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Getting Crafty: Announcing My Vlog!

I have launched a crafting vlog channel: Shiny Crafting on YouTube!!!

Crochet may have been my main craft over the last... decade, but now I'm going to be vlogging my hand sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, painting and more. I'll be sharing progress, experiments, and decision making along the way. 

I'll be posting every two weeks, roughly, with miscellaneous craft related topics. Three videos are live so far on YouTube, and have been sharing various projects on socials in the last few months. Links to the channel and socials are on my LinkTree.

(10 minute read)

Sarah, 30 year old white woman, taking a selfie smiling awkwardly at the camera, behind her is a dining table with disassembled photo frames and paints.
Awkward but excited

I may do the odd tutorial, but that won't be the focus. I spend a lot of time each week with tutorials for crochet as Shiny Crochet, and while I love that, I'm very excited to have this separate space for a more relaxed and candid format. 

Crochet definitely took priority for a long time, but even then I still snuck in other crafts over the years. I would apply it to different things, whether home decoration, gifts, clothing, or even the odd costume. I hope by creating this space to share my crafting, it will help me find time for it and get outside my comfort zone. 

My most recent focus has been with embroidery and cross stitch, which has been from current situation. I've had some health problems over the last several years, which really came to a head at the start of last year. Having a craft I can do from bed, without much focus or mess, has been really important. 

A hand holding an embroidery hoop up in front of a tree outside in waning afternoon light. The hoop has cream linen fabric set on it, with a sketch of a gum nut twig pencilled on it, some of the twig, gum nut and one flower coloured in with embroidery floss.
Work In Progress

Crochet was that for a long time, but it still needs a level of counting, rhythm and coordination that some days is too much. Plus I work so quickly at it out of habit that I go through yarn very quickly and strain my hands and arms. Hand sewing and embroidery though are much smaller and I can go much slower. 

I started planning for ShinyCrafting at the start of the year, but put it on hold while focusing on Shiny Crochet and still seeking diagnosis. I at last have some answers for my health and have that weight off my shoulders. 

Now I feel ready to get this going! I have a heap of footage in storage, time to make it interesting! 

A sceenshot of the properties window for file location d:\VideoEditing\vlog which has size of 353GB across 613 files.
Vlog Storage is next level

Adjacent to my crafting adventures, I will be trying out streaming on the occasion. I had my first stream on Twitch as ShinyCraftin in August, where I had a cosy yet chaotic evening playing Stardew Valley. I was playing through a game setting up for achievement hunting. I have played hundreds of hours of this game in the last year and it's become my comfy space. 

I had a lot of fun streaming it and had some cool in game moments, like the owl statue, a giant melon and naming my chicken and duck (when Marnie finally showed up for work). I also ranted about Lewis' gross behaviour and had a mini-heart attack when I plucked my Summer Spangle for my honey bees. 

Talking for four hours did take it out of me, so I haven't tried it again yet. I do have plans for some crafting streams, just a chill space to chat and create and see where it goes. I need to do some more work behind the scenes to set that up, and also get my physical health back to a better baseline.

In the meanwhile, I have edited the first stream into a highlights video. It took me a few weeks to edit and figure out - turns out editing four hours of footage down takes time!

You can check out the highlights of that right here: 

I have been recording footage sporadically since the start of the year, but some of those projects still aren't complete. I decided to instead start with a fun project from July. 

This actually started in December, where I made some draft bears based on my childhood bear. It has seen better days and is honestly showing each of its decades. I plan on recreating it, embroidery, lace and all, but first wanted to get the base pattern right. 

For this third try, I had a goal for the finished toy - my best friend's son was having his fourth birthday and I decided to make a teddy for him. 

I started it at the end of June, but it took me a few weeks to actually get into it. Then a week of floor time hand sewing all the bits together. I did at least get to enjoy lovely Winter sunlight on the mornings I got out of bed early enough. 

A photo taken from within my kitchen into my loungeroom to show a note written on the tiles "Time to be a cat". The loungeroom is sun filled with a large beanbag in the middle of the space, with pillows and blankets stacked beside to make it into a nest. A stable table, folding table and miscellaneous sewing equipment scattered around the nest.
Time to be a cat!

You can check out the full vlog here, which explains some of the above chaos space: 

And to continue the reverse chronological order, the third video I've released was recorded in February this year. I had started to learn cross stitch and embroidery a few weeks prior and wanted to try binding the hoop as I was struggling with it holding the fabric. 

The Internet had told me wrapping the inner or outer hoop would help by adding tension against the set fabric. I decided to give it a go and try vlogging the process.

Sarah, a 30 year old white woman, holding aida (cross stitch fabric) on an embroidery hoop in front of her face. There is in progress cross stitch of Stardew designs on the section held by the hoop, including flowers, plants and Junimos (forest spirits in game). On the other side of the fabric is a floral design.
Baby's first cross stitch

It turned a little ASMR of crafting in Australian Summer in the middle of the video, which was very unplanned, but so comforting. I think when the construction in our area finally goes away I will try recording similar, because it was really nice to listen to while editing. Though maybe that's just from someone finally on the other side of Winter. 

I have a cheeky update towards the end for what I did with the hoop in the end, how I found the binding and what I would do differently in the future. It was certainly interesting to see how far I've come in embroidery since the original recording.

You can check it out here: 

I hope you've enjoyed this chaotic introduction cross announcement of my new channel! 

My next video is planned for 27th September 2021, I'm not sure yet which video it will be yet. Though I am leaning towards the frames I painted recently for my growing collection of embroidery, cross stitch and tapestry crochet. 

Be sure to subscribe to be notified, check out the channel!

I'm only aiming for uploads every two weeks for the moment, as I am still creating videos for my crochet channel, and I'm limited in the amount of time each day I can give to either endeavour. 

I also have some travel footage from before lockdown, when I visited a woollen mill and got to watch their behind the scenes processes! That one is going to take some time to edit, as it was about a week of travel and visiting various places. I am putting off editing it a bit because we are in lockdown and while it's comforting to see travel, it does hurt a little at the moment. 

There's over 7 hours of footage for me to go through; with a lot of it just driving and scenery. However we did get to visit some cool historical locations that I'd like to research further to add some more context and info that I didn't record at the time. 

View over a dashboard from passenger seat to single lane highway in Australia (driving on the left). Heavy clouds fill the sky, the sun beams peaking through in the distance. The road is trimmed by rough grass and bushes in browns and greens. Large gum trees and other natives fill the middle distance and the horizon is layered by mountain silhouettes.
Driving and driving and driving

In the meanwhile, I have just bought myself a new keyboard. It came from a week of hyper focus to distract from some pain I was experiencing. I set out some requirements, I even made a One Note document to keep track of my plans and ideas. I had some Like To Haves, but the Must Haves were my focus, including Bluetooth, pastels/fun colours, lower profile and quieter option. This all initially seemed impossible. 

Until I realised: I could paint the keyboard. 

Suddenly I could just focus on getting the functionality and shape that I wanted, worry about keys and colours later. 

So I've now sourced the keyboard and am in fact using it right now. I wanted to get a good feel of it before I started customising and trying different keycaps. Particularly since I wouldn't mind testing out changing the sound levels. More details of the specific keyboard, keycaps and plans will be outline in future blogs and/or vlogs, so keep an eye out if you're interested! 

The right side of a white ten-keyless mechanical keyboard on a yellow desk mat, with a black mouse in the background. Most of the key caps are standard white with black blocky font, but the function keys and most of the right panel have been replaced by taller keys with either coloured text or icons. The enter key has a rainbow with little clouds at either end, the arrow keys are each a different colour and look like paint splatters with white arrows, the back space has 5 arrows pointing left (backwards), each a different colour of the rainbow.
Rainbow keycaps are just the start

This has been an interesting experience for me; every step has been different to the structure of my crochet tutorials. The tutorials are recorded on a static tripod, with a separate voice over recorded off a script, the overlays are all informational. I rarely go off script or on tangents, and there's almost no sense of time or world outside the pattern I'm sharing. 

So far, vlogging has meant almost no scripts, which has meant more candid moments, letting my personality through, sharing how my chronic illness affects my crafting. It also means learning to edit more smoothly; editing out filler words and pauses to keep things somewhat snappy, and protect the viewer from hearing me say "so" more times than I can count. 

For a bit of technical/behind the scenes, the following are the software and hardware I use for recording and editing.

I edit with HitFilm Express, which is a great free video editing program. They have a heap of YouTube videos for getting you started and I have only managed to crash it twice in the last several months - compared to several other very well know programs which I couldn't get through a single session without crashing. 

A computer monitor with Canon DSLR setup behind. The monitor has video editing software, Hitfilm Express open and exporting. The timeline at the bottom of the screen shows a heavily cut video.
"Everybody do the chop-chop"

My graphics are made in Canva and/or GIMP, using free versions of both. I mostly use GIMP for cropping and deleting backgrounds of images, while I use Canva for the arrangement of graphics as it has a very intuitive beginner interface. 

I record using a mix of cameras, essentially whatever is available on hand. 

The main vlogging camera is my partner's Lumix G7 with Rode shotgun mic. The scratching, rattle and shake in some of the videos is due to my own mistakes and learnings. It is a pretty good pickup and use camera for vlogging, especially because the screen is flip out. I sometimes find it a bit heavy, but that's my fatigue kicking in and even my phone gets too much sometimes. 

When travelling & for most static photos, I use my Pixel 3XL, with stock camera and app. I did realise after recording a heap of footage that there is a default setting that doesn't standardise the frame rate. If you're planning on using your phone for vlogs, definitely go through the settings and lock that down. It can cause some problems with editing otherwise, as the software expects all the original footage the same frame rate as the export.  

Sarah, a white 30 year old woman, recording video of a mirror over a fireplace with her Google Pixel 3XL in a purple glittery case. Her boyfriend is leaning into frame of the mirror pulling a face.
Surprise Lettuce

The camera I use when streaming or as "editing Sarah" is my Canon 1500D, connected to my PC by USB running the Canon Webcam Utility. I run OBS and record audio with my Razer Seiren Mini Quartz. The webcam utility does crush the resolution, which I hope can be improved in time, so it works best as a stream camera for the moment. 

My lighting varies depending on situation and room, but I have two 10" ring lights that power off USB, and try to use natural lighting as main when I can. The ring lights are generic brands that you can pickup where ever. 

Further details of all this is covered in the description of each video, if you want to check it out further. Otherwise, feel free to ask questions. I'm very much a beginner, but find it interesting how people solve their recording needs. 

Thank you so much for reading and watching, if you want to support financially check out Contact & Support page for details!

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