2016 Resolutions

16163007574_32bfed5a1e_o.jpgAs 2016 is going to be such a change for me, I don’t want to do my usual thing and overwhelm myself with resolutions. However, it’s not a new year unless I’ve made a ton of them, so let us focus less on how it’s February and more on how good my intentions are!

Start of Year Stash Tally

Metres of fabric: 89.5
UFO/WIPs: 4
Refashions-to-be: 5

Resolutions

  • Make (and finish) something every month
    This was also a resolution last year, but it went wrong sometime around June when everything got super busy in my life. 
  • Try and have my fabric stash down to 50 metres by the end of the year
    I currently have 89.5 metres of fabric, which is a bit much to comfortably accommodate. I’m going to try and shop my stash wherever I can, and hopefully only buy fabric second hand or as a holiday souvenir.
  • Make a quilt
    I’ve got all of the bits I need to do this, so it’s just a case of working out what I want to do, and how to actually do it.
  • Keep the WIP shelf-of-shame under control
    This is something I need to work on. I tend to get distracted or disheartened and never finish anything.

 

Photo by Daniele Imbriani

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Hi 2016!

IMG_3465I don’t know about you, but I love starting afresh on 1st January, ready for new challenges and fun. I have high hopes for 2016, and one of those hopes is that I can make a bit more time for my little blog – I miss it!

2015 was a tough year for me. I was exhausted from my gruelling commute, there were some health scares in my family, I started a business with friends while still working full time, and money was tight so holidays became staycations where I beat myself up over relaxing instead of decorating our flat.

IMG_3067There were good times, too.

  • My friend Marthe came to visit from Oslo for my birthday and we had a fantastic time at Hever Castle and out and about in Brighton.
  • We took an anniversary trip to Paris and stayed in the wonderful Hotel Fabric (of course) in Oberkampf. I finally got to meet one of Ben’s French friends, who introduced us to the charming Butte aux Cailles neighbourhood.
  • I tried West African food for the first time when my Ivorian and Ghanaian colleagues took us to 805 Restaurant in London (it’s also popular with the cast of Star Wars!).
  • We formed a pub quiz team and won enough money in six months to pay for a team Quizmas Dinner. With a whole year of quizzing in 2016, we should be able to cover the drinks next time, too! GO QUIZZLY BEARS!!!
  • I took my mum on a birthday tour of a nuclear power station; something I’d been promising/threatening to do for about fifteen years.
  • I found a massive pile of zips in my favourite local charity shop £2.

I’m sure there was other good stuff, but these are the memories which come to mind right now.

IMG_2571

I’ve made some changes to my life already in 2016. I will now be working from home, and only 50% of my old full time hours. Taking my old working hours and commute into account, I’ll have something like an extra seven hours a day to dedicate to my business and my life. I’m really excited!

Happy new year, everyone!

Travel and Reading Blogs

I’ve decided to start dedicated blogs for my travel and reading adventures. Click on the pictures below to go and check them out!

Laurasaurus Travels

I have quite a few followers who are here for the travel posts I sometimes do. I’m guessing you guys aren’t super interested in sewing or all the other random stuff I bang on about, so head on over to Laurasaurus Travels for all travel all the time*.

I will probably be re-covering some of the adventures I’ve previously posted here at some point, but in a different way, so I hope they will bring a fresh angle to my trips. I’ll also be posting about trips which never made it onto this blog – I’ve got a few posts up already about our visit to Russia.

If you came here for the travel, but stayed for the sewing, then I hope you’ll enjoy reading both blogs.

* Not literally all the time. I have a full time job and a cat to take care of. I will try and keep up a regular posting schedule, though. Realistically, you can expect one post per week.

Your Name-2

At the start of this year, I realised I needed something to keep me sane on the long journeys to and from work. I decided that a challenge was in order, so this year I am going to try and read one book per week.

I thought starting a blog where I would review each of those books in more detail than my usual ‘it was quite good’ on Goodreads would both challenge and encourage me when things got tough (my money is on sometime around May).

I’m not sure if anyone reading this blog is into books, but if you are, then come and join me at Laurasaurus Reads. I will read anything which is within grasping distance, so you can expect quite a bit of variety. While my bookshelf is heavily weighted towards fiction, I do have quite a few interesting looking reference books on the go. I will try my hardest not to review the anti-histamine packet I have just read the back of (side note: I have hay fever! Spring must be on its way!)

Your Name-3

“Pure Laurasaurus”, as a friend calls it, is where the sewing, lifestyle and crafty stuff will (still) be at. I don’t think anything will change here; posting will probably remain idiosyncratic, because although I dream of an organised blog schedule, I’m not going to write if I don’t have anything interesting to say.

Discovering New Blogs – Liebster Award

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Yeah! The lovely Echo at French Seams and Pipe Dreams has nominated me for a Liebster award, which is very exciting! Thanks, Echo!

The Liebster award was created to draw a bit of awareness to bloggers with a following of less than 500. There are some rules, because without rules there would be chaos, and nobody wants that:

1. Answer the questions given to you
2. Nominate other bloggers with less than 500 followers
3. Post questions for your nominees to answer

Questions for me

Why did you set up your blog?
I’d been feeling a bit stuck in a rut with my life, and I realised that excitement wasn’t just going to turn up at my front door and bite me on the hand – I’d have to go out and look for it. I hoped that writing this blog would force me to go out and find interesting stuff to do, and eventually I rediscovered sewing and didn’t have to leave the house anymore. Win.

What is your best sewing tip?
Measure twice, cut once. Also, if you’re not sure about what size to use, go with the bigger one – it’s a lot easier to make something smaller than it is to sit and cry over your ruined fabric that now won’t be any good for anything because there’s no way, even with a 1mm seam allowance, that your skirt is going to fit around your waist. Ask me how I know these things…

What aspect of sewing gets on your nerves? (I wonder how many people will say cutting out!)
Stay stitching. I don’t know why it makes me so angry. I suppose because it doesn’t feel like progress… I actually quite enjoy the logistical challenge of cutting out (weird, I know).

What’s the worst sewing mistake you have made?
Not stay stitching. Yup, turns out that really makes a difference to whether your facings fit nicely or not…

What is your all time favourite pattern and why?
A Tribe Called BestProbably Simplicity 1609. Jiffy. The Jiffster. The Jiffmeister General. I’ve made a couple of them now, one yet to be blogged, and I always receive compliments when I wear them. It’s an easy pattern to make, and I didn’t have to make many changes to perfect the fit. I love 1950s silhouettes, but I don’t see that much opportunity to wear them currently, whereas A-line works for my figure and my lifestyle. I’m working on a new A-line dress at the moment, which features pockets and could eclipse this one, but we’ll have to wait and see the finished article to decide that!

Side note: I’ve just noticed the little picture next to Jiffy on the pattern is not, as I’d sort of thought and been a little confused by, an incorrectly coloured British motorway sign, but some dress-parts.

If you had to, what would you give up your mobile phone or your sewing machine?
Hmm… Not fair! My boyfriend works away from home for three days each week and I think he’d miss receiving 5-10 pictures of our cat everyday. Having a mobile phone, and FaceTime in particular, really makes it easier for us to still feel connected when he’s away. Therefore, I’d give up my sewing machine, but drive to my mums and use hers every day instead.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Just get on with it!

I can spend a lot of time procrastinating and worrying about starting new things because I might not be good at them. It’s a bit ridiculous – how can you know you won’t be good at something if you don’t try? And how can you get better unless you practice?

What did you want to be when you were a child, and are you doing that job now?
When I was a child I wanted to be either a journalist or a fashion designer. I’m an accountant, so no…

However, I get to write and make clothes in my spare time, so I’m pretty happy. I’ve contemplated trying to do both of those things full time, but I think I actually quite enjoy the routine and the logical aspects of my job. Oh, and Excel. I really like Excel.

Tea or Coffee?
Tea. Milk, no sugar. When we lived in Belgium it could be tricky to find fresh milk, so I ended up drinking a lot of black coffee, but tea is still my first love.

If I’m out and about, I might stop off at a branch of Small Batch (a small Brighton coffee chain) for a mocha. Theirs are consistently excellent and the staff are really nice and friendly, too – you can easily get caught up in a random chat with them and the regulars while you’re waiting for your drink.

Out of all the things you have ever made, what is the thing you are most proud of?
IMG_1840
A circus themed waistcoat I made for a school project when I was about 12. It was heavily appliquéd and embellished with a clown on one side and a lion on the other. I went absolutely mental on it, spending a whole weekend stitching circles of beads around the main sources of craziness. It was made entirely from the school supply of scraps because I was a frugal child big on refashioning from an early age.

I don’t have it any more, so I’ve knocked up a quick picture of it for you. It doesn’t really do it justice, to be honest. And yes, I am 30 years old, don’t have children and do own felt tips.

I like some of my recent makes a lot, but the detail and effort I put into this one have to make it the winner.

My nominees

Belgian Seams
Bernie and I
L’Attaque du Découd-Vite
Lady Stitcher

Lauren Sews
Mini Pip
Wild Child Sophie

Questions for you

1. When and why did you take up sewing?
2. Do you follow trends, or do you just sew things that you like?
3. What’s the thing that annoys you the most about the sewing process?
4. What are you working on right now?
5.  Out of all the things you’ve ever made, what is your favourite?
6. How many pieces of fabric do you have in your stash? Is it tidy? Feel free to include pictures!
7. When planning a new project, do you start with a pattern you want to make, or a fabric you’d like to wear?
8. If you could only dress in the style of one famous person, living or dead, till the end of time, who would you choose?
9. What is the best piece of advice (sewing or otherwise) you’ve been given?
10. Do you have any other hobbies, apart from sewing and blogging?
11. What (or who) is your spirit animal and why?