Sunday, 23 December 2012

Well that was fun


Classes have finally ended and we've packed up the apartment and arrived back in Canada.

I'm a bit sad to have left Ireland, but at the same time happy to be back home in Canada. We're visiting Vancouver for Christmas and then heading back to Ontario for New Years. I'm really looking forward to getting back to a stable routine once we get back to Ontario.

Unfortunately, I still have two papers to finish off for one of my classes before then so I can't fully enjoy being back in Canada yet... but my notes for both papers were in our checked bags... and our checked bags got lost (just delivered today), so I'm a bit behind on finishing them quickly.

Hrm.

There were a lot of families whose bags were also lost on the same flight, so I'm hoping ours were on the later end of the scale and they got theirs in a timely fashion.

Trinity College Dublin

Bye bye Dublin, we have our differences, but I'll miss you. <3

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ear Muffs



Havent had too much time for sewing-heavy projects since reading week. Apparently I am a terrible student and have lots to do for school. However, you can only read about the history of modern business practices for so long before you want to rewrite the world and turn everyone into rabbits... so I needed to find something quick to do during study breaks.

I had bought some cheap ear muffs a month or so ago to protect my poor little ears against the tricksy Irish weather (tip: It's windy here. Don't trust the temperature reports.) but they were rather boring. Just fluffy white ear parts and a knit white band. Nothing special.

So I figured I'd use some of my extra fabric to pretty them up a bit - or at least make them a tad more interesting.

Customized Ear Muffs
Gogo terrible picture go!
They were done over the course of the last week, a teeny bit here and there. I quite like how they came out.

Customized Ear Muffs

The ribbons are removable so I can match with different outfits. I made another set in burgundy, but it doesn't photograph well, so you'll just have to imagine.

The insides of both the band and the ribbons are messy, so I would never think of giving them to anyone else, but they were a fun little project that I wouldn't mind trying again. :) I should go back and see if they still have any in stock to take home with me. Hmm...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 4 - Glasgow



Glasgow was a random choice because we wanted to go to Scotland. If we had looked at it more, we probably would have chosen to just go to Edinburgh, despite the cheap flight home from Glasgow.

That said, it does have some excellent points.

The main one being that Glasgow is a UNESCO City of Music, and also a very big art city. We managed to spend a decent chunk of time wandering the Gallery of Modern Art, which is surprising considering how small it is.

They had a film by some German (?) artists with chemical and kinetic reactions pushing random things around a warehouse. It was like a gigantic, complicated version of mousetrap, and as such, was amazing.

Then it was pointed out to me that there was an art store across the street... so of course we went there. It was really well stocked! Stuff for kids, jewellers, sewers, painters, drawers and everyone in between. Not the most extensive collection, they're not going to have those squirrel hair brushes you're looking for, but it was really fun to wander around. Dublin art stores are sadly lacking.

CiizenM Candle Box

We stayed at the CitizenM hotel. Which is a new hotel chain trying to reinvent the hotel world or some such thing. It was actually really excellent. Comfy meeting areas, excellent Wi-fi (a joy after London, let me tell you!), modern decor, friendly staff and the oddest combination of space pod and dorm room I've ever seen.

Quirky is probably the best word.


They've got some in The Netherlands and soon New York and London, so we're definitely keeping them on the short list for hotels next time we travel.

CitizenM Hotel - Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Lanterns over the first floor stairwell.

We had a fancy dinner at The Ubiquitous Chip. It has a lot of fancy meat dishes (rabbit, duck, etc.) so, if your unadventurous or bunny-loving like me, it might not be the best place, but the food was excellent and the decor is really lovely. I should really have taken a photo.

If you go, however, make a reservation a few days in advance! We forgot and did it one day before and could only get a 10:00 slot, and there were only 2 other free tables.

Our very last stop was the Glasgow Necropolis. I wasn't really interested when we first headed out, but seeing it from afar with the tall obelisks, crypts and celtic crosses peeking out from behind the trees was just beautiful. I can't imagine how impressive it must look in the fall.

Glasgow Necropolis - Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Despite not really thinking I would, I ended up quite enjoying Glasgow, it was a nice city to finish off the trip - not too busy, but not empty either - though I will admit the whole thing is a bit coloured by the fact that I managed to lose my cell phone on the very last day. :(

Now it's back to finishing up all the school work I should have been doing during the week! Wish me luck! DX

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 3 - York



As I mentioned, the real reason I wanted to go to York was for the Shambles, where they filmed Diagon Alley for (at least) the first Harry Potter film.

Part of it was just pure fan-ness... but I was also having a rather difficult time accepting that there was a real street somewhere out there with such tippy buildings!

The Shambles - York, England, UK
The Shambles

I will say, it's a tad more impressive in the movies, what with the lighting and the people and the lack of construction scaffolding... but it was still pretty neat to see. I'm amazed some of the buildings are still standing.

We ended up wandering looking for some place to have dinner, and stumbled upon Betty's Cafe. I must say, it was a delightful experience. The staff is knowledgable, the food is delicious and they also have a no mobile phone policy, which is kind of neat (though less so if you use your phone for pictures).
We had a brown bread ice cream sundae for dessert, because brown bread ice cream... And despite being super confused, it turned out to be very good. Though between this and risotto in Cardiff, I've decided I don't like cherry breads.

They had a little bakery attached to the cafe, and I'm wishing we'd got something from it... but it had closed by the time we finished eating. :(

Bridge near Guild Hall

We made a quick stop the next day to the Merchant Adventurer's Guild Hall, which was interesting, but not really worth the tour in my opinion. It would be an amazing place to host an event though!

Clifford's Tower - York, England, UK
Clifford's Tower

We went up the stairs to Clifford's Tower, but didn't end up going in because we wanted to do a quick circuit of the old city walls. It was really awesome to see, I really love walled cities, but I was panicking a bit about falling off in some places. ^^;

Oh! I also found this guy* (and his two friends) hanging out with some European geese. Tad far from home I think.

Canadian Goose - York, England, UK

Even though we only stayed for 2 half-days, I think York turned out to be my favourite place. It was so full of random little streets and random little shops, you never knew where you would end up once you turned the corner.

I don't think it's somewhere I could live though, just because there were not quite enough people (ironic after London!) and it could seem really dead at times.



*Might be a female goose... I am not well versed in these matters.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 2 - London


After Cardiff we were off on a (relatively) short train ride to London!

I think London is one of those cities that tends to be especially romanticized - alongside other big cities like Paris, Tokyo, Venice and Rome.

London, England, UK
View across the Thames, showing the London Eye all lit up.

I know I had great expectations for the city and was looking forward to seeing London more than the others we had planned (I mean come on. It's LONDON), but I think it turned out to be my least favourite in the end. (Not by much, though)

Big Ben - London, England, UK
Big Ben
Don't get me wrong, I loved everything we did (though I think I wore out my boyfriend constantly checking souvenir shops for things to send mendokusai. ^^;), and it was really beautiful, but London has a bit of 'big city syndrome'. Lots of people impatiently rushing, but not really going anywhere - and I'll just say now, I'm really not a fan of being smushed into subway walls or pushed on the street, just so someone can be 2 seconds earlier to wait for their train. :|

Interesting place to visit, couldn't live in the city centre.


Anyway! Our biggest attraction was definitely the British Museum, conveniently located a half block from our hotel, along with all the regular tourist-y things like Big Ben and the Thames.

We spent almost the entire first day wandering the museum before we had to leave for food, and since we weren't able to see everything we wanted, we had to go back again on the last day! XD

It was incredibly fascinating seeing all of the items I've seen in pictures during university classes actually existing (even if they were in plexiglass boxes ^^;).

Royal Standard of Ur, British Museum - London, England, UK
The Royal Standard of Ur

At lulufae's recommendation, we made a stop at Liberty and Co. where I picked up a couple of new fabrics. Most of the designs in the current collection were rather lacklustre, but the two I found are quite nice. I think they'll end up as dresses for Jonas. I almost wish I hadn't gone though, because now I'm completely in love with their fabric. So soft and drape-y.... *mournfulsigh* It's very difficult to find though. I've only seen little squares of it online and never in person before.

We did a tour of the whole store just because the building was so interesting, but homg expensive! o____________o;

They were all lined up on the other side too.

We made (what we thought was going to be) a quick stop at Buckingham Palace the next day to take some photos. That's what you do in London isn't it? But ended up staying a while just because there were SO MANY (hundreds at least!) people we figured something must be going on...

They did a changing of the guard (I think?), which could have explained it... but there was also a huge big parade and band and army guy with dog... so I don't quite know what was up. The internet doesn't tell me anything special happened, but there were just so many people. O.o

If QI has taught me anything, the Queen was in. Maybe she was going out for lunch or something?

Anyway.

We finished off our London adventure with an attempted visit to the Tower of London, but it was just about to close and very expensive so we didn't go in.

Maybe next time.

Tower of London - London, England, UK
Tower of London

We did, however, buy last minute tickets to Les Misérables at the Queen's Theatre. I know very little about the story, but everyone had been telling me how wonderful it is, so why not. I quite enjoyed it, though I have a feeling that the book is better. I didn't really like the actress playing Fantine, not sure why, but the music was excellent - I've had a mash of a few of the songs stuck in my head ever since! - and Jean Valjean was simply stunning. Can we say 'Holy vocal range Batman'?!

Definitely a great ending to the trip.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK - Part 1 - Cardiff



Finally back from my 'whirlwind' UK trip last week! It was definitely a lot of fun and I can now officially say I've been to every UK country.

I have learned that 4 cities in 9 days is a bit much, however, since we were rather travelled out by the time we got to Glasgow and probably didn't end up enjoying it as much as we should have.

Looking back, I wish we'd gone to Edinburgh or Newcastle instead of Glasgow (though I did like it!) and spent less time in London and more time in York, but it was fun overall.

Our first stop was Cardiff!

Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
The entrance to Cardiff Castle.

As you may or may not know, I was somewhat recently introduced to Dr. Who, and also the most recent BBC version of the Sherlock Holmes universe and have become quite a big fan of both.

Coincidentally*... they are both shot in Wales and Cardiff in particular, so it was pretty much a no brainer for our first stop.

Dr. Who Experience, Cardiff Bay - Cardiff, Wales, UK
A somewhat unconventional parking space.
The Dr. Who Experience recently opened in Cardiff Bay as well, so that was our first touristy thing. The experience portion was fun and rather cute (it's a bit geared towards children) and the exhibit was lovely for me since they had all the outfits for a large portion of the main characters and villains over the years, so I made sure to get photos of almost all the outfits.

I feel like there may have been something in the middle of the room that I forgot to photograph... but I just can't quite remember....

I picked up a few souvenirs for a friend of mine who is an even bigger fan than me - I'm hoping she likes them, even though she has to wait a few months to get them! - and tried to find a little Dalek for Tobi, but didn't have much luck, so I just picked up a little sonic screwdriver for me and a t-shirt for my boyfriend.

Maybe I'll be able to find one once I get back to Canada.

Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
Then after that, we were off to Cardiff Castle, where we spent an hour or two lost in the walls and the keep (right) and then wandered in to the main 'house' to check out the fancily decorated rooms.

Most were done in a 'traditional' English-y style, but there was one room (creatively named the 'Arab Room') done in an incredibly detailed gold-leafed mosaic and a stunning library unfortunately filled with tomes of city council minutes and copies of Dickens novels. :/

Exciting.

The Old Library at Trinity is similarly designed (if a tad more impressive), though I don't think they would appreciate us sitting in there for long periods of time ruining it all for the tourists, but if I ever find one that is both similarly decorated and well stocked you may not hear from me for a while.

Maybe I should just buy a house and decorate the basement or something. That might be easier.

'Arab Room', Cardiff Castle - Cardiff, Wales, UK
Gilding. Gilding everywhere!

I probably could have spent at least an hour staring at all the little details in that room, but there was about 2 square feet for you to stand in smushed at the corner of the room....

My camera was basically on the floor for me to get this shot. -_____-



As we were leaving, I noticed that there were actually stuffed parrots placed along a mantlepiece all around the room.

Definitely wishing I'd asked someone what that was all about.

I brought Tobi and Jonas along on the trip, but only ended up taking one photo of either of them...

Jonas - Bisou Ai Bonbon; Tobi - Unoa Lusis hybrid; Cardiff Castle Tower - Cardiff, Wales, UK


Overall, I really loved Cardiff. I think 2 days was enough for the city centre, but I wouldn't mind going back and visiting Caerphilly Castle as well.

Maybe when the 12th Doctor appears and they add him (her? :O ) to the exhibit! :P


*It's probably not coincidental, they're both written/directed/produced by the same people.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Reading Week in the UK



Next week is reading week for Trinity students, so I'm jetting off to visit the UK.

We leave on Saturday and are going to (at least) Cardiff, London, York and Glasgow. We have a few days in Cardiff and London, but York is mainly for the Shambles and Glasgow is a quick trip so I can say I've been to all the countries in the UK. :)

Mali and Tobi are coming along and I'm going fabric shopping at Liberty & Co. in London, so I'm very excited about that, but I'm finding I'm SUPER nervous about the whole trip for some reason.

I have to completely empty my memory card for the first time ever, so that could be part of it, but it means I can get some awesome photos during this trip!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Cliffs of Moher


We had some friends visiting last week and ended up doing a few day trips with them.

I think the Cliffs of Moher/Burren Trip was my favourite so I thought I'd share some photos here. :)

Cliffs of Moher - Liscannor, Ireland
We really lucked out and got a beautiful (if a bit windy) day.

Dunguaire Castle - Kinvara, Ireland
Dunguaire Castle

We actually visited this place twice to see how much the tides change. It was much prettier during low tide, but I don't have any good photos that show the castle....

I have lots of other photos, but most of them have people in them, so I don't think I'll post them, but here's some from Trim instead. This was a separate trip to the Hill of Tara and Trim (and a bunch of other places) but I don't really think it needs a separate post.

Trim Castle - Trim, Ireland
Trim Castle
I think this was a dining hall of sorts?

Supposedly part of Braveheart was shot here?

I think Trim Castle was the most interesting castle I've visited so far, but I'm told Blarney is better, so maybe we'll have to trek up there to see for ourselves.


Friday, 12 October 2012

Wake up! Time for School!


Classes have finally started!

Well, technically they started two weeks ago... but I'm going to pretend those last weeks never happened and that Trinity got timetables out to students before the third week of classes, that I didn't miss two Monday classes and have to redo my schedule three times because the general lecture timetables were easily available and correct, that I have access to the reading lists and online components for all of my classes instead of just 2 and that I was able to get my super important form signed and mailed on time because I totally wasn't running around trying to correct all these issues.

Yes.

That's what I'll pretend. -_________________-;

Anyway...!

Needless to say, all of this crazy has severely cut into my sewing time, but I have been slowly picking away at shirts...

I've also been working on a few new things for Tobi because she's been spending most of her time recently dressed in SM clothes or Mali's things and I was really wishing she had some things of her own.

Tobi - Unoa Lusis hybrid
They're actually a paler yellow than they look here.
I commissioned some printed T-Shirts for her in August, but I'm doubting they'll get here any time soon, so she's commandeered a shirt Mali never wears, Mali's long socks that she also never wears and the almost-finished dragon/dinosaur hoodie. Then I made her some cute yellow shorts to match since the failury pink skirt prototype from years ago just wasn't cutting it.

Now she just needs some shoes of her own and she'll finally have her own full outfit!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Giant's Causeway


Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's National Heritage site. It's a lovely hillside (cliffside?) filled with all sorts of volcanic formations, the most famous of which are the hexagonal pillars found all over the area.

Giant's Causeway - Portrush, Northern Ireland

I was amazed at how big they were. The main pillars were so tall that the people walking on the top just looked like tiny ants.

In addition to the pillars, there were also volcanic boulders (that were surprisingly spherical). I think they were my favourite part.

Giant's Causeway - Portrush, Northern Ireland

There was an art installation on the hillside by some English(?) artist whose name I forget. Everyone I was with was complaining about it and saying it was horrible, but I kind of like it.

Giant's Causeway - Portrush, Northern Ireland
Not the best picture for showing them, but the best one I have.

It was a bunch of red and yellow flags positioned so that the whole thing looked different depending on where you were standing.

We spent most of the day wandering around The Causeway and I think it was my favourite part of the trip to Northern Ireland. It's really amazing natural area.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Northern Ireland



We spent last weekend in Portrush, Northern Ireland.
I've been told Northern Ireland is the most beautiful part of Ireland, and after spending a few days there, I wouldn't hesitate to believe someone who told me that again. Although it does smell much like cow.

The first day we visited Dunluce Castle, and the second was spent at Giant's Causeway and touring the Bushmills Distellery. I brought Mali with me both times, but not many of the photos turned out, so I doubt I'll post them.


Dunluce Castle is supposed to be one of the most scenic castles in the country, and I will say it is quite lovely, but I don't know if I would give it that distinction just yet. It was built on a cliff-island thing, which, if you know anything about erosion is probably the best place ever to build a house if you want your kitchen to fall into the sea: which it did.

Dunluce Castle - Portrush, Northern Ireland

Most of my photos came out sort of boring, so I'll update this post later when I have access to other peoples' shots.

I did get one of Mali that's not too bad, but unfortunately you can't see any of the castle.

I've been taking so many back-of-head shots lately :/

Dinner was at 55°-North in Portrush, and I would highly recommend it if you happen to be in the area.


I have a lot of photos from Giant's Causeway, so that will be it's own post, but I did find something unexpected in a grocery store, so I'll leave you with a photo of that. ;)

Mini Tim Horton's - Bushmills, Norther Ireland
Tim Horton's tea and coffee (I assume), but regular Spar doughnuts



Monday, 17 September 2012

Cork


I am back from my weekend away in Cork, and I must say, it was quite fun - minus the 5 hour bus ride.

That was less fun.

It also disoriented me rather thoroughly for my school orientation sessions... but they turned out okay-ish in the end I guess.

---

Cork itself is a big city and since we were only there for effectively a day, due to travel times, I didn't get to see much of the city proper.

We did visit University College Cork, which I must say is a lot prettier than Trinity, and is probably the nicest university campus I've ever visited.

University College Cork - Cork, Ireland

University College Cork - Cork, Ireland

We also made it out to Blackrock Castle, which is very pretty as well.

Blackrock Castle - Cork, Ireland

It's also an observatory, science museum and a bit under construction apparently, so the tour was... odd... to say the least, but I enjoyed it and wish I could have stayed longer. The Castle Café was excellent as well. Probably the best food I had in Cork.

Blackrock Castle - Cork, Ireland

This boat was tethered off the side of the castle. I assume it must be reachable when the tide is low otherwise I have no idea how they managed to put it there.

---

I wish I'd had a bit more time to explore Cork and I would have liked to get a few more doll photos, but I did enjoy everything I did manage to see, so I shouldn't really complain.

There are a few more orientation sessions this week, and I have to figure out how to register for classes before teaching starts Monday (why we weren't allowed before I'll never know), but we're off to Belfast this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will be the nicest place we've visited yet and plan to bring both Mali and Tobi, so perhaps I can make up for lost photos there. :)

I hope everyone gets a chance to go somewhere different soon!

I'll post an update when I get back from Belfast, but posts will probably slow down once classes start.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Kinsale



Kinsale, Ireland

We took a day trip to Kinsale, which is a fairly little town about an hour bus ride away from Cork.

I brought Tobi with me, but we spent most of the time there walking up hills on roads with no sidewalks, so there weren't a whole lot of photo opportunities.

But! We did stop at Charles Fort for a few hours and I did manage to take a few photos. :) It was pretty interesting to wander around, though they had gates blocking the most interesting things. :(

Charles Fort - Kinsale, Ireland

I didn't take very many of Tobi (mainly because it was super windy and I was a bit afraid she would fall over or get blown away), and most of them didn't turn out, but I did get a few.

Tobi - Unoa Lusis hybrid; Kinsale, Ireland


I think she enjoyed the excursion. If we go back when we have visitors again in October, I might bring her again.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Sunset over the River Liffey


We have some visitors for the next couple weeks, and have been showing them around Dublin the past few days.

This weekend we're off to Cork for a few days, and I'm thinking of bringing Mali and/or Tobi (but probably only one) and will be taking a lot of pictures.

I haven't taken nearly enough of Dublin, so I'll have to do that when we're touring around again in two weeks, but here's one I took as the sun was beginning to set over the River Liffey (more of a canal really).

River Liffey - Dublin City, Ireland



Little Tweaks


I've been working on the design of my shop recently and due to some of the limitations in the software I'm needing to make extra tweaks to the blog to suit the store.

I'm hoping it will help create a more cohesive atmosphere browsing around the site, but it might cause a bit of confusion with things moving, popping up and/or disappearing.

I'm trying to make it as unintrusive as possible, but it might throw you off a bit.

So, sorry about that, but bear with me as I work out all the kinks. :)

Monday, 10 September 2012

Another year, gone


So, now that I've had this blog for a year, I thought it might be a good idea to go over some of the goals I had in my first post and see if I was able to meet any of them. (tl;dr: not really.)
  • Muted Colour Schemes
  • Subtle Memory was supposed to be an experiment in soft, muted colours, however I ended up relying on darker saturated colours to tie it together in my mind. I'm not too fussed about this one to be honest, as I think the addition of navy blue has made many of the pieces significantly stronger than they would have been if I'd stuck with my original plan.
    Plans going forward: I have another collection planned (it's not high up on my priority list right now though) that is all muted colours and I don't see it changing any time soon, so I'm hoping planning that will give me some practice.
  • Time Management
  • I don't think I've made much progress in this area to be honest and if I have, it's been entirely in the last week. I've learned I need to know exactly what I want from a project before I can be truly productive. Having things I still need to figure out (fabrics, patterns, etc.) just gives me a reason to procrastinate.
    I want to be able to finish collections and commissions in the timeframes I set out and to maintain a semi-regular update schedule.
    Plans going forward: Other than planning collections with fabric in-hand so that I don't get stalled looking for something useful, I've been working on developing a daily schedule and forcing myself to adhere to it. I think part of the problem was I was always working and hadn't really learned to disengage and read a book, or do the dishes or spend time with people without thinking I should be sewing.
    I still have problems with this, and I know it's not going to magically go away, but I've been gradually working on getting myself time-organized using a combination of Task Timer for Chrome, and Toodledo. Unfortunately, neither of them are quite what I need, so I'm having a bit of a difficult time, but hopefully I'll get used to the routine soon. :)
  • Speed
  • Overall, I think that I've made the most progress towards this goal than any of the others. I've still go a ways to go, but it's not taking me a week to produce one shirt anymore, so I'd call that a win.
    Plans going forward: While I can't do so in Ireland, I plan to continue practising with my sewing machine when I get home. I don't particularly enjoy machine sewing - it feels cold and impersonal to me - but I cannot deny that it is fast.
    In addition, I've been working on streamlining my processes and while it can get tedious sewing the same thing over and over, it seems to be working, and I feel much less exhausted and much more accomplished at the end of the day than I ever did before I changed my method.
  • Photography, staging and posing
  • I will say... I have made absolutely no progress on this goal at all as of yet. Part of it is that I'm focussed on other things, part of it is I keep saying I need this outfit or this setting and not taking photos anyway and part of it is my camera has decided that it is the destroyer of batteries, so I'm finding it to be a huge struggle to pull it out even for blog photos.
    Plans going forward: In the next week or so, I'm planning on going out and buying new batteries so my camera has no excuses and I can't use that as an excuse either and just spending a day taking photos. The only way I'm going to get better in this area is to practice, and I haven't been doing nearly enough of that.
I'm going to keep working on the above goals as they are very important to me, but I'd also like to add:
  • Blogging
  • I've added a lot of new blogs to my reading list in the last couple months (most doll-related, some not) and it's made me feel very inadequate regarding my blogging, so I'd like to work on that.
    My main goals are: Balancing photos/text - this is tied to my photography goal, so I'm hoping it will help boost that too - and explaining in fewer words.
    I tend to ramble a lot and I feel like I spend a lot of time making excuses instead of just saying what I need to say, so I'm going to try to work on this as well. I think learning how to balance text and images will help immensely.
  • Web Design
  • After redesigning my blog, I seem to have caught some kind of web design bug. The store platform I've chosen gives you (almost) complete control over your store, so I've been (re-)learning HTML and learning CSS and working towards modifying the store and adding some new pages to my blog.
    Luckily, my boyfriend is well-versed in both and has been exceedingly patient with my constant cries of "how do I do this?", "this line? or can I just put it here?", "what does the # mean again?" which is making me feel much more confident about my ability to learn this stuff.
    I don't really have any concrete goals beyond getting the store and a few other pages up and running, I just hope it goes over alright and nothing comes out horribly broken or looking terrible!

---

Much as I might stress and panic and think I'm the biggest disappointment since the last Series of Unfortunate Events book*, I'm really enjoying working on this project and learning the ins and outs of blogging and I hope I'll be able to do it for quite some time. :)


*Sorry if you liked it... I really didn't. :/

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I'll Just Go Hide in a Hole Now



I'm still plugging away at the pieces of Subtle Memory. It's kind of nice seeing it all finally come together... but I still have quite a long way to go.

Because of that, even though it makes me want to crawl up in a ball and hide from the world, I've changed my mind yet again and have decided to wait until I get home to put up the collection instead of doing it piece by piece like I thought I would.

I've realized that it's just not practical to try to send things out from here, learn a new postal system, buy all new packaging materials (which I would then either have to leave here or figure out how to cart home), finish messing about with the storefront (which turns out to be much more complicated than I'd originally thought -.-), and figure out substitutes for the materials I left at home on top of everything else.

I really should have thought this all through before this trip and am quite disappointed in myself for it, but there's really nothing that can be done about that now.

So, I'm just going to keep working and hopefully the extra time will allow me to add some of the things I had originally wanted to have as part of the collection (maybe I should just wait until April and pretend I meant 2013 the whole time :P).



On a happier note: While taking a break from working on the tops, Jonas got a new dress. :) She hasn't had anything new (that she gets to keep) since the dress that inspired this catastrophe, so it felt good to make something new for her.

Jonas - Bisou Ai Bonbon
I really need to re-suede her arms. :/

It's very simple and a bit lopsided since I tried to sew it fast, but I think it came out fairly cute. ^^

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Napkin Art


I went out for dinner with my boyfriend and some of his workmates and caught myself drawing on my napkin while they were talking.

I've never been able to figure out just what it is about paper restaurant napkins, but they always seems to provide a spark of inspiration that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Many a family dinner out with my grandparents when I was little found my mother running to the dollar store or borrowing pens from the waitresses until she decided to carry packages of pens with her.  She tried making me carry them, but I would inevitably forget - every single time. Lucky for me, my boyfriend already carries pens at all times, because I still do it. ^^;

Anyway, this is what came of the evening:

Napkin Art

Her face is a little lopsided - the result of poor planning - but I think I might spend some time cleaning it up in photoshop and maybe giving her some legs. I don't think I'll colour it though... maybe I can find someone else who will. :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

New Look


I hurt my wrist a few days ago, so I haven't been able to sew as much as I'd like.

Instead, I've been spending some time redesigning my blog. I will admit that I'm going to miss the brown and green and especially the flower, but unfortunately, it was very difficult to modify to fit the other pages I want to use.

Hopefully this one isn't too terrible. My eyes have a difficult time reading high contrast things, so I lowered the contrast a bit. It might be difficult for people with normal vision to read, however, so please let me know if that is the case and I'll try to fix it.

The mobile version has a white background, so that should be okay if you're reading on a phone, but it might have some other bugs, so please point those out to me too! ^^;

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lace and Stone


The lace has arrived! :)

Unfortunately, it's a bit bigger and lower quality than what I was originally using. Some clever stitching can hide the inconsistencies, but the size is another matter.

It's not that much bigger, but it's enough to make it look out of scale with the Bisou Ai tops... :(

Subtle Memory - lace comparison
Old lace on the left, new on the right.

I might have enough of the old stuff at home to finish them, so I might see if someone can mail it to me, or I might wait.

---

In other news, we went on a trip to Greystones recently and I managed to get a few photos before it started raining. The coast and beaches were really beautiful and the town was super adorable. There were a lot of nice places for doll photos too, so I hope I can go back one day soon.

Greystones, Ireland

Beach - Greystones, Ireland

After exhausting the waterfront, we wandered through the residential areas of the town and ran into the African Savannah.

Greystones, Ireland
I kept expecting an elephant to come strolling out of the trees. 

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. :)


Monday, 30 July 2012

Waiting and waiting


I managed to find some lace last week for the bottom of the Subtle Memory tops. Barring any issues (there are many steps between me and the seller), I'm hoping it will show up sometime in the next 2 weeks.

In the meantime, I've been making the bases for extra copies of the shirts in all 3 sizes, but that gets boring quickly, so I've also been working on a raincoat for Mali.

It's made from cotton (for the lining) and the scraps of a children's raincoat I was gifted. I'm not sure what the material is exactly - nylon? Gore-Tex? PVC? I don't know. What I DO know, is that it refuses to be ironed. At least by me*. :/

So, I devised a horribly clever substitute

Make-shift ironing
I may have run out of heavy things ^^;

And for the bigger pieces... I just stuck the iron (and/or a pile of books) on top of them for a few hours.

Surprisingly, it works quite well - much better than trying to use the iron properly - but it does take a decent amount of time, which means a lot of waiting and shifting back and forth between different projects.

Anyway, here's how it looks right now:

Work-in-progress Minifee Raincoat

It's not quite done... and I'm not quite happy with it - the sleeves didn't quite work, it's too bulky in the waist area and some other things I don't quite like - I might go back and fix them, but for what was mainly an experiment, I've certainly learned a lot. :)

I have plans for a modified version of this pattern and maybe a retry of this raincoat version, so hopefully I can find suitable material when I get back home. ^^


*I will point out, I'm not very good at ironing.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Right, so...


...now that I've mentioned it a few times, I should probably elaborate.

---

I'm in Ireland...

...for six months. ^^;

---

I'm doing a term at Trinity College, but came over early. The term starts in September, so I'll have a few months to explore/get used to everything before then - the roads are very confusing. ^^; We finally got our hands on the keys to an apartment, so I can stop living out of a suitcase for a while.

---

Anyway, I'll be back in Canada in January, but all three of my dolls are with me, so you can expect some lovely photos of them exploring the great wide world in the new shirts I'm making for them (different sizes of the one Mali is modelling for Subtle Memory). :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far and if anyone is in Dublin, I'd love to meet you!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dr. Firefly



So, a while ago I got another pukipuki cosplay commission. This one was technically much easier than the last (I think partially because I'd got used to sewing for the size and partially the outfits were actually easier), and I think I like the outfits better too.

I almost wish I could go back and redo the other outfits now... but I think I'll be saying that forever no matter how many times I redo something.

Anyway, this time it was for 4 different outfits, one from Doctor Who (Rory), and three from Firefly (River Tam, Wash and Kaylee), which I have never seen.

Rory Williams - pukipuki Dr. Who cosplay outfit

I'm not very happy with Rory's scrub shirt (mainly the pockets - I should have left them off), but I adore his pants, they're lots of fun. When I get some time (and flanelette :P) I'd love to make a similar pair as PJs for the girls.

River Tam - pukipuki Firefly cosplay outfit

River's was quite fun to do and rather simple, though I wish I'd been able to find thinner fabric... but it's difficult to find. In the actual episode (Safe), River's top is a loose weave sweater that's sort of fraying all over the place. It's a very cute outfit. Since I can't knit (tried, failed, I'll leave it to the pros), I pulled at the hems with a pin to simulate the fraying.


I custom printed the material for Wash's shirt to match the one in the reference image, but it came out a bit dark. Oh well. The commissioner likes it and I think it's my favourite of the 4. ^^

Kaylee Frye - pukipuki Firefly cosplay outfit
And yet again we are reminded of just how bad I am at posing pukipukis.

Lastly was Kaylee's outfit. It was super complicated with all sorts of extra things that look amazing full size (embroidery, writing etc.) but don't translate well at all to puki-size. I had to settle for a few of the bigger details and a plain blue coat. I made an umbrella too, but forgot to take a picture of it. :(