Monday, December 29, 2008

let's call it overkill

...and in the mail today came a gift certificate from Anthropologie, for $40. Okay, I'm sold. THIS is how you turn a disgruntled customer thrilled and somewhat sheepish.

(Liz, I am working on your Gocco question and will answer it probably tomorrow. With pictures.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

it's a Christmas miracle, Charlie Brown

Earlier this week Illinois was slammed with some serious snow. Mail and UPS deliveries were delayed, which probably explains how a mystery package happened to arrive late on Christmas Eve.
Inside the package I found two boxes.

And a card.

The card says "Julia, I saw your posting about the disappointing service you received from Anthropologie. Please accept the two enclosed stoppers free of charge as a token of our dedication to making your next Anthropologie experience a positive one." Handwritten, signed by the operations manager, Allison. Sure enough, two stoppers, already giftwrapped. I don't know quite how Allison connected my virtual snit with my original order, but how nice is that? They were also out of stock online and in most stores, so I'm sure it wasn't easy to find them either.

I rewrapped them and gave one to DJ's mom (the original gift) and one to his brother's wife. Of course I had to tell the story, so Allison - there were two gifts under our tree from you this Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

big swish

WANT. With the usual caveats (not shaped correctly for my body type, too expensive, etc.) and a few additional ones. What I'd really like is a place to wear this skirt, because I could make one for myself. There just aren't a lot of events in my life where a floor-length silk taffeta ball skirt would be the thing to wear.

On the other hand, I wish I could convince my mom that this would be the thing to wear. I might even sew it for her in the color of her choosing. It would look elegant on her, and with the right top could be a real showstopper of a mother-of-the-bride outfit.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I went to a marvellous party

I had such a great time wrapping gifts this year. I'm way into the rustic barny thing at the moment, can you tell?
Now that they're wrapped and ready, it's nearly impossible for me not to hand off gifts as the recipients come through the door. DJ has the same problem - I think we've broken into the gifts early all three Christmases since we started re-dating. Including this one. Whoops.

The post title comes from this Noel Coward bit. Holidays and family get-togethers always remind me of it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

champagne brunch

MixWit is closing shop in a few days (sad!), so I'm trying 8tracks as an alternative. 8tracks doesn't have the neat mixtape graphic option and won't hold the song order fixed, so I'm still looking. Any recommendations?

Champagne Brunch

Sip a mimosa, nibble French toast, wear white gloves on the train into the city.

craft overload

A few days ago I was saying I wanted to try quilling. It took me a matter of hours to actually try it. After two snowflakes and one sort-of Christmas tree, I have to say I think it's harder than it looks. Oh, it's easy to make the curliques - but apparently hard to do well. It's fun though, so I might keep practicing until I have a whole tree of curly snowflakes with wonky edges.

Friday, December 19, 2008

fluffy meringue

I think that this photo came from the Bride's Cafe, but I'm not sure and now can't re-find it. It's been sitting on my hard drive for some time, clipped because I like the puffy gathers. I also like the lace, but is it a bit too-too? I've lost perspective on these things, weddings seems to encourage my over the top tendencies.

Originally I thought of using this for cocktail tables, but now I don't think we'll need them. I also didn't think we'd have a head table, but now that seems like the best use of the space we have. The rest of the rectangular tables will be bare distressed wood with natural muslin runners. We could do the same on the head table, but the girls will be wearing knee-length skirts. From straight on, a tablecloth would look more finished in pictures and make them worry less about crossing their ankles. (My grandma always says that a lady crosses her ankles - crossing at the knee is acceptable, but not as flattering. She's crazy, but I believe she may be right.)

I don't mind the head table being different, and since I haven't sewn the runners yet I might be able to echo the gathers there as well. It just occurred to me that the tables look like wedding gowns a little bit. Funny, since my dress is as plain as can be.

customer dissatisfaction

I'm having a fight with Anthropologie right now. Anthropologie doesn't actually care, which is why we're having the fight.

Last week I ordered a few gifts online, with plenty of time to spare before Christmas Eve. Yesterday the box arrived, missing one item. They'd charged me for it, packed the rest of the order, checked off each packed item, and completely left off one thing. I seem to be having this problem a lot lately.

I called this morning to ask for the thing to be shipped (in time for Christmas, please!), and of course they're sold out. Of course! That was annoying, but can't really be helped. The thing that bothered me was that the girl on the phone just could not have cared any less. I'm sure her job is boring, but an apology would have been nice. An effusive apology, and maybe an e-mail confirming my refund.

Especially since now I (or DJ) will be stuck braving the crowded mall the weekend before Christmas, in a snowstorm. Bah humbug.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a little sparkle

Today while browsing the Banana Republic sales I saw some things that looked wedding-y. Which, fine, not that big a feat since lately everything looks wedding-y. I'm a little ashamed of that, but not enough to hide it.
These are some fancy, wonderful earrings for $25. I'm especially smitten with the bows. Bows are very 1940s to me - I wonder if that's just me, or if it's a thing?

These are a little bit less ornate, for $20.

And these would be perfect with something modern and clean-lined, for $25.

Monday, December 15, 2008

this time last year

This was our tree - yes, it's draped in pink ribbon. Why not?
And these were the gingerbread cookies I was baking, and THAT was my brand new engagement ring.
I like to tease him that December 15th is the day he gives me shiny diamond rings. But seriously, the year went by so fast. Next year we'll be married and getting ready for Bridesmaid Chloe's wedding.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the cookie project

I haven't totally committed to this yet, but one of my crazy projects might be favors. I've changed my mind a few times already, so I know better than to say for sure. That's the thing about a long engagement - lots of time to get good and crazy.
I always like edible favors, and I suspect that the leftovers always go to good use. At first I thought I'd order boxed truffles, slap some ribbon on there and call it a day. Then I read some bride blogs. Let me tell you, you ladies are not helpful. Well, you ARE. But helpful in the I-could-so-do-that way, not the simplify-my-wedding way. I don't know how else I can explain my fervent desire to bake cookies for our favors.
This could be kind of a trick, since I want to bake them myself. Just me. No help. The recipe I have in mind came from my grandma Julia, who passed away when I was seven. (Yes, both our names are Julia. For reals.) It's a chewy ginger molasses cookie, and everyone who's tried it has ended up being my friend. I'm not going to post the recipe, but if you want it e-mail me at eventualwedding at gmail dot com. See, then we can be friends.
Anyway, the thing about baking cookies - even for a smallish wedding - is the quantity. We need probably 3-400 cookies, and I want not to be stressed the week of the wedding any more than necessary. So a little while ago I did a stability study to find out how long can I freeze the baked cookies before they change in taste? I made a big batch of cookies and froze them by the half dozen, to be sampled every week for a while. The answer, sadly, is that I can't freeze them without a discernable freezer taste. But I can freeze the dough, so it's not off the table just yet.

A Very Remix Christmas

Happy weekend, chicks. This morning I'm baking Christmas cookies while DJ buys stamps for our shared holiday cards. It feels very Christmassy around here. Sounds that way, too. Do you hear what I hear?

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Friday, December 12, 2008

loop de loop

I stupidly did not save the source for this photo - is it yours? I wish I could remember where I found it, because I want to know how to do that. Not for wedding, for Christmas. I think quilled paper ornaments would be a blast to make (for the first dozen or so), and really pretty to decorate a wrapped gift. Not to mention the marvelous economy of using paper scraps that would otherwise be thrown out, right?

That is how I will sell it to DJ - which is totally unnecessary, he's so impressed by my thrifted silver and free wedding shoes that I could buy any number of craft supplies without him blinking twice. (Ahem, Gocco.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

firstname lastname

We all get to it at some point. The big question: do I change my name or not? Frequently there's another option: will he change his name or not?

When DJ and I were engaged last time, nearly a decade ago, I assumed that I would just change my name. But somewhere in those ten years I grew more attached to my name.

We briefly discussed changing his name, or changing both our last names, but quickly ruled that out. DJ is named for his father and grandfather, all sharing the same first and last names. He also comes from a close extended family, and that identity is important to him.

I'm not particularly attached to my actual name; it's nothing special, and I don't particularly identify with my family of origin. But I've had that name for going on three decades, and I'm uncomfortable with leaving half my name behind for a whole new one. At the same time, I'd like for DJ and I to share the same name, and I'm thrilled to be a part of his wonderful family. (Seriously. I often joke that I am marrying him for his family.)

So, what's left. Hyphenation. Hyphenation would give me a long and consonant-filled name, but it would be easy for me to remain Julia Remix professionally while having the option of Julia Remix-J or Julia J in my personal life.

Also, hyphenated names always make me think of Dynasty and Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan. (Though I guess hers were not hyphenated so much as daisy-chained.) So until the novelty wears off my old-new name will make me giggle.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

luck luck luck

A few days after the replacement shoes arrived, I was paying bills and noticed something suspicious in my checking account. A credit for $64.99, attributed to my banking institution.

Some time ago, they started a program where you could enroll your debit card for the possibility of the bank "picking up the tab." Sure, I thought. Why not. It would be nice if they bought my coffee, right? Well, that never happened, and I forgot about it. Until I was paying bills and had a good chunk of change returned unexpectedly.

Oh, yes. My bank bought my wedding shoes - specifically, round TWO of wedding shoes. If I put any importance on these things, I'd say the universe was wholly in support of my marrying DJ. Right down to financing my footwear.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

this old thing?

So, hey. I fell under a rock there for a few days. Believe it or not, I took these photos on Thanksgiving afternoon, just before DJ's parents arrived. Time flies when your job is exploding.

I took the opportunity (guests, holiday dinner) to do a sort of floral dry run. These aren't the actual flowers we'll have for the eventual wedding, but they are flowers. They were what Trader Joe's had at 4 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving, but aren't they pretty? I still say it's hard to make flowers look bad.
I think they came together very nicely, in an assortment of thrifted silver things. Later I served coffee from a fancy silver coffee and tea set, more from the floral container collection. I'll have my use out of these babies by the time the wedding comes around.

Here are those prints I was hyping a while ago, hung neatly on level by my very handy guy. He also makes fantastic mashed potatoes, vacuums, and scrubs the nasty dishes. No, you may not have him.