Growing

Jul. 8th, 2016 09:10 pm
ladysprite: (new)
It's been almost a year since I cut my hair, and I still love having it short. But part of the fun of short hair is experimenting and playing around with it. And I've played around with rag curls (epic disaster) and color (amazing) and curling irons (still don't really know what to do with them), and so it's about time to start playing around with letting it grow.

And what I'm realizing is that, for people with incredibly thin, fine, bone-straight hair, there is absolutely no graceful way to go from a short pixie to a bob. Like, none at all.

I know, get it cut in layers. I know, get it cut shaggy. I know, get it trimmed regularly by a professional. Believe me, I'm doing my very best. It's just that I've hit what I'm guessing is the hair equivalent of the miserably gawky pre-teen phase. The longest layer, at the top, is maybe 5" long - just long enough to hit my eyes but not long enough to pin to one side, and because it's so thin and light it looks feathery whether I want it to or not. Just long enough to cover the tops of my ears awkwardly, not long enough to push behind them. Too long to play peekaboo with a headband, but short enough that if I try to tuck it back with said headband the ends stick straight up.

And, again because my hair is so fine, any attempt to put any sort of product in it at this length just weights it down and makes it look sticky and dirty. When it's shorter I can use styling gunk to get it to do what I want (which is usually 'look cute and tousled, but in a cool way'); now it's long enough that I can't get any lift - there's too much weight from the length, so I just wind up with gunky floppy hair. That feathers across my forehead and hides the top half of my ears.

I feel like an ugly duckling, and I'm about to cut this experiment short. Literally. If I can ever carve an hour out of my schedule to get to my hairdresser. Maybe when winter rolls around and I can hide under a hat I'll try again, but for now I think I'm out of patience with this mop....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Okay - I promised I'd write here yesterday, or the day before, or something like that, but life is kind of blurry and hectic and stuff like that, and I've been busy hospicing my butt off.  Seriously, like 300 miles and half a dozen house calls in the last 2 days.

But somewhere in there <lj user="umbran"> and I also made it to the Topsfield Fair, because it is a fall tradition and because I need my annual fill of deep-fried Oreos and giant pumpkins, and because this year I decided to try my luck in the crafts contest.

The Topsfield Fair is a big, delightful, traditional county fair, with 4H exhibits and flower and garden contests and sheep-shearing demos and deep fried everything on a stick, and a fairly prodigious crafts competition.  They have categories for just about anything you can imagine, and I love browsing and seeing all of the beautiful things people create, and every year I promise myself that next year I'll enter something of mine, and then forget.

But this year I'd finally made a showpiece - a rainbow shawl, from yarn I spun myself, that I was happy enough with to actually look up the rules for entry.  And, when I got to the website, I found out that there was a contest for hand-spun yarn, as well.  With a division for blends and synthetics.  And I'd just finished spinning my first custom-designed blended fiber (I wanted to get a certain effect, so I spun up two different kinds of yarn and plied them together).  So, what the hell.  I entered that too.  It was free, after all.

So we went to the fair yesterday, and we walked through the garden displays and hugged my friends at the forge and gawked at the freaky feather-footed chickens, and stopped by the sheep barn to pick up my yarn.

Where I was handed a 'Best In Division' ribbon and told that my prize money was in the mail, and that next year I really ought to consider entering more divisions.

And then we went to the crafts show.

Where my shawl was sitting next to a blue First Place ribbon.  (No; not best in show, but still first place in crocheted clothing).

I am utterly agog.  I was mostly entering for the sheer personal amusement of being able to say that I did.  I had no thoughts of actually winning, and I swear nowhere on the site did it say anything about prize money.   And I still think of myself as a novice spinner; it's only recently that I've even gotten to the point where I'm happy enough with my finished fiber to actually crochet with it.

Yowza.

I am an award-winning fiber artist.

It sounds all fancy and stuff when I put it that way.....

Vanity

Aug. 26th, 2015 04:17 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Seriously, can I tell you how much I love my new hair?

For years (decades) I was convinced that my long hair was not just crucial to my self-identity, but one of the only things I liked about my appearance.  I wasn't beautiful, or sexy, I didn't have perfect skin, I wasn't busty, I was too thin for people who like curvy girls and too heavy for people who like petite little waifs, but I had pretty long hair.  Never long enough, or thick enough, but.... long.  Pretty.  Shiny.  I wore it down every chance I got, and decorated it with baubles and trinkets when I couldn't, and promised myself that I'd never cut it, and pinned most of my self-esteem on it.

And three weeks ago I chopped it all off.  And it wasn't as scary as I thought it'd be, though I also admit that for the first several days it didn't feel quite real - more like a costume that I'd eventually be able to take off and go back to looking like me.

But it's been almost a month now, and I can't get over just how awesome this is.  I'm still learning just what to do with it (texturizer is a must; odd for someone who's never put product in her hair since the Great Bangs of the 1980s) and how I can and can't style it (sleek? yes.  messy?  yes.  rag curls?  hilariously no), and what I honestly and for true look like with it.

And I think that's the crux of it.  For the first time in adult memory, I'm actually looking at myself and seeing myself honestly, instead of looking at a mirror or picture and just confirming my own preconceived mental image of what I expect to see there.  I look different, and that's making me look and think and reassess instead of just continuing to repeat toxic mental patterns that were ingrained way too long ago.

I don't know where I'll go from here.  Maybe I'll grow it back out eventually.  Maybe I'll keep it pixie-short for the next year or so.  Hell, maybe I'll go back to my natural color and then bleach it and dye the front wisps robin's-egg blue.  No matter what, it's going to be pretty damn awesome....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Those of you who've known me for any length of time have known that I've had the same haircut for, well.... for a long time.

I was a victim of the 80's.  I had a bad shag perm in 8th grade (my mother was convinced that it would make me more popular.  It didn't.), and I hated it with a fiery passion.  I vowed at that point, in 1988, that I would never cut my hair again, and never suffer through an atrocious short cut like that again.  And I've kept that vow.

I spent most of high school growing my hair out, and most of college growing out my bangs.  My hair is naturally ramrod-straight, so I've had long, straight hair for my entire adult life.  Somewhere around my second year of vet school a friend persuaded me to dye my hair red, and since then I haven't really made any serious changes.

That means my hairstyle is nearly old enough to vote.

I've set foot in a salon precisely twice since then.  Once in vet school, at a place that specialized in long hair, to get a miniscule trim, and once about two years ago, when my hair was falling apart, to get it shaped and tinted with a temporary color that didn't really take.  Other than that, I've looked about the same.  And over the past few months or so, I've been fighting a back-of-my-brain urge to Change Something.

Since I use henna, I can't really color my hair with anything else.  But temporary dye could work.... though that didn't seem quite right.  And just change for the sake of change didn't seem right either.  Still, I wanted *something* different.  So when GISHWHES came up, I promised myself that if there was an item on the scavenger hunt list that involved doing something weird to your hair, I'd consider it an omen and throw myself on that grenade.

And there it was.  Item #166 - cut at least 10" of your hair off and donate it to a wig charity.

So.

Want to see what happened? )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
For anyone who's seen my posts about aerials, and wondered what the stuff I'm talking about looks like, I had a friend with me at Open Practice today, and convinced him to take a couple of pictures.....

They're not fancy - just me with a sweaty ponytail, no costumes, practicing pretty low to the ground, but it at least gives some context.

Images hidden for those who aren't interested )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So while I'm on the subject of arts, crafts, and Intercon, I'm going to be self-indulgent and share the photographic evidence of what I've been doing with my downtime (admittedly, in one case with a great deal of help)....

Pictures, hidden for those who aren't interested )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Most of you reading this know that I'm kind of makeup-incompetent. I never made it through that set of lessons in Girl School, for a multitude of reasons. I've taken baby steps at fixing that, here and there over the past couple of years, but I've never gotten much beyond lip gloss and mascara.

But here I am with a ton of time on my hands, and not much else to do. For the past couple of weeks, reading has been challenging due to the short-term memory loss caused by the muscle relaxants. Crafting is tough when I'm not allowed to incline my head forward, so I'm limited to a half-hour or so at a time. And tv is.... well, it's dull when I don't have my hands busy with spinning or stitching or crocheting. Plus, more distractions are better.

And enter Geek Chic Cosmetics. Seriously. A makeup company with a Walking Dead themed collection. I only lament that I didn't get on board in time to buy their Babylon 5 set.

And their stuff isn't too pricey. And it's kinda pretty. And I know I'm being pandered to with their nerd themes, but... I need stuff to do, and now is as good a time as any to learn how to wear eyeshadow.

I already had a couple of their products, and I gave in to their Black Friday sale to buy a few more. And here's where I need to give them extra bonus praise - when one of the things I ordered was delayed in production, they emailed me to let me know and upgraded me to overnight shipping when it did come in, no extra cost.

I'm still an utter greenie when it comes to what to actually do with this stuff, but it sure is sparkly and pretty. And I'm already regretting not ordering more (why didn't I pick up anything in gold? Or silver? Or red?). And the only way to learn is to play around with it, and see what looks good....

The sacrifices I make during my recovery; I tell you...
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So remember a while ago I asked folks for advice about fun and exciting new hair colors?

So it turns out that apparently you can't bleach henna out of hair. It just doesn't work - it has something to do with the chemical makeup of the stuff. So no green hair for me. Also no violet, or lavender, or really anything particularly unnatural.

However, I did manage to find a hairstylist who was willing to work with me, and my wishes, and my (fragile from most of a year of stress, poor health, and intermittent malnutrition) hair. And while lavender was off-limits, it turns out burgundy wasn't. And that burgundy with copper streaks actually looks pretty interesting.

She also managed to trim my hair in such a way that it looks like the shorter, broken-off bits around my face actually look intentional, instead of "I'm so sick that my hair is just falling apart." Which is a goodness.

It's not exactly what I wanted, and it's going to take some getting used to, but it's different and that is a goodness. And the longer I have it, the more I like it....

Pictures, hidden for those who aren't interested.... )
ladysprite: (steampunk)
I'm doing my best to continue to think of positive side effects of being out of work for an extended period of time. Right now I'm still maintaining about one day a week (the most I can manage and still feel vaguely non-miserable), but once I have surgery (assuming that that's an option), I'll be flat out of work for somewhere around 6-8 weeks.

And I realized that this means that, for the first time in over a decade, I can dye my hair whatever color I want without having to worry about employers and professionalism and what-will-my-clients-think.

Now I just need to choose.

So. I have the entire spectrum of Manic Panic colors at my disposal, and a referral to a stylist who has both experience and skill with the stuff. And now I just need help deciding.

Thoughts? What color do y'all think I should go for?
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Pictures, hidden for those who don't want to see them.... )
Of course, after she was delivered, I managed to putter up and down our dead-end street about three or four times before the battery died, alas. Admittedly, I'm a timid and inexperienced rider, still familiarizing myself with the controls, and stalling the poor thing near constantly... but even that shouldn't be enough to completely drain the battery.

And the dealership is closed for the night. So in the morning I get to call the service department and, with luck, they'll get a new battery our here in time for me to practice again tomorrow night. And who knows; someday I might get enough courage to actually head off my dead-end onto a real street....

Art

May. 20th, 2013 09:27 pm
ladysprite: (DiscoTurtle)
I don't think I will ever stop feeling vaguely vain, self-conscious, and embarrassed about hanging my own crafts projects on the walls of my house - it feels way too much like bragging and begging for praise.

However, that's not quite enough to actually stop me from doing so. I just picked up my most recent piece of stitchery from the framers, and all of my plans for giving it away just kind of melted when I saw how truly rich and vibrant and *perfect* it looks. (Yes, framing stitchery costs a ridiculous amount, but I've realized it's worth saving up to do it.)

So tonight's project is an epic rearrangement of the art in our living room as I make space for the new piece and find somewhere else to move the cross-stitched mermaid that had previously been hanging in the location of honor....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
....finishing a project that has been in progress for over two years, now.

Pictures, hidden for those who don't care.... )

Still Home

Mar. 9th, 2013 06:04 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So, as much as it'd be nice to go to the ball tonight, I have realized that staying home is the wisest thing to do. It's an hour and a half, or more, to the site; dancing runs until midnight; tonight is clock-forward time, and getting home around 2:30am just to host our monthly tabletop game tomorrow would be unwise under the best of circumstances.

Add to that the fact that my pain tends to get worse as the day goes on, and that events like this tend to trigger my social anxiety under the best of circumstances, and that pain -->less dancing and less dancing -->more anxiety and awkwardness, which would then lead to tension and more pain, leading to.... yeah. Sad as it is, home is the best place for me right now.

On the other hand, I have consoled myself by taking the money I would have spent on gas, dinner, and site fees and splurging on a manicure/pedicure. And going to a new salon. And telling the Nail Art girl to do whatever she wants.

I now have ivory nails with a gold glitter ombre, and purple and gold rhinestones. It's vaguely ludicrous, in an utterly awesome way. Sometimes it helps to be shallow and vain, because I am unreasonably cheered up by this silly little indulgence....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
Intercon happened. It was good. There were games that I played in, that were awesome, and a game that I ran that went well, and time with people I don't see near often enough, and costumes, and hugging, and all that stuff that makes me happy.

'Sith Lords' was wonderful, as I expected; I was cast with a few people I don't get to roleplay with very often, which can be a huge source of fun when things go well. It was my first attempt in a long time at coordinating costuming, plus I love being a doll for other people to practice makeup on. Between that and the fact that the role let me play around with fascinating and eccentric body language and mannerisms, and the complex and angsty romantic triangle written into my story, it was everything I wanted.

'The Ballad of Jess-Belle' was similarly dramatic and angsty, if with less makeup and lower heels for my costume. I got to roleplay with some of my favorite people, and managed to win a tall-tale-telling competition with a story I made up on the spot, which surprised the heck out of me.

'Desperadoes Under the Eaves,' which I ran with [livejournal.com profile] ursangnome and [livejournal.com profile] jadasc went well, as far as I can tell. Our players were marvelous and bizarre and confusing and wonderful, and as far as I can tell most of them had a good time.

And there were people I don't get to see enough, and time spent curled up on the sofa chatting and catching up, and introducing friends to each other, and meeting new people, and reminiscing over old games and planning new ones, and I can't remember the last time I had this much fun at a con.

Being around people is good, and, to be completely honest, being around people who tell me they like me is a much-needed boost to my self-esteem when things are rough. Right now I am exhausted and headachy, but feeling loved, fulfilled, entertained, and all-in-all good.

Thank you so much to everyone who was part of my con, for making it so wonderful....

Shiny

Jan. 29th, 2013 11:36 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
It is only now, too late, that I realize just how addictive manicures are.

You get one, and it's nice, and you like it, and you think, well, no big deal. I went years without one, it's a decent enough one-time treat.

But then you get used to it, and used to having tidy, pretty hands. And then it starts to wear off, and the polish chips, and your nails crack or grow out unevenly and eventually you wind up looking worse than before you started.

And, more than that, you're aware of it. Because by now you've started paying attention to your hands, and your nails, and how they look. And suddenly, even if it never bothered you before, you can't stand how ragged and ratty and untidy your nails are. And you start coming up with justifications to get it done again.

(Me? I have an interview at a new practice tomorrow. I *had* to get my nails done. I don't want to look unkempt.....)

Plus, well, it just makes me feel good. No matter how disorganized the rest of my life is, at least I have sparkly-perfect nails....

Arisia Was

Jan. 20th, 2013 06:31 pm
ladysprite: (steampunk)
(Yes, I know it technically still is going on. But I have to work tomorrow, so no Sunday night/Monday for me. Also, I'm pretty sure that 3 days of con is about all the con I can tolerate, so right now I'm glad to be in my nice, warm, quiet home.)

First of all, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who replied to my last post, and to everyone who took the time to say hello, keep me company, and give me hugs at the con. I had been a bit worried and uncertain going in, and I wound up having a very good time. There was one minor brush with panic on Saturday night, but I had an excellent friend to carry me through it, and other than that all was good and more than good.

This was an odd year for me; it was the first time in years that I haven't been part of either programming or staff. I decided to take this as a low-key year, and it was both liberating and unusual to be able to wander around the con and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The up side of this was the freedom; the downside was the fact that Arisia is cold enough and short enough on hangout space that there really wasn't anywhere good to just sit and socialize.

That said, I did manage to find good time with friends, and I got to spend a decent amount of time dancing, both of which were just what I needed. But the true highlight of the con for me was getting to wear the costume I've been working on for most of the past month.

I'm not a very good seamstress, and even though I can sew a bit I honestly just don't like to. But I love the challenge of finding costume concepts that require minimal sewing. And I've had a lot of downtime this past month. And [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick has been introducing me more and more to Star Wars. And so I thought to myself, 'Huh. I bet I could make a Twi'lek costume....'

And so I did. And I managed not to chicken out of wearing it on Saturday. And it looked kind of like this....

Pictures, hidden because my vanity should not overwhelm your friends-page... )

I've never done a serious hall costume before, so it was a fascinating experience. Apparently being painted blue turns you into a rock star (and makes you Even More Fascinating Than Usual to toddlers), and it made just walking around public spaces a major event. On the other hand, I've found that wearing an elaborate enough costume does wonders to help me overcome my phobia of having my picture taken, so the attention and camera flashes were an overall-positive thing. I'm fairly certain I'll wear the costume again next year (and, with luck, airbrushing will be much easier and faster in the future)...

Other than that... there were friends, and there was dancing, and now there is thawing and enjoying the quiet. All in all, a good weekend.
ladysprite: (Default)
It seems to me, at least so far, that rewriting a game requires a completely different skill set from writing said game in the first place.

I have a list of things to be done - some as simple as 'Add Character X to Character Y's Who You Know list' and others as general as 'Character Z just feels incomplete.' And I'm making progress. But at the same time, it's scary. There are the simultaneous feelings that, if I wrote it this way the first time I must have had a reason, and that if this was the best I could do then, how could I do better now? Even when I have ideas, starting is the hardest step. It's changing a thing instead of creating a thing, which is always harder for me.

On the other hand, it was a good game the first time, so no matter what it'll be a good game this time. We just have the chance, and the time and experience, to make it an even better game. And it does feel pretty darn good to immerse myself again in the world of the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel and all of its wacky clientele.

In other news, signups start tonight for Intercon M! If you're wondering what to play, allow me to humbly recommend Desperadoes Under The Eaves, Saturday night - rumor has it it's a pretty darn good game - or so I've been told....
ladysprite: (Default)
Okay, I didn't exactly create it. But it's still mine, and I am utterly in love with it.

I had the last session of inking for my dragon tattoo yesterday. 7 hours under the needle total, though I'm supposed to go back in January for one last follow-up to make sure there's no touching up needed. And the finished project is just as glorious and bright and beautiful as I imagined it would be....

Images hidden behind here. I've been posting lots of pictures lately, it seems..... )
ladysprite: (Default)
And so we continued on our quest. Fewer pictures today, since the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum were less photo-friendly, but still cut-tagging our adventures around the Vatican Museum and after....

Even though it's more like a Vati-CAN'T.... )
ladysprite: (Default)
So I met with the tattoo artist for the second time today. I had a first visit a couple of weeks ago where I talked to the studio, got set up with an artist they thought matched my style, and then chatted with the guy about what sort of design I wanted in general - and much gratitude to [livejournal.com profile] ravenrose and [livejournal.com profile] evcelt for letting me know that was an option! And the artist seemed pretty cool, and enthusiastic, and like he understood my general idea, and he promised to come up with some concept art for me.

Today I went back to see what he had drawn. It was just a rough sketch, but it was enough to make it clear that he did, in fact, grasp the imagery that I wanted, and that he could make it beautiful. And I love the fact that he seems enthusiastic, and wants to add little details to make what I want even cooler - he went into detail about shading techniques and artistic tricks that, not being an artist, I'm not quite sure I follow, but it's clear he loves what he does, and has the standard geek's love of detail and sharing passion, and it feels good that he's as excited about this as I am.

So I have an appointment for this coming Wednesday to start getting inked. And I'm excited, and I'm scared, because this is permanent and forever and real, and now that money is paid and appointments are made there's a little part of my brain that's starting to scream about what-ifs. I haven't actually *seen* the final art yet; I won't until it's on my body. I haven't had three years to test-drive the body art like I did with my last tattoo. What if multiple tattoos make me look like some painted tramp? What if it looks cheesy? What if, what if, what if?

Screw what-if. It's going to be gorgeous, and awesome, and I can't wait. And I'll be honest, the hint of scary is kind of part of the awesome.

New body art, new symbol, new part of me.... 3 more days. I was figuring it'd be closer to weeks, but somehow now that it's sooner, it's that much harder to wait....

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