Two Hearts Ten Years, A Real Handmade Wedding: Amy & Kenny

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I have the first real wedding on the blog for you today! Needless to say, i’m ridiculously excited, and so pleased that Amy & Kenny wanted to share their special day on Handmade & Hitched. Amy got in touch with me several months back and has been busy ever since, DIYing for her big day. I was so thrilled to see the fruits of her handiwork, but most of all, they have a very magical and tear-jerking love story. It seems that fate was telling them they were just meant to be all along. I’m pretty sure you’ll find it as moving as I did (I was in buckets).

Here’s Amy to tell you more…

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My bridesmaids and I. I made all of their bouquets and replaced the standard pins on their dresses with brooches.

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Centrepieces made from upcycled wine bottles, vintage bottles collected by my father, flowers from my deceased mothers garden and ribbon.

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My bouquet made from brooches collected from friends, family, and from thrift stores. Some items were old jewelry, pins, or fake flowers also. All put together with ribbon, foam, wire, and hot glue.

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I also made my toss bouquet out of fake flowers, glue, and ribbon.

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I found this at a thrift store in 2010 and finally realised its purpose as a card holder for the wedding!

Two Hearts Ten Years: A Handmade Wedding

Our rings on my bouquet.

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Cake topper made from fake flowers, foam and ribbon.

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Our love story starts with the photograph below…

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The story of how I became a married woman, begins with my young, unwed mother. My mother had attended summer camp in the 1970’s on Nixon Rd, at Fitzgerald Park, in Grand Ledge, Michigan. It is over 100 miles from where I was born and raised in the city of Detroit. The last year she went there she was 22 years old. It was 1977, the year before she married my father, and 11 years before I was born. She snapped the top picture with a 35mm camera, knowing she may never see the train tracks that cross the Grand River again.

Twenty seven years later, in May 2004 I was a 15-year-old girl. I met a boy named Kenny online. He lived over 100 miles from my home, in a small town called Grand Ledge. Social media sites did not really exist yet, nor did smart phones. We met by random happenstance over my dial-up connection and started talking. Just one month later on June 28, 2004 Kenny came to pick me up from my father’s home (he was 17, and old enough to drive; I did not have a driver’s license being that I was only 15). We met in person on that day, and instantly I knew this boy would somehow be an instrumental part of my life. Kenny drove me from my metro Detroit home to Grand Ledge. The first place he took me to was Fitzgerald Park. That day, I took the two lower pictures you see above. We began dating within weeks. We were enamored with one another. We felt a mutual connection instantly, and intensely. The likes of which we had never felt with another person.

Several years passed and in 2007 I found that old image my mother had taken in 1977; it was now 30 years since she had stood on the banks of the river and captured it. I discovered it in a box in her basement and on the back it had said, “Fitzgerald, 1977.” I was very familiar with Fitzgerald Park, even though my mother had never breathed a word to me of the place, or the summer camps of her bygone years. I inquired, and when she told me what I already knew – it was the Fitzgerald Park Kenny had taken me to the first day we met – I knew he and I would be married some day. Now that’s an interesting assumption you see, because at that time in 2007 he and I had been broken up for nearly a year. We had decided to go our separate ways when I had graduated high school the previous year (2006). Kenny and I had ended on good terms, but had not even spoken since ending the relationship.

In 2008 we reunited at a concert in downtown Detroit. Within two months we moved in together, and picked up where we had left off. In 2012 he took me to Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge, and got on one knee on a grassy island in the center of the Grand River – the train tracks my mother and I had captured sat silently in the distance.

This year on June 28 we decided to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our meeting by exchanging vows. It is, of course, also the 10 year anniversary of when I first visited the park, and took the image of the trestle. This strange convergence of our lives was made even more meaningful to me because my mother passed away in 2011 of breast cancer. When she and I had discovered the image in 2007 that she had taken, I remember her words. Though Kenny and I had not been together, she looked at me and said, “he is your soul mate.” It’s funny, because my mother was not one to take up with whimsical imaginings or romanticisation such as that. Before she passed in 2011 she wrote me a note which I was never made aware of. It was not until two months after my wedding to Kenny that I found it, stuffed securely in a little notebook in my nightstand (how it got there I have no idea). I opened the notebook and its contents were limited to a 3-page note from my deceased mother. A word of advice made eerie by the recent wedding read, “…be good to whoever you marry, and love them…I think it will be Kenny…” We were not even engaged at that time.

So now you have read my little love story. It is my favorite love story, not only because it is mine but because it is real and it is a living testament in my life that love will persist when it is allowed to.

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Fabulous Suppliers…

Venue: Longacre House, Farmington Hills, MI. (Greater Detroit area)
Photographer: Michele Maloney – Detroit Wedding and Portrait Photographer.

Amy’s creativity isn’t just limited to wedding decor, she is an author by profession and her debut novel, Claiming the Coldflame, will release next month (October 2014). If you’re interested in finding out more you can check out her Facebook page here.

Lots of handmade wedding love

Michelle xxx

Party Paraphernalia from Pea Green Boat

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Based in North London, Pea Green Boat is an online party paraphernalia emporium stocking beautiful, original and stylish decorations, stationery, tableware and accessories for wondrous weddings and celebrations.

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Have you heard of Pea Green Boat??? Well you sure are about to! I love all of their quirky, bespoke, and handmade pieces and think they fit perfectly with the ‘Handmade & Hitched’ theme going on over here! Being a super eco-friendly duo, they even use hot water heated by solar panels in their studio and used recycled packaging and products wherever they can! Amazing!!! So without further ado, here’s a little interview with the owners Tessa Wire and Zoe Moore (thanks for letting me have some of your precious time, you fabulous ladies!).

What inspired you to create Pea Green Boat?
Zoe: When Tessa got married, and I was Maid of Honour at my best friend’s wedding, we both felt there was a gap in the market – we found that although there was lots of inspiration online, if you loved the style but weren’t a designer or crafter, there weren’t any shops in the UK where you could buy the things in the pictures.

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What do you love the most about working in the world of weddings?
Tessa: People who are thinking about organising their wedding are usually at a very happy time in their lives, it’s great fun and a privilege sharing the excitement.  We also like to think about how to do things in a different way, more contemporary or simple… there’s never a dull moment.

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What is your favourite product and why?
Tessa: The Two Loons ceramic cake toppers hand made by artist Megan Bogonovich – I had them on my own wedding cake and now they’re a lovely keepsake on the mantlepiece.

Zoe: Mine would be the handmade circle garlands made in Nepal because they are so versatile and cheap, I particularly like mixing the metallic garlands with teal and white.

Coming from creative backgrounds (interior design and film production), what would be your top tips for the DIY bride?
Zoe: Be bold and brave and don’t stick to just one or two colours – use at least five or six or seven complimentary colours and mix it up.  Also, ask for help making things – great for hen night activities. And make it personal – a wonky cake made by your aunt will mean a lot more than a perfect one made by a stranger.

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Do you have any special offers on that readers should know about?
10% off for Handmade & Hitched readers by following this link.

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Find all kinds of quirky fun decor to style your big day here!

All images courtesy of Pea Green Boat.

Michelle xxx

DIY Floral Parties by Floral Circus

Today is incredibly amazing as I have a fantastic interview with Jo Wise from Floral Circus to share with you. I came across Jo on Twitter a few weeks ago and was immediately intrigued by the idea of a Floral Circus. What on earth was one? Did the flowers dance and sing? I had to find out more. Over to Jo…

“Hello, I’m Jo Wise and I own and run Floral Circus. I’m an artisan florist combining my background in theatre and event design with a love and understanding of garden-grown flowers to create unforgettable weddings, innovative events and creative floristry workshops.”

Hello Jo, I have to say i’m really excited by the idea of a Floral Circus, what inspired you to create the business and what services do you offer?

I set up the grower/florist partnership Green and Gorgeous in 2008. After 5 years of working with garden flowers and a whole lot of weddings I wanted to take all my experience and create a new type of floristry business. My background is in theatre and event design, so Floral Circus is bringing together my theatrical routes, floristry design skills, and a good understanding of how to work with garden flowers. I offer wedding and event design, workshops, and floral parties. My floral parties were the inspiration for the name Floral Circus. These are ‘pop up’ floristry workshop packages. So, like a circus I’ve taken to the road and can bring the flowers to the people! A Floral Party includes a floristry tutorial, great food, usually a cocktail or two, a bit of pampering, and frequently a whole lot of laughter. There are two to choose from and they are perfect hen do packages. You can find more info by following this link.

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Images by SLR Photography

Which flowers are in season right now and how can people tie these in with their wedding decor?

Popular late summer flowers include; dahlias, sunflowers, larkspur, zinnias, cleomi, verbena, crocosmia, scabious and roses (on their second flush). The later summer flowers are usually more robust and colourful, so look great with grasses and seed pods to create a really textural meadow styled wedding. Dahlias in particular offer a wide range of saturated colour. They fell out of fashion a few years ago, but they are back with a vengeance now! There are so many varieties that they can be used in many different ways. If bright colour isn’t your thing, check out the gentle oyster tones of the cafe au lait dahlia. Just stunning.  Or soft pink roses with lavender scabious and lots of greenery.

What is the most unusual flower display you have ever created? Can you show us some photos? 

Gosh, I’ve done quite a few unusual flower displays. Flowers in shoes, handbags, gilt picture frames, corsets, dog collars… I once created a milky way of orchids which was truly amazing. Thousands of white cymbidiums wired into twisted willow which snaked across the ceiling of a huge dance floor. When lit the orchids looks liked stars, it was gorgeous. Sadly no photos though – a lot of A-listers and royalty were going so security was very tight.

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Images by Jo Wise Design

What makes Floral Circus that little bit different?

I think that because I’m not a trained florist – I went to Art School and come from the theatre, my approach is quite different. I love the ‘Theatre of Flowers’, their ephemeral beauty is reminiscent of a theatre production or fabulous party. It’s a moment in time and I like to try to combine that kind of magic with the soul, fragrance, and nostalgic qualities of garden flowers.

What would be your number one DIY tip for brides wanting to get creative with their own wedding flowers?

Number one is go with your heart, don’t get too bogged down with trends or other people’s opinions. A VERY close second is to be realistic about what you can achieve in the time and for the budget you have allowed. My heart sinks when I see a bride who has lost sleep the night before her wedding because she hasn’t finished the place settings or something. I offer DIY bride workshops which focus a fair bit on timings and how to make sure you enjoy the whole process, alongside design tips and floristry guidance. The course is also for mothers, friends, and bridesmaids too. Anyone being called upon to help can get a lot out of this workshop.

What do you think people love the most about your floral parties?

They are a bit different. Something very special happens when women get together and create something. They are always fun and you get to go home with some stunning flowers that you have arranged. Great company, beautiful flowers, fabulous food and cocktails, what is there not to love?

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Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to have my own floral party now! Hmmm, how many of my lovely mates can I get together for this… Check out more on Jo’s website www.floralcircus.co.uk.

And if that’s not enough, Jo has some fab YouTube tutorials on how to make a buttonhole and flowers in a jam jar…

Lots of floral love

Michelle xxx

‘Off the Wall’ Decals for Your Wedding

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Fancy being able to make a statement by putting your own personal mark on ANYTHING you want AND not be labelled as a graffitist? Well now you can, with this unique idea by Kate and Bethan of ‘Off the Wall‘. Declare your love for each other by adding sweet personal messages to your venue, accessories, and so much more. How about placing a favourite quote on the dance floor to stop guests in their tracks? Design your own special monogram (I found a great guide to monogram etiquette here) and have fun attaching this to the backs of chairs, ice buckets and glass vases – basically anything you can think of.

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Here’s Kate, one of the directors from Off the Wall to tell you a little bit more…

We’re a small company, based in rural Wiltshire and have been in business for just over a year. We design and make personalised floor decals, complemented by mini decals that can be used on centrepieces, postboxes, mirrors, favour jars – in fact anything with a smooth surface. Almost half our business so far has been focussed on bespoke designs that couples either send us to tie in with their theme or stationery, or where couples give us an outline of what they would like and we come up with design options for them. Our couples even suggest uses of our decals themselves! The decals are designed to be temporary, for the duration of the event and can be easily removed, without any sticky residue.

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The idea for the business came from my business partner, Bethan, who had seen floor decals on US websites, but couldn’t find anywhere in the UK that made them.  With my willingness to give the business and finance side of the company a go and Bethan’s creative flair, we decided to have a go at introducing these decals, with coordinating mini decals, into the UK market.  Decals have been used in the UK for wall décor for a number of years, but we decided we liked the idea of taking them ‘Off the Wall’, hence the name of the company.

We have a number of designs from Classic to Contemporary, Vintage to Rustic, which can all be found at http://www.offthewalldecals.co.uk.  The Inspire Me page gives ideas on how they can be used.

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What a fabulous idea! I’m tempted to start personalising all my items at home. Ooooh I’d be like royalty with my initials everywhere!

Lots of one-of-a-kind love

Michelle xxx

All images by Deborah Husk

A Personal Reflection on Blogging

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I’m on annual leave from the 9-5 job today and having a good ol’ spring clean of the blog (I do have to be careful I don’t miss the ‘L’ off ‘blog’ sometimes – imagine that). I had plans to have a day of pampering, but as I rarely get to spend a full day on Handmade and Hitched I’m actually having a ball. I’ve finally been able to check off all those little things on my blogging to-do list and it’s so refreshing to be able to give it my entire focus for the day.

So many exciting things have been happening with Handmade and Hitched recently, and I never imaged when I started my blog last September that it would take me on such an amazing journey. I remember reading other blogs and wondering how on earth people actually made ‘real life’ contacts and friends just through cyberspace alone – surely that wasn’t possible! I know now that blogging can open up a huge window of opportunity, not just in a business sense, but in a social sense too. Every single day I’m amazed by the talented and creative businesses out there. I’m totally blown away by the original (and sometimes veering on slightly strange – I won’t lie) ideas that I see.

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You might be surprised to hear that Handmade and Hitched was never intended to be a wedding blog. The original idea was to create a handmade wedding boutique and the blog was merely set up to generate some interest before launching. I didn’t realise the potential in blogging, but as soon as I started writing I quickly caught the bug and the blog has now taken on a life of its own. I still have that little idea in my head, but for now I’m concentrating my efforts on sharing unique and quirky wedding inspiration. If Handmade and Hitched sparks off just a few ideas to make your wedding that little bit more special, then I’ve done my job.

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I still see Handmade and Hitched as being relatively new and I’m learning about blogging all the time. Looking back through my old posts it’s amazing how much the style has changed. Not just in terms of content, but in a visual sense too. Back in September I wasn’t aware that making your images fit to the same size as your text was so much more visually appealing. And I don’t think I was as aware of the importance of image quality either. Right now I’m doing a photography course so I can work on this, and I hope you can start to see the improvements.

Writing style is a big one that I want to keep working on and continually improving. I’m not a writer by background, although I am a perfectionist, which means the thought of making grammatical errors brings me out in a cold sweat. I actually found this a barrier to starting a blog in the first place. There are so many beautifully written and immaculate blogs out there that I was scared to dip my toe in the water. Would I be hung drawn and quartered by the blogging community for not knowing the difference between ‘there, they’re and their’? Fortunately I do know the difference, but you get my point. Even though I’m not the world’s best writer I’m incredibly passionate about weddings and handmade and I hope that shines through on the blog. In fact I was far too passionate to keep it all inside, which is why it’s spilling all over the pages of my little corner of the Internet.

I hope you’ll continue to stay with me on this journey and keep me updated with all of your wonderful DIY wedding plans. There’s nothing more rewarding than hearing my blog has inspired couples while planning one of the most special days of their lives.

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Lots of handmade love

Michelle xxx

The images above were taken at Crosby Beach in Liverpool and feature Antony Gormley’s sculptures titled ‘Another Place’. There are 100 cast-iron, life-size figures across the beach, that stretch almost a kilometre out to sea. It’s a magical place to visit at sunset as the figures slowly appear one by one. 

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