Thursday, 29 August 2013

August Blogging Roundup

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The monthly 'Blogging Roundup' is a re-cap post with links to all of my DIYs and entertainment reviews of the last four weeks plus any other blog-related favourites. (Usually featuring an un-related image also taken that month!)


DIY & Crafts
Paper Heart Garland - turn old book pages into pretty home decor
Statement Necklace - use nail polish and gems to create bold statement jewellery
Soy Sauce Kale Chips - a tasty twist on this healthy snack
Braided Seed Bead Bracelet - use tiger tail thread to create a pretty braided bracelet
Embellished Bobby Pins - jazz up your plain bobby pins with charms, metallic threads and buttons
Chicken Noodle Soup - a quick meal idea that's super easy to prepare
Marc Jacobs Inspired Earrings - another simple project for the hardware jewellery collection
Recycled Plastic Jewellery - how to turn #6 plastic into shrinkle accessories


Entertainment Reviews
Earth Star by Janet Edwards (2013) -  the second instalment in the story of Jarra Tell Morath
Data Runner by Sam A. Patel (2013) - technology meets parkour in this YA science fiction tale
You Still Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free, Roben Ryberg (2013) - a selection of gluten-free recipes

Also this month
The lovely Lauren of OhHAY! was very kind to me this month as not only did she nominate me for a blogging award, she also featured me and my shop in her LiveMakeDesign series. Don't forget to head over to Lauren's blog and have a read!

What did you blog about in August?
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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Midweek DIY: Recycle Plastic Packaging Into Jewellery!

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For the last in my Summer series of regular Midweek DIYs I have a little recycling project to share with you. I'm sure lots of you will have used shrink plastic before but did you know that #6 plastic, often used for packaging foods, is the same thing? I certainly had no idea until I saw various posts on Pinterest showcasing projects created with basic #6 plastic. Of course after seeing this I had to try out the idea for myself to see if it really worked and I'm happy to report back that it does!

Although I haven't tested it out I believe that this craft will only work with #6 plastic so make sure to check you have the right type before you begin. To find out the type of plastic look on the surface for a little triangle symbol which will have a number inside.
My favourite place to get take away gluten free cakes happens to package the slices in boxes made of #6 so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test out the idea (and eat some delicious cake!)

The plastic is easy to cut using scissors or a craft knife and you can create any shapes you like. I went for a basic geometric design to keep things simple for this tutorial but you can be as creative as you'd like. To colour my plastic I used Sharpies but any permanent pens should do just fine. One important thing to remember when adding colour to shrink plastic is that it will appear darker after heating. Alternatively leave your plastic clear and paint with nail polish after shrinking, once it has cooled.
I also turned this project into an excuse to use my new bunny single hole punch (adorable, no?) - don't forget to punch the holes before you shrink the plastic, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble that way!

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There are a couple of options for heating and shrinking the plastic. The first, and most universal, is to pop the plastic in a hot oven on top of a baking tray lined with some greaseproof paper or foil. The alternative option, one for those who craft regularly, is to use a heat tool which can be more convenient as you don't have to wait for the oven to pre-heat!

The key with shrink plastic is to keep an eye on it and not be alarmed when it curls up! When you pop the pieces of plastic into the oven (or begin hovering your heat tool over them) they will start to shrink and curl up at the same time but don't worry, this is whats supposed to happen. Once they have fully curled up the will flatten themselves out again where they should be smaller and thicker. When you remove them from the heat they may not be completely flat but whilst they are still warm you can easily reshape them - try pressing them flat under a heavy book so you don't burn your fingers!

To ensure they don't get damaged its best to add a layer of glaze to your charms before turning them into wearable pieces - I would recommend something like Diamond Glaze or Mod Podge's Dimensional Magic.

To turn your plastic shapes into a necklace just open up a large jump ring, thread on the charms and a chain, then close up the ring. You'll be left with your very own one of a kind jewellery piece made from just some basic supplies and a plastic food container!

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So that's how its done... and the best part is you now all have an excuse to go and buy yourself a slice of cake!
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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

August Reads

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As suspected I didn't do very well with my TBR list this month although I did at least manage to make my way through the new releases. Here's a quick rundown on the four books I read...

First up I read the first two books in the Earth Girl series (Janet Edwards) - 2012's Earth Girl & recent release Earth Star. The series takes place in the future where humans are able to easily travel around the universe and follows 18 year-old Jarra who has a handicap that means she is unable to leave Earth. Unfortunately this technology-based YA series didn't end up becoming a favourite of mine however there were several elements that reminded me of the Uglies series (Scott Westerfeld) so if you're a big fan of those this series might be one for your TBR. You can find my review of Earth Star on Blogger's Bookshelf.

Instead of taking notice of the two books I had chosen from my ideas jar I caved and opted for Dearly Devoted Dexter, the second book in Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series. I won't go into too much detail but overall I enjoyed this instalment of the story more than the first. I will however let you in on a little secret - there will be a week of Dexter-themed posts here at e-elise etc during the week leading up to the series finale next month! Amongst other things this mini series will include both a review and a sneaky little giveaway featuring Dearly Devoted Dexter so if you're keen to read this one check back in September for your chance to win a copy!

Favourite read of the month definitely goes to Jody Casella's debut novel Thin Space which is due for release next month. The book is a YA supernatural mystery based on a unique premise and packed with interesting ideas and likable characters. I'll be posting a full review of Thin Space next week over at Blogger's Bookshelf so keep an eye out for that if you're curious to find out more!

*Earth Star & Thin Space c/o Netgalley 

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday DIY : Soy Sauce Kale Chips

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This weekend I have an edible DIY for you in the form of kale chips with a soy sauce twist. These are tasty, super easy to make and of course full of vitamin goodness!

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1. The first step is to pre-heat your oven to around 150°c. Place a sheet of foil onto a baking tray and set aside for later

2. Next up prepare your kale - thorougly wash and dry the leaves and try to cut your kale leaves as evenly as possible, removing the stalks as they are not needed

I actually used pre-cut kale for this tutorial as that's what we happened to have but I would recommend cutting your own as its easier to remove the stalks and to get the pieces even

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3. Time to season! - pop the kale in a large bowl, add olive oil and soy sauce to taste and mix thoroughly to make sure all of the leaves are covered

If any of you happen to be looking for a nice gluten free soy sauce my vote goes to Sanchi Tamari!

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4. Spread your kale out onto the baking tray, making sure its in a single layer so it will cook evenly. Sprinkle on a little coarse salt and pop it into the oven for around 10 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on it!

I would recommend giving the kale pieces a little shuffle around every few minutes, again to ensure they cook as evenly as possible

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If, like me, you enjoy your stir fried chicken, vegetables and noodles with a generous helping of soy sauce, next time you make one try cooking up a batch of these and add them to your bowl just before serving to get that soy sauce kick without drowning your food in sauce!

Have you tried making kale chips yet?
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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Midweek DIY - Statement Necklace

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For today's DIY project I wanted to bring you something bright, bold and fun for what's left of the British summer, hopefully I've managed to achieve that with this spontaneous design!

To create your own version you will need - metal charms, a chain, pliers, small jump rings, tweezers, nail gems, bright nail polishes & clear nail polish (an additional glaze is optional)

diy statement necklace tutorial

1. The first step is to paint your charms with bright nail polishes and leave them to dry fully. Some polishes may require more than one coat, it just depends on what colours/brands you choose

I used Barry M Mint Green, Nails Inc Bluebell, Natural Collection Hibiscus & H&M Lemon Tree and found that the Nails Inc polish only needed one coat where as I had to apply two for the others

2. Apply a tiny amount of clear polish to the base of your gems and use it to carefully stick them onto the charms. I found that using tweezers to place the gems made things much easier

3. You can then go in and apply a clear coat of polish all over the surface of your charms. This will even out any streaks/marks, protect the surface and make sure the gems are secure as well as giving a glossy finish

If you want to make your charms more hard-wearing you can also apply a glaze once the coat of polish has fully dried

4. Once your charms are dry its time to fix them onto the chain. This step is really very simple - use your pliers to open up a jump ring, thread it through one of the links in your chain, thread on a charm and close up the jump ring. Repeat this process until you've added all the charms and your one of a kind statement necklace is ready to wear!

Happy DIY-ing!
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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday DIY: Embellished Bobby Pins

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Another simple project for you this weekend with a little hair accessory makeover! There are tons of ideas and tutorials out there for making your plain old bobby pins prettier but here's a couple of ideas to get you started...

1. Nail polish - the easiest way to make an instant difference is to use something that most of us already have lying around - nail polish! Paint the bobby pins in your favourite colours, or coordinate them with your outfit

2. Embroidery threads - wrapping brightly coloured or metallic threads around the bobby pins also makes a huge difference by adding both colour and texture. You can cover the whole pin by simply wrapping the thread around or alternatively make more of a pattern with them (as shown on the flower pins above)

3. Buttons/cabochons - with a little blob of strong adhesive you can attach any flat-backed embellishments you'd like - buttons, flowers and even studs all look great! If you don't have an iron on stud (with a flat back), you can easily use a regular stud - just cut a small piece of foam sheet and pop it inside the stud to create the flat surface for the glue. For an example of this technique take a look at my DIY Studded Earrings post

4. Charms - the charm designs were inspired by this Forever 21 set featuring golden arrows which are simply attached to the pin using small jump rings

Which look is your favourite?
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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Midweek DIY: Braided Seed Bead Bracelet

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Apologies to anyone who checked in on Sunday to find no new DIY post, I ended up taking an unplanned week off from blogging but I'm back today with another jewellery tutorial for you to try out!

A couple of months back I finally picked up a roll of Tiger Tail, a flexible beading wire that allows you to string beads without having to have them fixed into shape, as you would with memory wire. It is similar to a normal thread in terms of the flexibility but is also stronger and more durable.

Today's tutorial will show you how to make your own braided bead bracelet like the one shown above. Here's what you'll need: Tiger Tail Beading Wire, Seed Beads, Small Crimps, Pliers, Scissors, a Clasp & Jump Rings

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1. Start by cutting three lengths of Tiger Tail that will fit approx. one and a half times around your wrist

2. Take your first length of wire and thread on a crimp. Using your pliers carefully fold the end of the wire back through the crimp to create a loop. Close up the crimp with your pliers to secure it in place

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3.Thread on seed beads until you are nearing the end of the wire. Again, use your pliers and a crimp to create a loop

4. Repeat this for your other two strands of wire so you have a total of three to be braided

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5. Open up one of your jump rings using pliers, thread on the three strands and close

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6. Now its time to create your braid - treat the three strands of beads just like you would three strands of thread and plait until you reach the end

7. Add a jump ring onto the end of your braid, as you did in step 5, and you're ready to attach the clasp

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7. Finally use your pliers to attach whichever type of clasp you have chosen and your bracelet is ready to wear!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives.
If you have any DIY requests or challenges for me please leave them in the comments below.
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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

DIY Candy: Kracie Marumete Pandango (c/o Cybercandy)

Kracie Marumete Pandango Kit c/o Cybercandy

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When Cybercandy contacted me about reviewing another product from their range of sweets and treats the Kracie Marumete Pandango kit caught my eye straight away! I'd already heard a little bit about these Japanese kits in the blogging and YouTube community and as you know I love a good DIY project so of course I wanted to try one out for myself.
The kit comes with everything you need to make a cute little 'rice' panda treat complete with 'soy' dipping sauce, all you need to do is add water! Here's how it works...

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The kit contains three sachets, a measuring spoon, a stick and a mixing tray
Tip - if you want to make up the dipping sauce then you will also need a small pot!

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Sachet number one is for the body and head of the panda and requires three spoonfuls of water to mix up to the right consistency. Once properly mixed together you can split it up into two sections and roll into balls - the texture feels a little like play-doh at this point!

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Next up is sachet 2 - the black mixture for your Panda's face, ears, hands and feet
Tip - this time the video instructions suggest using 1 spoonful of water however I would recommend starting with half a spoon and adding more if needed, otherwise it can get quite sticky and difficult to shape

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To complete your panda all you have to do is slide the finished body and head onto the plastic stick provided - doesn't he look cute?!

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The final sachet is the 'soy sauce' which needs to measures of water. This time you use the corner of the mixing tray as your measure instead of the spoon

Time to eat!

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This little panda creation is almost too cute to eat but in the name of reviewing I did have to sample it (sorry little panda!). The texture is quite strange, very soft and squishy... like a dough or even a heavy version of jelly. The best way I can come up with to describe the taste is to simply say that its like a sweet rice and is unlike any other candy/sweets I've tried. The sauce definitely has the scent of real soy sauce however it also has a very sweet taste to compliment the panda.

Personally I think that this kit would make a great novelty gift if you're looking for something a unusual to buy for friends/family although you'd probably have to point them in the direction of a how-to video or blog post as there are no English instructions provided in the kit!

Thank you to Cybercandy for the opportunity to try out this unusual sweet treat!

Have you tried anything from the Kracie range?
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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The August TBR Pile

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Click the book titles below to find them on Amazon

Since I don't have any library books right now I've chosen two from the jar this month - Paper Towns (John Green) & Unremembered (Jessica Brody) - both of which have sadly been sitting on my Kindle for quite some time. I'm particularly looking forward to finding out if Paper Towns lives up to the hype although I fear I'm going to be disappointed!

Next up is Earth Star (Janet Edwards) which I recently received a review copy of and is due for release next week. Earth Star is the sequel to Earth Girl which also happened to already be sitting on my bookshelf so I'll be reading both of those this month.

I'm still working my way through my Netgalley shelves in general too - when I joined I never expected I would be approved for most of the titles I requested and as a result of this I'm still playing catchup now. With that in mind I plan on attempting to cut down on some more of my Netgalley TBRs by reading and reviewing two recently published novels - Foreverland Is Dead (Tony Bertauski) & A Really Awesome Mess (Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin) - plus September release Thin Space (Jody Casella) which I will be discussing over at Blogger's Bookshelf nearer the release date.

If I'm being completely honest theres a chance I might veer away from the list this month as I definitely feel a reading slump coming on... Don't forget to check back at the end of the month to find out how I get on!

What will you be reading in August?
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Monday, 5 August 2013

DIY Paper Heart Garland

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Just a quick note to let you know that I've posted a little DIY tutorial over on Wishing For Chanel today as I'm kicking off Ria's week of guest posts whilst she's away having an amazing time at LeakyCon.

Head on over to Wishing For Chanel for the full tutorial post!
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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday DIY: Hex Earrings (Marc Jacobs Inspired)

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This hardware jewellery thing seems to be turning into a series of projects here at e-elise etc doesn't it? Despite the slight overload of this type of project I couldn't resist showing you these as they only take a minute to make and if, like me, you've already made other hardware jewellery pieces then you're bound to have a couple of leftover mini hex nuts to use up!

The inspiration from Marc by Marc Jacobs,  RRP around £45 a pair...
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To make them you will need - 2 mini hex nuts, 2 lengths of chain (approx 3" each), 2 earring wires, 2 small jump rings, jewellery pliers

Take one length of chain and thread on a hex nut. Next, use your pliers to open up a jump ring, hook both ends of the chain and an earring wire onto it and close...

That's all there is to it!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives. If you have any DIY requests or challenges for me please leave them in the comments below.
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Thursday, 1 August 2013

July Blogging Roundup

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The monthly 'Blogging Roundup' is a re-cap post with links to all of my DIYs and entertainment reviews of the last four weeks plus any other blog-related favourites. (Usually featuring an un-related image also taken that month!)

DIY & Crafts
Marc Jacobs Inspired Bangles - an easy to do woven design using scooby string
Jump Ring Necklaces - two ways to make your own high-street inspired piece
Comic Book Box - a simple decoupage project that looks super effective
Spiral Midi Rings - another Summer trend made easy with this step-by-step tutorial
Washer Bracelet - an incredibly simple but stylish idea that requires no jewellery making tools
Wrapped Sunglasses - part two of my embellished sunglasses DIYs
Paper Straw Frames - another simple idea, inspired by The Tomkat Studio
Polka Dot Shorts - a quick way to upcycle a boring old pair ofshorts for the summer months
Kate Spade Inspired Bangle - perfect for stacking at festival season

Entertainment Reviews
The Monsters In Your Neighborhood by Jesse Petersen (2013) - the sequel to the awesome Club Monstrosity
Shallow Pond by Alissa Grosso (2013) - a small town tale with a big twist
Requiem by Lauren Oliver (2013) - the final installment in the Delirium series
Anxiety 101 by Eudene Harry (2013) - a non-fiction book dealing with the root causes of anxiety

Also this month
I was very kindly nominated for another blogger award, this time by the lovely Michelle from Shellington Boot passed on the Sunshine Award - thank you Michelle! :)

What did you write about in July?
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