/></dt><dd class=

I love the idea of secret encoded rings, and binary code fits the bill. Although I am no expert in it, I have a rough understanding. My boyfriend has a background in computer engineering and I’m sure would explain it more in depth to me. Basically, numbers can be used to signify letters of the alphabet.

The way it is used in these jewellery applications is as such: 00001 is one and also “A”, 00010 is two and also “B” 00011 is three and also “C” and so on. A ‘track’ is engraved to show a 1 and left blank for a 0. Therefore, there is a physical representation of the letter…which is actually a number. (Is that clear as mud for you?)

Here are some neat ideas for a ring for the computer literate man in your life.

This one on the left is from ecologically minded greenKarat. It’s a custom design that starts at around $1000.

Jonathan Ben-Tovim does “encoder rings.” They kind of look like braille, no?  Ben-Tovim is actually an industrial designer, but chose rings as a way to store personal information by using binary code. The rings are limited to a 64 character message, but that’s a lot longer than what you can get by just engraving. Besides, that’s so 19th century!

Clear binary ring

Ben-Tovim's clear binary ring

[via: The Carrot Box]

Fancy Jewels in Seattle also did a custom binary ring for a client:

Perhaps one with gemstones?

Perhaps one with gemstones?

Bonus: Sculptor Gideon Weisz also does a version of a binary ring.

Baseball diamond ring, anyone?

Baseball diamond ring, anyone?

Before I came up with the idea of the nesting matyroshka doll proposal for my man, I considered many many other options. A custom beer bottle, fancy dinner at Vegas restaurant, renting a billboard, a treasure hunt… maybe I’ll blog about those ideas some day, for those out there unsure on the best way to propose to their boyfriends.

In any case, something I had also considered was something to do with football. He is an NFL fan, but since we live in Canada, it was going to be hard to pull something together. Sporting events seem a popular place for proposals. Perhaps because it’s public and it’s something both of the engagees enjoy; or atleast I hope so! I, personally, would find it overwhelming and a bit embarrassing to have that much attention, it’s just not my thing.

In any case, Yankee Stadium, the spot of many Jumbotron/diamondvision proposals, is closing/moving this year after 85 years of baseball! Michael C Fina, the jeweller, and Hearts on Fire wanted the last proposal there to be something special so they held a contest for people to win the opportunity to be the last proposal there.  The winner of the contest won a 1.5 carat Hearts On Fire diamond engagement ring valued at $40,000, four Yankees tickets, and a televised marriage proposal during the final game at the original Yankee Stadium.

So, on September 18, Bill Davis proposed to Kate Cannon…and she said yes! Davis won the contest out of 8000 entries. Seemed like a good couple to get it done; they met after Davis’ first wife passed away, and fell in love while attending Yankee games together. There are plans to incorporate a Yankee theme into their wedding.

I doubt you need a $40,000 ring to do it, but if you guy is into baseball and he’s into public events, maybe a baseball game is a good place to ask him to marry you.

Design of the Winged Wheel stores

Design in the two Winged Wheel stores

I love Japan desperately. I would give almost anything to be able to live there for a short time, and it’s something I am working on making happen.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of visiting, you must go. It’s a land I adore simply for the beauty and feelings of alienation it brings out in me, but also the crafts and food. One thing that’s always pained me is that it seems difficult to purchase items online from craft and jewelery stores there. Language barriers are huge, and the selection is mind boggling, so it’s hard to know where to start.

Today I found out that a lovely stationery store, Winged Wheel, is now shipping worldwide, and has an English store. Look at some of the beautiful letterpress stationery.

Its been determined that I love sealife, so its no surprise this is a favourite design

It's been determined that I love sealife, so it's no surprise this is a favourite design

The prices are affordable, at around $14-15 for a set of six cards and envelopes, plus shipping that’s not insane.

There is a wide selection of traditional Japanese flora as well. This is yaemugura, or false cleavers.

There is a wide selection of traditional Japanese flora as well. This is yaemugura, or 'false cleavers'. It's technically a pest plant, but you'd never know it.

They also do a range in animals, inspired by the Blue Planet. Items in this series, #602, are made using cotton paper, produced at the foot of Mount Fuji. You can almost feel it just by looking at it.

Minicards being used as calling cards

Minicards being used as calling cards

While I think they are a little bit too expensive to use as wedding invites except for perhaps an Ellen + Portia sized wedding, they would make amazing gifts or good everyday use. If I didn’t have a swack of minicards coming from MaryLou/Time2Cre8 on Etsy, I’d certainly be ordering some.

In front of the Neon Boneyard

Title: "In front of the Neon Boneyard" (ed note: and infront of an amazing car)

Welcome to Danske‘s wedding vow renewal, done on her third anniversary…at a drive thru wedding chapel, in the front seat of a Volkswagen Jetta in Las Vegas.

Aforementioned Jetta, with groom and drive-thru window

Aforementioned Jetta, with groom and drive-thru window

I found Danske’s photos on Flickr, and they are lovely. To top it off, all of these photos are Polaroids. Man, screw proposing to my boyfriend, how can I propose to and marry this girl?

Back seat photographer

Back seat photographer

Danske may be better known as one half of the team that designs the headbands at Ban.do. It’s no surprise she has such great taste.

Source: Danske on Flickr

Las Vegas Sun

An overview of the Strip as it was in 2007. This is an interactive map you can use to view casinos from 1930 until today. Credit: Las Vegas Sun

As someone who works in media (newspapers) I like to stay abreast of what other newspapers are doing, especially online. It’s a format all newspapers have embraced and are trying to make their own.

The Las Vegas Sun is leading the field. I could expound on the virtues of their site and how much I want to work for them many times over, but I’ll try to keep it simple. The area they excel in is online breaking news microreporting (ie; they are covering your neighbourhood and all the news that is relevant to you as it happens.) They do this not only in traditional text reporting, but also in video, photos and other online multimedia.

Of course, Las Vegas is, well, VEGAS, and it has a lot of history behind it, which has been documented since the start. The Las Vegas Sun’s site has a whole section that covers the history of the Strip, as well as downtown and valley casinos. They talk about celebrities, construction, even mob ties.

I’ve already professed my love for maps, so you can guess what my favourite feature is; the zoomable, clickable, timelined casino history maps. They even feature non Strip hotels, which are just as important in Las Vegas, but obviously are not seen as much by many visitors.

Las Vegas Sun

You can click on any of the hotels for an info box like this. Credit: Las Vegas Sun

If you are having your wedding in Vegas, or are even considering a trip there, I highly recommend you check this section of their site out. It’s highly informative and very interactive. It would be a great place to link to if you have a wedding website and want to give your guests a bit of background on the city. Even residents and people who have been to Vegas multiple times will probably learn something new about Las Vegas.

Source: Las Vegas Sun Vegas history microsite


Crafting a Proposal (part 1): Acquiring the matryoshka
Crafting a Proposal (part 2): Sketching out a plan

After I had decided on my theme (Japan) and had briefly sketched out my concepts (remember this was my first time doing ANYTHING like this) I decided to flesh out the ideas a bit more. Things like deciding what colours to use and what order to lay them down in for it to look more polished. Things like embellishment, which I thought could play a cute role in the geisha doll, in particular.

So, in order of size I decided to do:

Geisha, Mount Fuji, sumo wrestler, Hello Kitty and two text-based dolls (...but more on that later)

Because it was the largest and the exterior stacking doll, I was able to put the most embellishment on the geisha themed doll. I visited a few stationers here at home; Notables and Evergreen Stationers as I had seen origami and washi paper there before. (Note, there is also a large selection, some direct from Japanese suppliers, on Etsy)

Washi paper is a bit more pulpy and sturdier than other papers, and it comes in amazing designs and colours. I thought it might make the most convincing kimono for my geisha kokeshi/matryoshka.

The sheets were huge! And expensive, considering how little I was going to be using. But the paper was lovely and I know I’ll find a use for it later. I got two designs, but ended up using a cherry blossom paper design.

This is a small section of a piece 12" x 36"

After a stop at Michaels, I picked out my coordinating colours; blue, pink, black, buttercream, white and grey. I also got three brushes, and some sealant.

Before I painted, though, I had to sketch things out on the dolls.

My bonsai tree sketch

My bonsai tree sketch

And the Hello Kitty sketch

Hello Kitty sketch

Up next…the painting, and some last minute design changes.

Overview and close up view of my favourite area on the Las Vegas Strip

Overview and close up view of my favourite area on the Las Vegas Strip

While the name is odd and confusing, I have to say the product Onion Maps puts out is kind of cool. I’ve seen a few well done wedding websites with detailed maps and directions on them, or even hand drawn maps in invites. I love maps. I actually seriously considered becoming a geographer or cartographer for a long time, but stuck with science.

Onion Maps does detailed drawings of major cities around the world. A few of my favourites on their list; Bangkok, Tokyo, Seattle…and of course, Las Vegas. I thought it would make a nice, different addition to a wedding information website. A little bit different than Google Maps or even Google Earth streetview images.

Source: Onion Maps

I think the general consensus when people think wedding and Las Vegas is an Elvis officiated quickie wedding, attended by a handful of loved ones and witnesses. Hell, I held this viewpoint for a long time, even after having been to Vegas almost a half dozen times. However, I have to admit I’ve long been coveting a Vegas wedding…I love that city.

But, onto my post! What we have here folks, is the most “Vegas” wedding I’ve seen to date. It could also probably be filed in the “things I’ll never have” box, but that’s okay, it’s not quite my style. I usually shrug my shoulders at so-called platinum weddings; I find little inspiration in their over-the-topness and I sometimes find them cold and, well, I can’t stop thinking about the cost. Ugh. But this one was a little different. Sure, it was a production. A complete show. Near spectacle! Oddly, even though it was pretty over the top (even by Vegas standards) everyone seemed so down to earth and authentic in the video clip I watched (link below), and just there to celebrate the couple, the families and life at a huge ass party.

The wedding took place in September 2007, and was held at the Bellagio and Stirling Club. Minnesotans Deepak Nath and Sarah Hlavka wed in an event that is up amongst Vegas’ most expensive at over $1 million (click here for more on the nitty gritty costs on Robin Leach’s Luxe Life blog.) The groom covered the cost.

21 groomsman and 11 bridesmaids. 650 guests were entertained by Bollywood performers, Cirque du Soleil acts, pyrotechnics and an elephant. Yes, ELEPHANT! Plus, I think it was catered by Charlie Palmer.

There was a film crew that shot the event and a photographer that documented the events over two days. What a blast. I hope everyone having a Vegas wedding that’s this fun and party-like, no matter their budget or number of guests.

Oh, and I hope everyone gets an elephant visit, too! 🙂


Love the criss cross table styles.

(Clockwise from top, Tunisian inspired maxi style dress by Tracy Reese, Carmen Marc Valvos steel grey minidress, and Luca Lucas stained glass mini)

(Clockwise from top, Carmen Marc Valvo's steel grey minidress, Luca Luca's 'stained glass' mini and Tunisian inspired maxi style dress by Tracy Reese, both in snorkel blue)

Or colors, if you’re from the States. 🙂

In case you weren’t aware, it’s New York Fashion week. It’s a wonderous time, full of purses, shoes, and clothing I may never cast a gaze upon, let alone wear. However, it’s an important time because it can direct the way fashion filters down to the ‘lower levels’ of society, and can set important trends, not only in fashion, but in paint colours and other design choices.

Pantone released their ‘spring 2008 colours’ and I wasn’t overly impressed. Very pastel driven, not my favourite shades so I hope the malls aren’t flooded with these colours over winter. I have to say my likes were the Silver Grey and Snorkel Blue. I’ve included the designs in those colours in my snapshot here, which I also enjoy. The bride wore…blue?

Find more designs in the other colours and more info at Pantone’s site.

Here are some beautiful ring alternatives for your man, in wood.

Some things to consider when thinking about getting a wood ring:

  • durability. Some woods are softer than others, and no wood will be as strong as even a softer metal. Probably not the best choice for someone who works with their hands a lot.
  • sizing. Because it’s wood, the sizing should be right the first time, it’s difficult (if impossible) to resize. Do two measures, one upon waking, and the other in the middle of the day.
  • price. Wood rings can be considerably more affordable than other materials, but can be upgraded with metals and inlays.
  • inscription. Wood can be easily burnt into or inscribed upon making personalization very easy.
  • The meaning of the wood. Here is a sample of some meanings behind different types of woods.

First row, left to right: Juniper heart ring from touchwoodrings & titanium and jarrah inlay ring from Rob and Lean on etsy.

Second row, left to right: A koa and titanium ring from tropical grains,  wood and silver from wood-rings.com, the next three are all from woodenringsandthings.com; walnut and bloodwood, ebony, maple and bocote and purpleheart & walnut and lignum vitae.