Why yes, yes it is! Boo had but two requests for funky summer hair now that preschool is out: She wanted florescent pink yarn extensions (likely coming up after this), and she wanted for me to "put a Hello Kitty in my hair." She has been begging for me to try this hairstyle, since the days of her Hello Kitty costume and birthday party. I've been balking at it because I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off. I knew that we would both be disappointed if I put a lot of effort into it and it didn't work out. So this hairstyle proved to be yet another one of my "make-it-work" moments.
Little did we know at the time that we were going to end up with free tickets to Legoland the day after we completed this hairstyle. Imagine shy little Boo standing in line at a theme park all day with people constantly asking her, "Is that a Hello Kitty in your hair?" Although she initially loved the attention, after the first couple of hours it really started to bother her. Fortunately, I brought a hat (as I always do, to protect her fresh part lines from the sun). Boo got to enjoy the rest of the day in peace, but also learned a valuable lesson when it comes to asking for certain hairstyles. I, on the other hand, was loving the fact that people recognized it for what it was. Whew!
I approached this style in pretty much the same way that I did our advanced Valentine's Day hair. My goal was to do an outline of Hello Kitty, and then use a few pieces of rope twists to form the eyes and the nose. If you want to attempt a simplified version of this style, you can easily use the easy-version of our Valentine's Day hair as a model for doing so, but instead of parting a heart to begin with, start with parting the outline of Hello Kitty:
Then you can just put a low ponytail in and rope twist or cornrow the rest of the hair (like the easy Valentine heart). However, Boo was very specific about wanting it to have eyes and a nose, "just like the real Hello Kitty," so I had my work cut out for me.
I divided the kitty outline in two and planned on fanning rope twists out from the point where Hello Kitty's nose goes.
I did four flat rope twists out and away from the nose, one rope twist toward the nose, and then another two out and away. My plan was to use the hair moving toward the center for the base of the eyes and nose.
I repeated the process on the other side, as shown below. I only twisted until the edge of the outline of the kitty, because I planned to use the extra hair to form the head.
This part might look (and sound) a little tricky, but it's really not. Okay, here goes. Each rope twist going toward the middle stopped at the nose. That was four sections of hair, two on each side. I took one section from the left, and one from the right, and formed a two strand rope twist, which hung down from the center of the kitty. With the remaining one section on the right, I divided that piece into two sections and formed a skinnier rope twist, and repeated that same process on the left. So I ended up with three completed rope twists, with the one in the middle being slightly fatter than the two side ones. The nose on Hello Kitty is slightly bigger than the eyes, so I wanted more hair in that section.
I then took my trusty weaving needle and thread and, having coiled the rope twists up, sewed them into place by simply tying a knot, doing a few stitches, and then threading the extra thread underneath one of the ropes (to hide it). I snipped off the extra thread and the face, eyes, and nose were completed.
To outline the face, I merely took the remaining sections of the flat rope twists and formed an outline of them around the face. I started at the ear on the right-hand side because I knew the beginning would be thinner and I was planning on covering that area with a bow.
At that point we took a break for the day. It didn't take that long (maybe a couple hours) but we had gotten a late start in the day and I was losing my natural light, which I need to do detailed work like this.
Picking things up the next day, I did exactly what I did in the advanced Valentine's Day style: I made rows of flat rope twists going downward, toward the hairline. My goal was to have the style move toward the hairline, rather than pulling away from it, in order to keep it better protected.
Rather than do a part down the middle, I decided to do a side part, so I took the sections of hair around the part line on the left side (starting at the center part in the back) and flat rope twisted them together toward the front left side. I finished with a dangling rope twist and then wove that backward into the twist around the hairline (as shown below).
For the right side, I did the same thing and stopped at the same place. However I took the front four sections and wove them together in the front to create a bang:
Where the bang and the right sections met, I formed a final rope twists, which hung down on the side and to which I attached a rainbow (Boo's choice) selection of beads.
I added a bow (the only one we had that was the right size) to the area where Hello Kitty's bow would go and we called it done!
This is how we divided the hair up in the back, with a center part and the two flat rope twists along the hairline moving away from it.
Overall, Boo is so happy with this style! She loves it! She made me take photos of it the entire time and show her the progress so she could give her approval, letting me know when it was "kitty" enough for her.
Ideally, I would probably make the eyes a wee bit smaller, more in proportion with the actual Hello Kitty, but it's hair; I suppose I have some license for impressionistic technique, right?
We finally went shopping for a more Hello Kitty-type bow (the pink one shown in the first photo at the top of this post). We also got a black one with white polka dots.
I expect this style to last a few weeks, but it will depend on how good it looks by the time our Wicked performance rolls around as to whether or not we'll need to restyle before then. And I already told her, she is not getting "Elphaba" in her hair (although I have toyed with the idea of her hat.....).
Please, please know that this hairstyle did not take as long, nor was it as complicated, as it might have sounded! There was a lot of "winging it" involved, but I highly recommend that if you have a little girl who really wants this, give it a try. It was amazing how patient Boo was when I involved her in the process (showing her photos of the progress). She would have sat for a week, if necessary, just to have this hairstyle.
And that is totally worth it to have created this memory for her.