Hot air balloon dress (and some sea)

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I’ve been crazy busy for the past month, working and working and working in the hopes I’ll be able to completely enjoy my seaside vacation. But I didn’t finish everything I meant to (had to work during the holiday a bit, but at least I had an office with the perfect view once in my life). The main reason for not finishing the work project is … I also wanted to finish at least on last summer sewing project before I left London for Croatia. I knew it will basically be autumn once I got back and I also wanted to have a photo-shoot with one of my makes in a very picturesque setting. Id say the sacrifice was worth it… Here is my hot air balloon dress on me on the gorgeous island Vis.

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The dress is the Burda style Island Placket Dress (04/2014 #121).

I also planed on making an actual maxi version with a colourful fabric, but decided I prefer swimming to working in lovely dresses on holidays.

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The fabric is some kind of chiffon and it’s the first fabric I bought after moving to London. As probably everyone in the world ever, I’m terrified of sewing chiffon, but in the end it wasn’t as horrible as I expected it to be. I have to redo the hem, I rushed it too much and I need a rolled hem foot (for some reason, I thought I have one, but I don’t.) I have a mild obsession with hot air balloons. But just with the way they look, I’d probably die of fear if I ever had to fly in one.

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*why do I look like I only have one leg and am generally not very coordianted? Because I’m not. And I’m sooooo awkward at posing:)

I really love the pattern and I’m so sorry I didn’t buy the issue of Burda, because I’d love to make all of the other variations, but don’t have the instructions. I really like the front of the dress, but didn’t realise how bra unfriendly it’s going to be from the side. I might try something out next time I’m making it, becouse there’s difinitely going to be a next time, but not before next spring. It’s time for autumnal sewing now, but I don’t really have anything lined up?

Any projects for autumn you can’t wait to sew?

The Shorts (dealing with my body image issues)

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These aren’t average shorts. And I don’t want to point out that they were sewn by me or that I added awesome UT embroidery to them (that’s important too, but we’ll get to that later.) These are the first pair of short I have owned in 15 years (cycling shorts don’t count). And 15 years is more than a half of my life. I haven’t worn shorts since I was officially a child.

I always had issues with the way my body looks. My stomach was always too soft and too big. My hair is curly and I have no idea how to control it. The tops of my arms have developed wings of fat in the last 5 years. One of my boobs is significantly bigger than the other. There’s all the other hair all over my body that shouldn’t be there. But nothing has ever bothered me as much as my thighs and the whole cellulite thing surrounding them has.

All of this is about to change, however. For some time now, I’ve been actively working on not hating myself. Not on loving myself, love is a strong emotion, love is hard. I’m just trying not to stare at other women on the street and guess how much worse I’d look in the cute clothes they’re wearing. (I’m also trying not too look at other women, finding flaws in the way they look and feeling smug because I’m “smart” enough not to wear crop tops).

I still remember the day I read my first magazine for “female readers”. It was targeted towards very young teens, full of articles about first kisses and crushes and boy bands. But also, for whatever fucked up reason, full of articles about how to get rid of cellulite and how to hide it if you’re a lazy idiot who’s not trying hard enough to get rid of it. I was 12. I started secretly shaving and stopped wearing anything that my new bible deemed not appropriate for my body type. Then highschool and serious puberty started and I was suddenly to cool and alternative to read magazines like that. I also started wearing all kins of wired (showy) clothes, pretending I don’t care what other people think while in reality I was always careful that, even though the skirts were short, they were wide and long enough to cover the disgusting tops of my legs. I never even tried on shorts. Shorts were too dangerous.

From there, everything went down. I gained and gained weight although I was constantly dieting, trying to get back to the magical “bellow xy where I would be happy”. Then I started my first real job and in the span of a year gained more than 10 kg (20? pounds). After I quit that job almost 3 years ago I did manage to loose some of it, but my wii fit is still telling me every day that my BMI is just on the verge of too high.

I’m pretty healthy, despite the stats. I started running (and I think I’m sticking to it) and do yoga and even on a lazy day walk at least an hour, because the dog would go crazy if we wouldn’t exercise a bit. I’m probably rounder then the average beautiful hipster lady walking around the neighbourhood. But I also have some sewing skills and an amazing embroidery machine and the weather is hot. So fuck it. I’m going to wear some goddamn shorts. I’m displaying all of the dimples on my thighs and I will do my best not to care who sees them. And sometime in the future, when I’m completely OK with how I look, I’ll start with the learning to love myself thing. Baby steps.

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The shorts are Burda Style 2/2013, model 129. I cut out size 44, because of all of the things I said above, but I could have probably gotten away with a 42. I had to take them in quite a bit in the waist (yay, compared to the rest of my body, my waist is perfect). I also lengthened them a bit, because I didn’t want short shorts. Just shorts are enough for now.

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I wanted my first grown-up shorts to be special, so I embellished them with one of the new amazing Folklorico designs from Urban threads. I thought about maybe changing the shape of the pockets so they would actually follow the curve of the design, but decided against it, because the pockets aren’t that obvious anyway.

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As usual, I had problems with inserting the invisible zip (that isn’t invisible now), broke a needle and was very happy I’m wearing glasses, because there was some potential for loosing an eye. But the zipper closes, the hem is actually very straight and I’m really happy with how they turned out. So if people stare at me in anyway, they’re not judging my cellulite, they’re jealous of the awesomeness of my shorts.

MIID summer school, beginner track: beginings

I’ve joined the “Make it in design Summer School beginner track”. Mainly because I would really love to take some of the other online courses from them or from Lilla Rogerts, but I just don’t have the money for it, and this one was free. I also want to try out an online course, before I pay money for it. All of my experiences with taking any kind of on-line classes (mostly from coursera) were the same: at first, I was super enthusiastic about it and did all of my homework, but then I lost interest and just forgot about them. So I guess this is like a nice test drive to see how I’ll function in the situation.

Anyway, the first brief is out and we have to design a pattern centred around the theme “Tropical paradise”. The most tropical place, which, incidentally is also the place most resembling paradise I’ve ever been to is the lovely Portuguese island Madeira. When I was way younger, we would go there for our summer holidays with my family, 5 summers in a row. I loved it. LOVED LOVED LOVED it. Thus, my image of a tropical paradise is slightly different from the one suggested in the brief. I don’t associate it with palm trees and I certainly don’t associate it with pink plastic flamingos. I’ve never seen any of those in real life anyway. For me, a tropical paradise is full of streliza flowers, the smell of passion fruit and sand as black as the night.

 

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I’ve obviously never made a mood board in my life (yes, I do need some actual education regarding surface pattern design:)) and I think this is probably not really a mood board, but anyway, here’s my first collage of pictures that serve me as my first inspiration. It’s also where I’ll get my colour pallet from.

ps, I don’t know thw rules of mood boarding, but heres where I got the photos from:

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/plantasyflores/4443535978/
http://madaboutplants.com.au/Strelitzia-reginae-Bird-of-Paradise-
http://www.authenticadventures.co.uk/destinations/portugal/madeira.aspx
http://kelliesfoodtoglow.com/2012/03/23/green-tea-lime-and-passionfruit-polenta-cake-with-passionfruit-curd/
https://www.buyfruit.com.au/passionfruit
http://www.pbase.com/nella/image/145434790

(traditional Slovenian) Wild Mushroom and Potato Soup

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If you were to ask me what a traditional dish from where I come from is, I’d probably say Potica, because it’s what every Slovenian says from the top of their head. And I would then explain to you that’s it’s a cake and all of it’s variations and … But then you might ask me about savoury dishes and I’d probably have to take a minute to think about my answer. It’s hard to define our culinary national identity, lots of the dishes we claim are “ours”, you can also find all around central and eastern Europe. But then I’d remember this wonderful soup, so simple and ubiquitous in the specific area where I come from (The area around the Pohorje mountain), no-one probably even thinks about it as anything special. Every shady restaurant will serve a variation in mushroom season (late spring-early autumn), but if you’d actually take the time to go to one of the mountain cottages (they’re usually quite large and can host more than a hundred people, the “cottage” part is just an expression) you’d get something so delicious, you’d speak about it for years. (Just ask my friend D….).

Traditionally it would be served with one of the best things that ever came out of a kitchen, something I’m going to call buckwheat polenta, because I don’t think the word “Žganci” has an actual translation. You make it by cooking coarse buckwheat flour until you get something resembling potato mash – but because I had no buckwheat flour on hand, I couldn’t make it here and won’t write a real recipe until I try it with available products (In Slovenia you can obviously buy a product called buckwheat žganci). Then on top of the poletna and soup, you’d get a large spoonful of ocvirki – pig fat and cracklings, which is pretty much the only thing in the world that’s slightly better than bacon.

Anyway, here’s the recipe for the soup part of the dish. It has potatoes in there, so the buckwheat is more a luxury than a necessity and if you really wanted to have something meaty in there (and didn’t have “ocvirki”) you could add bacon lardons and that would probably be almost as good as the version you’d get on Pohorje. My version also had carrots in it, because I feel guilty if there’s almost no vegetables in my dinner and because that’s how I’m used to making it.

You’ll need

(for 2 hungry people if it’s a main, 4 if it’s a starter)

  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into strips (I had 4 porcinis and 1 chantarell that I brought back with me from Slovenia. The soup is better with more chantarells, but it’s really tasty with just porcinis. Using store bought button mushrooms would probably produce something good to, but that just wouldn’t be the same.)
  • 1 cup diced potatoes (very small dice. Around 0.5 cm)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried majoram (or use oregano, but than use ¾ tsp. They are basically the same, oregano is just a bit stronger)
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • around 700 ml (3 cups) vegetable stock
  • around 100 ml (around 1/2cup) dry white wine, preferably from the north east of Slovenia;) (if you don’t want to open a bottle of wine, use around a tbsp of white wine vinegar and add more stock)
  • 3 tbsp soured cream
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

sestavine

1. In a soup pan heat the oil and butter and add the onions and carrots. Saute on medium heat until the onion gets translucent. Add potatoes, saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, saute until you can smell it (30 seconds) then add the mushrooms. Add a good pinch of salt and saute for 5 minutes, all while mixing everything gently. (don’t break the mushrooms into too small pieces)

3. Add enough stock to cover all of the dry ingredients and the oregano and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. In the meantime chop parsley.

4. Add the white wine or vinegar (it is VERY important to wait with the wine until the potatoes are cooked. If you add acid to cooking potatoes they magically won’t cook at all), cream and a tbsp of parsley and cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Sprinkle with more fresh parsley, serve and enjoy.

6. Dober tek!;)

juha

Amsterdam by (mega)Bus

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As much as I didn’t mind or even slightly enjoyed the coach journey to Brussels, I hated the one to A’dam. Firstly, it was significantly longer -we took the night bus and crossed the sea by ferry, which takes an hour longer than the tunnel and well, Amsterdam is further away. Secondly, this time the coach was completely full, there were no empty seats. And the last, but definitely not the least important reason for my hatred of the journey-the bus was full of drunk and loud young Brits, who were extremely, and I mean extremely annoying. The journey back was a bit better, because they were all tired and slept, but the bus was still completely full… If you’re thinking about buying a ticket, think twice. Or at least don’t go in the Summer, I guess loud youngsters aren’t that keen on partying in the Netherlands in the colder months.

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The main reason for this trip was neither partying (too old or at least too granny-like for that) nor all the wonderful sights and museums you can visit there. Those are left for another day. The main reason was to meet up with the core group of my high school best friends, who live scattered across Europe. Vegerafinja Lives in Brussels, where she has a fancy EU job, N. lives in Zwolle (a small Dutch city), where she has a beautiful family, and D. lives in Berlin, where she has a much better chance of making the world a better place (she enjoys working for non-profit organisations). (And I’m in London, doing nothing.) Another high school classmate of ours lives in Amsterdam, and she was kind enough to offer us accommodation and showing us the not so touristy sights of the city.

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Most of the time we didn’t do much. We ate approximately a ton of Cheese (no, really, no kidding, I’m pretty sure I ate more than a pound in the four days). We also watched the NED-MEX game in a very cool abandoned factory next to a beach like setting (B. brought us there and I’m sure she told us how it’s called, but Dutch words are the worst).

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*The orange Madonna was put there just after the first half. I’m not religious, but… ;)

Then we drank a reasonable amount of beer, most of it in the awesome Brouwerij’t IJ, which is a tiny craft brewery right next to a windmill. Drinking beer next to a windmill while eating cheese was probably the most touristy thing we did.

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We also went to one of the markets, the very famous one, the one that also has a Dutch name. It’s great for fabric shopping, if you don’t need to save money as much as I do. It’s even better for buying cheese, especially if you do need to save money, because one of the stands offers large pieces of AMAZING cheese for 2.5€. They also make poffertjes there…

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The highlight was definitely meeting all of my friends in one place after a year and a half, then watching the game, seeing the Dutch win and celebrate and then walking back from the venue to the city centre right before a short storm, roughly around sunset. I don’t think I ever took this many pretty phone pics in such a short amount of time. Afterwards, some of us were happy enough to stay in the centre for some more beer and a stroll through the Red light district (it was D.s first time in A’dam).

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Amsterdam is incredibly pretty in sunshine, D. noted that it mostly looks fake, because it’s so close to what you see in pictures. There’s beautiful houses, millions of canals, everything is small and everything looks more or less the same. Without a tour guide, you’ll definitely get lost. But that’s not that bad- there’s always a tram or a bus going back to the central station and there’s always something adorable to discover among the wobbly streets. Like pretty street art or delicious pommes frites.

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London Vignette 2: Where thoughts go to die

 

So… here’s the thing. I’m not like Disney’s Rapuntzel (who, when she makes a promise NEVR EVER breaks it. Have I told you my BA thesis was about Disney princesses?). I break them. Especially the ones I make to my (imaginary) blog readers. So, here’s a few excuses why the thing I said was going to happen every Wednesday didn’t: first Wednesday I didn’t have Internet, then my cousin came to visit and we had too much fun together to bother writing something and … you know… I’m forgetful (More about that tomorrow). There’s also the small issue that once you start looking for awesome things happening around you, nothing happens. So we’ll make this London vignette thing a monthly thing? Biweekly maybe? Not even a thing? We’ll see. But anyway, here’s number two, the one I started writing three weeks ago, when it still felt like summer here…

Where thoughts go to die

It’s useless. I tried unsticking the shirt from my body twenty times in the last ten minutes, but the air is to warm and too moist and I’m sweating as if I’m walking through a tropical jungle, not an east London marsh. The trees are tall and old and the undergrowth dense and strong. The only thing that makes it obvious we’re not somewhere near the equator are all of the people trying to enjoy this hot summer Sunday outside. They turn the forest path into a hipster boulevard.

I’m doing my best not to complain too much about people who don’t know anything about cycling-pedestrian etiquette, the number of men with beards and other hip stuff until something catches my eye… And it’s just…

There’s coconuts, all over the side of the path. A very unusual number of coconuts, piled in-between the nettles. They all seem to gravitate toward an opening in-between the tall green plants, into the forest. And they do, because these coconuts, are not random coconuts. They’re arty coconuts. Someone has carefully positioned them around a pile of sawdust with a hole in the middle, making in seem like there some sort of ritualistic sacrificing going on. And there’s a sign, nestled in the middle of the hairy brown globs. “Where thoughts go to die.”

Just when I’m about to start my rant about the wasting of food, a noise growing louder and louder stops me. There’s something rhythmical in the air, suspiciously similar to ceremonial drums. I guess I must be going mad from the heat and my thoughts are really on their path to death, escorted by the coconuts, waiting to be sacrificed to the hollow coconut gods.

But then something completely normal happens.

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Not So Obvious Helpful Illustrator Tools for making Patterns

I’m a self thought Adobe Illustrator user. I know there’s nothing special about that, I’m just telling you this so you won’t go all:” Doh, EVERYONE knows this thing exists, you’re an idiot” on my post. Not everyone does. Adobe programs have so many functionalities that there’s approximately a million ways of doing something and some are more efficient than others (the ones I use probably usually go in the later category). And then there’s a bunch of things you can do that aren’t really essential so they usually don’t pop up in the tutorials I still use to learn. I mean, some of them do, but I usually hear about them after I’ve been doing something more or less wrong for a very long time:)

Anyway, here’s a list of my top 3 Illustrator “tricks” (I’m using this word because I really can’t think of a better one) that really help with pattern design, that I didn’t know existed for way too long. I do get that for some of you this might be basic knowledge, but I’m pretty sure there’s beginners out there who might find this helpful.

A thing I’ll call the “Line mode”, a.k.a.Ctrl+Y
(oh, yes, I’m probably the only person in the universe still using a PC for any kind of graphic design. Don’t make fun of me, I’m poor. But even if I wasn’t, I’d still stick to a PC. I just hate apple products so much … Anyway, I guess you press the weird apple button and Y or something, if you do use an Apple.)

This is one of the things I stumbled upon completely by mistake, because the Slovenian keyboard has the QWERTZ layout, whereas the English one uses QWERTY. Imagine my surprise when I tried to undo something while my keyboard was secretly set to ENG UK and instead of getting one step back, everything was suddenly just black and white and lines and WHAT? It had to happen a few times before I realised what it was and how I can use it to my advantage. A good example is this Peruvian inspired design I’m working on. It’s made of a ton of small rectangles and it’s kind of hard to say if they are overlapping or just casually hanging out next to each other. Press crtl and Y and you can see that with no problems. It’s also supper useful to check if you have open curves and stuff like that.

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Edit->Edit colours->Recolor artwork

This one definitely takes the cake. It is probably the one I’m most ashamed of not knowing but also the most useful one. But how was I supposed to know it existed? It never occurred to me to ask Google if he knows of a better way of changing the colours in a pattern in any other way than changing each tiny piece (I usually grouped everything of the same colour or layered it or something, to make it easier). But this… this…. this is just f-ing genius. (I learned about that via some very good instructions for a job on odesk.)

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Objects->Art boards->Fit to selected art

I’m not going to admit how long it took me to realise I can save jpegs that just contain everything that’s on the artboard. Nope. (Oh yes, I used to crop shit out in Photoshop, I’m crafty that way.) Than it took me another painfully long time to find out I can make the artboard the size of something in my artboard, like a rectangle that’s in the background layer of my design. This way it’s really easy to resize the tile you’re using to make your pattern, if you decide the pattern would look nicer if it was made of a different building block.

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Here’a an example of when this came in very handy. This is one of my designs for the upcoming Spoonflower weekly contest( and it’s not finished yet, I just thought it’s a very good example.) I realized I needed more variety in the spools and that that would be easiest if I “elongate the rack”. The artboard was previously set to a square, but after I got the size I wanted, I just enlarged the rectangle in the background and set the art board to it’s size.

Bonus: Patterns

This is a fairly new thing, I think it came with CS6. Ever since I can remember you could make patterns by selecting a bunch of things on your art board and dragging them into the swatches. But now you can double click on the tiny rectangle in the swatches and you get a bunch options to edit the pattern. I also discovered that by mistake:) It’s super useful if you’re designing a faux quilt design and I promise I’ll make a tutorial for that one day.  I really do.

I guess it would be smart to use a book or something to learn how to use Illustartor, not random tutorials, so I wouldn’t waste so much time trying to run when I can’t even walk. But on the other hand, I think I have developed a number of techniques for doing things that seem pretty efficient to me, and I’m usually pretty happy with how things I design turn out. But it’s nice to learn helpful things, so, brave readers: do you know any similar “tricks”, that you hoped you’d known about before you learned how to use them? You can share, this is a safe space:) Or do you know of a really good book?

Ps: Khm, I totally didn’t forget about a Wednesday promise that I made, but I’ll talk more about that on a Wednesday;))

London vignette 1: The Lonely Man

I’ve been living here for almost a year- time flies by so fast. And while it takes away your youth and the ability to recover from a night of drink in a 2 hour sleep, it also takes away your sense of wonder. You just stop noticing  amazing things happening all around you all the time and even living in London starts to seem like the most normal thing in the world. Like something you’ve been doing since you were born.

I’ve noticed that I felt like that a lot recently and made a tiny promise to myself that I’ll stop taking things for granted and really enjoy everything. I mean, I’m pretty sure we’re not staying here forever (well, no one stays anywhere forever, but I’m thinking of the fact that we’ll probably have to move once Norb is a doctor). And today, a wonderful tiny thing happened. A magical London moment, that probably couldn’t happen anywhere else. At least not where I’ve been before. I wanted to take a picture, but it went by to fast. So I decided I’ll start writing tiny tiny stories. Vignettes. (I used to write passionately and I recently rediscovered around a gazillion of my poems and short stories on my backup drive and got inspired… I used to be good at writing. In Slovenian, that is, but I’ll do my best in English anyway. So here’s another tiny promise I’m making: I’m going to write on of these things each week. On a Wednesday, Wednesdays are great days. Middle days. Not beginnings, nor ends and thus perfect for this. So here it is, my first London Vignette:

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a picture to set the mood

The Lonely Man

The Dog is pulling me through the thick foilage, forward and onward to his unreachable goals. I desperately wanted to take another picture of a snail on a tree, but he must have other plans. My hair is sticky and my fingers cold. The drizzle is slowly turning into something even the Brits would have to call rain. I can hardly see, my glasses are full of raindrops, but I can smell even better and everything smells like the most pungent freshly cut wet dress.

The dog finally stops, we reached a milestone. He has to sniff this tiny grassy crossroad before we enter the path by the canal. I try to be annoyed for a bit, but it doesn’t feel right. There’s something in the air. Music. I can’t really hear it, the rain is falling harder, but I can almost be sure it’s coming closer. I wipe my glasses in a desperate attempt to see, as if that would help me hear the music better. But it’s good that I do, because, just as I recognise the song, I see where it’s coming from.

Two narrow boats are driving towards us, surprisingly fast and painfully slow, like only narrow boats can move. They’re tight together and have the most magnificent captain I’ve ever seen. Enevn though the raindrops obscure my view and change the shapes of everything, I can see his burgundy red velvet coat, so different from the grey and green surroundings. I can see his crow black top hat, sitting on top of his unruly dark hair. He might be smoking a pipe or I might be imagine things.And with him travels the song. “All by myself, doooon’t want to beeeee …”

He’s stirring his boats, slowly fast, towards, hopefully, a place where he doesn’t have to be all by himself with both of them any more.

Ps: Here’s a picture of a snail on a tree.

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Moth bag

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When I bought my first sewing machine (Lidl, 70 €, still works perfectly) about 5 years ago, I bought it because I wanted to sew bags. Looking back, I have no idea how I got the idea. At the time I wasn’t reading blogs, didn’t follow any crafty forums or had a particularly big interest in crafting (I did dabble in jewellery making and cutting up and drawing weird stuff on T-shirts in high school. I also knit for a short while but never got past the basics. But that was all different.) I guess I must have caught the raising popularity of sewing with the corners of my eyes.

I’m still a crappy seamstress, especially for someone with 5 years of experienced and that’s mainly due to the fact that I’m not patient and like shortcuts. But I was even worse at the beginning. My lack of skill, however, didn’t stop me from sewing an abundance of bags, so the last time I made a new one was 3 and a half years ago.

I couldn’t really justify sewing new ones for quite some time, because I didn’t really need them. Luckily I didn’t move all of my experiments to London and the bag I was using most of the time here (the one form 3.5 years ago) was slowly showing signs of wear. I proclaimed it dead after a liter of baklava syrup got spilled all over it a few weeks ago and I finally allowed myself to make a bag again.

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My sewing skills did improve a bit, but I’m still lazy and impatient, so I decided to just go ahead without a patter, making everything up along the way. I have the great “Bag making bible” book form Lisa Lam with patterns that would have been perfect, but no… Just cut the fabric, no drawing, think later, sew now.  Now!

I do really like my new bag. It’s pretty and violet and has a moth in the front. But it does show that I haven’t made a bag in while and that I just winged it. Even Norb noticed and commented on the shape of it, although I think he thought I might have made it that way on purpose? Yes, it’s extremely narrow and deep, because I like digging in bags for a long time. Makes me feel like I’m Hermione Granger and I placed an undetectable extension charm on it. (Only, it’s kind of detectable from the outside.)

I didn’t add any closures to it, because I don’t have any in my stash and I also never use them. Since the bag has a flap, gravity keeps it closed anyway. There’s a pocket with an invisible zipper in front, because I got one extra when I ordered a bunch on ebay (and I also didn’t have any other zipps in my stash.) There’s just one special pocket for my phone on the inside, because I’ve learnt from experience that I never use extra pockets in the lining anyway, so if I put them in bags I make for myself, it’s just wasting time and materials. I probably won’t even use the zipped one in front, it’s there just in case I take the bag abroad and I need a somewhat secure place for my passport. I guess.

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The shoulder strap is also pretty wide, but let’s say that was on purpose, because I hate it when bags cut into my shoulder. It doesn’t look proportional to the bag, but what can you do? (you can plan ahead, yes, but psssst.)

The last thing I want to mention is the fabric. Almost all of it (except half of the lining, which came from the remnants of the swallow dress and the inside of the strap) is from a craftster swap (the “Printing fabric by hand” swap, which got me back into printing by hand. I can’t wait to actually finish some projects!.  The fabric is all hand printed and extremely pretty. I got it from this lovely lady.

 

Brighton and The Seven Sister Country Park

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This was the first trip me, Norb and Ari went on in the UK. Norb’s parents were visiting and they’re not really city people, so a day or two of sightseeing around London was more than enough for them. Because they stayed for almost 9 days, we had to fill the rest with something (mostly it was eating baclavas, walking the dog around the marshes and looking for a small rectangular light coloured head scarf for Norbs grandma, which was almost mission impossible). So this was the perfect opportunity to rent a car and go somewhere out of Oyster reach. (I don’t have a drivers licence and Norb prefers having a second driver in the car). We didn’t need much thinking to decided that going south is the best idea, since we’re all huge fans of the sea.

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I guess there’s lots to do in Brighton, if you want to do stuff, but we just walked around, took pictures and enjoyed the sun and sea air. We also ate some fish and chips, because I heard that’s what you’re supposed to do there:) We went to a pub, we also had to check “more or less traditional pub” from their “what to do in the UK” list. The pub has something to do with baskets or weavers or maybe basket weavers in the name and we were really happy with our choice. The food was amazing!

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Then, we went on to the Seven Sisters Country Park, which was simply magnificent. I imagined it was going to be quite crowded and windy (I like to prepare for the worst), but it wasn’t either. Some German school kids were going back when we went towards the beach and then we were almost alone. There was a pleasant light summer breeze and all you could hear were birds, waves and sheep in the distance.

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We all wished we went there earlier, you could spend a whole day there, just walking around and enjoying the view. Everywhere you turn and look, you see something amazing. Then you walk approximately 5 meters, and everything seems even prettier.

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I’m not a fan of long car drives on winding roads (I don’t feel well four hours afterwards), staying in the sun too long without a hat, or heights, so when we went on top of the first cliff, I wasn’t exactly happy. The dog enjoyed it a lot, though, he doesn’t mind being an inch away from dying at all. He even set down half way up, just on the edge of the path, and scratched his ear viciously for approximately a million years and I almost fainted just looking at him. Even thinking about that now makes my stomach turn…

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We both enjoyed the top though. Being away from the edge, but still being able to see everything made me happy again, and he was even happier about all of the lovely presents the sheep have left for him. (It was poo. He loves it. Eating it. Rolling in it. Eating whatever is left over from rolling in it.) There were many lambs and baby rabbits all around the meadows, so the beauty was improved by some incredible cuteness.

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bunehs

I think it was the perfect day trip. If you’re quite new to the UK and wonder what to explore, I’d definitely recommend The Seven Sisters. Brighton is quite nice too, but a bit too touristy for my taste.