Friday, 28 October 2016

October Bellabox goodies

I am very lucky to be the recipient of a 3 month gift subscription to Bellabox, and I just received my first one! October's Bellabox theme was Spring Racing Carnival. The box that came in the post was very neat, and printed with bellabox on the outside, so there's no mistaking what's inside.

The Postal Box
Once you open the outer box, you find an adorable blue and white polka dot gift box inside.

Gift box inside

Tissue paper seal

Description card
A convenient little card with product descriptions, and another with product ingredients are included.

Details of the products

What I got:
LAQA & CO Cheeky Lip - One of those 2 in 1 products that you can use for lip colour or blush. I tried it on my lips, and liked the rosy pink colour of it on me. I have not yet tried it as blush, but it is a nice rosy hue, so it should suit my skin tone

LAQA & CO Cheeky Lip crayon

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Golden Shimmer - At first I thought this was a nail polish, as that's what the bottle looks like. It wasn't until I opened it I realised that it wasn't. It smells pretty, but I'm not sure how much use I will get from glitter oil.

Batiste Dry Shampoo - Not a product I regularly use, but something I always want to like more. I know a lot of girls use dry shampoo to help with root volume when styling their hair, and that is something I'm not great at, so maybe I will give this product a go, hopefully it will be better than ones I've used in the past.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone-correcting Shampoo - I am not actually a huge fan of toners, as I like a bit of golden hue to my blonde, and the last toning shampoo I used turned my hair blue. This one doesn't seem to have anywhere near as much pigment in it as the last one I used, so I will happily give it a go. I am due to fix up my roots any day now, so I will test it with a fresh colour.

Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Lotion - I don't own a lot of moisturisers, as my skin is fairly oily, but I use the occasional one for my hands after cleaning, and this one does a pretty good job, plus it doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, so that's a bonus!

Dermal Therapy Heel Balm -  I used to keep my feet fairly pampered, but they have been a bit neglected lately. This will help me get them back to the baby softness they used to be.

Bellabox Goodies!
All in all I am pretty happy with the contents I received. Normally priced, bellabox costs $15 plus $2.95 shipping, and I would be happy paying that for what I got. Most of the things included I will get use out of. While the contents are supposed to be tailored to your needs and likes, I did receive golden shimmer body oil, which enhances tanned skin, and I definitely don't have tanned skin, so I'm sort of questioning just how customised they really are. But I did get blonde shampoo, so they got that right at least.

I am already looking forward to receiving November's box, and I am hoping it will be Christmas themed!


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera at the Art Gallery of NSW

Last weekend, some friends and I went to the Art Gallery to see the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition. It washout of a last minute plan, so I didn't have time to sew up a new outfit, but I managed to put together something I think was a reasonable effort, I just put together a quick floral hair comb. I couldn't find my glue gun, so I had to use a very sharp needle to piece through the plastic flower stalks. I stitched them to a piece of felt, which I folded over with a small length of boning inside, then attached to a hair comb.

While at the Art Gallery, using their free WiFi, I discovered the sad news that Jessica from Chronically Vintage, had lost her home, possessions and heartbreakingly, her kitty, to an arson attack. For anyone wishing to help Jessica and her Husband at this difficult time, there has been a Facebook page set up, with details. I myself am hoping to sew up a few things to send to her.

I love going to the Art Gallery, but I don't get there as often as I would like. I didn't take many photos of the exhibition, although I could have. There weren't quite as many paintings as I would have liked to have seen, about half of the display comprised of photos set out in chronological order, detailing both of the artist's lives

The paintings that were there were exquisite, and had so much more texture and life than what is portrayed through the numerous photos and copies of them. It was also very interesting comparing their work side by side, and although I know Rivera was a much more accomplished artist at the time, I find Frida Kahlo's work to have much more detail and technical skill. I realise Rivera was mostly a mural painter, but I find his style kind of flat and almost childlike.

I did get a quick snap in front of a big blown up photo of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, so you can see my hastily put together outfit. I did have a fantastic beaded orange shawl that I was going to wear with it, but it ended up being a bit warm, so I left that in my bag.

My Frida Inspired outfit
On our way from St James train station, we came accross these endangered animal parade floats, which we discovered were for a celebration of the 100 year birthday of Toronga Zoo! I had no idea it was that old!

I really liked the Tiger one

Anyone else been to the Art Gallery recently? (or seen giant endangered animals in the park?)


Friday, 14 October 2016

Navy Floral Cotton Voile Dress

Coming up in January, I will be attending my little brother's wedding, so naturally I had to sew a new dress to wear for the occasion! The dress code is formal wear, but it is going to be outside, in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of an Australian Summer, so I had a hard time deciding what to make that would be appropriate but still comfortable. I pulled out a bunch of possible sewing patterns, and also had a good look through my fabric stash.

I knew I wanted a fitted bodice, and I got the impression from my brother's fiance that she wanted people in full length skirts. Even though the dress code is formal, I really really didn't want to be wearing satin, polyester chiffon or any other sweaty fabrics. After trawling pinterest for ideas, and seeing all the floral wedding dresses that are a current trend, I thought of some Navy background floral printed cotton Voile that I had purchased semi-recently on sale at Spotlight. I grabbed it out and checked how much I had. It was just over 4 meters, so the perfect amount for a full length dress!

Front bodice sewn together

I decided to use the bodice from Butterick B6019 as it is very structured, and wouldn't make the dress just look like a summer maxi dress, which was something I was worried about, using such a casual fabric. I have used the pattern before, almost 2 years ago for my Christmas dress, so I knew how it fit and how it went together. I used the size 20 this time around, instead of the 18, as I have put a bit of weight on since then, and while I can still wear that dress. it has gotten quite snug.

Bodice with the lining, boning, underwires and padding added

Close up of beading

The bodice is fiddly, but I got it made in just 2 afternoons. Just like last time with this pattern, I added some extra boning as well as bra underwires for extra support, based on the version Gertie herself made from this pattern. The only difference I made, apart from the size, was to round out the bust points slightly, as the pattern is quite pointy in that region. For a little extra something, I tried adding a few beads to the centres of some of the roses on the bodice to see how they looked, and I really liked the effect. I think it helped the fabric look less day wear and a bit more evening wear.

Some more beading

Once I was done adding beading to the bodice, I cut out the skirt panels. I had about 3.5 meters of fabric left, so I decided to go with an 8 gore flared and slightly gathered skirt. I trimmed the fabric to a width of 43 inches (roughly how long I needed the skirt, with seam and hem allowance) then cut the gores 7.5 inches at the top, flaring out to 25 inches at the bottom, alternating them up and down on the fabric to utilise it the best I could. I attached 4 gores together for the front, then 2 pairs of gores for the back, overlocking the seams as I went. I then sewed the side seams with inserted pockets, nice and big, to make up for those tiny little handbags us women always seem to take to formal events. I then gathered the skirt with 2 rows of long stitches, and sewed it to the bodice, matching up the side seams. The back seam was then sewn up and the zip inserted. I tried it on at this point, and it actually felt a touch looser than I was aiming for, but still fitted, thanks to those shirred back panels. Unfortunately the spare room was not tidy enough to take a full length mirror selfie, so I just took these awkward photos.

Late night selfie!

This sorta shows the fit....

Because the fit isn.t as tight as I was expecting, I may end up adding shoulder or halter straps, to keep everything up and in.

On the Mannequin

Beading and Outlander

As I had not yet decided on what shoes to wear with this dress, I left the skirt un-hemmed at this point and worked on beading the skirt panels. I didn't bother beading every rose, and I also didn't bead any of the back area that I would be sitting on, as I thought that would be uncomfortable. It still took quite a few episodes of Outlander to work on the beadwork, but I think it gives the dress a very subtle, elegant detail.

I took the dress in to work to show my boss, as I was also thinking of wearing it out to a Melbourne Cup day lunch with her. She suggested shortening it to Ballerina (ankle) length, and accessorising with nude coloured heels. I had already been toying with the idea of ballerina length for this dress, so I checked with my brother's fiance to see if she was ok with it, and she was. I'm glad my boss suggested nude heels, as I was struggling to find a pair of shoes that I already owned that looked good with it, but I hadn't tried my nude heels, and I think they finish off the modern look of this outfit.

I still need to decide on something to cover my shoulders and head from the sun during the ceremony (a wrap, hat or parasol) as well as a bag, but I've still got plenty of time. I'd love anyone's opinions on accessories, and also on whether I should go full length or ballerina (ankle) length.

***UPDATE*** 3/11/16
My Marvelous friend Beccie and I got together yesterday afternoon to take some snaps of our Melbourne cup outfits, as we both forgot to get some on the day. Thanks Beccie, perhaps we need to do this more often for blog outfit photos!

As you can see, I ended up keeping it full length, as I thought it made my legs look longer, haha. I made a removable halter strap, and unraveled and restitched a sun hat into a boater style hat, with the biggest bow I could manage from my leftover fabric.


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Fibre Fest!

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of checking out the Australian Knitting Guilds 30th Birthday Fibre Fest!! I went with my uncle, who taught me to spin, as well as his friend, who he also taught taught to spin, but who also felts. I wasn't sure what it would be like, or even if there would be much for us spinners to look at and buy, but I was pleasantly surprised. The 30 or so stalls were arranged in a few rooms, corridors and verandahs of the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Singleton, and there was so much to see! Plenty of yarns and knitting needles, but also felting supplies, raw fleeces, carded and dyed wool, silk caps, spinning wheels, carders and looms as well as many beautiful finished products for sale such as afghans, baby booties, scarves, berets, bookmarks, brooches and handbags.

The knitting guild had put together a lovely display of novelty knitted food items, including a birthday cake, and many assorted fruits and vegetables, which I thought were just darling.

We all easily spent our money on lots of goodies, and went home full of ideas and inspiration for our next projects, and even had an invitation from one of the vendors, to come visit her and make use of her drum carders if we wished.

Here's an overview of my purchases for the day:

Fabric. Yes, at a knitting event, I found fabric. Did you doubt that I would? These pieces all look roughly 2m each and were $3 a piece or 5 pieces for $12. Some of them are even Michael Miller prints, so they were a total score!

Hand dyed merino in assorted colours, from Gail at Pleasant View Fibres. I'm planning on making rolags from these and trying a variegated spun yarn.

Silk Caps, the leftover ends of the cocoons, made into these cap things and had dyed. Probably one of the most affordable ways to buy silk to spin.

Recycled Sari Silk. Even cheaper way to buy silk, but will probably need to be blended with something else for strength. $9.50 for 100g (and its very light, so 100g goes a long way)

Some hand dyed merino bits and hand dyed Silk from Susanne's House of Wool

All in all I am super happy with my purchases, and have already began stretching out my silk to prepare it for spinning, as well has combining colours into rolags to spin variegated coloured yarns. I am also planning what to make out of those lovely fabrics, I think the Michael Miller ones will have to be dresses for sure!

Anyone else go to Fibre Fest?