August 25, 2015

Have a Good Morning, Courtesy of Eucopia

A few months ago my brother passed along an email from a friend who wanted to start up a European themed subscription box. I have tried a variety of subscription boxes and was really excited to see what Jason Toon's box would offer! I was able to try out his first [or second?] intro box for $35, and was quite impressed. You can see the Eucopia blog post [with far better pictures than my own] on their site.

This post is [incredibly] late, as I received the box in June. Summer has just passed me by in busy, lazy ways. But, on to Eucopia [or click here to see the Facebook page]! The box was put up on Indiegogo last month, and looks like it got 143% funded. Not bad, and it shows that people really like European stuff. How could you not? Because, come on, Europeans created wine, French bread, beer, gelato, waffles, and foreign films. Well, they're not really "foreign" in their own countries, and they probably didn't create boxed wine [my personal favorite].

The Eucopia box felt like a present. Jason hand delivered the box to my brother, who also purchased the box. Each item was nicely wrapped or packaged and nestled into crinkled paper padding.
There was a card describing each item, styled like a newsletter. It very pretty cool and informative. I've seen some of the fancier boxes like Oui Please use similar inserts. There was also a passport, which was sort of confusing. I think the concept of it was interesting, but not fully baked. To me, the passport should have had little stickers, and the box receiver would get the stickers from each country each time they got a new box, and only new subscribers would get the initial passport booklet. Sort of cheesy but cute.
Now, on to the meat of the box! I really appreciated how family-oriented this box was. It seemed like there was a little something in there for everyone.

Contents of the Morning Eucopia box:

  • De Ruijter--The Dutch sprinkles are in my fridge for if my nieces are over and I need to sprinkle everything in chocolate.
  • Couto--This Portuguese toothpaste is still unused on my desk, mostly because the packaging is so nice. I do plan to use it, so I should probably just put it in the bathroom!
  • Vasa Tvål Ab--Lingonberry soap on a rope from Finland. I meant to give this to my mom, and in fact it was in my suitcase for a week as we drove from WA to SD and back. I think I ended up using it as a gift for someone else, which is one really great aspect of subscription boxes! Items can be easily gifted =) 
  • Kikkerland--A Rotterdam/NYC designed clock, though it was made in China. I like this company, and occasionally see their products in various stores. I am not the sort of person who is picky about where an item was made, though I do see how people would be upset in purchasing a European box with outsourced items. However, I love this clock and it's on the shelf in my office next to an antique clock that doesn't work. This clock is nice and quiet, except for the first day I put the battery in and accidentally pushed the button to set off the alarm! 
  • d'Ancap--The best piece in the box was an Italian porcelain latte mug. Mine was in teal! It's hard to tell from my dark pictures, but it's teal, which is one of my favorite colors. I love this mug! Because it's summer, it's currently holding mints on our turquoise bookshelf [also weirdly next to a broken antique clock], but come Fall it will be filled with chai or tea. 

I thought this box was great. Though I did not personally find a use for all the items, they were perfect for gifting. Money is tight right now, but I think in the future I will have to get a subscription to this! I am quite happy it was more than funded on Indiegogo, and according to an email last month from the creator, after the campaign, the regular box will be $49 including shipping. I felt like this was a better price for the box, especially considering the weight of the contents.

The only thing this box is really missing is a price breakdown of the contents. I really like getting those in boxes because it makes it feel more like you got some awesome deal, and then you can also see that you didn't pay $50 for items that cost $38.

Blogging the depths of the abyss,

PS: According to Wikipedia... I mean, according to very reliable sources, boxed wine originated in Australia. Those geniuses. 

July 9, 2015

McBoyfriend's First Roadtrip

The 4th of July was not terribly exciting, though the week preceding it was. My sister and her boyfriend flew up from California the last Friday in June, and Saturday morning we drove with my boyfriend from near Seattle, Washington to just west of Yellowstone National Park. None of us had ever been to Yellowstone, and the boyfriends had never been on a roadtrip. My own boyfriend had never been east of Las Vegas, though he's been all over Eastern Europe.
Somewhere off I-90 in Montana.
The first night, we stayed in this awesome resort hotel in Montana that had a hot springs pool. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort offered a nice room, four pools--two indoor, two outdoor, each with a 90 degree and 100 degree pool. It was almost too hot at night, and definitely would not have been refreshing during the summer heat of the day. Which was unfortunate, because we all really wanted to go down their enormous slide. I personally don't recommend the food or drinks there--my "blended strawberry margarita" was more of a blended strawberry flavored milky icee that did not seem to be margarita-esque at all.

Sunday, we continued on to Yellowstone. It was quite the drive, and we ended up getting stuck in a queue of cars waiting for a herd of buffalo to decide if they wanted to cross the road. We were all pretty impressed with the park, and I think my favorite areas were the sulfur pits.
Yellowstone sulfur pits and a lone bison.
The trip across I-90 to South Dakota to see my parents went well, despite the enormous suicidal deer in Bighorn National Park Sunday night, and the torrential rain and hail that we followed from Sundance, WY into the Black Hills. Our week was very very busy--McBoyfriend pointed out that it wasn't very relaxing because we always had things to do. BUT the things we had to do included grilling and swimming at a friend's house, floating around Pactola Lake on a pontoon boat [boyfriend received a nice sunburn], playing Deadwood's first night of roulette, and seeing the sites.
Floating around the very flooded Pactola Lake.

The view of a creepy door from our Deadwood, SD hotel room.
Visiting the Homestake Mine in Lead, SD.
Mt Rushmore with my mom and McBoyfriend. Lower right is the creepiest mannequin, found in the Crazy Horse museum.
It was nice going home to see my parents, and I am glad they're finally getting loads of rain, despite the drought on the West Coast. While we did not get to see everything on our list [don't worry, we made it to Taco John's twice], we had a great time and McBoyfriend already wants to go back again.

Blogging the depths of the abyss,

Blueberry Cove Beads: April and May Boxes

I realized I wrote this back in May, and still had not posted it. Me thinks my laziness chrysalis needs to crack off soon, leaving me an energetic butterfly.

I am listening to "The Bells" by Lowell, and it sounded like they said "where'd the heat go?" So, I thought I'd share it. Not that we need more heat... it was apparently 97 in Seattle over the 4th weekend!

On to the beads! I combined my April and May Blueberry Cove Beads box reviews, because I still haven't made anything with my April box. The theme was from an abstract painting, and while I did start several projects, I have only just completed a wrap bracelet using the Superduo beads.

April, Box 5: Abstract Colour [list of contents from site]

  • One string of 8mm round grey glass beads with black detail (approx 65 beads)
  • 10 blue grey teardrop glass beads, 13mm
  • 1 oval white shell pendant, 36mm
  • One strand of 4mm white round glass beads (approx 84 beads)
  • 5 copper tone butterfly charms, 21mm
  • 2 round disc white porcelain beads, 21mm
  • 6 porcelain glazed white/grey ‘pumpkin’ beads, 13mm
  • One string of natural gemstone 23mm oval beads, red line jasper (approx 16 beads)
  • One string of natural gemstone 8mm round beads, red wood lace stone (approx 50 beads)
  • 3 packs of approx 10g of Japanese seed beads – grey, frosted white and periwinkle blue
  • 1 pack (approx 5g) of Superduo beads
April Blueberry Cove Beads Box
I liked the theme of this box! It was curated around a color theme, and I quite liked the original abstract painting the inspiration came from. Superduo beads were something I was seeing a lot, but had not yet used, so it has been fun experimenting with them [though it looks like I forgot to photograph them]. Seed beads in a variety of colors are always something I can use more of. Especially since I would like to start making some bead embroidered necklaces! While I was unsure of the periwinkle seed beads at first, once I put them into a bracelet with other colors, I enjoyed the effect.

May, Box 6: The Crystal Cave [list of contents from site]
  • Aluminium Wire, 20 guage [10m]
  • Strand of Sky Blue Faceted Round Glass Beads, 40 [8mm]
  • Strand of Fluorite Gemstone Chip Beads
  • Round Electroplated Glass Crystal Beads. 4 [18mm]
  • Strand of Dark Purple Faceted Rondelle Crystal Beads, 100 [6mm]
  • Agate Slice Pendant, drilled 
  • Gray Druzy Crystal Pendant, drilled
  • Burgundy Bicone Crystals, 30 [4mm]
  • Beige Bicone Crystals, 30 [4mm]
  • Faceted Champagne Drop Crystal Pendant [28 mm]
  • Small Crystals, 2

The May box, as one Tweeter put it, made me "squeeee" with delight when I opened it! I love rocks, stones, and sparkles. Last time I was at my parents' home I cleaned out a small collection of rocks I had collected since childhood, and of course about a month ago I brought home a small pile from a beach. I can't help it!

Looking over the rest of the contents, I was really excited to experiment with the wire in this box! I see wire wrapped items all the time on Pinterest, and while I'm not really interested in doing the crazy intricate stuff, simple wire wrapping is fine. This guage of aluminum wire is a little too thin to do some of the ideas I'd tried, so I am not sure what to use it for now.

Overall, I loved this whole box, but I just wasn't wild about the chips because they're dull and scratched. I am guessing they're glass or plastic, but at any rate I've started a box of craft supplies for my nieces, and there are several strands of beads in there for them to create with!

My asymmetrical necklace made with the champagne tear drop stone, and wrapped with aluminum wire.
Blogging the depths of the abyss,

May 11, 2015

Awesome Pack: Big Kids April Box

I read the My Subscription Addiction newsletter every day--it's my morning ritual. There are several boxes that I've found out about and tried because of the site. McBoyfriend took a look at MSA and said there were no subscriptions on here for him, and I had to agree! He's an electrician who does yardwork, doesn't cook, is picky about his tools, prefers hoodies and t-shirts, and paints and plays miniature tabletop games. Finally, a box appeared that sounded perfect, and there was a lot of customization available. We both love board games, so  I was super excited to sign him up for the big kids box from Awesome Pack!

To McBoyfriend, I get a box every single day. Not really, but when Awesome Pack arrived with his name on it, he didn't even bother looking at it, and just threw it in the house and went off to do yardwork. It was really hard to keep this a secret, but when it arrived my cat was going nuts on the box, and he stood there and filmed it for a while, not even realizing it was his box. I got home and asked why it was on the floor unopened, so we opened it together. When he pulled everything out I realized Bella was going nuts because there were two cat toys for her =)

April 15, 2015

What I Won and What I Made

A bit late, but I was waiting to post this until I was happy with a piece, and even though I'm still on the fence I thought I would post anyway. My next Blueberry Cove Beads box should be coming this week hopefully!

Last month I found out I won the Blueberry Cove Bead box challenge! I got the March box for free, which was pretty exciting.