Monthly Archives: August 2010

Ceramic vases and tea light holders

One of the things that was important to me when we were planning our wedding was an infusion of hand-made ceramics. In case you didn’t know, ceramics is my thing. 🙂

ceramic vase centerpiece

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

I decided early on that I wanted to make ceramic vases for the centerpieces as well as some sort of small ceramic vessel that would both be decor and double as favors for our guests. For the favors, I was partially influenced by my parents’ wedding – they had an artist friend who made them over a hundred little wheel-thrown bowls with their wedding date glazed on the lip and the phrase “love endures forever.” These bowls decorated the reception tables – each with a single floating flower – and the guests got to take one home to remember the event.

tea light

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

Rather than make bowls for flowers, I decided I wanted my ceramic favors to hold tea lights for a bit of ambiance at the tables.

ceramic lace tea light holders

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

I really wanted to incorporate the lace from my mom’s wedding dress as a key element of the design. She had saved the left-over fabric from her dress, and I have been using it on quite a few of my pieces as of late. By laying the lace over a rolled-out slab of clay and then running my rolling pin over the top, I get an awesome impression of the lace.

ceramic lace vase - detail

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

Both the vases and the tea light holders used the lace pattern, and both are formed by rolling slabs into cylinders. It took me a year to get them all done (well…since I started early I knew I could take my time!) and I wanted to keep it a secret, too, since they would be our gift to our guests.

all the tea light holders!

The tea light holders were a big hit with our guests, and many of my relatives who attended my parents’ wedding recognized the connection, which made me happy!

And there was one final touch that M and I made sure of: for our friends and family who RSVP’ed that they couldn’t make it to the wedding – the week before, we mailed out tea light holders to them (candle included) with a little note, telling them we would miss them and if they would light a candle for us on our special day and hold us in their hearts. We really wanted to include them in our celebration, even though they couldn’t be there in person.

tea lights for mailing

Lastly, an announcement! The vases from our wedding will be available in my Etsy shop! And ALSO, I will have a booth at the Renton Art Walk this Saturday, where I’ll be showing lots of my sculptures, as well as plenty of smaller items for sale (including the beautiful and unique vases from my wedding!!!!). Hope to see you there!

{image courtesy of Sheila Addleman}

Leave a comment

Filed under Etsy, Jadeflower Ceramics, projects, Wedding

My Custom Handmade Wedding Dress

One of the things I couldn’t divulge before the wedding was what my dress looked like.

my wedding dress

{photo credit: Sheila Addleman}

M decided that he wanted the dress to be the one thing that he didn’t get to see before the wedding, so it would be a surprise. This was reallllllly hard! Not only because I wanted to share every aspect of the planning with M, but also, it turned out that my dress was another DIY project, and working on it without him seeing it was pretty tricky!

I am not a very girly-girl kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the pretty stuff – flowers, fabric, puppies, jewelry – but when it comes to my personal aesthetic, I am very simple and very underplayed. I don’t wear princess dresses; I would feel absolutely ridiculous! Not to mention, I am extremely thrifty, so the idea of spending hundreds (even thousands!) of dollars on a dress just never entered my mind.

After a single try-on session at David’s Bridal with my mom (ok…maybe not the best place to start looking for a dress, but it is what it is) I knew I could NOT do that, and from then started searching for a vintage dress. I knew I wanted a short dress, kind of 50’s vibe, and lace. This was going to be an outdoor/backyard party dress.

When I finally found the dress that I would turn into my wedding dress, it didn’t seem to have much potential, and I am amazed at my bravery when I look back at the “before” pictures! But when I tried it on, the fit was good, and I just knew there was a one-of-a-kind dress within, waiting to be created.

wedding dress - before

I know – cringe, right? This was an 80’s number. Off the shoulder neckline, with a weird undulating lace hemline, and down-right awful appliques all over the bodice. I immediately ripped off the appliques (with a seam-ripper, of course) to get to the bare-bones form underneath. I trimmed the skirt to a mid-shin length, thus eliminating the weird raggedy look.

trimming the skirt

I also added a middle layer of organza to the skirt to give it a bit more fullness, and I added a pretty strip of lace detailing around the hem of the lace.

Dress Inspiration

Now I had to decide on a decorative motif. I’d collected plenty of inspirational photos from around the interwebz, and after finding this organza flower tutorial, I decided to make a slew of white flowers to embellish the dress. Making them was time-consuming, to say the least, and when I finally had enough flowers, it took me forever to figure out how to arrange them. I think I pinned them on the bodice 100 different ways before committing them with thread.

organza flowers

It’s emotionally challenging when you take own wedding dress into your own hands! If it looks like crap, you’ve only got yourself to blame! haha

So I also wanted a full skirt, because it’s fun and goes back to that 50’s vintage look. I already posted about how I sewed my own pretty petticoat to wear under my dress, and it really made the whole look work, and of course was super fun to wear.

The last detail I added was very light and airy cap sleeves (sort of), just to give a bit more softness to the shoulder/arm area.

shoulder flowers

Overall, I worked on my dress over 5 months, just here and there (because I could only work on it when M wasn’t around). There were certainly stressful times, and times when I needed my mom’s help with the sewing, but I am certainly happy with how my dress turned out, and I know that no one else will be wearing the same dress! It was fun, and easy to move around in, and most of all, it was a dress that felt like ME.

And just to drive home the point that not everyone has to spend a fortune on a wedding dress…my final total (including all the extra fabric/dry cleaning/original cost of the dress) was only $70. That’s right. My wedding dress cost me less than a hundred bucks. I had to put some of my own effort into it, of course, but that makes it all the more special! And I suppose, therefore, it’s priceless. 🙂


Filed under DIY, sewing, Wedding

I’m back! Let’s start the wedding recap!

I’ve been such a remiss blogger as of late! Since the wedding (one month already!) I’ve had so many things I’ve wanted to share, post-event, that it’s been too overwhelming to even begin. But last night M & I got to meet up with our awesome photographer (Sheila Addleman) and now we have all our wedding photos at our disposal on disk – it’ll be much more fun to show you wedding details using Sheila’s amazing pictures.

So where to begin?

There are so many things, I guess I’ll just jump in with an overall look at the wedding day.
It was, in every sense of the term, a do-it-yourself wedding. Every detail was created by M or myself, or friends and family, and the entire execution of the event was achieved by the loving effort of a whole army of people that descended upon my parents’ house the few days before (and after) the wedding day. I still have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to everyone who helped with our special day! There was really just so much love present, it was amazing!

Though most of the set up had been done the day before, there were still plenty of things to do the morning of the wedding, and you could find the bride either on a ladder with a power drill, hanging up panels of fabric, placing signs down the street, giving people jobs to do, greeting people and generally running around like crazy (though not actually going crazy).

My wonderful bridesmaids arrived around 10 AM and they also helped with last-minute details. But at noon, we officially stopped helping, and went to get ready in my parents’ bedroom & master bath. Sandwiches and mimosas in hand.

Everyone did their own hair and makeup (with help from each other). I did my own make up, and Brenna – wonderful friend, bridesmaid, and fashionista – graciously did my hair in a messy bun with little wispy sections framing my face, topping it off with my custom-made fascinator. I loved my hair!

M and I did a quick “first look” and then we headed down to the local park to take the wedding party pictures. Sheila did such a wonderful job!

She kept us moving and totally put us at ease. The shots she captured were on the casual side, but dreamy, which was perfect for the overall vibe of the day.

The wedding ceremony itself was perfect. My mom officiated (which was risky I know, but she is a professional and kept it together the whole time, haha), and she used just the right balance of humor and sentimentality.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking out over our gathered friends and family and seeing lots of eyes being dabbed (even the men!).

After the joyous conclusion to the ceremony, we set our guests loose for cocktail hour, and entertained them with live music. Our next door neighbor is a musician, and we knew from the start that we wanted his jazz trio to play at our wedding – vibraphone, bass & drums. They were so much fun, and everybody loved having live music!

There were entertaining details strewn throughout the yard and inside the house. We built a photo booth wall especially for this day, and people loved it (we got so many great pictures)!

And instead of a guest book, we had a “wishing tree” for people to write notes to us on paper leaves.

And we hung up a huge fabric panel, on which we hung ribbons clipped with over a hundred photos of M & I, from baby pictures up to just weeks before the wedding.

The dinner we served was just brilliant. Our very talented caterer, Drew Pritchard, is a long-time friend and current housemate, of my older brother. He’s an amazing chef and skilled banquet organizer, and again, we knew from the start that we wanted him to do our food. And he didn’t disappoint! Everyone was raving about how good the food was.

Lots of wonderful things were said during the toasts, and I almost lost it when I wanted to thank everyone for being there and how special and meaningful each and every one of our guests are to us. Luckily M jumped in before I totally broke down – we’re a good tag-team.

The cake was a work of art that my master-baker Uncle Bill created for us – a three tier cake (1 layer white w/ bavarian creme filling, and 2 layers of carrot cake w/ cream cheese filling) with blue hydrangea blooms between the layers, and airy whipped frosting with a simple dotted design. And my ceramic birdies topped the cake, of course.

The rest of the evening was spent dancing under string lights and paper pom poms, with our IPod as DJ. Lots of people stayed late into the night. M and I left just before it was clear that the party was over 🙂

Overall, a perfect day.

More to come! I’ll go more in depth on all the details soon.


Filed under Crafts, DIY, Events, food, Music, paper, projects, Wedding