Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Introducing: The Holiday Collections

Now that I've officially accepted my NaBloPoMo Certificate of Defeat (I suppose it just wasn't meant to be) and my PhD in Procrastination (I guess I'll just try again next year), I spent the past two days holed up in  my bedroom crafting and crafting, making earrings for the annual Marianopolis Holiday Bazaar (proud to say I've been there since it's inauguration so the coordinator of student life was pretty chill with having me come back despite the fact that I don't even go to Mario anymore #perks ).

Unfortunately, I had run out of earring hooks on saturday night (problematic because the bulk of my jewelry is earrings) and then on Sunday I discovered that the mini-max where I stock up on packs of earring hooks for a dollar each (100 pcs per pack, a god send) and that they don't sell findings at the Dollar Store, I had to wait until monday before I could complete these projects. So I trekked to Omer DeSerres (the only thing you should be buying at this store is anything with a kids-project brand name like Crayola or Fimo; SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ART STORES). The only reason I went to Omer DeSerres is because the bead store near my house, Chaton Beads, disappeared. This was also problematic because this is where I purchase the bulk of my supplies. I usually wait until their 50% off sales and then buy 80$ worth of stuff, and Omer DeSerres is REALLY expensive. Seriously, packs of 100 earring hooks for 8 bucks? What a rip-off! But there are actually no more bead stores in Westmount (except for B.E.A.D It and the people who own that store don't really like me for some reason, plus everything is over-priced and they don't often sell things in bulk and if they do they're similar in price to Omer DeSerres). Anyway, so I finally replenished my supply of gold and silver earring hooks, gift boxes, bead caps, and varnish and am properly equipped for Thursday!

So, I know that I already posted some photos of some of the things I'll be selling, but yesterday I made some truly lovely crystal earrings and I just can't wait to share them with you, and I also began compartmentalizing my jewelry into collections (like the pros!!) because some of it just fits together so damn nicely. So, without further ado and no more gilding the lily, I present:

The Crystal Collection features colorful, elegant and funky crystalline earrings made with glass and genuine swarovski elements (tm) crystals, as well as gold and black silver earring hooks. Perfect to "bling" in the new year in style or simply as a colorful statement when paired with a subtle outfit- $10.00 ea.

The Green Dream Collection features an array of earthy earrings with natural green stone beads as their focus, coupled with glass, shell, and mother-of-pearl in varying shades of brown as well as gold and silver accents. The Green Dream drop earrings are a chic pairing with the en-vogue shades of today-$5.00 ea.

The Je Ne Sais Quoi Collection displays the earrings that don't really go with the other collections. These are the earrings made with a wider range of materials (glass, silver, crystal, plastic, glass coated plastic, gold, silver, shell) in each earring. Whereas most pieces try to limit the number of materials used in each one (eg. crystal only, or natural stone and shell), the Je Ne Sais Quoi's goal is to use as many mediums as possible in each earring, creating a range of jewelry sure to satisfy any magpie-$5.00-$7.00 ea.

Please note that all of the collections are in their early stages and incomplete and that I pulled the descriptions of them out from where the sun don't shine. My origami earring collection has yet to be photographed so I will update this post when I get the chance to take some photos (probably on thursday as my canadian history exam is calling to me: COME STUDY OR YOU'LL FAIL DAMNIT)

Calling? Yelling is more like it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

12-Returning to our Roots: This is a Craft Blog After All

I definitely strayed pretty far from my original intent with this blog; a craft blog, a blog dedicated to presenting the world with the weird things I make. I don't know if you heard, but I was invited back to the annual Marianopolis Holiday Bazaar (despite not actually being a student there trololol) so just to pique your interest, here are some sneak peaks as to what I'll be selling (also check out my pro photography skills. They're new)

Natural stone and shell beads in earthy tones: $5.00

Natural stone, shell, and mother of pearl earrings: $5.00

Glass coated beads, silver chain tassel earrings: $5.00
Yeah, most of the beaded earrings are $5.00. 

A new style of origami earrings (also white cranes!! woahahhh!!): $12.50

So, there you have it. Just a sneak peak of some of the things on sale for the holidays. Check out my facebook page for more photos and merch!

Friday, November 15, 2013

9-Letters to My Classmates, Whom I Hate

To that annoying woman in my Canadian History class, 

I've spoken to you once, I believe. You seem like a nice person. A little annoyingly alternative and against the grain for seemingly no reason, but we were able to have a pretty normal conversation. I have a question for you now: 

Why do you keep raising your hand in class when you have nothing interesting to say? 

Look, I understand that Canadian history is beyond boring but good god woman, just keep your goddamn hand on the desk. I can't stand hearing you go 'ah..um..okay, well...um..." for three minutes before you actually start using your words. I for one actually enjoy listening to the prof rant about the economic history of the lumber trade and I don't need  you to put in your two cents that Cedar was also traded because WHO CARES Everyone knows that pine was a hot commodity so just leave it at that! You don't need to take five minutes of class time to explain that cedar was a luxury item when, chances are, it's not even going to be on the test! And that debate we had on the first day of class? Eurocentricity vs Native-centric way of teaching? You said something so redundant I haven't stopped making fun of you in my head since. Every time you raise your hand I want to pull my hair out. 

Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest I feel a lot better. 

Please, just stop beginning your sentences with an endless supply of "ums". That's all I ask. 

Sincerely- wait, no no, put your hand down,

Three rows behind and seven seats to the left

Monday, November 4, 2013

1-Nablopomo: Sounds kind of like a venereal disease...

No, it's not a disease contracted in the amazon via infected mosquitoes or some such other nasty critters.

Today I take up the National Blog Posting Month challenge: 30 blog posts in 30 days. Which means I'm already 4 days behind. 


For those of you who are not aware, November is--along with don't-shave-the-caterpillar-growing-above-your-snazzle-tooth-month--National Novel Writing Month. However, as I have attempted NaNoWriMo every year for the past half-decade and ended up with slightly less hair as well as several half-finished novels, and also due to the fact that I am no longer capable of writing creative fiction and have turned into a full time blogger, I feel that my time would be better spent blogging rather than attempting to write a 50 000 word plot-less novel. Seriously, I have no idea what to write about. I was actually considering just attempting to write a harlequin romance but I couldn't bring myself to stoop to that level. You should actually check out the submission guidelines for Harlequin (C) romance novels. They're hilarious. 

But I digress. 

So, the Nablopomo pandemic has affected some 2000 bloggers across North America, no doubt rising out of the need for a blog-related contest where we don't have to reach a word limit. No one gives Ernest Hemingway a word limit, so why should bloggers have one?

The point, dear readers, is that National Blog Posting Month allows bloggers like myself to not only needlessly post our thoughts and rants and ravings online for all to see but also feel a sense of accomplishment within our pointless blogger lifestyle. Blogging is kind of a pointless act. You write something, you post it online; it no longer belongs to you. If it's a great piece of writing and you want to submit it to a journal/magazine/newspaper/paying blog, you can't. The moment it hits the internet it belongs to Big Brother. This is problematic but also avoidable. Just don't post beautiful blog posts if you want recognition for it damnit! So the challenge to write 30 posts in 30 days kind of gives us (well, me in particular) a similar sense of accomplishment that comes from writing a novel in a month. From what I've read, most bloggers don't post every day. It's hard to come up with that much content. Creativity is hard work, okay??

So, here I am. It's 11:21pm on a drearily cold Montreal night. I'm listening to The Wailin' Jennys, bundled like a child about to run outside in the snow because for some reason the heat just turned off and it's 65 degrees Fahrenheit in my house (who did that???), I'm sick, I have a sore throat, and I'm about to embark on a journey of 1000 miles that begins with a blog post. 

This blog post in fact. 

I'll make you a deal; stick with me and I'll try not to bore you too much. Maybe I'll make you sigh in frustration, maybe I'll make cry with mirth, I may even piss you off with my insane ravings, but one thing is for sure:

This is going to be fucking difficult. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Call to Arms: Accept the Hit and Run Challenge!

Say you're sitting in the lobby of your school's building by yourself, back against a wall, hunched over a laptop. You have a rather dour expression on your face; you're supposed to be finishing an essay due in two hours but you've been procrastinating for the past while by watching reruns of a shiny new television show that you've just discovered to be incredibly amusing and much more entertaining than the prospect of writing a 2000 word essay. You take a final bite of your seaweed salad and let the delicious, savory taste of sesame oil and soy sauce wash over your taste buds. You cough loudly (you've been sick for a week or so now). A shadow passes over you and you look up. Somebody is standing over you, late forties or early fifties, not terribly hostile or creepy-looking, perfectly harmless. 

"Bless you" he says, and smiles. Not one to be rude, you smile back. You're Canadian, you're polite. 

"Thank you," you say, and turn back to the laptop. Aand that's when they say something formulaic. It usually comes in three parts:

Part 1 is typically a comment on your smile, such as: You have a beautiful smile OR You're beautiful when you smile 
Part 2 is typically some sort of gung-ho saying that affirms your suspicion that this person might not be completely with it, such as "Your life will be beautiful if you smile"
Part 3 will then re-iterate what has just been said, possibly in exactly the same words just used. Often the speaker might not have completely mastered the art of perfect diction so you're at a loss for what has just been said but you know that it was nice, albeit a little bit creepy, though altogether a decent enough experience.

Yeah, this happens to me a lot.

These moments, flashpoints of communication, are what I like to call "Hit and Runs". Someone appears out of nowhere, makes an impact, and then vanishes, leaving you to feel a variety of emotions. Perhaps you're confused, concerned for their well-being, or depressed that you can't get the same attentions from an attractive member of the opposite sex (or same sex, whichever way you swing). Or maybe this experience has left you feeling like a better person, or at least a happier person, knowing that they singled you out to tell you something that you can choose to ignore or take to the heart. If this ever happens to you, don't just forget about it. Smiling can make you a more beautiful person; people gravitate towards happy people. Don't be that person lurking in the corner looking like you need a hug but will bite someones head off if approached (been there, done that). 

Maybe whoever approached you has a few screws loose, but it takes a lot of courage to go up to a complete stranger and tell them something that you admire about them. You can't always hide behind your cell-phone's touch pad or your computer screen. Make it your goal to complement one perfect stranger everyday, whether it's that girl with the multi-colored hair or the technician at the reference desk with the hand-made safety-pin jewelry. You may not know if, but people treasure these hit and run moments. If you can brighten someone's day at a moment's notice, why wouldn't you go out there and do it? 

Get out from behind the text-facade. Lower the shield of online-anonymity, get out there, and start complementing! If you're shy, this can only be a step in the right direction. Challenge yourself to complement three people a week. Then up that to one person a day, or two, or three, or every person that you pass!! You love their shirt; they must have great taste in music. Wow, your hair is amazing! Is that your natural color?

And, my personal favorite: Just go up to someone and tell them they're beautiful. Just try it, see what happens. 

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!...
The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!"

So go! Find some people to compliment! Accept the hit and run challenge!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ommm Shanti Shanti Shantiii: An Adventure with Yoga Mat Bags

Greetings readers! It has been far too long since I have written a blog post about crocheting (you know, that thing that I do where I try to supplement my income by selling you handmade stuffs and it often doesn't work out but who cares I love crocheting!)

The school year is almost over (summer school, I will annihilate you), technically I've already graduated and I'm off to university in the fall.

Wow, okay that's terrifying. The terror hasn't quite sunk in yet but I"m sure that at some point halfway through the summer when I'm still hunting for a job it'll hit me like a bus in the street in Mean Girls and then I'll start freaking out.

Till then, let's talk handicrafting! Well, first I"m going to explain my divergence from craft blog to quasi-journalist-ish blog. I spent the year as executive editor (muahahahah) of my school's newspaper, The Papercut. It essentially consisted of me sitting in a chair that squeaked with the slightest movement (I"m fairly certain someone kept saying they'd bring in a can of WD-40 but that never happened. And so the squeaky chairs will become the stuff of legends as they are passed from one generation of Papercut execs to the next!). I also edited articles. You know, I do that sometimes. There was a surprising amount of bad writing coming from a school that is fairly picky about who they admit. One would think that solid writing would be a dealbreaker but NO. IT'S GRADES GRADES GRADES AT MARIANOPOLIS. WELL SAYONARA CEGEP.

I'll miss you.... Just a little bit.

A very little bit...

So the point I'm trying to make is that I didn't really have that much time to do a lot of crafts after the craft fair (I think I forgot to make a post about that...Oh well. Another time) and instead I focused my writing energy on newspaper articles rather than crafty blog posts because I started actually thinking about society and the world and I wanted to write movie and restaurant reviews and talk about the effects of the internet and fandoms on teenage girls and it spun wildly out of control and ohmygodit'shappeningagain-

But now I'm back, calmly sipping tea and enjoying the taste of freedom (it tastes like shortbread cookies and Nasonex). Yes, I'm also very sick. But that's okay! My summer school paper on overdiagnosing boys with ADHD is almost finished (2/3 of the way done woohoo!!) and so, with that, I think I am entitled to a little bit of creative freedom.

Om Shanti Shanti Yoga Mat Bag:

So, my two sisters are very into yoga. So much so that they needed yoga mat bags because they had to shlep their own yoga mats to their classes (apparently despite the fact that they clean yoga mats at gyms it's better to bring your own. Makes a certain amount of sense I suppose...). Being the handicrafter that I am, my elder sister asked me to make her a crocheted bag that looked very sturdy and had a zipper.

It also involved crocheting a base chain of 270+ stitches. Hell naw.

So I found a simpler pattern that was crocheted in the round, made some adjustments, and here we have the Om Shanti Shanti Yoga Mat Bag!

 What's nice about this pattern is that it is 100% customizable from the diameter and circumference of the bag to its height. Just add a couple rounds of increases at the base to make it wider or stop crocheting in the round to make it shorter. The strap was slightly problematic as I made it too long (a. my sister is really tiny so it didn't need to be that long to begin with, and b. it stretched out. 100% cotton does that sometimes). So for the second time around, when my other sister asked for one, it was more colorful, more tightly crocheted, and I worked the strap directly into the body of the bag instead of sewing it on afterwards.

The result? Durability, functionality, and sturdiness. And prettiness. It's really pretty :)


-Crochet hook size 4.5
-A LOT of 100% cotton (I used Bernat Handicrafter Cotton. We had a HUGE skein of the Ombres--the brown stuff and purple stuff-- and the first yoga mat bag used almost all of the brown)---The brown is called "Terra Firma", the purple is um...discontinued or just not on their website. Awkward. The second bag also used a full skein of "French Blue" and the dark green that isn't on their website either...
-Extra 3 meters of cotton yarn
-A Yoga Mat (I suppose you don't technically need one. I make them and I don't own one...)

You can find a simple pattern here at Joyful Abode (this is the pattern I used for the first bag I made. However, I have since written my own pattern so that I can sell my creations).

Abbreviations (still not wondering why that word is so damn long):
-sc: single crochet
-dc: double crochet
-sl st: slip stitch
-ch: chain
-st/sts: stitch or stitches
-fpd: front post double crochet
-bpd: back post double crochet



1. Make a magic loop. See here if you don't know how to make a magic loop.
2. Make 8 dc into the ring. Pull it closed. Sl st to join.
3. Ch 3 (this counts as first dc). 2 dc in each dc. Sl st to join. 16 st.
4. Ch 3 (still your first dc). 2 dc in each dc. Sl st to join. 32 st.
5. Ch 3 (is that in your head yet?) 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next st. **2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st. Repeat from **around. Sl st to join. 48 st.
6. Ch 3 (got it?). 2 dc in first st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. **2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts. Repeat from **around. Sl st to join. 60 st.

Right now your cirlce should be around the same size as your rolled up yoga mat. This is good.

Body of Bag:

7. Ch 1 (woah, we're switching things up a bit). Sc in back loop only around. I did back loop and the loop just underneath for stability. The point of this round is to make a noticeable 90 degree angle and a decorative line around it. Sl st to join. 60 st.
8. Ch 3 (still your first dc). Dc in each sc from previous round. Sl st to join. 60 st.
9. Ch 3 (first dc). Dc in the space between each dc from previous round, so not in the little V the stitch makes, but just to the left of it (between the posts). It creates a bit of a zig zag pattern that I think adds some flair.

Repeat round 9 until your bag is just shorter than your mat. If you're adding colors, crochet over the ends so you don't have to weave them in.

Ribbing and Drawstring:

Ch 3. Alternate fpd and bpd with one of each st in each dc from the previous row for ribbed effect. Repeat for 5 rounds.

See a tutorial for front-post dc and back-post dc here


Double up your yarn. Tightness is key here. Pick a spot one inch away from the bottom of your bag, three dc away from your seam. Work 7 sc across (one in each post of a dc). Turn. 1 sc into each sc from previous row. Continue sc across until your strap is two inches longer than your bag (it will stretch). Work your last row into your bag, below the ribbing. Tie off. 

Finally, chain doubled up length of yarn till it's slightly longer than the circumference of your bag, weave it through the ribbing and voila! A lovely new yoga mat bag perfect for shlepping to the park, to the gym, to your friend's house, downtown after a class, etc... No more boring chafing yoga mat bags :)


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cumberbitches vs Cumberbabes: Life Outside the Internet

Watch out, internet: the Sherlock (BBC) fandom is on the rampage!

In a recent development, the previously-called "Cumberbitches" (female fans of Benedict Cumberbatch) have petitioned, rallied, taken to the street-

I don't actually know if they did any of these things. All I know is that they have changed the face of the Cumberbatch fandom from Cumberbitches to..wait for it....Cumberbabes.


I understand why they would want to make this change: Cumberbitch is a little crass. Most people don't really like being referred to as a bitch in any situation. However, in a recent interaction with some friends on facebook, this happened:

You have to admit, Cumberbitch is pretty funny.

Not the point.

We have reached a point today where people get so wrapped up in their fandoms (Whovians, Gleeks, Cumberbabes/bitches, Trekkers, Big Bangers-wow that sounds wrong-, etc..) that they forget to see the humor in them and focus to much on how they as a collective are perceived. Yes, Cumberbitch is crass, but how is Cumberbabe any better? Instead of invoking images of bitchy women they are perceived as sexy babes. Which is worse? And more than that, what is the difference outside the ether of the internet?

Fandoms are out there so that people can enjoy television shows, books, movies, etc.. together online by sharing theories, trivia, fan fiction, memes, and spoilers. Yes, it's a lot of fun. I have heard about 12 different theories as to who exactly Clara Oswald is and the range of imagination these fans exert is absolutely incredible. However, it stops being fun when it's all someone can talk about in person. I understand the implications of this online: it's easier to share all of this on the internet, with "reblog" buttons at the click of the mouse.

The point I'm trying to make is that people need to take a step back from their, dare I say it, obsessions. People who say things like "have you seen my timeline recently? it is literally nothing but Sherlock and Doctor Who. it is so beyond okay" only propagate the obsession since, because it is so easily acceptable, we don't see it for what it is: an addiction.

Yes, it is an addiction, and an unhealthy one at that. So before you reblog the next picture of Nine and Ten (Doctors) on Facebook, stop for a moment. Why are you reblogging this on facebook? Why are you reblogging it at all? To share with people who do not share your enjoyment? Why is it so hard to simply look at the picture, laugh, cry, do whatever you do, and then move on?

Cumberbitch vs Cumberbabe: why do you seek to erase your identity and join this collective of fellow obsessors? We live in a society of striking individualism; it makes sense to be yourself and be proud of that. So be proud of your participating in the Sherlock fandom. But don't let it get in the way of living your life outside the internet.