Thursday, 29 March 2012

Loving Lisette

There is one teaching day of the term left and I can't wait for a hot date with my Janome next week (after my uni essay is finished that is).

I had hoped to participate in the Lisette Continental Dress Sew-along that the fabulous Ms Curlypops was hosting, but alas it was too difficult to get a pattern (especially in my size). So I ordered it online ... I won't make the deadline for the Sew-along, but I do like the blouse pattern and I might try that.

My package arrived today from Lisette and what a delightful experience it was opening it up.

I've ordered lots of patterns online, but this package made me smile when I opened it. Rather than just a pattern, it had a lovely little "thank-you" sash that went around everything.

There was also a freebie! A cute little Oliver + s Spool Dog! And the invoice was nicely folded in the back, nice touch!

As you well know, I take issues with retailers with bad customer service who complain about online stores "stealing their customers" and then when they try to go into online shopping they still treat their customers like dirt.

I only expected the pattern, but in return Lisette + Co made me feel so special with the presentation of their product. I am highly be a return customer based on my experience.

When I tried to get this pattern through Spotlight, it was difficult enough trying to get someone to serve me in a timely manner. I gave up after four stores of having to wait around until someone told me that they didn't have the pattern in my size because they refused to help me on the telephone.

I am happy to support bricks and mortar shops, but come on guys ... concentrate on the customer service and we will spend our money with you!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Looking down on creation

It always lifts my heart to see the hot air balloons floating over Melbourne when I drive into work. Taken on Nicholson Street, North Carlton.

The next few weeks are going to be interesting for us. Next Monday we start "packing". We have 100's of moving boxes, bubble wrap and butchers paper and it will be a week or two of just "going like hell" to get things packed.

I am still at a cross road as to whether to pack up Konstant Kaos, as I have a market on the 5th of May and it might be easier to leave her set up at Nash Street while I prepare the spaces at our new house. Settlement is after the market, so it might be nice to escape to a space where I can sew and spread my stuff out.

It might give me the opportunity to do what the people in the hot air balloons were doing this morning. Looking down on Konstant Kaos with no distractions, no kids, no internet! Just me and the machine ...

Do you take time to take stock of what you are doing?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A little bit of Betty

Last month I spotted this lovely red collage in at Gleaners Inc. in East Brunswick, when I went back on the weekend it was still there but this time I had the money to buy it! Made by Betty Jo, it sits nicely on my bookshelf until I can get it up on the wall in my new sewing space.

I love the quirkiness of it and of course it is red!

If you haven't visited Gleaners then I would highly recommend it for a day out. Starting in East Brunwick and then travelling down Sydney Road to visit Olive Grove as well.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Help me be creative again ...

I remember when Tori was Nicholas' age, I could sew with her playing on the floor of my sewing room. We had a game, she would put the pins into the pin cushion and then take them out (and then repeat). Unfortunately Nicholas puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. Different baby, different habits!

What this means is that I have to be a bit more inventive about how I create things. I've been playing around with putting some of my ideas down into patterns. Playing around in inDesign and illustrator.

I've created a PlanBig identity to go along with this mini project, hoping that it will be the kick up the bum I need to get one finished and get some feedback from some testers.

I love sewing and creating it keeps me sane. But I am discovering through my Librarianship work this year that I also love enabling people. Guiding and mentoring them. In an ideal world I would be confident enough to go into mentoring for small businesses, but not quite at the moment. So pattern making allows me to do this in the crafty world and I am in awe of friends who have ventured down this path and have kicked some serious goals.

So what can you do?
  • Head on into PlanBig and give me the kick up the bum that I need or some advice to keep me going ... volunteer to be a tester when I *eventually* get this done.
  • Give me some feedback .. good idea to market these patterns under "Pin, Cut, Sew" or should I do it under "Konstant Kaos"?
  • Any additional advice?

Have you checked out PlanBig yet? There are some great charity organisations that need your help!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Online Shopping Experience

I was very excited when I received my Quick Curve Ruler this week. As I opened the package, I was reminded of all of my online shopping experiences over the years and the argument that online shops are killing bricks and mortar retail. I am happy to shop bricks and mortar retail to buy what I need, but if I can't get either the product or the services, I will look online.

Let me take you on a journey ... I purchased the Quick Curve Ruler and I received a message a few days later saying it was in the mail. When it arrived it was cleanly wrapped, and when I opened it I found not only the ruler, but inside some lovely ribbon a pattern (which I didn't expect) and a lovely note.

The note was a nice touch, personal and a demonstration of the ruler as well.

It made me feel happy that I made the decision to purchase this product.

Over my many online purchasing years, I have experienced both ends of the spectrum. From missing parcels, to beautifully wrapped "gifts" that arrived in the mail.

The worst, would have been when I purchased a clock from Domayne, which is the "online arm" of the Harvey Norman stores. After the purchase I received an email telling me that it was in the mail. After three weeks after the purchase I emailed them to ask them where my order was, and there was no answer for several days. So I rang and was eventually told to ring the store that the order was sent to. I chased up the number and rang them and they told me that they were out of stock.

After ringing Sydney back and kicking up hell, Melbourne rang me and told me that they had just received stock and that it would be in the mail shortly. The clock arrived, shabbily wrapped box (re-used) and the product was broken. Luckily the Hubby manged to fix it. I couldn't think of anything worse than having to try and return something to shop that clearly didn't want my business.

There was a good opportunity for Domayne to include a brochure, a thank-you or even gift wrap the product. But the opportunity was lost. They assumed that all I wanted was a product, what I also wanted was service, customer service.

Compare this with Portmans. Delivery of your chosen piece of clothing in 2-3 days when you purchase online. No frills with Portmans orders, just the garments plastic wrapped and sent via express. It would be nice for the product to be gift wrapped, but the product is still high quality and promptly delivered so I can overlook the giftwrap experience. The communication between Portmans and the customer is promoting new products and specials. Not a week goes by when I don't receive something from them. I have never received any customer emails from Domayne .. another opportunity lost.

Another great online shop is Top3 in Sydney. Purchases arrive promptly, wrapped and if you are a first time customer a lovely Membership card is included for future purchases. I get an email every time there are new products launched through the web site.

Lark is also another great online shopping experience. I purchased lots of stuff through Lark for birthdays and Christmas last year and all purchases arrived promptly with a nice thank-you. Emails are received regularly telling me of specials and new products. Which of course draw me into their web once again!

Do you have an online shop?

How do you make your shopping experience special for your online customers?

Share your thoughts with me!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Do you bathe in Earl Grey?

I'm loving this tune from Professor Elemental ..

If you can't see it, click on this link.

Busy doing data entry today, catching up on some Konstant Kaos business stuff. While listening to The Clockwork Cabaret while doing my work I came across this tune!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A Chorus Line

On Friday night, Mum and I ventured out into the city to see "A Chorus Line".

One of those shows that I have always wanted to see and when the opportunity for two tickets came up I leaped at them. The pic above was taken of Mum inside the theatre, quite a nice one!

My ankle that I injured is still sore, I have developed Sinus Tarsi Syndrome, so sitting there watching a dancing musical was difficult as I was wanting to toe tap all the way through it. The only relief that I have at the moment is from Nurophen Plus. I await an appointment at the end of the week to get a steroid injection in my foot.

Of course it would have been easier if I had sprained my left ankle, rather than my sewing machine right ankle.

Hope that you have all had a better week!

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Glossery

Have you heard about 'The Glossary"? I hadn't until I read Omega's Fashion Adjacent blog and she mentioned the Plastic Diaries Beauty Blog. They were holding a competition for someOPI nail polish from The Glossery, so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and enter ...

.. and I won! I couldn't believe it because I hardly win anything.

I don't know who was more excited when the nail polish arrived, me or my daughter? She helped me sample the colours (along with some of her sparkles and glitter). Tori currently has "After Dark in Lincoln Park" on her toenails. I love the little magnetic business card that comes in their packages "Keep Calm and Paint your nails". I am hoping to steal some time over the weekend and get a pedicure with one of my favourite OPI shades.

If you don't read Omega's Fashion Adjacent blog, it is well worth following. Lots of reviews on makeup and skincare.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Sew Kind of Wonderful

I just had to re-post this gorgeous block .. isn't it lovely, it really did take my breath away!

image via Green Fairy Quilts

This one is done by Green Fairy Quilts, but it is part of a larger Urban Deco Tutorial. I like the combination of black, yellow and pattern. Not too much pattern, but just enough.

Coco Chanel is quoted as saying "To always take off the last thing you put on so that you don't over accessorize." Perhaps this should be true of quilting, to take the last patterned fabric away, replace it with a solid so that the champion of the quilt is the craftsmanship, rather than a clashing of patterns. Food for thought!
The lovely curves in the Urban Deco Block are courtesy of the Quick Curve Ruler. I think I might put this down on my "to treat myself" list.

A bit of a search on Art Deco Quilts and I came across one that Ann Boyle had done for her son from Waverley Patchworkers, as blogged about on Addicted to Quilts.

via Waverley Patchworkers

Truly gorgeous, and so different from the dusty rose and pistachio green quilts ...

I am looking forward to getting my own sewing space back when we move house, perhaps then I will have more motivation to do more sewing ... 4 weeks to go, 4 weeks to go!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

How to train your Dragon

We finally got around to watching "How to Train your Dragon". I think that we missed this one at the cinema because it was initially released as a 3D movie and I tend not to go well with 3D movies.

It was uncanny how many cat characteristics they gave the Night Fury, even to the point of liking grass! We watched the movie because Tori and Dadda have tickets to the Dragon Arena Spectacular on Thursday. Tori loved the movie and come bedtime, she chose two of her favourite books to read.

Tom's Clockwork Dragon is a gorgeous "steampunk" children's book which is visually inviting not only for the child but also the parent. The story is quite complex for younger readers, but we used to simplify the language when we read it to Tori in the early days.

The other book which is Tori's favourite is "Where did all the Dragon's go?". Based on a poem by Faye Robinson, it provides a plausible explanation for thunder and lightening, one which was reinforced in "How to train your dragon". The illustrations are gorgeous.

Etsy even have a crochet pattern for toothless ...

Toothless crochet dragon by Hafik

I'm quite happy to support my daughters love of Dragons, far nicer than a Barbie!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Happy Birthday Nicholas

The 18th of February flew past at a rapid rate in our household. I ended up with Gastro, then Nicholas had a ruptured eardrum and then I ended up going over on my ankle at work. I think that we have had all of our 2012 health bad luck in one month! Blogging and Konstant Kaos have both taken a hit with me returning to work as well. On top of all this, we are moving house in 5 weeks ... yep, we live life to the fullest!

So I am only now getting around to posting pictures of Nicholas' First Birthday.

The fist is in the mouth because we have tooth number 9 coming through. His first two teeth fought through at 4 months and for the last 8 months it feels like he has been constantly teething.

Even though it was Nicholas' Birthday, Victoria felt that it was her duty as a big sister to help him blow out the candle. We struggled to get a picture with him and the cake because it was a "big sisters duty" to help.

After the cake was demolished he was rather happy with himself. Tremendous amounts of fun and lots of mess for Mummy and Daddy to clean up.

Mummy and Nicholas looking quite tired.

At 1 year he was 78.5cm and 10.775 kg. He is well into size 1's and is mostly wearing 18month and 2 year clothes (compared with Tori who at 4 1/2 is still wearing a size 2 skirt ...).

Such a different baby to Victoria. With Nicholas we battled through 12 months of breastfeeding. He is a lazy feeder and baby who suffered lots of respiratory problems early on in life. Since our stint at Mitcham Private Mother Baby Unit, he has been a happier baby (and a happier Mummy).

He is cruising and trying to stand by himself. We have had a few steps away from furniture, but mostly towards someone. He finds pegs fascinating and loves to hide things under the rugs and then go back for them. He is a relaxed, laid back little boy who has adjusted to childcare as if he was born into it (for that I am blessed). We are babbling and every so often we hear Dadda and Mamma, although not with much intention.

I'm looking forward to the move and getting back my sewing "happy" space. Crafting is mostly limited to playing around with Jewelry at the moment due to space restrictions. My creative space at the moment is developing curriculum for my Year 7 and Year 11 classes!

Next Birthday will be my 40th in 5 weeks time *gulp*