Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Audiobooks Update (Part 2)

So, I've had my Audible subscription for over a year now, and I'm still really enjoying it. I have also continued to supplement my Audible downloads with Audiobooks from the library. Since my last Audiobook update last July I have listened to a stack more, so thought that I'd post a couple of updates here. Since I have listened to a fair few of audiobooks since last July, I thought I'd split this into two posts, one of Audible audiobooks, and the other of library audiobooks.

So, first up, the Audible Purchases...

The Accidental Wife by Rowan Coleman. After listening to Jilly Bond narrating "A Perfect Proposal" I downloaded this audiobook purely because she was the narrator. I wasn't disappointed. The performance was great, and the story enjoyable.

Belles by Jen Calonita. I downloaded this audiobook with a $10 voucher that Audible emailed me, so the principal factor in the choice was that it was less than $10 ($9.95 infact). However, after listening I discovered that it was a good choice.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. I had spotted this performance of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and decided to give it a go. Anne Hathaway was amazing. You could definitely tell it was her, but she did great voices for each of the characters. I haven't read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz before, so listening to the original story was interesting, I didn't realise how many changes there were in the film.

Breakfast at Darcy's by Ali McNamara. As I think we've already established that I'm a big fan of "Chick-Lit". Now, I know that some of you have issues with the use of the phrase "Chick-Lit", but when I use it please disregard any negative connotations of the phrase, and just imagine that I'm saying "Rom-Com in (audio)book form". This audiobook slots perfectly into that genre, and I really enjoyed it!

Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This was the first time I've listened to a play in audio-only form, and downloaded it because it was free. I have loved the story of The Importance of Being Earnest since watching the Colin Firth/Reece Witherspoon movie version. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, I found the audio dramatisation a little confusing in parts as it was a bit hard to tell some of the characters apart.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I absolutely LOVED this book. I initially downloaded it because it was 30 hours long and had 4.5 stars. I really enjoy well-researched historical fiction books; I love that I can enjoy the story along with learning some history at the same time. This book was a prime example of that kind of book and as I already said, I LOVED it.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett. After listening to Fall of Giants, I was thrilled to discover that it is the first in a trilogy (although only the first two are out so far). So, upon discovering it's existance I instantly downloaded Winter of the World. It was just as good as the first, and a really great way of having a sequel; the characters in the book were the children of the characters in the first book. Therefore there was a certain amount of familiarity in the characters, but also novelty in discovering the new characters, and also finding out more about the original characters. While not essential to listen to both, I highly recommend them.

Love the one you're with by Emily Giffin. I got this Audiobook back in October, and I can't actually remember what happened or what I thought of it. I'm not sure if this says more about the book or me...

Goodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders. Another audiobook in the "chick-lit" genre, and exactly what I was hoping for. Nice and light-hearted, a great story.

Winter White by Jen Calonita. I was pleased to discover that there was a sequel to "Belles", and really enjoyed it. Again, not high-level literature but a nice story, and I always enjoy hearing more about characters that I liked.

Love in the Afternoon by Alison Packard. This audiobook was offered for free by Audible as a special Valentines offer. I don't think I would ever have chosen this book normally, but I did enjoy reading it. It also let me realise that while I enjoy romantic storylines in books, I'm not such a fan of these 'racy' books with sex scenes. I mean, a half hour long sex scene was a bit much for me. Thankfully there weren't actually too many in this book, and otherwise the story was enjoyable.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Lastly, there's been one failure. I downloaded this version of Jane Eyre narrated by Josephine Bailey. I then returned it. Did you know you can return audiobooks you don't enjoy on Audible? I tried listeining to this many times, and just could not get into it, the narration was just too monotonous for me.

So, that's got you up to date with my Audible downloads. What have you been reading or listening to lately? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Monday, February 25, 2013

When Social Sewing Goes Bad (and more dates)

So, we had our February Social Sewing day on Saturday. However, not all went to plan, and neither myself or the darling Kat actually got to do any sewing. Wanna hear why? Then read on! If not, scoot on down to the bottom of this post for new Social Sewing dates (or go to the Social Sewing Page)

So, picture this. After a quick stop at Rathdowne Fabrics on the way, we're arriving at GJs for our day of sewing. I'm upstairs in the work room starting to get ready, thinking about how much tulle I'll need to buy for my crinoline, and I hear a shout come from the stairs. "Rachel, can I get some help" I hear coming from Kat. I go over to the top of the stairs to give Kat a hand, assuming that she just needed a hand carrying things up the stairs (she is 30 weeks pregnant after all).

As soon as I see Kat though, I see not all is well, she's a bit laid down, a few steps up the stairs and unable to move. I quickly grab her bags out of her hands, dump them at the top of the stairs and come back down to help some more. Her dress was caught on her sewing machine case (one of those wheel-y ones, like a wheely suitcase but for a sewing machine). I unhook her dress and take the case, and then we discover that she'd cut her leg.

I'm frantically trying to get someone to help us out, and Mel comes to help us, and flags down some GJs staff for help too. By this point I had actually looked at Kats leg and was in proper panic mode; she hadn't just scratched her leg, or even cut her leg, there was a massive gash up the inside of her left calf!

The scene of the crime, with Sarah, Oanh and myself keeping Kat company
The staff at GJs were absolutely amazing, and within a few minutes an ambulance had been called, a clean cloth and gentle pressure applied to the wound, and everyone was pumped full to the brim with Adrenaline! By this point we'd worked out what had happened - the base of Kat's machine bag is slightly broken, and there was a piece of metal near the bottom that had moved out when she picked it up, which it turns out was incredibly sharp!

It didn't take long for the Ambulance(s) to arrive (an ambulance, and also one of the MICA paramedics). The paramedics were fantastic, applying a bandage to Kats leg before driving her to the hospital. Now, I wasn't about to let her spend the day at the hospital on her own, so I went with her to keep her company.

A fuzzy pic of the ambulance ride
We arrived at the hospital at about 11:15, but didn't get called in to see somebody until about 2pm. Thankfully I had put my knitting in my bag for Social Sewing, so while trying to keep Kat company/entertained/distracted I had some knitting to do.

My waiting room knitting
However, as the injury was her leg, we then still had to wait until a bed was free for them to do the actual stitches. Finally at about 3:20 a bed was available.

Finally, a bed!
After what looked like some very painful injections with local anaesthetic, and two layers of stitches! Including 10 stitches in the outer, skin, layer we were finally able to leave! (While I do have pictures of the unstitched wound, I will be kind to your sensitivities, and won't post them here! I believe Kat may be posting a pic though, so if you're interested look out for that on her blog!)

Stitched up!
We got a taxi back to my place, where many of the social sewing ladies were waiting to see that Kat was OK and to return us our stuff (that had been unceremoniously left at GJs when we departed in the ambulance).

Trying to improve the day, we then all gorged on some of my home-made ice-cream, Kat was picked up by her husband, and the rest of us chilled in the pool for a bit.

The day wasn't a complete wash though, while at Rathdowne Remnants I got the following lace (some regular, some stretch) to use with my #sewingdare; yes, I am determined that me-made undies will be in my not too distant future!

My #sewingdares lace
Aaaand, what I promised right at the beginning of this post, more Social Sewing dates! While I was at the hospital, Mel was kind enough to book in some more dates for social sewing up until June. This means that the upcoming dates we have booked in for Social Sewing are as follows:
  • Saturday 16th March 
  • Saturday 20th April 
  • Saturday 18th May 
  • Saturday 22nd June
These dates, along with all other Social Sewing information, are listed on the Social Sewing Page of my blog.

If you're in Melbourne I hope to see you at one of the dates! I promise, Kat's injury really was the exception, usually the events are incredibly safe!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

SewcieTea Practice Dress #1

I'm still super excited about the SewcieTea (pronounced like society), and have already started the planning process for my dress. As I'm still incredibly nervous about cutting into the liberty fabric, so I decided to use some similar weight fabric to make a practice dress. You actually saw a sneak peek of this dress the other day.

The fabric I chose is a cotton (voile?) from The Fabric Store, which has a really cool stripe running through it  in addition to the floral print. It's so beautifully soft and drapey!

The dress is made using the same bodice pattern as the peacock dress that I shared the other day, except I changed the neckline (lowered the front, raised the back) and extended the shoulders slightly to give a slight cap sleeve effect. The other difference was that rather than a drndl gathered skirt, I added a circle skirt to the dress.

The circle skirt was a deliberate choice, for reasons not exclusively aesthetic; after the 50s style bridesmaid dress I made and wore last year I pledged that all dresses worn to weddings should be fun to dance in, and as the SewcieTea dress will hopefully also be worn to a wedding later in the year this was part of the thought process.


I think I'm going to make some minor modifications to the pattern before making the liberty version:
  • The armholes need some tweaking to make them slightly bigger to allow for full unaffected arm movement
  • I want to add a waistband between the skirt and the bodice to lower the point where the skirt starts but keeping the bodice stopping at the waistband.
I'm considering doing the waistband in a solid coordinating fabric, as I found a lovely blue fabric that matches the blue of the roses on our shopping trip the other week. I'm also considering adding an outside facing of sorts around the neckline in the same coordinated fabric. What do you think? Do you think that would look nice or naff?

And I'm going to finish this post with this lovely pic of a rose that Darren took while taking photos of this dress for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Peacock Dress

A blog post about this dress is well and truly overdue. If you follow me on instagram or twitter you'll have seen a sneak peek of it on New Years Eve. Yes, you didn't read that wrong, a whopping 50 odd days ago!

You've seen the fabric, it was one of the pieces I bought at Spotlight just after Christmas, and as I knew what I was going to make with it as soon as I saw the fabric, it didn't take me long to cut into it to start making a dress. This dress is essentially an exact replica of one of my favourite summer dresses that I've made, the red vintage simplicity 3965 knockoff (another new-years dress in fact! Made almost much exactly 2 years earlier).


I spent a really long time working out the perfect pattern placement for the fabric. The front was tricky, trying to avoid an awkwardly placed flower on the front bodice! The back was easy though, and I'm so happy with it! Thankfully the fabric was fairly see through, so I could place the pattern pieces underneath the fabric and see their placement exactly through. I also marked the seam allowances onto the pattern pieces to help with this.


However, a down side of the see-through-ness of the fabric was that the bodice was see through even when I had lined it with some batiste - the seam allowances on the neckline were particularly visible. So I added an additional underlining layer to the bodice to solve this problem (so the bodice has peacock fabric and then two layers of the batiste lining fabric).


I've worn the dress around the house a few times, but Saturday was the first chance I had to wear it out and about, when I wore it to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra free concert at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl (if you're in Melbourne you should definitely try to go to one of the concerts; there's still two more this Wednesday and on Saturday evenings). Anyway, while I was at the MSO concert I even got an 'unsolicitation' from the lady sitting next to us.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Community Minded...

Don't you just love the sewing community we have? I know I do! There's so many different ways to get involved and everyone is so kind and encouraging. I thought today, in lieu of an actual garment post as I suck at getting photos, I would talk about some community type things...

First up is Social Sewing! Just a quick reminder that next Saturday, the 23rd of Feb, is our next Social Sewing Day. If you're planning on coming can you please let me know so I have a vague idea of numbers.

A few of us were planning on making it a crinoline sewing day, buying the tulle at GJs and getting started on making our own crinolines with some moral support thrown in. If you'd like to join us with that too then you're more than welcome!

Have you seen that JuliaBobbin is hosting the second round of her "Mad Men Challenge". In case you haven't heard, all you need to do is sew something up that's inspired by Mad Men and send her a photo (or blog link) by the 19th of April. I am so definitely in! Sadly I couldn't join in last year as I was too busy with other things, but this year I'm definitely joining in!!!

Lastly, #sewingdares!! Have you seen #sewingdares around the place? The lovely Gillian started issuing dares to people on twitter, and then on her blog. It's all in good fun, and just aimed to get you to try something just outside your comfort zone. I wanted to join up straight away but needed to be realistic; this was while I was still doing the sew-along, I didn't have time for a dare! However, now the sewalong is over I do! So the other day I asked Gillian for a dare and she came up with a great one:

"Make something to wear under a dress"

So many possibilities!!! I think making the crinoline as part of this dare would be cheating though, as I was already scheduled to have a go at making one at Social Sewing. I've been wanting to try undies for quite a while, so might try that but will need to grab some elastic. Or leggings are a good possibility too... As I said, so many possibilities!!

Also, I have some exciting news; I've (finally) booked my flights to come across to Europe for three weeks in July! I'm really excited! I'm also hoping to meet up with some of you lovely stitchers while I'm there; Who is free on Saturday 3rd of August for a meet-up in London?

Are there any nice community type things that you've seen around or are joining in with? Will you be joining in with the things I've mentioned? And lastly, does anybody know of any good resources for people beginning their sewing adventure?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Social Sewing goes on the Road

Last Saturday we went on an adventure. A group of fearless sewing enthusiasts met up, bright and early on a beautiful sunny day, with the plan of buying lots of fabric! Yes, the Social Sewers went on a little road-trip! 9 fabric stores were visited over 8 hours, and countless metres of fabric were purchased, and even more were stroked, gushed over, and even hugged.

We started the day at GJs, then Rathdowne remnants, then moved onto 5 stores that I'd never been to before; Darn Cheap Fabrics, The Cloth Shop, Cutting Edge Fabric, The Button Shop and Astratex, and finished off at The Fabric Store and Alannah Hill. We then rounded off the day with dinner at Rockwell and Sons. You can get the details of our full itinerary over on the fabulous Kat's blog, who organised the whole day - so massive thank you Kat!

(In this pic is a sneak peek of my new dress! Finished before going to bed the night before! Blog post coming soon...)

I'm not entirely sure how many people we had in total as some people popped in and out throughout the day, but there were many! There was even representation from a whopping four states and territories; Victoria (obvs), ACT, Tasmania and South Australia!!

I'm sure by now you're wondering what I bought, I was very restrained, buying only three pieces of particularly special fabric (having my stash out on display in my room is helping my resolve to sew with it and remember that I already have fabric before buying more!) But here they are:

At the top is some delicious silk/cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics, it's just so beautiful and drapey, and might possibly become another portrait blouse. On top of the silk/cotton are some blue buttons to finish off my Whole Wheat Cardigan. Then the fabric with the birdcages is another lovely drapey viscose fabric from Astratex that I just could not walk away from (there was hugging of the bolt before purchasing it too). And on the bottom is a lovely wool suiting from The Fabric Store. I was being strong until I saw Kirsty buying this one, and it's so soft, and it was half price, what's a girl to do?!

And while we're on the topic, don't forget that the next Social Sewing is on the 23rd of Feb. We hope to see you there!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hollyburn Sew-Along - Sew-Along Participant's Skirts

So, today marks the last post in the Hollyburn Sew-Along, where I share the beautiful skirts that the sew-along participants have made. If you haven't finished or even started your Hollyburn skirt yet, don't worry, the posts aren't going anywhere, you can access a list of them all in the sew-along tab along the top of the page on my blog.

But onto the excitement of today, the fabulous skirts created by the sew-along participants! Click on the picture or link below the picture to be taken to their blogs etc.

I really hope I haven't missed anybody out, but if I've somehow managed to miss you, first massive apologies and second PLEASE let me know and I'll update this post to remedy the situation.


[Sharon (for her daughter)]



What a lovely collection of Hollyburn skirts! Everyone has done a truly amazing job on their skirts! Thanks for sharing everyone.

Thanks for joining in with my first ever sew-along, I'm very grateful for the incredibly warm welcome it received. If you decide to follow along with the sew-along in the future, I'd love to see your skirts, so shoot me an email or leave a comment on the blog.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...