Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween 2012 - Caveman and Sabre-Toothed Cat

Now that our Halloween parties are over, I can put up instructions on how to make our costumes! These were SO fun to wear. Not as much fun to make, but I'm hoping anyone reading this will start more than three days in advance. Three days is a push, to get costumes like this done.

Materials List for Caveman:
  • 2 metres of fur - I bought a half yard of snow leopard, a half yard of cheetah, and two yards of tiger to make both costumes. Cost: $36.61 at Fabricland
  • Sculpey III clay in white and granite - I wound up buying two 8 oz packages of white to do all the teeth and bones for the caveman and sabre-toothed cat costumes, and a 2 oz package of the granite for the spearhead. Cost: approximately $38.00 at Michael's. 
  • Leather cording for the necklace and the spear - Cost: Approximately $5.00 at Michael's.
  • Thick leather thongs for the waistpiece of the 'skirt' and the spear - Cost: Approximately $14.00 at Michael's.
  • Long, straight stick for the spear - Found by Tim
  • Thick, knobby branch for the club - Found by Tim
  • Fake skin or liquid latex and fake blood for cuts - Cost: $6.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart
To-Do List:
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. 
  2. Form the teeth and bone for the necklace out of the white clay. We made them the same size as the front teeth from my helmet/head. Four little ones, two bigger ones, one bone. I kept thinking the bone looked like a little caveman bowtie. Use a kitchen skewer (like for making kebabs) to poke holes through the pieces where you want them strung. We left the skewers in while cooking them to make sure the holes stayed big enough for the leather cording. 
  3. Form the head of the spear. Tim looked up pictures online of spearheads to come up with his and it turned out amazing. 
  4. Bake the bones, teeth, and spearhead for the recommended amount of time. For the white, I believe it was fifteen minutes per 1/4" of thickness, while the granite was 30 minutes per 1/4".
  5. Cut the fur into jagged pieces as long as you'd like the 'skirt' to hang. If you have a sewing machine, use it to attach all the furs together in a nice random arrangement. If you do not have a sewing machine, like me, get ready for an annoying hand-sewing process. I sewed all of them to one piece of ribbon I had, just to make it a little more sturdy. On the outside, tag on the leather thongs so that it looks like it's held on by that. I just stitched around the leather like belt loops because stitching through it would have been impossible. The skirt is done at this point (we held it together with pins, you can get more technical and add buttons or ties if you like. It would probably be sturdier. The chest/shoulder piece was Tim's addition because he felt naked in the skirt. It's just a leftover piece of fabric wrapped around him and tucked into the skirt. 
  6. When the clay has all baked and cooled, you can string the pieces for the necklace onto the leather cord and wrap the spearhead to the stick. To make the expandable necklace, I used these instructions. For the spearhead, Tim's cut some kind of a notch into the stick and then super-wrapped the spearhead. It looked amazing. 
  7. For the cuts the first night, we used fake skin to make the sabre-tooth cuts on Tim's arm. He did NOT like that I actually scratched him to get the placement right. After laying down the marks, I just gobbed on the fake skin. Once it dried I covered it up with makeup - any foundation or concealer will do as long as it mostly matches their skin tone. Once that has dried a little too, VERY carefully take scissors and cut the scratches into the fake skin, being careful not to get real skin. I'll admit that I scored Tim a little in a few places. Once the cuts are open, I ran a dark lipstick over them and filled them with fake blood, leaving a little extra to drip down his arm. 
  8. There you go! Caveman!

Leather cording and thong attaching spearhead to spear

 Caveman necklace

Ribbon on the inside for structure

Leather thong on the outside

Materials List for Sabre-Toothed Cat:
  • 2 metres of tiger fur
  • Sculpey III clay in white
  • Black pants
  • Black long sleeve shirt
  • Black liquid eyeliner
  • Black lipstick
  • Old baseball cap, sized to fit your head
  • Full roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Hot glue gun with LOTS of glue sticks - I think I used between 15-20
  • Flour
  • Water
  • Newspaper ripped into thin strips
To-Do List:
  1. Form the teeth, eyes, nose, cheek pads and ears from the clay. For the teeth I made four small teeth, two medium teeth, and two very large teeth. The eyes were slightly smaller than golf balls. For the nose and ears, look up pictures of tigers and form them to match. For the cheeks, I use a toothpick to poke little holes where the whiskers would go, only I couldn't find anything to make the whiskers out of. Really high test fishing line might have worked. Bake at 275 for the recommended amount of time, about 15 minutes per 1/4" of thickness. I found the eyes and the largest teeth to take an hour. 
  2. Paint the ears black, then attach fur to the tops. Paint the nose black. Put little black dots around the whisker holes on the cheek pieces. Paint the eyes - I used a few different colours of nail polish to do this. 
  3. Cut pieces of tiger fur to match the front and back of your shirt. You will actually have to cut it slightly larger than your shirt because your shirt will probably stretch and my fur did not at all. You don't want to be busting at the seams! Sew the pieces to the front and back of your shirt.
  4. To make the head, first use aluminum foil to form a rough tiger head shape. Use hot glue to keep it all together. Liberally. 
  5. Once the aluminum is to your liking (it doesn't have to be perfect, using the tiger fur on the head covers a lot of sins), cover this will a layer of paper mache made with a pretty thick flour/water mix. Mine was probably slightly more flour than water, but mix it up to your liking. Dip the newspaper strips and use them to cover the whole head, shaping it to the aluminum foil. Do not put too much of anything inside the rim that will sit against your head. It will chafe. I had to put my paper mached head into the oven to dry because I didn't have enough time. I just turned it on at the very lowest temperature and watched it carefully.
  6. When the paper mache is dry, poke/bash/cut out holes for the eyeballs and a trough for the nose to sit in. I painted the whole head black just in case there were any gaps in the fur. Then, starting at the nose and working towards the back of the head, hot glue the fur onto the head, stretching it tight. This will be (as the hole head is) a procedure with a lot of adjustments. I pushed little balls of fabric under the fur fabric above the eye holes to kind of create more of a pronounced eyebrows shape. And I cut slits in the fabric and slid the ears underneath before attaching them with hot glue. I also put the nose underneath the fur on the snout so it looked more natural. 
  7. Once the fabric is all hot glued and taut against the head, add the eyes, cheek pads, and teeth. Your head is done!
  8. For face makeup, I just did really intense cheek contouring and really, REALLY big cat eyes. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

October Manicures

Since we're coming up to the end of the month and I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that this manicure stays good until the 31st, I thought I'd do a recap of my manicures this month. I love how I went from having basically no fingernails this spring to now doing practically weekly manicures. I love how my boyfriend is a gigantic nag and made that possible.

However, I hate that he continues to nag whenever I put my fingers near my mouth.

First off, I did my nails for Thanksgiving under Tim's suggestion to do something fall-like. I know he meant 'Paint them brown or some other solid colour' because my crazy nail art makes him shake his head. I did try this, starting out with a base coat of Maybelline Color Show's new Auburn Ablaze. But then I thought it was boring and wound up with this:

The red centre stripe is a thin coat of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear's Red Carpet, and then the tip is done in Sephora by OPI's Caliente Coral. 

Last weekend I had Lindsay and Cory's wedding and could not decide what to wear. But I saw a tutorial for galaxy nails on Beautylish's website (go here) and wanted to at least try it out. They turned out AMAZING!!

This manicure is a bit of a labour of love. I always use two coats of OPI's Nail Envy base coat on my nails before anything else. Originally I started doing this to keep dark polishes from staining my nails, and then fell in LOVE with this product. My nails are super hard now, and I really do think it's entirely this product. It has a nice matte finish if you want to wear it on it's own. When I'm leaving my nails bare (doesn't happen often), I usually put on a top coat just to add some shine to it. Over that I layered a coat of the black, it's Elm Line's Candy. Weird name for a black polish. Then it starts getting complicated, although the colour coats are all super thin and dry easily. The tutorial uses a sponge, but I don't own any. I just used a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover and then blotted on a tissue. First I laid down a little spot in Maybelline Color Show's Avante Green, and then another spot of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear's Blue It. I didn't think the green was prominent enough, so I shaded a little bit on top of the green with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear's Ivy League. Then I added in the hot pink, which is Sally Hansen HD's Digital. For the glitter, I put down a spot of Nicole by OPI's Rainbow in the S-Kylie (from their Kardashian line). Then I put a VERY thin layer of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear's Disco Ball. Finally, I finished the whole thing off with a layer of OPI Top Coat.

This manicure made me SO happy. Every time I looked at it, it made me smile. I don't really think anyone else GOT it. Tim thought it was hilarious. But this is my favourite manicure I've ever done. It just turned out so much better than I thought it ever would. 

Finally, I did my nails yesterday for Halloween. I'll try to do a post later about my costume (which has been a LOT of work) but these nails are my interpretation of claws. 

Along with my usual base coat and top coat, this is a layer of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear's (I have a lot of these polishes because they are CHEAP and they're actually a really nice, thick, heavily pigmented polish) White On. I used my new Orly Detailer Brush (more info also to come) to paint the outer lines of the triangles and then just filled them in. The colour is Essie's Good as Gold, which is one of my favourite polishes. 

I already have some ideas for November's nails!!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Enforced Healthy Snacking - Riceworks Rice Crisps

I have a weird relationship with food. Growing up, my self-employed mom worked a lot, so dinner was generally convenience food. We avoided meal times at my grandparents' because neither of my grandmothers could cook. I'm sure it can't be true, but all I remember eating through high school was sugar cereal, dry pasta, and pizza from the local pizza place. Shockingly, I was not a whale. Good genetics, I guess.

For all that I now love food and adore cooking, I'm not sure my actual eating habits have really gotten any better. How I eat at home is one thing. But at my desk job, I'm kind of brutal. I use caffeine to help me concentrate on spreadsheets and I crave salt all the time.

Strangely, Tim has a weird anti-chips prejudice. His favourite snack food is tortillas and salsa, but actual chips are another story. As I understand it, his one ex would eat her way through an entire bag of chips in a sitting (not that I'm judging, give me a bag of Miss Vickie's and just let me go) and it was a point of contention in their relationship. Chips are now some sort of special area of disgust for him.

As much as I love chips, this is still a step up from MY ex, who hated cheese. I should have known that relationship would never work.

In Tim's well-intentioned, neurotic world, he will not buy me chips. Instead, he came home the other day all triumphant, pulling two bags of Riceworks Rice Crisps out of the shopping bags.

He had bought a bag of the sea salt and a bag of sweet chili. Since I tend to like my chips unflavoured best, I took the sea salt ones to work first. I was seriously underwhelmed by these. They were only mildly salty and the rice texture didn't really work for me. It was something like breeding a rice cake and a tortilla chip, with the flavour leaning more towards the rice cake. 

Because I wasn't hugely fond of the first bag, it took me a few weeks to venture into the sweet chili bag. I wish I had tried this one first!! These things are so addictive! The texture is still the same, but the seasoning is awesome. Just a little hot. More savoury and salty. They're delicious. Even my boss, who generally shies away from anything even remotely "healthy," could not stop eating these. I think I'm going to have to try some other flavours now!!