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The Harvest Apron - A Free Pattern.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hello everyone,

My last little gift to you this year is The Harvest Apron.

Last year I released a little circular half-apron pattern just before Christmas, and this year I've not only updated the instructions and look of the pattern, but I've also included a new gathered version.

The Harvest Apron is a complete sewing pattern with full instructions and diagrams to walk you through the construction process. The pattern also comes with your choice of either a standard print-at-home tiled pattern or an A1 size print shop copy. All for free. From me to you.

Little half aprons are so lovely and perfect for all kinds of different things. The new gathered version is particularly perfect for gathering Christmas treats from the garden (or weeds or flowers...) and squirreling away sweet tidbits for later.

They're also great stash busters, quick to make and, oh, if you've left your gift making to the actual last second and therefore don't really have the time to make one, print out the print shop version, choose some fabric from your stash and gift a little Harvest Apron sewing kit to someone special.

Top off your gift with some lovely pins for the sewer, seeds for the gardener, paint brushes for the artist or wooden spoons for the baker, tie it all up with string and voila, a beautiful gift that anyone with even the smallest inkling of a crafty urge would love to receive.

I do hope you all have a wonderful day on Sunday, however you choose to celebrate. Stay safe, look after each other, and I'll catch you all one more time before the start of the new year...

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How to Make a Tailor's Ham - with Free Pattern

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hello everyone,

Gosh, how did it get to be less than a week until Christmas?

Today I wanted to give you all a little pre-Christmas gift in the form of a free Tailor's Ham pattern and tutorial. There's nothing like sewing your own sewing supplies right?

Many many moons ago, I posted a mini-tutorial on how I made my own (very loved) Tailor's Ham. While the process hasn't actually changed, unfortunately, the website where I had gotten that pattern from has long since disappeared. My copy of that pattern has also long since disappeared (in-between moving countries, buying a house and having a baby...), so I thought with Christmas looming, now might be the time to get my A into G, make a new pattern for you and write a complete tutorial.

This ham is slightly bigger than my original, but I've found that having two different sizes has been pretty handy over the few months I've been using my new ham. To make a smaller ham, cut an even amount off the outer edges, all the way around.

Fabric Options - 
You'll need relatively sturdy and breathable fabrics to make your ham. It gets stuffed tight and will probably be used quite often with a steamy iron, so using fabrics that breath and will dry quickly after use is a must.

The two inner layers should be made from a fabric with a tight weave to make sure your stuffing doesn't work it's way through the fabric (calico/muslin is perfect for this). The bottom outer layer should be cut from a wool (or a fabric with some grip - felt is a good choice) and the top layer should be a pretty cotton or linen of some description, quilting cottons are great - pretty and sturdy.

For the sake of the tutorial, I'll be referring to the inner layers as calico, the bottom outer layer as wool and the top outer layer as quilting cotton.

Stuffing - 
The traditional stuffing for tailor's hams is sawdust. This is what I used in my original ham, but do you think I could find it here in NZ? Nope. Well... I could if I wanted several cubic metres of it, but I'm really not planning on turning into a tailor's ham manufacturing plant. So...

I used wood chips. Don't use wood chips by the way. They are dense, but hard to pack tightly, and you end up with a ham that moves more than you want it too. I'm going to be taking mine out and stuffing it with fabric scraps in the interim, knowing that I may need to re-stuff in the future as the ham starts to settle.

I've also considered using pea-straw. It's easy to find in gardening stores here, and I think it has the same consistency as sawdust when it comes to being reasonably easy to pack in tightly.

I honestly have no idea how this would go in the long term though, but I'm thinking that if you use pea-straw, just make sure it's completely dry before stuffing. Pea-straw, when used in the garden, can sometimes sprout a pea plant or two (coming from experience) because the straw hasn't been completely dried before bagging. Not a major issue in the garden, but to avoid any germinating hams, (or even worse, a mouldy ham), popping your straw in a dry room in direct sun or an airing cupboard for a few days, should ensure you don't get any unwelcome guests in your sewing room.

You'll need -
  • Your free Tailor's Ham Pattern
  • Fabric (Cotton & Wool - see above for more details)
  • Stuffing (see above for more details)
  • Needle & Thread
Steps - 

1. Print out and piece your ham pattern together using the print layout below.

2. Cut out 2 of the pattern in calico, one in wool and one in quilting cotton. You'll have 4 pattern pieces in total.

3. Right sides together, place your quilting cotton and wool on top of each other.  Then sandwich those layers between your calico layers.

4.  Starting at the bottom notch, stitch all the way around your ham as indicated on the pattern piece. Back tacking at each end.

5. Trim away seam allowance and notch curves.

6. Turn your ham right-sides out and get stuffing! You want to stuff your ham as tight as you can possibly get it, and then some. Layer your stuffing to get a smooth outer edge by using small amounts and building up towards the bottom open edge.

Then stuff some more.

7. Stuff some more. Close your ham with a slip stitch - flatten your wool bottom layer over the stuffing, then tuck the raw edge of the top layer under, and secure with a needle and thread.

And that's it, all done. A lovely little Tailor's ham...


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How To Make - Beeswax Kitchen Wraps

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hello everyone!

Since it's nearly Christmas, I have a few little things I'll be posting over the next couple of weeks that would make lovely handmade, inexpensive, yet awesome gift ideas.

Today, let's make some beeswax kitchen wraps!! In episode 3 of my podcast, I mentioned having made my own beeswax kitchen wraps this year (you use them in lieu of plastic kitchen wrap) and mentioned that I'd do a tutorial for them, so here you go.

These really would make amazing gifts - they're not only super pretty, but they're functional, can save you money and the less disposable plastic you can use in life, the better for the environment right?!

Oh, and did I mention that they're so so easy to make?

The supplies list is below and if you want to jump ahead to the various different topics covered within the tutorial, I have a list with start times after the video.

You'll need -
  • Fabric (I use cotton fat quarters, but I do go into more detail about options in the video)
  • Beeswax Pellets or shavings 
  • Baking Paper
  • Baking tray with a lip
  • Iron
  • Drying rack

Topics Covered -
  • 0.01 - Introductions: what is a beeswax wrap & different uses
  • 1.49 - Taking care of your beeswax wraps & how to use them
  • Supplies:
    4.01 - Fabric options & finishing edges
    6.19 - Beeswax
    7.58 - Other supplies listed above.
  • Extra Notes:
    8.46 - Different size wraps to consider for different uses
    9.45 - Shelf-life & re-waxing older wraps
  • 12.22 - Let's get started with the tutorial already!
  • 16.55 - The results of your hard work (and a note on jojoba oil & antibacterial things).
  • 18.33 - Storage of your beeswax wraps
  • 18.42 - Closing thoughts on this particular way to make beeswax kitchen wraps
I bought my beeswax from Candle Creations here in NZ, but if you just google 'beeswax' in your local area, I'm sure you'll find plenty of places close to you who stock it.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you make some! I'd really love to see them :)

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A Late Spring Garden Interlude

Thursday, December 8, 2016
Filmed over a few days at the end of November, here is that little garden interlude I mentioned in the last episode of my podcast. Bees are buzzing, chooks are scratching, toddlers are foraging for strawberries and kitties are happy.


Warning: Contains wild & unruly grass - David literally did the lawns the day after I had finished shooting the final videos for this. But, if it had been mown, I wouldn't have got that amazing shot of the bee buzzing over the daisies at the very start, so, there's always something to be said for a bit of imperfection and unkempt-ness. Especially where gardens are concerned.

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PS) I quietly, and finally, launched my very own storefront yesterday. It's been a work in progress for sometime now, and while it still needs a bit of finessing, it works and I'm so happy with it. Won't you take a look?

A Handmade Day Podcast, Episode 4 - Tea & Books

Friday, December 2, 2016
Hello everyone,

A new episode of A Handmade Day is now live. Tea & biscuits feature heavily in this episode, along with a healthy dose of reading with the introduction of a new segment, Oscar's Bookshop.

Each episode, I'll be sharing one or two of our favourite books that we've been reading with Oscar lately, the first book is a beautiful mixture of art, ABC's & the heartwarming (and at times heartbreaking) world of homesteading.

Of course, the usual handmade-goodness is peppered throughout, with knitting & sewing plans afoot.

Below you'll find the start times of each thing, in case you want to skip ahead...

0.01 - Introductions & chatter

4.20 - Baking of the episode: Bluebells Cakery Vol 1, Chocolate Chip Biscuits

9.51 - What I'm Wearing: An Ivy Pinafore, with weather and earthquake updates, er... naturally?

13.34 - WIP's from last episode & some new ones:
* The Belfast Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge
* The Anouk Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

21.36 - Making Plans:
* Owls & Owlets by Kate Davies
* A Christmas Felicity Dress by Me
* Easy Peasy Baby Pants by Climbing the Willow

~ Tea & Cookie Interlude ~ 28.17

* An Heirloom Quilt

33.46 - Oscar's Bookshop:
* The ABC's of Homesteading by McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter

I hope you like this episode, thanks so much for watching and if you'd like to make sure you never miss an episode, do subscribe to my channel.

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