January 30, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

I found the cutest cut-set from Lettering Delights and Under A Cherry Tree so I decided to add something extra to the red packets or 红包 that lil Ee and lil Kai will be getting this year.

Putting the layers together was simple, which is something I love about the cut-sets from Lettering Delights. It was finding the red packet to match that was difficult. Well, it was until a set from Padini found its way into my shopping bag after purchasing 2 tee tops for lil Ee.
Here's a quick tip to mums on a shoestring for their daughter's wardrobe ... Padini has been running a promotion of RM29 for two tee tops. There's a variety of designs/colours to choose from and the collection changes often. However, do look out for the sizes which tends to run different even between designs - it's odd but then, this is Malaysia.
... back to my mini Chinese New project. Using the .gsd files which is included in my cut-set downloads, I filled the layers with my selection of colours and patterns and sent the file to printer. Remember to add the registration marks or your Silhouette won't know where to start cutting.

I made some minor adjustments to the girl. The original design had short hair with no cherry blossom flowers in her hair, so I used another design's hair layer from the same set and added the cherry blossom flowers.

I bought a set of puffy paint tubes from Mr. DIY for a steal a few days ago and wanting to try them out, I added a few "stitched hems" to the girl's sleeve and "buttons" to the boy's tunic. I also glued on faux diamantes on the cherry blossom flowers and squeezed on red glitter glue on the boy's sleeves and cap.

The designs are now glued on the red packets with light double sided tape and are all set and ready to go for tomorrow morning. I cannot wait to see the kid's faces, till then ...

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

January 21, 2014

Evolu Recovery Day Cream

Evolu was launched in Malaysia mid July 2013. Founded by Kati Kasza who grew up surrounded by botanicals in the unspoiled natural land of Aotearoa New Zealand, Evolu is about going back to basics and believes simple is always better. It's mission - Transforming skin. Naturally.

I was sent a complimentary tube of Evolu's Recovery Day Cream to review at the start of the year, which was perfect timing because I had just ran out of moisturizer ... thanks Su Ann for getting it to me so quickly.

In the little over two weeks that I've been using the moisturizer, I decided to leave out the usual serums and masks so I can judge if the Recovery Day Cream does what it says it will do. My two weeks is up and here's my verdict on Evolu and its Recovery Day Cream experience.

As with most new products, I did an online research about it. The first thing that caught my eye about Evolu is a particular philosophy the company adopts when creating its products; "... that a long list of ingredients doesn't necessarily make for a better product."

It reminded me of something the husband said when we had to change the ol' and ailing air-conditioning unit in the children's room. I wanted the latest model which had all the latest gadgetry and functions; the husband wanted a model that did what an air-conditioning was suppose to - cool the air. His reasoning was simple - the more stuff you cram in there, the more confusing it is to fix when it acts up because you don't know what went wrong. So, why pay more now and then end up paying more later on too? 

Men. They don't make sense most of the time but when they do, it sticks with you. A total roll-the-eyes sort of moment, don't you think?

Evolu's Recovery Day Cream comes packaged in a simple understated box; void of fancy embossing and gold trimmings with brown/white/grey words printed. The design is also echoed on the 75ml (2.6 fl. oz) tube of product housed inside. Somehow, products with simple packaging gives me an impression that time and money is spent on improving and perfecting the product itself rather than designing a fancy-smancy packaging which will eventually end up in the bin ... but, that's just me.

All the ingredients in Evolu's line of products including the ones in the Recovery Day Cream are chosen for a specific job, in turn ensuring the product works as intended while maximizing the ingredient's benefits to the skin.

Keeping things simple which is another one of Evolu's philosophy, the list of ingredients wasn't as long as I expected. From experience, I've use moisturizers before claiming to be au-natural but had ingredient lists printed in fonts the size of an ant and measuring about the length from here to Antarctica. It does make me wonder if all these ingredients are necessary when all I need is just to help keep my skin moisturized.

This particular cream is formulated for those with dry and/or sensitive skin; it's purpose is to calm and replenish. There are a total of seventeen ingredients in Evolu's Recovery Day Cream with pure New Zealand spring water first on its list of ingredients. Of the remaining sixteen, there are also these actives each with its own purpose:

  • New Zealand Kawakawa, to repair and detoxify.
  • Geranium which calms, is therapeutic and improves circulation.
  • Borage Seed Oil which acts as a moisture binding agent
  • Pure Vitamin E to protect.
  • Patchouli and Lemon Oil, to sooth and is anti-inflammatory.
  • Kiwifruit Seed Oil, which is high in Vitamin C and Omega-3. 

I know ... you're probably thinking, "This woman must have a lot of time on her hands to be counting ingredients!" Well, truth be told - not really. It's just that I really wanted to know if less is more while keeping things simple really do work after two weeks of using this moisturizer, I'm beginning to think Evolu has a point.

Ever since lil Ee started kindergarten in the beginning of the year, my days have been pushed up an extra few hours earlier than I would like which means a total of 4-5 hours of staggered sleep a night. A normal day for me now begins at five-ish and doesn't end until a little over midnight with a whole lot of mad-dashes and F1 stunts in between.

Other than my mandatory two litre of daily water intake, I also have been relying on a cuppa Joe in the mornings to keep my eyelids open and my brain functioning ... at least until my body gets use to the new schedule. I know, caffeine isn't the best way to go about it but I think it's a better option than duct tape on my eyelids.

Having said all that ... under these circumstances on my previous skin care routine, the sudden change in routine would have brought forth the grease-pan face in the mornings with the occasional visit from the Pimple Fairy during the nights. I'm glad to report, the skin on my face is still nicely hydrated so I Evolu's philosophies must be working.

Although the Recovery Day Cream is as it is - a cream, the texture is surprisingly light. It absorbed quickly and left my face soft to the touch and most importantly, non greasy. 

Scent wise, I'd describe it as a concoction of nature, almost spa-like but not as sweet or in-your-face ... if that makes any sense at all. I don't know how NZ Kawakawa or Geranium smells like but when applied, I do detect a subtle hint of lemons and almonds. The woody scent of patchouli  is strongest and on my skin, it lingers a little longer than other ingredients but does dissipated after five minutes or so.

Here's the weird thing though. I have been contemplating if I should write about it but I then this is an honest review so here goes ...  after each and every application, the image of Hobbiton and the vast rolling hills and green valleys from The Lord of The Rings just pops up in my head; must be from all the reading I've been doing but oh well, a very nice added experience to Evolu, I suppose :-p

Evolu Recovery Day Cream retails at RM232 for 75ml tube.
Evolu products are available at theSkintopic at the locations listed below.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur; Level  5 - P5.12.00
T: 03-2142 9988

Subang Parade; Lower Ground Floor - Lot LGC01
T: 03-5638 2988

Hartamas Shopping Centre; PF3 First Floor. 
T: 03-6205 8828

The Curve; K-G8-W - Ground Floor, Mutiara Damansara
T: 03-7722 2213

Avenue K; C-16A, 156 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

January 6, 2014

The Silhouette Portrait

'ello! I am sorry about my MIA status during the first five days of the new year but I do have a really good reason for being so - I was held hostage by this; the Silhouette Portrait electronic cutter.

Over Christmas period last year after clocking up an insane amount of research hours on Google and YouTube while the kids were away with their grandparents, I decided to add this little technological wonder into my craft stash. I like to think of it as a win-win present for everyone from moi because now, moi have a very good reason to sit in front of my computer cooking up crafty project the kids would like from customized bookmarks and stickers to cute cards and gift boxes. It's definitely going to make my cutting projects so much easier and less hazardous for me as I am known as the family butterfingers. I have also sliced my fingers so many times, the husband had to make sure there is a pack of plaster in varying sizes available in every single room of the house and a very up-to-date First-Aid box in our bedroom - just in case. Now if only they had an electronic cutter for potatoes, particularly the sweet potatoes ...

The Silhouette family of electronic cutters consists of the Cameo and the Portrait. I decided to go with the Portrait mainly because of the price difference; the Cameo's nrp is RM1,299 while the Portrait's nrp is RM799. If not for the RM500 price difference, I'd have purchased the Cameo because it's able to cut up to 12" x 12" while the Portrait is only able to handle up to 8" x 12". The additional 4" in width does make for some pretty decent sized projects but it's not a huge loss, at least not for me.

Other than the price difference and cut size, there are a few difference between the machines which you can compare on Silhouette Malaysia's website .

Designed with simplicity in mind right down to the software that comes bundled with it, getting the Silhouette ready for use right out of the box is pretty easy. All you have to do is plug in the power cable then connect the cutter to your PC/Mac with the bundled USB cable, install the software and voila! ... you are good to go.

This little machine works like a home printer. The concept is similar but instead of using ink to print, it uses a  small blade to cut paper, card stock, vinyl, fabric or anything along those grammage lines.

The Silhouettes also has the ability to register and cut printed materials. In normal English, it means you can print any image you want and you won't run the risk of lobbing your fingers off with a blade while attempting the tiny nooks and crannies ... like on the feathers in the photo below.

It's a little project I am working on for lil Ee and lil Kai's room, which I hope to share soon. The graphics are from a sneak peek set called Winter Wear by Lettering Delights; one of the best sites around to get plenty inspired. I think the Winter Wear collection will be made available soon but right now, the only way you can access it is during the checkout.

The feathers are image files I found via Google Image. The image came with only black outlines so using the "Trace" function in the bundled software, I filled the trace outline with a teal/brown argyle pattern fille, sent it to the printer then returned it to the Silhouette to cut.

Sorry if all that sounded like a "What-the ... huh?!" moment to you. Perhaps you could come check back on me in a bit and I'll attempt to explain all that in proper every day English via project posts ... with photos, loads of photos because over the New Year's, a very nice person bought me a very nice present. I'm drowning in technology but I am absolutely loving it - muahahahaha!

Now that I've done the proper introductions, be prepared to be bombed with quite a fair few crafty projects featuring my Silhouette Portrait in coming months. Until then, I do hope twenty fourteen has been treating you well so far.
For more information on Silhouette products available in Malaysia, check out Silhouette Malaysia online or if you prefer to see the action for yourself, head on over to LazBoy Designs over at 54, Jalan SS2/75 {tel: 03-7873 6007}.

ps: While you're at LazBoy, do give a shout-out to Jaffre!

January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!

It's the first day of twenty fourteen and I figured the ol' blog needed a makeover so I decided to revamp the theme to Pantone's colour of the year; the radiant orchid. Since it's a colour that invites innovation, encourages expanded creativity and originality {... according to Pantone, it does!}, here's cheers to a brand new twenty fourteen and to brand new beginnings.

Happy twenty fourteen!