Monogram nail art with the Silhouette Cameo

I saw this in a few places online recently, and yesterday I hit a pretty big wall of procrastination.  I'm taking 4 classes to be done with my degree in June, in the middle of buying a house, a PCS move to another state, and of course pregnant and taking care of my 3 year old.  Rather than do ANYTHING on my massive to-do list, I took some vinyl and monogrammed my pedicured toes.

The font is the Circle Monogram from Font Bros. and I used white Oracal 341 for the vinyl.  I wish I could get an accurate idea of the size.  The thing is, when I select an image in Silhouette Studio, the box it puts around it and measure with tends to be a little bigger than the actual design especially when using font.  I believe the total window was 1.42" wide, but the actual design is maybe .80" wide.  It'll depend on your own toes, of course!

While we're on a girly topic, my workstation has gotten pretty girly lately, huh?

I bought two large sheets of self-adhesive rhinestones from Allstarco.com, cut them to size, and adhered to the Cameo.  Took maybe 10 minutes and I didn't use all of the first sheet so I have lots left over to play with :) As for the computer...pink was on sale.  Nobody wanted it.  I got a great deal.  It's growing on me.


Smashbooking my pregnancy- the first half

Today I got two new toys.  One of them is a Smash Book.  I have never used one, or really been into traditional scrapbooking.  My mom makes awesome Shutterfly books and for preservation and size I think they are amazing.  She has put all of my childhood photos into books for me and now makes yearly books for my family.  However, the Smash Book is supposed to be fairly effortless and my Michael's store is discontinuing the items, so I got them on mega mega clearances.  Between Michael's and Target (also on sale) I got over $130 worth of Smash stuff for under $40.  Score!

cover will be embellished at some point

I actually didn't have a plan in mind but decided to document my pregnancy.  I do feel bad for this baby.  With my first son I was constantly taking photos with my DSLR, editing them in Photoshop, documenting every step of the nursery decorating, etc.  With my second, I'm lucky to take a selfie in the mirror to show my growing bump.

Page One had an ugly little cartoon talking about how pages can be intimidating and yada yada.  That's where the thought bubble the photo is in comes from.  I covered up as much as I could.  Unlike some amazing Smashbooks I've seen online, I'm sticking with the normal papers in the book as much as I can and keeping embellishments, especially 3D ones, to a minimum.  I just don't want to go overboard and I do want the book to stay mostly flat when closed.

The washi tape type stuff is Smashbook brand, and the little card is from U Printables By Rebecca who makes free printables in all sorts of categories and they are super cute.

That brings me to toy #2.  Today I also got a Xyron, the 900 (9" work surface) to be exact, on clearance for $49.99 from $129.99.  Michael's rocks!  Joann's also has this same machine on clearance, but for $90, not $50.  

If you've never seen one, it's a cool machine that can turn anything that goes through it into a sticker, a magnet, or laminate it (without heat.  Without electricity or batteries, in fact).  You just install the proper cartridge, put your whatever you want in face up, turn the handle, and when it comes through the other side, use the attached slicing tool to slice it off the roll.  Peel off the backing and voila, you've made a sticker, with no changes to the front of whatever you slid through!  Ultrasounds stay safe, pictures stay shiny, card stock journaling cards stay cardstock, etc.  Much, much nicer than wet glue and less mess than glue dots (my mom HATES glue dots.  I get the little clear covers static-stuck to EVERYTHING when I use them).

After I ran those through I just stuck them in the book, easy peasy.

Again, the journal card and the mason jar card are from the printables link above.  The little banner arrow tag thingies are Smashbook.

I had a lot of fun with the "It's a Boy!" page.  It gave me a natural chance to include a family picture, since it was taken right after we found out.  I actually left 2 blank pages in the beginning of the book for something family-oriented- maybe the vacation where baby was conceived?  Is that creepy?

Cars from the printables link above, arrows and washi tape from Smashbook.  It actually is not stick so I ran it through the Xyron.  Presto.

This next page isn't my super favorite one.  There was another stupid cartoon saying in the bottom corner so I tried to be cutesy and cover it with black and white washi tape.  I didn't mind the bird.  These ultrasound photos were shaped a little different and didn't line up as well as I'd hoped.  The notes on the left side are from Smashbook (one is trimmed from their little notepad sets, the other is a little taggie sticker), on the right, free printables from the link mentioned above.  The "I like this" is part of the page and I didn't mind it so didn't try to hide it.

This brings me to the last page so far, 22 weeks along in my pregnancy.  On the right hand side, if it looks odd, that's because in between these two pages is a clear photo insert page.  I may rip that out.

The clips are Smashbook.  Both papers are trimmed from the little Smashbook notepads.  The pie chart graphic was part of that page, and since I didn't think I could hide it, I made the best of it.

I will obviously document belly pics and ultrasounds for the rest of my pregnancy, plus little journal card thoughts, my baby shower, hospital stay, birth, and coming home from the hospital (hopefully no NICU stay this time around).  The little folder in the back of the book's cover is perfect to hold the ultrasound DVDs that I have.  

I really have to say, the Xyron made this soooo easy.  I didn't even buy more glue dots today, and I'm out of them.  The Xyron is not the most economical choice (refills run $30+ though Michael's lets you use a 40 or 50% off one item coupon on them; mine does anyway) and I believe you get around 40' long x 9" wide but I can see how that would get used up quickly.  However, making a sticker just has no comparison to trying to glue something.  It's an entirely new level of crafting.

It was also nice to make something without my Cameo for once!  I am so dependent on that thing sometimes.


Big, beachy, glam curls with your hair straightener

Somewhere on the interwebs has to be the secret to perfect curls.  I've probably tried them all.  I wish I could remember where I saw this trick, but I'm on a new laptop without access to history viewing.

This is my hair.  It's past my shoulders, straight, very thick, layered a bit, and likes to bleach very pale in the sun so I routinely dye it darker to prevent that.  Current color is John Frieda 4R which is suppose to be reddish but it was so subtle it was gone in a few washes.

This is a pretty simple process.  You need dry hair and a straightener.  Heat resistant gloves, hair protector spray, and hair spray are option.  I use a volumizing hair spray.

Put up the top half of your hair.  

Take a section of hair.  Smaller = tighter curls.  I use about 2" wide and the entire layer (that's not pinned up, anyway).  By that I mean, there's no hair that would go UNDER this curl that I need to curl as well.  Clear as mud?  Anyway, take your section of hair and roll it up around two fingers, then slip you fingers out and hold it in place.

Take your curling iron and carefulllllyyyy press your little roll.  I clamp, move my fingers, and then slightly unclamp and move it so that it gets the whole curl, usually 1/2 at a time.  If you make sure the end is clamped it won't come undone.  I promise this is easier than it sounds, once you try it!

If you can stand the heat, or have gloves, you might want to hold the curl in place after you are done with the straightener, just until it cools.  It will be HOT though.  I'm thinking of finding heat-safe gloves and maybe bobby pinning the little roll up after it's heated.

I tend to like things to happen fast, so as I move towards the back of my head, I take wider sections or even just wrap them around the curling iron for a quick curl.  I'm more into big bouncy curls around my face and then looser waves everywhere else.  Depends on your style.

Do the entire bottom section, spray, let your hair down, and repeat for the top section.

Not fondling myself- trying to give the curl a lighter background so you can see it :)

When all is said and done, I'm pretty happy with the curls, which is rare!

Total time, including blow drying my still-damp hair and waiting for my Chi to heat up, plus pausing here and there to attempt cell phone selfies:  About 18 minutes.



Last week I saw that ELF was giving away a free "Mystery Bag" worth "at least" $20 if you spent a certain amount.  There were a few products I had wanted to try, so I took the plunge and ordered a bunch (mostly products I heard were dupes of things such as Orgasm blush, High Beam highlighter, etc).  My Mystery Bag (pictured below) had some interesting products in it.

Product link, shade, list price, and impressions
Cream Eyeshadow in Natural Glow $3  nice color- very glittery on and not super smooth
Shimmer Lip Gloss in Dream $2   not my thing but looks like Orgasm line dupe
Gem Tweezer with Pouch in Purple $4  I do need tweezers but gems look uncomfortable and not well placed
Primer Eyeshadow in Sexy Silver $2   silver???
Studio Lashes in Natural $4 hard to tell if this is same thing- glue looks same- put some glue on finger and it did not get tacky, kind of thin
Flawless Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky $2 like that it labels where to put each color- brush is cheap as heck
Liquid Eyeliner in Stardust $1 not sure about clear glittery eyeliner- it really is just clear with some glitter, but draws a great line.  May order colors
Studio Contour Brush $3 love the studio kabuku brush
Studio Blush in Fuschia Fusion $3 looks very pink with glitter- was much lighter on than I expected
Shimmering Face Whip in Spotlight $1 also in my order- a tad glittery so don't OD it

Total:  $25 worth of product

Here's some products from my order to show you how the dupes look, and some swatches of both my order and  my Mystery Bag-

Top:  ELF Studio Blush & Bronzer in St. Lucia.  Bottom:  Nars Orgasm blush/Laguna bronzer.  Appear identical- NARS much pinker on website than in person.

Left:  ELF Mineral Foundation in Warm, right Bare Minerals foundation in Golden Medium. Colors seem similar, Elf is a touch pale-r, but I was guessing at a color match based on website swatches.

Elf- left, Bare Minerals- right

Shimmering Facial Whips (comparable to Benefit highlighters, I hear):
Top left:  Toasted
Top right:  Pink Lemonade
Middle Left:  Persimmon
Middle Right- Spotlight

Jumbo Lip Gloss Sticks
Bottom left line:  Summer Nights
Bottom right line:  Tiki Torches

Top:  Cream Eye Shadow in Natural Glow
Bottom:  Shimmer Lip Gloss in Dream

Top:  Eye Shadow Primer in Silver
Middle:  Blush in Fuschia Fusion
Bottom:  Liquid Eye Liner in Clear Glitter "Stardust"

Flawless Eye Shadow Palette in Smokey- all colors are labeled where to apply.  Top color is base (lids to brows) second down is lids, third down is crease, and bottom is liner.

For the last two days I've been altering my makeup a bit.  Normally I do either Dr. Jart BB Cream or MAC foundation mixed with green Smashbox primer, conceal with Benefit Boooing, top that with Bare Minerals, spray with Skindanavia setter, use Orgasm blush and Laguna bronzer, Urban Decay eye primer, Urban Decay Naked/Naked 2 shadows (also use as liners), MAC mascara, and no lip gloss, highlighter, finisher, etc.

Instead I've been using MAC foundation mixed with ELF Facial Whip in Toasted, then dust with ELF High Definition Powder (hear it's a Make Up Forever dupe), then take Facial Whips in Pink Lemonade (lips), Persimmion (cheeks), and Toasted (nose), use ELF St. Lucia blush (really does look like Orgasm) on cheekbones, Facial Whip in Spotlight on brown bones, Urban Decay eye primer, ELF Cream Eyeshadow in Natural Glow, MAC mascara, and ELF Shimmering Lip Gloss in Dream.  If I feel like I OD'd on the Facial Whips I dust more HD Powder on again.

You can see from my normal routine that I'm a product snob (nothing is from a drugstore) but I'm liking the ELF products so far.  I even liked the lip gloss, which is not a product I normally wear because I find them uncomfortable.  ELF is supposed to have a dupe for Guelerain Meteroites coming out this year, and since Meteorites costs $58, I hope it's soon because I really want to try it.  The products so far don't have weird smells and hold up very nicely, even without Skindanavia.  In fact, halfway thought my hand swatches pictured above, I had to run out to the chicken coop and do some feeding, cleaning, and temperature adjusting for the 94 baby pheasants we are raising, and when I came back inside the swatches were still intact.

My only complaint is that my chin is now breaking out, but I also recently bought a Clarisonic Mia and have had it for almost 2 weeks, so I could be in the "it gets worse before it gets better" face of exfoliation.

I did take some photos of my face with the ELF makeup routine, but for some reason I feel awkward posting them.  I would recommend trying them though.  They seem to be quality products with lots of high end dupes and if you don't like it, you're out about $6 at the most, but likely only $1-2.


Baby banner, and shape cropping with the Silhouette Cameo

I was reading the Silhouette blog for the first time in awhile and noticed that today's posting involved a shape challenge.  You can see it here, along with a link to the shape's download page.  Since I have been trying to make some baby shower decor (so far my tissue balls are more like tissue wheels...) I decided to use this as an opportunity to make a banner to string across the 8' long dessert table at the baby shower.

I think it's pretty obvious that my favorite feature of the Silhouette software is print & cut, since I don't need to have anything on hand but plain white card stock.  I bought the blue & brown pattern in the Silhouette store and filled up the shape's triangle banners.  I then created a circle inside the triangle, turned off the cut lines, and color matched it.  I then used print & cut to make 4 of those.  The letters BABY were cut out of white card stock and adhered with rolled glue dots to give them a little dimension.

Next came my ultrasound photos.  I used the other two shapes from the banner and shape cropped my ultrasound photos.  This is really easy to do.

First lay your photo and then choose the shape you want it.  Drag that shape over to the photo and align it where you want the crop.  It might be hard to see, but that banner shape is over the baby in the ultrasound in the screenshot below.

Next, drag your mouse and highlight/select both the photo and the shape at the same time.

Last, click Modify (top right, looks like a rectangle with a circled M in the upper right corner- see pic below) and then click crop.  Voila!  Easy peasy!  You may have to manually turn the cut lines on the shape when you crop it this way so just go to your cut line window (scissors with red, to the left of the font's A symbol) and click "Cut Edge."

I then created offsets for all 5 of my ultrasound photos and fill color matched them blue and brown to the triangle's pattern (you can see the blue offset for this particular ultrasound in the screenshots above).

Lots of printing & cutting comes next- I love print and cut, have I said that?  All I needed to have on hand for this was 12 sheets of plain white card stock and some string.

I used glue dots on the corners of the ultrasound photos and stuck them to the offsets.  I then used my bar, which is 8' 5" long, marked off 8' exactly, and measured out the string, taping the ends to the bar.  Starting with the center ultrasound photo and working out, I taped the string about 1/2 inch down the back of each banner piece.  For the party, this will be strung across the dessert table, with a white tablecloth behind it and white and blue tissue balls at each end (if I can get that particular craft mastered!).

So cute!  I love personalized decor and thought this was much more fun than a cluster of framed ultrasound photos. 

If you don't like to print, cut, and glue x1000, just make every single banner piece one layer- IE, shape crop your ultrasound, turn off the cut lines, offset it, color it, turn those cut lines on, and print & cut it.  That should print you a photo with a border, basically (the offset) and then cut it.  Ditto on the letters- just turn off the cut lines and group them in the circle of the pennant and print & cut it into one piece.

Thanks for looking!