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 !

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Memories of Summer

Hi all! It has been a very busy end-of-summer and start-of-school for us. I have lots of updates but... so far these have only been written in my head. In the meantime, here is one of my favorite photos from our very busy summer - K and JJ at Toronto's Afrofest in July. The hair news in a nutshell is that JJ has been in protective styles for months now. Her hair is in great shape and has grown, including that patch she cut off back in December! K has sported lots of different looks since I last posted about his "loc hawk" and all of these styles definitely deserve a post of their own... coming soon(ish)!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July Copy Cat Carnival - Fishtail Braids on Natural Hair

I have been looking forward to participating in July's Copy Cat Carnival, hosted by Untrained Hair Mom. JJ has been wearing her hair in a protective two-strand twist style since she wore her hair big and free for the Baby Big Hair Frotective Challenge, and I have been psyched to try something new.

I was paired with Baby Bella Hair (blog author Tracey). This is a fabulous blog that I have been following since it first started. In fact, I previously copied two Baby Bella Styles in April (go check these styles out too!). 

While going through the Baby Bella blog for the July Carnival I found this Fishtail Pigtail style:
See the original Baby Bella post here
Fishtail braids are one of those things that have always been a mystery to me, and I decided to add a new skill to my repertoire by giving this a go. I took the Baby Bella advice and headed to YouTube to wrap my head around how to do a fishtail braid. This video did the trick for me and I was on my way!

After trying a couple of times on my own mid-back length, 3B(ish) hair, I decided this would work best on hair that was straightened (as Tracey did), or at least stretched. I banded JJ's hair with old tights cut in strips and left the bands in for 3 days to achieve as much stretch as humanly possible (for more general information about banding, see this post by Precious Curls). The ponytail on the right side shows how much stretch we were able to achieve without heat. 

I swear the part looks more centered in real life!!

And here are JJ's fishtail pigtails:

And a close-up of the braid - not too bad for a first try....

JJ loved these pigtails as did everyone at school. I was very happy to be inspired once again by Baby Bella Hair and also to challenge myself to try something completely new to me!

as per JJ's request - she likes the upside-down photos!

Be sure to check out lots of other great Copy Cat styles below!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ZigZag Banding on Natural Hair

I loved every minute of the inaugural Baby Big Hair Frotective Challenge. It really was a challenge for both JJ and I to leave her hair big and free for four days - in fact, I'd safely say it's been at least two years since her hair spent that much time "out"!  It was great for both of us - for me to see that with the right preparation, hydration, and night-time routine it was possible; and for her to have a good little stretch of embracing her big hair.

JJ's favorite style of the challenge was a fairly well-defined "band-out" for Day 4:

I started on dry, previously stretched hair. JJ's hair was well-moisturized from a combination of avocado oil and Yes To Carrots Leave in Conditioner. I finger detangled in small sections, added copious amounts of Queen Helene Royal Curl Shaping Creme, and used a Denman brush to distribute the QH creme. I then took one-inch strips from an old pair up tights - cut into horizontal strips - and banded each section of JJ's hair with the tights. I secured the tights at the base by looping around a few times, and then I moved downwards as I banded to create a criss-cross pattern. The bands stayed in overnight.

Confused? Don't worry. It just may be one of those techniques that defies written explanation. Because of this, big brother helped me put together a little You Tube video of our ZigZag Banding technique for you to watch! We are very new to videos so please overlook quality issues (thank you). 

When the bands came out, JJ's hair was zigzaggy, like this:

Before the zigzags were separated , they looked like this:

And once the sections were separated they looked like this:

Later in the day (extreeeeeeme humidity in Toronto) the pattern was less defined, but JJ was still lovin' her hair! 

Thanks again to to Chloe at Baby Big Hair for organizing the challenge and to all the participants for great tips and tricks, and inspirational styles and photos!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baby Big Hair Frotective Challenge

What can I say? Participating in the first ever Baby Big Hair Frotective Challenge has been nothing short of FROTASTIC!! An amazing group of mommies (and one big sister) swapped tips, tricks and frotos while we challenged ourselves to keep our little ones' hair big and free for four days.

Here are JJ's styles for the 4 days - we went from a shrunken 80's-style 'fro on day 1 (top left), to a stretched via twists for Day 2 (top right), to an even more stretched via banding for Day 3 (bottom left) and finally a zig-zaggy texture (also achieved through banding) for Day 4 (bottom right; more details to follow soon).

Please head on over to the BBH voting page to take a look at everyone's amazing four days of fabulous big hair! You really don't want to miss this!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

Quickest post ever - just to say Happy Canada Day!
Canada Day Hair!!
JJ started with a 2-week old (and oops! not blogged-about) style with cornrows up and to the side on each side, and box braids in the middle.

The ((fuzzy)) side braids were pulled into flat two-strand twists, and the ((fuzzy)) middle box braids were pulled into piggy-back ponytails with red and white Pony-O's.
Chasing the Canada Day Cake at the parade!
Now we are getting ready for the Baby Big Hair Frotective Challenge so JJ's Canada Day Hair is on it's way out!

We are so looking forward to 4 days of BIG hair.....!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Big and Free Natural Hair

My work life has been crazy for the last few months.  As a result, JJ has been spending most of her time in protective styles that have stayed in for 3-4 weeks each. Because her hair has been in twists or braids much non-stop, it has been a long time since she has rocked her free, loose hair.

I try not to go too long without giving her some "big hair" time... I find that after seeing herself in braids and/or twists for extended periods of time, it takes JJ a while to re-embrace the big hair look. This weekend has been no exception. I detangled and separated her freshly-washed and still damp hair, applied some Queen Helene Royal Curl Creme, and told her we were done. She was unhappy. Actually - very unhappy. She expressed very clearly that she did not love her hair. It made me very sad.

Thankfully, Daddy D arrived home at that moment. Now he ***loves*** JJ's big, free, natural 'fro and is truly her hair's Number One Fan! He was very enthusiastic about her hair, and they posed for a few Daddy-daughter photos.

Then Daddy D headed out to run errands and invited JJ to come along. She forgot all about not loving her hair and accepted the invitation.

When she got back, she had gotten used to the big hair again, and added some (well, 6 or so) hairbands to accessorize. Daddy D and JJ spent some great quality time together washing the car and enjoying life.

Daddy D tells me that perhaps I've put too much emphasis on her hair... and that I should let her have free, loose hair more often. I agree, but I am also aware of how tricky the "wash-and-go" is with her incredibly shrinky hair. A big, free 'fro is hard to maintain during our busy weekdays.

I measured - 8 1/2 inches of shrink!!

We do surf the net often, looking at photos of fabulous big hair. I am forever pointing out and admiring big hair when we are out and about - so much so that my kids will point out big hair to me - before I even say anything. I do hope that as my work schedule winds down I can change up JJ's styles more often and maybe simply seeing herself with her free and loose hair more often will help her love it as much as Daddy D and I do....

Any thoughts. ideas, or opinions on balancing the BIG HAIR 
with longer-term styles? 

Or on helping JJ embrace the awesomeness of her big hair? 

We would love to hear your thoughts!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

April Carnival - Copy Cat Style!

We are super excited to be a part of this month's Hair Carnival, coordinated by the very talented Untrained Hair Mom.

This month, it's all about the copy cat styles, but with a twist (well, many twists in our case)! We have been sworn to secrecy as to whose style we would be copying, so this weekend is the great reveal!

The blog I had the pleasure of copying is Baby Bella Hair. I remember "meeting" blog author Tracey waaaaaay back during the Beads Braids & Beyond one month protective styling challenge in the spring of 2011, and I have been following her blog ever since. Her daughters Kae and Lea are just too cute! They are also close to JJ's age, and have hair textures similar to JJ's, so this was an easy match!

JJ and I looked through the Baby Bella Hair styles and narrowed it down to 2 styles for this post.

The first style was the one that Lea wore after her 26 days of mini-braids. You can see the original style here at Baby Bella Hair, and here is a photo from the original post:

Look at those shiny twists! As soon as JJ saw this photo she HAD to have this style! We started with clean, detangled, hair.

I'm sure I have mentioned that I love twists, and so does JJ. What amazing, versatile hair she has that it can go from fluffy, cotton candy hair in the left side of the photo (which I also love!) to the twists on the right:

This style was a hit (despite her funny face in the first photo - concentrate on the hair, not her annoyed look)! The first day we put clips at the ends of the twists - both for decoration, and to help the ends look a little more tidy. Because I usually used 1 clip per 2 twists, the twists kind of twisted together, for twisty twists, as you can see below:

The next day the clips came out, and the twists untwisted, for basic, still very cute, slightly kinky twists:

Later in the week, JJ added her own extra accessory, and insisted I include this photo - she was very proud of herself!

Thanks, Baby Bella Hair - we loved this style! 

But WAIT - that's not all - JJ chose another style, this one was a mommy style that Tracey did on her own hair!

JJ loved the cornrows up and to the side, and here is our take on the style:

Thanks, Baby Bella Hair for TWO great styles!

Be sure to check out the Baby Bella Hair blog and also like Baby Bella Hair on Facebook

Also check out Tracey's amazing handiwork at Clash of Designs and like Clash of Designs on Facebook.

Finally - be sure to check out the great reveals of all of the other Copy Cat Carnival participants!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter: featuring Huffleblossoms!

Happy Easter!!! 
Blessings to you and your loved ones. 

We have had a wonderful long weekend full of reflection, joy and time with extended family. The weather has been beautiful and spring is in the air (yes, even way up north here in Canada!). Our tiny garden is beginning to blossom, and JJ is obsessed with looking at and learning about plants and flowers. This new interest has extended to choosing to wear dresses with big flower prints, as well as flower clips in her hair. Her absolute favorite clip, without a doubt, is this GORGEOUS Huffleblossom!! 

Now Huffleblossoms are NOT your ordinary hair accessories.

Besides being gorgeous, they are unique - and durable
Would you believe that the flower in JJ's hair is made out of duct tape?!?!?!?

I can't really believe it either. But it is pure genius. 

JJ is one of the most active and rough part-tomboy, part-princess kids I know, and this Huffleblossom still looks brand new after countless wears. Many of her other accessories have become scraggly-looking very quickly. The duct tape is super strong, and doesn't attract dirt or become misshapen like JJ's other fabric flowers do. 

At $6 for a flower clip these are a great deal - period. 

But the other really important thing to know about Huffleblossoms is that they are handmade by the very creative mother-daughter team over at Tweeny Hair (aka Rae and Syd). And the funds they earn from their creations at the Huffleblossoms Etsy shop goes to a very worthy project....

You may remember that last summer Rae and Syd went on a 9-day missions trip to Guatemala (see the AMAZING trip photos here). Well, they are going back! You can read more about the upcoming trip to Guatemala here. They will be once again be helping with building projects, distributing food, and holding medical clinics. Rae and Syd are already making a lot of personal sacrifices in order to cover their expenses for the next mission trip, and are also fundraising through Pay it Square. Please consider making a donation if you can, and check out the Huffleblossoms Etsy shop for duct tape flowers, fabric flowers, and **NEW** ladder ribbon necklaces.  


Speaking of gorgeous, a few last photos of JJ and her favorite flower:


And links to other Huffleblossom reviews for further oooh-ing and aaaah-ing...

Happy Easter! Love from JJ and Mama M

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The February Protective Style - Cornrows and Box Braids

Slowly but surely...I'm catching up!

February's protective style was cornrows and box braids. This lasted the whole month.

Although I neglected to take step-by step photos, I'll go through the steps. 

1) I made a headband of three cornrows across the front, alternating which side I started on. 

3 cornrows in the front
last headband cornrow started further back, for variety
2) I then braided 8 cornrows heading straight back, ending in single braids, as you can see in the photo above.

3) I put the back of JJ's hair into single box braids.   

box braids at the back
better idea of braid length
The parting pattern of the box braids was staggered to make part lines less visible. I did have to make two boxes much bigger than the others, as you can see in the photo below. This is because I was still trying to hide the chunk of hair that JJ cut off the month before. Luckily, the four braids that I am holding up in the photo below covered the two larger parted areas so it didn't look too "off". 

These are the two larger braids. The circles indicate the length of the hair that she cut off.

As you can see, the larger boxes (and the cut-off hair!) were well-camouflaged by the braids that laid on top of them.

We tried to remember to cover up at night as much as possible.
For school, JJ usually started the day with her hair tied back, but she loves her hair down in braids so mostly it was down.

We gently washed her scalp and braids once a week, with a few co-washes thrown in the mix too. We refreshed/moisturized with diluted Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifer or a home-made cocoa butter, coconut oil and almond oil mixture.

This ended up being a great long term protective style that was visually interesting and lasted well. JJ's cut-off chunk of hair is really growing and she even wore her hair OUT for the first time in months (next post!).