Sunday, 27 July 2014

We did it!

We finally did it! We are now official. I am a Mrs and I have a husband.

Photo courtesy of David Bushell

We had the most magnificent day. It went like a dream, more smoothly and more fun than I had ever thought possible. It was amazing to think that so many people had come to Wadhurst for us; to witness our marriage, to help us celebrate and to share our first day of married life. Our thanks goes out to all of you.

Everyone looked ravishing, especially my husband! The food was delicious and plentiful, the booze was free flowing, the company was wonderful, the sun shone down on us and the brilliant band ensured the dancing continued well into the wee hours! We could not have asked for more. We have spent the last two weeks on a complete high, reliving every tiny detail of the day, comparing notes, remembering the conversations and sharing anecdotes.

The last few months had been a bit of a whirlwind. I (and everyone around me!) have been caught up in a frenzy of diy-ing, planning, printing, preping, panic buying, consulting, folding, sticking, posting, cutting, ordering, drawing, writing that stems back as far as I can remember. No seriously! I don't think I can remember what it was like when we simply sat down of an evening for dinner a glass of wine and a movie! I have no idea what I'm going to do with all this newfound free time, hopefully fill these pages with what we've been up to for starters. And finally get to spend more time with friends and family without asking favours and making demands! 

I have a hundred and one projects to share with you, some small, some large, some fun, some essential, some pretty, some perfect, some leisurely, some hurried (well actually most of them), some that went perfectly to plan, some that we improvised, but all that contributed the most perfect day for us. Those of you who follow me on instagram @knickerelasticfantastic may have had some sneaky peaks along the way. And a little taster photo above from the big day, expertly captured by Dave Bushell, before I return to inundate you with pictures soon!! But never fear, it's not going to be all wedding bore, we are back to working on the house, garden and a fun packed summer so expect more from all those arenas soon and I even have a few regular diy projects up my sleeve (tucked quite far up there, but I'm sure I can wrestle them out!). 

It is the last day of our honeymoon today so back to reality of work, commuting, doing the dishes, hoover and all the hum drum that general life entails again tomorrow! But who cares, I shall be doing all this with my husband by my side and for that reason I am stoked to get started. 

Monday, 30 June 2014

The New House Tour

The internet is a miracle! When you've lived without it for 3 weeks, you suddenly learn to have a whole new level of appreciation for it's little wonders!! Anyway, we've had plenty of other things to fill the internet shaped void in our lives. Namely a wedding to plan (more on that later!) and a brand new house to transform into our home! And finally we're linked back up to the world wide web of wonder.

So, as I shared not long ago, we are proud new homeowners! Since we've been in our new pad for over a month now, I figured it is high time we shared a few glimpses of what we've taken on!

First up the kitchen. It was painted a peeling and bubbling shade of deep red. Nice. We have grand plans for this too, naturally. But so far it's just had a few coats of white paint all over and added a washing machine so far. The washing machine, another one of those indispensable gizmos of modern life, that I got far too excited about when it arrived! Alrighty, I agree, not indispensable, but I remember wearing every single shirt, pair of pants and socks until I'd have to hand wash one of each every evening in preparation for the next day and then lugging my entire wardrobe to the laundrette. Trust me it is MUCH heavier when wet for the carry home. Anyway, I'm digressing. Long term the plan is to knock through the kitchen into the bathroom at the back and create a big kitchen diner. But alas, we have to find a new home for the bathroom before we do that....and not at the end of the garden! 

We have three different bedrooms, one in blue, cream and grey. As you can see, the colour in each is vibrant and dark, the carpet is mostly dodgy and the period features are all hidden away!?! However, what they do all have is period features (yey!), lots of windows and lots of light.

Plus a few other rooms like the living room and hallway, that I'll save for another day! To give you a little idea of what we've tackled so far on the renovations front, this is what the first few days looked like. I have the most amazing family that have all chipped in to help and have done so much of the initial work. They are truly fabulous and we would still be living in chaos if it wasn't for all their help, especially my Dadio. Here are the men of the family looking busy doing manly things and working their renovation magic on day one! :) (Disclaimer: flip flops do not meet health and safety standards for labourers footwear!)

This is clearly going to be a five year project! We shall not be able to flip the house in a few months and in fact, this is not what we want to do. Having longed for a house for such a long time, now that we have one the decision making is all a little overwhelming! Having only ever been able to decide the colour of the bedspread in the past, making choices for the walls, curtains, furniture, floor...eeeeek!

Anyway, I'm pining my inspiration like a mad-lady and starting to try and pick out trends in the images I like. I'm car-booting like it is going out of fashion and generally finding inspiration in all sorts of strange places. So, watch along with us as the space becomes our home and evolves with us as we grow as people and as, well, interior stylists! Ha!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Reinventing myself

I may be showing my age a little, but when I read this article on the BBC, I couldn't help but feel a little bit sad! Has the signature really lost it's place it today's society? As someone who has always loved typography, calligraphy, script and even plain old fashioned joined up writing, I am teeny bit gutted that the signature is on the demise.

I can't help but agree that as a security control it is rather dubious. I'm sure I'm not the only one who, as a teenager that had to get her homework diary signed by a parent once a week, spent hours trying to perfect my folks' signatures!! It's uncanny how much a signature says about a person - my Ma's is swift, loopy, full of character, easy to read and long. Whereas my Pa's is controlled, restrained, clear and precise. If you know either of them you'd know instantly that all those words could be used to describe their personalities too.

I wonder what my signature says of me?!! That's a little harder that one! It's crazy that you have to develop a signature at quite a young age and live with it for so long - I remember getting my first bank account and having to do my signature. Proud moment. :) I remember practicing so many different 'M's and trying to decide on my favourite. But as attached as I am to my signature, I am also very excited about getting the chance to devise a totally new one - to reinvent myself!

This seems a good a point as any to justify changing my surname when we get married. I'm looking forward to starting a new phase of 'me'. One where I am a wife, a partner in crime and half of a new family unit! Whether we call ourselves the Eeles or the Needhams is almost arbitrary, what matters to me most is that we are in it together. My surname is just one of the outward symbols of that, it's not going to change who I am and all that I currently stand for. I'm just adding a few new strings to that bow. So, we shall be the Needhams and I shall be Mrs Needham. :) Eeeeek!!

And as part of this process, I get to re-design a little part of me I've had since I was 14! It's clearly time for a re-vamp. Keeping the core features but update it for the modern day and age, as the marketing spiel might go! Or a new twist on an old favourite?! Either way I'd best get practicing!

How attached are you to your signature and how would you feel about changing it?! :)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

DIY Fantastic: Wedding Logo

I think so far I've managed to keep the wedding related posting fairly minimal on here. I'm torn between sharing all the progress we're making, but also wanting to save plenty of surprises for all our guests on the day. Oh and also being so super duper busy and lacking in internet in our new place that blog posts really haven't had a snowball's chance in hell of happening this month!

Long ago, when we first got engaged I started sketching ideas for a little wedding logo. It was more just for fun to start with, something to doodle in my spare moments and breaks! It was also helping to develop ideas for a theme and ideas for the stationary. But I got very excited about them and took my designs to Isabel to turn them into reality!

I started off pinning ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. As you well know, Mr Fantastic and I are obsessed with our wheels!! Be they of the scooter or bicycle sort!! Ben and I both cycle almost every day and we both have vespas too, so it's a passion that we share I wanted to work it into our whole day somehow. I did some research into cycle logos and picked out some of my favourite components from them. I particularly loved the look of vintage bike logos. These images are from herehere and here:

Then I started to pick out key elements that I liked or thought were relevant and combining them into a series of doodles! I played around with a number of different compositions, trying out different fonts and details. Some of the ideas I sketched are here:

Here are some of our design developments:

And finally after a lot of tweaking and jiggery pokery in illustrator, we had something that looks a little bit like a real logo and probably not much like a wedding logo!!!

Ah well, there are plenty of things about our wedding that are going to be not very wedding-y, this can just be one more of them!

We combined the gear cog form our bikes with our initials and ampersand in a cute little heart! I could go all soppy right here, something along the lines represent our hearts being joined together in harmonious matrimony...but don't worry I shan't! We added some wings to give it a more interesting shape and to represent the lightness of our love....drat got carried away again! But my personal favourite piece is the establishment of our marriage in 2014 in Wadhurst!

Oooh, you also got a sneak teaser of the actual invite there, lucky things!! :) There will be a more complete reveal to come, I promise.

In all honesty I have been going a little logo crazy, it's been popping up in all sorts of the dates, wedding invites, on the back of envelopes etc etc. I'm sure I'll even find a few more places for it to appear, particularly as I have now got a little rubber stamp made with it. So, keep your eyes peeled! :)

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

DIY fantastic: gold votive candles

Things have been a little slow on the blog here for a while and many apologies for this. What with planning and preparing for our wedding and buying a house things have been ever so slightly hectic round these parts! But, on the plus side, we have been experimenting and trialling out all sorts of different diys in preparation for the wedding so I have plenty of things to share with you!

First off we have our gold votive candles. I have been really enamoured with some of the mercury glass diys Ive spotted online, including here and here. We had a shot at something similar, but with a rose gold colour. The effect is actually quite different, as you can see below, but equally beautiful and interesting. I love the textures, the variations and the uniqueness of each candle in this experiment! :)

What we used:

Candles, ours were from Asda, but any candles in a glass holder would work. You could even do a similar project with empty glasses and simply add tea-light for the same effect. Bonus!

I found a fantastic comparison of different gold spray paints here. These guys REALLY know their golds from their golds! But in all honesty, this is super handy when you're trying to decide on one yourself!

Another thing to share - Krylon mirror spray is apparently the key component for mercurised mirror effects. But it is notoriously difficult to get hold of in the UK! I have identified a source over here and to be honest it's not exactly cheap, but hopefully the effects will be worthwhile. Anyhow, I have some more experimenting to do before I blog my progress updates!

Right, where were we?! Back to the steps:

1. First off, as always with spray paints etc. make sure you're working in a well ventilated area, outside ideally, or at least near an open window. Plus, put down a decent layer of newspaper if you're crafting in a room you care about!

2. Once you're all set, get spraying! We starting with the vinegar solution - a few squirts of this, just enough to start creating little droplets, but not quite enough that the droplets run into each other and trickle off the glass altogether. Then spray on the metallic paint in a thin even coat.

3. Wait for it to dry, we waited a good few minutes between sprays. Then repeat the two steps with the vinegar and then the spray paint until you get the level of cover and the dappled effect you desire! You can use a damp cloth (or kitchen roll - classy!) to dab away the vinegar in between sprays. This means that each layer has a different pattern that build up to create a unique effect.

We also mixed it up and experimented with different effects - for example clear polkadots. We did this by cutting out circles from washi tape that we removed once all the gold paint was dry to reveal clear spots all the way round! You can go crazy with patterns and shapes on this one!

I love how the texture is visible as the light shines through. This is where you can really see the character of them, the unique effects created with the vinegar spray, all the quirks and inconsistencies! So when things appear to go slightly wrong at the beginning of this process you can think of it as a blessing rather than a curse - it's these that create the beauty.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

New Covent Garden Flower Market

In the name of a little research, I dragged myself (and Izzy) out of bed at the crack of dawn on a bank holiday and down to Vauxhall to the New Covent Garden flower market. I cycle past this market pretty much every day on my way to work, but until now I had never investigated further. And BOY am I now kicking myself now!!!? This place is amazing, it's a HUGE warehouse of plants and flowers and pretty much my heaven on earth!  If you ever want a whole lotta varied flowers at wholesale prices, this is THE place to go in London.

The early start was well worth it. The flower market is open from 4am till about 10am. We rocked up by about 7:30 and by 8:30 it was already starting to wind down. In fact, it was pretty quiet, something I put down to it being bank holiday and our later arrival time. No worries, all the more flowers for us, mwahahaha!

The venue itself is the epitome of industrial functionality. There is barely a single angle that can turn this warehouse into a thing of beauty. I find this a little tragic to be honest. Compared to the breathtaking beauty of the original Covent Garden market, it's a tragedy. But alas, lets not dwell on this. It's what's inside that counts!!! :)

In addition to all the fresh flowers and plants, there was also a huge section of silk flowers and all the flower condiments you could ever want - oasis, vases, jars, sparkles, tapes and wires, stands, glasses, candles etc etc. It's like a party planners dream. 

We were doing a reckee in advance of the big day this summer! We wanted to try our hand at putting together a little bouquet and some flower display. I had absolutely no idea how hard or easy this would be. I'd mentioned to a few people this plan and generally the response has been 'are you crazy?!' (or something a tad politer, but pretty much along the same lines!!!) But without a little experimentation I had no idea if was do-able or if I really was barking mad...

Without much clue what we really doing we scoped out what was on offer and how the whole thing worked! We spotted a few bunches that caught our eye, I was looking for mostly bright colours with some offsetting neutrals plus some greenery! We ended up with an armful of flowers and as we were leaving a super kind gent who was packing up his wares offered us a few extra bunches that he was leaving behind - SCORE!

The journey home on the bus was hilarious! Just getting on and off with all the flowers was a mission. Izzy and I then proceeded to have THE BEST day. We spent the entire morning out in the garden playing with all the flowers. Practicing bouquets, boutonnières and displays. Filing vases, glasses and watering cans. Dreamy. But that's enough of that...shall save those gems for another post! hehe.

They also had a whole section of plants, trees and shrubs. It too ALL my willpower to walk out of that place without any plants. There were some fabulous hydrangeas, standards, succulents, orchids, the list goes on. As soon as we are settled into our new house, this is the first place I'll be coming back to! I have a long shopping list at the ready.

Leaving with our haul and happy hearts! :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wishes: For a place to call home

I think I first mentioned the begining of our search for a home back in Autumn 2012 and we've been looking ever since! I haven't bored you with shots of all the dreadful flats and houses we've visited in the intervening months, but suffice to say we have finally found one we love in an area we're excited about living in!

I just had to delete a paragraph that I had originally written back in 2013 when we had an offer accepted on a house and were going through the paperwork. Sadly, that place fell through and we went back to the drawing board. But finally, I have some good news to share - we have exchanged on a house!!! :)))) I'm a little superstitious about things and don't like to over think stuff, as I"m convinced it then all conspires against you! After our first knock with house number one we forced ourself to be really hard headed about house number two. I really haven't spent much time thinking about it, making plans for it and imagining our life in it. But suddenly, all that's allowed now!

It's a lovely house, liveable but with plenty of room for improvement, value-adding and DIYs! Can't wait to get cracking with the planning, designing, trial and error, testing, DIYs, renovations, painting, building, decorating etc. I am finally allowing myself to dream wild home watch this space!

It's ever so slightly terrifying! I am one part unbelievably excited - to have our own place where we can do what we want, make it how we want, fill it with the things and people we love, create a haven from the hectic world outside. But I'm also one part totally terrified! It's such a responsibility, such an expense and such a big and unpredictable liability. We will be responsible for forking out every time the boiler goes on the blink, if we spring a leak or if the tiles fall off the roof! :s London houses are pretty old too and that can have all sorts of complexities! Our place has seen some subsidence in it's long past, it's now been underpinned and no longer moving (thank goodness) but the thought that it could shift and move is difficult to comprehend. A number of the doors inside had to be planed to fit in door frames that are quite diagonal!! Eeek!

But all that aside, we are excited about a new start, by exploring a new part of London, our own patch. Excited about putting our own stamp on our small corner of the world to create a place we are proud of and can truly call home.