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Friday, September 11, 2015

Makeup Holder

I recently got into makeup. It was because of a series of things, the biggest of which was the looming move in day to college. It occurred to me, while desperately trying to put on what little makeup I owned (mascara and red lipstick) in time for a formal event, that functioning adults should probably be able to dress up. For women, I realized, makeup was the same thing as pantyhose. It was just what you wore. I didn't like this, I hate social obligations- especially gendered ones- but I also realized that whether or not I liked them, if I went to a job interview with my bare baby face it would come across the same as if I had worn a t shirt. So I begrudgingly got some makeup at CVS.

It felt as if I had cast aside all my feminist beliefs putting on that first coat of foundation. I had never in my life worn foundation, the idea was always gross to me. I was a little kid trying on mom's makeup for the first time. I thought back to all the Sephora gift cards and tubes of lip gloss I had received in middle school, all gifts that seemed like wastes at the time. I thought back to my friends coming to high school looking like clowns because they were so scared to show acne. Was I becoming that? Would makeup become a crutch? My mind was going a mile a minute! Then I looked in the mirror.

I had self confidence issues as a kid. I was stubborn enough to never let it influence me, which I am grateful for, but I always felt like the ugly duckling who turned out to just be an ugly duckling. Looking in that mirror a great lie was revealed to me.

I looked the same as everybody else. 

I wasn't cursed with terrible plainness I was just too stupid to realize all these years how huge an impact makeup made... I wondered what my boyfriend would think when I walked into a room finally looking like a California girl. I also felt grateful I found this so late. I met my boyfriend in t shirts and jeans and not a drop of makeup. I met him before my anxiety was controlled, I met him when I was at my sickest, and you know what? He willingly dated me- and for two years! I knew I would never be afraid to go outside without makeup because I had never worried before.

Now that we've gotten through the touchy feely shit, back to the makeup holder. I recently and rapidly aqcuired quite a bit of makeup (helped by a massive ULTA and E.L.F. sale) and realized it would never do to keep it in a shoe box. I needed something better, and (being myself) I needed to MAKE IT.

This is what I whipped up. It's canvas over stiff interfacing, with elastic holders and matching canvas pockets.

This pocket fits my setting powder. This pocket is big enough to fit the second one i'm getting from E.L.F. next week. 

This is my favorite trick. I sewed a strip of canvas and an elastic band to hold hair ties.

The elastic loop closes the strip off and secures the ties to the strip. I'm pretty proud of that idea...

This shows how the elastic works. It's just attached elastic with straight lines sewn to make slots tight enough to hold things while still letting them fit. This empty space will be used for brushes.

This is my eyeliner section, it will soon be expanded.

This is my lipsticks section, also soon to be expanded.
This is where I will add eye shadow pouches.

Here is the space on top I will be expanding onto.

This is the back of it. This was originally designed to hang on a wall, but since I am going to have a bunk bed I will hang it off the frame using velcro straps and use all this back space!

I will be making a tutorial video about this, it's almost done, but not quite, expect it sometime next week. As always,
Belle

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Flowering Tea

My mother grew up in what I consider the heartland of tea. It isn't England who, while they may consume the most quantity of teas, is not who I think of for anything really high end or especially refined. It isn't a more remote place like Myanmar or Nepal, who may have some vast or ancient tea fields.

My mother grew up in Japan.

The tea i'm talking about is not actually even from Japan, it is in fact Chinese. But, I was introduced to it in a little tea ceremony my mom put together one time when I was small and asked her about living in Japan. She put on a Yukata, and we sat on pillows on the floor and she brought this out. I have had a hard time finding it until recently, and decided to spread the beauty and joy that amazed me as a kid.

Flowering tea is tea leaves and flowers that have been hand sewn together, folded and dried so that when placed in hot water, as the leaves absorb water and naturally expand, they produce a blooming flower effect that also steeps the tea. The effect is AMAZING!

I found this kit at world market for $20, and a refill set for 5 (because why not), and immediately had to have it!


It came with 5 tea buds, which can each be used to steep a pot of tea several times! (The box says 5-15, I have no idea which number is closer. Tea is fickle, it depends)

 You can't really see where it's been sewn, but you can definitely tell it has been sewn.  I went with Dragon Lily, a white tea with an orange lily center.
 The glass pot is small, about two small cups of tea, but perfect for flower tea. Flowering tea is not the kind you make in bulk and mix in cream and sugar with. This is the kind of tea that you enjoy for it's own sake. I didn't have a banana for scale, but here is my tiny hand.
Below is a time-lapse of the tea blooming. You can see me settling it with my chopsticks at one point, as they tend to float a bit. 


 And here is the finished tea! The cup was not included but I happened to have the perfect one laying around.
Let steep and enjoy, and as always,
Belle.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Expanded Kara Kesh Post

This will be brief and picture heavy, since the work tends to speak for itself. I made the curved pieces out of Worbla and brass, brass for the less complex shapes and to hold it onto my wrist, and the Worbla for the intricate shapes that brass couldn't easily conform to.

For those unfamiliar with Worbla, it is a kind of plastic with a very low melting point that becomes malleable at a temperature you can still sculpt it with your hands. Good to know.

This is the underside. The piece around my wrist is a brass bracelet to hold it on, and the center piece is a garden hose cap, some resin, and inside is an LED hookup. 

Here is a close up of the crystal. Goa'ulds tend to power their technology off of crystals, so for this I wanted such an important piece to be just right. I mixed borax in hot water, molded Worbla to a piece that can slide into the curved Worbla holders and grew crystals on that. This means the crystal is interchangeable, fits in easily, and can be held in by the Worbla arms. Worbla, while not strong enough to hold the entire Kara Kesh onto my arm, can hold a crystal very securely. 

Here is the secret side view. This shows how it all goes together, including the joint on my wrist that allowed me to raise my wrist to "suck people's brains out" as I believe Colonel O'Neil called it. 


Don't go enslaving any other races, and as always,
Belle.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Goa'uld cosplay, and why making Kara Kesh is hard

This year for San Diego Comic Con 2015, my boyfriend assembled himself an SG1 uniform thanks to some patches he got from his brother. I was feeling particularly exhausted this con, and so I decided to focus on one cosplay that complimented his.

I didn't have access to enough moss to be a Nox, and wasn't short enough to be an Asgard, so I went with the ultimate villain species- the Goa'uld. I patterned my dress style off of one worn by Daniels wife, and the coloring and cut off of the always impeccable Hathor, and the result was splendidly flapper-esque.

But, a Goa'uld is not a Goa'uld without a properly cool weapon. I couldn't afford a Zat or a ship, so I set my sights on making a ribbon device. You know, those things they kill people with Darth Vader style. 


Known as "ribbon device", "Kara Kesh", and "Hand Device", they come in all sorts of styles and builds and colors. Due to my difficulty with the finger tips I went for an older style one, like Hathor was uncovered in or Baal tended to chuck around. 

I molded it around a brass bracelet with Worbla, and then finished it off with some spray paint, resin, and a brass hose cap. My dad repurposed some LED boards he used to make jewelry (and I used to light up my prom dress last month) and the middle animated rather nicely. 



What i've learned:

-Fingers are hard to mold
-Molds are hard to make
- Paper mache does not look like metal no matter how much you spray paint it

and my last lesson is from Adam Savage himself, on his reddit AMA




And so i'm off to learn to weld! As always,
Belle. 


Sunday, February 22, 2015

How to make boba

So, what the hell is boba? We should probably know this before we start making it.
Ever had tapioca pudding? Those little balls of gooey chewiness are made from the root of the tapioca plant, the bizarre ugly kid with braces  of nature. 
It's ok, tapioca tree, I wore braces for 7 years. I feel you. This gelatinous concoction is then made into tapioca pudding balls, or tapioca pearls- or, boba. Which literally translates to large breasts. Yum? And those bubbly boobs in your drink are why it's called bubble tea.

Except! It's all a lie. Boba is not actually why it's called bubble tea- that answer is much too obvious clearly. The reason is actually that the tea is traditionally shaken before being poured, forming bubbles.
I know- what the hell, Japan? 

Now let's move on to what's important.
How to make these delicious LYING bastards. 
This is my boba jar. You want your boba to be made of ONLY tapioca starch. No "starch" no "potato starch" no mixes, just tapioca starch. The boba will have other ingredients, but it's starch should only be of the tapioca kind. 

Measure out how much you want. I usually go with a few cups so I can save it but when you refrigerate boba the insides do break down in the cold and can go crunchy, so try to only make as many as you can have that day. 

Pour your pearls into boiling water. Much like pasta, you want a lot of water. You don't have to worry about having too much like with rice- in fact the more water the better. 

Boil and boil. You want the pearls to look black and gooey, and when you take a sample it should taste right. Over cook here. Unlike pasta and rice, boba don't really get soggy unless you boil them endlessly for days- which I did, it's gross. If you want to have a lot on demand, you can put the finished pearls in a slow cooker. This is how many boba shops keep their boba soft all day. This does not work past 12 hours at which point you have jellos weird cousin that no one talks about. 
Strain the pearls.
Place in a simple sugar syrup. I use equal parts sugar, water, and honey for mine, and then boil the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. 
Put the boba in the mixture.
And that's it! Mine is in the fridge here because I actually like mine crunchy, but again you could use immediately, you could put it in a slow cooker. When you pour it into a drink, pour it after the tea has been shaken, and include some syrup for sweetening. You want a layer of warm syrup around the boba until you drink it, preserving the soft texture. 

More details on the tea aspect later,
As always
Belle