Category Archives: Books

Working on the Animal Pouch

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Dearest Sultana,

I am making two animal pouches, one for each of my sisters as part of their Christmas present.

These pouches were inspired by Kajsa Wikman’s animal pouches which you can find at her Etsy Shop. They are also featured in her book, Scandinavian Stitches.

Here’s a picture of some of her animal pouches:

I love her colour combinations.

Her pouches are 15 x 17 cm. Mine will be a bit smaller. I am making mini ones, to store ATM card and a bit of money. Also because they are smaller, my zipper will have to go on the side instead of the top, so it’s easier to get stuff in and out of the pouch.

Last night after the kids have gone to sleep, I took out my fabric stash and started selecting some fabrics for my two pouches. My sisters have quite different personalities.

My middle sister is very feminine, she tends to favour vintage style and soft pinks. So I came up with this, the green and purple backdrop may seem a bit dark, but it gets lightened up with the little pink dress of the bunny. My sister’s chinese animal sign is the rabbit, hence I picked a bunny for her pouch.

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My baby sister has more modern tastes, she likes to keep up with the fashion trends and delights in fresh bright colours. I wanted to give her a pouch with a burst of colour that ties in with the summer and beach theme of the handbag (that I have yet to start work on). Her animal sign is the horse.

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Here they are after I joined up the “wallpapered” back drop. I wasn’t happy with the horse head, so I played around with her a bit more.

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And here’s the finished product:

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rabbitanimalpouch

That horse head still looks funny… I’m happy with the rabbit though and I like the size, just right for a few notes and cards.

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Enjoying the Garden and “Spot It Again” by Delphine Chedru

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Dearest Sultana

What a beautiful Friday morning we have today. Especially after two days of heavy rain.

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I am having my morning coffee in the garden with June, it is a little windy but the sunshine is keeping us nice and warm. I will soon have to start preparing my garden for the summer, but I think it’s still a little too early at the moment. We’ve just experienced a cold snap and there could be another one of those before the weather truly improves.

In the meantime, here are some of my plants. The feijoas are showing some promising new growth, lavender blooming wildly. I love my lavender, they came with the house and last year I was so frustrated with their unshapely growth I cut them right down. Wasn’t sure if they would be able to grow again but to my utter delight they did and there’s a nice bush of them now.

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I’ve got some fragrant freesia too, such a delight. And the goldfish swimming happily in their big pot.

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Oh, and I found some Kumquat. I’ve never tried these before, they came with the house and didn’t fruit last year. I’m looking forward to trying them out when they are ripe.

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We happened upon this book while browsing the children’s section in the library

spot it again

Spot it Again by Delphine Chedru

I had to mention this book because my girls had so much fun with it. It is a variation on the “I spy” theme which is a great favourite in our family. It’s got 50s style colours and very simple repetitive geometric designs with little creatures hiding in them. It’s brilliant, highly recommended. We are going to be looking for the first of this series, “Spot It”

Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

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Dearest Sultana,

Here’s a book I recently got out from the library.

Natural Patchwork

Natural Patchwork by Suzoko Koseki

This was a lovely book about patchwork projects. Her work is quite organic and inspired by nature.

What I like most of it is her use of vintagey fabrics in muted colours. She says that her grandmother disassembled many of her childhood things, clothes, cloth toys, favourite stuffed animals… When I read this I was reminded of my own grandmother who was quite the crafter, she was excellent at dressmaking and always busy crocheting. Even when her fingers became crooked from age, she always had projects going on. And she was so fast! She could make me a bunch of crocheted grapes in under five minutes.

She would sometimes disassemble her own clothes and make them into daster (Indonesian house dress) for me. Even though the colours were rather muted, the fabric was always so soft and lovely to wear.

My own mother also likes to save our old clothes, although, not to disassemble. She only saves the better ones and passes them down. I have a jacket that was once mine and has been passed down to both my sisters and is now worn by May. That jacket has so much memory in it. When May wears it, I sometimes tell her of my childhood stories when I was her age in that jacket.

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I like Suzoko Koseki’s grandmother’s idea though. Instead of soft toys and millions of old clothes taking up precious storage space (I’m a bit of a hoarder), disassembling and reusing these pieces can produce beautiful meaningful new creations with childhood memories intact. I think I might just do that. I will keep a few of the girls better clothes and give the rest a new lease of life. What a clever solution to my storage problem and my hoarding instincts.

Another good tip she gave was when assembling the patchwork pieces instead of cutting the fabric neatly with scissors, snip a bit and tear the rest, this will give it a softer edge which will go nicely with more muted colours. Also, don’t throw away any scrap, everything can be used again. Even thin strips and irregular little shapes. The difficulty in these shapes is what can inspire new creations.

Some great tips in this book, and the whole book sets a sort of nostalgic mood and makes me feel that although vibrant rich new fabrics are definitely great (and drool worthy), there is value in the understated and everyday bits of fabric as well.

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Enjoying the Garden and “Spot it Again” by Delphine Chedru

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Dearest Sultana,

What a beautiful Friday morning we have today. Especially after two days of heavy rain.

I am having my morning coffee in the garden with June, it is a little windy but the sunshine is keep us nice and warm. I will soon have to start preparing my garden for the summer, but I think it’s still a little too early at the moment. We’ve just experienced a cold snap and there could be another one of those before the weather truly improves.

In the meantime, here are some of my plants. The feijoas are showing some promising new growth, lavender blooming wildly. I love my lavender, they came with the house and last year I was so frustrated with their unshapely growth I cut them right down. Wasn’t sure if they would be able to grow again but to my utter delight that did and there’s a nice bush of them now.

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I’ve got some fragrant freesia too, such a delight. And the goldfish swimming happiliy in their pot.

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Oh, and I happened to find some Kumquat. I’ve never eaten these before. They came with the house. It will be nice to try them out once they ripen.

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We happened upon this book while browsing the children’s section in the library

spot it again

Spot it Again by Delphine Chedru

I had to mention this book because my girls had so much fun with it. It is a variation of the “I spy” theme which is a great favourite in our family. It’s called “spot it again” by Delphine Chedru. It’s got 50s style colours and very simple repetitive geometric designs with little creatures hiding in them. It’s brilliant, highly recommended. We are going to be looking for the first of this series, “Spot It”

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A Productive Trip to the Library

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Dearest Sultana,
I’ve had such a productive morning! Dropped off May at school, then drove straight to the local library and picked up the book’s I’ve ordered. I’ve put down an order for quite a few bag making books, to get ideas for the bags I’ll be making for my Christmas pressies.
Here they are:

Today's haul

Today’s haul

I’ll tell you more about them once I’ve had a skim through. They also had a Peppa Pig DVD we haven’t watched yet. So that will be a little treat for the girls.
I always get so excited when my book orders arrive and almost rush down to pick them up immediately. I love our local library system. Ever since the councils in Auckland city were amalgamated into one central council, all the libraries have effectively been merged which means I can order any book in any of the 52 libraries. It is rare for me to search for a book and not find it in their system. And the service is free!
While at the library, we joined the Rhymetime session, June did some singing and dancing, and there was some story telling. Today it was “We are going on a Bear Hunt” and by the time we got home… she was all set for her nap.
Here is a picture of something May drew in school last week:

My favourite thing is to go to the bookshop

My favourite thing is to go to the bookshop

I love this! And I love that that is her favourite thing. When I was little, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a library. I’m not sure why. I know Mum used to tell me lots of stories, mostly verbally, sometimes from books. Mum was a great story teller (still is), and even when she tells them from books, she would make up the story, so the story changes everytime she tells it. She tells lovely stories to my two munchkins now. Maybe libraries were just not accessible where I grew up. So I make it a point to take the girls to the library, we usually go at least once a week.
We have a lovely library in Birkenhead. It has the best views of the city from it’s giant glass windows and a beautiful children’s section. There are often activities on offer and a little playground right outside.
Recently May has been interested in Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. She watched it as a play a few months back with Grandma and we discussed how when I was her age I used to love Pippi Longstocking too. We ordered a book from the library and it finally arrived about a week ago. We’ve been slowly reading through it during our bedtime story. Did you know that it was published in 1945! Wow, I had no idea! Even when I was little, it was already a classic.

As illustrated by Lauren Child
Before Pippi Longstocking, May was really into fairy tales, she didn’t really care for them earlier, but when her German grandparents were here, they introduced these to her and we’ve been reading the same fairy tales with lots of different variations for months. So I’m rather pleased that she is now interested in something new. Although I’m sure that we will always return to Fairy Tales and their variations.

please don't eat me
June loves books about fish, whenever her Daddy comes home from his fishing trips, she must inspect his catch and whenever she sees any fish (dead or alive or on print), she will call them Daddy’s fish. This is one of our favourite’s, Please Don’t Eat Me by Roger de Muth.

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