Treasury Tuesday: Reservoir Park

So I’ve been playing a lot of guitar lately and there is this song, “Reservoir Park,” by the The Dutchess & The Duke which I am obsessed with playing and am trying to convince my roommate to harmonize with me on. So of course it’s gone and inspired my next TT post! The song is a little bit ominous so I went a little dark with this treasury, pulling from aspects of gypsy culture, folklore and ideas of an afterlife. Check out the full list here, or click on the pictures to get a closer look at some of the items!

-Mel

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Ear Stretching: What I’ve Learned So Far/How-To Basics (Part One)

Hi all! So I think some of my favorite posts to do on this blog are the ones involving my piercings. I’m really passionate about piercings, and anyone who knows me in real life know that I am more than ready to jump into a full on conversation about my piercings, what it was like getting them and healing them and any other questions anyone might have! But my favorite piercings to talk about are definitely my lobes-my stretched lobes!

So today I’m gonna talk about my journey from never wearing earrings in my lobes, to have 2G (6mm) stretched lobes and what I’ve learned about stretching and properly taking care of your ears!

I had my ears pierced when I was nine, and it was a pretty traumatic ordeal for my ears. I had them pierced with a gun, which I do not recommend (I’ll get into my personal reasons later), and for some reason, they refused to heal for the longest time, and while at the time I didn’t know much about piercings and healing processes, I’m pretty sure my ears began to grow into the jewelry, causing tearing whenever I tried to change my earrings.It took over a year for me to actually begin to feel no pain whenever I changed my jewelry, but I was still scared of how much it might hurt, so I hardly touched them. And after a few years, once they were completely healed, I stopped wearing earrings altogether.

So about the time I started college, I got really interested in not only tattoos, but body modifications in general. I loved the way plugs looked, but I was scared to stretch.

After years of debating it and deciding that small earrings just didn’t look right in my lobes, and only larger earrings did, I figured I would begin to stretch, so I ordered a set of tapers 14G through 8G and two pairs of plugs, 10G and 8G. And here is where I will teach you how to stretch from my own trial and error.

Don’t skip sizes. I hadn’t been wearing earrings for years, so I really should have started stretching at a 16G or even an 18G, but I started with the 14G. My first attempt to stretch was the night I got my tapers in the mail, but before I could get any sort of lubrication for them. But let’s slow down, and back up a little bit before lubes.

How to clean and disinfect your jewelry before you stretch and what types of jewelry are safe to stretch with:

There are all sorts of different jewelry out there for stretched ears. You have various metals, glass, acrylic, wood, bone, horn, sylicone, etc. Of all the types there are, I am going to tell you two that are ok to stretch with. You can go against my word, I am no expert and stretching is about you and YOUR body, but this is my advice from MY OWN experience.

Stainless Steel Tapers with O-rings

Stainless steel. And glass. These two are your safest bet for stretching your ears and while they are not necessarily the cheapest, they will prevent any complications that could arise when you stretch. And if you are looking to save money on them, there are tons of places you can go online to buy taper sets made of these materials, for CHEAP. I spent maybe $20 total on stainless steel tapers and plugs for sizes 14G through 0G (I’ll link to some kits at the end of the post).

Here’s why you should choose steel or glass to stretch: Stainless steel and glass are both non-porous materials. In simpler terms, there are NO microscopic holes in the jewelry. You’re thinking, ok, why is this important? When you stretch your ears, you are creating tiny micro tears in your skin, these tears are opens wounds. Now you probably know that when you have a wound on your body, your body heals over it and makes NEW skin. Well if your body starts creating new skin and you have a plug in your ear with microscopic holes in it, your skin will start to grow into those holes. This can be bad! Very bad! There are horror stories of people whose ears have grown into their jewelry and have to have their jewelry surgically removed, which is not only painful, but expensive. Now does the extra few dollars for non porous plugs seems worth it?

[Also, a lot of stores in the mall and such will sell acrylic tapers individually, but they are actually more expensive this way, and will cost you hundreds of dollars if you choose to stretch this way]

Glass Spiral Tapers

Now onto cleaning your jewelry. Your first inclination is to probably grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol to wipe down your new jewelry with. Don’t. This will probably be your inclination for any cleaning regarding your ears, but avoid that. To properly clean your jewelry, and your ears, grab a cup full of warm (about the temperature of a nice hot shower) and add 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to it and mix. Make sure your sea salt is NOT iodized. You can get a big container of sea salt from your grocer for a few dollars and it will last you FOREVER. I’ve started using mine for cooking, cleaning all my piercings as well as my stretches and I’ve yet to make a real dent in it.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN TOUCHING YOUR JEWELRY OR EARS MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE SUPER CLEAN!

Let your jewelry soak in your warm salt water for a few minutes while you begin to prep your ears to stretch.

A lot of people suggest taking a hot shower beforehand to help soften up your lobes, but I find if my ears are ready for the stretch then this step is unnecessary. Take a qtip or a cotton ball and dip it into your same salt water and clean around your lobes with it, letting the warm water soften them up a bit.

Now on to lubes. Don’t go grab a bottle of lotion, or a tube of antibiotic cream. These are just greasy and nasty for your ears and will cause complications. You want a natural oil which has a similar composition to the oils in your body. Don’t just grab olive oil from the pantry. That will mess your ears up as well! I’m talking Jojoba oil or Vitamin E oil. Jojoba is pretty expensive and is not available at your drugstore for the most part, but Vitamin E oil is easy to come by and not too expensive. I spent $8 on a bottle, which at the time I thought was super expensive, but like my salt, I’ve hardly made a dent in it. It’s going to last me years.

Take just a drop of whatever oil you choose to use and spread it between your index finger and thumb and begin to massage it into your ear lobes. Once you think your ears are sufficiently lubed up, take your tapers out of the water solution and rub a drop or two of oil and run it along the taper, making sure the smaller end is nicely covered. Gently and slowly begin to insert the taper into your lobe (make sure your piercing has healed completely, wait at least 6 months to a year after getting them pierced to actually stretch them). I like to put two fingers on the back side of my ear to support it during the stretch. Slowly push the taper through. If it hurts, you’re not ready to stretch or you need to start at a smaller size. You should feel a slight stinging/burning sensation, and that will subside after a few minutes or so. It should not hurt though.

If you have a plug in the corresponding size, line it up with your taper and push to follow it through into your ear. Do not wear tapers as jewelry. The heavy weight on the one end will cause your ear to stretch unevenly. I wore tapers as jewelry at 14G and 12G but switched to wearing plugs only at 10G. The tapers at the first two sizes are pretty light, so it’s ok then, but they start weighing too much at 10G.

Pop your O-rings onto your jewelry and you’re good to go. FOR NOW. In four days, the newly stretched skin will start to relax and adjust to its new size and you should take your jewelry out, soak it in the sea water solution to clean it, using a qtip, cottom balls or clean fingers to scrub away your newly acquired ear cheese (yup, that gross looking, smelly stuff on your plug is called ear cheese, it’s a mixture of dead skin cells and sebum!) and then once again, clean your lobes with the salt solution. Put a drop of oil on your fingers and massage it into your ears, and until your ears have fully adjusted to your new size, I’d suggest putting a drop of oil on your plugs as well to help get them back in. Clean your ears and jewelry like this once or twice daily, and do not touch your ears during the day otherwise. They are still open wounds and touching them can get bacteria in them and cause infection.

So now I’ve got you started on your stretching journey! Part Two will go into detail on the process of healing after stretches and how to know when you’re ready to stretch to the next size as well as what to do in case of infection or tears, etc!

Links to jewelry:

Stainless Steel 316L Ear Taper Stretching Kit 16pc 14G-0G

Stainless Steel Taper and Surgical Steel Plugs Kit 28pc 14G-0G

Full Steel Taper Kit 14G-0G

Happy stretching

-Mel

Style How To: Fold and Wear a Bandana

So I get a lot of questions about how I fold my bandanas to wear in my hair and how I also get them to stay in one place the whole day. I do a lot of rockabilly and retro hair styles and when you add a bandana on top of some victory rolls it is CRUCIAL to make sure you don’t have to reposition your bandana every 15 minutes. So here’s a quick tutorial (it really is quick and simple, I just took lots of pictures)  on how to fold and wear it, and rock it all day long!

Start of with a plain old square bandana. You can buy them at places like Walmart or Target, but you usually get stuck with a paisley print, so if you’re looking for something a little different, try a craft store. They not only have solid colors but some fun prints as well and they are super cheap. I got this polka dot one at Hobby Lobby.

Find your corner with a tag. You can either cut this off, or if you’re like me, I just leave it there and make this one of my corner I fold in so no one ever sees it. Make sure you fold this corner in or you’ll end up a tag on top of your head!

Fold your tag corner and the opposite one and fold them in like this. If you want, you can start at one corner and fold/roll the bandana up, but it looks really chunky and awkward to me, and you usually end up with a little triangle piece hanging off the back of your neck. This method prevents that and also fits the shape of your head better, so less slippage.

Now this part I can show you super well because I had to use one hand with my camera, but grab each of your loose ends in your hands…

And pull!!! Pull hard enough and it will start to fold the bandana in on itself. If it looks a little bit too wide still, feel free to help it out a little and tuck in some bits here and there but don’t fold it. The loose wrinkly shape is gonna help us style it.

You can do this with your hair down but I always feel it makes the back look weird so I suggest doing this as an updo. So with your hair styled up however you please, place the middle of your bandana at the base of your style. The bottom edge should rest right up against your hairline. Gather your other ends on tops, and prepare your self to knot!

Identify your part line and tie your bandana so it’s center is in line with your part. I drew a blue line to help show you since my part is a little crazy looking with my bangs and ponytail!

Once you have your bandana lined up where you want it, finish your knot off to secure. Make sure it’s tight on your head so it’s not moving around too much, but don’t make it too tight that it’s too small to stay on or will give you a headache during the day! If your ends are poking up and out too much and starting to look like bunny ears, feel free to tuck them under the rest of the bandana to hide them. Mine were nice and flat today so I opted out of this step.

Pinning. This is probably the most crucial step in making sure your bandana stays in place ALL DAY, and is definitely the number one question I get in regards to how to properly wear a bandana. I use a total of four bobby pins to keep mine and place and for the purposes of this tutorial, I used the colored pins from Friday’s tutorial so you can actually see them.

My first two pins are going to be placed on my temple. Starting about where the blue dot is in the picture, I drag the bobby pin to catch all those little hairs in front of me ear and slide the pin up into place. It is crucial that you start in front of the bandana and catch those hair as tight as you can. If you start at the bandana instead, it will not have a taught anchor to secure it in place and will slide back until it is taught against the hairs underneath the bandana. Make sense? It’s like docking a boat. The closer to dock you secure the boat, the less it will move away. At least I think…I don’t know boats all too well.

Same thing goes for the two bobby pins placed on each side of the neck. Since your bandana is closer to your hairline, it doesn’t make as big a difference, but you want to secure them as tightly as you can to your hairline. One on each side of the nape of your neck.

Now you should have four pins in place, securely anchoring your bandana to your head, and you are ready to rock it for the day.

In the future I will show you different styles you can achieve with the bandana again, so I’ll see you soon with more tutorials!!!!

-Mel

Lovely Things #15

Hi all! It’s time for another completely sporadic LT post! I know, I know. Calm your horses! I’m trying the best I can! But anyways, this week I’ve been feeling extra crafty, and with my recent time off from work (also known as unemployment), I’ve been a little short on cash, so trying to find ways to be crafty involves a lot of repurposing! So this week’s LT is dedicating to repurposing things you may have laying around and making cool and exciting things from them! Let’s get started!

1) Altoids Container to All Purpose Card Holder from Creme De La Craft

Super cute and super useful. I mean COME ON, who doesn;t have a gazillion of these suckers laying around, and even if they’re not Altoids, I’ve still got dozens of little containers. I think I’m gonna make a couple (dozen) of these babies and say buh-bye to my big hulky wallet!

2) DIY Slave Bracelet from All Good Girls Go to Heaven

While I’m not all that into accessorizing and slave bracelets aren’t really my style, THIS is a great way to make use of broken necklaces. Because let’s face it, no necklace is immortal. Sadly.

3) Reusable Lined Snack Baggies from Happy Hour Projects

I’m currently lacking a sewing machine, but I am so down to try this out once I get my hands on one! I’ve been using my plastic shopping bags for garbage and cleaning Mr. Cooper’s toilet, but they still pile up faster than I can reuse them! This would be such a great way to repurpose all that plastic!

Oh, this girl is getting so excited right now!

4) DIY Vintage Excort Cards from Intimate Weddings

Oh you have no idea how excited this makes me! I’m not getting married anytime soon, but I have a few friends who are, and even aside from them, this would make a great gift for any one of my lovely ladies, or just myself. Hey! I need magnets for my fridge! It’s looking boring right now!

I hope you’re all feeling just as inspired and crafty as I am, and let me know if you have any fun and awesome ideas for how to reuse and repurpose things laying around the house!

Also, don’t forget to like us on FACEBOOK to be the first to know about all the cool things we’re going to be doing soon!

-Mel

Style How To: Colorful Summer Hair Pins

Hi all! So recently I saw a tutorial online on how to make these cute colorful hair pins by using just nail polish and some straight hair pins. Well today, I’m gonna show you how I did the same thing with bobby pins. This is super quick and easy, and great year round seeing as you can constantly change your colors, even daily to match your outfit!

You can’t see them super well in the picture because the lighting in this apartment is all sorts of crazy, but it’s a light mint green and a peach pink color. Two of my favorites for summer!

First, you’re going to need a couple bobby pins, and a selection of nail polish in the colors of your liking. I did three colors, the peach is a mixture I created on my own, NOT a Sally Hansen color. Minted by Revlon, which I don’t know if you can tell, but I have loved this polish so much and taken it everywhere with me that it has no writing left on the bottle. And my newest (clearance, oh yeah) polish, The Sky’s the Limit from Sally Hansen. The first two colors are less pigmented and require two or three coats (same as if I was doing my nails) but the Sally Hansen is so rich, one coat is more than enough!

Grab a piece of paper now and slide your bobby pins on as shown. I preferred to have them look smooth on the colored side, so I painted the flat portion, not the zig zags. If you want to have the zig zags be colored instead, go ahead and reverse it, or try both! In these pics you can get a good idea of the other colors I chose!

Carefully wipe of excess polish from your brush and begin to paint your pins. Try to get as little on the paper as you can, but make sure you also get the sides of the pins. Pretty much impossible. You will either miss spots or be super sloppy. In the next picture, you can see how sloppy I really am!

And voila! Let them dry for a few minutes then carefully slide them off the paper. I would suggest letting them dry a couple hours before putting in your hair. And there you go. Super easy. Super quick. Super cute and fun. And guess who helped me today!?

Much love and get crafty!

-Mel and Sheldon

Food Fest: Snickerdoodles!

So today I’m giving you a super simple recipe and kind of an all around favorite. I made this recipe yesterday for my boyfriend, Jeff, after he had a pretty terrible day. They’re his favorite, and while they’re not my ALL TIME favorite, they are pretty delicious. And the recipe is super simple to cut in half if you only want half as many delicious cookies (I’m not judging you, I cut it in half because I knew I’d eat them all if I didn’t). So here we go!

Here’s what you’ll need for this food fest (half batch quantities are in the parentheses):

3 3/4 (1 7/8) cups all purpose flower

1/2 (1/4) tsp baking soda

1/2 (1/4) tsp cream of tartar (I don’t know if there is a substitute if you don’t have this, I had to go buy some, so if you know, share the knowledge!)

1 (1/2) cup butter or margarine

2 (1) cup(s) sugar

2 (1) egg(s)

1/4 (1/8) milk

1 (1/2) tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

(the last two are for rolling the cookies in so I didn’t cut it in half only because its kind of hard with half as much)

1) Preheat oven to 375˚F

2) Grease cookie sheet (I did not do this and had no problems but I have a newer cookie sheet, if yours is older, I’d go on the safe side)

3) Stir together flour, soda, cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp of salt (HEY! Why weren’t you in the ingredients buddy???)

4) Beat butter for 30 seconds (this is so not fun with no electric mixer OR a whisk OR a wooden spoon…hello serving fork…); add sugar and beat til fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and beat well.

5) Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined (word to the wise: add a little bit at a time so you don’t get flour everywhere, makes clean up easier too!)

6) Let dough chill in fridge for 20 minutes. This isn’t a required step, but something I’m adding in because I found the next step kind of hard to do when the dough was super soft because it kept loosing shape.

7) Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in your mixture of 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

8) Place coated balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten a little with the bottom of a glass.

9) Bake at 375˚F for about 8 minutes or until a light golden color.

Original recipe says it makes about 66. I think the recipes always lie. Or I just don’t know how big an inch is?

I hope you all enjoy and send me pictures of your pretty cookies, or send me your own family cookie recipes to share on the blog!

-Mel

Treasury Tuesday: Hechizo De Amor

In case you weren’t following my love life (I hope you’re not), you probably weren’t aware that I have a new man in my life and I’ve got all those little new relationship things going on still. I’m in the super cute phase of a new relationship where all I can think about is my man, so of course this week’s TT is based off of those feelings and those old romance movies and a whole bunch of summery, lovey dovey cliches. But come on, who doesn’t love these things deep down inside? Check out the full collection, Hechizo De Amor, or click on the pics to get a closer look at some of the items!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

-Mel