Friday, November 19, 2010

The First Annual Mongomery Burns Award For Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Making Up Blog Titles

So once again, Corvis Tristis has motivated me to do something. This time, she introduced me to Chronicle Books, publishers of many a crafty codex and creative compendium. Right now they're having a little competition to celebrate the coming holidays. Post a list of books you want from them, up to the value of $500, and you can win every single one of those books that you post.
And get this: Comment on my blog, and you will also be in the draw to win the books I choose. Not to share with me, mind you, you win your very own stash of epic crafting goodness. Because who doesn't love free shit?

So here we are guys, my list of desired books:

1. World of Geekcraft by Susan Beal, Because I am a geek and proud to shout it. And yes, the last project I favourited on COAK was this. The book is $19.95.
2. Amy Butler's Style Stitches. I love bags. Bags and shoes. Bags and shoes and gloves. Amongst my many loves are bags, shoes, gloves and... I'll start again. I want to be able to make awesome bags. I already do this, but I want to make different awesome bags. This will give me some ideas. This book is $29.95, bringing my subtotal to $49.90.
3. Every Day's a Holiday - Year-Round Crafting With Kids by Heidi Kenney. My best friend's neice is a smart little cookie, and she's so willing to play and experiment. We both love to teach her new things, and this would be an awesome way to include some creativity and motor-skills while increasing her awareness of cultural things like Christmas and yes, National Bird Day. This book is $22.50 so my total is now $72.40.
4.DIY Fashion - Customize and Personalize by Selena Francis-Brydon. The blurb about this book doesn't say much, nor does the review on Amazon, but it looks pretty awesome, and apparently includes a section on fixing your own clothes so you don't have to buy new ones. Awesome idea for the poverty-prone such as moi. The book is $24.95 so my subtotal is now $97.35.
5. Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Spellbinding Jewelry, Creepy-Cute Toys and More! by Margaret McGuire and Alicia Kachmar. I'm going to ignore the use of an exclamation mark in the title and simply point out that creepy-cute = freaking awesome. Considering also that every single thing on the front cover looks like something I'd love to own, I reckon this book is probably for me. It's only $14.95, which brings my total so far to $112.30.
The 6th book on my list is Whip Up Mini Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson, for the following reasons: 'Whip Up Mini Quilts' is an awesome way to phrase a title, and reminds me of my own "whack together". Mini quilts is exactly the kind of thing I'd like to learn to do. I've always thought patchwork looked like a lot of fun, but I didn't want to start on anything too big, like an actual quilt, or too old-lady, like a cushion cover. Mini-quilts sounds just the thing. 'Kathreen' is a radical name. And finally, she's an Aussie, and that gets her bonus points.
Whip Up Mini Quilts is $24.95, bringing the subtotal to $137.25 so far.
7. As a woman with ADHD, I find it near impossible to keep a track of, well, pretty much anything. The Craft Inc. Business Planner is definitely something I could use. Pockets, notepads out the wazoo, pen-holders, and helpful reminders to keep you on track, if I don't win the competition I'll probably buy one of these anyway. It's an awesomely cheap $16.95, so so far I'm up to $154.20.
8. I decided to have a look for crochet books. I haven't tried knitting since I was a wee little kiddy, and I was bloody awful at it when I did. My "edging" came out scraggly, to say the least. I managed to add stitches, drop stitches, double-stitch the same stitch so I had a double row but only in one section... I buggered it up every which way you can think of. Theoretically, I should start with the simplest and easiest crochet books, since I'm so awful at it, but guys... NINJAS! Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden is $14.95 so I'm up to $169.15.
9. Along the lines of crochet ninjas, we now have a knitted Mr T doll. I. Must. Own. This. Book: Knitted Icons: 25 Celebrity Doll Patterns by Carol Meldrum. It's 15.95, which brings us to $185.10.
10. A wicked way to combine nanna craft and being a bitch: Subversive Cross-Stitch: 33 Designs For Your Surly Side by Julie Jackson. It's at this point that I realise I should stop looking or I'm going to buy something, and then I will be in deep trouble. $14.95 so where are we up to now? $200.05.

Moving away from Craft books now and into the realms of fiction.

11. Sense and Sensability and Sea Serpents has managed to combine my love of squid with my love for Alan Rickman. This is both disturbing and awesome and I must own it. It is $12.95, which adds to make $213.
12. In the same line of books, I still haven't read Android Karenina. I've read the original (Anna Karenina) and it's great. Steampunking it would probably kill me with the awesome. I am willing to risk it. $225.95 so far.
13. Fuck This Book is a series of photos of public signs that have had a sticker with the word 'fuck' on it stuck to them. Immature and stupid. I can totally get behind that. It's $14.95, so the total is now $240.90.
14. In a totally different direction, Disneystrology does what all those other birthday books did, making up personality traits for people born on each day of the year. Only they've added Disney characters. I want to know which one I am. It'll cost me $16.95 to find out. $257.85.
15. I have a deep and abiding love of Absinthe. A nasty-tasting, poisonous-looking, addictive, drug-laced alcohol, with a butt-load of symbolism and a glamorous reputation. Absinthe: History in a Bottle is a perfect addition to my cabinet. It's $22.95 and is another item that if I don't win it, I will buy. Total so far: $280.80.
16. Although I'm a traditionalist who thinks Absinthe should be taken by itself, or with burnt sugar and laudanum only, I'm willing to give absinthe cocktails a go. The Man is a cocktail-bartender too, so I reckon he'd get a kick out of 50 Ways to Mix With the Green Fairy, which is only 19.95. This brings the total to 300.75.
17. My addiction to the seedy-yet-glamorous side of pop culture continues with Playboy: 50 Years The Photographs. It's an expensive one, at $50, but well worth it, I reckon. $350.75 now.
18. I'm not a huge fan of the Worst Case Scenario Survival Guides. Sure, they're kind of funny, but they're one of those things that you sort of giggle at and then forget you own. As a life-long addict of weird shit, I must, I repeat, MUST own their guide to the paranormal. Must. It's only 14.95, but if I don't win it, I'm buying it. $315.70 now.
19. Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better is the woman's guide to doing kick-arse stuff. I want to know how to kick down a door. I currenly can't spit further than on my own foot (and would like to remedy that). I want to be able to tell the difference between a blended and a single malt without having to read the label. If I don't win this competition, I'm requesting this book from The Man. It's $14.95. $330.65.

OK. So we're getting to the pointy end of the list now, but I still have almost $150 to go. I don't have any books left that I desperately, desperately want, but I'm greedy, so fuck it. Here are the books that I think are cool enough to add to the list. Books I want, but not enough to actually pay for or even look for, though if someone offers them to me for free, I'll be taking.

20 and 21. First up we have two kid-wrangling books. I don't have any spawn but I'd like to one day, and I'm the kind of person who, when planning to do something, reads fuck-loads and fuck-loads of books about it in order to be completely prepared. Then I don't do it after all. But I'm sure it'll happen one day, and it'll be nice to have some guides that won't make me panic and think my offspring are about to die. How to Have Your Second Child First is one of those guides that every mother should own (I assume, since I haven't read it yet). Two comedy authors have written a funny-but-true book about how the second kid has it a bit easier, specifically because the parents have already done their panicking and overparenting with the first one, so the second is left to have a normal childhood. How to Con Your Kid helps you come up with lies to make annoying little shits (sorry - little angels) do what you want them to do. Won't eat broccoli? How about 'baby trees'? HTHYSCF is $18.95, and HTCYK is $14.95. $364.55.
22. My mate showed me a new dance move last week that he learned from an old lady at a nightclub. I'm going to ignore the awesomeness of that situation and move on to the awesomeness of the dance move itself. It is called The TV and basically involves making a box with your arms, doing The Robot for a second or two and then flopping sideways and having a fit. Said mate would love the shit out of The Best Dance Moves in the World... Ever! and I would like to win this book so I won't have to pay for his Christmas present. What? I'm unemployed! If I were to pay for it, it would be $16.95. $381.50.
23. The Book of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks is a must-have. My best friend and I regularly find signs around town with quotation marks that just really shouldn't be there. Quotations marks change the whole vibe of the word. I gotta say, I'll probably never hire that "reliable" farrier that I saw advertised at the pet shop a few years back. And the six-pack of "sausages" at the shop the other day can stay right there. $14.95 so my total is now $396.45.
24. As an Australian, it is my patriotic duty to barbeque as frequently as I can, weather and money be damned. The problem is (and don't tell my family this) I'm not very good at. Weber's pretty famous. Maybe they can help. Weber's Big Book of Grilling would probably help. It's $24.95. My total is now $421.40.
25. I am a big fan of wine, red wine specifically, and I especially love finding the weird ones. There's a few around here - I live in a wine region so they're not hard to find - but I want to know about ones the world over. Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape is a collection of weird wines. Either with weird names, like Cat Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, or they have a cool label feature, like thermochromic ink, and braille lettering. This book would be a great addition to my library, plus it sounds like a porno Nancy Drew book. $16.95. $438.35.
26. I would have liked to have ended the list with a nice, round number like 25, but I found a book that was so perfect for The Man that I just couldn't not include it. He enjoys the superficially gentleman-like style of smoking rooms and single-malt whiskey (with the 'e') and Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice and Barstool Wisdom is perfect. So perfect I may ignore my intention of making everyone's presents this Christmas and buy this for him. It had to be included. It's $14.95, which brings my final total to:


I have enough left over to find a few more books, but I'm starting to press it now, plus I've been working on this post for three days and frankly, I just want to go to the pub. So I'm simply going to say 'sayanara' and get my drink on, and hope that at least one person comments or I'm going to feel like a loser.

Sayanara motherfuckers!

PS. I have more combs to show you soon! Also some fuzzy pink stuff XD

PPS. When I first came across this competition I wondered if I was included since I'm across the other side of the globe. I couldn't find anything to say I wasn't, so I forged ahead. I now see that the rules of entering are in youtube format. I have chosen not to watch it because if I find out I just wrote a list for 3 days for no reason I will probably cry. Fingers crossed, people. Fingers well and truly fucking crossed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well That Was a Long Hiatus - EDITED

OK so I took a little longer to get back into the swing of things than I thought I would.
It's been a hard few weeks for me. I've recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression) and ADHD and it's been a constantly changing cocktail of drugs to try, in hopes of making me somewhat more... I hesitate to use the word 'normal'... Functional? It's been pretty freaking horrific at times, and I've come closer to death than I feel comfortable with, and it's only now that I feel like I'm getting back on track, which is sort of strange, since I'm not actually on any drugs at all.
In any case, I want this blog to be mainly about my often hilariously awful attempts at making stuff, and not so much about how shit I am/was feeling, so I'm just going to say that the above issues have been the main cause of my lengthy absence, and I apologise.

Now to the good stuff:

I've made very few things lately, for the reasons listed above, but in the last few days I feel like I've been kicked in the arse by the craft fairy and I've started making a few things. The craft fairy has appeared in the guise of a girl my own age, named, well, I don't know what she's named. She calls herself Corvus Tristis after the Grey Crow, and I like that, since the bird I've always identified with is the Australian Magpie - a passeriform bird, as are all true crows. Plus crows are just fucking awesome anyway!

She's given me the urge to make the combs I've been planning for months now. I've so far made only one, for reasons I will outline below. For now - LOOK AT MY PRETTY COMB!

I bought the comb ages back in a set of 8 or 10 for this specific purpose in mind. I may have made a mistake buying them from the cheap store though, because as soon as I put the hot glue on it and whacked the flowers on, the comb itself started melting. If you look close enough at the actual comb you can see that the tines aren't quite as aligned as they should be. That's because I had to push them into place while holding all the flowers in place and not burning the crap out of my hands. I did well enough that the comb will stay together and will stay in my hair, but they're not good enough for me to sell. I'll have to buy some slightly better ones for next time. For now I'll stick with the cheapies while I work on styles and techniques. They look nice enough anyway. I might make some for friends too.

Corvus has also inspired me to try making everyone's Christmas presents this year instead of buying them (except books, I will be buying books as always and they totally don't count). It should be a lot easier on my pocket (not that I carry my wallet in my pocket but you get the point) and it sounds like a good way to focus myself and have a bit of fun as well. Last night when I couldn't sleep I made a present for Crystal. Behold: the REDACTED, shamelessly filched from the mind of someone else (probably Corvus again).

Yeah, sorry guys, my real life friends don't really check out this blog, so I wasn't too worried about posting pictures of upcoming presents. Then the next post came along and I'm directing everyone here to post, so I've had to take the photos and all mention of what they are of, away. I will put them back up after Christmas :P

I had (and have) plenty of felt lying around, and Crystal loves REDACTED, and also sewing, and I thought it was an item that combined the two quite well. I also plan to make a AHEMHEM WHAT'S THAT OVER THERE? for her, using transfer paper and an image I flogged from someone on Craftster (though she found it through Google Images, so I don't think it counts as flogging). I'm going to have to print the picture on regular paper at least 85 times before I try it on transfer paper though - that shit is expensive.
I'm going to make all the girls personalised gift bags too. I don't really see guys using bags very often - in fact they seem to be allergic - doing all that they can to avoid using one, even when it's downright inconvenient to do anything else. Plus most of my male friends live with their parents still, and won't even be able to use a bag for grocery shopping, so they will just get their stuff wrapped up or something.

OK. As far as regular sewing goes. I have been doing sewing classes with a girl from work, and they're going pretty well. We went through WEA, the local adult learning centre, and it's a course that's designed for people with no experience at all with sewing machines. We both do have a little bit of experience - I did sewing in school, and she has made one or two small non-clothing items - but we wanted to go as simple as possible to make sure we didn't go out of our depth and waste the tutoring fee. We both picked out our simple patterns from Spotlight (and they're actually pretty similar, which isn't surprising, really, since we're quite alike in our fashion tastes) and the third class will be on tomorrow (after which we'll be going to the pub as a farewell drinks night for me). We've both been pretty capable of keeping up with the instructions, and I haven't actually had to ask for any help yet - which is strange since I think if I didn't have the option available I would have needed help. In any case, I'm currently in the process of making a calico version of the dress to make sure it fits ok, and then I'll know what needs fixing for the end product.

And finally, for Halloween this year I did a bit of decorating, but with such a small house I was left with few options. I did get an awesome idea from Cut Out And Keep to make a Halloween Wreath for the front door. I grabbed a wire coathanger and bent it into a circle, then cut dark grey plastic bags into strips and slipknotted them onto the hanger. Once the hanger was full, I hot-glued some fake flowers I had previously spray-painted black (it's ok not to cover them completely in paint, in fact, I think it looks better that way) and also added some cobwebs I made with the hot glue. And voila! One Halloween Wreath:

And that's what I've been doing when I wasn't here. Stay tuned for a competition, bitchez!