Sunday, August 31, 2014

Try, Try Again!!!

Sooooooooo, yes, I have been a very bad blogger.  I’m sorry.  Blogging is kind of like exercising (and any of you that know me, can see that I’m not so great at that either!!)  it’s something that one can procrastinate over and all of a sudden, a year or two has passed.  I feel compelled to write though about some of the things that have been happening at Aberdeen Manor this summer, so I am going to give it another shot.  Maybe I’ll be able to establish my blogging exercise routine!!  Today I have huge resolve, tomorrow I may not, I hope you’ll forgive my inconsistencies!!  :)  I feel like I need to just dive in and quit apologizing—which is so incredibly boring—so that’s what I’m going to do.  We’ll just have to see how it goes.

Hopefully you keep up with our Facebook posts, which are much more frequent thanks to Megan and Lisa, and usually include tons of photos, which everyone loves.  We’ve had some amazing weddings, and a lot of wonderful couples this summer, and it’s been such a pleasure to be a part of their celebrations.  Over the next few weeks I hope to showcase some of these beautiful events for you, complete with photos!! 

Part of my absence has been due to all of the things we have been trying to accomplish with our website, and our beautiful new brochure.  Our website has gone through some transition to make it more “i-friendly” so that you can use it on your ipad, iphone, or i-whatevers.  :)  There have, of course, been some growing pains involved, particularly with our tux registration page.  So if you experience difficulties with any of our website, please let us know. 

The biggest change to is that we have added ONLINE INVITATION ORDERING!!  You can now browse through nearly everything that Carlson Craft offers, on our website!  You can also look through all of the beautiful papers and ideas that Envelopments has to offer.  The best part of this, is that any order that is placed online, will come through us, so that we can double check the wording and order details for you, and make sure that it’s all “shipshape”!  We’ll call or email you if there is anything we would suggest for your invitations.  AND if you are renting your 5 or more paid tuxedoes through Affairs, you will still receive that fabulous $200 discount on your invitation!!  So put your jammies on, grab your cup of coffee, or your glass of wine (depending upon the time of day!!  J)  and go shopping online with Affairs!   If you find something you love, and you want to see the “real deal”  you can always write down the number or just print out the page and bring it in to our shop.  We’ll help you find it in the albums, so that you can look at it “in person”.  Or there is also an option to order a sample online.  Basically you have all the ease and convenience of shopping at home, with all the confidence, help, and guidance of shopping in our store!  What could be better?! 
All of us at Affairs are excited about helping you with your invitations and stationery products for your wedding!  Whether online or in store, you'll always get the best of service and value. 
And just for a little inspiration and eye candy--here is the link for Carlson Craft's "Look Book"! This little ebook gets my blood pumping and my pulse racing every time I look at it!  So many awesome themes and schemes for weddings!  And everything in it is available through Affairs! 
Enjoy!  and hopefully I'll be talking with you again soon!  :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Special Event 2013

What a terrific we we had attending The Special Event in Chicago!  Megan, Lisa, and myself drove into the city four days in a row to attend multiple sessions jam packed with great information on all things related to event planning.  In addition to all of the educational sessions, the TRADE SHOW was DYNAMITE!!!!  We found some amazing products and fabulous finds for decor, table linen, centerpieces, and lighting.  We also collected a ton of great ideas for centerpieces and wedding decor.
Trey is excited that we found wireless uplights!  These will enable us to adjust the color of  all the lights in the room at the same time!  We also don't have to worry about anybody tripping on cords.  They are a little different from our wired uplights, but we are keeping those, so we'll have some new and exciting capabilities having both types.  Just think!  Uplighting in the garden!  Uplighting in the chapel!! The possibilities are mindboggling!
As I predicted over a year ago, PEARLS are the new and exciting thing in event decor!!!  We have already purchased the pearl curtains to do the ceiling, and at the show we were able to purchase the curtains to hang on the wall behind the head table!!!  These will match the ceiling decor, in both white or ivory pearls.  I'm so excited to actually see them in action!  I think for the next Taste party we are going to do the pearls over the dance floor and on the wall.  And by the way, if you have already attended, but you want to see the decor, we will be setting up the ballroom on Saturday the 2nd, and you are welcome to stop in and see everythingon Saturday afternoon!
Here is what the new pearl curtains look like:

So along with the pearls, we have also found an amazing source for linens, directly from China, which will help us to hold our linen costs at the current level.  We found a wonderful stretch lace fabric.  It looks a lot like Cluny lace.  SOOOOO pretty!!!
We are buying it in white and ivory both.  We've purchased an entire line of tablecloths, wall curtains, chair ties and chair bands.  It's going to be tremendous!

Something else we saw at the show was a really cool treatment for cylinders.  This was done with bouillon wire, wrapped around the cylinders.  So pretty!  The wire comes in silver, gold and colors, so we would have a lot of different ways to go with this. 
Isn't that elegant looking?

Something else we ordered at the show was spandex cloths for our cocktail tables.  We ordered them in black. We thought it would be elegant, and not as likely to get stained.  They will be so pretty caught in with a sparkly band!
We also have wired pearls coming to wrap vases and the like.  I've found a source to buy the large pearl vase fillers, so we will be getting those soon in both white and ivory. 
Bling still continues to be the thing!  We've found some great sources for more bling as well.
All in all it was an awesome conference, and while we were all beat at the end of the week, we felt that we had squeezed everything we could out of TSE 2013!!  We saw many friends from the ABC conferences as well as from TSE last year, and enjoyed making many acquaintances, both old and new.  Sometimes the best information at a conference comes from the people you meet!
We'll be rolling out our new things as they arrive.  Unfortunately, because of the Chinese New Year, we won't be receiving our lace linens till the end of March.  So they won't make it for the Taste party.  We will keep you posted though, and hopefully they will be here and ready to rock for the 2013 season!!
Looking forward to a great year of making weddings gorgeous!!!
Let me know if you are interested in any of the above items so that we can plan our usage.  Just e-mail me at if you are interested in using any of our new "stuff"!

By the way, we have set up a Pinterest Page for Aberdeen Manor, and will be posting pictures of things we like on it.  Keep posted and subscribe to our boards for all the latest and greatest!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Not Invite Children to Your Wedding

Here is a post I came across today at a blog titles "Oh Lovely Day"  It's very well done and I thought I should share it with you, since this is one of the questions I am asked frequently.
So if you click on the title, it will take you to this very well written article! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sisters Bridal Closes--Brides are Jilted!

Wow, in this morning's paper there is an article about Sister's Bridal closing their doors and leaving a lot of brides high and dry without their gown(s). Unfortunately, I have been expecting this for a long time.  We removed them from our favorites list several years ago because they were "short selling". This is how it works;  you come in and choose a gown at XYZ Bridal Shop, and instead of ordering YOUR gown with the down payment, XYZ orders Jane Smith's gown, who came in six months ago and picked her  gown out and made a deposit (which XYZ used to order the gown of a bride who's wedding was closer)!  Then XYZ waits for another bride to come in and put money down for HER gown to place the order for YOUR gown.  It's a vicious cycle, and basically a downward spiral because they are always hoping someone will order a dress, so that they can purchase the dresses that someone has already ordered (but they've already spent their deposits).  Stores that start doing this get into sticky wickets with their suppliers too, because they are waiting on their money, and the suppliers put them on COD delivery so that they know they will get paid.  Basically they are robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the old saying goes. 
A reputable gown shop will not require full payment up front, if they ask for that much, beware!

Unfortunately a lot of  brides have been caught in the crossfire.  If you are one of these brides, Here Comes the Dress here in Valpo, might be able to help you get your gown.  Here is the comment they posted on the article:

"We are another Valparaiso bridal boutique, and we've been able to assist brides who've been unable to get their dresses from Sisters. We can contact the same designers and get the dresses re-routed to our store for pick up. If you know of anyone in distress, they can contact us. 219.728.1328 or"

We're also willing to do what we can to help at Affairs.  This sort of thing just shouldn't happen to a bride, but unfortunately it does. 

Have you been affected by this closing?  Leave a comment and share your experience, in the hope that it will help other brides avoid a heartache like this in the future.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Polka Dot Bride's Suggestions for What to Do and Not Do for Your Wedding!

One of my favorite wedding blogs is Polka Dot Bride which comes from Australia.  This morning I was catching up on some back posts and found this one which talks about do's and don'ts for your wedding.
I thought it was very well done, and I couldn't say it better myself, so I'm giving you the link to go read it. 
I am particularly in agreement over the "hiring professionals" for your wedding.  I can't even count how many couples have been disappointed with their photos because "a friend" did theire photography, or they found someone really cheap; unfortunately, you get what you pay for.  In this day of digital SLR's there are a lot of people out there calling themselves "wedding photographers"--beware! 

We've had major DJ or "lack of DJ" disasters with ipods loaded with 30,000 songs to provide the music for a wedding.  Yes, the ipod did play the music, however everything else that the DJ does was NOT there--and it really showed.  I have said many times, if a DJ only played music, I could put CD's on my sound system and play music, and save people a lot of money!  Of any service you hire for a wedding, your DJ is probably the most critical when it comes to having a fabulous party.  They keep things moving, keep the guests informed of what's going on and what will be happening shortly, they do all the introductions and announcements, and yes, they play music (and reading the crowd is an art too, a good DJ knows what music is getting them out there to dance--very important).

So click on over to the Polka Dot Bride's post, I think everyone can learn something important from it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Showered With Love

I think the best thing about being in this business is having the opportunity to have a party of our own once in a while!  Having all the resources at hand to make it really special.  I really enjoy planning parties, and carrying a theme through the entire event, from the first moment that the guests receive their invitations. 
Last Sunday we had Megan's baby shower!  Her little baby girl is due in mid May.  We started planning this in December, and my office has been totally overwhelmed with  stuff for the shower!
We chose a letterpress invitation from Spark! Letterpress Love for the shower (sorry about the white blotch, but I had to blot out some private contact info there).  It was printed in taupe and lavender, and set the theme for the entire event--bird's nests, birds, bird houses--as well as the colors--lavender, pink, soft green.  The colors were inspired by the colors of Dutch Mints--my favorite candy!  I've always not only loved the wonderful minty taste, but also the soft pastel colors of these mints.

We had so much fun planning the theme and all the little touches we could add.  My kitchen staff went above and beyond the call with the luncheon!  It was amazing!  So many cute little touches.  The deviled eggs that looked like little chicks were adorable! 
Megan was kept on a "need to know" basis, which about drove her crazy!  We didn't really tell her what the whole plan was beforehand, so it was so much fun to surprise her.  Her reaction when she saw the room and all that we had done, made it all SO worthwhile!
I'm just going to post all the photos here for you to enjoy.  It was such a fun afternoon. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate the help of everyone at Aberdeen, especially Patti, Jen and Kim!  They did an amazing job with the lunch!  Kathy was a huge help setting everything up, and Julie and Becca and Kathy did such a great job of keeping everything rolling and managing everything so that I could sit down and enjoy the shower.  We have such a wonderful team at Aberdeen.  It is so much fun to work with all of our awesome coworkers!  What a pleasure.  After 13 years at Aberdeen I still love going to work every day.

Here are some photos of the shower for you to enjoy:

Apologies for the somewhat random order  of these photos!  I am a better party planner than I am a Blogger!!  :)
We served two punches, a peach-strawberry sangria and a non alcoholic fruit punch. 
My oldest daughter, Amy, was a huge help with the invitations and keeping track of the RSVP's.  She also took care of the wish cards, and the bingo cards.  Most importantly, she did the impromptu MCing of the party, and saved me from "public speaking" which is something I really don't feel comfortable with! :)
On the table as guests arrived, we had the "Wish Cards" for everyone to fill out for Kate.  It was a little idea we all had loved on Pinterest.  We have a little album for them to go into, and took photos of each of the guests at the shower to put with their wish card.  I think it will be something that Kate will treasure for years to come. 
We didn't get into a lot of shower games.  We did bingo boards for the guests to check off different gifts as they were opened.  I like that one because it gives folks something to do while the gifts are being opened.  Kacie, one of Megan's dear friends, provided some terrific little prizes for that.  Megan's mother in law, Marie, took care of the "diaper raffle" for us, and did a smashing job!
My sister in law, Kathy, helped me put together and decorate all the little birdhouse favors.  They turned out so cute.  We filled them with Dutch Mints (of course!)
Trey pin spotted the centerpieces, which really made them pop, even with the daylight outside.  He also put a lavender uplight on the trees in the corners which was a nice little touch. 
So now Megan has lots of lovely new things for her little baby!  Their living room looked like a pink bomb had hit it on Sunday night!
Thanks for indulging me, I hope you enjoy seeing our little party.  It was so much fun, I just want to do it all over again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Letterpress Love

At Affairs, the letterpress company we deal with is Spark! Letterpress Love.  I know now where their name comes from.  I always thought it was just that they "loved" the final product--the deeply impressed print, the yummy papers--I had no idea.  Then I went with a friend to the Old Mill House Gallery and Printing Museum.   The owner, Jim Anderson, is an encyclopedia of information on printing, printing equipment, processes, and basically, everything related to the printed word.
Jim, also known as "Boe", grew up in Ybor City which is the Cuban area of Tampa where they had a big cigar industry years ago.  It's an interesting area. Incidentally, he also plays blues on the bass with other musicians, and he runs a little restaurant with authentic Cuban dishes.  In addition, he does reinactments of a freed slave named Fielder Harris at a local historical site.  Jim started out in the printing industry at age 14 and learned the trade.  He loved the old equipment and machines, and when computers started to obselete these beauties, he started buying them up.  He has some amazing machines.  My favorite is the Chandler Price press which is from the very early 1900's.  Just the sound of it is awesome.  I could listen to it purr for hours.   He has an amazing room full of old printing machines--linotype machines (used to set type automatically--a machine that works much like a computer actually! But that's another post!) printing presses of all different sizes, makes and shapes, and boxes and boxes and BOXES of type! 
So I asked Jim to explain the printing process to me so that I could take pictures and pass the information on to you, my blog readers, in hopes of conveying to you the art that this really is.  This type of printing is VERY labor intensive.  It isn't something where somebody pushes a few buttons and then goes off to do something else while it prints a thousand copies.  This requires a human to set it all up, feed it, and run it, every second that it is working.  When you receive a letterpress invitation, note card, or business card, you are actually receiving a little individual work of art--a treasure from the past that has been kept alive by a small group of dedicated, passionate individuals.

So, how does it all begin?  Before anything else can happen, the design has to be decided, and the type has to be set.  EACH LETTER is an individual piece.  You may have seen these wooden blocks with letters on them in antique stores.  The letters started out being made of wood, and later they were made from lead.

The type is taken, letter by letter, and placed into a "type stick"--a wood or metal tray which is held in one hand and the other hand picks up the individual letters and sets them into the stick to compose a line.

 Keep in mind, the line is composed backwards, and upside down!  AND all the letters are backwards. 
 The lines are then put together to make a page inside a metal frame called a "chase".  The printer uses a surface called a "stone" which is normally made from very smooth, flat, marble, to set the type which is known as "composing the type".   The surface has to be smooth and flat so that the pieces in the chase are all evenly high or low.  If the type is not set all at the same level, some letters will be darker and deeper than others, because they will pick up the ink differently on the press, and it won't look even. 
When the type is all positioned in the chase, the printer then has to fill in the spaces between the type, so that something will hold the print in place.  For this they use "furniture", little plain blocks, that are set lower than the type so that they won't pick up any ink when the chase is put in the press.
Then the printer uses a device called a "quoin" to lock the furniture and type tightly into place.  The whole assembly has to be perfectly tight, or it will slip and move when it's put on the press and the printed pieces won't all be the same, and they won't stay in nice neat lines.  The quoin is tightened with a key that expands it so that the type is all held tightly in place. 
When the chase is filled and locked with the quoins, it is called a "forme".  The forme is then placed into the press.
This is a picture of a small little tabletop press.  The circle of metal you see is the "ink disk" where the ink is placed.  The red cylinder below is the "ink roller" which when you operate the press, goes up to the ink disk and picks up the ink. The forme is below the ink disk in the sort of square area between the ink roller and the ink disk.  The individual piece of paper is placed in the area just below the handle you see on the front.  So when the operator pushes down on the handle, the whole assembly kind of clamps together, the ink roller goes up to the ink disk, picks up the ink and inks the forme, then it all pushes together to put the image on the paper.  Whew!!!  I have a little video I took of Jim operating this little press that might make all this a little more clear:

So, of course, a company that is making letterpress invitations isn't using a little tabletop model like the one you see here.  They are most likely using a much larger, heavier, floor standing motorized model.  But the initial set up work is still there,  whether it is done on a tabletop or a floor standing large press, it is still a little piece of art. 

I hope that this will give you more insight into the beauty of letterpress invitations.  Yes, they are more expensive than thermography or conventionally printed invitations, but they are so special!  When you send your guests a letterpress invitation, you are sending them a message about what your wedding is going to be--VERY special!  These are definitely refrigerator invitations!
Here is a video I found on Youtube showing a little more about the whole process, with some great commentary.

Oh, ok, one more:

So when you are choosing your invitations, whether they are thermographed, flat printed or letterpress, be sure that you think about the impression that your invitation will make when your guest opens the envelope and holds it in their hands.  What message will it convey? What will it tell your guest about your party? Will it tell your guest what to expect at your wedding? If you ask yourself these questions when you are choosing your invitations, you will find the perfect choice to send to your guests!
And remember, we are here to help you find that perfect invitation!