Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January Review/February Things

What an amazing month January 2012 has been! You'd think that life-changing events don't come along very often, right? Well, on the Tuesday I got married, and on the Wednesday I was offered a fantastic job. I bought a lottery ticket on the Thursday, just in case. I didn't win any money, but I think I'm doing well enough as it is!

Packing Carsten's weiner sausages on an assembly line, Tacoma, Washington

My priorities have shifted drastically in the last few weeks. All of my energy in has gone into my new job, but I've managed to do some of the Things I laid out at the start of the month:

* Finish both Top Secret projects. (CREATE)
I did certainly finish the first one, my ring cushion. The second one isn't due yet for a little while, so I'm cruising along a little bit more slowly with it. I'm pleased to report that it's nearly finished, though!
.... Part Done!

* Make list of potential baby projects. (CREATE)
I did make a list of projects from Ravelry which I posted here. I was also planning to go through my (fairly extensive) collection of craft books and pamphlets as well, but I didn't get around to it.
.... Part Done!

* Continue to meditate every day. Try 1 new recording every week. (MEDITATE)
I can't say I meditated every day; I did it whenever I remembered, which was about once every 3-4 days. I guess it's not a habit yet. But I did try a new recording every week. I found some meditation apps which allow you to choose the length of meditation and style of background music/noises, so I had fun trying them out. So this one is
.... Done!

* Play Zumba or Dance Kinect game twice a week. (MOVE)
Um, I did this once the whole month! I've really been exhausted after work every day and, though I did manage to go for a leisurely walk each weekend, this one didn't pan out.
.... Try Harder Next Time ....

* Find previously cancelled projects and throw away/recycle them. (MAINTAIN)
This was another goal I didn't get around to.
.... Try Harder Next Time ....

* Make a list of non-keep books to read. Start reading one. (MAINTAIN)
I made a list of 70 books, and I finished not one, but two! I'm now trying to decide what to do with the books: send them to the book swap at my old work, or join BookMooch or something like that??
.... Done!

Beach near Port Douglas

Things I'd Like to Do in February:

* Finish the 2nd Top Secret Project.(CREATE)
* Collate potential baby projects and start one. (CREATE)
* Continue to meditate every weekday. (MEDITATE)
* Do exercise of choice once every 3 days. (MOVE)
* Find previously cancelled projects and throw away/recycle them. (MAINTAIN)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Review of DHC Make Off Sheets

About The Brand & Product:
DHC (which stands for Daigaku Honyaku Center) is one of the top-selling Japanese skin care brands, and is increasingly being seen in other countries as well. Even Beautypedia (home of the Cosmetic Cop) has reviews of some of its products. I am new to this brand - I bought the Sheets because I needed a new pack, and thought it would be interesting to try a new brand.
In Japan, make-up is often just referred to as 'make', hence the name Make Off Sheets. There are 50 sheets in the box. A refill pack is also available.

The Product & Me:
I bought the Make Off Sheets from YesStyle.com.au. They were on sale for $9, normally $12.
I like to have facial cleansing sheets on hand - I use them when I get home at night to remove makeup and clean my face. I only resolved to clean/moisturise my face at night recently, and having wipes on hand makes this an easy and quick routine to follow.

DHC Make Off Sheets in situ in my bathroom cabinet.

The sheets came in a cute box with a flip-top lid, with the normal soft plastic package inside. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to this brand. Call me picky, but I don't like the way the soft plastic packages look sitting on my bathroom shelf. They just look a bit messy. The box is much neater. I also feel that the box will protect the sheets from drying out, which is a problem I've had before.

Appearance/Smell & Performance:
The sheets are made of cotton and are strong and soft. They're wetter than other brands I've tried. There's plenty of makeup remover fluid on each one. Advertised as being fragrance-free, they have a very faint smell of aloe vera (which they contain). Compared to other brands, I find I need to press/scrub harder to remove mascara using the DHC sheets. Another con is that they're noticeably smaller than other makeup remover sheets I've used recently (namely Simple and 10-06) (I think?)). I don't have to resort to using two, but I feel the size could still have been a bit more generous. The liberal amount of cleansing fluid on the sheets offsets this somewhat, though.
I have not noticed any irritation or other detrimental effects on my skin.

The make off sheet at work. Why did I choose candy pink eyeshadow today??!

Beautypedia Summary:
The fact that the DHC Make Off Sheets are fragrance free is a big plus, and they earn the tick that Paula gives to especially preferred products.
[go to full entry]

The fact that the sheets are quite small was a bit of a disappointment. However, they work well and don't have any irritating ingredients. They were more expensive than many brands available locally, but about on par with the middle shelf brands. The fact that they contain 50 sheets instead of the more usual 20-25 is a plus - I'll only have to refill half as often! However, on YesStyle.com.au, the refill pack is the same price as the boxed pack. So I'll have to weigh up whether I'll refill it with the DHC brand sheets, or just buy a local brand and put them in the cute DHC box.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Top Secret Project #1

Well, hello! The last few weeks have been a little bit nuts. There's just been way too much ... life ... going on to be doing much crafting. But it's mostly been the good sort of life, so I can't complain too much.

Here, finally, is the reveal of Top Secret Project #1:

Yup, it's a ring cushion! Yup, I got married! Surprise!

It was a very small and no-fuss wedding with very few of the normal accoutrements, but for some unfathomable reason, I became fixated on having a ring cushion. And on making it myself. And on incorporating all of my favourite crafts into it. I had very little time, though!

I mulled over a few different designs in my head before making a crocheted backing (which I showed off a few posts ago). I wanted an embroidery on the front, but didn't have time to execute it, so Boy** suggested that I buy a vintage piece. The doiley I bought had a lovely piece in the corner, but when I cut it out, it didn't fit in well with the crochet piece I'd already made. I fixed that though, by sewing it to a brown fabric backing and edging the border with some lovely lace. I added some beads and flower bits from my stash, and some ribbons to tie the rings on to. (A blue one for Boy and a pink one for me, of course!) Lastly I stuffed it lightly and hand-sewed the crochet square to the back.

So there it is.
I had thought of re-purposing it as a pin cushion after the wedding, but I did notice that the vintage fabric really showed up pinholes from when I pinned it together to sew it. So perhaps that's not such a good idea after all. I'll see what I can do.

** Or should that be Husband now, instead of Boy??

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Review of Yves St Laurent Teint Parfeit Complexion Enhancer

I wrote this review a while back and submitted it to a reviewing site, but I never heard back from them. I hate to waste a piece of writing, so I thought I'd post it here instead.

The Yves St Laurent
Teint Parfait Complexion Enhancer

skin tone: very fair
issues: combination T-zone; occasional pimples; redness; dark circles

TEXTURE & SMELL: The Complexion Enhancer has a creamy consistency, which is easy to spread with either fingers or a sponge, etc. It isn't too thick or too runny. There is a very faint powdery, 'makeup-y' smell which I thought was pleasant.

COVERAGE & APPEARANCE: This product is advertised as an enhancer and bronzer rather than a foundation, so it doesn't cover up blemishes, but I wasn't expecting it to, so I'm happy with it.
The shade I have is No. 3 Champagne, which is a little dark for my skin, but I only apply a small amount and it looks fine. The cream itself sinks right into my skin, leaving bronzey-coloured sparkles. On my fair skin, it gives a 'sun-kissed' look. It doesn't conceal my dark eye circles completely, but the sparkles reflect light, which reduces their appearance. The enhancer comes in at least 8 shades, so there is one suitable for every skin tone.
I would not use this as a makeup base as the advertising suggests, as the sparkles sit on the skin and this would just knock them off. I found the enhancer stayed throughout most of the day. Re-application was only necessary after I added another product such as re-applying my sunscreen.

OIL CONTROL: I have fairly oily skin, and have never had any breakouts or other problems with this product. As the enhancer is quite creamy in texture, I think it would be suitable for dry skin, too.

VALUE: I was given this by a friend who received it as a free sample. (Hence why I ended up with a shade that was a bit dark for my skin tone.) On Strawberry Net it retails for $42.50 for the 30ml tube, which is more than I'd normally pay for an enhancer. However, the tube has lasted me well over a year, so I think it's good value for money.

CONCLUSION: I used this product nearly every day and was very happy with the result. It was great for an everyday enhancer when I wanted a quick, no-fuss makeup routine, and for special occasions I just added a little more. I would definitely spend the extra money to buy it again.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

January 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm reviving the concept of yearly themes. I'm resetting it. Re-doing it. Renewing it. Some people choose a single theme word for the year. For me, that's too restrictive. Others choose a set of goals to work towards. Also too restrictive - my attention wanders a lot, and I have no idea if I'll still be interested in achieving those goals in 12 months, or even 3 months. So I compromise - I choose 4 words/themes, but leave up to interpretation exactly how I live up to those.

This year is mostly similar to last year. I've made two changes. I changed 'de-clutter' to 'maintain'. Moving house last January forced me into a radical purge, so I feel this goal is mostly taken care of. This new word ... maintain ... could mean so many things (and that's just the way I like it!). Maintain a de-cluttered state, maintain a clean home, build on things I've already achieved in all areas of life. Don't lose sight of what's really important.
The other change was one of terminology. I was hesitating because I had a problem with the word 'Actions'. It sounded too cold and business-like. So I'm changing it to 'Things I'd Like To Do' or just 'Things'.

I also learned a couple of points about formulating the Things from last year's experience:

1. Don't pile on too much stuff. I only had 4 themes, but I had at least 5-6 actions to achieve each month. That's fine if some of them take 10 minutes, but if I start to feel overwhelmed, then I'll procrastinate and it won't happen. Life can and will get in the way - sickness, seasonal busyness, etc. Less is better than more. I can always add on bonus actions later.
2. Think ahead. There's no point planning a heavy exercise schedule in a month that's normally scorching hot, or going on a picnic in the middle of winter.
3. Well, this isn't really something I just learned, but it's good to remember - formulating SMART goals. So many new year's resolutions I see are too vague and therefore doomed to failure. For example: 'go to the gym more'. 'be nicer to other people.'
This post has some good advice for formulating better new year's resolutions. (No longer available.)

On to the Things for January:

* Finish both Top Secret projects. (CREATE)
* Make list of potential baby projects. (CREATE)
* Continue to meditate every day. Try 1 new recording every week. (MEDITATE)
* Play Zumba or Dance Kinect game twice a week. (MOVE)
* Find previously cancelled projects and throw away/recycle them. (MAINTAIN)
* Make a list of non-keep books to read. Start reading one. (MAINTAIN)

Monday, 2 January 2012

2011 In Review

I try not to apologise when I've been absent for my blog for too long. I don't want to be That Blogger. (How long is too long, anyways?)

Nevertheless, 2011 was a crazy rollercoaster of a year. At the start of the year, I had a feeling that many things would change. And I was right.
I moved house (not by choice).
I started a second blog, making public my health and fitness journey. I'm a very private person, so this was a big step for me.
For 4 months, I 'lost' Boy. (He had a job where he worked night shifts and we only saw each other for about 1/2 hour a day. Thank goodness he quit!)
I lost a grandparent for the first time. He was the first person I've known well who has died. My family and I were actually there when he passed away. That changes a person. I'm still working out how it changed me.

I lost my craft mojo completely during this time. No craft = no blog content!

And now it's 2012. Looking back at this time last year, I was excited and optimistic about my Actions system for achieving my goals for the year. Sure, things like moving house got in the way, but I was doing really well up until April - when my Opa was diagnosed. After that, I didn't feel like doing anything. But I'm hesitant to chuck the system completely, just because the rollercoaster threw me about too much the first time I tried it. Most of what I want to do is the same - be creative, get healthier and less stressed, keep being my real self.

So I'm going to give the system another go. Look out for a post in the next few days!

2011 Statistics [2010 statistic in brackets]
Books finished: 70 (76)
Items sold Etsy: 3 (32)
Items sold Artfire: 1 (2)
Opportunities: 0 (1)
Opportunities followed through: n/a (0)
Blog posts: 51 (82)
Craft items started: ~11 (23)
Craft items finished: ~8 (14)
Zines written: 0 (½)
Art journal pages completed: ? (3)
New techniques learned: 1 (3)

Notes: I closed my Etsy shop during the year due to lack of sales, and my Artfire one was forcibly closed when the free account was withdrawn.
It's hard to tell when an art journal page is 'finished'. Many would argue there's no such thing! I did very little work on my journal during the year, so I'm going to assume zero.
The new technique I learned was Gingham Embroidery.

As for the craft, I'm working on two projects at the moment, and they're both Top Secret! One, I can't tell you about for a while yet. But the other, I can show you a picture, I just can't tell you what it's for yet. Here it is:

Oooh, the mystery!

I'll end with something I posted last year, but I still like it:

Trust the Universe. It will bring you what you need.