Archive | November, 2011

¡vacaciones!

21 Nov

CN and I have decided to go on a vacation…next week.  My normal vacation obsession has been allayed by the fact we’re joining friends so most of the planning has already been decided.

Of course I still spent several hours sourcing out the best possible rate, site and way to package our trip. I’m fairly certain I checked every site three (maybe four) times, bundled, de-bundled, and came up with all kinds of way of getting to Seattle because the YYJ-SEA flight is full.  This time around however, the best deals are right from the source: Alaska Air and Riu Palace. We’ll fly the day before to SEA and stay with a friend then meet the rest of the gang on the plane to Mexico.

This mostly straightforward trip does of course spawn some other sub-projects:

Travel Vaccines?
Status: Ignored.
I was watching TV last night and got excited when an advert came on (in it’s usual louder-than-necessary style) threatening me with all the ways I could contract The Hepatitis while on a tropical vacation.  Today I checked the Provincial Health Link, and Canadian Travel sites to try for an answer.  Turns out there’s no definitive word on the Baja. There is a price though: about $150 for the Twinrix vaccine. Hm, that’s the deal breaker.  I might be too late to really make much of a difference anyway.  

UPDATE:  I felt like I was in the Twinrex commercial everytime I walked on the sand.  I really should have gotten that vaccine…

Foreign Exchange.
Status: Done
Looks like the Pesos:USD exchange has been taking a beating as of late.  In the summer it was about 10 MXN pesos to $1 USD, now it’s 14 to $1.  This is my first Mexican trip, so I’m not sure what gets a better reception.  I’m skeptical if they have changed all of their pricing to reflect this, so handing out USD seems inefficient.

UPDATE:  Totally worthwhile.  The USD exchange was terrible.  I got $2500 Mexican for $200 Canadian.

¿Hablo español?
Status: Done!
Ugh…sí, pero yo están muy oxidado [translation: Yes, but I am very rusty]  I got out my 1001 Spanish Words book and started reading a few pages a day.  And listening to spanish radio at work… Whatever, a few shots of Tequilla and I’ll be tossing out nouns without regard for their tense or conjunction.

UPDATE:  Except for those pesky pronouns and tenses, I think I did rather well!

Drop 10lbs.
Status: Ha!
I know…soooo unique and soooo unlikely.  I’ll try to behave this week by taking a stab at this Steve Nash diet. I think this will work – at least a little – for two reasons: first I saw him this weekend and he’s pretty trim so it must work, and second, I’m fairly certain there are no ridiculous rules about cutting out alcohol.

It’s not going to be a miracle cure though, so in the words of my good friend MZ “If you can’t tone it, tan it.”

UPDATE:  Ya right!  Fortunately I came armed with a tan and a handful of great beach coverups.  (Plus KD made me a LOVELY caftan to flutter about in).

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A couple of girls and some pillows…

7 Nov

I needed some new pillows for the living room (and a project to get me through the first miserable weekend of November). I’ve been eying these gorgeous Restoration Hardware Belgian Linen ones for a while.  However a rigorous savings plan has removed the “Frivolous Decor” line item from my budget.  I had to find a way to move this expense into “Household” which is only $75 a month. Pillows are a pretty basic thing to sew, and I figured I could use Iron on Transfer Paper to add my own images.

Fabric
RH is thoughtful enough to sell the actual Belgian Linen, but at $75 a yard I’d be waiting until the Spring to have enough fabric to assemble two pillows.  So the hunt for fabric was on.  I checked out the usual fabric and upholstery shops with no luck.  I wanted something that looked a little like burlap, but was also soft.  While picking up fabric for a costume at Gala Fabrics I spotted the perfect thing – Organic Hemp.  It was about $22 a meter and came in a few different natural colors.  NB and I bought 2 meters of the sand and 1 meter of the natural white.

Pillow Forms
It just so happened that the Fifth Circle of Hell (aka FabricLand) was having a 50% off sale that included pillow forms.  So I braved the rain, parking lot, line up 45 people deep, and a very cranky saleswoman to pick 14 pillows at $60.  (FYI pillows might be light, but they are a PAIN to carry around and wait in a line up with).  Of course my back seat was full of pillows, and it took me four trips to bring them into the house…but what’s the point of being Fanatic-AL if you don’t take advantages of sales like these?  Plus, I can now transfer some of these costs with the “Christmas Gift” budget expense.

Images
NB and I spent about two hours deciding what we wanted to put on our pillows.  I’ve long since needed to horsey-up the house, so I found a great set of horse breed drawings from a vintage Russian encyclopedia (Brockhaus and Efron). Wikimedia Commons has lots of high-res files featuring animals, objects, anatomy, botanical, and natural history images that would be great to use to personalize these pillows for gifts.

After braving the usual list of deplorable craft stores to find Avery Iron on Transfer Sheets, I ended up ordering them online from Grand & Toy. Thanks to a discount through my office, they were just $17 for 12 sheets.  (Hey Micheals, go shove your $36 price tag up your seasonal arse).  I also had to rustle up an old Inkjet printer from my IT guy at work because I think the laser melts the paper. The final result was perfect!  Better than I had expected.

Execution
NB came over on Saturday morning and we knocked out four pillows in about three hours.  That included calculating, cutting, ironing, sewing, eating hummus and admiring.  My very talented designed friend, KD from Covet Alterations, happened to be over on Sunday and she showed me how to do a french seam.  This was more time consuming, but it looks GREAT.  I got two done in the same amount of time as it takes to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

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