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2015-11-19 03:02 pm

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

September was blue for Yarn of the Month.

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

The Pattern

This month’s pattern is “UTurn Scarf” which is a fun mitered knitting scarf, good for self-striping yarns. I don’t know if I’ll try it or not!

Amitola Grande

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

Louisa Harding Amitola Grande

“This single ply yarn is subtle and soft”

4.5 sts on US 10

80% Wool 20% Silk

273 yds Color: 516

I love single ply yarn because it can be so soft and you don’t have to worry about it untwisting or catching threads in the same way. This is soft, squishy and quick to knit up.

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

The standout part of it is the nice slow tonal gradient. I really love these colours and they look great knit up in the swatch too. The swatch is an odd little “knit into the stitch a few rows back and drop” stitch ribbed thing that I wasn’t too sure about when I was doing it, but it looks ok when complete and the loosened stitches go nicely with the squooshy yarn.


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

I can really see using this for quick knits and with the pretty colours, it’d be great for scarves. Maybe a really nice present for a beginner knitter? I can see keeping some on hand for last-minute gifts, too.


Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015


“Squishy, braided yarn feels oh so delicious”

5 sts/inch on US 6

60% wool 40% Alpaca

137 yds Color: 09

This is soft, dense and seems warm. I do so love alpaca! I didn’t have much trouble with the smaller threads in the braid coming loose, so it was nice to work with.

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015, Sisa yarn

You can’t always see it because the yarn it overall so dark, but it does have some very nice heathering in there with glints of purple.

The swatch pattern is cute, if a bit hard to see because of the darkness. Really shows off that stitch definition as a texture, but the dark makes it not show up so much in photos.

Here it is front-lit:

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

And back-lit so you can see the holes:

Yarn of the Month Club, September 2015

This screams sweater yarn to me, since it holds up for interesting stitch patterns but is still soft against the skin. It’d probably be nice for colourwork, although it’s hard to tell without trying. I could see it making a nice hat too, but it doesn’t have nearly the thickness I want for my scarves unless it was double-knit. Still, very nice and something I wouldn’t mind using in larger quantities! Maybe this would be good for the next baby sweater I do?


Two great yarns this time! I could see buying both of these myself for specific projects, and Amitola Grande especially as a gift because of the colours. Definitely happy with my subscription for September!

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2015-11-16 03:01 pm

Clapotis Wrap for S

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I was visiting So Much Yarn in Seattle and looking for possible presents for folk with September birthdays. When I saw this beautiful rayon yarn with a thread of gold in it knit up in the store, though, I knew I had a winner for my sister.

Shawl for S

The Pattern

Clapotis on Ravelry (so you can add it to your queue and see other people’s versions)

Clapotis on Knitty (so you can actually see the pattern)

Shawl for S

I love the description of French women and their scarves, which actually kind of reminds me of my sister (although she’s best known for her hats).

French women are known for wearing scarves. Starting in September and until summer arrives, this is a most important accessory. The scarf may be striped or patterned, colorful, wrinkled and is much bigger than the scarves you probably have. Women just wrap the scarf around their neck in a “Je suis belle et ça ne demande aucun effort*” sort of way and off they go.

Since I have lived in Paris, I have realized that these ladies are on to something. I find I am much warmer wearing a scarf, even if I’m not wearing a jacket, so here is my knit version of the French scarf.

Shawl for S

This is a very popular pattern on Ravelry (over 20k projects!) and you can see there that it looks pretty different depending on the yarn.

Shawl for S

The construction of this one is a bit unusual. Can you tell that the early pictures are of the same shawl?

Shawl for S

You knit clapotis as stockinette with some twisted stitches for stability, and then drop the stitches later on and unravel. It’s kind of fun, although it feels weird to do it since normally you’re trying to avoid dropped stitches when you knit!

Shawl for S

The Yarn

Shawl for S

This particular yarn was very silky and it’s got lovely drape. Just look at it knit up!

Shawl for S

This is Blue Heron Yarns Rayon Metallic, and loved it so much that I may well buy more if I can figure out which colours I actually like. (Sadly, some of the colour ways *really* didn’t do it for me in the store, so I’m hesistent to buy more online!)

Shawl for SShawl for S

One skein made a nearly full-sized Clapotis (I had to leave off the last repeat, but honestly it was big enough!).

Shawl for S


While knitting stockinette is “boring” to many, I kind of like it because it means I can concentrate on other things and multitask. Plus, the yarn itself really made this a treat to make.

Shawl for S

I may have to make one of these for myself!

Shawl for S

Also, next time I ask J to take photos of me, I will skip reminding him that I want photos of the project, not the background, and I will remind him not to cut off my head. He really needs to up his portrait photography game!

Shawl for S

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2015-11-13 03:07 pm

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

August’s colour scheme was a light lavender grey. I decided to liven up some my photos a little, colour-wise, in part because I haven’t found my light box since the move, but also because I like a tad more colour in my selections.

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

The pattern

This month’s pattern was for a bracelet made of woven icord that was actually small enough to make with the sample, so I did that instead of the swatch.


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

Berroco Maya

“Soft chained yarn with beautiful stitch definition”

5 sts/inch on US 8

85% pima cotton 15% alpaca

137 yards Color: 5650

This was soft and nice to play with. As is common with these chained yarns, I do have some trouble where I accidentally pull the individual threads and have to unknit and try again. Definitely not yarn for knitting in a dark theatre or other time when you’re not looking at it.

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

The pattern is a pretty cute little bracelet, made with a bunch of icord that you then weave together before picking up stitches and finishing the end. If I did it again, I’d probably leave off the side icords: they put them there so you could use them with beads, but since I don’t really like things clunking against my keyboard, I decided to leave my bracelet bare, and it was annoying to have to sew the side icords on to the center braid. I think the structural integrity would be better without them if you’re not in it for the beads.

I haven’t dug out my buttons to finish it yet (they’re still buried in some box from the move), so I haven’t worn it. I strongly suspect it’ll wind up getting used as a coffee cup sleeve more often than it’ll get worn, since I rarely wear bracelets, but it’ll be nice and thick for holding hot beverages too. Maybe I should wear it just so I have it when I need it for hot beverage purposes?


Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

Berroco Captiva

“Silky, slippery, slinky with a shimmer and a sheen”

4.5 sts on US 8

60% cotton 23% polyester 17% acrylic

98 yards Color 5557

They are not kidding about this being slinky. It’s a treat to work with, firm but slippery, and the swatch pattern shows it off nicely.

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

I can see this making a pretty neat summer scarf. It’s got kind of a loose sliding chain feeling, satisfying to fiddle with, and the whole sample scrunches and stretches in a pleasant way.


Two nice yarns and a fun pattern! I don’t think I’d buy Maya again, because I’ve since worked with 100% alpaca in this chained format and I love it so much more, but it was good to try and a nice fit for the cuff pattern. But I may pick up a ball of Captiva to make a scarf when I need something pretty for a present or something!

Yarn of the Month Club, August 2015

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2015-11-12 12:13 am
Entry tags:

Cultural differences

November 11 is one of those things that superficially seems the same in Canada and the US but really isn't

In Canada, it's called Remembrance Day, and the focus is about remembering the horrors of war, thinking about peace, and honouring those who have sacrificed their lives as well as our living veterans, although in a very somber way. Honestly, for most of my public school days the focus was 2nd world war because we could invite living veterans to come and talk. (My grandfather, slightly too young for ww2 service but a veteran of the cold war, used to go to local schools too; I presume someone else has taken up that torch.)

In the US, November 11 is Veteran's Day, so it's less about the dead and more about the living in some hard to describe way. It's definitely not about remembering the way it is in Canada. Which means work was trying to break a world record in most number of people doing pushups in an event with a hashtag and a line about "give 'em 20."

Just another small moment of culture shock in the neverending sea of them.

I do wish the US actually celebrated peace, 'cause I miss that part of Canada's pomp and circumstance, and I find the US attitude towards its military very hard to wrap my head around. But I do like work's reminder that veterans are our colleagues and that there's life after military service, even if asking a bunch of nerds to do pushups seems like an odd event choice.
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2015-11-11 06:41 am

November 2015 yarn subscription preview

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

There’s a new small yarn subscription service in town! Jimmy Beans Wool has a new subscription service they call “Beanie Bags” which is fairly similar to my existing Yarn of the Month Club subscription.

Here’s the yarn portion of both of them for November:

Yarn of the Month yarn compared with Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bag yarn (November 2015)

I’m excited about my mail, so you get a preview today that jumps my posting queue. (September’s YOTM post is queued and October’s swatches are on the needles, though!)

A brief comparison


YOTM is $9.50. BeanieBags is $10.00


YOTM is 2 (or sometimes 3( samples of yarn, with a paper including a pattern and swatch suggestions.

BeanieBags is 4 much smaller samples of yarn, some small notions or other includes, a bag, and a postcard with sample info and some links to their website. (Also this cute Small Yardage group on Ravelry for more ideas of how to use your teensy samples!)

(You’ll have to wait ’till my full review for pictures of the full Beanie Bag kit.)

First impressions

The Beanie Bag is much more polished, with the pretty printed postcard and the bag. If I were gifting a subscription to someone else, this is definitely the one! (That’s part of why I justified trying out this subscription, actually.) The little extras are a nice touch, and I like bags. I particularly like that these are white cotton canvas type material, so if I keep up the subscription and tire of having similar bags, I can always dye them.

I *was* kind of sad to get all the same colour yarns in my Beanie Bag, but having actually gone to their website that was an intentional choice specific to this month’s yarns: the yarns are meant to be mixed and knit together. So that makes more sense now, and it’s a neat new thing to try!

I’m still pretty fond of Yarn of the Month, though. I’ve gotten interesting samples from them and I *really* like their approach of “make some 5×5 swatches every month and by the end of the year you’ll have a blanket” which is a pretty practical way to enjoy all those yarns. (My Beanie Bag doesn’t appear to include explicit swatch patterns, just blending suggestions this month. I’ll figure something out from my library, I think.)

Even if you aren’t doing the swatch blanket thing, I do think YOTM still gives you a more useful amount of yarn to play with and get to know. Generally speaking, I get enough for an edging on a hat or scarf or similar project accent, so even if I wasn’t swatching I feel like this is enough yarn to use as part of the types of projects I do. (These teensy balls look good for small colourwork, but my stash doesn’t really have enough to support that yet.)

And, of course, YOTM is somewhat local to me, and a small business to boot, so I feel good about supporting it.


So far, I like both but for different reasons. YOTM walks the line of novelty and practicality so I don’t feel like I have random teensy yarn projects piling up around the house, while Beanie Bag has a polished product with more to coo over.

The plan is to do a 3 month stint with Beanie Bags and then decide if I want to choose one or continue with both, or think about it for another 3 months. We shall see!

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2015-11-10 01:38 am

Camp Erin Teddy Bear Cardigan Variation

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I’m not big on charity knitting because often it’s much more sensible to donate money that can be used to support more tangible aid (witness the story of the penguin sweaters). But Knitting Bee, one of my local yarn shops (there are so many in the Portland area!) was doing a drive for teddy bear sweaters at the same time that a friend of mine was trying to get rid of a bag of free wool, so I decided I’d participate!

Here’s the finished sweater on the bear who went to Camp Erin, on display in the shop:

Camp Erin Bear

About this pattern

This is a variation on Mr. Bear’s Top Down Cardigan, Hat & Scarf from Knitting Bee (Mr Bear’s Cardigan on Ravelry). I just made the modifications as I was knitting a sweater for Knitting Bee’s charity drive. The variation is nothing too fancy, but I thought I’d write it down in case I ever want to duplicate it.

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

I’m happy to have you use this variant sweater in any way you want, but do note that the original has a line at the bottom saying it was made to support Camp Erin, not for commercial purposes, so you go according to your feelings on the matter.


I used 4 colours, two blues, one grey and one black.

I’ll call the light blue one the edge colour or EC in the pattern below.

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Cardigan

Cast on 58 sts in EC to begin neckband.

Row 1: (k1, p1) repeat.

Rows 2-5: continue in seed stitch

Now we’ll be begin the first stripe.

I used 3 strands of yarn, two in the edge colour and one for the stripe colour, twisting them together where the colour changes but not breaking the yarn until the stripe colour change.

Row 6 (Right side): In edge colour (K1, P1) twice (to continue neckband)

Change to stripe color, K5, place marker, K11, pm, K18, pm, K11, pm, K5

Switch back to edge colour and (K1, P1) twice.

Row 7 (wrong side): (P1, K1) twice for edge in EC then switch to stripe colour

In stripe colour, purl, slipping markers, until the last 4 stitches.

Switch back to MC for other edge then (p1, k1) twice

Row 8 (Right Side): (k1, p1) twice, then K to one stitch before marker. Increase by knitting front and back in stitches before and after each marker, knit other stitches up until last 4, (k1, p1) twice. (increase by 8 stitches)

repeat rows 7-8, changing colour every 5 rows, until you have 5 stripes.

(Work should measure around 4.5″)

Slip sleeve stitches onto holders or waste yarn. (Those are the stitches between the 1st and 2nd markers, then the ones between the 3rd and 4th markers.)

Continue to knit body as established only without increasing. I added two more stripes (~1.5″). Shorter bears probably only need one.

Switch entirely to edge colour for final edge.

k across for one row.

Last 5 rows: (K1, P1) repeat (or vice versa) for seed stitch. If you missed an increase somewhere, you may need to k2tog so that the front bands line up with the bottom seed stitches.

Bind off loosely. I use the following bind off, but any loose one would do:

k2tog, slip bound stitch back to 1st needle, repeat until all stitches are bound off then pull through the last one.

Transfer held sleeve sts to double pointed needles or magic loop. Attach yarn and knit all sts; join for knitting in the round.

I knit two more stripes at this point, but a shorter teddy probably only needs one.

Switch to edging colour and work edge in seed stitch:

k around once

then (k1, p1) around until you have 5 more rows. You’ll need to k2tog at the end of the first round to make the seed spiral around nicely.

Bind off loosely.

Weave in all ends.

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

The Hat

Same deal with the stripes applied to the original hat pattern. (I didn’t take detailed notes, but you can probably figure it out from the pictures. If you’re trying to duplicate this and need help, please feel free to ask!)

Some more pictures

Here’s a few more snaps of the sweater, modeled by one of J’s stuffed toys:

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

Teddy Bear Sweater for Camp Erin

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2015-11-09 02:04 pm

Birchbox October 2015

October's Birchbox was pink in recognition of breast cancer.

Birchbox October 2015

I've become suspicious of pink things in recognition of breast cancer, since it's come out that often very little or no money goes to cancer research. Thankfully, this "awareness" does indeed come with a more tangible donation: $104k to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) which will apparently fund a year's work in a lab. I presume that's for a single person and materials, not the whole lab, given what I know of the costs of breast cancer research from a friend who used to work in the field.

So maybe not earth-shattering, but at least it's tangible!

Birchbox October 2015

Let's talk about what's inside:

Birchbox October 2015

CLEAN White Woods

This perfume didn't trigger a migraine and smells vaguely like babies and not at all like woods. I actually like it despite myself, although it's not something I plan to buy as I cannot wear perfume at work or in much of my private life.

It still irks me that even when I tell birchbox I don't do perfume, the option is "no more than 6 times a year" which means half of my boxes contain perfume. But at least I can pass it on to someone who might like it.

Birchbox October 2015

Lollia by Margot Elena Shea Butter Handcreme

I love shea butter, and this is no exception -- it leaves my hands feeling super soft for ages. The name is "sugarared pastille" (a candy or throat lozenge) but I think it smells more like generic hand lotion to me. The scent isn't too heavy or noticeable, anyhow.

Birchbox October 2015

I do particularly like the retro packaging and little metal tube with the bees in the design. It's a little thing, but in the sea of hand cremes I've tried since I started birchbox, it's hard to stand out, and I think this one will just because it's got this classic pretty vibe going.

Of course, it also stands out in that it's got macadamia nut in it, which means it's an allergen for my boyfriend. It won't kill him if I use it, but he definitely shouldn't use it himself, and I can't really buy more once this sample runs out. Good thing Birchbox has basically removed any need for me to buy hand creme again anyhow. ;)

Birchbox October 2015

Acure Organics Cell Stimulating Facial Mask

Directions: Apply evenly over the face until you look like a green sea-monster.

Now these are the kind of directions I want to see on products I sample! ;) This comes out dark green, and you smell like a sea monster (with a hint of mint) as you put it on. I know you all want to know exactly what it looks like, so here's what I look like with half a tube of the sample on my face:

Birchbox October 2015

Sea monster indeed! Might also double for zombie makeup. Made me want to put on an episode of Arrow while I matched the green theme of the superhero.

It doesn't harden too much as it dries so I wasn't itching (literally or figuratively) to get it off. I was surprised to discover that when you attack it with a warm wet washcloth, it actually foams up. It doesn't *look* like it has permanently stained my washcloth either, although I suspect I should dump it in with tonight's laundry to be sure.

It left my face feeling clean and soft but perhaps a bit dry, so I followed up with a bit of moisturizer. I found it amusing and pleasant even with the seaweed-mint smell.

Incidentally, I think the whole stem cell and growth factor stuff is probably crap pseudoscience, because most things about makeup seem to be, but I haven't bothered to look up the details yet. If anyone knows, comments welcomed!

Birchbox October 2015

Number 4™ Texture Styling Crème

Why does this have a bunny on it? Is it cruelty-free, or specifically tested on bunnies? Do bunnies have styling cream secrets I need to know about? I do wish they'd said something about it on the sample.

I'm not a big user of styling creme on account of my default hair style being basically "long flowing hippie folk singer-songwriter" but I *had* wanted to try a waterfall braid and failed because after messing up a few times my hair had become so static-y that I couldn't get it to stay sectioned. So this arrived at the right time! I don't love the smell and it basically makes my hair feel a teensy bit slimy, but it *does* make styling easier, and I finally managed the motions to make the waterfall braid work.

I wish this product came in an unscented version, but it does do what it purports to do, and I'll probably make use of it again as I learn to perfect the waterfall braid!

Birchbox October 2015

Eyeko Black Magic Mascara

I was kind of disappointed to receive this, because it wasn't the sample that I'd chosen for this month's box! Thankfully, Birchbox customer support was apologetic and supposedly the correct sample is in the mail (I'll probably review it with some future box).

That said, this is a very nice mascara. Significant length, not too clumpy or thickening. It makes my eyelashes absurdly long without making them thicker or particularly heavier. Here's a photo (sorry about the weird angle, but it was the best way to show the lashes):

Birchbox October 2015

You can compare with the sea monster pic above if you're not sure what my lashes look like normally. But yeah, it works nicely, and I'm not sad to have gotten it after all!

Birchbox October 2015


This was one of the most consistently good boxes I've had in a while! I liked all the products. (Shockingly, even the perfume) My birchbox subscription keeps me stocked in all these product categories so I don't think I'll buy more when these samples run out, but I'll use all of these myself except for the perfume, and at least I know someone who will likely enjoy the perfume sample!
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2015-10-19 03:05 pm

Yarn of the Month club review, July 2015

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Apparently purple and fuzzy was the theme for July:

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

The pattern: Breezy Shawl

This is a cute little shawl with some little criss-cross cable going across the back in an otherwise mesh-like fabric, all see through. I might make it, but probably not with the recommended yarn.

Mongolian Cashmere

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

Mongolian Cashmere

“So soft and silky and lux”

6 sts/inch on US 1

100% Cashmere

400 yds color: Iris

This was my first time knitting 100% cashmere and wow. So Very Soft. This is silky soft with a little haze of fuzz and it’s a treat to work with. I’m starting to see why my friend M was so obsessed with finding 100% cashmere on the yarn crawl instead of a blend, now. At $45/2 oz, it’s pricey for a sweater, but oh, what a sweater it would make.

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

I’m not as big a fan of the swatch pattern on this one: it’s chunky and seems like a waste for this luxurious yarn. Plus, I had a lot leftover as you can see, so it’s really tempting to frog (unravel) it and try something that will showcase it better. I just haven’t figured out what that might be yet!

Jaggerspun Heather 2/8

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

Jaggerspun Heather 2/8

“Strong with an aura of fluff”

7sts/inch on US 2

100% wool

280 yds Color: Columbine

This feels nice in the ball, but I don’t like the scratchiness of it in the swatch. It’s super fluffy as promised, and probably pretty warm, though, and there’s lots of colours in the heather which makes it pretty neat up close.

Yarn of the Month Club, July 2015

This might be nicer in a stockinette or cable pattern, but with so many yarns in the world to choose from “a little scratchy” is enough reason for me not to revisit this one. Still, it was good to try it out and pleasant to work with.


The amazing cashmere yarn is enough to make this YOTM sample selection for me, and the other yarn isn’t bad it’s just hard for it to shine in comparison. I do wish this month’s mailing had come with better swatch suggestions, though!

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2015-10-14 04:00 pm

OSB 2015 - Internet of Things Militia: Paramilitary Training for your IoT devices (Video & Slides)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

As previously mentioned, I gave two talks at Open Source Bridge this year, and they’ve recently put the videos online. Here’s the more frivolous and silly of the two:

Internet of Things Militia: Paramilitary Training for your IoT devices

Abstract: Security folk generally talk about how the Internet of Things is bad for security, but it also brings new sensors and connected devices that could co-operate in new and interesting ways. Could we use internet things to enhance security?

Video embedded below:

[Confreaks.tv video link] [Youtube video link]

I was honestly pretty surprised that open source bridge accepted two talks (especially when I found many colleagues who are pretty decent speakers didn’t get in!). This was a bit of a joke talk, meant to poke fun at how security people talk doom and gloom about internet of things, but also a way to talk sideways about how internet things are both terrible and terrific if you think like a hacker. I’m not sure I would have pitched this talk if I’d known that OSB audiences are notoriously quiet and not big on participation, but I was lucky enough to get a crowd who was willing to get into it and come up with some fun suggestions on how to “better” use internet things.

Remember, don’t try this at home!

[Internet of Things Militia: Paramilitary Training for your IoT devices (Slides)] To be honest, there’s not much in these other than pictures to get people talking, but you can see my notes underneath each slide to see what I was planning on saying. The slides are also in the video.

Again, one day I hope to transcribe this and put up a nice blog post with the slides for those who don’t love video, but I the perfect is the enemy of the good and all, so I’m sharing what I have instead of pining for what I don’t have done yet.

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2015-10-12 02:05 pm

Homemade Heartbleed pillow

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Perhaps the most well-known of open source bugs this year is heartbleed, notable as much for its marketing as technical merit.

There’s a tradition at work of decorating people’s cubes when they’re on sabbatical, and while I wasn’t the one who came up with the idea to decorate our fearless leader’s cube with things representing the many well-marketed open source bugs, I was the person who brought in the first piece:

Heartbleed Pillow for R

There wasn’t exactly a pattern for this:

Step 1 Draw half a big heart (to make sure it’s symmetrical) and cut out two of them.

Step 2 Cut a long strip with tapered ends to go over the top (to give the pillow some extra width at the top — you can’t see it in the photo but it’s about the width of my palm).

Step 3 Cut various thinner strips to be the bleeding drips.

Step 4 Sew each side of top to tapered strip

Step 5 Carefully sew bottom of two hearts together, placing drips at appropriate intervals.

Step 6 Curse and pull out drips and re-sew so they actually hang correctly. Several times.

Step 7 Leave a hole so you can flip the thing right-side out and stuff, then curse because you have no red thread and spawn another search of the house because it’s much too late to go out and buy thread.

Since my office (and indeed, half of the house) had no floor, there was a lot of frantic searching for the sewing machine. I don’t mind free-handing a pattern, but sewing through 3 layers of polar fleece by hand isn’t my favourite activity! Thankfully, we did find the sewing machine, but in the end, the only red thread I could find came from a promotional sewing kit I got from Raytheon at some Grace Hopper Celebration past. Seems sort of hilariously appropriate.

End result: one very one-of-a-kind throw pillow.

I’m sort of surprised that no one has started marketing open source bug merchandise, to be honest. I’ll bet there’s a market!

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2015-10-10 04:38 pm

Birchbox August 15

The Birchbox for August started with disappointment:

Birchbox August 2015

One of the samples, the Laqa lip pencil, had come uncapped and gotten all over the box. Yuck. Apparently I was so underwhelmed with this that I didn't take pictures of the outside of the box after it arrived, which is a shame 'cause it's actually one of the nicer ones, so I took a couple today:
Birchbox August 2015

I like the "dive in!" detail on the side:
Birchbox August 2015

Anyhow, on to the products. My apologies for the sort of mediocre photo quality; these were taken shortly after the move and the experiment I tried with the light and sparkly backdrop since I didn't have my usual setups available really didn't work out.

Air Repair Complexion Boosting Moisturizer

Birchbox August 2015

This is a nice moisturizer that smells kind of fresh and herbal. I don't think it does anything for my complexion that isn't done by other moisturizers, but it's pleasant. I've stuck it into my travel kit to be used on the road.

Balance Me Congested Skin Serum

Birchbox August 2015

Another plant-y moisturizer thing. Maybe the theme for August was recovering from too much sun? This one's stronger scented, I think the eucalyptus dominates but there's a lot of scents in there. I enjoy using it because it's kind of soothing so it's still out on my counter, but it didn't seem to actually help with the bit of acne I had on my chin.


Birchbox August 2015

Like most dry shampoos, I found this one didn't do enough to make my hair feel clean, so instead I felt like I had 80's hair, a bit too covered in product for my tastes. It does change the texture of the hair, so I can see how it would be used in styling. Overall, it's pretty nice for a dry shampoo, with a decent scent and nicer packaging, and I'm glad to have tried it, but I probably won't buy more.

Supergoop!® Forever Young Hand Cream with Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40

Birchbox August 2015

Three moisturizer-things in a single box, Birchbox? You should be ashamed. This one smells the prettiest, sort of like berries, and it's probably the most useful with the SPF taken into account. Pity the sample is so tiny that you can barely use it for anything.

LAQA & Co. Charm School Kit

Birchbox August 2015

This was just fail: it gooped all over my box, the colour looks atrocious on me, and the formula somehow highlights every line on my lips to give kind of a horrible dehydrated zombie effect. I can't see using this except for a zombie costume on my lips. It might get some use as a cheek colour, but I certainly won't be buying more of this.

In summary...

Birchbox August 2015

This was a pleasant but uninteresting box other than the lip colour disaster. I did enjoy all the moisturizer-y things, but I would have liked a box with some more variety!
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2015-10-10 03:35 pm

Birchbox September 2015

I somehow missed reviewing August's box; I blame moving. But September's reviews are due today, so I tried out the last couple of samples!

Birchbox September 2015

The box was designed based on reader suggestions, and the result reminds me sort of an 80's sophisticate look.

Of course, what's more important is what's inside:
Birchbox September 2015

They accidentally included two 20% off coupons. I can't imagine I'll use both, so first person to ask here gets my spare one!

And now, into the products:

Rene Furterer ABSOLUE KÉRATINE Sublime Renewal Leave-in Cream

Birchbox September 2015

Love the packaging (the photo doesn't look as luxe as it does in person), and the stuff does seem to be pretty effective on the dry ends of my long hair. Unfortunately, the scent is (a) strong and (b) not for me. It smells old to me, like something that belongs on someone my grandmother's age, or like old cosmetics? And unfortunately, the smell really lingers in my hair, enough that I think I might have to wash it out if I'm going to a board game night tonight.

L'Artisan Mûre et Musc Eau de Toilette

Birchbox September 2015

I'm super excited to tell you that this didn't cause me to sneeze or make my eyes water! That's so rare in a perfume that it's worth celebrating. Now if only I was as excited about the actual scent. It smells like a more mature scent than many of the samples I get, in a good way, but it still doesn't suit me, and it's not like I wear perfume anyhow out of consideration for other people's reactions.

The one good thing is that I found out that J's mom is interested in having some scent samples for when she's visiting so she doesn't have to bring stuff on the plane, so I'll be able to pass this on to her and maybe it'll be something she enjoys, or at least enjoys trying once?

TOCCA Esfoliante da Corpo - Nourishing Body Scrub

Birchbox September 2015

This is a big thick sugar scrub. It works, smells nice, and dissolves into nothingness when you wet your face to rinse it off, so no remaining grit (which is kind of the appeal of sugar scrubs, I presume). I like it!

Birchbox September 2015: Tocca Sugar Scrub

Also, I'm amused that sugar chunks look so huge on my face after having tried all those micro-scrub things. Still works ok, just not as smooth as the finer grit. Just like sandpaper in that way.

trèStiQue Correct & Cover Concealer Crayon

Birchbox September 2015

This goes on super smooth and seems easy to blend in to your skin... but it also doesn't seem think enough to conceal much. I took some pictures but I can barely tell if it's even on:

Birchbox September 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil

Birchbox September 2015

I know generally speaking that you want a brow pencil to be subtle and not noticeable, but I'm not sure if I can even tell that I tried to use it:

Birchbox September 2015

Maybe I'm doing it wrong or the colour just isn't dark enough for my brows, but I can't say I'm excited about this product. Oh well, at least the packaging was pretty?

In summary...

Birchbox September 2015

A nice sugar scrub, but the rest of this just wasn't for me. Oh well! At least I have someone I can offer my perfume samples to now!
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2015-10-07 04:13 pm

OSB 2015 - Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project (Video & Slides)

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I gave two talks at Open Source Bridge this year, and they’ve recently put the videos online. Here’s the more serious and informative of the two:

Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project

Abstract: With high profile breaches in open source projects, the issue of security has become one of great import to many people. But many projects, especially smaller ones, are intimidated by the idea of a security audit. This talk will discuss ways for smaller projects to experiment, learn, and even have fun improving their security. No PhDs in security required!

Video embedded below:

[Confreaks.tv video Link] [youtube link]

I’m a bit sad that they cut out the introduction I got; it was pretty hilarious.

The motivation behind this talk is that when I tell people in open source communities that I do security for open source projects, I get a lot of interest but people always say they don’t know where to start and quite a lot of them buy into the idea that somehow just being open source makes you secure. That can be a big push towards security for some projects, but it’s not a panacea, so this talk is an intro to how to do a security hackathon and be welcoming to folk who want to help with your security.

[Bringing Security to Your Open Source Project (Slides)] The slides are in the video as well, but sometimes this is easier! If you look at the slides, you can also see a rough version of what I’d planned to say in the notes section.

One of these days I’ll transcribe the talk and set up a blog post with slides as images for folk who don’t aren’t into videos for whatever reason (I know I don’t watch very many myself unless I’m multitasking), but I thought I’d share the video first rather than wait. Hope you like it!

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2015-10-05 06:59 am

A simple hat in progress

This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

Most of my energies have gone into the house lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been making things too, just that I haven’t had as much time for writing up of late. So here’s what’s currently on the needles while I start sorting through the backlog of photos and creations:

A simple hat in progress

This is from a little ball of Misti Alpaca that I picked up on the last day of my tatting class (more on that later!) as a treat. And it *is* a treat. I wish I could justify the cost and time of a sweater made out of this stuff — its light, soft, and seems pretty warm. Maybe someday.

The plan, half-executed, is to make a little tiny soft hat that can be stuffed in a jacket pocket. A thin tuque, I guess. Since it’s dark, it currently reminds me of what my sister and I called “crime hats” on Buffy (due to her penchant for putting on a tuque before doing anything vaguely criminal in a several episodes).

Pattern so far:

Yarn? Misti Tui from Misti Alpaca. Sport weight, chains of thin alpaca.

What’s the gauge? 6 st/inch on US 7 (4.5mm)

What’s my head circumference? Around 21 inches

Since I didn’t want much negative ease (i.e. stretch), that meant 21×6 = cast on 126 stitches

Brim ribbing: k3, p1, k1, p1 repeat 21 times

Repeat brim rows until you reach an inch or so then switch to stockinette

My plan is to continue the stockinette without decreases to make slight kitty ears. We’ll see how it works out!

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2015-10-04 10:52 am
Entry tags:

Current state of the house/me

Sorry about the crummy and poorly written update, but since people keep asking me:
  1. Hardwood floors are in and don't stink so much any more from the finishing (it was really bad for a week or so)
  2. Tile floors are started, but the decorative tile bit is apparently slow-going. No ETA.
  3. Still no baseboards, but they'll happen after the tile is done.
  4. I still want to do one more coat on the laundry room but ugh, so tired of it all.
  5. Still some touch-ups where we got wall paint on the ceiling but I need John for some of them so they'll keep 'till after he's back.
  6. I think we're probably hiring pros for the rest.  Definitely for the tall parts, but we've been so wiped out lately that I think paying pros is the right compromise.
  7. Unpacking has started, but it's slow because I can't carry that much on my own and we don't want to put up all the shelving until the baseboards are in.
  8. There's still a *lot* of cleanup needed from the construction and reno; there's drywall and sawdust everywhere and tape and paint buckets and ladders in random locations around the house.
I'm without support this week to deal with cleanup and minor unpacking.  Let's be honest, I was without very much support last week too because he had demos to prep, and the week before that because he was getting artemis ready, and there was the week where J's parents were visiting (which was a nice break!) and there was some travel before that too.  J's doing the best he can given his travel schedule but between his travel and mine we're looking at only a handful of days of overlap where we're both in the same city for all of October.

We got some living room furniture up while we were both here so I can sit and read in my big comfy chair, and that's nice.  And now when I clean things they don't immediately get covered in sawdust or drywall, which is an amazing luxury that has not been true for all of September and some of August. Hopefully we'll be able to find a new cleaning service, but there's not much point at the moment.

I did get my desktop up and running so I can play video games for some escapism.  Still haven't found most of the cables or my keyboard and mouse, so it's kind of cobbled together and has no sound, but we made do last night.

Did some digital cleanup today too.  Reviewed a couple of ebooks that I won't repost here because frankly, they were both in need of editing (The down side to getting free books off the internet in exchange for fair review, I guess), but you can read them at that link if deeply flawed larpers and psycho-magical crime-fighting lesbian vs lovecraftian horrors are your kind of thing.  You'll be disappointed, though; I was.  Answered some emails that had been sitting in my inbox; if you were expecting an answer from me on the subject of something or other, re-send because I'm pretty sure I answered anything that still needed answering but I might have been heavy-handed with the archive button.  Declined some job interview related requests.  Unsubscribed from a lot of mailing lists, probably should unsubscribe from more since I'm not really reading them.

I've got a bunch of of posts I need to write and queue up on my maker blog, but not sure if I'll get started on those tonight.  Want to hit up the farmer's market and I'm betting once I'm outside coming back in to sit at a computer for hours won't seem so appealing!

terriko: (Default)
2015-09-13 11:14 pm
Entry tags:

Painting continues

Painting is much more fun now that we're past the annoying part of the ceiling. Because of all the holes the ceiling was retextured, and slightly off-white and stupidly obnoxious to get paint in all the nooks and crannies but impossible to see when it wasn't daylight. So yeah. Crankypants T and J. After 3 coats, it is looking ok, but I still kind of want to spray paint the ceiling downstairs rather than do this again.

Anyhow, main floor is starting to look good.
1. Hallway is now light blue (but needs another coat).

2. My office is mostly done in a lovey medium blue that turned out exactly like I'd hoped. We'll take the tape off tomorrow and do some touch up (mostly to cover a few blue spots on the ceiling).

3. The powder room is now a lovely teal that, as I hoped, goes pretty nicely with the wood in there. It also needs tape removal and touchup.

4. The laundry room and pantry ceilings are done (white, because the floor in there will be terracotta coloured tile and I didn't want to push J's colour palette too far) but only one wall of the laundry has a coat of paint on it, because we were rather eager to have a washing machine again (and the new machines are great! They even sing a little song when they're done, which is adorable.)

5. There's a couple of closets that need doing. I prepped one last night and J's dad gave it a first coat, but the other two aren't prepped.

That's all we're planning to do on that floor right now. I'm going to do the kitchen after I refinish the cabinets and know what colour they will be, and we're going to pay pros to do the two-storey parts of the house (living room, dining room, upper portion of the stairs and probably the hallway up there too because the walls connect). We're taking a break after this floor because coming home and painting every night is exhausting, and because the basement is full of stuff and it'll be easier when the main floors are done. Hopefully the flooring guys will be able to come in shortly after we get the painting done!

Other than that, got some stuff going on in lives that intersect my own that's going to make this a hard week, but please don't ask about it because it's not mine to share, just don't be surprised if I'm quiet at a time when you might think I'd be showcasing photos of the newly painted house.
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2015-09-10 01:27 am
Entry tags:

Painting has begun

We got some minor dents and holes filled yesterday, and taped a lot of things today.

I have learend that scotch brand blue tape is inferior to 3m "original" blue tape (despite being made by the same people), because the former has "scotch blue" written all over it in yellow, making it much more annoying to see if you've got a nice straight edge.

We have a first coat of ceiling paint on my office, the hallway, and the powder room. The laundry and pantry are on the todo list and I actually got them taped but not painted. I hate textured ceilings a lot and look forwards to making paid professionals handle the 2-storey rooms, but I am trying to remind myself that the ceilings are the worst and it will be more fun when I get to the walls. Paid professionals likely can't show up 'till october and I am eager to be done with some of this before the flooring guys come back to finish.

Anyone who requests pics can click here.

(Actually, that's true any time. I'm a photographer, and I like taking pictures of things. So when I don't supply a picture, there is typically a reason. Seriously, I got asked for pictures of an entirely theoretical concept project that I had just invented while in the airport and I was not pleased.)

The plumber is coming tomorrow so there will at least be laundry again soon. I'm wishing John hadn't ripped out the laundry sink; it would be really useful right about now. (He plans to replace it but hasn't done so yet)

But yeah, exhausted, cranky, and do not want to hear about the bright side of anything from anyone unless you are willing to show up at my house for the next 4 days and paint.
terriko: (Default)
2015-09-03 11:43 pm
Entry tags:

In which I finally give up and put out some bloody chairs

We've had the house for 2 months, and I finally couldn't take it any more and put out some bloody chairs and a table that's actually inside. (previously I had to sit on the deck for breakfast)

Not *literally* bloody chairs, although I did smash up my pinkie finger pretty badly today, the only blood shed by me this evening came from a scratch on my ear and didn't reach any chairs. (Although there was a close call with a mosquito...)

So, yeah.

But more precisely, here's the state of renovations:

- The wiring inside the walls is done, but not everything has a terminator and cover panel. J is doing that so we'll be paying the low-voltage wiring guy tomorrow and letting him be done. Yeay!

- The drywall folk have closed all the holes, but there appears to be sanding and texture work to be done. I am hopeful that we will be painting this weekend but won't know for sure until J talks to them tomorrow.

- The plumber didn't want to put the connectors in for the washer/dryer hookups until the drywall was done, so we have had no laundry since we moved. Hopefully the plumber will be in next week, but J didn't want to call until he's talked to the drywall team.

- The flooring is on hold until the drywall mess is cleaned up, which is quite sensible...

....but OMG I've been living in a single bedroom for 2 months because the rest of the house either has no floor or is filled with boxes we can't unpack and I'm sick of it.

So in summary:


Seriously, I know no one loves renovations and having contractors tromp all over their house, but I think it's significantly worse for me than it ought to be. I haven't had any predictable quiet solo time since more than 5 months ago when J's dad moved in with us and I need to introvert so hard that some days I don't even want to deal with J, let alone a bunch of smelly strangers who make everything filthy. But then on top of that (and that would have been more than enough), I'm finding that my lingering PTSD from the breakin two years ago is making the constant stream of strangers an actively terrifying experience in little ways that I can't always anticipate and prepare for. I'm also on day 3 of post-travel headaches so I'm a bit generally cranky.

So yeah, hating on the reno with a passion that I don't think the average person can even understand.

One kind of awesome spot, though:

Our low-volage wiring guy is so passionate about this work and such a good friend to J that he's been pretty much acting like a general contractor for us while we were out of town this weekend, going way above and beyond in making sure the drywall guys didn't slack off. What a nice guy! I've told J we really need to give him a bonus!
terriko: (Default)
2015-08-19 01:19 am
Entry tags:

Albuquerque scars

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my mind.
As I remind my boyfriend that when he closes a window he must latch it
because that one time, a man saw me alone in the house and tried all the windows until one opened.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my mind.
As I hear a car slow behind me and brace myself for the catcall,
thinking "I should have put in earphones" so that they might believe I cannot hear them.
So they won't honk or swerve in front of me, because they think they deserve my attention.

But here the car turns without anyone rolling down the window and I breathe a sign of relief.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I listen to a story about an unknown device a coworker found,
and I think "that would be a great whatsit for the 2600 meeting"
only to remember I don't go to those since I moved. They wouldn't be the same.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I sign the paperwork to donate part of my salary to my old library there,
and think about how poor my neighbourhood was and how many of those kids could use more books.

Sometimes I am reminded of the scars Albuquerque left upon my heart.
As I gather parts for my latest project and wish I had a Sunday hacknight coming up
so I could show it off even though it's not working, and people would still be excited.

Sometimes I am reminded that it is micro tears that make muscles strong.
And the heart is a muscle.
terriko: (Default)
2015-08-16 11:40 pm

Birchbox July 2015

July's birchbox is an eye searing art deco piece:

Birchbox July 2015

I actually love the idea, but I think they could have used better colours. (It actually looks better in the edited photo than it does in real life)

Birchbox July 2015

But enough about the box, let's talk about what's inside...

Birchbox July 2015

amika Un.Done Texture Spray

I didn't love the smell of the last amika product I got, so I wasn't too excited to receive this one. Even more so when I found out it was a "texture spray" which is completely not a thing I use or even want, since I associate "texture" with the way my hair felt when I used to wash it in hard water. Thicker and heavier are not things I want with hair whose predominant styling influence is gravity.

So perhaps I didn't give this product much of a chance. I used it lightly because it stinks and I don't love this type of product, and perhaps as a result not only does it smell but it also didn't seem to have any effect at all. (But again, the pull of gravity on my hair is rather hard to resist.)

Regardless, not a product I'm going to ever use again. I'm never sure what to do with these, so it'll likely languish in my guest bathroom. Maybe I'll get a nice bin with a note saying "free" on it to put in the bathroom and hope that visitors will take it off my hands?

Birchbox July 2015

COOLA® Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face

I do think it's a bit crappy of Birchbox to put this sample in after we just had a coola moisturizer last month, but I suppose summer is only so long. It's a product I liked enough that I wasn't too sad, anyhow. Just like last month's mango-scented offering, this manages to be light enough on the scent that it's a nice alternative to generic sunscreen. This scent is probably even easier on the nose than the mango, which I guess might make sense as it's a facial moisturizer. Given the choice, I'd probably go with the mango one, but I really like mango.

Birchbox July 2015

dr. brandt® microdermabrasion skin exfoliant

This is a fine-grained skin exfoliant that seems to work really well on my skin. I've now had a few chemical exfoliants that felt more like snake oil than effective products, but this one left my face very much scrubbed clean. It's of the variety that feels like super fine sand in moisturizer, which I guess seem to be the physical ones that work best on me. It has a very light fresh scent, maybe a little citrus-y or mint-y?

I even tried it on my lips, which were pretty chapped from being in Las Vegas (neither deserts nor air conditioning are easy on skin) and it seemed to help without actually pulling chunks of skin off. (I imagine lip balms are a better solution, but it's been days since we left and I'm tired of them being chapped so I thought I'd try a quicker method.)

I like this enough that I'd probably consider buying some when my supplies run out, but I use so little exfoliant per use, and exfoliate so irregularly now that I don't live in the desert that I anticipate that all my exfoliant needs will likely be met by birchbox samples. Probably just as well, since at nearly $80/2oz, this is a pricey one.

Birchbox July 2015

Juice Beauty® STEM CELLULAR™ CC Cream

As far as cc creams go, this is a reasonably nice once, and I am pleased that "desert glow" the colour I recieved, seems to match up well enough with my skin tone. It uses zinc oxide, so it's more of a physical sunscreen, and it leaves a little bit of a sparkle.

Unfortunately, the big down side is that I don't love the smell, which smells like like old sunscreen mixed with maybe a hint of spilled juice. Disappointing given the company name.

Happy to use it and it seems like an effective product, but the smell is off-putting enough that I'll stick to other products in the class of cc/bb/moisturizer/sunscreen.

Birchbox July 2015

stila look at me liquid lipstick trio

I chose the colour "Venezia" which is a coral colour, because I already owned "Beso" (the red) and have a decent number of lip sticks in pink.

Unfortunately, I think I chose poorly. I like my red version of this product, but the coral colour doesn't suit me, and with it being such a bold product, it's kind of awful. I have pictures somewhere, but again, I don't know where my little camera is at the moment. They're awful, anyhow.

As far as the formula goes... "stay all day" is definitely an exaggeration, since it doens't make it through a meal with me, but very few lipsticks do so I don't think it's fair to expect that of it. I'm starting to suspect that there's some art to eating in some ladylike manner that I've never learned, since only lip stains tend to make it through a meal with me. It doesn't tend to smudge on my face, though, so it stays at least in one very important respect.

It is completely unforgiving on chapped lips, highlighting any line of dry skin. They recommend you plump up with a lip balm first, which does help some, but still not a great option if you're in need of some lip repair. There's a reason I keep sticky lip balms around: they're forgiving.

I'm very sad I didn't choose the pink, as I love the little tube and get a kick out of the opaque effect, but I'm probably going to have to do some experimentation to modify this colour if I'm going to wear it. Thankfully I don't mind experimenting with lip products so this could be fun, or perhaps I'll give up and offer it up to someone with a different complexion. Or maybe I'll use it as a cheek tint?


Nothing too stand-out in this box. Liked the exfoliant and the sunscreen, turned off by the scent of the cc creme and the hair texturizer (although the latter was probably doomed to fail), and totally got the wrong colour of lipstick. Alas!