Sunday, 14 November 2010

New York or Bust

Well,  the time has finally come and tomorrow morning we are flying to New York for our wedding on Thursday 18 November (on what will be the 5th anniversary of the day we met!).

It seems like it's been a long time coming but yet this year has absolutely flown by.  I designed my own dress and found a wonderful dressmaker to bring it to life.  I bought a wedding dress travel box the right size for hand luggage as I'm not letting that baby out of my sight! 

I've managed to get all my accessories from jewellery crafters I've found on Etsy and Folksy , a gorgeous retro bag and a faux fur jacket the exact shade of champagne as my dress on Ebay and the practical boring side of me even managed to find some shoes that totally go with the style of my dress whilst being suitable to wear to work once the big day is over (well, there IS a recession on - make do and mend and all that!) I did make some shoe decorations out of a toilet roll tube and some sticky back plastic (I jest - it was actually some material flowers and sticky clip on earring backs!) the idea being to clip them on for the day to jazz the shoes up a bit.  It seemed like a good idea  and I was all chuffed with my ingenuity however once I tried them on with the dress they looked less wedding shoe and more clown shoe so I'll just leave them at home I think!

I've written my vows which I am determined to read without blubbing (although I've invested in waterproof mascara just in case). 

I lost 10lbs over the summer and then promptly put most of it back on again as a result of, well, chocolate mostly.  At this point it doesn't matter and I don't care.

We've chased the wedding planning company for documentation to prove we paid them several hundred pounds to organise our big day - seriously, we paid them for a gold package to include location of our choice (see below), flowers (which if you want anything but roses you have to then pay extra for), pre-wedding consultations (non-existent), an officiant who provides a money order for the wedding licence (she knew nothing about that!) - Aggh - they promise to organise everything so you don't have to worry but they caused us more stress (and proved much more expensive) than if we'd just organised it ourselves!

Ultimately we discovered the location wasn't actually booked with the Parks Department at all ('but at that time in the morning, I'm sure it won't be a problem just turning up and getting wed there' - OMG!), the wedding licence isn't actually included in the price we paid any more but we'll get that refunded (am guessing the cheque got lost in the post the same as all the letters they claim they previously sent, as we're still waiting).  In the end up we just filled in our details online ourselves to speed up the process when we go to collect the licence from City Hall a couple of days before our wedding.  We've spoken to our officiant by email (she signs them 'peace' and is a reiki master as well as an officiant) and are looking forward to meeting this lady in the flesh (even though she referred to our wedding location as 'a bit of a wedding factory'- Gulp.)

Anyway, at this point we are past all the stressing out and panicking - one way or another we WILL be getting married on our anniversary and we will get some fabulous photos taken by Brian Friedman, our photographer, all around Central Park and Times Square and we will have an amazing meal in the River Cafe looking at the Manhattan skyline through the big picture window.

S collected his made to measure kilt suit in Glasgow last weekend and he is going to look gorgeous in it. The biggest dilemma facing him right now is whether to wear grey socks (to match his jacket and waistcoat) or cream socks to match his shirt - I'll have to wait til the big day to see which he chooses!

Being from Ireland and used to it always raining, I've even bought an umbrella with burgundy and cream hearts on a grey background which will totally match our colour scheme should the New York weather be unkind!

Anyway, all that's left to do now is look forward to visiting the most exciting city in the world and parade around in my 50s prom style dress acting like I'm Carrie Bradshaw with my very own Mr Big!

See you when we get back from New York (by way of Acapulco!)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Feeling Blue

Those of you who read the odd post of mine might recall a couple of quirky imaginary scenes I created as sketches for the never ending sketchbook project which I called Patchwork Orange and Somewhere Beachy.  Well, this is another one that I came up with the other day during the ferry crossing back to Belfast from Glasgow.  I managed to draw the outlines for 3 sketches during that crossing and then finished them off in colour over the next few evenings.  I think this is sketch 20 (at this point I'm no longer sure of anything other than there are still far too many blank pages staring back at me!)

This is another completely imaginary scene based on the same twisty houses and this time, as you can see, I decided to do it all shades of blue to hopefully reflect the fact that it is night time!  There will probably be a few more of these cropping up in the sketchbook and I'll also maybe get some good photos in New York which I can use for inspiration for actual real places too.

I know I've said it before but I will be so glad when the sketchbook project is completed. I am looking forward to knowing my sketchbook will be touring American cities with the other 25,000 (at last count) but at the same time it's taken over my life and I miss doing pointy portraits in ink - I am hoping to start one of our two dogs soon - not sure how their fur will lend itself to pointillism but it'll be a challenge finding out!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

List It Tuesday - Things that make me happy!

Last week was all about the irritations in life so to keep on the good side of the karma police I thought this week I should list the things in this world, both natural and man-made that make me feel all warm and fuzzy! In no particular order:-
1.     When the pups snuggle in beside me on the sofa.

Brodie & Reuben

2.      When S surprises me with an amazing trip away somewhere and the thoughtful way he tells me about it by cooking me a meal in the style of the country we're going to visit!


3.       Fireworks - really good public displays and not the immensely annoying whee...plop ones that people let off in their back yard!

Glasgow Guy Fawkes - Fireworks. 
Photos credit: Alan McLean

4.      A beautiful sunset/sunrise.

Sunrise - Norway


 5.     Hillwalking to the top of Slieve Bernagh - not necessarily the actual climb but the feeling I get when we finally make it to the top and know that I totally deserve the bars of chocolate we brought for energy!

Slieve Bernagh back in the days
when I was fit and had long hair!
6.     A random act of kindness by a stranger.

7.     Travelling to another city/country/continent that I've not been to before.

Vittoriano, Rome

8.     Getting tickets to see my favourite comedian/musician

9.    Watching Polar Express on Christmas Eve with S & the pups, a mug of mulled wine, the fairy lights twinkling and the log fire blazing.


10.     A rainy day, no particular place to go, a really good book & a cup of coffee !

I keep thinking of more stuff that makes me happy which I suppose is no bad thing, but in the interests of keeping the list readable, I'll keep it to 10!

What makes you happy?  Don't forget to pop over to Artsyville to check out Aimee's list and see what other bloggers are listing this week.

This is my last list for a few weeks being as next week I'll be in New York (I know, I'm boring you now but I'm soooo excited!!)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Turns out I can't count!

I finished this sketch last Saturday and counted through the sketchbook to see how many I'd done in total including the front cover.  I got to 19.  I counted again.  I got 19 again.  How can this be possible, I thought to myself, when my last sketch post was titled 'Sketch 19 Oh la la  etc' (which I have subsequently re-named)?? I logged on and counted through the sketches I've previously posted and realised I skipped a number along the way.  So here I am, simultaneously pleased to have finished another sketch and  disappointed to discover it's one less than I thought I'd done.

There isn't a specific photo that I drew this from.  Just a whole collection of Amsterdam source photos from which I construted a street scene and coloured the houses whatever shade I fancied. 

I did actually go to Amsterdam for my sister's hen (bachelorette) weekend several years ago. However I'd like to go back and experience it without a hangover so I could appreciate the city and what it has to offer on a more cultural level (We didn't even make it into Anne Frank's house, for shame!)  I love the architecture though - the houses look doll-like and quirky and I drew this in keeping with that idea (i.e wonky and tilty!)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Crafty Shout Out - Betsy Jarvis

What with one thing and another I haven't done a crafty shout out for quite some time but when I discovered this gorgeous little gem of a shop on Folksy recently, I absolutely had to contact Steff the designer and owner and ask if I could tell anyone who would listen all about the delightful stuff she makes!


Steff, the mastermind behind Betsy Jarvis qualified in textile design some years ago but, as is a very familiar story, ended up working in the drudgery of the rat race as that was the way to pay the bills - as she says herself  she couldn’t face being an impoverished artist whilst she built up a name!


However,  after deciding to take a leap of faith and do what she loves to do, Steff has now been making and selling Betsy Jarvis products for 2 years and introduced her range to cyberspace in July this year and it is now happily Steff's full time occupation.

The gorgeous items in Betsy Jarvis' shop are very much inspired by vintage French style.  Steff favours utilitarian fabrics such as hessian and canvas and isn't a fan of pink, fluffy, girly things.  However she believes (and I agree) that vintage can be and is quite often pretty in a sort of bygone, no frills sort of way. 

I know exactly what she means by this as when I looked at the cushions initially it immediately brought to mind the image of land girls making do and mending and keeping calm and carrying on! There is nothing kitsch about Betsy Jarvis products - they are simply beautiful and I can definitely imagine a couple of those cushions scattered around my bedroom!


Betsy Jarvis is stocked in a few shops within the Lincolnshire area where Steff is based and she is currently discussing a possibility of supplying to a shop in France which Steff jokes is like selling ice to the Eskimos given the French influence in her designs, but generally she is focusing more on online shops and stockists - which is good news for us as it means we can avail of these lovely items at the click of a button!

This one can be personalised with
the date for an anniversary present - I heart it!!

Currently you can find Betsy Jarvis products on the official website, in the Folksy online shop and read more about the trials and tribulations of Betsy Jarvis on the Betsy Jarvis blog! The products have also just been accepted on Not Mass Produced and will be listed for purchase there shortly.


As I am always intrigued to know how a name is chosen, I asked Steff where the name for her company came from and she told me that Betsy Jarvis was her husband's Grandmother, and although they never met, she is told she was a very sweet lady......and she had a really cute name (which I think totally fits in with the era and the images that the products evoke in my mind.)


“Success isn't about achieving something in the future, but about doing something now that you love” Zen habits

This is a solid piece of advice which brings to mind Carpe Diem (seize the day) which is a motto that S & I aim to live by and my own motto which I hope to make true someday - Life is too short to make photocopies - make art instead!! (I may just have made that up but it is true nevertheless!)

These are just a few of the many gorgeous things stocked by Betsy Jarvis - hop on over to the links above to check out the rest of the items - I know what I have in mind for Christmas pressies anyway!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

List it Tuesday - Things that make me go Grrr.

The inspiration for this week's list came when I got back to my car after work last week and saw yet another flyer stuck under the windscreen wiper.  This happens practically every day and the flyers are usually either for wild student nights out (clearly they haven't seen me leave my car in the morning as sadly my days of being mistaken for a student are over!) or for gym membership (even if I could motivate myself to join another gym, it definitely won't be the one leaving flyers on my car that go soggy in the rain and stick to my windscreen in a papier-mâché mess, Grrr!) And so this list was born! Turns out there are so many things that do make me go Grrr in this world today that it was quite hard to stop at just 10!

In case the list is too small to read, this is what it says:
  1. Flyers being left on my windscreen every fricking day.
  2. Cruelty to animals.
  3. Crap customer service.
  4. Bad manners/rudeness.
  5. People earning more on welfare than I do working full time.
  6. This never ending recession.
  7. Polititians and every lie they tell.
  8. People throwing litter out of cars (or at all for that matter!)
  9. Being stuck behind slow drivers or walkers.
  10. My lottery numbers never coming up!

I promise I'll come up with something less grumpy and more positive next week (my last week of blogging before I head off to New York and Acapulco for 3 weeks - I may have mentioned it once or a zillion times already!)

Oh, and don't forget to check the other lists or leave a link to your own by way of Aimee at  Artsyville.


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