The Hazards of Working at Home

Laurie Leigh wrote a genius blog article on the Hazards of Working at Home which I recommend any stay at home artist to read up on. 

I'd also like to add a couple of my own:
1. Talk to family members and gently make them understand that just because it looks like fun, doesn't mean it doesn't need to get done. Painting is still work and as much as you want to chat about their day/make them food because their own hands were clearly not working/come watch this thing on tv, it can wait until you're done or at a stopping point.

2. Routinely treat yourself to galleries, museums, botanical gardens, beach and even the mall outside of your local one for inspiration.  You'll feel better for the new air and the beautiful surroundings.

Now, back to work!


This summer has flown by! I've spent most of it working on projects but was able to jet to Vegas this weekend to catch the last day of the International Fashion Doll Convention. On a whim I persuaded my mom to come with me and we spent the next 24 hours bonding like never before lol. I hadn't been to IFDC since the Ontario, CA one way back when but when Superdoll comes to town, you make the trip. 

I was hoping to get there Saturday in time to visit the salesroom as I was curious to see everyone's wares but we missed it by thatmuch. Instead we had lunch and people watched! The United States Pageant with Miss Teen and Jr Miss Teen was going on at the same time and the similarities between collectors/dolls and wranglers/contestants wasn't lost. Our dolls might be impossibly shaped but at least they're happy about it. Some of those poor girls...

Almost as fun as people watching was introducing my mom to our world of doll collecting. She'd never seen us en masse before and seeing a "straight" take it all in was as fascinating to me as it was for her to learn about it. I imagine coming in and seeing people dressed up in Wizard of Oz costumes with their matching dolls could take a little getting used to. To us it's just normal lol.

We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing with friends over drinks until it was time for the final dinner. Once everyone was fed and most of the presentations were over, mom and I snuck in to say hello to some collectors I knew were attending. It was great to put faces to names! We shared a chair at the "Superdoll table" (thanks, guys and gals!) and applauded winners of costume contests, treasure hunts and more. After dinner was a room party which went til the early hours with even more laughter. I don't know that we even discussed dolls much and I would have loved to have picked everyone's brains to get their thoughts but it was just as fun to hear about what they liked outside of our shared interest.

I don't collect 12" dolls any more but I thought the convention dolls were perfect for the event. The two witches were my favorites with Dorothy trailing but I think it's safe to say there was something for everyone. The paper dolls might have been my favorite of all. I love the way Integrity supports this convention.

There were so many people I didn't get to meet who I really would have liked to but hopefully there's next year. With the Tonner convention being held in Chicago or the east coast and the Integrity one so hard to get into, IFDC is a good substitute for those on the west coast who use opportunities like these to not only see product in person but also to meet up with long time friends. With vendors like Angelic Dreamz and Superdoll attending, I'd like to see more 16" collectors there next year and maybe even a Tonner sponsored event.

In any case it was just what the doctor ordered! I returned happy and recharged, ready to hit the next round of painting and grateful for the time I got to spend with my mom and my friends :)


Yummy Treat

My new favorite meal is a piece of salmon with steamed veggies. Pacific Shores sells individually packaged perfectly portioned pieces and this week they're on sale at Albertson's 10 for $10! At 120 calories approx. per piece, you're looking at a 150 calorie lunch/dinner. I like to broil mine with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and make 3 or 4 at a time so I'm not tempted to reach for junk when I get hungry. 



This gem was found on Facebook. I'm reposting it here for those of you who don't have an account. 

I did not write this.
Important enough to repost
A lot has been said about how to prevent rape.
Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn't have long hair and women shouldn't wear short skirts. Women shouldn't leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn't dare to get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

If a woman is drunk, don't rape her.
If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
If a women is drugged and unconscious, don't rape her.
If a woman is wearing a short skirt, don't rape her.
If a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don't rape her.
If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you're still hung up on, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in her bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is asleep in your bed, don't rape her.
If a woman is doing her laundry, don't rape her.
If a woman is in a coma, don't rape her.
If a woman changes her mind in the middle of or about a particular activity, don't rape her.
If a woman has repeatedly refused a certain activity, don't rape her.

If a woman is not yet a woman, but a child, don't rape her.
If your girlfriend or wife is not in the mood, don't rape her.
If your step-daughter is watching tv, don't rape her.
If you break into a house and find a woman there, don't rape her.
If your friend thinks it's okay to rape someone, tell him it's not, and that he's not your friend.

If your "friend" tells you he raped someone, report him to the police.
If your frat-brother or another guy at the party tells you there's an unconscious woman upstairs and It's your turn, don't rape her, call the police and tell the guy he's a rapist.

Tell your sons, god-sons, nephews, grandsons, sons of friends it's not okay to rape someone.

Don't tell your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape.
Don't imply that she could have avoided it if she'd only done/not done x.
Don't imply that it's in any way her fault.
Don't let silence imply agreement when someone tells you he "got some" with the drunk girl.
Don't perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control over or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.

If you agree, repost it. It's that important.


Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury is in retrograde from 3/30-4/23 but the fun doesn't stop there! The shadow phase (the time before and after retro when Mercury seems to slow down and alter its course) doesn't end until 5/12, leaving plenty of time for hijinks to ensue.

But Sam, what does that all mean??

A few times a year, the planet Mercury looks like it is going backwards in its orbit. It isn't actually, it's just an optical illusion. It usually occurs 3 times a year although last year we had 4 retrogrades (and didn't it feel like it)! All planets have retrograde periods but none affect us more than Mercury's. And why is that?

Like the Roman messenger god, Mercury rules communication. It also impacts perception, education and transportation. If something can go wrong with any of these, now is the time it will. Misunderstandings are rampant. Communication in general sucks and is a lot more work than usual. Mail is slow, checks are held up, planned days go to hell, information can be wrong, emails misinterpreted, connections bad, travel plans messed up and your focus is really off. It's the wrong time to make life altering decisions like moving, starting a business or haircuts.

For instance: your morning is spent on the phone with inept customer service over a inaccurate bill; you go to pay for something only to find an unscheduled payment has gone through, messing up your balance; you sit in 2 hours of traffic for a usual 30 minute trip; you go to the store only to get home and realize you picked up the wrong item. Any of these are an inconvenience but retrograde will give you all of this and more in the same day.

Is there an upside? Depending on your chart, retrograde periods might be really lucky for you but for the majority of us frustration is the rule. However if you know and accept there will be blockages in your path right now then you can get over them easier, not take things as personally or seriously, which can help make your life better in the long run. This is just the universe's way of teaching us to roll with the punches. Patience, understanding and a good sense of humor are your friends.

This year's other retro periods are Aug 3-Aug 26 and Nov 25-Dec 14, with the shadow periods lasting roughly 20 days before and afterwards. Good luck!


Product Review: Hair One and La Prairie Rose Illusion

I ran out of Wen last week and rather than wait for a delivery I decided to try Sally's Beauty Supply's answer to Wen: Hair One. I used the Jojoba one for color treated hair. Immediately I noticed the difference while applying it: my hair wasn't as pliable and it was harder to pull my fingers through. I rinsed it out and my hair felt like straw! My hair was half dry before I knew it and the ends look fried and worse by the minute. It was already too late but even applying a leave-in conditioner didn't save this Titanic. My hair is dull, coarse, gross and I feel like I need another shower and a deep conditioning treatment. For $12.99, I'm taking this shit back! If you're looking for an alternative to Wen but want to try the poo-free method try using a regular sulfate free conditioner. I used a Suave moisturizing one last week and got better results than Hair One. I'm still testing to find that perfect inexpensive alternative and will keep you updated! 

On the flip side I finally busted out this jar of La Prairie Rose Illusion that I had been given one year. Yep, another of those "saving for a special occasion" items and at $90-115+ for an ounce you can understand why. But this year is all about using it if you've got it so...

Rose Illusion is an oil free silicon line filler that you apply before your makeup. It minimizes pores, gives your skin a nice matte finish while diffusing light and evens everything out. It's similar to Smashbox's Photo Finish but even better! A little goes a long way which is nice so it'll last me, jeez, probably a year or so? My skin looked soft and glowy and felt like I had a cashmere Snuggy on! Only you know how good it feels but everyone else will see the difference, much like good lingerie. If you're looking for a splurge with immediate impact, go for it! You owe it to yourself to at least try a test sample. You can find La Prairie products at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.


Oscar Roundup

I know it's late but for some weekend fun I thought I'd share my thoughts about some of last week's fashion. I'm not commenting on the people themselves so much (outside of Marky Mark who needs to STFU for truly believing Christian Bale, Steve Buscemi and others wouldn't get ample recognition without him. Really??). I know that a lot of work and agonizing goes into walking the red carpet so I don't do this without feeling. Quite contrary, any criticism I give is the same I'd give to my best friend. Oh, and there will be swearing. There's a lot to celebrate as well! I won't use other's pics here but I will share links. So grab a drink and let the fun begin!

I'll start with the "Meh":

Melissa Leo in Marc Bouwer: Yes, it's a holographic doily Elvis suit but it's "her".
Gwyneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein: Like the dress but the hair, jewelry and ultra tan ruined what might have been a nice look for her. Not gonna remember it next week though. 
Michelle Williams in Chanel Haute Couture: It's not fair to hold her to the '06 Vera Wang standard. She's not the same woman and doesn't seem to be interested in that version of pretty any more. But instead of luminous this look came off sad, for me at least. 
Nicole Kidman in Dior: Switch this dress with her Golden Globe look and she's on my best dressed list. This did nothing for her and I'm tired of the white already. Her face looked gorgeous though. 
Natalie Portman: She did look lovely and I give her props for switching to Rodarte after the Dior mess but she is clearly intent on making a run at Most Annoying Actress (forever held by Julia Roberts) so this is as good as it gets. 
Marisa Tomei: I get wanting to wear history, I mean it's Charles James! But know your limits or at least have the hair and make-up compliment or detract from the dress. 
Hilary Swank in Gucci Premiere: I appreciate the effort. I just feel like we've seen it. A lot. And the bottom looks dirty rather than artsy. I think Andrew and I need to play with it ;) 

"Almosts": Change one thing and it could have been legendary.

Halle Berry in Marchesa: You and I will never be that gorgeous under any circumstance. Ever. But the tulle at the bottom of her dress looked like the cats got to it. Rip that shit off and she shines like a goddess. 

Mila Kunis: Gorgeous dress and great color for her! 1 flimsy inch of fabric is all it would have taken to top my list. Unfortunately I, like most others, spent most of my time distracted by a potential wardrobe malfunction to notice what her hair and make-up looked like and her posture didn't help. It's the Oscars: spit out the gum, pull your shoulders back and cover up. Btw, hair was okay and it was nice to see less coon eye and a little more color on her but enough with the under eye circles! 

Jennifer Hudson in Atelier Versace: She looked fantabulous! The color was made for her! Her face was flawless! She was poised to take the night! And someone made the decision NOT to color match the breasts which then stood out like headlights. It's not like they just skipped it: she was covered in glittery body make-up from head to toe. Maybe the artist didn't realize Jennifer was going to display them like that? Either way, a friend should have stopped her on the way out. 

Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang: Loved the dress! Hair and make-up are a little severe but she's had a shit year. Giving her a pass.


Best make-up: Anne Hathaway. She looked young, luminous and regal at the same time. Not so keen on the bottom of the dress but when Valentino makes it, then escorts you, I don't know that you do anything but say, "Thank You".

Best standard: Helen Mirren in Vivienne Westwood Couture. Year after year she shows everyone how to do it right and not just for women her age. She laps some of the young hotties time and time again!

Best #3: Camilla Alves in Franco Kaufman. Yes, she's a model so immediately unfair advantage but her hair and make-up were the perfect compliment to her dress. Her Vanity Fair party dress was gorgeous too. Sometimes clean and pretty wins the race. 

Best #2: Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa. Her first Oscars, she's 14 and she didn't take the "princess" thing too far, nor did she take this time to show us how grown up she is. The hair, the make-up, the dress, the shoes. Perfect.

Best #1: Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Couture. Like Nicole before her, she chooses what almost no one else can or would wear and schools them while doing it. In this she's an alien elven Mandarin Qweeeeeeen! Goddess I tell you.

Best party dresses: 

Jessica Biel in Atelier Versace at the Vanity Fair Party: rare win for her with me. She almost always misses the mark just enough that it seems she's trying to be interesting or quirky on purpose but it just looks wrong. This dress is stunning and should have gone to the Big Show. Hair and make-up are perfect too.
Emma Roberts in Jenny Packham at the Elton John party: LOVE the dress. Hair and make-up might have been pretty in person but didn't photograph well.
Catherine O'Hara in at the Vanity Fair Party: Showing us how it's done!

"Worsts": I almost hate to simplify as "worst". Not just bad, these were awful:

Worst Re-Tread: Jennifer Lawrence in Calvin Klein. I know Hollywood is churning out remakes faster and faster but Scarlett Johansson just did this at the Golden Globes last year and Francisco should have known better. Have to say, Lawrence seemed hell bent this season to show how sexy she can be and maybe it worked with producers but she certainly aged herself beyond her 20 years and we've all seen where this road can end if you're not careful. Jennifer Coolidge needs to be cast as her mom in something NOW for maximum awesomeness!

Worst #3: Amy Adams in L'Wren Scot. If we're tallying up the entire Awards Season, she's #1 by far though. I say this with love: Amy, fire your team. I'm not one to do this lightly. Everyone needs to work but this team is not working for you. Consider your resume. Consider your nominations. Your team is doing everything in their power to make you look like you don't belong there. The hair is always wrong (WTF with the almost side pony at the SAG's???). The make-up is always wrong and here is no exception: green table, purple crease, pink lips??? And your stylist is hell bent on making you look heavier. Look after look has you either strapless or short sleeves and your arms are not your best feature. This L'Wren is stunning! But you should only pile on the jewelry if you're tall like Nicole Kidman or Julianne Moore and you're not. You could be amazing. Please find someone who wants it for you as much as you do. 

Worst #2: Scarlett Johansson in Dolce & Gabbana. Reportedly one of a kind and I seriously hope so. My reaction on seeing her was something along the lines of: WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK IS SHE FUCKING WEARING????????? It looks like a cheap 90's prom dress in that gross lace that gives you chills when you touch it and not in the good way. My repulsion to her dress was only matched by the mess that was happening above the shoulders. Her hair looks like it went through the blender and WHEN did it become okay to wear gold/orange on your eyes and blue pink lips??? It's one thing on a Eaton, she's a doll, but seriously should NEVER be allowed on a human. Scarjo's 26, has a body for classic fashion and this is what D&G thought would show off her best assets?? Cover the chest, take away her waist and show off the arms?? Add that huge ring from Claire's and her Camp WTF tattoo/stamp and ......you know what. Screw this. She just made #1 because my girl crush should not let me down like this. 

Worst #2: Reese Witherspoon in Giorgio Armani Prive. Or Elle Woods goes to the Oscars. Are you fucking kidding me with that mall dress and the matching mall hair? You are a strong, amazingly talented Oscar winning actress and powerful producer and you show up with fake hair that doesn't even match your own?? Compared to the Nina Ricci showings in the past with chic hair and amazing dresses, this is just offensive. And perhaps worse, lazy. 

Worst Party Dress: Cameron Diaz in W.T.F. happened? How do you go from ultimate princess moment AT the Oscars to this at an after party in one year? I love Cam. I know she can get back to amazing again. She needs some TLC though. 

If this teaches us anything it's: details matter; even the beautiful can stumble and/or fall on their face; and it's much more fun to watch in sweats :) Til next year!


Mohair and Its Uses

Mohair has been coveted as a fiber for hundreds of years. The word mohair generally refers to hair from an Angora goat but can cover Tibetan lamb and any goat hair cross bred with the Angora. Once Turkey controlled all Angora goats. They started sharing the wealth in the late 1800's though and now South Africa is the largest supplier of mohair, followed by the US, specifically Texas. 

Mohair itself is a great medium. It's easily dyed, molded, curled and applied. It can soften a masculine sculpt, invoke thoughts of magical beings or reproduce baby hair. Today I'll introduce you to 4 different types of mohair and different ways to use it. Hopefully it will help you in choosing your next project!

*While working with it I also find it has the same effect as rubbing a cat on my face so if you are prone to allergies you might have to use goggles and a nose/mouth mask, both easily found at Home Depot.

The first fiber I'm sharing is Tibetan lamb. It comes in a rainbow of colors, measures 4-6" long, is sold attached to the skin in patches and is used to make mohair wigs. It's usually curly and soft so if you're going to create a doll with short hair this is perfect to root in because it has volume. You can also cut the hair low to the skin and "troll" (glue) it to the head with a hot glue gun. Once applied you can leave it curly or wet it down and take a flat iron to it. A typical swatch pack will run from $5-$20 depending on what's been done to color or change it. I prefer to root or troll the doll first to get the feel of what the paint needs to look like. Undine below has a green Tibetan mohair wig by Deb West permanently attached to her head. I also dyed and rooted in some longer pieces in the back for contrast.

Tibetan Lamb patch

English felting mohair comes in gorgeous colors and in yard long strips. It's slightly dull and coarse but at $10 a packet you really can't complain. This is the type of mohair I used on my Goddess, Amphitrite. The length is what drew me in and I was really excited to receive it. Once it arrived I realized it's actually many wefts woven and packed together to give the illusion of long hair. "Damn!!" Undeterred, I got creative and devised ways to make the wefts permanently attached. First I dyed the blonde hair light sea green. The mohair takes dye very easily so very little dye was necessary and even then it soaked maybe 5 minutes. I let it air dry overnight and the next day rooted the hairline and part with the rooting tool (it can be glued but I really like my girls to have those). The rest of the hair was delicately separated into long strands, glued and fixed together with jump rings. This seller, BJs Babes, deals in the hair as well as glass eyes so check it out! 

English Felting Mohair

The next mohair I'm sharing is top quality. It comes in 1 oz. packs of 5-7" hair divided into 4 bunches which you clip off; handy as you don't lose any hair trying to separate it out. It's been tripled washed, triple combed through and any wasteful hair has been removed. The hair is clean, shiny, not coarse at all and beautifully colored. This is the hair I used to create Tisiphone. I rooted in the part and hairline to map out where to paint and then added the rest of the hair when she was finished. With what's delivered you can do two heads. You might balk at the close to $20 price per pack, especially when you want to buy 10 at a time but the quality is fantastic and well worth it. Try this seller: Top Quality Mohair

High quality mohair

Finally I come to the tops! The primo! The good stuff! At $36 for 1/2 oz. it better be, right? Well I can attest it is some of the silkiest, smoothest, most gorgeous mohair on the market. It's also some of the longest, coming in around 8+ inches. It's so gorgeous that I'm hoarding it until I find exactly the right project. I am dying to make a hard cap wig with it or even reroot a girl or two. It's a luxury but definitely worth the investment: Bella Bambino Nursery

You just want to take a Benedryl and bathe it in!!

I hope I was able to guide you through the mohair waters and inspire some new creations! Have fun!


A Tool's Tale

Tomorrow I'll be talking about the different types of mohair and their applications. First I'll need to come clean about something, something to which there is a lot of stigma, judgement and shame attached. Yes, I'm coming out of the rooting tool closet! I use the rooting tool not just for mohair but all my rooting. The rooting tool aka "punch tool" aka "tension method tool" has been around forever and has had quite the bad reputation with customizers and collectors alike. I'd like to change that though. 

Unlike traditional rooting where each plug is sewn in and hand knotted, the tension method uses an open ended needle to punch the hair through the scalp and uses only the natural tension of the vinyl to hold the hair in. Main concerns have been the worry the hair will fall out and the possible tearing of vinyl caused by the tool's needle. I believe though that any tool's end result falls squarely on the user. I couldn't use a chainsaw to cut wood but we've all seen the amazing sculptures some are able to create. Most of us can't drive properly in the rain but precision drivers can create ballet. Hell, even the paint brush was a weapon of mass destruction in my early days (but I'll get to that next month when we discuss repainting)! As for the hair falling out, I've had more hair loss when brushing out a brand new Tonner than from a tension reroot and there are even diamond rings utilizing the science.

Small, Medium and Large

Here's how I was introduced to it and the proper way to use it:
I used to believe staunchly in the knot method and nothing else. I would take dolls to reroot to set with me and work on them in between set-ups. As it is, knot rerooting can take anywhere from 12-24 hours so you can imagine how long a full reroot would take me. I'd been rerooting a Rosie O'Donnell doll with floor length blonde hair so I could turn her into an operatic Valkyrie and was finally done after a full week of working on her. I was so excited to get to the painting! However, the night I completed her my car was broken into and the case I kept my doll work in was stolen. My tools, some fashions and of course my weeks' worth of work literally went out the window. 

After losing all that time invested, I set out to discover the truth about this evil rooting tool and the claims it could cut a reroot down to 6-8 hours. I ordered the tool and some needles and set about experimenting. It's now been 13 years, I'm still using it and it does indeed cut the time down to 4-8 hours. As a repainter this of course helps my hands out immensely. The knot method hurt them a lot. Also, considering the chances I'll end up with carpal tunnel or arthritis between computer work, photo work, hair and painting, I need to be selective about how they are used. With so many more commitments now, 12-24 hours working on a reroot no longer makes sense and as long as I know I'm still putting out a quality product I have no regrets.

For beginners I suggest practicing on an old Tonner head that has had all the hair cut off or been scalped. Heat the head in a heating pad. When the head is sufficiently soft, select 10-20 strands of saran hair, slide it into the needle head at the mid section and insert the needle into an existing hair hole in the head at a 45 degree angle. Insert all the way in and quickly but carefully pull out. Tearing can occur if the holes are too close together or if you rush and jam the tool in. Think grace, flow and gentility while rerooting. You'll need to occasionally reheat the head while you fill all the holes up but this won't affect the previous work. Using the heating pad cuts down on needle breakage and keeps the needle eye from closing on itself from pressure. I've been using the same needle for years but I still bought back up just in case. Also, the hair will lay in the direction you root it from so keep that in mind. Pretty soon you'll be a rooting fiend!

I use the larger tool for reroots using existing holes. If you find you need to create a new hairline then I suggest using the smaller tool. Draw the new hairline in using a pencil and check the reflection in the mirror to make sure it's symmetrical. Use dots to plan out the new holes and proceed as usual. As you're creating new holes take your time to get it right: A micro-millimeter difference in placement shows.

Here's the link to the site I used to purchase my tools: Reroot Tool

Good luck and I'll see you back here tomorrow to show you what you can accomplish!

Happy Chinese New Year!

We're ushering in the Year of the Rabbit today! What does this mean for you? Find your Chinese sign and element with this site: Astrologize Me. Then check out this great blog article that comprehensively breaks it down: Wayang Times. Hope your new year is better than the last :) 


Smooth Away

I received a Smooth Away from my mom at some point which got put away under the sink and never saw the light of day. However, as the Turbie Twist turned out to be such a delight I figured I'd pull it out and give it a try. 

If you haven't seen it, the Smooth Away markets itself as a razor free alternative to shaving. I hadn't seen an advertisement on it so I didn't know what to expect. The pack came with a large size for legs and a small size for armpits, knees and stuff and replacement pads. Basically it's a micro fine sandpaper pad on a rubber hand applicator and the idea is that you buff off the hair. There are two grains, a finer one they suggest you start with and a slightly heavier one for coarse hair. There were also instructions that I chose to skim as I figured it was pretty basic. Silly me.

The instructions say to buff clockwise 3 times and then counterclockwise 3 times. Repeat if necessary. I just started buffing away at my legs as if they were wooden table legs to be resurfaced. To its credit, the hair did come off along with a lot of dry skin so that was good. And my legs feel really smooth. But they also feel like they have major razor burn lol and aloe vera gel might be in order.

As the hair grows out I'll be sure to update here. I'll be interested if ingrowns become a problem or if I can master this so it's pain free next time. Have to say, kinda nice to be able to do it while being on the computer and saves on the water bill! The small applicator has been commandeered for smoothing Matt's jaw after resculpting though lol.

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

I'm back! There are a lot more hair discussions to be had so I'm going to continue it through Feb. This weekend I'll be taking some informational photos on different types of mohair and their uses. We have yet to cover flocking, rerooting, wigs and styling so hang in there!


Dye Job

This experience is about feathers which is "hair" to some so I thought I'd include it in the Hair Month theme. Of course it's much more glamorous picturing us holding wine glasses and laughing haughtily throughout so please feel free to do so:

In November my friend, Andrew, asked how he would go about dying a feather skirt. Of course he was talking about Tick's (last year's Paris convention Sybarite doll from Superdoll) skirts (two white feather skirts, one short, one full length) so naturally I invited him over for arts and crafts afternoon! Never having dyed feathers before, I wasn't sure how it would turn out, especially since he wanted to take the virginal white skirts and dye them pitch black. But it was an opportunity I wasn't about to pass up. How often do you get to "play" with such an item? To his credit, Andrew was committed. It didn't matter what the outcome, he was going to dye these skirts until they were something new and amazing and he didn't care if it took 3 tries and 5 colors to do it. He was in it to win it!

The kind of cooking I'm best at!  

Andrew picked up a cheap aluminum pan along with some black RIT dye and we got to work. The directions called for hot water and salt. We put enough water in the pan to cover the skirts, enough salt to make a horse happy and 1 bottle of black RIT dye along with a dry packet of black RIT dye. I have to admit, watching the inky water devour every last feather reminded me of the BP mess and I got a sudden twinge of the guilts. Reminding myself it was only fashion, I got back to work pushing out air pockets and making sure everything was evenly coated.

Smells delicious!

Andrew, Scott (his partner) and I then spent the next 45 minutes chatting away while our experiment sat soaking. Once the time was up, the liquid was drained, I rinsed the skirts and then soaked them in a half water, half vinegar solution for 5-10 minutes to set the dye and reduce any staining that might take place. It was here that we realized the pitch black idea wasn't going to happen, at least in one session. The feathers still looked inky but the actual skirt had turned a dark shimmery purple/grey. Andrew made the decision to let it dry and see how it turned out before heading right back to the store for more dye. The solution was drained, the skirts rinsed again, they were pat dry with paper towels and I bid Andrew and Scott adieu.

Almost ready! Hope you're hungry!

The next day I get a call from Andrew in disbelief! After letting the skirts air dry overnight they had totally turned colors. The feathers were now a gorgeous mink brown and the underskirt was an opalescent periwinkle! The feathers were unharmed and fluffed up perfectly. It's one of those things I don't think you could have calculated had someone asked for the same results and certainly not when handed 2 packs of black dye. We spent a good amount of time thinking up things to go with his new treasure. In the end he settled on Inque 2 and yes, those are her undies on her head lol.

Perfectly done!

Now bitten by the bug, Andrew set about dying a second set of skirts himself. This time he wanted electric green so he used a bottle of RIT Green Apple. He followed the same steps and used a hairdryer this time. While electric green would have been really cool, the skirt came out the same color as Karma's shirt! It's this beautiful organic color which makes the skirt look like it's made of moss or sea grass and opens up a whole other realm of couture and photography! Who knew??

This is the joy of DIY projects: you never know what you'll get. Sometimes it will turn out just as you planned and sometimes it will twist in a direction so much better than you could dream. It all starts though with the courage to try something yourself! Thanks so much to Andrew for the opportunity to be a part of this fun and I can't wait for our next "project"!


The Turbie Twist

For Christmas my mom got me one of those Turbie Twists that you see on TV lol. I didn't think much of it at the time but this week I jumped in the shower, forgot the towels were in the dryer and broke out the TT out of necessity. It's awesome! It's lightweight so you don't get towel headache, dries your hair without breakage and stays put. It was actually so comfortable that I kept it on while doing my makeup. Not to mention the glamour factor! You totally look like Ester Williams or Gloria fucking Swanson (see: Soapdish. If you have not seen Soapdish, you now have your homework assignment)! Kudos to the creators of this genius little invention. 


Tip #10: No-Poo!

Your hair can incur a lot of damage in winter with styling and heat. If it's looking as tired as mine was, think about trying the "no-poo" or Curly Girl method of washing your hair with conditioner. The principle is that shampoos with sulfates actually do more harm than good by striping too much of your natural oils out and that a healthier clean can come from washing with conditioner and properly massaging the dirt off the scalp. Somehow it manages to make your hair soft, clean and prolong the time in between washes.

I've been using the Wen system for about a year now. It's the same method only Chaz's formula is like a Snuggie for your hair. I was introduced to it last year when Alyssa did the Wen infomercial and it's definitely saved me from having to lop off a couple of inches due to damage. My hair is longer, my color lasts longer and I use less product than ever before. The link I gave for Wen is for informative purposes only though. If you're going to try it I suggest getting some from QVC or Amazon because if you order from the site you are agreeing to a 3 month trial and it's a PITA to cancel. Besides you only need to use it a couple of weeks to see if it's for you. 

Now this isn't for everyone. Some people think it weighs down their hair too much. I admit, there were a few things to get used to, namely no suds! The next being my hair didn't have that stripped down clean feel (which apparently isn't that good for it, go figure lol) and lastly, ditching my silicon smoothing products. Once you step outside the cycle of strip down/build up/rinse and repeat you'll be amazed at how good your hair can feel. Once in a great while I'll shampoo for a deep clean but most of the time I just stick to Wen. Oh, and the L'Oreal no-sulphate shampoo strips my hair just as much as regular shampoos so if you know of a better one, please share!

The Curly Girl method states you can use whatever conditioner you choose and get similar results. I haven't tried this with other conditioners but if any of you have and have a favorite then let us know!

Good luck!


Hangover Smoothie

I opted on only caffeinated drinks last night to keep me going but if you're feeling it this morning, try my Hangover Smoothie. Frozen berries (strawberry/raspberry/blueberry mix), apple or pom juice, a banana or two and a good splash of Amaretto. Follow with a good greasy breakfast and you'll be feeling better in no time.

Hope you all had a wonderful New Years celebration! Am looking forward to some exciting things in the next 365 days!