"Where there is creativity, there is hope." ~ Donna Karan

Thursday, July 26, 2012

OPI What's With The Cattitude Manicure + Nail Art Tape

Happy Thursday, Chronic Crafties! Today I am sharing a summer manicure that I did at the beginning of this year, and haven't gotten around to posting until now.

I bought some nail art tape off ebay to try out. I quite like it. I thought applying tape would be much easier than painting the lines on, and besides, I love the look. Unfortunately, application didn't turn out to be so simple.

The tape was incredibly frustrating to apply, as the strips are quite thin. I found it hard to cut them to the correct size and then position them equally. I also found that they came unstuck and lifted even with a few coats of sealer. I ended up having to rip them off after four days of wear. I'm thinking next time I should try sticking them on while my nail is half dry instead of fully dry - the problem with that though is that I won't be able to reposition it if it's not stuck down straight.

I'd like to try using nail art tape again, as I have so many colour combinations that I'd love to try, so I'm hoping application will get easier with practice.

For this manicure I used four coats of OPI 'What's With The Cattitude?', and attached the tape with tweezers. So, there you have it, my first manicure using nail art tape. What do you think? Are you inspired to give it a go?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Holidaying in The Sunshine State - Day 1

So, I'm finally getting around to posting pictures from my holiday back in March this year.

I flew up to The Sunshine State, Queensland, with my family for a week. We've holidayed there three times now, and I cant wait to go back again. There were so many things everyone wanted to do, but we just couldn't fit them all into a week.

I know next time that I definitely want to have a wonder around the market stalls set up along the beach at Surfers Paradise, and I would love to look into hang gliding at Byron Bay in New South Wales, just a short drive out of Queensland.

The last time we were there, it poured evey single damn day, but this time the weather brought us sushine and smiles, and once again it lived up to what it is famous for - its beach weather. Like they say, it was beautiful one day, perfect the next!

It wasn't unpleasantly hot either, like the unbearable heat that we endured on our first holiday there. It was perfect theme park weather.

We basically spent the week sightseeing (as you do on holiday), walking around and riding wild thrill rides at theme parks, and eating an awful lot. We tried out quite a few resturaunts for dinner, and during the day we binged on quite a bit of  theme park takeaway food. Not the healthiest option, but a box of nachos or fish and chips are pretty irrisitable when the smell is wafting past you all day long.

Besides, the point of a holiday is to enjoy yourself, and I enjoyed myself by eating foods that I wouldn't normally eat at home. I did however, cook myself a meal one night, and I did pack apples in my back to snack on during the day, so I guess that counted for something.

We stayed at the Gold Coast and rented out an amazing holiday house. The only disappointing thing about it was that the cleaners didn't do a very good job of cleaning. It was quite filthy and the drains in the sinks smelled like there was a dead animal stuck in the pipe. Every time I went to wash my face I wanted to gag, the smell was putrid.

The views from the windows and balconies kind of compensated for that disappointment though.

The view from the pool deck. Ah-mazing, no?

View of Surfers Paradise in the evening from the top balcony

View of the mountains from my room

The outdoor entertaining area

I really enjoyed having breakfast outside while watching the ducks swim by. I miss it.

The bedrooms were quite spacious, but this bed wasn't a 5 star luxury, let me tell you! My joints really felt it.

The view of the lake from my room

The lovely lake at the back of the house

We spent most of our first day just relaxing at the house. We drove down to the nearest supermarket to get some food for the week, but that was all the driving we did. We had planned to have a barbeque that night, but Papa Bear soon discovered that there was no gas left, so we had disgusting takeaway instead. Do not order chinese from a place that isn't recommended, or you haven't seen ratings for, or you'll end up with foul tasting fried rice that is more like cardboard. Yeeuck.

And that was day one.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

They don't play Carly Rae Jepsen on the radio enough

If you haven't heard the song 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen, you have been living under a rock. The song is played everywhere, and is a chart topping success. For the life of me I can't understand why. I hate it. It has to be one of the worst ever pop songs. It's as horrible as hell, yet for some reason it is popular, and despite my passionate dislike for the song, I still wake up with the tune stuck in my head.

And for those who don't know what I am talking about hear is the song...

Sure, the girl can sing, but her voice just isn't my cup of tea, and neither are her songs.

I wouldn't hate it so much if I didn't have to endure it everywhere I go. I hear it when I'm taking a pee in the public toilets of a shopping center. I hear it at social gatherings. I hear it in change rooms. I hear it blasting from bystanders headphones. I hear people humming it while raiding the clearance rack at Target. I hear it thumping through the speakers of the car next to me at traffic lights.

The song gets played on the radio 437 times a day. I hear it when I drive to work and I hear it when drive home from work without fail. I change the station, only to hear "Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, I missed you so, so, bad..."

It's insane.

I risk dislocating my shoulder to turn it off. It's up there with the songs that make me want to stab myself in the ear with a fork. I would rather watch paint dry, or hear nails repeatedly scratched down a chalkboard, than listen to it.

The song has even inspired many memes. These are just a few...

(based on the television show Downton Abbey)

I'm not the only one being driven stark raving mad from all the hype...

See, even Batman has had enough of this 'Call Me Maybe' crap.

Do you despise the song, too? If you don't we can't be friends, so don't call me maybe.

What pop song do you hate?

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Beyond the page project: Army style storage unit

Happy Friday Chronic Crafties! Today I have my latest beyond the page project to show you. This project was frustrating to photograph, but I think I got some decent shots...

It's an army style 3 drawer storage unit. I made this as a Christmas gift for Papa Bear. He was in the army for quite some time, so I thought that I would create an army themed storage box for his computer room.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, considering that it was much more difficult to make than I initially thought. It took me months to make but the results are worth it.

Those drawers were so difficult to line with paper, let me tell you!

When planning this project, I was looking for an army print paper. I looked everywhere without any luck, so I had to settle for army coloured striped paper instead. Now that it's finished, I think this paper works best.

I bought these storage unit drawers from Kaisercraft, I just had to sand the pieces and assemble them. I painted the storage unit in dark green and stuck the patterned paper on the drawers with mod podge. I used brown cardstock for both sides of the storage unit as well as the top. I used mod podge to stick these down too.

On top of the storage unit I glued down some toy soldiers on top of the brown cardstock. The purpose for the brown cardstock on top of the unit is to hide the four corners where the wood joins.

To make this gift extra special, I filled up the drawers with Papa Bear's favourite chocolates.

I lined the inside of the drawers with tissue paper. It's just much nicer than looking at cardboard on the inside.

Materials used:
Kaisercraft storage unit
Paper from the Kaisercraft 'What a Hoot' collection
Brown cardstock
Art Culture acrylic paint in Woodland Green
Super glue
Mod podge
Toy soldiers
Tissue paper

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

I just want to sail away to a tropical island

Two months ago I mentioned on my facebook page that I wish I could just sail away to a tropical island.

Working one short shift a week is taking its toll on everything. My social life is in the toilet, I'm hardly able to do any craft, blogging has become more of a chore and I find myself stuck in a deep, dark, ditch of depression once more.

I've survived three months of shifts so far, and I fear I won't be able to cope much longer. I hardly have good days anymore. Post exertional malaise has been most unmerciful. Some days all I can do is breathe. Between shifts, I spend my time trying to recover for my next shift. After some shifts I feel so horribly hideous, I can barely function. Things that need to get done are falling by the wayside. I am barely surviving. I'm living on struggle street. It seems I've bought a house there.

Getting back to work has always been a goal, and I'm proud of myself for pushing through and working, when all I feel like doing is curling up in a ball in a corner. Serving stressed out shoppers isn't ideal when the brain fog is thick and fatigue has you feeling fragile. Somehow though, I'm doing it.

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for this job, and I want to work. I need to work. I like working, and I like feeling useful again. It's nice to have a sense of achievement outside of home. I like living the life of the healthy me and pretending to be a functional adult, even if it is only for a few hours, I just don't like the consequences it causes. I just wish I didn't have to sacrifice so much for it and suffer because of it.

When I get home from work, the recovery begins. I go to bed dreading waking up in the morning because I don't want to spend the next four or five days feeling like death and wanting to die. I rest and try to regain some strength for my next shift. Barely recovered, I work my next shift, and the process begins again. Some weeks are worse than others, but lately I've been running virtually on empty. I exercise everyday to try and get some strength back and help reduce pain, but most days that's about all I seem to be able to do.

My life just seems to consist of exercise, surviving work and trying to overcome post exertional malaise. I don't have energy for much else, and if I do, I have to save it for my next shift.

Mr Fatigue Man thought it would be best for my health and emotional wellbeing to go back to work, to try to bring back some focus to my week. I wrote about the tidal wave of emotions that engulfed me as I made my decision to go back to work for myself and to also avoid doctors hassling me about my lack of living. I was worried how I would cope with work, and scared of the million sacrifices that I would have to make.

"In order to work this one measly shift a week, and keep up with it, I know I'm going to have to make sacrifices. Scarifies I don't want to make. I don't want to give up on some of the dreams I wanted to work towards this year and I still want some energy to craft. I don't want to sacrifice spending time with family on the weekend because I need to reserve energy for work. I don't want to stop my short shopping trips. I don't want to discard the things that make life worth living for me right now. But I know I have to."

Now that I'm back at work it has become my only focus. My whole life is now based around doing what I can to help myself survive another shift and make it through another week  feeling like eating elephant poo would be better than feeling so indescribably terrible. I have to plan my week so that I can cope. I have to reject social invitations, I've had to stop my occasional stroll around the shops - all because I'm feeling unwell from my last shift and need to save what little energy I have left for my next shift.

I used to be able to manage work plus other things much better than I am now. I don't understand why the fatigue has suddenly become so unbearable these last two years, and I'm tired of doctors telling me that I'll get better if I just exercise more and go back to work. I am doing those things, and I am still tired. I am still sore and I am still struggling. I'm over douche bag doctors who don't "get" it and never will. I am tired of doctors pressuring me to return to work or study. I am tired of having an illness that is apparently unacceptable.

Chronic fatigue is a monster. I wish doctors understood just how hard the illness is to deal with every single day, and how much more difficult it has become since working.

I just want to sail away from it all.

I want to stop swimming against the tide and just sail away, letting my worries wash away with the waves. I want to sail away to a tropical island and leave behind the disappointments of unattemped to do lists; to escape the pressure and expectation to perform as a healthy, well functioning adult. I want to leave behind the bitter disappointment of broken dreams. I want to sail away and forget about frustrating medical "professionals". Forget that I'm sick, even if only for a few minutes.

I just need some time on a tropical island, where it doesn't matter if things don't get done. Where my doctors won't be expecting more than what I feel well enough to do. Where I can rest and be allowed to listen to my body. Where I can stop running myself into the ground. I just need a break from reality for awhile. I need to escape for a bit where I can gain a new perspective, soak up the beauty of new surroundings, bask in the glory of sunsets on beautiful beaches, and let fresh hope flourish with the sunrise.

But for now, this picture shall have to suffice.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter Exfoliating Body Polish Review

I've enjoyed using the range of St. Ives facial scrubs, so I thought it would be worthwhile trying their exfoliating body polishes. I chose the oatmeal and shea butter one. It's an exfoliant and moisturiser in the one product, formulated with natural sugar crystals.

I picked up this scrub for $3 (AUD), so I wasn't expecting miracles. Surprisingly though, it wasn't too bad. I'm often plagued by ingrown hairs and I'm prone to irritated skin post shaving but this scrub seemed to slightly help with that. The texture was a little rougher than exfoliants that I've previously used, and yet it still softened and moisturised effectively.

The thing I didn't like about this scrub was that the formula was quite thick and difficult to get out of the tub. It was extremely difficult to fit my body exfoliating brush in the tub, so I had to either dig it out with my fingers or use a spoon which was a hassle.

I was also disappointed to discover that after getting through half of the scrub, it hardened and dried up completely and I had to chuck it out. It was like it had gone off. I think this was due to the packaging, it just didn't seem suitable.

So, would I purchase this product again? I won't purely based on the fact that the scrub dries out in the tub. If it was packaged differently and came in something like a squeeze tube I would probably consider it, but there are far better exfoliants available.

My rating: 2/5

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

an assortment of things

Last week I drove myself down to the nail salon that I go to every two months to get the gel overlay  I have on my nails to make them stronger refilled. There is this lovely little discount shop next store that I always love to look in while I'm down there. I usually come home with at least one bottle of nail polish, but this time I came home with a little assortment of things.

I've always loved scarves, but this winter for some reason, I have begun to develop an addiction. I have quite the collection now. Scarves are such a simple way to dress up and add some colour to a winter outfit.

I adore pretty much anything with animal print on it... shoes, bags, t-shirts... you name it. So, when I saw this leopard print scarf for under $10, I just couldn't resist. I had to have it. Can you believe that I got this exact same style in grey, too? I told you I have an addiction.

Well, you all know how much I love baking. I got these cute little chocolate cups that will be perfect  for some truffles that I want to make.

I have been looking for a gorgeous photo frame for my bedside table that doesn't come with some ridiculous price tag. This frame was only $8, and is an amazing match for the shabby chic style bedroom I am trying to create.

Of course I couldn't come home without a bottle of glitter nail polish to add to my enormous stash. This one is a BYS bottle in the shade Diamond Glitter Cobalt & Rose. I am super excited about experimenting with this colour soon. It's amazing how much joy one bottle of polish can bring me.

Have you found some amazing bargains recently?

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pink Freeze Glitter Party Nails

Happy Thursday, Chronic Crafties! Welcome to another edition of The Nail Files Thursday.

I've been doing a bit of experimenting with glitter nail polishes as of late. I think it's safe to say that I am officially obsessed!

I wanted to try something a bit different for a change, so I decided that I would take a risk and buy a cheap glitter polish that caught my eye on ebay from Hong Kong. Here is the result:

The perfect party nails, I think. Aren't they just fun? I couldn't help but feel happy when looking down and seeing them.

I would have liked the glitter polish to have more chunky flecks, but it isn't too bad considering how cheap it was.

To start off my manicure, I used Revlon in Pink Freeze as my base colour. I used four coats of this.  I've had this polish in my stash for years, so I thought I'd try make use of it. It's such a pretty pink, but I think it looks better on short nails.

I can't tell you the name of the glitter polish as it's written in Chinese, of course. But I'm sure you'll find one that's very similar as there are so many out there. I used 5 coats of the glitter polish to finish off this manicure.

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