Driving Home For Christmas

Ever heard the theory that Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is actually about an obsessive husband who has finally tracked down his estranged family in hiding? You’ll never hear it the same way again.

I’m driving home for Christmas
Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces
I’m driving home for Christmas, yea
Well I’m moving down that line
And it’s been so long
But I will be there

Eh… Merry Christmas?

Project: Ombre Flower Clutch

I’ve been on the search for an ombre bag for a few months now. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find what I was looking for. There was a very clear picture in my head of what I wanted: embellished, feminine, not too dainty. Anything I found online just wasn’t right. Wrong colour, wrong fabric, too big, too small…

What do you do when you can’t find it? Sew it yourself! So I did:

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I love it.

Here’s how I made it…

Continue reading Project: Ombre Flower Clutch

First Dress: Bodice Mockup

read that it is helpful to make a toile (also referred to as a muslin) before starting your actual garment. You essentially create a mockup in cheap fabric before you commit to the good stuff. It’s supposed to reduce waste of your precious fabric and, if you do it right, give you a better fit.

Some people rely on finished measurements supplied with a pattern and skip the toile altogether, but I decided to take the extra step. I really struggle with standard bust measurements in shops, so I liked the idea of being able to see how it fit before I made the commitment.

Continue reading First Dress: Bodice Mockup

First Dress: The Fabric

I could have been a responsible adult and used something from the many piles of fabric in my house, but I just couldn’t help myself getting something new. It’s my first dress, after all! If you can’t treat yourself to new fabric under those circumstances…

Continue reading First Dress: The Fabric

First Dress: Pattern Pieces

I’ve never used a predefined pattern before, especially one with so many different markings. Thankfully, the McCalls pattern (variation D) was quite straightforward and had just six pieces to cut out.

Neither you or I could have predicted a time-lapse video of me dumbly tracing shapes would exist, but here it is. I’d say sorry, but I had to sit through it!


First Dress Project: Pattern Pieces from Narelle Gibbons on Vimeo.

Continue reading First Dress: Pattern Pieces

New Hobby Alert

My hobby is essentially collecting hobbies. In the last two years I’ve done handbag design, watercolour painting, sewing, wooden furniture, crochet, singing, knitting, baking, needlepoint, short stories…. I’ve lost count.

I think it stems from my obsession with being handy if a Zombie Apocalypse comes. Web development isn’t exactly going to be the most sought after skill, unless you’re talking Matrix style Apocalypse. I could roll programming and knitting into one really cool offering there. I’d fix so many holey jumpers in Zion, the rave scene would look like a GAP advert.

Continue reading New Hobby Alert

Digitally Naive

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s full of absolute rubbish, but I like to keep an eye on how my family and friends are doing. From time to time I find myself angry as I scroll through my timeline. Like today, when one of my relatives liked and shared this post:

Oh come on. Seriously? That’s a photograph? Of the Pope and Mary? Really? REALLY?

It was then, as I hunched over my phone scrolling through hundreds of comments to find at least one other person who thought it was hilariously fake, I realised why it had angered me.

Facebook is a place where intelligent yet digitally naive are exposed to a world they don’t really understand. It’s hard to watch. I think I’ll take a break from it for a while.

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Spoiling the Makeup Magic

I don’t normally wear makeup to work, mostly because my lazy priorities lie in getting that extra time in bed. I’ve never been a morning person, and flip between jealousy and annoyance at those who have themselves together before 8am.

Sometimes I try to pretend I’m an organised morning person and take advantage of a quiet train to put some makeup on: coverup, mascara, blusher. To ‘frame the face’, as Jeremy Renner recommends. Nothing crazy that requires two sponges, a paint brush and the the support of the entire Kardashian family – less than a two minute job normally. And never on a packed train.

The reactions of fellow passengers can vary. Most people don’t care or aren’t conscious enough to notice. Some other women take it as a cue to pull out their own makeup. Then you get the odd man, normally in his 20s-30s, who can’t seem to handle it.

They look over constantly and seem to get very uncomfortable. I’ve even had a few tut their disapproval (this morning, for example – hence the blog post).

I’m petty sure I understand why.

They don’t want to know how sausage is made.

By sausage, I mean my face.

By my face, I mean the thin cover of lies that pretends I’ve got actual colour in my cheeks and eyebrows that don’t have gaps like a morse code training book.

It’s like that time I watched a YouTube video of how caviar is made. I knew roughly what it was made of, but seeing it actually happen up close… not cool.

It spoils the magic. I guess that makes us the Penn and Teller of the makeup world.

The Perfect Puppy

I’ve been a dog owner for over a year now and I love it. It feels natural to look after the tiny, fluffy, living creature that I essentially keep captive in my house, but it wasn’t something that came easy. I was really worried – I had no previous knowledge of keeping or training a dog. Growing up, my family were more goldfish people!

As I like to do with any new project, I spent weeks researching what I’m supposed to buy, prepare, and expect. I think it’s fair to say that there is a lot of information out there, and everyone has an opinion. It was pretty overwhelming, so I ended up going back to basics and looked for a book.

After reading a ridiculous number of book reviews, I settled on the number one book for Dogs on Amazon (with 300 x 5 star reviews): The Perfect Puppy by Gwen Bailey.

It took me a couple of days to read it cover to cover, but I came out of it with so much knowledge and confidence in what was to come. The main questions I had were:

  • What should I expect on the first night?
  • What happens if he tries to go to the toilet in the middle of the living room floor?
  • When do I feed him?
  • How do I teach him what’s right and wrong?
  • When can I take him for a walk?

The book covered everything I wanted to know and more. One of my favourite sections was the suggested routine, something I was quite worried about:

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I didn’t go for the exact routine they laid out, but just knowing what was needed (a LOT of pee breaks) really helped.

I won’t go through the book page by page, but if you have a puppy and are looking for something simple to read to get you started, this is it. It breaks down all the training into easy chunks, and answers the stupid questions you’re afraid to ask.

Among the many things I took away from this book, two things stood out for me:

  • It’s all about patience. Just keep at it and your puppy will get it eventually.
  • Never punish, only praise. Dogs don’t understand why you’re shouting, so there’s no point.

A year down the line, this still holds true.

The book is also bursting with cute puppy pictures. This was my favourite, his little face is adorable!

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Recommended!

Are you sure? Are you really sure? We have an app for that!

I can’t be the only one who gets irritated with this. You find an interesting link on your mobile, click through and are faced with this taking over your entire screen:

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Hey, I’m all for promoting apps. It’s a great thing, and sometimes I didn’t even realise you have one. But don’t push it in my face like that one aunt at the party who tries to get you to “try the quiche, you’ll love it”.

All I want to do is read your article titled “17 reasons Zac Efron’s left arm looks like Deirdrie Barlow’s throat”. I don’t think that necessitates a full app, nor I do I have the time or the attention span to download it.