Monthly Archives: May 2011
Along with the husband, housewares, and oodles of photographs, I also took away some unexpected things from our wedding. One you’re already aware of: this blog. I, like apparently many others, discovered this blogging community of smart women when I was desperately searching for a dose of rationality and humour amongst the Knot’s of wedding planning. Eventually I started blogging myself, something I still wouldn’t believe if it wasn’t for my face appearing on the ‘about’ page and these posts that
keep popping up are carefully written by me.
The other pursuit inspired by the wedding is perhaps even more random and unexpected: I’m making wedding jewelry. Who says getting married doesn’t change anything? Except I tend to go about my life in such a matter-of-fact way that I have barely even stopped to acknowledge that my new pursuits are a pretty major shift for me: I’m now spending evenings creating things. I’m finally feeding a side of myself that has lain dormant for far too many years.
My story is pretty typical of people who discover (or in my case re-discover) their hidden talents during wedding planning. Cheapness and picky-ness (hours spent searching Etsy anyone?) inspired me to make my own wedding jewelry. I didn’t think much of it, as I’ve been making jewelry on an as-needed basis since grade seven when one of my new Canadian friends taught me the basics. This new friend has since transformed into my old friend, who was the MC at our wedding, but I digress. The point is, jewelry-making was just something I did with my friends after school. And I still pretty much think this.
But my cousin-in-law didn’t dismiss it as a child’s hobby; she couldn’t stop gushing over the earrings and bracelet I made. This is my cousin-in-law who owns a beautiful wedding dress store filled with her own line of effortlessly elegant dresses called Something Blue (recently in Brides magazine, Martha Stewart weddings and others). She made my wedding dress with such care and perfection that the only time I actually still long to be a bride is when I step into her store with its impossibly high ceilings, blue velvet curtains, and the racks of floaty white silk.*
Well luckily I now have a reason to keep going back. Last fall, after I recovered from the wedding, she asked me if I would design a piece of jewelry to hang at the back of a very slinky backless dress they make. She had been wanting to offer something like it for a while. I went and splurged on supplies and spent many hours playing around until I put together something that really worked.
Since then I’ve also made earrings and bracelets, very much like the ones I wore myself. Now that I’m getting more comfortable I will try to venture out a bit with design, but like their dresses, I’ll keep everything light and airy. Luckily the clear crystals that I use catch the light beautifully and need very little help from me to look good.
It took a few months of twisting wire to make enough pieces to cover my original investment in materials. The last cheque I got was my first actual profit. I’ve decided to put it aside for a new laptop fund – I’ve set my sights on a MacBook Air so I’ve got a lot more jewelry to sell. Luckily it’s wedding season. And luckily I don’t really mind if it takes a while.
I’m not really looking to take my little venture online at this point, but I know a few of you will soon be walking down the aisle. And since you’re reading this blog, I also know you’re absolutely awesome. So if you’re still looking for jewelry and think you might like something like this, contact me (in the comments or greyandshiny (at) gmail (dot) com) and we’ll chat. I would be happy to make something for you for the price of postage and materials (just don’t tell the paying customers).
Photos: First three by Jennifer Echols Photography, bottom three by me.
* I also hope to run into a Canucks-wife – she has made many of their dresses – who then might invite me to their house for dinner. Eeeek! A girl can dream right?
There is an ugly underbelly to my mind that I would love to shed. It’s the part that can’t stop comparing my life to others’, the part that feels resentment when life is not exactly fair, the part that prevents me from sometimes being wholeheartedly happy for a friend’s good fortune.
I suppose we all have this part to some degree. We are social animals whose success on the planet depends on our ability to get along, to fit in, to compete. This necessarily requires comparison. Success often feels like a zero-sum game even though many of the things we are most longing for never run out – good relationships, happiness, personal fulfillment.
Right up until this past year, when I finally, undeniably, became an adult, I was still under the naive impression that adulthood came packaged with wisdom and confidence. I’m not sure why I thought this, since I have seen plenty of evidence to the contrary among adults.
But rather than getting over petty comparisons with age, I feel like they are only getting weightier now that the stakes are so much higher: partners, careers, homes, money, children etc. We are setting out the trajectory of our lives and suddenly differences that once seemed small – in income, background, values, talents, ambition and health – all start to seem so much more significant.
Regardless of the path we choose, we all have to make sacrifices along the way – sacrifices that can make our hearts hurt – and it becomes tempting to look around at your neighbours and feel resentment if they didn’t have to make those sacrifices. Of course they made their own, but we don’t see those; we just see our own lack. It becomes painfully obvious that life is not fair.
I have been dwelling on thoughts like this way too much lately. They feel like the thoughts of a really insecure or unhappy person, and I don’t like to believe I am either. Sure, at times I can be both, but overall I am a fortunate person and I know it. I have what I need and that should be enough. My happiness quite simply cannot be based on comparison or I will never be happy.
Now I recognize that getting anywhere near that place will be a life-long challenge.
I’ve just learned Canada Post hates all mothers. Go ahead, tell your friends.* Like the good daughter that I am, a week before Mother’s Day I dropped a pink envelope with my lovingly handcrafted (ok hand-purchased) card into the mailbox to begin its cross-ocean journey to my mother. I was cutting it a bit close so I wasn’t surprised when it didn’t get there on time, but when it still hadn’t arrived last week my mom and I wrote it off as lost.
Then this past Friday it showed up in my mailbox with the obnoxious note that it was returned due to insufficient postage. I had used a stamp from last year’s wedding stash as I had no idea postage stamp inflation was so out of control. Ok so I was short five cents, but really Canada Post, you would deny a mother her Mother’s Day card from across the ocean for a nickel??
You better believe I’ll remember this.
Oh yes, next time I mail a letter to my mom I’ll remember to check that I have sufficient postage.
Luckily things turned around for the better… at the liquor store. I’m really not a fan of beer, but I’m nothing if not persistent when it comes to alcohol. So for the last few years, I have been sampling various beers to find ones that didn’t make me shudder and finally hit the jackpot two summers ago when I discovered a local brewer’s summer special: Raspberry Wheat Ale. I had narrowed down wheat ales as my favourite for being low on hops and high on lemon wedge acceptability – but this was a wheat ale above all others. It is by no means sweet, but has the slightest aftertaste of raspberry. And it is pink. The crowning glory is that it also comes with a generous serving of local-cred – it is literally brewed and sold a 10-minute walk from my house. Total. Score.
Unfortunately, locally produced also equals limited supply. Very limited. For the last two summers I have had to stalk down their store throughout August to get my hands on a stash before it sold out and then ration it out for the rest of patio weather.
Until now. Last weekend on approximately our 27th trip for play-off refreshments, we spotted a pink box at the liquor store: False Creek Raspberry Ale. Cue chorus of singing angels. It is still a seasonal offering, but now brewed in large enough batches to make it out to the regular liquor stores. Sure it loses some of its glorious small-batch, local-production cred, but I’m ok with that – because this mass-brewed goodness is about to be in my glass now. And hey, they named it after my neighbourhood so I can still pretend it’s local.
Now if only they had done this a year ago when I really, really, really wanted to serve pink beer at our wedding. Inconsiderate bastards. But more importantly – I love you! Thank you so much!
*Just don’t mention I told you, cause it employs some people I know.