Archive for the ‘Beginners’ Guides’ Category

Beginner’s Guide to Makeup

The main thing I’ve learned this month is that when you tell people “I don’t wear makeup” they hear “I don’t wear MUCH makeup.” Because how inconceivable is it to go around everyday with your normal disgusting face on display?? Ridiculous, I know, but it is how I live my life. I have so far received no complaints (to said disgusting face, anyway). But I decided it might be nice to actually know what this stuff is about in case one day I feel like playing with it. So I made an appointment at Sephora and I spent an hour having little conversations like this:

Sephora Employee: What kind of primer do you usually use?
Me: I don’t wear makeup.
Sephora Employee: Okay, but–
Me: Also what is primer

Sephora Employee: Do you prefer liquid eyeliner or–
Me: I don’t wear makeup

Sephora Employee: Do you normally wear mascara?
Me: I don’t wear makeup
Sephora Employee: Never?
Me: Never
Sephora Employee: What about on your wedding?
Me: I was wearing paperbags

By the end I feel like she was wondering why I was even allowed to walk into the Sephora store and I was wondering why the hell people do this every goddamn day. Because it is a lot of work and also GET THAT POINTY THING AWAY FROM MY EYE. Here is what her tireless work (and my constant eye-watering from trying not to blink) produced:

Appreciate it, because it's never happening again

Appreciate it, because it’s never happening again

So here’s how to makeup:

1. Wash your face, you peasant
I feel like this was the only category where my Sephora employee actually had faith in my abilities as an adult. Since it was the first thing we talked about, it may have lured her into overestimating me, because I am into skin care, friends. I even subscribed to the fabled 10-step Korean skincare regimen briefly before paring it down to this:

1. Wash your gooddamn face (with an oil-based cleanser)
1a) Twice a week exfoliate
2. Toner the shit out of that
3. Moisturizzzzzze

Also sheet masks sometimes mostly because there is a Tony Moly outlet in HMart and I can’t stop myself.

I can only assume that this part is even MORE important if you slather your face with random crap daily.

2. Hide your imperfections with color theory

This is where she lost me. This step involves putting a bunch of stuff all over your face to “even out” your skin tone and hide your pores and whatever. My main problem is redness so I need to put on layers of green (??gold?? I forget now because I wasn’t taking notes. I thought about it, but I was afraid of incurring even more disapproval) in between other layers of things that match my skin tone. They had a special camera machine that they would hold against your cheek to get a SCIENTIFIC BEAUTY MATCH for your skin tone. It felt kind of like being at the doctor. Anyway, this step is like preparing the canvas for the art that is going to happen next:

3. Eyes: This is a form of torture

Stuff happened to my eyes at this point, but I was paying even less attention because of how incredibly uncomfortable it was. Keeping your eyes open while someone wields a pointy thing right up in there?? Nope nope nope.

I asked how soon I would sweat all this off and she seemed confused because apparently Real Ladies don't sweat lolololol

I asked how soon I would sweat all this off and she seemed confused because apparently Real Ladies don’t sweat lolololol

4. Lips: the only part I can kind of do??

Lol jk my ability to put lipstick on is as shitty as all my other non-existent artistic abilities, but at least this part was painless. She tried to teach me some technique about outlining your “cupid’s bow” with an x and then filling in… stuff…

5. Good fucking luck ever getting this stuff off

No wonder you need an intense skin care regimen, is what I’m saying.

So I’m never doing that again. I did buy some lip stuff that I have used a few times on ~special occasions~ without looking like a total clown, so there’s that.

Previously: Gardening
Next: Bullet Journaling

Beginner’s Guide to Plants

I’m a plant novice. The only time I’ve grown any kind of plant was once in fourth grade when I needed to grow grass in a tupperware for a science fair project. It worked, I guess, but like all science fair projects everywhere, I’m pretty sure my mom did most of the work. I decided that was going to change this April. I was going to keep something alive for at least a month, and I’m pleased (and surprised) to announce that I have accomplished that goal!

Here they are on April 1st, just after planting!

Here they are on April 1st, just after planting!

I got seedlings of thyme, rosemary, and basil, which are some of our most used kitchen herbs. They get a lot of sun on our balcony and the coconut husk liner in the basket keeps them pretty well drained. I water them every day, which is fun, because Olivia is invariably standing underneath and looks really miffed when she gets splashed.

This is two weeks in!

This is two weeks in!

We’ve used them quite a few times when cooking at this point, and they’ve weathered some thunderstorms and wind well. Olivia likes the fact that we open the balcony door so often, because she loves to keep watch on the parking lot.

And lounge in the sun

And lounge in the sun

This project was a lot easier than I thought it would be, although I did have a lot of help from both Caitlin Miller, the only plantologist I know, and Steven, who knew his way around Lowes Garden Center. Even if you’re like me and don’t feel like you have a green thumb or any plant instincts, if you choose your plants well, you can do it!

One month!

One month!

Previously: Beginner’s Guide to Cross Stitch
Next: ???

Beginner’s Guide to Cross Stitch

This month’s beginner’s guide was supposed to be about rock climbing, but I may or may not have been the victim of a rock climbing related scam(??? or I’m just unusually bad at reading comprehension, I guess). Anyway, I have now vowed never to rock climb and so my back up thing was cross stitching. This is kind of cheating because I have actually cross stitched before, when I was 13, out of a kit. But this is the big leagues now, my friends. Observe:

Got myself a plastic frame and everything

Got myself a plastic frame and everything

I got this cool Disney Villains pattern on Etsy and had to assemble the supplies myself.

Everyone is cuter as cross stitch

Everyone is cuter as cross stitch

Luckily, one of my coworkers was giving away a ton of cross stitching supplies, including a lot of embroidery floss! Yay! Hardcore cross stitchers agree that the best way to store your thread for easy access is to wind the skein around a little card, write the number of the color, and arrange them in a plastic box like so:

Numerically they don't make a rainbow, sadly

Numerically they don’t make a rainbow, sadly

I like this pattern because each figure doesn’t take a very long time, so you really feel like you’re getting somewhere after only an hour. I’ve probably been doing at least 30 minutes a day for a few weeks now. Yay!!

The pink line is to measure the middle to know where to start. It gets taken out at the end

The pink line is to measure the middle to know where to start. It gets taken out at the end

I wasn’t able to finish this project in a month, but I’m excited to have my first Legit piece of cross stitch art. I’ve read some articles online about how to frame them properly so I’ll try that when the time comes.

The back is less pretty

The back is less pretty

Resources:
Buzzfeed Beginner Cross Stitch Guide
Framing Finished Cross Stitch

Previously: Beginner’s Guide to Calligraphy
Next: ???

Beginner’s Guide to Calligraphy

This month I was learning on my own instead of taking a class, so I know I didn’t do as thorough a job as if I had the guidance of a professional/someone forcing me to do things. Still, I consulted a lot of professionals, in the form of taking their books out from the library:

Sources (Books)
Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thore
Spencerian Handwriting by Platts Roger Spencer
Simple Stroke Calligraphy by Marci Donley
Encyclopedia of Calligraphy Techniques by Dana Hardy Wilson
Calligraphy by Margaret Morgan
Calligraphy in Ten Easy Lessons
Step by Step Calligraphy
Mastering Calligraphy by Gaye Godfrey-Nicholes

Of these, I liked the first one, Modern Calligraphy, the best. It went really in-depth about supplies and what to look for, explaining where you really do need to spend some money and where it’s okay to cheap out, especially for beginners. I also had this amazing Christmas present from Melissa:

A calligraphy kit!

A calligraphy kit!

It had a good practice booklet, pen, ink, and vellum. It was nice to have the basic supplies already. Here’s a practice booklet:

As you can see, my lack of artistic skill is definitely a drawback

As you can see, my lack of artistic skill is definitely a drawback

I also can’t seem to get the thin vs thick lines that really define calligraphy. It’s all about the pressure you exert, which I suppose I could get with more practice:

My handwriting will always look kind of awkward to me, I guess

My handwriting will always look kind of awkward to me, I guess

I’m probably not going to get more practice, though, because I discovered this month that, though I like the results of calligraphy, I don’t really like doing it, particularly. It’s fine, but I don’t have the drive to put in the time and effort I’d need to actually get good at it.

HOWEVER, one of the online sources I consulted, The Postman’s Knock, had an awesome tutorial about how to do CHEATING CALLIGRAPHY!! I am all about cheating, y’all. You can do it with a ballpoint, which I write in my journal with all the time. I immediately started practicing.

What would you have tried first?

What would you have tried first?

I write fast, which is probably why my handwriting is largely illegible. But for this you have to slow down, so I’m hoping I’ll at least take that lesson away from it to improve the quality of my journals in general, if not have them in beautiful Spencerian hand like I maybe naively hoped would happen this month.

I've started doing the first letter of each entry, like I'm important or something

I’ve started doing the first letter of each entry, like I’m important or something

I’m glad I took this month to play with calligraphy since it’s something that’s always interested me. Now I know all I want to about it, and I don’t have to wonder anymore. Plus, I think it’s improved my writing in some little ways.

Best Part: Livening up my journal!

Livens up the journal!

Like this!


worst Part: Sucking at drawing means sucking at calligraphy
Will I do this again?: Nope

Not sure what my plan for next month is yet, but I’m tentatively saying rock climbing!

Previously: Beginner’s Guide to Weaving

Beginner’s Guide to Weaving

One of my goals this year is to try a new thing every month, and for January I took an intense week-long weaving course at the John C. Campbell Folk School. The Folk School itself is pretty incredible, and you should definitely check it out, but today we’re here to talk about weaving. On a four harness floor loom. If you’re a beginner and just want to get your feet wet weaving, I’m not sure I’d recommend a floor loom, because even the small model (“Baby Wolf”) that we used was a beast.

They all had names, and mine was Osma

They all had names, and mine was Osma

Before I went, I watched a bunch of youtube videos of other people using looms, in the hopes that it would help me understand the big picture. It kind of helped, I guess, although the process was still way more complicated than I thought. But before you even get to the loom, you need to pick your yarn and colors and do a bunch of math. Surprise! Every “feminine art” is actually all about math in the end; the patriarchy of science is built on lies (duh).

warpweft

Do you remember what weaving is from those little pot holder looms? The vertical fibers are the warp, which gets secured to the loom through a lengthy process of measuring, adjusting tension, and threading things with hooks. The horizontal threads are what you add through the process of weaving by moving your shuttle back and forth.

This is how you measure it out/set it up to go on the loom

This is how you measure it out/set it up to go on the loom

That’s a warping board, if you want to know. Then you secure the warp you made on there with ties and transfer it over to the loom where the finnicky process begins.

Not pictured: me constantly asking my neighbor if this is right

Not pictured: me constantly asking my neighbor if this is right

That board with all the nails sticking in it is used to measure your warp out evenly to the width of the finished project.

Note the shoelaces and coffee can: technical weaving tools

Note the shoelaces and coffee can: technical weaving tools

Then you wind the rest of that sucker on the back of the loom making sure to keep your tension even.

Have fun! This takes hours

Have fun! This takes hours

Then you thread each individual strand through the eye of a heddle (the metal needle-like things) in a specific order/pattern depending on the pattern you want to make on your finished work. Because this was a four-harness loom, there were four rows of heddles. The most basic threading would be harness 1, harness 2, harness 3, harness 4 repeat, but you can also get fancy.

LOL you thought the threading was over

LOL you thought the threading was over

NOW you’ve got to thread every individual strand through this metal contraption called a reed (because they were once made from legit reeds). Don’t skip any spaces! Unless you’re supposed to, of course.

Tie that sucker on to the front!

Tie that sucker on to the front!

Now you are finally ready to weave! Once you tie up your pedals to specific harnesses and wind bobbins and what not. Pressing down on the pedals (okay, TREADLES, fine–I did learn the correct vocab) will lift certain harnesses, allowing you to pass your shuttle underneath those threads and above the others.

Yay, weaving!

Yay, weaving!

Best Part: My cool weaving class friends! I feel like we were a weaving support group.
Worst Part: Tuesday at noon when we had had NINE HOURS of class and still were not weaving.
Will I do this again?: I’m not rushing out to buy a four harness floor loom because I didn’t enjoy it enough to be worth the time and expense. But it was fun to try, and maybe a lap loom will be in my future.

I also made up a weaving song, set to the tune of Reading Rainbow because I was weaving a rainbow scarf:

Shuttle goes through the shed,
Do some math in your head
Look around the room
We’re all on looms
Weaving class!
I CAN WEAVE ANYTHING!
With sort of a plan
And a coffee can
Weaving class!

Yay!

Yay!

Next: Beginner’s Guide to Calligraphy

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