Thursday, October 30, 2008

do IT yourself, not ALL yourself

In and around the projects I have taken on, now and then I remember one I was crazy about for a minute but fizzled.

Soy candles are, in general, better than standard candles. They burn slower and with less smoke, and the glow of the soy is lovely. Beeswax is nice too, but pricey. For a while I thought I'd buy soy votives, for the glow and the longer burn time.

(Soy Candle Shop)

I was all set to do that when I found out that I could pour them myself, in whatever container I liked. I'm not sure what it is about this wedding, but I've had some insane toddler-esque whims. (Nooooo! I do it myself!)


I scouted around for the best prices on wicks and soy wax (eBay and eBay, but comparison shop) before I realized that this was a useless way to spend my time. Regular candles burn long enough, and no one would ever notice or appreciate the hours I spent melting and pouring a few hundred candles. I've ended up buying the 12-packs from craft stores as they're on sale, which is far more economical and far less crazy-making.

Still, I think it would be a fun project, and I might do it on a smaller scale. Bridesmaids' gifts or candles for home or refilling pretty containers instead of buying expensive boutique candles.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

reminds me of the places we used to go

While DJ and I were in Las Vegas, I found a student photographer to take some pictures of us. We don't really have pictures of us - some from when we were first dating, and a few arm-out prizes that I snapped. I called it an engagement session to her, but not quite. As I told DJ, when we are old and mentally feeble, I will pull a Notebook on him and read stories about our youth. Except they will be completely fictionalized, however well supported by photos. It's becoming sort of a contest to see who can stave off senility the longest.
Anyway, on to the pictures.

I like this. I see this look on DJ's face all the time, and I like it. (Please note the J. Crew dress on the non-J. Crew model. Ahem.)

I can't decide if this is a more or less attractive view.

I convinced DJ and the photographer to do this by saying that it would look like us as old people. Except that it doesn't, it looks like us at home on a normal worknight. Minus the dress, plus a pair of yoga pants. Old people.

Me: I can see up your nose. DJ: No, you can't. Stop looking at my brain.

Then we changed clothes and found the tiniest grassy place ever. Vegas is not known for its natural beauty, you know. This one is going on my desk at work.This is how I am usually looking at DJ. A little bit of adoration, a little bit of disbelief, a lot of Leno Jaw.I have no idea why he likes me, but it does seem to be true.

Now, about the student photographer. I think she did a good job. I liked her a lot, and I think she has a lot of potential. BUT, if you're looking for a lot of direction or creativity, you should pay an experienced professional - or do some serious art direction of your own and take your chances. I knew that ahead of time, so I'm quite happy with what we have. On the other hand, if we'd been working with our wedding photographer, we might have communicated our ideas more easily and had many more pictures to choose from.

Our wedding photographer is a whole different and wonderful story. I'll have to tell it one of these days.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

small swish

I've had my dress for quite some time, no regrets there. But if I were still looking, I'd be awfully tempted by J. Crew's new Kate. The color, the neckline, the tiny little swoop of a train... Of course, I'd have to ignore how unflattering it would be to my hips, and that the skirt would probably be an inch or two too short, and that J. Crew's prices are flitting closer and closer to the sun.

Nevertheless, I think I'd spend a lot more money at J. Crew if I were, you know, built like a J. Crew model.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

holiday road

DJ and I are back from Las Vegas, with a lot of pictures that look like this. Me: Smile!
DJ: I wasn't ready!
Me: Oh. It's ok, we weren't really in the frame anyway.
Back to wedding wedding wedding! We didn't really talk about the eventual wedding while we were gone, and I definitely did not work on any projects, so I feel like I've had a little vacation there as well. My Google reader agrees; 1000+ posts accumulated last week. I may not catch up.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

invitations: time and place

This is really just a sneak peek. I bit the bullet this morning and committed to the invitation text. I'd been putting it off, afraid that printing green text would be frustrating, but it turned out to be no big deal. Easier than printing the lacy pattern, since it used less ink and lighter presses on the Gocco. I hated to blur details, but it's probably better that way.

I'll be on vacation all week - maybe I'll catch up on Friday or Saturday. Now I should really stop playing around and start packing!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

puppy school

For Jenny, who has the "puppy bug." DJ and I have a dog. He's a Welsh Cardigan Corgi named Ignatius J. Reilly (he goes by Reilly most of the time.)
Here he is last September, when we first brought him home. The breeder told us to duct-tape his ears until the muscles and cartilage firmed enough to hold those enormous satellites out of his eyes. He didn't seem to mind.

Here is is a few weeks ago, cuddling with his stuffed bear. I love having a dog. Sure, there are the occasional illnesses and midnight barking fits - but DJ and I agree that he is the most entertaining thing in our lives.

PSA: Corgis are cute, but they shed like crazy and have a very particular temperament. Do your research on whatever breed of dog you like! Ours is sweet, energetic, suspicious of strangers and highly motivated by praise and food. He absolutely needs chew toys and games of fetch. Some of those things are breed characteristics, some are just Reilly. Also, the puppy training will take far longer than you ever thought. Invest in a carpet shampooer, and plan on using it regularly for about a year.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

location is everything

The event coordinator DJ has been working with from one of our potential caterers (whew, mouthful) is a sweetheart. She let us come out to the barn for a look at their setup for a wedding that day. Then she sent me pictures!

Sun flare, how I love you. (Jennifer tells me that this is camera flash on a window, but I prefer to see sun flare.) This couple had the most beautiful day for their wedding, and apparently a beautiful wedding.
Oh, and her dress. Just look how cute she is.
Lovely bride, lovely day.
The groom is apparently a chef, so their table signs were butcher cuts. Too funny. I liked this idea so much I may just steal it. It's four pieces of plywood, hinged and painted with chalkboard paint. It was hung above where the buffet table was set up. Genius. I am not kidding, I have already committed DJ and his dad to the sawing and whatnot.

So many of my things and projects are "inspired" this way, I wonder if that's ok. If this were your wedding, would you mind if I reprised your ideas for myself? My pseudonym is ever more appropriate. Short of running a credit reel at the eventual wedding, I don't know what would do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

labor costs

I did some math not too long ago, and discovered that by the time we eventually get married next year I will have put in roughly two hundred and fifty project-hours. That is, unless I add something to the list.

Is that abnormal? I'm not worried about it. Should I be?

Wait, wait. Let me give you some history. Last year, I bought these chairs. Stalked them, actually. I lost quite a few to higher bids before I won these. Problem was, they came without cushions.
So I made cushions, from wool crepe and foam and batting and zippers. I love them.Sadly, this productivity comes at the expense of any age-appropriate social life. Tradeoffs, you know. So, am I in trouble? Assuming that I do this sort of thing for fun (or instead of fun, depending on how you see it)?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

let's play dress up

This is one of the dresses from the lookbook (without the jacket.) From Spiegel - who knew? It's relatively inexpensive, and really pretty. I'm intrigued. I can't decide whether to hope one of the Lady Squad buys it, or hope they don't so I can wear it as a rehearsal dress.

I think it would make a great wedding dress for someone, actually. Maybe a courthouse wedding? Or a beach ceremony?
Oh, and these shoes. Maybe not for that dress, but for something. Right? I just wish they weren't so tall. 4" is a lot to add to a barefoot five-ten, not to mention the hurty feet factor.

Kiss me as if it were the last time.

(Sweetheart by Terry Graziano.)

I am not a hat girl. I'd like to be, and I've tried. I'm just not. If I were, I'd wear this one. The problem, I think, is that I wear really loud coats. Maybe this year I will make an effort to be a hat girl.

Friday, October 10, 2008

lemons into lemonade

Last night my little Toyota had a bad experience with a Chevy Astro van. I am ok aside from skinned knees and bruises, but the car is totalled. My insurance is taking care of it, but still - so sad. Today I was thinking about wedding things and had the urge to turn this sad picture into a pretty wedding.
(The Knot, The Knot, Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart, MyShape, Valentino via Neiman Marcus, Priscilla of Boston via Brides, Portobello, Niklindesigns, SarahParrott)
I'm new at this, I know it could be done better. If anyone wants to give it a shot, e-mail me at eventualwedding at gmail dot com.

DIY, or delegate and say you did

November is DIY month at Elizabeth Anne Designs. They're having a DIY submission contest, which should be fantastic. They're going to run all the submissions, so send one! Or several! I want to see them (and maybe help myself to your ideas.)

They're also going to let me guest blog for a week, starting November 10th. Whee! I'm saving some good things for that week - maybe I'll even finish the invitations by then.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

a nice piece of tail

DJ and I agree on many things. Most things. We disagree about this one. The creepy squirrel lady and bear groom make me covetously happy. DJ just finds them creepy. He is probably right, but I like them anyway. If they were on top of our eventual wedding cake, everyone would know what happened. Oh, that Julia. She crazy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

invitations: another thing to hold things

Like 90% of the brides I've followed around the internet, I fell in love with pocket folder invitations. They're so neatly packaged! I hate spilling the contents of an envelope all over my lap, it ruins the presentation. If you could get away with just the invitation and the response card, I guess it wouldn't be so bad. But most of us have directions and hotel cards and who knows what else. The options seem to be ribbon, belly bands, or folders.

My original plan was to buy pocket folders from Paper Source. Not the cheapest option, but easy and matchy. It wasn't until I dragged DJ to the store with me that I realized I had misunderstood the very clear photo on their website. Durr. The front flap of their folder is about 1" shorter than the pocket side; ideal for stacking all the components in the pocket, but not what I had in mind.
I wanted equal panels on the left and right flaps, so that the invitation could be attached on the left and the card stack could sit in the pocket on the right. Like so:
The salesgirl saw my dithering and suggested an alternative - I could buy large sheets of cardstock and make my own folders. This would be labor intensive, but with a few benefits. One, I could have exactly what I had in mind. Two, the cost per folder decreased 75%.
So I ordered cardstock, which arrived the next day. (Paper Source has extremely fast shipping, at least if you're near Chicago. Good for those of us with instant gratification issues.) Then I spent the next few weekends with a self-healing mat, ruler, and craft knife.
Tip: change blades often. A dull blade rips at the paper fibers and creates an imprecise edge. I probably used ten blades for 90 folders. I wanted 5" x 7" folders with a 2" vertical pocket, so my cutting dimensions were 7" x 12".

After cutting, I used a bonefolder and ruler to score at 5" and 10" longways on each, erring on the generous side for the front flap. This might have been easier to do with a scoring blade on a rotary cutter, but the bonefolder worked just fine. Then I ran a thin bead of glue along the pocket upper and lower edges, using a weight to set the glue. This is the finished stack, for no reason other than that it makes me happy. You may recognize the header graphic?It took a while. I've been enjoying the long engagement because I haven't yet had to make decisions based on available time - but your mileage may vary, and I wouldn't say it's worth it just from a cost perspective. After all, at the end of this I have plain aqua folders - not the most exciting thing in the world, although exactly what I wanted.

Monday, October 6, 2008

bridesmaid lookbook

Today or maybe Tuesday my bridesmaids (occasionally known as the Lady Squad) will be opening up their mailboxes to find packages from me.
Inside the packages are stacks, all three the same. On top of the stack is a book. A flip book of dresses and shoes. The book itself was Bridesmaid Chloe's idea - she called it a Bridesmaid Lookbook.

I knew it wasn't fair to send them out looking for outfits with zero help, so I set some guidelines. Color range, sleeve type, length. Same for shoes - although just a color range, since I really don't care if they wear gold sandals or bronze ballet flats. Some guidance is good - no motorcycle boots or flip flops, say - but I have a recurring case of wedding ennui that makes me lazy about some details. Hats off to you if you can keep it all straight, but not me! I know my limits.

Then I went around the internet and found some dresses and shoes I liked. I put them into Powerpoint along with their sources and prices. After printing, I trimmed the pages to fit together.

I used silver jump rings and a 1/16" holepunch to bind them inside cardstock covers. The idea being that you can flip dresses and shoes and make up outfits. Not that I expect them to buy any of these particular dresses, it's just a thing to get them started looking.

To make up for the hassle of finding their own outfits, I packed the little books up with emerald green pashminas. They'll serve the dual purposes of keeping the girls warm if the evening is chilly, and bringing in a bit more of DJ's beloved GREEN.

Details and dimensions, if you're into that sort of thing-

Covers: Paper Source Pool cardstock, left over from making pocketfolds. Cut to 5.25" x 7.5"
Dresses: Printed on 8.5" x 11" typing paper, trimmed to 3.5" x 5" using the product information as a guide, which was right-aligned to the upper right corner.
Shoes: Printed on 8.5" x 11" typing paper, trimmed to 3.25" x 5" using the product information as a guide, which was right aligned to the upper right corner.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

three times a bridesmaid

I've been a bridesmaid three times, and I've found that there are good things and bad things about that title. The best thing is that first moment when you're asked. It kind of goes downhill from there. Not that I haven't had fun, dancing the night away in my beaded chiffon and satin gowns! But it's not all great.

Here's my list of maybe not-great things: an expensive, unflattering dress. An expensive, unflattering hairdo. An awkward, expensive bachelorette party. Feeling like the fifth bridesmaid. Not seeing your date all night because he's at the singles' table while you're at the head table. Trying to figure out where to leave your car so you aren't stranded the next morning.

At first I thought of not having bridesmaids at all, but my selfish little heart rebelled. I want there to be someone or several someones whose job it is to hang out with me that day. I want those people to be excited about being asked. I want to give them flowers and recognize how important they are in my life. So I asked, and they said yes, and honestly it was as nervewracking as asking for a date because I take everything way too seriously.

None of that has anything to do with matching dresses, but I didn't realize that until later. I didn't realize that until I'd gotten seriously stressed out about finding the right dress in the right color in the right fabric at a price that didn't make me want to apologize. (Not strapless, forest or emerald green, silk, less than $150. Hahahahaha.)

Then I started seeing really pretty cocktail dresses, in gold and ivory and champagne. That could work, I thought, but how to get them matching in the right sizes? OH WAIT, what if they didn't need to match? Then my job would be over! That was in June, and I haven't looked back.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

consistency is key

Not long after the question was popped, the questions started. Have you set a date? What are your colors? I had no idea. Colors? I like colors?

DJ happened to be nearby just then. Deflecting, I asked him if he had any thoughts. He fluttered his long eyelashes at me and said GREEN. I like GREEN! O, I said, I like green too! (He really does like green, although coincidentally he is red-green colorblind so maybe it's not green he likes at all, but brown.)
What number do you see? 74 = normal vision. 21 = colorblind.

After a few flash cards, I was convinced that his idea of green agreed with everyone else's, and we had a color. Wait though, the recurring color in my life is aqua. Martha Stewart Tiffany Fiestaware aqua. This started when I inherited my grandma Julia's Fiestaware, and painted my kitchen to match. Green and aqua look pretty great together. See, Martha Stewart thinks so:Then I bought an ivory dress, and decided I liked ivory far better than white, particularly in the fall.Once I started thinking about invitations, it all came together. Seamlessly? Crashingly? Convincingly?Ivory paper and green lettering with aqua envelopes, tied up with a green ribbon. But something was missing. One night while working on the invitation plan I had a desperate want for envelope liners. Hands shaking, I looked at all kinds of fancy paper online, hours and hours of it - and then it struck me.
Wrapping paper. Michaels' had closed out their MS wrapping paper some months ago, and I bought it. Like, all of it. At $1 a roll, it was too cheap to pass up, and it was lovely heavy stuff. I knew I'd use it for something, if only to wrap presents. So I had rolls and rolls sitting in my closet, more than enough to line envelopes and whatever else I think of between now and then.

So that brought in a metallic pewter color, and eventually I had this bright idea which meant hours in Photoshop and mixing my own Gocco ink. (HARD.) Looks cool though, right?(Note: I just found this photo from my table last Thanksgiving, and although I did not realize it until just now, what colors do you see? See, it just keeps coming up.)

If it seems like I'm taking this all way too seriously, that's probably true. It was at about this point that I realized I was really into this wedding project. But why not? As long as it's fun, why not?

Next up: Bridesmaids! Color them mine!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

mixed media

As long as I'm coveting flowers, here's the lady I'd hire if I were in Portland. I first read her blog, Housemartin, which is a lovely source of lifestyle inspiration sprinkled with breathtaking florals she designs herself. She's recently opened a brick and mortar shop, Ink & Peat.

There's so much life and imagination in her arrangements - every new post assures me that yes, this takes talent.Apples and fiddlehead ferns! Lovely!

I would love to see this on a holiday table, with the berries and pale colors and silver ornaments.