Saturday, 2 August 2014

Amazing Auckland - Whatipu Regional Park

It's been a while since I've done a local tour for my internet friends! Last weekend we went out to Whatipu, a regional park on the northern side of the Manukau Harbour.

Be prepared - it's a long (though scenic) drive. It's about an hour from our house or central Auckland. The last 10km or so is unsealed. I do not recommend driving out here after a storm or when it's about to rain. The road is narrow, the surface will be slippery, and there might be trees down. Also, there is a ford you need to cross. So yeah, safety first!

Whatipu is a regional park, and no dogs are allowed as it's a scientific reserve. While it is remote, it is not hard to access. Aside from the unpaved road, there is a decent carpark with a (clean!) long-drop toilet. It is only about ten minutes walk from the carpark to the beach, along flat dunes. We didn't have to get our feet wet, but I imagine that depends on the tides and the weather.

There are plenty of sheltered and open spaces, so even when the wind is whistling off the Tasman this park would not be too bad. We were fortunate to be there on a clear and calm mid-winter day, and it was very pleasant.

There is no surf patrol here, and the west coast beaches are very treacherous. I would never recommend swimming at one, but if it was hot you could splash along the shallows.

My husband is a keen model flier, and took some amazing footage with a Go-Pro camera on a quadcopter. You can see his aerial perspective of Whatipu here on Vimeo, and more of his videos are on YouTube.

Eventually I'll do a more in-depth photo journey around my own suburb - but I can't hold a camera whilst walking my dog. It will have to wait until Chris can hold the lead while I wield the lens!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sporty stripes - Burda 6911

I threw together Burda 6911 in a couple of hours. It doesn't use much fabric, and is a casual but interesting design.

Nugget really wanted to play while I was modelling on the deck. Who can say no to that face??
The pieces are simple enough - two front sides, a back, and two sleeves. Thoughtfully, Burda even suggests using stripes for this. As you can see below, they form an interesting geometry around the bustline. I didn't bother stripe-matching. These particular stripes are very narrow, and the flimsy t-shirt material was far too hard to control when sewing it together. I don't think it matters much.

Sorry not sorry about the leggings and uggs. It's cold here.
I struggled IMMENSELY to understand how the twist front was meant to go together. I still don't understand it now - and this is not even the first twist-front top I've made. The only way I made it work was by pinning what I knew to be the shoulders to my dress form, and then tugging and twisting until it looked right. Then I pinned the left side underbust seam, and hustled back to my sewing machine.

The shoulder seams have a small piece of elastic zig-zagged in (for stability). Then I sewed in the sleeves flat and seamed them as one with the sides. I dislike setting-in t-shirt sleeves, and this way always seems simpler.

I like the different stripe directions. Also, I'm trying in vain to ignore Nugget.
Rather than rethreading my machine for a twin-needle finish, I just used the triple stretch stitch to hem the sleeves and bottom. Next time I might just attach a band for the bottom hem. It's a nice clean finish.

I ADORE this style, and could see myself making the other two variations on the pattern envelope. I'd forgotten how much I love Burda's wearability and modern design. I also find their sizing to be very consistent, and they have a pleasing amount of ease.

What do you think of Burda's patterns? Do you have any go-to pattern companies or retail stores, when it comes to practical basics?

Just what I needed, a new top to play tug-of-war in.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Re-engineering my clothes hanger

If you've seen my older blog posts, you will know two things: 1) I don’t mind looking a bit crap in photos (I prefer the term “natural”, hahaha), and 2) I'm not thin. These things still hold true! But number one now more so than number two.

Sports bra/bikini photos below the jump...

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Soma (not summer) swimsuit

I love swimming, and swimwear. Even at my biggest, I was in no way afraid of wearing a bikini or a nice one-piece. Never having sewed bathers before, I've been watching out for a pattern that suits my style.

When the Soma Swimsuit pattern was launched by Papercut, I was really excited. Papercut Patterns are a Kiwi company (the ONLY Kiwi pattern company?), and I like to buy local. I loved the bikini style with regular pants, and was confident that I could make any adjustments needed.

*NSFW pics below the jump*

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Captivating Canterbury, 2013

As well as neglecting sewing, I've neglected photography. Frankly, the only un-neglected things are my job, my Chris, and my Nugget.

Definitely not neglected.
I promised last year that I'd eventually share the photos I took in and around Christchurch. Chris took me there for the first time last September. It is a stunning area, which suffered great devastation in February 2011 due to a a strong, shallow earthquake.

So here are a selection of photos. In the 9 months since I visited, there have been more exciting developments in the city (more restaurants, bars, shops... people are returning!). Christchurch will once again rise - and one great way to assist that is by visiting and spending money in the region. These photos are nothing more than my personal collection of memories and interesting bits. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Beautiful Akaroa sunset

Some of the oldest surviving buildings in New Zealand remain in Akaroa

Old cemeteries tell us so much about history. This one also, sadly, tells us that headstones which had been upright for 100 years were no match for the earthquake.

This one was just for my dad. He freakin' loves lighthouses.

Lake Forsyth - the reason for our trip. Model aeroplane convention, natch.

Lyttleton Harbour. I have a huge print of this on my wall at home, and it makes me so happy.

Innovative use of shipping containers as a massive retaining wall at Sumner. Note the remnants of houses on the clifftop, and the less-than-smooth road.

Yet more shipping containers. This represents the enormous amount of effort, energy and engineering that goes into retaining façades of earthquake-damaged masonry buildings.

Eerie to see where this building's neighbour used to be.

I love the colour, the reuse of church bells, and the positivity this shows! This was near the shipping container mall (seriously, Christchurch has found a million awesome ways to use those big steel boxes).

Art is used to inspire, entertain, and remember what was.

It disturbed me that parts of the CBD were as yet untouched since the days following the big quake. Years later, and there is still so much to do.

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