Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

Feeling very patriotic today! had a great picnic with my best friend down by the beach, watched the Bute Ute parade as I drove home from work (yay!)

I took a picture of some fungus. Corinna said Why? I said Because it's cool ;)

I hope all my fellow Australians had a great day, and I look forward to many more years of celebration!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Sunflower Diaries ... So Precious when Born!

Here we are on a cloudy Sunday afternoon. Today is day four, and when I had a peek at my planter I was pleasantly surprised! Happily two of the seedlings are coming through just fine, and the other I can see is just about to push its way through!

Very exciting for me :D ... the last time I was so excited about growing anything was when I was young and grew me some radishes! (Did I eat them-- no. Was I excited anyway?? Heck YES!)

So w00t and Yay Me! haha... Due to some heavy rains in our area, I wasn't sure if they'd feel they'd be ready to show themselves. So lets see what the next few days bring?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blog Spotlight: Grograin!

One of my favourite inspiration blogs is Grograin. If you love beautiful makeovers of clothing, you will love this site. Best of all, she shows you step-by-step how she does it! I became aware of Kathleen's blog though WWEPW (What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?) ((<- fabulous site by the way!)), during Embellish Your Knit Month, with her re-make of the a Kate Spade cardigan. I think the one on Grograin is much more fabulous though!

Currently, it is Shoe Sugar Month; and it's as sweet as it sounds! So many ideas and of course tutorials that will have you lusting after just about everything she makes. I haven't looked back through all of her archives yet, because the quality of her output is high and there is always new content to look at.

At the moment, she is having a giveaway of a Sizzx Machine. Never heard of one? Neither had I, until I've seen some of the amazing things she has made with one. And so now I really would love one! Check out the link below, or better yet-- Don't! haha You might lower my chances by 0.000001% ;) Seriously though, if you love crafting and sewing blogs... Add Grograin to your "stalk" list!

Here are a few images to my favourite creations of hers. Have fun discovering your own!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sunflower Diaries

Today I had a pretty rough day at work. Stressed to the max! So when I got home all I felt like was sleeping, but my man had other ideas. So, off we went to buy some plants for the front garden. Long story short, my sweetheart brought me some sunflower seeds and a planter. And thus, a new feature was born!

I've always loved sunflowers and for whatever reason have never gotten around to trying to grow some. The variety I chose is Dwarf Sunsation:

It might not look like much yet.. But I'm going to be pretty excited in 10-12 days!

And the ever-vigilant Neko the neko* will be keeping watch to ensure no harms comes to the planter!

Under the direction of Mr Fothergills I cannot fail!

As I take this exciting step, I'll hope you'll follow along! If you have any gardening tips I'd love to hear them. IF my gardening actually happens, I hope that this will be just one of my gardening adventures... I have my eye on strawberry seedlings ;)

*neko = Japanese for Cat

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heartcatch PrettyCure for Supanova!

The time is coming up fast for Supanova 2011:

What is Supanova you ask? It is a Pop-Culture convention that I have previously mentioned on my blog. Actually... *scratches head* Have I? Possibly not on this blog though... Anyway! It's a fantastic opportunity to get dressed up in your favourite costume and have a lot of fun. For me, it's also the unfortunate matter of last minute madness, sewing right up to the night before, or early hours of that day.
I don't know that this year will again be anything different... I am a classic procrastinator. But here is the costume I am going to attempt to make:

Check out these two ladies:

Absolutely adorable, right? Out of all my costume research, they are my absolute favourites! I am planning on doing the pink costume, Cure Blossom. One of the most exciting parts about doing a new costume is the research. I also love seeing how others have interpreted the design.

So where am I at with my progress? So far I have the boots:

I had them made in Bali when my mother went over recently. There is a lovely man Ali located at the Bali Dynasty who has always come through for me with my cosplay boots, gloves and even belts! Then there is the clothing... So easy to get carried away! I 100% recommend them, if you ever want their details.. Let me know! The slight variation to what I was hoping for is that the flower has been sewn directly to the boot, instead of the petals being free. Nonetheless, they are still insanely adorable, yes?!

Now I just need to work on sourcing other aspects of the costume! I already have my eye on a wig from this seller (click the image to see the auction):

So slowly I am getting there... however I need to get my motivation hat on, and get to making a toile of the costume! Tic tic tok! I have until the End of March.

Wish me luck! Or better yet... loan me your motivation... Thanks! hehe

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Flood of Memories

You may have heard of the devastating floods that have happened, and are still happening in Queensland. There are many stories about, many ones that make you cry; but also some happy ones amongst the sadness. What is fantastic though is the rallying of the community, and indeed all of Australia. Some 75% of the state of Queensland have been devastated by the floods. For me, my heart goes out to all those effected by the terrible turn of events.

It brings back for me many memories of when my hometown was flooded. I have never taken the moment to write these memories down. I would like to share with you, my story.


Back on Australia Day, Jan 26th 1998; the town I lived in was 3/4 flooded. Tropical cyclone Les caused a depression which made it rain for days on end. It culminated in the worst flooding our town has ever known. The Katherine River, a part of the iconic Katherine Gorge; broke its banks.

An excerpt from Wikipedia:

The Katherine River runs through the north of the town. The river has a history of flooding the town, with documented accounts in 1957, 1974, 1998 (on Australia Day), and 5–7 April 2006.

The 1998 flood devastated the town, and the area was declared a national disaster. The flood resulted from the 300–400 mm of rainwater brought by Cyclone Les that caused the already full Katherine River to rise an additional 21.3 metres. The floodwaters inundated the town and much of the surrounding region, requiring the evacuation of many residents.

(above photo credits to NT News)

I was thirteen, a few months off being 14. I was supposed to start year 9 that week, but it was put off by a short while as you can imagine. We lived for about a week or two in the high school gymnasium (our town only had one!), and then we were able to go back into our home. There was a lot of talk about Katherine going under, but also a lot of complacency. Not many believed it would truly happen. Many times as a youngster when I'd ride my bike to school, I'd see the rising waters swirl dangerously close to the top of the riverbank. Yet, the water never rose beyond the banks although always coming close. I remember hearing talk of the possibility, and it excited me. In my mind, I would be swimming down main street in crystal clear water, in a submerged fantasy. When the flood did happen, there was nothing romantic or at all magical about it.

There had been about a metre of water that came through our home, whilst other houses were completely submerged. The lucky ones were high and dry in Katherine East. The mess that was left behind was horrid. I remember that my family allowed me to stay at my best friend's house for a short while, which was great. Meanwhile the cleaning went on. The day we were being warned of the flooding, I remember putting things up higher. Most of my 'junk' went onto my bed, I thought that would be enough. I lost so many things, but I really can't remember loosing anything that really made me sad. The only exception is that we lost so many photos, and today it is something that I still morn the loss of. So many memories lost... But we do still have a few, some we salvaged and some that made it out dry.
One of the incredulous things I remember is that my dad stayed behind whilst my mother, sister and I went to the higher ground. We worried and fretted about him, and I don't know truly why he did stay behind. But what makes me laugh to this day is the memory that he was playing Tetris on the Nintendo Game Boy whilst the water was swirling about him. I can only imagine the image of the water creeping higher whilst Dad kept himself distracted! The good thing about him staying behind was that he put some more things higher, which helped reduce our losses. He finally allowed himself to be rescued on a boat that took him and the last of my neighbours to safety.

Sadly, 3 lives lost were recorded as a result of the flood. I remember in the time that followed doing our grocery shopping at Woolworths, that had been moved temporarily to the adjacent YMCA. The skating rink was turned into the store, which portable coolrooms keeping the perishables fresh.

(Photo credit to Our Territory)

The response and generosity from the rest of Australia was amazing. I have fond memories of visiting the hall where there were mountains upon mountains of clothing, books and other nick-nacks that had been donated from all over the country. There was the (I'm pretty sure) Alice Springs Girl Guides that sent to our Guide hall thoughtful gift packs they had put together. It was exciting opening the parcels and seeing the sweet and thought-given gifts that were inside. The idea that so many strangers were moved by our experience, and did all they could to help was something that I'll never forget.
With the current tragedy in QLD, I look forward to being able to help in my way, and be able to give back even what small ways I can. It's important to know that even the smallest act of charity can make a huge impression on those in need. We were grateful to the generosity was given to us in hour time of need, and now there is the opportunity to pay it forward.

Thank-you for taking the time to read. I'd be interested to hear anyone else's stories of the time if you have any that you'd like to share?

Insightful further reading is available here, at Our Territory.

For more information on the current QLD floods, visit the website.

Crafting With the Stars

I've decided to enter into Sew Dang Cute's Crafting with the Stars! I would love the opportunity to work with anyone of the talented ladies who are mentoring. How great would that be? Check it out here!:

I submitted my jewellery refashion of my post prior. Wish me luck! :)

Necklace to Earrings Tutorial

Recently in the 'Great Post-Christmas Sales' I purchased a cute necklace from Lovisa. At $5 from $20... felt like a great deal! The only problem was as cute as it was, it wasn't very wearable. Whilst being worn the chains would get quite messy and I don't think it did the cute birds justice. So I decided to give it a re-fashion!

You will need:
Necklace for repurposing
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters
Earring hooks

Jump rings (I used ones on existing findings)

Firstly, start off by using the wire clippers to remove the chain from the existing jump-rings of the necklace pendants. I also removed the gold and blue beads to save for another project, another day. I dislike the chain so that was discarded. This is what you will be left with: the pendants. Chose the same colour of metal for the earring hooks, this will help it to look more like a shop purchase and less DIY.

With the needle nose pliers, gently open the end of the earring hook by bending it slightly on an angle. It is a little fiddly, but you will need it to attach the pendant's slip ring to the hook. Sorry for the blurring, my camera was trying it's best!

This is what it will look like once the pendant's slip ring is in place.

Once the pendants are in place, again you will need the needle nosed pliers. Gently close the open end of the earring hook back into its original position. Much easier than it sounds. Repeat previous steps for the other earring. I wanted to ensure that the birds will be facing each other, so I used the needle nosed pliers to gently rotate the end holding the bird into such a position that the pretty design would be facing anyone looking at me, and facing the other birdie!

Finally, you have your statement earrings! The whole project took only about 5 minutes! I love the asymmetrical look that the statement earring gives. Hmmm... I'd also love it if they were the same each side, but that's less of a statement for sure!

Here is one of the finished earrings. Please excuse the gimpy look on my face. I don't much like it either :P I may possibly make this one shorter. We'll see! Now I just need a somewhat glam event to wear them to....
If you need any further information on the tools used in this tutorial, please don't hesitate to ask. I will look at doing a post that contains the terminology a bit better also.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Would you like to eat some Penn and Teller?

Snippet of our conversation as we were making dinner...

Him: Do you like Penn and Teller?
Me: Yeah, I guess it's okay.
Him: You don't like Penn and Teller?
Me: Yeah, it's okay but I prefer just to eat bread and butter.
Him: What? No silly, they're Magicians!
Me: Oh, I wondered why you were suddenly asking if I like Nuttela!

Obviously I was hungry?

The other day, whilst I was looking at an article about Oprah Winfrey in Australia...

Me: ...*clicking and reading an article*
Him: Is that Ernie Dingo?
Me:.... Bwahahaha

... To be fair... Yes. I could see the resemblance!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shirred Dress Tutorial

I'm pretty excited to put up my first tutorial! I wanted to make something to share that is very easy to make, as well as being irreisitably cute.
The design of the garment is pretty much for young girls, however by altering the length of material used, it is very easy to make one for yourself even!

Please don't be put off by the idea of shirring, as it is much easier than it looks and even more so, rewarding! Being my first tutorial, I'm hoping that I took enough pictures. However, if you are not certain about a particular instruction, let me know!

Okay, here goes....

You will need:
1 metre of Fabric
Cotton Thread
Elastic Thread

Start off with your length of fabric. This tutorial uses 1 metre of fabric. If you vary the length of the fabric you can make a larger or smaller size. I used my cutting board and ruler to determine the length of the finished dress. Don't forget to factor in a seam allowance! My dress is 47.5cms, or 19ins, and the seam allowance is 3cms (1.5 cm at the top and the bottom).

Press your seam allowance in the fabric by folding up 1.5cms and pressing along the length, and then a further 1.5cms again, to enclose the raw edge of the fabric.

When choosing the colour of the thread that you use, a really neat trick to match the shade is to unravel a small section of thread and hold it up against the fabric. It helps you to see a lot easier too see if it will 'disappear' into the fabric!

Sew down the hem at the top and bottom of your fabric. Sew as close as possible to the turned under edge to ensure the hem will lie as flat as possible. When sewing, use a medium-length stitch. You don't need it too long for the hems, I set my machine to a stitch length of 3.

For the next part, I don't have a picture detailing, but for your shirring, you will need to change your bobbin from regular thread, to elastic thread. It is most useful to use multiple bobbins, so you don't need to mess around with winding/unwinding one! To thread your elastic thread onto the bobbin, you will need to do it by hand. Don't cause the elastic to stretch out as you wind, but rather keep it without tension. Place your bobbin into your machine as you usually would, and set your stitch length to it's longest (mine was at 4).
Starting at the top left of the fabric length, don't forget to sew a few backstitches before you sew down the entire length. This will ensure that your elastic will not come loose. Use markings on your sewing machine foot to help guide you with keeping the distance between each row of stitches consistent. Here, I've used the line where the plastic and the metal parts meet. When you get to the end of the row, again don't forget to backstitch to secure the elastic!!

This is what you will start to see after you've done your first row.

Continue doing rows for the bodice of the dress. On my completed garment, I completed 10 rows of shirring which I decided that was enough. You can do more or even less if you choose too. As I progressed with my shirring rows, I used the distance between the needle and the right of the foot to keep my rows a consisent distance apart. However, don't fret if you aren't completely straight! It won't be so noticeable in the completed garment (phew!).

As you sew, stretch out the fabric with your hands as you go -- don't just allow it to stay gathered up. This will make for a much neater final appearance. An important thing to remember is that you are not forcing the fabric through, but rather guiding it.

Once you've completed your rows of stitching, it is time to switch back to your regular threaded bobbin (you're finished with the elastic now!) and sew up your back seam. Pin the right sides of the fabric together, and sew with the medium stitch length you used when doing the hems. I have used a wider seam allowance here, to ensure that my ends of the elastic are secured within the seam. You can adjust yours accordingly to ensure the same is true for yourself.

Press your seam allowance open, and finish in your way of choosing. You can leave the edges raw if the fabric will allow; otherwise I would recommend doing a French seam, or using an overlocker.

Next up is the straps! You can omit the following steps if you choose to make a strapless garment. Cut your fabric into strips 5cms wide, the length is up to you as to how long you wish them to be. I like the cute appearance of straps that are adjustable and tie into bows. To achieve this, I made 4 straps each 15cms in length.

This image shows how you will need to press your fabric. First press a 0.5cm seam allowance at either end of the fabric length. Go to your sewing machine and secure with the medium stitch. It is not necessary to back stitch at this step as the edges will be enclosed within the straps.

Then, fold the two outer lengths in to meet at the middle of the strap, and press. If you are finding it tricky to meet equally in the middle, first fold the fabric in half and press-- that way you have a crease in the middle of the fabric.
Fold the two halves onto one another so that now all raw edges are enclosed. Using your medium stitch length, sew close to the edge to secure the straps.

Pin your four straps evenly onto your bodice. Secure them well with your stitches. I chose to put the first seam going over the first row of stitching, and then closer to to top of the dress- remembering to do the back stitching.

To finish, turn your dress in the right way and blast the shirring with steam from your iron. This will cause the fabric to shrink in nicely.

And you're done! Other ways you can jazz up your creation is to put large buttons where the straps sit at the front and back. You can play around with your design to put that 'made by ME' touch to it. Then dress up your favourite girl! Great little outfit for the warmer weather, and the dress grows with them! It can be a top for a young girl, and again if you use a longer length of fabric, even do one for yourself! I know I will.... Yay :D

I really hope you enjoyed the tutorial, please tell me if you find anything confusing or if you have any questions at all! I've had fun putting the tutorial together, and I'd love to see anything you might make with it!


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