Monday, October 16, 2017

The Saga of the Dress

As mentioned in the last post, Michelle and I created her wedding dress together, and it's finally time to reveal the finished product, along with several stories surrounding it and her special day. I'm sure you'll agree that this isn't just a sweet tale, but a very suspenseful saga.

We can't leave you in suspense, though; the story has a happy ending.
Soon after her engagement, I checked Michelle's Pinterest board and discovered she had pinned only one dress. That struck me as a bit odd, because I imagined most brides-to-be would have a lot that they liked, but it was quite apparent that she knew exactly what she wanted.
She had worked with this designer during Provo Fashion Week, and knew that she would be happy with the finished product. While compared to a lot of bridal gown budgets, the price for this gown wasn't too outrageous, it was still a lot for our budget. Besides, in the back of my mind I'd always planned on at least trying to sew our only daughter's wedding dress, which I knew we could do for less money than purchasing one. So, we bought Michelle a plane ticket to Florida and ordered some guipure lace.

Our inspiration dress was actually a blouse and a skirt, and originally we were going to do that, but then decided that having the skirt attached would not only save fabric, but would prevent the worry of a blouse becoming untucked. We didn't have the pattern from the designer, but that just made the project more exciting and allowed Michelle to unleash her own creativity. We started with the pattern we did have - the one for my wedding dress.
She didn't want ruffles or a long train, and definitely didn't want poufy sleeves, but my old wedding dress was a great starting point and resource for making something that did work.
Since Michelle also needed a "regular" temple dress (so that she wouldn't have to rent one each time she went), we thought it might be wise to use that dress as our "practice" dress, so that's what we did.

After completing that dress, and being satisfied with how it looked, it was time to create the real wedding dress. I'll admit there was a fair amount of mind changing and picking out threads - and wishing the bride had followed the counsel to not show "in progress" pictures to the groom! - but overall the experience was a positive one, and we met our goal to complete it during her visit.

Because the airline had misplaced Michelle's luggage on her flight to West Palm, we didn't trust them to not do that again. Besides, her suitcase was pretty full. We decided I would bring the wedding gown in my carry-on luggage when I went to Utah for the wedding. She made room for the temple dress, which could be a "Plan B" if  necessary.

All ready to be packed for the big day!
Fast forward a month. Michelle had originally wanted a Labor Day weekend wedding, but we had already planned to go on an Alaskan cruise with Wayne's family that week. So, they picked the next available Saturday, September 16th. Our plan was to fly home from Seattle on the 9th, and then fly to Salt Lake a few days later for their wedding.

As we were packing for the cruise, we noticed a little thing called Hurricane Irma forming in the Atlantic, but didn't concern ourselves with it too much because the reports had it moving slowly to the south and we would be home and gone again before it reached Florida. The reports changed, but that story deserves its own post.

Bottom line, our flight from Seattle to West Palm on September 9th was cancelled, so we rescheduled it to the 11th. When that one was also cancelled we had a problem. We were in Washington, the dress was in Florida, and the wedding was in Utah.

One of Michelle's friends offered to let her borrow a wedding dress. That was super nice of them, and it would have worked as a Plan C, (not sure why our original Plan B was vetoed at the time), but it really wasn't Michelle's style.

Since the airlines wouldn't change our flight to a different city, Wayne had the brilliant idea to drive to Utah, so we rented a car and did just that (and rescheduled our flight home for a week later). That got us to the wedding, but not the dress. The obvious solution would be to have someone go to our house, get the dress and mail it to Michelle, but the only way into our house is with a key, and we had our keys with us.

We did some research and found a FedEx office just off the freeway in Oregon, made a quick stop to mail a friend a key, and crossed our fingers. Unfortunately, our "overnight" delivery wasn't delivered the next day; our key was stuck in Tennessee because flights still weren't going into Florida. We tried to make things better by creating another wedding dress.

That didn't really work to alleviate the stress. However, being able to share the news at the bridal shower that the key had finally made it to the most amazing visiting teacher in the world, who had already boxed up the wedding gown and sent it on to Grandma's house was cause for celebration.

Fortunately, this overnight delivery really was overnight and Michelle's dream creation arrived before her special day. "All's well that ends well." As Michelle put it on Instagram:

  • mwhit17My dress made it, the flowers made it, my family made it, Hayden made it & now we're married! Thanks to everyone who made it wonderful. We love you 💕💕💕

This is actually a picture of her arranging the flowers on her cake, but I found it's also the best picture to showcase her dress. Maybe she should have done a "bridal" session after all!

I used lace leftover from the wedding dress in the dresses for the nieces. That was a fun project as well.
A final thought from Michelle:

  • mwhit17Wedding photos arrived today 🎉🎉
    Going through them reminded me of the three things I wanted most out of our wedding and I think we accomplished them!
    1. That all my immediate family could be there.
    2. That everything we did had a purpose and meant something to us personally.
    3. That we did what we could ourselves.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Tale of the Dress

Happy 35th Anniversary to Us! In honor of this special day, it's time for another wedding story. This year it's the tale of the dress. And this is particularly appropriate because of recent events, to be explained a bit later. Let's start with a bit of my journal entry from 29 May 1982:

"I had looked through the bridal magazines and found some dresses I thought were nice so we went to one store. We walked in and there were dresses and things all over the place, but it was kind of dusty and musty. The saleslady also seemed rude; she said it was too late for us to begin looking for an August wedding dress. The experience decided for me that I was definitely going to make my own dress." 

On that same shopping trip, I found a pattern I liked at Mervyn's, and it was even on sale!

A week later it was time to go back to the big city again:

"Mom, Holly and I spent another five hours shopping and today we got everything to make my wedding gown - for a total of $110. I wanted lace and we looked all over but I was unable to find exactly what I wanted. Nothing had the look that I had imagined. So, I went with chiffon pleats for ruffling. The sleeves and bodice aren't lace either but a sheer embroidered material over the satin. I had kind of thought about a soft satin, but we finally decided on a stiffer one with more sheen."

I originally used the pattern for the dress on the left, although I did raise the neckline a bit and line the sleeves. However, I didn't like the way those sleeves turned out, so we went back to the store for more fabric and I redid the sleeves using the pattern for the dresses on the right. Much better!

I no longer have the shoes, and can't even find a picture of them, but they had a story as well. I couldn't find anything in San Jose, which had a plethora of large shoe stores to explore, but did find the perfect sandal in the one tiny shoe store in our small town of Hollister - something similar to this - and also learned (due to the personalized attention and service) that I really was a size 4 1/2, and not the 5 I had always thought.
I also can't remember where the idea for the hat came, maybe I just didn't want a plain veil, maybe I saw something in a bridal magazine, but I do remember getting a white hat and covering it with the same sheer fabric and chiffon ruffle that I used in the dress. In addition, I accomplished my goal to finish everything before July! (So there, rude lady in the bridal shop!)

Now let's jump ahead 35 years. Our daughter is getting married next month, and she decided that trying to make her own wedding dress would have greater meaning than just buying something. She's right, so she flew home for a couple of weeks so we could do that. Since the first order of business (because she already had a design in mind) was to figure out a pattern, we started with what we had, and that was my old, yellowed wedding gown.

She didn't want a long train, she didn't want ruffles, and she definitely didn't want poufy sleeves, but the bodice itself was a good starting point. It was actually wonderful not having to re-create that, and I was grateful that, at least in this case, keeping memorabilia paid off and saved us time and money. You'll have to wait until next month to see the finished product, but I think it's pretty neat that "The Tale of the Wedding Dress" continued on to the next generation.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WFMW - Good Health

I had another idea to post today, but Wayne read this article this morning and I decided to save that idea for next week. It's not procrastinating when it's a conscious choice to do something different, is it? Anyway, this is another "it doesn't really work for us" so I thought it went well with last week's post.

I like the premise of this article, which is that by making small changes and developing good habits, we can change for the better. In fact, I wrote about that here. However, we're doing all of these suggested "healthy habits" and are not seeing any weight loss. What's wrong with that?

These come from an article in the January/February 2017 issue of the Scouting magazine. The author (Jeff Csatari) states: "As we embark on the season of resolutions, here are some simple lifestyle changes for weight loss and better health."

  1. Go for a brisk walk before breakfast.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Pack your lunch every day.
  4. Unclutter your kitchen counter.
  5. Follow the half-plate plan.
  6. Count your blessings.
  7. Go to bed by 10:00 PM.

Wayne doesn't always pack a lunch every day, but he tries to keep business lunches to less than one a week, and we eat less for dinner on those days to compensate. While he walks before breakfast, I walk afterwards; that may make a difference, but maybe not. So, while I agree that all of these ideas are important and helpful, our experience shows that you shouldn't count on them alone to help you with weight loss!
We think these are healthy habits as well, but counting calories is the only thing we've found to help us actually lose weight.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Day at the Beach

Today's Saturday activity was a trip to the beach, and we were blessed with an absolutely gorgeous day!! This time it was Lake Worth Municipal Beach, so after enjoying the water and relaxing on the beach, we ate lunch at Benny's on the Beach on the pier. It was nice to be able to share our fun activity with two of our favorite visitors.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WFMW - Procrastination

Every so often these "Works for Me Wednesday" posts weren't actually about things that worked, but things that we wanted to work. I've always struggled with a tendency to procrastinate, particularly on things that I didn't want to do, and this week I felt the need to try harder to not procrastinate.

I remember reading a while back some questions to ask yourself to help you get going, so I looked up a couple of articles to see if I could find them again. These may or may not be the same, but they should work. I hope they help me, and I hope they help you!
  1. What one thing can I do to get started?
  2. What are my three biggest priorities today?
  3. How can I make this easier?
  4. What will go wrong if I don't do this now?
Actually, although those are good ones, I'm pretty sure those aren't the same questions I read before. Neither are these, but they're pretty good ones as well.
  1. Should I be doing this?
  2. Do I feel overwhelmed with options?
  3. Am I distracted?
  4. Do I have what I need (skills and resources)?
  5. How do I feel?

However, I like these two the best.
  1. What can I do right now that will make my life more peaceful and joyful later? (Helps with setting priorities.)
  2. Will doing this now, rather than later, give me more peace and joy? (Helps with motivation.)
So, I've been procrastinating posting this, because I didn't magically change in one week! And while dilly-dallying, I found a few more websites to share. Here's one.

This person never got around to checking his spelling or grammar, but if you can look past that, there are some helpful suggestions. This person has helpful suggestions AND proper grammar!

Please let me know ways you've found to overcome this problem. I'm hoping that I can turn this weakness into a strength someday before I run out of tomorrows!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Another Beautiful Saturday!

It's Florida in the summer, so once again there was rain in the forecast, but we figured if we got an early start we could stay mostly dry, so we did. And we successfully completed the second loop of the "east" side of the Cypress Creek Natural Area (otherwise known as the Hammock Loop Trails) before the rain arrived. The last time we went it was still in the dry season; it was interesting to see the difference a few months makes. Fortunately, although there were a couple of streams to jump over, we didn't have to go slogging through any marshes.

Since this trail was round-trip and less than 10 miles (4.69 to be exact), I went on the hike as well.

This time Cypress Creek actually had water in it.

We took the detour to the overlook once again. I expected more water there, but there was some.

Along the way we passed another little lake.

And we made it to the canal on the border, to find a new set of crops growing on the other side.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

We drove home through a couple of heavy thunderstorms, replaced the downstairs thermostat, celebrated with a new recipe, and are looking forward to visiting with friends at a wedding reception this evening. We hope you each have a pleasant Saturday as well!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Our Finished Closet

Just as a reminder, here are the before pictures:

Contents removed, shelves removed, holes patched and everything painted.

First order of business was to unload all the components and carry them upstairs. That took a good couple of hours!

The fact that the system rests on the floor, as opposed to hanging from the wall, was one of the main reasons for going with this company.

At the end of the first day - everything but the handles (which were left at the factory/showroom) and the counter (which was meant to be done later).

Wayne did a good job of inspecting, found a couple of minor issues (which were fixed the next day), pronounced it overall very good, and decided the first items to be returned were the suitcases.

He didn't like the fact that the top looked unfinished, but that's the way it comes. However, with a little bit of elbow work (and supplies already in the garage), everything is shiny and white, even if no one else will ever see it!

For 35 years we've used a laundry basket for a hamper. Personally, I don't mind that because it makes trips to the laundry room easy. However, one of the things we're looking forward to using is the built-in hamper. Hopefully it lives up to our expectations!

The finished product - just waiting for our clothes and shoes and momentos to find a new home!