Blogger Recognition Award

Yay, I’ve been nominated by the lovely filliefanatic of Tiny Horse Talk for the Blogger Recognition Award! Thank you, filliefanatic. 🙂 Her blog is a treasure trove of creative inspiration, so you should absolutely check it out – I’m in awe of the miniatures she makes.

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The Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Make a post about the award
  3. Give a brief recap of how your blog began
  4. Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers
  5. Select 15 other bloggers you wish to give the award to
  6. Comment on each blog, letting them know of their nomination and providing a link to the post.

The Origin Story

I started blogging in October 2012 as a way to share my crochet patterns with the world. Longtime readers may remember my blog was originally named “Cogaroo Crafts,” after my initials, which spell “COG.” However, this caused a whole lot of confusion when I tried to tell people the URL, so last year I changed it to Once Upon a Yarn. It’s crazy to think that I started blogging when I was 14, and now I’m in college. I guess it’s to be expected that my blogging style has changed a lot – I post more writing/fangirl stuff now than I used to, and I’m no longer terrified of posting pictures of myself on the Internet, haha.

Unsolicited Blogging Advice

Well, it’s sort of solicited, right? I don’t feel that I’m the most competent person to be giving advice, but here’s what I would have liked to hear when I started blogging.

  1. Make friends! Don’t be afraid to leave comments on other blogs. The blogging community is friendly and welcoming, and this is not only the best way to get more followers, but to make new friends. Also: be yourself! This sounds cheesy, but I had a lot more fun once I stopped trying to sound like other bloggers and embraced my dorky, verbose, fangirl self.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mess around with WordPress to figure out what works for you. (But don’t do what I did and change domain names twice in a year. That’s how I went from over 250 followers to 0.) There are tons of resources out there, but I mostly just learned from trial and error until I had a theme that looked fairly put together. You don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to have a classy looking blog. (Not to sound like a font snob, but no Comic Sans!)

And I may as well link you to my WordPress Public Service Announcement to try and save you the pain I went through a couple years ago when all my pictures disappeared. 😛

Nominees

I apologize, but it’s the weekend before finals and I don’t have the energy to nominate 15 blogs. I also don’t follow that many. So I’m going to nominate Grace from Doll Dimensions, who has one of the coolest and most inspirational blogs ever, and go for quality over quantity. 🙂

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Thank you so much for the nomination, filliefanatic! I’m honored, this was a lot of fun. 🙂

Do any of you have some blogging advice you’d like to share? I have so much still to learn!

Princess Leia and Empowerment

Hello lovely followers! Today’s post is going to be a little different from my usual crafty adventures, because today is International Women’s Day, and I wanted to do something in honor of it. So if you want to skip this post, that’s fine, you won’t hurt my feelings – I’ll be back soon with our regularly scheduled programming. Still, I think it’s important to talk about important days like this!

I’m taking a Women’s Studies class this term in college, and it’s one of the better decisions I’ve made. I feel like I’ve learned so much, and sometimes the class makes my brain hurt from trying to think in new ways, which is a good thing. Social justice is extremely important to me, so I’m trying to become more involved, and one of the best ways I can do that is through writing. For our final project in the class, we have to pick an “Action” we can do that ties into our class discussions. Mine is I will include a protagonist from a target group in the novel I’m trying to publish. And you may have guessed, that novel is Unraveled. 🙂 In class this week we talked a lot about finding our strengths and using them to help the cause, and I realized I can help raise awareness through writing.

I was inspired to write about Princess Leia after seeing some posts on social media for International Women’s Day. A bunch of them were spotlighting strong female characters, which I think is a great idea – you know how much I love fictional characters. :} However, some of them were using pictures of Leia in her slave bikini, and this didn’t sit well with me. I understand their heart was in the right place, but it still made me frustrated and a little hurt. So I did what I do whenever I’m upset and wrote an essay. 😛

I basically wanted to talk about how the Slave Leia costume does NOT equal empowerment, because that idea has been making the rounds lately. So here it is. Putting writing out into the world is always scary, but here are my thoughts! (Also, very minor Star Wars spoilers, but nothing I didn’t know already before watching the movies.)

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Photo: starwars.com

Princess Leia and Empowerment

Or, Why the Slave Leia Costume ≠ Empowering Women

Of all the characters in Star Wars, my favorite is Princess Leia. She’s a born leader and doesn’t let anyone push her around, even going so far as to tell Han Solo: “From now on, you do as I tell you.” She overcomes the destruction of her planet and death of people close to her to lead a rebellion, and we see her in a leadership role in The Force Awakens, not as a princess but as a general. She’s an inspiration to many people, and Carrie Fisher has inspired even more people. Princess Leia is the epitome of a “strong female character” and a wonderful symbol of empowerment – however, there are some conflicting views on what’s empowering and what’s not, namely the infamous Slave Leia apparel in Episode VI.

Spoilers ahead for the beginning of Return of the Jedi: In an attempt to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt, Leia is captured and completely at the mercy of Jabba. In the very next scene, we see her in a skimpy gold bikini with a chain around her neck, the other end of which is attached to Jabba. She’s essentially a decoration, something for him to show off. She eventually manages to escape, choking and killing Jabba with the chain that had restrained her. At the very next opportunity she’s back in her classic white dress. It should be fairly obvious that Leia doesn’t like wearing her slave attire. The thing is, there are a lot of people claiming that the Slave Leia outfit is “empowering,” and I strongly disagree with this idea.

The Slave Leia outfit can’t be empowering because oppression never empowers its victims. That’s the whole concept of oppression. There is nothing powerful about Leia’s position, until she seizes control and changes her situation. Jabba chose to show off her body and make her into his toy, and Leia had no choice in the matter. Therefore the outfit is a symbol of oppression. How can a symbol of oppression be considered empowering? Princess Leia is the symbol of empowerment here. She stood up to Jabba and took control of the situation. She rose above her oppression, which makes her the inspirational one no matter what she’s wearing. Leia absolutely hated that outfit, and for good reason, because she was enslaved and demeaned while she was in it. Princess Leia is absolutely a role model and an inspiration, so I think we owe her the respect of portraying her in an outfit that suits her, that shows her as a person and not just a body.

When I went to Comic Con, one of the most popular cosplays was Slave Leia, which surprised me. I didn’t see very many classic Leias, with the white dress, silver belt, and cinnamon-roll hair, but it seemed like everywhere I turned I would run into a Slave Leia. I wondered what the motivation behind that cosplay was. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable wearing that little clothing, but there’s nothing wrong with it – just a matter of confidence. All the cosplayers were incredibly talented and sweet and all have different life experiences that make them comfortable with wearing a skimpier costume, which I would never judge them for. Still, I couldn’t help but worry about some of the cosplayers, because as supportive as the cosplay community is, there are creeps in every group. I was dressed in long pants and a jacket, showing hardly any skin, and I got hit on by an obviously intoxicated man in a pizza onesie. I was more entertained than scared, but that was because I was with my male friend who I knew could defend me. I’m sure the Slave Leia cosplayers deal with that a hundred times more. My friend and I were discussing this, and he said he really respected anyone who put themselves out there like that. I expressed my dislike for the Slave Leia costume (because she wears it when she’s enslaved), and my friend said he thought the costume was “really empowering.”

The thing is, he wasn’t in a position to make that call. It’s true that different people can be empowered by different things, but you can’t decide what will empower another person. For example, if I wore the Slave Leia costume, I would feel self-conscious, ashamed of my body, and completely uncomfortable. The thing that makes the cosplay empowering is the fact that it’s the cosplayer’s choice. Maybe it speaks to them on a personal level; perhaps they’ve overcome a situation similar to Leia’s and can really relate, so it’s important to them to pay homage to her in that way. The important thing in this situation is that the cosplayers feel comfortable, and that it’s their choice. Saying the Slave Leia costume is empowering really isn’t your choice to make – you might feel empowered in it, but you can’t speak for everyone else.

Another issue with the Slave Leia costume is that it reinforces the sexism that was already present in the Star Wars series. In the original trilogy, Princess Leia is the only female character in any prominent role. The prequel trilogy isn’t much better with just Padme Amidala, who is only in the story to be Anakin’s love interest. The new movies are getting better, with the addition of Rey as the first female main character in The Force Awakens, and Jyn in Star Wars: Rogue One, but the cast is still predominently male. The lack of representation means that whatever happens to the single female character has a bigger impact than it would if there were a bigger cast of female characters. There are thousands of little girls who grew up watching the movies and developed a bond with Princess Leia, looking up to her and maybe dressing up like her for Halloween or hoping to grow up to be just like her.

The fact is, Princess Leia is the only character who is scantily clad throughout the series. (The only other one is Padme Amidala in the prequels, who wears some interesting dresses during her and Anakin’s courtship, but we’ll leave that issue for another time. It helps make the point, though, that only the female characters in Star Wars wear less clothing.) Luke gets to sport his farm-boy-with-a-spray-tan apparel while Leia is forced to show off her figure in a metal bikini. That isn’t empowering, it’s objectifying. I think Leia is one of the most interesting characters, and she has a strong personality and great character arc; therefore it’s heartbreaking to watch her be reduced to just a body. She deserves more than that.

Carrie Fisher, the amazing actress behind Princess Leia, hated the metal bikini. Shouldn’t that go a long way in showing just how not empowering it is? There was some controversy around the Disney Store thinking about releasing Slave Leia merchandise, and Carrie Fisher was asked for her opinion on the matter. She replied that “the character is wearing that outfit not because she’s chosen to wear it. She’s been forced to wear it.” I think that quote says it all.

The bottom line is that Princess Leia is the symbol of empowerment, not the bikini she’s forced to wear. If people do feel empowered wearing that cosplay, then more power to them – but they’re still inspired by Leia, just displaying it with an homage to that movie in particular. Of course the moment when Leia rebels against Jabba is inspirational. However, it’s inspirational because of how Leia fights against her captivity, how she rises up against her prisoner. The empowerment comes from the character, not from how much skin she’s showing.

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Photo: starwars.com

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you didn’t mind the change of pace on the blog. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to share more essays and writing from time to time, just to shake things up.

Happy International Women’s Day, and I hope your week is going well! ❤

Lunar Chronicles Book Signing (Ft. Crochet Scarlet Cape)

Hello hello! Today I’m writing about an event that happened back in December (a fact I was shocked to discover). I have a huge backlog of posts I want to write, and this was top on the list, because I got to attend Marissa Meyer’s book signing for Heartless! I was positive I had written about this, because how could I not? But I can’t find the post anywhere. So maybe I’m just losing my marbles. Unless one of you can point me to the post, haha, I figured I would just write it up now!

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I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to get to write about my THIRD Marissa Meyer launch party! I went to the Winter ball last November, and the Stars Above launch in February. Marissa Meyer was in my city for the Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book launch, I think because the illustrator, Kathryn Adara, lives around here. So I was fortunate enough to be able to meet my favorite author again! Lucky lucky fangirl! 😀

The launch party was on Tuesday the week before finals, otherwise known as “dead week,” where students stumble around like zombies frantically cramming for exams. On Monday, I realized I had no idea what to wear to the event. I dug through my closet and found the beginnings of a red shawl – I started crocheting a Scarlet shawl for the Stars Above launch, but didn’t finish it in time. It wasn’t even halfway done. But I threw all reason to the winds and decided I was going to finish it, and it was going to be a full-length hooded cape. I would meet Marissa Meyer in style!

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So I crocheted for three hours that night, and after classes the next day I came right home and continued working on it. I’m a fast crocheter (after four years of practice), and I was working faster than I ever had before. I was finishing fifteen minutes before I headed out the door – I didn’t even have time to weave in all the ends. It was an adventure!

My long-suffering, very supportive mom and sister came along with me. My sister has not read the series, so she was immune to the fangirling and acted as a calming presence. We walked into Powell’s Books and a few people turned to look at us, possibly because of the bright red cape I was wearing. Then I did a double take and nearly tripped over my own feet when I recognized one of the people as Marissa Meyer. I kept walking, trying not to make a fool out of myself. According to my mom, she was smiling at my cape.

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Marissa Meyer and Kathryn Adara interviewed each other and talked about Heartless and the Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book. Kathryn Adara is actually a college student, how cool is that? And she’s a published illustrator now! The story behind the coloring book is that at the Stars Above launch party, at each tour stop, a reader brought a piece of a puzzle for Marissa, and at the end she assembled them to make an amazing picture of the Lunar Chronicles characters. Kathryn Adara organized all this. Later when the idea came up to make a Lunar Chronicles coloring book, Marissa said she had just the artist in mind…and her publishers were supportive of it being a fan artist, so they contacted Kathryn and I guess it went from there. I thought that was such a cool story, and very inspirational!

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It’s such a pretty book, and very fun to flip through, although I’m too scared to actually color any of it. Marissa Meyer said her favorite illustration was the one of the menagerie; mine is the one of Cress! 😀 It’s such a beautiful book, Kathryn Adara did an amazing job. I can’t think of anyone else who could do the series credit.

When it came time for the actual book signing, I thought I was going to pass out. I felt like I made a pretty big fool out of myself, because I got flustered, but my mom and sister assured me it wasn’t as bad as I thought. 😛 Marissa Meyer was so sweet, as she always is to her readers, and asked me if I made my cape. To which I replied something eloquent like “yeah.” She asked if I was going to make a whole Scarlet costume to go along with it. I couldn’t make sense of this question, because it was not among the replies I had mentally practiced, so I mumbled out something like “maybe…haha…IjustwantedtodresslikeScarletcausefangirl” and scuttled away with my signed book.

Here it is! She personalized it!

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The writing says “We’re all mad here,” which is of course a Lewis Carroll quote from the original Alice in Wonderland, and which appears in Heartless. 😀 It was an AWESOME book, although the ending made me cry, and I will totally be re-reading it sometime. There are so many awesome dresses and pastries described in it. Her writing is just so gorgeous!

It was so much fun, and I remain a huge fan of Marissa Meyer’s writing. I will read anything she writes. 😛 For any followers out there looking for book recommendations, I can’t recommend The Lunar Chronicles highly enough!

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Hope you all had a good start to the week, and I’ll see you soon for more fangirling! 🙂

My Etsy Shop: Baleine Crochet!

Hello lovely followers!

This is just a short post to announce that I have finally opened my own Etsy shop! Whenever people find out I crochet, the first thing they tell me is, “You should sell your stuff!” For a long time I was too intimidated, but as you may recall, it was one of my big goals for 2017. The real encouragement came last weekend when I went to Comic Con in a crocheted cosplay (more on that in a future post). I had lots of people compliment me and strike up a conversation on crocheting, and many of these kind nerds asked if I had an Etsy shop. Well, now I do. :}

It’s called Baleine Crochet because “baleine” means “whale” in French, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love both French and whales. 🙂

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I just have a few things listed so far, but I’d love it if you wanted to go check it out! I’m really excited about this new adventure, and wanted to share it with all of you. As always, your support means so much to me, and the blogging community gone a long way in helping me feel more confident! ❤

Anyway, while I have your attention, I’m really excited about this one listing in particular! I’ve been really into Stranger Things – I’m on my second viewing of the season, since we have to wait FOREVER for Season 2 – and I was inspired to crochet this necklace:

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It was super fun to make, and further cements my nerd status whenever I wear it. (As if there were ever any question about that.) And you, too, can be the proud owner of a Stranger Things necklace… 🙂

I’m also making these crochet flowers, because everything’s better with flowers!

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You can buy the finished products here, or find the crochet pattern here. Which leads me to my public service announcement:

If you really want to make one of my free crochet patterns, grab it now while it’s still free! I will be taking some of them down and putting them up for sale in my Etsy shop. I wanted to give you advance notice so you can get them for free now, before I start selling them. :} I’ll be putting a bunch of the amigurumi ones up in my shop, and some of the scarves and Barbie dresses too.

I’m really excited to start selling crochet patterns, because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Don’t worry, there will still be lots of free patterns here, but I hope you understand me trying to make a small source of income from my crafting. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had a lovely Friday! I promise the next post will be less self-promotional, haha. I can’t wait to show you my finished cosplay that I wore to Wizard World Comic Con – any guesses? (Hint: It’s a Star Wars character!)

In which an introvert makes a vlog

I made a vlog! (Gee, you never would have figured that out from the title…)

I never thought I would put stuff on YouTube because I’m a shy little thing. But I do really enjoy watching vlogs, and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a while. There’s something appealing about just being able to have a casual chat with your audience, in a way that blogging doesn’t allow.

Yesterday I went to Collage, this amazing store with craft supplies ranging from washi tape to buttons to origami paper, and got a mini haul. So I made a short video showing you what I picked out. :} It’s the first video up on my Once Upon a Yarn channel, but I am planning to add more. Definitely some crochet tutorials in the future.

This was really fun because I wasn’t afraid of being awkward – I know I trip over my words and say “like” too much and act like an excitable five-year-old. So since I knew that going in, I could just fangirl over my new school supplies. I tried not to edit too much so you could get the Genuine Dork Experience. And also because if I started cutting stuff, this video would be like 15 seconds long.

Also, I ran out of storage on my iPhone so for the last couple minutes I had to film on my laptop camera. Hence the decrease in audio and visual quality. It’s a shame, but I’m trying not to fret over it – I’m at my wit’s end with this iPhone storage stuff. 😛

I hope you can maybe enjoy this for what it is, a stress-free sharing my love for washi tape. I’d really like for vlogging to be another creative outlet. It’s fun to try something different, and to not take myself too seriously. Which I could use practice with. :} I’d love to hear your thoughts! Don’t ridicule me too much! 😉

Seafret “Oceans” Hat

If you’re a longtime follower, by now you’re no stranger to my obsessive personality, nor to my love of fandom. So I’m sure it will come as no shock to you that I combined my fangirl side with crocheting again…which is one of my favorite things to do! 🙂

Five months or so ago I discovered Seafret via this music video. I was intrigued and looked them up on Spotify, and fell in love with their music. You should totally go check them out, starting with “Oceans,” which I am helpfully embedding below!

Maisie Williams is sporting a really cute hat in the music video, and I’m sure you can guess where this is going. To make a long story short (or as short as it ever is with me telling it), Seafret held a fanart contest and I crocheted the hat as my entry. And although I didn’t officially win, I still think it’s a great situation because now I have a dorky crochet hat. :}

The hat in the video is knitted, so I did a crochet rib stitch to mimic it. However, I couldn’t find a pattern for a hat that was ribbed all the way from the first row – the hats I found just had ribbing on the side, not the crown. So I designed one. I had two days to make the deadline and I stayed up until one in the morning to finish…but I managed it! (I had class the next day. Don’t follow my example. At least it wasn’t a morning class.)

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Behold the splendor of my one-o’clock-in-the-morning, makeup-less selfie. I didn’t think my family would appreciate being shaken awake and asked to take a picture for me. 😉 I decided to leave off the eyehole things in the interest of everyday wearability.

I’m often asked how long it takes me to crochet something, and my answer is usually “Uh…I dunno.” That’s because I don’t keep track, and I work on things in multiple sittings thanks to always getting distracted and time constraints. But this time I kept track out of curiosity, and it came out to about six hours. The ribbed stitch took a lot more time than a standard hat. I also haven’t woven in the ends yet…they’re just stuffed inside the hat. ^__^

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I’m really pleased with how this one turned out – I’ve wanted to make this hat since I first saw the music video, and this was just the motivation I needed to make it a reality. Short anecdote time: I wore it to my math class today to try and spice up statistics a little bit, and thought I might get some funny looks. However, I don’t know why I thought that, because on the bus Captain America plopped down in the seat right in front of me. (Okay, so it was a regular human with a Captain America shield. Technicality.) I think I live in the right city. #keepportlandweird

Speaking of which, stay tuned for future cosplay posts – I’m crocheting a costume for Wizard World Comic Con in February, and I’ll be posting all about that. I can’t wait to spend another day in geek paradise! 🙂

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day, and happy Friday! What have you been up to?

New Year Thoughts (and Instagram!)

Hello lovely followers! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, or if you don’t celebrate it, then a wonderful day nonetheless. 🙂

First, a little shameless self-promotion. I’ve been really liking Instagram over the past few months, and I post there quite frequently. So if you want to keep up with my crafting misadventures, please go follow me! 🙂

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I wanted to write one last post in 2016, and I happened upon this list of resolutions I made last year. I completely forgot I had written these, so it was interesting for me to go through them. Let’s see how I did! 🙂

2015 New Years Resolutions

1) Reach 300 followers

I think we were at around 250 followers when I moved back to wordpress.com, putting me right back at zero. But I value the smaller number of followers I have because you all are so supportive and kind. I’d rather have just a few lovely folks like you than a whole tribe of people just for the sake of it. 🙂

2) Finish blogging Unraveled

In case you’re confused, this is the book I’ve been blogging on Once Upon a Yarn – you can view past chapters here. In November I finished writing it, which I’m really happy about, but I didn’t post it all here. It ended up much too long for that, actually. 😛 I’m still going to mark it as done, though, because I did finish writing it.

3) Learn my way around WordPress.org

Well…I ended up moving back to wordpress.com. But I learned a lot about self-hosted blogging and domains and all that good stuff, so I consider it a success. In the future I would really like to have a .com, but not until blogging can become a bigger priority. It was a fun adventure!

4) Finish my granny rose afghan

Yes, and I’m so proud of it! ❤ I got the Attic24 yarn pack for my 17th birthday, and it took me about a year to make this.

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5) Crochet a sweater

I did a Bee and Puppycat cosplay, which I really need to write about sometime, and made this sweater for it. I was delighted that it actually fit. 😛

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6) Crochet some Star Wars-themed things (and post about them)

Well, I did make a bunch of Star Wars things. I wasn’t as good about posting about them though. But thinking back, I made two Yodas, two Obi-Wan Kenobis, one Han Solo, one Rey, two BB-8s, and half a Luke Skywalker. (I have to finish the arms.) I think that counts as “some Star Wars-themed things.” That’s what I get for having Star Wars-obsessed friends. 🙂

7) Hold a crochet-a-long

I completely forgot writing this down! It was a good goal, but it didn’t happen. I think this would be fun to do sometime, but probably in the more distant future. I love participating in CALs. 😀

4/7 isn’t too bad. I’m happy with what I managed to get done in the blogging world, although I wasn’t as active as I hoped. 🙂

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So that begs the question, what are my goals for this year? Time to do what everyone else is doing this time of year and make a list!

2017 Resolutions

  1. Look into publishing Unraveled. This is a scary one, but it’s my top priority this year, writing-wise. It’s terrifying to put your work out there, but I really need to stop procrastinating and do it already. 😛
  2. Crochet the shawl I promised y’all, the one from Unraveled. I had a few requests for a pattern, which absolutely delighted me, so it will be fun to work on this when I get a chance.
  3. Post once a month. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s still better than nothing. Something to aim for anyway. I’m now a full-time college student and don’t have the energy to post regularly.
  4. Build up my Instagram following. How about 300 followers in a year? A little overly ambitious, maybe. ;P
  5. Open an Etsy shop. Ack, this is scary too! But I really want to sell crochet patterns – not finished objects. It would be an adventure!

2016 Highlights (in which I get a little sentimental)

The new year is always a little difficult for me. Blogging has been a great comfort – the knowledge that a part of myself has been preserved here, that I can go back and look at events in my life, is reassuring. I think it’s a very similar thing to journaling. I really appreciate all of you sticking with me. My blog has changed a lot over the four years, but I’ve met some really wonderful people and am grateful for the friends I’ve made. I may have never met you in person, but you’re a big part of my life. 🙂

This morning I was thinking about how done I am with 2016, how I’m absolutely ready for it to be over. That’s true, I am ready for 2017, but I also had forgotten how many great things happened this year. I went back through my iPhoto library, which is how I keep a record of things, and found myself smiling at a bunch of pictures. It was a good reminder of the positive side of 2016. No, maybe it wasn’t my favorite year, but there were still a lot of good things. So for my future self and for any curious readers, I wanted to post some of my favorite pictures. (None of my family, out of respect for them not wanting their faces plastered on my little corner of the internet. That doesn’t mean they weren’t a highlight of the year!)

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I got to spend five weeks on the most beautiful island in the world, volunteering for Canoe Island French Camp. That’s an experience I will never forget, and it was an amazing learning experience. I think I grew a lot. (Both figuratively and literally…unfortunately…they had really good chefs.)

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(Dork.)

I started college full-time and discovered I really, REALLY like French and writing. And may have more of Hermione’s obsessiveness in me than I thought. 😛

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Wheeee, a pair of crocheted socks! I managed to crochet both my mom and my dad a pair of socks that fit. Crocheting socks was on my bucket list, and I’m super happy to finally know how to make them. They’re really fun.

I got to see my favorite author, Marissa Meyer, twice. (Unless the first one was in 2015…my memory is a little hazy…but I don’t think so.)

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I went to Rose City Comic Con with one of my best friends and geeked out for an entire day.

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And yes, I did a lot of crocheting. 🙂

This has been a really long post, but I like having a record of things. Ten points to your Hogwarts house if you stuck with this post to the end! 🙂 I’d love to hear any high points that happened during your 2016. Or the low points. Those are important too. I just hope you had more good than bad. I’ll see you guys in the new year… thank you for being so lovely. 🙂

Happy New Year!

In which your absent blogger fangirls over ‘Fantastic Beasts’

Well. It’s definitely been a while.

I’ve been absent from blogland (no, WordPress, I am not trying to type ‘bogland’) for over a month… and I really missed it!

In my defense, though, I have certainly been busy. What do you know, a full college course load is a little demanding. 😛

I decided at the last minute to do NaNoWriMo – that’s where a bunch of insane people all over the world write a novel in a month – and I’m really excited to tell you that I finished the first draft of Unraveled! It’s 72,000 words, 51K of which I wrote during November. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to post the rest of it here, because it’s so long. I’m just starting to edit it now. But I’m super happy it’s finished, I had a lot of fun with it! I would welcome your feedback on what I should do with it. Should I post it up here? I’m considering looking into self-publishing, which is a scary thought… I don’t even know if anyone is interested in reading it. But I like this story so much I want to do something with it!

I’m really grateful for all the support you guys gave to Unraveled while I was posting it on the blog. It makes me incredibly happy that some of you looked forward to each installment so much. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! *blush* Let’s not get uncomfortably sentimental, though. Just know that I appreciate it. And now I’m not sure what I should do with Unraveled. 🙂

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Crochet news!

I went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on opening day…dressed in full Hufflepuff gear. My sister was wearing her Hogwarts robe too (she’s a Ravenclaw).

I don’t think I ever showed you the Hufflepuff blanket I crocheted. I made it this summer from Moogly’s Big Bold Chevron Blanket pattern, with I Love This Yarn, and I really love how it turned out! I wore it like a shawl for much of the day, because I wanted to show my Hufflepuff pride. Dork alert (that’s the wand I got at Rose City Comic Con):

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Anyway, I was super excited about this movie for a million reasons, one of which was that the main character is a HUFFLEPUFF! Anyone who has spoken to me in the last two months knows this, because I won’t shut up about it. 😛 Hufflepuff, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough attention, and mostly has a bad rap for being the “outcast” house where the unwanted students get Sorted. Well, Newt Scamander is a Hufflepuff! (and I may or may not be completely smitten…) <3There are going to be four more of these movies, and I really can’t express my excitement enough.

You’re all used to my fangirling by now, right? So I don’t need to apologize? 😛

My other bit of crochet news related to this is: I crocheted a bowtruckle based on one of the creatures in the movie. Newt has this adorable little companion named Pickett that rides around in his coat pocket. It’s the cutest thing, and he’s really fond of it – the bowtruckle has separation anxiety, and Newt doesn’t have the heart to make it live with its kind.

Being totally taken with this, I crocheted one and wore it as a pin:

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I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and am planning to make a tutorial on it. (The necklace was an experiment, but I was happy with that, too… it never seems to turn out that way! Yay!)

Anyway, I’m curious to hear what you guys thought of Fantastic Beasts if you went to see it! I’m not going to spoil anything, but I absolutely LOVED it and will be buying it on DVD. And possibly seeing it again in theaters. Oh, and probably cosplaying Newt Scamander for the next Comic Con. No, I’m not obsessed at all. 😛

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What’s new with all of you? I missed you! I hope you’re having a lovely start of December… who else is glad it’s the weekend?

Why I Love Yarn <3

Hello there! It’s I Love Yarn Day today. To celebrate, I thought I would share with you some thoughts on why I love yarn so much. I’ve been wanting to write something like this for a while now, and I thought this was the perfect occasion. It’s a rough draft, but I’ve been writing too many essays lately to have the energy to try and phrase things perfectly. I hope you enjoy it anyway. So without further ado…

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Why I Love Yarn

I love yarn because it’s made a big impact in my life. I started out knitting before I learned how to crochet almost five years ago. I had always been a crafter, but crochet quickly replaced all other crafts and became a huge part of my life. (Big family move? Bring along a bag of yarn and crochet a poncho on the road!) Now I have a small job teaching crochet, and I love passing down my love of yarn to the next generation. People know me as the “yarn girl,” or “the one who makes all the Harry Potter scarves.”

I love yarn because it’s inspiring. When I walk into a yarn store it’s sensory overload – I stare at the shelves of yarn and start thinking about all the projects I could make. From different weights to fibers to colors, I could spend hours seeing all the different possibilities. (This is the reason people won’t go yarn shopping with me.) I love seeing hand-dyed or hand-spun yarns; they’re beautiful on their own, even before you make them into something. There’s something wonderful about a place that will give you inspiration when you’re at a loss.

I love yarn because it brings together many different people. The stereotypical image of needle-crafting is often that of an elderly woman in a rocking chair, knitting needles clicking busily as she makes a scarf. However, we know this isn’t the case anymore. I’m a college student who crochets to de-stress. My aunt knits beautiful socks in her spare time. Even celebrities are seen with yarn sometimes. (Hey, even Dumbledore has an affinity for knitting patterns!)

I love yarn because I’ve met some wonderful people through knitting and crochet groups. I took a knitting class at my local yarn store. I was the only person under forty there, but I had a great time trying to knit a sock (it did not go well, but I had fun) and discussing yarn-related things with the ladies there. I felt included in a sort of “yarn club.” A few weeks ago I saw a flyer at my library for a social yarn get-together. I shyly showed up at ten o’clock on Saturday morning, yarn bag in hand, not sure what to expect. A friendly knitter saw me at the door and invited me in, introduced herself, and made me feel right at home. There’s something special about yarn crafters; more often than not, they’re incredibly friendly and welcoming.

I love yarn because it helps with my mental health. There are articles and even a book about the mental health benefits of crochet. Speaking from my own experience, crochet has helped immensely. When I’m feeling down, starting a new project can be enough to lift my spirits and give me a sense of purpose. It gives me something else to obsess over, something productive. Worrying about the future doesn’t help anything, so if I can channel those feelings into a pair of socks or finally crocheting a sweater, it’s a good thing. If I’m feeling anxious, working on a project can help take my mind off things. It helps with one of my biggest concerns, which is skin picking – I choose an easy pattern and crochet that instead. If I’m doing rows of double crochet, I can’t make my fingers bleed. Crocheting helps fill that place in my head that otherwise has a stream of constant nervous banter. It’s a source of comfort.

I love yarn because it gives me a purpose. The feeling of accomplishment upon finishing a project is immensely satisfying. I was proud of myself for finishing an afghan it took me over a year to crochet. I put a lot of time and effort into it, and it makes me smile whenever I look at it. For a perfectionist, it’s nice to be happy with something I did, and yarn is one of the things that gives me that feeling.

For me, yarn is a lot more than just yarn. It’s a part of my life, it’s part of how people know me. Sometimes I don’t realize just how much crochet and yarn have changed my life. I’m grateful I learned to crochet nearly five years ago…it has been a great source of happiness, inspiration, and friends.

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Does yarn mean anything special to you? Have you shared any of these experiences? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Happy I Love Yarn Day, wonderful followers. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Hype

Helloooooo! I hope y’all made the jump from onceuponayarn.net… I did lose a lot of followers because I can’t figure out how to migrate them to this new address. I’m very sad about that, but it’s more stress than I can handle trying to figure that out right now. This is very much a transition period, with me adjusting to college and seeing where blogging fits into that. So this is just a warning that things are changing up around here. As you’ve gathered by now. 😛 Thanks for being patient… life is crazy!

I thought we could mix up posts a bit to tie in with the “Once Upon A” part of my blog name. I don’t have much time for blogging anymore and when I do, I want it to be relaxing and not too hard. So today I thought I’d join in with The Broke and the Bookish‘s “Top Ten Tuesday” book tag. Basically, every Tuesday they have a topic for you to list your ten favorites. I LOVE making lists and of course am a huge bookworm/fangirl, so I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

This week’s topic is…Books You Read Because of Recommendation! So based on hype or your friends saying you really need to read this.

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1. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I saw this series all over the blogiverse before I started reading it. Everyone was talking about the diversity and eclectic group of main characters. I picked up Cinder on sale at the bookstore and got hooked. Luckily there were three books released at the time, but I waited eagerly with the rest of the fandom for Fairest and Winter, attending the launch party (eeeeppp!), and then was super excited to learn that Stars Above was going to be a thing! Ahhhhh I love this series to pieces… I can’t even talk about it coherently. *fangirl* *fangirl*

2. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I heard a ton about this series from Cait @ Paper Fury, and finally picked up the first book from the library to give it a try. And then I read the next two books and the prequel. 😛 I haven’t liked the most recent books in the series as much, which is a shame, but I will probably read the last one anyway. For closure and all. 🙂 I loves some good epic fantasy, and the main character Celaena is really interesting and multi-layered. Her character development is what kept me reading! (The prequel, The Assassin’s Blade, is my favorite.)

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Back when I was a wee young thing, eight or nine or so, my dad suggested I read this book. He hadn’t actually read it, but he was recommending it because it was popular and got lots of rave reviews. So I sort of got it based on secondhand hype. Of course, this started an obsession with all things Harry Potter, so the recommendation was spot on. 😛

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I had a friend who wouldn’t stop raving about the series, so I got the first two books from the library, devoured them in a couple days, and desperately needed the third one. My grandma lent me her Kindle and bought me the eBook, kindly enough…Nana, if you’re reading this, thank you! I haven’t forgotten. 🙂 ❤ I obsessed over this series for years. I don’t think anyone escaped the hype for this series, especially with the movies.

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Once again it was Cait who inspired me to read this series. She always talks about Maggie Stiefvater’s beautiful writing, and the premise of the books sounded really interesting…it’s about a girl who’s told that if she kisses her true love, he’ll die. And then she runs into a group of boys from a nearby private school. But it’s not a predictable, sappy romance or anything; because of the whole true-love-will-die thing it would be fairly problematic. There are some really beautiful scenes and this lovely paranormal feel to the whole thing. I don’t know, it’s very hard to describe, just that this series is unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

6. Anything John Green

I didn’t realize until I was writing this post, but his books seem to be tied to Canoe Island French Camp for me (that’s where I volunteered this summer, and was a camper for the previous three years.) My first year as a camper, my tipi mate had a copy of The Fault in Our Stars, and really enjoyed it, so I checked it out first thing upon returning home. My final year as a camper, I read Paper Towns on a whim before I left…and at camp everyone was carrying around a copy. I was glad to be in the loop. This summer, on my first day off, I kayaked two hours round trip  to the bookstore and bought Will Grayson, Will Grayson. (It makes a great story because on the way back, my fellow assistant and I ran into some trouble with a strong current and huge waves, and we had to radio for help. The camp director came to pick us and the kayak up in another boat. The book was a little waterlogged and worse for wear, but it survived!) A few weeks later I made the same trip, with more success this time, and bought An Abundance of Katherines. I carried the book around with me to read whenever I found a spare minute. John Green’s books are a great de-stressor for me, they’re easy to escape into and always make me laugh.

7. Ash by Malinda Lo

This isn’t as well-known as the other ones on the list, but my bloggy friends raved about it. I love reading fairy tale retellings, so I grabbed a copy on a trip to the bookstore. Malinda Lo’s writing is beautiful, I read this several months ago and since then have picked it up just to read a random page and marvel at her prose. It reads very much like, well, a fairy tale. It’s just a really lovely book, and (this is a possible spoiler, but it’s pretty much in the back cover description) Ash and Kaisa’s relationship is the sweetest thing I’ve read in ages. There’s also a prequel, Huntress, which I have yet to finish, but I just love the author’s writing style. So, a less-hyped book, but I read it based on a recommendation and would have to heartily add my own voice!

8. The Selection series by Kiera Cass

This is your fluffy, feel-good kind of book. The premise is that 35 girls compete to win the affections of one prince, and it’s pitched as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. I don’t remember anyone recommending this to me, but it made the rounds on the Internet and caught my interest. The main character is a little grating at times, but I actually grew quite fond of her, and there’s a surprising amount of depth and character development. So don’t judge these solely based on the covers. I’m happy to admit I own the whole series, the two spin-off books, and Kiera Cass’s other book. Her writing is fun to read and it’s easy to get sucked into the worlds. Once I had a bad cold, so I curled up on the couch with the first book and spent the afternoon reading. Just about the only thing that could make me feel better. 🙂

9. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The hype for this book was crazy! It came out about a year ago, and I think the sequel is coming out this month. It’s basically a science-fiction book told through emails, messages, schematics, “hacked documents,” and some really cool poem-like space-themed things. Hard to describe, but fascinating to read. These authors are a great team. I’m really interested to see where the next book goes. I would have to say the hype was worth it! (It’s a really great book to own in hardcover, too, because the jacket is partially see-through and it’s designed so you can make out words underneath. I’m too lazy to get a picture but it’s really cool!)

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and enjoyed it, but Fangirl was getting so much hype that I went, “FINE, I’ll read it and see what all the fuss is about.” Well. I need to listen to the book blogging world more. I have never related to a fictional character so much before. Cath is an 18-year-old, glasses-wearing fangirl who’s just starting college, studying writing, and who has tons of social anxiety and stresses all the time. She’s also obsessed with Simon Snow (which is basically supposed to be Harry Potter), and she’s anxiously awaiting the 8th book’s release. Crazy, right, especially since J. K. Rowling just wrote an eighth Harry Potter book! So I could really get into Cath’s perspective. It has lots of insight into fandom life, and it seemed like the author really has a respect for fans. A lot of people laugh at fanfiction and all that, but there is something to be said for respecting it as well, and the book felt like a sort of tribute to fan life and all that comes with it. Rainbow Rowell also wrote a book about Simon Snow, Carry On, and I will definitely be checking that out. Ahhh I love this book so much.

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Wow, that was longer than I expected! I guess I have a lot to say about books or something, hehe. Have you read any of these? What books have you read based on recommendations? And what do you think of me linking up with Top Ten Tuesday?

Hope you’re all having a wonderful day! ❤