Friday, February 5, 2016

Blink and you miss it...









And in the blink of an eye, January is over and February has well and truely taken over.

It's the last official month of summer now, though we're finally getting some consecutive sunny, warm days, so it better continue into March at the very least.

I accidentally took a mini blogging break during January, oops. It wasn't intentional, but boy have I been productive during it. Having a word for the year has been really kind of amazing. Focus indeed.

I always have lots of things on the go at once, both personal projects and work related things, but in the past, I'd always feel guilty for doing one thing when I had 10 other things to do. So, I'd stop doing the thing that I had just started and would start the next thing, only to feel guilty about not doing something else, so I'd stop and the cycle of not-really-getting-anything-much-done would continue.

During January, with my word firmly in my mind, I would slip into my sewing room as often as possible, pick a project and focus on getting it done. Sometimes I would still feel guilty for not doing other things, but instead of stopping, I'd tell myself to focus and voila, things are finally crossed off my list that have been lingering for an embarrassingly long amount of time.

In terms of personal sewing, I made David a cardigan, I sewed some floral pillow cases and I made some wood basket liners which I had been meaning to do ever since we moved into our wee house nearly two years ago. We put a new wood stove into our living room late last year - the old one is in the kitchen, and we found we were spending more time in there than our cosy living room - but the living room has carpet, and all the little sticks and bits of wood that were falling through the basket cracks were driving me nuts. So, one morning, I sat down and made three of them. It was a great feeling putting those liners on those baskets, and they look so pretty.

In sewing patterny-things, my updated Afternoon Blouse with new shift dress pattern went out to testers two weeks ago, I drafted and have finalised a new pattern piece for The Felicity Dress for a wee expansion pack coming really soon, one new summery blouse pattern has been drafted and is ready for grading and another little autumn-y knit dress & top is nearly finished and should be ready for grading next week sometime.

Add to that my mum being here for close to two weeks, Oscar gaining his first 3 teeth in rapid succession (with 3 more very visibly on their way) and deciding that solid foods aren't all that bad and getting the hang of crawling (although backwards, hehe), and I'd call that a focussed and action packed January. Phew! I'm feeling very pleased with myself don't ya know :)

Now I just have to make some time for some picture taking of all of the above, and we'll be back on this ol' blogging wagon soon enough.

How was your January?

xx
J

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Years Resolution...













Happy New Year!!

I think I've been living under a rock - I've only recently come across the notion of choosing a word for the year, instead of writing a long list of resolutions - this seems to have apparently been a thing for a little while now... Any whoo, as soon as I read about this, I was done with my long list of resolutions and I knew almost immediately what my word would be -

Focus. 

It encompasses everything 2015 wasn't and everything I want 2016 to be. It's concise, and well, it's focussed, unlike a long and wordy list of things that are easily forgotten by January 2nd.

I spent the majority of 2015 feeling very scattered, and yes, being pregnant for the first half and then having a baby for the second half was a major reason for this. Little people turn your world upside down don't ya know. I had naive visions of being able to work steadily through while Oscar was sleeping, but I vastly underestimated how much time they take up, mentally and physically, even when asleep. A girl's gotta eat, sleep and shower at some point (never mind the washing or the laundry or the vacuuming or any form of social interaction...).

Oscar had a big impact on my attention span and motivation when it came to this little space and my wee range of sewing patterns. But that didn't mean I was short of ideas. In fact, I went a bit stir crazy with all the ideas I had for my sewing patterns and new little side ventures I could explore (sitting on a couch for hours breastfeeding does that to you). But you guys, it became very clear that I just needed to calm the heck down and focus - which is what I've done quite a lot of ever since I found my word.

So, I've been focusing away and have decided on and planned my next 5 new patterns. I'm not in any rush to release these patterns, goodness knows there are plenty of amazing indie patterns already out there at the moment, but it's nice for me to know what's next. The first is a little update on my very first pattern (it's drafted and graded and now I'm just adding the extra bits to the instructions so it can go out for testing mid-January - keep an eye on your inbox if you signed up to be a tester) and the next is a knit top/dress pattern that I've finally settled on the final variations for and have started drafting.

I've also been working slowly away on a new idea that I had some time ago - dolls and doll kits. It was almost a no brainer when Oscar arrived, even though I know you'd think I'd be more into drafting patterns for kids clothes. But honestly, at the moment, I really have no desire to do children's clothing. This may change in the future, but right now, Oscar grows so quickly out of everything, that I'm sure as soon as I would have finished something, he wouldn't fit it anymore. And dolls are so fun you guys!! I can't wait to share a bit more about them soon.

Focus doesn't just apply to my blog and sewing patterns though. It applies to Oscar - when I'm with him, I need to focus solely on him and what we're doing, not on my long list of To Do's. I need to be in the moment with him, enjoying him and watching him grow and learn. It's going so quickly already.

Focus applies to David and myself. We have a new person to take care of, but that doesn't mean we should neglect each other or ourselves. David and I are both really good at giving each other a break from Oscar duty (not that he's a duty, but you know what I mean. Maybe I should rephrase that to Oscar Watch) but we also have to make the time for hanging out with each other as well as pursuing the individual things that make us happy and give us something to talk about at the end of the day that isn't just what Oscar did (although, that's pretty fun to talk about, let's be honest).

Focus applies to our little home. Ironically, I need a clear space to work and live in, but I'm an inherently messy person. I'm clean and uncluttered, but boy am I messy. Don't walk into my sewing room after I've spent an hour drafting/sewing in there, it's a complete bomb site. But when I do have to work, spending 10 minutes at the start or at the end, clearing a space and giving myself access to the tools I need, means that I can actually spend time efficiently marking things off my list, rather than sifting through piles of fabric and notions looking for my fabric scissors. It applies to my whole house in general, it means at the end of the day, I can relax in a clear space. For me, having a clear space definitely helps with a clear mind.

Focus applies to buying, growing and making our food. We aren't big on takeaways in our house, but boy can we spend up on treats at the supermarket! Focusing on a weekly menu not only allows for us to actually stick to our grocery budget, but it will help at the end of a long day knowing that a healthy dinner is already planned and that the ingredients are waiting in the cupboard. It also means we can focus more on being in touch with the seasons as we plan meals around what we are currently growing. Right now, we're eating a tonne of salads and a lot of beets. Dealing with a bounty of zucchini is next on the menu...

Focus applies to my new mama friends. Having a baby throws you into a whole new world of friendship groups both online and off that are very much needed. I need to nourish these, they stop me constantly questioning if I'm doing it right.

Focus means writing everything down. Emptying my brain of everything that needs doing so I can clear out the mental clutter to focus on what I'm doing in the moment. I used to be a really great list person, I lived on lists and I let that habit slide in 2015. I tried half heartedly here and there to write lists, but always lost them, or forgot about them. Not this year, lists are my friends again.

Focus means truely taking a break when I need one and not feeling guilty for sitting down with a book or taking a nap or staring into space for half an hour. All of those things mean when I do get back to my work or Oscar or making dinner, I'm refreshed and ready for it.

Isn't it amazing how one word can cover all of your goals and hopes for the new year ahead? I know it's all rather arbitrary this new year thing, but a new year kind of gives you permission to wipe the slate clean and start all over again, doesn't it?

So, do you have a word? Are you struggling to come up with one? How about writing your main resolutions down, I'm sure you'll find a common theme within that can be summed up in one word.

Wishing you all a very happy new year, talk soon,

xx
J

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Half Pinafore - A Free Pattern...


Christmas is only nine days away you guys. Eeep!

If you're like me and have left your gift making to the last minute, I've made a little gift for you that will hopefully help you out. It's a free half pinafore pattern; I like to call her Pinny for short (or you may want to call her an apron... whatever floats your boat).


These are super quick to make up and make a sweet and lovely gift for your gardening, baking and crafty friends and family as well as for those who do the washing up - David in a floral half pinny doing the dishes? The gift that keeps on giving...

Plus, they're a great stash buster for all of those pretty remnants of quilting cotton you have laying around.



I like having multiple half pinny's around too, I wear one in the garden to stash away my gloves that I'm forever loosing, and have been wearing one in the kitchen lately while experimenting with ginger bread.

However, as I mentioned above, Christmas is only nine days away, so although these are really quick to make, if you still don't have time to whip one or two up, why not print out the pattern, raid your stash and give it as a little kit to your best crafty friends?

The instructions come with full diagrams and detailed descriptions of each step, just like my regular patterns, and I've provided the pattern itself in a standard A4/letter print-at-home format as well as an A1 print shop version if you wanted to gift the pattern as a kit.




So, do you think you'll be making one or two as gifts? Or even just for yourself? I'd love to see them if you do :)

Speaking of experiments in the kitchen, as you can see in the photo above on the left, our rhubarb is growing like a weed at the moment (and that's only one of the spots it's currently growing!) - do you have any yummy rhubarb recipes that you might care to share? I'd love to hear them!!

Talk soon,

xx
J
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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Your Felicity Dresses...

Hello, hello...

Today I wanted to share some of the lovely Felicity Dresses I've seen around the blogoshere since releasing the pattern. Before I get into it though, I wanted to let you all know that my dear friend Caitlan (who runs Indie Stitches) is now stocking my pdf patterns as well as the paper Bronte Top pattern! Caitlan is in Australia and has some gorgeous indie patterns in her store and come early next year, she'll be stocking a beautiful selection of fabrics as well. I've been lucky enough to have been given a sneaky peek and there are at least four I want straight off the bat.

I'll be adding more suppliers next year and will keep you updated as my little list grows so that you know when one pops up that is close to you. On that note, if there is somewhere in your area that you would like to stock my patterns, please let me know so I can get in touch with them in the new year :)

Anyway, let's ooh and ahh over some beautiful Felicity's shall we?

























I'll be back this week with a free pattern for ya'll! Just in case you've left holiday gift making to the last minute, this may help you out :)

Talk soon,

xx
J