Debbie's Doings

When two people sing together, they're in love; when two people dance together, they make love.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making the time

I knew this was going to the weather warmed up I knew that there would be more chores to do, more requirements for work, and a looming time crunch for the wedding. My vege garden is yearning for a solid 4-5 hours of work, I still have a flower bed to dig up and replant, and as soon as I get my hothouse sealed (yay!) then I have more work to do setting up my peppers and eggplant.

My dress is slowly coming along and it's taking a lot of time.

Jeff has cut one half of our cake topper and now I have to etch the words into it.

I still have 14 garden stakes to label and get into the garden.

I got called in to relieve at the preschool on my non-nannying days for the next few weeks, so there goes my free Tuesdays and Thursdays. :)

I've got all the jars for our aisle decor now, so I need to paint them.

I've got some stretch lace on its way to me via Etsy so I can make my garter.

I need to also make time to exercise every single day. I went to put on a sundress today because it was so warm and they don't fit. Need to get back to exercising and losing some of this winter weight. My doctor also told me today that I need to lose 10 kg to be healthy. I had decided to get serious about my health and then that happened. It was a one-two punch today. Ugh.

So with all these things to do and all that I have forgotten (because I'm sure there's plenty), there's really not enough time in the day to get it all done. Trying to make a better plan to attack my days productively and be prepared for all that I need to get done is a little bit daunting. I'm thinking that I need to sit down and make an hourly schedule so I can get things done in a timely manner. Does this mean that I need to schedule fun time too?

Does anyone else struggle to find the time to get wedding stuff done in addition to everything else that life requires?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Getting Dolled Up: Inspiration

Probably my least favorite part of our wedding I have to think about is my hair and makeup. If you really know me, you know I only wear makeup on special occasions and that my hair is best described as "independent." Okay, that's putting it nicely. I don't blow-dry, curl or straighten my hair on any sort of basis. I let it do what it wants and mostly it wants to be crazy. It's semi-curly, but closer to wavy. I don't own a blow-dryer and since I cut my hair off back in May, I haven't needed to use my straightener for anything except for two occasions when I was bored.
My long hair pulled to the side for a wedding in January.
See how long my hair was? Then I chopped it all off. That's what I do though. I enjoy a good haircut and the purge of loosing a lot of hair.

This is what I have to work with right now:

apologies for the bright white photo
Had I known that Jeff was going to propose on my birthday a mere two months after my haircut, I wouldn't have cut it off. At least, I don't think I would have. It would have also meant that I had tons more options for wedding hair. Instead I'm hoping and praying that my hair grows out long enough to do something with by then.

Luckily I don't have to do my own hair for the wedding- a friend is gifting me a hairdresser for the wedding day. Yay! So all I have to do is decide how I want my hair to look.

Image via: WooInfo
 I'm in love with having braids worked into my hair. Braids are actually something that my hair holds really well (unlike curls).
Image via: Aisle Candy
I feel like an elegant low updo is best way to go. My hair struggles to hold curl for a long period of time and I'm worried about the summer heat. On the other hand, I think my current haircut will not allow for this to be possible. See, my hair is shorter in the back than it is in the front. Hmm...
Image via: Easy Weddings
This is likely to be what my hair actually looks like on my wedding day, except for the blonde color. Curly, swept back and hopefully lacquered within an inch of it's it will last and last. I like the idea of soft curls and a casual look. It should look nice with my dress and suit my current hair length. Maybe I can get a couple little braids from my temple and then have it curly? We'll have to wait until next month when I have a trial with the hairdresser and see what wonders she can do with my hair.

What do you think would work best for my hair? Should I keep looking? How mad would you be if you chopped off your really long hair before you were proposed to and then planned a short engagement?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food on a Budget: Meat, nom, nom, nom

Since becoming an avid reader on WeddingBee, I have come across so many versions of a wedding reception that I was completely unaware of.

Cocktails and canapes

Cake and punch

Buffet dinner

3, 4, or even 5 course sit-down plated meal

When we sat down and started figuring out our wedding, there wasn't really any discussion about whether we would be serving dinner or not. I just assumed that we would because that's how it has been at every other wedding I've been to. Our biggest consideration is our teeny, tiny budget and how that can give us dinner for 80 people. Then I figured it out: potluck buffet.

Image via: Dina Fraboni Food

I don't know where you stand on the issue of a potluck wedding dinner, but I know that for us it works. We're not asking everyone to bring something, but those local people who are very close to us will be asked if they can help out. My dad will be providing our favorite portion of the meal: MEAT.

My dad loves to cook. When my mom went back to the workforce when I was in middle school, my dad took over the day to day cooking for our family. I learned most of my favorite recipes from him and have fond memories when I cook something from my childhood in my new home. My dad loves cooking meat nowadays. With all of us kids out of the house, my parents can afford nicer cuts of meat and thus my dad's skills have grown. When I call home he'll sometimes inform me of what he's cooking for dinner, what they had the night before and what is in store for tomorrow. He gushes about the rubs he has for the meats, and marinades he's trying out, etc. So when he volunteered to cook all the meat for our wedding, I was over the moon.

Personal photo: Dad reading to his dogs

We've decided to streamline our potluck dinner to a BBQ buffet with my dad cooking all the meat when he gets here before the wedding as well as his famous twice-baked potatoes. Mmmmm. I can't wait. Family and friends will be asked to help out with salads, veggies and bread rolls to round out our meal. BBQ is really common here in NZ and a favorite of our family back home, so I feel that this will be a meat-filled meal to remember. Our few vegetarian friends will be given lots of alternatives to meat though. Don't worry.

So all my Dad has to do is tell me what meat to get before he arrives because I'm still pretty clueless about cuts of beef and pork.

How do you feel about a potluck wedding dinner? Tacky? Would you make the time to eat a homemade dinner at your own wedding? Because you can be sure that I will!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dancing the night away

One part of our wedding that is pretty important to me is the dancing. Ever since I first took a dance workshop while I was in Oxford, England I have been hooked. I just love learning how to dance. It's not easy and I have a lot of bad habits from dancing that I still struggle to break/ignore. But most of all, I love how I feel when I dance. I'm so happy and I usually have a ridiculous smile on my face. So I realized that dancing would happen at my wedding when it did happen. What I didn't count on was falling in love with a man who has never been out on a dance floor ever. I did get him to go to a social dance back in February because that's how much this man loves me. He didn't dance at all, but the fact that he came meant the world to me.

When we got engaged and started planning our wedding, I told him that I really wanted a first dance with him. The caveat is that he won't go to a dance class...I have to teach him here at home. Sigh. I've never learned how to teach dance moves and trying to figure some of them out is a struggle. I have to reverse the hands, step with the opposite foot, etc. It's a real struggle sometimes. We went nearly a month without dancing because I was so frustrated with it and he really didn't want to do it anyway.

But here we are, 4 months away from our wedding day and we've started practicing again. I think it helps that we have a song now and a better idea of what we're doing. I still may only get one dance out of this man, but by God, it's going to be awesome. On Sunday night we carried the coffee table out of the lounge and put on some music at 10pm so we could dance in the lounge. Jeff knows how much this means to me and I'm so grateful that he's putting forth this effort to give me what I really want. Now, if we could only sort out the rest of the wedding!

What did you decide to do about dancing? Anyone else marrying a man with two left feet? Are you teaching your partner to dance for the wedding, or am I the only crazy one?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Music is in the Air

One of the biggest struggles I've found with planning our wedding is the musical aspect of it. I love music, Jeff loves music, but he doesn't really love most of MY music. I will readily admit that I have erratic and sometimes terrible taste in music. Anything from musical soundtracks to heavy metal to pop music is in ready circulation on my iTunes.

So when it came down to our first dance song, it went something like this:

Me: I want to dance with you, one dance is all I ask (that sentence there is a whole other post waiting to happen...I'm teaching Jeff to dance).

Him: I hate dancing, why do we have to do this?

Me: Because I love it and I only want one dance.

Him: What song will we dance to?

Me: Umm, I'll find some and we can decide together.

We were practicing to dance to Mustang Sally, but that's not a good wedding song. Three months later...

Me: I hate trying to find a song.

Him: Let's just not do it then! (joking of course)

Me: What do you suggest?

Him: Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls.

We listen to his choices, try dancing to them, listen to more of my choices and dance to those. But nothing feels right. Everything is either too fast, weird tempo or not the right song. Finally last night it came to a head as he asked me yet again what we were going to dance to. I have to be honest here, I had pretty much given it up for a month because it made my head hurt to think about or try to figure out. So we listened to three songs I was really liking for this dance and he made the choice for me!

1. The Book of Love- Peter Gabriel

2. Bloom- The Paper Kites

3. Vanilla Twilight- Owl City

We danced to all three and Jeff chose Bloom. I am suddenly really excited about our first dance now. This song reminds me a lot of when I first met Jeff. I was introduced to this band and this song in particular right around the time I came to NZ on holiday. All the good memories I have of first meeting and getting to know my fiance are brought back up when I hear this song. Couldn't be more perfect I reckon.

This video of our song is lovely and makes me wish I could whistle. Also, my MOH thinks the girl in here reminds her of me. Poetic, huh?

Did anyone else struggle to find a first dance song? Does your song have special meaning to you?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Choosing Bands, part 2

I am so excited about our wedding bands! If you need to catch up, here's what we've decided on.

We took an overnight trip to Golden Bay, NZ to 1- escape and 2- meet with a jeweler about designing our wedding bands. The original weather forecast called for heavy rains, gale-force winds and an all around yucky weekend. What did we end up with?

Beautiful, sunny and slightly breezy weather.
It did rain overnight, but was clear by the time the sun got up this morning.

We went to Onekaka Arts to meet with Peter, the silversmith, and talk to him about what we wanted for our wedding bands. Then the jeweler that I originally contacted and talked to showed up, Grant, and between the two of them and Jeff and I, we figured out how to get the wedding bands we want!
Onekaka Arts

Yay! They will be 100% original and unique and will incorporate the gold wedding bands that Jeff's Nana gave us a couple weeks ago. I am THRILLED that these two guys will be working together on our bands and cannot wait to see what they look like when finished. While they are going to end up more expensive than we were initially comfortable with, we talked and figured out a way to make it a little cheaper, but still get exactly what we wanted. You'll have to wait for part 3 to see the finished rings (probably in November sometime). Now we gotta save up money so we can pay for our rings when we go pick them up!

Relaxing after meeting with the jewelers, with ice cream of course!

Good ice cream, but I think I should just stick to cookies and cream.

Tai was very happy to come on our trip too.

Did you consider bespoke rings? After a couple months of research and hashing out of what we wanted in our rings, we're pretty happy. How important were the wedding bands to you when planning your wedding?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Food on a Budget: Dessert Edition

This is the first in a series concerning wedding food and our journey to our wedding, via our stomachs. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have. You might need a napkin to wipe the drool from the corner of your mouth though. Uncensored food images ahead. Please eat before you read this! :)

When we decided on our wedding, there wasn't any question that we would be having a meal. We like food. All sorts of food. From my travels, I have been exposed to Korean, Indian and British cuisine and I have come to love all of them. Jeff? Well, he just loves food. There's not one meal that I make that he doesn't love. Favorites are probably roast meat of any kind along with mash. I have introduced him to a wider range of food and he has loved it all. And I love cooking. It is a passion I get from both of my parents. I love baking, trying new recipes, inventing meals and trying to recreate meals I love and miss from back home and Korea. Let's be honest, I love food almost as much as I love my fiance.

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes. Our wedding day food.

Right now I want to talk about the part of the day that we have the most control over and that which is perfectly planned out.


When I first started dreaming of my wedding day (way before I met Jeff), I thought it would be cool and different to have this for my wedding cake:

Croquembouche image via: Alons
I think I wanted this because I really like cream puffs. I fondly recall my mom making them occasionally and I'm pretty sure I would eat them until I made myself sick. I'm not French, I don't pretend to be French, but I really wanted this for my untraditional wedding cake. Fortunately, I don't still want this.

When planning our wedding, we talked about our options for cake. To be honest, Jeff doesn't visually care about this too much. It's all about the taste for him. So for me, the more I thought about a wedding cake and did research, the more problems I found with what was traditional and common.
Image: Martha Stewart via: Bridal Buds
We contemplated cupcakes, but decided that I would go nuts trying to bake enough (plus my cupcake pan only cooks 6 at a time, so not that ideal.) Specialty cupcakes are not common around here like they are in the USA.

Image via: Smitten Kitchen
 A traditional cake was too expensive for us to afford. And to be honest, that's a lot of cake.
Image via: Culinary Creations
Traditional tiered cakes give me a natural fear of it collapsing before we can eat it (thanks for that America's Funniest Home Videos).

Image via: Culinary Creations
I also don't understand the point of putting lots of flowers on a cake. I think that it often looks pretty, but I'm not going to eat the flowers, I want to eat cake.

So clearly a traditional wedding cake, or cupcake tower, is out of the question for the various reasons stated above. Financially we really can't afford to get a baker to make a cake for us and I don't want fondant or marzipan icing on my cake. Period.

My FMIL has offered to make our wedding cake for us and we have found the perfect cake (with complete recipes) for her to make. Introducing our Grasshopper Cake:

Image via: The Patriotic Baker from Baked New Frontiers in Baking

Image via: Marzipan Mom
Our favorite combination is chocolate and mint, so why not have our cake be the same? We're just having this single cake for cutting and eating and it will be awesome. There will be NO cake smashing because we both feel it is a waste of food. The recipe that The Patriotic Baker posted from the cookbook covers all aspects of the cake and the best part is that the frosting is supposed to withstand room temp or warmer temps so it won't be runny! I've printed out the recipe and FMIL will make a practice cake so we can try it before the wedding.

The second part of our dessert I will be taking care of in the weeks before our wedding: pies!

Image via: Joonbug
Since I first made my own pie while living in South Korea, I have taken it upon myself to master pie making. Sort of. Let's just face it, I like pies and Jeff likes pies too. We contemplated only having pies at our wedding, but then we found the grasshopper cake recipe and that was that. Since we're only having a single cake, we thought more dessert was needed. So I will make 8 or 9 pies to serve alongside our cake. Best thing is that I can make most of them in advance and freeze them until the day of.
Image via: Laura on Facebook
Look at me with my first made-from-scratch apple pie way back in 2007. Man, I was proud of that pie and enjoyed every bite!

I was given a pie cookbook for Christmas back in 2009 that has 500 recipes in it. I reckon I can get our 8 or 9 pie recipes out of that and we'll be sorted for our wedding desserts!

Did anyone else freak out over the cost of wedding cake? Any other alternative dessert people out there? Even though we're still being semi-traditional, I like that we aren't limiting ourselves to a basic cake!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making the Dress: Part 1

Since I have decided to make my own wedding dress, I have gone through days where I am convinced I cannot do this. That my design is too complicated and I should simplify it just so I can be sure to make it well. But even with all the doubts I have about my ability to do this, I still stuck to my schedule and started making my wedding dress in October. It's now the 17th and the first portion of my dress is finished- the corselet.

When trying on wedding dresses I was pleased and surprised how a corset bodice helped my figure and made me feel really womanly and beautiful, so I knew that I needed to have something in my own wedding dress to help with that. Hours of research and countless image searches gave me a good visual of what I was going to be making. So I then started cutting fabric and draping it on Betsy (my dress form). Here's a picture journey of my corselet!

First layer draping and gathered

My dress will come a bit lower than I initially thought: but I like it now.

second layer added and sides stitched together.

Pinning my corset loops (It took AGES)

Double checking the layout

Boning added and pressed flat: it was curled most of the time I worked on this


visual of the lacing (not what I'll use, I'm still making that part right now!)
Just a few things I learned along the way:

1. Boning is a pain in the butt. I had to cut it, burn the edges and sew it into the casing. Then I had to iron it all flat.

2. Handmade ribbon is taking way longer than I thought it would.

3. Draping on a mannequin is really hard for someone who has no experience draping.

4. I CAN do this.

I'm pretty happy with how this has turned out. There are a few things I would have done differently and there's still work to be done on this because I measured around the bottom of this and it's about 9 inches more than my hip measurement, which is where this will be hitting. I'll wait for a fitting and then I'll adjust after that point. Taking this in will be so much easier than letting it out.

So what do you think? Who thinks this will give me the curvy silhouette of my dreams? What do you think of my choice to not use plain white fabric for this project?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Invitation Reveal

I've been pretty hard at work lately on our wedding invites. Designing, printing, stamping, punching and assembly is finally all finished. I thought at first that it would be more labor-intensive than it was and so I was prepared to rally up a few friends and have an invite-making party. Then I couldn't be bothered to organize something (story of my life) and ended up doing most of it alone. What I found though was that by working in small stages it made the entire process much more doable by myself. Although Jeff did help out some! He was sought for approval at every step in the process and was tasked with cutting everything out for me. What a sweetheart.

Envelopes waiting for stamps

Vintage Kiwi stamp for our RSVP cards

Ready to be cut!

Jeff doing the hardest part (I can't cut straight)

All ready for assembly

Our invitation pack. All designed and printed here at home. Love.
As I look at our invites I realize that they are pretty traditional, but I still love them. I know that they will deliver all the information that we need to give people, so that's what is important. These don't really reflect the theme of our wedding, but I'm still really proud of them!

A process which started at the end of July has finally finished and we've started delivering our invites. It's kind of exciting, this part. I was really excited once we booked our venue and since then it's been up and down a lot as I fight to keep this wedding real in my head. Most days it feels like a dream and that it won't actually happen, but as the invites go out I am reminded that it is indeed real and that it will happen.

Did you have any fear or sudden joy as the invites were finished and went out? How much thought went into designing invites that reflected the theme of your wedding?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Border Punching (Or How I Drove Myself Crazy)

One of the aspects of our wedding that I was least looking forward to was designing our invitations. Since I knew we couldn't afford to order invites and I was pretty capable around a computer and printer, I figured that was just one more thing I'd have to do myself. Fast forward 3 months into our 7 month engagement and I have finally gotten the invites done. Why did it take so long? Well, the last week I have been in the process of border punching our RSVP cards.

Ridiculous because the border punch I had to use decided to do this after 3 uses:

Broken handle means I can't do this by hand now.
 So what's a girl to do with 80+ RSVP cards that need two punches each to get done? Use her foot, of course!

Working hard.
The mess I kept cleaning up.
Then finally the poor punch broke completely and I had to abandon the last 20 cards to having no border cut out (sorry to whomever gets those ones!) Was it worth all the hard work and constant up and down since I had to stand up and really press down to get this to work? Yeah, it was. Just look at that border!

 For my own recommendation: do NOT buy and use Fiskars border punches for a large project. It was ridiculous and in the end is a shattered mess of plastic parts surrounding pretty solid steel. I think it could have been designed to work better and last longer. For what it's worth, I wasn't even using cardstock, just regular old paper for our invites. Double ridiculous. But now I can let the crazy subside until the next DIY project tanks mid-production and I have another meltdown. :)

Did you invest in something from a reputable brand to only have it crap out on you too? Would you have kept working on a DIY that just wasn't wanting to work? Isn't the border punch pretty?

Friday, October 12, 2012

If I Had A Green Thumb...

this is what I'd do:

Image via: Garden Oasis

Image via: Sunset Cottage

Image via: Phyllis Rowley
Instead, this is what I have:

Personal photo
It's really hard work building up flower beds that have been abandoned to weeds for about six years. Really hard work indeed. But I'm plugging away at it because I really want to create a beautiful home for us. And I don't want to spend money on flowers for our wedding. Since our wedding is at the end of the summer in NZ, I am confident that all we need for our wedding (flower-wise) we can grow at home or get from the family farm. So I'm planting away, praying they grow and planning on cutting most of my garden beds up when the time comes. This is what I want it to look like for our wedding, except maybe not so full and lush, because that would be a A LOT of flowers.

Image: Jen Huang via Pinterest
Image: Ken Kienow via Green Wedding Shoes
Image: brocantegirl via Beach Bungalow 8
I've got poppies, stock, love-in-a-mist, daisies of 3 kinds, catmint, and baby's breath growing at the moment. In a couple more weeks I'll plant out my cottage seed mixes and pray for the best. I've got lots of plant food to help it all grow and all I can hope for is a bountiful harvest of flowers for our DIY wedding. If all else fails, we'll get lots of manuka flowers and heather flowers from up at the farm and just use that instead.

Heather flower image: NZ Plant Pics via: Image Juicy

Manuka flower image: Bushman's Friend
In an ideal world the flowers at my wedding will be bright, varied and amazing. In reality, it may be far less, but I'm okay with that. As long as I get married to my best friend, then it doesn't matter what the flowers looked like.

Did you grow all the flowers for your own wedding? Is the thought of doing so as overwhelming for you as it is for me? How does one control all the weeds without spending huge amounts of money on weedmats, etc?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Choosing Bands, part 1

One of the design elements Jeff and I have been going over for a couple months now is our wedding bands. Jeff is not big on buying jewelry (heck, I picked out my engagement ring and told him exactly where he could find it) and both of us want a special wedding band for each other.

So here are some of the thoughts we've had over it all-

We like mixed-metal rings, a lot.

We both love Celtic knots (e.g. he carves it on our furniture and back door and I have two Celtic tattoos).

We really want them to match and not get different rings for each other. So what does this translate to in what we are looking at?

The Wedding Band Shop

We did a lot of Google searching for inspiration. A lot of searching. We have decided that we like the Trinity knot over other forms of knots we could have chosen. And then we fell in love with rose gold inlays.

Site no longer available

Green Lake Jewelry Works
We have decided that copper or brass inlays probably won't work well because the metal will age and discolor faster than we would like. So now we have a pattern and an idea of what we're wanting to have made (but still haven't found exactly what we want).

Just to recap: we want silver bands with knots all around it with a secondary metal complimenting our design. We do not want rings with holes cut through it, etched designs, or vastly different bands. Nightmare, right?

Just to throw a monkey wrench in the works, we were given an amazing gift this past weekend from Jeff's grandmother. His only remaining grandparent still alive gave us the wedding bands of her and her husband. And Jeff's great-grandmother's ring as well. Wow. I was shocked when she pulled them out and said she wanted us to have them for our own wedding. (Jeff wasn't even there when she did this, I was visiting her while Jeff was cutting firewood for us to take home). I was overwhelmed with the generosity of Nana and could only hug her and thank her for this priceless gift. Jeff is close to his grandmother and was close to his granddad as well, so this meant a lot to him. After we got over the shock of this, we talked about the rings when we got home that night and tried them on. Guess what? They fit perfectly.

Nana and Granddad's rings

Great-grandmother's ring in a rose hue, dated 1927

The two ladies rings...still can't quite capture the contrast of color

We want to maintain the integrity of the rings while still having what we want. So we're not melting them down if we can avoid it. I suggested a ring designed with the knot work plus holes and have the gold rings put inside ours so the gold can peek through the pattern and be shown. The rose-hued ring I don't think we'll use, but keep it to pass down to our own children when the time comes.

We have decided to talk to two jewelers in Golden Bay over the upcoming holiday weekend to get an idea of what we would be looking at to get these rings made. That's really exciting and promising, then we'll know better what price we're looking at.

So what do you think? Did anyone else struggle with a wedding band design like we are? Are we putting too much thought into these rings? What would you do if you were given heirlooms like these gold bands?