Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Recap

It's funny how aside from the daily ordinary, I can sum up some highlights of my year in one post. Here it is....

January: I learned that I'm not very good at making Cinnamon Rolls. but my sister is. I spent most of January organizing my house, hating the cold, & reading books on my new Kindle. January was relatively event less.

February: I cooked some new dishes...with my sister. This is my favorite. They were much better than my cinnamon rolls. I had a playdate with Charlene & the kids to cure the winter boredom. Sister & I ate a lot in February...We also decided to sponsor another child through Gospel for Asia. We currently sponsor 2 children from there & I enjoy writing & receiving letters from them.

March:  Spring starts giving me little peeks of it's wonderfulness in March so I
refurbished a lamp, marveled in some early spring wonder weather,  & highly anticipated spring by planting a few things & making a family plaque.

April: I celebrated Easter. Zeke went to his first parking lot carnival where he rode the Ferris Wheel and I ate a hamburger on a Krispy Kreme doughtnut. We saw the Fresh Beat Band and for the first time EVER - Charlene & I did not get lost on a road trip. <---major a="a" and="and" blessed="blessed" deal.="deal." even="even" get="get" god="god" href="" i="i" made="made" means="means" new="new" roof="roof" the="the" to="to" us="us" with="with">pallet herb garden
& "Stars in a Jar" from the frequent pins I kept seeing on Pinterest.

May: I turned 25 - prime of my life. Zeke turned two. Our marriage turned 6. My pallet herb garden began to flourish. We had the "supermoon" and for once - I got a clear picture.

June: I felt particularly energized in June. I worked on a bajillion projects for our bedroom, painted our front door purple, made a summer wreath, confessed to my sister that I hated her lamps & made her new ones. Natalee turned 5. We caught fireflies & stayed outside until dark.

July: We celebrated the 4th. I enjoyed the summer by hiking, canoeing, taking Zeke swimming. He loved swimming this summer. I didn't do a lot of anything outside of work that didn't involve being outside.

August: Nathan turned 6 & started first grade. Yikes. He's lost several teeth this year & I began to realize that the prime of my life is going to happen fast. I vowed to enjoy the outdoors more so we did a little more canoeing and I did more exercising.

September:  Life happened - it got all flipped upside down. I spent a lot of this month learning to find my peace in God. By far the worst month of the year but one that opened up the door for better things. I took a fun road trip with Charlene and we did get lost but it was a great day. I discovered that I am "that somebody."

October: Zeke was Superman for Halloween. He really hated his costume and I forgot to take a single picture. I officially accepted that the seasons had changed & it was fall. We had the most awesome Halloween costumes ever.

November: We took our annual family photos. It was a disaster but I realized that I love my family real. I finally figured out what to do about the fact that I wanted stockings but didn't have a mantle. We were thankful & enjoyed family time. I finished almost all my Christmas shopping.

December: I did 23 Acts of Kindness which probably ended up being more like 15 acts but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I set up a Reindeer Food Bar for the kid's to come make treats for the reindeer. I had a bad hair day. We celebrated the o-so-wonderful birth of our Savior and had a blessed Christmas with our families.

And now - it starts over. Hello, 2013!

Fresh Starts & Clean Slates

In my 2012 resolutions, here is what I aimed for:
  • Become more "balanced". With baby, a husband, a house, a full time job, & owning  photography business - life get's a little hectic. I will become better scheduled, better organized, spend more time with Zeke, & make dinner more often. I can say that I made strides in this's going to carry over into this year because frankly I still have room for improvement. I do make dinner more, I did get very organized, & I did learn to slow down a bit.
  • Take more pictures (not only professionally, but especially personally) I did do both.
  • Lose 30 lbs. (Yea, I know. Everyone has the same resolution year after year. I've lost 45, now I just need to lose the last 30 and I'll be one happy chick.) Ok, this didn't happen. I have lost another 10. I'm still hoping to lose 30 more after that and I WILL accomplish it this year.
  • Practice a healthier lifestyle. (Among these things - finally quitting smoking hopefully, eating less processed foods, trying more natural foods & products.) I did not quit smoking *sigh* but I have practiced a healthier food lifestyle. I enjoy it - Noah & Zeke not so much.
  • Make a serious tackle down on paying off our "debt" off everything except our mortgage. (Of course, this requires a lot of actual work for Noah but I know he's on board with me.) We have made some really awesome strides here. We are not debt free but we are on our way & it's getting closer!
Last year, this reason I wanted to do most of this was to be able to "declutter" my life and find ways to release things that distract me so I can accomplish what God wants to accomplish through me. 2012 has been eye opening. He's brought me to some interesting places this year...some awesome and some really not so awesome. There are aspects of 2012 I would never want to live again but at the same time I can see how He orchestrates things to grow us - to break us out of our complacency about life and to Him. Jesus - my King of Kings - is shaping me to be the best daughter of God I can be. Through it all, I see His work for me...His plan unfolding even though I don't have the slightest idea what it is. So this year, I vow to do just three things:
  • Learn to listen to God. Spend much more time in His Word instead of making it a last priority & frequently skipped time.
  • Be a better person. 
  • Lose the last 30 lbs I need to drop. It would be nice to be at my optimal health and to feel that great sense of accomplishment of meeting my final goal.
You know, I have the greatest confidence that I can do all of the above It's a new year - a time for fresh starts and clean slates. I'm looking forward to the freshness tomorrow morning will bring. 2013, I'm looking forward to you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Literary Junkies #2

I've been slacked off on reading lately - Christmas is upon us, the kiddo got sick, work & duty calls. It doesn't mean I can't join in the Literary Junkie's Link Up this month though ;)
By the Porchlight

1. What are you currently reading?  Tell us about it.
Um, this is unusal for me but....nothing. I've been trying to enjoy the Christmas season/get things accomplished so I put reading back on my things to do. Otherwise, I would find a couple new books and neglect my duties for a week. ;) I'm looking forward to picking up something to read after Christmas though.

Technically, actually, I am reading something. The good ol' Bible. I'm going through the New Testament daily now. The same 5-7 chapters for 30 days over and over then moving on to another 5-7 chapters for 30 days. It will take me about 4 years to do it but will be really amazing once I'm finished.

2.  If you could choose any author in the world to write a story based on your life, who would you choose to be the author and why?
Yikes. I keep coming back to this one because I'm not sure. Still not sure. I'm gonna have to come back & edit this later.

Later (after reading a comment) I decided that  C.S. Lewis would be an interesting choice. Dr. Suess is a close second.

3.Tell us about your favorite place to read.
Outside...on a blanket or chair...on a warm sunny day.

4.  What books would you buy for lovers of:
a) Suspense/Mystery  - Mary Higgins Clark books. I haven't read her stuff in a long time but I always enjoyed what I read.
b) Chicklit - Nicholas Sparks books. I think they are always good.
c) Literary Fiction - The Girl from Junchow, The Russian Concubine, or The Red Scarf all by Kate Furnivall. I suppose this counts as Literary Fiction? Whatev. ;)
d) Classics - I don't read a lot of classics (though it's been my intention to start reading a few lately.) I really do like "To Kill a Mockingbird" though. After reading another link up, I would have to say the Secret Garden as well.
e) Comedy - The Stephanie Plum series. While it's technically a suspense/mystery series, it's packed with funny.

If you don't link up & love to read, then you should join in Literary Junkies linkup with By the Porchlight. If you love to read but don't blog, then tell me who you would choose to write a book about your life? I would be interested to see what you have to say. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reindeer like food, too.

I was feeling festive yesterday. At about 3:30, I decided that I wanted to have a "Reindeer Party" (Yes, I made that name up) for the kids. Luckily, I have a few wonderful friends who come to my house when I say "I want to have a literal last minute party for the kid's..."

At about 5, I left work, ran by Walmart for cookies, & picked up Zeke from school.

At about 6:30, I had accomplished this:

Not too too shabby if I say so myself.

What is a reindeer party? It's kind of like this really cute North Pole party I saw here; just not as cute. I would really like to fancy it up & make it pretty like hers next year. I might even find an elf. Our party involved milk and reindeer cookies and making treat bags for the reindeer to eat while they waited on Santa Claus to deliver the presents at their house. (Honestly, I'm still debating just not really pushing the whole "Santa Claus" thing with Zeke and I may not still cause he's a little young this year but all the other kid's believe so why not? While I don't want Zeke's emphasis to ever be on presents & Santa during Christmas, I could never be a dream squasher for other children. No one likes a dream squasher.)

In my head, it was going to be magical & the kids would be in awe of the wonderfulness. They would be really quiet & happy and gently play together.

In reality, they destroyed my house within 30 minutes, played tag, & cried a lot once the sugar high was gone. Admist the chaos though, I had fun. They had fun. And it was a little magical when the kid's made their reindeer food because their obvious belief in Santa & reindeer was showing. I had this humorous exchange with my niece, Natalee:
"Auntie, Reindeers can eat glitter?"
"Um....sure they can. Reindeers are extra special so it's ok for them to eat glitter."
"Well, that's just weird."

A good night for all of us, I hope.

In other child-related news, Zeke went to bed without his paci last night. He didn't ask, cry, scream, or beg me for it. In fact, I was the more emotional of the two of us. This was a kind of last milestone of "baby" stuff for him & I'm left with a lingering sadness over it. Temptation almost sent me to the kitchen to scrounge up the spare paci just to see his chunky little face light up. Luckily, unless it involves brownies, I'm pretty good at ignoring temptation.

13 days till Christmas people, 13 days.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bad Hair Day.

Mornings for us are....usually hectic. We always wake up late. Zeke has decided to become a sleeper-in kid. (Unless it's a weekend or any other day that I'm actually off work.) Therefore, this morning I had approximately 24 minutes to get both of us ready and get dinner started in the crock pot.

Sometime during the multitasking, child hustling, verge of a freak out 24 minutes I had this morning,I put my hair partially up in preparation to straighten the lumpy mass it had formed into overnight. I got dressed, got Zeke dressed, put dinner in the crockpot in record time & ran out the door.

Erm, did I mention that I totally forgot about straightening my hair? Attractive.

In happier & even more random news: Zeke loves to vacuum. And I forgot to put the lid back on my trashcan.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Since it's officially December...

 Merry Christmas!!

" shall rejoice in all the good things the Lord your God has given to you and your household."
Deuteronomy 26:11

 (The real cards are a bit prettier with scalloped edges & our family verse on the back.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Repurposed Old Wood Canvas Pictures

Since I assume that my younger cousin's do not use the internet enough to read my blog or know how to find it - I assume this is safe to post.

Abby, Emma: If you are reading this - you better stop!! ;)

Earlier this year on one of my thrift store trips, I found these urgly (yes, urgly) pictures & didn't pay very much for them. I knew they would work for some photo Christmas gifts when the time came & I was absolutely right.

I wanted to give my cousins (aka my peas in a pod) something personal that I made for them so I used pictures that I took of them earlier this year and decided to coordinate it to their individual bedrooms.

  • I painted the thick sides of the frames
  • I covered & trimmed each with some scrapbook paper and used Mod Podge to adhere it
  • I used the Mod Podge again to attach the pictures
  • I used Paper Glaze to coat the top & give it a glossy top coat
It was pretty simple & I'm glad I grabbed those canvases earlier this year...I really enjoy making presents for people. I've made a handful more presents but I can't post them until after Christmas because those people might actually read my blog.

My goal is to get everything created, bought, & wrapped before December starts so the countdown frenzy is on!


23 Days of Kindness

It's that time of year again! CHRISTMAS! I love, love, love, love Christmas. Love it.

You know what else it's time for?

23 Days of Kindness

Last year I was inspired to do 24 Days of Kindness from Dec. 1-Dec. 24 after finding myself stresesed out every December over presents & seeing that over the years Christmas has turned into a giant commercialized, selfish, & pride centered holiday. I can only see your face now....your all like WHAT?! Please, stop me where I'm wrong:

 We want the best toys/newest electronics/cutest clothes/etc. We fret about what to get and what we will get. We even trample people the day after Thanksgiving to get it. (I secretly like Black Friday. Just for the shopping & deals - I don't like the cranky attitudes.) We are too prideful to admit that we cannot afford to keep up with everything & everyone so we go into debt to buy Christmas presents
Am I right or am I wrong?
(Please note: Before I offend someone, I don't mean everyone of  you do this. I am referring to society in general.)

For me, I want Christmas to truly be about what I feel is important. God sent his Son to be born among us, to live among us, and to ultimately give us the greatest sacrifice we will ever receive that we could never repay. It could have never started without the birth of Christ.I also want to be truly grateful & give to others without the requirement of receiving anything in return. I know that the majority of us always receive something in return but would you have the same mindset about gift giving if you weren't receiving anything back? The gift giving part of Christmas is to me inspired by the wisemen who gifted the infant Christ who they had never met, who couldn't give gifts in return, & who had yet to do anything for them.

So why can't we do that? From Dec. 1st to Dec. 23, I challenge you to do something nice for someone you don't know everyday. (If you would like to, you can also do kind things for those you know.)  

I'm posting this early so you have time to think about some of the things you could do. Here is a quick basic list:
  • Pay for the person in the fast food or coffee shop line behind you
  • Give a store giftcard to a random person (Walmart, Target, grocery)
  • Donate to a food bank or homeless shelter
  • Buy breakfast for a co-worker
  • Leave a generous tip for your waiter/waitress 
  • Bring Christmas cards or poinsettias to a patient @ a nursing home
  • bake cookies/goodies for your local police/fire deparment to show your thanks & support
  • put baked good on your neighbors doors 
Or other non-monetary tasks...
  • donate books you no longer read to the library
  • be a polite driver for a day
  • let someone in line in front of you
  • babysit for a couple who doesn't get to go out much
  • helping someone who needs it with home/yard work
  • print coupons for good deals/toys and hand them to someone in a store or leave them with the item
Really, just let it flow. Plan some. Make some spontaneous. Either way, do it with the spirit of giving & love. Leave handwritten notes explaining this was a random act of kindness. Encourage those who can to pay it forward.If you can't do all the days, don't fret - do what you can.

I encourage you to share this with others & participate. Don't just read this & think "mmm, that's a really nice thing. I'm glad people will do that." YOU DO IT. If you have kids, get them involved - make it a family effort.

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. 
Proverbs 11:25  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Literary Junkie's #1

I saw this Literary Junkie's linky party via another blog & I got excited about. I love to read. Like...seriously love it. It's my number one favorite hobby ever. If you like reading, then go over & check it out. Follow the gals & find some new reading friends!
Goings on in Texas

I'm excited to be able to connect with other readers. I can find new books & be all like "OMG" about current books with people who don't think I'm a total nerd.

Wait, I am a total nerd.

Anywho - here we go:

1) What book are you currently reading? Give us a little synopsis and your review.
I actually just finished a book & haven't started a new one. I devour books in 1-2 evenings if they aren't like ridiculously long so I haven't picked up a new one yet. The one I just finished was "Redeeming Love" by by Francine Rivers. Amazing book. It came highly recommended by several people so I decided to give it a try. The book has a Hosea/Gomer biblical theme going on (God tells the main guy to marry a prostitute who has no trust & no desire to marry him) I thought it sounded a little cheesy when someone first told me about it but once a few more people mentioned it I decided to give it a try. So glad I did - it's such a beautiful love story & well written book.

2) What are your 3 favorite books of all time?

Wowsers. This is hard. Do you know how many books I've read?! A whole lot. Here are three of my favorites....I honestly don't know if they are my all time favorites or not but I'll say they are for now.
  • The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (which is technically 7 with another on the way)
  • Game of Thrones series George R.R. Martin (again, multiple book series with more on the way)
  • The Stephanie Plum Novels by Janet Evanovich (yup, multiple books) Perfect reminder - the 19th book just came out today.

3) What is your "approach" upon entering a bookstore? Where do you immediately head after entering through the front door?

 I have a Kindle. *gasp* I don't go to the bookstore. BUT if I was to go to the bookstore, I would usually head straight towards the fiction. I honestly know what I'm going for most of the time.

I think I'm going to buy a new book now....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Boy Name Meaning Picture

It's a quickie but I loves it:

It's inspired by some I've seen on Etsy/blogs but am too cheap to pay for. This cost me $0.
  • I used PicMonkey to create a collage and add the text/art. I then printed it on on heavy cardstock in a 5x7 format. 
  • Lucky me had a spare basic black 5x7 frame and blue craft paint
You like?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stocking Holders (No Mantle Solution)

I wanted to hang stockings this year. Problem is, I don't have a mantle.  I wish I had onee but I don't so I accept it and just drool over other people's adorable seasonally decorated mantles.

The good news is I have a pretty easy, cheap, & simple solution for hanging stockings for those of us who don't have a mantle.

You'll need
  • Wooden Plaques from Michaels/Hobby Lobby. I used 4x4" and I think they were 59 cents each. I got 4 plaques & had a 25% off coupon so I paid less than $2 for all 4.
  • Small letters. I got some red glittery ones at Michael's on clearance for 79 cents each. You could get plain wood ones & decorate/paint them as you wanted, too.
  • Scrapbook paper. I got 2 sheets for $1 just in case I messed up when cutting (which I did.)
  • Craft paint & a brush (I already had both on hand so that didn't cost me anything but both items are relatively inexpensive.)
  • First, paint the edges of the wooden plaques. 
  • Once the paint has dried, use Mod Podge to glue the scrapbook paper onto the plaque 
  • Next, use scissors or a a razor knife to trim the scrapbook paper. Try not to get frustrated when you cut the paper crooked. You should probably try not to say words that your child will overhear & repeat; especially naughty ones.
  • Coat the scrapbook paper with another layer of Mod Podge

  • Forget to take more pictures
  • Use Mod Podge again (or Super Glue) to attach the letter to each plaque
  • Drive a small nail into the corner
I used Command Strips to hang them. I'll probably have to get another pack next year to rehang them but I didn't want 4 unnecessary holes in my wall.

 Total cost for plaques: around $6 (the entire thing was around $20 with the stockings. I used mini stockings that were on sale at Target instead of regular sized ones. I have some cheapy ones that I actually stuff.) 

It makes my living room feel a little more Christmasy now. Time to put the tree up this weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I have a real family. And we are real weird.

Just in case I've mislead anyone to believe that I am some perfect normal person with a normal family in a always wonderfully decorated/organized/clean home or something along those lines: here is proof we're not. Actually, my house is always clean and is pretty well organized because I like a clean organized house. It's not a discipline thing - it's more of an OCD thing. My family though; we're totally not normal and we're kind of weird.

Here are the real, unedited, unforced, unnormal, behind the scenes pictures from our attempt at a family photo shoot.
I was defeated.
I don't even know where my other child is in this one.

 Thanks to my wonderful sister for helping out with the picture taking. Chins up, sister. (Don't worry - I'll never leak the chins down picture.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Benjamin Moore Aura Waterborne Paint (review)

When I kind of get to the "finishing stages" of a room where I just need some stuff I'm waiting to spend the $$ on, I usually choose a new room to tackle.

New rooms to tackle: the kid's playroom & bathroom.

I recently participated in a BzzCampaign for Benjamin Moore's Aura Waterborne Interior Paint to exchange my honest review of the product for a free gallon of paint and other goodies. This came up at the perfect time since one of the main things I needed to do first was paint.


Bathroom Before
I actually like the color of the bathroom & room but since the rooms are shifting focus and function, the look needs to changed. I wanted something that would be soothing for a bathroom & hopefully soothing enough to keep my kid's from totally destroying their playroom. I chose the color "Solitude" in Satin from the Affinity color line at my local Benjamin Moore retailer. It's a pretty blue-grey that I really love.

 Some of the properties of the Aura Waterborne are:
  • Never requires more than 2 coats in any colour
  • Mildew resistant
  • Colour Lock technology for exceptional colour
  • Colours don't rub off when cleaning
  • Stains wash off easily
  • Easy application
  • Paint and primer together
  • Seamless touch-ups
  • Excellent in high-traffic areas
  • Long-lasting, fresh look
  • Easy cleanup 
The items bolded are the items that I positively agree with. It gave me smooth, even, quick coverage in only one coat with minimal odor. The color is beautiful & fresh. I really don't doubt that overtime it will prove to be mildew resistant, easy to wash, & a great for the bathroom.

It's a much better & much more bathroom friendly color, isn't it?! I plan on using the Aura in the same color to paint the kid's playroom so I'll hopefully get to finish that soon. Also, if anyone is interested in receiving a $5 off coupon, just e-mail me through my link & I'll send one out to you.

***Please note: I recieved a free gallon of paint, a small can of white, & $5 off coupons to honestly review my opinion of Benjamin Moore's Auro Waterborne Paint. This opinions I give are 100% mine.***

Friday, November 2, 2012

Master Bedroom Progress

Our bedroom is finished...mostly. It has been for awhile BUT I'm still searching for the perfect comforter for our bed at the perfect price AND I need to get a new ceiling fan. (I feel like I'm trying to pull Excalibur out of the stone.) I haven't wanted to post the overhaul because I felt like it had to be "perfect" before I did. Erm, but I'm not perfect & neither is my house so let's get on with it....

Here's the deal: This room used to be the boys room/playroom. This room also has an extra few feet & double closets. Momma got stingy & took it over.

This "before" picture was an afterthought as the paint process began.

This is the overview of the after (minus a new light fixture & comforter)

We painted obviously. I wanted a charcoal color to accent around the closets & a light gray for the room. This room is a little different than the rest of the house because I have a mix of colors & furniture - (White, black, blue, grey, & wood) - but I like it.

I created a "sitting area" where the closet is. 

 I secretly store all my books in the suitcases. A: It hides them because there are too many and B: it keeps Zeke from being able to move the suitcases.

Notice my penchant for elephants:

Thrift store glasses & tealights and Modcloth Jungle Hook.

Here's a rundown of the different projects that went into the room:
  1. Headboard Frame
  2. Footstool 
  3. Dresser
  4. Side Table
  5. Lamp
  6. His & Hers Closet Sign
  7. Chair
  8. Jewelry Holder Shelf
There was other assorted decorating like painting the nightstand to match the dresser, the leaning mirror & suitcases, putting pictures of my actual family in the empty frames, adding a fresh plant, & some tweaking I've done even since I have taken these photos.

There is still work to be done here & there. I need some wall art & I would like some curtains/window scarfs to soften up the window edges. Yes, a new ceiling fan & comforter, too.

So, what do you think about the mix of furniture colors? Too much? Just right? Too many elephants? ;)

Quick Chair Recover

There really isn't much to say in this post.

A: I found this chair for $1 at a thrift store.

B: I covered it in fabric to match my footstool.

The end. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Avatar Halloween Costume {pictures & detailed tutorial}

I love the thought of getting dressed up for Halloween. Unfortunately, I pretty much rarely do it. This year my sister & I wanted to be something really awesome, creative, & fun for Halloween. She came up with the idea of being Avatar based on the fact that  we both love the movie & the costume had such potential for awesome-ness. We got our other friends Charlene & Megan to join in & planned, created, & tested our costumes.

The planning was a little time intensive. We saw lots of cool pictures but only a handful of good tutorials.  We scoured Google for paint brands, tips, video tutorials, & pictures of Avatars from the movie. We even took an evening to test paint my sister so we knew everything would turn out right. In the end, it was definitely worth all the work; we look really really really cool & even won a little bit of $$. (Helpful Tip: If you ever do this costume & want to enter in contests, plan for time. Even with the test night, we definitely did not anticipate the time it would take to get ready. It took us about 5 hours from start to finish and we definitely did not give ourselves ample time to make the other costume contests. *insert sad face here*)

I'm going to write up a detailed tutorial in this post just in case someone ever wants to do this costume and runs across the same problem of not being able to find a good tutorial online. I might be a little wordy. Before I do though; let me go ahead & share some pictures with you.

Look closely. Note how I appear to have no legs. I'm just floating there.

  • Teal
  • Avatar Rainbow Cake
  • Sponges
  • Assorted small & larger craft paintbrushes
  • Glow in the Dark cream paint (purchased in a small tube at a local Halloween store)
  • Yard of Fabric of your choice
  • Craft store feathers, wooden pony beads, hemp string
  • Fake eyelashes (optional)
  • Temporary black hair spray paint (optional)
  • Elf ears prosthetic (optional)

Body Paint
You have multiple options of paint (or pre-made bodysuits but I didn't feel like there was much creativity there. Plus, who actually looks good in a bodysuit?) You can use latex, you could use liquid/cream body paint, or you can use a semi-soft cake makeup. My sister has a latex allergy so that ruled that out, we tested our faces one night using a liquid/cream paint but it started cracking after awhile, so we decided to use the semi-soft cake makeup. One of my biggest confusions was that I could NOT figure out how much one cake was supposed to cover. Did we need just one for a person or several per person? I mean, they looked really small. You only need one per Avatar Rainbow Cake per person (and you'll have leftover paint) plus around half of the Paradise teal 90gm.

Step 1. The paint works by taking a small spritz bottle of water & spraying the top of the cake. You then rub your sponge across the top of the cake & then apply to your body. We would rub it around the top of the Avatar Rainbow Cake & then across the teal to create the more blended color we wanted. (Helpful Tip: You'll want to spray it very frequently..probably almost every time. If the top gets dry, the paint doesn't spread.)

Step 2. Once you have applied the base blue coat to your body, use the dark side of the Avatar Rainbow Cake and a flat craft paint brush to create the stripes on your body. There is no rule to this; we all looked different.

Step 3. Use the glow in the dark cream makeup & a small craft paintbrush to apply dots. I applied a pattern onto my face & did random dots on my body. We also added a few gems here & there for emphasis. (Helpful Tip: If your not going anywhere dark, use white paint for the dots. We used the glow in the dark because we thought it would be cool to recreate the glow of theirs in the dark. We did notice that the glow in the dark kind of absorbed the blue color & dissipated after awhile.)

 Step 4: Much facial makeup is obviously not required. We were all a little different but I used a plum color lipstick/eyeshadow over the blue for my lips & the tip of my nose. I penciled in my eyebrows, used a brighter teal eyeshadow on my lids, & applied fake eyelashes.

Clothing & Accessories

As you can see, we all had some variations in our outfits so I'll just run down the basics.
  • A simple way to create a "loincloth" type skirt is to purchase a yard of fabric (or less depending on your needs). Use a belt of your choice & trim to pieces to the length & width you desire. From here, you can either hot glue or sew the fabric pieces onto the belt by folding the fabric over the top. (Helpful Tip: Use a belt with a smaller buckle.)
  • You can make a top a variety of ways. If your daring (and probably if you've never had children), you could just use pasties & paint. You can use leftover fabric to create a matching top by tying it in the back, buy a braided bikini top, use a cut up tank top. It's kind of preference at this point.
  • Hair options: A pre-made Avatar wig, spraying your own hair with temporary black haircolor, or synthetic hair. We all did something different:
    • Sarah - used the avatar wig & sprayed her hair black to make it fuller looking
    • Charlene - used the avatar wig & also purchased synthetic hair that she braided to make it look fuller (Helpful Tip: Do not use the temporary hair spray color on bleached hair. They advised her that it would turn her hair gray.)
    • Megan - She sprayed her hair black & had her hairdresser braid & feather it. 
    • Me - I bought synthetic hair from Sally's & sewed weave clips on it. I cut the hair into various sizes & braided some parts and my sister clipped it in my hair. (Helpful Tip: If you want to dye your hair to match, don't do it 2.5 weeks before. My color was faded & didn't match the hair I had bought.)
  •  Jewelry was a combination of jewelry we already had laying around, strips of fabric from our skirt making, and wooden pony beds & feathers on hemp string.
  • Ears have two options. You can either cut them out of construction paper & use a bobby pin to clip them in your hair or buy prosthetic elf ears & apply them. I used elf ears and I wish I had thought to take a good picture of how it turned out. You can barely see them poking out in the picture below.
That's about it folks. If you have any questions, e-mail me & I would be happy to answer. We ended up winning 2nd place where we went. (many people told us we should have won first place but we we're happy either way!) I feel confident that we would have won at other places too if we had realized how much time we really needed to get ready.

Helpful Tip: Use soap, water, & a washcloth to get the paint off. Using a loofah left us all blue in spots but Charlene used a washcloth later & her residual blue came off completely.

The real question is: How will we ever top this next year?!

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