Monday, 1 September 2014

DIY Fantastic: What's your perfect wedding stationery?

As other brides dream of their wedding dresses or fixate over their shoes, it was the stationery that I drooled over. And so, this one is BIG! It's the full complement of our wedding and I am super proud of it. The design and production and posting of our wedding stationary felt at times like a full time DIY job. Not the dry, chained to my desk bored out of your wits sort, but more one of the most rewarding, creative fun full time jobs ever! :) But still full time! I was determined to use the wedding as an opportunity to try some new things and lettepress was high up the list. Our first tasters at the LCBA here and here was awesome fun and a great success so were determined to build on it. We'll go into the detail of the design and production with you next, so without further ado I present the Needham wedding stationery, I hope you like it:

I was pretty clear from the outset what vibe we were aiming for: fun, quirky, colourful - specifically I wanted each item in a different bright, bold colour on crisp white paper for each item. I wanted them to look hand-drawn but still polished. Buzzing with life, but professional. So nothing like a delicate balance. 

The save the dates were block printed. Our forays into foil embossing were a massive Fail, yes with a capital F. I may share here when the pain has subsided! ;) and so we swiftly resorted to block printing with the metal plate! The results were not all bad. Each print looked unique, textured and imperfect. Yep that last bit bugged me, but it undeniably contributed to the handmade vibe! Plus the envelopes had a little glitter twist that made them a teensy bit more festive as they went out before Christmas (and probably covered everyone's doormats with green glitter!). 

We picked out a few things that Ben and I love - mostly things with two wheels - bicycles and scooters, since we're pretty obsessed with both! We added our wedding logo, naturally and lots of different hand written fonts to keep it casual. I'll share a bit more about the design and printing process sometime soon, this post is going to be long enough already! We kept the language pretty informal but characterful to try and imbue a sense of how we hoped the whole day would pan out. 

The invitation and RSVP themselves we printed at the fab London Centre for Book Arts in Hackney. Simon and the team there helped us through the whole process which was fabulous. In one long, but super rewarding day Isabel and I churned out over 100 prints! The presses are works of art themselves and it is such a privilege to be able to use them for creative purposes today. We hope to be able to head back there soon to undertake some more projects.

The RSVPs were possibly my favourite thing out of all the pieces. They were like homing pigeons, we sent them out into the big wide world on an adventure and slowly but surely they one by one found their way home to mama! It was a teensy bit weird finding envelopes with my own handwriting on the front each morning, but still, magical! :)

I obsessed about stamps. Postage stamps. As much as I love Her Majesty, I was determined not to use regular stamps with her mug on the front! But after much investigation and many failed visits to the post office I managed to establish that the special stamps are only issued once a month and you have to get in there quickly to get them! Armed with my new calendar of stamps I turned up at the local post office on the first day of issuance one month and cleaned them out of stamps! 

Turns out is was a celebration of British film, so we had stills from the likes of 'Bend it like Beckham', 'Lawrence of Arabia', 'Chariots of Fire etc. Not exactly the world's most romantic movies, but they were good fun and hopefully added a bit of interest when they landed on doormats around the country. It was fun playing match the stamp to the invitees and trying to guess which film would resonate best with the recipients! :)

The envelopes were an absolute mission to track down. I trawled the internet high and low for bright coral A5 envelopes as this was the 'colour' we'd chosen for the wedding. What a foolhardy decision! :s  After drawing a blank we instead opted for the brightest orange ones we could find! I had to buy them in bulk and as a result I now have a box of 150 orange envelopes and another with 150 lime green envelopes sitting discreetly under my desk just waiting for a rainy day. I'm hoping to have a flash of inspiration someday soon and put them to good use, but till then they'll act as a great little footrest under the desk. The dark green envelopes for the save the dates were much easier to track down, in fact we picked them up in the local Rymans. Phew! ;) 

The envelopes I hand lettered in a loose calligraphy with white ink. This was so much fun! As I progressed I have to admit I loosened up massively and by the end was adding all sorts of fun embellishments wherever there was space. I also discovered a preference for city addresses over country ones - turns out they are much shorter! And the one that went to Japan, that was a whole different story but suffice to say I'm impressed it even made it! :)

In part two of the wedding stationary I'll share the details of the orders of service, menus and place names. A little secret, it includes neon ribbons, watercolour and more, Ah, paper heaven! :)

I didn't get to send back my own rsvp :( but if I had, I'd have put sunshine and pavlova as my special requests, for sure! What would your one special wedding request be?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Wedding Fantastic: The Location

The Barn in Kent which became Wedding HQ for the duration, complete with local Oasts!

Where to have our wedding was a pretty easy decision. My folks are eternal wanderers who make their home wherever they may be. They have the most magical lifestyle travelling all over Europe in their caravan, searching out the sunshine, culture (and orienteering events!). But, this made pinning them down to a traditional bride's side wedding venue a little tricky!! ;)

In contrast, the in-laws are much more settled. In a gorgeous old cottage in fact. Next to a dainty stream in the heart of The Garden of England, Kent. They have a lovely rustic bridge over the stream that opens up into a small field. It feels like a like alcove of a field, gently encased on one side by the stream, full of reeds and wildlife and on then other side sheltered by a large bank with trees, bushes and bracken. Suffice to say, it's the perfect setting for a party!! So we took our sweetest smiles to them to ask if we could host the party here. I'm sure if Win Stream Papa had the faintest idea how much mowing the whole thing was going to entail, he'd have said an outright 'Nope' there and then. But thank goodness he didn't have a clue, and they both agreed!!

Rather than risk a flurry of applications from strangers to get married in the back garden we decided not to apply for a marriage license, but look for a special second location for the ceremony (why have one when you can have two?!). We looked at some corkers and some crazies - no red wine after 10pm for fear of spillages? No stilettos for the ladies (or men for that matter!) for fear of denting the dance-floor? Sounded like being back at school. The in laws eventually abducted us and took us on a whistle-stop your of the local churches, in a misguided attempt to win us round to a church wedding. I was sceptical me, with a capital S!

St Peter and St Paul, Wadhurst

Ben and his Pa had scuttled ahead a little, so as I pushed open the big heavy door of the church I spotted them both down at the front. Instantly I could imagine walking down the aisle to Ben and my bottom lip started to tremble! (I know, I get my emotional side from my Ma, there's not much I can do about it I'm afraid. Apart from keep a good stock of Kleenex.)

After that I couldn't shake off the feeling that the church was the right place for us. The sense of history, of the many thousands of couples who had walked the same steps before us. The serious but serene atmosphere of the church. The simple but structured wording of the service itself. Oh and the singing!

It was the best decision. We met so many locals we during our time at the church who were incredibly welcoming, friendly and fun. Felicity, the curate who married us, was wonderful and her address at our wedding incredibly touching and personal. We both independently declared that the service itself was one of our favourite part of the whole day. Which is exactly what it's all about. What's more, we can now forever go back there, to celebrate quietly together, to remember our special day and be thankful for it and for each other.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

DIY Fantastic: Floral Face Masks

Hey guys, Mrs Fantastic here! :p Got a new diy up for you today. We made these cute little masks for each of the chicks who joined me for my hen do! Hang on, hen do?? Yip, more on that soon - it was blooming beautiful, quite literally. :)

Anyway, as part of a little goody bag to say thank you we included one of these lovelies. They are perfect for travelling, trying to sleep on trains and planes and suchlike! They are also perfect for a mid-afternoon nap while the sun still shines, long Sunday lie-ins or any other time you feel like a sneaky spot of shut-eye!

So first up, the ingredients:

1. fun fabrics - we found a bunch of fun fat quarters in the local fabric shop
2. thin knicker elastic - yeay!!!! I have finally found a project that actually uses my namesake diy ingredient. It was worth it just for that.
3. matching threads to your selected fabrics
4. template for the mask - we made this through trial and error or you could use a template from an existing mask if you already have one! If you like it to be pitch black then make it big!
5. fabric scissors
6. pins and needles
7. and not pictured here, we also used some sheet wadding, medium to thin depending on how padded you want the face mask. The more padding the more comfy! :)

Step one is to take the template and cut out the front of your mask in your funky fabric. Secondly do the same with the backing fabric and then finally in the wadding.

Combine the three layers with the front and back of the mask with the corrects sides facing each other. We'll be turning it inside out after sewing. This is a little tricky to get right, but with some sound logic or just trial and error I got there in the end!

Next to make the strap - cut out a strip about 1.5 inches wide and almost twice as long as you need the strap. Mine was about 25-30 cms. Fold it over onto itself and pin down the lenth.

To create the strap we just need a straight line stitched along the joined side of the strip of fabric as per in step 7. Then turn it inside out until you have a long tube of fabric.

Step 8 - attach a safety pin to the end of your knicker elastic and slowly work it through the tube of fabric. Measure out how much elastic you need - depends on how big your head is and how tight you want it!  Mine ended up being about 12-14cms long.

Once you have the elastic poking out either end of the tube of fabric and the strap is nicely ruched along it's length I did a straight line stitch across each end to keep the elastic in place and you end up with step 9!

Take your stack of three mask shapes and slot in the end of the strap into either side - it will be coming from the inside to the outside, so the opposite of what you'll finally want once it's turned inside out.

Then as per step 10 we do a straight stitch all the way round the outside of the mask being sure to capture each of the three layers plus the strap as we go around. Leaving a small gap of about 4cms for us to turn it inside out through.

Prior to this I did a little trimming of stray threads etc and at the bridge of the nose point I cut in a few incisions in the excess fabric so that it'd be more flexible and go round the corner more smoothly.

Finally turn it inside out and you'll need to hand stitch up the small hole that's remaining, but it really is pip-squeek! And then there you have it, your very own floral face mask.

What we also added to some of the final masks was a contrast binding around the outside. This was done with matching or contrasting binding tape that's on the bias and so perfect for going around corners! :) But no need to stop there, you can embellish these in any way you see fit!

For some reason, wearing three at a time turns out to be a lot more fun that wearing just the one. So if you're on a roll, well simply keep on going! :)

Night night dreamers! Zzzzzzzz

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! :)