Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Befuddled

{Image by Kari Herer via The City Sage}*

There was so much she wanted to say, to write, to share. But every time she tried to write her words came out muddled, disordered and her brain just wouldn't work fast enough.

She started post after post. And then deleted them. She was bored and her computer slow. She was frustrated at not being able to do any of the things which she usually took for granted.

She implored herself to be patient. That time would heal and the words would come.

Soon.

---
*She was also obsessed with peonies now that she had finally chosen them for her wedding bouquet and was seeing them everywhere she turned.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Getting Back to Normality...

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{Image by Author's Father}

After 4 hours of waiting, 2 hours of unknown, 2 hours in recovery on the day ward, 12 hours of waiting on the general ward overnight for a doctor who never came and one very painful taxi journey, this girl finally made it home. Back to her flat with her darling boy whose nursing skills knew no end - even washing his girl's feet as she could not bend to do it herself and gently washing her with a flannel as she could not get in the shower or bath for 5 days.

And so she was recovered enough that on the Monday that her boy could leave her and the house and go to work and the girl could sit on the sofa and type. And read a little. And eat the chocolates her best friend brought her. And sleep a little. And hopefully, get back to normal very soon.


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{Image from Author's Personal Collection}

'March' Photo Challenge: Signs of Spring

{Image from Author's Personal Collection}

Jenna's challenge this month was to take a photograph which shows what spring means to me. Which says to me that spring has sprung. I thought about this for a while and even took a few snaps of crocuses (or should that be croci?) and daffs poking their little heads up from the earth at long last. I thought about taking some photographs of the buds that have begun to appear on the trees or the blossom that has appeared up and down our road, all of which do indicate that spring is here.

But then I thought I'd try something less predictable: the Spring/Summer '09 Catwalk Show at London Fashion Weekend. Taking photographs of the models on the catwalk is somewhat of a skill, particularly when one is not sat in the optimum position at the end of the runway. Still, I was pleased with this shot as it shows several of the models, some movement in their outfits, which look particularly spring like (and even slightly bridal) and I also managed to get the Spring/Summer sign into the frame as well. The photograph above is unedited and I like the way you can see the audience all looking the opposite way to the models as well as the lights above the runway.



{Springtime, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine}

This is the edited image - well, cropped and re-sized. I am not really sure where to begin with actual editing. Which one is the better photograph do you think?


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Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Invitations (Part Three)

This girl's internal dilemmas continued. Having solved the tag issue thanks to Marie (for the suggestion) and her darling boy (for purchasing it), her thoughts turned once again to the invitations. She was so pleased with the support that she had received and realised that invitations were not a competition. She knew that, but she also loved beautiful things, in fact, she only wanted things for her wedding that were beautiful.

Still, it was more important that their best people came to the wedding, not whether the invitations were perfect. Besides Alex had done a fantastic job and as long as they had the correct information on and reached the correct people, their purpose would be fulfilled.

And accompanying the invitations and the RSVP cards (don't ask, yet) would be this map:

{Wedding Map (unfinished), originally uploaded by rachel-catherine}

Well, a finished version of this map. It will have place names and our names and the date and another reference to the wedsite/website. She just hoped people would see it for the handmade charm with which she intended it, not just wished she had photocopied part of a road map...

Oh, and for those of you that asked, this is the peacock image:-


{Peacock Image, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine}

And it's stamp brother which matches it will be used to 'seal' the backs of the envelopes and to create the thank you cards.

---

If you care to read about this again, in a slightly altered format(!), follow this link to Elizabeth Anne Designs...

---

Oh, and this may be my last post for a week or so. Having a minor operation tomorrow (diagnostic) but have been told to take two weeks off work. Hoping to be at least up and organising and maybe even blogging by next week, but we shall see...

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Can Anyone Help Me?

{Image from 100LayerCake}

This girl wasn't short of internal dilemmas. She loved, loved Kristina's new wedding blog and the ideas to be found within it's gorgeous 'pages', especially the home-made soap project. She wondered whether she might have time to make some herself but realised it would be better to finish the projects that she had already started. And then she realised that the tag punch that had been used to make these tags was the answer to her tag related dilemma and would allow her to finally finish one more of her half finished projects...Her boy would be very pleased. Just as he was very pleased when she finally finished her directions map last night and then made him a cake to make up for it.

So she searched the Internet and couldn't find anywhere in the UK that sold such a thing. Why oh why could one not find a 1 1/2 inch tag punch for sale in the UK? She wondered if anyone knew where one could be located.

In fact, she wondered whether there might be any lovely reader in the US who might be willing to procure her one and send it to her, in exchange for a pay-pal payment and a beautifully written thank you letter...*

(Looking for a punch which is in the shape of the entire tag, not just the hole, and not like the one in the photo - one which makes tags like the ones in the photo)

UPDATE: The wonderful Marie has found me one I can buy in the UK. Thank you Marie, I am so very grateful!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

One picture, one poem, one song...

One picture, one poem, one song, one quote, one item of clothing, one place and one disney princess... Yes, another meme for which I wasn't tagged. But we were invited to play along too, if we fancied, so I did. Am. Whatever.

Here are my choices:

One Picture...

{Image by Richard Avedon}

One Poem...

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over
{John Masefield (1878-1967)}

One Song...




{Supposed to be Shine on you Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd - but I cannot get Youtube to embed, or whatever it is called}

One Quote...

"Grab a chance and you won't be sorry for a might-have-been"

{Arthur Ransome (We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea)}


One Piece of Clothing...

{Vintage Dress from Nikita Jade - sadly sold out before I got my new job}

One Place...

Polzeath, Cornwall. The deck of the Blue Tomato Cafe and a glass of wine.
{Image from Author's Personal Collection}

One Disney Princess...

Shh, can you keep a secret? I have only ever seen Fantasia and The Lion King. Pocahontas too I believe, maybe. I don't really recall any princesses. I am not really one for Disney, or princesses. So no choice here...

"choose your own award" Award

A girl was having some trouble. You see, she had been awarded an award by a fellow blogger (along side many other talented writers). An award for being one of the bloggers "who were the first ones who inspired me, assisted me, made me think and wonder and feel not so all alone in the frothy world of bridal blogging". This girl was very pleased to be listed, and in such illustrious company too, but she didn't know what she do, which award she should pick nor who she should nominate in return.
The choices were threefold:
1.
These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.
They are not interested in self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.
Please give more attention to these writers.
Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more
and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

2.

The Uber Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
- inspire you
- make you smile and laugh
- give you amazing information
- are a great read
- have an amazing design

The rules of this award are:
Put the logo on your blog or post
Nominate at least 5 blogs that for you are Uber Amazing!
Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog
Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
3.
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received the award.

But which one to choose? Was her blog "exceedingly charming" or inspiring or did it show great attitude. This girl wasn't sure, really, she wasn't. So she decided to post all three but not choose any of them.
And in turn, nominate some of her favourite blogs:

Things I have made (I)


eye-mask, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine.

Marie asked what I had made on our sewing machine (it is a wedding present).

Well, I am planning to make matching pyjamas for us... ah, so sweet. For the honeymoon and so on! So I bought this fabric from e-bay but needed to practise my seam sewing. So I decided to make something smaller and easier to start with.

So, first of all I made a cushion cover. A vast improvement on the old velvet ones left over from our student days. Is made with french seams and looks quite sweet, if a little lonely. Must make some more to match.

I then made this eye-mask and one for M too. M's has the ribbons from a Cos bag as we bought the ribbon I used on mine for the waistbands of the pyjamas and so this was the spare part.

As usual the image is rather shxt and it is actually inside out but I think it is rather pretty and I am pleased with my first attempts at making pretty but useful things for our home.

Monday, 23 March 2009

'March' Lifestyle Challenge: Spring Cleaning

Jenna's March Lifestyle Challenge was to indulge in some spring cleaning. The rules meant that you had to donate some of the items you cleared out and that you had to take before and after photos.
Well, in our house we don't have much storage. This is my desk. What a mess. You can see that I have been busy making wedding related projects: there is my first inspiration board pinned up and swatches of fabric samples. There is a cardboard tube of peacock feathers (and one on the desk for colour referencing). And lots and lots of clutter.

So I tidied up a bit, moved stuff, recycled a lot of paper, newspapers and magazines, put away some of my clothes that were hung on the chair and generally sorted out piles of things. I returned the tagine (just out of shot) to M's brother and wife; I put a glass coffee table on free-cycle and gave it to a girl my age who thought it would be perfect for her flat.

But there wasn't a lot I could do with the bookcase full of books and work from Law School. So I had to leave them in situ. Still, it looks a lot better:

And then I had space for my sewing machine, so I set it up and have been using it each weekend.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

My Boy Writes: The Stag-Do

Click over to Elizabeth Anne Designs for the orginal...

"In the UK we indulge the rather quaint tradition of Hen and Stag-Dos. I believe in the US they are called Bachelor and Bachelorette parties. Conventional activities for Stags include excessive drinking, strip clubs and womanising of all kinds. The idea exists that this is the Stag’s last chance to mess around, his last gasp of freedom. It is also conventional for the groom to be subject to pranks, being tied to a lamppost or occasionally even dumped in a foreign land. The Best Man orchestrates the carnage and a friendly one will ensure that the groom makes it to the church on time. Traditionally, the Stag-Do would take place on the night before the wedding but unsurprisingly there is a certain reluctance to stick to this hard-core principal these days. A concession to the bride and mothers I suppose.

I think that it’s right to indulge the traditional rights of passage for young men but the reality is that I wouldn’t enjoy this sort of Stag-Do and neither would many of my friends. We have arranged a more sedate affair, a weekend in the countryside with fine wine, food and the great outdoors. I have images of cooking animals we have hunted ourselves and reminiscing over whisky into the early hours.

For me the most important aspect of a Stag-Do is the people. It is a chance to gather my best male friends together for a spot of good old-fashioned bonding. Thankfully, this doesn’t need to mean crude jokes and a boarding school mentality. Rather, a chance to bring my disparate groups of friends together with, in this case, mine and Rachel’s Dads. This is a chance for them all to get to know each other properly without the distractions of normal life. I have several fairly distinct bands of friends with which I have separate histories and shared experiences. I want to bring them all together for what will hopefully be a fabulous experience we will all share and which will galvanise this group of people. Plenty of them have had their differences in the past and I hope this will heal rifts and give everyone a clean slate. Of course, it might just be a very combustible weekend.

One thing that has crossed my mind a number of times is that generally the stag is kept in the dark about his do and is really at the mercy of his Best Man. I am surprised at having been kept so firmly in the loop. Is this all a subterfuge? Are we really going to embrace the cliché and blow up animals with bazookas in Eastern Europe? Will I be abandoned, tripping on snake’s blood in Indonesia? Will I find myself tied to a lamppost in Birmingham being taunted by tramps? Will I need every one of the six weeks afterward to make it back to Blighty in time for my wedding? Has anyone seen the film Very Bad Things?

Maybe I should get some holiday insurance."

Friday, 20 March 2009

The Invitations (Part Two)

{Image from Author's Personal Collection}

We really need to get the invitations sent out if we want to give our guests any time at all to respond. In fact, if we want any guests at all there we should really get a move on.

Alex (A1's boyfriend) and graphic designer e-mailed me the initial proofs last night. I love the font he has chosen for our names and we shall be able to replicate that throughout our wedding with the peacock image I had designed.

We have decided that we had better include a response card with the invitation: older generation guests who would most likely send a formal response anyway can use the card to indicate taxi requirements and younger generation guests can use it to RSVP as well.

The invitations will be black and white. Or, at least, they are at the moment. With possibly the peacocks painted blue depending on how it looks. Black and white is not the theme of the wedding. I can't decide whether I should try and get them printed out in blue (which is more our theme) or whether I should just get them done as simply as possible and get them sent out.

I keep looking at other bloggers' beautiful invitations and am torn. On the one hand I would have loved to have had invitations which truly represented our theme, were blue and letter pressed and so beautiful that they could be framed. But that wasn't in our budget, and neither is it really us, if we are totally honest. So something we could do ourselves (or, ask Alex to make for us) suits us (and our budget) better. I love the font of these, I love the peacocks (which you can't see, obviously, on the image above) but I am not in love with them. Do you need to love the invitation, or is something that does the job (well, I would say) absolutely sufficient.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Honeymoon: Sneak Peek

{Image Credits: Left column & Top Centre by Botelet;
All other images from Author's Personal Collection}
86 days until the wedding; 87 days until we get two weeks off and views like these. I cannot wait...
(See Elizabeth Anne Designs later today for further details)

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Net a Porter Wedding Boutique

Or, Where I Would Spend Lots of Money If I Had Any Boutique.

'March' Food Challenge: Eat Your Greens

Managed to get in a bit earlier with completion of my food challenge this month. The task? To make a salad which was green.

So, here is Rachel & M's Green Bean and Tomato salad:

1. Select green beans and tomatoes. Wash.



2. Cut up tomatoes (in half and then each half into three). Top and tail beans.

3. In a frying pan melt a small amount of butter. Add beans. Add seasoning (I used freshly ground black pepper and Sel de Guerande which I brought back from my last sailing trip). Occasionally stir.

4. After a few minutes try a bean. If it is tasty but still crunchy, add the tomatoes to the pan. Cook for a few minutes to soften them and give them a little colour.

5. Remove beans and tomatoes from pan using a spoon of some sort with holes in, so the melted butter does not sit in a puddle on the plate. (We used the melted butter mixture to cook some other vegetables as soon as we lifted these out of the pan).

6. Place on a plate. Drizzle natural Greek yogurt over the top. Add more freshly ground pepper.

We served this salad with chicken pan fried with chili and hot pepper, grilled peppers and mushrooms (kebab style) and pickled red cabbage in hot pitta breads. It was delicious.



Peonies made me do it...

Peonies showed me photographs by Toast. So I went there. And looked. And wanted. And wished. And hoped someone might ask us which shop they should buy a wedding present for us from...



{Image by Toast}

Monday, 16 March 2009

A bad dream...?

I didn't leave myself enough time to get ready and my Mother wouldn't wait for me to arrange my veil in an enormous rosette on the top of my head. She made me leave for the ceremony before I was ready. And then it was some hours later and I was looking at a box half filled with multi coloured flowers wondering what was happening. And then people were congratulating me on the day. And I looked down and I was wearing a wedding band and I couldn't remember anything. And no-one had any photos and I was frantic...

And then my alarm went and it was 6.45am and it was time to get up...

A Going Away Outfit

Traditionally, the bride and groom leave the wedding for their honeymoon before the rest of the guests. The bride would change into her 'going away outfit' and the couple would say their goodbyes and depart (usually in a car decorated with Just Married written on it and with old boots and tin cans attached to the bumper) whilst the guests carried on the party.



We are having our own version of this tradition: we shall leave the reception in our vintage car - complete with an old boot and tin cans - just before the end and head to a secret destination (i.e. a hotel) for the wedding night, returning in the morning to have lunch with our families before departing for our honeymoon. I am going to have a going away outfit, which I shall change into on the Saturday evening to leave the reception and shall wear the next day for the brunch.



And yet again, I didn't want to buy anything new for the occasion, so I (well, T really) has been altering a dress which a friend bought in Whistles sale several years ago and never got round to having it altered. So, she very kindly gave it to me (thanks Jo, much appreciated) and T and I have been altering it to fit me. It was a size 14 and I am a size 8 so we have unpicked the band underneath the bust and undone all the seams. T has altered the outside to fit and I am in the process of making the seams in the lining match. We shall then cut some off the sides and re-do the seams and then attach the band again. We have also shortened the dress from a mid-calf length to mini-dress length. It is white, so I can wear it with my wedding shoes and headpiece and cardigan but it is more practical and comfortable than the wedding dress. I can also fit pretty underwear underneath so I have bought some ivory silk frilly knickers to change into as well (as I can only fit flesh coloured seamless ones under the wedding dress).



I should have taken a before picture, but I forgot, but I shall endeavour to take some progress and after photos and post them. And this dress at least is not a secret, as it has been hanging on our bedroom door since Christmas with half it's hem pinned up waiting for a free Saturday for T and I to begin work.



I was also deeply impressed by T's sewing ability. To be perfectly honest I would not have known where to begin with the dress, yet T pinned so quickly I had barely been in the dress a few moments before she was directing which seams to unpick and what needed altering. Literally in four hours we had eaten lunch and afternoon tea (complete with scones) and done the vast majority of the altering process.



(A glimpse of our sitting room. And yes, that is an upside-down Bentwood Chair in the fireplace. It's leg is wobbly and we didn't want a guest to come a-cropper if they tried to sit on it.)

Friday, 13 March 2009

My Boy Writes: The Music

See the original at Elizabeth Anne Designs here:


"The Music is the 3rd pillar of our wedding reception triumvirate. Crucial because of the role of music in guiding the tone and the pace of the evening yet difficult to execute. At a house party anyone can get up and stick on a song and the music becomes a way to express oneself and have an immediate impact on everyone else at the party. It is also a big catalyst for conversation (and sometimes argument) and has the (both positive and negative effect) of polarizing the group. The danger of being too prescriptive with music for a wedding is that it inhibits these natural dynamics amongst friends and the feel is much more that of a club with a DJ playing or a band performing. We tried to get around this in 2 ways. First, we conceived the idea of getting our friends to form a band and second we asked a friend of ours to DJ. Our hope was that involving our friends as performers would cement the group together and that the guests would involve themselves much more in the music.


I imagine you are all very rapidly struck by the rather risky nature of this approach. Have any of these guys performed before in any context, let alone together? How will we handle the technical aspects of live performance, sound equipment, generators etc? Will they get too drunk to play?


All extremely pertinent questions. Our DJ, thankfully, has plenty of experience. He has now dedicated his life to DJing and will no doubt “rock the party”. He also has some knowledge of amplification and generators and all these boring technical bits. The only issue is his taste in music is rather different to ours. This should be a good thing but I am shall we say a little reluctant to cede musical control. That said, I imagine I am in a minority in believing that Led Zeppelin will always get the party going and that maybe a bit of breakbeat is more to most peoples taste. I wonder how the older folks will feel about that! Our man has his brief and we have chatted at length about songs he must play and a little about appropriate music for each part of the evening. We know that we can completely trust him though especially after a recent performance at Rachel’s birthday party.


Those brave souls who have formed the band are rather less experienced in fact I don’t think they have any performance experience between them. They are however a group of very talented and committed individuals who we know will give their all on the day and if all else fails, have a bloody good laugh. We have been touched by their commitment to the band and their enthusiasm. They have involved themselves in song selection and put forward ideas about timings and ways to improve the overall effect and I really think their performance is going to be one of the highlights of the day. The songs we have selected are all songs that we love and have a special significance for us. Eric Clapton’s Bell Bottom Blues, Led Zeppelin’s Over the Hills and Far Away, David Bowie’s Modern Love and a few others. With a bit of luck they will be dance-able or at least sway-able and recognizable to most of the guests. I expect the crowd to get really into the performance and if they do we can’t fail. We will have our first dance to The Ship Song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds which is beautifully poised and the band will kick in directly afterwards with something rousing (probably Modern Love). We can’t wait to see them in action and we now just need to find a suitable way to thank them.


And so the excitement and for some the tension builds. We are so grateful to all these chaps because they have gone way out of their comfort zones for us. Gratifyingly it seems to have been fun for them too, giving them a reason to get serious about music. The practices have been wonderful, watching my Dad and two of my best friends establish some sort of musical hierarchy and learn to work together. They will soon be joined by another friend on drums and then we will start to see the band take shape and we will know how far we have to go.


I can’t wait to see the results!"

T Minus 3 Months

I could scarcely believe it when I opened my desk diary this morning and realised that there were exactly three months to go until our wedding day. [More pressing in my mind is the fact that I have precisely 41 days until I am made redundant. With no job to go to. Yet I digress.]

This week we decided that hand-writing all our invitations was no longer practical. I had a go at the weekend and it just didn't look right. I couldn't get the calligraphy to look like I wanted and I don't have enough time to perfect it and then write it out 75 times. So we have started to look into other options. There is no money in the budget to get them printed professionally (i.e. letterpress, thermography etc) and, or perhaps but, regardless of budget I don't think that would suit the ethos of the wedding. So, home-made they will remain, just less home-made than writing them out myself.

Potential Brother-in-Law the graphic designer has already been asked/pleaded with to design the order of service and the posters so it made sense to ask him to do the invitation as well. I think it will just be text and our peacock motif, printed by computer printer onto the cards that I have already bought. With a map and an RSVP card, when we can agree the wording. Sending an invitation to our wedding, hosted by my parents, to several different generations of guests throws up more issues regarding the RSVP cards than one would have thought possible...

I have also made good inroads into "project diy bridesmaid present" (which I will photograph, write and then pre-upload for publishing whilst we are on our honeymoon so as not to ruin the surprise in the -admittedly unlikely- event that As 1 or 2 or T is reading). I have made two parts of their presents, commissioned a third and then will be adding another part when I have chosen it. I just hope that they like them...

The "great plate search" still continues, quite literally in fact as we have managed to purchase over 100 cups & saucers and tea plates. It is just the dinner plates which are harder to come by. We have also decided to purchase the cutlery for the occasion, as it seemed a pointless expense to spend £40 delivery hire charge on cutlery which we can buy from Ikea for less money. Afterwards all sisters and cousins who have houses/are off to university etc can have a set or twelve and the rest we shall donate to a homeless shelter or similar.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Bride's Outfit: Accessories

Most of this is already posted below but read the Elizabeth Anne Designs version here...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

What to wear: Accessories I

{Image by Clare of The Brit Boutique}



{Image by Clare of The Brit Boutique}



I love that I can see her eye and her camera reflected in this photo...


Every girl dreams about bags. And shoes. Or is it just me? When I started to think about accessories for the wedding I knew that my shoes and my bag would not be the traditional white (I wanted to be able to use them again) and I wanted them to be special, for using them to make me feel fabulous and unable to stop smiling when I thought about them.


[I think I shall be smiling a lot on our wedding day, for the thought of pretty bags and shoes pales into insignificance against the thought of finally marrying my boy.]


I knew that I wanted a clutch bag and that I wanted it to be blue. I also knew that I didn't want to buy one from a shop, I wanted it to be more special than that. So I started searching on Etsy for peacock feathered clutch bags.


{Photo credits: Top Row Retrospettive;Red Ruby Rose
Bottom Row Anika ; Atelier of Mine }*


But nothing seemed right. It seemed a little overkill and I wasn't sure if I would actually use it again. And then I found the bag in the top photo. She is made from a recycled leather coat and a vintage skirt lining which I think looks a little like peacock feathers. I cannot wait for her to arrive, but she will be a little while longer as Clare is also making me part of the presents for the bridesmaids. I won't reveal what until after the bridesmaid's have received them...

*Apologies for the odd lining of the photographs. The only suitable collage template I had used an off centre middle row and those bags were against a white background. I am a cheap-skate, but I refuse to pay for software to make collages. If any one has any better suggestions, free to download, I would be most grateful.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Cake Toppers (the story commences)


Girl Bird in progress I, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine.

M and I got engaged on the 28th June 2008. The next week back at work I started looking at wedding blogs and stumbled across Peonies' blog. Reading through her archives I came across two posts, the first showing two bird cake toppers and the second the instructions detailing how to make them.

I printed out the instructions and had a bash a few weeks later but my attempt looked so poor that I abandoned the project for a while. Last night however, I decided to have another bash. This time, with the aid of a sewing machine I made much faster progress and finally after a few hours Girl Bird started to take shape.

These two rather poor quality photos show her as she is at the moment: body just about intact, wings and veil made but pinned on, legs formed and sort of attached, tail attached but needing to be sewed to the body and pins for eyes.

Still, I think she is rather sweet. Her tail and that of her Boy Bird (yet to be made) are peacock feathers to match our theme...

My Boy Writes: The Drink

Hop over to Elizabeth Anne Designs to read the original...

italy-april-2007-035
{Image from Author’s Personal Collection}

"Choosing wine for a wedding is a tricky business, especially if you are “in the business”. I’m often called upon to help my clients get the wines just right for their big day. Like me they have pretty fixed ideas but for most people this is not the case.

Some people simplify, they pick their favourite wines and serve them. It is their wedding after all! Others are very aware of their audience and also what the wines they pick say about them. Others still have no interest in wine and serve fabulous buckets of cocktails and beer or just leave it to the caterers. Tragically, plenty of over-bearing fathers and mothers (I suspect I have the potential to be one of these) invest thought and cash into providing perfectly aged classic but interesting wines which get gulped down at an alarming rate by the guests, only to be superseded by the aforementioned capacious cocktails and beer.

The range obviously needs to be limited, ideally to one white and one red (and maybe a sweet wine). It makes a lot of sense to go for a classic and recognisable combination: Red Bordeaux and White Burgundy or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Australian Shiraz. It is also a good idea to opt for something that is easy to drink and versatile (with food and without) and in some cases low-ish alcohol is a good idea (German Rieslings fulfil this function extremely well). In an ideal world the wine will match your food and projected weather (not easy in Devon). Ultimately though, for the majority of people the wine is a conduit, a catalyst, a lubricant. It is more important to not get it wrong than it is to hit it out of the park.

For me, however, it is extremely important. It doesn’t need to be showy but it does need to be memorable. Rachel doesn’t entirely share my enthusiasm for wine but she does understand that it is very important to me and has acquired quite a taste for Riesling and anything fizzy and pink (embrace that cliché Honey!). We are also aware that the guests will be expecting something special and we are determined to live up to that. The decision was made fairly early on in the planning process that we would take full responsibility for providing alcohol, there will be no bar. Since our budget for booze is tight and a large quantity will be required, we decided to restrict the range of drinks to something fizzy to start (maybe including some homemade elderflower “champagne”), wine with the meal (and after), some beer and a barrel of cider from our friend Shaun at Piglet Cottage. So, we need unusual but widely appreciated wines with a bit of WOW! factor in large quantities on a small budget. Ah…

Clearly, we need to compromise. It would be great to have English wine, excellent fizz and flowery, summery whites and in perfect keeping with the theme for the wedding. Unfortunately English wine is expensive and good reds are few and far between. After lots of hunting and discussing we found a really delicious Riesling (German) for a good price and several bargain reds to choose from (it’s looking like something from the Languedoc currently). Fizz is always the trickiest bit and champagne prices have been bumped up significantly of late. We tried some lovely Prosecco but we find it less celebratory and have now found a cracking Cava which is in a really open, approachable style and this looks like a winner at the moment.

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{Tuscany: Image from Author’s Personal Collection}

When we first thought about booze for the wedding, we thought our ideas might be at odds with the expectations of our guests. Surely the wines should be finer than ever on this most significant day. We soon realised that in fact the spirit of our wedding called for something much more personal and involved and that making our own fizz and serving honest, real wines with a sense of place and a meaning for us, alongside local beer and cider made by new friends was just perfect.

We’ll save the Stag’s Leap for anniversaries!"

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{Image from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars}

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Our Wedding Vendors: Flowers


originally uploaded by Peonies and Polaroids

Turns out anemones are in season in the UK from September through to May. So we had to have a little re-think of our choice of flowers.

Guess which flowers are only in season in the UK in June? And come in white? And can be grown on a farm in England, not shipped from Holland? And which mean I don't have to go anywhere near a florist?

...and a little extract from my EAD article this week:

"...this week I have made a decision of sorts about my flowers. I knew
that I wanted white flowers, hand tied, a larger bunch for myself and smaller
bunches for my bridesmaids. To be honest, it never occured to me that I would
need to hire a florist and it just wasn’t in our budget to consider it further.
I am ordering ribbon the same colour as my shoes to tie on the bouquets. So far,
so good.

Not knowing exactly which flowers I wanted was a problem. I trawled
wedding blogs and sites looking for inspiration and saved photo after photo of
roses, carnations, anemones. I visited florists in our university home town and
was met with dirision that I planned to do the flowers myself. It was bad luck,
I was told, for a bride to do her own flowers. To a bride on a budget to be told
that she should pay £75-£100 for a hand-tied bunch of roses or she would have
bad luck seemed harsh. To them, and anyone worrying about it, I think it is a
load of rubbish that it is bad luck. If you want to do your own flowers, go for
it, but if you don’t, that is also fine. It all depends on your priorities for
your money and for me, flowers are not so high up on the list.

Roses are traditionally English but expensive, even bought as stems and arranged myself. They are also quite expected and I quite liked the idea of something a little more unique, so I decided on anemones. At least, I did until I discovered that they are not in season in the UK in June. Which went against our wedding ethos of recycled/vintage/local. Not much point buying all the clothes second-hand and then flying in out of season cut flowers. So I decided to look up which flowers are in season in the UK in June. And suddenly the answer was obvious: Peonies. Beautiful, in season, feathery, they smell fab and look great in photographs. And better still, I can have them delivered to the wedding venue the day before to be made up into bouquets by the bridesmaids and myself the night before.

And then, I met a blogging friend for tea and cake and she recommended me a farm where I could purchase said peonies. They are a family run farm who will deliver as many or as few peonies as I would like and were so friendly when I contacted them, my mind was put at rest. The only thing is that their delivery is dependent on the British weather. No warmth, no sun, no peonies. The last two summers have been complete washouts so we are hoping for a better one this year, but there is nothing that I can do. So I decided that if the peonies don’t arrive I will go with a backup option: carnations from a local florist. Decision made.

And as for the buttonholes, I think we will just go absolutely simple and traditional: carnations bought from a local florist on the morning before and made up into buttonholes by my mother-in-law-to-be. All except for the groom who I think will wear a peony, to honour the tradition of the bride plucking a flower from her bouquet and poking it through his buttonhole on his lapel. Unless the peonies fall through. In which case he will have a carnation too."

{Image courtesy of the fab Peonies & Polaroids}

Monday, 2 March 2009

Groom Style

{Image credits clockwise from top left: Via Once Wed/photo by Braedon Flynn;
outfit by Mantique (source unknown); suit by Gucci via men.style;
vintage Bill Blass suit via Good Grace; suit by Club Monaco (source unknown);

When we first started planning our outfits both M and I assumed he'd wear a very dark suit. Now looking at our inspirations and suits on e-bay that we have sent links backwards and forwards to each other, it seems that is looking unlikely and that slate blue or grey is our colour of choice. Which will match the car and my accessories and looks altogether better on M than black.

And no, he will not be wearing yellow trousers. I just liked the model's hair.

'February' Photo Challenge: Love


Love2, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine.

I found it hard to select a photograph from the ones that I took this month. I didn't want to set out to take a photograph to fulfill this challenge, I just took lots over the course of the month and then chose one.

I found it hard as I wanted to retain M's anonymity as far as possible. This one though spoke to me as the baby in the photo (M's brother's nephew) really took to M and snuggled right up against his chest on our trip to the zoo. It is the first time I have ever seen M holding a baby properly and it did make me rather broody!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

'February' Food Challenge: Something Pink


Pink Pancakes, originally uploaded by rachel-catherine.

Don't they look hideous? For this month's challenge I chose to make something normal and dye them pink with a spot of red food colouring. The oddest thing was despite them looking rather grotesque and as if sweeties should ooze out of them, they actually tasted just like normal.

And here's how to do it yourself if you are brave enough:

In a mixing bowl sieve 135g of self-raising flour, add two tablespoons of caster sugar, half a teaspoon of salt and 1 egg. Whisk together and slowly add 130 ml of milk. Then add a few drops of red food colouring and marvel at how horrid the batter appears. Heat a heavy frying pan with a little oil and when sizzling hot drop in a ladle full of batter. Let one side brown off and then flip over. When cooked slide onto a plate and add a small piece of butter. Repeat until you have a stack, and then eat.