Archives

Meet us at Indie Wed

Click for more information.

We’re pleased as punch to announce that out of over 200 applicants, we’ve been selected as one of the businesses to take part in the next Indie Wed show, which takes place on Saturday, January 28th here in Chicago. (In our old neighborhood. Which we miss.) Indie Wed is an alternative wedding expo type thing, focused on small, local businesses and less-traditional weddings – it was formed to be in the spirit of indie craft fairs and the like. Here’s how they define it:

Indie Wed is a unique event that combines the idea of a traditional wedding show with a street bazaar, highlighting local and nearby independent designers and artisans. Most bridal shows tend to cater to a very specific vision of what a wedding should be. Indie Wed is geared towards couples who want to take an “independent” approach to their event. It is wedding planning… redefined.

There we are, sharing space on the Indie Wed website with all the other awesome vendors!

So – we are excited to be there. We hope to meet lots of potential clients, as well as to get to know some more local vendors. If you’re interested, here are all the details about the winter show.

Spiaggia

Today I had the pleasure of stage managing Elizabeth and Brian’s wedding. More on that later, when I have some of the professional photos to show you. Right now I want to talk about the food I devoured at their reception, held at Spiaggia.

Roasted Beet, Apple, Prosciutto, & Goat Cheese Salad

The first course was this fantastic salad. Goat cheese, roasted beets, apples, tomato, and delicious, crispy, perfectly cooked prosciutto. It was heavenly.

Wild Boar Gnocchi

The second course was wild boar gnocchi. I was really excited to try it, since I’ve never eaten boar before. I’d expected that it would be rolled up in the gnocchi, but it was instead in the sauce, like a meatball would be. It was pretty tasty, too.

I didn’t get a picture of the cake, but it was delicious. (And you know what a cake snob I am.) A hazelnut cake with a light frosting – not too sweet.

So – if you have the chance to dine at Spiaggia, don’t pass it up!

A Busy Week

Well, this is a busy, busy week for us. We added a couple last-minute alterations to our schedule. We’re both knee-deep in silk, chiffon, and wool working on Sarah’s wedding dress and winter coat – post about our progress on that coming soon! Julia is training and covering for the stage manager for several performances of For the Boys, currently playing up at the Marriott. I am gearing up for a wedding on Saturday, in addition to my 45 hours of day job. To say we’re looking forward to Monday (which is our Saturday) is an understatement. In fact, I think we may both collapse in a giant heap by then.

But – things are happening! Julia will be the assistant stage manager on the next mainstage production at Marriott, which is a great step for her career; and we’re continuing to get inquiries and grow our business a little bit every day. We told you little while ago that we’d bought our first advertising over on A Practical Wedding and today out introduction post is up. Unlike many places on the internet, where advertising is just an image in a sidebar, Meg (the founder and editor) takes the time to get to know each vendor and then write a whole blog post about the business. In fact, it was her encouragement that led us to add wedding stage management to our fledgling business, in addition to the custom clothing work we began with. So, thanks Meg!

Here’s the post, if you’d like to go read it:

Crafty Broads on A Practical Wedding

And if you’re interested in custom clothing, have a garment that needs alteration, or you want a wedding stage manager, you can find all the details over on the Crafty Broads website.

We’ll see you back here, bleary-eyed, on Monday for one last catch-up post and then we will be back to our regular chatter, which means we better think of something amazing to cook pretty soon. Got any suggestions?

Advertising on A Practical Wedding

[Don’t forget to update your links/feed to our new blog address: www.craftybroads.com/blog]

It’s getting real over here. We spent some actual dollars to become official sponsors on A Practical Wedding. Let me tell you why this blog was our first (and is likely to be our only) choice for advertising our wedding-related services. It is as simple as the tagline in the blog header:

A Practical Wedding blog header

weddings. plus the marriage. minus the insanity.

This philosophy – that the marriage is what matters and the wedding, while important and wonderful, is just one day (or a few) of celebrating the promise of years to come – is something that speaks to us. As fairly reasonable people ourselves, and with a starving artist limited budget, we had to decide what was essential for our wedding, and ditch or make do for the rest. In addition to lots of practical advice for wedding planning, this site is a community of people actively discussing marriage, what it means to be a wife, marriage equality, an ongoing feminist-leaning book club, and all sorts of other things that go beyond the big day. It’s fantastic and full of awesome people, some of whom I am delighted to call my friends.

Beyond that, everyone who advertises on the website is required to take a Sanity Pledge! And you know what the wedding world needs? That’s right, a lot more sanity. So, with our sponsorship, we get to be surrounded by other like-minded vendors. Here’s the pledge we all agreed to:

… A wedding is an awesome party, but it’s the marriage that really matters.
… It takes two people to get married. It’s not all about the bride (and sometimes there isn’t a bride to begin with).
… We support LGBTQ couples right to marry, and we are delighted to work with them.
… We don’t charge a premium just because we heard the word “wedding.”
… We will be upfront and fair about our pricing. We won’t surprise you with a secret fee because you want frosting on the cake, not just the cake.
… You don’t have to have cake at your wedding.
… However you decide to tie the knot, we’re on your team.
… Weddings come in all different shapes/sizes/colors/budgets/etc., but as long as you two end up married to each other, it will have been a successful wedding.

Excellent, right? We’re hoping this will help the most awesome engaged couples find us for wedding planning and coordination. Or for wedding attire creation or alteration. Or both. (And we’re hoping, since they tend *not* to be reading this particular blog, that it will keep the bridezillas away. Because no.)

We’ve got a little ad with our logo that’s in the right sidebar throughout the site along with a listing in their brand-spankin’-new Vendor Directory, which looks like this:

Crafty Broads in the APW Vendor Directory

Sneak peek of our directory listing (click to view it on APW)

So that’s the update on that. We have already worked with a few APW readers, and we look forward to working with many, many more. All the details about what we do are over on our main website, www.craftybroads.com, if you want to check them out.

Another Guest Post

…because clearly, I care more about posting elsewhere than here. No! It’s not true. It’s just – other people give me deadlines, and my deadline is “whenever I get around to it”, so… you all know what that means. I guess I should pick a couple days a week and stick to them for posting like the real bloggers do. But I digress…

If you’re wondering what I think about using mics (or not) for your wedding ceremony, you can go read all about it over on Frugally Wed.

I really promise to post soon. If you want, you can put a deadline in the comments for me. (It’s got a pretty good chance of working, actually. Especially if you include a topic I should ramble about.)

How to Vacation When You’re Running A Side Business

[Well, I was going to write about the yummy things we ate this week, but turns out I want to write about what a vacation is like when you also are trying to start a business on the side.]

Oh, you guys, I am really trying to keep this blogging thing going, because I do enjoy it. But – when I get busy (which you know is often) it is hard for me to find the space in my brain to decide what to write about, and then get the chunk of time needed to actually write it. Some of you know I’m on vacation from yesterday through Sunday, and you might be thinking – of course she has time! And, yeah, I sort of do. The thing is, though, I think our little business is really starting to take off, and that has to be a priority.

So far on my “vacation”, I have:

  • Slept in until 7:30 or 8am!
  • Written & revised our custom garment contract
  • Worked on dress design sketches
  • Hashed out some details for another wedding, including scoring a great deal with a vendor
  • Set up a meeting with another potential client
  • Actually started the Great T-Shirt Project of 2010
  • Installed new operating system on my computer, and then new money software, and am currently in the midst of transferring all our data over from the old program and setting up our budget.
  • Cleaned the house.
  • Had happy hour with WhiskeyTime and some improvised Amaretto/Pear martinis. (ok, this part is like actual vacation.)
  • SPENT TIME WITH MY WIFE. (Who is being the sweetest lady ever by pretending I am really on vacation and planning a weekend of fancy dinners that she is cooking for me. Boy do I love her. Last night, we had Roasted Chicken with Spiced Figs. OMG. Yum. On Saturday, she is planning some awesome thing where she cooks whole fish. She is the best. Sorry to all the rest of you who don’t get to be married to her.)

Additional things I have scheduled to do on my vacation are:

  • Hit the fabric store for swatching and inspiration for our client’s wedding dress
  • Meet with the aforementioned potential client
  • Finish putting together sketches and estimate for the wedding dress
  • Flesh out all the details of the wedding coming up and distribute them to vendors
  • Maybe continue working on the Great T-Shirt Project of 2010 (which I guess I should write a post about, huh?)
  • Write a guest post for a wedding blog
  • Write a why having babies scared me before being a nanny vs. why they scare me now post for another blog
  • Attempt to write something of substance for this here blog, that is not about how busy I am, and thus will not bore you to tears like this post
  • CELEBRATE OUR ANNIVERSARY. Yeah, I know it was a month ago, and we did celebrate. But I think I mentioned we had been planning to go to a big fancy dinner only to find out that the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed. So. We rescheduled our anniversary for ‘one of those upcoming weekends when we might have some time’ (HA!) and here it is. We’ve got a reservation at Chalkboard for Friday night, and I’m hopeful we will be able to schedule some massages tomorrow or Saturday as well. Yay!

And, let me say, I am NOT complaining. I love doing all these things. Not that I wouldn’t love just sitting at the beach all day, in some semblance of what I imagine normal people do on vacation – I would love that. But – the reason why we’re making this business happen is exactly because we LOVE doing these things and want to eventually do them full-time. Or at least enough of the time that we can pick and choose what shows or other work we want to do the rest of the time.

A Big Announcement

We’re having a baby!

Just kidding. That’s what’s expected after a title of this nature though, isn’t it? Sorry to disappoint. (If you’re wondering, we’re planning to foster/adopt a kiddo or two… someday. We’ll keep you posted.)

We really do have exciting news though! So far, our clients have been friends who happened to want something awesome to wear. Which is stellar, because who doesn’t like making beautiful things for people they love? We sure do. But – the big deal this week? We got our first real client – the kind that we never met before until they found us on the internet and decide to contact us so we could make them something – how great is that? (Pretty amazing. We squealed.) This is a really, really big deal for our little business.

Oh, and can I tell you what we’re making for her? A 1930s-style bias cut wedding dress! Which is an amazing project to be working on. And – her dress ideas are gorgeous! We cannot wait to get started making it, and eventually share it with you. (With her permission, and I’m guessing after the Big Day, of course. So you’ll have to exercise some patience on that one; her wedding’s in December.)

In other news, we may finally have a chunk of time to celebrate our anniversary with the fancy dinner at Chalkboard we were hoping to have at the beginning of the month. And maybe some massages. And definitely something bubbly in the toasting glasses we never used at our wedding.

Pumpkin and Mocha and Berries, Oh My!

[Photos without a credit in this post were taken by Lindsay Pour, otherwise known as the most awesome best friend a person could have. Credited photos, as noted, are by Timmy Samuels/Starbelly Studios, who shot our wedding fantastically and for a ridiculously reasonable price.]

First up in our crafty wedding DIY madness posts is something we can all appreciate:* CAKE.

You may think I am crazy for having made my own wedding cake, but I promise you I’m not. Well, I guess it’s debatable, but given how much I like to bake and my history of making really yummy cakes and the price of cake when you buy them from a bakery (starting at $6/slice, really?!) compared to the price of me making it ($100ish, including the pans) it just made sense. And, as you know, we are practical people. (Also? Theatre people, and therefore, pretty much perpetually broke.)

Now, lest you think we dove into this baking adventure mere days before our wedding, I should remind you, we are stage managers. So we’re good at planning and rehearsal. It so happened that about six months before our wedding I was putting together an opening night party for a production of Brecht’s The Wedding. What’s that? You think that sounds like a perfect event for a wedding cake test drive? Exactly. It worked out well, and even made us change our minds about which flavor deserved to be the largest tier.

The whole cake project took place the day before the wedding. With the help of my best friend Lindsay and my younger sister Jeanne, I baked a total of 8 layers for 3 tiers and I went through about a half a dozen eggs and I’m really not exaggerating when I say at least 4 pounds of butter. Seriously, Jeanne had to run to the store to buy more. It was in the name of perfecting the frosting, which was delicious.

While this was happening, Julia was finishing up some details on our dresses, Lindsay was stitching binding on my corset when she wasn’t helping with the cake, and our friend Jay was sitting on our couch composing the little notes that he then attached to the white knots we asked our guests to wear. Busy day, that.

At times, I baked so fast the camera could not catch me.
At other times, my baking frenzy was interrupted for dress fittings. And dancing.
{How to attack a wedding cake.}

Midway through the baking and stacking process, I noticed that the layers for the top tier had risen significantly more than the bottom two tiers, and were going to make it at least an inch taller. I had a near-breakdown about the possibility of uneven tiers (because you CANNOT have uneven layers. It simply will not do.) After leaving the kitchen to go try not to cry about it, I ultimately decided to bake a third layer of the pumpkin and chocolate so that once it was all stacked up it would be uniform.

Smooch Break!

I know you want to drool over all the yumminess, so please allow me to describe the actual cake. (Possibly I am just really proud of myself and I want you to want to eat my cake.) The bottom tier was Pumpkin cake with Ginger Buttercream.

The middle tier was Devil’s Food cake with Mocha Whipped Cream filling.

The top tier was vanilla-almond cake with berries and pastry cream inside.

The frosting covering the outside of the whole cake was my trial-and-error love child of French, Italian, and Swiss style buttercreams with some extra whipped cream added. I decorated it with what is known in the world of Wilton cake decorating magazines from the seventies as Cornelli lace. It’s the little squiggles all over. It takes a LONG. TIME. to do. Then we put some fresh strawberries on top for a splash of color.

The first few squiggles.
Two hours later, I am still making tiny squiggles, while Lindsay adds strawberries on top.

Nearly ten hours after starting, we packed up the cake in a box for the five block car trip to the restaurant where our reception would be.

Accoutrements of our wedding: cake, our rings, and a pile of white knots

I should note that when you make a layered cake like this, you’re supposed to put a couple dowels through all the layers so that they don’t go sliding about. I knew this, and had purchased said dowels. But once it was all stacked up, it seemed really sturdy… so I decided that I didn’t really need to put them in. You know where this is going, right?

Yes, you do. We drove over, carried it into the restaurant’s walk-in fridge, and as I turned to go, the manager asked if I was aware that my cake had fallen over.

I was not.

When I looked inside, I saw that the top two tiers had shifted and the entire cake was now squished up against one side of the box. Now at this point, we were already an hour late to go watch fireworks from a hotel rooftop with our families and the restaurant was about to close. So there was absolutely nothing I could do about it at that point.

Now you might think, given the fiasco of the uneven layers, that I was freaking out. But for reasons I do not understand – maybe because I’d been making cake all day, maybe because my wedding zen magically appeared, I don’t know – I found this to be utterly hysterical. I laughed. Guffawed, even. And then I reached into the box, pushed those top tiers back where they belonged, and walked out the door with a plan to bring icing and tools to fix it in the morning.

It was a plan that totally would have worked. In fact, as the hours went by, I even made it better. How cool would it be, I thought, if instead of fixing it first thing in the morning, we waited until our walk over to the wedding, and stopped in on the way. Then, we could get awesome pictures of me fixing it while wearing my wedding dress!

But. When we got there, icing and apron in hand, I took one look at the cake and said, “Fuck it.” I did not care one bit that the whole side was smashed. In fact, I still thought it was funny and I loved it. We discussed it very briefly and decided that, really, who would care anyway, as long as it still tasted amazing?

Our beautiful, delicious, fabulously smooshed wedding cake!
And I couldn’t resist adding this picture because I love it so much!

*Unless you’re gluten-free, vegan, or lactose intolerant. Sorry. And for what it’s worth, we had vegan, gluten-free cupcakes from The Bleeding Heart Bakery as an alternative for those folks.