I know my last post was a pretty full on blast of negativity and rage. I’m not sorry, but I don’t want you to think that I’m just a walking miasma of psychopathology and self pity.
So: Christmas! I usually ignore it aside from the drinking part. The forcest jollity makes me ill and the consumerism is unfathomable. I can’t really remember the last time I made an effort further than handmade cards. Not knocking the cards though, they were made with love and just enough design nous to cover for my appalling lack of actual papercraft skills. People liked the cards.
But this year, I’m trying to do a bit better. Not by spending a load of money on corporate crap to gift to my loved ones (so sorry if you were after anything electric), but with trying some more craft stuff.
This was my Facebook update today.
This does not signal that I’ve joined the sad dash towards the zombie hordes of Black Cyber whaetevethefuckday Buy Many Things league.
I did buy things, some new, some charity shop. Mostly, ingredients. And of course some random fun girly shit for my laydies, who appreciate that the pantomiming of femininity can be hilarious vodka hi-jinx, highly therapeutic, and serious fucking business. Darlings though, my Xmas present to you is a true get-together. A drunken Princess’tea-party conference and a celebration of our 3 girl love.
*And because I don’t (and do… know who reads this, Girl Love is not a metaphor for lesbian sex.We are not a lesbian threesome.
As to the remainder of my Xmas supplies and crafting plans, this is now a tightly controlled secret. Christmas Morning gotta hold some surprises.
They could be shit surprises. If you still get nothing, or some Poundshop chocolates, I still fuckin tried. My only hope, now is that my lack of craft skills and knowledge will be overcome by my essentially innovative nature, Google, and Youtube tutorials.
I got only a couple of weeks to get this right, but I can do it. So family, friends, whoever is ‘lucky’ enough to get a weird handcrafted gift this year: It means I really fucking love you and I really fucking tried.
I know, for countless years into the past, my whole beautiful family have put endless efforts into bringing the family together (a logisitcal feat of no mean skill) and celebrating Christmas. And I’ve always been kind of an ass about it. Just sorta sitting on the periphery, getting as quietly drunk as possible, accepting presents as rightful tribute. (I promise, right here right now, I will post of some the amazing jewelry I previously received, so at least the world can share a look.) So yeah, I am making an effort this Christmas to retire the sulky ‘too good/alienated/sad for this’ persona. It was acceptable as a teen, barely, but now it’s time to step up, at least a little bit, and appreciate the real love of family and friends that is celebrated at this dark time of year.
You may not see me for a while. I may drown in glitter or burn my hand off trying to make candles. But by the end of it, I’m gonna try to do ‘love and good cheer’ or whatever you call it. Reaching out to those people who have always been there for me, and trying, however unskillfully, to show my love.
If all else fails, I make excellent mulled wine.
But I tried it out, and didn’t make an absolute balls-up of it. That means that this must be an extremely easy craft idea, and more people should know about it. It’s also incredibly cheap, and actually very useful. It’s coming up for Christmas (I am SO sorry for mentioning that), but if like me you’re planning to spend zero cash of gifts, you should be taking a note of these budget handcrafted/recycled gift ideas.
I have 5 earlobe piercings, so I go through a lot of earrings. Studs are the easiest jewellery to lose. They are small and fiddly, and have even smaller, fiddlier backs to keep track of. There are plenty of hangy thingies to store hoop or hook earrings, but storage for studs is hard to find. You could just chuck them all in a box where they get all tangled and messed up and you can never find a matching pair and the backs all fall off and you don’t know which back goes on which stalk and everything is terrible. Or, you could make a box like this.
How to make a storage box for stud earrings.
Firstly, take one box. It should probably be at least an inch deep inside. I used this cute wooden box with a butterfly on it that my auntie gave me for Christmas.
Second, take a pack of foam bendy rollers. You can find them in the hair & beauty section at Poundland, 99p store, and other extremely cheap and nasty outlets. One pack should be enough, unless you’re making a fucking enormous box for a truly ridiculous earring collection. If that’s the case, I admit only partial jealousy.
Three: dismantle the rollers. They have a wire through the middle of them, but it is easy to remove. Just push off the cap and pull the wire through from the other end.
Four: Now you basically have a bunch of squishy foam tubes. Cut them to the length of your box and squeeze them in. It might be a tight fit but they’re squishy, you’ll manage (hopefully, or you might have to start cutting things in half lengthways and that’s way too complex for me to offer any advice).
So, here is my box of foam tubes. Just poke the earrings inbetween the rollers and the foam holds them in place. The backs stay on, they don’t move around, and you can fit quite a lot of earrings in a pretty small box as well!
Happy crafting, and thank you to u/allrattedup for the inspiration.
When I started this blog, I envisaged writing mostly about Literature, poetry, politics, psycho/neuro/chiatry and a sprinkling of aesthetics. Maybe a little magic. Instead, enjoy your earrings.
Some bought, some made by me, but most of them are gifts transported across the world on a complex journey from my Indian cousin, via Leeds, London, and several relatives. Uma, it was a journey, but we made it in the end. ❤
I have 3 piercings in each earlobe, so I go through a lot of earrings. Before the beautiful blessing from my cousin, I was down to my last two rings. I’m terrible at keeping earrings. Every time I get drunk I lose at least one.
I do own some expensive earrings I got as an 18th birthday present, but I never dare to wear them. I just know the back will get caught in my hair or something, and then I’ll have to explain to my grandmother how I lost an 24 carat gold, sapphire and diamond heirloom. I have very few valuable pieces of jewellery, and I keep them locked away. I am not responsible with valuables.
So this is my stud/pin earring collection. Some just bought cheap off eBay, some exotic finds, some pretty expensive gifts (made of actual silver and everything!), and some handmade by myself with all the power that entails. If you’re really bored, there’s a fun guessing game for you. Which is which? What did I make, what’s Indian, and what is a genuine commercially available piece of jewellery? Answers in comments please.
I will soon write a post about the craft skills behind the earring storage box. Keep reading to discover that thrilling information!
I did that. As predicted, it was Not Fun. I’ve had two fillings since.Two of my teeth are now 50% metal. It was that bad. The dentists looked very sad about the state of my teeth, even bringing their colleagues in to observe and wonder at how my teeth got so fucked up. I’m only 26. I didn’t do that much crack, but I have spent a large proportion of my diet on sweets (pure candy, no chocolate or fat to get in the way of the sugar), cheap cider and wine. These together must be able to liquefy enamel in seconds. That, and crashing out wasted without cleaning my teeth, staying out on sessions long enough to bypass the recommended twice daily brushing, have done for my dental work. The long-since cured bulimia probably went a long way towards the acid erosion, and also left me with a nice case of GERD which has flooded my teeth with even more acid. I have spent a lot of time puking. Now I’m paying the price, with my translucent, carious, crumbling teeth.
What really spurred me on to get my teeth sorted was that a chunk fell off my premolar. I was just eating a blue raspberry BonBon (see, told you I have a tooth-friendly diet), there was a strange crunching sensation, and I was spitting out a chunk of enamel. I had to live with a jagged hole in my tooth for a few days, waiting for a dentist appointment to become available. It was unpleasant. The jagged edges cut my tongue, and having a foul pit of decay in the centre of your tooth actually tastes pretty bad.
This is how my lovely NHS dentists fixed up my tooth.
So, now I had a piece of my tooth just lying around. I also had a pack of plain silver earring posts. (Link there to get some for hella cheap on ebay, just in case this post inspires you to do some weird gross craft. Or even some nice craft. Don’t let me bring you down.)
And so, the denoument. The tooth earring. It has power. It has decay. It has a subtle aesthetic, probably wouldn’t draw attention unless you ran around screaming that you were wearing your own decaying bodily matter as jewellery.
I feel there is plenty power to be had in keeping your own body bits close. 1. It prevents evil voodooists using them against you, and 2. It’s keeping it all close to home. What could be more emotionally and psychically meaningful than a tooth that took me what, five years to grow? That’s some attachment. There’s energy stored up in there.
And believe me, there is also a great deal of rage directed at my pathetic failure of a tooth. It’s not even just that tooth. It’s been 2 years since I got the all-clear from a previous dentist, and in that time my teeth have basically dissolved. They’re all weak and pathetic. I have yet another dental appoinment this week, for yet another filling. 3 fillings in 3 weeks. I’m just glad I don’t generally find them painful. The root canal was a walk in the park. But it is all getting rather repetetive.
If things don’t improve, I’m going this direction: VAMPIRE GRILLZ
If Marilyn Manson can do it, why can’t I? Gotta hide my busted teeth somehow.
Just to prove that I practice what I preach, this necklace will be forming part of my performance attire. Its history and construction have imbued it with certain powers, and I want them on me.
The rune. I’m not big on runes. I dig tarot, but runes are not my area of expertise. (At one point I will write a post explaining how I can read tarot but also believe in science. I’m not a fuckin hippie. And fuck the ‘New Age’.) Anyway, the rune is Perth or Perthro. The dice cup, source of fate, fated to be on my necklace because it’s the only rune I had with a hole handily bored through it. (Sometimes) free choice is an illusion.
So hey, don’t you think my magic necklace is fun? It’s got all kinds of secret powers and personal meanings, but you’ll never know what they are. The rules of successful magical work are: To know, to will, to dare, to keep silent.
Arguably writing a fucking blog boasting about it isn’t keeping particularly silent, but this is more an aesthetic boast. My plastic fantastic irony tat-maximalist look deserves attention.
And yes, that is one of Barbie’s stilettos on there. It’s orange. Matches my lipstick.
Cyberpunk or something. It’s called Junkie jewellery because 1. It’s made of junk, woo recycling! And 2. It has zero resale value, so even if you have long since flogged all your precious metals to Cash Converters (shoulda used a real jeweller mate…) you can rock this fabulous look. It’s called upcycling, and hipsters spend a lot of money on it.
This one was once part of a bracelet, a curtain ring, and a handle from a fancy shopping bag.
Both of these are my new favourite works in progress, endlessly re-arrangable and basically free. Better than free: in using up my horded tat I’m actually increasing my quality of life and real estate value of my dwelling.
So what do you think, do I have a future career in “upcycled” design? This is the easiest Shitty Craft yet, just find a string or other long narrow object, adorn it, and fasten it round your neck (preferably avoiding strangulation hazards) and you’re good to go! Follow my blog for more shitty crafts, (might branch out into bracelets! Even earrings! They look hard.) And there might be some cookery, cycling, politics and ADVENTURES coming up as well.
Add a little character to your everyday life by painting boring household objects. The handprint has been a staple of artistic expression since caveman days, and adds a great slasher movie vibe, especially if you stick to a palette of reds, pinks and blacks.
This was a plain cream fabric lampshade from some cheap value range. It was battered and vaguely stained with what looked suspiciously like blood spots, so I decided to make it a statement piece. I chose colours which matched my room’s existing scheme, and matched the design mood to my room’s ‘cursed junkshop run by the Order of Thanateros and several magpies on acid’ vibe.
As this is a craft instructional, I’m basically saying that you should paint all your stuff. You don’t have to be skilled, just do it. All you need is acrylic paint, water, and a paintbrush. Go mad, have some fun. The urge to put our personal mark on our surroundings is one of the origins of human artistic culture, don’t let yourself be alienated from that. It’s 100% more satisfying to put your own mark on something than to buy readymade. DIY, express yourself; these things are punk as fuck. Capitalism would have it that only professional designers and artists are worthy to have their work displayed. Money isn’t the point here. This is Shitty Crafts, proudly worthless in monetary terms, massively valuable for fulfilling the basic human need for creativity.
For this project you will need: Plain PU leather phone case, a needle (sewing variety preferable), chalk, leather varnish, paintbrush, superglue, plastic tat with flat surfaces suitable for gluing.
- Think of a meaningful and beautiful phrase. No stupid cliches, no spelling errors, nothing that will make people think you’re an idiot as soon as you get your phone out. They’re already judging you for your phone addiction, don’t add fuel to the fire by writing YOLO on it or something like that. I chose a quote from E.M. Forster, but the most well known one, so that more people will recognise how intelligent and well read I am.
- Get your sewing needle, thumb tack, really small screw, or large guague hypodermic, and scratch your phrase into your stuff. You want all the letters to be even and legible. Think about typeface and kerning, but then realise that unless you’re some kind of craft genius it will look like something you idly scratched into your desk at school. And that’s OK. This is shitty craft, not fucking Pinterest.
- Scribble over your lettering with chalk. Experiment with different colours and effects, wipe it off a few times. The main point is for the chalk to fill the scratches so the letters show up. Wipe off any excess chalk, then varnish it. I kept a square area of chalk smears for aesthetic reasons, while the lettering is relatively clear. I used this leather finishing varnish from Direct Leather Supplies. I had it left over from a boot painting project, I knew it would come in handy again one day!
- To make your project even more amateur and shitty, glue on whatever bits of garbage you can find around the house. I used a plastic ant, in keeping with the social theme of my quote. I glued it on with Loctite and then weighted it down with books while it bonded. I must say, Loctite is the shit.
- In 12 hours or so, the glue and varnish will be dry and your phone holder will be ready to go. Take it out and show it off. Make sure everyone knows how interesting and crafty you are by waving your phone case in their faces and yelling ‘I MADE THIS!’. I promise they will be impressed; this may even be your way into that fashion design internship you secretly crave.