Monday, 29 April 2013

The magical 27

I have a  fascination with the number 27.Why on earth 27? A few years ago, I discovered Flylady.

 I am a creative, but  a rather scatty and messy person. There is a tidy person in there, that presents herself early in the morning. The second I wake up and look at something, I need to clean it straight away, and  that is usually in my pyjamas , slippers and dressing gown, and I don't get out of them till I have cleared up whatever was bothering me. I call it "Tidy Eye", and my husband shakes his head every time I'm engrossed in some tidying task. Once I shower and dress, that's it. No more tidying up after that! Then I revert to the messy person again.

 Flylady got me thinking in a totally different way, and although I don't follow her advice all the time now, a lot of things have stuck forever, and I'm happy about that. One of her tasks that one should do is The 27-Fling Boogie

Basically, find 27 things that are in the wrong place, or are no longer needed, and either throw them away or give them away. But I usually put them away in their right place. Its amazing, you can look at a surface, say, my sewing table, or kitchen bench, and I'll sort and put away and chuck, counting as I go. It is the strangest thing... more often than not, the total number of offensive untidy items is  27.  Once they are gone, the place that I am tidying looks perfect.It's like magic. And I enjoy having a quick tidy up, counting from 1 to 27 as I go, as it has an end place, and doesn't take forever So, once I discovered how powerful those 27 things could be, I googled "27 things" and of course, I found that it has roots in Feng Shui. 


So, I challenge you all, next time you need to clear a space, count the pieces that need to move. You may be very surprised !                                                                             .

 Feng Shui Hope Activators:

1. Move 27 things in your space – and have fun doing it! They don’t have to be huge items like the bed and TV, you can choose little items from books to lamps to candles. This stirs up the energy in your space, re-infuses your objects with your love, and awakens the feelings that inspired your having them.
2. Bring in fresh flowers – every 3 days for 9 days. Not only do the flowers bring in abundant fresh chi, their fragrance and color will spark transformation.... There's another 27 there...

So the next 27 things I need to donate/change/throw away, will be in my wardrobe. This will be harder than cleaning up a kitchen bench, but in order for the magic to start working in there, the old and unwanted must leave.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Our Button Cookies

I live in a small town. I have no problems with it, it's a choice we made as a family about ten years ago. However, my children, now all grown up with their own lives, DO NOT like the quiet life at all, and my daughter Juliet lives in a larger town about an hour away to the north, and my son lives in the capital, Wellington, an hour to the south. Just close enough for us all to get together every now and then.

This weekend I made my first visit to meet some of Juliet's friends and fellow bloggers and also to help at Fabric-a-brac, raising money for Mary Potter  Hospice.

Juliet is an avid organiser of grand things. She was asked to bring some baking along. She said she would come to my house and we could bake the day before the event, and later that same day, get to Wellington to help measure and price the fabric.

We made button biscuits. She had seen them somewhere on the web, but with no recipe, so we used a basic  cookie from the great Kiwi cook book, Edmonds. Practically every cook in New Zealand would have started with an Edmonds cook book.
The trouble is.... we went to get the butter for the cookies, as I didn't have any at home , and driving home, I realised with horror I didn't have a huge amount of flour, probably not enough to make the amount we wanted to make. How on earth could we go shopping to get cookie ingredients and forget to get flour?

Sorry, Edmonds... we had to make alternative plans!

Out came every flour imaginable in my pantry. Normal flour, rice flour, corn flour, and hidden in the back of my pantry I found some buckwheat flour. Now we seemed to have about the right amount of flour to make up the mixture.
The pink cookies (strawberry flavour) came out the best, followed by the almond flavour. Lemon was sort of okay, and then we had to mix up another batch of cookie mix. We had only put one egg in the first mix, but saw that in the recipe we should have put 2. So in went a second egg. Oops, maybe a bit more flour as now the mix was too wet. No more flour.... I know! Custard powder! In it went. Flavours were now chocolate mint, and raspery coconut ice. We were on a creative roll! By now, we are running out of time, as we live an hour away from Wellington, and we were expected there at 6 pm.
We were panicking a wee bit!We quickly iced a 'thread' on the button holes, but the cookies were too hot to pack, so we jumped in the car, and whooshed off to Wellington. The car smelt fantastic. We got to the main Hall at Massey eventually, after going twice around the very big block as they had changed the roads due to roadworks outside the University Entrance.
Measuring up the fabric for sale

Later that evening we met up with my son, and we rushed into town to get something to eat, and spent the night at his house. He lives right next to Lyall Bay. During all this time, the cookies were still on the tray in the car. We packed them up the next morning in bags.

Well, if any of you ladies who went to the Fabric-a-brac and bought our cookies, I apologise. The night in the car, and the haphazard contents of the cookies made them a wee bit soft, and a bit dry. Promise that if we make them next year, we will a) make them out of the correct ingredients, and b) not leave them in a car all night! Just be reconciled that Fabric-a-brac thanks you for the donation, and it will be going to a worthy cause!

Am I going to give you the recipe! No!
But this was our inspiration.
Have fun if you decide to make some!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Cinderella, you will go to the ball!

Its ball season here in New Zealand. The staff at the high schools cunningly place the ball in the first half of the year, apparently so that the students can get it all out of their systems before the start of the exams build up in the second part of the year. 

I got a call from one of our neighbours who asked if I'd like to make a dress for a lovely young girl called Bethany, who has recently moved out here from England. 

I've never been over fond of the rather straight lines of Chinese dresses, but I have to admit she was a perfect size 10 and the lovely dragon material behaved beautifully, apart from fraying badly on the hemline when she came for a fitting. It was lined in some rather slippery satin, and we decided that we didn't like the original idea of gold braid around the halter neck, so the black satin lining conveniently popped out a wee bit, looking like contrast piping. I'm really please with the result.

I had asked her for a photo, but I'm still waiting,(that happens a lot!) so when I saw all the ball photos on a big board outside the Kodak shop, I decided to be cheeky and take a photo of the photo! Good thing nobody saw me!

If anyone is interested in the pattern, I am learning how to put patterns on the computer, or alternatively I could send a traced off pattern to you. It's good practice, changing my normal stiff and very bulky patterns into something more postable, or pdf-able! Don't be shy... It would look lovely in another fabric too. It has a side zip, and no centre back seam. 2 very high slits up each side!

And this is Angel, Cheryl's cat, enjoying the sunshine while we cut garments today. Cats sure do have the right idea, sit and enjoy the warmth. Another thing I wish I would do more often!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

A white shirt

Crochet-embroidered silk-organza jacket by Alexander McQueen
Style 1

I've been reading up about the ideal wardrobe from a few fashion gurus who say one should have a good white shirt. I have ended up an apple shape, not too huge, but tricky to fit anyway, due to a big bust and small hips, and a bit of a tummy. To avoid looking like a ship in full sail, I want to find a style with a bit of shape, that will not gape at my bust line,  be comfortable, and also have a lower hemline with a bit of interest that disguises my round belly without looking like a tent.

Ships? Tents? I see them everywhere!   I absolutely abhor those long-at-the-sides tops and also the tops that drape so beautifully at the front and are shorter at the back, showing off big bottoms. I think , if you are large up top, they just make you huge all over.

These styles show promise.I know they are in different fabrics, I am looking more at the body shape right now.
Any suggestions?
Textured Heart Shirt
style 2
Derek Lam's New Rodeo Girls-Meet-Johnny Cash Collection Is on Amazon Fashion! Could This Be ANY Cooler?
Style 3

DONNA KARAN White Wrap and Twist Top
style 4

Saturday, 20 April 2013

My Dream Horse, Chocolate Box

I have been horse mad all my life. As a very young girl I thought that, if I hung upside down from a branch of a tree for long enough, a horse would appear for me.

One day, the most amazing thing happened, 2 girls were riding by and one of them fell off and was in a bad way. The other girl rushed to our house, and my mother  got the girl to lie down in the lounge, and I was told to hold the horse. I wasn't even 5 at that time, and I remember standing there, holding the reins of this little fuzzy pony, wondering if this was the pony for me. Of course, once the girls parents arrived and took her home my bubble burst, they took the pony away!

I don't think I hung upside down so much after that!

We moved to another town and my parents bought a large piece of land, and all I wanted to know, was "Can I have a pony?"

I got one, in fact I got 4 lovely creatures, but they weren't ponies! This is what I got...
I got Suzie, and Sugar, then I got a jack, called Lucky, and as a result of that, I got sweet little Frosty. I'm the one on the right of the picture. They were great little creatures, so clever, so cunning! Not stupid at all as some people think.  They were masters of escape, I spent a lot of my time riding around our neighbourhood, with a bucket of horse food, crying, looking for my donkeys, who loved going to a local farm and ganging up with the herd of cattle.

 I got bucked off, and dragged through trees and bushes.I know every bad habit in the book. And as I learnt to ride myself, I got a lot of bad habits too!

Fast forward 30 years, and here I was in New Zealand, in a rural area. I got myself a  little miniature horse, called Smudge. He was very cute, but absolutely useless  for anything! The miniature horse has the same appetite as a normal horse, and can get very fat, and then they go lame. He was getting fat. I got sensible, and found him a home where they could care for him the right way, and they trained him and children rode him.

My neighbours have horses. Lots of them. They have kindly let me 'borrow' one of theirs. I just love her. She is called Chocolate Box, because her face is so pretty her picture could be put on a Chocolate Box. She was a racehorse about 8 years ago.

I put shoes on her every 6 weeks, and  at $140 every 6 weeks they cost more than any of my shoes! I bought a saddle, and a bridle. So I own all the outer things, just the horse in the middle isn't mine.  I have a strange vision in my head of me in the saddle in mid air, with 4 shoes beneath me, holding the reins!

(Courtesty of Raskol on Drawception)

This is me and Chocolate all dolled up ! We are excited as each other!

Today is a gloomy wet kind of day, and I had a plan... I thought Chocolate was looking a bit down in the dumps the other day.

and so I wondered if she would like a bit of a pick me up.....I popped into our local 2 Dollar shop and went and bought some cheap hair dye.... 3 for $6!

I said to my husband, "I'm just going over to play with Chocolate a bit" I didn't want to tell him what I was up to! I got my hair conditioner, my old hairbrush and some scissors. Sneaked out the other way so he couldn't see what I had.

When I got to the stables, I opened up the box and put the gloves on. The chap who lives in the house near the stables came over to watch me and have a chat. Now, I made one fatal mistake... the gloves in a hair dye kit are fine if you are doing your own hair, but not very good if you are rubbing your hands up and down a horses mane and tail! Also, it is a good idea to really concentrate while you are handling so much hair dye!
I'd love to take a photo of how lovely her mane and tail look, but its a rainy day and all you will see is a rather wet and bedraggled horse in a muddy horse rug. I quickly painted her feet too, so she had a nice pedicure, and will look so pretty when all the rain stops and she's not so muddy.

Then , as I walked home, I thought, there's a bit of that dye left, maybe I should just touch up the silvery bits in my hair. And before I knew it, I had gone from a mousy brown to a brunette!
Back to the gloves...Next time I do this I will have to get some decent ones! I think I'll need to wear lacy fingerless gloves for the week! I CANNOT get it off! Any suggestions?

The cobblers children have no shoes

The shoemaker is always too busy making shoes for other people to make a pair for his own child. In other words, we often get so tired up in our work and providing for others that we forget to take care of our own children.

This is the case with me! Not my children, but myself. I am in the right place to really have a lovely collection of clothes. I just never found the time for myself. I am too busy making patterns for other peoples clothes, and I forget about doing the same thing to make my own wardrobe better. 

article of clothingclothinghabilimentwearablevesturewear - a covering designed to be worn on a person's body

Yes, we all need clothes. We all wear clothes, out of decency! I have, however, spied a few people at our local supermarket in their pyjamas and slippers, people in paint spattered clothing when you are sure they didn't 'just pop out' to get some milk in the middle of a paint job... They are covered decently, I suppose, but as far as I'm concerned the choice of what they are wearing isn't decent at all, it just shows a total lack of self respect.
This is not me!

workwear - heavy-duty clothes for manual or physical work
But the day I got dressed and realised that everything I was wearing could have been worn by a man, and I'd been dressing like that for quite a while, was a sobering one. New Zealand is a relaxed place, where practically anything goes, and I think that was beginning to wear off on me too.

 And when I did need to go out somewhere nice, I didn't have anything to wear.

So, after looking around on the net about the actual meaning of clothing, I have decided a more apt word for what we wear should always be ATTIRE.

attire(n) - clothing of a distinctive style or for a particular occasion; "formal attire"; "battle dress"
attire(v) - put on special clothes to appear particularly appealing and attractive

So, apart from my very necessary work wear, my farm clothes/worm farming/horse riding clothes,which are good, dont-care-if-I-get-dirty items, I am aspiring to improve my attire for other occasions. And I will never be seen at the local supermarket in them!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Working in the clothing trade

I thought I'd pop a few pictures of the place where I'm doing a spot of work at the moment. I drive down a country road. Pass the flower growers' paddocks full of purple and white. I'm not sure what flowers they are but the are very picturesque in the morning sunshine. Left into another country road, passing paddocks of magnificent Murray Grey cattle, and a bit further along, a strawberry farm. No traffic, apart from maybe the occasional tractor. I park outside a house,walk across a lawn, to this....

 A Garage. But inside it is like this....
The cutting room!

My patterns

The other garage. 3 people work here.They are having their lunch out on the deck in the sunshine

And this is Cheryl. It's her factory.
Every day she needs to get enough work cut for her machinists . About 40 garments a day for the 2 machinists. No taking days and days to make garments here!

I'm really enjoying being here. Just walking across the lawn to the main house to get things or ask something is a real treat .

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Forgotten Fahionista. The start of my journey!

This is my first blog, a completely new concept for me, so I hope you will be patient with me if you have stumbled upon my blog for the first time!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Linda, now 55 years old, and I've worked in the clothing trade for most of my working life. I studied in South Africa, I've lived in Zimbabwe for a few years, then returning to South Africa and now live in New Zealand .

The clothing industry not really a glamorous job, even if it sounds as if it is. No fashion shows for me, no new collections each year. I've worked in the gutsy part of the industry, doing pattern making and grading for designers and clothing factories.

 I take the photos / scribbles / ideas of the designers and turn it into a workable pattern, and all the sizes needed for production.The clothing factories can be dirty (Yes!) and freezing in the winter. 

 But the nice thing was,for a large part of my working life, I worked freelance at home while my children were growing up, and so I feel I had the best of both worlds, being able to be a part of my children's lives but also being able to pop in and out of factories while they were at school each day. Sit and make patterns at my table at home in the sunshine. Go to the factories and work there if I wished. Making a myriad of different styles. No day was ever the same.

I also did a spot of costume work  for the theatre which was frantic, and so much fun. I once made costumes for the Wellington City chorus, all 52 ladies, when they attended a Sweet Adelines competition in Las Vegas! Lots of ladies, lots of different sizes!

 I also got to work at our local university teaching pattern making to design students. I thought that was the best of all the jobs I've done.Sadly, in our last move to a small farming town in New Zealand, the possibility of working in he clothing industry diminished as there just wasn't enough work for me to do, so I started working in Retail stores.

The title of my blog was chosen by my daughter, Juliet. She is wonderful with words. She has inherited a love of making things, and has learnt to sew and make patterns mostly by herself, after she left home and I am intensely proud of her achievements. I do have to pop in and give her a hand to fine-tune her creations, but she is doing really well. Her blog is

So, I can hear you saying, why is this woman writing all of this? Why does she think she is a 'Forgotten Fashionista?"

 I have enjoyed doing fashion, but somewhere, a very long time ago, I seemed to have lost myself, my sense of style has gone awry. I have forgotten who I really am.

 Where did it go?

  •  I suppose working at home, when you can wear your dressing gown and slippers for hours, while working on some patterns, or a wedding dress, doesn't help. What am I wearing as I write this?....Oh dear....

  •  We also live on a small farm, where I walk around the place in Wellington boots for a lot of the time. I ride horses, and I've done a bit of cycling, and working in retail stores. All of these occupations demand a certain kind of dress.

  •  I've been in a departmental store , wearing a uniform (Mauve shirt...Ugh! my least favourite colour!)

  • A menswear store, that one was nicer, because we designed and I made them, a red or black skirt and knitted top in Merino wool. 

  • A Bicycle shop, selling mobility scooters and wheelchairs to disabled people, and there the uniform was a black shirt with lots of cycling related embroidery on it.

 None of them filled me with joy when I got dressed every morning. I want that joy back. I want to feel glamorous. I want my clothes to accentuate the good bits, hide the bad bits! I have no excuse, I have the skills to change what I wear, I've just got lazy.

So, here's my plan...

I am going to call together my most trusted friends. They are going to be the judge of all my clothes.I promise I will still love them when we have done it. Even if they say my most loved clothes are awful for me.I will take photos of it all, and hopefully along the way we will have a few laughs and I will find myself again.

I am going back to the drawing board. I'm going to read as many books from the real fashionistas and style gurus, and try out some new things.

If you're around my age, you, like me, probably hanker for the 80's. Not necessarily the big shoulder pads and the huge hair, but the brightness and fun. Maybe I loved the styles from that era because I had just finished at design school and I was in my 20's. Maybe I could try to find some of that fun again.

Fancy coming along for the ride??