Category Archives: Sophie

Summer Days

While most of us have been taking it easy, Sophie hasn’t. She spends some of her days working at the same Berry Shop where Jono once did. The work is fun but the pay is peanuts and she’s liable to get her shifts cut if it rains. She often gets frustrated, after giving up a day with friends or family, to find she is not needed at all.

So she also has another job with a nationally recognized company where she wears a bright orange uniform and smiles at people all day. This job is also fun, she loves the people she works with and best of all, she earns more than her 17 year old brother who works for the same company. She also has an air-conditioned staffroom, her very own locker and proper, timetabled breaks. Instead of having her shifts cut, she is occasionally asked to cover for someone who needs time off. It’s a real job where she is made to feel useful, competent and a valuable part of the team

It also makes her very tired and she spends the rest of her holidays doing this:

20130121-084524.jpg But its all worth it because, with only 2 weeks of work, volleyball nationals in Palmerston North in March is already paid for. And how satisfying, to know that you’ve done it all yourself.


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And Saturday and Sunday. Spent at one of the local stadiums cheering on Sophie’s volleyball team.

No. 1 because it’s the smallest shirt size and brand new, bright orange shoes. Smallest in the team by a mile but definitely no way you’d miss her.

Volleyball. Warm and dry. Indoor sport. Coffee on tap. What’s not to love.

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Little Smiles.

One of the constants in our fairly grim days is a local coffee shop that still stands firm. The first thing you must do when a big aftershock hits is to save your drink – especially if it’s a nice wine or a good coffee. THEN you decide whether or not you need to get under the table. It’s kinda funny to watch a cafe full of people reading the morning papers or the latest gossip mags casually reach for their cup and lift it off the table without even taking their eyes off the page. The walls wobble and the roof shakes but no one bats an eyelid… until the drink starts to slosh. Our local coffee shop also has tried and tested wide solid tables that the whole family can fit under. You understand what an important cafe attribute this is in 2012 Christchurch.


More importantly though is the fact that, even though you’re 14 and a serious scholar and a top sportswoman, the local coffee shop will still make you a smiley face hot chocolate with a marshmallow nose. Mainly because you dish out hugs to anyone cool enough to know that you still love it this way.


Filed under Christchurch, Earthquake, Sophie

Inside Out Sewing.

One of the things we were most taken by on our shopping trip last week was a wrap dress by Annah Stretton. There was a lot of distraction of shop assistants while Sophie took sneaky photos on her iPod. Then she got home and found all the pictures she could possibly want on Annah Stretton’s website! We laughed. It seems like a lovely way to showcase all those little bits of leftover fabric you have lying around after sewing something special. I spent ages playing around with these two patterns:

I even got an old sheet down and made a toile. It came as a huge surprise to me when, after a bit of fiddling, it actually fitted. Like perfectly. I can’t remember that ever happening before. I usually go with close enough but this was the proverbial glove. Then came the fun of choosing fabrics. The lounge floor was a mess and nothing was safe from the Radiant Golden Age shears, not even Dad’s smooth striped business shirts. I made the wrap dress slowly, one side at a time, carefully weighing and measuring, draping and discarding. It was one of those projects where nothing went wrong. That hardly ever happens to me either. And at the end of day two I had not one new dress but six! The dress is totally reversible, can wrap right over left AND left over right as well as be worn back to front. It’s simply magic. Here are three of my favourite combinations.

A drapey rayon print and a bit of very light denim over a soft striped business shirt.

The blue side of the dress worn back to front. I made this from the vintage damask I found last week. I used one side of the fabric for the bodice and the other side for the skirt. I think I love this most of all.

And this is one of the pink options. A Japanese floral print, a pretty skirt made for a person skinnier than me that has been waiting for the right re-fashion and a remnant of pale pink linen. Everything for this dress was lying around the house (actually neatly folded in old suitcases!) and the only thing I bought was the satin ribbon for the ties.  Sophie loves this idea too so I miniaturised the Style pattern, made a toile and let her loose in the suitcases. This is her half-finished wrap dress:

I love the red and blue combination she came up with. This wrap is a couple of stripey tee shirts, a floral polyester dress and a dotty remnant she found at the Sallies on Monday. The plan for the lining is just one fabric, a plain light denim. It’s so cute, just perfect for her! I love to look at Annah’s combinations online, especially all the frills and ruffly net she adds and after making my own take on this dress, I can see why it’s worth the asking price. Her dresses would be too fancy for me to wear to school but my one is going to be perfect.


Filed under Sewing, Sophie, Summer, Thrifting

Sophie’s Story.

Sophie loves to run and has done since her first school cross country at the age of 5. She has represented Canterbury at primary level for the last four years and she was really looking forward to her first secondary competition this year. The running track at QE2 stadium was destroyed in the most recent earthquake which led to the cancellation of the Canterbury Secondary Athletic Champs. As a consequence, choosing competitors for the South Island Champs became a real headache for selectors. Athletes were asked to submit their best times and teams were chosen from there.

A week before South Islands, Sophie found out that she had not qualified for the 3000m, her favourite event. She was mystified. She pleaded her case with the school sports co-ordinator who decided to investigate further. When the list of qualifiers arrived at school, Sophie assured the sports co-ordinator that she could definitely hold her own amongst all of the names on the list and she begged to be allowed to compete. She didn’t find out until the day before she travelled to Timaru that she had been accepted into the starting line up.

Race day dawned beautifully warm and clear and Sophie, totally fired up and with a point to prove, took the lead very early in the race and never relinquished it. She lapped some competitors and eventually won by half the length of the straight. Later she told me that many of the girls had been ‘creative’ with their qualifying times. Some were almost two minutes slower in the final than the qualifying times they had posted.

So, South Island title, a happy ending and a most satisfying conclusion to an interrupted summer of athletics. Fresh Dunheath custard squares not a bad reward either.


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She reminds me that life is meant to be an adventure and every day can bring a new opportunity.

She was determined to learn to surf today and spent hours down at the beach.

The sun is setting and she still won’t come in.


Filed under Earthquake, Family, Sophie

Lucky Days.

I haven’t been thrifting for ages, my heart just wasn’t in it. However, yesterday Sophie dragged me to SaveMart on a quest for the perfect pair of jeans. We had already trawled most of the malls in town plus the outlets stores trying to find a pair that fit her. She’s such a petite being and she’s  fed up with having to buy clothes from Pumpkin Patch. At 13 years old, she really deserves something more college than kindy. She’s about to start high school for heavens sake.

I got side-tracked by someone’s vintage fabric stash. Including this amazing piece printed with postage stamps.

And lots of vintage linen including this lovely aqua blue and a pink and white candy-striped affair. Almost 4 metres of each.

Oh oh and my personal favourite – a green fabric with red, white and blue printed ric rac and red, white and blue flowers. If I was 6 years old again I would covet a pinafore made out of this to go with my red Mary Janes and navy blue tights. Like dream about it when I should have been learning fractions or something.

I failed to notice Sophie standing right there beside me, flicking through the fabrics too, sporting the perfect pair of perfect fitting perfect length jeans. Just Jeans. Eight dollars. What a winner. I wonder if she’d like a pinafore to go with them?


Filed under Sophie, Thrifting