Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thrifty me!

I spent a little time in Richmond last week and I found my way to Diversity Thrift, a huge store in an area of town full of warehouses.  I was looking for an old table for a specific purpose (to be revealed in the future).  It had to be old, but not a precious antique.  I wanted to paint it, but would be happy to find something that was a little banged up.  

After visiting quite a few antique and thrift shops, I finally found this little vanity perched on top of a desk in the very back of Diversity Thrift.  I liked the shape and the fact that it was sturdy.  I couldn't figure out what the arms on the table were, though.  Anyone know what those are for?

I figured I could remove the arms pretty easily.  The price was perfect...$35.

It even came with a glass top, though I might not use it in the end...

I like the rustic top a little bit better than the top with the glass on top.  

I visited seven different thrift stores in Richmond on the quest for this table.  I never seem to have much luck at thrift stores.  Erin at Richmond Thrifter makes finding treasure at these shops look easy!

Are you a thrifter?  Do you have luck routinely or do you only score great items once in a while?
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Me vs. permanant marker

I normally don't care about the permanent marker line that the J. Crew factory in Lynchburg puts over labels at their special sales, but when I got these shoes from their bridal sale in Richmond a few months ago, I was a little sad that they were marked.  After all, I'm a big fan of wedding shoe photographs and want my shoes to be perfect.

I decided to see if I could lighten the marks or remove them completely.   My first thought was to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on them.  That thing works wonders.  A quick scrub definitely lightened to permanent ink, but it seemed to leave a little discoloration on one of the shoes.  I didn't want to do more damage, so I took to the web to see what other tactics could be used to get rid of the marks.

Quite a few websites recommended blotting the marks with rubbing alcohol and hairspray.  I don't keep rubbing alcohol in the house (I don't even know what to use it for) and I don't use hairspray.  However, after rummaging around in my bathroom closet, I found a bottle of Suave hairspray.  I imagine that the one time I used to the stuff, I grabbed whatever was cheapest at the store.  Looking at the label, I found that the first ingredient in hairspray is alcohol, so I decided it would suffice.

The hairspray worked pretty well!  I don't know why, but the marks were fading.

I feared that the hairspray was affecting the gold lining of the shoes, so I looked though my toiletries for something that had alcohol in it, but not as much as the hairspray.  My hope was that it would be less harsh.  I found a bottle of Tend Skin.  The ingredient list started with water and was followed by alcohol, so I gave that a try...

I started alternating between the two and managed to fade the marks quite a bit.  Per the sites I found, had I tried this when I first bought the shoes, I might have had more success. 

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

PSA for Etsy lovers: Check out Heartsy

I love Etsy.  I always find myself getting lost in the site because I feel the need to research every option for something before I make a purchase.  I always think I'm missing someone with a better deal or a more meticulously made product.  When I first heard about Heartsy, which is sort of like a Groupon site for Etsy, I had my doubts.  However, I've found that they do a nice job of curating Etsy sellers and I like what I find through them.

I ordered these forks about a month ago with a voucher from Heartsy.  Between the voucher and the credits they gave me when I first signed up for the site, I think I paid $5 for these. 

If you're a regular reader, you know that I don't push products or websites too much on here.  I'm writing about Heartsy because I really like it.  They haven't compensated me at all.  In fact, they'll probably never see this post.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fun with fabric

I don't want to give too, too much away about our invitations, but one element of them is my inspiration for other wedding related projects.  This isn't exact, but this is a little taste of what it looks like:

I love the colors in that design.  I plan on using fabric as the backing for an escort card board and started to search for the right fabric.

Unfortunately, I didn't bring the invitation sample with me and was blinded by this Imperial Trellis imposter at U-Fab.  The pattern is feels so wonderful!  It's a fabric by Iman and it was super cheap at U-Fab...maybe $24 per yard?  It was selling for $40 or so per yard at Calico Corners.

But this trellis pattern is decidedly modern and my little inspiration image is a little more organic and vintage in feel.  I bought two yards of the trellis fabric and tucked it away in the closet for another day.  Then, I went back out to the fabric stores to find a better option.

My first stop was The Second Yard, a beautiful store that has furniture and fabric located in downtown Charlottesville.  The Second Yard tends to have pretty traditional fabric options, which seemed perfect for this project.  I found one fabric that might had that organic and slightly vintage vibe and the blue was pretty...

But I didn't love it.

I went back to U-Fab and saw one contender, but I again thought it was a bit too modern. I loved the colors and the sheen on the fabric.

I even drove north of the city to Fabrics Unlimited to check out their selection.  I only saw one possibility, but it seemed like a nursery fabric.  The price was fantastic, though.

At this point, I was getting a little discouraged.  I decided to stop in to Calico Corners just to see what was there.  The last time I went in there, they only had traditional, boring fabrics.  I was pretty surprised to see that things were a little more exciting there.  The prices are still inflated, but they have some really wonderful fabrics, both modern and traditional.

After looking around for a while, I found a fabric in a few different colorways that had birds on it.  I thought it was charming.  The prices were not charming.

Maybe these were too traditional?  After all, my little inspiration piece is a little whimsical.  It didn't seem to go with those birds.

Finally, I found this Robert Allen for Dwell Studio fabric.  While the colors weren't right, the feel of the fabric was.

 After looking around, I realized that it can in a blue colorway...they just didn't have that in stock.  They let me borrow it, though, and it's perfect.  The $70 per yard price didn't seem reasonable, though.  A quick check online showed that Dwell Studio sells the fabric for $56 per yard.

Just this morning as I wrote this entry, I googled the fabric to find a picture of it and found that another Charlottesville blogger, Marissa of Roost Home, had the fabric on her blog a few months ago.  She hosted a giveaway for pillows made out of the fabric. I didn't remember seeing the fabric before last week at Calico Corners despite having entered that giveaway!

I'm close to sold on this...though in searching for the fabric online, I found some other beautiful options.

Should I keep looking or do you think I've found my fabric?
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Church Street Bridal has a blog!

I was a little preoccupied on Wedding Wednesday yesterday.  Church Street Bridal, that sample gown treasure trove that's down in Lynchburg, VA now has a blog.  The big launch was yesterday and I'm hoping to help them get a good number of their high end gowns up on the site.

The first gown profiled was a $8,500 Pnina Tornai gown from Kleinfeld that Church Street is selling for $400.  Actually, they were selling it...someone bought it in the afternoon!  One of the comments pointed out that this is one of Pnina's more understated gowns...not the typical tulle covered, see-through thing that is normally shown on TLC's Say Yes to the Dress (which sometimes seems like the Pnina Show).

Today, the featured dress is a ruffled gown by Melissa Sweet (part of the Priscilla of Boston group).  It's not necessarily my style, but it's quite a statement! They're selling it for $500 and the retail price was about $6,000.

I'm really excited about this new blog!  I hope you'll pass the blog address along to anyone in your life who might be in the market for a wedding gown.  They definitely ship, so they'll work with anyone, regardless of location.  I know someone in Australia who bought a gown from them after I posted pictures from my first visit there a few weeks ago!

All \images by David Duncan of David Duncan Photography
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to make floral shoe clips

It's time for a tutorial!

Last week, some of you asked for step-by-step instructions for making the chiffon flower shoe clips that I shared. You asked, I'm answering.

Supply List
1/2 yard of the fabric (the yard I bought will probably make 12 flowers)
Small bit of thick fabric (canvas or felt works)
Backings for clip earrings (in the jewelry section of the craft store)
Something round
Glue gun

Optional items if using chiffon
Tissue paper

1. The first step is to cut discs to use for the flowers.  If using a slippery fabric like chiffon, put the fabric between two layers of tissue paper and use pins to secure the fabric in place. I used a rumbled piece of tissue paper, but that isn't necessary.  Use whatever you have.

2. Trace something round onto the tissue paper and then start cutting.  Some tutorials call for 8 fabric discs per flower, but I thought 10 looked much better.  The flowers seemed fuller.

3. The discs don't have to be perfect and even if they start that way, after cutting dozens of these things out, your cutting technique will suffer a little bit.

4.  This is the fun part.  Fold each disc in half, then in half again.  I stuck each on a threaded needle (see next step) as I went along to keep them folded.

5.  Once you have ten discs folded and sitting on the threaded needle, pull the needle through.  Keep the folded discs tight in your hand! Don't let go yet!

6. Pull the thread tight and have your fiance tie a knot while you hold the folded discs together.  If your fiance is already taking pictures of you doing this, he shouldn't have a hard time with this. If you are doing this without anyone around, put the stack of folded discs under something heavy to keep them together or put them between your knees as you tie.

7.  Let go of the folded discs and tie a few more knots, just to be sure they are secure.

8.  Ta-da!  You have your flower!  Admire your work.

9.  Now you have to make a little platform on which your little flower will sit.  Some tutorials call for using a felt circle, but I decided to glue two discs of canvas together to create my platform.  I used a quarter to trace the discs.

10.  Once your disc is ready, put a bit of hot glue on the middle of it and plunk the fabric flower's knotted center into it.

11.  If needed, put a dab of glue on the edges of the disc and secure the flower to the outside edge of the platform.  I don't think you'd need to do it with a heavier fabric.  The chiffon was flopping around a bit, so I glued the edges.

12.  Decide which part of the flower is going to be the "top" of the shoe clip and use hot glue to secure the clip-on earring backing to the disc platform. 

Let the glue dry for a little while and start cutting discs for the next clip!

If anyone else makes these, I'd love to see how they turn out! 

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Design Star 2011: They're baaaa-aaack

I used to watch HGTV's Design Star for the hilarity of it...strange, low budget projects combined with totally impractical deadlines always ensured hilarity.  Remember this gorgeous space from the first season?

They designed this space for themselves...they must not like themselves very much.

And this bedroom from the second season's finale?  The person behind this now has a show on DIY and HGTV.  Yikes.

Is it a dorm room?

Last year, however, I watched and dared to dream that a blogger whose style actually deviated from the traditional, HGTV look, could win.  Well, win she did.  The blogsphere rejoiced.

And now, I am looking forward to the 9 PM debut of this year's Design Star with more enthusiasm than I ever had for the show before.  Looking at the cast bios on the HGTV website, I'm pleased to see that most of them have actually studied design.  Plenty of degrees.  Most are working in the industry or in related fields.  I see just one contestant that might be out of her league.  It'll be interesting to watch how she does around trained professionals.

Do you think Design Star has actually turned a corner?
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Flower time!

I had my first appointment with a florist last night and had to revisit my Pinterest boards to show her my inspiration pictures.  It was really interesting to hear a florist talk about the pictures I've been staring at for a few months now.  She actually changed my mind about a few things.

When I first saw this bouquet on Holly Chapelle's blog, I loved it.  I was convinced that I wanted almost an exact replica of it, without the flowers (and maybe with a blue ribbon).  The florist had me pull up a picture of my dress and very gently suggested that the bouquet was a bit too busy for my dress.  If I had a simple, sleek dress, the bouquet would be great, but my dress has a lot of detail and a slightly more simple bouquet would probably look better.

After that discussion, I quickly pulled up another Holly Chapelle bouquet that had the same feel, but was more simple.  Ignore the color here...this is about shape and style.

The florist also told me that our wedding date was the absolutely perfect weekend for peonies.  What's more, the peonies would be local!  She said that peonies are often flown in from the west coast or Central America later in the summer.

From there, we started talking about table arrangements.  On my way to the appointment, I talked to my mother and she told me that arrangements at a wedding she went to over the weekend had hydrangea in them and she thought that was very different.  I had to laugh.  I think Jersey wedding flowers are traditionally a little more over the top than flowers elsewhere.   It sounds like the flowers at the wedding she went to would have fit in almost anywhere in the south, but seemed revolutionary in New Jersey.

If you've watched Four Weddings, you've probably seen a Jersey wedding...rooms are drenched in colored lights, flowers are packed into top heavy vases and erupt like waterfalls from the top, with crystals and bling dangling between the stems. It's two parts wedding, one part theater (go here...have fun looking around).

We're going for more organic, pretty arrangements...with hydrangea and plenty of peonies.  Some recent inspiration...

Isn't that better?

There's one thing I didn't show the florist that I wish I had.  I saw these flowers on moss letters and loved them!  I already have the moss letters made...maybe we can do this, too.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I was busy this weekend...

I was on a creative blitz this weekend.  If there's demand, I'll write some tutorials for some of my projects over the next few days.  Let me know if you're interested in the comments.

I'm really excited about these floral shoe clips that I made.  You can find these on Etsy for about $20, but i decided to try to make them myself.  It's a little tedious (you have to cut out dozens of fabric circles before you get started), but the work coincided nicely with an Amsale Girls marathon on WeTV.
Tangent: Anyone else watching Amsale Girls?  Amsale is one of my favorite designers, so the show is an hour of eye candy for me.
Here's the finished project on a few pairs of shoes...

Isn't that cute?  Should I write a tutorial?
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Behind the scenes at Church Street Bridal

I have this bad habit of not taking all of my vacation days at work. I decided that I would take a few to spend volunteering at the YWCA in Lynchburg, VA, where Church Street Bridal is located. I wrote about Church Street a few weeks ago (here, here, and here) and between that blog post and sharing information about it on a wedding message board, I think they've gotten some new business! One girl drove there from Ohio! Others have worked with the manager by email to get dresses shipped...even to as far away as Australia!

My days were so much fun, but a lot of work.  Wedding dresses are heavy, kids.  I think I have new definition in my arms thanks to lifting Pnina Tornai's ten pounders. I have new appreciation for Monique Lhuiller's light, lacey dresses.  I'm helping Church Street get their blog going and U;kk sgare the photos that I helped with in a few days.

I feel the need to share a little bit about the wonderful people behind the scenes at this great shop. I had such a nice day with them yesterday and will be headed back to spend another day with them today.

First of all, there's Michelle Duncan. She isn't just the manager of Church Street Bridal, she runs all the special events and programming at the YWCA. One top of that, she has a small business on the side, Ella & Anne Handbags. These beautiful, handmade bags are going to get their own post. They're fantastic!

Yesterday, Michelle was serving as stylist for a photo shoot with dresses from New York based dress company, Fancy. Fancy dresses are very retro...the photographer (more on him in a moment) commented that they looked like they were right off the set of Mad Men.

There were three staff members/models, at least 9 dresses, and piles of accessories and shoes to use for this shoot.

The photographer for the shoot was Lynchburg-based photographer David Duncan of David Duncan Photography...who also happens to be Michelle's husband. It was really interesting to hang out in David's studio and watch him direct this shoot.

David is an adjunct professor in the art department of Randolph College. He was great at talking with the models (all employees of the Y!) about what he wanted them to do.

The entire Church Street Bridal team was so much fun to work with!

David's photography is going to be part of a new blog that Church Street Bridal is about to launch. I'll share that with you as soon as it's ready. For now, check out this "outtake" from the shoot. Rita, the model, was joking around with a fur wrap and that turned into these shots...

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