Friday, April 30, 2010

Did I mention I was REALLY busy last weekend making a wedding dress?

Well, I didn't really sew it, but I designed it! My sweet Mom did all the sewing. I helped pick out the initial patterns and chose the fabric and tried on all the different versions of the dress. Her friend Kathy came over multiple times to help with the cutting, sewing and fitting process. Thanks Kathy! We finished late Tuesday night, except for a few minor changes that will happen at the final fitting. Of course I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise of the dress with photos (you'll have to wait until after the wedding for those!), but I can show you a few process pics.

Me cutting the fabric

My sweet Mom smocking the skirt

Yards and yards of silk for the skirt

In summary, making your own wedding dress is a good idea... if the following statements are true:

-You know someone who can and is willing to help you sew. Do not think you can make this and fit yourself in it. It just doesn't work! You need to have a sewing team!

- Your sewing team has a good understanding of patterns and has successfully made clothing before. My team has past experience making costumes and tutus for the Ballet studio where both of their daughters dance. Barb & Kathy are quite the sewing duo!

- You have a good fabric store with great employees in close proximity so you can run over and ask them questions. Thanks to Patty at Fabric Hut in Norfolk for all her help.

- You know what you are looking for in a dress and can find patterns that are similar in style. After going to a few bridal shops, I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to find "the dress" in a realistic price range. I sketched up exactly what I was looking for and I went to the fabric store and found 2 patterns that looked like they would create the look. We ended up adding 1 additional style to the dress for a total of 3 different patterns to get the right look - one for the bodice, one for the cummerbund and one for the skirt.

- You have patience and understand the final results aren't going to happen overnight. I can't tell you how many times we ripped out seams and had to stop and think about the patterns we were using. We used muslin for the first dress (NEVER cut your first attempts in the wedding fabric!) and made so many different renditions so that we could get the right fit. The good news is that you can see progress pretty quickly.

- You want to save money! I wouldn't go as far as saying the initial goal was to save thousands, but once we added up all the costs, that is essentially what happened! I am pleased to say that the dress came in around $300 including muslin for the initial pattern and interlining, tons of crinkly, lusciously slubby silk for the dress, taffetta for the lining and all other notions. Note that this number does not include time spent making the dress.

I really couldn't be happier with the dress. Kathy and Barb are my sewing fairy godmothers and what they have created is something I could have never have found in a store. The experience outweighs the results though, in my opinion. It was a delightful opportunity to make this dress with my Mom and it's a memory I'll always have to look back on. So there you go, future brides! We did it and so can you!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Window Treatments and Zimmans

In the midst of wedding planning, I have taken some time to put some color on my windows. As many know, apartments often lack color. Mine is no different. As nice as it is to have a clean, uniform look throughout the apartment, the lack of color is getting a little, well, dull. I am working to bring some color and "L.Alden-ness" into the space.

I wanted to work on the living room first, which has taupe walls, white trim, light wood floors, and a white sofa. The room is crying for color!!! Deciding on my largest print was the first place to start. So I made my first trip to Zimmans, my new favorite fabric store! I picked out this floral print (I don’t know who makes it, if anyone recognizes it please let me know!) because it is fun, vibrant, and features so many different colors. I could see it going about 10 different ways in different spaces. After I whipped up the first relaxed roman and found that the curtain was crying for more oompf! The green in the leaves is gorgeous, and I knew it needed to be better represented, so back to Zimmans I went. Carly was there to help me out; let me tell you, this girl knows her fabric. Within seconds of showing her what I was trying to highlight, she knew exactly where to go. Well one week later and here are the results.

So, what’s next, you ask? Well, I need to make pillow covers for pair of rectangular pillows I bought at Homegoods (the striped one on the sofa above). I'm thinking a solid green with mother of pearl buttons. I also need to bring in the vibrant pinks, reds and yellows out subtly with accessories. Then its on to the fireplace. I'm looking to make or purchase an affordable oil pastel or oil painting for the fireplace. I'd love a street scene, maybe a cafe or little storefront. A heavy emphasis on perspective is a necessity too. Something sweet and Southern to remind me of my Virginia roots. Any suggestions are welcome!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thinking of Cakes

Found here

I've been busy finalizing wedding plans over the past few days. I'll be back on Thursday with more fun design ideas and information! In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of my favorite cake inspiration photos (of course I can't help but love the bouquet of peonies as well).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Green Goodness

found here

I love this vanity (and entire bathroom) designed by Sarah Richardson. What a fresh shade of green!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Found here

This makes my heart sing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

If I was a flower...

... I think I'd be a hyacinth. Too lovely not to share! I wish you could smell them though! This is what spring smells like.

And a little flower quote for you:

"I' d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck..."

- Emma Goldman

it is so very true

Sneak Peak

A sneak peak of some floral "fluff" for the shop. Perfect to spruce up your party dress and shoes! Expect to see them for sale next week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Caspari napkins & other accessories

Remember Caitlin's post yesterday on cute Caspari napkins? Well this print seems to be quite popular!

It just showed up on One Kings Lane in the form of an accent wastepaper basket, serving tray, and tissue box from a company called Jaye's. I have a feeling that this pattern will sell out pretty quickly!

Chevron Beadboard

Looking for a unique way to spruce up your guest bath? Look no further than this cool bath designed by Janelle at Maison Classique.

Both images found here

I love how she angled the beadboard to create a chevron design! And the crisp white paint with navy grasscloth wallpaper is perfect-o!

Be sure to read her blog post for more details and to see her design sketches.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Ikea meets Serena & Lily

Remember yesterday's post about the Serena & Lily Cabinet? If you loved it, but couldn't stomach spending $835 on a shelf, then read on! I have found a way to rework an Ikea shelving unit that is inspired by the Hayworth Shelf for about half the price. (Okay, I think I may have been inspired by Janell and her son's cool IKEA bedroom)

Consider sprucing up the Ikea Hemnes Storage Unit pictured below with a few cans of spray paint. I chose Maine Cottage's spray paint in Zinnia because I love the bright pop of color! Spruce up the glass with your favorite geometric pattern and a can of glass frost. Replace the hardware, and voila! You've just made yourself a storage unit inspired by Serena & Lily's Hayworth shelf. Click on the link to enlarge.

The Details:

The price was estimated using the following math:
Ikea Cabinet
: $350
Spray Paint (4 cans)*: $72
Stencil*: $25
Hardware (6 ring pulls): $5.70
Frosted Glass Spray: approx $5
Total: $457.70

* To further reduce the cost involved in this cabinet, use less expensive spray paint (try color matching at your hardware store) and create your own stencil!

Please note: The Hemnes Glass Door Cabinet with 4 Drawers is not currently available at my IKEA. Therefore, I have not had a chance to try this project. I've typed up these directions for reference. Let me know your thoughts and any experience you've had with these products!

Laaaaaa Laaaaa Laaaaa Love! Quatrefoil Shelving Unit

If the following statements are true...

1. You are looking for a new storage unit for books, accessories, etc
2. You consider yourself to embrace the old Hollywood Glam look, and would like to find a way to incorporate it into your home.
3. Your budget currently includes $835.50 for a bookcase.
4. Pink is your favorite color, or a color you'd be willing to live with.

... I highly recommend you take a look at the Hayworth Shelf in Melon from Serena & Lily.

Quite the little beauty, I'd say! I love the geometric design along the sides of the shelf and the two small storage drawers. I envision coasters, candle snuffers, and the like being stored in the drawers.

If thats not in your budget, come back tomorrow for a tutorial to make a shelving unit inspired by the Hayworth Shelf. It will be chock full of Hollywood Glam and quatrefoil!

Twists and Turns

A rusted old umbrella stand in my parent's backyard. I remember this when it was new held our green market umbrella on the deck. It has been cast away to the side yard, where it has been laced with rust and weeds growing through the negative space. I love all the chipped paint and details in the curves.

Mom, don't throw this one away! It has potential.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

If you thought the rhino was cool...

found here

...You just may like this! Watch the video on the website though, you'll get a better understanding of the level of detail that is involved in this moving pegasus.

Well Aren't these Just Dandy!

Anthropologie Rhino Bust

Anthropologie Zebra Bust

Saw these last time I wandered through Anthropologie. I like the Reduce Reuse Recycle feel of these paper mache animals. And you know I like some zebras! But here's some top secret info... In this application, I actually prefer the rhino! I think because he almost disappears on the wall. Love it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now wouldn't this be fun!

Yep! I could make good use of this, especially in the new town! I'm already seeing baguettes and fresh farmers market finds in the attached basket!

Easter: A few days later

All the Easter candy may be gone, but the decorations are still around.

Graham Crackers

photo from smitten kitchen

My sister posted on Facebook that she made graham crackers. Yes, that's right, made them ... as in from scratch! They sounded tasty, and like something I should know how to do, so inquired about her recipe of choice. She sent me the link to smitten kitchen's recipe. Its rainy here today; I think its the perfect weather for homemade graham crackers and a cup of tea. I can almost smell the cinnamon-y honey goodness. Better start baking!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I had forgotten about Sunny's Goodtime stencils until today when I was looking for a potential stenciling project! Wow do I love this elephant stencil! It reminds me of Rickshaw Design's newest bedding collection! What a cute accent to a little girl's room. Possibly pink or lavender painted walls with gold elephants stenciled. Too cute!