Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’ve just changed the name.

So I made this a few years ago and hardly use it. I really mean to but then life gets in the way.

When I named it I hadn’t really established who I was politically or in regards to social justice. I felt strongly about things but didn’t really understand some issues like I do now.

I’ve also never made my struggles with anxiety a secret and am not at all ashamed to tell people about my experience of therapy (which was so flipping useful). I also hope that I’ve always been supportive of others and their mental health.

I’ve since realised that regardless of my intention the flippant use of “crazy” in my blog title isn’t cool and is ableist and that isn’t who I am or want to be.

So on that note if anyone read this in the past and was offended I apologise unreservedly, that was entirely my fault and I’m working on not doing this kind of thing anymore.

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Vegan Coconut Caramel and Dark Chocolate Slice

This is what I did on the weekend, thanks to Miss Laura.

Laura's Mess

compolikeIf you’re an Australian child of the 90’s, you may remember the CadburyCaramello Koala advert featuring a bastardized version of Donovan’s ‘Mellow Yellow‘ (you can watch the video here). I both loved and hated that song. It got stuck in my head for days, torturing me with a caramel-filled earworm that’s remained attached to my brain stem some sixteen years later.

But despite the lyrical annoyance, I still eat the darn things. Why? Well, they’re delicious little koala-shaped Dairy Milk chocolates filled with smooth, sticky golden caramel. They’re blissful enough to overcome the strongest of psychological aversions, particularly as chocolate-covered caramel is one of my all-time favourite vices.

cocktailmakingOver the past few years, I’ve probably eaten at least one Caramello Koala a week; definitely more at my last workplace, where Cadbury fundraising boxes were a permanent charitable fixture in the lunch room.

However, as of this…

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Strange times with strangers on trains.

My life is crazy busy these days, I’m out more nights than not and I’m constantly trying to cram as much stuff in as I can. There are always too many books to read, too many theatre events, gigs and films to get to and far too many TV shows for me to try and cram in around my friends and my burgeoning gaming activities.

This has all contributed to me becoming a public crafter; I’m always working on small projects whenever and wherever I can. I don’t see it as being that different from reading on the train. I have to squeeze as much productivity out of my day as I can, especially when I think about the project queue I have, and all the ideas that just seem to rain into my head some days

Sometimes this public display of crochet or cross stitch gets funny looks from my fellow commuters, and I’m ok with that, it is a little unusual. Other times someone will ask me what I’m doing and I get to have a conversation with a stranger about something I am passionate about. Well a few things I’m passionate about since most of my craft links into some other obsession of mine. I’m also quite happy to show off so I welcome the opportunity

However today I had a strange encounter, it was the first time my crafting has led to negative interaction with a stranger.

I’m currently making a doll based on a film character. He is mostly crochet but will have some elements of his costume and accessories made out of modelling clay. I’ve been working on him for a while (a lot of planning) and I really want him to be fantastic. At the moment he is in the early stages, just a basic person shaped thing, none of the real detail that will give him his identity is done.

Doll in progress, he did end up looking like Lloyd Dobler

Doll in progress, he did end up looking like Lloyd Dobler

I was sitting on the train with my guide patterns (The amazing Crafty is Cool Doctor Who Pattern Set) and a sheaf of reference pictures for my doll and deciding how I should make his little shirt a lady sitting next to me told me “He doesn’t look like that”. Now obviously this is true, my doll has no details yet.

I very politely replied “Not yet, but he will”. She leaned over and actually started touching my stuff ad repeated that my doll “doesn’t look like that”, I told her “she’d be surprised once he was finished” which she just scoffed at and asked me if I’d be “making his little toys as well”. By which she meant his weapons. Well yes of course I am, they are part of what will give him his identity.

Now I’ve made dolls based on famous people and characters before and they only really seem right when they are finished.  Nick Cave, Lloyd Dobler and Death to name a few. Death I completely designed myself, the others are based on Crafty is Cool patterns I’ve bought.

Nick Cave circa 2010

Nick Cave circa 2010

See he did end up looking like Lloyd.

See he did end up looking like Lloyd.

Discworld's Death, dressed as Bill Door.

Discworld’s Death, dressed as Bill Door.

I don’t think this lady was being intentionally rude but I find it really weird that she would be ok with belittling me and touching my stuff when we have never met before. But by crafting publicly should I expect the public to be unreserved in their judgement of me and my work? The looks I’m ok with, I’ve gotten judgemental looks from strangers my whole life but people actually touching my things without permission just seems in invasion that isn’t warranted just because I’ve taken my hook outside my house.

Crowd-funding isn’t Philanthropy

Recently I was trying to explain why I had supported Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour) to a friend and found myself trying to explain my I supported any crowd-funding projects.

It seems to me that people who are not familiar with the idea behind crowd-funding, and it is still quite new, so that is a lot of people, think that when you crowd-fund you are giving people money and that is the whole transaction. The artist/designer/filmmaker/start-up just takes your money and runs.

Put there is another side to this transaction. Crowd-funding really is pre-ordering in most cases; it allows me to get in on the ground floor of a final product that I WANT. Now crowd-funding it might be the only way to make sure it gets made so I can have it. Or in the case of Amanda Palmer, it would get made anyway, but I’m going to get exclusive things that non crowd-funding fans will miss out on. Yes some people give money for no reward, but all projects give you the option to take part of it home when all is said and done.

I am a pop-culture tragic and an obsessive nerd. I collect everything I can that relates to the things I love, and I love lots of things. I found Kickstarter via Neil Gaiman, he tweeted about The Price, a film in production based on one of my favourite short stories, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2024077040/neil-gaimans-the-price. For $100US I’ll get a Blu-Ray, with exclusive backer only content and a limited edition print. That was 18 months ago, the film isn’t finished yet, but I am kept up to date on the progress and have received my print already, and it is amazing.

I’ve since funded 14 other Kickstarters, 3 Pozible projects and the new Ben Folds Five album on Pledge. I’m getting something in return for all of them! Things I would buy if I saw them in a shop. Some of the things I’ve backed are now available for everyone to buy, but I had them first. Yes I’m helping someone achieve what they set out to, but not really just because I can, yes I like that I’ve helped these people, and I’d love to fund more, but I’m doing it so that I can get what they have to offer me.

Amanda Palmer has been criticised as someone that is too big to use crowd-funding and various other reasons, but all she did is offer her fans a direct way to buy her art, we just gave her the money a few months early. She is already allowing us access to songs from the album. I wonder, if she had just set up a pre-order page on her online store, would people have been offended like they seem to be by her audacity to ask her fans for support? Is her Kickstarter so offensive because it was so successful? In my opinion people like Amanda Palmer using Kickstarter is only going to be good for the platform in the long run. It has generated so much buzz and introduced so many people to the idea of crowd-funding. Hopefully this will mean more supporters and even more projects.