Sunday, 14 January 2018

Fox(ish) Quilt

To start my crafty 2018 off, I decided to challenge myself. I have an amazing friend that I have known since primary school and she is having a baby pretty soon! I wasn't able to fly up for her baby shower so I decided to make something to send up.

They have not found out baby's gender so I decided to look through my fabric stash for inspiration. I had a bunch of orange/yellow/grey fabrics and a teeny scrap of fox fabric left so I squeezed three triangles out of that and made the other fabrics work around them. I wanted a relatively simple design so I went with rows of half-square triangles (it's a thing!), separated by some solid grey.

Once I had pieced together the quilt top I used a woolen blanket as batting and went to work with the quilting. This is the part I struggle with which is why in the past I have only done simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. I have issues with the back piece puckering and I get super frustrated hauling a huge and heavy quilt around my machine. However, I have been inspired by my friend Holly and her queen-sized quilt and I followed her lead and quilted random patterns on each triangle. I didn't really have any plan, which you can probably tell, but I challenged myself and I enjoyed doing it.

After I finished quilting each triangle I trimmed it to shape and added the binding. I handstitched it because it looks neater and I have a terrible track record of not catching the binding when I try to machine stitch it. 

I love the way this quilt turned out and I think that more will be on the horizon. I hope this quilt will keep bubba warm once it arrives. I love giving baby gifts!

You can check out some of my previous quilt attempts below:

Rainbow Chevron Quilt

Windmill Quilt

Vintage Sheet Quilt

Triangle Cot Quilt

Grey Stripe Quilt

Cross Quilt

Vintage Sheet Quilt #2

Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 Makings

I though that I would flick through my camera roll to see how many of the things I made have been documented this year. Turns out there were quite a few. Here they are:

Size 1 Bunny coat

Size 3 Bear coat

Size 3 Bear vest

Size 3 tiger dress-up coat

Size 2 unicorn vest

3-6 month size baby vest

Mother and daughter coordinating unicorn jackets

The lining of the mother/daughter jackets

Size 3 vest

Size 2 Dinosaur coat

Size 3 pony coat

5x 0-3 month baby vests

6-9 month size baby coat

Size 4 Dino vest
Yellow floral dress for me

Crochet giraffe for my nephew

Door mat

Door mat #2

Tree stump cake for my nephew

Pirate ship cake for Addison

Custom crochet baby blanket

Fox hot water bottle cover

Cat pot plant holder out of a Coke bottle

5x sets of tiny wooden villages

Bird string art
I'm glad that I managed to document these projects, I have definitely kept busy although I found that the first half of the year held a bit of a creative slump for me. I think I jumped from crochet to sewing because I needed some quick projects and that helped kick start my creativity again.

2018 will be another creative year for me, I have plenty of ideas in my head, I just need to find the time to do them. May this year be creative and fun for you too! xx

Friday, 29 December 2017

Life Update

Hey team,

Thanks for stopping by, I know things have been a bit quiet around here.

Life has been changing over the last year, my study journey to become a qualified librarian hit full-bore in the middle of the year when I got a casual job at a library. I was juggling both work and full-time study, as well as the normal parenting and (trying to) keep the house liveable (no one said anything about presentable!).

I made it through that with good marks and am now on the home-stretch with only 1.5 papers to go! I am not sure what next year will hold for me but I am looking forward to it!

Addison is 3 and a half now and is very talkative and curious. She has a great imagination and has picked up an interest in crafts. She loves to go out to Daddy's Shed and make things in there and is coming up with some great projects.

Our house renovations are sort of paused at the moment while we try and carve out some time as well as slowly, slowly save some money to fund the bathroom reno as well as a fair few dump runs. We have plans though!

I am still crafting, although documenting it seems to comprise of a single photo, usually in terrible lighting because I only craft late at night these days. I have been sewing a lot, collecting woolen blankets to use to make winter jackets and vests. I am hoping to extend this a bit next year and open up a few custom order spots as time allows. I haven't done as much crochet this year, just a few projects here and there. I post regularly on Instagram as @inthefoxsden if you want to see my goings-on.

Dave and I celebrated our 8-year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago and it feels like that time has flown by. Dave has been busy with his day-job as well as heaps of custom woodworking requests which he somehow manages to get through.

So to sum up, we have been busy. Hopefully next year we can settle into a bit more of a routine and find time to take a break or two and relax. We aren't very good at being still!

Thanks for sticking around and following me as my craft blog is slowly turning into a book review blog. I do still love my little space here so I will try to make more effort in documenting the things that keep me busy.

Book Review - Year One by Nora Roberts

When you think of Nora Roberts you generally think of romance novels, the kind that you take on holiday to read on the beach or on the plane. You may also know of her crime writing under the pseudonym J.D Robb, but the Dystopian genre isn't one you would normally associate her with. But Year One is just that, a dystopian novel, still with some romance mixed in mind you, but this is the beginning of a new three-part series that I will definitely be following.

Year One begins in Scotland where a pheasant is shot down on a standard hunting trip. The blood from the bird begins a plague called The Doom which wipes out a very significant chunk of the worlds population. As you can imagine, chaos ensues and as those who remain fight to survive, others become dark and violent. Among this, people with powers - magic - start to manifest in both dark and light forms, and a new fight for power begins.

Arlys Reid is a news reporter who survives the plague and escapes New York with some friends. Max and Lana have practiced the Craft and now their power has grown as they find themselves in charge of a very special light. Both groups combine as they attempt to create a safe haven, a New Hope, but the darkness is hunting the light and will stop at nothing to extinguish it.

It is tricky to write a synopsis without giving away some major plot details so I will leave it at that and if it peaks your interest then find yourself a copy! If plagues and magic aren't your thing then give this one a miss.

I am a big lover of the dystopian genre, though I tend to stick with YA novels. The maturity level of Year One is definitely a step above YA. I found that the tone of the book changed about 1/3 into it but I could look past that. I was also a bit annoyed with how some of the characters were left, although I'm hoping they still play a big part in the next two novels. The book is clearly setting the groundwork for the rest of the series and working up to some sort of epic showdown. Now to wait until the end of next year when Book 2 is due to be released!

Year One by Nora Roberts is available now from bookstores and libraries. Thanks to Hachette for my review copy of this book.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

KIWI AUTHOR Book Review: Broken Silence

Broken Silence is a brand new book by NZ author Helen Vivienne Fletcher.
I won this book at her online Book Launch on Facebook, I don't know how I ended up there but I am glad I did!

This is a YA novel about seventeen-year-old Kelsey who is having a rough time, her mum is very sick, and her dad doesn't want anything to do with her. She ends up staying with her older brother at his flat and on top of all these issues she has an abusive boyfriend. It makes for a big downward sprial in Kelseys life. She begins getting stalker-esque prank calls which have a dark undertone to them. Soon Kelsey is fearing for her life and those of her friends and family too. Who is it on the phone and what do they want?

I must admit, this book sat on my drawers for a good long time before I picked it up. Life got busy, but I wish I had read this as soon as it arrived. Although I do not personally relate to Kelsey on most of these issues, they are very present in society and having a front seat to the train wreck was confronting yet compelling. Helen has managed to craft a character that I really cared about by the end, despite her whingy 'tantrums' throughout the book.

I love that it was set in Wellington but apart from the odd reference here and there such as Manners Street, it could have been set anywhere. I had some great images in my head of the setting of this book.

There were some very good twists and turns as we try to identify the caller, I thought I had it a few times before being proven wrong again and again. The ending works well and everything felt resolved, although it got darker than I expected towards the end.

I would definitely recommend this book to those who like a good psychological thriller and don't mind themes of violence and abuse. As I said before, they are more common than we think and having an inside perspective shines a light on some of the mental health issues that many suffer.

Please support our hard working Kiwi writers and find a copy of this book (or I can lend you mine!), then leave a review on her Facebook page! This is not a sponsored post - I just really enjoyed this book and think that our local writers deserve a shout out now and then!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Book Review: The Pool House by Tasmina Perry

The Hamptons - summer playground for the rich and mega-rich. Jem and her husband Nat can't believe it when they are invited to share a house beach-side in the Hamptons one summer. Style editor Nat has made massive connections since moving over from England a year ago, and this well-planned schmoozing has meant that the summer will be one to remember.

Jem has been at a loose end since moving to New York and has big dreams of running her own food blog. She tolerates her husband's cutthroat career and sees the summer as a way of making friends and spending time with Nat. But it turns out that the reason that the spot opened up at the house is that last year one of the wives - Alice - drowned in the pool on the property. It was ruled as accidental - she had been drinking after all, but gut-instinct tells Jem that there is more to it.

As she delves deeper she finds out that a lot went on last summer that no-one wants to talk about. The housemates do well hiding their secrets but with the help of a surprising new friend, Jem finds the cracks in their stories and finds out the truth about Alice.

The novel is written in two alternating sections - 'this summer', written from Jem's perspective, and 'last summer', written from Alice's perspective. The timing of the jumps is perfect for making you want to keep reading, each section ends with a massive cliffhanger or revelation and leaves you wanting to know just a little bit more before you put the book down.

FYI- there are a decent chunk of raunchy scenes, they are not too over-described but are definitely a bit part of the storyline, especially in Alice's story  - I was unprepared for the stark change from Jem to Alice!

The plot is well written and well thought out and having a small pool of suspects makes it interesting to guess what really happened. The characters are well drawn and not always likeable which is a refreshing change. As well as the whodunnit, there are also some much deeper issues that affect the main characters which are worked through as the novel progresses.

I really, really enjoyed this book! I will definitely be reading some more of Tasmina Perry's work - despite the cheesy covers. The look of this novel seems to stray from her usual so it will be interesting to see how the others read.

Available now!

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy of this book!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Book Review: Oi Cat by Kes Gray and Jim Field

The third hilarious book in the series with Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and now Oi Cat!

Poor Cat has been instructed that cats sit on gnats - it's the rules! But Cat doesn't enjoy the gnats biting his bottom - perhaps HE can change the rules like Frog and Dog have done? What else can a cat sit on?

This brightly coloured and wonderfully illustrated book is full of animal rhymes that you wouldn't expect: Racoons and macaroons, armadillos and pillows, alpacas and cream crackers. So many animals, so many rhymes. You would think by the third book of essentially the same premise, that there would be no rhymes left but nope they keep on coming. It helps introduce new animals to children (and adults - what is a lark?!), and adds the odd bit of classic potty humour.

We love this series and I think they will bring a smile to your face.

Available now.

Thanks to Hachette for the review copy of this book!