31 May 2010

Lacquer Lundi

 Apparently I was channeling the Christmas season this past week.

On to the pretties:

 Essie - Life of the Party
- purchased at Rachelle's (beauty salon) for $0.50 CDN

Life of the Party is a dark red base with gold shimmer that makes it look slightly metallic (it reminds me of car paint).  This is a nice glowy red for my red fans in the crowd.

Life of the Party applied very nicely due to a really great formula that was the perfect consistency.  It covered perfectly in tow coats.  It also wore well, as I only had minor tip wear after two days of wearing.

China Glaze - Emerald Sparkle
- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $1.99 CDN

Emerald Sparkle is a gorgeous dark green base packed with green glitter.  It screams, "Look at me!"  This polish is luminous and positively scrumptious.  It is certainly one of my favourite green polishes.

Emerald Sparkle had excellent application.  It covered opaquely in two coats, but I applied a third to really get a rich depth of colour (a move I would later regret at removal time - I needed a sand blaster to power off all the glitter).  It wore well with only tip wear after two days.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Vanilla Bean
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.53 CDN

Vanilla Bean is an off white polish that reminds me of milk.

Vanilla Bean had a nice consistency, but it was so sheer that I had to apply four coats and I still had visible nail line.  It was also rather streaky.  I you are a fan of sheers this may be up your alley, but I am not a huge fan of this polish.  It wore well though, with only tip wear after two days (one of which included gardening).

30 May 2010

Simplicity 2871

As the school year is winding down (my last day of work is June 30th), the workload is heating up.  The last month of school is always a whirlwind of activity.

Also, my gardens are demanding more and more attention.  So, I have been spending many hours on the weekends digging, pruning, transplanting and deadheading. 

Not to mention, my house looks like a pig sty because I simply don't have enough time for real cleaning duties.  Not that my husband or Simon notice.  Why are most men so oblivious to filth? 

So, unfortunately sewing has been on the back burner at Chez HZC lately.

However, I will sew today.

I already have the project all picked out.  I don't normally go for sheath style dresses, but Simplicity 2871 looks so chic (and above all, easy to sew). 

I have a navy floral cotton pique fabric all picked out and ready for cutting.  It was a freebie in a Fabric Mart bundle, so hopefully it makes a nice wearable muslin.  But, if this project goes south, no tears will be shed.

Now, I just need to get my arse in gear...

29 May 2010

Make a Run for the Border

Like Carolyn, I have always loved a good border print fabric.  So when I see them, I tend to snatch them up with wild abandon, 'cause ya just never know when they'll stop making fabric.  Hey, don't laugh, it could happen.  Then you'll be wishing that you had hoarded like me.  Just sayin'.

So, when Fabric Mart sent out a sale notice, I decided to partake:

What?  So you noticed that they aren't all border prints, eh?  Yeah well....sheepishly trails off....

I see some fabulous sundresses in my future.

24 May 2010

Lacquer Lundi

I have been pretty vocal in the past about my dislike for soft pink nail polish (and I still stand by that sentiment).  However, this week I was feeling the love for pink, but not just any pink.  If I'm going to do pink, it has to be special.  So, check out the three pinks, with a twist, below.  And, I have a nifty purple, to finish things off.

On to the pretties:

Sally Hansen Nail Prisms - Pink Rose Diamond
- purchased on eBay for $3.99 US

Pink Rose Diamond is a gorgeous hot pink holographic polish.  It is beautiful in all light conditions, but it absolutely comes alive in the sunlight.  Unfortunately, Sally Hansen Nail Prisms are no longer on the market, but they can be found on eBay - most for reasonable prices.  I can't believe Sally Hansen discontinued this line of polishes, as they are so pretty.  I have been trying to collect as many of the polishes in this line as I can get my hands on.

Pink Rose Diamond applied wonderfully and required only two coats for complete opacity.  The polish wore well also, with only very minor tip wear after one day. 

Sally Hansen Salon - Exotic Magenta & Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Rockstar Pink
- SHS purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN
- SHHANXW purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $2.99 CDN

Exotic Magenta is a hot pink with a silver shimmer that gives the polish a metallic look.  It is what pink should be - bold, bright, poke you in the eye with colour kind of pink. 

Exotic Magenta applied nicely and covered in two coats.  However, I decided to kick it up a notch by laying on some glitter.

Enter Rockstar Pink, a hot pink (the main colour), teal, red and silver glitter.  It is everything glitter should be - sparkly, with just the right amount of gaudy.  Delicious!

I used two coats of Rockstar Pink on all my nails, except for the ring fingers.  I really like this look.  I had tip wear and no chips after two days.

New York Color - Purple Pizzazz
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.36 CDN

Purple Pizzazz (their spelling, not mine) is a really cool purple/blue duochrome (it looks purple in some directions, but flashes blue in other directions). You can see both colours in the photo to the left.

Purple Pizzazz applied well and was fully opaque in two coats.  It wore well - only tip wear after one day.

18 May 2010

Momma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Powerless

When I was in high school and university (late 80s/early 90s), there was a movement toward educational equality.  Teenage girls were encouraged to consider careers in male dominated areas, like the maths, sciences and engineering. We were told that we could excel if we put our minds to it.  The days of being forced into subservient roles was over and we were the generation of women that would shatter all the barriers.  We were encouraged to think, to question and to strive for our dreams.  The boldest, most empowering part of this message was that we were valued for our minds, not just our bodies.  Brains trump breasts.  Grey matter is more valuable than a tight ass and killer legs.  Your mind is your greatest physical asset.

What has happened to feminism?  Over the last thirteen years as a teacher, I am seeing a disturbing trend taking hold of teenage girls.  Many young women are handing over their power.  I often talk to my students about the ways of modern teenage life.  Let me relay some (disturbing) insights that they have passed on to me:

A large number of 14 year old (and younger) girls are now sexually active.  Mainly because they think they are supposed to be having sex to be normal and popular.  TV, movies and music make it sound like all the cool kids are having sex, with multiple partners.  Nowadays, the "good" girls are "only" involved in oral and anal sex, because that way they won't get pregnant. 

Girls are still pretending to be dumb to attract boys.  Boys don't like it if they feel inferior to a girl.

Alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana are common ingredients at most teenage parties.  Girls are often so drunk and/or stoned that they have severely impaired judgment or they may pass out, leaving themselves open to sexual assault. 

A surprising number of girls are still hoping to attract a wealthy mate to take care of them.  It is considered amusing to be elected as "most likely to marry for money."

Many young women are being verbally, physically and/or sexually abused by their boy friends.  Often they are too scared or embarrassed to report the problem or to seek help.

It's time for a revolution.  A raising of female voices.

So, mothers of the world, sit down with your daughters.  Tell them that they are worthy of respect.  Let them know that they have exceptional abilities beyond tantalizing the opposite sex.  Make them aware that they are greater than the sum of their body parts.  Let them know that they should come first - that their goals and dreams take precedence over everything else.  Encourage them to take care of themselves and to carve out a future of their choosing.  Inspire them to be powerful, smart, headstrong women that can take the world by storm.

17 May 2010

Lacquer Lundi

In a comment to this post, Debbie Cook said "Just because I can see your toes, I was wondering - do you match your toes to your fingernails? And what color(s) did you wear with this great dress."

I must admit that I very rarely match the polish on my nails and toes.  I like changing my mani too often to change up the pedi as well.  So, I tend to go for very dark polish - it seems to de-emphasize my toes and just create a neat, clean look, that coordinates with anything I wear.  So, I go for colours like dark navy, bittersweet chocolate, charcoal or eggplant.

And, if I'm to be even more honest, I pretty much never do my own pedicures, because I don't enjoy the process.  I don't have any foot issues like some people do - I just don't like hunching over my feet to clean up cuticles and such.  Instead, I go to a local place that does a great job at a good price.  It's one of the very few times I pay someone to pamper me, so I enjoy the relaxation and the indulgence of the experience.  I can usually get away with going once a month during toe-baring seasons (I can't be bothered with pedicures in the winter months).

See below for the polish that I wore with my Prom dress.

Now, on to the pretties:

BB Couture - Green Goblin
- purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

This is the colour that I wore with my recent Prom dress.  Green Goblin is a dark green creme that reminds me of a deep, shadowy forest.  It reads as black in low light conditions, but it is most definitely a dark green in regular indoor and outdoor lighting.  As I love green nail polish, I very pleased to add this one to my collection.

Green Goblin applied wonderfully, just like most BB Couture polishes.  It covered perfectly in two thin coats.  It also wore well - only minor tip wear after two days. 

Revlon - Ocean Breeze
- a present from a friend

Ocean Breeze is a pretty turquoise colour with a frosty, metallic finish.  It speaks of cool water on a hot summer day.  It is also scented and it is supposed to smell like an ocean breeze (hence the highly descriptive name).  However, when first applied it smells overpoweringly like Sea Breeze astringent and it gave me a wicked headache.  After a few hours, the odour became less pronounced (or perhaps my nose went into overload and short-circuited - who knows).  By the next day, I could hardly smell the scent at all.

Ocean Breeze applied nicely and required two coats for opacity.  It wore well, with only tip wear after one day.

Milani - Key Lime Shine
- purchased at Superstore (chain grocery store) for $4.99 CDN

This is the first Milani polish that I have reviewed.  I didn't even know they were available in Canada until I saw them last week while browsing th emakeup section in the Superstore.  I was even more excited when I saw some of the great colours (I have more to show you in the future). 

Key Lime Shine is an unique light silvery seafoam green polish with a frosty finish. I was smitten by the colour in the bottle.

Key Lim Shine applied reasonably well, although it was a bit streaky and required three coats for complete coverage.  Unfortunately, the wear was abysmal - I had major tip wear and a lot of chipping after one single day of wear.  I am not impressed.  I hope the other Milanis I got are not as craperific as Key Lime Shine.

15 May 2010

Emma Goes to Prom

Just recently on the blog, What Would Emma Pilsbury Wear?, there was a challenge posted.  The readers were asked to provide a Prom look for Emma - either what she would have worn to her Prom or what she would wear to chaperone a Prom.  Well, I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this all important question:


14 May 2010

Gathering - The Magic

The "Better Late than Never" Dress calls for a fair bit of gathering in the bodice and the skirt.  There are all sorts of techniques out there for gathering fabric, but I thought I'd document my favourite method in the pictorial tutorial.  I am showing how the gathered midriff overlay piece is attached to a stay, but this technique can be used in any situation requiring the attachment of a large piece of fabric to a smaller piece of fabric, via gathering.

Run a line of basting stitches along the seamline on the larger piece of fabric (you can see the larger lime green fabric will be gathered onto the smaller avocado green stay in the picture below).  You can do this by machine by cranking up your stitch length as high as it will go - on my machine, it is 5 mm.

 Pin the two ends in place and pin the middles of the two fabrics together.

Continue to pin at equidistant intervals.

Add as many pins as is necessary to evenly distribute the fabric.

Pull up the basting stitches to gather the larger piece of fabric as tightly as possible.

Pull the ends of the smaller piece of fabric back into shape.  The gathers on the larger piece of fabric should now be evenly distributed amongst the pins.  Sit back and revel in your awesomeness.

P.S.  The dress is done and not a moment too soon.  I will be heading out in a couple of hours.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have all sorts of fab photos of me rockin' out at Prom.

11 May 2010

French Seams - Magnifique!

The "Better Late than Never" Dress is coming along nicely.  Looks like I won't be naked at Prom.  Hey wait, I'm pretty sure I had a dream like that once.  Scary.

I like my formal wear to have a flawless inside finish, but I am pressed for time on this project, so I will be doing some serged finishes on the silk charmeuse lining.  However, I refuse to have a messy looking seams on the exterior silk chiffon fabric.  Nothing is tackier than a fraying or serged seam showing through a sheer formal wear fabric.  So, I took the extra bit of time required to employ some beautiful French seams.

Although I have done a tutorial in the past on how to create a French seam, I thought I would show some real live action shots of a French seam in progress.  Be prepared to be dazzled:

Place fabric wrong sides together and sew a 1/4" seam.  Trim the seam to an 1/8". This removes any loose fibres and cleans up the edge nicely.

Press the stitches flat to meld the thread into the fabric.  Then, press the seam to one side (it is pressed upward in the picture below).  Alternatively, press the seam open if the fabric allows.  On this silk chiffon, pressing the seam open was tantamount to herding cats, so I took the path of least resistance and pressed to one side.

Turn the fabric so it is right sides together.  Pin along the edge. Stitch a 3/8" seam.  This will encase the first line of stitching, creating a strong, neat seam, in which all raw edges are encased (you can see the encased raw edge if you look closely at the picture below). 

Press the seam to one side or the other (the seam is pressed downward in the picture below).

Admire your handiwork from the right side.  Beautiful!

10 May 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Today, I have a new nail polish line for all the Canadian gals in the crowd:  Joe Fresh Style nail polish.  I found my bottles at Zehrs, although it appears to also be available at Superstores and Loblaws.

The colour selection is decent.  Although there is a distinct emphasis on pinks and reds, there are several fashion forward blues, pastels and dark vampies.  I decided to stick to the pastels for my first foray into Joe Fresh Style polish.

The bottles are tiny - a mere 6 mL, compared to OPI's substantial 15 mL or BB Couture's ginormous 18 mL bottles.  However, for polish addicts like me that don't see many repeat polish wearings, the small bottle is just fine.

All the polishes I am reviewing had the same characteristics, so I will speak about them all together.  The formula is good - ever so slightly thick, but not annoyingly do.  The polishes are very pigmented and in each case, I was content with two regular coats for complete coverage (if I had been more careful, I could have gotten away with one thick coat).  The brush is excellent (similar to the OPI Pro wide brush) and makes application a breeze.  The polish also dries nice and quickly.  The wear is decent - only tip wear after two days (although I did have one small chip with Mint).  All in all, a good bang for the buck!

On to the pretties:

Joe Fresh Style - Faded Violet & Essie - Sterling Silver
- JFS purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $3.33 CDN
- Essie purchased at Rachelle's (local beauty salon) for $0.50 CDN

Faded Violet (left) is such a pretty pastel purple, that is so springy and fresh.

Looking to extend my manicure, but have a different look, I added a couple of coats of Sterling Silver (right).

Joe Fresh Style - Mint & Essie - Classical
- JFS purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $3.33 CDN
- Essie purchased at Rachelle's (local beauty salon) for $0.50 CDN

Pastel green is so trendy these days and Mint (left) is a great addition to the passel of light greens that are available in stores right now.

The addition of two coats of the frosty Classical (right) kicked this mani up a notch.

Joe Fresh Style - Powder Blue
- JFS purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $3.33 CDN

Powder Blue is such a refreshing colour.  It speaks of summer skies and cool waters.  Lovely.

9 May 2010

Mother's Day Bouquet

Although I have decided not to partake in the gestation or rearing of human offspring, I am still a mommy.  It just happens that my son is really short and really hairy (which is likely what genetics would bestow upon me anyhow).  So, in honour of my exalted status as the mommy of Simon, I went a little nuts at the Fabric Mart Mother's Day Sale:

Obviously, I loves me some flowery fabric this spring season.  Or as Bubba puts it, "Anyway, like I was sayin', floral fabric is the fruit of the loom. You can make floral skirts, floral sheaths, floral tank tops, floral blouses, floral sundresses, floral capris, floral jackets ... that, that's about it."

7 May 2010

The "Better Late Than Never" Dress

I actually attended two Senior Proms when I was in high school.  My boyfriend at the time was a year older than me, so we attended his Prom and a year later, we attended mine.  I've shown both of the dresses I made here and here.  Even back then I was channeling the full skirted 50s vibe.  Thank goodness I went with this classic style because the late 1980s were responsible for a lot of Prom fashion victims. 

Fast forward twenty years and I am again attending Prom (I estimate I've attended ten Proms over the years - you'd think I'd get to be Prom Queen just once, simply for sheer tenacity!) on May 14th.  I've already introduced you all to my inspiration for this year's dress, as well as the fabrics that will be used.  So, let's talk pattern.

I have made this vintage McCall's 9690 before (for Timmel's SWAP 2007) and I was really pleased with the resulting dress.  I will revisit this pattern for my "Better Late Than Never" dress.  It has the same full skirt, shirred midriff and gathered surplice bodice as the inspiration dress.  

Obviously the lime silk chiffon will be used for the bodice and the darker avocado silk chiffon will be employed for the midriff and the skirt.  If I had more time, I would tweak the pattern to look exactly like the inspiration dress.  However, time is short*, so the only changes I will make will be a small bust adjustment and a slight enlargement of the midriff band.

*This past week has been hectic, so I have yet to actually start this dress.  I hope to have it cut out and mostly sewn up by the end of the weekend.  Fingers crossed.

5 May 2010

The BIG 4-0

Today I am 40 years old.

I'm am officially middle aged.

Huh, I guess it's time for a mid-life crisis.

I'll start with a 2010 Dodge Challenger please...


3 May 2010

Lacquer Lundi

I must have been channeling a purple people eater (warning - this link goes to a You Tube video - don't click it unless it's safe to blare some tunes) all week long.  Check it out below.

On to the pretties:

BB Couture - Midnight Malibu
- purchased at overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

In the bottle, Midnight Malibu polish looks like a dark purple base with silver and teal glitter.  On the nail, it is more of a dark navy blue with silver and teal glitter.  It reminds me of the night sky when it just starts to get dark enough to see the stars.  Stunning!

Midnight Malibu applies wonderfully, like the majority of the BB Couture polishes that I have in my stash.  It took two coats for full visible nail line coverage, but I did a third coat for a nice depth of colour (this ended up biting me in the arse at removal time, as the excess glitter was a real pain to remove - ah, the sacrifices I make for you people).  Wear was good - only minor tip wear after two days.

Orly - Charged Up  & Orly - Twilight
- both purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $6.49 CDN each

Charged Up is a reddish purple creme.  It got a lot of love from the people around me.  It's not a unique colour - I've seen very similar shades out there, but it certainly is pretty.

Charged Up applied nicely due to the fine formula.  It only required two coats to achieve opacity.  The wear was okay - tip wear after one day.

I decided to try to wear this manicure for another day, but I wanted another look, so I added two coats of Twilight on top.  Twilight is a silver shimmer in a very light lilac translucent base.  It added a subtle dimension of sparkle to the Charged Up.  Unfortunately, the addition of Twilight to my mani caused the polish to essentially fall off the tips of my nails (check out the photo to the right for an example of major tip wear).

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Violet VOOM
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.49 CDN

Violet VOOM is a gorgeous purple metallic with very fine teal and red shimmer.   It is simply stunning and I was quite taken by the colour when I applied it.

Violet VOOM applied nicely - between the wide brush and the excellent pigmentation, I was able to use only one coat to arrive at complete coverage - excellent.  That is where the love ends however.  This polish is the chippiest stuff I have ever used.  After only one day, I had massive flakes falling off my nails - not excellent.