Friday, November 25, 2011

no, christmas tree!

I have a feeling we will be spending the next several weeks trying to keep James from tearing down our Christmas tree.  It's hard to keep myself away from shiny, sparkly, objects so I can imagine how appealing they would be to a 13 month old.

I convinced Joe that it was OK to put our tree up despite it still being November. James tried his best to get in on the action but was most helpful watching from a generous viewing distance.

Because I'm cheap and always seem to have an idea of something that doesn't actually exist in any stores east of the Mississippi, I decided to make my own tree skirt.  It cost me less than $5 for some burlap and linen-ish fabric.
I used the leftover fabric to make a few ornaments...

I bought "family stockings" last year but because we were living in the condo, we didn't really have a place to hang them.  They've been up for less than 3 hours and Joe has already complained that his doesn't have any gifts in it - but I also don't see him rushing out to fill ours with goodies either.  I'm still not sure how I feel about the mantle so it will probably change several times over the next month but, for now...

Guarding the tree from little, curious hands will be enough of a challenge so I don't think we'll do too many other decorations inside the house.  We (*ahem* Joe) plan on taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and hang some lights outside tomorrow.  Our house is set back and barely visible from the street but I'll still appreciate pulling into the driveway and getting that warm feeling that Christmas lights seem to bring - hopefully Joe will be equally as appreciative of $5 hand-made gifts this year.
'Tis the season!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

something new...

As mentioned in my last post, I took a pair of scissors to my Mum's "going away dress" that she wore after her wedding in 1969.  Because I wanted a piece of my parents' history to be a part of my wedding, I chose to repurpose pieces of that dress into a headband as well as a "bouquet" for myself.

Both were easy peasy to make - the hardest part was making that first cut into such an old, beautiful dress.

First, the headband.  I just used a basic black headband that I already owned, a piece of the silver trim from the jacket, and a $5 flower clip.

Since the silver beaded strip from the jacket had a silk lining, I decided to cut a small slit in one end to slip the headband through - as opposed to affixing the strip on top of the headband...

There were a few spots where the lining was frayed but I later cleaned that up and used a few dabs of hot glue to keep everything firmly in place.  Because the flower had an alligator clip, I just attached that onto the headband once I had it in my hair - that way it actually held some of my hair in place as well.

I think my Mum was disappointed that I wouldn't let her order me flowers to carry into our informal ceremony.  Not only are flowers expensive, I haven't found any whose smell doesn't remind me of a funeral home.  So, because I would probably just fiddle with my hair or bite my nails, I needed something to occupy my hands and take the place of a flower bouquet.  The historic home/garden where we had our ceremony did not allow open flame so candles were out of the question.  Anything else that I  thought of was too quirky until I decided to use some more of my Mum's going-away-dress.

I was playing with James while I made my "bouquet" so I didn't get a chance to take pics of the first part.  I had a styrofoam ball from Michaels and secured another piece of the silver beaded fabric around the ball, leaving a long piece dangling as a handle.
I cut the ivory dress fabric into squares.  I didn't measure anything but they were roughly 4"x4".  I folded each square into a triangle and then folded the other two corners down so all corners were together and I had myself a little poof!
I just used straight pins and attached to the styrofoam ball...
As you can see, the edges of this fabric are a bit frayed.  Most of that was hidden once the entire ball was filled with "poofs" and then I just trimmed any visible stragglers.  There were also a few spots, mostly around the beading, where the pins didn't want to stay put so I just used a few dabs of hot glue.  Also, one side of the fabric had more of a matte look while the other side has some shine to it.  I alternated the way I folded each square so that my final bouquet had some variation.  Voila!

(For those budget-conscious folks like myself, my wedding headband and bouquet cost me less than $6.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

something old.

I was never the type to dream about a fairytale wedding with guests throwing rice as we left a church, a reception hall donned with flower arrangements, stuffing pieces of a multi-tiered cake into my groom's face, or embarassingly having a piece of lingerie pulled from under my dress and thrown into a sea of single relatives.  I have always been the type to want to be married - to find a man that I could spend a lifetime creating memories with.  To me, a wedding is a formality that can be celebrated but it's the life after the wedding that should consume all of one's heart and energy.

My parents were married on May 17, 1969.  At the end of the reception, as tradition dictated, my Mum switched out of her wedding gown and into her "going away" outfit.  It was an ivory shift dress paired with a matching ivory jacket with silver details around the neckline and side darts.  (Excuse the lighting and wrinkles...)

This going away outfit was what my Mum wore when she officially began her "life after the wedding".  It was what she had on when she started a new life - a life as my Dad's wife.  My parents have been creating memories together for the past 42 years, 5 months, and 28 days.  They've shared countless plane rides, boat rides, car rides, and mai tais. They've raised four unique and confident children.  They've been there for each other through the happiest of times and have turned sad times into happy ones.  They've conquered heart surgeries and cancer together.  They have had patience with each other and my Dad still answers "but of course, Jo!" with a smile whenever my mom asks him to do the most ridiculous household chore.

I have never wanted a wedding like my parents had.  I have always wanted a marriage like my parents have.  Joe and I were married this past Saturday in an informal ceremony and later celebrated in the best way we know how - stuffing ourselves with Mexican food and having many celebratory drinks with our families.  Despite our non-traditional day, I wanted to have a token of my parent's marriage with me so what would better fit that bill than a piece of the dress that began my Mum's married life.  After much insistance from her, I reluctantly took a pair of scissors to the dress that had been stored in her hope chest for the past 15,521 days and carried pieces of my parents' beginning with me on my own wedding day...