Links of Joy

It feels like it’s been a while since I gave y’all a random selection of links to peruse. So here goes.

I only recently discovered ‘The Thrilling Adventure Hour‘. This is a good thing, because it means I have *so many* episodes to listen to and enjoy. You have to love a show that includes Timothy Omundson (King Richard from ‘Galavant’) as a guest star.

I stumbled across Oh Bite It via Buzzfeed (c’mon, it’s usually that or Pinterest, people). There isn’t a single recipe on there that doesn’t make me feel like my arteries are hardening just looking at it. I quite like that about it. Behold! Deep fried margaritas. Yes really.

And then there’s Bad Jelly. Oh Bad Jelly. It makes me cry with laughter. They don’t seem to have updated in a while but it’s still worth a read. Please enjoy the Party Elephant (filed under ‘things I’m totally making for my housewarming) and the piece de resistance, the Banana Candle (no, I’m not making one of those. Ever.)

In conclusion, Big Bird Dressing Gown.

Craft projects for freaks and geeks, part 2: goth-a-palooza

Guys.

GUYS.

You have no idea how much stuff you can make if you’re into anything remotely goth. This post has got you covered whether you’re a full-on, two-hundred-shades-of-black, bats-and-coffins goth, a lover of horror movies, or you just happen to like to be able to give answers like “an amigurumi vampire” when asked the inevitable question “what are you making?”.

Bats!

Lets start with simple and fun: na na na na na na na na BAT SHOES.

And while we’re at it, how about making a drawstring batpack (see what they did there?) to go with the shoes?

If that’s not enough bats for you, then you could always make yourself a bat chandelier. And if THAT’s not enough bats for you, then I’ll be suggesting you eat this garlic over here and stay away from my neck.

Skulls!

Lets start with a couple of awesome knits- this skull lace shawl (it really does look like a swarm of lost souls!), and this set of intarsia arm warmers (I love the snowflake-to-skull design) from the Anti Craft.

If you prefer a hook to needles, you can always crochet some skulls. Either flat ones (which you could sew on things for some memento-mori applique action, or how about a glorious (and rather alarming) 3d skull?

Then there’s the option of recycling a bunch of white buttons on the back of a jacket in a skull design.

If all that looks too much like hard work, here’s another awesome deconstructed no-sew t-shirt tutorial to give you a tee with, you’ve guessed it, a skull design.

Undead goodies

Let’s see now… this I <3 Zombies chart could be turned into a scarf, or a cross stitch, or you could do the thing with perler beads. Never let it be said I don’t give you options!

If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could just go ahead and make yourself a coffin to add to your home decor, and pretend you’re in ‘What We Do in the Shadows’. Note: If you do this, I totally want to see photos. Like, immediately.

And I wasn’t actually joking about the amigurumi vampire.

If you make any of these projects, I’d love to see the finished results!

 

 

 

Craft projects for freaks and geeks, part 1: Steampunks, straight punks, retro queens

Ah, the internet. It’s a magical land of hope and wonder. Full of sweets and joy and joyness…no, wait, that’s candy mountain. Sorry, came over all Charlie the Unicorn for a minute there.

Anyway. If, like me, you like to make things for yourself but you don’t see anything in the average craft magazine or in most of the books at the library that suit you (or you see them and immediately want to deconstruct them or mess with them in some way), then trust me, there will be someone on the internet who makes things you’ll actually love as-is.

I wish I could say confidently “this will be the first instalment in a three part series!” but the truth is if I do that it’ll end up going all Douglas Adams with the trilogy of five. I don’t know how many of these there will be, but I do want to cover as many different groups and interests as I can- let me know in the comments what cultures you’re into, or what hobbies/pastimes you have, and I’ll go searching for some craft to match!

The aim of this series of posts, which will go up on Wednesdays, is to highlight some of the crafting awesomeness available to you. Starting with…

Punk

Obviously. For a start, how about knitting yourself some striped corset arm warmers, as designed by the Running Yarn?

I may have linked to this before but I don’t care. Customise a t-shirt into a punk rock masterpiece, no sewing required, by following Veronica Varlow’s instructions. Hells yes.

Have you ever heard of or seen the traditional embroideries featuring Sunbonnet Sue? Did they make you feel just a little queasy? Olde-worlde, but not in a fun way. Urban Threads have the antidote- meet Sinbonnet Sue! She comes in many flavours, but I like the original one the best.

By the way, I googled Sunbonnet Sue for an example. The link above is what I got. My first response was “holy hell, I don’t think the website has changed since it was launched”. But then I looked closer and I found this series of quilts featuring Sunbonnet Sue all about domestic violence. Now THAT is awesome. Also, can we talk about the fact that someone came up with Bad Bonnet Sue? Better believe I’ll be looking into Sunbonnet, Sinbonnet and Bad Bonnet Sues.

I’m digressing.

Steampunk

I love me some steampunk. It’s a little OTT, a lot fabulous, with a sharp edge (OK I may have been watching too much Project Runway.) It’s also hella expensive, a lot of the time. Making things yourself is a much better option, and to do it, look no further than Victorian clothing. With a little thought in how you go about it, you can easily mod these to be steampunk.

Truly Victorian is a fantastic option for steampunk sewing. I know because I’ve made several steampunk outfits using patterns from their site. Their revised bustle petticoat (designed so you can sit and stand without problems) is a fantastic base for so many looks- I’ve made it with a shorter front panel for a more female-airship-captain type of look. I’ve also got one made as-is. It involves a LOT of frill (I bought frill trim for it and it made life a lot easier, although expensive). They also sell a pre-made set of wires for the bustle on the site. This 1870 skirt pattern is a great one I’ve used over and over again. Be warned, though, Victorian/Steampunk clothes use a LOT of fabric. There are 5 metres in the skirts, and that’s the simpler skirts. One solution I’ve found that works really well is to buy saris on the cheap (check your local charity shops), or bedlinen. It’s worth it for the flounce!

You could also embellish them (or your everyday clothes) with even more steampunk flair with Urban Threads’ collection of steampunk embroidery patterns. Yes, I love Urban Threads. #sorrynotsorry. I’m a lot enamoured of the Apothescary collection, but that’s just me.

For knitters, I have a bit of a thing for The Jane Victoria’s glorious knitting patterns. Like the sewing, they take a lot of materials. You can use a sweater’s worth of yarn just in one of their hoods. But it’s worth it. Continuing the female-airship-captain thing, how about this Aviator tam? And then there’s this hooded mozzetta (no, I don’t know what a mozzetta is), can you even?

Retro queen

There are so many retro patterns out there. SO MANY. And especially with knitting patterns, a lot of them are free. Be warned, many will only come in one size, but if you’re willing to do the maths and resize them, the rewards are great. For example, I found out that this Bridge Jumper exists and now I need to make it to play Surrealist Poker in (AND crapscrabble). Or for something a bit more quick and dirty (because sometimes that’s just what you want), how about this turban? Or indeed this one?

Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue all have retro pattern lines, but edited to fit modern body shapes- one issue with some vintage patterns is that womens bodies have changed, along with our undergarments, and it can be hard to fit some vintage patterns on a modern woman. But you can also find some gorgeous retro patterns from smaller indie designers, and I love supporting small craft businesses doing their thing and doing it well. Wearing History patterns have some lovely designs- I lust after the Dahlia blouse and the Sunkissed Sweetheart set. Mrs Depew Vintage is also worth a look.

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments what subcultures you’d like to see crafting for!

I’m British: five projects

Sorry, old chaps.

This is all the fault of my friend Keith for reminding me of the existence of this song by Professor Elemental*.

 

You don’t have to be British to make these, of course. They’re entirely suitable for all your punk home decor/clothing needs (my hairdresser has a Welsh dresser painted with a paint-drippy messy Union Flag, and I covet it quite shamelessly).

To start with, how about some British-themed embroidery patterns from Wild Olive? Jolly Spiff! You want to add some Buckingham Palace guards in their busbies to your clothes, don’t you? Of course you do.

What about a gloriously punk rock Union Flag Mohawk Hat? It’s made of chunky wool, too, so it’d be a quick make. And everyone would see you coming in the winter. Of course you’d have to buy the book the pattern comes in, but surely that’s worth it to feel like Sid Vicious…a very snuggly, comfortable Sid Vicious.

There are many possibilities for what you could do with this quilt block. Like a bunch of throw pillows. Or an entire giant quilt of them. Or a house cosy. Hey, I don’t know your life.

Finally, what could be more quintessentially British than a Union Flag tea cosy? Actually, this Union Flag cardigan is a contender for that. British flag. British wool- and not just any British wool, Rowan wool. I mean come on, it’s on their website! Ah, Rowan, home of…ahem…fashion-forward British knitting.

Go on, which of these catch your eye? Or have you found/made any good projects in a similar vein? Let me know!

*we really are terribly sorry about Piers Morgan.

Links of Joy: Craft and baking and sharks, oh my!

Happy Wednesday everyone. It’s been a good week for parcels this week- my copy of the latest Faerie Magazine, my Goddess Tarot deck (finally), what can I say? I like mail. 

Of course I’m still unpacking, slowly, but once I do I totally want to get my craft on properly- I’d love to try screen printing with an embroidery hoop. And make a few of these speech bubble hair pins for people. 

Instructions on making a Red Velvet Shark cake? I think I know what I’ll be serving when I watch Sharknado 2… I love that the subtitle for the sequel is simply ‘the second one’ (also Kelly Osbourne is in it? WHUT?)

I love me some unicorns but even I’m not sure about this plant pot

 

 

Links of Joy: Live from Auckland!

Where, aside from the fact that ‘making the bed’ has a whole new meaning when it comes disassembled and you don’t have a screwdriver, the move has gone pretty smoothly so far. 

And last night, the Best Beloved took me to my first ever acrobatics session. I had a blast, and even managed to do a sideways plank (paint me like one of your French girls…if I can just keep my balance…)! But more on that tomorrow.

Joining the Parlour has led me to exploring the circle of lovely creative types who make it up, so today’s links of joy are to some of their awesomeness for you guys to explore.

First up there’s the beautiful Alex Hudson’s art

Then there’s Shyla, a stylist and blogger. Check out her fabulous free stuff!

“Write better. Earn more. Live like you mean it.” What’s not to like about The Wrevolution?

Finally, subscribe for Christina‘s newsletter and get a free book on manifesting! Better believe I’m snapping that offer up. 

As always, if you’ve found fun, inspiring or gorgeous things and want to share, please comment!

Links of Joy: Witchbaby edition

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilestreetlife/5946319814/in/photolist-a4srHq-A1Q6c-4v2z6X-5Ja7rc-5KPeEc-9momvJ-kgEBNR-m8k7FP-f9sRmZ-9GroU2-drkeaz-4KZiVR-a7XvQ-8BnfeW-byfVsq-fp9VRx-6Jw3Pm-pnLtD-4C4T8f-fcnqee-6qKPtC-7iP9BW-fYGQ7h-5VuYC7-6gL5wV-e76NmE-51yLAe-a2hwox-6LVo3u-5EecKe-ar4qrC-aixxLe-7fpQSs-4pcs2B-eaqgL9-nhaRLE-5HLjAc-6darwk-bfSPEX-caJLSJ-eKkEpX-bTEYTK-kcSfsz-dEwiP7-bHTo3c-kZr69P-7CFr5m-7sw5Qi-5z4sxh-bCE8sX)

The Magic Touch by David Blackwell (available under Creative Commons licence at Flickr- http://bit.ly/1jU1gBP)

‘Witchbabies’ is the name that folks in the Parlour use to greet the group, and I love it, because Francesca Lia Block– I only came to the Weetzie Bat books 3 or so years ago, along with the rest of her writing, but there’s just something about the dreamlike quality of the way she writes that resonates with me. I especially enjoyed ‘Necklace of Kisses’ (a sequel to the Dangerous Angels series, set a few years later), though I haven’t yet managed to read ‘Pink Smog’ (a prequel). Did you know there’s now a Dangerous Angels t-shirt? Definitely on my list once I’ve bought furniture for my new room.

Speaking of t-shirts, this one of Artax made me want to go curl up in a ball and weep. I remember the first time I saw the scene in the despair swamp in ‘Neverending Story’ and how upset I was. But having experienced depression, it actually rings pretty true now.

With the Parlour (yes, I know, a bit of a theme for the week), I’ve been looking at tarot decks on Etsy- always dangerous. I love the TaRat deck from Bluedogrose, though I can’t put my finger on why, I just like it. I also like her Blue Dog Rose tarot using pets and domestic animals- the Hierophant is a goldfish! And death, appropriately enough, is a cat (anyone who has lived with cats will tell you this is accurate).

I’d forgotten about the fun and shenanigans of the AntiCraft until my bonus Friday Five from last week, but how can you not love an online craft magazine that had plushie gamer dice patterns and an entire issue devoted to bacon? (I made Baconhenge once. It was delicious.

Obviously with a new room come new decor ideas. I plan to get more seriously into those once I have the furniture, but obviously knitting inspiration is not to be controlled and I have a bit of a thing for throws. This magickal throw from Erssie Major is a lot of fun, but I don’t think I’d make it for me. I do know someone I could make it for though…because what I need, clearly, is another project. Yep.

Have you found anything fun on your internet wanderings? Link to it in the comments!

Links of Joy: Time for some majesty

I’m having a day where many things have annoyed me and I’ve let them get to me more than I should. To break the pattern, time for some majestic links of majesty.

Lets start with this frosted rainbow unicorn light (because when I think majesty, I automatically think unicorns. The internet has me well trained.).  

From the pages of myth gallops this majestic unicorn, carved in frosted splendor and glowing with an ever-changing rainbow of light.

Yes, that’s the actual description. The light itself reminds me of the kinds of gifts I used to get from students when I taught English as a second language. At the first place I taught ESOL, we had a row of ceramic oil-burners of varying degrees of majesty along the shelf above the resource library. Sadly I had to divest myself of my giant red glass swans forming a heart with their necks when I downsized after I left my now ex-husband. Yes, sadly.

If unicorns aren’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer to channel Siegfried and Roy with this white tiger side table. But wait, it gets better- according to Amazon, customers who bought that table also bought this dramatic eagle side table. In fact, you can buy them as a set because, again according to Amazon, they are frequently bought together. That means, somewhere in the world (most likely somewhere in the States), it is possible, nay likely, that there is someone- in fact more than one someone- who has BOTH OF THOSE TABLES IN THEIR HOUSE. Lets just take a moment to ponder that. See? I’m feeling better already.

 I’m happy to see that the majesty of the Three Wolf Moon t-shirt is alive and well and available in New Zealand.

You could also get a black wolf t-shirt (because combining shipping is thrifty!). To me it looks kind of like the G’mork in ‘The Neverending Story’. And that’s pretty cool (though holy hell the G’mork scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid).

Sadly, Shiro Cosmetics have discontinued their Three Wolf Moon lipcolour, or I would have linked you to that as an alternative. But to my delight they now have a Red Wedding lipgloss and a new collection of Miyazaki-inspired tinted lip balms. Also, an eyeshadow named after one of my favourite moments in The Avengers (and is rainbow-glittery!). Things I’m adding to the list for a payday treat…

Some natural majesty here, courtesy of Buzzfeed- this majestic mountain trail is trying to kill you. While the photos terrify me (I’m scared of heights- I got freaked out on an escalator last time I was in Auckland, but that was because the Best Beloved insisted on leaning over the edge to look at the floor several stories below), I also really want to go there. Though maybe not on the Insane Plank Walk.

For your movie entertainment (if you own a VHS that is), perhaps you would enjoy this classic 80’s story of using music and bodyrock to stop a greedy land developer from taking over a neighborhood.  Ah, yes, I have many happy memories of the ‘using music and bodyrock to stop greedy land developers’ genre. Starring Mario Van Peebles! No, I don’t know who that is. But the Etsy seller seems to be excited about it, so darn it, I am too.

By the way, if you find things that make you happy on the internet I’d love to see them. I may even feature them in a future Links of Joy. Share the love!

Right! I’m off to put on my sexy dress and move on. Happy Wednesday everyone!  

I’ll leave you with some majestic Beyoncé quotes. Because Beyoncé.

Links of Joy: Chicken on a raft

Chicken on a raft? Chicken on a raft. I recommend headphones if you’re reading this at work. It reminds me of this song by the Brobdingnagian Bards, I don’t know why.

Since we’re on music, Dolly Parton played Glastonbury (aged 68 and still awesome!), including playing Yakety Sax:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5fxVvvHRhs

And of course, 9 to 5 (I love how you can hear the whole audience singing along to it).

Can we just talk about this pink lame confection of a pinup dress by Deadly Dames for Pinup Girl? I am in love. No idea when I’d wear it, but I’d find a reason! “What do you mean ‘it’s casual Friday’? This is TOTALLY casual. I swear I just threw it on this morning.” I’m also rather taken with this dress covered in fairytale castles.

For some quick and dirty crafting (and isn’t that just the best sometimes?), Veronica Varlow has posted a tutorial on punk-ifying a t-shirt (it’s no-sew!). Now I just have to pick a tee to give the rock and roll treatment (I’m not exactly short of t-shirts…). She’s also been posting a monthly tarot horoscope, and I’ll admit I’m addicted.

Speaking of which the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter by the Atomic Pixies (so cool, I’m really hoping this gets funded so I can get the finished deck) still has 11 days to go. Do go have a look and consider becoming a backer- for me it was an insta-back.

In conclusion, unicorn towels.

 

 

 

Links of Joy: Fantastic 80s

It’s yet another wet, dreary winter Wednesday here in Wellington. To me that calls for just one thing: the neon-coloured hijinks of my childhood.

You can blame it on this list of characters who aren’t who you think they are -all the remakes of classic 80s entertainment. The remake of Footloose didn’t happen, OK? IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. I think as long as they don’t remake The Goonies I’ll be fine. *deep cleansing breaths*

ANYWAY. If you’re jonesing to look like you should be in Jem and the Holograms (and who isn’t?), you could do a lot worse than grabbing some of the gorgeous colours at Medusa’s Makeup. Such neon. Much glitter. Wow.

The Kitchn has this helpful list of 10 recipes that defined the 80s. Om nom spinach dip.

If you want an insight into 80s fashion, at least into what I thought fashion was when I was a kid, get thee a (sadly now out-of-print) copy of Freaky Fashions by Caroline Archer. I bought a copy at a school book fair when I was about 8 and devoured it. It’s got all kinds of clothing customisation ideas in it, as well as mad hair ideas (“I know this is in black and white but those fans of hair are meant to be sprayed in rainbow colours”. Yes really.) and 80s eye makeup. Admittedly it’s aimed at kids, but, well, it was one of the books that defined my crafty growth.

Obviously, music is important too. My friends Jenni and Steve and I are still planning to write a LARP set at a High School in the 1980s (because John Hughes), and I put together a soundtrack- 62 songs is enough to keep you dancing like Molly Ringwald in ‘The Breakfast Club’ all day.

May you have a purple-lame-rubiks-cube-duran-duran-filled day!