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My DIY Beauty Routines

Hello, readers,

Today, I thought I would share a little about my beauty routines. As I hope you’ve been able to figure out from this blog, I love DIY and homemade products. For the past two years or so, I’ve been trying to build a beauty routine and incorporate natural products into it as I go.

In my last year of college, my skin started to get really dry. I tried to use just regular store-bought moisturizers and lotion, but they either didn’t work very well or I’d get areas of rashes/irritated skin that would get worse with continued use. Gah! I started looking around the internet for homemade solutions to my problems, and I found a lot of viable DIYs. Here, I’m going to share what I make, what I used to make it, and how well it works.

I made all of these products by following or modifying recipes found on Live Simply. There are a ton of blogs out there that promote natural products and natural lifestyles, but I like Live Simply’s writing style and genuineness. (I’ve never gotten the vibe that she makes recipes just to post affiliate links.) I’ll include the link to the original recipes below in case any of you want to make one of these products, too.

Moisturizer/Lotion

Original Recipe (Go here for the melting instructions and pictures. I didn’t pour my batch into a container soon enough so it looks really ugly.)

  • ~4 oz. shea butter with tangerine
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot oil

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I really love this moisturizer. I use it on places that need a bit more love, like my feet, hands, and elbows. In the winter, I occasionally rub my arms and legs down with it, too. This stuff will make you very shiny for a while after you apply it, and it takes a while to fully soak in. I don’t really keep track of how long it takes (maybe half an hour?), but it isn’t very long. It certainly seems like it takes forever, though, if you’re used to regular store-bought lotions that quickly evaporate off the surface of your skin. The slower time frame takes a bit to get used to.

I like the idea of a face moisturizer with SPF, but I started having a weird reaction to the Neutrogena one I was using. I found that this DIY lotion is actually very effective on my face (which is prone to getting super-duper dry patches) without irritating my apparently sensitive skin. However, I only will put this on my face at night or once I’m home for the day because of the aforementioned “super shiny and oily-looking for half an hour” effect.

I also use regular coconut oil as a moisturizer. I don’t normally use it on my face, but I will use it on my feet, hands, and elbows every so often to change things up, and it is my default moisturizer for my legs and arms. Coconut oil also takes a long time to fully sink in, though.

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Makeup Brush Cleaner

Original Recipe

  • 3/4 cup witch hazel
  • 3 teaspoons castile soap
  • 1.5 teaspoon apricot oil

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To avoid dealing with using water in the mixture (and then trying to remember this product’s shelf life), I just pour out a little bit of the cleaner into a container and then add twice as much water. I mix it around and shake it up before soaking my brushes.

I mainly made this because I bought new makeup a while ago, and I needed to clean out my brushes before using any of it. Want to know how well this stuff works? Let’s go on my first brush cleaning adventure together!

The results of this experiment were really gross, so now I clean out my brushes once a week to avoid all that gunk building up.

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Makeup Remover

Original Recipe

  • 3 Tablespoons witch hazel
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot oil

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This combination does work well to get all my makeup off. However, witch hazel can apparently cause eye irritation. I specifically bought white eyeliner to use on my waterline, and I got this kind that is both waterproof and smudge-proof.

I doubted its claims when I bought it, but this stuff is seriously intense and I couldn’t get the tester line on my hand to smudge or fade until I used soap. That’s very cool, but I didn’t want to use soap or the homemade makeup remover so close to my eyeballs. Until I find something more viable, I’m still using store-bought eye makeup remover to get rid of eyeliner.

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I don’t use mascara, so I can’t say if either this makeup remover works to remove that.

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Readers, do you make any of your beauty products? Have you purchased something that’s turned out amazing? Let me know in the comments!

Stay moisturized,

Raven

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Homemade Sugar Cubes

Hello readers,

I have been able to dress in lolita only once since this semester of graduate school started, which makes me both sad and even more determined to lolify my general lifestyle. So, this is the first entry in a little cooking series I plan to run on this blog. This recipe/guide is super simple, but it lets you add another little touch of “lolitaness” to your lifestyle: homemade sugar cubes!

You could always buy sugar cubes, of course. The benefit of making them yourself is that you get to really fine-tune them. I bought a heart-shaped chocolate silicon mold for this project, and the end result is really cute. I was tempted to buy rose/flower molds, but I couldn’t find any with small enough cavities for what I wanted. Anyway, feel free to play with this recipe. You can add coloring to tint them your favorite color, you can add vanilla, almond, or peppermint extract to flavor them, and you can even add shredded rose petals to your sugar cubes! Really, make these to fit your lolita lifestyle.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon water

That’s it. These are not firm measurements, but more of a ratio. I’ll show you how my sugar looked when properly mixed, and I’ll also show you what happened when I added too much water.

Instructions

  1. Add the sugar to a mixing bowl.
  2. Pour in the water.
  3. Mix.
  4. Press the dampened sugar into your mold. Make sure to pack it in as tightly as you can.
  5. The next step is to let the sugar cubes dry. One recipe variation I found said letting them dry on the counter overnight worked, and another one said that they would be done in 30 minutes. I turned my oven on to 250 degrees F and put my mold in for 10 minutes.

They were perfect when they came out.

Put them in an air-tight container when they’re dry. Some of the other online recipes I found said they would last up to a year, but another said they were good for up to two years. I plan on making them in these small batches anyway, so I don’t think I’ll ever run into their expiration date.

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This is a little gallery of what happened when I added more water to the remains of the original mixture. I mixed, pressed, and baked them the same way I did the first batch.

In terms of how wet the sugar should be, the easiest answer is “not very.” If you accidentally add too much water and the mixture starts to look transparent, the sugar is dissolving and you need to just add more sugar.

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These were super easy to make, and I’ll definitely make more when these are all used up (which should take about a week). Maybe I’ll try and make them purple next time, but maybe not. I think that these would make an excellent little gift for someone, especially if they were cute shapes or a fun color.

This was not a very messy project, but I did end up with loose granules of sugar all over my work space. Clean-up was really easy, though, so you shouldn’t have any reservations about making sugar “cubes.”

Please let me know how these turn out if you make them! I’d love to see your pictures of your cute, custom sugar drops.

Stay sweet,

Raven

DIY Projects I Can’t Wait to Try

Hello, readers,

Right now, I live in a little rental house with my boyfriend and two other roommates. While our living situation worked fine for the last two years of undergrad and this transitional year, I’m getting antsy to just live with fewer people and have more of a say in how the whole house/apartment is furnished and organized. Part of the reason I’m a little impatient about moving is that I keep finding all these wonderful DIY projects online that I want to try out but can’t until I have more space (and free time).

So, here’s a little post of projects from around the internet that I’m excited about.

Dollhouse

What I want is to buy a kit and assemble it, which may or may not mean “DIY” to you. I am not interested in designing and building my own little dollhouse from scratch, and I want it more for display purposes than for actively playing. The mother of one of my friends in elementary school had a beautiful dollhouse that she displayed in their living room. No one was allowed to touch it, but I fell in love with how tiny all the furniture was and how much detail she put into it. Since then, I’ve wanted my own dollhouse, and I finally have some disposable income to get started. Plus, I’ve found a ton of blogs devoted to miniatures that have made me fall in love all over again.

If I’m being honest with myself, I want something like this dollhouse:

Queen Anne Dollhouse Kit – Real Good Toys

It’s a beautiful Victorian house with a turret! The first problem is that this is a very nice, highly detailed house that I would need to furnish similarly. The dollhouse itself is over 1000USD, but miniature furniture is expensive, and I would end up spending at least twice the purchase price to furnish its 13 rooms. Of course, you can always make the tiny furniture using whatever tools you have (or investing in beautiful craft tools), but I do have limited free time and that is not how I want to spend it.

The other major problem is that this is a 1:12 scale house (where one inch of the dollhouse corresponds to one foot of a life-sized house), and that makes it absolutely massive.

Queen Anne Dollhouse Kit – Real Good Toys

I don’t even know if I could get that thing through a doorway, and I don’t think I’ll have space to display it even after a move. It’s huge!

I still want a dollhouse, though, and I’m currently investigating my options. The plan right now is to purchase a kit and assembling everything over my two-week winter break. I will be putting the building and decorating saga up on this blog, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in that.

Tea Cup Clock

Image and tutorial from Fresh Style.

Image and tutorial from Vintage Revivals.

Image and tutorial from Retropolitan Hip.

(I really like the one in the frame. That would also eliminate the need for cutting a circle out of plywood…)

The two bottom tutorials mention how heavy this clock gets. Maybe a solution to that would be to just use colored cups without saucers, but I like how the saucers look. Anyway, this is going to be one of the first things I make when I find a new place. This looks like it would be a nightmare to try and pack up and move, and I would hate to unpack everything just to find that 8 o’clock shattered.

Tea Cup Candles

I can’t find the original source for this.

Image and tutorial from Meg Perotti.

I love candles, and I just love how these two ideas turned out. While it’s tempting to try and make them now, since they’re small, we just don’t have any free surfaces for me to put them. Once we move, I’ll probably stick to the candle holder idea for my own home. I think that the actual tea cup candles would be fantastic gifts, though, and all the supplies and prep work would be a lot less hassle if you were making multiple candles.

Tea Set Lamp

Designed by Sarah Goodwin. Image and tutorial from Design Sponge.

Image and tutorial from Vintage Revivals.

Image and tutorial from Retropolitan Hip.

Image and tutorial from DIY Ready.

Oh, how I love this. I actually don’t like table lamps in general, but I’ll make an exception for this beauty. As you can probably tell by now, I really love tea cups and tea sets. I’ve always dreamed of having a full-service set, maybe even with its own display case, but I rarely have company and there’s really no point in spending that much money for a whim. Still, with all the tea set projects I want to do, I will be scouring thrift stores for ages to try and come up with the perfect coordinating china. This project definitely has to wait until I move and get settled in a new place, because I would be too nervous packing and moving this lamp.

Book Purse

I adore the look of the book bags that have been popular in lolita for the past couple of years. I’ve wanted to make my own for a while since I tend to doubt the stability of pleather purses. I think I like the “cut-out” method of making a book purse more than the “completely take out the book block” version.

I plan on making my eventual book purse by following a combination of these two Youtube tutorials.

Like the tea cup candles, I probably could make this purse now since it’s small. The main concern is that I don’t really have the time to look around for all the supplies and then take an afternoon to assemble it. Perhaps this is something I could squeeze into my winter break alongside the dollhouse.

After all those tea cup DIY projects, I should probably make my purse out of an Alice book for consistency…

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Well, that’s is for this collection. I have a bunch of other projects I want to do, but they either don’t really lend themselves to picture lists (like painting our dressers black or making a simple shadow box) or they’re sewing projects that I don’t know when I’ll get done.

Have you found any amazing DIY tutorials in your travels around the internet? Have you actually tried them out? Please share cool projects in the comments below!

Stay excited,

Raven

DIY Cameo Jewelry

Hello, readers,

Today, I’m going to share with you how to make one of my favorite accessories: cameo jewelery. This is a really simple project, so I’d call this more of a walk-through than a tutorial.

I get my supplies from etsy, and I’ll include links to the specific shops I used at the very end of this post. In general, you can start to find things by searching for “cameo” and then restricting the category to “Craft Supplies & Tools.” The one thing I’ve found to be an issue when looking for craft supplies on etsy is that a lot of the cheaper items/lots tend to be sold by Chinese sellers, so you end up with the same wait times as if you ordered on Taobao. Since I’d rather not wait that long for such a small purchase, I try and find US/domestic sellers when I can.

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Instructions

First things first, you need to get your supplies together.

You’ll need as many resin or acrylic cameos/cabochons as your heart desires, along with appropriately sized settings or frames, and E6000 craft glue (or any glue that binds to both plastics and metal). You may also want to have newsprint or scrap paper to cover your work space. There are a ton of optional supplies you can incorporate into this project, though. I bought pinch bails with this order to finish all the pendants. You can get necklace chains, ribbon or something else to hang your pendants on, or you can get some pin backs if you’d rather make broaches than necklaces. For more creative freedom, you can also get a can of spray paint to make your findings (the bails and settings) colors that you won’t likely find for sale, like lavender or non-antique gold. Don’t forget about the possibility of getting magnifying cabochons and combining them with a print-out to make miniature portrait jewelry or whatever else you’d like (You can follow this tutorial from F Yeah Lolita.). I had a lot of fun with this project, and I hope you do as well.

The next step is super simple, but it’s also very important that you don’t skip it. You need to match all your cabs with the settings before touching your glue at all. The reason this is so important is that there isn’t a standard size for these components. If you bought a cameo in size 40×30, and you also bought a setting in size 40×30, there actually isn’t a guarantee that everything will fit together.

For example, you can put your cabochon and your setting together and find that the cab is too big.

This particular circumstance is why it’s important to get resin and acrylic cameos. Glass or semi-precious stones would feel nicer and heavier, but then it would be too hard to correct these sorts of size errors. Since these cabs are plastic, you just have to do one more step before proceeding to the gluing stage.

Just take a nail file and file along the edges of the cameo. Sometimes things don’t fit because of an irregular protrusion on the border, but sometimes (like with mine) the cameo is just too big all around and won’t nestle into the glue pad area. Just take your time and make sure to keep rounding off the edges as you go. It’s very simple.

You can also find that the cab is too small.

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This cameo was too small for the setting I wanted to use, too, but this setting shows off its size problems better.

The first thing you can do to make this less noticeable is to center the cameo perfectly in the setting. What I also like to do is paint the glue pad a similar color to the cameo’s background using nail polish. It’s not a perfect fix, but it beats trying to use some kind of filler.

Lastly, you can put them together and find that everything fits together perfectly.

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Huzzah! Once you get any overlarge cameos filed and any undersized cameos’ frames painted, if either is needed, you’re ready to move on to gluing.

Now, I’m going to assume you’re using E6000. If you’re not, make sure to follow your glue’s instructions.

Be careful when you’re using E6000. It tries to expand out the top, so don’t squeeze it or too much will come out and you’ll have a huge mess on your hands. I can get enough out for most projects by putting the slightest pressure on the tube. I also use the tip to spread it around so that I get an even-ish coat on.

IMPORTANT: This glue will expand and leak out the top if you just leave it alone for a few seconds. Make sure you screw the tip back on whenever you are not actively using the glue.

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Put glue on the glue pad of the setting and on the back of the cameo.

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The glue says to wait two minutes before mating the surfaces. I wait until I can lightly touch the glue without leaving a fingerprint. Once the glue is ready, stick them together.

If you got bails or pinbacks, you can technically attach them at any point of this process. I like to wait to do it at the end, when the cameo and setting have been glued together as I set them out to cure overnight.

And that’s it. You’re done.

More Mild Troubleshooting

  • If this glue leaks onto your work space, quickly wipe it up with a paper towel. I then wipe the area with a moistened paper towel to make sure I got everything.
  • If you place your cameo and setting together and find that it’s not centered, don’t panic. You can shift it around for a few seconds after the glue makes contact with itself.
  • If you find that some glue leaks out onto the “pretty side,” just cover your thumb nail in a paper towel and run your nail in the offensive groove to wipe away the excess. If you have short nails, you can also cover a toothpick with a paper towel to use this method.
  • If you keep getting loose glue hairs as you move between surfaces (like you get with hot glue), just let them dry to the point where they are not sticky and pluck them off. Basically, treat the strands exactly like you would hot glue.
  • If glue leaks out onto the back side of a setting that only has a rim of a glue pad, you could wipe it away using the above-described method. I always just tend to leave it alone, though.

 

With shipping costs, I ended up paying about $4.42 per piece of finished jewelery, which I think is perfectly acceptable for a cute bit of resin and metal. I think that this sort of DIY project is great, especially if you want to incorporate new colors into your wardrobe.

Stay inventive,

Raven

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