Got My Hair Fixed

Shortly after my attempt at cutting my own hair resulted in failure, I called Blonde Salon, hoping they could fit me into the schedule ASAP. Thankfully, Jennifer was available just a couple days later, so I marked my calendar and impatiently waited.

After settling for basic “mom hair” for last few years, I decided that – if I’m going to pay for a haircut –  I might as well go for something with a little more pizzazz. Maybe something that included bangs… I had bangs when my husband and I met and were dating, and I look pretty good with them. However, I do have multiple cowlicks on my hairline, which make styling them really tricky. Since my DIY haircut resulted in very harsh shorter layers, the inclusion of bangs would also soften the layers.

I’ve followed @_alena_alena_ for while on Instagram and have always admired her coiffed, yet touchable mane. Somehow she manages to keep a style that is both polished and elegant, and also a bit relaxed and approachable. So before my salon visit, I trolled through her page and saved some photos to show my stylist.

Her hair is always curled….. mine is “aggressively straight” aside from the ringlets along my hairline. Oh well, I will at least do my best.

20190526_102353.jpg
Nervous, but ready! I made this skirt, by the way!!
20190526_102456.jpg
It seems a client brought a chicken in? Only in Suffolk! 😀
20190526_102537.jpg
It’s a “Silkie” breed.
20190524_104755
The big reveal!!
20190524_104721
The REAL question is whether or not I will be able to make the style look nice on my own, at home!
20190524_104816
peek-a-boo…

Verdict: I liked the pampering, and the result. I think when I go for a bang trim I will ask them to take them up a bit shorter, and see how they work on my face.

WIR: May 20-26, 2019

To be honest, I don’t really know what this post is about. I thought I experienced an epiphany, but now that I’ve started typing, I feel a little foolish. My idea was to start… journaling, I guess? Journaling publicly online? I guess that’s what blogging really is, right? So far, I have only ever posted about specific topics on this website (recipes mostly), but maybe I’m missing something. I don’t read any blogs, so I haven’t a clue how they are supposed to work…???

“WIR” is my abbreviation for “Week in Review”. Not a creative title, but that’s what I’m giving you. I have about 700 subscribers on Instagram… it isn’t a lot by most people’s standards, and the number has grown very slowly over the years. This is all perfectly fine with me, as I don’t consider myself a “real blogger”.. just a constantly frazzled wife and mother who likes all things fancy and decadent, but can’t afford it. I’m just fiddling around and having a bit of creative me-time and bonding time with like-minded people online.

Despite my humble online presence, I seem to receive a lot of positive feedback and camaraderie, so… this series (if that’s what it becomes) is for you! For those of you that enjoy my little Instagram posts, and may enjoy a bit more “meat” to it.

Sunday, May 19

Thought of many profound insights to share. My memory was immediately wiped clean as I sat down at the keyboard. C’est la vie.

Monday, May 20

Mostly spent the day trying to catch up on housework after a busy weekend… the usual Monday routine. I also researched some local traveling petting zoos. We are hoping to schedule one to come to Second-Born’s… actually, believe it or not she DOES have a real name…. let’s start that again: Adriana’s birthday. There probably won’t be a lot of people there, unfortunately, but hopefully she can at least have a pony to ride! We’ve had friends move away, and we live in a rather out-of-the-way area ourselves, any many of our friends and relations simply struggle to make the trip for this sort of thing. We do have some neighborhood friends that I hope will make it, but since I am admittedly pulling this together pretty last minute, I’m not holding my breath on their attendance. Adriana has fallen in love with the 1935 film version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Yes, you read that entire sentence correctly. So far I have a wig and silver dress for her to vaguely resemble Queen Titania and her fairy attendants (see below).

MidsummerNightsDream1935_1806_677x381_06112018095321

It would probably be best if I reserve the bulk of my party-specific info for a separate post, just to keep things organized.

While I did manage to get the blog post up about Sophia’s Easter dress, I still need to type up one for Adriana’s.

Tuesday, May 21

Adriana and I made her favorite blueberry waffles this morning, and tried to do a cute little photoshoot. My photography skills are still abysmal, so the whole experience really only produced a tasty breakfast that First-Born (aka Sophia) inexplicably snubbed, and fodder for my middle child’s already robust ego. We used the recipe from “American Girl: Breakfast and Brunch” and it really is tasty.

IMG_0761.JPG
We like both American Girl AND Williams-Sonoma, so this is an excellent combination.
IMG_0747.JPG
I use Command Hooks to keep measuring spoons always in easy reach.

Adriana decked herself out in her Williams-Sonoma apron (logical) and an ill-fitting and unnecessary chef’s toque (illogical), also from Williams-Sonoma.

IMG_0763.JPG
Oops… should have thought this through a little better.

I hand-whipped some cream to dollop on top, but didn’t account for the heat emanating from the fresh waffles. As we tried to rush through some fancy “Instagrammy” food shots, the whipped cream melted and our plate was left looking more sloppy than elegant. It tasted marvelous nonetheless. Thanks to Sophia’s snobbery, the rest of us enjoyed extra portions.

While the recipe states frozen berries may be used, I personally recommend using fresh. We used frozen blueberries in the past, and the melted juices tinted the whole batter a rather sickly purplish-grey. I think that’s why Sophia was repulsed when she discovered what was on the menu. Fresh berries hold up better in the batter (yes I did that on purpose), and I think they come out looking nicer.

I’ve also filmed a YouTube video about my new Hobonichi Techo Cousin planner. It is currently uploading…. almost 3 hours for a 10 minute video? Is this normal??

Third-Born (known by the family as Gabriella) has barely slept for the past week. I think she had several large back teeth coming in all the same time!! It seems all our suffering has come to an end today, thank GOD!!!!! Her nap started a little before 12:30 and it is now 3:55 and she is still asleep! Poor thing. Hopefully the worst of that drama is finally behind us.

Wednesday, May 22

I cut my hair!!

img_0772.jpg

I used the “unicorn method”. This was my first time EVER cutting my own hair. At least not since some surreptitious snipping back in grade school…

The rest of my experience is posted here, under the “Beauty” tab, because this was such an ordeal that it does require its own post.

Thursday, May 23

Other than typing this entry, I chilled-out with social media today. I feel like I burn out very easily when it comes to social interaction, and it seems to include social media. Why am I like this? It’s a significant handicap considering I rely on other humans for my own survival, and I even want to socialize sometimes… it just kind of kills me a little inside if I do it for too long. I’ve always been like this. I was the kid that went alone to her bedroom during her own birthday parties. Ugh. Since I can’t think of a solution, I guess all I can do is keep trucking along as best as I can.

The girls did well with homeschooling today, although our lessons have been pared-down to the bare necessities since Gabriella has entered the Terrible Twos (which really started when she turned 1). Adriana is still to young to be required to undergo standardized testing to comply with our state regulations, but Sophia is gearing up to take the CAT6 through Seton Testing Services and if any of my readers have any insight they would like to share on this subject, I would appreciate the input!

I’m going to give the two oldest fresh pedicures, and I want to do my own mani/pedi tonight, but we will see how that goes. It all really depends on Gabriella… I can hardly give my nails time to dry if I am obliged to attend a screaming toddler throughout the evening. But as I mentioned on Tuesday, she seems to be over the miserable sleeping rut she was in for a few weeks.

How could I forget my most exciting news? I have a professional salon appointment set for tomorrow morning at Blonde Salon, to fix the embarrassing cut I gave myself yesterday!!! I’m really thinking about adding long, swept-away bangs….. hmm… this may also be better as a separate post.

Friday, May 24

The haircut turned out fantastic! Jennifer did a great job, and if you are in the area, I recommend her! I will save the rest of the haircut info for a separate post… you’re probably picking up on my love of compartmentalization and organization…

The most exciting event of the day, nay… MONTH… was when I looked out the window and discovered our neighbor had cut down a large tree! My first thought was for the lovely fragments of trunk that were already cut into the perfect height for chairs or tables for Adriana’s fairy party! What could be more whimsical and appropriate for our Midsummer Night’s Dream fête that real logs and stumps strewn about the garden for seating etc… with English ivy still clinging to the bark? Nevermind the fact that the sap is still flowing from the freshly cut wood, and guests may find themselves stuck to their seat at the end of the evening…

I was thrilled about the logs, and then he approached me with a nest he had found in the tree, still with two teeny blue robin’s eggs. He asked if we had any interest in them, otherwise he’d leave them out for the animals. I said the girls would love to give interspecies maternal instincts some exercise (let’s be honest, so would I), so we took them. The girls were full of high hopes, and of course I was too, but after rotating around the sun more that 30 times, I had a realistic expectation that this probably would not result in healthy adult birds. It would be a miracle if they even hatched. But I was determined to do what we could. My children are very fortunate, and have never experienced  grief…. and we haven’t had pets, so their personal understanding of the “circle of life” is limited to cold theory. It is a punch in the gut when actually experiencing it first-hand.

We have zero incubation equipment, so our Hail Mary was human body heat. Sophia cut two compartments out of an egg carton, which we further padded with tissues. We placed the eggs inside, taped the carton shut, and took turns holding it our warm laps, with sheepskins and blankets piled on top to retain heat.

I carefully slept with it in this position at night. It was like when my babies were newborns and we slept with them in bed with us: I barely moved all night…. instinctively aware that there was delicate life right next to me.

Saturday, May 25

I felt absolutely ridiculous after waking up next to a carton of robin’s eggs. I determined to try to figure out if there is any way to see if the buggers were even alive before I invested more of my time sleeping next to rotten eggs. I seemed to remember people holding eggs up to a light source to determine….. something.. what was it? Thankfully I live in the age of Google, and quickly learned this technique is called “candling”. I saw a few videos online, and this 4-minute video was one of my favorites. We used the method on both eggs, and determined that one was clearly a “late death”. This 5-minute video is utterly fantastic and also shows examples of how dead eggs will appear during candling. We took the dead egg outside, and cracked it open to study before leaving it to fate nature had intended all along….. nourishment for another living being.

The other egg actually had movement!!! I recorded it in a YouTube video of my own, but it was really hard to get the lighting right. I could even occasionally see something thin and opaque that appeared to be maybe legs moving against the shell.

A subscriber from Instagram suggested placing the egg in another nest to be adopted. A genius idea!! Only problem is, I was unable to locate another nest. I made a note to myself to keep better track of the nests in our area for this very purpose should the need ever arise again.

Back into the carton and laps it went.

When I candled it at night before I went to bed, I noticed reduced movement. I bundled up with it again at night.

Sunday, May 26

Upon coming downstairs, I candled the remaining egg, and determined it was dead.

I broke the news as gently as I could when the girls came down, but they reacted as I expected. It was a heavy blow, but important to experience and work through. They will work through it, but grief takes time… even for something as “foolish” as a common bird egg. I’m glad they have the compassion and empathy to understand and care. When they are ready, we will take it outside to reunite it with the Circle of Life, and allow it to keep life going for another hungry garden resident.

First Ever DIY Haircut!!

Not too long ago, I shared on Instagram about how I was considering trying to trim my own hair in an attempt to avoid unnecessary expenditure. I am a dutiful little housewife, indeed. I will go ahead and divulge the spoilers up front: it did not go well. But I did take lots of photos, and I will post them all below, while I wait for my salon to ANSWER THE PHONE I AM DESPERATE PLEASE JUST PICK UP!!

IMG_0772

The technique I opted for is commonly known as the “unicorn method”. It is a favorite among YouTubers right now, and many of my own Instagram subscribers recommended it, so it was BOUND to go wonderfully. I used the regular scissors from this kit.

……

IMG_0782
Carefully, now!!
IMG_0784
Here comes the chop!!
IMG_0785
What could go wrong?… It’s only hair, right???????
IMG_0786
WE’VE REACHED THE POINT OF NO RETURN!
IMG_0787
“Point-cutting” This allegedly makes it look better.
IMG_0793
Regrets…. I’m having lots of them.
IMG_0795
These aren’t layers, they’re…………………. shelves?
IMG_0798
In my defense, I did once pay a lot of money to get this same messed-up cut. The failure from that stylist is one of the reasons I fear salon visits and wanted to DIY in the first place. And…… AM I SEEING GREYS????
IMG_0803
Looks ok like this… guess I’m sticking with “half up” styles until this is fixed.
IMG_0804
Verdict: WACK. zero stars.
IMG_0805
Now I’m I’m just snapping photos to feed my ego. Time to go.

Stay tuned to find out if a professional stylist can save me, or if I will be left to wallow in my own folly…

Girl’s Formal (blue) Dress

For Pascha (also known as “Orthodox Easter”) 2019, I made matching dresses for my two older daughters! These projects were full of “firsts” for me, and some of those firsts were extremely frustrating. However, I powered through and got it done, much to my own surprise!!

Pattern: I used a vintage Simplicity pattern #4275 (circa 1950s), however I greatly altered the assembly method. So while I did use the pattern pieces, I made two different dresses and layered the sheer version (view 1 on the pattern envelope) on top of the opaque version (view 3), and I added a lining that was not in the directions at all.

Fabric: For the opaque base layer, I used the “Royal Blue Plain Dyed Polyester Taffeta” from Mood Fabrics at $9.99 a yard (58″ wide). For the translucent top layer, I used “Royal Iridescent Nylon Organza” at $5.99 a yard (44″ wide). The lining was made of a robin’s egg blue cotton woven that I have massive amounts of in my stash… I got it from my grandmother, and that’s all I really know about it!

Notions: All notions for this project were also from Mood. Buttons are GORGEOUS (and quite heavy!) Italian Beige Mother of Pearl Shank Back Button (13mm $1.74 each). I ended up not using buttons on the front of the dress as pictured on the pattern envelope, because the buttons were heavier than I expected. The smaller size would have been darling, but I decided there was enough going on with the dress already . Thread is 260 Primary Blue Gutermann Sew-All Thread

Extra Info: Where to begin? This was a really nightmarish project, and I won’t sugar-coat it for you. I cried real tears many times, and experienced a great deal of despair and self-loathing during the construction process. It all started with the fact that, not only had I never used/tested this pattern before, I also deliberately did not follow the directions and made life more complicated for myself by actually cutting two dresses and trying to combine them myself. This was especially tricky around the neckline because the dresses had very different necklines. The base dress (view 3 on the pattern envelope) called for seam binding to finished the edges of the arm-holes and neckline. I took the time to make my own bias tape with the blue taffeta (another nightmare, please keep reading), but I could not manage to master the technique and it kept turning out sloppy. While attempting to remove the bias tape and try again, I ripped the fabric of the bodice entirely, and ended up needing to cut a new one (thankfully I did have enough taffeta leftover). I ended up finishing the edges by using a lining… and I’m sure First-Born appreciated a cotton lining anyway, instead of having scratchy polyester all over her torso. These complaints all flow so nicely to the next subject: the fabric itself. I have never worked with taffeta (polyester or otherwise) in my life, and only used organza once (for a princess dress for our realtor’s daughter… it’s on my Instagram if you fancy a scroll), so I can’t really say if all taffetas and organzas behave this way. Let me tell you, and I cannot emphasize this enough: this taffeta frays constantly merely by looking at it. I suppose the good thing about this being polyester, is that it was relatively easy to work around this… I started keeping a lighter on my sewing table, and right after every single cut to the taffeta, I would quickly run the flame near the edge of the material and melt the edge together. Use this technique with caution, lest you send your whole project up in flames. The organza was also prone to fraying, but I did expect it, and it wasn’t half as bad as the taffeta. However, this particular organza would get snagged very easily… much like the nylon stockings I used to splurge on… is this just typical with nylon in general?? The organza I used for Second-Born was much more user-friendly.

All-in-all, this dress is riddled with mistakes and poor-workmanship… perhaps I should call it “inexperienced-workmanship”… but my daughter cried when she tried the completed dress on for the first time, and kept going on about how she felt like a real princess, like Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia (she is going through a Romanov phase)………… so I accept this a hard-won victory, and certainly a valuable learning experience.

20190408_132516.jpg

20190408_132839

img_20190425_153823.jpg

img_20190425_154934.jpg

20190427_194931.jpg

20190427_194955.jpg

20190427_195016.jpg