10 Things I ♥ in July

from left to right: Rocococeane, Versailles and Phryne
  1. Rocococeane on Instagram. Her style is so over-the-top kitschy, inspired by old porcelain figurines, Victorian stickers and huge kiddie diamond accessoires, all mixed together in a fantastic thing that is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette and romantic looks featuring tons of shiny satin from the 80s, and fiercely individualistic, too. Gotta love it.
  2. I’ve been bingeing Versailles on Netflix and Verdinium is right, it’s marvellous. My favourite is definitely Lieselotte of the Palatinate (and the two Philippes, they are hilarious, melodramatic and heartwarming at the same time), I’ve always admired her very casual letters but after the portrayal here I love her even more.
  3. Now that I’m through with the former I’m currently re-watching Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and the series hasn’t lost any charm since the last time. I still adore Phryne’s lavish wardrobe, Mac’s snarky remarks, Jack’s chemistry with the leading lady and the overall lively, feminist spirit.
  4. Listing to Port, the most precious Tumblr account I’ve found lately. Their writing is beautifully whimsical, and very close to my kind of reality. My first few favourites would be Seven Perilious Cakes, Things in the Heart of a Rose, Ten Punks (I want Bibliopunk so desperately in my life), Safer of the Fairy Fruits and of course the beautiful tale of Seven Sons.
  5. The Explore Live Cams are kind of my go-to at the moment to run in the background when I’m cleaning my room or just want a serene moment to myself (although I’d recommend turning off the sound for most things aside from the underwater cams).
  6. Prepping for ConQuest. Same procedure as every year, and I’m so excited our little group is growing! I didn’t get around to making as much stuff for our camp as I would have liked to but that won’t stop me from having a fantastic time!
  7. Days by the Lakeside.
  8. Even though (or maybe because) it’s super kitschy I adore these vintage Lady LovelyLocks illustrations. What’s especially lovely are the details like the ribbon lattice on Lady’s bodice, the skirt layers and the translucent veils over RavenHair’s dress. And while the cartoon cannot be called clever or enticing anymore and isn’t really up to modern standards either at least the girls made do without a male hero to rescue them most of the time.
  9. Tracing Real Body Models, a fantastic project aspiring to give artists and designers templates that don’t adhere to catwalk standards but are instead based on actual not-a-model people.
  10. My Grandmother sends me her favourite poems in her letters. 

I’m of course wildly aware that it’s August by now. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t make it to one of these posts in time but I was horribly busy with my last bits of ConQuest prep. Now that the busy part of Summer is over maybe we’ll return to more regular updates here, too…
I hope you’re having a wonderful (and not too hot) time!


Prairie Thrift Haul

I only ever noticed how almost all items fell into the same aesthetic category when I was almost done editing, very much Sarah Kay and Holly Hobbie. Which happens to be a big slice of my aesthetic lately.

Have you had any fantastic finds lately? Let me know in the comments!

Something Borrowed: Zakka

zakka2I love checking out craft books. My growing collection of thrifted books is mostly from the 70s and 80s, with all the nice and not so nice things this entails (the boxy cuts. Oh wow, the boxy cuts.). But each time I go to the library I wander by the hobby shelves, scouring the boards for yet unknown treasures, and Handmade Zakka & Craft by TUESDAY – designer couple Togawa Tomo and Togawa Chiyo – was one of them.

Zakka Cover BNN
cover of the English edition via BNN

With everyday material and a little creativity, you can make fun, original, and cute objects.
This book introduces you cute and easy ideas to make everyday life more colorful!
Learn the fun of creating room ornaments from paper and thread, accessories from felt, the most exciting party items, and picture collections to enjoy with families! Children also love reading this book with you.

zakka4While none of the featured techniques were a mystery to me I enjoyed the book for its lovely ideas and the combination of really good design and simplicity. The Togawas prove that things don’t need to be complicated to look great, something a lot of other craft books either don’t mention or don’t achieve. It fits fantastically into the early Mori Kei aesthetic, calm and sweet and handmade, that I adore.

zakka6The overall design of the book is so charming, from the listing of materials in visual form to the artist features that are at the end of each chapter.

zakka5zakka1None of the materials used are really fancy in any way, nothing you wouldn’t get at the dollar store or even thrifted for a bargain on short notice, and they even make use of everyday items that are subsequently turned into indie movie-worthy art.

If you’re looking for inspiration for small, quirky projects this is the right book for you. My creativity was triggered by a house stencil skirt, I might have somewhere I want to go from there in mind, and I love it.

zakka7zakka3I’m also a big fan of just using small things, toys, tools, everything really, as jewelery so I was smitten to see something like it here!

The book has seven categories, stationary, toys and decoration among them and even a few recipes, so everyone should find something here. And the publisher is right, this would make a great book to introduce crafting to kids – but not only kids – with. With its neat design and the effortlessness of the projects that can be made in half an afternoon it’s just right to get someone into making things.

zakka8Would I read it again? Sure, and now that I browsed BNN’s craft book section I might need to make a bit more space on my craft book shelf. Yikes.

Something Borrowed is the title for my posts about books, comics and other works from the library. Libraries are amazing, please use them.

Pictures in order of appearance from the German edition (ISBN 978-3-86355-101-8):
TUESDAY T’s, p. 2 | miniature garden, p. 50 | material, p. 6 | fruit sticker art, p. 27 | googly eye cars, p. 109 | toy necklaces, p. 78 | toy pins, p. 81 | magnet fishing game, p. 111

Welcome to Plastic Free July 2018

Plastic Free July by Catfishcreative on Instagram

This lovely graphic about plastic-free options is by catfishcreative on Instagram.

It’s July, and if you’ve been reading this blog for more than a year you know what this means: The re-surfacing of my obsession to cut as much single-use plastic and plastic in general out of my life. While I’m always trying to live my most environmentally friendly life ideals tend to get thrown under the bus of everyday business and comfort. Each July I’m reminded of where I want to be with my consumption habits, be it groceries, toiletries or even the tiny things I treat myself with, and I can try again to make the world a little bit cleaner, a little bit better, and a little more friendly for humans and planet alike.

I still know what used to be my biggest challenge last year: pasta. It always comes in plastic packaging at the supermarket, and back then I didn’t have a bike to regularly go to the one place in town I know of where I can get it packaging-free. Now I don’t only have a bike but also a friend who works there, so that’s a bonus when I actually get there!
What I’m saying is that motivators are important, this might be this year’s biggest subtopic for me, too.

And of course it’s not only about plastic, it’s about aluminium, about fast fashion, about litter in general. With general crafting as a hobby it’s sometimes difficult to find alternatives and workarounds, but I’m rather positive I can still make my crafting habits less prone to cause a full bin.

One thing to always remember, though, when thinking about living a plastic-free life is that in our world it is pretty much impossible to get rid of the stuff completely. Some things won’t come without, and some of these things we need – just think of medication blister packs, your phone, your computer. There is no shame in not living the plastic-free-est life ever. There is no shame in still buying your favourite sweets even though they come wrapped in single-use plastic, especially not if they make you truly happy.

Even a tiny effort goes a long way, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Even if you get a reusable to-go cup and that’s it – that’s one person’s worth less of single use cups, one person’s worth less of trees that are felled only for a cup of coffee, one person’s worth less of lids thrown in the bin afterwards. Tiny efforts are what this is about, because a lot of tiny efforts make a couple of big ones. And you are part of that.

Also, there are a TON of cute reusable cup designs out there.

Are you participating in Plastic Free July this year? What are your main goals? I’d love to read about them in the comments!

10 Things I ♥ in June

June Favourites 2018
From Left to Right: Ni no Kuni II, Wynonna Earp, Anya’s Ghost, Everything Will Be Alright In The End and LUCE by Alice Savage, probably my favourite piece of theirs
  1. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. I once again hijacked my best friend’s PS and this one is just so so so lovely. It’s basically a playable Studio Ghibli film! The scenery is gorgeous, the Higgledies (tiny helper sprites) adorable (and they can conjure cannons!, which might be my favourite thing about them) and the Leafbook feature is hilarious. If you get the chance to play this, DO, it’s wonderful.
  2. This monologue of an Outdoorsy Dream Girl And DEFINITELY NOT A Soul-Stealing Nymph was just too good not to share it.
  3. Even though the Boyfriend stopped watching after five minutes due to special effects cringing, I actually very much enjoy Wynonna Earp. It’s fantastic to see a supernatural action/horror show for once where the girls aren’t either bait or so hardened that you couldn’t hurt them with a wrecking ball if you tried. The realistic, funny, honest and sex-positive female characters in this series give me serious hope for the genre! Also I’m hopelessly in love with Waverly.
  4. Staying with the “things I binge on Netflix” theme: *squal*, new season of Queer Eye ! I made it about ten minutes in before I started crying, and I also hooked Rusty and the Boyfriend because there’s nothing as cozy as watching a heartwarming make-better with a cup of tea and friends.
  5. Even though we apparently used up all of our Summer days in May I can’t help but love the current produce season. The farmer’s market is just brimming with new things and I think I might have eaten at least a pound of strawberries at work alone each week for the last month.
  6. Anya’s Ghost. Just like Friends With Boys Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel debut explores girls and ghosts, this time with an immigrant twist. And just like Friends With Boys the story is still unfinished when the book ends, but I actually think it’s a nice thing to have the reader ponder over the next adventures of the characters. Brosgol’s art isn’t overly dramatic at all, and it only adds to the appeal of the book as a vignette of teenage life.
  7. Everything Will Be Alright In The End (what a great name, by the way!) by Weezer might have been out for years by now but listening to only a few seconds of The British Are Coming (in a 9gag compilation of misheard lyrics, none the less!) made my fall in love with them all over again. Runner-up for my favourite song from the album would be Da Vinci, by the way, but the aforementioned completely has my heart.
  8. I really love common bindweed. While it might be a horrible pest to gardeners I adore the soft pink hue of the tiny cups that are its blossoms. One of bindweed’s folk names is Creeping Jenny which would be a great name for the Rural Punk/Southern Gothic mostly-girls band that I don’t have. Yet.
  9. Hearing the Girl in the flat above ours play the piano.
  10. The beautiful metalwork jewelery made by Alice Savage, based in Italy. Make sure to follow their Instagram for the beautiful background stories of their pieces. LUCE might be my favourite piece so far, but they are all so stunning (those skull pearls!!!).

Good-Bye, Steampunk: Closing a Subculture Chapter

Before I throw more Amsterdam pictures at you (yes, of course there’s more) I thought I might do something else for a change.

Steampunk is something that didn’t feature for quite some time on this blog. If you’ve been here for a while now you might now that this wasn’t always the case.

Steampunk Boson by Ari Baker
My illustration for the Steampunk edition of Kurz & Geek

There was a time when – had I had something like it – my Instagram or Twitter bio would have had the word STEAMPUNK as a denominator written in them quite prominently.

There was a time when I checked everything about it’s steampunky-ness, when this was my main aesthetic goal. I was so excited for every new film, music video, book that came out referencing or straight-out being Steampunk.

There was a time when I was quite active in the Steampunk community, arranging and going to meets, writing in forums, illustrating for Steampunk projects, even throwing a one-shot LARP and publishing a podcast regularly for a big German Steampunk blog.

Aetherdeck by Ari Baker
I illustrated a whole card deck with characters from Steampunk novels

There was a time but there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. I have trouble saying good-bye for good to projects, concepts, people and, well, subcultures I used to feel like I belonged to.
When I got into Steampunk the genre hadn’t arrived at the mainstream yet, and I mean that in an entirely un-hipsterish way. Everything was fairly new and unprofessional back then, and it was even acceptable to just put some gears onto things and call them Steampunk. There weren’t as many shows and anime and games making use of the genre but in a way it felt far more adventurous.
But this feeling can wear thin, and stretch, and feel unflattering and bad just like a t-shirt you used to love and thought you looked great in and now you stand in front of your mirror asking yourself why you feel just plain wrong in it and how you could ever thing this was complimenting your skintone.

And that’s exactly what happened. Together with a few interpersonal problems, exhausting projects and other issues in the subculture this was what started making me detest the whole thing. As if the mention of the word alone left a stale taste in my mouth.

Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoy the aesthetic. I do know now that what I really love about it would be closer to Clockpunk or Stitchpunk, but I still like gears and grime and industrial revolution revolutions. The things that continue to go on my nerves are best summed up in this beautiful work of art by Terrible Writing Advice:

… and the people who come with them. While there are lovely people in the German community I had my fair share of run-ins with individuals I just couldn’t click with. And that’s okay but in the end this was what made me sever my ties with the Subculture. I had a hard time admitting it at first but when someone from the blog I recorded for years ago asked me to contribute to the 10-year anniversary celebratory podcast I faced it and actually said

No. I’m not in there anymore. I’m out.

And it’s fine.

I have no clue why this was such a big step for me but now that it’s done it feels like a good break-up, as if I got rid of something that was toxic for me (and by that I really mean for me, if you are in the community, if you enjoy it, for all that is good and magical, DO!), I feel lighter and shinier and brighter for it. I wouldn’t miss the time that I really enjoyed Steampunk and it brought me joy and good things, but I’m better now without it. I decluttered my feeds, left all groups on Facebook, and it feels good.

Did you ever mentally unsubscribe from a subculture, community or something else you had been dedicated to or engaged in for a long time? How did it go for you?

Have a wonderful week, and expect more Amsterdam pictures soon.