Sunday, January 4, 2015

Frosty Vox Box review

Obnoxious post for product review, I'll get some yarny posts up soon promise!
All products were sent complimentary for testing and reviewing purposes by their respective companies and

So, to start with we have Fruit Vines Bites made by Red Vines. I was sent the strawberry flavoured ones, I'm presuming they are competition with twizzler? Now I'm a diehard twizzler fan, I call for dibs on these suckers every halloween (and I'm the only one who eats them so I don't get to share yay!). Scent wise, they smell like those strawberry candies in the foil, you know those weird ones that just appeared? Taste wise is similar, chewier than twizzlers, and I get to pull the little bits apart into mini logs. They shall sustain me through my typing, mostly because I have no will power and I feed my depression whatever the hell it wants. #SweetSide

Next up, we have a sample of the No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED serum, This I have yet to try, mostly because RBF prevents most wrinkles, but I have seen quite a few commercials for it. And to be honest? It looks like it holds up to it's promises. Price wise, the Intense version retails for about $30, which by anti wrinkle creams is on the low to standard price range. The regular ADVANCED serum is about $23. I'll get back to you on how it feels. I've had some that feel like I'm globbing cold cream all over myself and it's very smothering. #GetADVANCED

Onto the McCormick Gourmet Thyme, came in a lovely glass bottle that I am excited to reuse (I don't cook, so you can see why I'm not inspired by it). Aside from making a tired pun about spilling it and having too much thyme on my hands, I'm going to have to leave it at that. Kitchen is Hubs department, I'll have him give it a whirl. McCormick has never let me down, however, so I don't expect to have much if any negative comments about this. #McCormickGourmet

Wrapping up the nom portion of this review is the Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea (good gracious, try saying that on a constant basis). I like CS teas, always have. They have decent flavours (don't all blend together), big fan of their zingers line. Mostly I like the artwork on the boxes, I'm one of those that does base things off appearances. There are two packets in the package, which is fun. Sometimes the second cup gives you different feelings than the first. Smells very minty without smelling like toothpaste, always a good thing. #CelestialTea

EcoTools sent a hair brush, I have some products of theirs, also a bag that I love but thats besides the point. The brush is a finisher brush, designed to help with blow drying. My hair is very anti anything. Style, hair dryer, brushing, product. It's only when faced with way below zero temps that I will use a dryer (hair DOES break off at those temps, that is not a myth). My old brush is on the verge of death, however, so being the badass that I am, I'm using as a regular brush. I know, I know say it ain't so. First thought: it really catches every hair Second thought: frizz central. Next day hair, and I'm sporting a halo. So probably not good for curls/waves/possessed by The Elder Gods hair. The brush itself isn't bad, light weight, handle was a good size for gripping while tackling rat nest infestations, just bristles and myself don't agree. #LoveMyEcoHairbrush

NYC was in on this box and included a tube of their expert last lipstick. I'm a chapstick kind of girl, I tend to chew off lipstick or get it all over like a clueless crown. Lip stains are my makeup of choice. But NYC isn't a bad brand (especially if you aren't going to get a lot of use from it, not plunking down $8 for something I'll use twice). and the shade they chose was one I'd use. Goes on smooth, doesn't smell funny, and I have shimmery lips on my otherwise unmade face. #SugarPlum

Rimmel was always involved, and after my last box I have to say I LOVE Rimmel. This time I was given Scandal Eyes eyeliner and eye makeup remover. I'm terrible at remembering to take off my makeup, mostly because I never remember to buy any and have to resort to baby wipes (remember that next time you want to avoid waking up looking like a panda). There is a smell to it, but it isn't stinky. Next time I doll myself up, I'm going to town. The liner is waterproof, problem is my eyes are not liner friendly. It ALWAYS rubs/wear off, even the liquid stuff doesn't stay on where it should. But I have a wedding to go to this year, along with a graduation so I will be putting it to the ugly cry test. When they invent a makeup that covers that blotchy skin after crying, someone give me a heads up, k? #Rimmel

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams Bandwagon

If you are at all active on facebook, pinterest, or twitter, you've been swamped with posts about the death of Robin Williams. And yes, this is going to be one of them, but for different reasons. So many people are baffled by him taking his own life. Some are calling it a cowards way out. Suicide is NOT cowardly. It takes so much will at a point when you have no willpower to go through with it. As someone who is close to more than one person who has attempted to die, I can tell you it is a hellish spiral. They are so trapped in their own mind that they can't find any way to escape BUT death. Is it right? No. But at that point things are so unbelievably bleak that it starts to look right.
So many people are used to accidental overdoses with celebrities. They get the RIP memes shared around for a day or two, then it's gone. But with Mr Williams, it went further. He did this deliberately. The man who made so many laugh, created so many smiles, inspired so many people, ended his own laughter. It's hard for people to gasp that the biggest smiles often hide the most pain. To hide that awful darkness inside, people shunt it aside and concentrate on making everyone else happy instead. Why? Because it's easier. It's easier to think about someone else than yourself. Depression makes it seem like perfect logic. And people can talk about "ohhh depression is bad, but it isn't that bad". That person has never been depressed. Until you have been to those depths, you don't know how bad it can be. Everyone has sad days, people have bad weeks even. But that is not the same as looking at subway lines and wondering which one you should touch. It isn't the same as looking at that bottle of bleach and wondering how much you can drink before your stomach heaves. It isn't the same as taking a bottle of sleeping pills in the bathtub. Depression makes all of that make perfect sense. You start thinking people will be better off with you gone, they'll be happier, they'll be able to do some activity without you hanging like a millstone around their necks. Even if you are getting help, it is still an uphill battle. One misstep and you are back at the bottom. After a few slides, people get tired of helping out. They get tired of helping someone who obviously isnt interested. And even if they don't feel that way, the depressed person thinks they do. They don't want to be a burden, so they clam up. Paste on a happy face. Express glee that they can't feel anymore. Nobody WANTS to think their loved one is in the pit again so they usually buy it. Depressed people can be some of the best actors. Looking back, the warning signs are so clear, but in the moment? Doesn't raise a hint of an eyebrow.
I guess my point to all of this is don't give up. YOU matter. YOU is special. YOU are wanted, even if it doesn't seem that way to you. Keep reaching out. Folks, keep extending that hand. There is help, it may not be the right kind the first time, but keep trying different things. Different medications, different help groups, different activities until you find what is perfect FOR YOU. Everyone is different, so too is how you stand up to your depression. Doesn't matter where you are, US, Canada, France, Ireland. There are numbers to call and people to speak to. PLEASE CALL. (and pardon my excessive use of capslock there)

Monday, August 4, 2014

DIY Spell Book

Still working on the pages, but I have enough done and photographed to put up a tutorial! Yay! Mmmkay, first off make sure you have time to make this. Paint takes a while to dry, I'd give yourself at least two weeks before you need it to make it (especially if you procrastinate or have all of two seconds a day to devote to this). I tried to keep this simple using what I had on hand, and most of it is easily grabbed at the local dollar store if you don't have it. It isn't one of those tutorials that has all these fabulous items that would make Martha Stewart drool, I assure you. Very slap dash.


  • A hardcover book, I picked up a library discard for free. Mine measured 5.5"x8.5" and was about an inch thick. 
  • Brown paper lunch bags. These worked pretty well for my book, but if yours is a lot bigger, you can use paper grocery sacks or even lawn bags. I only used 6, but it all depends on your choice.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Elmer's glue
  • Paint, for your cover. More if you want to paint pictures on your pages.
  • Paint brushes, I used a foam brush but if you want to add details, grab some smaller ones.
  • Old newspaper or paper ads for a drop cloth
  • Scissors, ones for paper cutting. Do not steal someones fabric shears for this, it won't end well.
  • X-acto knife, just used to gut the book, nothing fancy needed. A utility knife would work too
Optional Items
  • Decorations for your spell book. I used a flat glass stone and some plastic "gems" from a leftover project, but use whatever you like. 
  • Old nail polish. Works really well for adding splashes of colour to pages and to the cover. If you are raiding someones stash, ASK FIRST. Seriously, they probably have some they never use and will be willing to share with your crafty self.
Ready? Let the copious photos begin!
Start by slicing out the inside of your book. Try to leave the inside covers as intact as possible, but they can be covered later if you muck up (like I did)

Next (and feel free to skip this step if you want), take your Elmer's glue and glue designs on the cover. Swirls, spirals, faces, diamonds, doesn't matter. This just creates ridges for later painting. I let mine dry fully and went over them again, two coats stood up better. Entirely a personal choice here, especially if your pinched for time. If you want to add decorations to your cover, leave spaces for whatever your embellishment is. You can see in photo two there is a gap left for my stone.

The lighter swirls under are from where I tried hot glue. Made a mess and peeled it all off. 

Now we get to paint! I used an acrylic paint for mine, just what I had on hand. I used an inch wide foam brush to coat mine, worked nicely without globbing too badly in the creases. Let dry thoroughly between coats and be careful of that crease by the spine. Paint tends to settle there.

Make sure you get that inside lip too, see where the red is on the bottom side? That stuff

While all that mess is drying, you can make the pages. What I did was cut the bottom off all of my bags without slicing the rest of the bag. I snipped a thin slice from the fold and cut from there.

Excuse the mess, I was in between all kinds of projects

Save those ends, I ended up using mine to cover my mistakes. If you choose not to, you can always recycle them later or use them for something else. Now we slice the bags up each side in that crease. 

Flatten them out and fold them in half. Each of these makes two of your book pages. Stuff them in your book to make sure it's your ideal thickness. Not enough pages? Slice and dice some more!

again, hanger for other costume purposes, ignore that

Now to give my pages some texture, I crumpled each one into a ball lightly. Not tight, just enough to wrinkle and muss up the pages. Then I flattened them out again in the folded shape like before.

Once your cover is dry, you can flip it and start painting the insides. I chose to leave mine partially unpainted so I could attach the bottoms, but if you did a neat job with cutting yours, you can paint it all.

I used my bag butts to cover up my mess, I used hot glue here because I wanted those suckers to stay on. They can also be doodled on later, which was a bonus.

Now it's time to glue in your pages. You can do it the smart way, and glue one at a time, or do it my way and do it all at once making a huge mess. If you did do it my way, and you find pages sneaking out because they were only half glued, sneak in there and pile more glue on. Then smoosh the pages, be careful because it WILL be hot! Keep gluing and smooshing until you are all secured. I plan on cleaning mine up later, but I figured a spell book like mine would be beat to hell anyways.

Now, you can do a few different things. You can leave it as is, you can decorate the cover and leave it, or you can do what I did and decorate the cover and the pages. I don't have my pages done at this point, that will have to wait for a future blog post, but I can show you the cover of my book.

I decorated BEFORE gluing pages which really wasnt smart. My glue wasn't dry when I went to flip it and the little gems traveled. For the glass stone, I used hot glue to secure it. Learn from my mistakes, folks!

I hope you're happy with your book! If you make it, please leave a link in the comments or get ahold of me on deviantart. You can find me there under PriestessRaven. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bikini Body

If you are on facebook at all, you've probably seen at least one of those body positive image memes. Numerous blogs were developed for it, for one size or another, mostly for all shapes and sizes. Woman of all shapes and sizes proudly showing their swimwear clad bodies with a nofucksgiven attitude. And that is wonderful, really is. I will never grace the cover of a magazine (unless its for notorious reasons, like yarn bombing the white house), I will never be sought after for photo shoots. I won't even become an instagram "hottie", I take a lot of yarn photos. The message is not one to discourage, love yourself is a great thing to do. But it's easier adding text over an inspirational image than it is to do in practice.

Why bring this up? Because my parents are treating my daughter to a day at a water park. She is old enough (and tall enough, she won't STOP GROWING!) to go on the rides herself, but it really isn't all that fun to do it alone. So, Mommy is on the chopping block. Grandma doesn't even own a bathing suit. Now I know I won't be the only mom in a suit, I know I won't be the only one with stretch marks, a case of the jiggles that shames Jell-o, and a sense of agony every time the suit creeps up. I know I won't be the heaviest lady there, and I know I won't be the skinniest. I'll be just a face in the crowd, one of many to the workers and a background character to the other attendees. I have a ready finger and a smart mouth to anyone who decides to bash me for daring to don spandex. None of that bothers me. What bothers me is that I hate how I look, especially exposing that much of myself in the highly hated areas. I own two swimsuits and in the two, three years I've owned them, I've never worn them. One has a skirt, why I don't know. We know what is under them, and once they are wet and stuck to your legs they don't hide anything. Both are floral, and not a small pattern either. Why do companies think we want flashy bright designs? I want a PLAIN option! I'm not saying everyone wants a plain suit, some people prefer the bright ones but I am not one of them. I know I need to set an example for my daughter, to show that it doesn't matter what you look like. To give her a realistic view of what some people do look like. But that doesn't make me any more comfortable. Seeing her smile will be worth every painful minute, though.

So what else? Knitting updates!

Still plugging away at the Vlad shawl, I like it but it's become an unwieldy number of stitches and it takes forever to get to the end of a row. I'm determined to finish it this week. I was going to be house/dog sitting for a week and had a bag full of projects packed (projects before clothes, naked but I'll have shawls!). Now that I'm not needed for that, I can minimize my projects. That one is staying, I really want to finish it and block it, but what do I want to thin out? Scarves? More shawls? UFO's that are mocking me? Probably the scarves, I like the pattern but it requires a cable needle (for me, I know some of you can do it without one) and that isn't travel friendly. My ren fest knitting is at a pause, I finished the flail, but my axe blade is being a pain. Yarn is in timeout.

swingable to boot!

I'm also working on the Elder Tree Shawl, an adjustable version of the Lonely Tree Shawl, both are free downloads by Sylvia Bo Bilvia. I'm using acrylic (gasp!) for both and hoping for a decent outcome. I still have to finish sewing up the wizard robe, I finished Hubs tunic thingie. The trousers I passed on, the fabric shredded too easily and I didn't want a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the festival. I keep coming to terms with the fact that I am a terrible sewing person. I can do an ok pouch, however. Have I mentioned that I haven't even touched my costume yet? Because I'm fighting with costumes for the 6'+ crowd which means spreading fabric on the PORCH because I don't have enough space unless I move furniture? I still have about 3 weeks, well two with one of those being spend at my parents. Not house sitting, but house working. The joys of being an able bodied and nearby offspring of DIY-ers.

My exercise plan I posted before? Trying to get back into it. I caught a very nasty plague from the hellspawn, talking gross lung batter. Still coughing up ick thanks to my allergy ridden sinuses feeding my lungs. So I had to give up for a while, bending at all induced a dizzying coughing fit let alone sit ups. I still don't have full breathing capacity back, it was that bad, so I'm keeping it at a day 1, 2, 3 level for a while instead of advancing. But I keep getting distracted by shiny new books, think I could work out and read?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Deadline Cometh

There is an awesome renaissance festival downstate, try to visit every year with a group of friends. I dress up every time, great excuse to wear a corset. Plus, the actors will interact with you if you do dress up, they treat you as you are costumed. My brother and his then wife dressed as peasants and were ordered around, they had a blast. This year, my husband is getting in on the act, he's always been willing but not able to dress up. Friends of ours are also going, and I'm providing some costume help with them. Know those DIY instructions that have all this stuff on hand for amazing projects? I'm not one of them. By sheer luck, most of my costume came from the thrift store or stuff from old costumes (except the corset, buying a new one. Moresca, highly recommend them for product and friendly staff). There will be photos, I'll share my stupid easy stuff with you. Right now I'm making a spell book from a hardcover library discard. A robe and trousers from a king sized flat sheet and pillowcases. Actual stuff you might have on hand or can get cheap at a thrift store. The sheets I had purchased at the Christmas Tree Shop for $20, and that was the most expensive thing so far. They sucked on my bed, that satin backing meant every time I got up, I slid. But there is no reason you couldnt grab a sheet for near nothing at a garage sale and dye it (Rit dye, laundry aisle at your grocery store). Pouches? Fabric scraps from the thrift stores and the remnant bin at Walmart and JoAnns. Totally doable stuffs, folks. I'm also knitting weapons, they will end up being used at later gaming sessions by the DM. Free patterns for a flail (she has it listed as a morning star), an axe, and a sword can be found on ravelry. I really should be sewing and not blogging, but the size of this robe means I need a lot of space to lay it out and its a bit windy outside. I refuse to chase a sleeve down the street. Any suggestions on what to use for pouch drawstrings besides satin cords? Something sturdy, as they will likely be hanging off a belt. At this point, I'm eyeing shoe laces (new, not used, nobody wants the smell of dirty feet on them). No, our costumes won't be strictly authentic for you sticklers. But they will be breathable and, for my sun allergy ridden husband, comfortable. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Working Out: If I make this public, I might follow through

If you've ever been on Pinterest, you've seen those fitness boards (and the bot accounts that post only that) full of "3 Weeks To Abs!" or "Arms For Summer". I saved a few of those because they seemed simple, I could fit them into my unorganized days. I still haven't. Wake up call came today, I had to hold my legs up in the air for all of 30 seconds and I couldn't do it. I literally could not hold my legs up in the air without support. I was so disgusted with myself that I forced myself to actually LOOK at what I have saved and to try them. Last day of school, so I don't have too much of a timeline to worry about now and can do it at any time. This was really simple (or so I thought). I don't have the link that corresponds, just the photo. Check out day 1:

"5 crunches?", I scoffed "Who can't do that?" Me. Humbly, huffing puffing me. I hate how far I've slipped, I've never been in the best of shape, but I am kind of active. I walk on a near daily basis. I volunteer once a week where I'm hauling around bags of clothes (If you think they aren't heavy, try carrying lawn bags and totes full of them and throwing them. Then we'll talk). My diet isn't the greatest, but I eat a lot of fresh fruits and try to get veggies in (Farmers Market is more cost effective and the stuff lasts). And here I am. I have a damn gym membership and have I used it in the past 3 months? No. Lately I see myself in the mirror and want to cry. Depression is rearing its ugly head and I'm not even sure I'm fighting it. Add summer temps on top and it's a while pile of hell (my legs + shorts gets the same results as dividing by zero). I want to do things with my daughter this year. I want to go to the pool with her (which means a swimsuit, brace yourselves spandex industry). I want to take walks, visit the park, do THINGS. But if I can't even bring myself to look at myself in the mirror, can't give a good hard look at just how much space my pants take up on the clothes line, can't bend over and paint my toenails without not breathing (part of that is a boob problem, ladies you have my back right?), how am I supposed to do that? She doesn't care, kids don't see their parents as fat. They just see Mom (or Dad, I'll be fair here) and that is that. But for her sake, I care. I don't want to hear one of her friends say "Omg, is that your mom?" unless they are talking about whatever weird hair colour I'm sporting. For her sake, I want to be able to run with her after a ball and actually make her push herself. I want to be able to wear clothes that she can raid my closet for. I want to look at myself and be happy. I want to be able to accept the compliments that my husband gives me. This will never be a fitness blog, or even a follow-my-journey thing. I knit. I read. I doodle. I marathon Netflix. I'm a couch potato at heart, otherwise I doubt I'd have ever started a blog. But that doesn't mean I have to look like this while I watch an entire season of a show in a week. Or read a 7 book series in a week. I can be happy with myself and be myself and that is my goal. I want to smile when I see myself in photos. And I want my daughter to smile with me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Don't Want To Knit Anymore

Wait, what?

A knitting blog that doesn't want to knit anymore

Say it ain't so!

Calm yourselves, it isn't permanent. I haven't gone COMPLETELY nuts. But tis true. I'm working on a project and it is making me not want to knit anything anymore. Not even a new project is brightening me up (and I just perused the new Knitty patterns). Why? Because I know that the massive PROJECT OF DOOM will be sitting there, in my chair, mocking me.

"OOOOOH you can start a new pair of socks, but you can't finish me? Simple two row pattern in the round, and in light worsted no less, but you can't be bothered"

Yes, my UFO's talk, don't yours?

I'm plugging away at the Vortex Shawl, trying my hardest to use up this less than wonderful yarn I *had* to have. It's Red Heart (yes, yes, acrylic you yarn snobs. Money goes to growing offspring, I'll splurge when I take over her bedroom as a walk in yarn closet) Boutique Unforgettable. Looks AMAZING in the skein. Working with it? Meh. The sheen is gone, the colours all wind up muted, and it fuzzes worse than my mothers dogs. Seriously, I have a continual donut of fuzz while I'm working on this (anyone who has ever used a sheddy yarn knows what I mean). I'm almost at the end of ball #2, one more left. And I'm trying to talk myself into going until I can'ts go no mores. Because I am seriously tempted to just do my garter and bind off. But then I will be stuck with about 200yd of the stuff. I tried at least two other projects with that stuff, a lovely pattern by Caitlin ffrench (check her out on Rav, you won't be sorry) and the ball band shawl. Both were a big ol NOPE. This one I frogged 3 times before I finally got it to work.

What I did get to work was another shawl. Yarn that I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to do with it. Bernat Mosaic, three balls. I made Lala's Simple Shawl (my go to lately). I shortened it a bit to make sure I had enough for the bind off (and I could have gone another row or three, of course), but it turned out perfectly for my shoulders. I'm wearing it now seeing as it's 68 in this house (without a fan or an a/c unit, woot!). I even have a picture, as arty as I get without an instagram filter

the hand sculpture thing to your left was made by my niece

So to recap no, I'm not going to stop knitting. I become even more intolerable and antsy if I don't have SOMETHING for my hands to do (and bugger off, you skeevy pervs, no one wants to hear from the peanut gallery). And I really can't convince Hubs to get me some handspun at the Ren Fest if it's just going to sit there. I will totally post about our trip and costumes!