Thursday, January 29, 2009

New dress being constructed

After completing my course at the London College of Fashion, the best advice my tutor gave me was to go home now and design a dress. I did. Made a paper pattern and cut it out of fabric. It sat in my room in the roof for months before I did anything further with it.

This week was the perfect time to get it out and sew it together. I forgot how beautiful this fabric looked together. Trouble was... I'd forgotten what look I was going for so was slightly perplexed when I saw that the back had a big slit up it. Was it cut with intent of a back fastening? Was it cut on the selvedge instead of the fold? Nevertheless, it came as a surprise and I'm now thinking button back fastener.

I also had planned to fully line this dress, but the cotton is very light and the lining would have shown though. Instead I have just lined the breast. Age 4.

Decisions: Binding around the neckline and armholes. Red or brown? Brown sounds bland and red is going to jazz it up a bit. What do you think? Did I just answer my own question?

The WWW lost two pounds this week!! First day in the hot seat was extremely rewarding. I loved being the one to reward weight loosing women with their pound loss. Faces of glimmer after a week of hard work far outweighed the faces of shame for those that cheated here and there. Tip of the week: let a bad day just become a bad day not not roll into a bad week. *to myself: Take your own advice love, you'll go a million miles*

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today is the CPSIA Bloggers unite

Less than two weeks to go now to the crucial date of Feb 10, when the CPSIA comes into effect. This far-reaching act is starting to be noticed by more than just the sellers it affects directly, with coverage in some news programmes and the US national press. I agreed to do a CPSIA post today as part of a group of Etsy sellers that are affected by this law (thread is here). As it currently stands, the following extract of text will be posted on 165 blogs today, but the number is growing rapidly.

"As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:

Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:

Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:

Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:

Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:

Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:

Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:

Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:

Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:

Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes:

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law:

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

I'm in the UK, so why do I care enough to blog about it? Firstly, it will affect me as an international seller, although it's still unclear how... Some people say it's okay to sell to the States as we're not duty bound to comply to US law, others say that Customs will destroy items as without the requisite testing and certificates they will be deemed 'hazardous'. Unlike American sellers on Etsy, I will at least still be able to advertise my apparel as available to ship to other countries outside the States; strictly speaking I don't believe American sellers are able to export non-tested / non-certified items. I have made a lot of friends through Etsy and Craftster who will likely lose their precious and hard-earned livelihoods.

If you would like to show your support for cause, feel free to copy any or all of the text of this post into your own blog and spread the word

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tea, Tees and Sequins...

A wonderful morning over tea and embellishments was had with me and Michelle doing something we both love. Let me remind loyal readers, or those new or first time about Michelle. Many years ago (well, not that many - 5/6 years ago) I admired the most amazing knitted work of hers. She created the most beautiful beaded blankets... In fact, I was lucky enough to have been gifted one for the Nosh when he was born. Now, all nicely packaged up in his memory box.


Anyway, after tea and biscuits with her that morning, 5/6 years ago, she sent me off on my way with a ball of acrylic (black), two size 4mm needles and a Teach Yourself to Knit book by Zoe Mellor. From that day on, many fibres, frustrations and techniques later (I thank her for that initial inspiration) and we're sitting here together this morning, embellishing t-shirts for the fair. Thank you so much for your help. x So, with tees beaded, buttoned and sequined... we're ready to go!


Next up and ready to go, is this pretty summer halterneck dress. Age 6.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm a WWW. A weight watcher weigher

First day in the job was great fun, even though it was more of a observant one. 'Tis an awfully important job weighing fluctuating women (myself included). All consciously aware women in one room at one time talking about the lifestyle they love and the lifestyle they want. I say "women" because thats all we were, gossiping women sipping tea and snacking on bananas (or weight watcher bars), no men included (albeit invited). I'm in the hot seat on Tuesday, wish me luck. "Step on the scales please..."

Now, with regards my upcoming craft fair my stomach is in knots. Is that normal? I'm on Shpilkes. Why? Oy vey! I think it could be a slight anxiety attack or more of an "Am I going to get finished in time?" kinda nerves, or an over presumptuous "what happens if I sell out". Is that normal? All t-shirts are done and hand finished with buttons, beads and sequins. Oh, and this is a sample halterneck dress too that needs finishing. Age 6.

The photography hasn't had much practice this week due to the weather. The weather plays a major factor for great natural light, be it in my house or be it in general I dont know, but I've concluded this dark house needs sunshine. And, thats why, even though I am eco aware, unfortunately this house screams un-eco-friendly-neighbour-resides-here for the amount of energy that expels us. Lights, lights, lights. Oy, I can hear my Ubba now "close off the lights if there's nobody in the room!..."

In the meantime, I've been recycling. This is an old Armani skirt of mine which is way too big that I've been holding onto for years, just because it was expensive and designer (??). It was either chuck out or cut up.

Now, cut up to make the Goofy Pants trousers from the Ottobre 6/08 magazine for the Nosh (size 86).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Farmisht with the camera

Photography. Hands up if your good at it? *looking around and swinging my arms low*... Well, I'm teaching myself, and oy vey, you'd think with the ease of digital, autoflash, autofocus and all those fancy schmancy icons on the camera you'd be able to take a professional looking photo. Not the case! I've been conscious of my photographs for a while now and my amateur photography needs to step up (I feel).

This all comes in light of my planned opening of an Etsy store (probably next month), and there is nothing worse than lacking confidence in buying goods from a website with amateur looking photos. Or am I wrong? In fact, I think its the skill of the photographer that professionalises our handmade goods. With professional looking photos and obviously a high standard of ones art or craft, I think you are entitled to ask for top dollar pound (I don't think I'll attempt selling Stateside since the introduction of the CPSIA but thats another story).

Natural light seems to be what everyones queuing for and it seems that I must have the darkest house in the photographic world. *sigghhhhhh* And, a good contrasting backdrop. So, my photographic studio comprises of my conservatory at the back of my house, a couple of meters of crisply ironed fabric and my Sony Cybershot 8megas.

So, that's what I've been up to, practising photographing my appliqued t-shirts that I'm making for the craft fair on the 28th February (details to be posted shortly for those of you local ;) ).

Oh, and this is my label, or have I shown you this before? *Scratching head wondering*. Sorry if I have, but I just love it. Also, this was taken whilst learning about the tulip looking icon. I know these photos still need alot of practice.

In other news... I'm gonna be a weigh-er at the weight watchers class (that I've neither attended nor observed for months and months). So, I guess I gotta stick with it now.


The Nosh had his first week at nursery, arrrhhhhhh. Photos in the sidebar. My little choochkie started nursery on Monday. And my big choochkie was such a proud big brother telling all his mates about it in the school line up Monday morning. *Just love you boys so much*.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Baby its cold outside...

...and I'm here ga-ga ga-ing at the sewing machine.

I've seen a Singer 201K baby on Ebay and oh my goodness its to die for. OK, I know it wont sit nicely in a box next to my shoes, or tucked away in my cupboard with the china, but its complete with all accessories, with a sit-in table, worn and hard used by a dressmaker with (I guess) tons of history behind it. Oh I love it. Its a steal. Bids start at £10. 10 quid!!

Now, I'm not one to buy anything (big or small, cheap or expensive, of interest or not) without conferring with Hubby. Its not for approval or permission or decisions... its just the thing that we do. You know, some do the food shopping together, some do the school run together, some tell eachother bedtime stories... see, however lovely, however different we all do something, if not, all of the aforementioned.

So, I asked 'bout the £10 Singer and what with his history about the mannequins I wasn't expecting a promising answer... he said yes. YES. Goodness. Then, I had to express my joy and talk about how its one of the best Singers ever made blah blah blah, and that it does EVERYTHING from ruffles, to pleats, to binding, to quilting, blah blah blah ... EVERYTHING. And... that it has its own table and foot peddle, blah de blah. I was right there, dancing away with the bobbins...

Table! No. Flat, just like that. Here have a lolly, suck a lolly ... take the damn lolly away... NO!

But, I love it, and I've been looking at it for 2 days now and I've only got another 3 days 14 hours left to look at it.

Its attractive, isn't it? Would it look nice in the hall a vase of flowers on it. Obviously when not in action.

Just dreamin'

Monday, January 05, 2009

As if one wasn't enough already

I remember when Stella joined our household. Stella, cooeee in the background - you still bring me such pleasure and you look gorgeous glammed up in broaches and neck wear. Oh the shame, that's my yard meter stick running through her acting out a rail during this credit crunch.

Well, as if one mannequin in the house wasn't enough, I had to go and buy another. But, this ones 6-12 months and everso everso cute. She's about 18" high, perfect. She looks adorable dressed - ahem, in one of my t-shirt applique designs (an elephant in case you didn't know - close ups here and here.)

One person in the household who isn't too keen on her... yep, you guessed right, Hubby "your not bringing anymore of those things in here are you?". THINGS!! Oy vey I'm all light-headed.

Anyway, in other news... My paper bags arrived yesterday. Hot pink, small. They're ok, not fantastic quality, but they'll do. *so excited* My white t-shirts arrived today - all 135 of them (ages 2-8). They are lovely quality and I can't wait to get started.

The Bubela is back at school tomorrow after this long holiday. Its been lovely, full of activities, visits and late nights and I'm gonna miss you. In fact, I'm starting to get slightly anxious about the Nosh starting nursery in a couple of weeks. So many excuses why its not good enough for him and so many excuses why he's not ready yet. He's still a baby. Yes, he's my baby and I may not be ready to let go yet. Heart flutters and eyes welling suggest I stop about that just here.

Snowing outside!!!!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 - Welcome

Dearest Readers, Happy and healthy new year to you all. May I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

I'm not one for resolutions anymore. I just go by one moto, give more than the year before. Its a good one and it can mean so much in many ways. And this year I intend to give, to love and to cherish more than I did the year before... and of course crochet that recieving blanket, sew those kiddie clothes and learn another skill for the year ahead.

Much love.