Products used:
NYX Black Bean
NYX "Just Green" Glitter on the Go
MAC Club
Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette, green eyelid colour
MAC Refelects Antique Gold
Urban Decay Naked/Buck (mixed)
MAC Golden Crown
Lancome Hypnose
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua
NYX Red liner
MAC Russian Red

Hogwarts, a History

Posted by DeVille |

So, the Christmas do has come and gone. There were so many great ideas for male costumes, but for some reason I felt a bit limited on girly ones. This year's theme was Best of British, and after going back and forward between Dusty, Duffy, generic 60s chick, Queen Victoria and Hermione for weeks and weeks, I settled on Looney Luna! Hogwarts student has always been on my list of costumes to do, so I decided to go with that in the end, although with a much more limited scope that I would originally have done as I only had 1 week to make the costume after taking so long to figure out what to wear. I actually made the decision after ordering a wig online, figuring it would inspire me once I got it... Once it was on, Luna was the obvious character to go with.

Since I wasn't going to do an exact costume replica like I would have done if I'd had time, I went completely lateral on the skirt and cardy, going with a high waist pencil skirt, and a long grey boyfriend cardy. The school shirt and cardy were purchased on sale, both less than half price, and the wig was from an online auction (brand new and half the original price because the seller didn't like the colour)!

The hardest part was definitely the raddish earrings, which I made from Sculpey. the first attempt fell off the hooks in the oven and ended up gorgeous on the front and a charred mess on the back, but I learned a lesson with the second lot and bent the end of the pin, which kept them together well. The wand was an old paintbrush - I just pulled the brush off with pliers, wrapped the end with hemp twine, using pva to glue it, and then just did a light coat of pva over the whole wand and blew on some gold powder guilt I had. Not authentic to Luna, but it looked great!

The only sewing I did was the skirt which turned out great, and the bag. I also created a Quibbler cover based on the copy Luna carries in the last movie, and ironed it on to a white over the shoulder bag I made from an old pillowcase. I was extremely happy with the quibbler cover, it looks so authentic! I managed to get some Spectraspecs online so they went great with the quibbler over. Finally, I created a Ravenclaw badge, ironed it on to a piece of fabric then sewed it on to the cardy.

Overall I was happy with how the costume turned out, though I'm keeping Luna on my list of costumes to do as I still want to do it properly, complete with lion hat and cape.

The night itself was average, much better than last year, but still not as good as other years past. Mainly it's the incredibly long and boring awards ceremony at the beginning, which lasted about 2 hours total. I'm very glad that I went with Luna in the end, as there were dozens of all the other costumes I thought of. There were a lot Harry Potters, a Voldemort, a Snape and some generic hogwarts students (including a few 'adult' costumes), but no other Lunas thank goodness :) I tracked down Voldemort and got a great photo with him, he had the full makeup and nails done which looked great. I also managed to score a photo with the teletubbies :)

Looking at the pictures I'm glad I put in the effort (or really, lack of effort) into letting my hair and eyebrows go back to blonde (my natural colour) as much as possible. It was just about brunetting time when I found out the theme and started thinking of wearing a blonde wig, so by not colouring then like I normally would, my eyebrows were nearly as pale as normal by the time the party came around, which I think really helped pull the blonde look off. I'm no stranger to preparing my hair for a costume months in advance, though this was the hardest so far as blonde roots on mahogany hair is not a good look!

Anyway, I forgot to mention that the carpet is all completely ripped up in the spare room and it's looking well on its way! It's not complete but it's a perfectly usable room now, and I sewed up my skirt and bag in it. Not having the carpet down made cleaning up super easy, and meant I could roll around the room in my chair to get the various bits and pieces I need. Also, this was my first time using my new machine on a large scale (the pj shorties don't count as they were a quick job on the kitchen bench!). It sewed like a dream through the skirt, until the finishing touches of the bag, where it started going insane, coiling the bobbin thread and jamming. I finished the bag by hand and ran out the door because I was late, and haven't had a look at the machine yet to figure out what's going on, but I have the feeling that there's a piece of the iron on caught in it. Fingers crossed it's easy enough to fix :(

This year is just flying past! I've been really busy these last couple of months with work and spring cleaning the house. The sewing room is still not finished, but is well on the way! Last weekend was spent ripping up the carpet and in a couple of weeks I should be ready to start painting.

Next weekend is the
Vodafone Christmas do and the theme is Best of British. After much cogitation, I've decided to go as Luna Lovegood in full Hogwarts regalia. There's so many awesome costume ideas for males (Monty Python, Russell Brand, Noel Fielding, Little Britain, Shawn of the Dead, Higgins etc etc etc) but I seemed to be at a loss for females and those I could think of I'd already dressed as. I've got just about everything ready, I just need to sew the skirt, make the radish earrings and finish off the wand, then I'm done. I've booked a room in the hotel across the road from the venue so that I can just crash out there instead of having to make my way back to the shore (I used to stay there a lot as a teenager when I went clubbing in town), it's cheap, but not too nasty and only a 30 second walk away, so I don't have to walk to far in my school uniform!

I got a new toy today which I had to try out, silicone baking cups... I find it really difficult to find decent cupcake wrappers these days; it's all either mini wrappers or muffin wrappers, not
patticake size like I have. So, while I have a large stock of chili and blueberry wrappers in the pantry, I can't find plain wrappers which don't clash with the decoration ideas I have. For example, I just made a batch of 'flesh and blood' cakes for Halloween (recipe coming, my goodness they were so tasty) that really needed to be cupcake size. Blueberries just didn't cut it, so in the end I had to rustle up some white muffin papers and go with the larger size cake. Meh. The theory with the silicone cups is that I can bake the cakes in them, then just turn them out so I don't need a wrapper. My first attempt seems to have been quite successful, my cappuccino cakes (recipe to come as well) turn out lovely, as you can see from the picture. I topped them with my new favourite frosting, Marshmallow, which I discovered and used on the Flesh and Blood cakes. It does take about 15 minutes to make but it's worth every minute.

Anyway, I wasn't convinced about the heat conductivity of the silicone, so I still put the cups in the tray, and this seemed to be just the right thing to do, as when I pulled them out of the oven, I could touch the moulds immediately, which indicates to me that without the tray, heat transference could be a little dodgy and uneven. The next concern was whether or not they were non-stick and no problems there either. I flipped them upside down after they'd cooled a little and they came right out the mould. I'm going to a
barbie the week after next and I've been asked to the salad and desert, so I'm going to get some mini silicone cups and make tiny versions of the Flesh and Blood Cakes, although minus the fang marks this time and labelled almond cherry cakes, and I may also experiment with heart shaped ones, which will be great for valentines day.

As well as the flesh and blood cakes, I've managed to recreate the Hawaiian Macadamia cake in cupcakes form (this recipe to come as well), and added a few extra touches which made them just heavenly. I certainly won't be bothering with the cake version again.

From a non-baking perspective, I've become addicted to a new show, the Big Bang Theory. A little early for me, usually it's Christmas when I discover new comedies that I fall in love with (last year was the Mighty
Boosh, the year before was Little Britain), but maybe I'll discover something else in December. I've managed to watch nearly 2 seasons in a little over 4 weeks and officially have a celebu-crush on Sheldor the Conquerer. I freely admit to tending towards geeks anyway (being one myself) and have already learned Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock far too well. Of course I'm also following Project Runway but frankly I could give or take it this year. All the ones I love are already out, and we're left with boring designs and the morally bankrupt but good designer, who I don't want to win just for the principle of it.

I went to see This is It today. I just don't really know how I felt about it. I took mum and she loved it, but I spent the whole show worried about it being/getting tacky, that I just couldn't chill out and watch it. I grew up listening the Jackson 5 and
MJ, and fell in love with MJ as a teenager in the 90s, during his HIStory phase (before he went just that much too far with the surgery) and to this day he's one of my favourite artists; the HIStory concert was amazing It was just so sad to think that only days after some of these scenes were filmed, he was dead, and really I wish people would let him rest in peace like a normal human being.

Hmmm, what else. Well, I've given up on the photorejuvenation, it's just not doing a thing to help the rosacea and has now cost me over $1500. I've had 4 sessions in total and on the last one, my face was swollen for over 7 days, more than when I had my wisdom teeth out, and I had a large blister on my cheek. Instead I've given in and got an antibiotic gel from the doctor. I've been using that for 2 weeks and it's doing a great job; it seems to work especially well with the Dr H moisturiser, and I've got my fingers crossed that my skin doesn't get used to it and go back to how it was.

I've also been converted to the Shannon Lush way of life and spent this Saturday gutting the house of all chemical cleaners and replacing them with essential oils, white vinegar and baking soda. I even managed to
recycle some water bottles we've had lying around for months, to use as containers for the vinegar and a shaker for the baking soda. I've used green cleaners for years but I'm finding that these two items work better than many of these cleaners. I've also discovered that vanilla essence is wonderful as an air freshener, even in the toilet!

Finally, I've started turning my hand to growing my own veges. I'm starting with tomatoes as I need something I could grow in a pot to start with, while I figure out where my
vege patch is going to live in the garden. I actually immensely dislike tomatoes as a general rule. I do love a good fresh pasta sauce and sun dried tomatoes so I'm going to use the harvest to make my own from scratch, and if there's enough then some tomato paste too for my homemade pizza.

Oh crumbs, Penfold

Posted by DeVille |

Well, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur! The vast majority of my time has been taken up by work. I alluded to a restructure in a recent post, and to give a little more detail, I was told in February (2 weeks after we returned from Melbourne) that the company I work for was looking at outsourcing our department. Now, to be fair, we thought a restructure was about to happen (and some of us hoped for it) because of recent changes in the company, but no one quite expected this.

The whole affair has been handled quite horrifically, with no communication, time frames being pushed out by months and various other things. Just before leaving for the Gold Coast in May, we were told that the decision had been made to not outsource, but a restructure would absolutely happen. From May until August, we were kept in the dark about what was going on, and in August they announced the new structure. During these months I was also told first that I was now permanent in my seconded role, then a month later than HR wouldn't sign it off for 'reasons they couldn't disclose' and I was back to being seconded.

So the announcement came; the whole thing was a colour coded jumble, but essentially if you were in a red box, you were safe. I luckily had a red box in both my previous and seconded position which meant that I still had a job, just which one was the question! Then they threw the biggest curveball for me, which was that my old manager (I've talked about her a few times, but think micro managing, passive agressive maniac and you get the point) would be the acting manager for my old role, rather than Paul (think best manager ever) who had been my boss when I was seconded out. This made it more important to me than ever that I work my butt off to get a permanent position in my current team.

6 weeks ago my boss told me that unfortunately under the new structure, I would have to go through the full job application process in order to keep my role (which is what I was expecting so it wasn't a surprise). 4 weeks ago, the role was advertised, so these last 4 weeks have seen me putting all my concentration into writing one heck of a CV and application, interviews etc. etc. I'm now glad to say that I've been offered the job permanently! So after 9 months of worrying whether I'd have a job, I finally can stop worrying!

2 weeks ago, we did a big shuffle around our building and we've been shifted down to a terribly depressing area, so I've been keenly finding ways to make my 'concrete cubical' (I've never worked in a cubical before, always open plan) less grey. 2 peace lillies and some photos of broadbeach later, and I'm starting to get somewhere.

Anyway, on to the happy stuff. I've not done any sewing since the boxers, but I have made a lot of progress on the sewing room. Tomorrow I'm getting a 2m skip delivered to clear out all the stuff which can't be kept, sold or recycled, so by Monday I'm expecting to be done with the clearing out phase! Yipee!!

I had my second round of torture (photorejuvenation) which while still painful, does seem to be working. I have at least 3 more sessions to go! I'm loving the Dr hauschka products now that I'm using them properly, and have also switched to Jane Iredale mineral makeup, which is also making a difference.

I've also managed to get some baking done, although I was forced into it a little by the fact we had a bake off! I made a Hawaiian Macadamia cake which took out second place (to an unbaked apricot slice, which I have to say was yummy). The picture above shows the yummy crumbly remains of the cake! I tried a slightly different recipe for my cream cheese icing, and I'll be honest, it was no so nice, so next time I'm going with my infamous white chocolate cream cheese icing. Also, I'm going to replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil, and pump up the spices, as the recommended amount just wasn't enough. I actually made two cakes, one for home (because I'd never tried the recipe) and one for work. I had a really strange experience with the baking, with the first cake taking 20 mins less than the recommended baking time, and the second cake taking 5 minutes more, so there's some tweaking to be done with this recipe for sure!

Lastly for today, I'm getting a breadmaker soon (just waiting for it to be delivered to the store). I love making my own bread, but sometimes I don't have the time to do it by hand; for the last 4 years I've been wanting a breadmaker so I can cheat everynow and then and so I'm very excited to be getting one!

Mighty fine PJ shorties

Posted by DeVille |

Finally after many weeks of restructures at work, hectic shopping trips a million family birthdays and goodness knows what else, things have settled a bit and I've had the chance to make something on my new machine!

I saw this great fabric at Ikes and instantly thought 'PJ shorties' (because it's nearly not winter)... I snapped it up and when I got home I perused my stash until I found Simplicity 1960, a men's underwear pattern which I'd recieved in a bulk lot and put aside pretty much for this purpose. I didn't have enough fabric to make the yoke, so went with the plain, boxer style short.

I also found some hilariously tacky clothing labels at Ikes which I just had to buy, and decided to use one of these just to make them look a little less homemade. Other than one wee mistake which was easily corrected, they went together super easy - about 20 mins sewing all up (including the mistake) and I think they look pretty great.

Don't you just love the tiki pegs? I got these this morning for $2.50 along with a set of Wahine Doll pegs. I'm going to use these to string up some photos in the sewing room (which I've made no progress at all on).

Melbourne in a nutshell

Posted by DeVille |

I love the this photo, which is another one from our Melbourne trip. We were on the way back from St Kilda and all of a sudden, Mum and I noticed this guy on a horse with this gorgeous 'hippie' girl in a flowing white poncho, standing there petting it (do you pet horses? sorry, never been a horse gal!). I quickly grabbed her camera, which switches on faster than mine, and snapped this shot just at the last minute. How great to see something like this right in the middle of a busy suburb!

Well, we obviously made it back from Melbourne in one piece! I managed to watch two movies on the way over (Monsters vs. Aliens and some
Dragonball Z thing) and despite the shuttle we booked not bothering to actually show at the airport to pick us up (read my review on trip advisor here for all the gory details), we got to the hotel with no other hassles. Unfortunately thanks to the shuttle bus incident, I didn't get into town on time to make it to Rathdowne Remnants (sniff, sniff!) but it was a gorgeous day so we headed down to St Kilda instead and spent the afternoon there, cruising around Luna Park and sitting on the beach until the wind got too cold.

We were going to get a caramel slice or eclair at one of the famous cake shops, but decided to try something totally different and each bought Baklava for afternoon tea. Golly but that is one weird tasting sweetie treat! Unfortunately I don't think either of us will be trying that one again, too
intense and sweet tasting for us :) We had a great time at Wicked on Saturday night, I think Mum really enjoyed it, at least I hope she did and it was great seeing all the horses and carts in the street afterwards.

The next day we went to breakfast at this great little diner around the corner from our hotel (where I took the beautiful photo of mum in the post below) and then spent a couple of hours at the markets. After the markets, we headed out to Bridge Road and looked around for a while, got some great deals at the
Bendon outlet shop and I found the best pair of jeans I've ever bought and a few tops, then back into town and to DFO where we spent the rest of the day shopping. We had to buy two extra suitcases to bring our goodies back in! After blobbing out for an hour, we had dinner at the restaurant downstairs from our hotel then just went upstairs and crashed. for the first time in weeks I was asleep in seconds and slept through until dawn, apart from a short wake-up when a bus load of tourists arrived from the airport at the backpackers across the road.

Of course, the shuttle company messed up our return trip too, but I'd allowed 2 hours to get to the airport, so even though they were an hour late, we still got there on time! The check in process was hilarious - Mum took a couple of travel sickness tablets which she normally never does, and if you've never taken them before they can make you a bit loopy! She was bumping her way around the airport like one of those toys that turns around when it hits something and then just keeps going in the other direction... I couldn't keep a straight face at the departure check point and we even had the lady stamping our passports laughing! I watched The Boat That Rocked on the way home which was fantastic, awesome music, awesome cast and a great upbeat storyline. It has three of my favourite actors (Bill
Nighy, Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd) and one of my favourite comedians (Rhys Darby) and so I sat there through the whole movie tapping my feet to the tunes and laughing my head off. Mum watched it on the way over, but her ears were quite blocked so she didn't managed to catch it all (though she was also boogie-ing in her seat!) but I got a copy of the DVD for my birthday, so we're going to watch it again next weekend on the big screen with surround sound.

I have to admit, I still don't love Melbourne itself, but I adore the public transport system (though the trams could use some tidying up and surely there's got to be a limit to the number of people you can fit on one!) and the shopping there. I think we'd have to spend more than 2 or 3 days like I have done to take it all in. I plan on spending a whole day next time looking at the amazing architecture and taking hundreds of photos of the beautiful terraced houses and
Victorian buildings. I asked mum what her favourite part was, and she agreed the convenience of the trams is wonderful - and she loves riding them like I do :)

I had a really quiet birthday because I was just too shattered to do much, then took Mum and Dad to Soto on
Thursday night for Mum's birthday. We arrived early and had the whole place to ourselves for over half an hour! The food was gorgeous and even Dad had a good time... My friend Nick and I have a photo restoration challenge going and by good luck, he gave me some of the photos he'd been working on on Wednesday. One he did of mum as a child was just stunning and I decided to buy a frame for it and give it to her for her birthday. I grabbed some orange ribbon too, and wrapped up the Emmeline pattern and fabric in the orange poplin, and gave her this. I felt bad for not having much else to give her, but the dinner more than made up for it. I totally recommend you go to Soto if you're ever in Auckland, the food is amazing and the staff are super friendly.

Since then, I've been working on getting rid of this headache which has been hanging around for a few days now and slowly working my way through restoring some of Nick's photos! I've finally got two done (after a month of promising), though I've yet to colour them like he did to mine. I think he's going to be really pleased with them once they're all done though. I also finished the first book in the
Sookie Stackhouse series. It wasn't so great, but I'm strangely compelled to get the next one and keep reading! I'm going to trawl the second hand book stores next weekend to see if I can find them cheaper - $29 is just too much for something I can read in a night and now True Blood is out here, the price of the books on TM has gone through the roof.

Melbourn in Images...

Posted by DeVille |

Finally it's clicked

Posted by DeVille |

My skin feel crazy smooth and soft today. I think the photorejuvenation and Dr Hauschka products together are going to make a real difference this time.

I just realised last night after reading the new improved information sheet that I had been using the DH products completely wrong all the other times I tried. Apparently the cream cleanser should only be used on clean skin as it doesn't remove makeup, just the nasty stuff, so the ideal use is cleansing milk in the evening and cleansing cream in the morning, when your face is 'clean'. I was using just the cream and scrubbing it in, always annoyed it never removed the make-up. Duh! I'm an advocate of taking a holistic approach to products, (i.e. I believe good products are made to work together, and to get the best results you should use the same brand cleanser, moisturiser etc. etc. ) so while I've always loved the masks and conditioners, because I hated the cleanser, I just stopped using the products all together. I know it probably sounds hooey to have a cleanser you only use on clean skin and to not use night products, but it makes total sense in my head.

Anyway, I bought a trial kit at the same time as the conditioning ampules and this has both cleansers in it as well as the toner and 3 moisturisers; I also got the lavender bath which they recommend you use to rinse off the cleanser if you have rosacea or inflamed skin. an to help activate the cream cleanser. Now that I'm properly versed on how to use the products, I did things properly last night and this morning and oh wow, what a difference! I initially balked at buying two cleansers, but then I guess it'll last twice as long so I might pick some up in Melbourne. Also, because you don't use a moisturiser at night, that is a saving, or at least it will be once I've finished the rythmic conditioner cycle.

Argh, Melbourne! I just remembered I have to pack tonight! And make sure I have all my pre-prepared stuff (tram info etc)... Eeesh, time to make a list of things to do!

Day 2 and all is well

Posted by DeVille |

I woke up happy to see that I have no swelling and little redness in my face (or no more redness than usual). Actually, in general there was a great amount of improvement overall and in less than 12 hours!

I started a treatment of Dr Hauschka Rhythmic Night Conditioner for sensitive skin tonight and I hope that will take care of the remaining inflamed rosacea until I have my next torture session in 4.5 weeks time. I noticed one added benefit this morning, which is that my make up went on well and stayed on most of the day, which it hasn't done in over a month and a half. For the first time in weeks I felt comfortable in my own skin! So at this point, I have to say that while the treatment really was painful, (honestly, excruciatingly painful) if I keep seeing this sort of improvement over the next 4 months, it will be well worth it.

On an unrelated note, I started watching Eleventh Hour last night. I'm kind of on the fence about it... It's an interesting show but I'm having issues taking the lead actress (Marley Shelton) seriously...
I think it's because every time she's on screen I have flashbacks to her in Planet Terror. I always thought she'd hammed it up for the movie, like everyone else, but it seems she just has a really weird acting style. Great for Planet Terror, not so much for a 'drama'

Patterns and ouchies

Posted by DeVille |

Well, I just came back from the clinic and my photorejuvenation treatment. I'd read two different descriptions of the pain, 'none' and 'like descending into the seventh circle of hell'. Neither of which are correct, I would say it's more like the ninth circle of hell, way down there with the traitors. Supposedly the treatment should feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin, which I would have no problem with. It's the incredible burning sensation at the site of application that I couldn't take. At one point I was close to tears and each time the pulse happened I jumped and bit my lip, no matter how prepared I was. I've only just stopped shaking enough to be able to relax and my heart is still beating fast.

Afterwards, my cheeks were the colour of tomatoes though now there is only a little redness in the area (well, no worse than a bad rosacea attack) and no pain at all. I laugh now that I was more worried about the after effects than the actual process. Hey, only 4 more treatments to go (arrrrgghhh)! I'm interested to see how it is tomorrow and how much makeup I'll have to use to cover my cheeks!

I arrived home to find my Emmeline pattern (finally! I was getting worried) and the gorgeous Advance 3090 nightgown. I have been searching for this advance pattern for nearly a year and searched for it once a week until I finally found a copy. I had hoped to find an 18, but after a year of searching I decided the 14 would do, I'll just need to grade it and do an FBA. Because of that it'll be a few weeks before I can get around to making it but I'm looking forward to finding some lovely fabric for this at Rathdowne this weekend.