Stars

 
 
 

Here are those photos I promised to share weeks ago of that new dress I made! University makes Josie a bad blogger. Oops! Despite being unbelievably busy I am still managing to have the time of my life with the study at least. Between memorising latin plant names and spending hours learning pruning techniques I'm in a bit of a nerdy sort of heaven!

This dress is a summer version of the Squirrel dress, made in a lovely lightweight linen, and I have been getting lots of use out of it in this seemingly never-ending Summer we've been having! The print was actually a tiny flower stamp I made, but the end result came out looking so much more like stars that I decided that would have to be it's name.

I have to admit I fought pink in all it's shades for a very long time, I think I just found it too 'girly'? I'm not sure why I didn't like it. I have recently embraced it's lovely cheerfulness though, and am suddenly finding myself attracted to all things pink, especially nice rich shades like this one, as well as lighter, peachier tones.

I have put the dress up in the shop, while I can still get my hands on this lovely linen (which is a sustainable fibre by the way!) I'm afraid I've had to extend my sewing times on most of the items in my shop due to my being so busy with school, sorry about that! I had a few requests on instagram for this dress though, so I thought I would list it just in case anyone out there could bear the long wait. :) You can find it here.
 
 

Bats of Leisure

 




Photographer- Sorcha Wilcox
Model- Hannah Alexander




Remember my intern Aoife from last year, who modelled for my Summer lookbook? Well over the summer holidays she was incredibly busy, making these beautiful dresses with her brother Aaron for their label, Bats of Leisure!

Aaron is an artist, and is responsible for the beautiful hand embroidery that features on each piece. There are so many hours involved in each work, it's incredible! Aoife is the seamstress, and so very talented. Can you believe that she's only 18, and just going into year 12? So much talent in this family!
I just love these photos by Sorcha Wilcox too, I think they really capture the beauty of the dry Australian landscape this time of year.

If you are in Melbourne, I would definitely recommend heading to Lady Petrova to check these creations out before they disappear. Each piece is a one off, and a real work of art!

In other news, I have been incredibly busy with University this week, but it is so much fun and I'm so excited to share what I've been doing here when I have a chance! I also have some photos of a new dress I made, I'm sure I'll get around to posting those at some point too. At the moment though I'm just trying to get used to fitting everything into my schedule, and absorbing all the exciting stuff that we are learning. Hope everyone is surviving the heat here in Melbourne this week!

x
 
 

Back to School

 


The time has arrived! This coming Monday I will be sitting in my first University class for the year. 
 
I thought I would take the chance to get in some last minute sewing, before I get too deep in study, and have a Back To School sale! (yay!) From now until 10PM tonight, 27th of Feb AEST, get 30% off in the store with the coupon code BACKTOSCHOOL 
 
I wouldn't normally offer such a large discount, as my small margins means large sales cut things a bit fine in terms of actually making any profit. I have a lot of fabric lying around though that is itching to be turned into something special,and I'm not yet sure how much time I will have for sewing once classes and assessments begin. So, here goes! 
 
I still have plenty of items from my recent Summer collection available, as well as a few pieces from the other collections too. Check it out in the store!
 
The sale is unfortunately not valid for custom orders.
 

Beach

 
Sam and I went back to Wilson's Prom for a few days last week, just the two of us (the same beautiful place where we shot the Summer Lookbook).
 
The weather was perfect, and we took the time to both explore and be lazy, swimming in the crystal blue water of the beach and in the river. We went for a walk one day over to squeaky beach, where the sand is perfectly white (I think it is quartz?) and squeaks between your toes! We then went along the coast to beautiful picnic bay, and finished up at secluded whisky bay, where there was only one other lone swimmer. 
 
We used to go to the Prom for family camping holidays every summer while I was a kid, and while I always had an awesome time I don't think I truly realised how lucky I was. Now I think it is probably one of my favourite places in the world, and I think Melbournians are pretty spoilt to have this magical place just a three hour drive from the city!
 
By the way, I am very excited that my Flora dress was included in the snippets section of the current edition of Frankie (issue #52). We stopped at the first newsagent we saw on our way back to town last week to check it out, I was so thrilled! A very warm hello to any new visitors :) 
 
x
 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 
 

Resolution Making

 

My post about my plans for 2013 the other day got me in a reflective-post-writing mood, and it occurred to me that perhaps I could share some of my resolutions for the new year here as well. Perhaps making a public declaration of sorts will help to hold me accountable and keep me on track, who knows!

I know I am rather late with this stuff, but things were way too hectic over Christmas and New Years for me to have any real time to think, and instead I've sort of been working things over in my mind throughout January. I want to make some lasting changes that are important to me, and hopefully they will actually help me to become a happier person in the process. I am hoping they might be realistically achievable too?! We'll see...

1. Manage my stress
I have always been a bit of a worrier/stress prone type. I do tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. I have come to accept it as part of who I am, and that sometimes it can be a good thing in that it motivates me and makes me productive. When I let it go on for too long though, it can become overwhelming, and I become tired, crotchety, and generally un-fun. When it gets to that point, I am unable to enjoy life properly and that's bad for me and everyone around me. The stress levels reached this point too many times in the last year, and that needs to change. I need to be more realistic about how much I can take on and how much I can reasonably get done in the 24 hours of my day, which leads me to my next goal...

2. Balance
As is probably the case with most freelance/small business types, I worked super long hours running Frances Baker in 2012. I pretty much became a workaholic. I stopped doing a lot of things, skipped out on most socialising, and stressed out when I wasn't at my desk. If I wasn't working I felt guilty because I was so focussed on trying to make my business work, everything else felt like a waste of time. I would even take work to the pub with friends, and try and sit there and update etsy listings while we chatted. I'm not sure if it's because of caring so much about what I do, or if it's just my crazy brain, but it was starting to get to the point where it actually wasn't fun anymore. This year I want to get a bit of perspective, and try and take time out more often for the things I enjoy outside of sewing, such as hanging out with my boyfriend and my cat, and giving dinner parties for friends! Obviously Uni is going to add a whole new element to my days as well. I think this will hopefully benefit my sewing too, as it means I will sit down at my machine refreshed. I always find that after a bit of time away from sewing I cannot wait to get back into it. I think it's actually really important to take some time off to allow inspiration to come!

3. Get domestic
I am a serious homebody. I love being at home, and making it pretty, and cooking and cleaning and general domesticity. Due to the aforementioned time-poor-ness/workaholism in 2012, looking after the house and garden became another stressful thing in my life that I had no idea how to find time for. If it wasn't for my boyfriend doing most of the cooking, I probably would have gone without dinner most nights! I am sure there are a lot of people who feel the same way, life is so busy these days! Maybe it is unrealistic of me to hope to become a domestic goddess or anything, but this year I want to try at least to rediscover my homely fun.

4. Try not to care so much what others think
I'm usually not too bad at this, but I don't believe anyone is truly impervious to criticism. I feel I know myself pretty well these days, and I try to remain true to what I know. I am generally quite confident in the choices I make in life and the reasoning behind my decisions. Why then, would I let other people's opinions cause me to question my choices, or lose confidence in my work? I notice myself doing this from time to time and I think that it causes unnecessary anguish. There is a big difference between listening to other people's advice and taking suggestions on board, and just letting myself be weighed down by criticism so that I doubt my work and/or my decisions. This year I want to get better at making that distinction.

5. Tread lightly
This is a pretty simple, straightforward one: I want continue to make my lifestyle more environmentally sustainable. I definitely think Sam and I have made some good changes in this direction over the last year, and I hope that we will continue to work on this and stick to our changes in the year to come. It has already brought a lot of positive things into my life! I tend to feel a lot of anxiety about Climate Change and the future of this planet, and I've found that the best remedy is to be proactive about becoming part of the solution.

Well, that's all for my 2013 plans! Now that I've got that out of my system, I hopefully wont bore you again with more reflections any time soon.

I hope everyone is having a great 2013 so far, with lots of exciting plans on the horizon :)
 

Back to School!

 

These beautiful images are by photographer Vivienne Mok. They feature the Cecilia and Virgins dresses, and were taken for Audrey Grace Boutique. Vivienne's images are so dreamy, and I think her style suits the dresses perfectly! I had to share them...

I can't believe it's February already! It seems like every year just moves faster than the last... 2013 has been great so far, and I have been taking the time over January to put in place some changes this year which I am feeling really positive about. First up, I have an exciting announcement to make! I have been accepted into a course in Environmental Horticulture at Melbourne Uni. I applied for the course last year and was lucky enough to receive a first round offer. So it's back to Uni for me!

This is obviously a pretty big change in my life, and I agonised a lot over the decision. There were a whole lot of influencing factors in my choice, but the main ones were these: firstly, I discovered I had a pretty big passion for working with plants in 2012, and I was feeling a strong craving to learn more. Secondly, I wanted to get a meaningful qualification in something that I enjoyed, that would provide me with options for making a decent income outside of Frances Baker. My Arts degree, whilst very lovely and intellectual stimulating, has unfortunately not set me on the path for a whole lot of employment options out in the real world, and with Frances Baker not being at the point of providing a reliable income, it was pretty stressful feeling like I didn't have a plan B to fall back on in terms of employment. Finally, my passion for the environmental issues of our time is still a driving force in my life, and I wanted to have the opportunity to learn a trade where I might have a chance to help the environment every day I go to work!

So that's my big news so far in 2013. Obviously this means I will have a bit less time to focus on Frances Baker, but that doesn't mean I intend to give it up! I am still passionate about clothing, and sustainable fashion, and I'm hoping Frances Baker might help to provide me with a little income to help support myself through the year. I don't think I'll be able to do big (for me) collections like I did last year, but I am quite excited about the idea of releasing new designs sporadically when I have the time to work on them.

My other news is that this weekend Sam and I moved into a lovely little apartment, just the two of us (and Pepper of course)! Our dear friend and housemate Sarah is departing with her man to a new life in London, and we decided that rather than try to find a new housemate, we were ready to find a smaller home we could afford to rent together. I am quite in love with our new abode, and my new sewing room, which I now share with Sam and his desk. So far it's been been pretty awesome having company while I work in the evenings!

So overall now I feel like things are starting to fall in to place. I'm ready to get stuck in to whatever the year may hold...
 

Cumpleaños

 
Sorry it's been so quiet around here lately! In between sewing, I have been getting ready to move house again, as well as doing my best to enjoy the summer! I made a deal with myself this year that I would try and get to the beach as many times as possible. It's one of my favourite things about summer, yet for some reason it just gets put off, and I think the last few summers went by with only one or two swims! Pretty crazy considering there really are some great beaches in Melbourne, and some really spectacular ones only a short drive out of the city too.

 
Anyway, I thought I would share some of Hannah's beautiful pics from the little party I had for my Birthday the other weekend. It was just a few girlfriends and Sam and I, and we had a Mexican feast, decorated a pinata together and then beat it up! Just the way I like it ;)
 





 

January

 
I hope everyone has eased into 2013 nicely! It was my Birthday on Tuesday, and yesterday I had a little party with Sam and a few girlfriends to celebrate, so I guess my new year has well and truly begun now! I decided today to go back and have one last look at a few of my favourite things about 2012. I think it's easy when times are tough to let the difficulties outweigh the good things in your mind, and I wanted to remind myself of all the truly wonderful things that happened last year, because there were plenty of them too! So here are some of the happy things I did in 2012:
 
 
Got a cat!
 
Lived in a really lovely house with some very special people and some fantastic neighbours.
I volunteered a lot and did lots of gardening.
 


 
 

Did two photoshoots with some of my favourite people in the world, which was probably one of the most fun things I've ever done!
 
And finally, I ran a small business, which while it might not have been very financially successful, I worked hard and did it all by myself, and kept it afloat all year long! The greatest thing about this was that, some very lovely people bought some of my dresses, and lots more lovely people said nice things about my designs. The thought that there are people out there who I've never even met, who own something I made by hand, is a pretty spectacular feeling, and something I feel incredibly greatful for!
 

 
 

New Year and a Giveaway Winner

 
 
Hello again, and Happy New Year! I feel like it's been a while since my last post. December was, unsurprisingly, a pretty busy month for me, full of a fair share of craziness but also lots of lovely family time, and even a trip to Queensland too! It also felt a bit like I spent the whole month on my resolutions for the new year, constantly reflecting and re-evaluating, trying to work out what I want to do with 2013.

2012 was a difficult year for me, with an awful lot of ups and downs. I feel like I have learnt a lot from it though, and although it was hard I feel like it's helped me work out more about who I am, what I want to do and where I might like to go, and every step towards knowing myself better is surely a wonderful thing! I have a good feeling about 2013 though, and I'm looking forward to whatever new things it might bring...

Sam and I had a quiet New Years Eve at home this year, and it actually was one of the nicest new years I've had. We were silly and played games and drank champagne, and when it got to midnight we ran out into the street to watch the fireworks in the city, and so did all our neighbours it seemed! It was so nice seeing everyone spilling out of their parties and chatting and enjoying the moment together, it reminded me once again how much I love being part of the Brunswick community. Today we got up feeling relatively sprightly compared to previous new year's days, so we headed to the beach. It was so fun, I couldn't think of a nicer way to start the year fresh.

Anyway, it's time to announce the winner of the gift voucher giveaway! The winner is Ashley. Congratulations Ashley, and Happy New Year! I will send you an email shortly.
Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and to everyone who read my ramblings on this little blog, and supported Frances Baker in 2012. When I look back on the best things of the year, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the wonderful connections I have made and all the good things that have come through this blog and running my little business. Thank you! I hope you all have a fantastic 2013.
 

Back to Burgundy

 

 
 
Top: Vintage, gift from my Sister
Skirt: The Loved One
Socks: American Apparel
Shoes: Doc Martens

The weather has been pretty weird here in Melbourne lately. We had record breaking, searing heat last week, and then yesterday it felt like we were back in winter. I know it's Melbourne and all but that's still pretty crazy. Thanks Climate Change, you freak me out.

Anyway, this was my 'why am I cold?' outfit yesterday. I was back to my winter obsession with burgundy again! Hannah took these photos for me on my dodgy old point and shoot while we were out fabric shopping. I'm making her a version of the Virgin's Dress to wear to her work Christmas party, and I managed to talk her into buying a really amazing gold foil silk! I'm so excited!! I'm pretty sure it will be the awesomest thing I've ever had the good fortune to make. Hopefully after trying so hard to convince her that it is the best fabric ever it won't turn out to be too over the top, but I have faith that Hannah can totally pull it off! I'll have to share some pictures here once it's done...