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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sewing for my lifestyle...



Why have I started this post with the image of a small plane?  Well, I was prompted to think about my style identity a little this week after reading a blog post written by an image consultant.  While I often read her posts I often identify very little.  One statement she made this week was that she was adventurous.  Now I have never claimed to be adventurous, but then I thought I a little more about my life, and why my style identity can be somewhat eclectic.

 I was born in England, so I have an  underlying  English style identity (classic, elegant clothes) but it is also very Australian (much more casual and I have had limited opportunities for elegance!) as I have lived here for most of my life.  We migrated to Australia when I was 10 after my father was headhunted for a position in Sydney, We found that we had been a bit misled and that my father's vision was not going to work-  so off we went, overland, to Adelaide - and no job in sight.  My father did get the contract through that was required - he had the key to all the key people in the UK and Europe  (and the company managed to lose it after my father left, after only twelve months!)  while my mother  and her family lived in a caravan for months in Adelaide.  I found that a great adventure - my mother made it fun, but imagine how difficult it must have been for her - alone, in a new country with no support, and a young baby. So from a young age I grew up very quickly, learning to adjust to new environments.

As our fortunes as a family had changed, (not helped by my mother's wicked stepmother embezzling my mother's inheritance) I decided to train as a nurse.  This was in the good old days of hospital based training, and we worked hard - and style was not a big thing in that job!  So I developed a very practical attitude to life, and choose clothes that work for my lifestyle.

  And as an adult, I have also lived in many places in Australia - Adelaide (bottom of South Australia and my Australian hometown), Perth (south west part of Western Australia), Perth, Alice Springs (now that's adventurous - not many people will go there - but it is a wonderful place to live, a real sense of community - not even showing on this map - which just goes to show how most people are unaware of the place - it's just above the mid point of the line dividing South Australia from the Northern Territory, ), now Newcastle - just north of Sydney, on the east of New South Wales.  And I thought nothing of any of these moves - it must have been my early migration experiences that allow me to upstumps and relocated more easily than some people.  So I think I am more adventurous than the style blogger I was reading who had lived in one spot all her life and went on holidays where she had adventures.  I seem to have lived them instead!  Mind you, not so much nowadays.



Although   in a few weeks time I will be going to Wagga Wagga - isn't that a great name.  Wagga Wagga is south west of Sydney, one of Australia's larger regional centres.  Most people in Australia live in the major cities, and the population thins right out in the rural areas.  In Australia, large is a little different from large in some other countries  in that our large regional centres often have populations of 25,000 or less. This would be tiny in many countries, but rates as a large city in rural areas in Australia!   Wagga (we all tend to shorten the name) is about 75,000 people - it grew a lot a few years ago when the College of Higher Education became a University and drew more people to the area.  And that is where my study is based - I study by distance. I do have to do a residential school later this year and will be travelling by plane to Wagga Wagga.  I could drive, but this is no more expensive. My husband is a little little protective and  likes to make things easy for me and he likes to book these flights for me.  AND I like flying in  turbo prop planes.  (My father was an engineer who worked in the production of many of the worlds earliest planes, including running a factory at age 19 during WW2  that produced the Merlin engine, and setting up the factory for the first commercially successful jet, the ill fated Comet - the more recently known planes that belong in this  family tree is the Airbus,  so I grew up with a  a slight fascination with planes and globalisation - for of course, the technogies of communication and transportation are all harbingers of the global era, but I digress enormously...). 

So, back  to the Wagga Wagga airport in the middle of the Riverina area (main river the Murrumbidgee - wonderful Australia names).


 Getting of the plane, kitted out in fairly practical clothes like these people:


Going into a very small regional airport where the University bus will pick me up.

(and if you are curious about the origins of the name Wagga Wagga,  it has been inspired by words in from the language of the indigenous Wiradjuri people.  There is some conjecture are to whether it means crow, or dancing.  I guess a place rich in crow food would also be a good place for celebrations and dancing, so maybe there is a linguistic trail there that someone will work out one day).



 And staying maybe in one of the University residences or maybe one of the Halls - or if booked out, in a motel in "town"as we say in Australia:

 And going to classes up the hill:


The temperatures will be around 22 degrees C during the day and go down to about 9 degrees at night.  I decided I needed a warm fleecy jacket for both the travel and the campus,  that is casual but looks smart.  So that is what I am going to make next:


First I will make a muslin out of a cheap knit I have saved for muslin purposes, then I hope, if the pattern works, to make a second version in a warm tracksuit fleece - or sweater fleece, as I think it is called in the U.S.

So, I think my style identity is a very practical sort of classic casual with an elegant edge,  which I adapt to whatever environment I happen to be in.   Because you can never be elegant if you are not dressed for the lifestyle or culture of the people you are mixing with - and you must always take an  interest in them too :). 

Best of wishes to all of you, wherever you are in the world

Sarah Liz


36 comments:

  1. Its always nice to hear about one's back ground. Thank you for sharing with us. I too was born in England, my dad was in the US Air Force.

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    1. Thank you - and isn't it a small sort of world ?

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  2. Love Aussie place names too. The jacket pattern is really lovely - looking forward to seeing it.

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    1. They are great, as is the Aussie vernacular generally. The wearable muslin is already taking shape and looking good.

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  3. It was an adventurous life. Enjoy Wagga.

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    1. yes, and in many ways I hope it is past tense :) - getting older!

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  4. Enjoyed reading your story.

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  5. I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to seeing your completed jacket. I have just retired and am reassessing my new life style clothing choices.

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    1. Thank you. A transition such as retirement must need a lot of reassessment in many lifestyle aspects - for which a different wardrobe will be needed over time.

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  6. Australia facinates me, but alas is too expensive to travel to. I will live vicariously through you.

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    1. Yes, it is expensive to travel - and very expensive to travel within Australia. I'll have to try to incorporate more Australiana in my posts :)

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  7. What a fun post-I especially enjoyed the photos of the plane and airport as they could have come from my old home in Oregon. We would regularly board commuter planes to get to a major airport in order to fly out. Our airport looked much like the one pictured. Your jacket will be perfect for travel.

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    1. Yes, I have often thought there must be similarities between Australian regional and US regional areas :).

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  8. This post was such an enjoyable and interesting read Sarah Liz. So nice to hear more about you and your life. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I was hooked onto every word. And I agree, elegance is only that if it's appropriate to those around you :) x

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    1. Thank you Dawn - I usually focus on sewing, as I don't want to bore people, but maybe I should talk about lifestyle downunder a bit more :)

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  9. Lovely to hear about your background and your travels - an interesting to hear that you were born in the UK. Being adventurous has a lot to do with perspective. I am an Army child - lived all over the UK and Germany, and moving every two to three years was quite usual. I moved to Canada 10 years ago and love it here. There are lots of people that I have met here and in the UK that never moved away from their home towns and think that my background is very adventurous, whereas for me it is the 'norm'!

    I just wanted to put a hand up and say on a trip to Oz in 2013 we drove from Adelaide to Alice Springs and on to Uluru - there are a few crazies that make the trip!!

    I'm also re-assessing my wardrobe as I am now working from home quite a lot now, and have been looking at the Tina Givens patterns. I'm liking those!

    Enjoy your travels and your studies - and I look forward to seeing your lovely cosy jacket!

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. Many people in Australia have also not moved outside their own home area. I know that much is said about stress and social support , and belonging, but like you, I find moving quite normal, and you can also make new friends in most places. I read your blog about your travels - I loved it, and was most impressed with the fact that you actually did an Adelaide to Alice trip - most tourists visit Sydney. I'm not sure if you are referring to crazies you met, or crazy adventures you had, but both exist in the outback :)

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  10. Sarahliz, What a wonderful life.. I totally enjoyed reading your story.. and love the travel plans for your upcoming studies.. How interesting.
    Wish you the very best..

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    1. Thank you Judy - it is interesting finding out about how we all live. I enjoy finding out how my follower friends live as well.

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  11. I very much enjoyed reading your story. Looking forward to further chapters. Distance learning doesn't suit everyone - good that it's working out for you. Residential school sounds good.

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    1. Thank you. Distance education has been a wonderful thing for regional Australia as it has opened up opportunities previously denied to people living great distances from the major cities. I don't mind distance study, because when it gets down to tin tacks, you have to put the head down and get on with the work by yourself anyway!

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  12. I very much enjoyed reading your story. Looking forward to further chapters. Distance learning doesn't suit everyone - good that it's working out for you. Residential school sounds good.

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  13. I just loved reading about your story! You have had many adventures and more are to come with Wagga Wagga.

    I have moved around a lot and lived overseas (England!). We currently live in the South in the United States which has been the smallest town we have ever lived in but our biggest adventure by far!

    The fleece jacket will be stylish!

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    1. I'm sure we could spend hours chatting about our adventures Annie. I figured you were down in the South, and it must be such a change from the North - no wonder it is an adventure.

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  14. So nice to read more about you, your life is full of adventures.
    I always love classic casual style jacket, can not wait to see it :)

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    1. Thank you Hana - I am often curious about your life in Macau as well :)

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  15. It was very nice to learn more about you , your travels & life . I lived for several years on the America Navajo reservation & our planes were very small also . I always enjoy your blog !!

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    1. Wow, living on a reservation must have been quite an eye opening experience. I would love to know more about it...

      I'm glad you enjoy my blog, thank you.

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  16. What a wonderful post, thanks for sharing about your life. :) Can't wait to see your fleecy jacket!

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    1. Thank you Heather - I also enjoyed finding out about yours!

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  17. I loved reading your background story, Sarah Liz. You have had an adventurous life! Best wishes for your trip to Wagga Wagga and your studies there. I have never made a stretch jacket, and will look forward to reading all about its construction. It is a lovely pattern, and I know will look just right when you finish it. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Patricia:). I'm looking forward to the trip but first I have to do the assignments that must be submitted first!! Always a fly in the fun ointment, isn't there! This is my first stretch jacket as well, so no doubt there will be a small learning curve.

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  18. What a wonderful blog post Sarah Liz! I loved reading about your life and how your style fits into it. Good luck and have fun at Uni for the course. I will look forward to seeing the progress on your jacket.

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    1. Thank you Jacquianne - I'll have to write more about lifestyle and style:). And as for fun at Uni - see what I said about the fly in the ointment in my reply to Patricia above :) :)

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  19. LOVED your post!!! Loved learning more about you, and your 'life'. Loved learning more about Australia.... it's geography and a little of your geographical culture. Thank you for also including a map. Here in America we have a restaurant called 'Outback' that claims to serve authentic Australian food (one always wonders about such claims!)..... and one of my favorite dishes is their Alice Springs Chicken dish. I'd say you have lived an adventurous life and are living an adventurous life with your studies. THAT, in itself, is an 'adventure'! Your style is a classic style and the jacket you've chosen will be perfect! Look forward to seeing it!

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