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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

How to: Learning to let go of DIY projects

I love making things with my own hands; there's something about knowing that you've created an item which produces a special meaning. I'm not alone in my love of DIY and crafting, and it's easy to understand why - not only can it be cheaper and produce objects you might not be able to buy, but it's enjoyable and there's a certain pride in getting to use something and say 'I made this' to queries.

However, sometimes crafting projects can become more trouble than their worth. Occasionally, the task might be more difficult than previously thought, you can't get the materials you need or you just lose interest. Any of these reasons can lead to unfinished pieces, and you are left in flux about what to do. Do you soldier on and wait it out, or do you cut your losses before you waste any more time?

I'm the world's worst for leaving projects once my enthusiasm has faded. I also have a bad habit of forgetting I may not have the tools or skills for the job, and it can be demoralising to have to accept defeat on something I was determined to make. Whilst it's something I have improved at, I think every crafter should learn when to recognize that something isn't getting finished and is preventing you from moving on to other projects.

So, is a project worth sticking with? Run it through this check list -

  • Have you lost interest? Do you feel obligated to finish it so you can move onto other craft projects, but just can't face doing so?
  • Are you lacking the means to finish it? Can you get the materials to finish it soon, or does the lack of affordable and appropriate lace for the edging on your bell skirt mean that you have to wait it out until something appears?
  • Have you realised you don't have the skill level to finish it? Did you forget in your enthusiasm that making your own furniture is harder than it looks?

Accepting your defeat doesn't have to be associated with negative emotions; I often find it freeing to admit that, no, I am probably not going to finish making those goggles, and I should stop fretting over them. To best help you let go of DIY projects, there are a number of steps to follow -

  • Remove them from your craft space. Before you do anything, separate the projects you aren't going to finish from those you are. If they are hanging about your craft space doing nothing but making you guilty and causing clutter, there is no point to keep them hanging about. Out of site, out of mind.
  • Decide whether to bin or to store. Some projects are just failures, whereas others you might want to store in case the situation changes and you want to take it up again. Storage obviously also depends on the space available to you, and before putting in the bin consider if you can cannibalize the resources used for other purposes.
  • Review stored projects annually, or however often is appropriate for you. If the situation changes, and maybe you're a bit more experienced with needle felting now or have finally bought the machine part you didn't realise you'd need when starting, you can always pick it up again.

Hope this helps!

Fiona C.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Reading: Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture


An early present for you readers - no sales, no fashion; a book.

We've just had the solstice, and Christmas is (somehow) tomorrow. For me anyway, winter feels like a time when everything sleeps; trees are bare, everything closes up for the season, and I hibernate. But like a cell's interphase, it's also a period of preparation, and development for the future - plenty of rest is needed, and maybe also some time to catch up on reading material.

Given the obvious pagan roots of Christmas, for those also planning on devouring some words one of my favourite queer feminist texts springs to mind; Arthur Evans' seminal 1978 text Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture. Looking at the intersection of queer culture, witchcraft, feminism, and oppression through the centuries, Evans' work - though flawed, and now somewhat dated in its language - has had a massive impact on academic discourse regarding these areas, and yet is almost impossible to find. Luckily for you, some kind soul uploaded the entire text online for free, and it can be found in PDF form here.

Particularly with regards to the recent occult revival, I feel like this is an important book for anyone to read - pagan, queer, feminist, or historian alike. It's contains the history of the oppressed, so often ignored or smothered, and analyses the very prejudices and assumptions of its own contemporaries in anthropology and history. It's also extremely readable, and avoids the jargon and impenetrability of academia - and, most importantly, produces the kind of excitement you only get from learning to see the world with new eyes.

This year's holly piece.  

Merry Christmas, readers! Hope you're all nurturing your brains.

Fiona C

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Two month Catch-Up

Oh my - has it really been a month since I last posted? And two since I posted regularly? A holiday was taken, it seems.


Apologies to everyone for the unexplained absence; I must admit that with university life, blogging fell by the wayside. It's good to see that the internet world moves on without me - keeps my ego in check.

Nonetheless, thank you to those of you who asked where I've been; I do have answers! I've been doing a lot of this -

I could post a video featuring lots of aerials and fast footwork, but the reality is most of the dancing we do is social. 
Which, in some ways, is much nicer. 

Some of this - 

Pastel, A4. Accepting name suggestions (The Uncaped Crusader currently in the lead).

And unfortunately this - 

It's not all bad; I got to study psychiatry this year, which reaffirmed my desire to specialize in the field.

Other events which I don't have photos for - becoming a god-auntie, Rocky Horror Party Mark II (photos were taken, but apparently they were so awful the camera actually broke before I could download them), authorship of an introductory guide to womenswear of the 1920s, the purchase of my first corset, and attendance at the Edinburgh Welcome to Nightvale live show.


What's been happening in internet land, however? 

- Viktoria Modesta, who I wrote a feature on a few months ago, has paired up with Channel 4 in their campaign 'Born Risky' to promote her new single Prototype. I wish her the best of luck!
- That gum you like is coming back in style.
- One of my favourite bloggers and artists, Eliza Gauger, officially left the internet this month. Fortunately, she's still running Problem Glyphs, and you can keep up to date with her via her newsletter.


Now that I'm back, I hope to be back for good; I probably won't be posting much over the December period on account of a certain revamped Pagan celebration, but I'm hoping to write more for the new year. Due to previously mentioned camera problems, although I have plenty to shoot there won't be any personal fashion on here until that particular issue is solved, but expect plenty more. 

Happy holidays to all, and have a good new year!

Fiona C.