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!