Thursday, 27 January 2011

There is a hell on earth.

Bridal shows: to be avoided like the plague. As Lisa so aptly stated, "you've already made too many decisions for this to be why are we here??" Apparently, just to pick up a Men's Warehouse coupon.

I need to cease being sucked in by the lure of free stuff. The dress is literally the only time in my life i have ever won anything, and now I am going to get spam phonecalls for the rest of my life.

Hrmph. I guess I did also get some magazines out of it, one of which had a very lovely photo of the exact combo of flowers I was hoping to use (but was still wondering if it would look good.) So not a total fail, but I would still call us getting the last parking spot our biggest success of the day.
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Sunday, 23 January 2011

We can't all be acupuncturists!

They have been munchkins from the beginning.
The night we picked them up from the farm.  We went only intending to get one.
 This is the morning after we brought them home.
My puppy is sick.  I can finally admit this without crying - we are making enough progress for this post.

He has degenerative myelopathy.  I can't even pronounce this, but it is a degenerative spinal disease.  The only good news being that he is not in any pain, that he is just losing sensation in his back legs.

What this means, though, is that he is having more and more trouble walking.  It started with having trouble getting up, then having trouble with one of his back legs, and has progressed to heart-wrenching.  I am baring my soul on this because I am having a hard time dealing with it.

The other good news is, my parents are dedicated to making his life as quality as possible.  Which means...he is currently getting a home-visit acupuncture treatment once a week.

My dog.  is getting acupuncture.  every week.  Some things just boggle my mind.  But I am with them on this one - I would probably do just about anything to help make his day just a little bit better.  To make me feel a little bit better, here are some photos through the years.

Trying to blend in with the rug.
This is their first birthday.  Not a fan of the Pretty Pretty Princess crown, apparently - probably about as much a fan as Natasha is of being picked up, in the background.
At about 6 months
He could not possibly be more pleased with himself.

Particularly unfortunate grooming....

This is their "romantic on the beach" look.
Lookin' good.
 At the cottage, for onece not lying in Grandma's flower beds.  Lying in flower beds is Boris' specialty.

not of Boris, but I couldn't resist.  How cute is she?

At his favorite place in the world - my parent's property in Ontario, apart from possibly behind "his" chair in our living room.

 how much I love this animal.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Welcome to the 21st century...

I have added labels!  I am slowly getting up to speed on how this blog thing works....

Now if only my most dedicated reader wasn't my mom, we could call this real success :)

They should call it kicks-your-butt-boxing class.

Fighting Fit class yesterday was awesome.  Hard work?  yes.  Lots of fun?  sometimes.  Made me reminisce of my childhood and Jump Rope for Heart? wow yes.

I can tell this class is going to be just the thing.  And also that tomorrow my muscles may be sore to the point that I am unable to move (which is a real shame, since I have class again tomorrow.)

But in a weirdly masochistic way...I love it*.

AND I clearly need some new sportswear.  And as I embarrassingly announced to the class yesterday - probably also some new socks.

Like perhaps these bad-ass kindof pants from Puma.  I have a not-so-secret love of Puma.
and also this bag.  Hello!

Speaking of which, did you know Alexander McQueen did a collaboration with Puma?  I sure didn't, but I want this now:
Perhaps this shirt will make me stick-thin as well?

Brandon says I can get some new duds at Marshall's this weekend.  Yay! :)

*Just like I loved spinning.  Which lasted for a whole month before I fell off that bike, never to get back on.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Lazy Saturday with the loves of my life

My babies.  I actually said this once at my summer job a few years ago, as a barista at the Border's Cafe, and one of the customers mistakenly thought I meant actual babies.  I have always found that funny.

But I digress.  My babies.

First, some from Christmas because I can't resist.

This is my practicing-for-scolding children face.  Complete with motion-blurred waving finger.

Natasha goes for my chai latte mix.  Which I clearly don't need, testified to by the double chin in this photo.

First year in a while that the big boy has been able to get under the tree.  He noticed immediately, and took advantage.

And my companion while I was printing Saturday:

How does he fit himself into these little spaces?

Such gooey brown eyes

Love the tiny little tongue sticking out

And in this one!

Look at her working the camera.

Its a good life.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

The letterpress actually works!

fresh off the press!

Save-the-dates are printed!!  And I think they look pretty flashy :)

And because I said I would, here is how I did it, step by step, on my homemade diy letterpress.

1.  Build the letterpress.  Or in this case, ask your dad to build you the press for Christmas.  We used this plan:  This guy really knows his stuff.  We built it exactly as he lays out - email me if you have questions.  We bought all the materials that we needed at the Home Depot, except the tire jack which we ordered from Amazon.

2.  Buy the rest of your supplies.  I bought my paper and envelopes from  (I used Lettra paper and envelopes, in Pearl.  It is just barely ivory.)  Then I bought my ink and the brayer (roller) from Dick Blick - I used the Caligo Safe Wash ink, and it worked great, with easy cleanup.  I went with Prussian Blue, and nice dark navy I used to use for sky wash in my watercolouring days, and applied it straight with no mixing colours, or extenders, etc.  I am sure it could have worked better if I knew anything about printmaking, but I think I did OK with my limited resources.  I used the Speedball soft rubber brayer, and when I do the invitations, I will buy a wider one.  If possible, buy one wide enough to easily cover all sides of your plate in one roll.

Hi Mom!

3.  Oh yeah, design your invites.  I did mine on a combo of AutoCAD for the drafting, and Illustrator for the text and refinement.  You could easily use Photoshop as long as you rasterize all your text layers.  Basically, you need to work to the specs of the company you use to make your plate.  My invites are inspired by the architectural details of the Carnegie, where we are having the wedding, because I think it is just an amazing and intricate building.  I am obsessed with the lantern hanging in the portico:  thus the save the date motif.

4.  Which brings me to my next step: order your plates.  I worked with the extraordinarily helpful people (mostly Phillip) of Elum Designs.  They had a chat with me before I submitted the design, and then when I sent the file and it wasn't 100% right, they let me know and explained how I should fix it, and didn't just charge me their fee to fix it themselves.  The plate I ordered was a photopolymer deep relief plate (nicer for hand-presses bc the press isn't as firm, and added bonus:  it is harder to get ink in the void areas of your plate where you dont want it.).

From left:  my ink rolling sheet with the brayer and palette knife, a toothbrush I used to clean areas of fine detail on the print, and my printing board with my plate stuck to it, which I slid in and out of the press.  The white thing in the far right corner is a pad of wool felting, which you place between the paper and the press platen.
5.  Ink away.  First, set yourself up for printing by acquiring a board on which to roll out the ink.  I used the other half of the acrylic sheet that I used as a sliding board.  Take your palette knife (if you didn't have one already, then buy one from Dick Blick back in step 2.) and scoop some of the ink out onto the board.  Work it around a little with the knife, trying to break up any lumpby bits, and generally to make it slightly more workable.  Printing ink is STICKY.  Then start to work it onto your roller - roll back and forth in various directions to get as even a coating on your roller as possible.  


6.  Apply the ink to your plate by rolling back and forth in light coats.  Sometimes I put too much ink on the roller and I got some interesting spatter in the void space of my plate.  I cleaned this up using a corner of a sponge and a bowl of warm soapy water.  Once you plate is coated, you place a sheet or paper onto the plate , hopefully smudging it as little as possible.  One of the upsides of the goopiness of the ink is that is doesn't get onto anything that touches it unless you encourage it to, so you can actually lay the paper on top and take it off again, and may not have any ink transfer to the paper at all unless you pressed it in between.

7.  Lay the felt pad on top of the paper and plate, and slide the whole assembly into the press.  I put a back stop board on the press so that I would know that I was sliding it in the same depth every time, and then marker a black line on the clear plexi to align in the center left to right. (This is mostly just to encourage the pressure across the plate to be as even as possible.)

8.  Crank the press.  I tried to lift the press up in between sheets as little as possible, so that pressing it down again didn't take forever.  Because you would think a tire jack would be overpowering when used on a press versus a car - turns out, it always moves at the same speed, no matter how much it's lifting.  It will take you a few tries to get the right amount of pressure on the plate - the first couple of times, I didn't apply enough force.  You also have to do it by feel every time, since there isn't a good method of vertical alignment on this press, but I never used too much pressure.  Use common sense.  Then once you have pressed your paper, release the jack by turning the screw on the front just a little...if you turn it too much, you will leak the fluid that it relies on to work.  Plus, you really don't want the press to come up any higher than it needs to take the printing board in and out.  Take the printing board out, take the felt off, and carefully flip the paper off the printing plate (doing this not carefully will smudge the ink somewhere.)  Set the print aside to dry, for at least one hour.

9.  Lather, rinse, and repeat.  I made about 70 of them, and it took me all day Saturday to press them, let them dry, and cut them down.  I don't think thats too bad.  Not counting the cost of the press (which would be around $75 for materials)  I spent roughly $200: $135 on enough (100% cotton) paper and envelopes I need for the save the dates, the actual invitations, and thank you notes.  $25 on ink and the roller I will use for the rest of the invitations as well, and $45 on the plate for the save the date. I will spend approx another $70 for the plate to press the invite and thank you card, and then the RSVP and enclosure cards will be printed digitally on the same luscious paper.  

I am happy.  Not the cheapest thing I could have done for sure, but I have nice invitations and the ink on my hands to prove I made them myself.  And the highest compliment?  Lisa walked in while I was printing them, and says:  "So I am going to pay you to do my own wedding invitations, right?"  "Right."

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Hello lover


Enough said.

look at that lovely pasty leg...

Ooh la la!

Check out this fox.  If only I look this good when I am getting ready to host my own daughter's wedding!

So, not your average mother-of-the-bride dress?  I think shes rocking it.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

So ready for September!

We walked by the venue last night on our way home, and I was so excited!

Here's to 2011, and to the longest 9 months of my life, I predict.

I am a home-improvement genius [and humble, too.]

Bathroom makeover - the (final) reveal! [so far.]
 I have a not-so-secret weakness for HGTV.  This is one of the many reasons that it kills me that we will not own a house for 5 or so years - I would really love to be able to do things like this on my own space.  But its probably not a good thing, given the whole, planning a wedding and taking on too many DIY projects in the process thing.  More on that later this week.

So my parents master bathroom looked like this in 2005:

Oh yes, that is some lovely wallpaper.  But you should have seen the lime green paint that was there when we moved in!
 My parents took a weekend trip for their 25th wedding anniversary, and when they came back, the bathroom looked like this (after about 30 straight hours of backbreaking labor):

Lovely floral arrangement provided by my equally lovely grandparents.  This was one of the first projects Brandon and I worked on together (my sister helped too, but we got her really sick with food poisoning [by accident!], and after that her helpfulness was limited by the fact that she couldn't move too much.  But I digress.)
My mom really loved the oil-rubbed bronze towel bars we put up, and immediately thought it would be nice to replace the faucets (which it was, they look great.)  But it looked weird that the melamine cabinets and the counters were still white, when the rest of the room looked so (reasonably) updated.  So, over my Christmas liberal leave week - voila!

And now, finally:  the bathroom today.
I am pretty pleased, and I know my mom is, which makes all the difference.  Theres a limit to what you can do when what you're starting with is poorly aligned melamine.  So, my work is done - until next week, when I start on the invitations.  Stay tuned, there is likely to be drama.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Apparently I have some griping to do

Just a little teaser
Every so often I have this feeling of vague disquiet, that something is wrong that I should be able to put my finger on but just can't.  Last night this feeling started up, and it still hasn't gone away, and I am wondering what it is that my subconscious thinks I should be angsty over.

I did have a dream last night that one of my best friends from middle school/high school, who I haven't spoken to (sadly) since high school, met me in some shop, and told me my skin was red and blotchy.  In the dream I responded, "but nowadays its always red and blotchy."  Should this make me concerned?

I know one of the reasons I am a bit nervous - just signed up for a fitness class, and I feel like it could easily mean I will be sore for the whole month of February.  But my sister will be there to tell me if I am being a real wimp, so that's encouraging.  Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to make sure I don't cheat on exercising.

I also (finally) submitted the design for the save the dates to have the letterpress plate made.  I am still hopeful that my homemade one will work - you can be sure there will be at least one if not several posts on that subject, once I have the supplies to give it a try.

On A Practical Wedding today there was a wedding grad post about a woman who clearly knew what she was doing, I mean her style was so spot-on, so unique - it was one of those weddings I aspire to have design-wise (except in my style, and not hers, if that makes any sense.)  And yet this woman admitted to having some serious second and third guessing about her decisions and I wonder - is that why I feel slightly uneasy?  Because slowly but surely, after 12 months of engagement, the decisions are starting to trickle in. 

I have actually committed to a save the date design, and I have been rejecting stationary designs since about February of last year.  Although in a way I have not committed, as I haven't sent them yet.  But still.  The fact that I am starting to buy things, that I have signed all the major contracts... maybe this is why the self-doubt.

God I can't wait to just get married and be done.  Fast forward button please?

Sunday, 2 January 2011


More shoes!!!

Just ordered these, on sale :)  So pretty!

Butter Skinny Peep Toe Pump


 Brandon is sitting behind me, shaking his head...but then asked, if I get new shoes for the wedding, does that mean he gets "fancy new boots?"

I think I win.