The Five Stages of Crafting

With apologies to Larry Miller, whose routine ‘The Five Levels of Drinking’ brought this about.

There are five levels of crafting! Six, if you work for a yarn company. But never mind that now! We will deal with five.

Level 1:

It’s 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. You’re in a yarn store. You go to leave, when one of your friends points out another ball of yarn. One of your RECENTLY PAID friends. And here at level 1 you think, “hey! why, as long as I set aside seven hours tomorrow to finish the scarf for my friend’s birthday on Monday, I’m cool!

Level 2:

It’s the evening. You’re at your knitting group. You may have bought a few more balls, and started a project with one of them. You just spent 20 minutes arguing against synthetic fibres. You go to get the project you’re supposed to be working on out of your bag, but at level 2, a little devil appears on your shoulder. And now you’re thinking, “hey! I have plenty of time before Monday to finish that scarf. Besides, as long as I set aside five hours tomorrow to knit on it, I’m cool!

Level 3:

1 in the morning. You’ve abandoned tea for red wine. You just spent 20 minutes arguing FOR synthetic fibres. And now you’re thinking “this new project I started tonight is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever worked on! The yarn feels amazing! I’ve finished an entire two inches already!” You get knitting fantasies, like “hey! I could totally make that jumper in large with travelling cables and bobbles, I bet it wouldn’t take THAT long to make.” At level three, that devil is a little bit bigger…and he’s showing you things on Etsy. And you think, “hey! As long as I set aside three hours, well, OK, maybe the length of a movie, to finish that scarf, I’m cool!”

Level 4:

Two in the morning, and the devil is adding things to your shopping cart. You ARE synthetic fibres. You decide to go to sleep right after you go to sleep over your project. But then you think to yourself…”well, since I’m only going to get a few hours of sleep anyway, I might as well…stay up all night crafting! Yeah, that’d be good for me! It’d be so badass- and I could totally finish this project by morning.

Level 5:

8 in the morning. You wake up and find yourself in bed with no idea how you got there, when your partner gets up and opens the curtains, and you hit the worst part of Level 5: the sun. See, if you’d actually managed to stay up all night and finish that damn scarf, it’d be amazing, like you beat the night. But right now, with two balls of yarn still left to knit on it, the sun is like God’s flashlight. And you tell your partner you need to go shopping for a birthday gift at Lush, while you say, to yourself,  the crafter’s mantra:

swear, I am never leaving a project to the last minute again as long as I live.

And some of us, of course, have that little addition.

And this time, I mean it. 

Monsterful Monday: It’s business time

B School

I’ve been a bit all-business the past couple of weeks, and it’s all because of Marie Forleo. I’ve taken the plunge and am currently about to hit module 3 of her B School programme.

There’s a mantra in the school- ‘B School doesn’t work unless you do’. Some of it’s a bit overwhelming, and of course it’s prodding at my self-doubt buttons, but I’ve connected with some great, supportive women and I’m learning so much. I’m already working on the first products for the new business, and I’ve gotten some great advice from some very inspiring women. So it’s a challenge, but there’s so much to be grateful for.


Partly because of B School, and partly because of 15 in 2015, I’ve been getting my sew on. Not as much as I could have- naps. Naps are good. But I’m making progress and that always makes me feel happy. I’m looking forward to the Easter weekend again this year. Last year it was because my Best Beloved was coming down for a visit. This year it’s because of the extra time together and of course time to sew.

Of course, I’d need to decide what to make, but still. Sewing time!

The little things

This flamingo purse, the Best Beloved, snuggles, terrible movies, introverting, connecting with lovely people, salt and vinegar almonds, tea, fellow B-schoolers in Auckland.

How about you?

5 golden rules for Facebook

Ah, Facebook, you drifted into our lives like a wave and now you’ve stuck around like an octopus on our collective faces. Like it or not, social media is there and most people with internet use it. I know only two people who have chosen not to have an account, and they’re both just fine. But most of us stay on it because we know we’ll miss stuff if we don’t. I don’t know when it became so hard to e-mail people to invite them to something, but it has.

Just like before mobile phones existed, you made definite plans and then stuck to them, Facebook has changed the way we interact with each other. But not everyone has good social skills on social media. Being at a keyboard and not in a room with people makes it all too easy to say things and behave in a way that you never would normally. Well, being kind and respectful never hurt anyone. Neither did choosing not to be someone who drains other peoples’ emotional energy. With that in mind, I give you:

Five golden rules of Facebook

1) Don’t vaguebook

If you don’t want people to know what’s really going on, don’t post about it. If you want to talk to one or two people about it, talk to *them*. You don’t even have to leave Facebook to do it- use instant messages. Vaguebooking is the equivalent of sitting with people and sighing loudly until someone asks you what’s wrong. Don’t go fishing for attention and sympathy. Be direct- “I’m having a really bad day and could use someone to talk to”- totally fine and upfront. “This thing happened and I won’t go into details but it was bad”- just no.

2) Don’t splash your bad mood all over everyone else.

In a similar vein to rule 1. Don’t make your unhappiness someone else’s problem.

3) Remember other people can see what you write.

It may sound like I’m teaching your grandmother to suck eggs but you would be surprised how many people forget that their posts are public. Or that their friends-only posts can be screencapped. Nothing on the internet ever really goes away, and it’s just another form of gossip. And it WILL get back to the person you’re talking about. If you forget that your posts are public, then they’ll likely be able to read it right from your own wall. Don’t say anything about someone on social media that you wouldn’t say to their face because, chances are, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

4) Use your powers for good

If someone puts up a photo of themselves with a new haircut, say something nice. Or if they put up a photo of their kids doing something cute, say so. Or like that s***. Wish them happy birthday. Share things that make you smile. Put links on your friends’ walls saying ‘hey, this made me think of you!’. There are so many ways to be kind and positive on Facebook. Liking a photo of someone’s new look can be a real boost to their confidence.

5) Remember- it’s a tool

Complicated? Sure. Ever-changing? You bet. But it’s just a tool. It’s not a replacement for actual interactions. It makes some things easier. But remember, you’re the one in charge of how you use it.

So use it wisely.


Monsterful Monday: Aces high

Birthday happiness

Not mine, but my Best Beloved’s. He loves Lego, and he loves Star Wars, and I knew just how much he would love to have the Lego Millennium Falcon- the BIG one. So for his birthday I got in touch with a bunch of our friends and hey presto, we clubbed together and got him one. It was so wonderful to see how happy he was, getting it and then making it. Of course now he has to rearrange his shelves so he can display it but still- I’m so grateful that our friends were willing to go in on it, and that it made him as happy as I hoped it would.

Also, Lego Chewie is adorable.

Pirates and Cowboys

This weekend just gone I attended the Pirates and Cowboys LARP weekend, out on the Awhitu peninsula. I had a great time playing two silly and one serious and gritty game, in shopped-in-my-wardrobe costumes (though I’m very grateful to my friend Anna for loaning me a poufy red pirate shirt for one of my costumes, it just made the outfit!), with a bunch of great people. I was exhausted by the end of it, but I had a great time- and I was very grateful to be at a gaming weekend that wasn’t to do with the current big campaign over here.

Even the weather was on our side- it was a clear, warm night for the first silly game, glorious sunshine for the second, and then wind and blasts of rain interspersed with hot and dry for the gritty Western. It’s nice when Nature gives you a hand with the atmosphere.

B School

It starts today. Or sort of. It starts today in America, which because of the time difference means it starts early tomorrow for me. I’m so excited to get going on learning more about online business and get my hustle on, and thankful for having the funds to do it. I’m also grateful for the lovely community of students, it’s great to be going through it with such a supportive and friendly bunch.

The Little Things

Toast, tea, free Burger Rings, scheduling, the existence of this ridonkulous fabric which I totally plan on buying at least 2m of to make a skirt, being called a majestic unicorn by Betty Le Bonbon, new ideas, comfy beds to sleep in, good showers, getting back into some sort of running routine, decluttering, re-reading awesome books, and of course snuggles and kisses with the Best Beloved.

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Craft projects for freaks and geeks: witchbabies and neopagans

Whether you’re wiccan, pagan or Asatru, there’s a lot of gorgeous crafting you can do to celebrate it. Obviously, if you’re a practicing witchbaby, you may save your crafting for altars. But it seems a shame to limit it.

For the knitters, there’s this magickal throw by Erssie Major– you could even mix and match the symbols for a different effect. What about a Warholised Norse Knot pattern, for example?

I’m also rather in love with her Maiden’s Glory knitted flower crown. Perfect for dancing by the light of the moon or for that medival damsel character you got cast as in a LARP. Accessorise with a felted pentacle bag

Or how about the Green Woman tunic, for a project to get your teeth into?

Hardanger embroidery is a Norse tradition, and there are a myriad of tutorials out there on how to do it- it’s more challenging than straight embroidery, but the results are just beautiful.

Or if you want something a bit more straightforward (and I wouldn’t blame you- it’s good to mix it up!) Urban Threads (oh, you know how I love me some Urban Threads) have a bunch of gorgeous design packs celebrating Pagan beliefs and culture. There’s the five elements, the zodiac, (imagine these on a circle skirt!) or maybe you’re super into the changing seasons and would love to display the Wheel of the Year in your house.

If you want to craft an altar, there are, again, a bunch of sources of ideas for this. I personally love portable altars like this altoid tin travelling altar and of course Veronica Varlow’s altar in a train case (because who doesn’t want a glamorous retro train case?).

One final super-awesome idea which seems to me to fit well here- making beads from flower petals. Maybe ones you’ve used in a ritual? Or as the site suggests, wedding flowers.

Don’t forget, if you’ve found other awesome craft ideas on this theme, I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Or just tell me what you’re making at the moment.