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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

August Blog Round Up

It's time for the monthly blog round up! As ever, there were plenty of interesting posts on my feed this month, so here's some of the best -

  •  Ra posted her latest custom corset acquisition, of which I am intensely jealous. It's so stunning that it makes me wonder why we don't use sari fabrics and embroidery more in corsetry.
  • I feel like every time I do one of these things I end up including something from Meagan at Coffin Kitch, but LOOK AT HOW CUTE SHE LOOKS. Here's hoping her move goes well!
  • Frannie of the Curious Professor Z has recently restarted BatFit, and recently posted on her opinions on dieting, and how she want to stay healthy rather than focus on losing weight - something I support far more.
  • Tarot is an interesting art whether you believe in fortune telling or not, and 1666 x 30 at The Mutant Stomp Friends discusses her feelings on the artwork of cards and what makes a good deck.
  • Bane, known for her blog GIY: Goth It Yourself has taken a break from the internet, but her etsy store The Batty Crafter has recently been launched! If you're over state side, it's worth buying some of her stuff for the beautiful fabric.

This is a little shorter than normal as I need to get some packing done, but I hope you enjoy anyway; until next time!


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Interior Design: Dorm Room Plans

I'm about to head back to Dundee - It's been a strange an unusual summer, but not an unpleasant one. Given uni has been fast approaching and I've been missing friends, I figured during August that I should start thinking about my dorm room.

As you can see in the photo of a typical bedroom, it's not really ideal for a number of reasons - on top of the usual 'no blue tack, no pins and no changing the furniture' rules, I have very few shelves and drawers, the under-bed storage isn't easily accessible and - most irritatingly - the pin board is tiny. On the plus side, unlike last year I have all the room in the world for REM starfishing and a bedside table, so there are some benefits with the room. I plan on testing the under bed storage when I get there and working out a way to get another pin board in without breaking the rules, but until then I'll have to think of new ideas on what to do.

Source. Perhaps something like this in black for holding note cards?
As well as working around the problems created by the new abode, I need to consider what I had trouble with in the old one. Whilst I think I have more desk space than before, last year it did get horrendously cluttered, and I need a better filing system than before to help organize myself. For this purpose I got myself this beaut earlier in the summer whilst in the Inverness TK Maxx -

I genuinely asked my mother whilst in there if she thought they would have halloween stuff in. In July. Wishful thinking.
Also for the purpose of organising myself, this roof slate was scavenged from our garage for use as a ready made chalk board for my to do list. In theory, this should remind me to complete the tasks. In theory.

I intend to swap out the string for twine when I next go get craft supplies.
 I was planning on doing more craft projects over August, but something both fabulous and horrible happened; I got a job. This was great, as I earned my keep, but on the other hand the shifts were very unsociable hours and incredibly physically demanding. The time I did get off was spent mostly sleeping, so all time for making various trinkets and whatnot was swallowed up. Having trawled the Everyday Goth's post on goth dorm DIY ideas, I have plans for making a spiderweb rug and cushion, as well as one with a line from my favorite characters in Macbeth, 'something wicked this way comes' (perhaps similar to this?) possibly using potato print. Don't think I'll be able to finish all that in the two days before I leave, but I intend on giving it my best shot.

Of course, my room wouldn't be complete without a little bit of customary clutter to start me off, and for that purpose I got some various gem stone pieces from the Orcadian Stone Shop in Golspie whilst on holiday (above - quartz pendant, stone skulls and selenite tower). My brother was also in Florida this summer, and got me two presents -

He went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and all he got me was this actually quite nice quill pen and a Jack Skellington plushie.
As well as this, I'm asking for a bedside light for my birthday, and perhaps a rug if I don't get around to making one. Although I often strive for minimalism in interiors, as in small spaces such as dorm rooms too much decor can be overwhelming, I aim to make my room look as 'me' as possible.

I plan on posting photos of my room when I have it set up and running (which should be sometime after this next week, I think), so until then!


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Help me decide what to do for Halloween!

Hi guys! Contrary to my usual posts here where I warble about whatever has caught my eye recently, I'm needing some help here. 

You see, like virtually all goths, I love Halloween. As a child I spent the entire month (including my birthday) waiting for it, and did actually scare a few friends with my zealous determination to decorate everything in the house and garden with cobwebs, lights, paper chains and tombstones. I spent hours looking up the most high tec smoke machines and even longer trying to persuade my dad to get them (he wouldn't, but that's not the point). Heading off to uni has not dampened my spooky spirit, and I have a few options for parties to attend, but this year brings an additional problem - I don't know what to wear.

Yup, it's only August. The more sane of you are probably wondering why I can't just wait until the season and think about it then. But last year I had my halloween costume organised in May.

And a damn fine Princess Mononoke I was too.
It's painful to have left organising my halloween costume so late in the year, but I've not really had any flashes of brilliance on deciding what my costume is going to be (well, I have one very neat suggestion, but I'm not certain if it will work yet). Whilst I'm open to the traditional guises, having done witch, vampire and cat in the past, I have no intention of picking up a ready made halloween costume, considering how shoddily they're made, and I'd be keen to try a more original idea.

Ideally, I'd like something a little nerdy, which might require people to ask what/who I am, but outlandish and strange enough that I still feel like I'm dressing up. Coffin Kitsch did an amazing costume of Lucy from Dracula which is exactly the kind of thing I have in mind, but something I didn't steal from someone else would be grand. ;)

So I am forced to ask you, lovely readers - what do I go as for Halloween? I need help FAST.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Outfit Post: Parade Wear

Warning - you guys have probably seen this post before! Blogger somehow managed to delete the original, irritatingly, so I'm redoing it so that it's not lost to the ether.

I blogged a while back about attending the West End Festival Mardi Gras (here) with my mum, which was an amazing day out. Given it was straight after Red and Black week, however, I didn't want to overdose on the outfit posts, and so saved posting this for a while afterward.

Recreated here, as the full length photo from the day didn't turn out well.
Oh man. You guys haven't been subjected to my shorts obsession. Whilst I wear a lot more skirts since I started university, shorts are the one thing I won't give up. You can jump over fences, climb trees, run for the bus... and avoid flashing your knickers (something I'm bad for). I will be buried in a pair of shorts.

This is a slightly dressier (as a result of the poofy hair, the tights and my favourite t shirt) version of my usual shorts and a top combo, and I have actually worn it on nights out once or twice (I think I wore it to a Damned gig last Christmas?) with slightly more elaborate make up. Whilst I love piling on the layers and details with clothes, simplicity tends to be at the heart of most of my outfits.

There's just something about ripped tights.

Top: Gift
Shorts: River Island
Necklaces: gift (ankh) and DIY (choker)
Hair clip: Claire's, in the post Halloween sales
Tights: hand ripped
Boots: Office, in the post Christmas sales

So overall it was a pretty cheap and ethical outfit. :)


P.S. Fortieth post!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

My Blogging Manifesto

You may have noticed this summer, but I have been putting in a fair amount of work into the blog, both in terms of optimizing the layout, improving readability, putting in new pages, increasing the number of methods by which you can follow, and in improving the content (I bloody well hope you've noticed, anyway, given the amount of work it was). I think it's really paid off - as well as gaining new subscribers (speaking of which, hi you guys!), I've felt that my blogging identity has really begun to develop and grow.

With this, I've been thinking what direction I want this blog to go in future; my life continues to be busy, and I will probably not be able to post as often, but I do want to continue updating and providing new - and hopefully interesting - content here, and stick by my values. As a result, I decided to compile my blogging manifesto - a group of values I will stick to through any changes this blog may undergo. I've made a separate page for this now which you can now see in the links bar above, but I figured that it would be welcome posting it here too. Curiously, I was recently contacted about featuring products on this blog after this post was queued up, so apparently the rest of the internet thought it was about time I make my manifesto clear. :P

As a blogger, I will -
  • Attempt to publish unique and engaging content. Whilst this is really up to the reader, I will try never to post anything I feel has been covered elsewhere or isn't up to scratch. 
  • Never use product placement, or promote a brand I don't believe in. Whilst I may start putting ads on here in future (I am scraping by on a student loan currently, and any extra money is appreciated), I do respect people's decision to block them. I may also review products from brands (both products sent to me and that I have purchased myself), but I will never use product placement, advertise without informing you of it or promote something that I don't firmly believe in just because I am getting paid to do it.
  • Never air brush or otherwise 'touch up' photos of myself. Yes, my face is covered with zits. But although I often footer about with photos post production to change filters/crop them and pretend I am a better photographer than I actually am, I will never edit my own image, as I believe culturally this practice creates unattainable beauty standards and encourages insecurities and eating disorders. So I'm afraid you're stuck with my frizzy hair and chunky thighs. ;)
  • Attempt to use trigger warnings where applicable. Whilst I'm still working out a way to make GIFs turn on/off (sorry, epileptics!), I do use trigger warnings for potentially problematic content and often put posts on a difficult subject under the jump with a 'read more'. If you have a specific trigger that you would like me to be aware of, please let me know.
  • Be involved with my readers. I love you guys! It's always great to hear people's opinions on my posts (even if it's 'I think this is terrible piece of plant fertilizer because...'). I love creating a dialogue and getting to know people, and will always try to reply to any comments. You can be alerted to replies to your comments here, by clicking 'Subscribe by email' next to the comment form - blogger does the rest. 

Anyway, now that this public service announcement is over, you can get back to actually reading my posts. :P


P.S. Please tell me if pages/images/text aren't showing up correctly on your browser!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Baby Bats: Finding your way in the subculture

Goth beginners! This is a topic that's been to death, unfortunately - we've all been there once, and quite frankly a lot of us are glad we'll never be back. I, certainly, am glad of that, and arguably I had a lot more support than other newbies did. This wasn't even a topic I'd ever planned on blogging about, but the most recent Gothic Charm School post, where the questioner Krista describes feeling like she's 'lost' and a 'fake' entering goth, made me reconsider this.

Starting out the goth subculture is, I won't lie, bloody difficult; as well as expensive or hard to make clothing, 'the list' of approved bands, the high value placed on looking 110% ooky spooky all the time, trying not to look like you've just entered the subculture, navigating the double standards ('don't wear bondage pants, or you'll look like a mall goth! But of course, wear what you want because goth doesn't have a set of rules or anything.') and arguing about what goth actually is, it's a culture shock. We have our own heritage, our own trends, our own in-jokes and social circles, and entering that completely fresh is difficult.

For most of us who have been comfortably identifying as spooky for some time, this might be difficult to remember, but try and think about it from the newbie's point of view; you've only just started exploring your darker tastes, had a wee look on the internet, and BOOM! You're hit with more information than there are sexist double standards in the US Republican Party. Goth is, as I said, completely separate from the mainstream in a lot of ways, and new goths are expected to learn a lot of information very quickly from complete scratch. Whilst those growing into mainstream culture have the advantage of being aware of trends and music and all that from an early age, newbies don't have that. As the questioner from GCS exemplifies, you feel a bit lost.

Being a baby-bat (not a term I'm particularly fond of, but oh well) is difficult for other reasons; the crippling feelings of inadequacy. A lot of us were drawn to the by the photos of elaborate, perfectly dressed alternative models, such as Emily Pollution or Razor Candi, or by the wealth of atmospheric music. But this comes as a double edged sword - there's no way you can listen to all that music history, or build up that kind of wardrobe, dress sense or make up application skill so quickly (particularly when young goths can't buy clothes online, or when we harp on about thrifting or learning to sew so much, which - though great! - does take a lot of time). And what about those who don't fit the modelesque mold? We've already established that fatphobia and idolization of pale skin and western features are problems in the subculture, but even littlethings like not being able to have body modifications because of school can make a new goth feel inferior. As a result of all this, newbies often feel like they won't ever be a 'real' goth and get disheartened.

I started identifying as goth pretty late (comparatively, anyway) in life, just before I started uni, and I struggled with all these things; it took me time to relearn what worked in an outfit and that it was okay to still have a wardrobe in transition. I was worried about not wearing Wave Gotik Treffen-worthy attire 24/7, and only having listened to a narrow selection of gothic rock bands. I struggled with having brown hair in a subculture that values unnatural colours, and because as the only goth in my social circle, I didn't have anyone to look to for advice or to relate to on spooky matters.

I still feel a bit overwhelmed at the amount of goth music out there; it's like staring into a never ending black hole sometimes. I still have moments of 'damn, I wish I'd worn something better today!' when I see another spooky type. But for the most part, I'm comfortable with where I stand. I probably dress non-goth as much as I do goth, but I don't feel guilty for doing so. My friends, though they may roll my eyes when I start regaling them about the interpersonal relationships between the major gothic rock bands whilst drunk (sorry Ben), but I know that regardless of their lack of interest in spooky things they care about me and support me. I may not fit the uber goth image I had when starting out, but I'm sure as hell happy with where I am.

Mysterious black clad femme fatale? Well, no. Delighted at redisovering snap chat on a study break? Absolutely.
Writing this has made me consider making my own advice for baby bats, but I also don't want to contribute to the problem of ALL THE INFORMATION FLUNG AT YOU, so I'm torn. Until I decide what to do about that, I do have this to say -

  1. Goth can be confusing. Don't try and learn everything, and don't act knowledgeable if you aren't. 
  2. Don't listen to all the 'don't do this horrible mall goth thing' tidbits. If you want to wear crow make up, you go wild. (Just know that some people might turn their noses up.)
  3. You don't have to dress to the nines every day; it takes time to build up a goth wardrobe. It's okay that you don't look like Patricia Morrison just yet
  4. There is no holy group of essential goth musicians; there's a lot of bands and artists which kick started the movement and many other famous ones, but don't worry if you only listen to them, dislike then and listen other goth genres entirely or are only here for the fashion.
  5. Just do what you enjoy! Fuck trying to fit yourself into a box, and take all the time you need to work out what you want to do.

It takes time to become comfortable in your skin, and we need to remember this when we start trying to lecture at baby bats.


P.S. I don't believe this post showed up in update feeds, so this is a repost! Apologies if you've seen it before.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Music: I'm the Wild One

Don't mind me; I've just been listening to a lot of Suzi Quatro recently. ;)

The importance of Quatro in rock music cannot be overstated - she was the first female bass player to become a popular artist, and she opened the door to many more like her, including Joan Jett (who was heavily inspired by Quatro), Chrissie Hynde and many more. She is the spiritual grandmother of the Riot Grrl movement, and I could not love her more.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Punk's not dead - it just smells a bit: The Damned, Glasgow 2013

WARNING - This post features bad outfit photos and even worse camera phone stage photos, and goes into minute detail about and features some major fangasming over a fairly short gig by some aging punk rockers who now all have grey hair and beer bellies. Proceed at your own risk. ;)

Oh my god, you guys. Whilst most of you won't be aware of this, given most of my warbling was on facebook, but I went to see the Damned at the 02 ABC last night, and it was amaaaaaaazinggggg.

This is a slight deviation from my posting schedule, but I will probably start annoying people if I post anymore about it on the book of faces or gabble about it to my family, so where else to sigh about it than my blog?

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wardrobe Feature: Vintage Skirt

It's wardrobe feature time! Since I did a piece of jewellery very dear to me last time around, I figured this time around I should do some clothing.

This skirt is, probably, my all time favourite. I picked it up several years ago in Armstrong's in Edinburgh (From the label I'm guessing it's not true vintage, but it's certainly second hand), and whilst I was initially dubious about whether it would be worth the £15 investment, but it definitely was.

Look at the beautiful fabric!
It's fantastically versatile, and the real work horse of my wardrobe - I wear it for work, when I'm feeling old school goth (as here), inspired by 'hippie goth' (what is the correct term for that?), or with a petticoat underneath. I'm hopeful that it would look good with an underbust corset, should I ever save up enough for one.

One of the most useful things about it is how I can wear it down, as above...

... Or wear it up with a belt. Definitely one of my best purchases. :)

Just out the shower, and enjoying herself far too much taking photos.
I'm always worried that these posts are a little narcissistic, like I'm boasting about my wardrobe, so I'm opening up the floor; do you have a favourite vintage or charity shop purchase, or is there one item of clothing that you've really got some use out of?