Dec 19, 2014

Natural Curls and My Wardrobe

As I share this blog post with you, I'm being separated from my wardrobe. In the last year I have had several logistical adventures with all of my clothes. The first was when I moved into a beautiful two bedroom cottage, all by myself. As you can imagine, I have a lot of clothes and I needed to a lot of space. I used the second bedroom as a dressing room and decked it out with four shoe racks and three double bar clothes racks. There were many tragic events involved clothes racks collapsing, simply because the clothes racks and rails sold to the general population aren't the same strength and quality as the commercial clothes racks used in retail. I culled a lot of clothes because then I had to move all of what remained to Western Australia.

In the process of culling, packing and sorting I was trialing another wardrobe app. This app is called Stylebook and I fell in love with it. I'd tried other wardrobe apps before but this one had everything I needed to make a function digital library of my clothes. It took a long time to enter everything into it, and I started with the clothes I wore the most. Eventually I got it to a level where most of the clothes I own are in the app. As I get new clothes I take new pictures of them, or I download photos off the internet and add them to the catalogue. I'm currently sitting on 522 items (including shoes, bags, hats, jewellery) and I'm not finished yet.

In order to get set up in WA, I had to come up with a clothing storage system that would fit all of my clothes. Naturally, I ended up at IKEA, looking at pictures and planning. Because I had the Stylebook app, I was able to figure out exactly how much space I would need for certain items, and adjust my plan to suit. This also worked when planning out shoes. I knew the average amount of space a pair of shoes took up in and was able to use that to calculate how many shoes would fit in a certain sized book case in order to buy something that would fit them all. The planning of the wardrobe itself was really easy because of the PAX system planning tool on the IKEA website.

In order to fit the room we went with 2 x 1 meter hanging spaces. Full length hanging at the top and half length hanging beneath. This meant I needed a small step in order to reach the top rail. In one side where I hang shorter dresses and the like, I put a glass shelf between the two hanging spaces on the right side. The glass would allow light through and would also make a space for me to put hats. Having the two larger cupboards meant I could have sliding doors and a full length mirror too. In the side section at waist height I added a shelf (with LED lights around the outside, as it gets dark in there). On the right of this shelf cavity is a scarf and neck tie tail that slides out on a runner like a drawer. Beneath the shelf are two shallow drawers for belts, watches, headbands and similar items. I also have a rail for my belts which extends out on a runner just inside the right hanging space; this is in the central hanging section. There's also a valet hook on the very left, which allows me to hang outfits that I am going to wear the next day.

Most of my wardrobe is packed up in boxes waiting for me, but I don't miss it too much as a lot of what is packed is for cooler weather. 

Who am I kidding. It actually really sucks to be separated from your things and I'm really looking forward to being reunited with my clothes and shoes and hats and scarves. Here are some pictures of me in front of my wardrobe enjoying the clothes that I have left.

Earrings :Retro Rosie Earrings - Modcloth
Dress: Charlie Girl dress - Princess Highway
Blouse: Miss Shop
Necktie: vintage
Photos: Stu

Above is a video tour of the wardrobe of Susan Koger, co-founder of Modcloth. I love that she has a  remote control dry cleaner rail for her clothes.
- L
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Dec 13, 2014

Collars and Ties

This year I moved to Perth, where summers are hot. I was born and conditioned to the weather of the world in Ballarat, a place which is the punch line to most jokes in Australia about cold temperatures. In preparation for the move, my partner and I began stocking my wardrobe by stopping in at a Perth vintage store every time I visited. The store had a range of clothes that had already been tried and tested in a Western Australian summer so it was a good start to getting myself ready to cope with the heat.

This sweet little dress was one of the few dresses that came into my care during that time and it is now serving me well on the warmer days, which are becoming more frequent. I have styled it here very differently to how it actually looks, and that will give you an indication of a slight modification that I want to make to it.

This collar, you see, is not from this dress. It's actually from the top below, which I'm wearing underneath. The top has a triple layered white cotton peter pan collar. I'm sorry, but the top is sold out so I can't find a link to share it with you. The brand is Sunny Girl, which is Australian and is only sold wholesale. This particular spiffy Sunny Girl top came from Modcloth.

The collar doesn't quite fit around the neckline of the dress so I've tried to make it sit as nicely as I can. When I get back to Ballarat, I'm going to get my friend Clare to put a collar on it. I think it will suit me better than the plain round neckline and will give me chance to do things like put the bow on that I have done here.

Collars and bows/neck ties are my current style fascination. I can't get enough of them. It's hard coming in to summer and seeing so many pretty pictures from other bloggers as they move into autumn, because cute knit jumpers (sweaters) with prints on them and collars sitting out the top look so sweet and the weather is just too warm for them now. I'm also wearing a belt from Review which has a bow for a buckle. I've spun it around because I thought a clean white line would do better to complement the collar instead of distracting with more details.

Dress: Vintage (Perth peeps, try Beleza Vintage on William St or Miss Brown Vintage for alternative)
Belt: Review
Collar/Top: (sold out, brand is Sunny Girl) Modcloth
Earrings: Retro Rosie Earrings from ModCloth
Neck tie: Can't remember
Shoes: Sandler
Photos: Stu
Location: Perth

I hope today's blog post has given you lots of pretties to share on Pinterest. This has been my favourite outfit in a while and I am excited to share it with you.

- L

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Dec 10, 2014

Floral, Stripes and Christmas Traditions

I was reading a thread on Reddit where an American asked the Aussies of the internet to help with their 9 yo child's homework assignment. The assignment was on how Christmas is celebrated in other countries, so the parent came directly to the source to ask what Australians do on Christmas day.

It seems the one thing all Australians have in common is that we celebrate Christmas in summer. You might think this would make a massive difference to our Christmas culture. For the most part, it doesn't. It's quite ridiculous, but we have just as much snow, winter and cold weather themed decorations as the rest of the world. When you're raised with the idea that Christmas involves snow, even when Christmas is in summer, even when snow is rare during winter, most people don't blink at this strangeness. Once you notice though, it becomes really irritating.

Think about all the Christmas carols you've ever sung. How many of them mention food that is in season during winter, lighting fires for warmth or snow? Yep. We sing loads of Christmas carols that have absolutely nothing to do with our actual Christmas experience. Try buying Christmas cards without snow or holly on them. Holly berries aren't red in summer over here. They aren't a native plant, so most people won't have seen them in the flesh before. As far as decorations go, it just seems silly to use snowflakes and the like when you'll probably be spending Christmas trying to make sure there is enough ice to keep the drinks cold.

Most of the people in the discussion on the forum were saying that they enjoy Christmas with 'ham or cold meat, BBQ, salad, seafood or prawns' and that they are drunk before breakfast. I found this highly amusing because it's so unlike anything my family do on Christmas day. We start with a civilised breakfast (of fruit, yoghurt and pastries), then have a proper roast lunch, which I cook. No ham, as I don't think anyone in the family likes it. We already have two different meats (chicken and lamb) that everyone likes, so adding ham would be a waste of energy. Dad is allergic to shellfish so we have no seafood. Most of us don't like it anyway. We don't do the binge drink thing, so we only really start drinking around lunchtime with food. We do have pavlova. I make an amazing pavlova. We don't really do dinner/tea. We've usually eaten too much at lunch to warrant another meal. Instead we have dessert as our final meal of the day.

I had a chat with friends on Facebook about this whole thing and most of them said they do a roast as well. This is interesting for anyone from the northern hemisphere because a roast involves winter vegetables and in Australia it isn't winter. I've always wanted to know how many winter vegetable are sold in summer compared to winter over here. 

Since the differences in Australian Christmas lunch are so varied, I would love to hear what your family eat, wherever you are from!

You've probably noticed how different these photos look from the usual images I have on here with an outfit post. These were taken at the start of the year while testing out a new camera. I don't like them, so I've never used them. Hopefully you like the outfit though.

Top: C Wonder (sold out and no shipping to Aus)
Skirt: Modcloth (sold out)
Belt: thrifted
Stockings: eBay
Shoes: Sandler

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Dec 8, 2014

Outfit Remix: Rocking a Neck Tie

Here is a little remix of some blog posts which have features outfits that include a neck tie or bow tie. I have left out outfits with scarf style neck ties and pussy bow blouses for this one, but may do another later on. Outfit post for the above picture here.

Mustard and mustard sunshine. Outfit here. Same top as the first picture, restyled.

It's Tegan! She's rocking a neck tie. Outfit here.

Outfit here.

Off to Hogwarts with a necktie. Outfit here.

Mint neck ties and skirts. Outfit here.

I miss this hair cut. Outfit here. While the above neck tie is red, it's the same shirt as the one shown just above with mint. All I did was grab a red sash belt from a dress and swap over the ties.

Chelsea collars and neck ties. Outfit here.

A little bit of bow tie. Outfit here.


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Dec 5, 2014

Rooftop Cinema and a Nomination Thing

Being from Ballarat I'm lucky to be a part of a great community of artistic people. They are really welcoming, supportive, creative and beautiful. Anyway, one of the gals from the arts scene recommended me to do a thingy over here on her blog.

As I'm regularly looking for inspiration to put words in between the pictures on here, I thought this would be a great opportunity to use a word prompt, even though the pictures are completely unrelated. The photos are from a recent visit to Perth's Rooftop Cinema.

Which things/people make you feel at home?
My partner Stu, my family, my best friends. A comfy place to sit with an Earl Grey tea and a good book. I struggle with feeling at home when I am travelling. It takes me a while to get my bearings and I spend a lot of time panicking that I am out of my shell.

What do you love about making art?
There's a rise a fall with it. Sometimes I feel like I've made something terrible, but then moments later I feel like I've achieved so much. It's like a constant battle with my internal self ridicule, sometimes I'm winning, sometimes I'm fighting to have the will to keep going. I find the hardest part is hanging onto something when I give in and try to destroy it because it's worthless rubbish. If I get past that point I can come back later, look at it with new eyes and be more critical. It's then that I can work to make it better, or accept it for being good. That constant fight is hard, but each time I create something I'm proud of it proves I can survive my own insecurity.

What was your favourite meal in the last week and why?
Pork ramen at Pleased to Meet You in Perth on Roe St. Everything about it was perfect.

Do you have a favourite book and memory of first reading it?
I don't think I do have a favourite book. I'm passionate about Harry Potter and before that I was consumed by Lord of the Rings. I loved The Book Thief as well as A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. I can still remember my Grandmother getting The Hobbit for me from her bookcase. She started reading it to me until I was hooked because she knew it would be a bit dense for an eight year old. Once I was hooked she handed it over to me and went into the kitchen to cook. I raved about it so much when I got to the end that she handed over Lord of the Rings. 

What is the funniest/weirdest thing a stranger has ever said to you?
The first thing that comes to mind...A guy cornered me in a pub and said. "You have such beautiful teeth." Then when I stared at him blankly he said, "They're so pretty and straight."
I didn't stick around long enough to find out if he was a dentist.

Have you ever tried to learn another language? What did you love/hate about it?
I recently started learning the basics of French. It's hard but it helped me understand the structures of English better. When I moved I got out of the habit of practicing. Looking forward to getting back into it, probably when I take up letter writing again after Christmas. I listen to a lot of French music and I always get very excited when I suddenly understand a song lyric.

What scares the shit out of you?
Open ocean. I think I watched too many sinking ship movies as a kid. I'm also terrified of childbirth. One of my sisters and my nephew passed away in childbirth because of an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE). Even though AFEs are the top cause of maternal death in Australia (among other countries) we know very little about them because of the lack of consistent mandatory reporting of maternal death, as well as a lack of research. It could be preventable, we don't know. We don't know what causes an AFE. The statistics of how common it is are based on data that isn't comprehensive, so we can't really know for sure how common it is. At this stage, it's roulette. I know what my family went through, I know how horrible it is to lose someone you love. I'm not just scared about having a baby, I'm scared about my other sister having one. It's not something that's stopping me from having children; I'll just face that fear when the day arrives. Open ocean however, will avoid. 

Can you share a recent artist discovery (music, writing, visual art...)?
I just participated in NaNoWriMo. I didn't get the full 50,000 words, but I did discover that when I got an idea and I just started writing while the idea was fresh, I got so much more mileage out of it. As my mind created I typed and before I knew it I was at 5,000 words in one sitting. It might seem like a small thing, but I'm someone who thinks a lot about writing and edits a lot. I realised I needed to treat writing more like I treat sketching: you set up the picture first and once you get the framework in and it looks the way you want it to, that's when you start shading and polishing and bringing the piece to life.

Do you have a blog post you have written you are particularly proud of?
I wrote one about losing my sister a while back. I still get teary when I read it. I usually bring it out around Christmas time to share with other people. It's a simple piece about grief, you can find it here

What is your most treasured thing you've found unexpectedly?
After losing my sister and nephew, I got very serious about my martial arts training. When training for your black belt, you bond with the people you train with. I became really close with one particular woman, Sharon, and she was an amazing support when my sister passed away. I don't remember lots of things from that time; plenty of it is just black. After we graded together I found out Sharon was sick. She fought it at first, and she started getting better. I got injured and stopped training so didn't get to see her. I completely dropped out of training and lost touch with most of the people at the centre. Facebook was a new thing at the time so not many people had it, so there wasn't a way to keep up with what people were doing. A while after I left training, I went back for some sports therapy and in a session asked how everyone was doing. I asked about Sharon, and found out she had been much sicker than she had originally known and she had passed away a few months previously. I was devastated. I hadn't been able to share that grief with others at the time. I hadn't been able to show my support to her family at the funeral. Many years later I was cleaning out an old room and I found a bunch of sympathy cards from when my sister passed away. I didn't remember getting it, my memories of that time are so blank, but there was a card in there from Sharon. I held that little surprise in my hands for quite a while. I still have it packed up safely. She signed it off with 'what survives us all is love.'

Cardigan: Review
Dress: Modcloth
Belt: Review
Shoes: Modcloth

I'm now tasked with nominating someone else and providing 10 quesions, so I nominate Yoko Whyte and Steph McG. I'm not sure how this whole thing works, so I'm nominating Ballarat ladies. Your questions are below...

It's nearly the end of the year. What are your favourite achievements of 2014 so far?
What's something you don't do that you wish you did?
How do you feel about Christmas and other such festivities, like Easter and Halloween?
What thing does everyone say to you that you're really tired of (example, I get called Liana Banana. Never rhymed with any else, just bananas).
What is your favourite creative thing to do and why?
What activity has taught you the most about yourself and what did it teach you?
If you had one superpower, what would it be and why would you want that over any others?
What is your favourite or your most popular blog post?
What do you like about Ballarat?
What's one truth you know now that you would like to impart on your younger self if you could?

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