Sunday, 22 July 2018

Patreon Reward and Raffle Prize from Rainbowholic

For a few months now, I've been a patron of Kaila of Rainbowholic on Patreon, and I've loved it. I've been on the "Sakura" level, which entitles me to a cute postcard in the mail every month, as well as access to secret videos, printable sticker sheets and a few more things. But more than that, a community has developed of like-minded cute stationery and journalling fans.

This month, Kaila was offering a copy of The ABCs of Journalling by Abbey Sy at one of the higher levels. It was a book I'd been wanting for a while, so I decided to upgrade. A stash of cute stickers and stationery was included -- plus the prize I won in the raffle that Kaila holds on her monthly livestream! I'm a very lucky girl.

I was too excited to do a real unboxing, so there are no photos of the outer packaging, but I can assure you it was pink and cute!

The ABCs of Journalling is a gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated and with lots of ideas for creating a diary and decorating it.

The stationery that came with it included some Gudetama and Little Twin Stars themed items. I love them all! There was a cute postcard with a lovely personalised message from Kaila, too.

Here is the raffle prize -- a notebook hand-made and decorated by Kaila, and some sticker sheets. (er, I didn't seem to get any photos of the stickers, sorry!)

I just love the notebook, which she made as a demonstration during one of her Patron-only videos. It feels so strange and exciting to see something I've seen on the internet, now on my own desk!

I love these retro patterned papers, and the 'postage stamps' are actually washi tapes with a series of different stamp-like images on them. It's almost too cute to use! I will have to save it for something special.

I've had mixed experiences with Patreon, but I've been entirely happy with my Rainbowholic experience. Kaila's positivity is infectious and she inspires me to keep making things cute every day! Her YouTube channel RainbowholicTV has frequent doses of kawaii journalling, crafts, DIYs and other fun things.

This post is purely my opinion and I have not received anything in return!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Finished Craft Project -- Oracle Mat

I finished a craft project! It's a mat for oracle readings. I had a small one for rune readings, but needed a larger one to fit multiple cards on. I looked at the project and realised I only had one row to go. I didn't have an exact size in mind so I just crocheted until I ran out of wool ... and it was running low. I added a simple border in double-crochet (single-crochet if you're in the U.S.) to finish it off.

It was featured in my Unfinished Craft Projects last month, so perhaps the purpose of that blog post series is finally coming to fruition!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

My June

Winter has hit cold and early this year. It's been cold enough to affect the spirits, but not enough for anything interesting like snow. I haven't been able to spend as much time outside as I would like. I also had some mishaps which kept me indoors, spraining my ankle and just as I was recovering from that, injuring my back. Work was also very busy, which led to feeling a bit down and not getting to do everything I wanted to do ... or is that really true?

What I've been working on ...
I've had a sudden and unexpected resurgence of interest in my Hobonichi art diary. I've been using it for a slightly different purpose than just a daily record of my life. I got stuck in a rut thinking that my life is too routine and boring to make a record of. One of the YouTubers I subscribe to, Rainbowholic, has spoken about that in some of her videos recently, and suggested other ways of using the diary. In the last few weeks, I've started a practice on Sunday nights of listing everything I did that weekend. I've found it a really helpful and fun wellbeing practice. On Monday mornings (or anytime really) when I find that I'm beating myself up over not having "done enough", I look at the page and it makes me feel better.

What I've been watching ...
At the start of the month I saw the Star Wars movie Solo. I've heard a lot of criticism about it, but I really liked it. I found the story really engaging, and even wanted to know more about the characters at the end. I wish there would be a sequel, but unfortunately I doubt there will be.

What I've been eating ...
A few months ago, Husband and I were talking with a friend and we discovered a shared love of food -- more specifically, going out and eating food together. So we decided that the 3 of us would go out and eat together on a regular basis, each of us choosing the venue in turn. Last month was Husband's turn, and he chose the Mac and Cheese themed day at the Preston Food Truck Park. These are frozen cheesecakes on a stick. There are more pics of what we ate here on my Instagram!

What I've been painting ...
I went to one of the Crap Craft series of workshops at NOIR Darkroom on Painting with Bob Ross. I'd never seen a Bob Ross tutorial before, and it was a revelation! If you haven't seen his shows, I recommend checking them out on YouTube or Netflix. The 'tutorial' was a bizarre mixture of unexplained painting techniques, small adorable animals, and encouraging mottos, all overlaid with Bob's calming voice. (Apparently some people listen to the audio of his shows to help them get to sleep.) It was a bit stressful sometimes -- we'd finish painting one tree, look up and Bob had already painted a whole forest -- but I would definitely do it again!

Here's my painting:

Selections from Instagram

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Hello Winter!

Winter has come early and hard to my part of Australia this year. The frosty mornings and overcast skies have blown in suddenly like a southerly wind straight from Antarctica. Thankfully, Winter isn't completely relentless here -- there are still some sunny days which bring a little warmth and hope.

Here are some ways that I'd like to celebrate Winter this year:

As I mentioned in my last post, I really want to get back into baking again. I love making cakes, loaves and biscuits that I can share with Husband and with friends. I have a secret love of rock cakes -- they make the perfect snack! Collecting cute utensils to use in the kitchen is another wish of mine.

In Summer it's just too hot to handle wool or have large blankets-in-progress draped over my lap. But Winter is the perfect time for that! I've even been taking one smaller blanket to work with me and working on it during my lunchbreaks. There's something comforting about holding the yarn in my hands which goes well with cold weather.

When I've had a long day at work, all I can think about is coming home and snuggling with my cat. He's a confirmed lap cat and a huge sook, so I know I'm guaranteed some time with him on my lap every evening. Sometimes I even joke that I'm nothing but a heated cushion in his eyes! Not only is it nice and warm, but I can scratch under his chin easily and it's bonding time for both of us.

I hope your Winter is warm and snuggly, and if you're in Summer right now, I hope you're enjoying the sun!

Sunday, 17 June 2018

End of 101 Things in 1,001 Days

A couple of days ago, I finished my first 101 Things in 1,001 Days. Like with many things, the last two-and-three-quarter years has seemed like a very long time and also hardly any time at all. My life has changed tremendously since it began, but I'll save that for another blog post.

I ended up finishing 35 things on the list -- approximately one-third. And that's even with reviewing the list every 6 months to take out things I was no longer interested in and adding in new ones. I'm trying not to see it as a dismal failure rate, but in just that it just reflects my personality as a person loves novelty and whose interests can change pretty quickly. I also have a feeling it probably says a lot about the lack of time and energy I have to devote to my hobbies. Perhaps the experience will give me motivation to look at the way I spend my spare time.

I always knew that I'd start a second 1,001 Days well before I finished the first one. I love the concept of (slightly!) longer term planning. Sometimes I want to plan further ahead than a year, but 5 years is a bit too long and daunting! A time period about half that length just seems right to me. I rolled over some of the things I'd completed and enjoyed from my last list. I also re-added others that I didn't complete, because I'm still interested in doing them. Others are new.

Here's the full list (there's also a tab at the top of my blog), and here are a couple of the highlights:

✦ finish KonMariing my house -- well, it's still not finished, even after 2.75 years ... a little outside of the 6 months that KonMari recommends! But I'm determined to finish one day.

✦ write a "reverse bucket list" -- as much as I hate the term bucket list, I think it's a good idea to remind myself of the things I've achieved so far in my life, big and small.

✦ hang all my art -- this was uncompleted from my last list, but it's important to me. Tara Leaver recommends hanging your own art in your studio to help inspire you, and it just makes sense to decorate the house with it instead of it sitting stacked up in a corner somewhere.

✦ watch 50 new movies -- I finished this one way early too, and now that we have Netflix, Husband and I watch a lot more movies. So I've increased it from 30 to 50.

✦ go to 15 art/craft exhibitions -- increased from 10 on the last list.

✦ create a gluten-free flour mix for bread -- I've been meaning to do this for a while. Gluten-free flour mixes are available from my local supermarkets, but they're expensive and only come in small packages. I want to experiment with different blends until I can make the perfect bread. (And perhaps pizza dough, cakes and biscuits too!) Since I've been unable to eat gluten, I've baked a lot less and I've missed it. This item will be a great excuse to take it up again.

✦ have a Harry Potter themed feast -- because who wouldn't want to do that?

✦ write 30 reviews on my blogs -- this item was a lot of fun, and I finished it about a year early last time, so I've increased it from 20 to 30.

✦ read A Christmas Carol every Christmas -- I had this on my list to do once, and I loved it so much that I've decided to do it every year. The message of goodwill and generosity in the book is so wonderful that I want to remind myself of it regularly.

✦ learn 5 songs on ocarina -- I didn't have any music-related items on my old list, as I only took up playing the ocarina late last year. I've been sadly slack with my practice and would really like some motivation to do it more regularly.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Winter Reading List

As the weather gets colder here in Australia, my nesting instincts have kicked in. I'm suddenly into reading again. My interests in reading are quite broad -- from non-fiction of all kinds, to classic literature, to cheesy romance novels, to toddlers' board books. (I like to know what the kids are up to!)

Before I go on with my reading list, I'd like to mention that I joined Goodreads earlier this year. I mainly joined so I could do the yearly reading challenge, but I'd really love to have some more friends there, so if you're a member, please friend me!

To begin my reading quest for this Winter, I've decided to sign up for an online course (sort of crossed with a book club) reading Ulysses by James Joyce. It's generally thought to be one of the hardest books in English to read, and it's certainly one of the longest. I've been wanting to have a crack at it ever since I was 14 and bought a copy of it at the local bookshop to make myself seem smarter. I never got around to the important part of actually reading it, of course, which is why I'm endeavouring to do it now. Hopefully doing it with a group will be fun and keep me motivated.

The course begins on 16th June, so there's still time to sign up if you'd like to do it too.

After that, I want to re-read The Lord of the Rings. I first read it when I was about 13 years old, over a boring Summer at my grandparents' house. That was an incredibly long time ago, and I think it deserves the justice of a re-read. I've decided to add it to my second 101 Things in 1,001 Days, which just happens to start in two weeks (there'll be a blog post about it!). Husband apparently has a copy of the book, but I can't find it, so I decided to buy a nice boxed set. (I recommend reading The Hobbit first as a prequel, but I'm not going to because I only re-read it a couple of years ago.)

Meanwhile, while I'm waiting for the Ulysses course to begin, I'm going to try and reduce the number of books I'm currently reading -- 14, which is a little long even by my standards. I've already given up on a couple, and there are a couple that are more like textbooks so I'm not sure they should count. Here's a short list of ones I'd like to actually finish. They're not the necessarily the hardest, or the easiest, the shortest or the longest. I guess they're just the ones that are piquing my interest right now. There might be reviews coming soon if I feel like writing them.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

May Unfinished Crafts Report

Project: Divination Mat
Craft: crochet
Started: 1st September 2017
This project is a relatively recent one, and it's quite large already. I think I wanted it to be 50-60cm square. I already had a small mat which I use for Rune readings, but my interest in Oracle card readings re-surfaced last year and it was too small for that. I happened to have this beautiful Bendigo Woollen Mills Stella, which is silky to the touch. I started making a scarf with it but changed my mind and ripped it. Now it's being re-purposed -- if I ever finish it! I measured it and it's already 45cm wide, so it's well along.

Project: Frankenstein's Toyster
Craft: knitting
Started: 2007
Similar to last month's project, this was more of a fun experiment in making a monster. I deliberately tried to make it as 'ugly' as I could, with blocky shapes, exposed stitches, and different knitting stitches creating strange textures. Poor old Frankie has suffered the same fate as most of my other monsters so far -- languishing in the back of the cupboard, unfinished. Frankie just needs a head and maybe some embroidered embellishments and he can join my finished monsters.

Project: Yarn Picture
Craft: yarn painting
Started: c. late 1980s
I started this project in early high school. I think I must have read a book about Mexican crafts, because I remember deliberately trying to give it a Mexican style. I worked hard on it and prepared a frame for when it was finished, so I'm surprised that I still haven't finished it. Glueing the wool down was unexpectedly fiddly and messy, so perhaps that's why I was put off.

There are only a few small areas to finish off, so it won't take much work. And I might perhaps touch up a few areas, like this squished-looking flower:

I still really like the idea of yarn painting as a craft, and would love to create a series of them to decorate my house.

The accidental theme for this month seems to be: nearly there! All of these projects were much closer to being finished than I thought they were. I feel more motivated to work on them now than I was before.