Monsterful Monday: Gratefully brought to you by the letter ‘B’

Brooches!

If you follow my Instagram you’ll know I’ve started taking mostly-daily outfit photos. It’s made me a lot more conscious of what I wear, and that’s led to me wearing jewellery a lot more often than I used to. A lot of that is brooches- I have so much fun basing outfits off them, or working out which one will go best. Yes, it’s shallow. But it makes me feel good about how I look which in turn is a boost for my self-esteem. Definitely something to be grateful for.

Also, if you like fun and whimsical costume jewellery, I can’t recommend Vintage Pip highly enough.

Boxes!

With the big move, I’m packing again, as is the Best Beloved. I’m so thankful to the multiple friends who offered boxes when I put out the call- it’s making life a LOT easier. Now if I can just work out how to get the big wooden box on wheels I’m giving away out of my room…

Butterick!

A package of (awesome) birthday gifts from Mum and Dad arrived last week, including Butterick Retro 4790. It’s known as a ‘walk-away’ dress and meant to be quite a quick make. Having read some reviews online I know that the pattern as-is needs alterations to make it really shine, and thankfully Edelweiss Patterns have good detailed instructions on how to achieve it, including a four-week sew along.  The only problem? There’s no way I can start a new sewing project before I move house. That would be insane. *eyes fabric stash*. Utterly insane… Also I need to pick out just the right combination of fabrics, because the examples I’ve seen online made of two different complimentary (or fabulously contrasting) fabrics are badass.

Buzzfeed!

I am getting so many ideas for the new house from their DIY section. My Pinterest has exploded as a result. This is a good thing, especially the moving and storage ideas.

Badass rock n roll

OMG ALICE COOPER. Motley Crue may have been a disappointment on Saturday night when the Best Beloved and I plus another friend went to their gig at Vector Arena, but Alice Cooper, who was their support act, was everything I hoped he would be- and I’m always grateful when that happens. At 67, he’s still absolutely killing it live, and I really hope he’ll come back to NZ as a headline act because I would be all about tickets to that. Favourite moment was when he walked on stage in a bloodied lab coat for ‘Feed My Frankenstein’- his pose and expression was the epitome of “That’s RIGHT, it’s me, and this is going to be awesome”.  And huge props to him for a) having a female guitarist in his lineup and b) not actually commenting on her gender, or her looks, or anything like that, just letting her be fantastic and also on equal footing with the men.

The little things:

Oxytocin, snuggling, successful gift-giving, fun presents, Offbeat Home, things with strawberries on them, creme brulee ice cream at midnight, having milk in the office (try not having any for your tea when you’re British), yummy Italian food (Covo on Fort Street in Auckland), the sense of accomplishment that follows getting something packed and ready to go, late-autumn sunshine, helpful friends, and the prospect of EUROVISION.

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?

Monsterful Monday: Violins and tiki dresses

I got the Best Beloved tickets to Lindsey Stirling for his birthday, and this Saturday along we duly went. It was the first time she’s done a show in New Zealand, and my goodness she did not disappoint.

I’m grateful, obviously, for having been there for a romper-stomper of a show, but in particular for what she had to say towards the end of the gig. She talked about how she’d suffered from depression which came from hiding who she was and the things that made her unique- it really resonated with me, as did her telling us that “the reasons I’m successful are the reasons I was told I would never succeed”- very reassuring words to hear for those of us trying to do something new, and follow our passions and dreams. In case you’ve never heard any of her music (mostly wonderful violin instrumentals), here’s her song about not hiding any more and being herself.

15 in 2015

I am about 10 minutes of handsewing away from completing the Flamingo Dress. Finally! I decided to get all fancy with the straps and make them cross over, and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. It feels great to be chipping away at this big challenge, and I’m feeling pretty confident about getting it all done.

Rockapalooza

Because one concert wasn’t enough for us, the Best Beloved and I also went to the free rock music in the park gig on Saturday. It was pretty damn great sitting in the shade watching Black River Drive, The Feelers and Devilskin. Not so sure about the guy in the mankini… O_O I think my favourite act of the afternoon was the Feelers- Pressure Man always reminds me of ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ and tapdancing Kirsten Dunst, and they also did a terrific cover of ‘Psycho Killer’ by Talking Heads.

Webstock

It’s this week and I can’t wait! I’m excited about the talks, taking copious notes, meeting awesome people, and of course the free ice cream. Not to mention the Webstock schwag. Who doesn’t love free schwag and listening to Cory Doctorow?

The little things

Ideas, free awesome training videos from Marie Forleo (hell yes I’m going for a scholarship), snuggling, good reading, handsewing with silk thread, flamingos, late night post-concert hilarity with friends, Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, naps, Kim Boekbinder.

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

Gratituesday: Good golly Miss Molly

My arm is bruised, and itchy, and AWESOME. This is why:

Photos by Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo.

Photos by Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a great time (yes really) getting the tattoo and my tattooist for this piece, Alex Heart at Blue Lotus Tattoo in Albany, is just fantastic. She committed to the insane linework on the piece because as she said, the detail on it is what makes it special. I agree. It makes me so happy every time I look at it. I’m so grateful both to Alex for taking it on, and to the amazing Molly Crabapple for giving me permission to have one of her artworks tattooed (and being so very cheerful and friendly about it).

Long weekend

This weekend (as anyone out watching the Kiwis at various stages of the Five Levels of Drinking will also know) was Waitangi Day here in NZ. I took a couple of extra days off to give myself a five day weekend, and did…well, whatever I wanted. I got a good amount of work done on my Flamingo Dress for the 15 in 2015 challenge, finished hemming a pair of trousers that have been sitting around unfinished for over a year, watched some good TV (and some bad TV), had brunch with friends, and relaxed. Taking a break is always something to be grateful for, taking one that didn’t get filled up with chores goes double.

Of course, that just means my room is in desperate need of a tidy but…sewing!

One year

I’ve been with the Best Beloved for a year now, and I’m grateful for him every single day. We celebrated by going to see Kingsman: The Secret Service because what could be more romantic than watching Colin Firth kill a whole bunch of people. It’s a very funny movie, I recommend it. It’s also nice to see Mark Strong not having to play the bad guy for once.

The little things:

Lush Ultra Balm and Dream Cream, tea tree oil, Miss Victory Violet, hand stitching with silk thread (I find it satisfying, but then I’m weird), figuring out how a pattern fits together, Gretchen Hirsch, the library (who have so many awesome sewing books), snuggles, staying off Facebook, tea, Burger Fuel (and Burger Fuel vouchers), Caro Emerald.

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

Monsterful Monday: Porcupines, zombies and cabbage

Starting with the adorableness that is a porcupine eating a pumpkin. I got shown this at Girl’s Night at the weekend and it pretty much made me melt from the cuteness. I mean, Teddy Bear the porcupine actually sounds like he’s making ‘om nom nom’ noises. I’m always grateful for things that make me smile, and this definitely did.

The Walking Dead

I’m late to the ‘Walking Dead’ party, but started watching Season 1 recently and so far, I’m really liking it. It’s got some clever twists and storytelling, interesting characters, and I particularly like how the zombies aren’t the only problem for the survivors. The inter-relationships are complex, human, fraught. The characters are rounded, people aren’t always what you’d expect, good days come at a price, and nobody is safe. Just like ‘Attack the Block‘ (which if you haven’t seen, you should), you don’t get the sense that someone being a child is any protection for them. I think that makes it a stronger, more real-seeming show. Yes, the special effects are truly disgusting- I get through watching the horrible bits by trying to work out how they achieved particular effects. And I’m always grateful for a good story to get into while I craft.

Tanuki’s Cave

I caught up with my friend Jenni and her lovely partner Anna, which as well as being lots of fun was a good excuse to finally eat at Tanuki’s Cave. Jenni has talked about the glory that is their food for years and my goodness, I was not disappointed. The raw cabbage and mayonnaise starter is one of those things you wouldn’t think would be delicious, and yet we ate all of it with great enthusiasm. And don’t even get me started on the shrimp and bacon yakitori skewers. Ho. Ly. Bejeesus. It makes me hungry just thinking about them. So I’m grateful for delicious food, but mainly it was so good to hang out with Jenni and Anna and catch up. There are some friends where it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last talked, you can just pick back up. Jenni is one of those people, and I’m very grateful to have her in my life.

Plotting

There’s a long weekend coming up (even longer as I took some extra leave either side of it- 5 day weekend, y’all) and that means planning my crafts. I’m hoping to get one of my 15 in 2015- the Flamingo Dress- either finished or well on the way to being done. Which would be terrific because then I can actually wear it. The flamingo fabric has been sitting waiting to be turned into a glorious outfit for far too long. Because I can’t get enough kitsch print fabric, not now, not ever. I’m also getting my next tattoo started, can’t wait!

The little things

Snuggles (always), making progress on crafting, Galavant, retro clothes, new red lipstick, Agent Carter, homemade hummus, bbq cassava chips, serendipitous discovery of props, sleep, Etsy, the Best Beloved (also always).

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

Monsterful Monday

Just keep crafting

My first week of working on 15 in 2015 is done. I’ve been chipping away at a couple of the projects on the list, and gathering materials for another. So the first t-shirt quilt is edging slowly closer to being done, and I’ve made about 20 more hexipuffs.

I’ve been devoting about 20 minutes each morning before I go to work to crafting. It means getting up a bit earlier but doing something for myself that I enjoy makes a big difference to how I feel about the day. And it sure beats waking up and immediately checking e-mail.

Fun with photos

One of my Christmas gifts was a new digital camera which I’m slowly getting the hang of using. My poor old phone just about managed to limp through to the New Year, and then I had to replace it, so my Christmas gift to myself was a new phone for which I immediately got myself a couple of playing-with-photos apps which I’ve been messing about with a lot and thoroughly enjoying.

OK, I have the feeling I already talked about that. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

But! You can see one of the results of my playing with photos at the top of the page- check out the shiny new header- now with at least 75% more punk rock!

Anyway I’m hoping to make good use of the new camera to take lots of lovely pictures of things for this blog. And for myself.

Cold water on a hot day

The Best Beloved and I went to a pool party at the weekend. It’s only the third one I’ve ever attended, and the first since I was a teenager. It was also the first one where I actually had fun. I ate scones and talked about tattoos. Then I hung out in a beautiful cold pool on a hot day (SO good) and talked about knitting. A great way to spend an afternoon and evening.

Getting into gear for 2015

I know I’m a bit late to the party but I’m working on wishes and visions for 2015. The craft challenges are a big part of it, but there are plenty of other things I’d like to achieve and do. To do this I’m using, among other tools, Leonie Dawson’s Create Your Shining Year– and so far so good. We’ll see how things materialise, but I’m grateful for having access to things like this to learn and develop.

The little things

Snuggles with the Best Beloved, naps, nice yarn, Veronica Varlow, quiet time, fun stationery, the library, trips out and about, meditation, stretching the muscles, sunshine, green spaces, barbecue, kisses.

2014: a gratitude roundup

I think I must be getting older, because the years seem to disappear so fast now. I feel like it was only a nap ago I was in Sydney for last New Year’s Eve. 2014 has rocketed by, but it’s been a good year with lots to be thankful. This is one of the best times to reflect back on what’s happened and look forward to the future. I’ve got big plans for 2015, which I’ll talk more about tomorrow. But for now, here are some of the things I’ve been most grateful for in the year that’s about to be gone.

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The Best Beloved

I thought I’d get the really sappy one in first. You can scroll past it if you want. I am so grateful every day to have met him. I’d still be honoured to know him even if we’d remained as just friends, but having him as my boyfriend is truly a blessing. He’s my hero, the best and kindest man it has ever been my good fortune to love. I don’t plan on letting him go.

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Adventures

Hikes out and about in Auckland, parades, a wonderful wedding, parties, craft, LARPs. This has been a good year for getting up to shenanigans, exploring new places, and trying new things. I hope for much much more in this line in the coming year, but I’m so thankful for all the fun and happy memories this year has brought me.

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My crazy, wonderful friends

Who I hope won’t mind being in the little photo montage above! And yes, OK, Geoffery Peabody Wildington III isn’t a friend. She’s family… I’m thankful for the friends who I’ve gotten to know better this year, like my lovely flatmates. For the new friends I’ve met. For the old friends who I’ve had all kinds of fun with, who know just as I do how easy it is to accidentally books. Or Typo. Or patterns. I just couldn’t imagine life without the splendid people I have in it, and who I’m incredibly thankful for every day (it’s not everyone who could put up with someone like me).

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Big changes

If you’d told me back in January that by the end of the year I’d have multiple tattoos, bright red-pink hair, and be actually enjoying doing exercise and wearing red lipstick regularly, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s been a big year for me in how I see myself, and how I show myself to the world. I feel like I’m being a LOT more truthful and authentic to who I am and who I want to be, and to have come as far as I have is something I never would have expected. I’m so thankful to be in the place that I am now, and to be looking forward to growing into myself even more.

How about you? What have been the highlights of 2014 for you? Let me know in the comments!

Gratituesday: Knock knock, motherf***ers

I have my own metal chicken. Her name is Geoffery Peabody Wildington III (now), and she is everything I could ever have imagined a metal chicken could be:

Metal chicken on a coffee table

My awesome flatmates bought her for me a couple of months ago, so she’s been in their room, hiding under a towel, awaiting her magnificent Christmas big-reveal moment. Apparently they found her up north, a couple of days after I first read the Bloggess’ story of how she acquired HER metal chicken and went “it’s a sign. We have to buy this metal chicken for Ellen.”

Apparently my reaction made it ALL worth it.

I have found my people.

It’s been quite the week for people being awesome like this. There was Geoffery. And then there was an old colleague and friend of mine messaging me on Thursday and telling me I’m going to Webstock. He won a free ticket, but as his work had already paid for his spot, he gave the free ticket to me! Talk about floored.

I started to get my kraken tattoo coloured in on Friday and it’s looking fantastic. It also itches like a motherf***er. It was a really lovely couple of hours (pain aside), chatting to Nursey, Dr Morse and the woman he was tattooing. Dr Morse told me about the very best misheard song lyric I have ever heard- but I’m going to make you wait to hear it because I plan to turn it into a cross-stitch.

Spending a bit of time down in Wellington was nice, I got to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in a while, ate nice brunches, and I may have bought things at Holland Road Yarn Company. I also went to the Santa Parade. The takeaway from THAT was don’t go to the Santa Parade if you’re OCD. Nobody’s shoes match their costumes.

The Christmas cross-stitches are DONE, and now I can start on fun summer stuff. Also bunting. Which really I should have started on first, but I had an overwhelming urge to embroider a lawn flamingo. So I am. I haven’t tried paper piecing before, but with just over 2 weeks off over the break, it’s a perfect time to try something new.

The little things:

Tiki tours with the Best Beloved, Christmas music, tea (always tea), meditation, decluttering, library books, nice reactions to presents, fun stuff in the mail, Gchat.

I’ll leave you with a photo of Geoffery paying homage to Beyonce the Metal Chicken:

Metal chicken outside a doorKnock knock, motherf***ers.

 

Monsterful Monday: Pick myself up, dust myself off

So I didn’t get the funding to go to Webstock. But I learned some useful things. At least I think I did. And maybe, just maybe, if I apply those lessons next time I try something like this I might have more luck. Anyway, I’m grateful for those friends who did back me, and for the learning experience.

I’ve been getting the cross-stitch on, and I might even finish all the Christmas projects I had planned this year- first time ever. I’ve also been getting a strong urge to embroider- expect photos and tutorials in that line in the new year. I grabbed the latest Mollie Makes to arrive in New Zealand at the weekend, and found lots of inspiration, which always makes me feel motivated and energised- definitely something to be thankful for. Sewn/cross-stitched/embroidered graffiti? Ohhhhhh, yes please. Little crocheted frames? Two thumbs up! We’re two issues behind out here though, so their confident assertion on the front cover of ‘QUILT IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!’… well, maybe if I didn’t have a job and could sit in a fancy cafe stitching all day.

I also have an exciting tutorial coming for y’all as soon as I’ve taken some photos to go with it. Because the other urge I’ve had along with embroidery is zines and scrapbooking. That came out of another really useful bloggers’ Meetup– I’m so grateful to have access to friendly, supportive and inspiring folks!

The little things:

Snuggling the Best Beloved (always), cookie time, finding new fun ways to style my hair (maiden braids with a headscarf– super simple and gets lots of compliments), freshly made bed, counting down to Christmas, bunting inspiration (another tutorial coming), festive lights, alarming Santas (they make for fun photographs), warm weather (finally), talking to Anna, ice cream, the Slash card game, ideas.

How about you? What’s on your gratitude list this week? Let me know in the comments.

A Thanksgiving Day thought from someone who doesn’t celebrate it

If you are a regular reader (hello!), then you’ll know that I think gratitude is extremely important.

It’s also good business sense. I don’t often talk about business on here, not running one myself (at least not yet).

Last week, I sadly hit unsubscribe on every e-mail I had signed up for from a particular blogger. That’s not something that happens very often (the only other time I’ve unsubscribed from something I was reading regularly was the Modcloth e-mails, because they were making me want to spend all my money on shoes and dresses).

Thanksgiving was at the heart of it.

You see, it became clear to me that if they weren’t getting something from me, they weren’t interested in communicating. They had asked for applications for something, but hadn’t bothered to tell those who were unsuccessful (like myself) that someone else had been selected. There were a lot of applications (they’re submitted publicly), a lot of people putting time, effort and love into something. None of which was acknowledged, it seems, because the blogger wasn’t getting anything for it.

When I contacted them to ask about the application they were naff enough to tell me I could still purchase a spot in the course they were running- which I would have done instead of applying, if I had the money.

It smacked of lame, and I was deeply disappointed to find that this blogger simply wasn’t interested in people who couldn’t give her something for nothing- there was no gratitude there.

This same blogger has advised people to stay clear of toxic people in their lives. I’m heeding the advice. A person who can’t be graceful and acknowledge when work and love has been put into something, who doesn’t bother to say thank you- that is not a person who deserves my time.

Thanksgiving. It matters.

Wow this post got depressing. Happier one later today (to make up for my having not posted this week, sorry everyone)