Wrapping It Up

On to the next chapter.

Thank you for reading – when I start writing at my new address I will let you know!

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Maria Rubinke Is My New Ladycrush

Maria Rubinke

Art by Maria Rubinke via Hi Fructose

June 18th I turned twenty-nine years old. Holy crap. I have fought so hard to get my health back on track these last few years – harder than I ever imagined I would have to. It feels good to be here, where I am, today. There truly are no coincidences.

Suffering is justified as long as it becomes the raw material of beauty.”
– Sartre

A dream can be a terrifying fucking thing sometimes.

Three years ago I finally, finally admitted to myself that the nagging feeling that I want to, in some fashion, be a clothing designer, wasn’t going to go away anytime soon. Eight months later, part way through: the healthfail avalanche. Today I pre-enrolled in that same patternmaking course I got part way through in 2010 – I have to do an entry test in a couple of months which will determine whether or not my app. is accepted. The deal from now on: laser focus like never before. Practice, practice, practice.

It was so, so exciting to be back in the Fashion Tech workroom to enrol again today. I was on such a high when I left. And then, a couple of hours later, self-doubt swoops in: Aren’t you too OLD to be doing this? It will be too hard! You are supposed to have a career by now, what is wrong with you? If your dream was meant to be, it would have happened by now!!! To which I say: I am not listening to your shit. No way in hell. The better part of me has walked through enough fire to know she is gonna come out the other side. Might shed a few tears, might bend a little, but I will not break.

Fear, properly harnessed, will shoot your ass to the moon.


by Moon

Art by Moon, via Supersonic Electronic

SPRING. I crave the first signs that the warmer seasons are heading toward us – these past few weeks it has definitely begun happening. The air is different, the days a little longer, and a few sunny, crisp ones are emerging here and there. Spring is coming! I cannot wait.

Other rad things about the last couple of months:

♥ More yoga, deeper stretches. Bikram here I come.

♥ RJD2 [ Ghostwriter | Smoke and Mirrors | June ]

♥ Crystals! Rose quartz, amethyst, lapis lazuli, citrine, obsidien, clear quartz, turquoise, jasper, tiger’s eye. The next few pieces of jewellery that I’m creating for the shop are gonna be so much fun.

♥ Eating a rad meal with my family at La Boca Loca in Miramar, to farewell my brother and his girlfriend, as they headed overseas, on a philosophy-inspired adventure, for a few months. For dinner I had rad tortilla soup, which they had no qualms about veganizing, with a side of mexican coleslaw; the mojito I downed was also delicious 😉

♥ Layers of lace. Black and pastels.


Batman Vogue

Batman x Peter Lindbergh, via Iain Claridge


♥ I enjoyed this post I stumbled upon, which comes via Kris Carr’s blog: The Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before 30. Good timing to have come across it around the time of my birthday!

♥ Finally having Ash over for dinner! On the menu: Vegan spaghetti & meatballs, with a side of Maia’s awesome spicy broccoli. Nom Nom. It was a stormy night, all the better for lounging around and watching some vintage Addam’s Family and a little Animaniacs.

♥ The people I love that put up with my tendency to fold up into myself now and then.

♥ Edward Snowden, the NSA surveillance whistleblower. A heroic act. It is so, so important that the public be informed of what he has leaked. We need and deserve to know. But do enough of us desire to know…? It is humbling that he is 30 years old, practically the same age as me; puts my problems and challenges in perspective, that’s for damn sure.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”
– Edward Snowden, via the Guardian


via Tumblr



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April List o’ Love: Siouxsie Sioux, The Emerald City & Trusting In Change


April was a very healing month.

I had a lot of moments in the last couple of weeks where I have turned my face toward the sky, closed my eyes and silently said THANK YOU to the universe. Change comes.

Slowly but surely, I have been getting this chronic-pain trapped-nerve business sorted out. There have been doctors, surgeons, x-rays, scans, piles of pills, naturopathy, osteopathy, acupuncture, EFT, energy healing and chiropractic.

At times it has been a very hard, frustrating experience, but in many ways, the health ups and downs I have had over the last three years have been an incredible gift. I have learned how to nourish myself with amazing food. I have learned that I need to be fierce about following my dreams (and also very patient), and that I am hungry for big things.

I knew that the light at the end of this tunnel would begin getting closer eventually and it feels REAL good that the time has come. Yusss. This year I will run back into the arms of sewing. Even get my ass back to Bikram. It is exciting as hell.

For the last month or so, I have been seeing an amazing chiropractor – I came away deflated after my first shot at chiropractic, but when the orthopaedic surgeon I saw recently thought it was worth another shot, I figured I might as well visit a different practice with my fingers crossed and see what happened. It was such a good call!

The first week, I had three separate adjustments (an ‘adjustment’ is the chiropractic euphemism for cracking yer bones ♥). The few weeks that followed I went in twice weekly, and as of last week I have a weekly appointment. During this time a bunch of rad things having happened, including halving the amount of strong-ass painkillers I need to take, and being able to unglue myself from my hot water bottle. Coupled with continuing to eat empowering food, I am feeling better than ever. Onwards and upwards.

fr. Pulp Fiction

Mia and Vince, via Ffffound

Other awesome things about my April:

♥ Drinking an Emerald City Cocktail while watching Oz the Great & Powerful in 3D with Cam. So much fun. We sat in the supercomfy, reclining seats at Reading and ate up a popcorn storm. I loved the movie: some people get annoyed with the sensory overload of colour and the leaning towards style over substance, but I think: fuck yes. Disney was made for 3D eyeball confections. Pump ’em full, Disney. What I really wanna know is: when do I get to see 3D Chitty Chitty Bang Bang???

♥ The amazing Kris Carr! Kris just celebrated her 10 year cancer anniversary. She is a total star and definitely one of the inspirations behind my clean eating health adventure.

Ciaté‘s soon-to-be-launched Chalkboard Manicure sounds very, very cool. And also reminds me that I need to deal to the chipped mess of purple polish I’ve got on lingering on my nails right now (nail polish can’t handle me – I’m too handsy – if it lasts four days, it’s a miracle).

♥ Street Art Utopia has rounded up 100+ of their favourite 2012 street art photos.

Big hair forever, via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

♥ Diana Eng’s laser lace tops are awesome; I want a black version of the All Over Tee so bad. Her fortune cookie coin purse is rad as hell too!

♥ I was excited to stumbled upon Constrvct while bouncing around online recently. It is a really interesting project, still in a public beta stage, that has potential to be very, very cool. Billing themselves as “the world’s first collaborative fashion label”, Constrvct enables people to upload their own images, to be printed digitally on to plain garments that are made to custom size from 3D patterns. Make your own Constrvct or buy from the shop. I’m gonna keep an eye on this one.

Acid Cult is lookin’ fresh thanks to Big Cartel introducing a new, no nonsense & beautiful theme for me to play with.

♥ PUFF PASTRY. There is something about pastry that is deliciously comforting. I wanna wrap everything in pastry right now.

LP Cover Lover: “The World’s Greatest LP Album Covers”. By ‘greatest’ they mean ‘most retro & ridiculous’… 😀

♥ Gabby Bernstein’s short & sweet EFT de-stress tutorial: How to Reduce Stress. It might seem a little woo-woo at first, but tapping (a kind of self-administered acupressure) works for all sorts of things that might be throwing you off your game. It totally helped with the depression challenges I struggled through during my early-mid twenties. It is very easy and can be super effective.

♥ Visual stimulus. I am VFiles bitch right now and it rules. That, coupled with the gravity of Pinterest pulling me further and further in, has kicked me in to aesthetic overdrive.

By Annie Owens

By Annie Owens, Supersonic Electronic

♥ Being taught diaphragmatic breathing during my first ever session with an energy healer. FUCK YES. A jaw-droppingly effective way of pulling myself back together in moments of stress or doubt. Calming, centring, veil-clearing.

♥ Photographs of abandoned places. I will never see enough of these. This collection is my favourite in a long time: The 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World.

♥ The suave brains behind Haute Macabre have their very own perfume! Haute Macabre by Black Phoenix Alchemist Lab, they are taking backorders for the next run right this minute.

♥ Making spreadable vegan mozzerella! A delicious victory! Find the recipe, along with the very tip of the online vegan cheese iceberg, in my post for Kitchen Rebellion – The KR Guide to Vegan Cheese in New Zealand (& Beyond)

♥ The best housewarming gift EVER from my soul sis Lucy. She knows Cam & I so well!

♥ My custom Mortal Gods vest. So fucking rad! I love it to pieces and then some. Heavy-duty studded lapels and a big back patch with Siouxsie in the middle and “fall in love, not in line” in big lavender letters wrapped around it. Check it out:


Fall in love, not in line

♥ ♥ ♥


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Jan-Feb Big Love List: Stubborn Bitches Win Big. Red Lips, NP City & Ms Xoe Hall.

Kate Moss / Ellen Von Unworth

Kate Moss, photography by Ellen Von Unwerth (Vogue Italia, 1992); via Vfiles

A whole lotta love this January & February. Here is my list of goodness:

♥ Quality not quantity.

♥ My new MAC stash, especially my new lipstick in Russian Red; so matte, so good.

♥ Okay, this list of 25 Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier has some suggestions that made me go ohh. Like amplifying the sound of your mp3 player by placing it in a bowl, baby powder being an awesome post-beach sand remover and making a tray for half a dozen cupcakes by cutting crosses into the lid of a shoe box. Awesome!

♥ Gin cocktails & Reality TV. Me and my girl Maia know how to party.

♥ The Wellington Cup. I got dolled up and went along with my Mum, Dad, brother & his lady. It was a really fun day; my first ever time at Trentham and an excellent excuse to break out a pair of what I like to call my “sitting shoes” because they definitely are not made for much in the way of moving around. My folks are members so I got to hang out in the Member’s Lounge – wood-paneling and traditional airs contrasting wonderfully with the outré headwear and boisterous conversation – which is the perfect spot to hang out: mint seats and a private bar. Hell yeah. I also drank champagne out of a crystal winner’s cup; I don’t know who was more amused, me or the guys who’s celebratory shenanigans I tipsily jumped in on.

♥ Being far enough away from Central that the sirens give way to native birds singing; having a view of the horizon; a big wooden deck that warms in the sunshine. Home.

Ashley Smith by Ellen Von Unwerth

Ashley Smith, photography by Ellen Von Unworth; via Vfiles

♥ Eating at Pickle (posse time; shared an interesting menu with some of my favourite people, drank a delicious Jarjito*), Bin 44 (family time! First time at this place – the food was nothing to shimmy and shake about, but the service was rad) and Dragonfly (convoy time; fuck I love this restaurant – food, cocktails, service, atmosphere, everything; I feasted on eggplant and accidentally nailed myself to the wall with passionfruit caprioska slushies; superfun)

♥ The stubbornness that is holding my dreams together like superglue.

♥ Spending a week in New Plymouth with Cam at his folks’ place. So, so relaxing. The Taranaki coast is one of my favourite things about this country; it is beautiful in a different way to Wellington’s. Calmer. More powerful somehow. There is a restaurant called Arborio that rustled up an amazing vegan bruschetta with zero hassle and fucking impeccable service. See also: delicious guava daiquiri. If you are ever in the neighbourhood, pay them a visit, your belly will thank you.

♥ Lots more views on Kitchen Rebellion in the new year! Bring it; bring it BIG.

http://blackandwtf.tumblr.com/ YES YES YES.

♥ Dinner at Hede last month, catching up with a couple of friends on holiday from Melbourne**, during which I had my first taste of sake. As far as drinking strong, warm liquor can go down smooth, it went down very smooth… ahem.

* Being a Mojito in a jar
** Part of the ongoing Great Wellington-Melbourne Exodus

Bridget Hall by Ellen Von Unwerth

Bridget Hall, photography by Ellen Von Unwerth (Vogue UK, 1995); via Vfiles

♥ There are some sweet tutorials in this big ass list of how-tos: The World’s Best Sewing Tutorials over at Alinas Adventures. I am a shameless lover of rad storage options. Shameless.

♥ Catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in far too long, who introduced me to the beautiful secret that is Hashigo Zake; love her and love that bar. The craftiest of craft beer, good food, sweet & knowledgeable bogan bartenders.

Humanoid Robot Plays Motorhead’s Ace of Spaces. Irresistable.

♥ Reading about Scientology. I can’t get enough of The Crazy right now; it is insane, brutal stuff. I need to get my hands on a copy of Going Clear, the expose published recently; it was written by Lawrence Wright, an investigative journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

Xoe Hall! Xoe is one of my favourite local artists; her technicolour, pop-infused work can be seen around town lifting the game of businesses, gracing the walls of galleries, making the street sassier and, more recently, making the wardrobes of Wellington girls way more badass via Mortal Gods.

These are my five favourite pieces from her gallery:

Love Hurts by Xoe Hall

Love Hurts, 2012

Cute Kill by Xoe Hall

Cute Kill, 2012

The Geminis Battle For Sanity modified deck by Xoe Hall

The Geminis Battle for Sanity, 2012

Pyro Baby by Xoe Hall

Pyro Baby, 2012

Glitter Docs by Xoe Hall for Mortal Gods

Glitter docs for Mortal Gods

Check out Xoe’s site, and the Mortal Gods facebook page; there is lotsa crazy goodness to be had. You know you want in on the action! Right now I’m in the midst of arranging for a Mortal Gods Siouxsie Soux vest to be born. Cuz I need one. Hell yeah.


Here’s to an amazing March!

♥ ♥ ♥


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Back Around Again: Sevens Weekend 2013 (aka Wellington’s annual Festival of Drunkenness)

Having worked for a business that is largely famous for selling “Party Pills” has definitely informed my perspective of the Sevens. More than anything to do with rugby, it is Wellington’s annual festival of Let’s-Get-Fucking-Blitzed. You can absorb a lot of the spectacle walking through Cuba Mall, but working on the Cuba stretch is a whole other ball game. Shit gets crazy.

To be honest, though, it’s days like this that I really miss working for Cosmic. The parade of wastage gets more over the top each year, and being in the position of selling legal (& safe, actually, media bitches) drugs to people who are gloriously costumed & Council-mandated drunk as hell at 10am was a special kind of WTF/amazing.

It can be a magic weekend, above all because it is a great opportunity to take the piss, and the banter can be fucking hilarious at times; every now and then you’d need to boot someone out of the shop, but mostly err’one is a’ight.

The girls walking around with Pump bottles full of breakfast bourbon always cracked me up – walking emblems of the weekend’s excess, for sure – I mean, at least put something clear in there, ffs! There really is no pretence required over these next two days. It’s like all bets are off – the cops don’t give a fuck over Sevens weekend. The only people who care about the lawless free-for-all are the bunch of unlucky women getting bullied in the street in broad daylight because certain repressed-ass muppets have decided to use the weekend as a license to disguise themselves & behave like pieces of shit. Ahem. Sexual harassment is not supposed to be part of the schtick, motherfuckers.. Seriously. I know Wellington is full of hotties but look, don’t touch.

Other than that… the costumes can be truly priceless; some might have thought that the baby-crotch-Priest scenario was a little on the nose last year, but I thought it was effing brilliant. See also: Lego men, chewbaccas, storm troopers, Jesus bearing an 8-foot cross on wheels, jocks in all kinds of drag, the Inevitable Hair Metallers (see below), the Slut-o-ween bandwagon jumpers, the small town penis metaphors, travellers bemusedly caught up in it all. Epic stuff.

This time around, for the first time since living in this little city, I am not working! If I wanted to experience the madness, I would have to be out amongst it; jesus mofo christ; no behind-a-counter barrier, no sales jive protection. It feels very, very weird to be at home right now. My adjustment strategy involves my brothers homebrew pear cider and adding to my slowly evolving Ultimate Playlist.

As it turns out, my across-the-road neighbour and a bunch of his friends are hair metalling it up for the Sevens today. I couldn’t resist: I impromptu-invited myself over for a drink via shouting at them from my balcony, and ended up hangin’ out talking shit about porno & penii while they were post-BBQ chilling/getting ready to go into Central. Glorious.

I even got a signed “gig poster”…

Hair Metal As

Yes, they got posters printed. Dedicated shit. “Keep it slutty, slut!” may be my favourite signature, ever. We listened to Motley Crue and Black Sabbath. Needless to say, it was awesome.

Possibly the only time of year when I can look outside and see my neighbours casually donning leopard print spandex, permed wigs and fake dragon tattoos…

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My Favourite Artists from Juxtapoz Dark Arts

Juxtapoz is one of my favourite mags, and I also love their supermodern, happily leftfield series of art books.

I checked the Dark Arts volume out of Central library recently; two of my favourite artists, Polly Morgan and Liz McGrath are in there and I also discovered a bunch of awesome people whose work hadn’t crossed my path yet. It is a rad book – available here if you can’t resist!

Wendy Cogan Toyoda ♥

Visit her site here.

Wendy Cogan Toyoda

Wendy Cogan Toyoda; rose bouquet

“I align symbols of the decorative with the cheap, gaudy and luxurious to create an atmosphere of discomfort… I want to raise the question of what it is to be feminine.”
– Wendy Cogan Toyoda, via Juxtapoz Dark Arts (USA, 2009)


James Jean ♥

Visit his site here.

James Joynce; porcelain bone necklace

James Jean 'Swan'

James Jean 'Crickets'

“I think the best paintings of mine are born from the deepest recesses of the mind, from dark and surprising places.”
– James Jean, via this interview with Theresa Ryan


Elizabeth McGrath ♥

I have so much love for this lady! Visit her site here.

Elizabeth McGrath 'Black Deer'

Elizabeth McGrath 'Blue Bunny'

Elizabeth McGrath 'Weasels'

Elizabeth McGrath 'Death By Desire'

““My parents had been instructed to burn everything I owned, including my photos and entire record collection…”
– Elizabeth McGrath, via this interview with Bizarre Magazine


Miss Van ♥

Visit her site here.

Miss Van 'Twinkles'

Miss Van; from Bailerinas

Miss Van; from Canto Negro exhibition

“The idea of provocativeness has also a part in my conception of my work. I have always liked painting a sexy doll in an inappropriate place. I want to provoke strong reactions.”
– Miss Van, via EureakArt


Polly Morgan ♥

Visit her site here.

Polly Morgan; magpie

Polly Morgan; fox

Polly Morgan; Mythologies

“I find it difficult to say what inspires me. A lot of influences are caught subliminally. The most abstract things can become inspiration.”
– Polly Morgan, via this interview at IdeasTap


Jonathan Viner ♥

Visit his site and shop here.

Jonathan Viner; coffee

Jonathan Viner; archers

Jonathan Viner; chaise

“I’m really good at making enemys, well not really. I guess what I’m trying to say is to make sure that you watch my back, OK.”
– Jonathan Viner, via this interview at Fecal Face


Greg Simkins ♥

Visit his site & shop here.

Greg Simkins 'Gather Around'

Greg Simkins 'Reason'

Greg Simkins 'Tea and Jam'

“The best piece of advice I have ever gotten was to discover my own voice in my art.”
– Greg Simkins, via this interview at Empty Kingdom


Wellington Library rules, I actually don’t know what I would do without it: cookbooks, fashion design, graphic design, illustration, Bitch, Bust, Frankie, craft, cross stitch, costume. All for free (aside from the fines!).

Other Juxtapoz volumes include Tattoo, Illustration, Handmade and Poster Art. Cosmic has sold all of these at one time or another, so had the chance to check them out well when I was working there. Dark Arts is definitely my favourite – there is something about this flavour of art that I am drawn to more than any other; I guess it what feels the most beautiful to me.


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Frankie Says Relax (RIP): Saying Goodbye, Something New



♥ ♥ ♥

Our big fluffy boss-cat, Frankie, died a month ago. She was hit by a car outside the path to our flat, just up the road from the house where she was born five years earlier.

I appreciated her radness every single day and I miss her so, so much. She was a big, badass shining light; she was the boss of our house! I miss her wisdom, her company, her faces. I miss her soft, fluffy grey belly, her all knowing yellow-green eyes and the beautiful shapes she made. If her body was as huge as her personality, she would have crushed that damn car!

Born an Aro cat, died an Aro cat. One week before we moved away. Fate tastes very bitter sometimes. We have ninja-claimed the curb our neighbour buried her in and turned it into a memorial, complete with two native shrubs and an engraved granite plaque.

I like to think that Frankie’s spirit is out there in the ether, chasing birds and playing games with her brother Moridin, who died the same way in late 2009. They were our yin and yang cats; now they can hang together again.

It has been a heart-wrenching time. Our lil cat Penny, who through the trauma of losing her sister, has been so super brave, is helping me keep my shit together. If you’re not a cat person that probably sounds crazy; I’m down with that. Our family is smaller but strong.

Sometimes having the rug pulled from under your feet can bring a sudden clarity to things that have been mulling around in your subconscious, quietly demanding action. This has been one of those times for me. My intuition began to bitchslap me through my grief: I had been throwing my creative energy against a wall.

It was time to let go. So I resigned from my merchandising job; as it played out, what needed to be done was too physical for what I am capable of at the moment; this has been weighing heavy on me, because I love love love visual styling – it’s so much fun and I am awesome at it. But the stockroom stuff – no. Can’t do it.

Also, I can’t sew right now, unless I want to spend days in much worse pain than usual. All of the made-to-order products in my shop are on hiatus. My range of sterling silver pendants are 100% still available, though! I am loving the Khufu necklace right now – check Acid Cult for more offbeat jewellery goodness.

I need to give myself space to heal and stop trying to force it. This gauntlet of health complications is like a test from the universe to see how patient I can be about getting back to Fashion Tech to do the Pattern Design Certificate I have dreams every night about finishing. It has been two years and counting! I had been hoping to enrol for the January class, but I am not ready yet.

So I am taking a deep breath, a let-it-go breath; I am reminding myself that I will triumph in the end.

Frankie passing away, setting aside sewing, quitting my dream retail job, moving across town. The last month has felt like an avalanche of change.

2013, eh? Phew. Bring it on.

Metallic Embroidery by Yuanzi WangYuanzi Wang’s amazing work @ Lancia

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