Monday, August 31, 2009

Pardon my fury...

Here is the next craft project I'm dreaming of making. "A spear?" you ask? "But whatever for? Fishing? Hunting wild boar?"

Not hardly.
This is for something much more dangerous and pervasive.


"But Heather!" you say, "Bicycling is so green, hug the Earth, kum by ya!"

No. I am done with bikers. Especially freshmen U of MN bikers. Particularly the ones who ride on the sidewalks (over and past the "NO BIKES ON SIDEWALKS" signs), think they are above traffic rules, and are listening to iPods or - AND THIS IS NO JOKE, THIS I JUST SAW ON MY LUNCH BREAK:

Texting while bicycling.

Are you BLEEPING kidding me?!?!?!?!

So, how will I cure all of these ills with a spear? Simple, and you can certainly play too.

Make it a strong spear, not necessarily sharp, but strong and long enough to displace the energy so you can hold it tightly and jam it between the spokes of an offending bicyclist as they attempt to run you down on the sidewalk. Hold tight. Wait for bike to flip. Shake an angry fist at the downed cyclist and shame them for their nasty behavior.

If we all did it, we could start a revolution.

My husband thought this was initially harsh, but I think it's karma. Natural selection. JUSTICE.

Or, conversely, I suppose bicyclists could just start following the rules our society has agreed upon for said activity, following traffic rules and leaving the sidewalk to pedestrians, and maybe even putting down the iPod and cell phone so they can see/hear/react to the world around them. A novel idea, I know, but it just could be wonderful...

Here's another little handy-dandy product review, courtesy of my weekend at the Radisson LaCrosse: Sleep Number Beds.

I abhor these things.
Might avoid Radissons for this sole reason.

Don't get me wrong, our hotel was LOVELY. It was in a GREAT location, had plenty of free parking, nice rooms, and great staff. But these beds are way more trouble than they are worth, and Radisson seems to be using them exclusively now.

Our first night we arrived home late from Groom's Dinner festivities and the bed felt a little funny. My side was stuck on 100 (ROCK HARD) and hubby's side wasn't registering at all - the remote just showed "--" over and over. Hmmm. That's probably not good. But we were tired and the prospect of packing everything up again and moving to another room was daunting, so we decided to just live with it.

Never decide to just live with it.

Hubby slept in a trench. Seriously. His side of the bed completely deflated so that there was a concave tube with zero cushion. At some point he stole all of the pillows and laid them in the trench to try and cope - but we both slept awfully. Around 7am when my day started, I was torn about what to do - I had to run around doing wedding stuff all day, and wouldn't be able to come back and re-pack/move stuff, so hubby would just have to deal. Hubby who could barely stand up straight after a night of twisted sleep. Sigh.

At 7ish I went downstairs to explain our problem, and was told there were no managers on duty (apparently managers are the only ones who can take action on broken beds?). I told them I had to leave and they said they'd pass it along.


At 10am I stopped back (to pick up the hair accessories I had forgotten)and hubby hadn't heard anything from the hotel, but had at least moved to the flat (if rock hard) side of the bed.

Sometime between 11 and 12:30 housekeeping came and said someone was on their way, hubby went to lunch and when he returned there was a note of apology. Apparently a "hose had become unattached" so the bed deflated.

We had hardly SAT on the bed, it wasn't like we were jumping like monkeys or anything. Just so you know.

Can you imagine what a pain that must be for a whole hotel to have those beds? It must happen all the time! And if so, why on earth would we have to wait for a MANAGER to dispatch the repair? UGH!

So sleep number beds get a huge thumbs down, if only for the annoyance factor. I know beds are a pretty personal choice and some people prefer softer, some harder, but I'm pretty sure everyone prefers a functional, semi-padded bed. Not a hard trench. And sleep number beds are hella expensive!

To the hotel's credit, once I expressed my dissatisfaction we came to a mutually agreeable discount on the bill, and they were fair about it. But they wouldn't have done anything if I hadn't pushed for it. There's another lesson - corporate America won't give you anything if you don't ask for it - but if you do, they generally want to come to an arrangement that makes you happy and likely to return, or at least not to tell your friends not to patronize them.

The hotel overall (and aside from the bed) was LOVELY and we're considering going back again for a little weekend trip - we didn't get to see much of the cute little downtown area and there appears to be a lot of shops and restaurants. I just don't know that I'd be excited for those beds again...

Now the Sheraton "sweet sleeper" beds on the other hand, are HEAVENLY...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wedding Weekend Update

It was a jam-packed non-stop party of a weekend, and I am just DYING to see the pictures. I didn't take many myself, but there should be no shortage - their photographer generally takes 3-5 THOUSAND images in a typical wedding session! I think that if you line them all up you might get a flip book of the entire day.

And what a day! They're a pretty private couple so I won't be sharing much here, but suffice to say it was a great party - photos in a lush riverfront park, outdoor wedding on a patio overlooking the water, and a POLKA BAND at the reception! My feet are ACHING tonight and I'm pretty sure I lost about 10 pounds, but it was so worth it - what a blast.

I will share a few pics of some of the wedding crafts I had the privilege of contributing to, which I'm pretty proud of.

How gorgeous are these dahlias? I don't think I had ever seen one before Al started planning this wedding, but they are her favorite flower and they are amazing. They look like carvings or origami, each one is so unique and perfect. She ordered wrapped bouquets for us 'maids from a florist with dahlias, and then on the morning of the wedding a few of her friends and I picked up 15 more bunches she had ordered from a local grower at the farmer's market, and we arranged them all around the reception site. They were so fantastic, and what a wonderful feeling to have purchased them straight from a local grower.

I was so honored to be a part of this wonderful wedding, congrats newlyweds!

Friday, August 28, 2009


I apologize for the apparent blog neglect, I have actually been crafting fairly hard core, but I've spent the last two days embroiled in my digital scrapbooking, so I don't have photos to post of any projects. I finished my June book (mermaid parade & NYC trip) and started on the weddings of '09 compilation. And SPEAKING of weddings, we're off shortly for Al's big polka wedding blow out in LaCrosse! It is SURE to be an amazing time, and I'll be sure to snap some pics of my craftastic contributions to share next week. Congrats Al, see you soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HEAPS of Halloween Costume Inspiration

I was so stoked today to see my cousin's facebook status read: "won my Halloween wig on Ebay" - YAY! It's NEVER too early to think about costumes, and we all know the next couple months are going to fly by. For my particular party the theme is Wicked Wonderland and Alice-inspired costumes are suggested, but not required. To me, it's just important that people dress up as SOMETHING, and besides, anything can happen in Wonderland, so there's no reason Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, and Sookie Stackhouse can't all show up there as well :)

The only costume rule I have is this: You MUST have one.

I don't have patience for lame excuses or lack of enthusiasm. I don't expect everyone to go as all-out as I do, of course, but I think in response to the time, energy, and expense I got to in putting on a party, the least my guests can do is dress up. Seems fair in my world view.

Otherwise, it's off with their heads. And off the guest list. Seriously. You know who you are.

But! I'm not all cold-hearted rage, in fact, I'm a font of information! If you are stumped for Halloween costume ideas, here are a few I have to offer.

These are all the characters in the Wonderland books, save the Queen of Hearts (I call dibs:)

Mad Hatter
March Hare
White Rabbit
Tweedle Dum
Tweedle Dee
Talking Doorknob
Mock Turtle
Bill the Lizard
Cheshire Cat
Knave of Hearts
King of Hearts
Talking Flowers
Bread & Butterflies
Pig Baby

Red Queen
White Queen
Red King
White King
White Knight
The Queen's Cards (that's 52+ ideas, but I'm not listing them out separately :)
Humpty Dumpty
Mome Wrath
Pocket watch
Looking Glass
Snow Drop

Feel inspired yet?

And for you non-wonderland peeps, Martha has a costume gallery up here with some fun ideas.

Heidi Klum is my celebrity Halloween crush - she always does a fabulous party with amazing costumes. Here are some pictures of her and other stars.

2006 - pics on "socialite life"
2007 - pics from "Popsugar"
2008 - pics via "I don't like you in that way"

Isn't she AWESOME?

Gimme a "W"...Gimme an "O"....

Paper mache letters were on sale last week at Joann, and I felt inspired to finally start my Halloween projects (rather than just talking about starting them...)

After much deliberation and setting up of various words and phrases in the store, I scooped up "Wonderland" in two sizes (neither of which were these HUGE 2' letters, since that would have required about a football field - I know, because I lined them all up and wrapped around an aisle :) so I limited myself to the 6" and 12" sizes). I think I'm going to paint the bigger set black, red, and gold and use as wall decor in the main room (the Queen of Hearts & her pack of cards area). The smaller set I think I'll work into my show stopping entryway, if I can pull it off (but let's keep that plan under wraps for a while)...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

EPIC disappointment

Well, despite the beautiful sunny skies, we were once again disrupted by weather. Apparently the main plane from Twin Cities Skydive was being worked on and got stuck in Detroit, whose skies weren't so sunny. We were all ready to pile in the car and got the call not to bother - major suckage, if I might be so bold. Two thumbs down.

My mother claims she did it with sheer will power.
Thanks, Mom.

How about you will the Powerball in my direction? Wouldn't that be more useful?

So we're all rescheduled again, this time they gave us a weekend slot for the price of our weekday jump, which means at least I don't have to use up another of my valuable vacation days.

Please think dry, happy, beautiful weather thoughts. You too, Mom. You most of all. :-P

I spun my wheels for a while deciding what to do and decided crafting was the way to go. I headed up to The Studio at Rush Creek again to work on a gift for my "Secret Reaper" (Think Secret Santa, but way more wicked) victim. I knew right away I wanted to do a mosaic, so I took advantage of my open afternoon to select, cut, and lay out my glass. I'm thinking something in a black and orange harlequin pattern, though it will vary slightly because I didn't get the mirror size I wanted (thought I could pick it up at Michael's, and of course they were out - should have just cut one at the studio, live and learn).

I did have an excellent coffee drink up there too - the "Frida" is coffee, chocolate, banana, and ice blended together and topped with whipped cream. Fantastic.

And since I'm totally enjoying this new art and since I detest the traffic getting up 94 (two really bad accidents today, so even though it wasn't yet rush hour, it was bumper to bumper for 45 mins on about 3 miles of 94. Not cool - and lots of ambulances), I also picked up my own glass cutter and pliers to cut pieces on my own. You can probably expect a lot more mosaic-ing in the future! I'm hoping to get started on a big Halloween Party project next week even.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...Ooh, sparkly!

I'm wearing these shoes today. They match my sequined top. I thought it was only fitting to fall out of the sky sparkling and shining to the best of my ability.

I'm off to jump out of a plane - keep your fingers crossed for clear skies!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Three Happy Thoughts (AKA: Trying REALLY HARD to be in a good mood!)

I am in a tres terrible mood today, and it's just not getting better very quickly. I slept poorly, got some irritating tasks at work, and my computer refuses to do what I tell it, so I feel all around agitated. Luckily I have "book club" tonight, so it's not a total loss, but since I still have a few more hours to kill before then, I thought I'd round up some "happy thoughts" to tide me over...

1. Cupcake toppers (and candle holders) from lollipop workshop. Bakerella featured these on her blog (she of the "cake pop" fame) and I'm in love with the little space man on the left. Apparently the rest of the world is too, lollipop workshop is pretty much sold out of everything right now - and they don't seem to be cheap. Good for them!

Vikings look better in pink.
Pink spandex preferably
(though that's not till next season.)
And that black tank top isn't too shabby either.

Mmmm, Eric.

The only viking I care to hear about, that's for sure. He'd absolutely end this snively drama queen. Isn't that football team supposed to be moving sometime soon anyways?
Jag tycker om Eric...

I've loved these suckers from the time they were the "big ticket" item on the cafeteria snack cart. I remember thinking $0.50 was rough, now I think these things go for over a buck each - but they're still totally worth it. I've actually considered a strongly worded letter to my local Rainbow, which instead carries the far inferior "Mrs. Field's" ice cream cookie sandwiches, which are not rolled in the tiny magic chocolate chips that really make the Kempswich. So yes, sometimes I make a totally separate trip to a Cub across town just for a little pack of these guys. And then I try to hide them from my husband.

Super powers would come in handy about now...

Guess which day we rescheduled our skydiving to? Yup - Tuesday! The only day this week with a chance of thunderstorms! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What lies beneath...

I fell in love with my house at first sight, and like almost everything about it. Almost.
I really dislike the paint job in the master bedroom. Whoever did it clearly loved mint green, and couldn't understand the ideas of trim and staying within the lines. Case in point, the cream carpet is edged with mint green paint - yes, on the carpet. It creates a dirty, moldy feel to the crevices that really isn't fixable short of replacing the carpet.

I don't really have the budget for that, but while I was scrubbing cinnamon roll off the carpet & walls yesterday, I got curious and peeled up a corner.
Yup, that's hardwood, apparently a match to the living room. It looks pretty scratched and full of nails, but an interesting discovery nonetheless...

Weed War Goes Nuclear

So the previous eco-friendy attemps to subvert the salad growing in my driveway failed miserably. This was made double evident when, in additon to the low, flat weeds, we sprouted a couple of foot-high BUSHES, which can't be good for the concrete.

Clearly, it was time to whip out the big guns.

I know, eco-friendly just went totally out of the window here, but it would also suck a mega ton of resources to tear up and replace the driveway when the weeds fragment it into dust.

So, tonight I just about emptied these 32 ounces onto the bushy green strips, and supposedly they should begin to wilt within hours, and die in a couple weeks. Here's hoping!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Whistle while I work...

I find lists very comforting. Sometimes I make "to do" lists and include things I've already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing them off. I don' expect a gold star or dozen roses, but man, I feel like I've accomplished a ton since I got home last night!

1. hunted all over the house for hidden cinnamon rolls, and I *think* I got them all...

2. vacuumed & swept up all the big chunks off the furniture, then oxy-cleaned the sticky residue left behind.

3. vacuumed and lint brushed all the furniture, and covered the big red dog hair magnets (I mean chairs) with throws.

4. Swept & vacuumed the living room and hallway.

5. Removed the sticky throw pillow covers and threw them in the wash.

6. Replaced the bag on my mini Oreck - it was so full it exploded when I opened it, and I had to re-vacuum all the previously vacuumed stuff back up.

7. stripped the bed and pillows and changed all the linens (necessary before I could even crash, since there were cinnamon rolls mashed into the sheets.)

8. moved all the furniture in the bedroom to find cinnamon rolls he had actually shoved under and between furniture. This also involved scrubbing said mash off of walls.

9. dusted, vacuumed, and de-cluttered bedroom (it looks so foreign right now!)

10. unloaded and re-loaded dishwasher

11. stripped the cover off the dog bed (this had to be done outside because there was so much mashed cinnamon roll it was practically a cake) and tossed it in the wash.

12. 2 loads of laundry so far, many more to come...

13. emptied and sprayed down the shower with scrubbing bubbles

14. watched a few episodes of "True Blood" re-running on HBO

15. had a dream Alison served grilled cheese at her wedding (fine by me!)

16. took out 2 bags of garbage

17. wiped down the kitchen walls

I still need to finish the kitchen and bathroom, and head up to make sense of the craft room before a friend comes over to work on wedding stuff...but first, I think I've earned a Maverick's roast beef sandwich as a reward for all my hard work.

My Not So Sweet Cinnamon Roll Fiasco - Thanks, Norm...

I really love these two bite cinnamon rolls from Costco. When I left this evening, this box was about 1/3 full, pushed to the back of the counter next to the stove.

When I got home, it was was on the floor in the living room.

I guess Norm had a snack.

We always knew our dog wasn't normal. Most of the time we can laugh off his quirks - call him "The Woody Allen of Dogs" and be more careful about where we leave food, plastic bags, or kleenex (he likes to destroy all three).

But I really hate it when he gets hold of large quantities of food. While this is the first time it's happened with cinnamon rolls, every few months he manages to grab a loaf of bread off of a counter, and the process is relatively the same.

But Norm doesn't just EAT the bread, or cinnamon rolls, or bagels, or apples. That would be much too simple. Instead, he destroys the packaging (he particularly loves shredding plastic bags) and then proceeds to stash pieces of the food all over the house.


Did you catch what I said there? Like an alcoholic in denial, he hides secret stores of said stolen food anywhere he can think of.

Like under the pillows on the couch.

And my new chairs.

In laundry baskets, preferably full of clean clothes.

And in his bed.
(He also decided to unstuff a pillow, which is where the white fiberfill came from. Thanks dog).

And in MY BED.

!@#$ and double %^&*!

So when I rolled into the house late this evening ready to crash, that couldn't really happen till I went on a treasure hunt for hidden sugar bombs, changed all the blankets, sheets, and pillow cases, and vacuumed all the furniture. ARGGGGGGH!!!

I have about 8 loads of laundry to do tomorrow now, on top of scrubbing sticky cinnamon & sugar paste off of all the furniture and thoroughly vacuuming every nook and cranny.

Not exactly the projects I had planned, but I suppose the house was due for a good cleaning...

Now I just have to wait and see if my dog goes into insulin shock or a diabetic coma...

Layered paper flowers

In happier news, PRIOR to walking in on the cinnamon roll hide & seek, I went to an open crafting night at my Stampin' Up representative's house. I had a pretty important project to work on, and I'm so happy I was able to finish it up (especially since I now have so much cleaning to do!)


I cranked out nearly 200 layered paper flowers, each one different, for my good friend's wedding this weekend! They'll be adorning the place cards, and I really love how they turned out. Her wedding colors are all different shades of blue, and her invitations and other stationery has had an orange dahlia accent - so using that as inspiration I rounded up all my blue and orange card stock. I used several different flower punches to cut over 1,000 different flower shapes, layered them up, punched them in the center, and held it all together with a tiny metal brad.

Tomorrow the bride is coming over to finish up the place cards and other wedding crafts, and I sure hope she likes these! I really enjoy the effect, and I think they're very whimsical and fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm a little teapot...

Okay, as promised here are a couple of my Goodwill finds from yesterday - teapots! I've been picking these up here and there for my Wonderland party, and these two just screamed out "TAKE ME HOME!"

I haven't pulled together exactly how I'm using all of this, but I've tossed around a bunch - best costume trophies, serving pieces, or just display items - I'm still working it out. The silver one will probably shine up nicely, but I'm going to keep it dull and marred to fit into the Halloween mood - snagged it for $9.99 at the Roseville Goodwill, online they are going for TONS more! Then the smaller brass one was just $4.99 at University Avenue Goodwill - I don't think this one is functional, but I loved the shape and size.

I'll have to remember to start taking better advantage of the tag sales , but I've also learned if I like something, it'll be gone by the time I come back, so I'd better decide immediately! Prices also vary WIDELY between locations, some have teacups for $0.49, at others they are $3.99! It's a bit like treasure hunting that way, sometimes you score big, sometimes you leave with nothing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Boo Hoo Hoo...

Well, it was a slightly disappointing day as the rain raged on (and off...and back on...) and our skydiving trip was cancelled. We're rescheduled for next week, so wish/hope/pray/bribe deities for clear skies, I really want to do this now!

I briefly toyed with the idea of going in to work, but that wasn't very appealing so instead I focused on Halloween fun! I hit JoAnn's, Michael's, and three Goodwill stores, and made some good finds...but I didn't snap any photos yet, so this is just a boring post. I don't feel right blogging without some sort of image though, so here's a lovely Natasha Wescoat painting for you to admire.

I promise to do many crafty things this weekend and post full updates soon!

Curse you, stormy skies!

My big skydiving adventure got postponed due to weather. It's one of those double edge swords - of course I wouldn't want want to go up in a tin can during lightning, or be pelted with rain at a high velocity, or battle high winds in a parachute, but gosh darn it if I wasn't really starting to get excited!!!


Oh I'll have to come up with a new adventure for today, because going in to work seems way too depressing...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mosaic Day II - Done!

It hasn't quite hit me yet that I'm going to leap out of an airplane tomorrow. I feel like I should be panicked, or nervous, or at least excited, but I'm really very calm. Probably too calm. I fully expect to be up at the crack of dawn paralyzed with fear.

But tonight I relaxed! Looking at the busy week ahead I decided to use my unencumbered evening to finish up the mosaic mirror I started yesterday. I actually worked pretty smoothly and finished up my glass tiling quickly. The instructor happened to be there again leading a birthday party, and she asked if I wanted to do the grouting tonight as well - saving another hellish trip up 94, OH YEAH!

I did slice my index finger once (forgot it was GLASS when I was running my fingers over the jagged pieces, oops), but otherwise it wasn't bad - I could get into this!

The pictures don't do it justice, maybe once I get it up on the wall I'll snap another one. The colors are so bright and tropical, I'm really impressed with myself! I would totally do this again - in 2 nights I banged out a really great and personal art piece, and it was really fun and relaxing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mirror, Mirror...

This could be the start of a new craft obsession - mosaic!
Tonight was the first of my two part class at The Studio at Rush Creek making a mosaic mirror. It's actually going to be at least a 3-part class, since I'm nowhere near finished with cutting and gluing my glass tiles, and once that is done I'll learn to grout it. I've wanted to learn how to do this ever since I saw a beautiful blue and green mosaic mirror in a little artist commune in Bemidji. I bought it and gave it as a wedding gift, but always secretly wished I would have kept it.

I was inspired by my epic "leg table," my Dept. 56 coffee table with striped stockings and gold pumps - I can't seem to find a great pic of it right now, but here's what it looked like last Christmas. I like the mix of the lime green, red, and white, and decided to run with that.

Tonight we chose our glass, learned to cut it, and went to town arranging and gluing it all together. It's pretty tedious, but really exciting and kind of relaxing - I could definitely get hooked on this. And I love how it looks so far! The colors are so vibrant, it sort of reminds me of a watermelon right now. I'm going for a eclectic crystal look (rather than the squares the other girl in the class did) and I really like it.

Cutting glass is easier than I thought, but still a little painful. There were shards everywhere, and my arms are a little cut up from rubbing in it. I'm most interested in learning the grouting part - can you believe I've never done that? Maybe I'll love it and end up tiling my basement bathroom all by myself :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...Me!

Countdown: Thursday is jump day!

I think I haven't really rationalized this in my mind yet, I've been so busy with showers and bachelorette parties, it hasn't totally sunk in that I'm actually jumping out of a plane this week. A moving plane. In the sky.

Statistically speaking the DRIVE to the jump zone will be the most dangerous part of the day, followed by eating in a restaurant(both cause way more yearly deaths than skydiving. So do candles, police officers, obesity, skin cancer, and a million other things) but I did my due diligence and read about all of the skydiving deaths in the past ten years on . It was actually pretty reassuring - very few problems with tandem dives, and even in the case where an instructor had a heart attack, the novice jumper was able to land safely (albeit with a dead guy strapped to their back, but hey, more padding I suppose). The Midwest seems to be among the safer places with the least incidents, and first time jumpers rarely seem involved in any of the problems.

So I fully intend to have the time of my life, but *just in case* I thought I'd set a few things into the public record (since I have yet to cross #72, make a legal will, from my bucket list - and my filing system is in a state of horrid disrepair, so you'd never find anything up there anyways).

Statement of wishes in case of my death, or: my backwards take on Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

1. I wish with all my might to be an organ donor. If I meet my end and anything is salvageable, please give it away! I think a skin graft that keeps my mermaid intact might be the most awesome memorial of all - see if someone can work on that. And then please give me posthumous credit for #71 on my bucket list, being a donor ;)

2. Once everything possible has been "recycled", I'd prefer cremation for the leftovers. I can't imagine taking up all the ground space required for burial, and I never expect anyone to go visit me planted somewhere. "Reduce" me to the bare minimum, and feel free to use scattering my ashes as an excuse to travel somewhere exotic - it's not like I'll be here to argue if you declare "Heather secretly told me she wanted me to take an African safari and sprinkle her ashes on the Savannah while riding a zebra. And then dog sledding through the arctic in search of happy penguins. And maybe in the lost city of Atlantis." Hey man, I'll gladly be the excuse for your adventures, but no pressure. I'd feel just the same about never being claimed from the crematorium too - and maybe that's cheaper? What ever works for y'all, no biggie to me.

3. Re-use: Someone please, please, please go immediately to my craft room and put all of the stamps, card stock, glitter, and fabric to good use! There are costumes in various states of completion, a pile of rhinestone tiaras, and a fabulous collection of one of a kind purses. There is a fortune in Wilton cake decorating supplies, enough gift wrap to cover a small town, and a crazy Italian sewing machine that has an instruction video up there somewhere. I have the full set of barely-used Sookie Stackhouse novels and a treasure trove of chick-flick DVDs next to an actual treasure chest full of candy, guarded by two hilariously creepy nun dolls. There is no way the hubs would have a clue what it's all worth, let alone need it, so you crafty people out there - please promise to pack it all up and take it home with you! The formals including my wedding dress are in the cedar closet, and if someone can step into my size 14 bridesmaid's dress and hustle over to Al's wedding, that would be awesome. Make the hubby polka with you - he's taken lessons - again, you can blame that on my dying wish, but really it's just too funny deny the world, regardless of if I'm there to enjoy it or not.

I'm going to jump out of a plane!!!!

Better in Feathers

In addition to the goodie bags I described earlier, each guest at this weekend's bachelorette party got a teal blue feather boa to wear out on the town.

I love boas.

How fun do they look all hanging over the wall in our hotel suite? This is how I laid them out before everyone arrived.

If you ever really want to make an impact as a group, you can't go wrong with bright feather boas. Sure, they can be a little itchy, and expensive (which I learned while making the Bjork dress), and they leave a trail of feathers wherever you go, but it's totally worth it and often inspires free drinks.

Actually, mid way through our evening some drunk man offered me $20 for my boa, which I gladly accepted towards our bar tab!

And I just found a great new source for feather boas! has the best prices I've seen on feather boas by the dozen, and in a huge range of great colors! I found them through a google search (teal is a pretty uncommon color and hard to find in stores) and they really came through, I'd order from them again.

Since I had ordered the boas before getting a final head count, I was a little bummed to find out I was a couple short. I ran all over town trying to find a match and the best solution ended up being these multi-color boas from Party America - they had some of the teal feathers, and a few other colors, so the bride could really stand out. They were WAY more expensive than the bulk boas ($9!), but worked out in a pinch.

Much like glitter, feather boas leave a trail of "joy" behind - I'm sure housekeeping was less than thrilled at what we left all over the floor, but hey -
sometimes fashion involves sacrifice, right ladies? :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Room with a View

Well, I survived another weekend of Bacheloretting, and I think a pretty good time was had by all. Since we were hitting the town, I reserved an executive suite at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, which was a FABULOUS idea.

The executive suites have a large living room with a pull out couch, dining table, big TV, and this fabulous huge window. It was a great meeting place for everyone before heading out to the bar (walking distance from Block E). There were a lot of other bachelorette parties staying there so I worried it would be a crazy party hotel, but it was really classy and quiet. Our suite was actually on a club level floor, so guests had to check in at the desk and show ID to be allowed up - I was worried it would be a pain, but it went really smoothly.

I checked in early and set up some appetizers on the table and laid out this mini bar along the window ledge. I stuck to a few easy favorites - cosmopolitans, Malibu pineapples, and Mandarin cranberries. The Absolut mandarin + cranberry juice was the big hit of the evening, we almost polished off the bottle in our little cocktail hour! I picked up the teal martini glasses on clearance at Party America - they matched my color scheme AND the stems lit up and flashed! I also had teal plastic cups and teal stir sticks from Party America, a cocktail shaker from Target, and a mini cutting board and bar knife from Pampered Chef for slicing lemon garnish on the cosmos. The ice bucket came with the room, and there was also a mini fridge I filled with sodas.

I think this was a nice set up and I'd recommend it again - having the living room area was a lot more comfortable than sitting on beds in a traditional hotel room, and felt much more upscale. By bringing in our own drinks people could relax and chat while we waited for everyone to arrive, and it was cheaper than the drinks would be at a bar. I had a few choices to suit different tastes, but not so many it was a budget buster as the host. Only a few of us actually stayed the night, so the king bed + pull out couch was plenty of room. And one of the best perks of all - the parking lot connected to the hotel was easy to access and only charged $6 overnight - SCORE!

Big thumbs up to the Radisson Plaza Hotel - and to another fun bachelorette party!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bachlorette Bags

Okay, here are the "goodies" inside the bags I previewed earlier this week! I went pretty simple but wanted something festive for everyone to take with them. I was disappointed with the selection of "bachelorette goodies" at my local party stores and even the "adult store" I went to - they wanted $2-3 for a little weenie sucker, and over $6 for a little single serving bag of ding-dong shaped runts! No way! There were a few interesting things I found online, but by the time you added in shipping it wasn't worth it for things most people would just toss out. But I think I came up with a pretty good selection, here's what I filled each bag with:

-The infamous peanut butter cocks (chocolate & peanut butter candy suckers in a very realistic penile shape)

-Mini water bottle & individually packaged dose of Tylenol, to ward of any "party injuries"

-Blow up microphone - since we're going to a dueling piano bar, they do comedy and encourage singing along - might as well rock it all the way out! I think if nothing else they will be fun for photos.

-Ring sucker - so everyone can bling like the bride-to-be

-Cocktail umbrella bendy straw (a little umbrella makes everything more glamorous)

-Blow out noisemaker with a cartoon penis print

Each guest will also get a teal feather boa to tie the group together and glam us up :)More about those later.

Does it look like a party? Whoo hoo!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gettin' Me Some Crafty Learnin'

I'm taking a class! An actual FUN class to make a mosaic mirror like these!

I've been wanting to check out The Studio at Rush Creek for a while now, they offer a lot of different types of craft classes - everything from jewelry to painting to sculpting, you name it. Their classes seem interesting, but also a little pricey - the course fees seem to be around $12/hour and never include any of the materials - nor really price out what those materials will cost you. I have a hard time forking out $50 to make a necklace I could buy for $12, so I've never taken the leap to sign up for anything.

But this one really caught my eye. I've never done mosaics, glass cutting, or grouting before, and I'd really like to learn. Who knows, perhaps it will spark the million dollar creative career I've been waiting for? :)

Mmmm...Sugar coma in 3...2...ZzzZzz

I've been talking a lot lately about dangers of crafting (Xacto knives, exploding boxes of tacks, the dark side of sequins) so I thought I'd turn to the activity that takes up most of my day: work.

Now I'm an avid reader of and also not an idiot, so I won't be going into great depth about my work day routine, but I did want to point out that what appears to be a docile desk job still has hidden hazards.

Such as 3 pound bags of KitKats + Reeses PB cups (OMG, what a perfect union!), giant boxes of fruit by the foot, and tortilla chips.

then I shouldn't forget the boxes of Gobstoppers, Cheese-Its, and Saltines just out of photo range.

And the case of Cherry Dr. Pepper under my desk.


This becomes especially serious on really boring summer days with little structure. Curse you, Costco, and your jumbo junk food dealing ways!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bling Box Episode II - Completed!

I finally got around to finishing my jewelry box! You'll maybe remember the post where I first got it and was so proud of my job mounting it on the wall. Well, despite how quickly I acted on getting it up and filled, I've ignored it ever since. I waffled on what I wanted to fill it with and never got around to planning anything. Finally one day I got sick of looking at the fake smiling families printed on the place holders and decided to order a bunch of prints to fill it up.

I order my prints through Costco where they are only $0.19 each, and it's convenient to upload them through their site and by the time I get there to pick them up they are done. I like the features of their photo site where you can crop and edit photos and upload quickly to organized albums, and their prices are all really reasonable.

For this project I was able to decide pretty easily on the photos for the standard size openings (once I stopped over thinking it), and just had to eyeball it for the square ones - I ordered a few extra possibilities and figured for $0.19 I'd cover all my bases and not have to make another trip if something didn't work out.

I didn't spend a lot of time choosing the photos or go for a specific event or theme, instead I just picked a bunch of my favorites from the past 10 years, mostly events where I'm dressed up like weddings and parties. I think it turned out really cute! It's fun to have a range of hairstyles and outfits represented, and a few of my favorite people around.

I've assembled a lot of these multi-opening mats, and here's how I do it:

First I lay out all the photos where I think I want them, trying to balance colors and flow and make it pleasing to the eye.

Then I line each photo up in the openings and actually tape it to the back of the mat. I've found if I don't do this, they eventually slip and hang crooked. This also gives you more control over exactly how the photo appears to be cropped - since the mat always covers at least part of the image, you can either center the photo or pull it off to one side or another depending on what you want to show - there's usually 1/2 - 1" swing, which really changes the look.

For this mat I did the standard size images first, and then went back with the square ones. That allowed me to do less cutting, since I could tape the excess of the square images right behind the other photos and not worry about them showing. The only ones I ended up having to trim were the two corner squares where parts of the photo hung off the end.

Voila! I'm still super happy with this jewelry box, and I've worn a lot more jewelry now that it's all accessible and organized and I don't have to dig through boxes and stacks. I wish it were a little longer, and more centered on necklaces than earrings, but all in all, it was a good choice.

Shopping Update and My Sequin Awareness Campaign

Whoa, who knew the world had such strong opinions on my fashion choices? I cross posted last night's entry on my facebook and got over a dozen arguments for one look or another - including one from my sister which repeatedly called each look (and mostly my amazing silver platforms, which are bright and shiny and tall and yet also comfortable at the same time) "cheep." Yes, I've already chided her on her spelling choices, and will take nothing she says seriously because she tried to use "Spice Girls" as a DERISIVE term - can you believe it? :)

It seems like most people are leaning towards the jeans, and that includes the bride - so I'll probably fall that way in the end. It's definitely more comfortable, but I appreciate any chance to dress up, so I'm a little sad to bail on the dress...perhaps I need more reasons to go dressy, hint hint social life?

And speaking of dressy, I have a little public service announcement for the world regarding something near and dear to my heart: sequins.

Sequins can hurt you.
And designers don't care.
We need to encourage RESPONSIBLE sequin usage.

In my mad dash shopping spree last night I saw sequins EVERYWHERE, which immediately made me happy - I try to wear something with glitter or shimmer or shine every day. But let's have a serious talk here about the dangers of sequins, and how to use them properly.

Example: this "Ombre Sequin Top" is currently on sale at Charlotte Russe, both in this black and an AMAZING and eye catching plumb. I have this top from a previous season in a fabulous teal blue.

Don't buy this shirt.

This shirt will cut your underarms to ribbons. That's right, it looks gorgeous and sparkly on the hangar, and seems alright at first when trying it on, but within 30 minutes you will slowly build up a rubbing feeling, then burning, then scratching, and finally cutting. Possibly followed even by bleeding. Sequins are sharp little buggers, and should never be used where they will come into direct contact with the skin, it's cruel and unnecessary.

I even tried to salvage it by wearing a little open shirt on top, thinking it would be another barrier to the offending sequins - it didn't work. The shirt has been retired, though I'm lax to donate it to the Goodwill and cause another unsuspecting woman this same pain.

Shame on designers for making these painful looks so damn attractive.

I tried on this one at Maurices, along with a fully sequined purple shift dress - both had the same sad problems. It was hard to weigh function over form, but it was the right thing to do.

So, in conclusion: I'm not anti sequin. I'm very pro sequin. I'm pro any sort of bling. But sequins need to be used responsibly, and it is only through greater awareness of sequin dangers that we can reform the industry and demand responsible bling-age. I'll leave you with an ultra-attractive shot of some of my sequin injuries just from TRYING ON these tops and dresses yesterday - yowza!