Thursday, March 31, 2011

Make your own banner...

Are you throwing a party and need a banner to match your theme?  Are you tired of the same rainbow colored boring banners you always see?  Then make your own!  It is simple!

I made this banner for Jameson's 1st Birthday Party...

What you need:
Scrapbook Paper
Scissors
Pen/Pencil
Glue Stick
Ribbon
Hole Punch (not pictured)

Using Microsoft Word or some other program print out the letters at the size and in the font you want.  Then cut the letters out.

Trace around the letter on the scrapbook paper and then cut along the lines you traced.  If you trace the letter on the back side of the paper remember to turn your stencil letter upside down for tracing so the letter will be oriented the right direction.

After cutting out the letter glue it to the paper you selected for the background using a glue stick or rubber cement.

Cut the back ground down the the size you want your banner pieces to be then using a whole punch, punch a hole in the two top corners.

Cut a piece of ribbon about 4" long.

Thread both ends of the ribbon through the holes from front to back.

Re-thread the ends of the ribbon through the opposite hole from the back to the front.

Cut the ends of your ribbon to the desired length and you are done!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How did you do that?


I have been asked several times in the last couple years exactly how I created Jameson's mural wall in his bedroom.  It was actually much simpler than it looks.  Unfortunately I don't have step by step pictures from when I did it but I have recreated a few of the steps for you to see.

I took my inspiration from his bedding, you can see the quilt hanging over the front of the crib.  I matched the paint colors using a paint deck but you can easily take your inspiration colors to a paint store and they can custom match the colors for you.

After selecting paint colors I painted 3 walls green and the mural wall brown.  I used Sherwin Williams Low VOC paint with a Satin Sheen, since I was 7-8 months pregnant.  The circles come next...



What you need:
Paint
Polycrylic
String
T-Pin
Pencil
Paint Brush
Tape Measure







1. Using a tape measure find the center of each circle and mark it on the wall using the pencil.
2. Create a large compass using the T-Pin, string and pencil.  Tie one end of the string to the pin and insert the pin into the wall at the center point you marked.  Then adjust the length of the string to the size you want your circle to be and tie that end of the string around the pencil.
3. Pull the string taut and draw your circle on the wall using the pin as the anchor point.
4. Paint the circle.

To save on the cost of paint I purchased Behr paint samples from Home Depot for the blue, yellow and orange.  Only $3.00 for each color and I couldn't beat that!

I wanted to paint circles using a different sheen of brown paint for a subtle effect.  As a low cost alternative to buying actual paint I purchased a clear water based polycrylic and to paint circles.


Now the easy part...Giraffes and Name decals.
That is right, they aren't painted on at all!  They are custom decals made from wallcovering.

For the blog purposes I will show how to make the name decal.

I used Microsoft Word and selected the Font and Size I wanted then printed out the letters 1 per sheet of paper.

Then cut the letters out.

Trace your letter onto the back side of the wallcovering.  Remember you need to trace the letter upside down so that your letters will read the right direction from the front.

Cut the letters out of the wallcovering.

Simple!  You have your decal!

I just used wallpaper paste purchased from my home improvement store to paste it up on the wall!

I hope this all made sense.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I am in the home stretch!

Today is day 12 of my 21 day blogging challenge!  When I started I thought it would be a lot more difficult to come up with something for a daily post but have found it pretty simple.  After my 21 days is up I think it will be easy for me to keep up the good habit.  The HabitForge website has really helped me along the way, making me check in daily.

It is fascinating to watch the stats for the blog, nearly 1,700 hits, over 100 on my Bold Lips post and people from all over the world are reading what I wrote: China, Singapore, Canada, Australia, UK, Russia, India, Iran and Belarus (which I have never heard of).  I have even gained 9 new followers!  It's not huge compared to a lot of blogs but I am happy with the progress!



I know there have been a lot of random posts but it is what is on my mind at the time.  I would love feedback from you about my blog.  Things you have liked, disliked, or would like to see.  Either leave me a comment or email me at AtoZandJ@gmail.com with any input.

Thanks for your continued support!
~Abby

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is your child perfect?


Why has the perception of beauty and the ideal of perfectionism become so important that we can't see the real beauty within ourselves?  Why would a mother not give the love and support to her child because in her twisted mind that child isn't perfect enough?  Isn't being a child and being your child make that child perfect?  What has gone wrong?

Over the past couple years I have been privileged to be part of a group of women from across the world.  Although thousands of miles separate us and our backgrounds are as diverse as can be, the love of a mother for her child brought us together.  In getting to know these women there seems to be an overwhelming amount of childhood stories of neglect and emotional abuse by their own mothers.  These women that are beyond beautiful in every way cannot see how amazing they truly are because their mother's voice is in their head tells them otherwise.  I just want to grab hold of these women, give them great big hugs and not let go until they feel the love they never had.

I was fortunate to have all the love and support a child should have and so maybe that is why this just baffles me.  How can a mother not think her child is perfect in every way?  Maybe their mothers treated them the same way and so they don't know any other way.  It is time to stop the cycle if that is the case.

I am sure those I am referring to are reading this and I want each and every one of you to know you have made my life better by knowing you.  I love you all!


Just in case some of "those" mother's there are reading this here are a few simple ways to help build your child's self-esteem not put them down...
  • Take a step back and look at the blessing you have been given and tell your child how wonderful they are. 
  • Don't assume your child knows, you need to tell them. Sure your teenager may roll her eyes or your toddler may ignore you but someday she will be a mother too and she will remember then.
  • Encourage your child. Tell them that scribble of artwork is beautiful and that they could be an artist one day.
  • Don't put yourself down, children learn from example.  I heard a 10 year old girl in the check out line tell her friend that she didn't want any candy because she needed to watch her weight.  Where did she learn that?
  • Show affection, give them a pat on the back or a job well done or a kiss good night.  Do the same with your spouse, once again children learn from example.
  • Get Help!  There are people that devote their lives to these situations and are there to help.
  • Easiest of all, tell them "I Love You"!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look of the Day: Smokey Eyes


Products Used:

Step 1: Apply a cream eyeshadow base #1 with your finger over entire lid from lash line to brow.  Eyeshadow base helps keep eyeshadow in place longer and allows for bolder color application.

Step 2: Apply eyeshadow #2 to lid from lash to just under brow bone.

Step 3: Apply Eyeshadow #2 along upper and lower lash line, feathering at the outer corner.

Step 4: Apply Eyeshadow #3 on brow bone from the crease up to the brow.  Blending with Eyeshadow #2 using upward strokes.

Step 5: Apply Eyeshadow #4 just under brow bone where Eyeshadow #2 and #3 meet.  Start stroke from the inner corner to the outer corner.

Step 6: Apply Eyeshadow # 3 just under the eyebrow as a highlighter.

Step 7: Apply Slate Eyeliner from corner to corner of upper and lower lash line.  Making it thicker at the outer corner tapering to a fine line at the inner corner.  Drag a Q-Tip along the line towards the center to help smooth out and achieve the desired taper.

Step 8: This step is not required but for a little added drama you can also line the inner side of the lash line.  I used black eyeliner on both the upper and lower inner lash line.

Apply Mascara.

Blush: Apply blush per your face type, found here.  I used a tawny red/brown color.

Lips: Lip liner is only required for this look if you want to even out your lips.  Since my upper lip is smaller than my lower I line outside my upper lip and on the lip line for my lower lip.

Apply shimmery, beige color lip gloss over lips.

Look Complete:  What do you think?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Look of the Day: Bold Lips


Products Used:
#1 Eyeshadow Base: Clinique Touch Tint
#2 Eyeshadow (light shade): Mark Eyeshadow
#3 Eyeshadow (dark shade): Mark Eyeshadow
#4 Highlight Eyeshadow: Clinique Eyeshadow/Liner combo
Eyeliner: Avon Glimmersticks
Mascara: Avon Lash Extender
Blush: Clinique
Lipliner: Mac
Lipstick: Avon
Lip Gloss: Mac


Step 1:  First take an cream eyeshadow base #1 and apply it with your finger over your entire eyelid, from lash line to brow.  I chose one that has a shimmer but it is not necessary.  A concealer that is approved for use in the eye area would work as well.  The Eyeshadow base helps keep your eyeshadow in place longer and allows for bolder colors.

Step 2: Use Eyeshadow #2 and apply it over the same area you just applied the base, from lash to brow.

Step 3: Apply Eyeshadow #3 on your lid from lash line to crease concentrating the shadow a little heavier in the inner corner.  Don't worry about blending yet.

Step 4: Go back to Eyeshadow #2 and blend the two colors together.  Use upward strokes to blend the dark shadow into the lighter shadow.

Step 5: Use a highlighting eyeshadow #4 (White or Cream color) and apply it just under the brow line to give your brow some lift.  I used a white shadow that is a combo on the end of and eyeliner but any light shadow will work.

Step 5:  Apply Eyeliner and Mascara.  Start your eyeliner on the outer corner and draw the line towards the center then if needed take a Q-Tip and pull the liner in the same direction until it has a nice tapered end.

Blush:  Blush application differs on your face shape.  There are round, square, oval and heart shaped faces but if you are like me have a combination of them and never know what you are actually "supposed" to do.  So I simplified it down to two options, wide and narrow.  

If you have a narrow face it is best to apply your blush from the apple of your cheek straight back towards your ear.  This will help give the illusion of a slightly wider face.

If you have a wide face it is bes to apply your blush from the apple of your cheek in a crescent shape back towards your temple.  This will give the illusion of a slightly narrower face.

Lips: As you can see below my lower lip is fuller than my upper lip.  So I take a nude color lip liner and line my upper lip slightly on the outside of my lip line to even them out.  The same idea works if you have uneven peaks or one side is different shape than the other.  If your lips are evenly shaped then line just along the lip line to help define it.  Lip liner is very important to use when you are using a bold/bright lipstick.  It will help to prevent bleeding color.

After lipliner apply the lip color evenly over the top.  Then dab a gloss just to the center of your lips to help give a pouty lip look.

Complete:  Just a note, I applied the eye color a little darker than necessary for picture/tutorial purposes.  The same process can be used with lighter colors and achieve a similar final look.


So what do you think?






Friday, March 25, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

I am not much of a cook.  I love to bake and decorate baked goods but regular cooking isn't my favorite thing to do.  However, I have an amazing recipe to share with you.  I went to a friend's party where she made this soup and it was to die for!  I craved it so much I even made a batch of my own and it turned out fantastic.

It was pretty easy to make and it makes a lot so be prepared for left overs!  The most difficult part was peeling the roasted red peppers but apparently you can purchase peppers already roasted from your local grocery store.  Since I am a bit of a cooking virgin I didn't know that and the whole process would have been a lot quicker.  If you want to try roasting your own I used directions from All Recipes for mine.

Enjoy and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque
as prepared in DEAN & DELUCA’s Kansas City kitchen

Yield 3 ½ qts

Ingredients:
½ stick Butter
½ cup Celery, diced
½ cup Onions, diced
½ cup Carrots, diced
1 quart Chicken stock
3 cups Roasted Red Peppers with juice
1 cup Tomato Paste
1 ½ cups Ketchup
1 quart Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
¾ tsp Dried Oregano Leaves
¾ tsp Dried Basil Leaves

Method:
1. Melt Butter and Saute the Celery, Carrots, and Onions to soften.
2. Add Chicken Stock and Roasted Red Peppers to the vegetables.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Add remaining ingredients (except seasonings) to boiling stock and vegetable mix.
5. Reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes.
6. Add Seasonings and puree mix until smooth.
7. Adjust Seasonings as needed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Open letter to office employees around the world…

Dear Employees,

When are you going to grow up and realize this is a place of business? Not some place for you to show up when you feel like or expect someone else to clean up your messes. These things have to stop! 


To: All…what does your desk look like? Your desk is not a private place for you to wallow in your own trash, dirty dishes and scum. It is open for all to see, including clients. What do you think a client thinks when they walk in and see dirty dishes, laptops sitting on piles of paper, paper thrown on the floor and junk every where? Is that the type of place you would want to do business with? This doesn't mean it needs to be spotless, it just needs to be tidy. It is disrespectful! 


    To: Coffee drinkers…did you make the coffee? You ground the coffee and you made the coffee but did you clean up your messes? The coffee grounds on the counter or spilled water take two seconds to wipe up. Don’t just leave them, it is disgusting! 
    To: Coffee drinkers…Did you take the last of the coffee (or leave just enough to “pretend” like you didn’t take the last of the coffee)? Then see #2! Don’t just leave it for the next person to make. It is rude! 


    To: All…Did you take the last cookie from the table? Then throw away/clean up the container it was in. It is courteous! 


    To: All…did make your lunch today? Wonderful! Now clean up your mess! Clean any splatters in the microwave, spilled contents on the counter, spilled contents on the floor, etc. Oh, and trash goes in the trash can! It is simple!


    To: All…did you use dishes today? Then wash them! They don’t get left on the sink or on the counter, they either get hand washed and put in the drying rack or put in the dishwasher. It is easy! 
    To: All…is the dishwasher full? Then start it! 
    To: All…don’t know how to start the dishwasher? Ask! Don’t just leave it for someone else. It is childish! 


    To: All…have the urge to use the speaker phone? Go in the conference room or better yet just don’t do it! The rest of the office doesn’t need to hear it. It is annoying! 


    To: Know it alls…are you God? No? Then you know nothing! Now get off your high horse and join us in the real world!


This is just food for thought.  Even though I bet you are reading this and you are thinking, "I am not that person."   You may want to take a step back and just make sure because it has to be somebody!

Thanks,
Your Coworker’s
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