31 March 2011

Exciting Announcement: Lather is Going Global!

Hello friends! Thanks for your well-wishes, I'm feeling much better today.  So good in fact, that I can't hold out any longer - I'm showing you a sneak peek of my giveaway item for my 1st Blogiversary and the prototype for my new Lather Creations Etsy shop! Maybe it will entice you to enter if you haven't already?? The draw is tomorrow so get in there asap!

Isn't she lovely? Let me tell you her story...

The {Love} Handpainted Necklace Hanger is upcyled from reclaimed scraps of hardwood flooring. As many of you know, my amazing fiance J and his partner G owns his own hardwood flooring company called Meticulous Wood Flooring. They have a true 'green' focus - through using water-based finishes, reusing salvaged gym floors and doing dustless sanding. (if you live in Manitoba or Saskatchewan and are looking to have your floors done, he's your guy :)

Well J often comes home with a truckbox full of scrap hardwood from a job, unusable ends and low quality boards that are headed to the dump. It took me a while but I've finally come up with a creative way of rescuing J's hardwood remnants with Lather Creations. I'm handpainting necklace hangers in my signature 'Lather' style! Plus these are perfect for the Etsy shop I've always wanted but doesn't work too well with large furniture pieces and cross-border headaches. Don't worry, I'm going to continue my local furniture business and my extended line of necklace hangers will be sold exclusively on Etsy!

The winner of tomorrow's giveaway gets my very first one! I'll be building up my inventory for the Etsy shop launch and you will be the first to know when it's ready to go....

Depending on my mood, the season and what I have on hand - each hanger will feature different hand painted palettes, words and knobs. I'm Lathering up a storm in my studio to make the perfect girly additions to your closet, dressing area, powder room or bedroom - wherever you happen to keep your lovely baubles! Here's a few pics of the {Love} hanger showing off her stuff...

Isn't she pretty? Although tempting to keep her all to myself, I'll be sending her off to the giveaway winner shortly!! I've also made another style of necklace holder that I'll be showing off to you tomorrow...but it's a gift for a friend so she needs to see it first of course!

Now tell me friends, I'm dying to hear what you think about Lather Creations coming soon to Etsy? Plus, any seasoned sellers out there - any advice on starting out would be welcomed with open arms. Of course I have many details to work out like shipping and payment and such, so please share your lessons learned...

Have an amazing day and thanks for being here for me!

30 March 2011

Delightful DIY: Charmed Cupcake Flags

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a happy Wednesday. I'm a little under the weather so I'm holed up at home in bed, but I prepared this simple little DIY project on the weekend that I wanted to share with you. Plus, I'm SO EXCITED about the handpainted necklace hanger I made for my 1-year blogiversary giveaway winner. There's a couple days left to enter so be sure to get your name in the running!

It was my niece's 11th birthday the other day and I was charged with making her cupcakes. But I wanted to make them a little extra special so I decided to make little birthday flags for them. These have been done a million times, so they're definitely not a new idea, but here's the step by step in case it's new to you!

You'll need:
-a colour printer
-craft glue

1. I started by playing around in Photoshop and making large rectangles with small motifs like little birds, the letter H (for my niece Hailey) and phrases like 'Happy Birthday', 'Cutie Pie' and 'Birthday Girl'. Each item was doubled to allow for a double-sided folding flag.

2. Using the middle of your two prints as a guide, cut out a large rectangle and fold it over. Cut it into a triangle flag shape.

3. Using craft glue, dab both sides of the flag and the end of the toothpick. Fold the paper around the toothpick and press it closed.

Ta da! Teeny little cupcake flags!

I baked these chocolate cupcakes using my usual cheat method (a boxed mix) but glammed them up with luscious homemade buttercream icing (I use Martha's recipe). Of course i had to make it my own so I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa and 3 tablespoons of peanut butter to the icing. The result? Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with charming personalized flags for the 11-year old birthday girl!

Sadly, I wasn't feeling well enough to eat them but my niece gave them two thumbs up for taste AND appearance!

Have a lovely week friends - I'll be showing you a sneak peek of the handpainted necklace hanger in the next day or two, so cross your fingers that you're the winner!

28 March 2011

Just call me Carrie Bradshaw...

You are all so lovely. Thank you for your encouraging, thoughful and sweet comments about my 1-year blogiversary! If you haven't already entered the giveway, do take a minute to stop by and leave a comment. The winner will be drawn at random on Friday.

Today, I'm telling you the story of a closet...actually it's the story of a 100 year old house that we bought a year and a half ago. A house that had NO CLOSETS. Yes, I was blinded by the abundance of natural lighting, cool loft master bedroom and proximity to downtown. Little did I know I would have NOWHERE TO PUT MY CLOTHES! As a minor shopaholic, this has been a problem.

A problem that my fiance J is craftily solving! He is building me a closet at Casa Hume-McGee. And can I just say, besides getting down on one knee and proposing, this is by far the most romantic thing he's ever done for me...

Here's a before shot of our upstairs loft master bedroom. It has cove ceilings and a lovely pipe that runs through the middle. Not so useful.

Here's a shot of where my poor clothes are now, on a bellhop's rolling wardrobe (or stylist as I like to think :). They are exposed, in the way and blocking my make-up mirror. Arrggh!

Over the last few weeks, my sweet J has built a closet out of thin air! He framed it in, laid hardwood (this gorgeous maple will eventually replace all the nasty carpet upstairs), wired in lighting on the inside and around the area and installed the strongest wood bar available (he knows I've got some weight in my wardrobe!).

On the weekend, he finished the doors (with some cool detailing) and I picked out extra special handles for it...he also has big plans to build open shelving between our two sides that will hide the unslightly pole and house our sweaters and jeans.  More pictures to come later in the week!

I've died and gone to closet heaven and it's really just confirmed that J is man I absolutely must marry...

How important is a good closet to you friends? Do you have exactly what you need or do you dream of Oprah's walk-in?

26 March 2011

A Special Day GIVEAWAY!

What a day! I really can't believe I'm here...exactly one year later from that day that I nervously pressed publish on my very first post. Honestly I'm not always the best person at follow through - I get so excited that I buy all the books and I splurge on all the supplies and I dive right in.....only to abandon it shortly thereafter (hello knitting needles, I'm talking to you!). But this blog thing just seemed to stick.

As a freelance writer and an ad agency copywriter, I originally started blogging as a way to practice my personal writing more regularly and also learn a little bit more about an area of communication that was becoming more popular in my industry. Well little did I know how much more it would become. Bear with me while I take a trip down memory lane! 

In the last year:
  • I began to think more creatively and push myself daily in my inspirations and ability to share them
  • I found a community of like-minded crafty, vintage-loving, encouraging fellow bloggers
  • I started my own vintage furniture upcycling business Lather Creations
  • I worked with my good friend and graphic designer Brooke to develop a customized design for Lather. Write. Repeat. and a branding package for Lather Creations
  • I began my Lather Creations Facebook page and Twitter profile
  • I upcycled and sold 41 pieces of furniture in less than 9 months of business (all while working full time!)
  • I furthered my knowledge with a Blogging E-course from A Beautiful Mess and a Business E-Consulting session with Design*Sponge's Grace Bonney
  • I began focusing on using my own photography as much as possible for the blog, learning to style and shoot my furniture, practice photography and think more visually (thanks to my amazing friend and wedding photography Leah, I've had the pleasure of working with her Canon DSLR to further advance my skills - big plans to buy my own shortly!)
  • I introduced all kinds of fun features and columns to the blog like Etsy Love, From the Kitchen, Thursday Blog Share, PIY Pointers, Before and After and most recently Agency Style Peek
  • I was asked to teach two workshops at the local college Red River on the topics of social media for beginners and learning to blog (they start in May and I'm just finishing up the content and presentations!)
  • I spent two months compiling a comprehensive Winnipeg City Guide that was published in Design*Sponge and received amazing local reaction and feedback
  • Because of my Design*Sponge recognition, I was contacted to be a part of something very exciting (I'll reveal more as I can!)
  • I built my social media experience to the point where it is now a very regular part of my job at Fusion, doing these services regularly for our clients and our agency
  • I acquired the Adobe Creative Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for my new Mac laptop and I'm slowly learning how to build my own graphics, edit my photos and do all kinds of fun new things (thanks to my sweet co-worker Lorraine for the lunchtime tutorials and endless question-answering!)
  • Oh yeah - and I got engaged to my sweetie! So now all that creative energy is also going into planning my relaxed, rustic, crafty, DIY wedding!
So now, one year later, Lather. Write. Repeat. has truly become my own personal creative space. It's the place where I share my inspirations and some painting tips, talk to you guys about what's going on in my life and my business, show off my shopping purchases (okay I have a problem there!) and just express myself. I love blogging and all the opportunities and joy it has brought me....I can't wait to share my passions with my students in the Learn to Blog workshop!

A huge blog hug and a thousand thank you's for coming with me on this journey. I couldn't have done it without your ongoing support and encouragement, just knowing you're out there makes me feel amazing.

In honour of my special day, I am having a special GIVEAWAY! Simply leave a comment to enter the giveaway and I will randomly draw a name on Friday, April 1st.  **Extra brownie points if  you like the Lather Facebook page and follow me on Twitter! The winner will receive a very special Lather Creations handmade gift from yours truly - a hand painted necklace hanger using reclaimed hardwood floor remnants. 

Good luck friends and thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart!

25 March 2011

Agency Style Peek: A man and his dog...

Today's style peek is a rare look at the more masculine side here at Fusion. Truth is, the women dominate the men ratio-wise but we have some super-stylin' guys here so I'm excited to share one with you.

Account Director Barrett is a bit of male fashionista if you will - he loves to shop just as much as the ladies around here! A bit of a fashion risk-taker, he is brave enough to take the wrath of a gaggle of girls 'ooohing' and 'ahhhing' and occasionally poking fun when he comes in looking extra dapper.  But he takes it all to heart, what a trouper!

Today's outfit, a brown and red combination, was chosen because A - he didn't have any client meetings, B - he didn't feel like wearing a button down, C - he didn't want to be too hot or too cold in his office. Yes, he actually said all of that. I told you he was as high-maintenance as a woman... Barrett's also a brand new papa (his wee boy Keaton is only a couple of weeks old!) and he confessed he had a baby poop stain on his pant leg. Ewww! And I couldn't tell if he was joking or not...

That's Leo with him, his loyal pup. They even match!

Barrett's wearing a sweater by Sixty from the now closed Winnipeg Holt Renfrew, pants by Gap and a leather belt from Perry Ellis.

Yup, fashionista. He must get paid a lot more than me...

Happy Friday friends!

24 March 2011

A little birdie...

How are you doing today friends? I must admit, I'm feeling a bit of burnout - between preparing for my workshops, getting my business taxes in order, wedding planning and regular old life - my mind is racing 24/7. Most of the wedding stuff is booked, but my desire to craft details and be creative is so overwhelming that I'm going to have to put the brakes on at some point...it's just so fun you know? But as always, something has to give.  I think I just need to buckle down and get to some tasks I've been avoiding....do you ever feel that way?

I did have a little thrill when my new order of drawer pulls arrived! Aren't they just gorgeous? Such a dainty, rustic, feminine vibe. I absolutely can't wait to use them on an upcoming Lather Creation! I'm also thinking I could paint them if needed, depending on the piece. Oh so many options...you know I'll be up in the middle of the night pondering it all....

The weekend will be good, I promise to slow it down a little bit and enjoy the warming weather with more walks outside with Gus. There, now that I promised it to you all, I must I must!

How are you doing these days friends? Does spring have you feeling refreshed or are you feeling like me?

Regardless, I hope your day is wonderful!

23 March 2011

From the Kitchen: Chicken Giardino

Can you believe it's Wednesday already? Time is just flying by...there's only 5 months and a bit until my wedding and on Saturday it's my one year blogiversary! Wow, it feels like such a milestone. I'll have to take some time and write down my feelings about what I've accomplished and the opportunities that blogging has brought my way...

But today we're talking food! Last night I was mulling over what to make for dinner with the defrosted chicken breasts I had and my mind wandered to the Olive Garden. It's been a place my family has often gathered, due to the kid-friendly environment, great prices and tasty food. Some people badmouth the OG, but I've always liked it! My fave OG menu item, Chicken Giardino, had recently disappeared from the menu. This bummed me out last time I went so I decided to try to hunt down the recipe for myself. Little did I know Olive Garden was so willing to offer it to me! You can get the full recipe right on their website here. They actually have quite a few of their recipes listed there, so you can look for your faves!

It's a bit of a longer recipe, with sauce making and chicken and vegetable sauteeing and pasta boiling all going on...but it is worth it because it's delish - just like I remembered! I substituted linguine for the farfalle pasta and extra chicken broth for the white wine. The dish is super flavourful with tons of yummy veggies. Once it was ready, I topped our servings with fresh parmesan and J at two giant bowls!

To see the full recipe and many other Olive Garden favourites, stop by their website here.

Tell me friends, do you ever try to recreate your favourite restaurant dishes at home? Any successes worth sharing?

22 March 2011

Before and After: Gentle Grey Owl Wooden Bench

Hi everyone, I hope you're having a good day. Thanks for all your kind words yesterday about Terry, it felt good to know you care. I've been working on this little wooden bench for the last two weekends and I'm pretty excited to finally show you. In my haste, I forgot to take my before shot but picture a small solid wood bench - plain and waiting for some Lather love!

Okay, here she is after...

I painted the base a soft lavender grey colour, then added hand painted details of an owl on a branch in navy and pale taupe. I'd been wanting to do something whimsical and fun and this was just the ticket! I picture this bench in a little one's bedroom, it's small scale allows for lacing up sneakers with ease. It would also be really nice in a soft baby's bedroom, with the gentle grey owl watching over a good night's sleep.

If you live in the Winnipeg area and have the perfect place for the Gentle Grey Owl Wooden Bench, you can buy it here. If have your own piece of wood furniture you'd like painted, drop me a line at lhume1@mts.net and let's talk! *update - this piece has been sold!

Have a great day friends!

21 March 2011

Thanks for the memories...

Today is a sad day at Fusion.

We lost a very special member of this family we call an advertising agency. Our former Creative Director Terry Kuzina passed away on the weekend after a long battle with a cruel illness. My heart is broken for his loved ones, especially his daughter Theresa who still works with us. To watch her lose her father to such an unfair opponent has been devasting and I'm trying to channel all my thoughts, prayers, love and grief into some sort of positive energy for them. But it doesn't change the fact that a father, a husband, a son, a mentor and a friend was lost today.

Terry was my very first creative director. It took a long time for me to find my way into a career that fulfills me and once I did, I was blessed to have Terry as my guide. He was a gentle man - quiet, contemplative and always with a smile. He nurtured this insecure copywriter with words of encouragement and a gentle push. I always left his office feeling 15% frustrated and 85% committed to showing him something better.

He made me want to be better and because of him...I am. Thank you Terry, for holding such an important place in my growth and my life.

You are sadly, sadly missed.

20 March 2011

Fun Photobooth = Happy Bride

Hello and happy Sunday! It's raining here ( I love love rain!) which means spring is finally coming to Winnipeg. AND it happens to be the first day of Spring so yay for that. J and Gus and I are having movie day under the duvet and in between we're puttering around doing laundry, painting furniture and blogging of course!

It's been a while since I've shared a wedding update and truthfully, that's because it's been in a bit of a lull. All the 'big stuff' is booked and now I'm just concentrating on details. But with my upcoming Red River College workshops, tax season and a special project I can't share with you yet - well let's just say it seems to never slow down!

My biggest wedding challenge is currently the invitations, I'm learning the design programs as I go so it's a wee bit slow. Plus I'm having trouble narrowing down a style. I may have to show you some of my options and see what you think! Another day...

Today we're talking photography. I have always wanted a photobooth at the wedding, I thought it would be such a fun and candid way to capture the fun of the night - both for guests and for us. But renting one was out of the budget. But my AMAZING wedding photographer Leah Bima has agreed to bring her portrait set up and studio lights so we can create our own at the venue - I just have to create some backdrops and props. SOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!  I'll be hunting for cool fabric, maybe even making my own painted backdrop with vintage white sheets and hand painted bunting....oh so many ideas...

Here's a few photobooths I've seen in the wedding blogs, so fun and inspirational!

{image via once wed}

Just wanted to share my fun wedding news with you! What are you up to this weekend friends?

19 March 2011

The cake has arrived!

As promised, here are a few pics of my new Whippycake hair accessory. It arrived on Thursday and I couldn't wait to wear it on Friday! My style is 'Finicky' from the Petit Fleur collection and you can find it here. It came with an alligator clip and I also got a metal hairband to attach it to. I decided to wear it clipped into a loose bun and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! Now I'm wondering what the heck I was so nervous about...on a side note, I ordered the mini version and i'm glad I did - the full size would have been a bit much for me.

Charity from work has ordered one too and I can't wait to see it! I'll be sure to share it in an upcoming Agency Style Peek.

Are you having a good weekend? J and Gus were away all week on a job so we're having a nice quiet weekend catching up, relaxing and getting the BBQ going! Yes, that means it's finally getting warm here and I am SO HAPPY. Winter can really get to you after a while. Last night I had my Spurge night with the girls and once again, I was reminded how great girlfriends are to have in your life...I'm still getting to know these gals (since I've only been in Winnipeg for a couple of years) but they are so awesome, I hope we end up being lifelong friends.

Have a great weekend friends!

17 March 2011

Rubber Boot Round-up

Well it's FINALLY warming up here in the cold, harsh prairies and I am overjoyed! This means we're just a wee bit closer to lake season. But warming up means all that slushy dirty snow has to go somewhere...lately it's been going all over my leather boots! Not good. So today I'm doing a rubber boot round-up to get you in the mood for cute and stylish boots to battle the spring swells. If you have them of course. If you live in Las Vegas (R!) then I'm hating on you right now.

I kid. Here's some of my top rubber boot picks for spring!
Image via {aldo}
Image via {aldo}

I'm loving these chic options from Aldo. Especially those second ones, they make me think of Chanel...

Images via {Old Navy}

These girly ones from Old Navy are adorable and always on budget. If I didn't already have my blue plaid pair I picked up last year at Winners...I'd be all over these!

Images via {Target}

For you south of the border, Target has some bold options, like these animal print booties.

Image via {Piper Lime}

And Piper Lime has a huge selection of classic Hunter wellies in fab seasonal colours. You can click on the photo links to buy online or check them out.

What will you be sporting on your feet to keep dry friends? Found any great rubbers out there?