Thursday, June 14, 2018

Change the Color of Your Bikini - Green to Blue

I'm getting ready to pack my things in a little backpack for a summer trip. We're flying economy and everything needs to fit under the seat in front of us. This means packing light and taking my smallest swimsuit. My favorite white bikini top takes up a lot of space with its thick padding and sturdy underwire. The problem with my packing-friendly small bikini top is that it's...really green. Neon green. It's a fine color, but I'm not a fan of wearing it. I thought I could tone it down with some Rit DyeMore. 
Rit DyeMore is designed for synthetic fabrics. I was very excited when it came out because I loved playing around with regular Rit dye - which works great on cotton and other natural fabrics but not so much on polyester.
I had already used half of my bottle of Rit DyeMore in Sapphire Blue for successfully turning a hot pink scarf burgundy. (The underlying color of whatever you're dying always contributes to the outcome color).

I decided to use the rest of my bottle on my electric green bikini top. I started by heating up water on the stove top while soaking the bikini in warm water in a separate bowl. The pot and wooden stirring spoon I use for dying is used never used for food, by the way. It's pretty handy to have a large pot for crafting and cleaning purposes only.

When the water was almost simmering, I poured the half-bottle of dye into the water and stirred it in. Then the bikini went in. I stirred for a little while and kept the bikini top moving. If this was a good diy tutorial, I would give you exact times and measurements, but I eyeballed everything. The bikini top was in the hot water for about fifteen minutes.

After that, I rinsed the swimsuit in warm water in the sink until most of the dye had run out. It's a good idea to wear gloves to keep your hands from getting stained. I didn't use gloves but I lifted the bikini out with my wood spoon. Also, be careful not to burn yourself with the hot dye water.

Finally the bikini went into the washing machine with a little detergent.

Here was the result:
I was so pleased. I never know how things are going to turn out after dying. Interestingly, the lining stayed perfectly green.
There were some small areas on the ties that the dye missed. I could have avoided this if I had moved the cup area of the bikini around while I was dying, but it's not too noticeable.
It was a fun project - if you're not too worried about potentially ruining a bathing suit, you could give this a try for a color change. Just remember the color wheel and that your underlying color will always add to the final color. Also, there are lots more detailed instructions on the Rit website for dying other items.

Happy dyeing!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Shop My Closet - June '18

Hello! I hope you forgive this purely self-promotional post... :-)

It's time for spring cleaning as well as summer wardrobe prep. I'm selling a ton of my wardrobe - including some cute vintage pieces - on eBay. Some pieces don't fit me anymore and it's just time to let others go. Most clothing sizes are small to medium, but there are a few large and x-small. I've marked my prices as low as possible and I ship quickly. You can find my shop on eBay here. Or, if you prefer the visual format of Pinterest - as I do - you can find links to my wardrobe listings here. As items sell, I'll be removing the links from the Pinterest page to keep it up-to-date.

I'll be keeping my sale going until June 25, 2018, and after that I'll be closing my eBay shop for a a few weeks. Many apologies to my international friends, but I can only ship within the US. :-(

The best way to ask me any questions about an item is to message me through eBay. I will do my best to combine shipping. Happy shopping!

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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Nikon One-Touch 35mm AF Camera - Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

Last October I picked up a vintage camera for $2.00 at a local thrift store. I had no intention of using it other than as a prop for my Lydia Deetz Halloween costume. But I became interested after doing some research on this camera - Nikon One Touch L35AF II - one of Nikon's early automatic cameras. It had some visible wear, but everything seemed to work and here's the best photos from our first roll of film. The latest photos are at the top and the oldest are at the bottom of this post. You might notice we started taking photos last autumn and just finished the roll this May. Over time, I came to refer to this 80s point-and-shoot as "my heavy plastic brick."

We used Walgreens' photo services. They don't give you negatives, but they do provide a photo CD and single prints for about $16.00. We were really just curious if this camera was working. I plan on shooting more film with this camera. We used Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400.

If you're interested in picking up a hobby like this, I've come across a lot of decent point-and-shoot cameras (90s-00s era) in thrift stores for only a few dollars. You can find tutorials for loading film and other details online.

Happy shooting!

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Friday, May 4, 2018

Recent Work - Oil and Cold Wax Spring Series

Wysteria, oil, pastel, and cold wax on cradled birch panel, 18" x 24" x .75" 
 Sakura, oil and cold wax on cradled birch panel, 16" x 20" x .75" 
Conversation Hearts, oil, pastel, and cold wax on cradled wood panel, 12" x 12" x 1.5"
Packing Cubes, oil and cold wax on panel, 11" x 14"
Nomads, oil, cold wax, and pastel on cradled birch panel, 12" x 12" x .75"
Nomads II, oil, cold wax, and pastel on cradled birch panel, 12" x 12" x .75" Nomads II
Work in progress on my tabletop easel.
Surface detail.

I've been hard at work with my new oil and cold wax Spring Series. It's inspired by texture, blossoms, and travel. Two of these are getting prepared to enter a competition - Wysteria and Nomads - and the rest will be appearing in my shop later.

"You like squares," a woman said while looking at my art a few months ago. The comment gave me pause. The way she said it seemed a bit reductionist. But after a moment of thinking about it, I had to admit that this was true. I really love squares. I adore squares, rectangles, and painting square-ish compositions. You can see some of that here, but I also tried to break that pattern and paint some more rounded and scattered shapes.

Working on this series was a great experiment in texture and layering. It taught me new ways of painting with knives. My current favorite is the Liquitex, Large No. 2. It's great for larger pieces, and in my small studio, I consider 18" x 24" large. Someday I'd love to work on even larger surfaces.

My portfolio website is in better shape since I reworked it a few weeks ago. I'd love to hear your opinion on it and how I can improve it.

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Glamour on Board: Titanic Costume Exhibition

Warning: this post has lots of photos! And unfortunately, they're not all sharp or properly exposed. But I was taking many photos in a short amount of time indoors without a flash. Some of my photography makes these vibrant costumes look washed out, but I wanted to share them anyway for any Titanic costume fans - like me - greedy for any costume details.

As I mentioned in the last post, we were lucky enough to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC and see the Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie exhibition on Easter. If you want to catch it, it runs until May 13, 2018. Titanic is one of my favorite films, and absolutely my favorite film for costumes. Steven is a big Titanic fan too, so we were very excited to view this exhibition.

I was too young to see the film when it first came to theatres, but Steven - who is almost three years younger than me - was allowed to see it in the theatre at the tender age of eight. Years later, we saw it together when it came to the big screen in 3D in 2012.
Here's the infamous boarding suit worn by Rose, played by Kate Winslet, of course! And that amazing violet-colored hat.
Ahhhhh! The dinner dress and Jack's borrowed tux. How amazing is that rosey-salmon color through the black chiffon? Below is the Countess of Rothes's and the Captain's costumes. (Side story: one Thanksgiving, Steven and I - along with everyone else - were pressured to stand up and say what we were thankful for. It was a large, extended-family event and neither of us liked being put on the spot. However, Steven stood up and gave Jack's whole "To making it count" speech without blinking an eye. If anybody realized he was quoting Titanic, they didn't say anything. Steven has an amazing memory and pretty much had the film memorized).I was thrilled to see the "elevator dress" in person - and full-length for the first time (above)! You can just barely see this gown in the film. Rose is wearing it while exiting an elevator and she's partially obscured. It's beautiful, though. I love the different textures of black and white contrasted with the large rose at the bust. And how pretty is that necklace with the amber teardrops? Whenever we're watching the movie I yell "ELEVATOR DRESS!" and point at the screen when it shows up. So Steven did the same in person. :-D
I wish my photos of the deck dress were better - the yellow was richer in person. Costumer Deborah Lynn Scott picked some fantastic colors for Kate Winslet to wear. I always thought her hair color in the film went so well with this dress. Below are costumes worn by Frances Fisher as Ruth Dewitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Cal Hockley. I never noticed Ruth's large butterfly detail in the film.The red dress Rose wears when she meets Jack for the first time may be my favorite costume in the film. It was displayed in the beautiful library at the Biltmore house, along with Cal's tuxedo.There were a number of stunning costumes worn by background actors.Another costume worn by Ruth.
I was excited to see the Astors' costumes (above). I always look for the butterfly on the front of Mrs. Astor's gold-colored gown - but it was missing here. Hmmm... the mystery if the missing butterfly??
Above are the costumes worn by Rose and Cal in the tense breakfast scene. Below is the dressing gown Rose wore when Cal gave her the "Heart of the Ocean."
The three photos above show costumes worn by background actors.
Above is Rose's famous "flying dress," which I failed to capture in all it's vibrant indigo glory. The information provided by the exhibition noted that it was a challenge to get the fabrics in this costume the same blue, since they absorb dye differently.
Rose's light and airy "hero dress" and her pink coat. According to the information in the exhibition, Kate Winslet was a size 6, but the costumer wanted her in a size 8 coat to make her look more vulnerable.
"Draw me like one of your French Girls!" I love that the belt is dyed in a gradient.
Trudy the Stewardess's uniform was also on display. I love her elegant little watch.
Costumes worn by Fabrizio, played by Danny Nucci, and Helga, played by Camilla Overbye Roos.
Costume worn by little Cora, played by Alexandrea Owens.
The exhibition ended with Jack and Rose's dream costumes. I knew that Rose's dress at the end of the film is a white version of her dinner dress, but I didn't know that the white fabric underneath had a faint paisley print. Outside of the context of the film, Jack's simple corduroys and brown collared shirt look almost contemporary. It was a delight to notice details on these costumes that I never noticed or - couldn't see - in the film. As a Titanic fan, the exhibition was so much fun and

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