Saturday, October 31, 2009

An Elusive Peacock Emerges

This costume was a big hit this year. We received lots of compliments on it but it wasn't the easiest get up. Miraculously I found the dress at TJ Maxx so that part was easy but it needed a mask and tail. We were lucky in knowing someone who owned peacocks and she generously gave us a bundle of the most beautiful feathers! This would have been very pricey otherwise!
I purchased a plastic mask and first covered it in the cheap white feathers from the craft store. If I had to do this again, I would use blue or green feathers. Then I used peacock feathers on top of those. It turned out very pretty!

Next I had to figure out how we could make the feathers stand up in the back and yet be able to get into the car without getting crushed. I decided to use Duct Tape to sandwich the feathers in place after placing them in a small arc with the prettiest parts the most visible. This way I was able to use safety pins to attach them to the dress. But this created an unattractive look in the back. I needed something to cover the tape so I made a sash. This worked out well and was fairly comfortable.Here she is under the black light. Freaky!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How To Take A Great Photo Part 2

Flipping through past photos I have run across a few that I liked. Usually these are ones that I have taken of myself with the assistance of flipping the screen of the camera so I can see myself. The problem with this is my eyes are always looking off to the left. I've got to learn how to make a good photo with other photographers. So let's study the good and the bad and see what we find.

1. Be choosy when picking backgrounds and lighting. Why would I pose with a walrus and in bad lighting? Very few people can look good when a flash is used. And only very slim people should pose with a walrus. Natural light is best or use a tripod with the flash turned off.

This one of me turned out well. The background is pretty and no flash.

2. Never pose with your body facing the camera straight on. I'm in the middle of this shot with my body turned to the side, pretty good!
3. When posing in a group shot, never be on the outside as this poor soul always looks heavier. Keep this nugget of wisdom to yourself and make your husband and kids be on the outside.

4. Stick out your neck. In the shot below I am not sticking out my neck but in the next photo had I been looking at the camera it would have made a better shot.

5. Don't forget to be looking up into the camera never down. I never allow my photo to be taken after I've had a baby until the color has returned to my face and I have on lipstick and earrings. Even with these few simple requests an ugly shot was taken because the angle was bad. Not to mention that chunky knee peeking out from the blankets. The shot below was taken the next day and what a difference!

I'm sure there are lots more tips but trying to keep just these simple few is enough to keep in mind. Good luck to me and to you in your next shot!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

.....because of my leg.

This past Sunday we had our first visit to the ER after Katherine had a terrible bike accident with Granddad. Her foot got caught in the spokes of the wheel and tore off quite a bit of skin and sprained her ankle.
Our ride to the hospital was full of "what if" talking mainly by me. Such as "what if she has to use a wheel chair at school?" or "what if she's broken something and needs a cast?". Overhearing this Katherine calmed a bit and added her own "what if's" that all ended pitifully with "....because of my leeeeg".
Four hours later we left the ER. Katherine was medicated with what the nurse said would make her loopy and on the tiniest pair of crutches. She was delighted with the thought of going to school on crutches "because of her leeeeg".
The talk on the way home was Chuck itemizing everything that we would be charged and Katherine shouting and laughing at intervals from the back seat, "Am I still loopy? because of my leeeeg, am I looopy?!". I too was laughing and feeling loopy from exhaustion, lack of food, and relief that nothing was broken.

If you have a tender stomach, no need to scroll down further. Katherine wanted to add a photo of the wound to my blog. It made her happy so why not.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to Take A Great Photo Part 1

The holidays are coming fast! That means posing for photographs. I've been researching how to take a great photo so I can stop hiding behind the camera or erasing hideous shots. Below is a list of WHAT NOT TO DO. After seeing some of my bad shots you will probably be thinking, "surely she was pregnant in this one." That is very kind of you but I'm not.

1. If you have large legs (like myself) refuse to have your photo taken whilst sitting. I have selflessly added some past photos to prove this point.

My thighs look as big as Katherine perhaps even bigger.

My feet look inadequate in size to keep me upright in this one.

Below is the same shot excluding my thighs, much better!

2. Be aware of your arm placement and body position. Don't press your arms close to your body and certainly don't bend over.

There are SO many things going wrong in this shot. The bending over, the pressing of the arm and that unflattering top! The hat was not working either.
Below I'm sitting slumped over, and pressing the arms, terrible.

3. When you know your photo will be taken, wear a tested outfit. It's worth your trouble to take a few shots with a digital camera to see if the clothes are working.

Below I have on a huge shapeless shirt that did me no favors. It joined the blue top from above in a donate bag.

4. Some moments should not be documented.

5. No one looks good when photographed from an upward angle.

When having your picture taken, don't sit,press your arms against your sides, wear an unflattering outfit, or let the photographer shoot looking up at you. Now I'm off to investigate what TO do to achieve a lovely picture.


Charlie had two big milestones this week. His first words and his first step! Chuck brought him to me after his nap and he said "hi"! He will to say it several times to Katherine now until she pays attention to him. So sweet. This afternoon Chuck walked in and Charlie said "DaDa" several times.
Tonight he was balancing with the help of the ottoman when he spotted the remote on the arm of the couch. He knows the remote is a no-no so he went for it by taking a step! He just might be walking by his 1st birthday, only a few weeks away.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Past Halloweens

I am feeling reminiscent tonight and thought I would post my daughter's past costumes. It was fun going back and remembering each year. Her first Halloween she was only 2 weeks old. We didn't dress up that year and we lived to far away for my mother to put her into costume. So Katherine was 1 in the pumpkin costume. She refused to wear the head piece that came with it. The 2nd year she refused to wear the adorable witch hat.
By her 3rd year she had caught on to "being in character" and wore the pirate hat and boots.

The 4th year she wanted to be scary and she was! She loved the ghost costume made out of yards of tulle. It was a Martha Stewart idea for an adult costume that I was able to make her size.
The next year was also a Martha Stewart idea of using an umbrella for bat wings. This one was tricky and Chuck had to tweak this idea for me.

This year's peacock costume turned out wonderful. She wore it last night for her birthday party but I failed to get a full length photo.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Outrageous Gifts

If you have money to burn this holiday season consider this unique sleeping bag for your Star Wars fan. It is a Tauntaun Sleeping Bag from ThinkGeek! It's currently out of stock, people actually paid $99.99 for this. I have a feeling that more adults than children own this item. However, the idea is pretty great. Notice the well thought out light saber zipper pull and intestinal lining of the bag. Unfortunately, the cool planet Hoth headgear and gloves are not included.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Try A Sexy New Look

I have worn false eyelashes for years. Not every day, just when I need a pick me up. Lashes are super cheap and are in every drug store and Wal-mart. However, they do take a little patience. Here are some tips if you're feeling adventurous!

1. DO NOT try those individual lashes for the first time. They are too tedious and difficult to do alone. I've never had any success with them staying on.
2. Purchase a pair of lashes that are full but not drag queen (see below). Also purchase a tube of adhesive, most lashes don't come with glue.

3. Trim your lashes to suit your eyes. They're going to be long so cut the end with the shortest lashes. Take the lash off your eye before you trim. If you don't trim, the lashes will poke your eyelid and be really annoying.
4. Apply a good bead of glue onto the lash and wait for 30 seconds for the glue to become tacky. This is a good time to apply your eye make up. Keep it simple or you'll look Old Lady or Drag.
5. Use a toothpick to poke the lashes above your lash line. Be sure to really adhere both ends down to avoid lifting.
6. Throw the glue and toothpick into the lash package for your purse. Just in case you have an emergency you can reapply a small amount of glue onto the toothpick then onto the lash.
7. To get the glue off your eye apply a small amount of baby oil onto a Q-tip and rub softly.
Put the lashes back onto the lash tray for next time.

Have a great time! Relax about people noticing you've got on lashes. If they do it's because they're wanting to know why you look so great. Once you've had some experience with these you'll notice that almost every magazine ad or commercial girl is wearing them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


It is done. My granite counter tops are complete and beautiful. Now it is time to paint everything else. You know how it is, update one thing and everything else looks shabby. I've been putting off painting for months and needed my mother to push me into action. We've become accustomed to the ugliness. I've included just the "before" pictures because I haven't reached the "after" yet. They are a reminder of the original green laminate that Chuck enjoyed burning. I live in Alabama, our men gleefully burn everything that won't fit into the trash can.

I've been painting for a week now and neglecting my precious blog. It began with a small manageable project of painting just the bottom cabinets in the kitchen. I was very strict following the directions. This involved TSP, sanding, priming, painting, then painting again. They worked! The results are pretty amazing.

Then I was talked into painting the bathroom cabinets "while I was at it". This involved all of the above steps and they could still use yet another coat of paint. Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know.
I also repainted my front door that dried matte, cloudy, and bug encrusted this summer. It looks much better now. Today I've been painting the kitchen walls. I just put another coat onto the primed wall and it's looking like a kid's room, not the refreshing light blue I was envisioning. I'm really bummed. Perhaps I can tint this can of paint into an agreeable gray but I am not hopeful. I have not received a whole lot of reliable help at the home improvement stores. My last trip I was caught off guard by Mr. Sneaky. An employee who slid silently to my side. His conversation skills were just as creepy as his sudden appearance. Wish me luck.