Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Fun with monsters & essential oils

Many moms know, kids are full of surprises. One of those is the active imagination that comes along soon into toddlerhood. Alex has provided no shortage of amusements and surprises so far.

When toddlers reach a certain age, some of them may develop a sudden fear of sleeping in the dark, or of being in their rooms alone. Often, when asked why, they will blame it on an infestation of monsters. This fear is very real to them. Dismissing it can often make it worse.

There are plenty of ways of approaching the problem, but there is one solution that is not only fun, it supports their imagination, and helps them overcome their fear in a creative way. It is also a safe and pleasant solution; and that is to whip up a batch of ‘monster repellent’ using a recipe of essential oils that is formulated to help soothe and calm them before bedtime.

Essential Oils are becoming a household resource for an array of health and home solutions. So why not use them to calm an anxious child in a fun way?

Start with a 16-ounce food-grade glass spray bottle. These can be found at natural grocers, and a variety of other sources, including Amazon. Glass is recommended when using pure essential oils. I also recommend you seek out and find the highest-quality, high-purity essential oils for this project. We can’t be too careful when our children are involved—so we strongly recommend you find a reputable, safe source. I recommend dōTerra essential oils.

Begin with the recipe. Blend the following in your spray bottle:
  • 20 drops Vetiver
  • 8 drops Lavender
  • 8 drops Ylang Ylang
  • 8 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 4 drops Frankincense
  • 4 drops Clary Sage
  • 2 drops Marjoram

Fill the difference with purified water. Close tightly, wipe down the bottle and set it aside.
Measure the desired size of your label. Apply your craftiness, and starting with your child’s particular category of nemesis (monster, ghosts, etc), create a colourful label for the bottle. It can say: MONSTER REPELLENT or GO AWAY GHOST! You are also welcome to download the design featured on this post by clicking HERE. This label is 3” x 6” and fits the bottle nicely. You just need to print it on a matte photo paper, trim it down to your desired size, and then with some rubber cement, affix it to the bottle. Let it dry. You can also take it one step further and put a layer of clear tape or contact paper over it so it doesn’t fade or smudge.

Pretty cute. Smells nice too.

Using the Spray:

Shake the bottle vigorously before use in order to emulsify the oils and water. Quickly and lightly spray the child’s pillow and bedding a few minutes before bedtime so the water can evaporate. You can also go through the motions and pretend-spray where the child thinks the monsters are hiding; like in the closet, under the bed, etc. Spraying curtains will also prevent outdoor monsters from coming in, I’ve heard. The fresh scent of aromatic oils will assure the child that you have actually applied a remedy, and the application of these particular essential oils will also help soothe and calm your child before bedtime.

You may also allow your children to help spray down the room, participation will reinforce their confidence that this spray is working, and assist in further calming, soothing and reassuring them.

So if your little one has a fear of monsters or witches, goblins, ghosts or ghouls, there’s a solution for that (pardon the pun). J

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Straw Bale Goodness & Monster High Doll

Now onto good things, and let us leave the bad things behind us. I’ve been throwing myself into new things. The doll project (I’ve paused in painting because my anxiety has made my hands shaky and the quality of work is suffering). This is what I have so far painting wise. It will require refining

I have to refine the smoothness of the irises, and add detail, lines etc. She also lacks
eyelashes and whatnot. But this is layer 2. There are a few more layers to go.
When my hands steady themselves.

. Now onto the great garden experiment.

We live at about 1200 feet in a rain foresty part of the Mount Hood Wilderness. We are only a few steps away from the Sandy river, which is a lovely background rush that we enjoy.  There are lots of trees. It's dark.  However a few years ago, our neighbour hacked down the trees in his back lot, and made a garden, opening up the area in our back yard.  Then our septic died and we had to have it redone, leaving our back yard a moonscape. It's been kind of messy back there for a while.

Well, I've always wanted a garden. The soil here is mostly volcanic sand from the last lahar from Mt. Hood's eruption 200 or so years ago. The soil has difficulty holding organics. Planting things just for an ornamental garden is a challenge. My dream of a lush English garden will not come to be here. Ony natives really thrive. And some really scraggly grasses. We get trillium, and oregon grape and ferns, and in summer, foxglove pops up everywhere. The neighbour brought in tons of manure and compost and tilled up his garden into a lovely fertile patch. But he still has issues with the shorter growing season because of the elevation and location.

I read an article on straw-bale gardening, and for a few years now, I've talked about it.  My hubby decided it was time I got my garden (he still says no to chickens though). So we went out and bought six bales to start with. We also put some tires my sister left here to use for garlic and potatoes.

Here's the garden as it stands: 

I will be adding herbs in pots as the growing season progresses. I have rosemary
as of now. I'm hoping this one will live. Hubby got me some hazelnut/filbert shell
much to make the ground around it nice and dry and mud free. I love it.
We need to clean up the moonscape still, throw away the old grill and trim
the wild grass. But the garden is a start. 
I've dedicated one tire bed to garlic. I loves my garlic.  The other tire bed is only
half constructed, and I will be breaking it down to start the potatoes.

I wil add a tire and soil every few weeks to keep the plant growing upwards, adding
depth to the space where the potatoes grow. In late summer, I shoudl be able to
remove the tires and harvest the potatoes all the way down to the ground.
The seeds I planted are quicky coming up.
I think I overdid it in the radish department. 
So excited to see these little guys grow.

My green onions are coming up too! So cute.

Peas are coming up. The strings are at the ready for them to climb on.

Pretty little baby radish. :D
This year is the great experiment. If this works, we'll add to the bales next year, and add more crops. I've already planted the carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, onions of a few varieties, garlic, leek, asparagus (that won't likely yield until next year). There are other seeds waiting their turn. I'm hoping this won't be destroyed by opportunistic raccons or deer. So far, they seem to be doing well. :)

The Bitter Pig-faced Lolita (was *that* offensive?)

I’ve had it with Tone Bullies. Well, one Tone Bully in particular—who I thought had been blocked but whose inexplicable return came with the inevitable negative encounter.  You see, Facebook is rife with these people. The embittered, mean-spirited, hyper sensitive narcissists, who view every post and every comment as something invariably about them; as something about their issues. This one in is a particularly volatile example. I know her through the ORS. She made a brief appearance in the group. It wasn’t brief enough. Armed with an arsenal of bad seamstressing, personal issues and dietary and medical problems, every event she attended became something about her stomach, her health or her personal offense. She left one of our retreats early because she felt ‘unwelcome’. Stop the world! Nobody likes me! (Probably because you’re a whining asshole—FYI)

My first encounter with her is also documented in this blog somewhere. Unknown to me, a friend of mine posted a humourous meme or movie or something that laughingly mocked vegans. This person, (who I will dub henceforth as ‘Balding Pink Haired PigFace McEverythingsAboutMe’ or BPHPFMcEAM), being dietarily ‘sensitive’ (but also being as overweight as me if not more—obviously not *so* sensitive that she can’t eat like a Roman in a vomitorium), posted a bully missive that made my friend feel compelled to remove the post. She made a comment about having to do so, and that raised my hackles.

I.  Hate. Bullies.  HATE THEM. So I replied to the comment telling my friend that she should have not removed her post, that it was her wall, and that it isn’t up to someone else to tell her what should and should not be there. If that person is offended, that’s their fucking problem.

Now let me interject something here… A few weeks ago, someone posted a meme that was basically a statement about white men being more respectable than black men, simply by the way they dress; the meme showed black guys with droopy pants and flat-billed caps, next to a photo of a couple of white bros in suits and ties. Now that meme was stupid and flat out racist. There was no ambiguity, no lack of clarity; it was racist. And I told that person that it was. I also told them that there was no shortage of white guys running around with droopy pants and douchey flat-billed caps.  However there’s a stark difference between a full-on racial commentary and a meme making fun of vegans.  Vegans are not a culture of people being marginalized by society. They’re vegans.

So there’s a fine line here. The issue here is that this post by my dear friend was not about BPHPFMcEAM. But to her it was, you see, because SHE had dietary issues, and that would be offensive to people with dietary issues and blahdefuckingblah. I got into a fray with her, in which she did what apparently must be habit for her, she made some comment and then blocked me so that I could neither see it or respond to it further. No big deal, good riddance, yes, it’s cowardly to shout something before slamming the door, but I am used to the ‘attack then retreat’ tactic, my narcissistic mom did it all the time.

Life was quieter without evidence of BPHPFMcEAM’s existence for quite some time. But I noticed her name and the image of her pig-face popping up again on another friend’s profile under comments. I ignored her. But invariably, because she doesn’t like me, she found a reason to start her Tone Bullying again. This time, she hijacked this other friend’s post about the hyper-masculinizationß(not sure if actual word) of mens’ products.  It was a fake ad for ‘manpons’. It was funny. Funny as shit. Here it is:

Yes. It’s funny, and it’s totally true, the ads would TOTALLY be like that.  Anyhow, I made the comment beneath that, seeing as most men are total babies when it comes to pain in comparison to women, if they had a period, they’d more likely spend it curled up into the fetal position whining for a week.  And sound the horns, the TONE POLICE came a-ridin’ in on a Special My Little Pony Lolita Unicorn.

You see, apparently because she has a trans partner or friend, this was suddenly about the Trans community and my comment was horrendously offensive to them. I was dismissing trans men who DO suffer from periods, you see.  I was erasing their pain by making fun of guys being weenies about being in pain or sick.

I asked her to not turn the content of the thread into something else.  But she continued on, dropping a litany of inane and boring buzzwords and yammering on about how this was INDEED about what she wanted it to be. When I responded the last time, saying that her response had nothing to do with anything other than the male gender born with male bits, and that trans men could not be included simply by the fact that they experienced the heartbreak of menstruation. And in true form, she posted a response I could not see because she immediately blocked me.    

The above video, and the commentary about men being weenies about pain became something about this unfortunate woman. I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to look at everything with her eyes. Seeing offense where there is none; digging for maliciousness where there never was any. But the part that chaps my ass the most is the active desire to hijack someone’s feed and turn it into something about themselves. Every shred of opportunity, people like this latch onto it and whine and flail until someone notices them.  Everyone deserves consideration and kindness, but going about like some embittered, angry fool, trying to force everyone’s narrative into something that doesn’t offend your overly sensitive viewpoint, well that’s just plain bullying.

There are lots of other things that prove that this person is just generally an angry, nasty person in general, and who projects a great deal of her shortcomings on people. She didn’t last long in the group because of it. She blamed all of us for it, naturally, rather than her own social deficiencies. I am kind to everyone. Always. But when they try to make me out to be something I’m not, that’s when my kindness goes away. That’s when I stop giving a shit about their overly sensitive nature. And when they start hijacking threads, and bullying people into removing posts because they want the attention drawn to themselves, then that’s when I just call them out for what they are.

And since I have been blocked in a cowardly manner from saying so…. I will call this person out for what she is. She is a loser. An attention whore. A mean spirited, tone bully. A sour, pig faced, cow with shoddy costumes that no amount of pink Lolita wigs and bows will cure. And no amount of spouting PCness will change that. You don’t get social-credit points for fighting the acceptance fight where there is no battle. You don’t get to be sanctimonious and self-righteous because you have dietary issues; contrived or real, or because you are married to a trans partner. These things don’t make you a better, more accepting person. The fact that you can’t view a conversation of any kind unless you see it through your defensive lens makes you a non-accepting person. The fact that you can’t let people have a good laugh, or an opinion that is benign and NOT ABOUT YOU IN ANY WAY, without making it so, means you’re a bully. A nasty, ugly bully.  And you think that by defending the cause du jour (where no defense is required) will absolve you of that, well that’s deluded and pathetic.

Reflect on yourself, you sad human being. Don’t let a cause define you and make you bitter. I will not calculate my words, restrict my sense of humour, edit my postings, to keep from offending you. I know I’m a good person. I KNOW I am. I am not without flaws, which I often own, and some I deny… but I am not overtly mean, racist, intolerant, bigoted or cruel. I’m snarky, yes. I own that. I’m blunt, and forthright. And I will call people out on their shit. But I don’t like to be called out for shit when there is none. I won’t tolerate that.

You are not the decider of my character based on your own twisted standards—turning benign words into bad ones because it suits you. You can see me any way you want to see me, but don’t you dare tell me how I should speak, try to censor or control my speech or correct me. Unless I am overtly condemning trans people, or saying that all vegans should be put into death camps, you have nothing to say. If you don’t like me, keep your stupid words to yourself. But don’t paint me into the person you want me to be because you’re a nasty, insecure, obnoxious, self-righteous, sanctimonious bitch. And if you want me to be offensive to you, here it is, you pig faced ugly cow. Now you can go cry what a terrible person I am. Asshole.

God I can't stand that idiot. She didn't even deserve the politness she got when she was around.

End of ranting session. TYVM

Friday, March 25, 2016

Aging is the balls (and a blank faced Monster High doll)

I begin today with two complaints, which I demand that you to read with a cranky granny tone of voice:

1. My eyes are going! Wah! I can't do detail work like I used to. My days of sitting on the sofa making 1:12 scale minis out of polymer clay are over. I officially need to buy one of those huge magnifying glasses on a swivel arm so I can see what I'm doing.  This sucks schmucks.

2. I have had the worst case of bursitis I've ever had in my life in the past three weeks and it's just not going away. It doesn't help that it's in both of my shoulders and I sleep on them, which is why they are constantly being aggravated... but nonetheless. BURSITIS! GARGGGGHHH!!!

Anyway... that's enough of that old lady grumping.  I'm doing my monster-high doll project right now and this is where I am at the moment. Shall we?

The Hungarican Chick's first Monster High Doll Mod
Part 1 - Prepping & Rooting

I have always thought Monster High dolls are just cute as hell, and I never liked fashion dolls all that much; except to act out my years-long epics as a child.  But these dolls have a really stylized and appealing shape--even moreso when you get rid of all the trappings added to them when manfactured. So I got a cheap Frankie doll, stripped off her hideous little garments and ho-bag shoes, and asked my fiberista sister to send me some angora mohair and other fine wool. These can be found online or at fiber fairs. Just look on etsy for what you need.

A lot of this information is duplicated on the videos provided, but what the hey. I'm a talker.

So here is the doll and the baggie of kid mohair are at the beginning of the project.

OFF WITH HER HEAD! I recommend that you look up on youtube or whatever how to effectively remove a monster high doll head. I didn't, naturally. You know me if you follow my blog. I act first then curse later. I actually split the neck which will require repairs. But I got her head off nonetheless. Here she is wearing it on her knees. Because I'm weird like that

Prepping the scalp and head

Welcome to Salon Hungarican--where our stylists' skills compare to no other.  Our stylists are also double-chinned and don't wear bras when they're at home crafting; so be prepared for that.  As you can see in the videos below, it's a travesty. Try to ignore the tabletop boob and focus on what's going on with my hands. And also try to filter out my continual use of 'Ummmm'.

There's a reason that Salon Hungarican failed on its first day of business.

Cleaning the Face

Some nice acetone will clean off that stamped face. You can use nail polish remover too, but as it's a diluted solution it might take you a bit longer, and it might be slightly more difficult to get into the little crannies and wash out that paint. Yes, Acetone is not just flammable; it's reactive. So please exercise caution, don't use it near heat sources, do it in a well ventilated space, unlike I did, and be sure to launder all your rags etc., etc.

Her face came off lickety split. I also cleaned her again because although she looked clean, there was still a very fine residue that remained after the initial cleaning. Use cotton swabs soaked in acetone to get into the little nooks and crannies like her lips and nostrils, where paint might flow in while cleaning.

Operation De-stripper-foot-ification.

I'm not a huge fan of the trend towards strippery shoes for adult women, let alone for teenaged girls. But sadly, I can't control the pre-teen fashion doll trends, so instead, I take my puritanical angst out on the dolls.  With a heat gun.

One of the things I actually took the time to look up was how to reshape the feet of a fashion doll. I found ONE reference to using a heat gun, and it had no specific instructions except to hold it over the foot for one or two minutes.  But I went with it. For $22 at Lowes, I found a heat gun in the paint department.  And lo and behold it worked! I kind of wish I had a trash doll I could have practiced on, because the first foot, being the first foot, ended up slightly wonky.  But what the hey... It worked and with the addition of stockings and slippers, nobody will ever know about the mangled foot.

Stripper pose extraordinaire.

The first movement after running the heat gun over the ankle and top of foot for about a minute. I just pushed it on the table and it began to bend.  

I let the heat gun sit too long and too close to the first ankle and the plastic started
to bubble. I reshaped the toes, and let the ankle cool before attempting to flatten it

Right foot looks a slight bit tilted, and the toes are squashed,
but you live you learn. The second foot was a breeze. It's non-bubbly,
non wonky and the toes weren't completely ruined while being bent.

I bent the toes with my fingers. I just hovered the heat gun over them
enough to soften the plastic, and then carefully pushed the toes float.
It's not perfect. I might try and fix the mistakes on the right foot later on.
But I'm scared of further mangling it. We'll see where I am in a few days.

The tool of awesomeness.

Rooting the hair.

I am going to begin by saying that the little baggie of mohair I had was BARELY enough to fill the head. BARELY. I had to scrounge and scrape the last third of the head, and repurpose what I had deemed waste fibers (luckily I figured out how). So make sure you do not underestimate the amount of hair you need. You can always sell the balance or dye it and use it for another project. Just make sure you have plenty on hand.  When I was done, there was only a tiny quarter-sized ball of fibres that were all shorter than 3/4 inches. Getting raw mohair might mean that it hasn't been washed and there might be VM (vegetable matter--hay, grass, etc..) in it. Your process will wash it anyway as you have to wet down the hair a lot ot tame it, but you can give it a rinse in cold water, no scrubbing, and then squash the pad of fibre between two towels to dry it up.

Anyhoo.... As for rooting, I had to be inventive and make my own rooting tool. In order to be slightly more specific about how I made my rooting tool. I found an old number two school pencil -- and a sewing needle.  I clipped the back of the need off to make a set of prongs. I jabbed the pointy end of the needle into the pencil eraser and voila. A rooting tool. I recommend you find an emboidery needle that works for you--because they have a wider eye on the needle, making for deeper prongs. You slip little skeins of fiber into the prongs and then punch them into the little plug holes. Repeat until you're done.  TIP: The prongs might bend a bit during use, and catch the hair as you're pulling them out. So wiggle your pencil a bit as you pull the needle out to make sure it doesn't drag loops of hair out with it.

Then you don't have to scour the web for a rooting tool, and you don't have to listen to anyone telling you that you should use a felting needle. With this, you control the size and length of your skeins and it costs very little.  It worked for me. 

Rooting in Action: 
The punk stage.

The holes around the hairline were made with a sewing needle.
They are fine and your hair skeins need to be fine too.  They are
larger (the plug holes) on the scalp itself so that bit you can add
thicker skeins and it goes much more quickly,

I'm digging this shield maiden/Lagertha look. :D 

The mohair tends to frizz up and get pouffy as you work with it. Never fear, it can be tamed with water. COLD water. Just wet down the doll head if it gets unmanageable and it will behave (for a while). Even if it frizzes up, a wet comb later on when the hair is affixed will bring it all back down again.

Pouffy and poufier

Wow, that face is attractive. :::Oy::::

The Painting begins

Before we begin painting, you need to cover up the hair. Our
first-aid kid came in handy for supplies. I'll try not to rue this decision
the next time someone severs a finger in this house.
As stated in my vids, I've decided to use an airbrush to apply the sealant between layers. Because I don't feel like spewing toxins into my home and around my offspring (typed after I pretty much huffed Acetone to clean the damned doll); so I opted to go with a technique I saw online where the doll painter used matte medium diluted with airbrush medium to create a thin, well dispersed seal between each layer of paint, pencil, pastels, etc.

I used a tiny condiment bowl to mix the solution in small batches,
as I don't want to make too much. I can also blend it to the right
consistency for my airbrush before filling the little cup.

Chalk pastels are the thing I'm using here. Frankly, I'm not too pleased with it. I'm considering going to my makeup case and pulling out some blush from there. But the step was to brush on the flushing on her cheeks and around her eyes, so that's what I did.

I did not use just one colour. I used a blue that complemented the skin of the Frankie doll, a fuschia and a touch of skin tone.
I like the colour, just not the application. I may have to do it again (I can clean her face again with acetone and begin anew as
needed. Using a swab will save me from redoing certain bits, but the blush and flush are crucial to the final look,
so I need to get this just right.

I started with 1 tsp each of the mediums, but I ended up adding
airbrush medium to thin it out more. The PSI of your airbrush
compressor will determined what solution works best for you.

She looks serene and in this softened light, you don't see the blotchiness of the blushing. So I will probably swab her down and do it again, and maybe try it with actual blush or a different brush. I may even try it with the airbrush and acrylic paint if push comes to shove, but I have to test that out a lot before I move forward.  But this is where we are at this moment.  More to come.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The life of an extroverted introvert.

I am an introvert. When I declare this to people who've gotten to know me a bit, they furrow their brow as if I'm declaring my conversion to religion. It's just hard to believe. In social situations, I can't shut the fuck up. I talk all the time. It's really annoying, even to me. I look at that kind of behaviour as my frantic thrashing to keep myself from drowning. It's the only way I can describe it. Internally, I'm telling myself to shut up, shut up, shut up! It's a hell of a dichotomoy to cope with.

Introversion comes in so many shades, it's crazy. There's the full on hermit, then there's the kind like me, who enjoys social interaction, but only for a certain amount of time before I'm done.  Every time I have social interaction, I need recovery time. Even if it's just making a phone call.  Having this anxiety thing added on makes it even more impossible, and adds a sense of growing panic doing things that are just ordinary to other people.

I've been having a rough time of it these past few months. I think it's a cruel machine of perpetual motion; staying home makes me even more hermit like, and more anxious, but being out drives me home again, and there you go. Anyway... I'll try not to make every post these days be about the stupid anxiety and such. But it's so much of my life I need to chill about it.

I am going to focus on some projects. I have comic con to deal with this month, plus the dreaded birthday--you all know how much I despise the birthday. Anyway, I am gonig to repaint a Monster High doll and try to costume her up too. I'm not great at sewing in miniature, but I'll give it a try. It could be a fail or a win. We shall see! I also have some gorgeous merino wool for the hair.

I've been a little 'off' on the regency thing lately. My interest levels in costuming have been Merh at best, possibly even a Gargh. But my interests wax and wane. And I just read a study that creativity is paramount to beating depression, so being creative is a great way to counteract my blahs. Now to just get the blahs out of the way enough to get motivated,

No more grumpies today! I promise. Hopefuly I'll have some fun creative posts in the next weeks or so. Happy Valentine's to all, and come by my table at Comic Con to see me if you're in Portland on the 19th, 20th and 21st of Feb.  Miranda Mayer is me. I'll be hiding behind the safety of my table, schmoozing people and hawking my pulp.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Wrapping up 2015's Project 365.

341/365 -  In a box
343/365 -  Bubble bath again
344/365 - Candle light

345/365 - Silhouettes

346/365 - Pineapple
347/365 - Our tree

348/365 - Pop tart

349/365 - A visit to the local fire station to drop off Giving Tree gifts.

350/365 - Santa's been kind. :)

351/365 - KC Kitten making herself at home.

352/365 - Condensation

353/365 - Chocolate gold

354/365 - Star Wars, man!

355/365 - Greens

356/365 - Christmas Bounty

357/365 - My sister's dog Daisy

358/365 - My sister's cat (now our cat)
-- Can you find her?

359/365 - Simon loves snow

360/365 - Alex and KC in the snow.
KC was befuddled by the snow,
but she loved it.

361/365 - Ironwork at Timberline Lodge

362/365 - Portland in movement

363/365 - A seaside trimming

364/365 - Light and Shadow

365/365 - Icicles
That's 2015. Yay! What's new? Nothing much. My sister got a job as corporate environmental manager at Intel, and was moving back to Oregon, but that might not be the case anymore. We shall see. She is leaving her cat with us. KC *was* supposed to be a bratty, scatchy, anti-social cat, but she seems to have taken a liking to my son, and the amount of harassing she takes from him is unbelievable. She loves him. So my sister doesn't want to take her away from her kid.

I've been sick most of January, so I have not been up to much. Just preparing my authory stuff for the upcoming Wizard World Portland Comic Con. Nothing special! But I'm hoping that 2016 will bring some creative things for me.  I hope to post again soon with one of my projects. I'm currently taking up tatting to give it a try. But I have some other projects in mind. Some miniatures, a couple of doll remodelings, some nesting dolls and more. I just need to kick this damned endless cold and get my energy back.

Happy new year. Here's a movie of the full 365 project that I made to sum up the whole year. Enjoy!


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