Cyber Monday Update

Apparently I only have time to write when it’s freezing cold outside, because here we are again at the precipice of another winter. The tree is up – or it was up but Bella has started to take it apart already:

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This is mine now.

But enough of cats on the internet (is there such a thing?)

Here are a few of the projects I’ve completed in the last few months:

Hats, hat and more hats (and an ear warmer and a Tardis gin bottle cookie) I’m really starting to feel more comfortable with color work, though in my opinion I still have a ways to go before it’s perfect.

And for more substantial warmth:

 

I’m working on another baby blanket right now, but shhhhh, that one’s a secret! That’s all for now!

Love and Marriage

This weekend is the used book Library sale, and today I went back for the second time. To buy more books. Not that the first 14 weren’t enough, but i realized i left a few holes that needed to be filled, book-wise. So went back and bought more.

Officially married over one month now. I keep waiting to feel different about my relationship now that we’re married, but I think we handled the adjustment into married life before the wedding. Is that anti-climactic? Not sure, but i know that I am looking forward to our beach honeymoon we planned a while back. Maybe being married will sink in more while we are away. And maybe not. I’m just enjoying and not expecting things in my life right now.

(Affordable) DIY Wedding Invitations

In my search for a cheap invitation option for my budget wedding, I considered all of the many different options out there and ultimately decided to make my own wedding invites. I think there are many wonderful choices out there for invitations and since they are all priced slightly differently, it can be hard to compare them against their competitors. Keep in mind that buying an invitation kit may save you money but will also take a lot more time to put together. You also need to factor in printing costs (unless you have a really nice printer and an unlimited supply of ink.) Each budget choice is going to appeal to a different type of bride, but here’s how I made my wedding invites (cost breakdown is at the bottom)

Supplies:

White Card Stock

Blue Card Stock

Yellow Ribbon

Hole Punch, scissors, glue

The first thing I did (after spending millions of hours on Pinterest) was design my invite.  If you’re handy with graphic design, you can do this in just a few minutes. You can also use a free template online to design it, or have a computer savvy friend do it for you (give them all the wording you want included and let their creative genius fly!) Using a template will be less original, but they’re also MUCH faster for people (like me) that are not comfortable trying to design their own. I used a free template from Weddingchicks for mine, then had it printed onto white card stock at an office supply store. I bought the card stock and most of my supplies during the Black Friday sale and also made sure the invite was only in black ink, which is cheaper to print then color – 13 cents a page vs 35 cents.

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Printed invites and blue card stock cut in half

Once the invites were printed, I cut them out, and then used craft scissors to give them a scalloped border. I cut all the blue card stock in half (using a paper cutter at work – off the clock of course!) and then used a hole punch to punch in 22 holes around the border. I can hole punch about ten cards before my hands start hurting, so I recommend sharing this task! (**To make this more efficient, use one card as your “guide” so you don’t have to guess where each hole should be punched.**)IMG_1852 Once that was completed, I threaded the ribbon through each of my holes and tied it in a bow at the top, then glued the white print to each invite. It sounds really simple and overall it was, but threading the ribbon was pretty time consuming, as was cutting out and gluing on each individual invite. I took the blue stock to a happy hour and had my girlfriends help with threading the ribbon, and B and I did the rest together. From start to finish, the invites took less than a week to make from printing to putting in the mail.

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The hole punch broke on the LAST one. Whew!

You can see my hole punch “guide” in the bottom right of the picture above.

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Don’t buy craft scissors: your friends with kids likely already have them.

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Getting really to assemble invites.

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The finished invitation!

What I learned: If I had to do it again, I would probably just print the invite on regular paper instead of card stock. It would have looked just as nice and I would have needed to use less glue to securely adhere it to the blue card stock.  I also paid too much for ribbon at first. After I started, I found a cheaper option, but you can’t return ribbon once you’ve cut it, so I was stuck with what I had already used. Punching holes and threading the ribbon was the most time consuming part, so I would consider having fewer holes, maybe just two at the top to save time – and my hands.

What I spent:

Card stock: $14.50 for 50 individual sheets of blue

$3.59 for a pack of white, black Friday sale.

Ribbon: $7 on sale

Printing costs:$7.67 (black ink only)

Envelopes: $9.96 for 100 on sale

Heart seals for the outside of envelope: $6.98 on sale

Hole punch: $2.79 on sale I borrowed the craft scissors for making the fancy edge and already owned the glue.

Total: $52.49 or $.52 per invite, and few evenings of my time.

Wedding and Wingdings

If you are looking for a story about the wedding every girl dreams of, then you should probably stop reading this right now. I never did that as a little girl. I never dreamed of my fantasy wedding – okay, there might have been a few Barbie wedding reenactments where Barbie and Ken said their vows, then drove off in a corvette towards their dream house – but if I did, I certainly never stopped to ask how much the rental fee was on that Castle in the Sky. So it was a little bit of a shock – and kind of an insult – that when I started inquiring into costs for Our Big Day that I was apparently expected to spent $25,000 to $30,000 on my one and only super special day. *Cough Cough* say WHAT?? I guess I’m a little naive, but that still shocks me every time I think about it.

So far, we’ve gotten really lucky with the planning: we have a friend that has offered to make our wedding cake, B is going to wear a tailored suit that he already owns, we have a friend that we have asked to marry us, and we are planning to ask another to be our wedding photographer. So right there we are saving ourselves at least three thousand dollars, but we still have a ways to go. Our goal is to celebrate with our friends and family with dancing and drinks and laughter (and not a car-sized chunk of debt hanging over our heads.) We are not there yet, but I feel good about the decisions we’re making so far.

In the meantime, both B and I are picking up additional work as we come across it. B is tutoring a could students in calculus, and we are dog sitting for a family that is out of town for Thanksgiving (which is almost like they’re doing US a favor, because we love having a dog in the house.) i’m doing some freelance writing and still furiously knitting away in hopes of getting an Etsy shop up and running soon.

I’m also going to make the ULTIMATE sacrifice, and go out shopping on Black Friday in hopes of getting some deals on wedding decorations.

I was spotlighted this month on a knitting designer’s blog for one of my projects! It was a huge compliment that she chose me for that, and I was especially happy since the project was a sweater that I really enjoyed making. You can see pictures of the sweater and read her post here. Looking over her page, it’s clear that her style and mine are pretty similar; it makes me really want to make more of her sweaters!

Oh and I finished a project this week! With all the knitting i’ve been doing for other people, i really needed a “me project” so I made a zip up laptop sleeve for my computer! I bought the fabric forever ago, but just haven’t had the time to get to it until now. I really love how it turned out – it has blue lining on the inside of both pockets. The only thing I would change if I did it again is that I would use a thicker fusible lining for some extra cushioning. I might make some more of these to put up for sale, but if I do they may not have the zipper closure. I’m still not entirely comfortable with zippers so they take me for-ev-er.  But anyway, here it is!

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I don’t even know how long it’s been since I last posted here

It’s November now, and once again several months since I sat down to write. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind few weeks since the beginning of October, which began with me losing my job.

It’s a long and boring story, but the short version is that the company I had worked for for over 9 years was restructuring and I was part of the few people they let go. They actually offered me another position in the company, but for many reasons I opted to take the option to leave. I feel like I’m being very vague here, which is certainly not an appreciated quality in reading a blog, but I don’t have any negative feelings towards the company and don’t have a desire to say anything that could put them in a negative light.

Anyway, this has opened up some new opportunities for me that I wasn’t even really looking for, but I’m really enjoying so far. I’m doing some freelance writing (for MONEY!?) which is challenging and interesting, I just got my substitute teacher’s license

My knitting mini business

My knitting mini business

approved, and my old company has even asked me to come back as a contractor for a few months next year. Needless to say, I’m staying pretty busy. I’ve even started selling some of my hand knit ear warmers!

On top of that, I’ve had more time to do things that make me happy, like reading and cooking, and spending more time at home and with B, as well as giving more time to friends. I’ve even managed to knock off a few more items on my 32 for 32 list.

Not working is also giving me lots of time to make plans for next year because…

I’m engaged!!

So I’ve been using the extra free time to plan a wedding for this next May, which is 6 short months away. We has originally planned on the following May in 2016, but that seemed such a long way away and we found a place that we loved that also happened to have a Saturday available in May, so we went for it! I already have a dress, but I can’t post it here in case B comes across it.

So as you can see, I’ve been a very busy bee. Hopefully all of this free time will give me more time to devote to putting some thoughts down on here.

VACATION!!

Vacation, thy sound is sweet! I am at work today, but I am celebrating by eating pizza for breakfast and leaving very short messages for clients. Tonight I get on a plane and don’t have to work for an entire week! I’m both exhilarated and saddened that one tiny week off is this exciting in my life.

 

Other than blissful vacation, here’s what happening:

This week is the 6th week since I started riding my bike to work every day! June was Bike to Work month in Colorado and I decided to participate this year (finally) and knock an item of my 32 for 32 31 for 31 list. Does it still count if it’s a year late? I’ve been extremely lucky so far during my rides there hasn’t been any crazy weather, but I’m trying to prepare for the rain that will inevitably come in August in the afternoons (any helpful tips for riding in the rain would be greatly appreciated!!) I made a few modifications to my beautiful green hunk of steel, which has made commuting more pleasant overall. I have a 1970 Raleigh Superbe, which I love for it esthetics, but it wasn’t originally as practical as more modern commuter bikes.   After a TON of internet research, I took her to my local bike shop and had them replace the rear sprocket with a larger one (I think I went from 18t to 22t) which makes climbing hills much easier. I also had a general tune up, new tubes and new tires and added a front and back light (which likely won’t be used until winter when it starts getting dark earlier.)

 

Am I a crazy beast runner now?

The first weekend in June I ran my first Ragnar Trail Relay race. Ragnar Trail (like the original Ragnar road relay) is a two day relay race TRAIL RUN. Over the course of 24 hours, 8 runners complete three different trail loops for a total distance of 104 miles (about 13 miles for each runner.) I admit, I went into this a little naively, after all, my first loop was only 3 miles…I can do that! I’ve done 20 miles at once before! But I gained a quick grasp on reality once I started. I had never done a trail run race, or ran in the mountains at night, or ran at 8500 feet elevation, or ran after getting little-to-no sleep, and sleeping on the ground…you get the idea.   This race was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I would absolutely do it again. I had a fantastic team, which really makes or breaks the experience (these are the people you hang out with for 7 hours in between each loop!)

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She’s Crafty!

I finished my second sweater at the end of May! See for yourself:

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I’m working on a third sweater that is getting pretty close to done, plus a summer shawl that I’m taking with me on vacation, and some secret baby things for a friend that is having her first baby in November that I hope will make her squeal. I also started using the sewing machine that I bought a year ago, though I only have ONE actual project to show for it, there are some fun things coming soon… but here’s my one little tiny thing that I’ve done so far:

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That’s pretty much it for summer so far! What was your favorite thing about June?

The Road so Far…

Why yes, that IS a Supernatural reference.

 

I don’t know how it’s June already when I’m still working on my todo list from April. May was a great – and busy – month for me.  Here’s a bit of what’s happened:

It snowed.  In May. But no worries because it was mostly melted by that afternoon.

 

April Showers Bring May Snowstorms!

April Showers Bring May Snowstorms!

I ran the Colfax half marathon:

Yay, another medal!

Yay, another medal!

It wasn’t my best or fastest race, but I also didn’t train as much as I could have, so I was happy just to finish and not feel like I was dying during the run.

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