Thursday, 30 January 2014

Daily Makeup Routine

I'm hoping to lead this blog in a slightly broader direction this new year, so I'm going to start including the odd post on beauty products, whether that is a roundup of purchases, a review of a certain product or a discussion of different products and routines. Today I want to talk about the makeup that I tend to wear every day. As a student I don't always wear makeup of course - I find it hard enough to drag myself out of bed for 8am lectures in winter without being concerned about whether my eyeliner is straight! But generally, since I have pretty bad skin I do tend to wear at least something on my face most days, and that's what I'm going to talk about here.

It's pretty weird taking photos without my glasses... Dear god the eyebags! Anyways though, this is what I typically look like on a casual day. Exciting, I know. 

As you can see I'm quite pale and on top of that, i'm prone to cystic acne due to a heckload of hormonal issues, and I have scars on my cheeks and forehead. Put all of that together and shopping for foundation and concealer is enough to make me start tearing my hair out usually, as I'm sure you can imagine. At the moment I'm using Dainty Doll Concealer in 003 and Max Factor Facefinity 3 in 1 Foundation in Light Ivory 40, both shown below.

This foundation claims to be primer, concealer and foundation all in one, and although it does give pretty good coverage, I find I still need a concealer for under my eyes and any redder blemishes to get full coverage. It does cover my scars nicely though, matches my skin tone well and I rarely need to use a powder on top of it to stop shine, which I do like. When I do use a powder I like Boots Natural Collection Pressed Powder in Neutral, as it is kind to my sensitive skin and reduces shine really well for a very low price. Before this I used Dainty Doll Foundation in 002 which has sadly been discontinued, but i'm happy with Max Factor as a replacement. I tend to apply both foundation and concealer with my fingers as I find it blends better, so I don't own many brushes. 

When it comes to eye makeup I'm far less choosy. My general everyday mascara is Max Factor False Lash Effect in Black Brown, which is a really nice dark brown shade that doesn't clump very easily. When I'm dressing up or going out, I like Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Mascara in Black. This has a really big applicator and a dark, dramatic effect that is really good with heavy eye makeup. I fill in my eyebrows with a generic brown eyebrow pencil as my natural hair colour is quite light and they look pretty washed out otherwise, giving me a bit of an odd look. As for eyeliner I own quite a few black kohl pencils, mostly own-brand as I've never found a significant difference between cheap and more expensive ones if I'm honest. When I wear liquid eyeliner I use Superdrug's Collection 2000 Waterproof Fast Stroke Eyeliner in Black, which dries really quickly and is difficult to smudge, which is all I really ask for in an eyeliner.

Depending on where I'm going and what I'm doing I like to use a range of different lipsticks and glosses. Some of my favourites are Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Grapefruit 10, Balance Me Shine On Tinted Lip Salve in Sheer Raspberry, and Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker XL Extreme Plump in Pink Out Loud. The Soap and Glory in particular is very odd, it tingles and warms immediately and it lasts quite a while, and while it doesn't plump an awful lot it does make my lips quite smooth and nice looking. I wear lipsticks a bit less often, but I have recently gotten quite a collection together so I'm going to make another post about those. 

Here's some links to where all of these products can be bought in the UK. Personally I got most of them as gifts from family/friends and as free or reduced gifts in sales and things, and I rarely spend an awful lot on things very often. 
Hope you enjoyed this post! There'll be more early next week hopefully. What does your casual makeup routine consist of, if any at all? Let me know below! 

- Natalie XOX

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Sewing Inspiration: Pintrest Round Up #3

I've been pinning again! As ever, you can follow both my sewing inspiration boards and any of my others on Pintrest at this link, so if you're an avid user of this shockingly addictive website, hit me up. So shall we get started?

I love this adorable skirt-to-dress alteration from A Pair and a Spare. It's so simple and would look amazing on holiday with simple sandals and a bikini underneath, as modeled here, or dressed up with some big jewellery and a blazer on top.

These cute pieces are both from Modcloth, an american clothing website which gets it so right so often. I'm very jealous of the great colour combinations in these two dresses, and the yellow/blue one in particular manages to be both vintage and modern at the same time. 

These beautiful creations come from NaughtyShorts right here on Blogspot, so go check her out if you have a minute. Between the delicate patterns, vintage shapes and contrasting grosgrain ribbon waists, I'm absolutely, 100% in love.

This is something I found really interesting and plan on giving a go quite soon. The tutorial, from This Blog Is Not For You is really simple to follow. I've done something similar to this with a dress  that had become too small around the bust before in a triangular shape, but never with a t-shirt so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. They have some great tutorials for a range of different items which can be found on their pintrest board here.

Finally, a fun looking project from Prudent Baby which is just the CUTEST. It looks like a pretty quick project too, an hour's sewing maximum and you could be wearing something as adorable as this around your neck this winter. I'd say that's a wonderful trade off ;)

Thanks for reading! Do you feel inspired by any of these? 

-Natalie XOX

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Colour Theory: Mixing and Matching in Home Dressmaking

Anyone who knew me up until about the age of 15 will readily tell you how little I understand of colour theory. To an outsider looking in it would seem that I used to go out of my way to wear clashing colours, and it drove my mam crazy on a day to day basis. However, it genuinely was just the fact that I had little to no concept of what colours matched and which didn't, absolutely no idea what 'warm' and 'cool' colours were and just couldn't understand that wearing neon green eye shadow in the middle of the day is pretty much never going to be a good look, no matter what else you're wearing.

Thankfully I've moved on slightly since my sullen early teenage days, and have picked up the odd thing here and there about colour theory and the gorgeous results it can produce in fashion. One of my favourites at the moment is monochromatic fashion, where different shades of the same colour make up an entire outfit. I often try and replicate this in the winter by matching my tights and shoes to the dress i'm wearing, or in summer by matching cardigans and accessories, although to do it fully head to to is really only for the brave!

Some examples of monochromatic dressing on the catwalk

Another concept I just love is pairing neutral colours such as greys, beiges and browns with eye catching, bright complementary colours to give new life to an otherwise quite plain outfit. I find this is especially nice when contrasting fabrics are used as well, such as a light brown tweed next to a soft teal silk. This can really highlight design elements in the outfit/garments, and I'm hoping to be able to use this as accents in the next dressmaking project i'm planning (post about that coming very soon!), as it looks classic but not dated, and can really make an outfit stand out. 

Gucci, showing that there's a very good reason they are very well known designers, and that is very likely at least partly because of their amazing use of complementary colour pairing.

 A few more (slightly more doable!) examples of this theory in use. The picture on the left particularly shows what I love about how this can be used to highlight fabric/texture differences. 

The ways in which colour theory inform professional fashion designers are of course, endless, but how useful is it really to interested amateurs? Well, it is of course always good to take risks with clothes, whether that's in making them from scratch or simply picking them out of a wardrobe. I've met people who would look incredible in multi-coloured bin bags frankly, so if that sounds like you, feel free to do whatever you like! Personally, I like the feeling of togetherness complementary colours can lend to an outfit, and the slight touch of professionalism it can lend to homemade garments. There is a whole lot more to colour theory, and there are some excellent websites and books available if it is something you are interested in learning more about. In the end though, personal taste is always going to prevail for me over what supposedly looks better in theory, so personal experimentation - and the inevitable fashion disasters that likely follow - is sticking around for a good long while yet ;)

What do you think? Do you religiously plan your outfits and garments based on colour wheels, or do you think it's unnecessary? Would you wear or sew and entire outfit in a singular colour? Let me know what you think in the comments!

- Natalie XOX

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sewing for Decoration: Cross Stitch

So I've talked a bit about knitting and I thought I'd mention some of the other creative things I enjoy doing related to hand sewing for decorative purposes, namely cross stitching :)

I first learned cross stitching when I was about 10 as part of a school art project, and then lost interested until about three years ago when I got back into it. Now I LOVE it, and I run an etsy store where I sell my own designs of digital patterns and framed pictures (you can check it out here if you fancy it!). I really enjoy making patterns and stitching them myself, but also stitching patterns made by other talented people. I've made things as gifts, sold a few pieces and I sell a nice steady amount of patterns every month, mostly Pokemon and rap lyric themed ones to be honest haha.

I think it's a really relaxing hobby, it's quite repetitive and keeps my hands busy without needing too much concentration. Anything I can do whilst watching Netflix/listening to my driving lesson audio-books/reading boring journals for my dissertation work at the same time is fine by me, and people always seem to really like the things I make for them, so that makes me happy as well.

There are some examples of things I've made on my etsy shop, but here are some more that aren't up there as well if you want to have a mosey through:

Monday, 20 January 2014

Knitting - hats, scarves and other madness

I've been knitting for longer than I've been sewing, believe it or not. I'm not very fast and i'm no good at delicate stitches that require a lot of counting and precision (I knitted a cable ONCE and could never do it again. Whoops), but I make a pretty decent basic hat and scarf, so I thought I'd share a few that I've made with you. Most have been made for other people as gifts and/or requests, although once in a blue moon I do manage to make something that I can keep for myself.

I made FOUR of these hats in various colours for various friends and family members this Christmas. They're very warm, very quick to make and very easy to customize, so I do enjoy making them. 

Click through for more:

Friday, 17 January 2014

Pencil Skirt #2

Hey guys! Do you remember this tutorial from last year on how to make a simple pencil skirt in less than an hour? Well, I found myself with some lovely tartan fabric and an hour to spare, so I thought I may as well crack another one out.

This one is a little bit longer than the last one I made and a bit looser because of it (I need to be able to walk after all!). It tapers slightly inwards towards the bottom and is lined with a warm flannel, making it a perfect choice for cold days such as the ones we've been suffering from greatly these last few weeks. 

I only had a white zipper to hand which in hindsight I'm not too keen on, but I don't mind it too much since I usually wear long cardigans or jumpers with this skirt anyway. If I made another I'd probably use a black or red zip to match the colours better. 

Has anybody else been making skirts/shorts lately, or is the weather making it a little difficult to even imagine baring your legs right now? Let me know!

- Natalie xox

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

My Sewing Machine + Storage Solutions

Since first starting this blog I've updated the things I use a little, most notably my sewing machine.

My original model gave up on me last year and left me without one for quite a while. Then in November of last year I was lucky enough to be gifted a machine that used to belong to my Great-Auntie Maureen who sadly passed away a few years ago. Maureen was a wonderful seamstress and used to make everyone in the family curtains and tablecloths and quilts, as well as altering an awful lot of dresses and knitting a lot of jumpers. Her machine had been sitting in my auntie vicky's attic since her death, and when she found out I was in need of one she was kind enough to give me (well, long-term loan me) this gorgeous Singer Tempo 50.

It's obviously vintage and certainly not the lightest machine ever, but it runs like a dream and can deal with some really heavy duty stitching as well as more delicate work with ease. It came with spare metal bobbins and a leather dust cover, and the arm is removable for stitching sleeves and narrow openings which is so convenient I don't know how I managed beforehand. I actually love it so much and I'm so thankful to be able to take care of it in my wonderful great-aunt's memory.

I also recently found myself in need of a much better organisation system for all of my fabrics, trimmings, threads, wool, cross stitch equipment, paper crafts... the list goes on and on. I already had one large hamper style box for fabrics and a gorgeous Ted Baker bag for my knitting equipment, then my family got me these lovely boxes for Christmas as well to help contain all of it.

This pretty owl guy holds my threads, needles, machine replacement parts, pins and tape measures.

This lovely handmade box holds assorted buttons, lengths of lace and vintage trimmings, ribbons and beads. Isn't it gorgeous!

And finally this little guy! No matter how many pincushions I have I always need more, so my mam bought me a make-your-own kit for christmas which I promptly sewed up on boxing day and fell in love with. He's adorbs.

My partner and I also reorganized the living and dining area to make more room for our things once we took down the Christmas tree, so everything feels much more organised and tidy. I always feel like I make better crafts when I'm not worrying where things are or panicking about what a mess I'm creating. What about you? Do you work best in a messy, wild, creative environment, or do you find enjoyment in organising and keeping things in nice storage? Let me know in the comments :)

- Natalie xox

Monday, 13 January 2014

The Pineneedle Collective Knicker Shorts

From this great tutorial I made myself a pair of simple shorts, the first things I've ever made with legholes! It was a lot easier than expected, and I have had a lot of positive comments on them since first making them. I love The Pineneedle Collective, both for sewing and crafty things, but also cool science facts. I do love me some science facts.

This weird and wonderful fabric was actually a tablecloth I found at a charity shop for £1.50! It's quite orange in real life, and if you can't see clearly here, is covered in images of various flowers, leaves and cherubs. Definitely one of a kind I imagine.  

- Natalie xox

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Altered Dress

It's been quite a while, hasn't it! I've been super busy starting my third year at university, writing my dissertation and working on crafted Christmas gifts, so I've not had an awful amount of time to sew anything for myself. But things have briefly died down now, so I thought I'd write a little post about the latest sewing project I've undertaken. 

A while back my good friend Leigh-Anne bought a dress from an internet clothes store which unfortunately had a fault and ripped down one of the back seams. It wasn't a clean rip as the fabric frayed quite a bit, and there was no simple fixing it just by sewing the seam back together, and since the return time had come and gone she gifted it to me to see if I could do anything with it. Now it's not my usual style, but it was far too pretty a dress to just cut up for scraps, so I had a look and came up with this. 

As you can see, there wasn't an awful lot left of the back once I trimmed the fraying away, so I went for a completely bare back look with the fabric covered zip down the middle to break it up a little. 

I had this gorgeous vintage lace lying around from my last trip to the Scarborough Vintage Fair and I thought it would be perfect to frame the bare edges with.  

After some thought I also added in a simple undertop to cover the lower portion of back, just to allow for any high-waisted tights or big knickers showing through! 

I did consider making the dress sleeveless and into sort of a halter neck dress, but I just love the sleeve style. They fall just below the elbows and are notched so they just fit beautifully.  

Like I said, not my usual style but I think it's pretty anyway. I think i'll play around with it a bit more before deciding what to do with it. Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and new year! Here's to a very crafty 2014 ;) 

- Natalie xox