4 Goals for 2015

I know you have probably seen posts like this popping up all over the net this week. It's possible you're bored of them (I know that feeling too) but for me as a goal-orientated person this is an important part of setting goals, sharing them with some one else. You lucky people! Last year I did the same and I found it so helpful. I didn't keep to all of them as well as I would have liked but I am really proud of what I did achieve in 2014 so I am starting 2015 with the same mindset. Here are my goals for the upcoming 12 months:

Sew More Basics
Last year I set the goal to sew 1 item of clothing per month, I easily achieved this and more and I plan to continue sewing at a similar rate. However I made quite a few fun items and not so many practical ones. In December I tried to work out the gaps in my wardrobe and shared some tips for doing the same. In order to actually make these items I plan to make 2 'every day' items for every 'special' item I sew. The aim is balance and I hope this ratio will be about right.

Sew More For Others
Until near the end of 2014 I hadn't really made any clothes for others. Then I made my daughter her sparkly christmas dress and was really pleased with it. It cost almost nothing since I was using fabric I had already and was quick and easy to put together. I'd like to sew more clothes for her and possibly my sons too. My goal here is to make at least one thing for someone else per month.

Blog Once Per Week
In my goals for 2014 I planned to blog 2-3 times per week. For the first few months this was easy. Then I started a new job so had to settle for 2 each week. By the Autumn though I was struggling with this number and only managed once in many of those weeks. Since I want to keep the blog interested and avoid posting for posting sake I aim to this year post once per week unless there is something extra special I want to squeeze in.

Cook 1 New Recipe Per Week
I've also found over the last couple of years I have become very lazy when it comes to cooking. I cook fairly healthily for my family but I tend to stick to the same 10 or so recipes. This year I want to go back to trying a few new things and introducing new flavours to my children. I won't be blogging about this regularly but I may occasionally share pictures on my favourite new recipe finds on instagram. So if you are interested follow me there.

I also want to say a big thank you to those of you who have been reading Tadpegs this year. I love sharing about my makes but it is extra special to know that people are reading it, commenting, sharing and enjoying it too. Here's to a fun and busy 2015! Zoe

A Gingerbread Village

When it comes to Christmas time one of my favourite things to do is make a Gingerbread house. You can see last years 'Stitched up' house here and two other houses I made here. Each year I like to try something a little different. This year I went a step further and made an entire gingerbread street. Although you could argue that this is actually a much easier approach because it skips the 'construction' step which is where most people fail.

Each 'house' is decorated with piped royal icing, silver ball and some holly and berry sprinkles. I like to go with the flow once I start piping and each house is a little different to the one before. Once I had piped each house we displayed them on a shelf in the living room. We are planning to redecorate in the living room any way next year so I took everything off a shelf and spray painted it white (this again is something I was going to do any way, I wouldn't repaint furniture just for a gingerbread house, I'm not THAT crazy.) It made the perfect setting for the scene.

The ginger bread houses on their own were really cute but I decided to add some colour with the paper trees. Then I thought I'd go all out and made the snowflake and pom pom garlands to make it a perfect white Christmas. It's a great addition to the Christmas decor and hardly cost me anything, we had the ingredients int he cupboards already, I used yarn and paper we already had for the garlands and even the spray paint had been sitting around waiting to paint these shelves for about a year. The only thing I bought was the holly and berry decorations. Bargain.

Now I know I said that I would share last week some capsule wardrobe outfit ideas but I came across 2 problems with this. Firstly I was distracted by all the christmas activity going on and I would be lying if I said this gingerbread street wasn't part of that. Secondly when I was writing the post it was really boring. I mean so boring I didn't even know what to say. Nobody wants to read boring blogs so I decided to give up on that post idea. I will be writing more about capsule wardrobes in the new year but for now I will just be doing a couple of christmassy posts and taking it easy for a few weeks.

I hope you're starting to feel the good Christmassy vibes too. Do you do a gingerbread house? I'd love to see. Zoe xx

Ooo-la-la Its Another Plantain Tee

If you've been following along with my capsule wardrobe series you'll know what I am in need of a few more basic tops. I have already got a stripy plantain tee and a stripy plantain dress (made from the same fabric) but I just couldn't help but make another. Firstly I had some fabric left over so it was basically free. Secondly I love the simplicity of this pattern. Thirdly the pattern is free too so its a totally free top. Winner.

I also fancied looking a little stereotypically french. Well actually that is just a by-product of wearing stripes and red lipstick with my new haircut. I only had it chopped 6 days ago and it already looks like it has grown an inch, my crazy hair.

So any way, there you have it, one more stripy plantain tee. See you next time, Zoe x

Capsule Wardrobe Part 5 // What Should I Sew Next?

Welcome back to the capsule wardrobe series, we are nearly there! We've had a think about what works well on your body, what colours you like and which clothes fit your lifestyle. Now it is time to take stock of what you've already got and figure out the gaps in your wardrobe.

Make a List
I have made a visual list of all the things that I consider part of my capsule wardrobe already. I had lots of fun making this collage of them for you too! But obviously you can achieve the same goal by just writing a list of what you have. It is probably a good idea when you do this to split your list into a few groups - it will make it easier to work out where your gaps are. Tops and bottoms should go into separate groups and have another group for dresses (and playsuits and jumpsuits can squeeze into this group too). Then you can have other groups of accessories, shoes, outer layers etc as necessary.

I have included 3 items that are not handmade, I don't see the point in excluding 'ready to wear' clothes that fit perfectly into your capsule wardrobe. We don't want to be wasteful just for the sake of it, plus most of these ideas apply to RTW clothes just as much as handmade ones. When they get to a stage where they don't fit, have too many holes or are unwearable for some other reason though I probably will replace them by making a new version. That said I can't knit (yet) so all my cardigans will be bought from the shop for the foreseeable future. This is what I have so far:

Stripey Plantain Tee*
Gingham Peplum Top
Mini Cherry Mimi Blouse
Chambray Shirt (RTW)*
Red Cardigan (RTW)*

Tartan Circle Skirt
Denim Delphine Skirt*
Red Circle Skirt
Jeans (RTW)*

Dresses (and a playsuit)
Tartan Lilou Dress
Tartan Holly Playsuit
Stripey Plantain Dress*

I have a couple of other handmade items I could add into the mix (i.e my chambray dress and my half circle skirt) but if I am truthful I don't wear these very often because they need ironing every 5 minutes. They're still in my wardrobe for now but mostly go unworn. This is something to think about when you choose your fabrics.

Pattern vs Plain
For a capsule wardrobe to work we need to have a good mix of pattern and plain. I have starred all the items on my list that I consider to be a basic, i.e they're made from a plain or relatively plain pattern. About half of my list is in this category so this works well for doing lot's of mixing and matching. Have a look at your list and see what you have, lots of pattern? All plain? Maybe only few 'basics'? Think about what you need more of.

What do you need more of?
Now that you have written your list, grouped them and figured out if you need more pattern or plain it is much easier to see where the gaps in your wardrobe are. My groups are fairly even (I've been working on this for a while) and I have quite a few basics and non-basics to add some interest. But I know for sure that I need some more tops. I normally only wear a top once before washing it but my bottoms I will wear a couple of times so they last much longer (this is normal right?). So for now I need to make a few more tops and then maybe a basic dress or two. What about you? What do you need to make next?

Next week I'll have a look at some ways to mix and match what you have got to make new outfits. See you then. Zoe
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