Friday, May 29, 2009

new stockist: rude health

Rude Health is a brand spanking new shop in Melbourne, and you can find Heidi & Seek items there. Every item is sweatshop-free and made in Australia, how cool is that? "Think polka dot fifties dresses, crocheted alien birds, silk high-waisted undies, Little Red Riding Hood capes, stripy one-piece pyjamas, paperboy woollen caps and felt lungs in jars."

Stop by at 17 Irwell St, St Kilda.

feeling unsettled, studio

I'm having one of those rut-feelings where I want to take my label in a bit of a different direction and so I'm unhappy with almost everything currently in my shop. (I know I say this like every two weeks, but my ideas are always changing and I can't help it!) What do you do in this situation?

(This post from Call My Agent about a rejected query letter for a novel made me laugh and feel better, for one.)

Anyway, I'm creating the things I want to represent me and maybe I'll have a sale on some older stock soon. I think one of my problems was that I'm so strapped for time (I only work two days a week at the moment) that on those days I thought to myself 'holy crap I need to make the most of this!@' and then I created and created without really thinking through the designs fully - and that meant I ended up with hit-or-misses. Most, if not every piece should be a hit. That's my goal.

I've also reorganised my workspace, which makes it much easier to see what sleeves, cuffs, necklines and other random pieces I've already cut out, and therefore it's much easier to match colours. The colour combos of my new pieces are definitely benefiting from it.

(Click to enlarge)

I still haven't finished with the making it pretty. The clock up on the wall is broken, for one, but soon to be replaced with this beauty! And I haven't shown you the other side which is full of piles of clothing to be reconstructed. But at least I can find my bits and pieces easily, and I'm just working from the pile from the top.

I can't wait to upload my new stuff, but I've missed my shot for today, it's too dark now to photograph them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


This is what happens when you haven't touched your accounts for a few months.

And that's not including all the online transactions I've made.

The reason I've been putting it off is because for the first half of the financial year I kept my accounts in MYOB. When the trial version ran out I decided I wasn't going to pay $170 or something for it when there are open source options for free, and when my accounts are completely basic. (I think that my accountant won't be pleased, but I'll deal with that when tax time comes.) But that means I need to re-enter all my info into the other program.

I've been using Gnucash for personal accounts for a while, and it does small business, too. It's reasonably easy to use and shows all the reports I want. The only problem with it is that when I try to print something, it freezes. This is okay for my near-paperless office (just got the receipts, which I'm required to keep) and if I really want to print something I can print screen and move it to Photoshop, to do with what I will.

Sigh. Back to it..

Friday, May 22, 2009

sometimes things disappear

Just a quick note to say that if you notice something in my Etsy shop and come back and it's disappeared (i.e. not in my sold section, either), it's because I've sold it in a wholesale order to a retailer or I've sent it off for a fancy pants magazine photo shoot or some such. If you convo me I can tell you if it's coming back to Etsy or not.

My sansa skirt, among other things, has gone to the latter, more specifically the first issue of Oxfam's Three Things magazine ("a humorous, hard hitting magazine for modern folk") which I would LOVE to get regularly. The first issue is only being distributed in NSW, so I hope they expand to include other states for future issues. I'm happy for the moment because I'm being sent a copy of the one I'm in, muaha.

Missing Water: A film about sweatshops and refugees

If you're in Sydney on the 3rd to the 14th of June, you'll be able to make it to the Sydney Film Festival. There's a movie showing called Missing Water, about the realities of sweatshops and refugees. A "boldly cinematic work that structurally and emotionally cries out the very simple question: can you imagine what it was like?"

The actors are all non-professional, either refugees themselves or descendants of refugees, and the subject is very close to the director's heart. I hope the movie makes it to Melbourne, because I'd love to see it.

9 June & 10 June
Click for more info

Thursday, May 21, 2009

web design and online social networking

I'm redesigning and here is a sneak peek:

Excuse the bad quality, Blogger seems to be terrible at resizing screen shots. I'm adding links to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to it, which meant that I actually started using these sites again.

I set up a Facebook page months ago, but didn't finish it or do anything with it, until the other night. If you'd like to join, click here. I'll be uploading my new listings to my photo gallery there so they'll come up in your feed, and I'm definitely not sending out mass messages all the time because I know that gets annoying (I'd have a really good excuse if I did send one, promise).

I set up a more reliable mailing list, which you can join here or there's a little form on my blog page, too. (If you already signed up before the change, you don't need to sign up again.)

You can also find me on Twitter and Flickr. Though to be honest, Twitter still confuses me a bit. Come say hi if you tweet too!

I find web designing both frustrating and fun at the same time. And it's usually a long time between utilising my web design skills, so I always have to relearn a bunch of things. Although I've been designing web pages longer than I've been sewing, so you could say it's my roots!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crafting failures and successes

You know how sometimes you create something that you can be proud of (and you have this 'yes!' moment when you're done) and then other times the finished product isn't quite so great? I found examples of this in my most recent batch of Heidi & Seek creations.

Here's the one I love:

Here's the one I feel like shoving under the bed:

When my experimentations with colour and design went awry, sometimes I would list these pieces anyway to see if someone else might like them and they're just not my style (and sometimes they would sell) but now I think that if I don't like them then they shouldn't be representing my work in my shop. I'll let you know what it turns into when I change it up.

Mind you, the first top came with its own set of problems, because first I made a top out of the purple fabric alone, which turned out a disaster, so I reconstructed it into the vanessa top. Such is the beauty of designing one-offs on a whim! I think it's much more fun than reproducing the same thing over and over.

One more thing: check out this thought-provoking post from OutsaPop Trashion about why, in ten years time, buying recycled clothing might not be an option.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joyful consumption

I came across this post by Consumption Rebellion about the concept of 'Joyful Consumption' and it really rang home with me. I really encourage you to give it a read, it's about the idea that most people buy things to make themselves feel better, but since buying is pretty superficial it can result in negative emotions. Check out Eilleen's definition of Joyful Consumption to combat it.

I used to buy a lot of junk. I'm not exaggerating by using the term junk - it really was, because it was cheap and nastily made, and I had no idea about my style so I would buy something and then um and ah over it and never wear it out because I no longer liked it. I shopped to make up for things lacking in my life. I made impulse purchases, and I had no idea what I wanted to wear, only what chain shops wanted to sell me. I didn't know about fashion blogs or Flickr for inspiration, and magazines I read all had the same trendy stuff. No wonder I was confused - nobody had told me that fashion is self-expression. To me it seemed like it was just another way you had to fit in. I learned better but it took me a while.

These days I still have the urge to buy things to feel better. Sometimes I give in, but it's generally of the second-hand variety, and I (usually) have the excuse that it's for Heidi & Seek. I barely ever buy things I haven't planned to buy from chain stores, and it makes me happy that they don't influence me as much as they used to.

I'm wary that I still look at buying things as a bandaid to my problems, even though I try to play it out by shopping ethically instead. I suppose I should congratulate myself on how far I have progressed, too. We're constantly learning better.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Upcycled clock purchase

I had to share with you something on Etsy I've been eyeing off with lust for the past few weeks. I finally bought it!

I just love it. It's an upcycled clock decorated with vintage paper - in other words, right up my alley. And I have that nice feeling because it was Clare's first sale. Here's to many more! And hopefully, many more listings, because I'm looking forward to seeing what else she comes up with (especially of the decoupage variety).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a little update in the midst of chaos

Hello ladies, sorry for the infrequent posts lately, but it's crunch time at uni! I'm stealing a procrastinatey break right now, but I have an assignment due tomorrow (it's about the Melbourne-based zine called YOU, anyone heard of it?). My computer has also been infected with a sneaky, pesky virus so I'm in the process of backing up all my stuff so I can reformat. Fun times!

Anyway, I was delighted to find my Georgia dress in an Etsy Finds article about repurposing used items into fashion goodness. You can check it out here because there are some delightful finds included. I particularly loved the Wooly Baby shop - cosy woollen slippers and shoes for little ones! They are adorable, made from preloved materials and very reasonably priced.

Purple mist baby slippers by wooly baby

Since it has been a month, here's a little hair update, following my shampoo-free post:
  • My hair still feels and looks much better than before.
  • On the second day after washing, my hair still looks clean, but gets flat after I brush it. I suppose that's a little inevitable and something that I could address with some hair product if I could be bothered, but I don't think it's worth the trouble. So I just tie it up in a ponytail, as I often do anyway, and it looks good as new.
  • On the third day after washing, my hair kind of does the sticky-together thing in the fringe, which I don't like, so I wash it. It's still not as bad as the second day after washing with shampoo.
  • It doesn't make a difference to my hair cleanliness if I use as little baking soda as possible to cover my scalp. Same with the apple cider vinegar - I just pour a little in the cup and then add water. I found that I was getting through my supplies too quickly and it was unnecessary. Less is more!
  • I am enjoying making use of my shower cap.
If you've tried it too, do let us know how it's going and leave a comment!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Shampoo: Not the best way to clean hair? How to go poo-free

"In recent years, "no poo" has become something of an underground beauty trend... that's split into two camps: beauty mavens who believe they've found hair care's dirty little secret, and environmentally minded folks who want to use fewer plastic products and products with fewer chemicals." (Source: Today)
I've recently discovered the 'no-poo' movement, in which people replace shampoo with a natural alternative like baking soda or clay or or nothing at all. It seems like a crazy idea to not use shampoo. It's something that we just accept as absolutely necessary, almost as much as toilet paper (which, by the way, I won't be giving up any time soon). But it's not necessary. I've avoided shampoo for the last week and my hair looks and feels much better than before, plus I'm no longer having product build-up problems that made me obsessive-compulsive about washing my hair every day. Thanks to Lucy and I, I found the solution.

Why go poo-free?

Your health
  • Shampoo contains chemicals that strip your hair of healthy natural oils, replacing them with artificial oils that don't absorb into the skin very well and don't allow much release of your natural oils. This makes your hair weaker and requring more frequent washes.
  • It can eliminate problems such as dandruff, itchy scalp and product build-up.
  • It makes your hair look and feel better, if not at first, then after your head has gotten over its shampoo addiction and returns to a state of balance.
  • Most shampoos contain mineral oil, which is what's left over when crude oil is turned to gasoline.
  • Other common chemicals in shampoo may have additional unhealthy effects on your body. Since chemicals are absorbed by the skin, these enter your body, too. There's a (scary) list of them here.
It's very inexpensive
  • All you need to replace shampoo and conditioner is baking soda and apple cider vinegar (more on that below). Both are very cheap compared with some shampoos and conditioners.
It's more eco-friendly
  • Cut down on frequent fancy bottle packaging and buy the things you need in bulk instead - usually with very minimal packaging.
  • Avoid supporting the production of harmful plastics and chemicals.
Avoid animal testing

I posted about animal testing in the cosmetics/personal care industry (and how unnecessary it is) last year.
  • The use of chemicals in shampoo, such as those above, mean that these products will probably have to be tested on animals.
  • Most shampoos and conditioners purchased are tested on animals. This makes it easier to avoid supporting these companies.
How to do it (my way)

You can check the below links for alternative and trouble shooting ideas if this doesn't work for you. There's no 'right' way. This is just what I like.

You need:
  • Baking soda
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Two small plastic cups. One should be shallow enough for you to easily reach your fingers into the bottom. You could cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle due for recycling. I used a cup and bottle of Ellie's that weren't being used.
  • A big everyday hairbrush that's comfortable to use
  1. Put about a heaped tablespoon of baking soda into the shallow cup.
  2. Turn the tap on as little as possible and put a tiny amount in the cup, and mix. I like using a thick paste (but it shouldn't be gritty), but some people like a more watery mixture. Include more water if you want.
  3. You can add a few drops of your essential oil to this mix, if you like.
  4. Put about a couple of table spoons of apple cider vinegar in the other cup, and fill it up with water.
  5. Head into the shower with your two cups.
  6. Spread some of the baking soda paste onto your fingers and rub into your roots. Keep going back to the cup until it's finished. I usually start with the areas around the hair line - front, sides, then back, and then do the middle by parting the hair horizontally at intervals.
  7. Leave it in for a minute and clean the rest of your fine self.
  8. To get rid of any existing product buildup (especially this first time) give your head a good massage. It also stimulates growth and natural oil production (no, this won't make your hair oily!). Use your fingertips and rub back and forth in short strokes, gently but firmly. Concentrate on the area around your parting, because that's where the roots mostly show.
  9. Rinse the mixture out of your hair.
  10. Use the other cup's contents on the lengths of your hair. (I promise the vinegar smell won't stick around forever.)
  11. Rinse it out.
  12. When your hair is dry, brush your hair. (Use a wide-toothed comb when wet if you need to). Brush it at least twice a day, regardless of when you wash it. This will distribute the natural oils along the length of your hair and make it nice and shiny.
For convenience, I usually estimate the amounts without using a measuring thing, then mix the baking soda with my fingers in the shower, and just swirl the apple cider vinegar cup.

How it's worked for me

I had given up on my hair a little, because in my teens I started getting a lot of product built up on my scalp. I didn't use much, if any, styling products, so it was the shampoo and conditioner. I stopped using conditioner. I didn't use a hairbrush because my hair didn't get knotty.
I washed my hair every day because otherwise it got greasy and awful.

The first day I tried this my hair and head felt lighter, due to the lack of chemicals and product in my hair. It felt softer, too, and very clean. When I brushed my hair it had a really nice shine that wasn't there before.

I've been doing this for two weeks so far. I've been washing my hair mostly every two days. It gets a little flatter on the second day, but not oily like before. Once I left it three days and it looked a bit greasy by the third. This might stop happening in time, when my hair is used to the new routine.

If you try this, let me know how it goes!


No poo community on LiveJournal
Skin problems TV programme on
Shampoo-free on Babyslime at Livejournal
No Shampoo Experiment
Why you should go no 'poo'
Shampoo-free: Healthy hair, naturally

Market at St Albans in Melbourne

For the Melbournians - on Monday 4th May (yes, that's this coming Monday!) I'm holding a stall at the Fair Trade Market to be held at Victoria University, St. Albans in Building 9. It's running from 11am-2pm. Click here for directions if you're free!