Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Easy DIY Beach Bag

Since the beginning of the year I have been sewing a bit more. I even learned how to sew in a zipper properly thanks to my friend Melissa over at the Polka Dot Chair. She and I got together last week and made the cutest polka dot purses. I'll blog the details soon. So since Spring Break is fast approaching, and Summer will hopefully find it's way to us, I thought I would make a fun and easy beach bag.
Supplies you will need:
3/4 yard of material of your choice
Thread
Sewing machine
Cording
Scissors
Tape measure

So the first thing I did was choose my material. I feel in love with this kelly green eyelet material that I got on sale at Joann Fabric and Craft Store. I thought it would be perfect because the material was light weight, and since there are holes in the fabric it would be easy to shake the sand out of it! They also happened to have the perfect color cording to match. It was a win, win.
I folded the top of the fabric first, making a 1 inch hem along the top of the bag.
Once both of the top sides were finished, I folded the material in half, and began sewing up the sides. I wanted the bag to have rounded corners, so I rounded the corners as I was sewing along.
Once you round the corners of the bottom of the bag, be sure you turn the bag inside out, and cut little triangles in it like this....
This will help the rounded corners lay better, and you won't have the excess fabric. This also works for just regular straight corners. You should always cut the excess fabric. 
So now all three sides are sewn up, and the top is open. You will then need to add the handles. This is were I used the matching green cording that I had found. You could also sew straps out of the fabric you are using.
I found the middle and then spaced the handles about 5 inches out.

I pinched the cording in the fabric and sewed it in. I wanted to make sure that it was extra secure, so I also hand stitched it too, just to make sure that the cord did not slip out.
This bag is super easy to make, and I am looking forward to using it all Spring and Summer long. Kelly green is fast becoming one of my new favorite colors. It's so bright and cheery.
I was able to fit 4 large beach towels in the bag, plus some sunscreen, so it's a pretty large bag. I love how light weight it feels because of the fabric.


Hopefully you have something fun planned for your Spring Break, or Summer vacay. Try making one of these beach bags, I think you will find it super easy to make. Thanks for stopping by, until next time.
XO~Gretchen

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Easter Bunny Banner

It is finally starting to feel a little like Spring around here. We have had a few nice sunny days, and although the forecast is calling for cold again soon, I appreciate the warmth while it is here. So I felt inspired to create a little bunny banner.
Supplies that I used for this project are as follows:
Silhouette machine, or any cutting machine you may have. I actually think this design is pretty easy that you could even trace it and hand cut it. :)
Crepe paper. I found this color at Target
Scrapbook paper. I used paper from one of my favorite designers Maggie Holmes.
Card stock. I used a pale aqua.
Colored twine. I used some brown and white, and some white and silver
Clips. I found mine at Michaels Craft Store
Yarn for pom poms.
The first thing that I did was cut out the bunny shape. I found the design online at the Silhouette Store.
This particular design was originally meant to be a card, but it worked out well since I needed multiple bunnies.
Next I cut the bunnies out. Then I made their bushy tails. I made their tails by using my pom pom maker which can be found at Michaels. I used twine instead of yarn, and used the smaller pom pom maker. It worked out really well. You don't need to wrap as much, and once you are finished you will trim the tail pretty short.
I then cut out the circle with a large punch. The circle measures about 3.5 inches and the bunnies I made 3 inches in length. After the circles were punched out I then put the double sided tape on the back. Once the back has the tape then you can start pleating the crepe paper. You just fold and pleat. 
 Mine always comes out uneven, so I just grab my scissors and trim it so that it is even.
Once it gets trimmed I added the bunny and the bunny tail. I glued the tail and used double sided tape for the bunny. You can decorate the bunny more if you would like. You could add glitter in the ears, but I kind of liked the simplicity of it.


Volia' here is the garland finished with the pom poms that I added. It is a very simple and sweet garland. I have it hanging along a mirror in our foyer! I love to decorate this piece in my foyer for each season. Now I need to pull out some more Easter decorations, maybe Mother Nature will catch my hint :)  Hope you feel inspired by this project. And if you make it, I'd love to see your finished project. You can tag me on IG. My IG name is @GretchenBlack.
Until next time.
XO~Gretchen

Monday, March 10, 2014

How Nerium has helped my skin

I often get questions about Nerium, so I wanted to write a blog post about it, and get as much information out there as I can. :) I decided to become a Brand Partner for Nerium this past winter. What is Nerium, you may ask? Nerium is a skin care product which helps to improve uneven skin texture, decrease enlarge pores, decrease fine lines, help improve sun damaged skin, and improve skin discoloration. Is it just for aging skin? Absolutely not! It is for all ages and all skin types. It is a plant based product that is Gluten free, paraben free, non-comedogenic, not water based, not tested on animals, and safe for all ages.
Some facts about Nerium. Nerium's main ingredient is a proprietary blend of NAE-8 (extract from nerium oleander plant) and aloe (a natural preservative). The anti-aging effects of NAE-8 were accidentally discovered during research at MD Anderson. Nerium AD has been scientifically proven by third party researchers to improve skin tone, texture, fine lines, & wrinkles, all while tightening and lifting the skin. This lifting and tightening of the skin, and high percentage of antioxidants is what makes this product stand out in the vast field of cosmetic products that are out there. I personally have noticed a change on my eye lids, among other places, where the lifting has helped. The company does not recommend putting it on or near your eyes, because it is not marketed as an eye cream, but it has worked for me. Also many of the girls who are on our Louisville Nerium team have put it on their post baby stomachs and have noticed a significant change in the way it looks. They are happy with the fact that their skin appears much tighter. I would certainly want to try Nerium before spending a lot of money on an invasive procedure. It yields a 30% improvement within 30 days, whereas comparable products available yield 2-7% improvement. Nerium also gives back 30% of all profits to Nerium International, which continues its research with the nerium oleander extract on certain cancers, HIV, and other viral illnesses. I always like to work with companies who want to give back to research to help cure diseases. That is still a top priority on their list. You can read all about the science of the extract at www.neriumbiotech.com.
This photo is my own personal hand results. I took them in similar lighting, and this was after 60 days of use. I have also thought my hands made me look much older than I am, and never could find a product that I thought would help them look like my real age. Nerium was a game changer for me. I will never be a hand model, but I am definitely more confident in the way my hands look.
The day cream also works amazingly. Here are the ingredients it has in it, and why they work to help your skin. It has the NAE-8 extract found in the night cream which is the patented antioxidant that helps with all the items listed above. It also has the following, tripeptide blend which helps increase the appearance of smoother, tighter, and younger skin. It has Vit C complex which is the key to maintaing healthy youthful skin. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to slow the rate of free radical damage to our skin. This damage can cause fine lines and dry skin. It helps our skin to produce collagen which is a protein that helps to firm and plump our skin. It has a green tea antioxidant which helps with reducing the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration. And lastly it has hyaluronic acid which works to help our skin to hold moisture. It can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. By doing this it helps the skin feel plumper. It also works to help repair the skin from dryness, environmental stresses such as pollution, and daily irritation.
As you can see by reading this, Nerium is the real deal, and this company has made sure that it is putting a top notch product line out there, with amazing ingredients, in my opinion. 
One last reason that I love using Nerium, is that it is so easy to use. There are not multiple steps and products involved. You simply wash your face at night with a mild soap. I personally use Cetaphil. I use a clarisonic to wash it. After you wash your face, then you rinse it. Leave your face damp, then you use 3 pumps of the Nerium night cream, blend it on your face and neck. It will dry on your face and feel like a mask at first, but this feeling will fade. You leave the product on your face all night. You then rinse your face with warm water, and I apply the Nerium day cream, and a separate face only SPF, then you are ready for the day. It is really that simple!
I hope you found this post to be informative. We should all educate ourselves about skin care lines, and be informed on what we need to be putting on our skin to help protect it. It is our largest organ. Just wanted to write this, so that any current customers, or new customers could have a place to come for information. If you would like to order either of these products you can do so from my website here. I would definitely sign up as a Preferred Customer to get the best price, and you can delay shipment or cancel at any time without any problems. One bottle can last on average about 2 months. I am happy to answer any questions via email at Gretchen_nerium@yahoo.com I promise to write a new creative post later this week. 
XO~Gretchen



Friday, February 28, 2014

Savannah trip Part 2

So as promised here are more photos from our Savannah trip. We took a day to visit the sleepy little towns between Savannah and Hilton Head beach. There are many quaint little communities to be discovered while driving. That's one of my favorite parts about going on these trips with my husband, we love driving around looking at houses and architecture. It's so inspiring to see all the little details in some of these houses. So here are a few off my favorites for you to be inspired by and to enjoy. Now we can all dream of building our cottage by the beach!
So what I loved about this house was the aqua shutters of course, but also the huge front porch. I can just imagine sitting on there with friends during a warm summer evening enjoying each others company while fireflies light up the summer sky. And that porch railing is really quaint and modern. Here are some houses with some amazing porches.
Notice the sleeping bed hanging. Love it! Can't get much more southern classic then this.
Do you know that it is a Southern tradition to paint all the ceilings in outdoor spaces blue? It is said to keep all the evil spooks away.
Seriously those live oak trees, which is the Georgia state tree, and the Spanish moss growing on them, is so magical. You really feel like you've stepped back in time. These trees are hundreds of years old.
This photo reminds me of the movie "Gone with the Wind"
These last photos are some of my favorite. So in this quaint little neighborhood, near the town center stood this beautiful chapel. It's design is so simple, but yet so breathtaking. I seriously feel in love with this chapel, and it sat near the water's edge, so the windows faced out on to the water. When my husband and I toured the chapel no one was in it but us, it was so romantic and peaceful. I'm already thinking it's the perfect spot to renew our vows. :) This church was designed by historical concepts
Inside the church had beautiful white batten board walls, and gorgeous old pine floors.
They had gorgeous custom made screens for these beautiful cathedral arched windows.
So if you ever decide to visit Savannah, be sure to check out all the quaint little neighborhoods and towns that surround it. I bet you will discover some little hidden gems, that you may never have even known about. Until next time,
XO~Gretchen