December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018, won't miss you


2018 sucked.
I tried to think of a nice, stress free day this year...still searching.
Maybe I have died and this is my hell...
I can't think of a single thing I've done just for me, just to have fun.
I haven't been on any trip or little break...unless you count 2 hospital stays. And sadly I've realized that it's the longest vacation I've taken since I moved here...9 years ago.
At the beginning of the year I was so thrilled that my horrible dayjob was coming to an end. I had planned a little goodbye party...and it never happened as I ended up in hospital. 
I didn't go out I basically have no friends left. Mom is increasingly difficult to live with...and it's only the early onsets of  Alzheimer, she tolerated my friends before (not that she ever liked any of them...) and I could go away (and that's what I did most of the time, to be honest) but now it's really no longer possible. Maybe I shouldn't have given up...but it's really hard to live with someone who keeps being mean to everyone. 
What is really scary, is that I  see no way out of this. I need a miracle now. 
A young dashing Diego
I lost Floki the Wild in February and my old Diego in June.
Floki the Wild
I didn't see too many movies...but some were really good. Here's my top 5.

5. Deadpool 2. So refreshing, a superhero film that is not politically correct.
4. Christoper Robin. It was really sweet and moving without being over the top.
3. BlacKKKlansman. A very serious topic, based on a real story (a black guy infiltrating the KKK)      but really funny. And all those cool afro hairstyles.
2. The Shape of Water. Such an unlikely topic. A mute cleaning lady helping a strange water creature      escape from an army facility.
1.The man who killed Don Quixote. I like all Terry Gilliam movie. This one is no exception. It       works on so many levels. The film in the film, that references a film that never got made.

I read some good books. My favorite was Kotori (Little birds) by Yoko Ogawa.

I haven't been watching many series (well, I still don't have Netflix). I saw Stranger Things while in Hospital, I kind of enjoy The Good Doctor.
I am more into Podcasts these days.
My top 8 for this year:

8. Ted Radio Hour (from the Ted talks)
7. Stuff to blow your mind (all kind  of scientific and historic nerdy topics)
6. Stuff they don't want you to know (a bit like the previous one with a conspiracy tone)
5. Last Podcast of the left (paranormal and scary real stories about cults and serial killers)
4. Le Bureau des Mystères (in French, paranormal topics)
3. Open Minds UFO radio
2. Podcast UFO
1. Mysterious Universe 2020 update: I canceled my subscription and have stopped listening to that podcast. The  hosts have become increasingly racist (well, I guess they always were but it just didn't show before), making fun of the disabled and the content went downhill reaaaaaally fast too. Give that podcast a miss.

Oh and I've started meditation with the Headspace app. I wrote about it here.

Let just say that I've been holding my tablet pretty much 90% of the time LOL

And  my shops, you'll ask. Pretty much dead. I'll try new things in the  new year...maybe.

December 21, 2018

Headspace, guided meditation

Along the years I have tried meditation several times. 
It is supposedly good for all kind of things, including auto-immune diseases.  I tried several times with books by Matthieu Ricard but had trouble keeping practicing
Then last June, while searching for sleep sounds, I once again came upon Headspace. I decided to go for their free month trial. And I got hooked.
So 6 months later I still meditate pretty much every day, every night I should say. I know that the main purpose is not falling asleep but it’s the main effect it has on me.
The whole thing is very simple, the process is clear and you don’t have to achieve anything…just go with the flow really.
The app has cute little animations to explain the main concepts.
And they have really cool “sleepcasts”, which are probably my favorite thing and completely worth the subscription.
Sleepcasts are little audio stories with soothing voices and sounds (ASMR style). Sea, forest, garden, snow, river sounds. Every time you listen, it’s slightly different so it’s never repetitive.
There’s also a nice selection of soothing mix of music and sounds that I like to listen too when I read as it helps with my tinnitus.
There’s currently a New Year offer for a yearly subscription. But you can try the free month first and see if it works for you. It hasn’t changed my life but it sure helped me in more ways than one.

A couple years ago, I noticed a new app called Headspace was popular but guided meditation felt too much like a gimmick to me so I never  tried it, you know like those whale sound CD’s from the old days.
PS: I am not getting paid or getting any freebies for this blogpost.

December 14, 2018

Christmas feeling...or not

It was not easy to get him to pose in front of the tree...
The tree is up unusually early this year. It was pretty drama-less for a change.
I am not big on Christmas things...but at least pretty lights make the house a bit more cheerful!

Too big
 I try to keep busy. I cook a lot. I have made Xmas pancakes (recipe here), banana bread, I tried a new butternut recipe - butternut squash with cuscus, oyster mushrooms, parsnip, the recipe called for nuts but I forgot - entirely and accidentally all vegan :) It was nice but way too much.

Sugarpill makeup
I haven't written my Holidays cards yet, not sure I will. Have only bought one present (for mom)...unless you count this Sugarpill + Little Twin Star makeup set I got for myself  on Cyber Monday (but haven't opened yet). I love that brand as it is vegan and cruelty free, and pretty good quality too (unlike most cruelty free, cheap,  makeup I usually get).
I am SUPER ready for the new year... (especially since we get a new Doctor Who episode on January 1st too).

December 11, 2018

New stuff for 2019

New stuff for me, not in the shops ;)
 I got an agenda for the new year...and decorated with Halloween stickers (just because, you know...) Both agenda and stickers from Hema.

I added a saving tracker from Motor and Tea and stuck it in the agenda too.

 And I got myself a cat brooch and a card (for my remodeled bedroom) from . Everything she makes is from recycled materials and everything is pretty cool!

November 29, 2018

December promo

Cute in my remodeled bedroom!

Hey, look, they'd be cute in New York too!
If you buy the patch and pin combo you can get 15% off in my shop with code "noel18" until the end of December.
In my Etsy shops, there's still 15% off until December 30 (no code).

November 26, 2018

My shopless life...and gory movies

Dwindling motivation.
My Shopify shop is all set up but now I have to list items.
I have  postponed ordering new pins and patches as I don't seem to be selling them at all...and also  I was less than impressed by the UK company that produced my first batches ( Customs UK, if you need to know) so I have  to find another one.

My Etsy shop are completely dead (local search and free shipping pretty much killed Etsy for me, Belgium is tiny and not many people know of Etsy...not to mention that half the country won't shop from me because I'm a French speaker...). I have considered cheating about location, I wondered if that would trick the algorithm...
With zero shop work to do, I have plenty of free time.
I'm done with the bedroom remodeling. I sleep in, read a lot, catch Pokemons, annoy the cats, binge watch Storage Wars, I style my hair, mope around the house (mope, not mop)...
You can dress your Pikachu in this installment of the game, an pet him and feed him...
I have tidied up the study a little bit,  found some odd Alice things I didn't remember I had, like this horrible cap. Sorted out my handbags (gosh, I have many...), switched purse because the one I was using was falling apart, cleaned my pin collection, threw out old pens...
Man, I'm bored ><

Arguably the ugliest piece in my collection
Oh, and I send job applications, I send trillions of job applications.
A nice regular job would be cool. But I'm realistic here, my chances are close to zero. If the job is  nice, I either don't qualify or it's too far (and though I don't mind, employers do...).
The employment agency is on my back now, like I enjoy being jobless. They want me to take classes...I am so tired of their pointless, useless training. They wanted me to take forklift classes. Forklift. I was so flabbergasted that it left me speechless. I just burst out laughing. That went well. Right, send the half deaf chick learn how to drive a of the most dangerous workplace tools. Also, that fits my resumé so well too, graphic designer and forklift operator (?).
But let me put this in context for you:
I imagine not too many people stay up until the middle of the night to watch industrial training videos, but if you choose to do so, I recommend the forklift videos. They are absolutely hilarious and VERY gory. Impaled dangling bloody in cheap Italian horror movies from the 80's.
So free piece of advice here, if you see a forklift in a shop, STAY AWAY.

I also spend money I don't have (I have not been paid since my surgery, long story short but they lost the papers, I had to replace them and now they keep finding excuses not to pay, and that' also taking its toll on my morale...)...I really wanted that Nintendo Switch console, and then I had the suden urge to get my hair done (that's silly expensive if you want a hairdye too).

 I miss my shops...

November 21, 2018

November reading list

Random cat photo as I didn't take any book photos.
Bob in the forefront and Bunny in the background.
Not read yet:
Driving blind by Ray Bradbury. 
Still in the unread pile by my bed...

Partly read:
The smiling man by Henning Mankell.
Still reading it. Can't seem to get reading it again...

Cristallisation secrète (Secret crystalization) by Yoko Ogawa. 
I won't be finishing this one for now. Too depressing. It is set in a dystopian universe where things start disappearing, not physically but from the mind of people. So there are still birds, people can see there are birds but they ignore them, don't know what they are and they evoke nothing to them. 

The hand by Henning Mankell. 
A Wallander story. Fast read, staright to the point, very nice. Highly recommended. I like this shorter format better than the regular one.
Après (After) by Stéphane Allix. 
His worst book. Just a page filler with nothing new and not very interesting filler at that either. I zapped through it.
The Dyatlov Mystery by Anna Matveeva.
An odd book. A mix of fiction and a real mystery. The Dyatlov mystery is a real event. 9 people disappearing  while on a winter hike whose bodies were found in odd circumstances.
Though the mystery part is interesting, the pseudo/fictive investigation is not. Plus it's mixed with the investigator's love stories...bleeeeeh. 

That thing by Docteur JJ Charbonier 
The interesting point of view of a doctor on NDE's (near death experiences, or as he prefers calling them "temporary death exeperiences").

November 18, 2018

The remodeled bedroom

All done! Under 2 weeks.
November light (or lack of) is not ideal for photography though but I wanted to take photo before I start re-cluttering ;)

Golden wallpaper by Eijfinger

Square dot wallpaper: Shine by Caselio

Vintage lion head mirror inherited from my grand parents(I painted it white)

Cute LURVIG night table/cat hut by Ikea

Curtains with gold details by Maison du Monde

Ceiling light Maskros from Ikea

Light shade Nymo and golden stand Rodd by Ikea

To check what it looked like before, head there.

November 02, 2018

Remodelling the bedroom

So I have decided I need to remodel my bedroom. Actually that's long overdue as I haven't done anything in here since I moved in in 2009.
Like I have nothing else to do. My Shopify shop needs work and other things should be more urgent but nooo, I have to remodel the bedroom.
I am sick tired of that stupid flower and butterfly wallpaper (I loved it back then...) and I NEED to declutter too.

My  main problem is that the bedroom is dark, it is North-East oriented and there are a building and high hedge in front of the window.
I have heavily edited the light in these pictures.

Also I'd like to move the furniture around...but it's kind of small and haven't come up with a new layout yet.

Maybe I'll put the glass case in another room...

So, colorwise, I want the bedhead wall all gold and the other walls very light pink with golden geometric pattern. I'm trying very hard not to have critter/flower pattern this time...

October 30, 2018

Moving to Shopify

I have started the big move to Shopify.
I figured arther than spending 30 Euro each  month on renevwing on Etsy, I'd rather spend that money somewhere else.
The new shop still needs a lot of work as Shopify is not very intuitive...not as complex as Magento but defintely not as smooth as Etsy.
Still have no idea why tags create new section in your shop, for exemple...and it's hard to find where things are...but I'm getting there.
The pin and patch are already up and you can now buy them there ;)
Here's the temporary link to the shop  but it will be soon link to my own domain.

October 24, 2018

Pookie, movie star

So the other night I was watching Despicable me 2 on TV. Cats usually ignore the TV but that night Pookie seemed really interested.
Pookie watching Despicable me 2.

Turns out he had a cameo in the movie...that cat has so many secrets ;D

© Universal pictures                                                                                  Pookie

October 21, 2018

Bye Etsy

Last product photo for Etsy
So I had been spending hours each day editing, one more time, my product photos for Etsy. I had been re-writing my tags , one more time. I had just reached 1300 sales in my Dina Fragola Etsy shop, which sounds good but which is not as I should have reached that number during Christmas season LAST YEAR...when it hit me like a brick in the face...I was wasting my a big way.
Etsy telling you that your shop is not working because YOU'RE not doing the right things, not putting enough work into it is total BS.
Their website is not good for little shops, it got even worse recently.
The idea had been in the back of my mind for a while but it suddenly became real. I needed to let those shops go. I was not doing myself any good keeping them.
 I am tired of being told everything is my fault, that  I am not doing the right things (not just on Etsy, but also by the unemployment agency...that is zero help)
It's such a relief in a way. It has only been a few days and I've already read 2 books in my new free time.
I am not closing them cold, I'll just let the listings expire which means my Captain Cosmos shop will be gone by February 17, 2019 and my Dina Fragola Etsy shop will be history on May 1 (because I still have over 8000 free listings I have to use up by December 31 and plan to relist my whole shop in one go on New Year's Eve).
I have not yet decided if I'll reopen them somewhere else.
I'll probably have another site for my pins and patches in a near future.

And don't forget there's 15% off any orders of 10 EUR + in my two shops until November 30, 2018 with code NOEL18
Dina Fragola, kawaii jewelry shop
The Captain Cosmos, quirky plugs, gauges, jewelry and cuff links.

October 19, 2018

October reading list

Not read yet:
Driving blind by Ray Bradbury. 
Could't bring myself to start this one.
The hand by Henning Mankell. 
Another Walldander story.
The unexpected blessing by Yoko Ogawa. 
Just took it from the library without even reading the summary. Favorite writer, blind faith ;)

Partly read:
The smiling man by Henning Mankell.
Still reading it. I like it but I am having a reading block here.

Après (After) by Stéphane Allix. 
Read pretty much everything by that writer. I met him last year. He is specialized in unexplained phenomenons, but, well, he is kind of pushing it this time (as in the previous one). Still a fun and fast read, even if you don't really believe him. 

Mysterious creatures 
Oddly thorough on some topics and oddly undocumented on others..weird book about world mysteries.
Joyland  by Stephen King. 
A really fun read. Not too scary but still very enjoyable. A perfect October read. Highly recommanded. 

Have you read anything good lately? I am always on the lookout for new stuff to read.

October 11, 2018

My Alice in Wonderland collection- Masquerade Alice

Masquerade Alice figurine by Enesco.
The details on this one are insane as you can see. A beautiful piece.