5 Fandom Friday: New Years Fandom Resolutions

Welcome to the first 5 Fandom Friday for 2015.  I missed last week’s because I was busy eating pizza and enjoying the Boxing Day sales, but I’m back!  This week’s topic is:

My New Years Fandom Resolutions.

 

1. Start saving for a trip to Disneyland

At 29 years of age, I have never been overseas.  I’ve never even been on a plane.  And I feel so jealous when I look at blog posts from American bloggers like Magic Cat Jenny or Le Fancy Geek who live close to Disneyland and visit all the time.

 

I’d really love to travel overseas in the next couple of years.  And I’d particularly like to visit Disneyland in either America or Hong Kong.  So this year I think it’s about time that I started saving my pennies and working towards making that dream a reality.

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2. Work on more geeky crochet projects.

It’s been a while since I added a new geeky item to my etsy store, despite having pages and pages of ideas brewing.  This year I’d really like to flex my creative muscles and create some new geeky designs, drawing inspiration from Harry Potter, Dr Who, the Nintendo characters and Disney.  I’m currently in the process of designing a Yoshi hat, so this resolution is already off and rolling!

 

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3. Frame and display my fan art

I’ve got a rapidly-growing collection of amazing fan art pieces and none of them are framed.  I’ve got pieces from Megan Lara, Stewart McKenny and Chris McQuinlan just gathering dust, which is a crying shame.  Now that I’m settled into my flat, I’d really like to get them properly framed and display them.

 

 

4. Go to Beta Bar

Beta Bar is a kick-ass gaming bar that is run by some friends of my brother’s.  It’s a pop-up bar that opens in different locations all around Melbourne.  The venue is studded with arcade games for you to play.  You can also rent board games from The Amoury to play with your friends.  I really want to make the effort to head down to the city to attend a Beta Bar event.  I just think it would be great fun as well as an awesome way to meet new people.

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5. Create at least one new cosplay.

It’s been a long time since I’ve created a new cosplay costume, and I’d really like to make at least one this year.  I’m thinking of dressing as Roxy Richter from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World or debuting my Susan Sto Helit costume at a convention this year.

 

Do you have any fandom goals for this year?  Feel free to share yours in the comments or link to your own 5 Fandom Friday post.

Things I Love Thursday 13/11/2014

Top ‘o the morning to you, gorgeous reader!  I’m am feeling great and ready to get into this week’s edition of Things I Love Thursday.  You too?  Awesome!  Let’s begin.

This week I Love:

– Feeling better in general.  My mood is picking up and I no longer feel like a misery slug.

– Paul Rudd.  I’ve had a crush on this dude for as long as I can remember, and one of my friends sent me this video last week to cheer me up.  And it worked no end.

 

– Wriggling my bare toes in the grass.

 

– Looking forward to a visit from my friend Tom this weekend.  I haven’t seen him in months and it’s going to be great.  We’re going to drink cocktails, watch movies and wear fabulous outfits.

 

– Visiting my grandmother.  We went out for lunch together, looked through old photo albums and then she gave me some stunning vintage jewellery.  She’s been so supportive of me these past few weeks, and I’m so happy when we get to catch up.

 

– Downton Abbey

 

 

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-Finishing this Lego Block scarf for my etsy store.  I had so much fun making these and  I love the pops of colour.  I am definitely keeping one for myself.

 

– Drinking an iced coffee in the sunshine.

 

– Making time for reading.

 

– Getting through an entire power yoga workout without needing a break.  I was sore afterwards, but it was so worth it.

 

– Embracing floaty fabrics and soft colours for summer.

 

– Having almost all of my Christmas shopping completed.

 

– Puppy licks and kitty cuddles.

 

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And last but certainly not least, I love Miss Jellylorum.  Today is her 7th birthday.  We’ve had so many hugs and lots of treats to celebrate her special day.

 

What do you love this week?

New Years Resolutions Update: September 2014

For the longest time I’ve toyed with the idea of running my own market stall.  I love my little etsy shop, but it bums me out that I have to charge so much for shipping and I miss getting to interact with my customers.  I thought it would be a fun experiment to run a stall at a craft market.  So my resolution for September was to make this happen.

 

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I didn’t manage to get this one off the ground.  The biggest reason is that work was insane this month and I did very little else other than eating, sleeping and the occasional round of Mario Kart.  It was pretty unrealistic to think that I’d be able to host a market stall as well.

 

I did start doing some serious planning for when I do get a stall going.  And this planning made me realise that I have a LOT of work to do before I’ll be ready to run a stall of my own.  I began researching markets in the area and calculating which ones I thought would be most suited to the kinds of crafts I sell.  In a lot of cases, it can take six weeks to apply and be approved for a market stall, so the application process alone is pretty taxing.

 

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I will also need to get the bare bones for my stall.  I’ll probably hire a trestle table, and maybe borrow a little tent or shade cloth from a friend if the market is outdoors.  I’ll also need to get display shelves or racks for my items.

 

My inventory also needs a fair bit of work.  Because I sell on etsy, and a lot of my items are made-to-order, I usually just make a sample item to begin with.  So I have a lot of single items, but not many multiples of items.  Before the market I need to think carefully about which items I think will be good sellers and then make a bunch in different colours and sizes.  I will also need to price each of these items, and think about packaging as well.

 

There will be a lot of work and planning before I am even close to ready to run my own stall.  But I’ve made progress.  I’ve planned out the tasks I need to do to get a stall going and I’ve put a deadline for each one in my diary.  I haven’t reached my goal yet, but I have a roadmap and I am plodding towards the finish line.  There is a market in April next year that I’d really like to participate in, so I’m making that my goal for now.

 

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Have you even run a market stall?  What was it like?  Did you have to do a lot of planning beforehand?

Making some ethical changes to my wardrobe.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my clothes-shopping habits and I’ve begun making a few changes to the way I buy clothes.

A couple of years ago I read a sensational book called To Die For: is fashion wearing out the world? by Lucy Seigel.  The book talks a lot about the social and environmental impact of fast fashion.   It opened my eyes to a whole lot of issues that I’d never been aware of before.

I recently read The 100 Things Challenge by Dave Bruno.  Once again, I found this book to be a real eye-opener about consumerism and our drive to acquire new things.

DSCF9157I’d really like to change the way I shop in order to reflect my personal ethics.  In particular, I don’t want to buy mindlessly.  I really want to put more effort into considering my purchases to make sure that my money goes to businesses that support my beliefs.

There are a few things that concern me about my current shopping habits:

– Firstly, a lot of the clothing I buy comes from retailers that produce clothing overseas in countries with less-than-stellar labour laws.  A lot of this clothing is produced in sweatshops or by home workers who are forced to work in dangerous and degrading conditions.

– I buy a lot of clothing without thinking about where it’s come from and the impact of producing it.  I’d like to start choosing more clothes that are made using more environmentally sustainable practices.

– I tend to shop for price rather than quality.  I find it easy to be drawn into buying something simply because it’s cheap.

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So, what can I do about it?  I’ve come up with a few ideas:

– Buy less.  I have more than enough clothes hanging in my wardrobe right now.  I really don’t need to buy as much as I do.  I’d like to start reducing the amount of clothing that I’m purchasing.

– Buy more second hand.  This is an easy one for me, because I love thrift shopping.  It’s a great way to recycle items that are already out in the world and support charities that run the op-shops.

– Buy better quality items.  I’m going to try to save up to buy better quality items that will last longer and won’t have to be replaced as frequently.

– Choose Australian made items.  I’d prefer to buy items that are made in Australia because I know that workers here are protected by our labour laws.  However, this one is hard to do, because most clothing that is sold in Australia isn’t actually made in Australia.

– Make more things for myself.

– Mend and make do.  Rather than replacing items when they fall apart or break, I should attempt to fix them.

– Upcycle.  With items that are worn out and can’t be repaired, I’d like to try to use them to make something else.  I’ve been brainstorming lately and I’ve come up with a bunch of awesome things to make out of my worn-out tee shirts and linens.

– Buy from independent retailers.  As a small business owner, I feel that I have a duty to support other small businesses.  Even though I have a pretty small budget for spending money, I like to pour as much of it as possible into independent retailers.  I’m trying to buy many items from etsy sellers and small retailers that make their own stock.  This way, I’m ensuring that my clothes have an ethical background and I’m supporting a small business owner.

– Look for environmentally sustainable fabrics.  This can be very tricky, but I’m trying hard to look for clothes that are made from organic cotton and wool, bamboo fabric, hemp and recycled materials.

Although I understand that I’m not always going to be able to stick to these changes, and I’m sure to slip up occasionally, I really want to make an effort to change the way I shop and pour my hard-earned cash into businesses that are doing the right thing.

Do your shopping practices reflect your ethics?   Are there any changes you’d like to make to your shopping habits and your wardrobe?

Etsy news: Christmas is just around the corner!

I’ve been making some big changes to my etsy store in the lead-up to Christmas.  I wanted to share some of me newest products with you and inspire you for the silly season!

First of all, I’ve introduced a made-to-order section in my store.  There are loads of gorgeous items up for grabs in this section, including snoods, scarves, gloves, string bags and shawls.  I can create each of these items in the colour of your choice.

DSCF8087Made-to-order snood

DSCF7726Made-to-order bed socks

DSCF7704Made-to-order beret

For you Harry Potter fans, I’ve got a huge range of Potter-inspired goodies that can be custom-made just for you.  My store is currently stocked with scarves (in both the first- and third-year designs), gloves and socks in all four Hogwarts house colours.  Just take your pick!

DSCF5300Hogwarts third-year scarf

il_570xN.204583630Hogwarts first-year house scarf

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Hogwarts house colours bed socks

In other very exciting news, I’ve been working on adding some made-to-order clothing to my store.  I’ve been adapting some vintage crochet patterns so that they can be made to fit any size.  That means that all you have to do is send me your measurements, nominate your colour and then wait for me to whip up a garment to fit you.  From sweet-petites to lanky-and-lovely, from chunky-and-funky to boobalicious, I’ll be able to create something that will fit you.

At the moment, I’ve got this gorgeous 1970’s crocheted tank top that can be made to order.  It looks super cute when worn over a contrasting tank, or as a cover-up over your bathers.  I can make this in acrylic yarn or light-weight cotton thread for warmer climates.  Most colours are available.

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I will be adding more made-to-order clothing in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.

I also have an exciting line of Christmas goodies in the works, and I’ll be sure to let you know when those are ready.  My store also has loads of vintage items, as well as completed crocheted and knitted goods.  All of my e-books are also available through my store.

In the lead-up to Christmas, I also offer free gift-wrapping.  If you’re buying a gift, just let me know and I’ll wrap it in gorgeous paper and include a lovely gift-card.  I can even post it straight to your loved-one if you aren’t going to see them before Christmas day.  That saves you the effort of worrying about wrapping and shipping!

Get in now and place your order to be sure that it arrives in time for Christmas!  If you use the coupon code JOLLY2013 you’ll get 20% off any purchase over $5.

Happy shopping!

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Crochet for beginners.

I have gotten so many requests from my readers for crochet tutorials.  I am planning on making some eventually, but I’m not really sure how to go about it.  I’m also not certain what kind of things you’d like to learn, so for now I’ve decided to just put together this post for those of you who have never crocheted but would like to learn.

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I began learning to crochet about five years ago.  My mother taught me how to do a few basic stitches and then started me off on a Granny Square blanket.  I worked on that blanket for a while, then I got bored and forgot about it.  This time last year, I decided that I was keen to pick up my hook and start learning again.  I quickly built up my skill set and I’ve been trying bigger and more adventurous projects as time has passed.  I’ve also gotten to the point where I can create my own patterns and modify existing patterns to produce unique results.

DSCF8523I personally prefer crocheting to knitting.  I find that with crochet, it’s easier to backtrack if you make a mistake, so I feel more confident trying adventurous projects or techniques.  If you muck it up, it’s a breeze to just go back and fix it.  You don’t have to stress about ruining your whole project if you make one little mistake.

DSCF8517Today I’m going to talk about the absolute basics of crochet.  If you want to learn this fun craft, this is the place to start.

What will I need to begin crocheting?

Ultimately, you will need two things: yarn and a hook.

DSCF6670When choosing yarn, I think it’s best to go for 8 ply acrylic yarn.  At least while you’re a beginner, acrylic yarn is the easiest to work with, it’s washable and it produces great results.  It’s also nice and cheap, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money on your new hobby.  Once you’ve got a bit more experience, you can try some fancier yarns, but for now, 8ply acrylic is your best bet.

DSCF8727You can be less choosy when it comes to buying hooks.  Most craft stores will sell crochet hooks in a range of sizes and materials.  When I first started crocheting, I found it easiest to work with a plastic hook.  The plastic hooks are smooth, so the yarn slips over them easily.  They’re also not quite as rigid as metal hooks, which can be tough on your fingers when you’re just learning.  But it really does come down to personal preference.

To begin with, I’d buy a pack of about five crochet hooks in varying sizes.  These packs are pretty easy to find and aren’t expensive.  The set in the picture above was my first set of crochet hooks and it cost me about $4.  The smallest hook is 4mm and the largest is 6.5mm.  This is a good range of sizes because these are the most commonly used hook sizes.  As you become more experienced, you might want to invest in some larger or smaller hooks for specific projects.

What do I need to know?

When you first learn to crochet, you don’t need too many skills.  I think it’s best to start out learning the most basic techniques and building up your knowledge slowly.  I think that the most basic things you need to know to begin with are:

– How to hold your yarn and hook

– A slip knot

– A slip stitch.

– Single crochet stitch

– Double crochet stitch

– Chain stitch.

There are a lot of other crochet stitches, but most of them build on these basic techniques.  So if you master these, you’ll be able to pick up anything else pretty quickly.

I’m a very visual person, and I find it difficult to learn new stitches from pictures in a book.  I think that the easiest way to learn is by watching videos of people actually doing the stitches.  Whenever I need to learn a new stitch, I go to Youtube and search for a video demonstration.  I’ve linked to a video tutorial for each of the most basic stitches listed above to give you a head start.

I want to make something right now!  What’s a good project to start with?

It’s best to begin with something relatively simple.  For beginners, a project that uses only a few stitches and is quite repetitive is a good place to start.  You don’t want to begin with a project that’s too involved. Here are a couple of projects that I made when I was new to crochet.

– Fingerless gloves are a quick project that you can whip up in an afternoon.  This pattern is simple and easy to  master.

– Granny squares are simple and you can use loads of fun colours to make them stand out.  This pattern shows you how to start a granny square.  You can make them into potholders or keep adding rows to make a huge blanket.

– One of my first crochet projects was this bobble blanket from The Nearsighted Owl.  Now, I know the idea of making a blanket is daunting, but this is actually a great beginner project.  It’s repetitive, uses only a few stitches and doesn’t require any fancy finishing techniques.

So by now I’ll bet you’re all ready to start working on your first crochet project.  I wish you the best of luck and all the encouragement in the world.  It takes a little bit to master crocheting, but soon you’ll feel confident enough to try a more difficult project, or even create your own pattern.

If you’ve got any questions about crocheting, or requests for tutorials, please feel encouraged to get in touch with me.

Things I love Thursday 18/7/2013

I’m feeling very low at the moment, and it’s times like these where it pays to turn your mind to the things that you’re grateful for.  So for today, I’m trying to think about the things I love, rather than the things I’ve lost.

This Thursday, I love:

– My family.  They’ve been incredible these past few weeks, feeding me, mopping up my tears and taking me for trips to cheer me up.  I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family.

– My brother.  I know I’ve mentioned my family already, but my brother has been exceptional.  He’s listened to my fears, worries and grief and given some fantastic advice.  He’s made me laugh and brought over Buster Keaton films for me to watch.  I’m sometimes awed by the fantastic person that my brother has grown into.

DSCF8590-Jazzing up my old denim shorts.  My favourite pair of Superman PJ pants ripped last week, so I salvaged a bit of the fabric to make cute pockets for my shorts.  I can’t wait for it to be warm enough for me to wear these.

– Night-time phone calls from my oldest friend, day-time calls from my closest friend, emails from my online friends and visits from my cuddliest friend.

– Misfits.  I adore that show.

-Cleaning out my things.  It’s quite cathartic.

– Getting a makeover for a good cause.

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– Coming home from work to find my cats sleeping butt-to-butt on the back of the couch.

– Lifeline. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I probably wouldn’t be here writing this if it weren’t for the awesome people that work for this crisis line.  It’s been a very rough couple of weeks, and I’ve made a few calls to them which have left me feeling supported.

-Beginning a huge crochet project.

– Finishing A Clash of Kings at long last.

– Long walks around the lake in the cold air.

– Warm slippers.

– This song.  It always brings tears to my eyes, but I still love it.

– Home made chicken soup.

What about you sweet-pea?  What are you loving this week?  Even if you’re feeling low, give a gratitude list a shot.  It might not help, but it certainly won’t hurt, so give it a crack.