Thursday, 26 April 2012

Mini Review: Pola Kalahari Moisture Lotion

THE PRODUCT: Pola Kalahari Moisture Lotion comes from Japan. It contains makataan (watermelon). I received this sample sachet as a gift.

PROPERTIES & PERFORMANCE: The lotion is clear and very runny - it ran straight out as soon as I tore the sachet open. Some of it spilled on my camera! №❢ (Don't worry, it's OK.) I had to rub it in quickly before it went everywhere. That's why I don't have a 'before-blending' shot. Here it is half-blended into my arm:

The Kalahari Lotion is a very light gel; it absorbs very quickly and isn't greasy at all. It smells very faintly of fruity watermelon. It's a yummy smell, but it doesn't really linger. My arm felt noticeably soft afterwards.

GET AGAIN?: Yes! As long as the full size came in packaging that protected it from spilling.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Japanese Goodies!

I know it's not exactly craft-related, but I'm extremely excited to present to you today -

the extremely generous bundle of birthday gifts that my dear best friends S & B brought me back from Japan! I was just about beside myself by the time I finished opening every individually-wrapped gift. Even now, the next day, every time I think about them, I do a little leprechaun dance! Here they are:

This is what I received:
♥ Kitty cat tote bag
♥ Harajuku Girls magazine
♥ kawaii socks, 3 pairs
♥ bento box; food picks
♥ beauty products sample pack
♥ handmade stoneware chopsticks rest
♥ Minnie Mouse tophat hairclip
♥ wall-hanging cloth
♥ Fujichan notepads set
♥ washi oil blotting papers
♥ silicone drink bottle lid covers

Thank you S & B, you're amazing!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

DIY Hair Detangler Spray

Earlier in the week, I finished up my Davroe Tame Lemongrass Detangler Spray that I received in my February LustHaveIt Beauty Box. I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the product worked, but at RRP $21.50 for the full-size 315ml bottle, unfortunately I can't afford to be using it all the time. It got me to thinking though, surely all it needs is something that will make your hair slippery? When I found out how easy it was to make your own at home, I was especially determined to give it a go myself.

The main tutorial I used was Let's Make It Up's YouTube video (no longer available). (I have a short attention span so I chose the shortest vid, but it turned out to be a good one.) The other tutorials around the intertubes were generally in agreement - all you really need is hair conditioner and water.
That's it!

Let's Make It Up added an argan oil serum as well, but seeing as I only use the detangler right before I wash my hair, I think it would be a waste for me. So here are my ingredients:

☀ an Avon 2-in-1 shampoo which I found in the back of the cupboard, which I'll probably never use to actually wash my hair
☀ warm water
☀ petitgrain essential oil to give it a nice oriental scent
☀ the old Davroe bottle to mix/store it in.

So, I just put about 1/2 teaspoon of shampoo in the bottle, 2 drops of essential oil and filled it almost to the top with warm water. Then I screwed the spray top back on and shook well.

I tried to take a picture of the finished product, but it just looked like slightly cloudy water:

I'm sure you get the gist anyway. Now, to test it out! On the left is my hair, after using a sea salt spray on it (the De Lorenzo spray I got in my LustHaveIt box yesterday), going to a party and then sleeping on it all night. Tangled and horrid! On the right is my hair after using the detangling spray and brushing it out.

Above: before. Below: after detangling spray and brushing.

Quite a difference! The spray makes brushing my hair much easier and less painful. I would say that it works just as well as the purchased brand. The only problem is - I used 1/4 of the whole bottle in just one application! (It's only a 50ml bottle.) I think I'll use a larger one next time I make this!

Packaging: n/a
Price: 5/5
Effectiveness: 4.5/5
Overall rating: 5/5

MAKE AGAIN?: Definitely!

My New Blog!

Yes, I've started a 3rd blog. Because I don't already spend enough time on the internet. Ahem.

My new blog is called dedicated to beauty products. It's called ShyCat Beauty.

There will be reviews, opinions and just general goings-on. I will also be doing some make-it-yourself beauty projects, and I'll post links to those here, because I think they count as crafty projects. In fact, I've done one already, for a DIY Hair De-Tangler Spray. I hope you'll have a look.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

3 Days of Craft: The Wrap-up

So perhaps you've been wondering what I did over Easter? During the highly anticipated 3 Days of Craft that I was so excited about? Actually, I spent the majority of my time on the computer, reading blogs and such. But I did manage to do a few things, and get a few things closer to done.

Firstly, the closer-to-done things. I worked on the scarves, both baby and adult.

Baby Sunlight Scarf.

The baby scarf is half-way done now. I'm using the same technique as I did with the Harry Potter scarf. I really love the tube effect with no visible joins. Unfortunately though, that means knitting half of each row at a time, so it's pretty slow going. I guess I forgot about that when I decided to make the new scarf the same way!

Chequerboard scarf, "front".

The adult scarf is pretty slow going, too. Firstly, I made a base of simple filet crochet. That part was easy. Now I'm up to the hard part. I'm crocheting a second filet grid, but attaching it to the first one as I go along. I've never seen anything made like this before, so I basically have to make it up as I go along. I don't think I could even describe how it's done. Every time I put it down, the next time I take it up again, I have to figure out what I did before! So it's very slow going.

Chequerboard scarf, "back".

Then for some bizarre reason, Husband and I decided to break out the Crystal Mining Kits that we'd had in the back of the cupboard for a couple of years. Inside the plaster brick are 8 crystals. You use the provided plastic hammer and scraping tool to excavate them. It's quite fun. I've excavated 2 so far. But again, it's a very slow process. The brochure even warns that you need to have patience, just like a 'real geologist'!

But the best thing I did - the thing I actually finished - was I tried out my Fuse Beads kit for the first time! I bought it a few weeks ago, but didn't have time to try it until now. Fuse beads are little plastic beads that you can arrange to make a pattern or a picture on a peg board. Then you iron them so they melt slightly and fuse together. There are a few different brands of beads out there. Mine are the Hama Beads brand. Here's an example of some fuse bead projects from the intertubes.

As you can imagine, this kind of format lends itself really well to things like pixel art - characters from old computer games, anime, pop art, etc. There's a lot of geekery in the genre! Having said that, I've also seen some gorgeous examples based on Navajo and European folk art. Here's a link to Tumblr with lots more examples (there are giant Totoros!).

There are a couple of advantages to the properties of fuse beads:

They're made of plastic, which means that -
They're washable and relatively durable. You can use them to make coasters, for example. (Though, seeing as they melt and fuse with the heat of an iron, I wouldn't use them to make a trivet or anything like that.)

It also means that -
you can easily glue them together or glue things to them.
You can make several sheets and glue them together to make a 3-dimensional box or basket. Or even a figurine. They'll stand up straight if you make a little stand for them or lean them up against something. You can glue decoden to them, such as bows, cabochons, googly eyes, etc.

Also -
They have little holes in them, so it's insanely easy to attach split rings or other findings and make them into jewellery - necklaces, rings, earrings, phone charms, bag charms, etc. Also, instead of fusing them together, you can use Native American weaving techniques to string them together into a flat or 3D piece.

Anyway, here are my and Husband's first projects!

Hama bead projects.

Here we see: a coaster that I made using the circular peg board, a star shape that I'll probably make into a hair clip, and a smily face that Husband made. Later he turned it into a fridge magnet.
We've made a couple more things since, but I'll post them later.

To wrap up:
well, this 3 Days of Craft was more like 2 days on computer and 1 day of craft but - hey - I did what I wanted to do and I have no regrets! At least my Startitis has abated a bit. As the saying goes, it's much easier to start than to finish. (Well, if no-one has said that, someone should have!)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

In The Kitchen: Mini Quiche/Tart Thingies

I was scratching around for something nice to make for Easter Saturday breakfast, and I found some pastry in the freezer. For a while now, on and off, I'd been wanting to make an egg quiche kind of thing. When I realised I was pretty sure I had all the right ingredients, I thought, why the heck not?

I had some eggs - check! I chopped up some pumpkin and pre-cooked it in the microwave. I had some leftover pancetta from a roast a few days ago. Chopped that up, too.

The sheet of pastry had shattered in the freezer, but I managed to cobble the bits together to make 4 tart cups. Crossing fingers that they don't leak and/or stick to the pan!

I put some pumpkin and pancetta in the bottom of each cup, then beat up the eggs with some salt, pepper and herbs. I poured the eggs into the cups. I had 7 eggs, and thought it was way too many, but I beat them all up anyway. I'm glad I did! They only just filled up the cups. There was much joking about chickens not being as generous as they used to be!
Husband grated some cheese using our whizzy new over-sized grater, and I sprinkled it on top.

I had no idea how long to cook them for, never having done this before. I started with 20 minutes. They were way underdone, so I gave them another 10 minutes. They came out looking scrumptious!

After some judicious work with a butter knife, they came out relatively cleanly. And they went down extremely smoothly! I'm proud of my Pumpkin and Pancetta Breakfast Tarts:


Friday, 6 April 2012

Warning: Craft Ahead!

My creative juices have started flowing again at just the right time. It's Easter, and I get 4 days off. 1 day is reserved for socialising, so that means I can inaugurate another ...

3 Days of Craft
I'm so very excited and I've drawn up a list of projects I'd like to start, finish and at least make some progress on. I've come down with a terrible case of Startitis lately, so it'll be good to get some progress happening on some of them.

So, there'll be a full update in three days, but in the meantime, here's a lovely picture.

This is exhibit no. 1 as to why Pinterest is good! Twelve ways of joining a granny square blanket -- twelve! And pinned away for future reference.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

March Review / April Things


March flew by just about as quickly as February did. I'm still acclimatising to my new job. They say the job isn't the person, but so many other things have to change when your job changes, that I feel like I've changed in some ways.
So how did I do for my March Things To Do?:

* Complete a small baby project. (CREATE)
At some point I decided that this goal also involved getting out all of my craft patterns and cataloguing them (the baby ones anyway) before I could even start a project, so I got a bit behind! But I did start the Sunlight Baby Tube Scarf and am nearly halfway thorough it.
.... Part Done!

* Finish body of Tomten Baby Jacket. (CREATE)
I got this out and worked on it once, but I'm not feeling very enthused by it at the moment. It's too big to fit a small baby, so there's really no urgency to it. I'm really not fussed at all that I didn't get this done.
.... Try Harder Next Time ....

* Write in my Happiness Diary every night. (MEDITATE)
I remembered to do this nearly every night. It only takes a few seconds to write down 3 good things that happened during the day, but it really helps to re-set my mind to a more positive, relaxed state before bedtime.
.... Done!

* Walk at lunch time, twice a week. (MOVE)
Hm, well. I think I managed to do this twice in all. Things kept getting in the way. (The more realistic among us might call them excuses!) Finally though, at the very end of the month, I bought the sneakers that I thought I needed, I bought the little bag to carry my ipod and inhaler in that I thought I needed, I'm more prepared to take the me-time that I know I needed, so I'm feeling very positive that I can do this next month.
.... Try Harder Next Time ....

* Repair and/or alter all clothes that need it. (MAINTAIN)
I got out all of my clothes from the repair pile (not to mention a couple that needed repairing/altering that I was still wearing!) and tried them all on. I made notes about what repairs and/or alterations needed doing with each one. That was a bit of a job in itself. I didn't actually start doing anything to them yet - I'm feeling a bit sewing machine-averse at the moment - but it's on my list for the Easter 4-day weekend.
.... Part Done!

Melbourne Movement_HDR

April is my favourite month! It's not too hot or too cold. The Comedy Festival is on and the city is at its most crazy and exciting. Most of my friends have their birthdays in April/early May, so everyone's happy and excited.
Now for April's Things:

* Make a pair of baby booties. (CREATE)
* Try out my Hama Beads kit. (CREATE)
* Try a new relaxation app every week. (MEDITATE)
* Do my toning workout twice a week. (MOVE)
* Make my home desk more drawing-inducive.(MAINTAIN)