Sunday, August 31, 2008

stupid tie-tle

A couple weeks ago, I was in NYC for a recording session and planned to get together with
Jes Switaj, the incredible designer who's creating bridesmaids' shawls (I let cat out of the bag as far as their getting shawls is concerned :-( , but I'll be more careful when I post pictures), groomsmen's ties, and a jacket for me. Jes had already purchased fabric for the shawls and some of the ties, but the teal that's in my dress is a little different from what I'd wanted for Tim's tie, and I've had a really hard time finding complementary colors. Jes suggested that we go to the Garment District to pick out fabric for his tie and for my jacket. (It'll be a very simple, open jacket made of sheer ivory organza, with 3/4-length sleeves and a little bit of champagne velvet trim on the front.) 

This was the initial inspiration. I thought about ordering it, but things that are supposed to be somewhat short/cropped always come up to my boobs. Also, the pleats are very cool but might compete with the embroidery on the dress - so basically, I'm not sure why I'm showing you this picture. Filler?

Jes is new in NYC (she and her boyfriend just moved from Arizona), and she's already really busy. She already has a 9-to-5 internship with a women's clothing designer and texted me today to tell me she thinks she has a paid job starting this week. That's pretty amazing to find a job in your field in NYC right after moving there. But, as you can see from looking at her Etsy site and her blog, her designs and her work are creative and impeccable. 

She's also frickin' gorgeous. (Wearing one of her own designs.)

So back to that suggestion that we go to the Garment District. My rehearsal went longer than I anticipated, and I didn't get to her apartment until about 5. We took the subway to the very top of the district at 42nd street, where fabric store after fabric store lie in the filthy shadow of Penn Station. Holy shit, these fabric stores are CRAZY! Most of them were immigrant-owned/operated (or at least people whose first language isn't English), and although I don't want to presume to guess exactly which countries they were from, we visited stores run by people from at least three non-North-American continents. Pretty awesome.

This store looks a lot bigger and more spacious than the ones we were in, but the caption on the source says it all.

When I walked into these places, I kind of didn't know where to start. Jes was totally patient with me, but I was sort of overwhelmed and wandered around in a bit of a daze for a couple hours. I knew exactly what colors and fabrics I had in mind, but I've never been in a fabric store like that before: every last inch from front to back, floor to ceiling, is covered in bolts of wildly different fabrics, from white lace to wool tweeds to Pucci-esque prints on polyester to holographic lame (sorry, can't figure out the accent mark). The setup varies ever-so-slightly from store to store, but not enough to catch your breath in between. And nothing is labeled (as in, no "silks" or "poly blends" or "jersey" signs). It looks so beautiful and wonderful, but when you're with someone you don't know very well (who I did get to know that day, and she's RAD - yes, I said "rad") and you're on a specific mission, it's stressful. I think I handled it all right, but it was a tiring expedition.

It was really easy to find stuff I knew wasn't right, and for a while Jes and I joked around holding up stupid fabrics and saying, "This is perfect!" But I think that got old for both of us pretty fast. It was just...... SO MUCH! After going through about 6 stores without much luck (a lot of things were close but not quite right, like the ivory with a lemony-yellow-tinge chiffon? organza? that the store owner just handed to us for free, trying to convince me there was no yellow in it), we finally found a tie fabric and a jacket fabric I'm happy with. I'm sure **both** Jes and I are happy there were only two choices to make. :-)

On our way back to Brooklyn to do some fitting, we stopped at the Italian bakery Jes's boyfriend works at around Chelsea (?), and got some much-needed coffee and H2O. It was a really fun day, and as Amy said, I'm "so lucky to get to hang out all day with someone from Etsy!" I know that might sound silly, but it's true. Jes is a really awesome person and so sweet, and it's great to become friends with someone you're working with. Actually, it's great to have a new friend, period!

In case you're wondering, we didn't go to Mood (where the Project Runway designers go on the show) - Jes said it's really expensive. HOWEVER. She did text me the day after we went shopping, and she had just seen Suede at one of the stores we'd been at! She thought he was probably shopping for his Fashion Week collection but couldn't talk to him because he was on the phone. I wonder if he was talking in third person.

And speaking of Jes texting me, she just sent this pic.... yay!!! I love it. This one will be Tim's, and the groomsmen will wear either red or purple (to complement the two red/two purple bridesmaids' dresses). I think it matches the teal on my dress pretty well, don't you?  :-D  

Thanks, Jes!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I wanted to show the Martha-style wraparound labels I used for the invitations. Sorry it took so long to post these pictures!

It was 3 AM after we got back from Ty and Vinayak's wedding, and Tim and I had to leave my parents' house at 5... so I wasn't so focused on getting the labels from all angles. I forgot to get the back, which was my parents' return address printed at a 90 degree angle to the addressee's address (does that make sense? I'm sleepy now too...). The font is Cantabile (a music word! it means "sung" or "singing") from dafont, and the labels are brown kraft from Labels by the Sheet. I really love how the color contrasts with Stephanie's cream paper and adds even more textural interest. Stamps are the Charles and Ray Eames (furniture) ones, which I love... we ran out of those and got vintage-y baseball stamps (not vintage stamps, just USPS's current vintage style), which were even more perfect!

I tore the right side of the label on one of them accidentally (actually my brother and SIL's), and I really liked how it looked. In a rash burst of creativity, I decided to do it to all of them. My mom HATED it. I thought that was pretty funny. I know, I'm perverse. I get that from my dad. (Sorry mom... if you happen to be reading.)

Here we go!

Well, yesterday was T minus I do know how many days. It's two months, everybody!!! And today was T minus two months to my sister-in-law's due date. And Friday is my parents' 37th wedding anniversary. Dizzamn.

I've been busy uploading pictures with my new Dynex DX-CRMN1, which I bought instead of a cable ($10 less). I had somewhere around 400 pictures I needed to upload, and I'm not about to make Blogger crash completely around the planet by trying to put all of them on here right now. But here's a picture-heavy post for you. However, because I'm so damn behind on blogging, I'm going to take a little poll. Let me know in the comments which of these photos pique your interest, and I'll post about the ones that seem to make people the most excited. Hooray!

1. The shower hostess gifts, wrapped and ready to go.
2. My lovely SIL, Hillary, and me (wearing requisite crown).
3. My beautiful mom, after I tired of the crown. :-)

1. MOH Melissa shows the difficult decision we had to make.
2.-3. BM Chrissy (Christine) and I model totally hot sunglasses at Fred Boutique in Milwaukee's hip Third Ward.
4.-5. Roots Cellar and the veggie burger that made my head spin... and not in a good way. :(  (Good story, though!)
6. The three of us outside Roots - the Milwaukee skyline was really hard to capture at night, but it looked gorgeous!

1. This is one of about 70 pictures I took during the Hindu ceremony (even Vinayak's dad was camera-happy)... unfortunately, I was playing during the ecumenical ceremony and didn't get to take pictures. Ty's dad and my dad lived down the hall from each other in college and were also at the same school (but different programs) in grad school. After growing up a few hours from each other and seeing each other's families once in a while, Ty and I ended up living in Cambridge, MA, at the same time for a little while. She's a really wonderful friend, and this wedding was so special. I hadn't met Vinayak before the rehearsal dinner, but after talking to him for 3 minutes, I could see exactly how perfect he is for Ty.
2. My adorable dad. Not sure whose fingers those are on his shoulder...

TIM'S AND MY TRIP DOWN BOSTON'S MEMORY LANE (or, Wendy drags Tim around Boston to take pictures she can display at the wedding)
1.-2. A very small representation of our favorite restaurants - we celebrated many special dates at Dali. Dogwood Cafe has great pizza and was our favorite neighborhood hang in JP (a block from our old place).
3. We spent 10 weeks working for the American Repertory Theater and had the chance to play at the very cool Zero Arrow Theater.

and finally......
4. Ah, 84 Ellery Street in Cambridge. The site of our first kiss. Also the site of my being a total bitch to Tim and not letting him leave his heavy bag in my apartment OR in the trunk of my car, for fear of... ahem... something happening. I was determined not to like him. Yes, he felt the need to re-enact that experience.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Perhaps it's because of the still-missing camera cable. (I promise I'll replace it, I promise!) Or maybe it's that I've been dreading listening to 22 violists play excerpts from
The Planets tomorrow and have just been avoiding life in general. Maybe it's that I am spending too much time on kitten blogs. Could it be that I'm overwhelmed by my foray into DIY weddingness and am embarrassed to show you pictures? Oh wait, I can't show you pictures. Heh.

Whatever it is, I'm forcing myself to get back on the horse and write this post so that I'll 1) go buy a new camera cable and 2) post soon. Really.

By the way, the replacement LEDs came, and the color is great. Unfortunately, I had to buy water-clear ones and am in the process of painstakingly sanding ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY of them to make them diffuse. Oh boy is it fun. Fingernails and chalkboards spring to mind, even with 400-grit sandpaper.

Source. No, ours are not red...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The Fontainebleau can get pretty dark inside, so for a while I've been planning to use paper lanterns with throwies to add some light and to decorate the rustic dining room. Because the main purpose is to provide light, I wanted warm white LEDs inside white lanterns. Diffuse LEDs should provide even, un-spotty light.

I ordered LEDs and batteries from eBay and received the second package (the lights themselves) today, so tonight Tim and I started the project of putting them together. It's surprisingly easy, and we got into a rhythm and made about 50 before we realized that OH! we should probably test them inside the lanterns.


They're yellow. And not so mellow. Like a freakin' brick road. (The weird part is that our "diffuse warm white" LEDs look just that when they're off. Turn 'em on and it's a very. different. story.)

Pardon my language, but....... F*CK. F*CK. F*CK. First of all, we just made 50 of these damn things, which admittedly didn't take that long. But I can't return the LEDs ($60) or the batteries ($30). And now I have to buy more LEDs (or rent the whole shebang... maybe cheaper at this point?***), or... no lanterns. It's obviously not such a huge deal that I should feel as unreasonably sad as I do right now, but it's just not cool.

And if I could find that stupid camera cable, you could see the evidence for yourselves. But for now, you'll just have to use your imagination, or refer to this.

***or not: check it out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More paper love, and a few more Etsy goodies.

I had **five** shower hostesses (lucky me!), including my maid of honor, Melissa; her mom, Connie; my other high-school-friend bridesmaid, Christine (Chrissy); close family friend Ellie; and my one and only aunt, Merle. Of course, I wanted to get them hostess gifts they'd all like... but practically speaking, trying to find five super-personalized gifts was going to be really time-consuming. However, I did want to make each gift at least slightly individual. I got each of them a set of personalized stationery made by
Stephanie, who graciously (as always) agreed to make these rather last-minute:

Melissa is the only one who didn't get her last name on hers - 
she's getting married in April and is changing her name, 
so I thought ahead (just in case she doesn't use them all by then)! :-D

Then, I got each of the "grown-up" ladies some of these gorgeous soaps from Amethyst Soaps:

I gave Ellie the amethyst because it's her birthstone, 
and she has a stunning amethyst ring I've always loved. 
Connie got an assortment of turquoise, and 
Merle received the dahlia plus a few small turquoise soaps.

Chrissy isn't a big coffee drinker, but that doesn't stop her from loving a walk down the streets of Madison with a hot drink. Melissa, like me, is a total addict. I got each of them one of these re-usable "java jackets" from CupKozy:

I wish I'd ordered one for myself - they roll up, 
attach to your keychain, and are SO lightweight. Love it. 
Chrissy's is gray flannel, and Melissa's is black - like her coffee. :-)

If I could find my &$^(* camera cable, I'd post pictures of my cute wrapping job: multi-colored tissue paper, bright yellow bags, and brown kraft paper crinkles. I was very excited about how pretty they looked. If/WHEN I find the stupid freakin' charger, I'll add pictures to this post.

I love finding such clever and creative things on Etsy. Whenever I talk to someone who hasn't heard of it, I start proselytizing. All hail Etsy. Do you have any Etsy secrets?

Monday, August 11, 2008

First - and most gorgeous - things first.

Long ago, I posted about our beautiful save-the-dates. Without further hoopla, I present their larger and lovelier siblings - the invitations!

outside of invitation - circle punch highlighting partial graphic

postcard reply card

And... the inside of the invitation! Hard to see detail in this photo, but the slightly brighter circles 
were painstakingly glued on by the phenomenal Stephanie of Stelie Designs
Thanks to Photoshop Express for identity protection - I must tell you how proud I am that I figured it out. :-)

I am not too proud to admit that several ideas (the can't wait! can't make it; the song requests) were cribbed from bloggers whose identities I can no longer recall but for whose creativity I am eternally grateful. What goes around, comes around: I hope others will like what they see here  and feel free to steal liberally!

Most importantly, I cannot stress enough how absolutely AMAZING Stephanie has been to work with. She has been so open to all my ideas at every step along the way, and she is so creative, attentive to detail, and genuinely sweet & kind. When I look through my gmail account, I'm slightly embarrassed at the number of emails we exchanged over the past 6 months, but she never seemed bothered at the amount of communication. In fact, I really feel like I made a new friend through this process. :-)

I'm so grateful to Stephanie for 1) being hands ***way*** down my favorite wedding-related person to work with and 2) creating save-the-dates and invitations that are both exactly what I wanted and far better than I could have imagined! She even included several extras along the way, including two beautiful sets of cards (one set personalized "Wendy & Tim") and a lovely pair of earrings that are so "me" from VanDiva. I also sneaked a peek at her Etsy favorites and sent her a VanDiva bracelet as a far-too-small thank you for the phenomenal work she did for us.

Please visit Stephanie's store and blog and support her gem of a business!

Friday, August 8, 2008

absent, but not forever...

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks, culminating in a concert tomorrow in Killington, VT. I really will be back and blogging in a few days, just as soon as I learn the rest of these notes... and then recover!

A few things to look forward to:
  • pictures of the awesome (if I do say so myself) gifts for my shower hostesses
  • my mom's poem in honor of my shower
  • the best invitations EVER (and the labels I really loved, even if my mom didn't)
Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments on my previous post - everything turned out completely fine, though I'm glad to have that little bump out of the way. The shower was a lot of fun, and it was wonderful to see so many people. It was totally exhausting being the center of attention for that long!!

More soon!