20.8.14

DIY Bridesmaid Necklaces


What did you get your bridesmaids as a thank you for marching in your wedding.  I've been a bridesmaid twice and one friend gave us each a little black evening bag with silk flowers on top, which we carried down the aisle like a bouquet while the other gave us pretty costume jewelry to wear on the day of the wedding.

I loved both ideas and since my bridesmaids are each wearing a slightly different colour and style of green dress, I thought it would be nice to give them a small piece of jewelry to keep their "look" consistent.  As you know, we're going for a casual DIY theme so I designed some cards on Photoshop and decided to make their necklaces by hand.  Here are the cards:


I know, I know.  By now, you're probably thinking, Enough already with this wedding!  We'll I'm sort of right there with ya and would rather just plan the honeymoon, but there is still planning and crafting to be done so sit tight.  


Then I ordered some beads and necklaces supplies from Etsy.  At first, I had planned on using freshwater pearls...


...But I decided that fluorite was prettier with our colour scheme.  Using beads, wire cutters, pliers, a roll of chain, spacer beads, lobster clasps and connecting rings, I pieced together four necklaces.


The most challenging part was winding loops onto the ends of the wire after I had threaded the beads.  I used two pairs of needle nose pliers to spare my nails!


The finished necklaces are more green in some light and more turquoise in other light.  They definitely look handmade but they're delicate and sweet and they come from the heart.


3.8.14

Our Wedding Rings


We have less than a month until our wedding, so forgive me in advance if the ratio of wedding posts to regular posts changes a little.  Corey and I are crossing things off our "To Do" lists like crazy and we're finally starting to get really excited!

The last time I wrote about potential wedding bands, I was certain that I would get something really unusual.  Since then, Corey and I have instead decided that it would be romantic to have perfectly matching bands and we opted for classic white gold with square edges.

Our jewelers were amazing in helping us choose exactly what we wanted and they custom made my band to fit the thickness of my engagement ring to ensure that they sit together perfectly.

The process of choosing rings was actually pretty sweet and romantic and Corey and I were also excited to have them engraved with a special phrase.  After going through dozens of options, we ended up settling on the last line of our wedding vows:

My Love, My Life, My Friend


Our jewelers were also able to engrave them in our own handwriting so that Corey's ring has the phrase in my writing and my ring has his writing.  It feels very personal and I hope that one day, we will pass them down to our grandchildren and it will be like giving them a part of a love letter between us.  Maybe one day, we'll be like this couple:


Perhaps after Singleton is born, we'll each get a small diamond set in the band to commemorate the occasion.  I really like the unusual diagonal setting in this ring.

2.8.14

Our Engagement Photos


So how is it that we didn't have engagement photos take until a month before our wedding?

Well, it all started last June when Corey proposed.  We had just purchased our new/old house and we were up to our eyeballs in renovations, so I sort of put wedding plans on the back burner for a few months.  By the end of the summer, we were ready to book vendors and we FELL IN LOVE with the photography style of Lew D'Souza of Engaging Images.  We met with him and decided to book him before we had even chosen a venue because it was so important to us that our wedding photos match our personal style.  At the time, we decided to hold off on photos until the spring, when we would have a good sense of ceremony and reception locations and could tailor the vibe of our engagement photos accordingly.

Well, as we all know, this spring I found out I was pregnant with Singleton and when I wasn't working, I was  either throwing up or sleeping.  I was broken out, exhausted, bloated and nauseated and I just didn't feel like I could even brave a short walk outside, let alone an engagement photoshoot.  I cried one day as I emailed Lew to postpone yet again.  I was devastated to know that something I had been excited about for years had become a chore I was very much dreading.

Then I experienced a turning point at week (sweet) sixteen.  I suddenly stopped feeling so sick.  Sure, I was still throwing up a little and I still felt broken out and puffy, but I had my energy back and I was feeling more like myself.  I booked the shoot with Lew and began mentally preparing for the fact that my engagement photos might end up looking more like maternity photos.

The day before our engagement photo session, I was a wreck.  I cried to Corey that my face was puffy, I felt huge, I was getting a pimple on my chin and my ankles were swollen to the size of tennis balls.  This was not the first time Corey had heard this and it probably won't be the last before our wedding, but he was unfailingly sensitive as usual.

There's something particularly hard about facing a time of your life when you always thought you'd look your most beautiful... only your body is out of your control and you sort of just have to shrug and roll with it.  It's a challenge I'm still working through despite the fact that I know this is all happening for the luckiest, most amazing reason ever!  Anyway, I told myself that this blog would always be about real life and not just the perfect photos we all post on Facebook, so I wanted to explain the tears and insecurities behind all the lovely photos.

While most brides aren't several months pregnant for their wedding photos, I keep reminding myself that everyone has something they're a little self-conscious about and that the focus of these photos shouldn't be on physical perfection, but rather a beautiful and important moment captured in time.  When I look back on these photos, I know I won't care if my belly's big or if my cheeks are a little chubby... I'll just marvel at how young and happy Corey and I look and how amazing it is to see us both just a few months before we had our first child!

Facing this engagement shoot was hard, but I had Corey and a supportive family as well as my AMAZING make-up artist, Kristina ... and, of course, my wonderful photographer, Lew.  In the end, I got through it and within a couple of days, Lew had sent us an album of edited images which made me feel confident and excited for the wedding.  I was amazed at how honestly some of these seemed to capture the playful and relaxed relationship that Corey and I share.

We began our shoot at High Park because Corey and I love nature and camping and felt the outdoor setting with mature trees would give us the perfect backdrop.

We didn't have many props.  Corey and I agreed that we'd both feel silly blowing bubbles or holding up signs but we decided to bring some fun hats and the four-legged members of our family.  ;)

Below are a few of our favourites.  We're still trying to choose a couple to frame.  :)

These shots on the bench with Barkley and Cheetah were the first photos Lew took and yet they may be some of my favourites.  When he showed them to us, I think I instantly loosened up and gained some confidence for the rest of the shoot.


Look who's stealing the show!







My mom loves this photo because she says it looks as though I'm looking off into the future and daydreaming about Singleton.  I confessed to her that Corey was telling me jokes to make me laugh.




For the last few shots, we made our way to the Humber Arch Bridge.  Corey suggested this secondary location and I teared up when he told me why it was significant to him.  For the first four years of our relationship, Corey and I were long-distance while he attended university two hours away.  He would often take the bus home to see me on weekends and he told me that this bridge was the landmark that told him that he was almost home.  This is usually where he would call me to tell me he'd see me soon.  

I had no idea all these years but we just had to get some photos at the bridge!  We're already joking about coming back once a year to get a photo here with our growing family.  



27.7.14

Shibori Workshop (aka Tie Dye for Grown Ups)


A few months ago, my friend Jess and I attended a terrarium workshop at Parkdale's Crown Flora Studio.  We had such a great time, that we've been monitoring their website for updates on new workshops to sign up for together.


The Shibori workshop (we'll get into what that actually means shortly) was taught by Arounna, the owner of Bookhou.  Neither Jess nor I had any idea what shibori was (we called it "grown up tie dye") but we'd had such a great experience at the terrarium workshop that we were excited nonetheless.

We arrived at Crown Flora's new space (they recently moved into a large loft space) and we took a few minutes to look around.


Jess bought some more succulents.




While I enjoyed the pretty accessories and vignettes.




These pillows and clutches are a great example of shibori using indigo dye.


The pretty flowers reminded me that it was time to order my bridal bouquet, which I crossed off my list before the morning was over.


There were examples of indigo dyed fabrics using different shibori techniques.... Which, as it turned out, is actually very much like tie dying only more intricate and often involving stitching.  


Our workshop kit included gloves, instructions to set the dye at home (in a 5 minute vinegar and water bath) and a cotton tote as well as a rough-edged scarf, which could also be sewn into a pillowcase.


Arounna opened the vats of indigo dye and skimmed a thick sludge off the surface.  I was surprised to learn that preparing indigo dye involved a fermentation reaction and that indigo dye has a strong ammonia odour, so soon, the entire studio smelled like cat pee.  Luckily, it was a large space, so my pregnant nose didn't suffer too badly.


The dye itself (and any fabric freshly dyed) is actually green and only develops the signature blue indigo colour after reacting to the oxygen in air.  Arounna demonstrated a few different techniques for us before leaving us to experiment on our own.

She showed us various resistance methods like tying and clamping and we learned to soak the fabric in water first, so that it would soak up the indigo better.


It's so interesting taking workshops with so many creative people, because I'm almost as excited to see what they make as I am to create something myself.

I jumped in right away with my tote and decided to use accordion folds without any elastics or string and to just dip the edges carefully myself.

Then, I borrowed a swatch of test fabric and tried tighter accordion folds with some heavy paperclips to create a resist area.

Finally, I decided to spend the majority of my time on my scarf and used elastics, marbles and coins to create a circle within a circle effect.


And here are some of the creations by our class.






What a fun morning!  Would you try shibori?  Check out Crown Flora Studio's website for the dates and times of their other workshops.

22.7.14

The Parkdale Flea


I know this is not the popular opinion, but I always find Toronto's neighbourhood flea markets to be a little lackluster.  It's not that the vendors aren't good... because some of them are amazing.  (It's a little like shopping Etsy in person.)  It's more because there are so few of them and the markets just feel small to me.  Last year, I checked out the Parkdale Flea and the Junction Flea.  Last weekend, I was in Parkdale with a friend and we happened upon this year's Parkdale Flea.  Here's what we found:

I loved the jewelry being sold (at very reasonable prices) by The Shop I Am.  The website isn't active yet but I'll watch for more unusual and delicate jewelry by this artist at other Toronto markets.



I liked another artist's mixed media art, which featured different Toronto landmarks.  They were also very reasonably priced and the colours were vibrant and hyper-saturated... in a good way!


I loved some of the vibrant art that was hung throughout the main space.  I couldn't decide whether it was too crazy for our house though.


Maybe a little?  I wish I had noticed the artist's name.


I'm always a sucker for rough edged furniture and One One Eleven Designs was showcasing some lovely pieces.



There were soaps and body butter (which smelled good enough to eat) by The Parkdale Butter Co.


... And some whimsical illustrations by Emily May Rose.



Not my favourite flea market, but still a fun day out.  It's kind of a nice change of pace that the emphasis is more on local art than vintage wares .

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