Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Three Year Blog Birthday! // The Journey So Far

Three years ago today I sat down at a computer, made myself a blogspot account, then roped my boyfriend into taking pictures of me in my new Asos dress. I then proceeded to make a fairly amateur first post, the formatting of which now makes me cringe. And all I got for my efforts was a single seedy comment.
But slowly my blog began to blossom - I became obsessed with online shopping, was introduced to the world of lookbook and chictopia (which helped people to find my blog in the first place), and started posting outfits once a week.
Inspired by other bloggers and the then very-popular galaxy look, I tried out my very first DIY.
Very shortly after beginning to blog, however, I was diagnosed with a very scary and life-threatening illness, which was to become a very large part of my life - certainly not a defining feature of who I am, but still something that I continue to battle every day.

This space then became so much more than a fashion blog to me - it became my place to escape.

Some days all that I was able to do was to throw on a pretty outfit, take some photos, and then be utterly exhausted. But it gave me something to do, some sort of purpose, rather than lie around in bed feeling defeated and sorry for myself.
At first, you wouldn't have been able to tell I was sick (such is both the blessing and the curse of having an invisible illness), but slowly the medications that I was taking took their toll - my weight shot up, my face ballooned and my hair began to thin. So I dyed my hair and hid my face, terrified that people would discover that I "wasn't normal", but determined to keep blogging no matter what happened. Dressing up and doing DIYs became a sort of therapy for me.
I got my first ever sewing machine, and started making my own clothes - the above picture shows the very first circle skirt that I ever attempted! While the hem was completely uneven and I had to wear it with a belt for it to stay up, I was beyond excited that it was possible for me to make my own clothes. For valentines day in 2012, I wrote my first DIY tutorial.
Companies took notice of me, and decided that they wanted to start sending me clothes for free, which was basically the most exciting thing in the world right then. Super enthusiastic, I signed up with about 20 companies - then realised that was way too much work/pressure, so I stepped back a little and became a bit more selective.
I discovered wigs...
Started actually working with aforementioned websites like chictopia on style campaigns...
And at the end of 2012, I started blogging about science!
I wrote for the Scientific American, was a guest on one of my favourite science podcasts and met a whole community of scientists and science-lovers who also adored vintage and loved to craft!

I met up with one of my favourite bloggers, Ashley of Candy Kawaii Lover in Japan, proving just how much of the world blogging had opened up for me. Ashley showed me around Kobe, and we became good friends - meeting up a second time when she visited Australia!
In 2013, I moved out of home, and was asked to be in a magazine. Shortly before the release date, I was asked if I would actually like to be on the COVER of the magazine itself! And so this happened:
I started thinking more carefully about my impact on the world and my fashion choices, and how the two were intertwined. Just under a year ago, I decided that I was no longer going to support/buy from companies that were possibly manufacturing their clothing in sweatshops. I had a complete overhaul of how I viewed fashion, but also aimed to prove that I could still maintain the same style solely through thrifting, DIY and shopping more ethically.
I started writing for Birdee Magazine at the end of last year, and this year I branched out into the world of video blogging and started my own youtube channel, on which I have just hit the milestone of 10,000 subscribers. This is both awesome and mind-boggling - as my "film studio" consists of me sitting in a very awkward spot where the light is just right in the middle of my kitchen.
But the best part about my three years of blogging?

You guys. (Awww)

Seriously though, it is! I will never be able to thank you all enough the love and support and lovely comments and "fan-art" and emails that have made me cry - to know that I have touched the lives of so many people in such a positive way is the greatest feeling of all. And in return, you guys have made such a positive impact on me!
So that's three years of The Pineneedle Collective (Happy Birthday, blog!) and I am very much looking forward to what the next three years has in store!

All of the love in the world,

Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tartan Dresses and Paper Folds

Dress is from Renew Vintage | tights are from Japan | shoes are no longer available

I am so glad that Katie convinced me to buy this dress while we were at Sydney's Finders Keepers a couple of months back! I noticed it early on in the night, but didn't try it on "in case I loved it", and proceeded to fret for hours while creepily returning to the store 3 or 4 times to stare at it. Sick of me being a weirdo and possibly freaking out the store owner, Katie forced me to try it on, "and then, when it doesn't fit, you won't regret anything!"
Unfortunately, it fit perfectly. This caused much more fretting on my part. Katie told me I had to buy it. I said no. Then a stranger walked by and told me how good it looked, and that I had to buy it. "Oh, maybe I should buy it!" I exclaimed, and proceeded to buy the dress. "Cool, don't listen to me then, listen to a stranger," grumbled Katie.

So that's the story of this dress. I'm really happy that I bought it now, regardless of the fact that I have way too many dresses in my wardrobe (psst! Buy my clothes! You know you want to!)

Speaking of Katie, she is still gallivanting around Finland and isn't going to be back for another two weeks, boo! I miss her so much!

Alright, want your MIND TO EXPLODE?! (Not literally, obviously. I promise that all mind explosions that may result will be of the good kind.)

If it were possible to fold a normal piece of paper in half 104 times (it isn't possible, by the way - the record is 12 times - if you don't believe me, go and try it yourself) then the resulting width of folded paper would be as BIG as the entire observable universe.

Cool!... wait. How?!

Exponentials, baby! Watch this video:

And I hope that you're all having a wonderful day.

Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr

Friday, 18 July 2014

DIY Heart Collar

I just realised that nearly all my video tutorials centre around heart motifs (see: heart tights, heart dress, heart pinafore and now heart collar). I guess I must have a subconscious obsession with heart-printed things! Of course, you can substitute the heart shapes in my tutorials for any other easy-to-draw shapes, but hearts seem to be my go-to novelty shape (no regrets here).

Anyway, ever since finding my embroidered rude shirt (language warning for that link), I have wanted to embroider all of my collared things! I wanted to start off with something easy - hence the heart - but I'm definitely going to try words next!
Let me know what you think of the tutorial, and if you think you will give this a go! It's really easy, quick, and doesn't require a sewing machine (woo hoo!) so if you've got a spare 30 minutes to do a little crafternoon-ing (or crafternighting, if you're like me and always get inspired to start projects near midnight) - definitely give it a go! It's also perfect for people with little-to-no hand-sewing skills (like me)!

And here is a good link for the kind of stitch you need to know for this tutorial, which is called a satin stitch (does not need to be used on satin. Silly sewing lingo).

Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Donut we all?

Necklace is c/o I Love Crafty | blouse, pinafore and cardigan are thrifted | tights are DIY | shoes are old

I felt that I needed some absurd way to express my love of I Love Crafty's new Donut Shop range of jewellery, so I decided to make it look like it was raining donuts in my backyard!
Image via Rebloggy

I've been a fan of I Love Crafty for years now, and this donut shop range is one of my favourite collections of theirs, featuring donut-themed collar tips, necklaces and rings in all the different flavours! They will go perfectly with any pastelly outfit, but will probably make you want to eat some real-life donuts (like I had to the next time I went out shopping, hahaha). Not only is the jewellery just wonderful, but Laura is also the queen of cute packaging!

Donut science! (TW: diets and food) Have any of you watched the documentary Sugar v Fat that aired a couple of months ago? If you can find it, I highly recommend watching it! 
Basically, two identical twins who also both happen to be doctors wanted to see what was healthier for you when "dieting" - a high-fat or a high-sugar diet? For one month, one twin went on a high-fat diet, while the other went on a high sugar diet with little to no fat. 

The demonisation of either fat or sugar in fad diets has been a point of debate in pop-nutrition - one moment, you're told to avoid all fats and the next, it's sugars that seem to be evil - with high-fat diets like Atkins, and low-fat diets all claiming to be the healthiest for you.

Well these twins wanted to cut through the bullshit, and study the physiological changes that occur when going on either of these diets.

What they find out is interesting - neither fat or sugar seem to be the real problem (and cutting out either one or the other is pretty unhealthy). Rather, it's a highly addictive combination of the two, usually when they occur in a 1:1 ratio - such as found in Krispy Kreme's original glazed donuts. 

As neuropsychologist Paul Kenny demonstrates, when lab rats are given free access to a food that is only fat (like cream) or only sugar, they will not overeat. However, when rats are given free access to food that is a combination of fat and sugar, they will absolutely gorge themselves, and the ratio of fat to sugar is very important.

To prove their point, the twins offer people a choice between three donuts - original glazed, sugar-coated or creme-filled donuts.
What would you choose, given a choice (and you aren't allowed to say no?)

Most people, it turns out, would choose the original glazed donut. This 1:1 combination of fat and sugar is apparently not found anywhere in nature, rather it's only found in human-made, processed foods, and apparently it's super addictive to us mammals - so no wonder donuts are so appealing!

* Note that this wasn't a proper scientific study, but it does aid what most nutritional scientists (with actual science degrees) have been saying for years - eat a balanced diet and don't eat too many processed foods if you want to eat healthily! NB you should always aim to eat to be healthy, not to change your body to look like some "ideal" shape because all body shapes are beautiful :) So enjoy the occasional donut now and again!

I hope that you are all having a great day!

Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr