Category Archives: Projects


Last week was busy. How busy? Collin’s parents were in town. My aunt was in town. Five of Collin’s high school/college friends were in town and staying at our place on various evenings. My future brother-in-law graduated from law school. Bridal Hootenanny member Liz had a birthday. I had my first wedding dress fitting since I bought it back in October. We had to get the invitations for our wedding ready to mail. Collin ran in the Pittsburgh marathon. All that, and a circus. [That’s not a metaphor.]

I was tired all the time and hit my emotional limit at least once every day. I popped my anxiety pills like breath mints and got too drunk on Friday night. I had random crying jags. I snapped at Collin a bunch of times. I looked like shit. I developed an ugly rash on my arm (I think its the same kind of
atomic eczema I had after the bar exam). I slept fitfully even though I pretty much collapsed into bed each night.

I don’t want to feel that way the week of my wedding.

But it will be very much the same kind of week: many people in town, a full calendar chock-a-block with social obligations, a lengthy list of tasks to be accomplished, and emotional energy running high.

I need to develop a strategy to deal with these pressures with more aplomb than I did this week. And I’m too tired and worn down at this point to develop it properly. I know I need to get as much done ahead of time as possible. I know I need to get more comfortable delegating responsibilities and being assertive about my needs. And I know I need to schedule downtime during wedding week. But even with these strategies I feel less than confident I’ll have the wherewithal to withstand wedding week.

So, marrieds: how did you hold up during your wedding week and do you have any crucial tips for me? People I know in real life: Will you slap me in the face if I need to snap out of it during wedding week? (Without leaving a mark that might show in photos?) Everyone else: what strategies do you rely upon in stressful crunch times?


Could I Care Less? Let’s see.

Dudes, I care a lot about my wedding. You can probably tell that by how I write about it so much? I am not one of those breezy “it’s just another day” engaged ladies. I am a Bride with a capital B and occasional silent “zilla” suffix.

I’ve spent so many more hours and dollars tears and furrows on this wedding than I’d really care to admit.

And yet, I am regularly confronted with wedding things for which I can not summon even a crumb of enthusiasm: Table numbers. Escort cards. Out-of-town bags. Favors. Centerpieces. Pretty much everything that can be categorized as a “detail.”

All of which are things that are on the agenda for this week, while my mother-in-law is in town. Which is bizarrely shifting my thinking to a place where I believe I hate my wedding or at least don’t particularly care about it. I have a weird detail-induced false consciousness going on here.

But Viki’s picking up my slack, so boxes are being checked even though my heart is not in it right now. Viki is awesome. She pretty much single-handedly assembled all of our centerpieces this afternoon. Seriously, I pitched in with a little Windexing here and a little price-sticker-peeling there, but she was the heart and the brain of the operation. I was like, the gall bladder. Helpful, but hardly vital.

So cheers for friends and family being on Team Wedding. I’m still hoping my interest and excitement in my wedding pop back in to place in a timely fashion, but at least I’m not the only one who knows how to fly this plane. [Could I mix any more metaphors into this entry? Probably not? I’ll just end here, then.]

The Problem With Do-It-Together

…is that sometimes within an hour of getting his hands on the paper cutter, your fiancé will break it.

Collin, I still love you.

Wedding Work Whirlwind Wrapup

I’m happy to report that Viki and I successfully tackled more than half of our extremely ambitious to-do list for this trip!

  • After a shape/style breakthrough, I finally made serious headway on the bridesmaids’ brooch bouquets.  Look for the tutorial this Sunday on The Broke-Ass Bride!
  • We got the rest of the supplies needed for the DIY invitations.  Wait, except for the custom stamp I keep forgetting to order. Well, most of the rest, then!
  • I successfully convinced Viki that I do not care about escort cards or table number signs and she can do whatever she wants for those as long as it gets people to sit in the right places and does not involve glitter.  Yay delegation!
  • We found a non-custom ring that will probably satisfy Collin’s tremendously picky tastes and unusual preferences for his wedding band.  It is too expensive (the jeweler wouldn’t even tell me how much, just that the designer’s “at cost” quote was higher than my price range), so the jeweler is hunting down similar styles for me. Progress.
  • We acquired the pieces for fabulous mixed metal necklaces for the women in the bridal party and the bridal hootenanny, and laid out the designs for all twelve necklaces. I don’t really care for jewelry and don’t ever wear any other than my engagement ring, but nevertheless this was a really fun project for me. I love the different styles we came up with and can’t wait to see the finished necklaces!
  • We kinda sorta came up with a plan for the chuppah. There was a lot of disagreement about how to properly attach the fabric to the poles. At least we’re working on it?
  • I… um… opened the invitation mail merge in front of Viki? We almost made it to the step where we went through and made sure I know who is a doctor and who is a Mrs., but we scuttled the plan after realizing we were so wiped out from the day’s work that we didn’t even have the energy to eat dinner (not make, EAT).

On the homefront, Collin wasn’t exactly slacking either:

  • He ordered a “super sexy” tux! With details strange enough to prompt the tailor to question, “Are you suuuure you want that?” I don’t get to know what it looks like. Which is only fair I guess, because I’m trying to keep my dress a secret.
  • He asked his cousin Scott to preside over our wedding. We’re self-officiating, but Scott will be our master of ceremonies, so to speak. He talks at large groups of people for a living, so the role suits him.

When I write it out like this with a pesky word counter pointing out my brevity, I feel a little less accomplished. But I’m better off than I was on Tuesday for damn sure, and that will have to do for now.

Brooch Bouquet Bonzanza

I did a lot of work on brooch bouquets today, following Sarah’s instructions.  I think I felt emboldened to work on wedding crafts because my Conservatory Dress went over well at Clue Party (people thought the painted-on checker pattern was always part of the dress, and I cheerfully showed them all the places I made mistakes, because sometimes I’m terrible at accepting compliments).

But remember how I felt when I started working on my Clue dress?  All, “I suck at crafts! Waah!” Right back there today.

First, I kept pricking myself with brooch pins.  Is there some trick to keeping them closed?  Sarah’s method is designed to not destroy the jewelry, and I like that idea so the bouquets can be disassembled and returned to Viki’s incredible stash and incorporated into her future art.  But after a few pricks I started seriously considering gluing the looser pins closed.  On top of my desire to avoid being stabbed myself, I feel like I would be an exceptionally bad bride if I let my sister and future-sisters-in-law be stabbed.  I’m already making them carry around heavy clumps of tangled-up jewelry instead of lightweight and pretty-smelling flowers.

I also had major issues with symmetry. I’m trying to make these smallish, so that I don’t need to use every brooch in the tri-state area. Which meant I couldn’t turn to the obvious solution to an uneven bouquet: adding more pieces to the other side. I tried the upside-down fluffing method, but had mixed results. I think ultimately I will need to add a few more pieces, but take another go at rearranging, preferably after a glass of wine (liquid patience).

But this morning, with a mug of superstrong coffee (liquid “ACK!”), I was about three pin-pricks or two busted clasps away from flipping over my crafting table, the way Jack Bauer would while screaming “WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?” at his needle nose pliers.

Crafts, in the Conservatory, with Cats

I’m working on a totally non-wedding related craft project,1 but it still makes me think about wedding things.  Such is (engaged) life.

First: I am not great at crafting.  It is too bad because I grew up in a craft-loving family.  We had a dedicated Craft Closet in our house (for years I thought everyone had one of those) growing up.  Child Robin went through Aileen’s Tacky Glue like Adult Robin goes through Diet Coke.  At the tender age of eight I coined the term “Ouchie-degree burn” for the minor singes associated with hot glue gun use.

But somewhere along the way I lost those skills.  Or maybe I’m just holding my final product to a higher standard than I did when I was in grade school?  Maybe I just miss my mom telling me, “What a nice [insert thing made out of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners]”

Second: crafts and cats don’t mix.  We only have one room (well two if you count the restroom) the cats can be excluded from (we have an open floor plan downstairs and a cat door leading into the bedroom).   And as soon as that door closes, the cats want IN.  So all crafting must happen to a soundtrack of scratches and whines.  Which, granted, is better than having green paw prints trailing around the house.

Third: I don’t know why people are always talking about crafty, do-it-yourself weddings as being budget-friendly. I found myself underestimating the cost of several craft ingredients. [Side note: Almost everything was at least 10% cheaper at JoAnn’s Fabrics than at Michaels. I assume everything is cheaper on the Internet, also.] And you’ve also got to account for all the craft ingredients you buy that turn out to not be what you really need. Like, should I attach fake ferns to my dress with fishing line, fabric glue, or yes? I bought yes. If this were my wedding, that means I’d have to put yes into my budget, even if (as I hope I will be able to) can get by with just the fishing line. Maybe all the crafty brides, in addition to having much nicer finished products, have a better sense of what they need when they go to the store, and don’t sink as much cost into contingency craft items.

1I will be attending a Clue-themed party this weekend. I am going as the Conservatory. Collin is going as the Candlestick. Write your own dirty joke.

Outside the Bubble

I stopped into Michael’s today and picked up a Finding Nemo bath toy with foam noodle as per Sarah’s indispensable instructions for creating a brooch bouquet.  I also picked up some needle nose pliers.

While waiting in line, I noticed the cashier had an engagement ring.  I got really excited.  She’s going to know exactly why I am buying this Finding Nemo toy!

I got to the front of the line.  I handed over my supplies with anticipation.  I was about to experience some real-world bride-to-be bonding.

The cashier scanned the noodle.  I held my breath.  “Hey,” she said.

“Hey!” I said, as though greeting an old friend.

“I think this one is broken.”  She pointed to the Nemo part of the toy.  It was coming off the tubing.

My face fell.  “Oh.”

She tried to reassure me.  “There are lots more back there.”

“No, uh… it’s ok.  I’m really just buying it for the foam noodle part?”

“Oh, ok.”  And that was that.  She dropped the noodle into a plastic bag and asked for my zip code.

Lesson: not everyone is in the wedding blog bubble.  [Which is too bad for everyone.]

Someday I Will Learn How to Spell Boutonniere

We’re still planning on having a flower-free wedding.  While I figured there are plenty of flower-free bouquet alternatives for me and the bridesmaids, when I thought about the number of people in the Bridal Hootenanny I got more nervous.

Then I found out that my mother-in-law Viki has boxes upon boxes of jewelry for use in her art, and was willing to let me poach from this bounty for the bouquets etc.

Partial representation of Viki's stash

I took three gallon-sized ziplock bags of brooches, earrings, wires, beads, and bits of scrap metal.  I am so ridiculously Stage One about this stuff.

So here’s a little tease: two proto-boutonnieres we made last weekend.  Carrie, my future-sister-in-law who is also an artist, added the leaves, which I think really pull the pieces together.

Please note that these are held together by gravity and that I never gave a second of thought as to how these would go through the boutonniere hole (is there a technical term for that? Also, suits don’t have those, do they? Do people in suits not wear boutonnieres? ), so the finished product that has to take practical considerations into account may look quite different.