Thanks for stopping by! This is my corner of the blogosphere where I'm keeping track of
styles/techniques/products, lessons learned, my to-do list, and favourite links.
Feel free to offer any comments, feedback, or advice - I'm learning as I go !

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Caribana "Jump-Up" Hair!

I really like to experiment. There's so much out there still to try. Thus my To do list, which is even longer in my head than it is on my blog. I'm constantly adding things I see on other blogs or in real life. I'm an avid hair-watcher in my diverse community and always looking for inspiration.

A few weeks ago I passed by a neighbour who was doing her daughter's hair on her front steps.  This neighbour lives a couple of blocks away, and although I knew her to see her, I had never spoken to her. She was removing threaded twists from her daughter's (4B) hair and I stopped to inquire. She explained that she used doubled weaving thread, and it worked well to stretch hair. She showed me how to wrap the thread around the tops of the twists and wrap the thread around the sections of hair.

I'd seen this style threaded before on blogs, most notably at Cherish My Daughter (see the posts labelled African Hair Threading on Mocha Mom's fabulous blog). These are also called Ghana Plaits. However, in all my hair-watching I'd never seen this in real life. It was an instant add-on to the to-do list.

On my last trip to Sally's I picked up some weave thread - a big spool for $2 or $3. And today was the day. It's Caribana in Toronto right now, and the whole city is jumpin'! The Caribana Parade (today!!) is an amazing experience but it's also crowded and hot, and tricky with little ones. So although we decided to jump and play close to home instead of with the big crowds, I thought it was a good time for JJ to show her West Indian colours.
homemade shea/coco/aloe mix, water
scissors, comb, thread, beader
Jj's hair was freshly washed and detangled. I applied a homemade shea/coconut oil/aloe mix to her hair as I worked. I cornrowed sections towards the back of her head in an almost-mohawk style. I threaded the ends, added shiny green and gold beads. I finished (or so I thought) with JJ's trademark "bangs" with regular two-strand twists. 

added cornrow along hairline on non-bang side
This being my first time trying Ghana Plaits I'd say the hardest thing was getting the tension right. Once I was finished the style, I had to go back and adjust some to make the plaits more evenly coiled. 
pre-fix: see how the coil is uneven?
post fix: slightly more even coil
JJ really liked the look of the Ghana Plaits and beads and wanted them at the front as well, where the two-strand twists were. So the two-strand twists came out and more Ghana Plaits went in. In the photo below, the hair had been the same length as all the other twists, but really stretched out when the hair was threaded.

still working on even tension here as you can see....


JJ loves the swing factor!

I think I'll be able to leave these in for a while; they seem like a good potential protective style (well, with the beads removed that is). I'll try to update as the week goes on.... BTW please forgive JJ's chosen-by-herself outfit that does not correspond with her Caribana Hair - she was not feelin' the outfit I thought would match better, and I was not feelin' arguing about it!! The Dora purse is a recent acquisition that does not leave her side! She just turned 4 (going on 24....) - Birthday pictures to follow when I get organized!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cute Hair Time Pics

I came across these photos of JJ and Little Brother K doing each others' hair, and just had to share:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sunshine Award!!!

We have been traveling, visiting, playing, and doing other summer things - but I wanted to graciously accept the Sunshine Award - and share the love!!

Very special thanks to Dominique-Alexis at Natural Hair Care Info and to Precious at Precious Curls for nominating us for this award.

The rules are as follows:

♥ Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them

♥ Tell one thing about yourself

♥ Nominate 10 blogs

♥ Stop by and let them know you chose them! (full disclosure - I have not done the best job at this - work in progress!)

Many blogs have already been awarded, and I tried not to duplicate - these blogs are all ***definitely*** worth checking out!!

The one thing about me that you may not have known: My "day job" is as a speech-language pathologist (SLP). I love working with children and their families, and I love the challenge of figuring out how to provide support that works for each unique family.

Here are some blogs that I love (in alphabetical order):

Barbara Naturally Speaking (another SLP by day)

Cherish My Daughter (love the mocha girl styles)

Coily Cafe (love the "what's in your kitchen" entries)

Confessions of a blog vixen (yet another SLP)

Curlture (Kimberly is so funny)

DIY Hair Care Blog (great info and reviews)

For the Fabulous and Frugal (great styles and tips)

My Journey Back to Natural! (Mikimu has great insight)

Naturally Elegant (more beautiful styles)

Naturally Leslie (who is taking a break right now, but lots of amazing archives)

Monday, July 11, 2011

JJ Whips "Her" Hair

We are about to embark on some traveling, and I have been literally dreaming about a certain "holiday hair" style I wanted to try out. 

The inspiration is 100% from this rockin' style at Chocolate Hair / Vanilla Care . When I first saw this I literally gasped in awe, and the style has been on my to-do list since then.

I've never done yarn extensions, so I thought they might be cool to try. Plus, I absolutely love the versatility of this style that can be worn up, down, and anywhere in between. Finally, it is crazy hot and humid in Toronto, and even the "down" hair didn't look too uncomfortable because of the cornrows going up and the back of the head.

SO - I started out by washing Friday night, banding all day Saturday, and parting Saturday night. I parted out four vertical parts for cornrows at the back, and three vertical parts for cornrows on each side (total - 10 cornrows).  I made twelve small boxes for box braids at the top. 
just-washed length
Stretched hair parted into 10 verticle sections at the sides and 12 boxes at the top.
In two-strand twists for sleeping.

I started with the cornrows up, and braided the ends partway to hold them together. 
I swear the parts look better in real life...!??!
first 3 cornrows going up

Once that was done I was ready to add the yarn.

Whoops - no yarn!?!?!? How had I forgotten that crucial step?

Long story short: it was hot, it was humid, I was tired, Grandma P was over, but on her way out, and just happened to have a bunch of extension hair in her car.  She encouraged me to try it out. She gave me a ponytail called Biba free & easy collection Chic Short Pony. The colour was called F/FL - a black with some red highlights. There was a price tag on the package - 99 cents.

I wasn't mentally prepared to use extension hair but at the time it seemed easier than heading out into the humidity. 

So I used the extension hair - it was already a good length so I didn't cut it, I just folded it on half and tried my best to add it in where the braids started to come away from JJ's head. For some I folded the hair over JJ's hair to make a three strand braid, and then incorporated more of the extension hair into JJ's strand as I went. This was okay, but not easy. I also tried literally tying a knot around JJ's hair and then dividing the extension hair and JJ's hair into three strands. This worked a bit better. I really didn't know what I was doing and it was so hot I didn't even want to take a break to check You Tube for advice. 

Eventually it was done - 10+12= 22 braids in total , so it didn't take too long.

I wasn't sure how JJ would react. She LOVES it. She was very eager to go out of the house so she could dance around and have people see her "long hair".

It does look pretty good. 

But here comes the love-hate part.

LOVE - or at least, like quite a bit:
  • I am pretty sure I won't need to touch her hair for 2-4 weeks (aside from changing up the style for variety).
  • JJ Loves it (note capital L).
  • I felt totally fine using elastic bands on the ends, and may consider some no-worry beads!
  • Love the way the parts work for a ponytail, pigtails, an faux-hawk-look, etc etc etc and the hair of off of JJ's neck
  • Still would really like to try this style with yarn, or when she has a little bit more length to do this style on only her hair
HATE - or at the very least, am concerned about:
  • She is getting a ton of attention already - lots of positive feedback, which she loves. BUT - Is this sending a message that her "natural" hair is not as lovely as her hair with these extensions???
  • That hair is NOT easy to work with - at least not for me - everywhere I look I find another stray strand around the house!
  • I had a hard time making the braids as "even" as I wanted to - I think I could calculate "real" hair versus extension hair better next time (if there ever is a next time, that is....)
  • Daddy D (aka Mr Natural) just shook his head, and said that this was okay as an experiment, but he does not want to see extensions on her again....
*******any thoughts?*********


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bad (as in Unhappy) Hair Day

Yesterday we had a bad hair day. Mostly this stems from my love-hate relationship with small braids (= not quite small enough to be called mini braids, but as small as I ever do them...).

JJ has had small braids for about 3-4 weeks now.

She already had small braids in the back, from week 4 of the BBB protective style challenge. Once I took down the cornrows that had been in the front for that style, I made small braids in the front, for a total of about 90 small braids.

I didn't mean for these to stay in so long, but JJ absolutely loved swinging those little braids around, and I loved that her hair was so low maintenance (because I am **still** crazy busy at work). In fact, I have been so busy that I didn't even take a photo of the small braids until they were coming down.

Here they are at the end of 3 weeks (front) and 4 weeks (back). The back actually looks better (= less fuzzy) than the front even though those braids are older. There's been lots of sun hats off and on, sleeping caps falling off in the night, and general roughhousing.


Holy cow, these took a long time to take out! Too long - thus the Unhappy Hair Day. JJ was grumpy and complained that it was taking too long (she was right!) and I was frustrated that it was such a slow process.

I tried a million different methods to try to speed things up, but I don't think small braid take-down is something that can be rushed.

In the end, what worked best was:
1) spritz lightly with water
2) apply leave-in conditioner
3) use end tooth of soft plastic comb to gently pull out 1-3 "stitches" at a time
4) lots of TV shows, snacks, and movement breaks

I must have said to Daddy D about a hundred times that I would never do small braids again. And at the time I really meant it.

Now that a day has passed, I think "never" is too harsh. We both loved these braids while they were in. They were so versatile, looked great, and really protected her hair. However, I will remember that small braids take a while to come down and I will PACE myself. A few rows or sections at a time, maybe even per day.

Here is what went in today - TWISTS. Easy in, easy out.

Most of the way there - I felt like I'd run a marathon!
Went with a side part so the twists will hang the way JJ likes them to. 
Thank goodness that's over with!
Time for a nap!!! For both of us!!!!!
(this is the toy box BTW)