video – about my lip piercings

been neglecting my channel again lately. but here is a video about my experiences with my (recent) lip piercings.

i made some more effort with makeup than usual. i love how the pastel eyeshadow is making my eyes look so black & alien-like.

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book review – the art of asking by amanda palmer

this week amanda palmer’s the art of asking was released in paperback. like when it first came out last year, she asked her fans to spread the word about it. i was already meaning to do a review on it, so here it is.

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i have been following amanda palmer & her work for years & years now. from the dresden dolls, to her solo album, evelyn evelyn, the grand theft orchestra, ukelele madness, ted talk… she has done so many wonderful things. i don’t love everything that she’s done, but this book is definitely one of the many things that i do.

the art of asking is basically about amanda’s experiences with asking & what she has learned from those experiences. it could be categorised as a self-help book, but it is so much more. it is also a meditation on human relationships, vulnerability, trust & art & all its facets. then it is partially a memoir of one of the greatest artists of our time.

in the art of asking amanda questions a lot of notions that most of us in the western world probably grew up with. like how we are supposed to be independent & never need help & distrust everyone else. how we think artists are supposed to earn money. fundamentally, how we are supposed to be embarrassed by asking for help. she shows that there is another way. she shows a glimpse of a better, more open & loving world.

the whole book filled me with such inspiration. it made me want to be better to other people, allow myself to be vulnerable, create more art. it changed my views on certain things, for the better. i would recommend everyone to read this.

some of the passages that i highlighted while reading the book:

Everybody struggles with asking.
From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one.
It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.
American culture in particular has instilled in us the bizarre notion that to ask for help amounts to an admission of failure. But some of the most powerful, successful, admired people in the world seem, to me, to have something in common: they ask constantly, creatively, compassionately, and gracefully.”

“Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with-rather than in competition with–the world.
Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.”

“Seeing each other is hard.
But I think when we truly see each other, we want to help each other.
I think human beings are fundamentally generous, but our instinct to be generous gets broken down.”

“I think the real risk is the choice to disconnect. To be afraid of one another.
We make countless choices every day whether to ask or to turn away from one another. Wondering whether it’s too much to ask the neighbor to feed the cat. The decision to turn away from a partner, to turn off the light instead of asking what’s wrong.
Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability.
Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:
I deserve to ask
and
You are welcome to say no.
Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.”

i think i need to go re-read this…

if you want to read it too, you can buy the paperback at amazon, barnes & noble, books-a-million, indiebound or porter square books. you can find a bunch of links for the hardcover, audiobook & ebook here.

handmade lolita-esque bolero & a circle skirt

i’m pretty impressed by how much i’ve managed to sew lately. what with all the things working against my favour. here are a bolero & a skirt that i finished this weekend:

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like many things, this bolero took longer than expected. it was the ruffles. oh, ruffles. these ruffles are killing me. why do they have to look so cute?

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when i started, they didn’t look so bad. the bottom ruffles went pretty smoothly. but then the top! i had to redo them twice. first they were much too packed & it looked clownish. then the front barely had any ruffles left.

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i also added the second layer of lace at the last moment, when i had already finished up the rest of the collar. so i had to ruffle that lace separately & sew that ruffled lace over the ruffled fabric, under the more narrow lace. however, it was worth going back to do that extra work; it ended up looking fabulous. i’ve become a lot more critical with my work over the past year or two. it does lead to better results.

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i was planning to do a fuller ruffle at the end of the sleeves, but i stuck to this smallish bell shape. i thought it would be cuter. maybe i’ll add some (removable) bows to them. if they’re removable i can switch up white and black ones. the bow at the front is also removable for that same reason.

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i love this skirt so much. it’s high-waisted, super comfortable & has big pockets in the side-seams. it’s pretty basic, but basic can be very nice. i’ve needed a skirt like this in my closet for ages.

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it’s made of such nice materials. the lace especially was an amazing find.

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on a sidenote, i took out my old leopard print fabric backdrop which i used all the time back when i had my etsy shop. oh, nostalgia. i would love to have a shop again. it’s actually pretty doable at this sewing rate. difficult, but doable. maybe towards the end of the year…

music review – metanoia by iamx

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i wanted to wait until i had listened to the physical cd to write something about this, but it is taking longer than i expected, so the download it is.

i’ve already listened to metanoia a couple of times & it is nowhere near enough. it is such a hypnotic, addictive album. i can listen to this over & over & over again. every time i’ve listened to it so far i’ve been amazed by how good it is. definitely iamx’s best so far. also their most consistent to date. all the songs go together so perfectly; not one of them sounds out of place. yet they all have their own unique sound. it is clear that a lot of experimentation went into this album.

another one of the album’s great strengths is the rawness of it. the honesty. for example in the song ‘happiness’, in which both longing for & apprehension of happiness are expressed. content-wise i also find ‘look outside’ especially beautiful. that one is about looking beyond your own suffering & choosing to look at the beauty of the world around you.
then there is also the usual debauchery & questioning. ‘the background noise’ is a powerful example of the last. if i had to describe that in one word it would be haunting. the fragile vocal delivery & the toned down music & the celestial-sounding “oohoo” over it… amazing.
i’ve only mentioned slower songs so far, but of course there is more to metanoia. it has some fantastic catchy, danceable songs too, as one would expect from iamx. like their latest single, ‘oh cruel darkness embrace me’.

& lastly, i have to say something about the visual side. all of it, the album art, the promotional photos, the outfits, the makeup, the videoclips, even iamx’s website, forms a complete package around the album. visually iamx is also the most consistent they’ve ever been. it’s wonderful to behold.

i would give metanoia 9 stars out of 10. & strongly urge you to check it out.

01:41

remember when you wanted to be like henry miller?
or even bukowski?
just live on the fringes
no money
no prospects
just uncertainty
adventure
& the typewriter
or the more modern equivalent of a typewriter
no material bullshit
only truth
like christopher mccandles
quoted from thoreau
remember?
such yearning for a core meaning of existence
overrun by one for comfort & pretty things
always comfort & pretty things
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is
more

the egl dress from hell, finished

i posted a preview of this on AUGUST 23RD, when i had already been working on this for a very long time, & just last week i finished it. & when i had finished it, i realised that i had forgotten my good camera at my other house & i couldn’t take any pictures & there are so many frustrations with this dress. but it’s done! i think. the hemline could be cleaned up a bit, but i can’t face those ruffles again just now. so many ruffles… & layers… & weight…

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looks good though, doesn’t it? overall. it has some small flaws, but did i mention the ruffles? & weight?

for a long time i only felt frustrated when i looked at this dress on my dressform. even when i tried it on & looked at it in the mirror. just last night i properly wore it, with a blouse & everything, & i felt like a princess. for the first time all those hours & hours & hours seemed vaguely worth it.

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i drew up a new pattern, from scratch for this dress, & i think my pattern drawing skills could still use a lot of improving. it turned out much too big; it was supposed to be fitted at the top. however, i ended up quite liking the extra room. it makes this dress super comfortable & gives it something of a yohji yamamoto vibe. like if he would design for angelic pretty.
aside from the miscalculated sizing, the back also looks a bit off, because the pattern was drawn with sleeves in mind. for dresses with sleeves you need a little more room at the back. i changed my mind about the sleeves at the last minute. i had already pinned them on, short, extremely puffy sleeves, & then decided that it looked better without. with how big the sleeves were it would also be near impossible to wear shrugs or small jackets over it. sleeveless this dress is a lot more versatile. plus, those huge puffy sleeves did not flatter my broad shoulders at all.

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those pattern flaws are a lot less noticeable on me than on my dressform though. i would have taken pictures of me wearing it, but when i remembered to take my good camera with me, i forgot my tripod, & the lighting here in my primary home is too bad to take pictures. another time.

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this dress is fully lined & the skirt is built up of two layers. both of the layers of the skirt are divided into two parts. the top gathered part of the skirt is 3 meters wide, the bottom ruffles come to 6! a lot of the bottom ruffles are also patched together, because otherwise i wouldn’t have enough fabric. initially i bought 5 meters of the main fabric of about 1.80m wide. i thought then i would have maybe a 1 1/2m left for another project, but i ended up using it all. even buying some extra! & then there was the lining. a lot of fabric is in this dress. it makes it very poofy without a petticoat, which is what i was going for. a lot of lolita dresses look kind of sad without a petticoat & i didn’t want that.

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i probably could have used a little less fabric though. i wanted to try a bias-cut for the skirt. with wide skirts it can look a lot better when fabric is cut on the bias, but that is not the most economical way of cutting. now that the experiment is done i’m also not sure how much of a difference it made, what with all the ruffles. ruffles. ruffles everywhere. i should try a design like this cut regularly & compare it… in a couple of months when i can handle a ruffle again.

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like with my favourite lolita brand, the front bow & waist ties are removable. i also put two huge pockets in the skirt. skirts are always better with pockets.

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i also made a matching headbow:

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maybe i’ll make this dress design available as a custom order, when i’ve cleaned it up a bit. see how i can make this more efficiently & thus lower the price. as it is now it would have to be around €275-€300. feel free to comment if you’re interested.

thank you for looking!