Adventures in Chalk Paint: Part 2

It wasn’t enough to repaint the fireplace. After all, it was light coloured already. No, something drastic needed to change.

Yes, we let our cat watch tv from time to time. It entertains us, too :-)

Yes, that black blob with a tail is our cat, watching tv. It entertains us, too!

Look at that. It’s messy, and it’s just a dark blob (not just because of the picture quality), that you can’t help but look at, even if you don’t want to. It made me kind of stabby.

To clean up the tv stand, we replaced the computer’s functionality with a chromecast and moved the wii to another room (not that we use it there, either). The yoga mats are now in a different, messy corner. AND my wonderful partner cut a hole in the back of our tv stand so that the receiver could fit inside!

Unfortunately, cleaning it up wasn’t enough. It took care of the “messy” part, but not the “dark blob” part. Fortunately, chalk paint is easy-peasy to put on ikea furniture. A couple of coats and a wax later…

This is what I get for relying on my phone for a camera...

Another sub-par picture. This is what I get for relying on my phone for a camera…

Just look at that change! It’s bright and clean and beautiful!

You might also notice that we threw an area rug into the mix to help get even more brightness in the room. We went the route of buying a carpet remnant and getting the edges bound, and it is perfect! The carpet is so soft and it was only 99c a square foot! Binding it ended up being a bit more expensive, at $5 a foot, but we still got 2 area rugs, a 6′ x 9′ and a 9′ x 12′, for $570. That’s half the price of most of the 9′ x 12′ rugs we were looking at!

Totally, totally, worth it. Wouldn’t you agree?

Doing All The Things

An odd feeling has struck me over the past 2 weeks. I have been motivated. Not to write a blog (obvoiusly) or to get more exercise or to fold laundry (it is quite the pile). No, I have been motivated to make our new home perfect.

I planned out how we could put up the ribbon wall behind our bed in the bedroom. But, that would require a headboard, because otherwise we might pull it down inadvertently with a misplaced pillow. Should we buy a headboard or make it? Or maybe just spruce up a second hand one? Also, we need reading lights, because the switch for the ceiling light is WAY too far away from the bed (and it’s not very good for reading).

We also need curtains. And the curtains need to go with all of the aforementioned details. Not too mention a bedskirt to cover up the unsightly bedframe we have…

And that’s just the bedroom.

We moved the office furniture into the den and out of the second bedroom. It was an empty and sad looking room and the office furniture fit in perfectly colour-wise. Now all of the blacks are basically in one room. I’ve decided I prefer lighter colours for everywhere else.

Of course, that means that now the second bedroom is mostly a storage space, and it’s only redeeming qualities are a bookshelf and some pictures we preemptively put on the wall. In preparation for a future sofa bed. Probably. But, there’s a big pile of “stuff to deal with” on the floor, that we still haven’t dealt with. And I really want to, so we can at least see the floor.

Most importantly, that second bedroom has enough room for a craft table. A real one. With storage and a solid workspace in all its beauty. And that in itself kind of scares me–if I commit to this craft space, I have to use it. I have to sit down and use it. In reality, I can’t do that. I can’t sit and craft for long periods of time without even longer-lasting pain. Most of my crafting is done in an impromptu fashion in front of the tv. Maybe I’m focussing on all these other things so I can avoid dealing with this one.

This doesn’t include the big list of furniture that my partner intends to make for our new home, although he may, in fact, build me that craft table (if I can ever decide on it).

I can’t seem to focus on one item for longer than a few days, before flitting to another item like a hummingbird. I want to fix everything, and I want it to be the perfect home, now. Why can’t it just be good enough as it is? It’s a perfectly functional home.

But why be perfectly functional when you can be perfectly beautiful as well?

Wedding Wrap-up: The DIY

Today is the last of the wedding posts. I had a lot of fun making things for my wedding, and I certainly learned some new skills as a result. While these pictures were all seen before in a previous post–this time, I’m going to talk about all the details in depth.

The gift table - which had to be pulled under the tent when it started to rain. We made the guest book ourselves, and the guest fish was a wonderful idea from my new mother-in-law (photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole)

Photo taken by my lovely friend Nicole

The gift table was anointed with a card box, which was simply our wedding-colour ribbon glued around the top edge of the box. (Thanks to my Auntie Jo for that idea!) We also used coloured cardstock as a backing for signage, like the day’s schedule. They were held up by flower wire and tape, nothing fancy.

And lastly (for this table, at least), is the guest book. It was a 1 x 6 of poplar, cut to size and stained blue, then a couple of holes drilled into it. The inside was cut up pieces of 12×12 scrapbook paper. It was all held together by 1″ binder rings. It was really simple, and turned out really beautifully. It also means there don’t need to be any extra pages hanging around in there!

Picture taken by my lovely friend Nicole

Picture taken by my lovely friend Nicole

We used the rolls and rolls of our wedding colour ribbon as table runners. I can honestly say, I bought way too much, and now I have ton of ribbon sitting in a bag at home. Fortunately, I have some ideas for it already! (coming soon, hopefully!) The pompoms took up their final home on the ceiling of the tent. My partner tied each pompom to varying lengths of cord, then tied all of those to more cord that was draped from side-to-side in the tent. In the end it looked like coloured stars hanging from the roof. Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos that captured this phenomenon, so I hope you can picture it based on the snippet at the top-left corner of the above photo.

Most of the effort ended up at the head table. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I realized that the head table should probably look unique, and not be just a plain, floor length table cloth. After some brainstorming, I realized it was the perfect spot for the tulle flowers, and we bought some sparkly tulle to drape between them. (I also added a bead for the center, and some green tulle “leaves”.)

Behind the head table was The Ribbon Wall. Not just any ribbon wall, as this one was 18 feet of luxurious double-faced satin ribbon, in 4 different colours. The idea was discovered on pinterest (don’t they all?) and I knew I had to have it. I was more excited about this project than any other I took on! Which is good, because it wasn’t an easy one. It took about a month to find a place that would sell us enough ribbon (400 yards!) at a not-too-expensive price. With shipping it came out to be about $140.

Each piece of ribbon was cut to 10.5 feet, just half a foot longer than the height of the tent. I was concerned that if the wind picked up, they’d whip around and would have to be anchored down, but instead, they simply fluttered (beautifully) in the gentle breeze. What you can’t see is the piece of fabric at the top that was sewn to keep all the ribbon perfectly spaced, as well as have room for a rope running in the middle. It was designed to keep everything as easy to set up as possible on the big morning. The thanks for that goes to my sister who sewed together that fabric, despite my mediocre-at-best pinning job.

It was perfect because, not only was it beautiful, but it also allowed people to dip in and out (like the photographer), without sliding in between a tent wall, or having the not so lovely view of the house behind us.

Were all those details worth it? Definitely. No question, yes. It made it so much more us, because we both love making things with our hands. Was it cheaper? Well, that’s debatable. I didn’t really keep track. Maybe a little. But it was full of love, from the things we made, to the people who celebrated with us, and that, as they say, is priceless.

And that’s a wrap! Are there any details or posts you especially loved from this series?

The Tulle Overfloweth

I mentioned (briefly) in a previous blog that we have a lot of tulle. Where “a lot of tulle is a gross understatement”. Imagine my shock when I discovered that even with 450 total yards of tulle, we did not have enough!

You see, after I made a few from this fabulous tutorial, we discovered that nothing is more fun than tulle pompoms. Seriously. Your cat will enjoy them and so will you. They’re fluffy and puffy and colourful.

So, what started with a few…

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Turned into many…

2013-05-21 02.11.58Relatively quickly. Yet, somehow, that’s still only half of what we need–even after I optimized the size, amount of wraps, and wrapping style!

That’s right, there’s an optimal wrapping style.

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You might notice that this one is bunchy as it wraps around. Don’t do that.

The key is to wrap each strip of colour overtop of itself, keeping it as unbunched as possible. When you’re done with that strip, do the next one beside it. This uses less tulle and produces a fluffier pompom. And in case you were wondering, the best strip length, for a 7″ diameter template with a 1.25″ hole, is 3 feet.

Unfortunately, even with this awesome optimization, we still would not have enough tulle to make the desired number of pompoms (around 70). Yes, that’s right, even with 150 yards of each colour. So we did what any sane people would.

We ordered more.

Yes, that’s right. Once that order comes in, we will have a total of 600 yards (over half a km!) of tulle, end to end.

I’m guessing, at this point, you’d like to know what the point of all those pompoms are? Well, I could tell you that we’re going to dig a pit, throw all the pompoms in, and have a kind of impromptu ball pit. And as a result, you would be really excited and beg to attend my wedding. Fortunately, I can safely tell you we are not doing that, so you won’t be missing out. Not to mention we’d need a lot more than 70 pompoms for that kind of undertaking. In fact, the point of all these pompoms is….a surprise. Yes, my dear readers, you’re just going to sit tight until after the wedding.

So, if you see a woman, sitting on a park bench with a bag full of tulle rolls on one side, and a mountain of tulle balls on the other, say hi. It’s probably me.

What’s the biggest project you’ve undertaken? Better yet, what are your theories (the more creative the better) on the origin of the phrase “sit tight”?

The Plight of a Fine Haired Bride

I have fine, thin hair. It’s the kind of hair that one can easily tell where I play with it too much because the hair is shorter there. The kind of hair that doesn’t stand up well to hair-colouring (not that it stopped me very much). The kind of hair where clips slowly slide down my hair. And the kind of hair that those cloth hairbands that go all the way around your head make a weird bump in the back of it.

Yes, I have that kind of hair. For the most part, it hasn’t really bothered me, I’ve never been keen on wearing my hair up or fancy, anyway. But there are definitely times when I have wished that I could have thick, wavy hair. I can’t even fathom what it’s like to be a person who has enough hair to braid it into two thick braids.

What has caught me off-guard the most, however, is how difficult it is for someone like me to wear a veil. The hair combs put way too much pressure on a localized part of my hair–shockingly, I want to still have nice hair after my wedding day. Hair pins don’t really stay in my hair (unless a professional does it, they have a talent I do not possess). And if clips don’t work either…what am I left with?

The most logical next step would be to wear a headband and attach a veil to one of those. Unfortunately I am one of those people who also can’t wear headbands. The squeezing behind my ears gives me a headache. It makes no sense to me why all headbands try to squeeze the life out of my head. Apparently Goody used to make some “comfort tip” headbands, but no longer does. And there’s a stellar looking company in the UK that doesn’t ship to North America (even if they didn’t cost an arm and a leg). So no, headbands won’t work either.

The very last option was something I had dismissed initially, a flower crown. I had dismissed it because my dress is anything but bohemian in style. I call it my princess dress for good reason. But since I wanted to wear something in my hair, and it was my last option, I brought it out, did some googling, and found my inspiration in this gorgeous flower crown from The Honeycomb on etsy. It was simple, elegant, and just might be able to be passed off with a princess dress.

So after a 1 hour trip to Micheals (thank goodness my fiance is so patient with me!), I came home with well equipped to tackle my last option.

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A work in progress – all the big flowers were on, but the little pearl “buds” weren’t attached yet

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The final product: made with wrapped wire, brown flower tape, fake white blossoms, dried eucalyptus and fake pearls.

In the end, it turned out beautiful, but very little like my inspiration. It will be a bit of an adjustment from what I had planned on wearing, but I think there’s enough time before the wedding for me to get used to the idea.

I am still wondering whether to even bother trying to attach some tulle to it to make a veil–it may just pull the flower crown right off my head. I can just see it now, mid-vows, tears streaming down my face, and flower crown hanging partway down my back. The pictures would be memorable, to say the least.

It’s funny how we imagine our weddings to be a certain way–I never for a second questioned whether I would be wearing a veil until very recently. It’s a stupid little detail, yet somehow, it seems so significant in the mess that is wedding planning.

Nonetheless, it’s time to pick up and move on to some other stupid little detail, as the big day draws inexorably closer. There’s only 82 days left, after all.

What’s the thing you always imagined having at your wedding but had to give up?

Wedding Shoes – The Adjustment Period

For those of you who don’t remember, or are new readers (yay!), I found my wedding shoes at a thrift store several months ago. They were exactly what I wanted, except for two teensy little issues. They had marks on the top of the shoe, and they were a bit snug if worn for longer than a minute or so. And extra snug if one tried to, say, put insoles in. I’ve been told multiple times to pick comfortable shoes to get married in, and these shoes, while pretty, have no padding or support. At all.

The first order of business was to stretch the shoes. Fortunately for me, the internet was full to bursting with ideas. In the end, I chose number 3 from previous link: stretch with ice. I took two ziploc bags and filled them a bit over 1/3 full with water.

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Next, I inserted one into each shoe.

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Then I put them in the freezer overnight. (With such small ziptop bags, I raised the heels to force the water into the toe area.) The water expanded, and stretched the shoe material.

To get the bags out again, I let them thaw a bit and then hacked at the bulky ice sticking out of the toe in a fashion that made my fiance wince. But I had to get the ice out before the condensation killed my shoes. And nobody got hurt. Really. I swear.

The next time I put them on, the fit was much better. But not good enough for insoles. So they’re currently in the freezer for a second round. I definitely was pleasantly surprised that it worked as well as it did!

The next order of business was to make them look pretty. I cut off the bows that were in the way and made some shoe clips. They ended up being quite similar to the test ones I made awhile back, but I decided that simpler was better. A single pearl seemed to fit the look much better than a complicated set of beads.

Aren't they pretty?

Aren’t they pretty?

Even though you can see the marks at this angle, they are mostly covered by the flower petals from the top. However, I would like to cover them up a bit better…maybe with nail polish?

The funniest part of all this is that I will likely get another pair of shoes to go with my reception outfit. Mostly because my legs look better with a little bit of heel–but it’s too late in the process to wear something with a little bit of heel with my wedding dress (it was already hemmed). Oh well. These shoes are worth it…right?

How Is Wedding Planning Going?

It’s an interesting question, one that my partner and I receive regularly. It’s interesting because I never know what kind of response the asker is looking for. Do they want to know what project I’m currently working on? All we’ve accomplished so far? Or do they want a simple answer along the lines of “Oh, excellent, thank you!” or “Oh man, planning a wedding is so stressful!”. In reality, I can’t give a simple answer, because I don’t have feelings towards wedding planning that are cut and dry. My real, full answer, would go something like this:

Wedding planning is incredibly overwhelming. Planning a party for 50 people, each of whom is going in with expectations as to how awesome said party should be, is…intimidating. And, it’s my wedding, so I want it to be awesome. More than awesome. If at all possible (which it’s not), I would like it to be perfect.

Since Project Management has recently become part of my job description at work, it is, in some senses, good experience. I have made more phone calls in the past few months than I ever wanted to. I have pondered, exulted and tossed out dozens of ideas of how to do things (I have the pinterest board to prove it). I’ve already made several excel spreadsheets, and will probably make several more before all’s said and done.

But in between all the tears and temper tantrums (kidding…kind of), there have been a lot of fun parts. I love doing crafty things (in case you hadn’t noticed), and if nothing else, this wedding has been an outlet for that. I have completed 5 out of 16 tulle flowers, and have plans underway for a ribbon wall, not to mention the list of 2 dozen things I also want to make for the wedding. It may come to buying a bunch of them, but I’m not ready to concede defeat yet. Give me another month or two.

There’s also been the opportunity to meet our awesome vendors. We’re getting a vegan caterer that makes amazing food–and that’s after we’d totally given up on getting a caterer because all of the non-vegan ones were booked. Definitely an unexpected benefit of going vegan.

And then there’s learning how to say, “maybe we should pay someone else to make that”, which is what was recently decided for the centrepieces, bridal bouquet, boutonnieres and corsages. In the end, I only have so much time.

So, in summary, wedding planning has been going sometimes well, sometimes frustratingly, but always a learning experience. And I really can’t wait for the honeymoon!