I'm Kristen and I'm living in Crawley, Sussex (hoping to return to my beloved Brighton 'n' Hove when my ME/CFS allows). I drink a lot of tea, ride a lot of buses, go in a lot of charity shops, draw, sew and knit (and attempt to crochet), take a lot of photos, spend a lot of time sleeping, read a lot of history books and follow Jesus Christ. <3
Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
This is a favourite old photograph I got out to make a copy of, to give my cousin David for his 30th birthday. He's only three months older than me, so there are many, many photos of ous together - he blonde, photogenic, cheerful, and I with my dark hair, scowling at him or the camera. This one was taken in Nanna's hallway in about 1978. The house was a bungalow, that's the bathroom behind Dave, and the loo behind me. I love the photo because I'm very fond of Dave, and I like the three patterns in it - his jumper, the very '70s wallpaper and my security blanket.
I sucked my thumb till I was about 12 (only at night time in later years of course), which accounts for my poky-out top front teeth and pushed-in bottom front teeth. That cot quilt I'm holding was my 'byebyes' (never tried spelling it before), which was what Mum's pupils bought for her when she left teaching to have me. I used to hold it in one hand whilst sucking my thumb, and ram the other arm into the kapok inside the quilt, through a hole which had appeared in the seam. When I was five my parents tried to persuade me to swap it for a hanky, which I refused. When I was six I finally gave it up in return for a cuddly puppy toy from Woolies. I miss my byebyes...
I feel so good today and I can't work out why. I really hope it lasts! I have this tingling feeling of antici... pation, but I can't put my finger on what it's about. I really think I'm just high on the weather today. I think it's the air - ever so slightly cold and crisp, intoxicating, a pleasure to breathe. And it's brilliantly sunny. The sky is bright blue today, and cloudless. I got to wander about for an hour this morning before work, doing errands, and I didn't want to go indoors.
And my kneesocks. I'm wearing my psychedelic kneesocks today under a long denim skirt. They're totally unflattering, especially with my pink Kickers - I have nice ankles and this ensemble makes them look clumpy. Still, I feel good! Possibly so good that today I felt like defying the unsexiness of the kneesocks/Kickers combo and just going for it. And the wool I bought. I love the teal colour which has just come in for autumn - it's dark turquoise really, isn't it? I found some teal wool in a charity shop, only one ball sadly but it's lovely - bouclé shot through with a fine copper fibre. I'm going to knit a stripy scarf with that, taking the other colours from my new winter bag, so it matches - turquoise, lime green, black, peppermint cream. Got a gorgeous soft lime green from the wool/sewing shop by Waitrose on Western Road - it's not often you find a lovely lime green which isn't almost fluorescent).
The bag is really a summer bag - another Ollie & Nic sale bargain (£58 down to £30) but it's my winter bag because it's entirely waterproof so will survive when I'm standing at a bus stop in the pouring rain, and it's huge (I think it's meant to be an overnight bag!) so has plenty of room for hat, scarf, gloves, college stuff, work stuff and bit of shopping. I'm considering experimenting with something I've never tried before - brown (no, not as in Golden Brown...). Deep, chocolate brown. I've always been very anti, mainly to do with my hair being dark brown (and the possibility of it being the top of the slippery slope to beige). But lately I'm coming round to the idea of using it as a neutral, against hot pink or turquoise.
So I bought a ball of brown wool and might work some into the scarf, to test drive the colour. Then I'll go shopping for some dark brown trousers, I think. And I need to seriously apply myself to getting some new boots. I only have one pair but they're three years old now and in a downpour I get sopping wet feet. Oh dear, that'll be £70 at least... when am I ever going to have money in my savings account? Better get on and try and sell some bags...
So, I finally finished Rae's bag! She went to New York and bought a jumper, then brought it home to the UK and put it in the washing machine when it was dry-clean only, reducing it to felt. She was so upset. So it's a bag now, with french knitting roses and padded leaves cut from scraps of the main fabric (and an 'I heart NY' charm on a chain round one handle). I was a bit worried the decoration was too full-on for her, but she assures me she's thrilled with it.
After I gave it to her, we were browsing in a trendy baby boutique and she was deliberately wafting the bag in the direction of the shop owner. She noticed the bag and asked if I'd do them a batch of bags on sale or return! Damn, but Rachel's good - I may have to keep her on as my agent...
But it was Julie Cockburn's stuff which really make me catch my breath. This woman HAS to be a Tom Philips fan - she works with books, and maps and postcards. There was an atlas whose pages she had sculpted into three dimensions, and a great piece of postcard assemblage called Man in Red seeks Women in Yellow - very reminiscent of Phillips' The Quest for Irma. (I'm not criticising here - this is the sort of stuff I'd try to produce if I was a working artist!) Her Butterfly Book is just amazing - I wish I had the £900. More examples of her work HERE.
And finally... flicking through a copy of Crafts, I see that Michael Brennand-Wood has a new exhibition (Field of Centres) on tour! Woo-hoo!
Talking about ambitions has got me thinking... up until recently I've not thought of myself as ambitious - but I think that's because I'm not, if you're talking about being a highflyer careerwise, or backpacking round the world, or leaping out of a plane. But there are things I want to do, or be, or see, or acquire at some point before I die, so I think I'll start writing them down so I don't forget them. Here's one:
Write a kids book Well, not write it but illustrate it. I was being nagged by Uncle Meat about why I haven't gone into illustration for kids (based on Mini Meat's last birthday card, if I remember correctly), and I pointed out that I'd need a story to illustrate for a start and he said, 'Well flippin' write one then, it's dead easy!' and I said, 'Well if it's so flippin' easy you do it and I'll illustrate it!' and he looked sheepish for a second then said, 'OK', and we shook on it, and Mrs Meat smiled enigmatically at the pair of us and went off to magic up a delicious meal for us while we tried to sulk at each other a bit.
Expect a tale of a little girl who, after a series of surreal adventures, ends up winning the Tour de France in record time whilst whistling 'A Message To You Rudy', illustrated with collages of brightly-coloured card and sparkly paper.
This article from the Guardian (and a recent article in Eve about 'Women and their Sheds') has prompted me to put down in writing an ambition of mine which has been tugging at my heart lately - to have my own studio or workspace.
Ceramicist Lubna Chowdhary spent £22,000 on a David Adjaye-designed studio for her garden. Mine doesn't have to be anything more than a dedicated room in my home where all my creative stuff lives. At the moment my desk is in my (cramped, single) bedroom, along with my sewing machine and materials. Crates of fabric fill the nook in the hallway and the top shelf in my wardrobe, and the bottom drawer of my clothes chest houses my staple gun, printing stuff, paints etc. Next to that are two laundry bags full of yarn. The bookcase in the living room has all my reference books and sketchbooks. How great would it be to have them all in one place?!
I've spotted a bright pink computer desk in the IKEA catalogue - I could have my sewing machine on top and store my laptop (the one I'd buy if I had a spare £700) on the keyboard shelf. Not gonna happen. At the moment I'm renting a 2-bed and we need a room each. Should the day ever come when I'm renting a 2-bed with someone I'd be sharing a bedroom with then maybe we could have the other room as a workroom. (Message Plums - something else you'll have to fill him in on at Orientation...)
It would be wonderful to have my bedroom just as a room to sleep, dress and read in. It would be like Nanna's bedroom was - with a little slipper armchair upholstered in pink velvet, an old kidney-shaped dressing table with a tilting mirror and a matching stool, and one of those crystal dressing table sets - bowls, a tray and a pair of candlesticks... mmm.
Pour me somethin' tall and strong
Make it a hurricane before I go insane
It's only half past twelve but I don't care
It's five o'clock somewhere ...'
No, Alan Jackson. Surely it's HALF PAST five o'clock somewhere. In fact, it's half past the hour everywhere, if I understand the international time zones thingmy correctly. Can anyone who knows more about these things put me straight on this? (Catchy song though - bit of a guilty pleasure.)