Dunedin Adventures 2018

For my birthday this year (way back in July!) Rich and I headed to Dunedin for my birthday, which is one of my favourite cities in New Zealand (I can’t believe it’s been so long since I visited).

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things in the city:

Tunnel Beach

For some reason, on our previous visits to Dunedin we had never been to Tunnel Beach and I was so glad we finally went to check it out this time. It’s a short (but steep) walk to Tunnel Beach, and to get to the actual beach you need to walk through a man made tunnel.

The tunnel was built in the 1870’s by John Cargill, so his family could have a private secluded beach.

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Street Art

I love street art and it’s everywhere in Dunedin central, there’s a map available at the information centre if you’d like to do a “street art walk” – otherwise, you can just find it on your own as you walk around the city centre.

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Vegan Food

I was worried that I may not be able to find much vegan food in Dunedin, but there was no reason to be worried as there was plenty of delicious vegan food available including the best vegan breakfast I ever had!

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Museum and Art Gallery

We visited the Otago Museum, which had an exhibition on the iconic New Zealand band The Chills, who are one of the bands famous for the Dunedin Sound. 

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We also visited the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, which is one of my favourite art galleries, its small but perfectly formed.

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Architecture 

There’s a lot of amazing architecture in Dunedin, there’s always so much to see around the city. The building with the mermaid and Neptune (?) was the hotel we stayed at, Wains Hotel.

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Go to pattern – Astoria

During my blogging hiatus, there is one pattern I made over and over again (and I’m probably going to continue to make over and over again) and that the Astoria sweater by Seamwork Patterns.

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It’s a really simple knit pattern and you can see approximately one million versions of this top if you search #seamworkastoria on instagram (actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was one million).

As a committed wearer of skirts and dresses I do love a good cropped sweater, so it’s perfect for me. I made my very first version from a black sweater knit that I inherited from a friend to take on our trip to Korea and Japan in November/December last year. It turned out to be the most worn garment of the whole trip. That said, I have literally no photos of me wearing it on that trip – so here’s a selfie of me wearing it at home.

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Also that patch does say “bad luck for sale” on it, but I mostly added it because it has a cat on it – because everything is better with cats.

The next version has a bit of colour blocking, because that’s always fun. I bought this spider knit fabric from fabric a brac the black fabric was given to me by a friend. I bought the spider fabric, even though there wasn’t a huge amount, because spiders. This version is made from much thinner knit fabric, but I really like it and it goes really well with my Erstwilder  vampire teeth necklace (because dressing like every day is Halloween is my thing).

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The next version is literally the warmest item of clothing in my wardrobe (well apart from, you know, jackets). I bought this sweater knit from fabric a brac with the intention of making a coatigan (something like the Jill) but when I got the fabric home and washed it I found it full of holes – bummer.

There was enough fabric left, once I cut strategically around the holey parts to make an another astoria. I’ve not been wearing this one so much as it’s spring and its starting to warm up (well in theory at least) but I will definitely be taking it with me to China in November.

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Finally, one of the reasons I love this pattern so much is it’s really easy to create a seasonal garment without too much work (in fact the most difficult thing is finding the right fabric).

Way back in March I had a St Patrick’s themed afternoon tea at my house with some friends, I asked everyone to dress in green (obviously) and I made this appropriately themed astoria top for the occasion.

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I bought this extremely Irish fabric from a fabric resale group on Facebook, the woman I bought it from said she’d been planning on making underwear with it – fabric this great deserves to be shared with the world, not hidden away as underwear.

I have actually made MORE astoria tops than what I’ve shared here – so perhaps I will make more of an effort to take photos of those and do another update in the future.

Until then….a fun photo of me with Jo and Joy  on St Patrick’s Day – because I love any opportunity to use my selfie stick (and props).

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Creepy Cute for Wellington Frocktails

I made a surprising amount of garments during my blogging hiatus, unfortunately I need to take photos of most of them (or rather, ask Rich to take photos of them) but there are a few exceptions and this is one of them – the creepy cute dress I made for the first ever Wellington Frocktails.

What is Frocktails you may ask? Well the answer is in the name really, it’s an event where sewists have the chance to meet while wearing handmade garments, have a few cocktails (or mocktails if you’re a tea totaller like me) and chat about all things sewing.

The event was organised by Sew Social and there has since been a frocktails event held in Auckland, the brains behind Sew Social is Sandra who is part of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network.

I did think about creating something glamorous and sophisticated to the event, then I of course realised that glamorous and sophisticated isn’t really me. So I decided to make something creepy cute instead!

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I made a Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress with creepy cute fabric I got on sale from Spotlight after Halloween last year. I added a cute polka dot collar with some fabric a friend passed onto me. In case you’re wondering the flower crown is from a local import store and only cost a few dollars.

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Here’s a better photo of the full dress, it’s a little on the big side, so I will size down for my next version (and there will be another one) but otherwise I really like this dress and I really need to wear it more – you know, for my casual every day Halloween look. Also yes this is the bag I took along to the event it’s by Killstar from Two Lippy Ladies and even though I don’t use it much (because it’s quite small) I do LOVE IT!

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Also, I was basically the coolest kid at the party when I asked for a vegan, non-alcoholic cocktail. The bar staff were a bit surprised by my request, but kindly obliged and made me something that I could actually drink.

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The most fun part of the night was of course catching up with friends, Ria made a fun dress from a burda magazine – I loved the lace detail on the front.

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It was also great to catch up with Laura who had made a classic walkaway dress, with ALL THE BIAS BINDING (she actually told me about a special bias binding foot, I really need one!).

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I also got to hang out with Joy in her amazing pink animal print dress – I’m not sure of the pattern for this one though, but it’s rad.

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Frocktails was such a fun night – I’m really looking forward to the next one.

Simple Baby Pants

While Mia was sick I spent a lot of time sticking together PDF patterns, cutting out printed patterns and cutting out fabric. I didn’t really feel like I had the mental space to actually take the next step to sew stuff up (and felt that, if I did, I’d be sure to mess it up).

For most people I know who sew, cutting out patterns/fabric seems to be the least enjoyable part of sewing – but I’m the weirdo who actually loves cutting out fabric and patterns (which leads to me also being the person with a lot of unfinished projects).

After I lost Mia, I wanted to get back into sewing with a simple project (or two) and I’m not sure if there is anything simpler that sewing baby pants. It was my wee nephew Johnnie’s first birthday in August – I sent him a book, and told his mum another present was “in the works” but I hadn’t finished it up yet.

I made him not one, but two pairs of baby pants. I’ve made this a pattern before, it’s a really simple baby pants pattern from Sew La Tea Do which is a great book with a bunch of simple projects, I’d recommend it to anyone starting out sewing.

The first pair of pants I made are made from some cute quilting cotton which features some fun woodland animals. I especially like the bunny with the glasses and the torch. I picked up this fabric very cheaply from Spotlight Porirua when it was closing down.

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Here’s a photo of the finished pants, I wasn’t really sure how to take a good photo of them, but there’s not too much to say – they are simple toddler pants!

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The made a second pair from some large check gingham that I’ve had in my stash forever, from memory, it’s originally from Arthur Toye Fabrics (RIP).

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Despite my love of all things super cute, I actually like this gigham pair better than the cutesy animal print pair.

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One more thing before I forget – both pairs include pockets, because pockets are life, event if you are only a year old.

I hope you all had a good weekend, hopefully I will be back with more sewing projects very soon!

Trees x

Goodbye Sweet Girl

About a week after my last post, we made the very difficult decision to put Mia to sleep. The cancer was eating away at her and as it was on her tongue, she could groom or eat or even really drink water easily any longer.

Even though it was a hard decision to make, I did feel relief once she had been put to sleep, it was the right thing to do – she doesn’t have to suffer any longer.

That doesn’t mean it has been easy – we miss her so much, every day. It’s the little things that make you the saddest, like not having her waiting for you when you arrive home from work – or waiting for her to jump on the bed during the night, forgetting that she’s no longer here.

I am slowly recovering though, and feeling more like I can get out and do things more and make things without feeling sad all the time. But she will always have part of my heart – my sweet, sassy, little Queen.

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Queen Mia

I started this new blog so motivated to write again – I had a bunch of stuff to blog about including our trip to Dunedin, upcoming plans for our trip to China and a whole lot of garments I’d made over the past year or so.

However, shortly after I started this blog, our girl Mia started to have bad breath and she was a bit out of sorts in general. We took her to the vets, who immediately found a tumor on her tongue and told us that Mia needed a biopsy as the tumor could be either cancer (which couldn’t be treated) or another type of growth (that was treatable).

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I think from that first vet visit I kind of knew it was cancer, I was expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. It turned out the worse was true, and our girl does have cancer.

She’s been in palliative care at home with us ever since she was diagnosed, I’m glad she’s not had to spend too much time at the vets as she’s nervous and doesn’t like being around people she doesn’t know, even if they are lovely and trying to help her.

We’ve been doing all we can to make her comfortable, but the cancer is moving fast through her little body. She’s having trouble cleaning herself, its becoming a battle to get her to eat (she’s always had a really healthy appetite) and she’s drooling a lot – I guess as the cancer is in her tongue it means she can’t really control her saliva very well any more.

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While she is still demanding, and sassy, and trying to get away with doing things she knows she’s not allowed to do (like walking on the dining table!) it is clear that life is becoming harder and harder for her.

When we last talked to our vet about how long Mia had, she said it could be weeks or months, last Friday she told us she would support our decision to euthanise Mia at any point and let us know that when it gets to the stage that Mia is having more bad days than good, it’s probably the time to make that decision.

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Last Friday, the thought of euthanising Mia seemed a long way away, but now I know it’s pretty close – I think it will be this week. It’s hard to chose when is the best time for her, we don’t want to end her life too soon, but at the same time, it seems cruel to make her live on in pain just because we don’t want to say goodbye.

I’ve been pretty silent on here, because of trying to deal with all of this and I may be quiet for a while longer.

Hopefully, at sometime in the not too distant future, I will start to blog again, about happier things x

Starting over

Well Hello! After an extended hiatus from blogging I decided I’d like to start again, but my old blog didn’t feel like the right fit any longer (which is perhaps not surprising, seen as I started that blog in 2006) so I’ve decided to start afresh with travel and thread, which will focus on my two favourite hobbies – travel and sewing.

So welcome and let’s see if I can make this whole blogging this a habit again.

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