Friday, December 2, 2011

Mistakes Create Opportunities

I think I’m like most people. I hate making mistakes. They are time consuming and just plain frustrating.  If I’m really honest here, I am very hard on myself when I make mistakes. I’m way more genuinely understanding of a stranger’s mistakes, than I am of my own.

I pulled up to the roundabout on the way home from a thread run to Spotters this morning. My first thought, as I look at the car on my right was “go! you’re missing your chance!” and of course it didn’t go…. so I grabbed the opportunity & floored it.

And then it hit me: wow! mistakes create opportunities…. and it got me thinking about how many mistakes in my life have turned into learning experiences or something amazing?

I’m just like everyone else,  I don’t take making mistakes very well at first. One advantage I do have is that I was bought up in a solutions oriented family, so I’m adept at tweaking things to make them work…. or perhaps I just make a lot of mistakes and have evolved into a fix-it person.  When I first started sewing, the majority of my “Oh Wow!” creations….. yep, they were mistakes!  These days, sewing every day, I try to find new and more efficient ways to put things together and I have to admit, most changes I make I come across accidently because I cut something too short or too long or sewed it upside down. My favourite linen/silk top fits better because, years ago, my dad kindly & lovingly did my washing for me and not only machine washed it but then put it in the tumble dryer. After I stopped crying I tried it on. A silly little thing that helped change the way I looked at mistakes. Even in my personal life, one of my bigger mistakes bought about my best creation EVER & such joy & love & blessing that changed my life forever in the most significantly awesome way that I can only ever be grateful for that mistake.

And then it got me thinking….. what other unexpected discoveries have been made by mistake? So  I googled:
·         The Slinky, Silly Putty, Play-Doh - the inventors of these childhood amusements discovered them by chance while trying to discover or invent other things.
·         Cornflakes – boiled wheat was accidently left out for too long & became brittle
·         Potato chips - to spite a customer who complained that his fries were cut too thick, this guy sliced a potato paper-thin and fried it to a crisp. And the customer loved them!
·         Penicillin - Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming was researching the flu in 1928 when he noticed that a blue-green mold had infected one of his petri dishes – and killed the staphylococcus bacteria growing in it.
·         Artificial Sweetener - because a couple of scientists forgot to wash their hands.
·         Popsicle - invented by an 11 year old, by mistake, who kept it secret for 18 years.
·         The invention of the humble Post-It Note was an accidental collaboration between second-rate science and a frustrated church-goer.
·         Superglue

·         Teflon

·         Vaseline

·         The Microwave

So I guess James Joyce (he’s the Irish novelist & poet who wrote Ulysses) was right when he said “mistakes are the portal for discovery”
Have a great day everyone, I’m off to make a few more mistakes…. I mean potential discoveries  J

Kate xo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who's That Girl?

So I’ve reached an age that I never even perceived. But here I am. Thankfully God blessed me with excellent genes & I’m able to live in denial a few years longer. Phew!

Double Phew that I didn’t write a long list of what I wanted to get done by now.
·         Ballerina – check
·         Fashion designer - check

…. because my life has changed so much in the last 3 years I'd have had to have thrown a longer list away..... in a good way.
I've gone from workaholic, city dwelling, career focussed, chic black wearing, foreign artsy movie watching, book reading, never stopping, designer, Melbourne-girl & single mother to one…  to multitasking, beachside dwelling, family focussed,  barefoot, Madagascar watching, blog reading, beach walking, never stopping (haha somethings won't change), designer of fun kidswear and gorgeously deliriously happy married mother of 5!
And all just by taking a risk & marrying the man of my dreams, moving thousands of kms from everything I’ve ever known. Best thing I ever did.

We have a beautiful raven haired 20 year old daughter who’s just coming into her own. From teenage princess (you know I love you sweetheart) to a fabulous 2-job, 2-uni courses (studying simultaneously) world traveller (off to China again next month for the 2nd time this year).

We have a 18 yr old son who’s in the difficult stage 17 year old boys find themselves in. Not a boy. Not a man… floating somewhere in between. When he finds his thing, this kid is going to soar. He’s got leadership skills that only come naturally and it puts a smile on my face for Future Son for the day I know is coming where he’ll find something to focus this.

Then there is our gorgeous 13 yr old. Something happened last summer that catapulted this primary school kid into a glowing, beautiful, poised high school kid. She’s our creative hard worker. She’s the girl that everyone likes because she’s just so likeable! And what’s exciting me even more is the emergence of a young lady who knows the difference between right and wrong and isn’t afraid to tell anyone. Strong and sweet. What an amazing combination.

Next in line is our 12 year old son. He & I were a 2 people team until we joined with this fabulous family. I’m so proud of my little boy… my little man. He’s had everything he’s ever known change on him and for the most part, excelled in that change. My clever boy is so thoughtful, doing lovely little things for everyone and (proud proud proud) was just accepted into his high school excellence program for next year. Interestingly his creative streak is just starting to show… in a love of crafts. And boy, can he talk!

Our littlest one is also 12. This child is the funniest person I know. Every single birthday card any of us receive, we crack up laughing at his sense of humour. He doesn’t know it, but you can tell how smart he is by his sense of humour. He’s also our most active and probably should have been born into an acrobat family. Every time the circus comes to town, I double check he’s not off looking for a job.

And my husband, what’s my husband like you ask. Well, I don’t think I’ve known a love like the one I have for my husband. And the way he loves me, unconditionally, is so wonderful. He’s one of those guys everyone thinks is hilarious in his political incorrectness. He’s really very naughty. But mostly, I’m very fortunate to have found a partner who’s just that… a partner. There’s no “sweetheart can you…..” in our house. Chances are, he’s already done it…yesterday. We share / co-do pretty much everything. His cooking is amazing. Moroccan Roast Lamb. Spicy Salt & Pepper Calamari. Sigh… He’s my strong, unique, hard working, non PC, exciting, snoring, funny, beautiful, tall, strong (did I mention strong?) rock. Most importantly, he’s so supportive of everything I do. In fact, he’s the one who’s been encouraging me from the day I moved to the Gold Coast from Melbourne to start my own line. He’s a rock to all 6 of us.

So that’s us. These are the people who, hourly, get subjected to “ooohhhh look what I did now!!” and give me just the right response even if they’ve seen it that day… several times.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Design Development...
First year uni. 
Aim: to teach the budding want-to-be designer to push past the first little sketch in her notebook, to push past that dress design she saw in that amazing shop, to push past the ideas of her favourite designer and to draw and draw and draw, making slight changes each time…sometimes 30, sometimes 100…. to create an idea that will become a design that will rock your socks off.

The design phase is such a wonderful, exciting, energising, fun time in the process of creating a new range.  You’ve already spent hours pouring over fabrics & narrowing down your choices.

You’ve gone backwards & forwards, balancing colours & designs, and next comes the glorious time when walking past a shop window makes you say “oooohhhh” and go scrambling in your handbag for your notebook only to get distracted by the beautiful trim on the side of your bag and “oooohhhhh” comes forth again and your heart starts to beat a little faster as you jot down ideas and little thumbnails (tiny little idea sketches).  

Armed with your overflowing notebook full of fabric swatches & sketches & cutouts, you hunt for the perfect trims. More “ooooohhh”s and “ahhhh”s are heard as ideas come passionately & excitedly to your head.

Sitting ankle deep in fabrics & trims, sketches and little mock-ups, laptop beside you, sketch program open, your favourite music  playing, pins in your mouth as you do the original style of “pinning” (omgosh I have a whole blog on this later) – the art of pinning fabrics to your stand (mannequin) as you try different fabrics & trims together in the endeavour of creating a combination that sings in harmony.

This is the phase I’m in now and all I can say is “omgosh omgosh omgosh!!!”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Running With Scissors...

When I was little, I dreamed of being a Fashion Designer. Well, a Fashion Designing Ballerina to be more exact. I was shy and tiny, and oh so creative. My first hand-me-down sewing machine & my ballet slippers were my most prized possessions.

I have this memory of this white doored cupboard at the start of the hallway in the “good” part of the house (the part where we weren’t supposed to run; where the furniture was so beautiful & so old. I’d sit for hours at the dining room table imagining other little girls who’d sat on these chairs 400 years ago: what they were like and, most important, what they wore).  Along with the day-to-day linens, this cupboard was full of treasures: beautiful pieces of handmade lace I can still picture in my head and feel in my hands; old as the hills heirloom linens with beautifully handcrafted embroideries in such pretty colours. Irresistible to this 4 year old. It was one of these fine cotton embroidered linens, a pillowcase, that proved to be my first downfall.  Strangely, no-one appreciated how beautiful my precious doll now looked in her new dress. She was a vision!

The next time I recall a monumental scissors events, which I prefer to remember as pure creative genius, was when I was around 6.  I was told one night that my little cousin was coming to visit us for the very first time. I bounced downstairs bright and early the next morning, to a very quite house and a blonde vision at the bottom of the stairs. Surely this beautiful creature, with her  long, straight, shiny, blond hair was a doll (major case of hair envy being curly frizzy & mouse brown). Taking a second look, I couldn’t help but see how much my 2 yr old cousin, with her waist length perfect hair, looked like my sisters doll Velvet… almost. All she need was a fringe.  Clearly she recognised creative genius because her answer was an unreserved YES!  And away I cut.  I don’t think I’d seen grownups cry before that. Or understood shame. Still, she did look stunningly fabulous in the somewhat lopsided fringe I cut and the matching cut-out bits in the bulk of her hair. She was a vision!

The years in between I remember trying on toiles, cold fingers, broken needles & pin pricks as I honed my skills under the guidance of my mum. Most of my skill I learnt from my mother who used to look over seas for inspiration long before anyone else here did. She’d create our outfits with a confidence “but I will be in fashion soon” and it always was.  She was a beautiful sewer with exquisite taste…. all except for the time she decided I needed a calico (yes, calico!) outfit complete with Elizabethan-like cream cluney lace at the drawstring neck & the hem of knickerbocker pants.  Not quite the vision I was after.

When I was around 14, my sister got her first paid job. She was so grown up at 16! One Friday she came home with a new dress… drop waist & baggy. Soooooo fashionable! She was so proud of that dress; her very first purchase with her very own money she’d earned. Gosh I wanted one. Next morning, I was sooooo excited to wake her up. “Look!!” The look on her face didn’t spell happiness. Opps. Took me years to understand that one. I just thought she’d see how clever I was. Not quite the vision she was after.

From cut-up heirloom pillowcases to flowered muumuu’s redesigned into flares to wear with my vintage Givenchy jacket, some of my best work has come from my mistakes.  In dolls circles, 4 yr old me was a legend…. a veritable visionary!

Welcome to my very first blog.