Monday, November 24, 2008

merry and bright

A few weeks ago DJ was talking about sending cards this Christmas. Funny to me, because I think this is one of the things that changed with being engaged. I've sent cards myself in past years, but now we will send them together, and he has a list of names to add to mine.

DJ liked the top set, while I chose the ones with trees. I like the cards a lot, but not so much the envelopes. The blue cards came with plain white envelopes while the trees came with silver striped envelopes.
The cards are the same size, so I did a switch. I'll use the silver for the blue cards, and I made red ones for the trees, to match the script. This would have been easier with a template, but oh well. I just traced around the silver, added margins by eye, and started cutting.
I may or may not line both sets with silver paper. Both of those are from my $1/roll Martha Stewart stash. I particularly like the woodgrain, I'm leaning that way.
I do like some tacky faux-woodgrain. This is one corner of our dining room table (which is nearly always housing some wedding project these days.) It's laminate from 1963, and boy did they love their faux-woodgrain then. This table was the first thing DJ and I bought together, and I had a hard time with the commitment of owning something jointly. I got over it. Now we have a dog and some other furniture and we're sending holiday cards with silver woodgrain lining.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

moth love

One of my bridesmaids would love anything from this shop. She has said she would love to have something to wear in her curly hair, and one of these headbands would fit the bill.

Me, I'm too plain for feather headbands. The wildest I get is giraffe-patterned slingbacks with my beige trousers and turtleneck. So I live vicariously.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

winter trees

Whoops, that wasn't supposed to be a mini-break. Work kind of exploded (kind of, not literally - although in my field that is occasionally a possibility) and I haven't had much energy at the end of the day.

Anyway. Do you need a gift for someone just like me? Are you decorating on the cheap and totally enamored of Mad Men and all things 1960's? Do you think it would be totally exhausting to live with me? (Okay, that's unrelated. Check yes.)

Last year I bought a series of three Giclee prints from modernarteveryday. I framed them and DJ hung them level on a blank white wall. Of all the miscellaneous stuff and artwork in our house, those three prints get the most compliments. (Photos from MAE's Etsy shop.)

They are also less expensive than they look - all three prints for either $25 or $40, depending on size (if I remember correctly). A gift certificate to a framing store (Michael's, JoAnn Fabrics, Ikea, Hobby Lobby, Target...) would be a very nice addition to the box.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

extra, extra!

The replacement shoes came - and they fit! I think maybe the 9's would have been too large after all. Whew. I may still have my shoe guy stretch the toe box for comfort, but it's not strictly necessary.

Please ignore my hideous veiny feet and obvious need for a pedicure. Also the crappy photography. Why is it so hard to take a picture of your own feet?

silver baron

Still life: silver with dog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I like cake, I like cake

To say that I like cake would be an understatement. I love cake. I don't think life without cake would be worth living. I'm really excited about tasting wedding cake samples. For the record, I have only very briefly considered baking my own wedding cake.

I bake frequently, usually 2-3 times a week. Coffee cake on weekends, lemon-yogurt cake with lemon curd and whipped cream, ginger pear molasses cake, flourless chocolate cake, cranberry lemon olive oil "bread," apricot ribbon yellow cake...
Of all those cakes, the only evidence I can find on my hard drive is this. It's a meat cake. A cake made of meat. Meat loaf, actually. Made for my brother's birthday, when he turned 19. Filled with barbeque sauce, frosted with mashed potatoes and ketchup. After his birthday dinner we did the whole singing and cake bit, and he cut into his cake. Hey, he said. Wait - is this...? JULIA!!!! Hee.

Then I brought out the real cake, which was caramel banana with vanilla filling and caramel buttercream frosting. Much tastier - although my meatloaf recipe made a surprisingly decent layer cake, if you're into that sort of thing. My brother ate it, anyway.
With all those cakes, you'd think I'd have a cake knife, but I don't. Depending on the cake, I use a bread knife or a steak knife. I know, classy. A few days ago I bought this set, primarily to cut and serve wedding cake but also to save my steak knives for steak in the future. (Or meat cake.) They're vintage sterling silver in Oneida's Damask Rose pattern. DJ has started calling me the Silver Baron.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

waiting for the other shoe to drop

Sooo. We have a problem. I ordered these shoes:
These were delivered:

Not an acceptable substitute.

Normally this would be a small setback requiring only a quick exchange, but I bought the very last pair in my size (9) and the only remaining sizes are 6.5 and 8.5. AND, they are now twice as expensive as they were on Friday night.

After 45 minutes on the phone with India, they still did not have my size in stock. In fact, my size has been and is still missing from the entire internet. They were happy to refund my money and let me buy the 8.5's - at the new higher price. Gentle readers, I was not very pleasant to some poor customer service manager several time zones away.

Eventually it was agreed that as this was Amazon's screwup, they would let me buy the 8.5's at the lower price and I would return the substitute 9's. Which leaves just one small problem: I wear a 9M, not 8.5M. I have a few pairs of 8.5's, but mostly 9's. What odds do I have of making these work? I'm picking up some boots from my shoe guy on Saturday. Do you think he can stretch them a half size for me, or am I out of luck? Any recommendations?

My short buddy here was very interested in the shoes and camera. He thinks all the bright lights and shiny objects are just for him, which is generally correct.

ghost town

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

old things repurposed

One of my future projects, which may be very much in the future, is to bring a little Paul Lowe into my living room.
For a short time I thought I'd buy several dozen vintage doilies and assemble them into table runners for the eventual wedding. I thought that would play well with the blowsy vintage barny-ness. But once I realized I probably needed 500 doilies that didn't seem like such a hot idea anymore. 500 of anything is a lot, especially if you can't just order a box online somewhere.

But curtains, maybe. Our living room curtains are very much like those above - lineny, sheer, and very plain. Well, here. This is one end of our living room. Yes, that is a half-mannequin wearing a sarong. What can I say, I like simple furniture and weird accessories.

I asked DJ a while ago if he minded doilies on the curtains, and he looked slightly confused. No, he said, Why would I?

I know, I have it good. He lets me do anything I want to our house, usually does the heavy lifting, then later gives me all the credit.

Monday, November 10, 2008

here and there and everywhere

If you need more Julia Remix (doubtful!) you can also find me at Elizabeth Anne Designs this week. I'm sorry to say that I worked much harder on those posts than I ever do on the ones here. I need accountability, it's a fact.

curtain of flowers

This is a great idea, stringing flower heads on fishing line. It looks like these are under a huppah, and real flowers. These were probably strung on-site by the florist then anchored with a bit of hot glue. If I were going to do exactly this, it would need to be done the day of. Gorgeous, but not practical at all for this girl, sans florist. I can't add even one thing that must be done by me on the day of.

(credit: me!)
This is our ceremony space. Nice caution tape, eh? I've had a hard time thinking of how to delineate the top of the aisle, without an arbor or altar or , you know, aisle. But I think that this flower idea could work. If I use silk flowers, they can be pre-strung. Probably no one will notice.
DJ suggested stringing them horizontally instead of vertically, so that they can be stretched between the two trees. And instead of anchoring directly to the trees, tying the monofilament to dowel rods which can be attached with bungee cords to the trees. The bungees can be covered by wreaths or ribbon or something. Easy up, easy down. I can picture it, kind of - a loose curtain of flowers spanning the gap between those trees. Maybe tighter in the center and diffusing at the edges.

I like this idea. I think I'm going to add it to my project list. Should I write a how-to, or is it pretty self-explanatory?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

fake right, pass left

After all that shoe talk, I didn't buy any of those. I hadn't meant to buy anything just yet, but you know how that goes. That's when the best things come along.

Instead I started cleaning out my favorites folder at 1:30 in the morning. I clicked on a forgotten Amazon link tagged GREAT SHOES, and there they were. Great shoes that, last I checked, had been $325 and not available in my size. Still, great. Silk satin, 1.5" heel, peep toe, fancy fun ruffle on the front... great. (For me. You feel free to disagree in the comments.)
But that was then and this was... several days ago, and at the time of link clickage they were marked down to the floor and available in my size. I debated for a millisecond, then bought them. After all, Amazon is nice about returns. (January 31, Julia. That's how long you have to change your mind if it's going to change.) I happened to have a leftover birthday gift card from DJ's parents, which made the net cost to me... $40. Yep. $40.
I won't dye them - I like the champagne color and the heel wouldn't take dye anyway. I'm sure I'll find another reason to need green shoes when the right pair comes along.

I'm especially excited, because I like these as shoes, not just wedding shoes. I'd wear them for something else fancy even if I didn't have the wedding excuse. Although really, there aren't nearly enough cocktail parties in my life to justify the fancy shoe closet I've built over the years.

DJ and I, by the way, have a deal. He does not harass me about my shoe real estate, and I don't harass him about his DVD collection. His DVD collection is probably of equal or greater value than my shoe collection, so it works out nicely. There is very little furtive smuggling of shoes and DVDs into the house. In fact, he was nearly as excited about my shoe find as I was.

Incidentally: so far I have a dress, veil, and shoes. I've spent less on the combined total than the retail price of those shoes - and gotten exactly what I wanted, every time. It makes me happy just thinking about it.

ETA: I just went back to the page, and today they are twice as expensive as they were over the weekend. Why, Amazon? I'm glad I impulse bought when I did.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

green with envy

I knew this would happen. Long, long after the bridesmaid dress hunt is over, what do I find? The perfect GREEN dress. Not strapless, not too expensive, and silk. Probably also not around for long - so if you want a GREEN dress, go! Shop!

Friday, November 7, 2008

white shoe irregular

I'm a tall girl, and although I stomp around my job in heels all the time, I'm not excited about wearing 4" heels with my wedding dress. Nor am I that excited about risking blisters because I've been too afraid to break in my new shoes.

There's a dearth of small-heeled options out there. Ideally I'd like a 1-2" heel. None of that cheating, measuring the heel from the arch - no, I want a 1-2" total add to my height. There aren't so many of those out there. Definitely not a lot of cute shoes in that height range. The girls who want 3-4" are lucky - there are tons.

But I have found some possibilities. I've been going back and forth about dying my shoes DJ's beloved GREEN - I've wanted forest green shoes for a long time, but these shoes do not necessarily need to be those shoes. Not all of these are dyeable, but I haven't decided yet if that's important.

Stuart Weitzman, 2.25” heel. $151.00 (on sale from $270.00.) Not dyeable. Classic. Spendy. Borrrring.
Something Bleu Bloom, 1.5” heel, $190.00. I really like the tiny covered heel and the knot over the peep toe. These are my favorites, and I'd definitely wear them again after dyeing. But they are spendy and never on sale.
Lexus peep-toe, 2.5” heel. ₤29.99. These are my second favorites, tied with the next two. The heel is a little high, though, and of course I can't try them on (please note the currency). Their relative affordability depends greatly on the exchange rate.
Nina Electra, 2.5” heel $99.95. Perfectly classic, but the heel is just a bit over what I'd like it to be.
Touch Ups Abby, 1.75” heel. $51.95. These are probably the ones I'll end up buying. I don't love them, but the price is right and the heel is right, and shoe clips could make them seem more fun than they really are.

So that's it for small heels. There are more, but those are the ones I liked at all. Then I moved on to flats. I think that's where everyone over 5'7" ends up at some point, thinking how cute those shoes would be with jeans and feeling slightly depressed about that. I'm not sure I want shoes that could go straight from wedding to work. But I suppose they could be dressed up with shoe clips or feathers a la Shannon Britt.

Steve Madden Keepsake, FLAT, $69.95. (One thing about these - I have them in both red and black patent, and because they are so lowcut there's not a lot of support for the front of your foot or your arch. It's possible to slide completely out the side if you're not careful. So, meh.)
Shelley George Apple Blossom flats - dyeable - $129.99. They come with or without the bow. I say no bow, because I did that when I was five.
J. Crew, $158.00. Meh. They're nice ballet flats, but meh.

Baby round toe flat dyeable silk - $190.00. I really like these, as shoes. I think they'd be fantastic dyed forest green with a sparkly or feathery shoe clip. But - meh.
Grace ballet flat, not dyeable. $120. Comes in white, candlelight, antique. Too sugar-sweet, and not dyeable means not rewearable. Which sort of kills the wear-with-jeans possibilities.
Bliss collection by Bryony ₤55.99. Is it just me, or are they just a little bit grandma-ish? I'm torn, because I like this knot detail on other shoes. Just not these.
Flat ballet pump in satin ₤22.99. Snore.Ras satin opera skimmer. $151.00 or $237.95 (on sale) - in other colors for $130.87. I like these shoes a lot. Like, a lot a lot. To wear with jeans. Besides that, they aren't really green. Which might not matter if they were $60, but at >$100, they had better be perfect.

I'm not sold on any of these. Anyone have any recommendations?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I'm planning on "doing" the flowers myself, you know. Myself plus help, probably. Four bouquets, a whole lot of centerpieces and one or two corsages. None of those things worry me. Bouttonnieres worried me. There's so much wiring and wrapping and proportion, it seems like that might actually take some skill. For a while I thought my mom would help (she worked in a floral shop years ago) but that's not going to work, so I worried.

I asked DJ if he'd be willing to consider a non-floral bouttonniere option, and in his typical laid-back way he said he would.
I bought some feathers and millinery leaves and spent an afternoon wiring and wrapping. I also used some vintage buttons and a few precious inches of Alencon lace from my grandma's collection. None of them are the same, because, well, that's just how I do things. My mind could always change, but now if nothing else we have a backup plan for wilty blooms.

You wouldn't think I'd need eight for a smallish wedding, would you. One groom, three groomsmen, three ushers and a dad = 8. It's nice to have that many people willing to wear feathers and lace for you.