Friday, April 29, 2011

Beautiful Journey

Since today is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, I was naturally going to write something wedding related...something along the lines of princess cakes or pretty invitations.  

However, all this "wedding fever" has inspired me to look at my old wedding photos and re-live our own "royal" wedding day  (it was held at an English estate owned by Timothy Eaton, so it felt very “royal” indeed). As beautiful as that day was, it pales in comparison to the beautiful journey since then.

So, I thought I’d simply share a photo that captures one of the “moments of my life". It's not your typical wedding photo, but reflects what I think weddings are really about...the beginning of a journey, taking a path together, watching, learning and waiting for each other patiently while picking up and experiencing beautiful things along the way.

May every Prince and Princess take that beautiful journey together, and live happily every after.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now...Along came a Spider (Costumes, Part 2)

My son originally wanted to be a scorpion for the school musical, but for fear of looking like a large lobster, he decided to be a spider instead.  However, with so many boys wanting to be a spider, he had a specific design in he can be less "ordinary".  So he looked up on the internet, the anatomy of a spider to get costume ideas.  

Here’s what we did, which is a combination of many other types of costumes of other bugs, combined to be this.

For the eyes, we cut styrofoam balls (found at the dollar store), 
and cut them in half:

My son painted the styrofoam balls,  then attached green sequins to make it appear more 3D.  

We the attached the chelicera (kind of like fangs) which were cut and painted out of cardboard.  We attached the eyes and fangs to an old black hat. We then added the headband with the black pipe cleaners (for the Pedipalp or “feelers” of the spider):

For the legs, sewed black stockings filled with batting cotton to a black shirt:

For the tail/abdomen, cut a black garbage bag and filled it with other plastic bags.  My son created the "spinner"detailing with black construction paper.  We attached the whole thing with electric tape (I ran out of black electric tape, so I used black hockey tape):

Now...we have a Spider!

Simply fun!

For more information on the anatomy of spiders, we referenced this diagram when making the costume:  Link 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Beautiful Butterfly (Costumes, Part 1)

My kids are in the school musical, and they are assigned to be a bug/insect of their choosing.  

I turned this into a project for a rainy day (which we’ve had quite a few lately), and this was a great opportunity to do an easy arts and crafts project that got the kids involved with their own costumes, made their costumes unique, and inspired them to be creative and take pride in their work and participation with the school musical.

Since my daughter loves all things fairy,  the butterfly was the natural choice.  This is how we made the butterfly costume:

Using one of her fairy dolls as a model, 
I outlined and cut the wings on foam core 
(found at the local dollar store):

I provided paint, glue, glitter, sequins etc., and let her go all out:

We glued some fuzzy yarn along the edges
 to make the wings appear soft:

Cut a few holes in the center (positioned so she can sit easily).
Put elastic bands in the holes and made 
shoulder/arm bands so her arms can go through:

Added pipe cleaners and ribbon to a pretty black headband and 
ended up with...a Beautiful Butterfly:

Simply creative.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Simple Easter cupcakes

I had a recent request from a friend to provide a quick and easy idea to decorate plain chocolate cupcakes for Easter.   As I am sitting watching the kids paint their Easter eggs this morning, I came across this old photograph of bunny cupcakes I made last year, so I thought I’d share.  You can make these using pre-made cupcakes and store-bought frosting, or my homemade cupcake and icing recipes (found here)

The way I decorated my cupcakes might be a little more time consuming, as I baked sugar cookies for the bunny ears.  But I figured,  if I am going to bake, I might as well bake cupcakes and cookies at the same time! (I was baking for two crowds).  An easier alternative would be using vanilla Oreo cookies cut in half for the ears (instead of the sugar cookies I baked).

Once the cupcakes are iced with simple buttercream frosting, I added a little cocoa powder to what was left over from the butter cream frosting, then piped the eyes and whiskers.  I used mini candy coated chocolate eggs for the nose.

Fairly simple…and a big hit with the kids!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Beautiful Easter

Thought I’d share this photo taken “in between takes” at last year’s Easter portrait session.  There’s something so simply beautiful about this moment.

Wishing everyone many cherished moments this Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Simple Bunny Treats

With Easter approaching, I'm am in "treat" mode...chocolates and jelly bean eggs fill the shelves at the store, taunting me to purchase all those delectable sweets.

For Easter, what's more fun than eating something fluffy and "bunny" related.  Something as simple as a marshmallow that looks like...a bunny tail!

When I usually give out treats (like in a loot bag), if there is something I am not making from scratch, I usually want to do something to the packaging so it looks personal.

Here's a quick and easy "packaging" idea for the marshmallow "bunny tails" (cotton candy or chocolate dipped marshmallows can be fluffy tails too).  This literally took me 10 minutes to do (not including the disruptive pleas like "Mommeee, can I eat some marshmallows now???").

I took a simple sheet of paper (although I think card stock would have worked even better), and wrote my Easter greeting on the side (length wise) of the paper, then cut along the middle so I have two copies:  

I folded each sheet again then sketched bunny ears on the top part of the fold.  Then I cut along the lines:

I folded and then attached this to the top of a regular ziplock bag with the marshmallows enclosed (prettier party loot bags would look nice too...the creative possibilities are endless!)...and voila!  

Bunny Tail Treats!  


Happy Easter everyone!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beautiful Barbie "Art"

My daughter is a real girly girl.  She loves her dolls, and loves to dress them up.  So when I was looking for art to put in her room, I scoured the internet and stores to find old fashioned "barbie" doll art.  Old sketches of barbie fashions from days gone by.

Unfortunately that is not an easy task to find.  Nor is it something I wanted to heavily invest in (read: spend a lot of money) for something that was possibly a fleeting interest.

So, I found these old shadow boxes...

Found scrap book paper that coordinated with her room...

Pinned some unused "barbie" dresses...

And voila!  

My pint sized client was thrilled!  Beautiful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Simple Beauty

I ran into an acquaintance in the organic section of our local grocery store, and she was pondering a few facial product selections, and was overwhelmed with all the expensive products.  I mentioned that I use Cetaphil, a highly recommended dermatologist facial cleanser that is very gentle for the skin (her skin is very sensitive to chemicals).

She said her dermatologist recommended that same cleanser that I use, so she asked me what I use as a moisturizer. 

Now, I’m no beauty queen or skin expert, but I have been blessed with good genes (both my mother and my recently-passed grandmother have always looked “ageless”)…and their facial care was very simple…never wear makeup to bed, always wear any moisturizer (they used off the shelf Nivea cream!) at night, and wear sunscreen or a hat during the day. Drink lots of water.  No need for expensive fancy creams…as long as it made your skin FEEL soft, that was good enough.  (Vitamin E capsules, Almond, Sesame or Coconut oil worked too!).

When I worked on film sets, I also remember peeking into the makeup bags of the "talent" (industry speak for actors and actresses),
and although they've been gifted with many expensive beauty products (usually by companies who are looking for endorsements), the number one thing they did to stay looking fresh was to drink lots of water!  Start from the inside out.

So, that’s what I said.  Sometimes the most simple items (if you can eat it, you can put it on your face) works best.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple Beginnings

It’s taken me a long time to decide on starting a blog.  I’ve always loved to write, but I didn't think anyone would want to read about the simple things I do.

However, on many occasions, various friends have encouraged me to write or teach about some of my creative outlets…some thought I should start a blog about baking (specifically cupcakes…I’ve made my share for a few parties!).  Some friends thought I should start an interior design business (showcasing my house in the portfolio --I’ve turned my generic suburban house into a warm welcoming home).   Other friends have suggested I write about all the hidden treasures I’ve transformed from my antiquing and shopping jaunts. (I certainly love discovering bargains!).

What I’ve realized is this…at some level, we get inspiration from each other…that we either live (at least certain parts of our lives) vicariously through our friends...or learn from them.  And on a deeper level, we all yearn to find or learn new ways to simplify things so we can enjoy what’s precious in our lives. 

So here I am…starting a journey with all of you:  To discover or create things that are simply beautiful…now.