About Me

I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in TruLu Couture (43)

Friday
Feb032012

Bridal Accessories, Carolina Bride and Breast Cancer.

That’s right. Cancer. I’ll get to it, but the good news first.

OK, first? On Monday? Giveaway, ladies. I haven’t done a giveaway in FOREVER, so it’s time. The thing is, the giveaway was inspired by something that pisses me off (surprise! surprise!). That something? You can read up on it here. So keep that in mind for Monday’s post. *tease tease tease*

Second? There’s been some stuff happening in the studio y’all! I could do a “Product of the Week” but there are too many to choose from right now.

There’s a new Upcycled Mink Fur Capelet. J’adore.

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Then there a new Gold/Silver Washed Floral Headband/Sash.

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I got my hands on a few of these really gorgeous flowers. The color is this beautiful god/silver combo that look great with either color.  It’s a matte finish and it’s just SO PRETTY. I love how it gives the capelet a little modern twist.

Then there’s stuff in progress:

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Can’t wait to finish it!

Then there are things to come. Check out this gorgeous 1980’s vintage number. I’ve removed this hot-to-death beaded applique. It will be something, I’m just not sure what yet. The bead work is to die for.

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I also got this monstrosity, wondering if it could be something. It’s a beaded crown-style veil. I found it at a flea market, along with the matching wedding gown. Sadly, the gown was completely moth eaten, and as you can tell, this thing is a big mess too. The tulle from the veil literally crumbled in my hands.

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But guess what? I got it totally cleaned up! No stains, all the beads are in tact and it’s on it’s way to becoming something totally fucking rad. I can’t wait for it to be finished. Stay tuned!

Then there’s THIS:

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That’s right! I got featured in Carolina Bride magazine! How cool is that? It’s so exciting.

And last, but certainly most important on today’s list is all the hubbub regarding the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood. Here’s what SGK is saying about it all:

 

Personally, I call bullshit. There’s simply too much politico happening with the pro-life, right-wing zealots vs. everyone else for this not to be a load of crap.1

Here’s what happening now:

Know what else is happening? This is happening. People in their own organization are resigning. Like, people up at the top. That’s got to say that SOMETHING ain’t right at SGK.

In the meantime, folks are donating like crazy to Planned Parenthood, which is fantastic. But what if you no longer want to donate to SGK, but you still feel strongly about donating specifically to help breast cancer? What else can you do? You can support Breast Cancer Action. Here’s a bit of their mission statement:

Core Principles and Values

The beliefs and standards under which everyone in the organization operates to carry out the mission.

  1. We are a membership organization.
  2. We honor each person’s commitment and energy to our mission.
  3. We are not afraid to examine all sides of all issues.
  4. We cannot be bought.
  5. We tell the truth about what we discover.
  6. We serve individuals while reaching the broader population.
  7. We value the involvement of grassroots activists throughout the country and around the world to further our mission.
  8. We encourage people to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer.
  9. We believe access to information is vital.
  10. We recognize that structural changes in society are needed to accomplish our mission.

A big thanks to Becca for raising my awareness of this kick-ass organization.  Check them out. I think they might be a good alternate charity, a charity that doesn’t play political games with funding.

That is all. For a Friday? I think it’s more than enough. And guess what I’m doing this weekend? I’m volunteering, along with my husband’s law firm, at The Vietnamese Association of Charlotte. The VIETNAMESE ASSOCIATION OF CHARLOTTE (VAC) will provide a free citizenship fair in Charlotte as part of an ambitious nationwide effort to encourage immigrants and refugees in to become U.S. citizens. I’ll be taking pictures, helping with passport photos and the like. And you just know there’s gonna be some kick-ass pho consumed. Aw yeah!

 

1Yeah, you wanna guess my party affiliation?

Tuesday
Jan102012

{Product of the Week} Upcycled Mink Capelet....Oh Wait. Nevermind.

*I wrote this post yesterday just after I listed it for sale. Read all the way to the end for the clincher.

Dudes. DUDES! It turned out SO PRETTY.

OK, remember how it looked back in November when I stumbled across this chunk of fur?

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I think we can all remember that a reader got her panties in a twist over my use of fur. If you’re new, a member of the ASPCA and want to lash out, first go read this as well as the comments and you’ll have a better understanding of my personal stance on fur. If you still want to lash out, go ahead. I can take it.

But back to the pretty shit! OH MY GOD, this turned out way better than expected. Once I got the fur all clean up and ready to upcycle, there were a few reservations as to how I was going to make this all come together. Working with vintage goodies is a ton of fun, but it can also have its…um…challenges.

Recently I was making this really sweet little shrug with this really loosely woven vintage material, thinking it would all come together. Hoping, is a more accurate word.  Long story short, the collar basically came off in my hand after I’d been ever so delicately sewing on it for at least a day. “GAH!” was the word of the day after that.

ANYWAY, after this was all cleaned up, I lined the sucker with some felt batting for softness and warmth. And then I lined it with silk that has a cute little cubed pattern. I love it!

Instead of using a vintage rhinestone closure like I did on my last fur piece, I made this one with some 3” wide double-faced 100% silk ribbon that has been DYING to be something, for like, ever. Seriously, this ribbon is so dreamy.

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I totally love the back. How those little swoops of fur make the pretty design? I’d love to take cred for that, but no. It was part of the original piece and I just played into it. I’m so pleased it’s done now so that it can (hopefully) make some winter bride happy and warm!

It’s for sale on Etsy and on Cargoh. The last fur piece I did sold in a nano-second. Hope this one will too!

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Oh wait. Nevermind. It's totally not for sale anymore. BECAUSE IT SOLD!

Yeah! How excited am I? TOTALLY FUCKING EXCITED! I listed this yesterday and it SOLD within THREE HOURS! I'm a little sad that I won't be able to look at it and drool for a little longer, but THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! Now, if only everything I made sold that fast!

Thursday
Jan052012

{Product of the Week} Winter Cape…FINALLY!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen the final product already (when a seller finishes uploading a product, both Etsy and Cargoh have a Tweet option. It rocks!), but I had to write about this one! Please indulge me.

OK, this sucker took me a lot longer than I thought it would. The cape with it’s GORGEOUS lining wasn’t  hard to manage at all. However, what I decided to embellish it with took on a whole freakin’ life of its own.

See, I thought that when I first made the cape that I’d have a fancy-pants closure at the neck and call it a day. I got the whole thing done, except for some finishing of hems and such and decided that it was MUCH too plain, even with the fancy-pants closure. That’s when I started playing around with the embellishments. The first go ‘round looked something like this:

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I have the world’s messiest studio, I swear.

It’s an applique I had on hand and I paired it with some pretty crocheted flowers my mom made for me. I liked it and thought the idea was a good one, but it wasn’t “talking” to me like some of my other projects do. I sent these pictures to my mom, my aunt and an old work colleague to get some feedback. The group effort is something I REALLY miss in the development process.

Anyway, they all said the same thing: the shoulder thing looked okay but more importantly, the whole piece needed balance, meaning more applique stuff on bottom opposite edge of the cape. I had one of those V8-slap-your-forehead moments and realized they were right. The only problem was that I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have any more of the applique on hand.

This is one of the problems with finding really cool, one of a kind, and/or vintage pieces. There’s only so much of it.

So I did something I don’t normally do. I went to the fabric store. There is an AMAZING fabric store here on the outskirts of Charlotte called Mary Jo’s Cloth Store. I remember going there with my mom when my parents lived in Charlotte back in the 90’s and being completely dumbfounded. It’s 32,000 square feet of amazing. I hear that tour groups travel from all around the south to visit Mary Jo’s. True fabric stores really are a thing of a past. And no, JoAnn’s does NOT count as a fabric store.  

I don’t often go to Mary Jo’s because it’s one of the few places where I lose…control. One can never have enough fabric. Or thread. Or lace. Or trim. Or sewing gadgets. Since TruLu Couture is barely scraping by, it’s not a place I can afford to visit with any sort of regularity. However, they do have really cool scrap boxes with pieces of appliques that I wanted to dig through.

I didn’t end up getting scraps. I bought new. In yardage. GAH! I just hope this sucker sells so I can afford what I spent on it!

So I scrapped the original appliques. The last time I updated y’all it looked like this:

 

I have three different kinds of appliques mixed in together with some velvet ribbon fans I made. Now, normally sewing all this one would be a little time consuming, but not all that hard. But since I’d already sewed on the lining, it was a BITCH to do. I almost lost my mind and it took much longer to complete than anticipated. Serves me right for not having a plan when I went into the project. But you know, shit happens and the best laid plans sometimes aren’t the right plans. I mean, you guys watch Project Runway, right? You know how sometimes they have to scrap shit and start all over again. That happens not-on-reality-shows too.

Anyway, I got all the appliques sewed on and it still wasn’t right. While I was at the beach over Christmas, my mom was making me more crocheted flowers and she made me these beautiful, teeny tiny ones. So I beaded a few of those and added them to the mix for texture. It still wasn’t done. So then I added in some applique over the shoulder and trailing down the back. Not done. So then I went through and hand-beaded on some vintage sequins and pearl beads and mercury glass beads in and around the appliques. THEN it was done.

 

 

 

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OMG, I LOVE THE LINING FABRIC SO MUCH! They look like ribbon bouquets!

So, it’s finally done and up for sale on Etsy and Cargoh. So now I’m going to go work on that other cape, the fur one. I have a feeling that one is going to make me want to claw my eyes out too. Fur is a bitch to work with. Stay tuned!

So what do you think? Like?

Wednesday
Dec212011

{Product of the Week} Winter Cape

I decided to make this Winter Wonderland Cape because I feel horrible for brides who freeze their way through their winter weddings with very little in the way of coat selection. I hate those Mrs. Claus looking things with the fake fur trim. You know what I’m talking about.

So excited about this piece. First of all and for the record, the cape design itself  isn’t mine. Since I try to incorporate some sort of vintage, reduce, reuse, recycle or upcycle component in my pieces, this one has the pattern! It’s a cape design, circa 1962. It might be McCall’s or Butterick, I can’t remember. All I know is that I LOVE the old paper they made the patterns with. So much better than today’s crap.

Anyway, it’s a simple cape pattern, but I’ve taken to embellishing it to make it something a little more special. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Like my last POW item, I still haven’t figured out the white balance on my camera yet. My studio has horrid light in the evenings, which is when I find the time to snappy snappy.

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All the little pins sticking out her look like she’s getting bridal acupuncture!

Och, these are terrible pictures, but I think you can get an idea of what it will look like. The outside material is a really pretty woven blend with a gorgeous drape to it. What I didn’t take a picture of (you’ll have to wait for it!) is the GORGEOUS lining fabric. It’s a stunning lightweight ivory on ivory brocade. Oy, so pretty!

The embellishments are three different kinds of appliques beaded with pearls and iridescent goodies. I’m also adding in little hand-sewn fans of white silk velvet ribbon, scattered here and there. I might add in a few little crocheted flowers as well as some extra pearl beads, but will figure that out later.  I’ve got the applique over the left shoulder, trialing just a tiny bit down the back and then on the bottom front right to balance it out. I was going to have a front swag closure at the neck, but I think that will be too much. I think I’ll just make it a hook and eye and call it a day.

So what do you think so far? Do tell! I love feedback!

Monday
Dec192011

Eating Cake

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I couldn’t sleep last night.

I made a banking error that had me tossing and turning well past the time I should have been snoozing away. The error was eating at me. It was stupid. I’d made it before. All the more reason to be mad at myself for not learning it the first time. It’s not my personal banking, it’s my TruLu Couture banking. It’s not a big mistake, but it is a stupid one. It’s got me paying fees and fines and smacking myself upside the head, for those fees and fines are money out the door that got me ZERO in return.  Infuriating.

So I got up  in the middle of the night to send a few emails and try to right the wrong; to give myself some sort of peace of mind that I was fixing what I had inadvertently screwed up. I stayed up until all hours of the night managing what will most likely be about a $75 jack up. Yup.

I look at that relatively small dollar number and shake my head in wonder. It makes me remember the biggest single order I ever personally signed off on, which was just shy of $1M. I mean, I’ve managed millions and millions of dollars in merchandise over the years. How can $75 keep me awake at night?

I suppose it’s all relative. The $1M order kept me tossing and turning then, now the $75 keeps me up. Great.

As 2011 starts to wrap up, I find myself more reflective this year than in years past. Perhaps I’m just more conscious of it; there’s more thinking time at hand, you see.  Or maybe this shit just starts to happen when you get older. It’s hard to determine the cause, I just know it’s happening.

I had myself a little revelation of sorts a week or so ago. I realized that I have been spinning my wheels, spreading myself too thin. I’ve been spending too much time on things that are completely peripheral. Tasks. The minutia. I realized I’m approaching my life right now the same way I used to binge-eat. I’d want a piece of cake and instead of eating the piece of cake, I’d eat everything around the piece of cake in order to not eat the piece of cake. Now substitute that piece of cake for my career and I think that metaphor is clear.

In order to get at the cake, I had to remove those snacks circling the cake. Those “snacks” are actual things though. They make up  people, projects, expectations and deadlines – most of which make me little to no money, but take up an exorbitant amount of my time. They fill me up with something that isn’t cake, invoking a sense of fullness, but not satisfaction.

What sucked about this little cake revelation is that I had to make a few difficult phone calls. I had to explain to people why eating the cake was more important and profound than snacking. I had to let some people down in my honesty, but honest I was. I’m sure there will be a ripple effect to some of these decisions. I’ll deal with them as they come, I suppose.

I’ve made some mistakes this year in running my new business, on this blog and in my life. Mistakes in a small business are more blindingly apparent than they are when working for someone else, where mistakes can be fixed before anyone realizes you made one. You can work furiously behind the scenes and emerge shining and sparkling, like it was an effortless task that brought you this nugget of more shine and more sparkle. There was that moment of the big reveal.

Those moments nowadays are few and far between. There’s less to judge myself with and by. Where is the bar to be set? What is the measure of success today? Tomorrow? Better goals must be made with means to accomplish them, that I know for sure.

There are some interesting good things that have happened this year. Save a day where I had a terrible migraine, I haven’t been sick this year. I used to get sick all the time: sinus infections, bronchial infections, stomach flus, laryngitis. I felt like I was constantly battling some sort of something. Perhaps I’m less susceptible now since I hardly ever leave my house. Perhaps it’s because I sleep more and better (with the occasional restlessness like last night). I get to see my parents more often since we live only a few hours away now.  I’m better able to assess my needs versus my wants. Those are good things, right?

On the business front, there have been successes. I got mentioned on SMP as well as several other blogs who believe in me and support me (thanks y’all!). I’ve been told one of my pieces will be in the January issue of Carolina Bride magazine. I’m for sure featured in Premier Bride magazine come April. I’ve sold some stuff and have hopefully, made some brides happy on a day where they deserve to be the happiest they can be.

It’s these small accomplishments that I need to keep me moving forward towards my cake.

And as you brides (past and present) know, a slice of cake can sometimes cost you $75.