Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Handmade 2013

I'm teaching at Handmade again this year and am so excited! I really love doing it because it gives me an excuse to go to Wellington, hang out with crafty friends and do some work at the same time. If you've never been, I'd advise you to have a look at the programme (it went live this afternoon), get some early bird tickets and get your flights and accommodation sorted early. 

It happens over Queen's Birthday weekend (1-2 June), which means you can go there on Saturday and Sunday, and still have Monday at home to practice all the things you've just learnt. 

I'm teaching three workshops this year: Vintage Embroidery Zip Pouch, Hoop Wall Art - Make a Modern Embroidery Sampler and Sew a Stylish Neck Warmer.  To find them in the programme, you'll need to go through the categories.  The zip pouch and sampler workshops are under 'Heirloom' and the neck warmer workshop under 'Stitch'.

Here are the write-ups directly off the website. The buttons refer to skill level. Please email me if you have any questions about these classes.


Heleen Webb
heirloom Vintage Embroidery Zip Pouch
Learn how to make a gorgeous small zipper pouch using vintage embroidered linen like tablecloths and tray cloths. Heleen will share her tips about making the most of your embroidery. You will also learn how to insert a zip and box a bag.
Saturday 1 June, 9:00am – 11:00am
Sunday 2 June, 9:00am – 11:00am
Please bring with you:
2 x pieces of fabric for the outside, about 20cm square or bigger (with embroidery on)
2 x pieces of fabric for the lining, about 20cm square (cotton is best)
Standard dress zipper, 18cm (in a colour to match the outside fabric)
Sharp scissors
Sewing thread to match outside fabric

Teacher will have a limited range of fabric and zippers for sale ($10 per pack, payable in cash)


Heleen Webb
Heirloom Hoop Wall Art
A fun project for beginner stitchers! Learn how to do the basic embroidery stitches, plus a few more interesting ones. You will receive fabric to practice on and then do one framed hoop wall art project that includes embroidery and beading.
HANDMADE JUNIORS. Children seven years plus welcome to attend with an adult – see Ticket Information for more details.
Saturday 1 June, 1:45pm – 3:45pm
Sunday 2 June, 1:45pm – 3:45pm
A kit of all materials will be provided in the class for a cash fee of $30.00 including printed fabric, hoop, needle, DMC thread, beads and printed instructions to take home.
Please also bring with you:
A small pair of scissors


Heleen Webb
Stitch Sew A Stylish Neck Warmer
Sew a smart and cozy neck-warmer using a silk scarf, a piece of wool and a couple of buttons.
Saturday 1 June, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday 2 June, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Please bring with you:
A large silk or satin scarf or similar fabric, approximately 80cm x 20cm
A piece of wool, suiting, blanket, mohair scarf or similar, approximately 80cm x 20 cm
2 or 3 buttons to co-ordinate with your main fabric
A pair of sharp scissors
Sewing thread

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Giveaway! (Now closed)

Last week I wrote about the hot cross buns we had at the tea party, and now I would like to give you the chance to have some yourself! If you'd like a $10 voucher from Bakers Delight, just leave your details in the comments section and I'll get one to you.  This is only for New Zealanders, obviously :) I'll pass it on to the first few comments, so make sure I can reach you, otherwise I'll go down the list.

**This giveaway is now closed :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Something old, something new

Just before Christmas I got all excited about a new book called Embellish Me (by Laurie Wisbrun) that features some of my work. I've finally managed to get a copy from the library and here is the evidence:  

Proud moment!

And just yesterday the new Your Home and Garden came out, and look what's on p 67:

There's my little bird kit right in the middle of the page; what a lovely surprise! It's turning out to be a pretty good week for me :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time for tea

On Sunday I hosted a tea party.  It's become an annual institution; time to dust off the floral crockery, iron some embroidered tablecloths and polish the silver. Time for cups of tea and glasses of Pimms, pretty dresses and interesting conversation, a chance to enjoy the end of the summer weather in style. 

And did I mention the food? Mostly home-baked by my talented friends, some from Little and Friday and some from Bakers' Delight. This year I topped my toasted hot-cross buns with cream cheese and blueberries.  We had a few gluten-free treats on the table as well, including my coconut macaroons in the photo just below.  I made my own recipe and used 2 eggs, 2 cups coconut, 1 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup sugar, baked at 160 C for 15 min.  Nice and crispy and a great lunchbox filler for the kids too. 

[Many thanks to Bakers' Delight for supplying me with a couple of packs of their buns, half of which ended up at the tea party and the other became a delicious bread and butter pudding.]

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pineapple Beer

Although the nights are getting cooler, it's still very much summer around here. Hot, sticky days. Cheap  pineapples.  What to do, but make pineapple beer? 

I always thought pineapple beer is a fact of life around the world, but like the word 'robot' for traffic light (really!) and Mrs Ball's Chutney, it's a South African thing. I think there are different recipes for it, making some alcoholic and others non-. The stuff we used to drink as kids must have been in the latter category; or so I should hope! 

This recipe is alcoholic, as I found out by accident one morning, but that's another story... It's a bit like ginger beer, and very refreshing in a tall glass with some ice and mint. Here's the recipe I used: 

Alcoholic Pineapple Beer
1 whole pineapple, skin and all (washed and chopped into big chunks)
1/2c sultanas
5c sugar
2tsp dry yeast (that you use for bread-making)
7 litres warm water

Put everything into a bucket and stir until sugar is dissolved. It should start bubbling quite soon. Cover with a lid (not too tight-fitting), leave in a cool place and stir twice a day for 3 days. You should see some fizzing and it will start smelling very yeasty. I guess it would get stronger, the longer you leave it. After 3 days, strain the liquid through a clean cloth or tea towel and decant into bottles. Don't fill it up too much; leave a good 5cm of air in the top. Cover with tea towel and leave for 12h before you cap it.

Some notes about the bottles: I used glass bottles with swing tops and thought the gas might make it explode, so kept it in a bucket under the house.  One bottle did just that, so use corks if you have some, or empty soft drink bottles. I've just poured the second batch into plastic bottles, and released some pressure by slowly opening the top and closing it again when it starts to fizz.  Do this whenever you see the bottles swelling up. Don't worry, it won't go flat like lemonade. Remember to release the gas if you've taken your beer on a car journey too.  My advice is really not to keep it for too long; make it and then enjoy it cold :)

Let me know if you try this and have a great weekend!