Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Petticoat Junction

When wearing a swing skirt, one of my main goals is maximum fullness. MAX POOFINESS. I've tried a lot of different things to achieve that fullness; most didn't cut the proverbial mustard. But this one simple trick got me the skirt volume I was looking for: I just pulled up the petticoat.

No, really. That's it. I took the waist band of the petticoat and pulled it all the way up until it touches the bottom of my bra band. This pulls the fluffy part upward, creating a base for the skirt to sit on, creating the lovely bell shape we all want. Here's a photo of what that looks like:

Here's a before shot:

And and after shot:

See the difference? I am using the Babyonline Rockabilly Tulle Petticoat, and, full disclosure, I also sewed a couple more runs of tulle to the underside to give even more lift, mostly because I could not find a petticoat that was just the right fullness. I found that most that were advertised as fluffy were too fluffy and the rest tended to go flat. So I took this inexpensive one and added to it, and voila! POOFINESS.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Molly Starlite's Hair Flowers

I've been making pinup style hair flowers for almost a year now, and while I haven't been able to make a career of it, it's a fun hobby. I make hair flowers while waiting for videos to convert from DVD format to MP4; I make them while waiting for videos to export out of my film-making software; I make them while waiting for videos to upload to a web site or video streaming channel (there's a *lot* of waiting and babysitting while making videos, which is why they're so expensive).

Anyway, it's a fun, relaxing hobby that lets me be creative and make something beautiful. I list them on my Etsy store, give them as gifts, and sell them to people I run into. I take commissions and make custom flowers. It's a lot of fun, making something one-of-a-kind and unique to a person's tastes.

I used to make them by winding metal wire around the hair combs and flower stems, but I have started making them using a new thread wrapping technique that makes them lighter, safer, sturdier, and waaaaay prettier than most other methods I have found. There's no glue to get brittle and break, no wires to poke you, and nothing unsightly or bulky to interfere with wearing the flower. The flowers are light, can be inserted into any hairstyle, and this method allows the wearer to "pose" the flower just a little bit (not a lot, but some... so you could move a flower a little to cover a bobby pin, for instance).

Soon, I may start adding new features, like glitter and ornaments. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas, Pinup Peoples!

Hope all of your holidays were merry and bright and you got everything you wanted!

This Christmas, I got to go to a Christmas party (I rarely get invited to any, being as I am a contractor), so I got to wear my Monica dress, finally. I bought this one from the final sale rack at the Pinup Girl Clothing web site; it was my very first (and still only) Monica. :) I had pincurled my hair, but I had also watched a tutorial online on how to do a 1950s sculpted hair style, and so I was following along, brushing and back-combing... and the curls started to come out. Like I said in another post, my hair is straight and it doesn't want to do anything other than be straight. The only way I can keep a curl is to just gently lift from the roots for volume, finger separate the curls, and then leave it alone. So, I wasn't happy with my hair, but I think it looked okay. Here's a pic:

The roads were awful from our house to outside Coeur d'Alene where the restaurant was, but the steak there made it almost worth it. Seriously, it was cut-it-with-a-fork tender, perfectly cooked, flavorful... If you're in the Coeur d'Alene area, stop in to the Wolf Lodge Inn just off I-90. You won't be disappointed if you like steak.

But the drive home was hairier than the drive in, and my Tommy Lee and I were very happy to get home. I spent the evening with the kids, and I re-rolled my hair and put my little girl's hair in pin curls for the first time, too! She was so happy to match me:

The next day was Christmas Eve, and it had been snowing for the previous 5 days. It was supposed to have stopped snowing by Thursday morning (the 24th), but it continued to put down the white stuff pretty much all day Thursday. I decided to wear my white Niagara dress (also bought during a final sale or online yard sale - I forget which - from Pinup Girl Clothing) with red accessories to look Christmas-sy. I made a fabulous poinsettia and holly hair accessory that was glittery and big... it almost looked like a fascinator. I got a faux fur red shawl from Amazon for $10, and wore my red suede heels to finish off the look. And then I got the bright idea to add the perfect pinup shrug (also from PUG, another final sale item) and I was amazed by how the addition of that little jacket switched up the look of the Niagara dress from a 1950s bombshell dress to almost a 1940s, sophisticated ensemble. Here's a pic:

Like I mentioned earlier, it had been snowing for days and days, and it finally all caught up to us Christmas Eve, as we were plunged into darkness shortly after nightfall. We went and grabbed our camping lanterns and candles and set those up in my Mom's living room, and I played guitar while people sang and snacked on summer sausage and cheese and crackers and beef stew Mom moved from her cooking stove to the fireplace to finish cooking. The lights came back on after about an hour and half, and we got to sing Christmas carols and unwrap gifts from each other. It was a good time.

Santa brought my little girl a pink lurex sweater that just matched my Jeanie sweater (also from PUG, but I got it on a swap & sell page on Facebook for $40), so I wore the sweater with the black Jenny skirt so we would match; she loves that.

So, that was my Christmas, pinup style! I am looking forward to New Year's Eve, when I get to wear one of my Black Friday purchases: the Voodoo Vixen dress in pink lamè! My Tommy Lee is going to take me (weather permitting) to a 1950s dance in Coeur d'Alene, and I am so excited!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Oh, Give Me A Head With...


Me, 2nd grade. See? Flat hair.
It's been the bane of my existence since I was a child. My hair has ZERO curl to it. Not even a wave. It is poker straight and super fine and lays flat on my head without a bit of volume. If those hair commercials over the years taught me anything, it's that I wanted to have curly, voluminous, thick, shiny hair. Is one out of three okay?

As a child, my mother would just wash it, brush it, trim the bangs and call it a day. As a teenager I would get lift with back combing and hairspray, but this was the early '90s, and trends took a long time to get up here; we were still in mid-'80s mode. No, back then, the girls my age and I, we had no clue how the back of our heads looked, but the fronts were amazeballs sculptures to the hair metal gods. I even had pink hair for a while, and this was in 1988 North Idaho: such things were not done. I caught a lot of flack from the church people for my red, red lips, pink hair, and Cyndi Lauper/butt rock dress code. (The fact that I went from no boobs to DD in one winter didn't help matters with the deacons any, either.)

Anyway... hair. I've never known what to do with mine. I brush it, keep it off my face, but, by and large, I have no damned clue how to style it. I went to a salon one time to have them chop my waist-length hair off to some manageable length, and all the stylist did was trim off about a quarter inch, despite my protestations that I wanted something different. "No," she says, "you're Rapunzel!" Another time, I went in to get a color and style and the stylists refused to work on my hair, citing that my at-home coloring would mess them up and ruin my hair... blah, blah, blah. So, since I can't get anyone to do anything with it, I do it myself.

Of course, I have no clue what I am doing. I hate how flat my hair lays, so I have tried everything this side of a perm to get it to have some volume. (You can either color *or* perm, my grandmother told me... I believed her.) As a teenager and young adult, I used a crimping iron, but the style got so out of fashion that I eventually turned to pincurling, considering that curling irons did exactly jack and sh** to my hair. But even that wouldn't hold for longer than a few hours.

Recently, I have started using magnetic rollers on top of my head, pin curls everywhere else, and spraying the lot with Lottabody setting lotion, which I have found works well. A set of curls set with Lottabody tends to hold a couple of days, and it does seem to give some volume. I generally wet set my hair after a shower, and then, a day or two later, dry set it and spritz with Lottabody and leave it overnight, and strangely enough, I've found that the dry set curls last about twice as long as the wet set ones. Both look about the same when I remove the rollers and pins, but I can get three to four days of curls out of a dry set.

For styling, I take a wide toothed hair pick and run it along my scalp and lift through the first inch or two of my hair away from my scalp, separating the hairs and creating volume close to my head. I then backcomb along the top, back, and sides, smooth the top, sculpt the bangs, and spray the lot (especially the roots) with a little hairspray, and ba-da-bing! Something resembling volume and an actual hairstyle:
And then I top it off with one of my handmade hairflowers to match my outfit!

So, in conclusion, clearly, I have no clue what I am doing, but I think it looks okay, for all that. One of these days, I'll figure out how to make my hair look sculpted, but, in the meantime, this is what I got. :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

We All Have Our Favorites...

As much as I have grown - fashion-wise - since embracing the pinup lifestyle, I am still drawn - as I think we all are, at times - to little black dresses. My 15-year-old self would be shocked - nay, stunned - to look into the closet of her future self and see pinks, yellows, greens, and blues; I wasn't goth, but my wardrobe as a teenager consisted primarily of black and, occasionally, red. Today, I am wearing one of my favorite dresses: the Pinup Girl Clothing Jenny dress in cherry border print. I really love this dress. The cut and color are so flattering; I feel like a princess every time I wear it.

I have a stupid-long torso. The waistline on most dresses hits me at least 4 to 5 inches above my bellybutton and my natural waist, so I have started buying clothes that are too big for me and then taking them in to fit my waist and rib cage circumference... and then they have the length in the waistband to hit me at my natural waist.

Such is the case with my cherries Jenny. I bought it as a 4X and then took it in 4.5 inches on each side and removed the boning so that it would lay flat under my bust, define my bustline, and have the extra three inches of length in the waist to reach my natural waistline. I have four other Jenny dresses - the orange border, and three of the four harlequin prints - and this cherry border fits the best of all of them. The red harlequin fits second best, mostly because it is a 3X I took in and de-boned it, as well. The others are all 2X, and are still a little big in the waist and sit a little too high.

Now, you might be asking how I can edit and modify dresses that cost what these do, and the answer is that I buy them used, or on clearance... at least the ones I have altered, anyway. The ones that I have paid full price for, new, from the pinupgirlclothing.com web site... I haven't altered those because the miser in me won't let me; guess I don't really trust my own sewing skills enough yet.

Taking these dresses in is actually fairly simple, even for the novice seamstress, like me. I think I may have used my sewing machine fewer than 25 times the whole time I've had it - six years or so. So, yeah, I don't sew much, but I still felt confident enough to tackle this project. All I did was put the dress on inside out and then put a pin at the point that would be narrowest and another pin at the top of the bust under the armpit where it would need to be to be fitted. Then, I took the dress off, and, still inside out, sewed a half moon shaped stitch from the waistline, in to the narrowest point, and then back out to the second pin in the underarm. Repeat for the other side, and you're done. Yes, there is a more complicated way of doing it that involves taking the lining apart and doing it the "right way," the way that a pro would do it. I am not a professional. I just left the extra fabric and ironed in flat toward the back of dress. I don't even notice it when it's on and nobody can see it.

The only issue that I have noticed with this method is that there ends up being a small "bunch" of fabric in the skirt area right below the stitch. No one has ever pointed it out to me, so I guess it's not noticeable except to me.

If you're even the slightest bit scared of doing this, I wouldn't recommend doing it. The thing I kept reminding myself was that I could undo it and get a pro to do it for me if it got too complicated or I got too frustrated. In the end, it was just a 15-minute procedure and I am thrilled with the results.

OTHER NEWS: I signed up for ispy. I have never been too big into makeup and will just use whatever I come across that I like... the only exception to this being in the case of foundation because my skin is pretty sensitive and will break out if I don't use Cover Girl foundation and powders. But beyond that, I am not too picky and I even like a lot of the Dollar Store brands like Jordana and Wet'n'Wild and e.l.f as well - if not better than - more expensive brands and products. (The main example of this is Wet'n'Wild's glitter lip gloss which is the bomb. Serious sparkle, not heavy, blendable to lipsticks... it's perfect and freaking hard to find.) But those are posts for another day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dressing The Part

It's not always feasible to dress in my fancy pinup clothes, but I try. I work from home, so, theoretically, I could work in my pajamas or yoga pants every day. I don't. Since I wanted to expand my business and have clients take me seriously, I made a pact with myself that, unless it was a major housecleaning day, a holiday or birthday baking day, or I was deathly ill, I would make an attempt to dress up.

It's tough to do without running water sometimes, but it's still so worthwhile to do. I always feel so much better about myself and my abilities when I take the time to put on something nice to wear, a little makeup, and do my hair. 

Oh... that "no running water" thing? Yeah, that's how we've been living for the last 3 and half years. My parents had a piece of undeveloped property that they said we could build on, so we did. There was an old, dilapidated house here that had to be torn down, but there was no power, no sewer, no phone, no Internet, and no water. My husband is a master auto body repairman and customizer, and he's used his talents and horse-trading abilities to get everything put in here... except water. Because we're trying to do this without debt - I have enough debt with my student loans - we have to save or get lucky to have the money to do it; the quotes we've gotten to have a well drilled out here are all around $20,000 US. The water table is 300 or so feet down, plus well casing, plus a pump, plus electrical, plus piping it to the house...  yeah, it's a pricey thing... so we're saving and hoping one of our car projects sells. In the meantime, we shower at my parents' place and haul in water to use in the house for all the household tasks, like toilet flushing, dish washing, etc. 

Because we're saving money for that, though, there isn't always money to spend on my pinup stuff, so I hoard coupons, stalk the swap and sell pages for clothes, and I buy cheaper stuff whenever possible. Most of my makeup was either on clearance or I bought it at the dollar store. I do my own hair - coloring, curling, cutting, etc - and I just don't do my nails... I keep them short because I play guitar and the strings mess up polish, anyway.

The one place that I don't go cheap is with faux eyelashes. Because they go near my eyes and because the cheap ones look fake and cheap, if I have extra money, I always buy my lashes from House of Lashes. I love their Noir Fairy and Smokey Muse lashes, and they're sturdy enough for repeated washings and uses. Yeah, if I am going to splurge, it's on eyelashes.

In order to make the pinup look work on a day-to-day basis, I have found ways of dressing down my dresses and skirts and blouses, mostly with colorful cardigans. I think it's still a little something of the designer in me or still a little girl playing dress up, but it is a whole lot of fun to mix and match stuff that maybe wasn't meant to go together. And it is possible to be a pinup without the clothes or makeup; like I've mentioned in another post, being a pinup is an attitude.

Friday, December 11, 2015

What Is "Pinup Everyday?"

Ever since I started following the pinup culture about 18 months ago, I've been incorporating it into my life. Of course, I've always been interested in all things retro: cars, decorating, fashion, makeup... but it took me a while to start really living that lifestyle. I think being a pinup is about more than just looking like a pinup; it really is a lifestyle, an attitude. It's being you, your way. It's the personification of class, style, and dedication to things you love. You can be a pinup in your jeans or yoga pants with your hair just brushed. It's an attitude.

For me, it's a measure of control over my life. My world was very messy for a very long time, and the world of retro living brought a structure to my life that not only helped me control myself and my emotions, but literally makes me happy.

For instance, my house. About the same time that I became interested in pinup culture, my new husband and I bought a house. Nothing fancy: just a 800-ish-or-so square-foot house in the boonies of north Idaho. Owning something like this meant I could decorate it however I wanted. And we went retro! Here's a few photos of different areas of the house; I'll post in more detail about each in posts later:

 The living room had hideous paneling, old carpet, and dusty vertical blinds... so I changed everything. Laminate flooring, pinstriped the walls, added colorful curtains, glittery shades, and bright orange and lush silver furniture. Voila! An MCM living area!

 The kitchen was typical 1970s decor, with flower-patterned, orange-and-yellow-and-avacado color scheme; paneling everywhere, and more vertical blinds. So, we installed counter-to-ceiling glass tile in white and silver, painted the paneling white and accented with chili pepper red, installed stainless appliances (which I got for a steal from a friend of mine who was moving), and added chrome Sputnik stars to the cabinetry.  We've since changed the light fixtures and carried the Spunik star theme down the hallway toward the bedroom. I'll post those photos later. :)

I have a "before" shot somewhere, but this is an "after" shot of the bedroom, my most recent project. This was mostly just painting paneling. (I hate paneling.) I also added colorful harlequin diamonds, bright curtains and sheers, and decorated with the mid-century lamps I collect.

So, as you can see, I have full embraced the retro life. I don't think you have to go as a far as I have to be a pinup or part of the retro lifestyle, but it sure has made me happy. Getting out of the dark place I was in and physically brightening my surroundings made a huge difference to my healing process. Plus, it looks awesome, right?

Welcome to Molly Starlite's!

Me and my Tommy Lee at the Spokane County Raceway
Welcome to Molly Starlite's... where it's retro every day!!

It wasn't so long ago that I wasn't sure of who I was. I'd just gotten out of a disastrous relationship that included over a decade of emotional and mental abuse and I was pretty lost. And then I found pinup culture, and it was like the sun suddenly came up for the first time in my life. I suddenly knew exactly who I was. I felt like I fit in for the first time ever. And so, I want to share my journey with you, my readers, whoever you are, so that maybe I'll inspire someone, or just entertain someone for a while. Whatever your reasons for coming here, welcome.

A little bit about me... I grew up in rural north Idaho, with only three TV channels (only one came in very well at all), a menagerie of farm animals and pets (over 100 animals lived on the place at one time), two siblings, and an overabundance of boredom to cope with. I began writing from a young age, writing short stories, newspaper articles, and other materials from the age of 9. Around the same age, I started teaching myself piano and writing songs; by age 16, I had a catalogue of (self-described) atrocious songs that I burned. I first started writing what would become Night Cry, my first novel, in 1996 on a typewriter. After many drafts, incarnations, and hundreds of rejections from agents and publishers alike, I finally realized that two books I was writing were actually the same story and the Sorrow Stones legend was born. Since then, I have written two of the three books in the Sorrow Stones Trilogy, my father's recently-published memoirs, and am currently at work on Night Fades, the third installment of the Sorrow Stones trilogy, and another, unrelated novel, Devil's Handiwork, which tells the tale of a disaffected corporate super-spy with a secret. Also in the works: a cookbook, a book of poetry, and a book of sci-fi/fantasy short stories.

Musically, I started a band in 2003 that would eventually (after 15 drummers, two bassists, and the loss of a guitarist) become Make Me Shiver, a virtually unknown band with a metric buttload of awesome songs. We released our first record, Too Much To Dream, in 2006, which is made up of 11 songs, all written by me. The band's second record, Moonshine Valentine, contains 13 songs, 12 written by me and one written by current drummer, Steven. The record was not properly promoted despite being chock-full of awesome pop-blues-folk-rock fusion music due to a surprise divorce the day the CD was released in April 2010. Make Me Shiver is currently at work on our third record, tentatively titled BitterSweet, a double album written over the course of my break-up, divorce, meeting my soul mate, marriage, and new-found happiness, and the songs follow the whole story from beginning to end. Should be something to hear, whenever it finally gets done.

Homeschooled through high school, I eventually went on to pursue higher education, getting an Associate of Arts degree in 2001, a Bachelor of Science degree from Lewis-Clark State College in Interdisciplinary Studies (Communications and English) in 2006, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University in 2010.

I currently own and operate a web design, graphic design, and Internet and social marketing company, Crescent Moon Design Studio, a business I originally started in 2004 to supplement my income while in school. Since the economy tanked and there weren't any jobs, I have thrown myself into the business full-force, designing web sites, social media marketing campaigns, Internet marketing campaigns, short-form videos, jingles, graphics, books, and more.

In my spare time (HA!), I enjoy restoring classic cars with my husband, driving said cars, painting, playing music, cooking, playing with my four kids, watching Steelers football, and decorating my house. A vintage and retro enthusiast, you'll often find my pinning Mid Century Modern design stuff and Sputnik starbursts to my Pinterest boards or haunting Craigslist for atomic-age lamps or yardsales looking for MCM treasures. I still lives in rural north Idaho, 300 feet from the house where I grew up.

Pinup culture helped me heal from years of abuse and self hatred, and it all got started when I bought a dress from Pinup Girl Clothing. Since then, I have thrown myself into the lifestyle; I even entered the Viva Las Vegas Pinup contest for 2016... my first pinup contest ever. (Maybe I should have started smaller, eh?) So, this blog will detail that journey, as well as any clothing reviews, makeup tips and tricks, hair tips and tricks, midcentury style (clothing, decor, whatever strikes me). Won't you come along with me?