Wednesday 1 May 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls: #119 + #120

Hello lovely readers! Happy Wednesday to you all!

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:1. Nail date with my mum 2. I love my 1940s jacket 3. Scones!
4. Pretty hair :) 5. Oh hello new-to-me dressing table! 6. Knitting is so rock and roll
7. Yummy 8. Freshly cut hair 9. Breakfast of champions

Over the past two weeks I have been...

Hannibal, and loving every episode! Seriously, this is one clever programme. Hannibal is everything that I hoped Bates' Motel would be. If you are a fan of the Silence of the Lambs and Dexter then you can't go wrong with this show!

Brighton with my Sweetheart. This week we celebrated our three and a half year anniversary with a trip to one of our favourite cities and we had a wonderful time. We ate too much, did some vintage shopping and trotted about the town all day enjoying the sunshine and the company. It was just what we both needed and was the perfect way to celebrate our relationship. I;m so lucky to have found such a special guy :)

Tattoo Darling by Angelique Houtkamp, are you familiar with her work? She is definitely one of my favourite tattoo artists, I love how feminine and striking her work is. 

the sunshine! It seems that the warm weather is finally making it's way to the UK, even though it's not quite summer yet. It really makes a difference to how you feel when you get up in the morning if the the sun is shining, I'm always more productive on a beautiful day than a grey day :)

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Milkshake time! 2. Brighton pavilion 3. My boy
4. Pretty tattoos from my book 5. Uber close up on the milkshake of dreams 6. Fabulous book
7. Choccywoccy Doo Dah! 8. I love my new jacket!! Eeeee!! 9. The sun is shining it's a lovely day!

pieces of old furniture! This week I bought a beautiful but rather worn 1940s dressing table from a friend, and I cannot wait to start restoring it! I've been researching what the best methods would be all week, do any of you have experience in anything similar? I'd love to know your thoughts if you have! I'm a complete novice so any advice would be really welcome :)

my new jacket, an anniversary gift from my Sweetheart (pictured above). It's so cute and it fits me so well, it's really the perfect Spring/Summer jacket. Plus it has the name of a gymnastics team on the back, complete with a picture of lady doing the splits! What's not to love?!

Have a wonderful week everyone, I've got a feeling it's going to be a good one!

Katie xxx

Thursday 25 April 2013

The Tattooed Lady

I have received a lot of comments regarding my recent tattoo and my choice to finally go under the needle, so I thought I'd try express my thoughts on the matter! I warn you in advance that this is quite a wordy post, so be prepared! But if you do stick it out to the end I hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading :)

Kaylah from The Dainty Squid

I was never into tattoos as a child. I had what many people would consider to be a quite sheltered childhood, most of which was spent at a Catholic girls' school where it was considered racy to dye your hair let alone have anything pierced or tattooed, so the culture was never on my radar. Honestly, if I ever did encounter anything to do with tattoos I was rather intimidated or even afraid, as if this was something much to cool and edgy and grown up to ever have anything to do with me. Tattoos seemed to go with a entirely different walk of life to my own, so I kept well clear of them for the whole of my childhood and teenage years, but when I started college at 18 things started to change.

When I was studying for my degree I started to experiment more with knitting and sewing and generally reawakening my creative passions that I had been ignoring for a while, and with this rediscovery of myself came my first experiences of the online sewing community and all the wonderful sewing blogs out there. This was back before I had even dreamt of writing a blog of my own, I had been an avid blog reader for quite some time before the Little Red Squirrel came into being! And the biggest influence to me in those early days was a blogger who back then was fairly unknown but was clearly destined for big things: Gertie.

Gertie from Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing

I couldn't get over the fact that the beautiful Gertie sewed all her own clothes, had an incredibly bold and yet feminine sense of style and this was also paired with being heavily and visibly tattooed. Reading Gertie's blog was my first experience, in my naivety, of someone whose tattoos didn't define or restrict who they were, they simply added another facet onto an already fascinating individual. Here was a woman, confident in herself and her abilities, unafraid to be bold and unafraid to be different, clearly just living her life in a way that made her happy. Well, I don't think that at that time I could ever imagine being so brave and confident! I was finally beginning to understand that there was much more to tattooing and tattoos than burly rockers with LOVE HATE inked across their knuckles; it's an artform. After all, what bigger acculade could an artist receive than knowing that a person will be carrying their artwork on their body for the rest of their lives? The whole world of tattoos started to open up to me and I saw it in a very different light.

Over the years I started to find my own style more, I started this blog, I gave up buying and wearing new clothes and I started dressing in an alternative fashion every day. Although I come from a more conventional group of friends and family I became more and more confident about who I am and expressing it physically through my clothes. I pretty much did what most kids do in their teens in my twenties, just call me a late developer! And all the time I drew inspiration from the fabulous women whose blogs I read, and more and more of the ladies I admired were sporting tattoos, beautiful, feminine pretty tattoos like nothing I've ever seen before! I think that you can safely say that it was somewhere around this time that my imagination started to spark about getting a tattoo of my own someday.

Tasha from By Gum By Golly

I never thought that I would get a tattoo for one simple reason: I am an actor. I was told throughout my training by various people, both tutors and performers, that any kind of body modification - tattoos, piercings, even extreme haircuts - was considered a bad idea in the performance world. And it makes sense, after all it's difficult enough to work in the acting industry without narrowing your horizons even further by presenting yourself in a possibly alienating fashion. When you audition for jobs you are judged the moment you walk through the door, just wearing lipstick could be the difference between a casting director perceiving you in a positive or negative way, let alone you sporting a visible tattoo! So for years I would only allow myself to toy with the idea of getting tattooed, talking about it like it was a clear point in the future, but one that was definitely far off. In my mind I thought I'd probably get a tattoo at about 30 or 35, which is the age I always imagined myself moving away from performance, or at the least the kind of chorus girl roles that require you to show more flesh. Tattoos would be a part of the next section of my life, when I was older and (hopefully!) more secure in the knowledge of what I wanted out of life. Because that was the problem really, I didn't know what I wanted any more. 

Emma from A Beautiful Mess

I worked very hard for a long time to start a career in theatre, for as long as I can remember it's been all that I wanted and has filled my every waking hour, but over the past few years of working in the industry I had began to question exactly what it was that  was doing. Don't get me wrong, I've been incredibly lucky, I worked on some amazing projects in some fabulous places with some wonderful people, but deep down I was beginning to understand that success in my career alone wasn't enough to make me truly happy. I was away from my family, my friends, my Sweetheart, living out a suitcase and working incredibly antisocial hours, and after four years all that starts to take it toll. Now I realise I have started to wander off topic slightly and you're probably wondering what on earth has all that got to do with tattoos? Well let me tell you!

When I returned from my most recent job I realised that something needed to change in my life for me to regain a bit more of a grip on my sanity, and my tattoo was a huge part of that. For years I had been putting off doing something because of my worries about how other people would perceive me and how such a permanent action could restrict me. Long story short, I was stopping myself from doing something that I knew would make me happy in order to make other people feel more comfortable, and I realised that I had had enough of that. Without getting in too deep, my decision to finally get tattooed is the first in what I hope to be many permanent actions to help me create a life for myself the really makes me happy. I'm not really sure what this will entail as yet, and I'm by no means saying that my acting career is over (I've actually met many tattooed actors over the years so I don't think mine will effect my casting in the slightest!) but big changes may be afoot, and I couldn't be more excited about them!

Ulrika from The Freelancer's Fashion Blog

As to whether or not I will ever get another tattoo, the answer is I really don't know. The design that I chose in the end meant a lot to me and was a good year and a half in the making, so I can't really imagine ever just making a snap decision over a tattoo, so far that reason if I do ever get another it would probably be in a while! I can totally tell why some people find it addictive, my tattooing experience was very exhilarating, and when you're sitting in the chair you definitely start to dream up other ideas, so who knows! Maybe I will, maybe I won't. For now I'm completely in love with my new tattoo and that's good enough for the time being :)

Without the wonderful world of the online blogging community I would have never discovered so much about myself and would never have been inspired to change for the better, so I thank each and every one of you beautiful tattooed ladies out there for showing me beauty without conventions. 

Each one of the lovely ladies I have featured on this post is a fantastic blogger so do check out their blogs if you haven't already!

Thursday 18 April 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls: #117 + #118

Hello there my lovely readers! Welcome to another (day late - oops!) addition of Wednesday Wonderfuls!

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Getting tattooed! Eeee! 2. Pretty berry nails 3. My gorgeous robin :)
4. Fancy easter egg 5. My hair looks funny just out of rollers! 6. Best drink ever
7. Homemade broccoli fritters 8. My beautiful boy 9. Package of joy!
Over the past two weeks I have been:

Tattooed! Yes I finally took the plunge and got my first tattoo, a little Robin on the top of my left thigh, done by the wonderful Amy Savage at Jayne Doe Tattoo in Hornchurch. It was terrifyingly amazing, and definitely one of the best things that I've ever done. I will be writing more about the whole tattoo experience over the next couple of days, but for now let me just say that yes it hurt but nothing that I couldn't handle, and I actually think that the healing process is the hardest part! I can't wait for it to be completely healed and I can just enjoy it :)

over absolutely everything at What Katie Did. Seriously, I cannot get enough of their underwear! I have decided that from now onwards I will stick to just their shop when it comes to buying lingerie, the fit is just so good and everything is so comfy! I'm hoping for What Katie Did vouchers for every Birthday from now on! I also tried on a corset on my last visit, so maybe they'll be some corset training in my future...

in our flat. Although we've been living in the flat for 6 months now, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to really make it ours. There's only so much we can do with a furnished rented property, but I'm trying my best! Hanging things on the walls and trying to find clever ways of organising storage goes a long way :)

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. New to me mirrors 2. Rolls in my hair :) 3. Pandas on my dressing gown!
4. Xena is awesome 5. My hair always looks best just before I go to sleep - annoyingly! 6. Pretty sparkles :)
7. Brogues and fruity socks, that's how I roll 8. I love my new 1940s coat 9. Homemade paprika chicken

or rather re-watching Xena Warrior Princess! We are giving Netflix a try and are loving the fact that we can indulge in some old favourites (Xena for me and Deep Space Nine for him!). I do love a woman who can rock a leather outfit, swing a sword and always have perfect hair :)

Looking forward to...
warmer weather! The sun has finally started to make an appearance over the past couple of days and I can't tell you how happy it has made me! I just want to start on some spring/summer sewing projects and dust off all my vintage summer frocks, we deserve a bit of sunshine after all this snow and rain!

Longing for...
a trip away. Both my Sweetheart and I have started new jobs recently and the change of routine is starting to take it's toll! We have very little time together to relax and just enjoy each other's company, so I find myself dreaming about getting away, even just for a long weekend, and spending some quality time. Who knows if or when it will happen, but it would make me awfully happy if it did! Maybe somewhere hot where I could show off my new tattoo on the beach... :)

And now let me show you what else has been catching my eye on the blogosphere over the past two weeks:

Have a wonderful week my lovely readers!

Katie xxx

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #115 +#116

Hello there my lovely readers! Happy Wednesday to you all!

Images, Clockwise from Top Left:
1. Basting in tailoring. 2. My hair keeps rollin' rollin' rollin' 3. Homemade shepherds pie
4. Lining is in! 5. The dinner of kings 6. Homemade low fat chicken pie

Over the past two weeks I have been...

so much good stuff! It feels like there's been so much to watch on TV recently: the Walking Dead finale, the new series of Game of Thrones and Doctor Who, the BBC zombie drama In The Flesh, and I've been catching up with Bomb Girls which I absolutely adore. And of course the Great British Sewing Bee has started and I'm cheering for team Tilly! It's really quite stressful to watch, I feel the pressure for every contestant, I really do, but I loved the first episode. Looking forward to what they sew up next week :) Oh and Mad Men is coming back soon too! Very exciting!

Meeting up...
with lots of beautiful friends that I haven't seen in what feels like an age. The kind of friends that when you see them you feel as though you've never been apart. It's so exciting to see how the people you love travel down their own paths and grow and change and yet stay the same as the person you've always known. Special friends indeed.

Images, Clockwise from Top Left:
1. The trim is on! 2. Cold times call for big blankets 3. Cocktails are gooood
4. Finished! 5. Treats from my Sweetheart 6. More treats from my Sweetheart :)

my sewing mojo back! My newly completed suit has just got me more and more exciting about all the projects I have yet to finish, I can see quite a bit more sewing in my near future and I can't wait!

my wonderful Sweetheart and the life we are starting to build together. I am very lucky to have found someone who loves me for every part of who I am, including the not so nice bits, and who makes me feel special every day. He's definitely a keeper and I'm pretty lost without him.

And let's see what else has been happening in the blogosphere this past fortnight...

That's it for this lots of Wonderfuls, bye for now!

Katie xxx

A closer look at my Sew For Victory suit...

Hello there my lovely readers! Let me start by saying thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my suit for Sew For Victory, I'm so glad you all like it! When you've spent such a long time on a project it's really nice to see it being appreciated, especially seeing as it's still a bit too cold in the UK for me to wear it out!

Anyways, my post today is for all you tailoring buffs who want a bit of a closer look at my creation. Now this jacket fairly simple by tailoring standards as it doesn't have a collar - so no roll lines or pad stitching to think about - or any pockets, so it definitely didn't feel as involved as my cape, but it has some extra little twists that I added to challenge myself. Take a closer look...

What you can sort or see sandwiched in the top of my sleeve there is one of my very own homemade shoulder pads! These were a really cute touch and I love that they're in the same fabric as the jacket (even though you can't see them now the jacket is finished!). The instructions for these shoulder pads were included as a part of the pattern, and they basically involve making a sort of fabric taco and filling it with stuffing - simple! When tacked into the sleeve it gives just as much support as a shop-bought shoulder pad, only I got to control the size and shape of my shoulder pads exactly. It was a nice touch and I love how they make my jacket feel more authentic, even though I'm the only one who will know that they're there!

Yes I really am that much of a glutton for punishment that I made all the bias binding for the jacket myself in the same fabric as the skirt, and I also stitched it on entirely by hand. Clearly I need my head examining because it took a LONG time! I just wanted to make sure it was perfect positioned along the edge of the jacket and didn't become too bulky - sewing a wool bias binding to a wool jacket creates a lot of extra bulk I can tell you! - so the precision of hand sewing seemed like the best option. 

If you read my blog regularly you've probably noticed that I have an obsession with perfectly matched plaid, and this jacket was no exception! Every single piece of fabric was pinned (using this method) before cutting and I basted every seam before sewing just to check that the alignment was perfect. This did mean that some seams were re-sewn quite a few times, but the finished look is worth it I think. There's nothing that bugs me more than a spot of non-matching plaid in an otherwise perfect project! I really think I need to take a break from plaid for a while...

Speaking of hand stitching, I also inserted the lining entirely by hand, something that I've never tried before, and I really like the finished look! I think that sometimes hand stitching can give a much more delicate couture look to sewing and I love that. Plus I find hand work incredibly relaxing :)

 And I just had to share my sleeve insertion with you. I cannot tell you how proud I am of these sleeves, not a pleat or a pucker in sight! I usually use gathered stitches to ease in a sleeve, but this time I used this method of Gertie's involving strips of bias but fabric and it worked like a dream. It was the easiest and most stress free setting in of a sleeve ever, I throughly recommend this technique to anyone who struggles with sleeves. Plus the bias strip gives extra support to the sleeve so there's no need to add an extra sleeve head either. Bonus!

And that's about it for the closer look at my jacket, other than that it's all pretty basic, so I won't bore you. But for one last bit of fun here's the fancy finish to the hem of the skirt. It just makes my think of the uniform I wore to Brownies as a child!

Bye for now!

Katie xxx

Monday 1 April 2013

Sew For Victory: My Completed Suit!

Hello there my lovely readers! My goodness it feels like an age since I've posted an completed projects here, clearly I need to dedicate more time to my sewing/knitting! But to make it up to you I have a very exciting project to share with you today: I've finished my 1940s suit for Sew For Victory! And just in the nick of time too, the deadline is today! 

Here it is in all it's glory, and it's pretty safe to say that I'm in love :)

Isn't it fun? I'm genuinely thrilled at well the suit has turned out because I've really been against it with the time! I love how well the skirt and jacket look together - with the matching trim, swoon! - but they would also be great as separates, so they've got options too!

The jacket is definitely my favourite part of the suit, it was a real labour of love, what with having to match all the plaid, all the hand tailoring I did on it (including handmade shoulder pads, 1940s style!) and making and stitching on the bias binding by hand, but the end result is definitely worth it :) The pattern originally asks for two button holes which close the jacket with a clasp, but I love how it looks with the brooch holding it shut. And I have lots of different brooches that would look so cute with this jacket...!

I had some issues with the skirt as I had to resize it a bit (surprisingly I didn't have to resize the jacket) and the wool I chose was a bit of a bugger for showing up marks even when I used a press cloth *ahem* check out that hem *ahem* but I don't really mind too much. It's turned out to be a lovely fitting skirt in a nice staple colour so I can see myself wearing it a lot in the future.

Here's close up shot of the jacket, front and back. My goodness I'm proud of it!

Sew For Victory has been so much fun, I've loved seeing everybody's projects and have throughly enjoyed making mine, hurrah for 1940s sewing! I can definitely see more 1940s patterns in my future :) Tomorrow I will be giving you a more detailed look at the inner workings of my suit, for those of you who like that kind of thing, but until then I hope you like it just as much as I do!

Bye for now!

Katie xxx

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Wednesday Wonderfuls #113 + #114

Hello there my lovely readers! Long time no see :) happy Wednesday to you all, I  hope you've been having a great couple of weeks.

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Sweet biscuity goodness 2. New brooch to add to the collection 3. A candlelit dinner made by my Sweetheart :)
4. New VOH jeans 5. Tailor's tacks 6. Just going to the cinema in rollers, no big deal
7. Fabric addict 8. Beaded cardigans make me happy 9. Homemade sticky chicken and rice

Over the past two weeks I have been...

pretty overwhelmed actually. As you've probably noticed I've been a bit off the radar with my blogging in general, which has mostly been due to my new job. I'm finding it a bit difficult to adjust to regular working hours, years of working nights at theatres have obviously taken their toll on me! I am now starting to adapt and use my time more productively, but for a while there I was just getting home and crashing before going to bed and doing it all again the next day. I really admire all you ladies who work full time jobs and still find the time to blog, you are super-women! Slowly but surely I'm getting back into the swing of my blogging, and I've got some fun posts planned in the near future, so hopefully I'll soon have my blogging mojo back properly :) we'll see, baby steps for now!

the first book in the Beautiful Creatures series. I really enjoyed the film so I thought I'd give the books a go (I'm pretty much always a bigger fan of the book than the film with all adaptations!) and although I'm not hooked yet I am enjoying it. I often think it's a shame that some books get labelled as only for young adults, because if a book is well written surely it can be loved by people of all ages? Just look at Harry Potter! 

something that I've been thinking about for a long time: my first tattoo! I know that quite a few of you lovely ladies have ink of your own, I've been a long time admirer of some of your artwork, so I thought it was about time I joined the club! I've got my design all picked out and I'm really looking forward to the big day, I just hope I'm not too much of a wimp when it comes to the pain :)

Images, Each Row from Left to Right:
1. Homemade bolognese 2. Brown paper packages tied up with string :) 3. I think Easter's coming!
4. Grading and notching 5. Treats 6. It's coming along!
7. Sweets from my Sweetheart 8. Every girl loves a pair of new (to her) shoes 9. Homemade paella

a lot more than usual, one of the other reasons I've been a bit more absent than usual! Cooking takes me a while because I'm quite inexperienced but I love it and I've been so happy that I've finally had the time to do it properly. Isn't it amazing the difference a home cooked meal can make to your day? And your energy? It's brilliant. I'm definitely becoming a home-cooking convert.

Working on...
my 1940s suit with every spare minute that I have. It's coming along, but slowly, particularly as I can only dedicate a little bit of time to it each day, but next day off I get I'm going to get as much done as possible. It will be finished in time of the Sew For Victory deadline I tell you! Plus I just want to wear it, it looks so cute!

And, of course, there's been a lot going on in the rest of the blogosphere recently too...

Have a wonderful rest of the week my lovely readers and I'll be back soon!

Bye for now,

Katie xxx
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