Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sewing Project: Pretty business card case

 Thanks to the lovely Pamela over at Dayton Time, I was suddenly in possession of 500 wonderful business cards. It makes it so much easier to share my fancy new google voice phone number and my work e-mail when its all on a handy dandy little card!  One teensy weensy little problem. For those of you who have been following the game here, my name is set to change in t-minus 205 days, so I had to get those babies out the door! My solution, make the cutest ever business card holder so I can convince people to take my card. So far, its gone something like this...

Me: Oh! Let me show you my latest sewing project that I completed in all the time that I have free.

Unsuspecting parent/teacher/specialist:Wow! That's super cute! But what could be inside? I must know!

Me: Why, I'm glad you asked. I have right here some handy dandy business cards so you have no excuse not to call me back my information easily accessible.

Unsuspecting parent/teacher/specialist: Oh! Wonderful! I'll take 5!

Or something along those lines....

Anyway, I found a great pattern which, as with the best projects, took about 30 minutes, including the time I spent rummaging though my crazy stash of random fabrics and clothes that will someday be awesome projects. The finial product was a combination of pretty print fabric left over from my days of making sorority shirts, some terry cloth remnants from baby bibs I made this past spring, a ribbon that was decoration on the package of some gift given to me, and a metal spare button that came with a piece of clothing I'm pretty sure I no longer own.  After gathering those things up, and a few cuts, pins and stitches, I ended up with this!

Even better, when I showed it to my cousin, she requested one for a Christmas gift. Wonderful! I love an excuse to make things for people, but its tough sometimes to know how they'll react to a homemade gift.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sewing Projects- The lunch box

 As I mentioned in my previous post, there hasn't been a whole lot of free time built in to my schedule. Somehow, I've managed to complete two sewing projects lately that I have been very happy about the results. Okay, so maybe I finished the first one in September and am just getting around to posting about it now... but you're still happy to see it, right?

It all started this summer when I finally opened my eyes to the fact that Mike was going though paper lunch bags, while I was happily using my nice fabric lunch bag. When they finally ran out, I offered to make him a fabric lunch bag of his very own and surprisingly, he accepted! (score for my big green purse!) Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

For those of you who don't know my dear Michael, he is both a Virgo and an engineer... which means very specific ideas about how some things must be. Because that's the only logical way they could be, right? Right. Mike's lunch box requirements were as follows:
1. Must not have corners, because food always gets stuck there and its gross.
2. Must close and have a handle.
3. Must not be feminine.
4. Must have a place for putting silverware.

So after drawing out several designs, I finally had the bright idea of looking to my sandwich wrapper. Its a large diamond shaped piece of fabric that folds into a square. By folding it a slightly different way, I could make a rectangle, just the shape of a typical lunch  box. It unfolds to lay flat, so no corners for yucky food!

After raiding my mom's fabric stash, I decided on heavy duty outdoor canvas, dark navy blue for the outside and navy, yellow and white striped for the inside.

I made a pattern first out of newspaper, then out of construction paper, carefully trying them out with Mike's typical lunch to make sure it would fit inside, measuring where to put the handle holes, etc. The hardest part of the whole process was sewing on the snaps to keep it closed. I had to estimate each time I put them on, and ended up ripping out and resewing most snaps at least twice. I also used bias tape around the handles holes, which I have never done before. It ended up being a bit of a process, but it worked out in the end.

The final result was a success! Mike is happy with it, and he's gotten compliments from several male co-workers, so it passes the manly-enough test. The only thing that may be changed is the snap that keeps the top flap closed. Its not quite strong enough to hold the weight of the lunch, so I may replace it with a heavier duty one.

Next up, my 500 business cards and the sewing project that will hopefully help me give them away before my last name changes...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kitchen Genius, Via Aunt Gina

Mike and I really like fresh bagels from Wegmans. I try to avoid the prepackaged ones, because it just doesn't seem right that they're soft all the time. Plus, I fins the texture weird, too squishy. Real bagels get hard after a few days, which up til now has been a problem. We would only buy six at a time (missing the discount you get if you buy them by the dozen) and still couldn't eat them quite fast enough.

Luckily, we have been saved by Mike's Aunt Gina's genius.

She taught us this great idea to keep the bagels fresh. At first I thought that everyone knew this, but somehow Mike and I missed out on this day in school. I shared it with my mom, but she was amazed by it too! Aunt Gina lives in MD, so maybe this information hasn't spread this far north yet.

I have taken it upon myself to spread the word of bagel freshness!

Step 1: Buy a dozen bagels. Enjoy the discount!

Step 2: Slice bagels. Then stick them back together.

Step 3: Place sliced bagels in a gallon sized freezer bag.

Step 4: Toss joyously into the freezer, knowing you are going to have some amazing bagels next time you want them.

When ready to eat, simply remove one from the bag and put it in the toaster! It comes out like you just bought it and sliced it that day! Amazing!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Engagement pics.... Finally!

Sorry for the big time slacking, but I have an excuse, I promise! My three jobs (yeah, I know, everyone else thinks I'm crazy too) are really starting to pick up, and on top of that Mike and I are moved! Its just a hop, skip and a jump away from where we w before, but its saving me about 20 minutes on my daily commute. It's been pretty crazy around here!

On with the good stuff!

Dylan and his assistant Robin from Onion Studios did a great job with the pictures, and the best part was it was free with our wedding photo package! Yay! We got a CD of all the digital negatives to do with what we please. So, without further ado here's a sampling of our favorites. One of these lovelies made its way onto the 250 Thank you notes that we won, thanks to Pamela! Thanks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Engagement Session at Knox Farm State Park

I was so excited today to find that our cd of enagement pictures arrived in the mail today! Here's a sneak peek... no fair showing all of you before Mike even gets to see them!
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mmm Cake! -or- How I sometimes succeed at baking

After the picture of the delicious chocolate cake in my last post taunted me for a good week or so, I decided that for Mike's birthday, I was going to try making a chocolate layer cake with berries in the middle. Mike's not big on many berries besides strawberries, so thats what it was.

I have been failing a lot lately while trying to bake new things. Bread- refused to rise. Cookies- sunk in the middle. Sweet potato cinnamon buns- refused to rise. I blame it on a combination of a damp basement door where I store my packets of yeast and lack of proper baking tools, like a sifter or mixer. I was nervous about the cake, but I figured I hadn't killed Mike with any of my concoctions yet, so what the hey. There's always Wegman's for back up.

I chose this recipe and got to work. I decided just to use the directions for the actual cake part. I wanted to make my own filling and Mike has chosen a can of chocolate cream cheese frosting while we were at the store. I followed the directions as best I could, and ended up with a batter that was light and creamy like mousse. Pop in to the oven and out came...
two pretty little cakes! So far so good!

Then I added whipped cream and sliced strawberries to the middle. I think in the future whipped cream won't be the choice because it quickly started melting after this picture was taken.
Oh, the layers even lined up without cutting or anything! Last step was to add the canned frosting. I think I got it figuring if the cake tasted bad, we could always eat the frosting out of the can with a spoon. I might just do this anyway...Ta da! Finished cake!

Or should I say, nearly finished?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Groom's cake? That's the big white one...

What the man wants.

Even though it's not up there on our to-do list for now, Mike and I have been discussing cake. For me, the cake wasn't a big deal. There had been talk of Bridesmaid Jenny making it, so I was thinking of something somewhat simple so it wouldn't be too difficult for her. I was thinking something like this. (We already have some logs- but need to get them cut!)

I liked the rough edges of the buttercream and the idea of multiple cakes. Mike, however had different ideas. He wanted a wedding cake. As in multiple stacked layers, with a smooth white surface. Because, he said, when else in your life do you get to have a cake like that? Fair enough.

So far, this has been one of a few things that Mike has been very specific about, and I wasn't that attached to the other idea, so we'll go with the big white cake. I do like that one pictured at the top. I had no feelings of loss... until I saw this on the Wish Special Events website:
Drool.... So, I have decided. At this wedding, the "grooms cake" will be the big white one and the bride's cake will be chocolate and berries. Yum. So Bridesmaid Jenny, even if you can't take on the big white stacked one, do you think you could make this deliciousness for me?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do you know what these are called?

Mike and I have been working on the design for our wedding decor. Lanterns are up there on the list of design elements. I haven't been able to find quite what I'm looking for yet, but I'm still searching. One of the types of lanterns I stumbled on today is pictured below. Its different than many others that I have seen and may have a place in our design... if I only knew what they are called so I can search out some more! Any ideas?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Will you marry....... us?

Now that we have the location and photographer down, I'm working on checking other things off my list. Next up, officiant.

Neither Mike or I a very "churchy" people, so we neither have a priest that we know nor really want one. Our wedding will be meaningful and symbolic, but secular.

That leaves a professional wedding officiant or a justice of the peace.

A wedding officiant could be nice because we'd have some time to get to know them ahead of time and because they have had experience with designing meaningful, secular ceremony. Biggest downfall? Its not the cheapest option.

A justice of the peace is a much cheaper option, but that means a much simpler, less flexible ceremony. (I think? I admit, I haven't contacted any of them yet.) But, it still might not be the best option.

The last possibility is to have a friend or family member get an online certificate to be a wedding officiant. After several times reading the law about who is able to officiate, calling local officials and checking my wedding blog resources, its still unclear to me whether or not this is legal. I asked my mom to check around with the friendly neighborhood family lawyers and see what they say. In the mean time, the person who I originally had in mind is unable to do this for us, so its back to the drawing board on this idea too.

So, if anyone has had any experience with J.O.Ps in Livingston County, or is familiar with any of the professionals in the Rochester area, I'd more than welcome some recommendations!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Exactly 11 months to go...

So far we have the location, photographer and... as of last week, the dress!! I purchased a store sample off E-bay of the exact Maggie Sottero dress I wanted, in my size, for less than half the price I would have paid if I had bought it new! Fabulous!

It arrived in the mail last Wednesday and I was thrilled. I ran right upstairs after camp to check it out. Mike was confused by the deceptively small box, but there it was in perfect shape! It will need a few alterations, but then it will be perfect!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Onions aren't just for salsa...

Finally, things are getting checked off the list!

Once we had a date and a location to work with, I was able to narrow the long list of photographers I had in a spreadsheet to just a few. From there, Mike and I checked out prices and websites and came to a decision- Onion Studios from Buffalo.

I met Dylan and his assistant at a Bridal show at the Pearl Street Brewery in Buffalo in February. I was impressed right away. His set up was clean, relaxed and informative. He was friendly, but didn't immediately jump down my throat like some of the other booths at the show. There were photos displayed around the table and a series of them scrolling on a computer monitor. The pictures were mostly in the photo journalistic style that I liked, but there was something different about them. I really liked the architectural elements and angles that he used. Standing there, watching the photos scroll across the screen, I saw a photo of my art teacher from high school. I mentioned it to Dylan. He said, "Oh yes, that's so-and-so. He got married to so-and-so at such-and-such a place so many years ago" I was impressed. That he would remember someone's wedding and their names gave me the impression that he really cared. Coupled with some obvious talent with the camera and a good amount of experience, that was the kind of person I was looking for to help capture my day.

Not to mention that his prices were very reasonable and he was very nice about negotiating. Saving money always helps :) Now, I definitely have some friends with great camera skills too. But I don't think that its fair to ask them to step outside of the enjoyment of the day to be the photographer. Still, we'll probably get a flickr page or something going to collect everyone else's photos too.. The more taken, the more likely we'll have ones we like!

So, photography... check. Next up: the dress, the officiant, the food (which may or may not include some salsa)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fun website

I forgot to give recognition in my last post for that little quote at the top. Its from a new addition to my Google reader, i can read.

The website is a ever growing collection of images and quotes. I'm such a sucker for things like that.

Here's a few to get you hooked too...
I think I'll have to put this in one of Mike's books.

As Mike and our high school friends know.

This last one goes out to all the bridesmaids... Rawr!

Our wedding has a home

I'm happy to say that Mike and I have finally made a decision on where we will have our special day, Sweet Briar in Geneseo, NY! Both of us are really happy with the place and know it will be a beautiful backdrop for an intimate celebration with our closest family and friends! And it all happened because I missed a train....

Long story short, I miss read the time on my ticket by 20 minutes, missed the train and came up with the great idea of having Mike meet my mom, sister and I in Geneseo (about half way between where my two homes are) to check it out! I showed them around the place, because Will, the owner, was busy with a rehersal dinner, and they loved it as much as Bridesmaid Jamie and I did in May. So we grabbed Will and signed a contract, for exactly one year from the day! :)

Its so nice to have that decision done with, and with the place I kept coming back to every time I sat down to think about our wedding.

My last few post were only a small percentage of the locations that we looked for. Since I've graduated and summer camp hasn't started yet, I had time to do some serious searching. Bridesmaids Jenny, Jamie and Holly all got in on the act. It got pretty stressful there for a while. There may have even been a few tears. I wanted to make sure that we could find the best place for our money, which isn't a whole lot. So I searched and searched Buffalo, the finger lakes, Rochester and Syracuse. I wrote tons of e-mails. I made spreadsheets. But every place, I compared to Sweet Briar. As the days ticked away, I got more and more nervous we'd not find a better place and miss out on one that I knew I liked. As my mom says, everything happens for a reason. If I hadn't missed the train, Mike would have never seen the place, fallen in love with it too and agreed to make it our place. I'm happy its done and we have a beautiful location!

So, if there are any ladies out there that need some ideas in the Western/Central NY area. Let me know, because I know what its like to be stressing over that....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy things :)

Summer is in full swing, the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming happily. So am I... more details to come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Potential Wedding Location: The Sweet Briar Inn

Because Mike is very consumed with the completion of his thesis, I'm really working hard to narrow down the list so we can have a place picked out by the end of June. (You wouldn't believe how fast places are being snapped up!) Since I was back out in the WNY area, I decided to spend some time checking out our selections out that way.

Bridesmaid Jamie and I took a trip last Friday out to The Sweet Briar Inn, which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from our alma mater, SUNY Geneseo and neither of us had a clue of its existence! One of my mom's co-worker's daughters is getting married there this summer and tipped me off. I'm so glad she did, because this is definately the place I'm most in love with so far! I have to say, I was a little reluctant posting this because I didn't want to give away my little secret. Like all the good places I've found so far, the number of days that they have available for next year is quite limited!

Like the Hillside Inn, this used to be a private estate. Its has the long driveway and in the middle of no where. This place steps it up a bit more though. The inside is all gleaming hardwood floors and earth tones and hundred year old murals on the walls! The place is also a spa. What more could you ask for the day before your wedding!?

The site has lots of wandering space, a nice white tent already on site, and a two beautiful sites to have the actually ceremony!

The first area is a little bluff overlooking the Genesee Valley. I'm not sure if you can see it in the picture, but the stones on the ground are the foundation of a little old chapel that used to be on the grounds. How cute! To get to the bluff, the wedding party walks about 400m down a windy path of cedar trees. What an entrance! Plus, we wouldn't need too much in way of decor because of the natural beauty of the landscape!
Here's Jamie standing in as the bride, because as usual, she was dressed way cuter than me!

The second location is in the yard with the actual ceremony on the steps on the side patio of the house. Again it has a lot of natural/structural beauty and wouldn't need much decoration. See those pretty greens, that's Wisteria, which when in bloom, looks like a dripping purple grapevine and smells amazing!

Other amazing things about this place include the fact that you can get it for the whole weekend to yourself! I can see myself now, the day before the wedding, getting spa treatments and hanging out by the endless pool with my soon to be husband and my best friends. Sigh...

In other words, I need to get my butt in gear, check out some of the lingering possibilities on the list and get a deposit in somewhere, quick!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I heart NPR

It was definitely my savior on my 45 minute drives to student teaching . If I were an NPR host, my name would be Jessicra Leenane.

I'm a winner! (again!)

Wow. I really must be lucky... or maybe its just the enormous amount of blogs that I read that have contests I enter. I'm a little obsessed, but came you blame me? I keep winning! Now, I just need to win something for the wedding.

So, Thank Yous to:
VintageGlam Weddings and {sweeter than me} designs (a great Etsy seller!) for these two pairs of great earrings! I wore the ones on the left for my graduation. They both have the romantic vintage feel that I love! Thanks so much ladies!

My second round of thanks goes to Focus Organic and Niagra Conservation for this lovely little house...
filled with eco-goodies!It includes a whole bunch of things to help make our house more energy and water efficient. We definitely could have used these in our crazy old house this past winter! I think we're going to hold on to the stuff and install it in our next place, once we find out where that will be!

Thanks again for all the great giveaways fellow bloggers! Keep it up! :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So, I've been a bit slacker....

But really only in blogland, because recently:

* I had some crafty moments
* I won some cool things from other blogs
*I finished student teaching
* I graduated with my master's degree in Deaf Education
* I've been applying for teaching jobs like crazy...
* I got a kayak as a graduation gift from my parents (Thanks Mom and Dad!). A sweet Dagger Alchemy 140S in Flame color :)

I have a few weeks now before my summer job starts, so I'll really try to get back into the swing of posting! (Unless I spend all my free time out on the lake... but I can't really be blamed for that. Really, just look at that awesome kayak!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Potential Wedding Location: The Hillside Inn

Mike and I are slowly narrowing down our list of potential wedding locations. I'm not sure if its actually going to be possible, but I set a goal of having our location picked out by the end of June. Places are starting to be booked and filled for next year already and I'd really hate to miss out on a place we love because we were procrastinating. So, last weekend I decided to take advantage of some already planned trekking (btw.. this word is spelled stupidly, seriously... why do you need two ks!?) and stopped in Wyoming, NY to check out the Hillside Inn. Thanks to Pamela for the great suggestion!

The Hillside Inn is a cute Inn in the middle of nowhere, which is one of our criteria! It sits up on a hill and is surrounded by yard. The house itself is cute and the wedding party could stay there. The lady who walked me around was very nice. She explained that most weddings took place on the front lawn (pictured above). Then there's a little herb garden to the right of the house where cocktail hour takes place. As for the reception, we could either do a tent outdoors, or there is a little "party house" that can be used too. It is basically a big sided gazebo with a fireplace inside. Its a pretty blank slate in there so we could set it up the way we need.
As far as looks go, this place is staying on the list. The prices for food and such seem pretty decent too. Hillside Inn has offically become a green icon on my Google maps. Next week I'm going to be out in the Buffalo area for my graduation (!!) and I hope to check out one of the places that is, on paper, towards the top of the list: Becker Farms in Gasport, NY.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh so pretty!

Remember that post about anthropologie being a store I drool over, but can't really afford? Well... I found this great lady who can MAKE anthropology-like pretty things and, even better, recycles other clothes to make them!

Just look at this great shirt here! Even better, she's GIVING IT AWAY!

Oh, fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dude, (I'd) look like a lady!

I've been looking around a bridesmaid dresses (don't worry ladies, I'm still letting you pick... just getting ideas!) and it made me want to wear a pretty dress myself! Specifically, one that I can wear on some of the beautiful sunny days that are coming up!

I'm becoming obsessed with Anthropologie, even though their prices are a bit rich for my blood. I'm thinking for these ones, I may save up to get one for my rehearsal dinner!


Wedding Location Update

Here's a picture of our possible wedding locations map that unfortunately keeps getting more points instead of fewer!

Last update about the wedding location search we were just shy of twenty places, well spread out over the state. Since then, we've checked out a few more places and weeded some out. Thats good.... but we've also added some more to the list. This brings us to a total of 25 possible places! Ugh! I'd really like if we had this figured out by the end of the summer.

Ps. If you know of any good places that we're not considering yet, please let me know! What would one more place to consider really hurt...

Here's the current list:
Knox Farm State Park: East Aurora, NY- OFF THE LIST, would need way too much rented to have the event there.
Kloc's Blossom Grove: West Seneca, NY
Avanti Mansion: Buffalo, NY
Bever Hallow: Java, NY- OFF THE LIST, a bit too pricey

Hurd Orchards: Holley, NY
Glendoveers: Rochester, NY
Bristol Harbor: Canadaguia, NY- OFF THE LIST, a bit too pricey
Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum: Canadaguia, NY
Crystal Barn: Pittsford, NY
Springdale Farm Bed and Breakfast: Victor, NY
Casa Larga: Fairport, NY
Hillside Inn, Wyoming, NY

The Lodge at Welch Allyn: Skaneateles Falls, NY (We checked this place out today and liked the budiling. We want to see what the grounds look like when there is some foliage living)
Skyline Lodge: Fabius, NY ( We checked this out one day last month, its in a county park and is pretty. We'll need to see what it looks like once things are growing again)
Arrowhead Lodge: Bridgeport, NY
Camp Brockway: Pompeii, NY (Demoted to a Maybe, because the area is nice, but the building needs some serious repairs)
The Wellington House: Fayetteville, NY- OFF THE LIST, we didn't really like the view of the McDonalds Drivethru.
Green Lakes State Park: Fayetteville, NY- OFF THE LIST, not private enough
Logan Ridge Estate: Hector, NY-
John Joseph Inn and Elizabeth Resturant: Groton, NY
Taughannock Farms Inn: Trumansburg, NY- OFF THE LIST, too small and not pretty enough
Six Mile Creek Vinevards: Ithica, NY
Lorenzo State Historic Site: Cazenovia, NY-Really pretty area and nice view. We'll have to check out later about using the buildings.
The Brewster Inn: Cazenovia NY- OFF THE LIST, not private enough
The Genny Lee: Lodi, NY- OFF THE LIST, required having more people than we're likely to have.
Ezperanza Mansion: Bluffpoint, NY
Chateau LaFayette Reneau: Hector, NY

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beautiful Bridal Brigade!

Its official! All of my lovely ladies have said yes! I will be having four wonderful women standing next to me on such an important day of my life! I feel really lucky that I have a group of girls that all know each other well, as well as Mike and I as a couple very well. They all get along great too, so I know we'll have a blast! I've decided not to have a Maid of Honor because of each of these women have been very important to me at different stages of my life. Here's a quick run down of the Bridal Brigade!

Holly- a slightly older cousin who has known and loved me since before I was born. Its pretty easy to tell from the picture that we're related. We're known for being the "giggly girls" in the family. She's also planning a wedding for the same year as me and I'm her maid of honor! She's a graphic designer so I'm hoping she'll bring her design talent to the team!

Jenny- my best friend since late elementary school. She and I actually both started out liking Mike and I'm the lucky one that ended up with him! She's been there to support me for a long time and somehow hasn't run away yet! No matter how long its been since we have last talked, we always pick up just the same as we did in high school between periods. She has a lot of talents, one of which is lots of experience in a bakery. We may get brave and try to make a cake for the wedding together!
Corey- we were randomly assigned roommates freshman year of college and ended up living together for all four years! Corey was the one who supported me through the few months where Mike and I decided we should try not being together and saw how crazy that made me. She also was a big source of fashion advice, so I'm hoping she help make sure I look good in those pictures I will some day show my children! Corey's the one who lives the farthest away and is deep in the trenches of medical school, so I'm happy that she said yes to help me out!
Jamie- another beloved college roommate! I was actually friends with Jamie's now ex-boyfriend before I was friends with her. When we needed another person for our apartment Junior year, we thought Jamie would be a "safe" choice. If we only knew what we were in for! Jamie's another one with an eye for fashion and style and has such a sweet heart! I can't believe that I have known Jamie the shortest amount of time out of all four ladies- it feels like we're old high school friends! So that's my beautiful crew. I know we'll have lots of fun and they won't complain too much when I recruit them for all the crafty projects I'm planning! Most importantly, I know I can trust all four of these women with anything and I know that they all can get me through anything. They all have proven this time and time again. Not to mention the fact that each one of them can have me rolling on the floor in laughter in no time! So, Thanks girls! You make me so happy!