the versatile blogger award

The text "Versatile Blogger Award" in sky blue on a pink background with cream polka dots.

Hello all! I’ve been a virtual shut-in for the last couple of weeks finishing off my Masters application (wish me luck!) so this post is long, long, overdue…

I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, hooray! Thank you to pretty nice  for the nomination, I’m so chuffed about it despite my taking so long to say so. Please check out her blog  – it’s a pic ‘n mix of handmades, design and food – three of my favourite things – and more besides.

For those who don’t know, the Versatile Blogger Award, much like the Liebster Award, is a way for bloggers to get to know one another and to share their favourite recently-discovered blogs. If you choose to accept your nomination there are a few rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and create a link back to their blog
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 other versatile bloggers
  4. Tell the bloggers that you nominated them

So here are seven things about me:

1. My mum – master sewist, champion knitter, and mega baker – taught me how to sew when I was a kid. But I only recently started focussing on better dressmaking technique, so this blog will be a bit of a learning curve.

2. I have a long, long, list of phobias, which includes insects and balloons.

3. A few years ago I found out I was lactose intolerant. Boo. However, I still love to bake. Yay! Thankfully, there’s a way to make almost everything taste good without dairy – even cheesecake (a recent discovery!).

4. I love piercings but am afraid of getting one I’ll regret, so I have them all over my ears and nowhere else.

5. At five feet (154cm) tall, I’m a pretty little guy.

6. I enjoy skateboarding. I don’t enjoy falling down.

7. I love clothes but have weird taste so can scarcely find exactly what I’m looking for. Thinking about it, this is probably why I like to make my own.

And the nominees (a mix of sewing, knitting, DIY, food, and photography):

tifftoffee’s happydashery – sewing, art, fashion

fliegfederfrei – sewing and lovely photography

allisnotwhatitseams – sewing blog run by three sisters who all post their own handmades

Red Knits – sewing and knitting

SabineSibilleSews – sewing and knitting (often in German so I can’t read it all, but I like to look at what she makes)

Jam A History – sewing, knitting and baking

Stuff I have made – sewing and some crochet

temporal joys – sewing and handmades

navybluethreads – sewing (loads of lovely dresses)

this is moonlight – sewing in bold colours and patterns

Made in my living room – knitting, sewing and running

Lulu Graubart – food photography and recipes

Tre Piccioni – food, photography and lifestyle

The Wren’s Nest – food, yoga and gardening (amongst other things)

Comfort / Food – food, food photography and other photography

pop print pencil roll

Here’s a quick peek at the pencil roll I made to carry my favourite pens.

A pencil roll in a red, yellow, and blue repeat print. It is half unrolled, exposing some pens, a mechanical pencil and a ruler.

At six hours from design to final product this was a super fast project, but it’s actually become one of my favourites. It comes with me pretty much everywhere!

Pencil roll in yellow, red, blue repeat print, half rolled up and photographed from above on a wooden background. About ten pens are exposed.

It’s made from heavy cotton in an eye-popping primary colour print. Unfortunately I have no way to find this fabric again as it was in my flat when I moved in with my boyfriend (and was probably purchased by his ex) but I’m glad it went to good use!

A yellow, red and blue repeat print pencil roll, fully unrolled and photographed from above on a wooden background. There are several pens, a metal rule and a mechanical pencil inside.

In its unrolled state, there’s space for 15 (long) pens and the big pocket on the side is good for smaller items like erasers, spares, etc…

Pencil roll in yellow, red and blue repeat print, rolled up tightly and tied around its middle.

…but rolled up, it’s super compact. The tie wraps around the pens, holding everything securely with no need for buttons or zips. Pretty neat!

 

how to maintain a balanced schedule

This last fortnight has been a little bit of a downer – after realising I needed to focus more on a couple of large projects, I had to make the difficult decision to stop working on something I was really excited about. It was tough and I feel pretty bummed out about it, but I know I made the right choice.

Now this isn’t the first time this has happened. And I think this is a problem a lot of creative people have. We get excited about all our different ideas, overestimate how much we can take on, then try to tackle them all at once. It’s not always a bad thing – it’s great being busy! – but it can take its toll on the quality of work we produce and, more importantly, our wellbeing.

So, if you also find yourselves feeling snowed under from time to time, here are my tips for maintaining balance in your busy schedule and avoiding stress as much as possible:

1. Make a to-do list

Lists might not be your thing, but visualising your workload is a powerful first step towards streamlining it. Write down all the projects you’re currently working on – even the small ones – in whatever format works for you.

2. Prioritise your most pressing work

If any of your projects have a deadline, bump ’em to the top of your list. Don’t be afraid to stick anything else on the backburner in the meantime. Not only is it easier to focus on a smaller number of tasks, but by devoting more of your time and attention to fewer projects you’ll see more progress, which, in turn, helps you to stay motivated.

3. Give yourself time to switch from one project to another

Ever want to get cracking on that novel/craft project/painting… but then you can’t quite get into the flow of things? If you’ve been hard at work on something else, it can take time to settle into a different activity, so be honest with yourself and factor this changeover time into your schedule.

4. Don’t forget “downtime”

Just be nice to yourself! Don’t work all the way up to bedtime, and take a day off whenever you begin to feel frazzled. Getting burned out just diverts even more time away from your work, which is the opposite of what you want!

 

I hope this helps guys. I’m still learning to take some of this stuff on board, but I’m doing better at staying on the right side of  busy!

Stay healthy pals,

Moitt

making a pencil case

Like a lot of crafters/artists/designers, I’m an absolute sucker for art supplies. The Artstore in Glasgow is one of my favourite places to spend an hour, with the sliding shelves, the jars, bottles and rolls stacked to the ceiling, and the friendly staff who are all (I’m pretty sure) artists themselves. I pop in often to browse the products and see what catches my eye. Sometimes I contemplate splashing out on another heavy glass jar of Indian ink – which I rarely use but like a lot – but I usually settle on getting something small like a little tube of candy-coloured refills for my mechanical pencils or yet another fancy imported pen.

Unsurprisingly, this has left me snowed under with pens and pencils. The ones I use most are kept in a battered pink bathroom bag that I’ve had for about five years. It’s stained blue-black in one corner and its two inner compartments are falling to bits – well past due for a replacement!

This week I started prototyping my simplest pattern, a 20cm long case that’s just long enough to fit my double-ended pens inside.

handmade pencil case containing brushtip pensThis was made using a heavy navy cotton with a lovely ribbed texture. I used a brassy metal zip and added a single hanging loop on one side as the only detail.

handmade pencil case containing brushtip pensI’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. The colour of the zip and the fabric contrast nicely and it’s surprisingly roomy inside – I can fit in a good handful of pencils. I’m excited to play about with this pattern as its so easily customised – there’s plenty of potential for colour, pattern and texture on such a minimal form.

handmade pencil case containing brushtip pensHere’s a closer look at the hanging loop – I rarely use these to hang pencil cases but I think they look cute.

handmade pencil case So what do you think? If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you all.

Moitt

let’s go (again)!

After devouring The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin on the way to Edinburgh yesterday, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog and start sharing the things I design and make again. I’m so excited!

The Handmade Marketplace - Kari Chapin

This time around, however, I’m doing things a little differently: I’d like to connect more with more bloggers, share more about my process, and talk more to whoever’s reading.

So mission one is to re-discover all of the blogs I used to follow and new ones besides. What are your recommendations? Please stick any suggestions in the comments and I’ll check them out.

Moitt

in the navy

Look at this beautiful weather! A great day to take snaps of my first dress completely from scratch. By which I mean without using a pattern; I drew the pieces to fit my torso, and I think it turned out ok – a couple of tweaks could be made. I had to lengthen it because the skirt felt too short (and I love short usually – it must have been a total slut-fest to actually incite change), but I don’t want to keep chewing on it, so I’m leaving it at that I think.

It’s super nautical with a skinny peter pan collar and little round buttons, hence the name. (Also, it is navy blue. Too obvious?) I got the linen for 25% off at Fenwicks, along with a pile of cottons that I am SO excited to play with. No prints yet, I’m stuck on block colours still. I can feel myself edging into zebra and raccoon prints though…

Cut out detail on the back is inspired by Chi’s beautiful and plentiful open-back dresses at Vivat Veritas (is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love these? SO gorgeous!). Because I’m posing you can’t tell, but the hole is kinda egg-shaped – I thought it was quite flattering.

These adorable kitten buttons were given to me by my wonderful friend Emma. (Thank you so much!) I’m annoyed that I didn’t get them all the right way up – so much so that I’ll probably re-sew them another time when I’m not supposed to be moving house. Until then, this is the finished article!