Saturday, 31 December 2011

Christmas Bokeh

This post was inspired by this blog post on the lovely Meredith's blog, 'One Sheepish Girl' - which in turn, was inspired by a post on The Friendly Fox! They both blogged about this beautiful photography effect, which I think is called Bokeh (photography experts, feel free to correct me!). It just so happens to be perfect for the festive season, with all of these pretty lights twinkling all over the place.

It's so simple to do - just cut out a small shape from a piece of card, hold it in front of your camera lens with the aperture open really wide, and snap away!

The shapes appear smaller as the aperture gets smaller... and that really is all there is to it. I'm not sure if it works on ordinary digital cameras, but my DSLR made it work perfectly. (Totally justifies buying it!).

Sadie xxx

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas Time

Call me Scrooge, but I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas. Something about its scale just seems to odd, in a country that is hardly religious anymore. That said, I do love the whole 'warmth' of it; the pretty lights, the indulgent food and coming back home from uni (and literally being warm, of course - I've never appreciated heating so much).

Just thought I'd write a short post to share some of my Christmas snaps, which I hope get across that certain Christmassy 'je ne sais quoi'. Including one of my old piano duet books, complete with instructions on which finger to use - cute!

 The obligatory chocolate coins... and notes??
Mum's special request - 'wet walnuts'
New reading material - can't wait to get cracking on these!

...after finishing these :(...

...Aaah! Unfortunately the whole shebang is somewhat ruined by the impending deadlines that a new term at uni will bring. First on my agenda: a rather soul destroying economics essay. So if blogging is a bit intermittent, this is why!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas and that school/uni/work isn't getting in the way of having a good time!

Sadie x

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Boutique by Jaeger

You'll have to excuse the label-loving nature of this post because, well, I just can't help it! I can't remember how I first found out about Boutique, a new line from luxury brand Jaeger, but I really do love the pieces in their collection, which is described as 'combining a playful ‘60s spirit with a clean, contemporary aesthetic'. Just up my street.

So you can imagine my delight when I went for a spontaneous look around Birmingham's Selfridges with my house mate, only to discover a large corner dedicated to Jaeger and its younger sibling... with a sale. It was only supposed to be a bit of post-dinner window shopping!

I picked up these blue corduroy high waisted shorts, reduced from £60 to £35 (although I have seen them on ASOS for £99!). They look like a match made in heaven with my vintage Jaeger blouse (£2, charity shop!), don't you think?

As you may or may not know, I am currently trying to shop much more ethically. I've tried to cut out cheap fast fashion completely from my shopping diet, leaving just three options when I want to buy 'ethically': second hand clothes, specific ethical brands, and 'luxury' brands (i.e. clothes built to last). Whilst I might not be quite there yet with my wardrobe choices, I'm hoping these shorts are 'built to last' - and after a quick once over, I can see the seams are nicely bound and the material is good quality. I hope they do not disappoint.

Sadie xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Late Night Sewing: Cushion Cover

Last month I finally got around to making a cover for a plain cushion that I spontaneously bought at Ikea at the start of the summer (Ikea: the land spontaneous and unnecessary purchases). I thought I'd make use of some of my old scraps of material - you may recognise the lace from my shelves at uni! The dark boiled wool is from an old skirt that didn't fit, and the pretty retro green fabric is something I pulled out from the bottom of a pile offcuts at a carboot.

Cushion covers are probably the easiest thing in the world to make, the only thing you need to remember is leave enough overlap for the seams, and to sew the two pieces together inside out when you assemble them. Apart from that, the world's your oyster - it's a good way to upcycle old bits of material, and they make sofas and beds extra comfy (and pretty!).

What do you think of them? I couldn't resist taking some photos of them basking in the warm light from my lamp... makes me feel all wintery... and dare I say it, Christmassy? (I'm normally a bit of a Scrooge!)

Sadie xxx

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Clothes Show Live: an ethical perspective

I was lucky enough to be given a press pass this year's Clothes Show Live, so yesterday I ventured to Birmingham's NEC all on my lonesome to join the masses of shoppers at this humungous event. If I'm honest, I was kind of dreading it - several football pitches' worth of fast fashion terrifies the living daylights out of me. But I wasn't really there for that: I had given myself the challenge of looking for ethical fashion brands, which thankfully were sprinkled in and amongst all of the rest of it.

For any of you who might be heading to The Clothes Show over the weekend, here is my ethical fashion round-up...

Oxfam Fashion
I couldn't not mention Oxfam Fashion here (I am one of their blog contributors, afterall!). I was pleased to see that they had two stalls, one filled with vintage clothing, and another for clothing customisation. They were selling vintage cashmere jumpers for a mere £15, so I snapped up a lovely green one. Wish I bought two now!

I watched one of the volunteers expertly customising a baby blue jumper with a pretty lace peterpan collar and some buttons - it makes all the difference, and is so easy to do (who needs Topshop?). Here is her work in progress...

Oxfam were running a competition at the show, to win a dress and necklace as worn by Beyoncé! It also included a 10% discount for their online shop. Very generous...

My second stop of the day (actually a happy accident... I had no idea where I was at any point, despite having a map), was the vintage section. Buying vintage is one of the most ethical ways to consume, as it means clothes are recycled rather than going into landfill, and it also means new clothes aren't created. And as a vintage lover, I'm not complaining...

I'd like to say a quick hello to the lovely lady who recognised me!

Brooches, necklaces, earrings, bracelets... at Sallys Jewellery
My top picks from Anita's Vintage Fair... can't believe I left that mod dress behind. It was only £25!

Ethical Brands
I was deliberately searching for ethical brands, but unfortunately only came across two! Nevertheless, these two t-shirt brands really stuck in my mind. Here are my favourite t-shirts...

On the left: This was from a selection of fairtrade t-shirts made from a rage of ethically sourced and sustainable materials, including bamboo! The illustrations were all original designs by Tomoya Hiramatsu - I found this particular design rather creepy but characterful! The people on the stall were very chatty and I so very nearly bought this t-shirt, priced at £25. You can find them online at Conquer Gear.

On the right: I wanted to buy this T-shirt at last year's show, but couldn't quite afford it (same applies this year). It is from the Environmental Justice Foundation, which successfully campaigned to get the poisonous chemical Endosulfan banned in many countries. They were selling a range of organic fairtrade t-shirts featuring illustrations by prominent fashion designers. This one by Luella Bartley was my favourite.
This is a rather innovative section of Clothes Show Live, and offers the public the chance to learn new skills and how to upcycle old items of clothing. They had an 'Inspiration Stage', upon which an appliqué competition was taking place when I walked past. There were also two knitting workshops which looked like a very good place to relax after a tiring day shopping.

So, what did I buy?
I thought I'd treat myself to a lovely green cashmere jumper from Oxfam Fashion, which I have already worn once - it's so cosy! I also stopped off at Dahlia to see what all of the blogosphere fuss is about. I picked up a peter-pan collar dress on their £10 rail - the dress was originally £60! And finally, a book on Eco Fashion from Laurence King, which I'm hoping will help me work out where I aim to work in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my guide... sorry it was a bit long!

Sadie xxx