A place where lazy bloggers can come and feel better about themselves. The rest of you are welcome too.

Monday, December 31, 2007

A new and more frou frou year

Good morning! I'm totally jacked up on sugar thanks to starting the day with pudding and Jules's chocolate chip biscuits. Yum! And I feel like I could take on the world.

I thought I'd have a few new year resolutions this morning but so far nada. I'll keep trying though. I'm sure it'll be fun to look back on this this time next year. What are yours? Please forgive me if I steal the good ones for myself...

Today is Jules and my anniversary. Even though we'll never be able to tell our children the true story of how we met (it's far, far too grubby), at least it's an easy date to remember. Unlike my birthday as it turns out - all this time and Jules still can't remember it. Not that I'm particularly bothered. At least he knows it's in autumn.

I'll be 30 this year. Blimey. It all goes by so fast.

We plan on moving to the South Island this year too. Yay! We're finally moving to the country! Hopefully in the next month or so but we'll have to see how things go with job offers and the like.

And now a medley of photos from Christmas day.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Frou frou phew!

Yaaaaaaaaaaaay! Our internet connection is fixed! I want to run through the streets laughing and proclaiming my joy! Can life get any better?

Thank you to the very clever man from TelstraClear who worked out that the TV plug was in the internet plug and vice versa. (While rather funny, it wasn't our fault. Honestly, this time it wasn't).

Being New Year's eve and all, I don't have a lot of time to catch you up on all the Rose/van Cruysen household news. Tomorrow there will be photos galore of all the adventures we've been having.

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Oh frou frou!

Well, my loyal reader, you may have noticed that there has been a distinct lack of posting from me of late. I'm back in Wellington and the telly is fixed but damn if the internet connection isn't broken. Jules tried to have it fixed before Christmas and was greeted with peals of laughter. So, no posting from me again until some time in the (hopefully early) New Year.

In other breaking news, Jules's work went into liquidation yesterday - and a Merry Christmas to you too Herd Street Brassiere and Grill - so now we're a no income household. Never again will I complain about only having one income... We're keeping all our fingers and toes crossed that something will come up soon. Anyone know of anything for a very talented boy? (Just ask Cuisine if you don't believe me!).

The great news is that my clothes are selling really well. I've had offers from a few shops now to stock my jackets so I'll hop to it in the New Year. It's very lovely hearing people say such lovely things about my clothes. I could really get used to this!

Merry Christmas one and all.

Lots of photos will follow of the delicious dinner Jules is cooking for us. Yum!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Frou frou flip flops

How completely fabulous! Frou frou flip flops. I wish I'd thought of them first.

Water, water, frou frou, frou frou

This is rainbow country.

Driving around last night (looking at pretty houses for sale), there were irrigators as far as the eye could see. Little ones, enormous ones, ones that popped out of the ground... such variety. One thing they all had in common was the rainbows they produced. It was an odd mix of industrial and frou frou.

The houses we visited were utterly divine. Coming from Wellington where shacks in the city sell for half a million dollars, it was great to see beautiful old villas lovingly renovated with expansive sections and gardens for half the price of a Wellington shack. I can't wait for my lovely Jules to come and check them out.

Speaking of my lovely Jules, he makes an appearance in this month's Cuisine magazine. It's a great article where people say lovely things about him. I'm bursting with pride! Page 128 if you'd like to check him out.

Mum and I are off to the super Secret Second Hand Shop today. I'm on the lookout for material, buttons and other assorted frou frou today. I'm very, very excited. I might even post photos of the shop as long as none reveal the location!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nagging isn't frou frou but it works

Mum got her Christmas cake out of the freezer. It will be ready for me to eat tomorrow.

(By the way, we weighed my cake today. It's 3.8 kilos. It's heavier than Remy when he was born.)

Concerning the subject of enjoying broad beans and a frou frou way of life

The process of shelling broad beans must be one of the most therapeutic housewifey processes there is. I stood at the kitchen bench today shelling the broad beans I had just picked in the vege garden and it was utter bliss. The repetition was soothing and the sight of the new and naked beans popping out of their shells was strangely rewarding.

I think it even made me enjoy eating them.

In other food matters of note, Mum taught me to bake the family Christmas cake today. She prefaced this with the threat of death if I ever revealed the recipe. And I'm sure she meant it.

The entire house smells like Christmas. I'm desperate to eat the cake but I'm not allowed until Christmas day, and apparently that's even a little too soon (I'm making the cake too late apparently). I've done my best impression of a 29 year old throwing a tantrum to get mum to cut her cake instead but, so far, no luck. I'll try again tomorrow. A bit of pestering might do the trick.

Remy is completely worn out after another day of new experiences. This afternoon we took some time out from all the excitement of family and the farm by lying in the shade of a fragrant climbing rose and dabbling our feet in the sunshine. Connecting with Remy in this environment is easy and joyful. I'm not sure why it's so different in the city. Maybe it's because I'm on-guard against all of the strangers?

I feel rested and relaxed. My muscles seem to have melted. It's very hard to keep my mind on the business of sewing. Thank goodness my mother is here to goad me!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cunning frou frou

I've figured out the system in only 2 days - wait until late at night or the crack of dawn and then the internet connection runs at the normal speed of dial-up. Only 17.52 minutes for me to get here. That's quite a savings.

Mum and I sewed little V's dress for a couple of hours today. She helped me with the closing at the back - I've been struggling to work out how to finish it neatly and she had the perfect solution. Not long now until the dress will be completely finished. There's a fair bit of hand sewing to be done but I really feel like I'm on the home straight. The next photos here will be when it's finished - how exciting!

Remy patted his first calf and had his hands licked by Sydney, the farm dog. He promptly put his hands into his mouth, probably to check they were still there (they were). We walked in the paddock with the cows and bulls and survived, even though one of the very, very big bulls gave us a funny look and dug at the ground. We ate green beans while standing in the vege patch and then we hid the almost ripe strawberries from the birds (and mum). Remy ate banana for the first time. We swam in the bath. It was a big day.

Somehow there's been a pile up of eggs from mum's chooks - there are 36 eggs sitting in the basket in the kitchen. Tomorrow we're making my Christmas cake (10 eggs), a sponge cake (10 eggs), and we're having scrambled eggs for lunch. I'm sure the Heart Foundation will be covering its ears and rocking when reading this. I, on the other hand, can't wait!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

For frou frou's sake!

You know how I mentioned that my parents have the slowest internet connection in the world? Well I just lost 30 minutes of my life waiting for this page to load... so there probably won't be any more posting until I get back to Wellington.

Mum and I popped into Timaru today and I jumped on the chance to go to one of the many charity shops. I picked up 36 (!) vintage patterns and a big jar of buttons for the princely sum of $4.60. I quite fancy spreading all the patterns and buttons out on the floor and rolling around in them.



We're back to town on Friday the 14th. There will be tales and stories aplenty then.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why 'Chubbie' is not a frou frou word

Because having your mother buy you this would give you something to get hung up about, wouldn't it?

Frou frou takes the country by storm

Remy and I are heading to my parents' farm - or 'lifestyle block' as they insist on calling the smaller farm they've retired to - tomorrow for ten days rest and relaxation.

It's a pretty impromptu visit. I only decided to go this morning and booked the tickets at lunchtime.

My parents have the slowest internet connection in the world (I wish this was an exaggeration), so there might be a little less posting and a little more cussing. There will still be plenty of sewing though - I'm taking it all with me.

My parents have chooks. I'm looking forward to wandering out the door to collect the still-warm eggs in the morning. Ahh, now that's living.

Monday, December 3, 2007


When I was growing up we only had a telly very occasionally. I remember the first time we got one - I was about 6 or 7 and when my dad finally tuned it in, Dr Who was on.

That telly met a rather gruesome end. My brother and I fought over what to watch with alarming regularity and one day, after having had it up to here, my dad cut the plug off. My mother swears that we didn't really worry about not having a telly after a few days of withdrawal. I have vague memories of wondering what kids were talking about at times in school but I can't remember being particularly bothered.

I think the next time we had a TV was when I was about 11. Dad tuned it in time for us to watch a telethon.

The town we lived in was tiny - about 300 people - so we also didn't have a movie theatre. My parents were, and still are, technology shy, so we didn't even have a VCR. Radio reception was so patchy that it only paid to listen at night and then we could only listen to crackly American stations.

Needless to say, growing up in such isolation, now I have gaps in my cultural lexicon but I think that's all I missed out on.

As an adult, I have a love/hate relationship with television. I very rarely watch anything over 30 minutes without doing something else at the same time. What I do watch tends to be utter, utter crap.

Just recently, I've considered being more disciplined with my telly watching, like only turning it on when there is something I would really like to watch (here's looking at you Flight of the Conchords). And now the decision has been taken out of my hands; our telly is broken.

Learning the jargon of frou frou

So, it turns out that my dress below has an official sewing term - it's a SWAP. Sewing with A Plan.

Sewing has a surprising amount of jargon. Not as much as policy, I'll grant you, but plenty to be getting on with.

Frou frou sobers up

Crikey, there is nothing like vintage patterns to make a girl regret everything she's eaten in the last five years.

I've measured myself for the frocks I'd like to make over Christmas (my prize for getting all this work done) and the smallest size I fit, according to a fifty-something year old pattern, is, ahem, 18. Where oh where were all the good kiwi gals like I know with hips, bums and boobs back then?

Ah, who cares 'cos the frocks are going to rock.

I've chosen this one to start:

Pretty sure this should do to mince around the house doing the cleaning. That's what happened in the 50s, right?

It takes 4 metres of fabric (eek!) and I'm thinking about doing the skirt with two layers. I've found a divine Marc Jacobs cotton - white pattern on a white background - and I'm thinking I might try and find a duck egg blue to go underneath...

Just looking at the scant instructions convinces me that this is going to be quite a challenge - and I'm totally up for it! Just 14 days, one dress, one suit and a few blerdy hoodies until I can start.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Horsing around frou frou


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Frilly frou frou for the silly season


I've had this little dress sitting in my sewing room waiting to be finished for, um, forever, and I finally finished it! It's the perfect size for an average six month old and is made with plain pink material from my mum's stash (thanks mum!) and cream with pink spots from Donna Karen New York. Coincidentally, the pink spotty material is the same as Trelise Cooper used in kids' jackets this season.

This dress has helped me realise the limitations of my (beginner) sewing machine. The buttonhole feature is completely ghastly and, as a result, I dread and avoid doing buttonholes. Pretty silly state of affairs considering I've been making tonnes of hoodies lately and almost all of them have needed buttonholes.

Anywho, I've got some reasonably-sized commissions on the go so I'm thinking of upgrading my machine. Just the thought is making me giddy...
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Friday, November 30, 2007

Frou frou saves Christmas

Mass production is blergh. Buy handmade for Christmas.

Frou frou takes it easy

Remy has had contrary day. I think the poor guy might be teething. So we just hung out together on the couch, watching Deadwood. But, wait! Don't call Child, Youth and Family on me! He hears far worse language at home... No! What I mean is that he was asleep during it. Yes, asleep.

So, it was a slow sewing day today. But it was a day with many, many cuddles, frequent cups of tea and even a little nana nap. Very soothing to the soul.

Anyway, I've cut out the next five hoodies for Craft2.0. Now they are sitting in my sewing room, daring me to sew them... I'll get onto it tomorrow. I also have about five half-finished hoodies that all have one of two things that need to be done but I just haven't been able to muster the enthusiasm. True to form I'll probably wait until the very last minute to finish them.

I guess I'm on track for Craft2.0. I still haven't got my labels sorted and I have to figure out what prices to charge. I hate this part of the business - I don't have the confidence yet to boldly charge what the item actual cost me to make - but I have to remind myself that this is not for charity! There are also other constraints, like what others are charging for similar stuff, and sometimes it all gets too hard to think about. Blimey, business is complicated.

Remy and I are off to Nelson to visit his great grandparents the day after Craft2.0 - can't wait! Nana is cleaning out her fabric stash at the moment, and we have similar taste when it comes to fabric, so I might get lucky. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Frou frou-licious


So my plan to make the biscuits smaller so I would eat less worked out. Oh yeah, it was big success.
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Manly frou frou

One of the very special men in my life just might get this shirt made for them for Christmas. Any thoughts on the type of material I should use?
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A frou frou day ends with tea and bickies.

Wellington put on another stunning early summer day today so Remy and I got out and about to make the most of it.

On the way into town, I found my first ever book crossing books. I've been desperate to find some of these - I love the idea of releasing books from bookshelves into the open where a new family can enjoy them. And both books look crime related and I can't pass up the odd good and satisfying murder or two. But only in books. Otherwise I firmly believe that murder is very naughty.

I had a splurge in my least favourite fabric shop today. Yeah, I know, why spend money there if I hate them but they do have one thing in their favour - fabric I can't get anywhere else. The easiest way to describe why they annoy me is to list why my favourite ever fabric shop, Global Fabric on Garrett Street, totally ROCKS:
- they always generously measure the fabric;
- they warn me how much the fabric will shrink by when I wash it (especially helpful when I'm buying little bits which I often do because kids are also little bits);
- they have 10 trip cards;
- they give me decent sized samples when I need them;
- they price the fabrics well - no greedy mark-up in this shop;
- their remnants are very well priced and usually a decent size.

So there, least favourite fabric shop - start doing some of these things and I might change my mind about you. But thanks for the fabric today anyway.

Darling Remy is now fast asleep in bed. He got a new toy today and was enthralled with it. I had a hard time convincing him that it was ok to leave it in the lounge so he can get up and play with it tomorrow. I guess we've still got to tackle object constancy.

Remy went to sleep at about 7, so I finally made the chocolate chip biscuits I'd been planning to make forever. Tonight, in a rare and brave show of restraint, I made the biscuits about half the size I usually would to (hopefully) encourage me to eat fewer of them, and therefore make them last longer. So far, it just means that I have a Texan-sized serving of biscuits begging me to eat them.

Pearly frou frou


I think I've solved the button/back delima for V's dress - an absolute mass of pearls.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Urban frou frou

Another finished hoodie for Craft2.0! Wohoo!

This hoodie fits a newborn to three month old. I think it's for a boy but I suppose it's probably unisex. I'm not going to attempt anything similar anytime soon - the bias around the arms and outside was a total pain, and the inner material was, um, kinda yuck to sew. I like the overall look of the hoodie, and especially the inner, but it wasn't worth it time wise. Live and learn!


And now I'm going back into my sewing cave...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frockish frou frou

I've been working solidly to get little V's dress to the point where we can have a fitting. It's in two parts for the fitting - there would be tears if I had tackled attaching the skirt just to have to undo it all again to make it fit!

I really love the colour combination and I think it works with the 50s silloutte buuuuuuuuut there seems to be a little something missing. I haven't quite put my finger on what it is yet.

I think it has to do with the sash. My first thought was to go with the pink silk - the colour is beautifully vibrant, has a lovely texture and drape, plus the pink matches the pink stripe perfectly - but I'm tempted to experiment with other options too. I'm considering this silver/pink ribbon but, eh, it's not grabbing me.

V's mum asked for the dress to have sleeves. I've made a frilly capped sleeve - they should be nice and airy in the hot summer sun, and I think they fit with the overall feel of the dress. I had to hand hem the edges - it took me forever but the result made the work well worth it.

I don't like to use traditional interfacing techniques. I think those little bits of material look cheap and I'm not convinced they work very well. Instead I make double of the piece that will have interfacing and use that as the interfacing. Hrrmmm, not explained very well I'm afraid... Anyway, I use this bigger interfacing to cover all the seams too so the finished item is satisfyingly tidy.

On this dress, I've also doubled the closing so that the two pieces overlap instead of just meeting. I think I'll add two rows of pearl buttons down the back.

I figure that the guests will probably spend a lot of time looking at the kids' backs during the ceremony so I want to add something interesting for them to look at.

For once I'm getting out of my sewing room for an afternoon - I'm having sushi with the lovely Dr Phil Wise. Hopefully we'll be able to eat outside to make the most of this stunning weather!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Frou frou goes to the seaside


Wohoo! I've finished the first Craft2.0 jacket. Only 99 messes waiting to be finished left in my sewing room...

Anywho, back to celebrating this one. I like the way this jacket says "hulllllllllo beachy goodness". The inner also reminds me of hammocks. Mmmmmm, hammocks.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Frou frou gets busy

I've had a super day. The sun is streaming into the house and I've got so much done. I'm feeling much, much calmer about meeting all my deadlines. Sweet Jesus, I've just realised that this business is starting to become work. Eh, who cares on a day like today and I know I'll be grateful in winter when I can stay in my jim-jams all day and laugh at people going into the office.

I've cut out a dress this morning that I just can't wait to get started on but this frock (and a suit) have their very own story so they will have their own post soon.

As well as the hoodies I'm making for Craft2.0, I have a number of commissions on the go. I luuuuuurve the commissions. I think the two parts I like best are, first, sitting down and chatting about what the customer is looking for, and then delivering the item and seeing the amazed look on their face. So far, touch wood, those amazed faces have been happy faces and not shocked, oh-dear-lord-what-a-monstrosity faces.

I'm making a hoodie for a lovely little girl we'll call M. The base material is a quilting cotton. I love the quality of quilting materials and they're often heavily patterned (totally my thing), so I'm always on the look out for them. I'm completely in love with this particular material so it was hard to make the first cut...but I got over it!

I've been asked by two other friends for hoodies for boys. Even though I have a little boy myself, I still find it hard to choose materials for boys. I think it's because I'm accustomed to shopping for material for myself so I gravitate towards the girlie fabrics. Having said that, I enjoy making clothes for boys because I know how hard it is to find great clothes for boys.

Actually, that's how this all started. I searched for edgey boys clothes for Remy and kept ending up with blue clothes with tractors, cars, and other assorted machinery on them. Bits and pieces like that are ok (for pajamas that is) but not for an entire wardrobe. I started making clothes for him and now here I am, making clothes for other babies and not him!

Speaking of Remy, I'm going to indulge myself and post a photo of him here.

Oh, I just love that little face!