Sunday, 30 March 2014


Sometimes I find an outfit that I really like, and become obsessed with recreating it with as much accuracy as possible. Sure, this can be a fairly easy task with the availability of wholesale sites that spew out fast-fashion as quickly as the trends change, but if you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I am very much opposed to this form of cheap-and-nasty consumerism. So, in order to recreate this outfit, I had to get out there and do some work!

The sweater was a super lucky op-shop find, spotted after an hour of searching through bins of second-hand clothing (in fact, Katie actually spotted this one - she knows my style so well). Then I found these boots second-hand for $4 - the two shoes were at entirely different ends of the store so I felt pretty damn accomplished by actually finding both of them. The soles of both shoes were also falling off (hence the $4 price tag) but I fixed this with some super-glue - now they're good as new!
However, my outfit was still incomplete without a full gingham skirt, and I wasn't able to find one anywhere, so I made one with leftover fabric from my smock dress!

Anyway, it was a mash-up of these two sporty-schoolgirl-from-the-50s outfits, from the March 2014 issue of Zipper magazine, that I was determined to emulate:
How do you think I did?
Sweater and boots are thrifted | skirt is handmade by me | headband is from Japan

Seeing as we're talking about emulation (which means to "duplicate or copy"), I thought that I would talk about this incredible work being done in synthetic biology (which is essentially the science of emulating nature)! Synthetic biology is really exciting because it means that creatures that have gone extinct might not be extinct forever! Now if you're not really sure about what DNA or chromosomes are, go here to read my post explaining them, then come back.
Yeast cells under a microscope (image source)

A team of international researchers have successfully created the first synthetic eukaryotic chromosome! This means that they built a long piece of DNA, with a very similar code to an organism (yeast) entirely from scratch. This is a world-first for eukaryotic chromosomes (yeast, plants and animals are all eukaryotes). The entire piece of DNA is 272,871 "letters" long and had to be "stitched together" from much smaller fragments to create the finished product. The researchers were then able to put the chromosome back into the yeast cell - and the yeast cells worked perfectly normally!

But one of the really awesome things is that this work was largely done by science students who are around my age! Anyone who says that "generation Y is dumb, lazy and apathetic" really doesn't know young people at all.

You can read the entire news story at Nature here (and a summary here).

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Friday, 28 March 2014

Hell Bunny & Vintage Reproduction

Dress is Hell Bunny ("Melanie") | shoes are from Italy (brand unknown) | bag is vintage | socks are from Tutuanna

Hello everyone! Have you all had a good week so far? I had to get this Hell Bunny dress after seeing Katie (aka Amelia) from Junebugs and Georgia Peaches looking so amazing in it! These are some photos taken quickly before uni the other day - the package enclosing this dress arrived at 8am in the morning while all my housemates were still asleep, and its arrival woke them all up (they were oh so happy), but I was far too excited to feel guilty. I just love the cutout, white piping and the buttons!

Hell Bunny does run large so although this dress is a size small, it's a tiny bit too big for my bust and I will have to adjust this with some sewing, but that's no big deal. It's also not this fluro-green in real life, I'm not sure why my camera has made it look so bright! Also note: I'm wearing a petticoat underneath, but the skirt is still pretty voluminous without one. However, I can't vouch for the ethics of the production as the tag says "made in China" and it's hard to find any more information on it other than that. Does anybody know of good vintage-reproduction companies that aren't prohibitively expensive but can probably guarantee that their manufacturers are being paid a decent wage? I'm really into this style of dress right now and would like to add a few to my wardrobe!

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Interview on Paulie Antiques

Hey cuties, I'm just popping in today to let you all know about an interview that I did with the wonderful Polly of Paulie Antiques! I ended up pretty much telling my whole life story haha, in part because I really enjoyed reading this in-depth interview with Kate Gabrielle, who was also interviewed by Polly a few weeks back. Anyway, if you want to read about my childhood, what a typical day is like for me and other junk about my life, you can read the interview here.

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Gingham pants, good friends and deadly microbes

Blouse, pants, cardigan and bag are all thrifted | Shoes are Naot | Cherries are c/o Sarsparilly

Look at me, wearing pants! What an unusual sight to see. I found these gingham pants at that "buy per kilo" op shop I visited the other day (whose name I am very selfishly withholding lest all the trendy Sydney kids descend upon the place and take all the good stuff), as well as this cardigan! I paired this with some dress-brogues and cherries, and my house-purse for good measure. Oh, and an old man decided to stand across the other side of the road and gawp at me the entire time that I was taking photos. Next time that happens, I'm going to stare right back at the person until they walk away. People can be so rude when you're doing something so "unusual" as standing on the street taking photos of yourself, goodness.

So something very exciting happened last week - I convinced my good friend Katie to start blogging (and I even designed her blog for her)! This means I finally have someone (who doesn't currently live in Japan) who'll take photos with me in awkward public places - which means less awkward-looking-selfies-because-I'm-being-stared-at-on-the-street, woo hoo! - AND she's also super cute and wears the coolest stuff so I'm too excited to take photos, make things and chat about blogging together! While we do have (somewhat) different styles, our outfits usually complement each other - we usually match on the whole red hair/red lips thing, and are both partial to a dressing like a 1950s pin up model now and again!
Anyway, you may have seen me plugging her new blog all over social media (I'm too excited to have a blog friend who lives just around the corner!) BUT if you haven't had a read yet, you should go and check out her blog, Buddle & Squeak, and say hi!
Oh and can you believe these photos were taken on an iPhone (and unedited??) I might as well go and throw my super-fancy SLR in the bin now. Yikes.
Also, thank you all so much for your feedback on this post when I was thinking of changing my blog's name to "The Pin & Needle Collective". Well, I've decided to keep the Pineneeedle Collective as is! Sure, I might not have liked the name when I first started blogging, but it's come to be representative of this whole space right here, which is a fact I definitely can't ignore! So, I've decided to stop being embarrassed when people ask me what my blog is called, and embrace The Pineneedle Collective as a name! *woo*

So because I'm in a creative mood right now (and also wanting to learn how to embroider), check out these sciencey microbrial cross-stitches!
Alicia Watkins from Etsy makes these amazingly nerdy & cute cross-stitches of various microbes and diseases (and that's probably the first time plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria, has ever been called "cute"). I'm smitten. Particularly with the two cross-stitches below!
Although these two guys here can cause some pretty deadly illnesses, they are also two of the most important microbes to science, and I work with them in the lab all the time. 

E. coli loves to grow everywhere and is super versatile, and so they are the microbe of choice for molecular biologists. By using E. coli, you can clone lengths of DNA, make biofuels, and make important proteins for medical purposes (to name a few applications)! For example many brands of insulin (used by people with diabetes) are made inside an E. coli cell! 

Bacteriophage, on the other hand, are viruses - and they're able to latch onto bacterial cells such as E. coli using those long green "legs" you can see in the cross-stitch above, inject their own DNA, and take over the cell, often hijacking it to make thousands more copies of itself... then ungraciously bursting the cell into pieces. What a badass! However just like E. coli they've revolutionized biotechnology, and are extensively used in research laboratories for things like cloning DNA. And because they're such great bacteria-killers, they're also used to help "sanitise" foods such as cheeses, meat and poultry.

I hope that you've all had a lovely weekend so far!

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

DIY Circle Skirt (no-zip method)

I really wanted to do a video version of my DIY circle skirt tutorial, so here it is! 

When I can't be bothered to add a zip to a circle skirt - it can add up to an hour to a project - I use this no-zip method with some stretchy fabric instead!

Stretchy fabrics include lycra, jersey knits and spandex if you're on the lookout for some in a fabric store.

I will also upload a version on non-stretchy materials and adding zips soon.
Let me know what you think of the tutorial! I love you guys :)

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

50s & Nautical Fashion

Hey guys! Just popping in real quickly this morning to tell you about an article that I wrote for Birdee Magazine! As you might have noticed, I've been loving both nautical and 50s pin-up styles and all things gingham lately, so I decided to do a whole write-up on it. I've included a wishlist, a tutorial as well as tips on how to get the style! I'd love it if you let me know what you thought (or leave a comment on the article, I'd really appreciate it!) You can read the article here.

Top left image by Mel Sundquist | Middle image from Zipper magazine (March 2014 issue)

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Monday, 17 March 2014

Pancakes & Pastels / Earth, Wind & ...Water

Blouse and skirt are thrifted | shoes are Naot | socks are from Japan | ring is DIY | headband is DIY

Hey guys! So me and my friend Katie went and found the most. Amazing. Op Shop. Ever this weekend. It was this warehouse/depot style op-shop where it’s a free-for-all rummage, nothing has been set out nicely on hangers (or washed… I think), everything sits in about 20 giant clothes-bins, and you BUY THE CLOTHING BY THE KILO. This is regardless of what the item of clothing is – meaning you could buy something like a Miu Miu dress for $2 if you got really lucky. So I found this really pretty Gorman t-shirt (which would have once been easily worth $80 - $100) among other amazing clothes, including the cute pleated blue skirt in these pictures! I also found “Mr. Men” bedsheets and nearly cried – it’s going to make the most perfect ever dress. I left the opshop with a massive armful of clothes and fabrics – it ended up being 3.5 kilos worth of stuff, and only $28 for me!

In conclusion, depot op-shops are now my favourite thing in the world – seriously you should do a good bit of googling and see if there are any around your area, because they’re amazing.

Science Monday! (Damn it, I just missed out on doing a "Science Sunday". For shame. Though if you live further west around the planet than Australia, and you're reading this right after I post it, it probably still is Sunday for you so... yay!) Speaking of the planet (worst segue ever...), where did Earth's water originate? This video from minute physics is really fascinating!

Have a great day, guys!

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Friday, 14 March 2014

5-Minute Retro Hair Bow & Hairstyle Tutorial

The other morning I had a bit of spare time and decided that i wanted to do my hair up in a beehive with a gingham bow for University! And so I decided that I might as well film what I did (especially for the people who have asked me to do a hair-styling tutorial.) Enjoy!

p.s. If you *just* want to see the hair-styling bit, go straight to 1:34!

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Little Sailor / Why Can't You Tickle Yourself?

Dress c/o Romwe (old) | cardigan is my friends | cherries c/o Sarsparilly | socks and shoes are thrifted

I am very, very fond of nautical themes and 50s-inspired styles at the moment! This is especially because my good friend Clare, who just came back from Japan, bought me a Zipper magazine - basically my fashion bible, and impossible to get a copy of in Australia - and gingham, cherries, nautical stripes and pin-up style are all what's very much on trend. Outfits like this are inspiring me so much:
Images are all from March 2014's Zipper magazine

Also, thank you for your thoughtful responses on my last post. It was really helpful... but I'm still so undecided! Who knows what will happen!

But forget that - here's a really interesting video for you to watch! Discovery News gets into the neurologics & biologics of why you can't tickle yourself. Check it out:

So much love to all of you!

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