A place where lazy bloggers can come and feel better about themselves. The rest of you are welcome too.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Frou frou saves Christmas

Mass production is blergh. Buy handmade for Christmas.

Frou frou takes it easy

Remy has had contrary day. I think the poor guy might be teething. So we just hung out together on the couch, watching Deadwood. But, wait! Don't call Child, Youth and Family on me! He hears far worse language at home... No! What I mean is that he was asleep during it. Yes, asleep.

So, it was a slow sewing day today. But it was a day with many, many cuddles, frequent cups of tea and even a little nana nap. Very soothing to the soul.

Anyway, I've cut out the next five hoodies for Craft2.0. Now they are sitting in my sewing room, daring me to sew them... I'll get onto it tomorrow. I also have about five half-finished hoodies that all have one of two things that need to be done but I just haven't been able to muster the enthusiasm. True to form I'll probably wait until the very last minute to finish them.

I guess I'm on track for Craft2.0. I still haven't got my labels sorted and I have to figure out what prices to charge. I hate this part of the business - I don't have the confidence yet to boldly charge what the item actual cost me to make - but I have to remind myself that this is not for charity! There are also other constraints, like what others are charging for similar stuff, and sometimes it all gets too hard to think about. Blimey, business is complicated.

Remy and I are off to Nelson to visit his great grandparents the day after Craft2.0 - can't wait! Nana is cleaning out her fabric stash at the moment, and we have similar taste when it comes to fabric, so I might get lucky. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Frou frou-licious


So my plan to make the biscuits smaller so I would eat less worked out. Oh yeah, it was big success.
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Manly frou frou

One of the very special men in my life just might get this shirt made for them for Christmas. Any thoughts on the type of material I should use?
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A frou frou day ends with tea and bickies.

Wellington put on another stunning early summer day today so Remy and I got out and about to make the most of it.

On the way into town, I found my first ever book crossing books. I've been desperate to find some of these - I love the idea of releasing books from bookshelves into the open where a new family can enjoy them. And both books look crime related and I can't pass up the odd good and satisfying murder or two. But only in books. Otherwise I firmly believe that murder is very naughty.

I had a splurge in my least favourite fabric shop today. Yeah, I know, why spend money there if I hate them but they do have one thing in their favour - fabric I can't get anywhere else. The easiest way to describe why they annoy me is to list why my favourite ever fabric shop, Global Fabric on Garrett Street, totally ROCKS:
- they always generously measure the fabric;
- they warn me how much the fabric will shrink by when I wash it (especially helpful when I'm buying little bits which I often do because kids are also little bits);
- they have 10 trip cards;
- they give me decent sized samples when I need them;
- they price the fabrics well - no greedy mark-up in this shop;
- their remnants are very well priced and usually a decent size.

So there, least favourite fabric shop - start doing some of these things and I might change my mind about you. But thanks for the fabric today anyway.

Darling Remy is now fast asleep in bed. He got a new toy today and was enthralled with it. I had a hard time convincing him that it was ok to leave it in the lounge so he can get up and play with it tomorrow. I guess we've still got to tackle object constancy.

Remy went to sleep at about 7, so I finally made the chocolate chip biscuits I'd been planning to make forever. Tonight, in a rare and brave show of restraint, I made the biscuits about half the size I usually would to (hopefully) encourage me to eat fewer of them, and therefore make them last longer. So far, it just means that I have a Texan-sized serving of biscuits begging me to eat them.

Pearly frou frou


I think I've solved the button/back delima for V's dress - an absolute mass of pearls.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Urban frou frou

Another finished hoodie for Craft2.0! Wohoo!

This hoodie fits a newborn to three month old. I think it's for a boy but I suppose it's probably unisex. I'm not going to attempt anything similar anytime soon - the bias around the arms and outside was a total pain, and the inner material was, um, kinda yuck to sew. I like the overall look of the hoodie, and especially the inner, but it wasn't worth it time wise. Live and learn!


And now I'm going back into my sewing cave...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Frockish frou frou

I've been working solidly to get little V's dress to the point where we can have a fitting. It's in two parts for the fitting - there would be tears if I had tackled attaching the skirt just to have to undo it all again to make it fit!

I really love the colour combination and I think it works with the 50s silloutte buuuuuuuuut there seems to be a little something missing. I haven't quite put my finger on what it is yet.

I think it has to do with the sash. My first thought was to go with the pink silk - the colour is beautifully vibrant, has a lovely texture and drape, plus the pink matches the pink stripe perfectly - but I'm tempted to experiment with other options too. I'm considering this silver/pink ribbon but, eh, it's not grabbing me.

V's mum asked for the dress to have sleeves. I've made a frilly capped sleeve - they should be nice and airy in the hot summer sun, and I think they fit with the overall feel of the dress. I had to hand hem the edges - it took me forever but the result made the work well worth it.

I don't like to use traditional interfacing techniques. I think those little bits of material look cheap and I'm not convinced they work very well. Instead I make double of the piece that will have interfacing and use that as the interfacing. Hrrmmm, not explained very well I'm afraid... Anyway, I use this bigger interfacing to cover all the seams too so the finished item is satisfyingly tidy.

On this dress, I've also doubled the closing so that the two pieces overlap instead of just meeting. I think I'll add two rows of pearl buttons down the back.

I figure that the guests will probably spend a lot of time looking at the kids' backs during the ceremony so I want to add something interesting for them to look at.

For once I'm getting out of my sewing room for an afternoon - I'm having sushi with the lovely Dr Phil Wise. Hopefully we'll be able to eat outside to make the most of this stunning weather!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Frou frou goes to the seaside


Wohoo! I've finished the first Craft2.0 jacket. Only 99 messes waiting to be finished left in my sewing room...

Anywho, back to celebrating this one. I like the way this jacket says "hulllllllllo beachy goodness". The inner also reminds me of hammocks. Mmmmmm, hammocks.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Frou frou gets busy

I've had a super day. The sun is streaming into the house and I've got so much done. I'm feeling much, much calmer about meeting all my deadlines. Sweet Jesus, I've just realised that this business is starting to become work. Eh, who cares on a day like today and I know I'll be grateful in winter when I can stay in my jim-jams all day and laugh at people going into the office.

I've cut out a dress this morning that I just can't wait to get started on but this frock (and a suit) have their very own story so they will have their own post soon.

As well as the hoodies I'm making for Craft2.0, I have a number of commissions on the go. I luuuuuurve the commissions. I think the two parts I like best are, first, sitting down and chatting about what the customer is looking for, and then delivering the item and seeing the amazed look on their face. So far, touch wood, those amazed faces have been happy faces and not shocked, oh-dear-lord-what-a-monstrosity faces.

I'm making a hoodie for a lovely little girl we'll call M. The base material is a quilting cotton. I love the quality of quilting materials and they're often heavily patterned (totally my thing), so I'm always on the look out for them. I'm completely in love with this particular material so it was hard to make the first cut...but I got over it!

I've been asked by two other friends for hoodies for boys. Even though I have a little boy myself, I still find it hard to choose materials for boys. I think it's because I'm accustomed to shopping for material for myself so I gravitate towards the girlie fabrics. Having said that, I enjoy making clothes for boys because I know how hard it is to find great clothes for boys.

Actually, that's how this all started. I searched for edgey boys clothes for Remy and kept ending up with blue clothes with tractors, cars, and other assorted machinery on them. Bits and pieces like that are ok (for pajamas that is) but not for an entire wardrobe. I started making clothes for him and now here I am, making clothes for other babies and not him!

Speaking of Remy, I'm going to indulge myself and post a photo of him here.

Oh, I just love that little face!

Wedding frou frou

I have a very exciting commission on the go at the moment - a dress for a three year old girl and a suit for a six year old boy. The special occasion is their parents' wedding.

The suit has been great fun from the very start. Lovely little F has an enviable sense of style and an obsession with cheetahs. This was a good opportunity to combine the two things, and, ta da! A safari suit with appliqued cheetahs was born. Well, conceived.

I've used raw (or natural) silk for the suit. It's lovely and light to wear (the wedding is in January and it'll probably be very, very hot), and even if it does crinkle a little with all the sitting down, a slightly dishevelled safari suit will still be classy. The material is ok to sew with but some of the detail, like the top stitching, is lost because of its texture.

The family is down south at the moment, so I've got the pants of the suit as finished as possible without a fitting. Once the fitting is done, there is just the waistband, zip and hem to do. As you can see, I've made them extra long because I'm pretty sure that F is taller than the average six year old.

I cut out the jacket out this morning. I'm a little nervous about it actually. I want the jacket to have a safari feel but I don't want it to be too...um...I guess too much like a costume, though I have every confidence that F would be able to carry it anyway. I've also not been able to find cheetah print material for the appliqued cheetahs so I am experimenting with painting my own. Hrm, quite a considerable task but rather good fun at the same time.

I found these fabulous buttons yesterday. Rather cheetah-esque don't you think?

V is a gorgeous girl bursting with life and isn't frou frou by nature, but this is a wedding, and so a party frock is called for.

I've put together three materials for the dress and have a vaguely 50s idea for the dress.

The main material is the pink, green, and silver/blue stripe; with the pink silk I plan on making a wide sash, gathering it at the sides and having a long bow at the back; and the silver/blue silk dupion is for an underskirt (it's nice and firm so it will add volume and shape to the skirt which may have been a little floppy looking if I'd just used the cotton). I plan on a very full skirt because this is a party frock gosh darn it; plus I want V to be comfortable and still able to run around, and I also want the skirt to withstand all the sitting down, so having a full skirt, and the underskirt in dupion silk, will help avoid crinkles.

I need to hunt down some buttons for the frock too. Not even sure where to start at this stage (possibly pearls??) but I'm sure it will come to me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Medicinal frou frou

Ahhh, there's nothing like a good cup of tea and a lie down.

And speaking of cups of tea, this was an especially good one - white peony in a Queen Anne bone china cup.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Frou frou gone sad.

I'm feeling tired and old and a bit fragile today. This endless broken sleep is taking a toll, so much so that I'm wondering if I'm going to get everything done.

I've been approached by a government department to come and work for them. Actually, they've contacted me a number of times, the first time being when Remy was only 6 weeks old!

I know that the hours would be part-time, and the money would be a welcome relief from relying on one income alone, but just the thought of returning to paid, in-an-office work makes me feel extra tired, even though it wouldn't be until after Christmas when, hopefully, Remy would be sleeping for longer stretches. And I'm not sure what it would mean for my brand-new, truly-my-passion business.

Maybe this is the time to decide if I'm completely and utterly all-in with van Rose? Or perhaps I can do both policy and van Rose? Hrrrmmmm. Maybe today is the day I have an afternoon sleep and decide not to decide anything...

Frou frou finds a home

Now that my beloved sewing machine is home safe, I've started on the pile of hoodies I plan to sell at Craft2.0 but, instead of showing unfinished work this time, I thought I'd dig out photos of some of my hoodies that have new homes.

Lovely little James is modeling one of the jackets I made over winter. The outer is a wool mix and the inner is a lovely soft stretch cotton. The buttons are the most extraordinary things - they're bakelite and have cute little dogs on them chasing a ball.

The next jacket has an outer of a medium weight cotton in fine red and white stripe from the secret Super Second-hand Store, an inner of quilting cotton that was orginally used in a skirt for me (this is made from the remains of that material), and the buttons are handmade (I think lazor cut and handpainted) from Nancy's in Thorndon.

My first ever hoodie! This went to the nicest home and has loads of good karma because selling this hoodie gave me the confidence to start making more stuff to sell.

One day, I'll take some photos of the clothes I've made that aren't hoodies. Won't that be refreshing?!

Monday, November 19, 2007


My sewing machine has returned home! If you need me, I'll be in my sewing room.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another day, another cake

We have a new-ish rule in our house about junk food - if you want to eat it, you have to make it. So when either of us have a craving, we either have to make it ourselves or convince the other one to make it for us, rather than running down to the shops to pick it up.

The rule came about for a number of reasons. It was hard to reconcile eating mass manufactured, chemical and additive-laden food with our slow food beliefs. Also, when you are as poor as church mice like us, those chocolate biscuits are really expensive compared to homemade ones! We can also use higher quality ingredients in our cooking, so we actually end up with better, tastier, relatively healthier 'junk' food plus it's cheaper.

Parenthetically, there are moments when this all falls apart and we scoff chippies with reduced cream and powdered onion soup dip. Mmmmmm.

Tonight we both needed cake, and dinner was vaguely middle eastern, so I made Stephanie Alexander's yogurt and semolina cake. I made this for the first time a couple of weeks ago for my darling partner's birthday, so I was confident that it would quell the craving.

It's very simple - no need for the cake mixer because it uses olive oil instead of butter - and quick to make. Once out of the oven, a simple syrup flavoured with orange zest is poured over the top. Yum!

I should really be in bed but...

...as i was about to close the laptop for the day, I remembered that I was planning to blog about one of my crafty projects.

This is a detail of a pocket from a (nearly complete) sleeveless hoodie for a girl:

Now this is possibly even more than Frou Frou with capital Fs. The outer material is from Donna Karen New York, the inner stripes are quilting material and the blue gingham is from the secret Super Second-hand Store. I'm also going to use vintage buttons that I picked up from good ol' TradeMe.

I used the pocket pattern from a dress and altered it a little to suit here. I was rather hoping that they would look more gathered and be more puffy but I'll make sure that happens the next time I want this kind of pocket.

Ooo, buttons you say?

As mentioned yesterday, I had a clean up in my sewing room. I must have spent about 20 minutes playing around with the two tins of buttons I have because I just love buttons.

Now I sound slightly deranged and I was rather hoping to avoid that for a while yet.

In my defence, my mother drove me to it. You see, there were four kids in my family and we lived in a very isolated spot where it used to rain All The Time (I remember one 'summer' where there wasn't a single day without rain), so she had to find easy and cheap ways for us to keep ourselves entertained. One activity* involved seeing what we could make from the enormous jar of buttons she had picked up in a garage sale one time. I totally loved doing this and would make and re-make stuff over months.

So, I'm sure that's why I have a thing for buttons now.

*other activities included playing tennis down the hallway with my sister acting as a net, and drawing hopscotch grids on the hall carpet. Yes, it was a rather large house now I come to think about it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thanks Nana

Ahhhh. The house is clean(ish) and tidy(ish) again.

In the blitz, I cleaned my sewing room. As geeky as this sounds, this is a job I love doing. I always uncover things I'd forgotten about. This time I rediscovered a bunch of patterns from my grandmother and two of my great-grandmothers.

There is a big pile of patterns, and I know I'm very lucky to have them, but there are only a few things I'd actually make (well, that I could actually make). I'd like to attempt one of these dresses during the summer:

Now all I need to do is decide what dress, get a whole lot of stunning fabric, find loadsa time and patience. It will happen!