Posted in A Day in the Life, tutorial

Gift Wrap/Bow Tutorial: Wrap It Up!


Every year I say to myself, “This is the year I learn to wrap gifts nicely.”  And every year I end up frustrated, just wrapping tape around paper, or throwing things into gift bags.  But this year, I did it!  I wrapped all but one gift nicely, and I disguised the ugly gift with a nice bow.  That’s the other thing I taught myself to make this year.  Nice bows.  Keep reading and I’ll show you what I did.

We wish you a merry Christmas!
We wish you a merry Christmas!

I have been told that the best gift wrapping is one piece of paper, and three pieces of tape.  Let’s see how I did.

I started with one of Thor's presents.  A book seemed an easy starting place.
I started with one of Thor’s presents. A book seemed an easy starting place.
I measured my paper so that I could fold the sides over and cover the book.  Oh--put your item face down so your paper seams end up on the backside of it.
I measured my paper so that I could fold the sides over and cover the book. Oh–put your item face down so your paper seams end up on the backside of it.
Close the sides of the paper like a double door, and put one piece of tape in the middle to secure it.
Close the sides of the paper like a double door, and put one piece of tape in the middle to secure it.
Next, use your thumb to tuck in the center pieces of the outside edges of the wrapping paper.  There is Monsieur le Snowhomme sneaking into the photo on my thumbnail.
Next, use your thumb to tuck in the center pieces of the outside edges of the wrapping paper. There is Monsieur le Snowhomme sneaking into the photo on my thumbnail.
When you have poked in the edges on either side, use your fingers to make seams in the paper so that you have angled edges.
When you have poked in the edges on either side, use your fingers to make seams in the paper so that you have angled edges.
Then, press one edge down over the side of the item/package, rubbing seams in so that there is a snug fit.
Then, press one edge down over the side of the item/package, rubbing seams in so that there is a snug fit.
Pull the paper up over the back side of the item/package like you are sealing an envelope and use a piece of tape to hold it in place.
Pull the paper up over the back side of the item/package like you are sealing an envelope and use a piece of tape to hold it in place.
Do the same thing on the other side and add it to the present pile!
Do the same thing on the other side and add it to the present pile!
My next trial was to wrap up a plush Bilbo Baggins with The Hobbit.
My next trial was to wrap up a plush Bilbo Baggins with The Hobbit.
I tucked Bilbo's sword, Sting, under him, and bound him to the book with a wide strip of ribbon.  I explained that it was for the good of the Shire.
I tucked Bilbo’s sword, Sting, under him, and bound him to the book with a wide strip of ribbon. I explained that it was for the good of the Shire.
Then, it was face down onto the paper for our favorite Middle Earthling.
Then, it was face down onto the paper for our favorite Middle Earthling.
Following the instructions from before, I ended up with a squashy, ugly gift.  I needed a way to hide the worst of it.
Following the instructions from before, I ended up with a squashy, ugly gift. I needed a way to hide the worst of it.

I watched several YouTube video tutorials on how to make bows, and they were all great.  Following is the gist of them.

You get your ribbon, and double wired is the best kind to use.
You get your ribbon, and double wired is the best kind to use.
Decide how wide you want to go, and make your first fold.  Your next fold will be just about twice as long.  I tried to capture a photo showing both my first and second folds.  Keep folding.
Decide how wide you want to go, and make your first fold. Your next fold will be just about twice as long. I tried to capture a photo showing both my first and second folds. Keep folding.
You will want your last fold to be about the same length as your first fold was, so just a little over half of the full length.  See?
You will want your last fold to be about the same length as your first fold was, so just a little over half of the full length. See?
Use your scissor to make slits on either side of the ribbon.
Use your scissor to make slits on either side of the ribbon.

 

If you fold down the sides of one half, your ribbon should look like this.
If you fold down the sides of one half, your ribbon should look like this.
Grab another length of ribbon and tie it so that your knot is right in the middle--that's what your scissor slits were for.
Grab another length of ribbon and tie it so that your knot is right in the middle–that’s what your scissor slits were for.
Then, start peeling back the petals of your ribbon and fluffing them up.
Then, start peeling back the petals of your ribbon and fluffing them up.
Peel and fluff until you are satisfied!
Peel and fluff until you are satisfied!

That is actually the VERY FIRST CHRISTMAS BOW I’ve ever made.  If I can do that on the first try, imagine what you can do!  I used that bow to cover the ugliest part of the Bilbo present.

I decided to make a Gift Guide for my present openers.  Using scraps from my wrapping paper, I cut out little squares and taped them to a stocking cut-out.  I wrote the names of the people whose gifts were wrapped in that paper next to each scrap.  The more in your family, the merrier this will make you when it is time to open the gifts.
I decided to make a Gift Guide for my present openers. Using scraps from my wrapping paper, I cut out little squares and taped them to a stocking cut-out. I wrote the names of the people whose gifts were wrapped in that paper next to each scrap. The more in your family, the merrier this will make you when it is time to open the gifts.
Now, it will be easy to identify which gift belongs to whom--especially since I have a tendency to forget.
Now, it will be easy to identify which gift belongs to whom–especially since I have a tendency to forget.

 

 

I'd also like to take a moment to remind you that there are children who might not have anything on Christmas morning, if not for your generosity.  I had the fortune of being the shopper for gifts purchased for a family, by my office.  With several of us sharing together, I think these little girls will have a happy Christmas morning--at least it won't be sad!  The clerk who cashed out my stocking and hat purchase said that her store had adopted a Women's Shelter for Christmas.  There are hundreds of ways to help.  I encourage you to find the way that makes you happiest.
I’d also like to take a moment to remind you that there are children who might not have anything on Christmas morning, if not for your generosity. I had the fortune of being the shopper for gifts purchased for a family, by my office. With several of us sharing together, I think these little girls will have a happy Christmas morning–at least it won’t be sad! The clerk who cashed out my stocking and hat purchase said that her store had adopted a Women’s Shelter for Christmas. There are hundreds of ways to help. I encourage you to find the way that makes you happiest.  (I was excited to shop for a girl!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Beauty, hair, how to, tutorial

Hairstyle Tutorial: If I Were Nucky Thompson’s Girlfriend


I have a major crush on the ladies hairstyles of Boardwalk Empire.  Everyone else might be watching for the gangsters and mols, but I’m watching to see how Margaret and Gillian are wearing their hair.  And their shoes.  Those shoes are all kinds of adorable.

Yesterday, I realized that my hair has grown out to the point that I could make a passable attempt at some BE hair, so I scrubbed up, grabbed the rat tail comb and a handful of bobby pins, and went to work.

The first step was to make finger waves with the front sections of my hair.

2012-12-05 20.32.222012-12-05 20.32.40

To make a finger wave (and that one on the left is pretty messy) I hold my index finger down on a section of hair, then use my other hand to draw the lock into a C shape.  I use a bobby pin to secure the rounded part of the C.  Then, I curve the lock again, making a backwards C, this time using the bobby pin to secure the bottom part of the C.  The curved part of the C comes forward against my temple.

When I have two Cs, I take the length of the lock and make a pin curl above my ear.

To make that pin curl, I wrap the lock around my index finger, then slide it off, and secure it with a bobby pin to the side of my head.  If you can twirl your hair, you can make a pin curl!

 

Once the front sections were finished, I went to work making little pin curls all over the rest of my head.  The more curls you make, the more body your hair will have.  I used TIGI’s Catwalk strong mousse for holding power.  My hair is very fine and doesn’t hold curl well, and I was pretty impressed that my finger waves are still holding.  That’s some good mousse.

Blurry AND dark--but I was trying to take a picture of the back of my head with a cell phone.
Blurry AND dark–but I was trying to take a picture of the back of my head with a cell phone.

Pin curls aren’t hard, per se, but they do take a few goes to master.  The technique that works best for me is to use one hand to take a pinch of hair about two inches from the end, then use the other hand to curl the end up into the pinch.  That gives you a circle.  Then, you roll the lock of hair around that pinch, rolling it up to your scalp, keeping the circumference of your original circle as you go.  When you run out of hair, lay that circle down against your scalp and use a bobby pin  (or whatever floats your boat) to secure it to your head.

You’ll want to work with damp hair–that makes things easier.  Too wet and your hair is just floppy and hard to work with.  Too dry and the curls won’t set.  It’s a balance that depends on your particular hair, though.

I wrapped my curled up head in a scarf and went to bed.  When I woke up in the morning and undid the curls, my hair looked like this:

2012-12-06 07.53.43

That’s not a great look, but listen, those waves?  Perfect!  I got started on my Boardwalk Empire hairstyle by separating out the front section of my hair and pinning it out of the way.

2012-12-06 07.55.41I wanted to do a style Gillian wears frequently, which is several pincurls layered across the nape, with a fingerwave ending in a curl on the sides.  My first try was more elaborate mess than Mob Mol, but I will show you the steps I took to get there:

I started making pincurls at the middle back of my head, working my way out.
I started making pincurls at the middle back of my head, working my way out.
I built in more curls, securing them into each other for stability.
I built in more curls, securing them into each other for stability.

 

 

I kept making curls until I had all the back section of my hair in a nice arrangement.
I kept making curls until I had all the back section of my hair in a nice arrangement.
Then, I took down the top section that was pinned up, and separated that into three sections.  I teased the middle back/crown section for some height.
Then, I took down the top section that was pinned up, and separated that into three sections. I teased the middle back/crown section for some height.
This is what it looked like teased.  You can kind of see what would come next naturally.
This is what it looked like teased. You can kind of see what would come next naturally.
I made three more pincurls from that crown section, securing them into the first line of curls from the back section of hair.
I made three more pincurls from that crown section, securing them into the first line of curls from the back section of hair.
Then, I looked like this.  Hot stuff!
Then, I looked like this. Hot stuff!
Careful not to pull so tightly that I pulled out my finger waves, I swept those side sections to the back middle of my head and secured them as pincurls.
Careful not to pull so tightly that I pulled out my finger waves, I swept those side sections to the back middle of my head and secured them as pincurls.
Then, I used my comb to smooth out the rough spots and tuck strays into the curls.  I think I've gotten pretty good at taking pictures of the back of my head!
Then, I used my comb to smooth out the rough spots and tuck strays into the curls. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at taking pictures of the back of my head!
I put on my makeup, paying attention to the eyebrows because 20s eyebrows were darker and rounder than what we're used to wearing today.
I put on my makeup, paying attention to the eyebrows because 20s eyebrows were darker and rounder than what we’re used to wearing today.
And I added some flair.
And I added some flair.
But, I decided that was too many pincurls for the office.  It looked too costume-y.  So I took the back down and modified it into only 5 big curls.
But, I decided that was too many pincurls for the office. It looked too costume-y. So I took the back down and modified it into only 5 big curls.
I took a silver necklace, put bobby pins on either side, and hooked it into my hair like a little headband.  I used two more pins on each side to secure it, hiding the pins under the side waves.
I took a silver necklace, put bobby pins on either side, and hooked it into my hair like a little headband. I used two more pins on each side to secure it, hiding the pins under the side waves.
2012-12-06 09.12.41
The modified style wasn’t as Boardwalk Empire as it had been, but it was a good compromise between an office friendly French twist and my desire for a little hair drama.
It worked out, and got several compliments, including three from men, who don't usually notice my hairstyles.
It worked out, and got several compliments, including three from men, who don’t usually notice my hairstyles.

 

I’m not interested in the Boardwalk Empire life, but I sure wouldn’t mind having someone show me how to do a few more of their hairstyles.  And I want all of Margaret’s clothes from Season 2.  All of them.

Random bit of interest:  It took 17 bobby pins to hold my final style.  I don’t have a lot of hair, so you might want to double up if you’re going to try this at home.