Thursday, 23 February 2012

handmade by mae: cushions 2

After what has been a very, very difficult and dark few months, recently I've been almost bubbling over with creativity and enthusiasm. My book is in use constantly - it always is when clouds gather, but this time the clouds have gone but it has not. I'm scribbling ideas and inspiration in it near constantly. This makes me very happy - it has been too long. Years of 'art in academia' and in competition with my friends to the point where I feel like I stopped creating, or wanting to create anything, entirely. I never thought it would come back, and in a way it hasn't, not completely anyway. I'm not sketching, drawing and painting in what I suppose the 'proper' arty style, but I am crafting and being graphic-y, haha. If I had a scanner I would show you some, but alas!

The large Union Jack-style cushion isn't actually mine, it was a Christmas present from Pip, but I wanted to show it on here anyway 'cause it's amazing! The fabrics are beautiful, very high-quality, I wish the fabrics I owned and used were like that! They're printed on linen, so are very durable, and come from a melody of places - the base fabric (the green with pink & raspberry paisley) is Vanessa Arbuthnott and the vertical and horizontal stripe is Laura Ashley. I'm not entirely sure where the green gingham is from, but the Raspberry gingham is one of Pip's favourite fabrics, ever, that she recycles over and over. Originally they were curtains, but now she uses them in her crafts, but it's been discontinued so, being her favourite fabric, I feel very lucky that she has given some to me!

The front two cushions are ones I actually made in September 2010, between coming home from Canada and going to London. I made them in a bit of  rush really, because I was having to clear out 50% of my room for moving to uni and I had two cushion pads left over from my pre-Canada cushion splurge. (see this post) It took me SO. LONG. to decide on which fabrics, how thick, and what order on the long cushion. Ended up using the beautiful hot-pink Effiel tower fabric left over from the toeb cushion, duck egg blue polka dot fabric left over from the heart union jack cushion & two Cath Kidston remnents. From the local haberdashery I also got cream sequined green ribbon thing, that I remind me of flowers, and some cut-out pink daisy chains, both of which had to be hand stitched on and took a lot of time! I love the print on the back of the cushion, unfortunately that fabric is very very thin though so wasn't ideal to be a main area of the cushion but I used it anyway! As for the second cushion, well that was a complete rush made out of just one piece of fabric, think I got it from Abakhans in Manchester.

So, I hear you say, where are the photos of my current work? Well I'm only just getting back into it, but I am bubbling over with ideas, and get quite frustrated because there are so many things I want to do but not enough pairs of hands! When the ideas come into my head I am very scared of them drifting away, but that results into me clutching onto too much, becoming stressed about which one to do first, and what if I start one I can't do the others?, so end up doing nothing at all!

There's so much I want to do! I want to blog more, tumblr more, I'm currently knitting a bag but have so many ideas in mind for socks, hats, snoods, scarfs, jumpers etc..., but it's such a slow process, which is what I love and hate about it at the same time! I want to bake everything out of the Hummingbird bakery cookbook! I have so many sewing ideas flying around my head that I have trouble concentrating on them long enough to draw and record them in my book before I'm off thinking of another and so on... So many bag ideas, I'm currently looking for somewhere online where I can buy leather/suede, because in the past I've used this hospital seat vinyl stuff which is ok and does the job, except on the reverse side it's white netting so IS A MASSIVE PAIN when it comes to trying to disguise it... I want the kind of leather they use in the front stall in the Manchester fashion markets, but I don't feel like I can ask them who their supplier is because they might think I want to rip them off! Currently looking at a seller on eBay who is selling good priced hides (I'll have to buy and actual hide, I can't believe it!) in some ok colours - not exactly what I want though! I've emailed him to ask for samples but not heard back yet... fingers crossed!

The frustrating this all my sewing stuff is still in Bury - my machine, my box and all my fabrics! In theory I could use Pip's machine and sewing box but I don't really want to, because I'm used to my own and what threads I have and where everything is in my box! Even if I did use her things that still doesn't solve the problem of having no fabrics! Although at the Ripon market last Thursday I did buy a couple of metres of some nice stuff - maybe I'll photograph them tomorrow!

I also bought two dresses from a charity shop in Ripon that need altering. I have done this so many times, where I've bought something that doesn't fit but with the intention of altering it but I never get round to it - I am determined not to do that with these! One is a size 24 (I know!) long sleeved dress made out of this beautifully thick brocade fabric, with large buttons down the middle, and the other is a deep red maxi skirt. Maybe I'll blog about those tomorrow too! 

So much to do, so little time!!!! I am rambling in this post but I don't really care because I'm only writing it for myself anyway... Arggg! My head is spinning, there's so much more I'd like to write about but I think I'll have to stop here before I'll combust!

Also I've just remembered what puts me off blogging - fucking photobucket! So goddamn slow and glitchy, it often crashes my computer! I have no idea what else to use though :Z Maybe Flickr?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

"What is architecture anyway? Is it the vast collection of various buildings which have been built to please the varying taste of the various lords of mankind? I think not. No, I know that architecture is life; or at least it is life itself taking form and therefore it is the truest form and therefore it is the truest record of life as it was lived in the world yesterday, as it is lived today or ever will be lived. So architecture I know to be a Great Spirit... Architecture is that great living creative spirit which from generation to generation, from age to age, proceeds, persists, creates, according to the nature of man, and his circumstances as they change. That really is architecture."

Frank  Lloyd Wright, In the Realms of Ideas

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

into the wild

Just a short post to say it will be my last for two-three weeks! We're setting off on Friday, and as we're camping the whole way and camping whilst we're (even more) north there's not much point me having my laptop and it's heavy, so I'm mailing it to Mick's cousin in Vancouver to pick up before I go home!
It's a glorious day, I cannot explain to you fully enough - nor can I show you, because I'm using a cafe's wifi and it's painfully slow and I do not feel like sitting here for an hour uploading pictures! I imagine I'll just have a massive Yukon photo dump when I get home... 
So, Friday. I am so excited, yet so nervous! I've been doing my usual excessive list-making and getting stressed out to the point where afternoon naps have become a normal thing because my brain's too tired! I really just want the day to come and to just go, this waiting is making me mad! I'm trying to keep in mind that it doesn't matter how much preparation I do or how much I buy, I am still going to be underprepared so trying not to get to crazy about it! It's going to be such a challenge, the highlight of my trip I am sure! 
I'm not sure what else to say really except wish us luck and I will talk to you guys soon! 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Top Image I didn't take! From
A map of Canada, because I felt it was about time you lot saw how bloody big it is! Also nice for you guys to have an idea of how bloody north I am aha!
Also a map of Yukon itself, so you can see where I will be travelling and the river I'm canoeing on!

So after a brutal 3 day journey, we are finally here in Whitehorse, Yukon! Well actually we arrived at 3am yesterday, but as the hostel didn't open 'til 8 we had to sit in Tim Hortons freezing our arses off and looking like absolute hobo's (it was cold so I was wearing a raggy old tuque of Mick's and wrapped in a grey blanket that we found for $4 in Zellers, that under the ingredients list says '50% polyester, 50% unidentified material). Because of the way our layovers worked, we hadn't really slept for the whole journey, and when we had it was that travelling-kind-of sleep - you know the kind where your cramped and you wake up and roll off the seat because the bus has jerked or some babies crying or you're dribbling on the person next to you etc etc... Mick's dad has so many air miles so we used those to get a flight from Toronto to Edmonton, the equivalent of a three day bus journey that we were originally going to endure, but that left at 6.30am meaning that we had to leave Peterborough at 3 so didn't sleep that night! The flight to Edmonton's four hours but because of the time difference it meant that we arrived there at 8.30am, well effectively 10am once you take in the typical flight delay! We then had a layover in Edmonton until midnight that day, which was spent drinking coffee, eating obviously-a-drug-front chinese food, then more coffee. Had had quite a lovely time on the bus despite the lack of sleep - for the most part Mick and I were sat right at the front so could see everything. Except, there was nothing... in terms of civilisation! We've been told that Yukon really is 'wild' but you don't really understand how much so until you get there, I don't think. We drove on the Alaska highway, a road which by English standards would definitely not be called a highway, which was so up and down and round the bend I thought we might just die a few times. Not to mention the bus driver was a bit mental... Absolutely loved the guy though! He was an Essex boy! Couldn't tell from his accent because he was also black so had that wonderful immigrant English going on, but he drove rather fast and at one point, on the wrong side of the road. I'm not kidding! He almost ran over a sheep and drove off the cliff, such quality. SAW SO MUCH WILDLIFE THOUGH. I SAW LIKE FIVE BEARS AND THE MOOOOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cannot tell you how excited I was to see the moose. The driver was looking out for them for me and told me that I was very lucky to have seen that many and I should travel with him more often (: Absolutely wonderful.

But we're here, alive. And so so so stoked on life I do not know how to explain! We're staying in a hostel called Beez Kneez downtown, owned by a friendly lady called Nancy. She's rather funny, she does everything herself so often is running round with piles of bedcovers but always has time to pop into the room to make us all laugh with a story... It's a tiny hostel, smaller than some of my friends houses back home! I much prefer these kind of places to corporate HI's though, they have so much more character! We're staying in a cabin aka glorified shack in the back garden (pictures up at some point!) which has a giaaaant comfy amazing bed in it. I don't want to leave but due to lack of funding tomorrow we're moving to a campsite!

Yukon is a strange place, it really is. I couldn't possibly explain how but you would understand if you were here. We're in the capital city (not really like the others though - there's no high rise buildings, only 25,000 people live here, which is actually 75% of the Yukon's population) and yet we feel like we're right on the edge of the wilderness. I suppose we are, in a sense. We're surrounded by mountains, but it's totally different to Lake Louise. Yes Lake Louise was tinier and isolated still but it wasn't the same - I mean a city was two hours away, whereas this is the city! And the people are different. But how could they not be in somewhere so isolated? Apparently they only get weirder the further north you go...

WHICH WE ARE, BY THE WAY. I am hoping I get to tell my dad about my plans before he reads this. Please don't have a heart attack! 
I'm so excited I can barely contain myself. On Thursday Mick and I are setting off on an 8 day canoe trip along the Yukon river, from Carmacks to Dawson City! (See map) For 8 days it's just us and the river, hopefully not a bear. We'll be canoeing all day and then camping at night, wherever we desire. No electricity, no shower, no proper toilet... Such an adventure. I feel like I'm selling it really badly but honestly it'll be the craziest thing I've ever done. I cannot wait for the sense of freedom... It's so strange because I've been wanting to go to Yukon for a while and kayak, and whenever people asked me what my plans were that's what I said, but even as I said it I felt a little bit like it would never happen. The same way when I told because I wanted to go to Canada and live in the mountains near a lake it wouldn't happen either. BUT IT BLOODY IS. kdjas,fndskfhsdjkfhsdkfhsdlalsdjask Isn't it wild? It's so mental. I can't get over it. Got to spend the whole day tomorrow sorting out renting stuff and buying food and dum de dum...

Ah, I'm too excited now to type anymore. Hope you enjoyed the update though! I'm hoping to get another one in before we set off, but if I don't, if you haven't heard off me in two weeks though I've probably died, into-the-wild style, haha! (Probably shouldn't joke about that... oops!)

Friday, 8 July 2011

leaving the lake

I'm slacking aren't I - I can't believe I haven't posted since May! I've been meaning to but I have the kind of attitude where I want to catch up on everythinggg so I can't be bothered, but it's a bit of a downwards spiral considering that the longer I leave it, the more and I have to catch up on and thus the less I do! I'm currently sat in a hostel in downtown Ottawa - it is a long story of how I got from the Lake to here!

So I left Lake Louise just over two weeks ago, but it feels like I've been away forever. I can't fully explain the sadness I felt when I left that place! I met so many wonderful people, lived in what I am sure is one of the most beautiful places in the world, had life-changing experiences that produced potentially hours of stories. On June 22nd stepped onto the Greyhound a completely different person to the terrified one who stepped off back in December. Lake Louise is always going to have such a special place in my heart - I suspect I may find myself revisiting it far off in the future, when the 40-year-old me in the middle of a breakdown craves nostalgia of the place that made her realise she was free. 

ARGH! Talking about it makes me sad. I miss it so much! I miss everything! The mountains, the trees, my walk to work over two rivers, the small town atmosphere... I miss knowing everyone! Today I went to the post office to send some money to my Dad and the lady was so unfriendly - back in the Lake, there's a lady called Jean who works at the depot, AND SHE'S THE BEST LADY EVER. She told me and Mick we were two of her favourites haha, and that we weren't allowed to leave... Word up Jean, I love you and miss you!

I even miss working at Laggans! AND MY REGULARS. (Just posted all the pictures - man, I miss everyone...) The old bloke in the photo with me is probably my favourite person, ever. He's called Jim, is a garbage man for Parks Canada and absolutely loves it. He has the exact kind of eccentricity that I want to have when I'm older, he's lived such a crazy life and is always telling me stories! He lived in the Himalayas doing research for like twenty years so the air made him kind of loopy, but that's the best thing about him! I have an inkling that I was his favourite too - when he'd come in the bakery he'd always say something daft like 'it's the light of Manchester!!' - did I mention, he loves Manchester! We had the best chats, Gene (the boss) would always tell him off for distracting me haha XD I miss the bloke... He took down my contact details because he has a friend who's daughter is going to UCL next year! She's from Nepal and so is obviously really nervous about everything, I'm excited to meet her! 

Oh and the moustaches... yea, that was partially his idea. We were brainstorming what ridiculous things I could do to commemorate my last day, and he came up with "I think it would be a really great idea for you to have a beard". I couldn't get a beard, but I remember a few months ago before Mick left for Vancouver I was raiding through his stuff and laughed upon finding stick on tasches... Never then did I realise that they would come in handy! So on my last day I decided to abuse my supervisor position and force everyone on my shift to wear tasches. Jim also died laughing when he came in XD It was a good morning, but sad... all the regulars came in because I'd drilled into them "Tuesday morning is my last shift!!" so there were a lot of goodbyes. I cried when I said goodbye to Jim! I miss that man! People were so taken aback by the tasches, so amusing! At one point I turned round to face a customer and he actually flinched. I'm happy not to be working anymore but I loved working at a place where everyone you work with is like family and so many customers are friends. 

Seeing as I haven't posted for so long, I never talked about my new housemates! I lived with Marie Michelle and Carolane til the end, but about three weeks before I left two guys moved in, Colin and Jacob, both musicians and both from Ontario. We clicked instantly, I loved the short time I had with them, I only wish it had been longer! It was fun to live with guys after having spent six months with only girls. If only I had the time and the effort to document all the moments we had! I know in two years when it's a memory I'll regret it, but currently it's so vivid in my head that I still laugh thinking about it and it feels like I'll never forget, even though I will. Stupid me! 

The weather during May and June was beautiful and we'd taken to spending a lot of our evenings sat outside in the middle of Saddleback. On my last night we had a party outside, which is where the big group photo is from! I miss our little set up, consisting of mismatching chairs, a car seat that we had to rescue for the garbage as it had to be removed from C4's deck because the boss saw it as being, direct quote, "too ghetto", a bench, a rope-wheel-turned-table, and crates. Perfect. 

Oh and the cake! It was such a surprise, I was so chuffed. Read what it says - sounds wierd ay? It's actually really funny, and in a way, appropriate. There was a lot of Quebecois (French people from Quebec) working at Laggans when I left, and in French, when you tell someone you miss them, if you directly translate it into English it's 'you will miss me' - hence the mistake! I love the Quebecois girls, miss them so much!

It's really hot and sticky and I'm hungry, so I think I'm going to save stories of the bus ride and adventures in Ottawa 'til the next post... To sum this one up, I just miss everything! I was sad for it to end but at least it's the beginning of something new. I'm excited!

Monday, 23 May 2011

herbert lake

Last week Mick managed to convince me to cycle up the highway (and by up, I mean uphill, dear god) to a place called Herbet Lake. Mick always manages to convince me to do what appears to be daft or unachievable things, but I'm glad he does 'cause in the end it is always worth it. Like climbing the spindly tree in the middle of Saddleback, in my pyjamas. (Photos of this one soon). So excited for Yukon adventures.

Anyway, Herbet lake is the only lake in close vicinity that you can swim in in the summer, as the others and the rivers are glacier fed so are cold all year round. I don't think I'll get the oppurtunity to swim here - it was a super warm day but as you can see it's still mostly frozen over! Spent a few hours getting stupidly burnt (well I did anyway - I was only out for three hours but the sun is so strong at this altitude! Combine it with suncream though and it makes for really fast tanning!) and playing with sticks. I really like riding my bike.

deux petit pois

Now you have a better idea of what I meant when I said we had a ghetto porch. Photos from the day Crystal left, two weeks ago, that I'm only just getting round to uploading. Look how sunny it is - isn't it surreal that we have weather like this the day after the photo from the last blog post? (The one about the last day of the ski hill being a snow storm!) We've had pretty beautiful weather the majority of the time in the past two weeks, although it's raining today. Can't say I've missed the rain... Drank rather ridiculous amounts of beer but not all at the same time so really it doesn't feel that bad. There's something about sunshine that makes sitting on the porch with friends listening to good music/live music (my housemate has a guitar that he likes to whip out at every opportunity,thankfully he's good!) with a can of poohouse seem like the best thing in the world. Working a lot these days, I curse myself when the alarm goes off at 4.45 but when you eventually get let out of the madhouse/dungeon (oh yea I do kitchen now! Be proud Daddy!) at 1.30 and the sun is out and you're watching fellow workmates get clicked at by Brazilian customers, I am so thankful. Even if I work the morning again the next I figure the best thing to do is be drunk by 3, pass out by 10 and you're good by the next morning. Always seems to work for me!

And because this is amazing, it's going to on here because I want to remember it forever:

You know I miss you, I miss our walls
Just shout whenever, and I'll give you a call
You want my love, you want my heart
For 6 weeks we'll have to be apart :(

Are we an item? Girl, quit playing
Just housemates, what are you saying?
Say there's another and look right in my eyes
Mon petit pois broke my heart for the first time
And I was like...

Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like becki, becki, becki, noo!
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine (mine)

For you I would have done whatever
And I just can't believe we don't live together
And I wanna play it cool, but I'm missing you
I miss our couch sessions, even our creepy missions
And I'm in pieces, baby fix me
And just shake me 'til you wake me from this bad dream
I'll drive far, far, far, far.
And I just can't believe were 3520 kilometers apart.

And I'm like
Baby, baby, baby oooh
Like becki, becki, becki nooo
Like baby, baby, baby oooh
I thought you'd always be mine.

Now I'm all gone, gone, gone, I'm gone :(

CRYSTAL I MISS YOU SO MUCH. Lake Louise isn't the same without you! See you in four weeks!