Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Film-inspired eyeshadow palettes

Something a bit dorky (but hopefully fun!) today, pals. I've been having a lot of fun lately with the Beautylish Inglot Freedom Palette tool. For those who don't know, the Freedom system is essentially a way for you to build your own customised palette - you choose how many slots you want, and then pick all your colours, and you get it all in one single palette. How cool is that? Anyway, I put together a couple palettes based on some of my favourite movies. This first one is from Tangled, my FAVE Disney movie ever.

Tangled palette
L-R top row:
450 Pearl
332 Matte
493 Double Sparkle
494 Double Sparkle
323 Matte
L-R bottom row:
58 AMC
477 Double Sparkle
26 Shine
329 Matte
65 AMC
Swatches (from the website):

The second palette I made is based off The Royal Tenenbaums. As you can imagine it wasn't terribly hard to get all the colours right for this one, since Wes Anderson films have such distinct colour schemes on their own!

The Royal Tenenbaums palette
L-R top row:
50 AMC
478 Double Sparkle
496 Double Sparkle
395 Pearl
391 Matte
L-R bottom row:
389 Matte
366 Matte
335 Matte
58 AMC
60 AMC
Swatches (from the website):

The only problem with the Freedom system is that while each individual eyeshadow is very reasonably priced, since you're building it yourself you don't get the discount per shadow you usually get with palettes, making each of these come out at $86, or £54. Ouch. So I suppose these are just a bit of fun, or fantasising about being so rich I could easily drop fifty pounds on an eyeshadow palette willy-nilly. Hopefully they're inspirational at least! What do you think? Do you like the Inglot Freedom system? Let me know if you'd like to see more film-inspired palettes!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A lovey for a friend

A little while ago, one of my favourite people announced that she was going to have a baby! This friend is one of the most genuinely sweet and nice people I've ever met, and I knew I had to make something for her the second I heard that. I eventually settled on this lovey design, which is based off of an avatar that she uses frequently -- a little cartoon bird :) I didn't use a pattern since it was totally custom; like usual I just sort of made it up as I went along. The base is just the classic granny square with a few extra edging rows in the gold colour. Luckily it all worked out pretty well! I'm only posting this after she's seen it so it wouldn't ruin the surprise, and also so I can say that happily she loved it! I think that something handmade is such a special present, and I really love making something unique and heartfelt for people I care about.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

New embroidery

It's officially Christmas time here in Glasgow, with the lights up, the skating rink out, and the Christmas Market set up in the city centre. Honestly, I never used to be too excited by Christmas when I was younger. I think it was because when I was in school, I always had classes up until right before Christmas and then it was my birthday (December 21st) and I never really got into the excitement until just before the Big Day itself. I also was never one of those kids that would wake up at 6am to do presents - I knew the presents weren't going anywhere and I could totally have a few more hours before all the Christmas festivities got underway. #lazyforlife

But now that I'm an adult with my term for the year wrapping up, I am SO. READY. For the first time I'm not spending the holidays with my parents back in California, and am instead staying in Scotland with my boyfriend and his family. I'm so excited! I'm so excited I've actually already gotten all of my Christmas shopping for them done...and it has been done for a couple weeks now. Um.

This year, the real start of me getting into a festive mood was doing some holiday embroidery. I didn't want to do anything too obvious, like Santa or a Christmas tree or reindeer (although I did sneak that little guy into the shot), so I created this typographic design and stitched it up. I think it came out pretty well, if I say so myself! Even though it's been a bit crazy over here (full courseload, and I am chronically terrible at managing stress) I've still made time for my crafty hobbies. I'm hoping to get some more Christmas designs up in the shop soon, but I know I'll have to hurry if I want to make the final posting dates, eek!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

High street / Drugstore Skincare for Oily Skin

I have oily skin. Like, my skin is full on crazy hormones, clogged pores, breakouts, makeup sliding off oily. And from what I've seen about 95% of skincare advice is aimed at people with dry or combination skin, and I know that if I followed that advice I'd wake up the next morning with a serious situation on my face! So these are all the things that I use to keep my oily skin under control and relatively break-out free. I'll go through everything in more detail, but first I want to cover something basic and important here right off the bat: you cannot affect your skin with your diet. Drinking lots of water is good for you, and eating too much chocolate isn't the best idea, but all those silly, shaming myths about greasy food are untrue. So I'm not going to touch on anything like that or give you any 'tips' that I'm sure everyone has already heard - all you can really do (without prescriptions) is manage it until your body decides on its own to calm everything down. And keep your chin up: oily skin means your face is protected from dehydration and the fine lines and wrinkles associated with it. My skin's an effort now but hey, when I'm fifty I'll be sitting pretty!
  1. Simple Kind To Skin Facial Cleansing Wipes. This is the only thing I use to take off my makeup most of the time - very occasionally I'll have a bit more eye makeup on and have to use a cotton pad and eye makeup remover, but the rest of the time these are fantastic. They are really effective and don't leave any residue on your face, which is key if you have sensitive skin.
  2. L'Oreal Revitalift Anti-wrinkle and Firming Eye Cream. Sometimes the skin under my eyes can feel quite tender and honestly I'm a bit of a squinter (glasses or contacts! always!) so I like something really nourishing and hydrating. The only problem I have with this is that if any gets in your eyes it does sting, so be careful!
  3. No7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for Normal / Oily Skin SPF 15. It can be really hard to find a day cream/light moisturiser that doesn't totally break me out, but this one is formulated especially for oilier skin and works fantastically. Also, how luxe does that packaging look?! I love it. I know it may seem counterintuitive to moisturise when you're trying to fight excess oil, but I'll explain in a little bit why it's actually really important.
  4. Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Face Wash. I swear by this stuff! As you can tell in the picture, I'm almost out of it. I've ordered a similar (but nicer) product from Kiehl's to try out next, but if that doesn't work I'm definitely coming back to this. I use this at night before I go to bed and sometimes when I wake up too; it really makes my face feel so clean and fresh, and gets everything gross off of my skin. 
  5. Bio-Oil. Usually my routine is cleanse my face with the tea tree and witch hazel wash, brush my teeth, and then apply this. I have quite a few acne marks and scars which is partially why I use this, and I'm partially using it to rehydrate my skin after the wash. Like I mentioned earlier, keeping your skin moisturised when you have problems with oil is super important. Stripping it too much and washing it with harsh astringent chemicals all the time can make your skin kind of freak out and overproduce oil to make up for how dry you're making your skin. If you keep your skin moisturised with good oils, like the No7 day cream or Bio-Oil, your skin calms down and doesn't feel the need to produce as much of its own. When I put this on before I go to bed, my skin is noticeably less shiny in the morning. Also, it smells like cinnamon! Amazing.
  6. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Facial Clay. First of all, yes. I know it has the dumbest name ever. But this is one of those cult beauty products that not many people know about but everyone who's tried it swears by it - including me! This isn't an every day product (or high street, whoops), but more of an up to your own discretion facial mask that clears your pores out and makes your face and skin so clean and tingly and amazing feeling. Just read some of the reviews on Amazon to see how much people like it! I use it about once a week and then wash it off in the shower, and don't need to use anything else on my face for the rest of the day.
And that's all my favourite skin care products, all tried and tested on the most finicky and sensitive of faces (mine). If you've ever used any of these, what did you think? Let me know some of your own favourite skincare products, please!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Read, Reading, Want to Read {3}

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker | 5/5
Honestly, I loved this book. I loved it! I never read things like this, which is silly, because stories about women in magical/medieval-y settings, caught up in a huge plot, doing magicky things, with a classic 'they don't like each other at first, but then they like each other more and more' plot? My favourite. Also please do notice how I said woman, and not girl - this book is fantastically not YA, but rather about a grad student, which made me able to get really into it and not feel like I'm getting frustrated by the actions of a confused teenager. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel to this. 
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters | 5/5
I love Sarah Waters novels; I think this is the third book by her that I've read, and so far I've loved all of them. It has the usual concept you'd expect from a Sarah Waters novel; that is an intricately researched and crafted tale about two women set in the past, written with such detail that it feels like you're really there - but this one has an additional twist. I don't want to give away too much, but I was at first confused at the speed with which their relationship was developing before I understood what the rest of the book would be about. Quite a sharp left, and I mean that in the best possible way.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton | 2.5/5
I wanted to like this book. It was well-written and interesting, and the detail put into the writing made it feel incredibly real. I empathised with the plight of the main character, a young woman married off to a rich merchant who immediately finds none of the glamour or even welcome that her and her family had been expecting. But really, it was so so frustrating. None of the characters act in ways that would easily solve or prevent their problems, and as such this book is a series of terrible, terrible things happening to a small group of people. Even worse, the central mystery of the novel - concerning the titular Miniaturist - is never resolved, which I found so frustrating. This author clearly has talent and if she writes another book I probably will read it, but I found this debut to be a let-down. 
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan | 2.5/5
I read this book very quickly - I remember really enjoying reading it, but I feel much less charitable about it now, with some distance from it. It's about vampires, but neither the classic 'spooky count' vampire nor the new 'sexy misunderstood' ones; this take on vampires is much more zombie-like than anything I've seen before. A vampire virus spreads across New York while a CDC official and his Beautiful And Understanding Latina Sidekick follows him around and does whatever he asks, including taking on a motherly role towards his son towards the end, 'cause women, duh. The characters aren't great and the personal subplot of the main guy trying to win his son in a custody battle is lazy; I'm very sick of the plot 'wife unfairly and easily gets total custody of child in a divorce', both because it's old, and because it helps to promote the common and damaging misapprehension that women are given unfair advantage in family court. That being said, the description of the vampires and how the virus spreads is quite interesting and not like anything I've ever seen, and the gore was good. I also didn't realise it was the first in the trilogy, but probably won't be picking up the second two. (Also, the currently airing show based on this is horrible, don't bother.)
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey | 5/5
Following nicely on from a new take on vampires, The Girl with All the Gifts is a really interesting and fresh take on the zombie genre. I don't want to give too much informatino as almost anything would give away some of the 'twists' and 'reveals', but I really enjoyed the plot and the main character, a very intelligent young girl named Melanie. I couldn't put this down and ended up reading the entire thing in one day. I highly recommend it!
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer | 3.5/5
This book tells the well-known story of Chris McCandless, a young man from an upper-middle-class background who decided he was done with a normal American life and set off on a years-long hitchhiking journey, ending with him making his way up to Alaska and dying several months later. It goes into the entire scope of his long journey, talks to people Chris met along the way, and tries to get to the bottom of his reasoning for a trip like this - for this, the author draws on his own experience in mountaineering, and his own Alaskan failure that resonated deeply with him. It's quite well-written and it does tell an interesting story, but I think the author suffers from being too close to Chris's own situation, and therefore it feels very biased: so much sympathy and admiration is given to Chris, and he's painted in such a positive light, rather than being a very privileged young man with access to books about the wilderness and a pretty selfish approach to living.

Annihilation (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. 
This is the twelfth expedition.
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

Authority (Southern Reach Trilogy #2) by Jeff VanderMeer
Acceptance (Southern Reach Trilogy #3) by Jeff VanderMeer
This might be silly but I'm not putting any summaries here - I'm afraid they'll spoil the ending of Annihilation for me!
Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti
This collection features tormented individuals who play out their doom in various odd little towns, as well as in dark sectors frequented by sinister and often blackly comical eccentrics.
Phew, quite a long entry this time! I've been doing a lot of reading since the last update, as you can see! Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Monday, 13 October 2014

Free crochet pattern - Friendly Ghost!

Is this not the cutest little guy ever? I whipped this pattern up last night while I was thinking of what to do with my extra white yarn, and I thought I'd share it! Honestly, this is less of a pattern and more of a guide, since it's all very loose instruction - but it's such a simple make, I promise you won't get too confused! My finished ghost is 7cm across (minus the shells) and 9cm high.

Yarn: White DK yarn, scraps of Black DK yarn
Hook: 3.75mm
Yarn needle
Handful of stuffing

sc: single crochet
ch: chain
2 sc in next sc: increase
* *: repeat step
F/O: fasten off

Special stitches:
Shell: skip 2sc, *dc in next sc*, repeat 6 times for 7 dc in sc total, skip 2sc, sc in next sc

Body (worked top down):
This pattern is worked in joined rounds.
1. ch 5, join
2. 2 sc in each sc around
3. *2 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc*, repeat around
4. *sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
5. *sc 2, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
6. *sc 3, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
7. *sc 4, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
8. *sc 5, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
(This is as wide as I wanted mine to be, if you want yours wider keep making increase rows.)
9-25(?). sc around
(How many rows you do here depends on how tall you want it to be. I don't remember how many I did; I just kept crocheting until it was about 9cm high!)
26. *shell*, repeat around
F/O, weave in end.

This pattern is worked in joined rounds.
1. ch 5, join
2. 2 sc in each sc around
3. *2 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc*, repeat around
4. *sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
5. *sc 2, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
6. *sc 3, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
7. *sc 4, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
8. *sc 5, 2 sc in next sc*, repeat around
F/O, leave a long end

1. Using a yarn needle and the black scraps, stitch on two eyes and a mouth of your choosing - I went for a happy ghost.
2. Using the long end, sew the bottom piece to the bottom of the body not on the shells, but on the row before you started the shells. Sew until a small hole remains.
3. Stuff the ghost to however full you prefer, then finish sewing the bottom to the body.

That's it! So easy, right? If you make a little ghost friend I'd love to see it!

This pattern is an original pattern by Emily at Fawn and Peach (2014). Please do not claim this pattern as your own or sell it. Feel free to link to it as much as you want, but do not distribute it as your own. If you wish to sell items made from this pattern please let me know, thank you!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Some Etsy finds

Seeing how I spent a not-inconsiderable amount of my time on Etsy re-listing items, updating order statuses, or checking my shop activity, whenever I'm on there for business I like to have a bit of a browse. Partially for present ideas, partially just in case I suddenly come into an unlimited supply of spare income to buy myself all sorts of bits and bobs, you know... here are a few things that have caught my eye recently!

What do you think about my picks? Has anything caught your eye on Etsy lately? I'd love to see!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Some recent embroideries

Hello everyone! I told you exciting things were happening, didn't I? What could be more exciting than embroidery?

Embroidered bee

I've started my new course, and while my schedule isn't very full, it's very intense. Lectures or tutorials all week in a brand new subject, and meeting and chatting with people every day! The courses are fascinating and the people are excellent, but it's quite the transition for me to go from spending most of my time with Allan, or alone. Combined with a few miles of walking to and from the University and my nightly pilates, I'm ending up pretty exhausted by the end of the day.

Bless our house and its heart so savage

I've still had time to do some embroidery, of course. Nothing helps me relax at the end of the day like sitting down with a big cup of tea, an episode of the Great British Bake Off, and some crafting. I've been crocheting like mad too, more of the Maybelle flowers shown in the last entry; I've just started finishing these into squares to join together. I've also recently bought some tiny beads, and I've been doing some experimenting with beaded embroidery. I've got down the basic technique, but I'm feeling very uninspired with how to use these little gems!

Gradient of dots

One more exciting thing to mention - I ordered business cards! They'll be coming in the next few days, and I'm so excited to show them to you all! Just like someone with a real job, eh? Talk to you again soon!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Instagram Update

Finishing my registration at the University of Glasgow.

Sixteen little Maybelle flowers.

Settling into my new flat. Exciting things are happening, readers!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

DIY Links roundup {1}

DIY Copper bar earrings
DIY woven wall hanging

The Golden Crown (translated from Russian)

DIY String art tutorial

Here are a few DIY projects I've been really impressed with in the last couple weeks. I really really want to adapt the method from that string art tutorial to my own style for my new flat I'll be moving into soon - I think black string on white corkboard could look really cool! The tutorial for that beautiful beaded crown is in Russian, but I think with some careful google translate and paying close attention to the photos you could manage it. I'm obsessed with that wall hanging, but even if you didn't want to recreate it exactly the tutorial is so detailed and informative I want to get some nails and a frame and make my own little loom right now! The copper bar earrings are so simple and classy; I think wearing them would get you so many compliments. Can you tell I'm pretty ready to be done with this vacation and reunited with all my crafty supplies? Have you been inspired by any projects you want to try lately?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Read, Reading, Want to Read {2}

The Philip K. Dick Megapack: 15 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Philip K. Dick | 3/5

This is a very good selection of Dick short stories, perfect for someone who wasn't sure if they liked Philip K. Dick (like me!). I enjoyed and found fascinating a lot of the concepts, but out of the fifteen stories probably 13 or 14 were about futuristic warfare, exemplifying the Cold War mindset many of these writers were working within. Also, he falls into the trap of considering the straight white male the default, unmarked perspective from which to tell stories, but I found the lack of variation uninspiring. Do women exist to Dick outside of wives and mothers? Are we permitted to be important?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot | 5/5
A fascinating account of the history of the HeLa line, a type of immortal human cell used in scientific research. This book was especially interesting to me because both of my parents have themselves used the line in their work, and my mother was the one who insisted I finally read this. This is a story of scientific progress, but also of Henrietta Lacks, the poor Black woman whose cervical cancer created these cells, and who was never treated with the respect she was deserved - neither by the hospital nor the scientists who distributed and later sold her cells without any recognition or compensation. It also tells the story of the Lacks family from the 1800s to the modern day, and how the more recent recognition of Henrietta's contribution has lead to a great amount of upheaval and stress in their lives. This book is an important read, especially for those interested in science or the shady history of how American medicine treated Black individuals.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton | 3/5
Deep sigh. I wanted to like this book, I really did! I always want to support young female authors, and the description of the book as a mystery-cum-ghost story seemed right up my alley. Plot-wise, the book excells, with Catton intricately weaving together the past and future of all members of a large cast of characters, revealing more information piece by piece, until it all comes together at the very last moment of the book. It's a very satisfying and intriguing story and I was enthralled as it progressed. However. As I said, the massive cast of characters means things move forward at a glacial pace, where we have to hear about everything every man was doing at every point - it's a good 360 pages into the book before we even reach the 'present day'. Notice also I said every man: there are a total of three speaking women in the book: the prostitute, the evil and conniving widow, and the cowed and timid wife; and not to go on about it too much, but the way they are treated by the author makes me uncomfortable. Let's just say that I think they could have been used better.

The Moomins series by Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson's Moomin books have delighted generations of children. These magical stories take readers into the fantasy world of Moominvalley, and introduce the Moomins, a family of friendly white trolls, as well as charming characters like Sniff, Snufkin, and Fillyjonk. The series includes novels for middle-grade readers, as well as picture books for younger children. [I've wanted to read this for the longest time because the art is so delightful!]

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary life until Sheba Hart, the new art teacher at St. George's, befriends her. But even as their relationship develops, so too does another: Sheba has begun an illicit affair with an underage male student. When the scandal turns into a media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense—and ends up revealing not only Sheba's secrets, but also her own.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Interview at Alice's Studio!

Hey everyone! Recently Alice at Alice's Studio approached me and asked if I would be willing to do an interview that she could post on her blog, and of course I jumped at the change! I was so honoured to be asked and she was incredibly lovely with great questions. If you'd like to read it, you can check it out right over here. Thank you again for giving me this opportunity, Alice!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

On manicures and nail health

I've been a nail- and cuticle-picker my entire life. Until I was fifteen or sixteen, my nails were always jagged, bitten down to the quick, and often made writing, typing, or even eating painful. There are a few tricks I've learned that can help me stop biting, number one of them being a good manicure! The top left circle is what I'm wearing right now, and from there on it goes in a roughly chronological order of the last few months. Mine aren't perfect now, and I certainly am guilty of occasionally nervously biting, even going so far as to make myself bleed, but here are some methods I have used to help stop biting my nails:

  1. Keep them painted perfectly, with no chips or edge wear. If they're perfect, you'll want to avoid messing up the manicure by chewing. (Try a very thick coat too, then pick at and peel off the nail polish - it's something to do with your hands that isn't destructive.)
  2. If you don't feel comfortable with coloured polish, even a clear coat will make them unpleasant to have near your mouth.
  3. Keep a nail file and clippers with you - picking is often triggered by noticing imperfections, and if you can nip them in the bud cleanly with the right tools it won't get out of hand.
  4. Keep your hands occupied if you can. Fiddling with something, doodling, or knitting are all great ways to keep yourself from the urge to pick.
  5. Using nail glue, apply short, natural fake nails over your bitten ones for a week or so, until it's healthy again. I use this trick now when a nail has broken and it's difficult for me to start regrowing it. Note - I personally recommend against long-term acrylic false nails, as when removed the nail underneath is often weak and soft or brittle, leaving you back where you started.
  6. Maintain healthy nails! If they're well-shaped, smooth, and healthy, you won't want to mess them up. Carry hand cream or cuticle oil with you to apply when you notice dryness or something that makes you want to pick.
  7. If you have specific nail problems that you want to manage, there's probably a serum for it! Sally Hansen has a wide variety of treatments for weak nails, peeling nails, brittle nails and more. Diet can also affect nail health, so if you think your nails just can't grow the way you want them to, do a bit of reading into it and I'm sure you can figure out a plan that works for you.