Part 1 – Purple and gold dress

Adding gussets to create a wider skirt

My last official photoshoot is over three years ago. It”s about time to get some new promo pictures! Our Sense of Bellydance group booked a shoot next Saturday and we decided to go with individual costumes, all of us in purple with gold accents.

Of the many costumes I have, purple isn’t one of them! With only a couple of weeks to go, I headed out to the fabric market and bought a lovely midnight purple stretch velvet. As I have enough stuff lying around in my stash, this project would be a great opportunity to do some stash busting.

In February this year I purchased the Sparkly Belly Swirly Belt tutorial. This would be perfect for trying out some new techniques! With the swirly belt tutorial I would make gold appliqués and a belt to add some bling. Today I’m writing about creating the dress.

How to make a belly dance dress: start with a bra base

I got a couple of questions when I posted pictures on Facebook about how I made a belly dance dress with integrated bra. I took a commercial pattern for a dress (I prefer a princess seam dress, like this). Add some extra fabric to front pattern pieces so there’s enough fabric to work with. I drafted a similar pattern a couple of years ago so I took it out of my pattern storage. I had a Dina bra base in my stash as well. The Dina bra base is made of compressed foam. They are light weight, sturdy and are available in cup sizes B-C-D. As the cups are connected in the middle, the bra band size is a bit limited. They are easy to sew through by hand or machine and you can find them on eBay for about 13 USD.

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Dina bra base

How did I do it?

I’m a trial and error kind of person and the process went a bit like this:

  1. Put on dina bra base
  2. Put on dress, hike it up untill the desired height, covering the bra. Pin fabric of dress to bra base
  3. Take dress and bra off, use pins to get the fabric evenly over the bra base. Pin with lots of pins, then hand baste into place. I decided to baste the top and sides of the bra but I could have just basted the upper edge of the bra and leave it at that.

 

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The dress with the bra base pinned to it

 

I got a zipper for the middle back of the bra, but I didn’t like how it was visible in the back so I am taking it out. In order to get the fabric over the bra base I took of the flimsy straps that came with the bra. I made new straps by covering waistband elastic in the same fabric as the derss. By adding new straps covered in fabric, I tried the dress on and tweaked a bit with the princess seams to adjust the fit. I then hand stitched the bra to the dress.

Picture of bra pinned to dress

 

Adding gussets to create a wider skirt
Adding gussets to create a wider skirt

The pattern of the dress promised a flared, mermaid like skirt. My idea of a flared skirt was a little bit more dramatic compared to the ‘everyday wear’ pattern. I kept the bottom part of the seams open and added gussets, triangular shaped pieces of fabric. In the middle back I added a quarter circle to get a bit of a draped effect.

Time management

As I was a bit short on time, I had to sew during the day as well. Our daughter found the whole process quite fasinating and wanted to help, so I let her ‘pin’ the fabric.img_7644

This was a family effort, as I asked my mum to help me with pinning the hem for me. I got up on the table and she pinned along the edge.

 

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Thanks mom!

I cut off excess fabric and added a seam. After a week of late night sewing, the dress was done! For reference, It took me about 10 hours to make this dress. I saved time because I didn’t need to draft a pattern. I used a Dina bra base so no time spent on converting a regular bra to a belly dance bra, and there is no decoration on the dress. I didn’t take a picture of the dress while wearing it, so you’ll have to wait for the next blog post for a full body shot.

 

Next week I’ll write about the swirly belt tutorial and creating appliqués. See you there!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

 

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Goodbye, dressform!

I am a big fan of my dressmakers mannequin. It really helps to put a costume on the mannequin to see how it fits. But it is time to say goodbye. I can’t believe I wrote that.

In the past year, I made some costumes but honestly my productivity is dwindling. Being a mom is amazing in many ways, and it also means I have less time to sew and a different body to boot. And that different body doesn’t fit into the size range of my dressmakers mannequin!

It appears that the two of us will have to part. But before I do, I’m writing a blog post in honor of my mannequin who helped me so many times with making gorgeous costumes.

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One of my first belly dance costumes on my dressmakers mannequin

 

What to look for in a dressmakers mannequin?

  1. The option of changing the size of the mannequin independently is very useful. Most women don’t fit the ‘standard’ sizing: hips are wider or narrower, the back is longer or shorter. Having a mannequin that can be changed to your size makes it easier to see if clothes work with your body type, and to adjust patterns to your own sizes.
  2. Make sure you can put pins in it. For example, there are inflatable mannequins for sale, meant for displaying clothes. Another form is the plastif dressform also used for displaying clothes. While these are great for display purpose, the sizes are probably not similar to your size and you can’t pin clothes or items on the mannequin. A dressmakers mannequin is covered in fabrci so you can pin and tuck to your hearts Delight.
  3. It should be able to carry  a heavy garment. There is no maximum load described for my mannequin, but belly dance costumes can be very heavy. With layaers of fabric or beaded fringe, the mannequin has to hold all that weight! When you are on the lookout to buy one, keep this in mind. In my experience the cheaper ones have a harder time with heavier items.

Making your own

If you want to make your own ‘body double’dressform, there are many ways to do so. Read this article for 9 ways of makingyour own true to form dressform.

I am a little bit sad to let mymannequin go because she represents all the pretty costumes and clothes that I made with her help. I still have the memories though 🙂 Plus, she’s going to a very talented and creative friend of a friend who will make many more beautiful clothes.

In the mean time, I’ll go back to making items without a dressmakers doll. It’s the end of an era, not the end of the world. and if I get my mojo back and starts sewing for myself, I’ll have an excuse to go mannequin shopping for a new one!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

 

Buy or sell your costumes on Facebook

Q: How many costumes does a bellydancer need?

A: Always one more!

Despite a closet full of belly dance costumes, I am always looking for a new costume. After wearing a costume for a couple of performances it’s time to rotate! As I am not making a six figure salary as a bellydancer (if you do, please let me know how you do it!)a new costume means selling a current costume. And where do we belly dancers go to sell our beloved creations of chiffon and rhinestones?

You can try selling costumes on eBay and Etsy but those site work on commission which means less money going into your pocket.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to reach out to other belly dancers and offer them your costumes? They probably have a bunch of questions about sizing and the current state of the costume that you can easily answer. And that’s how many of the ‘costume for sale’ Facebook groups came into existence.

 

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One of my recent finds: a second hand cost less costume

 

For buyers
First of all, buyer beware: it is very easy to create fake profiles or scam someone on social media. But it is also easy to build a real profile and connect it to your business website, and show that you really are an honest seller/buyer. Ask as many questions as you need to get a good idea of what you’re buying: what is the size (in cm or inches), is there damage on the costume, can it be cleaned/washed, has it been worn much? Does the costume have a strong odeur (smoke, incense, perfume, sweat, pets)?

Contact the seller through PM to discuss the price and exchange address. Preferable keep payment information off Facebook, and choose a payment method that you’re comfortable with. And all you have to do after that, is wait next to the mailbox!

For sellers

Take pictures of your item: close up , as a whole, when worn and laid out flat. Take as many measurements as you can, including cup size, size of bra band, waist band, widest point at the hips, skirt length. Create an album with all the images and information and get ready to share that album.

 

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Like this costume? It’s for sale!

 

Go to the various groups where you can sell your costume and follow the guidelines of the group for posting a costume for sale. Make sure you mention your prefered contact method (if you never check your PM’s, ask potential buyers to email you). Now wait and be patient for people to ask you questions about your costumes. If you receive no response, wait at least 24 hours before bumping your listing. You can bump your post to the top by responding to your own message: it will show up at the top of the Facebook group again when someone replies.

Where can I find these Facebook groups?

I am so glad you asked! Here’s a list of groups.

New &used belly dance costumes for sale – NO SPAM

**the Facebook bellydance swap meet**

Belly dance costume SWAP

Costume belly dance (new & used)

Belly dance costume bazar (new and used)

Belly dance SALE group

Now go forth and find yourself a new costume!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

DIY printed bunting banner

What do you do when you’re presenting yourself and your company at a local event and your budget for promotion materials is non-existant? Create a banner by yourself! Okay, it required printing and laminating and I used some left over string, but these were materials that I already owned. As a bonus, I’ve included a PDF file so you can print your own ‘bellydance’ banner.

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For the non-Dutch, it says: ‘Bellydance with Kyria Moves’

Materials

Laminating foils

laminator

scissors

a piece of string

Printable PDF bellydance banner (this is the word ‘bellydance’ plus three bellydancer silhouettes)

  1. In my case I started out from scratch and used a blank template of a bunting flag. I used Word to add text to the flags and printed it on basic white paper. If you have an indoor event, it would be way easier to print the flags on cardboard, cut them out and string it together. As I was at an outdoor event and the Dutch weather is very unpredictable, I opted for laminating.
  2. Put two flags together back to back, laminate them with the laminator. This is one of my favorite steps: the flags come out so nice and shiny!
  3. Use the scissors to carefully seperate the two flags, than cut each flag along the outline of the outline.
  4. Punch holes in the sides of the flags and string them together. Leave enough room on both sides to tie the bunting to something so you can hang it.
  5. Enjoy your work and send me a picture 🙂

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    Our decorated market stall

Learning points

Like I said, the laminating helps with the durability but it also tends to curl the paper a bit, making it harder to read. In retrospect, printing on cardboard paper and cutting it out should do the trick in most occassions. As for the string, I used whatever I had lying around (I think it’s called masonry string) but you can use any type of string. The thicker the string, the easier it is to untangle your bunting. As a bonus, here’s a compilation video of our performances at the market.

 

 

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

 

Beading technique: Looped fringe with sequins

Summer is great for all the projects that are lying around and need to be done. Often these projects don’t need much time or effort but somehow they just don’t happen. I decided to tackle my pile of unfinished projects one by one and my first project was a red beledi dress that I bought five years ago. It’s a troupe costume and each troupe member converted the sleeves to a different style.

 

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The Dalla Dream Dancers backstage in our beledi dresses

 

I wore it as is, without finishing the edges of the sleeves or beading the sleeves. As a result, I always felt a bit uneasy when wearing the dress. Pulling it out of the pile I gathered my materials and got to work. It took me about three hours to finish the edges and now I can put it back in the closet, knowing that it will be ready for the next performance.

While working on the edge, I took some pictures so I could share this technique with you. It is a looped fringe with a big sequin in the middle, that adds sparkle to the edge, weight to the sleeve so it drapes better and a bit of extra movement.

Supplies

Seed beads

Cupped sequins (I recommend higher quality laser holographic sequins because they last a long time.)

Paillettes (I used holographic pailettes app 20 mm in diameter)

Thread (For durability, use extra strong thread)

Needle (as small as possible, to get through the seed beads)

Technique

Start by threading your needle and anchoring the thread to the fabric. Or, in different words: thread your needle and tie a knot in the thread. Choose your starting point and get your needle through the fabric from the back to the front, then to the back of the fabric again. Secure the end. Stick your needleback to the front and let’s get started on the beading!img_7293Add to your thread: one cupped sequin (make sure the cup sits with the bottom towards the fabric), fifteen seed beads, one pailette and then fifteen seed beads again. It looks like this:

img_7295Pick a point app 1″/2,5cm to the right of your starting point, and stick the needle through from the bottom of the fabric to the top. Tug lightly on the thread to tighten the beads and sequins.

img_7296I like to knot my beading as often as possible, so I make a knot at this point to secure the loop into place. If the beading breaks, I will only loose one loop of fringe, not a whole row.

Rinse, repeat.

Once the whole edge is finished, the effect is a shiny, beaded edge with a lovely dangling paillette in the center of each fringe. This technique is very forgiving so it looks rather uniform even when the distance between the starting point and the end point is more or less than 1″/2,5 cm.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

I’m a teacher at the Belly Dance Business Academy!

This summer I’ve been busy with starting up new classes in the studio and creating workshops that cater to belly dancers needs. The results were great: I had two sold out workshops plus four new students for my weekly classes! Teaching the workshops was so much fun, that I wanted to give more dancers the opportunity to join in. The only question was: how?

What is the Belly Dance Business Academy?

Long story short, I am joining the fabulous team of teachers at the Belly Dance Business Academy and I will create several classes a year for their curriculum. The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a couple of free classes. Topics include (but are not limited to) handling the business side of belly dance, how to organize,  creating lesson plans,  handling complicated situations with clients or students and personal development. I wish I had this resource available when I started my belly dance business over a decade ago! Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment involved). Once you’re logged in, choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning. The classes are online and you can start and continue when it suits your schedule. As a teacher, I have a  bio page that tells you more about me as a teacher right here.

 

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The picture of my official bio at the BDBA

 

What am I going to teach?

My online teachings will be along the same lines as my live workshops. They are meant to inspire, look at challenges from a different perspective and help you become the best dancer and entrepeneur you can be. Now that I’m added to the team at the BDBA, I have to learn how to create an online course. It will be a steep learning curve and I’ve scheduled the next month to get used to the technology. I’ll create a free class so you can get to know me as a teacher and you get a taste of what the full class will entail.

The first full class is on how to find new music and get new inspiration through listening to music. This is a topic that pops up on every Message Board, Forum and Facebook group where dancers discuss belly dance. It’s one of my favorite topics to talk about with my fellow belly dance teachers because it’s so much fun to explore what’s hot and trending in Egypt, Turkey or other countries. It also means staying in touch with what happens with regards to music in American Tribal Style and Tribal Fusion, plus I like to listen and use music from our music charts as well.

As soon as my classes are available, I will post them here on this blog and across all the channels that I use for promotion (newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, websites, and I will tell you all about it when I meet you in person!). Stay tuned! If you are interested in the BDBA, I recommend you go over there and sign up for free. Even if you are not a professional dancer but dance pure for fun, there are classes that can help you overcome stage fright, or help you resolve disagreements.

Special shout out to my fellow Dutch dancers

For the Dutchies, I have special treats for you! I will offer real live workshops in our Kyria Moves studio on several topics. I am now working on the schedule for September-December and there will be a couple of really special workshops to help you succeed as a belly dancer. Keep an eye on my website  and sign up for my (Dutch) newsletter and you’ll get all the news first hand.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

Building a studio – it’s ready!

It took a bit longer than we anticipated but the studio is ready and in use. Initially I thought I’d do a grand opening, or invite my dance friends to open the studio. But life has been crazy and in my optimism I planned summer workshops in the studio in July. Our garden wasn’t ready but the workshops were fully signed up…. Instead of a big opening we had the workshops with two wonderful groups of dancers. The studio certainly has some good mojo going on from happy students!

In addition I had some  inquieries about teaching weekly classes in the studio and we’ve been doing summer classes for beginners as well. I had some more people sign up and the group is almost full. 

My husband pointed out that with all the dancing, we don’t have time off to enjoy a holiday as a family. He is totally right!

I have been training and coaching two of my advanced students into becoming assistent teachers. One of them is ready to start teaching weekly beginners classes. Huzzah! We plan on taking a week off as a family to relax and recharge.

The garden is mostly done: E. put down a considerable amount of pavement, put up two fences, built a gate and dug out roots. Once the garden is ready I’ll post some outside pictures as well 🙂

For now, this is what our studio looks like:

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There are some minor things that need to be fixed. Like fixing the toiletpaper holder to the wall, retouching the paint that the dog scratched off the doors. The garden still looks like a disaster happened and while we’re at it, the paintwork on the backdoor needs to be done as well.

But for now, I am happy with what we have accomplished and I am enjoying teaching and dancing in our very own studio space. If you want to know more about the classes and workshops that I offer, or if you are interested in renting the space check out the studio website. I made that website as well.  Now excuse me while I go and enjoy all the things we accomplished 😄

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

 

Resources for buying student costumes

My students are halfway through the semester and already excited about the student recital right before the summer break! A recital is an excellent opportunity to show what we’ve learned in class, plus it’s a nice occassion to  dress up. For recitals, you are probably sked to wear a ‘student costume’. Something that says ‘belly dance’ without being outrageously expensive. A nice coin scarf, flaired pants, a tie top with butterfly sleeves…. Combined differently, an item could be worn as every day wear, or paired with a bra and belt might be the finishing touch for a professional belly dance costume.

To help you get inspired, I collected several sources for student costumes in this blog.

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L Rose designs

This all American small business has a catalogue of skirts, pants, tops and accesoires that look gorgeous on stage and are comfortable to wear. They do custom work and large sizes and are super friendly to work with. If you buy from outside the US, be careful for possible extra taxes.

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Sharifwear

Another US based company with gorgeous hipscarves, set in fabulous prints and various droolworthy items.

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Dahlal.com

Dahlal has many costume options, including tribal and Egyptian style. Ccheck out their section with professional costumes if you want to see more sequins and rhinestones.

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Bellydance.com

This is a big website! I ordered dvds from them in the past and they were fast to deliver. They also sell tops, skirts, hipscarves, jewelry, cd’s and dvd’s. Be careful with the sizing, as the clothes tend to run small.

Happy shopping 🙂

I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! If you enjoyed this post and like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

 

Update on the new dance studio

We’re in the last phase of our own  house makeover. It’s been a crazy last six months. The first activities started in September 2016 and the contractor is working on the last finishing touches. I shared the exciting news that we’re building a dance studio and after that I got so caught up in life that I haven’t showed you the result yet. Small warning: the studio isn’t finished yet. But let me start by showing some work in progress pictures.

On the first day of work, a huge excavator showed up in our backyard, breaking down the old garage and removing the old concrete fundament. The next couple of weeks more digging occured to connect electricity, water and a sewer drain to the new building. A new and much heavier concrete foundation was cast, isolated and topped off with more concrete. Dutch building regulations are strict and we needed the uilding to be structural sound plus completley laid in brick.

The new building is 4.5 by 9 meters, slightly larger compared to the old garage. In the next six weeks, the exterior of the studio took shape. A small hallway on the left of the building, a single large room in the center and on the right there is a part of the building reserved to store our bicycles with doors opening towards the street.

The flat roof has a rooflight smack in the center, letting in lots of natural light. Due tot he weather, sometimes work wasn’t possible as the Dutch autumn and winter is cold and wet but overall deadlines were met. 

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Standing in the hallway, there’s a door leading to a bathroom with a walk-in shower, toilet and wash basin. When I took this picture, the lights weren’t connected and the tile grout wasn’t done. It is large enough to use for changing into dance gear, and it’s perfect for cleaning up after  a hard day of sweaty labor, or rolling around in the mudd. I leave it up to you to decide what family memebers I am talking about related to these activities.

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The central room has French doors, opening towards the garden and the house. Currently the garden is in a distressed state, but I have plans for lots of evergreens and flowers on the terrace. You can see the effect of the roof light, making it bright and airy. The wall in the back will have a large closet with mirrored sliding doors. All the costumes, props, cd’s, dvd’s and books need to live somewhere. This is the best solution to create both a mirror wall and a storage space. The walls and woodwork are unfinishe din this picture.

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I’m skipping forward a couple of weeks. The painter did the woodwork and walls in off white and E. put in flooring. A real wood dance floor was not possible as we choose floor heating.  The PVC laminate is very comfortable and easy on the feet during turns and spins. In the left corner is the expansion tank and the boiler. We plan on adding a pantry in this corner.

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The dance studio was finished up untill this point when the contractor started working on the second half of the work: extending the livingroom of the house.  This made our house uninhabitable so we moved in with my mother in law for a month. Spending time with her and getting to know her better was an added bonus, plus our daughter adored her and her dog. E and I took extra time off work to take care of our daughter and our dog, plus E travelled a lot to keep an eye on the work at home. It was intense.

At the start of March we moved back home and used the studio as livingroom. We got a good feel for the space and the floor. I am glad that I choose light grey oak for the studio floor, it gives a bit of character without overwhelming. I bought two sets of basic white curtains at IKEA and put them up at the French doors to add a bit of privacy.

When we moved back home, our daughter and the dog went back to daycare and E and I went back to our full time jobs. It felt so good to sleep in our own beds again! We quickly learned that living on  a building site meant having lots and lots of sand and dirt in our house. Sweeping the floor four times a day was the easiest solution.  We lived in the dance studio for five weeks while the work continued in our house. I always had a dream of living in a dance studio but it turned out that when you share it with a whole family plus all the living room funriture, there isn’t much room left to dance. Last weekend we moved back into the house and we’re continuing to work on the house, studio and the garden. Right on time, as our little girl started walking during the last week of us camping out in the studio. She is now happily pattering around in the extended livingroom,

In another two or three months everything will be finished and we’ll have an official opening. I can’t wait for the studio to be finished and start hosting workshops and events!