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Saturday, 25 October 2014

A velvet Megan, a near disaster of a purse to match, and, my digital detox


Autumn's definitely here. Beautiful golden leaves falling from the tree outside our house (volunteers to sweep them up once they go mushy, anyone...?), crisp cool air and bright sunshine. 

Having had a break from sewing, a couple of weeks back I took a new project with me to keep me busy while I babysat for a friend. Enter the velvet Megan.

I swooned over the fabric the instant I saw it - and pretty quickly started to picture it as a dress for moi. I'd say a dress for special occasions, but, my philosophy is to enjoy wearing favourite clothes whenever you fancy looking fabulous, and not just to keep them in the wardrobe only to be worn once in a blue moon. Besides, as a mummy to four little ones, I am not forever going to parties. That said, it is my friend's 40th in a few weeks, and I will wear this outfit for that occasion. There's even talk of us going out dancing, and I think this will be perfect.


The dress is fully lined, making it feel extra warm, and luxurious, too, if I may say so. I hand finished the hems and the bit where the lining meets the sleeves whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing last Saturday night. Are you enjoying the series, by the way? We are. Unsurprisingly, in a house with four little girls, the show is a big hit. And a big incentive for good behaviour, so they are allowed the treat of staying up late to watch the first hour.


My friend Emily took these pictures for me. We'd headed out to our favourite cake shop for a mid week treat and catch up. The day time life of a housewife cannot be all DIY (still making slow but steady progress on my hall and stairs), piles of washing, scrubbing floors and chasing after a baby, can it? Admittedly, Charlotte is an age where she will not be fobbed off with whatever healthy baby snack I pull out of my bag for her. She might not be able to form sentences yet, but her "Loli-loli-loliiii!!!!!", accompanied by a pointed finger in the direction of my cake is pretty easy to translate.


Do you like the purse I made to go with my dress? I love it when there are enough scraps to make a little accessory, don't you? The pattern for this was taken from Lisa Lam's A bag for all reasons. I have just one top tip and warning to share with you on this subject. Never use masking tape (usually handy for protecting your purse fabric from getting glue over it in the tricky framing process) with velvet. You guessed it, I know from bitter experience, that masking tape damages velvet. The result was that I had to completely unpick and replace one side of my almost finished purse. Argh. I am always telling the beginners who come to my classes not to worry about making mistakes - you learn your best (and most memorable) lessons that way. Too true!


Lastly, if you like reading my blog, and tend to find me through Facebook or Twitter, it might be worth signing up for an email update on posts, as I'll be using those things less from now on.

Over the last month, I've had something of a digital detox. That is, a deliberate step back on my part from the time I was spending with frequent checks on social media, and, also evenings spent browsing Twitter and so on counting for evening entertainment once the girls were in bed.

I had been feeling glum at the start of September, and decided to make some changes in my day to day habits to see if that had an impact on my sense of happiness, starting with my ever growing social media habit. I think that my digital detox  - along with some other changes - has made me happier. Now that I have broken the habit, I am going to set myself more sensible boundaries - perhaps just ten minutes once a day for a quick check on email and interactions and the like. I'm also going to buy myself a watch, as I think part of the distraction comes from using my phone to check the time.


I've started a different reading habit instead. Being the world's slowest reader (my husband and best friend both joke it is incredible I got a reading based degree, and they are right), yet having ambitions to discover some of the classics of literature before I am old, I came to a point of realising this would never happen if all I did in the evening was watch rubbish on TV or read about other people's lives on social media. My head is less busy by bedtime. At the moment, I am growing to love Jane Austin, and am (slowly) working my way through all her novels.

The past two weeks aside - when I've had a rather annoying lingering throaty cold - I've got back into early morning running again. Setting the alarm for Stupid O' Clock is the only way I can fit it in. And I have to give myself a talking to and remind myself how much I enjoy the happy feeling a run gives me for the rest of the day. I increase my chances of getting out of bed when the alarm goes off, by leaving my running kit right next to the bed. The runs mean guilt free cake consumption, and, I know I am more patient, too, for having been out exercising in the fresh air. And this can only be a good thing, when faced with all the many challenges children throw in my path.

A case in point - Charlotte's habit of flinging her food onto the floor in one quick sweeping gesture, that comes in the moment she deems she has had enough of her meal. Grr.


That's about it for now.

I think my next make is going to be something completely new, using a metre of Liberty lawn, and for my husband, Mark. Can you guess what it will be?

What have you been making?

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful Dress. I use twitter only a little now or whole evenings can get sucked up!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, whole evenings vanish all too easily... :)

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  2. I still don't quite get twitter! Not sure I'm doing it right! The dress is beautiful though!
    Frankie
    X

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    1. You are not missing much! Thanks for the nice comment on the dress. X

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  3. I love your dress its very individual with the fabric you have choose , I have also stepped back from facebook and it is amazing how different it makes you feel a lot more positive
    & happier i could go on x

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    1. Agreed about Facebook. I bet a lot of people would say the same. X

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  4. I absolutely love this dress, the fabric is gorgeous where did you get this? It has inspired me to look through my stash for some vintage Laura Ashley patterned velvet fabric that I have somewhere to make a little shift dress, I love shifts but the ones I make tend to be a bot less vibrant. I think I need a social network detox to concentrate more on my sewing. But then all this networking gives me lots of inspirations and fabric finds. Happy Sewing.

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    1. Aw, thanks. The gorgeous fabric for the dress is Anna Maria Horner velveteen from Dragonfly Fabrics. I think they still have it. I used to wear a lot less colours than I now do, but I love bright and cherry now, especially as the weather gets grey. X

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  5. A beautiful dress... to be worn at every opportunity! Though maybe not when scooping up baked beans. And love the tights, too!

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    1. Hmm, yes. Still very much in the scooping baked beans territory - I keep telling myself (generally through gritted teeth) she'll grow out of this habit soon enough. The tights are a bit bright, but they certainly put a smile on my face whenever I wear them. X

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  6. This dress is a knockout! And wearing it to read Austen is inspired...one should always be impeccably dressed for literature! I love Mansfield Park - seriously, what's not to love about a heroine called Fanny??? In fact, I may just re-read it over Christmas. Wish I had a velvet dress though..

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  7. Ha ha, thanks! I am currently reading Persuasion, but Mansfield Park is next. I'll look forward to it. I can highly recommend buying some velvet and adding a dress made of it to your wardrobe. :)

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  8. Lucky you to get this fabric! VELVET????? Amazing. I had no idea velvet came in prints. Plus you finished the dress (and bag) beautifully.

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