A few small changes here and there

I've been threatening it for a while, but today I finally made some of the changes I've been meaning to.

1. Twitter name

I don't know why I chose my twitter name but I came across some tumblr accounts with similar names recently that made me seriously reconsider. Today I changed my handle to @projectlorna

It would be great to get to know some of the lovely people that read my blog so send me a tweet this week so I can start to follow you.

2. Blog layout

Notice anything different around here? That's right, after sobbing about the challenges of creating a right angled triangle in photoshop last week, I have finally completed my blog redesign and implemented it.

It was very scary because I have no formal training in these matters and am reliant upon the school of Google for everything. My aim was a much cleaner, brighter look and I feel that this has been achieved. I'll be adding to it here and there over the next few weeks and if you notice anything not looking right or working properly then please let me know.

Have a great week!

Crafting goals: an uber blanket

So the time for newyear's resolutions may have passed but I'm not letting that stop me set some goals. This year I really want to make finish a decent sized blanket. I definitely find that my enthusiasm for a craft project dwindles if it takes too long to finish so I am really pushing myself out of my comfort zone with this goal.

I am aiming for something big enough for my sofa rather than something that could cover the steps of Helsinki Cathedral:

Image via CraftyCrafty

My inspiration has mainly come from Pinterest and I have been madly pinning some beautiful knitted and crochet images:

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

Does it count as cheating if I don't crochet the entire blanket? Not if it looks this good:

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

What are your crafting goals for 2012? Are you thinking big or are you going to make one new thing each day/week/month? Are you going to learn something new this year?

Leave me a comment and I'll see what I will comment back with something to inspire you towards your goals!

Amazing week topped off by meeting Alain de Botton!

Overall, this week has been pretty darn good.

I've had a productive WI committee meeting, an amazing deep tissue massage, and a longer than expected weekend due to a fire alarm at work.

This weekend

We had breakfast with the in-laws' in-laws to be on Saturday morning followed by a session at a well known coffee chain to teach ourselves PRINCE2. After such a productive morning I spent the afternoon working on a redesign of the blog (to be unveiled as soon as Sam writes me some code).

On Sunday, we had another breakfast out of the house (I love being breakfast people!) at the utterly delicious Dishoom:

After breakfast we went to a Sunday Sermon at the School of Life to listen to Alain de Botton talk about his new book, Religion for Atheists: A non-believer's guide to the uses of religion.

Shame that the picture of me meeting him is a little blurry but you can definitely make out that it is the two of us.

His talk was excellent and I am already thinking of ways to put it into practice. If you are interested in hearing Alain speak, see his recent TED talk:

After meeting Alain, we wandered around the Holborn area and Lincoln's Inn Fields before returning home. I then completed my epic task of the month: tidying the spare room!

Hope you had a lovely week and that the upcoming week will be wonderful. If you live in the Ealing area you should definitely consider the Divine Chocolate session at the WI this Tuesday.

Long lasting manicure update: Shellac

Yesterday I posted about making a manicure last longer but over Christmas and New Year I had a 2 week manicure using Shallac.

Shellac a gel hybrid polish that is applied at a salon and cured using the UV lamp. It takes about the same time as nail polish to be applied and dried and is completely dry and good to go when you come out from under the lamp. No scratches, no dents: perfection.

Shellac is a brand name but is becoming synonymous with the concept, like Hoover is often used to descibe a vacuum cleaner. Other brands are available and the colour I picked may have been Gelish or i-gel, I wasn't brand specific!

My manicure was chip free for 2 full weeks and I only had it removed because I wanted to try the many polishes I was given for Christmas. The manicure grows out so it does have to be taken off at some point. Here is mine the day before I had it removed:

Removal involves neat acetone.  My hands are hardy and my nails were not damaged in the process but more sensitive souls may not have the same experience.

I personally cannot justify the expense of salon nails all of the time, but for special occasions and holidays I will definitely be using Shellac / i-Gel / Gelish.

Have you tried one of these newfangled manicures? Let me know in the comments how yours turned out!

How to make a manicure last

I've seen a few tweets recently asking for long lasting nail varnish so I thought I would share a few of my tips for a long lasting manicure.

1. Nail polishes rarely live up to their long life claims

5 day manicure? I don't think so. I've had cheap polishes last for a week and expensive polishes last less than a day. I haven't tried the hella expensive polishes by Chanel or YSL but unless they really are miraculous I would say to ignore the brand and pick the colour you want.

2. Throw your money at your base and top coats

Personally, I think that this is where you should be spending your money. A decent base coat and top coat can make the difference of up to an extra 3 days of wear. I don't claim to have found a miracle base coat, I'm sure there's better out there so I'm not passing on the one I use. However my top coat is a miracle worker: seche vite fast dry top coat. It really does elongate the life of a polish, is super high gloss and fast dry? Oh my! It really genuinely is!

3. It's how you apply it that matters

How you apply your polish is going to have a bigger impact on how long it lasts than the brand you buy.

To get the most out of your polish:

  • Apply a base coat.
  • Wait at least 10 minutes before applying colour.
  • Apply colour in thin coats. 
  • Apply in three strokes, one down the middle and one down each edge of the nail. I apply mine by splodging the brush in the middle then pushing it down the nail to the cuticle then dragging it back up. In my opinion this prevents flooding the cuticle. 
  • The longer you can wait in between coats the better. Half an hour is ideal so I paint my nails when I'm working online. I can still use my keyboard and mouse while my nail paint dries.
  • Once you have reached the depth of colour you are happy with, finish with a coat of good quality topcoat.
  • Thick coats of polish don't dry properly and you'll quickly get dents in it, if not full on smudges.

4. How to elongate the life of your manicure

No matter how good your polish is or how well you applied it, you will get chips if you aren't careful about your hands. Washing up is a big killer for polished nails so consider a man servant or procuring a dishwasher.

When you do get little chips there's quite a lot you can do to patch your nails:

  • Another coat of colour and topcoat can extend your manicure for another day or two.
  • After adding another layer of colour to fill in the chips, try a shatter polish over the top. Don't forget topcoat.
  • Alternatively, after filling in the chips, try a twist on the classic French manicure with tips painted with glitter or in a contrasting colour.

If you are looking for ideas for nail art designs, check out my site: Project:Nails.

Do you have any recommendations for polishes or how to extend a manicure? If so, leave me a comment or tweet me @lornathinks.

London and I prepare for the Olympics

This time last week I attended the London Prepares Series Visa International Gymnastics. It was the second and final chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympics and as we failed to get tickets for the summer games, my lovely friend Kat and I went along.

We saw the female teams of Italy, Canada, France and Brazil qualify.

If you want to know more about this event, there is an excellent write up at the Londonist.

If youlive in London and want to alarm yourself at the possible impact the Games might have on you this summer, TfL have released their hotspot predictions. Note to self: set up my own business so I can work from home as it looks like commuting may be hell on earth.

3 reasons not to be a blogger... and how to get over it!

This post isn't a rant, I love Project Lorna and I love thinking up ways to improve and the creative outlet it provides me. But there are times when my enthusiasm drains so this is just a quick post to get it out of my system and pick it up again.

Image via ParadaCreations

1. Time spent prepping offline doesn't mean anything if it doesn't get published online

Over Christmas I spent a lot of time thinking about the direction of Project Lorna in 2012. I planned, albeit very simply, about the kind of posts I might work on this year. I sketched a site redesign and began work on it. But none of this shows. I haven't had time to put together even a half decent post so it looks like I have abandoned the website this year despite all my work.

How to get over it:

Blogging is an exercise in deferred gratification. This skill is very useful and you should proud of yourself for practising. Joachim Posada says as much in his TED talkWalter Mischel has spent years studying how to resist things you want and suggests distracting yourself from the things you are trying to avoid is the best way to succeed. 

In situations like this, you need to plan how you are going to do the big things, like remodel the blog, alongside delivering the day to day stuff. Letting your posting schedule slip makes big tasks feel less meaningful. And finishing the big task doesn't need to be the only reward you give yourself. Elsie Larson recommends rewards as a way of getting lots of stuff finished.

Image via Pinterest

2. Self imposed guilt

Most people I know don't maintain a blog. Everyday they do not post anything but do they feel guilty? No. But when I do not post anything on a given day, I do feel guilty. I have neglected my Internet baby. Nobody feels this way about not posting a Facebook status so why have I put pressure on myself ?!

How to get over it:

Gain a sense of perspective and consider your priorities. My blog is one of my hobbies and is therefore important to me. It's primary use to me is as a vehicle to keep my friends and family around the country updated about my activities. It is not a substitute for actually spending time with those people. And if I don't socialise, I don't have anything to blog about so doing other stuff instead is a good thing. 

Life happens. Live it. Then blog it.

Image via Pinterest

3. Other bloggers do it better

There are so many posts out there about blogger envy, I don't feel I need to elaborate on how the quality of some people's blogs can make you want to give up before you begin.

How to get over it:

I made a list of what my favourite bloggers have that I don't have. I marked on itwhat I would never have (e.g. a vintage clothes store in Springfield Missouri) and things that I have my own equivalent of (like a loving husband-to-be). This exercise made me realise that there are things that I can get or learn, and this is the backbone of my plan for 2012. There are things that I could get or learn but that I realise I don't want as much as I thought. I can let my jealousy for these things go. And finally came the list of things that I have that other bloggers don't which is a really positive thing. 

The outcome of this activity resulted in an action plan for the year and put my envy into context. Often when you rationally analyse your feelings you are able to let them go. 

Image via Pinterest

Get involved! If you have a blog of your own, leave me a comment about the things that get in the way of you blogging and I will follow your blog to give you another reason to keep posting ;-)

Happy New Year!

Image via Pinterest