Second Chance Sunflowers

Panic! at the Disco are one of the few bands that I still love from my teenage years. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out introduced me to "heavy" music. (I know Panic's not heavy, but for a tiny classically trained Jen, it was super heavy) 

I remember when their second album came out. I was super excited for more of their baroque influenced rock/ whatever blend, but was quite disappointed when instead I was presented with the beetles-esque  orchestrated rock. I tried so very hard to like that album, but ultimately I gave up on it after a few months of it not quenching my thirst for their previous vibe. 

I've not listened to Pretty. Odd. since I was 16. It was in my thoughts after the release of the new Panic! at the disco album (which is a little hit and miss in my opinion) My music tastes have matured quite a bit since I was 16, so I decided to give Pretty. Odd another shot. 

I am so very glad I did. It's such a beautiful album. I particularly love the orchestration (although I wish they'd used real flutes/piccolo's/clarinets/oboes instead of synthesised ones).  My favourite track (which was one of my least favourite back in the day) is From a Mountain in the Middle of The Cabins. The details in the orchestration are superb, and are pretty similar to a lot of the music I've been getting into lately (Artists like Punch Brothers, My Brightest Diamond and Joanna Newsom that sit on the line between contemporary music, art music and folk) . 

Pretty. Odd. isn't the only album I revisited recently, and ended up loving all over again. About 4 months ago I started listening to Life in Cartoon Motion by Mika again. I originally liked this album well enough, but got sick of it. Again, I completely understand why. It wasn't the sound I was in love with at the time (and when you've only got 4 gigs of iPod space to work with, stuff gets culled regularly and mercilessly.) 

Something I've been thinking about putting together is a list of what's on my ipod with descriptions of the artists/links so you can hear what they sound like. I've got a rather eclectic collection of music, ranging from super well know peeps to those with less that 300 likes on facebook. So yeah, let me know if you'd be interested in this! 

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard.  

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard.  

Deviating from the music I've been listening to - This is the outfit I wore tuesday. Originally when I put it together, I wasn't intending to have the second skirt underneath the pinafore. When I added the socks to the outfit, it looked unbalanced, so I popped the skirt underneath. It made everything super flouncy, as well as adding much needed colour balance. 

Channeling my inner Bubblegum

I'm pretty ready for summer to be over. I'm sick of the super long days, and the heat, the sweat factor and the harsh sun. When I shot my outfit today it was noon. Because it was noon I had to shoot under cover because guess what!? The sun was pretty much impossible to shoot with. It washed out my dress/ made weird shadows/ put the colours and contrast out of whack. 

That being said, I'm not ready for the bitter cold of winter. I don't dig the short days, or the rain, and I get pretty sick of taking my coat off in too hot rooms/ putting it on when it's freezing outside. I also hate teaching in rooms without a heater. Cold fingers make for sad instrument times. 

I'm looking forward to the inbetween seasons of Autum and Spring (or at least, the few days of true autumn and spring weather we sometimes get during that time if we're lucky) It means I can layer up without feeling too hot, but If I don't want to layer up, I don't have to because it's not devilishly cold either. 

It was probably pretty silly of me to sew (and then wear) a fleece dress in summer, but I fell in love with the colours/texture and how soft this fabric is. (I keep stroking the dress. It's a problem yo) Originally I planned to make this using baby pink faux fur and baby blue velvet, but my local spotlight had neither of those things, which is why I went for the fleece (although, thinking about it now, the fur and velvet would have been just as hot). 

I drafted the bodice from this stretch dress (to save me the trial and error and frustration of drafting from scratch) The sleeves were pretty simple, and the skirt portion is just a 1/2 circle skirt. Even though the fabric has some stretch in it, I still had to install a zipper (the stretch wasn't enough for mo to be able to slip in and out) 

I thought I'd finish off with something a little be frivolous. I'm a bit of a nosy parker, and a lover of the "what's in my bag" blog/vlog. You can tell a lot about a person based on what they keep in their bag. What I've shown here is pretty much everything I have on a daily basis. Sometimes there's more, and sometimes there's less, but I'd say this is my bag sitch about 80% of the time. Left to right: Top to bottom: Current bag of choice (a pink satchel I picked up from the op shop for $7) Business cards for The Button Collective, Vanishing Shapes and The New Empire Ballroom Ragtime Dance Orchestra. Kindle. Yarn Yoshi Amibo (given to me by a close friend - I think of her every time I see it). Swiss Army Knife. Misc Perfume (Apple pie, orange chocolate and banana. They're all made by independent perfumers, although they may not make those scents anymore)  Charger and Wall plug. Glasses Cloth. Instant Hand Sanitiser. Burts Bees lip balm. Wallet. 2016 Diary. Phone (Huawei G8)  Pen. Ipod Classic 120gb. Mirror Book Pro. Emergency clothing repair kit. Stickers for students. Deodorant. Misc lipstick (because what's a handbag without random lip products) 

Lost forever

I just lost hours of work because Squarespace doesn't have auto save, or brower based backups, both things wordpress had (which I relied on greatly) 

I can't retype it either. I was going to talk about a really serious issue, but I used up all of my mental energy typing it up the first time, I doubt I'll be able to make it as comprehensive or as meaningful again this evening. 

I'm definitely going to revisit it again, but not tonight. Instead I'm just going to post the images that I intended to post, and talk frivolously about my outfit, because I do not want to half arse this post. 

A little over a week ago I made a new flower belt, which I wore on the Sunday after the wedding. 

On it's first trip out into the wilderness I decided to style it using clothes that share colours with the belt (the green pink and peach on my skirt, shirt and shoes are all present in the roses) The belt is quite bulky, which is why I paired it with a flouncy skirt ( I used the leftover flowers in an outfit with the pine cone pants I made. While this belt works colour wise, the bulk looks odd with a straighter silhouette) 

The clothes I've paired the belt with are quite a neutral texture to balance the colours I've used and the texturally interest of the belt. 

In Summary: If you use squarespace, learn from my mistakes. Save your work! (because manual save is the only save) If you don't, your writing could be lost forever. 

Down the Garden Path

I've been doing a lot of living offline recently because of gigs and festivals. Every time I come home, I have a few days before I have to leave again. (This has actually been my life all of January) 

The craziness started Thursday evening with a gig at the Gaelic Club. Button Collective opened for the East Pointers (who are a crazy good Folk/Celtic Trio from Canada) From there, we proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend at Bulli for the Illawarra Folk Festival. 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Home Made, Skorts: Home Made, Tights: Ebay, Boots: Dr Martens 

I adore Folk Festivals. There's such a special vibe surrounding them, probably because most people who attend also play music. Unlike commercial festivals, there's virtually no separation between artists and patrons, which makes everything feel super intimate and community oriented.

Illawarra was such a great festival. I met so many cool people, saw so much brilliant music, had so many great Jams, played some great gigs with Button Collective, and played some unexpected gigs with Rebecca Bastoli (Who is not only a lovely person, but a great songwriter. I had so much fun playing with her and her band) and Scarlete's Revenge (They had unexpected lineup troubles, so I had a jam with them to cover some parts they were missing). 

Usually after a festival I spend the next few days recovering and feeling sad that I'm not still there playing all the gigs and jamming all the time. I had none of that as Monday and Tuesday I was occupied with Flutation, which is an Annual Flute Summer School run by Rosalie Bourne and Vanessa Ropa. 

I was lucky enough to be put in a smallish ensemble of great Flutists lead by Rosamund Plummer. She picked out some great repertoire (We played a Flute Quartet arrangement of a Bach Piano invention (I don't remember which one) and a Piece by Gary Schocker called Pop) I pretty much spent the whole time taking my Bass flute for a spin in this ensemble. I also participated in Shawn Barlow's Beatboxing workshop, and Luke Gallen's improv workshop, which were brilliantly run and quite educational. 

Shapes is also back in action as of this week! We had a jam to write some fresh music, and will probably start gigging again in March, which will be lovely.

This is my last night at home before I'm off yet again (this time for a wedding!) So it may be more than a few days between posts.

Bringing in the New Year!

Merry 2016 (for 9 days ago!). It's been a whirlwind fortnight since I last posted. My blog broke (TLDR I failed at running my server correctly, and would have had to spend more cash than I would have liked to keep it self hosted, so I jumped ship to squarespace. I still have a few things to do to clean my new blog home up, but it won't be crashing anymore!), then The Button Collective (a band what I play flute in) performed at Falls Festival, and had an EP launch in Lismore (You can stream the EP here. There will be a digital release next month, which I'll link to in the future)

Because Button Collective have been away for so long, I had to pack (what I like to call) a "tour pack" which is basically light weight comfy dresses ( usually 5 or 6 which can be worn multiple times), safety tights (i.e tights which some may wear as pants) a jacket, and a performance outfit. Mostly my outfits over the fortnight were utilitarian, the exception being when we had a gig. I only managed to get one photograph of my performance gear (thanks to Brodie <3) as we were busy when I was dressed well, and felt too daggy when we were free.

Outfit.jpg

There are 3 Falls Festival locations in Australia - Somewhere in Victoria, somewhere in Tasmania, and Byron Bay (which is the one we played) The festival was open for four days, from the 30th of December, to the 2nd of January (although, the main stages were only active for 3). We played 2 gigs a day for all 4 days, which was equal parts awesome and exhausting (we also managed to picked up an incredibly lovely and supportive group of young men who came to all of the main gigs)

Although I spent most of my time in the camp grounds, and the village area (which was the place we were gigging in) I did manage to catch a few of the main stage acts I was interested in seeing: Weird Al Yankovic (Who performed fabulously, but was drenched in nostalgia and gimmicks) Hiatus Kaiyote (These guys were interesting. I really appreciated there musicality, but they're not my cup of tea) and Birds of Tokyo ( I was really into them when I was 15/16, before they released March Fires. There performance at Falls was stiff and overly rehearsed, and all of their newer material was pretty boring.)

The musical highlights for me were all contained in the village area. There was Vardos, a trio of strong brilliant women performing eastern European virtuosic folk music,  Merryn Jeann
a wistful songwriter and beautiful guitar player (I was lucky enough to jam with her at one of her gigs.) and a female DJ (who I didn't get the name of). I came across her on the last evening, just before the last band of the festival finished up. She started her set with an empty dance floor, but completely owned the emptiness, dancing to the music she was playing and altering. Lastly there was Liam Power, who isn't actually a musician (but was a highlight none the less). He's magician, and performed small, but wickedly clever tricks.

This was the only decent photo I took at falls (I felt a bit self conscious with my camera, and my lenses weren't suitable for the situations I would have been shooting in anyway).

After falls we retreated to Brodie's parents house, where we pretty much remained until the Lismore EP launch.

The rooftop in the daylight before all the people came.

The rooftop in the daylight before all the people came.

We had the gig on a friends rooftop, which fitted a large number of people for such a tiny space. The gig commenced at 7, which at the moment is just before sunset, making for a spectacular backdrop to the opening musicians. 

This is Ben Wilson and Jake Pembar, who make up part of Ben Wilson and the Job Seekers (these fabulous people also play Bass and Banjo in the Button Collective). They opened the night with Ben's awesome music (which is kind of folky, kind of Americana. IDK, I suck at describing music, and my descriptions definitely don't do Ben's music justice).

Two of Four Scrimshaw boys music-ing it up

Two of Four Scrimshaw boys music-ing it up

Scrimshaw Four were the Jazzy/ Jugband-y middle to the folk sandwich. They're a 5ish piece Melbourne based band. I thoroughly enjoyed their set. All of there originals were well composed and flawless, and all of their covers were brilliantly arranged (particularly their jazz standards).

Buttons finished the evening. The boys were a tad tipsy, and the set was quite loose, but we had a bunch of fun, and an absolutely brilliant crowd. For anyone who's in sydney over the coming months, and enjoys our music, I suggest you take a peek at our facebook as we've got quite a few gigs in the area.

I also have a ton of other photo's from the EP launch, which you can find on my own facebook page (if you're interested!)