This Kind of Day.. .

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Trompe-l'œil

Which kind?

The deliciously girly kind!

There are deep, deep doings in the Bluestocking household, friends.   The Chicklette is having a graduation ball.  Not just any old graduation ball, but a period costume ball.

And what is extra, extra special?  We have wonderful people helping us!

Today we settled on a venue. We went to the nurture-my-need-for-pretty Tea Rooms and discussed Important Ball Details over coffee. We shopped for ball dresses.

Today, friends, was blissful!

bask copy

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! …or… Dead Easy Rag Curls.

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Bloggy friends!

Rejoice with me!  My life just got easier. 😀

I now share with you the rag curl method that will make Regency Ball preparation fast and painless! (Um, painless for me.  That’s what counts. 😛 )

Ready?

Tear (or cut, if you feel civilized) a sheet into strips twice as long as the hair you want to curl.  The Chicklette has ridiculously long hair, so my pieces were.. ridiculously long.

Divide the hair into five or six big sections.  Brush, smooth, and spray each section as you go with a little styling lotion.  No need to wet all over.  Leave enough rag out to allow you to tie it off when you  finish winding, and ask someone to hold it firmly in place.  You can see I have borrowed the hand of the Miss 13 to hold the rag in place for me.

Wind the hair smoothly around the rag. By not overlapping the hair on itself, it will dry faster and produce an even curl.

Wind all the way to the end.  Smoothing the hair around the rag (you don’t want the very last bit crinkly!) flip the end of your rag back around the part you have just been winding, and commence winding the rag around the hair.

Keep going all the way to the top.  This gives you the two ends to tie together, and the rag wound back around the hair stops it getting all ruffled while your poor petal sleeps in it.

When you get back to the top, tie the two ends.  You don’t have to tie it in a bow, I just couldn’t resist. 😀  Because… how cute is this?!

Leave in over night.  When you take them out, unwind carefully.  You can separate each curl into two for a “more curls” look. If you attempt that and get a big, foofy, fuzzy disaster, don’t panic.  Brush the end of the particularly disastrous curl, and then wind it around your finger, encouraging it back in the direction it was wound the first time, and it will behave nicely.  A little Anti-frizz serum or ends shine, or similar product, will help, but don’t over do it or your curl will soften too much.

This method doesn’t curl right to the roots of the hair, which is easier if you’re going for an upstyle – hooray!  We weren’t as this was only for experimental purposes,  so I added a bow.  High is cute for little people, low is more suitable for older girls.

And that’s it folks.  Toooooo easy!

Royal Spring Garden Party and Grand Ball

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Hello Bloggy friends!

I’ve asserted over and over that I have the best bloggy friends in the world.  That’s indisputable. But I have mentioned that my IRL friends are among the sweetest God ever made?

 

Two of that number laboured tirelessly (and ceaselessly! and creatively!) for weeks to make this season’s ball spectacular.  Here is a sample of the day…

 

At 3pm guests arrived at Windermere Estate – five acres of the most beautiful gardens you can imagine, designed by a lady with an eye for the aesthetic.  Afternoon tea, introductions and the distribution of programs followed.

 

Of course, some poor little girls didn’t have much chance of afternoon tea.  They looked pretty, it was a beautiful garden, and their cousins were there.. so.. circumstances kind of begged me to drag them off for photos…

At 3:30pm the ladies and gentlemen divided company for a talk on etiquette.  We thereafter wore the social restraints of the era as well as the clothes.  😀

4pm found all in preparation for the Royal Tournament, and this involved a waltz. How those two things related is as much a mystery for me as for you, as I was driving my little people  home to Grandma’s and missed this part.  However I came back in time to catch part of the waltz, and I have to share one of my favourite photos of the day with you..

The composition is not ideal – it was shoot it where I was standing when I saw it or miss out, but I love the light, and the expression on the Chicklette’s face.

Next – The Royal Tournament.  See the squares on the ground in the photo above?  I can’t explain the rules of the game, but it was in part a game of Living Chess.  It involved a great deal of sword play and hilarity, the result of which was Mr BB being put to the sword (see below), and a young Knight winning the hand of the Chicklette, and the two of them being crowned as a result.

At 6pm it was time for high tea.  We sang the Selkirk grace in rounds, no less! (did I mention the MC of the evening was a conductor?)

As evening fell, it was.. freezing.  At this time of year one might expect to have been perishingly hot in formal evening wear. But it could easily have passed for August:  the wind was sufficiently gusty to blow over the marquees! Picnic blankets, spare jumpers, and rugs began to appear..

Have you ever read the Ukrainian folk tale, “The Mitten”?  I couldn’t help thinking of it when two girls huddled under a picnic blanket, and then they admitted another, and another, and another…

It was easier to bear the cold when the dancing began.

 

Supper was served at 9pm, followed by more dancing, and at midnight a Finale March, and then all gathered to sing a farewell anthem.

 

Friends, it was enormous fun.  Imagine having darling friends who would work so hard to produce such an evening for you.  I am blessed indeed.

 

The Perfect Curl, or.. Socks, Chux and Handkerchiefs

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 WARNING!

*:•.♥.•:*Seriously*:•.♥.•:*¨Girly¨*:•.♥.•:*Post*:•.♥.•:*

Here it is, Bloggy friends, the “How to Curl Your Hair with Rags” post.

There is a multitude of “how to” videos on you tube, but they all miss something that I think makes a huge difference to your result.  But I’m jumping ahead.

First decide if you want tight ringlets, or loose, soft curls that will drop into a wave.  If you want softer curls, use large sections of hair in each rag, and a larger rag (socks are great for soft curls). Tighter curls need smaller sections and a thinner rag.

Here’s a comparison on the Chicklette’s hair: socks above, chux below.  Keep in mind that her hair is thick, straight, and past her waist in length. In both pictures, it is straight out of the rags, with nothing done to it yet.  You can separate the curls to get a fluffier look, and in time, both will relax to a looser curl than they show here.

Decide if you want sausage curls, or spirals.  See (directly)  above how some of the Chicklette’s hair is in long sausage curls the same as Miss 13 in the first colour photo in this post?  The sausage curls are NOT twisted while wound.  The thinner, more open looking curls that look like springs in amongst the Chicklette’s hair were twisted while winding.  You can choose to have all of one sort, or in the case above where I was putting her hair up, I chose a mix.

Timing is everything.  Truly, don’t believe all those people who say to damp your hair and leave it overnight, or a few hours.  If you take the rags out while your hair has so much as a lick of moisture left in it – the curls will drop out before you can say, “Now, wasn’t that a waste of time?”  And what’s more, if you want those curls to last all day and night for your big event, you want to have them damp to start.  So.. you can either sit under a dryer, or use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to boost the drying process, or do it sufficiently early for them to dry naturally.

If you have very hard to hold hair, if it doesn’t normally stay in when you use hot rollers, or your hair is very long, you may want to start with clean, DRY hair, and use a pump hairspray to damp each curl as you wind it, or have almost dry hair and add plenty of mousse or setting lotion.

First collect your medium.  You can use Chux cut into pieces about the size of a handkerchief.  Or you can use a bunch of handkerchiefs (just visit Gran and clean out her draw).  Or you can use socks (the thin sort), or strips of paper bag, or cut up sheets, towels, t-shirts, stockings, or …. I’m sure you can probably think of something else to add to the list.

You will need also:

a fine tooth comb

setting agent (gel, hairspray, mousse, etc)

clips to keep hair out of the way while winding

and….

end papers.

What are end papers, I hear you ask?  Well.  Let me tell you, folks.  They are the part everyone leaves out that I think makes the huge difference to your results.  Here’s what they look like.

The difference is that the ends won’t crumple up.  Let me show you what I saw over and over when watching the video responses to the how to curl your hair tutorials on you tube.

See this curl below?

See how the end is all crumpled?

Nasty!

It should look like this:

See how the end sits in a circle, with no fish-hook effect?  That’s what you’re aiming for.  One or two little fish hooks can be remedied with a curling iron, but to have them all over is a disaster too monstrous to contemplate.

Once you’ve decided what kind of curl you’re aiming for, and you have all your equipment ready to hand, it’s time to begin!

Section off the top of the hair and clip it out of the way.  If you start from the top, you will have to delve under the already tied hair to get your sections, and that will get old in a hurry.  Apply your styling agent, or if it’s dry, remember to spray each section with hairspray as you go.  Use a towel to protect the back of the neck (because all that hairspray is going to feel terrible on the skin, not to mention the possibility of it causing a reaction: so for little children, it is better to use a mousse that you can control the application of better, and avoid the scalp.)

Starting at the bottom, take a section of hair, hairspray the entire length of it if it’s dry, and apply an end paper.

Fold it toward you as shown in the next image or when you wind the hair up, it will constrain it too fiercely.

Wind it on the rolled rag the same way you would a conventional roller.

Wind so the hair doesn’t overlap:  it will take longer to dry if you pile it on top of itself; it will mean a smaller curl at the bottom and looser toward the head; and the curl may come out wonky if you slip first one way, then the other way, when winding.

So.. avoid that calamity and wind it each loop of hair sitting next to the last one you wound on the rag.  At this stage, twist the rag a few times if you prefer a spiral curl, then keep winding.

When it’s all wound, tie a knot.

That’s how happens. 😀

Keep going all over…

When it is time to remove the rags, unwind them: don’t pull at them. Leave them as they come out, or separate them for a fluffier look. The image below was taken at 11am, and contrasted with the image taken at 9:30pm, will give an indication of how much the curls will relax.

 If you have to take them out some time before your event, buy a hairnet from the chemist, and gently collect the curls up in it.  Remove just before you arrive. Miss 13 remained in the glamorous state below for hours while travelling, to preserve the curl.

The result will depend on how much product you used on the hair, how small your sections were when winding, what size rags you used, how long and heavy your hair is… there are many variables.  The image below, taken ten hours after the rags were out, shows how much the curls had relaxed in that time.

If you have an important event, it is worth having a trial run of setting your hair to see how long it takes to dry, how long the curls last, and if what you’re doing achieves the result you are after.  It will also tell you if it is worth having bags under your eyes.  Because I have it on good authority (thank you Fee),  that it is a special kind of torture to sleep in them.  I haven’t done so myself, having hair that curls all by its lonesome, but when I mentioned Fee’s comment to my own children (who have all worn them to bed on several occasions) they confirmed it is, indeed, remarkably uncomfortable.

Happy hair curling, folks!  😀