Monday, January 25, 2010

Spin-off on Book Of Colors (aka Tower of Terror)

I love watching Koren of EnKore Makeup's videos on YouTube. Not only for his makeup applications, but he comes up with some great do-it-yourself projects (where was he when I was a Girl Scout leader in need of ideas??). The last few days, he's done a series of videos on how to make your own Book of Colors (inspired by Urban Decay's Book of Shadows). While watching them (you can see them on EnKorinne's channel here and here), it got me to thinking. Those would be cute gifts, but more importantly, though I could live without the pop ups (and knowing I wouldn't have the dexterity to make them anyway), what if I made something similar, but made it into stackable drawers to hold all of my crap? I mean why get one of these --> for $8 when I can make something myself for $10 and spend hours doing it?

What I really liked about his (her?) Book of Colors was the idea of the Styrofoam holding everything into place. Sure, I could run to the local Target and get one of these Sterilite Drawers, but if I use them to store my makeup, they'll end up no more organized than my makeup drawer is currently (which looks a lot like most people's "junk drawers" in their kitchens). Besides, Koren makes it look so quick and easy!

So off I run to Michael's for a quick run to pick up some Styrofoam, and a couple of sheets of scrapbook paper. I couldn't decide between several different scrapbook papers, and finally came home with 1 sheet of Styrofoam big enough to cut for 4 shelves/drawers and a handful of sheets of paper. Total cost: $7.21. Time spent: 1.5 hours.

As "Korinne" did, I planned to use the Priority Mail small boxes as my basic frame. Having thoroughly read all over the boxes that they are only to be used for USPS purposes only, let me state that I used, uhhh... unshippable boxes. Yeah, that's right; I had some that were just lying around here that I couldn't use, and wouldn't want to kill any extra trees! I cut out the inside rectangle of the box, traced it on the Styrofoam, and got my trusty serrated knife. Koren cuts his Styrofoam in like 2 swipes, all nice and neat. He must have magic serrated knives. I can't cut through 1" thick Styrofoam and cut in a straight line down. I'm wider at the top than the bottom, or vice-versa. Now time to bring out the Dustbuster to clean up all the styro-dust while watching my dog try to attack it.

I decided to do several trays: one with my face powders (foundations, primers, finishing powders and blushes), one for just my gel liners, and a third for my pots of shadows. I may or may not do a 4th drawer with pressed shadows, but at least those for now are in palettes and not taking up much space. Lesson number two: it's a lot harder to press a well for a 30 gram jar than for a lip pencil! Made my initial hole using the jar, then tried to dig it deeper using the end of a Sharpie. That wasn't getting me very far very fast, nor the slightest bit evenly. Take the cut knife, make tons of cross-hatches, then dig those out with the Sharpie. Muuuuch better. You can really get all of your aggressions out trying to get those wells deep enough that you can slide it in and out of the assembled box without them getting stuck on the top of the box!

Having finished creating wells in 2 drawers (time spent: 3 hours), I decided perhaps I should test this whole idea out before I spend even more time only to find out that the whole idea isn't going to work. I started to paint the two Styrofoam trays, only to find that the brown craft paint leftover from Girl Scouts is pretty darn thick. No worries, no one really sees more than just the edges anyway, right? Sponge paint a little blue over it, and I have a half-painted totally amateur looking gizmo.

Morning arrives, and I'm back to tackling the balance of this project. Start to make the 3rd drawer with some of the loose shadows I never got around to pressing, my mascara and lash primer. Break the whole tray trying to make the depth of the hole for my primer (a wee bit too close to the edge), so my decision to make 3 or 4 trays has now been made for me, as I only have enough Styrofoam left for one last tray.

Once I finish the shadow tray, I'm just left with the exterior decorating. I'm still pondering which papers to use to wrap the outer sides, select the print for the sides, and the blue for the top. Cut one sheet, go outside to spray the adhesive and plop on the paper. Oh, wait. I'm using fixative, not adhesive. Nothing's sticking. Having invested several hours, do I really want to go buy some spray adhesive for $7 a can? I will have doubled the cost of my Tower of Terror. I double check the paint cabinet in the garage, hoping perhaps there's still some in there from some other project. Nope. But wait! I have brown spray paint!!! Problem with the too thick brown craft paint is now solved. Spray paint is my friend. I go back and spray all the trays so that they look all nice an puuurty instead just the edges, and spray the entire 3 box tower. I dare the USPS to prove I'm using their boxes now, lol. Add a little blue sponge painting (not my forte, but heck, this is an amateur project, right?), spray over with some gold, and let dry.

Below is the final product. Let's backtrack a bit here. I spent an hour and a half and $7.21 at Michaels. What did I end up using from that purchase? 3 itty bitty cuts of ribbon and the Styrofoam. I could have spent the $4.99 (even less, had I waited for Sunday's 40% off coupon in the paper) and saved myself a lot of time. Oh well, such is life. Granted, Koren is far more talented than I am, and his Book of Colors looks a whole lot better than my Tower of Terror. But does it give you an idea to run with? Go grab some Styrofoam, old boxes laying around (or unusable Priority Mail boxes), and let me know what you design!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Houston, we have a problem...

I've discovered one other glitch that happened while I was away. Not only am I now in search of wayward jars, but the postal service had a rate increase. Ordinarily, that's no big deal, but they renamed the international shipping options. As a result, international customers are currently seeing only Priority Mail as their only shipping choice. I've emailed my programmer to fix the bug the new names has created with my software, but unfortunately, she's in Thailand so there's a bit of a time lag between my problems and her fixing it.

International customers: If you place an order and want it shipped via any method other than Priority Mail (First Class International or Express Mail), please tell me in the notes section of the order form. I will credit you the difference for First Class, or send you an additional invoice for the increase in shipping charges for Express Mail. I'm hoping this will be rectified soon. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back Home Again

Amazing how you can spend 10 days getting some R&R, and quickly have it undone all in merely one day. We got back into town late last night, and I've completed 18 loads of laundry, packed 4 bazillion orders, and even accomplished the grocery shopping!

There is only one leeeetle snag.... all but 2 orders have will be shipped out first thing tomorrow. I can't pack the remaining 2 orders because I'm completely out of jars! As I mentioned last month, we're redoing our packaging. I knew I was cutting the jar inventory close, so before I left, I placed an order for a small amount of the old style to hold me over. They were supposed to be delivered to my husband's office while we were away, knowing that his secretary would be there. Uhhh.... no jars. USPS says they were delivered last Thursday. Called the secretary, and she says she received nothing. I'm hoping that the postman came while she was at lunch or something, and they are in a neighboring office. Either that, or I'll have to get another order sent to me, but won't be able to get them before Wednesday. Won't know until the postman comes tomorrow and we can inquire as to exactly where he/she/it delivered my package!

As for the trip, it was absolutely AWESOME! My husband is funnier than hell, and is writing a blog post (aka novella) about the trip. He just got the blog today, and I don't even know the url yet (he's only up to Day 3, he says), but rather than write about it here, I'll post the link once it's completed. You'll be far more entertained by his writings than mine. So until then, I'll leave you with some pics to give you a clue as to how wonderful Costa Rica (and the Ticos who reside there) really is:

In addition to the gorgeous scenery and wildlife, of course, there was adventure. Zip lining (pic to come), and white water rafting - affectionately called "black and blue rafting" by my husband. Here's why:

Edit: Marc finally wrote his blog. Only took him, ummm... 10 days? I think he has a whole new respect for bloggers. It's long, but it's funny, and it's here:

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Overwhelmed, Grateful and Thankful!

I'm still out of town enjoying my Costa Rican vacation, where my internet connection is spotty at best, the mosquitos are aplenty, and the scenery is gorgeous - but I'd do a proper blog post on that later.

While I DO have a connection, I wanted to express my gratitude to so many who have listed my products as their Top Picks for 2009. Wanting to keep this brief to get it written before I lose my connection again, I cannot tell express how honored and excited I am to have been listed on so many's shortlists.

I've never, ever been on so many Top Picks! Thanks to each of you. This is a pretty lame thanks, but please accept that it comes from my heart - and a keyboard that only types in Spanish.


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