I’ve decided to take the month of August off from blogging… sorta. I’ve been going steady since lockdown began and am having a bit of blogging fatigue. I started out doing daily posts and then moved to 3 times a week. Doing all of that was great for my creativity and quite a feat. But… my fingers and brain need a bit of a break, as well, I’m needing time to concentrate on my next novel. What does that mean… I will continue Queen of Schlock every week, but Bat Adventures and Redheads Writing in Cafes will be on a break.
I was asked recently why I love making my own clothing (I get asked often) and this led me down a rabbit hole of all of the whys including why I thrift or go antiquing rather than buy anything new. Oh and of course why I will repair things, until they are literally falling apart. One reason, it’s in my blood, the other, well, there are many and you will need to read on.
My Mother Made Our Clothes We grew up poor and with a growing family and no extra money to buy things such as clothing for her growing children, my mother had to rely on hand-me-downs or making clothing herself. Like myself, my mother was taught the basics, but is mostly self-taught when it comes to sewing. Not only did she sew our clothing, she self drafted patterns AND would use what ever material was available to her. Discounted ends of bolts, old dresses, sheets… she was beyond crafty! Along with sewing our clothing, she knit us lots of outfits as well. I know this brought her a lot of joy and was a creative outlet for her.
Creative Outlet I have always been a creative person. Growing up my mother always made sure I had art supplies, writing journals, yarn and fabric at my disposal. Since she didn’t have time to do art herself, she made sure that her children could. Out of the four of us, I am truly the creative one. Along with doing art (mostly drawing) Sewing, knitting, crochet and cross-stitch helps my mental health. You heard that right, it helps with your mental well-being. While I am working on projects, I can go off into a meditative state. When I am done, I calm and in many cases have been able to work out problems and issues that were irking me.
Thrifting vs BuyingNew Many people want to participate in ways to help the environment beyond recycling and composting, but don’t always know how to do that. Thrifting rather than buying new actually makes a huge impact, especially in regard to clothing. Did you know that fast fashion contributes to Climate Change because of how much of it ends up in landfill! Check out this article! When you thrift vs buy new, you are not only helping the environment. you may come across some vintage gems that are generally better quality than much of what we buy today. Not to mention, I have found basically brand new small appliances at my local Value Village!
Antiquing falls under this category as well. I love, love, love going antiquing. It’s like going on a treasure hunt for me. We have a few favourite spots, but I’m always looking for new places to go. I love walking up and down the aisle, trying to find that one particular item or take a chance and see if I find something I wasn’t actually looking for. I always make sure to love in every corner just in case something has been hidden away.
You Save Money That’s right folks! You save money! That alone should get you excited about thrift stores!
As a child I spent many hours hanging out with my Great Grandpa Bill. I’ve mentioned him before since he is someone who influenced me as a writer. He was an incredible story teller and someone who didn’t shy away from telling spooky ghosts stories to me. He knew that they wouldn’t frighten me, rather intrigue me. I am so incredibly thankful for the time I spent with him. There was another thing that I fell in love with because of him and that is Silent Movies.
Because of my Great Grandpa, I have been watching Silent Movies since I was a kid. Back then I was fascinated by them, but it wasn’t until I became an adult and started rewatching them, did I really learn to appreciate the craft and dedication that went into making those masterpieces of art!
Over the years I have also been working on a Silent Movie script of my own. I’ve also, been reading about incredible female scenario writers such as Frances Marion, Anita Loos and Gene Gauntier for inspiration on how to write a good Silent Film. I highly recommend reading this article if you want to know more about them. These incredible women are another reason I am drawn to Silent Movies. Women shaped the beginning of Hollywood and the Silent Film industry. If you want to learn more about women who were scenario writers, producers and directors, this is a great resource.
Two other resources I highly recommend are the documentary and the book called Without Lying Down. It is the story of Frances Marion and the beginnings of Hollywood. The book is much more in depth than the documentary, but you should give both a go!
Living in Toronto we are blessed to have many rep theatres and most of them show Silent Movies. Once we are out of pandemic jail, we will be returning to them to show support and to enjoy silent movies. We are also incredibly lucky to have The Toronto Silent Film Festival. It had to be rescheduled to late Fall this year and we can’t wait to attend the screenings.
Silent Sundays is a monthly series held at The Revue. We rarely miss a viewing. It is really well curated and I’ve seen films that are new to me, as well as ones I have enjoyed many times.
The Fox in The Beach neighbourhood of Toronto also hosts Silent Movies regularly along with other fun classic movies.
There are a few blogs I regularly check out and you should too!
I can’t leave you without letting you know what my top favourite Silent Movies are. These are in no particular order. Where I can, I post links to full movies. Enjoy!
Metropolis (1927) (this is a gorgeous HD copy)
Girl Shy (1924) This is one of my all time favourite Harold Lloyd films. This is a really clean copy of it.
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) This is a restored version, but with the German title cards. There are other versions with English, but I highly recommend you watch this version.
Our Dancing Daughters (1928) This is such a wonderful movie and Joan Crawford steals the show! I’m so grateful to my fellow swell dame Heather Babcock for introducing me to it.
City Girl (1930)F.W. Murnau is one of my all time favourite film makers and you will understand when you see City Girl. It was also one of the last Silent Movies, as Talkies were all the rage at this point.
Diary of a Lost Girl (1929) The film stars the beloved Louise Brooks. The title cards are in German, but you can find English subtitles.
City Lights (1931) This film is truly the last of the Silent Movies. It really speaks to The Great Depression of the 1930s and I personally feel it is relevant with what is happening right now. The full movies can be seen over on Netflix.
The Last Laugh (1924) This is another favourite F. W. Murnau film! It also has German title cards, but you can find English subtitles.
I’m sure a few of you were wondering where the Silent Horror Movies are. Do not fret!
Nosferatu (1922) The creepiest and best of all of the Dracula movies! I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve seen it.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) is absolutely wonderful and the special effects are pretty awesome for the times!
Well folks, I think it is time to put the Stay The Fuck Home series to bed. I’ve had a lot of fun writing it and hope I helped a few people out. Now that we are past our toilet paper and flour shortage/hoarding situation, and things are opening up again, I feel like it is time to move onto blogging about something else. So….. I AM! However, I am still waiting for a few guest posts and once those arrive, I will post them.
I am going to continue Redheads Writing In Cafes blog posts, except I will be writing from my bedroom/temporary office and occasionally the back yard. Hopefully, one day soon it will be back to coffee shops, patios and other outdoor spaces. Also hopefully I will resume writing with that other redhead Heather Babcock!
BAT ADVENTURES will continue on till late Fall! As long as the bats are out, I will be writing about them!
I don’t want to leave the Wednesday spot empty, so I will be replacing it with a new series called Queen of Schlock! I’m truly the Queen of B-movies and will be posting about them.
It’s been a blast. I hope we don’t get a second wave. Please stay safe and there will be lots more writing coming from this redhead!
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about mindfulness, how we treat people and I have been taking every opportunity to listen to other’s stories. We are living in a time when people have had enough, have been pushed too many times, and are rising up! We need to continue to educate ourselves on the issues, how we can help, and how we can just be better people!
Earlier this week, I posted about this on my Instagram and want to expand on it, not only because it affects me personally, but because I see it happen way too often to friends and so many others, is body shaming. IT HAS TO STOP! Shaming is bullying. Point blank.
Over the last few months, I’ve been fat-shamed a few times. Both in public and online. A friend this week, who is a fucking Goddess, was fat-shamed. It also happens to her quite often. Another friend who lives a 1930s lifestyle is constantly fat-shamed because she isn’t as slender as the women from the era… women who were thin because they were literally starving due to The Great Depression. These are only a couple stories! We read and hear this all the time and we shouldn’t be!!! This goes beyond fat-shaming as well. I’ve heard from friends with physical disabilities and a few friends who are transitioning, that they have been shamed many, many, many times!
It. Needs. To. Stop! Bullying has long-lasting effects on those who are being bullied. You may not see the damage on the outside, but it is there!
Personally, I try to ignore the shaming, but let me tell you sometimes it’s really hard to restrain myself from lashing out, but I would be doing the same thing they are. I do try my darndest to educate and hope they understand what they’ve done is unacceptable.
While I’m at it, let’s also throw judging people into the discussion. Please don’t do that either! You don’t know their story and even when you think you do, you really, really don’t! Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they aren’t in pain! We really need to be mindful of how we speak to others. We all have inner editors and sadly, many of us forget to use them.
Our world needs more mindfulness and compassion. Not more hate
When I was a kid, I used to do a lot of cross stitch and paint by number. I think a few of the paint by numbers might still be on my parent’s walls. I remember loving cross stitch and recently got back into it. One of the reasons is I want to be able to either cross stitch or embroider onto garments I am making.
One of the main reasons I love cross stitch is it takes concentration and that concentration takes your mind off of the world around you. We all need that right now! If you are interested in taking this us, below are some how to and links to free patterns.
At this point, some of us are reaching into the back of our cupboards to see what is there. Partly because we need to use stuff up, partly because we are bored of cooking, mostly because going to the grocery store is really fucking stressful.
In the back of my cupboard, turns out, I have a lot of Jackfruit. It’s time to get creative with it. I decided to turn to the 1950s weird recipes for some inspiration. Maybe you should too… or not. There is some weird fucking stuff about to be rolled out below.
Everyone has a can of Spam or it’s equivalent in their cupboards. Some may have a can that’s been their for 20 plus years. This stuff will survive a nuclear war! Click here for more…. of these recipes?
If you recently saw my blog post about Bat Adventures Laneway Style, you will know that I’ve recently started exploring the laneways in my neighbourbhood. Since starting this, I have gotten more and more fascinated by the history of laneways in Toronto. I know many others are as well, so I thought I would do a blog post about it.
Toronto’s laneways have a fascinating history and were considered mixed-use. “Toronto’s laneways historically were mixed-used. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they housed services, from stables and dairies, to blacksmiths, and were avenues for coal delivery. With that in mind, what role should a 21st century mixed-use laneway play in our city?” (source eraarch.ca/) Today these same laneways mostly house garages.
Many of those same laneways also had beautiful coach houses! Sadly, I had a really hard time finding any photos either vintage or current. I imagine that there was a lot of hustle in bustle in those laneways in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. If those laneways could, they would have wonderful stories to tell.
When I am finally allowed to, I plan on doing a deeper dive, especially in The Junction/High Park/Roncesvalles/Parkdale area via The Junction Archives and The Toronto Archives. I will do a follow up blog post then. In the meantime, below are some links about the history and great information of Toronto’s laneways.
Toronto has some famous laneways for it’s art that boast a variety of styles and artist work. One in particular is called Graffiti Alley and it can be found south of Queen street and running between Augusta and Spadina. It is a photographers dream. Many more of Toronto’s laneways have stunning graffiti and art, you just need to go looking for it. Recently, we have started exploring the laneways in the High Park/Roncesvalles/Junction area and have been stumbling across both graffiti and individual artists work. We found below in an laneway just off of Humberside.
Toronto needs to utilize it’s space better and there is a lot of potential for laneways. Please check out The Laneway Project. They are working to unlock the potential of Toronto’s laneways.
When we were in Japan I was in awe of the usage of space. Most laneways had stores or restaurants or hidden doors to magical places. Wandering down a random laneway brought so many wonderful surprises. Toronto really needs to learn from Japan.
Lately, I have been revisiting my obsession with vintage campers. A late 50s Shasta to be exact. Maybe it’s because we’ve been couped up for so long and the thoughts of travelling across Canada in a little vintage ditty is exactly what my soul is screaming for right now! To make the dream complete, a shiny candy apple red 1957 Chevy, with those wing like tail lights, would be the perfect vehicle to tow our red and white chariot!
I dream of going from destination to destination and then setting up camp near lakes or vintage looking trailer parks. Putting down the awning, stringing it with fairy lights and setting up our portable BBQ. Then we would sit back with our cool drinks and meditate to the sounds of birds and other musical sounds of nature.
While we are travelling, we could visit antique markets along the way and hunt for treasures.
One of these days I will finally watch Lucille Ball in the movie The Long, Long Trailer. It looks like a blast!
You will need to excuse me while I go back to dreaming.
Why does the theme song from the Littlest Hobo keep playing in my head? Maybe it is time to hit the roads!