Monday, March 29, 2010

Fracking Blight!

It's one thing to have to deal with little aphids on your plants but mealybugs (not related to mealworms) constitute a true blight!  These tiny little bugs have a hard exoskeleton that makes them relatively impossible to kill when they go after your indoor plants.  They nibble along areas where leaves and stems connect along with along the stems/leaves themselves essentially cutting the extremities of the plant off from it's nutrients and water.

Outdoors, the solution is to release ladybugs that will each eat about 100 mealybugs a day...  Woot!  But indoors, you either have to resort to horticultural chemicals or detergents that can kill your plants as well.  You can also use things such as rubbing alcohol to clean the leaves and stems of your plants in a mild infection.  However by the time you notice the bugs, it usually is due to your plant dropping leaves and noticing white fuzzy patches on the leaves and stems.  This fuzzy white sap is secreted by the bug to protect itself and in the case of female bugs, it can contain their offspring.  At this point, the plant has usually been coated by the bugs and the only way to save the plant is to take a clipping that is uninfected and try to root it.  And it should be noted that any plant brought in from outside can be infected with these nasty little beasts.

So why all this talk about nasty parasitic bugs?  This past weekend I found that one of my favorite plants that I got last year was infected (see all photos above).  Sadly, just a week prior I was going to start trimming the dead bits off and had not noticed the bug at all.  You might say, well maybe you didn't notice it bc you didn't know what it looked like.  Sadly no, I know it quite well as it killed two of my other plants last fall and if I would see anything white on a leaf, I would have freaked out as I did saturday.  As with the last time, I had to sacrifice this white and pink geranium to the trash gods after I took a little snipet from it's clean side to try to root.  I just hope that I caught this before any of the gnat like males flew off to kill the rest of my houseplants.

Anybody else ever find an uninvited pest killing off your houseplants in the middle of winter when there should have been no exposure to insects?  What did you do to kill them off?  Or did you just end up having to get rid of the plant?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Band with a Little Message

So while I was playing on etsy, I came across this amazing little store by pocket full of poesy.  Had we not already purchased our bands from Tiffany's, I would have jumped head first into getting one of these.  Not only are they reasonably price, these little beauties are silver bands engraved with famous quotes.  One such quote by Shakespeare is "the more I give to thee, the more I have", which is "Plus tibi do, plus mihi habeo" in latin.

Another that I found just delightful for a wedding band is "i carry your heart, i carry it in my heart".  

And the perfect wedding band would be this...  This picture says a thousand words!

Now while I know an engraved on the outside wedding band is faux pas and very non-traditional, I just love the idea of having a meaningful quote to look at everyday reminding me of why I got married.  Anyone else share my love?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

2010 Census... Do I need a #2 pencil?

From the lost archives...  3/18/2010

We got the US Census in the mail today!  I'm excited!  Does that make me an uber nerd?  Who knows...

I ripped it open out of excitement after making note of the "response is required by law" posted on the envelope.

After leafing through it briefly, I realized it is a really simple brief survey that should take less than 10 minutes to fill out... exactly as the commercial we saw a few days ago said.  And it doesn't require a pencil!  Double Woot!

Now just to find my blue or black pen to fill it out!  Anyone else excited to fill out their Census?

The haphazard type

Despite being in science, which would suggest awesome organizational skills, I seem to be quite haphazard.  This can work Ok when doing the same experiments over and over again...  But when planning a wedding, haphazard = evil!  It also wrecks plans that I try to make in the evenings...  For instance last night I had planned to possibly do a blog title on some rectangular watercolor paper I bought last year.  I also wanted to make some cute little watercolor images to use as buttons for my site, twitter, etc.  Then I was to work on the wedding text and get it pretty much finished.  Unfortunately my haphazard ways and the adventures of one of our 4 kitties got in the way.

I was first distracted by deliveries...  I just received a box from french paper and that just called to be opened.

Then I had to go about organizing all the wedding paper...  all the wedding paper!

Following the paper, I tore into the box of Calligraphy goods that I ordered from Emilie Friday.    I was extremely excited to find all the goodies that she had sent... esp since it was my early B-day present to myself.

I subsequently decided to sit down and set forth to organizing a bit of my wedding ideas.  A year ago, I received "the Bride's Essential Wedding Planner" from two of my classmates but have not used it yet!  I had been using various other notebooks along with ideas bouncing about within my skull but decided that it was best to blow the dust off this little gem and set it to use.

It obviously had sat a while as there was a literal furball inside!  Now while it has a lot of lists for vendors for all aspects of the wedding that I may not need right now, there are some areas where i haven't started to delve into yet.  It's got all tabs for all the different parts of the big day.  And there's even a little plastic pocket sheet in the front for collected business cards.  Luckily, I also found coupons for David's Bridal that expire at the end of the month.  I'm going to gather the maids next week to ensure that they get to use the $20 off coupon.  What a find!  Unfortunately my desire to start filling in the binder was interrupted by a kitty.

Somehow she found her way to the top of our kitchen cabinets and I had to get her down without her spazing and knocking all the wine bottles down.  Sadly none of my original art or wedding goals were met.  =(

Did your haphazard ways ever get in the way of keeping on task with goals?  Have they also led to you finding something that you really would have been peeved to find late?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


While sketching up my first drafts of sunflowers for the invites, I mentioned to future hubby that I wanted to go to one of the larger grocery stores to get some fresh sunflowers (if they had any as they are out of season).  Being that some of my first drawings looked more like poinsettias rather than sunflowers, I wanted to know all the dimensions...  the shape of the petals, the ratios of petal to pollen, the diameters of the petals in comparison to the dark ring interiors.  I got a look from Josh and a joking comment of being one of those...   I didn't know what he meant... one of those?  He explained, for being an artistic person you shouldn't need to see something to draw it.  You create from within and make it your own...  "One of those" are those people who need to see something to draw it.  I cut back with the fact that I am a Scientist and I want accurate sunflower depictions on my invites.  And to do accurate, I need to have examples.  If I were doing the depictions for an anatomy book, I'd have a dead body cut open in front of me to see how all the vessels and tissues interconnected.... same goes for the flowers.  He smiled and laughed agreeing to take me to the larger grocery store to find some flowery goodness.

We picked up the flowers prior to our letterpress class on sunday but despite wanting to knock out the drawings that day, I was tired, hungry and not inspired.  So in order to not let the sunflowers go to waste, I decided to photograph all aspects of said flowers for later reference...just in case I didn't get to analyze their dimensions before they wilted.

There's just something about a bright yellow sunflower that makes me smile!

The petals and the green stalks just scream a resemblance to a fiery sun....

You can't beat the contrasting yellow and brown loveliness.

Still looking good, 4 days after coming home from the store!  =)

Anybody else go out and pick up some fresh flowers to inspire your invitation design?  Or did you scour the web for inspiration photos of your flowers?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Camera Bag with a Bit of Class

Originally when Josh got my camera, there became the issue of me not wanting to break it but also not wanting to carry the camera bag around.  It wasn't that I didn't want the camera protected but I didn't want to scream "Hey, I'm carrying around a DSLR!  Come mug me!"  Within the last year, I did find a neoprene sleeve made by canon and now can carry my camera in any bag I want.  It offers it enough protection for a safe little journey but not a huge adventure.

Then a couple weeks back I found these amazing camera bags masquerading around as purses... stylish purses none the less.  These bags are made by Epiphanie and are wonderful little totes.  They have all the pockets and padding you could want for your camera but look like a tote.  The pockets feature velcro to adjust to any size inside... just like any camera bag.  The insides are light and bright so that you don't loose your SD cards and the outsides are made of durable faux leather.  What more could you want?  I know if I were planning/paying for my wedding, I would run out and snag one today!

Anyone else as thrilled as I am about these?

Fairwell Old Frosty Friend!

Last week, we are saying goodbye to a fridge that has been in the lab as long as I have.

Mind you, it was a hand-me-down that wasn't expected to last long but it served us well for the last 7 yrs.  Yes it did have it's "crap the bed" moments such as the magnetic strip on the door sliding out of the plastic insulation.  Or the fact that the drip pipe for the fan/condenser corroded to the point that we had to break it off and put a gel destaining tray in to catch the water.  But it served us well by keeping our DNA cool...  I suppose I'm more sad to see it go because now I wonder, have I been here too long as well...  =)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carrots in my lip gloss?

While stopping by the market district Giant Eagle I ran across the most fascinating line of products.  It's called Yes to Carrots and contains antioxidants from orange fruits and veggies along with dead sea minerals.  The products range from lip gloss to shampoos and conditioners.

I bought the berry flavored gloss as Josh made a frownie face/lip quiver when I showed him the carrot flavored one.  It tastes like ordinary lip gloss but I just love it's from carrots!  Well, along with orange fruits and veggies such as Pumpkin, Orange, Melon, etc.  What an ingenious idea!  I want to try the hair products next.  =)  Anyone ever find a rather unique product that sounds like a bit of a gamble but end up delighted with it afterwards?

Monday, March 22, 2010

An adventure in Letterpress-land

On Sunday we went to Sapling Press for our letterpress class.  Sapling Press is a local letterpress studio owned and operated by Lisa Krowinski.  She absolutely loves letterpress and has a wealth of experience to pass along.  And we were happy to be educated.  We learned how to letterpress by the age old classic of "setting type" and by photopolymer plates to make our own unique business cards.  For the business cards, we used a lettra (I think) paper and for the "setting type" quote we used plantable paper.  The plantable paper is made by Porridge Papers in Nebraska.  This stuff is really cool as we used the wildflower mix that contains actual wildflower seeds.  If you wet the paper and place it in some soil, it's supposed to actually grow flowers!  Needless to say, I saved every scrap of that paper to plant in my flower garden.  Now to all the details of our adventure...

(I brought sunflowers with me as I bought a bunch for wedding inspiration)
(This is Lisa's awesome vase, she got from one of her past letterpress apprentices)

Josh set his plate up first.  He wanted to do a two color print and setup sections of color on the rollers to get a variety.

His finished product looks like this...  well flipped around and the cut into fours of course!  =)

While Josh was cranking off his 200 cards, I began to set my type.  Yet I failed to document it...  =(  But here is what my end product looked like.  A quote by Albert Einstein.

Then while Josh set his type...I cranked off my cards in a dark brown!  He had a far shorter text to set so he documented me.  Apparently I make some terrible faces while concentrating.  =)

Unlike Josh, I didn't sit down and make a huge intense design as I should have.  Instead I decided to use some neat fonts and would stamp another color at a later time.  The stamps are still to come as I need to test the ability of the paper to absorb stamp ink.  I'm hoping it won't bleed much.  =)

Oh and here is Josh's finished quote!

All and all we had a great day bonding among the letterpress.  Lisa is such a sweety too!  We're looking forward to working in her studio on the final touches of our wedding invites... (cutting the inserts with one of her die cutters for the windmill press and using her massive guillotine cutter to cut the invites to size)  I'm looking forward to more artsy adventures with the future hubby.  Does anyone else find themselves wanting to do little classes with their mate as a way to bond and share a new experience?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The rings!!!

While I love the creativity boost I get from drinking Espresso, it's evil... pure Evil!  I become as I describe it, a pixi on crack.  Jumping from one idea to the next, full of inspiration and desire to do EVERYTHING!  Today is one such day where it's near to 4pm and all I've had for sustenance today was a short white mocha (espresso crack) and 5 Oreos.  I'm bouncy and have about 3 different blog entries in mind to write ranging from our wedding bands to today's (Totally Amazing) adventure at Sapling Press.  But to keep things simple and organized, I will go in order and work my way from there.   So here we go...

On Friday, I got a call from Tiffany's saying our wedding bands were back from engraving and ready for pick up.  My first thought was "Our engraved Tiffany's rings are in! Even though I'm still sick and look like poo, I so want to pick them up NOW!"  But I had to wait until Saturday for the trip up to Ross Park Mall.  Despite being overly excited to have the bands, I waited eagerly before opening the little blue boxes.  See by nature, I LOVE to take pictures and wanted to document the bands.  But I didn't want to just take the pictures anywhere, I wanted to take them in a Arsenal Park.  So I waited a few hours for Josh to be home and we walked over to the park... ventured away from all the kids enjoying the playgrounds and basketball courts.  We ended up in the tennis courts.  Sadly two of the courts lack nets and the entire area has yet to be swept off (If I decide I want to play sometime, I'll have to bring a broom).  

But to the ring shots!  I sure had fun playing with the evening light and shaddows...  then had a ball trying to sketch out some sunflowers.

The Tiff's Bag and little blue boxes... Excitement!  


Show me a lil Bag

Our Inscription... "I just ♡ you" on our Frank Gehry Torque rings


My love

Sunflower sketches

***Update...  So while writing this yesterday, lack of food and too much coffee led to me just ranting about the ring excitement without much reason.  Coffee does that to me, I get all to doing but not thinking.  =)  As most brides, the normal excitement for the Jewelry is true but it's also much more than that and the blue Tiff's box.  Wedding plans up to now have just been plans...  I had the dress and we were working on starting the invites but despite being 6 months away, they were just plans.  And plans of course, can be changed.  But getting the rings, engraved rings, means no going back.  Plain rings can be returned, engraved rings are ours forever.  So the excitement and possibly a bit of apprehension for the rings is because of their meaning that this wedding is gonna happen now for sure.  Much more apprehension has also been added as I realized that I need to get off my ass in the planning process but that's ok.  Oh and to clarify the whole sunflower doodle, I wanted to go to the park and start the designing of the sunflowers for the gocco.  There's something about a park in warm afternoon sunlight that just makes it nice to draw in.

Do all brides find a thrill of excitement but slight apprehension when the wedding rings come in?  Or is it that they get the bands so late in the process, that it's just one more planning step?

Lucky edibles growing from paper!

Amazing plantable paper from Porridge Papers!  You can actually wet the paper put it in soil and watch the pretty things grow.  How so?  Their plantable papers contain seeds!  How awesome is that?  =)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Every Bride Needs Some Eyelets

As I began my quest to design our own wedding invites, I decided it would be cute to gocco a bunch of sunflowers tied with a bow on the front. Then I decided it would be even sweeter if the bow around the flowers was a real ribbon. The bow would serve both form and function! Well, it lacked heavily in the function part. While it held my two sheets together without the need of glue, it failed to hold them firmly. So when the invite it held upright, gravity takes the top page and swings it down at an angle. FAIL!

Now not wanting to have to toss my bow idea away or have to determine the best glue to use from my glue box, I decided to try a variation of the ribbon. As bridal bouquets are not simply tied once around the middle but the ribbon wraps several times, I could make my ribbon zig zag down the paper where the stems will be.  This did have great function as it held the paper tightly together but it was totally lacking in beautiful form.  The bow only covers the holes at the top of the zig zag leaving the ones near the bottom to look less than ideal.  Even if the ribbon was laced loosely, you could still see through the invite and it looked more like a 3rd grade project than a formal invitation.  FAIL #2!

So I kicked around ideas of what to do for the next few days after that...  I could just glue the top sheet to the bottom but then that completely takes away my desire to layer reception info under the wedding info.    I could glue the edges under where the bow will sit but I had decided originally that I didn't want to glue the invites.  With 150-200 needing to be made, that would be a lot of drying time if there were glue sticks involved or a lot of glue tape packs to be bought (the alternative/more costly/faster route I would choose).  Then while digging through my basket of wind-catcher materials I found copper eyelets I bought a month prior from Wildcard with the purpose of using them in a bookmark project that was put aside for wedding tasks.  At this point I had nothing to loose and decided that maybe a hammered on eyelet can hold my sheets in place.

What do you know, it actually worked!  All it took were two eyelets in the holes for the ribbon.  And banging some eyelets in place with a hammer will surely serve as a great stress reducer too!  So I took to ordering just a few anodized ones!

I think every bride needs some eyelets to hammer away at, don't you?
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