Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free CSA Images

Here's a neat little piece of information you all might find wonderful.

A paper company by the name of French Paper has a stock pile of graphics that are downloadable for free!  Woot!  There are only a few catches for their use...

1. They must be printed on French Paper's paper.  including reprints
2.  Max download # - 10 per day, 300 per year
3.  Must give image credit
4.  To see their full list of requirements visit here and click on restrictions apply or to check out extended uses visit the CSA image site at

I wish I had really investigated their site when I went about buying the paper for our wedding invites as I would have most certainly grabbed some of their ornaments and borders for use in my design.  For any of you brides out there still looking to design your invites, take a peak.  For our invites, I bought all my ivory colored paper ( I believe they calls theirs Whip Cream) from French.  It's a great paper weight paper that cuts and punches well.  And they have tons of colors and styles along with some really cool retro styled posters and artwork for sale.  Plus they are family based paper company in the USA.  =)

So if you have any extra paper kicking around or you need to order some acid free amazing paper (their prices are not bad at all for paper if you're a crafter and can easily use of a ream of 500) check them out French paper here at  And their image download here at

Anyone else find some totally kickass free images that would be perfect on wedding invites from places you didn't expect?


Just watched this really cute movie called TiMER.  The star happens to be the actress (Emma Caulfield) who played the role of Anya in the Buffy the Vampire tv series.  That's how I was originally drawn to this independent film.  Then I read the synopsis and knew I had to see it.

Basically the idea is this...  Science has advanced so that you can get an timer implant that tells you when you will meet your soulmate.  If your mate has a timer then it displays the time you will meet.  And when you meet it dings and beeps and all that jazz...  Now I won't spoil the details of the movie for any of you as it's really cute and it's stream-able via netflix.  I'd recommend checking it out even though the ending wasn't what I wanted it to be.  But the question I pose is this...  Do you want to know if who you've married, plan to marry or are dating is your soul mate?  If you had a guaranteed way to know, would you want to?

Loaded question, right?

Future hubs watched the movie with me, thought it was cute too and asked me that.  In my stressed mood and disappointed by the ending I teared up then tried to hide my dripping eyes in his shirt...  At which point he asked me if I was wiping my watering eyes in his shirt.  I grinned and nodded still dripping from the eyes.  Then I attempted to answer his question.

The internal monologue I was compiling throughout the movie to myself... before his question... was this....  If such a device existed, I don't believe I would ever want to conform to getting one...  I would be too afraid of what it would or would not tell me.  For instance, seeing that I believe I found my one...  I'd be afraid that if he wasn't my perfect match that getting such a timer would destroy a good thing.  It's like wondering how compatible you and your mate are...thinking that wouldn't it be cool if you both took one of those eHarmony tests and it confirmed what you already knew.  But what if that test didn't confirm?  Where there were no doubts before are now doubts that undermine your relationship.  I see that could also occur with such a timer.  

Scientifically speaking if you think that in this whole wide world, there is just 1 person for another... only 1 soulmate.  How do you know that who you've fallen in love with is the one.  The one could be a guy from a completely different country that you haven't or never will meet as you both will never cross paths.  The idea of finding that 1 in billions seems very unlikely.  So technically you find someone who closely complements you and you grow on each other.  That's what getting old with someone is about.  You're a close match but have your differences and imperfections that make you both unique.  You never truly find someone who is completely your match in every single way.  In the end you grow into being best friends and true soulmates.  Where at first it's just puppy love, affection or raw animal attraction.  No one couple fits perfectly.  It's how you handle life together that truly bonds you.

And yes...  a loaded answer from a bride just 2 months, 2 weeks and 4 days from her wedding day.  See to my heart I've found the one for me...  I like the idea of love being blind.  Not needing to know the scientific facts of things.  Just feeling it's right.  Maybe it's driven by fear or maybe it's driven by the fact that science is constantly changing.

In the end with the lack of happy movie ending getting to me, (Indie movie... go figure no happy ending for indie romantic comedy) I could only say that I wouldn't get one...  I wouldn't want to know one way or another.  Hubs laughed and said he thought it'd be neat... to prove what we already knew.  But understood that the scientist in me would be afraid that it would be so precise that it would basically do what happened in the movie.  Who my heart wanted I wouldn't get.  I wouldn't have my happy ending.  He knows me so well... even if he hasn't been guaranteed by a TiMER, he's my soulmate.

So would you get a TiMER?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick and Dirty Blog Title

Yesterday afternoon I decided that I should finally get around to changing my blog title to a cute image.  As I didn't have the time to sit down and do a cool watercolor...  the next best thing was a photo.  So I grabbed an image of the 85 gagillian tags I made for the wedding invites and went from there.

The original Image...

I then rotated the image and trimmed to the layout I wanted using the crop function in my mac's preview program.  I also resized the image so it was 15 inches across by the automatic proportion down.  And I tweaked the colors and brightness to make the image and shadows pop more.

From there I opened the image in photoshop as the mac's preview tool wouldn't allow me to put text on.  (Note... I could have done all the previous steps in photoshop but was too lazy at first)  I used the text tool to add my header title in the typeface Trajan Pro and I changed it's color from the standard black to a nice green.

In total it took me a minute to take the photo and then another 15-20 to make the image right.  Not bad for a quick and dirty DIY banner.  ;)

Anyone else make a quick and dirty header for their blog?

It's that time of year again!

Starbucks is doing their treat receipts...  Basically if you make a purchase before 2pm (buy anything... sweets, coffee... anything), at the bottom of your receipt is this.

Go back after 2pm with your receipt and then you can get any cold grande drink for $2...  That's around half off depending on what you buy!  How cool is that?  I'm going to be over-caffeinated again this summer!  Woot!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lining loveliness

The other day I decided to do some more craft punching...  This time I got down to punching the chocolate envelope liners.  Our envelopes are a pretty metallic gold stardream paper so when I had to choose a liner, I decided on the stardream bronze (looks more chocolate brown than bronze but Ok...) that we used in our wedding suite.

As for the punch... it was a toss up between the corner flower punch we used for the invite corners and this other really awesome sunflower punch that I had yet to use.  I tested both and loved the look of the sunflower punch.

There was only 1 problem.  It was a royal pain to line up properly so the sunflower was dead center.  This led to about 1/3 of the liners being punched off center and looking like doookie!  Now I could have just ran with that because how many people will seriously look at the envelope liner.  But I'm a perfectionist and couldn't have my envelopes looking below my standards so I played around with the punch to get this solution...  Add more punches to the off centers making it look planned.

In the end, I've come to love the off center line of 3 sunflowers more so than the centered ones.  But as my punch was starting to jam (either needs sharpened or the spring is busting) and I didn't want to break my hand punching 3x what I originally intended, I stopped with what I had.  This means 1/3rd of our guests will get the crazy 3 and the other 2/3rd will get the sophisticated single.

Anyone else go with the look of punched silhouettes in their wedding envelope liners?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Retro Lovely

A few weeks back, Stacey from Atomic Cheesecake Studios let me know that one of the photos from my shoot was chosen to run in Retro Lovely's second issue that will be in print at the end of June.  [I was so excited...  excited to the point of not wanting to work that day.  =)]  Retro Lovely is a new magazine showcasing classy pin-up style photography.  It's not just one artist, one photographer or one style of pin-up...  It's a collaboration of styles (cheesecake, burlesque, atomic, deco, cabaret, etc) by a multitude of photographers (the pin-up syndicate) creating a work that wows as it did back in the era of Elvgren.  It's seductive but not raunchy...  It reminds you of times past when to be sexy was just the act of showing a little leg rather than being nude.  It takes you back to a time when curves were sexy and desired.  The models in this publication range from professional pin-up artists to that of the ordinary girl.  Stacey in particular focuses her services towards the ordinary mother, daughter, wife who wants to be transformed for a day into a vixen of the 40's pin-up.

So I'm sure you're all wondering how I came around to getting Pin-up photos taken...

Well...  Josh and I ventured out to Baltimore last fall to get some retro pin-up photos for his 30th birthday.  When I originally planned to do the cheesecake session, it was to be a surprise.  Not for his birthday but for his redeployment to Iraq.  This way he could have some well done, classy, girly posters to stare at on his hooch wall instead of some raunchy rag pin-up.  ;)  Luckily for him and I, his medical discharge for his TBI (traumatic brain injury) came through before deployment.  So instead the photos became a birthday gift.

I knew I would enjoy the shoot but it turned out that Josh was far more excited than I.  Stacey will agree.  (If any of you are considering such a shoot...  and are planning on visiting Atomic Cheesecake.  Be sure to bring the Mr.  as his jaw will drop to the floor when he sees you transformed into a goddess.)  We arrived at her studio early Saturday morning and the first thing she had me do was to choose outfits.  As it was a birthday gift, I passed on the role of decision maker to Josh.  He was in such bliss to watch the outfit changes as stacey pulled out more lingerie, swimsuits and costumes in my size.  And when she mentioned a german beer girl costume, he nearly fell over in excitement.  =)

After playing dress up, Stacey went to work putting hot rollers in my hair... exceptionally healthy hair.  (The more damaged your hair is, the better it holds a curl.)  Luckily for me Stacey is a pro and knew just how to hold my poker straight hair all in place.  As the curls set in place, she began to transform me into a knockout.  I couldn't stop smiling as she painted my face... the more she painted, the bigger my smile got.

Then we got down to the posing and photographs.  I had practiced my pin-up faces at home but poses, as with most ordinary girls, were not my thing.  This didn't matter because Stacey worked miracles in directing me which way to move and position.  She told me exactly when I was slouching, when I needed to pop my chest and where to place my hands.  In doing so, we got so many great shots...  to the point that just about every picture she took was perfect!  And the entire time... Josh's jaw was on the floor.  =)

At the end of the session, she gave us a disk of the raw images to take home.  Our mission was to choose the 9 photos we wanted adjusted (aka... she photoshops out the lights and in the cases where you didn't so something flattering, she can suck in your gut.  lol!).  We left her house in amazement and giddy to view all the pictures.  I kept the rockabilly makeup and hair in place as I loved the barrel curls and how dolled up I looked.  This of course led to many looks while stopping at rest stops and to playing with the camera while having an adventure with cold cream after arriving home.


After such an amazing adventure and now publication of one of my photographs, I have just one question to ask you...  Are you up for a little primping and posing to get your mate a really amazing gift?  

****All photographs marked with the Atomic Cheesecake symbol were taken by Stacey and the others were taken by my hunny.  And as I was one of the first to want to do a sexy scientist, I brought my own lab coat and all the wicked cool antique lab glass.****

Friday, June 25, 2010

When it rains...

It pours drama!  Yep...  drama.  The wedding invite creation process has been on again/off again for the last month due to the chaos that surrounds us.  At first it was my father bringing the crazy with his rants about us having two ceremonies (Which on a side note...  I broke the ice on father's day realizing that if I didn't wish him a happy dad's day, he'd probably be even more irritable.  This time he was rational, not antsy, not crazy and listening.  I also told him what he wanted to hear, even if it doesn't happen that way, as we can't handle him on top of the current circumstances.).  Then it was the two weeks of dealing with basement flooding followed by the mother of all disasters, Josh's grandma being diagnosed as terminally ill.

We should have seen this coming as she's been hospitalized something like 5 times over the last year with heart problems and a stroke the 2 most recent times.  But when she went into the hospital with kidney failure 2 weeks back, it set in that she wasn't doing well at all.  At the hospital she told us that they had to remove one of her kidneys because it just shriveled up and died.  Yes shriveled up and died...  And at that point they didn't know why but suspected that her cancer had returned.  Sure enough, a scan revealed it returned with a vengeance.  She now has bone cancer in a rib and multiple places within her spine.  Due to her age, health, and location of the cancer, there's not much that can be done except for treating the pain.  They plan to start her on chemo this week but at this point, it's like trying to throw a cup of water onto a house fire.  It might buy a little time but won't solve the problem.

But she's not giving up and is determined to get well in order to go home.  The two things that are keeping her going is her husband Joe and our wedding this September.  She says she's just got to hold on until the Wedding.  And when I mentioned the wedding site is wheelchair accessible, she said she will be walking to the wedding.  She's such a spunky old gal!  =)  I only hope that she turns the corner and is healthy enough to come.  I'm not sure how long the doctors have given her to live or if they even know how aggressive the cancer is.  Josh has been told it's really aggressive but if she's had not bone scans recently then it could have been brewing for some time.

Either way watching his grandma's health decline is getting to him.  He's been hiding it well but then again he hides his daily headaches well unless they are extreme.  He does this to not make me more anxious even though I would rather know when he's down so I can attempt to lighten his spirits before it gets worse.  But in this case, I'm unsure of how to comfort him.  The scientific me wants to rationalize things and say that we are lucky that she's still around now considering all the times we could have lost her if she hadn't gotten to the hospital soon enough over the last year.  I tell him to make her as happy as he can given that the outcome isn't well, but I don't have any great words of wisdom or ways to make it hurt less.  And even though I don't know his grandma well, her circumstances are getting to me too.  The first weekend we visited, she seemed peppy and energetic to certainly bounce back for the wedding.  But during the last visit she was worn out and very tired.  After the simple act of eating dinner, she looked as though the effort she used to eat had tired her to the point of passing.

It's sad as she's got a fighting spirit but her body is giving up on her.  Part of me is wondering if we shouldn't plan the city hall wedding sooner so that she can see it before she gets too weak.  But the other part of me is wondering if we do have a ceremony sooner, will she just give up after that...  I'm just glad that Josh is out of the Army and can spend as much time as possible at the hospital.  Had he still been active duty under the same 1st sergeant as he had last year, I doubt they would have let him leave.  At least she refused to let him take leave when I had my appendectomy last June and really needed someone helping me the first few days while I was drugged up and unable to walk well.

How does a new couple planning for the future deal with such a hurdle before their wedding?  I just hope this stress and pain doesn't hurt our newly budding relationship...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Pretty Posy

The other day I ran across "The I Do Dress" on Modcloth.  Yes, Modcloth now has a wedding dress.... (Well not quite has yet as it's still in production) And it is a gem!

It's a handmade, hand sewn dress by Amai Unmei!  Made with tulle and silk and deep orange rose petals, it's down right adorable.  Your eyes do not deceive you... the rose petals are sew in and bouncing free as well.

The Back is fabulously vintage with the beautiful bow!


Just look at these wonderful details!

And it's just stunning on this model!  (She has my fair skin so it would be fab on me...)

The only catch is the price tag...  $895.  I know it's not that ridiculous of a price but my big silk wedding dress from David's Bridal came to that much with all the little extra bits.   And seeing that modcloth usually has inexpensive dresses, I was in a bit of sticker shocked when seeing this price tag.  ;)  Once I considered the fact that it's handmade, the price is totally reasonable.  And had I not already bought my dress or had a boatload of cash just sitting around... this would so be my wedding dress for our Mellon Park wedding.  It's a combo of my love for vintage and my love of nature bits with a girly flair.  I could just see it...  Petals in the Park!  

Are you drooling over this future modcloth dress as well?  Or am I the only vintage freak out here?  =)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grrr... UPS... Grrr...

A package came yesterday or at least that's what the tracking said when I checked it at 11pm.  But sadly, we received no package.

I ordered this lovely dress from modcloth and they shipped UPS ground.  I thought all was well and good with it's shipping.   Despite this I checked the tracking last night to see where in transit it was.  What do I find but that it says it was delivered... left at the front door at 6:10 pm.  We were out for an hour printing stuff in my lab and getting coffee on the way back so during that hour that it sat on my door someone stole my dress.  Yes... Stole my dress.  (This being that if UPS didn't screw up the delivery and drop it off at a neighbor's house.  I'm going to check the house with our house # on the next street over this evening to make sure it wasn't accidentally delivered to this sweet lady that lives there.)

I called UPS up saying that I never received my delivery even though they say I have.  And they tell me I have to contact the sender to start a formal investigation.  I respond that I'll do that and it's all well and good but I want something put into their system for my address stating that packages are not to be left at the front door.  Why?  Our front door is literally 3 ft from the sidewalk.  That's how city houses are build...right on each other and on the street using maximum amount of space possible.  So when a box is left at our door, anyone can see it from the sidewalk and easily steal it in a passing glance.  What was UPS' response to my request.  "You have to have the sender request signature confirmation for a delivery, we can do that here."  Seriously!  So you mean to tell me every time I order something I need to make sure that they remember to send with signature confirmation.  What about wedding registry gifts that people order online?  Those are going to start pouring in and you mean to tell me that I need to notify everyone and anyone who might possibly send me something that they MUST request signature confirmation.  What if they forget?  Are you going to leave a 3ft box on my porch for some thief to run off with while I'm at school?

So what does all this ranting mean...  We have to do one of two things.  First we either have to rent a P.O. Box for the year around the wedding.  That will run ~$200.  And I don't even know if that includes the fact that most of the deliveries to said box won't fit in it.  Or we have to have all our deliveries sent to my lab address at school.  That would be free.  But despite that, I'm sure we will still get random deliveries to our home address from people who only know that address or think it's nice to send them to our household.  While I love deliveries to my house and surprises on my doorstep, our neighborhood (despite being on the upswing) is in a community that is by far not wealthy.  It's urban and has the chance of crime...  heck crime is even in the better areas of the city... when I lived in the wealthier community of Shadyside we still had things stolen from our porch.  For instance, I left a plastic tote of garden materials on the porch when I first moved there unsupervised for 4 hrs.  Some one raided the tote, toppled everything and stole a can of lilac spray paint.

Anyone else peeved at UPS bc they can't just flag their address in their system as a signature delivery only address?

The punch line...

Just before the 3 month mark...  my baby sis, Meg, came down to help me with the invites.  As I total screwed the pooch on the gocco screen (aka I left blank space for text then changed the design and now have a huge nasty blank space on my screen that will require flashing anew), we decided to corner punch all the corners.

From the infamous Weddingbee Mrs. Penguin's post about DIY invites, I took the advice about getting an easy squeeze punch.  I have several punches that are all thumbs but this new one by Fiskrs had a squeeze handle and the ability to see what you're punching rather than blindly shoving a sheet of paper in.

In doing the corners, I had Meg use the new round corner punch while I did the flower punch as it's more of a pain to line in and it's not so easy peasy on the thumbs (I didn't want my sis to have hand pain for the next week).

It took us about 3 hours but we punched approximately 1,200 corners.  We didn't round every corner as I liked the way doing only the diagonal corners looked against the square cardstock (you'll see during the final reveal).  Maybe it's the art deco in me coming out again but I think it's fab!

Despite saving the need to punch double the amount of corners... my thumbs still hated me that evening and the next day.

Next, we punch the envelope liners then gocco and assemble... aka paste, punch, eyelet, and ribbon!  Then send!  Woot!  I can't wait to say goodbye to these puppies!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


When considering what to have tossed at us after the marriage, we knew of course it wouldn't be rice.  While it would be a fun tradition to continue...we are too eco-geek to use rice and risk killing some poor innocent wildlife.  So we started to look for alternatives.

The first alternative that has become common place is blowing bubbles.

There are tons of cute bubble containers out there...

And it does look quite appealing for photographs.  But to us, using bubbles had a few downfalls.  Besides it seeming over done, future hubs pointed out that all ~200 guests would be blowing directly at us and there was a great chance to have bubble to eye contact.  Also from a friend's wedding that had bubbles, I remember that a few of the containers leaked/cracked and coated the other containers in soapy water.  As we both didn't want to deal with stinging eye pain or soapy messes, bubbles were out.

The next alternative was eco-confetti.  I absolutely loved this alternative.  On the market, you can find a wide variety of confetti that is water soluble and biodegradable.  After the next rainfall, or showing of the garden hose, the confetti will magically be gone.

Additionally, there are also varieties of eco-confetti that contain plantable seeds, often times wildflowers.  After being tossed and biodegrading into the soil, the site where you were married will now grow flowers.  

As seen in Martha from WeddingThings

Sounds like fun... doesn't it?  Sadly while both of these are wonderful solutions to use instead rice, they won't work well for the city park.   As we are marrying in one of the smaller heavy traffic parks, I'm sure the city would not be pleased with piles of confetti laying around until it rains.  We might even find ourselves with a littering fine...  ;)  And seeing as how you can't run a vacuum in a park... there's no real great way to clean it up.  Had we been marrying at a relative's empty field, then we could have easily throw the ecofetti and even possibly used the wildflower mix.  But alas... it's not for us.

At the point where I was about to submit to giving into bubbles or maybe the idea of bird seed, future hubs had a wonderful idea. (Yes, a great way to get the rice effect without bird injury is to substitute a bird seed instead.  The birds can eat the seed without issue and you shouldn't make too much of a mess.)  He asked if we could do a netted butterfly release.  I squealed with delight at the idea as I LOVE butterflies!

But upon looking into costs, I came to realize that we couldn't do a grand butterfly release as to let loose 100 butterflies costs around $4-500.  Yet I did see that we could do something more simple along the lines of a dozen butterflies in a netted box or cage.  After the wedding we could have our guests surround us in the park as we open the box and let 12 beauties fly free!

A local place called Wish upon a Butterfly sells indigenous Painted Lady butterflies at $50 for a dozen.

Monarchs and Black Swallowtails are $85 for a dozen.  I also found some other locations outside of the area but to ensure the butterflies survival and arrival alive, it is better to go local.  An important thing to remember when purchasing butterflies is that you are releasing butterflies native to your state and habitat.  This is so you don't accidentally release an invasive species that will out compete the resident butterflies.  If you go to, they have a listing as to what butterflies are allowed to be purchased for your state and locations to buy the butterflies at.

Anyone else stumble upon butterflies as a wedding ceremony send off and find yourself delighted?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father of the Bride...

Yes this is another daddy post...  And yes... I admit it...  I have daddy issues!  Geez does that sound bad written down.  But it's true I gots me a case of daddy issues.  While going through the faux-Tivo last night to find something I wanted to watch that would not distract Josh from studying (as he decided to study in the living room rather than on one of the other 2 stories we have in the house), I came across an old episode of House.  The DVR had taped it the other month and I never watched it.  So I turned it on and what would it be about but nothing other than something wedding related.

The first scene of course was a father and daughter.  =(  The bride waiting in the hallway before her grand procession down the aisle and her dad walking in joking to her about how the car is all gased up if she decided to get cold feet.  There was a cute little bit of interplay and humor between the two.  The kind you would expect to see between parent and child who have a good loving relationship.  At this point, I realized that I won't get that same interplay on my wedding day.  Whether my dad in the next 3 months decides to walk me down the aisle still is unknown.  I haven't spoken to him in a month or so and I don't want to be the one to break the silence.  I understand his side of things but also don't see why it has to be such a big deal.  =(  I had told him when I first mentioned city hall that he could walk me down the aisle there too.  And his response was that he didn't know if he could come in the middle of the day.  He should be happy about the wedding rather than nit picking every little thing he doesn't like.

Either way it ends up, I've realized there was a bunch of things I either did or considered not doing because of him.  Because of my constant desire to seek his approval.  Because he's family and he ought to love me but has a better relationship with my step-sibs than he does us.  (I love my step sibs but it's true...  he's more fatherly towards them or at least it seems he's less critical around them as they don't find him to be a total grump.)  I had started to consider other food options when he expressed that BBQ would be too messy for a wedding.  As I never planned a wedding before, I didn't want to do something off.  But lets face it, Josh and I love BBQ.  And it's a park setting.  So why not do what we prefer if it will safe us $ and express to our friends and family what we love.  (And we sure do love Mitch's BBQ!)

I also told Josh right from the beginning that we weren't having alcohol at the wedding because I didn't want him acting up.  And by acting up... it's not the drunk show that most people put on when they have alcohol.  There is no falling over goofy drunk.  He just gets more bitter, more cynical, more critical and has an easier tendency to anger.  Most would not recognize it but us kids do.  And I don't want to have him get a tone and make me cry on my wedding day.  For this reason, I decided no booze.

Furthermore it's funny how at times when I should easily call him for advice without thinking, I'll hesitate as calling him will not lead to such advice.  Instead he'll find issues to be critical about.  For instance, had I called him about the flooding and to borrow his shop vac, I would have been faced with hounding criticism before being told I could borrow it.  Such things would include him probably saying "Your landlord should clean it up and not you as you're paying enough in rent for that." or "Why did you move so close to the river... that area floods!" (even though the flooding is due to poor maintenance/drainage on our neighbors property.  That's how he tends to be.  At least if he's had a drink or is already in a fowl mood.

It's sad because all I want and ever have wanted was to have a real daddy.  Someone who would give you the clothes off his back if you needed.  A dad who would never say no to walking his daughter down the aisle.  A dad who is proud of his daughter's past accomplishments and is cheering her on for the next ones.  Someone who sees the good and not the bad.  Instead I have a dad who doesn't seem to care or has a really bad way of going about showing that he does.  A dad who should know that I'm critical enough on myself and don't need more external criticism but doesn't seem to.  It's a darn shame.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, make me a map!

That is until I found out that Mapmakers charge around $60 for a map that we could make on our own.  So about 3 months back I asked future hubs if he'd like to make the wedding map.  He agreed whole heartedly!  Then 3 months came, 3 months went and he started summer school without making the map.  (I blame myself for not nagging him enough as his memory sucks from the TBI and had I hounded him, he would have done it.)  In a panicked flutter to get the invites done before today, the 3 month mark, I set off to make the map on Monday.  (Hubs offered to make it but his time was better spent studying for finals exams).

There are several tutorials that can be found online at Wedding Mapper and even on the Bee (aka Weddingbee) by authors such as Mrs. Spring Roll.  The directions to making such a map are quite simple but depending on the complexity and customization of the map, it can take a good bit of time to make one.

I chose to make a slightly complex hand-traced map with some enlarged areas.  It took me 5 hrs and a lot of cussing at Photoshop but this is what I ended up with!  =)

So how did I make such a map...

1.  Look up Reference Map!
Use a map site such as to look up the directions from the wedding to the reception.  Either right click to save the map provided or use screen print to save the map.

2.  Trace Map
Open saved map in photoshop and create a new layer.  This layer is where you will draw your map.  I chose to use the line tool to make my lines as I'm a photoshop novice and not very good at using the pen tools.  Trace all the major roads near and around the route using thicker lines for the major roadways.  If your map contains major geographical objects such as rivers and lakes, you should trace those as well.

3.  Add Labels and Legend
Add text to label the major roads and symbol typefaces as icons to label your destinations.  Then create a legend to indicate what each symbol means.  And to show you guests which way is north... place a little arrow and an "N" on the map.

4.  Create Enlarged Areas
Follow the steps above except for the legend to create the inserts.

5.  Add a hint of color!
This can include changing the color of the icons, adding a background color to the enlargements and putting a highlight around the path the guests are to follow from the Wedding to the Reception.

For those of you who want to know, I used the following Typefaces in the map.

Legend Title ~ Fontdinerdotcom Sparkly
All remaining text ~ Mona Lisa
Symbols ~ Zapf Dingbats

If anyone is interested in learning what I did in more detail, I can put together an in depth tutorial complete with Photoshop screen shots laying out each step.  It wasn't the most elegant and precise way to make a map but it was effective.  And in the end, I have a beautiful map to show for it!

Anyone else out there find themselves drawn into a wedding task that wasn't expected, found it hell to complete but loved the end results?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wedding Cupcakes

Why cupcakes?

There's a couple reasons for substituting these little delights for the traditional wedding cake other than that they have become the most recent fad...

First, it's like having hundreds of little wedding cakes all decorated for each individual guest!

Second, it's less mess and less cleanup.  They come prepackaged in their paper wrappers... so no cutting or need for plates or forks!  Clean up involves little waste as it's a paper wrapper to toss away rather than washing dishes/silverware or throwing away disposable items (totally environmentally bad).


Third, they create smaller portions!  As anyone who's been to a wedding knows... By the time you get to the cake, you're full!  And often times you can't eat the whole slice.  By getting around 2-3 mini cupcakes per person, you get around wasted cake as each person can take the amount they feel they can eat.  And in our case as we are having a Pgh cookie table and a homemade ice cream bar...  we might be able to get away with less cupcakes!  =)

Fourth, they cost less.  Yes... depending where you go, they cost less!  While pricing cakes for our wedding (as we still have no idea as to the status of the supposedly free wedding cake from a former white house pastry chef that is friends of my MOH), it became aparent that the ever growing Pgh cupcake bakeshop called Dozen Cupcakes had a better deal compared to other bakeries.  For instance... the hubs wanted to get a cake from Moio's (an infamous Italian bakery).  But their website states that wedding cakes start at $3.75 per person.  For ~200 people that's $640!  OMG!  Whereas Dozen Cupcakes is ~$450 for 200 cupcakes.  As we are having a homemade ice cream bar and Pgh Cookie table, we could get away with less cake.  Maybe even do all mini cupcakes...  say like 2-300 mini cupcakes.  And hopefully that would be less than 200 full size cupcakes.

So why not throw a wedding with cupcakes instead of the traditional cake?  I can't think of a reason....

{All photos above are from Dozen Cupcakes' Flickr acct}

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beautiful Skin

It's not until you plan to wear a strapless wedding dress that you realize how much sun exposure you get on a daily basis.  Once you start to see you are headed towards an unflattering farmer's tan then you begin to look for products containing SPF without the overpowering smell of sunscreen.  Here's what I found in my search for a daily lotion containing SPF.

First, the all over lotion...  There aren't a huge variety of lotions with SPF.  At the local drug store I found two brands, Eucerin and Aveeno.  As the Eucerin bottle was huge and the lotion I had used from them for my excema as a child was a bit greasy, I tried out the Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion with sunscreen.  (I've had good luck with Aveeno baby oatmeal soothing lotion for itchy skin so I thought this would be a good choice.)  It contains SPF 15 and doesn't wreak of sunscreen.  It's not too greasy and it absorbs into your skin quite well.

Next I went looking for a daily lotion for my face with SPF.  See a couple years ago I switched to mineral powder makeup for the days that I wore makeup.  Before then I would use a liquid foundation from either Clinique or Mary Kay.  The liquid was perfect as it hid my blemishes and also protected my skin from the sun.  Unfortunately I dated a guy who liked me without makeup and now I'm too lazy to apply a foundation everyday again.  So days I remember, I put the mineral powder on but it unfortunately is just that.  A powder...  so it doesn't block much by way of UV.  This realization led to a purchase a year or so back.  I spent the extra cash for a little bottle of magic from L'Occitane called Immortelle Very Precious Fluid SPF 40.  You apply it on top of the moisturizer you wear each day and besides offering UV protection, it's also said to brighten your face and even out pigment tones.  As I've just found it again after a year, I can't say that I know if it really works.  But I'm going to give it a try and let you all know.

So those are just two products from my anti-sun arsenal to keep from uneven tanning and loosing my beautiful porcelain skin.

Anyone else find the desire to protect your skin from daily sun exposure due to not wanting a farmer's tan as well?

ps.  I'm going to take a bit of a blog hiatus for a week or so depending on how long it takes me to finish the wedding invites.  I've got the invite, reception page and rsvp page printed.  Just have to make a map, print it, print directions and a notes page along with Gocco the invite page.  Then cut, punch and assemble.  Oh and make a belly band as well...  This is going to be such a long week!  Lets hope I make it through it...  ;)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paper Parasol (The purchase)

So for those of you wondering which parasols I bought....

They came in last week!

So for your viewing pleasures, please scroll down!

The Gilded Gold Starburst beauty!  I'm in love with her!  She has gold on her handle... Ooh La La.

The pink swirl is a cute umbrella as well!

And the Oriental Trading Co.  paper parasols are going to be so fun to paint and decorate!

If painting these goes well, I'm going to pick up another box and decorate them for the wedding.  And as there will only be 10-12 for the guests, I plan to tuck a winning golden ticket to 10-12 programs.  Those guests will get an umbrella if they wish to hide from the sun.  =)

And for shits and giggles....  plus to make my shipping free...  I picked up a box of 6 wood fans from OTC.  They are so sweet!  And for ~5 bucks!  Woot!

This set of deliveries (that arrived the same day from 2 diff companies...bonus!) brought me a bit of joy lifting my spirits from the flood downer the night before.  (You can see the bags under my eyes from our first water adventure.)  ;)

Anyone else out there received a delivery that makes you really excited to start a new project once you get the half completed ones done?  
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