Friday, September 27, 2013

Tales Of Trial and Terror: Diary Of A Copy Cat.

I am crazy over the new eyeball trend... crazy, I say!
Meagan Kyla over at Coffin Kitsch has only intensified that extreme desire to own these goodies with her recent posts.

In the past, when I was selling my wares, the eyeball hair flowers and skull bows were one of my biggest hits. But this renewed hairbow trend has opened up an aspect of detail that never occurred to me, and adds oodles of dimensions to the otherwise planar surface. They utilize the beauty of the doll eye, which is readily available where ever you can find doll making supplies; a quick google search for 'doll eyes' yielded this supplier with a wonderful array of doll eyes in a few sizes: Enchanted Doll Eyes, but as a note, I've never shopped there, so I cannot vouch for the vendor.

Anywho-- as far as I understand, eyeball hairbows in particular are trending pretty strongly in Asian countries, such as Korea and Japan. This certain type of hairbow seems to be most available to us North American buyers either through Ebay or Kreepsville.

I'm faaaar too cheap to buy anything that simplistic, but it's so cute it merits the effort to attempt to make them-- ala, knock off. Shhh, keep it on the DL.

Source: Aliexpress

It should be said that the supplies for such a task is not cheaper if you're planning on making just a sole pair of hairbows. The price of the supplies totals roughly $47-- let's say $50.00 for good measure; a single pair from Kreepsville will run you $19, (ball parking shipping at about $5.00-- exaggerated slightly again to be sure) $20 to make it even. So say you planned on making a plethora of colors? This would mean you'll only have to make 3 pairs to break even.



The only thing purchased new in this lot was the hair snaps and the sculpey oven baked clay-- a total of about $9.00 from Walmart. The rest was what I already had; if you want a rough (slightly rounded up) price break down, here ya go:

  • Modge Podge-- I believe I purchased for about $5.00. Ideally you'll want an actual polymer gloss glaze, and it's about $5.00 too 
  • Acrylic paints-- assuming you just get the primaries and black and white is about $1 a bottle; so about $5.00
  • Specialized duct tape-- depending where you go, it could be cheaper or more expensive, mine was $8. (I went the expensive route cause I could not wait at that time of purchase)
  • Glue gun-- I bought mine with a coupon, I don't remember the original price, but I bought mine for about $7.00.
  • Resin or in my case model water-- $13. We have long been planning on building the U.S.S Constitution on water... that is why we have it. Ideally you want liquid polymer clay, and that'll run for roughly $10
I'm not going to include the palette, baby powder and measuring spoons because I'm just going to assume that somewhere in the household there is something similar-- if not, then it's super duper cheap to get them at the dollar store. 

In the beginning of the year, I had been casually toying with the idea of duct tape couture, though it fizzled out fairly quick-- I had this idea of making a black duct tape corset with lots of bows, and neat cutouts; it's the reason I had bought all these rolls of black duct tape I now have-- blasted impulse. Who knows, I may yet go back to drafting-- thinking on it has rekindled that desire...
Well in my research I stumbled upon this slice of awesome DIY from The Ribbon Retreat Blog-- it is by far the best tutorial I have found for making duct tape bows.




During my frenzy for eyeball related jewelry, I found yet another fabulous tutorial on creating a life-like eye by Make It With Me blog. Although I must confess, I took plenty of liberties and deviated greatly from her tutelage...
I found that my method for the base of the eye is a little easier and quicker than her method, but it does lack the 3D pupil.



I found that a measuring spoon was excellent for making a perfectly shaped flat-back eye-- and in many different sizes! The bottom of the measuring spoon also worked in making the dimple for the iris

Sadly, the downfall of this trail came in the form of E-Z Water...


I had suspected it would not work out to be clear because the pellets had a yellowish tinge... add to the fact they were pellets and not a nozzled bottle of greatness in a bottle (liquid polymer-- it dries clear).
It was a hassle melting and then pouring the product into the eyes, and it always came out a little bubbly despite following and even cutting the melting time after each trial.



Even when I did manage to keep the bubbles close to none, the yellow coloring really threw off the color of the iris. She doesn't mention using glaze, but I wanted a sort of glossy-wet look, and I had hoped Modge Podge was a good substitute for this... well it wasn't. As thin as I tried to coat it, it still came out too textured. Hopefully soon I can nab myself a bottle of liquid polymer and glossy glaze.

Top one is supposed to be purple, but the yellowing turned it somewhat brown
From close up, you can see every imperfection of my first trials (the more successful ones, at that).
However from afar...



It's not so bad! 

Edit to add 09/29/2013:
Alright, so I mentioned in the comments below, I think I'm getting the hang of reducing the yellowing occuring with the E-Z water, along with minor differences in the amount of bubbling. All I did was reduce the depth of the dimple for the iris by about half of what I was initially doing. Take a look for yourself!



 I also took the chance at creating the 3D pupil and baking it inside the dimple; most times it didn't stick on its own so I had to glue it in before painting. I think there's a special polymer glue for this situation... but in my case, I just used super glue. I also tried adding some glitter into the iris using some of my glitter nail polish.


Turned out much better than the first day of making eyeballs, but there is yet another problem with the addition to the new 3D pupil. The E-Z water now bubbles only around the pupil, instead of all around the iris. I'm determined to get this right!

In the meantime, a very minor detail was also bothering me-- the white outline of the tape around the cut edges. I fixed it with a little bit of black paint and sealed it with modge podge for gloss effect.

Left: unpainted, Right: Painted
Here are a couple new shots of the latest bows:






Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: Zen And The Art Of Organization

I'm a chronic sufferer of severe disorganization.
This is reflected in each and every aspect of my life, from prioritizing the importance of things (or lack there of, in my case), into how I stow my possessions. There is no order in my general thought process.

Taking it easy? I've never known the meaning of this idiom... except when it comes to money, but that's another monster I dare not confront just yet.
My current battle has been on going since Ms Misantropia announced her Whiter & Lighter challenge back in March. I took this very seriously, because my complete lack of order clashes horribly with my husband's un-diagnosed (and in denial) OCD... I mean, he flips out if the blanket is on its "wrong side" and doesn't sleep a wink until it's fixed, or if one of his shirts isn't hanging correctly-- god forbid if it is in the wrong type and color section.

But, I am deviating from my actual point.
It's safe to say that my disorderly conduct is one of the key causes to his, and by relation, my own absurdly high stress levels. I would like it to change because it would be nice if I didn't have to frantically look for something because of my mess.

I utilized the challenge as an excuse to finally formulate a proper plan of attack; I never knew I could be so methodical, which was nice. I took care of my sewing room for the challenge, and am quite happy to say that its never again gotten to the point it once was... there's still room for lots of improvement, however; my desk top fluctuates heavily from messy to organized, and so does my fabric stash.

A little later down the timeline, I organized my closet and vanity dresser, and also by relation, I organized my clothing which was always strewn across the floor, a shelf we have in the bedroom, and piled high instead of hung in the closet. It also stays relatively organized currently.

And now, I would like to show you all another moment of pride materialized as... 

An organized bathroom <gasp and awe>.

I took my butt over to the dollar store while I was out doing the shopping of the previous post, picked up several baskets, and organized all my primping gear. Finally!
Things sure accumulate fast when you're establishing your presence in a home, even it is has been about 2 years already...

This is how it looked like before.... yuck!

Digging through that silver shelf unit and underneath the sink revealed plenty of unwanted and overdue products and cosmetics. I didn't know I hoarded so much unwanted stuffs.
It doesn't look like I made a dent, but believe you me... it now accurately reflects all I have left.
Sadly, it's one of those situations where it's constantly being added to-- my mother is very generous, and every once in a while sends me huge care packages containing the latest Canadian cosmetics and things. Not that I'm complaining by a long shot, but it does mean I'll be reorienting the contents of this bathroom often-- it's the one area my husband nags me most about.

I found myself at a stand-still when realizing that shoving all my cosmetics into a basket won't resolve the issue because I'll just dump it out on the counter to find what I'm looking for, thus perpetuating the cycle of disorganization.
So, armed with a cereal box, an ash tray, a candle holder, and of course pinterest...

I turned this

Into this

And divided the misc basket with cereal box cardboard dividers

The glass tray now holds all of the most used items, and the basket holds the rest in a very orderly fashion.
The great thing is that since everything is neat, pretty and easy to find/access, I've been able to inhibit the habit of "chucking" it all into a pile.

Another step closer to zen...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spooky Basket: The 'Get Well' Gift That Gave In Abundance.

My mother had sent me some money and well wishes during this time of austerity and health concerns-- she felt I had been cooping and sulking all this time, and wanted to give me an excuse to get out.
She was completely right, I had been doing just that.

She left a message in the gram "Happy shopping, I love u!".
I couldn't help but feel like a child again-- in a good way-- being loved by your momma, and feeling giddy at having cash in my pocket purely for spending on little frivolities.

Her intense generosity is a reminder of how much I miss her company, because with all the things I bought with this money, I would be testing or sewing it with her; she would let me do her makeup while we watched our dramas and chick flicks, and she would sit and chat with me while together we would sew something up. They are always times I really cherish; thanks to this blog, I can keep showing her what I've been up to and what I purchased with her gift.

Usually I go into shops not really knowing for sure what I am going to purchase, but with a very vague idea of what I want to try out. This time, I let myself strategically plot the coming months with the projects, and purchased accordingly.

I've been coveting the dresses from Hell Bunny... specifically these dresses:
Source: Unknown
Source: Atomic Cherry

But I can't seem to find where to purchase the first, and further more... they seem simple enough to add my own twist to; A.K.A recreating them myself.

Since making this apron for what feels like forever-and-a-half ago, I felt like I really needed an actual dress that was similar to it... I still have a few yardage left over of the day of the dead fabric. This Hell Bunny dress was just the inspiration I needed to pool my motivation into buying the notions needed to make it happen-- minus the pom pom trim... I'm not sure if that'll make it to the final dress, heh.


This came into the lap of having the desire to try out more patterns, and having a few on my wishlist that I really wanted to experiment with. Patterns are a nice way to bide my time, because I don't have all the tools I need to draft the more complex patterns, at present; they lie somewhere in the cavernous abyss I call the boxes I packed back in Canada.... and I've been too incredibly lazy lately to draft them anywho.

Entrez Halloween fabric and patterns.



They're all New Look patterns... what can I say, I love a decent sewing challenge, despite my laziness-- and New Look offers just that.
The two upper fabrics weren't purchased with the money my mother gave me, and are probably not going to be turned into dresses because of the nature of the type of material; I had purchased these very late in August, and just hadn't blogged about them yet.
The spider damask is very thick, and has an almost flocked silvery pattern-- I find it suitable only for a vest or maybe some other accessories. The pumpkin and candy fabric has glitter in the weave, also making it rather sturdy-- I have a very cute corset in mind for this fabric.

Now the lower two... these will be dresses, along with the day of the dead fabric.

The eyeball fabric will be view A from pattern 6457, the spiders will be made into view D from pattern 6143, and the day of the dead into view C of pattern 6208 (all circled in the fancy frame)

Eyeball

Spider

Skulls

After having purchased this mess of notions, fabrics, and patterns, I actually had lots of money left over (you can thank preparation and planning for that!). After having visited Walmart and Joann's, off I went into the malls of madness, not far from where the two stores were located...


I took a visit to Hot Topic hoping to find the Black Heart skull shaped nail polishes, after seeing the post Karoliina published on her blog. Indeed, they were there... and much much more skull shaped cosmetics that I regret not cleaning them out of. The rest of the cosmetics were found at Walgreens, Target, Walmart and Dollar General. I'll make a proper post of all these in the future, once my trials are done.

While in target, I happened upon the shoe section... nothing much of note... that is, until I hit the children's section. Behold!


And they were on sale for about $8... which makes it that much sweeter. Size 5 is the highest they went; sometimes it really pays to have such tiny feet.
Sadly, when I got home, the fresh scent of virgin shoes lured my cat once again... and off went one of the rhinestone buttons.


You'd think I'd learn my lesson from the first time, right? ... wrong. Luckily, I was going to change the buttons anyway-- I just haven't decided if I am to use bat or skull buttons... hmmm.
I love how they very nearly match the color of my favorite nail polishes (including the new), and my new baked eyeshadow from Hard Candy in Super Nova.



I sense an outfit brewing.... Thanks, Momma!

P.S. That reminds me... I still need to work on this, which by majority vote turned out to be the shorts. I have so much to do now! How exciting!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fashioning My Cyber Microcosm: "Hmph" Said The Bat

The month has been creeping by slower than I could possibly tolerate.
Unfortunately, just days after my last post, I became a bit sick.

Gallstones-- hooray. <rolls eyes>

Having to actively monitor what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat, before I receive the surgery has become such a drag...
It's a hurdle that feels much like weaning off some drug I was addicted to... I am definitely not happy if I don't get to eat whatever I damn well please... but such is the life of a person who disregards structure in many senses (most cases without intent)... including healthy habits, much to the dismay of the loved ones.

You see, I found myself in this predicament purely because of how seldom I actually eat; not how badly the foods I eat are. Ordinarily, my meals (when eaten) are highly balanced-- meat, grain, veggies... the whole deal. But I have been indulging myself in high fat meats in the past months; pork and beef. And since I am genetically predisposed to gallstones, this caused my system a bit of a shock and thus gallstones were formed and now causing heaps of pain.
It's not entirely my fault-- that is to say, my budget for groceries is quite strict, limiting the amount of proper ingredients I'm able to purchase... and as of late, the price of chicken and fish has been sky rocketing out of control at our local grocers. They seemed to have raised all their prices, matter of fact...
They're the only supermarket within a 40 mile radius, sadly, and lets be frank... their "fresh" food is never the freshest; the veggies go bad within days of purchase, and you ought to watch their dairy because they're always trying to foist off their past dues to an unsuspecting poor devil.
It happened to me twice... the last time was a very bitter and chunky guava yogurt drink-- I was looking forward all day to my treat that I simply forgot to check the date; the time of purchase it was already 2 days past due. At least it was only 2 dollars...

We bit the bullet and bought the exorbitant chicken and fish so that I can have some joy during the most eventful part of my daily existence... I can't and won't live on just salad-- I absolutely refuse to. I have always refused eating what cannot provoke a positive emotion from me, and salad in every form has always been at the tippity top.
But you want to know the real irony? Whatever power saw it fit to do this to me dealt its final blow with a sinus cold. So not only can I not eat what I want, but the foods I can eat... I can't taste. At all. For a few days now...

So, here I am, typing this obnoxiously long post with nary a positive point so far...
You all deserve at least one... let's see...

I made this thing in a bout of frustration at seeing the bathroom so tremendously cluttered with my primping gear.


Or at least I think I was frustrated at the mess... it could've been just the catalyst and focus to my frustrations for the former subject.

It is made from the junk I have lying around the house; a box, and a few random containers (tea tins, and Parmesan jar)


I simply traced where I wanted them to sit on the rectangular box, cut it out, placed the jars in and taped the sucker up with masking and duct tape.


And so ends the jumbled display of heat styling tools upon the bathroom shelf... next step is de-cluttering the rest of the bathroom. The tea tins give the added bonus of not having to wait till my flat iron or curling iron cools down before I can put them up.

Mind you, it's not going to remain undecorated-- I wholly intend on doing so, but at the moment I haven't found trimmings that fill me with gusto. One absent feature is certain, however, I am going to put a couple strips of magnet so I can store my pin curl clips in an orderly fashion.

... funny... I don't even know how to use these tools properly... they're purely for experimentation and attempts at doing my hair up in ways other than a pony tail or side braid. Hmph.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spooky Basket: Duping A Dud.

This may be old news to the make up aficionados out there, but for a fledgling lover of make up... I heard about this just a few months ago, and was fervently looking for a really good dupe.

Sigma has within its vendible a glove that looks distinctly like an oven mitt. Hell, if you didn't know any better, you might assume it was just that by looking at it... but it's in fact an aid to cleaning your makeup brushes.

Source: Sigma
I've seen enough youtube videos to be convinced of its usefulness-- despite what I'm about to show & tell you, I still secretly wish I could justify making the purchase of one...
It's listed at $35.00 US, on top of shipping that will round it to roughly $40 for the "brush cleaning" glove (aka oven mitt).
I have a hunch that a large portion of the payment is simply because of the Sigma brand name... otherwise, I don't think it would be so exorbitant.

The argument, or rather debate, about these gloves is that it is an investment; you spend a lot of money on good brushes, why not the products you use to keep them in tip top? And I fully agree, I would definitely consider this a type of investment... if I wasn't so damn stringy, and it didn't cost more than my entire collection of brushes (which, to be honest, was all ebayed anyway). They debate that you'll constantly spend money on replacing washcloths you might use to wash the brushes on, or you'll waste much more brush cleaning soap just using the palm of your hands-- on top of it being the less sanitary solution to cleaning.
Once again, I don't disagree.

Source: Secretlifeofabionerd @youtube
I caught wind of many dupes; the most popular DIY dupe being from a Secret Life of a Bio Nerd. It's a great temporary dupe. And that's the problem I have with it-- it doesn't last long in the hands of a person who cleans their brushes after every use; the glue begins chipping and lifting due to the soap and water... but perhaps it was the intensity of the type of glue I used... in any case, it's not a good long term dupe, though it is super crafty and creative.

Second dupe was buying an actual oven mitt with similar ridges and bumps
Source: Amazon

Now I like this dupe... a lot...
But I have yet to get around to buying one. If and when I purchase a silicone oven mitt, I will have to do a few tests and see if silicone caulking will actually stick to silicone, in order to create more ridges and bumps for cleaning the brushes.
I bet a tile version of the tablet with caulking instead of glue will actually be a fantastic long term dupe... hmm.

In the end, I think the best dupe for your buck is in fact a cellulite massage glove. Yup... those things that claim to work but really don't, so you end up donating them...
They're usually on clearance somewhere.
Well, after searching a while on ebay... I finally found one that for lack of a better word, fit like a glove. It had the right price ($2.99 with free shipping), and it had all the right ridges to that of the Sigma.

From this Ebayer: Verticalland


The only problems were being unable to actually pick the color-- which bummed me out a bit since there's a chance at receiving a purple one-- and it isn't as all encompassing on the hand like an actual mitt. Also the massager in the image in the listing is obviously bigger than it really is, but at least the description was quite accurate.


Look, it even has the wavvy bit that is used as the rinse out section!


So far, this has been exponentially better than what I was using before, which by the way was still really awesome; a silicone pot holder. And was a lot better than just using my hands (before the potholder).


However, since neither item offers the prowess of the shaping section of the Sigma glove... I had to bring in a helper: a beard comb.


A remarkable little tool to use in shaping out your brushes, not just for a man's beard... I think I like it even better than the section of Sigma's glove since I have more maneuverability than simply swiping between my fingers. It also helps the cleaning process too, eliminating excess soap that remain in the center of the brush-- you might be surprised at how much doesn't rinse out. It's also super cheap, and always comes with a beard grooming kit that includes scissors.


As a bonus, a good DIY brush cleaning dupe to Mac's brush cleanser is Enkoremakeup's recipe; I fracking love it. Not only can you feel the difference in the cleanliness and softness of your brushes (yes, even synthetic), but if you use The Aussie products and Dawn Lavender dish soap... my god, your nose will be in heaven-- at least mine always is when I wash with this. I love it much much better than the one I was previously raving about in this post.

And that's that; for those of you wondering, I clean my brushes after every use, since here in AZ it gets very dusty and hot. It doesn't afford me the luxury of just keeping my brushes out of their cases, where they will likely accumulate tons of bacteria from the heat. It's also a good practice in general to keep your face from breaking out badly-- my skin reacts badly to even a day old used brush.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: Sophisticated Kitty Shoes

I'm not sure whether it was pure happenstance, but when Mrs. Kitty over at Sophistique Noir announced her latest monthly theme I couldn't help but to laugh.

This month's theme is "Special Occasions".
And here's why it struck me as amusing...

Today is the exact day my beloved kitty Poe was born; his first full year of life.
Since adopting him, I tried to chronicle most of his growth... but the other photos didn't quite fit in to this little collage, so there's a considerable gap.

From tea-cup kitty to cool cat

Last Saturday, my husband and I were invited to the wedding of one of his colleagues. I was particularly excited because only a mere week before I got my hands on a beautiful pair of t-strap vinyl pumps, and at quite the bargain of just $7 from Payless Shoes.
I had kept them nice and packed away, and waited for the right time to bust them out-- and happily it was not a very long time.

New and ready to be blogged about...


The day of the wedding came, and I promised my neighbor I would help her pick out her outfit and do her make up and hair. So over next door I went, unaware that during the commotion in the house and my sudden absence after said commotion, that my own Mr. Kitty decided to have a vinyl snack...


Poe is the first cat I've been raising from kitten-hood... he's also the first cat I could truly call my own. In the short time I've had him, he's made me realize one unequivocal fact: as a cat owner, you come know and accept that sometimes owning something in its original bought state is a pure luxury. Poe is a firecracker compared to the gentleness of my late dog Chico, but in being the little pest that Poe is, his exuberance has led to some very savvy ways of fixing what he fraught with destruction: my sewing machine cover, lots of thought as to how one should decorate the house, and these pumps-- among various other disasters.

As an avid believer that nothing is too far gone to do nothing with, I took my anger and frustrations and went into my creative laboratory.



So with a little glue, some lace, and bows....
I managed to recreate and even exceed the beauty of the former heels.



I guess I have Poe to thank for all the forced moments of angry creativity he's given me thus far...


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