Crocheted produce bags

The issue of plastic waste is really topical and important but so frustrating. On one hand you feel the politicians you've elected into office aren't being hard enough on the industries that make and use so much plastic. On the other hand you realise how difficult it can be to avoid plastic in everyday life. I still think my plastic consumption is too high and the major culprit is packaging of cosmetics and food. I have made a bit of progress switching out things like shampoo and body wash for bar soaps but the majority of my cosmetics and skincare still comes in plastic. When it comes to food I've noticed I've become much more aware of the plastic packaging since we started separating it from the mixed waste. Seeing how much waste is created over a week really makes you pay attention. One part of my food related plastic waste I've been meaning to eliminate for a while is the small plastic bags for fruits and vegetables. Now, most supermarkets (in Finland) have the biodegradable bags these days but I've heard some people say they're not so great since they degrade so slowly and that they have to be…

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Carmen Jones

I stumbled on this movie when I was doing a school project last year and became fascinated with African American style icons from the 50's. I was looking into Dorothy Dandridge's work and saw the trailer for Carmen Jones. A movie based on an opera made in 1954 with an all black cast? I had to watch it! I haven't watched many movies from the 50's and only a handful of musicals so I wasn't sure what to expect. Let's just say, the plot is what it is. It's based on an opera from the 1870's after all. There was also a lot of dubbed singing, which was hard to get used to. I kept watching anyway, mainly because Dandridge was so captivating and I couldn't keep my eyes of her colourful dresses.  I especially love the hooded peach dress she's wearing towards the end of the movie. Her costars didn't disappoint either with their glamorous outfits and headpieces. I looked up Mary Ann Nyberg, the costume designer of the film and learned that she worked on the 1954 version of A Star is Born. I'm a bit curious to watch the earlier versions now that I've seen Bradley Cooper's…

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Flounce & Bounce – A fashion love story

Hello fellow humans! Where did the time go? I can't believe it's the middle of April already. I've been super busy with some very intense courses at school, hence the blog silence. But I'm now trying to catch up and revisit my vows of self discipline.Here's a skirt I finished months ago but photographed in March. I often write about my long love affair with colours and prints on this blog but recently I was reminded of a third thing to add to that list, flounces! You could add all kinds of ruffles and frills under this category as well. If you're unsure about the difference between flounces and ruffles ( as I was until writing this), here's a good explanation. It's never mattered whether flounces/ruffles are trending or not, whether they've been considered too romantic or girly, I've always loved them. Now that I've made this skirt, I think I need more frilly pieces in my wardrobe. Maybe a summer dress with a huge flounce over the shoulders or a top with some ruffled sleeves. I'll have to add them to my sewing list.The pattern for the skirt was made a couple of years ago. I didn't have enough…

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Joyce Bryant

Last spring I was working on a school project that was partly inspired by 1950's fashion. While doing research I came across these amazing black women in entertainment that I had never heard of before. Women who were being their awesome bad ass selves at a time when racism was the norm. One of those women is Joyce Bryant. My jaw dropped when I first saw images of her. From the fantastic Zelda Wynn Valdes gowns she was often wearing to her distinctive silver hair, she just oozes confidence and glamour. I could look at these images of her endlessly! This project made me rethink about how I do research for my projects and which sources I use. I only came across Bryant after I refocused my research and started digging deeper. I got tired of coming across the same images over and over again when looking into 1950's fashion. Images of the same white women I feel I've been seeing since vocational school a long time ago. For a moment I got sad and angry about it but then I figured it's better to try and do something about it. For me, that means educating myself and being more…

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The joy of learning new things

I love learning new things, especially new ways to create. My curiosity and my love of learning are things I hope I will never loose sight of, no matter how old I get. Last spring I got to try something I've been curious about for a while, jacquard weaving. Even though I struggled with understanding some the technical aspects of this method, it was still a lot of fun experimenting with different structures and yarns. I'm so happy that I can now design my own fabrics for a collection if I wanted to. Finding a weaving mill that would be willing to weave those designs however, is very difficult. The images below are from my collection The Voyager's Mementos. It was inspired by a a nomad traveling the world and all the marvelous sights and cultures they encounter. You can find more images of the collection under Works.

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I’m wearing lab coats now

Ok, it's one lab coat. I'm always looking for a specific garment when I go to second hand stores but lately I've been increasingly trying out those odd garments that are never on my list. It's part of my "embrace my weirdness" part of self acceptance but also because when I usually go in looking for coats, I end up finding skirts. The best finds usually happen when I'm looking for something else. Last fall I did a little tour of the vintage and second hand stores in Kallio I had meaning to visit for a while. I was mostly looking for cardigans and bags but also just checking out the offering in the area. In one of the stores I picked up this lab coat. It was one of those "if it fits, I'm buying it" moments. I was surprised I picked it out because I only own one white garment and I've never worn it (it was a gift and has sentimental value). But I remember feeling excited when I walked home and giggling at the idea that I would soon be walking around Helsinki wearing a painted lab coat. In the end I sprayed the coat instead…

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2019 – The year of Action

2019 has gotten off to a rocky start but I'm determined not to let all these difficulties and insecurities crush me. Last year I didn't make traditional new year's resolutions, instead I choose to focus on gratitude. To have it be a guiding theme for the year. Practicing gratitude is not easy, especially in this fast paced world we live in and for a overthinking individual like myself. It's something I'm going to have to keep working on because I honestly believe it's the key to having a more positive outlook on life. In 2019 my guiding theme is going to be ACTION! Not as in watch a new action movies every week but as in get shit done! I had a bit of an aha moment last fall when I realised that the self discipline I've been telling myself I need in order to start certain projects is not going to fall from the sky. I either have to start having self discipline or keep writing long list of things that never get done. So I looked into this mysterious thing called self discipline and it turns out it all comes down to habits and being consistent with those…

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Belle

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the culture I consume. I've been for example asking myself why I like watching costume and period dramas so much and the problematic aspect of watching them as a black woman. There's this interesting article by Monique Jones where she explains the many things she finds difficult watching what she calls problematic faves. I can really relate to her dilemma. Every time I'm watching shows like The Crown or Victoria, I start thinking about colonialism and all the horrible things that came with it. Do I stop watching them? No. Am I conflicted about it? Very much so. When I was growing up and watching these costume and period dramas I wasn't thinking so much about it. These rich white families from centuries ago felt so far removed from my own reality that I watched them with the same fascination as with sci-fi or fantasy movies. But over the years I've become more self conscious about it and started analysing them in a different way. Lately though I've become even more critical. There are plenty of these dramas being made every year and they often only feature white actors. The few roles there…

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Winter is coming – So I made a Beanie

Ok, so winter is kind of here already but I've got Game of Thrones on my mind. I've been doing serious closet cleanup sessions lately, taking out all those garment and accessories that no longer work for me for different reasons. That has also included letting go of pieces made from animal fibres. While layering is an alternative for wool, I've struggled to find replacements for some of my beanies. It seems that everything on the market is either wool or acrylic. The few beanies that are made from cotton are made for people with much smaller heads than mine. I've been reluctant to crochet a beanie since the last time I did it, I ended up with a heavy and weird shaped beanie that I rarely used. Tired of googling ethically produced cotton beanies I decided to give a crocheted version another go. This time I would try to find a pattern and make sure I got the fit right. Thank goodness for Pinterest because it didn't take long before I found this simple way of crocheting a beanie, that even beginners can do. You don't have to worry about decreasing stitches, only how big of a fold (or…

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Read This Book!

I had a class earlier this year where we had to read a chapter from Tansy E. Hoskins book Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion. Unlike many of the other readings we had to do for the course, I read the chapter really fast and immediately decided that I had to read the entire book. I was already aware of many of the things Hoskins examines in this book but I had never had them all compiled on one plate and served to me with such razor sharp straightforwardness. This book has forced me to look long and hard at my own consumer habits and all the industry myths I buy into. After reading this book I can't justify buying fast fashion anymore, even if I'm only buying those very basic staple garments that I know I will wear until they falls apart. What's so great about this book you ask? Chapter by chapter Hoskins examines the very many ways the fashion industry exploits and destroys people and nature. She debunks myths about high end fashion and exposes how most of the industry is ruled by a few conglomerates. At the same time she describes how all of it…

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Another reason why I love crochet

I learned to crochet when I was a kid but to this day I still find new things about the technique to get excited about. There are so many styles of crochet and you can make such a wide range of things. Good thing for me 'cause I love learning new things. A good friend of mine gifted me with a Molla Mills calendar that got me interested in tapestry crochet. It's something that's been on my list of techniques to learn but have struggled to find time for. Having the calendar on my wall has been a good reminder of that list but for some reason I really wasn't into crocheting some swatches as I usually do when testing new stitches. Then I made a stupid mistake and put my lucky cat purse in the washing machine. It went in intact and dirty but came out clean with a bunch of holes. So I thought a new pouch/purse for my phone would be a good size product to test tapestry crochet. I choose this graphic pattern for November from the calendar and improvised my way through it. There were some rows where I  counted the stitches wrong but otherwise it…

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Another set of d.i.y. cotton pads

Last year I started working on finding alternatives to regular single use cotton pads. I crocheted a couple of sets and I've been using them regularly. I have noticed however, that when it gets really cold the crocheted pads are a bit too rough on my skin and I end up returning to disposable ones. So that's why I decided to make an additional set of cotton pads that are a bit softer. This time I made them from trey cloth instead of crocheting. I could have cut them into squares to make it easier but for some reason I really wanted them to be round. Overlocking the edged would probably have been faster too but I was too lazy to go back to the store and buy more cotton yarn. Luckily, I had some water-soluble support material left over from some school project ages ago. It made zigzagging way easier and neater. I usually do laundry once a week or every other week and I'm currently testing the double cleansing method so that requires a lot of cotton pads. I'm gonna try these out for the next few months and see how I like it. Have you tried reusable…

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