Roll tide |DIY Houndstooth pinafore

Mini length pinafore

Heya and happy new year!

I’m back again with another DIY, however I kinda like the format of my last post where I kinda spoke about something completely unrelated to the outfit. I’ll try to balance my regular style of briefing you all on my creative process with my general musings in the next couple posts and we’ll see how that goes mmkay?

Now a little backstory, I was in Nigeria last summer and as my mum and I do, we were pow-wowing over fabrics and fashion and generally being girlie girls when this delicious fabric turned up. She mentioned she’d had it for ages and was highly unlikely to use it so I swiftly scooped this bad boy up amidst promises to make a skirt or co-ords set before she had time to reconsider. Truth be told, I had no real idea what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I had to have it.

 

This segues beautifully to a thought I’ve been grappling with lately. I strongly believe in the value of learning and absorbing information however I’ve recently had to explore the “why” behind all this data gathering. As many people may be able to relate to, we spend so much of our lives gathering data about the strangest things, some of which we may never use outside of awkward small talk on a second date with that guy you met at the gym. For example, the plastic on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet. Now, it’s highly unlikely that I’d ever utter the words “Oh you just stepped on my aglet” or “My aglets are really shiny today” but it’s a word I know and enjoy knowing.

I suppose my dilemma is really this: if there is no purpose or direct use for this information, do I still need to gather it? Should we only learn things that are relevant for our goals and if yes, how do we determine the bounds of relevance?

To answer my question –and please feel free to leave any dissenting thoughts in the comments– I don’t think all learning must be geared towards a particular goal. I say learn the cookey, quirky, random bits and roll with the tide! Just as I had no idea what I was going to do with this fabric when I picked it up, take on something new even if you don’t know where it fits. As long as it piques your interest, what’s the harm?

Another fine example of the value of rolling with tide would be this pretty little frayed hem I got going here. I saw this technique in a video about a year ago but hadn’t tried till now. When I watched the video, I was probably on a YouTube binge but somehow it’s found a purpose.

Is it okay to know, just so you know or must you know so you can do?

Pictures by Willyverse

The Nigerian Woman | Rooted

Yosola Paul-Olaleye

Hi Guys!!

YossiePaul

Back again with another amazing Nigerian woman! I remember growing up how the instant rebuke for doing less than your peers was “do they have two heads?!”. I am however convinced that Yossie does! 😀 How else do you describe someone who is a published author, working on her Masters degree and gearing up for a PhD. and of course maintaining the daunting responsibility of being entertaining on social media!! Always true to her Yoruba roots and an all round pleasure to talk to and learn from, I know you would enjoy reading about this Nigerian Woman just as much as I did!

Who are you (What are the things that make up your identity, likes, interests, quirks)

You’d think people would be comfortable with this question given that we are supposedly self-obsessed, but I still struggle with it. In any case, I’m a 22-year old wearer of many hats – at least, I try to be. I feel it’s my duty to be able to do many things for myself, and this is probably to my detriment.

At the moment, I am studying for a master’s degree in Communication Governance at LSE. In my spare time, which is technically no spare time at all, I work on an online publication with friends and I try to build platforms that will potentially change the way we discuss issues concerning Africa and ‘development’.

I am also an aspiring writer, and I published my first book in September 2015. It is a collection of essays and poetry about home and various experiences of womanhood. It is dedicated to my grandfather, the man whose influence shaped my life and work.

Two things make up my identity, really, and those are books (by which I mean words and everything about them) and Nigeria. This is because everything I do finds its way back to my love for words, language, and literature; and whenever I think about my work and my goals, I think about ‘home’.

What do you feel being a Nigerian woman means?

On a very simple level, I think of it merely in terms of our places of origin, our names, our histories. But I am also interested in how the above shape our identities and influence our character.

Being a Nigerian woman for me is about knowing where I have come from – which I understand as my name and my family’s lineage – and leading a life that glorifies that history. I come from a long line of women who have changed their environments and the lives of the people around them, and I feel it’s important for me to follow that path and do something meaningful for Nigeria/Nigerians, especially girls, perhaps in education.

Maybe being a Nigerian woman, for me, is about contributing positively to the growth of our home?

Has your identity as a Nigerian ever been questioned? Why and how did you respond?

No, it hasn’t. If anything, my identity as a Yoruba woman has been questioned, but that’s because I don’t like pepper (read: hot food). Sometime last year, a friend generously went out in the night to find some food for me. He came back with Nando’s and I didn’t think much of it because I figured we couldn’t go wrong with chicken. Wrong. At some point, I realised my mouth was burning and so I asked him if he got extra hot. He turned his face away from me and said, “You have a Yoruba mother.” I was like: Yes, and so? That I have a Yoruba mother doesn’t mean I eat pepper, please. So I had this dramatic moment of, “Please don’t kill me o!”

It was quite hilarious. I actually love the look on people’s faces when I say I don’t like super hot food. It’s like, “ah ahn. You sure sey you be omo Naija like this?” Yes, I’m sure. I don’t understand what people enjoy about tapping their heads while eating because of pepper.

When did you become conscious of your identity as a Nigerian woman?

I think this happened sometime last year – I think I fully came into myself in 2015. I had always known that I was ‘Nigerian’, insofar as I was born and raised in Lagos. I had always known my full name, and I had always been aware of the influence my childhood experiences had on my person. But, last year, I started to think about my childhood, and my relationship with my grandfather, who, in many ways, tried to make us all aware of where we came from, of our names, of our history. This is why I dedicated my book to him and why I wrote the short essay about home and my grandfather.

I started to think about what my name means, and how to make sure it drives me, and that’s when I started to feel strongly ‘Nigerian’. That said, being away from home makes me feel somewhat removed from the reality of Nigerian living.

What are you most proud of when you think of Nigerian women?

Ooh, the fighting spirit! I mean, it could also be described as shakara (especially if you’re Yoruba), but I think it’s wonderful. And it’s also not restricted to Nigerian women. I think African women all over the world share this, and it’s what makes us – our grandmothers, our mothers, all of us – remarkable. Don’t worry, no feminist propaganda here (although that wouldn’t be amiss). 😉

Where can people find you and your work?

All over the web, literally. I have placed all my digital footprints in a central place for ease: www.about.me/yossiepaul

 

 

Kilikili

One dress multiple options

kilikili vlisco

Hi Guys!

Back at it again with a green dress :D. This fabric breathes nostalgia~the beating of wooden drums and little girls *cough* me *cough* popping on stage with our waist beads and kilikili wrappers. I remember this fabric as yellow and red but I am definitely feeling the new versions cropping up.

diy dress

This dress doesn’t really have a front or back per se, it can be worn both ways. Wearing it in reverse allows the option of wearing it as  a summer dress. Alas as winter lingers on I have respected myself and worn a sweater with it.

ibo star fabric

Lining was important for this outfit because I believe it gave a bit more structure. I used a v-neck dress that I currently own as a pattern and extended the neckline  for one side.

In hindsight, as opposed to cutting on the fold, it may have been better to cut four pieces and have a seam down the middle.

green dress

Good to note that while this dress may appear to be very straight, cutting it as such was a mistake. I had to go back in and taper  the top a bit to avoid looking like I was wearing a barrel :/

Other than those points I think it was a simple enough dress with plenty of movement and versatility.

Pictures by Willyverse

The Nigerian Woman|Unafraid

Gender Parity and the Prohibition of Violence against Women

African woman

Hi Guys!

I had planned a completely different post for today but well this happened and I just had to voice my opinions. As some of you may be aware, the Nigerian senate- consisting mostly of old men-recently opposed a bill aimed at protecting the rights of women in marriage, employment and education. I am in no way surprised at this and I don’t know anyone who is frankly, but I am utterly disgusted.

Checking my privilege: I can not speak for all women and I certainly cannot speak for all Nigerian women. Some of the people who may have been most affected by this bill may have varied views on it’s relevance. I have been privileged thus far in the family I was born into. I have been heavily shielded from a lot of the realities of being female in Nigeria. I have been taught repeatedly to see myself as a leader, as someone with much to bring to the table. This is not a reality for all (many) Nigerian women.  This is not to imply that I am oblivious to the realities of being female in Nigeria, patriarchy and frankly misogyny seeps into even the most mundane conversations. I however feel it is important to acknowledge the ways in which I may be distanced from a full understanding of what is at stake.

Several articles have highlighted a few of the senators who were opposed to the bill and of course Senator Yerima felt it was his duty to oppose this bill on the basis of his religious beliefs. Now I respect anyone’s right to assert their beliefs, however there comes a point where you need to stop using religion as a medium to serve your heinous desires. Can we just stop to think about how after we all hash-tagged #childnotbride on social media, wrote articles and protested, this man still sits comfortably in the house of senate without a care. No accountability. No repercussion. And to think all it took was to cite religion and our uproar became a silent grumble.

Nigeria for all its patriarchy does a huge disservice to men because if a room full of decision makers whose sole purpose is to serve their country still cannot stretch their perspective enough to consider how protecting women against the constant violence that is inflicted on them could be necessary then you my friends are enduring the greatest torture. To be so enraptured by your privilege that you fail to see how you are setting yourself up for failure, I truly pity you.

Nigerian women are phenomenal! As evidenced by the few women I have featured in this series and those who I will feature in the months to come, they are barrier breakers, leaders, innovators, creatives! How is it that in 2016 we are still reducing a conversation about violence against women to the institutions under which they marry? How is this relevant to protecting their basic human rights? We pretend that the only context that women are abused is within marriage when in fact at every phase of a Nigerian woman’s life she must face some form of abuse. You can’t play this way, You can’t dress this way, You can’t speak this way, You can’t earn this much, You can’t advance this fast. We are constantly saying, limit yourself, do the bare minimum, wait for a man, don’t shame us by your brazenness. I felt it was important to state my privilege at the beginning of this post because as much as violence against women tears at my soul, there are women who wholeheartedly believe that their husbands can “discipline” them physically, that there is no such thing as a man raping his wife and that they deserve less in life simply on account of their genitalia. I can not speak for anyone other than myself and I cannot present anything other than my own moral stance and I say Nigeria you are failing your women!

We can not continue to lean so heavily on principles that have systematically diminished the worth of our own people. This should not be a tousle between man and woman. If truly all a woman is to you is your property then the least you can do is protect what is yours but even in your own logic you fail. I am thoroughly unimpressed with the light that this casts the majority of the Nigerian senate in.

I am a Nigerian woman and I am not afraid to say that I expect more.

I expect more from my country’s decision makers.

I expect more from Nigerian men.

I expect more from Nigeria.

 

 

Val-der-eee

Knapsack Tutorial

bag for the summer

Hi Guys!

So I’m here today with something very practical and something I have used literally everyday since I made it! A *drumroll* Knapsack!!

The word knapsack takes me back to primary school and marching songs 🙂

“I love to go a-wandering…*mumbles words*…with my knapsack on my back! Valdereee, Valderaahh”

I have no idea what half those marching songs meant or even why we needed to march to our classes but they’re nostalgic all the same. Oh the days of juice boxes, boogers and chalkboards! 🙂

YV bucket bag

This bag however started out with my quest for a practical bag to take to work which evolved into me lusting for a bucket bag. A dozen Pinterest tutorials later and I was sure of what I wanted and how I wanted it to look. However as with most things I make, the idea changes once I actually start making.

backpack for summer

I have drawn out what I cut to achieve this bag. Note that this image does not include a flap for closing as that is completely optional and just one of the things I added on the fly.

Napsack tutorial

In terms of strap length and draw string length I would suggest going with your gut and doing what feels right. As long as it isn’t too short you should really be able to adjust it. I originally tried to punch holes in the fabric with some cheap hole puncher I picked up at the fabric store but that failed spectacularly so I just snipped little x’s in the fabric where I wanted my drawstring to go through.

drawstring bag

Overall I would rate this project a 3/10 for difficulty 😀 it’s definitely a great beginner project and I have gotten a lot of use out of it already! I can’t wait to go everywhere with it this Summer.

Black knapsack

One little thing went wrong the day after I made it though, The strap cut! (LOL). So that this doesn’t happen to you when you try it (because I know you’re going to) Sew a rectangle that fixes the strap to the bag and then sew an ‘x’ in the rectangle. This would keep your bag a lot more secure. OR you can sew on loops like I did and this would make your bag adjustable. It all depends on what you would like to do.

Oh and one last thing, I would like to believe that this bag can be made using fabric glue. I say this because the sewing involved is pretty minimal but don’t take my word for it. I would be happy to see if fabric glue holds up for this tutorial.

Until next time

Peace XO

Pictures by Willyverse

Fits and Starts

Rediscovering my blog’s purpose

willyverse image

Hi Guys!

Today I thought I’d go to my about page and try to refresh myself on why I started blogging in the first place. If you’ve never read it before here’s what it says :

Its all about that very first step. The fear of trying and failing should never be enough to keep you from the amazing experiences life has to offer. This is my first step, my beginning if you will, of taking hold of these experiences. I hope this blog inspires someone to think in technicolor. To try something they never thought they could do. Follow me as I share my thoughts on my ongoing projects, baking recipes and a few colorful musings.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Peace, Love and Respect,

E.

Now as far as recipes go I think I’ve posted like one in the entire history of my blog (LOL!) but over all I still feel like this statement resonates with me.

I still want to inspire people to try things that they would ordinarily not do because frankly if I can do it anyone can! I don’t say that to dump on myself; I think I’m a pretty cool person :p but I knew nothing about sewing when I started this blog and now I’m over here crafting bomber jackets and what not.

I thought I would be too scared to write what I truly felt when I first started. It all felt a bit vulnerable and soul-baring hence why I didn’t tell many people about it at first. I still feel that way sometimes; when thing feel too new or too bold, I like to sit with them quietly and get comfortable with them before showing them to the world.

So on the topic of starting, there would be a few things in my life that would be starting this year. One of which would be my business with a dear friend :). We are creating handmade pillows and when things advance a bit more I would be sharing pictures and details and all that jazz, but yea 😀 I’m pretty excited and very nervous.

I’m glad I re-read my about page today. It made me feel all warm and content on the inside. I’ve thought about re-branding my blog many times because frankly if you googled “Begin” you’re probably just going to get the definition of the word but until I find something that still speaks this message, I think I’ll stay put.

Well this ended up being a lot more conversational than I anticipated 😛

Hope you’re all having a great week!

Picture by Willyverse

 

Love Lessons

Thoughts before Valentine’s Day

Hey Guys!

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

So Valentine’s day has crept up on us yet again and the overwhelming feeling of despair is setting in…what cute and affordable thing can I get this person (cause to be real Christmas wasn’t so long ago and gifts ain’t cheap), is there somewhere I can build-a-bae? cause I’m not trying to be alone for yet another year, and of course the people who are gearing up to declare their undying love to an unsuspecting crush on this one special day.

Now I was prepared to give some kind of love advice, you know; get her flowers, write her letters, brush her hair and feed her grapes but the truth is, I know nothing!

Last year I got all deep and spoke about the meaning of love and everything I said there still stands so if you’re trying to decide if you love someone feel free to check that out :).

But yes, I have come to terms with the fact that I know next to nothing on the “affairs of the heart”. It’s funny because in high school I considered myself to be the “dear Dolly” of my peers. I had advice on deck for every relationship question known to my teenage mind. Boyfriend not answering your texts? Want him to ask you out? Feeling pressured to stay? I had a response for EVERYTHING! The only problem was that people just never seemed to listen.

I would spend hours advising a friend on why she should leave the toxic relationship that she’s in and she would agree with me only to call me a few days later to tell me that they made up -_-.

I have come to realize however that I wasn’t giving any revolutionary advice. 9 times out of 10 she probably knew exactly what was right and she also knew she wasn’t ready to do what was right. This is the part that baffles me till today, especially when I see myself following the exact same patterns (*gasp!*).

Maybe we’re not really looking for advice but just speaking so we can hear it out loud or maybe we’re really all just a little bit crazy and we don’t want to do what we know would be best.

I don’t know why we do the things we do (and I’m saying we because I feel most people have fallen into this trap of foolishness at some point).

Maybe I do have one teeny tiny piece of advice: Someone thinks you’re more than good enough, Someone wants to be the reason you smile at your phone randomly and there is definitely someone who wants to brush your hair and feed you grapes :p. So don’t sweat it…life, love and lessons happen 🙂 and you’re doing just fine!

Happy almost Valentine’s day.