Archive | October 2015

Halloween Duct Tape Hair Bows Video Tutorial

bows intro slide

I hope you enjoy many spooky sparkles this Halloween and remember to stay safe while you are at parties or taking the kids trick-or-treating. Darth Vader (a.k.a. the hubby) and I shall be spending another exciting Halloween evening at home with our four cats tucked safely indoors while I beg him for the 23rd year of our relationship to actually watch The Excorcist, to no avail. LOL.

scary movies Exorcist collage

This will be the first time in about 8 years that we won’t be giving out candy, but next year will be “killer” once we finalize our remodeling to the front entryway. He’s not much of a party person, so we’re opting out of this year’s festivities since our relocation to Texas last November.

Bows Collage

Speaking of scary sparklies, I recently made some last minute Halloween themed duct tape hair bows using Camouflage and Polka Dot tape designs purchased from the Dollar Tree. (See my Fall Craft Haul video for more goodies I got this year). I also coordinated the tape with some cool alphabet monograms from an Etsy shop called TicTacTogs. I made 10 hair bows and 2 bow ties to give to friends and family for the holiday festivities. Please watch my Halloween Hair Bow video tutorial for this DIY as well as tips for flattening bottle caps, differences in glue, and other tidbits. It’s about 26 minutes, so be sure you get a spooky beverage and candy of your choice to enjoy my insanity. If you want to skip the flattening bottle cap and tips about images and glue, then click to 8:35 on the time while playing. I also reveal my inner Penelope Garcia in an homage to one of my fav Criminal Minds TV characters while mimicking her cute pigtails in my hair bows. Don’t forget to watch in HD for maximum spook effect!

Penelope comparison

Now I’m off to go teach my wire wrapped candy corn earring class today at Michaels west side location on Sunland Park Drive in El Paso. Have a safe, spooky and sparkly Halloween, everyone!

Book Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods & Royals, Book One) by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings Book 1

I was granted access to a free copy of Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, book 1) from Tara Sonin, Marketing Manager for Paper Lantern Lit, on behalf of the author, Eleanor Herman, in exchange for an honest review. This is now the second such review request I have received as a result from reviewing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was pleasantly surprised, since this was yet another young adult adventure story that I would not naturally seek out. I have come to the opinion that no matter what age you are, you can become intrigued by any genre that is well written.

This book is a historical fantasy that according to Ms. Sonin, has been “featured on Hypable, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and was just optioned for TV by Warner Brothers”. The following is a synopsis from the author’s page that describes this story which is part of a series of 4 novels:

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman re-imagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

I admit that the amount of character arcs for 7 people along with the overall plot of a famous historical figure such as Alexander the Great was at times, a little overwhelming. I did have to step away from the book about midway through because I was losing interest in retaining that many characters in my head. Also, I had a Déjà vu moment when I first came across the character of Jacob, who is described in much the same way as the transformed buffed up version of Jacob from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. (For those that love the series, Stephenie has just released a gender swap version of Twilight’s 1st story called the Twilight 10th Anniversary/ Life and Death Dual Edition). I did enjoy the interwoven Greek mythological characters such as Pegasus and Medusa. As a fan of movies like Clash of the Titans (classic and modern versions), I love reading about those mythical characters.

Once I came back to the story, however, I became invested in the female characters and their struggles. There are many women either scrambling to gain their freedom from an arranged marriage, seeking revenge for the horrific murder of their mother, searching for a mythical cure to human frailty much like her brother or vying for absolute power against all foes. As a female that recognizes the various challenges to my gender throughout history, I appreciate the various points of view in this fictional world. I think with recent conversations about inequality of pay for women, ongoing abuse of women worldwide and the purposeful enslavement of women in cultures such as in the Middle East and Africa…these characters’ struggles are not so fictitious after all…even in the modern world of 2015.

I have become a new fan of Eleanor Herman after completing this book and my subsequent review of her historical background and personal revelations regarding her research and passions. I look forward to the upcoming books in this series and plan to look into her previous works.

Fall Haul Bead & Craft Supplies Video Plus Awesome Autumn Hairbow and Sunflower Necklace

Craft Supplies Haul thumbnail

I decided to make my first ever craft supplies haul video, as that seems to be a popular request from my sparkly shoppers as well as what is done by my fellow YouTubers, such as Lindsay The Frugal Crafter (whose channel I love- so please check her out, too!). I was actually inspired to do my video based on The Frugal Crafter’s recent haul, because her video reminded me where I’d stashed my recently purchased (and lost) Halloween ice trays to make my resin pieces. Craft hoarding is a sickness, y’all! hahaha.

In my video, I am displaying some spooky sparkles and awesome Autumn themed crafty items I picked up recently at my local El Paso, Texas Dollar Trees, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, K-Mart, Katz Beadz, & Western Traders stores. Warning: Evidence of major craft hoarding is displayed.

Of all the fall themed goodies I’ve picked up recently, my favorites are the rubber ice cube trays, fake leaves and duct tape. I plan to make resin pieces with the ice cube trays and for $1 each, that is a great deal for the detail in each tray. When you calculate purchasing other trays specifically for resin or candy making can run between $5 – $35 a piece! Just remember once you use a food grade ice tray or candy tray to make resin, you can’t go back to making chocolates or ice with them! Tip: Use a mold release spray or a cotton swab to rub some baby oil in these rubber trays since they aren’t as easily removable as silicone trays made for resin. This way your pieces will pop out easier from the molds.
IMG_9203 Autumn collage

I also took some time to create a cool seasonal hair bow for Fall with the fake leaves, raffia and leaf themed ribbon that I purchased at the Dollar Tree. I mixed those items with coordinating ribbon I already had on hand as well as one of the Hobby Lobby wooden pumpkin embellishments. The leaves come individually in mixed packages. Once I layered in a staggered pattern, I hand stitched them to a scrap piece of Grosgrain ribbon so that would fit nicely into my Bowdabra bow maker for easier layering.

I also made a necklace pendant from one of the felt sunflower stickers that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. Very easy! I created a spiraled wire wrapped bail and hot glued it on back. Then I hot glued a spare button over top of the bail to hide the glue glob, although that wasn’t necessary. I do preferred the neat handmade finish that the button gives to the back. Since this is a multi-layered sunflower, the 3D effect makes a lovely accent piece on any chain or necklace material you prefer wearing.

Sunflower collage

Enjoy the goodies and don’t forget the best items and coolest gadgets can sometimes be found at your local dollar stores! Especially holiday themed goodies. I’m not sponsored by any of these stores, but I sure do love shopping for crafty cuteness there!

Please be sure to like & comment on my video, but also subscribe to my channel if you’ve not already done so. I try to post craft, jewelry making and candy making tutorials each month, but also post jewelry look books of my handmade designs plus these new craft supply haul videos.

I appreciate your time. Please visit my website for more information about my handmade jewelry, links to my social media and places to purchase my designs such as Etsy, inSelly and my brand new Amazon Handmade. I love to make unique and custom themed pieces, so please let me know if you have a special design request. Have a sparkle-riffic day!

Book Review: A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) by Alexis Radcliff

A Vanishing Glow

I was emailed a free copy of A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) from the author, Alexis Radcliff, in exchange for an honest review. This being my first such request, I am honored to say that I was pleasantly surprised by a book I didn’t seek out on my own.

This is marketed as a cross between flintlock and steampunk fantasy which are genres I am not familiar with. I figured it was a worthy read based on the similarities to some other stories in the Young Adult (YA) world that I’d recently been referred to regarding dystopian segregated societies such as Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

I was initially impressed by the great care that Radcliff took in describing the setting in this fantasy world and the characters emotional backstories. The depth of guilt that one main character feels is certainly identifiable and the self-doubt another character feels is also as palpable. Later, I was intrigued by her hints at relationships between same sex friends as acceptable teenage “bedfellows”, which I have not ever come across before, especially since my reading tastes are typically not in a sci-fi or mature adult realm. I find it interesting that with the change in real-world societal prejudices comes a sort of clarity of character development in fiction. People on pages are becoming just as diverse as people on our planet. Disapprove of this type of lifestyle or not, the complexity of characters in this story is further layered by delving into a previously taboo subject matter. One can appreciate the courage of the author to tastefully explore that topic even if you might not agree.

Overall, I don’t feel a steampunk vibe from what I’ve now researched about the genre, but there are elements of it as well as the flintlock. The steam powered aspect is there in certain references, but using the umbrella term “steampunk” for the myriad intricate explanations of Mystech power seems lackluster. I loved how the author gives this new tech a literal presence even down to the description of it having a delicious smell.

I think there are many questions left unanswered as well as many ideas left to the readers interpretation, but with the understanding that this is one book in a pending series…these suspenseful issues are understandable. For a debut novel, I believe Ms. Radcliff achieved a wonderful story which leaves me eager to fill in the blanks with the sequels.