Wall to Wall Festival 2017

Art and culture aren’t things that one typically associates with country towns.  But that couldn’t be further from reality when one considers my hometown of Benalla, Victoria.  Benalla not only has an awesome art gallery and a stellar performing arts centre, but it is the home to the annual Wall to Wall street art festival.

 

Now in it’s third year, Wall to Wall is responsible for some incredible pieces of artwork that are dotted around the town.  Last week, artists began staking out their spots and sketching.  On Saturday I took my camera for a walk to take a look at the works in progress.

 

This year’s offerings are varied and colourful, with a number of amazing 3D pieces included in the mix.  If you have the means to travel to Benalla one weekend, I suggest you do so and take a long walk and gaze upon the amazing works of art that are dotted around the walls and pavements of this town.

 

As part of the festival, The Wall to Wall committee organized a giant community paint-by-numbers.  Everyone was invited to come along and join in to create an amazing painting.  Sadly, I’d forgotten that this was taking place and I was a tad too dressed up to muck in with the painters.  I wish that I’d worn jeans instead so that I could have joined in the fun.

 

 

Do you have a favourite piece?

 

 

 

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A year behind me and another ahead.

When the year begins to draw to a close, I start to get a little introspective.  It’s natural to look back at what has happened over the past twelve months, and this year when I peer in the review mirror at my life it’s hard to believe that so much could have happened in just twelve short months.

 

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Here’s a very short run-down of some of the big things that happened to me this past year:

  • I started a new job in January.  It’s been very challenging and different to any job I’ve had before.  But I’ve learned so much and I’m loving my work.  I work with a fantastic group of people and I feel so pleased with the progress I’ve made this year.
  • I came out as bisexual to my family and friends.  While I’ve known for a long time that I was bi, I had never felt the need to bring it up.  However, when I began dating more widely this year I felt like it was time to tell people.  The reactions I’ve received have been a bit of a mixed bag, and some have been hard to swallow.  But I’m so glad that I’ve been open about my sexuality as I feel that it’s given me more scope to explore it and I’m happy that I’m living more authentically.
  • I had my first (and probably only) polyamorous relationship.  While it was fun and I still care about my ex boyfriend and girlfriend, it simply wasn’t built to last.
  • I was present when a co-worker had a stroke at work and it was one of the scariest moments of my life.  Amazingly, she has now recovered completely and is back at work.  The whole experience made me feel extremely grateful for all that I have, and also showed me how strong I can be when needed.  I always expected that I would be a wreck in an emergency, but when the time came I was frighteningly calm and capable.  I’m proud of how I managed that day and so darn relieved to have my colleague safe and sound.
  • I started online dating and met loads of awesome people (and a few not so awesome ones)
  • I met and began dating my lovely girlfriend, Jac.  It’s been so wonderful getting to know her and I’m excited for all that’s yet to come.
  • I began attending classes at my local gym and met loads of great people.
  • I got an article published in Wellbeing Magazine which touched on two of my favourite topics: yoga and depression.
  • I ran my first craft fair stall in April and then did it again in August.
  • I shaved the side of my head into a sidecut, and I’m still so chuffed with this style.

As you can see, it’s been a massive year for me.  It’s also been a year with not a whole lot of blogging.  I’ve been debating lately whether I want to continue with my blog.  When I first started blogging, I was diligent about posting daily.  Then as my schedule became more hectic, I started posting only on weekdays.  And this year it was my goal to post three articles a week.  But that just hasn’t happened.  My life has gotten so big and so full that there isn’t always time to do all the things I want to.  I sometimes feel guilty when I don’t have a chance to blog regularly and I wondered whether it would be better to just shut down my blog.

 

But I really don’t want to do that.  Blogging has brought so much joy into my life.  I adore sitting down to put together a post and I have met some of the most amazing people through my blog.  So instead of trying to work to a blog schedule and posting a certain number of times a week, I’m going to be a bit more relaxed with my writing.  I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to put up lots of great posts, but I’m not sure how frequent my posting will be.  But rest assured that I’m not going to bail on this space or the amazing people who continue to visit regularly.  I’ll still be about, living and loving, and I’m going to make a big effort to fill this space with tales of my adventures, funny stories, fashion, advice and geekery.

 

I hope your year has been as full and challenging as mine has.  What did you get up to?

Confessions of a craft fair virgin.

Last weekend I finally took the plunge and ticked something off my bucket list.  For ages I’ve wanted to run a stall at a craft fair.  While I love my Etsy store, I was keen to try selling at markets as well. Selling in person has some distinct advantages: you don’t have to worry about crazy shipping costs, potential customers have a chance to touch and try on your wares and you can joke and chat with your customers.

I was extremely nervous about running my own market stall.  I was very worried that my crafts weren’t good enough or that nobody would want to buy what I was selling.  I was concerned that my social anxiety would make it hard for me to interact with my customers without it seeming forced.  I also felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that would be involved in running a stall.

So guess what… it was really hard.  I put in tonnes of work and preparation, I only made a single sale and I felt so nervous every time someone came to my stall.  But you know what else? It was totally worth it and I would definitely do it again.  Here are a few observations I took away from my first time as a craft-stall vendor.

There’s no one “right” way to run a stall.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time stressing over how I should set up my stall.  I looked at countless Pinterest boards for inspiration and ended up completely spinning myself out.  I was so unsure about how my stall should look, what type of displays I should use, how much stock to bring and so many other worries.  In the end, I went for a pretty minimalist look with a few displays and most of my stock spread out on the table.  And you know what?  It really seemed to work.  My colourful goodies really stood out from the crowd and loads of people were drawn to check out all the awesome colours and textures at my booth.

There were some really professional-looking displays at the market.  Some vendors had made their entire stall from scratch.  Others hired tables and used home-made or pre-purchased display racks.  But they all looked awesome and everyone was making sales.  When you’re trying to plan a stall, it’s best to stick with a few simple ideas that seem right to you, see what works and build from there.  Comparing yourself to other stalls will drain your energy and worth.

Talk to other vendors and learn from them.

I met some fantastic vendors at the craft fair.  There were some people who, like me, were relatively new to the game and others who were market veterans.  Everyone was really friendly and helpful, and I picked up some great tips to help me with my stall and my customers.  If you’re a newbie, these tidbits of info are so valuable.

And don’t forget, even if you don’t know that much about markets there might be some other areas that you have some flair in.  For example, the woman running the stall opposite mine has been thinking of starting an online store so I was able to give her some pointers based on what has worked for me in the past.  We swapped advice and it was a great learning experience.  It’s great when people are willing to help you out and learn as well as teach.  It’s the type of scenario that everyone benefits from!

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Bring business cards…and lollies.

Not every customer will be ready to buy on the day.  Markets can be quite overwhelming and some will be unsure of what they want to spend their money on with so many options on offer.  For that reason, it’s nice to have something that your potential customers can take away with them.  I made sure that each person I talked to took my card and a sweet treat.  If people wanted something I didn’t have, I highlighted the fact that I can make custom orders on request.  Offering people a card in a friendly way isn’t too pushy, and it gives them the opportunity to take a look at your shop when they have more time on their hands.

Pay attention to what your customers have to say.

Although it can be daunting to put your crafts out for display and potential criticism, it can also be a valuable learning experience.  I gained so much insight into the kinds of things my customers are looking for, which will be very helpful.  For example, I was able to take note of the items that were most popular, and which things people asked for which I didn’t have.  I noticed that there were a lot of children at the market shopping with pocket money, and that most of my items were out of their price range.  So next time I plan to have some small cheap items, such as headbands or crocheted brooches, which can be bought with small change.  I will make sure to have some of the sought-after items that people seemed to be looking for.  And I will put those more popular items in a prominent place so they catch the eye.  Even though I only made one sale this time, I feel more equipped for my next market.

Have you ever run a craft market stall?  What did you learn from the experience?

What’s new in my world?

Hello sweet blog reader.  I apologize most sincerely for going AWOL for the last couple of weeks.  But things have gone batshit crazy around here and I needed a bit of time to juggle all the awesomeness that I’ve been hit with.  But I haven’t forgotten you!  How could I ever?  Let’s grab a coffee and chill while I tell you about my latest adventures.

 

Work

My job has been going brilliantly.  Last week I had my three-month performance evaluation and my bosses were very pleased with me and offered me a permanent position.  This was a huge weight off of my shoulders because I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time I’ve been at this job.  After my last job ended abruptly, I was a little paranoid that I wouldn’t last in my new position.  But after three months I’ve learned heaps, I’m constantly improving and I’m really enjoying my work.  The people I work with are dedicated and so lovely and it’s a really positive work environment.  I feel so blessed.

 

But it’s not all sunshine and roses.  Full time work is hard, y’know?  I feel like I’ve been pushing myself too hard to maintain all of my non-work commitments and it’s been wearing me down.  I’ve had bouts of exhaustion and depression when I’ve tried to cram too much into my days and ended up watering down my performance and enthusiasm.  I really need to take a step back and remind myself that I need to rest and that I can’t do all the things I used to when I worked part-time.

 

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Crafting

I’ve been balls-to-the-wall preparing for my very first craft fair stall.  I applied for a stall at a boutique market in town months ago, and I was so chuffed to receive confirmation that I’d have my very own spot at the Twig & Bloom market in Benalla.  I’ve wanted to try selling my goods at markets for a while now, and I feel so pleased that I’m taking the plunge and actually doing it.

 

Lemme tell you something: preparing for a craft fair is no walk in the park.  It’s hard, it’s time consuming and it requires a lot of creative energy.  There is a lot more involved than just making a lot of stuff and whacking price tags on it.  You have to plan out your stall setup and come up with a way of recording sales and marketing and pricing and stock management and all that jazz.  It’s gotten to the point where I’m just worn out with managing all of it.  Once this fair is over I’m going to take a huge break and just chill out and recharge.

 

 

Romance, polyamory and coming out.

So, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been dating and exploring polyamory.  I still am and it’s going brilliantly.  I met an awesome couple who were looking for a woman to join their relationship and date them both.  We have been on many dates and I am totally smitten with them both.  We have loads in common and they are just such amazing people.  I am deeply attracted to them both and I’ve been having a total blast with them and I can’t wait to see where the future leads.

 

Polyamory was something I never gave much thought to, and admittedly when my beaus asked me out I was apprehensive.  I was very unsure how I would go in a three-way relationship.  Jealousy is something that’s been a problem for me in past relationships and I believed that I’d find it too difficult sharing my boyfriend with another woman, or that she might get jealous of me.  But y’know what? I haven’t felt jealous at all.  It’s amazing how I’ve begun to develop attachment and attraction in each relationship and how our relationship as a trio has grown.  It’s early days yet, but I think I’m onto something pretty special and I’m so excited about it.

 

This experience is also raising some difficulties for me.  For one, it has meant coming out as bisexual to my family and friends, which is quite confronting.  I’ve known for a long time that I’m attracted to women as well as men, but as I’ve never dated a woman before I never saw a reason to bring it up.  Having to tell my parents that I’m not only bisexual but that I’m dating both a man and a woman was hair-raising.  It’s been tough, but I think they’re getting used to the idea.  So many of my friends have been really supportive too which is awesome.  And I’m still figuring out if and how to tell the rest of my circle.  On the one hand I’m excited about my new relationship and I want to scream about it to anyone that will listen.  But on the other hand I know I’m going to face some opposition and I’m not feeling entirely strong enough to deal with that yet.

 

 

Supanova

I let my geeky streak run wild last weekend when I went with my lovers to Supanova.  I met a lot of fantastic new friends and had fun shopping and geeking out.  I actually didn’t take any photographs to share this time around.  I was enjoying just being in the moment and not wanting to spoil the mood by whipping out my camera every few minutes.  I saw some awesome things, but by far the highlight was meeting George Takei!  We ran into him on our way out of the con and he was such a sweetheart.  It was a fantastic and laid back con and I had an absolute blast.

 

But enough about me, what have you been up to?

 

5 Fandom Friday: Songs that changed my life.

This week’s topic is one of the most difficult ones that I’ve had to write about.  Not because I couldn’t think of any songs that have changed my life, but because the list of songs is so long that I found it next to impossible to narrow it down to just five.  But I’m going to give it a shot.

 

Music is a powerful force.  It drives us, churns up emotions and tickles our feet to dance.  A series of tense notes can leave you hanging on the edge of your seat and a thumping beat can make you involuntarily start tapping your toes.  The music we listen to is like the soundtrack of our lives.  It is beautiful and it can be heartbreaking.  It can remind us of people, places and moments previously forgotten.  It’s quite amazing.

 

So here are 5 songs that changed my life.  Not necessarily my favourite songs, mind you, but ones that had an impact on me and my life.

1. Move in the Right Direction by Gossip.

This song came to me during one of the darkest moments in my life.  I’d just been dumped by my boyfriend of nine years, I had to move out of the house we’d bought together and things felt desolate.  My whole world, the future I’d been building towards for years had been utterly shattered.  I had to completely re-assess my personal views about love and life and work towards untangling myself from the relationship.  In addition to that, I had to do it all without my boyfriend, who had been my closest companion and biggest source of support for nearly a decade.  It felt impossible, it hurt so deeply and I wanted to die.  I mean that. I actually wanted to end my life.  I had no concept of how to move forward and pick myself back up.

 

At about the same time that I was in crisis councelling, I heard this song on the radio.  It just spoke to me and I rushed home to listen to it again.  And then again.  I began listening to it every morning and for a while it was my anthem.  When I was feeling at my lowest, I’d sing to myself “One step closer, one day at a time” and just try to take those baby steps towards being Ok.  And then in time I was OK.  And then after a bit more time, I was fabulous.

 

 

 

2. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths.

This is another song that got me through a tricky time. I got really into The Smiths about halfway through college.  In my final year at university I was unemployed.  My job hunt was not going well at all, and I spent months applying for literally hundreds of jobs before I even got an interview.  I became extremely disheartened and depressed, convinced that I would never find anything.  I would listen to this song, and the words almost became like a prayer to me.  I’d whisper it as I rode the bus to my interviews, I’d hum the melody as I scanned job-search websites, and I kept hoping.  And eventually I did get a job.  I think this song was one of the things that kept my head above water during that time.

3, Mmmmbop by Hanson

In my teen years, I was a massive Hanson fan.  It all began when I was about eleven years old and I heard the opening jangling notes of Mmmbop on the radio.  This kicked off an obsession that would last until I was fifteen.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to Mmmbop over the years, and even now those first few bars whisk me back to my bedroom one summer afternoon just before I began my final year of primary school.  It’s nostalgia at it’s finest.

 

4. Overture from CATS by Andrew Lloyd Webber

I’m a huge lover of musical theater.  The first show I ever saw live was CATS.  I vividly remember sitting in a giant circus tent, the dimming of the lights and the electricity in my limbs as I heard those haunting bars that herald the beginning of this amazing musical.  It lit a fire in my belly and I sat there with my mouth open, eagerly waiting to see what would happen next.  I’ve now seen dozens of shows on stage, but to this day CATS is still my favourite.  That overture set in motion a life-long love of musical theater and the desire to feel that electricity that always zips through me when the lights go down and the curtain opens.

 

 

5. Where did you sleep last night? by Nirvana.

In my late teen years, I was deeply into grunge and alternative music.  And by far my favourite band was Nirvana.  I just loved the gritty rawness of their music.  This was a time in my life when I felt supremely frustrated.  I was eighteen,  living at home, halfway through my final year of high school.  I was tired of living by my parent’s rules, tired of studying, tired of going to the same old places every damn day.  I was a sexually frustrated nearly-woman in a long-distance relationship with a man who lived hours away, and private moments together were precious and few.  I was just itching to get the hell out, to get some experience and excitement.  To be able to do My Own Thing.  And this song just crystallized all my frustration and longing. I would listen to it loud, and want to shriek along with Kurt in the final stanzas.  It was a kind of release, a catharsis, that would substitute any real escape until I could make my exit into the world.

 

What songs changed your life?  I really enjoyed this prompt, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

5 Fandom Friday: Conventions I’ve been to or wish to attend.

Welcome to the end of another awesome week.  It’s time to slip into my geek-pants and rev up my Delorean for 5 Fandom Friday.  This week’s topic is: Conventions I’ve been to or wish to attend.

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1. Supanova

Supanova is probably my favourite of all the conventions.  I’ve been to four so far and I hope to attend this year as well.  Supanova tends to be one of the better-organized Aussie conventions in my opinion.  There are also usually some amazing guests at Supanova.  In the past, I’ve seen Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, Tom Feldon and James Marsters at this event.  They also have kick-ass artists and awesome stalls.

2. Armageddon

Armageddon holds a special place in my heart because it was the very first convention that I attended.  It was where I met some awesome celebrities such as Billy West, Chris Rankin and Nicholas Brendan.  It’s also the first convention that I attended in cosplay, which is really exciting.

3. Oz Comic Con

I’ve been to Oz Comic con every year that it’s been held, and it continues to get bigger and better each year.  With big-name guests, stellar cosplays and ever-impressive venues, this con is a must-visit for any Aussie nerd.  Although the first year was a bit of a bust (Stan Lee was booked to appear, ticked had over-sold and the venue was ill-equipped to handle the sheer number of people) the promoters seem to learn from experience and make the convention better every time it’s held.

4. PAX

Now we’re moving onto conventions that I wish to attend.  PAX is relatively new to Australia, and has a bigger focus on gaming.  Now that I’m starting to really get into tabletop games, I would love a chance to go to PAX.  My brother attends every year, so hopefully in 2015 I’ll tag along with him.

 

5. San Diego Comic Con

Now, this one is a total pipe-dream.  San Diego Comic Con is arguably the biggest comic book and pop culture convention in the world.  Every nerd dreams of attending this convention.  And I would love a chance to head along.  It would be amazing.

 

Do you attend conventions?  Which ones are your favourites?  Or which would you like to attend?

 

Pssst!  If you’d like to join in with the 5 Fandom Friday fun, you can pop on over to The Nerdy Girlie to check out the list of upcoming topics.  The more, the merrier!

Things I Love Thursday 11/12/2014

Wheeeee!  We’re nearly halfway to Christmas and I am stoked.  I’ve had an amazing week and I have so much to be thankful for, so let’s jump right into Things I love Thursday.

This week I love:

– Getting a new job!  I applied for an amazing job about a month ago, and had to go through a rigorous interview process.  But last week I got the call to say that I’m the successful applicant.  I am so chuffed!  I don’t start until January, so that means I have all of December off to relax and enjoy Christmas.

-More awkward cat photos!  It’s been really hot lately, and Miss Jelly has taken to lolling about on her cat apartment.  It’s too humid to be ladylike, apparently.

She’s also taken to sleeping with her toes splayed out to the side.  I think it must feel cool on her tootsies.

She is pretty happy to have her picture taken, even if she isn’t in the most flattering pose.

– Having an air conditioner.  Last summer I sweltered through without one, and my landlord kindly installed one in February.  I am so grateful to have it because last summer was just unbearable.

– Coffee in funky mugs.

– Playing Cards Against Humanity with my favourite group of boys.

– Friends who try to marry me off to their siblings so we can be sisters.

– Being told that I’m “Sooooo like Leslie Knope”.  I’m taking that compliment and running with it.

-Finishing these rad Gryffindor Harry Potter socks for my etsy store.  These are a made-to-order item but I can whip them up pretty quickly.  And if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, then I can make them in any colour of your choosing.  They’re just $20.

– Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations chocolate bars.  They’re like a party in my mouth.

-This tiny man.  Seriously, he has mellowed out a lot in the last year and has become a lot more snuggly.  To me anyway.  If a stranger comes over, he will bolt behind the couch.

– Geeky Christmas tree ornaments.  I am trying to resist buying too many ornaments this year, but I found some doozies on Modcloth.  Like this Beatles “For the Record” ornament.  Or this Tardis.  I want, I want!

-Visiting my Dad’s favourite cafe, where they give you a free coffee if you wear a bowtie on Thursdays.  It was awesome.

– Having a snap of cool weather, so I could sleep under the blankets again.

– Talcum powder.

– Getting up the courage to submit an article to a magazine.  I haven’t heard anything yet, but fingers crossed.

– Writing out Christmas cards for all my favourite people.

– Dancing wildly and screaming along to The Pogues.

What do you love this week?  Jump on in and leave a comment.