Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Supernatural-themed Ghost Protection Charms

Supernatural is one of my favorite shows. I have been watching it since the very first episode, so when the idea hit me to make ghost protection charms, I was like, "Hell, yeah, brain! You got it going on!"

There are a few people making these already, so I knew I had to go BIG... do something above and beyond. So, I got these little, hand-blown glass jars with corks, and I filled them with glittery rock salt, a waterproof match, and a small strand of vintage barbed wire.

How do I know it's vintage barbed wire? Well, my grandfather worked this property for years, and he really liked to make fences. He was so into making fences that people joked that, in 1,000 years, when archaeologists were digging up his property, they'd wonder what on earth he was protecting with his multiple fences going around his house (which was mostly to keep the neighbors' dogs from pooping in his yard, but I digress). Anyway, so, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, my grandfather built barbed wire fences around the property I am living on now. We've cut down and cleaned up most of it, saving it in balls and bales for... well, I don't know why. It's metal, and it might be good for something, I guess. Anyway, so I clipped off a length of one of these balls of barbed wire out here, so I know it's vintage, and it's iron, rusty, and looks cool in the jar.

These are available at my Etsy store for $12.50 each. Perfect for stringing on a chain for a necklace, or off a keychain, or even hanging from the rear-view mirror of your Impala! Each one is sealed and the finding is handmade.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jenny January Round Up

Many of those who enjoy pinup life have heard of Jenny January, started by Miss Amy May, wherein those who own Pinup Girl Clothing's Jenny skirts and dresses wear exclusively that style of skirts and dresses for their OOTD (outfit of the day) posts on Instagram (and sometimes, they're posted elsewhere). This year, I finally had enough Jenny skirts/dresses to participate, and, not only that, I got a bunch of gals from the #ImAPUGDuh crew to join in, twinning, tripletting, quadrupletting (and more)... basically, setting up days where we all agreed to photograph ourselves wearing the same Jenny skirt or dress on the same day.

Monday was the Mary Blair Commuters print Jenny:
Tuesday was the black and teal harlequin Jenny:
Wednesday was the cherry border print Jenny:
Thursday was the Mary Blair Parasols print Jenny:

Friday was the orange border print Jenny:
Saturday was the red and chocolate harlequin Jenny:

And, finally, Sunday was the castles print Jenny:
I had a blast! It was the first time I had gotten to participate in an event like this with some like-minded women, and I am so glad that I got to! It's quite a community that Pinup Girl Clothing has fostered with their clothing!

But, honestly: after a week of nothing but swing dresses, I am ready for wiggle:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Music With Molly Starlite!

I continued my Periscope concerts last week and performed:

How Much (an original song I wrote that will be on my band's next album)
Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac
Wild Nights by Van Morrison
Troublemaker (an original song I wrote that will be on my band's next album)
Ordinary Life (an original song I wrote that will be on my band's next album)
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams (but I did the BJ Thomas version)

Request a song! This coming Sunday at 7PM, I'll be playing again! Find me on Periscope as molly_starlite ... This week, I'll be doing a tribute to Glenn Frey as well as some other songs, stuff I wrote and covers.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Write On!

For those of you who are new to my page, in addition to being a web designer, social marketer, and graphic designer for work, and being a musician and songwriter for fun, another of my hobbies is writing. To date, I've written four novels, a songbook, and my father's memoirs (links to buy below); I am currently working on the second volume of Dad's memoirs, two more novels, a book of short stories, a poetry book, and a cook book.

Suffice to say, my life is busy enough that I rarely have time to seriously devote to writing any more, but I've decided that I need to finish another novel and at least one other project before the end of the year. In that spirit, I am embarking on my own, personal FebNoWriMo. It'll be like NaNoWriMo except with fewer days and lower word count. I'm shooting to write 25,000 words between February 1st and February 29th (it's a leap year!), which means I have to write around 862 words per day to reach my goal.

Let me tell you, 862 words is nothing. When I was writing my espionage novel, Devil's Handiwork (not yet released), I routinely wrote around 3,000 words per day, but I think that is mostly because I outlined. A lot of writers don't outline, and, you know, whatever works for them. Me, I need an outline, even if I just toss it after it's done, I have a road map. As I am writing, I may deviate from my plans in the outline, and sometimes, that means that the books takes a dramatically different turn that what I'd planned, but that's okay! Most times, the deviation makes the whole thing better. But having a plan definitely helps me write: I wrote the second book in my Sorrow Stones Trilogy in 28 days using that method. I wrote the outline and then just elaborated on that sparse summary, often deviating from it, and the end result was something that I am really proud of, even though almost no one has read either it or the first one in the series.

So, keep me accountable, readers! I am going to post word and page totals every day in February. **finger crossed**

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Request A Song!

So, I just started doing a weekly show on Periscope where I play some music, and I am taking requests! Leave a comment with your song request and I'll choose 5 or 6 and play them on Periscope Sunday night at 7PM PST/10 PM EST - find me on Periscope as @molly_starlite. Last week, I played:

Big Black Ford (original song written by me)
Thirteen (Big Star)
Ex's and Oh's (Elle King - sorry about the bad punctuation, but that's the way the song's titled)
On The Turning Away (Pink Floyd)
You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Ruby Friedman)
Ordinary Life (original song written by me)

So... let me know what songs you'd like to hear and I'll do my best to include them!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Colorpop Velvet Gloss Lipstick Review

I am a bit of a penny-pincher when it comes to just about everything; when it comes to beauty products, large sums of money are reserved for pretty dresses and eyelashes and eye wrinkle cream and not much else. When it comes to makeup, I tend to just stick to whatever I can get from drug stores on sale or whatever. I'm not too picky: Covergirl for foundation and powders, e.l.f. for most everything else. I did splurge recently and bought a really nice set of makeup brushes. Made my life so much easier.

So, I recently heard about Colorpop lipsticks and someone I know said that they were amazing, so I bought a set of six Velvet Gloss colors from Amazon to try out.

My first impression: the colors I would be getting weren't really represented well in the photos on the web site; the colors I got were pretty much nothing I would ever use. The nude looked promising, but it is too pale for my skin; I look like an alien. The only color that I ended up being even a little bit interested was the red. So I tried the red, and it is a little more orange than I would like, but it did go on pretty well, for all that it is applied with a lip gloss wand.

This stuff dries really, really fast. Like, the first coat was totally dry before I was even finished applying it. I expected that, and I also expected that it was going to be tough to get off, based on the Amazon reviews, so I expected that it would last all day without reapplying.

Not only did it not last all day, my lips felt super dry, and, within an hour, it was flaking off. Two hours in, and my lips looked pretty awful. Ultimately, I wasn't very happy with it, and I have already gone back to my Jordana lipsticks, which, properly applied, do last all day without flaking. To apply my lipsticks, I cover my lips with a light coating of foundation, pat it dry, dust with powder, and then just apply like you would any lipstick. Then, I blot, reapply, blot, reapply, sometimes layering different shades to get different effects. A couple times through, and the color is set and doesn't smudge or transfer or smear or anything. Not bad for $1 per tube.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Outside the Comfort Zone

For a really long time, I didn't do certain things because I was scared. In my youth, I was harassed, bullied, shamed, and so much more to the point that I created a little corner of the world for myself where I barely even had to leave the house. That might sound strange for someone who has performed hundreds of shows with a band over the years, but it's the truth: when you're on stage, there is a buffer between you and the crowd, the uncalled-for commentary. I've been performing since I was very young when my Mom used to manage stage productions at church, so performing has never bothered me. Public speaking, singing, acting... no big deal. It's smaller situations that always got to me. When you're with a group of people and they're all conscientiously ignoring you, or when people you know have gone out of their way to make sure that you're excluded and shamed publicly... yeah, that's when you start to get gun shy and clam up. There were a lot of opportunities I missed, a lot of things I didn't do, because I was afraid of rejection, of the things that might be said to me.

I stopped letting people in a long time ago. When even people I was supposed to be able to rely on for comfort and support during trying times turned on me like so many vipers, that's when I completely retreated. And after my divorce, when I was hurting the most and people still did it to me, that's when I stopped performing, too. I had lost all my confidence. It's taken the love and support of an incredible man - my Tommy Lee - and him giving me the space and leeway to find myself and I finally saw some confidence growing again in the desert of my psyche, to use a metaphor. From being bullied as a pre-teen for experimenting with red lipstick ("Her lips arrive 15 minutes before she does!), to being kicked out of church youth groups for bleaching my hair and wearing tight pants, to being left behind on family outings... Being reduced to nothing but your looks and set of boobs (more on that in a minute)... yeah, I got tired of the crap. And, worse, I blamed myself. I desperately wanted to be someone else, especially when my (now EX) husband kept telling me I wasn't good enough... not thin enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough, too lazy to amount to anything. That shit will wear on you.

I even went to a therapist once to see if there was something that could be done about my depression, and the psychiatrist dismissed me after 15 minutes saying that I didn't have anything to be depressed about and if I felt depressed, I should just give up coffee. (Insert exaggerated eyeroll here.)

It's difficult when people don't take you seriously out of hand. They look no deeper than the surface and dismiss you without a second thought. And I got super tired super fast of pretending to be something I am not in order to fit in or to please someone else. Today, I just don't have any tolerance for things that aren't real. I am not going to be anything other than myself. I gave up looking for a job in the field I got my degrees in because, even though I could basically get the job on paper sending in my resume and over the telephone interviews, the minute I walked in for the "basically just a formality" in-person interview, I was sunk. I could tell by the looks on their faces that I wasn't getting the job, and I hadn't even said anything yet. After two or three times of this, I just gave up and started my own Internet business where people don't get to see me, and, therefore, I wasn't getting judged based solely on my looks. I tried, for a while, to be what I thought people wanted, but it got tiresome. And, in the end, it wasn't worth it. I am happier now than I have ever been, and, to be honest, I had been sad for so long that it actually feels kind of weird.

So, the point of this story: yesterday evening, I did my very first Periscope concert. I played 6 songs for an anonymous audience, and, boy, was I ever nervous. I haven't played for people in almost 5 years. While I have gained a lot of confidence, this was something that was completely outside my comfort zone. But it went okay, I think. There were a lot of boob comments. I wish that there hadn't been, but I've actually gotten used to it. Yes, they're big boobs. Yes, they're real. No, "they" aren't me. They're actually kind of a pain in the ass (or back, as the case may be). Finding bras is next-to-impossible or breaks the bank, the bras you do find are either: 1) not cute at all or 2) painful as shit after a couple of wears, and finding shirts to fit them that don't make the rest of you look like a circus tent... well, that's why I love the repro retro clothes I've gotten into recently. For the first time in a long time, I feel pretty.

My breasts have defined me for so long that I am used to the commentary about them. God gave them to me, so, they are what they are. I can't do anything about people who choose to define me by one or two physical attributes (and then seemingly attach whatever kind of personality traits they want to those attributes) and don't bother to get to know me. The people who are really going to end up mattering are those who do look beyond the surface to see all my facets... because I am a diamond. ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Viva Las Vegas

Part of my work to rebuild my confidence included competing in pinup contests. The first one I chose was the Viva Las Vegas Pinup Contest. Maybe I should have started smaller, but there is not a lot of Kustom Kulture, Rockabilly, Pinup, or Retro events happening in my neck of the woods, so I went big. I didn't even know about it until the end of November, and didn't enter until December. The judges just picked 5 girls (plus one from the contestants' votes) to go, and 50 more to go to an online voting round.

Let me answer your burning question right away: I didn't make it.

But I am okay with that. It was my first time, and I hadn't really done anything to deserve a spot. I have never had professional photos taken, gotten my hair done, gotten my makeup done... I just like to dress up every day and my Tommy Lee likes to take pictures of me wearing the pretty clothes. I do my own hair (no clue what I am doing). I do my own makeup (still no clue what I am doing).

So, before I enter another one of these contests, I think that I will really learn how to do my hair and makeup and I will get some professional photos taken. I have no idea if that will be in time for next year's Viva or the year after or what. Like I have mentioned before, we are saving money like mad to get a well drilled here at home so that we don't have to go a relative's for a shower, haul in water for kitchen and bathroom use, or drive the laundry to town once per week to have clean clothes.

While I will freely admit that living without running water is hard; it's not impossible. I have lived without running water more of my life than with it. I know that must be seem strange to a lot of people, but I grew up in a rural area where wells with year-round water cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $30,000 USD. Literally, the water table is 300 feet or more below ground. My parents had a shallow well, but we ran out of water in late summer or early fall every year, so there were at least three (but usually more like 5 to 6) months out of the year where we hauled in water, usually in the winter. There weren't neighbors close back in those days. My mom worked her butt off, heating water for everything; my dad worked at a saw mill and brought water in 55-gallon barrels from town for bathroom and kitchen use. We had jugs all over the place. It took my parents almost 25 years of my dad working at a sawmill and saving every extra penny in order to afford it. In 1998, it cost them over $15,000. It's more now, like $26 per foot.

And after I moved out, and had the luxury of running water, I was still super frugal with it. Now that I am back to living the rural life, I still am Super Conservationist when it comes to water, which is probably why I adapted to this situation so easily. What irritates me about it is the clutter from the jugs that have to be stored in the house, especially in the winter. We have jugs in the kitchen for cooking and dishes and hand washing. We have jugs stored in the bathtub for the toilet flushing. We leave the house for showers. We go to the laundry-o-mat for clothes cleaning once per week. It's tough, but not impossible. It's inconvenient, more than anything.

So, yeah. While I love pinup stuff and being a pinup, I also have to be a responsible adult, and if that means that I don't get to have professional photos taken because I need to save that money for water, well, so be it. I am totally positive that a pro photographer would make me and the clothes and hair and makeup look amazing, but, in the end, I think a lot of people enjoy the pics that Tommy Lee takes of me. Maybe they're not professional, but they're taken by someone who cares.

And I'll get to it eventually. In the meantime, hop over to the Viva Las Vegas Pinup Contest page and vote for one of the girls. They're all lovely ladies with a ton of heart who deserve the opportunity to move on in the contest.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Making It MCM: Atomic Bedroom Project

When we bought this house, I knew that it would a long time and a lot of work to get it to where I wanted it: a Mid-Century Modern Oasis. So far, we've removed all the carpeting and replaced it with wood floors, painted over all the paneling (which I hate... that fake wood pattern paneling... yuck), re-did the kitchen, and, finally, the bedroom. We still have projects to complete: I want to re-do the bathroom and laundry room, and eventually make an entertaining room with room for my band to practice, a pool table, and a TV viewing area... but all that's in the future.

My latest house project was a complete sprucing-up of the bedroom. It was functional (could use a bigger closet, but that's what every girl says), but UGLY. Like I said, the wall finishes were fake wood paneling, and it desperately needed another window. After my Tommy Lee installed a new window, I gutted everything out of the space and started in to bring the room to what I saw in my head. Here's a "before" video:

I had several designs, but, in the end, I decided I just wanted something clean, bright, and undeniably mid-century atomic. So I bought a gallon of Behr paint in Pearl White semi-gloss and a quart of Glidden semi-gloss in a shade called Island Shores:

After moving everything out, I started with the closet. Before shot:
And After I painted the closet area:
And then one wall... Before:
Here's my Ugly Paneling Seam Painting Technique:

And After:
And then the opposing wall, the feature wall, and the doors. The final look? MCM HEAVEN! Behold:

Here's some still shots of the room:

The final piece of my makeover was the antique brass desk that I inherited from my Grandma. She bought it intending to refinish it, but never got around to it before she passed. My Tommy Lee sanded and repainted the desk and its bench, and then we re-upholstered the seat. After hanging a mirror on the wall, I painted the frame, hung some globe lights around it, and, voila! Makeup table!!!