The Story of Blue

I usually stick to art and adventures in my blog posts, but right now I am HUGELY inspired by a friend and her daughter and their adventures in Washington DC.

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This is Blue. Blue is an eleven year old transgender American girl, currently living with her family where they are stationed in Germany. Blue has been out publicly as transgender female since last August, and she has been saying she would be “a girl when she grew up” since first being able to speak. Blue’s mom, Jessica Girven, has been amazingly supportive and a huge advocate for Blue. Because of the current political situation, it became clear that in order to get the hormone blockers Blue needs in order to be herself, they were going to have to come back to the United States for medical care, and around a month ago Jessica organized a gofundme campaign to cover their airfare to come see a doctor who had agreed to treat Blue. The gofundme campaign was a huge success, and they managed to arrive in Washington at just the right time.

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In addition to getting medical care, Blue and Jessica are spending several advocacy days visiting representatives, senators, touring the capitol, and meeting with various advocacy groups. It couldn’t come at a better time. They were literally on a tour of the capitol building when they heard the news about Trump’s tweet banning transgender people from serving in the US Military. Jessica posted, “I had to stop the tour, I lost my words I was furious and scared and wanted to cry and puke. The nice staffer tried to give us hope but was very understanding.”

 

That was yesterday, Wednesday, July 26th. A day Jessica describes as, “The most insane day of my life.”  Blue and Jessica visited Senator Udall of New Mexico during a constituents coffee. Blue got to meet and speak to the Senator, to tell her story. Then they visited the offices Senator Heinrich. His staff listened and asked a dozen questions and talked about a plan of attack. After the visit, they went on a personal tour of the capitol building. Next Blue and Jessica met with the Republican representative from her husband’s home district, Representative Pearce. His staffer listened to them and agreed that their treatment was not right. Jessica posted, “I don’t know what will come of that but he did promise to speak with Representative Pearce and tell him Blue’s story.”

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Blue’s story goes beyond just the need for puberty blockers and appropriate health care. Part of the story Blue and her mother have been sharing is the saga of coming out at a school on a military base. At first Blue’s school was very supportive. They allowed her to use the girls’ restroom, and they purchased books such as ,”I am Jazz,” and ,”Red: A Crayon’s Story,” to help explain her non binary gender. When the school superintendent found out, the school was ordered not to allow the books and to not allow Blue to use the girls’ restroom. In order to use the restroom, rather than using the restroom next to her class, Blue had to go down 3 flights of stairs, leave the building, cross a courtyard, and enter another building. After that decision, Blue, who is 11, decided to hold it all day, rather than go use a different restroom, putting her health at risk. This story initially got a lot of attention from various advocacy groups and was instrumental in getting the then Secretary of Defense to change the policy at military schools. Unfortunately, because of political change over, that change lasted for only three months.

 

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Blue and Representative Joe Kennedy III

 

Because the meeting with Representative Pearce’s office was short, they went to their next appointment, at the office of Representative Joe Kennedy lll, early. Which turned out to be a piece of great luck. Jessica describes their visit:

 

“ …in walks Joe and asks us to join him in his office to talk. And we REALLY talked. He had strategies and people he wanted to introduce Blue to. He was late for a vote on the floor of the house. He asked Omi and I wait outside the chamber and he walked Blue onto the floor of the House of Representatives. He asked Blue to do the honor and do the actual Vote. She voted no. Then Joe Kennedy lll walked Blue around and introduced her to the members of the armed services committee. He told them her story and told them if they take away Transgender military medicine they are taking HER healthcare away.

 

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Blue & Nancy Pelosi

 

We then walked with him to the Press conference and introduced Blue and myself. Then to our shock Nancy Pelosi thanked Blue and called her name. She then came and talked to me for a good 15 to 20 minutes. She asked for a photo with Blue. WOW!!”

 

This is advocacy at it’s finest people. While it’s easy to be detached when you aren’t directly involved with situations, knowing real people, and their stories, and seeing a wonderful girl who would be denied health care, makes a HUGE difference. Blue and Jessica have had an amazing opportunity to directly impact people and policies with real world examples and their story.

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Blue at the protest

 

Jessica went on to say:

 

“We met and spoke to soooo many Senators and Representatives I can’t remember their names but I have their business cards. We had a short break then and met up with our friend Amanda and her daughter Jenn.  Jenn is just like Blue, it was Amanda who found the doctor here that is treating Blue. They came with us to our last meeting with Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham. We spoke with her at great length long past our scheduled time. She vowed to personally get Blue and our family to a place that will provide both medical care AND access to a supporting school that will respect her and allow her to use the girls bathroom. She even gave my mom and Blue a ride where their tour was to begin. I decided to skip the tour and instead go to the Transgender military ban protest. Amanda and I were asked to speak at the protest and tell our daughter’s stories. I surprised myself. I was loud and clear and passionate. And halfway through my speech Blue came running out of the crowd up to me and the crowd burst into applause for her. Their tour had stopped just then at the White house and she decided to get off and join the protest. I watched my baby March and chant and speak to the crowd herself. She was on fire!!! I couldn’t be prouder. We did interview after interview today. My speech was filmed and she was filmed protesting. After Amanda dropped us off at our hotel a man walking his dog recognized us from the news. He told us how angry he is about Trump’s tweet and thanked Blue for speaking up. “

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Blue & Jessica meeting with the Human Rights Campaign

 

Today Blue and Jessica had a meeting with the Human Rights Campaign, wearing their transgender equality t-shirts. The Human Rights Campaign invited Blue to visit because they wanted to meet her and thank her for her advocacy. There is also a possibility (nothing’s certain yet) that Jessica may end up being part of their parents’ council. Blue and Jessica have been asked back for a follow up with Senator Udall’s office. Jessica has been asked to write 800 words for Teen Vogue. Blue appeared on CNN, and they will have someone from the NY Times following them around for the next couple of days. And one Friday Blue gets her puberty blocker implant.

 

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While it seems like there isn’t a lot I can do from home, what I *can* do is share and help raise awareness. And so can you! And I also feel like this is a great time to renew my blue hair coloring in honor of one very brave and special girl.

 

Mature Monday #2: It’s all about the bone

Since last week’s Mature Monday was all about the woman bits, I decided that it’s only fair to celebrate the oddity of the male bone this time. And by bone I really mean bone, the baculum to be precise. I once again headed back to Etsy to find some of the best bones out there!

Here are some of my favorites:

This set of raccoon penis bones (found at ChristinesCache) are capped with 22 shell casings, given a verdigris finish, and made into earrings! They can be found here.

 

There are many raccoon baculum earrings and pendants on Etsy, but I feel like the next one really gets the point across:

 

The item description is as follows:

“A different take on the traditional “phallic symbol,” this necklace embodies the idea of fertility. The center piece is a real raccoon baculum (the baculum is the penis bone, many mammals have them!)

The testis are represented by a pair of hazy pink rose quartz crystals. Rose quartz itself is a symbol of fertility and of love. Fertility doesn’t necessarily have to mean lots of children. It can also be extrapolated to things like wanting a fertile garden or field, or even a fertile imagination if you happen to be an artist.”

You can find this gem along with other oddities at Zooophagous. 

There is also, of course, bone carving to be found on Etsy:

 

this charm found at JewelerintheWoods.

There are also cast bones:

Like this silver fox baculum by BirdsnBonesJewelry. Perhaps the perfect gift for the silver fox in your life??

 

You can also find jewelry made from otter baculum:

 

Mink penis bones:

 

And coyote boy bits:

 

But my winners for most creative use of baculum go to PinkOddities for their Mermaid Baculum Boquet

 

 

 

and TheGeekyFreaky for a Raccoon Baculum Headdress.

 

And with that I’ll leave, content with the knowledge that you’ve all boned up on baculum. ;)

Life, Art, Etc…

In which I cover health, the state of me, art projects, and places to make art.

I keep meaning to get back to nice, logical, progressive posts about my Arts and Sciences entries, but I’ve been finding myself low on spoons a lot lately. About ten weeks ago I got my first set of botox injections from migraines, and they actually did a LOT to help me. But they wore off a few weeks ago and since then it’s been migraine city around here. So this blog post is basically going to be an picture dump of what I’ve been up to in the last couple of day. Think of it as a glimpse into the life of a Vandy on a medium day (not the worst, not the best).

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Today was a all day in pajamas day. Which meant I wasn’t feeling amazing, but I also managed to get some stuff done, which is the important thing! Notice that I am, as usual, surrounded by furry little helpers.

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Adooorable little helpers who just make me want to cuddle instead of work. :)

I’ve been working on trying to finish up Ian’s kaftan, since his birthday is this week. It’s been a huge project. I started it for Christmas a year and a half ago, but I’m going all out on it: printing cloth, hand sewing, special buttons, silk tablet woven trim.

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In addition to working on Ian’s kaftan, I managed to put up etsy listings for the constructed silver buttons (make on demand),

and for temple rings like those I entered in A&S (also make on demand).

 

In addition to finally putting up a few extra things on Etsy, I’ve been reorganizing around the house, trying to make some better work spaces and places for tools and supplies to live. Some things about having a small house are nice, but now that someone is living with me, not having a separate studio space all my own makes things challenging. So I’ve been trying to carve out some little specific work niches.

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This is my space for encaustic and other painting!

 

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I set up my felting machine and some storage, and hope to move my sewing machine and supplies here as well.

 

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And Tamra came over a couple of days ago and we started setting up a dedicated place on the deck, under cover, that we can use for dyeing!

I also noticed that the county has been spraying on our road again. The last time they did this, it looked like they managed to kill one of my trees, but I got lucky and it’s coming back this spring. But since we have bees and gardens, and pick blackberries near the road, I finally got off my butt and made some no spray signs. I also made them *nice* and inoffensive, so hopefully they do the job! I have four more to finish up too, which should cover the entire area along the road of both my parents’ property and my property.

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And that’s at least a bit of what I’ve been up to.

 

 

“Mature” (or possibly immature) Monday

***NOTICE*** My “Mature Monday” posts are possibly NFSW. They often contain explicit imagery in craft format. Use your best judgement on where you view these! Thanks!

 

Vigantic Felt Monday!

Every once and a while I get a wild hair and decide to look up moss pasties or glitter merkins, or other fun and interesting things on etsy or pinterest. I’ve decided to start a new blog category, Mature Mondays, where I share the most notable of these gems with you. In the wake of the science march and various womens’ marches I decided to check out etsy’s felted vulva offerings. Not terribly surprisingly, there were more entries under vagina than vulva, and several interesting variations. And I’m here to show you the uh… cream of the crop… so you don’t have to go searching for yourself! (BTW, I totally had Peaches’ song”Vaginoplasty” running through my head while doing this post! That one you do have to google for yourself. :)

I found notable creations in several areas: jewelry, ornaments, wall art, plushies, and ring holders. Yup, ring holders!!!

So lets start with the largest category, jewelry:

A classic pink and pearl offering from Woolloom:

The shop, “Woolloom” brings us: “Needle felted vaginas, feminist gifts, smiling cakes and dolls :-)” and is the course of most of my favorite brooches and ring holders. The artist, Aleksandra Melnik, is from the Ukraine and this is her story as from her etsy site :

The idea to have a small shop grow up from my hobby. I was studying and
working as an artist and in the free time my passion was to felt some
strange animals and dolls out of wool.

Maybe it would never get any bigger, if not the one particular case.
Once we had a lecture at the academy. My drawing professor was talking
another very important thing and drifted to some misogynist statements
about nasty women, calling our genitals dirty, menstruation and birth -
“the curse of the Eve’s daughters”. I started to argue with him(I’m a
feminist by the way) and got very angry..

Tonight after that I tried to calm down and was turning some wool in my
hands as usual. Suddenly I got a desperate wish to make a vagina. And I
made it so beautiful as I see it and mean it to be. Next day I went to
my lectures with a vagina brooch . (It was a clear statement which drives
my professor nuts ) The same day one of my mates asked to make such a
vagina for her to support me. After a month we got our small vagina gang! My feminist friends was asking to make brooches for them and their
friends, presented them as a gift, gave recommendations for me like a
like-minded person. I made a lot of presents and plainly run out of
resources for doing new things. So I first tried to sell some of my
pieces to buy new materials and then decided to open up a small shop.

I really appreciate any item going out! Your reviews are so important
for me, cause I see it as a :support for what I stand for!

I get some supportive messages from different people on Etsy. It makes
me feel such a fulfillment! It means, that what I am doing is not in vain!
Thank u so much for it!

Who could not love such passion and commitment! Also, WTF with that professor? Anyone who draws should love the complex folds and beauty of the female flower!

Here are a few more of my favorite examples of her work:

Pomegranate-like appearance complete with decorative droplet:

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend:  

A pussy with a piercing gaze:

And some locks of luv:

 

 

As well as her brooch and magnet offerings, Woolloom also brings us rings holders like this unique model:

And, of course, smiling cakes!

 

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Moving on, the other large category of felted vulvae and vaginas on etsy are ornaments! Because what better counteracts the phallic x-mas tree than some vaginaments???

Both, iFeltVaginas, and, feltmelons, bring us some stunning examples of the felted vulva ornament.

By iFeltVaginas:

A rosy outlook:

 

And the crowning flower to our tree:

 

iFeltVaginas is run by Rayne Grant, from Colorado, USA. Her etsy statement says:

iFelt Vaginas has been serving the Four Corners region and is now available online.
In an attempt to bring light to the Divine Feminine and to celebrate the goddess, ™iFelt Vaginas was born out of a dream. After working with making felt puppets (as she is also a puppeteer) and playing around with making felt patches, the creative juices began to flow, so to speak.

Rayne Grant is a mother, a farmer, an artist, a musician, an independent documentary film maker, and a dreamer.

™iFelt Vaginas is just keeping it real. It allows me to zen out while creating something that I feel is in the realm of honoring the Divine Feminine in a fun and fabulous way! Female energy needs not be suppressed….it needs to be expressed.

A % of proceeds goes toward cervical cancer awareness, women’s rights, and the likes.”

Yay for Divine Feminine Fun! :)

—–

Feltmelons is the other great purveyor of felted vulva ornaments on etsy. The store is owned by Suzanna McAleenan, from Burlington, ON, Canada, and here “about” section reads:

“Let’s see: I’m a mother to two tow-headed wee girls, and a dog named Haggis.
I’m married to a Scottish fellow: he’s very calm, I’m very excitable, there’s a good balance going on. We met round the local pub :)
We live downtown Burlington, Ontario, Canada, where we can walk to the lake, shops, pub, the kids’ school, cafes…it’s idyllic. I was born and raised here, and hope never to leave.
My main shop on etsy is 
vaginament.etsy.com, and I actively opened feltmelons in January of 2015 as a place to sell other handmade goods.
I also bake gluten-free vegan treats for the locals at www.sweetsillyyak.com.
These hands of mine are best kept busy :)”

Additionally, the cleaver tagline to her store is, OMG the Viginament! Where the LadyBits are Felt! Get it? Felt! Ha!

We love a vulva that doesn’t take itself too seriously! :)

Some of my particular favorite vaginaments:

Classic Christmas Viginament, snowy but not frigid, sure to get your jingle on!

 

Oooh shiny! The double pierced vaginament!

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Next on the agenda are vulva wall hangings. Some of these aren’t actually felt, but they are still fiber and too fun not to include.

Sara Lederach of StudioLederach brings us a series of, “Womanly rope rugs,” of which this is my favorite:

—–

A slightly different twist on the vulva wall hanging, Shelby and Miale of TribedBebe, from Chorpus Christie TX, bring us the vulva dream catcher! I’m not certain if this is supposed to encourage or discourage those “interesting” dreams, but it is certainly evocative. 

Inspired by national women’s day, this piece is all Lady, with the delicately band wrapped ring and net, a hand made plush vagina lays across to honor the magic of Woman✨dripping beautiful ribbons and a hand braided felt this piece also literally shows the sign of Woman ♀️ and wrapped rose quartz so ignite all the love we create and share. we are strong we are beautiful we are magic. We are woman ✊”

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Last, but certainly not least, we have the category of naught plushies / stuffed animals:

Most notably, naughty pussy, as brought to us by Furburger, owned by Christa May from Manhattan New York.

 

 “Where do baby plush animals come from?” She’ll show you.
Handcrafted and hand sewn vagina on an up-cycled, manufactured plush animal. One-of-a-kind item created by artist Christa May www.christamay.com”

*****

Well, I think I have fully tapped the subject of felted vulvas on etsy, but perhaps I’ll have to revisit the subject in other media in an additional Mature Monday! Enjoy your Monday friends, and I hope it is vigantastic!

Experiments in Dyeing with Lichens

I’ve been collecting wind fall lichens around my yard and on hikes for several years now, so I finally decided to get off my butt and try dyeing with some. I’ve done chlorine tests on a few with mixed results, and eventually figured what the heck, I’ll just try some with the ammonia fermentation method of dye extraction and see what I get.

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I took several glass gallon jars and loosely filled them about 4/5 of the way with lichen. One is Evernia prunastri, also known as oak moss lichen. I believe the other two are variants of shattered shield lichens. One bunch is from fruit trees in my yard, and the other are wind falls from douglas fir forests that I picked up from forest paths while hiking.

 

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I added enough water and ammonia to fill each jar to around the shoulder level, leaving plenty of space at the top so I can shake it and aerate it. I used 1 part ammonia to 2 parts water.

 

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Now I get to shake the jars once a day, and hopefully I’ll see some color changes over the next several weeks. I’ll be letting them ferment for around three months before attempting to dye anything.

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Crossing my fingers… and I’ll try to post when I start to see changes!