lea♦makes

Wednesday

2

April 2014

0

COMMENTS

Today’s Birthday

Written by , Posted in The Life

Today's Birthday (04/02/14). Love expands this year, especially at home, as your family circle grows. Late spring renovation projects lead to summer fun. Enjoy domestic bliss and beautification. Romance and finances bloom from late spring to autumn. Maintain expenses below rising earnings. Demand rises for your creativity, especially after August. Your mission's becoming clear. Focus on growing what you love.

Tuesday

25

March 2014

0

COMMENTS

Dog Blog

Written by , Posted in Design Blog, The Life

No, I’m not changing this to a dog blog (although it basically has been a ghost blog lately) – but Joe really has a significant desire for Louie to make his official debut onto the internet. He keeps saying to me, “What is a blog without picture of dog?” And I agree. Who gets an adorable puppy and doesn’t put pictures of him in every possible internet venue? It’s basically a disservice to the internet not to share more pictures of him.

So, without further ado, Louie:

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We adopted him from the Animal Humane Society on February 14, because, you know, planning a wedding and getting a promotion at work just wasn’t enough to keep me busy ;) – really though, I’ve wanted a dog ever since I came to terms with the fact that Joe was seriously allergic to cats. The fact that we live in a dog-friendly apartment, and just that quintessential young-adult excitement of “I can have my OWN dog?” had prompted me to check humane society websites fairly frequently, which is when I saw ….

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Marcy. I know you’re wondering how Marcy grew four inches of hair to turn into Louie. On the website Marcy was described as a Terrier mix, but in-person she was definitely a Chihuahua. She wasn’t the dog for us (luckily someone else adopted her though!) but on my way out I happened across an adorable little guy who wasn’t on the website before. I asked the staff members about the happy 5-month-old puppy named “Chumley” and they said he’d just been made available an hour prior.

I was enamored, but couldn’t make any decisions without Joe, so I said I would have to come back when Joe had time in a day or two. The employee asked if I wanted to put “Chumley” on a 24-hour hold but I was hesitant to take that step without even having talked to Joe about him. Thank goodness she pushed and said even if I was a little bit interested I should do the hold or someone else would adopt him before I could come back. I’m so glad she convinced me to do it! I know there are lots of people who would have given him a nice home, but it really feels like he belongs with us.

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I was unsure what Joe’s reaction would be to me announcing “I found a dog and I think he’s the one!” so I tried to be very casual about it. Since it was Joe’s work week, the only time we could go together to meet “Chumley” during humane society hours was on my lunch break Friday. We met there at noon and I really was thinking it was a long shot that this would work out. Joe thinks that humane societies look like “dog jails” since each of the dogs are in little concrete cells. So we busted Chumley/Louie out of his cell and took him into the visitation room to play. He was so sweet and happy to be with people – he’s definitely the type of puppy who loves everyone – and it just felt like he loved us instantly. That night after work, I braved the Valentine’s Date Night traffic back to the humane society and “busted Louie out of jail” as Joe would say. It was indescribably fun, exciting, and a little nerve-wracking to bring him home, but I am so glad that he’s our dog!

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We’ve been having a lot of fun with Louie (he didn’t seem attached to the “Chumley” name so we changed it the first day he was home) this past month, even now that he’s acting out a little more during what we’re told are the “naughty teenager” months of a dog life. Also I know I’m biased, but I think that he is the cutest dog alive. I hope that everyone sees how sweet and cute Louie is and is also encouraged to adopt from a local shelter or rescue group! We have had such a good experience with the Animal Humane Society and there are so many animals out there who really deserve a second chance to be loved.  The little email above just melts my heart. And in case you can’t tell quite how special Louie is from the pictures — Joe’s phone has a “music video” function he was playing with last week, which resulted in this…

Tuesday

25

February 2014

1

COMMENTS

Louie

Written by , Posted in The Life

Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies.

Gene Hill

Friday

31

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

That Time I Made a Lamp

Written by , Posted in Design Blog

Many, many months ago (or maybe three? I don’t know anymore), my friend asked me to contribute an art piece for a charity auction hosted by her architecture firm, and obviously I said yes. And then she said she was thinking we could all make hanging light fixtures, which seemed slightly more daunting, but I’m pretty sure I immediately said yes again and started sketching things.

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Some decent options there – I was trying to figure out something that would work with a set of string lights I already had lying around. I also had a sheet of thin acrylic plastic I wanted to use for the structure around the lights. I thought it would be cool to paint the backside of the acrylic so it would still look glass-like on the outside. As you may be able to read from the top sketch, my options for painting were malachite or “marble like Barcelona Pavilion.”

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The painting went fairly quickly. I looked at a couple of images of malachite and just went for it. The nice thing with painting something natural is you can do it without drawing or marking any patterns. It’s much easier to paint leopard spots or marble than chevron or houndstooth. The hard part was cutting holes for the lightbulbs out of the the plastic. I used a utility knife and it wasn’t really a joy to do. Remind me to buy myself a laser cutter when I’m rich.

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Moment of truth: after everything was put together it actually lit up! Plus the reflection of the bulbs on the plastic was pretty cool. You might be able to see that there were still transparent lines between the “malachite” and I thought about doing a solid layer of paint on top of the malachite after it was dry, but the semi-transparency lead to a bit of a stained glass look so I went with it.

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To hold everything together I made a wood frame for the inside and attached the plastic with finishing nails. The corners where the edges of the plastic met looked alright unfinished, but I decided to polish the look by running lines of metallic washi tape along each edge (such a professional lamp-maker, I know). After that it was off to the auction! It was a silent auction so I don’t know where the lamp is living today, but it went for a nice price. Plus since I used items I had around the house and only purchased the wood and washi tape, I would say my costs were completely recouped with free wine and beer at the auction.

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Wednesday

29

January 2014

1

COMMENTS

Wedding Wednesday: Shoe Blues

Written by , Posted in Design Blog, The Style, The Wedding

Well I have my gown and the next step would be alterations, except I can’t find any shoes.

I know it sounds bridezilla-like that I can’t find a single shoe that meets my expectations, but I have the perfect gown, the perfect earrings, the perfect little jacket to wear if it’s cold after sunset – so why would I settle for some so-so shoes? To my credit, it is hard to find a pair of shoes that is formal enough to wear with a gown but still has a thick enough heel that I won’t sink into the grass during the outdoor wedding. Wedges are a viable option, but I really prefer the look of heels.

It’s also not entirely true that I can’t find anything to meet my expectations. But everything that does is sold out.

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BHLDN Starstruck Heels. Sold out.
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J Crew Etta rose gold sequin pump. Sold out. (image source)

There are a few backup options I’m considering if no miracle occurs where I find something I love as much as the two above. Also I do know about the little plastic things you can stick onto high heels so they don’t sink into the grass, but they aren’t great looking so I’d rather just find a shoe with a thicker heel (which will also be more comfortable than a stiletto). I can be flexible on color. If I could find something like the shoes above in white or ivory, or even a brighter pink, I would consider it.

If I go with a backup then I have to decide which of the aspects of the above shoes to give up on. Ex: I could find something sparkly and rose gold, but it would have to be a wedge or a stiletto with the plastic thingy. Or I could find something with the thick heel profile that I like, but in the wrong color.

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Here’s the Keep page where I’m aggregating various options and inspirations. I know what you’re thinking: “Oh my god, buy those shoes with the feathers right now!” but they’re $800. That’s why I said ‘inspirations’ in relation to this list – don’t worry, I’m not considering spending 1/3 of my monthly income on one pair of shoes. I have ordered one shoe featured above and it should be arriving in the mail shortly, but I’m not getting my heart set on anything yet because it’s really important to have shoes that are comfortable and fit well. The last thing I want is to be in pain the whole day. (Okay, the real last thing I want is to have ugly shoes, but I have a feeling that comfort and style can find a happy medium).

Do you know of any shoes that would fit what I’m looking for? Feel free to join in and help with the shoe search!

Tuesday

28

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Success

Written by , Posted in The Life

Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.

Arthur Rubinstein

Wednesday

22

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Wedding Wednesday: MSP Dress Shops

Written by , Posted in The Style, The Wedding

As I’m sure I’ve exclaimed all over social media, and in real-life too, my wedding gown arrived! I own it! It’s mine!

It’s just wonderful, and I can’t wait to share one million photos of it after the wedding. I’ve always suspected it, but now I officially know that I am a gown lover. I couldn’t tolerate the socio-political gender restrictions of the olden days, but I sure wish there were more occasions in today’s society for ladies to wear gowns. Oh, not just dresses, but magical, ethereal gowns. I want to adorn myself in gowns and sip champagne and wear Chanel No. 5 and twirl around rooms with marble floors. (To be clear, I also want to be able to dress like a man if I feel like it, and have a stay-at-home husband, and take my car to the shop without a mechanic treating me like shit, and I want to say ‘shit’ if I feel like it, too. It’s 2014, I can swear and wear gowns.)

In my quest for the perfect gown I visited many bridal salons in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area and I want to provide my reviews for any future brides or bridesmaids. Here is my gown-shopping experience in order from first to last.

1. Che Bella

I had several people tell me that they actually ended up buying the first gown they tried on, and that was a distinct possibility at Che Bella. Despite being a smaller store, there are so many amazing dresses here, and possibly the most lovely employees of any place I visited. They had a range of styles and prices, and they just really made me feel great about myself. They were warm, personable, and genuinely more interested in learning about my style and my wedding than in pushing me to buy a dress. I would definitely rank this as a “must try” location if you’re looking for a wedding dress.

2. The Wedding Shoppe

The Wedding Shoppe was the only salon in the area that carried the brand of dress I was initially most interested in. They have the largest amount of dresses of anyplace I visited, but to support that they also have to provide service to a huge amount of customers. I’ve actually been here multiple times because we found our bridesmaid dresses here, and each time it is extremely busy. Employees here are more like salespeople than attendants. I don’t blame them for wanting to make a sale since I’m sure they work on commission – but by the end of my appointment when I wasn’t in love with a dress it felt like they were desperately pulling more dresses for me to try even if they didn’t fit what I was looking for.

3. Flutter

Flutter has only a mall selection of specific wedding dresses – clean-lined architectural sheaths and column gowns. It can be surprisingly hard to find an elegant, modern gown that isn’t covered with sequins or giant poofs of satin, so it’s awesome that Flutter provides a variety of them. I really respect that the owner has a vision of the dresses she wants to offer and sticks with it. The service is good and the space is lovely but be sure to make an appointment because they have only two fitting rooms. They also carry a variety of beautiful bridesmaid dresses.

4. Macy’s Bridal

Macy’s Bridal Salon is sort of the opposite of Flutter. They have a lot of very traditional-looking, large, satin, embellished dresses. The woman we worked with was wonderful, but unfortunately it seemed like most of their dresses were a bit dated and overly prom-looking. The website said they carried a lot of brands which the Minneapolis store didn’t actually have in stock, although maybe there is a wider variety available in other cities. I will say they had some really reasonable prices, so if you’re looking for a less-expensive gown you may be able to find a diamond in the rough at Macy’s Bridal.

5. Joynoelle Boutique and Atelier

If you have several thousand dollars to spend and want your wedding dress to truly be a work of art, this is THE place to go. Joy designs and hand-crafts each of her dresses in her South Minneapolis shop and each is a one-of-a-kind beauty. Walking into her shop is like walking into an artist’s studio, and you get to hang out with Joy who  is just a really talented and interesting person. Even though I didn’t purchase a dress here the stop was totally worth it, and I got to try on some mesmerizing dresses. If you’re a “$8,000 Vera Wang dress” kind of bride, take your money to Joy Noelle instead and get a dress that no one else in the world will ever have.

6.Brides of France

We stopped in both the consignment side, in case there were any gems hiding in there, as well as the order-new side. This is a nice place to stop because they take walk-ins. With the length of appointments, driving, and the physically-tiring experience of climbing into dozens of dresses, it can be nice to only make one or two actual appointments so you aren’t rushed and then try a walk-in if you’re still up for it after. Brides of France also carries a very unique style of dress from two specific designers. What I love about their store is that you can actually go through the racks yourself so that you don’t miss something you want to try on, and don’t have an attendant pulling some dresses you aren’t even interested in.

7. Bridal Accents Couture

Ahhh – my bridal salon. Obviously I’m biased because I found my gown here, but I would highly recommend driving out to Burnsville for an appointment at Bridal Accents Couture. This is the prettiest salon that I went to, with the chandeliers and the plush white carpeting, it feels a little like being Cinderella. They carry some really great designers and had a range of shapes and styles that were modern, pretty, and very bridal. The service was also excellent. They had a sample of a dress brought in specifically for me to try, listened to what I was looking for, and let me take all of the time (and photos) I wanted once I found my gown. I think they truly care about the special experience of finding a gown, which is a once-in-a-lifetime memory to have. Of course this is the only location I purchased a gown so perhaps this is standard practice, but once I officially signed the papers they gave me a gift bag with a wedding magazine and bottle of champagne – how sweet!

bac

Monday

13

January 2014

1

COMMENTS

Just Pictures

Written by , Posted in Design Blog

Back on the day of amazing lighting when I took pictures of my new plants, I figured I had to take advantage of the sunlight and grab a few more shots of the apartment. So this post isn’t really about anything other than some nice pictures of our apartment. Now that the Christmas decor is all put away the room is back to looking mostly like this, except colder and drearier. In person I just miss our festive tree and lights, but these pictures make me remember that I do like the non-holiday version of our space too.

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Friday

10

January 2014

0

COMMENTS

Artists

Written by , Posted in The Life

Those people who recognize that imagination is reality's master, we call 'sages,' and those who act upon it, we call 'artists.'

Tom Robbins

Thursday

2

January 2014

1

COMMENTS

Gift-Yourself Guide

Written by , Posted in The Life, The Style

Just about every blog I read had at least one gift guide before Christmas, and I intended to make one too until I ran out of time. Luckily the shopping doesn’t have to stop when the holidays do. In fact, crappy January is a great time to cheer up with some gifts for yourself.

Each Christmas seems to come along with a few gifts of cash, and even though I should be forwarding that all directly to Sallie Mae, sometimes it’s just too hard to pass up all of those after-Christmas sales! Plus those cash gift-givers usually want you to use it on something that will make you happy! And sure, deep down, paying off my student loans makes me happy. It just doesn’t feel as nice as new clothes. So here are some gifts that might be good to give yourself.

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1. Madewell Sunglasses. I think sunglasses are a great January buy. It’s a nice reminder of sunny days to come, but unlike summer clothing you can still use them now while waiting and wishing for better weather.

2. Zara Sweater. Sometimes the whole month of January – heck, February too – can be a struggle. A chic sweater made from a blanket’s-worth of fabric can help ease the hours you spend wishing you were still at home in bed.

3. NARS Lipstick. This semi-sheer shade of berry is subtle enough for daytime but pretty enough that it might distract from the unfortunate pale skin and under-eye circles of winter. Sometimes a little lipstick says “I’m trying!” even when the rest of your appearance doesn’t.

4. Sole Society Bag. As part of my aspiration to live more like an adult I’ve made an effort for the past year to only invest in actual leather shoes and bags rather than faux. In my experience, real leather lasts years longer and ages really nicely compared to plastic that cracks and peels. Even if you don’t always feel like a successful 20-something, this classic bag will make you look like one.

5. Leather iPhone case. For the past year I’ve had a smooth fabric iPhone case and I think the texture is so much nicer than a hard plastic case. This neutral leather case – with optional metallic monogram! – would be classy and durable.

6. Craft Book. Never want to leave the house again in this -20 weather but don’t want to spend your whole day watching soap operas? Just me? Either way, creating lovely paper flowers sounds like it would be fun to do over mimosas with friends or alone and unshowered in your apartment wearing pajamas for the whole day.