kc1 kc2DIY circle scarves I made for 3 lucky new email subscribers for the launch
of my new natural hair site, Kinked & Coiled!

First let’s all bow our heads and acknowledge the bad news *sigh* My dear, dear Macbook. So many good times we’ve had. So expensive you were are. You can never be replaced (mostly because I just can’t afford you right now, or maybe ever again).  Although all of the hundreds of pictures, music, and other data files are now lost, your last remaining bill payments continue to live on with me every month. But you lived a good life. 5.5 Mac years is like 92 in human years. I can only hope we can soon meet again on the other side (i.e. I hope some Apple store Genius can save my data!!)

R.I.P. Macbook (2008 – 2013)

That’s merely part of the reason why this update comes so late. Lately I’ve working on my mom’s old laptop that doesn’t like being moved, breathes hard, suffers from perpetual hot flashes, and has to permanently stay attached to the wall. If this one dies in my care, I just don’t know WHAT I will do. But I throw those complaints mostly in good fun. I’m more than thankful for the use of this machine!

Not backing up your data is a hard lesson, but I just gotta move on. Right before it died I had the idea to begin an email newsletter about my kinda hair – very kinky, coily, textured in nature. I always feel great writing thoughts + sharing my ideas in post on here, but I also wanted to write about something that I was genuinely interested in learning more about – my own hair. And to anyone that has always managed their “natural” God-given hair type since birth, I just know that sounds rather silly. I’ve chemically straightened my hair for so long, all I know is how to deal with straight hair. But when you’ve now got something to deal with that is closer to a Brillo pad than a horse’s tail in texture, the learning curve is steep. I just know I’m not alone in that.

So lately I’ve been doing much research, collecting my thoughts, and making circle scarves for the official launch of www.kinkedandcoiled.com. If you are interested at all, definitely sign-up or at least check it out :)

Last order of business to mention is Thanksgiving! I was lucky enough to get the day off this time since I spent the holiday alone in Milwaukee last year. I told my mom that I would let her off the hook and cook the entire spread myself. She is very grateful. I, on the other hand, am very scared. What have I done?? The fam has already been warned that this will not be a grand affair. And since I actually work a flight to Charlotte, NC + back today, my lack of prep time is scarier and scarier.

Alas, here’s the menu I’m planning:

Of course I got bread rolls, the cranberry sauce, and maybe I’ll bake off a few sweet potatoes for good measure. But that’s it! I’ll definitely share how it goes, but let me know your plans/how it turned out in the comments. I’d love to hear it.

Happy Thanksgiving you guys :)

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naritaFlying into Narita aiport (Tokyo, Japan)

It’s a small world until you sit on a plane for 13 hours sitting as an uncomfortably captive time traveler. I’m too cheap to swipe my card for in-flight entertainment, even for a travel so long. I had stayed up the entire night before my departure day and kept my goal intact – remaining sleep to reduce jet lag and peek up at the interactive flight map every now and then just to see how much longer until we arrived. But even with a few good naps, you just can’t cheat time.

Just realize that these are the opposite of complaints though. 18 days were spent taking in a new country and language, spending more life than you’d think on public transportation (even the old folks play portable handheld games to pass the extra time), lots of pantomiming to communicate, discovering Chu-his in all of their wonderful varieties, LOTS of noodles + sushi, and last but not least – my first squatter toilet experience.

Which, after checking out the above link, I realize that I totally used it backwards the 3 times I used it.
But I mean whatever, right? I MADE IT WORK.

akihabara1

akihabara2Three perfect days in Tokyo. Akihabara during the day + night.

But before you shudder at the thought of squatting into a porcelain hole in the floor, I mean how nasty are usual restrooms right? I usually squat and hover anyway in public restrooms, but obviously not as low of course (TMI?) They are arguable considered more sanitary because you are not sharing bare-booty germs with another person. Plus you get a workout out of the deal.

Please realize I’m not an advocate, I’m just saying.

Actually bidets are more prevalent there though. Friends, this is a toilet that is plugged into the wall. And they’ve got mad features such as controlling the pressure of the *ahem* water stream (it’s optional to use, but I was terrified every time), electronic flushing or other more “pleasant” sounds to mask “other” sounds, a seat warmer, and an air freshener. Sometimes they have a sink included on top (where the tank is) that dispenses water when flushed so you can wash your hands immediately. It’s not gross. In fact it’s eco-friendly and smart, especially seeing as though toilet water is actually potable (or drinkable). My architecture background taught me that.

But, thank the heavens it is clean water! Because I used a bidet toilet in a public restroom around day 12-13 of my visit, and I had convinced myself that I would try once more to use the feature. It was at nice coffee shop connected to an even nicer office building. So after business was done, I adjusted the stream to a med-low setting and hit the Go button. But something in me didn’t want to do it anymore, so I quickly shot up and looked down at this apparatus that was slowly peeking out from the back of the bowl. Pants down and no longer committed to this decision, I panicked and before I could figure out what picture icon could be the Cancel button, water shoots up as I furiously try to dart backwards in the stall. Yeah, of course there’s nowhere to go though right? Bidet water on the floor, some on my shoes, and dribblings on my jeans. This was straight I Love Lucy style. But I washed my hands, grabbed my purse and my dignity and told not one soul when I went back into the coffee shop.

This wasn’t the highlight of my trip, but is it fair to admit that it kinda blew my mind? And like who else is going to give you the dirty details like me.

Exactly. So you can thank me later when YOU visit Japan.

saseboOverlooking the neighborhood from the apartment I stayed at in Sasebo.

japan4Sake!

japan5Westerners Bar (all senior lady bartenders in cowgirl gear!)

japan6Sasebo, Japan (Naval Base)

This is where I end up spending most of my time. Sasebo is a definitely a slower pace than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and other major cities in Japan. It’s also home to a U.S. Naval base that I was able to visit. It was just so strange to step over base lines and feeling like being in little America. Obviously everyone on base speaks English, they’ve got their own movie theater and a few popular American chain restaurants (the last time I’ve eaten Taco Bell was in Japan!), and their major box-type store even carried black hair care products. That last fact alone was awesome, because it’s not like I was going to find them anywhere else!

I met some really great people. Some of which I could successfully talk to, and others I could not. But I did learn a few basic Japanese words to use along with my arsenal of over-exaggerated, yet universal, facial expressions. I had morning/midday/evening greetings, please, thank you, and water DOWN. That’s about as far as I got. But just as it’s fairly common to learn Spanish as a second language here in school, it’s the same there for English so many people are pretty darn helpful. Lots of menus have at least some English translation, and many restaurants I came across had plastic food displays of the meals offered on the menu in the windows along with prices.

So, I’ll just stop there. It’s just getting so long, and I could definitely ramble on more about it all. If there’s anything specifically you want to know though, even if it’s more about bathroom stuff, don’t hesitate to ask! I seriously had an AMAZING time, and I actually wanted to extend my stay. I would recommend to anyone to visit there and create your own adventures, because I definitely plan to go back someday. My wanderlust is just getting started.

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so

September 19, 2013

length check

twists

Excuse the poor quality of pics, but I definitely remember promising a hair pic or two before I left. So, here it is.

On to the airport. Later!

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toronto top1toronto top4toronto top3toronto top5Simplicty pattern #1694, version E.
French seams on chiffon are definitely the way to go!

I’ve been trying to focus for seriously the past hour on giving the dirty details on the makings of this shirt. My mind is totally elsewhere though.

Because I’M LEAVING FOR JAPAN IN A WEEK.

So so many loose ends to take care of since I’ll be there for about two weeks. Already starting to pack since I’m only taking carry-on luggage with me. I must not forget to get my rent and other stupid bills together before I go. I would totally worry about my plants, but since they already died about two months ago (R.I.P.) that’s one less thing to take care of. I’m kinda freaking out about my HAIR because I totally can’t be bothered with all that while I’m there. But I’m going to the local Beauty Supply tomorrow to buy some hair weave [sigh] and attempt to do this style on myself in the next few days….

For better or worse, I’ll show pics before I go. NOT excited about doing this either. Last time I had any type of braids in my hair was….middle school? Wayyyy long ago. And I totally didn’t put them in myself – No Way! But thanks to YouTube, I think I gots this *cracking knuckles*

But seriously, let’s talk a moment about this shirt.

  • Simplicity pattern #1694 is an easy project that could technically be finished in a single day. It took me longer, of course. I tend to take lots of Instagram stalking and looking-in-the-refrigerator-for-what-I-don’t-know breaks. But it makes for a simple flowy shirt. Be forewarned it’s a loose, boxy cut. Not form hugging or acquainting much at all!
  • This is the fabric I just purchased in Toronto on my last trip. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough fabric to finish, hence the bright pink satin-y piece I placed in the back. I think it’s a nice contrast though + I’m in love with the single center-back pleat!
  • First time working with chiffon fabric. Naturally, I was scared. BUT Oona and Miesha left some helpful tips in the comments of the previous post – SO VERY HELPFUL!! Thanks ladies!
  • I secretly wanted to make a quick and easy project to wear for my trip. Now that I’m finished though, I’m not sure that I’ll be taking it. However, my Rainbow Brite plaid/chambray shirt is sooooo coming with me!

Definitely more before I go. Have a great weekend!

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pretty pretty chiffon

September 5, 2013

king textiles2

king textiles3

king textiles1

King Textiles in Toronto, Ontario fashion district.

Oh you know, just holding up some beautiful chiffon fabric I scored in Toronto’s fashion district up to the light pouring in my hotel room like a familiar scene straight from the Lion King or something.  Yeah, I was that proud. Only thing is, I have NO idea how to actually work with chiffon.

Hashtag. HELP.

But first things first is this blasted high-waist shorts pattern. I’ve been at home ill since Sunday, so I haven’t given it much thought besides the feeling of giving up, lol. I’m starting to feel better though, so maybe I’ll give it another go. Because if not, I can always use the fabric for a crop top or something just as equally anti-fall season-ish.

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mom shorts

August 27, 2013

shortsmuslin

High waist shorts practice pair. Or perhaps, freshly cut mom jeans.

Now true I modified this pattern some. I added an inch to the waist to make it higher, which apparently I had no business doing. And I obviously shortened the trouser leg to make shorts. Nevermind the “cuffed” bottom you see in the photo. I was just getting an idea of where I wanted the length to stop on these shorts.

However, had I known that the Simplicity 5259 pattern were none other than a “mom” trousers pattern, I would’ve probably looked at other patterns first. It looks like I have these on backwards since I’ve got this odd air pocket hanging over my stomach where it looks like one’s booty would go. As much as I hate the idea of starting over completely, especially when I’ve been averaging one day at home per week lately, this wasn’t a total fail at all. I’ve been dying to learn how to make alterations, and truly this probably an excellent project to start with since there aren’t many pieces nor doesn’t require much fabric.

Armed with more muslin fabric and some patience, I’ll definitely be back at it after this next trip.

P.S. — Although it’s a pretty crummy photo above, that tank top is the one I made some weeks ago.

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chic highwaist shorts

What I hope my end result will be making my own pair of high-waist shorts, minus the cool zipper detailing.
(Image source)

triangles pattern3

First attempt at drafting the shorts! Using Simplicity pants pattern #5259 as my guide.  Also, the test fabric swatch of my pattern design from Spoonflower.

triangles pattern2

1 yard of my very own fabric.

I’m probably the only one that wants to hold onto summer just a little while longer. 100+ degree days be damned, I sure hate layering up.

There. I said it.

So I’m rebelling with these shorts. Hopefully the rebellion is a successful one because I’ve wanted high-waist shorts for the longest time, and what a treat it would be to have them in a fabric of my own design, right? After making a scale change to my design based on the swatch I got back from Spoonflower last month, I received my fabric order in the mail a week ago. I settled on making shorts because it would’ve definitely been pricey to get more than a single yard to make anything bigger than that. However, if somehow this shorts pattern doesn’t work out, I may totally turn this yard of fabric into a crop top.

Let’s just hope the days are still warm enough by the time I complete these shorts. If not, layering it up with tights it is I guess.

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gotta go but….

August 13, 2013

plaid2b

plaid3b

plaid1b

I wish I had this done already BUT cheers to slow progress. First time making a shirt cuff + placket….turned out so cute!  Anyways, have a good week!

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plaiddenim1

plaiddenim2

Built by Wendy button-down shirt pattern…….in progress.

If Rainbow Brite was in her mid 20s to early 30s today and wore a plaid print, this would so be her fabric of choice. Hands. Down.

Was this my intention going in? No. Am I ashamed though? Nah.

I added in some chambray accents in the back, collar stand, inner button flap, and it will be present on the cuff too. I’m so close yet so far from being finished. I am curious for these results because my love wanes and grows for this piece the longer I work on it. So there’s that.

Also a quick side-note I forgot to mention a post or two earlier – I got featured in DIY Summer Style Ideas article for my diy shorts tutorial by the nice folks at Earth911! Mine was 1 of 17 nifty DIY ideas mentioned for your summer wardrobe, so you should definitely check it out!

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uniform1

uniform2

There’s something very Mister Rogers about wearing a uniform. I don’t sing into a camera, but I tend to put on each piece of my monkey-suit at a glacial pace. Since I always sport the unisex (old man) cardigan option, I’m almost sure that’s what really sets the vibe off. But I guess even that fella had different color cardigans and sneakers to wear. I just woke up feeling like I was not in the mood for anything. Most especially work. I figured since I had hours upon hours to kill before I started my next trip, I’d do the responsible thing and get new shoes, pantyhose, and watch for work. Hello Target.

But even though you get the new shoes, doesn’t matter which style, somehow it’s the same shoe. Replaced the white watch I had (that I spilled scalding hot coffee all over on my last trip) with one with a mauve band and glitzy face. Panty hose….don’t get me started! Although mundane, poppin’ tags on new merchandise never gets old. Somehow working 3 flights today doesn’t feel so unappealing.

Well. Gotta start getting ready now.

*sigh*

Have a splendid weekend you guys!

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