Tuesday 28 February 2012

Infinty Dress/ Convertible Dress

Well hello there!

I found these dresses online, I know they have been around for a while but I thought I would have a go at making them, for potential sale as formal/bridesmaids dresses.

I don't think I will, unless someone specifically wants one, but it was tonnes of fun trying.

The dress was a success (tehe that *rhymes*) and I managed to sew 4-way stretch fabric with my old beast of a sewing machine :D

So the concept of the infinity dress is that you can wear it an infinite number of ways.
It consists of 3 things - A circle skirt, a waistband and 2 straps at least as long as your height.
And you can sew the whole thing with one seam! I based my dress on this tutorial HERE and made minor adjustments.

I bought 3 metres of purple polyester knit fabric that had a small percentage of lycra in it and I didn't overlock it or hem it, its awesome! However I recommend super sharp scissors and keep your cat away from the fabric.

You need to take measurements for this dress! The ones I needed were:

Length of skirt - From your waist to wherever you want it to go. This will be the radius of the circle skirt you cut out

Waist - Measure around your waist then take off a few cms to allow for the stretch of the fabric. (This is the circumfrence of the inner circle you will cut out, you will need the radius, use an online calculator to figure it out :P). It will also be the length of the waistband piece.

How wide you want your straps - Measure from the middle of your bust to just under your armpit or the side seam of your clothes.

That is pretty much it, make the straps as long as you want, but at least longer than your height. The longer they are the more times they will wrap around your body.

This is pretty much the pattern I used to cut the pieces for the dress. The dotted line is a fold.

The tutorial on Rostitchery is better at explaining it and she took pictures so I recommend it :)

Excuse some of these photos but these are just a few ways of wearing the dress! Pretty crazy!

The fabric cost me $16 per metre and I bought 3m. I also bought purple thread and a ball point needle for my machine so the total cost of materials was around $50.

Note: the colour of my dress is Cadbury Purple, but my camera doesn't show it very well.

Credit where credit is due: Thanks Holly for the advice and awesome tips! Thanks Rosita for the inspiration! Thanks Dave for helping cut with blunt scissors!

Saturday 25 February 2012

Work can be fun! Glamour Direct Bridal Shop

Recently an opportunity arose to work the occasional Saturday in a Bridal Shop. I know I already work full-time at a cafe but this is so much different and actually fun! It doesn't even feel like working!

Sneek peek of the dress selection

The place is called Glamour Direct and it is close to Woolston, Christchurch. It is just a wee shop so there is usually only one or two of us working there which makes it really personal.

We focus on appointments so say someone books in for a bridal consultation, they get, for free, an hour and a half of undivided attention where we educate on dress shape, they pick out around 5 or so dresses to try on and we spend time on each dress talking about what they like or not. 

Formal/bridesmaid dresses

AWWWW! Onsie Tuxedo

The best thing about the shop is that all the dresses are made to measure and can be customized. Almost any neckline imaginable, any sleeve type, any lace or applique. SO COOL! And they are super affordable!

I find it so fun to work with the brides that come in, from all different backgrounds and their friends and family that come to support them.  It is such a personal thing to be a part of and so satisfying when the bride finds her perfect dress.

The window seat of the fitting room

The 'runway' platform for the brides

The changing room

The fitting area with a cozy couch on the left

I know this is a super huge plug for the store but even when I didn't work there and was a customer with my awesome sister-in-law I went home raving about the service and how fun it was.

So if you know of any brides-to-be, send them my way!
or here: http://www.glamourdirect.co.nz/

I get to let a lot of my creative/craftyness out when I do this job because I can suggest other dresses, and play with different straps or veils or accessories that the bride may not have thought of. So fun!

Have a happy sunny Saturday!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Remembering - Part 2

Feel free not to read that last post, it may be slightly depressing. But I wrote it out last night and I think it helped me get through today.

It seemed so surreal. We had our 2 minutes silence at 12.51, we stood outside the cafe and lined the street with 20 or so others. I didn't cry, I just tried to remember what the weather was like that day, I think it was a bit grey, like today. I don't remember it raining, or being especially hot. I haven't seen or heard any of the footage from any of the memorial services, I was at work too early to attend any. So the day almost felt like any other. Almost.

I went and stood for a while at the CTV site. They have resurrected a memorial there. I remembered and took in the change.

I feel ok.

Things have moved forward, in my life and in the life of Christchurch.

Today I am thankful. For my life and the lives of my friends and family. For a roof over our heads and that we are employed. Amongst many things.

I have read some beautiful things from other Chch bloggers about this anniversary, they aren't sad, they are focused on the future and moving forward. I want to be like that too.

Rise up.

P.s My quilt is coming along nicely, a trip to Spotlight is in the cards soon yay!

Remembering - Feb 22 Earthquake

 I wrote this about 6 months ago, I think it is fitting to share it again now, one year on.

 (Warning - Super dooper long post follows!)

 The purpose of this text is for me to get my story written down before it gets cloudy and forgotten in my memory. I think it is important to have a written record of the times that impacted your life the most, it helps the healing process and it also helps others understand the way you thought, felt and acted. I hope that my story does that.

Here are some Images from the September 4th Earthquake:

Bye bye chimney

Chimney on the ground
All piled up.

The Background
     The day started like any other, I was working at the IRD building (on the corner of Cashel and Madras Streets, also directly opposite the CTV building). My job involved a lot of walking, I spent my 8 hour work day walking up and down the 7 story building stocking up coffee, tea, napkins etc as well as taking around 40L of milk twice a day (1000+ staff get very thirsty!). The rest of the time I spent washing cups and plates and having a few great conversations and a lot of small talk with the IRD staff. I also spent my spare time on the 7th floor in the Café occasionally making coffees, having my breaks and serving. This is where I left my stuff when I got to work, in the dry store of the Café. 
Job description aside, I was having a normal day at work, I remember grabbing the Technology section of the paper and putting it aside in the cafe for lunchtime reading at 1.30. Across the road, we all had been watching with great interest the planned demolition of the buildings between CTV and Les Mills gym. The lot had finally be cleared, the whole process started just before Christmas. Most of us entertained the idea of becoming a digger driver or wrecking ball operator.

The CTV building on the right.
The Pre-Quake Events
     I had just finished my morning tea break at 11.30 and did a round of the building doing dishes etc then headed down to the loading bay with my trolley to grab my second lot of milk for the day. My memories of the hour or so before the quake are getting quite fuzzy now so I don’t remember the exact details but I’m sure I had a few chatty conversations with the IRD staff as normal. I worked my way from kitchen to kitchen and by 12.45 I was on the 2nd floor North Kitchen. The whole north side of the IRD building is made of large glass panels and looks out onto the CTV building, Latimer Square and beyond. I spent many days looking out over the city marveling at how green the place was and looking over at the mountains. My workmate Kim is a kite surfer and a few times each day we would examine the flag on top of the CTV building to see whether or not the wind conditions were good enough for her to go kiting at the estuary. Suffice to say that the view north is well etched into my mind.
The Earthquake
     I was on the second floor with my big milk trolley topping up the Level 2 workers fridge with milk for their coffee when I heard it coming. It started off rumbling and, as we had gotten used to since the September earthquake, everyone stopped and waited to see if it was going to get bigger or not. It did. Now this part I can only remember bits at a time but I don’t think I will ever forget the next 40 seconds of my life. The building started violently shaking back and forth, I froze with my legs apart and bent, trying to get my balance. I was looking north, at the CTV building, the glass window panes were wobbling like jelly and people were panicking and screaming around me. The next thing I know I had managed to get under one of the bar tables and braced myself against it. It was fixed to the ground luckily so it didn’t move too far. I remember another guy being under it too but I don’t recall who it was, just that we looked wide-eyed at each other for a couple of seconds before holding on for dear life. The next thing I did I am amazed at. I can only put it down to adrenaline and reflex but I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and went through a few menu screens and managed to send a txt through to my husband Dave. ‘I’m ok babe’. I later learnt that Dave had gotten the message while the ground was still shaking and before the phone networks went down. This is one of the many miracles I experienced that day.
 The Immediate Aftermath
 Once the shaking had stopped I emerged from my safety space and looked behind me. The kitchen looked like it had exploded. Every drawer was open, or at least had been. The plates, bowls and other cupboard items were strewn all across the floor, ending just before my ‘safety space’. The dishwasher had flown open and so had the fridge. The floor was white from all the crockery. I have no idea what happened to the milk trolley. Once I had taken in that sight I looked out the window. All I could see was dust, and the window panels are huge. After a second or so the dust started to clear and we could see the most horrific sight. The CTV building, which I had just seen wobbling like jelly, had disappeared. All that was left was the rear elevator shaft and a huge pile of dust and rubble. My brain struggled to comprehend this. All I could think of was that I hoped for some reason that there was no one in the building. Then I started to become aware of things going on around me. The fire alarm was blaring and this became the noise I associate with earthquakes. The 100 or so people who were on the 2nd floor with me were in different states. Some were screaming, some were swearing. There was a swarm of people heading for the fire stairs. I started heading there too and saw one of my workmates come toward me. I clearly remember the look of horror on her face as she saw the remains of the CTV building. She went bright red and started screaming ‘There are people in there!’ I was in a state of shock by then and I just gave her a huge hug while she sobbed on me and I told her we had to get out of there. She just nodded and ran to grab her bag. I headed down the stairs and outside onto Bedford Row where there were hundreds of people heading towards Latimer Square, our meeting place. This felt like routine to me, recently we had about 5 fire drills and false alarms which required us to evacuate to the square. I stopped just outside and I can remember just wanting to see Kim and my Café workmates. I saw people file past me from each floor, and finally the people from Level 7 started emerging. They looked worst of all. I have been on the 7th floor in a large aftershock and it is horrible. A friend walked out the door and I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I cried gut wrenching sobs while clinging desperately to my friend. At last I saw Kim walk through the door, I gave her a huge hug and we started walking towards the square. Unfortunately the route we had to take was right past the CTV building. Kim hadn’t seen it yet. Her face went red and she bawled her eyes out and I tried my best to stand in the way of her gaze and put my hand up like a shield to stop her from looking. I don’t remember seeing people in the rubble or people searching, I tried my best not to look and I know I was still in shock.
In the IRD building after one of the many aftershocks before Feb 22

The Short-term Aftermath
     We got to the square and eventually established that everyone was ok. Kim had a sore arm and a medic came and checked her out and told her it wasn’t broken but would be badly bruised. People were yelling for anyone with first aid experience and a triage base was set up by some trees. The ground kept moving under our feet, it felt like it didn’t stop. We were all trying to get hold of people on our cellphones, I had been trying to ring Dave since getting out of the building but no calls would go through. I managed to send some txts through to my parents, letting them know I was ok and a few friends who I hoped would spread the word. After about half an hour I finally heard from Dave, he was ok. I didn’t know where he was but it was enough knowing he was alright. Me and a workmate Laura decided to walk back to my house, it was closer (2km away). We walked down Hereford Street past houses with an outside wall missing and turned onto Fitzgerald Ave. As soon as we got there we saw the gridlock. No car was moving, people were tooting and others were abandoning their cars on the side of the road to walk to their destination. I gave up hope of Dave getting through to pick us up so we kept walking. The roads were cracked and filled with silt and water. Some puddles were as big as craters and the liquefaction was like quicksand. One of my shoes fell prey to the sludge but I dragged it out. Everyone on the street was stopping to make sure people were ok. We kept walking to my house and I realized I had no house keys, my entire handbag was still in the IRD building. Luckily one of the windows was unlocked and I climbed into the house to inspect the damage. The kitchen was a mess, the oven had moved about a metre and the cupboards had opened, spilling their contents on the floor. I let Laura in then started taking photos of the damage. In the lounge a part of the ceiling had a huge hole in it, revealing the slats and pink bats. The chimney bricks from inside the roof had come loose and crashed into the ceiling, making a huge hole. My cat was nowhere to be seen so I left food out for her and started grabbing things to take with me, since I assumed our house wasn’t safe. I grabbed clothes for me and Dave, our passports, all the change I could find, a phone charger, Daves laptop, and toiletries. I also grabbed a warm jacket for Laura, since we still had our work t-shirts on. My pants had liquefaction up to my knees so I changed. I kept my shoes on though because they were the comfiest I had. I was in survival mode by then.
 The updates from Dave were coming in sporadically every half hour or so. It was hard to keep track of who was where and where to meet. It turned out he had been driving over the other side of the city and gotten stuck over the river because the bridges were down. Laura and I headed toward Dave’s last known location, which was our pastors house about 5km away. Lauras place was sort of on the way so eventually we parted ways. After walking halfway to meet Dave he told me he was at the church which meant I had to double back on myself about 1km. I did a lot of walking that day. It was hard to take in the sights of buildings I had passed many times being in ruins or on the verge of collapse. I passed a Dairy owner in the back room of her dairy selling goods through a broken window because the entrance was blocked. I saw a petrol station with massive cracks running through the ground and the fumes wafting through the air.
As I neared church it was about 4pm. By that time I was choking back tears again. I could see Dave outside church and I tried to call out but the only sound I could make was a gurgle. I was weighed down by my ‘survival bags’ so I couldn’t run. When I finally got his attention he came running. I started crying again, the ugly, heaving cry. It was so good to see him, I don’t know what I would have done without him. We headed into the church and I saw it ankle deep with muddy water. By that time there were quite a few people at church looking for comfort and wanting to help. We swept out as much water as we could then we decided to head home before it got dark. There was no water and no electricity as well as clogged phone networks. We got home and I showed Dave the mess and we grabbed a few extra things and walked down the road to our friends Hollie & Perry’s place. We stayed a few nights there because we still weren’t sure if our house was safe.

  Someone had a wind-up dynamo radio so we sat in the lounge with candles listening to the updates. People had died. The place was still gridlocked. All power and water was out. Rescue attempts were continuing. None of us wanted to go to bed that night, but we realized just how tired we were. The adrenaline had worn off. As we went to sleep we turned off our cellphones, saving the last bar of battery for the next day with no power. The aftershocks were continuous that night. Every ten minutes the house would start shaking again, some small, some big and violent and some just a loud rumble that made you tense up.

The side of our old flat

Some lounge devastation

The hole in our ceiling. The bricks from the chimney inside the roof fell through.

Underneath the hole in our ceiling

Close up

Check out how far away the oven moved from the wall!

From our pantry
     The next day we walked over to our house and began to tidy up. Our landlady rang and came to inspect the damage. She deemed the place liveable, since it was only some bricks in the ceiling, the rest of the house was sturdy. But she gave us a weeks free rent because we didn’t feel safe living there for a time. Bless. We discovered the power was on at our place so we charged our phones. It was surreal walking around where we lived. There was dust everywhere, lots of people on bikes and walking, some carrying many possessions. Army trucks and police cars were the bulk of road traffic and things were much quieter. Once the water tankers had set up stations the lines of people stretched over 200m, some had their wheelie bins and filled them up with water. It was still not drinkable, it had to be boiled for three minutes before being consumed.     
     After a few days things began to get back to normal. Power, water and internet was slowly restored to most parts of the city. People were starting to establish a routine and getting used to living in survival mode. We took a few days break in Tauranga with my parents the week after the quake, just to rest and get away from the aftershocks, It did us a world of good, thanks Jane, Mum and Dad for the tickets. Once we got home we had to try and rescue our car and clear all the silt out of it, I was also back to work, although on very reduced hours and not at my usual workplace. So much more happened but this is about all I can get out without actually writing a novel.
3 Months On 
     Now, 3 months after the Feb 22nd quake, our lives have settled into our new routines. Dave is still doing his internship at church and is kept very busy there, the hole in our ceiling is fixed and despite the walls being filled with spidery cracks our house is functioning. I have a new job, I ended up having to resign from my old job at Alliance Catering because my full-time work position wasn’t there and no one was sure when the place would be back up and running (and still don’t know!). I was given as much work as they could find for me which was about 10-20 hours work a week but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make ends meet. My good friend made me aware of a job vacancy in a café starting up that was run by the Elim church so I applied and got the job straight away! Full-time hours and Mon – Fri. I love it there and my job skills have increased tenfold and I am now a competent barista/cook/2IC café manager. We went through some tough financial times but our wonderful friends and church helped us get through that time which meant more than you will ever know.
     Dave and I are so blessed to have such a wonderful support network. We aren’t in this alone and throughout this experience our friendships have deepened and we have learned a lot about ourselves. We knew no-one that was tragically killed or injured badly, we have a roof over our head, food in our bellies and a loving God.
What more could we need?

(Edit -I read back on this and even after 3 months things were still so unsettled for us!)

On my usual walk home

A sink-hole and silt

Some shops in Merivale

Merivale shops

Long Term - One Year On It has now been a whole year since that horrible day and it seems like so long ago yet it could have happened yesterday.
We have a new flat, which is bigger and isn't so scary in earthquakes.
We have lived through over 10,000 aftershocks.
The roads are still munted.
The city is still cordoned off for the most part.
We are stronger, more resiliant.
We have adapted, learned to live in a fragile city.

I have discovered that the biggest effect the earthquakes have had on me is that I am now scared of flying. Sure I never liked turbulance but the last time I flew I cried with every bump and shudder. It is the same sort of feeling in an earthquake but I feel much more out of control, there is nowhere to run to or hide in an aeroplane. I know this is a psychological effect from the quakes and I hope that I can get over it.
I also find that I am more carefree, living days or weeks at a time rather than planning ahead. This is both good and bad. I know that living in a city such as Christchurch, tomorrow or next week could be totally different.

But I feel strong. These memories wont ever go away but they make me who I am now. I will always feel connected to Christchurch and every Cantabrian feels the same.

Today we mourn the loss of all those who died in the Feb 22nd Quake. We remember the heroes and we remember our own stories.

Rise Up Christchurch.


Tuesday 21 February 2012

In Advance

Tomorrow marks one year since the fatal Christchurch 6.3 Earthquake. I shall do a wee blog post with some photos and memories of that time in my life and My Story

Hugs for all the other Christchurchians going through this with me!

Monday 20 February 2012

Blanket box - Re-Vamped!

I finished my blanket box!

I bought this sucker off Trade Me a month back and it had dark brown wood and the stain had started to flake and peel.

Since I had a huge bucket of paint from all my other projects I thought I would give this a coat or two.

Luckily Dave suggested I remove the awesome hinges before I painted. Such a thinker!

So on the occasional sunny day the box came out for a coat of paint. Then I re-attached the hinges and sanded it back.

The peeling stain lifted up some ridges on the top of the box but when I gave it a light sand it came up really nice and looks really rustic. I just sanded all the edges a-la Shabby Chic and ta-da! One re-vamped blanket box for a yet-to-be-defined purpose. Craft Box? Actual Blanket Box? General Storage Box? It is so cool. I am loving it.

Hinge - So glad I didn't paint over them! Thanks Dave!


Wednesday 15 February 2012

A Quilt of Sorts

Family BBQ

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, thinks have been a bit busy lately, my parents were visiting which was awesome! It was great to have them around.
It also meant we could have a proper parent BBQ with Dave's parents and sister + hubby as well as my parents. It isn't often everyone is together in the same city. The weather stayed nice too - bonus!

The latest project happening in this house is a quilt. :)
 I have done a couple before but they were technically just patchwork duvet covers.

This was my first patchwork attempt. It used our table runners from our wedding and op-shopped fabrics
Attempt # 2 -I made this for two of our bestest friends as a wedding present. I embroidered the middle piece.
oops sideways! 'Ben & Ivy, December 18 2010'

This quilt attempt I will actually get batting and stitch through the whole lot.

I picked up some bed sheets and pillow cases from an op shop a couple of weeks ago and decided to use them as my fabric.

Pretty florals
Cut and slightly in place, mostly a brainstorm happening here.

The general layout

A couple of rows sewn
So it is a tiny bit rough, but that's how I roll. I am really enjoying working with pretty fabrics, even though they are old sheets! It will look good after an iron and the seams stretch out a wee bit. That is all I have done so far, the rest is cut and waiting.

Killer was having fun too with all the material on the floor...
A tail peeking out

A curious kitty
It has been a good inside project for a rainy week. Bring on the sunshine and the rest of summer!

Thursday 9 February 2012

Musical Trinket Box

Remember this? from Garage Sale Treasures

It has been completely transformed!


What do you think?

I am super stoked at how it turned out, it came together bit by bit, I didn't have an end picture in mind when I started out which is how I usually operate.

Even tonight I knew there was something more I needed to add to it and I finally dug out the
Fleur de Lis stamp I have for special occasions.

The sheet music I bought in Nelson at an antique shop during my getaway after the September 2010 earthquake. I bought a couple of old music exercise books for the specific purpose of cutting up and being 'craftified'. 

So to do this transformation I put 2 coats of paint on the box then sanded the edges back and roughed it up a bit.
Next I cut out the pieces of sheet music to fit each side of the box and glued them on with PVA. 
Finally I busted out my stamp and delicately placed it on the front.

The hardest part was waiting the days between coats of paint.

Now what to put in it?


Linking up with Creative Spaces