Saturday, June 29, 2013

Crafting an edible treasure chest

My aunt's birthday was 2 days ago, but we are celebrating it tomorrow.  I have never baked a birthday cake, but when I saw a lovely tutorial to make a pirate or mermaid treasure chest I knew I had to make one for her:

Picture from the Etsy Blog entry
This is what I used:
Kit-Kat bars
Nesquik powder
A strip of black licorice
Brown sugar
Chocolate coins
A seashell candy mold
An artist brush
Wooden skewers

I followed the instructions provided in the tutorial.  I used the Wilton candy melts as "glue" to attach all the sides of the crate, and I extended it with the skewer - looked a lot simpler and cleaner to me.  Also, since I could not find jewels or edible pearls, I adorned the sand with a sea star and 2 seashells that I made with the seashell mold and the candy melts:

In the making process.  My Kit-Kat bars came in pieces of 2 instead of 4, so I had to attach 2 of them together to make each side of the crate.

Detail of the "handle"

So, things that I learned while doing this:
- Work with chocolate in the Winter rather than in the Summer.  Seriously.
If you really have to make this during Summer:
- Work in an air-conditioned room if at all possible.
- If the air-conditioned room is not available, do it at first hour in the morning, while it is still fresh outside.
If you cannot do any of the above:
- Work with your hands as cold as possible.
- Stop the work every 5 minutes and put everything in the fridge for a while (except the melted chocolate) so it can cool and the chocolate of the bars does not melt.  Also, it will help the "glueing" process so the crate sides do not come apart.
I know this from my sad experience; my crate came apart (all parts of it!) when I had just finished it and was putting on the coins.  So I had to redo it all again.  That's why there is visible chocolate in the bars in the last pic.

I just hope my aunt likes it!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nail design of the week

I'm afraid this week I revisited the mermaid nail tutorial created by elleandish.  It is so lovely I just can't get enough of it!

This time I followed all the instructions provided, and my nails look like this:

It looks so much better with a softer two-color combination!  I say two-color because, despite the fact that I wanted to use three, one of the blues was barely visible, so I just omitted it.  These are the tools I used:
Unglax nail hardener as base coat 
Fashion Studio by Margaret Astor nail polishes #242 (Aqua Leaf) and #070 (Blue Taffeta)
Lina Bocardi 45'' Flash Nail Polish #12 for stamping
Quick Dry Top Gloss by Margaret Astor
Naio coconut cuticle oil for the cuticles when everything is finished and dry

It cannot really be seen in the pic but the design smeared again.  I need to get me a Seche Vite top coat, which I hear is fabulous for this kind of stuff.  
This design really gets people's attention.  I will probably end up using it for most of the Summer.  My inner mermaid is so happy with it!

I also painted my toe nails with Come along with me nail polish by H&.  I don't know why, I am liking very much blue colors this season.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sirenia's song Seven Widows Weep

Who says you cannot like mermaids and metal music at the same time?

My husband brought this to my attention this morning:

I love it, and I love Sirenia!  I hope they make a tour and visit Spain soon.  Enjoy the clip and check out the album cover!  It features the work of talented artist Anne Stokes

What more can one ask for?  Looking forward to the release!!  Although I do wonder why the ship has a Templar cross on its sails...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nail design of the week

This week I was going to do this fabulous tutorial by IndigoNova1:

I liked it a lot, but when I put it on my nails the results where not very satisfactory.  The tape left residue on the nail polish, the netting looked awful, and the flowers did not end up in the right place.  

So I finally took off everything and re-did the French manicure I did last week.  So no picture this week, but enjoy IndigoNova1's channel, and all her wonderful designs.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hand hygiene

Yesterday at the lab we were shown this video:

Please, pass it along, and remember to cleanse you hands frecuently.  Not only for yourself, also for the sake of others.

Clean hands save lives.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nail design of the week

This week I had planning on doing a new Konad stamping design, but I have been watching a lot of nail videos featuring French manicures, so I got envious and did a simple French manicure on my nails:

Left hand - the nail on my middle finger broke (ouch!)
Right hand
I am very happy how it turned out.  I think it looks way, way better than my previous Franch manicure.  I was tempted to do a lace stamping on them, just as elleandish did here (very similar to my own!), but I finally decided against it - maybe some other time.

These are the tools I used:
Unglax nail hardener as base coat 
French manicure French Ivory (#433) nail polish by Rimmel *
Nail Tip Whitener by Rimmel
Quick Dry Top Gloss by Margaret Astor

* I just realized that the number of the polish on Amazon is different than my own.  Maybe the numbers change from country to country catalogues?  I don't know...

I used the "rolling motion" technique - moving my finger while keeping the brush steady.  It worked very well for me.  I could not touch up any mistakes, because the nail tip whitener is quite viscous, and the touch ups were very visible (I had to redo one of my thumbs because of that).  Maybe it would be good as a nail polish for stamping?  I am not going to find out though, I will keep it for my French tips.

Here is the French manicure tutorial that helped me with the rolling motion technique:

Let's see how next week's design goes!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Nail design of the week

I already talked about the lovely mermaid inspired nail tutorial from YouTube user elleandish.  I tried it yesterday, but I toned down the difficulty:

As you can see, it's in no way perfect; the stamped design smeared in some places after applying the top coat; I think I used too much of top coat, I'll try with less quantity next time.  These are the tools I used:
Unglax nail hardener as base coat 
Come along with me nail polish by H&M

I used one coat of the blue polish, and then stamped the design on the nails with the black stamping nail polish.  I have a problem with this design; some of my nails are too wide for it, so both my thumbs are not completely covered in scales.  Also, it wouldn't work if my nails are a bit longer than they are right now, so for me it is best to use when having short nails.  I loved the black stamping polish and how well it transferred to my nails.  Better quality and better to work with than the Konad, I think.  I am not sure if it is the polish or the plate, I will have to check on that.

After comparing the result with the tutorial, I think I need to use another shade of blue for the stamping.  The black seems to me very "in your face", if you get my meaning, to simulate fish scales.  However, I am thinking the big contrast would be great to use with other colors, such as red or green, for a "dragon scale" manicure - perfect for Daenerys Targaryen fans!  It would look also fantastic with a grey base, for a "finger armour" effect.  Very strinking for LARP events, or Medieval faires.  I will probably do both in the future, just to see how they look.

Looking forward to next week's design!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sonisphere - Madrid 2013

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Sonisphere festival; we left the house at 5.15 pm and returned today at 4.40 am. Out of New Year's Eve, I had never gone to bed so late.  But it was well worth it!

The main names we wanted to see were Iron Maiden:

And Avantasia:

And wow.  Just wow.

What can I say about the Irons?  They came and they delivered, and they always leave you wanting more.  It's thrilling to hear Bruce Dickinson say "Scream for me, Madrid!".
This was the first time we saw Avantasia live; Tobias Sammet promised to return again to Madrid in the future.  I hope we will be able to see them again.   And I took home a wonderful t-shirt with a Steampunk feeling from their last album The Mystery of Time

A very memorable night.