Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas & New Year’s Recap… two months late


Dearest Sultana,

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long, it’s been about 4 months!!! and I have thought of this blog often during that time and yet couldn’t muster the energy, inspiration, courage to come back to my blog. But a few nights ago I put today into my diary as the day I would return, even if it’s just for a quick “hello, I’m still here!”

What have I been doing? Well there was Christmas, the kids went to visit Santa at his Bach (that’s a kiwi holiday home by the beach) and Santa was in his shorts and t-shirt, it was lots of fun for the kids, we put up the tree, opened presents and spend time with Grandma, Grandpa and the girls’ two aunts. Read the rest of this entry

Working on the Animal Pouch


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.


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.


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.


And here’s the finished product:



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.

Father Day Update, Applique Pieces and Tissue Holder

Dearest Sultana,
We had a beautiful day this Father’s day. Although it was a little chilly, the sun was out, the skies were blue, it was fantastic especially after the week we just had (rain almost everyday). The girls woke their daddy up with lots of kisses and cuddles and home made cards. Then we took out his other presents. I think he was very pleased with his presents. In fact he put up the framed up collage of his fishing photos straight away. With nails into the wall! It usually takes us much deliberation before we put nails into the wall.
For breakfast we had fried bananas (pisang goreng) fried up with the new deep fryer. Believe it or not, it was the first time the girls had fried bananas. Fried bananas are a common street food in Indonesia, and they are very very delicious! They are just fried up bananas in batter, but there are many variations to the kind of banana and batter. My mother in law makes the best fried bananas, better than any bought ones. Unfortunately the kind of bananas that are used for this are quite uncommon in NZ, so we rarely have them here. For this occasion I just used regular bananas  and they turned soft very quickly, they were still very delicious but not nearly as good as my mother in law’s original version.
Later on, we went out to visit some friends and in the evening had dinner at a local chinese restaurant with my parents and sister. The girls wished their Grandpa a “Happy Father’s Day” and June insisted on sitting next to him (and kept pinching his rice!). All in all, a great Father’s Day! Only thing marring it, I think, was the lack of kayak fishing, even though it was a beautiful day on shore, the sea forecast was less favourable, but not to worry, Tuesday’s forecast is very positive and I’m looking forward to some fish for the new deep fryer. I’ll post up some pictures if his catch is good.
I thought I’d share some of my applique pieces for my Christmas gifts project.

ice cream cones

Ice cream cones




I really wanted to try to incorporate some of these into a simple project. A tissue holder seemed small and simple enough. And if it was up to snuff, I could include it as a Christmas present.

My tissue holder was inspired by this new Kleenex product. I like that it opens up.


This was my first attempt:


I like the colours but I didn’t insert the lining correctly.

I had to think it through a little more and made a little practice one and then attempted it again.




Finished product which I’m pretty happy with.


Christmas Gifts – I need a darning foot


Dear Sultana,

I was all excited about doing some free form sewing for my Christmas gifts. In her book, “Scandinavian Stitches”, Kajsa Wikman makes it sound so simple. One of the things that is needed is a darning foot for the sewing machine. I just assumed I had it because there are a few feet in my machine that I have never used.

So then I had everything set up and ready to go. I put down my feed dogs and started stitching and the fabric won’t move, I had to manually pull it, which can’t be good for the machine. I was beginning to wonder if I missed something. Maybe my machine is different, or maybe a darning foot is something other than the foot I was using (ended up I was using the see through general purpose foot).

So I checked it out on google and true enough, a darning foot is something quite different. It has got a spring to it and is not part of the basic sewing feet kit that I’ve got. So off to trade me, and there were quite a few, I was getting quite confused.

Some more research and I found out that my machine (Brother NX200) is a snap on, lower shank machine and most parts fit this machine. I found the part SA129 and watched a tutorial on it and found the missing part.

Back to trademe and bought it for $22 including shipping. I think that was pretty good, some models can cost up to $50, I think they are more heavy duty.

So, yesterday, it arrived in the mail and I was so excited! Got out my applique pieces. Got out  some scrap fabrics and started practicing. And to be honest I really do need the practice. Steady hands are important. Walk the fabric slowly but step on the pedal hard. So you get lots of stitches on your fabric.

practice makes perfect

practice makes perfect

attempting the strawberries

attempting the strawberries

I drew a strawberry onto paper, then using carbon paper I transferred it onto iron on fusible webbing and fused that onto the fabric so it’s a bit stiffer and easier to handle. I then just free form stitched the leaves onto the strawberries. I’m not so happy with the colours but those are the only green and reds I could find in my stash. I’ll think of some more designs and show you in more details how I went about this in my next post.

Carbon paper and templates

Carbon paper and templates

The technique by Kajsa Wikman is quite a messy look, a bit like a child’s drawing so it’s very forgiving to unsteady hands and allows for going over the design a few times.

Now, I just need a bit of time to start on making my little applique bits.


Making Christmas Gifts


Dearest Sultana,

A few months ago I came across a book by Kajsa Wikman it’s called Scandinavian Stitches.

Scandinavian Stitches

I loved this book. Its by a Scandinavian artist who creates lots of simple but adorable fabric products. She uses a lot of free form sewing and her style is bold but naive like a child’s drawing. I love her use of colours and I love that her projects are simple enough even for me to attempt. I love the idea of sewing but I am still at a very basic skill level.

In her book, I fell in love with her animal pouches and the idea of a picture made with scrap bits of fabric sewn free form.

Animal pouch

Animal pouch

I got so inspired that I decided, this year instead of boring vouchers, I’ll make my Christmas presents for mum and my two sisters.

I’ve already decided that I’ll be making syko style animal pouches but in a smaller size, big enough to put some coins and ATM cards for my sisters with their Chinese animal signs on the front (Horse and Rabbit) and for mom a feminine green pouch with a little bird on the front.

Also, because this year we will finally be spending our Christmas holiday together in Kerikeri,  I thought I’d make a summer bag with summer things sewn on the front. I’m thinking, strawberries, ice cream cones, maybe kiwifruit, jandals, ice cold cups of lemon tea and snappers (because there will be “guided kayak fishing trips” by my husband). I am so looking forward to our trip. There will be a huge farmers market to attend, a swimming pool for the girls at the place we’re staying, cocktails by the pool for the aunts and me, fishing for the husband (and the rest of us too of course), exploring Kerikeri, Paihia and maybe Russell. Oh and we’ll be celebrating my birthday there and the husband has promised fresh crayfish for the birthday dinner. (He is busy researching this, fingers crossed.)

I’ll tell you more about the progress of my Christmas presents as I go. I think I’ll start with making the fabric applique bits. I’m really excited about this!