28 February 2010


...your daddy?*

*Please do not take this to mean that I am all that hung up on hockey (or any other sporting event for that matter), but I do enjoy a good "in your face" moment.  So, my fabulous American friends, I invite you to suck it. I mean this in the nicest way possible  :) 

We are the champions.  We are the champions.  No time for losers.  'Cause we are the champions - of the world!

Neener, neener, neener!

26 February 2010


Why is it that a gal can't wear orange and black without the inevitable (and asinine) Halloween jokes flowing freely from every dufus in a twenty metre radius?   I guess that's why the withering stare was invented.

Anyhoodle, this outfit centred around two of my favourite things:  getting UFOs off my back and getting cashmere onto it.  First, let's chat about the UFOs.  The pants are (yet another pair of) Loes Hinse Hepburns made from a black linen/rayon blend woven purchased from Fabric Mart.  The top is a shortened version of the Textile Studio Madison Avenue dress, created from a knit purchased when Textile Studio was still a purveyor of beautiful fabrics (Man, I miss that resource.  Marsha, why have you forsaken me?).

Over top, I threw on an orange cardigan that was one of the many purchases made during the Great Cashmere Haul of 2009.  Lastly, I pinned on an enamel bee from the Joan Rivers jewelery collection sold on the Shopping Channel (the Canadian home shopping network) and donned my black double strap Marilla Mary Janes by Clarks.  All together, a comfy, professional outfit.

22 February 2010

Lacquer Lundi

Straight to the pretties:

Rimmel Play Fast - Scene Stealer
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $3.26 CDN

Scene Stealer has a burnished brown base with plenty of gold shimmer.  It is a very unique colour that quite pretty on the nail.  It is sparkly, but not overtly so.  This is a great polish for the woman looking for something neutral, but still interesting.

Scene Stealer applied nicely, as the formula is the perfect consistency.  The brush is also nice and wide.  Unfortunately, if you plan on wearing this colour alone and like no visible nail line like me, be prepared to do four coats of polish.  I think future wearings of Scene Stealer will involve using it as a layer over top of another opaque colour.  Scene Stealer had good wear - only tip wear after two days.

NYX - Carnation
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Although it's not really a popular choice, I loves me some yellow nail polish, so when I spotted Carnation in the store, I could not resist.  It is a gorgeous light yellow creme that positively screams spring (something of which I am sorely in need right now).  However, when I see this polish, it reads more as a daffodil to me than a carnation, but that's splitting hairs.

I would like to say that Carnation applied well, but then I'd be a big, fat liar.  First coat - weird and streaky and lumpy.  Second coat - only slightly less weird and streaky and lumpy.  Third coat - seemed to even almost all the bald spots out and provide good coverage.  Carnation did wear well though - only minor tip wear after one day.

Nfu Oh - #559
- purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $12.50 US

#559 practically jumped into my cart during my last Nfu Oh order.  With its moody, dusty deep teal colour and its perfect creme formula, how could I resist?  Not to mention that this colour features prominently in my wardrobe, so this polish serves as another outfit accessory.

#559 applied nicely - good consistency and opacity in just two coats.  It, however, did not wear as well as some of my other polishes.  I had a fair amount of tip wear after only one day.

18 February 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn

Yesterday was Grade 8 Day at my school.*  On this day, students from our feeder schools (grade schools in the same geographic area as my high school) come to the high school for a day long orientation.  The grade 8s are bussed to our school and then split into groups, which are led by grade 12 students.  The grade 8s attend sessions put on by all the different departments (phys ed, science/math, tech, business, social studies, etc), have lunch and play games.  It's a fabulous way for the kids to get accustomed to the high school, its students and staff.

Each year I am in charge of the science/math presentation.  Being the chemistry goddess that I am, I always put on a little demo show, rather than droning on about some boring stuff that they won't listen to anyhow.

I am so excited as this was the first year that I was able to get some photos of the show.  One of my colleagues graciously agreed to be my photographer for the day.  She did an excellent job of capturing the most exciting moments during the nine demo sessions that I did.  So, here's the pix:

The 'How Fireworks Get Their Colours' Demo

  The 'Giant's Toothpaste' Demo

The 'Fire Writing' Demo - if you turn your head sideways, it reads 'Welcome'

The 'I Get to Light a Teacher on Fire' Demo

Cool, eh?  Everyone had a great time and I got to unleash my inner pyromaniac  - pretty excellent all 'round!

* In my neck of the woods, most students attend a grade school (elementary school) for grades K through 8 and then a high school for grades 9 through 12.  So, the transition from grade 8 to grade 9 is a big one for the students.

17 February 2010

Hungry Zombie Tip of the Day

Don't waste your time carefully cutting out each individual piece of a pattern from large paper sheets, only to cut around all the pieces again after they are on the fabric.  Simply rough cut around the pattern pieces - no need to be neat.  Secure the pattern on the fabric, ensuring that each pattern piece has the grainline parallel to the fabric selvedge.  Then, cut both the pattern and the fabric at the same time. 

Hungry Zombie says, "Sew smart.  Use your braaaaains..."

16 February 2010

Adjusting Wacky Darts to Fit Perky Parts

Anyone that has read my blog for a while knows that I was late to the queue when nature was handing out the boobage (although I was first in line for intelligence, wit and humility).  Over the years, I have bitched and moaned  priced out silicone funbags come to embrace my petite chestical region as a blessing.  I rarely need to wear a bra, I never lose sight of my feet and I can easily wield a machete without any centre of mass concerns (which will come in handy during the Zombie Apocalypse). 

The only real down side is that I typically cannot sew a bodice pattern straight from the envelope.  Inevitably I have to so some major alterations.  In the past, I have provided a tutorial on how to do a small bust adjustment (SBA) on a bodice that has a horizontal bust dart, as well as a vertical waist dart.

Unfortunately the aforementioned SBA will not work for my latest project, Vogue 5611.  It is a lovely vintage dress (circa 1962) with an interesting inverted V-shaped seam that joins the bodice to the gathered bell shaped skirt in front.  Such a wonderful twist on the classic sleeveless sheath.

The bodice of V5611 has a single, large horizontal bust dart and no waist dart, as you can see on the unaltered pattern piece to the right.  Using the above SBA (click link above for a tutorial) will not work as it will remove width from the inverted V-shaped waist seam.  This seam must remain the same length as it needs to fit properly to a skirt piece.

Instead I have had to create a method to remove fullness in the bust region, without losing width above or below the bust.  Below is a pictorial procedure on how I did it.

First I traced out half of the bodice onto white paper (only half is need as the other half is just the mirror image).  I did this to preserve my original pattern piece, just in case, I messed up.

Draw in three cutting lines:
L1 - a line from the bust point to a location 1/3 of the way up the armscyce.
L2 - a line bisecting the bust dart.
L3 - a line from the waist seam to the bust point, parallel to the centre line.

Cut along L2 and L3.
Overlap paper to reduce the bust dart.
The extent of the overlap is dependent upon how much smaller the wearer's bust is from the original pattern.  I chose to reduce the bust dart by half.
Tape alteration in place.

Cut along L1.
This produces a removable wedge-shaped piece.

Tape the armscye so that it will not change in length.
Slide the removable wedge-shaped piece so that it overlaps in the bust point region.
Ensure that the distance from the centre to the bottom of the side seam remains the same as in the original pattern (see where the ruler is measuring in the photo).
Tape this alteration in place.

This is a close-up of the overlap of the paper in the bust point region. 
Notice that the original bust point has been moved toward the centre of the bodice.  This will be shifted back toward the side seam in the next photo.

A new bust point is drawn in closer to the side seam.  If the bust point isn't moved back toward the side seam, the dart will be too long.

Paper is added in at the inverted V-shaped waist region.
A new waist seam is drawn in, from centre to side seam.
In the end, I actually redrew this seam line so that it angled up more steeply from the side seam toward the centre, thus removing some length at centre front.

Disclaimer:  I am in the process of sewing up the dress as we speak.  If this bodice alteration  requires any tweaks as I go, I will edit this post to reflect it.

15 February 2010

Lacquer Lundi

As many of my regular readers know, I don't do pink.  It's just too sweet.  A few years back, there was a student at my school that wore baby pink, head to toe, every single day.  She looked like a walking confection.  She also giggled a lot.  I never taught her, but then giggly girls that wear exclusively pink don't tend to take senior level chemistry courses.  It's a scientific fact - look it up.

I also don't do hearts.  Heart shaped things annoy me.  Heart shaped jewelery - retch.  Heart shaped embellishments on clothing - blech.  And the piece de resistance?  Dotting your "i"s with a heart - now you're just begging for a wedgie. 

I felt the need to get all that off my chest before presenting my Valentine's Day manicures.  As an aside, the fact that I even did special V-day manicures makes me want to chug a beer and play rugby, just to remove the girly taint. 

So, let's get onto the pretties:

Zoya - Jade
- purchased at spaboutique.ca for $9.00 CDN

Jade is a gorgeous deep red base with tiny red glitter interspersed throughout.  I originally bought Jade because it looked to be a perfect Xmas mani candidate, but it got pushed to the back of the untrieds storage drawer.  I'm glad I finally dug it out, as it is quite stunning.

Jade applied beautifully, just like every other Zoya I have tried.  I used three coats for full opacity.  I had tip wear after one day.  I am quickly becoming a Zoya convert - I love the colours, the formula, the shape of the bottles and it is toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate and camphor free to boot.  Nice!

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Hot Magenta
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.53 CDN

Hot Magenta is a fabulous hot pink with a purply flash and extremely subtle silver micro shimmer.  If I'm going to wear pink, this is the kind of pink I gravitate toward.  This ain't no sissy pink, this is a pink with balls.

Hot Magenta is extremely pigmented, so I only need one easily applied coat (yes - one single coat - that almost never happens) that dried super fast.  The wear was also great - only minor tip wear after one day.  As usual, I love me some Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear!

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Whirlwind White  & Revlon Glimmer Gloss - Cherry Fizz

- Revlon purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.49 CDN
- Sally Hansen was a gift from my Mom

Whirlwind White is a stark white that reminds me of grade 11.  During high school, some of my friends would paint their nails with Wite Out.  Whirlwind Wite is just a more sophisticated version of this teenage manicure.  Granted Whirlwind White is shiny and Wite Out is matte, but the concept is the same.  With that said, I can't believe I liked the white manicure as much as I did.  It is such a crisp, clean look.  I got several compliments the day I sported it

Unfortunately, Whirlwind White was difficult to apply.  Even after two coats, I had streaks and light bald spots.  It did dry very fast though. I wore this polish alone for one work day and had tip wear after 12 hours.

In an attempt to prolong this manicure, yet make it look fresh, I applied Cherry Fizz over top.  Cherry Fizz is a translucent scarlet base with bits of silver glitter.  At least that's how it appears in the bottle.  On the nail, over top of the white polish, it was just nasty.  After three coats of Cherry Fizz, I was left with pink highlighter fingers.  Thus, my office supplies manicure was complete.  It was so bad (I seriously thought about "losing" the photographic evidence) that I immediately removed the whole mess and made myself feel better with massive amounts of glitter:

Zoya - Nova
- purchased at spaboutique.ca for $9.00 CDN

Prepare for glitter awesomeness.  Nova is a sheer raspberry-coloured base that is absolutely jam-packed with dark pink glitter.  It has such amazing depth and sparkle.

The formula on this polish is wonderful.  The glitter spreads evenly on the nail and there is no thickness or gloppiness (which I have noticed is a problem with many glitter-ful polishes).  It covers beautifully in two coats, but I did three for maximum depth of colour.  The wear is also phenomenal, I only had very minor tip wear after two days (usually glitter polishes wear horribly at the tips for me).  I loved Nova so much that I will be picking up the other two polishes in this collection - a silver and a lighter pink (so you know I love this stuff if I'm willingly buying light pink).

13 February 2010

Greatest Moments in Teaching

Setting the Scene: The teacher has described the use of the molecular model kits to the class. The colours were explained (black = carbon, red = oxygen, blue = nitrogen, etc) and the use of sticks (single bonds) and springs (multiple bonds) are described. She has now asked that the students, in groups of three, build several different molecules, like H2O, CCl4 and NH3.

The activity is going along well, until one group notices that their kit is missing nitrogen. A girl (let's call her Susie) in the group raises her hand to get the teacher's attention.

Susie (waving hand): "Miss, we don't have any nitrogen."

Teacher (voice raised to address the class): "Do any of the groups have an extra nitrogen to lend to Susie's group?"

All the groups, engaged in their work, ignore this request.

Teacher (slightly exasperated): "Okay folks, listen up! I need to know. Who's got blue balls?"

Several boys raise their hands, while stifling laughter. All the girls look bewildered.

Teacher: "What I mean is...well......c'mon you guys......hey, stop laughing......oh, nevermind."

8 February 2010

Lacquer Lundi

In response to the last LL post, astexcat said..."Do all your colors come off without bleeding over your finger nails? I know some darker maroons tend to bleed and blues, but you never mention it in your reviews. I love the Insta-Dry Cinna Snap but hate to put it on because I know it makes such a mess coming off.

I love the Sally Hanson quick dry, but noticed that the brush is about 1/4" short of the bottom of the bottle and I'm reaching the point where I have to practically screw the top on to get to the product...any tips?"

Occasionally I will have issues with polishes leaving behind a colourful legacy on my fingers.  When I do have this issue, I mention it in my reviews (see these two reviews for discussion of bad cases of Smurf fingers brought on by blue polishes).  To avoid (or at least minimize) staining of your fingers, try the following suggestion.  Soak a cotton ball/felt pad in acetone and hold on the nail for 60 seconds to loosen the polish.  Then swipe pad down the nail toward the tip, always moving in this one direction.  Repeat if necessary.  Be sure not to swirl the pad on the nail as this just grinds the pigments into the cuticle and surrounding skin.

At the end of a bottle of top coat or base coat, it is often a problem reaching the last bit of product on the bottom of the bottle.  What I usually do to ensure that I use up every last drop of the product is purchase a new bottle and use it for a few manicures until the level of fluid in the bottle drops.  Then the remainder of the old bottle can be decanted into the new bottle.

On to the pretties:

BB Couture - Moon Over Manhattan
- purchased from overallbeauty.com for $9.00 US

Moon Over Manhattan is dusty medium blue with very subtle silver and teal micro-glitter.  This colour reminds me of faded denim.  It is an absolutely gorgeous shade that is a unique colour in my collection.

Moon Over Manhattan applied very nicely - the two coats shown flowed onto and moved around the nail extremely well.  This polish wore well, with only tip wear after two days.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - Flirt
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $2.95 CDN

At first glance, Flirt appears to be a dark brown colour in the bottle.  On the nail however, it is a fantastic dark purple that leans toward burgundy.  It gets its depth from blue and red micro glitter that shimmers in sunlight, but unfortunately is lost indoors.

Flirt applied nicely (and as usual, I cannot get enough of the awesomeness that is the Xtreme Wear brush - love it!) and covered opaquely in two coats.  Flirt dried quickly.  Wear was good - only minor tip wear after one day.

Icing - Peacock
- purchased at Icing for $3.75 CDN

Peacock is such an interesting colour - a dusty medium green with a delicious purple flash.  The day I wore this, several people grabbed my hand and moved it back and forth to see the green to purple transition.

Peacock applied nicely - it was smooth and of a pleasing consistency.  t required three coats to achieve opacity and this caused the polish to dry more slowly than I would like.  The wear on this polish was mediocre - I had considerable tip wear after only one day.

New York Color in a Minute - Mulberry Street
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $1.39 CDN

Mulberry Street is a pretty shimmery eggshell colour that would be perfect for a traditional office environment.  The day I wore this polish, one of my more conservative friends complimented me on the colour.

Mulberry Street applied well.  NYCIAM polishes have a really great brush, wide and flat, and it makes application easy.  I used three coats for maximum coverage, as I hate that pesky visible nail line that can happen with light coloured polishes.  The wear was good - just tip wear after two days.

Sally Hansen Salon - Haute Chocolate
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Haute Chocolate is rich brown base with a subtle gold micro-shimmer.  It really does invoke thoughts of delicious chocolate confections.

Haute Chocolate applied well.  However, that is where the goodness ends.  I required three coats to smooth over any streakiness or bald spots.  This amount of polish than took longer than normal to dry and even after 30 minutes (and the application of a quick dry top coat), I dented a couple of nails.  The wear on this polish was also less than stellar - tip wear after a few hours and a chip on my middle finger after less than a day.

3 February 2010

The Regal Beagle

I have been meaning to post an update on Simon, but the last several days have been crazy.  It's that time of year.  Semester one ended and final exams were written and marked.  Grades were calculated and posted.  Second semester began today.  I have a whole new crop of teenagers to beat into submission.  Just kidding - some of them have already had their spirit broken.  :)

In my last Simon update, I mentioned that we had started him on Vetoryl (60 mg once a day).  He went in for ACTH stimulation testing on January 21st and after looking at the results (and noting that his drinking and urination had not diminished), the vet increased the dosage to 90 mg once a day.

After each dosage change, new ACTH stimulation testing must be done.  So, Simon went back into the vet on January 29th (at which time his drinking and peeing had decreased very slightly).  Now, the vet, in conjunction with a specialist in internal medicine, decided to alter his meds to 45 mg twice a day.   This new dosage started today.  I'm hoping that this twice a day routine will do the trick.

1 February 2010

Lacquer Lundi

In response to my last LL post,  both Cindy and Rachel had similar questions.  Cindy said..."I have a question--what tip do you have for drying the polish? With so many coats of polish, it must take awhile. Besides patience or a fast dry top coat, is there any other technique?"  and Rachel said..."Do you have a tip for getting nail polish to dry and set quickly? I feel like I have to choose between sewing and doing my nails at times because of the length of time it takes to dry."

I always use a fast dry top coat.  My favourite is Sally Hansen Insta Dri Top Coat, but there are many others on the market.  A little experimentation is sometimes required to find the top coat best suited to you.  I know many other polishers prefer Seche Vite and although it dries quickly, I cannot abide the shrinkage it causes (when it dries, it shrinks, pulling the polish with it, causing instant tip wear) on me.  Many people also use quick dry drops (often in conjunction with a quick dry top coat) to speed up drying.  I have never used these, so I can't comment on them (any readers with drying drops expertise to share?) or their effectiveness.

I tend to polish my nails at night.  I can sit and watch movies, read or simply go to bed (I polish at least 15 minutes before hitting the sack) afterward so I won't be using my hands much.  This way, I reduce chance of smudging my polish.  If I have to do my nails during the day and I need to be able to use my hands, I go with single coat, holographic or matte polishes, all of which dry much more quickly.

In another comment, Michelle said..."Are bubbles a brand/consistency related issue or an application issue?  If its an application issue, how can they be avoided?"

I have never had issues with bubbles, so when I first read this question, I figured I would have to offer up a big boatload of nothing.  Thankfully, my readers have saved the day by leaving some excellent suggestions in the comments.

On to the pretties:

China Glaze - Kaleidoscope Him Out
- purchased at head2toe.com for $2.99 US

Kaleidoscope Him Out is a beautiful light blue holographic polish that displays its holographic nature whether in sunlight or under indoor lighting (sometimes these polishes are only really interesting outdoors).  I knew I had a winner when I was having a conversation with a colleague and she kept following my hand motions with her eyes rather than paying attention to me.  She was actually mesmerized by the polish!

Kaleidoscope Him Out applies easily and dries quickly (even with the three coats I applied - could have gotten away with two if I had been more careful).  It provided excellent wear - only minor tip wear after three days. 

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Teal Takeoff
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Teal Takeoff is a beautiful teal base with a metallic shimmer.  It reminds me of beetle's wings.  This colour is an excellent addition to my polish stash since I have fair bit of teal in my wardrobe.  In fact I wore this polish a day that I was sporting a teal knit boucle jacket and it Teal Takeoff provided such nice complement to the garment.

Teal takeoff applied easily and although I could have left it at one coat, I applied another to remove all streaks and bald spots.  Unfortunately, I had significant tip wear and one large chip on thumbnail after two days

GOSH - Golden Dragon
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $6.00 CDN

Golden Dragon is a medium, blue-tinged green base, with gold micro shimmer.  It is similar to Sally Hansen Salon Project Runway, although Project Runway is darker and its gold shimmer is slightly larger.  The photo to the right shows a comparison - Project Runway on index and ring fingers, Golden Dragon on middle and pinky.  So, if you missed Project Runway and you're looking for the same feel (although not a dupe), pick up Golden Dragon.  I just bought Golden Dragon three days ago, so it`s still available.

Both coats of Golden Dragon applied very nicely and it had okay wear - only tip wear after two days.  You can actually see the tip wear in the comparison picture above.