Monday, July 12, 2010


So, things have been busy here. Busy doesn't even sum it up. I am surprised my head hasn't fallen off yet. So, sorry for my radio silence on the good 'ole blog.
Some big news as of late, and reason for my lack of posts:

  • PhD Defense - August 9th
  • Starting job as lecturer of 3 chemistry classes (700 students) - August 25th aaahhhh!!!!
  • Getting married - September 18th
  • Moving somewhere in between that!
Yeah, that's the big stuff.
I have been keeping myself very occupied lately, mostly with dissertation writing and my summer teaching job (TA). When I get tired of writing, then it's time for wedding preparations, etc. I'm constantly working. How did all of this happen? I don't know! I wasn't planning on everything to come at once like this. It's intense right now, and I was not expecting to start a job so soon, but I am very glad to have something that will add to my resume in the interim time between my graduation and Ryan's, and that we can also still be together in the same place. Then our wedding will be the icing on top of the craziness (it's worth it!). I can't wait to see all of my and his family (together! that's a first) and be in our BEAUTIFUL new apartment together. Anyhow, back to the title of this post. My save-the-dates. I haven't been up to any craftiness, except for these guys. I had such nice plans for them (as you will see) but then with time issues and snaffoos popping up here and there, I was THIS CLOSE to letting a facebook message suffice to give everyone advanced notice about the wedding. I know, SO WRONG, but I figured it would have been ok since it's all (mostly) family (I know, still not OK). Anyhow, they wouldn't have gotten done if it weren't for my cousin Meryl and her friend Georgia coming to see me and force me to do wedding preparations, like DRESS SHOPPING. yeah, I've been a total slacker. But that's for another post. Save-the-dates. These girls were awesome and helped me make them. Wanna see? I know you do.
I got (copied I think is more like it) my idea from 100layercake's tutorial.

I started compiling these things weeks ago, and I did a couple things differently. I had a custom stamp made through Etsy seller SugarLetter. I wanted something that had our names and the location, since it is a bit of a destination wedding, so that our guests could know who this was for and where - without me having to add anything extra in the envelope. I used lace instead of doilies. Well ok, I ordered the doilies but they took FOREVER to get here - not until after my save-the-dates were in the mail! So I went to Joann and got lace to use instead (now I have something like 72 super cute 3" crochet doilies sitting at home). I used raffia and hemp twine along with various heart and flower charms, all bought at Joann. The "pressed floral" paper was found in the scrapbooking department at Joann as well. The biggest issue was the tags. I had ordered the exact same tags as was used in the tutorial. But with my stamp, which is much bigger than the library date-stamp used in the tutorial, everything looked really crowded and cluttered. I HATED it. I was actually very worried that my save-the-dates would turn out looking like a craft project gone totally wrong. And I dreaded trying to figure out what to do to make them work, I just didn't have the time or patience to really try to make it come together in a way that would keep all the elements I wanted. Further, none of the many places around town, craft supply and office stores alike, had tags any bigger. SIGH. Enter Meryl. "Why not just make our own tags?" DUH. I had thought of that. But making a template, tracing, cutting, yadda yadda. I SO didn't have time to do that on my own. However, with Meryl and Georgia along with lab and workout buddy Emma, we were able to tackle it via assembly line. We got some thick linen card stock in ivory to serve as the tag material. Meryl made the template stencil, then Georgia traced, while Emma cut tags, (my rotary cutter saved so much time!), Meryl cut out the lace pieces and I sewed them onto the tags. Nearly 6 hours later, we had the tag bodies made. Then Mem, Georgia and I finished adding the other pieces throughout the next day. I am so happy with the result.

save the date!

There were several styles, though all very similar. You may have to click on the pic to view a larger version of it to see what I am talking about. The main differences include what type of string was used to tie the charm - raffia or twine. The next was the floral paper/stamp piece. It either had the save-the-date stamp or the "all you need is love" stamp. Additionally, the lace was cut in either a quarter circle piece (convex), or the opposite (concave) sloping inward piece. Finally, each save -the-date had it's own charm, so every one was unique.

concave lace, raffia, small stamp on floral paper

similar, but this was my favorite charm in the bunch. I believe Aunt Kristin got this one! Yes, I hand selected them for the recipients.

My workers.



I am such a slave driver. They should start making unions for save-the-date makers because I worked these girls the entire two days there were here (as evidenced by Meryl in this next photo, upon completion of our project) She'll tell you, they were allowed only 1 Coke and 1 bathroom break per day. =) kidding! But we got them done!

I gave my helpers a very special save-the-date.

Sugar scrub! made by me =)

Thanks Mem and Georgia!!! I couldn't have gotten nearly any of the things we got done without your help and I am SO APPRECIATIVE. Emma, you helped so much too, by staying late to get all those cards cut out. We wouldn't have been able to finish them the next day without that, I know it! Emma also baked german chocolate cupcakes . . . YYyuuuuuUUUMMmmmmm! Nothing urges you to work a little more quickly than the smell of warm chocolatey goodness =) You ladies are awesome! I had so much fun with you girls. . . Mem and GA, you're a riot. You guys definitely brightened my spirits when you were here. I can't wait to see you at my wedding!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The sparkly

Here are some more photos of my ring. =) I just love it!!!

Yes, those are my real nails. =P The ring is white gold, with a round cut center stone. It loves to sparkle and show itself off in the light! My camera really sucks at capturing it though, and I have trouble keeping everything still enough to get a super clear picture. Anyway, there are also four smaller diamonds on each side of the center stone.

I love how it tapers and gets skinnier towards the center. I think it is very feminine. And the band is thin enough so that it doesn't truncate my already short fingers.

side view

Here you can see the cathedral setting. The diamond is "suspended" and you can see right through it. pretty cool!!! This also allows much more light to pass through it, and why is sparkles like it's meant to. It's hard to see, but there is tiny detailing on the edge of each ring, called "milgrain". It just adds more look to the metal, and makes it more antiquey looking. Ryan really liked that.

bridal set

He did get it as a set, so just showing them off together here. It's so nice because it's all PAID FOR and since I already have a beautiful matching band, we don't have to worry anymore about my rings. The band has small matching diamonds in it too, I believe there are ten.

I love it! I am currently writing my thesis and I keep getting distracted by it. Ryan will also occasionally just grab my hand, look at it, and smile. So cute. =) He already says he wishes it was bigger, but I think it is perfect. There is no rush! And there will be opportunities later when he can upgrade me.

He just loves to spoil me. =)

The pictures really don't do it justice I think (at least my pictures don't). So, we'll have to wait for wedding paparazzi's to take some nice shots, or show it off in person. But for now . . . that's the ring. Next time. . . engagement story!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


How is it that kitties, even though they are sleeping, know that you are taking pictures of them. . .

And that they should twist and contort their bodies in the cutest way possible. . .

so that you just can't help but kiss that sweetly delicious little face?

They do it on purpose, ya know.

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Fire Garden

About two months ago, I planted a little garden on my balcony in my various window boxes and hanging baskets. When Ryan was little, he used to help his mom in her garden. He told me how he begged her to let him have his own little garden, a "fire garden", which would have only plants in fire-colored hues. She never let him. =( So when it came time for me to make my balcony pretty again, I decided to do a fire garden that he can enjoy.

Please ignore my sad lights. They need to be reinforced, that is if they still work. I have had lots of critters (squirrels) hanging out on my balcony, and being rodents, I know they are perpetually chewing animals. I wouldn't be surprised if my lights have fell victim to their gnawing habits.

The view directly out from my sliding door

Remember how the wrens were tearing apart my planter? Yeah, I didn't feel like paying 9 bucks for another coconut shell planter shell, so I just provided more support by cutting up one of the plastic pots some of the plants came in. =) Directly left of this view is a bird seed feeder, so between the birds and squirrels, by balcony gets a lot of visitors. The cats of course, love to watch them from the window. Baby, very curious by nature, is always waiting at the door to follow me outside whenever I go out to do laundry or water the plants.

He always has to investigate

A view slightly to the right of that first photo. . .

some of the window-boxes are the same

There is the wren house, a hummingbird feeder (though I haven't seen any yet) and yep, those are topsy-turvies. I'll let you know how those work. I have bell-pepper, tomatoes and tomatillos in them. My balcony doesn't get a whole lot of sun, so I am concerned with how well they will really do. I might need to move them to the front walkway where it's not so shaded by all the trees. I'd like to try to avoid that, because even though I am a friendly neighbor, I don't want my produce getting taken by others. =(

the veggies

I've been fertilizing the plants so they've really begun to take off. No baby produce yet though. That small soda bottle is for slow-watering so that the bag stays really moist.

Some flowers and rosemary for cooking

My plant gnawer is back. I don't know if its a squirrel or what, but I just noticed it about a week ago. That little yellow plant is non-existent now. Something chewed all the leaves off just leaving the yellow head. And I found it yesterday, chewed clean off, laying there in the dirt all sad and brown. =( I've begun to notice it on one of the tomatoes too. I really want to know what is doing this!
Once, I did see a female cardinal in the trees just hanging out in the branches. Then she would jump up and pull a leaf off. I watched her for several minutes just plucking the leaves off the tree and watching them fall. It seemed like she was doing this for fun, because she was not collecting them. I was fascinated when I first saw this, and thought it was pretty funny. . . until it started happening to my plants! Now I wonder if it's her. Some of the branches and things that I have noticed are being broken seem a bit thick for a little cardinal beak though. I'll be keeping an eye out! Anyhow, I think I will replace that yellow plant with some lavender. I know, not a fire-garden flower. But as I do have some herbs here, it will fit in with that scheme. =)

Flowers, red and orange with one that looks like firecrackers.

window box with begonias, thyme and alyssum

hanging baskets of flowers

The one furthest left has some begonias with other greenery.

a closeup

Some butterfly bush (left) and I don't know what that red one is called. But I love how it looks like flames!!

I love my pretty outdoor space. Hope you enjoyed it too. TGIF!

Friday, May 14, 2010

It Feels Good. . .

to stretch some pennies. I had a very big choice to make the other day. . . my dilemma was if I should take a bubble bath or not. I know, TOUGH. Well, for a while now I've been wanting to make a sugar body scrub, but didn't have a shower appropriate jar for it (I have lots of glass jars, but I don't see that working so well on the slippery surfaces). Then I was really wanting to soak the other day, with this flowery bubble bath from The Healing Garden, that is conveniently kept in a plastic jar. As I was about to run the water, a (very obvious) light bulb went off. Let's use the rest of the bubble bath as a base for the sugar scrub! I had enough for a very rich bath, but I figured a month's worth of foaming, sugary exfoliating goodness to show off summer skin was a great way to stretch it out a bit. It works great! And smells WONDERFUL. =)

jasminey foamy sugar scrub

When it runs out, I will make another batch of sugar scrub. It's really easy. . . Add 1/2 handsoap /bath gel to a jar then stir in sugar(or salt) until you get a nice paste. Use as often as you like for beautiful, healthy skin!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A sea of red

Saw this off of the freeway a couple weeks ago. Made me grab my camera the next day and take that exit to share with you all. . .

can you believe all that red?

This sea of red poppies was the entire side yard of a cute house off the freeway. You can't see how big this square is, but I'd say it was at least 50'x50'. So you can see how it very easily caught my eye. Can we just get in a little closer please?

aaahhhhh. so delicate and dramatic.

I love poppies. Now I just hear a certain evil, nasaly voice saying in a drawn out way, "Poooooppieeeeees, pooooooopieeeeees."

These remain one of my favorites.

Happy almost-end-of-the-week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

From the Mister

This weekend was pretty exciting. Ryan found one of his baby snakes that had escaped out of it's cage. It was actually his best snake, because he has a special gene for a certain type of coloring. So it was a huge disappointment when he got out about 5 weeks ago. Ryan has since started to build snake-escape-artist-proof-cages. We had both turned his apartment upside down looking for him on multiple occasions and he continued to look for him too, but given how long it had been since the snake last ate, we both feared that he had died or gotten outside under his front door. Anyhow, last week when I was visiting him, I noticed a snake skin under his toilet seat when I let it down. I immediately asked him if he had ever brought a snake skin into the bathroom when cleaning out the cages or whatever (it didn't seem likely, but I had to check) and he ran into the bathroom too to see the snake skin. It meant baby Hummel was still inside! Well on Friday night, Ryan had trouble sleeping and decided to get up and try looking for him again. Boy was he surprised to see him cruising around in his closet! The snake was tame before, but since he has been out on his own, he is pretty nippy. It's probably due to the fact that he is super hungry. . . . imagine a growing boy who hasn't eaten 6 meals. he would be grumpy too! I am sure that with more handling (by Ryan of course!) that he will calm down again. But I am SO glad that he found him. . . I now how sad it made him.
Well we were planning on going to the UT/Baylor baseball game Saturday night, so I met him over at his place so that we could drive to the park in one car and I wanted to see baby Hummel. And he surprised me with these:


3 pink/coral and 3 white. Awwwww. He remembered that they are my favorite. And that they are in season now. what a sweet guy. I am sad I didn't get pictures of them sooner. I left them at his place when we went to the game, and i didn't get them after because the game went like 15 innings and by the time we got back to his place I just wanted to go home and not go inside and get them. I wish I had, because they opened up A LOT. especially the pink ones. And since he worked all day yesterday, I didn't get them until yesterday evening. But they are still gorgeous and I am enjoying them. So is Baby.

The stinkin babe-in. (stinkin babe-in is my nickname for him)

he only got to smell them until I saw him start to open his mouth to chew on them. And which point he got a little tap on his behind and moved them out of his reach.

I love how big and delicate they are. The pink ones have those fabulous scoopy petals. while the white ones are all crinkly and pom-pom-y.

This one is the most open. You can't really tell the size of it, but it is much bigger than my whole hand open. the camera isn't quite capturing it, but the coloring in the petals is amazing. The only way I can describe it is like a watercolor. The colors blend and swirl, with the white at the center gradually growing to that vibrant pink.

I was so surprised. He is such a good Mister.