Saturday, 17 November 2012

Busy Busy Busy!

WOW. It's been such a long time since my last post - I didn't even realise how long. Things have been pretty manic here - I went through a break up, quit my job, went to Rome, moved house and started teacher training at Cambridge University... so I hope you'll forgive me for not having time to blog!

In the meantime, I've tried to do the odd bit of crafting here and there, and have still been receiving my Glossyboxes (which I still love - they seem to always come at just the right point in the month, when I need a little cheer)... Let's have a little catch up.

Maisie and Elvis still do not get on, in fact, as I write this, he is chasing her around the room while she growls at him. Elvis has been neutered (poor baby) but this hasn't eased his boyish playfulness! We decided to try and restore some of his manliness with a new collar:

He is growing so fast, he is nearly the same size as Maisie, and he has a lot of growing left to do! Poor Maisie.

Rome was absolutely wonderful, and just what I needed to get away from it all. Katiekat and I crammed as much as we could into three days, including a trip up Mount Vesuvius and into Pompeii, which was just amazing. The Trevi Fountain was by far my favourite though, and is now my favourite place in the whole world. It is stunning.
Fontana di Trevi

At the top of Mount Vesuvius, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world!
As I also said, I have moved house. I moved in with a friend in September, just round the corner from where I was before with my Mum - I just needed to get away! Living back at home after living on my own for three years at uni was tough. It's more money but it's an amazing house and so much less stress! The cats are happy here (Elvis has just started going outside, and has already lost one collar), but Maisie has been back twice to visit Nanny... 

I'm currently loving the course, everyone on it is so supportive and friendly, and all the lessons are so much fun and I am learning so much everyday. I'm on placement in a school at the moment, and have taught a few lessons which I've really enjoyed. Last week I did a maths lesson where we made treasure maps and played battleships to learn co-ordinates. Being a teacher just lets me be creative and pass it on to others! 

So happy right now. 


Sunday, 29 July 2012

From Scratch Scalloped Shorts Tutorial

As you are hopefully now aware, I go through phases of loving trends (the ombre phase is slowly... eh... phasing out), and my new one is scalloped hems. I just think they add an extra bit of sophistication and elegance to an outfit.

You are also probably now aware that I LOVE shorts (7 pairs of denim ones alone, at my last count). What better way to make myself happy than to combine these two loves?

I am trying to be a bit more adventurous with my sewing, so rather than give a pair of shorts I already own a scalloped hem (I also didn't want to alter any of the ones I have), I decided to make a pair of shorts. From scratch. I also didn't have any suitable stretchy material, so I also had to make the executive decision of also inserting a zip in order for my booty to actually get into them. 

I had a slightly satin-esque material that I'd wondered recently what to do with, and as I wanted these shorts to be more formal, going-out shorts, it was the perfect choice.


Here's what you will need:
A pair of shorts you like the fit of
Tailor's chalk
Matching thread
Pinking shears
Sewing machine (zipper foot optional)
Seam ripper
A mug!

How to:

First I traced around a pair of high-waisted shorts that fit me really well. They are made from stretch denim, so I left plenty of seam allowance so I don't bust out of them when I move!

Make sure you lay your shorts folded in half on the fabric (which is also folded in half) with each fold next to each other, like so: 

This means you get one whole piece which will wrap around your bum and leg. Cut two of these, as you probably have two legs.

I also added a bit of length to both the waist and the legs, to ensure they were high-waisted enough for me (enough to cover my bellybutton), and long enough for the scallops (in case I made a mistake!)

Then I laid them flat, right sides together, and pinned and sewed the curves:
Then, you need to lay them out again as they were above, and pick up one layer at the bottom, in the middle,  and lay them so they look a bit more like shorts, like this:

Pin and sew the bits were yours legs go, still with the wrong side facing outwards. I then made a waistband with two lengths of material and pinned and stitched them to the top of the shorts like so:

Now it's time for the zip! Lay your shorts down in front of you so that the wrong side fabric of the back of the shorts is facing you. Lay your zip face down on the middle seam, and pin and sew each side of the zip to the corresponding seam allowance (I didn't bother using a zipper foot):

Now you need to get your seam ripper (hello, old friend!) and open the seam from the top of the back of the shorts, to just above where your zip finishes. Add a hook and eye at the top. Hooray! Now you can try them on and tweak them if necessary.

Now for the scallops. This is the time consuming bit. Turn your shorts the right way out, and turn the hems up and out, and pin:
Now, with your mug (see, there IS a reason), draw half circles at the bottom of the hem (this should be on the wrong side of the fabric) all the way around the bottom of your shorts leg. Sew a curve where you have drawn.
Then, take your pinking shears and cut around the bottom of these half circles. Turn them all inside out (i.e. right way round) and iron. You may need to spray them with water and poke them a bit to get them to properly turn out, but it's worth it! 

Trim all excess material on the inside of the shorts, and all stray threads.

Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?

I still have to add a hook and eye to mine, but I hope you like them, because I LOVE them :)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Glossybox June 2012 Review

Another late blog entry! Trying to get up-to-date as quickly as I can!

Well everyone who knows me, knows that I am not only a sucker for adverts (i.e. glittery shampoo), I am also a COMPLETE MUG for lucky dips. Claire's Accessories usually does a 10 items for some amount of money in a white bag, so you can't see the contents. A local boutique sometimes has mystery items wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. Fetes and fairs alike have the "boy" and "girl" boxes with prizes wrapped in gender-oriented wrapping paper. I will have a go on all of them, knowing that the prizes will be awful, that they are merely the reject items that no-one else wants. I just cannot resist finding out what that slightly-squidgy-flat-thing-wrapped-so-enticingly IS, and many a time have I been ushered out the door before my child-like hands can delve into the box of goodies. I think I am also an eternal optimist, and always think this time my luck will be in. Alas, I am never right, and my items usually end up at the charity shop to gain a new, more meaningful, life. 

So, when a friend posted a link for Glossybox, it was fatal.

Glossybox promises "5 luxury product miniatures from high-end brands [...] sent directly to your door every month" for £10 + £2.95 P&P. It is a rolling contract so you can cancel any time you like, so I thought "why not?"

And boy, am I glad I did.

My postie obviously possesses the ability to read minds and knew that I was waiting like an expectant child at Christmas for my Glossybox, and hid it in my garden for me, instead of making me go to the Post Office - thank-you postie!

The outside packaging got me very excited indeed:

See how excited I was? I couldn't even take a picture before opening it!

And then, more suspense!

And yet more... (How gorgeous is the packaging?)


The box comes with a list of each product, and how much they retail for. My first Glossybox contained (don't forget that it only cost me £12.95 in total):
Glossybox Serie Exclusiv Pro Beauty Brush - RRP £15 each
HD Brows Precision Tweezers - RRP £19.95 a pair
BM Beauty Summer Warmth Bronzer - RRP Fullsize £8.00/4g 
Paul Mitchell The Conditioner - RRP Fullsize £12.25/300ml
Vichy Dermablend Ultra-Corrective Foundation Cream Stick - RRP Fullsize £19.00/12g

As you can see, the brush alone is worth more than the cost of the box! Very happy lady at this news.
The contents of June 2012 Glossybox

Maisie inspecting the Glossybox

The Brush
The brush is made by Glossybox themselves, and they say "This classic series natural goat hair blush brush gives a supersoft make-up application."

I am always after new make-up brushes, so I was happy that I got this in the box, and this one looks expensive and feels soft, but not too soft. I'm not an expert on make-up brushes as most of mine are from sets and are fairly cheap, but the bristles on this one do seem to come out like other brushes which is slightly disappointing. Some of the bristles were sticking out further than they should too. It is the right size for blusher and applies it well, but I wouldn't say it's an outstanding brush. It's a blusher brush, and that's it.

The Tweezers

I am quite picky about my tweezers and will spend a fair amount on them to get a super pair (perhaps I should extend this to my make-up brushes?) - I have a pair of Tweezerman ones which are FAB. When I first opened the box the tweezers came in, I noticed they look a lot like my Tweezermans, which was promising, and they are just as great. A lot of cheaper tweezers don't grip the hair properly, but these are really well made and are perfect for the job.

The Bronzer

I am quite pale and don't usually wear bronzer, except when I want a super summery glow, as it tends to make me look a bit... dirty. I tried out a tiny amount of this bronzer and it is quite dark for my skin, but it's OK if you use a tiny amount and blend well. This will be useful in the summer months. It is quite shimmery too, which I like.

The Conditioner

I seem to have misplaced this so have no picture! I did however, use this before I put it somewhere safe - It's a leave-in conditioner which will also be nice in the upcoming summer months. I may have put a bit too much in my hair as it made it a tad greasy on the ends (I didn't put any on my roots). It has a fairly sticky texture and a blue tint, which makes me wonder about the additives in it... I wouldn't buy this at full size as I have used better, cheaper, leave-in conditioners (or I just use a small amount of normal conditioner on dry hair).

The Concealer

I have heard about Dermablend before, and was quite excited about this product, but I was mildly disappointed. However, I did only use it under my eyes, but it didn't seem to cover flaws as well as promised. I think it may also be due to the limited colour range - as previously mentioned, my skin is very fair, so I always have to have the lightest colours. I will continue to test this product out as I'm sure I will grow to love it!

July 2012 Glossybox is already here (and I have used some of the products without taking individual pictures - naughty!) so stay tuned for the review! 

Do you get Glossybox? Did you get a different variation for June? What did you think of the products?

What products would you like to see in Glossybox?


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Heavenly Summer Shirt Dress

Summer has finally arrived in Britain! That silly gulf jet stream thingy has moved and the sun is here! I am also on summer holidays, only working two days a week (plus some Saturdays... Ain't nobody got time for that).

On my first day off, having worked a few extra days for a few extra pennies, I made my first dress of the summer! 

I found the tutorial a while ago, when it was still cloudy and wet and strolled down to the Aladdin's cave of a charity shop in town. I stumbled upon a beautiful, huge, white and mint green striped gentleman's cotton shirt, and snapped it up for a mere £1 (this charity shop is my favourite, FAVOURITE shop ever). I just want to add that I am not a shirt-dress wearing person, they make me feel like I should be pregnant while wearing them (apologies if you wear them, I am sure you don't look pregnant in them, and in fact look fabulous.)

Now, I am usually pretty tech-savvy BUT about a month ago I thought it would be a good idea to reformat my SD card so that it would allow me to put my running music on my phone, and then I could use my Endomondo app to track my runs/jogs/fast-paced-walks. However, what I didn't realise was that all my pictures (and coincidingly, (Spell-check tells me this is not a word, but I am using it) my MMS settings) were saved to said SD card. Doh. So unfortunately, I don't have a before picture. But please, imagine if you will, a very large man's cotton shirt with delectable mint green and white pinstripes, with lots of enticing fabric...

And with the help of this tutorial, I ended up with this little beauty:

What do you think?

I reused the pocket on my shirt, for an extra bit of detail (plus it will hold money for ice-creams). It's such an original way to turn an old shirt into a dress, and I'll definitely be making more of these - I will have to think of different detailing I can add to the front to make them look different! 

I think I may add another button to the front, as it's only got two.

Comments/criticism appreciated!


Ok, so I haven't posted in a little while... Whoops.

As some of you will be aware, I have been volunteering 3 days a week in a local primary school to build up my experience ready for my PGCE at Cambridge uni in September. End of term is always pretty manic, and with that comes the dreaded end-of-term-itis which it seems all teachers and TAs alike come down with - me included. Cue blocked sinuses, headaches and general under-the-weather-ness. Throw costochondritis into the mix and you might begin seeing why I have been unable to post. 

I have quite a few updates to, er, update you on, so please bear with me!

After deciding that Maisie seemed to be getting lonely, it was decided that she definitely needed a baby brother. I went to a couple's house whose cat had just had a litter of three, to see the little boy, Ernie. Ernie was lovely, but I absolutely fell in love with his sister, Sox. I decided there and then that she would be mine and I would call her Dorothy (poor kitty). Ernie, in fact, turned out to be a girl anyway. In due course I picked Dorothy up and brought her home, much to Maisie's absolute disgust. Two days of sulking (Maisie), tears (me) and utter bewilderment (Dorothy) dragged by, until I finally chilled out and just let Maisie continue sulking. It was on a day off that I happened to look down at Dorothy while she had her legs and bum in the air and noticed that something wasn't... right. 

After a quick bit of research to mostly confirm my suspicions, I asked for an expert opinion (Ben's Mum) - she took one look and swiftly declared "That's a little boy!" Hmm. So, after much uhming and ahing over which name to give him, I went with the name I was originally going to call the future-brother-of-Maisie; Elvis. 

Elvis is settling in well, and is a bit of a tearaway! He has very sharp claws and likes to climb up legs, jump on backs, and play with Maisie's tail. I am utterly in love with him. He is a very sweet little boy, he just doesn't know his name yet! 

Maisie is still grumpy when he's around, but will allow him to sleep near her - hopefully they will start to love each other, but I have been very reliably informed that it will take time and patience! I have noticed that they both have beautiful matching amber eyes and colour-tipped tails :)

Elvis, the annoying little brother

There will be many more updates over the next few days to make up for lost time! 


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Drills give me thrills...

I finally got to (properly) use my BEAUTIFUL craft drill, that I got for Christmas, this weekend. Before I got it, I had wanted a drill for ages. Crafty power tools really get me excited, especially ones that you can hurt yourself with. I have the Dremel 4000, which is a corded, handheld multi-use drill, with a mini-me drill attachment. I love that I can buy so many different accessories for it and it just makes me want my own studio/craft space even more. 

I had used it a few times previous to the weekend; I attempted to use it to cut a bar off the foot of my bed (so that Ben could stop having to poke his feet through it to fit in, and could just dangle them off the edge instead), and I also started to drill some plates for a cake stand - but I burned out the drill bit. Whoops. 

I never thought I would use it to drill holes into shoes though. But that's exactly what I did. 

I had a pair of pink suede shoes with a mock wooden heel that I had bought before uni at Primark. I never wore them anymore, as the heel was a bit too low for a shoe of that colour (it makes sense, trust me). What to do with them?

Well, I rummaged in the craft cupboard, searching for inspiration and found some paints - bear with me, it's good, I promise. 

I painted the pink suede with black fabric paint. For the heels, I thought it might need something tougher, so I sandpapered them and painted with black Hammerite, which has a lovely consistency and made them super shiny. Then, I decided to give them a bit of a designer touch and paint the bottoms with red acrylic. I'm pretty sure that the red won't last too long, but it's fun while it does. 

After painting
Then, after ordering some supplies from my Mecca (eBay!), I started drilling... and studding! I had two kinds of studs, some taller ones with screw-backs and some shorter ones which were rivets. I also added a drop of superglue to all the studs, to ensure they wouldn't just fall off - some of the threads of the screws were shortened by the amount of material on the shoes.

After studding them, Ben's Dad pointed out that I would probably shred my feet whilst wearing them, so I glued some black felt to the insides, to cover the back of the studs, and they are lovely and comfy now!

I am super happy with how they came out; they are just so FIERCE. They will look fantastic with a floral dip hem dress and leather jacket. Can't wait to give them their first outing! 

I did have a few injuries from this project - the studs stabbed me a few times, and I hot glued my fingers to the felt, which stung a little - but no drill holes anywhere but the shoes so, all-in-all, it was a success! Hoorah!

Here is the original inspiration:

Let me know what you think!


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Obsession: Ombre

Helloo my little chickadees :)

I tend to go through phases of liking things: certain chocolate bars, certain hairstyles, certain colours... And when I like these things, I become obsessed with them. OBSESSED.

Currently I am LOVING the ombre trend. Ombre is the french term for "shaded" and is a faded colour, using different shades of the same colour, from light to dark. 

There are lots of ways to create this effect, and boy, have I been trying them out! 

I thought I would start out small, and as I have been trying out nail art, I decided I would ombre-glitter my nails:

All you need to do to create this look is to pick your base coat, do a few coats of this and leave to dry, then paint the bottom half of your nails with glitter, then paint the bottom third with glitter, then the bottom quarter etc. Do a top coat et voila!

I also own a lot of pairs of denim shorts (7 at my last count...another obsession of mine), so I ombre-bleached a few of these:

Once lilac shorts, they now fade to a gorgeous pink

Light denim with a light fade

Dark denim blue fading to 80s white
It was a bit trial and error, but I found that the best way is definitely to soak the shorts in plain water first, then hang them in a bucket of bleach/water mix (I used a coathanger to hang them) until you achieve the desired effect.

I also ombre-bleached a plain rust coloured dress I bought in the New Look sale:

More of an orange colour now, fading to peach

And finally, as I have been growing my hair out from a pixie crop, I need new ways to make my barnet exciting - I bet you can't guess how.. that's right, OMBRE!

I began by colouring all of my hair to get rid of my roots with L'oreal's Florida Honey Blonde, and then attempted the lighter colour with their Lightest Natural Blonde, colouring an inch of the bottom for 20 minutes, then a further inch up PLUS the bottom inch for another 25 minutes... with no result! Ben, as usual, came to my rescue after sourcing a very 90s looking highlighting kit in Tesco while I sat at home in my PJS:

I was dubious, but... this time it worked!

I now have lovely ombre hair to match my lovely ombre clothes and nails! 

I think my next ombre adventure will involve fabric dye and plain dresses...

P.S. I apologise for the awful quality pictures - I am going to have to steal Ben's proper camera and take some pretty pictures for the next post!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Maisie the Mischief Maker & THE bike!

Maisie was, at long last, microchipped and neutered in February, after which came a two week recovery period, inclusive of a plastic cone: 

Poor Maisie felt very sorry for herself; she couldn't clean herself, so she just cleaned the inside of the cone continuously, and she got a few itches in her ear that even I couldn't remedy with my silly non-claw hands - so the cone did come off a few times. Luckily the stitch remained intact, although her pride didn't - especially when she kept bumping into doors and chair legs due to her whiskers being stuck inside the cone. 

Snoozing on the most comfortable cushion...

We were both very happy when the cone came off, and finally she could be let outside.

I received Maisie after she was found in a boiler house with her sisters and brothers when she was only a few weeks old. The caretaker had said he would need to get rid of them, so after being weaned onto solid food, Ben brought her home to me at just four weeks old.


We thought she would be a wild cat, even though she was very nervous and shaky when she first came home, and when she was a bit older it seemed that we were right - she would scratch at the doors to go outside and sit on the windowsills meowing at the birds. 

I had taken her outside a few times on her lead though, and she had been very timid, but when she was allowed to be outdoors on her own, I set her down outside and left her for a few hours.

The garden is edged by tall trees and, as you can guess, Maisie found these highly entertaining. Three times we have had to rescue her from the tallest one (about 20 feet high), and the neighbours have rescued her once when I was out - only for her to climb back up and get stuck again ready for when I got home. 

She got herself up the tree again yesterday and we left her for five hours (until it got dark), and she managed to climb a quarter of the way down. 

After her adventures in the tree, she is less eager to go out, and it is much quieter in the house. I will keep putting her out though, and she can get herself out of the tree! I am sure that one day she will work her way all the way down and then she can go out as often as she pleases.

Looking like butter wouldn't melt

In other news, my bike was finished! Sod's law means that the weather's been awful since I got it though, so I haven't yet been on a bike ride with it.