29/09/2007

The Dark Side of Etsy

Colours are all very well when one is in the right mood, or for the right occasion, but what does one do when they want to celebrate the visual impression experienced in directions from which no visible light reaches the eye - also known as the colour black? Where does one turn one's impeccably lined eye?

Etsy - the home of many online stores filled with handmade products - looks all sweetness and light on the surface. Take a trip to the front page and you will be confronted with cheery shades of blue, green, yellow, pink and orange. But lurking in the depths, despite the predominance of glorious colour, buried underneath all the brightness, is something irresistable.

I will be your tour guide, to safely navigate your way to items of quality and drama! Hold on to your credit cards, as we explore:

The Dark Side of Etsy!

At this point I would like you to imagine a flash of lightning, rumble of thunder and a giant organ playing a fanfare-tastic tune. I have provided the lightning, thanks to longhorndave (check out the lightning shots tutorial - lightning looks awesome). Unfortunately my blog has no video or sound effects. I could have tried to create them but it would probably have turned out like a bad myspace profile. Consider yourselves lucky.

The Cute

I am not a fan of adorning one's possessions with spiders, bats, pumpkins, skeletons, skulls and other such images and animals that the babygoths at shopping malls everywhere seem to adore. I make an exception for black cats (I love the feline) but otherwise I avoid these kind of images. As I mentioned in My Rainbow: Orange and Yellow - I don't want to look like Halloween personified.

So anything that is adorned with that kind of thing has to be really cute and really well designed and made in order for me to tolerate it. I begin this select collection with the Arachnid Clock, by Carnivalia. I like the shape. I love that the numbers look as though they are caught on a web. I like the ornate hands of the clock, and it is made of wood. Lovely.

This Bat Necklace is simple and understated. It could look elegant with a simple dress. You could even wear it with colours. I think it sits at the perfect place in the neck to be worn with a shift dress with a straight neckline.

There are several different variations of the Gourds of Goth earrings, but these are my favourite: Lady Ghoulia. They're cute and funny enough to be worn anytime and I would certainly wear them if I had pierced ears. I'm saying that last part about a lot of earrings recently, maybe I should consider getting my ears pierced, finally!

Finally, skulls go elegant in this bracelet by PinkWaterFairy Punk. Read the description: "huge wickedly black glass faceted beads, spooky skulls, black glass AB beads, sinfully ornate silver work" - I'd want it even if I hadn't seen it.

The Elegant

I have wanted a dramatic choker for years. I have yet to own an evening dress I would wear one with. I keep buying halternecks or dresses that come up too high at the front to showcase the would-be sparklies properly. If I had worn a goth dress to my school leaver's ball like I had originally wanted to before I met the dress from Monsoon best described as "purple as fuck", I would have wanted to accessorise with something like this black Swarovski Victorian teardrop cascade choker necklace. Yes, it is a mouthful of a name! I am very tempted to get it when I get paid - it ships from the UK and is pretty inexpensive.

If I allowed myself to consider that purchase, I would have to, however, debate whether I wanted to buy a Shimmery Blue Rose Cameo pendant instead. I am currently developing a cameo obsession - I have seen so many on different websites and there are many fans of them on the Emilie Autumn forum. It's getting to me!

This Black Rose Felt Flower Brooch is hand-felted and looks stunning against the grey coat in the picture. I have recently started to develop an affection for all things grey (I blame the stitching up daises scarf) and this is a perfectly gorgeous accent accessory.

The Hats

Naturally, I have to have a special section just for hats! Beautiful in black and lace is Lena Horne, as well as the Gray and Black Lace Sinamay Mini Top Hat. Those who like their top hats full sized would appreciate this, described as Victorian Gothic with Peacock Feathers. And if you are blessed with large amounts of cash, the Mini Victorian Mourning Tricorn could be for you. With ostrich plumes and ribbons it is extravagant and fantastic.

The Others

I found some hair extensions in purple and black, and purple and white. The seller also has other colours, including striped extensions and does sets of dread falls, but I think purple and white make a fantastic contrast that I haven't considered for hair before.

Finally, this post would not be complete without mentioning yarn. Mystery - A Dark Yarn (love that name!) is varigated with purple, grey, black and white shades and would make a beautiful pair of socks.

Have you explored the darker side of Etsy recently? Purchased anything? I'm planning to do a series of "dark sides" of various sites, which I hope you will enjoy. I'm definitely enjoying them, although my debit card might start crying.

13/09/2007

My Rainbow: Green

This is the third in a series of colour themed posts. It was going to be one article about the colours I wear and the colours I wish I wore, but I realised I had too much to write, so it became a series! Be sure to check out the rest of the series - My Rainbow!

I see green as a neutral colour, not linked to any particular emotion. I do vaguely associate it with luck – four leaved clovers are green. I actually found one of those once, but one of the other girls on the school trip tore off one of its leaves, so now I have no proof, only eyewitness accounts! It is also connected in my mind with nature, and wearing it does make me feel more earthy.

Because of its neutrality, I really enjoy wearing green, and I quite often do so. When I drafted this post I was wearing a pale green vest with my black skinny jeans, and a vintage silk floppy hat. Actually, I just put the hat on so I could mention it. It’s too hot to wear a hat without making my head on and my hair prematurely greasy. The hat is a middle range sort of green; it couldn’t be described as dark or forest green, because it is too bright. It has a big flower attached to it with a giant pin. I will photograph it for my upcoming hat post. Today I am wearing the same vest, with a black poofy skirt and maroon tights. I decided today as I got dressed that the green and maroon might look good together. It's a more unusual combination than I would usually go for. I was indirectly inspired by Ashe Mischief's post 'Rose Red and The Peacock Queen' on dramatis personae, which is about mixing red and blue, and her comment that I should not avoid wearing purple and yellow together. She's really helped me see that contrasting, "clashing" colours can look wonderful together.

Quite a lot of my favourite clothes are green. I have a long green tiered skirt from Summer 2005, when they were all in fashion. Mine has little pearlised beads on it, and it has a drawstring waist. I like to wear it with a plain black vest and a pink scarf. I also have a crinkly no-iron (= awesome) green top which I love and wear a lot as well. One of the ‘going out’ tops in my wardrobe is black lace with green mesh underneath. It was under £10 (£9.99, I think), from H&M, and is four years old. The elastic in the straps died the first time I wore it and had to be reinforced with ribbon. It looks a lot like underwear. Many people particularly appreciate this top; in fact I’m surprised it doesn’t have an official fan club. The amount of compliments I get whilst wearing it is ridiculous, I am guaranteed to get at least two every time, and I can’t think of a time it has failed.Such is the power of black and green. Use it wisely.

To the right you can see a slightly-blurry close up of the embroidery on a pair of green summer (lightweight) trousers. I got them before I grew my last couple of inches, so they swing around my ankles a bit. I love the embroidery too much to give them away. I think I am going to have to cut that section out and attach it to something else, or frame it and put it on the wall.

Green is my sister’s and grandmother’s favourite colour. The former has green eyes, of which I am very jealous. Once I had gotten over my early desire for long golden curls and blue eyes like an (scarily Aryan) fairytale princess, I decided that I wanted straight black hair, emerald green eyes, and a pierced nose. I was still in primary school and had just read The Illustrated Mum, in which the narrator’s sister Star gets her nose pierced towards the end of the book. I thought it sounded cool, and I knew I would never be allowed to get it done, which naturally made it even cooler in my mind. I assume that the green eyes and black hair part was a combination from my own imagination; I can’t remember where I would have gotten that idea from. At the time, my sister had blue eyes, but they were starting to change, and within a couple of years, they were green. Not emerald green, but close enough. One day I might try green contact lenses. I think green looks good with all colours and shades of skin - there are so many different kinds of green and it doesn’t fall into the categories of cool or warm.

I really like green carpets, they remind me of grass. When I was a kid I liked to pretend I was walking on grass when I was walking on green carpet, and vice versa. However, I don’t have many green things in my home. I’ve never particularly been a fan of green furnishings and of using a lot of the colour in interior design. Maybe I see green as an outside colour, and want to experiment with more “unnatural” colours inside. I’ve seen photographs of lime green interiors and objects, but although I like the colour, I've never felt drawn to have it in my own home. I can admire it from a safe distance!

My green obsessions:

Dark green hair – I would probably never dye my own hair dark green, but I’ve given a couple of fictional characters hair that colour. I can imagine it looking really nice with brown eyes. Really dark, almost black hair, that only shows green when it catches the light could look lovely on a real person.

A green beret – I have a confession. My name’s Lady Julianne and I have a beret obsession. I was only mildly interested in them, but then I knit myself a black and purple one, and it’s so cute I want more now. I’d really like a dark green beret, or maybe one in the same colour as the vintage silk hat (I really wish I could show you a photo, but I have no camera. I can edit it in at the weekend).

Some green artwork:

Chance Meeting, Daughters, and Spring Forest

Are you a fan of green? What colours do you wear it with? I am really getting into wearing contrasting colours, so I think I will wear it with less black in future. Do you know anyone who has dyed their hair dark green? I want to see!

12/09/2007

The Shoe Show Mystery

I went to bed at two this morning, so I set my alarm for eleven o’clock to make sure I did not sleep for over eight hours as doing so makes me groggy. I did what I usually do, which is set the radio to turn on a minute after the buzzer, so I am woken up by the buzzer and then have the radio playing automatically as I get up. It saves me having to waste time putting it on.

This didn’t work today. I woke up at about 11:30, and the radio was playing. Resonance FM. One of the advantages of living where I do is that I can actually listen to Resonance over the air. It’s supposed to be broadcast to the whole of London but I could only occasionally catch the signal in the suburbs where my parents live. It’s a non-commercial station devoted to "radio art" and run by the London Musicians' Collective, with meagre funding, so I can forgive them for failing to reach my ears when I am in Bromley, and they do stream online. You should check it out.

Anyway, to my delight, there was a woman talking about her shoes, and sharing anecdotes about them. She described her pair of hardy New Rocks, which survived two Glastonbury Festivals, and talked about the time that she and a friend Tippexed the swooshes off Nike trainers in the cloakroom at school. It was called ‘The Shoe Show’. I had never heard it before, but I loved those last five minutes. At the end, the presenter announced that it was the last episode of this series.

Woe! If only I had known! But she then said that she would be back for a second series later in the year, and gave the address for The Shoe Show’s blog, where there would be pictures of all the shoes she’d talked about this series. I immediately got excited and wondered if there would be podcasts available or another way I could download the show. I also remembered that Resonance repeat their material late at night/early in the morning – I have listened to a lot at that time. They have a schedule - or supposedly they do, yet it's never availiable when I look - but I usually just tune in whenever I have nothing else more exciting to do. So I had high hopes of getting to hear this interesting show properly.

Then I went to the blog. It hasn't been updated since September 2006. After searching the Resonance FM website, I have concluded that there were no more episodes made. It's not available as a podcast. According to the website, Resonance are broadcasting repeats all this month because they are moving studio, but the schedule is a dead link so I can't see when anything is on. At least there is the blog, which has good pictures and archives although it was short lived - I recommend you take a look, but - Frustration! I discover something awesome, but only catch the last five minutes of the last episode!

Universe, what did I do to deserve this torment?

10/09/2007

Oh Happy Day!

Finally, the Goddess of Craft has heard my prayers, and the God of Hats has bestowed his long-awaited gift upon the world.

Amy Karol has made a bonnet pattern available to buy online.

It comes in sizes for babies, children, and most importantly, adults. Can you not hear the chorus of angels singing in the background? I've wanted a bonnet pattern for so long, for knitting or sewing, I did not care, but all I could find were patterns for babies, vintage adult patterns too difficult to understand, or crochet patterns. I have nothing against crochet but my hands are just completely unable to manage the hooking technique, I have tried several times to no avail, but I can't work it out.

The Flickr group for Amy Karol's mailorder club has several lovely interpretations. I like this cordroy one, this blue one with a pink ribbon, and this one in butterfly fabric. When I get the pattern I want to make one in purple (obviously), with black lace and maybe some beadwork. Hurry up work, send me my moneys!

08/09/2007

My Rainbow: Orange and Yellow

This is the second of a series of colour themed posts. It was going to be one article about the colours I wear and the colours I wish I wore, but I realised I had too much to write, so it became a series! Make sure you check out the rest of My Rainbow!

Orange
is not a colour I wear, or have worn since I was a child, except perhaps as a minor part of a colourful print, or unless you count carrying an orange book as accessorising. I like the colour black, and its presence in my wardrobe is only second to purple, so at some point I put every colour I wear with black, and if I was to wear orange and black, I would look like Halloween incarnate. I always dress on the dark side, and I love pointed hats and black cats, but wearing black and orange would just make me feel like the costume shop or Marks and Spencer’s Halloween-sweet stand vomited on me. Also, my skin tone and orange do not look best together. I don’t have any problems with orange as a colour. I don’t recoil when I see it – it’s not acid green, or beige – but I don’t seek it out, and I’ve never loved it.

To the right you can see the only orange I really own - some old carrier bags from shops I may not have actually visited. Below you can see a piece of yellow paper that I have blu-tacked to the front of a shelf. The quote is by Peter Brook.

My attitude to yellow is similar, but nostalgia seeps in and influences my view. When I was a child my favourite colour was yellow. I had my bedroom decorated with yellow wallpaper (with a Forever Friends border, duvet cover, pillowcases, lightshade, and toy box) for years until I discovered the wonder that is purple and changed my colour allegiance. Purple suited my moody, difficult teenage years, but yellow was the colour of my bright, hopeful, childhood. It is a sunny, happy colour, and it made me feel warm. I remember when me and my sister would dress in shorts and t-shirts and lay blue fabric over part of my sandy-coloured carpet, and we would pretend we were at the beach, with the sun shining. We would paddle in the blue dresses and scarves and lay down on top of them to mime swimming. I liked to put my sunglasses on and lay back on the carpet, pretending I was sunbathing, whilst reading a book. If my room has been a duller colour, it wouldn't have been so effective and fun.

I don’t wear yellow; I can’t think of a single yellow item in my wardrobe, however, I do like pale yellow. I think that it would suit my skin tone, and would not look garish with black. I’d like a pale yellow dress, with frills or without, to wear with black lace-up boots and a shawl. I also think that yellow looks nice on home furnishings. I have a yellow sofa in my house, and I think the colour adds to its calming abilities. But I wouldn't want too much yellow - it clashes with purple, after all!

People who really like orange and whose thoughts on the colour are therefore less tainted with dislike:

Tricia of bits and bobbins

Jessica of How about orange?

A Yellow Song That Is Not ‘Yellow’ By Coldplay, the obvious choice:

Head Automatica – At The Speed Of A Yellow Bullet (I don’t think yellow is mentioned anywhere other than the title, but it’s energetic and fast and dance-y, which I think are very yellow properties.)

Sorry, no orange song, but any recommendations would be appreciated! 'Oranges and Lemons', as in the nursery rhyme, is quite catchy...

So what’s your relationship to the colours orange and yellow? Do you think that black and orange can be worn without making one look like Halloween personified? What colours did you wear once upon a time but have stopped wearing recently? I’m nosy, let me know!

06/09/2007

My Rainbow: Red

This is the first of a series of colour themed posts. It was going to be one article about the colours I wear and the colours I wish I wore, but I realised I had too much to write, so it became a series! Be sure to check out the rest of the series - My Rainbow!

Red is a colour I have spent a lot of time shyly avoiding and only recently begun to embrace. It’s definitely not a colour for the timid - attention seeking, bold, and exciting. Associated with love, lust, strength and passion, it seems to me like a colour for women, rather than girls, and men, rather than boys. However, it can be dangerous - trashy and wild, as well as polished and sophisticated. In the Victorian era, red lipstick was seen as the mark of a harlot, the lady of the night, a “painted woman”. Today, we associate red lipstick with glamorous, sophisticated women. Burlesque dancers, fans of retro and vintage fashions, wearing it perfectly applied and matching scarlet fingernails and toenails. It says “I might consider playing with you, but I’ll never need you”.

I believe there is a red to suit everyone. I’ve performed in my College’s productions of The Vagina Monologues twice and I realised this the first time, when looking around at the cast, who all looked super-hawt in their red and black outfits. We had a truly diverse cast in terms of ethnicity, body shapes and sizes, and personal style, but everybody looked fabulous and really suited their shades of red.

So how much do I wear red? Not a lot, it’s difficult to find a red I actually like to wear – I don’t like orangey reds, and they don’t suit me. I need blue-reds and pink-reds to suit my cool skin tone, but I want as pure a red as possible, for the maximum impact.

I love wearing red and dark pinkish-red lipstick, but finding good red lipstick is difficult. It was big news a year or so ago, when Dita Von Teese and Christina Aguilera-in-pin-up-girl-mode were the icons everyone wanted to imitate, but now “natural colours” are fashionable again, or so L’Oreal claim in their adverts. I hate “natural colours” - firstly, they’re mostly for warm skin tones - my lips are pink, not brown. Secondly, what’s the point? If I want my lips to look natural I won’t wear lipstick!

Above you can see a photo of my first foray into red clothing. Okay, it’s a red-on-white print, which is an easy option, I know. They did have the same dress in Debenhams with the print in black, but it didn’t look as good so I decided to take a deep breath and go for the red. And I love it! The red is a little orange, but it doesn’t matter because it’s only a print.

My red obsessions:

Red lipsticks – I wear Rimmel’s Volume Lipstick in ‘Screamer’ (nice and classy name!), a pinky-red and Rich Moisture Lipstick in ‘Diva Red’, which is a true red, but I think they’ve been discontinued, and they’re not very good quality. I really only bought them because my local pharmacy was selling them for £1 each. I am really interested in the lip stains, glosses and lipsticks that B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful produce, they have a lot of different reds, and I’ve heard their shop assistants are really helpful. When I use up the cheapo Rimmel ones and get some money (student loan, three weeks, can’t wait) I will go and pay them a visit. Tip: Always use lipliner and apply red lipstick with a brush. It looks best when it’s perfect. Oh, and don't put it on then run anywhere with your hair loose...

Red berets – So French, so awesome. I want to knit one, but red yarn isn’t the easiest to find (John Lewis tend to stick to having pastel colours in stock) and I don’t want to buy it without seeing what the colour looks like in real life. If you read my I GOT YARN post, and compare the photograph I took of the Kidsilk Spray with Rowan’s photograph of the same shade of yarn, you will see why.

Red shoes – Because of the story, of course. I think they would look really good with a red beret, or...

A red umbrella – How sophisticated is that? And this? I don't think it is possible to articulate my awe. Since my Snoopy umbrella (It was a gift! Stop snarking!) broke, I am holding off on buying a new one until I can find the perfect red or purple umbrella. I really want one in each colour. Purple for purple outfits, and red for all the others.

Red wine – Cheap red is so much more palatable (in my humble opinion, of course) than cheap white (eurgh), and I always feel so classy holding a glassful and a conversation. More likely to give you a hangover, but I think it’s worth it.

Red hair – It looks beautiful with bright blue or purple clothes. I am slowly henna-ing my hair thanks to Lush’s Reincarnate, which seems to be working, but I am tempted to henna it properly. I know it won’t ever look too extreme because my hair’s too dark - it laughs in the face of temporary dye - so I might go for it.

Red Songs (I searched "red" in my Winamp...):

Emilie Autumn – Rose Red (ridiculously catchy, and passionate)
Cold War Kids - Red Wine, Success (I am obsessed with red wine, what more can I say? This song wins just for the title)

How do you feel about red? What colours do you wear it with? I've only ever worn it with white and black, so I’d like to know if you do anything more interesting.

02/09/2007

this ravelry obsession

I got my Ravelry invite.

Oh my god. This site is amazing. Better than I imagined and than I could communicate to you now. If you knit or crochet and you haven't signed up for an invite yet, DO IT.

You can list your yarns, projects, patterns and books, then see what other people are doing with all of them. Bought one skein too many for a project and unable to return it? Problem solved! Just look up the yarn and you can see what others have done with it. Want to substitute the yarn for a particular project? You can see what other people are using at the click of a button!

There are groups too, based around a wide range of topics, from feminism to goth, and Joss Whedon to Brenda Dayne. Anyone can start one up and my immediate favourite is lolravelers - devoted to cat macros with yarn and knitting in them.

No, seriously.
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