Monday, November 14, 2016

Shakey Isles 2016

Last night around midnight we were woken by a lot of shaking in the form of a 7.5 earthquake that was centered in the South Island (near Kaikoura).

It was the biggest earthquake I've even been in and also the scariest, as we took cover in our bedroom (including Mia, who took shelter under our bed and wouldn't get out) we heard a lot of smashing sounds - I was certain it was our windows, fortunately for us it was only a few picture frames falling over.
This is pretty much as bad as the damage in our  home got - we are very lucky
We are very lucky - we still had electricity, internet and clean water. A lot of other people weren't so lucky and many of our friends in the lower lying suburbs had to evacuate their homes due to the threat of a tsunami.
Glass smashed in the central city by the earthquake, the glass from these windows was still on the footpath below
Although Wellington was fairly badly hit, our friends in the South Island were much worse off, particularly those is Kaikoura and the surrounding area. They are completely cut off by road due to slips and various other areas of the country have sustained pretty seriously damage.

I don't remember an earthquake being felt so far and causing so much damage to so many places in the past.
Glassons on Cuba Street 

Neither of us could go to work today, we both work in high rise offices buildings and all of these buildings need to be checked by engineers before people can return to work. At this stage Rich can't return to work tomorrow. My building has been checked, but its damaged, so I am not sure if I can go back yet.
T2 on Lambton Quay

The message today was to stay out of the city, but that's a little bit hard when you live in the city and its your home. We did go for a walk and despite what the media said about Wellington being a "ghost town" there were actually quite a few people around and cafes open. The city is a ghost town on Christmas Day - it was quiet today.

We are safe, but really didn't sleep last night and there were a lot of aftershocks last night and today. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day x

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My new and improved sewing cave!

I have a brand new sewing cave, well not quite, but it may as well be new because it's like a totally new space. I've spent the last few weekends getting it into order and now you can even see the floor!

The problem with the sewing  cave is that I just didn't have enough storage for everything, which meant it was a disaster and was going from bad to worse.

This was my fabric shelving before, this poor bookcase was literally falling apart, it wasn't designed to hold the weight of so much fabric. I couldn't fit all my fabric in here, so the rest went in the cupboard.
But the cupboard storage was far from ideal, there aren't any shelves in the cupboard and the buckets I had for storage were overflowing.

There was also random "bits" everywhere because I had  no room to put anything!! There were patterns , projects and other sewing stuff throughout the room which was making it almost unusable.
Mia was really the only one who was happy with the room, because it meant she had lots of places to hide! The first thing I needed for the room was more storage, so we bought some big and solid shelves that we thought would actually be stable enough to hold ALL my fabric! We had some kit set shelves delivered from Warehouse Stationary and Rich built them for me. However, before we could get them in the room, I had to empty out the current bookcase and get it out of the room which was difficult as there was so much "stuff" in the way!

Mia was again pretty happy with all of the piles of "stuff" to play in, she loves to burrow in fabric.
I bought the new shelves in and they were SUPER heavy, which means they are surely strong enough to hold all my fabric right?

Next up was the biggest task, fitting ALL of the fabric into the new shelves. I wasn't convinced it would all fit. The only way it would fit was if I rolled all of my fabric up to store it, this took a while.

I decided to put the biggest lengths of fabric and the bulky fabric in the bottom cubes, I made a cube especially for my stretch fabrics (I only have one cube! I have much less stretch than I thought) and I made a cube of fabric a brac fabrics. All the other cubes I filled up with my wovens. I'm not going to lie to you guys this took a LONG time - as it about a week and a half. I just did it in small bursts as there is only so much fabric rolling a girl can do!
I was a good chance to go through my whole stash as well and I now have another bucket of fabric for the next Fabric-a-brac (as long as we get a table again!).
Fabric-a-brac fabrics
woven fabrics
More wovens
stretch fabrics
longest fabric lengths/bulky fabrics
longest fabric lengths/bulky fabrics
With ALL of my fabric FINALLY in one place, it was time to tackle the rest of the room. Rich was able to repair the old bookcase, so I put that inside the wardrobe so I actually had storage space.
All kinds of crafty bits are in here - my unwanted fabric (hopefully to be sold), sewing magazines, notebooks, printed PDF patterns as well as other sewing room essentials like my heater and iron.
I moved my bookcase with my sewing and craft books on it, the bookcase had been a little messy but moving the magazines into the cupboard helped to clean it up. Also that's Rich's yoga mat as he now actually has room to do yoga and stretches in the sewing cave!
 I didn't want this to be a boring space, so I put some of my patterns (more in the cupboard) and treasures on top of the bookcase. I love the little skull cameo Ria bought me back from the USA. I'm hoping to frame a few more cards and prints I'm got lying around to create a wall of fun pictures.
 I've got a couple of bowls with useful sewing things - one bowl with machine needles, quick unpick (or seam ripper, depending where you're from) and other odds and ends. The other bowl is all patches - I really need to use some of these! The purple sewing box is from Ria, as are the tiny bunnies. The little Guedetama (egg guys) are from my friend Lillian in Hong Kong and they are actually stamps!
My one and only monsters high doll from my niece a few years back, skull piggy bank from Vany and a few other treasures.
Final view of my new cupboard - on the left hand side the top cube is only half full, the bottom cube has notions and current projects and the middle cube?
It's Mia's bed of course, she didn't like it that much when there was only one of her blankets in there so we added a few fabric scraps to make it feel like home.

The sewing room is ALMOST complete, we've ordered a futon as well so when friends and family come to stay they can have a real bed instead of a air mattress.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Halloween 2016

I know its nearly a week since Halloween, but better late than never I say! I thought it would be a bit of a bummer having Halloween on  a weekend this year, but actually I had a pretty great day.
It was a Monday, so I still had to go into work but I thought I'd dress slightly more creepy than usual (well not really), so I wore my wolf man dress (It's not made by me,  the label is Sourpuss clothing).

We did "secret trick or treat" at work, a bit like secret Santa, but only better because it was Halloween themed. We have some pretty great bakers in my team and one of my colleagues go this amazing cemetery brownie!
I received this week ghost with fudge inside, the ghost is now in my craft room holding all my thread.

               After work we went to Film Society, where they were screened Night of the Demon in honor of all things Halloween. I've been looking forward to seeing this movie for a while and it did not disappoint! I love old horrors as much as I love the modern ones (well actually often more than I love the modern ones).
 After the movie we went to the Space Place for a Halloween show in the planetarium, I'm looking forward  to taking my nephew Lukah here when he visits later this month.
The show included a free creepy cupcake, aren't they so amazing? It was pretty hard to choose only one, but I went with the ghost as he's a little bit cute as well!
I hope you all had a great Halloween, ot a not too terrible Monday if you don't celebrate Halloween.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An ode to failed projects

I decided that it was time to write an ode to failed projects, or at least admit I do in fact have failed projects. We all do know that social media only shows people's best sides, that's only natural, you want to show your best side to the world - I get that, because I do it, everyone does it!

I also have been feeling than in a lot of sewing blogs have post after post of amazing projects all finished beautifully with amazing photos. I'm a person that's generally pretty grounded, I tend not to compare myself with others, but I feel like all this "perfection" is really bumming me out.
This was my latest project and it was a complete failure

Last weekend was a long weekend and I had ever intention of finishing off a project, a new dress with a cute cat print. I didn't finish the dress though, because every single part of this project went wrong and it was a complete nightmare and I finally gave up when Rich asked if I was still working on the same dress. He wasn't being rude or hurtful, he's actually got a fairly good handle on how quickly I can sew and cross stitch because he's pretty crafty himself. He made me realise I'd been working on this project WAY too long and it was time to let it go.

Mia tried to help me with the dress, but even she couldn't save it from disaster
The thing is, sometimes projects go wrong - whether it's a sewing project, art work, cake or something else entirely. However most people don't admit to their failures on social media - blogs, facebook, instagram or whatever - we only really want to show the best of our life.

But, sometimes everything goes to hell and I would never advocate in wallowing in sadness and failure, I think its good to admit sometimes everything does go wrong and that's ok.

This is my dress, its a total failure - an adorable failure, but a failure nonetheless! I redid the waist casing in this thing three times and I reset one of the sleeves SEVEN times and it's still wonky and generally awful. This is a dress I will never wear, the whole thing is a hot mess and a total failure.

It's totally ok its a failure too, to start with I was pretty upset about the whole thing as I had spent a LOT of time on this project. However, now I've had time to reflect I'm ok with the failure because we all make mistakes and its good to actually admit that to the big wide world.

I've had some good advice from some sewing friends as to what to do next to lift my spirits (make a simple pattern or a tried and true pattern is the consensus) and I've also heard from a couple of friends who have actual formal training in dressmaking/design that the same thing has happened to them too a number of times. I'm just a home sewing hack, so if people with real training and skills makes mistakes, its totally ok for me to make mistakes too.

I have now cut out the fabric for a top in a very easy pattern and a dress in a very tried and true pattern, I'm going  to try and sew them up over the weekend and re-built some of my sewing confidence.

I hope you all are having a great week, and don't forget, its actually totally ok to make mistakes. Any adorable failures you'd like to share?

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Truth is Out There - X Files Cross Stitch

Last year Rich and I were deciding on a streaming service as we have given up on network TV entirely, there were a few different option available, but in the end we chose Lightbox - I was personally swayed by the fact that they have full seasons of Seinfeld and The X Files available for streaming - because I still live in the nineties. 

I've seen Seinfeld a few times since in originally screened (and I didn't actually watch the earlier seasons as I was too young) but I hadn't seen any of the X Files since I originally watched it when I was a teenager and I was so excited to see it again!

However, watching X Files again as an adult is pretty different to watching it as a teenager, first of all, I have to say that Scully is still totally amazing and I can see why I wanted to be her when I grew up. Although in the earlier seasons, she wore some of the worst, ill fitting nineties suits ever (I'm blaming the early nineties here, not Scully).

This isn't even the worst suit on the show
The other thing that blows my mind is how quickly Mulder and Scully were able to take off on a whim, across the other side of the country doing work that no one had signed off on or even wanted them to do? I guess its because I'm a career public servant, but seriously guys, you can't just do that.

Seriously, who signs off all of these travel expenses

Finally Mulder is much less cool than I remember and in fact if I even had to work with him I would go crazy, he never tells Scully what he's up to (communication is key here people) and when she's have a bad time he's not exactly the most sympathetic person. Also, he makes a LOT of dad jokes, some of them are pretty painful.

Duh, obviously it is?

However, all of that aside, The X Files is still probably one of my favourite shows ever, especially the random monster stories. I'm much less into aliens than I was in 1996, but this guy is still as scary as hell.
Just as upsetting today as it was in the nineties
Rich was pretty inspired by the X Files and did something a bit more creative that me and actually designed an X Files cross stitch a while back and I finally finished stitching it up a week or so ago.

Here is is fresh off the hoop - I was struggling with the type of aida fabric to use as I didn't think black or white was right, fortunately for me you can get a fat quarter of pretty any colour of aida fabric you can imagine at Made Marion. I decided that navy blue would work the best for this one (still looks like its "night" but not black - also I hate stitching on black).

These close up photos show the colour of the aida a lot better, also pixel Mulder and Scully are the best!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Another Arum Dress

Hello world! I've been away for quite a while now - no particular reason, things just kept happening and I didn't have much blogging mojo! I'm now trying to get back into the swing of things and I thought I'd share my latest make.
This dress is made from the Arum pattern by French pattern company Deer and Doe, I've made it before and last time I made it I had a million fitting nightmares so I decided to cut a size smaller this time in the hopes the neckline wouldn't be so gapey.
However, I only really remebered the nightmare fitting around the neck of the garment, when in fact the whole thing was kind of too big for me (always take notes of alterations) and as such the finished garment is pretty sack like without a belt, it needs to be more fitted in the waist/hips as well. Long story short, I think I need to cut a size smaller again!
This fabric could best be described as toxic animal print and I mean that in a good way! My friend Joypicked this up for me at the legendary (at least among the Wellington Sewing Bloggers) Fabric Warehouse sale last year. The fabric sale is legendary as nothing is over $5 a metre which is probably the best value you can get for fabric (outside of Fabric a Brac of course).

It a heavy cotton fabric with a little bit of stretch which I thought would be perfect for a simple shift dress.
 I wore my elephant necklace with the dress, I love these little guys, they remind me of the barrel of monkeys game! I don't have a lot of outfits to wear these guys with, so whenever I have one that I think will work the elephants come out.
Also I dyed my hair dark again! I liked being copper and then red but really dark colours are my "natural" colours - I'm not quite back to my beloved blue/black yet. I'm trying out this deep purple colour for a while.

Hope you're all well out in blogland and I will try and get back to more regular blogging soon x