Category Archives: Projects

An unplanned but fabulous weekend

Unexpected weekends are always the best ones, aren’t they? This one was meant to  involve lunch in London and then home to tidy up and do useful things.

I’m not going to share a photo of why i should be tidying up :p

Anyway. I came down to Reading to meet Wendy, then went to Lou’s for dinner (VIA Waterstones which was almost very dangerous) with her, Paul, Kelly and Mike, then spent this morning in town with Sar and Dan, and then back to Lou’s for much, creativity and planning. Perfect.

Now on a train home, and hoping to get back and rustle up a roast while I do some washing, then maybe do a little bit of crafting this eve before bed! Currently struggling to keep my eyes open so we’ll see how that goes!

Hope you all have a gorgeous Sunday evening!

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Filed under Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Laughing, Loving & Living, Planning, Projects

Having a definite Narnia moment

I love everything Narnia and think I always have done, but having caught the end of Prince Caspian on TV this evening, I am seized by a sudden desire to make Susan’s farewell dress (so called because it’s the last time she appears in Narnia, and it’s the dress she says her goodbyes and goes back to England in).

sufarewellhighlight

I’ve spent some of this evening scouring the internet for inspiration, cosplay, photos, descriptions and patterns, and have started a Pinterest board of some of the things I’ve found. Kim told me today the sewing machine she’s giving me should be in the office by next weekend, so fingers crossed this can be a 2012 project! Then I can have a Narnia themed party for my birthday… maybe my 27th… :)

I’ve also learned what cosplay is – you really do learn something new every day!

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Filed under Creating, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Planning, Projects, Sewing

Hello 2012 – we’re going to get on famously

This will have to be quick, because I should have been in bed half an hour ago… oh, how I have really not missed the 5.30am starts at all over the break!!

I’m starting 2012 in an incredibly happy, uplifted and motivated frame of mind. I am surrounded by people I love who love me, I have my little haven of a flat and my much adored Poppy-car, changes at work in the last couple of months of 2011 mean I’m much happier there than I thought possible to begin with, and I’m ridiculously lucky that my main stresses are usually that I have too many people and fun things to fit into my social life. Terrible, isn’t it?!

But genuinely, I’m very lucky and well aware of this fact. I’m also intending and hoping for 2012 to be my best year yet… full of all the things I love to do, all the people I love to see and empty (or emptier, at least) of things that make me sad and stressed out. I’m not completely in la la land, I know that various things will be impossible and hard and tearful through the year, but right now things are rosy and I intend to make the absolute most of that.

Things I am muchly looking forward to this year:

Julia’s wedding ~ this is the big one, my best friend and twin soul is getting married on 7th July and I CANNOT WAIT! I’m honoured to have been chosen as one of her bridesmaids and I’ll do everything I can to make sure her big day is perfect.

USA road trip ~ a road trip round the southern states with my parents that we have been talking about doing for close to ten years, we’re flying out to Texas on 9th February and I’m so excited I can barely breathe!

CAE 2012 ~ Camping Auto Extravaganza with the ROC boys and girls is always a highlight of the calendar – this will be my third one, and each one makes me marvel that a bunch of people who only met each other because of their cars can be such very good friends and have such an awesome time.

Neverwhere ~ one of my favourite books by the awesome Neil Gaiman, and my best friend Lou of Contrariety Rose has been working on the costumes for the play for months and months. I’m off to see it on 20th January and am very excited!

Goodwood Revival ~ another one of those things I’ve been threatening to do for ages, Lou & Paul said they’d like to go and much to my surprise so did Rob when I mentioned it the other day… and dressed vintage too! So I’m hoping we’ll get to do that in September… fingers crossed!

My 26th birthday ~ not a traditional landmark I know, but I feel like I’m hitting my prime, and will be taken more seriously once I’m in my late twenties, and I’m hoping to celebrate with lots of friends and lots of family.

Unofficial Ireland rally with Rat Patrol, Team Allegro and Bucket of Doom ~ Assuming we actually manage to get this organised, I would completely adore to see the others again. I am perfectly prepared to abandon the idea of a banger and just go in Poppy if that’s the only way I can afford to go (as the £250 banger car spending limit would probably pay for most of my petrol and camping costs, lol). I’ve missed those guys!

And last but not least, launching Teasets to Typewriters, rejuvenating Ducking Fabulous jewellery as part of that and hopefully becoming involved with a new website, What Simon Said, with a friend I met on the rally and have kept in touch with via Twitter. I have many, many goals this year… some of them are listed on the 2012 Things page of this site, which can be found on the tabs at the top.

So, enough photo-free waffling from me – it’s been wonderful blogging and tweeting and ‘meeting’ people (I’m mostly looking at you, @craftyguider,@fairlyairyfairy@meanyjar, @CraftyThINKer, @MissJimJams, @ShhimUK, @LucyMoose ) in 2011, and I hope the friendship and support continues into 2012 and beyond! Happy 2012… enjoy it!

xx

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Filed under Adventuring, Blogging, Business Wafflings, Collecting, Creating, Driving, Family, Friends, Inspiration and inspiring things, Learning, Life Plans and Goals, Lists, Love and Stuff, Loving & Living, Perfect Moments, Personal Development, Planning, Poppy, Projects, Recording, ROC, Thinking, Travelling, USA Road Trip 2012

Ticking things off The List

I don’t think I’ve ever actually posted about The List before. A working copy of it is here, which I will update and add to as things occur to me. There are more than 300 entries, so please don’t feel obliged to read it! (also, none of them are crossed off on this version – Google Docs is thwarting me)

This is a list I started, partly inspired by Mike Gayle’s book The To Do List, and partly motivated by a knowledge that there are an infinite number of things I would like to do and achieve in my life, plus I’d like to be organised like a proper adult (hence some of the smaller things on it) and I wanted to have some of those things in written form. Plus, I’m the original list addict and it would be odd if I didn’t have things written down (honestly, I cart half a ream of paper around with me each day, all covered in lists).

So. Today I reviewed it for the first time in a while. And you know what? I ticked off 49 things I’ve done this year, not including the things that were already ticked off. For someone who has spent the last six months panicking that she’s not done anything to be proud of… well, it’s changed my mind somewhat!

Admittedly, some of those things are as small as ‘put screwdrivers back in the hall drawer’ (it’s concerning how long it’s taken me to do that) but some are lifechanging. Doing a rally was on there, way back before Rob asked me to go… living on my own was on there, and so was (weirdly) buy a typewriter.  And I’ve done all of those things in 2011.

So I must be doing something right… I’ll review it again (and one of the things I meant to do with my blog was post when I’d achieved something on the list, so perhaps that’ll become a regular occurrence?!) at the end of the year, along with my new year’s resolutions and such like.

Maybe I’m a bit too introspective, but I do like being able to look back at what I’d hoped and dreamed and see that despite everyday appearances, I’m moving in the right direction towards the life I want to live :)

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Journals…

I’ve been massively inspired by journals lately, and especially art journals. I’ve always loved the idea of recording your life, and probably my only regret in life so far is burning my teen diaries and deleting my typed uni diaries, which I did for reasons I won’t go into here.

There’s something magical about keeping snippets of your life between pages, to be kept and remembered and looked back on in days, weeks, months and years to come, and it also leaves a record for future generations.

I once came across a box full of tiny notebooks in an antique shop, and, intrigued, asked the owner what they were. She said she had another two boxes in storage and they were the handwritten diaries of a young lady who had started, in the twenties, aged 9, to keep a diary each day, and had written faithfully every single day until she died in her 90s. At the time I was still a student, and this collection was on sale for £250 – well out of my price range (although the lovely owner did say I could pay a bit at a time and she’d keep them aside for me, it was still more than I could justify spending on non-necessities at the time. But I sat in that shop for a good couple of hours, reading the living history of this lady who had lived through a war and through unimaginable changes in her world, and had recorded it all, huge world events and things that were important to her (first kiss, meeting a friend for lunch, all sorts) for us to look at.

On my 25th birthday, inspired by that find, I started a five year diary. I’d like to think I’ll keep it up till I’m 30, although I’ve already missed the odd day – I love that it’s laid out so that each year you can see what you wrote the year before, and it’s a small enough book to carry around. My own little piece of magical history.

Recently I’ve also started to see lots of art journals – Ashley at The Creative Place did a fabulous post recently about her completed travel journal, which made me think I could (and should!) do something similar for the rally. I have been meaning to create a scrapbook/journal of my life since just before my 18th birthday – bought the albums but never quite got round to putting things in them. (Actually, with hindsight that’s a good thing, if I’d completed it age 18 it would have been mostly full of my first love… while he is obviously an enormous part of my past, he is entirely unconnected with my recent past, my present and my future, and I feel a journal I make now will reflect that).

I also love the idea of keeping a journal of my creative inspirations – at the moment my laptop and Pinterest serve for those  ‘squee’ moments where I can keep snippets, and this blog records my wafflings and thoughts and other things, but I’d love to have more physical things to look at when I need inspiring. And of course, a diary-journal (as opposed to a scrapbook or a journal for a specific event or trip) would show you how your crafting has grown and shaped and developed over the time you take to complete it.

So this weekend I shall be buying (or repurposing) some box files – they shall live in my studio and into them shall go anything relevant – photos, notes, fabric scraps, labels, broken but significant jewellery… anything that might help shape my journals, and perhaps in 2012 I’ll be able to put them together and make something wonderful to look at.

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Filed under Blogging, Inspiration and inspiring things, Life Plans and Goals, Lists, Personal Development, Photography, Planning, Projects, Recording, Thinking, Writing

Projects in progress (craft and creative)

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I did an update on my creative projects in progress, possibly not since I moved the blog over to WordPress back in April, so here goes…

(and apologies in advance for the continued lack of photos – this is due to blogging on the go!)

Project Pin Up
 A joint project with Mimi from Little Sips of Tea, we are hoping to launch this inspirational blog/website sometime in October. Designs and scribbles are ongoing!

The typewriters
I never did blog these – bought them by accident at a car boot I went to with Mimi a while ago, and have just had a very exciting phone call from Mike at InkXS – he’s sending me ribbons for both of them so I can actually use them – I may never print a letter from my laptop again!

Teasets to Typewriters
A long-term project that is hopefully coming to fruition, this is the relaunch of Ducking Fabulous… only not as Ducking Fabulous. While I still adore making jewellery, and have a commission in the workings for @craftyguider, I don’t have time to make the level of stock I’d like to keep the shop open, and I’d always intended to branch out into vintage. So this is it – inspired by my typewriters, the new Etsy shop, to be launched towards the end of October/beginning of November, will stock vintage loveliness for you, your home and the people that make you happy, and in time will also stock Ducking Fabulous jewellery (made by me!) too, especially the upcycled/reworked/repurposed lines to fit with the vintage feel.

Freelancing for Helitech
Much as the day job is good experience in many ways, it’s not using my design skills even a quarter as much as I’d hoped it would, and as they need to be used in order to keep them fresh. So, I’ve started freelancing again (because I didn’t have enough projects already on the go) and have just completed some work for two companies attending Helitech. Follow up work for HeliExpo in February is expected, plus keeping an eye on their respective websites, and it’s all good for the portfolio too.

Dining room table
I have some completely gorgeous vintage-style wrapping paper which I want to attach to the surface of my very battered dining room table… but haven’t yet had the time to sand it down and buy some decent glossy varnish to cover it with – it needs to look pretty and have a wipe-clean surface!

Bookcases
I have been collecting quotes for a year or so to adorn my bookcases with… now I know which ones I want to use, I’m struggling to work out the best way of putting them there – do I handwrite with permanent markers, or decopatch first, or print and mod podge on… the possibilities are almost endless!

Heather’s wedding present
Hevsy occasionally reads my blog, as her wedding is featured on it here – so I can’t post a photo. But it’s getting there!

R2R art for the living room
This involves plotting the route on a giant map, somehow choosing some photos to be printed, working out how to frame 3D objects and retrieving Rusty’s number plate from Rob’s house (I ran away to cry at the end of the rally and forgot to pick up my plate. Yep, I am an idiot).

Amy Butler dress
This one’s ground to a complete halt because my sewing machine quit and I’ve not yet been able to fund a new one. I bought the pattern on my birthday back in February, and have a shortlist of fabrics I like, but I’m not actually buying the fabric till I can at least start on making the dress.

The studio
Filing cabinet is to arrive this week and be installed properly on Saturday; this will then at some point be decopatched to fit in with the rest of my décor. I need to move the rug under the desk and re-organise the boxes… would like to be able to pick up one box for one type of craft, ideally.

I also have lots of bits of ideas for smaller projects, but haven’t actually started any of them yet… I do feel I have my creative mojo back now though, which is always a good thing!

What works-in-progress do you have on the go?

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Filed under Blogging, Creating, Lists, Projects, Recording

October – the month of buying nothing unnecessary

I haven’t even looked at my bank account, because although today is pay day, I know that the total is going to be massively depressing (once I’ve extracted my monthly rent & bills, my £400 train ticket and my credit card bill). There is a transfer to be made from savings to cover the credit card (because it’s the flights from the rally), but otherwise it is what it is. Obviously I’ll be using the overdraft as I do most months but the intention is to bring this usage down slowly over the next few months. (with Christmas and my car insurance due… hah, who am I kidding?! But worth a try, certainly).

 So… Buy Nothing Unnecessary, aka phase 2 of Project Thrifty Chic. I have an enormous amount of stuff in my flat, most of which I don’t even know that I still own. Quite a lot of which is makeup – cue some more beauty blog posts!

I have some lovely things planned this month for which I’ve already budgeted, but outside of those I am going to try, very hard, for just one month, to not buy any more stuff. (I also have a freezer full of food, which I’m going to use up before buying any more. Apart from vegetables, which I’m nearly out of.)

 Now just to test this theory, I am going into town tomorrow (1st of the month… whoops) and there are some things I need while I’m there… I have a small separate budget for the beginnings of Teasets to Typewriters, but aside from stock/packaging for that (and the packaging I really should buy in relative bulk, online), I’m going to be good. Well, I’m going to try!

(and in the evenings, I intend to skate, blog, work on the secret projects ready for launch… lots of things! Hopefully none of which will involve too much money… also intend copious use of the slow cooker for both convenience and thrift :D )

PS I would apologise for the continued thrifty posts… but I keep getting good reactions so I won’t :)

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Project Thrifty Chic must start in earnest…

Whoops… have just checked my bank accounts on the way to work. One is overdrawn, one is down to its last £10, and I still have £206 I have to spend on train tickets this month, quite aside from anything else.

There has obviously been the rally, which is why the savings account is down to its last £10 – I shall be transferring some more to cover the flights which are due to be paid off my credit card on 9 October, and then I really shall be knuckling down to not spending so much and getting my finances back on track.

This month has been a bit daft – aside from the trip, I’ve bought a couple of ponies and a few bits for the house, and done my usual ridiculous spending on magazines, plus stocked up on cosmetics and toiletries, and my Asda shop replenished loads of storecupboard staples I’d run out of like sauces, marinades, oils, spices etc. October will be better :)

So parts of Project Thrifty Chic, which I touched on briefly a few weeks ago shall begin in earnest! I have already embarked on meal planning, sat down on my return from the rally and decided that as well as helping my budget, planning food would also help my health and enable me to experiment with new recipes – I love to cook but the constraints of my job and the lack of time I have in the evenings mean I often fall back on making the same old food time after time.

My fridge and freezer are full, my slow cooker is bubbling away at home as I speak (ragu sauce for lasagne tonight) and the dinner I was meant to go out for this evening has been put back to next month as we’re all busy and broke. So, you know, at least I’m in good company! Work lunches are what usually do my budget in, but I have cheese and butter in the fridge, so am going to buy myself some bread and crisps and make my sandwiches. From a health point of view I’m bringing cereal to work in the mornings, and I aim to stop buying so much chocolate too – they’re all small costs but they really add up.  I’m also not going shopping again till the end of the month – I have plenty to keep me occupied in the evenings and at the weekends.

There’s only one more weekend left between me and payday and it shouldn’t be too costly as I’m going down to see my godmother with my parents, the MR2 is due an oil change on Sunday, but Dad usually pays for the oil & filter. Worst case scenario I’ll put it on my credit card and sort it out in December. The intention is to have a really good October and a well planned November, then I’ll be out of overdraft and able to pay for my car insurance without too many issues in December. Christmas this year is going to be less about the gifts and cards and more about spending time with my family and making a donation to Woking Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Care in memory of Nick, who they helped so much before he died.

I love the independence of adult life and living alone, but the financial side can be the teensiest bit stressful! But life is too short to get down about it – I’ll just tighten my belt a bit and sort it. I always think that good money management is not never going over your means, but knowing when you’ve exceeded them and taking measures to bring yourself back into the black.

 

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Filed under Life Plans and Goals, Planning, Projects, Thrifting

Some random musings on the future

Ducking Fabulous has sort of become my online identity rather than the jewellery brand it started out as. I don’t think this is a bad thing, and I wouldn’t change my lifestyle and beauty blogging and general waffle about life back to solely craft and/or jewellery. However, I do miss making and selling things, and now I have the studio in my flat, there really is no excuse for me not to kick myself into gear. It’s probably only ever going to be a hobby, but there’s only so much jewellery one girl can wear!

I’m also wanting to experiment when my new sewing machine comes from the lovely colleague at work who no longer wants hers; and I have several pairs of shoes to customise; and there’s the vintage bits and pieces I’ve been collecting for a year or so, I think it’s about time that the pieces not on display went on sale so they can have a better home.

So I’m thinking of opening two Etsy shops – one as Ducking Fabulous, for handmade things by me, and one for vintage things. I have a name, which I won’t disclose until I’ve checked if it’s available and if the banner idea I have in mind works! I’ve been playing with category ideas and collections – it’s a great way to pass the commuting time!

However in order to do this, I need to seriously overhaul my life – I’m far too busy at the moment to be efficient with sales, and I’d want to have proper packaging and everything sorted out if I did do it. It’s still a bit of a pipe dream, but maybe in 2012… I’d need time set aside to photograph and list everything, as well as making new stuff and packing and posting anything I sold.

We shall see – I’d love your comments and opinions and thoughts if any of you have done similar things, and if there’s anything I’m overlooking in my thoughts (although I do use this blog as much as a notebook for my own thoughts as I do for writing articles to be read… feel free to ignore this random waffling!)

 

Relatedly, but sort of separately, I have two bigger projects in mind – the first is Project Pinup, which is an overhaul of me and an attempt to be more elegant, more ladylike and more pin-up-like. Not necessarily in shape or size, but in the way I am and the way I present myself to the world. I am thoroughly fed up of doing my makeup on the train and brushing my hair out from wet and then just leaving it, but equally I don’t want to get up at 4am to try and make myself pretty before I leave for work. I also want to differentiate between my work look (which must be sober and subtle) and my look on my own time (which will vary over a range of styles, not just pin-up, but is, like the real me, much louder and more dramatic, without being in-your-face. I hope, anyway.

 

The second is Project Thrifty Chic, which I know is unimaginatively named, but is more essential. As I’ve taken over the flat, I have a LOT less spending money each month than I used to. I have raided my savings down to almost nothing to fund the rally (which I don’t at all regret, it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime and I’d far rather do that than go backpacking, but it does mean I don’t have much in the way of backup money anymore) and I go into my overdraft most months. This is not a situation I’m happy with, but I refuse to give up the car and I can’t give up the flat for at least another five months (and I’m so happy here, I don’t want to relinquish that either). So the solution is to stop with the random spending and try to economise, but as Mimi says, being thrifty rather than frugal – it’s amazing how different the words can make you feel. My intention is to still have a fabulous look and a fabulous life, but spend less doing it – and I think this is perfectly possible, especially now I have the flat to myself as entertaining space, I can actually persuade people to my house instead of out for dinner on occasion! I love thrifting for clothes and homewares anyway, so it will be an extension of that. I don’t intend to ban myself from buying new things, but I will try to re-use and recycle or buy secondhand whenever I can, as it’s greener as well as being cheaper. And with the car I drive, I really should make every effort in every other area of my life to be kinder to the environment. It’s all about balance.

Watch this space – and congratulations if you got to the end of this post, it ended up being somewhat of a stream of consciousness!

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At least a million drafts

I have so many posts in drafts waiting for pics – oops. That can be this week’s challenge (along with rally planning), and I should probably schedule some for the week I’m away too (although I will be blogging en-route – if I have no wi-fi I’ll draft and post when I can :D)

Up in Nottingham this weekend starting to really do stuff for the car – we popped out this morning and came back with some vintage skis, a rusty toolbox and a vintage suitcase full of porn magazines… haha! Fab suitcase though – I might try and bring it back if it survives the rally in one piece! (It’s going on our roof rack).

Have just attempted to take photos and discovered that both my camera batteries are flat – sigh. Pics later then, along with the millions of others I need to post!

 

:)

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Filed under Adventuring, Planning, Projects, R2R 2011 (Banger rally)