Monthly Archives: September 2012

Personal Projects Update

Okay, so a while back I posted a list of personal sewing projects that I wanted to complete… someday. Since I can’t think of anything better to blog about today – I got some good ideas from my twitter pals, which I promise I’ll use, but they are more effort than I have willpower for at present – I thought I’d update you. Maybe I’ll try to do this monthly, so that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of any of these things actually getting done.

So, here is the list:

  • Corset for me (to hopefully finish in the next two weeks so I can wear it to Kinzie‘s wedding!) – I have an Asian-style embroidered brocade kind of fabric for this, and it’s beautiful. Also I’m hoping to recreate/modify a Victorian-style corset with this project. UPDATE: DONE! And I even finished in time to wear it at the wedding. Because I stayed up all night finishing it in my hotel room. Haha. Here’s what it looks like:

Dancing at Kinzie & Donnie’s Wedding!
Photo by Wasabi Photography –

  • Jacket to wear over said corset in case it is cold – I have blueish purple silk dupioni for this, and superb inspiration for the style. UPDATE: Totally not done. But here’s the inspiration photo for the style I plan to try:

I love the big buttons and pleat-like details.
Anthropologie jacket; Photo and styling via Already Pretty –

  • Alterations to a dress I made a few years ago but now hate, to turn it into a simple skirt (with pockets!) to complete the above ensemble. UPDATE: I have actually spent about five minutes thinking about this one – does that count? (Especially if those thoughts make me wonder if it’s actually even possible to make this particular transformation)
  • Corset for Julia that she has been begging me to make for the last two years. UPDATE: Not even started, but Julia did find some gorgeous fabric yesterday:
  • New pajama pants. Mine all have holes. (Lots of them, in unfortunate places.) I have awesome Flinstones-esque dark teal with black tiger stripe fabric. They will be so much fun to wear. UPDATE: Not at all done. But the growing number and size of holes in my pajama pants has moved this to the top of the priority list.
  • The aforementioned Great T-Shirt Project of 2010. You guys, in 2010 we bought 30 pounds of jersey so that we could both expand our sad, sad collection of ill-fitting t-shirts. (I have a long torso, so basically every t-shirt ever manufactured shows an inch or two of stomach, which I’d prefer stayed out of sight and warm.) UPDATE: Let’s jut admit there is no way this will happen before 2013.
  • I have silky, stretchy, clingy, shiny teal fabric for a drape-y dress shirt. UPDATE: I still have it! It’s still folded neatly among all the other pretty things in our fabric stash…
  • I am determined to never purchase jeans again and start making my own, because there are no pants in the universe that fit me properly. (And the ones I have are dangerously close to being to worn to wear in public.) UPDATE: I still believe this firmly. It may even happen soon-ish.
  • On that note, I need some dressier-than-jeans but not as fancy as wedding attire to wear to my clients’ rehearsals. As well as some more wedding attire to wear to their weddings. I know I’m getting sick of my same two outfits, and if you started looking at photos of me on fancy occasions, you’d be sick of them too. UPDATE: Zero progress.
  • I also have two pairs of corduroy pants in progress that need finishing. UPDATE: Haven’t touched them.
  • And cranberry corduroy for a winter skirt. UPDATE: I thought about it last week because fall is here and this would be a great time to wear it. You know, if it had been designed/sewn already.
  • Make my own swimsuit for the summer! (Long torso is a big problem in this department as well.) UPDATE: I bought a new swimsuit. I like it, but not as much as the fantasy ones I’ve designed for myself in my head. Maybe next year.

And there you have it. I have crossed one personal project off the list since May, and that pretty much only happened because I had a really good deadline.

Making Time

It has gotten crazy around here. Last week, I was prepping for an out-of-town wedding, working on a corset pattern, working my usual 12-hour shifts at the day job, and having to grocery shop afterwards to come home and make dinner alone because Julia was in tech for a show. Then I skipped town and worked all weekend, Julia stayed home and worked all weekend, and then we basically repeated that this week, except sub prepping for going out-of-town with catching up from being out-of-town, and sub being in tech for running a show and starting rehearsals for another show and making mockups for two different dresses and we both had terrible weeks. I cancelled my own damn birthday party because I was too stressed out thinking about losing the work time on Saturday to making cake and party food.

You can see why we both got super cranky today about having zero time for each other.

Julia said today, “I need a wife, not just a business partner.” And she is absolutely right. We both need each other; we especially need each other when we are overworked and stressed out. I am pretty sure we may have even promised something along those lines.

Us, on our very first trip away together, in 2006. Six years later, this remains our only trip away alone together, except for our legal marriage/honeymoon jaunt to Boston. I think we should get out of town more often…

I’ve probably talked about this before. Maybe I haven’t, I don’t know. You know who has? Christy. She talks about it a lot, and she is wise:

“The thing about maintaining a happy relationship is that you can’t choose to focus on it just one day every few months. Like those crazy crash diets that never work – you can’t just decide to not eat for a day and expect that you’ll keep the weight off for the rest of your life. No… you need to make lifestyle changes, eat healthier, and work on it day in and day out. Relationships are just the same.”

So what did she do? She literally took out her calendar and wrote a day off into every week. And I’m going to go ahead and steal her smart plans. (Thanks, Christy!)

From now on, we are designating one day a week as a No-Crafty-Broads-Work day (if you’re wondering, it seems to be falling on Sundays for the foreseeable future.) And somewhere in the week, probably on that same day but possibly not, we are scheduling Date Night. With a strict no computers, no cell phones rule. During which we might do things like actually seeing a movie in the movie theater. So, if you’re calling/texting/emailing and we’re not responding immediately like we usually do… be patient for at least 24 hours, ok? We’ll be snuggling until then.

Yeah, we really did carve our names into a tree trunk.

Ryan and Michael’s Intimate Wedding – Olive Park and the Penthouse at Pearson on the Park – Chicago, IL

Well, I’m hopeful that I’ll start catching you up semi-regularly on all the weddings and projects we’ve been working on. If only because I feel guilty when I don’t. We’ll see, as usual.

Today’s post goes way, way back to almost a year ago. Julia knew Ryan through her work in theatre, and in catching up on each others’ lives since the last show, Julia found out Ryan was planning a wedding, and he found out that we’d just launched Crafty Broads. Ryan and his fiance, Michael, had most of the details worked out, but really needed some help making their reception happen.

Who know there were double-man bathroom signs nonchalantly hanging out in Chicago? Not me. More importantly, aren’t these two just adorable together?

Without further ado, let me tell you about it! First of all, you have to understand that Ryan and Michael are ridiculously in love with each other – and when I say that, I mean not only that they love each other a lot, but they have so much fun at it. I don’t think I caught a glance of either of them sans giant grin all night long.

Ryan and Michael held their reception on a crisp October evening in the penthouse party room of their downtown apartment building. They did a fantastic job transforming a somewhat bland space into a very special and personal room for their party – it really was amazing to see the before and after! Bold colors and gorgeous floral arrangements from Andrew’s Garden made the space come alive.

Instead of having traditional catering, Ryan and Michael decided to order all their favorite foods from various restaurants to serve their guests. The sweetest thing was that by each dish, they had a little card describing a special moment in their relationship when that particular food played a role. Stellar idea. And the food was delicious, especially the truffle mac and cheese.

They guests were treated to a nice surprise after dinner… fireworks! If you live in Chicago, you may know that Navy Pier has regular firework displays throughout the summer. Ryan and Michael smartly planned their reception timeline to include viewing these from the outdoor patio of the penthouse.

My favorite part, though, was the toasts. Their parents said some of the sweetest, most moving words I’ve ever heard directed towards a newly-married couple. I can’t speak for the guests, but I was definitely crying.

Congratulations, Ryan and Michael!

Ceremony Venue: Olive Park
Reception Venue: Pearson on the Park
Officiant: Friend of the couple
Photographer: Green Key Photography
Florist: Andrew’s Garden Floral Couture
Catering: The Southern Mac Truck, Fox & Obel, Lao Beijing, Garrett’s Popcorn
Cakes: Nonnie’s Sweets

All photos were taken by Green Key Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Real Wedding Budget: La Grange, Texas | 60 Guests | $8,900

This is part of our ongoing series, Real Wedding Budgets, bringing you actual numbers from actual couples, along with an idea of what you can get for your money. See more Real Wedding Budgets here.
Want to make this series run longer? Submit your real wedding budget (anonymously) here.

Before you read, a note on vendors: We don’t provide vendor information because you never know what kind of discounts they may have given, or if their prices have changed since this wedding. And also because if the couple didn’t love them, we don’t want to be putting a bad review out there. That’s what Yelp and Wedding Wire are for.

However, there is one exception – photography. Because we want you to get a good idea of what the couple was able to do with their budget, we include photos when possible, and credit the photographers. So word of advice – if you like these photos, please do go check out the photographer’s website (linked at the end of the post), and then ask for their current ratesDo not expect that you will necessarily get the same package and pricing you see here.

$8,900: 60 Guests on a Saturday Afternoon in La Grange, Texas in the Spring

The Numbers

Venue(s) $ 1,000.00
Photography/Video (including albums, prints, etc.) $ 2,143.35
Food/Beverage (catering, alcohol, and cake) $ 2,298.69
Floral/Decor $ 456.90
Entertainment (Band, DJ, Ceremony Musicians) $ 10.00
Attire (including shoes, jewelry, etc.) $ 798.00
Rings $ 157.00
Marriage License $ 71.00
Officiant $ 0
Wedding Planner/Day-of-Coordinator $ 0
Invitations, Save-the-Dates, Programs $ 277.22
Rentals $ 0
Hair & Makeup $ 0
Transportation $ 0
Rehearsal Dinner $ 150.00
Gifts & Favors $ 83.62
Other $ 1,429.78
TOTAL $ 8,875.56

What They Got For the Money

Ceremony & Reception Venue ($1,000)
The couple rented the chapel at a church camp. It was a beautiful stone and wood chapel with huge, lovely windows. The fee included all tables and chairs; use of the outside deck; three days of time for rehearsal, wedding, and clean up; and setup by the camp staff.

Photography ($2,143.35)
The couple had two photographers for 7 hours, with web- and print-ready files and all print rights.

Catering ($2,298.69)
The couple served a BBQ buffet with three entrees and three sides. They purchased their own alcohol.

Cake ($65)
The bride baked cupcakes the week prior to the wedding and froze them. They defrosted and decorated them the night before the wedding.

Flowers ($306.90)
Flowers were purchased by the bride, her mother, and her matron of honor at a local grocery store the day before the wedding. The bride’s aunt and sister-in-law arranged all of the centerpieces and created the bouquets.

Decor ($150)
They purchased ribbons, a candle holder, box for cards, and other miscellaneous items. Friends and family lent them beautiful jars which were used for the centerpieces.

Entertainment ($10)
Ceremony and reception music was played on an iPod. They paid for Spotify Premium to download the songs they wanted on their playlist.

Attire ($798)
The bride purchased a pre-owned dress via the internet and wore her own jewelry. She purchased new argyle socks and wore her old, beat-up boots. The groom wore his own suit and shirt and purchased a new tie and dress boots.

Rings ($157)
The bride wears a simple, mill-grain-edged gold band, purchased on Etsy. The groom wears an heirloom ring from his family.

Marriage License ($71)

Officiant ($0)
A friend of the couple, who got ordained online, officiated the ceremony. The couple composed the ceremony.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator ($0)
The bride’s best friend unofficially filled the role of wedding coordinator.

Invitations ($277.22)
The bride designed the invitation suite and had them printed online. This cost include pocketfolds, envelopes, postage, and craft supplies (ribbon, lace, etc.) in addition to printing.

Hair and Makeup ($0)
The bride’s hair and makeup were done by friends.

Favors ($83.62)
The guests received clear shot glasses filled with blue M&Ms and York candy pieces in tulle, tied with ribbon. 

Rehearsal Dinner ($150)
The couple held a casual pizza dinner the night before the wedding.

Other ($1,429.78)
The couple paid for their family and wedding party’s food and lodgings at the camp.


What was your biggest financial splurge? Why did you choose it? Was it worth it?

Our photographer! The husband was very non-excited about having his picture taken and the cost; we wound up having our largest wedding fight about it, actually. I loved our photographer’s work from the first time I saw it on APW and I was so psyched she was open for our date. In the end, though, the husband loved the photos and I’m so glad we got them done by such a quality photographer.

Was there anything you regret spending your money on or anything you wish you’d spent less on?

Honestly, we came in $1500 under budget and I don’t know what I would’ve spent any more of the money on.

All photos were taken by Elissa R. Photography and are reposted here with permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.

Restaurant Michael – Winnetka

I’m BACK! Or, at least, I am trying. It’s hard to get back in the groove when you’ve taken three months (seriously? yeah…) off from blogging anything. I make no promises, because honestly I kinda feel obligated to blog more than yay! I feel like blogging! a lot of the time, but I also remember that when I do it with some semblance of regularity I become excited to post, so. Newton’s First Law of Motion. It’s for real, man. Anyway, I’m gonna ease us back in gently by talking about (what else?) food!

A couple weeks ago, we went to see a fantastic production of A Little Night Music at Writers’ Theatre. (It was stellar, but it’s over, so I can’t tell you to go see it. It’s already too late.) We decided to make it a date night and go out for dinner. I was looking for something inexpensive, because we’re trying to buy a house and we’re going to need money for fixing it up (I should totally write a post about that, shouldn’t I?) and also we have a food budget to stick to, but being that Writers’ is in Glencoe, we were limited by The Suburbs. Having ruled out chain restaurants and places that sounded very mediocre, we decided to go all out and took the theatre’s suggestion (and 10% discount) to Restaurant Michael. In summary – amazing food, top-notch service, way lower prices than comparable dining experiences we’ve had before.

Since we were pre-show diners, our reservation was for 5:30pm. When we arrived, we were pretty much the only people there. Now I know it’s not really “cool” to eat dinner so early, but I have to tell you – there is no cheaper way to get private dining. Give it a chance sometime. We were pleasantly surprised to find a prix fixe menu, and while we pondered the options, we were served the most delicious cheese puff ever. I think the rest of this post is best told in photos. Enjoy!