Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's almost Halloween!!!!

In just two days it will be Halloween, this time last year I had a sweet shop that was next door to a small fancy dress shop, needless to say I couldn't see out of the front of my shop for a week with all the people queuing to get fancy dress. This year I am working in a fancy dress shop in the Arndale, yes I must be mental. It is so busy that we have a one in one out policy with queues stretching round the corner of the next shop, yesterday we had to close for an hour to tidy up and re-stock because quite frankly fancy dress shoppers are darn messy. We have had to close the changing rooms to try and ease the complete chaos, this has lead to much abuse from people purchasing their 'foxy firefighter' and 'sexy snow princess' outfits to me and all the other staff. I never got why girls need to dress in bottom grazers (you know things that barely cover your bottom) for fancy dress, it is just like that line from Mean Girls where fancy dress means your underwear and some animal ears, I overheard a group of girls the other day saying the theme isn't scary but sexy, what does that mean?!?
Not one for wanting to dress as a sexy version of a number of girlie things (princesses, fairytale heroines(losers?! we all know the baddies rule)) my favourite has always been the sexy versions of members of the emergency services, my mum looks just like that when she leaves the house at 5am.And not one for wanting to spend much money on fancy dress I tend to make my own, previous years has witnessed me as a black and white minstrel, mime artist and a Tara McPherson painting. this year my working in a fancy dress shop has come in handy for discount on certain items I just do not own. Another thing that has put me off buying pre-pack outfits(aside from the cheap thrush inducing fabric) and what I try not to think about is the wastefulness of the whole thing, What is everyone going to do with these outfits they have bought for one night, we sell a lot and I mean A LOT so where does it all go? It worries me it's super wasteful, I think the odd few who have spent a fair bit on a half decent costume might flog it on eBay, but I can't say I've ever seen fancy dress in the charity shop. A student mentioned that it doesn't really matter if it fits as he's only gonna wear it for one night, I had visions of halls of residence bins getting clogged up with masses of nylon, oh dear.
anyway pointlessness over, it's almost Halloween....

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Having followed the ‘little red blog of revolutionary knitting’ for a while, I was super-excited to hear that the lady behind it all, Lisa Anne Auerbach, was coming to Nottingham, as was an exhibition of her work. Auerbach is probably best known for her slogan sweaters which she has knitted with topics from elections, to abortion and now Nottingham!
This exhibition was accompanied by a totally inspirational talk by the artist, which was where I found out about the ‘blanket of ideas’ project. The project involved bringing along patterns and short political texts to discuss while knitting up political squares that will then be stitched together into Nottingham Contemporary’s very own Blanket of Ideas.
In her talk, Lisa mentioned that she doesn’t attend knitting groups at home due to the dull topics of conversation ranging from television shows to television shows. This inspired her to set up her own one-off knitting circle where those attending were asked to bring political texts to inspire their knitting and encourage more interesting conversation.
I left the talk excited by the prospect of the knitting event on Saturday and deep in thought about what my knitted square could represent. I decided on using the ‘Jigsaw youth’ song by Bikini Kill as my inspiration, the lyrics highlight the fact that you don’t have to fit into society’s pre-conceived roles if you don’t want to, you can make your own way! My design was a red square containing a black jigsaw piece. With my pattern plotted out and my Mum now coming along with me, we set off for a day of knitting. The event was held at ‘The art organisation’ in Nottingham, and this is what welcomed us on our arrival, a group of knitters deep in conversation and concentration in equal parts!

We pulled up our chairs and got our knit...and chat on! The lady next to me was freestylin’ her knit, the design of which took the form of a burning cross (some anger at the catholic church there)the finished piece was amazing! Her friend was knitting a very simple piece about equal pay and another design was a dove stitched onto a plain background. These 3 pieces alone spurred plenty of interesting conversation! Lisa Auerbach was a great leader for this project, always chatting to newcomers in the group and really interested in what everyone was doing as well as having an interesting stories behind her own squares.

The square Lisa was creating on the day was a lace knit design inspired by a story about a woman who was saved from an awful fate by her spider friends. This story came from a book of feminist fairytales by Barbara Wilson, an author who is best known for her great knitting books written in the 80s!

It was a great event and I really enjoyed the company, the conversation and the knitting, although I might have managed more knitting if I wasn’t chatting so much! As the pile of very varied finished squares grew you could see that the finished blanket was going to be a really interesting piece. Starting on November 14th The Blanket of Ideas will be displayed at Nottingham Contemporary, and I can’t wait to see it!

All Photographs by Alan Fletcher; Courtesy of Nottingham Contemporary

Friday, 23 October 2009

Hand knitting...for the knitted poem

Hello again,
Now i'm back online there's no stopping me! Here is a little write up of another crafty project I did while on my 'hiatus', and I know it's totally old news to most of you, but I'm too proud of myself not to tell everyone.
It started a few months ago when I read about the poetry society's knit a poem project, I applied then eagerly awaited my pattern....hoping it wouldn't be too tricky! It arrived via e-mail, a letter N that I chose to knit in green on pink. This was my first ever piece of hand knit intarsia (hence me being proud of mesen) and it wasn't without its complications.
First, I was knitting away happily, on the train about 1/3 of the way through my letter when I looked at my work and realised the N was coming out backwards. I blamed the fact I was knitting on public transport and the ticket checker for making me put my work down mid-row, that must have been why it was backwards! Actually, it was because I had started my patterning on a knit row instead of a purl row, and that made it all backwards, booo!!!!
The next attempt there was a lot more concentration, and despite discovering the train and ticket checker had nothing to do with the mistake, the second attempt didn't travel with me, I wanted it to be perfect.

What's that? I look pleased with myself?! Well I was, very! This is where most of the knitting took place, on my sofa accompanied by my other hand knitted creations behind me, they got me through the intarsia! And here is my finished letter, hooray!

And here is a photo of some of the poem in all its' finished glory. I think I can see my letter N near the top in the 'and trade of' piece of the poem!!! I think this was a great project, and a great poem (Dylan Thomas - In My Craft or Sullen Art) , Icertainly had fun knitting my square, giant knitted stuff is always a winner in my books! More of my adventures in hand knit soon. Kandy x

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Crafty market finds...

As well as our trip to BUST craftacular way back in August, the Sugar Paper Gang had a fun packed day out in Derbyshire. We started in Chesterfield (the home of one half of sugar paper, me) and as it was Thursday we took a stroll around the amazing Thursday second hand market. We had to get a snap of this button-tastic mirror, someone had put alot of time and buttons into these...

After perusing the market it was time for ice cream then presents (It was my birthday, woooop) before venturing south to find the authentic, actually imported from America '50s American Diner' in Swadlincote of all places. After a few wrong turns we found it in all its shiny tin glory!

Hangin outside the diner yo. A bit too stuffed for the drive home, It was the tower of onion rings that did it! K x

Sugar Paper went BUST....

Eh up,
I know it's been a while, and this BUST craftacular write up is a bit late, but it's here... So, last time I did the BUST thing I went on my own which was OK, but this time I had company which was ACE. Seleena (my partner in craft) got a stall for Sugar Paper zine too selling zines, craft kits, bags n all sorts of other crafty stuffs! So, we took the train from Chesterfield and it was an early start, 7.45am train equals muchos giddiness, tea and top trumps!

Early morning cup of tea, with those dairystix, as long as you don't sniff the tea, it's not so bad!
Vampire hi-jinx, can you guess which Twilight saga vamp I am here?! Extra points for getting which scene it's from!
After the journey, that went quite quickly we arrived in the big smoke, got money on our Oyster cards like proper city folk then hot-footed it to the venue with our heavy bags o stuff. There were already people hanging outside when we got there, man, they really wanted those goodie bags! We had just over an hour to set up, and were informed just before the doors opened that there were HUNDREDS of people waiting outside, aaaaaaahhhhh. This is my stall before the doors opened, Seleena's stall is right over the other side of the room, that bit o turquoise between the 2 people sat down.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur. People came and bought stuff and chatted and oohed and ahhhed at my knits which was great! Friends came to visit bearing birthday presents and donuts for me, hooray! It quitened down later on, less people like, but the music was banging ALL DAY, I was right opposite a speaker which meant lots of shouting, which coped with. All in all it was a fun-tastic day, I was shocked when I woke u/p the next morning with a bad headache feeling ropey, what's going on, am I ill?! I was confused, until Seleena pointed out that the last cup of tea I had had was on the train the previous morning, aaaaahhhhh. A few cups of tea later and all was well, I didn't realise how addicted I was!!! Since this trip Sugar Paper have graced 2 more craft markets, watch this space for more funtastic write-ups!!! K x

Not a song with a crafty title, but still....

so this song doesn't have a crafty sounding title, but it does have a hella crafty video. Check out those awesome papier mache dino heads!!! We last attempted papier mache over a year ago when we tried to make a tooth pinata for my sweet shop. We have been inspired and so expect some papier mache craftings in zine#5 (zine#4 is almost done!!).
Another reason for this video is because Mika Miko are apparently no more, booooooooo:


Sunday, 18 October 2009

My week in celebs....

It starts last Monday, when I went to see The Slits. I was sandwiched between the worlds most annoying couple that I hope I never see upon the streets of Manchester EVER again and Maxine Peake of Shameless/oh she does a good Myra Hindley fame.
I worked for a few days, no celebrities there I'm afraid.
On Friday I went to visit Alison and who should get on my train at Wigan but only Vic Reeves of shooting stars fame! I had to hide behind my book so as not to look t his face because his face was making me laugh, and his pinky ring.
On Saturday I went to a party, before the party someone knocked on my door, I peered through the spy hole and saw a scary looking bald man and did a little poo in my pants, the family all checked this man I was fearing through the spyhole, hen suddenly my mum shouts "it's Nickie". yes she only had on a John Malkovich mask that I mistook for some evil looking man knocking at the door, oh Nickie you got me, you got me good!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

BAKE SALE!!!my Sunday morning adventures

This morning I got up early(ish) to ice some cakes I baked last night to take to Albert Square for a bake sale!
The sale was being run by ladies form The Birdhouse Fund
and I knocked out some mint choc chip cakes:
When I arrived there, soaking wet from the awful rain they had a LOAD of cakes, I hope they managed to sell lots and lots.
I made my cakes with this
yes it's a giant 1kg tub of stork, the picture doesn't do it justice, it's huge and I nearly wet myself when my mum bought it. I don't know why but giant things and little things just make me smile.
So after dropping off my cakes, I had a a little while to my next bus home, so I thought I would take shelter in Primark until then. When in Primark I got instructed by security to take down my hood! I gave this security man a filthy look, removed my hood for all of 20seconds and put it back up, I mean I can understand that shoplifters my keep up their hoods inside shops to disguise themselves, but somehow I don't think me having my hood up whilst wearing big red clown-esque shoes, a blue hello kitty mac, red panda face bag and green beret, was going to make me inconspicuous,
"that girl stole something"
"oh what did she look like?"
"I couldn't tell she had her hood up, oh well she did kind of look like it was 1996".

Saturday, 10 October 2009

songs with crafty sounding titles and just a plain IDOL!

It's been a while since we featured a song with a crafty sounding title, oh but it was worth the wait!!
This one comes from all round idol Leslie Hall!
Rapper, collector of gem sweaters, wearer of gold lame jumpsuits, what more could you ask for?!?!!

She's even featured on hit kids TV show Yo Gabba Gabba!!
she is in just some of her gem sweaters, AWESOME!!
And now the song, an anthem for all craftaholics out there.....

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Bridget Riley: giving ourselves eye twitches!

On Friday I took a day trip out to Liverpool with Alison to the Walker Art Gallery for an exhibition of this lady's work:I would highly recommend the Bridget Riley flashback exhibition, if nor just to make your eyes go funny and stand staring at a painting for a while trying to figure it out without giving yourself too much of a headache. At one point I was thinking the colour scheme of a certain painting reminded me of a broken television, next think you know my eyes had gone funny and it was like I was looking at television static! There is a rather good documentary accompanying the paintings.
We then headed to Blackburne House where Alison has some work exhibited and soaked up the free wine with fries and veggie burgers from Eddie Rockets, yum!
I will leave you with this, careful that eye doesn't start twitching!