blk: (braids)
This week, having finished projects, costumes, college application, and the time of daylight saving, I briefly reached a point of feeling Caught Up On Life. It was glorious. Ways I used up my fleeting free time included:

- braiding my hair! I've been craving yarn braids for several months now, but I wanted to wait until after the super sweaty season and also until I had a full day or two to spare, as although I've gotten the process fairly efficient through practice, it was still about 8-9 hours of work. But I love having them, it's so much fun. I have so much hair! Well, "hair." I used the variegated color "Artist Print" and I like how the colors look. I suppose it's more spring than autumn, but oh well. I did have the very odd experience of going into work with it newly braided and getting zero reactions on it. None. No comments, no raised eyebrows, no nods of acknowledgement that something was different, nothing. I guess I have enough of a reputation of doing weird hair stuff that nobody thinks it's anything out of the ordinary now?

- biking! Beyond my enjoyable expanded daily commute, I also went on my first Weekend Hills ride since, oh, sometime last year when I almost swore off it forever because I was so frustrated. Specifically, since before I made some big diet improvements, so this was a reasonable comparison. Biiiiig difference. I could actually mostly keep up with the group, which meant it was finally the socially enjoyable experience I kept hoping for instead of just an exercise in managing anxiety (along with being a tiring workout). I also ran errands on bike yesterday, which made it really easy to stop by a bike shop and see if the techs could figure out an annoying tinking noise that just started (probably bad wheel bearings. grn).

- cooking! My officemate gifted me with a few frozen deer shoulders that he didn't want, so I put in my first attempt at making venison stew. Turned out very nice, got compliments from guests, leftovers are still tasty. Will make again.

- yardwork! In the last few weekends I've managed to collect 10 bags worth of (mostly) dead leaves. The city yard waste pickup is next Saturday, and thanks to the end of DST no more after work yardwork is happening so I'm considering myself done. Of course next week when the other half of the leaves fall everything will be covered again, but maybe slightly less so. And I can put the family to work clearing off more in a few weeks.

- reading! I've started a habit that whenever I see someone whose opinions I respect recommend a book, I check the library to see if it's available in ebook format, then check it out (or put myself on the hold list). Eventually I read it. This year, I've finished Lilith's Brood (trilogy) by Octavia Butler, The Inheritance (trilogy) by N. K. Jemisin, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, and am currently working on Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. (I also reread the three main B5 trilogies, just because.) I thoroughly enjoyed all of the above. I have another dozen books in my queue, which should keep me busy for quite a while (since I sometimes go for weeks without picking up my book). I plan to get to several over the next few months of darkness.

My week of peace and quiet ended tonight when younger kid showed me an infected abscess on his leg, so I elected to have it seen at the just-opened, conveniently-located emergency clinic down the road. Sigh. Seems like it should be fine in a few days, at least. And the front counter staff person had a nice sense of humor and agreed that I could sell them my kid in lieu of payment for services.

Then for the next couple weeks I get to bear down and attempt to do some serious house cleaning and meal planning in preparation for at invasion of thanksgiving week turkeys, ah, I mean visitors, as well as replace our apparently missing car registration. But first, a bit more reading.
blk: (braids)
Well, I made an idle comment elsewhere that my hair is currently blue and pictures were demanded. I suppose technically I don't really have blue hair and I more have blueish "hair."

I used to do minibraids in my hair on a somewhat regular basis, because it's a lot of fun to wear. I mostly stopped after college as my hair was simply too thin and long to do a reasonable-looking job, and instead turned to doing smaller numbers of braids with things braided in. About a month ago I saw pictures from a woman on reddit who had done yarn braids, and I realized I could do this thing!

So after a recent minor trim, I went and looked for a pretty color of cheap acrylic yarn. I wanted something that was vaguely close to my actual hair color with a bit of color, and I ended up with Red Heart's Earth and Sky, which is a variegated brown with some light blue streaks through it.

Oh, but you just want pictures, don't you. Well fine.

I whip my hair back and forth )

It took me a total of about 5.5 hours to put in, although the first hour of that was a lot of trying things out, so I suspect some of that could be lessened. I used about 200 yds of yarn, although that's only about 4 oz of yarn so it's not much heavier, but definitely bulkier. Sleeping the first night was a little awkward but I think I'm used to it now. Not sure how long I will leave them in. I figure 2-4 weeks would be sufficient for me to get plenty of enjoyment out of it. It's been 4 days now and it still looks about the same condition as when I started.

Quite happy with them so far.
blk: (spicy)
My much-neglected todo list tells me that I never did an Arisia writeup for this year. But beyond just showing off braid pics, these posts are good for me for future planning. I'll probably backdate this so I can find it in the future.

points of interest )
blk: (spicy)
Time for another yearly Arisia post!

This was my second year in driving there with [ profile] xuth and boy instead of flying on my own. Although this year we had the advantage of a much larger car, which somehow still seemed to get completely filled up with Stuff. The drive up was better than last year, with no rain or snow or toothaches, but we still hit heavy fog in going through Connecticut, which is not all that fun.

breath of winter )
blk: (spicy)
If I wait any longer to write up my yearly Arisia post, it'll never happen, so here's a trip report.

This year was very different in terms of trip planning, as I wasn't traveling there by myself, and didn't have to fly. [ profile] xuth and the Boy were along for the ride, and somehow we managed to pack the three of us, all of my business things, food/clothes/etc for the weekend, and two pairs of stilts into our tiny car. The weekend started off pretty badly, with a toothache for Xuth, a sore throat for me, and varying amounts of snow that we got to drive through on our way out east. We crashed outside of town late Thursday, then settled into the hotel on Friday.

Read more... )

I spent the next week getting over the rest of my Ick physically, and enjoying the fact that there was nothing I needed to do, which involved a whole lot of sitting on the couch. This week I'm starting to get back into life at a more normal pace, which is to say that I've got things to do and a desire to do them.

See y'all next year.
blk: (braids)
After the trip to MN last week, we drove back to Pittsburgh, unpacked the car, collected a few kids, did laundry, borrowed and packed the car, and left for camping in the mountains of NY.

rawr by qwrrty

Baitcon is as Baitcon is, which is full of ice cream and wonderful people and all sorts of fun. There was a plethora of bouncy stilting this year, in part thanks to the carload of stilts [ profile] xuth and I brought up with us. I tried my foot on a slackline, which was fun but very difficult. I finally got enough Dominion so that I think I can say I've learned how to play. I braided hair, including mine up with fun colors so that I don't have to think about it for the next while. I joined the Utilikilt contingent for giggles. I took naps and a few pictures and played with liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen. I got insect bites, a lot more than previous years, including one from a tick. I found him early, though, so I do hope this one heals faster than the other one (3.5 years and waiting!).

And then after a long and full weekend, we drove back home to unpack and return the car, get rid of the kids, do laundry, pack the car, and leave for camping in the mountains of VT. Man, we're crazy.

The night we got back, we noticed teh internets were out. Being too exhausted to think about it, I put off debugging until morning, when, after a few power cycles, I checked the landline, and noted the dial tone was out. Yep, that'd do it. A call to Verizon fixed it with an "oops" on their end, but the day of waiting around with No! Internet! prompted me to go ahead and hack my phone a bit more to enable tethering. Hurray! I now have internets everywhere! Well, almost everywhere, but everywhere enough that I can post this entry while riding in a car on the freeway through NY. Muahaha.

To make things better, while in the middle of dropping off kids at camp the first day back, I popped my beloved Saturn into reverse to turn around and.... something popped a lot harder than it should have and suddenly I couldn't shift to any gear other than reverse. I coasted awkwardly into a sort-of parking spot to call for help and await a tow truck, then enjoyed a very nice day for a couple mile walk home. The clutch cable broke, and as soon as they can find a Saturn-parts supplier, it'll get fixed for somewhat annoying but not horribly huge sums of cash. Good thing I don't need my car for the next week or so.

In the rest of the time we had to get ready for the next camping trip, I baked and cleaned while Xuth packed and prepped. Sadly, I barely glanced at my garden, which is slowly being overgrown by ignored tomato plants, or my blueberry bushes, which are merrily ripening away. It's lovely to own a place where I can enjoy locally grown food, except I'm feeling guilty about not taking proper care of things.

Meanwhile, this weekend we are off to Firefly to do some hard camping. I'm a little trepidatious about it, as it'll be my first time at any Burner-type event (and Xuth's mostly first time really doing this -with- someone), and I don't expect to know many people there. [ profile] frobzwiththingz promised me that I wouldn't die, so here's hoping.
blk: (spicy)
Another Arisia come and gone, successful and fun! I delayed this post for a while because I was waiting on pictures to prove I was there accompany the writeup, and then had a couple days of recovering from post-con Ick. I'm still hoping for the existence of some better pics, but for now, these will have to do.

through a crystal haze (trip recap) )
blk: (spicy)
The awesome thing I did this past weekend: I went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival and braided hair.

some background on why this was so awesome for me )
blk: (braids)
Back from Boston! The weekend was full of awesome things for me. And I have pictures to prove it!

flights, kayaks, rocks, braids, bikes )

Now, life is spinning back up to high gear with kids and school and soccer and work and houseguests and braiding and running and tomatoes all needing attention, so I'm sure there'll be more posts coming soon...
blk: (spicy)
This was my fourth year working at Arisia; my third as a braider. I think I've got a good thing going.

Read more... )
blk: (spicy)
I went down to Necronomicon last weekend for a combination Spicy vending and parental visit. Business was slow. I can now say I've had the experience of being a dealer and failing to break even on expenses. Read more... )
blk: (spicy)
I came, I saw, I braided.

Continuing in last year's tradition, I went to Arisia to deal braids. I again had [ profile] flasher's lovely artwork to decorate my walls, and this year, I added in some chainmail jewelry pieces, the hobby I picked up last summer, as well as a few smaller things. I had modified my display book slightly and printed out some colorful braidy flier advertisements, and was ready for the onslaught of braidees.

Or so I thought.

Read more... )
blk: (spicy)
For those who were looking for context for the last post: this past weekend, I was at Confluence, dealing braids.

This was the second con I've been a braider at; first one I've done all on my own. It went pretty well overall. I've considered a variety of things I can change or add to my display and to my list of wares, and I'm pretty excited about going forward with it.

My magnum opus came when [ profile] mg4h walked up, with her hair freshly unbraided and brushed, sat down and said, "Do whatever you want!"

I cackled evilly. I went from "lotsa hair" to this to this to ... )

So! the time has come me to solicit help on other things. I have questions!

expressing my creativity )
blk: (spicy)
Snippets of conversation from today (paraphrased as best as I can remember):

[ profile] blk: "... Yeah, I've been doing weddings for a while. I've braided for many of my friends."
woman1: "I went to this one wedding where the guys had long hair, and they were all braided up with flowers... they had fancier hair than the girls!"
blk: "I did one like that. I braided the bride, the groom, the maid of honor, the best man, mother and father of groom, etc...
[ profile] mg4h: Was that Ethan and Cortney's?"
woman1: "... I was talking about Ethan and Cortney's wedding!"
blk: "Oh! Uh, I did that one! :)"

(Sorry, I don't remember who this person was!)

woman2, pointing at a display picture: "I really like this one."
blk: "The woman there has really long hair, almost as long as yours. I did this one for her wedding."
woman2: "It's pretty. And it almost looks like my friend Johanna."
blk: "... It IS Johanna."

(this person turned out to be [ profile] ladymondegreen)
blk: (hairknot)
I like this one!

The original pic was from the hairstyle I tossed into my hair on the last day of Arisia. Since, of course, selling braids works best when there are live samples there. I'm really not a knot person, but I'm interested in learning more and using them as fancy styling on my braidwork. So far I'm just working on wrapping the accent braids in various configurations, like this.

One of the reasons I did that knot in particular (Carrick's bend) was that I had just learned it that weekend, and I was practicing it (behind my head, of course) to make sure my fingers knew it. I had had the idea in mind of doing braided knotwork, but hadn't gotten around to learning any yet, when I ran into Loren Damewood, a jewelry artist who I met at the previous year's con (whose [very expensive] stuff I absolutely and totally adore), early on Friday. Loren, as usual, was busy fidgeting with a piece of string, and before I had even finished my thought to him, he was busy setting up some strands, and showed me this knot in a few seconds. (He also showed me how to expand it by flipping a couple loops around and weaving the ends through, but I forgot that part, and couldn't figure it out again later.)

I thanked him happily, and spent some time practicing to make sure I could repeat the knot. A short time later, he wandered by again and presented me with his newly-finished fidget toy, a 7-lead, 2-strand Turk's head bracelet (closeup here). I expressed amazement and gratitude, and he pretty much shrugged it off, saying that he had to do something with his hands, and what better to do with the results than to give them away? Good point.

Shortly after setup, I was checking my email, and saw a message from my mom, in reply to my notification of where I was that weekend:
Speaking of ARISIA, look for a jewelry vendor who does fancy braided wire rings. I don't have his name handy, but I might be able to get it later today.

Apparently Loren had just recently retired from the same company my dad works at in Clearwater, Florida. Alas, Loren didn't recognize my dad when [ profile] shayde waved him over for me to show him pictures, as they had never worked together, but we all thought the coincidence was pretty amusing.
blk: (spicy)
I reprised last year's trip to Arisia this past weekend to help out with registration, braid hair, and see lots of nifty people. Except this year, the emphasis was much less on the reg, and much more on the braiding. THIS year, I decided to take people's suggestions and went as an official hairbraiding dealer, armed with price list, accessories, and displays to attract attention.

weekend in review, with a couple pics )
blk: (spicy)
From the encouragement and practice I've gotten recently, most specifically at Arisia, I've been looking more into braiding as a serious moneymaking practice, instead of just as an occasional hobby. I don't think I'm going to go the RenFest route, as the time commitment there is a more than I want, and I'm not relying on this for income. However, even just as a casual thing, there's a lot of parts to this that require brain attention.

cut for hair and polls )

There are a few other things I'm thinking about, like regularly braiding practice time, as well as some ideas for incorporating some handmade hair decorations into this, but those aren't things that need attention right now. However, the rest of it, I'm definitely interested in hearing comments on. Suggestions for web or graphic design options? Things to think about in starting a small business? Anything important you think I might be missing? Volunteers to come visit me some evening and let me spend a few hours messing with your hair? Generic words of encouragement? Send 'em my way.
blk: (but i'm cute)
I went to Arisia this weekend to help out with registration, braid hair, and see lots of people. Oh, and there was a con going on, too.

cut for randomness )
blk: (grin)
I had a very pleasant vacation week, saw people, did things, braided hair, and took a variety of pictures. Recapping here.

cut for pics and excessive lj user tags )


blk: (Default)

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