Thank You, Wedding Vendors

My daughter and son-in-law’s wedding was, obviously, as very DIY affair.  In the early days, we thought we were going to do it all.  As the planning process progressed we realized, for the sake of our sanity and relationships with each other, that we should consider hiring a few professionals.  Now that it’s all over, I don’t regret a single one of them.  So, as I frantically try to get ready to be a vendor myself at Siren Nation this weekend, it feels like a good time to give all of our wedding vendors the public and sincere Thank You they all deserve. I’ll start with the first person we hired, and the one you’ve already seen a bit here.  Heather Fitch from Heather Fitch Photography was calm, professional and gave us photos that were everything we hoped for.  She not only captured everything we expected to see, but the spunky, fun personalities that define these two.

Heather Fitch Photography on Crafty Staci

I’ve mentioned before that the groom has celiac disease.  Gluten-free isn’t a choice for him – it’s mandatory.  After we decided on a dessert buffet for the reception, we also chose to make sure that the groom (and the bride, since she gave up gluten for his sake) could eat anything that was served without worry.  That’s where the amazing Liberated Baking came in, providing treats that had me saying “Yes, I know it’s delicious and you can’t tell, but it really is gluten-free!” to guests all evening.

Liberated Baking Gluten Free Bride and Groom Cookies on Crafty Staci

Liberated Baking Gluten Free Lemon Bars on Crafty Staci

We thought it would be fun to have some popcorn on the buffet too, and so we ordered some from a local store called iCandy.  I think it was the best cheese corn I’ve ever had, and everyone we’ve talked to there has been so sweet.

iCandy Popcorn on Crafty Staci

It was very early on that Codi proclaimed there would be cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake.  I think it had something to do with Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Bella Cupcake.  The couple went in for a tasting and chose Raspberry Lemonade, Pumpkin Chai, Strawberry Shortcake and Salted Caramel.  How was anyone supposed to choose which of those to put on their plate?  To alleviate that issue, we went with mini-cupcakes so guests could sample more than one flavor.

Bella Cupcake Mini Gluten Free Cupcakes on Crafty Staci

Bella Cupcake also provided the adorable giant cupcake for the bride and groom to cut and share.

Bella Cupcake Giant Gluten Free Cutting Cupcake on Crafty Staci

When it came to the bridesmaids’ and flower girl’s dresses, Codi knew what she wanted.  And I knew I was capable of making them.  However, just because I could didn’t mean I should and I decided that was a project that could be better accomplished by someone else.  We went with BL Couture on Etsy.  I’ll admit, I tried to talk Codi out of putting just the maid of honor in yellow and everyone else in grey, but it really worked.  And the girls loved playing with all the different ways they could wear these.

BL Couture Convertible Wrap Dresses on Crafty Staci

BL Couture Wrap Dresses on Crafty Staci

Did you see all the amazing hair in that last photo?  Codi wanted all the girls in different braids, and our regular hairstylist, Wendy from the Orient Barbershop, totally delivered.  Not only did Wendy come to our house for the entire day and style all the girls hair, but she did their makeup as well.  Thankfully, I was included in that because otherwise I probably would have been a mess.  Wendy was a calming presence while everyone was getting ready and I don’t know what we would have done without her.

Wendy from The Orient Barbershop on Crafty Staci

Another Etsy store we shopped at was for Codi’s garters.  We talked about making them, but as we started looking around she spotted exactly what she wanted at BridalGoddess.  All we had to do was attach the firefighter charm Codi wanted and she was ready to go.  These were so pretty, and the quality was great.

Garter by BridalGoddess on Crafty Staci

One of the last things we held out on doing ourselves was the flowers.  The closer it got, the more terrified I became, which was a good sign I should give it up to a professional.  Fortunately, one of my closest friends has a sister who owns In the Garden, a floral shop in Redmond, Oregon.  Kellie agreed to do them for us, even though she is halfway across the state from us and it was pretty close to the event.  We emailed her photos of arrangements Codi liked, and when the flowers arrived we were all stunned.  They were amazing.

In the Garden Floral on Crafty Staci

We originally planned to set up a stereo with an iPod playing for the reception.  We didn’t think anyone would really dance anyway.  I am so glad we hired Dennis Marcellino to DJ instead.  He had almost everyone out of their seats and dancing – my husband I were a little shocked.  He was great at keeping everything running smoothly and made sure fun was had by all.  He even sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” since he was a member of the band the hit belonged to, The Tokens!  He also played the saxophone, which was a nice combination with the recorded music.

Dennis Marcellino had everyone dancing!

Last, but not least, is this lovely young woman – Savannah Gentry.  She is one of the bride and groom’s friends from high school.  Listened to her playing the songs they chose in my living room before the wedding brought me to tears.  She provided violin music while the guests were finding their seats and during the ceremony and every note was gorgeous.  Savannah is talented and beautiful, inside and out.

Savannah Gentry on the violin

In addition to all these amazing vendors who made it a day to remember, I’d also like express my gratitude to all of our friends and family who went the extra mile (or several) to make sure we could enjoy the day without having to worry about anything.  You all know who you are – THANK YOU!

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors

This week I'd like to show you something I did for myself for my daughter’s wedding that made my day much smoother.  It seems like a small thing, but trust me, it was important.

Do your bra straps slide off your shoulders?  It seems like no matter what style of bra I buy, this happens to me.  It drives me crazy.  Then I bought a dress with little loops to attach the strap to the inside and it changed my life.  When I chose my mother-of-the-bride dress and it didn’t come with those magic loops, I knew immediately that I needed to add them.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 1

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 1

All this requires is some skinny twill tape or ribbon, 1/4 – 1/2” wide, and two small snaps. 

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 2

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 2

Cut the twill tape to 3” long.  Fold one end over a couple of times and sew one side of the snap to it.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 3

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 3

Fold the other end under a couple of times and sew it to the inside of your garment with the snap side down.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 4

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 4

Sew the other side of the snap in the appropriate place on the garment so the snap sides will match.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 5

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 5

That’s really all there is to it.  Mine ended up in slightly different places on each side of my dress, but it doesn’t really matter as long as they can hook around the strap.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 6

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 6

With your garments on, slip the twill tape under the bra strap and snap in place.

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 8

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 8

These tiny loops kept everything in its place all day long.  I had enough to think about, so that was a HUGE help.  I kinda want to do this to all my clothes!

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 9

Inside Dress Bra Strap Anchors - Crafty Staci 9

Pillows A-La-Mode and my Going Away Dress

You know that feeling when you receive a package in the mail, but don’t know exactly what’s in it?  Not the is-that-ticking? kind, but the happy kind.  That happened to me last week.  The only thing I knew for sure is that it contained the remains of my going-away dress from my wedding 22 years ago. Going Away Dress 1991 - Crafty Staci

That’s the dress, with me in it, next to my handsome groom back in 1991.  It was a more casual version of my bridesmaids’ dresses, trimmed with the same lace that was on my wedding dress.  I loved it, but after the wedding was over, it went into a box under my bed, where it remained until last month.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci

Why was it coming back to me by mail in pieces?  Well, let me tell you about that.  Last month a favorite sewing blogger of mine, Katherine from Pillows A-La-Mode, was celebrating her second blog anniversary in the sweetest and most generous way possible.  She asked her readers to nominate other craft blogs they enjoy for her Good Neighbor Award.  After reading a list full of other blogs I follow and love, I was more than a little surprised to find my name at the bottom as the winner.  That alone would have been enough for me to float on for a very long time.  But there was also a prize.  The winner could send a formerly loved garment to Katherine and she would transform it into new things to admire and use.

I went through my closet several times.  I had plenty of things I was willing to give up, but none of them had much meaning to me.  I really wanted to choose something special.  Then it hit me.  That dress that was still under my bed would be perfect.  It’s not doing anything for me under there, but I still love it and being able to see even a part of it every day makes a lot more sense than continuing to store it.

You might think it was kind of brave to send this important dress off to someone else to cut up.  But I’ve seen Katherine’s work and wasn’t the least bit worried.  Whatever she did would be beautiful.

When Katherine let me know the box was on its way to me, I watched the mail like a hawk.  I did take a peek when she revealed what she had made on her blog, but that only made me more excited to receive it.  I was out running errands when it arrived, so my daughter took a photo with her phone and texted it to me.  I’ll admit, I might have stepped up the pace after that.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 3

Even the way it was all laid out in the box was pretty.  Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was that pillow, but I made myself carefully remove each item before stopping to admire it all.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 4

So many amazing things – where to start?  I think it has to be the pillow.  She kept the bodice of my dress intact, complete with the zipper on the back, then embroidered my logo on the front.  Love, love, love.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 5

She used a piece of the skirt to make this adorable apron.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 6

My daughter loves this, so I might have to hide it so it doesn’t “accidentally” get packed up with her stuff.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 7

I bought a pair of Betsy Johnson sky-high red pumps with a bow on the back last year.  This clutch will go perfectly with them.  Even better is the fact that she kept the original shape of the sleeve from the dress.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 8

I have some bare wall space in my craft room, and this frame and wreath have already found perfect places where I can look at them every day.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 9

As if that wasn’t enough, because I mentioned how much I like red, Katherine included a red jewel magnet, a button with elastic that will be perfect for my long ponytail, a red notebook, some adorable measuring tape ribbon and a package of red rick rack from back when you could still buy it for 75 cents.

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 10

I’d like to send out one last, huge THANK YOU to Katherine at Pillows A-La-Mode and whoever nominated me for this amazing adventure.  I’m so thrilled to be able to enjoy my red dress every day.  Without this, it would still be sitting in that box.  Isn’t this so much better?

Going Away Dress - Crafty Staci 11

Friday Favorites–Dresses and Skirts

We’ve finally had a couple of really nice days around here.  We made it all the way to 70 degrees!  I painted my toenails and dug a pair of sandals out of the back of my closet.  Two days later I was stuffing them back in and slipping into my wool socks again, but it was nice while it lasted.  That little bit of sunshine, combined with my daughter’s senior prom coming up soon, has me in the mood for dresses and skirts.

I’m fascinated by the idea of these Infinity Dresses, like this one from Sew Like My Mom

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…and this one from Rostitchery.  I’m just afraid I’d end up somewhere lost in a knot.

Instructables user nataliehua made an entire Ruffled On-Shoulder Dress from one extra-large t-shirt.  It’s a teeny dress, but impressive.

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I don’t own one, but these yoga skirts like this one from Sew, Mama, Sew look very comfy.

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The sash on this Simple A-Line Skirt from The Mother Huddle is removable, but it’s so cute, why would you want to?

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I love the color of this Sweet August Dress from Kojo Designs.  So summery.

Sweet August

My favorite things about this Taking Notes Skirt from Sewing in No-Man’s Land are that extra-wide waistband and wide tie.  And the bright yellow.  And the dots.

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I like the extra details on this Flowered Wrap Skirt from Creative Kismet, like the curved corner and the lining that would show if it flipped a little.

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All the ruffles on this Ruffle Equation Skirt from iCandy Handmade are adorable, but I’m trying to figure out how I would get those boots to go with it.

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I’m not sure I’m brave enough for this Party Dress from DIY Style, but it just wouldn’t be as fun any other way.

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I can’t even tell you how much I love this Vintage Inspired Summer Dress from Etsy seller Darmiani Fashions.  This, with a pair of red heels, would make me blissfully happy.

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In fact, let’s just go all the way with this.  These.

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Here’s hoping you’ve got dress and skirt weather where you are!

Friday Favorites–Weddings

Next Wednesday, June 29th, my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary.  It’s been 20 great years, but it feels like it was only yesterday that we were two kids, heading off to start our life together.  Now we HAVE two kids and a lot of road behind us.  There was really no choice in my favorites this week.  It had to be weddings.

We were married back in the days of the white guest book and feather pen.  I’m kinda glad to see we’ve moved on.  This Birthday Calendar Guestbook from The Bright Life is pure genius.

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Wedding or not, this Tree Pedestal Cake Stand from OnceWed is beautiful.

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This Embroidered Love Pillow from Growing Home would be a fun bridal shower activity and a lovely gift for the bride.

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It might be worth it to have this many bridesmaids just to make this rainbow.  And all the flowers match!  From The Knotty Bride.

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Coffee Bean Favor Bags from Intimate Weddings.  How do I get invited?

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For some reason, I just love the idea of these Mini Pinata Favors from Ruffled

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I don’t remember ever seeing Save the Date cards before I got married.  If I were going to have some though, I’d want them to be just like these from Weddingbee.

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There’s just something elegant about a black and white wedding cake.  Add some red, like this one shown on Project Wedding, and I might swoon a little. 

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I’ve noticed a trend toward smaller veils lately.  This Mini Veil from Emmaline Bride is just right.

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I love flowers, and especially wedding flowers, but whoever came up with bridesmaids carrying clutches instead was brilliant.  Etsy seller jennalou06 offers a Design Your Own option.

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March Inspiration

If it’s possible to have a calmer time of the year with teenagers in the house, ours is usually around March.  The holidays are behind us, track season is just beginning and the weather is so iffy we don’t make a lot of other outdoor plans.  I usually get quite a bit done in March.  I thought I’d share of few of the things I’m drawing inspiration from right now.

I would love for this to be a better picture, but it’s a photo of a photo from Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine.  According to the magazine, you can find this dress at Target, but I haven’t had any luck, in the store or online.  My daughter and I both love it, so we will probably try something inspired by it.

Inspiration 1

I don’t know when I will stop being fascinated with rainbows.  I hope it never happens.  This one appeared behind my house a day or two ago.

Inspiration 2

I love Fiesta dishes.  I started buying them a few years ago and this cupboard is just one place I keep them.  My daughter likes doing the dishes (I know, right?) and can’t stand it unless the dishes are in color order.  That, and they just make any food look better.

Inspiration 3

It’s time for me to make the girl a new quilt to match her room (and probably so she can take it away with her to college in another year and a half.  Sniff.)  These are a few of the potential candidates to be included.

Inspiration 4

Last, but not least, I love seeing brand-new flowers popping up around the house.  These poor things were covered in snow last week.

Inspiration 5

Inspiration 6

Inspiration 7

What are you inspired by right now?

Maxi Dress

My daughter did that thing to me that kids have been doing to their parents since the invention of school.  She is doing a "decade project" in one of her classes and her particular group has the 1970's.  She wanted a maxi dress to wear for their presentation, since they were popular then and are again now.  "Great," I said, "I'll make you one.  When do you need it?"  She replied with a date about two weeks away.  I went to the fabric store, found an appropriate pattern and knit on sale so I ended up with everything I needed with plenty of time to go.  The very next day she comes to me and says "Oh, yeah Mom...I need that dress by Monday."  That was Friday.  Last Friday.  Kids. Honestly, I could have gone to Old Navy and bought her one without spending much more than I did on the pattern and fabric.  But I swore off sewing with knit years ago, and I felt like it was time to give it another try.  I don't remember what happened that traumatized me so much, but it must have been pretty bad.  I also proclaim I'm never going to sew clothing again about once a year when something doesn't fit once I've slaved over it, and it's been a while since that happened last.

We used Simplicity 2405, because she wanted a long knit dress with a halter-style top.  It also has pockets, which was a bonus for her.  I don't know what it is with my family and pockets.

I won't tell you the knit was a piece of cake.  With that long of a dress, it was a little like trying to sew sand sometimes, but it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated.  While I normally avoid pins whenever possible, I used LOTS of them on this dress.  I also avoided any of my machines fancy knit stitches, opting instead for a narrow zigzag.  I only had to pull out a couple of seams, and that was just because I (again) failed to completely read the instructions before barreling forward.

This pattern is part of Simplicity's "It's So Easy" line, but I would characterize it as closer to intermediate in difficulty.

The most traumatic moment for me was when I had finished the bodice.  I flipped it over and there was fabric, wrong side staring back at me.  I thought I had sewn the back on inside out, and I was several steps away from that point.  I would have to practically take the whole thing apart to fix it.  Luckily, I decided to step out of the room and take a breath first.  That's when I realized I just needed to turn the whole thing right side out.  Seriously.

I'm thrilled about this though - it fits her perfectly.  According to her measurements, the pattern recommended a size 14.  She wears a 6 to 8 in pre-made clothes, so I decided to just go with a 10 and  cross my fingers.  That's one of the reasons I'm afraid to sew clothes.  This one, though, was a success.

So, my happy daughter went to school this morning...in jeans and a t-shirt.  What-the-what? 

"I might need it tomorrow.  Thanks, Mom."