The Radical Uprise.

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First things first. Can I just say I’m happy to hear I’m not the only blogger who “doesn’t believe” in New Year’s Resolutions? I’m sure there’s a handful of us who don’t, but I enjoyed Aine’s Brooding Blogger not only because she’s a peach, but I can relate to this post 100%.  I could compose my own blog entry, weaving nouns and adjectives into a cozy knit article, but if you want to know my thoughts, simply read Aine’s because I’m paddling in the same boat. Upstream. As I proclaimed to her on Instagram, “Here’s to content!” to which she replied, “To content! …and no resolutions.” It’s been nearly a month since my last entry on this blog, but I’m cutting the ribbon, breaking ground and raising a glass to more content.

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The suit of stones has been making an appearance in recent tarot readings. Stones are associated with achievement, possessions, practical skills, worldly ambitions, being of the world. “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” / Henry David Thoreau. I read this suit as real, tangible manifestations. However, one is unable to achieve such without patience, perseverance and discipline. Here’s to branching out and creating a meaningful 2014. Here’s to more content. Here’s to changes.

The past few months have been a time of reflection. I decided to dig up my roots and dust off my given name. It still fits; imagine that. I posted to Instagram, “You can call me Kate. Maybe some day I’ll write a heartfelt zine exploring and explaining my reasons. Maybe I won’t. I’ve shed this skin and I’m tossing it to the wind. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. RIP @jettavegas.” It’s not a decision I made on a whim. People in “real life” have been incredibly accepting and supportive. I don’t think the folks on the Internet figured out I buried Jetta Vegas in the closet under faded handkerchiefs, dusty photographs and boxes of hand-writtens letters. At any rate, that’s not what this article about (I plan to write a zine about the switch, so keep your eyes peeled if you want the juicy details). Dear readers please take note – This bag of bones, formally know as Jetta Vegas, now wears the name “Kate.” And my name isn’t the only thing changing.

When I began The Radical Uprise, it revolved around one concept – a positive mental attitude. I consistently posted “Seven Ways to Kick this Week’s Ass.” Most of my articles were written with the intention to ignite. Inspire. The trouble I found is there is no one recipe to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. There is no one tonic which promises to cure all ailments. I came to the realization that my “words of wisdom” could become someone else’s recipe for disaster. While I have every intention of providing posts that motivate and inspire, they will wear a different suit. Skip the “self help” section, tilt your head to the right and drag your fingers across the memoirs. My experience. The world through my lens. That is all I can provide. I don’t have the answer, but I have the experience. And while my experience will differ from yours, I can only hope to inspire you through my journey. In the words of Alanis Morissette, “what it all comes down to is that I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.” That said, The Radical Uprise will continue to be a hub for inspiration and motivation, but it will merge into more of a “lifestyle blog.” This is my radical uprise. I thank each of you for your incessant love and support over the past few years. Here’s to a fruitful 2014.

 

I’m off to spend the next two days driving around with my best friend and photographing the coast. Cheers.

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Pack-Rat Rehab.

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I’ve always been a packrat.

A hoarder of sorts. A “pile-person.” I live and work amongst what I like to call organized chaos. To an outsider, my creative lair may appear to be disastrous. Unkempt. It’s a habit (I’ll call it a habit because the word seems appropriate enough) I’ve practiced nearly all my life. In high school my mom grew tired of seeing my unsightly living space and would leave it behind closed doors. She said it was easier to deal with if she couldn’t see it. When I moved into my own apartment at the age of eighteen, she’d visit and I could follow her gaze from the pile of junk mail on the floor to the sink full of dishes. Her eyes would plead with me but her smile let me know it was alright. She probably began to accept it. I think everyone did.

Even to this day someone can tell when I’ve walked into a room. A few weeks ago I took a trip to Port Townsend. My friend Caleb and I got a hotel room and within five minutes an observation was made. His backpack was sitting upright on a chair in the corner and I had marked the space with my stuff as a hound would his territory. Notebooks fell out of my bag and onto the floor. Clothing poured out onto the furniture. Novel on the nightstand. Bottles on table. It became home. I have no qualms making myself comfortable in a new scene.

I’ve come to believe my workspace reflects my mind. What I mean to say is that for the most part, my mind is on overdrive. Bustling with project ideas, to-do lists, artistic outlets. Blog posts, photography projects. Many times a project gets buried under seven new projects (Literally. On my desk). More often than not, I struggle to bring an idea into physical fruition because my attention is divided among so many tasks. On top of scattered mentality and reality I have hoards of stuff.

This post was initially inspired by a heavy-duty cleaning session. I rearranged my living room (so we could turn our heaters on) and started cutting myself off from things. The roommates and I spent a few hours deep-cleaning our kitchen (that was foul). My room was stripped, organized and rearranged. The past week of tidying has not only been cleansing for the apartment, but my mind and well-being. I feel lighter (and our apartment is as well; combined, Carmen and I unloaded eight bags and two boxes of things from the place). Side note: props to my roommates for simply dealing with me (and my piles). I can be a difficult human to coexist with if you are a neat-freak. We all have kinks we’re working out. And I’m an artist, after all. 

Since I started this mad organizing spree, I went on a rampage and dissected my workspace. My mom and I used to play a “game” (it’s not really a game) where we would clean my office/workspace together. You sit out all of your markers and pens and test each one. If no ink remains, toss it (don’t ask my why I keep mediocre pens but I’ve always had hoards).

I think I finally came to the realization that my clutter has been wearing me down, discouraging and dismantling me. All because I feel bad throwing out (recycling, rather) things I don’t use anymore but keep around “in case I might.”

I believe I (like most of us) require a certain kind of atmosphere to feel comfortable. I tell friends I don’t like hanging out anywhere I can’t put my feet up on the coffee table. Crooked pictures on the walls, subpar paint jobs, dust collecting on jars containing match books, clay pots full of memories in the shape of sea shells. Mismatched pillows clashing with loud quilts. This is my comfort zone. I like visiting houses with character. I enjoy beat-up magazine sitting on the couch and knickknacks on dressers. Comfort over fashion. Always. Plus it’s fun to let your eyes wander.

I still have (and will probably always have) my clutter. In small doses. Mementos, rocks, antiques, trinkets and knickknacks now line the (new) shelves in our hallway (I call it our “museum”). There’s a pile of shells, rocks, fortunes and instant photos on my desk. This is in my nature. But as it stands, I have successfully plowed through this mental block that took the form of old index cards, paint samples and dried-up Sharpie pens. Now onto make some magic.

Next up : Digital cleaning.

This site exists because readers like you choose to support it. If you found this article to be of interest, please consider a small donation or visit the shop. Thank you for supporting my creative endeavors. 

 

Here’s An Idea : Post Card Puzzles

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A couple of weeks ago I started receiving numbered postcards from my friend The Mister Lister.

When I received the first card, I saw it for what it was – a single postcard. I ignored the bold blue “1” screaming in the corner. I didn’t question the hands gripping the side of the cliff. I didn’t look past the horizon and wonder if there was more. But two days later I received another postcard, strikingly similar to the first.  I couldn’t wait to get home to line the cards up. When I placed them side by side, my smile expanded with the landscape.

Over the next week and I half, I received a new card every other day or so. Each card told a new story and revealed a new acre of this magical land. It infused the trip to my PO box with excitement as I hoped for a new card each day. Card ten came and after several days of a snail-mail drought, I concluded 10 was the end of my journey. For now. I suspect there’s more to come as I can see the crest of a new small island. But I’m not getting my hopes up (Eric, please send more; these were awesome).

Take this idea and run with it. Consider sending the cards out of order. Build a canvas by arranging the cards in a square (or whatever shape calls to you). If you don’t feed confident in your drawing skills, print an enlarged photo out and mimic the concept. Cut the large image into postcard-sized puzzle pieces, glue to a card, slap on a stamp and ship.

Purchase post cards today in the Storenvy shop.

This site exists because readers like you choose to support it. If you found this article to be of interest, please consider a small donation or visit the shop. Thank you for supporting my creative endeavors. 

 

Big Gay Button Sale – EXTENDED.

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Due to an overwhelming interest (Thanks, Tumblr) in The Big Gay Button Sale, I’ve decided to extend it through December. And to celebrate the holidays with my queer family, I’ve created a limited edition designer collection. The first one I made was for myself (pictured above), the next five I sent to The Ellen Degeneres Show, and the rest are up for grabs. Three hundred badges total. Each numbered. When they’re gone, they’re gone. No extensions, no excuses.

What you see is not what you get. Every single badge differs from the next. However, each shares characteristics and is cut from the same paper. Some material was split in two and pressed onto two different canvases. One may be shipped to Delaware and the other to Japan. The badges explore interconnectivity, as they are all linked on some dimension. You are part of something. You are family.

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We’re not all rainbows and unicorns. This extremely gay family of buttons is inspired by nature’s subtleties. Layers of recycled materials make a unique canvas for each badge. The calm earth tones balance out the loud message each badge bears (with a slice of silver for your diva fix).Since a limited number of badges were created, I encourage you to keep one for yourself and give the others away to friends and family.

Purchase a small pack of five or large pack of fifteen on Storenvy.Use coupon code homodays to save 10% off your entire purchase. Thank you for supporting indie. Folks like me appreciate folks like you.

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Big Gay Button Sale.

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*UPDATE : SOLD OUT. Please read the edit at the bottom of this article. More buttons ARE coming. Stay tuned. 

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I went on a cleaning frenzy yesterday.

Long story short : I dug to the bottom of the barrel, caught up on e-mails, revamped my workspace. I’ll save that tale for another sunny afternoon. What’s important : The purge was cleansing. Refreshing. I brushed the dust off some old ideas and found inspiration, eleven cents and a lot of gay buttons.

Hence, The Big Gay Button Sale.

I created a little over fifty unique limited edition LGBTQ buttons (or badges) using “retired” designs. Each one, like us, is cut from the same paper. We are family and these badges are a token of that. Someone in Toronto may have half of a rainbow and the other half may belong to a student in Tokyo. This means : No two are or will ever be the same. Fifty badges make up this family. “Family” refers to the batch of badges made from the same sheets of material. This is what makes each family unique. It’s a big friendship bracelet of sorts where we each share a token. Each button is numbered on the back, a reminder that you are part of something.

The holiday season is upon us and for many LGBTQ folks, it’s a dreaded time of year. But listen up : We’re all in this together. These buttons make perfect gifts for your queer friends and family. The packs are divided into two sets. A small pack includes five buttons. BOH (Balance on hand): 4. A large pack includes ten buttons and a pink triangle patch. BOH : 3

Since such a small family was made, I encourage you to spread the love. Keep one button for yourself and give the others away to queer friends and family.

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*UPDATE : These badges sold out within a few hours of being posted. Tumblr ate ’em up. I will be created a new family of limited edition buttons to extend The Big Gay Button Sale. There should be more to purchase by this weekend. Thank you for your patience. 

Introducing : The Paper Doll Army Mission 003 : Blind Contour the World.

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This mission was inspired by my everlasting love for blind contouring.

It’s a fun, DIY project of sorts. In this mission, you will receive five blind contouring DIY post cards. The mission asks you to patronize one of your favorite cafes/pubs/coffee shops/etc. and contour a subject.

The focus of this mission is not only to practice sketching. It’s a tool to keep you in the “now.” The second part of this mission is to address the card to a friend and write a short paragraph describing everything you see around you. Describe in detail the people waiting in line at the counter. Turn  your attention to the artwork on the walls or the chipped paint on the banister. Write about the patterns and textures you see. Listen to the conversations around you. If you’re feeling brave, interact with them.

One of my favorite past times is sketching strangers in public and giving it to them. I recently visited Broadcast Coffee where I sketched the barista as I enjoyed an Americano. I went up for a refill and told the guy behind the counter I had sketched him. He said, “I’ll trade you the sketch for a cup of coffee.”

And that is how you score free coffee.

This mission is $4 plus $2 shipping to the USA. International shipping is $10 (I don’t make the rules). There are only THREE copies of this mission available online because The Paper Doll Army wishes to promote snail mail. A few clicks to add a product to your online shopping cart is too easy. I want to hear from you. Tell me about your day and send your payment to PO Box 20233 / Seattle, WA 98102.

For International Folks : Sometimes a letter across the world can take nearly a month to get from point A to B. For that, I am allowing international friends to order their mission pack online. Please contact me and I will send you an invoice via PayPal. International buyers can still choose to pay via the postal service.

The first five orders to come through by mail will receive a free copy of The Radical Uprise Zine 033 : Blind Contour the World

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Visiting Port Townsend.

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For me, traveling is essential. When my creativity has reached a flatline, when my heart has been bruised, when my feet itch and yearn for new ground, I travel.

I think many people hesitate to travel because they believe it costs a lot of time and money. If you’re taking a cross-country trip or venturing abroad every six months, sure, it can get pricey. However, you need not travel far to explore new turf. When I first moved to Seattle, I curbed my desire for adventure by visiting a new park every week. When you live somewhere for an extended amount of time, everything seems mundane and drab. Too familiar. That’s usually because you’re taking the same route from Point A to B every day. You’ve been in one place for long enough that the landscape is nothing more than a backdrop.

My friend Caleb and I took a short trip to Port Townsend, Washington. We caught the ferry to Bainbridge Island Monday evening and drove an hour to our cheap hotel on the water. Early to rise on Tuesday, we went to the Boiler Room for coffee and spent the rest of the day exploring the quaint town, visiting antique shops, art galleries and cafes. We spent a great deal of time at Fort Worden, exploring the vacant bunkers and walking on the beach.

Photos from my trip can be found on my flickr account. Please refrain from removing credits from my images or sharing without permission. All photos were shot with a Nikon D3200, all unedited. 

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This site exists because readers like you choose to support it. If you found this article to be of interest, please consider a small donation or visit the shop. Thank you for supporting my creative endeavors.