Friday, July 31, 2009

Change is coming!

Well folks, for the last few weeks you may have noticed I was posting quite a bit, pulling together multi-part posts, and even unveiling my favorite wedding related story so far (Sylvester and the Dress!).

Just like you could tell when Parents' Weekend was coming (the landscaping went into overdrive at Bucknell), you might have guessed that something was afoot. Indeed, I had submitted my application to be a blogger on Wedding Bee. For a few weeks, they followed the blog, they talked about it in committees, and then they voted on my fit as a blogger for their site. I was informed by a form letter from the intern that I had not made the cut.

I was disappointed last night. This was the first big goal I had been reaching for since completing my first half-marathon. I was really happy blogging and thought I had some great ideas to share. I admired the community in the hive (as they punnily call it).

Today, I see the silver lining. I get to keep my Palindrome moniker! Plus, not worrying about the Bee format will allow me to develop the blog in a few exciting ways! First, I can be a little more sarcastic. Second, I don't have to end each post with a silly question that hangs there like a lonely half of a high five when no one answers it (a high 2.5 if you will). And third, I can do give aways. My other blog heroes (who also do give aways) will be listed to the right and I'll be changing my tag line under the header.

Hang with me friends! The blog is about to take a little turn from Bee Street to Palindrome Avenue!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A big uh-oh

If you recall this post, you may remember my trial run palindromaid pomanders. If not, this should refresh your memory:

The test was going remarkably well. I was convinced this was a success. Then one day, sometime around move day actually, I took the pomander out of the closet, took it off its hanger and held it in front of a mirror to admire it.


Umm, seriously, it had doubled in size as I stuck more and more on it. It was as big as my head. I took a picture of it next to my head. Then I proceeded to pull my lovely flowers off of it. Then I realized I didn't have the memory card in the camera. Then I realized that if I retook the picture, the pomander had shrunk again because there was nothing in it.

Since you can't see the picture, here's a picture of just my head.

Now imagine that if instead of showing off my new haircut, I was giving you an image of just how large the pomander had become. See what I mean? Too big!

And yes, I'm wearing pajamas. Yes, it's still light outside. That's how I roll, just like my great grandmother. There was an ever so brief period, probably from the ages of 6-16, that I did not change from street clothes into pajamas the moment I came home for the day. I'm glad I saw the light and returned to the wise ways of Great Grandma Palindrome. It's so much comfier.

Since I had already bought 6 of these (1 for me and 5 for the palindromaids), I decided that the best course of action would be to see if I can exchange 5 of the ones I have not poked full of holes, for smaller ones for the palindromaids. I'm also considering using the white balls instead of the green styrofoam balls. Since there is no greenery in my arrangements, I think the white might be a better base color. While I'm at Michael's it wouldn't hurt to see about a white ball for my bouquet. I will still use the same size, because my bouquet should be as big as my head. It also won't hurt to check out the clearance aisle. You know, just 'cuz. "Just 'cuz" is the reason I have spent over $100 before. Maybe it would hurt. I'll make that decisions at game time.

Have you made an "uh-oh" on a crafting project? Were you at the point you could come up with a new game plan and correct it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Invitation Imagination Part 1

Beautiful matching suites of flawless invitations have caused me to wipe a bit of drool off my chin more than once.

From Martha Stewart's always elegant "Wedding" magazine pages,

to the innovation featured in Etsian shops,

to the incredible ambitions of DIY-ers like Mrs. Penguin at Weddingbee

I've been drawn to lovely themes and delicate details.

After all of my wedding dreaming, I was called back to reality with soaring costs for all of the details I found most attractive. Letterpress suites? 12+ a piece. Hand addressed calligraphy envelopes? 2+ a piece. Vintage stamps? Dream on!

As much as I loved paper, I didn't love it as much as some other things on which I've chosen to place a higher budget priority. Out went boxed invitations with floating pearls, multi-layer pocketfolds, and the like. In came understated invitations with a DIY twist.

Miss Planner, my event designer/wedding coordinator extraordinaire, suggested I look at I loved the look of engraving, but decided I could live with its near-twin Thermography. I admired several of their designs that matched our winter black and ivory wedding:

Pearl Artistic Border ($99.00 for 100)

Satin Square ($159.90 for 100)

Duet on Creme ($189.00 for 100)

Flawless ($195.00 for 100)

Symmetry ($195.00 for 100)

Charming ($195.00 for 100)

The thing I liked most about was that I could personalize any of the invitations and see an instant mock-up. You can also personalize it line by line, add spacing, change colors and fonts - and still see the instant mock-up! After playing around for a while, I decided on a favorite. Unfortunately, my favorite did not have the option to order a sample (for only $1.50!). . . right.

What is a girl to do? Search the whole website for an invitation that is the same paperweight with thermography lettering, of course.

Tune in next time for pics of the sample, to find out which invite stole my heart, and to see how much damage this is going to do on the budget. Oh yeah! and I'll tell you about my DIY designs to add some pizzazz!

Did you order your dream invitations? Or did you have to reprioritize due to budget constraints?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Call me anything but late for dinner

I should know the proper punctuation to make the pun in the headline. Tonight though, I'd rather talk about food than commas. Especially food that could put you into a coma. Comma, coma, tomato, tomato.

Anypun, last week, in between moves, the future Mr. Palindrome and I squeezed in a tasting with a higly regarded caterer in the area. East Beach Catering had been recommended to us by a local florist and was one of only a few caterers on the Opera House's approved list. (Right now their website is down, but see their profile through Wedding Wire here.)

With high expectations we arrived at her newly renovated store front in northern Norfolk near the bay.

Kathy, the owner, has the philosophy that you feast with your eyes first and one of her top priorities is an inviting table setting. I loved the beach theme for her store and check out these awesome napkin holders!

Kathy delivered our first course of a strawberry mango salad with rasberry viniagrette. Usually, she makes the salad with rasberries, but the strawberries looked fresher that day. Either way, I loved the sweet and tropical flavor. For our winter wedding, this will seem like a real luxury!

Our next course consisted of a southern specialty that I did not learn to like until moving to Virginia - shrimp and grits! This staple got a contemporary makeover in a martini glass rimmed with old bay. Yumm-o!

Along with these two courses, we had a lovely basket of warm yeast rolls. Now, along with grits, the other southern delicacy I have learned to love is Chick-fil-A. I'm head over heels for this chicken people! My favorite item on their menu is the 3 (or 4 when I'm ravenous) piece Chicken Minis. Hello sweet fried chicken on a tasty yeast roll! Come to MOMMA!!!! Kathy's yeast rolls had the same flavor as those that encompass my beloved Chicken Minis, but they WERE EVEN BETTER. Yes, you read that right. Kathy's rolls beat Chick-fil-A's! I ate 4 or 5 all by myself and the only reason I stopped is because I thought that asking her to fill the basket a third time was absurd.

With yeast rolls still on the brain, Kathy brought out a super tasty beef tenderloin, some parmesean crusted chicken breast, and the mother of all loaded mashed potatoes. I almost loved the potatoes as much as the yeast rolls!

After our main course, Kathy sat with us and talked about events she had recently done. Her Step daughter, son and daughter have/will all get married this year! She had the best tips on bands and photographers. Her son even got married at our venue!

I ate the warm cookies she brought out for dessert before I could take a picture of them. Let's just say that I hope these make an appearance as a mid-dancing snack Half-way through the reception. :)

Kathy worked up a proposal for us and we're finalizing the contract this week. I'll let you all know when we've confirmed the menu!

Did you sign with the first caterer you did a tasting with? How did you know your caterer was "the one"?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Whirlwind Wedding Weekend in Wisconsin

How's that for alliteration? As an English major, I take a lot of nerdy pride when I accomplish literary features like that. *Curtsy*Curtsy*

Over the 4th of July, the future Mr. Palindrome and I marked one more state off our list in my quest to visit all 50. My roommate married her college sweetheart in a military wedding extravaganza in the land of cheese. Knowing her, I expected nothing but the best wine, cheese, and entertainment. From the beautiful calligraphied envelopes to the welcome reception on the lake to the photobooth, it was a wedding weekend to remember.

Eventually, I'd like to interview her and give you the lo down on all of the military traditions she included. In the mean time I wanted to show you how the future Mr. Palindrome and I immortalized ourselves in her photobooth/scrapbook guestbook. I had the idea to write "VA is for Lovers" on a few pieces of paper we found laying around. Unfortunately, the pen that I wrote the letters with was much too thin to show up on film. Luckily, there was a thin sharpie on the table and I was quickly able to draw the intended message back onto the photo.

Cute huh? What message would you write for your friends?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DIY Bout Tutorial

Je t’aime, you like? Oui oui?

For whatever reason, I feel like these bouts are French and they speak to me in broken English/French – Frenglish if you will. It probably has something to do with the guinea feathers. But don’t tell my Dad because after Sept. 11, he’s been calling them Freedom Fries and there’s no convincing him that French speaking bouts are funny.

AnyBout, if DIY bouts are up your alley and you were wondering how, wonder no more. I’m going to give you a Bout Tutorial. Or a Bout Toot as I keep saying in my head, because right along with French speaking bouts, Bout Toot is hilarious!

To start, I browsed Etsy to get a sense of the look and feel I was going for. Once I saw feathers incorporated into a few, I knew it was for me. I then gathered some supplies:

Pearl accent flowers (found in picks 3-4 in a bunch in the wedding aisle at Michael’s)
Package of black feathers
Package of white feathers
Package of guinea feathers
Package of scrapbooking Leaves
Evergreen bunch from silk flower section
A few yards of vintage seam binding in black and ivory from Etsy
Black velvet ribbon from Etsy
Pearlized round things
Misc. buttons
Pearl headed corsage pins
Green floral tape

There are a few lessons I learned:
1. The glue gun is your friend.
2. Turn off the ceiling fan before attempting this.
End of lessons learned the hard way.

Step 1: Arrange the elements in your hand until you are happy. I like to start with a feather or whatever will be the backbone of the bout. Sometimes you have to pick through the bag for a good feather. Then you’ve got to removed some fluff (you can strip it with your fingers) so that you have a good clean “stem” to hold on to. Then I add other elements until I get tired of arranging and just want to move on with it already.

Step 2: Here is where the glue gun becomes your friend. Anything without a stem, needs to get hot glued to something with a stem.

This step is also where wire cutters come in handy. I should amend my lessons learned to include: 3. Never put your wire cutters in storage when Navy movers are involved because you don’t know when you’ll see it again. Anyways, I’ll go ghetto style with some scissors.

Step 3: Hold your elements in their desired arrangement, trim the excess stems,

and wrap what’s left in floral tape. Lesson Learned 4: Before a DIY Bout Toot, arrange all your supplies on the table so you don’t have to go searching through a bag of craft mess.

When you stretch it, the tape becomes sticky. Overlap each tie you go around so that no parts of the stem show through. Lesson Learned 5: Charge the camera battery before documenting a DIY Bout Toot. Pardon moi, I'll be right back.


Ok, back.

Step 4: While the camera was charging, I got my seam binding out of the bag of craft mess. I don’t cut a length, I just cut it at the end so that I don’t short change myself or waste any precious seam binding. I line the length of the back of the gathered stem with hot glue, press seam binding to it, and then wrap the seam binding from bottom back to top, securing the last bit after I cut with another dab of hot glue.

Step 5: Sometimes I add a button, or a bow. Hot glue is your friend. Then I ram a pearl headed corsage pin through. If you did more hot gluing than stem gathering, you’re going to have to weasel that pin in there.

Step 6: Repeat until you have the desired number of bouts - 15 in my case.

Ooo, la! La! As my French bouts would say!

Are DIYing for the bouts? What supplies did you use?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Long Table Inspiration Part 2

So I know that I love the long tables, but how do you execute them without going to the poor farm??? That, my dear Watson, is precisely the question. Of course towering candelabras and to-the-ceiling flowers would be exquisite.

Side note: Where in the world are there venues that let you have open flames? Because, seriously, every one that we looked into had a hurricane policy where you had to cover up your lovely tapers with glass. End side note.

However, the costs associated with these gigantic statements would be a glass too tall for me to drink.

I could care less about real flowers which is going to save me a lot of dough on the bouquets and bouts. My penny-pinching-self loved this idea so much that I decided I didn't want or need real flowers on the tables either. Instead, Miss Planner and I are working on a tablescape that includes lots of candles and cake. Yes! lots of cake!

The working idea, at the moment, is to feature small cakes on the table as centerpieces. Something along the lines of this:


Before buying a lot of cake stands, I wanted to experiment making my own with candlesticks and plates. I had seen these around other places like Etsy and could see them working out. I went to the thrift store and picked up 6 pressed glass candlesticks for $5.23 (yay!).

For your viewing pleasure, I did a mock arrangement on my short table:

I just lined up these bad boys, and then added my clear everyday dishes.

The idea is to buy some pressed glass plates/platters from thrift stores to use at the tops. I haven't figured out yet if I should glue them together, or just balance them so that you can easily remove it to cut the cake and make them easier to transport in general. Can you imagine these a little further apart with lots of candles? Oh the sparkle!

I'm liking where this is going. I have another element that I want to introduce to the tables for even more height! I'm starting to feel a little Sandra Lee coming on - I just love me some tablescapes.

Are you rummaging through thrift stores for anything in particular? What ways have you considered decorating your tables ouside of the flower realm?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fun Diversion

Palindrome S emailed the following video to me. The animation is cute and there are also a few historical tidbits! Fun and educational - it's like the Wishbone of the wedding world.

Did you know the history behind wedding parties? Have you found unexpected lessons in any fun wedding diversions?

Long Table Inspiration Part 1

I attended 7 weddings last year. Prior to last year, I was gaga over weddings. I would get bridal magazines in the airport on business trips so no one would know. I would chat with my mom and rip out ads to save in a folder she kept. It was clandestine, pre-ring wedding planning. More on this topic later, but for now, just know that I loved long tables since I was clandestine wedding planning. Also know that I have yet to be at a reception featuring any other table shape than round.

These are the reasons why I fell in love with long tables:




Miss Planner is totally on board with the idea and we're working on table scape ideas. One of the ideas involves food as the centerpieces! Now that's my kind of centerpiece.

Have you thought about having tables in shapes other than round? Or were you confined to the rentals available with your venue?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saying Cheese

The long version of my photographer choosing story starts here. This is the short story right here!

Once we had decided to pursue a local photographer (Supporting local artists! Greener!), my mind jumped immediately to one particular photographer. I also researched a few more and added one to my shortlist. I spoke it over with Miss Planner, my wedding coordinator, and she investigated each further. She interviewed them and worked out pricing and suggested that I meet with Sam Hughes.

I had seen Sam’s work before and he was the photographer I was sure I wanted to interview prior to more research. Sam shot a friend’s wedding in May and I was in awe that they were able to keep their two beautiful proof books in addition to a CD will full printing rights.

At the interview, Sam and I talked for 2 hours about photography style, our work travels, and the aesthetic for the wedding. I was sold, Sam printed off the contracts, and I had a photographer. Easy, schmeasy. For the first time in my planning process, a decision had been made in less than a week, and I had signed my first vendor since hiring Miss Planner back in February. Woo hoo!

Here's my favorite candid from our friend's wedding:

Source: posted on Sam's picblog

On more from his blog that I loved:

Sam and I have a rad idea for the engagement session, but I'd rather surprise you! So stay tuned for the results in the fall!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Long Awaited, Much Anticipated Part 4

Even as my dress resolve remained with my heritage dresses, Mother Palindrome and I visited salons in order to find the fit, style, and inspiration for my designed gown. We first visited P. Lawrence Bridal in my hometown. Our bridal consultant, Angela, was amazing! She let us go through the racks, I tried on as many gowns as I wanted during our hour appointment, we were allowed to take pictures, and she even wrote all of the designer information down for us when I had chosen my top dresses. I hadn't even brought a camera because I had been watching "Say Yes to the Dress" and Kleinfeld's says photo snapping is a huge No-No! Another plus to visiting P. Lawrence is that they have a sample sale rack in the back of the store. Perfect for brides looking for a deal.

The second salon we visited that same morning was Distinctive Designs Bridal. Again, we worked with a delightful consultant who let us browse the racks. This consultant readily told me what worked for my figure and when we showed her a magazine ad of an Anne Barge dress,

She immediately returned with a lovely alternative in my price range.

I tried on 3 gowns. Then I tried on the 2nd dress again. Then my mom cried. The other consultants gathered around me. "That is YOUR dress!" One of them announced.

I swirled in front of the mirror. I didn't want to take it off. BUT I really wanted to have a custom design using my heritage dresses! What was a girl to do????

I think that God has a funny way of working things out. Read my previous posts here, here, and here for the proof. After making the decision to buy MY dress at Distinctive Designs, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was betting my parents would arrive and the dress would be sold. I was betting the salon would burn down and I'd be back at square one. None of those scenarios played out though. Instead, I have this lovely hanging in my closet:

For inquiring minds, the Melinda (as I've started calling her to differentiate between the Mother and the Grandmother - all 3 hanging in my closet!) is a 2008 Pronovias Collection dress that was on sale as a sample dress. I'm too scared to try her on by myself, but my first fitting will be documented!

Were you set on a wedding detail that didn't go your way, but turned out delightfully in the end?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Long Awaited, Much Anticipated Part 3

This is a picture of my roommate's cat, Sylvester.

He's a booger and a half, and I love that little rascal. Right after he knocked over the plant my company gave me to commemorate my grandfather, he curled up by my feet and purred. I'm a sucker when he starts the purring. As naughty as he's ever been, I've always forgiven him.

This is a picture of my mother's wedding dress.

It was lovingly preserved and had only been tried once (by me) since the first time it had been worn.

Can you tell where this story is going??????? When I left you last, I told you about the hurdles I was trying to overcome in having my wedding dress designed from the fabric of two generations of women in my family. I told you there was one that broke my resolve to see the project through.

It's really a story for the ages, one that I will tell when I'm old and wrinkly. One that makes me laugh even as I type it. So sit right down and prepare to listen with childlike awe. This, my friends, is the story of Sylvester and the dress.

I packed my grandmother's dress in the bed-in-a-bag zippered plastic liner that my grandmother had mailed it in. I packed my mother's dress in the cardboard box full of tissue that had preserved her dress for over 25 years. I shut the trunk and drove from my parent's house back to Norfolk. I drove happily along, thinking about my initial consultation with the designer and dreaming of how I could incorporate a lace bodice.

I arrived at my townhouse and greeted the animals that lived there - two cats and a dog. I love animals and was thrilled to have roommates with pets. The future Mr. Palindrome took to calling it the nut house and another roommate's boyfriend called it the barn. I was happy living in the chaos that is a house full of animals.

Going about my business I set the dresses on the credenza and continued to lug in my suitcase. Running late, I sprinted up to the kitchen to make a super bowl party platter. My roommate came home and I excitedly told her about the dress plans. She asked if she could see them - "Of course! they're down on the credenza!"

"Miss Palindrome! You know you shouldn't leave them laying around with the animals!" the roomie called up.

"Huh? They're both covered!" My heart started racing and I made a beeline for the stairs.

"The box is on the floor, completely open!" she cried and I saw my dreams of sentimental dresses flash before my eyes.

When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I saw my mother's dress jumbled in a heap on the floor. The box lay open. An unmistakable smell penetrated the air.

Sylvester, the naughtiest cat in the world, whom I loved anyways, lay on the stairs switching his tail.

"That cat!" (I couldn't bring myself to say his name.)

"THAT CAT just PI$$ED on my mother's wedding DRESS!" I was breathing fire.

I don't know if cats can feel fire breathing anger, or they just choose to ignore it, but Sylvester made his ears go flat and got the kind of look in eyes that told me he could care less.

It was rather unbelievable, the story of how one by one, my three viable dresses were picked off. As I took the dress upstairs to try to save it, I burst into a defeated giggle. That stupid cat has just peed on my mother's wedding dress! The more I thought about it, the more the absurdity of it all made me laugh!

I called my mom when I was in a fit of hysterical laughing. She replied,

"It was an ugly dress, Sylvester must have thought so too."

*cue the I Love Lucy Theme song*

And that my friends is the story of why I decided to buy a dress! I'll be revealing the dress that I'll wear on my big day shortly!

Has an animal (beloved or not) ruined any of your wedding plans?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Long Awaited, Much Anticipated Part 2

From my first post about wanting to design my wedding gown using my grandmothers' and mother's gowns, you'll have noticed that foreboding music was playing. If you know me and my I Love Lucy tendencies to getting involved in humdingers, you'll know that nothing ever goes without a hitch in my planning processes.

The first hitch was that my paternal grandmother couldn't find her dress. After her wedding she preserved it and decades later, my Aunt wore it in her wedding. After my Aunt wore it, we sort of lost track of it and my Aunt thinks it was lent out again.

Hmmm . . . now I was down 1 dress, which also means we didn't have quite a bit of material. I couldn't afford much more material due to the cost of having the dress designed and sewn by hand. My friendor/designer suggested a good work around for this setback and assured me we could scour thrift stores to find other dresses with useable material.

The second hitch was that my maternal grandmother had never preserved, or for that matter cleaned, her dress after the wedding. The hem was filthy and there was a rust stain as well as what could have been a motor oil stain. Hmmmm . . . the only work around here was to either not use those portions, thereby cutting into our fabric supply, or have the dress dry cleaned and hope it didn't fall apart (which was not only risky, but also costly).

I was determined to save my idea as I had made this project my number 1 priority for the wedding. Whatever anyone else said, I wanted to see this project through and make everyone cry at my wedding because they were in awe of my sentimentality.

The third hitch, which deserves a post of its own, broke the camel's back. Whatever could have happened to derail me??? Stay tuned! Same bat time, same bat channel!

Have you experienced set back to projects that you were really invested in? Did you keep pressing on, or did you reach your breaking point?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Now you can see our faces AND get the milk for your cereal

Our Save-the-Dates went out in the mail last week! This was a huge relief as we had been pushing it off due to the venue uncertainties. Originally we had wanted to give people 8 months of notice since our date is around the Christmas holiday. The little beauts got out just a tad under 6 months out.

I hemmed and hawed about these bad boys. First, I was set on Bucknell Save-the-Dates. I wanted them to boast of the percentage of Bucknellians that marry of other Bucknellians set against a picture of Rooke Chapel and embellished with mini blue and orange striped envelopes hiding library stamped dates. We couldn't get the layout right though and I wasn't convincing very many people that my vision was going to materialize into the epitome of coolness. Second, I narrowed it down to 3 pre-made post cards or magnets. Third, the Future Mr. Palindrome and I asked my mom which one she liked then we took the dive and ordered.


This is the lovingly hand addressed front of the Save-the-Date that was sent to me. My mother and grandmother assembled them all while I was off buying a house and eating cheese (which I still owe you a recap of my roommate's WI shindig!). I was so excited to get this cutie petootie in the mail. I couldn't open her though until I made the drive to Durham where the Future Mr. Palindrome had the camera. I was so excited to finally open her that I didn't realize there was so much craziness going on in the picture until I was editing the photo for the blog:

Click to enlarge.

Right . . . anyways, I learned an important lesson: If your mom spends all the time hand cancelling the envelopes, you should probably address them lower and remind the Post Office not to send them through the machine . . . and the biggest lesson of all, don't sweat it! No one noticed :)

On to the back of the envelope! My mother bought a lovely embosser with their address on it. She embossed the back of each envelope. The envelopes were smaller than we thought and when they ran through the mail machine, they got a little dirty. But again, no one has noticed. Or if they have, they've been kind enough not to say it.

Now we're getting to the good part! The Save-the-Date magnet!!!!! Yes, we went with the magnet and yes that is white paint on my thumbnail . . .

We ordered the magnet itself, a glassine envelope to protect the magnet, the post card with pre-sliced holes to hold the magnet, and the envelopes. Here's a picture of how the magnet hooked into the holder.

Here's a detail shot of the glassine envelope as I open it.

And last one of the just the magnet:

I'm so grateful to my family for pinch hitting this mailing for me. They truly blessed me by allowing me to focus on the house.

Have you been able to delegate a chunk of planning to anyone?