Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Decorating for Halloween

Although I've loved Halloween for quite some time, I've never decorated the house for it before but this year I decided it was time to start! My decorations aren't that fancy, and eventually I would love to add some vintage pieces instead of tacky things picked up from cheap shops, but it was a lot of fun to decorate for Halloween for the first time.

As you can see, I've incorporated some of my toy collection into our decorations.

...and a wig I bought for a costume I changed my mind on. Looks fetching on the Jack-o-Lantern, no?

I wanted to take a photo of this from outside but there was something that looked suspiciously like a wasp flying around, so I decided to stay inside, instead.

This table cloth was sent from a friend in the US - seems there are much nicer Halloween decorations wherever she got this from than can be found over here! But there was a bigger selection here, this year, so I'm holding out hope.

More toys and some orange serviettes to add a little Halloween-y touch.

I love this bunting I picked up from Typo, last year.

I had initially intended this post for Monday but I was too eager to share my costume, so I switched them around. Happy (early) Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Show me what you've seen.

It's that time of year again - Halloween! And that means it's Halloween costume time, too. Huzzah! I love looking at other people's costumes but, of course, I also like making my own. Last year, I was a pumpkin and you can see some others (as well as non-Halloween costumes) I've done on this Pinterest board. Since I started dabbling, for lack of a better word, in cosplay I've created a long list of costumes I want to do one day. One of them happened to be Abaddon in her grey dress from season 8 of Supernatural, which was kind of perfect for Halloween. With the thesis, and my dislike of sewing at the best of times, my mum sewed my dress up for me but I still had my hair, make-up and blood spatters to do!

Anyway, I've been told lately that I'm too wordy (well, only by my thesis supervisor) so how about some pictures of said costume?

The hair was probably the hardest part for me. Looking closely, I realised the continuity for Abaddon's hair isn't really that great but it still all looked very complicated to me. This lovely person on tumblr put together some good reference shots, which proved helpful to me.

The biggest help, though, was the lovely Ruby Armoire. She spent a lot of time giving me tips and instructions (and even drew a diagram!) on how to do this style. You should definitely go check out her website and/or Facebook page. The style is still more of an approximation than an exact recreation, but I'm really happy with it.

Here's a full shot - I'm making my SRS DMN BSNS face. I made the blood using clear puff paint and gel food colouring, an idea I got from the same tumblr user who did the reference shots of the hair. I had a lot of helpful suggestions for blood but, in the end, I decided I wanted something permanent. The puff paint means that the thicker bits dry looking a little wet so it still looks like fresh blood. It is a more expensive method, though - if I'd had more money I'd have added some yellow to brighten up the blood.

You can see more photos of my hair on Tumblr. I'm really proud with how my hair turned out, because it was what I was most worried about.

For anyone who hasn't seen the show or any pictures of Abaddon, below are some screencaps to give you an idea of what I was working to.

I just love Abaddon's make up and, luckily, it was super easy to do.

The back of my dress scoops down and the perfectionist in me is screaming in irritation! (I got overwhelmed & tired & forgot until after the dress was made). I'm trying to ignore it...even though screen accuracy is really important to me. Ah well. You live, you learn, no?

I think I might add more blood to my dress before I wear it again. Not sure.

Despite the back of the dress, I'm really happy with this costume - I think I may wear it, again, for Supanova. I only got to wear it for about an hour or so, and I feel a bit silly for that, so I think it needs a proper outing, you know? 

What is everyone else doing for Halloween? Dressing up/having parties/watching beloved spooky movies? Tell me! (Please.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oops! ...I did it again

(Photobooth photo of Saturday night's outfit.)

Gosh, it's been another one of those accidental blog breaks over here! (Sorry for the title - couldn't resist. And, wow, I'd forgot how amazing that music video is).  My thesis isn't going along as well as I thought it was, so it's been taking up all of my energy, yet again. 

I'm hoping to still do my third doll spotlight post for this Friday but I don't want to make any promises. I should have some posts for the next week or so, at least one of which should be Halloween-y, so that's something! Anyway, thank-you to everyone who has stuck around during my inconsistent blogging. I truly appreciate it! Hopefully I can get back into a regular blogging schedule, even if it happens next year.

Friday, October 11, 2013

If I Had You on Ukulele

I'm fairly certain it's time for my second ukulele feature post, so here's a song I think is very well known - If I Had You, written in 1928 by 'Irving King' (the pen name for Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly). My favourite versions are by Cliff Edwards aka Ukulele Ike and Nellie McKay (I've posted Nellie's version below mine). I really enjoy playing this song, even though I was super tired today and my voice was a bit off. Anyway, I've used up all my energy playing so I shall stop writing and let whoever wants to, watch the video.

This song is deceptively simple and SO much easier to sing when I'm not playing ukulele.

And, oh, how I wish I could sing like Nellie McKay. Isn't her voice positively swoon-worthy?

Hopefully you all enjoyed this (very brief) post enough to look forward to next month's ukulele feature...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

ghd Pink Diamond Review

A little while ago I was contacted asking if I'd be interested in receiving a ghd Pink Diamond straightener to do a tutorial with. I explained I'm not really comfortable doing tutorials, and am a bit busy to really put in the effort to make a quality one, but I ended up still being able to get one in exchange for a review! It was pretty exciting because I really needed a new straightener but always had something else I needed to spend my money on.

I would like to preface the review by saying that I know very little about these sorts of things and all the straighteners I have had in the past have been pretty bottom of the range, so to speak. But, of course, I've heard of ghd and have always kind of longed for enough money to splurge on something like this. (And $20 from each pink diamond straightener sold goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation). And, at the end of the day, I can still say whether or not this works well for me...and it does! I'm so happy with it.

The packaging itself is really nice and stylish. The ghd pink diamond straightener is part of ghd's jewel collection and, as you can see below, is a rich metallic pink with black plates. It features 'advanced ceramic heater technology', universal voltage (which is handy!), contoured plates that make waves and curls easier to style and a 2.7m long swivel chord. (I reworded all of this from the product page but thought it might be good to go over some of its features!)

As you can see the straightener is packaged well and comes with a ghd paddle brush. I've got to say that I love this brush - I've been using a 'boar' bristle brush which was great when I was setting my hair all the time but not so much now, so getting this with the straightener was a really nice bonus. It arrived to me in a much larger shipping box with padding and what-not keeping it safe inside!

Above is a photo showing my hair in its natural state - this was the day I'd washed it and I combed it, then let it air dry. As you can see my hair is fairly straight with just the teensiest bit of a wave to it (and some frizz, thanks to bleach baths to get my hair this shade of red). So, I don't really need a straightener to, well, straighten my hair but I often use one to style my hair.

This was the first hairstyle I tried out with the ghd - it was easy to get this subtle flip and as you can see my hair looks a lot smoother and shinier. The ghd took about twenty seconds to heat up. I was so surprised - I'd been impressed that my old straightener only took about ten minutes! It beeps to let you know that it's hot, too, which is great. It's easy to handle and the rounded, shiny barrel (or shaft, I guess) means that those annoying little dents I used to get using my old straightener don't happen so often.

I guess the only downside to the rounded and shiny exterior means that it's a bit tricky to set it down on the counter as it slips a little but that is probably the only 'issue' I have with this straightener.

This was the next style I tried out - I'd actually tried curling it a bit but that didn't work out (due to my awkwardness) so this is what happened when I tried to fix it. As you can see (it's more clear below) I got this very soft 1940s page boy-esque style. I would tell you how I did it but I honestly don't remember. Oops. But it does show that you can get some vintage-y styles using the straightener (and, as I mentioned, this is helped by the rounded/contoured plates)! (This is probably old news to most people but only recently stepping up in quality about a thousand notches from my old straightener means I'm a bit behind on it all).

I think you can see how I styled my hair a little better in this picture. I was so pleased with how it turned out! It lasted fairly well, too, which was nice because my hair doesn't usually last very long with heat styling.

My mum has very different hair than I do - it's quite curly and thick. On the left is how her hair looks when it was left to dry naturally, on the right is after a very quick run-through with the ghd. You can see how big the difference is just using it quickly (probably less than ten minutes and my mum has a lot of hair). I thought I would add this photo in just to show how it works on curlier hair. Obviously my mum's hair has been cut so it sits better when in its natural state.

I'd also like to add that when I posted a photo of the ghd pink diamond on Instagram a lot of people commented to say how much they love their own ghds - some have had them for years and not treated them particularly nicely and they still work incredibly well. It was really great to get that feedback from people who have had one for a while and made me a lot more confident in writing this. Obviously not everyone can afford something like this and, to be honest, I never would have been able to fork out the cash to buy one myself. If it does last as well as everyone else has said then it's probably well worth the investment if you use this sort of styling tool regularly (and, since I stopped setting my hair, I use straighteners quite often).

Something like this is a pretty big investment and I always prefer to read reviews from someone I 'know' so I hope this review is helpful for at least someone! If anyone has any particular questions about the straightener that I didn't cover, just ask away! You can also read reviews at the ghd product page, which also gives a bit more information about it, too. Here's the link to the general straighteners page.  And, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, $20 from each of the pink diamond straighteners does go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Instagram Round-up September

Gosh, it's already time for another Instagram round-up. How is it October, already? Oh my goodness. This year is just flying by (I think I say that every year). Anyway, onto the round-up...

L: looking unimpressed in a nylon nightie; R: said nightie.

L: one of my favourite vintage dresses; R: a cute Supernatural quote badge/pin.

L: a dress that'll be going on etsy when I eventually open up again; R: lots of art! (From Caitlin, Natalie, wishcandy and more).

L: my first ponytail Barbie!; R: bubble cut Barbie pretending to be Alta Morbius.

L: a club I'd never thought I'd visit again; R: self-portrait in an op-shop mirror.

L: organising shelves; R: a cutie I found at the markets.

L: ponies!; R: the start of my Halloween costume.

L: Dolly on pink vinyl; R: mauve and pink and more.

L: election day; R: outfit for a friend's birthday.

If you want to follow me on Instagram you can find me by searching @andibghoul for the month of October! Maybe next year I'll give the blog a Halloween makeover, too...