Saturday, 30 March 2013

Goals Progress

At the beginning of the year, I blogged about some of my goals (not resolutions!) for the year.

Now seems as good a time as any to look at how I'm doing so far...

01. Make 100 unique necklaces
I'm up to around #89, including those I posted tutorials for here. (Current favourites are the bottle necklaces and the studded tassel necklace!). Admittedly I started making necklaces in November 2012, so some of those don't technically count, but I've lost track of how many I've made from the start of 2013! 
...once I get to 130, I'll consider the goal complete. I should stop making necklaces for myself because my jewellery board is groaning under the weight of it all!
But we all know that's not going to happen! ;D

02. Start up an Etsy store to sell said necklaces!
Done! My Etsy shop is also named Unfortunately Oh and I've redesigned the shop header. Part of today was spent changing the keywords for each listing as well. I'm still getting to grips with Etsy, so any tips from seasoned Etsy sellers would be much appreciated.
03. Create some sewn items to sell on Etsy, too
Done! My store now contains a few 'Monstars'. I'm thinking of starting a custom-made Monstar service, if these ones end up being successful, and have a few others planned.
04. Prepare blog posts much further in advance…
In progress! I'm currently in love with the scheduled post function and planning to add another weekly feature to this blog, alongside Marvellous Mondays. How are your finding Marvellous Monday, by the way?
05. …but don’t get bogged down with following ‘blogging trends’ (unless they’re interesting to me)
I'm trying hard not to do this. I'm not even sure what current blogging trends are! But I promise that you won't see any ombre, chevrons, or grey x yellow here.  I want to bring something different to the table!
06. Likewise don’t feel pressured to create ‘seasonal’ crafts/posts (Halloween crafts at Easter? Why not!)
So far, I'm doing well at this. The past two years, I've felt pressurised to create seasonal crafts to bring in the hits, but this year I've done nothing for Easter, yet gained hits on my old easter egg hunt printables. I've had some really nice comments on them so thank you to everyone who took the time to comment!
We're silly, and decided to make a 'hair donut'

07. Get a hair cut. Seriously. It needs doing.
Done! J'adore my hairdresser. My haircuts aren't cheap but they are well worth the money. I'm one of those lazy people who avoids the hairdresser for months on end; my short hairstyle was almost at my shoulders when I finally went! 
I also dyed my hair again recently. I was hoping for red but once again the red dye ended up pink. To quote a friend, 
You're destined to be pink. Don't fight it!
So I suppose I'll stick with this for now and hope next time's attempts with a different brand goes red. Failing that, maybe I'll try green!
08. Practice photography, both for blogging and in general
Not really doing this. I studied photography at A-Level and had a love-hate relationship with the course, but I do miss the weight of an SLR in my hands. Just wish I had the money for a DSLR and a couple of lenses to play with. As it stands, I'll stick with my point and shoot camera, and - dare I say it - my iPhone.
I think I need to give myself some 'projects' with regards photography. Does anyone have suggestions?
09. Write more original fiction outside of NaNoWriMo.
Started this recently! I downloaded a free app called Lift which lets you set a bunch of goals and check in every day when you complete them. One of the goals I chose for myself was 'write for 30 minutes'. I don't do this every day, but so far have managed to write a few short stories, and finish some that I started years ago! I'm hardly writing the next Lord of the Rings but it's great to get the creative juices flowing no matter how ridiculous the end result is.
10. Have a big clear out and sell things on ebay.
Done! I'm still not a fan of selling on ebay, but money is nice. I have stuff left over (also stuff that still hasn't been listed!) but it's coming into car boot fair season in my area, so I'm hoping to badger someone into providing the car boot for my unwanted goods to be sold from!
11. Use Royal Pavilion & Museums membership card more before it expires!
Still haven't done this. It's terrible! I paid £25 for my membership and have only been to the Royal Pavilion twice! One more time, and it will have paid for itself. Going to the same place multiple times might sound ridiculous, but with the Royal Pavilion there is always something new to notice.
12. Paint.
I did some paintings, but haven't done any more since. I want to do more soon!
13. Finish reading ‘Tired of London, Tired of Life’ and actually do some of the stuff in it.
I've half-finished this one, in a sense that I've read the book. I've yet to go to London, though!
14. Complete ‘Wreck This Journal’ (I got one for Christmas and its so much fun)
In progress! Wreck this Journal fell by the wayside for a little while, but over the last few days I've done some more, including the incredibly destructive 'take this book into the shower with you'. I did this three days ago and the book is still drying out! 

15. Write more ‘personal’ blog posts (like this one!)
Not sure if I'm doing well on this one or not. What do you think? 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Embellished Boots

saint laurent inspired embellished boots

These embellished boots are a project I started about two weeks ago, after seeing a post on A Matter of Style about Saint Laurent's 'homemade boots'. (Read the article on A Matter of Style here)

I customised a pair of boots that I bought from New Look last year. Everything I used here came from my stash, so these embellishments didn't cost anything to make...

Here's the picture I pinned from aforementioned blog:

My method was almost the same as suggested on A Matter of Style.

I wanted to make these embellishments removable, instead of gluing them on, as I have monster feet (UK 9, if you're wondering!) and find it hard to find great boots in my size.

I cut two pieces of faux leather to fit the front of the boots. and sewed four loops on the back of each piece (two for each boot strap):

buckle boots embellished with buttons beads and chain

I didn't think to take a picture of this before sewing everything on, so you get to see my stitching in all its glorious messiness!

embellished buckle boots

Sewing on my selection of embellishments - buttons, charms, beads and chain - took an absolute age, which is why I only just finished this project. I have to admit that I procrastinated a lot on this!

Whilst sewing the first one I realised it's much easier to sew on the chain after everything else.
The more that goes onto these pieces, the easier it is for the thread to tangle around things and I found the chain caught in the thread a lot!

DIY embellished fashion boots

Even once I thought I was done, I kept finding little gaps that needed filling! I could easily fill a few more gaps and make these look even bulkier, by using tiny gold beads (like in my Buttons and Beads Bib Necklace Tutorial). However, I decided I'd sewn on more than enough!

embellished fashion buckle boot DIY

This was a great DIY project for using up all the short scraps of chain I had left over from making jewellery! I also used some of the vintage buttons a family member gave me, beads from a few bracelets that I don't wear anymore and a selection of charms.

removable buckle boot embellishments

I'm really pleased with how these have turned out and can't wait to wear them!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Stinky Monstars!


I’ve posted about my ‘Monstars’ a couple of times…and I’m about to do it again!
This time, there is a slight difference to these little monsters: they’re stinky Monstars!


I made these to go in my wardrobe, and have filled their heads with lavender picked from the garden.


As always with these Monstars each one is unique and I won’t be making another the same.

Eventually I might make some Stinky Monstars to sell.
For now, if you want a cute, scent-free Monstar of your own, please check out my Etsy store (and remember you can get 10% off all purchases at my shop with the code OHTAKE10 !)

Monday, 25 March 2013

Marvellous Monday #3

Time once again for Marvellous Monday! Are you feeling good?

Today I'll let these graphics speak for themselves...

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Out of the Jungle Necklace

When sorting through my fabric scraps, I was inspired to whip up this ‘Out of the Jungle’ necklace!

Of course, I took pictures along the way and made a tutorial :)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Wasabi Chocolate

Being the healthy person that I am, I’ve been eating random-flavoured chocolate again :)

This time around, it was Lindt’s dark chocolate with wasabi flavour.
Yes, that wasabi, known also as Japanese horseradish. I love it!

Despite the rather questionable flavour combination, it tastes nice!
I like dark chocolate even without crazy flavours added. It's harder to pig out on an entire bar of dark chocolate :)

I saw on TV that when trying good chocolate, you should smell it before tasting it. This one smells a little mustardy, but slightly sweet at the same time.
As for the taste, the dark chocolate is first apparent. As it melts, out pops the wasabi flavour! This isn’t as hot as wasabi paste (thank goodness!) but the flavour is just strong enough to give the chocolate a little kick.

If you let it melt on your tongue, the flavour comes through much more strongly, though not to the point where your eyes start to water!

Of course, I wouldn’t advise cramming in several squares in one go. I did this, and suddenly the heat multiplied!
This is a good bar for someone that likes hot, spicy/peppery food, but dislikes food being overly sweet. Yum.

This was NOT a sponsored post. As with all posts on Unfortunately Oh!, I have written my opinions out of my own will without receiving any benefits in return. I just want to share with you the awesome things I’ve happened upon!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Marvellous Monday #2

Its Monday again. Are you having a good one?

Today's Marvellous Monday aims to take you on a trip somewhere peaceful and awe-inspiring.

Lovely scenery with breath-taking views and beautiful colours await you, so grab a big mug of tea, sit somewhere comfortable and do a little armchair travelling with me.

Source: via Kei on Pinterest

Through the fields of flowers, towards a rainbow sky...

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Wreck This Journal!

One of the presents I received for Christmas 2012 was ‘Wreck This Journal’ by Keri Smith. It’s a fabulous, reader-involved book which, as the title suggests, you destroy. All in the name of creativity!

Completing it is one of my goals for 2013.

So far, it’s been inspiring. The instructions are varied and open to interpretation, even encouraging you to deface the cover (as you can see, I’ve not done that one yet!)

I’m having fun with picking pages at random to complete, and art materials that have been gathering dust in the cupboard for years are finally seeing the light of day!

One of the great things I’ve found about Wreck this Journal is that it’s helping me to lose restraint when being creative: to be careless, to rip and scribble and colour outside the lines. And I’m pretty pleased with some of the stuff I’ve churned out so far!

I would definitely recommend this book.

This was NOT a sponsored post. As with all posts on Unfortunately Oh!, I have written my opinions out of my own will without receiving any benefits in return. I just want to share with you the awesome things I’ve happened upon!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Marvellous Mondays #1!

Source: via Kei on Pinterest

Let's face it, Mondays don't tend to be all that marvellous. It's the start of the working week, the school week, the study week (though at my college it was 'coursework day') and unless you're the type to get super excited at the prospect of another week's slog, you may be greeting Monday with a wish for Friday to come!

We all need a little positivity in our Mondays, which is why I decided upon this new feature, 'Marvellous Mondays'!

Each Monday, I'll aim to post something positive!
This might be a positive or encouraging quote, cute pictures, or something funny. The idea is to create some smiles on a grey Monday morning!

Today, I've opted for a bunch of amusing pictures, specifically 'Pareidolia'. defines this as
the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features

Cool name, right?

Source: via Kei on Pinterest

This post is dedicated to you having a truly Marvellous Monday!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Mention in 'A Garden Life'

Recently I was contacted by Michelle Simakis, associate editor of 'A Garden Life', which is a monthly digital magazine that covers gardening, food, health, sustainability and a whole heap of other interesting topics.

(hope you don't mind me borrowing your logo!)

To cut a long story short, my map pendant tutorial has had a little mention in one of their articles!
The main article is about Martha Aleo, a wonderfully creative lady who creates jewellery pieces from found objects, and Jerin Scott, who runs a vintage jewellery business. Cool, right?

You can read the article at A Garden Life's website, here: Transforming Found Treasures into Jewelry

I full recommend going to check the site out. I went to have a nose when I was first contacted and found lots of interesting and inspiring articles. It's a free magazine, which can also be read through their app on iPhone, iPad or Kindle via iTunes and Amazon respectively.

The Autobiography of Henry VIII

Previously, when I’ve written about books, I’ve focused more often on an author, than a specific work.

Today, for a change, I’ll write about just one book:

The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George

The full title is The Autobiography of Henry VIII, With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers.
As you may have gathered, it isn’t a real autobiography by England’s infamous monarch! However, it’s written in the style of an autobiography, from Henry VIII’s point of view, with the occasional interjection from Will, King Henry’s court jester.
The book begins during the reign of Mary I, with correspondence between Will Somers and Catherine Carey Knollys. Following on from this, the tale goes back to Henry VIII’s early years, from which it progresses to his death.

Obviously I can’t bang on too much about the content of this book, since that would spoil the storyline (though anyone can look up the life of Henry VIII and find everything out!)

In the first part of this book in particular, Henry is depicted as quite a naive man, which highlights the fact that he was never properly groomed to be a king and had to learn a lot as he went along. I found this an interesting slant on Henry VIII’s character, since all too often he is depicted only as an obese, belligerent tyrant.

On an historical level, I learnt a lot from this book! For example, I didn’t know that Henry wasn’t first in line for the throne. Nor did I know the specifics of the monarch’s reasons for being rid of his wives (excepting Jane Seymour, in which case death is pretty self-explanatory). I also wasn’t aware of how many children were born of King Henry and Katherine of Aragon, many of whom died soon after birth or were stillborn.

The book contains all the usual things you learn in history lessons: Henry VIII had six wives, was responsible for the creation of the Church of England, had many people executed, grew quite obese and had a ship called the Mary Rose, which sank. (This is pretty much the extent of my schooling when it comes to his reign!)

In addition to these, this book contains many more events and factoids relating to the life and reign of Henry VIII: his progress to the north, his going to war with France and that Calais was part of England, among other things.
Being a novel in the form of an autobiography, the book gives a lot of detail about Henry’s meeting his wives and his relationships with those around him. We see how his thoughts on people change, sometimes based on tiny actions or words. Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas More and others--we see their fall from favour, dreaded yet inevitable. More’s death in particular was interesting to read, since in the book Henry seemed very reluctant to allow it (More was executed for treason).

According to the notes in the front of the book, it took Margaret George “fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England and France, and five handwritten drafts for her answer to the question: what was Henry really like?”
Major kudos to the author for doing so much hard work! I feel that this level of background research suggests we can trust the content of the book.
Of course, there will be flights of fancy within the story (I’m somewhat disappointed at the lack of author’s notes to explain which parts were guessed/made up) but Margaret George has painted a truly vibrant picture of life in the Tudor court, and the workings of Henry VIII’s mind.

At over 900 pages this is a pretty hefty book, but is well worth the read.
If you like history and have interest in a good story, I highly recommend picking up this book!

I now feel compelled to find out more about Anne of Cleves. The book portrayed her as a woman poorly educated but quietly intelligent! I am intrigued!
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