17th August 2016
So as you guys probably know last week it was my birthday, and a quite momentous one at that. The big three zero! But for some reason I always feel a little non-plussed about my own birthday (anyone else feel like that?), and when Ben asked me what I wanted to do I opted for a chilled lunch on the beach rather than anything major. I guess I just wanted something relaxing and low key?To be honest I really just expected a few towels laid out on the sand and my favourite people. I mean, you can have fun no matter what you do. Right? Ben told me to leave it to him and aside for organising the invitations (whatsapp comes in handy!) I let go. Soooo not like me, to opt out of planning the food and decorations, but we’ve just had so much on lately I was happy to sit back and let is all happen around me. Turns out it was the best thing I could do! Ben obviously knew what I wanted/needed more than I did myself, and not only was there a long table set up on the beach with beach club-esque pergola, delicious seafood and salads and all my favourite people, but there was personalised rosé anddddddd an ocean swing! Usually I wouldn’t share so many random personal tidbits, but this party was a DIYers dream and I knew you guys would love it as much as I did! Here are a few pics.
Ben and his friend Fránc came up with this idea to create an ocean swing, so you could sip and swing and swim at the same time. Ben sketched it up and had it made (helps to have a boyfriend who can design stuff!), and then Franc had it put up on the beach on the day….. (!!!!!!!) As we arrived at the beach by boat – it’s a beach that’s inaccessible by car/foot – it took me a few seconds to notice the swing. And then I just started losing it. I think I was screaming. Or maybe crying? Either way it was the best thing anyone has even done, so simple and so…me. Props to Ben and Fránc for one of the most epic ideas I’ve ever seen.
To top it all off, Ben designed these personalised rosé labels… He created them from scratch! Talk about taking it up a notch, how ever will I compete when his bday rolls around?
The table was so simple (and gorgeous) and naturally the wine was a-flowing!
We got great weather!!! It has rained every day before and since and I can’t help but wonder what Ben did to make this happen 🙂
In retrospect, the thing that made it the most enjoyable was that I only invited my best friends – my ‘friend family’ as such. In think if I had realised it was going to be such a nice affair I would have probably invited more people, extending the invitation to everyone I know. But because in my head it was lunch on towels on the beach, 20 seemed like the right number, meaning it was so intimate and personal. Something I’ll remember for future parties!
Wahhhhhh how fun! We managed to squeeze in a few boomerangs before we lost the light completely.
Honestly I think I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life, the only drawback is that my friends from other parts of the world couldn’t join (living in Brisbane, London and Hong Kong naturally means your friends are scattered like confetti) but they were all there in spirit. So were you guys! 🙂
15th August 2016
Welcome to ‘Things to do with Rope’. Episode 457. I’ve put quite a bit of time recently into working on the apartment update, it’s all happening quite quickly now… Once I’ve done a few major projects (I left the hard ones til the end, ugh) I’ll be ready to share it with you guys. Can. Not. Wait. As part of that, I’ve been playing around with lots of different DIY lighting ideas, and thought this would be a nice step on the pathway to full blown electrical projects… Hello wiring up the whole bathroom!*
- Light cord and bulb (we used this one, and painted it gold)
- Cotton Rope (try your local hardware store)
- A Hot glue gun
- Bulb (we used an Edison one which cast a softer light, good for if you don’t plan to have a lampshade).
- Beginning from the base of your light cord, put a small amount of hot glue there and start wrapping the rope around the cord.
2. Working with one portion at a time, put a streak of hot glue onto the cord and wrap the rope around it, taking care not to get any hot glue onto your fingers! It’s not pleasant.
3. Continue until you have covered the entire length of cord with rope. All done!
You could use one hanging down beside your bed as a reading light, or make a couple to hang over a dining table as a feature. Me? I’m going to be making another one to go over our nightstands. Fun!
* I joke guys, electricals are complicated and dangerous so make sure you get someone professional to do any of the tricky stuff!
Ps am currently recovering from a very very fun birthday weekend! Ben and our friends surprised me with the most amazing party, I’ll share a few pics soon. xxx
Photos by Bryant Lee.
12th August 2016
If there’s one place I’ve been that has made me want to stay indefinitely, it’s Barcelona. Everything about it is just so… cool. The food is incredible, the beach is right there, the streets are full of character, the sun shines and the people are gorgeous! They’ve also completely mastered the relaxed-but-at-the-same-time-impressive interiors which I’m down with. It’s a hard task to fit in because the Catalan’s are just so… dare I say the word ‘cool’ again without seeming like a creep? but one can definitely try. And when trying involves bike riding, replacing water with sangria and eating enough fresh fish to fill a small boat? Then so be it.
Once again you guys furnished me with enough recommendations to keep me going for months, and with intel from my cousin who’s lived there and another friend of ours who’s a local, we were pretty well equipped for this amazing city. Just sad it was only 4 days!
You must (MUST!) hire a bike and ride the entire city, ending the day with Paella and a swim!
In the barrios of El Born or Eixample. We stayed at the gorgeous Casa Bonay which I very much recommend, it was somewhat reasonably priced and was saaaaaa hip, kinda Ace Hotelesque, a vibe which I am unapologetically into. The only thing I would be careful of is that I think some of the inner facing rooms may not have many windows, which is a pet hate of mine, so maybe check if you are going for the cheaper ones. I also liked the look of the two Praktik locations and also Margot House.
See & Do
Hire a bike and explore the city, you’ll find bike shops everywhere although we loved the guys at Vespa Soul (the bikes are cute without any crazy ‘please rob me I am tourist’ branding and they gave me a basket!)
Visit the gorgeous cactus gardens at Jardins Mossèn Costa i Llobera, and then have a drink at the top of the hill overlooking the city.
Wander the different neighbourhoods of Barcelona, my favourite being Barceloneta (quaint beachy vibe), El Born (gothic quarter) and Gracia (design/artsy quarter).
Get to know the Gothic quarter, start early and wander the quiet streets.
Eat & Drink
Have delicious fresh seafood by the beach at either Gallito, Pez Vela (both right on the beach) or Barraca (across the road overlooking the beach). This was obviously my favourite spot to spend hours and hours.
Have an Aussie style breakfast at Federal cafe.
Eat incredible mexican at Hoja Santa (not cheap so good for a more fancy evening).
Have a drink at El Nacionale.
Have a drink and some delicious tapas at Quinmet & Quinmet.
Drop in for lunch at Boqueria, the main food market. Or even just ride by to pick up some frutas for your beach afternoon. Touristy yes, but so worth it!
At one of the restaurants in our Hotel – Libertine, Elephant Crocodile Monkey, Mother or Satan’s Coffee Corner.
Grab a coffee at Nomad.
Good to know
The best thing to do is to live like the gorgeous Barcelonean people – wake up late, ride around on a bike, have paella by the beach and then spend the afternoon in a sangria haze on a towel. A late dinner tops it all off!
Drinks and shoefies at El Nacionale
A visit up the hill to the cactus garden (wearing Paddo to Palmy top, vintage levis, Springcourt sneakers)
Plants & Coffee
My fave plants and coffee place in Poblenau.
More plants (sorry guys!). Wearing Cecelie Copenhagen top, Cotton On tank, The Simple Sandal and Coach bag.
Gorgeous gothic architecture.
Bought this record in a little shop.
Frutas! At Boqueria
My usual view… Ben on his bike.
Exploring the gothic quarter
La Manual Espadrille Shop
Sweets in El Borne
I loved the Example neighbourhood, with the chamfered buildings (the corners of the blocks cut out).
Shopping in El Born
The Catalans just totally get how beachside interiors should look.
Up close and personal with a cacti.
All about the greens.
A few little personal snaps – the yummiest fish at Gallito and Ben and I in the cactus garden.
Just booked my flights back to spain in a few months, this time it’s Sierra Navada, Granada, Cordoba and Seville! xxxx
11th August 2016
I’ve been a fan of the circle shape for as long as I can remember, there’s something so fun and feminine about that slight ruffle that comes with a circle. But although I’ve made my fair share of circle skirts, what I haven’t made enough of is other items that are based on the circle shape, which is silly considering they use the exact same process! When you think about it, the circle is inherent in so many things we wear, from a bell sleeve to a peasant top. We thought it would be fun to make a skirt, top and dress using the circle pattern, to show you just how easy it is.
If you tuned in for DIY Friday on Insta Story last week you will have seen us make this IRL, but I thought I would share with you the very very rough video of us making the circle top. Sorry for the portrait size guys, it’s so hard these days marrying up all the content properly, i.e. insta peeps was portrait and chances are you guys want landscape. 🙂 Arggghhhh.
This easy top works perfectly with a nice light fabric, I love the fluttering feeling of it. You’ll see when you’re making it that it’s a much bigger circle, that’s to accommodate the shoulders. One thing we did do that’s not shown is make a little silk bandeau to go underneath (like the base part from this) so that when you raise your arms your boobies don’t show. Or just wear a bandeau/strapless bikini top.
I’ve made this before but this time went for a darker, richer tone. This style works in so many different fabrics, but I like to go for something a little heavier so it has a bit of swish. Each to their own!
This was completely new to me, and was a really fun to make. If you are a bit curvy I would suggest belting this style so your figure doesn’t get lost, but if you have a more straight up and down figure letting it out without a belt so it billows nicely is a great option.
- Cotton fabric (2m/2.2 yards for the dress, 1.5m/1.6 yards for the skirt or 1m for the top)
- Invisible zipper
- Tailor’s chalk
- Measuring tape
- Sewing machine and thread to match
Depending if you are making the top, dress or skirt, you will need to take different measurements around the body using a soft measuring tape (to get more accurate measurements you may need an extra pair of hands to help).
For the top, take the measurement around your front and upper arms all the way round to the back, make sure the measuring tape is firm so that the top won’t slip down, but not so tight that it digs in. For the dress, you want to take your upper bust measurement, going around the body and under your armpits, again you want a firm but not super tight measurement. For the skirt, take your waist measurement i.e. the narrowest point on your torso but this time make sure you can still place three fingers under the measuring tape, this is to accommodate for your rib cage expanding when you breathe.
I am using the skirt as the demonstration in this tutorial but the same procedures apply for the top and the dress, just replace the waist measurement with the upper arm and upper bust measurements respectively. The first thing you want to do is fold the length of the fabric in half. Because I didn’t want to the garments to be too full, I only used a semicircle. From the folded edge on the selvedge, measure out the waist radius and desired length using the formula below.
Use a measuring tape to assist you in drawing the chalk lines, cut out the skirt and open it up. It should look like this. The top version will be much bigger the first circle (as you can see in the video).
Along the curve of the waist line, sew a 1cm stitching line. This is a stay stitch to prevent the waist line from stretching and warping out of shape.
Fold the semicircle back in half and pin the edges together. This will become your centre back and where you will be inserting the invisible zipper. Mark in the zipper gap and sew from that point down.
Turn the shirt right side out and then pin and sew in the invisible zipper. You can refer to this tutorial here for a detailed step by step guide to putting in an invisible zipper!
Cut 0.5cm (1/5 in) nicks into the waistline, spacing them about 2cm apart. This doesn’t have to be exact as the nicks are there to make it easier to fold back the seam allowance.
Fold and pin the seam allowance over at the seam line and sew down.
The next two steps with the elastic is optional but it gathers the fabric for some extra grip and helps prevent the garment from slipping off especially for the dress and the top versions. To attach the elastic, mark a point 10cm from the zipper tape using chalk and then cut two 5cm (2 in) long strips of elastic and pin them on either side of the zipper tape.
Sew the elastic onto the waistline of the skirt, pulling it towards the 10cm mark as you sew. This will gather the fabric.
For the hem, pin up 0.5cm (1/5 in) around the bottom of the skirt, and then fold over one to hide the raw edge. If you do the first fold small enough you shouldn’t have any trouble folding and sewing down.
Photos by Bryant Lee, Sketches by Annie Huang