Winnipeg in Spring

Winnipeg in Spring - JanessaMann.Com

On Wednesday night, Mom, Dad, and I flew into Winnipeg for some time with family and my cousin’s wedding! On Thursday we explored the Forks with my Oma, and had dinner with my Grandma and some other relatives.

Winnipeg in Spring - JanessaMann.Com
Assiniboine Zoo Conservatory

On Friday we went out to my aunt’s farm to visit with my mom’s family. It was a beautiful day full of sunshine, sprinting after the dog, and lots of babies!

On Saturday, Nic and I took a walk from the Manitoba Legislature down to the Forks. We picked up doughnuts from Oh Doughnuts and Fools and Horses on Broadway. In the afternoon we had lunch with my parents and Grandma, then picked up ice cream. My cousin’s wedding was in the evening.

Winnipeg in Spring - JanessaMann.Com
Wedding #1 of May!
Winnipeg in Spring - JanessaMann.Com
Congratulations Trent and Raela!

Wedding Wednesdays: What You Should and Shouldn’t Register For

What To Register For: What You Do and Don't Need - JanessaMann.Com

For 9 months leading up to my wedding, I worked full-time as the main customer service person at the nearest Bed Bath & Beyond to me. No, it wasn’t a great job, related to my field, or particularly fulfilling, but I did learn a lot about how to set up your home.

People will tell you tons of things about what you need, pressure you into certain brands or gifts you’ll never use, and make you get ridiculously priced items. Depending what you ask for, you won’t get much of it. Registries are a pretty conventional wedding thing, so some people are trying to step away from it. However, it’s really helpful for guests to know where to go for things you will actually use-it saves headaches, and is less up-front than “please give us cash.”

Here is a standard checklist from, which as some great references, but there are some pitfalls.


1) Items you already have

If you’ve been living on your own or together for a while, you probably already have lots of these things. You have two routes: request replacements/upgrades of your current stuff, or stick with what you have and save gift requests for things you wouldn’t/couldn’t buy on your own.

For instance, my brother and sister-in-law had a terrible toaster that burned the toast all the time since it was like 20 years old. They registered for a new one. However, their microwave was fine. Why bother asking for another one?

2) Things you don’t want

Sometimes your parents, in-laws, or someone else will try to pressure you into requesting gifts that you don’t foresee yourself using. Stay strong. If it’s a gift they really want to give you, compromise is fine. If it’s something they think you need, but wont’ get you, why do they want you to get it? It’s just a waste of someone else’s money.

Nic and I did our registry at my store, and the whole time my managers were pressuring me into registering for china. They figured I would regret not asking for it, and that the IKEA set we wanted would not cut it. To get them off our back, we put it on the registry. Later that night I logged in and deleted it all. I have half of the Royal Dalton Old Country Rose set, and Nic doesn’t like it. Why would I bother getting more or another set? My plan for the long run is to mix in nicer pieces with the IKEA ones, which fits our current lifestyle.


3) Things you don’t need

I will admit that a KitchenAid standmixer was the first thing on my list, and I was super pumped when I found out that my Dad’s family bought ours for us! No, they’re not necessary. Have I loved it completely? Yup. But you don’t need one.

If you’ve never  made juice in a Magic Bullet, you don’t need a juicer. Neither of you bake? You don’t need very much baking stuff.

As greedy as it sounds, the registry should be things that you really want. Don’t fill up a registry of things people are buying for you with things you don’t actually want. Some guests might remember what they got you, and when they visit, will be happy to see you’re using the item on a regular basis.


4) Consider different routes

Nic and I needed towels, sheets, some cooking stuff, so we registered at Bed Bath & Beyond. However, we also registered on and

Honeymoon registries are super cool: if you’re planning a honeymoon, you can get some of your activities paid for! Our camping in Cape Breton was covered, we got money for dinners and ice cream breaks, and whale watching. Writing those thank you cards were so much fun, because we had such a great time doing it all. Honeymoon registries are even more helpful for couples who already have all their home stuff, and don’t want to just get cash.

We used MyRegistry because we wanted a universal registry where we could put our camping supplies from MEC, various items from IKEA, and our Nikon DSLR fund. If you don’t have a specific store you want many things from, this is super helpful, and makes sure gifts aren’t doubled. Are you super into rock-climbing and want some more gear for the two of you? That’s your time, and guests love to give gifts they know you’ll really enjoy. Like to go to art galleries? Request year memberships to places on your universal registry. The sky is the limit.

5) Gift budgets

If you only have gifts above $100, you’d better hope all your guests are rich. For the rest of us normal people, you need to have a variety of budgets so that no one is uncomfortable.

Once I knew some ladies from my church were throwing me a bridal shower, I added some cheaper baking supplies that were $5-20 so people could choose whatever they were comfortable spending. For most of my friends, we all spent an average of $50 per person, so we had a bunch of gifts that were around that range. Relatives who could spend more chose the pricier items (standmixer, towel sets, sheet sets).

Don’t be like many of my friends who requested super expensive dishes, got maybe 2 dinner plates, one soup bowl, and no cutlery. If you request only expensive things, your guests won’t be able to buy them for you unless they all go in together. And you’ll be stuck eating on your old dishes. Giving wedding gifts should be a fun process for the guests-it’s always exciting (for me at least) to look at what they’re asking for, and see if I can top up the gift with something special (gift receipt included, of course).



It comes down to being considerate of your guests’ budgets, what will help you and your partner set up your home together, and what the two of you find important in your lives. Make sure to write in a spreadsheet what gifts you got from whom so you can write a thank you card or email-one of the wedding traditions that I hold firm to!

A Camp Wedding

On the Saturday of the May Long Weekend, my friends Sarah and Cody got married at the camp we worked at. Sarah and I spent 5 years on staff together. I hadn’t been back since my “graduation” ceremony 3 years ago, so this was a little weird to be back there. The wedding was a lot of fun and I got to hang out both with my friends from Silver Lake, and people from my university residence. A Wedding at Camp - JanessaMann.Com

For four of the five years on staff I was a lifeguard. My final summer on staff I was also the Waterfront Director, which meant I was in charge of the swimming pond, activities 0n the lake, and all the first aid stuff. It was a really cool but challenging job. I definitely miss the hot days guarding from in the pond because we wanted relief from sitting up on the chairs!

A Wedding at Camp - JanessaMann.Com

That rack of canoes is emotional for me- it’s where I slipped my disc in my lumbar spine. I spent some time sitting on the dock in prayer, thanking God for how far I’ve come since that day 5 summers ago.

DSC_5975_20160521_143802A Wedding at Camp - JanessaMann.Com

Sarah was a beautiful bride!


Silver Lakers so happy for Sarah


They had set the dining room up with three long tables. One of the women who used to be on staff was the caterer, and it was delicious. They also had tons of beautiful flowers.


After the ceremony and dinner there was dancing until midnight, and then we hung out on the dock. It was a great day!

DIY Wedding Flowers -

Wedding Wednesday:How to DIY Your Wedding Flowers

DIY Wedding Flowers

If you’ve read any of my other wedding posts,(see here) you know that since Nic was in grad school and I was saving up to pay off my debts/get ready for grad school, we had to cut costs wherever we could. One was was to do our own flowers. This is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never arranged flowers before, you probably should skip this unless you know someone who has. I was fortunate that Moira, the mother of one of my bridesmaids, had done the flowers for another wedding Ally had been in, so she was able to direct us on how to make the centrepieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, and aisle pieces. In all, we spent about $300 on the flowers, containers, and supplies–way cheaper than typical wedding flowers!

View More:
My bouquet

If you think you want to go this route, there are a few steps:

  1. Start a physical or Pinterest board of what floral styles you like
    1. (See mine, here)
  2. Make sure you have friends and family who are willing and able to help with the flowers- we worked on them for 5 or 6 hours on the Friday before, and the day-of people had to make sure there were no dead blooms.
  3. Research places to buy flowers in bulk
    1. Some cities have flower markets, but I wasn’t willing to risk not getting flowers I loved
    2. We went with, who sells bulk orders of flowers online, and then we picked them up at their dealer in Ottawa
    3. Stores like Costco also sell them
  4. Once you know what styles you like, check to make sure you can get your preffered flowers in your wedding season.
    1. My favourite flowers are peonies, so I had this ridiculous dream of having white peonies at the wedding. I knew it’d be tricky for a June 20 wedding, but I held out hope. Moira surprised me with 3 beautiful blooms for my bouquet, and it was one of the best gifts I could have received! However, I didn’t go and order beautiful flowers like anemones, which would have fit the theme, but are in season in October, and therefore much more expensive.
    2. Hope but don’t obsess!
    3. Be willing to give up something you want for something else interesting: I wanted stocks, but BunchesDirect was pricing them too high, so I went with Irish Bells instead, and they ended up being really cool and unique.
DIY Wedding Flowers -
Bridal bouquets – it was a lot of fun for each of us to make them unique. Each bouquet worked together because of the colour theme (white and green) but I had each woman pick wahtever they wanted.

List out what elements you need, then edit it to make sure it fits your budget:

  • Bridal bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Boutonnieres
  • Corsages
  • Headpieces
  • Centrepieces
  • Altar bouquets
  • Aisle runners
  • Wreaths
  • Garlands
DIY Wedding Flowers -
Nic’s boutonniere – one of my bridesmaids saw what I was putting in my bouquet, and made Nic’s have some of my elements!


  • Flowers
  • Floral wire
  • Floral tape
  • Scissors and wire cutters
  • Vases, bowls, whatever else to put the arrangements in
  • Tubs to put the flowers in
    • When we first got the flowers, they were in boxes and very flat. We let them soak in the water for a while, and they opened up
  • Fridge to keep them fresh in

How to have a floral party:

  • Willing participants
  • Supplies
  • Pictures of your ideas
  • Good instructions on floral care and assembly
  • Lots of time
  • Don’t rush it, have fun!

Two final tips: don’t make your centrepieces super tall, people want to have conversations. Also, stay away from super smelly flowers, or some people might get terrible allergies and sneeze all through your vows!

Some Resources:

Let me know how it goes!

Marble Easter Egg DIY

Marble Easter Egg DIY -
Do you love Easter and Easter eggs? I do! Keep reading to find a super cool way to decorate your eggs this year!
Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

I spent several days looking at different and cool ways to do Easter eggs. As you can see on my Pinterest board, you can use natural dyes (plants and spices), gold leaf, decoupage, or my favourite but most complicated, Ukrainian Easter eggs. In order to make it a super cheap DIY, I went with this awesome marbled egg design.

What you need:
Real, hardboiled eggs, or fake eggs with smooth surfaces
A container you’re okay to throw out
Room-temperature water (the nail polish will sink if the water is cold)
Nail polish of your choice
A stirring stick
A tray to hold the eggs while they dry
Rubber gloves

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Pour several drops of the nail polish into the water. Let it spread out by itself first on the top of the water, and then stir it so that you get a cooler design.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

The nailpolish makes a film on the water, so when you dip the eggs in a spot, that’s what you’re getting. You can do one side at a time, then lay the egg down to dry. They dry relatively quickly, and then you can get to the other side.

Keep in mind: sometimes there is a very, very faint layer of nailpolish in the surface which will make the drops not spread out properly. Clear away the film before you go again.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Don’t you just love that bunny cookie jar and bunny bank? You can tell I have a thing for bunnies.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

I made this adorable centrepiece to go with it, and I love the white and blue theme.

Wedding Wednesday: Choosing Bridesmaid Outfits

Choosing Bridesmaid Outfits -
I love how our colour scheme worked out, and that there were similar elements in each dress

Once you have wonderful women who have agreed to stand up next to you and your partner, one of the things you have to consider is what they will be wearing. I knew I wanted to be as nice as possible to my friends, so they were going to get to choose their own dresses that they could possibly wear again. Individual outfits is definitely more modern and comfortable than matching ones, but you do have to work to make sure they are a cohesive look.

Check out our awesome photographers: Taylor Clark Photography 

Step 1: Colour
As you’ll see in a picture below, the men wore blue suits to go with our green and blue theme. I went to Home Depot and picked up a bunch of paint chips in greens that I liked. I matched them with the navy and ivory ribbons I had bought, to see which ones would work. I gave Kelsey, Ally, and Jillian strips of the paint chips attached with the ribbons so that they could take them into stores with them. This meant they knew what tone of greens to look at.
Kelsey was the first to find her dress, and from then Ally and Jillian decided who would go lighter and who would go darker.

Choosing Bridesmaid Outfits -
Jillian, Kelsey, me, and Ally

Step 2: Style
Together we made a secret Pinterest board (PRO TIP: When planning big things like weddings, make sure all your boards are secret. That way the elements are a surprise to guests) where we posted ideas that we liked. That way we could pick up on the similar themes-relaxed dresses, fitted bodice, and have some similar elements to my wedding dress. If you’re buying wedding magazines, pull out pages of the dresses you like and put them in your inspiration binder/board, and check out Pinterest and photographer’s pages for looks you like.
My wedding dress has ruching in the chiffon across the bodice, and so does Jillian’s. Kelsey and Ally’s dresses have similar necklines, and Kelsey’s hemline is similar to Jillian’s.

Choosing Bridesmaid Outfits -

Step 3: Go shopping!
The only person who lived in Ottawa near me, was Kelsey, so I got to see her try the dress on in real life. Jillian was in BC, so at Christmas she showed me the dress. Ally was in the UK, so I saw it on Skype. If you’re able to go shopping with them, do it! If not, use all the tools you can to make sure it is a cohesive look: post pictures for each other, send videos, use Skype, etc. Also, be sure to be honest with them: if you really hate their outfit, you’ll hate it in the pictures. And they know that. My women were so great in making sure that I loved what they were wearing, which I really appreciated.

Choosing Bridesmaid Outfits -
The wedding party

Final Thoughts:
Keep things as simple as possible. Lots of people didn’t like that I was planning on having different outfits for the women, which is understandable, but they had their colour swatches, and I’m pretty detail-oriented, so I wasn’t worried. It also helped that the men were all wearing the same thing (except Nic had a different tie).
Try to stay away from trends! Yes, our wedding won’t look timeless, but at least we didn’t do the same looks everyone else was doing that summer.
Your wedding party comprises of people you love. You want them to be happy, and they want you to be happy. So make it a great experience for everyone!

Blaine and Leah’s Wedding

On Saturday, October 3rd my friends Blaine and Leah got married! I met Blaine in my first year at Conrad Grebel, and we bonded over working out, hockey, faith, and needing to study hard. I met Leah a bit after they started dating at Waterloo JazzFest, and they visited me last fall in Ottawa.
The two are a really great couple, and I’m so happy for them!

Delicious pretzels after the ceremony
Leah’s adorable shoes
Work it

Their kissing game involved rolling two die, to determine what weight and how many reps you would curl with that. Chris is holding a Leafs jersey behind me because I exsplained Blaine and I had bonded over our love for hockey, despite him choosing a worse team.

They’re so in love.
Blaine was one of my closest friends during undergrad

So happy to celebrate with him!

Sarah and Cody are adorable.