Currently

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Always start a post with a selfie.

Always start a post with a selfie.

 

Reading: I’m still on Game of Thrones – eternally. I’ve lost track of what’s actually happening, but I’m getting it back. I’m also trying to catch up on my RSS feeds, and discovering new blogs all the time. I still love reading blogs and following along with peoples’ lives and families. Reminds me that I need to write more, as always!

 

Dave and a ridiculous cushion.

Dave and a ridiculous cushion.

 

Thinking about: Work and how I feel about it lately. What I want out of it, what I want to do, how I want to progress. Deep thoughts, dudes!  In short, I’m just not feeling what I’m doing just now, and I’m not sure how to move on or improve it. I have a whole post in me about this, but I better keep it brief, really.  Let’s just say that I don’t like who I am when I do this, and that’s not a good thing. I’m also always thinking about this dude above. I mean, seriously. He’s so cute.

Listening: I recently changed mobile providers and now have unlimited data, and this means that I’m finally able to stream all of my tunes using iTunes Match (which I’ve had for a while, but now can finally use to its full potential!) – it’s a magical thing when you can Shuffle All and get everything from Musicals to French rap, Taylor Swift to Meatloaf. Surreal yet fun. I’m still really into the Pierces, who I’ve now seen twice, and I’m not sure I’ll ever stop listening to Sara Bareilles’ album The Blessed Unrest.  It just speaks to me.

 

Winter is coming.

Winter is coming.

 

Watching:  The leaves change, and the light change and the days bleed into each other. It’s scary how fast this year has gone and is going, and how we’ll soon be living in this darkness again for almost 18 hours a day.  It’s strange but comforting in its own way.  And in these longer nights, we’ll be inside more, which means more TV and more couch time – we’ve been rewatching The West Wing again, which has been great.

Trying:  To take stock of life where I can, to appreciate moments when I have them, to keep in touch with people, to grow a little bit every day. And to work fitness back into my life. It’s a struggle, kids.

 

Two cuties on a couch.

Two cuties on a couch.

 

Loving:  This man, who puts up with my shit and lets me pause TV shows while he explains what I missed (because I was on my phone or asleep), who’ll play PS3 games I am really keen on but too scared to play, so I can watch (though he enjoys them too!) and does all of the washing because I am a slacker, and is just generally the best. As we get closer to our wedding day, I get more sentimental and soppy about it, cause I am a huge sap and I can’t wait to be his wife.

 

iPhone 6 brag selfie.

iPhone 6 brag selfie.

 

Wedding and stuff:  My veil arrived last Monday, and I got to try it on Saturday night with the dress, because, y’know, not all “ivory” stuff is the same, and also who am I kidding, I don’t need an excuse to put on my wedding dress. It still doesn’t fit, but I’m working on it (it hasn’t got far to go to zip up). It was a dreamy moment, standing there with the dress and the veil and feeling very bridal. I also sat on the bed for a few minutes and a got a bit weepy and then noticed you could see my feet when I sit, so hurray, maybe my pretty shoes (that I have not yet purchased) will be seen after all.

I also, as planned, got myself the new iPhone 6, as I am subtly showing off above, and it has been a total pleasure. Because of this, I put myself on financial lockdown until the end of the year, unless it’s for the wedding or clothing on my H&M account (which is quite limiting). And of course holiday gifts. One of the purchases I made before I said/decided this was of 2 dresses from Etsy that arrived on Monday and are very sweet, here’s the top of the navy one:

 

Navy dress with lace and a bt of upper boob.

Navy dress with lace and a bt of upper boob.

 

I also got it in mustard yellow (which has white dotted lace at the top), so I’ll instagram that when I wear it, of course.

I hope y’all are doing well! I can’t believe it’ll be October soon.

 

…xxx

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Alba gu bràth

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I love you, Scotland. Hoping and praying for positive steps forward in the Union, and for people to live together in kindness and civility over the coming months.

 

 

 

 

I did vote Yes. But life will go on! And the turnout was simply incredible. What an amazing moment in history. I feel honoured to have been a part of it.

 

 

 

 

And hey, I was interviewed about it for NZ news on Tuesday night. Which was hilarious and fun and I got this super silly picture of me with the 3 News mic. New career?

 

 

…xxx

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Currently

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Watching:  Dave and I have been re-watching The West Wing lately, after I decided I felt like watching it again. I’d forgotten how funny it is and how much I love these characters.  I’ve also been into Say Yes to the Dress (even though I’ve found mine) and as always, there’s an X Files episode or two in my week. And hurray! America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway are both back in full swing.

Thinking about:  Wedding stuff! Of course.  We’re coming up on 7 months to go now (like, when did that happen – it’s been 9 months since we got engaged, and it has passed in the blink of an eye) and lots of stuff needs to be finalised. It sure is fun looking at all these options online though…

Reading:  Game of Thrones. At this rate, probably until the day I die.

Listening to:  The new album from The Pierces is out! Creation is fantastic and well worth a listen. While I really love Kings, Creation, and Believe in Me, I can’t stop listening to Elements at the moment. I wake up with it in my head.  I’m also seeing them again in a few weeks!

 

 

Celebrating:  I’m not sure about this one this week. It has been one of those weeks. Everything seems difficult and tough and I just want to flail my arms and lie on the couch and sulk. I guess they come around every so often. Dave has been very patient with me.

Making me happy:  We were very kindly given a PS3 from Dave’s brother, as he is moving back to NZ with his family (Dave’s brother is married to a Kiwi and they have 2 kids – yes, I know…) and this means I’ve been able to play FFXIII.  It has been many years since I’ve been able to play a new Final Fantasy game, and I’m really enjoying this one. The gameplay/battle system is fantastic, and yes. Thanks to Jamie.

 

…xxx

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Links of the Week

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Some stuff from the internet you may enjoy (and continuing the theme of having a goofy picture with these posts…)

All of us were devastated by Robin Williams’ untimely death last week. This is probably the best Robin Williams tribute I’ve seen.

You should also read Mara Wilson’s post.

Super cute dog comic.

My friend Laura created a very important tumblr.

Maisie Williams sees Saved By The Bell for the first time.

I want to give this one hour dress tutorial a try.

I liked this post about not complaining during pregnancy.

And this surprise wedding post from March is adorable.

I’m planning on getting one of these travel wedding dress boxes for our big day. Anyone else travelling with their dress? When I worked for Air NZ we’d often hang them up in business class, but I think I’ll take it in one of these to be sure it stays with me.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Writebox looks like a great tool.

And as always, The Toast delivers – Ayn Rand’s The Devil Wears Prada.

 

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Lately on the blog:

The Dress / On girliness and wedding dresses / Project: our dining chairs

 

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Coming up:

About our home, Apps I Love, a post on anger, and about being grateful.

 

 

…xxx

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The dress

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Soon after my last post, I had two appointments booked in with bridal boutiques, had rounded up my Edinburgh girls, and was going to have good fun trying on dresses and chatting and ooh and ahhing.  I looked forward to the really girly day.

And then the boutique I had previously visited announced that they were closing down.

Alfred Angelo 2430 Back detail

I’d tried on a dress in there before that I quite liked (see above) – the Alfred Angelo 2430, and it was £1000, which was pushing my budget but do-able if I was paying it off.  I planned to go back on Saturday after the appointments and see if I still liked it (if I hadn’t found anything else in the appointments), but decided that if this sale was going on, I better check it out!  A quick look on Facebook revealed it was now £400 which, if you’re getting/have gotten married, you know is insane.

So we made a rush trip to the store last Thursday. I grabbed 4 dresses I had seen on the sale listings and tried the first two on – pretty but not for me.  And then thinking that I was still super keen on the 2430 above, I left it til last, and tried on another.

Which was the dress.  I mean, I tried on the 2430 again and I did like it. I like the back, I like the lace a lot, I liked the belt. But the one I picked was even better.

I’ll tell you a few sneaky details – it’s ivory, still lacy, still has a belt, but it also has a train. Which is so romantic and dreamy.  The sample I bought is sliiiiiightly too small (like, I need to lose maybe 3-5lb to get it fully zipped) and I’ll need to adjust a few things, but what bride doesn’t? And it’s not the same style as the 2430. But that’s all the info you get!

 

 

 

It’s in my closet, folded up, but I’ll soon be whisking it away to live at someone else’s house for while. I trust Dave, but I still want to make sure he doesn’t see it!  I’m old-school that way.  I’ll then take it in for adjustments in the new year.

(Oh, and it was £500!)

I took just Helen along with me, and we had a celebratory drink afterwards.  It was a different experience than the one I’d always thought about, but it was still great, and I’m so pleased with the dress!

Thanks again for the lovely comments/tweets/notes about my last post – I really appreciated it. I felt better immediately after posting it: I think I just needed to get it out.  I can’t wait for everyone to see my dress in April, and am so excited now about being a bride.

 

…xxx

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On girliness and wedding dresses

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Wedding shop in Glasgow

 

It’s kinda hard to express what’s been going on in my head lately.  And I’ve kept quiet here while I’ve tried to work it out and I think keeping it in is a bad idea and I have no idea why I have.

We live in a world of expectations and fairytale movies and I feel like I’m caught up in this wedding industry lately, and it’s hard and weird.

I promised myself and worked really hard on early planning to make sure that I don’t let this wedding get the best of me. I’ve seen brides turn into maniacs; women who are intelligent and mature turn into bridezillas and control freaks.

 

Husband to be

 

Folks ask why I’ve done certain things so early and it’s really just a simple thing – space it out and it won’t freak you out.  There is still a bit of a freak-out going on in my head sometimes, but that’s mainly because I’m so, so far away from everything related to my wedding.  I chose to get married in NZ, because that’s always where I wanted to, but it turns out we have so many friends here that we know won’t make it, and that’s kinda bittersweet.  And all communication with suppliers is over email or through my mother, and that’s never ideal – despite hating the phone, we still don’t always communicate that well with emails. Tone, and all that.

The main thing in my head at the moment, which is making me super sad, is the wedding dress shopping. I started it when my friend Deb was visiting a few weeks back, because I thought after being friends for so long, it’d be a nice way for her to be involved, and it was a ridiculously hot day, so I was sweaty (horrible getting dresses on and off) and didn’t look my best and I felt self-conscious being in my underwear around a stranger, and though I tried on a dress I really liked, I felt less than bridal, and quite homesick.

 

Scotland is beautiful lately

 

I watch a lot of Say Yes to the Dress (I started for ideas, now I just do it to torture myself), and I know that I have always pictured that moment when you get your wedding dress and it’s perfect for you and you have that special feeling of knowing it’s yours and what you’ll look like on your wedding day. I feel like I’m supposed to do this with my bridesmaids and my mother and I’ve been a bit deprived of that.  I never like to dwell on or pity myself for things that I have chosen, and I know I’ve chosen to be here. But it still hurts a bit.

I know we discussed doing it when I was in New Zealand, but I felt so very unattractive and overweight at the time, and it just didn’t really come up. I have put off even looking (other than occasionally online) because I don’t want to be the one who can’t fit a wedding dress sample size, and when I went a few weeks ago, I only really fit one of the dresses. It was a bit sucky and felt a bit deflating and I just feel like I’m missing out.

 

Part of our wedding venue

 

And it’s silly because I know I’ll get that moment when I’m getting ready in the morning of my wedding and my mother and sister and everyone sees me in my dress all ready to go and we get to share that together.  And it’s so very cliche and girly to want to stand on a podium in a bridal shop while everyone oohs and ahhs and tells you it’s “the dress” but.. I want it. I really want to feel special in this and enjoy this.

I’m losing weight and working on that and also working on telling myself that it’s not 100% necessary for me to be the size I want to be before I try things on. If I lose the weight I want and feel body-confident for my wedding, then that’s awesome, but I don’t need to wait to find a dress until I do. I’ve been telling myself that I have to wait for too long and I need to stop getting myself down and just get on with it. Adjustments can be made and dresses can be changed and geez, I’m not enormous. I’m just bigger than I want to be and bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I go into bridal shops and want to yell at everyone I’m not usually this big I assure you like I’m hiding inside a big person’s body or something. And sometimes it feels that way.

 

Me in June

 

So I have appointments again in a few weeks and we’re going to go for a coffee in-between them and have lunch afterwards and a drink or two and really try to enjoy it. I’ve reached out to girlfriends here and asked them to be my replacement family for some upcoming shopping trips, and hopefully some will join us then, but if not, it’ll be a nice morning out with Helen.

I think I’ll feel so much more excited about the wedding once I find my dress, and I think I need to just let go a bit and trust everyone around me that the day will work out how I’ve envisioned it.  These 8 months are going to fly by.

 

…xxx

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Project: Our dining chairs

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It all started with Kirstie.  I saw her “Fill Your House for Free” show where she painted and distressed a chair (except I hated the colour she used) and thought, “Geez. I’d love to paint our TV unit/get some chairs to do that”, and asked for her book for Christmas last year.  A new project was born.

 

 

At the Canonmills EFI (go visit them, they have great stuff and do great work for the homeless!), we found 4 chairs for £40 that Dave was quite fond of. I wasn’t 100% sold, but they seemed really well-made, despite the hideous cushions.

These steps can be replicated for any piece of furniture you want to repaint/distress for a vintage feel!

If you’re doing chairs or anything with a fabric seat, the first thing to do is to pop out the seats and sand the shell of the chair. It doesn’t have to be extreme sanding, just to take any varnish away and allow the paint to “cling” to the wood.  We used a small pointed hand-sander from Dave’s Mum.

Then paint ‘em with a good few layers of brilliant white matte emulsion paint, available from any hardware store, as a primer.

 

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After they’ve had a chance to dry, paint ‘em your chosen colour.  Be careful to smooth over any drips, and flip the chair over to do the underside. Go back again later on with a smaller brush and touch-up anywhere you missed.  Then after that’s dry (no more than a day so the paint isn’t too hardened), use a putty scraper to scrape away both layers of paint from the edges/legs/anywhere you’d like it to look “distressed”. If you’re not going for a vintage/distressed look, then feel free to leave ‘em looking new and modern!

 

 

Then they need 2 layers of clear gloss varnish (“decorator’s varnish”, apparently. We just found clear gloss wood varnish).

Then you need to move on to the cushions.  If yours are like mine, they’ve had fabric wrapped/folded over the foam and stapled to the bottom. A good solution! and one I’m going to use. Just not with the ugly fabric.  One chair cushion was covered with a pillow case.

 

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This requires a bit of grunt work – use the back of a hammer/pliers to pull the staples out and pull the old fabric off.  Confession: I had Dave do some of this – sorry for the blur, he moves fast.

The next bit will be a breeze for folks who like/are good at gift-wrapping. I have a strange skill for it (so have been designated “household gift-wrapper”) so thoroughly enjoyed this.

 

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If the foam under the old fabric is in good nick, you’re good to move on. If it’s crumbly or damaged or just plain gross, measure it and go get yourself some foam and cut to size. Luckily ours was perfect and even had wee grooves in it to fit the chair.

Cut around the cushion, cutting out a piece big enough to wrap up and over the wood edges. Tip: If it has a pattern on it, like mine does, make sure it’s facing the way you want it to!

 

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Pull the fabric up and get it as neat as possible on the edges. Staple in place as you go.

 

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Don’t worry, if like me, you didn’t cut particularly cleanly because you couldn’t find your sewing scissors. No one’s gonna see it.  Make sure to fold it neatly over each corner (think kinda hospital corners for bed sheets) and staple in place.

 

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Then put it back in the chair and marvel at your creation!

 

7 8 9 10

 

This one’s not so perfect with some paint blobs here and there – remember to smooth over any drips or blobs in your paint as you go.  Once I learned this, the other 3 chairs came out great. And I used the blob parts as a guide for where to scrape when distressing. These blobs above came off nicely with a scraper and I varnished over the nice wood below.

 

 

Et voila! a collage of piccies.  I was so pleased with them I wept a tear or two (I am a big sook). I can’t wait to repeat the process again sometime, possibly with our TV unit, and then again when we move to NZ – we’ll need to find us some good chairs there!

Enjoy! And if you do a similar project, let me know!

 

 

…xxx

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