Participate in Youvember this year to take the stress off of this Christmas.
There's also an international 4-winner competition - all you have to do is participate to enter!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Youvember and Participational Prizes

   Youvember begins on Saturday, and I've got the participational prize list for 4 winners put together with pictures to follow! To win, read below!

The Health and Fitness bundle will include:
  • A selection of Real Nutrition Co goodies including amazing protein shakes, multi-vitamins and your choice of #RNC fitness t-shirt or vest - did you know 57% of female gym-goers now use protein shakes and powders?
  • Nuun tri berry hydration tabs and a Nuun water bottle to better increase your hydration while working out, running or cycling
  • Dance it Off and Tone it Up DVD - my personal favourite 10 Minute Solutions DVD with 3 high-energy and fun dances, and two resistance band routines for upper and lower body
  • A resistance band - y'know, so you can do those last two routines!
  • Teapigs green and herbal tea

The Arts and Crafts bundle will include (with more to come):
  • PITT Castelle Fineliner Pens - Fine and Superfine - I use these pens in my inking drawings, and their different thicknesses are very useful. They're also incredible quality and extremely reliable with no smudging when erasing pencil lines beneath them.
  • Winsor & Newton drawing ink in black and silver and a fine paint brush.
  • 300gsm sketch book
  • Selection of washi tapes

The Feel-Good bundle will include:
  • Bill Bailey 'Qualmpeddler' DVD (in your region) - a unique musician/stand-up comedian.
  • Galaxy Chocolate is the best chocolate in the solar system. You thought I'd say 'galaxy'. Well, I've not tried chocolate from Risa but I bet it's good. So I'm not prepared to say 'galaxy'. Yet.
  • A monster plush toy from Grumble Cave Monsters - hand made by myself, standing at 35cm tall, faux fur, anti-allergenic filling, safety eyes; not suitable for children under 3.
  • Handmade animal jar jewellery from my shop, Peaches and Pebbles - my fox jar necklaces are easily my most popular item, and I've thrown in some bonus pieces from my upcoming art exhibit in the summer.
  • £50/$50 Etsy gift card - does what it says on the tin.
  • Options hot chocolate - drum of belgian hot chocolate; just add 3 teaspoons of powder to hot water and stir away. The best bit? 40 calories. I've blogged about Options hot chocolate in the past, and I still adore it. No need to add sugar or milk, it's quick, easy and flawless.
  • Pastel Barry M nail polish selection
  • BBC's 'Africa' DVD (in your region) - one of the BBC's best nature documentary series, it will leave you in awe when you see giraffes fighting and rhinos gathering to socialise at night.

The Christmas bundle will include:
  • A wide selection of different decorations and embellishments
  • A Christmas monster plush set from Grumble Cave Monsters, both the Christmas and the bah humbug monsters!

   Participating in Youvember is easy, and it's all about you. The only 'wrong' way to do it is by stressing yourself out with it. Youvember is simply taking time for yourself to destress and unwind in order to tackle the Christmas (and Thanks Giving) period a little easier. You can work out and take out stress physically, you can take time to meet with friends and encourage them to do the same and chill out over a coffee one day every week, or you can finally set aside some time to do something you've been meaning to for a long time, like try out a new craft or start and/or finish a project.

   To win one of the above prize bundles, you need only participate regardless of your location, doing something for yourself, and at the end of the month either email me a link to a blog post summarising your Youvember experience, or, if you're not a blogger, email me a picture or paragraph doing the same, as well as a note to say which bundle you'd like to be entered to win. The picture or paragraph can be about something you spent the month making, a workout you started and completed - then 30 Day Shred, for example - a long awaited trip or visit with friends, a Christmas organisational plan - maybe even a blog itself you finally decided to start.

As long as you do something for yourself this November to de-stress or breathe, you're eligible.

   There are Youvember badges you can display on your sidebar or at the foot of your posts to show your participation and spread the word. They can be found on the Youvember page, along with suggestions for how you could participate. The email to submit your entries via will be released and announced during the final week of November, as stated on the Youvember page.

Barn Owl, Tiger and Custom Cat Jars in Peaches and Pebbles

   Yup, a few more new products have made it into the shop at last! The barn owl jar is half a centimetre taller than the normal large jars, but the tiger and cats are average. The barn owl and the tiger are one-offs, however, additional pieces I made for the exhibit next year, and so they're not likely to be back in the shop for some time. The cat jar, however, is custom-painted, so you can choose the breed you want from the drop-down menu. The perfect Christmas gift for a crazy cat lady! But, as always, I love custom orders, so if you wanted a jar of your pet dog or pet cat, the piece will be much better and the shape will be very different.

   I said 'breed' at the beginning of the post, but what I really mean 'colour'. I'm a dog person, and as ashamed of it as I am, this is unfortunately quite accurate:

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Halloween Horn Temporary Tattoos

   My Halloween costumes have always been a One year I was the 'punk-ass fairy of doom', another year I was a dead child with a blood-soaked stuffed toy and a skeleton face, and another year still I was a drowning victim - I actually went trick-or-treating with my then-boyfriend's kid brothers, which was pretty stupid because my costume consisted mostly of black clothing I'd worn in the shower moments before, so I was dripping wet and freezing outside at the end of October.
   This year I'm doing something a little more orthodox, though I admit that that's because I'm not going out or seeing anyone so my costume will be worn in front of the TV and I can't be bothered with the effort (she says, having put far more time into making one single aspect of the costume than she has on any costume before) of something unique. But I did have an unrelated idea I wanted to try.

   I don't usually offer free downloads, mostly because I can't come up with anything anyone would want even if I were to dress it in gold ribbons and send it with a marching band, but I decided to just go for it this time, in part because it's not as simple as print, cut and stick... well, I suppose that, technically, that's not true. Because it is very much print, cut and stick, just not the way you'd think.
   Temporary tattoos. Demon horn tattoos and tauren tattoos to go on your forehead, shadows and all to give them that 3D look.
   You can get printable tattoo paper if you know where to look, and in the UK that's Crafty Computer Paper, and in the US you can probably find it in similar places, this ebay listing being one example. You can find them elsewhere but these are the two places I've looked at personally.
   They're easier to use than you'd think, too. You've got two parts to each sheet - the printable tattoo paper itself, and then a clear adhesive sheet to stick on top and protect them before you use them, and in truth the only hard part is applying that clear top sheet with as few bubbles as possible.
   There are both inkjet and laser printer paper, just make sure you buy the right one for your machine, and when it comes to printing, make sure that you set the printing quality to 'glossy photo paper' on your computer beforehand. Generally it will print regardless, but the one time I forgot to change it to 'glossy' the colours didn't come out as bright and the finish wasn't as crisp because the printer wasn't prepared for the glossy surface. But they were still more than usable. Either way, the paper usually comes with instructions, and if it doesn't, the info I just gave you will suffice.

   Save and print the images below, choosing your horn type. You can open them in any basic program, including MS Paint. Print a test horn first on normal paper to make sure your sizing is right.

How to resize:
Using the 'page settings' or 'print setup' under 'File' in the image window, adjust the size percentage. I reduced the entire thing to 20% of its full size and printed landscape to use as little paper as I could and make it easier to feed the paper back through in the future. If you want them bigger or smaller but aren't sure what size would be best, roughly draw them out on an ordinary piece of paper the same size as the tattoo paper and consider the proportions, then, using the 'print preview' option, see if it matches up. But remember: they will look smaller on the screen's print preview than they will once printed, and equally when you draw them out yourself remember that less is more. Don't overestimate the size of your forehead.

Once printed:
Peel the edge of the backing paper away and line up the two corners with the tattoo paper. Be aware that you only need to cover the printed area, so if you've only used half a sheet, you'll only need half of the adhesive, so cut the transparent sheet in half before peeling from its backing paper. Line it up as carefully as you can and try to avoid air bubbles. One of the best ways to do this is to use something like a bank card or other thick, laminated card to flatted the adhesive as you stick it down. If you do get some air bubbles in the adhesive you can tease them out by pushing them with the edge of a bank card away from the printed area.

   The trouble with inkjet or laser printer tattoo paper is that most of them do leave a plasticky feel to the tattoo and give it a shine. It can feel quite uncomfortable, like having a sticker stuck to you, but if you're just wearing it for a party, Halloween or a photoshoot, it shouldn't matter. Because of this, however, they're very easy to remove, and so you won't have to worry about a red forehead the next day after a vigorous scrubbing.

    I've made two sets, one for light skin, one for dark skin, but they can be lightened or darkened further in a program like GIMP with the 'burn' tool.

   These designs (digital or printed product) aren't for resale. They're permanently free for anyone to use whenever they wish. If you do use them, I'd love it if you could send me a picture, or link back to me on your blog or website!

Hand-Printed Skeleton T-Shirt for Sale

   Some time ago I printed a black rib cage and spine onto a t-shirt and never did anything with it. So I've decided to sell it now.
   It's UK size 12, beige, figure-fitted with a wide neck, and the fabric is so soft. It's the same t-shirt I always buy to screen print on because the paint takes so well and the fabric stays soft and stays fitted.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Hermaeus Mora Cookies

   After my monster eye cookie tutorial in September I couldn't help but have an idea. There's a god in the Elder Scrolls, a daedric prince called Hermaeus Mora, the keeper of knowledge, and he usually appears as either a void of darkness or a mass of tentacles and eyeballs. Lovely, isn't it? Well, he's one of my favourite daedric princes alongside Sanguine, and when making cookies with eyeballs peering out at me I couldn't help wondering if Hermaeus Mora cookies would work.
   Well, I think they did.
   I used the same cookie mix and the same method for making royal icing eyes, I just changed their design, and I also used black fondant for the tentacles. Despite how inedible they look, they taste great. It's just cookie, icing and fondant, afterall! Though I admit that I took the fondant off when I had one, since it was a bit much, but I think they look great and, for once, so does Seeg.

   Unfortunately the cookie dough didn't stay completely black for some reason, even though the colour took really well on the original monster eye cookies, but nevermind. In all fairness, as you can see below, he's black/green anyway, so I'm happy to settle for how it's turned out!

The vision of Hermaeus Mora I based them on:

Oghma Infininom.

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