Our costumes 2014 His and Hers

This year was a special one as we got to attend the Mystical Masquerade in Lindon, Utah.  The rules are black tie attire or costume, so we wanted costume that was close to black tie.  We searched high and low for inspiration and finally found what we wanted.

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Rick and Carrie as Dick Tracy and Breathless Mahoney

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Courtesy of Castle Park’s Mystical Masquerade Photo Booth

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Dick Tracy it was.

The main problem with Dick Tracy is it has fallen out of popularity and is hard to find anything, let alone quality costumes for him.  We found and special ordered the hat and found a trench coat online.  He had the rest in his closet.  As for me, We went for Breathless Mahoney and I didn’t think I could go for Madonna’s version.  I was feeling the comic one pretty strongly though. With a Veronica Lake vibe.  I actually had most of everything I needed.  I just picked up the wig, cigarette holder, and gloves.

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Make up was probably the trickiest and I used a tutorial you can find here:

It turned out really well!

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We had so much fun at the party!  Here’s some more fun costume ideas:

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Filed under Costumes, DIY, Halloween, Holidays

DIY baby fairy or ballerina

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I originally made these little tutu’s as a baby gift for a friend but just love them as regular dress up box items or fun, quick and easy Halloween costumes for the little ones. Whether this costume is to play in around the house, or wear over to Grandma’s for the first Halloween Oooooo’s and Ahhhh’s, these little skirts are sure to please! Here’s how you make them…

First assemble your needed supplies… elastic for the waist band (measure a little snug or short the measurement by an inch or two on the baby or child so that it still fits once you add all the fluff), needle and thread, measuring tape, pins, scissors, and tulle/ribbon in various colors.

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Lay out the tool on a flat cutting surface – measure and mark the width you want your strips to be -and place a pin in each to hold them together? I doubled over the tulle I had, and then layered three pieces together so I could cut the whole skirt all at once. If you have a rotary cutter and sewing mat this process goes crazy quick! (Remember to make the length of the strips twice the length you want them to be for the finished skirt. Each piece will be folded over and looped around the waist band as the attachment method.)

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Once you have all of your strips of ribbon and tulle cut into equal lengths, make your waist band for them to loop around. Make sure to make the waist a little smaller than the actual child. Once you start adding the fluff the elastic will stretch a bit and the final size will actually be bigger than you start with.

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Finally Take two to three pieces of tulle at a time or a piece of tulle and a piece of ribbon and match them up one on top of the other. fold all three pieces in half and loop them around the waist band making a small knot at the waist band to hold them in place. You want to make sure to have multiple layers of tulle in each loop to ensure the skirt is nice and full. Also having multiple colors in each loop creates a nice depth and whimsy.

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Aaaaaaaand vowala you have an adorable and fun tutu or fairy skirt in no time!

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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Halloween, Party Planning

The Vaccine Controversy

We are coming up on cold and flu season and a time when people begin to speak up more heatedly about vaccination. From seasonal vaccines to childhood vaccines- people begin to defend their point of view on the validity and necessity of such a practice. I am a nurse and have written posts defending my point of view on this topic more than once. I have collected studies and data to compile for collegiate papers while obtaining my degree, and did so again after obtaining a position as a full time RN for the benefit of staff and patient education. I have seen the devastating, and sometimes non-reversible, effects of  preventable illness on young children and their families. I have provided care and treatment for these families in their times of crisis, and have as a result found myself firmly rooted in a position for vaccination. However, today instead of once again writing my own article and simply leaving a trail of links for studies at the end I thought I would let the articles and research of physicians/scientists do the talking. Please find below just 2 links abounding with research and MORE links for your review. Wishing you all a happy and healthy day!

From: Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism: Healthcare Triage 12

“Humans try to make sense of the world by seeing patterns. When they see a disease or condition that tends to appear around the time a child is a year or so old, as autism does, and that is also the age that kids get particular shots, they want to put those things together. Parents watch kids more carefully after they get shots. Sometimes they pick up on symptoms then. Just because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that one caused the other. This is why we need careful scientific studies.”

 

From Violent Metaphors : Dr. Jennifer Raff

http://violentmetaphors.com/2014/03/25/parents-you-are-being-lied-to/

Dear parents, you are being lied to.

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Filed under Children, Education, Family, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Fruit Sushi

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

I have always loved the look of sushi. It looks wonderful as it comes to the table (you just know a lot of work and love went into making it). Unfortunately I happen to be allergic to fish…like all fish! So sadly I have never been able to have sushi. For many years I wanted to make sushi for a party even though I couldn’t have it, but recently was struck by lightening as I thought (why not just make sushi you can actually eat?! Sushi with fish isn’t the only sushi out there!) I had a few ideas in mind but decided to google fruit sushi to see what other people may have tried (what worked and what failed) and I found an overwhelming number of great recipes from home chefs all over the world. Here are two websites that I used and/or took inspiration from.

http://www.latartinegourmande.com/2008/11/17/fruit-sushi/

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/1035627/fruit-sushi-recipe

I started with these ideas and recipes and then made my own variations. It all turned out wonderful and was a great hit at the dinner party I took it to…but I think in the future I will also make some dipping sauces to go along side of these pretty little treats. After all regular sushi has soy sauce…why shouldn’t fruit sushi have a raspberry and balsamic glaze for dipping!?

In addition to the recipes from these two sites I also made up my own sushi roll and the recipe is as follows…

  • 4 pieces of prosciutto slightly overlapping on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Then add a thin layer of the rice pudding/sticky rice.
  • Layer sliced figs (or dates) and goat cheese in the center

When you roll up the sushi really press the whole thing together pretty tight so the rice doesn’t fall out when cutting. Then once you have your neat slices, turn them on the side to show your lovely design and enjoy.

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Filed under DIY, Food and Drink, Party Planning, Recipes

DIY Wedding Dress

Back in April I had the great privilege of making a wedding dress for a good friend of mine. I hadn’t made a wedding dress since I worked in the costume department during my college years (so needless to say I was a bit rusty), but I had a friend in need and so I set out to make the dress she had been envisioning for the last year. Truthfully, my friend had been very wise and had picked out and ordered her dress a year before the wedding. However, when the dress arrived a mere 3 weeks before the wedding it wasn’t right. From the fabric, to the design, all the way to the size the dress was wrong. Panicked and overwhelmed with the final weeks of wedding planning she had resigned herself to buying a simple cocktail dress at a department store to get married in…but for me that simply wouldn’t do! So one duct tape manikin, 6 yards of dupioni silk, and 72 pearl buttons later I was helping her into her dress for the wedding. AND I am happy to report she was happy with the final product! Here is a quick breakdown (in pictures) of how I made her dress in 3 weeks (while still working my normal job, cleaning my house, and attending pre-wedding / bachelorette functions etc 🙂

First we bought a long night shirt and a roll of duct tape and I made a duct tape manikin of my friend. (By doing this I was able to make the dress to fit her perfectly from the start. We didn’t have time for extra alterations later.

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Next I created the general shape of the dress with a basic white satin (this will become the under slip and guide for the rest of the dress). My friend wanted a deep sweetheart neck line, low back and mermaid fit through the hips…so I pinned and created seams accordingly. (I also added corseting style boning and cups at this point so my fiend wouldn’t have to worry about an uncomfortable strapless bra. This dress was made to stay up throughout the ceremony and party without any unsightly tugging or adjusting!)

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Always make sure you look at the dress from every angle ensuring you have extra fabric for finishing seams and zippers later!Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I began laying the Dupioni silk over the top of the Satin under dress. Achieving the right look with ruching or folds can be difficult. If you are going to attempt this type of project take as much time as you need at this point and get the fabric to lay properly. Pin and re-pin as necessary without getting discouraged. Trust me it’s worth it in the end to do it right at this point 🙂

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Once I had the front pinned I began working on the back. To some degree the back of the dress can be more difficult than the front as a result of the zipper. For this dress I started by creating the folds on one side of the zipper and then moved to the other side working to ensure everything would match up perfectly once the dress was zipped.

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Next I closed all of the seams (which can be tricky keeping all of your ornate folds in place properly and the only piece of advice I can give is lots of pins and lots of patience!)

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Next (and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of this part) turn your new lovely dress inside out and sew the top of the under dress to the actual wedding dress and then turn right side out again. This will create an invisible hem at the bust line and a clean finish to the whole dress effectively hiding all of your seams (the seams of the dress face the seams of the under dress so you can’t see the seams at all). Once this is complete ensure the bust line is laying properly and make any adjustments necessary to ensure it won’t bubble or pucker.

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Finally insert zipper using the invisible zipper method, attach buttons down the back of the dress covering the zipper (if desired), add any details such as rhinestones or feathers you wish to have, and hem the bottom (You will need your lovely bride to be in her wedding shoes of choice for this last measurement). Vowalla one wedding dress custom made and ready to wear.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam(I also added a bustle to the back of this dress so she could dance the night away without worrying about people stepping on the train.)

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Filed under Budget, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Education, talents

50 shades of–where did decent writing go?

After the debut of the 50 Shades of Grey preview, my social media has exploded with pros and cons, excitement and condemnation, and all around judgment of any of those opinions.  As with anything that is so largely talked about, one tends to get an opinion rather quickly.  If one blogs, one itches to share that opinion, hoping for a new outlook to entertain, amuse or otherwise invoke in the reader an emotional response in hopes of gaining more said readers… You still following?  I highly doubt this is anything original, but for years, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on the 50 shades phenomenon and this is it.

Here’s the thing with me:  I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, or any of its trilogy.  Honestly, it isn’t my bag.  I tend to lean toward fantastic and epic adventures (more stereotypically read by the band geeks that ate lunch playing Magic in High School) than what is becoming widely known as “Mommy Porn.” What I have is an issue with the current lack of storytelling  and how that affects the next generation. This series seems a perfect example.

However, my curiosity was piqued as I do tend to want to see what the hub-bub is about when EVERY WOMAN ON EARTH, or so it seems, refers to or simply gushes over anything in a mass pop culture vomiting of social media over it.  So, a few years back when it hit my radar the first time, I asked my husband if he had heard of these books.  –Now, I’m female, and I totally read into every last twitch of an expression my other half makes without thinking, but I swear—He seemed to go through a look of concern like “Why, are you going to read them?” and then sheer amusement as he told me about this Stephen Hawking voice online that reads a horribly written sex scene from 50 Shades involving a female sanitary item.  He said it was exceptionally badly written even aside from the abhorrent content, and then warily asked if I had considered reading the books.

To my recollection, I laughed at the idea—honestly assuming that it was a spoof-ish thing, not having any clue what these books were about.  Yet, going back to my news feeds, it was there gain, staring me in the face.  The internet post version of drooling over a male character, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since Mr Darcy (other than Edward Cullen, whom I’m still convinced is a practical joke played on the literary world/female population that backfired and shouldn’t count.)  I then turned to my go to Wikipedia and other such sites.  I also looked up and read snippets from the books.  My thoughts went something like this:

Fan Fiction from Twilight?  No thanks.  Stephanie Meyer won’t associate with it?  Dang, that speaks volumes.  Story about a gorgeous but tragically-unaware-that-she’s-gorgeous chick who needs to get some and finds an emotional baggage laden S&M fan to get some with? –What?– The plotline, if it can be called that, is simply a tug of war between her wanting him to be a normal partner and his wanting to harm her physically to get off?  No thank you *backs away slowly, imagining already kind of creepy Edward running around pulling tampons out of people* 

I lost a bit of my faith in Humanity the day I finally listened to the Stephen Hawking reading and found it so uncomfortably funny (because of the voice reading it) and so revolting at the same time.  It wasn’t even well written!  I tried to make justifications that weren’t “mommy porn” such as a lack of modern literature that entices the populace—but I hated that because if badly written S&M and dominated females is what the populace wants, please oh please, don’t mass produce THAT!   I have four book worm daughters that I want to be confident and intelligent women who respect men–but they’d darn well better be respected back!   That goes for authors and relationships, by the way.

Now that the trailer is out, I have to agree with Matt Walsh that a boycott is in order.  Why?  Because we have to draw the line somewhere.  You know what my favorite movie this summer has been?  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  It isn’t because I love science fiction or fantasy—which I do.  It is because there was more story and depth in that film than most of the last few years movies put together.

What we see, what we put in to our minds through our senses and through our interactions with each other, effect who we are.  You ever hear “You are what you eat?”  That goes for your mind as well.  I’m tired of being spoonfed garbage in the book store and the box office.  We need to demand more.

Writers! If you want to entertain me–enlighten me, enthrall me, thrill me—but entreat my mind to feel that.  Not just my shock value and adrenaline and/or hormones.  Just like “mommy porn” shouldn’t be a basis for a book or film, neither should “disaster porn”.  Writers need to unlock the stories that grab the stuff they are stitched together with and they need to bleed it on to the page.  That is what I want. It can be funny, dramatic–anything really as long as it is a part of you that needs to be told.  You can even add city destruction if you really must or giant robots, because they can be awesome, but for the love of humanity WRITE.  CREATE.  Don’t pander to me.  I’m in my own head if I was solely entertained there, I wouldn’t outsource.  Make me feel and think new ideas.  Break molds that aren’t an insult to my intelligence or integrity.  It is a tall order, but if you want my money, my devotion and for me to purchase your next work and suggest it to my friends, it is the very least you can do.  You aren’t a money machine, you are an artist.  Make a work of art.

Women, for the sake of our daughters, don’t show them that real literature is lack of character development, decent dialogue, and plot.  Let their imaginations thrive on how great they can be someday, where they can go, and what adventures life can lead to.  Help them see that life can have ups and down like a story, but life isn’t the bedroom.  “Life” is the meat of the plot that drives the book to be fascinating.  Your characters grow and explore and are whimsical, or dramatic and deep.  Again, the bedroom isn’t the main course of life, it is the dessert. Let our girls know that desserts should be sweet and enjoyable.  Let them see that the sky is the limit and all good things are possible.  But teach them that the “nice guy” who would treat them like royalty is the one they want instead of romanticizing rich and exclusive emotional baggage turned abusive as an ideal beau.

I can't find the picture credit for this, so if you have it, let me know.

I can’t find the picture credit for this, so if you have it, let me know.

Women teach your sons to have taste in actual storytelling, and please let them at least think that you do too.  But more over, teach them something that is consistent when it comes to our gender.  It is downright confusing to teach them to be gentlemen, and then ogle the opposite.  Please teach them that a gentleman isn’t a suit and full wallet; it is an ideal of how to interact with other people.  Nurture that chivalrous ability they have that is so charming and to have strength of character.  To stand for what they believe in, to use their common sense and way they look at the world to compliment their potential mate.

I return, I’ll raise my daughters to understand that sexy isn’t cold, bland men with issues in the bedroom, but someone you can enjoy time with and go on adventures together, even if they aren’t romantic world travel getaways and look more like Malcom in the Middle episodes.  But you can bet that when my kids grow up and life gives them the days that there isn’t much to talk about but books, movies and such, they’ll have more on their mind to talk about than garbage novels and their movie counterparts.

 

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Filed under Book Review, Children, Family, Fiction, Motherhood

From Clock to Shadow Box

A couple of years ago, we bought a thrift store clock to gut out its gears for our Steampunk costumes.

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We have had a lot of upheaval in our home and have been forced to go through all of our crap and decide what stays and what goes. When I got to the clock I decided to keep it–but only if I immediately put it to use.  This was one of the fastest and easier projects I’ve done in a while.

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Old clock

I wanted a shadow box, but I couldn’t decide what to put in it.  I’m trying to incorporate my girlier tastes with my family’s more Geeky tastes in our family room and my husband’s more masculine taste as well.  So I decided on our family crest, since we are Genealogy geeks, it is fun and adds some heritage and character to the space.

Added Paint and family crest display

I kind of love it and can’t wait to finish the wall around it and hide those cords.

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Filed under Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Home and Lawn

A little coat of paint works wonders.

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With a glass chess set to finish off the look,

some charcoal paint made quite a difference in 

this antique and made it flow better with our room.

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Filed under Budget, Crafts and Gifts, DIY

Pioneer Day Treat/Craft

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Pretzels sticks, peanut/almond butter, Bananas and Blueberries make a covered wagon.

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Filed under Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Holidays

School Store Ideas

The end of the year is upon us, and for our family, that means finding crafts for our kids to do in their economics classes.  I scoured Pinterest, but it was rough finding any kid store tested ideas.  Here are some ideas for those who are interested.

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My 5th grader used a wood burner and a metal engraver.  I had to help with the wood burner, so she drew or wrote, and I burned.

The metal washers were between 16-23 cents each and we only spent about $10.  Washers make for easy necklaces too.  A big bag of wooden ovals was $1.

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Next, the 5th grader did origami boxes, crocheted friendship bracelets, and monogrammed scrapbook papers. The engraver, though, ended up being used by both of the girls 3rd and 5th grade.  Easy and safe to use. The 3rd grader “laminated” (with clear packing tape) print outs of Avengers, Frozen, and Despicable Me characters, among others.  She then hot glued pins on the back.

Also laminated, were round bottle cap circles found on line, and glued with Elmer’s glue into bottle caps. Yes they do stay on and it is a lot easier and cheaper than finding diamond glue. She hot glued black yarn necklaces to the back. The left over circles, when we ran out of bottle caps, worked for cute necklaces for less school play money/tickets.

The 3rd grader’s 2 best necklaces, a BYU engraved washer and a Heart covered engraved washer, she raffled off and made more money than she would have sold them for.

For two kids, we made over 200 items, almost all sold out, and I spent a total of about $17 for both kids.  In turn, they both made a haul in their stores, raking in a total of $1500 in play school money.

Items they liked from other kids’ stores were: Flour filled Balloons referred to as “Keith” and cute clay accessories for Keith. Clear stone with pictures behind it, glued to a magnet. Designer Duct Tape bows for hair things. Rainbow looms were popular to make, but less to buy. Leather worked bracelets. Paper boxes labeled as “grab bags” with stickers inside. All sorts of food items (Although only the 5th grade was allowed edible items.) Hair Chalking Nail painting Face Painting Hair braiding Beaded Jewelry

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Filed under Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Motherhood, Party Planning