Wednesday, 30 September 2015

#paperhaul:featured - Eilidh Bruce

paperhaul featured september 2015
paperhaul featured september 1
Disclaimer: I purchased this box using the #paperhaul blogger discount - all opinions are my own.

This month saw the first #paperhaul:featured box, sharing the creative talent of illustrator Eilidh Bruce. Whilst I've often spoken in the past about how much I love the variety of items found in each month's box, I was also really excited about the idea of a featured artist and a whole box showcasing their work.
 
The bumper edition September box is filled with all things cats, but not just any cats. Illustrator Eilidh has combined her favourite animal with fruits and pretty pastel tones to create unique watercolour designs perfect for the #paperhaul audience. Now I have to be completely honest here and admit that I'm not a cat person (on that note, can a future box be bunny themed please?) but despite this I think the designs are really cute, especially the little pineapple cat (pictured below) and love the textured look the watercolours have.

The box contains some of the usual selection of items including postcards, stickers and washi tape, as well as a set of mini badges as first seen in the Under The Sea box a couple of months back. Also included in the box this month was something completely new; a notebook! I think this would have to be my favourite item from the box, the print is very cute and as any blogger will tell you, you can never have enough notebooks!

Including a short Q&A with Eilidh was also a lovely touch. It's always nice to get to know the person behind the designs and find out a little bit more about what inspires them. I'm really impressed with the first edition of the #paperhaul:featured box and am looking forward to discovering more talented artist's work and inspirations through future boxes.

If you're interested in treating yourself to the next #paperhaul box you can sign up at Crafty Creatives for just £10 a month.

Don't forget to catch up on my review of last month's box where the theme was Paris!


paperhaul featured september 3

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Monday, 28 September 2015

September Reads & Reviews

Cover images via goodreads.com

After failing to stick to my TBR for August I decided to just continue on picking out books as and when which led to an interesting selection. From popular thrillers to short stories, a biography and even a graphic novelisation of late 80's TV, let's talk September's reads...

Continuing on from last month's darker books I finished new release, Dawn Kurtagich's The Dead House, popular thriller The Girl On The Train (Paula Hawkins, 2014) and YA survival tale The Raft (S A Bodeen, 2012), all of which were interesting reads with something a little bit different to offer. I also dipped into short story collection Horowitz Horror (Anthony Horowitz, 1999) - just in time for Halloween!

I'm currently back in the re-read game after a few months of all-new books (who forgot that was my challenge for the year? *raises hand*). Challenge-in-mind I'm going back over ten years and revisiting biography Dave Grohl: Foo Fighters, Nirvana & Other Misadventures (Martin James, 2003).

The final book I have to talk about this month is definitely my favourite of the bunch and very much contrasts from the others. I was incredibly excited to find out that there was going to be a graphic novel based on one of my favourite shows, Saved By The Bell and this month I got to read the first volume. I'm talking more about Saved By The Bell: Vol 1* over on Blogger's Bookshelf today, so if you're a fellow fan of the TV series head on over there now for the full post!

Reviews posted this month: The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle (2015)
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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Introducing #beadhaul!

beadhaul box

Today I wanted to introduce you to another new crafty subscription box; #beadhaul! The #beadhaul box is the latest creation from the team over at Crafty Creatives and is a themed box full of beads and charms delivered right to your door every two months.

The launch of this box comes with a little extra excitement for me as I am going to be working alongside the Crafty Creatives team to bring subscribers tutorials using items from each of the boxes! The tutorials, which are suitable for beginners, will be posted over on the Crafty Creatives website and I'll also be sharing a bonus tutorial for each box here on my blog too.

The theme for the prototype box which shipped out earlier this month was birds and it featured a beautiful selection of pieces including lots of bronze-tone charms, pretty shell beads and pops of turquoise. If you fancy trying your hand at a bit of jewellery making you can check out my first set of tutorials, plus a couple of guides to the basics which are live over on the Crafty Creatives blog now.

You can also find out more about the #beadhaul box and how you can subscribe to future boxes over on the Crafty Creatives website.
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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Say Hello To Effie Box!

effie box logoDisclaimer: I was kindly sent the first two editions of Effie Box free of charge to try out and share with you! Logo image sourced via Effie Box blog.

Today I'm excited to bring back some DIY to e-elise etc and introduce you all to a new crafty subscription box! Effie Box, which launched last month, is the brainchild of bloggers Fran (On The Bias) & Ellie (The Wedding Philosopher) and is a monthly box which contains everything you'll need to make a fun crafty project.

As someone who has tried out quite a wide selection of different crafts I was pleased to open the August box and discover the project was one I'd never tried before; wildflower bombs! I love that the girls decided to feature a less well-known and eco-friendly craft for the first box and was looking forward to trying it out.

Included in the box were sheets of coloured sugar paper, a piece of cheesecloth fabric, elastic bands, step-by-step written instructions and of course seeds. Following the instructions provided, I soaked and blended up the paper, drained the mixture and formed spheres which I then set aside to dry.

After a quick Pinterest search I also discovered lots of crafters were using fun shaped ice cube trays to press the pulp into other shapes such as hearts and flowers - a cute twist on the project! As I happened to have a tray for making small domed cabochons I decided to try this out and in the end I was pretty pleased with how they turned out (pink bombs pictured below). I think this project would work particularly well if you're looking to make unique favours for a special occasion.


Box two was something a little more familiar; a dreamcatcher kit! Inside this month's box I found a metal hoop, ribbon, string, wooden beads, a selection of feathers and step-by-step written instructions. Although I have made these before it was quite a long time ago so I was looking forward to re-visiting the idea and enjoyed spending a small part of my weekend working away on it.

Having sourced my own reference photos via Pinterest for the first box's project I was really pleased to see that the girls had added a QR code to the instruction sheet for box two, which when scanned links to a handy illustrated guide showing how to create a dreamcatcher.

effie box review 23

Also found inside the boxes were cute 'Eff is for favourite' cards (pictured below), each featuring one of the girls' favourite creators. It was great to see that the box will also be sharing the love within the creative/blogging community and especially nice to see my pal Michelle featured in the second box!

Based on the first two boxes it looks as though Effie Box is set to be a fun monthly treat with a good variety of crafts to try your hand at. With three, six or twelve month subscriptions available it could also make a lovely gift for the crafter in your life.

effie box 11

You can find out more about the new company over on their blog and Twitter page, and if you like what you see you can order your very own Effie Box over on their website - effiebox.bigcartel.com

Thank you again to Fran & Ellie for letting me try it out!
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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Podcast Starter Guide: Criminal

criminal podcast
Screenshot via thisiscriminal.com

Whether you've been thinking about downloading this amazing crime-based podcast for a while or are hearing about it for the first time today, I thought it might be interesting to share a list of the episodes that have stood out to me as some of the most memorable stories. At the time of writing this post there have been just twenty-five episodes released (and I'd recommend listening to them all!) but, in no particular order, here are my top picks to get you started...

1. Animal Instincts (originally aired 31.01.14)
The first episode of the intriguing crime podcast takes a closer look at a case from 2001 where a woman was found dead and her husband convicted of the murder. The twist here comes in the form of a neighbour's unusual theory, exploring the possibility that her death was in fact caused by an owl.

2. Final Exit (originally aired 13.03.15)
In this unscripted interview episode host Phoebe Judge talks to 'exit guide' Fran, a woman in her seventies who sits with people as they end their lives. Fran explains the process, why she became a part of the Final Exit Network and shares some of her personal experiences.

3. Poster Boy (originally aired 20.02.15)
Back in the 1800s a couple were brutally murdered, leaving behind a baby and an eleven year old boy. There were no clues, until the young boy surprised everyone when he confessed to the crime and was sentenced to life imprisonment. This episode explores his story and what may have led him to commit the crime.

4. That Crime Of The Month (originally aired 29.08.14)
This very short episode explores the use of PMS as a legal defence, using examples and sharing opinions from lawyers, scientists and the general public.

5. Ex Libris (originally aired 26.06.15)
As someone who loves to read I was fascinated by this tale of disappearing rare books. One of the most interesting aspects of this episode was the motive of the thief behind the scam where he bought many rare books over the phone.

6. Call Your Mom (originally aired 28.03.14)
This episode is all about a family who work in the 'business of death'. Twenty-five year old Kathleen is one of only three female coroners in the entire state and grew up with her parents, both investigators, and their law-enforcement friends talking about their cases.

7. Break The Internet (originally aired 25.11.14)
Known at the time as 'Mafia Boy', this episode looks at the story of a young hacker in the late 90's. The Canadian teenager became involved with a group of Russian hackers, and even took down some of the world's most famous websites.

8. Triassic Park (originally aired 17.07.15)
In this recent episode we learn about Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park, where visitors have been stealing petrified wood (a type of irreplaceable rock) for many years. Interestingly, many packages containing pieces of the wood have been sent back to the park, along with letters claiming it had caused the visitor bad luck.

9. Gil From London (originally aired 15.05.15)
If you find Catfish interesting, this one is for you. The episode looks at online romance scams by talking to sixty-something Karen who met a man named Gil on Facebook.

Have you been listening to Criminal? Which epsiodes are your favourites?
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Sunday, 6 September 2015

August Reads & Reviews


I should probably kick off this month's roundup by addressing the fact that I completely failed to stick to my August TBR list. Not only that but I also failed miserably on the note-taking front so although there are quite a few books to talk about it looks as though I'll be keeping the recaps/mini reviews brief this time!

Of course at the beginning of the month I was keen to try and stick to my TBR so let's begin with the two books I actually did manage to cross off the list. Firstly I picked up When I Was Me (Hilary Freeman, 2015) which was one several purchases I made from the Hot Key Books stand at YALC back in July. Whilst I loved concept behind the book, which included the fascinating theory of parallel universes, I unfortunately didn't get on so well with the characters.

The second read from my August TBR which I did manage to make time for was Dangerous Boys (Abigail Haas, 2014). Ever since reading Dangerous Girls back in May this one had bumped up to the top of my TBR list and I wasn't disappointed! Whilst I have to admit I didn't love this one as much as Dangerous Girls, I did really enjoy the mysterious story and would recommend it if you're looking for a darker YA novel.

Sticking with the 'dark and twisty' theme I also read another couple of YALC purchases; Birdy by Jess Vallance (2015) and Monsters by Emerald Fennell (2015). Both unique tales with a whole lot of mystery, I enjoyed these novels and would recommend picking them up, particularly Birdy!

Another book that unexpectedly made it's way onto my reading list this month was Lorali (Laura Dockrill, 2015), the tale of a mermaid. Honestly, based on the description/genre this isn't something I would normally pick out, however having seen so many amazing reviews I couldn't help but become intrigued. The chapters alternate between different perspectives and one of the most interesting and unique aspects of the novel was the fact that one of these was The Sea. I would recommend picking this one up if you're looking for something a little different!

I also snuck in two graphic novels; Edward Scissorhands Vol 2: Whole Again (Kate Leth, 2015) and The Scorch Trials: The Official Graphic Novel Prelude (Jackson Lanzing, 2015). With The Scorch Trials film adaptation landing in cinemas very soon (who else is super excited for this?) I decided to pick up a copy of this newly released selection of companion stories. There were a couple of really interesting tales which stood out to me more than the others, including the final section on the formation of Wicked. If you're a big fan of the series you'll enjoy this graphic novel addition to The Maze Runner family.

A full review of the second Edward Scissorhands adaptation will be posted over on BB in October but you can catch my thoughts on the first instalment right here on e-elise etc.

I'm currently making my way through new release The Dead House (Dawn Kurtagich) as well as illustrated novel Warren The 13th And The All-Seeing Eye* (Tania del Rio) which is due out in November.

Reviews posted this month: Armada*, Ernest Cline (2015) | Black Cairn Point, Claire McFall (2015) | The Good Girls, Sara Shepard (2015)
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