Monday, December 31, 2012

Here's to 2013!

Since starting my Project Life album in November I've been love, love, loving this project. As soon as I can get my paws on it, I'm going to be ordering the Seafoam Kit for my 2013 album. Along with that kit, I'll be using some elements found around the web and have liked the idea of using a calendar, but hadn't found any calendars that I really really loved. And so I made my own.

Since Project Life is something that most people approach in a weekly format, I made both a monthly plain calendar as well as versions with each week highlighted. For my album, I plan to use the weekly cards instead of listing the week number. They were fun to make and I enjoyed making something that'll fit in with the kit I plan to use. If you'd like to try them out too, please do! They're available here (that'll take you to the Google page for the whole folder. Just click 'file' & 'download' and it'll give you access to the whole folder of little calendars)

I'm excited for 2013 and new adventures ahead. I plan to be sharing some pages and would love to see how anyone else might be using the calendars. :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

DIY hipster quote cards

While I haven't yet written about it here on the blog, I embarked on a weekly Project Life scrapbook album starting after the wedding. I've just gotten into the swing of it, really and plan to share it a bunch in 2013. To get started, I have a little bit of fun from the interwebs to share.

Many people of the scrapbooking/crafty/nerdy nature love using quotes in their work. Many companies offer pre-printed slogans, aphorisms, and well- to lesser-known quotes on cards, in tear-off stacks, etc. Last week I learned (via Jessica over at How About Orange) about a neat-o web tool for making your own little quote faux poster should you be less graphic design inclined (or just like it!). Recite This is a fun way to take any text and turn it into a little bitty faux poster.

Both quotes from a long long ago blog header

As it happens, many of these are just the right size (or nearly) for the 3x4 card slots in a Project Life page protector. With a little bit of Photoshop savvy (a bit of re-sizing and removing the logo such that it looks nicer for personal use in an album) you can have fun little gems like these:

use cream
A favorite Julia quote

emily dickinson
and a lovely bit of a poem

The site has lots of options for making your text pretty and even a collection of quotes should you not have your own ideas flowing. Some of the designs are limited by character number, some are square, some are landscape orientation. It's a lot of fun and with a little tweaking they can be printed for various projects (the resolution is such that they'll not print much more than a 4x6 max depending on the shape/size). Enjoy!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Let Your Heart Be Light

This is the first Christmas that I'll not be spending surrounded by my family. This year it's me and the husband in our new little place here on our own. But we've been working on making it festive.

Christmastimes by LK on Grooveshark
Enjoy some delightful Christmas tunes

Tonight @alantwentyseven and I did some classy Christmas cookie decorating. Sweeties for work! Putting the "mental" in ornamental. A partly dried bit of Christmas cheer in the window.  #orange #pomander Baking up gingerbread cookies and a house too!

Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases! Have a wonderful one wherever you are (and enjoy the snow if you have it!)

A Very Doll-y Holiday

Last weekend I attended my first NYC Blythe meet. My first Blythe meet (apart from BlytheCon) in the US, in fact. While I'd met a couple of the other people there in Dallas, it was mostly new people.

haunting girl

The meet was hosted by Katja and Linda (lovely gals) at the party room in Katja's condo building on Roosevelt Island. I'd never been over to Roosevelt Island so that was a nice little adventure. The boy tagged along (gladly, even) and even took a good bunch of the nice photos of the day. We took the subway over and had planned to take the tram back to Manhattan, but the weather took a turn for gross and we're saving that trip for another time when we can get some sunshiney photos of the skyline.

hi there, tram
the tram across the sky near the Queensboro bridge

my girls
my girls

ta-da! ready to party
gorgeous eyes // ready to party

sisters (or cousins, at least).
Kenner love

so light

a little haunting
Melissa's ghostly gal

We'll likely not still be in the NYC area when the next US BlytheCon happens (in NYC), so it was great to meet some new folks now and get a feel for the Blythe community here. I still really miss my London Blythe peeps and can't wait to get back to the great meet-up spots there, but until then I hope to have a few more fun meets here in New York.

where's my dreidel?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

LK + A {the favors}

Post 6 in a short series about my recent wedding.

Wedding favors are an odd thing. Usually the bride and groom decide on what they will be and make sure that everyone gets what's on offer. It used to be pretty standard to get an embossed matchbook or a tulle sachet full of jordan almonds. These days, if you look online or in any shop that sells wedding-related stuff, there are any manor of options for favors. And in the vein of an industry that wants you to buy allthethings, they're stupidly expensive. 80% of the time, after spending a boatload on those tiny picture frames or quirky corkscrews, etc. the guests leave them behind. I've always found the more personal favors to be nicer. And more meaningful. So I made my own.

Last year I got a button maker. 1 inch. It's marvelous. If you're at all crafty or button-inclined (I've collected them for years), I highly recommend the investment. Anyhow, I'd used it for 1 big project, but then just a few little things. When I purchased it, though, I had ideas floating around. And those ideas came to full fruition for the wedding.

Placecards are placecards and favors are favors. Until you take the time to make each and every placecard 100% unique with a button (the back edges had a thank you message from the 2 of us). This endeavor took a good bit of time. Since I didn't know all the people coming to the wedding from Alan's side, he helped a bunch with coming up with ideas. In the end, all the adults had buttons personalized to their interests and all the kids got buttons with their initials on a fun background. After designing, punching out, and making the buttons, they all got attached to their individual placecards (more punching!). It was a wee bit stressful, but totally worth it.

The placecards and buttons assembled together at home (photo by Alan)

My cousin Rory is a comic book geek who loves The Green Lantern. He got a Green Lantern button. My pal Jessie is a Kentucky girl who loves horse racing so she got a racehorse. Ian loves beer = steins, Greg teaches Social Studies = globe, Jessica is a burner = Burning Man, Joe is a gamer = 20-sided die, etc. etc.

We couldn't have anticipated how well our guests would respond. Take a peek at these photos and spot the buttons! People not only liked them, but put them on straight away. Seeing everyone wear them throughout the night made us both really happy. A lot of our guests were so surprised that we would make such a personal gesture toward them on our special day. To me, it was just a fun thing to do.

This last photo is me with my brother & sister + all my amazing cousins. I love it.
(all but last © Sondra Ralston Photography, used with permission)

If you choose to have wedding favors, take a chance on something a bit personal. It really helped our guests connect with our day and I bet it would do the same for you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

LK + A {the invitations}

Post 5 in a short series about my recent wedding.

One of my favorite details of our wedding was the invitations. Our invitations were quite the labor of love. Having gotten the idea of printing on handkerchiefs from Martha Stewart (who else?) a while back, I got it in my head that when we got married I wanted to use this idea for our invitations.

Our invitation suite

I began to search for handkerchiefs before we were engaged. A good while before. I had faith, you see. And I also learned in just browsing around that finding vintage handkerchiefs that had blank centers and that were in a good shape to print on (as well as in my price range) was not an easy task. My mom was in on it since last Christmas (and, yes, some of you may recall we just got engaged this past February...)

A sampling of the many invitations

Shortly after we got engaged, before we left London, I started sending out some inquiries to local-to-WI screen printers as I'd already determined that trying the printing myself was going to be cost-prohibitive. Shockingly, a lot of local printers were even worse. In the end, I found a great family-owned print shop that was willing to take on my project. Ameriprint were absolutely great to work with and were excited about my unique project with me, which was pretty cool. They printed about 95 invitations for me, which was about 10 more than we needed. Only a few were duds (all due to weird print area), but most were keepers. (You can see all of them laid out here). No two were the same.

invitewrapped replycard
All wrapped up // Our fun reply cards

I designed the rest of the suite to reflect a bit of our personality, our color scheme, and the feel of our wedding. The reply cards featured a print from a vintage Wisconsin tourist postcard (now in the public domain) on the front, since many of our guests were journeying to the state for the first time for the wedding and because I knew we would be aiming to feature WI local food and drink at our reception. The invitations, when wrapped to be placed in the envelope were tied shut with a small navy ribbon holding a punched out cardstock tag that I'd printed with our wedding website address and silhouettes of the 2 of us. Originally, I had hoped to have a silhouette artist at the reception, but by the time I was preparing the invitations I knew that was likely not going to happen, but I still wanted a touch of that idea included. So tiny us on the tags it was!

Tag detail

The envelopes were from Paper Source, who were amazing when my order turned out to have not gone through and I didn't know until the envelopes didn't arrive when I expected! They got them out that afternoon and I had them the next day (3 cheers for Chicago --> WI mail!). Since the outer envelopes were a dark purple/eggplant color, they were all addressed with silver ink. They looked quite shnazzy.

Time to pack up months of planning and craftiness. Fly, little invites, fly! #wedding
All ready to post

It was quite an undertaking, but it was a fun one. If you have a little bit of time and patience, I wholly recommend doing as much DIY as you can. It starts making the wedding special before it even begins!

So. Many. Invitations.

I've got a couple other little details to share. But this one was my favorite and it was so fun to get emails and texts and phone calls and instagrams from friends and family commenting on how special they thought the invites were. It helped make our wedding ours.

Monday, December 10, 2012

LK + A {party time}

Post 4 in a short series about my recent wedding.

We were done with all the portrait taking and it was time to get down to the fun stuff: our reception!

This photo, taken by Alan's cousin Cathy, is one of my favorites of the day. Dudes walking to the reception with the Capitol in the background.

Our reception venue was the Madison Children's Museum. A lot of our friends and family thought a children's museum was an odd choice for a reception venue - until they arrived. Located on the Capitol square, it's a marvelous venue and one I hadn't really seen before moving back to WI this Spring since the museum's old home (the one I grew up with) was at a different location. Our cocktail hour was held on the rooftop garden, which is full of plants, chickens (in a coop!), songbirds, sculptures, and even a crow's nest to climb up and take in the views of the Lakes Mendota and Monona. The cocktail hour and dinner had a playlist created by me of string versions of not-very-traditional songs. Here's a taste:
LK + A reception tunes by LK on Grooveshark

Lots of smiles from the little ones

Dad and his best friend // a chat with my lovely Aunt Louise

Chatting with my oldest friend // Alan and his workmates

The cutest ringbearer/niece around! (And also my brother-in-law)

Then it was on to dinner on the 2nd floor of the museum. We had a taco buffet. In our strive to be budget-concious as well as a bit fun, tacos ended up being a front-runner. After meeting with the folks from Tex Tubb's Taco Palace, we were happy with our choice. In the end, it worked out as the best choice for meat eaters and veggies and picky kids and hungry adults. Tacos, people. Tacos.
The time arrived for speeches. We had some winners. My Maid of Honor, Megan, made us double over with laughter as she delivered the wedding speech from The Princess Bride. I love her. Alan's dad gave a speech in Scots while wearing a "traditional" hat. It was brilliant.

Ally gives his lovely Best Man's speech // "Mawwiage...is what bwings us togevver today..."

Alan's dad gives his amusing Scottish speech // My dad appears to be hosting a game show.

Dinner was over, the speeches were spoken, and it was time to dance! Our first dance was a little surprise for Alan. In the weeks before the wedding I snuck away to a quiet room on a few nights and recorded a version of The Magnetic Fields' "The Book of Love." He didn't quite catch on that it was me at first and a number of my relatives didn't believe it was me. (Clearly the multiple degrees in music education haven't convinced them that I can sing). It was really special.

1st dance
First dance

The Book of Love by The Magnetic Fields on Grooveshark

parent dance
Father & daughter // Mother & son

Daughter by Loudon Wainwright III on Grooveshark Forever Young by Rod Stewart on Grooveshark

Time to party!

Polka time! (This is Wisconsin, after all!)

A small pause in dancing to cut the cake and have some coffee. Our cake flavors were salted caramel and coconut. They were divine.

Busting some sweet moves

hamster wheel
Every reception venue should have a human-sized hamster wheel

lk scar dance
Every reception should also have cute little kids. They're good fun.

bouquet toss
The bouquet was tossed to the small amount of single ladyfolk and my fab bridesmaid Keli was the victor!

Wishing And Hoping by Ani DiFranco on Grooveshark

She earned a special dance with her squeeze, Ashley

Getting into "Cotton-eyed Joe" // The boys master the air guitar

Another favorite photo from the night - my cousin Sarah and her husband Reggie having a blast

Husband/wife dancing is where it's at

My cousins are the coolest people around...

boys in bonnets
The boys paused to get their hair done. (Another reason why a children's museum is a great place to be after a few drinks).

The last dance. We went for the traditional Scottish closer of "Loch Lomond."

Loch Lomond by Runrig on Grooveshark

Smiles and tears all over

parent hugs
Hugs for the parents for being awesome

LK + A kiss
And a final reception kiss

And that's it. Our wedding day was over. I've got a few more details to blog about this week, though. Decor, invitations, and such. Do please check back!

All photos by Sondra Ralston Photography