This is a post I’ve tried to write many times but it never quite feels right. Change is a constant as we all know, but some of us take longer to settle into it than others. I needed to press pause on blogging for a while to have the space to do so. The not-so-new now job is moving a long and requires both mental and physical energy with a team of 24 staff looking to me for answers and direction and my desperation not to let anyone down saw me committing to too much and feeling overwhelmed. So for everyone who has emailed, twittered and messaged me thank you for your thoughts and I’m so sorry I didn’t have my s#!t together enough to respond.
So why am I finally hitting publish now, im-perfect as it feels? It’s the oldest cliche in the book – life is just too short for perfectionism. Recently, my 60-year-old vegan, bike-riding, physical-labouring, healthy as an ox father had a blood-clot which travelled to his brain causing a stroke and throwing our small family into upheaval. When I got the call I was at work – busy and stressed as usual – but it all fell away and priorities re-aligned in seconds. He was rushed into surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgerywhere they unsuccessfully tried to break up the clot before entering the High Dependency Unit. My sister in Melbourne flew back to London. Dad is okay, now.
He’s been home now for a couple of weeks and whilst we had another scare* on Monday which resulted in a night back at UCL he is on the mend. We got lucky – he can talk fine, he can walk, he’s alive. We got lucky.
Other people don’t, in the relatives room of the HDU, there were so many conversations and stories of those who had been there for many months and you wonder how and you wonder why.
Dad is a musical person, so his biggest frustration is the weakness on his left side making it hard for him to play guitar and the remaining confusion in the affected part of his brain makes listening to music frustrating. It just reminds you that your ability to indulge in your passion can all go so quickly. So, sometimes, I sew…
*Everyone should know the F.A.S.T. Test for stroke, please share it.
Just wanted to pop in to say hi and a humongous thank you for all the encouragement too. Things have been plenty better this week with several interviews. The positions are mostly a step down from what I was doing but with good companies so keep your fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the whole process has kept me off the internet for the most part but here are a couple of things entertaining me this week:
Personalised croquis are popping up all over – I think the Colette Sewing Handbook was a popular present this Christmas! The one above is from one of my favourite new discoveries – Shona Stitches.
And Lauren from Lladybird has a great tutorial for creating a digital version.
And then there is the queen of croquis Polka Dot Overload who was all over this long before it was cool (;-)) with her amazing illustrated versions.
Handmade Mess has a hilarious pictorial description of the trials of making your own wardrobe.
Bernie and I makes great Detail Inspiration posts like the collars one above.
I’m off to the Crafters Ceilidh first thing tomorrow so it’s early to bed with me. I’ll leave you with this gorgeous sunrise at my Aunty’s place north of Auckland and the playlist I’ve been listening to all week. Have a peaceful weekend and if you’re off to Edinburgh too – See You Soon!
And what a Friday it has been! I’ve spent a lovely day on Goldhawk Road with Handmade Jane, Su-Sews-So-So and Myfabrication and as per usual I forgot to bring a camera. Question: if there are no images of the purchases made, do they really count?
Meanwhile, here’s another question for you:
Do you read sewing blogs in languages you don’t speak?
It may just be my Fear of Missing Out (FOMO if you will) talking but I feel like there’s a whole lot of sewing action I’m missing out on. Plus, when you use Google Translate to decipher them, it has it’s own entertainment value ( no really, try reading the garment descriptions on burdastyle.de).
And finally, because I am un-employed, I have time to scour the internet just for you*. Here are my favourite things this week.
“Criticizing Tim Gunn is like calling Kermit the Frog an asshole: Not only is nobody going to take your side, the odds are good that many people will be actively offended by your sharing this minority opinion.” From My Big Fat Problem with Tim Gunn on xoJane. Keep reading down to the comments because there’s some interesting discussions going on.
“There were all sorts of choices, of course. I could buy thongs, hipsters, bikinis, and even something called a cheeky panty. (That last, I can only guess is some sort of insolent, but loveable, undergarment. Perhaps it has Oscar Wilde quotes on the tag?)” From The Case of the Tiny Knickers on A Confederacy of Spinsters.
“Resist the urge to over-design: Chevron squiggles and textures and shadowed fonts, oh my! Once you discover the wonderful world of templates and photo editing it can be a slippery slope down to this. Resist the urge, my friends! You are stronger than the gif!” From Making Your Blog Look Like A Million Bucks on Yes and Yes. Guilty as charged, especially while I’m working on the move to my .com address. I need this tattooed on my hand.
I’m on the road again with a last minute overnight trip to Napier. Normally on these trips I get zero time to actually look around and so I was stoked on this one to catch the last of the late afternoon sun and a walk on the beach. Here’s a quick snap shot.
A full day tomorrow and a late flight home but at least I got a little glimpse outside and a good dose of Vitamin D from head to toes…
P.s. If you’re not sure what Togs are (as mentioned above) this video might help.
Do you ever fell like Lucy & Ethel at the chocolate factory? Like someone has been cranking up the conveyor belt speed?
The last couple of weeks have been like that and just like Lucy and Ethel I’m running round trying to deal with every piece coming off the line but it just keeps rolling faster and faster. That’s not supposed to be a whine :), but more trying to deal with the fact that sometimes I can’t do everything.
I promised a muslin of the macaron. I even had a name picked out, but it’s been sitting on my ironing board since Monday. Unfortunately, all the things I have to do are getting in the way of all the things I want to do. I’m off on a work trip to Christchurch this afternoon, then on to Wellington this week but come the middle of the month I have a little leave owing and I plan on taking it. Time to recharge.
How do you guys, find time and balance or are you just fighting the conveyor belt, too?
I’ll be making this one up regardless, if not with this fabric then with something else and will hopefully include a step by step full bust adjustment for it.
It’ll be a little more time consuming thanks to this but the results will be worth it I think.
In the other corner is a duo of tried and true shapes for me – Simplicity 2594 (Sewn here) and BurdaStyle Jenny (sewn here, there, and everywhere). The pros on this one are that I know it’ll work, I’ll have separates I can where with other items and instant gratification because both of these patterns go together so quickly.
Meanwhile I’ve had a bit of a rough week thanks to… ahem… women’s troubles putting me through the monthly hormonal and emotional wringer (sorry if that’s kinda tmi).
I’m a little worn and a lot fragile but you know what makes me feel better?
… Happy-toe-tappy songs like this one*:
What do you listen to when you need a little cheering-up?
*Bonus points – check out some of the sweet Kiwi fashion she’s wearing in the video.
This weekend has just flown by so I never quite got round to doing a TGIF post this week.
Instead I’ve collated all the Self Stitched September photos so you can see them above or on Flickr if you’re interested. I think I’m still absorbing the lessons learned so I’m going to take a little longer before noting any reflections on the month.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to force myself into having a green thumb, starting with clearing the small front garden.
You can’t really see it but hiding behind the cabbage tree is a mountain of weeds that we pulled. It was a beautiful clear day today and a friend and my Poppa came and helped.
There are already a lot of plants in there including a couple of yucca, a huge aloe and various other overgrown succulents, but there is a little space in the middle.
Because it’s a rental I don’t want to plant anything too big but it might be nice to have a lemon tree in a big pot and maybe some flowers around it.
Here’s some of the plants I like, but realistically, I should just find something that’s hard to kill
By the time Friday rolls around I always feel a little introspective so it’s a perfect time to post 10 things you probably don’t know about me. The gorgeous and talented Solvi at definelise, Laurwyn of QuirkyPrettyCute + Patty at The Snug Bughave sent me the lovely Beautiful Blogger Award which requires the a fore mentioned task. Here goes:
I was raised vegetarian and I’ve never eaten meat in my entire life. I’m not preachy about it, but I like the way my Dad explains it best – he says there’s enough killing in the world already.
I was a hippy child and I loved it!
My dad, (that’s him in the top photo) is a massive Deadhead and I know pretty much every Grateful Dead song there is. Now when I hear that music it makes me so nostalgic for dad flipping pancakes on a Sunday morning – speakers pounding.
I’ve worked for the same company since I finished high school eleven years ago. In contrast to my family culture, it’s a well-known multi-national corporation but the people I’ve met and the opportunities it’s bought me have been amazing and I’ve worked my way up from entry-level to overseeing the nationwide learning and development function.
That being said every three years like clockwork, I have a major what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life freakout.
My entire immediate family lives in London, they all went travelling separately but ended up living in the same neighbourhood. And they’re all coming home to visit in November which is exciting but also a little overwhelming as I’m quite the independent introspective soul.
When I was 23 I went back-packing through Guatemala by myself to my mother’s horror. A friend pulled out at the last minute but I decided to go anyway. There is something both exhilarating and terrifying about knowing that no-body in the entire world knows where you are.
I am a dork and hideously socially awkward. I feel like I just missed that whole stage of development.
I can’t walk past a photo-booth without taking a photo.
This is me! I generally feel like enough of a goof just taking photos of my projects that you guys don’t need to see the goofy facial expressions usually accompanying them 😉
I know this award has been circulating for a while so ladies, if you’ve been there, done that I understand but I would love to nominate:
I’ve been thinking a lot about my Nana today. I was digging through an old photo album trying to find a picture I know I have of my very first sewing machine – a “my little pony” monstrosity like this one.
But I seem to have removed it from it’s pocket.
Instead though I found photos of outfits that Nana lovingly made.
Pale pink needle cord frills for my fifth birthday party (1987).
A pink gypsy skirt with tassles and silver stars (1987).
An 80s masterpiece ensemble in studded stone washed denim (1988).
Funny – I don’t recall having such an affinity for pink growing up (1989).
The things I remember strongest though, about these clothes isn’t what they look like. It’s the feel of them. I remember the texture of the fine coudroy and the fact that I could bend the silver stars on the gypsy skirt into flowers as they were made of thin tin.
I remember opening my sixth birthday present and finding that denim outfit and feeling like the coolest, most stylish 6 year old around, especially when I wore it with my rainbow roller skates.
And I remember sitting with Nana as she showed me how to sew a circle skirt and thread elastic through the waist casing as my first project when I was 7 or 8.
She died 6 years ago but she was one awesome lady.
This weekends list:
I’m thisclose to finishing my purple double-knit Gertie dress. I’m just tweaking the fit, sewing on the neck line straps and hemming.
Speaking of Gertie, I need to muslin my Lady Grey for the sew-along and, by goly, hurry up and choose my fabric.