Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy Hattitude: stylish, feminine, and adaptable Fleece Beanie

I made something!

This weekend I started and finished a project.

And TADA! Here it is.

Are you acquainted with this two-fold joy?…the powerful delight in the act of creation, and then the urge to share that delight with someone. I wonder, is this how God felt when he introduced Eve to Adam? …No, I’m sure the ecstasy was far beyond my comprehension, for no-one in the whole wide world had made an Eve before.

My creation isn’t unique. Many others have made hats, and certainly hats in this round-top, beanie style, but I’ve never made a brimless hat before, so I think I’ll call this my Eva Hat. I based it on the free pattern from Fleece Fun*, adding a cotton knit lining, turning up the lining to create a brim, and doubling the ribbon trim to moderate the strong colour block look.

*The Fleece Fun blog and video sewing tutorials show the hat in baby size, but the pdf pattern I downloaded is in adult sizes of small, medium, and large.
The first two images show the hat worn without the threaded ribbon. The fabric flower is a purchased one, from which I pulled out the stem and hot-glued a metal crocodile clip to the back of the flower head. It’s proven to be a wonderfully flexible ornament.
I added the cotton knit lining to the hat for softness, consideration for my curly hair (which doesn’t get on well with polyester fleece), and extra warmth (New Zealand’s winter winds are piercing). It’s been so cold here that I was prompted this week to check I had a hat suitable for sleeping in. The best we had was a tight black wool beanie with a brown kiwi embroidered on the front. Not my idea of comfortable head covering.

But with Eva…yes, it’s Happy Hattitude with Eva.
Do you have a topper that brings on a Happy Hattitude for you and the people who look at you? If not, is it time you provided yourself with one?

As modest Christian women, we can joyfully pursue dressing habits that bless others and signpost our unique personality and royal position.

Fiat lux!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DIY Curly Girl Success: 4 tips to cut and style your own hair with confidence

CurlyGirl DIY Success: curly before, still curly after

I'm remembering that traumatic moment at the hair salon when I realized I'd just lost all my long curls. And the hairdresser's response, "You just haven't got curly hair."

Ever been there?

That was April 2011. After an hair-endous follow-up conversation with the hairdresser as I sought to help her and myself figure out what went wrong, I have not stepped inside a hair salon. No thinning scissors have come near my head. No more stylist-induced split-end distress for my tresses. No more uneven length. No more hair grief, waiting for my freaked hair to recover from shock.

Now my hair is in the best condition of my life. I've been on a journey of discovery to get here, a journey kick-started by emotional abuse from a hairdresser. One day I'll write a book about it.

In the meantime, here's my best advice for you if you're a curly girl, or think you might be if you but knew how to care for your hair, and if you could keep it safe from straight-styling hair cutters!

Narelle's Top Tips for Hair Care (curly or straight)

1. Read this book: "Curly Girl: The Handbook".
Get book now on Amazon. Kindle version also available.
Get book now on Book Depository.

2. Educate yourself with curly-girl tutorials. A DVD comes with the "Curly Girl" book. Browse on youtube. Google forums where people chat about hair like yours.

3. Experiment with hair care methods to find what works best for your unique hair and body.

4. Get yourself a set of CreaClip hair cutting tools so you never have to trust (or pay) a hairdresser again. It's so easy at Video tutorials provided.

5-minute DIY trim over the sink using CreaClip and scissors
The "after" photos in this post were taken about two hours after I'd cut my own hair using my curved CreaClip hair cutting tool, a process that took just five minutes. The ends of my hair had air-dried when I cut them. They had not been brushed or combed straight prior to cutting.

After cutting, I re-moisturized the ends by lightly twitching on a little extra non-toxic conditioner.* Remember, it's mid-winter here in New Zealand, so TLC is a good idea anyway.

*MY REGULAR HAIR CARE PROGRAM: During my twice-weekly cleansing program, I use Neways non-toxic cleanser for my scalp, and leave-in conditioner for the ends of my hair. After showering, I gently wrap my wet hair in a teeshirt until I'm ready to style it. While styling my drying hair, I control frizz by spraying it with water+conditioner that I mix in a small spritzer bottle. This spray is all I use to keep my curls moisturized and frizz-free during the rest of the week.

Curly Girl is not just a hair care style. It's a lifestyle.
This fresh-cut appearance is a great contrast to how it would look during my pre-Curly Girl years. Back then, whenever a hairdresser cut my hair (wet or dry), my hair lost its curl for four to five days, and took weeks to regain ringlets. Now, as you see, my hair has as much curl and body after cutting as before it.

The curly girl method works, but it's not just a cutting style, it's a lifestyle. All the best with discovering the joy and freedom of the right lifestyle for YOU. You and your hair deserve it.

Fiat lux!

Monday, May 18, 2015

EASY MODESTY FIXER: how to make a lace wrap

Got a problem sleeveless dress with gaping armholes? Or a top with a low back? Try this quick and pretty project for a modesty fixer.
The info-graphic below demonstrates how to make this lace wrap which was featured in my music video "The Steadfast Love of the Lord: comfort through your grief".

For more details on the making of the music video, go to Music Video Wraps in Lace: meeting the modesty challenge at short notice.

Fiat lux!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Music Video Wraps in Lace: meeting the modesty challenge at short notice

That feeling when you have to produce a new outfit in a hurry, and you know your closet is going to come up short...

Something you've experienced? I spent this weekend making a musical sentiment video as a gift for a friend (think electronic greeting card but in the form of a video on youtube), and part way through the project realized I needed a "me" face for the final photo plate. Hmmm. What do I have in my Spring-oriented closet that would coordinate with the white/ivory/brown palette of the video?

A search revealed one sleeveless dress short of a top. A knit tee shirt just wasn't right for this project.

Enter creativity.

Add an hour, plus a remnant of ivory guipure lace measuring 74x106cm. Pinning and re-pinning. A stitch here and there. Voila. Dainty lace wrap to go over sleeveless dress. Pretty and modest. Closet challenge resolved!

Here's the "face plate".

And here's the finished music video.

May you meet every modesty challenge with grace and creativity.
Fiat lux!

PS If you want to make this lace wrap yourself, you'll find info-graphic instructions in this post: EASY MODESTY FIXER: how to make a lace wrap.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Your Dream for You and Mum: HydroChic Mother's Day Fun

In preparation for Mother's Day, modest activewear store HydroChic would love to hear what your dreams are for yourself, your mom, and/or your loved ones.

On April 28th they will randomly select a winner to receive one FREE HydroChic item of her choice.

If you would like to participate in the photo splash, here's what you need to do. Pin or Instagram pictures showing the ladies at HydroChic what your dreams are, along with the hashtag #HydroChicDream.

Here's my photo splash...

And here's what I want my splash to say: 

IT IS POSSIBLE for a singer to wear gorgeous gowns, look beautiful, AND be modest.

My dream is to build on the legacy my mother gave me, of discovering truth and embracing it even against the tide of what is popular. My dream for my mum is that she see this legacy passed to another generation through the example I live to the world. [#HydroChicDream]

When I showed the above paragraph to Mum, she nodded smiling, and said, "Exactly."

What a blessing to know we're in harmony. Do you enjoy this kind of agreement with your mother? If not, I pray that the two of you will come to a place of powerful unity.

Fiat lux.

Looking for a Mother's Day gift? Here's an idea. Send your mom a song of encouragement by sharing this video with her.

Monday, April 6, 2015

EASTER DELIGHT: A Modest Woman's License to Dress Up and Thrill

An ode to the happy power of feminine fashion

Narelle after a musical outing at a small-town rest home, wearing an outfit she designed and made. The dress is cotton sateen. The bolero jacket is satin-striped chiffon lined with crushed cotton knit. In her hair is a wired organza "nellaflower". Her shoes are patent/elastic open-toed wedges by Linea Avanti.

Distributing handpicked flowers was a success. We'll do that again.
The team-of-3 were a little bit hypo at tea time Sunday evening, pleased with how our Rahiri Rest Home Easter service went, and what a good time everyone had.

The residents who came were an unusually sharp and sassy crew, responding to Dad's questions and witty remarks with enjoyment.

"And Pharoah said to the Israelites, Get out of my sight!" Dad bellowed. "I'm going! I'm going!" twinkled the lady next to me, as she exited to join her grandson who'd just arrived for a visit.

It really was an entertaining hour. Dad was in fine form. And so was his audience. "...Israel were slaves in Egypt," he said. "That was 3500 years ago...does anyone remember back then?" Response in chuckles, and someone piped up, "Not quite."

I particularly loved seeing what happened when the residents chose their favourite hymns...even if they couldn't hold a hymn book or see to read the text, they knew every word and sang it with passion. Especially "God Will Take Care of You." Having experienced how an hour of hymn singing on a Sunday afternoon sustains and guides me through the week, I could see the words uplifting and empowering them.

Mum's program arranging worked well, putting my song, "Rock of Ages", near the beginning, which meant that by the end, I had regained enough energy to comply when they asked me for "Amazing Grace". I'm thankful for Mum's marathon summer project of upgrading the Rahiri song books, meaning I had the lyric sheet for whatever they chose.

And, as I do every time I go to Rahiri, I dress in a fancy outfit. Once upon a time I worried that my enjoyment of clothes was frivolous, but I don't now because I've learned how other people are effected by my appearance. When the ladies see me, they smile with delight and comment on what I'm wearing. I think the men like it too. They feel special when I dress up for them.

I sat down beside one sweet lady to hold her fragile hand. I had to lean in close to hear what she was murmuring to me. The only words I could understand, as she gently fingered the fabric on my shoulder, were, "Beautiful. Beautiful."

Yes, with my health challenge it's a big effort for me to go, and will take a while to recover, but I feel privileged to be the harbinger of joy. It makes me happy to know that I'm making them happy.

And how blessed I am that under such circumstances I get to do what I love--sing songs of hope in a pretty frock. May you, too, discover the freedom, power, and joy of being feminine while doing what you love.

Fiat lux!

Design preparations for adding the special touches to the dress. Here's a glimpse of my craft room that's been taking shape in a former bedroom since we moved back in after our house fire (13 April 2014), and the sewing machine paid for by insurance. I spend a lot of time in that room, and I'm always happy when I'm in there. I think I should call it the Happy Room!

This outfit was a month's work for me, plus I had some help from my friend, 80-something-year-old Carol, to get the tailoring right. One of these embroidery rows took 45 minutes to stitch. Any guesses which one?

The lace was a gift from a neighbour. It came out of her 90-something-year-old mother's sewing room which contained fabric, notions, and project scraps dating back more than 50 years.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! simple celebration fun and glamour with a modern-modest twist

For each a pretty dress, some beads and satin ribbon for understated bling, and a "hot day" hair-do, set against a vanilla wall and spiced with creativity and joy.

This is the "party space" we chose in which to celebrate with thankful hearts God's goodness to us in 2014, and to welcome another year in which to participate in and be witness to His handiwork.

Happy New Year, my friend. May your covering clothes and face of grace be a conduit for the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ to a dark world.

Fiat lux! (Let there be light.)
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