Shaggy Fur Pelt On My Head In Summer.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Living in the tropics. Having thick fast-growing hair. Preferring short styles. Getting overheated easily. Being really grumpy whenever overheated. Not having much money. Enjoying DIY.

Why am I listing all these things?

Well, for a start, they are all true about me.

Together, they mean I need an inexpensive way to frequently trim my hair.

I used to just get those buzzer-clipper things that you plug in and use to shave all the hair off. But I got bored with that because I like having personality to my hair, a style I can play with or not as I choose. My hair is a reflection of my mood and identity; it’s one of the ways I can reinvent myself when I need a change. At the same time, if I don’t keep it short, it tries to eat my soul and take over my life. Seriously, just ask my best friend — she’ll vouch.

Basically, I want SOME hair, just not a lot of it. And I want it to look good.

I started using scissors on myself; but with the kind of short punk hairstyles I like, it was time consuming and annoying. I could never get it just how I wanted it.

I did some research and discovered that a razor would give me the result I was looking for.

I started looking into the razor-comb things as a possible solution. It seemed like a good fit: it would take less time than scissors, and give more texture and layers than the buzzers. It also seemed be relatively easy to do on myself.

I figured I’d get a cheap version that allowed for replaceable razor blades, since I lot of tips and complaints had to do with needing to use a sharp blade. But it still came to about $10 for the comb and replacement blades online, and I wanted to be sure I’d like the result before I spent the money.

Then I had a very simple and brilliant idea, based on items I ALREADY had:

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I took a plastic comb, a single-edged razor blade, and masking tape, and made the obvious combination:

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Laying the blade along the teeth of the comb and taking a bit of the tape to hold it all in place creates a similar effect as the cheap razor-combs. Not quite though, because the blade is exposed on one side, so you have to be a little more careful.

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Ta-da! I can adjust the length of the teeth guarding the blade by repositioning the razor on the comb, and I can take the whole thing apart to wash it when I’m done.

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I gave it a test, and it works fine for what I wanted. The cut hair gets a little stuck between the comb and the razor, but that’s not an issue at all to pull out as I work it.

I didn’t take a “before” picture because I didn’t think about turning this into a post until I saw how well it worked, which meant I was already done. But here’s what my hair looks like “after”:

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Basically, just imagine all the hair being about the length and shagginess of the stuff up top now. The layered trimming of the lower back part was done with this contraption in about ten minutes, including sweeping the floor after. Maybe less time. Oh, and that little patch at the nape that looks shaved? It isn’t, that’s just how my hair grows naturally.

I’ll get around to experimenting more with length and style at a later date (and remember to take pictures before AND after, too!). But for now, I’ve saved $10, and I know that I can quickly and easily keep my hair thinned and trimmed enough to not feel like a shaggy fur pelt on my head in the summer. And that is always a win.

Love,

GeGi.

Speaking Of…

Dear Cyber-Friends,

I finished a couple more oil paintings today, and thought I’d share them with you.

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I’m still toying around with a name for this one… it’ll have something to do with watching shooting starts in a grassy field on summer evening, because that’s the feeling it conjures up for me.

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This one I’m calling “I Open My Heart.”

It’s the phrase I thought of when I decided it was done, which is how I usually name my paintings. It didn’t photography very well, unfortunately, but when I look at it in person, for some reason I think of the last line of a movie I watched once:

“Knowing love, I can allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and to face all things with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.”

Love,

Gegi.

I’m the Green Fairy! (No, not actually.)

Dear Cyber-Friends,

There are a few things I don’t feel I can do tutorials for. They are things that I might like the results of, but am unskilled enough at technique that the results come about by accident and happy chance. Oil painting is one of those things. Makeup is another.

However, I will still gladly share those end results that I like, and perhaps a photo or two of the steps along the way. I figure if nothing else, they are pretty to look at, and hopefully seeing what I stumble onto might inspire a few of you to get creative on your own!

That said, here is today’s fantasy fairy makeup.

No make-up:

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…halfway through:

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And the finished result!

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Love,

Gegi.

So. Many. Photos.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

To kick off the week, I decided I’d give you a photo-filled Creative Day post!

This week, I’ll be showing you how to make a batch of herb-steeped apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse, which I use instead of a hair conditioner.

To begin, choose which herbs, flowers, and/or spices to use. Internet searches can give you lists and idea of what is good for different types and conditions of hair, so I’ll just show what I picked for this batch:

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Calendula. You may have used a calendula salve at some point to sooth itchy skin or rashes. This little flower is great for many uses, hair included.

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Chamomile. Probably most commonly known for a relaxing tea, this flower is a standard go-to for most of my mixes because it’s so versatile and beneficial.

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Lavender. Like chamomile, this flower has basically endless uses and benefits.

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Mint. This is a mix of peppermint and spearmint, actually. Mint, again, has many benefits and can be used in pretty much anything.

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Nettle. Perhaps best known as a stinging weed, nettles are actually a highly useful and healthy addition to beauty products, tea, and even cooking. They also happen to be great for hair rinses.

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Nutmeg. A great little spice I like to add to many skin and hair care recipes. Plus it smells like Christmas!

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Rose petals. Make sure you use ones that still have a rose scent; besides the obvious reason of it smelling better, it means they’re fresher and will still have the beneficial properties of roses. This is actually true for any herbs and spices you acquire. Great for both skin and hair.

Other ingredients I sometimes use for this are green tea, jasmine, cloves, thyme, rosemary, mugwort, or hibiscus.

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The amounts of everything you use is completely up to you. My proportions change with each batch because I never bother with measuring for this “recipe”.

If you’re not sure, then I suggest planning to get your container about halfway full with herbs and flower, and either have a 1:1 ratio of everything (except spices, which will be a lot less — as you can see above, I used about a tablespoon of nutmeg).

I tend to up the ratio of flowers, because they tend to be less concentrated than herbs — making it take more to get the same impact — but it depends on the flowers, and on what result you want. In this case, my largest proportions are of nettle, rose, and chamomile; rose because I love the smell, chamomile because it’s soothing and good for dark hair, and nettle because it’s clarifying and also good for dark hair.

Once you have your herbs, flowers, and spices gathered, there’s one more ingredient:

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Now you’ll need to steep the herbs in the ACV.

This will require a container; I use a clean mason jar:

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Whatever container you use, make sure it’s not metal or plastic; either could react badly to the acid of the vinegar, and ruin the benefits of your potion. Also, choose something wide-mouthed. This will make getting the herbs in and out of it much easier on you.

Speaking of which:

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You can use a canning funnel to help prevent messes! Plus, if you do this on a clean, smooth surface, then you can scoop up anything that spills and add it back in.

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The jar full of herbs. It’s a little over half full — the last batch I made was about a quarter full. Anything in that range will turn out fine; you can just add time the steeping stage if you’re using a small amount.

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Pour ACV over the herbs. Make sure you fill up the container; you don’t want air space left in the jar. I’d suggest stirring or shaking the jar right away to clear out air pockets, especially if you have a lot of herbs. Then you can add more ACV.

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Once it’s all put together, all you have to do is shake the jar at least once a day, for at least two weeks. Keep it somewhere you’ll remember about it, but which doesn’t get direct sunlight or too much heat. I have it on an open shelf in my bathroom. Also, you might want to label and/or date the container, especially if you have other similar projects around.

The high acid content of vinegar is a natural preservative , so you don’t have to worry about refrigerating it at this stage — I don’t, and I live in Hawaii where EVERYTHING grows in ways you don’t always want, given the slightest chance.

When the two weeks (or up to a month or more) is over, you’re ready to strain out the herbs. I tend to do it in two stages to make it more manageable.

Step one is to empty the whole jar into something easy to pour from, via a regular colander. This gets the majority of herbs out of the way — which you’ll want to squeeze by hand in the colander, by the way, to get every bit of infused ACV goodness.

Step two is pouring the AVC through a finer stainer into a clean storage container, usually via a funnel to again prevent messes. This can even be the first jar you used for steeping, as long as you rinsed it out while it was empty.

Congratulations, you now have ACV conditioner rinse in concentrate form! This is the best way to store it, especially if you want to make big batches ahead of time.

To use in or after a shower, just mix up a small container — I use a squeeze bottle — with a quarter ACV to three quarters plain water. I scrub it all through my hair and scalp, and usually let it sit for a minute or two before lightly rinsing in warm water. The result is the softest hair ever.