Thursday, 24 April 2014

Loot Crate unboxing April edition - Dragons

So Tuesday saw the arrival of the April Loot Crate, this is the second box I've received so far and when I found out that the theme was Dragons I got overly excited and kept wondering when that dispatch email would land in my inbox.

If you haven't heard about Loot Crate before, it is a monthly subscription box from America full of all things GEEK, each month has a theme, last months was Titan, to view past crates click the link. The box cost $29.95 (for the UK) including shipping, you can subscribe here!!

Although I've only been subscribed for a short time, I've noticed that this box is posted really fast! Another thing I like is that they tell you the theme so you can skip it if its not for you! I know people like the surprise of a theme but sometimes you end up not liking one and wish you didn't get that box and saved money, and plus this way even if you know the theme the content is still a secret.

Me and C filmed a very amateur video unboxing the loot crate, I realised that C swears too much, I hate my voice, and I ended up cutting my finger... You can view it here!

So, what was inside... (Since I was at C's I took these pictures in the dark and on my phone so please excuse!)

The Loot Crate comes with a booklet with details about the items included in the box, since this months theme was Dragons it had a little history of the folklore behind Dragons, being a fantasy lover I found this really interesting.

Dragon Jerky, this stuff looks weird, it's green, I can't eat it because I'm a Vegetarian and I doubt C will touch it.. (if you have this box and have tried the Dragon Jerky, please let me know your thoughts!!) A 20-sided die stress ball, a 20-sided die, a Dragon Slayer dog tag, a Dragon shield screen cleaner and a commemorative Loot Crate Dragon badge. 

And my most favourite items from the box, an exclusive Elder Scrolls Online The Nord figurine, this guy is cute, you can take his helmet of and move his weapons, I've also finally got Elder Scrolls online, although I haven't had the chance to play on it. A Game of Thrones mystery Vinyl figure, I was hoping for a person, but I'm glad I didn't get Joffrey and little Rhaegal is cute. (If you are joined up to loot crate what figure did you get?!)

What do you think of this months box? Is this something you would subscribe to?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Crafting gone wrong - Art marbling.

Crafting gone wrong art marbling
On Sunday I thought I would have a day spent crafting, so I dug out one of my CC kits to have a go at Art Marbling, I laid down an old towel, found an old bowel, and got the kit set up. The plan was to blog about the creations I came up with and how I found the kit. 
The kit came with water solution, paints, fabric, a pendant and paper to practice on. I sat for a while watching tutorials, I've done marbling once before, a very lone time a go in school and I'm sure the teachers did all the work... 
Anyway, I was excited to give it a try and before I took any photos I had a few practice runs with blue and white paint, some came out okay.
Next, I thought I would have a go with the fabric that came with the kit and try out this star design. So I got the paints I wanted set up in a row, shook them all and started dotting them into the water, this is where I got into trouble, when I squeezed some of the paint pots nothing came out, the paint just wouldn't budge so on a few I gently squeezed them with my teeth (a bad idea right there...) but it worked, until I got to the green paint, it wouldn't budge when I squeezed it so I used my teeth and the whole thing exploded, it went everywhere, on me, on my camera, on some of the designs I tried with the blue and white paint and most annoyingly landed in the water solution, I only had one bottle and it was ruined. So I poured it all away.

In the kit we also got something that looks like salt, no idea what it is because I couldn't find anything to tell what it is used for... I made a guess and added some of it to tap water in hopes it might thicken the water, which from the above picture you can see it didn't work so the paint sank. Any tips here would be helpful how do you make thickened water? I was pretty disappointed by the end of it so packed everything anyway.

I'm going to salvage what I do have, and use them in card making! 
I'd love to hear about your last experience when crafting went wrong!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Interview with Megan's beaded designs

I can't say that I've ever been any good at jewelry making so looking at what people create has always fascinated me a little. Megan is a prime example of that, I love how her story started when she was five simply by receiving some seed beads, a passion was born! Megan creates a wide range of jewelery from necklaces, rings, hair pieces and more!

Wedding Necklace - $120
Can you tell us a little bit about Megan's Beaded Designs and how you got started, what was it about beading and making jewelry that interested you?
My grandfather gave me some seed beads and a few how-to beading books when I was not much older than 5. After teaching myself some of the basic stitches through these materials, I was hooked. Even before I was 10, I was selling handmade jewelry with my sister at craft shows and barter fairs. I picked up jewelry making again after I got out of college, where I was able to apply all of the concepts I had learned through my arts education to my jewelery design. Ultimately, the goal with the pieces you'll find at Megan's Beaded Designs is to serve as artistic personal expressions that women can actually wear. 

Being a quiet person myself and often feeling invisible, I love that you've given yourself a 'voice' through your jewelery, what advice would you offer to other people in a similar situation?
There is so much beautiful individuality in every single person, and the world deserves to see you for YOU. When you find yourself hiding, realize that you are depriving everyone of the benefit they could glean from what you have to offer them. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, you almost need to get over yourself in order to express yourself more fully. And by that I mean, to get over the fear of putting yourself out there by realizing how much it could inspire others. I encourage everyone to find their voice in the way that suits them, and to show themselves off exactly how they feel comfortable and at their most authentic. 

  
You have created a Wedding collection, how does it feel knowing that your jewelry will be part of someone special day?
I absolutely ADORE working with bride-to-bes. Knowing that a one of my handmade hair pieces or jewelry sets is what will tie their look together is beyond awe-inspiring. I strive to create expressive pieces that they will love showing off, getting complimented on, and admiring in their photographs for years to come. It's a challenge, but one I find gloriously stimulating.

I also offer custom pieces to not only brides, but to anyone interested in helping me create something they have envisioned. The collaboration of this sort of creativity can yield magical results.

Do you have a creative process that you go through when coming up with new ideas? How do you tackle a creative block?
The simplest way I've found to come up with the solution to the "what do I make next?" is to set up imaginary barriers. For example, now that my wedding collection is out, I could barrier myself to requiring that my next collection to be something suitable for fall, and only using metallic colors. Or I may go in a different direction and assign my next to collection to draw inspiration from the last book I read or a radio song I'm currently obsessed with. The list of possibilities to draw from is endless.

How important is handmade to you?My work is all about using what you wear as a means of expressing yourself. To me, the handmade part of that plays a huge role. Handmade means no two items are going to be exactly alike, and that each piece is significantly more personal. Because I create most of my work by stitching together one tiny bead at-a-time, it all truly represents a labor of love.
 
Victorian Portrait Barette
Other than making jewelery are there any other crafts you love to do or any you would like to learn?
I'm actually a graphic designer for my "regular" day job, so I get to experience a rounded mix of digital creativity with the hands-on nature of jewelry making. In addition to these activities, I also like to paint and draw, but only as a personal hobby than anything I'm exploring to do commercially. I think that even when handmade creatives head in the direction of selling their work, it's vital to still create uninhibited pieces for purely personal reasons--if only to stretch your creative muscles.

I love hearing about people’s workspace, what is yours like/ what would your dream workspace be like?
Oh, goodness. My workspace is generally a disaster. I'm very much a type B personality, so organizing my studio space is only a priority when it starts getting to the point where my creativity is taking a toll. I keep my supplies organized enough so I can find things (most of the time), but I'm not yet to a point where I'll be sharing my craft studio on Pinterest. It works for me though, and I suppose my DREAM workspace would just have to include a robot that cleaned after me once I get into one of my creative frenzies--but something tells me that's a ways off.
 

You have such a wide and beautiful range of jewelry pieces, how do you come up with unique ideas/inspiration for you pieces? Can you remember the first ever jewelry piece you made, was it a success?
It's hard to remember the EXACT first piece of jewelry I made because I started so young, but I do believe I started out with basic brick stitch earrings, which I still occasionally make today. As for my inspiration, it's a never ending flow. The challenge is starting to be less about coming up with ideas and more about figuring out which ideas to reject in order to tailor the offerings of my brand.
 
Pink Butterfly Brooch
 
Describe your perfect morning or night:
Tea gets me through my day, morning til night. Being as incredibly introverted as I am, I love a peaceful (yet productive) morning and evening time sandwiching my time at the day job. I love spending a laser-focused hour or two working on my business, and coming away feeling like I just conquered the world. 
 
What is the best advice you have ever been given? Do you have any advice to those wanting to start their own business?
I love the advice Steven Pressfield gives in his book, The War of Art. I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist is that creative professionals need to think of themselves as both an employer, as well as an employee. Even when you work for yourself, you are still working for yourself, and therefore you need to show up and do your work just like you would at any other job. There are going to be days when you're tired or don't feel "inspired" or would rather see what's on TV. Ignore those urges (they come from the Resistance) and press on like a professional. It's not always fun. It can get messy. But the work will make it all worth it in the end.


Isn't Megan's work so beautiful? You can find Megan's shop here.

If you would like to have an interview on Dainty and Ivory about your company etc. please email me at daintyandivory@yahoo.co.uk
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