Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fun & Fiendish Halloween Crafts!

As a child I found Halloween to be quite exciting. Seeing that crime was not that big of a deal back then, I would sit outside or in my window each year and watch as all the gremlins, goblins, skeletons and princesses strolled by, bags or baskets in hand, hoping to have them filled with neighborhood treats. Although crime was minimal and I lived in a very safe area, I was still not allowed to join them in their paganistic celebrations. Being the rebellious soul that I am, I found all sorts of other ways to make my own fun of the occasion. I would bake and decorate ghoulish cookies or hang creepy crawlers all around my room, much to the dismay of my grandmother! Many chose not to celebrate Halloween because of it's pagan or ungodly connotations, but if you read The History of Halloween, you will see that is  not as "unholy" as many may think.

I would caution parents and guardians nowadays of course, against sending your kids out on the streets trick-or-treating alone, especially after this month's tragedy but there are so many other ways to make October 31st fun for the whole family that it won't even matter whether or not you go outside. Halloween has long been associated with ghosts and evil goblins but you really don't have to make the experience a scary one (if you don't want to) although monstrous creatures only add to the thrill!. It can be a day to simply transform into anyone or anything you desire and get "out of the box" for a change. Below are a few fun things you can do this Halloween to make it a memorable one: 

Closet Creatures!
Closet Creatures   
Put some friendly monsters in your closet for the Halloween season.
  • hanger
  • poster board
  • card stock
  • tacky glue
  • tape


Instructions
  1. For each, trace the body of a hanger onto poster board, then cut out the shape.
  2. Cut facial features from poster board and card stock, adhering them to the base shape with tacky glue.
  3. Let the glue dry, then tape the poster board face to the hanger.


    I-FaceBook
  • 12- to 15-ounce cereal box
  • glue stick
  • wrapping and white paper
  • marker
  • thin elastic
  • duct tape
  • baseball cap
Instructions
  1. Book cover: Cut off the top and bottom flaps and one narrow side of a 12- to 15-ounce cereal box so that you're left with three panels. Apply a glue stick all over the printed side of the cardboard, then cover it with wrapping paper that's an inch wider than the box on all sides.


    Fold down the edges of the wrapping paper and glue them in place. Glue an 11- by 17-inch sheet of white paper on top.
  2. nullInside pages: Beginning at a short end, accordion-fold two sheets of 11- by 17-inch white paper. The folds should be 1 inch wide.


    Glue an end flap of each of the folded sheets along a short edge of another 11- by 17-inch sheet, creating a table shape. Glue the bottom flaps of the accordioned sheets to the book cover leaving the center piece loose, as shown. 
  3. nullFace opening: Lay the book wrapping paper–side up and draw an oval face-opening in the center. Use a craft knife to cut through the cardboard and paper (an adult's job).
  4. Neck strap: Attach a length of thin elastic with duct tape under the white paper, as shown.
  5. nullHat attachment: Cut off the bill of a baseball cap. Attach the front of the cap to the book by running a strip of duct tape down the front center of the cap onto the top edge of the book above the face opening, as shown.


    Continue running the tape over the edge of the book cover, straight down under the paper, through the face opening, and into the inside center of the hat.
  6. Finishing touches: Glue the center of the white book page to the cover, then use a marker to write "face book."

    Considering all the FaceBook fanatics out there, this should be a hit! 

    Spirit Jugs


  • Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft knife
  • String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights


Instructions
  1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don't dent.
  2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent's job).
  3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.


Eye See YOU!


Let the eggers know that they are being watched!


  • Ping-Pong ball
  • Permanent markers
  • Battery-powered tea light
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue dots


Instructions
  1. Cut an X in the Ping-Pong ball (an adult's job).
  2. Draw eye details on the ball with permanent markers.
  3.  Cut embellishments from paper and attach them to the ball with glue dots.

    Image by FlamingText.com
Image by FlamingText.com



Instructions:
1. Print the first page of the template on a sheet of black cardstock and the second page on a sheet of white cardstock. (Or, you can print the template on plain paper and use the pieces as patterns for cutting out two bat bodies from black cardstock and a Mickey face from white cardstock. Then use a black marker to draw eyes, a nose, and a mouth on the face, as shown on the template.)
2. Cut a length of monofilament for hanging the bat and knot one end. Use a glue dot to attach the knot to the head portion of one of the two body pieces.
Step 2
3. Cut a pipe cleaner length that is just long enough to stretch from wing to wing, and use glue dots to stick it in place on the same body piece as the monofilament.
Step 3
4. Use the glue stick to apply a generous coat of adhesive to the body, going right over the pipe cleaner and monofilament knot. Then set the second black body shape on top of the first, matching up all the edges and firmly pressing down on the paper to stick the two layers securely together.
Step 4
5. Glue the face in place, centering it below the ears, and your Mickey bat is ready to hang.
Step 5
Image by FlamingText.com


Give those hungry critters a good chuckle each time they open the fridge!
  • Family photographs (or printouts)
  • Glue dots
  • Ribbon, fabric, and yarn, and other decorative items.


    Instructions
  1. Fantasy Photos Variation Give each player a family photograph (or printout), glue dots, and a supply of decorative items, such as ribbon, fabric, and yarn. Then see who can come up with the most outrageous improvements. Our testers giggled as they made a funky fabric shirt for Dad, a glitter-glue collar for the dog, and blue tinsel hair for Grandma. One goofy group turned their clan into aliens with pom-pom antennae and googly eyes.




Image by FlamingText.com
Image by FlamingText.com



Make Halloween a blast this year and show off your creativity skills!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Can Someone Pass The Mayo?!

Over the past several months, I have grown pretty fond of certain foods and food items that pretty much were ignored my whole life. I also have a very unusual palette and can eat just about anything that would make others bring up their breakfast! Diet is all in the mind I think. In order to follow an even somewhat healthy lifestyle change of eating, it's is indeed mind over matter. When your mind is conditioned to think of foods' health benefits, or society connotations it becomes much more satisfying and tasty OR downright disgusting.What's weird to one is perfectly normal for another.

For me, fresh, cold and ripe tomatoes is one that I've always had huge problems with. Despite my uncanny love of vegetables, I could never outgrow my dislike of those red, rosey buggers! Maybe it was the overabundance of liquid meshed with seed and the inability to tell them apart then the squishiness after you initially bite into it.  Now I've always cooked with it and love the flavor it adds to a meal or sandwich but as of late, I've started incorporating them in my fresh salads, and on toast.  Ketchup or tomato sauce on the other hand has been an obsession of mine for many years and I can barely eat a plate of rice or piece of macaroni without it. At times though, I like to taste a food's natural flavour and would opt to go condiment-free.

I must say that Peter Pan did a magnificent job when they made the Creamy Honey Roast flavor. WOW! Can you say "Party in my mouth?" That is the best tasting PB I've ever had besides organic and already is a fav at my crib. ...thought I'd toss that bit in there!

Spinach is my latest HEALTHY obsession and I've started putting it into EVERYTHING! Don't take it lightly when I say "everything" either! I buy the Earthbound Farm Organic every month (a 1b container usually lasts about a month). I love the snappy freshness of it and know that it's wholesome "superfood" goodness on a plate. (Or in a napkin, glass, cup or bowl)! It became a morning routine to mix a smoothie using about a heaping handful of spinach, a banana, some strawberries or cantaloupe and sweetener. This became a spin-off from my Oatmeal Flax Smoothie mentioned in an earlier post. The kids like  it too since they've barely eaten a meal in about a week without it. When trying to disguise it, I chop it really fine and then by the time it's cooked, they think it's parsley! : ) Dr. Oz also says that it's better to eat cooked rather than raw because when cooked, all the nutrients and are able to be better released and absorbed by the body.

Not so healthy though, is my latest mayo craze. I am so ashamed *hangs head*! Since my car accident almost two years ago, I've had seemingly different tastebuds and a stomach that must be made of steel! Since trying to eat healthy on a "normal' basis, I think I need (and deserve) a bit of a treat sometimes.  I don't crave the sweet snacks that I used to anymore and have replaced those with condiments. This is so weird and very repulsive to many that I would even consider mayo on ramen noodles, ketchup on scrambled eggs or relish in tossed salad! Hey...to each his own right? Some strictly consider mayo as a sandwich spread or salad mixer but to me, mayo adds moisture, texture, and extra flavour to many foods. I guess this is why the Japanese love it so. I've read that much like Bahamians do, they slap it on the most unlikely foods such as french fries, chicken and even pizza! MMmmmm...I sure think I can live there! I still try to eat these things in moderation though because one teaspoon of regular mayonnaise is about 90 calories and 10g of fat and others such as ketchup and the like are loaded with added sugars.

Weirdo Eggs

Japanese Mayo. I'd like to taste that!
Mayo'd Pizza

Mayo'd French Fries

My World!



Series of Glances.  Life is short and people ramble so photos are worth 1,000 words.

Dreams of Baby!



If you or someone you know has recently had dreams about a new baby or of giving birth to one, this can be a significant stage in your life. To give birth in a dream firstly shows that one's subconscious is now aware of the soon-to-come separation of the two individual beings. It's a stage of maturity when one's psyche is reaching a new, higher level of being.
I've always believed that dreams have meanings and that the quality or magnitude of the dream says even more. Symbolically speaking, the 'baby' in the dream can actually be a real life idea or project that one hopes will come to fruition. Which, like childbirth, too can be quite laborious!
Generally speaking though, having a baby in a dream basically is a reflection of all your thoughts, feelings and visions of being a mother. However, if one dreams of a non-human baby or some other 'creature', this tells that the woman has underlying fears that her unborn child is not healthy, as is very common in mothers-to-be, especially around the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lace Front 101!

The mighty lace front wig has been around for quite a few years but has recently become a must-have for many who are tired of the hassles of fixing your own hair. Stars such as Tyra and Beyonce have been rocking these do's for 4ever and have had had many thinking that their hairstyles would cost hundreds of dollars to rock theirself! The versatility and variation of styles is what many wearers love and I must say, I can see why!


Just recently, I too have joined the lace front bandwagon and needless to say, I love it! 


Remember these tips to make your look a success instead of a hot MESS before applying your piece:

  • Be sure to properly clean/exfoliate the area you will be applying adhesive glue/tape to ensure secure stick.
  • Shave excess hair from around nape of neck and around hairline.
  • Use a sharp pointed stick (such as a cuticle stick) or a rattail comb to apply adhesive for a more controlled line. 
  • Use a bit of hair gel to smooth your naturally softer hair strands out the way of adhesive. 
  • Wet fingers when using tape to avoid it sticking to your hand. 

Face Shaping



Oval - Many choices
As its name implies, the oval-shaped Face is longer than wide, with a jaw that is narrower than the cheekbones. Because the oval shaped face has no dominant areas and is so proportional, this face looks good with just about any hairstyle, length or texture.

 
Round - Avoid width
The round-shaped face has a wide hairline and fullness below the cheekbones. The client may be overweight and the neck may appear short. A geometric or linear style looks very good. Add height and long wispy sides to make the cheeks look narrow. Sides and nape comb close.

Diamond - Reduce width at sides
The diamond-shaped face has a narrow chin and forehead with wide cheekbones. Diamond shaped faces need narrow sides and fullness at the chin. Bobs work very well. Avoid height on top or volume on the sides. Use some fringe or bangs to cover narrow forehead.

 
Heart - Add volume at chin
The heart-shaped face is characterized by a wider forehead and a narrower chin. Bring some hair onto the forehead to disguise its width. Keep hair close to the head at the eyes but make it slightly full around the jaw, and below and in front of the earlobes.

Pear - Add volume above jaw line
The pear-shaped face is characterized by a small or narrow forehead and a rather large pouchy-appearing jaw line. Comb hair to add width from the eye level through the crown of the head. Set and comb hair close to the head on the sites and at the nape.

  
Oblong - Add softness
The oblong-shaped face has a long and narrow bone structure. An oblong facial shape often has a long, thin neck. Use a fringe or half-bang across the forehead by creating the soft waves or curls in the crown or nape areas. This helps to create the illusion of an oval.


Applying Your Hair Piece

1) The first task is to create a flat surface for the wig to sit on. You can braid your hair down, mold it, or apply a stocking cap and/or wig liner. Most prefer molding or wrapping the hair when wearing a straight unit and braiding it when the unit is curly. The decision is yours.

2) Next cleanse your forehead perimeter with alcohol. this will 
create a clean oil free surface which will be better for the adhesive to adhere to.

3) All the hair of the wig hair should be pinned up before placing on your head. This will eliminate the hair from falling and sticking to the glue. be especially careful of the baby hairs the stick easily to excess glue.

4) Gradually start trimming the excess lace, the goal here is to create your hairline, only cut small amounts off at a time. Refrain from making jagged cuts in the lace only smooth precision ones. Stork scissors work well for cutting the lace.  Place the wig on your head, and evaluate how and where you would like the hairline. The goal is to find where the hairline will look most natural. 

5) Mark or lightly outline where it is to be placed on your head. Do not apply adhesive outside these marks. You should be able to place four fingers between your hairline and your eyebrows for the most natural look.

6) After you have created your hairline, apply adhesive to the hairline so it can stay on your head. Let it semi-dry before placing your wig over it. It should be a little tacky sticky to the touch not stringy, for best hold results. Press down with comb.

7) Add glue to excess spots that you may have missed. Make sure you let it semi dry before pressing down with comb. Lace should lay on forehead hairline smoothly with no ripples

*Your unit should have a natural look.
*no glue should be visible on your forehead. 
*Your baby hairs should not be stuck to your face with glue.
 
Don'ts

1) Don't push lace down with your fingers into the glue. The hair will stick and get matted up. Use the teeth of of wide tooth comb and press it flat against your scalp.

2) Don't reapply glue to area with glue already, the glue will not stick to an old  previously glued surface. Area must be cleaned first, then reapply.



Removing Your Unit

1) Pull all hair up into a ponytail, to provide better access to  hairline where remover should be placed.

2) Apply the lace adhesive remover to the adhesive around  perimeter of hairline. Be careful not to let it run in your  eyes. Let remover set in for a minute or two, then  gradually remove the lace. 

3) It is best to clean the unit when it is completely off the  head. Glue gets embedded in the lace after a while of wearing. This glue has to be removed  before shampooing your unit. Spray any areas that have old adhesive on it let  it soak in for a few minutes then squeeze excess glue from  unit.

4) It's best to clean old glue from your unit before shampooing. You should let the unit dry naturally then you can reapply, style or store it. 



 
 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Once Ago, We Could Sleep With Our Doors Open!



It's been a while since I last wrote on here. Different from seeking full time employment, I have been sooo busy with other things. It is also quite difficult to focus quietly and intently on a topic, then put those thoughts into words when you have young children running around each day! I have decided to write today, however, because there are a few pressing issues that I'm concerned about. Namely, the increasing crime problem in my hometown... among a few other things.




I do love my beautiful country and after having traveled to quite a few of our Family Islands, I appreciate it even more. We as a people have to thank God for all of the blessings bestowed upon us as a small chain of islands. We are very fortunate to be able to brag of our natural beauties and national treasures and the fact that we are independent, democratic and economically successful. This though, is why crime is such a major problem and threat to the fabric of our society.


It is my opinion that many factors are contributing to the increase in crime and the severity of it. They are (to name a few) :
  • High level of unemployment and lack of employment opportunities. 
  • Lack of strong, positive role models not on TV, but rather in many communities. 
  • Breakdown of family structure and lack of strong father figures to head households. 
  • Over-abundance of churches feeding spiritual "milk", leading to confusion, indifference and a general mistrust of religious leaders by the younger society. 
  • Badly flawed judicial system. 
  • Corruption of government officials and law enforcement officers.
  • Overflow of poverty stricken, under-educated illegal immigrants who continue to pile into the country and mesh with ease into society. 
  • Lack of affordable educational opportunities for citizens. 
  • Lack of voice and support for the people. 
  • Increasing abuse of illegal substances (drugs) and alcohol by younger generation. 
  • Because of the above mentioned, a growing belligerence on the streets. Haughty, negative attitudes towards each other. 
  • Minimum wage being under $200 for many years vs. the extremely high cost of living for many, many years, leading many to feel as though "normal jobs" just aren't enough anymore. 
  • Misunderstanding and misjudgment of those with mental challenges and disorders as well as improper monitoring and treatment of such persons. 
To list a few! (Each of these factors deserve a post all of their own because of their significance and negative impact on society but I'll leave those for a later time).

About two weeks ago, an extremely heinous and tragic crime took place where an 11-year old boy, missing for five days, was found dead. It was discovered that this precious angel had not only been kidnapped, but viciously raped, then murdered and discarded like a piece of trash behind an apartment complex in Western New Providence. This event shook the nation to its core and led many to question what the beautiful Bahamas has really become. It also leaves me to question what our government stands for and what will ever be done to begin correcting this major issue on an island that is merely 21 miles by 7!

Years ago, a similar incident took place in our nation's second city of Grand Bahama, but on an even larger scale. The lives of five young males were taken at the hands of another sick psychopath who had a deranged thirst for under-aged boys. As a mother of two young children, things such as this make me nauseous and brings a sense of anger and rage like hardly nothing else does. When will we, an independent nation, ever carry out the death penalty again? I've read that the last person to be executed in Britain was in 1964 and that capital punishment was later abolished altogether in 1998. Is this why we too have ceased to execute these vicious animals, because Britain is our sovereign nation? What else will it take to make our law-makers as well as those invisible "powers that be" see that by their nonchalant attitude toward crime, they are, like the criminals themselves, inevitably destroying our magnificent Bahamaland? One cannot possibly have more sympathy for the perpetrators than the victims!


We know that the men guilty of carrying out these sadistic acts must have some type of mental disorder and should not be placed back onto our streets. It is also my belief that if one kills, then, according to The Holy Bible, he too should be killed. Genesis 9:6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.  Why are these men let back into society? Currently, a man is in custody for this last child-related crime who has just recently served a 12-year prison term for a very similar one. Why has he been released without intense monitoring and proper evaluation? That should not be! 


My deepest, heartfelt sympathy is extended to all of the family, friends and loved ones of little angel, Marco Archer. May you rest in peace until that faithful day.



Once ago, we could sleep with our doors open. Literally! Well, of course that was long before my time but the fact remains..crime was NOTHING like it is today.  The opening of numerous Cash For Gold establishments throughout the island has led to a dramatic increase in house-break-ins, armed robberies and day-time "snatchings". I have even witnessed a middle-aged lady's chain be torn from her neck on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon. In fact, just last week, one of our Golden Girls, Olympic Gold Medalist Pauline Davis-Thompson's home was robbed (once again, in the afternoon) and the thieves stooped low enough to even steal three of the track star's medals! These are considered National Treasures that can never be replaced since she is now retired. I can't even fathom what they intend to do with them. Thankfully, the Gold won at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 was presented to our Prime Minister some years before! Then there is the trade and export of scrap metal, chiefly copper,that has led to countless business places and residents alike being targeted and put into thousands of dollars of expense because of copper thieves. As I type, two men are being charged before the courts for stealing over $60,000.00 worth of copper from our country's own Water and Sewerage Corp. You mean they don't even care if we have running water anymore? This is the extent of crime in Nassau. Understanding that many have only been able to make a living by these means, one can also understand why some are vexed at the moratorium imposed by our Prime Minister some weeks ago, after thousands of dollars worth of copper was stolen from our chief energy supplier, B.E.C. From the get-go, proper measures should have been in place to screen those who turn in goods in exchange for cash.   


 If something radical is not done soon to improve conditions here, then we will be the ones on sloops, fleeing for a better life in another land! It may sound a bit far-fetched but if you really think about it...true. Remembering that it won't take the government alone will be crucial in this fight to rebuild, renew and restore our jewels of the sea.  We have to stop aiding and abetting criminals by hating the police (they too can do a better job at interacting with the public). Officers of the law MUST abide by their own laws and stop acting like everyone is a suspect. We have to develop a clearer and richer sense of self and stop watching and following others. We  must learn to start being leaders not followers. We have to start caring for our fellow brethren and stop turning a blind-eye when we see things we should speak out against, and most importantly, we have to start putting God first and teaching our children to do the same.  Our judicial system also needs a desperate overhaul in order to properly and efficiently deal with the backlog of cases just lingering, seemingly in limbo.


Early last week, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham gave a national address on crime and spoke of what strategies are being implemented to ameliorate the problem. Some say "too little, far too late" but I say better late than never! For him to do that shows that it's irking more than just me. We cannot let our once peaceful, beautiful, "paradise" of sun, sand and sea become a dangerous, hellish-like city that even we do not wish to remain. The Bible talks of the swine that the pearls were cast to which were savagely and callously trampled. Let's consider our islands "the pearls", if you may. Let us treasure and cherish our nation. This is the only way the generations to come will as well. In doing this, we show God that we appreciate what we have been given and he will continue to bless our efforts.

Sue Views