Thursday, 23 August 2012

Weekly Nail #4 - Lavender Frost

This week I haven't done any nail art, but I did paint literally the neatest nails I have ever painted. Part of that was just bothering to be careful to leave a gap at the edge of my nail, thereby avoiding pooling (this is what happens when polish touches the skin and breaks the surface tension). The other part was that I saw this tutorial for cleaning up your nail painting efforts, and realised it was genius, and that my life is now a little closer to being fulfilled. Woo! I got myself some small make up brushes (you only need one but I figured it was better value to get 6 small ones which would last years, rather than one bigger one for the same price which would have to be replaced in the end) from Boots, and I used my usual polish remover rather than pure acetone, which worked perfectly.

The polish is the purple side of H&M's nail duo in lilac frosting. Unfortunately you can't buy their polish duos anymore, which is a shame, as I really like the shape of them in my hand whilst I'm painting.

I'm starting to get into this new-fangled pinterest thingumy - at the moment I'm loving looking for inspiration for my nails, as well as loads of craft projects for the house. I'm also enjoying the inspiration for greetings cards, as I have a super exciting secret project in the offing. Do not fret dear reader, all shall be revealed in the next couple of weeks :D In the mean time, please have a browse of my pinterest boards and follow me if you like :)

Urushu Ballerina Flats

I'm sure you guys have heard of Groupon before. Everyone has really. I do like to occasionally browse what they have on offer and a few weeks I spotted a voucher from Urushu - an online specialist in women's shoes.
They were offering a voucher that cost £10, for a pair of their Ballerina flats, which usually retail for £30. There was also the p&p charge of £4.99 which is pretty reasonable.

My shoes arrived a little earlier than expected and I adore them! I'm still breaking them in a little but they're great with tights already and I imagine they will soon fit well enough to wear sockless too. Maybe it's because my feet are weird shaped or maybe I have very delicate skin, but I always find it takes a few wearings before any shoe is totally comfortable, and so I very happy with these.

I picked blue shoes, as a pleasant variation on the traditional black. I was sort of replacing a very old tatty pair but I still can't bring myself to chuck the old ones just yet - I'll just have to buy even more shoes... what a shame. The blue colour is quite muted and goes well enough with just about everything, particularly well with other blues and greys.

Have you ever had a pair of Urushu shoes? What kind of deals do you like to find online?

Love and hugs

Friday, 17 August 2012

Weekly Nail #3 - Daisy Do

This weeks nails are very simple and they were really easy to do! After applying a base coat, I painted them with two coats of No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in Stand Back and waited til it was hard and dry. Then I used my Andrea Fullerton Dot and Flick in Black to make a few black dots on a few nails (I did the thumb and pinky of my right hand as well as my left ring finger). I then took a bent hair pin and used it to make dots with No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in Snowflake - four white dots around each black dot. I then went over the black dots again so that the centres were neat and round. After waiting until the black dots were very dry, so that they wouldn't smudge, I sealed everything with coat of Alessandro International Pro White in French, which is a clear polish with a slight blue/UV hue. It's meant for using on bare or French-ed nails but I had run out of my usual No7 clear polish and this just arrived in my Glossybox.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Weekly Nail #2 - The Batmanicure

I went to see the Dark Knight Rises this week, and totally loved it :D I decided to do a wee tribute with my nails this week using Barry M polishes - the yellow and the black shatter -  and my Andrew Fulerton Dot and Flick in black. Crackle is one of my favourite manis, because it's just really hard to get wrong!

Make Your Own Flip Flops - myDIY

I'm having a bit of a clear out at the moment and going through a whole load of old clothes, shoes and craft materials. Whilst I'm keen to get as much stuff out of the house as I can, I also have a lot of things which I don't use very much any more, or haven't used for ages, but I'm still a bit loath to let them go. 

And to coincide with this I've been having a look at crafty bloggers and trying to get into pinterest and so on, to find ways to use the stuff that I have to make things that I want and will use. Over on My New Leaf, Kira was talking about a new collaborative online crafting party called myDIY! The idea is that every month there will be a new material idea to work with. Bloggers create tutorials to share, or get creative with inspiration from other people, everyone links them together and everyone gets to see what everyone else is doing. They also have a giveaway for everyone who enters as well, which is a lovely extra treat.

This month the material of inspiration is flip flops! The three bloggers hosting the party this month have all done projects using foam-soled toe-post style flip flops, which are super cool and really cute. I never wear toe-posts, however, because they hurt my atypically shaped feet, so I don't own a pair already. I also didn't feel like I could justify buying a pair of flip flops to turn into something else when I'm trying to clear things out! So I had a bit of a think and came up with this - I took a pair of old trainers which were en route to a charity shop, and turned them into a pair of flip flops! They're super comfy, and I love them so much. I'm already thinking of a hundred and one different ways to style them with different outfits, I'm just waiting for the glue to be 100% dry before I wear them anywhere.
See the tutorial below - I hope you like it! If you want to have a browse, all the projects are linked up here on Inlinkz.
How to Turn Trainers into Flip Flops!
1. You will need: Old trainers, a craft knife or Stanley knife, thin and thick matching ribbons, needle and thread, scissors, PVA glue and multipurpose adhesive.

2. You need start with clean shoes - pop them in the washing machine with something fluffy like some slippers or a towel. Use the synthetic cycle because it has a reduced spin - or your machine may have a shoes programme.
3. With your shoes clean and dry, use your craft knife to cut through the rubber round the front of the toe cap. Make sure that you leave the continuous rim all round the edge of the shoe so it'll be the same height all the way round.

 4. Use your craft knife to cut through the stitching which hold the tongue to the sides.

 5. Use your craft knife to cut the tongue piece close to the sole and remove it completely.

 6. Use your scissors to trim the sides and cut off the fabric all round the back of the shoe. If there's a rubber heel support, cut away the fabric to leave it bare, as this will make it easier to work with.

 7. Use your craft knife to cut off the rubber heel support.

 8. At this stage you will need to assess the structural integrity of the sole. If the upper sole is lifting away from the lower sole, you need to reattach it. Make sure everything is dry inside - especially if you just machine-washed them - and follow the instructions on your all purpose adhesive to stick everything back down.

 9. Snip a triangle out of the end of some of your wider ribbon to make a chevron. Fold the ribbon over the existing piping on the shoe and sew round, attaching the inside and outside at the same time, curving round the shape of the shoe.
 10. Trim a chevron at the other end as well, and tuck the points between the rubber and the fabric at both ends. You may have to use your craft knife to cut a little space here for the ribbon to fit into.

 11. On the inside, use your PVA glue to stick the points down.

 12. Draw round each shoe onto the reverse of the denim scraps and cut it out. Put the piece face up inside the appropriate shoe and use a pen in a similar colour to mark where you need to trim to make a exact fit. Cut off little bits at a time, checking the fit frequently, to make sure you don't cut off too much by accident.

 13. Use your all-purpose adhesive to stick the denim to the inner sole. Spread the glue over the reverse of the fabric, and make sure you go right to the edges, so that every little bit will get stuck down.

14. Put your foot in the shoe and lace it up with the thinner ribbon. I decorated my ribbon with a few beads I found in my stash, but they're optional of course. Tie a bow at the top and trim the ribbon diagonally to the right length. Use PVA glue to seal the ends so they won't fray.

You are now the proud owner of your very own pair of flip flops! Leave them somewhere warm and dry for 12-24 hours to make sure the glue is properly dry, otherwise the sole might slip when you walk in them.

Love and hugs

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Recipes - Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

I found this recipe on Tracey's Culinary Adventures, and it was awesome :) I converted the cup measurements into weights, to make it easier for my British friends to use! If you'd rather use cups, then feel free to look at the original recipe. 

For the cake
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
105g granulated sugar
85g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
.5 tsp ground nutmeg
.5 tsp salt
150g grated carrot (roughly 2 small-medium carrots)

For the filling
90g butter
120g cream cheese
220g icing sugar
.5 tsp vanilla

For the cake, cream the butter and two sugars together until they are light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and stir in the vanilla. Measure all the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt) into the bowl and then stir in to form a soft dough. Mix in the grated carrots, then cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for an hour. Longer is better, 30 minutes will do in a pinch.

Prepare your baking trays by cutting a sheet of non-stick baking paper for each try. Depending on the size of your trays, and how many you have, you will probably need to bake in batches.

When the dough is chilled, turn on the oven to pre heat to 180 degrees C, or gas mark 4. Use two teaspoons to scoop the dough into little mounds on the tray, a bit smaller a plumb. Don't worry about them being too neat, but try to make sure they are all the same size. Place them about 2 inches apart as they will flatten and spread out when baking, and you don't want to make a uni-cookie. I managed to fit 6 on each tray, and made 24 in total.

Place the trays in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, but check after 12 minutes to see that they're not cooking too fast. The lower down tray will probably take 18 minutes. They are cooked when they are golden brown and somewhat firm to the touch. Slide the parchment sheets off onto cooling racks and rinse the trays under cold running water to cool them down. Re-line them with parchment and separate out the rest of the dough and bake that in the same manner. The cooked cakes can be peeled off the paper after about 5 minutes - before that and they will stick a little. When they are completely cool, store them in a tin before you ice them.

For the filling, put all the ingredients except the icing sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Then add the icing sugar in 3 or 4 parts, through a sieve, each time mixing til smooth. At the end is should be light and fluffy. Get out all the baked cakes and match them up as best you can into pairs that have the same size/shaped foot. Spread lots of the filling onto the flat side of one and sandwich them together. If you have left over icing, eat it with a spoon over the sink before washing the bowl. But don't tell anyone I told you that. If there's lots, maybe try putting more on the cakes next time. It's quite good on scones or even just as a cheeky sandwich.

Store your whoopie pies in the fridge, on a plate wrapped in clingfilm or in a sealed container. They should last a week like this, if you can stop yourself from scoffing them all. They're pretty big, but they're ridiculously more-ish!

Love and hugs

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Weekly Nail #1 - Tiny Explosions!

So obviously this isn't the first time I've posted my nails for you, but I've decided to make it a weekly thing, rather than just random.

This week I've used Missguided Splash in "MissTaken", which is an awesome shade of orange. It's been on my toes for a couple of weeks already, since I got one free with Cosmo. I also used my Andrea Fulterton Dot and Flick in black to do some flicks for an accent nail, and they're so cute! They look like tiny explosions!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

July Glossybox

I have to say I loved a lot of this month's glossybox, but then I am jealous of some of the things other bloggers have shown off, especially the Kyrolan Satin Powder. I did get an HD Brows palette though so I'm not really complaining.