29 November 2011

Printable Christmas Cards

I have been wanting to branch out and sell some of my designs on Etsy for a while. Earlier this month I went to an Etsy Selling Seminar to find out more and get some tips.

As I am a newbie to online selling and using Etsy and I thought it best to warm up with some printable Christmas cards. Here's how they turned out and are available to purchase from my new shop Lovely Designs UK.

Gift Tag Design


Christmas Trees

Soon it's time to try selling my Tailored to Fit range online. My new year's resolution is to get the whole package of items for the Damask, Peacock, Ribbon and Bright Butterfly ranges on to Etsy. Wish me luck!

22 November 2011

DIY Wedding Ideas

There are loads of great ideas to be found out there on various blogs and wedding magazine websites. With everyone feeling the pinch, more and more people are turning to DIY to cut costs and personalise their day. Vintage is a popular theme at the moment and making homemade stuff gives an added whimsical charm.

It is worth noting that 'doing-it-yourself' is not always cheaper once you have bought all the materials for your project. You also need to factor in all the time it takes to make the items. Why not get friends and family to help out and arrange a day of crafting?

Bows for the aisle  

These big bows to decorate the aisle are from my own wedding. I made these one evening with my chief bridesmaid, Philippa. We only made four, two for the front and two at the back, as the aisle was fairly short. Compared to having flowers decorating the aisle, it worked out a lot cheaper.

I used a roll of white organza to create the big basic bow that was shaped and bunched in the middle. Coloured ribbon were tied in front with silver ribbon holding it all together and tied to the chair. Then it was finished off with a silver butterfly and wire twinkly bits.

Here are some other great ideas from my favourite blogs and other sites on how to give your wedding have a personal touch by making stuff yourself. Click on the links to take you to the original article and instructions.

Cake Decor

This sparkler/streamer cake topper is a great idea. It would work for all sorts of celebrations as well as your wedding cake. I would maybe add some streamers to stick out the top to give it a more firework look. Get DIY-ing now.

Romantic floral centre piece

If you have the time and energy, why not consider creating your own table centre flowers? Keep in mind that you will need to store the flowers somewhere chilled or as cold as possible to keep the flowers fresh. Don't start making them too long before the wedding, ideally the afternoon or evening before the wedding. Make sure you buy the freshest flowers possible (obviously!). And consider using flowers that are in season as they tend to last longer and can be more cost effective.

Guest book tree

Instead of having a traditional guest book for people to sign their comments in, why not create this novel guest book tree. It's fun, interactive and makes a great decoration itself!

Beautiful pearl necklace

This is a gorgeous and simple way to make a statement pearl necklace to finish off a simple strapless wedding dress to perfection.

Pimp up your envelopes

If you have a retro theme to your wedding, these dotty envelopes can give your invites a real pop of fun. Imagine getting one of these through your letterbox!

Chiffon and tulle flowers

These flowers are a great way to create your own stunning hair piece by sewing into a comb or hair band. Or you could attach it to a sash or a ribbon for a corsage.

Have you got any ideas of your own that you would like to share? Just get in touch with pictures and how-to instructions and you could feature on this blog!

15 November 2011

Michelle & Paolo's South African Safari Wedding

My old school friend Michelle got married a few months after I did. I had the pleasure of giving a bit of support and advice whilst she was living in the UK. Her 'something borrowed' was my wedding tiara so the price per wear went down on that!

Sadly I don't get to see her in person anymore as she has moved back to her native South Africa with her husband. But it's great to revisit her beautiful wedding photos and share her experience with you.

Here are Michelle's pictures and comments about her and Paolo's special day...

10th January 2009

Mangwa Valley Game Lodge, Gauteng, South Africa

Theme / Colours:
Bush theme with pink/white/green colours

Save the Date Ecard: Lovely Designs
Invitations: local supplier in South Africa
Photographer: Sonja Hilton - expensive but worth every cent
DJ: Blast (a great company according to Michelle)
Wedding coordinator: Theresa Erlank, Del Cielo Coordinators

Highlights of the wedding day:
The weather was a blessing as it was baking hot but it thankfully rained over lunchtime which lowered the temperature and meant the lighting for the photographs was great.
I am very grateful for having had a videographer, as this is the last video record of my Dad, and that I was fortunate enough to have him walk me down the aisle, as he has since then passed on from illness.

Anything you would have done differently?:
I wasn't 100% happy with my hairstyle, so i would probably have changed that. Otherwise, the catering was a little less than expected so i would have made sure we had a tasting beforehand to finetune the menu.  I also wish I had been more hands-on with the stationery instead of relying on a company to design it all.  Looking back, if had worked together with Lovely Designs to do all my stationery I think I would have had more input, but it is difficult organising a wedding from overseas.

Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?:
Magazines, friends, and wedding planner.

Any time or money saving tips?:
Definitely the wedding planner was a great investment, and they needn't do everything but having her to plan and then arrange the whole day made the whole family far more relaxed.  Don't do what I did and buy a dress that needs alterations - it ended up costing twice the price!

Advice to other brides-to-be:
Don't sweat the small stuff, at the end of the day, what people remember is the experience they had on your special day and not whether the table tops were perfect, etc. Remember to enjoy!  Also the best investment is the photographer and/or videographer, don't cut costs on these!

04 November 2011

Mother of the Bride or Groom

We all get excited about the big white dress but what about the mother of the bride or groom? They want to look fabulous too and so they should.

But there is that sometimes tricky question of should they match and coordinate with the wedding colour theme?

I personally think they shouldn't have to bring the bride's colour chart when they shop for their outfit and match it exactly. However, it is worth keeping the theme in mind so not to clash when you have the group photos. For example, if the theme is pale pink, then bright red or orange may look out of place.

It's also important to feel comfortable in your outfit and reflect your own tastes as well as scrubbing up rather well!

I have been to a few weddings over the last few years (including my own) and I wanted to share some outfits of my favourite mums. It looks like pinks and purples have been popular outfit colours!

This is my lovely mum, Ellen, at my wedding in 2008. The jacket and trousers were from Jacques Vert. The top was from M&S, the shoes and fascinator were from Debenhams. I painted the black fascinator with purple nail polish to match the outfit. My mum made a point of fitting in with the colour theme because she loves purple too.

This is my mother-in-law, Julie, again at my wedding to Matthew (pictured above right). She went for a brown and pale pink dress, with jacket and shoes in brown. I don't know where her outfit was from but I know she had trouble finding her outfit and wasn't 100% happy with it. She was also unable to find a matching fascinator that she liked, so she went without. But as our wedding was quite small and intimate, I don't think it mattered and she looked great.

Here is Julie again, this time as mother of the bride to my sister-in-law, Becci, in Dubai, February 2011. The dress and jacket were from different shops but went very well together and looks Chanel-esque. The shoes are from LK Bennet and are fantastic. 

Here is my best friend, Philippa's mother, Cathy, as the mother of the bride in 2010. Her whole outfit (possibly including the shoes too) are from Jacques Vert. She hired the lovely purple hat from a place nearby in Newmarket. 

This is my godmother, Margaret, as mother of the groom in 2010. Her jacket was from Jacques Vert and you can see it is similar to Cathy's jacket above. Her dress may also be from Jacques Vert. I love the hat-come-fascinator on a head band. It finishes the look of beautifully.

Here are some outfits that I found and put together based on what is in the shops in the UK at the moment. I have looked at a variety of places from the higher end high street, to the more budget conscious stores. You don't have to spend bucket loads of cash to have a great looking outfit, especially on the accessories. 

One stop shop outfits:
(Top left to right) spotty Jacques Vert outfit, embroidered Jacques Vert dress, blue satin outfit from Coast.
(Bottom left to right) soft and romantic from Coast, ribbon outfit from Jacques Vert, teal Monsoon dress.  

Monochrome and metallic: 
(clockwise top left) long necklace from Monsoon, patterned dress from Monsoon, glitter heels from New Look,  glitter pumps from New Look,  embellished dress from Matalan, hair band from New Look, black shoes from BHS, and crushed velvet jacket from New Look

Berry purple: 
(clockwise top left) fascinator from Monsoon but no longer available, dress from Matalan, jacket from BHS, heels from Monsoon, and bag from Matalan.

Opulent burgandy velvet: 
(clockwise top left) velvet jacket from M&S, dress from M&S, satin shoes from Clarks but are unfortunately now unavailable so why not try these instead from Monsoon, and flower print clutch bag from Matalan.

No shy wallflower with bold red: 
(clockwise top left) flower dress from Coast, fascinator from Jacques Vert, ivory jacket from Coast, and red patent shoes from Clarks.

Teal and silver: 
(clockwise top left) silver shrug from Monsoon, teal top from Monsoon, silver pleated skirt from Matalan, hair band from New Look, suede teal heels from Clarks now unavailable so why not try these instead also from Clarks or these from LK Bennet, and belt from Monsoon.

Neutrals all the way or add a pop of red: 
(clockwise top left) mock ostrich clutch bag from Monsoon, sequinned top from Monsoon, floral clutch as above, striped jacket from Principles at Debenhams, satin heels as above and no longer available, camel trousers from Monsoon, red trousers from Wallis, gold heels from Clarks, and fascinator from Jacques Vert

For more outfit and accessories ideas, check out my Pinterest board called Mother of the Bride / Groom.