Category Archives: Simple/Frugal Living

Make My Week #50 – My Birthday Suit!

I’m counting this as my December dress even though technically I made it before December.

This is what I wore to my birthday. I invited some of the gorgeous women in my life over. What better way to celebrate a birthday than to celebrate the women that make my life such a pleasure. I made high tea, of sorts, and we all sat and word bombed each other.

I made this pattern from a vintage pattern – one from the early sixties and there are no pattern markings on the tissue. So you need to read the instructions to know these 3 holes mean on the fold or this marking means grainline etc. The original didn’t have the puffy over skirt but I felt the fabric called for it.

I made the under garment in calico and the over part is a net curtain I picked up at a church fair for $3. I love the wee raised daisies and the subtle lemony colour. 2 people stopped me in the supermarket to comment on it so I consider that a success!!

I wore it with my self-made necklace, self-made earrings, thrifted beads and shoes from Melbourne. One of the mums from schools aid to me ‘you look very dressed up’ and I aid yeah but I bet my whole outfit is much cheaper than yours. Dress – pattern free, calico $15, net $3. Shoes $20. Necklace about $20 because I did it in a class, earrings – free, beads – 50c Total Outfit= $58.50 (I’m thriftier than Gok!)

Did you enter my giveaway? I keep adding wee things to it. :o)

So this year I challenged myself to make a new piece of clothing each month – here is a breakdown of the clothes I have made this year.

There were a couple of months I seemed to forget but other months I did a few extra so currently it stands at 16 makes and I do have at least 2 more I hope to make in the next 2 weeks!!

I’d love to know your favourite.

I’ve so enjoyed making something a piece of clothing each month – it’s got me thinking about challenges for next year! (and how much I pose with my hands on my hips!!)

Joining in with our creative spaces.

B.M.W.B #36 – Mum’s Shop

I get the Simple Savings emails once a month and quite some time ago someone had written in how they run a shop for their children every now and again instead of them going to the dairy and being over-charged for stuff.

I loved the idea – for me it’s about teaching financial skills as well. In a dairy the owner (and me!) just want them to pick something and get out. Many moons ago I worked in a dairy after school and I used to love the kids who came in with their 30c and picked out their lollies one by one asking ‘do I have anything left?‘ after each selection.

Over the last couple of months I have bought extra bits and pieces at the supermarket and other places and kept a record of the prices so I can charge the right amount (hate rounding with 10s though such a shame we have no 5c pieces any more).

On Friday after kindy Bounce and I set up the shop. Then after school – no homework hoorah! – we had 2 other families over (if you are going to go the effort…) and the kids all brought their money and came to ‘Mum’s Shop’. I borrowed a cash register (play one) from kindy and had all my change ready to go.

It was really interesting how the kids shopped – highlights for me were:

The youngest shopper who bought a ball and a mini-chocolate bar for his $1 and then asked me for some more money

My Bounce (3) who bought one thing, sat quietly eating it and then came back to the shop again, ate, returned until he was finished (he had money left at the end and he was done with shopping).

Flip (6) added all his purchases up in his head and bought everything at once. All the others just picked something and trusted me to do the maths and give them change

Another shopper said, with great delight, ‘you keep giving me money back so I never run out’ (he did eventually!)

We’re hoping to do Mum’s shop about every 4-6 weeks. The boys loved it so much. After the shop had shut they all played. Just before home time Flip decided to hand out spare packets of chips from the shop for free (bless his generous heart) and they all received a ‘taking things without paying is stealing’ lesson. (While the parents quietly laughed). Here’s what the stock looked like at the end and I have money to re-stock:

I really, really enjoyed the afternoon and it was really interesting to me which things went first (balls, glo sticks, chup-a-chups and 50c mixtures) and which didn’t have much interest shown surprisingly I sold more packets of raisins than I did mini-chocolate bars!

Do your children get pocket money? Would you do this?

 This year I am making more of a conscious effort to have quality moments with my boys. B.M.W.B (becoming the mama I want to be)  is my way of recording and hopefully inspiring other mama’s too. Please inspire me with the little moments you are snatching with your little people OR with ideas I could do with mine. If you have blogged about it please leave a comment so we can all visit and encourage each other. 

Simple. Achievable. Intentional: becoming the mama I want to be.

Make My Week #20 – Birthday Season

It seems birthday party season is upon us and I have such difficulty with the whole present thing.

I love presents and I love giving them but I also struggle with the amount some people spend on children’s birthday party gifts and when your child gets invited to several birthdays during the year how much can you end up spending. Or do you just buy cheap ‘landfill’ knowing it won’t last much longer than the party???

On the other hand I don’t want my child to be the kid who brings stink presents to birthdays ….. catch 22??

So mainly I try to make the gifts my boys take but it’s not easy – especially for boys. This year it is 6-year-old birthdays and I have decided that personalised cushions are going to be the order of the day. Flip choose the colours and helped with the design so he felt proud and happy taking it with him.

This is the latest for a birthday last weekend and you’ll be seeing more over the next month judging by the invites coming in!

How do you feel about buying gifts for multiple other children during the year, what is your ‘go to’ gift and what is your price guide??

Other creative spaces here
I share my creative space on Village Voices

Wardrobe Wednesday #13, Make My Week #13 and Mad Men Challenge #2

Here I am again with a triple post! This is my second offering as part of adorable Julia’s Mad Men Challenge (click the button on the side for more info).

This is my version of the ‘wiggle dress’ which seems to feature prominently in the series and also heavily inspired by the Joan ‘va-va -voom’ Holloway character – who has a seriously womanly figure.

When I made this dress I added quite a lot in the bust department (about 2 sizes worth) but when I finished it my ‘cup was running over’, if you know what I mean!! So I added in the pleated section along the neckline in the reverse of the fabric.

To stop it being too dated looking I added the exposed zip on the back and used more modern jewellery.

The fabric is the same old curtain I used for the top of my other mad men dress. I do love this colour. I also added in the blue velvet ribbon as a little bit of detail and ……I did a blind hem (my mother will be so proud).

Teamed up with:

Earrings – Budapest on our 5th wedding anniversary, Necklace – Trade Aid, Rings – D/K c/o- my sis, Greek inscription ring I designed and The Atlas got made for our 2nd anniversary, Shoes – TKmaxx in the UK.

Pop over and see what other people are wearing at Nin’s the theme for March is Homemade!

Also linking in on Thursday with other Creative Spaces

Make My Week #12 – Patchwork

Last year I learnt the ‘stack and slash’ method of quilting.

I have finally applied it again! This top was made entirely from vintage sheets in my stash and is backed with super soft 100% brushed cotton.

I also hand quilted some of the pieces so the layers stayed together.

I love the softness of all the blues side by side. This has been made as a raffle piece for a very special cause you’ll be hearing more about at the beginning of April.

Check out other Creative Spaces here.

Wardrobe Wednesday #11, Make My Week #11 and Mad Men Challenge #1

Okay so hopefully you’re still with me after such a massive title!

This is my March clothing make and it is also my first post (I am going to do 2) for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge – button on the right.

Our Wardrobe Wednesday theme for the month is Heavenly Homemade and I am the guest judge. Today Nin has published her interview with me so hurry on over and have a perv ah, peek into my wardrobe.

This dress cost – $2 I think for the zip, $2.99 for the thread and also, confession time $1 for the sheet I bought in Dunedin!!! I am supposed to be on a fabric embargo for the first 6 months of this year …but … it was so lovely and $1. You forgive me right? So, total cost about $6. The top part is an old curtain of my Mother In Laws and the lining is from my stash.

I am wearing it with my homemade full circle petticoat – also made entirely from stash.

Shoes – I can’t remember if I bought these at TKMaxx in the UK or No.1 Shoes in NZ – they were cheap.

Jewelry all gifted.

So it isn’t a direct copy of a Mad Men dress but it is supposed to capture the vibe and essence of the dresses they wore. I love the colours. It is made from a modified New Look pattern. The neckline isn’t probably that authentic but I did try to style it as authentically as I could.

Julia will be posting all about the dresses with some links on April 1st. But head over before then anyway if you like gorgeous, vibrant and talented show and tell of handmade clothes.

Other Wardrobe Wednesday ladies AND my interview here.

Fantastic, talented Creations here from Thursday.

Phew – take a breath. I hope you breathed while you read. I forgot to breathe while I typed and I’m a little light-headed now!!

Make My Week #8 Kimono, Op-Shop, Nighty Dress

This dress is made from fabric I picked up at an op-shop last year.

It’s rather kimono like in its texture and I used a retro nighty pattern as the base.

It’s not a great fit but it will be nice for faffing about in during summer (and what can you expect from a nighty pattern!). Obviously the pattern didn’t include the frill and extra bits at the top. It’s also my clothing make for February.

Other creative spaces here.

The Great Outdoors

This week I am joining in with Paisley Jade and other grateful people.

Even though I did a big holiday post this week I want to stop and be grateful for New Zealand.

The ease with which we can explore the outdoors (even though I’m an inside kind of girl!)

Especially I was so blown away by The Otago Rail Trail



And do-able, if only a little stretch, by Flip an awesome thing to do.

And Moeraki those boulders are incredible and the beach beautiful.

And just the classic countryside of New Zealand

it is so easy to see why they could film Lord of the Rings and the Narnia movies here

We are SO blessed

and we need to be grateful and responsible for this piece of paradise we are stewards of.

Make My Week #4 – Lounge Chair Re-Cover

Okay without sounding too vain I think this might be the awesome-est thing I have made. It could even be the awesomest lounge chair ever… that’s how much I love it.

I re-covered this year in 2010 (my first year of blogging) and although  I liked it at the time it never really worked. Here is the results first time.

Here it is in progress.

Last year I was inspired by some über expensive patch-work couches I saw in magazines and a friend even pulled one out to give me when she saw one. It was meant to be.

I tried really hard to get a smooth tight finish and use fabrics that had a bit of weight (one of my mistakes from last time).

I LOVE this chair. And it’s all stash apart from the faux-suede/leather back part.

Total cost about $6 for the floral suede/leather/pleather plus some money for staples, glue gun and thread.

Other cool creative types doing inspiring things over here. Wait til a bit later in the day when the new link is up and there are some things to see. My post always goes up a bit earlier than the link.

A Sort-Of Giveaway


I’ve been going through my sewing room.

And I have rather a stack of crafty books and mags to pay forward.

Instead of chucking them all on trade me I thought I’d see if any took your fancy.

So… it works like this:

If you want it just make a comment (first in best dressed!) saying which one/ones – or all – that you want.

All I ask is that you pay for the postage or collect them if you are a Chch reader (or have a friend here!). That’s why it’s only sort-of a giveaway.

I’ll leave it open for a week and after that I’ll put the leftovers on trade me as a bulk lot.

Hopefully you can see all the titles in the pics. There are rather a stack of Golden Hands mags which you might want as a ‘set’.

Don’t be shy, say you want them all if you want to. And because you are my readers and I love you I’ll answer questions too. Some classics for the retro lovers in here.

If you do ask a question I’ll answer it below rather than emailing so just check back here.

** Fairly obvious, but I do want these to go to a home where they are wanted so please only ask if you do want them for you or you know someone who will be thrilled to have them**(not because you want to sell them)