Links of Joy- FOUR WHOLE STRAWBERRIES

Watching:

What can I say? This made me giggle. A chap in an Australian shopping precinct reads the Very Hungry Caterpillar in the style of a street preacher.

Reading: I just (like literally about 15 minutes ago) discovered, via Veronica Varlow, Alise in Wonderland, and it was food and reading lust at first sight. Compelling, dreamy, magical writing. Moving stories. Vegan recipes. I’m actually disappointed I’m not in front of a stove right now making Vixen burgers. VIXEN BURGERS. How could you not want to eat something with a name like that?

Giving: If like me you’re a bit too fond of art-nouveau comic book characters, check out the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter. Designed by a group of four women artists in Denver who are “interested in the intersection of science and the supernatural”, something about this just spoke to me. 

 And another random smile:

Times Tumblr raised serious questions about Harry Potter– this Buzzfeed article had a lot of my friends laughing until they cried. I especially like 23, 24 and 27.

Links of Joy- Cures for SAD

 

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Listening: Slice of Heaven playlist at Grooveshark

I’ve been listening to a lot of Kiwi music this week, thanks to the Best Beloved telling me a particular song reminded him of me. Yes, I’m a huge sap. I got turned on to Grooveshark last year by my flatmate Jenni, and I love being able to make up random playlists to suit my mood. This week saw me compiling a bunch of Kiwi songs, leading out from that one song from the Best Beloved- so in the words of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’- share and enjoy!

Reading: Green Wedding Shoes

I admit, I have something of a weakness for wedding blogs. I mean, if you’re going to gawk at beautiful dresses that are way out of your price range, why not? Thinking outside the box they can be very inspiring in terms of home decor and craft projects- every bride and her hamster seems to be adding ‘handmade touches’ to their weddings these days, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. I’ll admit, too, to something of a weakness for hipsterish craft magazines. Green Wedding Shoes scratches both these itches. ‘Bohemian Nautical Wedding Inspiration‘ perhaps? Or you could DIY a Spring Flower Crown (you know, while waiting for the barista to prepare your obscure coffee order using a contraption that looks more like a cross between a Heath Robinson drawing and a still for making moonshine for a speakeasy than a coffee machine). I question how Game of Thrones this Game of Thrones wedding inspiration is (also, um, red wedding dress? Red Wedding dress? Er…). But I won’t deny, this site is full of beautiful things and fun ideas, and I’m very much enjoying mooching through it.

Giving: Did you know there’s a Humble Bundle for sewing patterns? It’s called the Perfect Pattern Parcel– pay what you want for a little bundle of indie patterns. Yes, I may have squeed when I found that out. The current parcel is available for about the next 3 days, and includes a bombshell swimsuit, so it was an instabuy for me (pin-up patterns are my crafting Kryptonite). And all proceeds go to providing supplies for teachers in low-decile schools/schools in poor areas where they don’t have ready access to a lot of the equipment and advantages that schools in ‘better’ areas do. As my maternal Grandfather was a science teacher at an inner city school, I know he’d approve of the cause. And I definitely approve of a bundle of fresh sewing patterns! (The Humble Ebook Bundle if you haven’t heard of it is also a great way to discover new authors while giving to charity. Win win!)

And your random procrastination hijinks:

Mega Anime Avatar creator– because if you’re going to procrastinate on the internet, why not do it by creating a picture of yourself as an anime character? And then your Best Beloved. And then your flatmates. And then your other friends. And then your LARP characters. Obviously I am just speculating here. Ahem.

I want all of the things from Sugar and Vice designs. All of them. But I’m especially in love with the Speech Bubble Brooch (because I am a sap and want to immortalise a text from the Best Beloved), and also this teapot ring. And can we just talk for a moment about this Ahoy necklace

Of course, the other way to immortalise a favourite phrase or text is with an art print. You can do just that, for free, at Recite.

Finally, I’ve been having a bit of a Japanese cooking moment this week (two lots of don buri, yummers!), and in my internet research into good recipes stumbled across the Bebe Love Okazu blog. Yummy Japanese home cooking? Sign me up.

Friday Five: Five awesome beginner crochet patterns

My friend Anna has recently taken up crocheting- I’m always excited when someone starts getting into a new craft. She’s already a talented sewer, but in the end getting good at any craft is all down to practice. Now, the easiest and simplest thing to make as a beginner crocheter would be a cotton dishcloth, but if you’re anything like me, you yearn for the beautiful, the silly, the fun. So to celebrate making it through the week, I give you five super-gorgeous, super-fun crochet projects that a beginner could tackle.

Hint- crochet hooks and yarn? Not that hard to get hold of. And there are plenty of books and tutorials out there to show you the ropes. The only thing to be aware of is that American crochet instructions are different to UK ones, but once you know what they mean you’re flying. Another hint- the second pattern on the list includes a handy quick reference to explain the difference between them.

Go on, give it a try- what better time than right now to surprise yourself and make something great?

Best of all, four out of five of these patterns are available for FREE! <3

First up, we have the crochet bow ring from ChabeGS Crochet Design. A little bit pin-up, you could make them in every colour to match your outfits, or use up an entire ball of yarn and make them for everyone you know. They’re super cute and THE PATTERN IS LITERALLY THREE LINES LONG. Can we say instant gratification? Oh yes, I think we can!

The Easy Crochet Owl from the Bunny Mummy blog will teach you how to crochet in a circle, and change colours. Also, OWLS! Yes, I know, ‘we can put a bird on it’ but c’mon people. We all know what YOLO really stands for.  You Obviously Love Owls.

If cute birds of prey aren’t your thing, then how about a kawaii octopus? Because, well, OCTOPODES. Just imagine making a bunch of these in different crazy colours and putting them on your desk at work. Go on, imagine. You could even tell people they didn’t need to start giving you octopi because you already had a bunch of them. Or attach loops to a load of them and have an octopus themed Christmas tree? OK, I’m not doing a very good job of selling this. Just click on over to NyanPon and you’ll see why I had to include this on the list. Added benefit- this is an amigurumi pattern. Amigurumi is a particular technique used to crochet toys and other 3-d objects, and it’s a great thing to learn, especially if you want to make toys. Just Google amigurumi and be amazed at the possibilities.

“This is all very well,” I hear you say, “but what about actual items of clothing?” Well, how about the classic- a beanie? But this one has an awesome twist- I give you (or rather I’m Topsy Turvy gives you)…the bearded beanie! Yes, you could just follow the beanie part and make yourself a lovely hat. But seriously…you can add a crochet beard! I bet you’ve often thought to yourself, ‘gee, what I really need is something to keep the rest of my face warm, not just my ears. But I don’t want to wear a balaclava…’ Well here’s your answer! Also you could pretend to be a super secret spy in your cunning disguise…If nothing else, take a look at this pattern for the ADORABLE photos of the baby bearded beanie. I defy you not to go ‘awwwww’, at least to yourself.

Finally, the only paid pattern on the list. This will make you a master of double crochet. It’s a much bigger project to tackle than the others, but when you look at the results, you’ll see why I had to include it. The Babette Blanket from Interweave Press is, in a word, stunning. To me it looks like the background of a Klimt painting. If you have a look at finished projects (look at Ravelry.com– and if you haven’t signed up there already and like knitting/crochet or want to start, you need a (free) account, stat!) you’ll see the possibilities. The actual pieces that make the blanket are simple to make (I’m working on one at the moment) but there are endless options for colours, as you’ll see. I’m working on one of these at the moment myself, in rainbow colours (what else?). If you don’t want to tackle the full sized blanket, why not make just the middle sections, and create a baby blanket?

I hope one or more of these will tempt you, and that if you haven’t given crochet a go you’ll consider trying. Whatever happens, I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Happy Friday!

Links of Joy: Games and homes and glad wrap

Reading: The Good Creative by Paul Jarvis

I’ve read both Paul Jarvis’ other self-help-y books, ‘Be Awesome at Online Business’ and ‘Everything I Know’, and enjoyed them, so I was very excited to see he has a new book out on bringing creative ideas to fruition and building them into something more, which is what I’m aiming to do. And it’s a quick read, which I’ll admit I like, because there are few things more satisfying than finishing a book, right? Even better, he currently has some special offers for the book’s launch week.

Playing: The Three Things Game

I love Veronica Varlow. Her blog- the Danger Diary, is full of interesting stories and ideas. A while ago she posted about a game she plays on her tour bus, and I thought, why not? Admittedly, when I play it with my flatmates (and my Best Beloved, and my flatmate’s awesome girlfriend) we’ve been, generally, waiting for our takeaway order. But it’s KIND OF like being on a rock and roll tour bus, right? You know, if you squint hard… Anyway, you think of three connected things and each say which one of the three you are, and why. Simple but a lot of fun- and I recommend reading more about it at the Danger Diary- in fact as I said, I recommend the Danger Diary in general. The Tarot Horoscopes  are also a fun read.

Listening: Welcome to Night Vale (click the link and then click on Night Vale)

If you haven’t already heard of this, you’re missing out. It’s a seamless blend of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Woebegone style narration and HP Lovecraftian fantasy. It’s a simple idea- Cecil, the DJ on the community radio station in the desert town of Night Vale, presents unfolding events and community notices. But it packs so much into that premise. Some episodes will seriously creep you out, others will make you squee, all of them will make you laugh. “Wednesday has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict”.  Scroll down the page for a list of places you can subscribe- for free- to this great creative project. Listen, enjoy, and do not approach the dog park.

Other links that have made me smile this week:

Curious Places– I’m a sucker for weird and wonderful houses, and this blog is full of them. Favourites of mine include this tiny Victorian cottage, and this leopard print house (one day, when I own my own place…).

Speaking of  houses, I’m definitely planning on staying at Cedric the Tiny House some time. I’d love to own a home like this some day.

Eco-friendly reusable glad wrap– it’s a thing!

RIP Maya Angelou

What about you? What have you found in your internet wanderings this week? Share it in the comments.