Monday, September 22, 2014

WSBN Tour #22 - My Sewing Space

Well, have I got a story for you. I joined the WSBN sewing room tour mid way through, as it just was so much fun looking at the others', I got FOMO and jumped in. With a week to go, I took lots of photos of my incredibly messy space, and wrote a post. But you know what? I kept qualifying and justifying the mess, and after reading Joy's post on Acharmofmagpies (see below) and her ponderings on messiness vs creativity vs productivity in the face of messiness, or lack of it, I realised that I wasn't content to leave it that way, let alone show it that way.
So, today MrC and I got stuck in and transformed it.. It only took us a couple of hours, which given how bad things were was quite amazing. Plenty of trips to the skip to chuck out things we had been hanging onto for years, sorting a pile for donating, things to go to the shop or downstairs, a really thorough vacuum and a cursory dust and here we are.
Presenting my work room. It is 24sqm (about 250 sqft) which is pretty big eh! Spesh since our whole floor space is only about 85sqm. It IS the reason we bought the apartment though. It triples as an office, a work studio and a guest bedroom. Yay!
First up, the costume rack. It is to the right by the top of the stairs as you come up (so the stairs are on the right of the pic, see?) Usually it is draped in a sheet and a quilt, to keep dust and light off it.
And now, turning around and facing into the room from the top of the stairs, we have the office station. My quilt design wall is to the left. The stereo by the printer is essential, for listening to National Radio or books on CD while I am sewing.
Moving into the room, tall stash cupboards - the futon couch for guests in the corner. Up top are patterns, boxes of projects and felt, trims and laces. A pile of books I collated today from various spots around the room. My threads in several boxes. I am tall and it is really easy to hook things down from up there!
The dressmaker's dummy, and a pile of things to go to the Sallies. The alcove formed by the big shelf and this second bank of tall stash cupboards holds a bookcase and a tall laundry basket of rolls of buckram, Vilene, paper, etc. etc. The big shelf holds board games, quilt batting, bedding, books, fabric, tools - so much stuff. Up top of the cupboards is interfacing, more tools and notions and projects.
And here we are, at the business area! Yesterday you couldn't see the wood of that table top for stuff. The tables are arranged like this to make best use of space - the area by the stairs has angled beam coming into the room. It works.
My Bernina 1230 - replacing the 1120 I bought in 1991 that died three years ago. I was so lucky to find this honey on trademe (NZ's ebay) for under $1000 - yup even a 25 year old machine is worth that much. I am looking after this honey, she is going to see me out! Behind are baskets of tools, machine parts, needles etc etc. I love baskets. My angle poise lamp is essential for night work as the overhead lights are not great. Looking past the desk is the costume rack and the stairs
My work table. I use it for cutting small projects but big ones I take to work, or use the kitchen bench. It's  big enough table, just quite low. It's awesome to have it cleared! The lower photo is of the same table yesterday.
The stacker tray behind my chair - my brown frock coat and some mending jobs piled on top. It also got a workover today and now has paper craft things, small gifts and UFOs in it.
And now, stash cupboards. RED things - this cupboard is about heavy fabrics and synthetics. Except the top shelf which holds the most gorgeous cotton voiles I bought recently for this summer.
Another blurry one, sorry! Silks, cottons and other glorious stuff.
The other cupboards - notions in the drawers, fat quarters in boxes, random fabrics in the bottom. The right cupboard is all quilting fabrics.
Under the table is my box and basket of shirt fabrics. And a green container of costume jewelry from my grandmother. The box on the left is for cotton offcuts. This was a mess and a half until this afternoon.
See? A mess.

I am just so happy to have a tidy space. It is a big space and gets messy fast, but now it is set to rights it won't take much to restore it. Nothing we threw out today was sewing related, either.
It's particularly useful as I have TWO big shows coming up to costume, so I need the mental space of a tidy space. I am happy with a lot of stuff and some clutter, I prefer it. But when I can't find things it drives me nuts.
Tomorrow I will do a short post of my other work area, at the shop. In the meantime, here is the list of other posts in the tour. I hope you find or found it as inspiring and motivating as I did!
1st: Gemma at 66 Stitches
2nd: Laura at Laulipopnz
4th: Nikki at NikkiStitches
5th: Juliet at Crazy Gypsy Chronicles
6th: Sandra at SewistStitch
7th: Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words
8th: Kat at Macskakat
9th: Holly at Polycraftual
10th: MaryLouise at Thanks I made this myself
11th: Nina at Ninavirgo
12th: Sandra at FlossieFT
13th: Melissa at The Curous Kiwi
14th: Zara at Off-Grid Chic
15th: Crafty Mermaid
16th: Gillian at Sewing Down Under
17th: Leimomi at The Dreamstress
18th: Teresa at Adventures of a Girl from the Naki
19th: Joy at Acharmofmagpies
20th: Nicola at Silvern Swan
21st: Jenna at Ruby Dust
22nd: Moi!
22nd: Elisabeth

Happy blog hopping everyone! And if we have inspired any of you to get into your pace and sew - be it a tiny corner of your bedroom or a huge mezzanine floor, (I have had both and it never changes my output!) then it was all worth it. And if it makes you feel better about your space, that's good too:)

Monday, September 8, 2014

But wait, there's more!

 The Saturday before Wellington Winter Vintage, I had a photo shoot with Ngahuia from Ataahua Pinups, but this time, it was as myself not as Constance.
I haven't seen much of the photos yet as she is still processing them, but this delightful, and rather flattering 'meme' popped up on her Facebook page the other day:
 We had great fun as always, so there were lots of laughs. I'll share some more when they come through. It may seem a tad vain to be so excited by photos of oneself but I tell you, Readers, the best thing I have ever done is to embrace having my photo taken. It is very liberating to get past that cringy feeling! Instead of fixating on my crooked teeth as I once would have, I just see myself as a package deal, imperfections and all :)
The next pic is the only one I've seen from the evening of Wellington Winter Vintage. Moustacheless and sporting a diaphanous purple costume, I 'read' palms for the evening and had a great time!
BTW, this piece of embroidered net is one of the highlights of my stash. I only have about 1.2m of it and as it is a border, I've never really been able to fix on what to make from it. In the meantime it is handy for dressups.

Happy Week!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another Circus, Another Show...

Well it's done and dusted. Yesterday was Wellington Winter Vintage day, and I was fully costumed.
It was a bit touch and go - with a bad cold and so little time left, I ditched my more ambitious plan of a whole new garment, and instead did some makeovers. I am quite tickled about it all really - because I have so many new gigs coming up, all having quite different and specific requirements for costuming, any shortcuts are welcomed with relief. I live for the day when I can start reusing some of these crazy get ups! :)
Here are some pics:
Mark took this portrait, I love it! So silly! The venue was decked out in heaps of amazing old circus props, and this lion was a favourite. I am wearing my Constance skirt, the little top hat, my red torselet with a velvet peplum added and embellished with lots of circusy blings, and a RTW jacket safety pinned back to make a tailed bolero with added blingy epaulettes.  Oh, and a moustache. And really weird makeup.
I love my bling - it's Indian and looks old when it is new. Diamantes so soft you can cut through them with scissors. It made cutting all those strips much easier. The circles were on a continuous black strip and I got the very last metre of it. The epaulettes I made from fusing two layers of heavy vilene together then just gluing everything to them. They are safety pinned on. Thank goodness for safety pins!!

This photo of the Mighty Angus tickled my fancy. Angus is all of 14 and is such a showman - he did amazing equilibristic feats with such comic presence a real star in the making. And there I am on stage, smack dab in the middle of his gesture! It's like one of those trick techniques Weta used in the Hobbit movies!

Group photo - me right at the top bending down as I was the only one standing on the stage. Down the front are Claire in white sleeveless shirt and black bow ie, Rose beside her in red, and Tim in tweeds like a carnie - these guys are the Dream Team from Glory Days Magazine who put it all together.
As well as the circus performances we had bands, stalls, dancing and competitions. It was such a blast!
And in the evening, I had another role to play. Photos to come!
If you want to see more, check out #wintervintage.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Time makes fools of us all

WELL, I m not going to be making a whole new velvet jacket to be the RingMaster. I came down with a cold on Tuesday night, and am still sick as a parrot. But, a day off due to said sickness (thanks to MrC holding the first solo)meant I could have a start at a costume.
I'm quite chuffed with my idea - using existing resources but blinging them up in a circus specific way.
No photos as yet - so here is an interim one showing the tiny topper I made today.
It is a teddy bear bowler hat with a 'cuff' slipped over the crown to turn it into a top hat. It should look well proper ridiculous on top of CC's hair!
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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Circus Time!

On September 6, Wellington is the lucky host of the inaugural Winter Vintage. What is it? It's circus, it's market place, it's entertainment, madness and silliness. Based around a 1930's circus theme.
And Constance is the Ring Master.
During the day anyway. At the evening ball/dance/event, I'm reading fortunes!
Naturellement, the big question is, WHAT TO WEAR?? Fortune telling I have nailed already, thanks to Big Fat Gypsy Wedding silliness
It's amazing what an upside down sweet jar and a wreath of hair flowers can do ;-)
But Ring Mastering is a bit more of a challenge. We do love a challenge here at Sent from my iRon!
We could wear this little ensemble from our dressing up rack, but we fancy a new outfit. :)
I want something that looks like it has been handed down from generation to generation of circus folk, with changes made en route. Because I suspect this would be very common And fun!
Inspiration pictures include:
 I LOVE LOVE LOVE this image. I love that neckline - SO Victorian, so Circus. The onesie/combination look is not for me overall however.
 This image was spookily like what I initially wanted - 1830s-1850s mans frock coat in red.
 A bit more predictable, and she is channelling Constance's hair, except Constance isn't channelling her figure ;-)
A bit mad. We like that.
So, we have a very feminine lacy neckline and a red velvet frockcoat-like silhouette. Add big gold buttons, lots of gold braid and I think tassels, and I think we have a plan.
Unlike several of my posts lately about starting projects, as this one has a deadline, it WILL be made. Alas the poor brown velvet frockcoat has to take a back seat while I do it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Midas Touch...

Upcycling doesn't always have to be about clothes. I really enjoy overhauling old bits of furniture picked up because it is somehow not deemed sexy enough to be pricey. I have a chair bought off TradeMe (NZ's eBay alternative) that is super pretty but was painted by some dumb ass, thus reducing its value considerably, as stripping it back would be an excruciating process.
This is where Rub'n'Buff comes in. Rub'n'Buff is a permanent paint that is a bit like shoe polish for solid surfaces like wood. It comes in a little tube, has the consistency of toothpaste,and you just squeeze it out and rub it in with a cloth. Then you buff it, it gets shinier, and it dries like paint, no rubbing off. Hence the name! And it means that instead of stripping the chair back, I can apply the gold to the bad paint job and transform it.
Here's my pretty chair. With ugly brown paint and ugly weird upholstery. I've left this on for now, to protect what is underneath from the Rub'n'Buff.
Here's one leg done and one leg to go. It is so easy, just squeeze some of the creamy stuff onto an old cloth, and rub it on. I feel like Midas!
Here's the back all done - showing how it has a nice old looking patina and leaving the grooves in the design still dark. I like that.
Stage one complete!
 The whole chair only took one little bitty tube. The one on the right, in case you were wondering! The colour I used is European Gold.
Midas' rubber gloves and cloth in the aftermath.
Next step - a jolly good buffing to bring up the shine, and a reupholstering. This chair is not for us so I shall consult with the intended owner on fabric.
How easy is this! I've got my eye on some lampshades and other bits and pieces, with the other tube. I've also got my eye on the composite gold leaf in the shop. This gilding business is quite addictive...
This is also about trying out the products we sell. I remember Rub'n'Buff from the 1970s so it is not a new discovery, but nothing has replaced it in simplicity, affordability and effectiveness. Yes, I am a fan!




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Adieu to a Comic Genius

I heard the news of Robin Williams' suicide while out driving today. My immediate reaction was as if I had lost a friend.
I have always loved his work - so warm and engaging and funny. I seem to be one of the few people who liked What Dream May Come, a  movie about the impact of tragic death on a family and I guess his family are suffering hard right now.
 Stand up King
 Hamming it up for Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry Be Happy video
 Good Morning Vietnam!!
 Patch Adams
 Dead Poets' Society - Carpe Diem!
 Just being
What Dreams May Come.
Precious moments indeed. RIP Robin, I am sad you are gone.