Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: My Grandmother's Dress

My Grandma Barb is on the right. My Grandpa is on the right and her sister, Alice, is on the left. 

When we were cleaning out my grandmother's house a few years back, we came across her wedding dress. In a plastic shopping bag. In the bottom of her linen closet. I imagine in 1947, most women didn't pay to preserve their wedding dresses. In my grandmother's case her sister made her dress (by hand, then made herself a matching one) and probably didn't see the need.

Fast forward 67 years when my Mom brings the dress to me the weekend we go shopping for my own wedding dress. Obligatory photo in Grandma's wedding dress:

It actually fit! And the peplum style is totally in right now. But with the yellowing, stains, rips and button-up turtleneck look, it just wasn't the dress for me. I knew I wanted to make use of it either in my bouquet or some special piece in the wedding. I found this arrangement and it served as my inspiration for the project.

I researched the best way to clean yellowed silk, turns out Woolite was the best option. I took a deep breath and cut the dress into several different sections. I soaked each piece for 10-15 minutes, then hand-washed them and hung (throughout) the house to dry.

I didn't realize just how much material was actually used in the dress, so this process took days! I tried different flower techniques, new shapes of petals, tried incorporating my Mom's lace from her veil, but Martha and a little tweaking to my own styles won in the end. Once I got into the groove, the flowers came along quickly. I found the pine cone and Dusty Miller sprigs at Michael's and decided two use just two colors from my wedding bouquet as a pop of color. The last issue I had to deal with was the vase. We decided these flowers would be with the remembrance candles the mothers light at the beginning of the ceremony, so it had to be bigger in size and quite a statement. Three weeks before we wedding, we were visiting friends in Charlotte and I was told to check out Old Time Pottery. Thank goodness I did, because I found this stunning Mercury glass jug for only $20!

It was hard to imagine our wedding day without my Grandmother there. We shared so many wonderful memories together, and she would have loved every second of the day. With this arrangement, I felt like she was a part of the entire evening. Not to mention, I think she would have been impressed that I took her trashed heirloom and made into something we can cherish forever.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: The Bachelorette Party

There's no doubt about it, I have the absolute best friends a girl could ask for. These girls, located across the country, and around the world, managed to plan the most perfect party that was fit just for me. We decided the party had to be the Saturday before the wedding (which fell on a Wednesday). I gave the girls a guest list, a list of my favorite food choices in Norfolk, and requests of possibly Granby Theater, Bugatti's, and black, white and gold.

Fast forward through many secret video conference calls, mysterious 'party planning committee' email chains, many "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this" conversation starts, several "what do you really want" questions and general excitement to the ultimate Bride Rite of Passage, December 27th finally arrived.

I was sent to my Mom and Stepdad's hotel room while the girls prepped our house for party central. When I returned, gold balloons filled the rooms, white flowers adorned all the surfaces, handmade black, gold and white banners adorned the walls, it was beautiful! They ordered mini biscuit sandwiches, lemon bars, potato salad and cole slaw from my Norfolk favorite, Handsome Biscuit! Along with Sue-made people chow and chex-mix, cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus and snacks, the spread of food was phenomenal.

Once the wine got flowing we played a drinking game consisting of questions Mike had previously answered about me. Some interesting tidbits about me and Mike were revealed, as was a new term for his least favorite pair of my shoes (i.e. shooties). It was absolutely sweet, totally embarrassing and just splendid. All the girls were asked to write a note or piece of advice to me, were photographed by my sister's Polaroid camera and then combined to make a wonderful scrapbook of the night.

Around 10 p.m., we made our way to Granby Theater for an awesome VIP Party Box...complete with Justin Timberlake! And by Justin Timberlake, I mean a life-size cutout of the [second] man of my dreams! He was waiting for me at the entrance of our VIP box, along with a bottle of champagne, snacks and a endless attention from EVERYONE in the club.

The rest of the evening contained the normal bachelorette debauchery one would expect, and will be left to your imagination. So many memorable and un-rememorable moments of the evening though (seriously, Emily, what happened to that necklace?!)! We finished the weekend out by taking my mom to her first Drag Yourself to Brunch show. I'm pretty sure she was loving every second of it, as the rest of us were trying the 'hair of the dog' method to soothe our bodies from the previous nights' festivities. I was left feeling incredibly enchanted to have such incredible girls in my life to spend a great celebration weekend with. I haven't had all my friends together like that in many, many years and know it will be many, many more before I get to enjoy them all together again.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Textures 8/31

7/31: A little Almond Champagne on this beautiful Sunday

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Textures 7/31

7/31: Hummingbird Macarons, my new favorite dessert

Friday, March 6, 2015

Textures 6/31

6/31: Homemade Taco Seasoning, recipe here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Textures 4/31

4/31: The Perch Shop Nautical Rope Balls at West Elm in Virginia Beach

Wedding Wednesdays: The Ring

I guess I never fully explained the story of my stunning engagement ring. My Godfather, Uncle Carl (who was actually my Mom's uncle), was one of my most favorite people in the world. He was married to my grandmother's sister, and even after Aunt Alice's sudden death - and him remarrying - he still remained a big part of the family. Uncle Carl was almost 60 when I was born, but I still had so many connections with him. He was a typesetter for the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper for years. He would share stories of the newspaper industry, the deadlines, the changes in machinery, I found it all so interesting (maybe that's where my love of newspapers started?). I would write to him through high school and college and send newspaper articles I had written or photos I had published. He'd always write back with an enchanting story and how proud he was of me.

After he passed away in 2011, my Mom gave me a fancy black box, in it, a necklace. It was a gold choker with 9 graduated brilliant cut diamonds. My Uncle Carl had bought it for Alice and later had given it to my Mom, who wore it on her wedding day. My Mom recognized that I wasn't much of a gold (or a choker) kind-of-girl, and that the clasp was a little iffy, so wearing it in general could be a little dicey. She said that maybe one day I could use it as a ring, or trade it in for something I would actually wear. We kept it in her jewelry box for a year or so, then I approached Mike.

"I'm going to give you this and I'm not going to ask about it, or look for it, or say anything else...but if you ever wanted to use this as an engagement ring, you can." That's what I told Mike in late 2012 and didn't see the necklace again until March 2014, as an engagement ring.

photos by DCPG photography + design

Mike worked with the jeweler at Either Ore in Strawbridge who created a couple different custom designs. Since the diamonds were all different shapes (the one in the necklace center was the biggest, and they all decreased in size from there), it certainly wasn't an easy task. The diamond cluster came out just brilliant. After six years of dating, when Mike took the ring out of his pocket as he was proposing, all I could think was, "Oh my goodness, did he really do it?! Is this really it?" - concerning the ring, and not the actual proposal, haha. Of course I immediately snapped out of it and listened to all his sweet words, then the cheers of all the tourists who had gathered around our picnic on Colonial Williamsburg's grounds. It was certainly a perfect day, and the most perfect way to hold dear of piece of someone so very special to me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Textures 3/31

3/31: the guest room night stand

Monday, March 2, 2015

Side B 2/31

2/31: the wedding gift that keeps on giving.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Balloon Bliss 1/31

For the month of March I'm going to challenge myself to a photo a day. Not sure what will come of this, but I need a little daily creative task and this will be it. Today's is a sneak peak from my nephew's Smash the Cake session. Sorry, the actual cake photos will have to wait.