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Friday 30 September 2011

Fall In Love with the Lucky Dozen

I really enjoyed this section on the Banana Republic site which has 13 pieces for a month of autumn outfits. Since 2 of the pieces are shoes, that's sounding like a very SWAP like 11 pieces :-)

Their pieces are as follows:-
·         Collarless blouse
·         A line skirt
·         Long sleeved shirt
·         Dark denim jeans
·         Print dress
·         Classic trousers
·         Cardigan
·         Straight skirt
·         Print tee
·         Bright sweater
·         Fitted jacket
Which summarises to
·         4 bottoms
·         1 jacket
·         1 dress
·         3 tops
·         1 cardigan
·         1 sweater

Saturday 24 September 2011

Burda October 2011

I quite like some sections of the October Burda, in particular the double page in the start of the 'Boho Chic' section with this dress on the left and the trousers, blouse and waistcoat on the right, all very me.

The dress is a simpler version of the Monsoon dress I loved, so I could make a version of the right fabric fell from my cupboard or was purchased.
I also already have similar trousers/waistcoat, and just need a floaty blouse (though will skip the hat) to make this outfit work.
I shall take Burda away on holiday with me and do some tracing (and maybe even some sewing!)

Monday 19 September 2011

More thoughts on colours

I have long been a big fan of teal. Its kinda blue and kinda green, it makes my eyes really sparkle (especially when I wear my contacts).
Yesterday when wearing a dark teal and gold scarf which was a gift from my mother I realised that actually teal is NOT great right under my chin, as it creates those dark shadows which makes me look lumpy round the jawline and is unflattering to the chin. It was a bit of an ah-ha moment and not really in a good way.
I remembered that years ago before I realised I was warm toned I wore white or red tops with nearly everything because it made my skin look good. We shouldn't forget those things we intuitively realised about ourseles.
My mother had pointed out about the teal near the face, more recently, but it was just after I moved to live with them as my divorce went through, so I wasn't really concentrating on clothes and colour, more on hanging out with them and the cat :-)
I need to do some more clothing colour experiments in some good light (this may not be until April!) as my bedroom lighting is poor, but early results seem to show that the best results come from coral pink, red ornage, red, ivory being right up by my face.
Other colours are not too bad if there's a fairly deep scooped neckline, so the skin of my upper chest is reflecting on the chin rather than the colour of the tee etc. Scarfs worn up around the face need to be in these good colours, so maybe I need to wear the teal scarf in a different way, so its away from the face,
Interestingly, the new Colour Me Beautiful book differentiates between Clear and Cool and Clear and Warm using Clear Salmon vs Cyclamen (warm vs cool pinks, warm pink much better on me) and then Kelly Green vs Dark Teal (warm vs cool greens, the dark teal creates unflattering shadows..... is Kelly Green the way forward?) Not sure about Kelly Green but Lime and Yellow Green are looking positive. This is a bummer and there is hardly any of these colours in my fabric stash.

I am however still in love with the way my face lights up in Coral Pink, and wonder why there is not more of it in my wardrobe?
Maybe I'll be seasonal and embrace the Oranges in Autumn, the Reds in Winter especially around Christmas and then move into Coral for the Spring?

Sunday 18 September 2011

Trying other crafts: candlemaking (uh oh)

As part of my trying new things, I decided to revisit a previous favourite craft of candlemaking.
I purchased a cheap milk pan to melt the wax and dug out my box of supplies.
The main supplies were in the garage, but I had another in the house so started with that.
A lovely star shaped candle mold with stand and several partially used candles and block of wax were in the box. The pretty mould looked a bit like this before I started.

So I decided to make a large red star candle - great for Christmas.
Unfortunately things did not quite work to plan.
I melted the old candles and blocks of wax in the pan and turned the heat down when it started to make spitting noises. I fished out with a wooden spatula the various old wicks etc. The longest wick I chose to reuse for my new candle. I fitted the wick to the mould, plugged the bottom with blutack and balanced a wooden skewer across the top.
The wax was now ALL melted nicely so I poured it neatly into the mould. All looked good for about 3 seconds, but the wax must have been too hot for the mould which then softened and bent allowing hot red wax to pour onto the kitchen worksurface, running down the face of the cupboards and dripping on the floor as well as spattering me in red drips of wax.
I whipped the cotton scatter rug from the floor and used it to stem much of the flow, and poured the remaining wax back into the pan. I then threw the rug in the bin, scraped what I could off the work surface with a wooden spatula and gave a very large sigh.
'Ah' I said to myself calmly 'I think that wax was a bit hot for the mould'.

I reheated what I could of the scrapings, but not letting it get quite so hot this time. I then poured it gently into a red pot, standing this time on a tray, to make a pot candle. Unfortunately this is only half a red pot candle as most of the 'spare' wax had fused nicely with the kitchen scatter rug making it difficult to return to liquid form.

I must admit candle making turned out to be quite a lot more exciting than I remembered it being.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Boots and skirts

Remember this flared skirt which comes to just below the knee - well it works with knee high boots.
I LOVE knee high boots but always wore them with longer skirts, but you know what? I think it is OK for me to wear them with skirts that length. I think a rash of 25" gored skirts is required from my uber favourite pattern New Look 6735.
I may also shorten a few of my dumpier long skirts to this length. Opaque tights cover all scary varicose veins and I have a host of leather, suede and faux stretch boots in various shades (Teal faux suede with buttons anyone?) though am short of a purple pair!

Saturday 10 September 2011

Monsoon Orange Jersey Jacqueline Dress

I saw this dress in the Monsoon shop window today and absolutely LOVED it, but its £70! so I shall not even go in and try it on despite it being absolutely gorgeous and very very me. Its called the Jacqueline Dress, and the colour is described as red though it looks pretty orange to me.

I am already justifying to myself on a cost-per-wear basis, and imagining outfits where it is teamed up with any of
white, black, brown, pink, purple, navy, turquoise, grey, lime, lighter orange, denim blue, bronze and other metallics etc.

Sewing progress

Sorry no new pictures, but I have been sewing away in the background. I coverhemmed the cream twisted neck top, wore it and its now in the laundry.
I also coverhemmed the pants, two tops and two dresses from the New Look 6735 wardrobe I made back last November for the Pattern Review Contest. (The pants had been invisibly hemmed but it didn't stay up well in the knit fabric). So at least I am likely to wear these pieces now.
The pants are now part of my gym wear along with New Look 6436 Knit top I made from scraps of black and white floral jersey. This is much more flattering on me than oversized tee + leggings.

I also removed, shortened and reattached the elastic on a RTW print linen skirt. It is dark brown with white, coral, orange and tan flowers and will be great for early Autumn.
I've now ended up with black thread on the coverhem, cream on the serger and brown on the sewing machine, and I'm not sure what to sew next!
I have another of the cream tees cut out but its not particuarly calling to me.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Cooler weather

Here in Derbyshire the Autumn has suddenly arrived. I was rather sceptical, thinking that Summer would ease into Autumn, but actually the kids are back to school this week, the leaves have begun to fall and the cold wind is blowing up and down the hillsides. I took a day off today becuase I had some time due, plus a house inspection by the letting agency and in the afternoon went off to town shopping. I picked up a few things, in particular a fleece towelling dressing gown (robe) in bright turquoise and some black/cream fleece PJs. Slightly oversized, but more fleece snuggliness to wrap yourself in. I thought there was a serious danger of freezing my procrastinating butt off before the rainbow kitties became a dressing gown since I appear to have got rid of the sad old navy fleece dressing gown my mum made me and I've worn for years. It was falling apart/worn out but I don't recall the actual moment of culling, but perhaps that's due to the moves in the last few months.
At some point it will be properly Autumn and I will crack out my lovely Duo knee high boots.

September can be a tricky month where the weather and temps vary across the day and height (work is in town, lower down and more sheltered, home is out of town slightly and on a hillside) and the whole sandals+jacket vs coat+boots debate is relevant. As I'm new to the area, I maybe need to be a little more aware - Cheshire is largely flat and has mild rainy weather, Derbyshire has hills and the weather appears from behind one when you were not looking.
I'm not usually a huge one for the whole wardrobe rotation thing, but definitely sandals and linen trousers can go away now, with linen jackets (sob) following after. I love my linen jackets as they come in lots more fun colours than normal office wear jackets, so I get a riot of colour all summer. However there does come a point where 3/4 sleeve orange/red/lime linen needs to be put away for next summer.
Boiled wool jacket rather like mine -  I have this style in red, lime and a rich purple.
Its probably not quite time to bring out their winter friends, the red, purple and lime boiled wool jackets so I am stuck with the boring black and brown for the transitional period. These can however be livened up with bright tees, and piles of costume jewellery.

Sunday 4 September 2011


Pantone has an pinky orange called Emberglow in the Fall 2011 Fashion Color Trends.

I'm not quite sure what I'd call this but I like it a lot, and have seen variations of it in the trendy stores in town with the early Autumn clothing coming in. They have interpreted it fairly broadly from peach, to orange to rust to something quite pinky that seems a new colour. I think some of these could be really good colours for me (the orange and pinky rusts at least). I made some pieces in the pinky rust colour a year or two back but passed them on because they didn't work that well in terms of fabric/pattern choices. I only have a bit of the wool fabric left (I used all of the other, and passed all the garments on). I'd quite like to find a pussy bow blouse or cardigan though.

Coral Pink makes me glow

I put on some PJs I've not worn for a while, and realised with my new darker brown hair (natural medium brown) the colour in the PJ top is stunning on me - makes me look well and almost glowing. I am not sure if the colour would be as great with slightly warmer hair (I suspect it would, as its reflecting my skintone pink, not the warmth in the hair).
So I frantically searched through my various packets of swatches, and books with printed swatches to confirm this is CORAL PINK in CMB land.
I had made a coral pink lace top in the Botanical Garden collection exactly this colour, but it was totalled by my mother doing laundry for me in the early days of me living with them during my divorce. I couldn't make a fuss (could I?) as she was being so lovely doing my laundry when I was in an emotional mess, so I just let it go, after all its only a top. I had made 2 cardiwraps in the lace and underlayer I used for that top, so I guess I could butcher them and make another top if I wanted.

Saturday 3 September 2011

New things

I recently divorced after nearly 20 years of marriage. It was a huge thing for me, and the split together with the associated double move (via parents for 4 months to my own place) left me a bit numb. I'm now living in a new area and after a bit over 3 months I am finally starting to make new friends.
I've noticed however, having made myself a safe place with all my stuff I was doing a lot of watching TV or surfing sewing sites/sewing blogs that I've stopped doing new things again.

After a long period living with someone who liked things to be a particular way, living on my own and being able to have things my way has raised some interesting questions. "What do I like to eat/do" etc. So I am challenging myself to try some new things, as well as keeping plenty of things I know I like.
I also used overwork to get me through the split, so am trying work more reasonable hours and build in things which are part of that work/life balance.

At work I got myself a mentor through an official scheme. This is a older chap who works in different area to me, and is helping me with people management skills and my own career, which is a complete step change from the 'do the job' mind set I am normally in.

Socially/spiritually I found a church several weeks ago, where I felt at home, and which is large enough to have all kinds of people and various services, groups etc. I'm signed up to help with the teenagers, and go to meet the other leaders on Monday evening for the first time.
I've also made contact with the local rambling club (this is the hiking sort of rambling!) though I have yet to go on an actual walk.

I went back to the gym and tried the Zumba class on Friday after work (and am still recovering!), and I recently dug out the old digital SLR camera got some tips on how to use it and have charged the batteries etc. I've also scoped out some local places I can go walking on my own to get my fitness up a bit for the Rambling club as a lot of their walks are a bit long for me at the moment.

A few of my colleagues have been dropping hints about me dating, but its not something I really want to do. I think I need to work out what things I like to do for myself  before I try and add anyone else into the equation.

I'm naturally a homebody and like my comfort zone, so my challenge to myself is to do one new thing each week - to a certain extent just to try things and see if I like it. So this could be a new exercise class at the gym, going out taking photos, taking a walk locally, porting iTunes from the old PC to the new etc.

I dare say a bit of sewing will sneak in along the way, and I still love to sew, but I also want to have other things in my life for richness and diversity.

I will keep you all posted - love Ruthie

Friday 2 September 2011

Those Self-Sewn Challenges

I'm quite interested in those self-sewn challenges, and a few bloggers I read participate and I enjoy the results. September arrived without me really taking too much notice, so I am not prepped for Self-Sewn-September, and tbh I don't have the drive to photograph myself every day, though I've dug out the ancient digital SLR and have started wondering where in the house I could set it up for semi decent indoor shots from tripod.
However I do want to try and wear something Ruth-constructed every day (even if its only jewellery) and did manage it yesterday though no picture. I wore the new warm navy cardigan, new squares print blouse and some made-by-me brown tailored trousers from a much loved Burda pattern. Since I plan to wear purchased jeans today I'll have a Ruthie tee - which is often my solution :-).
I quite like Autumn because I can wear my leather boots, wool coats and all those rich colours and great textures. mmmmmmmm.

I've also coloured my hair - "Natural Medium Brown" apparently - and its a lot darker than my usual "Highland Chestnut" though I expect close to the medium brown colour that my hair was. Not sure I like it, though it does have less red undertones to it and I suppose therefore should make a wider range of colours work for me.