Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The hell called Carousell

I'll be totally honest here. I love online shopping a bit too much. I remember scouring eBay, Lelong and wherever whatnot for stuff that I probably shouldn't be buying or at least things that I probably won't be buying anyway. I find it oddly theraputic, just scrolling about looking at stuff.

Then I discovered Carousell.
The app has been around for a fair amount of time and I had some friends using it. At first I was really skeptical about it (I prefered for selling things tbh, its a lot faster) but decided to try it out anyway because it seemed like a nice lazy way to get things sold fast. Preloved makeup especially.

All was fine at first when all I did was just buy stuff. I'm not a particularly fussy buyer (well, aside from the fact I refuse to buy lip products because ew, unsanitary) and I like to get transactions over and done with fast because less things hanging loose means I get my stuff faster right?

Then I started selling stuff, that's when I got a lot of weirdness coming out of the woodwork. In any user to user selling site, you are bound to find one of these people:

1. Lowballers
2. People who joybid then disappear
3. Extraordinarily fussy buyers
4. Sellers selling fake goods (and claiming they are real)
5. HEY LETS SWAP (when you aren't open for swaps to start)
6. People who don't understand how to behave when doing a transaction, e.g reserving something then dropping out due to "lack of interest" or simply disappearing without a word after you respond to them.


Bonus: Singaporean Carousellers following my page even though there's no way for me to actually sell them things O___O

Bonus 2: I actually got sold fake stuff thinking they were real, and paying the actual price for it. Something I will detail in another post.

But I DO like Carousell for a few things:

1. Easy way to search for listings
2. Simple way to upload listings
3. Straightforward and eyepleasing
4. Often goods are a fair bit cheaper than on the shelves
5. Good for lazy old me I suppose.

I've purchased a fair bit of things (for one I seem to like samples) for cheaper and I honestly don't mind preloved makeup as long as its not something used on the lips. Heck, this is where I get most of my funky hairdye.

Bottom line is, I REALLY HATE CAROUSELL AS A SELLER but at the same time its too convenient for me to give up as a buyer =_= for the most part I've become inactive but I still check time to time...

So what do you think about the app? have you gotten a taste of the crazy too?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

[Review] Portland Black Lipstick Part 3

Hi everyone,

We're back with more Portland Black Lipstick Co colours! This batch is a fairly eclectic mix of colours that I mostly haven't seen or tried myself which arrived with my latest order courtesy of the ever awesome Kim Damio.

A quick overview of the colours as per their website:

Goodbye, Little Yellow bird : Not available,because I can't find anywhere that sells it besides Beauty Bohemia. It's not a new colour though.

Lux Et Voluptas : Lux et Voluptas is a two-toned lipstick. It has a top layer of metallic gold backed by a charming carmine-based pink. It is somewhat more translucent, light and sparkly than most of our other colors, which works well for those who prefer more subtle lip wear than we usually offer. And, yes, this is a personal tribute to the restrained decadence of the 1990s, to Hakim Bey, and to this year's long awaited spring season in Portland. Look forward to the launch of our new autumnal color -- 'Nox et Veritas'!!!

Imitation Cherry: This colour has been around for a fairly long time, but doesn't seem to be for sale anywhere as far as I can find it. You should still be able to order it though, by contacting the sellers via email or their FB page.

Graey: None either, because I'm highly suspicious this is a new colour ( or at least not one that has been updated anywhere afaik). Only place stocking it is yet again, Beauty Bohemia.

Imitation Cherry

It's a very deep dark cherry red. It's a fair bit brighter and seems to have more of a true red base than compared to say, Undead Red which is a bit more of a plum colour. Seems to be great for making a statement or hitting the right note for that film noir style. Might be a tad too fierce for work though, but I love it all the same.

Goodbye, Little Yellow bird

It's a cheerful yellow as expected, is creamy and a bit minty as all their stuff. I personally find the shade a bit weird to wear, and it's like a matte non metallic version of Gilded Lily. I had some issues getting it as opaque as I wanted with my brush. Slightly pastel too. It's oddly not available on either their Etsy or website pages but I've seen people purchase tubes of it before.


It's a creamy bluish matte light gray. It takes a few more layers to get it opaque compared to the rest, the consistency reminds me of Abominable. It is a very nice steely light grey colour but I can't think of an application for it at the moment unless you are a cyborg or something and have metal lips.

Lux Et Voluptas

One of PBL's more 'recent' colours, it's a very wearable pinkish colour with gold flecks in it. The flecks aren't very visible once it goes on but it's a very cute colour. Similar in vein of shade with The Coral is Coming Out of the House.  It's also available on their site! Whoo!

Rating: 4/5

Pros: Creamy, tastes nice, has staying power. Wasn't as hard to remove as the darker colours.

Save Lux Et Voluptas and maybe Imitation Cherry, I have no clue what I would do with these colours outside of costume use. Lux Et Voluptas contains natural carmine and might prove to be an allergen to some people.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Six things I learned while working with a hot knife

I tend to work with foam a lot. Same goes for closed cell PVC boards too, plastic stuff. Mainly because I've grown too damn lazy to make things out of wood anymore.

Last month, I got one of these babies:

Hot knife, I am.
Set me back about RM 60 from Multifilla which I felt was a great investment; clean cuts! There are other models available which are probably better but this was the only one I've seen for sale so far that didn't look like it was made to cauterize dinosaur bites.

But alas, it wasn't as perfect as I thought it was going to be. Over the last couple of days of playing with this monster, I've learned a few things, so I'm going to share it with the interwebs so you guys don't make some of the same idiot mistakes I did.

1. It's bloody sharp and hot at the same time

Ever heard of the phrase 'like a hot knife through butter' ? a hot knife pretty much sums up that experience. The first time you stick that knife through some foam feels pretty amazing, but you tend to forget that the blade tends to be of the 'extremely sharp, will make your fingers into bacon' variety and since the material you are working on is melting, it's pretty damn easy to slip if you put too much force in it.

So far I've been lucky that the only two times it slipped the knife only hit the table, but who knows when that luck is going to run out.

Or you could pretend it's a lightsaber.
2. Protection, please.

This goes out to people using a hot-anything. Hot glue gun, heat gun etc, I don't care if you're doing it on the table or on the floor, cover your legs with something. Wear a thick pair of pants, cover them with a towel, newspaper, ANYTHING.

I've learned first hand that melty things tend to drip, and those drips also happen to be damn hot, the last thing you want before a con is to have a mighty blister on the inside of leg because a rogue bit of plastic decided to say hello to your pale fleshy thighs.

Also if you can help it, wear gloves. Manual dexterity will be compromised but its better than having damaged digits.

3. Do it in a ventilated area

In case you forgot, foam and plastic are made of chemicals. Chemicals that are pretty damn bad for you if you inhale them in fume form. In other words, it stinks. A lot.

Wear a face mask and do it somewhere that has lots of ventilation, like next to a window or something. Get a fan, blow that stank outside. You'll thank me when you're not inhaling little particles of plastic.

4. Lighting!

I can't stress this one enough. What part of working with a hot ass, sharp knife should you be doing in the dark? none of it. You're likely to cut or burn yourself if you can't pay full attention to what you're doing. I've cut myself plenty by using a boxcutter while not paying attention to what I'm doing, and having shitty lighting doesn't help either. Work under a lamp or something if you have to get your stuff done at night. Which you likely will, the night before the con.

Which brings us to our next point...

5. You will destroy your shit if you're not looking

I don't know about other models of hot knives, but this one is basically a modified soldering iron that has a knife on the tip instead of a rod. The blade portion is removable for replacement purposes but the barrel of the knife is also hot when it's in use.

This has lead to a lot of scarring and burn marks on the Sintra I happened to be cutting (because I wasn't paying attention to what the rod was touching) and it has outright melted some of the foam I was working on. Watch where you're poking that thing and you'll be fine.

6. Wipe often.

Plastic gunk can and will accumulate on your blade. With avengeance. It might burn, it might just bubble or it might just sit there and muck up everything it touches.

Get a rag or a wad of newspaper you're willing to destroy to wipe that stuff off with. If you're too scared to touch the knife (as you should be) you can just rub the knife against the cloth instead to get stuff off, but it will be harder to do once it's cooled so it's the first thing you want to do once you turn the power off.

Oh, your knife will also start to turn black the moment you start using it. This is because of oxidization or flammable stuff getting in contact with your blade. There's nothing you can do about it besides embrace the soot.

Chances are it will look like this after a few uses:

At the end of the day safety is still tantamount to you getting your props done on time so I hope the article was useful, and stay safe!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

[Tutorial] Quick n' dirty steampunk goggles

This whole thing is 90% foam. Believe it!
Need a pair of steampunk goggles on the fly? making these would set you back a couple of hours at most, and can be made of random junk lying around your house.

The goggles I made were meant to be pinned to a top hat I made (no tutorial sorry, not unless I decide to make another hat!) so they CAN be used on your face but they're nowhere near as comfortable and can be kinda flimsy for actual wear. But they definitely work if you just want a pair for show.

NOTE: This tutorial does not include any measurements whatsoever, because your base materials might vary.


A reasonably sized cardboard tube (any tube shaped material would work actually)
Foam (two thicknesses, preferably between 2mm - 5mm)
Scrap cloth or faux leather
Scrap transparent plastic sheet, mine came from a plastic file
PVA glue (or favourite foam sealant)


Scissors/ boxcutter knife
Contact Glue
Rub N' Buff in Antique Gold
Acrylic Paint
Needle and thread


3D paint
Tiny screws or thumbtacks

The first order of business is to find a reference for what you want to make your steampunk goggles looking like. I wanted something more vintage looking (without all the extra fancy stuff) plus I need to do it really fast (because, I tend to do shit last minute) so I picked a very basic design.

Cut the tubes and fit the first foam layer

These will form the main 'body' of your goggles. Take your tube and cut it in half and then cut the other end slightly slanting so they will fit around your eyes comfortably. If you aren't going to wear them you don't have to cut them to an exact fit.

Next cut out two larger strips of the thinner foam and wrap it around both tubes, glue them down and trim off the access. Once they dry, coat the outside of the foam with a sealant and let it dry.

While waiting for them to dry, measure out and cut adequate amounts of scrap cloth, elastic or leather to make into your 'strap'. Make a short one to act as the nose bridge of the goggles and a longer one that will go around your neck/head/hat/whathaveyou.

Make the lenses
Use the 'front end' to measure

For the 'lenses' cut out circles from your transparent plastic sheet and then glue them onto your tube. Don't worry if they're too big, you can trim them off later. You can use tougher plastic or even coloured material for this step, as long as it's semi transparent anything works really.
They will more or less look like this
Optionally, you can also paint the inside of your tubes if you don't want people to see that they're actually made of cardboard rolls :P I painted mine black but at a later stage than I should have. Lesson learnt!


Once you have trimmed them, cut out a pair of 'rims' for your goggles. I wasn't super careful when cutting mine out so they're a little uneven but I did trim them down somewhat. Once they're ready place the outer rim on top of the goggles and glue it down. 

This will act as sort of a 'sandwich' to hold the lenses in place and make it look cooler/hide all your ugly glue. You can also glue an additional ring of foam on the back of the goggles to simulate padding or to just make it more comfortable if you do intend to wear it later.

Here is where I added little drops of 3D paint to the outer rims to simulate rivets, you can also use 3D paint to make them look all regal by painting decorative patterns on them if your character is of the fancier persuasion.

Coat the outer rims with sealant as well. You can add little screws or thumbtacks as well but do it after you've sealed everything.

Paint paint.

Paint up your goggles to be with a base coat. Black is preferable. You may need 1-3 coats depending on how thick your paint is, just be careful to avoid dripping any on your lenses. Allow to dry thoroughly in between each layer.

Now here's the fun part.
After the base coat has dried, break out your Rub N' Buff and use your finger or a brush to start painting the entire body of the goggles, buff them out when done.

If you don't have/want to use Rub N' Buff, regular copper coloured acrylic paint will work just as well.

Take a bit of care to avoid painting on your lenses as usual.


Once everything is done, take your straps and either glue or staple them to your goggles. Optionally you can cover the staples with a bit of paint or foam, though bear in mind that glue is not as good as tacking the straps down and should be treated as a temporary measure.

After that you're pretty much done! I might write a more proper tutorial later because I am going to be making more goggles, hopefully with more comprehensive instructions.

Happy building!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

[Tutorial] Super easy foam claws

I happen to like claws, nails and other pointy things. Hell, I have an entire costume lined up that's practically nothing but foam spikes (ugh) so this time we're gonna talk about making some foam claws (or teeth) for yourself. It's an easy project but it requires a lot of elbow grease if you're going to do it by hand. So lets get to it.
Please read through the entire project before collecting material!


4-5mm foam, colour irrelevant if you're going to paint it
Glue sticks (for hot glue gun)
Contact glue (or similar contact cement) I prefer Shelley's Kwik Grip.
Newspaper (for blueprinting and stuffing)


Boxcutter blade or X-acto knife type cutting implement. Sharper the better.
Hot Glue Gun
Pencils, markers, etc for marking the foam


Sandpaper 150- 600 grit depends on need
Heat gun
Dremel or equivalent rotary tool with sanding bit
Filler or latex acrylic based caulk (get gloves for that shit! its bad for skin)
Template and cut

First, draw up your claw blueprint and make a template out of it before you get to cutting. For tracing it out I used a yellow sewing chalk pencil to outline it because it's easier to see.

The way I do it is by drawing three shapes (bottom, top and the middle piece) and then cutting the 3rd piece in half. The 3rd piece will form the 'walls' of your claw. Of course you could make it taller or shorter depending on your needs.
Chop chop!
Sticking it all together

There's two ways you can glue up your claw.

The first method is to use hot glue to connect the pieces together. This way can be a little tricky if you aren't using high-temp hot glue sticks as it can sometimes cool before you finish sticking them together. But this method is good if you want to get it done VERY FAST.

The contact glue way is to apply glue on both the sides you are connecting and letting them dry just a little till they're tacky. After that jam both sides together firmly and they should stick almost seamlessly.
Before sanding and trimming. Yes I used a satay stick to get glue into all those little corners :)

The results are roughly the same, it's just a matter of your personal preference and how strong you want the bond to be. Just remember that the closer and more accurately you glue it, the less visible the seams will be!

When it's done you can then trim the corners, carve notches, shave it smooth with sandpaper, stuff it with newspaper for strength, the possibilities are practically endless :)


If you need to paint it, just seal it up in your preferred method of treating foam and paint away!

Also if there are tiny cracks in your foam, you can always go over it with some caulk or filler and let it dry overnight. This in turn can be sanded smooth or you can smoothen it with water before letting it dry, roughly same results.

Alternatively, if you're bothered by little hairy bits left behind from sanding or uneven cutting, you can run your heat gun over the foam to remove the unwanted texture. Just remember not to leave it there too long! it could cause your glue to melt.
I used the claws to make teeth for these boney shoulderpads I made for a client LOL
That's pretty much the entire project in a nutshell. Hope it was helpful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[Review] Portland Black Lipstick [part 2]

This time, we're taking a look at Portland's titular Black lipstick, Metallurgy, Artificial Amethyst and Chaiborg.

A quick overview of the colours as per their website:

Black: The best ever! A perfect blend of black iron oxide and mice in a moisturizing base, this colour is opaque and long lasting.

Metallurgy: This unique lipstick is forged from black, green and gold colours to produce a truly unusual metallic experience. The results are surprisingly sophisticated - but with the primitive boldness you have come to expect from Portland Black Lipstick Company products.

Artificial Amethyst: We introduced this dark purple lipstick at this year’s wonderfully fun Portland Hallowe’en Bazaar. In true modernist fashion, we celebrate the fact that it is not made from real gemstones, but from FDA approved mineral pigments. After all, have you ever *tried* to stick amethysts on your lips? They fall off and bounce around on the floor…

Chaiborg: This futuristic lipstick is a cross between the metallic silver gray of industrial robotics and the warm light brown of milk tea. Neither too warm nor too cold, Chaiborg is a cosmetic life form all its own!

Time for swatches!

Artificial Amethyst

Looks like a rich metallic dark purple like it's namesake The colour goes on beautifully, producing a very deep purple colour with a faint metallic shimmer. I would call it within the same family as Indigo Bridge in terms of looks. 

Of all the colours tested I like this about as much as Indigo Bridge. Photo doesn't entirely do it justice.Very pigmented as well, it took very little to get it this opaque. If you want it slightly lighter, a blotting would bring out more of the purple hue.

Ahh yes, the colour that Portland Black Lipstick is most famous for. It's a very rich black that goes on opaque with minimal amount. It stays on pretty well too and is one of the darkest blacks I know on the market. The caveat: it's a bit hard to get off and might stain lips a little bit. Time to break out the makeup remover! it's rich and pigmented but it really isn't a huge favourite  for me though I can see why lots of people love it.

Is a  metallic silver grey with a warm brown tone, like it's namesake chai. It's very similar to the other metallic lippies but being one of the more neutral shades, it's pretty wearable. Makes you look kinda like you have iron -robot lips, and it straddles the line between being a warm and cold shade too. Photo sadly doesn't really do it much justice either. 

It's nice but it's not one of my favorites because it looks a little odd against my crazy pale yellowish skintone.


Is a deep greenish gold, metallic colour. I'd say it's somewhere between black and pewter cauldron with a hint of gold sprinkled in. A nice shiny metallic colour for those who don't want to hit full on black. It goes on great and it's crazy pigmented. In terms of metallics I still like chaiborg more in terms of the cooler metal colour options.

I think I was a little unlucky with this sample that it had gone off a little. It smelled and tasted weird so after the review I got rid of it. I've tried it before with another friend who introduced me to the brand and I didn't experience this. We HAVE very hot weather and I hadn't stored the sample properly so that's likely the cause of it. According to Portland Black Lipstick Co. each lip stick colour has a different shelf life and if it smells sharp and a little like crayon or has dried out, it's probably reached the end of it's lifespan.

Rating: 5/5

Pros: Creamy, tastes nice, has staying power.

All these colours save for Artifical Amethyst were very hard to remove without any form of makeup remover. Artificial Amethyst has natural carmine and might prove to be an allergen to some people.