Monday, March 29, 2010

Sew Many Puns, Sew Little Time


   Sewing is something that has always fascinated me.  The process of turning a length of fabric into something wearable and attractive is pretty amazing.  And don't even get me started on pattern making!  That's pretty impressive to me as well.  The gamut of what sewing means for people runs pretty far- necessity, hobby, creative expresssion, couture.
  I started sewing for real just last year.  When I was little I saw my grandmother do a bit here and there, and I knew my dad's mother also sewed.  It's one of the few things I really know about her since she passed away long before I was born.  My mom knows how to sew, but she doesn't really care for it so we didn't really do any sewing when I was growing up. 
 
  I decided to take the plunge and start sewing when my daughter was 4.  I thought she would look super adorable in a big foofy princess dress, but there wasn't anything I could find that fit the image in my mind. or what I found was way more than I thought I wanted to spend.  I have a bad habit of starting a hobby and then getting bored with it so I just bought a $100 sewing machine because I figured if I gave up on it, then at least I hadn't invested a lot of money in the endeavor.  I have to say, teaching yourself to sew on a child's dress is great.  If you mess up, kids don't really know the difference and what you've made still looks cute on them!
 
  Up until this recently I've only made one thing for myself, a lightweight jacket.  It was great until I put in the lining, and then it just went to hell, so I have regrouped and will just take the easy way out and avoid lining anything.  Now I've made two 60s mod-ish dresses and my next project is going to be a slinky bed jacket like the ones shown in Nicole Richie's new Winter Kate clothing line.
 
  I'm hoping it's the start of a new era in sewing for me because I have gotten interested in making things that I see and like in magazines or on line.  I do this for the personal challenge.   Maybe at some point sewing their own clothes saved people money, but nowadays I think it's almost as expensive.  Patterns cost about $10, but then fabric is at least $9 per yard and just a shift dress needs about 2 1/2 yards plus notions like thread, zippers and embellishments.  I could spend that much at the Rack and find something pretty nice on clearance (hey, I like bargains!) with much less hassle.
 
  What spurs me on is the sense of accomplishment I feel after I've made something with my own hands.  Since that first foofy princess dress I've made many other things for my kids and it always makes me happy to see them in those things.  It's exciting to start adding pieces for myself into the mix.  It feels like a new level of skill coming out. I'll post some shots soon and you can tell me!

Skin Care Products I'm Using Now

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  This is me at about 6 years old.  The only toiletries I used back then were toothpaste and Coppertone sunscreen.

  I still use toothpaste, but the medicine cabinet is somewhat fuller now as I move through my early 30s:

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  In addition to my friends Water (plain h20 and coconut) and Exercise (sweat purifies skin from the inside out, right?) I have tried out a lot of  different products over the years and settled on these ones to do whatever magic is possible to keep a youthful appearance.  While I haven't found the perfect products in every area yet, here is what constitutes my skincare regimen today:

Soap

Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar Soap-  I use this with a cotton washcloth to clean my face every night.  In the morning I just rinse my face with water because a long time ago I read something about not using soap in the morning because it disrupts the protective "acid mantle" that your face builds up overnight.  If your face was clean when you went to sleep, why would you need to wash it again in the morning anyways?  It's basic, but I don't think everything needs bells and whistles to work well. (not pictured.)

Exfoliant

1.  St. Ives Elements Microdermabrasion- I switched to this after having used the St. Ives Apricot Scrub for years and years because I thought I needed to use something more gentle as I get older.  I read that as you age your skin thins out  and can get abraded too much by using a strong exfoliant. This one is gentle but still feels effective.  I use this once or twice a week.

Complexion Extra

2.  L'Oreal SkinGenesis Complexion Equalizer- This is a new addition to my routine that I'm testing out.  Here's the story:  I picked it up after I used a sample of Lancome Genefique for about a week.  I love the idea of Genefique, but I don't want to spend $84 dollars for an ounce.  Lancome is the same company that produces L'Oreal so I think the product lines are bound to be very similar.  The ingredient strength may be lesser in the L'Oreal line than in the Lancome line, but it's a trade off that I'm willing to make.  If I don't like this Complexion Equalizer after I've gone through the jar I'll find another product to target the same goal of complexion eveness and youthful appearance.

Daily Moisturizer

3.  Neutrogena Healthy Daily Defense Moisturizer w/SPF 45- This has something Neutrogena calls Helioplex in it which is supposed to give the sun protection side of this moisturizer a boost.  Instead of offering just protection against UVB rays it also provides a greater coverage against UVA rays, which are the rays that cause more skin aging.  I also like that this moisturizer is an spf 45 instead of the 15 or 30 that many other daily moisturizers offer. I've used this product for a long time and really like it, so it's definately a keeper.  

Eye Cream

4.  L'Oreal Dermo Expertise Age Perfect Eye- I've added an under eye cream during the day because it's one of my areas of greatest concern since I wear contacts and always have to tug on the corners of my eyes when I take the contacts out each night.  Tugging which I've done for the last 20 years! I'm looking for a product that firms and fights lines, which this cream seems to do alright.  I like it, but I might try another product when I finish this pot.

Wrinkle Fighter

5.  Neutrogena Age Intensives Deep Wrinkle Serum- I use this every night after I wash my face.  It has anti-oxidants and retinol in it. I think my skin really responds to it.  I put it on my entire face but I concentrate a little extra between my eye brows where my frown lines are forming, and under my eyes and along the nasolabial folds.  The bottle has a nice pump dispenser that you can twist and close to preserve the potency of the retinol.  This is another product I have bought several times over. Definite keeper.

Night Cream

6. Oil of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream- I'm on my second jar of this night cream, and I really love it.  Many night creams don't address sag-prone areas like the neck, but this one does, and that's an area of concern for me so I definitely find that to be a bonus. I think it's important to not only treat signs of aging but also to hydrate your skin well to keep it youthful and able to fight off wrinkles.  This cream has some fancy system of peptides to carry the moisture in higher concentration on the cellular level, which I've read about and think, "Sounds good."  I read about it before I bought the cream, but I can't really explain it better now.  Just enough of an explanation to get you interested in investigating it more for yourself, hopefully, because it's a good product.

What are your favorite products?  Do you think skin care from the drugstore can compete with department store brands?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bangle Mania

  Indian bangles are really beautiful with their many colors and patterns. It's fun to try different combinations and quantities of bracelets.  My husband has brought back really pretty ones from his work travels for me, which makes them even more special :). 


My girls like to wear these small ones:


These are some of my favorites to mix and match:


This bracelet is composed of three flowers:


There are decorations on the tops and sides of these bracelets for maximum sparkle:

 

These three sets are actually two bracelets which are linked by a dangling chain:


You can slip other bracelets in between for a nice effect: