sewing machine and little knick-knacks.   And really missed this wee one ( belongs to the people upstairs but tends to spend the evenings with us!)
Kindred spirits.....she is a fabric lover too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sewing for summer.............

Well with all the Christmas gift crafting going on it is nice to have a project to keep for myself. Last Christmas I was given a jelly roll of lovely fabrics. The little birdies are so cute and the colours are quite fitting for the Summer Christmas we celebrate here in New Zealand. So a festive summer quilt has been started. For a bit of fun I appliqued some doilies on to some calico and have made these the center panel for the squares. It is my first time  using the log cabin quilting technique. What a fun and spontaneous way to quilt! Really loving just picking fabrics out randomly and adding them to the mix. Boy the cutting of strips was a little tiresome though.
Festive quilt!! 
True to form I was distracted by another project when cutting up and choosing fabrics for the quilt. A Beatrix Potter panel was unearthed from the bottom of the fabric stash and happened to match a woollen blanket also hiding in the stash! Inspiration struck and promptly sprung upon. Instead of mucking about quilting the panel I pinned it to blanket and just started to sew. Following the lines of the picture. Not quite finished it yet but it is turning out super cute and has a lovely weight and drape. This little blanket will be stashed away for this fox's someday/one-day cubs. 

Quilting the cheaters way!! 
For Pa. Fox's birthday I knitted up a pair of slippers. Big thick, super warm slippers. Nola's Knitted Slippers from The Seamen's Church Institute is the pattern I used. This site has some great, free patterns for men. The slippers knitted up rather quickly but the wool used was not very forgiving and I had to send off one lonely slipper in the parcel so that my arms could rest up before tackling the other. The pattern is well written and easy to follow. I already have a request to make another pair for a friend for Christmas. Will be choosing a yarn with a little more give this time!!
Slipper for Pa Fox.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Secret crafting and a few finished projects

Now that Christmas is not too far away the secret crafting has begun. Not so good for blogging but super fun all the same. A few more craft projects have been finished this month ( I always have multiple projects on the go at once!!) some I completely forgot to photograph and some I can't reveal until after Christmas.
There has been an exciting new addition to the over-locker!!! A great find on Trademe and a happy little addition to the crafting family. After a service it runs like a dream and is already helping to save time on some sewing projects...woohoo.
New addition to the Foxy family
I made a summer skirt from some gorgeous material Ma Fox had thrifted. It was super quick to make and I learnt how to do french seams too. Its perfect for the warmer days and is such a fun print. I think it may be the only purple this little fox has in her wardrobe. Just need to work on a tan now!....fake tan of course.
Oh la la spring skirt
I have a new knitting pattern addiction...have made four hats so far! It is a pattern I found on this lovely blog Na Vlne. The pattern is called the " CAPUCINE" and is a lovely pattern to knit and wear. So snuggly and the tassels...well who can resist tassels?  I used a couple of strands of 8ply wool and 5.5mm circular needles and the fit is just great. Have been wearing this new hat in the evenings as they are still a little crisp. I have sent one down to a friend in bright colours for the winters that can be a little dreary at times.
Progress on CAPUCINE number one

I used my favourite yarn Sirdar's Eco Wool dk, 100% undyed virgin wool. It is lovely and soft and not itchy at all.  I have plans to cast on at least one more of these hats. What fun it is to knit in 3D. The shaping on the back of the hat is lovely makes for a perfect fit. The picture above shows the colours more accurately

Another finished project is my rainbow shawl that I started way back in July. I posted about the pattern details in this post . I abandoned the original pattern as the changing the needle sizes to create textured stripes was not obvious due to the coloured yarn. Boy I am I disappointed that it is too warm to be wearing this out and about. The colours are rich and vibrant. No doubt they will be a cheerful addition to the winter wardrobe. Need to block the shawl again but I quite like that it curls a little. The size is great for tucking into a winter jacket.
Yummy shawl finished.....just in time for Summer!!LOL

Oh those colours!
I am working on another post for tommorrow.....just waiting for the sun to peek out from between the clouds so I can get some better picks of a couple of finished projects. More knitting and a little sewing. In the meantime I have the iron warming up and the sewing machine waiting for me :)
Happy crafting everyone xx

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

While the bread is baking.....

While the bread is baking I thought I would share a few more of my projects.  Here is another stash-busting project in the works; a crochet blanket.  The only rule is that I am not allowed to buy any yarn for this project.  The pattern is called "Rainbow Granny 'Ghan" and is from a special issue from Crochet Today magazine called 'All-Time Best Blankets'.  It's been lots of fun squirrelling around in my yarn finding the right colours and weight.

Progress from a week ago

Up to date progress.

The blanket is these lovely hexagons with granny squares in between.  I am using a charcoal grey colour to join and for the border.  It is a pure wool but is really scratchy so can't really be used for any other project. I love this grey yarn and have been searching for the perfect project to use it in.  I think I have found the right one now.....really makes the colours pop.  It is going to take me quite a while to finish this one but there is no pressure as it is not a gift. This one will stay in the den.

While my sewing machine was away being serviced I had an afternoon of cutting out. I used bits and pieces of fabric that I had. These are now mostly all sewn up and are waiting to be sold or given away. It was so nice to use material that I had on the shelves especially as I could use up little scraps.

Fabric waiting to made into purses

Mr. Fox and I are saving really hard for our big OE (overseas experience) so I have been avoiding second hand shops mostly....what the eyes do not see, the heart does not want!! However I don't think that abstaining completely from thrifting would be good for my soul so when I have been thrifting I have been terribly restrained. A few goodies have found their way home to the den but only my most favourite, I-love-it-so-much-I-just-can't-bear-to-leave-it-goodies have crossed the den's threshold! Like the gorgeous tablecloth below. It is so fresh and vibrant. Love when it is on the kitchen table...can't help but feel the joys of Spring.
Oooo lovely
As I was hanging out my washing this morning I noticed that almost all of the tea towels, hand towels and bath towels were given to me by my little Foxy family. It made me smile so big. The checked tea towels with appliqued hearts are handmade by Sister Fox, the doily adorned hand towel and pale green embroidered bath towel made by Mama Fox and the gorgeous little elephant towel was chosen by Pa Fox. It sounds silly but I felt so loved and content to be hanging out my washing today. What a lucky Fox.
Washing line of Love!! hehe

Monday, October 3, 2011

And Winter turns to Spring...

With Winter fading and Spring arriving the sun is getting warmer.  Inspiration for crafting is everywhere.

A skiff of snow in Auckland
 It has been weeks since I have blogged and I'm not sure why.  But I do want this space to be fun for me so if I don't feel like blogging I just don't do it!
We have had a wet winter here in Auckland and even got a little snow...very exciting indeed. Even for a girl who is used to seeing snow in the winter time.
I really adore winter and the abundance of crafting time it creates. It is so nice to cosy up in blankets and work on a something like knitting or crochet. But with Spring here I have found heaps of inspiration and motivation. I knit and crochet all year round and of course sew too. Just because its warm outside doesn't mean that creating winter snugglies is out of the question.
The garden is providing such sweet little flowers to have around the house and some vegetables to eat too. Herbs are growing faster again too which is great.  Mr. Fox and I have been enjoying the sunshine on the patio when the clouds part........I just can't wait for long Summer evenings. I think we will spend most of our evenings enjoying the warmth out there as the sun sinks into bed.

Spring flowers bringing cheer into the bathroom

I have a few projects that I haven't yet posted on here..some from a few months back even. Like this little fella.........
Little owl for a little girl
I used a free pattern from Bit o whimsy blog. Such a fun and easy pattern to make. I made it the day the wee girl was born so that I could deliver it on my first visit. It took only a few hours from start to finish. Really recommend trying the pattern out especially because it takes only a little concentration and a little yarn.

With lots of birthdays and Father's Day in the last wee while, most of my crafty projects have been gifts. Some warm, flannel pj shorts for Pa. Fox.  Embroidered pillowcases for Sister Fox and some sweet friends (forgot to take photos of those before I put them in the mail...ooops!) and some purses with metal clasps at the top.  With more spare time due to my current job I am hoping to sell a few of the things I make. Will let everyone know when I have an online shop up and running.

Fathers Day PJs in the making
Will have to sign off and as I am off to work for the afternoon but will be checking back in tommorrow with more photos. Take care all

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sewing and Knitting

A breakthrough has occurred between knitting and my brain this week. Somehow everything has just kind of 'clicked into place'. Yay!! Suddenly patterns make sense and I can now cable. Oh the possibilities.
Sheets ripped into 1 inch strips for knitting
I have been working on a pattern from Coco knits. The rag bath mat is a free pattern that uses ripped up strips of old bed sheets. A few years ago I crocheted strips of old sheets into bath mats and they turned out great. They are in almost weekly use and show no signs of wear and tear. They are super absorbent too. Knitting up the rags is much easier and quicker for me. The perfect first project for cabling. Gosh it is magic how the twist just appears with a simple step.
First cable project! 
When the knitting needles are taking a breather I have been finishing my shirt that I started ages ago. I have finally completed it. It is certainly not perfect but it satisfying to wear something that I have made. The shirt has ended up being a great fit and really comfortable to boot. Really happy to have this project crossed off the list. The pattern is  McCall's M5929. I used a VOGUE SEWING book for the parts I found tricky.
Finished shirt
There are a couple of other projects from the trusty machine but will have to photograph them. In the meantime I have cleaned the bathroom and kitchen with the cleaning paste I blogged about yesterday. Wow it is fabulous. I didn't have peppermint essential oil so added tea tree and lavender instead. Smells fresh and brings out the shine in stainless steel, tiles and porcelain. Making cleaning products is so going back now!

Making and Baking

During my time away from Thrifty Fox blogging there has been a whole lot of making going on. Baking, sewing, making cosmetics, knitting, holidaying, thrifting, job hunting, concert going and more have kept this fox busy.
Ma Fox and I have been bitten by the cosmetic making bug....Oooo so much fun.  Ma Fox visited for blissful holiday and we had such a fun week together. Inspired by this website and the book " A Home Companion" by Wendyl Nissen we made some homemade deodorant, shampoo and moisturiser (which works great as a cleanser too).
The deodorant recipe came from this post on the 'Angry Chicken' blog. We did modify it a little. Mine was a little hard despite adding some vegetable glycerin. Mum added a little beeswax and a larger dollop of glycerin and came out softer. I used rose, tea tree and  lavender essential oils for fragrance and it smells lovely.
Lotions and potions inspiration
The shampoo recipe was an experimental combination out of a few first it was really runny but over the next couple of days it formed a lovely gel. I have been using it every few days and my hair is really soft. Have been doing a once a week rinse with apple cider vinegar to prevent a dull build up. My scalp has been less itchy and I will definitely be making another batch.
The moisturiser has not emulsified but it still lovely and my skin just drinks it up. With a little more research and some more practice I think that the perfect homemade moisturiser won't be too far away. Gosh it is such a thrill adding and melting exciting ingredients all together and the house smells so divine after a session at the cauldron too!!
The week before Ma Fox arrived I made the Laundry Detergent from A Home Companion and it works great. My clothes are faintly perfumed with rose essential oil and come out perfectly clean. Today I am going to whip up a batch of Peppermint Cleaning Paste (also from Wendyl Nissen) and I can't wait to see the results. This Fox does tend to worry about nasties that lurk in our foods and around the home so knowing exactly what is going into my homemade products is really comforting. Finding some of the ingredients was tricky but I did stumble across a wonderful Devonport (Auckland, New Zealand) company that are fabulous. Go Native New Zealand stock just about everything that you need to make your own cosmetics. Great service and lovely products.

On the baking front I have been enjoying making my own bread. I have used a few recipes but have found that the bread in The Edmonds Cookery Book, a kiwi staple to be the easiest and most delicious. Kneading the bread has been just what my busy mind has required over the past few weeks. I love that the house smells so yummy while it cooks and when it's fresh out oven there is nothing tastier.

Breadmaking mess!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Scarf update

Well the scarf arrived at Ma and Pa Fox's doorstep yesterday and it has been unwrapped. So now I can show the finished result. I blogged about this snuggly scarf here when I first started it. What a lovely project to work on. The wool is easy to knit with and slides on and off the needle well. I'm pleased with the end result and I think Ma. Fox is too.

Just needing a little something to finish off

The stripes are pretty cute I think but needed something more to make it special. So into the button collection and with a lot of sifting, placing, replacing and rearranging the buttons were chosen and sewn into place.

Opening a button tin, letting the buttons catch the light and run through your fingers is such a simple delight. Isn't it amazing how quickly time can pass when a button tin is open.  My lovely button tin is from a sweet friend and is all the way from England. The buttons are a collection of thrifty finds, gifts and passed on to me by my family.

The gorgeous button tin and it's treasure

Here is the final arrangement I settled on...the buttons looked so sweet when sewn on and helped scarf sit better when worn. It is a small scarf that I though would be perfect to tuck into the collar of a jacket without being too bulky.

I have already cast on a pink and cream scarf for sister can never have too many crafty projects at once. Right?!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stash-busting continues...

Stash-busting dishcloths
So the stash busting continues....the stash is shrinking ever so slowly and the pile of dishcloths is growing! The plans for new stash additions is growing too! Have probably made enough dishcloths for now I think...for about ten years!. The scarf I started for Ma. Fox is in the post, heading its way down south. When she gets the parcel I will put up the photos. So snuggly, was rather tempted to 'forget' to post it for a week so I could enjoy it (Just kidding)

As an early birthday present Mr. Fox ordered a set of circular needles for me....I am in LOVE! oh knitting is such bliss with these needles. Goodbye achy arms. What a joy it is to have the weight of the garment in my lap rather than on the needles. I got the 'Knit Pro Nova Metal Interchangeable Needles - Deluxe Set ' and I think they are marvellous. Smooth and light needles, the stitches just seem to fly off the needles. Would recommend 'The Yarn Queen' website for great service and super quick postage. What a great Mr. Fox I have...I do rather fancy him too.

I have started a shawl with some gorgeous rainbow yarn Ma. Fox had generously added to my stash, so inspired by blog 'Crochet with Raymond' and her bold use of colour I cast on a shawl. I chose a simple pattern in order to get used to my new needles. The 'Insignia Shawl' from the Knitscene Summer 2011 issue.

My gorgeous new circular needles and the beginnings of a rainbow shawl.
So far I can't stop knitting whenever I have a minute. Love that the colours are so different when knitted compared to the lovely ball of yarn. It's like watching a magic trick. The yarn is from 'BJ's Colourways & Collectibles' in Invercargill, Southland, NZ.  I can't find a website for this business but have found the contact details here. The yarn is lovely to knit with and the colours are amazing. Can't wait to wrap my self in a rainbow. Will be definately adding some more of these yarns to my stash one day soon.

Don't you want to dive into those colours!
I hope that everyone reading is snug and warm. Be back soon, I'm off to my shawl and the heater.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Simple things

The stash busting has become so much fun. I have been making a big hole in my cotton, cotton blend and linen yarn collection. The count thus far is four facecloths and two (plus a few rows!!) dishcloths. Having great fun with the small size, the bright colours and no need for concentrating. Quite soothing really. I think that this little phase will take some time to pass. Its ever so nice to be able to start and finish a project (or two) in one day.

Cotton stash-busting face cloths

I have been using two strands, one of candy coloured cotton and the other a soft, undyed, fluffy cotton. The cream cotton added so much softness and texture, as well as toning down the candy colours somewhat.
Some of these are to be gifted, some already have and some may just stay with me I think

Oh garter stitch, how I love thee! What is it with this simple wiggly little stitch? I can't get enough of it. It is so soft and has such a nice smushy its so darn fast.
Some 80% merino wool and 20% possum yarn have found there way into my stash lately (prior to the stash-busting commmenced of course). It is so soft and such a pleasure to knit with. Love it. It is 8ply 'Possum Wool' from Shepard. Just perfect for a scarf........or three. Hehe one for Ma Fox (on the needles now), on for Sister Fox and one for me. Two rows of cream and then a pop of colour for two rows, all garter stitch and knitted on no.9 needles.

Scarf starting to form
I thought I would include a photo of the log cabin knitted blanket so that you can see the whole finished project. Excuse the heavy cropping (wasnt sure if my mates wanted to be internet stars just yet!) and the extremely cheesy grin on my face. Having lots of fun catching up with friends at that baby shower.
Happy Fox and her log cabin blanket

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Where did June go I wonder??

Its such a wonderful feeling to be back at thrifty fox corner, June is over and July has brought with it sunshine and inspiration. This space has been on mind often but the right words have not been there to write. June was a whirlwind of change for me; a new job in a new field...from nursing to fashion. There has been visitors, drinks and a baby shower. So much fun crammed into one month but in the back of mind my was this blog and how much I missed sharing my thoughts and crafts here.
So July has started with a crisp morning, the sun is shining and the sky is that brillant blue that the winter season rarely shows off here in Auckland.

In between work and socialising my knitting needles have been busy...the baby log cabin blanket has been cast off, wrapped up, unwrapped and now waits patiently waits for the new babe to arrive. The crocheted granny stripe blanket has been sent down to Wellington to a handsome young baby with the most lovely big eyes I have seen on a baby EVER. Oh my what a cutie. Other secret squirrel things have been sent all the way to the deep south for Ma Foxes birthday.

I have been on a 'stash busting' mission lately, my stash of yarn has been growing steadily for a while now....recently it has really become too large to store in the suitcase allocated and has overflowed to various baskets around the place. Have been getting the guilts when the lovely colours catch my eye....too lovely to languish about unloved as balls of yarn instead of lovely projects.
In ten days a work contract for data entry will be over and my self imposed 'sewing ban' will be over. I just know that once I get behind that sewing desk I won't be leaving quickly. Oh how I have missed creating with fabric...just ten more days..ten more days!!
So hello again everyone, I'm back.
Granny stripe baby blanket

Log cabin knitted baby blanket no. 2

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What I've been up too lately

Well aside from catching every bug in the neighbourhood (which serves me right for being so smug about not being sick in over 12 months!!)  I have been;

Sewing in my new little crafting nook;

This little corner of the kitchen has been great for sew-a-thon sessions at the Janome. It's light, I can see the garden and it's close to the coffee making goodies!

The crafting corner

My fabric stash has been growing steadily and I had the urge to make some more fabric baskets.
They are such a fun and quick way to use up fabrics. These wee baskets have a million and one uses.......I have only shown some of the ones I made (err I got a little swept up in a basket making storm)

Just some of the newly made baskets!

On my last trip down South I managed to find a couple of super cute tapestries. These were far too lovely to be stored away so with a little snipping and some sewing these are now some cushion covers. A stained and felted woollen blanket (found at a local charity store) was the perfect match.
The little fantail tapestry ( a native bird here in New Zealand) was thrifted by the gorgeous Ma Fox. This little birdy had been waiting for quite some time to be displayed....such a little sweety.

Tapestry cushions
This little fox is ever so happy to have these cushion covers made. The Basement Den is feeling like home.


I unpacked my little sprouting kit and have been growing.....and eating some most delicious sprouts lately. Ma Fox kindly gave me some sprouting seeds from Kings seeds.  This company is the 'go-to' place to order seeds from and they have started a great blog too. Check it out here. Really worth a look if you fancy all things green.

Sprout farm crop.....onion sprouts. Yummy!

Opening mail;

From family and friends. I am one spoilt little fox. Here are some of the special goodies I have received.

Spoilt Fox!

I can't wait to use that gorgeous fabric tape on a crafty project....and that fabric...swoon!! The teeny hot water bottle has been in lots of use so far. Thanks so much again my wonderful foxy family. A friend and I have started a letter book.....its a lined notebook that we are planning to send back and forth with letters inside. So far it has travelled up and down the country once. Now it's my turn to send it back on it's merry way to my dear friend.


Since resigning from my nursing position I am yet to secure a job....therefore thrifting and all other forms of shopping have been severely curbed. A wee few gems have jumped into my shopping basket over the past few weeks...

The little honey pot was sooo dusty and grubby, with a dip in a bubble bath it is now gleaming and perfectly cute.

The tray cloth has the most lovely edging....not one for the crafting basket that's for sure!

And this dear wee hat has been a wonderful find, it fits just right and has been on my head almost every time I walk out the door. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a particular fondness for vintage hats and enjoy wearing them. Most are being kept safe and warm at Ma and Pa Foxes den (thanks guys) it is so nice to have a warm vintage hat with me for the cool Autumn days.

Finding beauty in everyday moments;
Evening light