31 May 2010


We're busy today with the annual neighborhood pancake breakfast in the morning and a good old-fashioned American cookout this afternoon.  I'll have a proper post on Wednesday, but in the meantime, I wanted to share one of our favorite wedding-related gifts yet, some beautiful handiwork from my sister-in-law-to-be, Melody.

Isn't she a clever one?  (If you're someone who likes a good sock monkey now and then, you should visit her little Etsy shop.)

Emily Post says that wedding gifts must never, never be used before the wedding, but we couldn't resist taking this straight home and hanging it on the wall...

28 May 2010


I've been waiting all week to tell you about one of last weekend's more exciting moments: I won something!  More importantly, I won something that we needed!  Boutonnieres for my man and his brothers/groomsmen!  Just when I was starting to think about making some, I entered this contest that Mouse was hosting over at Souris Mariage.  And then I won!  How great is that?

It's pretty great.  I wasn't feeling very inspired about boutonnieres, and my big plan was to put the project off until the last possible moment, just in case a good idea finally occurred to me.  I was thinking of using fabric.  Or maybe paper.  To be honest, I wasn't thinking very hard about anything at all.  I just couldn't figure out what we should have.

My partner-in-crime, however, was pretty sure he knew what we needed.  A sheriff's badge for him and deputy badges for his two brothers.  I thought it was a fine plan, but finding the right badges turned out to be harder than we thought it would be.  Ebay and Etsy were both full of either extremely expensive collectibles or cheap plastic junk made for a seven year-old's birthday party.

And then there was the fact that my man's desire for a sheriff's badge led to the desire for cap guns.  And for our officiant--my hero of a brother--to wear a big black hat with a wide flat brim.  "Like the preacher on Little House of the Prairie," said my husband-to-be.  To which I said, among other things, "no."

But now, we have one less thing to worry about.  Lovely, handmade boutonnieres that will hold up well in the late-June heat.  They even have buttons on them!  My man and I both agree that these will do just fine.  Big thanks to Mouse and to the good folks at Eventcetera!  We're truly grateful.

26 May 2010


Along with all of the hope and anxiety--and joy!--of wedding planning, I've realized that one of the other major emotions I've been encountering frequently is gratitude.  For my partner-in-crime.  For the love and support of our parents.  For the unbridled excitement and massive encouragement we've received from our friends and family.  There is so much to be thankful for, and when other things have become a little too overwhelming, I like to just let that feeling of gratitude take over.

Of course, one can't--and shouldn't--feel this way so frequently and not express it to the world, which brings me to the theme of the day--thank you notes.  I must not be the only one dwelling on them this week.  Over at Once Wed, diy projects are back--speaking of things that I'm thankful for--and the first thing new columnist Amy Moss is taking on is--you guessed it--handmade thank you notes.  Her project is specifically for thank you notes for one's bridesmaids, but take a look and I think you'll agree that there's potential to do all kinds of things with the idea...

If carving rubber stamps and printing notecards sounds like too much work, 100 Layer Cake is hosting a thank you note giveaway this week.  Maybe you could just win some gorgeous stationery.  (If you do win, please let me know so that I can be incredibly jealous.  I love Wiley Valentine...)

For my part, I'm trying to stick to notes of my own--and my man's--doing.  He's already printed our "official" thank you notes--they're amazing, of course--but there are so many things to thank so many people for right now.  I'll admit, at times, I just cheat and go with some really nice letterpress printed notecards.  Like this.  Or these.  Or those.

Sometimes, though, that simply won't cut it.  Last weekend, I found myself in need of something that packed a bit more punch.  After some cutting and gluing and taping, I ended up with a few of these:

It might not look like much, but, boy howdy, were these challenging.  I swore.  A few times.

The little "clothesline" is baker's twine--currently one of my favorite materials.

I cut the tiny pennants out of card stock, attached them to the twine with glue and tape--don't ask--and pulled the twine through the holes I punched in each side of the card.  I am making it sound much less complicated than it actually was at the time, I assure you.

They were totally worth it, though, in the end.  I couldn't help opening and closing each one a few dozen times, just to watch it all work.  I hope the recipients end up having as much fun with them as I did.  I also hope they make it through the mail all right, but that's a whole other story...

24 May 2010


It was a busy, busy weekend here at headquarters.  Plenty got accomplished and there were a few fun surprises, too.  There's one thing, though, that I absolutely have to share right away.  You were so patient about my belly-aching and hand-wringing over the big shoe dilemma, so  I think you should be the first to know:  I have found the shoes.

It turns out I needed blue shoes.  I had no idea.  I put them on my feet and then I just didn't want to take them off again.  They were a little spendy, but just like with the dress, I have all intentions of wearing these constantly after the wedding.

Of course, the nice girls at the shoe store have already pointed out that now I have the "something blue" thing taken care of.  I'll be honest, I hadn't been too worked up about that whole thing.  I don't think that some superstitious Victorian rhyme is going to do me much good at this point.  I've already ditched so many other traditions, what's one more, really?

I did learn something interesting, though, about the saying.  Of course, I've heard the whole "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue," but I'd never come across this last bit.  Have you ever heard "and a silver sixpence in her shoe?"  Maybe this is common knowledge in the on-line wedding world.  It could be that I just don't get out enough.

According to my somewhat-reliable source, the sixpence symbolizes financial stability, which is certainly something I could use right now.  Unfortunately, they stopped minting the sixpence coin in the 1960's, and I just don't think a nickel is going to cut it.

Besides, walking around with a coin in my shoe would kind of be a drag, even in comfortable shoes.  And these shoes are incredibly comfortable.  I'm kind of fighting the urge to wear them right now. They remind me of a bird's egg.*

So enough, now, with all the shopping and buying and getting.  It makes me kind of anxious, actually.  I'll be back on Wednesday with some crafty goodness to share...

*A bluebird's egg.  A sparrow's eggs are whitish, usually.  With brown speckles.  These are important things to know.

21 May 2010


This is one of our last free weekends before we fly to Ohio, and I have plans to make several wedding project-related messes.  Here's a peek at the first of them:

I wrote about this adorable diy cake topper kit from goosegrease months and months ago.  Obviously, I haven't done much with it since then, but now it's time to get busy.  It turns out that some of my concerns about the project were valid.  Painting is hard.  And there's definitely pressure to get the details right.  Which is tough, since a few of those details are still up in the air.  Should the bride wear her glasses?  Which tie will the groom finally decide on?  What about the as-yet non-existent whimsical, wispy head piece thingie?, etc.

All the worries aside, though, this is kind of fun.  It reminds me of Mrs. Reiff teaching my fifth grade art class.  I could hear her voice in my head tonight as I cleaned the paint out of my brushes, telling us to handle our brushes gently, as though we were petting a cat.  (It sounds a little funny now, but I think we understood what she meant at the time...)

So.  I have more painting to do this weekend.  And some sewing.  And maybe some stapling and gluing as well.  I'll be back on Monday to let you know how it all goes...

Happy weekend!

19 May 2010


In retrospect, this post really should have come a long time ago.  I know I've mentioned the fact that my man has single-handedly crafted our invitations, facilitated our heart-making adventure, and chosen our wedding colors--or lack thereof.  But maybe I haven't been totally up front about how involved he's been in the other departments, too.

We've been collaborating on almost every aspect of the wedding planning.  This hasn't been a big surprise to me.  Right from the start, I fully expected to share the fun--and the challenges--of putting together a big party that also happens to be a celebration of our commitment to one another.

What has been surprising to me, though, is that many people--even a few who know us--have been under the impression that the wedding is my territory.  They assume that the decisions we've made are my decisions and that while I'm struggling with catering contracts and difficult bridesmaids, my man is quietly cheering me on from his (imaginary) armchair.

Apparently, the stereotype of the well-meaning but generally clueless groom is alive and well.  While I think it's all pretty silly--this is the twenty-first century, people--I do understand where all the misconceptions come from.  I recently met a groom-to-be who simply shrugged his shoulders when his sister asked where he and his bride were registered.

I think it's sad, really.  That shoulder-shrugging guy is totally missing out on what could be a pretty good time with his special lady friend.  Planning a wedding together is a little bit like building a house.   Except maybe with more drinking and dancing at the end.  Oh, and funny clothes.

Lucky for me--and lots of other girls out there--plenty of grooms are stepping up.  For every shoulder-shrugger, there's a guy who's booking venues and loading ipods with cocktail hour music.  Some of them are even blogging.  It all makes good sense to me.  The marriage isn't supposed to rely on the hopes and energies of just one person.  Why should the wedding need to?

So, with all that said, here is my over-due thank you to my partner-in-crime:  Thank you for being an active participant in this little adventure we've undertaken.  I won't say that I owe you--because that would imply that I think the whole wedding thing ought to be my "problem" in the first place--but I will tell you that I am eternally grateful that you are the man you are.  I'm genuinely looking forward to the last few weeks of this--and to the years and years that will come after.

17 May 2010

getting wet

My heart is full.  Yesterday, my man's family threw us a "co-ed" wedding shower: a tasty barbeque on a gorgeous day with lots of laughing and lawn games and little kids running around.  It was pretty much perfect.  I can't do it justice here.

And it was probably good practice for us, what with the being the center of attention and all.  It's not something that either of us is incredibly comfortable with, even among people that we know so well.

In the middle of the day, though, I looked around at all the faces looking at us and realized how secure I felt in the idea that our marriage will exist in this context of support and family.  I've said it before, but as much as I think of myself as an individual, I really do like having the sense of being part of a greater whole.

I know what you're thinking.  Yes, I am kind of a sap.

But I am a lucky sap.

I am also--if this post isn't any indication--a somewhat sleep-deprived sap, which brings me to my next subject.  After several months of posting here five days a week, I'm going to scale things back just a little bit.  Please don't panic.  I'll still be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I just need some extra time for all those last-minute things that are cropping up.  And the things that I've known about all along that I just haven't dealt with yet.  The countdown stands at forty days, folks, and this bride-to-be has things to do...

Also, my man has pretty much made dinner ever single weeknight since I started posting here, and while he's been incredibly great about it, I'd like to be able to offer him a break that doesn't consist of handing him a take-out menu.

So with that in mind, I'll see you all on Wednesday.  I have dinner to cook.  And a lot of thank you notes to write...

14 May 2010

weekend reading

We've got a busy weekend ahead of us, lots of time celebrating various things with my man's family.  I'm especially excited--and maybe a little nervous--about a co-ed wedding shower on Sunday.  Hopefully, I can behave myself.  I've been brushing up on my Emily Post, just in case...

I've got things to make and a wedding ceremony to work on, so just a few quick things today:

First of all, with 43 days to go (!) until the wedding, I've unilaterally decided to change the venue of our wedding.*  To Northern California.  If you're wondering why, check out this beautiful post from Style Me Pretty.

And if, like me, you found yourself sniffling back tears three different times during the first ten minutes of Disney's UP!, you're going to love this engagement shoot from Wedding Chicks, via Once Wed.

Finally, Cupcake Wedding posted this a few weeks ago, but stumbling across it the other day still made me want to put my fist in the air.  Happy honeymoon, Cupcake Wedding!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

*Dear bridesmaids, parental figures, and partner-in-crime-- This is a joke.  Please don't freak out. 

13 May 2010

giving thanks

Something exciting arrived in the mail today.  Something small and lovely for my bridesmaids.

How do you thank someone for being a bridesmaid?  For being a beautiful, talented, and funny young woman who's agreed to help you walk down one of the most exciting paths of your life?  Oh, and for also being your little sister?

I'm not sure; I'm still trying to figure that out.  One piece of it, though, came today from Erika at Yellow Wallpaper Handmade, all wrapped up with a nice little bow and a handwritten note from the artist herself.

Of course, I can't show you what's inside.  You never know who could be reading, can you?

Instead, let me share this, the sweet little wooden tag that came along with each handcrafted item:

The tag was made by Roberto Sand.  You can see more of his work at his Etsy shop.  I'm especially taken with this sample wedding invitation.

I'm excited about my package from YWH--thanks, Erika!--but I've still got some work to do.  My maids are some special ladies.  I hope I can find a way to sufficiently thank them for being a part of this crazy day in June...

12 May 2010


I am officially having wedding nightmares.  I'll admit, I kind of thought I'd be immune to that sort of thing. The closer we get to W-Day, the more I seem to be learning about myself.

A few nights ago, I dreamed that all of our beautiful invitations turned up in our mailbox, returned to sender. Apparently, there'd been some kind of mix-up with the addresses.  Kind of a strange thing for my subconscious to obsess about at this point, given the fact that nearly all of our RSVP's have already come home to roost.

The night before that, the nightmare consisted of my crawling along a sidewalk for what seemed like hours and hours, looking for my missing engagement ring.  At first, it just seemed that only the pretty little stone was missing from the ring, but as the dream went along, it turned out that the ring itself had entirely disappeared.  I never did find the silly thing.

Go ahead.  Tell me I'm crazy.  I dare you to.

11 May 2010

a bow on top

I'm not wearing a veil at our wedding.  I've never really pictured myself wearing one.  (One of the advantages of not being a girl who's been imagining her wedding all her life is that there aren't things I've "always" planned on wearing or saying or doing--which, now that we're planning a real live wedding, has left the options wide open...)

So, no veil.  I think they look nice.  I just don't want one on my head.  I don't need the weird symbolism that seems to go along with the whole thing, and I'm not so hung up on tradition that not wearing a veil would seem wrong.  (If I'm getting you down with this whole "no" thing, you should wander over to Souris Mariage.  I really like what Mouse had to say last week about her fancy new headgear.)

All of this begs the question: What, if anything, am I going to stick on my cute little head?  For a few months there, I was campaigning for crown-wearing at our wedding.  Not a tiara, thank you very much.  A nice big crown.  Perhaps made of construction paper.  While my partner-in-crime was in full support of the idea, I've since decided that maybe I could do better.

And I'm pretty sure I need something fancy, if for no other reason than to distract people from noticing that I've done absolutely nothing at all with my hair.

I've gushed here before about the lovely little things over at LoBoheme's Etsy shop.  And with the clock ticking so loudly now at the back of my mind, I'm kind of inclined to just order one of the stunning things listed there.

Like maybe this:


Or possibly this:


photos by Marisa Holmes: marisaholmesblog.com

I'm still clinging to the idea, though, of making something myself.  There's still time, and I have some ideas, albeit vague ones.

Remember my slightly-toxic flowers?  I was thinking of making a few of those in white and somehow sticking them together, along with something shiny.

(And my selection of shiny things grew a bit more this past weekend when my mother-in-law-to-be stopped by with a few pieces of costume jewelry she'd offered to loan me.  Along with some other lovely little things, there were a pair of rhinestone-studded birds, which of course, must now find their way into whatever I end up with.)

I'm not really satisfied with my initial efforts, but here's what I have so far.

Mostly, I just love the little bird.  Besides that, I think I've got my work cut out for me.  Is it a headband I want?  An alligator clip?  I have no idea.  It would probably help if I could decide how I'm wearing my hair.  (My beloved stepmother has already vetoed pigtails.)

I do like the rosette pattern of the flower, but I think I'd rather have petals that are more defined.  When I tried cutting and then melting something more petal-shaped, I ended up with little tendrils of melted polyester, instead of anything remotely flowery.  I guess I'll have to work on that.

And my whole I-can't-sew hang up is seriously getting in the way with all this tulle and netting.  I am way outside my comfort zone, and I might have to start looking for someone to give me some advice.

I do feel like I might be headed in the right direction, though.  It might just take some more clumsy hacking to really get the hang of this.

I'll keep you posted.  Obviously.

10 May 2010


More tech trouble tonight, folks.  Please don't be mad.

I'll be back tomorrow...

07 May 2010


I don't even know where to begin, friends.

I spent the better part of today doing things that are extremely outside my comfort zone.  To begin with, I bought some makeup--for the first time in about a decade.  This required actually going to a makeup counter and asking questions about makeup.  Also, letting an incredibly up-beat twenty-something put makeup on my face.  This was all much more nerve-wracking than I can begin to describe here.

And then, there are the shoes.  I spent all day today looking for a pair of shoes.  I don't understand why this part has become so difficult.  It's not like I'm after something outrageous.  My criteria are pretty simple:  Flats, probably in a neutral color, probably leather, without any buckles or bows or little metal studs in them.  Also, no extra-pointy toes.  Just nice normal shoes.

Apparently, these shoes exist only in my imagination.  I've looked everywhere.  The thrift store, the Internet, and now every store within walking distance of downtown Seattle.  I went into stores I've never ventured into before, some of which I'm embarrassed to actually name here.

Along with all the trendy teen stores, I tried the big department stores, too.  And that's where I found my dream shoes.

I know, the Swarovski crystals are kind of breaking the "no buckles or bows" rule.  I don't care.  I still want them.

And I can't have them.  I know that.  I knew it before I tried them on.  (And allow me to emphasize here: This afternoon, I put my dirty little feet in a pair of shoes that are allegedly worth more than the pittance that is currently masquerading as our honeymoon fund.  Absolutely crazy.)  The whole thing was definitely a lesson, though, in why you should not try on clothes that you have no intention of buying.  Once the saleslady put those fancy little princess shoes on my feet, it was very, very hard to take them off again.

I don't like that I'm angsting over things like makeup and expensive shoes.  It makes me worry that all this wedding silliness might be compromising the woman I think I am.

Which is why I fully intend to spend the rest of my weekend gardening and cooking good food and hanging out with my man and figuring out how to make a wedding "headpiece" out of three dollar's worth of fabric remnants from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Because that is exactly the kind of woman I want to be.

Happy weekend!

06 May 2010


Awhile back, I posted some photos of the little favors we have for the smallest guests at our wedding.  When I shared our plan for the heart-shaped crayons, I hinted that we were also working on favors for the grown-up guests, too.  After weeks of waiting, I'm finally ready to share a peek with you...

I've mentioned, from time to time, the shop where I work, but I don't think I've told you about Bedrock Industries, where my partner-in-crime spends the bulk of his days.  Bedrock carries a lot of beautiful stuff--most of it made from recycled glass--but one of my favorite things has always been the little glass hearts they sell.  They might seem a little cliched, but I think they're beautiful.

And--lucky me!--I actually got to make some of them a few weekends ago.  Mostly, I followed my man around and did whatever he told me to.  "Crafting" together isn't really something we do much of--usually I'll craft near him and he'll offer an opinion now and then.  I really enjoyed working side-by-side.  I wasn't the only one, though, looking for his love and affection.

The process involved quite a few steps, and I kept thinking that I wasn't doing things quite right, but I guess it all turned out pretty well.

And now, we have beautiful little somethings for our guests to take home to remind them our of wedding day--and of our love and affection for them.

05 May 2010

the fifth of may

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I'll be honest; it's not really a holiday I've ever celebrated, but for some reason, I've been thinking about margaritas and flip flops all day, and when I wandered over to Green Wedding Shoes this afternoon, I was thrilled to find this sweet Inspiration Board dedicated to the day.

Martha has some cute CdM crafts today, too.  Anything that involves tissue paper and scissors works for me...

Enjoy the holiday, everyone.  I'm off to find the Hornitos...

04 May 2010

the polls

Our RSVP postcards asked--politely--for a reply by the 1st of May.  There are still a few of them out there in the universe that haven't come back yet, but I was prepared for that, and I'm certainly not panicking.

What I have been a little anxious about, though, are the results of the multiple choice question we posed to our potential guests.  Along with asking folks how many people there will be in their party, and whether or not they're vegetarian, we also asked them to tell us which couple they'd most like to see us embrace as romantic role models.

Here are the standings so far:

Romeo & Juliet haven't gotten any votes at all.  That's alright; I'm not sure they really deserve anything.

Only one vote so far for Sid & Nancy.  Again, maybe that's for the best.  Those kids didn't exactly make the best life choices, either.

Jim & Pam have edged ahead--by just one vote!--of Princess Buttercup and Westley.

And, of course, Ma & Pa Ingalls are headed for a landslide victory.  I'm biased, naturally, but I do think they're the best choice.  As one of our beloved respondents pointed out, "They love each other and are a realistic couple!"

If you've been reading, you know that I'm already cultivating a Ma Ingalls-like serenity.  All my man has to do is grow out his beard and learn the fiddle and we'll be set.

There are still votes coming in.  I'll keep you posted of any significant new developments.  In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites from the write-in candidates:

If you haven't voted, now's your chance.  Feel free to comment below...

03 May 2010


I've got some fun stuff to share with you all this week, but first, I have to take a moment to declare:  I reserved a 30'x30' tent today.  We have officially checked off what has been--physically, anyway--the biggest thing still looming on our to-do list.

I'm kind of hoping that the tent looks a little bit like this:

(photo from grandlaketentrental.com)

The stripes on top remind me of a circus--which, coincidentally enough, is a word I've been using pretty frequently to describe this whole event.  I'm pretty sure, though, that our tent will be all-white.  Sigh.  But it will keep the sun--or the rain--off which, aesthetics aside, is actually the point of the thing.  Maybe I'll try to specifically request the striped-roof tent, just to see.

This is one of the first situations where we've been dealing directly with what the wedding industry would call a "vendor."  So far, we've managed to avoid caterers, florists, bridal salons, wedding cake bakeries, DJs, and rented "venues."

I'd conveniently forgotten that "wedding" and "bride" are words that carry certain connotations for folks working in the rental industry.  In our first conversations, the (wonderful) gentleman at Grand Lake Tent Rental offered me plenty of options--matching linens and disposable trash cans, for instance--that any bride in her right mind would probably reserve without hesitation.  I politely declined most of the items on the list, choosing not to waste anyone's time by trying to explain the bed sheet tablecloths and compost/recycling bins that we have in mind for our Big Day.

I did rent some lights, though.  And the most amazing "Restroom Trailer" that you have ever seen.  This is the real deal:  Two sides--one for men, one for women--each with two stalls.  Granite countertops.  Porcelain fixtures.  And--get this--piped-in music!  I haven't been inside yet, but it sounds absolutely decadent.

(I certainly didn't take this particular decision lightly.  My parents weren't wild about the idea of eighty wedding guests tramping in and out of the house all night to use the bathrooms.  We'd had some crazy plan to just rent a couple of Honey Buckets, but after attending an event a few weeks ago and visiting said Honey Bucket in my fanciest crinolines, I decided the cheaper idea just wouldn't fly at our wedding.  So here we are.  We're trying to come up with an appropriate name for the powerful powder room.  I'm leaning towards The Taj Mahal, but my man wants to call it The Throne Room...)

I know I've said it before, but I do have this overwhelming sense that things are falling into place quickly.  Securing the tent was the last big piece of the puzzle.  At this point, we pretty much have everything we need for an outdoor June wedding in Ohio.

Pretty much.  There is still the matter of food.  We've got another fifty-five days to figure all of that out.  Fifty-five days sounds like plenty of time...