Maladignia's blog
Sitting cat Welcome to my home-cooked journal.
Here you will find my rants about every day life and things that keep me busy.
In the past I have frequently written, but there's no saying if I'll continue on that path. It all depends on how busy I am.
Have fun reading my scribbles.
A good day

Today started not as good as the title suggests. My walk around the park was nice, but during grocery shopping the bottom fell out of my bag of apples at the counter and after that all kinds of other stuff started just escaping from my hands and falling. Since I overreacted to most happenings (welcome, monthly hormones) I decided that today would be a bad day to spend behind the sewing machine. The thing is buggy at best; not transporting properly at random times and can really get on my nerves.

So, how did this day end up to be a good day? Well, after having breakfast in the back yard in the sun and reading a nice book ('Gnole' by Alan Aldridge, picked up in the 'give-away-shop' a few weeks ago) I picked up my WIP (work in progress) the Fairyhome. It's a wet felted shape, formed around an empty laundry detergent flask. I added roof tiles, a door with knocker/handle and the beginnings of a wistaria (blauwe regen in Dutch) through needle felting. A time consuming process, but rather zen. I didn't even prick my finger once! When I needed to wet felt a piece for the door I also tried my hand at felting around a rubber ball. Which was harder than it sounds. Felting around stones can even be done with children from age 3 (!) and up, but if you don't know the right way to do it it gets a lot harder. However, I managed and after removing the ball I now have a small 'wallet' that is drying in the sun.

Aside from felting I also searched for some inspiration online. Mainly driven by the fact that the felting around the ball went crappy and I needed to know how it should have been done. I just love this pinterest page with all kinds of projects. these fall leaves, these birds, this lovely bracelet, really give me the urge to go make something. There is even a cat cave! I can imagine that this takes up a lot of wool.

When the sun left our table in the garden I moved further back onto a little bench and took another WIP with me: a crocheted top of this pattern. I started the top part with purple cotton yarn and was planning on doing the lace bottom with a fake-wool yarn that changes color. However, today I changed my mind. I'm going to do the lace with a lighter purple cotton yarn and use the color-changing 'wool' to make a new top. In this first try I made some mistakes (the biggest being that the boob part should be higher/bigger) and though I kind of fixed them I want a 'perfect' project with the color changer. I finally arrived at the lace part today and I think that I can take this with me on train trips or during meetings when I get the hang of the pattern.

Though the sun now has totally left the back garden (we want to make a terrace in the front yard to be able to enjoy the evening sun there) there's more goodness to come today: I'm going to bake myself pancakes for dinner and after that watch the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie on DVD. Unfortunately there won't be tea and chocolate because I'm starting to watch my weight again, but the movie in itself should be fun enough. (And I should be stuffed to the brim with pancakes) :-)

Written by Brenda :: 20 May 2015 - 17:43 :: Prrrr.. 1 Comment :: Link
Long overdue

Oh my.. has it been nearly two months since my last post already? Well, to be honest I found it hard to start on a blog post; I had the feeling there was not much to tell. There still isn't... but I decided that I can not let this whole blog fall apart. Lots of people stopped blogging and supposedly made the switch to the evil Facebook. However, I can't use that as an excuse since I still do not have a Facebook account. I might get one if I ever get my own business started. It seems to be the way to tell people what you're doing and that it rocks...

I still work parttime for Sandd. It pays shit, but it keeps me in a rythm. The 130-240 euros a month (varying due to amount of postal articles) help a little, for traveling expenses and a bit for my physiotherapy sessions (lower back ache, learning to use inner abdominal muscles for balance). Still I'm munching away my savings for the mortgage and stuff. Whenever I think of this I get really insecure. I want to start my own business, making stuff and selling it. However, once in a while I get a nagging "you won't earn a thing that way, nobody wants your stuff" feeling and get really demotivated and desperate. Yuck. And other times I see what easy-to-make stuff other people sell and I think "if they can do it, so can I. And better!".

I made a few 'test' pieces so far to see how much time they cost me so I can estimate a price for the items. I could conclude 2 things: 1 I'm slow as hell, or 2 those kids in China really get payed nothing. Seeing how long it takes to finish 1 harem pants or 1 stuffed toy and using a fairly low hourly wage (10 euros, quite low for Western notions) I get prices that probably nobody will pay because the stuff from China is 10 times as cheap. Still, I won't know if that's true until I've finally tried to sell something. For now I only made stuff and stored it in a box. I need to decide whether I should start selling via Marktplaats or build a website or go via Etsy or whatever. And dreaded Facebook.

Then there's still the option of trying to become a costume designer. I got some contact info that I haven't used yet from my interviews with costume designers. Perhaps I should just try to talk my way into an exploring internship or something. Just have a taste of it (if they'll have me "Oh hi there, pessimism"). In September I hope to start on a make-up course (grimeercursus). Costs some money, but I want to learn it anyway and it might teach me if becoming a make-up artist would be something for me. The interviews were good to ok-ish, it's just a tiny world in which it is hard to find a place. Alexander told me at Charm that there are a lot of make-up artists but very little body painters (like him). Would that be a way to go? He gave me the url to a website and the body paint foundation is located in Hoogland, part of Amersfoort. They have meetings every now and again, perhaps I could take a look.

Seelie Moliarona. Photo by Alexander.

Ah, yes, Charm. Charm 28 was my first Charm event ever. I decided to sign up as a NPC (non player character, an 'extra') and see if I still enjoyed this hobby. For quite a while I have been playing at the Vortex only and there you have to make your own game or really like mass battles (guess what; I don't) to have a nice time. Oh, or just want to hang with friends in a weird and overly expensive camping trip. Aside from that I still organize with Evolution Events but as with last Xenophobia there was so much stress up to the event and so little in the sense of reward (i.e. watching other people have fun on 'your' event) that I started to doubt why I even keep up this hobby. So, time for a change. Something new.

I've had some stage fright in the past. I'm learning to overcome this at Vortex by 'studying' to become a ritual leader. Meaning 'performance' in the ritual place, including designing the ritual itself. I've also been a bit scared of being an NPC that has to bring the story to the players. Afraid to screw up while the 'job' is so important. So it was a bit of a guess to sign up as NPC for an event that I had never visited and where I knew only a couple of people. And a great guess it was! I had so much fun that my after larp dip (OMG first one again in years!) lasted nearly a whole week!

I got to play a seelie; a creature from the dreamworld. They're ethereal, dreamy, not so good at focusing on those flighty humans/elves/mortals in general. They are blue-pink and wear purple-ish clothes and don't feel cold. (Fortunately it was a warm weekend and I didn't feel cold either :-p ) This was my role on the Saturday afternoon (less than an hour) and Saturday evening (a bit longer). I was painted blue/pink by two men (one of which was Alexander, whom I mentioned before), which took more than an hour. I wore my own clothes and a funky wig of wool dreads and totally rocked the look! I got a lot of compliments, both on the looks and on the 'performance'. And I had a ton of fun playing her. Between the afternoon and the evening I cleaned up my face, neck and hands and did some other roles. Among which some combat stuff. Not really my thing, but fun to do if you don't have to fear for your character's life. After dinner I was restored to seelie again and had to wait quite a while before I could appear in game again (waiting for a certain plot to happen). So I spent the whole evening/night dressed up as seelie and waiting a lot, but it was so worth it! And the game masters kept checking if I was ok with waiting and telling me that I could hit the showers if I had had it.

The other fun role I had was Juul, a girl scout adolescent. Partner in crime of Menno (OC, Gijs). It was so much fun to be an adolescent again and then play 'truth or dare'. I knew I could cry (i.e. bring forth tears) on command, but I didn't know that feeling embarrassed IC could actually make you blush.

So I had a great weekend and lots of stories to tell when I got home. And kept telling... and I still find myself thinking back to it once a day. Why do we have to wait until October before the next one?

Written by Brenda :: 18 May 2015 - 15:08 :: Prrrr.. 1 Comment :: Link
Xenophobia III is done

So now there's a bit more time to breathe. We had so much time to prepare for the event (more than 6 months) and still it seemed like everything that had to be done was crammed into the last 2 or 3 weeks before the event itself. A good thing that I don't have a (demanding) job at the moment. Sorting mail and delivering it takes some time (about 10 hours a week) but leaves enough space for sawing, screwing, painting, printing, latex-ing etc. Matthijs has the good fortune to be a one man business (zzp-er) so he could just 'drop' all the work and focus on Xenophobia for a while. Soldering, coding, screwing, breaking stuff and fixing them again late at night, etc.

I didn't see much of the event itself. I was mainly busy in the dressing room or helping build up 'De Waard' (the nucleair facility that the players were going to raid). I hadn't had any time to read the final plot either so I have little clue as to what the players did (or were meant to do). However, all the good stories and some pictures make clear that it was a success and it was well worth it. Xenophobia IV is going to be the last episode of this story. Hopefully we'll be able to plan all the preparations a bit better and make it even greater than III.

All that work for Xenophobia meant that I had to 'drop' some personal stuff too, or at least postponed it. Like cleaning the house (my god what a mess!), book a centerparcs weekend with the discount scrounched together at Jumbo, finally tidy up my dreads colllection (bought some nice hooks at Xenos, had to put them into my closet door), 'belastingaangifte' (taxes), tidy up the attic (looks like something exploded in there), put all loose crocheting print-outs into one notebook and most importantly my homework for the job searching thing. Cleaning the house has been done yesterday (though I still need to do the windows), tidying my dreads has been done too, taxes are up for coming Monday (Matthijs needs to make some time for it to help me), the attic will be done this Sunday, the crocheting notebook is in the making (halfway there) and I prepared some stuff for my homework.

The homework consists of finding some people (on LinkedIn) that work as a makeup person (grimeur) or costume designer and ask them if they would be willing to tell me about their job (how they got it, what it entails, good stuff, bad stuff etc.). And to find out what it would take to become a freelance illustrator. So there's 3 possible jobs here that were the result of searching through a 4000-jobs database. Sadly most interesting jobs had a 'very low chance of finding work' notification. Some jobs that sounded interesting (tattoo artist, writer) are a no-go because I don't think I got the talent or the drive for it. Makeup person, costume designer and illustrator were the 3 most promising jobs. Though voice actress (found on LinkedIn) tickles something too. And there's also the "I just want to make pretty things that other people buy" idea. There's just a few things that spark an 'hey that might be interesting' vibe, but no 'yes!! that is it!'. And most stuff that sounds interesting is a 'small' job to do alongside a 'real' job that actually pays the bills. Most makeup persons that I found started their own business aside from the regular job they do.

Still, when I look around I see a lot of people that are doing what they like best in life. Perhaps not earning tons of money, but having fun doing their thing. If they had the guts to take that step, and if they can do it; why shouldn't I?

Written by Brenda :: 19 Mar 2015 - 11:22 :: 0 Comments :: Link
Isn't it ironic?

So, you park your bike at the station from where you take a train to a job inverview (which was more like a small training and signing of the contract; I'm a parttime mail delivery gal now) and when you return, after having told the interviewer that you have a good bike with good big bags, your bike is missing....

Instead of panicking, which I used to do not so long ago, I decide to take a good look around and notice how 'neat' the whole parkinglot actually is. This might have been a clean-up action by the municipality. So I call the number that's on the "bike missing, call xxxxx" signs, get redirected and finally get a man on the phone who can confirm that my bike is in the depot. After lunch Matthijs drove me there on his bike and I had to pay a €15,- fee to get my bike back. Lesson learned: even 10 cm away from the actual iron bike-standard-thingy is 'outside of the parking facilities' and gets your bike taken hostage.

Fortunately I was in a good mood (got a tiny job, weather was nice) and I didn't think too much about those €15,- gone to waste. But it was a bit ironic, don't you think?

Written by Brenda :: 03 Feb 2015 - 18:21 :: Prrrr.. 1 Comment :: Link
Going strong

The first assignments for my job counseling sessions are done. Mostly 'getting to know yourself' stuff and so far not a lot of surprises for me. I've actually done some tests on the internet every once in a while in my own search for 'what to look for' and most of the things I value were already known to me. Now let's hope that these will lead me to work that makes me happy.

Today I got a call from Sandd that they have a neighbourhood near me available. At first I turned it down: it means working on Friday while I have a few of my Fridays planned full already and it is only for a few hours a week and well... I'm looking for my dream-job and blah. But after I hung up I realised that I'm being a bit of a spoiled brat if I do not want to work on Fridays either (weekends are definitely off-limits, but Fridays?) and looking at my schedule I noticed that if I would just start as early as allowed in the day (08:00) I could still manage with the stuff I have now planned (mainly larps). Also, this would mean more of a rhythm in my weeks and a little bit of secured income. Aside from that working outside (yes, even with shitty weather) appeals to me and it is a job that you're doing on your own, in your own time with only you being responsible. It would only be for a few hours a week so it wouldn't pay enough for mortgage, but it keeps my options open for other work interviews or even my own business. It is also a new experience even if it doesn't work out. So, after consulting my job-coach and Matthijs I called them back and told them I changed my mind. I am now invited to a real interview next Tuesday (3rd of February). Fingers crossed!

Another new thing in my life and my daily rhythm is the '30 days shred'. Some workout program (a hype I missed?) that I stumbled upon via a blog post of my belly dance teacher. The idea is that for 10 days you do level 1 exercises for 30 minutes a day, then 10 days of level 2 and after another 10 days at level 3 you should've lost quite some weight (if available) and some inches and gained more muscle definition. Since my usual morning workout seems to have lost it's effect (no muscle ache at all.. meh) I thought I'd try this one. The idea is that by switching exercises after 10 days your body can not 'get used' to it and develop an efficient way to handle it. So the workout keeps its effect. I've seen some really impressive before/after images on the internet. My goal is to loose some 2-4 kilograms again, that I've gained by getting back to way too much spreads on my bread and candy in the evenings, and to get some more muscle definition in my abs. A subtle six-pack (keyword subtle!) would be nice. These exercises not only work on strength but also on endurance/fitness (translation for 'conditie'?) and that part of the workout really got me sweating the first time this morning. Didn't feel much effect on the abs yet, but the arms were burning at some point. Next to this new workout I also started watching my bread spreads again and I now start the day with a bowl of oats. I can do this!

Well, I've been working on this computer long enough for today. Time to do some crafting. Last night in bed I had the idea of felting a small dragon to sit on a glass jar... let's see if I can get that to work.

Written by Brenda :: 29 Jan 2015 - 12:09 :: 0 Comments :: Link