Friday, 18 January 2019

Capsule wardrobe #2

More capsule wardrobe as I've been analysing and finessing with Rose while she was off sick this week.

First we got out everything that I have on the 30 pieces list, here it is folded up on the floor.
 And here's some bags and shoes
Altogether that's 25 out of my 30 pieces. seeing everything in one place like that leads me to this question... Is navy blue a colour or a neutral?  If it's a colour I'm doing very well, if not I've got some work to do.

Next Rose put me an outfit together with 2 key pieces and styled it for a warmer and cooler spring day.  My key pieces are a calf length grey pencil skirt and a navy blue accent top.
For cool days she put them with knee boots and a black baggy cardigan and for warm days she went for sneakers and a cropped denim jacket.

I'd wear both of these outfits but I think I need to accessorize.  What do you think?  (about the outfits not the photgraphy, I know that needs work)

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Capsule Wardrobe #1

This week I have been thinking about capsule wardrobes and as having less clothes fits in with the general clear out and organisation theme it is my topic for today.

After all my tidying and throwing out in the Fall I actually already have a capsule wardrobe, I just don't know if it counts when it consists almost entirely of jeans, t-shirts, hoodies and baggy cardigans.  In order to shake it up a bit and find out how to become more stylish and less of a complete scruff I went to the library and borrowed 'The Capsule Wardrobe, 1,000 outfits from 30 pieces' by Wendy Mak.

It does exactly what it says on the tin really, no explanation needed, she lists 30 garments/accessories and then makes 1,000 outfits with them.  I found it pretty inspiring and although her recommended pieces don't all fit well with my current stay at home mum, billy-no-mates lifestyle, and I need 3 seasonal versions for the Canadian climate I will customise it and give it a go.

You can read about Wendy and her book here.

This is my list of 30 pieces for Spring, I have listed things I own in black and things I need to acquire in pink.  I have also crossed out some of Wendy's items and substituted Kirstin lifestyle friendly ones in their place.

  1. Jeans
  2. Casual trousers - more jeans, cannot visualise life at all without at least 2 pairs
  3. Tailored black trousers - wide grey linen trousers
  4. Tailored stone trousers - grey pencil skirt
  5. Tailored shorts
  6. Casual skirt 1 - linen, A-line
  7. Casual skirt 2 - black and white, gored
  8. Black basic tank - black basic, bingo-wing friendly, t-shirt with sleeves
  9. White basic tank - Breton (cannot wear white, will cover it in ketchup/chocolate/miscellaneous where-did-that-come-from? dirt) basic t-shirt with sleeves, see above
  10. Accent coloured blouse 1
  11. Accent coloured blouse 2
  12. long sleeve top in black
  13. Long sleeve top in colour
  14. Casual day dress
  15. Little black dress - basic t-shirt in colour
  16. Black parka - baggy cardigan, hopefully will not need a parka by May
  17. Trench
  18. Black (or neutral) cardigan - baggy
  19. Black blazer
  20. Stone blazer - another baggy cardigan, that's 3
  21. Casual jacket
  22. Black tote
  23. Tan tote - tan cross body bag
  24. Black clutch - alternative nice going out bag for all the times I go out, hmm
  25. Black knee high boots
  26. Black heels - can I put another baggy cardigan here for now or is that cheating?
  27. Nude wedges
  28. Strappy black heels - I don't need many shoes (and I can't walk in strappy sandals) so I think I'll have another basic t-shirt or accent coloured top here so I don't have to do laundry so often
  29. Dressy sandals
  30. Ballet flats - sneakers
My challenge is to buy or make the 5 essential items shown above in pink by May so I can put this into action and become less boring and more stylish.  I may even try to do the #30Pieces30Days challenge with my lovely new selection of clothes.

If anyone has any style tips for me around this list I would be very grateful, especially any easy jacket or blazer patterns so I can make my own.

Tomorrow, when it is light, I will try to photograph a couple of outfits from the book with things I already own from the list and update accordingly.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Towel Re-Purpose #1

It's been a busy week this week with all the folding and appreciating my clothes that's been going on.  I just took a book out of the library on how to create a capsule wardrobe so we'll see how that goes in the coming months.

But to today.  I've begun re-purposing the towels from last week starting with some lovely new dishcloths.
I've made two versions.  The bottom one is just a square of towel that has been bound like a quilt.  The top one is based on an idea I came across on one of those 'best ofs' 'top ten ways to' lists on Pintrest but it originally came from Fairview Farm blog.  It's one square of towel and one square of quilting cotton sewn together around the edge (left raw) then straight line quilted into a Tic-Tac-Toe board.

I've only made 4 and am testing them out to decide which I like best before I make any more.  The bound one washed better as it didn't shed bits all over the rest of the laundry but it took longer to make so we'll see.

Next I'll try some reusable Swiffer mop covers and I'm wondering about dying a couple of towels to cover the weird stains and making some light weight bathmats, or using them as wadding for pot holders.  I bet you're waiting with baited breath for that one!

Have a great weekend

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Folding Things Up

This Weekend I discovered Marie Kondo on Netflix.  I watched the whole first season of her Tidying Up show in 24 hours and have subsequently spent quite a bit of time looking through her videos on YouTube.  I have spent even more time folding things up.

I was a bit sceptical about it at first, greeting the home and 'sparking joy' all seems a bit unnecessarily whimsical and airy-fairy but I am now well and truly converted and will continue in my own tidying journey with lessons learned.

I was particularly struck by two of her concepts.  The first is saying thank you to the things you let go, I think this is very useful for helping to let go of items that you are finding difficult to discard.  I mean the sorts of things that you don't really want but feel like you ought to keep, for me that's things I bought or made but didn't wear.  For people like me the act of saying 'thank you' alleviates any feelings of guilt associated with throwing something out.

The second thing I really, really like is folding up clothes.  I love it, I've folded all mine, I've folded Rose's and then I folded a whole bunch of other stuff too.  Look how nice my tea towels look now...

And my quilting fabric stash looks like a shop.

Storing stuff so you actually see all of it is genius.  In hindsight it's obviously the best way to go about things, you no longer have to empty entire drawers out before you realise the item you need is at the bottom of the washing basket, also using the Konmari folding method makes everything take up much less space.

But what I think I really love is the act of actually spending time folding things.  Marie says that you should smooth out each item with love first then carefully fold it according to her method so it will stand up, this is both practical as you can be checking if the item is still in good condition but it also gives you the chance to contemplate the piece and accord it a bit of respect.  I don't know about you but I feel like I own so much that it's not a bad thing to really look at everything individually once in a while.

So at the moment I love it all.  The only thing I'm not loving is finding small boxes to compartmentalise my dresser drawers.  Marie shows up at everyone's homes with bags of lovely boxes in beautiful colours and tactile materials, where does she get them?  If anyone has any hints and tips for that I would be very grateful.

Friday, 4 January 2019


So now 2019 has begun and the house is free of contractors for a day or 2, I decided to round up and sort out our vast selection of towels.

Here's the stats...

  • Bath towels - 20
  • Hand towels - 18
  • Bath mats - 6
  • Beach towels - 6
  • Face cloths - 7
  • Total Items - 57
I definitely do not think we need this many between 4 of us.  I have whittled it down to this...
  • Bath towels - 10
  • Hand towels - 10
  • Bath mats - 4
  • Beach towels - 5
  • Face cloths - 4
  • Rags and cleaning cloths - 6
  • Total Items - 39
That's not a very round number is it?  I now have the problem of how to get rid of the remaining 18 without putting them all in landfill.

I have 5 that are good enough to donate to thrift, they are hardly used because they were too big or too thick or have Ben Ten emblazoned on them.  The other 13 pose a bit of a problem as they are well used or have mysterious bleach stains on them.  My first thought was the Humane Society but they have a prominent note on their website right now to the effect that they don't need any towels so I guess I'm not the only one with that bright idea.

So after a bit of research I've decided to try to re-purpose them.  Here are some ideas I found online...
  • Reusable Swiffer pads
  • Dish cloths
  • Ironing board cover
  • Make up scrubbies
  • Home made pillow form
  • Spa slippers
  • Draft excluder
I'll be trying out a few of these over the next few weeks, my One Monthly Goal jobs will have to come first but I'm quite excited about some of these especially as I might get to use up some of my stash and scraps as well.

Does anyone else out there have any great ideas for reusing or disposing of old towels?  If you do I'd love to hear them or see some pictures.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

An Apron, a Onsie and a January Goal

And a Happy New Year to everyone, may it bring you happiness, peace and good health.

I cannot believe that I totally missed the Elm Street Quilts, One Monthly Goal end of December linky party.  Honestly, December was completely bonkers here.  Since I last posted we have had the basement framed out and insulated and Christmas has been successfully completed which all the ladies out there reading will know does not just happen by magic.

I even quilted and bound Whoo Hoo and sent it to England where it actually arrived on time.
Because it is for 2 small boys I added flaps in the corners for making it into a fort.
And hooks for guy ropes for constructing shelters and play tents in the summer.

Anyway, if its OK I'm posting my finish for Elm Street Quilts as well as my January Goal, just to show off.  Here is Jacob's baking apron, finished in time for Christmas Day.

He doesn't look very happy with the modelling job does he!  Oh well, I'm happy with the apron outcome and it will keep him clean while he's making a mess with his new mugcakes from scratch recipe book which came with it.  The pattern is by Martha Stewart, I have it in her Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts book but you can also find it online here.  I made it about 4 inches longer than the paper pattern to accommodate my 6 foot son, it came together easily and I like the adjustable neck strap.

I also found time to make Rose a new Onsie, she has 2 others but the pink cat has got a bit short and very ratty so enter the snow leopard.

I'm definitely very pleased with this result.  I used Kwik Sew K2704 and added the tummy and ears, this is a size large with 2 inches length added to the body.

Elm Street Quilts

And so to my goal for January.  I've been um-ing and ah-ing over this one as I'm not sure what and how much to set myself, it's easy to be over enthusiastic in the New Year and I don't want to set myself up for a fail in the first month.

So I've decided to go with finishing off the basic blocks for my Wonky Wheels quilt.  This is what I have so far.
I am thinking about making another 5 so I have 20 blocks, that should be doable.

I'd also like to add this dress.  I've had both the pattern and the fabric for over a year so it would be good to get on and sort that out.
It's a very basic pattern with bust darts on the front and a zipper and darts at the back.  I'm thinking of making view A and wearing it with a turtle neck.  If I can make it fit just right I think it will be a really useful pattern.

So here I am linking up to Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal January Link-up.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Whoo Hoo quilt back and an Apron

Today I have a  Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts and my December goal for One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts.

Firstly, Whoo Hoo train quilt is my Finished or not Friday.  Remember the puffs of steam shown on my goal setting post here that disappeared?  I didn't want to waste them so I have sewn them into stepping stones on the back which is now finished.  My dining room was the only place light enough for a photograph today so I may have just invented a quilted tablecloth with built in runner!

It is all sandwiched up (you can probably see the pins if you look closely) and my binding is pressed and ready so although I am not quite finished I hope to be by next Friday.

My One Monthly Goal for December requires a little back story.

Elm Street Quilts

I have recently embarked on a campaign to teach my 14 year old son some useful life skills.  He is very intelligent but has no common sense at all and although a good working knowledge of calculus and multiple programming languages may help get him into a good university it will not keep him well fed with clean clothes.  Honestly, I love him to bits but some day I'd like him to become an independent person and not live in my house anymore.  Here he is with my daughter on the night of his middle school graduation.

Since the summer I have taught him how to do his own laundry (which he does each week) and vacuum his own room (which he does when he can find the floor under all the unsorted laundry) and I have begun teaching him the rudiments of feeding himself.

We have started with learning how to read the instructions on a packet of instant food and so I have introduced him to 1 portion microwave mug cakes.  There are many varieties out there so every time he tries a new one he has to correctly interpret the instructions, this has worked really well because he enjoys eating them.  Here's what he has learnt so far:
  • Microwaves come in different sizes and powers
  • There is a difference between tablespoons and teaspoons
  • It helps to read the instructions properly before you start
  • Size matters when it comes to mug capacity
  • Metal does not go in the microwave
Now he has got the hang of packet mixes we will progress to making mug cakes from real ingredients.  To celebrate his new skills and help keep him clean I am going to make him a nice new apron for Christmas, this Martha Stewart pattern is my goal for December.

Linking up with Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts and Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal December Linkup. at Elm Street Quilts.