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Mojo: How to lose it and get it back again

Maybe you’ve noticed the silence round these parts and maybe not but it’s been a frustrating couple of months. It started, as it often does with life getting in the way. The stress of job hunting – I’m all good with change but uncertainty does my head in – then trying to settle into a new routine of commuting in London. My small support network in England was turned on it’s head when Mum and Dad needed to return to New Zealand to care for my Poppa for a few months. Then, I had a project that didn’t quite work out the way I’d envisaged. Then the sinking feeling began that, though a good company, the position I was in was not the best fit. Cue grumpiness, a desire to wear only pyjamas and No-mojo walking on in and settling down for a couple of months. My natural instinct is to be an optimitst, but this was an uphill battle.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing this from time to time, so I thought I’d share some small things that I find help.

THE LIFESTYLE BITS

One of the key things when you’re feeling stressed and time-poor is to remember that it’s not so much about time management as it is about energy-management (I remember reading this comment somewhere – I think it was from Tilly – and I hope I’m not misquoting too horrendously).

Spring Clean – Go hard for 1 hour, it’s amazing how much you can achieve and the workout provides much needed endorphins. It’s always much easier to clear your head in a clean space.

Broccoli Frittata

Eat a real meal – It can be hard when you’re only cooking for yourself but even grabbing a pre-made bag of salad and an omelette gives you a bit of protein and some green veggies.

Pop a B-vitamin – Ladies (and particularly vegetarians like myself) are often low in Vitamin B which can lead to feeling like a sad clown.

Meditate – I’m one of those people who can’t turn their brain off voluntarily so I like to try and meditate for 15 minutes before I go to sleep at night. Just google “free guided meditation” for a range of audio tracks. This is my current fave.

Sleep – Even a single extra hour helps so at 10pm on week nights on goes the guided meditation. I make a deal with myself that if I’m still awake at the end of it I can watch a tv show but for the most part I don’t make it that far.

Music – Find a playlist you love and crank it loud (suggestions heartily welcomed). I love 8tracks.com for it’s random selections.

Make a change – I’ve found a position that’s a better fit and had a verbal job offer on Thursday.

Appreciate your surroundings – yesterday I was riding on the top story of a double-decker bus heading to Oxford Street whilst reading the Guardian newspaper. It was one of those moments where I remembered how lucky I was to be experiencing life in another country.

THE INSPIRATION BITS

Spend time with your (Bloggy) Friends – Catching up on everyone’s projects and tutorials is a great kickstart. It’s such a genuine and supportive community to participate in. I’m putting together a Blog Roll page right now so it’s a great excuse to catch up.

Take on a ChallengeMe-Made-May’12The Colette Palette Challenge, or if you’re not ready to part with the PJs then Karen’s Pyjama Party.

Window Shop – Like many sewers, I don’t really shop any more so taking time to browse through the High Street can provide inspiration. My British picks – Toast, Whistles, and Cos.

Cos/Toast/Whistles

Cos/Toast/Whistles by lazystitching

Try a Different Craft – much like a change of scenery, swapping sewing for a knitting or crochet project can get your motivation running again.

Shopping – Browsing the newest releases like Colette Pattern’s latest can get the creative juices flowing or even better, fabric shopping with friends.

Colette Patterns: Hazel Dress

What do you do when you’re in a funk?

Independent Pattern Designers: Victory Patterns

Something pretty for your Sunday.

I remember stumbling across the Colette Sewing Handbook on Amazon before Sarai had announced it on her blog, and the feeling of this is way too good to be real that came across me. This newly launched pattern line gave me that same exact feeling. It’s like Colette Patterns had a sassy little sister and is a great way to get you through the time between Colette’s releases.

Victory Patterns is the baby of Toronto designer and sewing/drafting teacher Kristiann Boos.

My intent is to produce fashionable and unique sewing patterns for various skill levels, that will inspire people to continue learning the craft. I wanted to design the patterns with a mix of vintage and modern styling and to create pieces that could be dressed up or down. The awesome thing about patterns is that they’re so interpretive, and when garments are made from them, no two are alike. I love the ability to inject your own personality into it, and i’m really excited to see what beautiful things you end up making from them!

- Kristiann  Boos

I think it’s a lovely approach to have and the designs really live up to it.

This one I purchased immediately. It’s so simple but effective and works well with the solid colours I always seem to choose. It sent me straight to Walthamstow market to choose some fabric and I can’t wait to get started.

The details make these patterns so interesting to me. Check out the way the seams intersect in the Lola  dress, the optional pleating on the Ava, and the chevrons, yoke, and pintucks of the Anouk.

The patterns are all download and print versions and retail on the Victory Patterns site for CAD$10.00 which feels like a pretty good bargain for the quality. The instructions are beautifully  clear and designed, incorporating both diagrams and photos to illustrate the steps. The sizes are similar to independent pattern designers like Colette and Sewaholic ranging from 2-16.

Finding new pattern designers emerging online is one of the coolest aspects of this digital sewing community and being able to support independent retailers who have put so much effort into actually going for it makes me happy.

Here are some other inspiring independent pattern makers I’ve come across:

  • GRAINLINE STUDIOS Jen is currently working flat tack not just on her fashion label HOUND but also expanding her pattern range.
  • MEGAN NEILSEN Megan is one of the few people out there offering a range of maternity patterns and is also launching regular patterns from her eponymous clothing line.
  • PATTERN RUNWAY Their classic kimono sleeved dress and scalloped shorts have been popping up across the blogsphere.
  • SALME PATTERNS Deceptively simple classic designs.

Feel free to add your favourites in the comments too.

I’ll be back tomorrow hopefully with my new Hazel dress.

Images all via VictoryPatterns.com

Photographer: Celine Kim

Sew-free Sunday + Walthamstow Market

Hey guys,

I’ve decided to start collecting all the random things I come across when I’m procrastinating instead of sewing in a weekly post. Some are sewing related and some are just random.

Welcome to Sew-free Sunday.

This week:

  • I have three works in progress but I wasn’t feeling inspired by any of them this week so I thought I’d just pop up toWalthamstow Market for a little inspiration.

General malaise + fantastic deals = a whopping shoppers high.

When I eventually came to on the Victoria Line train, I was swamped by 26 metres of fabric and only a hazy recollection of parting with £60. I may have needed a very strong cup of tea and a lie down when I got home.

Don’t get me wrong the deals are unbelievable, it’s just that I forgot for a moment I’m unemployed and as such should be much better behaved.

Please make me feel better and tell me I’m not the only one this happens to.

  • If you’re ever having a bad-body image day, the ladies over at xojane.com never fail to cheer me up and put things in perspective with their frankness and complete lack of boundaries. Sample writing: “Most shirts give the general appearance that my back mounds are being lovingly cradled by the fabric, like a very low and unsexy pair of back breasts.” (P.s. the lovely Mena from sew weekly sometimes pops up as a contributor, too).
  • Other things that make me happy… Babies! A second cousin came over yesterday and much time was spend baby cuddling. Biological programming or no, holding a baby makes my soul feel good.
  • On body image, this one is for anyone who thinks losing weight will be the answer to happiness (hint: that used to be me). I was looking through some old photos on Mum’s computer and I found this one from 2004.

This is at my smallest adult weight but to my eyes I look awful. I see the blankness and exhaustion around my eyes and the tension in my body and when I see photos from this period I just remember how unhappy I was. The pounds don’t take your problems with them.

Heavier, but happier two years later in Tonga, although to be fair, it’s scientifically impossible to be unhappy whilst drinking a cocktail from a coconut. Laborious research has proven it.

  • Neither can one be unhappy whilst watching jello jiggle.

Get your jelly on – LADY IN RED from Billy Law on Vimeo.

Billy Law made 30 desserts in a cone shaped jello mold in October for Breast Cancer awareness and each was put to the jiggle test.

  • Lastly I’ve been feeling a little homesick, so this slice of kiwi humour (albeit addressing a serious topic) and accents hit just the right spot.

So there you have it. My advice this week: shop mindfully, give yourself a break, drink cocktails from tropical fruit, hold babies, make jello + don’t drive drunk.

xo Alana.

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