Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sewing: The Delphine Skirt Again

Here she is again, the 'Delphine Skirt' by Tilly and the Buttons.  I love this skirt.  So easy, despite the zipper, and on my slightly smudgy shape, so flattering.  I also find that the size I make up from the pattern (and there are several to choose from), fits me really well.  I know I can happily make it up without having to do any tricky adjustments, and this particular pattern I can do one up in a day if I can dedicate that much time!

This version above was actually my first attempt, (the Delphine Skirt I showed in a previous post here, which I did in plain navy, was actually my second time around).  I saw this Apple print fabric in Spotlight and just had to have it.  The zip I put in here was my first attempt so it wasn't quite perfect, but I got it in and was pretty pleased with myself.  The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which I can't seem to find these anywhere, but I have been using normal zips now and just not following the patterns instructions when I put them in.  Instead I just got on to Google and worked it out from there.  Success!  Google you are often my saviour.

The Delphine Skirt is, of course, an A-line skirt, but it's not hanging so well here due to it being an exceptional windy day (so it's blowing a little lopsided) and you wouldn't know it from this photo, but it was freezing!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fabric Haul

So I have this little problem.  Along with a new 'sewing addiction', inevitably there comes the 'fabric addiction'.  Gahhh...there's just too many gorgeous fabrics out there.  A swathe of prints and colours and textures and...well the list goes on.  I now spend many an hour perusing different websites and imagining what I could make from all the lovely offerings available.  This bundle in the photo above arrived in the mail today, fabric I bought from the nicest online store around, Kelani Fabric, which quite fittingly, their by-line reads 'Fabric Obsession.'  Oh, so true. 

This stash was bought the other night, while sitting up in bed and chatting via email to the lovely Kiki who lives on the other side of the world from me.  I have ideas of what to do with all of it, every little scrap will go towards new garments for my little girl.  Yes, I know I need to start sewing things for my boys, just to make it fair, but somehow all these little dress patterns are just too cute to resist.  I will get around to it, I promise.
I also bought this pattern.  I am going to make this little pinafore, no doubt a dozen times over, because it is really simple, and will be great for summer (apparently we are in for a really hot!)  It's great because of it's simple style and that it calls for two different fabrics, the main fabric and a contrasting facing and front pocket, which will mean lots of lovely variations.  For my first attempt I have bought these two....
I will make the dress in the bird fabric and the stripes will be on the inside and on the front pocket.
There are a few patterns I have that I can do with these mushrooms, just haven't decided yet!
For some reason I seem to have an obsession with elephants at the moment (!) as I made a skirt for myself this week, which I shall give you a sneaky peek at very soon, but I am thinking a dress in this one.  I love the apples!
This is another cotton/linen blend and I did buy it to make this little dress again, you know, the one with the sailor collar and the ballerina fabric that I did the other week, but that could very well change.

Anyway, I have enough here to keep me busy for a couple of weeks!  Any of these you prefer?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sewing: The Delphine Skirt

So my sewing adventures continue, and this simple little skirt is called the 'Delphine' skirt and is by Tilly and the Buttons.  I've been using her awesome book, "Love at First Stitch" and finding it wonderful.  Really loving this book because of the step by step instructions, and the way that each project you do, as you progress through the book, gradually builds on your skills.  I love it when I find a particular person whose instructions I can follow!! I'm finding Tilly's perfect...even for my fuzzed out brain! 

The Delphine Skirt is a simple A-line skirt and this was actually the second I have made in this pattern.  This does have a zip in the back, which this time around I managed just fine (the first was a little dodgy!) but since I was not using an invisible zip as the pattern calls for, I had to look up how to put in a zip on trusty old Google, and then fiddle around with the method myself to make sure that the facing didn't cover up the zipper when I turned it all back around the correct way after sewing it in place.  Sound confusing?!?  Yes, it was a bit at this end too, but I was so pleased that I figured it all out and that it came up so well.  Triumph!! 

I made the skirt in this plain navy drill fabric specifically because I bought this gorgeous blouse.  It's from Modcloth and I just adore the polka dots....which is weird because I never used to like spots and now my wardrobe is full of all this dotty goodness.

I have, since making this second Delphine Skirt, gone on to make a third, which I whizzed up yesterday...but I will save that for another day to show you!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sewing: A Dress For My Ballerina

My little girl is officially ballet MAD.  I mean it.  Really truly.  She's been dancing around the house for quite a while now, and when I say 'dancing' I don't just mean bopping up and down to the music.  I mean REALLY dancing.  She does this ballet arm move thing where she gracefully...and I really mean gracefully...raises her arms overhead and then brings them in a swooping arc back to her sides.  There is obviously some ballet term for it...I have no idea what it is...but it is something ballerina's actually do.  She also lifts one leg, points her toe and does beautiful pirouettes.  She's two.  It's insane.

Her eldest brother, who is 12, started doing classical ballet at the start of this year.  His choice, this wasn't me pushing him into it.  Actually he suggested it last year and asked if he could do it.  He now dances at two different schools and is a natural.  I have no idea where that came from but I have secret aspirations for him to perform with The Australian Ballet.  Ok, so not so secret now, but wouldn't it be wonderful?!  So my daughter does do ballet, although it's called 'Fairy Ballet' and it's the cutest thing out and involves a bunch of teeny tiny little girls running about in fluffy tutus, throwing plastic flowers and waving 'magic' wands, all in time to the music.  Alright not really in time to the music but the thought is there.  However my daughter doesn't do the wand waving and flower frolicking so much, but rather, as soon as the music comes on, will proceed to do her 'ballet' moves in the centre of the room all by herself.  I think I can see years of sewing tutus, buying pointe shoes and watching ballet concerts in my future (!)

Anyway, I found this gorgeous ballerina fabric online at Kelani Fabric and just knew I had to buy it for her.  I didn't have a dress in mind but on receiving it I knew it would be perfect for this little dress with the sailor collar, a pattern from a great book I have called 'Sewing For Your Girls' by Yoshiko Tsukiori, which called for a linen fabric.  This was a cotton/linen blend so I thought...perfect!
I started sewing this one while I was away up north, and because I was sitting in the cottage in fairly poor light, I did in fact make a bit of a boo boo.  Ok, when I say boo boo I mean I stuffed the facing at the neckline as well as the bias binding....sort of putting it all on back to front....which I sort of thought didn't seem right when I did it, but the half light (or half dark shall we say) made it very difficult for me to see, and of course I wasn't wearing my that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!  Anyway, once I got back home I was able to see the instructions a lot better and I rectified my mistake and it all turned out in the end! 
It has a little pocket as well as buttons down the front....which I was totally chuffed about because this was my first ever attempt at button holes and all my freaking out prior wasn't really called for because they worked out and weren't nearly as difficult as I thought they would be.  Hurrah!!
These photos are taken in my parent's garden on the weekend.  They had a big family catch up, which was lovely, and my daughter was totally spoilt by her older cousins who completely fuss over her which is gorgeous.  Note that the little bit of white peeping out of her dress is actually her singlet and not part of the actual dress.  It's a little big on her, which is a good thing really after all the effort put into making it, so hopefully it fits her for a decent amount of time.
And here's a shot of that sailor collar from the back.  I still have quite a lot of this fabric left so stay tuned for another creation for my ballet crazy little girl!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How to Not Blog for Profit

Say what?!?  Did you say how NOT to blog for profit??  Aren't there are million and one articles and blog posts out there that tell you HOW to blog for profit?  Why on earth would I want to not blog for profit when everyone else is doing it (seemingly) and there are actually people out there who (supposedly) make six figure incomes.  Why wouldn't I?  Why wouldn't you??
I guess only you can answer that for yourself, and maybe you do really want to make some money off your blog, I mean you pour enough hours into it.  Although maybe you don't, who knows.  It's totally up to you.  But here's my thoughts on the matter, and why I decided to stop trying and actually start enjoying my blog.
About a year ago (and I really can't believe it actually was about a year ago) I decided to give this blogging thing a real go and try and make some income from it.  I'm a writer by trade, I write for a magazine, but it's a quarterly mag, so I don't earn a huge amount per year.  I thought that maybe, since I enjoy blogging anyway, why not try and take it up a notch and make some extra money to help out the family income.  So I did a great stack of research, read all the blog posts on how to gain followers, bought the books on 'How to Blog for Profit' and worked on it really hard.  And I mean REALLY hard.  At one point, for quite a while, I was pumping out a blog post per day and literally putting a whole days worth of work into it EVERY day.  It was exhausting.  And it was annoying...because obviously you have to work like crazy like this for ages...and ages...and ages...before you see any financial reward....and so it felt like I was working like a slave for nothing.  Ok, well not completely nothing...I mean I was starting to get some rewards, such as free tickets to a couple of major professional musical shows in the city, and I was invited to a few blogger 'dos', but I hadn't seen a single cent.  Not one.  I still haven't seen a single cent.

I also wasn't blogging about something I was completely passionate about either.  I changed my blog so it covered a subject that might become more appealing to attract brands.  My initial thought was beauty...but since I'm not really interested in makeup...I gave that idea the I figured why not do a bit of a fashion/lifestyle blog. say the least because fashion probably wasn't my strong point either since all I wore was jeans, a checked shirt and my cowgirl boots.
Now I'm not in my 20s, I'm not tall and skinny, and I'm not super good doing outfit posts seemed a bit....well....random....but I figured if I made the written part humorous, (and poked a generous amount of fun at myself)...I might be able to get by.  It was with much trepidation that I started to do these, but eventually I got used to the ridiculousness of posing in front of a camera (set on a timer) in the middle of a paddock (by myself) and changing clothes in the middle of the road (thankfully I live in the also in the middle of nowhere).  Anyway, it sort of worked and I was getting some nice photos, (only due to the nice scenery really) but it was NOT gaining me any more followers really....and despite spending oodles of time commenting on other blogs (as "they" say you should do to divert traffic to your own blog)....all I was doing was spending an incredible amount of time in front of a computer, and doing something that my husband thought was a waste of time.  
Now I was initially pretty hurt by his feelings because I'd spent hours and hours (and I mean probably about 500 exaggeration) going through the process of finding locations, taking photos, editing photos, writing outfit posts.....etc....and in the end it obviously was just embarrassing someone very near and dear to me.  In all honesty I had never actually explained to him what I was trying to do, which was try and make some extra income for us, so no doubt he would have seen my reasoning behind the craziness....but in the end I just gave up....and deleted the lot.  No shit.  And I don't swear here, normally, but you can no doubt appreciate the swear-ability of this moment.  I deleted probably 60 posts.  Now if you are a blogger, which I am assuming you probably are, then you can appreciate the amount of work I just sent into the cyber trash can.  It left me feeling a bit stunned, deflated certainly, and weirdly I actually sunk into a kind of semi-depression. 
Anyway, I stepped back from the blog for a while, which a few of you noticed (those dearest blogger friends whom I adore but have never had the pleasure of meeting face to face)...but eventually I actually felt like I wanted to blog.  And not for anyone else, or to try and fit into a 'market', but just for myself.  This was also the time I wrote this post here about 'Stepping back in time' and trying to slow down the pace of my life, as well as attempting to live a more simple life.  Suddenly blogging became really pleasurable.  Somewhere to spend a little 'me' time.  I had decided to change the way I was living, basically based on how I hate the way my life is flashing before my eyes so quickly, but I was also starting to hate how technology is making us so 'disconnected' even though we feel we are more connected than ever, but also how it invades our lives so much.....and makes my children go nuts (scream about the iPad anyone???!)  Suddenly I now wanted to document this unwinding of time in my life and simply share these changes and discoveries. 

Recently taking up sewing, and finding I absolutely adore it, I have now found that this space has almost turned into a sewing blog, although perhaps 'lifestyle' is a better tag for it because I hardly feel I have the skills nor talent to go about giving out sewing advice just yet (!)  But the main thing is it has now become MY space where I do what I want and in all honesty....I don't care about trying to make money, trying to gain followers or any of that stuff.  This switch in thinking has been so liberating and weirdly.......I've actually gained a few extra followers without trying....which hasn't been my intention at all.  I guess that has pointed out that if you stay true to yourself then readers will recognise the sincerity in your blog and will keep on reading, rather than just seeing that your blog is just there to try and make money, which is kind of cold and calculated and I'm not sure that was the whole point behind blogging when the concept initially started.  It certainly is nice to know that people appreciate what you write and want to keep reading what you write, so I'm grateful for each and every person that stops by, and if someone extra comes on board it is lovely...but I'm certainly not out to build up my numbers for some sort of reward.  That is a bonus and a blessing.

So to answer the question, how do you NOT blog for profit?  Simply this.  Just enjoy yourself.  Write for yourself.  Write about what you want to write about.  Do it in your own time.  Slow down, grab a cup of tea and read the blogs you love for pleasure and enjoy what they have to say.  Comment only when you feel the urge too and want to show another blogger you appreciate and enjoyed their post, not because you want to gain more traffic to your own.  Never compare yourself to other blogs and forget about the statistics.  Importantly, find a reason YOU enjoy blogging and stick to it.  I love writing and I enjoy making my blog page look pretty, I know it sounds daft but it's as simple as that. Maybe it's a computerised version of scrapbooking!?!  I used to love doing projects at school, writing up the report and then doing the fancy headings and illustrations.  To me this is what my blog is, another school project, or in other words, an outlet for my creativity, wherever that may lead.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sewing: Skirt for Spring

I mentioned in my previous post that I was away and during my 'time off' there was a whole lot of sewing going on.  This wrap skirt was just one skirt I have made recently and was a great easy project.  I found a fantastic book at my local bookstore called "Love at First Stitch" by Tilly Walnes, who also has the blog site Tilly and the Buttons.  Her book is about demystifying dressmaking for beginners and I have found it very useful.  I am currently working my way through the book, having made the pyjama bottoms and two of the 'Delphine' skirts (which I will show you soon). 

This skirt above is her 'Miette' wrap skirt and you can buy the pattern here as well as the book on her blog site too.  I love this book and the easy to follow instructions, as well as the way you work your way through it, doing all the projects, and gradually learn new skills, which you continue to apply as you go.  The patterns are also really sweet and completely match up with the style of clothes I really want to wear.  Perfect!

Here is a close up of the fabric which I thought was lovely for spring!
The skirt did require a whooping three metres of fabric, so you might want to shop around for something on special, but I really liked this despite the $16 a metre price tag, so made sure I was careful not to fluff it!  It's a great skirt to make for a first timer because there are no zips, buttons or other tricky bits, and you could go on to make a whole pile of them in an assortment of colours and patterns!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back to Earth

It doesn't get more simplistic than this now, does it.  A mamma pig with her babies!  If you've noticed my absence of late (or even if you haven't!), I've been away for the last ten days, staying at my in-laws farm 'up north'.  My husband goes away up there shearing every now and then, and he went away...what seems like ages ago now...but he was gone a week before I took the kids up there to join him, and we stayed ten days, but now we are home again although hubby is still away with a few more days of shearing left.

We do live a very simplistic life while we are there, which is wonderful, and I always get the chance to unwind a little.  This time, instead of dragging up my computer to blog or write articles, I took up my sewing machine and made a little tunic (for my daughter), two skirts for myself and started making the sweetest little dress with a sailor collar (also for my daughter!)  I will share these projects with you at some point I promise.

Before you ask the photo above really did happen!  This is Mamma (the pig) and she belongs to my sister in-law.  She has had a few litters of piglets and while we were there she popped out this lovely collection!  She had 15 in total (whoa!), although several of them died...some unfortunately got laid on by Mamma (which sows often do...hence the 'sow stalls' in piggeries that the Animal Activists are so against).....and as my sister in-law discovered (which I also had a sneaky suspicion), the sow doesn't have enough milk so a few were lost through dehydration.  When I left yesterday for our five hour journey home......heaven help me with three little sister in-law was busy bottle feeding the sweetest pink piggy in the lounge room!  I really hope it makes it, along with all the others.
This is one of my boys with one of the piglets.  They are officially the cutest baby animal.  I swear.
This is my other son with 'Ryan'....the gosling.  Get it!  My sister in-law had to explain it to me.  I know, I'm not thingy about celebrities, and although Ryan Gosling does "look like he's been photo-shopped" he actually looks a lot like my brother and I just can't form a celebrity crush on him.  Because he looks like my brother.  It's just a bit 'weird'.
Here are my kids watching my husband doing what he does a lot of.  Shear shear shearity shear..... (note my daughter's double crown)  Shearing away behind him is his brother, which is testimony that maybe the craziness of the desire to shear may indeed run in the family.  Back breaking hurts just to watch them.
And just so you can get an idea of the landscape, this was part of the road home!  This is a very long stretch of road near where my in-laws farm is, where I might's very difficult to stick to the speed limit.  You tend to find yourself travelling along at astronomical speeds before you know it and when you drop back down to 100 kilometres an hour it feels like you're going at a snails pace. 

Thankfully we made it home safely, after only TWO traffic jams....arrgghhh...getting stuck for an hour because some grey nomad had rolled their caravan........