Sunday, October 12, 2014

DIY: Halloween Costume Ideas Part 2

I'm back with more DIY Halloween costume ideas - let's just get started!

DIY Frida Kahlo Costume
This costume seems fun to me, not only because of all the bright colors and statement jewelry you could wear, but because few other costumes call for a drawn-on unibrow and mustache on a lady. Rare opportunities should be savored! Frida was the coolest, and dressing like her is SO simple if you have any manner of bright, layer-friendly clothes and bold accessories. Don't forget the braids!

DIY Watermelon Slice Costume
This project is so painless, it might actually be easier than eating a watermelon slice (no messy hands either!). Find a pink dress, preferably A-line, cut out some green and white felt or fabric trim for the hem, attach with fabric glue and cut/glue black seeds all over the dress. Pair it with green tights or shoes and you're done! If you don't want to ruin (enhance?) the dress permanently, you can always use fabric tape or pins for the pieces instead.

DIY Paula Abdul & MC Skat Kat Costume
Couples costume! If you're not on the cutting edge of late 80s music videos and somehow don't know this rapping cat, watch the video first. Okay. Throw on a simple black dress, tights and heels with teased hair. Your partner wears a white tank top and sneakers, loose blue pants, suspenders and perhaps drawn on whiskers. MC Skat Kat has his own Wikipedia page, which describes him as a "street philosopher with an alley Kat point of view," if that helps you get into character.

DIY Jambi from Pee-Wee's Playhouse Costume
If you didn't have a Pee-Wee's Playhouse phase at some point, I'm genuinely sorry to hear that. Within the show there are so many good costume opportunities, but Jambi the Genie is as flashy as they come. Paint your face teal, with black winged eyeliner, gold brows and a ruby red lip. Tie a red scarf on your head and accent with a gold headband and jeweled brooch. For the box, cut and paint a cardboard box and decorate with gems. Wear a black turtleneck to create the illusion that you're a floating head. Throw on a single gold hoop and spend the night granting wishes, you magic maker.

DIY Paper Doll Costume
I might use this idea myself at some point, and I'd recommend this as a good last minute-ish costume. The idea here is to look like your "clothes" are sitting on top of your body, not that you're wearing them, like a paper doll. Cut out clothing shapes from poster board or foam board and either paint designs or cover them with scrapbook or wrapping paper. Make sure to draw paper 'tabs' around your clothes, which you should outline with a black marker. Attach ribbon to the back of the pieces and hang/attach to yourself. Throw on a doll wig for good measure too.

What kind of other fun Halloween DIY projects are you working on? Are you even dressing up this year? Did you expect to see a Paula Abdul costume here?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

DIY: Halloween Costume Ideas Part 1

I'm a fan of Halloween costumes. Super fan, really. I fantasize about having the kind of life which enables me to host multiple costume parties throughout the year so that I can bring all of my DIY costume ideas to fruition, but I'd probably start scraping the bottom of the barrel for party theme ideas and I'm not sure who would attend a summer solstice costume party. Especially so soon after the Flag Day costume gala.

Alas, I have too many ideas that I won't ever put to good use myself, but I know that most people don't want to go to the DIY costume extremes that I usually subject myself to (smart, people!) so I've compiled some costume ideas that are more about assembly than construction. Okay, there's a little felt cutting and gluing...I just can't get away from it! 

Here are some simple ideas that you won't see everyone else wearing at the Halloween party:

DIY Jackie O. Costume
Classic as hell. I once attempted this as a last minute costume, came up short on the outfit and had to ditch the concept. Therefore, it still lingers inside me as unfinished business. Let me live through you! All you need is a tailored looking outfit - anything with clean lines and modern style will work, giant sunglasses, and some smart accessories (DIY pillbox hats are surprisingly simple).

DIY Mommie Dearest Costume
I saw a tutorial of this costume last year, and loved how simple, yet instantly recognizable and clever it is. The trifecta of DIY costume ideas! All you need is a dark shirtdress or even nice robe, some white face makeup (your "lotion/mask"), white headband, curls, simple makeup and, of course, your wire hanger. (This is the one time wire hangers will be permitted.)

DIY Gumball Machine Costume
Throw on a red dress or red shirt/pants/skirt/whatever combo with a red beanie. To make the "glass" part, take a clear mixing bowl and fill it with colorful pom poms or actual gumballs, cover the top with cut-to-fit cardboard and tape around edges, attach ribbon straps to the sides of bowl and strap it around your neck and waist so that it sits over your stomach, like a pregnant belly, round side out. Cut out details like a coin slot from colored felt and pin/glue to dress. Chew on that!

DIY Maria from Guess Who? Costume
Maria is the coolest lady in the Guess Who? board game (of only, uh, five ladies - why was that? So easy to guess!). To dress like her, you need brown shoulder-length hair or a wig, a green beret, some drop pearl earrings and a swipe of coral lipstick. Cut out a hollow blue or red rectangle from foam board to frame your face and add "Maria" in letter stickers below.

DIY Slush Puppie Costume
Dress as this beloved purveyor of convenience store sugary drinks in a simple blue t-shirt with an "S" cut out of white felt and attached, white leggings, fuzzy white slippers, a blue beanie topped with a pom pom or cotton ball, and a drawn on doggy face. Bonus points for bringing an actual Slush Puppie, too. For the record, I take it with 3 pumps blue and 3 pumps green. Flavor mixer over here!

Check back soon for Part 2 of this series!
{Edit: It's HERE!}

Are you making a DIY Halloween costume this year? What is the best costume you've ever made? Don't you kinda wanna play Guess Who with me now?


Monday, September 29, 2014

FASHION: Great Moments in Jacket History

Ignoring the fact that I got burned yesterday in some unseasonably extreme sun, it is actually, finally, fall. This is the time for everything great: apples, pumpkins, beverages made with and inspired by apples and pumpkins, Halloween, layered clothing, fairs, crisp breezes, and significantly less boob sweat. Autumn is quintessentially New England; it's the prize for enduring long, snowy winters (except it shows up six months later - pretty rude, no?). A major player in cold weather fashion, the jacket, is more important that you may think. Obviously they keep you from getting chilly on jaunts between heated cars and buildings, but they also signal your fashion attitude to the world. I mean, you wear it over your clothes. That's the article of clothing most people see you in every day for months on end (or less if you're spectacularly lucky in your palm tree wonderland) so it should probably be awesome, or at least very you.

In celebration of this herald of autumn, I give you: Great Moments in Jacket History.

1: Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970
Is there a person on the planet who does not recognize this infamous hat toss? Okay, maybe babies, but most people not only know this image, but also can't help muttering "you're gonna make it after alllllll!" under their breath when seeing it. Just me? This jacket, a tasteful pea coat with metallic buttons, is appropriate for both a lady trying to 'make it on her own' and Minnesota winters. She really can do it all! You know this jacket moment is important because it has its own Wikipedia page and commemorative statue. Most people never even get that.


2: Adrian in Rocky, 1976
Picture this: a 13-year-old me, a junior high classroom, and a lazy teacher inexplicably forcing us to watch Rocky instead of doing the day's lesson plan. I was torn because any movie day is a good day, but I also didn't really care about Rocky. What I did care about was Adrian's amazing orange and cream jacket that was so deliciously 70s in its faux fur-trimmed glory. Still the #1 thing I remember from this movie. She's no slouch in the hat department, either. Well done, champ.


3: Denise Huxtable in The Cosby Show, 1984
Denise Huxtable looked good in literally everything. She tried 80s waterfall bangs, wore dad sweatshirts and tied random scraps of fabric around her head and still managed to be the hottest person in the room, even in a family of seven. Impressive. Her denim jacket is so effortlessly cool, and the perfect complement to this autumnally shaded look. Denim can go so wrong, so easily but her general chicness just makes it work. Also, please note that skirt above. True genius.


4: Carmen Sandiego in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, 1991
Whether you loved her or loathed her (why was she always hiding from you?!), you must admit one thing: Carmen wore the hell outta that red trench coat. She's a woman who knows what she likes in her look and sticks with it, literally forever. I can give a tip of the ol' giant red hat to that.


5: Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992
I've mentioned this before, but the fashion in the Buffy movie simply blew my second-grade mind. So much so, that I can't even choose one best jacket moment from the film because there are three that stick with me. There's the dreamy butter yellow leather jacket Buffy finds at the mall, the tough black moto jacket she tosses over her girly prom dress (because why not?) and the classic varsity jacket she wears to her first graveyard gig. This is a girl who doesn't let aggressive violence get in the way of accessorizing. Simply, she slays. (Sorry!)


6: Fran Fine in The Nanny, 1993
Go ahead, laugh. Maybe this furry leopard number is a bit over the top, and maybe you could do without the matching hat, but you can't argue that this character has one of the most memorable wardrobes in 90s sitcoms. I'm often drawn to things other people might refer to as "tacky" so I might be alone in this one, but I do think the 1993 version of you might have totally worn this jacket. Something about matching lapels and cuffs just gets me.


7: Daria Morgendorffer in Daria, 1997
The 90s poster girl for all young misanthropes, Daria was barely ever seen without her trademark green jacket. Paired with her black pleated skirt and calf-high combat boots, her look was no nonsense and all attitude. I always enjoyed episodes in which she wore different clothing (even once a pink crop top!) but her large-collared jacket was always a welcome return. The best part is that her look lends itself to a very easy Halloween costume!


8: Lindsay Weir in Freaks and Geeks, 1999
Lindsay was kind of like a real life Daria, or at least she probably would've been excited that I just called her that. She was finding herself and shedding her Mathlete image, facilitated largely by the addition of an oversized green army jacket. I like to imagine her picking it out and thinking, "Yes, this is just what a freak would wear!"


9: Penny Lane in Almost Famous, 2000
You got me again, faux fur lapel and cuffs. This film was well loved for a number of reasons, not least of which was Penny Lane and her 70s cool girl wardrobe. All you need to know about the aesthetic of this movie can be ascertained from that crochet halter top and the bold mustache peeking in from the bottom right corner of the above image (hi, dude!). This jacket was perfect for the time, the look and the character; I desperately want to pet it.


10: Britta Perry in Community, 2009
In more recent years, Britta has really picked up the reins in sitcom fashion (just like fellow study group-er Annie) and this girl loves a classic black leather jacket. Her style has that effortlessly cool look, even though she definitely spends significant time perfectly curling her hair like so. Her uniform of fitted pants and casual shirts would be pretty basic, though, if not for her collection of edgy jackets. This is the perfect mix of polished and thrown together - she totally "pulled a Britta" here!


What are your favorite jacket moments in history? What does your favorite coat or jacket look like? Found any great jackets for fall or winter lately? 
Show and tell me, jacket lovers!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

ROUNDUP: Amazing Fabrics

Bear with me - amazing is a bit hyperbolic…these fabrics aren't exactly the material equivalent of the Virgin Mary appearing in a grilled cheese, but they are fun to look at. Inspired by some vegetable themed fabric I purchased recently for a DIY circle skirt, I wanted to create this list of pretty, fun and all around cool fabrics for my fellow crafters out there. I could literally spend hours in the aisles of a fabric store, my necked craned sideways like I'm reading spines on library shelves, until I find THE ONE. There are too many good fabrics, and too few hours for sewing projects, so here I'll share with you the fabrics I have, want or wish I had the time to sew with.
1  //  2  //  3  //  4  //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9  //  10  //  11  //  12 
13  //  14  //  15  //  16  //  17  //  18  //  19  //  20  //  21  //  22  //  23  //  24

Are you working with any fabulous fabric right now? Got any cool fabric finds to share? Can you even imagine owning an ice cream sandwich print dress?!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

DIY: Hair Toner Adventures

I've been on a bit of a (overindulgent phrasing alert!) hair journey as of late, and en route from my trademark red mane to wherever I may land, I ended up somewhere I will kindly refer to as Orange Hair, USA. Okay, "orange" is sort of alarmist and panicky, but let's just say that where I was expecting to see golden sands, I instead got citrus groves.
Delicious, yes, but decidedly less appetizing growing out of your head.
In my years of hair dye adventures, I'd never allowed my hair to take the driver's seat, instead insisting on calling the shots and lead-footing all the way to burgundy, teal, purple, brown, blonde, clown red and every ill-advised stop at blue-black in between. This time, however, I'm suddenly carefree about where my hair may end up and have decided to just see how it reacts to processing. The only certainty is that it needs to no longer be red. I'm finally, after nearly a decade of on-again/off-again business, over red hair. (Mostly I just never want to clean up a bathroom that looks like a crime scene ever again.)

Maybe I'll see how close I can get to my childhood platinum, or maybe I'll go deep brown and look like I'm actually related to my family. My first step was simple: soap cap. A soap cap, or bleach bath, is a gentler way to lighten your hair than processing with just bleach. It involves mixing a batch of bleach and developer according to package instructions (I like Kaleidocolors in Violet and Salon Care 20 Volume Creme Developer), and adding an equal part, or more, of shampoo.
My preferred bleaching setup.
This mixture lightens hair without the harshness of normal bleach processing, but it also gives less effective results. I kept the soap cap on my hair for about 45 minutes (watching Blossom reruns, which is way darker/weirder than I remember, FYI), then waited another week to do the same (sans Blossom). I needed long process times because I'm lightening several shades and battling deep red box dye, which fades and bleeds right until you actually want it gone, and then decides to buy a 3-bedroom ranch style home and move in on your head. It won't budge! One more week and I did a third process, followed by Wella Color Charm T-18 Toner.
I figured by this point I'd be blinded by my flossy white locks, but was instead annoyed to see the aforementioned citrus groves, and planned to end it all with some ash brown dye. On a whim, I thought maybe I'd tint my brassy blonde with some DIY hair toner made from stuff I had around home. I know that sounds like the beginning of a horrifying anecdote (instead of the middle of a self involved hair essay!), but it actually worked out pretty well.

Purple tones neutralize yellow or brassy blonde because purple and yellow are complementary colors. I didn't want to chemically process my hair again just yet, and also didn't want to leave my apartment, so I whipped up a batch of what I hoped would be homemade purple hair toner.
The color wheel: not just for ninth grade art class!
In a perfect world this would've been more of a blue-ish purple since my hair was more orange than yellow (and blue and orange are complementary) but this is what I had on hand:

+ Purple Hair Dye (ion Color Brilliance in Lavender)
+ White Conditioner (cheap is fine)    + Mixing Bowl    + Tint Brush

Dump a bunch of conditioner in a mixing bowl and add a random blob of purple dye, like so:

Mix it all up until it's a lilac shade (I ended up making twice this much for my hair length).

Put it all over your hair - make sure to get it everywhere! Let it sit until you like the shade and then rinse well. I left mine on for 2 hours. Since "fun" color hair dyes are not really damaging (tons of people sleep in them!), my hair was fine afterwards.
I sectioned my hair to make sure I got it everywhere except my white-ish bangs, which would've turned purple.

My original strand test: after on the left, before on the right.
This stuff isn't going to lighten your hair, but it'll adjust the warmth. It probably won't affect SUPER brassy hair, but it made my hair feel like a real shade of blonde rather than an obvious work in progress. Plus, a total stranger got out of line at the grocery store to tell me that my hair color is, and I quote, "super pretty!" Honestly, that helped me feel better about my hair so if nothing else I encourage you to compliment strangers whenever the mood strikes because you could be saving them from dropping $18 on hair dye later that day.

Have you ever played hair chemist in your bathroom? Do you cut and/or dye your own hair? Can you believe how much I have to say about my hair? Please, shut me up by talking about your hair in the comments!


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