Friday, September 18, 2009

have you voted?

This week, the online voting lines are open for the national Australian climate change poll. I blogged about it here if you missed it. If you haven't voted yet, head over to YOUth Decide and do so! And tell your friends to vote as well. We've only got a few days left.

Aren't the flash mobs in the video cute? I'd never heard of flash mobs before this. If you haven't either, they're a form of art or activism (or both) where people in public, seemingly randomly, break into dance. This is the first one I saw and I was totally gobsmacked by it's awesomeness:

It was put on by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition a few months ago, with choreography by So You Think You Can Dance. I think it got some kind of global flash mob award? I'm really proud of Australia for getting together and putting on events like these.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

what do you like about heidi & seek?

I have been thinking more and more about concentrating on a few popular styles. I'd make them each up in different fabrics so they would still be one-of-a-kind, and I'd make sure to have at least a full size range in each style.

That way, customers wouldn't have to miss out so much on things that aren't in their size or that have sold. It would bring me more design focus and direction. I came across the concept of 'choice paralysis' today, where when we have too many choices it can lead to us avoiding making one, or any. Maybe that's partly the rut I've been feeling recently.

Anyway, I have gone back and looked at some of my favourite past styles. I'm starting with what I know best - tops.

I'd want to make this one a top rather than a jumper:

See, I have too many choices. Again. Although one design that is a must-have in my new set of styles is the Yoki tee, in one of its variations:

I was wondering, lovely reader, what your thoughts on the matter are? Is there a previous shirt design of mine that you'd like to see again?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

powering through

I am sitting here in the midst of reorganising my studio once again, to make room for the industrial overlocker I bought. My old domestic one broke. My new Bernina Activa has been having issues as well for the past month or so. I took it to the local repairs place and was told there was nothing wrong with it, but there obviously was.

So I trekked out to Nick Ciancio Sewing Machines in Footscray after a recommendation and a phone call that assured me they knew what they were doing. They fixed the Bernina on the spot - there was a piece of thread stuck around the take up lever - and I put in my overlocker for repair.

They had one old industrial overlocker for sale that they'd fixed up and I bought it, sick of dealing with domestic machine issues and feeling that I'm ready for that next step. Nick patiently showed me how to thread it, gave me a go, and explained the differencial feed to me (which I'd never really understood until then). Both Nick and his son were very helpful and competent. I also appreciate that they're a small family business and that they specialise in restoring old machines that other dealers won't touch.

It's being delivered today.

This is just one of the issues that have been stopping me from getting Heidi & Seek moving as quickly as possible. There always seems to be something cropping up and getting in the way, and instead of powering through and keeping to schedule, I get frustrated at all the things that aren't going as planned, and that makes me more distracted. I feel like I know where I need to be but it just seems so far away. I've considered quitting once or twice, but I truly don't think that would work. This is my only option because it's the only one I want.

So here I go, trying to move past the distractions and finish making my patterns so I can get moving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

woods and fields ethical fashion & link love

Melbournians, you can now find my work at Woods and Fields Ethical Fashion, a newish shop in Syndey Road, Brunswick. The owner, Elysia, is lovely. She's studying textiles because she wanted sustainable fabrics but couldn't find them - what better idea than to learn how to make them yourself.

I've had some lovely people say lovely things about my blog and label recently so I thought I'd share:

Treehugger put me at #1 for Green Fashion: 7 Australian Designers You Need to Know.

Evolved Fashion awarded me an 'Evolved Blogger' award. There's 50 quality blogs listed here with a sustainable fashion focus, so I'm going to enjoy checking out the ones I haven't heard of.

And the lovely Clare from Pretty Green gave me this blog award, thank you!

I'm among some kick-butt company at all three links so I'm really very flattered.

I need to to list ten random things about myself for Clare's award so here goes!
  1. A couple of weeks ago we bought a perfect second-hand car, a 2001 Hyundai Elantra in immaculate condition, with great service history and at a heavily reduced price. Today it got towed because Tim caused a little car accident. (No one got hurt.) We only have third party insurance.

  2. Last Sunday for Father's Day, Ellie and I made this notebook for Tim - Ellie did the sticking and drawing, and I glued and finished it. I secretly wish that I'd made it for myself. Except for the Mod Podge and masking tape, it's made from completely recycled materials.

  3. As per my budgeting plan, I've been successfully living off $50 a week for the past two weeks. That includes groceries, food and etceteras that aren't bills. It doesn't include op shop purchases or petrol though.

  4. I bought a perfect blank Collins 2009 diary from an op shop the other day, which I'm going to use for 2010 and just manually (and creatively) alter all the dates. Tim thinks I'm weird.

  5. I'm constantly late. I think I'm still stuck in babyless mode, where I could just throw a bag over my shoulder and walk out the door. Now I have to change a nappy, make sure Ellie's bag is packed, get some snacks and a drink to take, clean her hands and face, and deal with the dawdling that happens when you're 2 and no place to be is urgent.

  6. I just discovered social bookmarking. Well, I'm not as interested in the social part as I am in being able to organise my bookmarks and use nifty features like sticky notes and highlighting on the bookmarked pages. I signed up to Diigo, added the toolbar and I'm surprised how often I'm using it. You can also bookmark sites as 'unread' so you can come back to them later.

  7. I kind of envy makers who can stay up making until late in the evening. I mean, I usually stay up late, but by about 6pm I feel like I've used up all my making energy. I can work late on the computer or something, but not the sewing machine. Weird.

  8. The last movie I watched was Adventureland, which I was drawn to because it has Kristen Stewart from Twilight in it and I'm kind of attached to Twilight, despite not wanting to be and acknowledging how ridiculous it is. (I drew the line at the end of book one, but I will be watching all the movies.) By the way, Adventureland is good stuff.

  9. I've had a bias tape maker for years, but have yet to use it.

  10. Every time I go for a walk I look at each house and think about what it would be like to own it. We are renting and I have major homeowner envy. It doesn't help that many of the houses in our area are gorgeous and/or huge.
I'm passing on the award to:

Tricia from Little Eco Footprints
Adele from modernemotive
Nikki from Nikki-Shell
Gina from clutterpunk
Yana from Supayana
Sarah from forevayoung vintage
Jen from Rejenerating Fashion
Flossy from Flossy-P
Emma from Owl and the Grapes
Ali J from Aussie Patches

franny armstrong and ethical living

I've been getting more and more inspired by the maker of The Age of Stupid Franny Armstrong. Here's a quick interview with her about how making the movie increased her carbon footprint and about her fulfillment in making a difference. I also really like this quote about her, from her Wikipedia page: "When, in a few years' time, Franny Armstrong is being discussed as one of the key documentary film-makers of our generation, you can say you were in there at the start."

I want to get a hold of her previous documentary, McLibel, because I don't know much about the ethics of McDonalds, except that they're probably non-existant. I'm going to try to forego my occasional french fries purchase, but without knowing compelling evidence it's sometimes easy to ignore that nagging feeling.

That's an idea that you're probably already familiar with, but I'm going to remind you about it anyway: positive purchasing. When you are a customer of a company, you sustain them and reinforce what they're doing, whether that's ethical or not. It's our job to find out which companies are aligned with our ethics (or which is the lesser evil, in some cases) and to support them. Looked at another way, it's also moral boycotting.

And it's not just at gift-giving time that we can choose handmade. It's a way of every day living, to try to ensure we're being kind to both the environment and people. It doesn't have to be expensive, often it's cheaper. If I eat before leaving home I won't have had to spend money on drive-through fries. A second-hand piece of furniture costs less than a new piece. If I buy less processed foods, I can afford to buy organic basics. Etc.

What have you bought this week? Could you have made more ethical choices instead?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the age of stupid

Australia & New Zealand Trailer HD from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

Just found out about this movie, The Age of Stupid. It's about a man living alone in 2055, after the world has been ravaged by climate change. He looks at footage from 2008 and wonders why the hell we didn't stop it from happening.

The movie is screening all over the place except Australia, it seems. But it's launching online on 21/22 September, so I've happily signed up to the newsletter to be reminded. There's a 50 minute documentary here for the meantime though. I'm excited about it for two reasons. The first is because I'm really interested to see what it's like, and the second is that I'm hoping it will be a big step to people understanding just what is happening to our planet (and working to change it).

I was watching Grey's Anatomy the other day and there was a woman on it with four broken limbs because she'd been bulldozed down from a old growth tree she'd been living in to save it. I was a bit offended by how ridiculous they made the character sound - she'd given the tree a name and talked about it like it was a person, she ranted about greedy corporations, and she'd changed her own name to 'Willow'. I get that it might have made the situation more believable, but couldn't they have represented the level-headed side of environmental activism, rather than implying it's for crazies?