Friday, January 27, 2012

Today's mail

Real mail is the best (with the exception of bills, parking tickets, and coupons for Arby's).  Today I received a thank you note from my friend, Cara, who I worked with at Pulp Papery.  Cara is a stylish interior designer and event planner (here) and is always up on her etiquette.  Look at the sweet card I received in the mail today for attending her super fun birthday party a few weeks ago.

The neat thing about this card is that once you've finished displaying it, you tear the card in half along the perforated edge and write a thank-you postcard to another friend.  I love this idea!

Who needs a thank you

Do you send thank you's regularly?  When I was younger my sister and I sat down (sometimes forcefully) within days after birthdays and Christmas to write our thank you notes.  There was no question about it; you received a gift, you wrote a thank you note (even if it involved a lot of parental prodding).  After so many years of writing notes, it really becomes second nature.  I still send them after receiving a gift, if a friend helps with something, after someone has hosted a party and after interviews... sometimes I send notes just to say hi.  Part of the enjoyment of writing is being able to do it on such cute stationery.  I like to keep a box of thank you's on hand and some of these are definitely catching my eye.

8. Large print by Nothing Short of Thankful

  • For more on when to write thank you notes from the Emily Post site.
  • Writing manly thank you's.
  • Why Jimmy Fallon is thankful.
  • book that discusses the art of faxing thank you's among other more relevant things.
  • And, if you still don't have time for a handwritten note, there's always this website.

Yes/No: Milly and Thakoon

Both dresses on  One is sold out, the other isn't.

I don't understand the floppy asymmetrical look. The bibbed blouse look, yes.

Gilt has good deals for fancy brands if you have a pile of money lying around but I don't like their restocking/return fee if you have to return something.  I bought my wedding dress from them, in two sizes so I could see which was a better fit, and had to pay a 15$ shipping and restocking fee if I wanted my money back or I could get a credit and not have to pay the restocking fee.  That is a hefty fee for something that costs about 5$ to mail. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I've been a little more than obsessive with doing my nails since I first started wearing nail polish in grade 8.  I got an A+ that year in English class during a debate about the pros of painting your nails.  I can't remember what my reasons were at the time but they're probably the same as they are now.  It saves money, it makes me feel fancy, and it keeps me busy while Gossip Girl is on Monday nights (or some equally trashy show where I don't need to pay attention.) I watched part of last Monday's episode and was lost since I'd missed the previous six episodes.  What the heck is going on?  Blair might be ditching the Prince to get back together with Chuck?  So excited!

Hmm, what colour should I paint my nails?

Pinterest has some good nail painting inspiration.  And this website has some great tutorials.  It's also where I read about Seche Vite, a fast drying top coat.  It sets your manicure to a hard finish in ten minutes!  It's about 4$ a bottle and it's available at many online stores including amazon.  I'm curious to try it.

Yesterday evening I painted my nails using tape to section off the tips for a variation on French tips.  It worked out pretty well.  I added some gold glitter bits to make it extra fancy.  Hopefully this manicure will last long enough to see how my wedding ring looks with it (still waiting...).  For the past two months every time I paint my nails I consider how the colour will look with my elusive wedding ring.  Maybe this is the manicure that will do it!

I still need to clean up the edges a little.

Nailpolish roundup

These little stainless steel manicure stamp plates have me very interested.  I have a few in my amazon shopping cart but am still deciding if I'm ready to go for it.

After you paint your nails one colour you put a layer of a different colour onto the round plate, scrape off the extra and roll a stamping tool over the remaining nail polish left in the design on the plate.  You then roll the stamp onto your nail and the nail polish design is deposited on top of your nail.  As a lady who has spent way too much time trying to draw flowers, stripes, and uneven nail tips only to have them look like a glob of nail polish fell on my nail, I really want to try these.

This video tutorial shows how it's done.  If I plan a nail painting party and consider it a party expense then I'll feel less guilty about buying the plates.  Also they're only about 5$ per plate for YEARS OF ENDLESS FUN.  Do you price out your purchases like that too?  Who wants in on the nail polish party?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Robert Burns Day

If not sooner

In June we started looking online and locally for our wedding bands.  We visited shops that had security at the door and shops where the sales people had bright white teeth and plastic surgery - shops where the rings cost over $10,000 dollars.  There was nothing out there that was unique enough without being over the top gaudy (a look I am guilty of, occasionally).  I was starting to stress that I wouldn't find anything I liked.  Poor me.
Harry Winston, price upon request.  No.


Etsy had some very pretty designs but nothing that I was sold on.  V would come home to find me with my eyes semi-glazed, clicking through page after page of internet websites looking for the one.  

One afternoon I visited a local jewelry shop where the owner has been a goldsmith for over 30 years.  The selection in the shop was a little old fashioned but the owner told me that if I brought in a design, any design, he would make it for me.

After getting design ideas from library books V and I went back to the local jeweler on  October 18th with the design I had (crudely) drawn for my wedding band.  The shop owner and master goldsmith (that's what it says on his card!) said he could make the design and the ring would be ready by December 18th, if not sooner.  We've learned that "if not sooner" is his catch phrase because I have called every two weeks to see how the process is going and after some very friendly chit chat, my ring is always promised by Tuesday, or Thursday, or Saturday of next week, if not sooner.  Every single time. 

V and I visited the shop last Friday to give some final input on the ring before he puts it all together and he said it would be ready either Saturday or Tuesday, if not sooner.  

Today is Wednesday.  

Until the ring arrives I've been wearing my Grandma Smith's thin gold band as a place holder.  It has small rubies and diamonds and was my "something old" and the ring we exchanged on our wedding day.  I usually don't wear dainty rings but I'm starting to get used to wearing it.  If the ring isn't ready soon I may have to get one of these beauties below.  

1. Sara Westermark 2. Jen Lawler Designs 3.Nangijala Jewelry 4. Monica Branstrom 5. Monkeys Always Look 6. Danielle Jewelry 7. Jen Lawler Designs 8.  Izzie's Tales 9. Unknown 10. About Jewelery

V's ring is very similar to #5 with the date of our first date on the exterior and our wedding date on the interior.  It was an etsy find and needs to be resized, which seems to be a common problem when purchasing rings online.

Unique, masculine ring by Lyuve for the medical professional in your life.

A ring etched with your or a loved ones fingerprint by Chris Parry

Are you engaged, married?  Did you partner pick out the ring themselves?  V and I had some discussions about this.  He wanted to pick the ring out himself and I wanted to be able to give my input.  In the end we looked at designs together and agreed on a style that would work.  I feel like the ring (once we get it) will be something we both put a lot of thought into.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Pillow covers are such an easy thing to switch out with your old ones to make a room feel new-ish again.  Last week I sewed up five new pillow covers; three for the front room to make some comfy but drab wood and cream chairs looks alive and two for the backroom.  The couch in the backroom is where we watch movies and because of its age (and maybe even design) the padding isn't too supportive.  Pillows fix that right up.

This is the front room.  It doesn't get a ton of light during the day because of the awnings that cover most of the exterior part of the window.  It's on the to-do list to take off at some point. Check out our series of vintage silk screen prints from the 60s that V and I hung a few weeks ago.  After hanging those I feel that the room is really starting to come together.  We need to refinish the floors and then put up baseboards.  When V bought the house all the baseboards had been removed so we are going to have to buy them for the whole house. 

Blue wool felt and suiting fabric, cotton houndstooth, and leafy blue and yellow linen pillows.

View facing the front of the house.
Some bright pillows in the back room, where V and I watch extremely intelligent films together (and I watch horror movies alone, when he's not around).

For those of you who used to read my old craft blog, you might remember some posts about this unopened crewel work pillow kit from the 60s that I found at a thrift store.  I finished the actual crewel work over a year ago but never got around to actually sewing the pillow together.  Now that I have a some free time while waiting for my immigration paperwork to go through all the little unfinished projects are going to get finished.

Before I decided to just save money and sew the pillow covers myself I was eyeing some beautiful online ones.  They are still on my wish list and most are affordable, especially for handmade items (most of these are from etsy sellers).

I was VERY excited today to find out that you can actually download many, many, many fonts for FREE online.  I spent some of the morning looking at the ones available on  I can't wait to use them in future posts.

Yes/No: Wet feet

My favourite ones are the lilac zip ups from Joules
(The colourful ones are from Hunter and the lacy ones are from modcloth.)

Do you wear rain boots?  I've had some polka dotted ones for about 6 years.  I bought them in Winnipeg where it never really rains that much.  The boots were cute and on sale and I was happy to trade my Sorels for wellies when I moved to Sacramento.  The backyard of my first house in Sacramento had a dip in it and would flood every winter so the boots got a lot of use during the rainy season.  I haven't pulled them out yet this year mainly because I've been trying to stay warm and dry inside (and also figuring out how to make these idea boards using GIMP.) 

Monday, January 23, 2012


Not that I can afford them but there are some pretty and expensive Temperley London treats on Gilt today.  Some outfits are better than others.

Clipping Coupons

There are TOO many deal websites now, aren't there?  I get two emails a day from groupon, one from livingsocial, and yelp is offering deals now too.  I bought the 40$ for 80$ worth of artwork through a livingsocial deal at 20x200 after I'd seen this print by Todd Forsgren of a white crowned sparrow temporarily caught in a mist net so scientists could get his details before letting him fly off again.  He looks so cute all tangled up in there.

The smaller, more affordable sizes sold out immediately and now the only size left in this particular print is 30x40 and it costs $2400.  BOING!  At the time there wasn't really anything else that caught my eye so I've been holding on to my livingsocial coupon since April 2011.  I checked today and the art prices have increased!  I decided to hustle and get some prints instead of waiting any longer.  

 I like all the patterns and colours in this one by Ann Toebbe.  I ordered the 11x14 unframed size.

This one, by Chris Ballantyne, makes me think of a vintage paint by numbers kit.  I ordered the 8.5x11 unframed.

I wonder how many people buy the coupons and forget about them until they expire.  I have a coupon from 2010 that I bought from for 35$ worth of food at Flaming Grill.  That's a LOT of food.  Their prices are reasonable already and their portions are way too big.  You'd need at least 4 people to spend 35$ there since most of the burgers are under 8$.  Anyone want to go? V bought a deal for 18$ worth of cocktails at Dive Bar.  Have you walked past that place on a weekend?  A week or two ago, one guy wouldn't move out of the way so I could get past him on the sidewalk EVEN after I'd said "excuse me".  I had to push him out of the way while holding my breath.  A cologne cloud surrounds that bar.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I received notice that my bio metrics exam has been scheduled for February 3rd (at 8 am!  Whaaa!) where they'll take my fingerprints and photos.  After that I believe the next step will be vaccinations of some sort and a possible a medical exam to make sure I'm not bringing any new diseases to the U.S.... all the way from Canada.

Gulp.  Homeland Security, this is serious!

I decided to file all the immigration paperwork myself to save what I imagine could be a lot of money instead of hiring a lawyer.  The first portion of the application was submitted on January 9th.  I sent it overnight to the USCIS department in Chicago.  You can sign up for text and email alerts for updates on your case, which I did, and was notified on January 11th that my application had been received.  Things seem to be moving along fairly quickly so far.  I included as much information as possible to prove that our marriage is "bona fide" (their words, not mine.) I sent copies of photos with dates and locations of where they were taken, hotel receipts of our trips to the coast, flight receipts from when we visited Miami and copies of our joint bank accounts with the date I was added to them.

The fun part!  Getting married!

Vann is excited about our potential interview.  I am a little nervous.  There are discussions on immigration websites where people share some of the questions they were asked.  Most of them seem easy; questions about birthdays, family members, jobs, activities.  If anyone remembers how V and I met, let us know.  We've narrowed it down to sometime between December 2006 and March 2007.  It's all very romantic.

Would a woman dress like this in front of anyone but her husband?  I think this is enough proof of a bona fide marriage.

Cinderella Masvidal

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas Cats

Stocking sniffer

Jag and Llorca got handmade stockings this year with so much catnip toys they didn't know which ones to play with first.  Jag even wore this outfit without too much of a struggle.  

Wild catnip eyes.