Friday 29 November 2013

Tea Advent Calendar

   This tea advent calendar is good for so many reasons. It's perfect for people trying to lose weight or who are on a diet, especially if the calendar is made up of green tea as mine is. I'm not a coffee drinker, purely because I just don't like the taste, and I'm not really all that keen on regular tea. I never knew that hot drinks could be refreshing, but green tea is exactly that.

   The tea advent calendar is dead easy to make. I made mine from 2 metres of red and white baker's twine, 25 tiny wooden pegs, some glittery paint and some teabags.
   I prefer tea bags with tags on them - they're just cuter - and I usually go for Twinings because a) it tastes great, and b) frankly, Twinings know how to present their products. But boxed Twinings tea never usually have tags on them.
   Advent calendars should be mixed and contain surprises, so you can always cover the tags with washi tape or just remove them altogether. Twinings have pick and mix options in their online shop, where you can buy individual tea bags of all kinds of tea. Alternatively you could bag up loose tea yourself.

   I bought a selection of teas from Twinings because I only had boxed tea at the time, and I also collected some tea bags I already had, including Qi, Kandula and Albert Heijns (basically the Dutch Tesco, but despite being cheap, own-brand stuff, it was delicious and boxed gorgeously).
   Twinings are also offering free shipping until December 3rd with the code 1del1113.

   First you gather your materials. I cut my twine into two 1 metre lengths. I painted the pegs in some Martha Stewart paint - Florentine Gold, Sterling Silver and Blueberry Slush glitter paints, and regular Sterling silver metallic paint - and left 5 blank.

   Cut some tiny pieces of paper and wrote the dates on them before sticking them onto the pegs.

   Take your twine and hang it on the wall. Tea bags don't weigh too much but they do add up, so make sure it's secure where you hang it. Then jumble up your tea bags and start pegging them up. Try not to think about it too much, don't arrange all your favourites early on, but if there is a special one you'd like for the 25th - Christmas Day - then keep it to one side.

   I did something different for my 25th. Though I love green tea, I love hot chocolate more. So I thought it would be interesting to try to make a hot chocolate tea bag. There is an immediate problem, however, one I had thought of immediately, and that is that the chocolate, if left in the bag when submerged, would certainly just clump up in the tea bag itself. Therefore you can only really use the tea bag as a visual thing, and when you go to actually have that hot chocolate, you'll need to cut the bag open first and pour the contents into the mug. This means, though, that you can add marshmallows to the mix. See my separate tutorial I posted a few hours ago for how to make this.

   Now you wait for December 1st, then hang it up and start drinking. Green tea genuinely can do wonders for your health. I hated the taste of it at first, but kept drinking it, and after about a fortnight I loved it. Some tea brands can be quite bitter regardless of steeping time, so I prefer Twinings because it always tastes good. My favourite is their Jasmine Pearls green tea. I love it. I also feel better inside than when I didn't drink it, though it could just be my imagination. Regardless, I feel good when I drink it.

Hot Chocolate Tea Bag Tutorial

   This tutorial, I will admit, has a flaw from the very beginning. If you were to make this hot chocolate tea bag and then try to steep it in water, the chocolate would just congeal in the bag. So I'll tell you from the start that if you do this, you will need to cut the top off of the tea bag and empty the contents into a mug before adding water.

   This tutorial does have a point, as it goes along with a tutorial I'm going to be posting in a few days' time. The tea bag aspect of this hot chocolate is purely decorational.

   First of all, you'll need your materials. You'll need a teabag (full or not), hot chocolate powder, needle and thread, and some washi tape.

   First of all, you need to make sure you've chosen the right tea bag. Pyramid bags can hold more than flat tea bags, so I used one of those. I've also noticed two different types of materials used for this. One is a woven fabric, thin and silky, but it had obvious holes in it, which the powder will escape from. These usually contain larger tea leaves that won't threaten to escape from the bag. The other type is a sort of papery material, but it's not really paper. It holds together perfectly well, and is usually used on flatter tea bags. The Albert Heijns tea bags I got in the Netherlands are pyramid shaped and made of this papery material, which, though you can see into it, does not have any little holes in it. These were the bags I used.

   Cut the bag open near the top - I cut about half way across one edge - then empty the contents. If you have a tea diffuser then you can rescue the tea, but if not it might have to be binned.

   Next you replace the tea in the bag with cocoa powder. I used Options because there are few calories, and you don't need to add any sugar, milk or anything like that, just water.
   You can use an icing bag or funnel to direct the powder, which I did, or you can use a teaspoon and spoon in a quarter of hot chocolate powder at a time.

   Once you've done that, you can add to it. I added in a few marshmallows, knowing I'll have to cut the bag open to empty the contents first anyway, but you can also add sprinkles, edible stars and so on.

   Now you sew the top back up and you're done. Be careful with the stitching. The papery bags don't close back up if you pierce them, like paper doesn't. You'll notice, though, that little to no powder is escaping from the body of the bag.

   Next you can cover the tag of the teabag in washi tape to make it look a little more special and won't be confused with actual tea. 

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Last Christmas Purchasing Dates

   The last dates for purchasing in time for Christmas in my shops have been worked out. They don't quite match up with Royal Mail's, because Royal Mail's are the last posting dates. I've been sure to knock a few days off to make sure that I can put together any piece that's purchased so that I can get them shipped out by the dates I've been given.
   And so, the last dates in which you can purchase for what should be delivery in time for Christmas are as follows:

 Outside of the UK: 8th of December
Within the UK: 18th of December

   Please be aware that if you purchase after these dates, your purchase may not arrive in time. I'll do my best to get the items made and shipped as soon as I am able but be aware that the closer it gets to Christmas, the busier the postal services are, and the busier I am personally. Sales will come first, but please purchase by these dates to avoid disappointment.

Black Friday Sales

   Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales start soon, but like many other handmade sellers, I've started my Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale now. It's only a 20% discount - though it's less than some, it's more than others. I have to make each piece myself by hand, afterall! But this discount counts towards everything in both of my shops, including my limited edition Christmas monster plushies.
   The sales run from the 27th to the 3rd, and the discount must be applied by discount code. The code is BFCM2013 and you must apply it at checkout. This code is exclusive to my shops and may not work in other Etsy stores - you'll have to check their info to find their discount code, if they have one. This applies to all of my handmade jewellery in Peaches and Pebbles, and my plush toys and plush toy patterns in Grumble Cave Monsters.

   I have other discounts available all the time, such as free shipping if you spend £50 or more in Peaches and Pebbles - which is about 3 items - and I can understand that people will want to take advantage of that. However, you can only use one discount code at a time. So, if you're planning to place an order of a few items that total £50/$75 or more, then send me a message and I can set up a special listing for you to purchase that will remove all shipping fees. If you place your order before contacting me, I can't amend it.
   Remember - I also now accept Etsy Giftcards, and Direct Checkout, so you no longer need to use Paypal if you don't want to, though Paypal is certainly easier for me! During the sale, all sales are final.
   Don't miss this sale because it is the last one that will run before Christmas. My Christmas deadline purchase dates will be posted in my shops' info boxes, my shops' policies, and right here on the blog, with a link just beneath the blog header to the post that says so. They may be amended the closer we get to Christmas, but if they are, they'll be easily found.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Finding Money For Christmas

   For a lot of people, Christmas is a difficult time of year. You want to buy so many things to make Christmas amazing - great food, awesome gifts, loads of decorations - but you can't always manage it. Some people take out loans, other people borrow from family and friends, some get an extra job or work longer shifts. Not all of these are great ways to find money, though. Afterall, you might enjoy Christmas, but on Boxing Day you'll remember the debt and you might find yourself paying it back, struggling for the next few months, trying to remember if it was worth it.

   There are other ways, though.
   First of all, take a look at yourself. Are you constantly saying you're not crafty or creative? It's probably a load of rubbish. Rather than just not being crafty, you probably just lack motivation or dedication, which means you probably just didn't enjoy anything you already tried. Getting creative, especially festively if you love Christmas that much, can really help the purse strings. Make things for Christmas - stockings, table runners, candles and so on - and sell them. Yes, it might hurt initially when you're buying the materials, and it might well be a risk, but it could well make you some good money. This, however, is something you're better off starting in the late summer. During August and September, buy some materials and start experimenting. Money won't be as tight then, and you have enough time to learn how to do what you're doing, you'll get used to it and be able to do it quicker, and you might find you're good at it. You can stock up over those few months and then open up an Etsy/Folksy account and start selling in October.

   Second of all, look around yourself. Are you a hoarder? A collector? Perhaps you're sitting on something worth a few bob without even realising it. Now, I'm not suggesting you sell your laptop, or a family heirloom - far from it. Perhaps you've got a few things that no one really cared about and you ended up with eventually, or you found something while thrifting that you just thought looked nice. Websites like Value My Stuff can give you a good estimate of...well, the value of your stuff! They give antiques valuations, art valuations, fashion and so on. So, there's a good chance that something around you could be worth a little bit. I've done this in the past myself just this year, and managed to sell items I never thought I would. It turns out, there's a buyer for everything, even old clothes and shoes that just don't fit anymore.

   Offer a service. Perhaps you love Christmas just that much - the shopping, the wrapping, the cooking. Well, as crazy as it is to  hear (or for me at least) there are people out there who hate that side of it. Parents who don't have enough time to shop for Christmas, cook and wrap, while trying to juggle two young kids and a job. You'd be their hero. And, what's more, the more creative you can be with such things, the better. Do you love wrapping presents? Do you challenge yourself, every year, to never wrap two things the same way? Do you consider it an art? Do you stare at pictures of wrapped up empty boxes on pinterest and feel a jolt of excitement about doing it yourself? I for one am putting off wrapping everything that I possible can until the decorations are up, because I love looking at Christmas while sitting in Christmas and eating Christmas and listening to Christmas.
   Perhaps people have always told you you have a way with sugar paste. Perhaps you can't decorate full cakes too well, perhaps buttercream is your worst nightmare, but you can create a kick-ass fondant puppy. Have you considered selling them? During this time of the year, cakes are abound, and the quickest way to give a store-bought cake a personal touch is with a fondant topper. Sure you can buy them in shops, but they're always small and not always perfect since they've been made in a hurry. If someone has one custom made, however, the attention payed is going to be far more precise, and the finished piece will be far nicer. You won't be payed to work X number of hours a day, but rather specifically to make a particular piece.

   There are plenty of ways to find money for Christmas that don't require working longer shifts, finding a new job or taking out a loan. You just have to be brave enough and imaginative enough to come up with it. And sitting on a few pricy pieces wouldn't hurt, either! You never know until you try!

Sunday 24 November 2013

More New Jewellery - Miniature Parcels!

   I'm on good form lately! Perhaps it's the desire to up my game from last Christmas, or I'm simply inspired for once, but I got some more new jewellery out today! They're similar to my much-loved envelope necklaces and rings, but this time they're parcels! Yay! Afterall, brown paper packages tied up with string is one of my favourite things!
   They're the same price as my envelope necklaces and rings - £16 for a ring, £18 for a necklace, and gift sets are also available for £28 - and they are solid, and sealed.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Saturday 23 November 2013

What's Made Me Happy Lately

One of my favourite lines from Harry Potter: "She was at my hearing. She works for Fudge."
Seeing the second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Seeing Radagast torment Gandalf
Gandalf: "They are building an army! Oh, f***, no." *walks back to position*
Radagast: "Oh! F***, f***." *follows Gandalf back to position*
Gandalf: "Gathering, building, no gathering, gathering an army."
Radagast: "No, building, build an army, like with Lego, building."  *stacking / building action*
Gandalf: "Don't...don't..."

Seeg was aching but did something funny that involved bending down. He did it twice more because I laughed. I said he shouldn't keep doing it but he said "it's worth it if it makes you laugh."
Agreeing to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium's terms of selling and sending off products.
Receiving an awesome commission.
Seeing the Christmas displays in Cadbury garden centre in Congresbury.
Getting onto the last stretch of buying Christmas presents.
Finally finding a gorgeous coat that is suitable for mid winter, and fits my shape perfectly.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Friday 22 November 2013

Fox Gifts

   So I said recently how big of an animal person I am, and I honestly can't pinpoint my favourite animal. I've had so many pets, all kinds of different creatures - some of them are animals people consider gross, but are in fact the most loving!
   There are, however, animals I go through phases of loving. That's not to say that I love them one minute and hate them the next. I just mean it in a sort of 'fad' way. And most of the animals I go through phases of are because of fads, even though I loved them anyway. But the fact that some animals become popular means that there are more and more products revolving around them and fuelling the fad. And so most of us can be forgiven for giving into such things.

   As a result, however, I decided to put together a few gift guides revolving around said animals. I'm going to start with foxes. I love them. They're like wild dogs, but they're not really dogs. I've seen them strolling around the streets and through the fields near my house at night, and I've heard them make their atrocious noises (seriously, I couldn't believe it when I heard them a few years ago for the first time, I genuinely thought there was an injured animal outside. It's chilling). I've also had them make a den beneath a huge, thick bush in the front garden, and the mother and four cubs have been playing in the street. Fortunately we live in a very quiet area, and in a cul-de-sac, so no one is ever speeding down the road so they're quite safe. They're lovely to watch, and I find them very appealing.

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Thursday 21 November 2013

Gift Guide for Animal Lovers

   Anyone who knows me knows I am an animal lover. I greatly prefer them over people - it's just the way I am. I am far more of a dog person than a cat person. I've grown up with dogs, worked with dogs. I lived with cats for about a year and a half and I have to say, they're hard for me to read. For Seeg it's the same, but flipped. He's grown up with cats, he can read them and he's wary of dogs, but he lived with them for about a year. But, despite that, we're both animal people, but perhaps myself moreso.
   And so I couldn't help putting together a gift guide of animal gifts for people such as myself.

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Wednesday 20 November 2013

My Christmas Wishlist - The Unrealistic

   All of us have wishlists for Christmas, I'm sure. There are things out there we all want, some realistic, and others not so much so, either due to living arrangements or allergies, right the way to money, space and time.
   This is my slightly less realistic wishlist. Some of these things I can't have (most now, some never) because of space, circumstance, money and so on. The usual things that keep you from buying things you want.

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Snow Leopard Trust Donations

   I decided to make an adjustment to the Snow Leopard necklace I showed you all yesterday. The price has gone up by £3, yes, but £5 ($8) will be donated from each sale of the necklace to the Snow Leopard Trust. I may well do this with a few more animal jars in time for other animal charities (I have one in mind, which also means new product!), but this is where I've decided to start. It's not much, and while I support charity, I never have the money to donate. I'm hoping I can change that.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

My Christmas Wishlist - The Realistic

   All of us have wishlists for Christmas, I'm sure. There are things out there we all want, some realistic, and others not so much so, either due to living arrangements or allergies, right the way to money, space and time.
   This is my more realistic wishlist, made up of things I'd love. I decided to put these wishlists together for two reasons: 1) my friends have been asking for suggestions, and 2) I need to post every day. So here we go!

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NaBloPoMo November 2013

Monday 18 November 2013

New Leopard Jar Necklaces

   Yes, at long last, there are finally some new products in Peaches and Pebbles. I struggle so much to come up with anything worth trying, and even then they don't always work. I actually have about 4 different animals ready to go in jars, I'm just having a very, very hard time figuring out the bases for those jars. For example, I just cannot get anything that is solid but looks like water. I get on horribly with resin, and as far as I can see, fimo/sculpey and so on's 'clear' liquid clay doesn't work as well as it should. So I'm a wee bit stuck for some things.

   But, because three of my animal jars are about to go up in lady Dinah's Cat Emporium soon, I decided that I should try working on some cats. I've wanted to for a long while but never had the guts. I did it last night and once they were painted, I thought they looked pretty good. They look far, far better in person, mind you, but what can you do? Hopefully I'll be able to stock some similar with them after Christmas.
   Unfortunately, due to a shortage of jars and the amount of time they take to arrive, and the simple fact that I can't afford any at the moment, each of the leopard jars are limited to three. Even that might decrease in time - it depends on what sells! But it's best to consider that no more than three of each will be available this side of Christmas.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Outdoor Winter Exercise and Why It's Perfect.

   It might seem crazy, but winter is the best time to do outdoor sports. I say this because how often in the summer do you feel like doing something that's going to make you more hot and sweaty? And if you're considering it as exercise as opposed to playing, then it implies that you have to work harder. And that's just not appealing when it's hot outside.
   And I know, I know, it's cold in the winter, but that's exactly what makes outdoor exercise in the winter perfect! You'll be cold outside, but at the same time, you'll know that you'll warm up quickly if you're running or playing a sport, and you have also got the option to try sports designed for the winter like ice skating or ice hockey. The cold weather might make you want to get all bundled up, but you'll end up stripping those layers off before you know it.

   There are numerous upsides to outdoor exercise in the winter.
  • There are less eyes on you. There will be fewer people outdoors just hanging around, and those that are outside have their own things to take care of. No one will want to stop and watch you or judge you. And anyone who happens to see you from their window will likely tip their hat in admiration.
  • You get out in the fresh air instead of being couped up inside. And like I said, there are less people watching you, so you can enjoy it more.
  • You are going to interact with people if you're playing a game. Be it with old friends, or new people. It's a great opportunity to try something new (I know that one is said a lot) but you could also meet some special people. Take that meaning however you want to.
  • You'll keep warm. It might seem mad to go outside in mid winter with only a thin jacket, but you'll quickly warm up even if you're only jogging, and that jacket will be more than enough. Also, that cold weather will encourage you to work harder to get warm quicker, and you're also more likely to exercise for a longer period of time because you won't be tired and hot before you even started. Quite the opposite!

   There are so many things you can do outside that you may not have thought of.

Hockey - field or ice.
   I played hockey in school once. It was awesome despite very nearly breaking my neck. I tripped over a hockey stick, flipped (yes it was that bad), landed on the space between my shoulder and my neck and skidded about four feet that way. It didn't hurt but I'm certain that I could have really injured myself. You don't always notice if you have whiplash, for example, but it is serious.
   You could gather your friends, buy some hockey sticks, hockey bags, hockey pucks and everything you need to start and just head out to a field and start playing. Odds are it'll be a bit mishmashed to start with but you may end up enjoying it and eventually forming a team. Teams have to be formed somehow, and this is generally how they start. A group of people enjoying the activity, gradually expanding and bringing in new members.
   Hockey Factory Shop is a great place to start if you're looking for such hockey equipment. I just bought a few things myself because I intend to give this a go. We'll see if it lasts! They have a nice selection of Hockey novelties by Gryphon Hockey that you can buy to show how awesomely active you are, too.

Ice Skating
   A lot of ice skating rinks get opened up during the winter, and it's best to take advantage of these places rather skating on a frozen pond or lake - you never know how safe they are, and ice freezes irregularly. Though they may be indoors, they're kept cold (it's ice, after all) and most people are busy concentrating on trying to keep themselves up so they won't be watching you. Sure it'll be hard at first, and that's where the real work comes in, but think of the feeling of success you'll get when you're finally able to stand up and move without holding on! Yay!

   Okay, so this is more for the confident people, but no one is stopping you from busting moves outside. Get your iPod and just go nuts. Who cares? As long as you're not being too sultry no one should care. Keep it family friendly and you can have loads of fun, and entertain others while you're at it. Maybe you'll boost other people's confidence too. Alternatively you could get the same effects if you just did it in your back garden or in a forest where no one can see you. You still get the cold, fresh air and you'll have to work hard to warm up, but no eyes will be on you.

   Yep, go hiking in the winter. Walking up hills is harder than you think, and just because a slope has steps cut into it doesn't many it any easier. I walked up the 274 steps in Cheddar Gorge, and I began thinking "no one could make it to High Hrothgar in one day". I could never manage 500 steps let alone 7,000.
   It will take a little longer to warm up with this one, but the rewards are the same, as you'll last longer, too. Plus you can't just decide to stop and that's that - you have to make it back to your car/house first. And you could always make it more exciting: throw on a waistcoat, curl your hair/throw on a wig, grab a hiking stick and pretend you're a Hobbit. Why the hell not? You're going on an adventure! You can really get into hiking by buying the best gear around from a store like Bass Pro (check out Raise for coupons) to ensure your hike is as comfortable as possible.

   Odds are, if there's a sports center nearby that does ice hockey and ice skating, they do curling, too. It doesn't seem as high-impact as some of the others on this list but neither is it as low-impact as the rest. And it's indoors once again, but you're still going to be cold while you try to warm up, and you'll have to meet new people. But don't assume that, just because it's your first day to the sport, that everyone else there is a pro. Odds are that someone else in your class started only two weeks before you did, and the rest of them had to start somewhere too.

Back Garden
   Yes, don't ever underestimate your own private back garden. It may not be big, but you could move your workout equipment out there, whether all you own are dumbells, or if you have a rowing or spinning machine. Move it outside in the cold and use it! You'll still have an effective workout, with the above benefits, and far more privacy. Don't overlook that fact. Plus you have a bathroom nearby, and an unlimited supply of water. You might be out in the cold but hydration and feeling cool are not the same thing. Studies suggest that the more water you drink the more weight you lose, too. You need to keep hydrated or your body will turn to the liver for water which it doesn't really have, and that's not good. Whether you're out hiking, running, or playing hockey, be sure to have plenty of water with you at all times. That's another bonus: outside, the water will stay cold.

   Sure there are things like football and running, but they're obvious so I didn't put them on this list. Instead, I tried to put together a few sports that are not immediately thought of. There are plenty of others, you just need to think or consult the internet. I'd recommend trying to keep away from indoor sports centres because they might keep their places warm with air conditioning, but the odds are that it's not good for your lungs. Outdoors might be cold, but the air is fresh despite the cars driving past, it keeps moving and isn't stale. It's far better for you - though nothing matches the air of the country side, even if it does smell like cowpat.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Sunday 17 November 2013

Gift Guide for Book Lovers

   I was speaking to someone only recently, saying that I wasn't likely to put together any gift guides this year. I decided, in the end, to say 'sod it' and just do it. There are a few days this month that I have no posts ready for NaBloPoMo, because I've been turning my attention to other things. I've done some great work with my book lately, and I've been working on painting a few things for Seeg's birthday which I'll post in a month. I can't risk him seeing it before his birthday!
   And so, because of that, there are a few blank days on my schedule, today being one of them.

   I know I did a gift guide for book lovers last year, but since books are always quite heavily on my mind, I decided to do a new one featuring other book-related items I've come across over the past year.
   Book jewellery (I'm allowed to put this here!) is another great gift for book lovers to make their passion known to anyone they meet. It can be loud, or it can be understated. This one is a bit of both. The colouring is mild, and it's not too large, but once someone notices it, they've noticed it. They're available as rings and necklaces.
   Personally, I look for a lot more than just pendants. There are countless numbers of pendants out there with book quotes and images but they just don't do it for me. I don't want to invite people to get so close to my chest to see what my pendant says. Instead I prefer to express myself a little louder, I like things to be unusual, but recognisable from a distance. And so it is that I make these pieces, and have included the few below from other places and sellers, too.
   How about a book bag for when they go shopping? I realise, of course, that a lot of shopping is done online these days - of course it is. The only time I ever go to an actual shop to buy things is when I'm looking for food. But there are still some people out there, like Seeg's dad, who likes nothing more than a good browse through a book store. Be it Waterstones, or a cute little family-run shop in a quiet corner somewhere. They're always quiet, too, despite the fact that no one is reading in there. A bookshop isn't a library, but I think we've concocted an idea that books are afraid of loud noises and might lose a few pages every time someone speaks. There are so many nice bags for books. I've always thought that these tote bags are best for books. I don't know why. Perhaps it's the simplicity of their cream colouring and the usually black and white print which makes them look slightly bookish themselves. It just works in my opinion. This particular bag is gorgeous. I love the quote from Dante, and I love that lovely feather!
   Of course, some people are so stupidly clever that they can make bags out of books, or books out of bags. It makes me sick, really, the talent of some people.
   Personally, I jam my books into my book case. I wedge them in where I can, and when I run out of room I start stacking them on top of others, and then in front. There is no room in my home for a new bookcase, or shelves, sadly. However, for those book fans with less junk in their homes who have the room to have such luxuries, book ends are desirable. And there are a lot out there. Some are clever, some are sophisticated, some are epic and some are just chunks of wood really. It depends on what you're after. Personally, I'd want dragon heads. But that's just me and my taste really. Not that I have the room for it anyway.
   I've had my eye on this bookmark for a while, to be honest. I love it. I love the shop, Mauve Magpie, too. I almost bought my friend a bookmark from them last year for Christmas until I decided on getting two actual books instead. The problem I have with bookmarks is that they never stay looking nice unless they're leather. I usually use cardboard or plastic ones, and then they bent and stay bent. Bookmarks, ideally, should either be soft enough to allow them to bend so they can bounce back, like leather, or should be hard enough that they don't bend, like metal. I like these bookmarks specifically because I love the designs, and the price.
   There are two leather bookmarks I also have my eye on, partially for collection's sake. There are two Middle Earth bookmarks by the incredible people at Weta - you know Weta, the people who are responsible for the creation of the props and costumes of movies like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and then for other things like Halo and DOTA. There are so many things in The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings categories I want, namely the replica weapons. I'm a sucker for a good weapon replica! And theirs are the best since they're all made from the very same molds by the very same people that the originals were.

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Saturday 16 November 2013

Ink and Bamboo Map of Pandaria

   I took a week off of the WoW Crafting Challenge last week, because I decided to take the opportunity to do a little bit of Blizzcon coverage over on The Wyvern's Tail, so this piece was put on hold, though it was ready to go up. Since I'm doing NaBloPoMo, and I have to come up with one post a day every day for both blogs, I decided it would be a good idea to sit on a few rather than post several in one day.

   For this piece I decided to try cartography. Of course it's not real cartography, since I didn't go around and lay out the landscape mathematically and geographically like a real cartographer would have done, all I really did was redraw the existing map of Pandaria.
   I made two maps, and they're both made out of bamboo, and drawn by hand with brushes and Indian ink. I used the continent map, zone maps, and the game itself for reference, and though I made a few mistakes here and there due to doing some parts quite late at night, I still think it came out really well. They're both for sale, individually, so if anyone is interested in WoW, or knows someone who is who would appreciate one of the maps, they're not too badly priced when you consider that it took me about a week to do them both.
   As always, there are more pictures and more info on The Wyvern's Tail's post. They're both for sale here.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Friday 15 November 2013

Week In Pictures

Excuse the picture quality. My DSLR is more or less dead now thanks a broken gear in the lens, and it's going to cost more than I expected to fix or replace it. So instead, I've been using my 7MP compact digital camera lately, so there will be some differences in picture quality.

NaBloPoMo November 2013