A rectangular wooden frame inlaid with hessian is on a blue sheet leaning against a white wall. There are many earrings hanging off the frame. There is a small wooden bowl with rings in the front.
DIY, DOWNTIME DIYS

DOWNTIME DIYS #1 – DIY Jewellery Frame

And here we go with the first DOWNTIME DIY!!!! Excite! This one I have made many times and can be used for many things besides jewellery.

So. I have a lot of earrings. Like, a LOT. And many of them have hanging parts or interconnected sections and when they’re all lumped in together in a box, they get tangled and break. As I rent, I cannot install things into my closet doors (they slide anyway, so it’s a moot point), and I needed a solution to both maintain the quality of my earrings, as well as keeping them organised and within easy reach.

A rectangular wooden frame inlaid with hessian is on a blue sheet leaning against a white wall. There are many earrings hanging off the frame. There is a small wooden bowl with rings in the front.
This is a smaller frame I made to take to Sri Lanka, so that I have a place to hang my jewellery when I am there. I don’t take a lot when I travel so it’s alright for it to be smaller. The bowl I bought at a local shop in Colombo called Paradise Road. Good for rings and hair gadgets.

I don’t know where this idea came from, but I happened across a massive frame tossed out on the street, and thought to make into something new. Which resulted in many, many frames being made and gifted (ok only like 4 in total), and an idea for DOWNTIME DIYS came along with it. You may have seen similar things. That’s OK. I’m not claiming that I own this idea, I’m just telling you how to do it.

MATERIALS:

  • wooden frame (wood is a must, unless you can work out how to use a metal frame?)
  • hessian (also called jute, or gunny like gunny sacks. Maybe even sacking material)
  • paint or wood stain
  • staple gun
  • paintbrush or staining cloth
  • sanding block or sandpaper
An empty wooden frame sits on a bamboo stepstool, and leans against a balcony railing. A staple gun, pot of wood stain, a paintbrush, and some hessian fabric sit in front of it. There is a leafy tree in the background.
Lookit that tree! I used a pretty big brush for this, but stain is hard to remove so I’d recommend using a brush you don’t want to use for anything else, AND one that you are happy to sit in turpentine for awhile between uses. I think this photo was taken halfway through the staining process.

STEPĀ 1: Start by cleaning your frame. Make sure any dirt is removed, and any frayed strips are snipped. Then, starting with a rougher grade sandpaper (or block), sand your whole frame. As you go on, you can use finer and finer sandpaper for a really smooth finish. I admit that I am quite lazy with sanding, as I generally stain my frames, and the roughness soaks up the stain quite well. Stains also double as light sealants, I find and help to smoothen out the finish. Though I recommend an actual sealant if you want to make your frame waterproof.

If your frame is already painted white or a pale colour, or has a coat of primer on it, you can go over the top with your paint choice, provided that it is thicker/more saturated and darker than the existing coat. Painting/staining will take time as you need to flip the frame over to do each side, and dry in-between each application.

Leave to dry. Preferably overnight. This DIY really extends over at least two sets of downtime šŸ™

STEPĀ 2: Flip your frame so that the back is facing you, and lay it down flat (try and find a clean surface, though I tend to put some fabric down on my carpet. DO BETTER PEOPLE.). Most frames have a groove along the back to fit a picture in, and this groove is where we’ll set in our hessian.

Measure out your frame, using the grooves as the edges of your quadrilateral. I like to stretch my piece of hessian over the frame to gauge the size, or, if the frame is thin enough, I use the whole frame as a measuring guide. Before you cut, make sure that you have a bit of excess – a 2cm seam allowance all the way around should be plenty.

STEPĀ 3: Once your hessian is cut, stretch it over the frame (groove side still up), and choose a point for your first staple. There are two ways to go about this, I feel. Either start in the centre of the top or bottom grooves, and work your way across before doing the other end and then the sides; OR start in a corner and work outwards. There are many ways, of course, but these are the two I use, and I choose which one depending on where my hands fall naturally.

Whichever way you staple, make sure to stretch the hessian taught as you go. Do not be afraid if it rips a bit – hessian has this remarkable quality of simultaneously being fragile as anything, and tough as shit. It will hold. If in doubt, add another staple.

One thing to look out for if you’re new to staple guns, is the recoil. While this is not a major shock to the system like in guns (ew. guns bad. BAD.), it can be a little jarring if you don’t expect it.

Best thing you can do is take your time, and stretch each section as you go, and maybe stretch other parts too! Employ some clamps, or useful assistants! Find a way that works for you. Hessian is forgiving, and the frame will be fine.

STEP 4: Before you tidy anything up, always stand up your frame, and check the tension of the hessian. Tap lightly, but surely on the back, then the front, and check the amount of give (or bounce, shall we say), in the fabric. This will tell you if you need to remove a few staples and reset. You can also do this as you go, and gradually build up/maintain the tension.

Once the hessian is securely attached, take a scissor (or a razor or set of clippers if you’ve got them), and carefully cut away any excess that might stick out over the height of the groove.

Then check over the frame for any little extras that might need fixing. This is such an important step in any project, I cannot stress this enough. This is the difference between a professional quality job, and one that looks homemade. I’ve had a few problems with the staples cracking the wood on the outside or pushing through, but I’ve chosen to either paint over them, or leave them be (depending on aesthetic), and so far, they’re holding well.

STEP 5: And you’re done! Almost. Now you wrap it up (if it’s a gift), or take it out to where it should be and start hanging stuff on it! Be it jewellery, badges, postcards, mementos/souvenirs, whatever. The best is that you can change this up whenever you like, and if you treat it like an art installation, it can provide both relaxation and decoration. šŸ™‚

A tall, rectangular wooden frame, backed with hessian, leans against a white wall on top of some shelves. It has many earrings of a variety of shapes and colours hung on it. There are other pieces of jewellery in the foreground.
TA DA! I have a lot of earrings, so it’s lucky I have a big frame. This is the first one I made, and the only time where I didn’t have to buy the frame. The little indents and weird holes are filled in with a coppery-bronze paint. It’s also a bit scuffed, but I like the aesthetic.


WhereĀ ToĀ Get:
Frames: Object recyclers/found object resellers such as Reverse Garbage, or look out for a council cleanup in your suburb
Hessian: fabric stores such as The Remnant Warehouse, gardening stores, Bunnings Warehouse and other retailers
Staple Gun: I got mine from Officeworks, but you can get them in hardware stores or possibly even Kmart. Kmart is magical.
Wood Stain: Hardware or paint store, timber store, resellers like The Bower might have small amounts

An arm on which five white rectangular frames are being carried
I got five frames for I think $2 each at Reverse Garbage.


So that’s it from me. I hope you enjoyed this DIY, and feel inspired to try it out yourself. I enjoy sharing these with you, so there’ll be more to come. Please send feedback. I like feedback.

Follow me on instagramĀ forĀ allĀ theĀ extrasĀ andĀ sneakĀ peeks!

Nush is wearing a cosplay costume - army green pants, a purple and white tunic with long front and back panels with gold trim, black waist armour, a red belt, and a white turban with red trim. She is crouching and facing the camera.
COSPLAY, DIY, FULL SCALE

FULL SCALE #8: [COSPLAY] – Wrathion (World of Warcraft)

FULL SCALE #8: [COSPLAY] – Wrathion (World of Warcraft)

Hello hello. I am here! I promised a post, and boy is this a big one. Time for more cosplay!

First a little background on the character: Wrathion is a character from the Warcraft game universe, more specifically the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Players will be familiar with this character as his storyline is important to in-game world events, and you even undertake quests to save his egg from destruction as part of some levelling up quests. He is the last of the Black Dragonflight – the corrupted dragon species, the leader of whom – Deathwing – tried to destroy the world and was thwarted by heroes (players) in Cataclysm (Expansion 3). He is only three years old when we first meet him in Mists of Pandaria (Expansion 4), so his dragon form is a ‘whelpling’, or cute-little-baby-dragon-with-tiny-wings. But as dragons live for hundreds of years, his human form is an adult male. Keep in mind that he is only three, so is still a child. He is however, extremely knowledgeable, and has a network of spies that he presides over, making him an important player in game world.

The reason I enjoy Wrathion so much, is that he is intriguing – he has no real true alliances, he still exhibits childlike qualities, but he determined to redeem his species and change how people view him. Though he makes some questionable decisions affecting the game world as a whole (and setting up for Expansion 5 – Warlords of Draenor), he remains singularly different to the other major players in Warcraft lore.

I would like to point out, that as a person of colour, he is one of the few characters available for us to cosplay without colouring our skin. WoW is generally good like that, with a whole rainbow of skin tones, but it is nice to have a brown character to cosplay. Dragons are also genderless, which makes Wrathion ripe for Rule 63 and genderbending cosplay, and indeed he is a popular choice for many at overseas conventions, though with significant edits to his outfit.

Read more on Wrathion here and here.

Wrathion Cosplay 2

OK, let’s get into it. I was very late in making this, and had no idea how hard it would be until I actually started, but hey! This is kinda what I do – flail around until I get a burst to get moving.

So let’s break it down. Basically, it’s a pair of army or parachute pants, and a long sleeve colour-blocked tunic with long front and back panels. Doable.

Wrathion Cosplay 3
Woo! Back view!

The pants have dark red stripes on the inside of each leg and wider bright red panels on the outside. I actually added some pockets into the pants, and put in some sneaky slits in the side panels to allow pocket access.

Most cosplay costumes need to be sneakily altered/adjusted to allow for pockets/pouches so that you can carry your shit.

These are standard tapered pants, with more volume in the top, and an elasticated waist. Both colours are poplin.

Lookit! My sneaky pocket slits!

The tunic was also not difficult – the purple is a stretch fabric of some kind and the white is a bengaline. Simple alterations of a standard long sleeved t-shirt pattern, with the centre extended.

Wrathion Cosplay Side Panels and Sleeves
Lookit! My beautiful and painstaking painting. This was actually rather fun and relaxing.
Wrathion Cosplay Sleeves
Detailing in gold paint. Do before sewing together!
Wrathion Cosplay 4

OK. The weird side/waist armour things. Eck. Not my favourite part of the final look, but necessary to achieve accuracy. They are meant to be scaled armour pieces. The bases are made of this lovely thick black denim, then covered with a scale-embossed vinyl. The bigger panels are overlaid with smaller scales made from the vinyl. Edged in some crappy gold trim. The three pieces are lined up and attached together, so that there’s a set of three on either side.

They also kept slipping down despite being pinned to me. Definitely needing a redo if I wear this again.

This goes for the arm armour (lol) too. Vambraces? Maybe. Idk. They are also a triple set, without the extra little scales. They have a couple of strips of elastic holding them on my arm so then didn’t slip too bad.

The belt is a strip of red poplin edged and detailed in gold paint (I ran out of trim, and there are two different golds used in his outfit anyway). The brown leather cross-body belt is made up of leather scraps.

The front and back panels. These damn buttons had to be lined up and sewn individually, and my poor friend that I was making a cosplay for at the same time, was kind enough to help me mark the placement of each. Thanks Benny. I got lucky with the tassel trim here, and the wide gold band is not too bad. Detailing done in paint.

While we’re here, I’m going to briefly mention these damn epaulettes. They’re crap, I know. Ergh. They worked at the time and that was what I needed.

Snazzy.
This is a better view of the back. Sitting was pretty comfy actually.

OK. Thank you. Onto my favourite piece – they absolute crowning (literally) piece in this ensemble. The turban. Ah!!! I had never made a turban before this, and I wrapped the basic form in ten minutes with three strips of cloth! When you’re determined, you’re determined. And son, have you met me?

The first cloth strip was short and I used that to tie around my headform (Gloria!) and used the tails as the flaps detailed with gold that you see sticking out under the turban. This was never actually attached to the actual full turban so it moved a bit. The next two were long pieces so I wrapped one around the head to build up the height, and used the third one to make the flat loops that give the bulk and final form. There are some stitches around the crown to give the indentation, but not much else is holding this together. The red strip is a completely separate loop that I detach – it simply slips over the top and holds everything in place. Glorious.

Make hats. Truly. Such fun.

Wrathion Cosplay Crouch
Goddamn girl. This is my best facial expression pic, as well as the one where I look most like the character. Should make this the feature. Imma do that.
Wrathion Cosplay Crossed Legs
My boots! As seen in my Winter Soldier cosplay. Super versatile, these.

Look. I tried making spats with leather scraps, but it didn’t work OK? OK. Now enjoy the turban, and let’s jump into the final details.

Wrathion Cosplay Selfie 1
It me!
Wrathion Cosplay Selfie 2
It me again!

The necklace is made from the same scale-embossed vinyl, but it turned out better than the other stuff made from it. Cute red gem is not just for decoration – it’s accurate! So are the red eyes, though Wrathion’s are more full glowing eye, but this is what I could do.

As I was doing a Rule 63 cosplay, I took some artistic license with a few aspects. Namely, the scale make-up. I wanted to have fun with this cosplay – that is ultimately why we cosplay isn’t it? I also wanted to make a reference to Wrathion’s dragon form, which is black and glowing orange. These selfies were taken at the end of the day so the orange part has faded a bit, but the scale effect is pretty cool.

I think the eyeliner and lip colour are actually accurate to what he looks like, and he doesn’t really have hair in his human form, but mine is long so I made a simple braid. I also added a pair of coiled snake earrings as I don’t have the hoops he wears.

He does wear gloves, but I left mine at home. Oops.

Wrathion Cosplay 1

WELP. So this was awesome. It was my first ever Comic Con, my first time cosplaying with this much intensity, and two people recognised my character!!! I am validated.

____________________________________________________________________

As always, details below. Thank you for holding out for this post (I am slow, I am sorry. It’s like 12.45m on Monday now), and thank you for coming along on this journey.


Fabric: The Remnant Warehouse
Contact Lenses: Primal Conctact Lenses via The Party People
Boots: Rubi Shoes (bought years ago)

Location: OZ Comic Con – Sydney
Photos: Niamh Kyriacou and Benjamin Pinto

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REAL TALK

REAL TALK #5: Refresh, Renew, Restructure

Hello and welcome back friends. Or welcome back me. I have returned after many many years of trying to work out what to do with this blog and where I want to go with it. I’ve spent time working out domain charges and hosting, and getting my lovely friend Juliana to do all the heavy lifting with re-jigging this site. See her work here.

Here’s what we’ve done, and what you can expect in the future.

The site has been organised and streamlined to make it easier to view and easier to categorise and post on my end. We have also updated the Projects page and renamed it Works so as to properly organise and categorise my posts into what I hope is an easier format for viewing and searching. You may have also noticed the changes in titling of these posts – I am reworking everything to fit into series or ‘playlists’ as it were, in the hope that – in the future when I have many posts – followers can find things easier and follow along with the stuff they are interested in.

So here is what I have so far:

  • REAL TALK is a series that covers any non DIY posts, especially those that give out pertinent information, and my random musings on life. This such post is one of them. These will not be frequent, but will show up intermittently as and when needed, or when I have a thought I wish to share.
  • FULL SCALE is a series that showcases all of my major DIY projects (particularly clothing and costuming) that take time to do, be it over a few hours, a weekend, or a very extended time frame like many months. There will be smaller sub-series in here such as [COSPLAY], that I feel require an extra highlight of their own. I hope to post one of these every month, maybe on a Sunday, life depending.

 

Now the two series that I am super excited for:

  • DOWNTIME DIYS – a series of small DIY projects, usually home decor/storage solutions/simple upgrades that can be done in your downtime – be that half an hour or across a few hours. I have a bunch of these lined up and they are exciting and super fun. I’ve been doing a lot of these in an effort to continue making and creating when time is restrictive/life is forbidding. This will be WEEKLY, though I am unsure yet as to the day.
  • EVERYDAY EDIBLES – i like to cook. By no means am I a great chef or even a super good home cook, but I like to try different things and new flavours and styles of cooking. I am trying to eat less carbs so that is part of my journey of food discovery too. I tend to cook and a lot of Asian-inspired one-pot simple meals, and I want to expand my repertoire and keep my interest in food and cooking alive. I also like to make drinks – and as someone that generally doesn’t drink alcohol (maybe once every two years?), I like making sparkling drinks and iced teas, and interesting juice combos. This will also be WEEKLY, and again am unsure which day. Watch this space.

Alongside these are two mini series:

  • GIFTED – a series that fits across everything, focusing on gifts that I have made that I feel are worth sharing.
  • HACKS – a series where I attack pre-existing or recently-purchased items and hack/update them to get the look/feel/attributes I am after. This one is super fun.

 

And now for the biggest news. So far, I have talked a bit about my process but have mostly extrapolated on the background to the project and other little associated anecdotes. That is about to change. From here on out, DOWNTIME DIYS, EVERYDAY EDIBLES, and HACKS, will be instructional! I will attempt to post clear, concise, step-by-step instructions within the posts, and material lists and ingredient lists, as well as handy tips, so that YOU can make things too!!!

 

Phew. This is tiring and a little stressful but pressure is my friend. It is. I swear. These past couple of years have been tiring, but i have been crafting and making so I do have a range of things to post up here. Watch this space. First actual post in forever will come tmrw. And it’s a FULL SCALE.

 

See you tmrw.

<3 Nush.

 

ps: Yes, I like alliteration.

pps: Send me feedback.

 

Follow me on instagram and see some of what’s coming up in the next few weeks.