Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My year in lists (Kandy) 30 going on (20)13

Does that title make any sense?! I don't know.
What I do know is that in 2013 I turned 30! Anyone who knows me will know that I love saying, oh, it's just a number...birthdays are the best, and although I still firmly believe that, 30 was a bit different. I'd heard tales of people "turning 30 and becoming boring"..and throughout my 20s there's been a lot of "oh, just you wait, you'll get broody when you're 30", so I was more concerned than usual by this year and this age change! IT'S ALL OK THOUGH KIDS, being 30 can be AWESOME, I've not suddenly turned into a bore or started buying baby magazines, I have had lots of fun times and done things I never thought I would do. I am definitely more 30 going on 13 than I ever was the other way round. Here's a list of 13 things (in a sort of chronological order) that made this year memorable for me..
1. Formed Yiiikes! collective with Alison and Seleena, working on Art with friends is super-fun!
2. Roller Derby tattoo, I wanted one of these for a while but promised myself I had to make the A-team before I was allowed one. I first made the A-team in 2012, but got my tattoo booked in with one of my favourite tattoo artists for early 2013. Her helmet and the colours reminds me of quidditch too which I love!
3. I built a website, from scratch! I had made pages for my website in photoshop before but this year I learnt to use dreamweaver and made a whole website for the super talented Seleena!
4. Yiiikes! had our first exhibition, yeah, we mean business. We created a glowing world instillation exhibition at Islington Mill which was really fun to put together, and to see/hear people experience it.
5. I got to see the Breeders play live, I never thought I would get to see them, not only that, but they played Last Splash in its entirety, s-woooon!
6. MY KNITTING BOOK CAME OUT!!! The writing of the book mostly happened in 2012, this year was all about releasing the book to the world. It took about a month after it came out to sink in, I still have moments where the fact I wrote a book overwhelms me. The best thing about the book is hearing that people are enjoying it and seeing what people have knitted from my patterns!
7. Indietracks! We ran some awesome workshops, saw some great bands, discovered Martha, and Helen Love stole the show, but Indietracks, as always, was all about having a laugh with good friends. This was my face for most of the weekend...

 8. Another band, beginning with B, that I thought I'd never get to see..B52's, I saw them as an early birthday present, and they blew me away, SO good!

9. PARTY!!! One of the great things about turning a landmark number is having a party, for me this meant getting lots of friends together, setting up party games, putting on a spread and having a dance!


10. New York! For my birthday, I went on holiday to NYC, somewhere I have always fancied but never had a reason to go to. It was PERFECT, I got to spend some quality time with Ben, checking out the sights and discovering all the delicious food. On my birthday, my present was a trip to Coney Island where I got to be part of the freak show and pretend to be Cyndi Lauper on the wonder wheel.

11. Went to Shetland to speak at a conference in front of 3 of my knitting heroines, met Lisa Anne Auerbach..and made friends with her. I have been a fan of her work for years, she is great!

12. Became a regular Roller Derby coach. I might have done a bit last year, I can't remember, but this year I did a lot, and really enjoyed it. I was rewarded for my hard work by my team with my own stopwatch and whistle...watch out 2014, I'm gonna whip you into shape!  

13. Realised that I am, and continue to be massively inspired by the people around me, their creativity, talent, love and enthusiasm, keep it up you awesome bunch. Xxx    

My year in lists. (Seleena!!!!)

My year in lists. MY YEAR IN POSI POINTS!

2013: unlucky for some.
It's this time of year you think about all the crap stuff that's happened in the past 364 days. It has seemed a weird one. I wasn't even excited about my birthday this year and that's NEVER happened before.
My Grandad passed away, my favourite band ended and I got mugged. I saw many friends and loved ones struggle with money/health/life in general.

But do you know what, I'm still here and my hair looks fucking awesome! So as reminder to mostly myself here's all the good shit from this funny year...

I got my first solo exhibition! Yeah you know it, I'm like a proper artist now. Ok so it was upstairs of a library next to the public toilets in some small town outside of Manchester, but it was mine.
I also discovered the joys of working tax credits, so gonna be trying out this artist thing for a while longer!

ZINES!! every year I go oh I made some zines and get a big chufty because of it, but I don't think I don't ever wanna make zines. Obviously there were more issues of Sugar Paper, I probably made some others too, dunno how many, maybe a couple. Definitely more next year. But what I'm most pleased by is my friend Em and I finally got Poor Lass zine off the ground.
A collective zine featuring stories on various subjects from the mouths of actual real life working class folk! The response we have got for the zine is so good and I hope it goes on to GREAT things!

Dressing up was good for me this year. I was well into my Halloween costume (Oblina from Aaaah Real Monsters) and for one of my bff Nick's birthday we dressed up as Romy and Michele. But my favourite was Cher and Dionne from Clueless.
For as long as I can remember, Kandy and I have joked about dressing up as everyone's favourite valley girls. 2013 was the yea we finally did it

And because we wanna do it again, we are totally available to hire for public appearances (not even joking).

One solo exhibition wasn't enough so I formed an art collective with Kandy and Alison and next thing you know Yiiikes! have an art show! The glowing world of Snotboobs and the Severed Toe was one of the most fun things I ever got to work on, keep on eye on us for more in 2k14!

Slightly related to Yiiikes! I got a drum kit, I started off real good and practiced loads then I got busy, it became 'Christmas in retail' months before it was even Christmas and I haven't had my drums out for a while. But I will sort that out in 2014, the year I don't give up after a day on a musical instrument!

We went to Indietracks fro the 3rd time this year and had a blast. Took along my oldest friend and her little sister, had fun times with my favourite lasses from Leeds, Mel and Amy, ran a radical Cheerleading workshop, and filled a teenage dream of seeing Helen Love live. GLITTER CANONS!!!

And of course got some rad hangouts with my friends and family (never enough though!). And got to feel super proud seeing my loved ones do awesome shit from making zines and books, to exhibiting stuff to running cool businesses, to just being AWESOME!

I definitely didn't do enough dancing this year, I didn't master wings (in tap). But I did have blue hair for the first time ever (I know right).

Anyway enough about my hair, looking forward to the adventures 2014 has in store for me!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

All I want for Christmas.....

So here is our Christmas list, a little later than usual and sadly full of a lot of self promotion (sorry, not sorry!).

Winter, is a magical time, we love it here, all the lights and the changes of colour and the snow, it's beautiful. BUT in reality I live in Manchester and Winter is just another season where it's cold and wet, very wet.
I don't do very well in the cold and my hair can't take the wet, plus I work in retail so I'm super tired in Winter.

So as much as I like to imagine I'm taking brisk walks and frolicking in the snow, I'm inddors watching my favourite films and TV (pfft I'm pretending I'm a winter Recluse, but it's an all year round thing!).

In short, our list is for those loved ones of yours that too like to curl up in their pj's in the warm indoors!!

For your off centre pal: Do you have a friend who likes knitted things and David Lynch? Well then Kandy's latest Knit and Destroy collection is Inspired by twin Peaks!! It's the best thing she's ever done FACT! And if you do have to go out in the cold, you can keep warm. Collection includes scarves, cushions and a brooch!
get it HERE.

For your child of the 80s sister: My actual sister totally wants this. things she loved growing up; Lego and the Back to the Future trilogy. So what she would actual love IS this Lego Deloreon!!Hours (well minutes if you're a professional Lego builder like my sister and I) of fun, indoor fun!

For your magical mate: I bet everyone has a friend who likes Harry Potter. If you do then you need to go to the HP studio tour. This is a treat for people who don't even like Harry Potter, just to see props, sets and costumes is so much fun. I know I've been. PLUS it's like 98% indoors!

For your super cool sidekick: Who doesn't like Daniel Clowes' Enid Coleslaw and her bff (sidekick) Rebecca?!? Who doesn't like giant eyeballs? Who doesn't like T-shirts. I like all three and I would love one of these from Mishka NYC.

For your penpal: Speaking of Enid Coleslaw (and Twin Peaks Audrey Horne) check out these postcrads made by me (Seleena!). Anyone who has a penpal probably loves stationary, and most likely the odd postcard or too. So what you do is buy a postcard pack for your friend, send it to them and hope they will send it back to you with some words on the back WIN WIN!
This three pack also contains everyone's favourite hummingbird Dawn Weiner. Images taken from a felt triptyche I did where I took some of my favourite fictional characters and reimagined them as POC! Get them HERE.

For your felt tip owning friend: Have a friend who loves nothing more than colouring in? Well you know what they need in their life, a Paul Rudd Colouring book!!!!! I know that's what I need and I don't even like colouring in!
Canadian art collective Team Art also sell many others including a Parks and Rec one and a Voldemort one! Check them out HERE.

For your child of the 90s BFF: If you have a friend who thinks Jared Leto leans great then you need to get them this postcard set. At the time of writing this blog I was still trying to figure out where you can get one (my friend Nick picked it up at London's Queer Zine Fest at the weekend). I'll keep you posted. But look Jared's beautiful face + inspirational quotes!

For your cat loving, slayer supporting total recluse mate: I love almost everything on Stay Home Club, even the fact it's called Stay Home Club. Form their no friends tee to recluse baseball top. SO GOOD! also check out this Stay Home and watch Buffy patch!See everything HERE.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Thought Bubble

So last weekend saw me attend Thought Bubble with my good friend Holly.
We had a blast and I could write about it here, but Holly has already done it (and probably far better than I would) so instead I am going to send you there.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Monthly mix.

A few weeks ago something shitty happened. some idiots mugged me. Anyway when the Police officer came round I really enjoyed retelling every detail of the incident, because I got a chufty for knowing so much. I have a photographic memory and am super observant.

these facts have always made me think I have missed my calling in life, I was destined to be a teen detective!
Sadly I am not one for several reasons, but here is a mix to make me and other wannabe teen detectives feel better.

Plus that Veronica Mars movie is getting made!

Monday, 11 November 2013

This Filthy World.

When I was in year 7-9 I used to hang out at my friend Yama's house a lot. Even though her house was always hectic and crowded (she had several sisters in quite a small house) I used to love going round there to play on the SNES (and later N64) or thread string through those plastic drawstring bags sports shops have (her mum used to do this for a bit of extra cash) or watch films. Her Dad had LOADS of videos, the only film I remember watching is Hairspray. Yama told me I had to watch this mad film her dad had from the 80s. It checked a lot of boxes of things love: 60s clothes, black people, bright colours, DANCING and Ricki Lake*. I was instantly sold on John Waters!
I think next probably came a viewing of Serial Mom on TV (although I have a feeling that was a video night at Yama's) and Pecker and the rest is history!

Fast forward over a decade and I got to attend a talk John did in London for his book Role Models (I wrote about it here) which was ace. Fast forward three years and I got to be in the same room as John again! this time for This Filthy world.

We got to Liverpool Philharmonic (which is a lovely venue) and saw like 80% of people I know, which is always ace.
I wasn't particularly excited (maybe because I'd been to a talk of Johns before, maybe because I have watched This Filthy World, maybe because I was a little tired) but once he hit the stage I got super excited!!!
And he didn't disappoint! I think I enjoyed this one more than the role models one as it seemed less formal. John was as charming and funny as ever! And as always I learnt something new (referring to someone as a blouse- having a bit of a feminine top!).

I laughed a lot. Oh John.

He was signing copies of Role Models after the talk, but the last time I met him he couldn't understand a word I was saying so I didn't want to do that again! We watched him meeting people like big creepers and our friend Amy took this snap as he signed and sipped wine!

I obviously regret not getting another photo with him now, seeing as my friends that did queue and got photos, John looks so dashing on them!

We left and eventually headed over to Chew Disco (but missed Vaginal Davis by like 5 minutes, too busy getting pizza!) and had a dance. I also managed to see an exhibition of photos from the British punk movement and lots of Poly Styrene (all part of Homotopeia).

Overall a great day out!

All I ask is that someone give John some money to make that Christmas film about meat thieves he keeps talking about, sounds like my childhood, whose Dad hasn't bought some bacon off some guy from down the pub?!?!?

*if anyone is interested my favourite episode of Ricki Lake is the one where Alan (goth MM fan) comes on for a makeover and has a tin lunchbox with a picture of Ricki in it and Ricki is well into it!

Monday, 4 November 2013

This is Halloween.....

This Halloween I had a party (when I say party, I mean a gathering of a few friends with drinks and snacks!).
Obviously I'm all about dressing up, but I'm also all about putting on a decent spread. So whilst Kandy and I made our outfits (a shrunken head and Oblina from Aaahhhh!!! real Monsters, respectively) I also made some edible stuff. From a jelly brain, to eyeball cakes, edible toxic waste and green punch. Had some Halloween shaped pasta which was a hit and black candy floss sugar which was not a hit as it just came out a dirty white colour, pfft!

Halloween part 2 was meant to commence at the weekend at Tranarchy's Zombie Pride, where I was due to perform a tap dance to The Addams Family theme tune dressed as Wednesday Addams.
sadly on my way to my friends I got mugged! I tried to chase them, but these guys probably had ten years on me, so I didn't manage too. They only really got away with £20, a phone that is not any value, in fact the phone dangles attached to it are probably worth more, a bus pass I didn't even need in my bag (IDIOT!) and a pocket mirror I take everywhere that I bought in 1999!
I didn't let it ruin my night, I didn't do my tap performance (my legs are still aching from the chase now) but I did go out for a couple of hours.... (and here was me thinking the let down candy floss sugar was the Halloween disaster!)

overall had a great Halloween and can't wait to do it all next year!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Halloween outfits!!

We love to dress up in fancy dress!
We love to get crafty with our outfits too, almost two years of taking up and in packaged fancy dress outfits made from the cheapest of fabrics probably means you won't find me down the local party shop (unless it's for some prop I cannot make!)

Over the years we've dressed as many things for Halloween, Kandy has done skeleton, mummy, Cheetara to knitting a dress with her insides out! I'm quite greedy (not the only reason this post is mostly pictures of myself) and so if I can dress up twice for Halloween, I will! I like the fictional character route: Wednesday Addams (who will be reappearing this year after like 7-8 years), 'zombie' Enid Coleslaw,  Dawn (Weiner) of the dead, Patrick Bateman and The Rumor. There was that one time I dressed as a 3D woman (and fell asleep by 11pm, due to work, see above!) and around 6-7 years ago when I dressed as a Tara McPherson painting ( that year was so good, Alison came as Dame Darcy's Strega Pez, SO GOOD!).

Today I have been putting some finishing touches this years outfit, don't worry it will be well documented here.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences

Friday evening Kandy and I made our way to Manchester Art Gallery to see the latest Grayson Perry exhibition, a series of large tapestries entitled 'The vanity of Small Differences'.

They involve some form of craft, are brightly coloured AND about class, so of course I am going to love them!

Inspired by Hogarth's A rake's Progress (a series of 18th century paintings about someone who comes into a lot of money, wastes it and ends up having a shitty life). Perry's series see's someone make a lot of money, try to transcend their class, end up a bit of an idiot and then eventually die.
Also taking inspiration from Perry's time making channel 4's All in the Best Possible Taste...' series, documenting class and how it affects the things we do/eat/wear etc.

We didn't spend too long or get to look at the process of the tapestries, as we went too close to closing time and got ushered out. But we will most likely go back.

It's definitely worth a visit. Also if you go in the next week or so, you can still catch Alison Erika Forde's The Tallest of Tales exhibition!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Monthly Mix

IT'S ALMOST HALLOWEEN!!! And we're super excited for it, so we made a mix full of ghosts and ghouls, vampires and zombies, monsters and witches.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Sugar Paper #12

Full of Halloween goodness! From slime to crochet eyeball purse, goo legs to wet felted pumpkin bag.
And some bonfire and Christmas stuff too, bonfire toffee, raspberry trifle!
Comes with a free ring back and googly eyes to make a latex splat ring!

Front cover illustration by Paul Gallagher.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Monthly mix

Last month Alison informed me that Foxfire film was showing at Cornerhouse. (Foxfire is a film based on one of my favourite books Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates). I assumed she meant the naff looking 90s version starring Angelina Jolie that I have yet to see (I know right).
But it turned out to be one that was made last year that I knew nothing about.

Anyway we went to see it and enjoyed it very much and longed to be in a badass girl gang.
This month's mix is inspired by it!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Sister Ectoplasma Distro

You can now get most of my (Seleena) zines at SISTER ECTOPLASMA DISTRO.

As well as my zines, it has a bunch of other rad ones, some of my all time favourites. PLUS it has this awesome cat tee ......

Drawn by Alex, who runs the distro. I have one and everyone loves it, so if you want to be super styling and well read, GO HERE!!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


So as promised here are the recipes for the two cakes I made for Katie and Kandy. I have baked the rainbow cake recipe since I was like 8, but never in that quantity and I had some food colouring issues, mixing only with primary colours and different brands!!
When it comes to vegan baking, I can do biscuits but once, a few years ago tried  brownies and they failed so I thought FUCK THAT and not bothered with anything other than biscuits since. But then Kandy stops eating diary and it's her big birthday and I think SHIT I gotta master this now.

Also I apologise for not putting metric measurements, I can't be bothered to look them up, lazy I know, but ounces are just cooler (as are inches!!). I changed the oven temp for you!

Rainbow cake:

You will need:-12 oz margarine
-12oz caster sugar

-6 eggs
-12 oz self raising flour
-vanilla pod

-pinch of salt
-food colouring (red, yellow, blue)

For the topping:
-tub of mascarpone
-5 tbsp. icing sugar

1. Grease three round baking tins and pre heat oven to gas mark 4/350.

2. Beat the fat and sugar, until light and fluffy. add pinch of salt.

3. Lightly beat the eggs then add to the mix, along side the flour and pinch of slat. Beat until well mixed together.

4. Cut the vanilla pod down the centre and scrape out the seeds and stir in.

5. Now you gotta get 5 other bowls! split the mix equally in each ( I split in half then each half into thirds).

6. Make one bowl red, one yellow and one blue. Then with the other three make an orange (red and yellow mixed), green (yellow and blue mixed) and purple (red and blue mixed).

7. Pour into the baking tins and bake three at a time, moving shelves halfway through. bake for around 25mins. Take out, leave to cool on a wire rack and bake the other 3.

8. Once cool trim off the edges so the colours show, then make the frosting. Put the tub of mascarpone in a bowl and stir in the icing sugar.

9. place the purple cake on a plate/cake board spread a layer of frosting on, place blue cake on next and repeat.

10. Once layers are done, spread the remaining frosting around the edge and on top of the cake, so the rainbow cake is a surprise until
it is cut!!

'Raspberry Ruffle' vegan cake!
I made a choc cake and added raspberry and coconut and later realised it's just like a raspberry ruffle, hence the name!

You will need:
- 4oz margarine
-1/2 pint soya milk
-2tbsp golden syrup
-1tsp bicarbonate of soda
-7oz self raising flour
-2oz cocoa powder
-8oz sugar

for the filling:
-punnet of raspberries
-carton UHT coconut cream*
-icing sugar
-vanilla pod
*store in the fridge overnight

For the icing:
-icing sugar

-cocoa powder
-cocktail stick!!

1. Grease two round baking tins (lining them would be best, I didn't, I got the cakes out but with a bit of care and patience, ran out of greaseproof!!)

2. Melt the marg, syrup and milk (except 4 tbsp. of it) in a pan.

3. Dissolve the bicarb in the remaining milk.

4. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then add the wet mixture, mix well.

5. Pour into the tins and bake for 1/2 hour on gas mark4/350 then reduce heat to gas mark3 for an hour or so, until baked through and crisp on top.

6. Leave to cool.

7. Place the raspberries in a pan and add a couple of tbsp. of sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and raspberries have mashed, to form a 'coulis'.

8. Leave to cool

9. Take the coconut cream out of the fridge and place in a bowl. Mix with around 3-4tbsp of icing sugar, until it makes a thick creamy texture. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds, mix in. Place back in the fridge.

10.Once raspberries have cooled, sieve out the juice and save for later. Spread the rest of the raspberries on to one side of cake then spread the coconut cream mix on top. sandwich it!

11. For the icing, take a few tbsp. of icing sugar and add the raspberry juice. Mix until it is nice and thick, like double cream.

12. In a small bowl make some choc icing using  a tbsp. of icing sugar and tbsp. of cocoa and splash of water.

13. Spread the raspberry icing on top of the cake. Using a teaspoon drip lines of the choc icing across the cake. Then take a cocktail stick and drag lines over the cake through the choc icing to create the feathered effect.
Store in the fridge until serving!