Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cath Kidston knows how to keep it practical

With out further ado, here is a specs case I made from the Cath Kidston Stitch! book.

Although I love making things, I love it more when I make things that are practical and I can incorporate into my life easily. This specs case has been perfect in achieving this for me. 

This is the book which started me on my crafting / sewing journey. It happened innocently enough. I was looking for a birthday present for a friend at my local bookshop and instead came across Stitch! which I bought in a flash, drawn in by beautiful and contemporary yet seemingly simple  cross sticthing and embroidery projects throughout. Of course with this purchase, I had to purchase many more things as I was a complete beginner. After a bit of deliberation and also despair from spending hours on a couple of other projects and finishing it by hand, only to realise it looked like a school art project a six year old made, I made yet another purchase...the sewing machine. The rest is history.

Back to the book - the projects are reasonably simple and provide clear instructions; most are aimed at beginners I would say. If you are a complete beginner in embroidery and cross stitching there is quite a bit of equipment that you have to purchase at the start to set yourself up to do the project and I personally think a sewing machine is essential for finishing the projects unless you have the patience and delicate touch to finish with your hands (both of which I do not possess).
There are a good range of projects to get stuck into with the familiar Cath Kidston cutesy style (some of it a bit too cute for me). Projects which standout  include the bargello and electric flower cushions, the specs case and the stripe mat rug which I intend to make this year. I was going to put up some photos from the book, but I got a bit scared looking at the legal page for Cath Kidston, so best to have a search yourselves if interested.

I haven't made anything recently from this book as I have found that this type of work really takes it toll on my eyes. About a two weeks in working on projects from this book, my eyes were red and raw from so much concentration and straining working tiny I have had to take it easy. Does anyone else find this with needlework? Any suggestions? I'll put up a couple of other projects from the book at some stage - such as the bargello cushion and iphone case. 

But in the meantime, here's a final shot with the specs case working it with my sunny's whilst camping a couple of weeks back. So.very.practical.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A mini break in the bush

 We got away for a few days over the Labour Day long weekend in New South Wales and headed south from Sydney for a couple of hours to Booderee National Park. I had been keen to stay at Green Patch campsite for some time after reading it is considered one of the best natural camp spots in the state. Obviously everyone else has heard this also. Last year in October I requested a site for Christmas time and received a big laugh down the telephone from the ranger who after getting over this very funny request told me I should have booked back in August! With this in mind, I called up earlier in July this year to book our spot for the October long weekend and was lucky enough to get in!

We got a nice secluded spot looking out to a bush gully with lots of shade. Lots of shade also meant lots of good branches above us where it seemed all the lorikeets and rosellas of southern NSW met to spend their daylight hours gossiping away. For those of you not familiar with Australian bird calls, they possess the opposite of a pleasant twitter and are more adept at unison. They settled down by sundown  however, and this time brought out the quieter nocturnal wildlife. We were visited by brush tail possums carrying their joeys on their back, wallabies, kangaroos and bandicoots! They were all quite tame looking for scraps of food which we strictly did not provide (processed foods are not good for native wildlife either), so we let them get on their way and hoped we wouldn't have to get into any man versus beast battles with any of them if they tried to steal food from us.

 Although there is lots to do in the area, we really did take things nice and easy and spent much of our time enjoying the varied and beautiful natural scenery. The most physical we got was our daily walks to Green Patch beach  to lay on the lovely white fine sand and watch people's reactions to taking a dip in the very chilly Jervis Bay (it does warm up).

One of the best things about camping is that it's totally OK to spend half a day (or more) laying in your tent or a chair with cup holders doing absolutely nothing!

This blanket was a Christmas present from my partner's 94 year old Nan - Mrs D who has many talents that I admire.
 I'm not sure how a place becomes known as the best camping spot - but I have to say it was pretty good and I can see the allure especially during summer time when the water is warmer. Other pros to the campsite is that it is small (only 20 or so sites), it's close to a nice coastal village, there are proper toilets, running fresh water and hot showers - which really is pretty luxurious for a National Parks campsite. This will be on our list to head back one summer, making sure we book early!