Monday, July 8, 2013

LoveAesthetics/Grey Ant Inspired Sunglasses DIY Project ♥

In the past few days, I have come around to making a pretty big decision about my life & the path I want to take. It's been a hard five days, and I imagine it will be hard for the next few weeks, but I know in my heart that it's what I should do. While it's such early days, I don't really feel comfortable talking in great detail about it on a public forum, those who know me well & whom I hold dearly are supporting me, and that's all I could ask for in this time.

I've been trying to keep myself occupied, so I dug up a shitbox pair of old sunglasses that I haven't work in ages & gave this lil project a try. I am more than a little inspired by the ever lovely Ivania Carpio, and I've been wanting to give one of her DIY projects a try for a long while, so this is my translation of her take on Grey Ant's The Foundry glasses.

I used a fine tooth hacksaw*, ultra fine grit sandpaper (grit 240, Aluminium Oxide) and a pair of pliers. The pair in the picture are needle nosed, because I couldn't find my favourite grippy pair!
*While I absolutely endorse giving things a go for yourself, hacksaws are NOT to be taken lightly and if you're not feeling confident or have no experience, get someone to help you! I was originally planning on using a jigsaw cutter, but an assessment of the project had me decide that powertools were entirely unnecessary.
Some other helpful tools would include a rubber grip clamp, a piece of cloth to protect the lenses, and something to mark where you'd like to cut.

Now, because I'm a total dingus, I forgot to take a before photo, so please excuse my tacked on off cuts to give you an idea of what these things looked like before I messed with them. Mark where you would like the cuts to go on your specs and when they're to your liking, carefully secure the frames to a workbench. I used a piece of towelling to hold the frames steady, so I didn't scratch my lenses too badly. 

Starting with the outer frames, I gently sawed until I reached the lenses, and when there was enough leverage, the lenses popped out and I put them away from scratchy tools so I could work on the inner corners of the frames. It was fiddly work, so when the cuts were deep enough on each side, I used pliers to snap off the bottom parts. Not a good idea if you have very brittle frames you're working with, but these were less than ten dollars and made of soft plastic, so it was easy.

Using ultra fine sand paper, I filed down the edges & corners of the frames. Because I didn't cut the plastic lenses at all, I didn't need to file them, but if you're cutting into glass or hard plastic, it is imperative that you file down those sharp edges so they don't hurt you when you're wearing them! Pop the lenses back into the frames, give them a little polish to get rid of the last of the fingerprints/file marks and you're done!  

And viola! I'm pretty happy with this little revamp of something that was otherwise going to just sit around and gather dust, naturally I felt compelled to take them for a spin. Their debut coincided with my taking out a lip ring that I've had since I was, like, sixteen years old, which is a pretty big personal deal for myself. It's weird feeling, in a good way!
Thanks for reading, if y'all get around to giving this tutorial a shot, I'd love to see how they turn out! ♥


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Easy Crushed Garlic! ♥

It's no secret of mine, I really really really love garlic! One of my favourite ways to incorporate it into food is as a tasty crushed paste, which is super easy to make & an amazing flavour additive. There are numerous well known health benefits from including garlic in your diet, including a better immune system and better skin!

Alex is a star and helped me shoot this super quick video, please excuse my total lack of professional food preparation skills & I'll take you through a quick way to bring some garlicky flavour into your life!

First, peel and chop your garlic. Now you should de-germ it, which is cutting the clove in half & removing the little green shoot. That's the hidden culprit behind the garlic gas & upset tummies, be gone with it!

Add a handsome grinding of salt to your pile of garlic, about five or six turns. Salt helps break down the garlic membranes, which makes the crushing part of this wicked easy. Salting the garlic helps to bring out the flavour, too!

Once your garlic is salted, just toss it through the salt. You will see it starts to leach moisture out almost instantly, yum!

Using your good hand & a big knife, press the blade across the board. The salt will help grind up the garlic, and the blade will squish it together and incorporate it. It takes a bit to get the knack of it, but once you have it down pat, it's super easy! Repeat the pressing process until you have a board full of squashed, fragrant garlic, which is now ready to be thrown in to cook, added to a dressing/marinade, spread on a sandwich or tossed through Garlic Mushrooms at the last minute. Yum yum yum!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Updated Eyebrow Ritual ♥

I have been puzzling over an introduction for this post for about half an hour and havecome up with nothing, so please don't mind me as I launch straight into my browbsession! I grew my eyebrows back around two years ago, after shaving them off for six or so years, and they've been my pride and joy ever since. Somewhere on here, there was a documentation of the process of growing back, a little natural look tutorial. I've since updated my ritual and in lieu of some very lovely enquiries, thought I'd share it and some handy eyebrow wrangling tips!

What I use:
I'm no brow professional, but these are the things I have found work well for me. I don't touch my forehead much, so creme eyeliner is a viable option, but if you have problems with cremes, a sharpened, quality eyebrow pencil in your shade will work great!
Left to right: Compact slanted brush, clean mascara brush, angled eyeliner brush, Inglot palette brow powder, Illamasqua Gleam, Smashbox mini creme eyeliner palette, Prestige brow gel. Eye finishing touches; Napoleon Perdis eyeliner, Face of Australia liquid eyeliner, Bobbi Brown lengthening mascara.

Clockwise from bottom; Smashbox mini creme eyeliner in Midnight Brown, Prestige Brow Perfection, Inglot freedom palette brow powder #569, Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora.

Okay, now you have your stuff together, let's get started on those brows! I like to do mine before I have my eyes done, but that's just how I roll. If you're a fan of doing really lovely complex eye make up, it's probably best if you do your eyes before you get started on your brows, just 'cause manipulating skin for shadow can ruffle brows.

This is what I have to work with au naturale! They're a little scruffly and not nearly as plump as I like them. Please excuse the flyaway hairs that are constantly photobombing me!

Using a clean mascara brush, gently comb the brow into place. It can feel pretty funny brushing brows into shape for the first time, like a new part in your hairdo, but that goes with time. Combing really helps the brow be the best shape and you can create all kinds of shapes with just a few brushes. I drew some lil purple lines to sort of indicate the direction I brush mine, upwards strokes help to make them neat and arched high. 

Using the creme liner & the mini liner brush that came with it (or any fine firm liner brush) to really define the arch and tail. The little purple X is the kind I sort of draw in my brows, the intersection between the defining lower line & the defining arch line, more than anything it's a handy guide. You really don't want to fill your whole brows with liner if you're going for a more natural look, just gently extend from the arch intersection & define the lower line of the brow. It may look a little patchy now, but that's where brow powder steps in!

Get a good firm slanted eyeliner brush, swipe on some brow powder but make sure to tap off the excess or it'll end up all over your face. Follow the direction that the hair has been combed in, and the creme definition,  and pack the powder into your brows. To avoid a heavy blunt look, just use upward strokes. 

For this step, I like to use a slanted eyeliner brush for the fact that it's very precise and Illamasqua Gleam is incredibly easy to blend. It's best to use a cream highlighter, but concealer or primer with carefully brushed on powder highlighter will work. Swipe your preferred brush in your preferred highlighter and line the arch- the product will be the heaviest and require the most blending, then follow the line of your brow with a less heavy  highlighter line. The idea is to create a very subtle crispness to your brow, leading to a creamy glow which  gives a higher arch illusion.

For the final touch, gently brush on some brow gel. You want to be very light handed as heavily gelled eyebrows tend to look a little Ross Gellar which isn't good. Follow the direction that you combed your brows to really define the hairs and seal the powder. I like to finish with a simple eye look & that's it! Brows are done, congrats on reading all the way through this!
Some handy hints!
  • Get familiar with the pencil trick in order to make the most of your naturally lush brows without having to go crazy with the tweezers.
  • An old cleaned mascara brush has trumped many a fancy eyebrow comb in my quest to tame my brows. You can get bags of disposable mascara wands which are awesome, not only for their wrangling abilities, but you'll have some spare to brush some coconut oil on your lashes & eyebrows before bedtime to promote thick and healthy growth.
  • Brow powder sticks better to a base, like a creme liner or pencil, and maintains a neat sharpness throughout the day, powder on its own tends to move about.
  • A good brow gel is essential, but if you're unable to find one, a quality gentle hair gel brushed on ever so gently is a good DIY. Just make sure to take it off with your make up at the end of your day!
I hope this is helpful, I had a lot of fun shooting & blabbing beauty stuff. Good luck & happy eyebrowing!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Sorry it's been a while, have some delicious cookies ♥


After all, nothing heals the hurt of time elapsed since blog posts like some tummy warming pumpkin cookies while us Southern Hemisphere-ans experience our winter!

I hope to try and get back into the swing of things of keeping my little corner of the internet updated, I've made it a bit more reading friendly with black print on a white background, I'm sorry it took me so long!
It's kind of nice to browse the archives and see what I was up to before I had my braces put on, had my blackwork started, grown my hair a bit. I think I have a border-lining Warhol level of wanting to document the things around me, and I'm done with feeling bad for it, so here's hoping I can direct some of that energy here!

In the meantime, find a nice locally grown, fresh butternut pumpkin & give this recipe a shot. If you're a fan of anything with a hint of  sweetness, spice, pumpkin and walnutty crunch, you're going to love these! They go down especially well with a nice hot cup of strong black tea :)

Be sure to read the authors notes on pumpkin puree & ingredient substitution, as this recipe is easily made vegan/gluten free.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies!
You will need:
- An electric beater, to get that beautiful fluffy consistency
- 125g butter*
- 155g sugar*
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour**
- 220g pumpkin puree***
- 1 egg*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1/2 tsp salt (finely crushed to a powder, if you can. I use a mortar & pestle for the best results)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 90g chocolate chips*
- 80g chopped walnuts**

Authors notes:
* Butter can be easily replaced with a (V) substitute, like Nuttelex. The recipe called for white sugar, but I like brown sugar much more. The recipe also calls for an egg, but I used egg replacer for one egg to avoid that eggy taste. Chocolate chips can be dark or milk free if you desire.
** I used plain flour, but a good plain gluten free flour would work as well. Chopped walnuts are purely optional, and if you wanna use another nut, go for it.
*** Loads of recipes called for pumpkin puree from a tin and I have no idea where to get that, so here's how to make your own, easy as. Get a good butternut pumpkin, peel, deseed & cut up into smaller than an inch chunks. You'll need twice the weight of pumpkin chunks to what the recipe calls for, as they cook down. What I do is place the pumpkin in a microwave safe bowl & cover the top of the bowl with cling wrap. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave on high, for about ten minutes. BE CAREFUL WHEN REMOVING FROM THE MICROWAVE AND HANDLING THE CLINGFILM, removing the clingfilm will release all this pumpkin steam and give you one helluva burn if you're not super careful. When the pumpkin is cooked to the point that it's falling to pieces, get a stick blender (I used a good ol' fashioned fork) and smash the pumpkin to a pureed paste. It's ready to use!

How to!
- Prepare your pumpkin puree and set aside to cool. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees (fan forced, 180 conventional oven) and line baking trays with baking paper.
- Cream butter & sugar together with your electric beaters until smooth and light. Add the egg & beat until creamy and fluffy.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree & vanilla extract. Beat for a minute or until all is combined well.


- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Add this to the pumpkin mixture. Stir to combine, it takes a bit of time to incorporate it all together, but just be careful and patient.
- Stir the chocolate chips and walnuts into the dough.
- Add teaspoonfuls to the baking paper lined trays, slightly flatten each cookie as you place it. If you have to, you can keep the dough in the fridge while baking it in batches.
- Bake for about ten minutes, or until the cookie golden & slightly brown on the edges. Remove from oven, let cool on tray for about five minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. They are simply splendiforous fresh from the oven, but also keep for five days in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Thank you for reading! Looking forward to posting again!