There wasn’t a lot of rubbish in the wheelie bin a few weeks ago.  That doesn’t seem to happen very often around these parts, so when it does, R takes the opportunity to mentally sort through items in the house to decide what needs to be thrown out. He always makes sure to tell me there is space in the bin ,just in case there is an extra bag of rubbish, or something, hiding in the craft room. (Tui ad anyone?)

This time, however, as we were laying in bed about to go to sleep, he says, “What about the kids’ little rocking chair? I think it’ll fit in the bin. ”

My head snapped sideways as a shocked gasp sounded from my gaping mouth.

“What? Are you high? The kids love that chair!”

“Do they even use it?”

Blank stare. Is he serious?

“Only every single day!”

So, I offered to recover it.

*Queue insanity*

“It’s small.  It’ll be easy to re-cover.  I’ll just get some new foam and K11 can come with me and pick out some fabric, and it’ll be like new again.”

“Hmm. Well, ok.”  The hesitation and tone of R’s voice was cynical.

*Moves forward in the queue, slowly, but surely.*

So, this is what I had to work with.

Gross, isn’t it?!  Can you see that nasty stain on the left side of the seat cushion? That would be chocolate milk.  What are the other stains, you ask? Well, if you have to ask, you must not have children. Children are dirty and gross and those foul stains and marks are sincere signs of love for this chair, made by children who have sat, ate, drank chocolate milk and who knows what else during the course of its nine-year life over two countries. It has been well-loved.

It’s a far cry from this, which is how it looked when K11 received it for her 2nd birthday from my brother.

Yes, yes, it’s soooooooooooooooooo not that chair any more.

So, me in my wisdom, in an effort to put at least one less item into the city tip, began my little upholstery adventure.

Adventure is a bit of an understatement, I might add.

It began like most of my projects where I just jumped in with both feet and no life-preserver. I began to dismantle it, bit by bit. Because I was going to use the same frame, I had to remove as many staples as I could so that the news ones would be easier to install. Slowly, staple by agonizing staple, I pulled and plucked and dug and pried and groaned and cursed and screamed.

Until I got to this point, at which I placed my already sore hands onto my head and pulled my hair in frustration.

What’s wrong with it, you ask?  Well, the seat back was installed AFTER it had been covered. And it was installed with godzilla-sized furniture staples. Fifteen of them to be exact.

So, I grabbed the wine bottle, and got to work.

It didn’t help in the slightest that I was coming down with my daughter’s tummy bug and felt like the chair looked. In retrospect, it may not have been the best moment in time to tackle a job that I knew not what it entailed. But I hammered in the tip of the screwdriver and pried up the staples and pulled with pliers.  Eventually, I reduced the chair to this.

Ick. Gross. Gagfest. That was the moment, when I was pulling out decade-old pretzels, that I really began to wonder, WHAT THE HELL WAS I DOING?

Determined I was going to conquer this thing, I continued on. At least now I had snack food, right?

I removed the fabric ever so carefully.  I had developed a plan at this point, you see. I would use the old fabric as a pattern for the new pieces and hopefully save myself one less bottle of wine and a few clumps of hair in the process.

And I continued on, moaning and complaining, because I could. Hubs had the brilliant idea made the mistake of suggesting I just rip the fabric off. He was met with this.

After so many years of marriage, he quickly caught my drift and shut up, just like he was turned to stone by my awesome gaze.

And then he filled my wine glass.

Eventually, six hours after I began, I ended up with this.

and this,

Now, don’t be deceived. There is foam there, but that pan is mostly filled with staples. By my calculations, over a thousand. And if you look at the top edge of the pan, you can see those previously mentioned godzilla-sized staples that stole at least two hours of my life and taught my children a few new words.

The following morning, I probably should have just stayed in bed. I was dealing full force with just trying to keep the flow of food in my body in its normal one way direction. But I know myself, and if I didn’t get crackin’ (I wanted to say Krakon there), that project would sit like that for six months.

So looking like death, K11 and I set out to get:

  • staples for the staple gun
  • foam for the padding
  • fabric to cover the chair

Is anything I do, EVER easy?


I took the staple gun into Bunnings to get new staples. That was great, because the box of staples we had were from at least 1957. I do not joke.  So the nice man checked the staples and found the right size, and then asked, ” What length do you need? 6mm, 8mm, or 10mm?”

I pondered for a moment, and decided I needed the 10mm. I’m going to be stapling through foam and fabric right, so, I figured I needed the extra depth on the staple. Cool. Staples? Check.

Onto Spotlight, where K11 and I hummed and hoed over fabric. We both really loved this beautiful modern sea-foam teal print, but I am a practical person. Modern sea-foam green print doesn’t go with muted country tones, so we moved on.  Eventually, we found a great multi-toned cotton drill fabric and denim to match.

We were on a roll!  Staples? Check. Fabric? Check.

Foam? Foam? What’s that? Foam? Isn’t that easy to find?

On a Sunday, at the spur of the moment, the short answer would be NO!

I found poor quality, pre-cut foam cushions at Spotlight that would have kept their loft for maybe a month. And I found a nice fabric store in Lower Hutt that even had some quilting supplies, but no foam.  I ended up spending $30 at Plastic Box for a small foam mattress pad. UGH! Frustration!

Anyway, we found foam at least. Too much money, lots of petrol and three hours later, we at least had foam. Check.

At this point, I really felt like I could see the end of the tunnel, and that tunnel ended with me in my bed, tucked in all warm and cozy, just like a sickling should be. Now that I had everything, I was ready to get started.

I gathered all the necessary bits and bobs around me and went to load the staple gun.  And guess what? 10mm staples won’t fit in my staple gun!

*Steps up to the front of the insanity queue*

A wise person would have called it quits for the day, but me? No, I was not going to be defeated, flu or not. I drove straight back out to Bunnings, mumbling unmentionables the entire way and got the 8mm staples. I must have still been of sound mind at point, because I even checked this time to be sure that length would fit.

Finally, four hours after I started the hunt for elusive foam, I was ready to get to work. Thankfully, I had taken pictures all along the way so that I would end up with something close to what I started with, only cleaner, and not decorated with old drinks and stale food.

And then I discovered why there were a thousand staples. It really does make for a nicer finish on the surface. So, I plugged along, and amid nausea and sore joints, I conquered that beast.  I cut and pulled and stapled and hammered and believe it or not, I even managed to do it with less than nine hundred staples!

I don’t think I’d do stripes next time. That was yet another UGH moment.

But I’m pleased.

It’s still colourful, but it matches the room now.

And we won’t discuss those four little upholstery tacks on the front and the hot glue gun. There were a few extra words uttered over those.

*Steps from queue and takes insanity and flu for warm snuggles in bed*

Anyone still reading?

It’s been a whole year since I posted. Shame on me.  So, I decided to celebrate by posting again. What better way to celebrate than with birthday cake?

The kids and I decided on a Twilight Saga cake this year and we spent hours upon hours making it together. And here it is…

We did some improvising with the pieces on top. That would be a golf ball inside of the “apple” and we used real chess pieces to help the shape of the pawn and queen. The queen was a bit temperamental, but alas, we succeeded. My quilting ruler and pizza cutter were even put to use.

The black icing was a bit difficult to do, but I started with chocolate fondant/read-made icing, and used cake dyes from there. I ran out of fondant so we improvised with some red buttercream icing for the ribbon and edgings.

The best part?  It’s red velvet cake!

I’m not so sure I’d make it again since it took TWO TABLESPOONS of red food colouring. Need I say that the kids were insane after eating this? Deja vu.

Edward joined in the fun too. He had a forking good time!

So, glad to be back! Stay tuned.


I don’t normally make birthday cakes for myself.  It always seemed kind of silly really.  But this year, the kids are on school holidays, and well, we needed an activity.

Someone posted a link to a Omnomicon on one of the forums I’m on, about how to make a Rainbow Cake.  LOVE the look of this cake. I’m not normally into such bright colours, but this is just too cool.

So I bought some cake mix and pulled out the gel dyes.

A good blogger would have taken more pictures, but oh well.

These are how the cakes looked while cooling.  I was a bit distraught at the browning of the violet colour, but it was still workable. And no, mine are the full fat, full calorie version.


I didn’t like the icing AT ALL that they used in the omnomicom cake.  Bleurgh.

So I got out my gels again, and coloured some ready-made icing, and spiraled it together.


I rolled the icing out and added it to the cake.  The stuff stretched while I was putting it on the cake, so it gave it an ovalness that was not pleasing to my eye.  But c’est la vie.  Added a few hearts, and voila.


And the best part was eating it.


Word to the wise though: Don’t serve it to kids after dinner.  Make it an early afternoon cake instead.  The food colouring induced mania is easier to handle in the daytime. 😉

Conversation Piece

A conversation piece is usually something that incites discussion.  It’s usually something very artful, or well, just ugly enough to make you want to dis it, breaking the silence barrier and lightening the mood of a group of people.

This is neither.

My friend Sheryl was coming to stay, and since we like to gasbag, I needed something I could knit without thinking.  No pattern, no lace, minimal counting, JUST KNITTING.

I bought some  Regia Kaffe Fassett Design Line sock wool last year because I adore stripes.  All I could find at the time were colours from the mirage range though, which are random dyed.  Took me ages to find the colour I wanted in the Landscape range.  But then the wool just sat there.  I fell in love with Vintage Purls and lace and designing my own socks, that I figured I wouldn’t even knit up that wool.  How pathetic is that!

So I decided that colourful striped socks in plain stocking stitch were just the ticket.  Simple.  Effective. Easy.


This  is literally a conversation piece.  Simple knit socks, that I knit around and around and around, while conversing the whole time! They took me all of four days.  That’s a heap of gasbagging!

Sheryl knit a pair as well.  Her Theodora socks from the current Sock Club through Vintage Purls.  A decent friend would have taken a nice pic of the two of us together, but instead, here is a pic of our feet.


These are currently my most favourite socks.  I have to admit, that when I was done knitting the toe, I had decided I didn’t like the feel of the yarn.  It seemed scratchy and stiff.  But i LOVE them.  Mostly because they fit like a glove.  I’ve had some problems with how many gusset stitches to use to balance the height of the instep with the lace knitting I’ve been doing, but went with the lower end of 12 gusset stitches on these socks.  Between that and measuring the length of my foot at the end of the sole instead of the back of the heel, these are a perfect fit.  They have just the right amount of negative ease to them.

So, that’s my conversation piece.  I called them Plain Jane, because they are just knit stitches, but wow, they are anything but plain.

Cute As a Button

I have amazing friends.

Really, I do!

This is what my friend Jayce made for me.




It was inspired from a trip to Te Papa, where they have an exhibit about fashion through-out the century.  In one of the displays was a button bag.  And Jayce’s idea was born.

The stats:

  • 4 months to make.  All the buttons are hand sewn on.  Yikes!  Not only that, each one has been sealed on the front and the back to keep any from coming loose.
  • 1.5 kg of buttons.  Now you understand why it took 4 months
  • Many swear words were apparently uttered during it’s making.

Jayce, thank you.  It’s just divine!

Yarn Swap V.3.0

Yes, it’s that time again.  We finish one swap and the next one starts.

I signed up for two swaps again.  I wanted to go all out, but believe it or not, I held back this time.  I was trying not to make my packages so OTT, as it’s easy for me to get carried very far away!

The first one I did is based on the Kings of Leon song Sex on Fire. My person mentioned lots of things she would like, but the only thing that hit me was that she currently liked listening to Kings of Leon.  That could well be because they have also caught my fancy of late.  Sex on Fire is actually my ring-tone at the moment, so I get to hear it every so often, and then get to sing it in my head on repeat for hours after that.  Much better than the In The Night Garden theme song any day.

So I got stuck into figuring out what to add.  I was thinking the theme might be a tad mature, but then I found a sock pattern called, Socks on Fire!  Oh my freaking goodness!!!  So, that cinched it for me.

The yarn I dyed is 100g Paton’s Patonyle, originally a caramel colour.  It’s dyed with Dylon in shades of pinks and red, which are the colours that come to mind when I think of the theme.  I would have added some orange as well, but my swappee isn’t into orange, so stuck with just the shades of reds and pinks.


For the gift, I bought a copy of the Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night album, and made little sock stitch markers on a “Fire” fob.


The “piece of paperwork” for the swap was the drink recipe which is actually called Sex on Fire!

It was all just meant to be!

And to top it off, because I am a dork  and only dyed 100g of wool, instead of the 150g minimum, I added in a Schoc Chocolate bar in Chili Flavour.  I had a taste sample at the Schoc store, and it is sure to spice up any one’s life.

The next one has to be some of the best, yet morbid fun I’ve had in a long time.  My swapper said in her notes that she likes a good blood splatter thriller book.  In particular, she was into the Scarletta series by Patricia Cornwell.  A bit of googling, and I came up with “Death By Knitting.”

I had a crime scene. (100g patonyle dyed in deeps reds and black.)


Blood splatter disguised as sock stitch markers on a noose.


A manual on murder disguised as literature, Died In the Wool, by Mary Kruger, bagged and tagged as evidence.


The motive!  Who wouldn’t kill for some Schoc Chocolate!


Informant information on Broken Cables, along with some other pieces of information like a police report and death certificate.


More crime scene pictures (gotta love Google), plus a recipe for Death By Chocolate.


And all of it, packed away in a Case File.


That was so much fun!

I received two in return.  The first one came before the deadline and got me in a panic.  But what a lovely parcel, all tied up in string.

The first was was titled *Strawberries.*  YUM!


It was 200g of Merino et Soie, dyed with Ashfords Hot Pink and Scarlet coloured acid dyes. (My swapper even had an extra 300g that I bought off her as I LOVE this colour.)  She sent a strawberry coffee cup (yes, I love my cup of joe!), and a strawberry huller which is a kitchen gadget I didn’t have. Perfecto!  The recipe is for Pam’s Scarlet Strawberry Cordial which is a family recipe.  And the pattern picked is Strawberry Hill by Melissa Matthay.

Because I had so much extra wool, I knit this up as well, which I blogged about here.


But wait!  There is one more!!!!

This one is based on Little House on the Prairie.  My yarn fairy wrote up this little story to go with the swap.

It is a Saturday morning in out “Little House on the Prairie” in the height of summer. Pa is out in the fields milling the timber and I have just finished gathering up the vegetables and fruit out of the garden.  I take my basket into the kitchen and there is Ma at our kitchen table wearing her apron.  I can smell the bread baking in the oven and Ma has the preserving pot all ready and waiting.  I place the basket on the table and begin helping to peel the fruit. Every summer about this time, Ma does the preserves and places them in the pantry that Pa built. You should see it.  There is orange marmalade, cucumber relish, and bottles of pickled onions.  Ma said that after we finished the preserving, we are going across the way to visit the Price family, so I had better go and fetch the cake carrier and Ma’s shawl before Pa arrives with the horse and carriage. Clip, clop, here comes the horses, have to go now.

yarn-swap-lhotp-whole-packageIt contains:

  • The wool is dyed to reflect the colours of Ma’s preserves in the pantry.
  • An apron just like Ma’s as a said it is a mothers second skin.
  • A cake carrier for when I go visiting.
  • A pattern for a knitted piggy.
  • A package of 150g bamboo for a shawl.
  • Recipe for a Banana and Date tea loaf.

Whoa Nelly would be an appropriate exclamation for this one!

The apron is currently being used for my clothes pegs.


And a closer pic of the yarn.


Since I decided to not use the Malabrigo for boy’s pants for winter, I might well use this.  It goes with several of his shirts and is just lovely colours for a boy.

Thank you Joanne and Pipi!  I love the swaps you’ve put together.

So, what’s the next swap on the list?  The Magic Yarn Ball Swap!!  But you’ll just have to wait and wonder a bit for that one. 😉

Baby Socks? Sock Yarn Afghan? Shawl of mixed yarns?

What about a bookmark. 😉


This is to compliment the Mermaidia socks I blogged about in this post.

I still have heaps of this sock yarn left, so might have to do a small pair of socks afterall.

Tell Me a Tail

Gauge is not important on this, but the smaller the better.  I used leftover 4ply/fingering weight yarn, which is about the thickest yarn I would use for a bookmark.


2.5mm needles

8g 4 ply/fingering weight yarn (approx. 35 yards)

Wool needle for adding  the tail.


K = knit one stitch

P = Purl one stitch

yf = yarn forward (bring the yarn to the front as if to purl).  Also known as a yarn over.

sl1 = Slip one stitch purlwise from the left to the right needle.

k2tog = knit two stitches together

psso = Pass slipped stitched over

P2tog = Purl two stitches together


Using Long Tail Cast On, cast on 23 stitches.


Knit three rows border rows as such:  *K1, P1*, repeating ** to last stitch, K1

Start the pattern:

Row 1: k1, p1, k2, *yf, k2, sl1-k2tog-psso, k2, yf, k1* repeating ** once, k1, p1, k1

Row 2: k1, p1, k1, p17, k1, p1, k1

Row 3: k1, p1, k3, *yf, k1, sl1-k2tog-psso, k1, yf, k3* repeating ** once, p1, k1

Row 4:  Repeat row 2

Row 5: k1, p1, k4, yf, sl1-k2tog-psso, yf, k5, yf, sl1-k2tog-psso, yf, k4, p1, k1

Row 6:  Repeat row 2

Repeat rows 1 – 6, fourteen more times.

Knit two border rows as such:  *K1, P1*, repeating ** to last stitch, K1

Knit third border: [K1, P1] x 5, K1, yo, P2tog, [K1, P1] x 5

Cast off loosely on a needle two sizes larger OR

*Cast off 5, cast on one using backward loop and immediately cast off 1* repeating to end.

For the twisted cord tail, take a piece of yarn approx. 40inch long.  Thread it onto a needle and pull through the yo opening on the last border row so that the bookmark is centered on the doubled yarn.   Twist the yarn tightly, and then allow the two yarn sides to twist into each other.  Tie a knot at the end and trim the ends.

Block and enjoy. 😀