Thursday, August 23, 2012

This is Dangerous.

This is it, folks.

I think I'm addicted to sewing.

I just finished a project of FIVE bridesmaid dresses - each containing close to 30 pieces. They took me several months to complete. I thought I would be dying to stop sewing for awhile, after they were done.

Two days after I passed the last one on to the waiting bridesmaid, the urge to sew was overwhelming.

But I held off. "You're crazy," I told myself.

Self didn't listen.

I gave the last bridesmaid dress away on the 13th. Ten days ago.

For the last three nights, I've stayed up until or near midnight, out at our kitchen table - machine clattering softly, scissors snipping. The first night, the urge to make a new skirt hit me at 8:30 pm. I've never started a sewing project at 9:00 at night....but there's a first for everything!

I liked the experience so much, I've repeated it twice now.

Actually...correction: I didn't really care for the experience. I'm dead tired from 10:15 onward. My eyes get dry and my neck hurts. The next morning, I sleep in too late, (I like to be an early riser), and my whole morning is thrown off.

Yet still I continue. Driven by some unseen force - some wild, crazy urge to sew.

And sew I do.

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Wear Curlers in Public

I keep thinking of posts I would publish if I had my camera situation solved.

It's a two-fold problem.

#1 - My laptop does not download pictures easily. I can't pop the SD card into a slot and transfer. It's a big hassle with cords and files...etc. Takes awhile.

#2 - My not my camera. It belongs to my Daddy. He's just so good-natured that he lets me adopt it for weeks at a time. It stays in my bedroom, handily available for mirror shots of outfits or hair-do shots. But lately the camera has been reclaimed by its rightful owner, and I have no idea where it is right now. Probably sitting forlornly on some strange shelf in the distant living room.

But I have been thinking. I've been thinking about certain items in my closet - do I really need them? Does it really please Jesus when I wear them?

Who am I trying to please with my life? Who am I trying to please with my dress? When I know I look lovely, graceful, and feminine, does it please me because I want to draw attention to myself? Or does it please me because I feel that Christ is pleased with me?  There's a big difference. I'm afraid I'm quite self-centered.

I also wanted to share several new tips/ideas with you. One I'm trying today for the first time, and I LOVE it! So wish I had a picture of this one.

How To Go Out In Public Wearing Curlers: 

Okay, so not really wearing curlers. But I'm curling my hair in public, nonetheless.

First, tell me if you have the same problem I do; on the mornings that I wash my hair, I don't know what to do with it.

I want to air-dry it, but also want to curl it. My hair is naturally curly, but I must contain and control it in some way as it drys, or it will be a frizzy mess. I can't just let my damp hair soak the back of my shirt all day. Until today, my solution was to claw-clip it in a big, messy, damp twist at the top of my head for the day. It took about 8 hours for the ends to dry (my hair is VERY thick), but what could I do? At night when I took the twist down, the part that had been twisted tightly would still be damp, but would dry most of the way during the night. By the middle of the next morning my hair would be thoroughly dry.

Needless to say, I do not wash my hair everyday. (Besides the fact that I would constantly have a wet head, that would be a little extreme for my hair. My hair is much healthier when I wash it every 3-4 days.)

This wet, messy twist worked okay around the house, but if I went out in public like this I knew I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower, and I hated that.

Many girls prefer to air-dry their hair rather than using heat to dry it quickly. And I agree that it's good for your hair - in the years since I've stopped heat-drying mine every time I wash it, my hair has never been dry or brittle, and the frizz is better than it was. But, as I've said, my hair is very thick, and it's below my shoulders in length, so it's hard to know what to do with it during that drying time. If I leave it down, it will dry in 4-6 hours or so, but the top layers will be a puffy cloud of brown frizz, while the under layers are still damp, and lay like wet noodles against my neck.

But I think I may have found a solution.

Today, I worked hard cleaning the kitchen most of the morning, and took a shower at about 11:00. I washed my hair. After exiting the shower, I finger-combed my hair - just briefly - and twisted it in a very short twist near the middle of the back of my head. I didn't want to twist much - I wanted a lot of ends hanging out. My idea was to get a ponytail without the "ponytail mark" you get if you use a band in wet hair. Claw clips work great for holding wet hair without leaving "bands."

So I had a bunch of wet curls hanging in the back of my head. I took small sections - about the amount I would use in a curler - and twisted them around my finger, just as if my finger was the curler. Then I slipped my finger out, and had a hollow "roll" of hair. I bobby-pinned it to my head.

It ended up looking something like this: (without the veil, of course. But I did add a flower!)

 I felt special and dressed up, even though it was a normal day. So fun!

It is now 9:30 at night (approx. 10 hours since I put my hair up) and the insides of my "rolls" are almost dry. I know that when I take my hair down, it will be in ringlets. Whether or not they will stay smooth and curly - since I will have to sleep with slightly damp hair - remains to be seen.

But whatever the case may be, at least I could go shopping today, with "shower-do" hair, and feel like nobody knew my hair was in curlers!

Do you think this idea would work with your hair? Do you air-dry your hair, or heat-dry it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How To Cut Your Own Hair Tutorial

Well, I promised you AGES ago to publish a video of me cutting my own hair. I did video the process, but Blogger simply will not permit me to upload the video - I've tried I don't know HOW many times.

It's been so long, in fact, that it's time for me to cut my hair again! This time, I took pictures instead of videoing. I am therefore very pleased to present my first tutorial; How to Cut Your Own Hair.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional hair stylist, and I have no idea if I do this the "correct" way. But it works!

Here is my "before" picture. When my hair looks like this - wavy, no frizz, etc. -  it's hard to make up my mind to cut it. And I like long hair. But if it gets much past this point, I start getting headaches from the weight when I wear it up. Honest. It's a lot of hair.

A lot of hair. There was more in the back. Thick hair is a blessing, but it's also very time-consuming to cut. But to me, it's worth it! I love the freedom of cutting my own hair, though I admit I was terrified the first few times.  

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to give yourself layers, and taper those layers around your face. 

To begin, start with semi-clean (not oily) hair, and comb it out until it is tangle-free. I cut my hair dry, because it gets too curly if I wet it. Straight hair is easier to cut. (Plus, wet hair clippings stick to everything!) But it helps if my hair isn't too freshly washed - it lays better. 

Gather your tools:
- a mirror with good lighting (preferably over a counter or sink where clean-up is easy)
- hair scissors (not sewing or craft scissors!)
- a fine tooth comb 
- a wide tooth comb
- claw clips of various sizes
- several ponytail holders  

You're going to begin by dividing your hair into quarters; a left and right section, and a top and bottom to each of those halves. Claw-clip the left and right top sections at the very top of your head. If you have bangs, roll them up and bobby pin them out of the way. In the picture below, I have my bangs pinned up, the top two sections claw-clipped up, and one side of my lower section is clipped to one side, while I work with the remaining section: 

Picture A
 Note that the line which divides the top and bottom sections runs in a horse-shoe manner around my head, about an inch and a half above my ears. It's not the actual "halfway point" on my scalp (it's more than halfway up my head), but dividing my hair there creates equal amounts of hair in the top and bottom sections, because most people have more hair on top than on the bottom. If you gathered the top and bottom sections into two ponytails, they should be the same thickness. This is very important.

Now, I began by chopping my lower sections of hair to the length I wanted the longest layer to be. I do this by bringing my hair forward, over my shoulder, and cutting it where I can see it. On my shoulder, it looks like the hair is cut straight across, but when I toss it back to where it hangs down my back, the center section is a little longer - hence, the tapering. Does that make sense? I didn't get good pictures of that part.

Picture B
Anyway, in the above picture, you can see how my lower sections of hair look straight when they are brought forward onto my shoulders. It looked tapered when I tossed it back over my shoulders. You can also see how I feel when I chop off my hair. Worried! Is this really what I want? Did I really want to cut my hair? No matter how many times I do it, my heart always skips a beat when that first shock hits me.

When cutting your hair, do small sections at a time, and watch yourself in the mirror, with your head held naturally, rather than trying to watch your actual hair and scissors. Do you see the section of hair I'm holding out in Picture A, above? I've pulled out a section that is vertical, running from the floor to the ceiling, rather than crossways around my head. That is how I work on my hair - small vertical sections. When I actually cut that section, I would bring it down to my shoulders and snip it even with the previous sections.

Okay - once you get your bottom sections looking like Picture B, you have your base length established. This is the length of your longest layers. Now you're going to add the rest of the layers. Guess how? Picture A again! Scroll back up and notice where and how I am holding my hair. See how my fingers run vertically, pointing at the ceiling? You want your scissor blades to do the same thing, and snip your hair (in vertical sections - very important!) so that it looks like the edges of your hair are at a right angle to the floor.

Now, you will notice when you pull your hair out to the side like that, that some strands of hair are much longer than others - all in the same section. The short strands are your long layers - don't touch them. But the strands that look like they're too long - well, trim them, and you will get your nice right angle between floor and hair. It's very important that you bring your hair up to the same angle each time, but you can pick which angle you want that to be. Straight out from your head - like I did - gives a nice obvious but gentle layer. Something higher would be more drastic, and anything lower than straight out from the head would be very gradual - hardly noticeable as layers.

This step is hard to explain in writing, so feel free to ask questions if I'm not clear enough. I like to work from back to front - and this time, try not to pull your back hair forward very far - just as far as it needs to be for you to see it to cut it.

Okay. Deep breath. You're done with step one on your first section of hair! Repeat on the other lower side, (comparing often with strands of hair on the first side, to be sure they match in length!) then claw-clip both lower sections in the back of your head, leaving a small bit out on both sides, so you have something to guide you as you cut the top sections.

In the picture below, my bottom sections are pinned back, and I'm using a pony tail trick to achieve layers. Ponytailing your entire section of hair ensures that it is all held out at the same angle. (Just be sure to get the ponytail at the exact same height when you do the other side of the head!)

 Do you see how some pieces of hair I'm holding are already short, just beyond my fingertips? Those are my "guide" strands, and I would trim everything to match them, keeping in mind that I want everything to be at a right angle to the floor. Here, I'm not bothering to trim my hair to the "base length" first - I'm trimming it and layering it all at once, so I have a lot to cut off. Those shorter "guide strands" are probably the pieces that I left out from the bottom section, to show me how short to cut the top section. You can see the amount of hair I left out from the bottom section, on the other side of my head, hanging free.

Okay, so now we've done all four sections - chopping off length and adding layers. Pause to evaluate:

Picture D
 These layers are very gentle - not much difference between the longest ones and the shorter ones. I decide that I want something more drastic.

Remember how I said that the higher the angle when you cut, the more drastic the layers?
I actually took this picture at the beginning of the hair cut, which is why my hair looks longer. But this is what I did to add some more "drastic" (aka "shorter) layers. Just comb it all into a really smooth ponytail at the tippy top of the head, twist it, and you'll see several sections sticking out longer than all the others. Those are the top pieces of hair, when your hair is hanging normally. Trim them straight across, keeping your hair held straight up (that can be a bit of a stretch!).

Okay, so now we have something that looks like Picture D again. Do you notice how the area of hair around my face is so.....straight? So hard-edged? I wanted to soften that. So here's how you add tapering around the face....

Part your hair in a "headband" way, from ear to ear. Make the "headband" sit pretty far back on your head. Comb everything forward. 

Divide that hair in the middle, then into three vertical sections on each side. In the picture below, I'm holding the two front vertical sections forward, the middle sections are clipped on either side, and the back sections are hanging free.  

 Cut this hair the way your would bangs - comb it straight out, and cut straight across. Make the sections closest to your face the shortest, (in my case, an inch or two longer than my bangs) and each successive layer longer, until the back sections are cut just a little bit shorter than the short layers on the body of your hair.

This is what the front section of my hair looks like now. Much better, don't you think?
 And then we let everything down and take a look! Try to spot any "stragglers" and trim them up.

Total time elapsed? Well.....about an hour and ten minutes, I think. Yikes! But I've done it in 40 minutes before. Taking pictures must have been the problem. :) 

Now it's time for a shower and styling. I blow dried my hair and straightened most of it, letting just the ends air dry, so they would curl.  


And if I wash it and let it curl naturally, this is what it looks like: (sorry about the dirty mirror!)  

So....that was a loooong post! Thanks for hanging in there. What do you think? Something you want to try? Have you ever cut your own hair? Anything to share? I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are you still there?

Why do I sometimes go for days without posting? Anybody want to guess?

Oh, I'm not sure. Maybe it gives me a feeling of power to randomly say, "I'm not going to blog - so there!" Maybe I like the freedom of being unplugged, and knowing that nobody outside of this city knows what I'm doing. Maybe this one tiny act makes me feel strong and unhindered.

If we psychoanalyzed this long enough, I'm sure we could deduce some really weird things about me.

But we won't. Okay?

I was really on a roll with this blog. I felt good about posting so often. Then my computer got a virus. Oh, the things we don't miss 'til we don't have them!!

But that excuse for not blogging has been gone now for - what has it been? two weeks? more? Thanks in a large part to my darling brother, my computer has been functioning just fine for some time now. And still no new post. Just because I like feeling free.

To apologize for this long absence, I have a special post in mind. A video blog.


Of course not. Not just based on that skimpy information. So let me tell you what the video is of.

Me. (Surprised?) Cutting my hair.

Yes, my own hair. And no, not just the bangs or whatever. All the hair. With layers and tapers and everything.

I've cut my own hair for years now. Of course, at the moment I'm trying to sound big and dramatic in the above paragraphs (is it a paragraph when it's only two phrases long?), but in reality, it's not such a big deal.

Unless you are interested in knowing how to cut your own hair. And save money. And make it exactly the length you want. And save money. And... I guess that's about it.

Anyway, this video is about 6 weeks old, but I filmed it especially for you. Feel privileged; it isn't anybody who could get me to post videos of myself dressed in a sloppy T-shirt and attacking myself with the scissors while my hair is pinned up in random places all over my head.    

Would you like to see how I cut my own hair? You must let me know, because if you don't really, really want to see it, there's no way I'm posting it. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

One Skirt, Two Looks

My heart is thoughtful today, not really focused on fashion, but I know I've left you alone for too long, so I thought I'd share photos of a new skirt.
Two different ways to wear the same skirt! I bought this lovely FULL skirt (more than a full circle) at Good Will, to re-sell on my website. In the process of prepping it for the site, I began to wonder how it would look on me. I tried it on.....and the rest is history. :)
The way I justified my "robbing Peter to pay Paul" was in the fact that this skirt was really versatile. SO many colors! I've worn this skirt countless ways since buying it a few weeks ago - different each time. It must match at least half a dozen shirts in my wardrobe. I'd call that efficient, wouldn't you? :)
Look #1: Dressy/Office. I wore this to volunteer at the Pregnancy Center. Shirt is from a school sale, and I almost regret owning it, because it's the kind of thing I don't like to wear alone. It always needs something under or above it, or at least filling in the neckline. I keep it around because I like the color and it works when I'm layering things, or have a scarf on top, like in this photo. The scarf, which is like new, is from GoodWill. Jewelry from WalMart, shoes from Payless.

Look #2: Casual. I made this shirt from an old T-shirt. I "frilled" the sleeves, and used the extra fabric to make flowers with button centers. I also took in the sides a bit. I needed a black casual shirt! See how well the skirt goes with black? It also matches orange, various pinks, navy, yellow, green, white... ...:)

Anyway, I must go for now. But tell me - what's the most versatile item in your closet?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Audrey Inspired

Well, you're getting a new post sooner than I thought you would!

I just had to share this outfit that I'm wearing today. It's simple and perhaps even so basic that it's boring, but I'd rather think "classic" than boring. :)

I don't usually copy exact outfits from people, but every now and then I see an outfit on a film or in a publicity still, or in a magazine, and think, "Oooh, I like it! That's worth trying!" Of course, usually it doesn't look anything like what it did on the other person, and I remind myself that I should just try to be me with my clothes. But today's try was fun.

The outfit was worn by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. I've got "disclaimers" for every actress I've ever seen, but I can say the same thing about somebody I saw in WalMart, too. :) I do like many of Audrey's outfits, and though I try not to "pour over" or obsess about any one person's looks or fashion, I will say I think she had a lot of class and good sense, especially in her younger years.

The outfit I wanted to try struck me because of its simplicity. It looks like something you can live in, ya know? When I came across a skirt that reminded me of hers, I knew at once I wanted to try this outfit.

Shirt: White button-down tunic with pleats. Works just fine as a regular blouse, too, and it doesn't "untuck" like many shirts do with my long torso! Was like-new at Good Will for $3.50.
Skirt: I bought this like-new skirt from Good Will for my website (yes, I sell clothes![]), but once I got it home, I thought "hmmm...would that fit me?" I tried it on, and I'm afraid it never made it to the website. :)
Belt: Another Goodwill find. Different Good Will this time. :)
Black Flats: From Payless on sale. I really want to find flat sandals that tie gladiator style, the way Audrey's do in this outfit, but I'm still looking. Didn't find any last summer, either. (If you spot some, please let me know!)
Scarf: Um....Good Will! $1.00.
Wow, I didn't realise until now that I'm basically a walking advertisement for Good Will! Oh well - it's one of my favorite places to shop!
The only thing I don't like about this outfit is the extreme lack of color. I don't look the greatest in white, but at least there's a scarf! I do like the idea, and I want to try something similar with a different (colored) blouse soon.
Edited to Add:
Later today I added a cardigan to this outfit. Wala! Here's my color!

So what do you think of the outfit? Close match? What is your priority when you select your outfit for the day? Comfort? Appearance? Warmth/Coolness? Colors you like?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I haven't deserted you....

...I've just lost my computer! Viruses are nasty. What diabolical mind would create something like that and send it out to ruin the lives of total strangers?

My laptop is in the shop right now, and I'm praying that I haven't lost all my files! I have stuff on there that I really, really, really don't want to lose. I've had the computer for 5 years, and I write books and run two businesses from it, so there's quite a bit of data on there!

I praise the Lord for what He is teaching me through this experience. Patience. Trust. Time management. Trust. Priorities. Trust. I am thankful for His loving heart, and His tender teaching!

But I'm still praying that I'll get my files back. Would you pray too?

Meanwhile, maybe you'll get a post or two, from my parent's computer....but not right now. :)