Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rehearsal Dinner Dress #2

You may remember my previous dilemma regarding this topic. I was in love with that gray dress (the one that didn't fit) and lukewarm about the purple dress as a rehearsal dinner ensemble. I ended up wearing it to my San Antonio shower, (belted as many of you suggested) and think it was perfect for that. But I was in San Antonio with access to my MOH (sista MB) and another bridesmaid (little cousin MB) and Momma MB and wanted to do some dress shopping. Since my wedding dress is being made by Momma MB it's the only bridal dress shopping I really get to do.

With all of this in mind we set out to the San Marcos outlets. Now, I normally hate outlet shopping, it's crowded and everything is always in disarray. But this time, we went in the middle of a weekday. Very few people there and plenty of things to choose from. And the pluses of outlets are pretty obvious; tons of stores and really low prices and I really don't care if it's from last year.

I went into Nieman Marcus Last Call and most of the dresses were still 2-300 dollars, so we walked around and found our way in BCBGirls. I'm 5'10" and so is my sister, and 'girls' usually equals way too short, but my cousin is 5'4" so we thought she could find a cute dress for the rehearsal dinner there. Well, I picked something out just to try something on and didn't think much would come of it. Though I loved the pleats at the bottom of the skirt, I assumed it would be way too short. I tried it on and that was it. After trying on one dress and forking over a measly 50 bucks, this trip was deemed a success.
Sorry for the bad picture, but I left the dress in San Antonio, so that I wouldn't just have to lug it back later, but it's got pleats on the bottom and the front panel of the skirt has straight layers of fabric that are the same width as the pleats. The top is blousy and has grey, black and teal in it. I'm going to wear it with my matte, grey, pointy toed stilettos. I'll probably invest in some spanx as well, but I like that this dress is fitted on the bottom, so I get to feel a little bit sexy during all this wedding business. With a large skirt in the wedding dress, I'll get to feel pretty, but a little sexy never hurt. Here's the skirt portion of the dress, I'm so happy that pleats are playing a big role in this dress. I love pleats.
So we went on in search of some dresses for Sista and Cuz MB as well and made our way over to white house/black market since my dress was predominately black and quite a departure from the wedding colors, we thought it'd look nice if their dresses were black.

They both found cute, strapless numbers with flowy skirts. Sista MB's is all black and cuz MB's is a black and white print with some black at the empire waistband. And for $60 and $20 respectively, they were also great deals.

Any bargain shoppers out there? Do you guys have any tips?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Month Left

And about a year's worth of stuff to do and all the while, my laptop busted, I've been sick for almost a week, and I even got Mr. MB sick for good measure. Seriously! But one thing is going well. My paper flower wall. I worked on it when I was back in Texas.

I ventured to Home Depot, bought a $13 piece of plywood, one of those $3 sample cans of paint and a $1 foam brush.

I took this all to my Mom's new house, which was thankfully still unfurnished and unpainted. So I could paint inside (where it wasn't rainy, humid or hot) and not worry about spills. (Note, the sample can of paint was not enough to actually coat the piece of plywood, but since I was covering it with a bjillioin flowers, I just thinned it with water and finished the job.)

We fiddled around with making a stand for it similar to a large picture frame, but plywood is heavy and we decided it could just lean against a wall.

I took it into the garage and drilled a bunch of random holes that I thought were 'flower-spaced' apart.

My Grandmother and I had assembled the 100 or so flowers I brought that were cut and folded by me back in California.

Then I 'artfully' put the flowers on the board. (Is there a nice way to say 'put them in the holes'?)

The good news, I don't need 300 more flowers like I had feared. The bad news, I need about 100 more.
One thing I haven't figured out is the back. (I removed all of the flowers after checking my progress for ease of storage) Once you put the wire through and bend it down, it stays really well. I don't know if the back matters, but do any of you have ideas for a quick, easy way to neaten up the back?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flowers, part 3

So, I think I'll be going for it with the DIY flowers. I bought some flowers 5 days ago and they're still looking great and I've kept the corsages in the fridge for a few days and they're still looking good, so I'm feeling OK about it all. But, my grandmother did call me up the other day to tell me she wants a wrist corsage so that she doesn't mess up her dress. Well, all I know about that is that wrist corsages are hard. Don't believe me, take a look at this tutorial. At the very least, it would take a lot more materials and would involve drying time. Definitely things I don't want to be worrying about a day or two before the wedding. So, I thought, why not make a corsage that attaches with magnets!

Since none of my wedding blooms have great foliage, I decided I'll have a fabric leaf with a magnet attached as the base of my bouts and corsages. The leaves were clearly inspired by Miss Doxie's excellent flower post.

Start with the desired fabric, attach the iron on adhesive, peel away the paper, lay down some well placed floral wire, lay down the second layer of fabric and iron all that adhesive into place.

Then draw your leaf shapes on with tailor's chalk.

Cut out the shapes with pinking shears or plain scissors, make sure that the bottoms of both sides of the leaf are the same length. (Unless you're meticulous about this part beforehand they probably won't be)

Use a buttonhole stitch to secure your wire. Then position your magnet on the back (it should hold itself steady to the wire) and cover with a flap of fabric.

Sew down the flap of fabric. Then arrange your flowers and wrap the stems in the wire from your leaf. Wrap in floral tape and stick the second magnet to the outside for the recipients to place behind their lapels.

Voila! No pinholes here and because the fabric leaves can be made beforehand, it literally takes about 2 minutes to finish off the corsage or bout with the fresh flowers. Sorry for the big leaf, the real ones will probably not be so humongous.
For all of the flowers, I'll be going to the florist a little closer to the wedding and getting more specific about what types and quantities of the flowers should be ordered. I'll be picking them up the Thursday before the wedding so that I can have plenty of time to clean and sort them. I plan on making the bouquets, bouts and corsages on Friday. I hope to have everything sorted so that all we have to do on Saturday is trim the arrangements and place them in the vases.
I haven't had much luck sourcing the celosia (there are a few kinds, I like the spear kind and it's the one that's hard to source, the cockscomb type is a little easier to come by), so I'll be letting it go and trying to get some of those vibrant colors from the carnations.
All in all, I'm happy with the way things are going and I think that $300 is a steal for wedding flowers that are unique, rustic, laid back and very me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flowers, part 2

After the bitter disappointment relayed in my first flower post, I had to come to terms with reality and start looking at what was actually available. So, the florist and I talked about what I could actually get, and it wasn't too bad. There would still be a bunch of different kinds of mums and carnations that could be the (cheap) base of the bouquets. Sunflowers could still be in the mix and there was a brushy looking filler called limonium (I think) that could add texture. We decided to add some alstromeira, because they're cheap and are different from the mums and carnations. I'm also considering dried eucalyptus that I am assuming is also dyed as it comes in a deep brown color.

Armed with that knowledge I headed to Trader Joe's (still wish we had those in Texas) and got some flowers to see what these bouquets would look like. I was able to find sunflowers, what I think is limonium, alstromeira and mums. Of course TJ's had celosia thrown in their bouquets, but I had to make these without that, because I haven't sourced it yet (though I'm still trying).

Here's what I ended up with for a grand total of $17, see why I wish there was a TJ's in Texas.

I started off with the bouts and corsages. I followed this tutorial. The only things I did differently were to wrap the wire around the flowers instead of through the stems and when I wrapped the ribbon around the stems, I used smaller pins at the bottom to secure the ribbon ends (you can sort of see the small blue and purple pinheads at the bottoms of the two on the left).

I'm thinking the two on the left are good for the guys and the third from the left is my favorite for the ladies. I've got them in the fridge now to see how well they hold up, so far so good.
And here are the bouquets I made. I really like the limonium and the unwrapped ends. They look like they were just gathered from the field and are still warm from the sun.

I think this would be good for a flower girl or to be used as a table arrangement. Our vases don't have super wide openings, so they can't hold a ton of flowers.
This one might be good for the bridesmaids, but I feel like they should get sunflowers too, I just ran out.

Here's what I imagine my bridal bouquet will look like, except I think I'd go slightly larger and add more of the limonium (brushy stuff).And this is my craft fail. I was attempting pomanders for the flower girls, but they take a lot of flowers, I ran out of yellow after this was half done. They also don't seem as sturdy as some of the other things I made, you've got to handle the flowers fairly roughly to get them in place.

Now, my next dilemna is: to pay for someone to make corsages, bouts and bouquets or just order a bunch of flowers, save a couple hundred and have a lot of flowers to take care of the day before the wedding.

I've got about 10-12 bouts, 5-6 corsages, my bouquet, 4 bridesmaid's bouquets, 4 flowergirl bouquets or wrist corsages and 20 table arrangements. I'll definitely have some helpers for these projects, but how hectic has it been for you other DIY florists out there?

Flowers, part 1

I went to an HEB plus while I was down in Texas. It's like the Super Target of Texas. They have a floral department, so I took a look around and saw these gorgeous wildflower looking bouquets. They had celosia, sunflowers, mums, thistle and some other things. There were oranges, deep pinks, yellows, the brown center of the sunflowers and basically most of my large color palette. There were loads of different texture as well and I was smitten. So I set up an appointment with a lady in their floral department and said I want lots of that (pointing to bouquet) please. And to make things even better the flowers were from a local grower and were in season in October, so I had high hopes that they (or something similar) would be in season in November.
See, I love celosia, it's so pretty, even all by its lonesome.

Well, I got an email later that day, and none of the flowers we had discussed were going to be in season. Turns out that local farm wouldn't be growing anything by then. I was so bummed, I hadn't even known what celosia was, but now I loved it.

What was a bride to do?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Bee's Life: Moonbeam Edition

Finding the Blogosphere…

I'd been hearing about blogs for a few years and had read a few, but I definitely wasn't a real member of the community. I then started a small blog to keep in touch with my family after I moved away to Seattle, I didn't update it regularly or do much with it other than use it as a Christmas letter. Instead of sending out a letter, I sent out Christmas cards with a web address
on them and then filled a blog with the year's big events and lots of pictures (gotta keep their interest). Most of the people in the family liked that, but Mr. Moonbeam's parents insisted we still send out letters for those that are less web savvy. Most of the people in my family live close enough to someone that can show them the website, so I didn't have to worry. After that, I started a blog about some of the things I made here and there, but with no large project looming, it just sort of languished. Then we decided to get married and I got sucked in. There are so many great ones out there and Weddingbee had so much content. New ideas everyday, of things I just had to do that would get weird looks from people I was talking to about them. 'What, you didn't know that all brides these days wear crazy candy colored shoes?'

Weddingbee, specifically has meant so much to me. Since leaving my friends, great apartment, beautiful neighborhood and fantastic job in Seattle, LA has hit me kind of hard. We made all of these plans for me to move down the April before the recession hit. I'd already told everyone my plans and my boss had already hired my replacement so that I could acquaint her with my projects before everything came tumbling down in the fall. I was staying until mid-December to see through substantial completion of the first building I'd ever seen go all the way from sketches to real life. It was invaluable experience and I'm glad I stayed for it, but the timing for my big move couldn't have been worse. After hanging out in Texas for the holidays, I moseyed on over to LA at the end of January. Since then I have had a horrible job as a graphic designer and an even more horrible unpaid internship. I am now on unemployment and trying everyday to get someone to recognize my awesomeness.


I'm trying to settle in and get used to this as the unemployment rate for architects in LA is rumored to be hovering around 50%. I'm trying to do volunteer work and take random classes to meet people, but most of this wedding planning excitement has taken place on the internet and over the phone. So, Weddingbee has been an awesome place for me to feel like I'm connected to a fun, happy world that my real life is sometimes not quite living up to. Luckily Mr. MB has been promoted a couple of times since we've moved here and they love him at his (thankfully stable) job. He's also been my emotional rock through all of this. I know the market will turn around some day and I've just got to keep my head up (and add things to my resume) and this will eventually be a distant memory, but I'm glad for Weddingbee and the brightness y'all bring to my day.

Deciding to Apply…

Once I started reading all I could think was 'I can do a lot of that, this will be my unemployment project'. I started writing some things down and told my bridesmaid's about it, so that they could 'be there' for my planning. And all through this Mr. MB would look at me at my computer, get a little smile on his face and tell me in a baby voice how 'cute' it was that I was blogging about our wedding.

I prematurely applied before I had enough content (or even the required number of entries) and was disappointed (though not really surprised) when I was rejected. So I gathered myself and
set out to post regularly and try to write like people can't read my mind and fill in the gaps (still working on that btw.) I was literally jumping up and down when I opened my acceptance e-mail. I called Momma MB and Mr. MB and explained to them what had happened and then they feigned excitement for my benefit. (Why is it so hard for us bees to fathom that other people don't know about Weddingbee?) Anyway, I couldn't be more pleased that I applied again, if you're out there trying, just try again, really.

Choosing Moonbeam…

There were some junk food icons and a few animals and weather items left when I was chosen and though I love junk food; breakfast tacos and sweets weren't an option and I'm not the biggest animal fan (you know they poop, right?) so I had to go with Moonbeam, because I can stay up 'til 4 am with the best of them. It's amazing how these random icons so perfectly fit the bees, IMO.

Blogging Tips…

Post regularly, if anyone likes your blog, they'll be bored at work often enough to check it regularly so write as often as you can (which I haven't been too awesome at lately.) Write about what interests you and reread your entries, there are so many times when I see a post and smack my forehead. I usually forget numerous things. Like for my recent shower #1 post, I
made the invites using another July wedding picture from Leasa, those great doilies, the papyrus font and this texture. (MIL MB liked my beach invites so much that she asked me to make the shower invites, luckily she did all the addressing.) All of the information was on the back of the flat card using just the doilies, border and text. They were printed on cream paper and in blue envelopes from Paper Source.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shower #2

Shower #2 was held in my hometown of San Antonio at a friend's neighborhood pavilion. My lovely hostesses got tablecloths and flowers to coordinate with my wedding colors, prepared some quesadillas and other mexican goodies and planned out a lovely afternoon for us all. And check out these cuties (they're 2 of my 3 flower girls.)

Here I am with Momma Moonbeam and MIL Moonbeam.

Here's Momma Moonbeam again, this time with Sista Moonbeam (MOH).
Here are my two grandmothers, they're so cute.

The hostesses planned a few games for us. I sort of requested the toilet paper wedding dress game. I know you're not supposed to do that, but it's the only shower game I'd heard of and I wanted to play it. The 3 ladies on the right were the winning team (they had bridesmaid's and a ring!) Then they had Mr. Moonbeam answer some questions about himself earlier. Out of 22, I got 13 correct (though I think a couple of those were on the edge). Then there was a game where the Mother of the Bride walks around with a tray of objects and you tell everyone to remember the details of the objects. MOB leaves the room and questions are asked about her outfit instead of the tray of stuff. And the last game was a cute little poem that was read aloud and gave you directions on how to earn style points. The person with the most points in their outfit won.

Thanks again to these lovely ladies Momma MB's friend Linda, Aunt Eileen and Aunt Annie! I had a fantastic time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Shower #1

Sorry, I've been out for a while, I'm in Texas and had both of my wedding showers this past weekend. Shower #1 was hosted by Mr. Moonbeam's aunts over in Houston on Saturday. There were mimosas, very yummy food, cake, lovely guests and lots of gifts.

Momma Moonbeam (below on the right) and I drove in from San Antonio that morning, picked up our family friend, Helen (below on the left) , and made our way over to the party (to which I was obviously late.)

I always thought that getting married wouldn't be a big deal (we already functioned as a married couple) and that it was all a bit overrated. But after that first shower I'll have to change my tune. Everyone is so excited for the two of you and telling you lovely things and writing more lovely things in cards. The event gives everyone an excuse to encourage and support you and it's really great. Living in LA hasn't given me tons of opportunities to experience this, but this was my first wedding (the November one) related event and I was surprised to see how much these wonderful feelings took over.

And thanks again to the hostesses (Aunt Dayna, Aunt Stephanie, Aunt Debbie and Aunt Sarah), I truly enjoyed it all.

And after all that we went to a fabric store, found our flower girl fabric, had a quick bite with Helen, dropped her off and then drove back to San Antonio (with rain the whole way) for shower #2.

Thanks to MIL Moonbeam for the pictures.