A Handmade Wedding

Good evening everyone!  It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday here in Texas, and I wanted to spend a little time catching up with you guys.  I’ve already been married a month now, which is a little surreal – we spent so much time and effort planning for this wedding, and it was over in an instant.  I’m still digesting and savoring the memories of my wedding and our honeymoon, and I wanted to share some photos with you.

While some elements of my wedding were handmade, we hired vendors for the really important stuff, like photography, food, and florals.  Other elements were DIY though – we used Spotify playlists in lieu of a DJ (no regrets! so much cheaper!) and went with an app called WeddingMix for our videographer (again – much cheaper than an actual videographer).  My mother-in-law also recorded our entire ceremony, which is wonderful.  But for other aspects of our wedding, it was important for my husband and me to incorporate handmade elements that reflected our personalities.

I decided that my contribution would be embroidered and cross-stitched designs to hang behind our sweetheart table.  Our venue had a tin wall that was the perfect spot to showcase the finished pieces.  I’d been working on this installation pretty steadily since January.  While I didn’t get to finish ALL the pieces I wanted, I was able to get a decent-sized collection for the wall.  All photos below are from our photographer, You Are My True.

Besides the embroidered and cross-stitched pieces, I painted some wood panels purchased from Joann (which I mention in this post).  Someone decided to use them for the sweetheart table and groom’s cake, which was a brilliant idea.

For the photos above, I’ve captioned each artist’s name and Instagram handle (with the exception of kits purchased from Dimensions or Bucilla).  I don’t have a close-up of the second embroidered “Love” piece (which you can see in the first photo, hanging right above the banner), but this design was by Brynn & Co (@brynnandcoshop). It was a kit that I got from Mollie Makes.

Some of these pieces were WIPs that I had long neglected, like the embroidered birds or the cross-stitched “Love” piece (in the first photo, it is hanging above the banner and is the first piece from your left).  That piece is unfinished, which is unfortunate since it’s a beautiful design. But I’m attached to the half-finished look (and also too lazy at this point to finish it).

Getting all these pieces together was a little stressful, but I’m so glad that I did – it was so worth the extra effort. I was happy with how they looked on the tin wall and that I could bring a handmade element to my wedding. My amazing bridesmaids did a wonderful job of arranging them.

And after all the planning and effort (and money, cough cough), I have to say our little wedding was perfection.

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Credit: You Are My True 

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Wedding Procrastination Part 2: Craft Mania

I know it’s only Monday, but is it Friday yet?  Most of my mental energy has been occupied by work and wedding planning.  But I’ve had some time to sneak in some crafting.  As usual, there is not any real kind of logic to what I’m doing and why.  And of course, right when I sit down with the intent of doing wedding crafting, I’ll pick a completely unrelated project to work on instead, because procrastination, I never learn, etc.

Let’s throw some pictures up in here.

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Fiancé and I went to JoAnn on Friday night, because – I’m just gonna say it -we are getting overly ambitious with our plans for our wedding favors.  I mean, I LOVE our ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure what will end up happening is (A) we will make a couple of prototypes of said item(s), realize how much work it will be, and will be paralyzed by the sheer amount of work ahead of us, and, (B) two weeks before the wedding, we’ll be like FUCK IT and throw jellybeans into mason jars or something.

Anyhoo, JoAnn had all these cute little wooden charms, so I threw a bunch of them into my shopping basket.  Like, there’s no coherent plan on what I’m going to do with these things other than paint them?  Maybe I can elegantly toss them at random friends as I walk down the aisle? I don’t really know.

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Sooo at some point this summer (spring? I don’t even know anymore), I took a Sailor Top class.  I didn’t finish the top while in class, but I had TWO MORE THINGS left to do before finishing – “stitching in the ditch” for the collar, and then the bottom hemline. That’s it.  That’s all I had to do, guys.  Yet this top has sat in my basket for at least six months before I finally dug it out and finished it.  While I’m glad it’s done, the stitches aren’t the greatest in the world. I’m just saying. Your six-year-old can probably do a straighter hemline than I did with this top.  But whatever, I was tired of it sitting in the workbasket, so it’s done.  I’ll make a post when I look blog worthy, aka not right now.  (Currently I’m wearing pajama pants with foxes on them and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse hoodie.  It’s a super sexy combo, you guys).

Ok, what’s next?

Blanket progress! I actually haven’t worked on this in a couple of weeks.

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This next project I started during the weekend, because WHY NOT:

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You eagle-eyed knitters can probably already spot my wonky slip stitches.  (Actually – the mistake is so glaring that probably anyone can see it.  IT STARES INTO MY SOUL).  But I’m too lazy to fix it. I honestly haven’t properly learned how to fix a wonky stitch, so it’s just going to be like that forever, you guys.  “Only you can see it,” my fiancé kindly told me as I showed him my progress and whined about my various mistakes.  So yes, I suppose only I will notice once it’s finished…but I WILL ALWAYS KNOW.  Yet my laziness overtakes my will for perfection. Sooooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, I guess it’s time for me to go- OH YEAH.  This project is legitimately wedding-related.

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I didn’t learn how to do French knots until 2015 or 2016, so I tend to get all FRENCH KNOT ALL THE THINGS.  I’m actually not liking how many French knots I added to this piece.  It’s kind of reminding me of this?

 

nightmares

Source: NPR

Now that I’ve given everyone nightmares, I’ll take this as my cue to exit. NIGHTY NIGHT.

Wedding Procrastination

I’m not going to lie – my default mode is being a procrastinator.  It’s hard to feel motivated for something when it seems so far away, right?  It’s why I waited 5 weeks before my test the first time around to study.

I’ve gotten better over the years, though.  You get burned enough to learn that maybe waiting until the last minute for EVERYTHING isn’t such a great idea.  Especially at work – you very quickly learn that rarely does a deliverable rely on one person.  If you wait until the last minute to complete a product, then you have to cross your fingers that the reviewers, the GIS person, and secretary can just drop whatever they are doing to help you.  Procrastinating at work is a great way to make enemies and have people hate you, so I prioritize my deadlines as much as possible.

For wedding planning, we were good about tackling the big items early.  Several weeks after we were engaged, we were looking at venues, and selected one by early February of last year.  (Though it was all for naught, since we lost our venue in December and had to scramble to find another. Ha! Ha! )  We lined up the caterer, day-of-coordinator, and photographer early.

Then summer and fall happened – traveling to Italy, studying for my exam, prioritizing work projects meant that wedding planning fell on the bottom of my priorities list.  In September, I was gripped by a sudden fear that I NEED TO BUY MY DRESS NOW, so I hurriedly made an appointment at David’s Bridal and purchased one.  And then I didn’t worry about how I was going to look until the beginning of this year.  OH GOD I NEED TO SCHEDULE A HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL.  AND A DRESS FITTING. AND I NEED SHOES.  AND A VEIL.

I scheduled my fitting the week before my hair and makeup trial (which was today).  While we were shopping, we found a pretty veil.  I was on the fence about getting a veil, but gave in and bought one.  (Once upon a time I thought I would make my own veil. Hahahahahaha.)  My mom and I went back and forth about getting a tiara (I was very firmly in the “not wearing a tiara ever” camp), but I found a pretty head piece that would accentuate my dress but wouldn’t give off Princess Diana vibes.  I also purchased an accessory for my dress that I don’t want to give away here in case my fiancé reads this, EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY DID ACCIDENTALLY OOPS.

After I frenetically found all the accessories I wanted, the seamstress showed me the tally for the alternations.  Now, I had purchased a cheaper dress well below my already modest budget.  But the alterations COST AS MUCH AS MY DRESS.  I started entering panic mode.  Since I wanted to have the veil and headpiece ready for my makeup trial, I resigned myself to dropping a bit of money on everything.

When I went to the cash register, I asked the cashier if I could do a layaway plan.  Nope, everything had to be paid for up front.  Of course it did.  When she chirpily read out the total, I sadly grabbed my debit card and mentally thanked the universe that I’d gotten paid the day before.  And to reward me for dropping a small fortune on accessories I would wear for five hours of my life, David’s Bridal decided to reward me with THREE FREE PRINTS TO SHUTTERFLY, YOU GUYS!

I was mad when I returned home, especially when I started pinning looks for brides with headpieces and veils, and saw veils I could have purchased at half the cost of the one I’d purchased at David’s Bridal.  If only I had taken more time to find a veil (or make one).

I was angry about it for three or four days before placating myself – the accessory plus the dress equals the modest budget I’d originally had in mind for a dress. The veil, alterations, and shoes would have been purchased regardless of the dress, so if I’d picked a more expensive dress, then that would have been even MORE money spent.

Or, Fiancé and I could have gone to the courthouse and I could have worn some jeans and a top from Target and spent $0, I’M KIDDING but kind of not really.

And yet the procrastination continues, because instead of taking the time to make wedding-related decorations, I am NOT doing those things and crafting things completely unrelated to the wedding.

Sigh.

Less than two and a half months to go, guys.  I have a feeling there will be more of these posts.

A Quick-ish Hello

Hello friends!

I just wanted to drop a quick note and say hi.  It’s been really busy over here – I’m five days out from my test, work has finally started getting really hectic again, and we’ve been planning our wedding in between.

I’ve logged 133.75 hours of studying for this Friday’s exam.  I didn’t log how many hours I studied in the spring (it can’t have been more than 60-70 hours), so I definitely feel more prepared this time around. It’s still a very broad exam and all the hours I’ve logged doesn’t guarantee I will pass. I’m just ready to get it over with. I can’t wait to come home from work and not have to spend the rest of my weekend studying.

Right after the exam, I’ve got field work at a relatively new site.  I’m pretty excited that the chances of getting stuck in mud at this site are pretty low.   Then after field work, I’m freeeeeee to do nothing on my weekends.  (Except plan for the wedding.)

I finally pinned some bridesmaids dresses for my ladies this weekend (I’m letting them choose their dresses).  Fiancé and I are taking our engagement photos on Wednesday and I am so excited. I’m getting my hair and makeup done for the shoot, which I’ve never done before.  It’s going to be a really fun study break.  I already have my wedding dress as well, so everything is slowly coming together.  My hair stylist gave me the idea of making my own veil, which is something I’m definitely going to pursue. I have zero interest in purchasing a veil that is half the cost of my dress.

I’m typing on my new laptop because yours truly dropped her old one several weekends ago and cracked the screen.  I really like it so far, and the photo editing program that comes with it is just basic enough for me to grasp.  I honestly haven’t been doing much in the craft department, other than working on a simple blanket that doesn’t require any counting. But up until a couple of weeks ago, I was working on a wreath from an old Little Box of Crochet project:

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Well, I’ve procrastinated long enough.  Time to hit the books again.

 

Where I’ve Been

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET UUUUUUGAIN!

I nearly upgraded my site just so I could post that Creed video and you all could judge accordingly, but it’s kind of pricey to upgrade so I’m just going to trust that you all click the link and shake your heads.

So.

How’s it going?

It’s been over three months since I posted and I’ve been missing this little blog.  I’ve been keeping pretty busy, but to keep from boring everyone I will just focus on the highlights.

TEST

After my last post, I succumbed to “obsessively check and wait for results” mode, which was awful. Waiting is the worst!  I finally received results in late May and, like I expected, I did not pass.  It was pretty disappointing.  But the difference between my score and the passing score was in the single digits…so…I am not far.  The next test is October 27th, and I have already started studying. I will pass this time!  I NEED TO PASS THIS TIME.  The next test after the October one is April 2018, which is when I’m getting married, which is a big NOPE.

TRAVEL

Another thing I started focusing on after my test was scrubbing up my admittedly weak Italian.  My family and I had a trip planned in June.  It was probably late May where I realized I wasn’t going to learn 32 years worth of Italian in a month, so I relaxed a little bit.

I will need to do an entire post on Italy but it was a pretty great trip.  We were there for two weeks and I was able to see my family, who I hadn’t seen in so long! My Italian was still bad, but I learned a lot being immersed over there.

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Selfie in Positano

Work

As one of my aunts says, “Lavoro é lavoro” (work is work), but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lots of reports to keep me busy. I really enjoy the projects where I get to dig deeply into the data (because I’m a nerd), but projects involving a lot of data can always be stressful because you want your analysis to be perfection.  I was also in the field for two weeks this month at a couple of my sites.  Guys. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years so I’m used to this heat – or I thought?  But one week was just so bad!  I’m so glad August is crunch time at the office and I have an excuse to be in the AC.

I do have one funny story – a gate wasn’t closed properly at my site, so we arrived the next morning to find a bunch of cows who had decided to make a visit.

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Just a small sampling of the cows at the site.

 

That was a call I wasn’t looking forward to making to my project manager.  He said we needed to herd them off-site.  “I…um…is there a way you recommend herding them?” I asked.  He told us to make lots of noise.  So I started running at the cows wildly, waving my arms and yelling “SHOOOOOO!” while my coworker jumped in his vehicle and started honking at the cows.  We were able to get the cows off-site and back to their proper home in ten minutes, which exceeded my expectations.  I can now add Jenny: Cow Herder to my resume.

CRAFTS

I want to post a couple of pictures of things I’ve either worked on or finished. I finished a couple of other neat pieces, but I want to spend more time on those posts.

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Fun sashiko-inspired piece from Studio MME

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Another Studio MME piece. I finished this one in Italy – this is my aunt’s table, isn’t it beautiful?

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Fun amigurumi piece from Little Box of Crochet

Wedding

We’re actually getting a lot done.  Booked a photographer (NOT the guy who told me, “I’m a hugger, deal with it” and openly admitted to google stalking the both of us – good lord), finding a caterer, and narrowing down on a baker and officiant.  Fiancé has been really helpful and taken the lead on a lot of the vendors.  Go Fiancé!  Planning is making this wedding less of this nebulous event and something real and tangible.  I’m getting really excited!

Alrighty, I need to get ready for work, but I will be back soon! I have been toying around with ideas for this little blog and hopefully we’ll have some fun in the process!

Apparently “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a Thing

I learned recently from the internet that “Wedding Planning Wednesday” is a thing.  I have to say I haven’t done very much of it lately.  After being in the field for two weeks, I was hit with the “OH GOD MY TEST IS IN APRIL” freakout and have been studying for that (or, the nightly reminder that I’ve forgotten everything I learned in college YAYYYY!)

But we’ve picked a venue and set a date, so that’s a good step to cross off the list, I think.  Venue selection was interesting at first but it grew tiring by the end.  We had some pretty entertaining encounters during our search.  The first place we looked at told us they’d “rather not serve people with severe food allergies,” so I guess I need to tell my mom she’s not eating at my wedding? I hastily scratched that place off my list.  One venue was someone’s literal backyard.  Which…wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if it were a large property and the person’s home was out of sight, but no.  Her house was right there, and we could hear her grandkids playing while we met with her, and it was weird. She was also very talkative and was starting to make judgment calls on some of our choices, so we “noped” out of there very quickly.

The venue we ended up selecting is very us – cozy, relaxed but elegant.  They also have a built-in rain plan, which was a big reason why we selected this venue. We’d fallen in love with another venue, but they didn’t have a rain plan.  We would have had to rent a tent, and the tent plans are just insane.  You have to put down 50% as your deposit, and you had the option to wait 5 days until the wedding and get your entire deposit back if you decide you don’t want the tent.  OR you wait until 2 days out to decide you don’t want your tent, but then that means you forfeit your deposit.  Knowing how much I check on the weather when I’m in the field, there’s no way I’d be comfortable with the 5 day plan. And there’s no way I would have been cool with throwing hundreds of dollars away with the 2 day plan.  I’ve very glad we selected the venue with the rain plan.

Oh yeah, and we got this cute guest book:

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We bought it at Book People.  It’s not a traditional guest book, but it’s adorable and I love birds.  Hence, now it’s our guest book.

I was reading some bridal magazines yesterday and I’m sorry, I really like The Knot but sometimes they’re insane.  They had article about ~spicing up your reception~ by hiring aerial water dancers or an artist who can paint impressionistic pieces of the wedding reception.  GREAT IDEAS, GUYS.  While we’re at it, why don’t I get a fountain that spouts liquid chocolate?  Or custom-made robots for everyone as a party favor? Why don’t I do that, The Knot?  OR I can just purchase disposable cameras, put them at every guest’s table, and call it day.*

In other news, side one of the Calvin top is almost ready!

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I’m at the part where I have to make rows of double crochet mesh stitches.  It’s crazy but if I keep at it, I can conceivably finish this by this weekend. WHAT.  I’m getting pretty concerned that the tension is all wrong and that it will be like donning a burlap sack when it’s finished, but we’ll see how it goes!

Okay I need to work and stuff, talk to you all Friday!

*Do disposable cameras still exist?
** I’m just kidding. Sort of.