Must-have Monday!

Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm going to start this thing I'll do every week called Must-Have Monday. It's quite simple...I'll write about and review something I think you shouldn't live without. It could be a beauty item, food, clothing, baby item, house stuff, etc. Get it? Great.

For my first Must-Have Monday I'm going to blog about a beauty item I absolutely cannot live without. It's a Lancome product called Genifique.

 It's relatively new & I've been using it since September. Now, Genifique isn't just one product, it's a whole line of skincare within Lancome's product line. There's a serum (or youth-activating concentrate), a cream serum (for more moisture), a night cream, and an eye cream. I use the serum and the eye cream. When I first started working for Lancome they were trying to launch Genifique, so we were had this phrase burned into our brains: Genifique to every client. And it wasn't just because they were trying to make a huge sale or anything, it's because it really can be used for any person, any age, and any skin type. I took home a little sample and withing 3 days I saw a difference and was hooked!

So what's is this miracle product? Like I mentioned above, it's a youth activating concentrate. Lancome took 10 years to make this product and what it does is it actually goes into the skin and boosts the activity of genes and regenerates the youthful proteins that are in our skin. Genifique's promise is that you'll see visible results in just 7 days. Your skin will look lit from within, velvety to the touch & cushiony soft, it will even out your skin tone and texture, and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. There are 7 world-wide patents on it and there is nothing else like it anywhere. 

I started to use Genifique and saw a difference in about 3 days. My skin did in fact feel velvety smooth and extremely soft. My foundation went on so smoothly! My skin's texture was just amazing! After about a week my pores looked a lot less noticeable and my skin looked really radiant and vibrant. The Genifique serum should be your first item you apply to your face after cleansing and toning. You literally need a very small drop, about the size of a pea (or smaller!) It is so silky smooth that a little drop really does go a long way and should be plenty for your entire face and down onto your neck. They call Genifique a youth activating concentrate because it has ingredients in it that will help to "activate" your other products that you put over it...meaning it will help in the absorption of any other creams or serums that you put over it. Your other beauty products are going to work better with Genifique as your first step in your routine. So even though I use Genifique's serum first, I still use another serum (that I previously used) on top of this, and then I use my moisturizer and eye creams. (You can literally "layer" your other products over Genifique). 

So how much does this miracle product cost? Some people may cringe at this price tag....ready? It's $78 for a 1 ounce bottle. But, and I'm not feeding you crap here, it will last you so so long. Like I said before, a very small drop in the morning and night. A 1 ounce bottle could easily last you 6 months or longer. And don't forget, Lancome does free gift with purchase (GWP) in the spring and fall at Macy's, Dillards, Saks, or whatever department store carries Lancome in your area. So if you time it right, go buy Genifique when they are doing GWP and you will get a ton of free stuff just for purchasing it. Actually, right now, Lancome's GWP has a small .25 oz bottle in their GWP. You just have to spend $32.50 to get this whole set & it's a great way to introduce Genifique to your beauty regimen! 

Or, you can always go to your Lancome counter and ask for a sample of Genifique. They should be able to give you one if they have enough in stock as a tester. Or they might give you a little demo if you have time to sit down with them!

Beauty Blog- Black Shatter

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's finally mine! The new OPI nail polish called Black Shatter is finally mine. I first heard of this polish about 2 months ago and had been eagerly waiting to get my hands on it. After about 3 weeks of searching every beauty supply and salon in my town & calling all of my hairstylist friends, I found that the new color was in very high demand and was going to be something I'd have to put my name on a wait list for. Cosmoprof was nice enough to take my name and number and promised to call me as soon as a bottle came it fore me. Sure enough, Thursday night I got the call that my little black bottle was in and ready for pick up. At last!

If you haven't heard of Black Shatter, you are missing out! This is it:

It's a black polish in Katy Perry's line for OPI that you apply over another color to get a crinkly, "shattered" effect, like this:

Now, let me just say that I loathe Katy Perry (that's another story in itself!) But I love all of the KP colors that OPI has, & they all look fabulous under Black Shatter. However, the only other color Cosmoprof had available was the hot pink color called The One That Got Away. I really wanted the light pink glittery one as well but maybe they'll have that another day. Anywho, I have acrylics on so my almost 3 year old daughter eagerly acted as my beautiful nail model!

The application was really quite simple...just start with your first coat of regular nail polish & let it dry thoroughly. Then you have to apply the Black Shatter quickly in one even stroke without having to go back over it again...otherwise it's going to glop up a lot! If the nail is too wide to go over in one stroke you can do another if needed, just try very hard not to go over the previous stroke that you just did. Within seconds you will start to see the polish give the crinkly appearance that it's supposed to have. Let that dry very well too and then finish with a nice shiny topcoat & you're done!

Lily's turned out so cute! Though they aren't shiny because she didn't want a top coat. I did them on my toes the same way with a topcoat and they turned out soooo beautifully, but I really don't feel like taking pictures of my feet for all the world to see.


So if you're lucky enough to find a bottle of this polish, snag it! Before they are all gone! 

Wall hangings, another finished quilt, & late night blogging!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ok, about a week ago I made some cute fabric wall hangings for my living room & I wanted to share them.

 I got the general idea here, but I tweaked it a little. (By the cute is that blog?! She has the cutest ideas). It was fairly inexpensive project (around $20 I think, and it took about 15 minutes to make). I went to Hobby Lobby to buy canvases & was pleased to see that they had 2 -packs of canvases on sale for $7.99. Good price, right? They were also 30% off. I'm no mathematician but I think that's just over 10 bucks for 4 medium sized canvases! So I got my canvases and I headed to JoAnn's for fabric (Hobby Lobby also has fabric, but I browsed their section & it was pretty picked over & I had specific fabrics already in mind for this project). I got a 1/2 yard for each of my fabrics and headed home. I usually buy a 1/2 yard of fabric when I do my quilting because I can get 2 fat quarters out of it...I found in making these wall hangings that a fat quarter would actually work perfectly for the canvas size I bought. Anyways, the only other tools I needed for my project were an iron (the fabric needs to be completely wrinkle free, or else you are not going to be able to take your eyes off of the hideously wrinkled wall hanging above your TV!) & a staple gun. In the tutorial she uses a staple gun to attach the fabric to the canvas, but I don't own one of those. But I do own a hot glue gun! It worked perfectly. I glued the top & bottom first (make sure you stretch the fabric all the way around to the back of the canvas to glue it so that no unfinished edges are showing). Then I made sure to fold the corners all pretty & neatly, kind of like when you're wrapping a present. Then I glued the sides & it was done! The blog tutorial also showed how to get all fancy & add some texture to the wall hanging, but I didn't go that route. You can if you like, but I didn't have the patience for it & I wanted a quick crafty thing to do for some instant gratification.

*I should also add that after I took these pictures I turned the 2 that were on the outside so that the fabric was going the right way. I made a mistake & cut my fabric a tad too small so that it wouldn't fit width wise when I first tried doing this. Rather than waste the fabric I decided to just turn it vertically but then my husband noticed that it really should be going the other way. So now they look like this:

I really wanted them all going vertically though! Dang it. Oh well, they still look great, but maybe one day I will redo them & have them all going the correct way. What do you think of them being arranged this way?

I had one canvas left and I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I found some really cute Asian themed fabric I had leftover from my Asian inspired quilt found in this blog I wrote. I made this in about 2 minutes & stuck it in between some wall sconces I have hanging in my foyer. I think it turned out pretty cute!

I was busy the other night finishing up the pink/teal/brown quilt I started as well. I had to finish free motion quilting it & do the binding...these are the 2 most tedious and time-consuming parts, but the free motion part is my favorite! It's so fun. I was sad when I had to part with this quilt today and put it in the mail for a friend who just had her baby a few days ago. But alas, it needed to go to a good home! And there's no better home for a quilt made with lots of love than to a newborn baby girl. :)

You can click on the pictures to see more detail

By the way, I got a message from a friend of mine who lives in Alaska & writes a blog called One Me, Two Monsters. Her name is Amber and I absolutely love her blog. She recently started doing this thing every week called Featured Friday and she asked if I wanted to be her Friday tomorrow! All I had to do was write a little paragraph or two about myself and she puts it up on her blog. I'm in the process of making a button for my blog page and when I do she will put a link up to my page and I will put a link up to hers as well. You should give her blog a I said, I love it!

Let's get to the crafty stuff!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I want to get to the good stuff now...not that talking about myself and my family isn't fun, but my one of the purposes of this blog is for me to share some of the sewing, quilting, and crafty stuff that I do with others in hopes of getting some good ideas from other women like me as well. 

A good friend of mine, Anna, introduced me to the world of quilting last year. When I first heard the word "quilting" I totally pictured my grandmother sitting at her ancient sewing machine making some ugly blanket for her old friend or something (which is weird, because I only have one living grandmother and as far as I know, she hasn't sewn anything in a good 15 years or so). Anyway, back to my friend. 

This is a pretty old picture of us, but I love it. It's from good old Glen Dow Academy of Hair Design circa 2007. Don't you love the I heart customer service pins we had to wear? Anna is a great friend of mine and we obviously went to beauty school together. She's gorgeous, has a great sense of style,  has a lot of tattoos like myself, and I had no idea she had all of this craftiness inside of her and I couldn't imagine her quilting, let alone owning a sewing machine. (She also has the cutest little girl named Violet who is about 3 months older than my daughter...they're BFFS!)

I saw a few pictures of quilts Anna had done on her Facebook page and they looked SO good. I was at her house one day and she had some of her quilting blocks sitting out on her dining room table and I started asking her questions...what I needed to get started (like a sewing machine!) She assured me that quilting is not just for old ladies and that it's actually really fun and that I should try it. After seeing the quilts she made I didn't need much more convincing. So then I had to ask my husband to buy me a sewing machine, and I was surprised that he said yes right away. Apparently he'd been wanting me to find a hobby besides watching TV and reading Cosmopolitan, so he didn't have a problem handing over the money for a sewing machine. I looked online and read some reviews and figured out which machine I wanted to start with. I figured probably shouldn't buy a $500 machine if I wasn't even sure I'd like sewing or if I had never sewn a straight line in my life just yet. I settled on a pretty decently priced Brother machine. It's nothing like the old Singer I borrowed and never used from my mom years ago. This one is digital & is light as a feather, and actually the selling point for me was that it's a limited edition Project Runway machine (I'm a sucker for reality TV, or really anything on Bravo for that matter!)

My husband then headed out to buy me a desk, a lamp, and a few other items and we got my area all set up next to his computer, guitars, and painting stuff in our office. (He was nice enough to give me a corner in there next to him, and he even bought me a Twilight poster so that I can gaze at Edward while I'm trying to work on my sewing projects). Here's what sewing corner looks like:

I decided that my first quilt I'd make would be for my mom since Mother's Day was only a few weeks away. I picked a blue and brown color scheme, chose the pattern I wanted, and picked out all the fabric and materials I needed to start my very first quilt (actually, my first sewing project ever!) It took me a few weeks and a lot of money to finish the quilt in time, but I did it! Lesson learned though, don't buy all of your fabric from specialty quilting stores. Use your coupons for JoAnn's and shop when things are on sale and you'll cut down on the cost a lot. 

It started with the fabric

Then those turned into quilt blocks

And then I laid all of the quilt blocks down and arranged them how I liked them

Then I sewed them together

After that I added the border

After that I had to figure out how I wanted the quilt top, batting, and backing put together. Anna has a friend of hers free motion quilt hers together for her, and I liked the look of that. (The swirly stitching all over it). I went to the specialty quilt shop where I'd purchased the fabric from and the ladies were all very impressed with my quilt, especially since it was my first one. They said I could rent their quilting machine in the store to free motion quilt it together, but I was afraid that I'd mess it up. So instead, I decided to pay the fee to have them quilt it together for me. Apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere because I was not aware of how much this was going to cost me. Believe me, I was completely shocked and caught off guard when Shayne and I went to pick it up later and the lady rang it  up for $155! Shayne shot me a look and sighed as he gave her the money for it and I got a lecture in the car later about how I needed to make sure I knew how much something was going to cost before I agreed to it. (Remember, it was a miscommunication though! It wasn't really my fault). Anyways, it did turn out beautifully.

And a week later I gave it to my mom for Mother's Day. She loved it!

Now, that was a twin sized quilt, which was quite a project! After doing that I realized I probably should have stuck to baby sized quilts. I made 2 quilts for Lily to get some practice in and I was hooked! Baby quilts! That would be my thing!

For those two quilts I just "stitched in the ditch" to sew the layers all together. After these quilts though I figured I should buy the special presser foot for my sewing machine so that I could do the free motion quilting myself. It took a little practice but I quickly got the hang of it and I'm able to do it myself now! It's very very fun and it makes the quilts really beautiful and it saves me a lot of money!

Here are some more pictures of quilts that I've made for my friends' kids. Some of these were made as gifts and a few of them were actually sold after I was asked specifically by people to make and sell them.

This one was made for a friend to give to her friend as a baby shower gift for her new baby & brown scheme to match a bedding set she already had in her nursery.

Free motion quilting on my machine

Finished pink/brown/teal quilt. This one was supposed to just be pink & brown but I fell in love with the teal fabrics & she gave me free reign to do what I wanted.

Hard to see, but I wrote "Lilly" on it for my friend's daughter's quilt.

Finished pink quilt...very girly for a little 2 year old girl.

These 2 were made for sisters :) 

Free motion quilting on a quilt for my best friend Breann.

For my best friend's birthday.

Finished lap size quilt for Breann's birthday

Another pink/teal/brown quilt

I just love the pink/orange/teal/brown flowery fabrics...perfect spring colors for a little girl!

This one was tricky. The asian theme was all based around 1 fabric that's in this quilt. I'm not crazy with how it turned out just because I went in a different direction than I originally intended. It looks more mature & not as babyish.

The last three quilts, the pink/teal/brown one, the spring colored one, and the asian one are all my current projects and are unfinished. I'm in the middle of free motion quilting the pink/teal/brown one right now and it's supposed to be a gift for someone, and the other two will most likely be sold. After that I'd love to make one for myself...funny how I don't have a quilt for myself yet. I want a pretty one as a throw for my living room so I can snuggle up with it while I drink my coffee in the morning. Now if only I could decide on colors...

Anyhow, there's a little look at some of my projects. I hope to post many many more in the future and will probably have a more step by step blog with detailed pictures of my next sewing adventure!

My first blog

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hello computer world! This is my very first blog. I used to blog a lot back when Myspace first started & I really miss being able to write like this. Facebook status updates are just not enough for me, & I've never been fond of the "notes" that Facebook allows you to write. I'm not quite sure what direction I want to take this blog just yet...whether it be the joys & trials of motherhood, marriage, fashion, crafting, cooking, or just everything kind of jumbled together (my life!) I have too many thoughts & ideas rolling around in my head & I find that being able to write things down helps to give me some kind of release & also helps me to document my life & the lives of my children as well. So bear with me as I try to navigate blogger & make my page super cute & crafty looking! Stay tuned for my first "real" post later on
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Melissa Swenson and Lulu & Sweet Pea