Friday, December 4, 2009

Hitting The Wall

Well it's official-I'm on wedding pr0n overload and the only cure is to STAY AWAY!  So I'll be taking a break for awhile to regroup and finish up all of my diy projects, which I will of course post tutorials of here for all the internet minions to read.  I guess there's only so much pretty I can ingest before I puke it back up-and it's never as pretty coming up as it was going down...

Gross.  The next few weeks will be spent helping my maid of honor plan and execute her enormous 100 person baby shower 1 week before Christmas.  Crazy girl. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

More Dress Love

After purchasing a mermaid underskirt (which I'm still not sure about) I had my sister come over so I could finally try on the dress with it, and 1 completed sleeve.  It's a little poofier but not much, it's literally the least toule-y skirt I could find.  It is unfortunately also very very tight, and causes my dress to ripple around my belly area.  Feel free to dissect the picture as I begin my crash diet of celery and carrot sticks. 

After trying on every single pair of high heels in my closet I've discovered that to keep this dress un-altered I'll need a 4" platform heel.  Jolly good.

DIY-Table Number Holders

Whew, 2 Thanksgivings is not good for the ol' booty.  Or the waistline, as you will see in the following post.  Last week I got started on my table number holders.  Since I am not having floral centerpieces I'm really free to play with different textures and colors.  Anything that goes with my plum table runners is fair game.  At first I was all about small footed brass urns or cups, I just love that color.  Unfortunately they are hard to find in the size I need. 
After seeing a few wedding websites with vintage tea tins on the tables I was smitten, and after a few trips to my local Salvation Army store, I was stocked with some cuties. 

Instead of stressing over having everything identical for each table, I'm relishing the diversity.  I'm also taking the advice of another crafty bride and using cool items I have around my home, such as the pretty Chinese porceline tea cups filled with dried lavender. 

I have a set of 2 of those, plus another dried lavender arrangement in a footed antique creamer. 
The cute table number cards have been featured on here before, they are from the fabulous Etsy seller Paper Eclectiques and were a great deal at $8.20 shipped for 8 cards.  I'll use florist card picks to secure the number cards in the floral foam I've squished into each tin.  The tea tins will sport some nice spanish moss to cover the foam and card pick.

What do you think?  Successful DIY?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DIY-Catering, Insanity, Loooong Read...

Now that all the craftiness and decorations are sort of under control, or at least started, I can move on to the minor detail of catering for my own wedding. A lot of people tried to discourage me from doing this, and that’s fine-they can be negative I’ll be over here staying positive. Let me say for the record that I have NO IDEA WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT here, all I know is what is working for me. Hopefully my way produces good results, if they don’t I’ll be the first to tell you to hire a damn caterer.

First step for this process is lists, lots of lists. I’ve got myself a food list for each dish, plus a supplies list. There is also a list for drinks and drink supplies. Out of financial necessity we have scrapped the idea of using all disposable dinnerware, and will instead use the nice white dishes the B&B supplies.

The Classic-ware I was planning to buy is pretty damn expensive for something you throw out. $80 for 125 dinner plates. That is no joke in the budget, and cutting out the super high quality stuff has given us over $150 back to spend on more important things like booze.

The menu reads thusly:
Fruit & Cheese trays
Cracker and spread trays
Braised Short Ribs in Red Wine Sauce
Garlic Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce
Tossed Salad with various dressings
Local bread/rolls

My maid of honor suggested that we make the appetizer trays ourselves because they really mark that crap up at the store. I was convinced this would be too much day-before work until my successful recipe test last weekend.

I tested my rib recipe for the second time last weekend with a MUCH better wine. The first trial tasted like good beef in crap sauce, the cheap burgundy wine was overpowering and just plain bad. That wine had a date with the drain later that evening. This time I tried a nice Argentinean malbec, changed the ratio to more stock and less wine, and was very pleased. This was just delicious, rich and beefy sauce with a subtle wine taste. Awesome.

Great, but do I want to slow cook 50 lbs of ribs the day before the wedding? Even with 10 helpers and 2 kitchens the answer is ‘hell no.’ Enter: the freezer. After this most successful batch, I pulled 2 ribs aside, put them in a tall, narrow container, covered with the braising liquid, and froze for 1 week. The following Sunday we defrosted and heated the ribs in a pot on the stove. Reduced the sauce a bit while warming up the meat didn’t hurt things. They were delicious again. I honestly can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen. If we had them side by side maybe I could think of something, but they were great, so the freezer wins. We will make 50 lbs of ribs with less helpers, and 1 kitchen the weekend before, and freeze. The stuffed shells are perfect out of the freezer as well, so those will be made ahead also. Potatoes are still up for discussion.

So that will free up the day before-my sister will make our wonderful tiramisu cake, and me and the maid of honor will make fruit trays. Yay!

The braised ribs are fantastic because they offer the luxury associated with beef for a chicken price. I can get those puppies fresh from a local farm for $2.60/lb. Since they are braised they hold up extraordinarily well in warming dishes, the longer they simmer the better they get.

Recipe testing is an absolute must. Make that stuff 10 times if you have to, until there are no surprises and you have exact quantities of ingredients. Also choose recipes that hold up well over time, especially if you are doing the buffet route, as I am.

Any other crazy girl out there catering her own wedding?  Did people give you the "your're crazy" look?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Meet The Vendors - Photographer

FH does not like getting his picture taken, I mean really doesn't.  I've never met anyone who will go to such lengths to avoid a photo.  It's unfortunate, because then he has to get a picture taken he let's the camara know how he feels about it.  So when we first met with our photographer we let him know all about our mutual camara shyness.  I am the type that will let the picture be taken, but make some stupid face to hide (in my mind) my crooked smile. 

I got it into my head that I would do a 40's look for our engagement pictures.  Can't give a reason why, I just think it looks great and the makeup would photograph well.  Couldn't persuade FH to do the same, but then if I did it just wouldn't be us.  All pictures below were captured by Chris Hayes Photography on a beautiful windy day in downtown Harrisburg.

So now meet Chris Hayes, Philadelphia photographer from Australia who managed to capture a hint of smile out of frowny-face FH...

In a the beautiful Civic Club of Harrisburg.

Inside the incredible Capital building rotunda.  There was a wedding taking place 3 floors down!

We went all over the Capital building, finding little treasures like this gorgeous brass elevator.

Love the color in this shot.  Are you digging the 40's look I'm trying for?

Lookin sexy!

Riverfront park in Harrisburg.

Not sure why but this is my favorite shot of the day, I love how we look and the gorgeous weathered copper roof in the background.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DIY-Table Runners

Whew! After a crazy week, diy weekend, and almost through another crazy ass week I’m beat! No more ranting about feminism for now, I promise. Besides I’ve put together an awesome tutorial for diy no-sew table runners (or table squares) that don’t suck!

Ok, start by finding some sweet, sweet drapey, gorgeously plum fabric...or whatever you are using.  Then calculate how much fabric you will need for your runners, don’t forget to include 1 inch per side for seams and about 10% extra if you’re like me and have crappy scissor skills. This method will only work for non-transparent, iron-able fabric. Also pick up some stitch-witchery, and fabric pins-available in craft stores, walmart, etc…

Lay out your pretty fabric flat on a big table or floor, and measure for each runner including however much you want for your seams. Seam width will depend on the width of your stitch-witch, I got 5/8 inch so my seams were 1 inch to be safe. Mark your cut lines with pins or tailor chalk and start cutting.

Working on an ironing board or large surface that can be ironed on, measure, fold and pin your seams, don’t forget to do this on the underside of the fabric! I did this by measuring in 1 full inch evenly on one side, then folding over the other side and laying a ruler down across so I could measure the actual runner width to keep it consistant.  Once I folded enough to get the runner width, I would pin, regardless if it was an inch or not, as long as it could hold the witch. 

After all your seams are pinned up iron over the edges (the plastic pin heads will not melt) to create a nice crisp edge. Take your pins out, you will now have nice 1 inch wide flaps all around your runner.

Cut pieces of the stitch-witch and tuck into your flaps.

Get a big piece of fabric (I used a pillowcase out of necessity), dampen it, and lay it over your target area of seam. Turn your iron on high, no steam and iron the damp fabric. This was the direction my stitch-witch gave me, not sure if they are all alike, read your package.

After ironing let the fabric cool for a second and then lightly tug at the finished seams, if any area pulls open, exposing non-melted witch, repeat the process until all seams are secure.

For the record I do not sew other than the occasional button replacement, so if I used any terminology that didn’t make sense, sorry.  These take me 1 hour each minimum, between measuring everything 3 times and re-ironing any non-melted witch.  To me they are worth it, I paid about $13 for my supplies, and I'm getting 8 13x72" runners that are exactly what I want.  Hopefully this helps you tackle homemade table runners that aren’t the tacky, shiny, rumpled, overpriced crap we are all so used to.

Table Runner Cost Breakdown:

Fabric: $10
Stitch Witch: $1.5
Pins: $1.5
Hours of my time:  incalculable

Total per runner: $1.625

Friday, November 13, 2009

Girls are Stupid...

Warning:  major Rant ahead.

I just read an unfortunate blog post over at Weddingbee that totally reinforces my idea that either I am a total freak of nature, or everyone else sucks and I’m doomed to feel emotionally isolated from my peers for the rest of my life.  That post is not an isolated incident.  My mom and I have had a lot of rough patches in our relationship, but I really have to thank her for raising me to have intelligence, and a spine.

So many of my girlfriends are in bad relationships with a$%holes. These are pretty level-headed girls in all other facets of their lives other than men. What is it about dudes that makes seemingly reasonable women say, think, and do the dumbest sh@t? It’s like when a guy walks into a girl’s life she changes into this ugly, simpering thing that puts herself aside for this ‘prize’. Why do women let their own morals and beliefs be trumped by the whims of her current prospect? Why do they waver, cower, silence themselves in front of their men in order to please either him or society in general?

I hear a lot of chicks talk it up like they are all about equal opportunity and feminism and all that jazz, but they don’t actually DO anything except b#tch about the state of things. So when I read the above mentioned post I got pretty pissed about what women-in-general think is acceptable and beneficial behavior for our sex, and what is acceptable from the opposite sex when it comes to marriage proposals. It IS, apparently, acceptable to discuss proposing to your boyfriend with him, only to have him shut you down and warn you that you had better not do that, since it’s ‘his job’. It IS apparently acceptable for your man to criticize one of your female friends for proposing to her boyfriend. It IS apparently acceptable for a woman to put her life on hold while her man ‘figures things out’ in regards to their relationship and eventually proposes to her when he’s decided she’s the best he can get. In fact, “not taking that away from him” is often bragged about amongst these women, worn like some sick badge of honor.

Wtf ladies? It is 2009 right…hold on let me check my calendar, yes indeed it is. Why, in the midst of all the ground we have taken in becoming viewed as equals do we continue to let historical societal norms dictate such a huge part of our lives? Why would you stay with a man that views marriage as something he alone has the right to request, and who would retaliate to your initiative in anger or scorn? Why would you risk so much, put so much on the line just to “wait” for him. Ah yes, “waiting,” enough of a phenomenon to warrant it’s own special board section on Weddingbee.  These aren't stay-at-home moms I'm talking about here, most of the women on these boards are highly educated, med students, lawyers, businesswomen, which makes the whole thing even more baffling to me.  Between my friends and these chicks I’m just at a loss for words. Almost.

Am I wrong? Are there truly strong independent chicks out there with goals and dreams they refuse to give up? Am I hanging around wedding blogs too much? Perhaps they harbor an inordinate amount of the dismal creatures I am complaining about?

My own sex frustrates me to the point of desertion. Can I denounce my sex without becoming a dude?? There is just nothing that I seem to have in common with these walking doormats, these faux “independent” women. After all of this debating within my head about what is right/wrong, normal/abnormal I can only come to one conclusion…

There are two types of women in this world: women with the chutzpah to ask for what they want, and those who let the decisions be made for them. The End.