Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Nail Files Thursday: Water Marble Manicure {Using OPI Birthday Babe & A Grape Fit!}



My second attempt at water marble nails turned out MUCH better than my first.


How funky are they!! According to the countless compliments I got, they turned out amazing!


I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't get the same pattern on each nail, I just don't know how the pros do it. They are freaks. I am going to keep practicing. I guess it's more interesting having a different pattern on each nail though.

 

To start off I painted my nails in two coats of OPI Alpine Snow. And for the water marbling I used OPI Birthday Babe and OPI A Grape Fit! If you want to know how to do water marble nails, here is a fantastic tutorial:



I'm excited to experiment more and try out some other colours.











 
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Card Making Monday: A true friend touches your heart {Valentine's Day Card}


I made a card today! It has been a couple of weeks since I've made one as I have been concentrating on exercising and what not (I'll post on my exercise progress later), but today I decided not to exercise and I made a card instead. Today, I just needed to do something creative. So, here's what I have been working hard on this afternoon:


The perfect Valentine's Day card for a dear friend.


Materials used:
white cardstock, pink cardstock, plumb cardstock, gcd studios  designer paper in pink swirlies from the rose colored glasses collection, kaisercraft friends rub ons, kaisercraft paper blooms in cranberry and fairy floss.











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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crafty Fridays: coconut and jam hearts {valentine's day baking}



Yes, I am aware that it is Sunday, but after baking these cookies the other day I wasn't feeling too flash, which is why I am posting them today instead. I would have loved to have them up on Friday for you but better late then never, right? Right!


They turned out so fab! They taste amazing and are so easy to make. How gorgeous would they be as a Valentine's gift?


*** Note: For this recipe I used strawberry jam and a heart shaped cookie cutter instead of a circle one.


Ingredients:
125g butter, chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
icing sugar, for dusting
1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jam


Method:
Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.


Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll both portions out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 3mm-thick. Using a 7cm round cookie cutter, cut 12 rounds from the dough and place on baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Using a 4cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts from the centre of the half rounds and discard.


Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool. Dust the cut-out rounds with icing sugar. Spread the plain rounds with jam and sandwich with the cut-out rounds.












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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Nail Files Thursday: 'Love Your Life' Valentine Manicure



I am terribly unhappy with this manicure.


A valentine manicure epic fail! It's so blah. I didn't realise that the heart glitter polish was exactly the same shade as my base colour, they looked totally different in the bottles!


I used three coats of china glaze in strawberry smoothie and six coats of nicole by OPI love your life.


I really wanted multi coloured hearts, but sadly that polish by Maybelline that I have been longing for has been discontinued. Boo hoo. So I had to settle for an OPI polish.


I'm still undecided on whether I like the glitter heart polish or not. I do like the glittery shimmer, but there needs to be more hearts. I found that all the hearts stuck to the sides of the bottle, even when I stuck a tooth pick in to try and mix it all up. I would have loved more hearts on my nails then glitter.


It's not one of my favourite manicures. I'll have to try it over a contrasting base colour next time.









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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sowing Hope in the failure

"When you sow hope in the failure, you are simply creating a victory." ~ unknown.


I know that I set myself some pretty gigantic goals last year, many of which I have failed. Miserably. I was determined to do and achieve so many different things last year. I even started back at work, but within a month of working, I soon found myself flat on my face again. Between last year and now, I have encountered set back after set back.

I sought treatment for Endometriosis pain, which required surgery. Around the same time I developed arthritis pain in my back, chest and ribs, and as a result, I spent six months trying to qualify for stronger drugs after blood tests and scan results didn't prove my pain.

For the last three months, I've been adjusting to my new drug Humira and am slowly trying to cut down my dosage of Prednisolone. So, when I look back on last year, it's no surprise that I'm left feeling a little defeated.

But, I have two choices- I can look back on 2011 and dwell on my mountain of failures, thereby magnifying them and causing me to think my entire life is a failure. I can focus on what I don't have- a bachelor in early childhood education, my health, the ability to work more than one shift a week, the energy to have more of a social life... the list goes on.

Or I can focus focus on what's going right and learn from what isn't. I can celebrate the small victories, even though they might not seem like much.

To be honest, this year scares me. Most days it seems I'm swimming against the tide and the thought of giving up is mighty tempting. Although, with everything I haven't achieved, I have gained the wisdom to succeed. It's the driving determination behind my desire to dream big this year (which I'll post on later).

So I'm choosing hope. I'm sowing hope in the failure by celebrating the things that I have achieved despite chronic illness, no matter how trivial or mundane they may seem to a healthy person.

Here's a short list of what I've been successful in and what has been a success this last year:

- Getting my license. It's hard to believe that I've nearly had my license for a year now. Thanks to school work and then chronic illness, it took me six years until I felt I was able to attempt my driving test. There is never a day that I don't take driving for granted. I worked hard through the pain and the frustration of fatigue and brain fog; and to now have my license (and my own car) and manage to drive despite CFS, is nothing short of amazing.

- Blogging. I think this blog has been pretty successful. It has grown more than I could have imagined this last year. It could have flopped, but it didn't, and that's all thanks to you amazing readers who take the time out to read my rants, support me, encourage me, inspire me and make me smile. Blogging for me has been a lifeline. I've found a successful coping strategy which helps me to avoid spending too much time in the ditch of depression. I'm so glad I listened to the quite voice inside me that whispered keep going when all I wanted to do was quit when brain fog made blogging difficult, and when it felt as though I was writing to a brick wall. Turns out more people are reading this thing than I thought. From the emails and comments I have received over the last two years- hundreds of people have felt less alone in their struggles with chronic illness, encouraged, uplifted, inspired and motivated to live creatively having read this blog. I have even heard from many people who have friends with chronic illnesses, and they are reading along to gain a better understanding of what it is like to live with a chronic/invisible illness. Success!

- Healthy eating. So, I can always eat better. There's no hiding that I love baking sickly sweets, but overall, I think I've done a pretty good job at eating healthy. I think my health would be much worse if I didn't strive to make healthy choices and allow myself to eat crap all the time. It's quite tempting to eat crap when you feel like crap! As you know, I am addicted to fruit. Some days I eat more than five pieces. That's how much I love fruit. I try to do juicing and fruit smoothies daily and I've even cut out caffeine to and I have survived.

- Craft studio. The progress has been slow, but I am finally closer to reaching my dream of having a craft studio. It is officially all set up (photos coming soon)! All that I have to do now is work on getting my supplies organised, and invest in some storage stuff. My craft studio is nearly complete. This will allow me to work towards another dream- selling my handcrafted goods and maybe even try to get a little craft business happening, who knows!


- Hobbies. I've really taken my hobbies to a whole new level this past year. I have experimented and created more than I have in previous years. My love for baking, blogging, cardmaking and nail art has grown immensely. My hobbies have been something to turn to when I'm feeling low and frustrated. In essence, being creative is what helps me cope with chronic illness- success? I think so!

- Exercise. I've had my ups and downs with exercise. It's a love/hate relationship. Over the last six months I've been trying to get more active- even if it's just a slow walk around the shops. I'm now managing a 15-20 minute walk twice a week. Of course, if I'm having a bad week, I don't do as much. Even though I can feel quite shocking the next day, I'm doing it. Walking around a beautiful lake really helps with depression so even though it causes me a bit of pain and fatigue, it's beneficial. I'm much more active now than I was over a year ago. I am making progress, oh yes I am!

- Humira. It's still early days, and I am yet to wean myself off Prednisolone but after eight months (it felt like eternity), my back and chest pain is finally under control. Thank the Lord! Some of the side effects from the drug are slowly subsiding too! Significant success.

- Laparoscopic sugery. Out of all the surgeries, my one last year has been the most successful. I have never had such amazing relief from my Endometriosis symptoms until now. Yay for non-disabling periods, no ovaries stuck to my bladder and no pain when peeing!

- Social media. Ok, so I'm not the most tech savvy person on the planet. Before blogging and even before I joined facebook, I hardly used email! So I've done pretty well to set up a blog, and figure out facebook and twitter all on my little lonesome. I still really don't know what I'm doing half the time! Somehow I have stumbled my way through and have collected 223 twitter followers, 197 facebook fans and 199 blog followers. For a girl who doesn't know what she is even doing on social media some days, that's pretty darn successful!

I definitely need to take more pride in how far I have come and have more faith in how far I can go. Sometimes it feels like I'm not improving because progress is oh so slow, and it's usually one step forward and two steps back, but I am going places baby! So there, any one who thinks that what I have achieved isn't amazing and isn't good enough can go jump off a cliff.







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Monday, February 6, 2012

Card Making Monday: Pink Hearts Valentine's Day Cards {Design 1 & 2}



I bought some gorgeous pink heart metallic paper quite some time ago now, and I've never known what to do with it up until now. I thought the paper would work well for valentine's day cards, so I took the opportunity to create two cards. I kept the design extremely basic, because sometimes you just need to let the paper speak the words.

Pink Hearts Valentine's Day Card {Design #1}


Materials used: Kaisercraft white cardstock, pink cardstock, metallic red paper, pink hearts paper from Riot Art & Craft, Kaisercraft self adhesive pearl strips.


Pink Hearts Valentine's Day Card {Design #2}


These cards could double as nice invites too!


Materials used: Kaisercraft white cardstock, pink cardstock, metallic paper, pink hearts paper from Riot Art & Craft, red organza ribbon, Bella ribbon bucklez.

I really wanted to use a heart buckle instead of a circle for this card, but no stores seem to be stocking them lately. I know they are out there somewhere!











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Sunday, February 5, 2012

What I'm Wearing #10



Back in December I went to a Christmas lunch with some of the gorgeous girls that I went to high school with. I had a really great time. Here's what I wore:


Jeans: Valleygirl
Shoes: Target
Top: Unknown
Earrings: Zamels

I thought I'd take the opportunity to dress up a bit, seeing as I don't get to go out as much as I used to. Unfortunately I can't remember where I got that top from. It's pretty and I love that it covers up the weight I have stacked on due to a long period on prednisolone. I bought it back at the start of spring last year.


Ladies in Melbourne, just for your information- I'm pretty sure that you can still get a pair of these heels for $10 at Target. They have other pretty colours too.








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Friday, February 3, 2012

Crafty Fridays: Strawberry Jelly Slice {Valentine's Day Baking}



I made this slice with Mumma Bear six years ago and it totally flopped. I decided to attempt it again yesterday as consolation for my crap week. This time it was a total success! Yay!


The perfect slice for Valentine's Day baking.


Although, not the best slice to photograph. I apologise for the crap photos, but we all know I'm a bad photographer, it's just not my thing!


Ingredients:
2 cups (250g) sweet biscuit crumbs
125g butter, melted
100g packet pink marshmallows
1 teaspoon gelatine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon strawberry essence
2/3 cup thickened cream
250g punnet strawberries, halved
2x 100g packets strawberry jelly
2 cups boiling water


Method:
Grease a 19cm x 29cm lamington pan. Combine biscuits and butter in bowl. Press evenly over base of prepared pan; refrigerate until firm. Combine marshmallows, gelatine and milk in saucepan, stir over low heat, without boiling, until marshmallows are melted. Transfer to large bowl, add essence; cool to room temperature.


Whip cream until soft peaks form, fold into marshmallow mixture, pour over base. Place strawberries over marshmallows; refrigerate mixture 30 minutes. Dissolve jelly in boiling water; cool to room temperature. Poor jelly over strawberries, refrigerate until firm before cutting.


Happiness ♥











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