Karen - your neice and her dress are just adorable. I think smocking will remain one of those skills I admire from afar, I have far too much to keep me busy to take up learn something new.
Lyra - I usually use paint.net, but just downloaded gimp which has more features similar to photoshop so I am working on that. DH says the paisly is old fashioned but I really like it, it is very pale/subtle and I think what it really needs is a contrast in the burnt orange colour or the pale minty green that is in it to bring it out. But I am waiting to buy more fabric otherwise I will defeat the object of the project, which is to actually make some money via sewing rather than just spend it, not lots, just enough to fund a more sewing!
Don't worry my baby won't be neked she will get pretty things too, I am just waiting till after our move on Tuesday, it coincides with a divemaster trainee coming at the divecentre so I will be able to spend more time at home, mostly likely sewing, and just be able to pop to the divecentre to catch up on all the activty here.