Gratituesday: Good golly Miss Molly

My arm is bruised, and itchy, and AWESOME. This is why:

Photos by Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo.

Photos by Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo.


















I had a great time (yes really) getting the tattoo and my tattooist for this piece, Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo in Albany, is just fantastic. She committed to the insane linework on the piece because as she said, the detail on it is what makes it special. I agree. It makes me so happy every time I look at it. I’m so grateful both to Alex for taking it on, and to the amazing Molly Crabapple for giving me permission to have one of her artworks tattooed (and being so very cheerful and friendly about it).

Long weekend

This weekend (as anyone out watching the Kiwis at various stages of the Five Levels of Drinking will also know) was Waitangi Day here in NZ. I took a couple of extra days off to give myself a five day weekend, and did…well, whatever I wanted. I got a good amount of work done on my Flamingo Dress for the 15 in 2015 challenge, finished hemming a pair of trousers that have been sitting around unfinished for over a year, watched some good TV (and some bad TV), had brunch with friends, and relaxed. Taking a break is always something to be grateful for, taking one that didn’t get filled up with chores goes double.

Of course, that just means my room is in desperate need of a tidy but…sewing!

One year

I’ve been with the Best Beloved for a year now, and I’m grateful for him every single day. We celebrated by going to see Kingsman: The Secret Service because what could be more romantic than watching Colin Firth kill a whole bunch of people. It’s a very funny movie, I recommend it. It’s also nice to see Mark Strong not having to play the bad guy for once.

The little things:

Lush Ultra Balm and Dream Cream, tea tree oil, Miss Victory Violet, hand stitching with silk thread (I find it satisfying, but then I’m weird), figuring out how a pattern fits together, Gretchen Hirsch, the library (who have so many awesome sewing books), snuggles, staying off Facebook, tea, Burger Fuel (and Burger Fuel vouchers), Caro Emerald.

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?

Monsterful Monday: There’s no place like home

I’m back from a lovely weekend away getting inked and seeing people. It was lovely going through wedding magazines with one of my BFFs, eating very large cooked breakfasts (and having the excuse of “I’m about to get a tattoo”, at least on one day), catching up with folks and enjoying their reactions to my flamingo hair. But it was also lovely coming home to Auckland, being met by the Best Beloved and going off to have fish and chips by the seaside.

Chupa Chups

Turn out to be a magical pain-reducing elixir! No really. I was given one part-way through my tattoo session, which did make me feel rather like I was a well-behaved child at the doctor’s BUT OMG people, when you have something like that to distract you it does make a difference to the pain. I’m starting to understand why people take their iPods along when they get inked. But that seems a bit cut-off-from-things to me, after all you book in with an artist because you like them, and surely it’s a chance for a chat? I was grateful for the lolly, grateful that it was a cola flavoured one (my favourite), and grateful for the effect it had.

Hash browns

Do I even need to explain this one? Hash. Browns. She who is tired of fried shredded potato is tired of LIFE.

Time to myself

In the midst of the catching up with folks and being sociable, I really value getting time alone to recharge my batteries. This weekend I got it by going to watch ‘The Maze Runner’ after my tattoo session- distracting yourself with a movie is a great way to make sure you don’t worry at the wrapping until enough time has passed. Pretty good movie, and I always have time for Thomas Brodie Sangster- I’d like to read the book to see how it compares. Though as a feminist I was frustrated about it being all boys except for the one girl- why couldn’t the author make it a community of boys and girls? Would that have changed it so much?

Crafting inspiration

I am, of course, trying to avoid catching startitis (you don’t get immune to it once you’ve had it, let me tell you), but there’s a craft get-together coming up that I’m excited about, and new projects are always fun. Mainly because you haven’t reached the ‘dear God will this never END’ part of them.


Because tomorrow I share the Oracle Deck tutorial with you, and I’m so thrilled to be doing so.

The Little Things

Sinamay hat bases (and ideas about them), sleeping in your own bed, Hustle Butter, delicious smelling and tasting lip balm, being finally able to nap in an upright airline seat, great books (‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St John Mandel and ‘Lets Pretend This Never Happened’ by Jenny Lawson), loose-fitting clothing (because of the tattoo), new juicer (now I can at least attempt to make tasty green juice), dry socks, awesome art, Instagram, new embroidery floss and Aida cloth, getting excited for Christmas.

What about you? What’s floating your boat this week?

Ink on a pin, underneath the skin

I’ve wanted to do it for years. Ever since, aged 21, I was in Poland with a group of other people my age, most of whom had beautiful tattoos.

I hadn’t realised that they could be beautiful.

With the upbringing I had, tattoos were not something encouraged. Not tattoos, not tarot, nothing alternative, nothing new age. No, no, no. Not OK. Red! Do. Not. Enter.  The people with unusual hair colours and ink and piercings were weird. They were dangerous. They wore leather. Probably they were going to attack. I remember my heart would flutter in terror when I saw them, how I would retreat into myself, try not to draw attention (as with so very many other people.)

It took me a long time to realise that I wanted to be one of them. That the ink, the colours, are who I am, too.

My first step into this world involved a magic symbol. Magnet magic, to attract the best things for our dreams. A bunch of us realised we wanted it in our skin, each tattoo with our own unique spin on it.

I talked to a friend who has gone under the needle several times. He recommended someone. I found the studio- not too hard to get to, it turned out. Went in, consulted about the design.

On Tuesday, the day of the New Moon (in NZ anyway, a good day to start something new and magical), I sat on the steps of the parlour, talking myself into and out of going through with it many times while my tattooist rushed back from Waiheke Island having missed the ferry. I nearly left when it was 10 minutes after we were supposed to start and he still wasn’t there.

“Hang around the area” said my Best Beloved, who was going to be in the town centre and who I had planned to meet with for mid-shift kisses. “Give him a chance to show up.”

He did. I sat watching him get everything ready, the ink, the carefully sealed fresh needles, the clingfilm, the machine. Talking myself into and out of it again, and back into it. We fussed over placement- I spoke my mind. It was good for me.

Let me tell you, outlining hurts like a motherf***er. Not as bad as the time I had to have local anaesthetic injected into my arm, but still- such pain. Very ouch. “The outline always hurts more than the shading”, my artist told me as I took deep breaths occasionally punctuated with “ow, ow, ow!”. Strange, since outlining uses a single needle where shading uses three. But it was true. The shading was less painful.

Soon there it was in my skin, the magnet magic, the purple swirls (Cadbury purple, my favourite). Then clingwrap over it, and a paper towel, and making sure I got home before the hour was up so I could clean off the blood with lukewarm water and soapless cleanser (he said it didn’t have to be soapfree, but I was glad it was- less stinging).

Now I’m pinning ideas for two half-sleeves, lots of them. I was warned that it’s addictive. They were right. I’m glad, though, that I started small. And magical.