Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arts and Crafts Status: Centerpiece Making 101

Hokie candy centerpiece

Project: Candy Stick Centerpiece
Needed Supplies:
-Circus Hard Candy Sticks - 7 inches long, 3/8 diameter - I used 16 per centerpiece
-Ribbon to tie around candy sticks: Any color/type of ribbon you would like to use to make bows for candy sticks
-Vase: A 4-6 inch tall vase works best, square shaped
-Shredded Cellaphane or mylar: Used to fill the vase
-Ribbon to go around vase: A thicker ribbon to wrap around the vase, 2-3 colors ideal

So I am totally an event planner at heart. Anyone who knows me knows that I simply cannot resist a good theme. If an event or holiday has any potential to be themed, I will find it. This includes decorating my apartment, my clothing and accessories...I even used to get my braces ruberbands colored to match whatever holiday took place that month: orange and black for October, red and green for Christmas, etc. And it's not just holidays, I once had a Snake Island themed party which included a showing of snake island, fake rubber snakes everywhere, luau themed plates, cups, leis, and snake bite drinks! And this was for 5 people! Imagine how much fun I'd have planning a big event! While I'm not planning the event, my brother is having a second wedding reception that is going to be Virginia Tech Hokie themed. Him and his wife were married in Montana in March and not a lot of people from our family and friends could make the trip so they are holding a reception in Virginia to celebrate their marriage with my brother's family and friends who couldn't make the original wedding. Wanting to help, I voluteered my creativity and labor to make the centerpieces for the tables. My mom didn't want to purchase expensive floral arrangements so I went straight to work on finding ideas that didn't include flowers or not too many. On E!'s The Girls Next Door, Bridget thew Kendra a candy themed baby shower and made really cool candy centerpieces for the event. Thinking back on this I looked up different ideas for candy centerpieces. After showing my mom my ideas, we agreed on one made of candy sticks. This way the centerpieces double as a little take home gift as everyone can take a candy stick. Practical and tasty! I observed some pictures of some samples and got straight to work on finding the products I needed to complete my task.

Shopping for Supplies:
I started by tracking down the proper candy sticks as they would be the main component of my centerpieces. Because I specifically wanted orange and maroon colored candy sticks, I knew I needed to look online as old fashioned candy sticks are hard to find in stores these days and if found, color choices are most likely limited. I came across a website CandyWarehouse.com. I originally came across regular old fashioned candy sticks which are 5 inches tall and 1/4 inch in diameter. At first I thought they were perfect because looking at the Butterscotch flavor, it looks orange and maroon, the two colors I was looking for wrapped up in 1 stick!

After thinking about it though, I realized that these might be a little too small. At the bottom of the website, it came up with a suggestion of things you might also like: Circus Hard Candy Sticks. These were 7 inches long and 3/8 inches in diameter, a much better option to fill up a vase for a centerpiece. The only problem: I didn't see my orange and maroon butterscotch stick. There was a butter rum that had potential but instead I decided on two flavors, orange cream and black cherry.

I went ahead and placed the order along with the small butterscotch ones, figuring I could add in some small ones to fill out the centerpieces. The next day we received a call saying the orange cream were out of stock and might not be back in for 6 weeks! That was too long but luckily there was an orange flavor that would work. Candy sticks, check. Ultimately when the candy sticks arrived, the butterscoth ones were yellow and maroon so I ended up not being able to use them. They didn't match the color in the picture at all! Next I needed to work on getting ribbon, shredded cellaphane, and vases. I knew that my centerpieces were going to be Virginia Tech themed so I wanted to get Virginia Tech Ribbon to wrap around the vases. I googled Hokie Ribbon and came across a 3 ribbon pack from CampusEmporium.com. The 3 ribbon pack included Hokie Ribbon, Orange Ribbon, and Maroon ribbon, a strand of each.

This would have been perfect except that it only included 24" of each color which would have been too expensive considering I was making 12 centerpieces. Just the Hokie Ribbon was 3 yards for only $2 more so this was definitely a better deal. I figured I could find some 3 yard rolls of orange and maroon ribbon at a craft store.

So I went ahead and ordered two rolls of the Hokie ribbon from the website and moved onto the next step: the rest of the ribbon and the vases. I found the vases at AC Moore. They were angled as opposed to perfectly square but the price comparison was enough that I went ahead and purchased the angled ones. The only real issue is measuring the ribbon to go around the vases is a little harder. I also purchased 6 rolls of a sheer orange ribbon and six of a sheer burgandy which was the closest to maroon I could find at Michael's. After making 6 centerpieces I did end up having to go back and get 6 more rolls of each. I also purchased a couple rolls of thicker orange and maroon ribbon to wrap around the vases with the hokie ribbon. I also purchased 6 bags of shimmery white/clear shredded cellophane.
1. First I measured out what size I wanted the pieces of ribbon to be to make the bows that were going to go around the candy sticks. After some trial and error, I picked a good length and cut pieces or orange and maroon ribbon until I had a nice pile.
2. Next I counted out 16 candy sticks, 8 black cherry and 8 orange for my first centerpiece.
3. Then I took a vase and filled it about half full of shredded cellophane. I used about half a bag for each centerpiece.
4. I then one by one began to tie a bow around each candy stick. I used orange ribbon to tie bows around the black cherry candy sticks and maroon ribbon to tie bows around the orange candy sticks. I liked the contrast doing it this way. You could have done the opposite and had all orange and all maroon but I didn't.
5. As I tied the bows I placed the candy sticks in the vase and tried to go every other one with the colors until the vase was full.
6. Finally I measured out the Hokie ribbon along with the thicker orange and maroon ribbon to go around the vase. At first I got it where I wanted it by using scotch tape. That of course didn't hold and looked tacky in the back. I then made a couple just using a dot of hot glue on each end of the ribbon. This way made the ribbon stick out a little in some spots so I started doing a line of hot glue across the whole piece of ribbon and slowly glued each piece around the entire vase. I decided to make some where the orange ribbon was on top, Hokie in the middle, and maroon on the bottom and others with the maroon ribbon on top, Hokie in the middle and orange on the bottom.

Hokie Wedding Reception Centerpiece

Above is a picture of the centerpiece on the table. I made little cards with pictures of the bride and groom along with their contact information for everyone to take. We displayed the cards in a circle around the centerpiece and it looked nice. A few have been taken once this picture was snapped.

All in all this project is a little time consuming but turned out well. It is also a little pricey once you add up all of the materials but it serves as a centerpiece and a take home gift since people can take the candy sticks home with them after the reception.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sample-icious: The Search for the Perfect Moisturizer

Fact: People love free stuff. Trust me I know. I work in Minor League Baseball and anytime we have a giveaway, people go crazy for it! Being a human being, I can't say I'm much different. And as a female, free samples are one of our favoirte things! A long time ago when I found out that if you order online at Sephora, you can get 3 free samples with every order, I was instantly hooked! It's funny because if you know me, you probably know that I'm the type of girl that doesn't care much about my appearance on a day to day basis. Sure I shower, brush my teeth and comb my hair but I definitely choose sleep over any sort of rigid morning beauty routine. I'm always arriving places with a wet head and a naked face. However, if I actually have time, say on a Saturday off or before going out at night, I turn into any other girl, going the full hair, makeup and lotion routine. So while it can be rare, I still love sampling all sorts of products and investing in the ones I find worthwhile. Through all of my shopoholic ordering on Sephora.com, I've accumulated quite a collection of samples and haven't truly had the time to try them all out. I hope to change that in the near future and will post my thoughts and reviews on here.

Everybody Mosturizes:

Even someone such as myself who doesn't have much of a daily beauty routine beyond the basics needs a reliable mositurizer. One day a few years ago, I was going on an interview in New York City and of course I was crazy early because I didn't want to get lost in the big city. I noticed that my face was really dry that day so I wondered into a Sephora on my way to the interview. I wasn't looking to spend a lot of money because I just needed a dab to swipe on my face. I found a small bottle of Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizer. After using it, I fell in love, bought a full size bottle and that became my go to face lotion ever since. Recently I decided I wanted to test the waters to see if there was something else out there. As much as I love my Dramatically Different Moisturizer, it doesn’t include an SPF which I’ve read is an important component to have in a daily face cream. That way if you’re not at an outdoor event where you would consciously put sunscreen on such as the beach or a picnic, you still have some protection. Along with some various free samples I’ve stocked up on, I also bought a Moisturizer Sampler from Sephora that had sample tubes of various best sellers. I’m starting to try them one by one to see if I am ready to make the leap into changing my daily moisturizer.

Moisturizer #1:

Korres Wild-Rose 24 Hour Moisturizer SPF 6, price $35 for 1.4 oz

The first one I decided to try was Korres Wild-Rose 24 Hour Moisturizer. While the sample came in a tube, it appears that the full size product comes in a jar. That may hold me back slightly just because I’m not a big fan of using products that come in a pot or jar. When I dip my fingers in, I always get lotion or lip balm stuck in my finger nails when using products that come packaged in this way. If I really loved it though, I suppose I would still get it. It has an SPF of 6 which isn’t much, but I think is perfect for a daily moisturizer. It’s $35 for 1.4 oz which is a little expensive but we will see how it compares to other similar products.

From the first time I used this product, I was a big fan. When you squirt it on your finger (remember the sample did come in a tube even if the full size product doesn’t), you instantly smell a light rose scent that is very pleasant but wouldn’t overwhelm your perfume, body spray or body lotion. It also has a light feel to it which is perfect for a moisturizer. You definitely don’t want a heavy face lotion that feels like a mud mask when you put it on. The Korres Wild-Rose was very easy to apply and rub in and it leaves your face feeling smooth and soft. The description on Sephora’s website reads:

"An extraordinary, 24-hour intensive moisturizer for normal and dry skin, Wild Rose has a rich, yet light texture and a unique blossom scent, plus whitening wild rose oil and an SPF 6 to help prevent brown spots caused by sun damage."

I agree that this is an accurate portrayal of the product and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested. The sample only got me through a few days, but I think it was enough to put it on my list of maybes. I’m excited to try more of my samples and eventually choose my next daily moisturizer!