Monday, 22 October 2012

Winning! Manchester Vintage Awards 2012.

I won!!! Thanks so much to all of you who nominated and voted for me. I'm now officially Manchester's Best Vintage-Inspired Designer, for this year anyway! I was also nominated in the Best Vintage Blogger category, but that honour went to the very deserving Dormouse and the Teapot, who blog in a far more professional manner than I, about lovely vintage events, recipes and other delightful things, rather than the filthy self-indulgent claptrap you'll find on here.

Here's what I wore: Tiki sarong dress and fascinator by Kalandra Jane Designs, Pleather Jacket by Motel, red hair lily by Dolly Cool, my favourite vintage necklace from Paul, badge by Graveyard Johnnys because we are the Poon Club, vintage bakelite bangles from etsy, and pinstriped bangle by Kool Kat Art.

Organised by the lovely Susie from Vintage Manchester, the glamourous awards ceremony took place on Wednesday 17th October at Matt & Phred's Jazz Club in Manchester's Northern Quarter. We were greeted by the rather delicious Pin-Ups in Pinnies and their equally delicious mini boozy cupcakes, including some amazing tiny vegan mint chocolate ones with glitter, squee!

Here I am with fellow nominee (and, as far as I'm concerned, the designer with whom I should be sharing the award) Maria from Kitty O'Hara's Corsetry, about to devour what was probably my fourth or fifth mini cake of the night!

The awards were hosted by my darling friend and singing coach Kiki DeVille, who treated us to some songs, including an amazingly operatic rendition of 'The Girl in 14G' - look it up! She's the gorgeous femme fatale in front of me in this photo of some of the winners by Jenny Martin Photography, I have no idea why I'm pouting like that! Excessive intake of rum and cake, possibly.

I was so shocked to win, especially seeing as I was up against Limb, who while based locally, are a large, nationally distributed dress company, whereas Maria and I are both sole traders working from our homes.

After gracelessly flailing my way onto the stage and nervously mumbling through the world's most garbled and incomprehensible impromptu thank-you speech, I decided it was time to get even more garbled and incomprehensible by partaking of the official tipple of the evening, Old J Spiced Rum. Blended in Manchester, this stuff tastes exactly like Sailor Jerry did before they messed with the recipe and ruined it - so if you miss your old sailor buddy, this newly-launched rum is the booze for you!

Following the presentations, a gorgeous performance by Suzie Sequin as Marilyn Monroe, and some schmoozing, myself and fellow award-winners Bethany Davies (Best Vintage Beauty), Matt & Annabel AKA Vintage 78 DJs (Best Vintage DJs), Fiona of Rose & Lee Vintage Living (Best Vintage Homeware), and a few others all headed off to the local tiki bar for celebratory cocktails! As you can see from the picture above, we probably didn't need them, but there was much celebrating to be done!

Annabel is wearing a dress, bolero and hat all made by me. Keep an eye out for more details on the launch of the Kalandra Jane Designs made-to-measure clothing range, coming soon!

Here's me in my natural inebriated state, knockers askew, posing in front of the mirror with my glorious little glass trophy at 4am. I had a fabulous night out and am so proud to have been given an award for my work. I never expected such recognition from customers, friends, fans, and blog readers when I started my little millinery venture.

So, thank you to every single one of you, I sincerely appreciate every single word of support I've ever been given, all the models, photographers, promoters and businesses that have generously helped me along with cross-promotion, and every person who has ever bought a hat from me, facilitating my dream of being an impoverished yet decadent artiste rather than getting a real job. (That's a hell of a lot more coherent than my acceptance speech was, and this time I'm not turning bright red, or knocking over the award and almost breaking it because I'm shaking from shock!)

Friday, 19 October 2012

I dyed my hair a ridiculous colour!

I did this a few weeks ago, and some of you may already have seen it if you follow me on Instagram or facebook, but here it is; I dyed my hair yellow! I'd been blonde for five years and fancied a change, and wanted something a bit unusual colour-wise.

This was my first effort, I mixed Directions Bright Daffodil with half a tub of Manic Panic Electric Banana which I had lying around.

I underestimated the ultraviolet power of the Manic Panic! So it looked quite greenish and glowed under UV light. I'm not opposed to green, it's my favourite colour and I had green hair for years, hence my eyebrows, but it wasn't the colour I was going for really. 

The colour washed out as soon as I went swimming, meaning I'm going to have to dye it weekly, every time I swim! But this was the second attempt at the yellow, this time without the UV dye in it. I just used Directions Bright Daffodil and mixed in a tiny bit of orange to make it more of a sunshine yellow.

Also with giant pink glitter lips, fruity necklace, and huge hair flower, which made Paul say it was 'like going out with a drag queen'. Thanks for that, lover. Not that I care, I bloody love a good drag queen.

And again, wearing the aeroplanes dress I made, and my necklace from the estate of Lana Turner (to the wedding of the gorgeous lady who gave it to me!) In all these pictures I've also aded a tiny line of yellow to my eyebrows and the inner corners of my eyes, to make the hair colour tie in more with my face.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

What I did on my Summer Holidays: Kustom Kulture Blastoff!

Brought to you via the lazy magic of Instagram pictures. I use Instagram pretty much every day now as my phone camera is a lot more reliable than my actual camera which eats batteries and doesn't like picking up bright colours. If you're on Instagram, follow me: @kalandrajane

A few weeks ago Clare, Bethany and I packed up our little stalls and headed off to the arse end of nowhere (a.k.a. Spalding, Lincolnshire) for the 3rd Kustom Kulture Blastoff.

I managed to put up my 'vintage' (ahem hem) bright orange boyscout tent in what was possibly record time before it started raining. We lived in our tents for the weekend, and I didn't always look this well put together! Thank you Clare for waking me up with a delicious brew each day and putting up with my terrible morning moods (ie. grumpy hangovers)!

I didn't sell that much, and it was all a bit quieter than expected really. I spent most of my profits on feeding myself over the weekend, and on a couple of treats. I got a new wallet from Hot Rockin' Belle (who will soon be stocking my hats!) to replace my decrepit Bettie Page one, and a very reasonably priced new bangle from Kool Kat pinstriping, I also got a super cool hip flask from him but I forgot to photograph it.

It was dark and freezing at night in our tents, and the organisers wanted to charge the traders extra to get into the evening entertainment, so we spent most of our time gossiping over jugs of sickly cocktails at Frankie and Benny's, which was the only eating establishment within walking distance.

We got free cocktails at the bar because the new barman didn't know what he was doing! Hurrahs!

Helium was sucked from balloons! (Especially hilarious when you are full of terrible gin cocktails).

Ice cream sundaes were eaten sexily!

Upon returning from the restaurant we snuggled down for girly wine time in my tent, but not before wandering into a Si Cranstoun performance which was full of dodgy old blokes who had just come for the evening gig, jiving to music so clean and sanitised it made me want to punch someone in the face then smear my body with their spurting nose blood just to dirty myself back up a bit.

The fantastic Vince Ray and the Boneshakers had been booked and would have saved our starving musical souls, but they sadly had to pull out at short notice. Needless to say, we were unimpressed by the "rockin'" Michael Bublé soundalike, and I think that considering it's supposed to be a Kustom Kulture event, they should look into booking some acts and having some DJs that play something with a bit of an edge. The daytime event was full of tattooed hot rodders, vintage lovers and psychobillies, all of whom ended up in the pub with us both nights because the evening entertainment was, shall we say, not their cup of tea.

Anyway! Beth and I wandered out on the Sunday for a bit of ridiculous car show posing, as is traditional at these events. I made the top and lime green leopard capris, unfortunately I was feeling pretty bloated and grim this day, hence my slouchy, rotund appearance.

Finally it was time to leave, so Clare and I trundled off through the cabbage fields and into the sunset. On our way home we stopped in at the OK Diner at Carlton on the A1, and were really glad we did!

O, shining beacon of delight!

Clare had a lovely veggie burrito with Mexican rice!

I had a spicy beanburger with curly fries and guacamole! Our waitress was an absolute star, running back and forth getting me ingredients lists and checking things were vegan for me. It was a lovely surprise to be able to actually get a decent vegan meal at a roadside restaurant, I just wish there was an OK Diner closer to where I live!

I also got an amazing pink double hair lily, which Paul says makes me look like Jodrell Bank. All in all I had a really good weekend, despite not having made huge profits and having been forced to listen to the Big Bopper over and over again until I wanted to stab myself in the ears, I loved spending time with two of my favourite ladies, making some new contacts and getting to gab over cocktails!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Another Ukulele Video! Ring of Fire

Now that I've gotten over my initial fear of looking stupid on the internet (I do it every day in real life, why should it be any different online?), I'm comfortable enough to start posting my progress with playing the ukulele on here.

I've moved on a bit from my first video, this one shows a bit more technique when it comes to strumming, and I'm hoping to lean to regulate my breathing better and project my voice more. I'm having singing lessons from my gorgeous friend, star of stage and screen Kiki DeVille, and slowly I'm gaining more confidence and technique, but obviously I have a very long way to go!

This is from a week or two ago anyway, since then I've been working more on developing my strumming rhythms (ooh err, missus), so the next video I make should be better. I'm pleased with my progress anyway, and soon I will be getting a brand new fancy banjolele!

Come to me, my pretty...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

New Tattoo!

A few weeks ago I travelled to Birmingham on a sweaty coach to pay a visit to award-winning tattoo studio Modern Body Art and to my good friend, the gorgeous and talented Rachel Jamie Baldwin. There I spent about five hours under the needle, getting inked with this amazing pirate lobster!

I've been slow to heal with this one as I've been run ragged over the past month and not looking after myself as well as I should have been, but despite a tiny bit of dryness Captain Squeezy is now fully healed and looking amazing, I love him! I allowed Rachel free reign over the design, having known her so long and always adored her work. It was drawn to match the colours and nautical theme of the Octopus Tattoo she did on me while she was an apprentice in Manchester.

By the way, that weird pink triangle was a blister I got from stupidly wearing new shoes a couple of days before I was due to be tattooed, thankfully it's now completely disappeared.

Tragically, Rachel lost her mum to cancer a few months ago, and ever since she has been working tirelessly to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. She's holding a tattooing for charity event on the 19th January, with some absolutely top-notch artists taking part, so if you are in the Birmingham area or fancy travelling to support a good cause and have an amazing piece of high-quality tattoo work done, please check out the facebook event.

You can see more of Rachel's beautiful tattoos on her facebook page and tumblr, you can also buy gorgeous limited edition prints of her paintings in her etsy shop.

What I did on my Summer Holidays - Rebellion Punk Festival

So it seems that once again, I have fallen victim to that old devil, blog neglect! So here's the first in a series of recap posts of some of the fun stuff I did over the last couple of months! I'm going to write a few now then release them over this week to ease me back into regular writing.

During the first week of August we went off to Blackpool for Rebellion Festival! This is our Summer holiday every year, as unlike me, Aerospace Boyfriend doesn't get much time off to go to gigs during term time, so for him it's one big catch up.

Outfit, Day 1! I made the fascinator, necklace, bracelet and capri pants! This was my first foray into trouser-making and I have to say, I have no idea why I was always so nervous of it. They're easy! I bought a really basic capris pattern and have adjusted it to my measurements, it's proving invaluable. The pattern is Butterick 5614 and despite the mumsy-looking envelope photos, this is the perfect pattern for vintage-styled bad girl capris! The shoes are by Melissa and are so ridiculously comfortable and flexible that I can now wear heels for an entire festival.

Much horseplay was had by Areospace Boyfriend and our darling friends, possibly encouraged by the excessive consumption of Guinness and cider...

One of the absolute highlights of the festival for me was The Hillbilly Moon Explosion, they're one of my favourite bands at the moment and absolutely amazing live. Emanuela's coy stage presence and sweet, jazzy voice coupled with Oliver's rock 'n' roll showboating and the band's all-round passion made for a fantastic show, their songs are like beautiful lullabies interspersed with butt-shaking badass rockabilly rhythms and definitely worth checking out!

On the Friday night we saw King Kurt! These boys never fail to put on a great show! Thankfully the eggs, Marmite, jam etc. that their performances are notorious for were left at home, and the only antiquing we received was a light sprinkling of flour from a jubilant audience member. Some filthy comments from singer and reknowned pervert Smeggy even managed to get psychobilly-shunning Aerospace Boyfriend giggling and enjoying the scene's messiest stalwarts and we both had a great time.

Outfit, day 2: jeans, top and jacket all modified by me in various ways over the years, chopped up/dyed/embellished etc! The big mirror in the hallway of our hotel was perfect for taking ridiculously vain pictures of myself posing before we set out each day to watch the bands. I had pictures of days 3 and 4 but I appear to have lost them in a haze of whiskey and disorganisation.

The big headliners of the festival were Rancid and Social Distortion... I've loved both these bands for years, especially Rancid, but frankly the less said about them the better. I don't know whether the sound engineers were incompetent or whether it's just impossible to get a good result from hundreds of decibels bouncing around an arched, high-ceilinged, tunnel-shaped Victorian Ballroom covered in twiddly Rococo bits, but the sound in there was so bad that I could barely distinguish some of my favourite songs until they were almost over, which was really disappointing.

On a much more positive note, for me a huge highlight of the festival was having some brilliant aftershow gigs to go to, presented by Misery of Sound. Organiser Andy worked really hard to put some brilliant psychobilly and horrorpunk bands on and did really well! I missed the first one featuring Vince Ray and the Boneshakers, but the next two with Th'Loveless Bastards (featuring members of Mad Sin and The Hyperjax, keep an ear out for them!),  Luna Vegas and Graveyard Johnnys were absolutely storming, hence there aren't many pictures from these nights because everyone was either too drunk or too busy having fun!

I'll get moaned at for this by Aerospace Boyfriend who does not appreciate me taking a little of my love and giving it to other boys, but you need to watch this... my darling Welsh friends and favourite little rockstars, the Graveyard Johnnys:

If you're in Europe they'll soon be on tour, keep an eye on their facebook page, go and support them because they're lovely boys!

I also made two amazing new friends from Sweden and Holland Respectively, Marie-Louise and Ivo! These guys made my weekend and I hope to see them at the festival again next year, maybe sooner!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Please vote for me in the Vintage Awards - LAST DAY!

I've been nominated as a finalist in the Vintage Manchester Awards! You don't need to be from the area to vote and no registration is needed, so please, please go and vote for me in the 'Best Vintage Inpired Designer' and 'Best Vintage Blog' categories! I really appreciate all the support my blog readers and Kalandra Jane Designs customers have given me since I started my little venture!

Vote here:

If you fancy you could also vote for my friends Bethany Jane Davies, Vintage Twists, Rose and Lee Vintage Living, Carnival Divine burlesque,Vintage 78 DJs, or Mikey Wong, they've all been supporters of my business over the last couple of years and are all very deserving of recognition!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

In which I embarass myself by singing in front of you all.

Well, this has received a reasonable reaction on my facebook, so I may as well show it to my lovely followers too. Just for god's sake nobody upload it to youtube, and don't watch it if you're a musician.

I have really wanted a banjolele for ages, but they're very expensive and the only one in the family is an heirloom on Paul's side so is going nowhere. My stepdad runs a music shop so I can get a banjolele, but figured I should learn on something cheap before spending a lot of money on an instrument - I have a tendency to pick things up and make a good start, then abandon them.

So I bought the cheapest ukulele possible, and taught myself to play six chords on it in two hours this evening. My fingers hurt. I've also never sung in my life, not even in front of my boyfriend of four-and-a-half years, so I'm jumping in at the deep end here. Hopefully I'll get better at both singing and playing over the next few months.

Enough stalling anyway... here you go, Astro Zombies by The Misfits.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Summer Updates!

Hello my darlings. It seems it's been a month since I last wrote a blog post - this is because I have spent the entire time either working or being drunk at festivals! I'm utterly exhausted.

I'll write a different post every day about all the stuff I've been doing, there's so much to cover. I'll start over a month ago, when Clare (from whom I have stolen a couple of these pictures) and I did a stall at the Bolton Tattoo Bazaar (they also run the Manchester Tattoo Tea party).

Here's our stall! I was just helping really so had a space for my hats on the end.

I saw my gorgeous friend Kitten! I'm wearing a dress I made and a lovely flower by Dolly Cool.

One of my hats graced the cover of Tattoo Revolution Magazine, on the beautiful head of my good friend Rachel Baldwin. She's pictured in her wedding gown, and the hat I made for her Las Vegas wedding! She married fellow amazing Tattooist Nick Baldwin, and their gorgeous work along with pictures of the ceremony were featured in the magazine. I'm so proud of her, she's been through a lot recently but shows such strength and puts so much love into her art. I'm also wearing new glasses! You can't see how beautifully green they are here, I'll get a better picture of them in all their Dame Edna glory.

I got new business cards! With my face on, because I'm vain, and my Twitter, facebook and blogspot address because I'm trying not to be such a huge technophobe. Please follow me!

I bought new eyeball colours for my Psychobilly Mini Top Hats! Also a marvellous Hillbilly Moon Explosion vinyl EP, but more about them in a post later this week!

That'll do for today, I need to ease myself back into blogging after such a long break! Coming up during the rest of this week: great bands you should know and love, fun at festivals, lots of pictures of me looking ridiculous and/or drunk, amazing leopard print capri pants sewing, vintage knitting, Aerospace Boyfriend's graduation!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

New Hair and Th'Legendary Shack Shakers!

I finally got a haircut! It only took me a year and three months. I went to my friend Bethany Davies, vintage make up and hair artist extraordinaire, who runs mobile beauty services, pop-up salons and has a gorgeous little salon in her home too. Here I am ready for Th'Legendary Shack Shakers / Dirt Daubers gig on Sunday.

Here's what I wore - my tiki dress and bolero, which I made a couple of months ago after planning it for over a year. It's already a bit too big for me, bah! (But also yay for bodily shrinkage!)

I don't know what that blur is on my mirror, it's been there forever, I can't tell whether it's hairspray which I've managed to miss while cleaning (OK, so I don't clean often), or whether the silvering is starting to deteriorate, it's a pretty old mirror. Also I really need to get a backdrop or something, I'm sure you're all sick of seeing the craphole that is my bedroom.

Even though I saw them a couple of months ago in Liverpool, I just had to go to see Th'Legendary Shack Shakers again, they never fail to put on a great show.

Supporting were the Dirt Daubers, the rather more traditional side project from Shack Shakers singer, raconteur, lowbrow artist and all round mountain music impresario Col. JD Wilkes, his wife Jessica and bassist Mark Robertson. I particularly liked their rendition of the old Appalachian murder ballad Down in the Willow Garden, and of course I can never resist a band with a banjo and a washboard.

They also had girls' t-shirts in different sizes! I almost burst with joy, despite them not having any vinyl records. It really annoys me how on the rare occasion that bands produce ladies' t-shirts, they are almost always 'one size', and that size is TINY. The lovely Shack Shakers had three ladies' designs from s-xl, so I bought two. Admittedly they had run out of xl in one of them, obviously because it is super cool and everybody wants one, so here I am after wriggling into a slightly scandalous large.

Here I am with my darling friend Natalie outside the venue, it was all finished and we were out by 10.45pm! We are old ladies, evidently. Best dressed old ladies in the nursing home, though.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Creepy Crab Lamp!

My boyfriend's grandparents have recently moved, and from the clearout they have given us a few pieces. There's a wardrobe and small dressing table for when we move house in a few months, and this lamp!

It's a 1960s piece and has a load of marine detritus set in lucite - it's really hefty, it'd be the perfect weapon should I ever be the victim of home invaders. Apparently it used to terrify my boyfriend as a child. Well, despite it not being very vegan, it has now found a loving home with me! I love my creepy crabs, forever sealed in plastic as they eat their dinner of seaweed. My own grandparents had a paperweight the same, it now lives in my dad's bathroom. How I wish the little crablings could meet!

I added the shade, it's a vintage spun fibreglass one which cost me £3 for a pair from a vintage rummage sale, its partner is on the mid-century geisha lamp which I restored, you can see her peeping out at the back.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Sewing - finished aeroplanes halter dress!

Today I finished this dress. It's for Paul's graduation next week, he is being awarded his masters degree in Aerospace Engineering, so I thought I would make an appropriate outfit!

This is just a sneaky peek, there will also be a bolero, hat and shoes for you to see, which I will post pictures of after the occasion. The pattern was modified from the ScissorHappy Sarong Dress, but frankly it's nothing like the original now - I added the circle skirt instead of a sarong skirt, the halter strap is of my own design, and I also worked out how to create petal busts, all on my own! Squee! The fabric is a soft twill, American Folk Fabrics 'Flying High' from 1995 which I scored on etsy.

Here's a glimpse of another one I did with a petal bust, my squid dress! Which is now known as the dangerous squid dress, due to its effect on certain males last weekend. I've used this pattern so much since I bought it, and taught myself how to make lots of modifications, I'm now on my fifth creation from it! Who knew boning and petal busts were so easy?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Finally venturing out of the techno-closet.

So, after much cajoling by other small business owners and bloggers, I have joined twitter. You can find me under @KalandraJane.

By Moma via DVice

I am going to attempt to keep this thing semi-professional as the purpose of it is to gain wider exposure for my business, but I expect that all sorts of things will make it onto there depending on my productivity/creativity/unbridled rage levels. I will of course still be posting here, and will tweet about new blog entries.

Come and see me!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Afternoon tea! Bistro 1847, Manchester

Last week I was invited for afternoon tea by the lovely Susan of Old Fashioned Susie and the Vintage Manchester blog. It was a balmy day, and it was lovely to retreat to the cool and calm atmosphere of Bistro 1847, Manchester city centre's vegetarian restaurant. I love this place so had high expectations - I went for their Christmas menu, again for my birthday, and for Valentine's too!

We had the vegan option for our afternoon tea, as I am vegan and Susan avoids dairy. A vegetarian option is also available, which comes with clotted cream for the scones and different sandwich fillings. The meal was lovely! Here is Susan with the spread, we were provided with a refreshing glass of Pimms each, a large pot of tea, and an array of tempting sandwiches, cakes and scones.

The sandwiches were served on a light rustic ciabatta style bread, and consisted of pesto with tomato, avocado with olive salsa, and a scrumptious paté which I think was white bean with sundried tomato. Cakes included a sticky marmalade cake, tart rhubarb cake, some little pastries which were a bit like palmiers, and a tasty walnut confection. The scones were light and served with a raspberry preserve absolutely bursting with flavour.

Here I am about to devour the last sandwich - luckily the one where I had it halfway into my mouth, chewing away like a beast, was deleted.

I loved this afternoon tea, it made me feel very fancy indeed! Hopefully I'll be able to go again soon for a special treat. Thank you Sue! xxx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Date night outfit, and I really need a haircut!

On Thursday we went out for the evening, for dinner then a film. We went to Dough which I cannot recommend highly enough; their modern twist on Italian fare is fantastic, with unusual but delicious pizza toppings a speciality. They also do vegan and gluten free options, and vegan desserts!

I had a gorgeous garlic portobello mushroom with vegan Worcestershire sauce and rocket, the veg deluxe pizza, and a vegan pear and chocolate torte for dessert. Paul had the antipasti followed by goat's cheese salad with beetroot and smoked salmon.

I wore my yellow skirt again, it's basically been the basis of my wardrobe since I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

With my cardigan and bag - cardigan is Collectif, bag is Lux De Ville, both from Rockers.

A quick hairstyle was needed, so I used hot rollers. I liked the bouncy curls, and my fringe came out EXCELLENT, for once! This is how ridiculously long my hair is now though, I haven't had it cut since last April. My local hairdresser went out of business last month after sixty-odd years in the same shop - the chap who cut my hair had been there since the seventies, and his teacher for years before that - I feel partially responsible, for not giving them my business often enough and instead making do with stupid long ratty hair.

This is what it looked like after about six hours, with only mild exposure to damp air. Terrible. I have booked in with the gorgeous Bethany Davies of The Vintage Beauty Parlour on Thursday for a cut, she did my hair in a Betty Grable inspired style for my boyfriend's award presentation here, so I have no doubt it'll be amazing!