Wednesday 31 October 2012


The Unintended Amazingness of Septoplasty

There really isn't any better day to get facial surgery than Halloween.


Please watch as I get stripped of my sewing blogger credentials:

The kids are wearing store-bought costumes.   We got them in Spain because I couldn't bring myself to make outfits I wouldn't get to see worn and enjoyed because I'm terrible like that I ran out of time to make them.  Maia is a Bruja (witch) and Jamie is a... I don't know... a ghost, a bear, a ghost bear?   Best Halloween ever.*

*Except for every other Halloween I've ever had.

Monday 29 October 2012


Surprise Part Deux: I'm not dead. Yet.

Welcome back to part two of impromptu shop closures! It's so exciting that I keep springing these on you, right? 

Closed collage 5

This time I'm shutting up shop for less desirable reasons than holidays and sunshine; tomorrow morning I'll be reenacting the movie Face/Off by having a tent erected within my nasal cavity to lift my face off my face and have my nose reconstructed.  The ideal scenario is that I will (after ten years of creepy mouth breathing) have two additional functioning airways.  The less ideal scenario is that the tent collapses and I become Voldermort.  The least ideal scenario is that I die under general anaesthetic because that's the kind of thing that happens to me.  In all scenarios save the last I should be reopen for business some time next week.

If you want to read the back-story as to why exactly I am getting my nose fixed, or simply want to see why Betty Page style bangs don't work with my hair type you can read all that (and more!) here.

Wish me luck and see you on the other side!  As in, the afterlife.

Thursday 11 October 2012



Closed collage 4

I've closed up shop and I'm on my way to Spain! Prospective robbers, don't even bother. Friend Sarah and the Geriatrics (who aren't a band but by rights should be) are keeping a constant vigil at our front door, you won't get away with it.

Be back soon with some new products, a website revamp, the forever-promised Skater dress pattern, and a slightly darker skin tone.  Later, gators.

Wednesday 10 October 2012


KCWC: The Birthday Edition

boombox 1

In 'Time Flies' news, the boy turned seven yesterday.  He was a bit disgruntled that he had to go to school but I told him about how having a birthday in the summer holidays is massively overrated; I never had four separate classes at school sing Happy Birthday to me and have suffered with depression on-and-off ever since.  Okay, those things might not be directly linked but we'll never know.  It can't be a coincidence.

boombox 4

Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday he didn't want to make Dope Dope Yo hands in photoshoots*.

boombox 6 

With seven years on this planet successfully completed, you're allowed to be a bit casual about birthdays. (Pictured above: casual attitude).

boombox 5

Can you tell who has started karate this year?  If you need a clue I can post another hundred pictures of him punching and kicking towards the camera.  And looking tough.

boombox 8

Ladies and Gentleman (ie my dad), please prepare yourself for the grand denouement of this post, where I demonstrate with irrefutable proof how time does indeed fly:

Boombox Collage

I present you with three year old Jamie versus seven year old Jamie. At least 75% percent less moon head but otherwise identical.

*Actually, this is the first occurence of Dope Dope Yo hands so it could have been yesterday.

Wednesday 3 October 2012


The Little Shop That Wasn't (For Me)

This weekend, on my daily pilgrimmage for bread and milk I walked by the shop that I was interested in.  And there were people in there!  Not shocking in and of itself, obviously, but it's been boarded up forever and I didn't actually think anyone would want it but me.  'Aha!', I thought, 'the universe is sending me a sign!'.  I didn't have an appointment scheduled to see it but I figured as the agent isn't local and he was physically there and so was I, I'd loiter around until the other viewer left and then introduce myself.  Which I did. 'I'm sorry,' he said, 'I just shook on it with the other viewer.'  And do you know what?  I was relieved.

Here's my very technical drawing of the space.  It's a corner unit with a chunk out of one corner for the main door, full height windows to two sides, and a internal door to a tiny bathroom on the back wall.  The total dimensions are roughly the same as my current space but the available wall space is a whole lot smaller.  To store my fabric in its current shelving would take up most of the wall space, which would leave me to work in one of the windows like a very boring parody of Amsterdam's red light district.

And here's my current working space.  One door, one half-height window (so I can work in front of it), a whole lotta wall and work space.  Looking at it like that, it would have been madness to cut into my profit margin by £400/m.  But it was something I was seriously considering doing for two reasons:
  1. The sewing room is the land of misfit furniture
  2. I have trouble staying 'on task' in my house
The first point is sounds simple enough.  Throughout Operation: Save Our Collective Lives I've replaced furniture that doesn't work with our lives and house with furniture that does.  The misfit furniture then moves to the garage or, if it is a semi-fit for what I need, into the sewing room.  But it's not the furniture that I need for the sewing room to work: my sewing table is too small for more than one machine at a time, there's an erstwhile two seater sofa that's being used as a surface to stack stuff on, and I'm using a old TV unit for pattern storage.  Consequently the room gets messy quickly, I'm frustrated with swapping machines constantly, and I don't feel happy and productive when I'm in there.  But guess what?  None of the misfit furniture would have gone to the shop.  Ergo, if I was willing to spend money to kit out the shop so it's the best use of space, I should be willing to spend money to improve my current space.  In fact, I should be willing to spend more money as it saves me the shop expenses in the long run.

Which moves me onto point two, which is harder to overcome.

When I am very busy, I work at my best.  But by 'busy' I mean I have orders to fulfil, when there are already expectations on me by customers.  What I struggle with is creating more business, be that through promoting, marketing, working on new patterns or designs, actively seeking opportunities, etc.  Truth be told, it's the fear of putting myself out there. I've been talking with a good friend a lot recently about holding myself and my business back through fear of failure and how this is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Getting a physical shop would force me to work really, really hard to cover its expenses but more than that, I'd be telling myself that it's okay to take this seriously as a business.  To do many businessy things because I absolutely had to and should do as a legitimate business.  The number of people who've asked, 'What are you going to do now that your kids are both at school?' with the undertone of you should go back to proper work definitely sows seeds of doubt in what you're doing.  And that doubt is multiplied if you are the one holding yourself back. 

Long story short, the shop was not to be but it made me analyse where I'm at.
  • There are definitely less expensive ways to feel legitimate  
  • If I was willing to invest in the shop, it's okay to invest in things that are not the shop  
  • I need to structure my time better
Thoughts or advice?

Tuesday 2 October 2012


Meanwhile, in Tunictown

MonkeyandBo Collage

Another batch of my limited edition tunics are available at Monkey and Bo. The scooter prints with their hats and scarves are seasonally appropriate as we move directly from summer into winter (or winter into winter if you live in Scotland) and the purple fairground tunic is just about my favourite tunic ever.

Fairground Collage

In fact, I love this fabric so much that the other two colourways are available in mine own shop.  The carousels, they slay me.

Basra Collage

Also, my shop now offers these rather fetching Basra Cityscapes... 

Geek Collage

And Geekiness for Girls, because for far too long these fabrics have only been made into boy-wares and gadget cases.