Thursday, October 20, 2016

slow fashion october - long-worn maintenance.

as i mentioned tuesday, i had a bit more to write on the subject of "long-worn" the second prompt for slow fashion october... so without further ado, here it is!

a big part of what keeps my wardrobe going is looking after, and giving love to the garments i own, whether they be beautiful handmade garments, or fast fashion ones i've foolishly indulged in over the years. either way, they're both incredibly important as keeping garments out of landfill is a high priority of mine.

the first step in looking after them, is obviously washing them appropriately.
since seriously getting back into knitting, i’ve been a big advocate for hand washing handknits, and i’ve always separated my light coloured clothes, from my darker coloured ones when putting them through the machine… though since reading this post by elle, i'll be taking a little more care with how and how often i wash things in the machine.

fabric shaving has become quite a fun pastime of mine...

using the fabric shaver on bb's blue jumperone purple sock after fabric shaving, and one before. the difference is very visible!

there's no quicker and better way to bring a hand knitted garment back to it's former glory than with a quick fabric shave!
come to think of it, it's a pretty great way to freshen up some of those nylon-filled, fast fashion pieces too. there are more than a few cheap and cheerful cardigans and dresses that i've breathed a bit more life into with a quick fabric shave!

my third solution for keeping everything functional is mending.

grey cardigan with several skeins of embroidery floss and an embroidery hoop

i've posted here before about mending, with this post being a particularly successful to-do list for me, and this one, being not quite as successful... i never quite managed to get everything fixed 100%. those jean pockets of bb's, they have all new holes despite my repair attempts, and the cardigan i talked about? well it's one of my slow fashion october goals and is pictured above.
i never actually stated any goals in my first post, but they've been percolating in my head a little he he. a dottieangel inspired, woolly tattoo bit of visible mending is what awaits this.
it will definitely be a slow old fix, but hopefully i can pull it off and it will breathe a whole new bit of life into this sad looking cardigan!

wish me luck!

what are your thoughts on maintaining your wardrobe? are you a mender?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

slow fashion october - long-worn wardrobe.

once again, i'm joining in with slow fashion october, expanding on my instagram post on this week's prompt 'long-worn'.
in truth, it was last week's prompt, i'm running a wee bit behind with them... i think i lost my ability to manage time effectively when little ag came along. i'm getting there slowly though he he.

three long-worn dresses from my wardrobe, a white wedding dress, a blue and black floral button up dress and a purple, orange and white cotton shift dress

thinking of the articles of clothing in my wardrobe that are long-worn... dresses were the things that came to mind as the longest wearing. the three dresses pictured above are just a selection of the dozen or so that i own, few of which were bought new.
some are homemade (owning it!) and some are second hand, and what is bought new, is fairly carefully selected to be able to be worn time and time again. not only in summer, but across the seasons with the addition of tights and long sleeved woollens underneath.
the three dresses above, encompass the whole breadth of the cycle; new, second-hand and homemade.

white, a-line, 50's style wedding dress

the new, my wedding dress, is, truthfully, the least worn thing in my wardrobe.
it was worn for the two events that made up our wedding celebrations in december and hasn't been worn since... not because it's a wedding dress and won't see the light of day again until my kids pull it out for fancy dress... but because, kids! well kid specifically.
it's one of few dresses that i own that is highly fitted through the waist, and even at 2-3 weeks pregnant (which was only 3-4 weeks out from our wedding, #honeymoonbaby) it was too uncomfortable!
it fits me again now though, and i'm already scheming plans for its first outing.
when i chose it, i specifically picked a style that i could wear time and time again, as i didn't want it to be a once in a lifetime wear. i'm really looking forward to dressing it up, for special occasions, and keeping it a bit more casual too for more everyday wear too.

long-ish 50's style button up dress made from black based material with a blue floral print

the second-hand, is a dress I inherited when my nanna passed away, six years ago now...
it doesn't get a huge amount of wear either, it's not one i reach for daily or weekly (unlike the final one i'll talk about), however, whenever i'm feeling fancy, it comes out!
it's been worn to weddings, funerals, nice dinners, interviews, and even to work a few times.
it's exceptionally comfortable, surprising when my nanna was quite a bit smaller than i was... thankfully she liked a relaxed fit!
it got a few wears during my pregnancy, and come to think of it, with it's buttoned front, will probably get a few wears in the next year or so as it's the dress i own that's most suitable for breastfeeding in!

simple drop-waisted cotton shift dress in tribal like patterned fabric in purple, orange and white colours.

the final dress is a homemade one, as well as being second-hand. it was made by a very talented and prolific dress making friend, who passed it on when it no longer fit her and it's not the first time you've seen it on this here blog!
i've altered it to fit me a little better by raising the waistline and eliminating a little of the length of the skirt but i love the relaxed fit of it!
i wore this at least once a week my entire pregnancy, and a lot before that too as i love the colour palate and design of the fabric, which i'm pretty sure is a pretty high cotton content. very nice to wear when it's warm out!
i love this dress so much, i'm truly contemplating altering it a little more, to make it breastfeeding friendly. a few buttons on each side of the sleeve and voila! now can I find the time to make it happen?

i've got plans for another little 'long-worn' post too, detailing what i do and use, to get and keep my clothing items looking ship shape. we'll see if i can find the time for that too i guess he he!

what are the longest worn items in your wardrobe? are you a dress fiend too?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

slow fashion october - introductions.

selfie wearing handknit alcomar top and whorl cowl

i've decided to join in on the slow fashion october fun over on the fringe association blog and instagram.
this first week's prompt is about introductions and this post started out as an instagram post, but i found once i started writing, i couldn't stop! i thought it best to expand on my thoughts here, rather than clogging up instagram he he.

hey there, i'm nicole. i live in country victoria, australia with my husband, bb and newborn son, ag. we live on acreage with my parents which is such a blessing, having both our own space, and support incredibly close by through these tricksy first few weeks, navigating life with a newborn.

as a teenager, i used to be quite the fast fashion tragic. i would head to melbourne on road trips with girlfriends to pick up mountains of clothes that were far cheaper and more exciting than anything we could get in our rural hometown.
the trips were exhausting and the piles of clothes that came home with me, overwhelming and sometimes never worn.
growing up since then, and spending a LOT of years post-university working in retail, i realize the allure that shops and shopping centers once had is completely gone.
in fact, if there's one thing likely to make me break out in hives, it's entering a shopping center. the constant thrum of being marketed to, coupled with the artificial lighting and air is migraine inducing!

nowadays i try and be more conscious with my purchases, if something is so cheap you couldn't possibly make it yourself for the price, it's not something i want to be purchasing. the implications of this price cascade down the supply chain, the person/people making the garment couldn't have been paid a fair wage, nor could the person/people providing the raw materials.
though this stance is tested constantly with the arrival of our babe, as he will grow through things so quickly. hard to justify spending a decent amount of money on something that will only fit him for a few weeks perhaps... particularly with our current financial situation (bb having taken the year off from working)
we've been very lucky to receive a multitude of hand-me-downs for him though, which i'm thrilled to be reusing, keeping them out of landfill and saving us some coin as well.

i'm an infrequent thrifter, with quite a few pieces in my wardrobe coming from there, as well as an infrequent sewer, simple, mostly shapeless dresses being my go-to's.
oh and then there's knitting... which i've been trying to be a little more responsible about too. looking for holes in my wardrobe to fill with beautiful knitted items, rather than just making for the sake of making. as much as knitting is my therapy, having a garment or accessory that actually works in with my wardrobe at the end of the process is a big plus!
i feel like my biggest slow fashion skill however, is mending. i try not to have anything in my wardrobe that i don't love to wear, so when something is no longer wearable, i'm more than happy to go to great lengths to make it wearable once more! this goes part and parcel with my thrifty nature too. why buy something new, when you could spend a little bit of time and get more use out of something you already have?

thanks to slow fashion october, i'm really starting to think about and ask questions of the supply lines and back stories of the clothing that i intend to purchase and am getting my research on before handing over any money!
for example, post-birth, i've realised that all of my underwear really needs replacing... my current baggy and saggy, ill-fitting underwear is driving me crazy! rather than just popping down to the local big box store and stocking up on some multipacks of underwear to replace what i have, i started researching...
i've found a company that is fair trade certified, uses organic materials and is based in melbourne too! happy days!

i still feel like i have a ways to go, in many aspects of my life, rather than just my wardrobe, in living a slower and more sustainable life. but reading and following along with initiatives such as slow fashion october, listening to podcasts about slow living and crafting, reading books and other blogs as well as just embracing the country life we are now living... well they're all getting me inspired and motivated to keep things slow!

phew, i'm feeling very well introduced now, and need to get myself through the shower before our little man is awake and after food once more.

are you joining in with slow fashion october too? what are your thoughts on slow fashion?

Thursday, October 6, 2016

green love.

i took an opportunity to snap these pictures last week, while the sun was shining and the babe was sleeping, but this is the first chance i've had to put the words together. the garden has no doubt changed a bit, but it's more updated than my last post he he!

first up, the broad beans!

super tall patch of broad beans, ready to harvest close up shot of several, almost ready to harvest broad bean pods, still on the stalk

these have been growing like mad, and then flowering like mad, and now, fruiting like mad!
since taking this snap, we've had a couple of little harvests... and boy were they delicious! sadly though, again, since taking this snap, we had some crazy wind come through and despite the fact that these plants are super densely planted, some of them were broken. the chooks haven't minded though, they've gotten their fix of greenery on the leaves!

next up, the wee raised bed next to the wood shed...

long shot of a rough hewn timber planter box with rocket plants gone to seed with yellow flowers close up of several seedlings that have popped up around and beyond the rocket

the rocket i was harvesting last post has well and truly gone to seed. i tried to stop it by picking off and pruning back flower heads, but alas, no luck! i'll leave a few of the plants in, to go to seed good and proper, before drying them and collecting them for next time.
a closer look at the far end of the bed shows some slow growing bits and pieces though... some kale, rainbow spinach (a much appreciated belated birthday gift), a single butter lettuce and what i think is a cauliflower...
this end doesn't get as much sun due to the angles of the surrounding buildings keeping it in shade. until now that is! thank you spring sunshine!

the big veggie patch is really kicking on now that spring is here...

long, raised vegetable patch full of happy greenery

the rainbow chard is super happy, and again, looking a little different now after a few harvests... the onions and garlic are doing just fine. and the broccoli has had a couple of harvests too!
i didn't realise when i bought the seedlings, but it's a variety of bunching broccoli, rather than just the single head like i was expecting. the little bunches are also purple! though once lightly steamed, they were nice and green he he!
the coriander is going so well, i actually picked a bunch of it to take as a swap to the local produce store with a whole big tub of lemons. so nice to be able to share and support a local business!

a few months ago now, i put together some more potato bags.

re-purposed animal food bag, with a shallow layer of soil and some potato sprouts poking their heads out the top

now to keep on top of topping them up with soil to keep those little seedlings covered. wish me luck he he!

my little asparagus pot sprouted and went to fern in no time!

small black pot with asparagus ferns coming out

one day i'll find the perfect place to plant these on the farm. finding somewhere where they won't be too disturbed is the key...

and finally, some new additions!

three metal bucket pots planted out with a fig tree, a finger lime tree and an australian native, pink kangaroo paw

bb and i gratefully received some vouchers for our wedding in december, and decided to make use of some of them before wee ag came along... as well as a few bits and pieces we needed around the house, for ourselves, and for the bub, i splashed out on a few new plants too! as well as a nice pot set to keep them in.
above is a finger lime tree, a fig tree and a beautiful pink kangaroo paw-type native. also planted in with the native, is a whole bunch of hyacinth bulbs that i was gifted by my work colleagues as i was heading off on maternity leave. hopefully they'll be happy there and will surprise us with a beautiful display at the end of winter next year!

so that's just about a full catch up... no doubt i'll be back again soon with more changes, and hopefully, some spring seedlings sprouting!

Friday, September 30, 2016

and then he arrived...

and nothing else was quite the same again.

close up of baby hand and nails, with mouth and chin in background

our little bundle came into the world, wednesday the 14th of september at 2137. his arrival was a wee bit traumatic, but a couple of weeks on now, we're well on the road to recovery and getting settled into life as parents and as a family of three.

keeping up with the abbreviations, this little guy will be ag, joining his dad, bb, he he!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

on the needles.

in my last post about what was on my needles, i mentioned needing to get to this mammoth and slightly heartbreaking task...

mid-frog of the siberia anorak, sweater becoming noodle-y mess becoming neat and tidy yarn balls

frogging my ill-fitting jumper... well it's all done now! it took a surprisingly long amount of time as the mohair was nice and sticky he he. i managed to get all of the yarn separated into the two different types and neatly balled up.
bets on how long they'll stay neatly balled up and not in swatch/jumper form?
could be quite a while seeing as i've started not one, but TWO other projects... and have approximately 23901840 baby knits on the backburner while i wait for our little one to be born and reveal it's size he he!

anywho, enough talk about baby knits, more talk about actual current projects!

deco city shawl by amy van de laar knit in dark green 'gingko' skein merino silk sport deco city shawl by amy van de laar knit in dark green 'gingko' skein merino silk sport. close up of central triangular pattern

this is the beginnings of a deco city shawl in skein merino silk sport.
i brought the yarn home with me from the craft sessions last year, knowing that i'd have to do something beautiful with it, and this shawl caught my eye earlier in the year when flicking through pompom issue 15.

i'm loving how it's knitting up so far, and am fully intending to extend the length and width a little by continuing the repeats until i run out of yarn. i have two skeins and would love to use up as much of them as i can. oh and i'll have a beautiful generous shawl to boot!

the other project i've made a start on is a little more of a brainless project... i figure i'll have some times coming up (and well, sometimes at the moment if i'm a bit tired...) when i won't be able to focus on the lacy pattern of the shawl and will need something simple.
enter, the vanilla sock.

the beginnings of a pair of toe up vanilla socks knit in circus tonic handmade jubilee sock in 'magpie lark'

simple stockinette sock body, with the choice of two heels, knit up in gorgeous circus tonic handmade jubilee sock.
i love the way this colourway is knitting up... mostly white/cream, with little swathes of grey/black and every now and again, a wee little speckle of random colour. called 'magpie lark', it really is the perfect name for it!
this yarn i picked up at hannah's shop pop up in sunspun almost two weeks ago now! i just couldn't wait to get it on my needles!

i decided it best to knit them both at the same time, to ensure they actually both get finished... and that they end up the same size!
these are for bb, as the last socks i knit for him have most definitely seen better days. hopefully because i'm using proper sock wool, and not a highly inappropriate for boy socks yarn, they'll wear a lot better he he!

what's on your needles at the moment? any baby knit recommendations?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

taking stock

i thought i'd play along and take stock with pip because why not!?
i've nothing but time at the moment ha ha.

pink blossoms on an unknown fruit tree in the orchard the very beginnings of a new project in a beautiful green yarn healthy chocolate pudding with berries and crushed nuts with a silver knitted swatch on the needles in the background a wee collection of purple blossoms, lavender and hebe, from my friend's garden

Making: quite a few things actually... there's a couple of new projects on my knitting needles, which i'm hoping to share tomorrow, and i'm working on a little baby-centric sewing project too!

Cooking: and prepping all of the food. there's a few meals in the freezer pre-cooked and ready to go for when the baby comes, like bolognaise and lasagne, and then some slow-cooker go-bags too. they can just be dumped in the slow cooker at the start of the day and cook and cook, low and slow and be ready to feed us when we'll need it the most.

Drinking: lots of tea! it's been lovely to have the time to have a pot of tea. and i bought a fancy milk frother a few weeks ago too. it's nice to have warm, steamy and frothy milk with a beautiful chai. or to skip the tea all together and have a hot chocolate. i found a delicious low-gi, vegan hot chocolate mix at the source and it has been a lifesaver!

Reading: lots of books. i've been giving the local library a good work out, borrowing lots of books about natural dyeing, eating less sugar and simplifying things. it's quite lovely to have such an expanse of books at my fingertips!

Wanting: to do wayyyy more things than i have energy for at the moment. slow and steady and making compromises when i need to. phew!

Looking: around at all of the new spring growth on everything. it's pretty amazing huh?

Deciding: on names. yep. it's tricky stuff!

Wishing: my belly wasn't quite so itchy... poor skin is pretty much stretched to it's limit!

Enjoying: the thought of being able to eat whatever i feel like in the next little while. it's been a long time!

Waiting: ... sure am!

Liking: the pandora app on my phone. bb's big computer is currently down for the count so i'm 'borrowing' his speakers currently and playing nice tunes when it feels right. it's a little lovely.

Wondering: what the plan is for dinner... waiting to hear from bb as to what he is up to. i'm never not thinking about food really...

Loving: slowly reading through the new lunchlady edition while i eat breakfasts and lunches... it's so rad! seriously contemplating treating myself to a subscription...

Pondering: just what life will look like on the other side...

Listening: to dad start on some renovations in the shed next door to our house. they've been a while coming, but should look great when they're all done!

Considering: plans for the future. everything is, and has been, on go slow with the baby waiting, but next year, next year could be an interesting one...

Buying: as little as possible. we've been very lucky to get a lot of baby stuff secondhand, either free, or at a fraction of the sticker price, and that is just the way i like it! keeping our budget under control and reusing precious resources!

Watching: so much tv! lots of down time and knitting time means lots of tv time. i've managed to catch up on shameless, bust out awkward, gotten hooked on australian survivor and make a good start on homeland.

Hoping: some pals that have been going through some tough times are doing ok.

Marvelling: at how many times an hour one person can need to use the bathroom... it's a lot fyi.

Cringing: whenever i have to prick my finger. will be very happy to be rid of this nasty gestational diabetes stuff.
Needing: to keep the fire window really clean. need to see those beautiful flames to be truly cosy he he!

Questioning: everything. over and over. my poor brain is tired from running around in circles. the waiting game is driving me slightly batty i think...

Smelling: the lavender in the wee posy of flowers a friend brought with her when she came over for lunch last week. such a lovely gesture.

Wearing: mostly normal clothes... i've been very grateful to still fit into most of my wardrobe (i do miss my jeans...) and not have had to buy a whole load of maternity clothes. biggest purchases have been a few bras and singlet tops with clippy things which should help out on the breastfeeding front. phew!

Following: not a lot. not trains of thought, not conversations... baby brain is real folks.

Noticing: how dirty my glasses get constantly. super annoying!

Knowing: i should be really trying to get lots and lots of sleep... easier said than done though!

Thinking: i'll be lucky to get through this list... lots of prompts, not a lot of brain power he he.

Admiring: the efforts of those folks who are zero-waste. i'm trying to take baby steps towards that goal, but there's quite a bit of organisation needed. hoping once the baby arrives, i can get a bit of a routine happening and take some more steps towards reducing our waste more, little by little.

Getting: things tidy. well trying... the tidy up is a constant, daily task.

Bookmarking: lots of baby knitting patterns. naturally...

Coveting: a wee little dilapidated country cottage on a real estate site. i've had it open in my browser for quite a while now. i'm sure someone will buy it one day and break my poor dreaming heart, but until then, i covet, and wish, and hope he he.

Disliking: heartburn/reflux. have been copping it for about 20 weeks now and i am DONE! very much looking forward to satisfying portion sizes and sleeping soundly. well as soundly as you can with a newborn around he he.

Opening: the doors and windows when the weather allows. not this morning, but last week? the doors and windows were constantly open.

Giggling: at all of the movement going on in my abdomen. and occasionally wincing... strong little tyke in there!

Feeling: strange with the lack of control i have over certain aspects of my life at the moment. again, waiting game doing my head in a bit. everything is up in the air!

Helping: things move along with lots of long walks, sitting on my fit ball... all making me feel like i'm doing what i can.

Hearing: the radio. lots of early-mid 2000's music making me groove and putting a smile on my face.

Mixing: up lots of batches of the healthy chocolate pudding in that photo up the top there. so easy! just whizz up a banana, an avocado, a heaped teaspoon of cacao/cocoa and a date if you feel the need for a wee bit extra sweetness. i've been eating it with berries and chopped nuts or seeds AND freezing it in icy pole moulds. it is delicious!

Slicing: up paper and framing it! bb and i splashed out and spent a little of the money we were gifted for our wedding and bought frames for all of the zillion things we had put aside... there was quite the collection but now they're just about all ready to go... let the hangings commence!

Celebrating: my auntie's 60th yesterday. it was ace to catch up with lots of my cousins and a couple of my aunties and uncles. there was also delicious food and lots of cake that i snaffled a wee mouthful of. portion size is everything when it comes to affecting blood sugar levels i've found...

Forgetting: lots of things. all the time. much walking into rooms and trying to remember why i needed to be there a second ago he he!

Pretending: i can't see the cobwebs in the corners... nope, they're definitely not there!

Embracing: the little community that we have in our new home. family nice and close, and an abundance of awesome like-minded folks all around too. i've been to a few different knitting groups, have an idea of some spinning groups i'd like to check out in a few months time and have met so many lovely folks who are passionate about locally sourced food and products. it makes my heart so happy!

phew! made it!!
these lists do always test my endurance a little he he. a whole lot of introspection and thinking required.

if you want to play along too, pip has a blank list at the bottom of this post.