Friday, May 15, 2009

New York ate my camera charger

What does a chainsaw have to do with my camera? Nothing. The chainsaw is working and my camera is not. I, however, am a busy little tropical people, working working working away. Ai.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with:

1) A new addition to the blog roll?
Answer: Apartment Therapy. Quite possibly the best shelter blog ever. I have been known to wander its wending link paths for days. I force myself to stay away now, unless I've set a timer for random surfing. Time disappears on AT and I know not where it goes, except that I am often very hungry when Rama gets home, and too weak to cook my own dinner.

B) My reasoning for garden design being!
Answer: Bernard Trainor. In the name of all that is holy—whether of the donut, papal, or glory variety. (Ryan, James and Melissa, that last one was for you.) Perusing his site, for the first time, I finally believed that xeriscaping could be sexy, and not just the dry grass and fields of gravel I'd then far seen. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I wept...well, on the inside. To the casual companion, my inside weeping looked, or rather, sounded like multi-layered sighings and oohings and whimperings of ecstacy. If I could have a boner for a garden designer, Bernard would be him.

Enjoy, my darling blog readers. And stay tuned for pictures of what's been keeping me so busy for the last week.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

For your eyes only VI:
An Idea on Centerpieces
and other Table Accoutrements

For the tables, Aaron and I found these Moroccan-style lanterns. They will make beautiful centerpieces.

We would like to do something like this with the lanterns, covering the tops with lush green moss (alluding to the temperate rainforest outside the wedding venue)

but with this orchid stem.

We'll put a burlap/hessian runner or overlay on the tables. I did that once for a dinner party, and Ryan really dug it. “I dig the burlap!” he said.

The rough texture of burlap will be a pleasing counter point to to the lacquered shine of some chargers we’ve been saving that are very similar to these, but silvery champagne in colour. Wedding glamour, while still down to earth.

These leaves will make interesting placecards—each guest’s name will be written on them in gold paint marker.

We'll make table numbers from slate tiles written on with chalk.

That's everything we've come up with so far. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For your eyes only V:
An Idea on Flowers

We have these vases. The tall one is 24” x 6” and the short one is 10” x 5”. Their simple shapes open them to a range of treatments with flowers or candles. Ryan asked for some sort of stair treatment, so we’d like to do a line of vases going up the stairs , with alternating arrangements of sarracenia, also known as pitcher plants,

and grasses (the same ones used in the martini), to accompany the paper mural we'll be creating.

After my conversation with Ryan about hot hot colour, I remembered some orchids I’d seen at Shangri-La here in Edmonton. We went to both locations to pick them up,

and while Aaron and I were there, these succulents caught my eye.

I’ll use them in Melissa’s bouquet to compliment this little guy

that Ryan really liked in the martini glass arrangement, and which I’ll be using for the mens’ boutonnieres along with the yellow and orange orchids. In addition to the orchid bloom and sedum, Ryan’s boutonniere will have a calla lily in it, to set it apart from the groomsmen's boutonnieres.

The women will carry a simple bouquet of two calla lilies, either these

or these,

with their stems bound in red or orange ribbon.

For Melissa’s bouquet, I'll do a cluster of roses (the same roses as the martini arrangement and another brighter red rose)

surrounded by a swirling cascade of red lilies,

a hot pink magnolia,

orange tulips,

and amaranthus, also known as “love lies bleeding”, (it’s probably my cameratic ineptitude, but for some reason, it rarely photographs well on its own),

and finished with a ruff of cycad leaves

and ferns (temperate rainforest chic).

It’ll be a comma or upside-down-paisley shape (but less Dr. Seuss), which will go well with Melissa’s dress (warning: if you are Ryan, or if you are not Ryan but don’t have the sense to keep a secret from him, do not click the dress link. Ryan doesn’t know what the dress looks like and Melissa would prefer to keep it that way until their wedding!).

To be continued...

Monday, May 4, 2009

For your eyes only IV:
A Little Idea

The paper mural is our Big Idea. Now for a Little Idea.

In thinking of other alludingtomeetinginschool-type supplies we could use, I found this picture

on the site for Fête, a New York-based event planning and design company: a blackboard seating display. The bridesmaids dresses are black and the invitations will have black paper in them! This is a lovely, yet understated way of adding black to our otherwise colourful event design for Ryan and Melissa's wedding.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

For your eyes only III:
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre. “The Five Lands”. The Man’s Park (we all had a laugh at that one, though Ryan is quite hopeful they meant “man” in the most expansive humanistic sense). The one place in the world where Ryan and Melissa would choose to live given all the time and money they could ever hope for. I found some photos on the interwebs of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre and suddenly everything came together.

Several, or all, of these images have been treated with HDRI techniques to bring out the colour contrasts—in effect, they capture not just what the place looks like, but what it feels like, and that is what Aaron and I are most interested in. (If you are the creator of any of these images and would like me to credit you, please send me an e-mail and I would fall all over myself to do that for you. Karma for inspiration from the internether.)

Our plan is to create an abstract mural, based on these photos, of Cinque Terre in paper and tape on the walls of Rainforest Beach Lodge’s great room. Aaron wants to add a few surprise details that I’m sure will delight the couple and their guests, and I don’t use that term…de-lightly. Ha ha. I like the idea of something simple, like paper and tape, reimagined into something sublime. I hope Ryan and Melissa like it too.

To be continued...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

For your eyes only II:
The Big Idea

Ryan and Melissa are both energetic, creative, multi-faceted people. They met at the University of Alberta where they both went to grad school for Speech Pathology, the field in which they both work now. Ryan remembers being impressed on their first date when, after he scoffed that there was no way Melissa would finish her enormous Scottish meat pie, she replied that she could, and she did (following it with dessert). They find as much joy being out in the hills and mountains near their home in High River as they do on the myriad worn stone terraces dotting the Italian coast, where they went for Ryan’s brother’s wedding. Ryan writes and produces music, and Melissa is part of a scrapbooking group and is a founding member of The Unicorns, a club she started with several classmates back in school. They have a wide circle of close friends involved in activities ranging from mountaineering, to networking, and nightclub ownership to administration. On their first night at our house for dinner, they offered to wash the dishes and I got to see Melissa’s endearingly cute smile. They are equal parts geek chic and gregarious. They’re involved. They’re in there. They are wonderful.

When Aaron and I visited them in High River, they told us of their travels, together and apart, through Italy and Morocco, places they visited together (like Cinque Terre),

things they did besides each other, like stomping grapes,

things they saw

and things they brought back, like these Moroccan lanterns

and this goat skin lamp.

The reverence in their voices when talking about travelling was readily apparent, so it was to these faraway places that I nudged my thoughts in putting together our second proposal.

When Ryan and Melissa were last in Edmonton, he casually mentioned that they wanted suggestions on wall treatments for the reception venue to add more colour, namely fabric for draping. The venue is a rustic and beautiful lodge on Vancouver Island, with pale walls and taupe carpet.

Ryan's request presented a challenge. Checking my resources around the city, I wasn’t able to find fabric I could buy in large quantities while keeping within their budget and so I wandered the catacombs of memory in search of something else. And then it came to me: paper!

Aaron and I went to Staples to suss out prices for paper, and paper definitely fits within their budget.

We’d used paper for an installation in art school to great success (I got an A on the project), and, it so happened, in the colours Ryan wanted for their wedding,

so I knew the medium could work wonderfully for them. (And there are school and paperwork and scrapbooking connotations as well! How cool is that?) And so, armed with a new|old medium and source of inspiration, our thoughts turned to what to do with it.

We could crumple it,

cut it,

roll it,

sculpt and layer it,

hang it grid style,

even mold it into irresistibly delicious clouds of exhaust (these papers are cupcake wrappers).

(All photos are of Anthropologie store or window displays—I urge you click here for a Google Image Search. Their visual people are geniuses. They even managed to make me love marshmallows. Marshmallows, for Jeebus’ sake! But I digress.)


Our concept had to be relatively simple to execute, as we would be decorating with the help of Ryan and Melissa's friends and relatives, rather than our usual crew. We were also bound by the usual event decorating restrictions (i.e. no nails in the walls...luckily, we are at least allowed tape and candles). I returned my thoughts to Ryan and Melissa’s happy place and waited for something to come. be continued...
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