Sunday, 29 May 2011

Say it with Flowers

I have been watching Chelsea on the TV all week.
I get so much inspiration from my garden, from flowers, leaves and nature. So I thought I would show you some photos that show you some examples of what my work influenced by flowers.
There are just not enough hours in my days to do all the things I think of.
Flowers as surface decoration.
Flowers as three dimensional decoration, as brooches or
as headdresses.

I get endless hours of inspiration from flowers, there are just not enough hours to my days to do all the things I want to.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

What you wear can give you confidence.

The Obamha's visit London and it is the style I am interested in.

The First Lady has taken the world by storm for her bold fashion choices. She backs emerging US designers - and the high street. In the past she has worn UK designers as well, including an Alexander McQueen creation for a state dinner in January (pictured).

Her fashion choices were another way that people, particularly women, related to her.

We all find shapes we like and feel comfortable in - she is like every other woman in the way she dresses so we can relate to her.

Let your clothes help give you confidence. Feel good in what you wear.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

This time last year.

The Majestic bridge builder, what a name for the Queen and for Mary McAleese. I was so impressed by what the two ladies have achieved. Their care and consideration conquered all. Their style and sophistication were much appreciated. I imagine how tired she must be after her travels at 85, however she just seemed to be enjoying every minute. Reminded me of how a business trip to London last year just recharged my batteries for
This time last year I had a trip to London. The Best of British Bridal Designers were having an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. This year Stewart Parvin, the Royal Couturier who did the Queens emerald green outfit when she arrived in Dublin,will show his 2012 collection.

He introduces covetable gowns with princess-line skirts and waist-cinching ruching to ensure the perfect silhouette. On the catwalk this year there will be dramatic fishtail silhouettes in sequined lace and tulle that will take your breath away. But I will not be there to see them.

I remember the sun was shining and I found myself in St James Park, it was just heaven on earth. The plants and birds were amazing, I just loved it.

Then we went to Harrods for a cup of Tea. I thought we would get a chance to go again this year at this time but circumstances changed are plans. Hopefully before the year is out we will make time to visit again.

There is so much to do and see in London.

This time last year I really could imagine moving to live there. I never could of imagined city life, but London seems to have it all.

Oh yes there was the Day Out at Chelsea Flower Show, just absolutely brilliant!!

That is no doubt where the Queen will be this week. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama will be guests of the Queen at Buckingham Palace for three days. More fashion for me to keep an eye on.

Inspiration everywhere, flowers and shops what more could you ask for?

Everybody needs to go and see this, the colours, the smells and the vision.
Maybe the Obama's will visit Chelsea while they are in London.

However seeing this photo has reminded me I better go and do some work.
I have an outfit to sort and I better go and do it.

Thanks for the encouragement you have been giving me that you do read my blog.
Yours for now Jo

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Queen wears Shamrocks

The Queens outfit, when she made her significant speech at Dublin Castle, had over 2000 shamrocks hand sewn on the bodice.

So I thought I would show you photos of a dress I have already made with flowers used in the same idea and a dress with shamrocks in the embroidery detail.

The Queen said "These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured or their families.

"With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all."

Trumpeters in military dress uniforms appeared on a balcony under the clock tower opposite the main entrance to announce the arrival of the most distinguished guests. Mrs McAleese wore an electric blue silk column evening dress with long bell sleeves by Irish designer Deborah Veale. She wore matching stilettos. The dress was teamed with an electric blue silk organza evening coat with black lace and beading on the cuffs and on a panel at the back of the coat.

The bodice and sleeves of the Queen’s white silk dress were adorned with 2,091 hand-sewn embroidered shamrocks, while a Swarovski-embellished Irish harp was pinned to the left shoulder.

It was the third outfit change of the day for both the Queen and Mrs McAleese. The Queen’s first outfit was a turquoise and white coat and day dress in Swiss wool, with a fawn fleck through the material. The buttons were hand-covered in silk. This was teamed with a turquoise hat and black gloves and shoes. The outfit was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, a Liverpudlian of Irish descent, and her team at Buckingham Palace.

Good for the Queen to show the personal touch with embroidery.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

More on the Irish theme

I thought I would show you more work of mine on the theme of Shamrocks, while
the Queen takes part in an historic new act of Anglo-Irish reconciliation.

On day two of her State visit to Ireland she was taken to Dublin's Croke Park stadium to lay wreaths in memory of the men and women who died fighting for independence - and the 49,000 Irish soldiers killed in the First World War.

Please can we have true peace and reconciliation and let us all get on together in building a new prosperous future.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A very Special Day

On this special day when the Queen visits Ireland, I thought I would commemorate it with some of my Shamrocks. A 3di idea which can be worn as a brooch or a hair ornament.

Shamrocks are to me the symbol of a peaceful Ireland, that ignores all flags.

This is the first State visit by an English head of State for 100 years. It is tremendous to think that two influential women have sorted an age old problem.
The two ladies greeted each other with beaming smiles
The Queen started the day in a Stewart Parvin vivid emerald green outfit for the occasion. Stewart Parvin is a name I recognise from the bridal world. I understand the Queen also wore one of his outfits to the races recently.
Mary McAleese wore a striking cerise pink outfit but sadly they didn't tell us who made that outfit. Then to keep me interested the two ladies did a quick change for their wreath laying at the Dublin Memorial Garden. The Queen wore a metallic pearl boucle ensemble with what they described as embroidery, which looked like olive green shamrocks to me. While President Mary McAleese ditched her peony pink ensemble for a more conservative black dress and jacket combination with contrasting white piping.
The two ladies have managed to transform this politically fraught state visit into a potential stylistic " happening".

Monday, 16 May 2011

What are we destined to do?

I quite often think that I get the brides I am meant to get and the ones I am not meant to do slip away, it keeps me happy.

I get my inspiration from all around and these days I cannot help but notice the hedgerows full of the Whitethorn flower and the grass verges bursting with cow parsley.

Nature seems to be ahead of itself this year, I wish I was!

The gardens are bursting into life and the grass is growing faster than ever with a few showers of rain. Wisteria drapes from the doorways of the houses I pass on my way to work. This means I have ideas from everywhere.

From the three leaf clover to daisies in the grass, to dresses with embroidery with work inspired by the world around me and then veils embellished to match the dress.

Have your own personal detail embroidered into your ensemble, from your name and date or even just your initals or your favourite flower.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Fairytale ending? A Dream come true?

A week on, Catherine Middleton is for now the people's Princess. It was a magical day, a spectacular triumph played out on the world stage.
With a resurging of lace, I have shown you a photo of my own lace I make, which reminds me of my own wedding dress and many of my past creations. Texts came in from "old" brides with comments of "it reminds me of mine".

A dream come true for many people, not just for Catherine and William, but for all the people involved. The build up to a wedding is so exciting, the actual day a dream and then it is back to "real-life"!! What are we destined to do?

The Royal Wedding boosted British produce and artisans as much as possible which is much appreciated. But it is back to earth with a bang as our politicians run round like headless chickens trying to get our vote. We need them to be promoting the Best of British otherwise they will be no industry and manufacturing left in this country.

So back to my dream of promoting the Made on N Ireland label.
Here are photos of the latest bag, jewellery and Hat/ fascinator, specially commissioned for a Bride's Mum, to match the outfit I made her.

Clients travel to London searching for their dream outfit and then when they come back and get something off me it raises my spirits.
I have had an up and down week, with girls interested in my notion of Pippa's dress but at a price! What price? They say if you work hard and are talented you will make it!! Make what? Brides seem to want the best with as little fuss and expense as possible. I feel I am working harder than ever for less, less thanks and less reward.
I really appreciate the brides who have come to me and let me make their dresses. I can think back over the years at all the brides who I have had great pleasure in making hopefully their dreams about their dresses come true. But they are getting few and far between, the market is getting smaller and smaller as brides opt for a quick fix, an off the peg dress without any trimmings. All the big chains and manufacturers have jumped on the wedding wagon. However I believe you only get out of life what you put into it. If you want a special day with brilliant memories you need to put the effort into it and work at it, make it personal and make it unique.

As long as I can make my Bride's feel special, make them feel that theirs is the best wedding dress I have ever made and make their day be a dream come true then I have done my job and fulfilled my dream too.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Copy of Pippa Middleton's dress

Within hours of the wedding ceremony finishing, designers where taking inspiration from the dresses. One dress in particular seems to be being talked about, that is Kate Middleton's younger sister Pippa, a stunning Maid of Honour.
Her form-fitting dress, perfectly complemented the brides choice and has attracted lots of admirers.

Caroline Castigliano, the bridal designer, said: "The dress Pippa had on was just so special. It was very cleverly designed and I think you will see copies of something similar out in the market from that dress. A lot of London brides would get married in that. It was stunning."

Well that seems to be the consensus of the northern Ireland brides in my shop. So I have done a version of the dress with a few changes just to make it a bit different. The kept to the shape of the dress and worked it in an ivory crepe. The neckline and the sleeves and the detail are much the same as they were for me very stiking and lovely and femine. The back of the dress I have been a bit more daring with a low lace up back still going into a slight puddle train.
This dress is for sale in my shop. Please make an appointment to come and try it on. If you do want the buttons down a high necked back that is no problem.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The veil

I have been excited to show you Mary's veil for months. I just loved working on it.
The moment I heard about the Royal engagement this was the one thing I really wished that I could of had a hand in. I would have done the English roses, the Irish shamrocks of course, the Scottish thistles and the Welsh daffodils. The way I did the roses on Mary's veil and exactly as I would have imagined them.
I love doing my work and I just wish I had more clients that
let me do such lovely things. I know what I am capable of doing. I just need customers to let me do it.
I hope that with the internet girls from all over the world
can have their veil especially made by me for them. I did one veil this year that went out to Australia. I don't know whether I need to move or whether I need to help brides find me. Veils are so light they will post easily.

This photo shows the detail in Mary's veil. The roses are made up of petals of silk
organza with a delicate silver centre.
Let me not forget Mary's buttons, each one with rows of tiny pearls to make up a button. Thank you Mary for letting me work for you.

More of Our Royal Wedding

Mary's dress reflected her personal taste.
She had researched everything. Her favourite
dress in the past was grace Kelly's.
She loved delicate detail, lots of embroidery.
She had trawled the internet for inspiration,
and came up with a lovely idea for the veil.
Full blown roses and lily of the Valley
were her theme, pale pink was her colour.
Here are some photos of them as they got ready
on the morning.

My Royal Bride, April 2011

As Mary and I watched the Royal wedding we texted each other! It was the day before Mary's wedding and so much of what we were watching on TV was Mary's notion.
A dress to flatter her shape, to cover her decretly, so feminine and Grace Kelly, a dress that showed her love of detail and embroidery. The veil well Mary had inspired me to make the most beautiful veil and I will show you all more photos of our veil. The flowers, well I had promised Mary Lily of the valley out of my garden a year ago. Only one problem mine weren't ready!! So I had to call my backup, a very kind Mother of one of my brides from a couple of years ago, Millie McLaughlin. I knew Millie had Lily of the Valley as this was the whole theme of her daughter's Anya's wedding. I had spent many a day embroidering Lily of the Valley on Anya's so it wasn't hard to remember.
Sadly I have no photos of this to show you as I sadly lost them with a computer virus. But back to happier thoughts, yes Millie got the Lily of the Valley and it just made Mary's dream come true. Thanks Millie