Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Awards

I can never resist getting snarky about Oscar dresses, so I wrote this up and since it has a good bit about jewelry in it, I'm putting it here for your consumption. You can play along by looking at this slideshow, which are the same pictures I was looking at when I wrote this. Be sure to notice that if you hover over those pictures there are additional little "detail" pictures of jewelry and bags. One thing is very obvious with the jewelry, and that's that the usual big flashy necklaces are conspicuously absent this year. (Hmm, you think this means the whole "statement necklace" trend is over?)

Here's my little mini-rant, before we start: I'm soooo sick of strapless dresses. Do something different, people. Plus a lot of them are unflattering or just plain ugly, although the ones this year were not as bad as some previous years have been, on that score.

OK, starting here with the slideshow:

1. Cameron Diaz - this is beautiful, actually, and I'm not usually much of a fan of hers. Strapless aside, I like it. I do agree with whoever said she looks like Generic Hollywood Blonde, though. (Barbie Goes to the Oscars, maybe?)

2. Sandra Bullock - it looks pretty good in this picture, but I mostly didn't think it looked that good live. (Hey, it's not strapless, though!) The tissue skirt looked like aluminum foil a lot of the time. I tell you when it looked really beautiful, though, was in the long shot where she was sitting in her aisle seat and the skirt was arranged all pretty to the side. That one time, it looked really great.

3. J-Lo - this one was the opposite, it looked really pretty on the red carpet when she was swishing the skirt around. (Big swishy skirts had to be the #1 trend this year.) I do hate that foldy thing on the front, though.

4. Demi Moore - I really like this one a lot. Another strapless that works. I like the color on her, I like her hair, I even like the wrapped mummy effect at the top and the cascading ruffles at the bottom. When I describe it, like that, it sounds awful. But it just all works. (Added: the Fug Girls point out that it is rather seriously too tight across the top. But I didn't even notice that until they said it.)

5. Penelope Cruz - I like everything about this except the neckline. I like the color, the drapery, all that stuff. The bustline just looks weird, though.

6. Kate Winslet - I don't love this. It's sort of overly restrained. Too tailored-looking for my taste, I guess. Maybe it's supposed to just be a background for that necklace, which I do like. (I didn't even notice it at first, actually.)

7. Kristin Stewart. Hmm. Don't like her hair, love the navy, and at least her strapless fits. There's something funny-looking about this dress that I can't quite put my finger on. I love the trumpet part at the bottom - other than that, meh.

8. Sarah Jessica Parker - horrid all the way around. Wow, sort of breathtakingly horrible, actually. (And this is Chanel? Really?) And that color wouldn't flatter her even if the rest of the dress looked better.

9. Nicole Richie. Well, it's not a strapless, that's for sure, but ugh, just the same.

10. Miley Cyrus - it's not horrible on a SJP scale, but it kinda looks like she went out in her underwear. Be sure and look at her jewelry, though - that cuff in particular is beautiful. Bracelets seem to have replaced the big necklaces as the jewelry of choice this year.

I snagged a screenshot of her hand:

11. Zoe Saldana - I want to see what the Fug Girls had to say about this (see link at bottom), because it's certainly ripe for mockery. It did look sorta pretty swishing around onstage, though.

12. Diane Kruger - I usually think she looks great, but that black stuff looks oddly like it's some sort of goth tinsel or something.

13. Rachel McAdams - I have decided that Rachel McAdams is one of those chameleon-ish actors - she just looks utterly different every time I see her. I can't quite get over the stage where I'm going, Really? This is Rachel McAdams? (Or else maybe I'm getting her mixed up with somebody else, I don't know.) But really I like this dress a lot. It's pretty. I don't think those earrings go well with it, though.

14. Carey Mulligan - this looks too much like a prom dress. (Cute shoes.)

15. Anna Kendrick - the overall effect is really similar to Demi Moore - that is, the color (more or less) and the hair. These pale colors would wash out a blonde too much, but I think both these brunettes carry it off. The dress itself is pretty, except that that slit at the bottom ruins the line of it somehow.

16. Maggie Gyllenhaal - first of all, the description calls this "avant-garde", to which I say, I'm not seeing what's so avant-garde about it. I don't really like it, but not because it's so out there or anything, I just don't. What I can see of that jet thing in her hair looks pretty, though.

17. Vera Farmiga - I love you, Vera, but I hate this dress. Now this, I would call kind of out there. Pretty color, other than that, awful. It's, I don't know, an explosion in the ruffle factory or something.

18. Amanda Seyfried - I don't love it. This is the very pale person who is washed out by the pale dress. Those chocolate-diamond bracelets are kind of pretty, though.

19. Elizabeth Banks - I like the color, don't love the rest of it. (The text calls this gray, but it looks blue-gray to me. Which I like. I might have to go look at some other pictures of it.)

20. Mariah Carey - prom dress

21. Julianne Moore - another one who can't carry off the pale color. Maybe because she's a redhead? I'm not sure.

(As for the Fug Girls - here's a link to a lot of their Oscar snark, which I had not read until after I wrote the above. The Zoe comment is particularly hilarious. And they didn't like Kate's dress either, although they did like Vera's.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Acrylic paint, and other experiments

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had been painting easter eggs. I've been having the best time playing around with it, even though I really have no idea what I'm doing. This didn't start out having anything to do with Easter, really, it started because I was wanting to try out the paint, and paper mache easter eggs seemed like a good (small, cheap) thing to experiment on. I had a set of Crafty Chica paints, which are sort of fiesta colors, not really colors that scream "Easter." I tried lightening them up with white to get more pastel colors, but while I was getting really pretty results, I was having trouble getting them to be consistent. (I guess what you'd have to do if you really wanted to be able to have the same color over and over would be to mix a larger amount up, sort of like they do with house paints.) So then I went and bought some Ceramcoat acrylics in sherbet pastels, and those are working out well, plus I'm still playing around with mixing them with the Crafty Chica paints, too, so now I've got pastels and brights and I can make everything in between, too. And then I started playing around with washing colors one over another and I ended up making some interesting effects, sort of accidentally.

I also stumbled onto a couple of useful tools that are a bit unconventional. One thing was something I had bought to protect my jewelry table - it was a fondant sheet from the cake decorating section of the craft store. It's a big plasticized sheet, and it has a 1" grid on it as well as big circles for rolling out icing. (I haven't used those so far for the painting I've been doing but it seems like they could be useful if you were doing something more precise than what I have been.) I ended up cutting my sheet up into smaller pieces, but that was because I live in an apartment and my space is really limited. I don't think everybody would necessarily want to do that. Up until I stumbled onto an ad hoc paint tray - see below - I squeezed my paint right out onto the fondant sheet. It cleans up fine with soap and water or a baby wipe. (I had bought the baby wipes for cleaning up rubber stamps, but they are amazing for cleaning a variety of things, I am finding. If you have children you probably know this already but I don't, so they are new to me!)

The other thing was that I had some of those mini quiches that you buy at Sam's Club - the brand is Nancy's Petite Quiches - and they come in plastic trays with indentations for the individual little quiches. They make  great paint trays, which is something I hadn't gotten around to buying yet, and it's less messy than squeezing the paint right out onto the plastic sheet, like I had been doing. (That worked just fine, actually - except that since I'm working with egg shapes, they have a tendency to roll, and once or twice they rolled right into the paint.)

Oh, and I am sealing my eggs with Ceramcoat Glossy Varnish, which is very shiny and looks great. Pictures to come. They are not great works of art, since I have no real painting skills whatsoever, but they are cute, just the same.

(I also decoupaged some eggs, but I'll talk about that later.)

(Incidentally, this is apparently my 101st post! Pretty amazing, considering how slowly I started off!)