If you haven’t picked up your copy of the latest issue of Martha’s fabulous weddings magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, maybe a peek at what’s in store will help you brace the winter winds and scurry over to that newsstand…
Of course, the first section to which I always flip – without fail – is DIY Style. Verdict: I can promise you that it’s a winner in this issue. The DIY projects Martha features are quite often utterly amazing, and the current issue is no exception. In fact, I’d like to get started on a few of these IMMEDIATELY, but I can’t get myself to stop staring at the photography. I love pretty colors and tiny details, so mine eyes have seen the glory and my pupils are dilated to the breaking point. Kudos, Johnny Miller. What lovely work you’ve done here.
My favorite project? Oh, I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking! Right off the bat, I was drawn to the jewelry box that involves repurposing your ring pillow. It’s so simple, so green, and so perfect for bringing a bit of your wedding into your everyday life! That’s how I define a great idea.
Of course, you’ll have to wait until after your wedding (rough, I know), but it’s such a smart, beautiful concept that I think it’s worth putting on that post-wedding To Do List, don’t you? All that’s needed to craft up this little homemade jewelry box is a simple wooden keepsake box, like this one, suggested by Martha. Plop in that already beribboned ring pillow, and presto! Too cute. Have fun!
I love this idea… it’s something I’ve always wanted to do with the many lovely photos of my mother that my dad has taken over time. This one’s from Cindy Russell, of her mother. … Always loved that he took those photos. So sweet, such a deep expression of love. I’m joyous that they exist, and I’m sure my mom is stoked about it, too. This is a big part of the reason I let the boy take candids…
… no matter how hideous I may be feeling at that particular moment. I don’t let myself stifle his often adorably sneaky efforts, ’cause who knows, one of those snapshots might actually become an image I grow to cherish 30 years from now. One never knows. For real – there are a solid three, maybe four photographs he took of me about three years ago that I really do adore; there’s no mistaking that I wasn’t in the mood to be photographed at the particular moment each was taken, but they still come off quite lovely (if I do say so myself).
I want to make something clear, though; I’m definitely not always camera ready. Rephrase: I’m nearly never camera ready, in my opinion. But, I’ve found in the trials and tribulations of being this fine gender of mine, that it’s really just a girl thing. (SO GLAD I figured that one out sooner than later. We really are way more camera ready than we may believe ourselves to be. Truth. I wouldn’t lie to you. And if you’d like to contest that on a personal level, go ahead and send me your argument in the form of a pic of yourself. I will be brutally honest with you. But not one in which you’re trying to look not-so-hot. Then you’re just trying to get me to say bad things about you, and that’s not good for my image. Capiche?)
Anyway, I also found these next few rather colorful – in the absolute sweetest way – and, for me, intensely inspiring photographs, all of her living/work space. The first is sort of Narnia magical, the second is pretty much exactly what my work space looks like, but in terms of the towering book stacks, only.
Those colors, those delicious pastels mixed with bolds, arranged in a teetering zigzag of organized clutter. That’s my favorite kind of clutter. I think my better half would agree, if I made the surrounding area of our teetering zigzags look as delicately beautiful as Cindy Russell’s.
That home design prettiness combined with the playful and similarly colored party flags behind this lovely wedded couple (the flag line is in the second set below) make for a massive amount of inspiration. Don’t you just love these COLORS?
Amelia Lyon is one of my favorite photographers. Yeah, it’s partly because she takes killer shots – but A LOT of people take killer shots. That’s why it’s so hard to choose a wedding photographer. There are just loads and loads of amazing photographers out there from which to choose. So here’s what sets someone like Amelia Lyon apart. She has a really cute little lion to the right of her last name in her logo. Kidding. It’s that she’s a giver.
I’ve borrowed a sampling – an amuse-bouche if you will – of what she has declared her greatest shots of 2009, displayed here below. If you love it, and want some more of it, click your way over to her Best of 2009, or check out the whole shebang. (It’s some good shebang for your buck. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost anything.)
Happy New Year’s Eve, you crazy kids! Hope you’re living it up somewhere out there, and with an umbrella handy! The boy and I will be ringing in the ’10 with a darling little bottle of Pommery Champagne – a gift to us from Reims, France, from my wonderful dad. (Thanks Dad. Love you lots; hope you have a Happy New Year.)
Keeping it brief – really just wanted to wish everyone an awesome evening tonight. Stay safe, stay snuggly, stay close to the ones you love. Thanks to my family, friends and my incredible readers for a spectacular year. I’m so excited for this new year we have ahead of us.
Bakerella does some amazing things with a little bit of flour, sugar and some lollie sticks. But this project takes the cake.
It goes on, as you can imagine…
But, here’s the beauty part:
And, stop right there. That’s it – that’s where I start to tear up.
Find out what prompted all of this and more, over at Bakerella. If you have feelings, the story will touch your heart like crazy. I tear up a bit every time I read it. I have never met these people, and I tear up a bit. You want to make fun of me? Go ahead. I may be ridiculous, but at least I have copious amounts of feelings that cannot be contained.
Happy Thursday, to all.
P.S. – Want more stuff related to engagements/proposals? Here’s a whole category for you. Enjoy!
Scroll to the bottom of this post to turn on the musical stylings of my favorite new artist, Warpold Wine. Mmm mmm goodness.
So, one big decision I’ve made in the process of planning my wedding is that I’m personally going to address the envelopes that will hold my save-the-dates, and then, based on that outcome, I will decide which way to go on my wedding invitations. Why did I decide this, especially since there’s so much room for failure and frustration? Well, there are two major reasons, and one minor reason.
Major Reason 1. My name isn’t Moneybags McTonsocash.
Major Reason 2. Way back when I was but a wee babe, I had myself a chic little calligraphy business. I was kind of super young, but I worked hard at it, and ended up landing some serious business. Shout out to the recipients of the MVP/Most Improved, etc. sports award certificates… hand-scribed by moi! Your names may never again be written with that much love, care and attention to detail.
Hmm, this was back in the early 90s, so that means all of you are probably in your mid 20s right about now. Which means you may be in need of some calligraphy services in the very near future. Yes? Go home and take a look at that certificate. If you like what I did when I was 10 years old, then get in touch and we can discuss your vision for your wedding calligraphy. ;)
… Anyway, so given my childhood undertakings, I couldn’t reconcile outsourcing the task.
Minor Reason 3. I heart the handmade. I strongly believe in doing it yourself if you can do it well. Don’t have experience with calligraphy? No problem – do you have good handwriting? That’s a strong start.
TOOLS I USE:
Note: Tunes I Use is at the bottom of this post.
You can get everything you’ll need at your local specialty art supply store. I get my tools from DaVinci’s in NYC on the corner of 23rd and Lex., because they carry lefty nibs and it is surprisingly hard to find these. By the way, the difficulty of finding nibs for left-handed people has always weirded me out, especially because I’ve heard and was told in my youth that left-handedness is often the mark of an artist. No offense, right-handed artists reading this. You outnumber we lefties, so I am probably setting myself up for a fight (if so, one rule: no hand-attacks), but I’m really just reciting what I’ve heard throughout the years. Of course there’s always the possibility that everyone in my life has been humoring me all this time. Hmm. My fiance does have a scarily high success rate when it comes to fooling me. This, I will revisit.
There are tons of inks from which to choose. Since my save-the-date envelopes are red, I am currently experimenting with Winsor & Newton’s #974 white ink, and seeking results similar to those achieved in the following images, from Moira Events (1-3), and Papineau Calligraphy (4).
I may switch to silver ink, as I am doing a process of elimination to find the most opague white ink available on this planet and it is proving quite a challenge. DaVinci’s tells me this one, below, is the best. We’ll see.
There are nibs for right-handed and left-handed people. I’m a lefty, and for my envelopes, I will be using one of the bottom two nibs shown in this image (LC-3 & LC-4):
Four of my nibs (here, LC-3 is on the pen holder):
I use a Speedball pen holder. You shove the rounded base of your chosen nib into the pen holder. Once joined, the two together make your calligraphy pen. Hurrah!
For inspiration, I’ve gathered up a personal gallery of some of the most gorgeous hand-written calligraphy I’ve ever seen. I find the four examples below to be among the most inspiring whenever I sit down to write. They are the work of Primele Calligraphy.
I will post updates on my progress with regard to finding the highest quality and most opague inks and which style of calligraphy I end up choosing to do.
Talk soon! -Alison
Stay tuned for continued installments of DIY Wedding Calligraphy.
12.31.09 Update: You may have noticed, I’m way into a certain artist right now. So much so that the CD jacket made a cameo appearance in this post’s feature photo. That’s when a person is way into something, methinks. So, allow me to suggest the following for your listening pleasure…
Artist: Warpold Wine. Album: Warpold Wine. Ideal for: sitting back, relaxing, doing your own wedding calligraphy, break-ups, make-ups, commuting, frolicking, wrestling with your significant other, and good deeds. Also, New Year’s Eve festivities. Sample it here, or check out the touring schedule.
I live for the wow factor in my weddings, and the chill factor in my music. Just let it run; there are 12 tracks, each one with its own charm and brilliance. Standouts: tracks 4, 5, 7, 8… no I can’t do this. I love it all, and it actually pains me to play favorites. Currently listening to 8. OMG, track 8. CHILLS, people.
Hey everybody, hope the holidays are treating you well this year. With Christmas days away, unless you have car (not the case for a city-dweller like me), I’m not so sure you’ll be able to grab these gifts in time. But here’s the thing, and let’s be honest with ourselves… we’ll probably just want to get these goodies for our own personal use. Am I right or am I right? And I wouldn’t give myself a hard time if I got myself a belated gift. Would you?
Most of these gifts I caught wind of either through friends, family, People, or the good ol’ boob tube. I found the following items to be my absolute faves, and I think you’ll like them, too. If you’d like to get your hands on any of these products, the links to where you can find them immediately follow each image. Hurry though; each of these items is still in stock presently, but of course there’s no way I can promise they’ll still be available in the minutes after I post this!
There are lots of reasons why the holidays are one of my favorite times of the year, but ranking high among them are the following two:
~ dreamy and delightful holiday decor
~ pretty packaging perfection by incredibly creative crafters
Combine those two with my absolute favorite thing in general and of all time – photography – and you get marvelous, breathtakingly beautiful things… wondrous things that never cease to amaze me, no matter how many times or however long I stare at them. Here are several examples of that magic, created by some of the greatest triple threats around. Click on the links announcing each set to visit each artist’s space on the web (Flickr pages or personal weblogs).
Want to make a serious impact this holiday season, but feel your typical treats just aren’t cutting it this year? Or maybe you kinda sorta forgot to buy gifts for your family and friends, and it’s December 22 already. Whoa, came outta nowhere, right?!
Okay, no worries, everything’s fine. Bakerella has some major league ideas that are sure to drop jaws…
Show up on the scene holding a sweet lookin’ batch of any of the uber-creative confections below – all courtesy of the magnificent Bakerella – and you’ll finally be able to throw away your copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
It’s through their eyes and their stomachs, my friends. Their eyes and their stomachs.
So, how about these adorable Coca-Cola Cupcakes?
My favorite part might be the multi-color shells you have to buy:
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Bakerella has tons of ideas and recipes, and some seriously phenomenal photography to go along with it. I especially love the shots that depict the initial steps of her baking process:
Okay… so I’m going to leave you with that for the time being, as I go bake something immediately, because I’ve just thoroughly enticed and tortured myself and unfortunately there’s no turning back… Talk soon!
All signs point to yes on this one, ladies and gents…
~ PLUS ~
It has been confirmed that Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher, 29, proposed to country music superstar Carrie Underwood, 26, this past Sunday, December 20th. She said yes! Love it. My fiancé and I have serious love for Carrie Underwood… different kinds of love, but love for her, all the same. She’s got quite a voice, and the face to go with it. I can’t blame him. ;)
Look at them. They’re kind of GORGEOUS together, no?
In her “Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not,” English nurse Florence Nightingale wrote that light – preferably sunlight – plays an essential role in the process of getting well. She also said that those of us who are ailing “should be able to see … sky and sunlight,” as she observed that most patients tended to lie with their faces turned towards the light, much in the way that “plants always make their way to the light.”
This is why doctors are always telling us to make sure we get enough Vitamin D. Among its many purported health benefits, it is understood that the Vitamin D our body produces when our skin is exposed even to just a little bit of sunshine can actually make us feel better emotionally. Which means it can literally and figurativelybrighten our day! That’s kind of awesome.
So, now that we know that sunlight is pretty important for our general well-being, it seems like it should be easy enough to get our hands on it – err, faces in it – right? Just step into the light for 10-15 minutes and ta-da, you’ve got yourself enough rays for the day (well, health-wise; certainly not fun-wise).
Unfortunately, while at work, many of us do not have the privilege of being seated near south-facing windows, and still others have the misfortune of being caged inside of too-high cubicle walls, seemingly fated never to experience the touch and feel of daylight between the hours of 9am to 6pm. (Which reminds me – when did the acceptable amount of hours in a typical work day go from 9 – 5 to 9 – 6? When and WHY did this change? Yes, I am asking you, The Man.)
Anyway… so what are we to do if we can’t spend some time outside, soaking up those warm winter rays?
Well, if you really don’t have any time at all to do it, then a) you’re being seriously overworked, and b) you might want to check with your doctor about alternative ways to get your daily dose – ’cause, for real, it’s important.
Beyond that, I’ve got some fashion advice: how about a fun, alternative way for you to get some light in your life? While it won’t result in the production of Vitamin D, it will give you a seriously useful boost of confidence that should last well beyond sunset. What is it? Well, unless you’re interested in waking up at dawn to catch a few minutes of sunbeam satisfaction before you head off to work, I suggest dawning some glam threads that’ll serve to brighten your mood… not to mention many of those around you! I love it when I see someone who has really put some effort into her look… especially if it’s on a day when I HAVEN’T! :)
So, what to wear? Today, I’ve gathered up a healthy mix of fun, shimmering, soft, chic and romantic looks for the flashion-obsessed bride! Any sparkle or glow in your get-up will do; from a dress with lots of glitz, to a clutch that catches some serious light, to earrings that illuminate your immediate surroundings. Whether you’re into a frock with some flash, or you prefer a soft, chic look that leaves the razzle-dazzle to a super accessory, it doesn’t matter… when you arrive at your bachelorette party in any one of these get-ups, you’ll look and feel hotter than each and every one of those girls on stage at your future hubby’s bach… I mean, any of those girls in their winter coats working the ski lifts at the lodge. Because that’s where men go for bachelor parties; they go to ski lodges, and then they turn in early. ;)
Don’t you wish you could wrap your gifts this perfectly? I do.
But, unless we’re sending our packages via email – aka not sending real gifts to people in real life, a serious holiday-fail – we’ll just have to settle for a little human error in our gift wrapping efforts. Fortunately, there are gift wrapping papers as fun and spirited as these bright beauties from Design Army, which make even the worst wrap-job totally forgivable. This bundle is called the “Do-Re-Mi” Wrapping Paper collection, and you can get it here.
12 Days of Xmas:
(You get two sheets of all four designs)
My favorites? The “12 Days of Xmas” is quite nice, and I really get a kick out of another design, called “To/From” Wrapping Paper, which saves you an obvious step in the gift-wrapping process:
Cute idea, no? If you think so, you might want to hurry up – you don’t have much time left!
Leslie’s Color Me Pretty posts on her blog, decor8, make me feel all warm and festive inside. Just look at the sweet, sweet goodness of these projects she created and photographed so brilliantly. Go Leslie, with your bad self! I love how you rock that hyper-creativity that so obviously flows through you in immeasurable quantities. Did you know that red, white and kraft paper brown are, as a matter of fact, my favorite holiday colors?
Leslie’s loveliness inspired me to gather up my favorite manifestations of that oh-so-special color triumvirate. My heart actually beats faster when I look at these other bits ‘n’ pieces of holiday inspiration. Totally serious. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Check this out on her blog, where you can purchase one that looks like this:
… though I’m sure she’d let you buy the former if you know George personally. In fact she’d probably give it to you for free, seeing as the potential for the gift you’d be giving her is that much greater.
I count her among my favorite stationers. She makes fabulously pretty paper, and inspires me just as much as this lovely lady. Her name is Lisa Hoffman, and she’s the creative force behind Ceci New York…
Lisa designed this luxurious wedding suite of lavender, deep purple and brilliant blue. Her paper perfection was the featured invitation suite for a soft, sweet, and absolutely darling wedding shoot arranged by one of my favorite sources of specialness, Style Me Pretty.
Ah. Be still my heart. You’ll have your day, sweet thing.
Adore these pieces. Found on a visit to simplesong. Made by French designer L’Atelier de madame M. Possibilities are endless, but I especially love the numbers for an escort card board, and the tags as labels for your favors.
Gala, of Gala Darling, has become one of those people I love without ever having met her. She did something quite simple, but still quite remarkable on December 15, and with it she touched so many hearts, including mine. What was it? A letter, written to herself. Stop doing the Hokey Pokey, because this is what it’s all about.
Here’s a snippet from her deeply touching and enormously inspiring prose:
“… My favourite thing about you is that you are living life YOUR way & doing the best you can. Your story is your own. You don’t allow other people to persuade you to give up your dreams. You have a shining vision for the future & you’re making little steps there every day. You don’t allow people who “don’t understand” to get you down, you just leave them behind in your glorious wake. You have faith that they’ll catch up when the time is right. It is so awesome & delicious.
I think that when you are doing important things, the universe will throw challenges at you to see how serious you are. If you give up, it obviously didn’t mean that much to you. The universe will give your dream to someone else. But you haven’t given up. You keep forging ahead. You are so lionhearted & full of love & hope… “
Be sure to read the rest of Gala’s letter; it’ll fill up your tank so you can keep on keepin’ on.
Just a glimpse of these vintage-inspired looks made me want to jump through my screen and try on all of them. The way I’d describe them is almost identical to the way Rodellee of Adore Vintage, which means a) I have a strong sisterly love for her, and b) I won’t attempt to do it better. So – she identifies the dreamy pieces, by designer Juliette Hogan, as “a mix of late 30s elegance and 70s bohemian, but with more subdued colors.” Couldn’t have said it better, myself.
The full print gown on the upper right is just sooo ideal for a vintage-inspired wedding. Wedding gown or bridesmaid gown, either way, someone must wear this magnificent flowing luxuriousness.
The timeless elegance of those looks would look so lovely with any mix of these items on what is shaping up to be your super-chic wedding day:
These gift ideas caught my eye so firmly, that I just had to share. Though I think my love for them is quite apparent, given the very crudely exacto’d page tears on the right side of each leaf. Somehow, I need to learn an effective way to manage my excitement when I’m tearing that excitement out of somewhere and scanning it into somewhere else that the world is going to see. Any suggestions on how to reconcile thrill and precision?
I will eagerly await your advice; in the meantime, delight in these very glam, very thoughtful gift ideas. Perfect for the holidays, a bridal shower, your office’s secret Santa (does capitalizing his name mean I still believe?)… really, any opportunity you may have to present someone with a little bit of superb style. Plus a little assistance for the man in your life…
By the way, I’m starting with my favorite item, the Banana Republic Viscose dress on the right – which, by the way, I CAN’T FIND ANYWHERE. Even right when this issue of InStyle Weddings hit newsstands! Anyone able to locate it? Such a dreamy frock… I want to be wearing it right now. And I want to be wearing it for my rehearsal dinner, too because it is SO RICHLY BEAUTIFUL.
Omigod. When I saw these little candy tins from The Inspired Bride I jumped a little in my seat. These are absolutely perfect; they’re the perfect color, the perfect size, the PERFECT design, and they’re well within my budget (free). Thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you!
4-ounce Food Safe Metal Tins (should be approximately 2.5″ in diameter like these from SKS Bottle) Our Tin Cover Label PDF (available here) Our Tin Base Wrap PDF (available here) Good Quality Printer Paper Double Stick Tape Scissors Rotary Trimmer and / or 2.25″ Circle Punch (optional) Assorted Candies of Your Choice