Thursday, 5 September 2013

Project Wedding - Part 2

For Project Wedding - Part 1, click here.

A Thoughtful Gesture 

During the run-up to last Christmas, I had been scratching my head wondering what on earth I could send as a gift to a very dear friend. I'd not had the opportunity to make or buy anything, but wanted to send something in addition to a card. I remembered that my friend collected buttons; especially unusual and vintage ones. I knew I had a small pot of buttons that I had acquired after my great-grandmother had died more than twenty years ago, and whilst rummaging through the collection I found an assortment of vintage pearl beads. Remembering that said friend had an interest in jewellery-making, I felt the pearls would be absolutely perfect for her.
After my friend had received her Christmas package, she got in touch to say that she couldn’t accept the pearls because of their sentimental value and that their rightful place was with me… but with a new lease of life! My wonderful friend said it would give her much pleasure to restore the pearls and use them to make a couple of necklaces for me. I was moved to tears because it was such a lovely, thoughtful, heart-warming, and generous offer.
Because my friend knew I had already sorted out my outfit for the wedding, she had suggested the idea of designing one of the necklaces so that it could be worn with the outfit. Given that we live in different countries, it obviously wasn’t going to be as easy as us getting together for me to show off the outfit, and for her to consult with me about the necklaces. However, that’s not to say that it was completely impossible. I remember receiving a lengthy e-mail, full of questions about desired necklace length, clasp preferences, and whether I wanted something modern or more classic, etc. In order for my friend to know the exact shade of the red jacket I would be wearing (with a navy dress), I had sent her the spare fabric-covered buttons.
From a selection of loose pearls and beads that my friend had purchased, I received the following two stunning necklaces, aptly named Roses for Remembrance and Classic Couture. When the postman delivered them I was so excited that I really did feel like all my birthdays and Christmas' had come at once. The two necklaces are so well-made and just absolutely exquisite to look at. hat I cannot stress enough is how perfectly the Roses for Remembrance necklace went with my outfit.

'Roses for Remembrance'
'Classic Couture'

Both necklaces are 18 inches, with gorgeous gold-plated findings. The ‘Roses for Remembrance’ necklace was strung on wire. In addition to my great-grandmother’s 6mm cream pearls, the necklace includes red rose focal beads (reconstituted stone), semi-precious red coral bamboo rounds, and gold Mill Hill seed beads as spacers. As for the ‘Classic Couture’ necklace, it was strung on Illusion Cord, which means it will adjust to my neck over time. In addition to my great-grandmother’s pearls, my friend had added bronze glass pearls. 

Because my friend had done such a fantastic job of cleaning and restoring my great-grandmother’s pearls, it’s impossible to tell by looking that both necklaces consist of beads from completely different eras. I know my great-grandmother would be thrilled to bits to know that her pearls have been given a new lease of life and are being worn again after all these years. In addition, she would be tickled pink to think that her pearls had travelled overseas and back, and if she was still alive it is a tale that she would great pride in telling. 

My great-grandmother was very much a lady with fine tastes. She wasn't vain, but made an effort with her appearance and always dressed elegantly. It would please her no end that the ‘Roses for Remembrance’ necklace has been worn with a smart outfit, but it has to be said that both necklaces look equally wonderful when worn with a casual top and jeans; it is their versatility that adds to their greatness. 

In case you’re curious about the outfit that was worn, this is it. Regrettably, the necklace had twisted round without my knowledge. The red jacket, navy dress, and red patent wedge shoes are by a label called South, which were purchased from Very around December/January. When I had started looking for an outfit, I had wanted something multi-functional that would be suitable in a work-place setting, which wasn’t black.
The outfit

The Pew Ends
With just a matter of weeks to go before the wedding, my mother was approached by the bride-to-be and asked if she would be willing to put her floristry skills to use and do the pew ends for the church. Whilst my mother was flattered to have been asked, it’s been a good many years since she obtained her floristry qualifications. Although she has done bits and pieces since then, she openly admitted to me that she was completely out of touch and absolutely terrified, even though the bride and myself had complete confidence in her abilities. 

I had accompanied my mother to the bride’s home on a fact-finding mission, so that my mother could get some ideas as to the budget, colour scheme, and style of the pew ends. It rather felt like Mission Impossible, as my mother wasn’t really any the wiser when we left. It was known the budget would be extremely tight, but at that point no ceiling amount had been stated. It was known that the bride had no preference about the style of the pew ends, or the flowers and foliage used. The only concrete things my mother had to go on was that the colour scheme was ivory/cream and jade green, and that the bride wanted 12 pew ends. Because there are so different shades of ivory/cream, with some looking whiter, and others looking more yellow, my mother had rather been hoping to have obtained a sample. The last thing she wanted was to end up choosing flowers that would clash terribly because they were the wrong shade. 

Two days before the wedding, my mother spent the day working flat out to make the pew ends. Due to the design of the church pews, which all have doors, she had no option other than to use Le Klips. These were hooked (one at a time) over the door of a kitchen cupboard, so that my mother could work her magic on them, and involved many hours spent kneeling on a hard kitchen floor. 

We visited the church the following day with the pew ends, plus some gorgeous ribbon bows that my mother had made. She was shaking like a leaf, not because she felt anxious, but because all those hours spent kneeling on the floor had taken their toll on her poor knees. Having burned the midnight oil, one would have thought that my mother would have not had any difficulty getting to sleep that night, but I don’t think she slept a wink. It seems that it is common amongst florists to worry that their creations will wilt overnight and that flowers will fall out, etc. 

As it turned out, my mother need not have worried about anything. The pew ends had been given a good spray, and one of members of the church’s Flower Guild had checked on them on the day of the wedding ceremony. The photographs below were taken the day before the wedding. To add some colour, my mother had taken a gamble and added some pink gerberas and carnations. As we got our first glimpse of the bride walking down the aisle holding her bouquet, it was a relief to discover that the gamble had paid off (see the final cropped image).
Pew Ends
Ribbon bow with beads
Bride's bouquet

I am so proud of my mother for successfully creating such lovely pew ends, and on a tight budget too! Although she had been itching to get stuck into a project, it was a lot to take on single-handedly, given the amount of work involved. It is for this reason that she has decided that her answer will be a resounding, “No”, if approached with a similar request in the future.


Aurelia Eglantine said...

Whew!!! You have been very busy over the last few months :) You and I have talked about "Project Wedding" on e-mail, but I just wanted to congratulate you on getting your posts up! Very interesting to read, especially the insight into your gorgeous beaded tassel ;)

Also, I think the silver frame suits your sampler perfectly, and that adding matting would only have detracted from your lovely stitching. It's very modern and light looking and will fit happily into any decor.

You and your Mother definitely went above and beyond - worked miracles, really - to give your friend a very special day, and hopefully helped the bride and groom (and their families) make memories they will treasure forever :) That is the best gift anyone can hope to give!

Karen said...

Wow! I think your mother pulled off nothing short of a miracle in making all of those pew ends herself. They are beautiful! She should feel very proud of herself.

CrazyStitcher said...

Aurelia & Karen - Thank you both for your lovely comments!

I would like to congratulate you for having the patience to sit and read through the Project Wedding posts because as you may have guessed, their appearance isn't quite how I had intended, despite both posts looking fine in edit mode. This isn't the first time I have experienced issues with Blogger taking it upon itself to change the size of my fonts, and to delete spaces between paragraphs, etc. I'd love to know why it happens, and ultimately if there are steps I can take to prevent it from happening in future.