So, after declaring one of my New Year’s resolutions to be ‘challenging myself in my photography’ I’ve been thinking about what I really want my photography to be like and where I need to grow.
My photography is all about the little moments…natural interactions between people, with animals etc. (see my photography blog for more). I’ve gotten better at resolutely turning down requests for party photography and such. There are many great party photographers out there, but I ain’t one of them and never will be. I work best on a one-on-one basis.
So, for a start, I will be following Jodi’s “A Portrait a Week” challenge”. I’m already two weeks late to it unfortunately.
I’ll be defining the term “portrait” very loosely for myself. To be honest, I’ll probably be lucky to shoot one nice photo for myself a week, portrait or not. Time will tell whether I’ll be able to keep up, but it’s a nice thing to start and having to blog it may just be pressure enough for me to actually keep doing it!
So here it is, my first portrait, week 3 in 2013.
I really wanted to sew a nice dress for christmas this year and I had been eyeing that pretty navy cotton velvet for a while online (did I mention my navy blue phase? I promise the next thing I make will be a different color!). So when the Burdastyle Cowl Dress was on sale one day, I snatched it up and went to work…the Sunday before christmas!
I didn’t even make a muslin but I really like how it turned out. It’s definitely the most elegant thing I have ever made and own!
I was in such a hurry to finish it that the hem is a bit twisted (it’s a handstitched blind hem), so I’ll need to redo that before I wear it the next time. Although I like it a lot I’ll probably not wear it very often, I just don’t often attend events where I would not feel completely overdressed wearing this!
I didn’t change anything except the back zipper…I really don’t like back zippers so I put one in the side seam instead. Handpicked again, definitely my preferred method of inserting zippers! The side seam zipper makes the dress pretty hard to put on though.
All in all, a pretty simple dress and I have plans to make a sleeveless summer version from the pattern some time. The velvet was nice to work with, but even though I finished the seams with zigzagging it still loses a lot of fluff. This got me to make myself the christmas present I’ve been thinking about for some time….I got myself a serger!!!
I still can’t believe I bought it, after eyeing this model for about a year. I’m finally accepting that this sewing clothing thing is not just a phase for me. I’m really, really excited about learning to use it. It came threaded but of course when I wanted to try it one thread broke…the one that is most difficult to thread in again. So the boyfriend and I spend some time pouring over the manual yesterday (I really couldn’t have done it without his help) and I cried a little and thought about sending it back, but we finally managed to re-thread it and it works, yay :) I’m very excited to try this out on future garments and especially with jersey.
I hope you all had a great start into the new year! As always, I try to take the time to reflect on the past year at this point and even though the year has rushed by these reflections have been on my mind a lot in the last days.
It’s always interesting to read back to the last new year’s post and compare. 2012 has been quite a year! It started with a very emotional time for us due to a family member’s illness which stayed with us for a good part of the year too. Thankfully things are looking up a bit on that end a year on!
2011 was the year where I struggled with the transition from student life to full time office work and to be honest I was feeling a bit low and unfocussed by the end of it. I really tackled that in 2012 when I realized that I was ready to go into business with my photography. It was a huge step for me but it has paid off better than I could have imagined.
I went through all the scary paperwork and officially opened my business in February.
Don’t be fooled: having a business while also working a full time day job is HARD. It means long hours on weekends and weekday evenings, a lot of unexpected challenges and a lot of patience when you have inspiring ideas but simply have to accept the fact that there are not enough hours in the day, week, month and it will just have to wait.
But: it is also inredibly rewarding! I can honestly say I have never looked back and enjoy every minute of it. It has challenged me and helped me grow in my photography in ways I could not have foreseen. It has brought wonderful clients my way and allowed me to capture and give a lot of joy. In 2012 I have designed my own website, created a photography blog and a facebook page and taught myself to send email newsletters (subscribe here if you like). I have done it all on my own and I am incredibly proud of that. I needed and need this to define who I am. I have no intention of giving up my day job (in case you were wondering) but I am excited to see what 2013 will bring for my business.
So, resolutions for 2013.
- Keep going to my weekly yoga class and do yoga at home daily. I started yoga class early in 2012 and found out I really love yoga. It has given me a completely new feeling for my body and helps me battle back and neck pains. I really need to extend the part yoga plays in my life by doing at least a few minutes daily. At the moment I am using this 10 minute morning yoga session to wake up in the morning and it feels great.
- Drink water. I went to see a doctor about two months ago because I kept having really bad headaches, as often as two or three times a week and they were getting worse. I was also starting to get tummy aches from taking too much aspirin. She told me to start drinking 2.5 litres of pure water (in addition to every other liquid) every day before trying other treatment. I laughed in her face because I thought I was already drinking enough water. Guess what, I wasn’t. I am not up to 2.5 litres a day yet but the headaches have nearly stopped and I feel much better. Turns out the body adjusts to it after a while, it even makes you more thirsty the more you drink and I don’t even have to run to pee every five minutes anymore. Wish I had known this 15 years earlier.
- Eat better. This one is on my list every single year. We do get better at cooking and eating healthier (still going to the farmer’s market every weekend) but there is still too much frozen pizza. This year I’m planning to tackle this by writing down 10-15 recipes we already know how to do and have them ready at hand, so we’ll have something healthy and easy to make without the pressure of having to search for a recipe and then shopping for it.
- Keep up my daily lunch time walk even in rotten weather and when the cafeteria is warm and inviting.
- Expand and grow my Photography business in new ways. Keeping up the inspiration by setting myself challenges and goals, both overall and for each new photoshoot. Being self-taught I feel there is just so much I do not know and master yet. At the same time I need to learn not to be too hard on myself, to value my work and learn to be more patient.
- Improve and keep up my Italian language skills by listening to a language CD at least once a week in the car on my way to work. Unused language skills fade all too quickly.
- Keep on simplifying. In 2009 we gave up television. In 2011 we decluttered and got rid of probably half of what we owned. In 2012 we have reaped the rewards by having less stuff to manage and worry about. Keeping our home clean and cozy is much easier, since picking up and putting things back where they belong takes hardly any time at all. Living simply is an ongoing project that needs managing and supervising and I’m excited to continue doing it in 2013.
- Be a kinder person. Also on my list every year and the hardest resolution to keep. I think I’m good at this at work and with friends, but less so with family and those closest to me. I think it’s so hard to keep because it is vague and there are less obvious steps to achievement. I will just try to remind myself often to be kind and caring and patient even when I’m tired.
If you’ve kept on reading until here, thank you! Thank you for being here in this space and reading and commenting and sharing and encouraging.
To say I’ve been thinking about making a dress like this for a while would be an understatement. I first saw this elegant black dress in the Downton Abbey Christmas special and immediately fell in love with it. Simple yet classy. I went ahead and did a few sketches and thought about it for a while, then got frustrated with the idea and put it away.
Then I started watching ‘The House of Eliott‘ (for those who don’t know, it’s a TV show from the 1990′s set in 1920′s London). And saw Beatrice wear a dress exactly like my dream dress and though “wow, they must have a pattern for it at the BBC”. Then I realised it’s probably the very same dress, reused for Downton Abbey 20 years later!
Since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I pulled out the old ideas, did some (lots) of research on simple 1920′s shapes and went ahead with a soft navy blue jersey as a test (the ultimate goal being a silk dress). I seem to be going through a navy blue phase recently. I reused parts of the Salme Kimono dress pattern and pretty much added everything else freely:
To be honest, I actually made three versions of this: one muslin, one in sheer blue cotton fabric which turned out way too stiff and this one in jersey.
It’s incredibly comfortable (I should sew with jersey more often!) and lovely to wear and it’s quite close to the original idea though not as perfect as I’d hoped.
- I think the original dress has set in sleeves and less drape and ease in the sleeves. The original also has some pleating detail at the shoulder right where the sleeve inset is.
- I was so scared of the neckline stretching that I stabilized the hell out of it, sewing a cotton strip to it and then finishing it with bias binding. In retrospect I really wish I had drafted a facing for the neckline and I definitely will if I should ever actually make this dress in silk.
- The sleeves are a bit too short but I can live with it.
The fabric belt is sewn to the dress, which is ok, though I’m already thinking of a version with a band attached between top and bottom. As for sewing with jersey, I’ve only tried it once or twice before and it always puts me in a dilemma: I love how soft and drapey jersey is and would like to sew with it more. On the other hand my main sewing machine (and really the only one I feel completely comfortable with, no matter how hard I try to love my other machines) is straight stitch only.
The solution for me is just to ignore the problem and sew jersey with a ballpoint needle straight stitch. Please don’t tell anyone. It kinda works though.
It’s not often that I find myself at home with time on my hands, but today after a hectic week and a productive morning I was ready for some quality time… just me, the couch, a couple of sheepskins and blankets and of course the cats, who are always looking for an opportunity to snuggle and sleep all over my legs in winter.
Time to give this blog a little make-over! So now it has a new header, a couple of nice badges and an updated ‘About Me‘ section. If you’re reading through Google Reader or something similar – do check out the blog on its own today.
The “Daily Reading” links section has also been updated, now including (among others)
- Lindsay’s lovely blog,
- Jodi, who makes me wish I was in sunny Australia and
- this incredibly inspiring lady.
There is also a link to my new Photography Website which launched pretty quietly during the summer. For updated portfolios of my photography work, do take a peek!
Finally, over on my other blog I’ve also made some slight changes. In case you haven’t been following it and because I don’t want my photography to be away from this space completely, I want to take this opportunity to point out some of my favourite photoshoots from 2012:
Sibel and Sefa’s wedding photos which we took in a gorgeous park.
Dana’s adorable new kitten.
Another great wedding, Dani and Moritz’ wedding party took place in an ancient castle!
I loved taking Cerille’s maternity photos, and meeting her adorable newborn baby boy only a few weeks later!
Colin is one of the sweetest babies I have ever met!
Katrin’s Maternity photoshoot in London.
And finally, Becky’s photoshoot with her horse with some of my favourite photos from the whole year!