I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Goals

Dearest Readers!
I had a hope, a goal if you will, to have 200 hits this month.  This prompted me to post more, and put myself out there a bit more by announcing these posts on Face book.  This is hard.  Self-promotion is not my strong suit.  I hope it wasn't annoying.
But you all keep coming back and I am so appreciative.  Please share my link, and if you are that kind of person  "follow" me.  It is fun to follow, I promise.
Now onto February...share the love.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Burnt.  Burnt.  Burnt.
I'm a multi-tasker, as are you, I'm sure.  I do pretty well too....most of the time.
This pan here, however, is evidence that on rare occasion, I am not running on all cylinders.
I was trying to cook dinner for us and our neighbors and I thought "Hey!  You know what sounds good? Cooked chocolate pudding!"  I conscripted William to help me whisk it, but sadly the attention span of a 10 year old boy is not long enough to whisk for 20 minutes.  So I tried the thing where you run around the kitchen madly cooking 6 things all at once, and the pudding burnt.  Burnt BADLY.
I have burnt things before, but I'm not sure I've ever burnt chocolate pudding....and I cannot get the stuff off.  I can't decide if it is the milk or the chocolate or the combination (I keep thinking that if I knew, science would help me solve this problem).
So I'm asking for your help.
This is what I've tried: scrubbing w/ a nylon scrubber sponge.
Chipping away with one of those plastic scraper thingies.
Heating it back up and simmering it off.
I even went on You Tube and watched a video involving boiling baking soda and then scrubbing.
No go.
I really want to keep my pan...how do I get it off? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has burnt things nearly beyond repair.  Maybe.

And just for the record, the pudding did NOT turn out.  It was gross and burnt tasting.  I tried to fool the kids into thinking it was "mocha" and putting lots of whip cream on it.  In Anna's words it was "distgusting".

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: Stiff; The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Firstly, before you judge me for reading this book and Ms. Roach for writing it, I have just one word to say.....FASCINATING.

I really really enjoyed this book.  Well researched, well written.  Not morbid or gross or really even disturbing...which you might, at first glance, think would be included in a book about dead bodies.

She goes into detail about the uses for cadavers; research, anatomy labs, organ donation...all the usual suspects, but there really is a lot more to it.  She touches on the history and restrictions of early anatomists and their quest for knowledge about the human body and the difficulties and dark side in obtaining them.
She talks about mortuaries, forensic science (did you know there was a research program in Tennessee dedicated to the various ways and means of body decomposition?!?).
She talks to surgeons, the car industry, ballistics experts...she is very thorough.

She expresses her own concerns and uncomfortable moments which lends a very personal voice to something that could have been presented very journalistic or clinical.

I loved it.  She has other books too, to which I will be adding to my Goodreads list: Bonk; The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Spook; Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Packing for Mars; The Curious Science of Life in the Void.  All look extremely interesting too.

Here is her website.  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie Friday

Everybody rollin' dough
We have pizza and a movie most Friday nights.  This started several years ago when I realized I was exhausted by the end of the week and pizza and a movie seemed like a really good way to get to Saturday.  Since then it has become an family institution that my kids look forward to, and which I also really really love.

William tried really hard to get his round...

This week I decided our budget dictated that we do the homemade version.  When I was a kid, most of my friends moms did homemade pizza.  Families were large and homemade pizza is cheap.  To buy frozen or the king of all pizza from any pizza place was super cool.  I like to order pizza because they bring it to your house.  I am lazy....no, tired like that.  I thought my citizens would rebel against "cheap" homemade pizza...they like their routines.

Lots of creative sauce spreading...

But they loved it.  Personalized pizza with and without whatever they wanted.  I hope I haven't created a NEW tradition...
Anna had her bestie over and the two of them crack me up....

Wm opted for cheese and sausage

enjoying and dusting flour off noses

Wm & my results...I forgot pineapple, so I ended up w/ sausage & mushrooms

Then we watched Dolphin Tale.  Harry Connick Jr. is still pretty hot.
Happy Weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why My Job is Better than Yours

Once a year I get to teach an advanced makeup class.    This semester I am teaching it at UVU and it is an awesome class.  If you lived here and you could, you would want to take this class because it is awesome.  We do all kinds of crazy makeup shenanigans in this class, but we start out making life casts of everyone in the class.  I spend one class demonstrating and teaching them how to do it without killing someone and then I turn them loose on each other.  It is awesome.  Here they are doing their thing, and we didn't lose one.

I get to dump ice cold mint flavored alginate (think dental impressions) on students' faces and then plaster cast it...they can't talk or really express much of anything at all for about 30 minutes.  I'm like a well-dressed mad scientist and they are my creations....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bath Time for Huck

Since I am starting a new series called "101 ways to piss of your beagle" I thought I'd start with the thing that Huck hates almost as much as an interrupted nap: Baths.

He was due.  I try to bathe him every week, but you know...
He was smelling a bit "dog" like today, so I chucked him in the tub.  Now my poor pooch gets baths that were very similar to the way I bathed my babies...indoors, with perfectly warm water and soft fluffy towels. I even usually have a tasty real bone for him after.  None-the-less he hates them.  As soon as he sees the pink & orange towel he slinks away to hide from me.

I always feel a little bad when I bathe him because he is a really really itchy dog and the bath seems to aggravate it...but I cannot live with a stinky live thing (dog or human) in the house.  Come to think...I think the citizens are probably overdue for a good scrubbing too.

Poor babies.

But now Huck is clean and his ears feel all silky soft.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Knit Baby Knit

So....If you read any of my posts in December you will remember that I decided to learn to knit.  And knitting I have continued to do.
I've been a bit obsessed...but I think this is at least among my healthier obsessions.

So here is a pair of leg warmers I did for my little darling's ballet legs.
Ack!! I must have somehow erased this pic...and now I can't figure out how to get it off all the different places it is...so here is the link on Pinterest or Instagram. (But maybe I should knit leg warmers for Huck...and then I'll write a book titled "101 ways to piss off your beagle...)

And here is my most recent scarf.  My other scarves were pretty solid and were really more of a warmth thing, but for this one I learned to do a "hole" in the knitting to make it look all lacy and fancy.  I tried to get Huck to model it for me, but I guess I disrupted his 9 hour day time nap, so he just glared at me like I was crazy and then flopped down on the floor.  No amount of coaxing could get him to sit up....oh, well.

And then lastly: socks!  Socks require a bit more...skill, for lack of a better expression.  I felt very skilled when I had four different double pointed needles sticking every which way out this little creation.
I'm trying my hand at some cabling right now...decorative pillows.  We'll see how that goes.

There is something about knitting that feels very craftsy-but in a skilled way.  In a "I could totally outfit my family in warm things even if there were no warm things to be bought anywhere on earth" kind of way.  Because, you know, I like to be prepared.  And now my family can wear socks and scarves.  We are set...except for all the area of body in between necks and feet...maybe afgans!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Rock This Mommy Track Suit

So I work "professionally", as in, away from home usually twice a week.  Those are the days I teach and I do try to look like a person who knows what they are talking about.  I do my hair, wear some eyeliner and skirts and cardigans and such.

The other three days are divided among my other jobs...my freelance work, prepping for the teaching days, an occasional substitute teaching gig, being the one and only chef/cleaning lady/errand runner/chauffer/mom person in our house.  Oh, and I also try to fit in a bit of exercise here and there.

They are all busy days.  So busy, I have learned a lovely technique called prioritization where-in I don't always get to some things because they are not so very important.
I call this one "A Study in Taupe"
Like looking good.  I can't and quite frankly, refuse to look perfect all the time.  I see moms who do it.  Busy moms.  Moms who must value looking good over seemingly unimportant things like sleep.

So I don't.  On the days I work at home, after a nice hot shower washing the nasty boot-camp gym away from me, I slip into what I like to call my "sexy mommy track suit".  Once upon a time I laughed in the face of these little gems.  Now I have them, and I must say, I rock them.  I rock them in my ability to feel comfortable, warm (in the winter), and unabashedly brazen in public with my hair in a pony tail and not even a smidgen of makeup on.

Anna, my little darling, noticing my consistent choice of casual wear, asked a couple of weeks ago, if I "ever even washed them." I guess because I have them on so much they couldn't possibly cycle through the wash...

I will sometimes run into people I know...and you know what?  I don't care.  I'm a real gal with real important things to get to.  I've a list of things to accomplish and I'm a much nicer person when I get an appropriate amount of sleep.  So on with mommy track suits.
As a matter of fact, I'm wearing one right now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Water off a duck's back

Today began as one of those days....you know, where things go wrong and you want to curse the universe for hating you in particular?
But I exaggerate.  While I have real problems, like everyone else in this same universe, those are not usually the things that tip the boat.  They are not the things that bring me to my knees crying inane insults into the brightly lit sky shaking my weak fists of anger.  It is the little things.  The daily grind.  The missteps and tiny annoying bits that get my goat.  Usually they are "problems" of my own making.  I forget something, or do something, or DON'T do something that lead to these annoyances.

This is not from today...today this same mountain
was mostly a pile of dirt and rocks
For instance: today.  Today we were supposed to go skiing.  In reality we were supposed to ski over the Christmas break, but if you live along the Wasatch front, as I do, you will have noted the lack of the pretty white powdery stuff that makes gliding along the mountains with sticks strapped to your feet both feasible and fun.  We still don't have much, but it is the three day weekend and thus we have time heavy on our hands.  So we go.  I'm up early packing the lunches and snacks and hot cocoa (w/ marshmallows!!) that is deemed necessary by my crew and make sure everyone has enough layers and hats, and helmets and 2 gloves and skis with the boots that go with them and hand warmers and goggles and poles.  We piled in and head up; it looks to be a bright shiny day and I am looking forward to being above the inversion.
We unload and I get everyone strapped into the boots and reach for my boots and discover that my foot slid into said boot really really easily.  This, if you are not a skier, should be nearly impossible.  The getting of the foot into the boot.  That is when I realize that the padded liners (the actual inside of the boot) had been removed for winter storage and somehow did not get put back in. Its a no go.  You cannot ski without the inside part of your boot.
This left me pretty cranky.  I left all the other people and came back down the mountain...no skiing for me today.
Typically this will be enough to put me in a cloudy stupor for the rest of the day, which leads to other mistakes and annoyances and such.
But then two things happened.  I watched Saturday Night Live while mopping the kitchen floor and Charles Barkley did a skit about "white people problems"....hmmmmm....and then I had a chance to reflect upon a conversation I had with an old friend last night whose mom just discovered this week that she has to have a radical mastectomy which led me to think about another dear friend whose mom has a degenerative brain disorder.
Suddenly my bad day didn't seem so important.
I am not always this self-reflective....and I'm not sure what to do with it.  But I'd like to be better.  I'd like to be the sort of person that stupid mishaps glide off of.  I'd like to have the things that matter in life be the sorts of things I spend my time and energy on.  Again, I'm not sure what to do with this.  I don't know what the next step is.
But, in case you are wondering, I am having an OK day.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I wish I were a big fancy blogger that could give away cool fancy stuff on my blog.  Maybe some day...spread the word- but for today, someone else is giving away cool fancy stuff!
Win an ipad!  Win a kindle!  These are big fancy things I would like to win....
It is called Rafflecopter, and if you are a blogger it is a tool to do giveaways....which I will almost certainly do all the time when I am a big time fancy blogger.  So stick around.

I cannot seem to get the gadget to work...but here is the link!


Good luck!

Monday, January 9, 2012

To Health

How many of you decided to start the new year off with one of these?

  • Losing Weight
  • Eating Healthier
  • A Cleanse
  • Exercise more

Yeah, me too.

And this first week hasn't been too bad.  There were three things I wanted to conquer right off the bat.
Stop all that caffeine.  I have a real problem.  And I'm pretty sure it is eating me from the inside out....like most of the smokers I know, we've all "quit" before.  So Monday I stopped.  I expected a big fat headache and was prepared to deal with that but I didn't!  Or at least I don't think I had a headache.  It is possible that my head was hurting, but I didn't notice because my whole body was on fire from going to one of the Boot Camp Body things (the second thing).  I think the muscles that shouldn't have been hurting (like the tiny ones inside your ear, for instance) were hurting out of solidarity with all the major muscles in my body that were screaming foul vulgar things at me.  The workout was bad, but when I could hardly walk back to my car...I knew I was in for it.
This is what healthy eating looks like...

I also went grocery shopping (go healthy eating!).  I didn't do any sort of juice fast or lemon juice cleanse or anything like that...I just don't last on those things, so I went with a super healthy vegi/fruit based plan for the week.
And I did pretty well until about Friday night and then everything fell apart.  I am weak.  But I'm back up and running today...adding in healthy grains for variety.

We'll see how this week goes.  My boot camp thingy got cancelled this morning, but I have the option of going tonight...we'll see if my resolved holds up.  I don't feel like any of this should be as hard as it is.  Boo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 By the Books

An extremely wonderful and appropriate Christmas gift
from a friend...I'll be using it proudly

I think little summarizes a person’s goings-ons, life philosophy, interests and general attitude than the books they choose to read.  This does not apply to anyone in any type or level of learning institution.  The first thing I did when I finished graduate school, was hunker down with a nice big fat book of my own choosing: The complete works of Jane Austen.  Now that I am at a point in my life where most of the books I read I do actually chose, it is interesting to look back a see what they’ve been.  Granted, I do still read with my kids, and many of those books I do not exactly choose, although I try…and I still do a bit a “pre-reading” before I let my son adventure too far into the unknown (I had a librarian last year recommend the Hunger Games for him—he was NINE!)
My interest in books are much like my interest in music…far-reaching and difficult to define, although I do like a good historical fiction…something I can visualize awesome costumes with.  When in need of comfort I turn to those with which I am familiar: Jane Austen, Good Omens, Anne of Green Gables…. 
Most of the books mentioned here have my rating and occasionally a review on Goodreads.
Here they are, by category:

YA Fiction: Surprisingly little, I usually layer heftier books w/ a healthy dose of YA
River of Secrets; Books of Bayern #3; Shannon Hale

Good Book Club:
Hotel on The Corner of Bitter and Sweet; Jamie Ford (lovely…)

Comfort Books: All re-reads.  All Wonderful.
Anne’s House of Dreams; L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Ingleside; L.M. Montgomery
Good Omens; Terry Pratchet & Neil Gaiman
Pride & Prejudice; Jane Austin

The Blue Sword; Robin McKinley
War Breaker; Brandon Sanderson

In A Sunburned Country; Bill Bryson (a favorite Author…all about Australia)
Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs; Chuck Klostserman (I really shouldn’t claim this, I was desperate for something to read and someone had given this to me…awful.  Didn’t make it very far—which is saying something, because I like MOST books. Claims title of "worst book I tried to read but couldn't" this year)

Cutting for Stone; Abraham Verghese (probably my fav. Book of the year)
Bel Canto; Ann Patchett (that I didn’t love it proves I am not as pessimistic as I think)
The Last Child;  John Hart
The Time Traveler’s Wife; Audrey Niffennegger
The Blind Assassin; Margaret Atwood
River of Smoke; Amitov Ghose (patiently awaited this second book of trilogy, didn’t pack quite the punch of the first)
Eventide; Kent Haruf
The Elephant Man; Bernard Pomerance (a play)
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky; Heidi Durrow (interesting story telling)

Feel Bad Education; Alfie Kohn
Strength’s Finder 2.0; Tom Rath (seminar book)
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think; Brain Wansink (very interesting look at stats about what people eat and what people think they eat…)

Got this one for Christmas...I'll probably have to
break this baby up into chunks to read...
Those I found appropriate to read with or alongside my 10-year-old son.
Grip of the Shadow Plague; Fablehaven #3 by Brandon Mull
Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary; Fablehaven #4
The Adventures of Tome Sawyer; Mark Twain (holds up surprisingly well in modern 10 year old boy world)
Keys to the Demon Prison; Fablehaven #5
The Hobbit; JRR Tolkien
Peter and the Starcatchers #1; Dave Barry (Great Series.  We listened on CD while in car—my 6 year old loved it too…)
The Sea of Monsters; Percy Jackson Series; Rick Riordan
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows; Harry Potter #7 (Had to reread-couldn’t remember a thing)
The Found; The Missing #1; Margaret Peterson Haddix (interesting.  Very good for this age.)
The Tale of Despereaux; Kate DiCamillo (actually read w/ Anna….good read aloud book)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 10 GOALS for 2012

Everyone sets New Year's Goals, right?  Well, actually, few people do.  I think most people, however, have things about their lives they want to improve.  I feel like I constantly have things I want to do, accomplish, improve, battle.  It is never-ending.  The new year at least lets me concentrate things into a tidy list.  And lists, as we all know let you check things off.  And that is good.
Here is my list.

10. Learn to live with frizzy hair.  Lots of people have—famous people, like Gilda Radnor and BeyoncĂ©.

9. Learn a new skill.  Last year: knitting.  This year…hmmmm.  Suggestions?

8. Figure out how to deal with Tupper-ware-hell…there has to be a way to tame that beast.

7. Quit caffeine.  I’ve totally done this before.  For DAYS almost.

6. Learn to let a few things go….

5. Demonstrate moderation.  For instance, on Pinterest…I could limit the amount of pins I pin each day…to say 3 or 4 dozen.

4. Snuggle more.

3. Decide what I want to be when I grow up.  This is kind of a big year age wise, so maybe it’s time.

2. Lose that baby weight.  You know, because my baby is 7.

1. Enjoy it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Organize your way to a better clutter-free life!

Yeah, well...one can dream.  I do get the itch to "start anew" on a lot of stuff right about the first of the year.  I like the idea of de-cluttering a home, I just don't quite ever get there.
I DO however, have one little nugget of fantasticness that I will share.  I started doing this a couple of years ago because I was so bad at getting the birthday cards and Mother's Day cards and Anniversary Card out to all the family members.  I usually buy one of those big fancy card sets from Costco, which for my extended family usually covers most people & their special day.  Uncle Bryce this year will get a sympathy card for his birthday because I ran out of manly looking cards, but I chose him because he is the least likely to even look at the card.  It is his wife who cares-she will chalk it up mistakenly for irony or cleverness on my part.
So I gather a card for everyone for everything.  I have all the addresses in a lovely file on my computer which I then print out onto address labels.  I have my own address labels, and I have stamps.  For the kids who live away (so I don't get them an actual gift), I either go get them crisp 1 or 2 or 5 dollar bills up to their birthday age until they hit 10 and then I go get Target gift cards-They max out at a $10 GC. It is way cheaper than shipping stuff.

I pre-address and pre-stamp ALL the cards and insert the $$ or CG and then I put them in order for the year with sticky notes telling me which notes each group goes out.  Then at the beginning of the month I pull them out and have my kids autograph them and mail them all out.

I'm also really into Thank-you cards, so I also have my kids sit down and do all the Thank-you's from Christmas while we're doing the card thing.

It is a bit of an investment right at the start of the year (especially if you have a big family), but well worth it-because then you don't have to deal with it the rest of the year. Plus I feel awesome and organized and with it for a day.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Welcome to the new digs!  They are not too terribly different...but a change was needed, and a new year seemed a good time to do it.  If you followed me before, you'll have to elect to follow this blog too (unless you were looking for a good excuse to hit the road...this is your chance!).  Just click on the follow me below and you won't miss a thing.
May the new year bring us all happiness and joy (and a nap.  Everyone would be so much more tolerant of one another if we all took a freaking nap.)

*note to readers.  My deliberate use of "freaking" may or may not have allusions to another word of considerable more levity.  It really depends on the context.  But, because I am a Mormon and a goodly amount of my friends (and thus readers) are also Mormon and therefore less tolerable to loosely guarded vocabulary, I will use words for their intended purpose or pull an old switcheroo in place of a naughty word.  You'll have to be the judge.