A Knitted Wedding

I don’t really know where to start. I married my best friend and the love of my life in April and we had a magical day. It was everything we could have asked for and more. We got married in Ballybeg House in Wicklow, which is a private venue with a beautifully decorated house and a permanent marquee.

Bride in tea length Justin Alexander dress with knitted shawl.There were several factors that informed our choice of venue. (1) We didn’t want a hotel. There is nothing wrong with hotels but we wanted to do something a bit more unique with more flexibility. (2) We wanted fantastic food. We are huge foodies and this was so important. We used Molly’s Larder, as recommended by the venue and every single guest complimented the food which made my day. (3) Rossa wanted to include homebrew or craft beer in some shape or form. Ballybeg allowed us to serve his homebrew during our drinks reception and the publican who ran the bar agreed to get a keg of Metalman Pale Ale.

Knitted shawl for wedding

(c) Halfadreamaway.com

I’ve written about my knitted shawl already and shared some photos of the finished product. I was surprised that it acted like a security blanket on the day, something familiar and comforting. I was very calm throughout the whole process and very relaxed on the morning. However, once I got in the car with my dad and brother it all began to feel like a bit of a dream. The shawl was something to wrap around me and made me feel secure.

Knitted lavender boutonnière buttonhole

(c) Halfadreamaway.com

You may also have seen the Lavender that I knitted for the guys buttonholes (boutonnière). These were also a big hit with our guests and the guys themselves. Plus they don’t wilt and die so we’ll always have them as a momento.

knitted cake topper for wedding cake

(c) Halfadreamaway.com

The final piece of knitting for the wedding was the cake topper. I knitted a bride and groom from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi and fudged two dogs from the lion pattern from the same book. I added some extra details to the bride and groom such as glasses for Rossa and a fascinator for me. I couldn’t have Ollie and Mia there on the day so we had to have them on the cake. I think they look pretty cute.

For other brides and grooms considering including DIY in their weddings my advice would be: Be realistic about your skills and more importantly be realistic about your time frame. And ask for help, your friends and family are probably dying to get involved in your big day so let them. Take the pressure off. And finally if whatever you are creating isn’t perfect you are the only person who is likely to notice so don’t worry about it.

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Lovely lavender

I just realised that if I keep sharing everything I make for the wedding on my blog then there will be no surprises on the day. But I am so proud of how my knitted lavenders are looking I can’t resist. According to Wikipedia a boutonnière is a floral decoration worn by men, typically a single flower or bud. The word comes from the French word for buttonhole, which is the British term.

Knitted lavender boutonnière buttonhole

(c) Halfadreamaway.com

Before Christmas I was searching the Ravelry pattern database for Christmas decoration patterns. I don’t know what I clicked but the next thing I knew I was staring at these knitted lavender and a plan instantly formed in my head. The pattern is from 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield.

Knitted lavender boutonniere button hole

I tried using a sport weight yarn but they came out too big for my liking. A sample in laceweight turned out much better. With help from the staff at my LYS This Is Knit I choose Rowan Fine Lace in Vintage and Malabrigo Lace in Olive.  R asked for something a bit extra for his so I added two lavenders in Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Oyster that I used for my shawl.

Knitted lavender boutonniere button holeI’m using 2mm dpns to knit the lavenders and for the stems I’m using garden wire wrapped in double sided tape and wrapped with the olive yarn. I’ve used some twine to tie them together. This twine is being used throughout the decorations for the wedding. I love the twine, the texture and the look of it. I know, how sad right?

I’m am spectacularly happy with how these are turning out so far. Here’s the Ravelry project page.

A photography crush

Today I am going to tell you about a photographer that I admire. I discovered her work through Ravelry when I clicked through to her blog. I was blown away. In fact I even sent her a rather embarrassed message on Ravelry telling her how much I loved her photos.

Julie showcases her work at halfadreamaway and has a way with light that I will forever be in awe of. When she offered to shoot our wedding I nearly bit her hand off. We went to Masseys Wood in the Dublin Mountains last weekend to take some photos of us and the dogs as well as some photos of the shawl I knitted for the wedding.

If you’re looking for something to do of a weekend I highly recommend a trip to the Dublin Mountains. So close by, so beautiful and so forgotten about by many. Masseys Wood is also quite flat compared to some of the walks which is why I particularly like it.

Anyway, without further ado here are the *beautiful* photos of my Ballybeg shawl. They really need no blurb, they speak for themselves.

 

Ballybeg shawl

 

 

See what I mean about the light? So go take a look at Julie’s fantabulos blog, where Ollie and Mia have even featured. Go now. Right now. Off you go. But come back then please.

Sneak peak

Ok, I couldn’t wait any longer. I won’t be at home in the daylight until Friday and really wanted to take a few photos of my ‘stole’. (The word ‘shawl’ left Rossa worried that I would look like Peig!?!?) I brought the stole into work and took a few quick photos on my phone.

Ballybeg knitted lace shawl

I can’t get the beautiful soft sheen of it but this isn’t a bad photo. In real life the beads *really* twinkle. I’m going to have to spend some time with my SLR translating that into a photo.

Ballybeg knitted lace shawl

So there you have it. I still can’t quite believe it’s finished. Better to pics to come at the weekend I hope.

Ballybeg Shawl

Ballybeg is my first knitting laceweight project. It is also the shawl I will wear for my wedding. The shawl is named after the venue we are getting married in, Ballybeg House in Wicklow.

I chose Fyberspates Scrumptuous Lace in Oyster. It’s a 2ply silk merino blend and I’m not ashamed that the one kilometer yardage terrified me. This yarn is indeed scrumptuous, it is so lovely to knit with, so soft with just the lightest sheen to it.

I also wanted to use some beads to give it the wow factor. I chose 4mm clear AB Swarovski crystals and I’m using a .5mm crochet hook to add the beads to the stitches as I go along.

 

 

 

 

 

I had initially swatched for Cold Mountain by Kieran Foley. I really like the geometric patterns in this shawl and also like the idea of choosing an Irish designer. But once I had chosen my dress I realised as beautiful as cold mountain is, it wouldn’t suit the dress. The photos below show the blocked and unblocked swatch.

Another Kieran Foley design caught me eye, Echo Beach. The pattern uses “shifting columns of dropped stitches” that flow through the pattern like little rivers, I chose to do the column of two dropped stitches version. I’m a tight knitter so am using 4mm needles for this project.

The chart is repeated three time across the shawl so I’m adding three beads to every second row, on the wrong side. I’m adding these on the purl rows, to the stitch immediately after the yarn over (YO).

This is costing an absolute fortune in Swarovskis but I think it’s worth it. I tried out some Bonarski crystals I got in Winnie’s Wool Wagon. These are considerably cheaper but I can see the difference in the sparkly-ness , so will switch back to Swarovskis.

So far I have 7 and a half pattern repeats done and pinned the shawl out this morning to get an idea of how it’s coming along and to take some photos.

DIY: Something for my girls

At first I wasn’t going to have any bridesmaids, but the further we got in the wedding planning, the more I felt I wanted to have my girls beside me. But in the end having my best friends beside me on one of the most important days in my life trumped the cost implication of three dresses, three pairs of shoes, three hairs and makeups.

Bridesmaid cardSo having decided we would both have three friends I ended up getting drunk and asking the girls to be my bridemaids. They were thrilled and I was delighted they said yes, but I did feel bad about the way in which I asked them. Then my abosolute favourite wedding blog, One Fab Day did a post on Popping the question… to the Bridesmaids, where they featured lots of ways you can ask your friends.

Bridesmaid cardI decided that because I’d been a drunken boob (in fairness, we were all fairly pissed that night) that I would make and send them a thank you card, similar to some of the ones. I found a font online that I liked and downloaded and installed it. It took me a while to visualise where on my A4 page the text should go (on the lower half of the page!), then downloaded a squiggly clip art from the Microsoft website. On the inside of the card I included “Thanks you for being my bridesmaid” rather than “will you by my bridesmaid”. Finally I coloured it all in purple, as this is the colour theme for the wedding, and printed it out onto card.

Bridesmaid card envelopeThen I had to find a suitable envelope, so downloaded a C5 template, and printed it onto stiff silvery paper. I hope the girls love then as much as I do.

Bridesmaid card

DIY: Old frames the new

More DIY wedding stuff. taking inspiration from this photo on Style Me Pretty I wanted to create a funky frame for using for our table layout. The day before the wedding I can print out our final table plan and stick it in the frame. I also want to print the table plan onto A4 card to leave around during the drinks reception, so people can be having a look to see where they are sitting before we go into the marquee. After the wedding I’ll use the frame after the wedding to hang our Thumbprint guest book.

I picked up an old framed painting in a funky little shop just of Frances Street in Dublin. I wanted something with lots of grooves and ridges. It cost me the grand total of €20.

I used:

  • Old photo frame
  • Toothbrush and white spirits for cleaning the frame
  • Primer
  • Spray paint in silver
  • Hard board, 3.5mm, craft knife
  • Wallpaper and double sided tape

I set up a tarp against a wall in the garden and proceeded to dismantle the painting from the frame. I then cleaned it using white spirits and a toothbrush. *A lot* of dirt came off. Then I used a spray primer to cover the frame back & front. I followed this with 2 coats of metalic silver spray paint over the course of an afternoon.

Then I cut the hard board to fit the back of the frame. I covered the hard board in a wallpaper sample and stuck it down with the double sided tape.

I got such a response when I posted the finished photos on Twitter, I decided to go ahead with this post, even though my proper camera battery went before I could take proper ‘after’ photos. As soon as I’m home again in the daylight I’ll take some and post them here.

DIY: Chalkboard speech bubble

So to go with my photobooth props I wanted to make some chalkboard speech bubbles. I had one A3 foam board left from the props so decided to see how this would work. My idea is that people can write little messages to include in their photos.

I used:

  • Paper, printer, scissors, pencil, craft knife
  • Foam board, bamboo sticks
  • Spray primer, blackboard paint

I found the outline of a speech bubble online and printed it so it fit onto an A4 sheet of paper. Then I cut around it, and traced around the shape onto the foam board with a pencil. I had enough board left for two, so made them face opposite ways, if you know what I mean.

Then I cut around the shapes on the foam board with the craft knife and sprayed the cut out shapes with, first primer, and then painted them with chalkboard paint. I think chalkboard paint is my new favourite thing. I can think of so many funky uses for it. You can even get magnetic chalk board paint. I’ll give that a minute to sink in – magnetic chalkboard paint. I know.I actually think these are a little small so I’m thinking of asking my future father in law to create some larger bubbles out of some sort of board that I can paint.

Oh, and how about two cute doggie pics. These two just love when I get the camera out (or it could be the treats I give them to get them to sit still, whichever!?!)

DIY: Photobooth props

I think the idea of having a photobooth at a wedding is an American phenomenon but I think it’s a really cute idea. I don’t know how I’ll set it up at the venue, maybe we’ll just put the props and some disposable cameras on a table near a tree.

Photobooth PropsAs with anything wedding related you can buy some really cool props and I would direct anyone looking for this option to Etsy. However, I think it would be more fun to print out and create my own. I also plan to create some chalkboard speech bubbles and have chalk available so everyone can write messages on them. But that may be for another post.

You can find lots of downloadable templates, for example: CraftzeeRuffled BlogOh Happy Day and here and Living Locurto.

I used:

  • Card, printer, markers, glue, tape, kitchen chopping board as cutting board.
  • Black A3 5mm Foam Board
  • Ghiant HighTac Mounting Spray
  • Jakar Heavy Duty Hobby Knife
  • Bamboo sticks from a garden centre & secateurs for cutting

Photobooth PropsCathy from Crafty Alley was so helpful when I contacted her on Twitter, and she helped me pick out the right tools and sent them to me within 24 hours. Now that’s service!

Photobooth PropsI printed out my chosen templates and used the spray glue to mount them onto to foam board. Some of the colours didn’t print as vibrant as I would like them so I coloured them in with the markers. Then I carved around them using the craft knife. I carved them all over two days, and I say carved because my wrist, hand and lower arm were quite sore once I’d finsihed.

Photobooth PropsThis was one of those tutorials where I read “all you have to do is” and it doesn’t quite work like that. It was tougher than I though to cut around the shapes and then there little white bits of card showing against the black board. So I used a marker to go over the edges. Some of the curly mustaches also almost had me in tears trying to cut out the curly bits.

Photobooth PropsI wanted to get wooden skewers like you would use on a barbeque, but it’s the wrong time of year for that so I ended up getting bamboo sticks in the garden centre and chopping them up with a secateurs. I then used a strong glue to glue them to the back of the foam and then covered in black duct tape if there was room.

(Appologies for the terrible photos, but the light has been appalling recently!)

DIY: Tied up with string

I’m getting married to the love of my life next April and I am very excited to be planning our wedding. I’m hoping to make and do as much of the decorations and extra touches myself for three reasons. First I feel it makes it very personal, second simply because I want to. A distant third, for me anyway, is saving money, although this is undoubtedly a nice bonus.

I spotted these table numbers propped up by corks on Pinterest, and immediately fell in love with the rustic feel of the corks and twine. Aren’t they fab? They were originally posted on the website of a Melbourne Wedding Planner and Event Manager, A Lavish Affair.

As a DIY bride I couldn’t resist giving these a go myself.

I used:

  • Glue & scissors
  • String
  • Wine corks (I have a collection of these just waiting for a project to come along, a huge thanks also to Elana and UnderMeOxter for donating wine corks)

The first thing to do is sort the corks into sets of 6, you’re looking for corks of similar height and shape.

The next step is to glue the corks together. You only want to put the glue on the bottom half of the corks so that the paper can still slip between them. I found that gluing them in pairs, and then gluing the pairs together worked best.

Finally, wrap the string around the corks around three times and tie in a bow. When you are happy with the placement of the string and I would suggest adding a few more drops of glue to hold everything in place. You’re now ready to pop your card into place.

I also spotted these really cute table decorations on Pinterest  – 5 things his side should know about her/ 5 things her side should know about him. The originals come from Etsy shop La Belle Vie Design. Jenn from La Belle Vie has loads of super cute, customisable stationary for weddings and some really unique ideas. I’m going to have to tie Rossa down to persuade him to write 5 things about me, but I think it will be a really personal touch, especially for those guests that don’t know one of us very well.