Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Dancing in the Street

   I love watching live dance, and I do like dance movies. The Step Up franchise has some great routines, I really like the end one at the second film, my favourite bit of that is when all the women dance together, it's really good.


   I love this picture by the way, an amazing feat. I also love how much strength there is in that picture to me.

   I wanted to mention some things that I have recently found of dancing in unusual places and in stuff that isn't just in films. I really like the video that goes with Man on Fire by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes. I really like that there are different types of stuff in there, including ballet and tumbling. There are some really amazing routines of Double Dutch that dropped my jaw, I am uncoordinated as it is but to have the balance to do that as well as the talent makes it really cool to watch.

   It helps that I really like the song as well. I also thought that this using place well in the dance that you see.

   You can find the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08WeoqWilRQ&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg&index=21

   I also found relatively recently that Girl Talk's album All Day was used for a dance project. I really, really liked the first one. It again uses place really well. I just loved the routine where the girl dances near the telephones, I don't know why it hooked me so much but I really loved it. There are more in the series of videos as it follows the album but I am going to link to the first one, and if interested you can follow the dances.

   You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjeYZTGCqv0

   I want to go to more live dance where I live, there is something about it that captivates me.


   On the theme of dance I am going to recommend the film Pina which really is a great film. It's a documentary but mostly a movie showing and celebrating the choreography of Pina Bausch. What I want to really recommend is the dance that uses it's surrounding. There is a dance of a woman in harness in a room that I thought was really amazing. There is a lot of this that I liked, and all the dancers in it are really good. It is a movie I wish was made more often showcasing dance in a real setting and not in a musical. I heartedly recommend watching this if you like watching dance live.   

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Making my Skirt, part 5: Putting in the Zip

   This is getting very close to done you guys! I am already looking for new projects to try out. I think I might try and make a pinafore dress using this pattern but I am undecided what fabrics I would want to use to make it. I am definitely going to give it a go though.

   Anyway putting in the zip. It was quite fiddly to do, mainly because I didn't have a straight line to work from. I managed it though.

 
 
   You can see the raw edges. This is the last side to do before the waist band and hem. I machine stitched for about 11 inches, the zip is 8 inches. You do need some room so you can put the actual zip in.
 
 
 
 
   I don't know whether you can see this that well, as that is on my bed, but you can see it pinned in place. It was a little difficult to try and keep both edges the same distance away from the raw edges, I don't think that they are quite, but for me it's fine.
 
 

 
   I hand stitched it in place. I think the join at the bottom is a little bumpy but otherwise it good.
 
   I think that I have mentioned in a post last week that the waist is a little big by about 2 inches, I will just need to take in the seams a little. This is relatively easy to fix and will do this next week, as well as the waist band. I bought some bias binding the last time that I was in London for this exact purpose. Once that's done it's only the hem, and then it's a finished garment, woo!
 
   So another two posts of making my skirt. It's been really good for me to do blog posts on it, so I think as I slowly make more stuff I am going to do more posts on it.
 
  Next week the waist band! 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Bookclub! Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman



   So SPOILERS AHEAD when reading this post about this book. There were three major problems that I had with this book.

   1. The character of the Witchfinder Shadwell says really shitty stuff in this book repeatedly. I get that this is a book about the end of the world, so there is some shitty stuff in here.  

   Shadwell isn't portrayed as bad, it's as if he has good intentions, the stuff he says is out of ignorance and that he doesn't know any better. Frankly that is the shittiest excuse for saying stuff that is racist, sexist and homophobic, he just didn't know any better, bullshit. That kind of attitude promotes the idea that the onus isn't on people to inform themselves. That as a lot of the characters around him don't take him seriously or think he is essentially harmless makes me so mad at Pratchett and Gaiman.

   He does not change his attitude to anyone, and thinking that this is harmless is bullshit. The stuff that people say out of ignorance does not give them a pass. This is also to me really, really lazy writing, to get a joke I assume out of this guy. Why is he there? There is a line where someone thinks that they can't find him offensive as he takes everything the wrong way. To that argument he does not find white, straight men offensive so I guess not all groups huh?

   I find it just so lazy. Is it another stereotype that we need to have in fiction? There is also no commentary on this character that isn't oh he's just harmless and doesn't get it. Enough. Stop it and it made me really, really angry.  

   2. I really liked Anathema Device. I thought she was really cool within the universe. Did she have to end up with a guy? Also with Newton as a character? Did they have to have sex as according to a prophesy, which smells to me particularly as I don't know whether she actually wanted this guy. He definitely finds her attractive, I am not sure she does which is really unsettling to me.

   She was practically the only female in the book that I hooked on to, War was female which I liked, and Pepper was part of the gang, but given very little characterisation apart from being unfeminine which is problematic in itself. Oh and Madame Tracy who ends up with Shadwell enough said.

   I just didn't understand why there was a romance in this that felt sterile to me. I am a big romance fan and maybe you could argue my expectations are too high or that the genre does not have to give me that. I would agree with that, I just wish that she hadn't ended up with a guy that was really not her equal or really appreciative of her.

   3. There seemed to me a theme of oh those women they talk a lot don't they? There was the order of the Chattering Nuns, which to me is a hack joke. Or not really a joke, it just promotes to me that women talk too much is a thing, which I suppose does happen as a stereotype, but again does it need to be there?

   There is also a séance that happens in the book, where a dead guy comes through basically to tell his wife that she never let him say anything when he was alive, and to shut up now. It hits that nerve for me that women don't have all that important things to say. It is a harmful stereotype. As with number one, just stop it. It makes me really angry.

   Having said all of this there were a lot of things in the book that I enjoyed. The humour, the angel and devil in the book. The ideas of what humanity does, that it is both good and bad. That it's complex. I liked the idea of the book far more than the actual book. I liked a lot of it, but the three things that I have outlined made me really angry, and ultimately I want to read fiction that doesn't make me mad. A plan for living I find. So I think next month's bookclub I'll enjoy a lot more. Which is going to be posted at the end of May.   

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Absence and some things

   I have been really absent this month. I'm sorry that I've been away from this so long so I am going to try and keep up with this, like blogging at least twice a week for the next couple of months.

   So I have done some things, I have nearly finished the skirt that I am making, I have discovered in my trying to make sure everything isn't too tight I have made it about two inches too big around the waist. Easily fixed by taking it in in each seam by about half an inch. I have put in the zip and everything so taking in the seams is actually relatively easy. I am going to put the pictures of the zip and everything on Sunday. So by that point I will only have two more things then it'll be finished!

   I have been listening to a lot of books, I bought Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster read by Julia Whelan which I really like. I have also been reading quite a lot (I only just finished Good Omens which is this months bookclub book on Tuesday). I have been reading a lot of romance. I really liked Loving Cara by Kristen Proby, and am looking forward to her next book in this series which comes out in August.

   I also recently found out the Billie Letts has some books on the kindle that I'll get round to buying in the next couple of weeks. They are available now though. I am in the middle of reading Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, it's taking me a while because I want to spend time on it. It's really good. 

   I usually read a few books at the same time. So I think I might go to my library soon and get some other books, I am in a graphic novel kind of mood recently so I might see what they have. 

 
 
   I am also super sad that The Great British Sewing Bee has finished (they would never do a paper challenge thank goodness). 

   I am putting this picture of the paper dress in here just for fun, and I guess it ties the theme of sewing and reading together. Plus I really like the shape of the dress. 

   There is quite a lot of stuff to do with Bee coming out, I already have the first book but Tilly from the last series has a book coming out in May, called Love at First Stitch which I am totally buying. I also know that Lauren has a book coming out as well, which I am also buying. I look forward to seeing what kind sewing books they are as well as the projects they show.

   I also want to give a link to both their blogs as I really like them both.

   This is Tilly's: http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/

   This is Lauren's: http://www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/blog

   I am not in the league of either of them but they both inspired me, and made me get back into trying to get sewing projects off the ground. This year's Bee also made me inspired, in particular Chinelo who I thought was freaking amazing, it made me want to try to make things as beautiful as she does. That altered shirt was amazing, as well as the Prom dress. I totally want that with as hot white want. 

   I have only just realised that she also has her own website. This has tutorials on it with her own cutting style be still my beating heart!

   You can find Chinelo's website here: http://chinelobally.com/

   I also want to give another shout out to The Autobiography of Jane Eyre web series. It is winding up, the latest video is number 83 and we are getting to almost the end. I am really sad in a way because I have been really into this adaptation. I can safely say it is my favourite one that has been on screen. It deals with the story so well. I will be very interested to see how the very end turns out. I just love it so much as I am such an avid fan, so for those who love literary web series done super well go to the beginning and watch this story unfold. It has always impressed me.




   This has been a bit of a ramble, but I always finish by recommending something. So I want to recommend Lady the band, and in particular their album called Lady. It has some amazing tracks, Get Ready, Money and If You Wanna Be My Man are songs that I replay over and over. Their voices I could listen to all day.

     

  

  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bossy Boots Bookclub Picks: May, June, July

   I have decided on what my new three months worth of Bossy Boots Bookclub picks are going to be, for May, June and July.

   May:

  



  Bitch is the new Black by Helena Andrews. I actually got this as a present and I have been wanting to read it for a while, therefore it's going to be the book for May. It also looks fun.

   June:



   Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I think I may have mentioned before that I have wanted to read this. So I wanted to pick this for the bookclub, I am slowly becoming more of a fan of short stories as I get used to the format. I am looking forward to this one.

   July:



   The Collected Works of A. J. Fikre by Gabrielle Zevin. I heard about this book from a radio programme and really wanted to read it. From what I heard it's a book about books and the connections that people make from what they read. I really am sold on this book and really want to read it for this hence it being July's bookclub book.     

   So these are May to July's books. Picking out the books in advance is so far working out for me, it personally gives me a chance to get the stuff that I am reading for it, and any and all who want to read along are very welcome!
    

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Making my Skirt, part 4: On the Machine!

   This part is machine sewing the seams. I am leaving the left side open so I am in fact sewing five seams on the machine and then putting the zip and seam on that side separately.

   So here you can see the tacking thread next to the machine:



   It helped me actually that the tacking was in a very distinct colour which means you can follow the line clearly. I went down each seam three times as this is cotton I wanted the seams to have extra strength. I would probably do this with any fabric that I use as a personal preference, it just gives me a finish that I like.

   So here you can see the finish with tacking next to it. I am not sure whether my camera is all that good with the light but hopefully you can see it.


  

   Once I had finished each side I unpicked with tacking which you can see here:

 
 
   I wanted to say in doing this for me it's important to take your time. That includes threading your machine and taking your time to go slowly down each side. It means for me I can control the fabric through the machine much better. There were two places where the thread hadn't quite caught on both sides. So I went back on the machine and did it again, and it all looks good.
 
   It did take me about an hour do this, including getting stuff off the table, putting the fabric under the machine and handling the machine. My foot came off twice (just making sure you screw it back), and the needle came off once again I had to make sure it was screwed on, and as this has happened before in both instances so it didn't panic me. Unlike the instance I broke the needle (not on this project but I was making bunting and I think it was pin related), but all was saved that time too phew!
 
   So I love my sewing machine it saves time and I actually really like the sounds it makes. It also makes me feel happy when I use it. It is a luxury (it was a Christmas present) but I love it and it makes making stuff a thousand times easier.
 
   So the next things do go through are the last seam including the zip (which I am going to hand sew in, I can manipulate it better, it also would mean changing the footer on my machine so I am going to basically see what I can do hand sewing it). After that will be the waist band, then the last thing the hem. Then it's be finished!
 
   It's going to be while until the finish line, but overall I've had fun doing this, and it's been a learning experience.
 
   To end this I have a new found admiration for the people on The Great British Sewing Bee, they must have super steady nerves. They are all talented and really passionate about sewing. My own sewing skills would not be enough to be on that show, but it's nice making stuff in my own way and in my own time. So next post will be that last seam and zip.