Friday, 25 November 2011

The Month of November

Normally I try to post at least once a week, if not with updates, but at least a little interesting tidbit. The number of times I've wanted to post about my crafty progress, but didn't due to lack of photos, I can't tell you! Even in the middle of summer when I get home from work, I have a window of about half an hour to take photos in good light, slightly longer if I take them in the toilet. And who wants to do that?! (It must be something about the frosted glass that diffuses the light evenly??) Guess which of the following photos was taken in the loo? So now that confession time is over, a very short summary of my activities over the last month:

Boy had a birthday with a '0' in it at the end of October, and his fondest wish was for a Doughnut Cake, so I made him one:

No-one can say I don't look after my man!

I didn't do much for Dias de los Muertos this year, except for the one most important thing. My Opa (grandfather) was diagnosed with lung cancer in April this year, and passed away in July. I dedicated an altar to him. I decorated it with some of his favourite foods, and bought him a tie because he liked to dress nicely.

This year has been such a strange year. My Opa is the first person I've known well who has died. I'm 35 years old. I have a feeling it's quite rare to be so old when that happens to a person for the first time. I've noticed some changes in myself since he passed. Perhaps I'll talk about it a little sometime soon.

I mentioned in my last post my latest obsession - gingham embroidery! My first project is nearly finished already. It's a small table mat:

I scrounged through my fabric stash and I only had one small piece of gingham! How could this be?? But it was enough to make a small project to start off with. I wanted to lay out the design beforehand, but where to get a template from? I had a brainwave and printed out some downloadable gingham scrapbooking paper from the pastels section of this site here. I printed it out in black-and-white. I had to enlarge it by 200% so I didn't go cross-eyed, but then it was perfect. Most gingham embroidery uses white thread as the main colour, sometimes with a contrast colour as well. I chose orange. I designed it during my lunch break at work. I decided to use the full thickness of the 6-strand embroidery thread, because the squares of the gingham are so large (either 8mm or 10mm, I believe). Using the full thickness means that much more thread is used up in one go. I was worried at one point that I'd run out of thread, but I think I'll be OK. I've worked on it like an embroidery-crazy woman so far, and I'm nearly finished already! Then all I will have to do is sew on a calico backing and it'll be done. I already know where I want to put it.

And never fear, I've ordered some more gingham in 3 different colours from ebay for future projects. I'm starting to think I'll need more white thread, too. Lots more!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

BB Creams: What Are They?

I'm obsessed with beauty products at the moment! I've started to draw up an inventory of all my bath and beauty products, and it's taking a while! I've had to look, not only in the shower and bathroom cabinet, but in my cupboards, at my computer desk, at work, through all my handbags, etc! I'm getting there though. So far the big trend I'm seeing is with bath products. I'll buy them on a semi-regular basis, but last winter I used hardly any up. In the new apartment, there is a bath, but it's set up a bit differently to the old one, and I just don't find having a bath to be as relaxing as it used to be. So I've more been having a shower at night instead of a bath. However, that does mean I can use lots of lovely-smelling shower gel, so can't complain there. But I don't know what I'm going to do with all my bath bombs!!

I mentioned BB Creams last week and, yes, the obsession continues. After trawling through various reviews, I decided to hedge my bets and order a gift set of 4 mini size creams from Baviphat, a South Korean brand. I can't wait til they arrive! (Also got some essentials - face wash and nail polish topcoat - well, essentials for a girly, anyway!)

The world of BB Creams is a complex and (for a noob like me) confusing one. But it's also an exciting one. As far as I can tell, to qualify as a BB Cream (BB stands for Blemish Balm), it just needs to be a face cream that does more than one thing in one cream. For years I've been thinking, how annoying to have to apply moisturiser in the morning, and then sunscreen, and then foundation and whatever else you want to put on. Why can't they come all in one? I was so thrilled when I found a tinted sunscreen a few months ago, it was bordering on silly!

BB Creams are doing all that and more, and they've been doing it for a while. Most of them are formulated for oily skin and are tinted to hide pimples (as the name Blemish Balm implies). They can also have any combination of sunscreen, anti-ageing, whitening, brightening, moisturising, soothing, and others I can't think of off the top of my head at the moment. They have various textures, levels of coverage and colours of tinting. Just like any other beauty product, they can have various ingredients, from mushroom and peach through to caviar and gold dust!

How confusing!

Though, when I think about it, my sunscreen could be considered a BB Cream, I mean really. As well as being sunscreeen, it's tinted and has anti-ageing AHAs in it. I'll just get my label-maker and turn it into a BB Cream myself!

Why this sudden obsession with beauty products? I don't know. I've always liked bath and skincare products. I've liked makeup on and off over the years. I went from flat-out refusing to wear any as a teenager, to not being able to leave the house without mascara on a few years ago. For a few months at the start of this year, I had a problem with chronic eye watering which meant I couldn't wear any eye makeup at all for 2 months. It was insanely frustrating at first, but I got used to it. Now I'm a bit more relaxed about wearing makeup.

I started reading a new fashion blog recently; she has a lot of reviews on Asian beauty products and BB Creams. In one post, another blogger interviewed her - in answer to the question: "why do you wear makeup?" her reply was short and simple: "to hide".

How sad is that? She's a beautiful girl with a sought-after figure. And that's what she thinks of herself. It just goes to show. I had a think about it, and I realised that I'm the opposite. When I'm feeling bad about myself, I don't wear any makeup, or I wear less. I want to sink into the background, not draw any attention to myself. When I'm feeling good, I want to enhance the way I look. So I'm chalking this whole beauty product obsession up in the 'good things' category!

Here's a picture of my BB Creams; come to me quick!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Embroidery

I have a sudden and all-consuming obsession with Gingham Embroidery, also known as Depression Lace or Chicken Scratch. (More about it and why it's called that here.)

1. Chicken Scratch blue on white, 2. Chicken Scratch tan and brown,
3. Chicken Scratch red and white, 4. Chicken Scratch black and white (Link not available.)

It all started on Sunday afternoon, when I was at Boy's parents house and happened to glance over at their side table and see an embroidered mat. Suddenly a flood of creative juices left me in a daze, and since then the ideas have been flowing non-stop. I love it because it's retro and whimsical, but the grid gives it a base of order and stability. Co-ordinating the threads with the colour of the fabric is fun. Not to mention that you can embroider directly onto the fabric without having to transfer the pattern first, which I always find highly annoying. It's put me off embroidery in the past.

I only found a small piece of yellow gingham in my fabric stash, but it was enough to plan a small rectangular doiley. I drew up the design earlier today, and I'm looking forward to starting it when I get home from work tonight. I haven't been so obsessed about anything for a while. It feels good!