6 weeks 'til W day!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The count down is officially on. I have 6 weeks until I am a "Mrs."

I finished off my last two Etsy orders and have put Ohhh Lulu on Vacation Mode. I've jumped head first into wedding crafting.

Last night I went a little stencil crazy - hand cutting stencils, words, phrases, laurels, flourishes... I stencilled french lovey-dovey phrases on some rough, natural coloured burlap, and cut them into a bunting banner to drape across the head table. Because I made my own stencil, the bunting cost me less than $10 to make, and I have a ton of burlap left over, enough to likely make 3 more buntings.

Our ceremony is going to be very informal - no seating, just standing room, no ushers... so I wanted to have "help yourself" signs for the programs and birdseed bags, as well as a "Sign the Guest Book" sign for on the guest-book table. I picked up two picture frames from a charity shop for $3 a piece, cut a stencil out of cardstock, and painted on some scrap muslin.

I am getting so excited to see the whole thing come together!

Favourite Blogs...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm so excited. I am snagged a banner spot over at The Vintage Wife, which is one of my favourite blogs! I'm hoping to see my banner go up in August, which will link back to my blog - since my Etsy shop is currently on Vacation until after the wedding.

Amy Winehouse

Monday, July 25, 2011

I hate to jump on the dead-celebrity bandwagon, but I'm going to anyway.

I really loved Amy Winehouse's music. I loved her voice. I loved putting on Back to Black and singing it around my apartment, by myself, in Toronto. She sang so much of what I felt at that point in my life.

Her death is sad, but not surprising. It's sad that she became famous, more so for being an alcoholic and drug addict.

I've had the misfortune of watch someone I love be changed forever by his experience with addiction. What Amy's family is going through, is every addicts family's worst nightmare - a terrible, but very real nightmare.

The thing that really bothers me about the media attention on people like Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, and Amy Winehouse, is that it makes drug addiction and alcoholism "ok." These highly successful, wealthy, creative individuals are clearly addicts, but they maintain some seeming level of success. Doing drugs, drinking to excess has lost any sort of taboo, and for way too many people has become just your average Friday night. Drug use, and I mean hard drug use has largely become "ok" because everyone is doing it!

TV Shows like Intervention, which I admit, I am very guilty of watching, also glamorize the addicts life. They are showered with attention & love & camera crews, and whisked away to some by-the-sea rehab facility where they are free to play guitar and sing songs about finding Jesus.

This is not the reality of addiction. Dirt, filth, anger, desperation, pain; that is the reality of addiction. Most addicts, and their families - who have likely at this point incurred legal costs, had their possessions stolen, pawned, and bought back - can't afford the Betty Ford Clinic. They are lucky to have a community Methadone clinic, with very little psychological or emotional care.

I guess my hope out of every "drug death" is that people will wake up and realize that drugs and alcohol are dangerous and our view of them, as a society, is horribly skewed. No addict wakes up and makes the choice to be an addict. It can happen to anyone. Drugs and alcohol do not care who they hurt. It can happen to anyone. It happens to the best people, the best families; it tears them apart and hurts everyone around them. It changes everyone involved. Forever.

I feel for Amy, but I feel more for her Family. I know they are suffering, but I bet they feel a twinge of relief. No more worry, no more anger. No more waiting for "that phone call." I hope they can finally get some peace.

Wedding and Ohhh Lulu News!

The wedding is coming so fast now. For the longest time it felt like I had so much time to plan and decide on things, and now it's a month away!

I got to work on my wedding programs this year. I used blank greeting cards as my "cover". They were on sale at Zellers (soon to be Target, which makes me sad) for $11 for 40. I picked up two and will use the left overs for Thank you Cards for my Shower.

I used a "Marrying Picture" My soon to be nieces drew of Dan and I as the cover page. You can't really see it very well, as the picture got kind of washed out (I need a new camera), but you get the idea.

The middle has all the usual boring "thank you" and who's-who and order of ceremony, by my favorite part is the past page, where I put in a wedding-day word search! I used Puzzle-maker.com to generate a word search and just copy and pasted it into my booklet.

I bound the booklets by punching a hole about 1" down from the top and bottom edge, along the fold. This actually makes quite a nice binding. A word of warning - punches can be very sharp, and if you are punching while sleepy, you run the risk of punching nearly all the way through your finger-tip, like I did. Not pleasant. We stamped on paper bags for the front page title, cut them out roughly and made the corners fancy with a paper punch you can get at any craft star. All in all our programs cost us $45 - would have been less if I had already had a fancy corner punch... that cost about 1/4 of the cost of the invitations.

So, we have our programs, birdseed bags, invitations mailed and are starting to return, ring pillow, 1 of 2 flower girl dresses, place cards, guest book, chalkboards (and easels) for seating arrangements... What else am I forgetting?

I'm looking forward to the big day. I picked up my dress last week and it is so beautiful, looks really cute with the shoes and the shoe clips I bought off of Etsy. I am looking forward to relaxing a little after the wedding...

And here is the BIG news. I am going to be devoting a lot more of my time to Ohhh Lulu in the very near future. I've been doing a lot of thinking and I've decided, after the whole heartbreaking house cafuffle, that I need to do this. We have nothing to lose. I talked to my boss last week about either not renewing my contract, or proceeding with just a couple days a week. This is super scary and exciting for me... as well as a huge relief - my "Day Job" has changed considerably since I started and as much as I've tried I just am not cut out for the lube business. I think anyone who has been following my blog can tell, I've been burning the candle at both ends for too long. I'm so excited to really "live my dream" even if it means it's a huge failure, at least I can say "I tried."

Are you as anxiety ridden as me?

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have anxiety issues. I psych myself up about the littlest things. Does anyone else do this? I can rationalize and tell myself to just chill the eff out, but its easier said than done!

I submitted a link to my shop and blog to Hello Giggles yesterday... but accidentally added a "k" to Ohhh Lulu in the URL. DOH!

What's the worst typo you've ever made?

I remember a colleague of mine at a previous job, at a textile design studio, was preparing handouts for a new collection of fabric. One of the designs was named "Funky Flowers." Well, I guess she missed the proof-read step and handed them out reading "Fu_ky Flowers." You can fill in the blanks!

I once handed in a resume to a job I really wanted, with my phone number typed wrong. I followed up with them a week after handing it in, they told me they had been trying to reach me but my number had been disconnected! Maybe they felt bad for me, but I ended up getting the job.

I guess sometimes seemingly bad things can lead to unexpectedly good things.

Wedgewood Blue.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It felt good to finally sew something new this weekend! It's been so long since I've sewn something new!

I went shopping with my mom for her dress for the wedding on Saturday, then spent some time in lovely downtown Orillia, antique shopping. I found some lovely antique doilies, and a vintage book for Dan.

This morning while I was picking up fabric for custom orders, I came across this wedgewood blue, silk-cotton voile. It's so light and airy. I inset the doily into the back, for a little peek a boo, and added satin ties. The crochet elastic ribbon matches the doily perfectly!

Dan and I also made 2 chalk boards for the wedding which I will write and post pictures about some other time.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. The weather is ridiculously hot, and I'm jumping in a cold shower every few hours for relief.

I might have some exciting news at the end of the month. So stay tuned!

Post Camping Bliss

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dan and I went on an over night camping trip this weekend to Arrowhead Provincial Park, with my aunt, two cousins, and 2 little ones. We had such a nice time, and went on a nice long walk through the bush to the most beautiful water fall on Sunday afternoon. I absolutely love camping.

We've decided that because finances are a little tricky right now due to our work situation, we are going to forego a traditional honeymoon, and instead, just pack up the car and head north and camp in random places for the week, or however long we feel like staying.

I've gotten so much done the last few days. This morning I woke up at 5:30 and worked for 3 hours before heading to my day job... I'm now at work taking a little breather, preparing to go home in a few hours, print my last 6 wedding invitations, and spend some time with my cuddley pug.

I also wanted to thank everyone who commiserated with me on my last few blog posts. It's nice to feel like I've got people "on my side" in tough times, and I really appreciate the comments. I can't wait until the day when I look back on this time of my life and smile at how we got through it...

Just like I smile and think fondly of my life when I was in college - living in that cockroach and bedbug infested apartment in Toronto... the one that I learned, the first night I moved in, that was beside a very noisy and frequently used train. The one with the Rastafarian next door neighbor. I ate nothing but dollar store Sidekicks pasta for nearly 2 years! And I feel like a better person for having done it.

I'd love to know your stories... is there a situation that you persevered through and now look back upon fondly?

My mistakes come in 3's... sometimes exponentially

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jeez, what a week. I can't believe how much my life has changed in just one, measly week. Sure, there is still a lot of good... but I'm still reeling. Reeling and sleep-deprived.

And to top it off, it appears I've been a terrible seamstress, making a romper too short and a bathing suit in the wrong fabric. I think this time, I can honestly say it, I NEED TO TAKE A VACATION! Our week-long honeymoon can't come soon enough. I can't wait to have some time to clear my head.

Lots of good things and not so good things have happened so far this year. I got engaged and will be married in two months. My dad had a heart attack and my grandmother passed away. Dan lost his job and we lost the house we had almost purchased. I've nurtured a small business into something that is thriving... slightly beyond my control at the moment. I changed jobs, and taught my dog to stand on his hind legs and turn in a circle. I'm pretty proud of that.

People keep telling me that "these things happen for a reason." I can't help but wonder what that reason might be. I can handle the things I can rationalize - a sewing mistake made because I was rushing to fulfil orders. I can fix this - I can remake this - I can refund someone their money. I am good at handling these things!

I can't wrap my mind around the negative things that are going on that seem to be happening without reason or recourse. I'm losing sleep and have completely lost my ability to focus. I want to just throw my hands up and walk away from everything... pitch a tent in the woods and stay there 'till winter. I'm getting worse at handling these things.

I do my best to stay calm and collected and I am go through the motions and smile politely and say "We will get through this bump in the road." But what I really want to do is throw a tantrum and say "I'm sick of bumps in the road" and give the universal force that controls life a big middle finger. Take THAT life! Take THAT all the things you've thrown my way the last 8 years - mental illness, drug addictions, courts and jails, family suffering, hospitals and psych wards, struggle, pawn shops, cheating, lying... Though I know rationally these struggles are no worse or better than anyone else's, that I've been blessed with a wonderful family who survives struggle fiercely and is a force to be reckoned with, a dog who knows just when I need a snuggle and how to make me laugh, and (soon to be) husband who loves me to pieces and would do anything for me.

This just happens to be life, no fault of anyone or any cosmic force. An average struggle of a life, no better or worse than any one else's, that is speckled with simple, beautiful blessings.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I've Finally gotten on top of all of my Heartsy orders. Something I learned over that whole process is that 50 orders on top of a full time job, plus wedding and life was a little too much. But I did it, and despite a postal strike, most of my orders got out on time and met any necessary deadlines.

Now, that the house is out of the picture and I'll be sitting tight in our apartment in the middle of the parking lot for the rest of the summer, I can focus on new goodies, instead of gardening, and painting... I started photograph my "Design Your Own" collection a week or so ago and am now getting around to editing the photos. Which reminds me, I really need a better camera.

I'm still really sad about the house, even though I know we'll find another just as nice. I'm mostly angry about the position and how Dan was let go without remorse, feeling, or an "I'm sorry, I know it's a bad time." The worst part is that what happened is completely legal. It's hard to fire someone with cause, so in reality, you can be let go with very little notice for no reason whatsoever! I find this particularly funny because you cannot be approved for a mortgage in the probationary period of a job because you can be let go at any time. Well, you can be let go at any time, all you need is a week per full year in notice. That meant for Dan, who was there just under 3 years, only 2 weeks notice. Two weeks when you have hundreds of tens of thousands of dollars hanging over your head is nothing.

My favourite thing about living in a small town, especially living in a small town with a big family who knows everyone, is that I know karmic justice will be served via word of mouth. And that's all I can hope for. I will continue to live a right and just life, and speak only the truth. Dan and I will be sitting pretty on our high horses, and good things will come to us...

They've got to eventually, right?

Advice Needed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

We had to back out of the house negotiations. Dan was given a termination notice at work on Saturday. We were ready to move in on the 30th.

Here's what gets to me. His employer knew he had been looking for a house, that he was going to put an offer on a house, that we did, in fact put an offer on a house, that we were scheduling the home inspection... and it wasn't until money had transferred hands that the boss-man decided to give him a note that reads:

"Your services are no longer required as of July 16th."

No reason, just the shortest requirements of the law. Two weeks notice. No explanation, no "I'm sorry, I know this is a bad time." This is a prime example of how this company treats its employees. And I would know! I worked there for a year (you may remember the naked lady posters in the lunch room)! I find it particularly surprising that they would want to fire one of their licensed mechanic during the busiest season. Hmm...

It is sad that the most senior employee, only 1 of 2 employees with a license would be treated with such disregard.

Dan was promised raise when he finished his final block of schooling... they said, "When you get back from school, you'll get a raise." He got back from school, then it was "When you write your test, you'll get a raise." Dan wrote his test and passed with flying colours, "When you get the certificate in the mail, you'll get your raise." Got the certificated, put it in a frame on the wall. Next it was, "You broke something in the shop, you won'd get your raise until that is paid off with the money you would have earned from your raise." At this point I knew we should have called the labour board. There was no tabulation that Dan was aware of to calculate the 'paying off" of the debt. We are both pretty sure that raise should have come into effect on Monday.

The best part about the raise? It was only going to bump him up $1.50.

This is just the beginning of the problems the both of us had with this place. I will just brush over the others - fighting to get a half an hour break during 11 hour shifts, overtime in addition to 11 hour shifts, low wages, bullying from management, poor work conditions in the summer - it was too expensive to run the air conditioning, even in days when the temperatures creeped over 30 degrees Celsius.

I am so angry, so very angry about the way people are being treated at this place. Dan will find another job, and it won't be hard to find one that is better than where he is coming from, but the things these guys put up with. And our postal workers were just striking over reduced vacation time, job safety, and maintaining an $19/hr starting rate! Dan and I could only dream of $19/hour working there! Mechanics must have a higher work-place injury rate than Postal Workers. These are the people who need unions.

So, I'm pissed that I had to call the real estate agent and say "guess what, that financing we said we had, we're not going to get it any more!" We will get our initial deposit back, but will probably miss out on the house we fell in love with. It's a slap in the face to Dan as well. He devoted a lot of time and energy to that place... I know it will be for the best in the long run and all of those consoling things, but I really thing this is an unfair way to treat a person, and that the minimums in the Employment Standards Act SUCK. Any advice would be appreciated.

I've been MIA

Friday, July 1, 2011

I've been missing from the web for the last few weeks because...

We have put in an offer on a house. Buying a house is quite involved! We have been busy getting everything arranged to potentially move in on August 1st!

This means Ohhh Lulu will soon have more space, but also means I'm going to become even slower over the next month or so, between the wedding and moving. But, once it's all done, I can focus!

The house has a beautiful back yard, is right near the lake, a short walk to down town... it is in need of some "updating" but is perfect for the two of us.

Also, today is my birthday! And Canada Day, so I will be enjoying parades, cake, and a bonfire later on today. Happy Canada Day to everyone! Wear a maple leaf for me.

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