Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: FinFun Mariana's Tidal Teal Mermaid Tail

Now that Summer is over, I can finally review my new tail skin: FinFun Mariana's Tidal Teal tail

Yeah, call me childish, but I have been reading the Mermaiden Tales that come up every once in a while at the Finfriends website.  I LOVED Scarlett's story and personality.  As a fan, I wanted to buy a Scarlet Red tail, but I did not really see myself in a red tail, even though it was gorgeous.  When her story took the turn it took, and she became Mariana, I wanted her new tail.

So this Summer I bought it as a gift to myself.  As always, buying at FinFun is easy.  I picked the Adult M size, chose the cheapest international shipping option, paid with Paypal and waited for it to arrive, as I was hoping I could take with me for my holidays.  I think it took about a week, and it arrived in perfect conditions, in a sealed envelope, inside a plastic bag - no organza blue bag anymore - and with a Mermaidens sticker as gift.

The size is spot on, and let me tell you, it is GORGEOUS!  The tail itself has no front and back - same design on both sides - and it features the Mermaiden logo in the right fin tip (on both sides); I find it cool, it looks like a mermaid tatoo (!).  Now it has a smooth transition between the body of the tail and the fluke - no seam like in my Barracuda tail - and the colors are shades of blue, turquoise, and a bit of green and white.


Transition between tail and fluke - flawless!
Scales detail
As you can see it makes quite an statement!

The one thing that got my attention is the new reinforced tail tips.  I had seen a video on their website where they talk about this.  I was skeptical, until I saw my new tail had the new tips.  Mind you, none of my tails had ever had holes in their tips, but it is because I am totally paranoid over not scratching them anywhere.  That being said, I noticed the new tips are stronger, because they are covered in a kind of hard plastic (I don't really know what it is, but it feels like plastic to the touch).  Even though they stand out on land, they are invisible once in water.  With them, putting on and getting out the monofin is harder, but I would venture to say they really make the tips stronger.  The only bad thing I have to say about them is that they do not have drainage holes (like silicone tails use to have on their flukes), and so the water tends to accumulate in them when hung to dry.

See the white Mermaiden logo and the new reinforced tail tips
One of the good things about this tail is that it is longer, or has a new, different fluke pattern, than my Barracuda tail, and my Magictail monofin now is completely covered by the fabric - no white cover showing in the front or the back (yay!).

Regarding people's reactions, everybody said that it has a more vibrant color than my blue Magictail skin, and that the design is prettier.  It became everyone's favorite, and I find that it is competing hard with my blue Magictail in my heart - I am torn between the two.

Looking forward to using it next Summer!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A shop sign for Kassandra's Magic Shoppe

This is a new adittion that did not come off as a surprise.  Kassandra had been saying she wanted a sign for quite a long time, but she could not find something she really liked it.

But apparently she just found something that was, as she put it, "very appropriate".




She says she finds it "very rustic, but charming".  I quite like it; in fact, the image with the apothecary bottles is very nice and crisp, and it can be seen quite well by potential customers, and so I told her.  She is delighted with her new addition for the shop.

The proud owner with the new shop sign

Monday, September 18, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation is OVER! - Parlor, day two

Yay!  It's finished!!

So it turns out doing the last of the walls was not that difficult.  I made patterns as always, but having the pattern of the hall for the stairs made things easier.  I only had to cut it a couple of times before it was good.


This time I printed the two sheets of paper and attached them together before gluing them to the wall. I was quite nervous because they were my LAST two sheets of paper.   It was not difficult to align the design of the wallpaper, but I began to sweat when it was time for cutting them with the patterns.  If I made a mistake, I could not correct it until I was able to get more paper... Well, thank goodness no mistakes were made, and soon enough I had the patterns all cut up:

One more time, the cornice to the rescue!
And sure enough, everything went up perfectly:



The stairs did not present any problems, and it was not problematic to glue the paper, even though it ended up being quite long.  I think the parlor looks regal now:



I hanged up the curtains for Kassandra.  Last time I saw her she was very busy rearranging the furniture, and she looked delighted with her new home.  Hopefully I will be able to see her later today, and everything will be already in its place.  More pics of that to come!

I wonder what she will be asking for after this...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation part 5 - the hall

So it began!

I started out by cutting a pattern so the sheet would fit the stairs as perfectly as possible; I also made the patterns for the other two walls; obviously, the stairs were the more difficult.  I had to redo the pattern four times:

Patterns waiting to be used

Trying on the pattern in the wall
So, off to print some sheets.  It was very easy with the pattern at hand; and, as always, I had to add a cornice because the paper was a bit short for the wall:


It is not the same cornice as in the parlor, just to give it a different touch, since it is a room less heavily decorated, and the wide one seemed excessive to me.  And then the back wall, which was super easy to affix (probably the easiest of the whole house!):


And the last wall.  Not as difficult as the stairs, but with the pattern peechy keeny!

Cutting
Yay!  Perfect!


The hall looks great now!
And everything back in its place
I learned the hard way that you cannot use Blue Tack with these papers.  I tried to glue the hooks with it, but I made a mistake and had to took it out.  To my dismay, the Blue Tack would not separate from the paper.  Every time I tried with a little ball to pull it out, the rests became bigger.  So I had to tear out the paper, print, cut and glue it again.  Now everything is attached with superglue (hooks and lamp magnet), currently in the process of setting.

It is almost done!  Just one wall to go, and the big renovation will be finished!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation part 4 - Parlor, day one

And here comes the complicated part!

Kassandra's parlor is connected to the hall by two flights of stairs.  Obviously, I cannot take them out to glue the wallpapers, so I had to work my way around that.

I started, as always, by clearing out everything in the walls - this time including the curtains, because I wanted to start with the left wall, as I thought it would be the less difficult one.


For this room, the chosen wallpaper was a lovely damask design with wood accents; of course, created by the talented Ana.  For the left wall I decided to leave the wood panels, but I would remove them for the rest of the room.  There will be two big furniture pieces in front of the back wall, and they would not be really visible.  So once again I took measurements and modified the designs to suit them.  When I printed the sheet I realized I needed a little piece at the top to cover the whole wall, so I added a swirly wood cornice at the top.  At first it measured 1 cm, but it ended up being a bit short, so I made it of 2 cm.

Cornice not big enough
Silly me, I threw out the pattern I made when I did the study, not thinking about saving it; I only would have had to turn it around to cut the parlor sheet.  Alas, I simply took the measurement, drew them in the back of the sheet and cut.  Thankfully, this time I did not make any mistakes!


And then it was good to be glued to the wall.

Yay!  One down, two to go...
After that, I decided to do the back wall.  I supposed it would not be very difficult, but I had to adjust my way around the rail.  It was very easy to trim it to fit the wall size; cutting the holes to adjust it to the staircase rail was another matter.  But since the paper was thick I did not tear it apart, which was my main concern.  And after several tries, it was done.

But I did not glue it yet.  I wanted to do the staircase hole first. so the mounting would be less obvious.  It was like a puzzle game to adjust the pattern so it would align with the design on the newly made wall.  It only took two tries!

First piece glued
You can barely see where they meet
It looks awesome!
Then it came the time to do the third wall.  But since it has the flight of stairs, I decided to try to do the hall first, since it was more accesible for my hands, and maybe I could reuse the pattern.

So onto the hall next!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Plant post

Do you remember when I was planning on adorning the windowsills with plants, and bought some kits to do so?  Well, I made my begonias a long time ago, but somehow I forgot to post pictures of them.

So here they are.


I love their colors!
Kassandra loves them.  However, we are both sad because the little cactus that my co-worker brought me back from Lanzarote has not survived the move; it wilted and died.

So now Kassandra wants some pretty fuchsias for her bedroom window.  I told her of course I would get them for her, but first I have to finish with the parlor walls...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation part 3 - Shop

The work is progressing!  Another room of the house is done.  This time, it was The Magic Shoppe turn.  The easiest of the rooms to do:  just three straight walls.  It only took me a morning to do everything.

As always, I started by stripping clean the walls.  Well, "clean" is probably not a good word, considering the stains...



For the shop, I used another of Ana's wallpapers.  This one looks straight out of a Tim Burton movie - I love stripes!  As always, I took measurements and modified the design to fit them.  I was lucky enough that the printed sheet covers almost from floor to ceiling.  However, I had to add a bit of a cornice at the top, as I was lacking just 1 cm for it to fit perfectly.  

The design is gorgeous, and you can barely see the union between the two sheets.
Sans the cornice


With the cornice
I had to be extra careful while glueing the side walls; otherwise the design would not be aligned properly.

Left wall all done
Finished!
Despite my efforts I could not get the right wall to cover completely the corner, but I am not worried because the shop shelves will cover the mistake and it will not be visible.  The shop now looks much better than before, even though the decorative panels are not very noticeable - only to customers that sit to have a se├ínce with Kassandra...


As you can see, there are still plenty of stuff to do with the walls.  I have not yet decided which pictures I am going to hang again, or where, same with the wall shelves, so I will leave that for when I am finished with all the rooms in the house.

The next room will be challenging:  the parlor is conected to the hall with a flight of stairs that has lots of steps!  It is going to take some time and a lot of trial and error.  We'll see how that goes...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation part 2 - Study

The second room in Kassandra's home is finished!  It took me a couple of days to do it, and it posed a little challenge for me.

I started stripping the walls of everything they had attached: paintings, portraits and shelves.  See the dreaded Blue Tack stains.  I decided to let the curtains hang until it was really necessary to remove them.


Following with the same wallpaper I had used for the bedroom's ceiling I took measurements for the walls of Kassandra's study.  This time I chose the complete design with all the details showing.  I adjusted the design to my measurements and printed 3 sheets.  It was very easy to do the front and left side walls.


The right wall had a little difficulty: the space for the door, which I have covered wth the courtains.  I took them out very carefully (thank goodness no damage came onto them!), and then I used scrap paper to make a pattern, so I would not make any mistakes in cutting the printed wallpaper.


Well, guess what?  I made a mistake, and so I had to reprint one of the sheets (two were necessary to cover the whole wall).  But once the mistake was corrected, the whole room looks very nice and regal.



It reminds me of an antique library, or one of those Catholic choirs from where the monks used to sing.  Maybe it is a tad dark, but Kassandra loves it.  She says she finds wood very soothing to study and read.


Kassandra says now that the room has been redone, she is thinking of getting rid of the fireplace and putting instead a little table to hold more of her books and artifacts.  She is still thinking about it and window shopping for ideas. 

And finally with the curtains in their place
 Next stop, the shop!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation part 1 - Bedroom

Since we have just moved our big house, Kassandra thought it was the perfect moment to have some major renovations in hers.

She asked that I finally put wallpaper in her walls.  I bought the dollhouse already mounted (at the time I did not want to deal with the building up), and it came with a rather dull, standard beige with white flowers wallpaper.  I had been waiting years to find the perfect wallpaper for her, and since she knows I finally found it, she insisted it was time I redecorate the whole building.

To tell the truth, I was very anxious to not make any major mistakes that could ruin the whole appearance, but I found that putting up wallpaper is rather simple and fun, although time consuming.

First of all, I made several visits to Ana to buy different wallpapers sets.  Hers are the best wallpapers I have ever seen.  So different and out of the ordinary.  Really, Halloween papers are fun, but for people with inclinations and tastes like Kassandra's, those simply would not do.  Ana's wallpapers are regal, scrumptious and luscious. 

First, clearing out the space.  With our recent move it was easy, as everything was securely packed.  You can see the awful wallpaper the house had all these years, and the stains caused by the Blue Tack holding the pictures.


For the bedroom, I chose the Red Velvet Panel wallpaper.  It is just perfect.  Fancy that Ana called it the Count Dracula!  First I decided the layout, and modified the images so they would fit my walls height.  Then I took scrap paper and made patterns of the walls.  I printed the images in matte photographic paper and cut them using the patterns as guides.


In this pic, you can see that I made I mistake.  I cut the wallpaper from the top instead of from the bottom, so I lost the pretty golden design.  I had to reprint and cut again.  And then, for the dreaded moment of attaching the paper to the wall.  I knew I had several options, but I finally opted for using double-sided tape.


I was so nervous when glueing it down!  But I think it looks pretty nice.  Then I did the two side walls the same way.

Peeling the double-sided tape before glueing the paper

And the room is completed!  Or so I thought...
I absolutely loved it!  However, upon careful inspection, I noticed that the ceiling had the same terrible beige wallpaper - the rest of the ceilings are just unpainted wood - so I decided that the ceiling had to be wallpapered too.  For that, I wanted to resemble an antique paneled wood, and so I chose this wood panel wallpaper.  As with the other images, I adjusted the design to my measurements, and printed it.  The ceiling now looks imperial!




So gorgeous!
Now, I thought, it is finished!

But then I realized that I had not made the last wall, the one that opens up and closes the room.  Oh, the horror!

No matter, I printed two more sheets of the red panaled wallpaper, and got ready to finished it.  But unluckily for me, the sheets did not cover the whole wall!  They lacked about an inch, so I decided to add a decorative wooden trim at the bottom.  And lo and behold, now it was finished!




Kassandra is delighted with her new bedroom, and I am very happy she likes it!  She says she cannot wait for the rest of the house to be redone.  I understand her eagerness, but I need to buy some more double-sided tape first.  I spent a whole roll (5 meters) to do just the bedroom.

If you want to see all the renovations in the house, just click here.