Monthly Finds: January 2014

Hello readers! I know this one is pretty late, but for the few months that passed, there wasn’t anything particularly interesting that I found, so I accumulated the little things I got to put in one post.

Books:

I haven’t been reading much lately, and I don’t feel motivated enough to do that nowadays. These phases come and go, but I did get some of what I like to call “Pleasure Reads”, short and quirky things I would read for the fun of it, not a serious novel or anything.

If you’re not aware of the blog Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh, then you’ve been living under a rock. Best blog to read when you’re feeling down because it’s just so funny and entertaining. At one point, I read almost all the posts that I ran out of things to read….so I ordered the book.

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Haven’t read it yet, just skimmed through the pages and some of them were familiar which kinda bummed me out because I was hoping for new content, but I did find unfamiliar comics here and there so I won’t complain.

Next ones are all kitty-related. Two of them are by Yasmine Surovec which is the mastermind behind the cute Cat vs. Human comics. I bought her second “Cat vs. Human” collection of comics and “I See Kitty”, a children’s book for my 2 year-old cousin who is infatuated with cats, in hopes of fuelling her love of felines. The story is so adorable I cannot wait to read it to her!

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The third one is the all popular “How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You” by The Oatmeal. I’ve read many of The Oatmeal’s comics over the internetz, and decided I’d buy this one it’s related to cats-duh! It’s quite fun to read, and I finished it in one sitting with a bowl of Rice Krispies when I had a hard time falling asleep :P Plus, it has a summary poster of “the evil cat plotting to kill you” inside woot woot! Must hang it somewhere strategically and freak the heck out of visitors. Maybe in the bathroom, and then I’ll let Tiny stick out his paws from under the door while they do their business lol!

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Shoes & Accessories:

Other than books, I got some pretty things while on my trip to Dubai last week or so. These dainty little lace pumps from New Look -absolutely love their shoes, and some rings I found here and there in Forever 21 -which is 100 times much better than the ones here in AD imo ._. They are pretty simple, but I wanted to collect small rings to stack them up on my fingerrrsss :D

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Makeup:
Not very unique or special, but I needed a new bronzer and blush and I got some great ones! Bronzer is Hoola from Benefit which is perfect, and the blusher is a nice pink peach from Sephora. Also got a brush for my loose setting powder.
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For Kitty:

Since I let Tiny roam around outside everyday, I got worried he might catch some fleas or ticks. He is fully vaccinated from the cold and rabies and such, but those pests sound like a huge hassle to get rid of and I do not want them in our house. I looked around for preventive products and found two, the Bio Spot Flea/Tick Control for 6 months, and Dr. Mercola Natural Flea and Tick Defense, an organic daily spray that is supposed to “confuse” fleas and ticks when they smell it, thus preventing them from recognising a potential host and going into the pet’s skin. Yes, I got two, and I’m so glad I did. The first one kills AND prevents, but can only be used once every month. The second organic one is only preventive, and I don’t know whether it could kill them IF they already exist, and can be used daily if needed.

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The Bio Spot formula was great, easy to use and apply and the instructions were clear. However, it is OILY, and it left the patch of hair that was exposed to it weird and oily and not dry from the product on Tiny’s fur for three days until I decided to wash it with shampoo and water (water alone did not work). Let’s just say I’m not anticipating next month’s dose xD Luckily, Tiny didn’t have any fleas or ticks, but I hope it does its work and keeps them away too!

The Dr. Mercola one smelled nasty, which was very disappointing because they mentioned it smelled good :( And seeing Cinnamon in the contents got me excited (I love Cinnamon) but it smelled like cloves… which I do not like at all and was NOT in the contents…
I am one to cuddle the crap out of my cat, so his smell is very important to me tyvm lol! However, if you prefer natural and organic remedies and don’t mind the smell of cloves, then you should try it! I can’t recommend it as I’ve only used it once, but look into other people’s reviews.

That’s all folks! Thanks for reading and get ready to head back to school/college because it starts tomorrow. Eep.

– Reem AlHashmi

FURminator Review

Hello everyone! Long time no post. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I finally got my hands on a Furminator brush after many failed purchases and attempts to rid me of my cat’s shedding problem. This post goes to everyone who’s thinking of getting one but is too hesitant to spend such a big amount of money on a hair brush for their pets! Before I start reviewing it, I’d just like to point out that I will be in no way biased and “over-recommend” this product just for the heck of it. I’ll tell you exactly how it worked for me, and provide pros and cons, and you be the judge :)

So being a person who’s 102% conscious about where she spends her money and on what, the idea of purchasing an almost 300 AED shedding comb for Tiny was completely out of the question. But after about a year and a half switching between different types of combs- the slicker brush, deshedding comb and a flea comb- that were almost useless, I decided to give it a go, but that I’d find myself a bargain ;)

After looking through amazon, I found an awesome deal of only 110 AED (including shipping fees from the US to Abu Dhabi) for a long-hair small sized Furminator comb for cats. (It couldn’t deliver straight to the UAE, so I had to use a US address and then had Aramex deliver it to Abu Dhabi. The cost above includes all of these expenses, so it would’ve been around 70 AED only if it wasn’t for the extra shipping :’) Much better than 300 AED!!)

I chose the long hair option because Tiny is a cross between a shorthair and a Persian according to his vet, and his hair is a about 2-inches long, and a small comb to make it easier for me to get into sensitive areas like his face or paws, as I’ve had one of the big slicker brushes and found it hard to brush these areas because of it’s size.

Now on to the brush itself, I can honestly say I was pretty impressed and wasn’t disappointed at all. A couple of brushes with a Furminator do go a long way!

Pros:
1) It’s teeth were designed differently that any slicker brush (which I thought otherwise previously..) and it kinda works like a rake, I’m not kidding lol. You can actually feel the brush pull the dead hairs out!
2) The teeth really dig in the coat, to catch a lot of the dead hairs not just from the top of the coat, but from inside. My slicker brush had long teeth, but it just wouldn’t dig in the coat properly, so it only caught the dead hair from the top, and left me with a horrible inner coat of dead hair madness!
3) This one is pretty obvious if you know a little about Furminators. It is easy to get the dead hair out of the brush from the handy button :P I used to wash my slicker brush to get most of the hair out because it was hard to pull it out by hand (and sometimes, it would bend the teeth, yikes!) so this was a much appreciated feature xD

Cons:
1) Of course, with every item, it has it’s cons, because it isn’t perfect. What I found a little bothersome with the brush is that when I managed to go through his whole coat, it would leave a lot of stray hairs at the top, something that I haven’t experienced with the slicker brush (Probably because it didn’t do such a good job lol) I guess it’s more of an expected effect than an actual problem with the brush. When he’d shake his head or when I’d pat his coat, it would drop a lot of dead hairs that weren’t caught by the brush. Does that make sense? :P However, I guess a good bath is the solution to this problem.
2) You must be careful when brushing your pet as the teeth are quite stiff and pointy, and I’ve had a lot of panicky moments where I was afraid I had cut him. So make sure you’re a little careful :) It’s not in any way like a shaving tool, but just a little consciousness while brushing is required.

In the end, I give this product a 7/10 because it wasn’t a marketing lie, it really does work like they said it would. Here’s a picture of all the hairs I’ve gathered just for this post:

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IMG_5861Placed my hand beside it so you can see the approximate size lol.

I would have been able to get rid of 100% of Tiny’s dead hair if he was a lot more cooperative, since he hates his grooming sessions :’) I constantly have to entice him with treats to get him brushed. I am working on training him to get used to it though, so wish me luck!

Thanks for reading folks, and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me :)
Have a nice long weekend and happy National Day! <3

– Reem AlHashmi

Planter Necklaces (DIY)

I have had this idea a really long time ago, and finally I found the time to make it!
During my usual etsy vists, I found this beautiful store- Wearable Planters by the lovely Colleen Jordan :)

This is what “wearable planters” are all about as told by Colleen:

Don’t let your plants stay at home! They help clean the air you breathe, are beautiful, and create a wonderful conversation starter. Carry a sprout, a succulent, or a flower you found on your morning walk! A necklace is a beautiful way to showcase your favorite plants, whether it is a flower or a succulent you’ve planted or found on your day’s adventures. A wearable planter is sure to make your day brighter!

You can’t possibly tell me this description alone didn’t make you want to get one asap. ;)

I know what you’re probably thinking, flower pots around my neck? No thank you. But trust me! They look absolutely great with your everyday outfits and compliment them so much! And the best thing about them is that everyday they can be different, because you can change the little flowers you put in them. Read on to see some example pictures of how they look great on almost every outfit :)

And today, I’m going to show you how to make your own version of planter necklaces using polymer clay! And don’t let that discourage you because I have finally found some polymer clay that you can purchase here in Abu Dhabi, so don’t fret! xD Yes, it wouldn’t be as clean and smooth like Colleen’s, but they look just as beautiful, trust me!

So here’s what you’ll need:
- Polymer clay, colors of your choice. (Abu Dhabi – L’atelier des Arts is one place that supplies some. If you happen to know any place in Dubai that supplies them please let me know so I can post it here for others)
– A needle or any pointy object
– Some string, thread or chain for the actual necklace
– Flowers/plants of course. These have to be small and simple, not a huge rose :P
– Your imagination.

How to make’ em:

I’ll be explaining the steps to three different shapes that I created. You can always experiment and do whatever shape you like!

The Teardrop
Using some of my navy clay, shaping it into a circle at first, I then rolled one “side” of it to shape a “teardrop” or a long oval.

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Then used a needle to shape the opening of the flower pot. This step is very important: you must make sure your hole is wide at the top, and narrow as you go down to the bottom of the planter, otherwise, your plants/flowers will fall out. The narrow bottom is supposed to support the plant in place so it doesn’t fall out as you’re moving. (This tutorial doesn’t require you to put a flower with its soil in the planter necklace, we’re only going to be using the flower.)

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Now the opening at the top will look messy at first but you can always smooth it out with your fingers. Lastly, I poked a small hole for my string to go through later on after baking the clay.

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The Circle
This is the easiest one, you can do it with your eyes closed. Shape a circle, poke a hole in it- You’re done!! No lies, that’s it! To make it look a little “edgy” and different I made the opening diamond shaped :) But that’s all there is to it.

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Don’t forget to make an opening for your string!

The Flower
I apologize for the lack of pictures for this one as I did it at the top of my head and didn’t plan it out at all, but it turned out to be my favourite! This time, instead of shaping a 3D circle I rolled out a flat one and placed it onto something circular to help shape it.

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I peeled off the edges from different sides to make it look like an opening flower. Then I just played around with it, pinched the edges and smoothed them out and ended up with this!

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Once you’re done modelling and baking, insert the strings and threads and go off to find some pretty little flowers to start wearing them around wherever you go!

Here’s the final result…

 

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Don’t they just look amazing? And yes, the last picture shows how the planter looks stunning even with an abaya on! So let me know what you think and if you guys try it, show me your creations! :)

Good luck & Eid Mubarak to everyone!
– Reem AlHashmi

Make your own Minion!!

Yes, you read that right! Finally, I have put together another crafting tutorial for you guys, and this time I’m going to be showing you how to needle felt your very own little minion! :)

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Now I explained what the art of needle felting is in my previous post, but if you missed it, check it out here. The explanation is at the bottom.

Let’s get to work~

Materials you’ll need:

– Needle felting needles (Yes, those are different from the ones you use to sew)
– Wool batting in colors Yellow, Dark+Light Blue, Grey, Black, Brown and White
– Foam or Styrofoam mat
– Lots of patience as this takes up some time, but it is so much fun!

Let’s get to the lab work! ;)

Step #1

Using your yellow wool, cut your desired length and with your hand, shape it into an oval-ish potato shape, like that of a minion. Then, proceed to stab it with your needle (a lot) until it holds its shape. It MUST be firm and look like the picture below, because what you’re actually doing is tangling the wool until it’s so tangled you won’t be able to alter it’s shape afterwards.

If you want your minion to be big (size of your palm for example) make sure you cut a big piece of wool, otherwise, if you start small, you’ll end up with an even smaller figure, because the wool shrinks a lot during the process.

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Step #2

Once you get the hang of “needle felting”, the rest of the steps are basically easier than easy. I’m a beginner myself, and if I managed to do it, then so can you! Shape two smaller oval shapes with your dark blue wool and stab them for a while until they’re nice and firm. Then, stick them on your minion, but not with glue of course. All you have to do to attach them is stab them continuously in your desired spot, making sure you stab vertically and on around the sides of the “oval feet” to make sure they’re really in place and won’t fall off easy. Make them a little smaller as we will add their shoes, and their overall feet are very small.

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Step #3

Now it’s time to dress him up in overalls! This time, we’re not making shapes, we’re layering the wool onto an existing shape, which is the minion we have now. Take your dark blue wool again, and spread it over the bottom quarter or so of your minion, leaving space for the short sleeves and the front pocket. Then stab your way around it’s body until the blue wool is stuck firmly and you cannot pull it out with your fingers. If by the stabbing you’ve noticed the blue goes deeper inside and yellow is revealed, don’t fret! Add some more layers until you’re satisfied :)

I then added the front pocket and the sleeves. Basically just eye-ball where you would place his hands in the next step, and just add the sleeves around that area.

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Step #4

Next, roll out some long yellow wool, needle felt it and attach it to your minion. I know it might seem like my minion’s arms are long, but minions’ arms go down to their feet :P Make them just a smidge bit shorter because we’re adding black parts in the end as their gloves.

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Step #5

Here, I skipped a few steps because I’ve already explained the basics on how to do them during those first few steps. Just add his details, black pieces for shoes and gloves, a cute little smile and of course, his signature goggles.

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If I’m not mistaken, I think I made myself a Dave, because of his weird looking six pieces of hair on his head :P Dave and Kevin are my favourites tbh! xD

And that’s it, you’re done! Here’s what my minion looks like :D

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Our bananas are green lol!

You can even make him follow you everywhere by making him into a minion pin! Just stick any ordinary safety pin through his bottom (If you want him to sit on your shoulder like the first picture at the top) or back (if you want him to stick like a brooch), then onto your piece of clothing! Honestly he compliments my Abaya so much <3 :D

Thank you guys so much for reading and I hope this tutorial motivated or inspired you to make your own little minion. If you did, always feel free to share your creations with me :) I love knowing people benefit from my tutorials!

Until next time, have a good weekend everyone!

- Reem AlHashmi