Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Empties time again!

Clearly, I've been meaning to do this post for ages, but while I waited to get my butt in gear to take photos the pile just grew... and grew... and, well, you get the idea. (#lazygirlproblems) Then today I was busy packing for my upcoming trip and I decided enough is enough! Needless to say, my bathroom cabinet now has a lot of extra space without this box of stuff!

Batiste dry shampoo, what would I do without you??!! Especially with the current drought situation in Cape Town! My hair is fine and straight and will get greasy ridiculously quickly but I've gone from washing my hair every day to every 2nd or 3rd day, which would not be a pretty sight if it wasn't for dry shampoo. The tropical Batiste is my favourite but I occasionally use the original or fresh varieties for a bit of a change. I gave the "natural and light" variety a try but I felt it just didn't have the grease-busting ability that I needed so I won't be trying it again.

You can see my review of the John Frieda Frizz Ease shampoo and conditioner here. Overall I liked these products, but not enough to go and buy them in a hurry.

One thing about having hip-length hair: you don't use any more shampoo than for short hair but you use a loooooooooootttt more conditioner. I finally finished my tub of Schwartzkopf Color Freeze Treatment and absolutely loved it, I just wish it was more budget friendly so I didn't feel guilty using it! I also finished my millionth tub of Dove Nourishing Oil Care Treatment Mask, I pick this up every time Clicks has a 3 for 2 on Dove products. I also recently tried the Dove Oxygen Moisture Conditioner and loved it, it nourished my fine hair without weighing it down.

Oh hey, more conditioner! This is just the conditioner that comes with my hair colour, and I religiously use it once a week. It also smells amazing, can more conditioners please have this almondy goodness?

On to body products. I'm awful about remembering to moisturize anything other than my face, but when I do, I alternate between a rich body butter (normally for freshly shaved legs) and this super lightweight lotion from Nivea. It doesn't feel greasy or tacky on the skin and smells vaguely like ocean breezes. As far as shower products go, I've been using quite a few lately (maybe to avoid boredom now that bubble baths are out of the question?). I quite liked Nivea's Creme Care, especially to keep my skin from drying out in winter (see previous laziness re: moisturizing). I also tried The Comforter from Lush, and as much as I love the corresponding bubble bar, this one just was a little too medicinal-smelling for my liking. I also finished a L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil and loved it, I just wouldn't buy it for myself (but feel free to gift it to me anytime!).

I loved the original Garnier Micellar Water but somehow the oil-infused version is even better! I bought a replacement for this as soon as mine was half empty. I also finished two tubes of my go-to day cream from Nivea - this stuff feels great on my skin, doesn't make me break out at all and is super budget friendly, win win win. Can we also get a round of applause - I finished not one but two lip balms instead of losing them halfway through! I normally have a Labello floating around in my handbag (I'm not really fussy about which variety although I prefer the unscented, untinted ones). I also finished a random promotional lipbalm. (I tend to prefer plain, boring lipbalms as my lips have a tendency to come out in small blisters with some products *cough babylips cough*). 

I have been very bad with sheet masks this year, I have a massive stash and I never seem to use them. The only one in my empties was this hydrating one from Sorbet. I did fall in love with the GlamGlow TingleExfoliate treatment mask which I got a sample for in store... and then I saw the price tag. So, um, GlamGlow, if you wanna send me more of this stuff...*hint hint*
I got this sample of Rain's Manketti and Starflower body scrub in store recently when buying a gift for someone and had to use it asap. You can see this scrub previously on my very first Project Pan blog post here.
And just because you thought we were done with the conditioners... one more! I don't remember where I got this sample of Marc Anthony Argan Oil condition, maybe with a magazine, but I used it recently on a weekend away (anyone else save samples for their overnight bag?). It did an ok job of moisturing my hair but I wasn't blown away by it.

Phew, ok, almost at the end of this monster post! Let's start with nail stuff. I finished a bottle of Sorbet's nail polish remover and, while I loved the dispenser, I was unimpressed with the product as it took forever and a day to actually get polish off. I've finished another 2 bottles of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat, which is (clearly) my go-to top coat - I love this stuff, it dries super fast, super shiny and extends the lifespan of my polish by at least 3 days.
An oldie-but-goodie fragrance is the vanilla EDT from The Body Shop - it's a beautiful pure vanilla scent which I absolutely love (and very budget friendly which is a bonus!).
I have 3 concealers in this batch of empties. The first is Catrice's Camouflage concealer, which I scraped every microgram of product out of. I just love this stuff, it's got insane coverage. I gave the LA Girl Pro.conceal concealer a go because it seems to be a cult favourite in the blog world but I found it rather meh. Finally, I have Wet N Wild's Coverall concealer. I've previously finished 2 of these and liked them but this one just didn't seem the same. Different formula? Packaging? I dunno but I'm turfing it even though there is still some product left. 
I finished my 2nd tube of Bourjois 123Perfect CC Cream - this is my go-to base more days as it feels comfortable and provides just enough cover to even out skintone while still letting a few freckles show through. I then would set it with a loose translucent powder from essence. I've repurchased the CC cream and have gotten another powder from essence (although this time a pressed powder to see the difference).
I finished two tubes of mascara, Maybelline The Rocket and L'Oreal False Lash Wings. After trying a bazillion mascaras, these two are my favourite - the former for volume, the latter for insane definition and length.
And finally, the final products in this bag of empties are these bronze Long Lasting Eye Pencils from essence. I absolutely loved these as an alternative to stark black but I fear this shade has been discontinued as I haven't found them in store to replace my last one??!! Let me know if you've seen them anywhere!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Setting up my Travel Journal

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I love journalling. I especially love keeping memorabilia and photographs in my journal, as well as pretty paper and decor. If you haven't already seen my posts, you can check out my intro to "scrapbook" journalling here and my post on how to start a scrapbook journal here.

So, what's a journal addict to do when setting out on a journey? Create a travel journal especially for the trip, of course! I'm leaving to Zimbabwe later this week to go visit family and I am super excited! So, I grabbed a blank journal in my collection, raided my stash for scrapbook paper, embellishments and watercolour paints and got started!

I sometimes find sitting with a completely blank journal intimidating, so I love that this journal already provides a framework for me to jot away every day (whether full-on pages of writing or just a few bullet points about what happened that day). I've also made sure that there is plenty of space for storing ticket stubs, brochures, labels, leaves/flowers and anything else that I want to keep. When I get home, I can then print out a few of my favourite photos of the trip and add them for that final touch.

Instead of taking photos, I thought it would be fun to film a flip-through of my journal before I leave, as well as share what's in my travel journal kit. Once my journal is filled in, I'll be sure to share the final product with you all!

I hope you enjoy this video :)

PS if you want to know more about any specific feature or product, comment below!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Floral Wreath Friday 2

It's time for another Floral Wreath Friday! (If you missed it, you can see the previous post here.) Since Mother's Day is coming up, I thought I'd make a soft, pretty wreath that can be turned into a Mother's Day card - either simply write on the back or adhere the wreath to the front of a card. I used my die-cutting machine to cut my watercolour paper into a circle but you can skip this step (or test out your cutting abilities - I'm hopeless with a pair of scissors!) I sneakily stole my brother's camera and tripod so that I could do something a little bit different: film myself crafting! I hope you enjoy it! (FYI, I sped the video up to 1.5x real speed.)

If you liked this video and would like to see more video content on my blog, be sure to hit the "like" button on YouTube!

Supplies:Amedeo Mixed Media paper
Couture Creations GoCut and Emboss machine
Xcut nesting circle dies
Staedtler Compass
Distress Ink in "Salty Ocean"
Distress Ink in "Peacock Feathers"
Distress Ink in "Picked Raspberry"
Distress Ink in "Seedless Preserves"
Pentel Aquash Brush, medium tip
W&M pearl rhinestones

(GoCut and Emboss machine and circle dies bought on Takealot.com, all other supplies bought at PNA Eikestad.)

PS: My nail polish is Essence Colour & Go in 171 Galactic Glam

Friday, 21 April 2017

Floral Wreath Friday 1

Welcome to the first "Floral Wreath Friday". As I was doing this post, I kept on thinking how I would choose one design to feature. And then it hit me - I don't have to choose! This first post will be a detailed step-by-step tutorial but future weeks will be shorter, focusing instead on different motifs and ideas to use in your projects.

You will need:
  • Watercolour paper, or good-quality heavyweight cardstock cut to size (my piece is a 10 cm square but I've also done floral wreaths the size of dinner plates)
  • Pencil and compass (if you don't have a compass, you can trace a circular item)
  • Eraser
  • Watercolour paints
  • Brush and water (I prefer using a waterbrush, but this is just a personal preference)

Start off by lightly drawing a circle on your paper in pencil. It should be just visible to you, but not so dark that pencil trapped under paint will be visible.

Start off your wreath by picking one element and spacing them around the circle. For this wreath, I wanted red roses, so I started off with a watered-down red and made irregular blobs as the base layer. In general, I find that the smaller your elements get, the less water you want to use in order to maintain control over where your paint goes.
When spacing your elements out, remember that odd numbers usually are more appealing than even ones.

Now chose your second element. I went for a simple purple daisy. Paint one of these in the spaces between your first elements. Remember, you don't have to do any fancy art here!

Now it's time to start filling our wreath in. I wanted to give the roses bright green leaves. I painted the two stalks first, and then added the leaves to them in short strokes.

Continue around the wreath. I prefer to keep my hand and brush in more-or-less the same position and just rotate the paper until I've gone all the way around.

Now that we have a simple wreath, it's time to add in detail! Using a more concentrated red, I added swirls to the roses using the very tip of my brush to give the illusion of rose petals.

Next, I added a wash of pink-purple to the daisies to fill them out. Adding leaves in different shades of green is a great way to fill out your wreath and bring it to life. Finally, I added some details like the red berries and small orange flowers.

Once your paint is dry, carefully erase any pencil lines that are visible.

Now, if you wish, you can leave your wreath as-is or add something to the center. An initial is always good. You could also add a date to commemorate an occasion or carefully add a name or sentiment.

And there you go!

I will be showing more examples in the future, but here are two projects I recently did. We recently celebrated my grandmother's 85th birthday with a fancy family dinner. I cut out circles of cardstock with my die-cutting machine, then painted and laminated them to make coasters for everyone's wine glasses. I also added some coordinating roses to the menus that were on everyone's placesetting.

My largest project to date was for a friend's bridal shower that I hosted (hi Helene!). Again, I made coasters, monogrammed with the bride's initial, for everyone to use for their champagne glasses. In total I made 27 wreathes in 9 different designs. Overkill? Yes. Lots of fun for me? Yes! I also made two A3 sized posters, each with a giant wreath, welcoming the guests.


If you would like to commission a hand-painted monogrammed floral wreath, contact me on to receive a quote.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Easy Watercolour Rainbow Window Card

watercolour watercolor rainbow cardmaking distress ink tim holtz picked raspberries peacock feathers mustard seed spiced marmelade

I've been posting pictures of my adventures as a watercolour beginner pretty incessantly on Instagram and Snapchat lately (if you're not following me already, find me as lauravlaeren), so it's finally time to bring my addiction over to the blog! Today I'm going to be showing you how to make this brightly coloured rainbow piece. My inspiration comes from this card by the incredibly talented Kristina Werner, who was also my inspiration for starting to play with watercolours.

You will need:
  • Watercolour paper
  • Kraft cardstock
  • Washi tape
  • Watercolour paints in 4 colours (Any watercolour medium will do, just play around first to find the best paint-to-water ratio. I'm currently obsessed with Distress Inks, so that's what I'm using.)
  • A brush and clean water (I love using waterbrushes for the convenience, and as a bonus you don't waste lots of water.)
  • Adhesive or foam tape
  • Scissors
  • Paper trimmer (optional)
  • Teflon bone folder (optional)
  • Paper towels (optional)

First, trim your paper. I cut a 10 cm wide strip of kraft cardstock from an A4 sheet and folded it in half to create a top-folding portrait card. Use a bone folder to get a crisp fold. Trim your watercolour paper to be slightly smaller than the front of your card. Mine is 9 cm wide by 14 cm tall. I am incapable of cutting in straight lines, so I used my paper trimmer.

Now mask off your window areas using washi tape. I first stick the tape against my arm or the back of my hand to remove some of the stickiness (so that I don't damage the paper when I remove the tape). Use your scissors to cut a strip of tape in half and use the thinner pieces to make a cross for the centre of the window. I also used an addition piece of tape at the top to hold my piece down on my work surface. I then used my bone folder to gently press the tape down.

Now it's time to grab your paint. To use my Distress Inks as watercolour paint, I squish the ink pad onto a sheet of white paper that I laminated. I can then use my waterbrush to pick up the colour. When changing ink colours, I just squeeze a bit of water through the brush and clean the tip on some paper towel. I'm starting off with Picked Raspberry, a bright pink. Start off in one corner and fill in half of a square, using more water to thin out with colour closer to the centre. When painting near the tape, always drag your brush from the tape off onto the paper, not from the paper onto the tape. This will avoid paint seeping under the tape.

Now grab your second colour and complete the square from the opposite corner. Blend the two colours together in the centre. Be sure to choose colours that will blend nicely, not complementary colours that will go muddy. Here I used Peacock Feathers, a turquoise.

Taking your second colour (here, the turquoise) move to the next square. Again, start in the outer corner and blend inward.

Grab your third colour and fill in the square. I used Mustard Seed, which forms a beautiful bright green when blended with Peacock Feathers.

Using the same process, fill in your remaining two squares. First I used Mustard Seed and blended in Spiced Marmalade. Then, in the fourth square, I used Spiced Marmalade with the first colour I used, Picked Raspberry.

Once your first layer of colour is down, add in some more colour to add depth and texture to the windows.

One of the things I love most about Distress Ink is how they react with water. I haven't tried this process with traditional watercolour paints so if you want to try this, first test this on a scrap. Using my waterbrush, I added drops of water, varying the size of the drop, onto my work. I let the water sit for 15-30 seconds and then used a paper towel to dab up the water.

As you can see, this process lifts some of the colour, giving an interesting look to the paint.

Once the paper is dry, carefully remove your washi tape to reveal the final piece.

Adhere your watercolour panel to the front of your card. You can use any adhesive for this. I like using foam tape as it adds some dimension to the card.

And that's it, your card is finished! I made a large stack of these to keep on hand for any occasion. I like to stamp an appropriate sentiment on the inside of the card together with a handwritten note. Because in this digital age, it's really nice to get a tangible card or note with kind words (or at least, that's how I feel!)

And that's it on my first ever real crafting tutorial! I got all the supplies for this at my local PNA, a store which is basically my bank account's worst nightmare, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to give this a try. If you've never played around with watercolour before, go pick up a cheap kid's watercolour set and give it a go - it's honestly so much fun and I find crafting very therapeutic for a busy mind!

Come back on Friday for my next watercolour tutorial, where I'll show you how to live out your Pinterest fantasies and paint floral wreathes!