Welcome Friends and Family!

Have you been looking for all the details about Emily & David's upcoming Partnership Celebration?  Well, now you've found them!

If you follow the arrow down and to the right, you'll see links to our informative pages, under the heading The Important Details.

And, if you follow the arrow below, you'll find our
latest updates to the celebration blog.

We can't wait to see you in March, and in
the meantime, hope you enjoy our site!


(Cross-posted from the Family Trunk Project blog.)

The dress is done! And it's beautiful. I'm so pleased and satisfied. But I'm waiting until Heather's uber-talented photography can show you the final results. I know, I'm such a tease.


We're rushing madly about in an attempt to get all the last-minute logistics taken care of before our Partnership Celebration, but I've been making an effort to document the small, quiet moments of beauty and meaning in between the harried errands and frantic emails. Above, the earrings that inspired my dress color: watered jade teardrops, bought by my grandfather for my grandmother in Hawaii in the 60s.


Some of the craft time normally reserved for knitting around here has been usurped by paper crane-folding. David's mom and my own have both been pitching in by folding cranes. My godmother organized a crane-folding shower, and Anne even recruited her friends Etsuko and Yoshiko to help! How sweet are they? It's lovely to feel that these flocks are a gift from our community, and that that community is larger than we realized.


Pretty good find on the shoe-color, no?

We mailed everyone tiny bottles in which to collect a bit of water from a meaningful place; they will figure into our event, although it's a secret exactly how! It's been a blast to see them trickling back to us through our mail-box; we now have melted snow from Mount Charleston, rain-water from my grandmother's garden, tap water ranging from DC to Portland, and Pacific salt water from Cabrillo Bay. Back when I took this, the bottles were still waiting to journey out into the world:


And what does Mr. Bingley think about all this? He's not sure. NOT AT ALL SURE. (Note the beautiful cushion painted by David's dad!)


One week, people!

A sigh of relief


(Cross-posted from the Family Trunk Project Blog)

It's taken me a couple of days to put a blog entry together, but oh man, did I have a busy sewing weekend. And let me just cut the suspense right here: SAINTS BE PRAISED, my alterations worked.


On Friday morning, the dress was still a bunch of flat pieces in a shopping bag. On Friday evening, it looked like the photos above and below.


I'm glad I took these because it's easy to understand from them just how unusual the construction of this pattern is. As you can see, there are no side seams, nor are there front and back seams in the top portion. The bodice consists of three main pieces: the center front, and two long, oddly-shaped pieces that angle down and backwards until they meet at the center of the lower back, creating a deep V with fold-back lapels. Each of these side/back pieces is attached to the center front with an edge-stitched diagonal seam, like so:


Actually, all of the lines joining the skirt to the inset to the bodice are diagonal edge-stitched seams. Which maybe gives an inkling of why I sweated blood over figuring out a way to alter the angles of certain diagonals (without messing up the angles of others) in order to take inches out of the center lower back (but not the upper back, or butt). Those two back pieces, the facings that match them, and the center back of the skirt where it joins to those four, were the parts I had to modify, and you can see in these photos that they passed the first test: once they're all finished and folded, they are the same length and the same angle. Good news indeed.

And now, here's what the dress looked like on Sunday morning!


That ripply-ness on the left isn't a nightmarishly-tensioned seam; it's only pinned in place, and the right-hand side wasn't sewn yet at all. However. You can see that the alterations pass the second and third tests: the bodice back pieces fit the angle of the prepared center back piece, and the whole shebang FITS. At this point, after hours of intense concentration, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and went to bed.

I usually stay pretty relaxed and don't worry about "ruining" good fabric and so on. I'm not a reluctant cutter - I usually whack into my fabric unreservedly, as soon as I've done a tissue-fitting. I'm not one to stash fabric for years and years because it's "too nice" to use. But I have to admit that knowing this silk color was sold out and I didn't have time to start over before the Partnership Celebration did ratchet up the suspense. I'm looking forward to returning to lower-key sewing projects in the future...but I'm also thrilled about how this is turning out. I've reached the fun part, where all the soul-searching-in-the-desert stuff pays off!


Here's what the front looked like on Sunday morning—you have to imagine a belt in the same fabric bisecting the diamond-shaped inset; and it also looks less blousy on my body than on Gert. But from this photo you can get a sense of the whole construction, and the way the inset plays into the design as a whole. Lots and lots of edge-stitched diagonal seams!


It's further along now, although I took the sewing slightly easy on Sunday after Saturday's breathless stitching marathon. You can see the tailor's tacks at the bottom of the photo above; those are the placement lines for adding the two drapes to the back of the skirt, after which I'll just have to add the shoulder decorations and back closures, and hem the skirt.

I may just make it after all.

Cutting out

(Cross-posted from the Family Trunk Project Blog)

So, I really did intend to document this whole dress-alteration process on the blog. "Photos!" I thought. "Meditations! Maybe even tutorials!" But as it turned out, altering this pattern was akin to one of those Carlos Castaneda-type spiritual journeys you can only undertake alone, wandering in the wilderness until your spirit-animal emerges from a tumbleweed and advises you on the proper angle to invoke in order to remove three inches from the center back.


At first I was bummed out about this, because I wasn't having much FUN during my desert-wandering period. But then Jennifer commented that it seems like an apt metaphor for making a relationship work, and that sort of brought me back to myself. Sewing and knitting are journeys, after all, and some parts of the journey are difficult; that's as it should be! It just means I'm learning and growing. This is stuff I always tell other people, but in the pre-Partnership-Celebration stress I'd forgotten. I took a few deep breaths, returned to the pattern with my hat in my hand, and she and I sat down and talked about our disagreements. Eventually, I think, we sorted it all out.

And then...


Well, another good relationship practice is knowing when to reward yourself for having worked something out. The pattern, David and I took a trip over to my folks' house, where my mom and I teamed up to cut it out in the fancy silk! This was a luxury, because my parents, unlike David and I, are possessed of a dining room table.


As you can imagine, keeping all that silk clean while cutting out on David and my floor and trying to keep Mr. Bingley entertained would have been a recipe for disaster. The table and the extra cutting help were amazing!

First we ironed:


Then we planned...


...and pinned...


...and pinned, and measured...


...and occasionally we stopped to regroup and consult the strategic plan...


...and then, after measuring twice, we cut!


No turning back now! During the process of cutting I remembered just how beautiful this fabric is, and I'm both psyched and, I must admit, slightly nervous to start working with it. Luckily, I have quite a bit left over to practice on, but I can't spend that long fiddling around: the Partnership Celebration is in under a month! I took the pieces home and marked them with tailor's tacks, and soon the actual garment will start coming together.

Nothing like a little adrenaline to keep a girl honest...


(Thanks to David for the lovely photos this time around.)

Ringing in the New Year...

... with an almost inexcusable pun.

But no matter!  On the first Saturday of the new decade, I (finally) figured out what size I am, confirmed the design, settled on my wording, and sent the whole lot down to greenKarat, an ecologically responsible jeweler located in Houston, Texas.

Emily and I had heard plenty about the negative social and environmental impacts of jewelry-related mining, so we decided that gold and diamonds, lovely as they may be, needn't play a role in our Celebration.  Neither of us are particularly big jewelery wearers in any case, and, since we were building this ceremony from scratch, the exchange of rings didn't really have to be a part of it at all.

But then, two things happened in quick succession: First, we discovered the wonderful world of recycled jewelery.  greenKarat, the maker we ended up choosing, offers some very beautiful designs, and they are hardly the only option.  Some artists will even take existing jewelery - for example, something of a lesser monetary value but with personal significance or family stories connected with it - and use elements from that piece to create a new, unique design.

Anyway, Emily was considering greenKarat's Diatom ring, and I was drawn to one called Binary.  We thought it was pretty cute that we would represent a building block of ecosystems and a building block of information systems, respectively.  (Nerd + Geek = Bliss.)

But then, the second thing happened: Very touchingly, Emily's Grandmother gave Emily her own wedding and engagement ring, with the idea that we could have someone reclaim the metal and stones for our own design.  Needless to say, Marge's ring was already beautiful, with a '40s-vintage, Deco look (which happens to be one of Emily's favorites), and we decided to keep it just as it was.  I don't think Emily has taken it off since.

So that left me.  I still wanted the Binary, but that pattern you see below - the one around the flat, outer facing - is actually a binarised representation of an English phrase:

And I had to decide what I wanted my phrase to be.  They give you 25 characters to work with - less than half a tweet! - and, let me tell you right now, cramming one's hopes and dreams, along with some encapsulation of a 10-year relationship into 25 characters is no easy task.

The process I went through was similar to what I imagine designing one's first tattoo would be like...  Emily and I have talked a lot about this event's symbolism: how that symbolism differs from traditional wedding symbolism, and how it doesn't; why we are even doing this the way we are doing it; what the event means to us as individuals, and what it means to us as an interdependent, interconnected unit.  We've talked a lot about how, for example, we are not so much transforming our relationship from one thing (dating, or engaged) into another (married), but rather, are acknowledging and honoring our relationship's gradual, beautiful - though not always graceful - evolutions.  Growth has been a central idea for us throughout, as has been that strange and wonderful mixture of autonomy and helplessness, the depths of which one is only truly free to plumb in the most loving, trusting relationships.  I love these ideas, I love talking about them with Emily, and I love how they have manifested in our own interactions over the years.  Naturally, I wanted them on my ring as well; and, as it turns out, 25 is just the right number of characters with which to say, "Having grown we will grow."

Having loved, we will love.  Having known, we will know.  Having grown, we will grow.

I tried a lot of different phrases before I found one that felt just right, and I'm glad I kept working, because I really like how it turned out!  I like how it sounds, I like what it means, I like how it is a small piece that is whole, and that creates, and that calls out for something else, all in one.  And I like how it feels against my skin...

THAT'S RIGHT!  It got here today:

Emily & David Get a Ring from David on Vimeo.

The Suit: Part I

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Last Friday afternoon I had the almost surreal pleasure of consulting with the Seyta Selter of Portland's very own Duchess, Clothier.  Duchess is the outfit outfitting me with a suit suitable for the Partnership Celebration, and they are really fun to work with!

Holding aside certain exalted treats from Emily, the process of procuring custom clothing is unlike anything I'm used to.  But it's definitely something I would like to get used to.  It was a funny contrast to my usual mode of apparel acquisition; I get most of my clothes for free, off-the-rack, by way of a credit card which, for the dollars I spend on it, gives me points towards garments of a particular brand.  I got the card largely because clothing is one of the consumables I regularly purchase, but for which I haven't found a Good supplier.  I'm very happy to buy my food at New Seasons, our locally-owned, locally-sourced, friendly, green, and beautiful grocery store, my books at Powell's, and all my music and movies used, but clothing has been something of a quandary.  There are a few decent second-hand options, but they're always kind of hit or miss, and the new options tend to have problems with either labor or sexual politics.  Hence the card, which has worked out just fine.

But Friday's foray into formal fashion has left me feeling that I better start investing that money I'm not spending on "normal" clothes, because I definitely want more Duchess suits, please and thankyou!  Emily and I spent a good three hours with Ms. Selter, pouring over fabrics, looking through vintage catalogues, talking about collar studs and tie pins, and generally benefiting from her warm glow, deep knowledge, and contagious enthusiasm.  The experience of working on this project with a sartorial artiste - and an astrologically adroit one, at that (!) - was such a pleasure, and such an intimate experience compared with "going to the mall"...  It'll be hard returning to the status quo.  As when interacting with virtuosity of any stripe, the process seems somehow to become both effortless and exhilarating, and the product promises to be transcendent.

After we had finished, I went home confident that when my suit arrives and I envelope myself in all its luxury and splendor, I will not only - at long last! - be able to wrap the old bean around those Latin phrases Jeeves is always tossing off, but will finally be able to order my Fraises à la Sarah Bernhardt at the Savoy without somehow embarrassing myself.  (And, depending on how many shirts I end up getting, I may even be able to tell you which pipe is the "meerschaum," and which one the "calabash.")  Though I suppose they're technically made-to-measure, I looked into the hearts of these suits, and their hearts bespoke the truth.

More Photos!

Yay, more photos from the Pre-Celebration shoot, and they make us look h-o-triple-t!  (In an olde-fashioned sort of way...)  Here's a link: http://www.espanaphotographyblog.com/2009/10/davidemily.html.

Very exciting!

Update: Teaser from the Photo Shoot!

Heather posted a teaser from what we're affectionately calling the Engagement Session!  It looks fantastic, and we can't wait to see more:

Well, my blogging fingers are feeling pretty rusty right now, but I've tinkered with the styles on our new Partnership Celebration site long enough that I think it's time for a real entry.

And, lo and behold, the Universe hath obliged us with a blog-worthy event: our pre-Celebration photo session with the lovely and talented Heather España!

We decided take the pictures at one of our favorite photo shoot locations, Powell Butte, in beautiful, sunny Portland, Oregon.  Powell Butte has served us very nicely in the past.  We did both the Ethel Mildred Ferguson and Ántonia shoots there, and thought that the combination of haunting beauty and personal artistic connection would lend just the right sort of something to the Engagement Session.

However, the Butte "demanded certain sacrifices" before we would be granted access to those sweet fruits.  There was an unconscionable amount of bizarrely inconveniently situated road work going on around the park, so we ended up leaving the cars at the head of the Direct and Gradual Ascent trail, which, despite the appealing name was actually a very steep and winding trail.  And, as we neared the top of that climb, we encountered the heart-stopping din of earth-moving machinery in the park.  That got me pretty worried; I still don't know what they were doing in there, but, whatever it was, it turned out to be happening in a fairly limited area.

Eventually, we did find our spot.  Once we cleared the grey gravel and fluorescent orange tape of the construction zone, we found the golden fields and rusty wire fences we were looking for, and wended our way through them to a dipping meadow that was the perfect setting for an old-timey picnic.  We spread our indigo cloth across the honey colored grasses, and broke out the (mostly) period-appropriate props: some fancy, sparkling French cider; felt hats; and tweedy suitcases full of books to fall in love by.  I think the photos are going to be really nice.

After our session there, we made our way up to the derelict orchard that covers the heart of the park, and caught some of that October evening light that - even as a wee lad - I would notice bathing lovely dry landscapes in an unmistakable Dr. Pepper-red glow.

It's a little strange to go to a place for pictures, do a bunch of pictures, but then not see the pictures, or even really know what they'll look like, how they're framed... anything!  I guess it's kind of like Christmas - you know something is coming, and you kind of want to know what it is already, but Santa has a pretty good track record, so you at least know it's something to get excited about.  Having looked at Heather's blog, I think we can safely say that these will be something to get excited about.  And while we're on the subject, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Heather was a real intrepid soldier throughout the series of adventures, even the parts that were mostly just ordeals.  I'm really glad that we got this chance to work with her before the Partnership Celebration; it's cool to have an opportunity to tune in to her working vibe before the Big Event, and to get used to being on the other side of the camera.  Having a session in a setting so focused, and so focused on photography (as compared with what the Partnership Celebration will undoubtedly be), was a really good way to facilitate that.

Well!  Anyhow; welcome to DG Plus EJ dot Com!  I hope you enjoy yourself.  I'm sure we'll have more to report soon, but for now I'll leave you with one of Emily's lovelies from after the Ántonia shoot.  If you click it, it'll get big:


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Recent Comments

  • Anne: There have been precious and wonderful ripple effects here on read more
  • Sharon: You are a brave soul! Beautiful job. Can hardly wait read more
  • marie christine: Magnifique, et j'adore cette couleur "vert d'eau". Photos et explications read more
  • David: Thanks Sharon! We can't wait to see you at the read more
  • Sharon: Love the concept Love the thoughtfulness Love the saying Love read more
  • David: P.S. A big thank you to Charlie for pointing me read more
  • marcy stuart: we look forward to this so much! what a website, read more