Ren Fest, All Hallows’ Eve Weekend

On Sunday, Willy and I attended Ren Fest for a few short hours. We had planned to be there all day but since it was pouring down rain in the morning, I thought we weren’t getting to go at all. Fortunately, it let up about noon and we headed out to the festival.

This year I decided I really wanted to attend on All Hallows’ as a way to sneak a second Halloween costume in for the year. I always go to Fest in costume but I really wanted to do something outside of my norm: The Raven.

I have had the nickname of Raven for so many years but I have never dressed as one, until now.
to incorporate my husband in the costuming, we decided he’d go as Edgar Allan Poe. (the other option, a Khaki Scout ala Moonrise Kingdom, wasn’t very appealing to him)

This costume was definitely a labor of love. I made my tutu by following a tutorial for a very full tutu. The tutorial is for toddler sizes so I didn’t really do the math about how much tulle I would need to make one for myself, in total around 200 yards. A shopkeep at festival didn’t believe me when I told him it was that much but each strip is anywhere from 3-4 feet long and there are two strips in each little hole, stacked three deep, all the way around my waist.
I really didn’t want any “wardrobe malfunctions” so my hindparts were VERY covered. The only other drawback to this plan? Bathroom breaks were a total pain! The tulle grabbed my tights and it was A LOT of fluff to try and wrangle into a stall.

My make-up is from another tutorial. I modified it to fit the products (mostly) I had on hand, didn’t need a beak because I already had one and also, I didn’t want to change my eyebrows so I just darkened them.
I did a make-up test and then decided I needed to add some more product. On my face I’m wearing Colorstay foundation, NYX black gel smudger, NYX milk eye pencil, Eyeco fat eyestick in Old Gold, Almay Intense Eyes for green eyes, Hard Candy eyeshadow in Space Cadet, NYX Glam Liner in Glam Platnum, Almay black liquid liner, Almay black kohl liner and Physician’s Formula green gel liner.

It was hard to capture the detail of the mask and my make-up at the same time
because I’m so pale and it’s so intensely dark.

The mask was originally supposed to be an entire cowl piece but it was WAY TOO HOT HERE (stupid Texas) so I adapted and created a head piece instead.
(it’s currently sitting on this skull because I don’t have a mannequin head and want to keep the shape)

The back of the mask is a sleep mask from United Airlines First Class.
It worked perfectly.

I layered several different types and shapes of feathers over the mask and added some buttons for the eyes. The beak I cut off a Venetian style plaster mask that came white but I painted it black by hand and then spray painted a clear coat on top to give it the glossy effect.

Willy’s Poe costume was very easy to put together with a vest we purchased (this will work for our actual Halloween costumes as well) some smudged eye shadow around his eyes, a normal button down shirt, a strip of black fabric for his ascot and a feather as his quill pen.

This is probably my most favorite costume to date and we had a lovely afternoon at Fest.

Normally I would wear something else our second trip to Fest,next month,
Untitledbut this year I might just go as Raven again. I loved it that much.

Other costume notes: my little shawl thing reminded me of wings and is actually a faux fur wrap that attaches to my leather jacket, I just tied it on with some ribbon. the waist cincher is by Renaissance Leather. the black belt, mug holder and pouch I used for my phone are from Ravenswood, my boots are old Airwalk from Payless, tights are Vera Wang from Kohl’s and my mug is from Wondrous Works in Wood (it’s a purple heart wood)

Patio and yard improvements

In preparation for Sprog’s grad party we’ve been working very hard on cleaning up and improving our yard and patio spaces. I doubt you care about the many hours of yard work and resulting bags of limbs, leaves and grass we carried out for several trash cycles in a row. What you might care about, however, are the things we bought and how we have set things up.

We have two back patios and a covered front porch but for the purposes of this party we only focused our efforts on the backyard.

For the little patio aka my patio, the changes were minor: sunny yellow spray paint for the black bistro set and some fresh plants for the planters.

On the larger patio aka Willy’s patio
We purchased a new larger table, which I am obsessed with, and three heavy duty but modern white plastic chairs from Ikea. I also bought 3 woven chairs with arms from Big Lots.

The cushioned glider bench and reclining chair have always been on this patio just in different locations.

As an early Father’s Day gift we picked this up for Willy
It’s not in its final location in this pic however.

This table was in place of our former smaller glass table with cheapo chairs (2 of which are in the trash after ripping) from Target. The table is still functional and we needed the eating space regardless so I grabbed some new chairs, on sale, from Target and set the whole thing up with the umbrella from my little patio and put it out in the yard.

Finally, we have a little fire pit area in process. We still need to add gravel or sand or rubber mulch as the ground cover out there but I like the place holder in the meantime.

Here’s a wide angle shot from my phone that gives you an idea of how all the spaces relate to one another. Our grill is off to the left of this shot and we have a wide swath of grass around the corner to the right of that back table for games of redneck golf, bocce and beanbag toss.
All of it together

Eventually I’d like to have a lattice surround for the pool so it’s not such an eyesore and I am going to make a canvas shade for the little patio as well.

The daily walk project: printed

I’ve talked about the daily walks before and I’ve also posted on my personal and professional FB pages, blogs and Instagram accounts along the way. I finally have the first print from the project up on my wall and it’s a huge poster of 50 Instagram images as a collage.


I used Social Print Studio to print the poster and they have two size options: 20×30 and 20×38 either one avail in a black or white background.

Now, the 20×30 is a common size for framing but I wanted more of my images and wanted them to be shown at a larger size so I went with the larger print and less images. I figured I would just have to figure out something for the framing later (and obviously I did but it took a minute longer than I expected to find something for it)

The app used to make the poster is called Prinstagram and you can use it on your phone, iPad or desktop, wherever you have the images stored.

It was easy to use and quick to order although, I do wish I had control over photo placement in the collage itself instead of it being a random thing. The final product looks great though so that isn’t enough of an annoyance to prevent me from ordering again in the future.

The poster is printed on a thick quality photo paper and I love that it looks like any of my other photos in the house instead of a poster from the store.


I found a “custom” framing option from a local art store Jerry’s Art-a-Rama that allows you to by rail kits so that you can make a frame any size you need for much less than actually getting something custom framed. (ps this is a deep frame so you could use it on large canvas should you have any you need to frame on the cheap)

I got my frame kits on sale and the poster itself was $35 so the whole thing was around $65. I’m so happy with it, I’m thinking about having another one made of all of our trip photos or something similar…of course I’d have actually put those into Instagram first but I don’t think people would mind being inundated with all our old trip photos being run through IG, do you?

re-use and re-applying myself

In order to get the house in shape for Sprog’s big graduation party, I have been steadily working my way through organization projects and problems areas in our home, of which there are many. One of my final posts on Style Lush asked for assistance making an ugly utilitarian metal bookcase work in our entry way. I’m still working on that area but at least I have made some efforts and some changes to the bookcase

photo (24)

photo (25)


Close-up on the paint:

I have plans to get rid of that beat up old picnic basket currently holding shoes and replace it with metal bins of some sort inspired by this
from Martha Stewart Living magazine but I have had a devil of a time locating what I need. I finally found something similar at Garden Ridge Pottery but they were too small. I really wanted to avoid shopping online if I could help it but it’s looking like that might be my only sure thing.

I’ve also found these vintage metal locker baskets that I quite like and may just have to go ahead and order if I my last store attempt strikes out.

I also intend on an open wire basket for our mail recycling to go on the open shelf above the shoes and some sort of mail sorting system with key hanger to hang on the wall next to the door? Maybe something like this one from Umbra

As for the top, I intend to keep it as bare as possible but maybe hang a mirror on the wall…or layer in a print next to the Stag, not positive how I want to deal with that yet.

bringing (my) sexy back

The title of this post is a bit of a stretch. I’m not sure that I ever had my sexy, really. I’ve never owned the type of clothes that one “goes to the club” in. I always am way self conscious in skirts on the shorter end of the spectrum and my definition of “short” is DEFINITELY not what other people consider to be short. I constantly question the age appropriateness of anything I even consider wearing even though my child is constantly making fun of me for my “long dresses” so obviously he doesn’t really care or think that I am even remotely close to being inappropriate.

Now, none of that is to say that I am hiding. I’m not wearing sweats or giant, two sizes too big shirts or anything but more that I don’t buy anything that is designed to *show* anything, specifically.

And then Alice, you know Alice? I blame Alice (sorry, I had an Arlo Guthrie moment there) sent me these awesome feather earrings

and I got a wild hair to wear them. Not just wear them but wear them. I figured they needed an outfit. Something fitting of their crazy appeal and since we were going to a Mullet Boyz show, you remember The Mullet Boyz, yes? I decided to get out of my comfort zone a bit and make myself something a little sexy.
I had pinned a DIY one shoulder no-sew top on Pinterest and that’s what I decided to go with, the original was black but I happened to have a gray mens shirt laying around so that’s what I went with

and I LOVE IT.

Not to be a totally bragging brat face but for a FREE shirt that was way outside of my comfort zone stylistically? I felt sexy, confident and stylish. Major win!

I think it showed

Just a bit

the bouts and bouquets (picture heavy post)

The car dramz is getting worse so I’m just going to pretend that isn’t happening and use this space to talk about something pretty. The fabric flower bouquets and bouts that I made for Kristie’s upcoming Welsh wedding to Big D.

Food with friends!

So that would be the Bride and Groom (squee) on the left there and for the past few weeks (seems like 8 years) I have been making her bouts and bouquets out of fabric flowers for her wedding. I have an Etsy shop, I make fabric flowers on the regular, I do have TWO fancy ass cameras, you would think I would’ve taken at least ONE picture with a real camera, wouldn’t you? But no, no I did not. Hopefully I’ll get some next month AT HER WEDDING but in the meantime here are the ones I snapped with my iPhone.

Please keep in mind I have never made a bouquet this way before and some of these flowers I’ve never made before either. It was quite the undertaking and way above (in time) what I thought it would be, but I loved making them for her and she loved the end result so I’m really excited about it.

I should also mention that Kristie lives north of Ft Worth and was not with me in person during the crafting of these and that she also pretty much gave me free reign on making them so I made some flowers that didn’t end up making it into the final bouquets (I’m not going to bother showing those pics) and some other ideas (like ribbons on the bouts were nixed in the end)
This is the trial bout pic that I sent to Kristie. She asked if I could add some leaves or something to give more green to the finished look and also some way to make Big D’s look different from the rest.
Here they are finished. They all have leaves but D’s has two fabric leaves which I embroidered with their initials and the date (in Brit format) of their nuptials

For the bouquets I’m going to go in opposite order.
Here is Kristie’s bouquet finished
with a hanky that her mother got her in Italy and ribbons on the handle and everything.

Here are the detail shots of some of the flowers and such




Here are the bridesmaid’s bouquets finished

and detail shots


Each bouquet has a different flower center and they are all balanced in their distribution of the colors of white, cream, gold, green and navy blue.

first eye tutorial

Lessons learned from my first tutorial:

1) I ramble a lot. I had to cut over 4 + minutes out of this video to get YouTube to accept it.

2) I should’ve turned the iPhone landscape.

3) I probably shouldn’t have used my iPhone at all.

4) I really look HAGGARD when I don’t sleep a full night in multiple weeks.

5) I say “UM” and “Going On” FREQUENTLY

6) I wish I would’ve put lip gloss on, HELLO CHICKEN LIPS

Let me know if this was helpful and if y’all are interested in me doing more…I promise they’ll get better as I do them. I do intend to correct the issues.

past life eyes

In a past life, when I was young and first living in Texas, I spent my days schlepping make-up behind the Origins counter at Foley’s department store. It wasn’t a bad gig, really, I loved (and still do) Origins as a company and a product and people that bought that particular brand of make-up were of the least asshole-ish of those that shopped the cosmetics counters in Foley’s but MAN did working in cosmetics in a department store AT CHRISTMAS blow the nastiest and wartiest and smelliest of goats.

My favorite part of the job was the gratis. Not going to lie. My second favorite part of the job was playing with the make-up. I could give two shits about selling it, honestly, but color is something I am good at and I was willing to put it on anyone that asked, day or night. Of course, I was supposed to push them to buy it, but I just really enjoyed playing with it. So much so that during my down time I just made mock-ups of eyes.

We got these little eyeshadow diagrams that we were supposed to send home with makeover clientele to show them how we had done their make up but when I didn’t have anything better to do? I’d just sit there and play with unusual color combinations. I got started with it because I got asked so many times what I was wearing and frequently would have so many colors on that I would forget and feel like a jackass but, as time went on it just became my thing. Some of my customers started coming in just to see what outlandish color combinations I could make work and if I got something really out there to work on paper they would insist I put it on them and frequently buy the outcome. At training programs I got called out for being able to match skin tones without having to try them on people and for my eye diagram things.

Recently, Christina played around with green eye shadow and posted it on twitter and it reminded me how much fun I used to have with make-up. I’ve long since resorted to just wearing mascara, tinted moisturizer, blush and some gloss and calling it a day but because of that tweet? I actually did a full eye the other night for dinner and this morning I did a horrible eye diagram in photoshop for y’all (it’s much easier on paper with the actual shadow products)

Crappy lighting

I should call these my cammo eyes judging by the shades of greens and golds but in person it doesn’t look quite that crazy and everything is MUCH more blended.

Is this something y’all are interested in? I’d totally add a section to the blog with make-up tutorials or just eye mock-ups/pics if y’all are, um with better pics of course, just let me know.

in the baking spirit

Yesterday we made time to do our annual baking and decorating of Christmas cookies with the fam.

We went over to mom’s armed with a bag of cookie cutters (thanks for the snowflakes Alice!) decorative sugars, sprinkles, sugar cookie dough, Santa hats and reindeer antlers and I proceeded to roll out and cut many trays of cookies. Connor cut out one tray of cookies but everyone else mainly waited for the decorating bit of the program.

Sprog looks so thrilled to be wearing this thing, does he not? He did amazing with his cookies though! Kid’s got a real talent for cookie decorating.


Course, he took his seriously and didn’t do things like putting dead eyes on Santa…or worse.

Like the shit cookie my bro made. Doesn’t it look delicious?

Connor went the route of putting all the shit on the cookie. He of course couldn’t finish it.

My sister, twisted in her own way, posted this on FB with the caption “candy cane, or?”
She also got my brother while he was passed out in a chair in the living room
and posted it on FB too. HAHA.

One of the best parts of cookie decorating for me is that we leave them all at mom’s and that I am never even tempted to eat any so I don’t feel like crap later with a sour over sugared tum, I just have fun with the decorating :-)

happy best holiday of the year!

Of course I am referring to Halloween. Even though the outside of my house barely looks decorated. Even though I had no idea what I was going to do for a costume until Saturday. Even though I was woken up this morning at 4:30 am with a monster headache and a barking dog. TODAY WILL BE A GOOD DAY.

Halloween 2011 preview

That’s a little preview of who I’ll be tonight.

Sprog's Halloween 2011 preview

Sprog and Willy have been working super hard on finishing Sprog’s costume. We have one more thing left to do today after he gets out of school and it will be all set.

Since I’ve been up since O’Darkest Thirty this morning, I have enjoyed trolling through pics on FB. I love seeing a mixture of super new creative costumes and old stand-bys with a new twist. <3