Friday, 12 July 2019

Faux Taxidermy Triceratops Kit

Faux Taxidermy Triceratops Knitting Kit: Sincerely Louise

Recently, since we are now into the second half of the year, I saw quite a few people posting updates on how they are getting on with their #2019makenine. And it gave me a bit of a metaphorical kick up the bum, because I'm not really on track. 

Basically, I've been letting myself get distracted by all number of things- mostly making as many handmade gifts for people as I possibly can - and combining that with the fact that we're currently working on the living room, which means that a lot of the furniture and general living room stuff has been relocated temporarily into my sewing room, has made it a little harder for a procrastination champ like myself to get on with things. 

Seeing these posts, though, I realised that although so far I've only finished one thing from the list (the Liberty dino dress I posted about here), the second thing was pretty close. So I took my big needle to it and stitched this kit together. 

I think this Sincerely Louise triceratops kit was a birthday present at least two years ago, possibly even longer. It's been one of those things which I wasn't sure when I would get around to doing it, but decided I had no excuse and popped it on the list for this year's challenge.

As it was nicely self-contained with everything I needed, I decided to take it with me on a weekend away recently. It's not uncommon for me to take a knitting project with me, and I decided I could kill two birds with one stone, as it were. I found that with the wool being so chunky, it took me next to no time to get all of the pieces knitted - the pattern and instructions are very easy to follow, which I've found with SL patterns in the past, too. (I've made a badger scarf and a diplodocus scarf in the past, as well as some other things which never made it onto the blog) .

Anyhow, an episode of Lucifer and a bag of stuffing later, and here it is. 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

An irregular obsession..


I don't think I can have been more than sixteen when I first came across a pair of Irregular Choice shoes in the flesh. So, I'd been to the Bullring (the nearest big shopping centre to me when I was in my teens) and had discovered Schuh, the former IC stockist. And completely fell in lust with them. They were cream, flat boots with images of cowgirls on the sides and actual metal spurs on the backs. I saved up my wages from waiting tables and my monthly allowance and probably my dinner money too, in order to afford a train ticket to Birmingham and this amazing pair of boots. And at the time, it was probably the most expensive thing I'd ever purchased. I had that happy buzz on the train home, along with a kind of feeling of "how could I be so frivolous", which I've experienced oh so many times since. 

My collection has certainly grown since then, but the feelings of "ooh, this is amazing" have very rarely subsided.

Gem recently posted here about her similar feelings on the brand which we share a love for, and I am in total agreement, to be honest. My collection grew slowly over those first few years, with the internet only just starting to become a thing. I used to save up and buy the pairs I loved the most each season from Schuh. I remember paisley swan prints, teddy bear prints, ice cream prints and unicorns with big pink ankle ties, as being some of the first ones I was able to buy full price (I was at Uni at this point and probably saved all of my student loan for this alone). Lets Buy Shoes (an IC discount website) was a god-send.

Over the years, the styles and releases became larger and more frequent and I was constantly amazed with the new and unusual ideas that came out. Ice cream cone shaped heels. Glitter, orange velvet, robots, I don't think there was ever a season where I didn't have some serious lust going on when the lookbook popped through the door.

Having built up a lot of my collection second hand through eBay, or discount websites, I was so excited on actually visiting the Carnaby Street store than I came away with several pairs of shoes and some clothes, too. Remember when they did clothes?! I wish they still did.

Anyway, the years went by and just when I thought things couldn't get any more out there, in 2013 they only went and released a shoe with a heel in the shape of a bunny. Honestly, my mind was blown and there began an era of wondering just what they would come up with next. The following year we got deer heels, and then I stop remembering - the releases merge but we've had dinosaurs, ballerinas which actually play music in the heel, pandas, unicorns, and lots more, not to mention all of the huge collaboration releases with Disney. (Disney isn't really my thing but I'm always intrigued to see where they go with these).

More recently, I've lost interest in some of the more recent releases; I almost felt they were becoming a little more mainstream and too staid for my liking. I love glitter as much as the next person, but plain glitter heels in heights which I find uncomfortably low, just weren't my cup of tea.

So, it seemed pretty fitting to me that this year, as part of the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the brand, Irregular Choice decided to bring some of those amazing character heels back...with bells on. This not only sees the re-release of amazing characters such as the dinosaurs, but added intrigue such as sounds, neon lights and oh so much glitter. Fluff, flowers, removable embroidery embellishments; honestly when I saw the release photos there wasn't a detail I didn't adore. (Well, except for those scary gnomes.)

I'll post more photos as soon as I can, but I've happily made space on my shelves in the shoe room (which I also plan to post about soon) for these and I'm super pleased that after all these years they're still able to bring the wow factor.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Tuesday Titles 173: Ali McNamara blog tour..

Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay

The sun is shining on the golden castle on Rainbow Bay - and change is in the air!

Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie - but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can't quite believe her ears. But it's true!

She soon finds that owning a castle isn't quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she'd first hoped: she can't sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.

Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there - and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It's only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve..

As you can probably tell from the description, this is pitched to be a pretty feel-good, summertime read. I'm imagining sitting out on a sunny terrace and enjoying with a cold glass of juice. 

It's pretty saccharine, in the way that you'd expect a book about someone inheriting a remote castle to be, and I thought that the story could have been told just as happily and successfully without the supernatural element. 

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Dior: Designer of Dreams {part 3}..


Walk into the next room and you get a sudden feeling of stepping back into Regency times. Exquisite detailing and tailored shapes.


Again, the nipped in waists giving that 1950s New Look silhouette, which has come to be expected of Dior's designs. 


I particularly liked this design for the embellished bows all down the front seam. Personally I'm not a fan of centre-front seams, but this is a good way of drawing attention away from that. 


Cropped matching jackets - possibly to enhance the waist shape even further? And me sneaking into the reflection of the photo in the background.. 


Frankly, who doesn't need a taffeta trouser suit? I really like the waistcoat detail too. 


So. Much, Embellishment. 

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Here be giants..


I must admit, I don't think I realised that taking a trip to Belfast would make me feel so uninformed. Whilst I had a vague understanding of the history and "Troubles", I don't think I'd expected it to be so apparent even now, when speaking to people, which side they fell into, or what their beliefs are. Having said that, we had a really great weekend and found everyone to be super welcoming and friendly. 


On the Sunday of our trip, we got up fairly early and headed into the city to hop onto our bus tour for the day. The main destination on the cards was Giant's Causeway; a collection of basalt columns (about forty-thousand of them in total). Volcanoes are pretty cool, I guess. 


Our coach parked up at the visitor centre and we walked along the coastal pathway for a couple of miles until we could see the towers of rock. I kept getting around each corner, looking across and thinking "is that it?!" but in actual fact, when I did see them, it was quite an impressive sight. 


As we got closer to the towers, it's more impressive to see how the years have shaped them. Naturally, we did some exploring. And took some photos. 


Plenty of photos in fact. 


I think this may have been taken in the middle of some dance or other which I was trying to do. I was wearing my newly made Turia dungarees, plus thick tights due to the freaky Storm Hana weather. It was pretty cloudy and rainy all day. 


One of the stops on the tour bus was literally in a lay-by so that we could take photos of this castle ruins. I don't recall what it was called. 


Just chilling on the rocks. As you do. 


Next stop was at the Bushmills Distillery - not much of a destination for someone like me who doesn't like whiskey, but there was the chance to get a coffee. Becks and Lucy ordered a set of three tasting shots of whiskey and we played a game of trying to decide which one tasted the least like paint stripper, so that was entertaining. 


Then, back on the bus to head for the next stop, which was Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. One for the next post.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Liberty dinosaur Betty..

Fabric: Liberty Rumble and Roar Tana Lawn {sold out} 
I can't remember exactly when I first found this fabric. I remember seeing it on someone's instagram feed and thinking how absolutely perfect it was. Even though I had no firm plans for it, I ordered two metres from Liberty London pretty much immediately, and let it languish in my fabric stash for a couple of years. I have a couple of other Liberty fabrics sat around waiting to become garments and a couple of dresses which I've made with some of their gorgeous tana lawn, but sometimes I think it's the kind of fabric which scares me a little to cut into it. You know, that feeling where you think you don't want to cut into it for fear of ruining it..

Pattern: SOI Betty Dress 
Well, I found and was reminded of it last summer and decided enough was enough> two metres of fabric are no use to me sitting in a box, so what I needed to do was pick a pattern and get on with it. I decided to go with the old favourite Sew Over It Betty dress. It's a pattern I've used time and again and I know it's a good fit for me without needing much tweaking. I pinned out the pattern pieces, got distracted, and then packed it all up into a box because I was moving house. So, it took a few months before I picked it up again.

Collar: self-drafted using pins and tissue paper
I don't know whether it was cheating to include this dress in my #2019makenine post, but I did. And, to be honest, I'm glad that I did because it's now June and I've only managed one from nine. Argh! 

Anyhow, I don't have a huge amount to say on the construction process - I've made this dress so many times before that I could probably do it in my sleep. I made a sleeveless bodice with a green twill lining (I just found it in my statsh and there was enough of it and it was in the right colour for this fabric, which is a little too thin to go unlined) and also attached some light tulle net into the skirt as I gathered it up for extra volume. 

As I finished up the hem and popped it on the mannequin, I decided there was something missing. I couldn't decide whether to make some bows to go on the shoulders (which I've done with this dinosaur one and really liked, although it does make wearing a cardigan over them a little bulky), or whether to add a Peter Pan collar. After a little IG Stories poll.......I completely disregarded the results and set about pinning some tissue paper to the neckline, so that I could figure out the shape and size of the collar I had in mind. (I *must* have a pattern piece for a PP collar somewhere, but I'll admit that not all of my sewing room boxes are unpacked yet, so who knows where it may be). 


As a final touch, I managed to find a length of ribbon (one drawer which has been sorted out at least) which was the perfect colour and length to add a little bow. I've stitched it in place so so that I don't have to worry about faffing with tying it up or it coming loose. 

So, one down out of my #2019makenine and let's ignore the fact that we're already halfway through the year. 

Friday, 31 May 2019

Dior: Designer of Dreams (part 2)..

It seemed about time for another little instalment of pictures from the Dior exhibit I visited recently, following on from my first post here.


 As a keen amateur dressmaker, one of my favourite things about exploring the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit was just to take in the construction of some of the amazing works of art.

Bows on the bodice detail - I'm a sucker for a bow.


I adore the tailored, nipped in waist on this jacket.


Some of the displays showed samples of the fabrics used, and also detailed the design process, which I found pretty fascinating.


The detail on this dress was just incredible. From afar, it looks like feathers, but the effect is made from layers of net and sequins.


It looks amazing up close, and like feathers from further away. 


Everything was incredible - the attention to detail stunning and we're only in the second room (of many).