01 January 2008

Goals - 2008

2008 Plans

I have several plans/goals for 2008. They include:

- Finding my holy grain eye liner -
I'm tired of smudgy eye liners that end up in my crease within a couple of hours, but I'm also unwilling to coat myself in primers and finishers that blast my makeup in place for the a 48 hour minimum hold ... this is going to take a while.

- Finishing more items of clothing -
This will include: finding more TNT (tried 'n true) patterns and working harder at finishing items in a timely manner (no more 3 month coats). If I can finish one item a week, I'll have 52 new items of clothing in my closet by the end of 2008.

- Eating healthier
Can I go strict vegetarian?

- Dropping some fat and adding some muscle
Workout more often, and lift more weight

- Figuring out my best manicure
Best base, lacquer, and top combo

- Find a great job
Something in: engineering, environment, biology, wetland, superfund cleanup, etc.

Best of 2007

Best Finds of 2007

I going to place an homage to All Laquered Up and Blogdorf Goodman
by listing my favorites of 2007. Being that I'm not the product junkie that these bloggers are, but being rather particular about chemistry and application, my list is very different from these lovely ladies. Additionally, these aren't products that were necessarily released in 2007, just the ones that I used in 2007.

Best Shadow - Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eye Shadow

Best Lip - Cover Girl Triple Lipstick (discontinued, of course)

Best Foundation - Cover Girl Smoothers SPF Tinted Moisturizer

Best Eye Liner - still looking

Best Mascara - Almay One Coat Nourishing Mascara

Best Perfume - i Profumi di Firenze's "Ambra del Nepal", I smell like an exotic dessert all day long

Best laquer - Zoya

Best polish bottomcoat - OPI Nail Envy Sensitive and Peeling (Formaldehyde Free formula)

Best polish topcoat - CND Air Dry (hands down, no competition)

Best accessory - scarves (they dress up a work outfit like nothing else, you can wear them in a hundred different configurations, and they don't cost a great deal)

Best vitamin - DEVA Vegan Multivitamin (digests easily)

Best jewelry - classics with a twist in true gold, regardless of color: yellow, rose, white, green, etc.

Best computer accessory - keyboard condoms rock, aka silicone keyboard protectors

Worst Products of 2007:

Ann Taylor -
Haven't they heard of the pear shape? Even when I find "curvy" pants to fit my hips, the waist is still two sizes too big.

Why is their product so poor? I've had a least one hem fall out of every pair of pants I've ever purchased from them, I've had the hem fall out of both legs in some pairs. I've had the hem fall out of an un-lined jacket I purchased from them.

Why does their interior finishing fall so short? I've had two pair of AT pants grow by at least one size though the day ... in the waistband. When I took them back to customer service I had a real fight, because I'd "worn" the pants. They told me, it is common for the pants to grow a size, you are supposed to buy them one size small. Excuse me? If they can't be bothered to properly interface the waistband of a pair of pants, I'm NOT going to pay the price.

*ETA* I just read about their closing of a bunch of stores due to poor performance ... *sigh*, if they would just raise their quality by a smidge. Look at it this way, if I can get 100 wearings out of a $200 pair of pants, I've spent $2.00 per wear on those pants. If I can only get 4 wearings out of a $50 pair of pants, I've spent $12.50 per wear on those pants. Yes, classic, well made styles, will last you much longer and cost you less in the long run.

Urban Decay Smoke Out Pencil - I've never had a pencil dry out on me soooo quickly.

Vincent Longo Duo Eye Pencil - I've loved the application, but I'm allergic to one of the ingredients. If I remember correctly, it has castor bean oil.

Almay Hydracolor Lipstick - This caused my lips to burn badly. I'm definitely allergic to something in the formulation ... I think it has a citrus extract in it, but I'm not sure that it caused the problem. And since I reacted to 3 different shades, it wasn't a fluke.

Graduation ... Again ... Finally


Okay, I graduated on the 15 of December with my Master's. FINALLY. I began to think it was never going to happen. (So did many of my family members.)

My robe had these funny sleeves that hung to my knees. I felt like I was in a Tim Burton film...

My brother tied my sleeves together in order to complete the straight jacket feel.

According to my research, I can now be called a Magister or Master, and they both sound so wrong. Just call me Kira.

My degree is in biology and I've focused on entomology and botany. I hope to find something related to the life science field work-wise. I've put in a couple of applications ... keeping my fingers crossed.

PR - Vogue - 8307 cont.

Vogue 8307 cont.

Um, yeah ... still working on the coat ... :)

This is the inside of my coat, with the sew-in upper back piece the bright, blinding white staring you in the face.

I've got the hem steamed into place and the lining cut out. Now I just need to sew the lining and front facing together.

My plans include:
- complete topstitching of coat, working around the pockets is going to be interesting
- re-inforce button area, I've chosen a doubled button so it's going to be heavy
- insert sleeves
- sew in sleeve head
- insert lining as one step
- add buttons
- wear coat

The last will be most rewarding.

I've had a bit of discussion regarding wool washing with some fellow "designers" and we seem to fall into two very different groups: washers and dry-cleaners. I don't dry clean anything. Period. So I would fall in the washer group.

I have a Kenmore Oasis washing machine that does not have the traditional agitator, and I've washed many a wool fabric in this machine. However, I also washed many a wool with my old (and broken, hence the Oasis) typical agitator washing machine. I do notice that the new machine doesn't punish the wool quite so much, and fabrics that would turn into muslins with my old machine might be salvageable with my new machine.

However, I think the most important thing to do is wash your wool fabric as you plan to wash your finished product. And if you dry clean everything, don't waste your time with washing. Wool is, for the most part, a tough fabric (regardless of how quickly moths can break down the fibers). It can handle washing and drying, usually. There are, however, a couple of caveats (of course).

Wool is a protein based fiber, and has many similarities to our own hair.

The hair on the left is a sheep (wool) hair as it goes through a dyeing process. It is from the website http://www.presentltd.com/rugs/natural-dye-de.htm.

The hair on the right is a human hair from the website http://pwatlas.mt.umist.ac.uk/internetmicroscope/micrographs/curious/human-hair_z6.html.

The biggest thing that should jump out at you is scale size. The scales on the wool are larger in proportion to the hair than the scales on a human hair. This probably makes it more responsive to humidity and you need to react accordingly.

Hence, don't dry on high heat and don't strip oils from the wool with a harsh detergent. Easy, peasy ... uh, what constitutes a harsh detergent? *Sigh* Anything that is alkaline and soapy.

Fyi, as far as I can tell, Woolite ingredients include: alkylbenzenesulfonic acid (a strong oxidizing agent), sodium hydroxide 50% sol'n (aka caustic soda, a caustic metallic base ... i.e. alkaline in solution), and sodium lauryl ether sulfate 70% sol'n (a very drying detergent). In other words, don't use Woolite to wash wools.

I've used Kookaburra, Ecover, Nikwax, 7th Generation, and All Free & Clear with fairly good results. I like Kookaburra the best for smell, Nikwax the least for smell. Having written all this, NONE of these companies want to publish their exact ingredients list and I wouldn't be surprised to find nasty ingredients in any of these products. A really good, gentle shampoo would work as well, if not better, for washing wool. And shampoo ingredients are listed on the bottle. Perfect.

Basically, this means that my coat fabric was washed and dried before I began cutting, and I'll wash my coat as it needs a cleaning. Though I will probably lay out and hang dry my coat.