Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If you're a shower hostess or bridesmaid avert your eyes!

I went to Ritual Adornment in Santa Monica this past weekend, and fell in love all over again with beads. It's such a pricey habit, I was trying to avoid finding a place in LA, but I needed to make some gifts for my hostesses and 'maid's.

Here's my haul, I already had some of the freshwater pearls and a few larger stones, but the bulk of this was purchased at Ritual Adornments on Sunday, all of their strands were half off, the chain and findings were also discounted. Hooray!

Here are a couple of the necklaces I've made so far and I really enjoy them, but I'm not sure the giftees will love them. Most of the ladies hosting my shower are my or Mr. MB's aunt's or at least in that age group.

Now, I know southern ladies like jewelery and big and bold usually isn't bad, but I'm wondering if these are a bit too funky for these ladies. There are mixed metals (copper, silver and gold), off center focal points, multiple strands and funky stones mixed with multi-colored freshwater pearls. I guess I'm wondering if these are a little too trendy for my giftees?

What do you ladies think, and any suggestions for taking some of the edge off? I really think that my eye just isn't geared towards symmetry, every time I try to make something regular it seems off to me. I certainly wear things with a centered focal point, etc. but I just never seem to be able to make them that way.

Friday, September 25, 2009

An aid if you're living on the surface of the sun

It's hot as Hades here in SoCal, so I thought I'd whip up some gazpacho for dinner and I didn't want to leave the apartment to get ingredients, so let's just call it a chilled mediterranean soup, it's probably not a real gazpacho, but at least I had all this in my fridge.

Chilled Mediterranean Soup

2 large tomatoes
1 cucumber (peeled and seeded)
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (sorry green but I don't like you)
2 teaspoons of garlic powder (this heat made all my fresh garlic go bad)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup greek yogurt
A dash of the original Mrs. Dash
Salt to taste

Roughly chop all the veggies and throw everything in the blender.

I was so excited when I tasted this, uber yum!

Now here's where it gets bridal. How great would this be as an app in a martini glass with an artful little cruton? Well, here you go.

This got me thinking about other great hot weather foods that I've made and love and would absolutely serve if I were having a (really) small summer wedding that I could do everything for.

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Chicken Skewers on the side

Mix honey and lime juice to make the dressing.

Cut up the watermelon and some red onion. Mix with baby spinach and crumbled feta and add the dressing. Sounds weird, tastes fantastic.

For the chicken skewers, make a marinade of honey, lime, garlic, a little of your favorite neutral flavored oil and soy sauce. Marinade thin strips of chicken for as long as you can, overnight if possible and then skewer your chicken. (Soak the skewers in water first). Then grill or broil until the chicken is cooked through.


Now most people would probably put some sort of sorbet at the end of this, but I'd have to go with my favorite ice cream recipe ever. David Leibovitz's salted butter caramel ice cream. It's so rich that I didn't even need an ice cream maker to make this. If your ice cream has a high enough fat content you can just place your custard in a shallow pan, put it in your freezer and stir it up with a fork every 20-30 minutes. It's not perfectly smooth, but trust me, it's doesn't matter.

I so wish I was having a wedding small enough to be able to do everything. How many of y'all are with me on this?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Some notes on those invites.

Here's some background information on how those invites came to be.

The belly bands are super simple. Take a 20" length of trace paper (I'm using an 18" roll) and pleat it down the center. Sew down the pleats (I used a straight stitch, a zigzag stitch and a hemstitch for some variety). Then take your x-acto and a ruler and cut it into about 1" strips. Then fold around your invites and secure (I used neatly cut strips of masking tape, it's almost the same color as the trace).

The envelopes are from envelopemall. They're a pretty good thickness, but like most things made of kraft paper the flap doesn't stick down as well as other envelopes (good thing I used wraparound labels). I printed the invites on cream colored cardstock and the postcards were printed on plain white PaperSource postcards.
And now on to my absolute favorite Photshop thing. MULTIPLY! Sorry for those of you who already know about this fabulous layer transparency, but I love it. It's great if you've got an image that's got a lot of intricate lines and white space that you want to get rid of and don't mind having the image be transparent (without losing any of the color saturation like with opacity control). For ease of understanding the difference I made the normal white space of the first image grey. With a click of a button, all the extra white space is cleared and you can see some of the fabric texture through the flower image. (This command only clears white space, the gray is just for clarity)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Finished Invitations!

They all went out in the mail Saturday, and it's such a great weight off my shoulders.

For our names, I used the Ornatique font, for the invite text I used Harrington and for the address labels, I used Belshaw. All fonts are from abstract fonts. The flowers were drawn with gel pens and markers, and the stitching was done on muslin and then both images were scanned in and merged together in Photoshop. The RSVP ornate frame is a brush from brushking, I think it was this brush set. And the RSVP card used that background from Bittbox that I liked.

Mr. Moonbeam even got in on the action. He helped wrap the trace paper belly bands and attached some address labels.

Look at that intensity!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pew Decorations

I don't have a decent picture of them, but our pews have a 6" wide side piece that extends above the backrest of the pew, which leaves them perfect for tying a ribbon around. So, I decided to incorporate some of those fabric flowers into this ribbon project.

Cut the ribbon to length, about 3', and tack it down at the neck of the 'knot'.

Tack on some of the flowers, hand stitch on some beads and throw on some bits of lace or other embellishment. Properly snip the ends and hang it up. Pardon the over-starched mini ironing board, it's about the same size as the 'pew projection'.

I think I might want to use some wider ribbon on this and play with the dimensions a bit, but I like the general idea. I think about 20 should make a nice addition to the church.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More Paper Flowers

These will be more of a filler for my flower wall. They are quick, easy and made of yellow and white trace paper. There are a bunch of similar tutorials out there on the web and many of you may already be familiar with the process, my only comment is that trace paper is stiffer than tissue paper and you don't need as many layers.

Cut out 6-8 squares of trace, do an accordion fold, wrap and secure wire around the center. Cut a semi-circle at the ends and start fluffing.

For a 6" flower, I use 6 layers and for a 9" flower, I use 8 layers. (I make these a roll of trace paper at a time, so if I've got a few less layers in the last couple of flowers, I just spread out the number of layers.) They are either all white or all yellow, I've tried mixing the colors in one flower and I wouldn't recommend it. They just look stripey.

I also threw a cream-colored crepe paper rose in there, to add some softness and different petal shapes. These take a long time to make, so there probably won't be many of them on the wall. I used this Martha Stewart tutorial. The only comment I have is that she calls for double-sided crepe and that is important if you want the flower to be able to hold itself up. I used single-sided crepe because I wanted a bit of softness and I'll have plenty of other flowers around it to support it. (Apologies for the picture, but it really just flops over when not surrounded by stiffer flowers)I bought my crepe from D. Blumchen & Company and highly recommend them.

I will also be adding in cream colored cardstock flowers, and I'm definitely still experimenting with shapes, especially after seeing these beauties on iDIY.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rejected Invites

One thing about Weddingbee is the ridiculous amount of inspiration. This little double-edged sword really made itself apparent in my invites. I saw so many different things that I liked and was just trying and trying to figure out what to go with. Some of the different resources I used were the Martha Stewart doily images that have made their way onto some of the bee's paper goods, an image of my grandmother's lace, a floral background from bittbox, an ornamental brush set from brushking and the aquiline and civilian fonts from abstract fonts and I used papyrus as well, but I think that's a standard font. I was working with a square format to fit those blank cd case envelopes.

These were all in the rough draft state, but I'll give you some hints and let you know which bits of inspiration made it into the final product.

In the end, there will be purple flowers, textured looking paper (that beloved wood grain paper was too pricey, maybe I'll find a small thing to do with it), trace paper belly bands, kraft paper envelopes (those blank cd cases were also pricey and added to the postage), the floral background and an ornamental brush made the cut. I went with different fonts and I abandoned the square format (you have to pay extra to ship an odd shape, i.e. square.) In the end, they aren't what I originally had in mind, but I love what I've ended up with and will be showing them to you soon. Everything is printed and CUT, I'm just waiting on envelopes to make their way to my mailbox.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Cohabitation Rings

We had these made a couple of years ago a few months after we moved in with each other in Seattle. They've got three garnets (we had been together for three years when we got them), each other's first initial and the dents sort of look like tree bark. They kind of reminded us of carving each other's initials in a tree. The insides are engraved with 'exclusive rights'.
Working with Sally at Fancy in Seattle was fantastic and I highly recommend it for anyone in the area. If we were still in Seattle, I wouldn't have even looked on etsy for our rings. But since my office was no longer just a few blocks from her store, I looked at etsy, fell in love with my ring and had to make the tough decision of not going back to Sally. (Don't worry, you can buy stuff online)

Maybe I'll be able to afford some gifts for my 'maids from there, it was always my go-to gift stop when I lived in Seattle.
I'm excited about my November upgrade, but I'd love some ideas on what to do with these rings, because we still love them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Need for Closed-toe Shoes

Long story short; I ran a half marathon at the end of June and now I'm missing half my right big-toenail and half of the left big-toenail is still bruised. When I ran a full marathon my feet were fine, but something about this half just ruined my toenails. And the bummer is that it's taken 2.5 months for the nails to almost get halfway there, and I don't really have a full 2.5 months left.

Which leads me to my need for closed-toe shoes. And since Mr. Moonbeam slouches, I'll have to wear flats too. (Don't worry other tall brides I'm rocking some heels at the rehearsal) Closed-toe probably makes sense for my fall wedding, but I'm kinda bummed to be forced to limit my shoe options and at some point I might want to take them off, even if they are flats. Boo to ugly bridal toes! But YAY to fun bridal shoes, maybe I'll thrive under the constraints of my search.

These are fun, and I like the color, but they may not be snazzy enough for the big day.

These would make quite a rockin' something blue (which I don't have yet).

And then there are these two pairs, the purple's good, but...

This blue might be perfect! I do have fears about online shoe shopping though, with size 10's I just can't hit the order button, this might be a first.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wedding colors

I've always loved brown as opposed to black, maybe architecture school had too many people obsessed with wearing black and I rebelled. I think it's highly likely, some of the profs literally only wear black, it's quite uniform-like. So, I've always loved brown and really bold earth-toned color combos, as evidenced by the quilt I made for my bed. (Momma Moonbeam helped, and it was a Mr. Moonbeam christmas gift one year, I was so happy when we moved in together and it got to be on our bed.)

Luckily, this is perfect for my fall wedding. My main colors will be a dark purple color, mustard yellow and faded tiffany blue. There will be accents of dark brown, really deep teal, pumpkin, copper, an earthy chartreuse and the gray of Mr. Moonbeam's suit.Anyone who knows me in my normal life, knows that these colors are kind of heavily involved in my wardrobe, home, everything. For instance, I have orange dining room chairs. I'm really happy that our fall wedding is allowing me to really go for colors that I love all year round.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh, Did I Forget To Mention That?

So, I'm a 2-wedding bride. We had our first ceremony July 25th of this year at Point Dume in Malibu. We've lived (or at least been on leases) together for the past 2 years and always knew we'd get married, just not when. However, upon moving to Los Angeles and being unable to find a job with the same kind of benefits I had in Seattle or even being accepted for private insurance it became kind of necessary to get married. (Don't ask me why a 26 year old female who has run a marthon, rarely drinks and doesn't smoke can get rejected, but clearly we need health care reform. Sorry that's a bit off topic.)

Now, to answer some of the questions that came up after my previous post.

Being legally married before a Catholic Ceremony is probably frowned upon in general, but I think there's a good chance that a reasonable priest will be open to this and from what I understand all discretion is left to the priest. I kind of lucked out in this department, because the priest has been a friend of my family since well before I was born and is known to be more 'inclusive' than some priests. His thoughts on the matter are that it's good to have people marry in the Church and being overly prohibitive isn't going to really help anyone. He knows that the two of us aren't as religious as we could be, but we were both raised in Catholic families and this felt right for us. Being raised Catholic I had mostly been to Catholic weddings and they always felt like they had more 'weight' to them and once we decided to get married I knew Fr. Paul would be involved.

I also was researching this subject a bit beforehand and you're allowed to live together as long as the priest feels it is for financial concerns and doesn't think you're 'sinning'.
So, again, we're kind of at priest discretion. Another bit of evidence was something I noticed at our Catholic engaged couples retreat. One of the couples had been married for 6 years, but were at the retreat to prepare for a ceremony in the Church . In the end, find a friendly priest and show that you're committed to the religious marriage and are only doing the legal one early for practical concerns. If it doesn't work, well it can't have hurt anything to ask.

As far as which anniversary we'll be celebrating, we're still a bit undecided. I asked Mr. Moonbeam, and his clever response was, 'whichever I remember'. I'm not sure how we'll feel after the second ceremony, but it is the more important one to me. To be honest we've never made a big deal out of anniversaries. We think we started dating about 09/20/2004 and we think we decided to get married around 05/20 of this year and now we'll have a couple of dates to choose from for our anniversary. It's always been a kind of 'oh yeah we've been dating for around x years, let's do something' situation. Celebrate the one that matters to you, I think our decision will be based on what time of year we'll feel like celebrating.

And for anyone of you out there wondering, I certainly don't think that having a small legal ceremony is dampening anyone's spirit for our big day in November. It doesn't hurt to have 2 great days to remember, right?