Friday, 10 October 2014

Gettin' Published

I was also so busy with life over the past few months that I never blogged about the magazine article I wrote getting printed. It's in the July issue of The Doll's House Magazine which had a general theme of childhood. Rather than writing about childhood relics recreated in miniature form, I wrote about having a miniaturist for a mother, and the various ways this impacted on my life. I wrote about traveling to miniatures fairs and seeing all the tiny things through the eyes of a child, all the people I met and things I learned. The editor seemed to like it, and I was pleased to see some of my mum's own miniature vegetables used as the background image. It's my first article printed in a proper glossy magazine, yay!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Gettin' Tattooed

Since it's been a whole two years since I last blogged as myself (I still can't get over that - TWO YEARS!) I don't think I've mentioned anything about any of my latest tattoos.
I definitely haven't mentioned my creative-themed tattoo on my upper arm - I got this done somewhere around last January, but unfortunately didn't manage to take a decent picture while it was still fresh. It's hard to show it fully anyway - as I've got skinny arms there's a lot of wraparound.

 I got it done by the same woman who did my awesome typewriter tatt - Charlie, a badass she-devil working at Aces High in Shotton. It features green-handled fabric scissors, a measuring tape, needle, threads, a pincushion, a painbrush and pencil and scattered buttons to outline. Pretty darn cool, and I get lots of compliments on it, especially while at my job working for a fabric and craft company.

A much more recent tattoo of mine was one I got at the end of August, my "Keep on Living" tattoo. This was done by the truly fabulous Nat at The Painted Pin-Up in Stoke. I had met Nat and her fellow tattoo artist Josie, outside of the tattooing world, and as soon as I saw images of her colour work I knew she would be perfect for what I had in mind. Here is the finished work:

Isn't it beautiful?! The rainbow splashy/drippy watercolour effect was exactly what I wanted, to contrast with the sharp black of the anatomical heart. The studio is absolutely lovely too, it looks clean and classy while having a fun and relaxed atmosphere, exuding rad lady vibes.

The tattoo was partially inspired by the song Keep on Livin' by Le Tigre. They aren't my favourite band in the world, but that song holds a special meaning for me.

The message of the song is to keep on going even when times are really hard, and I think this message relates to many situations. It also comes directly after the song "Cry for Everything Bad That Ever Happened" which is a really sad, instrumental, dwell-in-the-grief kinda song, and "Keep On Livin'" is sort of a pick-me-up after that.

I remember listening to it in 2012 when I found out our old friend Paul had passed away, and then found myself returning to it again in 2013 when our friend Madi passed away too. The song and the tattoo are, to me, a big "fuck you" to mental health issues and suicide, and a reminder to the living to keep on going, to keep seeing the beauty in life and to keep helping each other out.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Two Years of Wingin' It

OK, so it's been two years since I last wrote a blog post. TWO FREAKIN YEARS! It's kinda inexcusable. It's been nearly three years since I actually printed a zine too. I never got the one I wrote about my Bay Area adventure printed (**saaad face**). I collated it, sent it to the printers, found out I had collated it wrong, got majorly pissed off/upset (you know angry tears?) and gave up. I was in the middle of having lots to worry about, in particular trying to do well in my final year of uni, and faffing with collating and printng was not top of my priorities. I shoved the lot in a folder and....didn't forget about it, but sorted out my priorities and put it to one side. I had coursework, mental health and financial difficulties to do battle with.

And now, more than two years later, I have emerged from the other side, like a new butterfly stretching its wings. Just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been writing, consuming awesome books and events, and having many an adventure. In fact, the past year or so has been so utterly jam-packed with fantastic times that I couldn't reduce to a brief list. Hopefully, given some free time ("ha, what's that?!" my brain mutters...) I will be able to update here a little more, and include some other details of what I've been up to. I need to change my profile picture on here for a start - I no longer have short pixie hair - it's not even dyed any more. I know, I know, WTF?! Yep, it's well past shoulder length and all my natural shade of brown. I have embraced all things (hard-)femme, now owning multiple dresses, skirts and even a well-sexy pair of VERY high heels!

I pulled off my final year at uni, with a FIRST class BA degree with honours - BOOM! My dissertation rocked it - how could it not with my Cristy Road interview driving my enthusiasm?! I got a new job in the same fabric company, which solved the financial crisis. I got new tattoos. Went to a new festival. Twice. Made lots of new friends, who are totally great. Which I didn't anticipate. I thought my social life was officially dead. Shit, in fact, I even moved out of my shitty, damp, mouse-infested flat into a lovely new house with a lovely new roommate. Still living with James, but also with this other boy too who is also totally great, and I couldn't imagine a better situation. And I've also been plodding along working on some private writing of my own, which I am considering printing only under a pseudonym. This, I think, will give me a sense of freedom to be more experimental and risque with my work, and will hopefully produce some interesting results.

Not everything's changed. I still love queercore, sewing and epic books about subculture. Still prefer wearing shorts and boots to skirts. Still using my typewriters and still writing in about 5 notebooks/journals at any given moment.

And so, with that in mind, I'm gonna try and keep blogging here, keep writing as ME, alongside my special-secret-pseudonym-writing. Hopefully I can keep on top of this rollercoaster that is my life, and manage to keep track of everything that's going on! <3 p="">

I've got lots of pictures and stories I'd love to share, but for now here's the most up-to-date picture of me that I can find, at BoomTown Fair, and taken by the lovely Beff:

Monday, 3 September 2012

Larry The Dinosaur, plus Japanese treats

This is Larry. He's a dinosaur:

I made him for my friend Beth's birthday,, he's all felty and soft. Well, I made the final Larry, James figured out how to (or should I say how NOT to?) use the sewing pattern and made the practice version. I couldn't have done it without James, I would have gotten frustrated and thrown it all out of the window! He is adapted from a pattern in the book Toys to Sew by Claire Garland. I say adapted because we couldn't follow the original pattern correctly, we even had to browse the internet looking for someone else who had been successful making it. James found a blog, which lied and said that the book was great. It is not great! The idea is great, but I'm sorry, I have to be honest, the book did me no favours other than give me the idea. My first complaint is that it failed to explain any of the steps, and the complicated bit like how to do the head and make it twist around was skipped over altogether. That sounds like a complaint from a beginner though, which I am not, not really. Beyond that, whole chunks of information were missing, or perhaps assumed unnecessary, as well as pattern parts being incorrectly labelled (i.e. in the book I had to figure out that the piece labelled "stegosaurus underbelly" should in fact have been labelled "brontosaurus underbelly" - not to mention the fact that brontosauruses never existed and were a mistake!). So, ultimately, we had to make our own pattern. I kept the legs and body of the original pattern, but changed the head and tail to both make it look like a brachiosaurus and logically work. Anyway, it worked in the end and we were left with Larry. I think he's super cute and want to make more cuddly dinos to give to my little brother and sister for Xmas.

In other news, my mum sent me some lovely treats from her business trip to Tokyo. Mostly useful craft-related stuff, but the cutest by far was a box of biscuits that look like buttons and needles and thread. Perfect! Thanks Mum :)

Oh, also, James got a job, woop! It's not full time, but it will work around daytime volunteering, seems like a comfortable office job, and means we don't have to panic so much about money issues, hooray! He's just gotten home from his first shift too and has lots to tell me, so time for tea and biscuits I think...

Monday, 27 August 2012

Free Books

I haven't had access to the internet or the television in over a week, and it's kinda nice. I've had the odd urge to check if I have any facebook notifications or emails, but when I finally did get to check, I saw that not much had happened, and it wasn't really worth it anyway. I just get sucked into a time consuming void of scrolling through other people's status updates, over half of which are pointless "just been to the shops" type stuff, lolcats, or passive aggressive messages to bad boyfriends, housemates and colleagues. You know the type of thing. It's just distracting from the real things I should be doing, like writing, sewing and reading. 
One thing that's given me a lot of joy in recent times is buying books with my book bursary from uni. Due to my parents having a low income, I luckily get lots of money on a card that I can spend in the uni campus bookshop online. When I don't have any real money to spend on luxury items, it is a real luxury to get as many -essentially free- books as I like arriving with the post. I've also picked up a lot of free books from boxes that lecturers have put out in the English Department saying "free to good home".

Above is what I've been reading recently, in preparation for a couple of my modules starting in October: Representing Madness, and Language and Gender. I've enjoyed all of them so far, although Butler in particular is rather wordy and complicated - but a pretty awesome summer reading list altogether! I really enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, and enjoyed it much more than the film, although Nicholson and the other actors are fantastic with what they're given to work with, but so much was missed out.

The picture above is one I took a few months ago, of the stack of books I was using for my Research project, most of which were either free or from the library - so, free too. I was quite pleased with it, as I got a lot of freedom over what I wanted to read and write about. If I could go back in time to the fifteen year old me (hiding my copy of Tipping the Velvet as I didn't know what people might think about me reading books with queer content), and tell myself that I'm now analysing these books and writing lengthy reports about them, the more youthful me would be astonished and delighted. My report was exploring the relationship between queer (GLBT) fiction and developmental genres, including the bildungsroman and picaresque, and the creation of a new queer genre altogether. I enjoyed being able to refer to contemporary writers such as Lynn Breedlove, Cristy Road and Michelle Tea. These authors have influenced me, and many others, but I have not previously come across any academic discussion of their work. This factor may make my upcoming dissertation difficult however, as I intend to write about the importance of culture and community in contemporary queer feminist fiction, such as that of Cristy Road and Michelle Tea, and I don't have any prior research to back me up. Eek! But that's what I want to do. If anyone reading this knows any texts which might help me with this, please, please email me...

Now it's time to do other non-internet based activities, such as sewing and and cooking. Hopefully this lack of consistent internet or television will increase my productivity!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Summer Adventures #2

Last week, despite being broke, we managed to get away for another mini-holiday; this time it was to the Yorkshire Dales with Thea and Jess. This was a low-cost getaway, as Jess's parents own a cottage in Hawes, and Jess picked us up in the car from Leeds train station, as well as kindly driving us back to Chester when the trip was over. The Dales were awesome, Hawes was awesome, awesomeness all round! For a start we were staying near the Wensleydale cheese factory (the "creamery"), where there is a cheese shop with endless dishes full of free samples! The sampling worked, as we ended up buying three different cheeses: Wensleydale with ginger, oak-smoked wensleydale and, most interesting of all, wensleydale with rhubarb and vanilla! Soooooo goooood!
It was good being in the real, proper countryside - totally quiet, except for the sound of sheep bleating and waterfalls, and we could see thousands of stars at night that you just can't see in the city (as well as seeing the international space station pass overhead on Wednesday). We did lots of walking and went to visit lots of waterfalls, found lots of fossils in slate. It was pouring with rain when we set off to get there, but the whole time we were actually there it was really sunny and warm. Thursday was fantastic, we went to Aysgarth falls, visited the upper, middle and lower falls and did a bit of paddling in the water. Then, after a quick detour back to the cottage for supplies, we went to Semerwater with a picnic of cheese, bread, crisps, and leftover wine and cake. It was great fun, apart from the hungry ducks nearby which creeped me out a bit. I decided that we should take the last chance before we went home, and the last bit of sunshine and warmth, to have a swim in the lake :) We stripped off and waded in, and it was freezing but we were surrounded by beautiful views of green hills on all sides and a clear blue sky, so we had a swim, and it was totally worth it. Never done that before, in my memory (that is, both swimming in a lake, and being in my undercrackers in public) so it was quite a novelty! Afterwards, we dried off a bit and all sat on a large rock soaking up the last of the sun. I felt really free and calm, and kinda wish we could have stayed longer while the weather was good.

At Semerwater Lake

James gettin his kit off with Thea and Jess
It's paddlin' time!

James in Aysgarth
Even with this, and our trip to Brighton, and James' being unemployed, we are still managing to get back across to Yorkshire in a week to visit family, AND, if I am lucky/if I save enough money, I will get to see Defiance Ohio play in Leeds at Wharf Chambers (used to be my most favoured venue, the Common Place)! Eeeek! I have checked their website every month or so for the past couple of years to see if they are planning on coming to the UK, and all of a sudden I noticed a facebook friend had confirmed attendance to their show. We can't really afford it, but I think it's gonna be worth any struggling. And then, on the Sunday of that same week we are going to see Star Fucking Hipsters in Manchester on Beth's birthday! I can't believe how lucky I've been this summer with all of the mini-holidays and fun activities and amazing gigs, its all given me a really positive frame of mind, so that, although I know that the next term at uni is gonna be really difficult and stressful and I haven't done half of the things on my to do list yet, I am content that I have had a really magical time over the summer and opportunities I wouldn't have had, had I not been a student. Hopefully I will go back for my final year with a clear head and lot of great memories too :)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Summer Adventures #1

Went to Brighton a couple of weeks ago to see The Choking Victim Show. It seems like a long way to travel for a gig, but it was sooo worth it for loads of reasons. Choking Victim are one of my most favourite bands, and they haven't been together since the 90's! And I've seen some of their songs performed by some of their members in other bands before - namely Leftover Crack and Stza Crack acoustic - but a full set of Choking Victim songs was a dream come true! I got my (spare) glasses properly knocked out of shape in the pit, along with me elbowing James in the face and cutting his lip open, and me somehow getting mine cut as well, but this all happened while they were playing The Death Song, so that made it okay. I knew I would be getting involved for that one :) It was super fun and we even found a few quid and four badges lying around after most of the club had cleared out. One guy got totally knocked out from falling while crowdsurfing, but I hear he survived with just a sore head.
The other very good reason for going was simply that Brighton is awesome! Good punk scene, good shops, beach, great vegetarian food. And, of course, I got to see my Daisy, my lifelong friend who I rarely see now as she moved to Brighton and I moved to Chester, so that is always good.
Beth and Kim went too, by coach, and it was great to have them there, it wouldn't be the same being at the gig without them. The last night we were there was fun, we just hung out on the beach all night long, watching the moon and the bizarre pattern the clouds were making in the sky. We only stayed there for two nights, but it was a great 'staycation' and I was sorry to leave. Oh, and I didn't manage to take any photos at the gig, cuz I was too busy having FUN!

It's Daisy and Scraps!
Found a photomatic machine in Snooper's Paradise <3 br="br">