Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

As it is Thanksgiving this week, I will be taking a break from blogging. I will return with next week's theme on Sunday!

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, Indian pudding, cornbread, and many other festivities!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lovely Paintings

I was paroozing the internet for something pretty to look at, when I came across Holly Farrell. She paints gorgeous paintings. Here are a few of her works:











Check out her website for more lovelies.

Holly Farrell

Friday's Finds - 11/19/10

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1. What is the most performed ballet around Christmastime?
2. I presented an entire week full of Christmas Cheer!
3. Find out 21 fun ways to celebrate the season.
4. Stock up on tunes to choreograph your barre to!
5. It is our tradition to give each other a Christmas ornament from Hallmark every year.

Christmas Cheer Week: Day 5 - Tree Ornaments

Have your tree out yet? If not, make some of these ornaments to make it shine!

I love these whimsy paper mache Christmas ornaments!These ornaments are just plain gorgeous!

I have fallen in love with these vintage music sheet ornaments!


These elegant curly wire Christmas balls will look so pretty on your tree!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday's Inspire


Today, I am not only presenting an uplifting photo to you this week, I am going to go into a bit more detail......

Take a look at the picture below. She's not in a 180 degree angle arabesque, a perfect split, or lifting her leg to her ears. She is in a simple position, with her legs low, and arms poised in an angle. Look in front of the mirror, and try her position. If you have little or no ab strenght, you will a) not be able to do this at all or b) the position will look awkward.

LaVilla Party Planning


Let's look at the picture in more detail.



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As you can see, the purple represents positions using the core muscles (abs) and the red represents positions using other muscles, such as the deltoids, rectus femoris, etc.

Let's look at the lifted leg. While the leg muscles are used for height, the core muscles are working to hold it there without slipping down. Both play an important part in ballet.

Take a look at the torso. You can see the purple spot in the middle, representing the core muscles. Right outside, you can see two lines around the body. Creating this slant in the body takes skill - and strength.

The arms are holding themselves in place, but also creating weight, putting more pressure on your core muscles.

If you feel that you may have weak or no strength in your core, visit pre-pointe week, if you already haven't. Girl who are already en pointe may do these exercises, too. Especially the crunches.

Christmas Cheer Week: Day 4 - Treats

Today, I am going to round up a bunch of yummy snacks and treats for you to give to someone special.



Get this cute little Hot Cocoa Mix and many others from LollyChops.



We always make thumbprint cookies for Christmas.

These coconut wreaths look so pretty!

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies
These chocolate-peppermint cookies look so delicious!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday's Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty




In a magical Fairy Kingdom, a Princess named Aurora was born to a wonderful King and Queen. The Kingdom’s Fairy of Protection, Lilac Fairy, and all of her maidens were invited to celebrate Princess Aurora’s birth. In the midst of the excitement, the royal family forgot to invite the wicked fairy, Carabosse. Although Carabosse is distraught by their neglect, she and her crew come to party anyway, but with evil intentions. She disguises herself as a beautiful fairy and pretends to enjoy the festivities. However, her evil becomes her and she casts a spell over Princess Aurora saying that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger and die. Quick to save the Princess, the Lilac Fairy casts another spell saying that she will only fall asleep after pricking her finger. Once Carabosse leaves, the party is restored and everyone continues to celebrate.


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Sixteen years later, the royal family begins to celebrate Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday. Since the night of her birth, the King had ordered that all sharp objects be kept out of the kingdom so she could not hurt herself. His rules were broken, however, on the night of her party. During the celebration, Carabosse disguises herself again, this time as a beautiful seamstress, and presents Princess Aurora with a beautiful tapestry. Enchanted by its beauty, Princess Aurora grabs the tapestry and pricks her finger on a needle that Carabosse secretly embedded. Carabosse laughs in victory and runs out of the castle. Remembering the spell she had cast before, Lilac Fairy appears to make sure Princess Aurora fell asleep. Lilac Fairy casts a spell on the entire family and court to fall asleep ensuring them of their safety.


One hundred years later in a dark forest, a Prince by the name of Florimund is hunting with his friends. He leaves his friends and insists on being alone. Lilac Fairy hears the commotion and ventures out to Prince Florimund. He tells her that he is lonely and is in need of love. She has the perfect idea. She presents an image of Princess Aurora to him and he instantly falls in love.

She leads him to the castle to rescue the beautiful Princess and put an end to the evil fairy, Carabosse. Lilac Fairy reveals the hidden castle to Prince Florimund. Just when Prince Florimund steps into the castle doorway, Carabosse appears before him. She will not let him pass and a battle quickly follows. Prince Florimund finally overpowers her and he races into the castle. Knowing the only way to break the spell, he quickly finds Princess Aurora and kisses her. The spell is broken and Carabosse is finally defeated. Princess Aurora and her entire family wake up from their deep sleep. Princess Aurora accepts Prince Florimund's proposal for marriage and her family approves.


The castle is filled with music and laughter as the family and maids clean the dusty old castle for the wedding. The wedding is attended by the Prince’s family as well as the fairies. And like every great fairytale, they seal their marriage with a kiss and live happily ever after.

Synopsis courtesy About.com, found here

Christmas Cheer Week: Day 3 - Friends

I have already written up a round-up for ballet friends, but I'm not so sure that all of your friends would like heel lotions, or Nutcracker statuettes.


Don't these look comfy? I made one and I added a band of colorful fabric to the bottom.


These make-up brush holders are super-cute, and super-easy.

I am loving this little cuff bracelet!


Ucreate has a few tutorials on her blog with ribbon and lace jewelry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Black Friday Ads!

Black Friday is next week! Some of the ads are out, and I would like to share them with you.

I used the first site last year, but I discovered the other one, too.

www.bfads.net

and

www.black-friday.net

Tuesday's Tips: "Timing" Your Pointe Shoes with A Dancer's Days


Today, we are revisiting a former Tuesday's Tips post, featuring BallerinaBlogger from A Dancer's Days!


BallerinaBlogger from A Dancer's Days wrote an article on "Timing" Your Pointe Shoes. It was something I had never thought about before. I had thought about keeping them from wearing out, but never preparing for when they wore out. Here is the article:

"Timing" Your Pointe Shoes

That title is probably boggling your mind right now. :-)



No really, it's important to "time" when you wear your shoes and how long you wear them. Especially during summer camp.



Your shoes typically last a few hours. Mine have been lasting longer and longer as my feet have been growing stronger. It's important to know how long it takes for your shoes to "die" so by the time your shoes are dead, you have another pair ready to go. Believe me, you don't want to end up with a pair of extremely dead shoes and brand new ones. Can you say "ow"?



Ridiculously enough, that is EXACTLY what happened to me this week. Save yourself the trouble of learning this the hard way and take my advice! :P



Keep a notebook that tracks how long your shoes are lasting. Record every time you wear a specific pair and how long you wore them. Also put in notes about how soft/flexible they are. I would do this for about four pairs of shoes to know for sure what the average time-line is.



By doing this, you'll know when it's time to start breaking in a new pair of shoes. When it comes to pointe shoes you ALWAYS want to be prepared! I'd keep at least three pairs with you at all times. That gives you plenty of options depending on what your feet need or what would work
best with the dance you're rehearsing.

BTW: BallerinaBlogger wrote this article HER blog for HER readers, not specially for this blog. I had nothing to do whatsoever with the article.




BallerinaBlogger has been very kind and has answered these questions that I put together. Thanks so much BallerinaBlogger!



When did you get your first pointe shoes? Were you aware of the dangers you could put them in by leaving them in a plastic bag, or not airing them out after class, or were you super careful?

I got my first pair of pointe shoes almost five years ago. I was ten years old and was super excited! I was aware of those dangers as the teacher putting me on pointe had taught us a lot about pointe shoes before taking us to buy our first pair. And plus my mom had spent some time doing research about pointe shoes in order to know how to properly take care of them. I'm so glad my mom had gotten so involved with my dancing and although she herself never did ballet, she knows practically just as much about it as I do.

When you started summer camp, did you realize a change in your pointe shoes, they were wearing out faster, hurting your feet and ankles? Is this what gave you the idea to write this article?

The first summer camp I had ever done en pointe, I immediately noticed them softening faster and the many changes in their shape as they softened. Now that I have been dancing/doing summer intensives for so many years, I know what to expect and how to deal with my many shoes. I actually made the mistake of not lining up very many shoes before beginning my summer intensive and ended up with a pair of extremely worn shoes and brand new ones. They KILLED my feet! I was so frustrated and wanted to precaution everyone to come prepared like I use to. Really dead shoes tend to be more dangerous because you have much more flexibility in your shoes and it makes "rolling" over your ankle much easier. That could lead to so many different injuries.

Define "Your shoes typically last a few hours". By "dying" do you mean becoming soft, and the box begins to wear down? If so, when shoes "die", are they "dead" or are the done for the day?

Haha! Your pointe shoes "dying" is a term that dancers use to say "my shoes are getting very soft and worn". When shoes are "dead" they are DONE. AKA: it's time to store them away or put them in the trash. I personally like to keep my old shoes in a giant chest; it doesn't feel right to throw away something so special... And expensive! When I say "your shoes typically last a few hours" I literally mean that. I once had a pair of shoes that only lasted me 4 1/2 hours. It depends on how long you're wearing your shoes, your brand of shoes and the moisture they're obtaining. I couldn't tell you how long a certain brand of shoes lasts because every situation is different and every foot is different. It's impossible to know until you've worn a single brand and size for a fair amount of time.

Can you suggest a way to organize your pointe shoes in you notebook? (i.e. filing under brand, type, or feel)

When I organize the information (Which I don't really need to do anymore because I am so use to my shoes) I would write it out kind of like this:

Brand: Russian Pointe (Example)

Length:

Width:
Original shank hardness: (Pointe shoes typically come in soft, medium or hard shanks)

Shoes have been worn for: (Record how many hours shoes have been worn. You can record your hours each day and then add them up when your shoes have fully died)


At what "point of pain" do you suggest to start breaking in a new pair of pointe shoes?

Firstly, if there's a lot of pain going on down in those feet, I would get them checked out! There's a clear line between the "ow" kind of hurt and the "oh-my-gosh-I-think-I-just-broke-something" kind of hurt.

Breaking in pointe shoes is all about their hardness or stiffness. It also depends on how many pairs you want at once. If you want two pairs to wear at once, then I would break in a pair until they got getting slightly soft. So they're flexible enough to dance with in the center but still on the newer side. That's when I would start to wear the brand new pair at the barre.

It's really a process that you have to figure out on your own. That's why it's good to know how long it takes for your shoes to break in/what their lifespan is. Then you'll know right when to start breaking in the next pair.


Thanks for answering all of these questions. I've found the information really useful. Do you have any final words for budding ballerinas?

My last piece of advice for the day is to experiment. There is no harm in trying something new to find exactly what works for you. I myself have tried countless different brands of shoes. (No joke) Ask your instructors for advice/tips but always remember that it's your dancing career, your life and your body.

Thanks for all of the info, BallerinaBlogger!


And lastly, I have a surprise tutorial for you........

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Pointe Shoe Notebooks!

*Supplies*

Unused Composition Book
2 pieces scrapbook paper
Mod Podge
Old Paint Brush
Ruler
Scissors

Find an old composition note book.


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Measure it across the top, and down the side. Make sure that you measure from the edge of the black tape.


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mine was 6 3/4 x 9 3/4 inch. your is probably about the same.

Cut 2 pieces of scrapbook paper the same measurements as the notebook. Set the scraps aside.

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You can use pretty much any kind of Mod Podge........I used Outdoor because that was the only kind that I could find in our basement ;)

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Paint your Mod Podge onto the cover with the old paintbrush. Use smooth strokes, and cover the entire thing. Right before you lay the paper on, smooth out all of the gluebumps with the paint brush. Lay to paper on. Rub the paper starting at the center and working outwards. Smooth all of the bumps out. Over-glazing is optional, I went without.

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Trim the edges and round the corners. Do the same with the back.

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Rip up two pieces of the scrap paper. Note: If you want to write your name on the notebook, do the smaller piece in plain white, not pattern.

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Put Mod Podge on the back of the larger piece, and stick it to the notebook, wherever you want, smoothing it out from the center, to the corners.

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Put Mod Podge on the back of the smaller piece, and put it ontop of the bigger piece. Once again, over-glazing is optional.

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There you have it!

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Your pointe timing notebook is ready to go to Ballet class!


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If you liked this tutorial, check out Mod Podge Rocks! and Paint Me Plaid

I hope you liked today's Tuesday's Tips! Come back tomorrow for Wednesday's Ballet.

Christmas Cheer Week: Day 2 - Dads

I'm not sure whether or not your dad wants armwarmers for Christmas.........so I will dedicate a post to them ;)


These paper weights are so sweet! What a great stocking stuffer ;)


If you are looking for something a wee bit more sophisticated....... you might want to make some of these bottlecaps!

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How about painting a pas de deux with dad on the front of this mug?


For those sewers out there, create a tie for dad!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday's Blog Brag: ballerina by day...


This week, I am going to brag about a girl named Ashley, and her blog, ballerina by day....

Here are some of the things that she blogs about:


Christmas Cheer Week: Day 1 - Fellow Balletfreaks

Today, I am rounding up a bunch of gift ideas to give to your fellow pirouettes (that's what me and my ballet peeps call each other). Enjoy!

Round up a bunch of sweaters and make tons of these armwarmers for your friends to warm up in!

Reinventing The Heel™
I personally have used this, and I can confidently say that if one of your ballet buddies receives this, they will be eternally grateful!

Table Decorations: Cinnamon Candle
I don't know about you, but I would love to come home from a long ballet class, run a hot bath, and light up one of these babies.

Clay pot ballerina/princeMake a few of these adorable little flower pot dancers!