Chalkboard Wall, 2

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Eye Candy, Hand Candy
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Painting the magnetic paint in the middle of the soon-to-be wall blackboard. Three coats, not too careful on the edges, since it was going to go behind and under the blackboard paint

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Painting soooplies, natch.

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Painting the tape over with the primer, so that the chalkboard paint doesn’t leak underneath and screw up my hopefully straight wall.

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Tada! Chalkboard wall, complete with almost straight edges, narwhale, mermaid and magnetic-held paper sail! (I should say, the photo makes the left-hand edge look oddly curved, but it really isn’t. It’s totally straight).

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Busy adding fishies to my sea menagerie!

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Chalkboard Wall!

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Eye Candy, Hand Candy
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Yeah, I’m nesting. Big time. Big, big, big time. I’m painting and prepping and playing and buying used furniture and running around my place naked yelling, “Mine, mine, mine!”

There’s something to be said for having total autonomy and control over your home space, for making it do everything you want it to do (without reason, of course, if I had my way, I’d find a way to have a ginormous, get-in-able water feature in my living room, complete with water fall and fishes. Ooh, and maybe a turtle!).

Be that as it may, I’m building it the way that I can, to make it mine. And of those make-it-mine projects has included painting a magnetic chalkboard wall. I can’t remember now where I got the idea. The Interwebs, I’m sure. But I do know that I used this blog post to help me ease my “Oh my god, I can’t paint a straight line to save my f-ing life jitters.” And it totally worked.

So here’s what I learned about making a magnetic chalkboard wall:

  • Don’t go with the spray-in chalkboard stuff. Buy the paintable kind.
  • The magnetic paint stinks, stains, and isn’t very strong. If you still decide you want it, go slow, careful and thin. Paint at least three coats and plan on buying some seriously strong magnets.
  • Don’t think this is going to be done in a day. Three coats of magnet, plus two coats of chalkboard, plus curing time equaled about a week for me. I was going insane with the waitings.

So, here’s how:

  1. Prime or clean your space. It’s better if you choose a space that’s not super bumpy because you do want to write on your wall after all. Or you can sand down the bumps.
  2. Mark off your desired spot with wide chalkboard tape. Use a level! This is huge. Just… trust me. Then, paint over the edges of the tape with your original wall color so that the chalkboard paint won’t leak through. Let it dry.
  3. Paint your magnet paint. Thin coats are best. Be sure to stir-stir-stir while you go, so that all the metallic bits don’t sink to the bottom. Let dry at least 30 minutes between each coat. I did three total, just to be sure.
  4. Paint your chalkboard paint. Let it dry at least four hours between coats. Once you’ve painted your last coat, give it a few minutes to set, then peel your tape off slowly (if you do it too soon, it will leak and you’ll have little spots of paint on your line).
  5. Your chalkboard needs at least three days to cure. Then, rub the flat side of the chalk all over the board. I mean all over. Then wipe it clean with your eraser. Note: This will make a serious, serious mess. Don’t wear your contacts (all that chalk dust is bad-bad, says the Voice of Experience. Owie). Open the windows. Have your vacuum at the ready. Keep the two- and four-legged kids away.
  6. Now you can play! I bought sidewalk chalk (it’s big, but it has nice fine points for writing and they come in lots and lots of colors!) and a felt eraser. You can also clean your chalkboard fully with a little bit of white vinegar and water (mostly dry, though, as liquid is bad for the blackboard stuff).

Pictures to come of the new house baby as soon as I get home to take some! Stay tuned!

Chalking your walls, one color at a time, s.

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Learning Round-Up

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Brain Candy
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Lemon cheesecake with local raspberries from the farmer’s market

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Holy crap. Where have I been? I can’t actually remember, which is sort of awesome and sort of sad. I do know that I’ve been learning, a whole ton of a lot. And perhaps that’s why I haven’t been posting. It’s the same thing that I tell people about writing when they ask, “Do you do all that stuff you write about?” My response is always, “Sadly, if I did all that stuff I write about, then I wouldn’t have time to write.”

Lately, I’ve been doing all the stuff and thus haven’t had time to write about the stuff. I don’t think this is a bad thing. I used to. I seriously did. If I wasn’t writing, I was failing. I sometimes still think that (and I’m always writing, so it really becomes a matter of how much I’m writing in order to feel successful), but I’ve also come to realize that a writer who does nothing but sit in a box and write isn’t really much of a writer. Or much of a living, breathing, experiencing creature (my own opinion, of course. sitting in a box works for many a writer. just not for me).

So, I’ve been learning, tripping over my own two feet, ripping off gloves, playing, painting, prying open lids and restarting things. What, you ask (or you don’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway) have I learned and relearned? A shitton. I’ve learned how to:

  • Have a house again. After living out of a suitcase for more than a year, I have an apartment.
  • Decorate a house on a next-to-nothing budget. Hello Goodwill.
  • Pick and paint. Yep, painting said house.
  • Live with a dog. A husky, specifically. Yes, it’s been a long time. She and I are training each other.
  • Make cheesecake. With lemons and raspberries.
  • Start a class on my own. See: Skullduggery.
  • Walk around with vertigo due to a sinus infection for a week without pinballing off walls.
  • Heal said sinus infection with nothing but a neti pot and a ton of determination.
  • Learn to run again post broken ankle
  • Dance burlesque. Take gloves off with my teeth. Twirl them around. Shimmy.
  • Be a better friend. Long story. I’m still learning this one.
  • Ask for help without feeling guilty.
  • Relax. Enjoy. Do both at the same time. Sans guilt.

There have been others, a ton of others, but at the moment, I can’t remember them. Which, of course, is why I should be posting weekly as I learn things instead of post-learning. But that’s okay. I’m living, learning, and living again. The writing will come. It always does.

Summertime with Dog and Girl. A portrait of joy.

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12.1: Be Flexible

Posted: June 21, 2010 in Brain Candy
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So I had an epiphany this week…

I’m behind on my posts for this blog.

No, that wasn’t the epiphany. I’ve felt the “behind on my posts” sensation for at least a few weeks now, maybe longer. It’s been gnawing at me, the way that missed deadlines or belated birthday cards gnaw at me. I hate to be late. Hate. It. Very. Much. So if I’m late for something, there’s usually a reason. Either I’m stuck and can’t find a solution, or I’m too overwhelmed to find time, or, most often, I’m not enjoying the process and so I’m (in typical Aries fashion) butting my head into the wall and yelling, “no, no, no!” instead of doing whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing.

I realized that the latter (combined with a bit of the super-busy part) was the case with this blog. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the blog, or the learning process. It’s that I’ve made it too strict, too specific. I’ve boxed myself into something that’s so narrow style-wise, that I am not enjoying the process at all. And that’s a bad thing.

So I hereby give myself permission to explore this learning process however I like. Whether that be through a series of photos, an essay, a couple of poems, a few words here and there, a link or six. I want to bring the joy back into both learning and blogging. I want to play, to explore, to dive headfirst into whatever I’m learning and then process it here in whatever ways I see fit. And most of all,  I want to be as excited to write the rest of the learning posts as I was to write this one tonight, after I had my epiphany in the shower.

Here’s to this silly, ongoing learning process of ours. Hallelujah! s.

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“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it” ~Lao Tzu

11.1 Get My Feet Wet

Posted: June 15, 2010 in Body Candy
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On a kayak out on the Willamette River, near Ross Island. I am doing all the right things, thanks to my first kayaking lesson, although you can’t tell from this angle.

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There is a bald eagle in this picture, I swear. Can you find it? Hint: look for the white head.

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10.3 Wearing It

Posted: June 13, 2010 in Body Candy
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Tying myself in. The corset has a series of hooks and eyes up one side of it, so that you can put it on and take it off easily without having to worry about the laces until later. Not only that, but there are two rows of hook-and-eye connectors to ensure for an even better fit. Bonus.

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The front view. The fit really is nearly perfect, I have to admit, although in the future, I might order something that’s one size smaller, because there is just a small amount of give even when I tie it as tight as it will go and use the tighter row of hook-and-eye loops. Either way, it’s incredibly comfortable. There is velvet trim along the edges that mean the fabric doesn’t rub, and the bottom swells out enough to fit my hips.

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Front and back view. While the corset does fit around my breasts (meaning there isn’t so much room between skin and fabric that I could carry a drink in there, unlike most other corsets), there’s still more room than I’d like and thus the velvet piping on the edge kept furling over just a little.

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Overall? Corset was a serious hit. I wanted to link to it on the Lingerie.com site (not just because I think it’s a great corset for the price, but also because I wanted to plug them as a thank you. Plus the fact that I like how many sizes they offer, including a wide range of plus-sized stuff), but this corset doesn’t seem to be available anymore in the size I ordered. I do believe this is the same one in the plus-size, though, which looks awesome.

In a few weeks, I’m going to my first official Kink Party, and I have to admit that I’m likely going to wear this… If I can just find something to cover my bottom half!

Cinching up your brain and body, one hole at at time, s.

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10.2 Boning Up

Posted: June 12, 2010 in Body Candy
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The delightful and gorgeous corset, donated by Lingerie.Com

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Black silky material. Embroidered flowers. Lace up the back. A promise that it was a corset made for real women, not for some skinny model with balloon boobs. Something just my size, with stays that would be strong enough to pull my waist in, but not so strong that I couldn’t breathe…

Can I say that I was just a little excited, waiting for my corset to arrive? Oh yes, yes I can.

The corset — a gift from Lingerie.Com (thank you, ten times over!) — finally arrived and I have to admit that I just looked at it for a while. It was so beautiful, and seemed so well made. I knew that I was going to be incredibly sad if I put it on and it didn’t fit. Or if it looked bad. Or. Or. Or.

In the box it was perfect. On me? I wasn’t sure yet. So I waited days before I finally, finally tried it on…

The beautiful lace up the back.

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The flower details.

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10.1 Finding Your Fit

Posted: June 11, 2010 in Body Candy
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Star wars corsets. Geek-a-rama

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I have always loved corsets. I love the way they look on women, the way they accentuate their curves and highlight the hourglass of women’s bodies. I think the material is often so beautiful, the patterns and details, the buttons and eye-and-hooks and lace-ups. The way they feel, not just to wear, but also to touch. I think they’re incredibly sexy, no matter what size and shape the wearer is.

Despite my passion for corsets, I’ve never owned one that I loved. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever even owned one, not even one of those cheesy mall-buy corsets. Why? Mainly because they never fit right. I have something of an hourglass figure already (wide shoulders, skinny waist, big butt), but I think it’s the small breast thing that screws it up. No matter how hard I cinch the suckers, my chest doesn’t fill up the space that’s left behind. Obviously, there are corsets that go under the breasts, but for me, I really really love the ones that go all the way up. Various friends have said, “Well, you just to have one that’s custom made.” But custom-made corsets are incredibly expensive.

So, in an attempt to find a corset that fits me right off the rack, I did a little research. Turns out, more and more corsets are being made to fit women of all sizes and shapes, and it’s getting easier to find something that will fit you even if it’s not custom-made. Score.

Things that I discovered you should pay attention to when choosing a corset:

  1. The ribbing that runs through the corset. The strength of these “ribs” is what gives the corset its shape while it’s on you. For a stronger hourglass shape, look for stronger ribs (but not something so strong that you can’t breathe).
  2. The material itself. Corsets are made of all kinds of materials, from less durable lace numbers to stronger fabrics like silk, latex, leather and even corduroy. Find something that’s comfortable, but that will stand up to whatever movements you’re planning to make.
  3. The way it closes or connects. Some corsets have lacings up the back as their only way in and out of them. Others have velcro, hook and eye closures or buttons.
  4. The sizing. Many corsets only offer S, M and L options. If you’ve tried these and found them lacking, look for corsets that have more varieties of sizing, or that are bra-sized (34 a, b or c, for example). They’re more likely to fit you in both the waist and the chest.
  5. You should be able to breathe, even when it’s tightened. This is important!

Next step: The corset that I got and whether or not it fits me. Woot.

Tightening your laces one step at a time, s.

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9.2 Colorize

Posted: June 6, 2010 in Body Candy
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Riiiight. So this color thing is harder than expected. I used two books to try and come up with my colors/seasons, and I’m not sure either of them helped. I did learn that I’m probably a summer or a spring. But the next step was to discover whether I was warm or cool.

It’s hard.

Warm is: You look better in gold, you have golden hair, you have brown or gold flecks in your eyes.

Cool is: You look better in silver, you have ashy hair, your eyes have silver or white flecks, your veins tend to run toward blue.

Riight. Almost helpful. Except. My hair is golden, my eyes have silver flecks, and my veins are blue. And the colors that people typically say I look great in (coral, peach, chocolate) are warm colors. So, hell.

So what I did was take a bunch of pictures, all of them in the same spot in the same light, just with different colors on. I’m not sure that helped either, to be honest.

Chocolate Brown

Moss Green

Raspberry

Peach

Cream

Turquoise

Yeah. Helpful? Not at all. What did I learn? I learned that I need to have someone do my colors for me. Someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Since my face looks the same to me in all of these.

I feel a little like MythBusters. Myth of colors? Busted.

Also: Help!

Learning nothing, one shirt at a time, s.

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9.1 Discover

Posted: June 4, 2010 in Body Candy
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I don’t always dress very well. This is something I’ve known about myself for a long time. I am, for all intents and purposes, a t-shirt and jeans girl. Sometimes this works for me. Sometimes it makes me look like a farm girl (which I essentially am, but I now live in the city, and therefore feel like I should sometimes actually look like I live in the city). On the whole, I don’t really care how I look. No, that’s not entirely true. It’s more of an equation or ratio. I care how I look, but only to the extent that I can stand to do something about it. It’s a cost-benefit ratio, I suppose. If it’s not fairly cheap and easy, then I’m not going to do it.

A perfect example: I love love love my current hairdresser. Why? Because she believes me when I say, “I want my hair to look as good as it can without me doing anything to it. If you give me a cut that takes more than 30 seconds to do something with, then you’re wasting the cut. Seriously, I wash it and I put it in a bun until it’s dry. And then I shake it out.” Every other person who cut my hair was like, “Yes, but if you just blowdry it…” or “Yes, but if you use these three products…” It was like I was talking to myself. My current hairdresser is the first one ever who said, “Okay, I can work with that.” And she does. It’s fantastic, and so is she.

Seriously, I want to be one of those people who always looked immaculate and perfect. Who never has cat hair on her cashmere sweater. Who wears cashmere sweaters (makes me itch). The kind of person who looks like the world’s perfect designer picks out her clothes every morning and then follows her around, making sure she never has a wrinkle, crease, stain or splotch. Buutttt… yeah, I’m not.

Over the years, I have become a better dresser, however. I now understand how my body shape can be accentuated or destroyed by the clothes I wear. Sometimes I even take advantage of that learning. Most times I find something that’s clean and I put it on. What I really want is someone who will come to my house with twenty outfits and eight pairs of jeans that look absolutely fantastic on me and are my size and who will say to me, “Yes, those pants make your ass look fantastic. Let’s get three of those in different colors.” I would pay big money for that.

Since I don’t have that, I flounder through the dressing thing. I shop mostly at thrift stores — cheaper, environmentally friendly, more unique — and I can pretty much choose things that flatter my shape (except for jeans — I swear I’ve never bought a pair of jeans that didn’t either sag around my ass or smush it into flatness).

So, in an effort to dress myself like a big girl (without assistance from smart-mouthed friends or Garanimals (yes, I loved those!)), I’ve spent much of this week learning my “Colors.” Colors are a thing out of the ’80s, I believe, when women were really into Color Me Beautiful and knowing what your season is.

So far, I’ve gotten my books out of the library and I’ve been draping myself in colors in an attempt to discover my season. Pictures to come tomorrow.

Have you ever had your colors/seasons done? If so, what are you? Do you have a picture that illustrates you wearing your “best” colors? I’d love to see them/share them here!

Coloring the rainbow, one stripe at a time, s.

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