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Gobble Gobble

Just a quick post to say Happy Thanksgiving and of course Black Friday. Comical how we give thanks for everything we have then promptly go out and buy everything we don’t have. So here is a way to use up things you have in ways you might not have considered before. I am a bit of an organizational freak. By that I mean I’m pretty terrible at organization and hate myself for it, so am constantly looking for ways to improve that.

I have to wear a full face of makeup to work every day so my vanity drawer where my most used products are stored was getting a little overwhelmed. Enter gift boxes to the rescue.

I won’t show you before pictures of my vanity drawer, the horror is too graphic. I just used some of the gift boxes that I’ve saved over the years to reuse (or in this case repurpose) to give me some compartments to store my makeup in a more organized way. It saves me the hassle of digging around for one particular product and saves my products from getting tossed around and possibly broken in the drawers. I left some blank space in which to put pallets. They will, of course rotate out as the seasons and my mood change. Currently MAC and Too Faced holiday pallets have taken up residence but it allows me to wake up and not worry about hunting down what makeup I’m going to put on that morning.

Hope your holidays find you well.

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The Kitchen Island of Misfit Chairs

It’s not actually an island it’s a dining room table, but that didn’t sound nearly as festive.

So we received this table from a friend of ours. Who had previously got it from another friend of ours, and by the time that “first” owner had it the table was already second hand. So with this project I had the opportunity to do some serious archaeology.

When we received the chairs they had a lovely teal fabric on them. I wasn’t opposed to the teal but they were a little sun faded and stained from years of use and the cushioning was breaking down. I knew our friend hadn’t replaced the cushioning when she reupholstered instead opting just to recover the existing fabric. Which truth be told, is the only kind of upholstery work I’ve ever done.

So out the staples came to reveal what our other friend had for her chair cushions. Each chair a different pattern. We had actually considered doing this, all the same color scheme just different patterns, but eventually I found a bargain on some fabric I loved and just couldn’t pass it up. This is very much her style and her current dining setup has all different chairs not just different patterns on the same chairs.

So off that fabric came…. And what a surprise. The misfits were not the last layer. There was the most boring khaki color you have ever seen underneath.

So off that came as well. To reveal the horrors…

Turns out all of that work was for nothing, the seat bases were delaminating. Also the actual cushioning material was made out of an old egg crate mattress pad. Which was slightly horrifying. That didn’t matter as we planned on replacing that anyway. But the wood for the seats would have to be replaced.

Luckily one had already been replaced, two owners back if the fabric strata are to be believed. So that one was excellent to use as a template. We simply traced it out on our new sheet of plywood, used the table saw to rip it down and a jig saw to round the corners. And hey presto! New seats.

Next on to the foam padding, once again using the already refurbished one as a template.

Finally after the couple of bumps in the road (and a coffee cup full of staples… that could have made for a bad morning) we could get down to upholstery.

I’ve recovered a few things before, like I said I’ve never done it from scratch. The only real difference I found is that because you’re pulling on new foam and placing tension on the fabric you can if you’re not careful run into puckering. As long as you start from the middle, alternate sides, work towards the corners and be careful how much tension you put on the fabric you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

And always remember that if you do get puckering you can always pull out and replace staples to relieve it, mistakes are going to happen and they aren’t permanent in this case. I had to pull out quite a few on my first couple of chairs before I got the hang of it.

When all was said and done, we had lovely and oh so comfortable new seat cushions.

We also had a pile of old fabric and a coffee cup full of staples.

Also note I did not in any way try to center my pattern… do yourself a favor and do the same if you are trying this for the first time, from what I understand it’s not the easiest thing in the world

Next up we will be painting the chairs… wooo hooo!

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Ah Hahaha, I Ascend!

Preface: Yes that was a Borderlands reference. Yes they have been rather frequent of late. What can I say, I’ve been playing the hell out of some Pre-Sequel in what little free time I have.

So there was recently (and by recently I mean back on October 17th … of 2014 if you happen to be reading my backlogs) an article about millennials being pretty terrible at textile care. You can read it here. If you’re lazy though it basically says that due to our parents’ workplace demands and the lack of funding for things like home economics courses in schools we really don’t have a clue when it comes to darning socks and hemming pants and getting out grease stains or even (in some extreme cases) sewing on a button.

This blog post was really supposed to be about this little robot I met on Amazon.

I couldn’t resist him. So instead I have a blog post embedded in a blog post. His full story will be after the rantings.

Now I am technically a member of Generation Y or as it has been recently rechristened by the press a Millennial. For that matter so are pretty much all of my friends. And pretty much all of my friends know how to get spit up out of their clothes. They know how to sew on a button… They also know how to use a dry cleaner when necessary.

But there are a lot of things that we (my generation) didn’t have the privilege of having passed down to us. I was lucky. I have an amazing grandmother who can sew and crochet circles around most people. When I was 17-18 years old she mentored me through my senior project of making a quilt. … A freaking quilt.

Yup! This quilt here, which due to my glorious lack of children has been adopted by my cat… oh god I sound like those forever alone people.

So yes I have hemmed my pants, I have sewn an invisible zipper back into a skirt, I have put a new lining into a favorite vest, I’ve even been known to darn a favorite pair of socks or that oversized cardigan that I just can’t bring myself to give up. But again I’m one of the lucky ones. I also know when it’s going to be cheaper, cost and time wise to just throw it away and buy a new one. Unfortunately that’s most of the time. The aforementioned article states that 5.7% of solid waste was textiles in 2012. Likely because in the 20 minutes that it would take to sew in a $5 zipper on a pair of faded pants, you could have bought a brand new pair for $30. In that 20 minutes earning optimistically for a 20 something $500 a week and having student debt in excess of $15,000 … you could just buy the damned pants and save yourself the heartache… or you could just learn how to sew and save yourself $25. You may not have an amazing grandmother to teach you how to sew, but there are lots of amazing grandmothers on YouTube that will teach you. Go find them.

So on to the meat of the story.

I met a little robot on Amazon I couldn’t resist. The kit came with absolutely everything you need including the little tiny hoop and it was less than $4 with free shipping.

Cross stitch is really very simple and importantly for me, very relaxing. You make a bunch of little slash marks then go back over them the opposite direction to make crosses.

This leaves the back of your stitching with lots of vertical lines.

Time for the tin man to get his heart.

Then it’s on to backstitching. Which is exactly what it sounds like.

You make straight stitches then go back on them to make a solid line.

Now he just needs some eyes.

Oh no! not dead eyes.

In addition to having an amazing grandmother I also once had an amazing art teacher. She gave us a cross stitching assignment once. We had to design our own pattern. Which involved the mathematics of figuring out the symmetry of the pattern and the midpoint/starting point. It also gave us sewing skills. Needless to say a bunch of 11 year old boys in the class weren’t particularly thrilled about it when we first started. Then they figured out the pattern could be anything they wanted as long as it had either horizontal or vertical symmetry. There were lots of flames and skulls and cars. It was pretty cool to see my classmates sewing away at their crazy creations. I’m really thankful I had such wonderful teachers both inside and outside the classroom growing up.

Tah! Dah!

I also highly recommend a project like this to any teachers or parents looking for projects for their kids. Cross stitching needles are blunt so no worries there and you can also get the plastic canvas style needlepoint for even smaller fingers.

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I want to be in a video game when I grow up

So this year my boyfriend got in on the action.

A friend of ours sent him a makeup look for Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 (if you don’t know who that is you don’t spend enough time on your computer).

Or I could just insert the video and be nice

He then got it in his mind that he wanted to be Handsome Jack for Halloween. Admittedly he does have the cartoonish eyebrows for him. If not the cartoonish jawline (thank god, I’d poke an eye out on that)

This got me pondering Handsome Jack’s brackets… and how the hell I was going to do those. Technically its one hinge (at the chin) and two latches (at the brows) so you could imagine the mask unlatching and hinging downward. If you haven’t played the Pre-Sequel, do yourself a favor and don’t google Handsome Jack as to avoid spoilers as to how he got that way. Then go play it.

In the tutorial I linked they use prosthetics made by a prop house. Unfortunately I’m not that fancy. I was going to use duct tape. And no I was NOT going to just stick duct tape to my boyfriend’s face (that is occasionally tempting). I was going to layer it and cut it into the required shape, and voila it’s already the necessary color. Alas I didn’t have any and am too lazy to buy any if I think I have an adequate substitute. Enter felt and silver paint.

Really old silver paint, just laying around the house. Like the consistency of pudding old. That’s how I do it.

I essentially soaked the felt in silver pain and let it dry overnight. I then cut it to approximate size, rolled up one end and hot glued it to create the hinge pin ends. After that I gave it one more coat of the silver paint. Once all that paint was dried I was worried about it retaining flexibility but it still contoured to the face and apparently wasn’t really uncomfortable. I just did a final cut down to size and shape and put in detail work with a black sharpie marker.

 

They are easily applied with liberal amounts of lash glue (or liquid latex).

Then It was on to the makeup. I don’t really have much to say about this process, except refer to the video, and still shots of the character, and don’t be afraid to alter the character to suit your (or the person you are working on’s face). My boyfiend has a smaller forehead and wider jawline than Jack so lines had to be altered a bit. That makes the character no less recognizable.

Also make sure you exfoliate and moisturize prior to application. I had never worked on a man’s face before and though it doesn’t really matter to me, a face is a face all of them have different lines you have to work with. I had forgotten how hard it is to blend product on dry skin, always having had oily skin myself and having worked on the skin of women who don’t have stubble and moisturize regularly.…. Let me put it this way things do not like to blend on dry skin so make sure all of your dead dry skin is gone before you try to do any kind of intensive makeup look like this. Sorry honey, I just got after you on the internets J

 

So this is just the preliminary attempt. Sorry for the slightly ridiculous lighting and the ever present cat. I used mostly powder products over a cream base in the preliminary attempt. Another mistake if you have dry skin. Oh and the streak of grey both in this and the final version was just achieved with some dry shampoo. I like Batiste brand, but whatever floats your boat.

The final run Halloween morning I used cream products and just set everything with powders of corresponding colors. It didn’t turn out too shabby. He still could have used some more shadows through the laugh lines and what not but… not half bad. Who knows maybe i’ll be Tiny Tina next year.