Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to eat pickled herring

I bought a jar of Swedish pickled herrings out of curiousity recently. Unlike the tangy flavour of pickled cucumbers, pickled herrings are incredibly salty. The texture is like sushi since the herrings aren't cooked.

Apart from seeing Detective Moser from Inspector Rex eat them out of the jar, I wasn't sure how to prepare them. This is what a German friend suggested:

We eat them for lunch together with cooked and buttered potatoes. Or you can make a salad (herring filets, onion, gherkins, apple, pork sausage, boiled eggs). Often people eat it as salad on brown bread (no pumpernickel!). Here´s a recipe for 1 person:

4 spoons plain yoghurt
a.. 1 small gherkin
b.. salt, pepper
c.. 75 g pickled herring
d.. 1 apple
e.. 100 g green salad
f.. 1 small red onion
g.. 100 g beetroot
h.. 2 branches dill
i.. 40 g whole-grain bread

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cushion cover fabric

This is my lounge room. It's rather drab and I'm tired of the boring floor cushions. The ugly blue feature wall doesn't help much either.

I've wanted new cushion covers for a while but couldn't find any fabric that I liked - until today. This rough cotton fabric is from Japan. At about $24/metre, it's the second most expensive fabric I've ever bought but I really like it.

The colours aren't as bright or as pink-dominated as they appear to be in this photo and the background colour is pale taupe, not off white. I liked it because I wanted a pattern that would brighten up the room without being too bold. I also wanted to get away from typical home colour schemes of brown and beige because it's just too easy to accessorise them with more brown and beige things.

I have to pre-shrink the fabric first before I start sewing but this is what it would look like as a cushion cover.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sneakers in the mail

Today I bought a pair of ecoSNEAKS shoes from the Simple Shoes website (I don't know of any local stockists otherwise I would've bought the shoes instore). ecoSNEAKs are partially made from recycled materials such as old tyres and plastic bottles.

I'm looking forward to receiving them, although I can't say the same about the exchange rate conversion on my credit card.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hmmm, interesting

I've just discovered that I can only access if I change IP addresses, which is bizarre because I haven't had this problem until recently.

Since last week I haven't been able to access the website from any of my computers at home. I cleared out the cache and made sure my browsers and internet settings weren't blocking the site, but still no luck (thanks anyway Alden, it was worth a try).

On my lunch break today however, I was able to view Burdastyle at the local internet kiosk but when I tried again at home, the same problem occurred. So this time I went through a web proxy that gave me a different IP address - and it worked.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flower fashions

A few weeks ago I went to Floriade and saw these outfits on display. They were created by Canberra art students and it's hard to believe they were made using only leaves, flowers and bark - especially the Strictly Ballroom-inspired tango dress with the flounces.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Looks like the Burdastyle website is down again. I haven't been able to access it since Saturday - and just when I started participating again :( Before I stopped visiting around May because I was busy and because the pages took so long to load.

I really enjoy Burdastyle, not just for the free patterns, but also to see other people's projects and find out how they were made. Since I enjoy making things, it's a good place to see what like-minded people are doing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Braille Window Project

I spent half the day at the National Gallery today. In between looking at the exhibitions, I attended a couple of talks at the Fullscreen08 forum. Fullscreen showcases the work of selected artists who use digital media, eg: AV recordings, blogging, computer-generated art.

The stand-out project for me was the Braille Window Project by Anne Walton. This work consisted of a shop window covered in transparent braille texts. People passing by could feel the texts, while blind writers were invited to type up their observations and have them pasted onto the window.

I found this project interesting because art is normally such a visual medium that blind people are excluded from it. I didn't fully realise this until Anne pointed out that art has nothing to offer blind people because they can't interact with it in the way sighted people would (think of your typical art exhibition or museum collection, with objects hanging from walls or behind glass windows).

After meeting blind advocate Bruce McGuire, Anne was very conscious of creating an art installation that would include blind people without tacking them on as an afterthought, or treating them as a "special needs" group. I think she succeeded with this project.

(Interestingly the main toilets in the National Gallery don't have braille signage, so pity the poor blind person who wanders into the wrong toilets by mistake.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Tokyo Look Book

One thing I regret about living in Tokyo (I lived near Shinjuku for a few years) is not taking more photos of the Shibuya/Harajuku fashion scene.

This book, which I found in the Australian National Gallery bookstore, perfectly captures up all the fashion tribes I saw during my time in Japan. On weekends, if you go to Shibuya 109 or hang round outside Laforet or Gap in Harajuku, you can see hundreds of young people all dressed up, to see and be seen with their friends.

Since appearance is very important in Japan (perhaps a bit too important), it's important to get the look right and a lot of these people to spend at least a hour getting ready before they go out(in some Before and After photos I've seen, they look like completely different people). If they're lucky, their efforts may be rewarded with a feature photo in the next edition of street fashion magazines like Fruits or Kerouac.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Works in progress

The pattern used for this shirt is a Built By Wendy design

The material is a fine stretch polyester knit, with organza interfacing.

This design has puffed sleeves. I haven't attached them to the body yet because I haven't made sleeve heads for them (being a flimsy knit, the puffed bits will sag without the sleeve heads).

This trench coat was cut from a Simplicity 4084 pattern, which I'm not particularly impressed with. The pictures indicated that it's meant to have a semi-fitted, a-line shape but when I made the toile I found it was rather boxy and goes straight up and down. I had to cut the bottom parts wider to give it some extra flare. The sleeves also needed adjusting because they were way too big and too long.

Another thing I didn't notice until I began sewing with the actual material was that the shoulder flaps get in the way of the roll line. This means that if I were to wear this coat as displayed in the left photo, the flaps would be scrunched up under the roll line.

At the moment, I'm working on fixing the right side, which isn't as curved as the left; adding some shoulder pads and sewing in the sleeve lining. Although the sewing mannequin isn't as sturdy as I'd expected (it sinks when heavy items like this coat are placed on it), it's really made a difference in getting the right shape for this coat.

I hope I can finish it before summer arrives.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

New sewing mannequin

Finally! I bought this today after saving up for a while. No more crumpled works in progress, and hemming will be much easier too. But before I unpack it, I have to clean and rearrange my lounge room.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking

This is an an easy to understand book for learning how to draft your own patterns. I bought my copy off eBay earlier this year (mint condition; received as a gift but never used - great bargain \O/). Still haven't had the time to try out any of the patterns in this book though.