Sunday, 26 February 2017

February 2017


General Life Stuff

It's been a good month as far as weather is concerned. We've been out walking a few times and although the photo below looks cold, it was almost fifteen degrees out! We're slipping back into a cold spell but I'm sure it'll be brief and spring will be at our doorstep in no time. :) In total we've only really had maybe a month and a half of snow. This has been one of the warmest and most awesome winters I've ever experienced. I didn't even struggle too much with my SAD this winter. 

I just celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday, my brother is getting his own place, and I've gotten back into the habit of drawing. I baked a delicious plum pie on Family Day (just a day off for most) and I'm planning on whipping up a batch of pumpkin spice chocolate chip squares. I'm already in the mood for Halloween. I know, it's too early! Perhaps it's a combination of things...like how the fluctuating temperatures feel distinctly like autumn, or maybe it's my favorite pumpkin spice decaf tea, or that I've returned to making my Halloween folk art.

I've cumulatively missed months of work and I need to sell more products to make up for the financial loss. For the month of February my Etsy revenue has almost reached $100. It may not seem like much but for pattern sellers that's a solid number. Surprisingly, the bulk of my sold patterns did not come from my sales event(?). I guess February is just a good month to shop.


And this is why I've returned to my folk art, I need $$$! Of course this means tampering with more prototypes, however, the prototypes are in such good condition that I'm comfortable selling them in the shop. I think now it's come to a point where I'm experimenting with materials to find the right style as opposed to wrestling with techniques that don't work, like rusting wires and varnishes that don't seal or look like they're supposed to. The Halloween inventory needs to be completed by the summertime because that's when I'll transition into Christmas. I'm making a combination of dolls and figurines - especially figurines because there's less work and materials involved in their creation. I've already purchased a new blog template and I'll be buying a domain name and hosting through blogger. My hope is to launch both the site and Etsy shop by April. I'll have to work out marketing and I dread the social media aspect, but I know it's important in some instances. Ultimately this blog may be put on hiatus as I transition into working part time on my art. I'd love to go full time but I know that's not until I cultivate a good following of art collectors. 

On top of that there's still the desire to make a graphic novel. I had written a script for a supernatural thriller involving a young student who becomes like a seer of the paranormal, but I'm not sold on it. It's something I figure I'll return to in the future, it's just not as cool or fun as my other ideas. I've already ditched the adaptation of the short story involving an abused girl because I couldn't translate it into graphic format without somehow cheapening the message. Maybe some day but not now. Instead I have two comics that I'm working on that I really enjoy, but before I can tackle them I have to learn perspective, anatomy and create intriguing character designs. It'll be months before I'm ready to commit.

Health & Wellness 

I can't say much has happened this month. I've been sick for 90% of it. In my last update I discussed some test results and my dietary change. I've been back eating gluten ever since and I hate every minute of it. It's gotten to the point that I'm scarfing down gluten free food like it's drugs. I've had gastric upset all the while, waking up at 2am to puke up bile, roll around on the floor sobbing and damning it all to hell. My physio therapist was floored that we were even doing this, her words: "but you already know you have an intolerance to gluten, what's the point of subjecting you to this testing? You're not going to eat gluten ever again, anyway." Right?! To prove something, I guess. To have an answer that the doctor can actually give so he can pat himself on the back and say he's done his job.

According to one person's account, following their own gluten challenge, determining if you have Celiac or Colitis is important for prevention of other associated cancers and diseases. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but knowing that Crohn's opens up its own bag of worms I can't say I'm too surprised. I keep trying to remind myself that maybe that's why we're putting me through all this shit. I've already gained four or five pounds by going back on bread alone and I swell up like a pregnant lady. It's monstrous stuff that leaves me hungrier than I've ever been before. I'm overeating because of illness and because, well, it's bread! If you've struggled with your weight and you've never removed gluten before, do it. You might be surprised to find a change for the better. And nix dairy while you're at it, that shit's not much better.

I'm awaiting the results of the CT scan which left me puking and crapping my guts out for a whole day. I literally was sitting in a puddle of my own vomit, soaked and freezing, while hospital staff scrambled to clean me up. I guess my stomach couldn't take the abuse from the 250ml laxative they administered me. :( I still have one more test after the CT scan, an endoscopy of the stomach. Then we've exhausted what the gastroenterologist can do. I'm planning on following up with my family doctor asap as I've been having debilitating body pains again, fevers have been consistent, I have maybe 40% left of my hair and it's dwindling daily, and my immune system is so shot I can't escape the flu bugs going around!



Sewing & Blog Stuff

^ This is a sneak peek of what I've been working on. I was hammering away at this project when my diet switched and now it, like my incomplete dress, is sitting in hiatus mode. The problem is that I'm bloated and have gained some weight, so any alterations I make as this point might affect the fit a month from now. There's no point tailoring it to fit my bloated body if I'm not going to be bloated come summertime. I might finish the dress because it does have stretch to it, so maybe in the coming weeks that will be done, but my summer wardrobe will have to wait. :( I bought some great fabrics, a beautiful tropical crepe for a 40's dress, a sunny yellow cotton sateen for a groovy pair of high waisted 50's pants, a beautiful coral cotton for a sexy 60's wiggle dress, and I have all my floral prints, denims, and chiffons for my alternative wardrobe. This year is becoming largely alt fashion. My summer wardrobe always leans away from goth, mostly because black and sun don't marry well, but I'm looking extra corpse like thanks to being sick. X(

The future of my wardrobe will be all over the fucking place. It should be fun! :)


What have you been up to, lovelies?

Best,


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Beauty trends that I'm already over


Trends that need to end, like now, please.

Last year I described some trends that I was either sick to death of or hated from the very beginning. A few of those things are still occurring today, for example, Killstar has continued with its famed prints. Worse yet, it's been copied by brands like Banned Apparel and Jawbreaker! So much for originality. Occult prints have shown no sign of stopping but the fad has definitely slowed down. I can safely say the same for profanity slogan tees and bodysuits. Perhaps practicality might have effected those sales and put an end to most of it. 

This year my thoughts have settled less on garment style and more on hair and makeup. Since all that's popular in mainstream media is "street fashion" (which isn't even an actual fashion movement, it's just a mashup of everyone's different tastes), there's not much to critique this spring in Goth and Alt catalogs. It's all very boring in fact lol. There's very run of the mill products this year, lots of knits, tees, and jogging pants. I can't complain about pants, we need pants. No, instead my focus has been drawn to the things that won't stop popping up in my Pinterest feed...


Pastel Hair

It looks good on almost nobody, unless you happen to be sixteen and still have radiance to your skin. I recall when it was cool to dye your hair an unusual colour but now it's terribly mainstream and you'd be daring if you dyed your hair a normal colour! What is it that bothers me so much about smoky pink, smoky lavender and smoky turquoise? Well, for starters, why does it have to be smoky anything? Why can't it be vibrant? But more importantly, why does everyone seem to assume it'll work with their skin and hair type? I have seen this shit on eleven year old girls right up to women in their sixties. It's been popularized by many celebrities. Too many celebrities. Too many people have jumped on this trend, and isn't that indicative that it's not cool any more? When you're all doing it?

But it really doesn't work for everybody. In order to achieve these shades you ought to see a professional and not attempt it with box dye kits (I'm looking at you Féria) and Manic Panic with a bit of bleach. Truly successful candidates will already have light ash blonde hair. Those who have dark hair who attempt to bleach themselves will have to deal with the dye becoming patchy but more importantly brassy. I have read through a handful of reviews of brunettes trying this with absolute failure and it is because they're brunettes. You've probably seen the differences between a brunette who bleaches their hair and a blonde, a blonde will go platinum and the brunette will turn coppery. Now imagine putting any other hair colour over copper successfully, you can't, it comes out looking muddy and orange. And that's my biggest issue with pastel hair, people don't understand the science behind it, they don't realize that it's not fool proof and it can be fucked up very easily. That's why there are so many pictures of girls on Instagram and the like with drab, muddy pastel dye jobs. A professional hair dresser knows how to bleach your hair and prep it for such colours, it's expensive but if you want this crap it's worth paying for it.

5% of People
I just think the whole thing needs to end though. We were at a supermarket recently and my man turned to me and whispered, "Jesus, did you see that girl's hair? It looks like shit." He never comments on anything fashion related so I instantly took notice. That's when I spotted her, a girl in the distance with gray hair. Like grandma gray. The poor thing must've only been 24 or so but it made her look older, worn out and shitty. Pastel and smoky hair colours aren't complimentary for most skin types. They can age you rapidly, even more so if you're already pushing into senior citizen status. These shades are too dull and will have the opposite effect for most; instead of highlighting the rosiness in your cheeks, it brings out the veins, age spots and dark circles under your eyes. It makes you look tired and busted. It's not pretty. Unless you happen to occupy the like 5% of people who can get away with it. The same 5% that can get away with wearing leggings on their own and g-string bikinis.

I just personally hate this trend with a passion because it looks trashy on a lot of girls. I felt the same way about the ombre fad. Ombre hair made it look like women hadn't touched up their roots in three years, it looked sloppy. This pastel fad isn't much different. It looks like someone dyed their hair pink once and it didn't wash out completely, leaving a patchy, fried over bleached mess. Honestly, I saw "homeless" punk kids downtown with hair like this when I was sixteen, it wasn't flattering then and I don't think it's flattering now.



Overdrawing lips and Eyebrows

The big lip thing. Ugh! I hate it. The 1" thick eyebrow! Gahh! Everyone looks like a drag queen or a living Bratz doll these days. Drag queens overdraw their lips to parody women, now we have women embracing the trend?! How the hell does that even work? But it's out there. Thanks to Kylie Jenner we have people desperate to pump their lips up to an unimaginable, icky, inflatable degree. It's sad really. I've been perusing RealSelf for advice on aging. My skin is starting to show the telltale signs of getting older and I want to nip it in the bud while I'm still young. I've been reading up about all sorts of crap like fat sculpting, laser reduction, implants and derma fillers. As you can imagine, 90% of the derma filler reviewers have pumped their lips. Some aren't even happy with their already gigantic filled lips. Let's be fair, RealSelf is loaded to the gills with body dismorphic surgery fanatics. I would say in a way this is beneficial because they try every surgery known to man, you get a lot of reviews from them...yet their expectations are severely unrealistic. There are so many poor sons of bitches who just want the fakest, most unachievable lips imaginable. I pity them.

I must give props to those who have chosen to not mutilate their bodies through excess surgery (or by sucking their lips into a bottle until they tear and bleed) and have opted to overdraw their lips instead. I'm not against overdrawing in general. I have to do it myself because my top lip has been disfigured by a scar revision surgery. If handled delicately overdrawing can be quite successful. It's not new either...despite what some incredibly unaware makeup bloggers may claim. This trend has been around since the dawn of lipstick. Women have under and overdrawn their lips in a variety of different ways, these techniques were popularized in the early 20th century and can be seen by the likes of Theda Bara, Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. In order to overdraw properly you have to have a good hold on your technique and you must use the appropriate tools. There are only certain lip shades that make overdrawing successful. Firstly, you must use a bright or dark shade and depending on the natural shape of your lips you should do this in matte lipstick. If you have a prominent upper ridge on your lip then glossy lipstick will highlight this and it'll be glaringly obvious that you've overdrawn your lip. Shades that have been most successful on me are bright pink, red and maroon or plum. I start by applying concealer above my lip because it for some reason acts as a really good foundation for my lipstick. I use a lip pencil to establish the shape, and then fill with lipstick. You only extend it beyond your lip by maybe a millimeter, you have to keep it subtle to be believable. Anything beyond that and you're risking stares.

People have also gone into excess with their eyebrows. I've seen some big ass eyebrows lately. They're not terribly flattering and they're filled to an unnatural degree. I talked to a makeup artist at Sephora and she seemed to feel brow pomade should only be reserved for those that require filler. It's been abused by many girls who clearly have eyebrows to begin with but for whatever reason want them to look so precise and on point that they're bordering on being cartoony. In a fit of rebellion, I have plucked my once natural angular eyebrows into rounded and thin 30's style brows because I am just that fucking sick and tired of seeing these big, ugly, eerily precise brows (not even Joan Crawford could make this shit look good!).

As much as I love drag queens, I don't think we should be doing our makeup like them...



What are your thoughts on these trends? What would you love to see go for good this year?

Best,

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

January 2017


A monthly update

I've been bad at keeping up with my monthly updates. This month was sort of an exception because I had a good excuse; last Friday I received a call concerning some recent tests I had performed and I was notified that my doctor wanted to see me asap to review tissue biopsies. It's a little concerning to hear the words "biopsy" and "asap" thrown together, the sense of urgency made me rather uncomfortable. The tissue samples are from my large bowel. Although I was told that I had no obvious signs of inflammation or anything else in there, they still required tissue samples to rule out anything else. What that "anything else" could be was left up to my imagination. My family has a history of digestive disorders, my father has Crohn's and has had precancerous cells present in his biopsies. It's a little nerve wracking but my fears were put to rest - at least temporarily - when the gastroenterologist explained that all they found was the possibility of lymphocytic colitis. They say it's a disorder that causes inflammation in the bowel that is only detectable under a microscope. Woo. He also says it's "merely a nuisance" and encourages me to take over the counter medicines to keep my stomach in check. This was a disappointing diagnosis (if we can even call it a diagnosis because he's not certain whether the inflammation was caused by that or if I may have accidentally taken ibuprofen at the time of testing); it doesn't account for my fevers, body aches or weakness. It doesn't account for any of the symptoms that have held me back from work! It merely addresses what we thought was IBS. It's disappointing but he's determined to conduct other tests to rule out the possibility of Crohn's disease (which would account for all of my symptoms, including the hair loss), or other digestive issues involving the stomach and small intestine. 

We almost bumped up the upcoming CT scan to the 8th but had to reschedule for March when I told him his resident had advised that I go off of gluten. I've been on a gluten free diet for months, indulging in a cookie or pastry only on occasion. In order for me to successfully be tested I have to go back on gluten consistently, which is something I'm dreading. I know when I eat gluten I get a host of digestive upset symptoms. My stomach feels like razor blades are in there, I might get runny stool, I might puke, or feel like I drank a 40 of vodka the day before. I don't think I need to be tested for Celiac disease, I clearly don't get along with gluten and my life has been better without it, but the gastroenterologist is thorough and he wants me to eat bread for SIX WEEKS. I have finally gotten back to my original weight that I haven't been in YEARS! Now he's telling me to put this dreadful, fatty fucking bread shit in my body?! It's so full of carbs and sugars, it's so refined and processed, it make me so bloated that I look like a marshmallow. I've tried to cap it at only two pieces of bread in the morning and at night, of the most organically healthy bread we could get our hands on (thank god my guy drove me to a health grocery store and didn't just assume I wanted Wonderbread). Making bread a healthy diet staple sounds like a joke to me. Of course I've been living off of fresh fruit and vegetables with ground turkey and mussels for almost a year, so anything outside of my diet seems unhealthy to me! I'm going to try to make it work, but you bet your ass I'll be dropping gluten out of my diet the moment the tests are over.

I can already see problems from going back on gluten, even if it's only been a short time. I had upset stomach immediately after consuming a day's worth of breads. It was doing flips all night. Today I'm having similar issues. I have shakes and stummy aches and feel way worse than I already have been. I kind of question why we care so much about Celiac when all of these other symptoms are already a problem for me. Like I'd really love to get rid of the fevers and body aches first and then save investigating food allergies of foods that I'm not even eating for another day, ya know? 

Blogging

As you can tell blogging has been slow. I've sewn part of a dress but abandoned it to work on my art. I bought a new art program for my pc. It's called Clip Studio and I highly recommend it for any of you who like to draw on your computer. It's a thousand times better for a digitizer tablet than Photoshop, although the user interface is fucking hideous and they've made some features more complicated than they need to be (like how it doesn't use right click for anything unless you map it to your stylus). I've been forcing myself to draw comic pages with detailed establishing shots and things I had neglected in my art before. I'm hoping to get a small web comic posted online at some point. It's mostly just for fun, considering comics don't actually make people real money. Instead I'm hoping it'll be a segue into another creative career, possibly allowing me to make connections with other artists or people interested in my work.

I want to sew more soon, when my hands have the strength again. I'll have time this weekend so I might finish the dress. I need to prioritize making things that I can wear regularly. I bought some cute separates for my wardrobe secondhand so I would like to focus on building off of those pieces. I think I'll post about wardrobe planning sometime soon. I really would like to sew a 1940's summer dress for when I hopefully go on vacation, but I must prioritize the things I need first and indulge in the more creative, fancy projects later on. I also want to focus on chipping away at my fabric stash, it's getting too big to be contained!

What have you been up to, lovelies?

Best

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Cosplay by McCall's Ribbon Candy & Victor


More Patterns! Ribbon Candy and Victor

Two more cosplay patterns for your spring "to-sew" list! Victor, a men's floor length, lined, period coat, and Ribbon Candy, a ladies' bodice, tutu, detached puff sleeves and sash! Let's take a look at them. :)

Ribbon Candy
Top, Skirt, Sash and Detached Sleeves
M2086

This is apparently cosplayer Becka Noel's trademark tutu design, with puff sleeve arm bands and bodice. I've always been curious to see how these tutus are made, they're pretty crazy looking and remind me of Elizabethan collars (and I want to wear a high Elizabethan collar like you wouldn't believe lol). It's cute, not my scene, but followers of hers I'm sure will be excited to give this a try. My only beef is that the waist sash looks busted. It just doesn't sit well with me at all and it's a design flaw for sure. If you look at other dress sashes you'll notice they're typically gathered or pleated, this helps conceal figure flaws and allows it to conform to the body better. A plain sash would work well if it were a smaller width, but at this width it's terribly unflattering. If you're going to do it, slash the piece horizontally, spread it (width x 1.5 or 2) and gather it instead. I noticed that they used shantung, which works well for creating the leafy structure of the cross body sash, but it fails miserably in the waist sash, gathering the material might have softened the look of it.


Victor
Coat
M2087

Now as much as I proclaim to be interested in historical fashion, I draw a blank when it comes to historical men's fashion! I'm assuming this is a medieval coat. It looks well constructed. I like the frog closures down the front and the t-shape across the back is visually pleasing. It has nice construction lines. It's also fully lined and I imagine it's an intense project (rated intermediate) but it'd be a labor of love, I'm sure! 

Conclusion

These are pretty neat looking designs, and it's nice to see a new cosplay designer added to the mix! I would be hard-pressed to name any cosplayers and their work, I don't follow this stuff personally, but it's always cool to see what people are up to. What do you think?

Best,

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