Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wedding Details: The Cake

This weekend, we took care of one very *lovely* and highly-anticipated wedding detail:

Our wedding cake!

On Saturday we met with our baker at Crave Cupcakes to choose our wedding cake design and flavours.  

All cakes are made from scratch using quality ingredients (real flour, eggs and butter!), including butter made by a local creamery.  All cakes are frosted with either buttercream or cream cheese buttercream rather than the more elaborate fondant-covered wedding cakes people may be accustomed to.  So they are 100% delicious from start to finish...!

Our baker showed us a variety of beautiful icing styles to start.  

We really loved the rosette design on this cake:

I loved all the icing styles, from rosettes to little ruffles and dots:

And very smooth:

Sorry - I'm not showing you our final choice, but I will say we are getting a two-layer cake (we have a small guest list) in pure WHITE!

All the cakes shown above are ivory, but the vanilla buttercream comes in a bright white:

The wedding cake was an easy and delicious decision, especially since we got to bring home this sample pack of cupcakes (in various cake and icing flavours) to help us choose:
Chocolate and lemon cake scored highest on our taste test!  The chocolate and coconut icings were my favorite.  Regardless of what flavours we choose for cake and inter-layer fillings, the entire cake will be frosted in white vanilla buttercream.  Mmmmm...

Since each cake (top cake and bottom cake) actually consists of three stacked cakes each, we also got to choose filling flavours (between the layers).

I will tell you that David and I are going old school with the flavours.  

The larger bottom cake will be our favorite - chocolate (with chocolate buttercream filling) - while the top cake will be lemon with either vanilla (David's choice) or strawberry (my choice) buttercream filling.

The whole thing will be frosted in white vanilla buttercream on the outside.  Yum!

We plan to serve our cake right after the ceremony at our champagne toast, after hor d'oeuvres!  That way guests will be happy and smiling when we head out to do photos before our reception.  

And the cake gets to be enjoyed rather than neglected until the end of the evening.

I just hope someone saves a slice for me...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Politics of Weddings...(A Friend Who Disappoints)

Weddings are funny things.

They bring out the best in some and the worst in others.

Weddings can be very political

Some are opposed to the wedding industry, which historically seems to have laid out some pretty rigid expectations (how a bride should look, for example) that seemed trapped in the land that time forgot.  

Others reject the consumerism of the whole enterprise.  While others are frustrated by the protocols and social expectations (who you should invite, for example...including those people you hate).  

Many people unthinkingly buy into the whole fiasco, spending money they don't have, while others reject bits and pieces of it, and adapt it to their lifestyles and ideals.  Still others reject it outright.

Weddings can also be reminders of our own success and failure at the relationship game.  

A wise friend pointed out that many people who reject weddings so deeply are often the ones who've decided they'll never have one of their own.  Somehow they didn't win in the game of love and have developed contempt for the whole enterprise.  They somehow don't fit into the LOVE world. I know because I was one of these people.  For many years (mostly in my idealist 20's), I thought weddings were stupid, for nitwit girls who had nothing better to do than wear a stupid dress and bat their eyes at some equally stupid man who bestowed on them a stupid ring which is their pride and joy.  Lame.

I thought those girls were boring and dull and I didn't want to be one of them.  I wanted to be my own independent self and never need anyone.  I can do it on my own!  I don't need a man!  I don't need anyone!

I was a hater.  And they were sheep!
This picture is just too perfect with that sweet baby lamb. Perfect farm/barn wedding venue "accessory!" ... And can I just say how much I love the groom's kilt and the bride's red and white polka dot peep toe shoes?! Because they're awesome.
Sheep lovers

And then I grew up.

I learned:

It's okay to fall in love and completely trust another person, even if that seems a little unrealistic in this messed-up modern world.
It's okay to depend on someone. 
It's okay to want to be safe and secure.  It's okay to say so.
It's okay to be vulnerable.
It's okay to want to spend your life with someone.
It's okay to want to make every day easier and better for someone.
It's okay to let yourself go and not have to control everything.

It's okay, despite all the evidence to the contrary, to realize that you are lovable.
(And if you get your heart broken in the end...so what?  By now you have lots of experience dealing with it).
You are MY Happy.     From Luxe // Awe! Really like this quote. Using love quotes in your wedding design can really bring out the poet it you and they leave a lasting impression on every guest who reads them. Love, Luxe  Full Service Wedding Coordination &  Design  luxenw.com
Too much?

And it's even okay to put on a stupid dress - because at some point, the rest of the world doesn't matter and you just want to stand up and profess your love for this person who means the absolute world to you.

And it doesn't make you stupid or dull or naive.
It makes you human (and maybe just a little insane).  
And you don't need the dress if you don't want it.
#Wedding #signage rustic ♡ Wedding Planning App … How to organise an entire wedding, within your budget https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-gold-wedding-planner/id498112599?ls=1=8 ♥ Weddings by Colour http://pinterest.com/groomsandbrides/boards/ ♥
Really?  Somehow I doubt it.  But there's nothing wrong with working on it with someone you really love and trust.

A few weeks ago, a good friend informed me that she will not be attending my wedding.  She didn't provide a reason.  She just told me she "had a feeling" which grew and grew (no personal responsibility taken) that she "didn't want to attend any more weddings".
And she didn't want to attend mine.

I was hurt and deeply disappointed.  

We planned our wedding to share this day specifically with our dearest loved ones.  I was deeply hurt that someone could be this uncaring, this hurtful.  And I felt a month of grief and loss that someone so dear could abandon me on such a special day.  It felt like a death.  And a serious insult.  I still feel this way. Some days I feel compassion for her, but right now isn't that time for me to try to understand her politics and tell her it's okay...that I don't mind being dumped right now so you can go to Europe in June or not have to pretend you like David if you don't.  Or whatever the issue is.

Her views right now just aren't my problem.  

This person is putting a weight and a meaning onto weddings that isn't my business.  And heaping them with her own bias.  Her politics and her piled-on views are more important than my special occasion.  And so it's her loss.

She won't be there for all the smiles and eating cake and picture taking.  She won't be there to meet my family and enjoy the flowers and sunshine in the garden (or the rain) and she won't get to see my happiness as I make a vow to love my best friend.

And she won't be there to see that sometimes a thing is just a thing. 

And that it's okay to be happy for once in your life and stop finding the negative in everything for 5 minutes and that everything isn't always about your views.  And that the world won't end if you smile and act normal and have a glass of champagne and a goddamned piece of cake.  

Many happy weddings to you!

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Bateman Centre - Victoria

Robert Bateman is a famous Canadian wildlife artist and naturalist who lives and paints on Salt Spring Island, off Canada's west coast.  

He's now 83 and has painted since his teens.  
Photo:  Bateman Centre

On a recent trip to Victoria, I was excited to visit the new Bateman Centre, which houses a beautiful and varied collection of Robert Bateman paintings inside the beautifully-restored Steamship Terminal building on Victoria's inner harbour.

The dreamy, airy gallery does not disappoint.  

It opens with a collection of serene, large-scale Canadian wildlife paintings, a subject and style that will be recognizable to many Canadians:  
Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Bald Eagle


Bald Eagles


Red-Winged Blackbirds

I was expecting a gallery full of this type of painting, a style that I was previously most familiar with.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of other beautifully-depicted subjects.  

The next room housed some lovely small paintings - charming vignettes of daily life (I found the style reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth, which the gallery also noted):

I was also thrilled and charmed to see some of Bateman's very early work, done as a young teen.  His naturalist eye and painstaking talent for detail is evident in this small painting done when he was only 12 or 13 years old!

This study of birds in their environment is so charming and impressive for such a young person (age 13 or 14):

I was also charmed by this small portrait and surprised to see his talent for such diverse subjects.  He could easily make a career painting portraits if the wildlife ones didn't work out.  ;)

If you're in Victoria, be sure to make time for the Bateman Centre.  It took me about 45 minutes to see the entire collection (and I lingered...).  The gallery makes a short but very meditative and enriching break from sightseeing.

We also had an amazing dinner later that night (with impeccable service) downstairs at the Steamship Terminal Grill & Taphouse, located on the main floor.

Happy travels!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wedding & Honeymoon: Plans falling into place!

With our wedding coming in June, I've been busy with preparations!  

A Simple Little Wedding?

I never knew there could be this many details for a simple, little wedding!  

I didn't really think about it, but you have to make the exact same decisions whether you're planning a wedding for 25 or 250...the quantities are just smaller!!  

You still need a dress (a tiring quest), a cake and a veil, shoes and a photographer.  You have to rent chairs and plan your flowers and create your invitations. 

You have to find table linens you love (the rental ones are crap), as well as china and glassware (the rental ones are crap).  And you have to get everyone else styled and dressed too - not just yourself.  You need to buy rings!  You need someone to do the ceremony.  You need somewhere to have the ceremony!  You need something intelligent to say when the time comes. 

Oh, and don't forget to plan the menu and get programs made and find the perfect vessels for flowers.  And maybe some pretty jewelry to wear?  And don't forget a second set of chairs for the ceremony, and a high chair for the baby at the reception, and writing your vows and...what about the menu?  

Oh, and try to keep off the 5 of the 15 pounds you planned to lose...exercise is hard when you have chronic muscle pain and headaches, and you're getting tired of vegetables at every meal.

So, what a wonderful project, but what a production!  When it's all done, I can't wait to read a book and visit my blog friends and take a year off Pinterest.


While I've been doing all the art direction for the wedding, David's been planning our honeymoon!  I think this is a great division of labour, particularly since we decided we wanted a low-key honeymoon and I didn't have to worry about doing a lot of research.

We'd originally planned for England, but with wedding expenses and general exhaustion, we thought a more low-key and restful vacation was just the ticket.

Charleston, SC

So we decided to focus our holiday around a city we've always wanted to see...Charleston, South Carolina!  We're going in early October, so it's a bit of a wait.

We'll spend two weeks on the South Carolina coast, centered around Charleston but with perhaps a trip to Savannah.  Then we'll spend a week on the beach in a lovely rented condo.  England will have to wait.  I need some hot sand between my toes.  And some good antique shops...

Folly Beach, SC

(I just hope they don't have a hurricane!)

Suggestions Wanted!

So...if you have any suggestions for things to see and do around Charleston and along the coast, we'd be thrilled to hear them!

Do you have any favorite antique stores, art galleries or restaurants?  Any favorite inns or B&B's?  What about favorite beaches or little towns we just have to visit?

Do tell!  Send me your list!

xo Terri

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Invitation Sneak Peek

I've been working with an artist-calligrapher on the design of our invitations.  This has taken much longer than I thought, and it was considerably harder to coordinate over email than I thought it would be.  It's very hard to convey with words what you want an artist to create!  No matter what you see in your mind, describing it to another person is quite another story.

So I decided to simplify the design and the results are lovely.  Her calligraphy is just beautiful.  The Invitation suite is finished and has been sent to the printer!

Here is our Reception card (I've removed the location name for privacy):

The suite is all black and white, very simple and clean, with a tiny splash of colour on the invitation and RSVP card, and florals in black ink.

I will show you all the elements after the wedding and give the name of my artist-calligrapher.

For the invitation and RSVP card, I've designed a custom postage stamp.  Did you know you can do this?  Well you can...at least in Canada!

I created a custom stamp since none of the current offering of postage stamps is terribly attractive (or the wrong colour).  And this is a much more charming alternative than the Queen, or the flag, stamps (which are ubiquitous but uninspiring staples here in Canada):
This design uses the florals from our Invitation

I'm also considering pink florals for the stamp, for a bit of colour on the envelope:
This photo was taken in Paris, the day we got engaged, so it's rather significant, even if no one knows the story and it isn't the greatest photo!

Roses in our garden last summer

I will decide what works best once I see the entire suite in front of me.

I hope you're having a happy weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Our Wedding: Floral Design

Last week I had the joyful experience of meeting with the floral designer for our wedding!

As I mentioned, our wedding will be a small, intimate affair with only a couple dozen guests.  So we're excited to splurge a bit on flowers.

The floral designer and I talked first about my favorite flowers and preferred colours, and then discussed what's available in June.  Luckily my two favorite flowers, English roses and peonies, are available (but sadly dahlias are not).

We worked through my bouquet first, and then flowers for the ladies and the men.  Next time we'll discuss the tablescapes and other small arrangements.

For my bouquet, this is the inspiration and the only photo that really seems to capture the general look I want.  Since I'm wearing a vintage-look ivory gown (I found one!), I think it's important to have ivory as the foundation of the bouquet. 

We will likely do ivory spray roses and English roses in pinks and peaches.  I also want little berries like this for texture and a pop of bright colour...

I like lots of diverse greenery in the bouquet, to give a slightly wild, gardeny look.  And I'm drawn to loose, slightly imperfect arrangements like this (but perhaps with a bit more colour):

I adore pinks, but with mine and David's blue eyes, we've concluded that peaches will look better (orange is the complement of blue, you know...so we think the peaches will be most flattering in photos).  This little arrangement would be perfect for a matron-of-honor, and the charming hypericum berries add some texture:
I also want a bit of pure white in the bouquet, as the foundation of the wedding will be white (white linens, white paper goods, white flower bowls on tables), and David's shirt will of course be white.

I love pink and so we'll add a bit of pink, perhaps pink-centred white peonies or pink garden or regular roses, or perhaps some tiny flowers with pink buds: 

As much as I love pale and soft bouquets, I am drawn to a little pop of colour, which adds contrast and depth.  So I think we need to use a few brightly coloured blooms (and perhaps smaller flower for variety with the larger English roses and peonies).  

I love the bright small, tight flowers below (are these ranunculus?), in deeper orange and yellow.  Or we might use a deep pink.  We're in love with yellow (the flower at the bottom), since I'll wear gold jewellery.  We think a dash of old yellow would be a lovely reference to the golds, which will also appear in our paper goods and our place settings:

What an exciting thing to plan!

I can't wait to hear back from my designer about what blooms and what colours are available so we can finalise the palette.  And then we can move on to the tablescapes.  I'm starting to source vessels now.

I hope you are well! And apologies for not visiting much.  I miss you all and will be back before too long!

xo's Terri

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Wedding Planning Update: Decoration

We are in the throes of wedding decor planning - my favorite part!

However, that means I am not here visiting with you.

I miss you.

After getting all the initial foundational stuff out of the way (finding a venue, finding a marriage commissioner, finding a photographer, finding a dress!), we are moving on to the more decorative aspects for our June wedding.  Everything hinges on everything else, so let's begin with the venue!

~ Our Venue ~

Our venue is a historic city garden with a charming small cafe.  We will be married in the garden and then have our reception inside the cafe after some photos.  The venue isn't as posh as I first wanted (I envisioned chandeliers...), but it's so pretty, relaxed, and removed-from-the-world that it captured our hearts.  The interior space has great light, with windows on three sides, making for good interior photos in case of rain.  And the food at the cafe is insanely good and so well-received - all local and carefully curated...very hand-made gourmet.  And of course, the gardens are gorgeous.

  It was also perfect for a small wedding - ours is the only wedding that day, unlike ALL the other venues we considered.  Yes, small weddings are very hard to find a venue for, as you end up competing with the wedding for 250 in the room next door.  And with this venue, everything is contained at one site - ceremony, photos, reception.

~ Tablescapes ~ 

We are still sorting out the floor plan and tables, which has a big effect on tablescapes.  But we needed to start sourcing china and silverware.  I didn't want to rent china and dreamed of using vintage white or white and gold bone china.  But no one rents that here.  And buying enough for 24 was tougher than I thought, without the benefit of great estate sales and antique stores here in town.  

So we ended up renting china, but I found a pattern I really like and I think you will too.

To mix with the rental bits, we've chosen some lovely vintage and vintage-inspired items to create a "warm garden elegance" feel, as my event stylist, A. J. from Pink & Honey, calls it.  Although our tablescape plan is just beginning, it's getting prettier by the minute.
Neither Snow Calligraphy

~ Flowers ~ 

Weddings mean flowers and I cannot wait for this part!  We are meeting a floral designer soon to start talking about flowers for our tablescapes.  I am envisioning large, slightly wild, and flowing arrangements of English roses and peonies, dahlias and ranunculus, mixed with trailing foliage and textural elements like blackberries, hypericum, and feathery species like astilbe.  

Magnolia Rouge Magazine Photo: Rylee Hitchner

I'm even more excited about our bouquets and boutonnieres.  I think this is one of the prettiest bouquets I've seen in a while.  Our flowers will be mainly whites, pinks and peaches, but I love a note of darker pink, navy, or golden yellow mixed in for contrast.
Belathee Photography, via Style Me Pretty

~ Invitations ~

Invitations are also underway.  We've found an amazing artist/calligrapher to hand design our invitations and hand-letter all our envelopes.  We are just about to start the design process and I couldn't be more excited.  Her style (free and fun) is different from mine (more formal and serious), so I'm excited to jump outside my comfort zone and do something fresh and pretty for our invitations.  
Neither Snow

In the meantime, I am still looking for wedding shoes and accessories and David needs to find his suit and tie fairly soon!  We also need to source a wedding cake and plan our ceremony!  And in April, we'll get started on menu planning with our venue once they open for the season.  Then we will do final paper goods, like our printed menus and wedding programs.  And begin alterations on my dress.  So much to do, so little time!

I will try to share more soon.  And later I will share the names of all our vendors and suppliers.  But if I am absent, you will know why!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Fresh Beginnings

You may have noticed my absence over Christmas (or maybe you were too busy to notice anything!)

I took 2.5 weeks off work and wouldn't you know it, I was down with severe headaches for ALL of it.  I'll not mince words - I felt like hell.  And of course, in customary fashion my headache cycle broke yesterday and with 2 days before going back to work, I started to feel human again.  Oh, it is so nice to feel like normal people do.  I suddenly want to make plans and cannot believe how alive I feel.  Chronic pain is a bummer - you don't even realize how depressed and listless you become.

Anyway, before the pain chasm swallowed me up:

I was planning to get a lot accomplished over my vacation, starting with a painter arriving at my house on December 18th to paint my TV room.  It was a major job unloading this room - there are a lot of bookshelves, and did I mention - I felt like hell. 

Anyway, here is the final product!  Sorry the light is not great as I grabbed this photo with the overhead light on earlier today.  This room gets beautiful light and I can't wait to show you once I get some decorating done here.

The fireplace was painted Skimming Stone (a Farrow & Ball colour) while the built-ins were painted BM Cloud White.  I regret that I didn't use a brighter white on the built-ins, but I was so pleased with the soft creamy beige of the Skimming Stone, a colour I've been dying to try.

I know you're probably thinking this room still looks pretty dated, with the brass semi-circular fireplace and the old hardware...  

But here it was before:

This was The Room That Time Forgot (back in 1973).  For six years I've been asking David to let me paint this room and he's refused.  I didn't want to push as he so rarely expresses a decor preference and he was the one spending most of the time here - watching football!  So it became the dreary man cave, with all our neglected furniture in here, and I simply didn't bother to decorate it.  

Until finally...he caved!  He finally said I could paint it, and I didn't hesitate one second to call my painter!!!

In Progress:

First our painter taped and covered everything and then sprayed all the built-ins white with an oil-based latex.  This saved sooo much time, although taping took forever.

The Other End:

The other end of the room (which normally sits behind the sofa), is 100% shelving and is so useful for our large book collection.

After removing all the books, I culled a LOT out and will only return our favorites to the shelves, for a much sparer look and also so that we can truly value and use our favorite decor, cook books and reference books which got lost in the clutter.

After the painting was done, I threw a few things on the mantel.  Here's a quick pre-Christmas photo to show you the wall colour.   Again, the brick and the walls are painted Skimming Stone while the built-ins are BM Cloud White.  Again I wish I'd chosen a starker white.  

Now where to begin decorating this room?  It has so much potential, especially with all the natural (dappled southern) light it gets.  

I'm going to start with a large new rug.  And then try to find a decent piece of furniture for the television to sit on - something low and antique?  I've been thinking of different furniture arrangements too and may run some ideas by you later.

I'd like to do a nice upholstered ottoman that relates to the sage green furniture.  And I'm also thinking of console tables and lamps and new side tables.  It's a good-sized space that I want it to feel airy and uncluttered, but still inviting.  I love being in this room now!

I brought in a little modern table I had, and like the black lines against the panelling.  I think I'll stick with black accents and a white/sage green palette, with soft stone and linen colours.  And maybe a little butterscotch gold, as it appears in the blanket basket and the little painting frame on the shelf.

I might buy a black fireplace screen to hide the brass fireplace, or I just might leave it be.  I kinda like it now, and I can't hide the vintage of this house without major renovations (which we are considering, but until then...)

So the moral of the story is:  if you can't change it - decorate it!  
(oh and don't cling to old panelling and ugly brick any longer than you have to)

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Postcard from the Mountains

David and I just spent an amazing winter weekend in Banff.  I will share more photos soon.  I hope your Christmas preparations are going well.  
P.S. This was the view from our room...

Friday, December 06, 2013

~: Christmas Beginnings :~

Every December it takes me a while to get into the Christmas spirit.

I always find myself in a bit of a daze wondering where the year went (and what am I going to get everyone?)

The other day I was out and saw this lovely holly in a shop.  I just adore holly, which doesn't grow here (although I know for some people in warmer climes it's practically a weed overtaking its environs).  It says Christmas to me!

I think it makes a striking addition to my "all white" sideboard display (which looks like it needs some editing right now):

Other than holly and the arrival of the Christmas tree (tomorrow), I slowly get into the spirit of things when my favorite Sirius satellite radio "Pops" channel starts playing "Holiday Pops", a beautifully curated collection of classical and choral Christmas songs.  

There is nothing better than hearing the King's College, Cambridge choir singing 
Once in Royal David's City (my favorite Christmas song).  I get chills up my spine hearing the young boys angelic voice at the beginning:

Happy Christmas beginnings....how does Christmas kick off for you?