Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Firmoo Eye wear Review

Just a quick post today, reviewing a new pair of glasses from Firmoo

A little while ago, I was lucky enough to win a free pair of glasses through Maria from How Good is that? However I decided my husband was in more need of new glasses than I was, so I entered his prescription instead of my own and let him choose a pair he liked.

This is the style he chose for himself.

The website is quite easy to read, and it categorises the glasses into lots of different categories, so you can narrow your search by only looking at a particular style, gender, colour, width, etc. My husband has quite a large head, so we decided to go for a wide pair of glasses, and they fit him quite well. If you are unsure the size you need, they have a handy chart, where you just need to measure an existing pair of your own glasses and compare.

The delivery was reasonably quick. The longest part of it's journey ended up just being the short distance from the Newcastle Depot to me. TOLL seemed to have difficulty in finding my work address (even though we regularly have stuff delivered through TOLL, and we are located in the centre of town) and they didn't try contacting me to say they hadn't been able to find me (I found out by checking the tracking) but after a sternly worded phone call from me and a few more days, it finally found it's way.

I am now looking forward to ordering myself a pair or 2, as I would love to have a pair of vintage style glasses, and a pair of prescription sunglasses would be very helpful to have.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A quick Historical costume for Winterfest

Some friends and I decided, with only a few weeks to go, that we wanted to attend Sydney's Winterfest and that we wanted to go in costume

I began looking around the internet for suitable patterns and tutorials for a medieval ensemble.

I began my outfit with a chemise, using an old, off-white cotton sheet and this tutorial for an Italian Chemise. I was slightly limited with my fabric, so my sleeves are unfortunately not as delightfully full as in the tutorial, but they will do. I french seamed the entire thing. I'm not sure if that is period correct, but as overlocking the edges would be so very historically innaccurate, I decided french seams would at least have been possible. I also did not have enough fabric for the binding along the neck edge, so I just used some pre-made bias binding, which I think is close enough to the fabric I used to not stand out.

While simultaneously working on my chemise, I also began working on a kirtle. As I was just working from my stash, I chose a plain brown heavy cotton type fabric (that I think I got from my mother-in-law) as I had just enough to cut out all the panels I needed. I decided to go for an open front kirtle, which while it wasn't a very common design, it did exist, as researched in this blog post that I found. I wanted princess seams, so I used the bodice pieces from this Burda pattern for a Dirndl, taking away the overlap for the buttons, shortening the bodice pieces and extending the pattern down into a full skirt.

Once I had all the side seams sewn up, I tried it on over my regency chemise for a look. While it was awkward to hold for this photo, the waist fits well, and the bust section will do up for a nice fit once the lacing is added.

When I knew the bodice fit well, I went and cut it out again from some calico to line the bodice with.

With the half made chemise underneath.

I hand sewed a boning channel either side of the front opening, then began hand sewing my lacing eyelets. I found some tutorials through pinterest, to sew these with a sort of reverse blanket stitch, so these ones look much more polished than the ones on my regency stays

I also hand hemmed the front 2 edges. My thread colour matches so well, that it is invisible from the right side.

As I like to finish my historical costumes fairly accurately, I have hand stitched all of my seam allowances down to stop any fraying, instead of using my trusty overlocker. To do this I used a blanket stitch, catching the outer fabric to keep the seam laying flat.

Here is how the outfit looked, laced up with some cotton tape from my stash (I will try to find something more suitable later) I decided to go for a more period correct lacing by utilising spiral lacing.

Ideally I would like to also sew up a heavy petticoat skirt to wear over the chemise but under the kirtle, and also a nice cloak to wear over the top of everything if it is cold, but I guess I will have to wait and see if I can find the time!

Anyone else coming to Winterfest or working on any costumes lately?


Monday, 6 June 2016

Love Nest: a little Marilyn Inspiration

Seeing as I have not been able to get in as much time sewing and blogging as I would like to lately, here is a quick inspiration post of Marilyn Monroe's costumes from a 1951 movie called "Love Nest" which I just got around to watching this weekend past. It is quite a delightful little movie, and while Marilyn is not in a lead role, she still appears in it enough to have a number of delightful costumes throughout. If you are looking for a new old movie to see, I highly recommend it.

The first scene we see Marilyn's character in, she is wearing this drool-worthy ensemble

A few scenes later is this interesting cut outfit

I also just want to throw this cute little number in, I love the delicate print and scallop hemline

Here she is, looking distracting in a bikini, while the men work int he back yard.

She returns from a weekend away in this outfit

And as the scene progresses, we get to see her undress to her slip. While I wear a slip under the occasional dress, I love seeing how women wore their clothes back in the 50's. Not sure I could wear this many layers very often in Australia, but perhaps in winter it is an easy way to add a little extra warmth to an outfit.

She then goes and showers and emerges in this lovely silky robe.

And here are a few promo shots, where Marilyn is wearing an Army uniform. This outfit is not seen in the film.

Seen any good movie costume inspiration lately?


Thursday, 2 June 2016

Cruising on the Pacific Aria!

Seeing as it is now 2 weeks since I disembarked from this cruise, I figured it was high time I finish off this post and share it with all you lovely people. I did post a little bit about it when covering my me-made-May outfits, but here's the recap of the whole 10 day South Pacific Cruise aboard the beautiful Pacific Aria!
Warning! This is a very Photo Heavy post!

Firstly here are a couple of photos of the ship's main pool/hot tub area, as well as one side of the "Dome" which is essentially the nightclub. These photos were taken very early in the morning, which is why they are mostly empty.

 I loved the seating area in the "Dome" and spent a bit of time here reading books during the day.

OK, so back to the beginning of our cruise. This ship has quite a few elevators, all of which have their own themes. This one was a cathedral or grand building of some sort, but others were a field of tulips, a rainforest walk, a jetty with turtles underneath, as well as quite a few others.

Naturally, as soon as we had checked out our room, we went to find some cocktails. Mum and I started with a pina colada and a fruit tingle each.

The 2 sea days spent on our way to the South Pacific were mostly filled with drinking, watching movies (in the ship's onboard cinema) cocktail classes and shows in the Marquee (the ship's theatre)

We had a lot of fun with the cocktail classes, but I can't remember the ingredients or the names of these cocktails now.....

And there were many pretty sunsets to see (and I suppose sunrises, but I was not awake that early)

However, on our second night we were awakened at 4am by a ship announcement about smoke on a couple of decks, and not to be alarmed as they were looking for the cause....... It turned out to have been caused by a faulty air conditioning belt, but it made enough smoke to fill 2 or 3 floors. We headed up to the dome on deck 12 for a while to let the smoke dissipate, as my asthma was playing up and not letting me get back to sleep.

We did head back to bed after an hour, then woke up later at a more respectable time. Another sea day, we spent the day playing trivia, going to the Martini class, then lounging in the nightclub in our pyjamas.

I absolutely adored these mirrors, so took quite a few selfies in them.

Lychee wine thingy and a bit of a blue Margarita

Apple Martini selfie (with my hair up in curlers)

Pyjamas in a nightclub!

Our first Port Day was spent in Noumea, which is fortunately big enough to dock the ship at and not need tenders. Noumea is mostly just a dirty city, with a few rough beaches and a handful of market stalls. I've heard the aquarium there is quite good, but we didn't visit it. After doing a bit of market and beachside shopping, mum and Lesley went back to the ship, and Stacey and I explored the city a bit more. We did manage to find some pretty cheap clothing stores, where she stocked up on clothes for the kids. We did find 2 fabric shops, that unfortunately were not open, but a few of the souvenir shops had precut and packaged lengths of cotton, which I of course bought a few of.

Each port was quite hot and humid, so it was pretty much necessary to shower and change for dinner (and also necessary to take dinner selfies)

This picture hung in the Oasis (child free) area of the ship. I just loved the outfits, especially the second from the right!

Our Second port of call was Mystery Island. Although we had to take a tender boat to the island, Stacey and I made sure we got nice seats near the door so we had plenty of fresh air.

Mystery Island ended up being my favourite port of the trip. I mostly spent the whole time swimming, wearing goggles and my sun hat, trying to spot as many different types of fish as I could, without stepping on any of the sea cucumbers (and there were A LOT)

This little guy was the selfie King. He and Stacey took 100's of selfies together (but you can see me wearing my purple sarong in the background of this one)

The Evening as we sailed away from Mystery Island was the P& O White Party. it was this event on my first cruise back in October that I made my seven year itch dress for.

Staff were going around with white face paint, but I only let them give me a white beauty mark. The guy in the next selfie was a very friendly man named Bob. I think this was the only time during the cruise he was not wearing Tie Dye clothing.

They had a Bar tricks being performed by some of the staff, and this girl was by far the most talented. She was balancing a bottle of spirits upside down on one finger, then stacked 2 cocktails and a full bottle of Moet on top!

The next day was spent exploring Port Vila. We hired a driver for the day to take us around. We visited his family home, a local coffee company, the blue lagoon, and of course duty free shopping!

That evening we dined at the ship's Italian Restaurant, Angelo's. As you walk in the entrance there is a Vespa which has been converted into a front desk, with a beautiful photo of Sophia Loren.

Also, the best bit, they serve your bottle of wine in a high heel shoe holder.

I might have gotten a tad excited.

The next Port day was Lifou

We walked up to the church on top of the hill, which provided us with a pretty good view of the ship in the bay.

Mum had some Kava with this bloke:

Sunset as we were leaving Lifou.

Isle of Pines was next

P & O provided everyone with a sample of local cuisine. I can't remember what it was called, but it was a bunch of vegetables and chicken cooked in a leaf parcel

I didn't like it too much, so I went  and got some delicious ice cream instead.

I went for a bit of a swim, but there was too much seaweed for me to be comfortable to swim to where all the coral and fish were.

Sea day, which of course meant another cocktail class!




On our second last day, we decided to risk Stacey's ginger allergy, and dine at Dragon Lady, the Asian inspired restaurant aboard the Pacific Aria. And we were glad we did. The Staff went above and beyond to ensure Stacey's food was free of ginger contamination.

It was Gatsby night, so we we're all tarted up for the evening. I wore a dress that I made a few years ago, last minute, for a Miss Pinup Australia event. It is constructed completely of rectangles, so I'm thinking of writing up a tutorial for it at a later date. I also, for the first time, attempted wearing 2 sets of false eyelashes. I'm not sure it's something I would do again, but it sure looked dramatic for that night.

Every night for the last half of the cruise, I was in the Mix Bar enjoying piano melodies from this lovely guy, Anthony Quimby. If anyone is sailing on the Aria soon, and you like show tunes and good ol' singalongs, I urge you to check him  out. I even made some great new friends from attending his shows (I wasn't the only groupie) We did often go to the Dome, the ship's nightclub, after the piano bar music finished, but I did not take any photos of those adventures.

I didn't bother getting up early enough to see the sunrise as we entered Sydney Harbour (as I had done that my last 2 cruises) So here is a photo taken by Stacey.

Here's my haul of souvenirs, most of which are fabrics. I am looking forward to sewing up some lovely tropical dresses from these.

So there you have it! Considering I sell these cruises at my day job, it was really good to finally go and see these destinations for myself! Anyone else been on a cruise recently, or going on one soon?