I unashamedly have been purchasing a lot of music recently, surprisingly a lot of stuff I wouldn’t normally find enjoyment in (I enjoy pop music at the gym and to clean too, but some has been creeping into my drives and relaxation time at home).
So here is a breakdown (not really an in depth review) of some recent purchases (most new releases, a few oldies that should get a mention, you can only listen to spotify for so long before you realize you should really own the album).
Foals – Holy Fire
Released earlier this year, this album has been on loop on Spotify whilst I am at uni. I was so lost in the music that my Dept Head of Department had to make a substantial amount of noise to get my attention when visiting. Hands down My Number is my fav off this album, I get a little dance on every time it plays (car, uni, cleaning…). Its just brilliance, gosh I love the Foals!
Lorde – Pure Heroine
It took me a while to warm to Lorde, too much radio overplay. Team got me tho, and I was hooked. Depth and transparency in all her lyrics (I love depth in lyrics), its just one very well thought out album and a must have for any collection, I am looking forward to see how she grows as an artist.
Kristene Mueller – Those Who Dream
I purchased this last night after a friend played me one of her songs. How do I put this… I feel God’s words speaking so directly through her lyrics, I kept getting out of bed writing down key lyrics and carried the piece of paper around with me all day to remind me. Just wow and so relaxing to listen too.
Kodaline – The High Hopes Ep and The Kodaline Ep
Kodaline, well two EP’s, All I Want is just beautiful, I actually fell in love with this song after Josh Mhire did a cover of it, tears streaming down my face (the song came at an interesting point in my life). High Hopes most people would know and just calms the soul. Two chilling EP’s.
Little Mix – Salute
Unashamedly I love Little Mix, their vocals and harmonies are killer! Salute is flippin awesome, think Destinys Child cross first album Little Mix cross Sass. I cannot stop blaring this at home when I am cleaning and needing a good pick me up, its even made it into my driving and relaxation listening. They have definitely matured as a group, in sound and musical colour. I highly recommend!
One Direction – Midnight Memories
I have had this for a mere few hours, a few songs have been trickle released, most people know I have a guilty pleasure for One Direction, don’t know how it started (maybe my boy band youth faze coming back to the surface?). As all One Direction albums there are some brilliant pop tunes and some songs I love to skip over, so far not so many skipping quality. Their sound has changed, there are some terrible retro sounding songs (like Midnight Memories) that will get a skip but from the first listen I am pleasantly surprised. It, like all One Direction albums turn into my happy pick me ups (not too bad to dance around too, gosh I love dancing), my gym music and something to clean too.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Arcade Fire are hands down one of my favourite bands, I can’t tell you why, but I get lost in their music. After their featuring in the Hunger Games soundtrack with Abraham’s Daughter (one of my favs) I had huge expectations for this album. Reflecktor was skillfully written and easily to get lost in, Here Comes the Night Time was released a week or two before the album, so it warmed on me but didn’t quite compel me as the Arcade Fire normally do. To be honest, I have only made it through disk one of the two disk LP, I guess I just haven’t been in to right mood (I hope thats why), but after reading a few reviews, the anti climatic nature that is the Arcade Fire has come true, heres hoping I find some love in these new tunes.
Gosh God is good, the past week has been one of many challenges. And even through all the emotional turmoil and confusion rattling in my mind, God has provided so much joy, so many blessings, something of encouragement every day.
I am unworthy of his love, but so blessed to have it flowing over me.
I spent the weekend up in Auckland, a trip planned over six months ago to see the musical Wicked (maybe more on that another time, if you haven’t read the books, it is a great series and I highly recommend them), it could not have been at a better time. I have amazing friends!!! The love, warmth and understanding given over these days has just been amazing.
Church on Sunday was a bit of a treat, I rarely get a chance to go to HBC when I am up, and having Craig preach, double joy.
The sermon was on Ephesians 3:14-21
At the end of the sermon we were given time to pray and listen to see what our house (the one we build, renovate, shape to our own with God) was. It was strange to ask for a picture (somthing I don’t ask for but regularly get for others), what I got was somewhat to be expected… a pretty beaten up bach surrounded by thick trees looking out to the shore line (ironically my ideal home, simple and peaceful). It was quite peaceful to see this and know this is exactly who I am at the moment yet God is with me every step I take, my invisible friend with me always.
Anything is possible through God and knowing his love but also living it is all we really need, everything else is insignificant.
One of the best worship songs from Sunday
One Thing Remains
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love…
There is no stopping time, looking at my last blog post dated in May, I can think of so many changes, indefinite experiences, time never stops, life never stops…
So where to go from here? Today is now and as such I am going to write for the now.
I am currently in Auckland “on loan” to my old company to complete a project I started many moons ago. It has been very serieal being back in a familiar place, a familiar life yet it is so different, I am different. Seeing colleagues, sharing in their lives, I have felt so removed yet for some reason this doesn’t seem to bother me, as some would put it “I have a new life” (or at least in my eyes a new chapter).
It has been great sharing time with my dad, having the opportunity to include him in my life. We visited mum’s grave on Tuesday, something very personal for me, something I do alone, but knowing he would not go out of his way to visit her without a reason, it was challenging but peaceful to include him.
I have been resistant to this visit, not seeing the point in coming up to effectively edit for a week. But as God does, he has shown me so much, so much grace, my potential and the drive behind my move to Christchurch (to follow his call) and also reexperiencing my passions and desires for the future.
So here I am sitting, waiting for my ride to the airport to catch my flight back to home, a new chapter I am discovering (and at times struggling with as it is nothing like I expected). I am excited for the coming weeks, months… becoming a part of my research, to let my home be my home and settle in, to sew, oh my glorious sewing machine, I have missed you, I have missed my me time, the time I can create and mull. I am looking forward to seeing my family, my friends down south who have become my home.
Time is never ending, never changing, just moving forward, all we can do is embrace it and let be what is to be.
So this month has flown by…
So many things have happened
I turned 26 (gez I know adding on the years)
Completed multiple trips up to Auckland
Packed up my childhood room for my last few nights in the house that has been filled with so much joy, laughter, sadness and growth (probably one of the hardest things is saying goodbye to the place in which I grew up, the place my mother passed away in, the place I felt safe)
Dropped 4 points on my skinfolds (hey this is a huge achievement, I’m getting toned baby)
Started winter rowing training… um er yes there have been some tears and near vomiting moments on the erg
Undertook the fun challenge of making my friends wedding dress (sleepless nights, there have been a few)
Went to an awesome Christchurch craft fair… and about to go to a “British” themed one this weekend
Become a coffee addict
Lived through my first Christchurch snow (there was a lot of joy, jumping up and down and comments such as”I am cold, but this is soooooooo coooooooool”)
Oh and bought a house, yes you read right, with a little help from my dad, as of 6:20pm last night I am a home owner baby (provided the builders report comes up good, contributing to the MIA blogging)
So as I run around like a crazy woman trying to sew a wedding dress, organise transporting my belongings from one end of the country to the other (between two islands hmm fun fun) and organising all the legal fun stuff that comes with buying a house, I thought it was time I posted a wee hi, I am looking forward to June and the preparation for the big move (and out of the dysfunctional flat)
This year I have fallen ill with tonsillitis twice, the second time I took some time off to rest and relax, working from home and sleeping a lot. My mind could only handle so much structural engineering jargon, so I decided to make a dress, a dress to wear to a wedding at the end of the week, I don’t tend to do things in halves.
So generally when I make a garment the process is
– Purchase fabric (and pre wash), pattern and notions
– Trace the pattern
– Make a muslin (this can be a calico bodice plus a wearable muslin for dresses)
– Take time and care and sew garment making any required adjustments
Well, the pattern was sitting in the “find amazing fabric to go with me pile”.
Side note – the pattern is the Elisalex Dress by By Hand London, and is a very simple pattern to whip up in an afternoon, I am very much looking forward to making a short sleeved version with a heavier fabric and maybe some embroidery on the skirt. I am very excited to see what else these girls come up with, their patterns a super easy to understand and are extremely fashionable and versatile (the best kind of pattern).
The fabric (a soft cotton) was purchased at the last Global Fabrics VIP sale, on the recommendation by a dear friend and fellow sewer (it was out of my comfort zone, but that is the beauty of making your own clothes, and a challenge I am taking up more often).
I however forgot to purchase the notions and jumped straight tracing the pattern. My large roll of paper is sitting up in Auckland, so I used the next best thing I could find in my room, baking paper – not my wisest choice, but I made it work, then went into making a calico muslin for the bodice, and the size 2 fitted like a glove.
Due to time I didn’t embark on a wearable muslin (it did cross my mind substantially throughout the sewing process).
So I began to sew the dress, and then realised I needed lining, due to my lack of knowledge of good fabric stores in Christchurch, other than quilting, I resorted to popping down the road to lincraft and brought some pretty cheap fabric (big mistake) and didn’t like the right side, so actually used the wrong side for the lining.
After putting the dress together I realised it needed a zip – a very large one – back to lincraft, and ended up being cornered into buying a chunky black zip due to the lack of range for the required length (this actually wasn’t a bad thing, and really has made the dress, shock horror).
Zip in, time to hem – ahem, it needed quite a bit taken off, being a curved hem, ironing it up didn’t work (yeh I know I tried it, it was really late at night and I did have a fever), out came the overlocker, what a beaut.
– this was totally by accident but actually worked out wonderfully, I took and extra 0.5mm off the armholes.
So the downsides to making a dress while sick
– it really needed a lining on the skirt portion (didn’t notice till a wee bit too late), its a tad see through and I resorted to wearing a pedicoat underneath to the wedding.
– it is still a tad long, I would like to take it up a few inches to finish at the bottom of the zip.
– the whole back is a zip, it looks awesome as (girls love it, boys ask me why the heck it’s like that), but I did wear a thin black belt just in case someone got an idea to pull it down (this broke up the pattern on the fabric nicely).
– I didn’t conceal the zip in the lining and also didn’t fold the top portion over at the top of the dress, so there is an inch gap at the top of the dress (and a eye and hook would have just looked weird).
– AND….. to top it off the lining split during the night!
– BUT….. I got a ton of compliments on the night, so it mustn’t have looked that bad.
So the plan… to unpick the dress, yep all of it (well at least remove the zip, skirt – bodice and lining), re-line the dress, bodice and skirt and by doing so fully enclose the zip in the lining and tidy up the zip placement on the back and finally hem it a little shorter.
This will have to wait a while as I am in the process of making a friends wedding dress (and yes I will take more care with that) and also a dress for a friends birthday present, not to mention some more practical winter clothing.
Ok so the whole blog thing these past few weeks has been a bit neglected (rowing and all taking over my life), what can you do, its life, and it keeps chugging along quite nicely.
So it’s Made by Me May time!!
Last year I watched the sewing blogging world embark on a magical endeavour called Made By Me May, and now that I have a blog, and a growing wardrobe full of hand sewn garments, what the hell, I am going to take part. Now the only hurdle is its getting into winter, and my very summer hand made wardrobe or “Auckland winter” wardrobe is not so suited to Canterbury weather, so I am going to use this month as a little challenge to start sewing those damn clothes I have had planned for many many moons (some since mid last year), and also learn to adapt my current wardrobe to winter weather (apologies for my flippent language in this past paragraph, some times it is just called for).
‘I, Audsley, of plumpudding sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear me-made clothing twice a week for the duration of the month of May’
Why twice a week, well as much as I would love to wear home made clothing all week, its just not practical in my current situation, next year is another story tho.
We are nearly a week into May, and yes I have already rocked some home made this week, photos hopefully will come over the month.
Also a little update on that dress I made when I had tonsillitis, well it turned out not too bad (not quite up to my perfectionist nature), however the lining managed to split when I wore it to a dear friends wedding, so I have been humming and harring about sharing it with you… next post I will have some photos of it (in its current state) and also the plans for this very green and out of my comfort zone dress (yes it is going to get a bit of a make over, with a lot of unpicking ahead I fear).
Who would of guessed it, I got tonsillitis AGAIN! Seriously, one big damper on life. Thankfully it didn’t go bacterial like in January and now that I know the symptoms I did something very unlike my character, I rested, yip little old Audsley rested, to be more precise played a few games of hockey then slept for the following three days. Me + being sick = unproductive blog, but it also = productive Audsley (well sewing wise). I couldn’t do too much of my PhD without my head spinning, but somehow managed to make a dress to wear for a wedding back home last weekend. Admittedly the sewing is not up to my personal perfectionist nature but the amount of compliments changed my insecure view of this dress, details about the dress you ask, well you will have to wait a few days (here is a sneak peak).
So I must admit being sick for a week, then having to fly home (is Auckland home?) for a wedding, knowing full well all my “spare” time would be spent juggling in friends too see was a bit chaotic. I left one window open to visit my favourite material store, sadly this was foregone for a much needed catch up with a friend, however with a trip back up north for uni games next weekend, and my schedule wide open, hopefully I will be able to bring back some fabric with me (one can only hope).
So much happened on that lovely visit to Auckland, I feel like it needs a post all on its own. I was blessed to watch the union of two very dear people in my life, spend quality time with a number of friends and probably the most unexpected but fulfilling part of the trip was the ability to take a single scull out every morning (6am yeh boi!) for a row, watching dawn and just having some chill time on the water is an incredible start to the day, let alone be back at a place I call home (yip I call somewhere home, and West End is it). I was lucky enough to rearrange my flights back to Christchurch a day later so I could attend the presidents closing day (the official closing of the club for the winter season), with rowing in the morning in the single, then helping some novice girls out by filling a seat in their boat, let alone the late night before hand, competing in the presidents eights races was a bit of a task, our eight came second (sigh). A big shock came at the end of the morning, I won a row with Mahé Drysdale, you know the one who won gold for New Zealand in the mens single scull at the London olympics, yeh him, it was pretty cool.
Here are my three favourite photos of the day so far (I think I have come a long way since sitting in a boat for the first time in August 2012)… enjoy
So my DIY post is a little behind this week (yet to take the photos), so I thought I would post another little DIY project I am working on, it’s an ongoing one.
It is very easy to get caught up in the little things in life and forget to stop and look at all the blessings, lessons learned, challenges etc.
So, as a challenge to myself I decided to spend the last few minutes of my waking hours reflecting on the day passed, wither it was something I felt, even a prayer (yip there are a few of them) or a dream. I have this giant pin board across the main wall of my room (not my choice) and have been struggling to fill it. This combined with my handy kikki k desk calender (best $6 I have ever spent) provided a unique opportunity…
So each night before bed, I tear off today’s calender page and write a little something (there is a cute note section at the bottom which also tears off, two opportunities for reflection whoop) and then pin it up. I have found I leave the day feeling really good and thankful for the little things that have had an impact.
The hope is to put some nice paper up behind the reflections and switch to blue tack over pins (as my pin stock is depleting at a rapid rate), but here is a snap shot of the progress (and yes I did the painting, and yes this photo was taken at the wee hours of the morning so apologies for the lack of natural lighting and clarity)
What a stunner of a weekend this Easter is turning out to be, I have been very blessed with warm, sunny skies in Christchurch (the last week I have spent my days in a puffa jacket and jeans, wearing jandals and a dress is a nice change).
So whats been happening on the cutting floor? well a few projects are well underway and I thought a few snaps might be in order…
I am also very excited to share that when I moved from Auckland I had to leave my baking tins/supplies behind (dad is keeping them for me for when I can retrieve them), but with the need to bake a birthday cake this week, I decided to splurge a little and buy some new tins, a really cute mixing bowl and measuring jug, I know, it’s the little things in life that really put a smile on my face, I am just praying the oven behaves. So if you find yourself wandering around Christchurch desiring a little home baking, give me a buzz.
So it is Easter Sunday, a day of significance in my life, and I am sure many who follow this blog. Melissa did this beautiful calligraphy printable that I had to share. She is brillant and I fully encourage you to grab a nice large cup of tea and spend some time browsing her blog and shop.