Saturday, 13 July 2013

Lazy Saturday Afternoon Dream Shopping List

Yours truly went to the Roundhouse in Camden last night to watch the F'king AMAZING Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, plus Bitter Ruin, Perhaps Contraption, The Simple Pleasure, Jherek Bischoff, Kate Miller-Heidke,  Desmond O' Connor, and the cast of Strut N' Fret's Cantina: Limbo
It was the first time I'd seen AFP and she was incredible, as was the whole show. It pretty much started at 7.10 with Perhaps Contraption marching around the venue whilst playing, and the music didn't stop for 4 hours, no long boring waiting around bits, just constant music from 1 support act or special guest to another. You didn't even have time to go to the loo without missing something! The lovely lady herself crowdsurfed literally right over me (I felt like I was supporting her weight solo for about half a second!).

I was already thinking that this was probably the best gig I'd ever been to; and then she did THIS:

Kate Miller-Heidke's 'Are you F'ing Kidding me?' was an absolute highlight too!

Anyway, I am knackered, tired, exhausted, my legs hurt and my ears are still a bit weird, so what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than browsing the interweb for beautiful things I can't afford. Did I mention I was tired?

£35 + £4.50.

Pretty much anything from Chris Bourke is on my 'Want' list. His lino prints are amazing but this is a particularly cute new one.

His 'Better Days' or 'Shot Through' prints would suit me just fine too!

€15 + €8 postage

Anything Angelique would do me just fine! One day I will have one of her beautiful tattoos on my skin, but until then I will have to be content with looking at her books & prints.

3) Tula Pink 'Parisville' Tapestry cushion kit.
£36 + postage
Tula Pink is a textile Goddess! Her quilts, fabrics and ribbons are beyond beautiful, and now she has moved into one of my favourite mediums, needlework, with this Tapestry Cushion kit from Anchor. Black Sheep Wools seem to have it at the best price here.

4) Amazing Vintage Gothic Dolls House on Ebay


This is an ebay listing in Northampton with pick up only as the delivery option. It is currently at £0.01 but has a reserve so has got to be at least £50, although I can see it going for a lot more when it ends on 17th july. Whoever gets their hands on this will be very lucky indeed.

It is described as:
Cutest Doll's House on Ebay
Unique, Handmade
Wooden Doll's house, all handmade. Tiny little individual wooden tiles on the roof and balcony and porch.
Appears to be made in the style of New England 
All it needs is a little girl or a passionate collector to make it come back to life again.
Quite large - from turret to floor 111cm
Width 55cm, Depth 47cm

I want it!
5) A Dutch Style bike

I am a pedestrian and live in the town centre, with difficult parking, so a my vehicle of choice would be a bike. Not just any bicycle though, it would have to be this beautiful 19" Ladies Dutch Style town bike in Lavender.


I also saw it in a lovely olive colour but can't find that one right now.
6) The Graphic Canon Vol 3

Instalment 3 of a project turning classic literature into graphic novel formats, with 560 pages containing 84 different artists takes on the works of some of the last century's most celebrated writers, including Virginia Woolf, Kerouac and Hemingway. It looks fascinating!

Can be purchased here for £20.99.

7) Game of Thrones DVD box set

I don't own this. Needs no explanation.

The Season 1 & 2 box set is £34.20 on Amazon.

8) Handmade Frida Kahlo Heart Drop earrings

Frida. Turquoise. Crystal. Chandelier style. Hearts.
Handmade by PersephonePlus on etsy, £28.55 + £4.76
9) Art Viva Handmade knitting needles

Knitting needles will last a lifetime, long after moths have munched your beautiful noro yarn lace cardi to shreds, your grandchildren will find these beautiful environmentally friendly, handmade and painted Australian needles in a dusty box in the corner of the attic.

Why knit with grey plastic when these do the same job, and just looking at their beautiful polka dot tops will make you happy!
In sizes 3.75mm to 10mm, £6-10 + £3.50 from Baa Ram Ewe of Leeds.

10) Dr Martens Triumph Boots
Droolworthy. Beautiful. Will last a lifetime.

Two of my friends have them and I get sick with envy every time I see them.

£150 + postage on the DM's website. I'm size 8 by the way.
And because you have been good and read this far, you get rewarded with Amanda Palmers Amazing 'Map of Tasmania'. YAY!!!!!!

Watch it! If you haven't done so already, you definitely should.

Oh, Did I not mention that my birthday is in 18 days time?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Journey to Zineopolis!

The other 'new' thing I've done lately is make a zine.

For those of you who don't know, a zine is a homemade mini magazine, usually based around a subculture like art or music, cartoons, gender or political issues etc, usually cheaply photocopied in black & white and in small numbers (back in my teen years the number was however many you could get away with before someone caught you on the copier machine).

Back then I used to read zines like Simon Gane's Arnie the Anarchist

I actually had both the above toons. I loved characters like Young Arnie, Subvert Man and Anti-State Tortoise. I bet my Dad chucked them out years ago.....

(however I have just found out about Punk Strips and The Slab Selection so I may just be able to revisit my youth)
The other one I liked was a Wildhearts focused punk zine, possibly called Gingernuts. It was a proper scruffy cut & glued crappy Xeroxed zine  where you could see the edges of the bits of paper, and the back usually had some awful rendering of Danny McCormack or whoever done in biro on the back page of someone's maths book, that cost about 80p plus the cost of a stamp (24p first class in 1993!!!! That's another thing I can add to my list of 'kids these days...' grumblings!).

Anyhoo, those lovey peeps at Strange Cargo held 'The Zine Library' Event at George's House gallery last weekend, and it was open to any artists who wanted to get involved.

The Library had a pretty good selection of zines for sale and for reading, plus a little tea and coffee station set up in the gallery next to the sofas they put in for the event so that people can sit and read. How very civilised!

The zine wall, you could take these and read them. Everything from art zines to cartoons, music & old skool feminist zines were here.

One of the contributors, Fat Hen & Flo, had drawn characters from her geektastic 'Star Wars Fan Art Mini Colouring Zine' on the walls. They also had live bands playing throughout the day.

Another unique feature, which I somehow didn't photograph, was the 'Zine Team', a couple of great kids from a local school, who print their own and a school zine, and were on hand to show people stuff like making a mini-zine from 1 piece of paper and other clever things.
They were also asking for people to contribute to a zine which would be emailed out to participants in PDF format after the event. Of course I contributed, and will add a link to the bottom of this post when I receive the zine.
My Zine Haul!!!!

Astrid Goldsmiths 'Rainy-Day Toys' zines were pretty cool. They had a story and toy pattern plus making instructions included, a great idea! 

The adorable mini zines by The Zine Team. The school one includes an interview with teacher Mr Wagstaff. Sample Quote - Question: Who would you take to a football match, Miss Tait or Miss Wright?
Answer: Miss Wright but I would disown her once there!

Ellis Bolton's Amsterdam at Night was one of my favourites and cleverly formatted, it concertina'd out into a beautiful illustration of city night scenes.

My Contribution - The 'Folkestone Mermaid Dress Up Doll'
My zine was inspired by local nutters, the Folkestone Urban Sirens, who dress up Cornelia Parker's 'Folkestone Mermaid' statue in various outfits. Click on the above link for a previous blog post about them if you want to know more.


I loved paper dolls when I was little (still do), so my contribution was a tongue in cheek take on the dress up doll.

 The zine got a pretty good reception, and I have a few copies left if anyone is interested!


PS: This weekend is Strange Cargo's Carnival type event Charivari.

I've seen some of the costumes and the list of drum bands playing and it looks to be another incredible day!


Teaching myself to Knit and Crochet - the results so far.....

I was taught a little bit of knitting at primary school, where we had sewing lessons that included making a hand sewn garment from scratch. My mum would pack me off at the start of term with the most hideous cheap piece of fabric she had in her box for me to 'massacre', and would get a completely hand sewn shirt or skirt back at the end of the term in a random size. It taught me a great deal about sewing and the art of dressmaking; I learnt all sorts of skills that I think they probably don't teach very often anymore, like hemming a skirt with one thread of the warp picked up, and sewing the edges of buttonholes by hand. Sewing machines are great, but learning the absolute basics and being made to unpick them until you get them right certainly has its merits (although I probably didn't think so at the time).
Anyway, I digress. One of the skills we were taught was knitting. I knitted a bobble hat for my troll (which my parents had brought back from Copenhagen - the must have 80's toy!) but haven't picked up a pair of knitting needles since.
The first thing I tried to make was a free simple jumper pattern I found online, which I a) muffed up the pattern on, and b) inadvertently felted in the wash, so I won't include a picture of it, but it will make a nice basket liner for the cat next winter! He rather likes knitting.
Studio cat sleeping on knitting attempt no 3, whilst I was wanting to knit.

Attempt 2 was prompted by this AMAZEBALLS James C Brett Passion Chunky wool.
This is shade P1, and it is 30% wool, 70% acrylic.

I bought a James C Brett pattern (JB090 - about £2.50 from Deramores) because my mum insists that patterns work best when you do them with the wool they were intended for, and It worked really well, not too much increasing & decreasing! I did lengthen it a bit though, I felt it was too short for me.
The Pattern
The finished result.

I love the way this knits up with bands of slowly graduating colour, although the mustard stripe across the bust was a ball changeover and kind of annoys me.
graduating colour.

The only real problem I felt I had with this was stitches becoming visible when I made it up. Whichever piece of wool I used to sew the seams, there was always a point where a contrasting colour made a very obvious appearance! Maybe I'm sewing them wrong.

I may try pattern JB090 again but in the purple/green/blue shade P2.

Attempt number 3 was this beautiful OWLS sweater designed by Kate Davies
£4.25 downloadable pdf from her website here.

This is my attempt, knitted in Hayfield Chunky with wool instead of the suggested Rowan British Sheep Breeds. The button eyes eventually came from the craft shop 300 yds from my house, after browsing the Internet, John Lewis and every craft shop I came across for the 6 months it took me to finish this! The pattern recommends 5mm buttons, but I used 10mm for a better effect.
  This was my first attempt at knitting in the round, short rows and cable (which I found much simpler than I expected once I got the rhythm)

The only error I think I made was these 'holes' in the increases in the back shaping. I'm sure there is a technique to stop this happening, but I haven't learnt it yet!

All in all I'm pretty pleased with it, although I did knit a size too big for me! Big & roomy is good for the winter though. I may do a 2nd version with a heather or khaki colour way.

My next project will be this Sirdar Click chunky leaves cardigan (pattern 9392)
I am going to knit the short sleeve version in this Magnum Chunky I found in the bargain bin in Loremar, Folkestone a while ago. The buttons are from Liss Wools in Hampshire, which is a great little wool shop down the road from my Auntie's house. I bought them without knowing what I would use them for!

Of course I can't resist making myself some cute rolls and bags to hold all the needles & knitting bits I have been collecting from charity shops & boot fairs.!

I don't know what I'm going to do with these big boys, but it will produce some interesting results!

And of course by this time next year I will be an expert (!) producing incredible projects like this bag knitted in incredible Noro yarn! 

I have developed a serious yarn fetish. Here's a pic of me & Malicious Opera like kids in a candy shop when we discovered a '1p a gram' yarn sale in Rye! (I even have a ravelry account - MissPandemonium!)
That's 1p a gram kids! 50p for a ball, and it was pretty decent stuff (Jaeger, Rowan, etc). We left with as much as we could carry (and our companion, Kay, shaking her head!)
My Haul. The lovely pastel DK cotton is helping me learn to crochet. So far I have mastered half triple stitch, as seen in this soon to be giant stripy blanket I started.
Next stop amigurimi Great Old Ones!!!!

Cthulhu is watching you!

Over & Out!