Hearts on Vivian St, Wellington


New toy

We’re loving the step-mother who goes to school fairs with the H-bomb in mind. Look what she came back with this time:

I’m still trying to figure out why some one gave this up. I know I won’t be. And by ‘I’, I mean Harriet. Cos serious minded mummies like myself do not spend hours rolling over the letters to see what’s on the other side.

My favourite is the X-ray.


I’m making a bookmark for my Dad. I was given a present wrapped in this awesome Arts and Crafts squirrel pattern which I’ve traced onto some linen. Now I’m just happily backstitching my way around it.

How to sew soft soled leather boots for a baby…

… or something like that. Let me just say first off, I’m not a great seamstress. In fact, I’m pretty awful. BUT sewing with leather actually seemed really easy. Who would have thought?

First of all, you need a pattern. I didn’t have one, so I made it up. Also a lot easier than anyone knew, anyone being me.
I drew around Harriet’s foot (and on it), then added a seam allowance. I realised later that I was waaay too generous with it, as leather doesn’t fray and doesn’t need to be edged the way cotton would. That shape is the bottom of the shoe. The upper has the same shape at the toe, then flares into little wings. This could be as long as you want. It is rounded at the top where it meets the ankle. The ankle part is trickier. Basically I made a tube that was round enough to attach to the heel seam, go across the top of the foot and overlap slightly at the back for velcro-ing, then I cut the decorative top and the bridge of the upper into it. Also you need four little tabs for the tops of the boots. Here are my pattern shapes:

Before attaching the main pieces together, you need to do any decoration you intended. I was going to have some decorative stitching, but I forgot. I did, though, sew the tabs to the peaks of each ankle, and do two lines of stitching at the top in case the leather stretches.
The next part is where you sew the ankle to the upper. This is hard because you can’t pin it together. I sewed really slowly, piecing and turning the parts as I went. You need to get the curves to align so that the shoe has some shape. It will look lumpy when flat, but hold it up and it’ll look much better:

The next thing I did, but I think that this maybe isn’t necessary if you don’t like the look, was to elasticise the ankle, as Harriet kicks her shoes off all the time.
I sewed a felt casing on the inside of the ankle by sewing down one long side:

then securing some elastic at one end:

then sewing dwon the other long side, carefully avoiding the elastic hidden inside. It should look a bit like this:
Pull the elastic as tight as you think it needs to be, then secure and cut off the remainder.

Now you need to sew the top parts to the base. Tricky because my sewing machine moves quite fast, ,and again, no pinning. I tacked the pieces together in places:

then sewed the upper to the base:

Then all you need to to is turn it inside out, attach the velcro (cutting off the sharp edges):

and voila… a boot. Maybe a little more Peter Pan than Buffalo Bill, but still, a boot!


Finished Harriet’s cardigan in Rowan wool. I only have to sew it up now. Spent the last half of the knitting in a state of panic that I didn’t have enough wool and was desperately formulating plans about how to compensate. By the time, I had a reasonable idea of how to fix it, I’d finished, with a tiny nub-let of wool leftover, just enough to sew up the seams.

The leather skirt spent several days in baking soda and scrunched newspaper, but wasn’t making progress fast enough for me. (Favourite line from …ahem… Buffy… “I was being patient, but it took too long.”) Out it came and I carefully lathered it with Dove moisturising soap without getting it too wet, as recommended on Wikihow. Impatience kicked in again, and long story short, it is now drip drying on the towel rail and my house smells like wet smokey dogs. However, I did make and cut a pattern for the boots on Saturday. Details to come, once the leather’s dried…

Arrival of the Tripp Trapp

Just after we told everyone that I was pregnant, my mum and I had a conversation that went something like…
‘Mum, there’s something I want to ask you.’
‘What do you mean, no?’
‘I know what you’re going to ask, and no, you can’t have the Tripp Trapp. I’ll need it for when Harriet comes to stay.’
This might sound mean-spirited of my mum, but it really isn’t. It just shows the monumental significance my family puts on these chairs. Mum’s three sisters each have two in their houses, my step-mother has another. Mum vividly remembers the day her Tripp Trapp arrived… she was so excited and eager to see it, she let me cry while she assembled it.

My Tripp Trapp arrived yesterday, complete with its baby rail and a free cushion set. I put it up while my Dad held the baby, who grizzled. The grizzling stopped pretty fast.

We ate breakfast together this morning, or rather I ate breakfast, Harriet ate her plate.

And now I have to try to reconcile Swedish modern into my P.G. Wodehouse chic apartment.