A personal message from…

I had one of those HOLD IT REWIND THAT BLOG moments the other day while going through my Google Reader.  Here’s why:

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OMG PERSONALIZED PENCILS.  I NEED THOSE FOR THE WEDDING.

Sorry for the capslock, but seriously, those are so adorable!  They appeal to me on so many levels!  As a teacher, they’re a staple of my everyday existence.  As a lover of all things text-filled, more cute fonts as a part of our décor and favors is always good.  And hello, would those not make the best favors EVER?  Personal and practical?  With about 4 dozen (in custom colors with custom fonts, HELLO?!?!) at $50 from Explicitly Yours, they’re a pretty reasonable deal.  Even with our limited budget, I’d love to fit these in, just because they’re so fun!

What item has made you do a backflip?

How We Chose Our Colors

Over my “off” week, I did a lot of extra errands that I hadn’t gotten to lately, including picking up paint chips of our wedding colors.  I plan on creating coordination packages with the colors and some of our favorite textures for our wedding party to use as they purchase dresses, suits, and accessories.  Here are our colors!

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Look familiar?  I totally involved the same scheme in the main charmedseed.net website, because I love them so much!  I’ve been having a love affair with grey and teal/robin’s egg/turquoise blue for the last several years, and I love the modern but vintage effect it can have on an event.

The blue-green and grey will be the two main colors (although really it’s just the grey), and we additionally chose a deep chocolate brown accent and at the last moment added a navy as well.  The navy was Nick’s addition, as it’s one of his favorite colors, and it makes a nice compliment to the warmer grey and chocolate.  All these colors together offer us a nice opportunity to choose accessories, flowers, décor, and clothing.  My dress will be an off-white, but Nick is looking at grey suits for himself and the groomsmen.  I initially went after grey dresses for my maids, but recently found a SUPER cute blue-green dress that I’ve ordered to look at.  Surprise!

Because I deal with color so much as an artist and seamstress, this was a sort of difficult choice!  There are so many beautiful combinations for wedding colors, so many choices and options of how to express them.  Navy and sunshine yellow were also a contender!  I’m delighted with the subtle result we ended up with, and I can’t wait to keep decorating in this scheme!

How did you choose your wedding colors?

Also, the stars.

Even though I’ve been posting daily about my thing-a-day adventures, I’ve still been reading and enjoying my growing list of blogs on Google Reader!  I feel like I’ve *starred* just TONS in the past little while, and they really deserve sharing.  So here they are!

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How-To: Felt Pizza Set @Craftzine – So adorable!

How-To: Photorealistic Gadget Pouches @Craftzine – Love these!  So simple, so stylish!

Texas Twosome: Ceremony Part 1 @Weddingbee – I was enchanted by their vows.

treasure hunting: keys @Design*Sponge – I love keys, what can I say?

sewing 101: stuffed hearts @Design*Sponge – These would make great gift-giving devices for wedding parties, eh?

modern twist: studio trivetz @Design*Sponge – These are fantastic, and I want some.

Keeping Track of Allen Wrenches @ApartmentTherapy – No seriously, who doesn’t have a million of these?

Shades of Grey @Weddingbee – A great post for me because I too am looking at grey dresses for my girls.

And of course, BHLDN, care of Anthropologie, has been all over the blogosphere.  As if you didn’t already own my soul.

So, where have you been this month that needs to be shared?

Funchico 2.0!

So I purchased the original Funchico about a year ago.  It started out great…  fit my 16.4 laptop, held everything and more that I might have wanted to take along, looked ADORABLE.  It was everything I had ever wanted in a laptop bag.

Well, there was a snag.  Not in the fabric, but in the function of the vinyl handles.  They started to deteriorate and separate from the bag after about two months of regular use.  I was broken-hearted.  But upon a brief email to Rainebrooke, they immediately shipped out a replacement, and guaranteed that I would get ANOTHER replacement when they finished the second – improved – version.

I’m going to say it here, and in bold: Rainebrooke has the best customer service I’ve ever received.  I was so impressed with how fast and no-questions-asked they were about my problems with the damage, how prompt their replacement shipping was, and how they wanted to make my purchase right immediately.  They were absolutely fantastic in every aspect.

I received the Funchico 2.0 yesterday and took it to school today.  It is VASTLY improved,  with more finished vinyl handles that I can’t see tearing, a more stable top handle, and even a longer shoulder strap for when you need to wear it cross-body.  The fabric has changed a little, too, but is still lovely.  It’s a simple ivory and pink tweed now, without the shiny hot-pink threads.  Both are charming!

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This is still the CUTEST BAG I HAVE EVER SEEN.  I love it so much, and I’m over the moon to have another functioning one in my hands!  Check it out at Rainebrooke, or browse through their collection of unique and fun pink laptop bags and cases!  Enjoy!

Next up: thing-a-day seventeen!

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The budget dilemma

I am home on a sick day from school, trying to stem the flood from my nose and browsing more wedding sites (I really wanted to finally get up a project I’ve been working on but I can’t get off the couch =p).  I’ve picked out items both reasonable and outrageous.  Especially my dress. 

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I have two sides to this internal argument.  I have fallen in love with a delightful designer gown that is in the $2000 range.  If it suits my figure and looks attractive, I will splurge on this wonder and move on with the rest of my life.  I deserve it, I figure.  If it doesn’t suit me, I have another picked out in a very reasonable three digit range that will more thoroughly please my parents, who are offering to help me pay for it. I know this less expensive dress suits me, as I’ve tried it on before, and I’d be delighted with it… but only if the one I am desperately in love with doesn’t.

Everything else in the wedding must pass though the veil (hurhur) of “does this make sense to pay money for, and what can it be used for after the wedding?”  My dress, of course, I can rationalize on many levels.  I’m a skilled seamstress after all; why should I not wish for the highest quality, even if it costs more?  But then chimes in the voice that says, “Really, Beverly?  For one day?” A question to which I really have no answer, and constantly grates against my practical, frugal ideals.  I rail against $120 bridesmaid dresses and stomp over to Target.com to find equally nice (better even!  No yucky satin!) dresses for $30, and feel satisfied with my choice.  But why?  Wedding party members have offered to pay some, if not all, their share for their clothing.  Parents on both sides have offered financial support.  Both Nick and I will be working full time and be able to save plenty for our expenditures.  We don’t NEED to stay in a four figure budget, but I’m fighting to do so anyway.  Why is that?

I think it all chalks up to the way I live my life, my nature to be reasonable in spending money, in defining what are ‘needs’ and what are ‘wants.’  It’s always been an important focus for me, and now for Nick and I as a couple.  While we know there will need to be money spent on the wedding, I can’t help but want to do much of the work myself, cut out the non-essential fluff, and make the most of our money.  We’re also saving for a house, a long term investment, and to spend portions of that money on a one-day event takes away from that.  Even so… I know this day is important.  It’s the first celebration of our life, and I want my family and friends to enjoy it… I want Nick and I to enjoy it, too! 

So I continue to seek that fine line between the necessary and the frivolous, wavering here and there, but not falling off the tightrope, and always with  my eyes on the goal of having a beautiful, memorable day with which to start our life together.

Photo from Vaguely Artistic on flickr.

It’s true… love, that is!

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I expect to be perusing a lot of books and blogs like this one over the next year… that’s right!  Nick and I are engaged, and planning on a wedding in late spring of 2012.  Given my penchant for all things handmade, cobbled, frugal, and DiY, you can bet this is going to be a big time craft love fest!  I’m delighted about that aspect of personalizing our wedding, and looking forward to the event planning portion, as well.

Look for lots more wedding and reception planning in the future!

Oh, and what are your best recommendations for resources?

Starting ‘em early.

I don’t have a child, but once I do, I’m pretty sure I need him or her to have this:

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Colby Lane Designs at Etsy made the original keyboard bib pictured here, and I’m really hoping there will be more for sale (in a few years… heh).  Inspiration for the search from dooce.com.

A Fancy Package

I have finally had the opportunity to create an heirloom version of my Anne Boleyn replica necklace, and I’m delighted beyond words about it.  I put together a sterling silver charm and Grade A freshwater pearls traditionally knotted on silk thread for a perfect treasure to share.  I decided that such a beautiful gift needed a lovely package to arrive in, so I fashioned a little pouch to hide the main event, attached to a simple recycled-paper card.

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I hope the giver and getter both enjoy the surprise!  Also… finally took some photos with Nick’s fantastic DSLR!  I could get used to this!

What’s your favorite way to package up a gift or handmade product?

A copper Christmas

Copper is one of my favorite materials, both as a jeweler and a decorator.  It’s warm, glowing, and rosy, and can compliment so many palettes, from equally warm colors to bringing a sparkle to cooler choices (give me a copper and amethyst necklace any day!).  Gold and silver are the traditional Christmas metals, but what about this versatile color?  Let’s see what’s out there!

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Adorable copper cookie cutter from Sur La Table.  Talk about multitasking; make a few tree cookies and then hang this little guy on the real tree!

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Other-than-green Christmas trees are all the rage this year, so how about this glittering copper beauty (best buy at Amazon.com).  It’s also prelit, saving you precious holiday time.

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These punched copper gingerbread men (running, of course) from Etsy seller tinworks are a staple from my own childhood as well!  I recall creating these as a very young child, and my own still grace my tree to this day.  DiY with some copper sheeting and nails, or pick these up from tinworks!

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Even though Hanukkah is over for this season, the menorah is a delightful decoration in copper as well!  This lovely woven metal version is available from Traditions Jewish Gifts. What glitter and glow are you enjoying this holiday season?

The Mighty Apron!

As crafters and creators, we tend to be messy people.  We also have stuff all over.  Where are my scissors?  Oh nuts, they’re on the floor under that pile of fabric (not that you knew that until after 20 minutes of searching).  An easy solution?  The versatile, useful apron!  As both a fashion statement and practical tool, the apron serves as both protection and storage while you’re busy being brilliant.  Check out these fine specimens!

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The totally adorable “Pink Chocolate Flirty Apron” apron, for about $30 at overstock.com.  Definitely a must for the party hostess, this leans more toward fashion, but still serves the necessary purpose.  Also, I cannot say no to chocolate and pink, not to mention the stripes and polka dots!  So cute!

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How about this witty waist apron?  The “Grania” style apron over at Retro Electro is a play on the cocktail apron style, with just the right amount of smarts and whimsy to make them perfect…  Perfectly sassy, that is!  What else would they be stating “How about a little drinkie winkie?” on the pocket?  There are several styles at about $36 each.

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The vendor apron may perhaps be the handiest for crafters – I even know teachers who wear these to keep supplies always at hand!  What a great time saver!  Check out this adorable one at Etsy!

Or you could always whip one up yourself from the over 51 free patterns at Tip Nut!  What’s your favorite?