triangles

I’ve just asked myself ‘what is the optimal pitch for an A-frame roof in a location* that gets snow’?
I have never lived in a climate where this sort of snowfall is likely or possible. And I have never built a house….
…out of anything but paper.
I’ve just spent far too long googling ‘what type of triangle has two equal sides and angles’ and ‘how do you find the perimeter of an isosceles triangle?’ Maths 1 is so many years ago. And there’s a 50/50 chance I didn’t pay attention in that unit.
*Rotterdam, and the year would be pre modern climate change, ie 19th century or earlier, when the snowfall was far heavier than it is now, but also not as heavy as somewhere like… Stockholm.

Be bold. Stand out.

Aletta linked up this great article on fb yesterday: Cut From The Same Cloth by Myfanwy Tristram.

I was a teen 1987-1993, and fully into a punk/‘alternative’ aesthetic. Docs, shaved head, op shop clothes, etcetera. I started making my own clothes when I was about 22, because I couldn’t find what I wanted in shops. These days I make almost all my own clothes.
It’s been interesting to learn about pattern drafting and fitting techniques and applying them to my own aesthetic. Much of which is informed by the practical requirements of lindy hop.

As a seamstress, I’m really inspired by independent designers, but I really pine for the skills of high end fashion. Most of which are about making things by hand. It’s DIY (very 90s), but with the power and budget of high end fashion industry. And I’m always struggling to avoid bullshit gender norms.

Kenneth D King (source)

I’m very inspired by Kenneth King’s approach to fit and mechanical skills (he’s all about comfort, and fitting/cutting to flatter all bodies), and the Black American women sewers on instagram, who are all about COLOUR and confidence, and a non-m/s body shape.

Thebe Magugu  from South Africa (source)
Tufafifi from Nigeria (source)

Of course I’m excited by contemporary African fashion design (Thebe Magugu from South Africa, Tufafifi from Nigeria, etc). Inspired by tradition, but with modern sensibilities and politics.

Babarra Designs (source

And I’m a serious fan of contemporary Aboriginal Australian fabric design and printing (Australian Indigenous Fashion is a great source for this stuff).

I like artists like Peggy Noland, who makes huge, saturated colour models. Her work with Wacky Wacko is right up my alley: bold colours, confronting images (tampons! Body hair! Condoms! Gay!), men in frocks, fat chicks in tight mini skirts.

Wacky Wacko (source)

The irony is that by the time I have leet sewing and construction skills, I’ll be way old.
I have wondered a couple of times lately, ‘Should I worry about bring ‘ridiculous’ for dressing like this at my age?’ I usually tell myself not to be silly.


(pic by Hillary Mercer of course)

Something I’m really interested in at the moment is how to dress/dance on stage as an older, fatter woman. I’m experimenting with things like creating discomfort in the audience: revealing cellulite thighs, getting a skirt caught in my knickers, a too-tight bodice, an exposed bountiful bosom
I can feel the audience wriggling in their seat, and i really enjoy the way it fucks up the gender norms of the lindy hop world: skinny young white women with long limbs and long hair and no boobs. If you’re in a comp, people _have_ to watch you. They’re not allowed to look away. Cellulite or no.


Dancers like Sing Lim, with her fully sick sense of fashion, are my inspiration: be bold. Be clear.

This idea of discomforting the viewer is part of a punk aesthetic: piercings, torn clothes, spikes, and acidic colours. It’s also part of my feminist praxis: discomfort a male gaze. Disrupt a gendered norm. Enjoy it. I like using this as a tool in my sewing as well. I love power clashing, bold colour palettes, and mixing full, flowing sleeves with fierce colours and silhouettes. And as an older woman, who society is busy telling should be invisible, I’m beginning to really enjoy wearing clothes that demand attention. The difference now, is that my practical construction skills have increased. I know how to cut a woven fabric so that it fits as comfortably as a knit. I’m also a fan of complex construction techniques, using traditional techniques to make weirdarse garments.

Fashion advice.

This sort of blouse is very now in lindy hopping circles. Gorgeous foofy sleeves ending just below the elbow so you can really bring your hand game. And buttons in the back. I love buttons down the back, as they leave the front nice and clear. But for dancing… not good. Because the lead’s hand and arm are continually moving against this part of your back. And the obvious result is popped buttons.

Here’s my fashion advice (remember it, as I’m not going to do this very often): sew up the back seam by hand, so the buttons become faux buttons. Make sure you leave the top one open so you can get your head in and out.
Note: this might make the blouse a bit tight for getting on and off, so you might actually go with a side-seam zip instead/as well as.
If you do go this method for a comp or fancy dance, do your hair after you put the shirt on, and you might consider a hairdressing cape to cover your clothes and stop bits of hair going all over your nice shirt.

I also sew up the front of button-up-front blouses and shirts because my enormous bosom explodes them open when I dance. It’s actually more to do with the shirts not fitting properly across the back as well as the front, but my sewing is PERFECT and I won’t hear a word against it.

Right. That’s it. This is the last fashion advice from me. Except for buy more leggings (especially Australian ones) and wear them to train in because they are awesome.

dull with a side of dreary

The rain has eased a bit, and Brisbane is recovering. Slowly. Here in Sydney the weather turned mild, but the humidity increased, and we’ve had drizzles of rain off and on every other day.

I’ve been crocheting like a crazy person (you can see some of the amigurumi I’ve been doing here) and watching lots of Jane Austen television, mostly because I have a dentist’s appointment tomorrow, and I’m beginning to get really scared. No real reason for all that fear, but since I had that horrible root canal I’ve had dentist fear. So I’m doing lots of crocheting and watching lots of television, occupying my brain entirely so I can’t think of anything else. During the other parts of the day I’m exercising obsessively, which is helping with anxiety.

I’m also doing job applications, which sucks. The pgrad diploma I did last year didn’t actually teach me anything useful about cataloguing or library routines, which is the stuff they actually want in new employees. This shits me no end. But I’ll keep doing the applications, and try to get better at writing my CV. I’m rubbish at it.

In other news, the neighbour has gotten a cat, which she lets out during the day, and which has taken to harassing the birds in the gardens. I have taken up the hose and become cRaZy Cat Watering Lady. I fucking hate the way cats kill everything. I particularly hate it that someone in a block like this has an outside cat kills all the birds that the rest of us enjoy in our shared gardens.

I DJed a set the other night that didn’t go very well. I had lots of excuses: the dancers had been dancing to too much live rock and roll music and that had screwed their lindy hop. The rest of us had been dancing to too many good jazz bands and that had spoilt us for recorded music. It was hot and humid. I was out of practice.
But buggered if I actually know why I did an ordinary job. I didn’t feel connected. I haven’t really practiced DJing properly in ages, and, to be honest, I’m much preferring dancing these days. I’d really rather be dancing like a fool than sitting on my arse, fussing over music while other people get to dance. Time to have a break, I think.

This is turning into a dreary post, isn’t it? I hadn’t meant it to be. But I guess things are a bit frustrating round here. I really need some sort of job or something. I think I’m going to go into the library next week and do some hardcore discography work. I have lots of music that I’ve bought from emusic which just has one artist’s name and a date that may or may not be accurate. And I need to tidy it all up.

Otherwise, I’m involved in the usual round of DJ coordinating gigs (MSF in Melbourne later this year for a start) and I’m helping a friend run his irregular late night dance gig, which is going to be lots of fun.

I’ve also finally gotten the Big Apple choreography under control. Now I need to really make it good. That means learning the trickier transitions and getting the arms right. And doing proper, clear, performance-ready weight changes and shapes. So it stops looking like a bunch of jiggling on the spot and starts becoming a series of complex, dynamic shapes and contrasting movements that’re actually fun to look at. This also means videoing myself dancing and then watching it over and over til I figure out what’s going on and how I can improve it. This, once again, is quite satisfying for ob-con girl.

I don’t really have much else to write about, so this is going to have to be a boring summary of my boring days, all framed by some fairly dreary self-pity. Sorry about that.

Baz and mandarin peel

I am trying to improve my drawing, so have been taking requests and illustrating friends’ tweets. This is Basil (friends’ companion who usually lives over at Sorrow at Sills Bend) with mandarin peel.
It is winter, here, and mandarins are in season in a major way. I ate so many at MSF I gave myself a rash. My favourites are Honey Murcotts, but they’re harder to find than the ubiquitous, people’s favourite Imperial. The Murcott has a stronger, more orangey flavour and scent and isn’t as loose in its skin as the Imperial.
Basil is an internet rockstar.

Happy Christmas!


up-pops!
I’ve been making popup cards. It got a bit fiddly and annoying, eventually, and I ran out of card long before I actually made cards for all the people I had on my list.
I’ve also uploaded (finally) some popups from the last time I did some popup work, which was about a million years ago. Last year… no, 2007 perhaps. Sheesh.
If you’re following me on twitter, you’ve seen all these before. But it’s nice to have them in my (poor, neglected) blog as well.

crazed renovating woman bores internet to tears


terracotta floor tiles
I am nuts for the idea of these tiles atm. They are made of terracotta and they’re hexagonal. Click the linky if you want to read more.
I have also started thinking about door handles.
I’ve never even considered these things before. And we have had to get some housey type things in a hurry. Choosing paint was rushed (but really, there’s no choice beyond ‘classic white’ for a small flat that has dark bits). I could perhaps have chosen a stain for the buttery yellow, knotty pine wood floors we’ve just had done in a clear satin water based finish.
I am still humming and hawing over painting the woodwork white. I’d like to get this shit done before we move in. But then, I should probably go slow on this stuff so I don’t screw things up.
We will also need to get a glazier in to fix a stupidly ‘mended’ window. And I need to get the dodgy painters in to do one room (the hall over the stairs – the ceiling is >5m and it’s over the _stairs_.)
After a while, we’ll redo the bathroom (which is really quite important) and then the kitchen (which is less important, but assumed greater importance when we discovered a leak this week).
And then I want to get the space under the stairs made into cupboards or large, pull out drawers. And I want to open out the ‘wall’ which edges the stair case into think palings or even just leaving it open (and dangerous!). And we will really need some built in bookshelves in the lounge room (we’ll cover an entire wall with them).
I like the thought of doing all this stuff. We are doing the painting ourselves, though we got a dood in to finish the floors (I’ll let you know what sort of job he did. He’s very nice, but you never can tell.) We’ll get a plumber to do the plumbing stuff, and a proper tiler to tile because those are jobs you don’t want to have to live with if you fuck up. But we’ve discovered we quite like doing this renovation stuff. The Squeeze is concerned he’ll like it too much and we’ll be renovating everything, forever.
So, in order of priority, I should be thinking about:
– the woodwork round the doors, etc
– getting all the locks changed, including the window locks. Years as a rental property mean that there are definitely dozens of copies of the keys floating about. So we need new ones.
– the bathroom. I have no idea on this one. We have a good iron bath and a decent toilet bowl, but we need to rip out the shitty shower unit ASAP and the vanity is screwed. It’s a tiny room, and very poorly laid out, so we’ll need to really think carefully about how we do it. I’d like to keep the bath as it’s in very good nick, and I had thought about putting the shower over the bath, but that’s not always a good idea, and not great for re-sale. We’ll need lots of new tiles and possibly need the ceiling sorted as it does open out into the attic space under the roof. Nice and bright but also DIRTY.
– the kitchen. It needs redoing entirely.
– the built in bookshelves and other assorted fitting and joining and random acts of carpentry. I need a good cabinet maker, I think.