Top 5 Highlights

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FYI: I have some projects that need to be photographed and a ton of projects that were gifts and I can’t talk about until after Christmas. D’oh. When I have time, I will post about things!

Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow is hosting the Top 5 series again this year. I had a great time doing it last year and emailed her excitedly asking if she was doing it again.

I want to start off with highlights. This entry is not about sewing. It’s my highlights of the year.

1.

Wedding.

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I’ve reflected on this day a lot this year. It was perfect from start to finish. I am so happy.

2.

Minimoon!

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We had such a wicked time being dorky tourists in Niagara Falls. A heart-shaped whirlpool tub in the room. Visited a wax museum. Saw exotic birds. Rode the boat under the falls. Got our pictures taken in an old school saloon. It was the best time.

3.

My husband.

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Okay, I will switch gears from gushing over love, but the highlight of the year is my husband. Since getting married, I’ve never been more in love with him. We have grown so much as a couple this year and every day I find myself more and more in love. How is that even possible? Well, with such a wonderful guy as your partner, it’s easy! I love you, Dale. Sew very much.

4. My job.

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I don’t talk about it that much here, but I’ve been enjoying learning a lot this year as a project manager on several corporate initiatives. I have been taking a lot of pride in that. For Halloween, I went to work as the Super Project Manager, which inspired a coworker to create the comic book cover above.

5. My Health.

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I talk about it occasionally, but I live with chronic pain and it’s often the reason for large gaps in posting even when I have tons sewn. It takes so much energy out of me and makes it very difficult to do daily tasks let alone extracurricular tasks. I will often put my energy toward sewing rather than taking garment photos and writing blog entries.

I was “diagnosed” with fibromyalgia earlier this year. I say diagnosed because the rheumatologist did his tests in finding the pain centers and ruled out several things and then said “it’s probably fibromyalgia. Talk to your family doctor about these medications.” Then he handed me a list and I talked to my family doctor who wasn’t very helpful and hasn’t ever really been helpful for me.

Then I switched family doctors. My current doctor is amazing and sent me for a second opinion about the fibromyalgia due to joint dislocation I experience on a daily basis and the cause for the majority of my pain. I discussed that issue with the previous rheumatologist and my previous family doctor and they both saw that “as no issue.” Okay…

I have a bunch of specialist appointments booked and MRIs. I’ve seen another rheumatologist. I’ve had a ton of x-rays. It’s all been pretty painful to go through the tests and x-rays, because of the way they locate your pain, prode it to cause pain, and then manipulate your body to find the perfect angle for the x-rays.

I know this journey will lead me to a more definitive diagnosis. This is a highlight for me because I am finally on the right track and making my health a top priority. This is something I set as a goal this year and I am glad to finally be getting somewhere. I may never be cured, but I hope to have an actual treatment plan in place some day soon. I feel pretty hopeful!

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The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day

When I was growing up, I never had an idea in my head of a wedding. I never had it in my head that I would get married at all. If my Barbies or dolls got married, it was usually a lesbian wedding and involved unicorns and dragons. It usually ended in complete destruction of the world I had set up, because fairy tale weddings always had the bride carried away by a dragon, right?

I’m happy to report that my actual wedding had no such conclusion. It was perfect.

I already revealed the dress, because I was too excited to hold back the dress for me to write a post. Instagram was also filled with pictures of our wedding. A lot of our wedding was DIY and I wanted to go over a few more details from the week leading up and the day and then tell you about our awesome minimoon in Niagara Falls.

Decorations for the wedding reception were created by my friend Rob and I. The night before we went to the space and got everything pretty for the day of.

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Each table had a paper table cloth and a tissue paper flower with a tea light in the centre. The stage, where we put the head table, had a string of lights and tulle, as well as balloons covered in tulle and tied with ribbons and fake flowers. These balloons also appeared throughout the space, as well. We also had little paper wedding bells above the bar.

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This was the prototype we created for the wedding. They weren’t helium-filled, but were hung from the ceiling with clear fishing wire.

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Here I am playing with a wedding decoration after a few. 😉

Dale and I made the favours for the wedding reception, as well:

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We gave a little DIY Yahtzee game with dice and little pencil along with a bunch of candy: York peppermint patty, Hershey’s Hugs, Maple toffee, Tootsie Roll, and a Chocolate Loonie. Totally random candies from a bulk store.

Our ceremony was a mix of non-traditional and traditional. We are not religious but we chose to do a handfasting, which is a Celtic and neopagan tradition.

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We felt connected to the significance of having our lives bound together physically and symbolically through marriage. Our parents each bound our hands and then tied a knot together. We wanted them to take part in the ceremony in some way even if it wasn’t a traditional giving away of the bride by the father of the bride. In this way, our two families are connected by the bond they created by raising us and blessing our union.

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Our vows were a little different from the usual to have and to hold for richer and for poorer. Helen Sweet, our amazing officiate, had a lovely set of vows that fit with who we are with each other:

I, Andie, choose you Dale as my spouse, to be no other than yourself.  Loving what I know of you, trusting what I don’t yet know; With respect for your integrity and faith in your abiding love for me; In all that life may bring us, I join my life to yours.

While I didn’t cry all the way through the ceremony, my voice caught in saying these words and looking into his eyes.

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And then we made out. Fully encouraged by Helen, who said she wouldn’t tolerate anything less than making out.

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And the ceremony ended with a family hug with the kids. A perfect way to end it.

Here are some post-ceremony pictures:

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Our ceremony took place in Allan Gardens Conservatory in the main atrium under the banana tree. It was an important place for us as our family pictures took place there a few years prior.

Helen Sweet, our officiate, was booked through All Seasons Weddings. She was an excellent speaker and truly wonderful to work with. We adored her.

Our reception took place at Social Capital Theatre, where we perform our monthly show, Holodeck Follies. It was catered by KAMA Restaurant, Indian buffet, with a late night pizza snack from Panago Pizza.

For our wedding cake, I made a small gluten free vanilla cake with blueberry coulis and vanilla buttercream. To match our gold colour, I dusted the top with gold sugar dust.

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Nerds with Guitars played our wedding with excellent covers and some original songs.

I’ve purposely kept a lot of people out of the pictures and focused on Dale and I. I won’t post pictures without permission from individuals. I do want to give you an idea of my neice’s dress, though, so here is a detail of the back.

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She was truly adorable in the dress and such a sweetie. She was pretty pleased to be able to take the dress home and be able to wear it to school for special occasions.

Here are some fun pictures from the reception enjoying the music and having fun.

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Our day was absolutely perfect in every way possible. It was wonderful celebrating our love in our own special way.

We were lucky enough to be gifted a Scandinavian and Russian cruise from Dale’s family for the wedding through Celebrity Cruises. Along with that, people were incredibly generous and gave to the Daily Bread Food Bank and gave us enough for a mini honeymoon in Niagara Falls and spending money for our cruise. We’ll be going on the cruise in May 2016. Tons of time to sew up a vacation wardrobe!

In Niagara, we spent some time being tourists and visited the midway, the falls, went on the boat under the falls, visited a wax museum, went to the bird kingdom, and got old timey pictures taken of us.

Here are some fun highlights from our minimoon:

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Gunslingers:

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Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Andie Wells

Read the full series:

April: The Wedding Dress, pt. 1: The Design, the Muslin, the Fabric, and the Outfit

June: The Wedding Lingerie

The Flower Girl’s Dress and Sash

July: Wedding!

The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day

 

The Flower Girl’s Dress and Sash(es)

I’ve been hard at work trying to get a million things done by the wedding. It’s 22 days and 5 hours away!

First up, I made a bunch of sashes: one for me, one for my sister’s bride’s maid dress, one for the bouquet, and one for the hand fasting ceremony. Phew.

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Look I made a sash puppet! For my sash and my sister’s I used the pattern piece for the tie from M5314, a out of print woven wrap dress. I used it for the first dress I ever made with a pattern. I want to revisit the pattern again someday, because I absolutely loved that dress. It was a little bit revealing, but was originally made for a burlesque show so that was a good thing! It’s now a wrap skirt and I still love it.

For my sash, I cut two pieces of the pattern piece instead of one and I lengthened it. The tie for the dress is super long already, but I wanted to be able to make a bow and still have the ends hanging almost to the bottom of the skirt. I also like the pointed ends for my sash. Pictured here with some of the wedding decoration prep:

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See how long it is?

The prep for the wedding decorations is for balloons at the reception:

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They are wrapped in red tulle and have a fake flower and ribbon tied around them. They are hanging with fishing line so we don’t have to bother with helium. My friend Rob came up with the idea from a Pinterest post and then helped me put it together. He’s my expert decorator and an all-around fabulous guy!

For my sister’s sash, I followed the pattern and cut one and then folded and sewed. Instead of a point at the end, this sash has a diagonal cut. My sister’s sash is half the size of mine in width and a lot shorter. Below, you can see that the sash isn’t even half the length of mine.

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For the bouquet and the handfasting sashes, I just winged it. They are both the same size with a diagonal end mirroring my sister’s sash.

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I think I’ve talked about the sashes enough. Who really cares about triangles of fabric?

The flower girl dress is the star of this post!

I started with the Sweetheart Dress Pattern from Very Shannon. My niece is five years old so I cut the 5T. Although, I asked my sister to measure Grace just in case and she falls between 4T and 5T. I chose to cut the 5T for comfort, because the finished measurements are fitted across the chest.

The pattern pieces are so tiny!

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Cutting out kid’s clothing is a completely different experience. I made Grace pj pants for Christmas last year and was so confused how teeny tiny they were. I thought it must be impossible that a five year old is that small. The pants were a little large on her, though! I don’t think I mentioned the pattern for her pj pants in that post, but it was the Avery lounge pants from Livi Stitches. It was an okay pattern. My only criticism was that it doesn’t have standard size cuts for the elastic in the waistband, but instead says to use your kids as a model and wrap it around their waist to get the length. Great if you have a kid right there. Not so great if the kid you are sewing for is 1600+ km away. A google search gave me standard sizes so I used those.

My sister and her family live on the East Coast so there is no chance of checking the fit on this dress until the week of. I’m not worried, because kids are pretty easy to fit and my sister gave me Grace’s measurements.

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I have to say that I can’t really make any comment on the instructions in this pattern as I didn’t look at them very long. I sort of just followed my own methods for the self-lined bodice and heart cutout. I think I glances at them to understand how the heart cutout worked and that was it.

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It came together really easily. Tiny bodice plus gathered skirt. That was all. I probably had more trouble with the tiny proportions than with the pattern itself.

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It’s a very cute dress and will look very adorable on Grace. She has gold sandals to match the wedding colours. I added a gold button at the back to match the colours, too.

I won’t rate the dress since I haven’t seen how it fits Grace yet, but I tentatively give it 5 stars, because it’s incredibly cute and was easy to make.

Wedding prep is all-consuming now. I haven’t had much of a chance to think of anything else. Although, I have sketched out some summer sewing plans and cut out another M6696 and another cloned bra (in fushia this time). I will also be cutting out a camisole for underneath the wedding dress. I’m using the Savannah pattern from Seamwork without any lace at the neckline. Should be a quick make. I am also making little shorts in silk using the shorts portion of the Parisian Nights PJs from Winter Wear Designs. I’ve made them up in flannel before and I just have a few modifications to make and then make a waistband for it. Should also be an easy make. If I have time, I will make a beige bra and some matching undies, but honestly, if I don’t have time or I feel stressed, I’m not going to go to the trouble.

Our basement/my sewing room has a water leak issue from the window. I might have to move everything upstairs so my landlady can deal with that. Also, it smells horrible in there. A combination of wet dog from the carpet, mold, and dead spiders, I assume. Makes for some unhappy sewing, but I have too much to do to stop now!

Edit:

Forgot to include this silly picture of me in a tulle wig!

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Also in the series:

April: The Wedding Dress, pt. 1: The Design, the Muslin, the Fabric, and the Outfit

May: The Wedding Dress, pt. 2: Construction and Details

Stay tuned for:

June: The Wedding Lingerie

July: Wedding!

The Wedding Dress, pt. 3: The Reveal and the Day.

The Tale of a Quilted Wall Hanging

My friends Paul and Vinita got married this past Saturday with a lovely and playful tantric ceremony. We got to throw rice and rose petals on them and they got to throw sesame seeds and water at each other and eat chocolate. It was really a wonderful ceremony that got into the symbolism of marriage, the sharing of emotions (good and bad), passion, and pleasures that come with uniting two souls. I was very thankful to be a part of it. Dale, my fiance, and I got some great ideas for our wedding as neither of us are traditional or religious people. We’re looking for a ceremony that speaks to who we are and what we want to share with others.

Paul and Vinita got married on June 21, the summer equinox and longest day of the year. On June 16, I had a panic moment. We’ve been very busy with improv and other plans and I have been busy with sewing. I hadn’t done anything about their present. Although, Vinita insisted that we should just bring ourselves and not worry. I wanted to give them something to congratulate them. I came up with a design and Dale and I collaborated on the execution of it: colour placement, embroidered words, and construction. It was a wonderful collaboration. I did all of the sewing. Mostly because: ain’t nobody touching my machine! *finger snap* Apparently, I have problems sharing. Also, if you touch my sewing scissors, I get really angry. Dale finds it funny when I get mad. Probably because it is the equivalent of a cute little teddy bear going nuts. You really aren’t afraid because it’s so soft and it’s really just funny seeing it freak out.

The design is their initials. The whole wall hanging is about 40×40 inches, give or take a few because I apparently sew larger seams than I estimated.

Here is the layout construction before the sewing began:

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Here is the final product:

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Paul is embroidered on the P and Vinita on the V. In the centre, Dale came up with a lovely quotation from Balzac: “Love is the poetry of the senses.” At the other end is the date of their wedding: June 21, 2014. The colours are their favourite colours: black is Paul’s and green is Vinita’s. I machine free-handed the top stitching. The centre of the quilt is filled with red fleece as a secret incantation of their love. I’m all about the symbolism there. You can’t always see the passion, but it’s always there. I partially put that in because that is how I feel about Dale even after over 5 years of living with him. He is pretty dreamy. (Note: Yes, we do make our friends sick most of the time)

I should also mention that this is my first quilted anything. I think I will be making more in the future as I had such fun with this one. I made it up in about four nights.

Congratulations, Paul and Vinita. You are a wonderful couple and we were so happy to take part in your wonderful day.