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Sunday Funday!





I spent the first half of this year focusing more on the training side of my career, and I learnt a few important things from that. Like, it’s wonderful working for a project manager who expects you to be the expert in designing, creating and delivering training, and lets you work accordingly. And that I really do have a big picture bent, so I have to see the outcome first and then plan out the pieces that will go into creating that. If I get to do things that way, everything comes together so easily. (I’d already learnt that I’m not so good at just getting in and starting work on something if I’m not allowed to look at it from all angles first.)

But as much as I loved working in that way, I also wasn’t getting any time to sew. My poor machine didn’t get touched for nearly 3 months… and I felt like something was missing.

What I was able to do when I wasn’t working was to spend some time on my own professional development. There’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a good couple of years now, and so I’ve been brushing up my skills in that area (as well as doing a couple of business courses).

To get my creative juices flowing, I started by drawing some bunnies.  Mostly these were bunnies I found on the internet, some were pictures sent to me by friends.

And then I decided it was time to learn how to draw using new tools. So I created a digital self-portrait.

Digital self-portrait
I think I finally worked out how to draw using my computer!

Following on to that it was time to design the invitations for a significant birthday party. Like one of those ones that end in a zero. I wanted something fun, so I searched out some penguins, then drew this guy.

Digital drawing of a penguin, dressed up for a party
Why do penguins always make me think of dancing and partying? Maybe it’s the Bluebird ad that does it to me…

I actually have a goal for all this digital drawing.  So today this is what I’ve been working on.

Can you work out what it is I’m really teaching myself to do here? Well… you’ll have to stay tuned until the 1st of September. If you want to get updates, why not sign up for my brand new newsletter, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, where I’ll be using the hashtag #SpringsWings for updates on this project.

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Welcome to the Great WSBN Sewing Room Tour – Last Stop: Me!

You may have seen me make mention a couple of times of a group that I’m part of called the WSBN: Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network.  We’re a group of somewhat single like-minded women who share a joy of sewing.  In the middle of winter, Gemma from Sixty Six Stitches suggested that we kickstart our mid-winter blogging again with a tour of all our sewing rooms.  Most of us acquiesced, the tour started on the first day of September (the first day of spring!) and now we’ve arrived at the end (slightly behind schedule, I will admit (and it’s all my fault).

If you want to start at the very beginning, pop on over to Gemma’s post, which was the first stop on the tour, and follow us all the way through.

Now, when I signed up for this, I knew I had a holiday booked, and a market to prepare for the day after I got home (and for the two weeks before I left) but I was feeling confident that I could still make it happen, as long as I had a couple of days grace after my return.  So I was scheduled for the 22nd.

For your titillation, I actually did take some photos on the 21st, while my workroom was in full post-market chaos.

WARNING, it ain’t pretty. Continue reading Welcome to the Great WSBN Sewing Room Tour – Last Stop: Me!

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A little hiatus

Hello folks.

I’ve decided that as I’m still trying to get caught up on my making from the last fabrics of the weeks, I’m going to take a little hiatus this week.  I think it’s better that I do that, than try to push myself madly and end up getting run down again.

In the meantime, here’s something else I’ve worked on recently…

It’s WoW season at the moment – a big event in the Wellington cultural calendar.  Entries are received from all over the world for the extravaganza, and many tourists from around New Zealand, Australia and further abroad too.  The retail sector in Wellington has a bit of fun with these type of events, and many stores will have fantastically decorated windows as part of the festivities.  We do this sort of thing for major movie premieres too.

This year it was my turn to do the WoW window at Made it.  I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a year or so for this, so it was pretty satisfying to turn it into reality.

Detail view of the bodice on our WoW window dress. It is black, and features external boning made from umbrella ribs.
Dress for the weather

Wellington has a bit of a reputation for being a windy city (you can say that either way – wind speeds of 100+km/hr aren’t that uncommon, plus all the hills make our streets rather sinuous).  You can always spot the newcomers on a rainy day – they’re the ones trying to wrestle with an umbrella.  My record for having one turn itself inside out and collapse was half a block. (I did take it back because I figured that was ridiculous!)

City bustle

I liked the idea of doing a representation of that in a wearable garment.  This dress incorporates the ribs both in the external bodice boning and in the bustle, which is shaped like a collapsing umbrella (literally – I cut the fabric using an umbrella as the pattern).

Front view of the dress
Umbrella ribs form the boning – with a nod to architectural styling from the 1920s



The underside of the bustle, showing the umbrella ribs supporting it.
The bustle is also supported by umbrella ribs. I’ve certainly seen many umbrellas that resemble this after a typical Wellington gust.

I had lots of fun making this.  It probably took about a day of work all up, and there was lots of problem solving along the way, especially in attaching the ribs so that they would wrap around the bodice and support the bustle.  I had to temporarily wire them in place while I made the overskirt and stitched it in place.

When I was buying the materials, I chanced across some spools of vintage sequins, so they spill over the umbrella like raindrops (totally on-brand raindrops, as they match our brand colours for the shop).

Full length view of the dress.
This is what it looks like from the front.


Have you had a chance to check out some of the other windows around Wellington? If so, which is your favourite?  I think my favourite is the dress made from broken sunglasses at Sunglass Style (number 22 on the map, and just around the corner from us).  And if you got to go to WoW, what did you think of it?  I’ve never made it yet – I really must get myself organised next year!


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It’s that time of year when I suddenly realise that another year has whistled past, and I do a mental stocktake of what I’ve been doing, and whether I’m making best use of my years.

Kaka on the Roof
Image used with permission.

One of the things that has been on my mind recently is whether I’m really doing the best I can be with letting my readers know what I do.  In some ways I’m inherently quite a private person, and yet I still manage to feel like I’m rather verbose (I’ve tweeted over 8,000 times.  Have I really had 8,000 interesting things to say in 140 characters or fewer?).  I’m pretty sure I’ve had my blog longer than I’ve been on twitter, and yet there are only 43 posts.  I’ve just counted back, and I did actually manage to blog 10 times in the last year, which is probably some sort of record for me, especially seeing as most of those posts were in the last 6 months…

I’ve been wondering though, is the content that I’m creating actually interesting? Is it engaging? Do people want to see more of it, or should I hang up my blogging hat and concentrate my efforts somewhere else?  If I do continue, should I stay focused on the business side of things (the things I make to sell, and where you can buy them), or should I bring in a more diverse range of content? Prompting this line of thinking is the thought that I’ve tried to keep personal makes and professional ones somewhat separate, and ended up not really blogging very often at all.  A few years ago I tried to found a group wardrobe makeover blog called handmakemeover (I still love the name!). I had 3 other interested writers, but somehow it all just fizzled out.  I’ve made a few posts on it, but I’m wondering if it’s just plain silly to try and maintain 2 separate blogs (3, if you count the one for Made It, which we’ll be relaunching soon).

Seatoun beach
Wearing clothes I’ve made myself makes me happy. Image used with permission.

So tell me, Dear Reader, would you be interested in reading about my personal sewing too? And maybe the odd adventure in cooking (including teaching my 22-year-old neice who lives on the other side of the world to cook via the internet)?  I have a slew of personal projects that I’ve stitched up and not gotten around to blogging about on handmakemeover, although I have been live-tweeting my Friday Night Makes recently.

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(It is probably fair to say that my husband takes much better pictures than I do!)

Oh, and one final question. Should I post more pictures of my cat?

My name is Hobbes and I approve this chair.
Hobbes reclaiming his chair after I reupholstered it.