My Trip to Sydney

Last weekend I took a trip down to Sydney with my best friend (and talented photographer) Robert, and we had the best tour guide EVER!

This was a weekend full of firsts for me, first time road trip and first time visiting Sydney, and of course the first time meeting Annika from The Pineneedle Collective! I’ll save you the rest of my long-winded blog post and get straight down to it–Yes, she is exactly as awesome as you would expect.

Our first adventure (and one I was looking forwards to most) was at that fabled by-the-kilo op shop, where we both found some amazing treasures and walked away with bags packed. I watched with utter amusement as this girl piled up her bedsheets with dreams of sewing projects dancing through her head and promptly abandoned the whole collection!

That’s actually kind of how I shop on a daily basis–“I want that! Also this! OH MY GOD THIS IS SO CUTE! .. Ugh, I don’t actually need any of this stuff, do I?” She walked off with a very cool handbag and several gorgeous vintage pieces, and passed over a blue gingham round tablecloth to me (I am totally planning on making a circle skirt out of it somehow..). I feel like I was less lucky here, but I did pick up a few interesting bits and pieces, including a hideous Hawaiian shirt for Rob’s newfound Hawaiian Shirt Collection (sorry, Robert) and an old school uniform that I plan to refashion at some point.

But the trip to the local Glebe and Rozelle Markets were much more fruitful! They sold the most amazing stuff there.

From handmade shoes–

–To many stands of second-hand clothing and open suitcases filled with history.

Although I often can’t afford them, the handmade pieces are generally the most exciting pieces you can find around there, and it’s nice to think that you’re carrying a one-of-a-kind item.

We spent the whole day gushing over the handmade items and trying on vintage clothing. I walked away with a gorgeous Japanese vintage dress (thanks to Annika’s neat haggling tips!) and she bought some gorgeous little pendants with miniature flowers that somebody has actually gone to the effort of breeding super-tiny and encasing in resin.

And during our adventures, we went to some of the coolest places to eat.. We found this local cafe where we had amazing sandwiches and took time out for an Instagram break. Normally I have a huge problem with being able to eat anywhere because I have a palate half as evolved as a four year old’s but I actually found myself in the unusual position that I loved so many things on the menu that I couldn’t decide what to order! Would go there for a sandwich again, 10/10.

Jolly Cafe Sydney

All in all, I had an amazing time with Annika! I won’t share too much of the details in one post, but we also visited the HUGE local Daiso Japan for sewing supplies and sewed up a storm in her house on the Sunday. I can’t wait to show you the finished products and our few progress shots! You’ll be seeing a few more shots from our trip here and there, so I hope you don’t mind!

It’s really rare that someone wants to sew along with me up in Brisbane, so it was lovely just taking some time out of the schedule to chat fabrics and pattern-making. I’m hoping I will be able to visit her again one day–Or at least cajole her into visiting me!–but it’s definitely a trip I’ll remember forever.

As for Sydney in general? We got some cutesy tourist photos on the Monday morning before we left, and I am glad we took the time to, even though I was getting a bit grumpy from all the rude drivers around us and the general lack of parking. (I need a cardboard sign in my car for cases like Sydney, where I can wave it wildly at other drivers to inform them that “INDICATING ISN’T OPTIONAL”. Christ on a cracker!)

We passed over the Sydney Harbour Bridge twice and stood outside the Opera House–We’d completed the Sydney Tourist Checklist in a single morning, and then some.

If you’re planning on taking the trip down there, I would advise flying over driving; The amount of speed cameras that we passed from Queensland to Sydney was utterly unprecedented and every country town we were forced to pass through took the speed down to 50 KMH (gah!). You wouldn’t want to bring your car down here in general, I would say, because parking is quite difficult, drivers are quite scary, and the buses are a third of the price of public transport in Brisbane.

Definitely consider staying for at least a week to soak up all the sights–By the end of the trip I was wishing I could stay until the next weekend because there was so much left to do that we never got around to! I think I must have caught the travel bug..

Like a Librarian

(Sing the title in your head like the opening of “Walk Like an Egyptian”)

Do you ever have one of those days where you wake up, throw something on, look in the mirror, and wonder if your fashion instincts are trying to tell you something? No? Just me?

If my instincts could talk, with this getup, I’m fairly sure that they’d be telling me to quit my day job and become a librarian.

A sexy librarian.

A Russian librarian.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, it’s Summer and I live in Australia and the heat has gotten to me.

Yet, I find myself in this strange, perplexing position of having to dress like I live in the Northern Hemisphere and ride my Vallhund-driven sled into work every morning. Alright, I may be exaggerating there, but it’s true that I had long forgotten how cold it is having an office job. I didn’t think I shared any genetic code with lizards, but I’m starting to think I have cold-blooded ancestors somewhere along the line, because coworkers be rocking up in to the office in tank tops and shorts and I’m dressed up in woolen coats and tights like I’m in the bloody Ice Capades.

That brings me to this vest! I made wore this ensemble so that I could say with the utmost confidence that the purchase of this children’s Fair Isle knitted vest with faux sheepskin trimming was absolutely worthwhile and not in fact a huge waste of $17.60. Yes, you see, I have worn it with two outfits, therefore it was a financially sound decision, let’s go with that.

(Seriously guys, give me some ideas on what the hell to wear with this thing, it’s too cute to stay buried in my closet.)

A couple of other cool purchases recently are the cherry hair clips and the rainbow-woven wool jacquard pencil skirt I got from Endeavour Retail.

It looks like a mottled brown from a distance but it’s actually black with thousands of different colours woven through it. It’s the perfect shape, fit, and length, and I had to have it. Ever go absolutely nuts for something you see in a shop, but it, and invariably find out that it matches with next to nothing in your closet? Welcome to my life, filled with fantasy pieces that would make a vintage collector squeal that I never get to wear because I don’t have the right shoes or the right handbag or the right belt.

Some would say this is very anal behaviour, but try telling that to someone who has a collection of over 50 different types of belts..

Speaking of belts though, I love love love this one here. It’s never really been featured here because the closing mechanism has annoyed the crap out of me. This belt had rivets in the back and they were facing OUTWARDS instead of inwards. So the damned end that I had to pin on top instead of tucking underneath would just go flippity floppity all over my outfit if I didn’t adjust it to the very loosest setting. Major kudos to my blog photographer Robert for somehow magically removing those blasted things so I could screw in some removable rivets that faced inwards instead. It’s my minor rant of the day but still something that plagued me for months nonetheless (such a first-world problem, I’m sorry..).

What I wore:

  • Touch by Alyssa Milano 102 Black Pink Glasses – c/o Clearly
  • Black and White Striped Cherry Hair ClipAliExpress, 50c (Lots more colours, and with bananas too)
  • ASOS Double Collar Blouse – eBay, $10 (Old purchase, similar here for $6)
  • Jacquard Vest with Sherpa Trim – Target Kids, $17.60
  • Trent Nathan Wine Patent Leather Bow Belt – Myer, $7.50
  • Kara Rainbow Woven Jacquard Skirt – Endeavour Retail, $12.95
  • Patent Wine MaryJane Heels – Zu, $30

Total: $78.55

Anyways, coming up soon on Carbon Chic is another refashion tutorial, and BIG BIG news–I’m going on a road trip to Sydney on the weekend to visit Annika of The Pineneedle Collective! I’m naturally very excited about this, and can’t wait to share all the little crafting, sewing, and thrifting adventures that we’re planning. For someone who has pretty much never left Brisbane, this trip is going to be amazing in more ways than one, I’m sure! To keep track of my adventure in Sydney and all my other adventures, check back here and on my Instagram account–It’s going to be a busy place over the weekend!

The Wild West

I haven’t shopped on AliExpress for a good while but man, I am loving this new dress.

There’s like a whole rule about redheads wearing red all over that I have completely smashed and broken, but I’m not feeling any regret about this one yet!

And bug-themed accessories are still relevant here, because, I mean, there were bugs in the wild west, weren’t there??

I bought this dress initially for my dance lessons but as we’re ramping up towards the holidays, I’m finding less time to dance as more of my time is spent sewing and sourcing various different Christmas presents for friends and family. I’ve done most of my Christmas shopping well in advance, but I know of some masochists that enjoy shopping for presents on Christmas Eve (seriously, is that the new test for sociopathy?).

In an effort to conserve my money, I’m also looking to craft a few of my gifts, too! I hope to post tutorials on a couple of them soon enough.

Between all the thrift shopping and making my own clothes, I rarely visit the store anymore, and I feel like the origin of this blog is getting less and less relevant as time goes on. Maybe it’s time for a name change, or a shift in perspective. What do you think?

What I wore:

  • Touch by Alyssa Milano 102 Black Pink Glasses – c/o Clearly
  • Bee Hair PinAliExpress, $2.45 (Comes in a pair, bought during a Black Friday sale)
  • Bee Collar ClipseBay, $1.70
  • Grace Karin Red Cowgirl DressAliExpress, $21 (Again on the same sale. The prices are back up a little, but there’s heaps of other styles and colours to choose from too!)
  • Mollini Tan Heels with Broguing – Salvation Army, $4

Total: $29.15

I have a disturbing lack of accessories with this outfit, and shockingly enough, for once I’m not wearing a belt. But you know what? I think this dress makes a perfect statement on its own.

DIY Gathered Skirt

DIY 50's-Inspired Full Gathered Skirt Tutorial

ANOTHER skirt tutorial, you say? I know I’ve been creating a hell of a lot of skirt tutorials, but they’re honestly my favourite item of clothing to create–Short, simple DIY projects that can be completed in a day or less, with often fabulous results. This is the third instalment on my series of simple skirt tutorials, and my favourite one so far.

You will need:

  • Sewing Machine
  • General Sewing Kit–Scissors, needle, seam ripper, tape measure, regular pins and safety pins
  • Something to draw on your fabric with (chalk, pencil, pen, etc)
  • Fabric (we’ll get to how much in a bit)
  • Matching Thread
  • Button/Kit or Clasp
  • Regular zip (At least 15cm long)

(more…)

Golden Afternoon

I love days like these.

It was the perfect day for a picnic, and that’s just what we did! Me and Robert went to the Frew Park opening in Brisbane to hear his friend singing Christmas Carols, and it was awesome. There were free pony rides, ice cream, hot dogs, rock climbing, and bouncy castles (unfortunately with an age limit in place..).

My favorite part? The petting zoo with the barnyard animals. I’ve always got a soft spot for free roaming poultry. I’ll spare you the photos of me going batshit insane over the fluffy little animals.. there were a lot of those taken that day.

What I’ve been waiting a while to show off is my DIYed skirt! I’m super duper proud of this one, and it seems like the more I make them, the better I get. This skirt is different from the others because I was lazy and used a gathering method instead. I will be posting a tutorial on how to make a fluffy gathered skirt very soon, so stay tuned! I love making skirts and I’m really enjoying focusing on an “all kinds of skirts” series right now, but are there any other tutorials you want to see? I picked up a whole stack of vintage patterns recently and I’ll be working my way through those, figuring out how to make pattern-less tutorials for them.. because patterns scare me.

I kind of want to open up a handmade products business and only sell skirts.. look at them, they look so fun! I feel like the only places you can get skirts like these are from Alannah Hill or Review, and they are not cheap at all, but these skirts are so damned easy to make without a pattern. I tried it on with a petticoat from Kitten D’Amour underneath and it looks amazing! (I’ll be going onto AliEpxress and buying them cheaply though.. $60 petticoats, no thanks!)

Bawk, bawk.

I was lucky enough to be taken vintage shopping in the hours leading up to the event and I managed to snag this straw hat for $4. I say I was lucky because I mean.. Look how pale I am. Melanoma central right there. I was pretty ill-prepared for the park in general. I wore heels, like an idiot, and didn’t bring anything to sit on. There were dogs peeing everywhere. I was so scared of sitting down.

What I wore:

  • Vintage Straw Hat – Salvation Army Superstore, $4
  • Alex Perry Glasses – c/o Specsavers
  • Black and Gold Bee Brooch – Lovisa, $3.30 (3 for $10)
  • Black Lace Cami Top – Mum’s
  • Gold Mesh Lorus Watch – Graduation gift (similar here)
  • Black and White Leather Bow Belt – Mascotte, $6
  • Handmade Gathered Skirt – Me!
  • Black Kidskin Leather Heels – Mascotte, $40

Total: $53.30

So my question for you today readers is should I stick with skirt DIYs or branch out? What do you really want to see made on this blog?