Guest post by Amanda Actually

Hello, everyone! My name is Amanda and I’m a cosplayer, fangirl and writer from the United States. Victoria was kind enough to invite me over to her blog for a little discussion on cosplay, chainmaille and attention to detail.

I’ve been cosplaying for many years now and attention to detail is one thing that I’ve always taken to heart. There is no detail piece too large or small for me. Whether it’s small pieces like earrings, bracelets, arm bands or hair pieces down to even big pieces like full pieces of armor, a particular crest or coat of arms and weapon builds larger than my own body. I actually adore chainmaille. It’s an absolute artform and the pieces Victoria makes bring me great joy. I’ve already been planning entire steampunk and Neo-Victorian looks around a few of the bracelets and one of the necklaces.

You may be asking: how do I, like you Amanda, use chainmaille in cosplay?

Well, I’d start small. You don’t have to start with full maille pants. Though that would be really really cool if not at all difficult to go to the bathroom in. Start with a necklace, pendant or choker. These can bring a pop of detail to a pirate look, steampunk attire or even a Victorian or vintage look. Ready for the next step up? Drape sections of chainmaille over gauntlets or leather cuffs to bring a Medieval look to life. Want to go next level? Find a dragon, tame it and take over a castle. Kidding. For the next level I recommend stringing together or custom ordering a section or series of chainmaille to help add a small pop to a larger armor build. I’ve actually been eyeing some larger sections of chainmaille for a Rajput inspired build. These warriors used chainmaille under silk to deflect sword attacks.

Now, as a convention specialist, I have to say that large chainmaille pieces are not always popular at your local anime, video game or comic book convention or expo. Some venues list large chainmaille pieces as potential threats and will make you take off larger armor pieces. Fear not, check your local convention’s rules and adjust as needed. Or visit a local Renaissance faire where rules are left in the modern era.

As always, Victoria and Destai are multi-talented and I’m grateful to be asked to discuss her brilliant works and how they intersect with my world of cosplay and conventions.

You can find me at https://amandaactually.wordpress.com/

30 Day Challenge

So I signed up for a 30 Day Challenge.

I know, right? Me? Consistent for 30 days? Excuse me while I go get another cup of Coffee…

Ok, I’m back. So this particular 30 Day Challenge is sponsored by Coaching for Geeks and it’s all about levelling up one, just one, stat.

(This may make little sense if you’re not a geek.)

The basic premise is that participants take an outside view of themselves and select one area of their life that they want to improve. Put into a gaming context, this area becomes a “stat”. They will then try to improve this stat and “level up”, i.e. improve that area of their life to a significant degree.

I have chosen Wealth. (Yes, I’m materialistic like that.)

This one goes out to my friend Ørjan.

In practice, this means putting my business first for 30 days running. (Phew!)

Other people have chosen things like Health, Intelligence, Performance, etc. If you want to join in (although it’s now too late to sign up – sorry!) with the fun then join us in the Facebook group and help encourage us all as we try to beat bosses and level up our lives!

Oh yeah, and buy stuff from me to help level up my life. 😉 As always, you can go to my Etsy shop or send me an email for custom order.s.

Sisters!

So this is my website and I write about my stuff, primarily. And so it shall continue to be! But I also wanted to give a shout out to my sister in crime, who also makes chainmaille! Where I make Viking Metal, she makes the colourful stuff, the beaded stuff and so on.

For comparison:

Viking Metal!
Luna’s Links

Yup, she’s called Luna’s Links (professionally anyway), named after the most awesome Moon Faery in the world.

She continues to inspire, encourage and prop me up when I’m having bad days. My Trista is easily my best friend, my sister, the one person I can always rely on. *sappy* And she makes chainmaille, did I mention that part??!

Go, give her shop a look. And then when you’re done looking at her amazing stuff, look at my amazing stuff too. 😉 You can find me, as always, under Destai Designs.

Busy, busy bee

Phew, that was a busy few weeks! Not only did I do the Steampunk festival in Eastbourne…

Steampunk!

…and Mammothfest ( \m/ ) in Brighton…

Mammothfest!

…but I’ve also had custom work on top of normal orders, on top of everyday life!

Did you see me at either of the festivals? If you post it on social media, make sure you tag me so I can share. 🙂

And now the holidays are approaching! I know, I know, Halloween hasn’t even been and gone yet. But for a small handmade business, we have to start thinking about Christmas in September. June, if you’re really organised.

I have posted the last order dates both on the homepage and in my Etsy announcement, to give you plenty of time to plan.

I haven’t made much holiday themed stuff this year, I have to admit, although the Poinsettia in chainmaille pendant form is always a big hit.

Maybe, if I have time, I’ll make a scale version as well, hmm…!

As always, you can follow me on all social media (links at the bottom) and watch my Etsy shop for updates. I’ve just put up a bunch of new stuff. 🙂

Steampunk!

I have always been fascinated with the steampunk subculture. I’m old enough that when I was young, steampunk only existed in the works of Jules Verne and the like, but once it started growing on the internet, I watched it with great interest.

I’m not much of a steampunk myself, I’m more of a punk goth when I dress up and demure goth at other times. (Yes, these distinctions matter!…) But the aesthetic is fun; I love the aviation narrative with airships and so on, the Victorian fashion, etc. I’m not too keen on the blatant British Empire copying that some people do, but apart from that it’s all good.

See, I can be steampunk too!

Anyway! I’m currently preparing for a steampunk fair – the Eastbourne Steampunk Festival (links to Facebook event) – where I shall be selling my wares like the trader I am! It’s been a lot of fun trying to think in steampunk ways rather than my usual stainless steel, Viking sort of ways, with bronze and gears and keys and all that stuff instead of my hammers and simple chains.

I’ve also been playing with ribbon maille as a result of this, which I think I will make a fixture in my Etsy shop too once the festival is over.

Ribbon maille bracelet.

So are you joining me in Eastbourne on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of September? Remember to look for the Destai banner!

BuJo-ing!

I have been completely and utterly taken in by the idea of BuJos. I know, I know, all the hype, right on trend, so unlike me, right? But it’s great!

“What’s a BuJo?” I hear you ask. A bullet journal (BuJo for short) is a specific way of journalling/planning that makes it easy to keep track of stuff even for disorganised people.

Naturally I don’t follow it to the letter. I’m way beyond disorganised; I had to find my own way to work it.

I use a completely normal notebook from some supermarket or another. It’s lined, and that’s all the features it has. Everything else I do myself. I write in a short To Do list every morning, of 2 – 4 things I want to get done in the day. I never go beyond 4, because I get easily overwhelmed and I need to keep it manageable. I also keep a Gratitude journal, where I write in three things every morning that I’m grateful for. This was an idea from Coaching for Geeks, which is a life coaching group specifically for geeks. It helps me think of positive things in the morning and helps my mood generally. As someone who is severely depressed, this is important for me!

I also have a few trackers – coffee, water, mood and a few tick boxes for various daily tasks.

Finally, I have an Achievements heading. This hasn’t been filled in as of 10.55 Sunday morning because I haven’t really done anything yet today. The idea of this section is to write down things I do that make me feel like I’ve achieved something. This can be anything from cleaning the kitchen to just having a shower on a bad day. This section helps me remember that even on the worst of days I do something that’s worth it, even that just means getting rest.

I also have a bunch of stickers!

My stickers help add a bit of colour, fun and focus. This big pile features designs from Stupidcats, Ellen Bee Makes and The Geeky Planner. It’s anything from a coffee cup to track my caffeine consumption, via “I ate my feelings today”, to mood trackers and urgent markers.

I also have a Nopebook.

I’m (kinda not really) sorry, but this punny notebook is one of my favourite pieces of stationery. I got it from Ohh Deer and it’s a lined A4 notebook with, like, the best illustration ever on the front.

Despite the big “Nope”, this is very much a big part of my newfound organisation. Inside is my monthly Habit Tracker. In this I have written a much longer list of things to do daily, semi-daily or weekly, and the goal is to track how well I stick to it over a longer period.

I refuse to show you what the list actually says, because some of it is very personal and depression based while other things are about work / social media/ etc. However you can see how it works – I fill in the squares when I’ve done something that day and I can track it over the month(s) that I do it. Gives a bigger picture of how well I stick to new habits.

So that’s all about how I’ve adjusted the BuJo idea to suit me. Do you have a BuJo? Do you use it regularly? I’d love to see pictures of your layout in the comments, or perhaps on Instagram. (I’m @destaidesign on there!)

Starting Afresh

So I had some slight technical difficulties with my other blog… It disappeared! Far be it from me to try to fix it (this time, I’ve fixed it before with much faffing about and a whole list of new words), so I’m starting anew here.

Perhaps some day I’ll be able to import my blog archives…

Either way, July has been quite busy for me. Not only have I been working hard, I’ve been working hard at the right things. Orders have come in and gone out, new designs are happening, all exciting stuff!

Playing with components...
Playing with components.

My workbench is as messy as ever, though, and I suppose I should clean it sooner or later..!

But in more interesting news, I am going to be part of the Eastbourne Steampunk Fair in September! And after that, I shall be selling my wares at Mammothfest in Brighton! If you’re in the South East of England, I highly recommend showing up to one or both. I went to Mammothfest last year and it was SICK! (Meaning good, extremely good.)

Hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it, find me on social media. Links are at the bottom of the page. 🙂