Friday, November 29, 2013

Inspired - Snowflake Winter Treats

Good evening, dear readers!! :D

Since the holiday season is upon us and Christmas is fast approaching, I wanted to have more of a holiday and wintery theme here at Art Evolve.

One of the things that this time of the year is well known for, is holiday baking!! :D

And so, for my first "Inspired" post, I will be sharing photos that I found on some truly delicious-looking snowflake-inspired baked goods! :D  I will link where I found the photos under each one.

Enjoy! :D

Snowflake Cookies:


These amazingly beautiful cookies were found here.


These beauties were found here.

Snowflake Cupcakes:


Check out that gorgeous decorating!!  These were found here.

Couturecupcakes_winter
:O!!!  AMAZING!  So beautiful; these cupcakes were found here.


I love the ice effect!  These were found here.


I didn't even know that you could get edible iridescent glitter!  Sign me up! :D  These cupcakes were found here.


These cupcakes were found here.

Snowflake cakes:



This beauty was found here.

Ice Blue & Snowflakes 3! This is a 10", 6" & 4" almond cake filled with red raspberry. Creme de cacao butter cream over all. Royal icing snowflakes. Served 58. The reception was held at Corleone's Ristorante in Parma.
This cake was found here.

New Year's Eve Blue Snowflake Cake! 12", 8", 6" & 4" tiers. The 12 & 6 are almond cake, other 2 are orange cake, all are chocolate ganach filled with Limoncello butter cream over all. The whole cake is covered in sparkling sugar and the snowflakes are royal icing, edible! Served 130. The wedding/reception were held at the Blair Center in Westfield Center, Ohio. Happy New Year everybody!
This cake was found here.


Ahhh I LOVE this!! :D  This was found here.


This cake was found here.

Marie's Snowflake Cake
This cake was found here.

Snowflake cake pops:


Eeee these are so cute and pretty!! :D These cake pops were found here!


These cake pops were found here.

Snowflake Rice Krispy treats:

Snowflake Rice Krispy Treat
These were found here.

Snowflake macarons:

Snowflake Macarons
These macarons were found here.


I love the idea of sprinkling icing sugar over designs to leave beautiful patterns!! :D  This cake was found here.

Snowflake brownies!:


I found these super cute brownies here.

Snowflake chocolate:

50 Snowflake Chocolates:  Silver Shadow Glimmer
So pretty!!  Chocolates found here.

Snowflake Petits Fours:


These were found here.


These petits fours found here.

Snowflake pie:


Pie found here.


Snowflake ice cream pie found here.

Merry Christmas! Magic, Carols, Snowflakes, Mince Pies and Fairy Cakes
Such a beautiful pie!!  It was found here.

Well!  These all look amazing, and put my cake decorating abilities to shame!
Which one was your favourite? :D

Take care and have a wonderful night!!

-Ashesela

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Current Nail Polish Collection

Good morning, lovelies! :D

As you know from my last post, I have been trying to cut down on the amount of unnecessary things that I own.  It can be a slow process, but I have managed to get rid of a lot of things! :D

It took me several hours over several days, but I have managed to bring my nail polish collection down a really significant amount.  YAY!!! :D

I used to have over a Helmer's worth, and now I have all my non-frankened polishes in only one drawer!! :D  (Well, except for top coats ;)).



This has taken me a looong time! O_O

+++++

I have emotional attachments to almost everything I own, and nail polish has been no different.

I've had polishes gifted and sent to me by my family and many friends, some of whom I was lucky to meet only because of my participation in the online nail polish community.  When I started getting interested in and collecting nail polish, I had no idea the wonderful friendships I would be lucky enough to forge in the process.

I would associate wonderful moments with my nail polishes, about how I got them and who gave them to me.  They acted as jumper cables to my memory, and I cherished them all the more for that.

But I have to stop holding on to every single thing I ever get from someone, because the memories are still in my head, and I don't need 'proof' to show what has happened in my life.

When I would get mail I used to hate throwing away even the cardboard boxes I would get items sent to me in (it still makes me cringe a little!).

So, this is yet another step for me to improve my life; to let go of some of the unnecessary.

I used to feel that this was true, but now I know that I am not 'betraying' my family, my friends, or any experiences and memories I have for letting go of things that I do not use any more.

I will still have the memories, and I will still cherish my loved ones and all they have ever done for me :).

(A photo I took of a park near my old home in Ottawa, just because.  XD  I miss that place!)

+++++

So!  Back to the nail polishes that I have left (lol!).
Here they are:


Top row, L to R: Orly Winter Wonderland, Orly Au Champagne, Barielle Enduring, O.P.I Solitaire, China Glaze White Cap and Color Club Covered in Diamonds.
Middle row, L to R: Sally Hansen Glass Slipper, Glitzology Snow Day, Color Club Si Vous Please!, China Glaze Snow Globe, Kleancolor Sugar Coat and Color Club Snowflakes.
Bottom row, L to R: Girly Bits Hocus Pocus, Color Club On the Rocks, L.A. Glitter Addict Explosion, O.P.I Crown Me Already!, O.P.I Pirouette My Whistle, and The Hungry Asian Mumbling.



Top row, L to R: Color Club Editorial, Butter London Wallis, Wet n' Wild The Gold and the Beautiful, Nerd Lacquer Exterminate, China Glaze Champagne Bubbles and Orly Luxe.
Middle row, L to R: China Glaze Angel Wings, China Glaze Twinkle Lights, Orly Halo, China Glaze Glistening Snow, Zoya London and Sally Hansen Wet Cement.
Bottom row, L to R: Color Club Wild Orchid, Nerd Lacquer Don't Blink, China Glaze Immortal, Orly Boho Bonnet, Zoya Skylar, and Girly Bits Stormy Skies.


Top row, L to R: China Glaze Winter Berry, China Glaze Merry Berry, China Glaze Velvet Bow, Orly Torrid, O.P.I Pepe's Purple Passion, Girly Bits Gentle Ginger, and Girly Bits Shift Happens.
Middle row, L to R: Orly Preamp, O.P.I Pedal Faster Suzi, Nicole by O.P.I I Lilac Gumdrops, Shiseido Maquillage 94, Glitzology Crown Royal, Zoya Neeka and Revlon Royal Cloak.
Bottom row, L to R: Orly Sheer Nude, China Glaze Champagne Kisses, Orly Nite Owl, Finger Paints Bare No Secrets, Revlon Enthrall, and Orly Buried Alive.


Top row, L to R: Color Club Holiday Splendor, Zoya Maisie, The Hungry Asian On a Budget, Girly Bits Cosmic Ocean, Orly Green with Envy, and Color Club Wild Cactus.
Middle row, L to R: China Glaze Holly-Day, Gosh Forest Floor, Orly Halley's Comet, O.P.I Thanks a Windmillion, Zoya Yara, and China Glaze Winter Holly.
Bottom row, L to R: O.P.I Live and Let Die, China Glaze Cast a Spell, Finger Paints Hue Brighten My Day, China Glaze Glittering Garland, and Sally Hansen Black Out.



Top row, L to R: China Glaze Blue Year's Eve, Orly Royal Navy, O.P.I Get Your Number, Sinful Colors Hottie, and O.P.I Dating a Royal.
Middle row, L to R: Finger Paints You Yacht to Know Better, O.P.I I Have a Herring Problem, Color Club Hydrangea Kiss, O.P.I I Don't Give a Rotterdam!, and Zoya Nyx.
Bottom row, L to R: China Glaze Tinsel Town, China Glaze Smoke and Ashes, Sinful Colors Cinderella, and O.P.I Can't Find My Czechbook.

Whew!! :D

Here is the whole lot, all together like the family they are:



All of these were picked with a lot of thought, and I am very happy with my collection now. :)

Some of these are not cruelty-free, but that is because they were purchased or traded before I knew very much about animal testing.  I do not buy from those companies anymore.

A few are in here because I use them a lot for nail art, like Sally Hansen Wet Cement, Sally Hansen Black Out, and Barielle Enduring.  If not for that, they would not be in my collection.

I figure that if I do end up getting any more nail polish in the future, I will have to do the one in, one out rule, so that my collection is maintained in one drawer.  And I don't want to cheat, and pile more on top of what I already have.  XD

What do you think of my new, smaller, collection? :D

Have a wonderful day!!

-Ashesela






Monday, November 25, 2013

Squished Face Sketch

Good morning, dear readers! :D

I hope that you had a great weekend!

Today I have another sketch that I did, also with graphite on printing paper.

This was another RedditGetsDrawn photo that I drew:

Squished Face - Graphite on printer paper - A.E.K 2013

I absolutely loved that his face was squished up against the scanner/printer, and it was a lot of fun trying to get the lit up squished skin effects.  XD

There are more things I would like to finish here, namely the background and the over-simplified hair, but to be honest I probably won't.  XD  I am pretty bad about getting bored with my art, then moving onto something else without finishing it.

Right now I am trying to get a handle on charcoal, so wish me luck!! :}

-Ashesela

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Man with Dog Graphite Sketch

Good evening, dear readers! :D

Just a quick post for tonight:

I decided that I wanted to include more art in my blog (since that was what I originally created it for!).

This sketch was inspired by a photo on Reddit Gets Drawn, which is a wonderful place on the Reddit website, where people upload photos and other people offer to draw them!  It is great fun, and there is a lot of awesome inspiration there. :D

"Man with Dog" - Graphite on printer paper (lol) - A.E.K 2013

It was funny when I was drawing this, because I usually would stay away from drawing men and animals.  I do not have much practice in working with them.

However, this man's photo made me smile, and I was quite a ways into my drawing before I realised I was working on two subjects that I normally would have avoided.

I was having so much fun being inspired by this photo, that I had casually 'over-stepped' the boundaries that I had put upon myself, without even realising it! :D

And now, I have more confidence to continue working with subjects that would normally intimidate me, which is pretty awesome! :D

Well, it is time for me to get ready for bed, but I wanted to throw a quick post on my blog before doing so.  :}  I will have more art posts up soon!

-Ashesela


Friday, November 22, 2013

Minimalism

Good morning, dear readers!

Today I felt I would touch on something a little bit different than my usual posts on my blog.

Lately I have been seriously trimming down my belongings, which feels amazing!! :D

(YAY flowers, because why not!)

I grew up being a pack rat and a bag-lady, and I used to have so many things that I owned.  I was a hoarder.  I had trouble throwing away anything (even some wrappers!), and I would make an emotional attachment to everything I owned.

(Not my image, image from here)

Over the last 7 or so years, I have done a huge turn-around, mostly after reading about minimalism.  Every couple of years I do a big revamp of my stuff and get rid of a lot of things, and it is very invigorating. :D

Now, I am not a full on minimalist as I still have a lot of unnecessary things in my life, but I do agree with most of the main points of minimalism.

I finally got sick of keeping everything and anything.

I would have a drawer of the packages that cosmetics came in.  Notes scribbled on napkins, the envelops that letters for letters and cards I received (I do collect cards and letters, and they are some of my most prized possessions.  But do I seriously need the envelopes?  Hardly.).  
I had a bunch of make-up that I never used and/or had expired, books that I would never ever read, class notes that weren't even anything special to begin with.

I have had hundreds of nail polishes, most of which I have only ever used once (some not at all!), and plenty that I didn't particularly like.  

Now you know how much I like nail polish, and I know how much you do too (yay nail polish! XD), but I had so many that it got to the point that I was collecting them just to have them.  I was holding onto them "just in case" I wanted to use them someday (same goes for a lot of other belongings I had), even though I didn't like the colours all that much.  Even after giving my sister almost all of my non-cruelty free polishes, I still had hundreds.  I have spent so much money on nail polish alone over the last three or so years, and I still had a huge list of ones I wanted to get.  

I have always loved collecting things, but it was getting to be too much.

When I actually got around to painting my own nails, I would open up the drawers and see rows upon rows of selections, but would just stare for a while with no idea what I wanted to wear, as there were just too many choices.

I would search for reviews, and eagerly await the newest collections to pick out what I wanted to add to my collection.

When I got them, I would add them to my Helmer drawers, and then maybe use them once, and move onto the next shiny bottle that I just had to have!

My favourite kind of polishes to collect were blue polishes.  I seriously adore the colour blue, but I had at least a whole drawer full of just blue polishes.  I would collect the ones that I didn't even like, so I would have a bigger collection of blues.  MUST HAVE ALL THE BLUES!

I had several polishes that looked almost exactly the same!  As nail polish lovers (especially being collectors) we pay attention to the minute differences that a lot of people wouldn't notice or ever care about: 
"why do you have 10 identical polishes?" 
"What?"
"Right there!  You have 10 of the same polishes."
"No I don't! That one is the teensiest bit darker, that one is lighter, that one has shimmer, that one is limited edition, that one is only available in Japan, that one is worth $25.00...."

But it is true that I really don't need that many navy blues.  Or blues in general.  Or polishes in general.

And so, I have done a magnificent de-stash, and have decided to sell a lot of my remaining collection (I am selling almost 200 polishes).

To be sold:



I sat for hours deliberating which ones meant the most to me (either from an emotional attachment to them or because I actually love the colour), and decided to keep only the most special to me.

It was hard getting rid of so many Christmas releases (my favourite time of the year!), but honestly, there were so many variations of red and other colours and glitters that I just would never get around to wearing.

I wish I could list my sale on my blog, but I wouldn't be able to afford to ship out the polishes, especially not internationally.

Even after all of this, I still have about 2 and a half Helmer drawers full of nail polishes.  XD  I may have kept three navy blues and 8 different purples.  But I got rid of so many others, and for me that is a huge step.

Now I look forward to choosing what to wear, because I know that I really do love each and every polish I have kept. 

*****

I want to stop being such a consumer and shopping addict.  Seriously, I am not just throwing that word around, I am addicted to shopping.  I've never had a lot of money, but I would always spend it all right after I got it.  I've never had a savings account, and didn't have a little money bank for a rainy day (because I wanted to spend it all right after I got it.).

I want to stop wanting so much.  I want this, I want that, I neeeeed those, maybe having this will make me look better/feel better/be more interesting.  

I need to learn to be happy with myself, as I am.  Sure, there is a crap load of room for improvement, and I definitely intend to improve myself.  But I need to learn to like myself, no matter what I look like that day, or how I feel at that particular moment.

This is going to take a long time.  And I may never even get there.  But I sure will try!

The funny thing is, the more I get rid of excess, the less I want. :O You would think that it would be the opposite, but it's true!!  I have less temptation now then before, and now I really appreciate what I already have to a much fuller extent.

I now enjoy ALL of the books on my shelf, and I know that I will read them again.  I have paints that I will actually reach for, instead of just a vast variety that a third of which would probably dry out before I ever got to using them up.  
I don't have to sift through a bunch of crappy paintbrushes; instead, I can go ahead and grab the one I want.

Not only is minimalism good for my peace of mind (even only the small amount of which I follow), it is great for the wallet, and amazing for the environment.  Less consumption = less waste, and less expended energy.  I also get a lot more space to live and breathe in, and finding things I need gets so much easier!

I have found many great resources over the last few years for decluttering, but one of my absolute favourites by far is this book:

(Not my image, image from here)

The Joy of Less is a fantastic book for learning to enjoy life more, with less material obsession.  It really helps you to appreciate what you have, and to declutter while simplifying your life.  I bought this a couple of years ago, and I just read it over again (I forgot just how good it is!). :D

Francine Jay has a delightful and lighthearted writing style, and whenever I feel the need to tone down my wants and focus more on enjoying what I already have, this book is a great reminder! :)

For someone like myself who used to hoard (not as bad as some people out there, but I still did it) and who has trouble parting with unnecessary 'things' for whatever reason (habit, emotional attachment, etc.), this tome is a god-send.

If you are interested in her work, I suggest heading over to her website, at miss minimalist.

I still have more work to be done around my home, but I actually look forward to and enjoy simplifying my possessions.  :)

One thing that I always thought I would never get rid of are my old diaries.  The problem with them, is that I almost only ever wrote in them when I was sad or angry.

Although they are records of my life, they are mostly filled with negative thoughts.  Even looking at them sitting on my shelf made me think "ugh."  

So it was time to let them go.

I still don't know for sure why I wanted to keep them for so long... maybe as a way to 'prove' my experiences in life? Perhaps to leave a part of me behind when I eventually leave this world (and for those still living to know me a bit better)?

However, the diaries had a lot of sad and negative thoughts written down in them, despite the happiness I have felt throughout the years.  It was cathartic to jot down my bad feelings when I was feeling down, but when I was in higher spirits, I rarely gave my journals a second thought.

I don't want people to read them and think that I had a terribly sad life, that it was filled with only suffering and anger.  I don't want to continue holding onto those parts of my life; I want to let them go, and to remember the goodness in it.  And I am not my diaries, and when I am gone (hopefully not for a very long time!), they will not be me.  They will just be books, with words written down in them, displaying only one side of my personality.

And you know what?  I feel lighter and happier already! :D

*****

What about you?  Are you a hoarder, collector, shopping addict, minimalist?  Let me know! :D

-Ashesela

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Born Pretty Store Review and Winter Manicure

Good morning, dear readers!

Today I have a review of some products that were kindly sent to me from Born Pretty Store!

First up, are these re-usable nail forms:



These are a really interesting idea! :D

You use nail forms to build up acrylics, and usually you would use disposable ones that you wrap around your finger.  This set contains 10 of them, housed in hard plastic cases.

These have adjustable wires attached to them, so you can mold it to the shape of your finger and keep it in place as you work.  The foils also have guide lines on them, so you can measure as you go along, and to ensure that every nail you do is the same size.

Unfortunately, I am completely inept at using these!  I really want to learn to do nice acrylic nails, but so far I fail almost every attempt I make (at any time, not just using these).  I do not have any photos to show you of my attempts, because they were just horribly done. :(  I seriously need more practice!

On a good note, I found that the dried acrylic comes off of the forms quite easily! :D

I'm sure I will try these again, and let you know how I get along with them.  I really like the idea of this product, but I would leave the use of these to professionals (or people who just know what they are doing!).

Second, I was sent these awesome set of half round metal ball studs:



These are all sorts of awesome! :D  I seriously love using these.

You get the effect of a round stud, but since the back is flattened, it is so much easier to apply to the nail.

These come in 2.5 and 3 mm pieces, in both silver and gold tones.  You can also buy a similar set but in 1.5 and 2 mm sizes, here.

Here are some nail ideas using the both sets of studs:


I had done a set of nails using just the 1.5mm to 2 mm studs a while back (the post is here):


Lastly, I was sent this lovely set of clear acrylic nails:



 They range in sizes 0-9:


These are some of my new favourite acrylic nails to use! :D  They are firmer than all of the opaque acrylic false nails that I have used before, and the clarity of these give you more options for nail art.

They feel very strong and durable, and are very clear.

There are 50 nails in each of the 10 sizes, so you get a total of 500 false nails to use (woohoo so many nail art options!! :D)

Here is a set I did with a freehand winter theme:



(irregularities at the tops and sides are from the polish I used and top coat)

Once again, Born Pretty Store has provided some wonderful items!! :D

While I had some trouble using the nail forms, that was more than likely just user error.  I am not experienced with nail forms of any kind, and I am sure that someone who is used to them will get much better results than I.

The half-round beads are great quality, and are a real pleasure to work with. :D

And as for the clear false nails, I would have to say that I will greatly enjoy using these for a long time!!

I hope that you have a wonderful evening! :D

-Ashesela

EDIT: I forgot to say that if you use the code CBJ61, you will get 10% off of your entire Born Pretty Store order!! :D  YAY!!!

Products I'm Really Enjoying Right Now

Good afternoon, dear readers! Today's post is about some of products that I've been enjoying lately!  Swatches (where applicable) ...