Project 333 – Winter Wardrobe & Wishlist

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Since it will officially be winter in 3 days I thought a post about my winter wardrobe was in order.  We live in a relatively mild climate but it still gets cool enough to need more than summer-weight skirts and t-shirts.

Over the last 10 months I have lost 8kg so that has necessitated moving a number of items along as they were simply too big.  This has pared down my wardrobe even more.  However, a bonus is that I can now wear these 2 jackets.

Red and charcoal jackets

They were a neat fit when I bought them a couple of years ago and a little over a year ago they were destined to be given away.

I also have a black cord jacket and a pink suede one.

Pink and black jackets

One of the few things I have bought for this winter is a new pair a tailored black trousers as I did not have any trousers suitable for wearing to work in winter.  I gave my only pair away at the end of last winter as they were too big.  Last week I had to buy a belt because even my new trousers are a bit on the loose side.  I did try the next size down but they were a bit too tight.

Belt

I generally wear a collared shirt (3/4 sleeve) under the jacket to work as I don’t want to be rugged up because I work in an air-conditioned office.  I have 5 striped shirts.  There are also these 2 lightweight knits.

Knit tops

A couple of sleeveless vests, 2 pairs of jeans, 3/4 sleeve tees and a couple of rugby tops pretty well round out my work and casual winter wardrobe.

My shoes are 2 pairs of flats – red and pewter, red lace-up casuals and RM Williams boots.

Now for the wishlist:

Black skirt – purchased and waiting for me to shorten the length
Grey patterned cord skirt – waiting for me to refashion it from a skirt that is too big
Plain black lightweight knit – in the cupboard but need grey skirt to wear it with
Grey/charcoal trousers – need to buy
Black flat/low heel court shoes – need to buy
Black low heel boots (knee-high) – need to buy to replace the high heeled ones I have given away as they were too high and I did not feel confident walking in them
Black stockings – need to buy
Scarves – I would like some lightweight plain coloured scraves – probably black, fuschia and red with possibly mint green or purple as well.  Just need to go looking.

I need to try on some boots to see whether they will suit me as I am not overly tall.

I have 6 pairs of grey stockings (most unworn) that I bought last year in the USA and after wearing them a couple of times I have decided that I do not really like the colour, hence I need to buy some black ones.

Recently, I bought 2 pieces of cotton lycra fabric which I hope to be able to make some 3/4 sleeve tees.  One is black and cream striped (narrow stripes) and the other is plain in a raspberry colour.

Now that I have written it all down, my plan seems quite realistic and doable.  What do you think?

Slow Living – February

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This is my second month of joining in the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials and already I seem to be struggling with what to write.  A couple of things seems to have conspired against me – it is a short month – is it really the end of the month already? and the weather!  Since the dry spell broke on the Australia Day weekend (26th January) it has rained almost constantly which limits our activities somewhat

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  With the onset of some cooler weather with the rain it was an ideal time to pull out the slow cooker.

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I made a batch of pumpkin soup and and beef casserole.

Dinner

{Prepare}  We had an excellent crop of figs.

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As well as eating lots of them fresh from the tree, I was able to dry some.  This was very successful so I am hoping to have enough to do again next year.

 

{Reduce}  This is always a hard one as we do this each and every day.  I turned a singlet of mine that was too short into one for Miss O.

2013-03-03 05{Green}  The weather has brought out the mould but I am keeping things clean and smelling fresh with the use of clove oil.  You can read a previous post here.

Clove oil

{Grow}  The warm, dry beginning to the summer meant that we had about 8 mangoes on our small tree.  We planted it about 4 years ago and this is the first time it has fruited.  I suspect that it is generally too cool for them here but this year’s crop has made it worthwhile.  They are some of the best mangoes I have tasted and the flesh is as smooth as anything with no sign of stringiness.

Last weekend we had a rare fine day so we bought and planted some vegetable seedlings.  They have more than doubled in size in a week.

2013-03-03 07{Create}  Since my sewing machine has returned from being serviced I have got quite a bit of sewing done.  I am working through my stash of fabric as well as some pieces I have been given.  Here are some of the results.

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Winter and summer pyjama bottoms.

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A new lining in my skirt.

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{Discover}  I don’t think I have read anything this month but in a different vein I did discover some fabric to be used when I was sorting out my stash.

{Enhance}  We gave away the used fencing wire via Freecycle.  I also shared some of the many self-sown cucumber seedlings with neighbours, work colleagues, blogging friends and also on Freecycle.

It is a shame that I did not take some photos of them.  Not so much for the seedlings but the innovative packaging.  I used some excess egg cartons that I had been given and each seedling and its soil was packed in a space in the carton.

2013-03-03 11An internet friend sent me some fabric and I used some of it to make a dress suitable for an 18 month old.  I will send it to her for her granddaughter who was born last week.

{Enjoy}  We travelled to Melbourne and spent a weekend with our daughter who moved there recently.  We saw her new home, sampled food at some local establishments and shopped.

2013-03-03 12I bought this dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.  I just need to finalise accessories.

The slow living this month has been heavily weighted towards sewing and I guess that is not entirely unexpected with being stuck indoors due to the weather.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

Sew Quick and Easy

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Yesterday I finally picked up my sewing machine from having it serviced, so today I decided to spend some time sewing.  Some of it has been quite challenging, a pleated skirt which is now too big for me.  I have completely disassembled it and am in the process of re-making the skirt but in the meantime it was good to start and finish a couple of simple projects.

First was a pair of boxer shorts for summer pyjamas for me.  These were from some material kindly given to me by a friend.

2013-02-17 01I teamed them with an existing tank top to make this set.

2013-02-17 02She also gave me a piece of flannelette with a cute teddy bear pattern that was just begging to become winter pyjama bottoms.

2013-02-17 03I did some mending, too.  This pair of shorts is about 12 years old and I wear them when painting or gardening.  The fabric is in good condition but the elastic had given way so I unpicked the waist and old elastic, replacing it with 2 rows of new 6mm elastic.

2013-02-17 04The shirt which was waiting to have the buttonholes done is also finished.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the skirt.

In the meantime, don’t forget to comment on this post and follow my blog for a chance to go in the draw for the mystery giveaway.

Clear The Clutter

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I have spent several years gradually decluttering in an effort to simplify my life.  I am not sure what the end point of this journey looks like, or even whether there is a destination.  Since I have most areas in my house fairly clear and streamlined,  I am certainly at the point where it is easy to recognise potential clutter before it becomes entrenched.

It is important to identify things before they become clutter.  An example is a plastic water jug that was in our refrigerator.  It had obviously developed a hairline crack because I discovered a pool of water on the shelf where it was standing.  Until yesterday this was a perfectly functional item in our kitchen, today it will not hold water which is what I use it for.  So, I have thrown it in the garbage.  Some people would suggest that it could be used to store/display non-liquid items or be refashioned into something else.  I am all for minimising the amount of stuff that goes to landfill, however, I do not need this jug for any other purpose other than holding water, so out it goes.

Do I need another plastic water jug?  I am trying to use more glass and less plastic in the kitchen so my plan is to look for a suitable glass jug.  It is not desperately urgent so I may check out the op shops when I have time.

My sewing room is one area where I still have quite a bit of ‘stuff’.  I am gradually working through it so tonight I did a little more.  Just before Christmas it was a bit of a mad flurry to get the sewing table (folding) cleared so that I could fit bedding for 4 children in this room.  I have previously resisted stashing things away without sorting them properly but as time was limited I carefully folded the remaining fabric and half-finished projects into 2 lidded boxes.  I put the boxes in the wardrobe but as soon as Christmas was over and the table re-instated I brought the boxes out and placed them on the table as a reminder to me that I had to sort through the contents.

2013-01-06 01There are several garments which I had bought from the op shop last year with a view to using the fabric for my patchwork.  I had begun unpicking this blouse which was in the box so I decided to finish that job.

2013-01-06 02Here is the material that I have for use in my patchwork project.

2013-01-06 03The buttons have been salvaged and are now in my button collection.

2013-01-06 04The scraps of fabric have been discarded.

2013-01-06 05I now have 1 less thing in my ‘to do’ pile.  Here are another couple of garments which are the next things I plan to deconstruct and use for patchwork.

2013-01-06 06By having the things confined in a box I can easily see that I am making progress in clearing them out.

Do you have a particular room or type of items that present a decluttering challenge to you?

New and Not So New

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I have been busy with my sewing today and wanted to show you what I have done.

This morning I started on the blouse which I cut out earlier in the week.  I was on target to have it completely finished today, however, the sewing machine decided to misbehave.  The automatic buttonhole function is not working,  I do not know what the problem is and have tried all of the usual trouble-shooting ideas – re-thread the machine, reset the buttonhole settings, clean the bobbin case etc but all to no avail.  I will have to ring the sewing machine shop tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a sneak preview of the blouse.  It is all done except for the buttons and buttonholes.

2012-12-02 01The next project is another skirt but I decided to have a short break from making new things and set about repairing/refashioning this bag.

2012-12-02 02This bag belongs to my daughter and it previously had rope handles which were knotted on the inside.  The holes were finished with large eyelets, however, one of the eyelets had pulled away from the fabric.  In order to repair the bag I removed all of the eyelets and made new handles.

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I used some scraps of chocolate brown fabric which was lurking in my stash.  I had to join a couple of pieces together to get enough length for the handles.  The straps are double-stitched to allow for heavy weights that may be carried in the bag.  You can still see the eyelets holes on the inside but all in all it is a functional bag again.  It is great to be able to give items a new lease of life.

Re-fashioned and Ready

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The last few weeks have a bit of a struggle blogging-wise as there seems to have been limited material that I have felt like writing about and most of it did not really lend itself to adding photographs.

In the spirit of simplicity I have been working on my sewing room – finishing some projects and working through my ‘to do’ list.  Yesterday I finished the last 2 tablecloths which I had set aside to alter from rectangular to oval to fit my current round dining table when it is extended.  You can read my initial post about this project here.

After the success with the damask cloths I decided to do the same to a plain pink cloth and a polyester lace one that I use as an overlay.  The pink one was fairly straightforward but the lace one was a little trickier.

2012-10-12 01I ended up cutting the hemmed edging and then re-stitching it onto the re-shaped cloth which worked well.

I am now looking forward to the opportunity to use these pretty and functional items.

2012-10-12 02The only thing that remains to be done is to finish sorting and re-organising the linen cupboard which was the activity which precipitated this project in the first place.  More on that one with before and after photos tomorrow.

Do you re-fashion or re-purpose linen in order to extract the maximum use from it?

A Unique Gift

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I have been making a gift for Izz for her birthday.  She has a doll’s bed which has been passed down to her but no bedding.

I bought 2 u-shaped pillowcases recently from the op shop.  Here is one that I have unpicked ready to use.  Note the roll of fabric which is the dismantled and pressed frill.

2012-08-06 01The Duke bought a piece of foam cut to size for the mattress and I have covered that using some of the pillowcase fabric.

2012-08-06 02The next step was to make a patchwork quilt.  I worked out the size and number of pieces I would need.  The plain pink is more of the pillowcase, plain mauve from a piece in my stash of fabric, Dora pattern is a few leftover scraps from the doona cover and curtains that I made for Miss O last year and the pink patterned fabric is from a blouse I picked up at the op shop.  The frill is the one I unpicked from the pillowcase.  The hemmed edge remained intact so I simply regathered it and reapplied to the quilt edge.

2012-08-06 03I bought a large piece of cotton/bamboo batting for a bed quilt I am working on for Izz’s bed so I used a small piece for this quilt.  (I think this is a rather spoiled doll!)  The backing is more leftovers from some op shop fabric.  I quilted it by simply machine stitching along the seam lines which is nothing fancy but seems effective.

2012-08-06 04The finishing touch was to make a matching pillow.  A couple more fabric scraps and some salvaged filling from an old cushion and I had a complete set of bedding for the doll.  Here is the mattress with the pillow.

2012-08-06 05The total cost of things I bought specifically for this project was $6.60.  This is a gift which I know will be loved regardless of the cost.  I am looking forward to seeing Izz’s face when she opens the gift.

Now I need to work on the the bed quilt I am making as well since her birthday is in 2 weeks and I want to be able to give her the present before we go on holidays.

Cut Out the Middle Man

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Firstly, my apologies for no Project Streamline post this week.  My busy day yesterday did not include photographing the next lot of clothes so tune in again next week when we hopefully reach the end of the wardrobe confessions.

Meanwhile, I wanted to tell you about some more clothes that I acquired last week.  Don’t worry I am sticking to my plan of keeping a minimalist wardrobe.  One of my work colleagues decided to get rid of a bag of clothes destined for the op shop which had been sitting under her desk for over a year.  I am not sure why taking them to the op shop/donation bin was so difficult but I generously offered to drop them off for her.  When handing over the bag she lightly suggested that I could check if there was anything I could use.  Most of my work colleagues are aware that I sew and refashion clothes.

I selected the following items and so the clothes went directly from her to me without going via the op shop.

This paisley cotton skirt is the first thing I have started unpicking.  I intend to keep the fabric for either patchwork or a summer outfit for Miss O or Izz.  It will depend on what they need.

The fabric from this pink top will go towards my current patchwork project.  The cotton lace is worth saving for when I need it.

I intend to use this pretty border print to make a summer skirt for Miss O.  I love the cool, summery look of it.

Finally, this black singlet top is a very soft, ribbed fabric and I will cut it down to make a singlet for Miss O.

I will post the results when the refashioning projects are completed.

Decluttering Meets Damask

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I have decluttered my linen cupboard several times over recent years but there were a couple of damask tablecloths which defied decision each time.

We now have a small round table which extends to an oval but both of the cloths are rectangular and one is quite large.  About a week ago I had a blinding flash of inspiration.  I am unlikely to ever have a large rectangular dining table again so I decided to cut the cloths to fit my existing table and enjoy using them rather than storing them for some vague reason.

This is the larger cloth on my oval table.  My mother gave this to me and I am fairly sure it belonged to my great-grandmother.  What would she think if she knew I was taking to it with a pair of scissors?  Probably happy that it was going to be used rather than stashed in the back of my linen cupboard.

I made a pattern of the tabletop, worked out how much drop I wanted and set about cutting out my ‘new’ tablecloth.

Here it is hemmed, pressed and ready for use.

Then I started on the other cloth which I planned to make to fit the table when it is not extended and is just a small, round table.

This cloth was much smaller and when I cut the biggest circle that I was able, it was still a bit short on the overhang.  So, I decided to increase the diameter by stitching some extra fabric on.  I cut 12cm wide bias strips from the leftover fabric which you can see below.

I then sewed them into a continuous strip and edged the cloth with it.  You can clearly see the join but I am not particularly worried as I now have a usable cloth for my round table that I did not have before.

I have now been inspired to re-look at my collection of tablecloths and see which ones I really should be keeping and how I can re-fashion them so that they are able to be used with my current table, either as a round or oval.

What have you given a new lease of life to?

Bag It Again

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Last week The Duke was given a bottle of wine.  As usual, it was presented in a gift bag.

2012-06-12 01Unfortunately, the giver had chosen to write a message directly on the bag, rendering it unusable.  Or was it?

I was about to dismantle the bag and put most of it in the recycling when I thought again and decided to make a smaller bag by cutting off the top that contained the writing.

Firstly, I removed the ribbon ties then marked where I need to cut.

2012-06-12 02I then cut off the top and refolded about 2cm to the inside and creased the fold to a sharp edge.

2012-06-12 03Finally, I punched some new holes and re-threaded the ribbon.

2012-06-12 04Here is the bag ready for several more uses.