Two Years On

Yesterday marked the two year anniversary of my gran’s death.

She died on Friday the 13th 2009.

I was hoping to go home for the weekend but due to lack of funds and timetable clashes I had to stay at university. Even now it’s hard to process the fact that she is actually gone. Her decline in health and death were long and drawn out. She had been battling with alzheimer’s and various related illnesses for years. In fact I had not seen or spoken to her for at least three years before her death. I still feel incredibly guilty about this. But at the time, I didn’t have the courage to visit her in hospital or in the care home and see the strong, funny and unfailingly kind grandmother I had grown up with change into a frail old woman who could barely remember her children and partner let alone her grandchildren.

I love to hear stories of what she was like before I was born, before I knew her. My dad talks of her being a force to be reckoned with and the delight my papa took in tormenting her just for the sake of a giggle.

My memories are somewhat more sedate but I remember hot chicken soup, mini kitkats and bourbon creams from the biscuit tin (which was always made available during your visit) to the toffee hammer and tray which sat next to the fire place, whose lack of toffee always struck me as odd.

I remember the laughs we had about my dad’s graduation photo which hung proudly on the wall of her living room no matter what house she moved to. And the china figures. I remember dad buying a new one each christmas or birthday and seeing it dust free sitting on her shelves the next time we visited. Many of those figures now sit in our home, protected in memory.

I remember her neat writing in the chrsitmas cards every year. I remember the furry rug that sat in front of the fireplace, inviting me to sit and play. I remember going to Vogrie Country Park for long walks with her, my parents and uncle.

I look at what my life is now…where I am: 22 years old, a couple of months away from graduation and in almost all respects a grown up. And I wonder if she would be proud of me; would my graduation photo have hung in her livingroom too? A friend of mine remarked recently that he wished he had spent more time talking and listening to his grandparents when they were alive. That’s a truth which I now accept, if I had the chance again I would ask her everything and anything. I would have gone to the hospital and the care home, would have swallowed my stupid fear and said goodbye properly.

I am glad that in the end she was surrounded by people who loved her, in a familiar place. I’m glad my uncle performed the funeral service and showed courage and love in the way he spoke of her. I’m glad I got the chance to know her.

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Quick post ’cause I’m inexplicably tired

I’ve been very productive this morning. Made a start on both custom orders I have waiting which brings me one (or two depending on how you look at it) step closer to marking them off my do to list for Canada.

As of today I have only 5 weeks before I hop on the plane over there so I’m trying not to hit panic stations too soon. But in general this is a busy time as I’m starting to get things ready for the Halloween and Christmas period on etsy. I also have a ton of things to make for presents and clothes for going out there too. But I have my lists so hopefully it’ll all go to plan. 🙂

I was going to end this post by showing you my studio or a picture of our tiny little chicks, but my studio is a mess and it’s gale force winds and rain outside and I don’t want to venture out 🙂

Instead here is a picture of my kitty Josephine hoarding her gold 🙂

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Plans And Productivity

So after a fairly unhappy and upsetting last week at home which ended with a rush trip to the vets to say goodbye to one of our beloved cats I’m now back at uni and ready…Ready for what exactly?

Well aside from the fact that my plans for editing this week fell through, its been a fairly productive and successful two days back.

Our editing slot is re-booked for Wednesday and Thursday; I got my essays handed in OK and on time (I never quite trust the posting it thing) and I got my first Documentary essay back with an extremely respectable and somewhat awesome mark of a 65. Especially awesome considering I thought I would fail it. Oh and I also had a productive trip to the job centre.

As I am planning a trip to Canada in the autumn I need to start saving my holiday fund. Today I spent some time going over my C.V. updating bits of it, adding to my personal statement and writing covering letters. I have got applications for sales assistant posts stamped and waiting to be sent off but most importantly I applied for a job with the BBC!.

I’m extremely excited about this because although it’s not directly linked to the costume department it is a step in the right direction. It is a “studio opener” for the BBC Wales studio on the university campus. It would basically entail me opening up the studio, showing people around and setting up the equipment for broadcasts. Its only temporary but I don’t really need anything more than that!

Boosted by the confidence of getting in that application I finally got my personal statement and C.V together enough to send off to LionTV a production company based in Glasgow and London. They are responsible for one of my favourite TV shows Victorian Farm so it would be amazing to even get contacted by them let alone work for them after graduation.

So after feeling really rubbish all weekend and then the crazy frustrating day of failed editing that was yesterday I’m finally feeling brighter and looking forward to the term ahead. Even if that does mean writing a 10,000 word dissertation.

See you in the future! ♥

Pottermore Survey

Stole this survey from Kristina Horner’s blog

  1. What’s your Pottermore username? CatStone95
  2. What House do you think it sounds like? I want to say Gryffindor, but that’s kind of obvious. I’m not really sure what house it sounds like. Cats are kind of stubborn but lovable so maybe gryffindor after all 🙂
  3. What House do you want to be in? Ideally Gryffindor, since that’s the house I have identified with for the longest. But having read various psychoanalytical readings of the house like this one I would say I could kind of fit into hufflepuff or ravenclaw aswell.
  4. Does your username relate to you at all? Absolutely! my cats are a huge part of my life. Not quite sure about the stone part but hey I like the beach, I even kept a few cool stones from the beach near my university as mementos. So that part is cool with me 😀
  5. What kind of wand would you wish to get? I always though willow or hazel, with unicorn hair or dragon heartstring. But I’m really not bothered 😀
  6. Are you pure, half-blooded or Muggle born?  You know, I never actually thought about that. I guess muggle-born
  7. Which day did you get into Pottermore? Day 2. I managed to get the clue on day one but too late! 😦
  8. What shape is your Patronus? Quite probably a big cat. all cats are gorgeous.
  9. What does your boggart look like? I’m not really frightened of anything but I hate clowns so that would probably appear :s
  10. Would you rather be an Animagus or a Matamorphmagus? Tricky I love being able to dye my hair but it completely messes up the quality so I would love to do that at will, but being an animal would be awesome too. Yay for not making decisions!
  11. If you were an Animagus, what animal would you be? I would be a cat for sure.

See you in the future! ♥

Plans And Adventures

I have trouble with adventure.

For many years now I have strugggled with the idea of being spontaneous. I think it, along with many of my other issues links back to being bullied and the roots of my social anxiety. It is one of the reasons I hate airports, although I travel on my own frequently now and have travelled to Canada and back on my own I still struggle being in those situations just as when I began travelling to and from university by train I had to have a plan set out in my head of when and where I would be. All my life I have had plans and very firm ideas of what I want to do and how I’m going to get there. I have for many years lived my life by lists.

But as I was coming back from Glasgow today it occurred to be that many of my once firm plans have never come to fruition.

I had planned for many years to become a costume designer. I remember being in 3rd or 4th year in high school and attending the degree shows at the Edinburgh College of Art. Sitting on the lawns having lunch I instinctively knew that this was where I belonged. This was my future. So I made a plan: do my higher and advanced higher art; finish 6th year and head to ECA to study Performance Costume. That was to be my life for the next 5 years.

But then by the end of 5th year things had changed. I was fed up with school; I was itching for something new and challenging and by then I had begun to have doubts about ECA. I began looking at other universities, other possibilities. Then my best and favourite teacher, my art teacher in fact, left just as I was heading into my final year. This was the change point. I decided that summer tht I would leave school early, and as my parents gave me two options: Go to college or get a full-time job, I chose education, more learning.

I started Telford College in 2005 studying Theatre Costume Interpretation. This changed my life. Alot of the negative effects my experiances at school had had on me began to heal and change. My confidence grew and I finally knew that this was my path in life ( I know how ridiculously cheesy that sounds but it was true).

By Christmas of 1st year I had ideas in my head of working on Doctor Who, of leaving college and going into the industry straightaway.

But again, things changed. By Christmas of 2nd year I had found a course in Cardiff in Theatre Design I had always struggled with picking one thing I loved doing above everything else but this course seemed to be offering me it all. It was decided, even before I had visited the university the following February: I would go to university in Cardiff, but first I would take a year to do my portfolio. That was to be the next 4 years of my life.

Then Cardiff rejected me. Then I rejected (it was mutual rejection) my second choice of Rose Bruford in Kent. Then my third and final random choice rejected me. But I wasn’t worried. I had my lists and I had a plan, I would spend the next year working on my portfolio to make it better, work in the industry a bit, gain some experiance and try for Cardiff the following year.

But I realised I couldn’t wait another year before starting university. So I found Aberystwyth. I found that I could do Theatre Design and English Literature as a joint degree. I was sold. So new plan: head for Wales and get a joint degree in things I love to do.

2 and a half years later the plan has once again changed. I’m in the middle of my final year doing Film and Television Studies.

I guess my constant is that I still want to be costume designer but I also want to be so much more aswell.

What I am attempting to say in a long-winded way is that I spent years with solid plans, with firm ideas of where my life was headed. But now I’m standing at a crossroads (pardon the cheesy cliche) and I don’t know what my plans are. I know vaguely where I want to go in terms of my career but I’m clueless on the rest. At one point it scared me. I have lots of friends graduating with me, many of whom have decided their plans for the next few years, possibly for their entire careers. But I, for once don’t have a plan. I can’t formulate a list.

When I travel to and from university on the train now, I am very often stress free. I know where I’m going and I know how to handle the problems that may arise. I can handle the journey like an adventure.

And finally, FINALLY I am beginning to see the rest of my life as an adventure, not a plan, not set in stone with lists and rules I must follow. I have a short term plan: open an Etsy shop and go to Canada to see my best friends. But aside from that I have no idea. I’m headed for an adventure and finally I’m excited 🙂

Happy Birthday Wednesday’s Child

Well hello stranger! Fancy seeing you here!

It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything here, mostly due to various illnesses that worked their way round our family until it felt like we were living in some kind of plague house.

But I’m now feeling much better and ready to get things back on track also today Wednesday’s Child is 5 years old so birthday celebrations have been the order of the day!

5 years ago today I received my first order (sadly Etsy hadn’t made the phone app at the point so I wasn’t woken by the lovely cha-ching noise that’s so fun to hear these days.) I had handed in my undergraduate dissertation a few days before and listed my first items at the end of May.

It was 2011 and the final Harry Potter film was going to be released that July so naturally being the geek that I am my first products were Harry Potter ties and robes. That summer between June and December that year I sold 34 ties and many other Hogwarts House Pennants and even a few kids Harry potter robes and baby mobiles.

Between then and now I shifted my focus onto solely historically accurate costumes, lost pretty much all pop culture references and got so into Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë I’ve got two whole literary inspired sections in my shop!

The past 5 years have been incredible, both personally and professionally. I’ve had costumes travel as far as Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, to museums in Wales and even to a Yorkshire historical dance troupe! I’ve lived in Canada with my best friends, moved house (and studio) 3 times and even been featured twice in the Jane Austen Centre’s official magazine Jane Austen’s Regency World.

In the last year I’ve become involved with a wonderful voluntary educational re-enactment group based at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, (the brilliant Edinburgh Living History – more on them soon!) and really, 2016 looks to be shaping up to be my best year yet!

Along with my annual birthday sale in July I decided to celebrate my little baby business turning 5 in style today. This meant a very special trip to the tattoo studio and of course yummy birthday cake (complete with candles!)

I chose, in honour of my 5 year anniversary to get my damask logo tattooed on my wrist. I designed the damask myself in Adobe Illustrator and it’s not just a connection to my business but to my world life of sewing and creativity.

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This month’s edition of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine arrived today featuring my new shiny news article which was a nice birthday surprise!

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Then on my way home I decided to splurge on some celebration chocolate in the form of a very childish caterpillar birthday cake, I even bought purple, silver and gold candles to blow out!

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(Sadly the broken eyes made the caterpillar look very sad 😦 )
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The mammy and daddy even tried to sing happy birthday, which did feel a bit ridiculous 😀

But all in all this birthday has been very fun, and tomorrow I get to wake up, have some leftover cake for breakfast and head back into the studio and get back to work making some fun 18th century costumes for the aforementioned Edinburgh Living History.

Good Mood Mondays should be back next week along with some Charlotte Brontë themed goodies but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

 

Good Mood Weekends

Hello my darlings and welcome to this week’s Good Mood Monday blog post!

I’ve spent today slowly working on orders and some marketing stuff while feeling very sleepy and sunburnt after enjoying a weekend worth of wedding celebrations for my awesome friend Fiona and her lovely new husband Sylvain.

The wedding was held at a gorgeous youth hostel in the Perthshire countryside outside if Crieff (which coincidentally the mammy and I visited about 12 years ago for a holiday)

The weekend started with most of the guests arriving on Friday evening and getting settled in while Fiona and Sylvain ran around trying to finish everything off for the next day (it was a totally wonderful and epic DIY wedding)

It was a lovely clear night to wander round and enjoy the spring air and watching the wildlife (and the chickens pecking around their run)

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Our gorgeous bedroom door sign 😀

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The next day, after some breakfast mum and I decided to head off for a wander up round the campsites and into the woods. Put simply it was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfect (at that point it wasn’t too hot!)

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After some more breakfast snacking, it was time to go show and dress for the wedding! After chatting and meeting lots of lovely new friends it was time for the ceremony. With a Scottish bride and a French groom and guests coming from all over the world it was a very multinational affair.

The ceremony and vows were performed in both English and French which was a lovely touch to mark the joining of the two families. After the vows (and the happy couple leaving the ceremony to the Star Wars theme tune!) there was lots of chatting, hugging and photographs. 

To tide us over we had lots of afternoon tea snacks. I’ve known Fiona for such a long time and it was wonderful to see her so happy, surrounded by friends and family.

The decorations of the barn for the evening were gorgeous, lights and lanterns hung everywhere, they had signs pointing to all the places the couple have been and are planning to go: Australia; Bali; Florida; Thailand and Fiji. They’re then planning Hawaii for a honeymoon and hopefully in a few years even emigrating to Canada!

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They had a BBQ for dinner with massive amount of salad and meats, incredible meringue desserts and wedding cake to finish.

(Sorry no photos of that – too busy eating)

Then came the dancing, it was a ceilidh so cue traditional Scottish country dances, meaning most of the Scottish guests vaguely remembering the steps after having them drilled into us at school and the rest of the guests desperately trying to keep up with all the twirling!  

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We ended up going to bed around 11 while other people including the bride and groom stayed up until about 2am, either wrapping up warm inside drinking cups of tea or outside sitting round a lovely hand built campfire drinking alcohol to keep warm (Sylvain’s little nephews had a lot of fun in the morning building Stonehenge type sculptures out of the firewood)

The next day after breakfast and helping (or in our case watching) the newly-weds dismantle the decorations and pack everything away safely we left the croft, still in glorious sunshine and a few of us joined Fiona and Sylvain for lunch before heading home for good.

Everything about the weekend was lovely, it was so warm (sunburn in Scotland! In May! ) chilled out and happy.  I was so happy and thankful to be included in such a wonderful occasion.

So this week’s post has been brought to you by sun, laughter, happiness and love. I’ll be back on Thursday with my A-Z of Charlotte Bronte post but until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Good Mood Plans

Hello and Happy Monday to everyone!

 I’ve had a very good weekend celebrating the Daddy’s birthday (and earlier in the week celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday too) and although we didn’t take any photos we had a lot of fun hanging out and eating lots of yummy food and awesome cake!

I’ve been crazy busy doing an order for custom made steel cage pocket hoops today so haven’t really thought about what to do for Good Moods this week but given last week was a total wash for me I thought it important to blog anyway!

As I’ve mentioned before this year is Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. As well as my very long appreciation post for the 2011 film I’m also planning a new blog series for a Thursday called The A-Z of Charlotte Brontë.

I’m going to start this Thursday with A (an obvious place to start) and for my alphabet A is for Atmosphere. As the Brontë sisters’ work is often cited as being landmarks in Female Gothic fiction atmosphere plays a huge role in all the novels of Charlotte and her sisters.

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A short preview of the gorgeous atmosphere used to create mood in Jane Eyre!


So a very, very short update today but I shall be back on Thursday! But until then,

See you in the future! ♥

Jane Eyre Appreciation Post

April 21st marks 200 years since the birth of Charlotte Brontë and this year also marks the start of 5 years’ worth of bicentenary celebrations for all 3 Brontë sisters.

Jane Eyre is own of my very favourite books and the mid-19th century is perhaps my favourite time period in terms of costume, textiles and art so I thought that I would use this an excuse to do my own year of bicentenary events in honour of Miss Brontë.

Along with producing some more Brontë theme products for the shop I’ll be doing a few blog series’ and reviews of Bronte related and inspired things.

First off I decided to review and discuss the 2011 version of Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. While I really like Ruth Wilson as an actress and I tried watching the 2006 BBC version with her and Toby Stephens I just couldn’t get it into it. The characterisation of Jane just didn’t feel like Jane to me. The 2011 version however felt much more accurate and closer to the book.

Before I get onto talking about the costumes properly I want to talk briefly about the lighting and colours of the film. Listening to the audio commentary Carey Fukunaga discusses the importance of the lighting and his choices in terms of really setting the tone for entire film.

For me there is a gold haziness to the colours and lighting during her time at Thornfield which allows this stretch of narrative to read as almost a dream sequence or not quite real, most notably in the proposal scene, the gold lens flaring tying beautifully with the brewing storm of foreshadowing of the terrible events later in the film/novel which could be attributed to Jane’s acceptance of the initial proposal.

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The events before and after Thornfield are mostly blues in tone such as her life at Gateshead and Lowood and especially her time on the moors. 

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The golds come back up in moments of keen happiness and content in Jane’s life – summer afternoons spent with Helen, when she finds solace and family with the Rivers’ siblings and when she hears Rochester calling her across the moors after the fire – drawing her back to Thornfield.

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The lighting has the same dreamlike haze, with the scenes mostly lit with ambient lighting – natural sunlight or candlelight. The moors are filled wet dark gloomy skies while her days at Thornfield are (usually) sunny and bright The most notable scenes with gold candle and setting sunlight are Jane and Rochester’s discussion after she finds out about Bertha, her rescue by St John and finally when she returns to Thornfield at the end, commanding Rochester to waken from his dream. The lighting of this scene reflects the proposal scene, the summer sounds replacing the storm.

Ok onto the costumes! The novel was published in 1847 and we know that Jane herself is relaying the story to us 10 years after the final events of the novel. It can be surmised that her time at Thornfield takes place in the 1820s or 30s as she mentions portraits of both George III and the Prince Regent being displayed in Inn near Thornfield where, in the novel she meets Mrs Fairfax. This would mean that the clothing in the novel would be smack bang in the Romantic era of large gigot sleeves and ankle length bell skirts.

In the commentary however Fukunaga explains how he and costume designer decided to set the film in the 1840s – the time of the novels publication as basically they disliked the styles of the 20s and 30s. The ugliness and exaggeration of the dresses, they felt suited Aunt Reed much more than Jane herself.

I can understand this choice as I would argue that the understated style of the 40s tied more with Jane’s character. Shifting the time period of the film slightly allows us to see a shift between Jane’s clothing while living at her aunts, the uniforms of Lowood and then finally Jane’s own sense of style and choice at Thornfield and Moor House.

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Class is important in the novel and I think the costumes do a wonderful job at expressing the different levels displayed in the film. Aunt Reed is clearly well-off and of a certain upper class of society, we can see this in the interiors of Gateshead but also the opulence of her clothes and those of her children.

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Jane, although a lowly orphan thrust upon the family is still dressed in quite fine clothes.

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Jane’s clothes are mentioned a few times throughout the book and film.

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Her first meeting with Rochester in the woods outside Thornfield shows the innate difference of clothing between levels of servants

 “You are not a servant at the hall of course. You are-” He stopped, ran his eye over my dress, which as usual, was quite simple: a black merino cloak, a black beaver bonnet; neither of the half fine enough for a lady’s maid. He seemed puzzled to decide what I was; I helped him. “I am the governess.”

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In the film we see her attempt at ‘dressing’ for Mr Rochester despite not having a large selection of fine clothes

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Her outfits are again discussed in terms of the ladies visiting with Rochester, namely Blanche Ingram

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A slight change in costume comes really at the arrival of her wedding dress, as Adele plays with the lengths of veil she whispers to herself  “I will be Jane Eyre no longer.”

In a way this is true, when found by St John Rivers she calls herself Jane Elliot and when given her own home and work as a school mistress she find a sense of style in small accessories that bridge the gap between her life at Thornfield and her new independence .

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When she suddenly becomes an heiress is when we finally see Jane’s ultimate style. The golds of the lighting and production design are brought into her final gowns which show wealth we haven’t seen before but still humble and simple. It shows Jane’s humility while allowing her to take a small amount of pride in her appearance now she has the means.

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When she finally returns to Thornfield to find a humbled and damaged Rochester their class levels are closer, he is no longer the master of a large estate and she is no longer his “paid subordinate” and in that way her gold gown and his darker brown muted dishevelled suit tie together along with the landscape and setting of the oak tree, once the scene of a heart-breaking proposal.

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I could really go on and on about this book and film but I think I’ve probably bored you enough already!

I hope this has made up for not blogging last week and I promise to back to my normal schedule next week but until then,

See you in the future ♥

Good Mood Shopping

Woohoo I’m managing a Good Mood Monday before 10 pm this week! Anyway this week’s Good Mood is brought to you by Ikea and mammy/daughter outings!

           – I wrote the above at like half 7 and I was so happy but then things happened and now it’s 20 to 11 and I’m just getting round to finishing this post! Oh well onto the good stuff!

I love Ikea. I don’t always buy things when I go but I have fun wandering round the staged rooms and houses and looking at all the random accessories and decorations. I also completely adore the kids section of Ikea; it’s so full of silliness and imagination.

Anyway, this time we actually went with a purpose. Mum has been redecorating the kitchen for the past few weeks and we wanted to get some shelving and other finishing touches and I was lusting after some of the fabrics I saw in the website.

After our usual wander round the staged rooms we headed off to the warehouse and main shop area, skirting through the kitchen stuff and straight to the fabrics!

Unfortunately when I saw the fabric in the flesh it wasn’t as nice as I first thought BUT I did find an awesome cotton duvet set that was a similar design but much nicer so I snagged that instead! 🙂

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I’m hoping to use this to make a Georgian round gown or something similar to this kind of outfit:


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Plus when we were browsing the bargain coroner on the way out I managed to get some more awesome fabric in the form of another big cotton duvet reduced down to just £3!!

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Mum also had a very successful day, finding everything she was looking for –and actually getting it cheaper than expected which is always awesome 😀

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(And yes that is Ikea’s amazing chocolate spread with butterscotch pieces in the trolly – I could eat that stuff wtth a spoon straight from the jar if society would allow me with judging me) After paying we decided on getting something to eat quickly before heading home so cue obligatory lunch photos!


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After lunch we decided to head home put all our new purchases to good use! (After wandering around TK Maxx for a bit first – they always have awesome kitchen stuff!) So today was full of giggles and shopping achievements and tomorrow  will be filled with more sewing and building shelves for the kitchen! One order I’m currently working on is for a pair of shirt that have giant puffy, almost leg of mutton inspired sleeves. It’s been an interesting project as this is the first time I’ve done sleeves like this and the first time really using iron on starch to keep the puffs huge but I think they’re coming along nicely SMILE


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In other news this Thursday marks the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth so along with doing a special Jane Eyre appreciation blog on Thursday I will be starting a few other projects based around the bicentenary. But until then,

See you in the Future! ♥