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My Stitchy TOYS aka TOOLS

The most exciting aspect of any hobby for me are the TOOLS!  Yup, the little gadget thingys that make you look like you know what you’re doing.

So, I would like to show you my cross stitching tools.  I may have forgotten posting some not so used items which I’ll just update as found.  These tools are not the cream of the crop brands but more of what I have on hand and what I found to be the best so far that I bought locally and some internationally via online orders.  I’m pretty sure there are more better than these which I have to discover still.  But for now, they will suffice.  Also, I stitch handheld without a frame so tools of frame users may be different from mine. So here goes.

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Tadah! My floss organizer.  It looks like an ordinary plastic organizer box which it is but I have gone through several boxes before ending up with this perfect one for me. The partitions are all removable and can be arranged however you like it. It fits all my stitching essentials in one handy box. I think I bought this at VCM Starmall Alabang for somewhere Php170.00. So whats inside?

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SCISSORS

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DMC Stork golden scissors are very pointy and sharp. Bought for Php375.00 at VCM (sorry I bought the last 2 available!). Makes your box pretty to look at and makes you look like a serious stitcher but really you don’t need this. Best only for clipping thread very near the fabric and for frogging. Holes for fingers are small and quite cumbersome to use which is why I have this…

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CHINESE SNIPS which I got for about Php40.00 at National bookstore and to add some flair I painted it with my Deborah Lippmann sparkly polish. The polish stinked up my box for a while but eventually the polish odor wore off after a week of aerating. Easy to use, sharp and always ready for action.

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I have the Joy scissors as my fabric scissors. Cheap but sharp. Bought at SM office supplies section for 3-for-Php100 in 3 sizes in a pack. Now I don’t mind if anybody use it for something else as I got me 3 packs. Hihihi! 😉

NEEDLES
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Bohin needles are said to be the best in its class in most stitching forums. It is great. Feels solid when handled, eyes are big enough to pass thread without a threader, inside of eyes has no snag to fray the thread, body is smooth and makes you sew like you’re stabbing butter. However! Not so great for doing French knots. Why? The eye area has a slight bump from the body which catches the knot slightly when you want to make a close and tight French knot. Maybe its just me but I used a Japanese needle which got mixed with my stuff and it helped me create better French knots. But for the usual stitching this is indeed great!

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These are size 26 which I prefer. It’s small enough to not create too big a hole on my fabric and parts the thread just right. This is the best local needle which I got for Php12.00 per 2 needles at Heavenly Stitchin’ Moment at Fishermall QC.  Downside, it’s not as smooth to use.  Maybe the nickel coating on the body is not as great and some packs I bought had tarnish hidden by the paper packaging.  But it’s cheap and looks great.  For 10 needles I actually use about 3 which has no snags inside the eyes.  Overall, a 6 out of 10.

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My needle minder owls which I made from scrapbooking supplies from National Bookstore. DMC needlecase and my voodoo-ish needle cushion which I got for Php80.00 at a school fair.

NEEDLE THREADER

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I have the heavy duty DMC for when I use yarn or more than two threads to a hole. And I have the ordinary threader which I folded and inserted to a hedgehog clip for better handling. Oh hey, hedgehog!

THREAD HELPERS

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For lack of a better word to classify these, I call them thread helpers. These guys help me manuever my floss/thread in and around my fabric.

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Star de tailor is my latest toy. Smooth to use. Pulls my thread with ease even in contorted positions. Maybe that slight twist at the end makes all the difference. Before this I just use my threader which does the job but with more effort and precision manuevering making me feel like a neurosurgeon at work. This makes it less stressful. Stitching should be fun, right?! Oh bought for P450.00 via online from 123stitch.com.

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Stitch Catcher I use for the quickie simple thread pulls. But if you have the Star then you don’t need this anymore. Had this before the Star but is also a handy tool for quickie pulls.  Got this from a huge stash I snagged.

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The Snag-Nab-It (online Php350.00) I haven’t used yet but I imagine it for jobs like loose threads on top you want to push at the back to make your finish look better. It’s for touch ups finishing work. The little hook thingy I thought will be my thread hook but I rarely use it. Got my fingers to do the job quicker.

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Trolley Needle Thread Controller is a laying tool that helps you lay your thread flat in the fabric for a more even and neat finish. Best when using a frame.  Dreams Yarnshoppe sells this for Php350.00.

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Thread Heaven is a kind of thread wax you glide your thread on before stitching to make it go through the fabric easily. Somewhat like a lubricant. No friction equals no thread snags and thread breaks. Best for metallic thread. I use it sparingly. Just in my toolkit when I need it.  Also from Dreams.

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Tweezers are there for some pulling action. Got the pointy tweezer from Heavenly Stitchin for Php40.00 but its not good so sometimes I use the Tweezerman but it’s quite chubby although has a good grip. I’m yet to find one I like.  Tweezerman bought at Beauty Bar for hmm, Php900.00.

FABRIC MARKERS

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Told myself I’m a purist and would never bother with such shortcuts. Who am I kidding?! This will save your sanity. Try stitching then counting then looking at your chart then counting then stitching again and keeping your mind intact. Well, good luck! These guys are essentials with a capital E.

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DMC marker is available at the DMC Megamall store. It marks a distinct blue color on the fabric, lasts long meaning no vanishing tricks after some painstaking gridding. Only downside is the tip is quite fat. So I use this to initially grid my fabric and for marks with no neighboring existing stitches as I’m afraid the marker might mark the thread and not the fabric. About Php140.00

For those in betweeners marking, I use this marker I got from Heavenly Stitchin. It has a finer tip and that’s all there is with it. The mark is faint and you have to really press the tip to the fabric to leave a mark. It also disappears by itself after some time so somewhat air soluble? Costs somewhere Ph120.00.  Both markers removes well with water or even with damp fingers with slight rubbing.

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This I use for black fabric. Marks well. It’s as good as it claims. Rubs off fine with water.

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These are my ORT (odd random threads) jars from Daiso. About Php 33.00 each. Aren’t they adorable?  They really aren’t tools but cute enough to show you. They hold the itsy bitsy thread left-overs.  Why do I keep these threads when it should be in the trashbin?  Well, it’s too colorful to throw away and my dear friends, when you are working on a stitching project for some time like years perhaps then anything about it has sentimental value.  Like oh no! my threads! my beautiful threads!  Well maybe someday they’ll be thrown away but for now they will feed these cutie patootie pepper shakers of mine.

And last but not the least.

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My stitching bag! Grabbed this from SM school supplies department for about Php150.00. I like that its black so will be forgiving on floor dirt. The design is spot on without being too artsy fartsy. This goes with me wherever and whenever. It holds my current WIP (work in progress) and the floss organizer plus a pack of indispensable fragrance free wet wipes because I believe in clean hands equals clean stitches, and my stress ball!  And an eye lubricant for dry eyes from staring too much at the pattern.  I didn’t get a close photo because you should go to your eye doctor and get your own prescription, ye hear?!

So there you have it, my stitching toys eherm tools!

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CLARISONIC: The kind of clean that changed my skin

Every gal be it the beauty conscious or the plain curious would be interested in beauty stuff somehow.  So here I go again, curiosity biting me when I saw this beauty gadget for cleaning the face.  Its a gadget that tickles the techie side of me and for beauty, a combination that’s a no brainer for me.

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Clarisonic Mia 2 Limted Edition Surf design

So I read a ton of reviews and watched more youtube videos than I can handle before I took the plunge.  Currently, there are no official distributor here in the Philippines but there’s Ebay.ph and Sulit.com.ph for the brave souls.  Or you may order direct from Clarisonic or at Amazon.com for peace of mind then just reserve your angst while waiting for your package to arrive.

I went the local online route which is buying from sulit.com.ph and I received the real deal and in the color and print I love – the Clarisonic Mia 2 in Limited Edition Surf.

So what is the hoolabaloo all about?   The Clarisonic system is a skin cleansing system that more thoroughly removes impurities trapped in pores so your skin care products will be better absorbed by your skin.  Okay, honestly I don’t have beautiful skin and add to that adult onset acne which my dermatologist said is caused by hormonal changes due to my age.  Yeah right, I’m a 39 year old with an adolescent skin problem.  It all started with one or two pimples on the cheeks then the darkened scar that takes forever to lighten up is the culprit which makes my skin look just nasty dirty.

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Okay so here comes Clarisonic which right away I used twice a day.  I like that I have a choice of the cleanser I can use with it.  So far I dont have the perfect cleanser yet so to speak.  I just use whatever I have for the moment which is Clinique liquid soap, Burts Bees Sensitive Skin cleanser, Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap, or Mommy Patch goats milk soap.  Liquid and bar soaps are great, thick cream cleansers I’m not too happy sbout.

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I only use a 1 minute cycle with 10 seconds on my chin, 20 seconds at the nose area, 10 seconds on my forehead, and 10 seconds for each cheek.  If I wore make up that day, I remove it first before using the Clarisonic just to be sure I take all the gunk out.  But I rarely use make up.  Make up for me is putting on a tinted sunblock then pressed powder and some lip cheek tint.  I don’t have the skill to paint my face thats why I go for the natural look.

What I like about the Clarisonic Mia 2:
1.  Very easy to use.  1 complete charge can give me half a month of use for 2x daily cleansing.
2.  The beepy reminders is convenient for letting me know more or less how much time I have left in the alloted minute.   I don’t want to overdo cleaning my skin so I like that it has a timer as opposed to the first Mia.
3.  I like that its water tight so I can use it under the shower without fear of zapping myself.
4.  Great that it has various brush heads to choose from depending on your skin condition.  I am currently using the sensitive brush that came with the unit but will try the delicate brush next.
5.  Wonderful that I bought the Limited Edition Surf design beacause it came in my favorite bluegreen color.  Actually, I could have gotten a light pink or an emerald green for a much lower price of about less than Php 2000 but I told myself if I will be using this for like forever then it should be in a color I would love handling on a daily basis.  It’s a costly decision but a dark emerald green I think would be an oddity in my hands.
6.  It conveniently reminds you that its losing power by buzzing slightly just after your 1 minute cycle ends. As if to remind you something is amiss.  When it happened the first time, I thought it was breaking down on me.  Oh no, my uber expensive gadget dying before I reached its maximum value.  Then I realized hmm, it’s telling me something, oh I need to charge it. Ladeedah!  I was joyful again.
7.  The gadget is solidly built. The plastic feels sturdy and the brush head attachments look ready for long term use.
8.  It has a plastic case perfectly shaped to hold it for those traveling moments.

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What I’m not so keen about it:
1.  The PRICE!!! Aaaargh!  My mind labored for a week finding the best deal and if I do need this in my life.  I knew my answer was yes since the first time I set sights on it at the net but then again Php 8000.00 you don’t stumble upon everyday.
2.  The rounded design is easy to hold and looks nice but try putting it on your sink and it will roll on the brush side which is not too great.  Maybe they can come up with a way that it will stay upright amd not roll like crazy all over.

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Do I recommend this?  Well, yeah!  (I initially wrote H over W but thought otherwise, censoring myself)  My skin feels smoother, looks cleaner and radiant.  I just had 2 pimples after I started using it but it died away instantly without scars and without dermatologist interference.  I felt my skin drinking the skin care stuff I put on it making it more effective.  And I think the reason I don’t breakout anymore is because my pores are clean and breathing well without any impurities clogging it.

If you have perfect skin and just want to get this out of curiosity and because you have extra moolah to spare, then don’t.  You don’t really need it.  But for the rest of us who are in one way or another are unhappy with their current skin condition then by all means, don’t think twice anymore.  Your skin will be thankful for it.  Mine did!

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Sample Room experience

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So, during the unexpected break of no school due to weather and holidays last week, I had time to reconsider my skincare regimen.  Looking at my current spread makes me wonder…are they still working for me?

I’ve been with Clinique for more than a decade and have stockpiled on some fave items but I’m not liking the condition my skin is in.

Thus another reason for me to search the web.  I then chanced upon the existence of Subscription boxes.  Currently, there are 4 I am aware of locally:

BDJ Box
Glamourbox
Orange Box
Salad Box

The above subscription boxes are are all on beauty products.  You subscribe for your choice of a month to 3 months delivery of beauty products for a specified amount ranging from Php 500.00 – 1,599.00 and you will receive a box filled with famous beauty brands and also some up and coming ones in sample sizes and full sizes.  You won’t know what you will receive but you are assured that the total price of the items in the box will be more than the amount you paid for.

I have been lurking at the websites of above-mentioned subscription boxes but haven’t taken the plunge yet.  Why?  Well, I am not very adventurous when it comes to products I put on my face.  When I need a specific item, I research it to bits comparing it to other similar products and learn which one will give me the best value for money.  Although receiving a big box full of goodies will tickle me pink inside, I might only like 1 or 2 items to justify the moolah I spent for it.  But I’m not totally closing my doors to this concept.  

So, here comes Sample Room.  This site offers new members with 100 points which they can use to get samples of products they wants to try.  The products featured has an assigned points rating.  You may only get a maximum of 3 products within your 100 points per transaction.  Then once you all ordered for them, you pay for the shipping fee of about Php 100.00.  Once you received them, you may road-test the product and send your review to Sample Room so when approved they will return to you the points you used for that product.  Then you may make another round of orders on samples again.  Neat right?

Okay, this idea of sampling is more my cup of tea.  I get to control the products I order.  It’s like asking for a trial size from the manufacturer before you take the actual plunge of buying the actual size at retail price.  Sometimes, the sample size is the actual selling size in the market which is great but entails also higher points.  So you need to be a VIP Member (for Php 599.00) to avail of more stuff you might like.  I still get this and understand the extra expense.  Have I piqued your interest now? 

All these being said, I signed up for Sample Room and became a VIP Member right away.  Why?  All the good samples have high points which I can only avail as a VIP member.  Oh, and to be quite honest, it was kind of a bummer when all the great products were out of stock but they do restock so if you are diligent in checking their website every now and then, like in my case 2x a day, then you will get dibs on the new stocks.

I made my first transaction with the following products:

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Colour Collection Gluta Whitening BB Cream SPF 30

–  I have never tried a BB cream yet and would like to know what the fuss is all about
–  colour of the BB cream is a more natural shade of brown for the Filipina complexion
–  product came in full size of 40 ml. which costs approximately Php 599.00 in retail

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Colour Collection Vitamin E Lipstick – Pinkish Nude (Sheer)

–  I need a very hydrating lipstick to give variety to my loyal Clinique Chubby Stick
–  I like that this is a sheer shade since I’m not too vavavoom with lip colors
–  product size is actual full size of 4g which costs Php 330.00 in retail

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Pevonia Enzyme- Spherides Peeling Cream 

–  I guess I need a dose of micro peel to renew my skin
reviews sated great results so far
–  sample size is 5 ml. which costs approximately Php 374.00; full size is 50 ml. costing Php 3,740.00

Experience on Sample Room service

The Up Side:

1.  Response to emails are instantaneous when you’re emailing them during office hours.  Realistically, maybe a lag of 10 minutes.  You won’t die waiting for 10 minutes so it’s an excellent waiting time for email response.   They respond right away, are courteous, helpful, and straight forward with their communication.

2.  Registration is eazy breezy.  You know, you just need basic knowledge with web surfing.  If you were able to sign up for a free email address at Yahoo!, then sign-up here is a no-brainer.
I paid for my VIP membership August 28 in the morning, got my 1000 points credit after an hour.  Ordered my items right away.  Paid for my shipping in the evening and voila!  Got my items at my doorstep on August 30 noontime via Xend.  I guess if I have paid for my shipping by noon that day I could have received my parcel the following day.  And to think I expected my package to arrive within 2 weeks, this feels like instant gratification!  Woohoo!

3.  Packaging is in a brown sturdy paper bag just like a loot bag sealed with a Sample Room logo.  I like that packaging is recyclable.  The lipstick was wrapped in bubble wrap for additional protection.

4.  Total value of my loot = Php 1,303.00 less my shipping cost of 100.00 less my VIP membership of 599.00.  I saved Php 604.00 with this transaction.  Great right?  The more I transact within the 2-month period, the more I gain.  Hmm, I’m liking this! Yippee!

The Low Side:

1.  There was a bit of a snag with my VIP Membership when I can’t order my chosen items due to my 1000 points not crediting properly.  But the operations team handled it all well for me that I never felt I had a bit to worry.  They solved it within 30 minutes.  So I guess this should not be on the low side after all.
2.  The list of items are mostly out of stock.  You have to snoop at the website every now and then.  But I think if you are a VIP member, you receive an email of items they restock so you get first dibs if you act immediately.  This is just on the low side for me because all the items I really want to try are all out of stock and I have no idea if it will be restocked soon.  

Conclusion:

Over-all, it was a good first transaction.  I am road testing the BB cream and the CC lipstick.  Hopefully I will like them enough to keep them in my stash.  Thank you Sample Room for a great experience so far!

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Discovering Trilogy

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I just recently discovered rosehip oil and was on the hunt for the best preparation that I can readily buy here in the Philippines.   I was thinking, what’s the sense in getting hooked on a product but will have much angst sourcing your next bottle.   So I had about 3 brands in mind and settled for Trilogy when I discovered that an actual physical store is selling it just a city away from my home.

So off I went to WellnessConnect at SM Southmall and was pleasantly surprised to be attended by a very eager sales assistant, Leny.  She has above average knowledge on their products which is not common with most beauty stores.  I already did some research on rosehip and of Trilogy and her information were spot on which is bonus points for WellnessConnect. I got so used to not getting proper info from SAs that I always do my own web snooping before I decide to buy a product.

I had the Certified Rosehip oil pegged in my mind as the product to buy and was told that if I buy any 2 items from Trilogy, I’ll receive a gift pack.  Oooh, I’m such a sucker for gifts and although I had no inclinations on using other facial care products of Trilogy, I gave in.  So I ended up buying 2 bottles of the Certified Rose Hip oil and got this loot for free!!!

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1.  Age Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream
2.  Age Proof CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate
3.  Age Proof CoQ10 Booster Serum

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Oh happy me!  I was a happy gal that day.  Skipping all the way home.  Well, in my mind actually.  The skipping was just in my mind ok.

Note:
–  Certified organic rosehip oil, Php 1300.00
–  WellnessConnect has a buy 1 take 1 promo with their NutraLife Fish oil 1500mg for Php 1300.00.  Sounds a good buy people!

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C is for Crimson

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The Crimson Hotel, Alabang Muntinlupa. Canon Powershot G11, A mode.

Where:

On my way to fetch my son at Alabang, I exit the South Toll booth of the South Luzon Expressway and followed the road turning left.  This road brings me towards a building filling up the front of my windshield everyday with its linear glory.

Why:

I see this building everyday, twice a day but today it looked so happy lighted up from its side by a sunny 3:30 pm sun with a backdrop of cerulean skies interspersed with tufts of white clouds.  I just can’t help but stop and admire.

How:

I stayed inside my car at the driver’s seat, pulled my window down and took my shots from there.  If possible I wanted to take 2-3 steps to the left to remove from my sight the leaning street post on the right but I may become tonight’s pedestrian accident news.  Nah, not worth the risk.

Extras:

As I was finishing my shots and preparing to drive on to motherhood and daily rituals, a sedan stopped in front of my vehicle with hazard lights flashing. A black vest with red tie driver stepped out and signaled for me to stop as a lady in dark coat and skirt approached me with a brochure in hand saying they noticed I was taking photos of their hotel and inviting me to visit them to see the interiors.  I get it! They thought I was a security risk.  I politely told them I was into this photography hobby and was just admiring their building.  I have been passing by this road for years and never knew it was a hotel. Now I’m properly informed.  On hindsight, I appreciate their efficiency and high security measures and I should have offered a more thorough explanation for my seemingly bizarre action.  I should be prepared for future incidents like this with a ready answer. Lesson learned!

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