How I Got a Suntan and Upcoming Projects

Cabarita Beach, NSW. I was married here.

My BFF came all the way from Atlanta to visit me, so I rolled out the red carpet and used her visit as an excuse to do several of my favorite “local” things.  The best thing? Beach hopping.  This is the last day she was with us, please note the sorry state of my skin.  Bronzed!  Oh no!

This is what did it.  We went kayaking at Byron Bay in hopes of seeing dolphins.  It’s a regular occurrence there, and humpback whales are quite common during the migration season.  We didn’t see any, but I love being out on the water and the view from the Bay is breathtaking.

It doesn't look choppy here, but it was actually quite rough.

I’ve never been out on such a choppy day, but it thrilled me like a roller coaster.  I’d see a swell rise up higher than my head in front of me and use the paddle to keep straight as we rose on the water and it splashed all over me, refreshing in the stiff breeze.  We went with Go Sea Kayak– they guarantee dolphin sightings or you may return as many times as it takes for free until you do see them.   My husband is a mad keen kayaker (I do it less than he does, but I rather enjoy it); I think we’ll work in a few more of these trips in the coming months.

Byron Bay is almost maddeningly picturesque- and they work hard to keep it small and charming.

We had such a great time at Byron Bay, I wanted to share a few photos.  After a few days of swimming at dawn, hiking along the headlands, kayaking, and hearing little more than the pounding of the surf (not to mention catching up with a good friend), I feel completely refreshed.

Surfer just after dawn

View from the headlands at dusk

The lighthouse at dusk- impressionistic effect of low light...

It’s an easily walkable town, with a substantial transitory international backpacker scene.  It’s probably the prettiest, cleanest, and most laid-back backpacker spot I’ve ever visited- well worth a visit.  Of course, there’s also a residential section of the town and the lovely big houses for rich people on the headlands.  Byron Bay also offers posh resort-style accommodation and somehow the mix of all those elements works really well.

frolicking in the surf; hemp is not degraded by salt water

Looking out to sea. I love this outfit.

Now that I’m back, I’m doing boring stuff like emptying sand from my tote bag, laundry, etc.  I’m also working on several ideas and projects, I thought it might help me organize myself to list them:

The Lorax stencil has waited for me in a state of near completion for three weeks.  I need to finish him, fix the eye I messed up, and spraypaint him already!  I’m thinking lime green on a navy shirt.  The Koala of the Dead stencil is a little more complex, I think I have to do him in two layers (advice?).  That’s fine because he’s so freaking cool.  These are both for my husband, and quite apt given his line of work.

I need to get back in the saddle and meet the Sew Weekly challenges in a more timely manner!  I completely welched on the Academy Awards theme, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  Next week’s theme is a refashion, so I’ll take the opportunity to hack this dress to pieces.

I settled on the design details for a pair of cute straight leg 7/8 length stretch jeans.  I’m using the pretty selvedge-stretch denim I torture tested a few weeks ago.  I want to make a double-yoke on the back, and for the flat-felled seams to “wrap around” my body and become a double front pocket feature (if I can work it out… maybe horizontal front slot pockets instead of curved..).  We’ll see what happens.  I’m thinking either white or coffee colored jeans thread- what do you think?

When I finish these pants, I’ll have cracked the last issue for the Custom Pants Blocks service the Consulting Dressmaker wants to offer.  I plan to launch the Pants Block service on the 4th of March, I’ll be giving away some yummy bottom weight fabrics with the launch so keep your eyes open!

But this afternoon and tomorrow I’m focusing on February’s “Hack” of the Blank Canvas Tee.  I have had a few requests that I make the hacks into patterns for sale.  Ok.  I can do that, but I’ll still publish the drafting instructions for free for those who want to learn to draft.  I improved my method for making electronic patterns since the Kimono Wrap Top and I’m keen to perfect it.  You all also asked for dresses, so I may make this as both a top and a cute dress.

(Edited to add: I took a couple of quick shots of the first draft of this pattern on facebook. Post to follow.)

I also have several Downton Abbey style posts planned, and I have some more Mad Men style posts to write.  Busy times!

Does anyone have tips on ways to banish a sun tan?  Just takes time?


  1. A sun tan is not the end of the world! After all, it’s recommended that we get at least 10 minutes of un-sunscreened sun exposure 4 times a week to keep up our recommended levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is rising at alarming rates in the Western world – don’t add to it. ;-)

    I’m loving all your upcoming projects. I can’t wait to see them come to fruition!

    • Yeah- but you sat in my living room in the afternoon wearing sunglasses because the glare was so strong… I’m sure I don’t have any kind of D deficiency… ;) I’m not too worried about my skin, it’s not a regular occurrence but it does kind of make me giggle to look so brown.

      I’m pleased you like them! Even the knits? ;) :P

  2. I hate getting burnt! I got burnt right at the beginning of last summer (May) and I still have terrible tan lines on my shoulders from my tank top. :( I always slather on lots of some type of aloe containing cream and keep the burnt areas as covered as possible.

    • I did get a little burned on my upper thighs, but for the most part I’m just kind of brown. It’s been a looooong time since I tanned, a bit of a novelty but doesn’t feel like “me.” :)

    • Thanks!

      I think the highest spf you can buy in Australia is 30+. My husband explained why in very logical terms, but of course I promptly forgot. ;)

      • Because there is no scientific evidence that anything over 50 works better, and lots of evidence that they actually contribute to the worst types of cancer (yes, sunscreen can be bad for you!). Not sure about Au & NZ, but the ingredients that would make 30+ possible aren’t legal in the US.

        I never use about 15, and as long as I apply it once an hour, I never burn.

    • I do hope you like the next one. It’s a little more “juicy” and challenging than the plain shirt and the sailor top.. But not too much so.

  3. OMG, you tanned! Well, once in how many years? won’t hurt.

    I’ve heard bad stuff about the higher than SPF 30, but like you the reasons didn’t stick—different chemicals required is part of it, I think. That being said, SPF 30 is adequate for whatever we get up here, provided timely reapplications, which is where I tend to fall down. But then we’re firmly in vitamin-D deficiency territory up here for a good chunk of the year. Which doesn’t excuse burning when the light *is* strong, but it’s hard not to slip, especially in the spring.

    Sounds like you had an AWESOME weekend, and I can’t wait to hear all about the new projects :)

    • I sent you an email.

      I seem to remember being told that the 30+ and the 60+ don’t actually have a whole lot of difference between them in terms of sun protection, it’s a little bit misleading. I really should go find out about it so we all know once and for all.. .

    • We stayed in the dorms in the hostel (I don’t mind it, but never do because my husband hates the dorms) and there was an Irish surfer in our room… He was really nice and all, but I couldn’t get past the idea of surfing in the north atlantic.. It’s enough to make my teeth chatter… ;)

      • My husband would LOVE to learn to surf, but he refuses to learn in cold water, which is all that’s available up here. It’s really popular, though—not any colder, when properly suited up, than skiing or skating, I guess…

      • I wouldn’t mind learning to surf, either… But I’d want to be able to do it as a part of my lifestyle and we haven’t moved to the coast… yet.

  4. Busy times for you! Lovely memories of a visit to Byron Bay in your snaps and am particularly looking forward to the Downton Abbey and Mad Men stuff coming up…

  5. Pingback: Sample Sewing and Multi-Tasking « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

  6. Don’t know if I can hold my breath until the 4th of March …..

    About sun, it is cooling down here noticably though we still slap on the sunscreen every day. My two are very fair skinned and we use SPF 20-30 organic natural locally (ie NZ) formulated sunscreen. It works so I haven’t looked to see if the more punchy stuff is available here.

    …Maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath because it seems I can’t trace patterns accurately enough or transfer dart lines from pattern to cloth to save my life at the moment. I’d wreak havoc with trousers of any description. I think I may need a few days at the beach too….. lovely pics and all.

  7. Your vacation looks wonderful, I’m glad to see you had such a fun time.
    I am surprised noone mentioned vinegar (apple cider smells best). Vinegar is a wonderful astringent for sun burns. It will cool the burn as well. To lighten a tan you can also use a mixture of pureed cucumber with some cream or sour cream. put it on like a paste, let dry and wash off. Another astringent most people don’t realize is a cut potatoe works well as an healer. Any time you go back packing cary a potatoe, if you get a cut or hives or … place a slice of potatoe on it and the juice from the potatoe will work wonders.

    Some neat projects you have coming up. I will try to stay more current but only have 1 hr of internet a day right now.

    Take care. Have fun!

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s