Week 14: More crafting, disaster prep and… a treasure hunt!

Day 92: Made a jewelled belt for a cosplay costume

For the last few years we have been going to the Supanova pop culture expo on the Gold Coast. My 9 year old (like most boys his age) loves superheroes and we have been lucky enough to get complimentary tickets. For the uninitiated, Supanova is a cosplay event (that is people get dressed up as their favourite pop culture character) where stallholders sell pop culture paraphernalia, like toys, replica weapons, games etc. and (minor) celebrities are on hand to sign autographs (for a fee!). Many of the cosplay crowd go to tremendous lengths with their costumes and I always enjoy watching the crowds wander around the expo.

This year I have decided not to be a spectator and to join my son and the cosplay crowd and get dressed up too. I’ve been putting my costume together, buying different pieces for it, but couldn’t find the right belt at a reasonable price, so I decided to make it myself. A Google search showed a number of different approaches to making this belt, but they were either too homemade looking or too expensive and complicated to make. I have opted to make my belt without following anyone else’s instructions (I’m pretty pleased with the result too).

This is how I did it.

For the jewels

5 x 50mm glass cabochons (4 for the belt and 1 for the brooch)
2 x glass cabochons (for the cuffs of my outfit)
Red paint
Glittery red nail polish
Plastic straw tubing (I had this in the house)
Gold paint
100 split jump rings (I couldn’t find chain in the right size at the right price!)
Red cardboard
PVA glue

Directions

Cut the straw tubing to size and form into circles, tucking one end inside the otherMake the jewel holdersPaint tubing gold.
Paint the back of the cabochons red.Paint the Cabochons
Once dry, paint the front of the cabochons with nail varnish.
Cut the cardboard into circles just larger than the cabochons.
Once everything is dry, put 2 slip rings on the gold straws.
Glue straws around the cabochons and stick both to the cardboard using PVA glue.
Divide the rest of the split rings into fifths and join to form five chains, one on each side of the jewels.  And there you have it – Raven’s belt!DIY cosplay: Raven's belt

Day 93: Waterproof matches

After last week’s failure making strike anywhere matches, I wasn’t sure I should bother making waterproof matches. I mean, if I still need the box to strike a match, then what’s the point? But then I thought, one day I may get my hands on strike anywhere matches so why not learn how to waterproof them?

There are a number of ways to waterproof matches, but I decided on two of the simpler ones (because I had the necessary materials in the house!). For the first (and easiest) method, all you need are matches (obviously) and nail polish. Dip the matches in the nail polish and let them dry. When they have dried the coating protects them from moisture, but doesn’t prevent the heads from lighting.

The second method uses melted candle wax. Melt the wax then coat the matches. This is easier if you let the wax cool slightly and then mould it around the matches. To light matches waterproofed using wax you first need to scrape the wax of the head before striking. As you can see from my rather poorly filmed clip (sorry, my filming skills still need plenty of work!) both of these methods work successfully.

Day 94: Downloaded the SES assistance app

SES assistance appWith the floods raging up north even as they subside here on the Gold Coast, the news has been full of storms and disaster. On day 94 I stumbled upon the State Emergency Service’s assistance app, so I downloaded it. For those non-Australian readers (I like to pretend I have loads!) the SES is a voluntary organisation that responds to natural disaster emergencies – usually flood and storm damage. Now that I have the app installed on my phone I’ll be able to contact them at the click of a button should I need them (and provided I have internet access….).

Day 95: Took my shoes to the cobblers (and they took me to the cleaners!)

OK, so day 95s activity didn’t really require much effort but it was nonetheless a new experience. I’ve always loved shoes (I don’t know why – guess it’s a girl thing?) anyway over recent months I have been buying better quality (read more expensive) shoes. So now that I’m not buying $30 pleather throw away shoes from Kmart or Payless, when the soles wear out I’ll have to replace.

I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW EXPENSIVE IT IS!! Yes I know I’m shouting but I was shocked – and still trying to recover from the cobbler’s bill! Being a rather frugal kind of gal I bought my shoes when they were on sale (I actually got 60% off – thanks Myer). Needless to say when the cobbler’s bill was more than half of what I paid for shoes I was staggered! On mulling it over though, it is still cheaper for me to repair my shoes than to buy new ones – and (snob that I am) I do like wearing quality leather shoes instead of my old bargain basement ones.Reheeled shoes

Day 96:  Not another emergency candle!

I seem to be obsessed with emergency candles at the moment. Maybe because they are so easy to make? Or maybe it’s because they can be made out of regular household objects? Either way, on day 96 I made yet another emergency candle.  This time I let it burn until it went out, which was a little over 2 hours. Not bad for a tin of tuna and a strip of newspaper, eh?

This candle, again, is very easy to make. Simply take a can of tuna in oil (it must be in oil, spring water or brine will not work) then tear a strip of newspaper and roll into a wick. Poke a hole in the centre of the can of tuna and stick the wick into it. Light the wick and let it burn. Surprisingly, this candle does not give off a fishy smell and you can still eat the tuna afterwards!

Day 97: Nominated a colleague for an award

The company I work for recognises good work with an employee of the month award. I was fortunate enough (or worked hard enough) to be nominated last month. (Maybe I didn’t work quite hard enough though as I didn’t win!) Anyway, up until day 97 I had not submitted any nominations myself, despite being encouraged to do so every month. So yep, on Friday I nominated a hard working and deserving colleague for the employee of the month award. I hope they get it.

Day 98: Wrote a letter of praise

Keeping with the theme of giving credit where it is due, I wrote a letter praising great customer service I received on Saturday. As customers we tend to be quick to complain when we don’t get the type of service we expect, but not many of us take the time to comment or praise great customer service.  For my 1 thing new on day 98, I wrote an email to the supervisor of a customer service consultant who made my experience with their company truly pleasant.

Funnily, sending this letter made me feel good about myself. The act of giving a compliment is one which I derive pleasure from, knowing it will lift someone’s mood (at least I like to think it will). I got a pleasant surprise myself when the supervisor replied to my email, thanking me for my feedback. #spread the love!

Day 99: Adventures in geocaching

If you’ve never been geocaching, I recommend you give it a go. Geocaching is like a treasure hunt, although instead of treasure you find a box with a logbook inside it. There are approximately 3 million geocaches in more than 180 countries just waiting to be found. And on day 99, I found one of them!Geocache treasure

To look for a geocache you need to first sign up for a free membership and download the app to a GPS enabled device like your phone. Then all you need to do is search for a geocache in a convenient location. It’s simple to find a geocache to hunt for, just input your current location and then search for a cache nearby (you can also search for caches in specific locations).

How to geocache

On the app use the search function to look for listed caches. Once you have decided on one to search for, click on it to open the description. This lets you know what size an item you are looking for along with other pertinent information, such as difficulty of search and terrain. If this is the hunt for you, go back to the map and click start. You will then see distance and directions to the site. Once you are within a few metres of the geocache the app will let you know and you need to read any clues to find it. The cache is not always easy to find (but that’s part of the fun isn’t it) and will be tucked away out of sight, but it will never be buried underground. You can click on the activity tab to see if other geocachers have left clues or photos to help you find the cache. Remember to take a pen so you can sign the logbook! Also, once you have found the cache remember to log it on the app.I found the geocache

If you do have a go geocaching (and you won’t regret it!) tell us all about your experience in the comments below.

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