Snaking through summer with Wiksten

 

 

20200208_191819

Ok, despite the evidence to the contrary it really is summer here. Yes, my legs are capable of inducing snow blindness (“milk bottles” my friends charming Dad used to call them) but with a UV rating hitting 12 today, which indicates a burn time of approx. 12 minutes, pink is about the best I’m ever likely to manage. I’ll be moaning when it cools down of course… #neverhappy

Anyway, it’s hot, so a lovely cool rayon dress is just the ticket. Even better,  I’ve discovered a new form of animal print, snake! While it would be some peoples worst nightmare (including a dear friend who cant even watch the slithery reptiles on TV with cringing), I’m quite taken with this print.  Spotlight has really upped their game with prints, plus I picked this up on sale, yay.

20200208_192052

The pattern is the tunic version of the Wiksten top I made recently. After looking at the finished measurements & reading a few reviews the dress version has more ease than the top. I debated sizing down, but decided a loose fit would really work with this light fabric, so I cut another straight size 20.

20200208_183409
I really like the back of this dress

Unlike the top, the Wiksten dress has a yoke & gathering on the back, this is ideal for me as my butt sticks out, so anything longer than hip length needs that bit of extra fabric to avoid cling.

Now, the one part of this fab pattern that did give me pause for thought? Pockets.

20200208_192205
No hair clips here , move along…

Despite the fact I don’t often put anything other than hands in my pockets, I like to have them. Actually I do have a history carrying hair clips. This led to an expensive plumbing bill when I forgot to take them out of my pants , buggering up the washing machine. From memory there was a very grumpy husband involved…

20200207_173001
Embrace the flop!

I wasn’t sure how such a soft fabric would work in pocket form. So you’d think I would have the sense to at least interface the pieces yes? Well, no actually. This led to much “pocket flop” angst. I asked the considered opinions of the folks on Instagram (my most favorite social media platform, I don’t care what anyone says) and the general consensus was either attach a button or go with it. When I attempted adding a button the weight was too much for the fabric, so instead, I’m embracing the flop. Not often you hear that eh…?

20200208_182953

This is a great summer dress, loose but not TOO loose, it’s really comfortable to wear, either to the supermarket with sneakers, or thrown over a pair of togs at the beach. If I went to the beach, which to be honest I don’t often do. The sand, the heat, the midges…sometimes I wonder if I’m actually a proper Kiwi. I don’t even like jandals?!

Then I remember how ridiculously proud I’ve been when travelling if literally anything NZ comes up . I’m sure it isn’t unique to New Zealanders, but that thing when you’re from a smaller nation & something pops up that makes you think of home. When Mr PK & I went to live in the UK literally the first thing we did after getting off the plane at Heathrow was get to our hotel, dump the bags & jump on the Tube (the Tube, I was so excited!) to Wembley stadium for Wales v the All Blacks . Actually is that not peak New Zealand, getting off a plane in a new country & going straight to a rugby game…?

Image may contain: 2 people, including Kristina Douglas, people smiling
Me in the DHL corporate box , right on the half way line at Eden Park, watching the opening ceremony of the 2011 Rugby World Cup with Tana Umaga. Yep, I’d peaked!

 

Anyway,  the national anthems played & I managed about two lines of God of Nations before getting all chocked up. This was 1997 so singing the anthems first in Te Reo & then English was quite new. I went to Manurewa East primary school in South Auckland and we always sung the national anthem that way, so despite my limited knowledge of the Maori language I could actually sing this.

To be honest my emotional response was great for anyone sitting around me, I might know the words but even my cats sound better, howling at the dog next door.

What makes you think of home when you are travelling?

 

20200206_181319

In other news, it’s the summer of tomatoes! This is an heirloom variety called Black Krim Very delicious but be warned, the plants grow large. This one took over the garden.

20200113_194039

Perfect for this super simple tart. Take a square of puff pastry & cut 2-3 cm strips off another square , the length of your sides. Place one on each side of your large square to form a border. I used a little bit of water brushed underneath to make the pieces stick.

Spread over some pesto, then thinly sliced courgette (zucchini) and tomato. Season well, then dot over little chunks of goat cheese & a grating of Parmesan . Bake at 200 C for approx 15 mins until the pastry is crisp & golden . Delicious with a green salad & a cheeky glass of white wine. I had intended to sprinkle on some pine nuts before baking but I forgot them.  Feta would also work well if you don’t like goat cheese.

Right , off to cook dinner , otherwise known as throw a slab of protein on the BBQ & compose a salad. Pour a glass of chilled Chard. Summer!

Kristina x

 

 

A dress shirt on holiday in Nantucket…

 

20191125_181017

 

My Father had the slightly unusual habit of naming some of his clothes. Especially if they came from far flung destinations. The purple shirt I sent back from the UK was forever his “Chelsea shirt” (I’m not actually sure where I brought it but he knew the footie team!) . The green number my sister picked up when she worked in Aussie was of course his “Sydney”, occasionally paired with the tartan cheese-cutter (NZ speak for a flat cap) sent all the way from Scotland . He may well have been drinking some of the same. Anyway, in the spirit of my dear Dad & his wonderful eccentricities I give you my Nantucket dress.

20191125_180943

 

Now despite having no actual connection to Nantucket , I think its a perfectly appropriate name. But first the details . If you are a regular reader (thanks!) , you will recognize this as the marvelous Merchant & Mills Dress shirt, which I have made several times before, here in paprika linen and here in navy blue linen. Can we see a theme?

Linen. My most favorite fabric. I know for a lot of people the wrinkles are a problem, but I love it in all it’s forms. Crisp Irish linen, lovely soft laundered linen, creases & all.  The simplicity of a white linen shirt . Ok I don’t actually wear white linen shirts (except when I’m in an Italian restaurant about to eat some drippy & loaded with tomato, when it’s weirdly inevitable) but I love the look.

So when I saw this glorious soft striped linen at Marthas I knew immediately it would be perfect for a summer garment. It wasn’t cheap, but because its curtain fabric, it is 2.7m wide. Yes, unlike this  garment, where I was accused of cutting up the curtains, in this case I really AM wearing the curtains. I’m fine with that thanks.

I had originally intended to make the Caroline PJ’s, but rather than looking like an extra from Prison Break (“pass me the mint sauce kids,  I’m on the lam!”) I figured a gorgeous shirt dress would be prefect.

20191125_180925
Me wishing I was on hols right now…

So why Nantucket? Mr PK & I spent a blissful few weeks in the USA a couple of years ago driving from Providence , Rhode Island to Boston, with stops in Newport & Hyannis along the way. We’d celebrated a friends 40th birthday in New York, then my sister traveled with us to Washington for a fabulous few days visiting museums, eating & drinking. She left us at Dulles, (after realizing she was actually flying out of Ronald Reagan airport , whoops) & we flew to Rhode Island. Like many I’ve always been fascinated by the Kennedy’s, Jackie O and the whole Camelot story. Hyannis was a must stop. I’d heard about Nantucket, it sounded a bit like visiting Waiheke Island here in Auckland, good food & wine, nice scenery , so we rocked up for the 10 am ferry on a gorgeous September Sunday.

20191125_180715

I like ferry’s. I’m not a sailor, I like my boats BIG, preferably so big I don’t really realize I’m on the water but ferry’s are usually not going too far, not going too fast, and they often have a cafe/bar. Nice. So very soon after the ferry left the dock & I saw an orderly queue forming I figured that must be the cafe, we could enjoy a coffee* & watch the sights. I was a tad slow, there were already 10-12 people ahead of me. I didn’t notice immediately but after about the fifth person ordered a Bloody Mary, I began to wonder. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no judgy judgy type when it comes to booze, I like my tipple (or ten) as much as the next girl. It just wouldn’t have ever occurred to me to order a cocktail on a 10 am ferry anywhere. Naturally my FOMO* kicked in, when I got to the front of the queue of course I forgot the coffee and ordered a Bloody Mary.

Well! How often in the average bar to you get asked what vodka you’d like in your cocktail? Because you do on fancy pants ferry’s down Nantucket way. Each cocktail was made from scratch, customized & delivered to your hot little hand pronto. I was MOST impressed. Of course when I got back to our seat Mr PK was most perplexed. Not just because there was no coffee forthcoming, but also because I don’t actually like Bloody Marys. But if I did, I’d get on that damn ferry every weekend!

20191125_180735
I know, those stripes…I tried ok!

Nantucket was glorious. In fact if someone had popped out from behind a hydrangea & yelled “cut” I would not have been surprised , it does feel almost like a movie set. The church was setting up for a wedding, flowers everywhere , but we were allowed to go in & wander around. The organist was finishing his practice & stopped to say hello, as soon as he heard our accent he asked if we were from New Zealand. He had traveled there as a student & had a lovely time. I brought the church fundraising cookbook (I LOVE them, and pick them up wherever we go, such interesting social history as much as anything) . Now I won’t lie, it sure isn’t diversity central, and to be honest I’m not sure I’d actually want to live there (as I’ve said about many wonderful spots we visited), but for a fun day looking at houses & a Ralph Lauren fantasy lifestyle I would never afford it was fascinating.

So in her honor, my lovely frock is the Nantucket, to be worn while riding a bike past ridiculously lovely houses (we did hire bikes & rode around the Island, wow!) , down to the water & to sip wine & eat seafood , oh yes.

Nantucket
Me riding around Nantucket!

I made the same adjustments to this one as my paprika version, I was worried the extra length could get me into night dress territory but I think it’s ok. Instead of a front pleat I gathered the fabric, I wasn’t sure how the stripe matching would work on the front bib with a pleat. As we can see it didn’t work anyway, stripe matching ISN’T my forte and lets just move along shall we? I thought it would bother me more, but the casual style of the fabric & the dress means I don’t think its a huge problem. If it is making your eye twitch just looking I apologize profusely.

20191125_180854
Tommy on his fav spot on the pizza oven…

I’m really looking forward to swanning around in my dress this summer, in my head I’m visiting a cute farmers market before picking up a bottle of something delicious & wandering home to throw together a simple yet exquisite lunch, which we eat in the garden over witty yet relevant conversation.

In reality I’ll be trawling the aisle at my local New World & sitting in a humid heap on my deck eating yet more bloody ham with a not very worthy book (and a glass of Rose) but hey, we can dream yes?

Have a marvelous week, and remember, if you cant be bothered ironing don’t. Own those creases!

Kristina x

P.S If you love linen as much as me & you have little people to buy for do check out this GLORIOUS site, Heidi has exquisite taste, and uses the most delicious fabrics, makes me wish I were a child !

* I don’t want to cause a diplomatic incident, and I think things have improved dramatically but I drank some pretty terrible coffee in America. Like, really bad, and I’m not even that picky?