Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy Sunday!


Sundays are the perfect day to take a break and make a yummy breakfast. I really want to try these Bubble & Squeak Cakes with Tomatoes and Poached Eggs from A Recipe for Aperture. What will you be having?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Creative Bridesmaids

I posted some time ago about dresses for my bridesmaids. We are asking them to choose their own dresses based on a colour scheme. Well, one of my maids of honour told me that she is hoping to make her dress! I'm so very excited that the wedding has given her a reason to be crafty and create her own summer dress. We have plans to go pattern and fabric shopping soon and I literally can't wait! Hopefully putting her own sweat and tears (hopefully not blood) into her dress will make it that much more special to her.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Yesterday was our day to tackle the accummulation of 'stuff' in our shed. It felt like an episode of that tv show called Hoarders! There was a bunch of random stuff left over from a fundraiser garage sale we had a couple years ago, an abundance of car parts and tools, a billion spiders and spider egg sacks (even typing that made me feel like gagging and running away), boxes that had pretty much started to disintigrate from the moisture and a small portion of good, usable 'stuff' - like our camping equipment and mini barbeque.

In an attempt to be as systematic as possible, we created three piles (donate, keep and recycle) and had a bag handy for the rest of it (garbage). After sorting everything, we returned the keepers to the shed, took out the garbage and sorted out the recyclables. Next, my fiancé (Adam) made a run to the thrift store to get rid of the donations while I looked up where to take the recyclables. Then Adam took the recycleables away too!

It feels so good to know that when we move, the junk won't be coming with us due to last minute panic/running out of time to sort things! It also feels pretty weird to be constantly sorting through our stuff and purging things we don't need, while also accummulating a ton of wedding 'stuff.' It will probably be a relief to purge the wedding stuff someday too!

I should also give credit where credit is due. Due to the 'billion spiders and spider egg sacks,' I mostly supervised while Adam did all the moving things around. What a trooper!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Picking a Photographer

We knew that choosing the right photographer for our wedding was one of our main priorities. The photos are something you have to look back on, years later when you can't remember all the details. We have some great photographers on our guest list (family and friends), but we want them to be able to enjoy themselves rather than work during our wedding day. Knowing this meant we had to hire professionals, we started by looking at a ton of web sites and getting quotes from a bunch of local photographers. We were pretty bummed to find out that most were well beyond our budget (even though we prioritized photography, it didn't mean we were willing to spend an enormous sum of moola on it).

After a lot of searching, we were lucky enough to find a photographer that had a promotion on at the time. The promotion even included a free engagement session. Perfect! This allowed us the chance to 'test' out their photography and get to know them before the wedding day. Our photographers are a married couple that originally lived a bit far from our wedding city; however, lucky for us (and the environment!), they relocated to a much closer location (= less carbon emissions travelling to our wedding!). The best part is they do great work! The photos throughout this post are from our engagement session with them.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apple Cobbler in a Jar!


I was recently inspired by a post about single serving pie in a jar over at the blog, Our Best Bites. I will definitely try making the pie once I have a few different types of fruit in the house to experiment with. In the meantime, I took my family's apple cobbler recipe and put that in a jar! I thought the recipe would only make 4 jars, but I ended up with 6 and some cobbler topping leftover. I could've kept going, but I was out of apples!

We baked two of them after dinner the other night and they turned out great!

I bet if someone was feeling super adventurous they could make a bunch of these as wedding favours! Or, if you're feeling moderately adventurous, as gifts to your bridal party. I think I'll use this idea for birthday gifts!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I finally finished our wedding invitations! We had a minor stamp dilemma at first (we didn't end up using the one we bought), but it worked out even nicer in the end. They were printed off on coverstock paper on my own printer. My mom came over with her big, fancy paper cutting machine and cut ALL the invitations. Then I stamped them with a cute little tree stamp, and voila! Now as soon as we get addresses from all our relatives (now there's a challenge!), we'll be able to mail them out. I'm excited!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Favour Frustrations

Wedding favours are driving me mad. I know they are not expected and not really necessary, but there are a couple reasons I'm still determined to do them:
  1. Weddings are a busy time for a lot of the guests (bridal party, family, etc.). This often means people forget to eat. I want edible favours so the guests have a little treat to tide them over until dinner is served.
  2. I'm also pretty keen on donation favours. I would love to donate to a few of our favourite non-profits and attach little tags to each guests favour to let them know a donation was made on their behalf. The thing is, I feel like this has to be attached to something. This idea also doesn't take into account the edible option and budget won't allow me to do both.
So, I'm struggling. I know I could make a bunch of wedding themed cookies... but that will be tons of work and stress that I was hoping to avoid. And with moving away from my bridesmaids, I'd be all on my own to do the baking and decorating.

I wish I could end this post with a solution, but I'm just plain stuck. I've looked at a million blogs for ideas and it doesn't seem to be helping. We actually got really excited about little bird nests filled with a few mini chocolate eggs. Then we went to the craft store and saw the price on the nests... not happening!

Any suggestions??

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Birth House

Reading keeps me sane. It's my escape from the real world and the million things that need to be done. My current read is The Birth House by Ami McKay. I'm about two thirds through the book and keep procrastinating everything else I should be doing to go back and read yet another chapter. I highly recommend it!

Here is the description straight from

Dora Rare is the first girl in five generations born to the Rare family who live in a small Nova Scotia fishing village. Set in the years before World War I, this down-to-earth novel relates the life story of a most unusual woman. In her youth, Dora apprentices to Miss Babineau, an aged Acadian midwife known for her storytelling and herbal acumen. She is also considered something of a witch by those locals most desperate to embrace modernity. The arrival in the village of Dr. Gilbert Thomas, a doctor of obstetrics, sets up the major conflict of the novel as the haughty and presumptuous newcomer quickly denigrates the use of midwives by the local women. McKay has caught the voice of rural Nova Scotia with uncanny clarity ("A breech baby’s just waitin' on trouble") and adds period documents from local newspapers, including an advertisement for an early vibrator from Sweden. Altogether this is a richly satisfying novel filled with intriguing characters, both good and evil, as well as voluminous lore on birthing traditions, herbs and earthy wisdom. --Mark Frutkin

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Little Something Extra

I came up with the idea that I wanted to add a little something extra to the tables at our wedding reception. In addition to the centerpieces (or as an extension of them) I created these curled strips of paper. They are aged by dying the paper with tea and each strip when uncurled has a quote about love, friendship or family. I think they'll look cute sprinkled around the centerpieces and will be something nice for guests to read!

They're incredibly easy to make. First you type up all the quotes you want to use and print out as many as you'll need. Next you brew some tea in a rectangular cake pan. I used two bags of orange pekoe tea, but anything dark would work. Dip your paper in one sheet at a time and give it about a minute to soak. Take the sheet out and let it dry flat on a dish towel. 
When it's dry, cut the strips and trim the ends (if you want). Then roll them up tight, uncurling them after you've rolled them to make them a little looser looking.

What do you think? I might add a few to other random tables... where the seating chart will be when people walk in, at the photobooth, etc.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photo Locations

Despite the advice and feedback I've gotten from various wedding sites and blogs, we decided what worked best for us and our traditions was to have a chunk of time between the ceremony and reception for photos. As it turns out, our ceremony will be at 1pm and our reception at 5pm. Although many of our guests are coming from out of town, we will give them plenty of ideas and suggestions for things to do during this time, and hopefully they will understand!

We have three sets of photos to do. First, we are going to do family photos immediately following the ceremony in the gardens adjacent to the chapel. Here are a couple photos of the gardens:

After family photos, we are doing photos with just us and our wedding party. It was important to us to pick a location en route from the ceremony to reception so that we would not have the extra carbon emissions that would come with a far away location. Although we (probably more me than the groom) originally had our hearts set on a heritage site just out of the city, we decided the drive was a bit excessive. So, we settled on a local college with some cool architecture and landscaping. Check it out:

Finally, we're going to round out the photos with some shots of just us, the bride and groom, down by the water. We chose a local marina (and some of the area around it) for these photos, because we love the ocean and just had to have at least some of our photos by the water! I don't have any pictures for this one... so you'll have to use your imagination (sailboats tied up to the docks, rocky cliffs, waves, seals).

All that being said... we now need a backup plan for a rainy day. Suggestions?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taking Stock

It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're planning a wedding (or any large event for that matter). Sometimes you just need to take a step back and review what's already checked off your list and what still needs to be done. So, here are my lists!
  • Ceremony & reception venues booked
  • Caterer booked
  • Decoration rentals booked
  • Bartenders booked
  • Photographers booked
  • Flowers ordered
  • Dress and groom's suit purchased
  • Officiant booked
  • Parents gifts purchased
  • Hotel booked
  • Groom's wedding band ordered
  • Registered for gifts
  • Directional sign made
  • Chose photo locations
To do:
  • Finish centerpieces (wash jars, buy bird seed, make candle holders)
  • Invitations (finish stamping them, buy or make envelopes, mail them!)
  • Order bridesmaid gifts
  • Decide on groomsmen gifts
  • Dress and suit alterations
  • Decide on groomsmens attire
  • Create seating chart 
  • Favours
  • Book dog kennel/adventure camp
  • Book music equipment rentals
  • Make playlists
  • Make photobooth backdrop
  • Stock up on supplies for photobooth
  • Make sign and paper for photobooth/guestbook
  • Buy shoes and underwear for wedding day
  • Hair and makeup
  • Order a wedding band for me
  • Marriage license and meet with officiant
  • Liquor license
  • Write ceremony script
  • Make a floor plan/seating plan
  • Make wedding photo list for photographers
On second thought, this process is a little daunting. I definitely thought there was more on the done list than the to-do list. Oh well, that's why it's good to take stock of where you're at in the planning and process. Now I can work on crossing things off my list!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brief Blogging Breather

I'm taking a wee break from blogging today as we're heading to our new home town for the day. Houses to see, jobs to interview for and general scoping-out of the area to do. Wish us luck! I'll be back tomorrow with new posts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Catnip Bed

A little break from wedding posts to talk sewing! I had such success with my hot packs that I decided to experiment with the same idea for my cat, Gabby.  For this fun little project you'll need fabric, a lining fabric (I think I actually used an old pillowcase), thread, sewing machine, rice and catnip. 

Put all four layers of fabric together as follows: lining fabric, outer layer fabric - right side facing up, outer layer fabric - right side facing down, lining fabric. Sew around three edges using a small stitch (so the rice won't fall out later). Turn right side out. Top stitch around the three edges. Next, do a few curvy stitches from the open side of the pillow to the opposite side (like quilting). Make sure not to sew too close to the open side (you need to leave room to fold the fabric in and sew it shut later).You should have separate 'compartments' in the pillow now, with one side open so you can fill them before sewing them shut. Now fill each compartment partially full with a mixture of rice and catnip (about 3:1 if you're using good quality catnip). Fold in the open edge and sew shut. 

Now you have a fun little bed for your cat! Or, if your cat is anything like mine... an extra large toy! For increased playing pleasure, pop this baby in the microwave for a minute and watch your cat go crazy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

We Must Be Crazy...

So, apparently we've decided to relocate before our wedding. This didn't seem like such a big deal at the time. After all, the major vendors and decisions for the wedding have all been made, so as long as we arrive a few days before the wedding, it should be fine. The little itty bitty piece of the puzzle that I forgot about was the time between now and moving. I now have 6 weeks to essentially finish the wedding planning, pack up our house and find a job and home in our new city. Umm... yikes??

So what do I do instead of all those things? I blog!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I love any reason that encourages us to cherish the person we love. Even if it's a holiday created by big corporations to rake in big bucks in chocolate, flowers, jewelry and card sales. What I love about it isn't the gifts from the store, but the gifts that take some thought and creative energy. Even more, I love the gifts that are free! 
Here are some ideas of free 'gifts' to make your Valentine's Day special:
♥ Make dinner and pack it up in to-go containers. Have a picnic somewhere pretty. If the weather's bad, go somewhere with a view (we love watching waves crash during wind storms!).
♥ Go for a walk together. If you're lucky to live somewhere with lots of parks and trails - make use of them! If it's cold - even more reason to go and keep each other warm! When you get home you can curl up with some hot chocolate and marshmallows.
♥ Role-change. If one of you tends to cook dinner, have the other one do it for you. Or, if your partner has been meaning to get something done but has been putting it off because it's a task he or she doesn't enjoy - do it for him or her! And vice versa!
♥ If you have the supplies for it, bake a dessert together. It'll taste even sweeter in the end, and you'll have spent time together in the process.
♥ Have a candle lit dinner at home, complete with music and mood lighting! This is a super easy option. Just have dinner like you would any other night and light some candles, put on some music and enjoy. 
Whatever you do, enjoy it and make it meaningful to you! Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

$10 Wedding Dress

Sound unbelievable? Sound too cheap to be true? Well, Threadbanger Projects to the rescue! They have posted a video tutorial on how to sew your own $10 wedding dress. With a little imagination, you could embellish it to your liking or keep it simple for a more classic look.

It could also be done as a dress for other occassions, or it could be done shorter, or in other colours... there are so many options!

Check out the video here:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Doggy Adventure Resort

We have a dog. We have an upcoming wedding. Needless to say, as much joy as the dog (Kody) brings to our lives, he will probably add more stress than joy on the day of the wedding. So, we've been looking for the perfect doggy daycare to house our crazy canine companion. We've been pretty happy with the kennel that he has stayed in during past vacations, but in the end, it's just a kennel. There's indoor time and outdoor time, but essentially he spends most of the day in his kennel walking between the outside run and the inside run. Not a very exciting life. Well, our options were recently expanded when we decided we were moving (yes, before the wedding... that added stress will be another post, another day!). Lucky for us though - our hometown-to-be has a doggy adventure resort!!! I kid you not, a resort full of adventuresome fun, for dogs! They spend their days in a group going hiking, taking walks on the beach, playing group games with the other dogs, eating home baked treats and get this - having 'relaxing massages by the fire.' We couldn't be more excited! Of course, we'll go and check it out before handing our hound over to these strangers, but really, it sounds ideal!

Do you have furry family members? Where will they be on your wedding day or during your next vacation?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photobooth Fun!

I don't believe in jumping on bandwagons and following fads just because they're the latest and greatest thing. For example, while some wedding parties may be coordinated and creative and do a great coreographed 'first dance'... we are not those people. However, in this case, we're jumping on the fad bandwagon because, let's face it, photobooths are good old fashioned F-U-N!

Companies that rent out traditional photobooths are popping up everywhere. Party Booth has even created software you can purchase to turn your laptop into a pro photo booth for any occassion! However, not only does our town not have a photobooth company (and even if it did, it would probably be over our budget), but we don't have a laptop we could use with the software option. So, we've opted to put our camera on a tripod and make our own photobooth!

Second Bride's Wedding Site has some great instructions on how to construct a stand for your backdrop (since most venues aren't keen on things being attached to the walls). So, I put the fiancé in charge of making the stand and I dragged him to the bargain corner of our local fabric store to pick out fabric for the backdrop. In the end we settled on two colours and will do a 2 X 2 grid pattern with these two fabrics:

I think the vibrant colours will make a fun background!

We're also going to have the obligatory hilarious-box-o-props beside the backdrop so guests who are feeling silly can goof off to their heart's delight! 

Our photobooth will actually be doing double duty as our guestbook as well! We're going to set up a small table beside the 'booth' where guests can write little messages on the paper provided. Then, after the wedding, we'll print the pictures and put them in an album along with the printed messages. We're also going to find a way to make the photos available for everyone to see/save a copy so they can enjoy their own photos as well!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Frugal Flowers

I knew nothing about the costs associated with flowers and bouquets until I got engaged. I immediately started drooling over the gorgeous bouquets in magazines and on web sites. I especially loved orchids! Then I started visiting some florists and that's when the price shock hit me. At first I was upset and thought I would have to grow my own flowers and use daisies as my bouquet (not that there's anything wrong with daisies, they can be pretty for the right style of wedding). Then I started to do my research.

I wanted my flowers to be eco-friendly and budget friendly. I soon realized orchids would have to go. Any flower that can't be grown in my home town has to be shipped in and that adds all sorts of carbon emissions and eco-friendly no-nos. Then I started to consider flowers that would go a long way, meaning I would require fewer stems to get the same effect. I settled on hydrangeas. Now the question of budget came into play.

I was definitely not willing to pay someone to tie a few stems of hydrangeas together (how hard can it be?) and a friend of mine had recently gotten married and made her own bouquets, so I knew it could be done. Better yet, she had the contact information of a local flower farm where you can buy the stems at wholesale prices - saving a bundle by not paying the mark-up to the florist!

We ended up meeting with the wholesaler and placing our order for hydrangea stems. We'll pick them up the day before the wedding and make the bouquets the night before. It shouldn't take more than an hour and voila - budget and eco-friendly flowers!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fashionista Bridesmaids

I decided very early on in our wedding planning process that matching bridesmaids was not important to me. I want my bridesmaids to be comfortable in their dresses and to be able to purchase a dress that fits within their budget. That being said, I wanted some coordination overall, so I chose a variety of colours that will match the colour scheme of the wedding, and I am letting them choose their own dresses.

In this case, the wedding colours they can choose from include pale yellow, sage green, light brown, ivory, light grey, etc. It's supposed to look earthy and soft... spring-like colours? I'm not sure what to call it, but I like how those colours look when you put them all together!

Here are some dresses I love in those colours (however impractical the prices, etc):

Photo courtesy of YaySave

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Photo courtesy of sohomode on Etsy

Photo courtesy of amandaarcher on Etsy

Monday, February 8, 2010

Rice Pillows aka Heat or Ice Packs

Although wedding planning has taken up a pretty big chunk of my creative energy over the last year, I've also managed to find time to teach myself to sew. Being a beginner, my preference is for easy projects that don't necessarily require a pattern. This rice pack is one of my favourites! It can be heated up for 2 minutes in the microwave to act as a heat pad, or, it can be left in the freezer to act as an 'ice' pack. 

It's super easy to make. You basically decide how big you want it to be and you make a lining and an outer fabric. Fold the lining fabric piece in half and sew three sides together leaving one open for filling. Then, fold the outer fabric in half (right sides together) and just sew along the long edge and then turn inside out. Insert the lining into the outer fabric. On the end where the lining is already sewed shut, fold the ends of the outer fabric in and sew across to secure the lining and hide the raw edges of the outer fabric. Next, fill the lining with just under 4 cups of rice (any rice will work, and you can add herbs if you want to scent it). Then, carefully fold in the ends of the lining and outer fabric and sew the remaining side closed (making sure you're sewing through all four layers). Make sure you're using very small stitches for all your seams so that the rice can't fall out. 

Is that not the easiest sewing project ever? And they make great gifts!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wedding Dress Stress

I'll be the first to admit it - I did not find wedding dress shopping to be an enjoyable experience. I watch TLC's Say Yes to the Dress, but cannot fathom that type of dress shopping. I don't enjoy trying on clothes, and I particularly don't enjoy trying on clothes I can't afford. I decided early on that I wasn't willing to spend more than $1000 for a wedding dress. Then, as time progressed, I decided I wasn't willing to spend more than $500 for a dress. Then I made the decision that I didn't want a brand new dress. The sheer volume of fabric it takes to produce a single wedding dress made me queasy. So, I started browsing the wedding dress section of a local web site that sells used goods. A few months later, I decided there was one I wanted to try on. I went to the former bride's house and put on the dress.

Now, this is when everyone expects to just *feel* that it's the right dress. I didn't feel that way, and that's okay! I knew it was pretty and liked it a lot, but I took my time thinking about it. It would need some alterations, but overall was within my budget and previously used - so it fit my criteria more than any other dress I had seen or tried on. I negotiated a price (another perk to previously used dresses) and came in under budget at $400. Even now that seems like a lot for a dress that I will wear for one day, but I've come to terms with it.

Instead of posting pictures of my actual dress (because the fiancé doesn't want to see it before the wedding day), here are pictures of dresses that were previous contenders (please ignore how unflattering these photos are!):

Saturday, February 6, 2010

One Woman's Junk...

Could be the very same woman's treasure! I happened to have some cedar lying around from a project I did in university (I made a bentwood box in the style done by local First Nations). It occurred to me that this would be perfect to use as a sign to point our guests towards the chapel for our ceremony, since the location is a bit tricky. I used leftover black and white paint and voila - a pretty wedding sign!

I still want to touch it up a bit (the white paint didn't stick so well in a spot that had tape on it), but I really like how it turned out! I purposely left our names off of it so I can also give it away to another future bride after our wedding.

Have you created anything for your wedding using things you already had lying around? If you'd like to share your project or idea, send me an email and picture and you can have your very own guest post on this blog!

Free (or nearly free) Wedding Decorations!

I have to admit, I would rather have no centerpieces at all than rent them at the ridiculous prices decorators charge these days. Naturally, I decided DIY was the way to go. But if you're not careful, DIY projects can cost just as much as renting, and then you're left with an excess of wedding decorations (which also means you may have purchased newly produced items when it would have been more eco-friendly to rent them). My challenge then was to create centerpieces (and other decorations too) without purchasing too much new 'stuff.' That's when it occurred to me: Freecycle!

Our city has a great Yahoo group where everyone emails one another things they are offering for free or wanting to get for free. All I had to do was decide what I wanted to make, and then send an email and hope for responses. I ended up getting almost everything I needed to make our centerpieces, seating chart, favours and invitations!

Our centerpieces are going to be glass jars partially filled with bird seed with a candle in the center (like the photo above, although these are a work in progress - I don't plan on tying the string around them, although raffia might work). In some cases I got even more of something than I asked for - one person gave me 6 boxes of glass jars when I had only asked for about 2 dozen jars in total!

Does your community have a forum like this that you can make use of?

There's a whole wedding world out there in blogland...

And you'd never know until you get engaged and suddenly all these wedding blogs and web sites come out of nowhere and bombard you with ideas and inspiration! Now, that being said, there are even more web sites dedicated to pressuring you into making particular decisions about weddings - costly, expensive, 'traditional' decisions. They usually do this by insisting it is improper wedding etiquette to not include said activity/tradition. That being said, I've attempted to stick to my guns and only include what is important to myself and my fiancé in our wedding. So, to kick off my blog, I though I would share a few sites that helped keep me grounded (and continuously help keep me grounded) throughout this wedding planning process!

1. $2000 Dollar Wedding  Sara and Matt's wedding blog was the first blog I came across. Such a great start to inspiring us to plan our wedding in a way that is truly meaningful to us, without succumbing to outside pressure to fit a certain 'wedding' mold. I love how this couple carries this thoughtfulness into the rest of their lives as well. I highly recommend all brides-to-be follow Sara's blog!

The rest of these blogs I did not follow regularly, but instead, sporadically hit them up for great DIY ideas! Enjoy!

2. Wedding Bee
3. Once Wed
4. The Bride's Cafe
5. Intimate Weddings

Do you have any wedding web sites or blogs you would like to share with other future brides? Leave a comment on this post and share with everyone!