Nyssa Jayne Makes It! on shoesandblues.com

The Neil’s Pyjamas

I promised Neil a pair of pyjama pants quite a long time ago.  I think I even made some, but I never gave them to him.  Then, when I was shopping for gingham, the cotton flannel was pointed out to me.  Now, to be fair, I did need some — around half a metre or so.  Instead, I bought three metres of it because it was on clearance and I’m a cliche.

Matchy matchy!

I like learning new techniques on pyjama projects because if it doesn’t go quite to plan, it’s not a big deal.  No one’s going to see anyway, except perhaps the cat, and he’s not fussed.  All he wants to do is sit on the paper pattern during construction and on your lap at the end.

I decided to try a little bit of print matching on this project and aimed to match the plaid horizontally.  It’s not perfect, but I must say, this came out a lot better than I expected!  The pattern is Simplicity 3638, although I omitted the drawstring, used two lengths of 6mm elastic instead of one length of thicker elastic, and added a nifty pocked on Neil’s request.  I’m very happy with the result, so happy in fact that I demanded Neil jump on the bed and pose for a picture.

Neil has now had a chance to sleep in them, and said, “I slept like a rock.  No, wait, a log.  A sleepy log.”

October 22nd, 2012 | No Comments
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Somewhere Over the River…

Being Australian, I’ve never really celebrated Halloween.  My parents, among many other parents of a similar age, wrote it off as an unnecessary holiday and that was that.  Maybe I’ll never understand trick-or-treating, but I’ll tell you what, dressing up sounds like an excellent idea.  A day dedicated to getting your costume on!  Why not celebrate?  It sounds like fun and for the first time, I have a Halloween party to attend.  Good friends of the blog, Johnny Rock and The Limits, are hosting a Halloween party this year, on a motherfucking boat.

Halloween on a Boat!

So the next question is, of course, what to wear.  There has been heated discussion about whether Halloween costumes must have a ghoulish theme to them or not, although Neil is believes all costumes can be zombie-fied.  I have chosen a costume that is not ghoulish, but it is easy to add a little taste of the un-dead.  I’m now so excited about dressing up that I picked up the supplies needed to make my costume yesterday after work.

I could've chosen silver shoes too.


Is it easy to guess what my costume will be?

October 11th, 2012 | 4 Comments
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My Denim Jacket

Miss Sophie of les anti-modernes* wrote a blog just over a week ago about what she considers one of her foundation wardrobe items, her denim jacket.  Now that Melbourne is considering moving into spring — don’t rush, M-Town — mine is getting a lot of play.

Some tasty Amco right there.


Mine belonged to my Dad, he owned it as a teenager in the late 1960’s.  He was really keen to give it to me last year, and I wasn’t as excited about it then, but it has really grown on me I must admit.  It’s a little worse for wear, but in a really perfect way.

How to be an indie kid.


These are the badges.  Pinning them on the jacket started off as a way not to lose them (this indie kid has a lot of badges), but now I kind of like them there.  There’s Bob Dylan and The Hovercrafts, plus a very sparkly Daffodil Day pin.  The one of the cassette is from The Melbourne Mixtape Exchange and I don’t know why she’s apples, but there was a time where it felt like every musician in Melbourne had a song about apples.  None of these songs appear to be on the Internet anymore, but in more recent times, Jakkson Fish and The Unholy Racket are keeping up the tradition with their song ‘Apples’.

October 3rd, 2012 | No Comments
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Impromptu T-Shirt Refashion

I have a lot of band T-shirts, mainly because I’ve seen a lot of bands.  I don’t wear them very often for a variety of reasons, however I could never, ever part with them.  There’s too many stories in there to just leave them at the op-shop.

Other than the big reason why I don’t wear them (I can’t wear them to work), another reason why is that many of them are not particularly stylish.  Now, I’ll be honest, some of them I did acquire years ago and I have changed shape.  That’s not the shirt’s fault.  However, most of them are just plain ol’ unflattering.  You know what I mean — they’re all boxy “ringer” t’s, with the high, round neckline.

Well, a neckline problem is something I can fix.

Ah, Golden Plains <3

I cut the neckline off of a T-shirt and shaped it into a V-neck. I took a bit off the sleeves as well, just for good measure, before finishing the edges with bias tape.  I made the bias tape from fabric that remained from an op-shop dress that I ruthlessly hemmed.  I thought about photographing the process, but there a blogs out there that have done it better than me, namely The Coletterie.  I’m still perfecting my bias-tape techniques.

As for the story of this shirt, I bought it at this year’s Golden Plains festival.  The artwork associated with each year’s festival is always beautiful and this year was no exception.  You can see more of it archived at Aunty’s website.

September 16th, 2012 | 1 Comment
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Bright and Cheery Chili Con Carne

Neil and I spent this weekend at a holiday house in Bright, Victoria, doing Not Much.  We watched movies, wore slippers most of the day, poked faces at Baby Mollie, and put shoes on to go to the Bright Brewery in town.

Nick, Sam, Neil and I worked out way through their regular beers, the boys did the seasonal beers with a little of my help, and we learned a lot about what goes into making a good brew.  One of these brews was a porter called Staircase Porter, and while it was a bit heavy for me (I really liked the Lager), I knew what I could do with it.  With a nod to what I’ve learned from Jamie Oliver, I present to you…

Bright and Cheery Chili Con Carne

Now I don’t really like cooking, but people love to eat this, including myself, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

For around 6 people, you’re going to need:
2 onions
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1 beef stock cube
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon of ground chili
1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon
(when I say “teaspoon”, this is not a strict measure.  Make the chili a couple of times and adjust for taste.  I sometimes put in a little paprika too).
500g mince
Hefty splodge of tomato paste (let’s say 30mL, a shotglass worth)
2 420g tins of chopped tomato
1 420g tin of  of 4 bean mix
1 400g jar of peppers/capsicum
And about 50-70mL of Bright Brewery’s Staircase Porter
(or your favourite porter of course.  Staircase Porter isn’t widely stocked — yet.)

Now you’ll need to do this:

1. Finely dice the onion, carrots, celery and garlic.  I go mega-fine because I have limited patience with stirring.  Mega-chunky lets you be “rustic” of course, but the next step will take a little longer.
2. In a  huge-ass pan with a splash of oil (from the capsicum is great) fry off the vegetables until the onions are brown and the carrots are soft.
3. Add in the stock cube and spices and stir for another 30 seconds or so.
4. Break up the mince into the pan with your fingers and fry off until almost all browned.
5. Stir through the tomato paste.
6. Add in tinned tomatoes, drained capsicums and drained beans.  If you’re not going to be putting in any beer, don’t drain the beans and tip in the juice too.
7. Refill one of your tins with water and add that to the pan as well.
8. Add the beer!  I’ve listed a “serving suggestion” of 50-70ml, but basically, the way you add it is you open a bottle of beer, tip some into the food, have some yourself, and then tip a little bit more in.

Bring this all to the boil, before turning down to simmer for 45mins – 1hour, basically until it’s not watery anymore and is looking like chili con carne.

Serve the way you love to serve chili.  We had it with rice and corn chips, but you know, there’s tortillas, tacos, it takes good on a toasted sandwich the next day, whatever, just don’t forget the sour cream and grated cheese man.  And the rest of your beer.

August 19th, 2012 | 4 Comments
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Cue the Doom Music

It’s exam season.  And if I’m absolutely fair, I fare okay this semester — only two exams to sit, whereas most of my RMIT pals are up for a heart-breaking four exams (yes, it’s all well and standard until you’re looking down the barrel at four exams, when everything is considered barbaric).

Today is my Software Engineering Fundamentals exam.  It’s as fun as it sounds — three hours of UML diagrams.   At the moment, it feels like the only thing I may gain from doing well is that the following xkcd comic is another layer of funny:

Best of luck to everyone in the same, two-to-three hour long situation.  Afterwards, I’m going to show you some new clothes I made.

June 13th, 2012 | No Comments
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Missing: Lambs

It’s one of those weeks so far.  You may know of the ones.  Your brain shuts down and it takes your body with it, leaving you to tell your brain to quit it!  Get up!

Then you realise you’re not only talking to yourself, you’re arguing with yourself.  It’s a cylindrical problem you see.

However, enough about that.  I did finish up knitting a small piece, a Bo Peep Scarf, from Tiny Owl Knits.

Where are my fucking sheep

I’m wearing it with a handmade Taffy blouse, in the softest, greatest silk/cotton blend I’ve ever loved.  It just keeps getting softer!

I’m particularly fond of Tiny Owl Knits — I’ve made the Amy March Slippers and The Forest and Frill shrug, and while there is nothing terribly innovative about her techniques or construction, the prose she uses to write her patterns are worth the cost alone.  This scarf was just about increasing and decreasing the scarf at particular points so as to accommodate being tied into a bow once completed.

I did make one adjustment.  There is a garter stitch edge all around the scarf, to help roll the stockinette under and keep the bow looking neat.  I decided to line the back of the scarf so that a) the bow would stand up better and b) so that I could neatly tack the garter stitch edge down.


Tilly, the cat that slouches atop this blog, as always, has been helping me knit.  Just when I think I’ve been having a rough time, all I do is have to look at him and see that he’s wearing a funnel on his head.  The poor sod went in for a routine vet check-up and get some vaccinations, and ended up having to have a toe amputated.  At least I have all my toes, right?

June 5th, 2012 | 2 Comments
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Better Than Shopping

I have been obsessed DIY blogs lately, from all ends of the fashion spectrum.  From the ever-changing, forever trendy end of the fashion bloggers, to the niche, chaotic, yet structured kids in Japanese street-fashion kicks, I am in love with it all — especially those who make it.

Ivania from Love Aesthetics summed up what it’s like to create something when altering an H&M jacket:

“I can’t wait to wear it tomorrow! I literally jumped in the air when I realized that I managed to align the two zippers perfectly, this feels even better than buying a new jacket!”

That quote sums it up perfectly!

I think I shall post more photos of what I make.  I’m not entirely sure I look great on the Internet, but we’ll see how it goes.

February 13th, 2011 | No Comments
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Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope this new year is relaxing and ridiculously good looking.

Long cat is long.

January 2nd, 2011 | No Comments
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I am making a dress for New Year’s Eve.  This is something I attempt every year and I usually end up wearing the results three months to two years later.  I’m on track this year, although I do have a backup dress, just in case.

This is the sewing machine I use, a late 70’s model Janome.  It belongs to my Mum, but it lives with me until Mum wants it back (and she just invested in a whizz bang new Janome).  I learned how to oil it the other day so it is chugging on like a… well, like a machine.

I myself, am not a genius.

The sticker on it says “I’m a Genius!” because when we were younger, my brother Jared and I thought it was dead clever Mum could make all these things.  I stand by it.  She’s better than me.

December 30th, 2010 | No Comments
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