Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vintage chairs and a look at our new kitchen

A few years ago my husband's grandparents passed away. As with most families, when these terrible things happen there is a whole house full of items that need to be distributed to family members, sold or given away. Interestingly, when this happened in my husband's family, most of his cousins refused to take the furniture. The items that my husband and I thought were cool, were just old to these cousins and there was no way they could put them into their modern furnished homes. Naturally we kept a number of items, including this lounge. But the most amazing thing we were able to take were these dining chairs.
They are very sturdy with their metal frames, but softened by teak toppers and cushioned seats. My husband's Nan always talked about picking them specifically for their newly built WWII house as they were slim and she could fit all 6 around her petite Laminex table. This same feature is a benefit to us as we can certainly squish an increased number of people comfortably at our dining table with these chairs.I believe Nan had the chairs recovered and resprayed in the late 80's.
It's taken more than two years for me to repair, refinish and reupholster these chairs. I think they look rather cool. My husband had to weld them in places where the back spindles has come off, then we scrubbed them, undercoated them and resprayed them matt black. The wood was in good condition and only needed a clean. The bases were simply reupholstered in a citrus coloured Warwick Fabric that I picked up from my local upholstery supplier. I reused the piping cord and foam as they were still in good condition.

While fixing the chairs, my husband and I also refinished our dining table. It's an oak extendable table from Ikea. Nothing flash, but the lacquer we put of the table top was turning to trash, so we stripped it and oiled the whole table. The finish is now much nicer, It's just a shame we didn't do this when we first purchased it.

While talking about house things, I thought it best to share some photos of our kitchen renovation from last year. Before we started, we had a pokey and dark kitchen that had been given a quick facelift when we moved into this house 5 years ago. Originally, the early 90's kitchen had black splashback tiles and black cupboard fronts - eewww!! Our house is a little dark inside due to all of the awnings and verandas attached to it, so this made the kitchen seem like an underground bunker. The kitchen and the main living/dining room was also separated by a wall, which made the whole space pokey and lack flow.

This is where I should post a 'before' image, but alas I can't find one!! My old phone had the pics, but when it smashed I guess I forgot to do something with them. So you will just have to use your imagination for the before photo :)

With the help of our builder friends, the supporting wall was removed and the kitchen and laundry were rebuilt to make the kitchen larger. We relaid matching floorboards through the back of the house to replace the old laminate and replaced old windows and doors.

As this part of the house is a little dark, we used a lot of matt white and really good LED lights.

The breakfast bar is, by far, the best change that we made. It's just so nice watching the kids eat in the morning while I get lunches ready and being able to watch and help them with homework while cooking dinner. I just can't remember these things being easy when they had to sit at the dining table where I couldn't see them.

The tiles took me forever to find and I LOVE them. They are white, which is what I wanted, but have a more interesting pattern than most things I could find at the time. The stone is a called Clamshell from Caesar Stone, which is a slightly warm, light grey colour. We still need to buy a tap, this is just a cheapy that my husband had lying around.

As I didn't want to hide my every day small appliances, but also didn't want to keep them on the bench, with the help of our fantastic kitchen maker friend, we designed these recessed stone shelves to keep together all the little bibs and bobs that you for every day use. This space can be a bit of a dumping ground, but a quick tidy is often all it needs to get it looking good again and at least we know where things are most of the time.

So there you have it - a new kitchen and a few other new bibs and bobs to update and freshen our home. As with most home improvement projects though, the more you change the more you want to change. This 'knock on effect' has now opened conversations to update the staircase and the down stairs bathroom, and don't even get me started on a trying to get a pool for next summer... we'll see though. My money tree is a little bare now :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kokka sateen two ways

I feel like my blogging has been a little strained these holidays. I've been sewing like a mad woman, but struggling to get motivated to put on make up and photograph my finished items. I managed to photograph a few items today, so hopefully some more activity on the blog front will happen.

I purchased this fabric last year with the intention to make a more playful and vibrant tank. It's a delightfully smooth sateen by Kokka, that I purchased from Miss Matatabi. You can see a different colourway here.
 Now I have it and I'm happy.

This is my own pattern which I have made numerous times before. There isn't much more to say about it, but I like it. I think I may retire this pattern for a while now. There are only so many tanks that you need in your wardrobe.

Now, rather than stash the remnant back into my over stuffed basket of scraps, I made them into a dress for Adele.

She was a little disappointed with this dress initially - not pink enough - but now has worn it a few times, so I guess it's OK.

I used a vintage drop waist dress pattern which I have used before here, but it appears she is a little too tall for the size 4 pattern and it isn't much of a drop waist.

Perhaps we'll both wear these together on our trip to Mr Maker at the Opera House tomorrow?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Baby, baby!

This week I became an aunty again! My sister in Toronto had her third child, a little baby girl named Ellery. It's so hard to miss the big moments when  my big sis lives so far away, but naturally I couldn't let this wonderful moment pass without a few handmade gifts.

Being a baby girl, I obviously included a bonnet for her. Both sides were made with Liberty and interlined with white cotton voile to prevent either of the patterns showing through. If you are interested, you can grab my pattern here.

A traditional crocheted matinee jacket in violet cotton yarn.

Muslin wraps which are roll hemmed in fluoro pink thread.
A baby bubble suit, sized for the Canadian summer, made with Nani Iro double gauze. I first made this pattern for Adele when she was a baby way back here.
And a new doll outfit for this vintage 'My Child' doll. My sister bought this for Adele as it's the exact one that I had as a kid, but I knew that my sister really wanted it. She just needed a girl baby. So I re-gifted it back to her and made it a new frock in Liberty.
I'm so excited for my sister. Having three kids in tough, but it's also so awesome.

I have so much more sewing to show. My backlog of items to blog is growing by the day.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Holiday Knitting: Granny's Favourite

One of the benefits of camping, especially when there is no phone service, is that you have plenty of time to sit around and knit and drink wine :). This is really handy when you have almost finished a cardigan for your daughter, with only one sleeve remaining, and it has been in that state and completely untouched for almost three months.
I'm not the worlds best knitter and definitely not the fastest, but I do know that I love top down, all in one patterns. My favourite knitting pattern designer by far is Georgie Hallam of Tikki Knits. In fact I don't think I've ever finished a knitting project that isn't one of her patterns.

This cardigan has a lovely lace pattern around the yoke which is pretty easy to follow. The rest is just stocking stitch which is perfect for mindless TV watching in the evening.

The yarn is from Bendigo Woollen Mills and is a surprisingly smooth bamboo and wool mix called Stellar. 
Adele really likes her cardigan. I'm sure she'll get plenty of wear from it when the weather cools down. In the meantime, I've cast on a cardigan for her in navy blue, in the hope that she might be able to wear it with her school uniform.

Details Ravelled here

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Simple linen dress

These warm Summer days need cool, breezy clothes made with light, natural fabrics. This linen from Tessuti (now sold out) was one of my Christmas presents to myself (no one else in this house buys me anything, but at least this way, I always get what I want).You may recognise it from Rachel's blog. I took her lead and ordered enough for a top too.
As I've mentioned before, I love the fit and style of my drafted high neck tank, so it seemed like a good idea to lengthen it to a dress.
There isn't too much to say about this, except that I love it. I wore it out dinner a few nights ago and managed to completely gorge myself without any discomfort from tight clothes :)
I hope you are having fun this Summer (or Winter). I just love hanging out with the kids and making plans day to day.

I have more to show - so much time, so much sewing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 2015!

Well hasn't this year gotten off to a cracking start! After a hectic Christmas, we headed off camping for a week with the kids down to the lovely NSW South Coast. We spent 7 days swimming, playing, exploring, eating, drinking, surviving with no phone service, navigating the cleaning times at the showers and trying not to get to get sun burnt. We've been back home for a few days and only now do I feel that I can relax and enjoy these last few weeks of school holidays. I've started playing around in my sewing room and it feels great, just like holidays should.

Before I went away, I managed to pull together another Liberty nighty. I adore wearing my previous versions here and here. They are so well suited to the hot muggy nights we are getting.
As with this nighty, I used Burda dress #118 from 06/2010, but this one is made from a range of larger Liberty scraps that have been collected in my scrap bin for years. Most of my smaller scraps were given to my mum, who is an avid quilter. She made this adorable Liberty quilt for my sister's yet-to-be-born, almost-fully cooked, we are waiting! baby girl.
More sewing news will follow shortly - well that's if I can pull myself away from the machine to take photos!

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

With only a few hours until the big man slides in through the back door to leave treasures for the kids, I'd like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year with your family and friends.
This is my annual ginger bread house, made from scratch, for Christmas dinner at mum and dad's house. You can see my previous houses here and here. I'd like to think I'm getting better, but that is not the case. This year's royal icing roof, covers my failed attempt at piping shingles, which was my failed strategy for hiding the slightly burnt roof edges.

Drive safely!