Thursday, September 30, 2010

DIY Save-the-Date cards

Last week I was all excited because my save-the-date magnets arrived from VistaPrint. My magnets are the same size as postcards, so I was trying to figure out a clever way to send them. I mean, I didn't want to just stick a magnet into an envelope and call it good, or, even worse, to "put a stamp on it and see what happens" as my mother suggested. I decided to make little cards to put my magnets in. My mom does rubber stamping, and the first thing I thought when I saw my magnets is that they are about the same size as a handmade card. That is when I started to get creative.

The project is really simple, for each card I simply cut a 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of card stock in half so that I have two sheets that measure 8 1/2" by 5 1/2". I folded each new sheet in half to create a card. For the front of my card, I made a little saying in our wedding colors using the same technique I used to create my monogram. In case you can't read the image, it reads "It may have started out as a friendship, but somewhere along the way, Jenny and Tom fell in Love." For the inside of the card, on the side directly opposite the front of the card I printed a little poem "The day is fast approaching, And we can hardly wait. We want you to be with us, So be sure to Save-the-Date." I printed the wording for the front and inside of my card on standard white printer paper, cut each down to size, and glued it to the card stock with a glue stick. Finally, I placed my magnet inside the card, it fits perfectly, as though the magnet was designed for the card, not the other way around. I am considering putting a piece of some sort tape under the magnet to hold it in place on the card, but I haven't decided yet. Now I get to make another thirty or so of these things before I mail them out in January.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Autumn Cheesecake

Tom and I decided that in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, we wanted to have a variety of different kinds of cheesecake. Tom and I are both huge fans of cheesecake, and Tom took me to the Cheesecake Factory for one of our first dates. Cheesecake just screams "Jenny and Tom" a bit more than a traditional cake does. Anyways, we've been looking at the prices of a variety of cheesecakes, and basically what we have run into is that cheesecake is not cheap. At $40 a cake, and we would need at least ten cakes... yeah, you get the picture. On top of that, Tom and I both love cooking, and I specifically love baking. My mom asked me one morning if cheesecake was freezable, and handed me a cookbook with several dozen different cheesecake recipes in it. It was about that time that we decided to attempt to DIY our wedding cheesecakes. Since we have so many options to choose from, and willing "guinea pigs" to try various types of cheesecake, I decided to bake one or two a month up for the next 10 or so months before the wedding, waistlines permitting, and then we will choose the five or so flavors that we like best, and bake a bunch of them in the last couple of weeks before the wedding. So, for those of you that read my blog, you will get to see a review of each type of cheesecake.

The first cheesecake I tried was "autumn cheesecake" it is a traditional cheesecake with a cinnamon graham cracker crust, topped with apples, cinnamon sugar, and pecans. I chose this cheesecake to try because we happen to have gone apple picking two weeks ago and still have tons of apples around the house. I also had really high hopes for this cheesecake because our September wedding falls in the heart of apple season, and it would be a nice nod to the season.

The review:
My step-father refused to try it, but he can be picky with desserts. This left me, Tom, and my mother as guinea pigs. Personally, I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I would call the best cheesecake I ever tasted. I liked the apples, but I thought that the cheesecake layer needed to be thicker, and perhaps flavored with cinnamon to transition to the apple layer a bit better. I also have some issues with the presentation, the apples bake to brownish color and it doesn't have the clean edges I would like to see. I would give this cheesecake a 6 out of 10, because it definitely needs some improvement.

Until next time!

Monday, September 27, 2010

DIY Monograms, using Open Office

A couple of months ago I created a black and white monogram on Microsoft Paint and used it for my aisle runner and unity candle. The monogram did it's job, but it really wasn't the prettiest, and, I'll be honest, I was starting to get a bit jealous of monograms that I have seen online from other brides that were in color. Sadly, I thought a color monogram or one with fancy overlapping letters wasn't in my future, because everyone else that had that type of monogram reported that they made it with Microsoft Publisher. I love Microsoft Office, I have nothing against them, and I have sworn by Word and PowerPoint for years. The only problem is, my new laptop doesn't have Microsoft Office, and I can't justify spending several hundred dollars on a software suite when I have a wedding to pay for.

Enter today. I was checking my message boards, as I usually do, and someone posted a tutorial on how to make a monogram using PowerPoint. Now I can get somewhere. For anyone that doesn't know, Open Office is a free software suite that includes a word processing program, presentation software, spread sheets, and other stuff that I haven't even had a chance to explore yet. It's the program that I have been using for my invitation and stationary templates, and now I figured out how to use it for monograms too! Happy day.

What you need:

  • Open Office 
What you do:
  1. Once you have downloaded open office, open up "Open Impress" this is the presentation software.
  2. Create a plain slide with no background or template.
  3. Use the draw feature (bottom tool bar) to create a text box, enter your letter here. Now you can use the text features to change the font, size, and color of your letter.
  4. Repeat two more times with each letter of your monogram, the order should be your first initial, his last initial, and his first initial. Traditionally, the middle initial is the largest.
  5. If you select a letter (with the arrow from the draw tool bar) and right click on it, one of the options is to "arrange." I did this on my middle initial and moved it to the back, this way my first and last letters can easily overlap.
  6. Now for the tricky part, press the "PrtSc" button on your keyboard (print screen), and open up Microsoft Paint.
  7. Click the "paste" button in Paint, you should now have a screenshot of your monogram.
  8. Use the select feature in Paint to crop your monogram.
  9. Save your monogram as a .jpg file. Voila, monogram!
It sounds like a lot of steps, but it really is easy, and addicting. I made four of them in about an hour. I have no idea where I am going to use them all, but I am sure with my ever increasing mountain of stationary I will find uses for everything. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Save-the-Dates are here!!!

My save-the-date magnets finally arrived, and once again I have to say that I'm in love with Vistaprint!!! The are sooo much bigger than I expected. I was expecting a magnet the size of a business card, instead I got twice that! I put one on my mother's fridge, the rest will wait until January when I send them out. I think I'm going to put them inside handmade cards, I just have to figure out how to decorate them. I also got my photo sharing cards and my guest book pen, now I'm looking forwards to my next package, my photo guest book from Shutterfly, which should be arriving in about a week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Short and Sweet Post

Short and sweet post for today. I'm in the process of job hunting and a couple of openings have popped up around the state in the last couple of days, so I'm spending today running around to get resumes out. On the wedding front, I ordered my photo guest book today from Shutterfly and should be getting it in a couple of weeks. I'm excited. I also bought a color ink jet, so I can start working on stationary mock-ups for my invitations. So more is coming. That's all for now, gotta run!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DIY Flower Girl Basket

Tom and I are both history geeks, and before we left Kansas City, we visited the Oregon Trail Museum. At this point you are probably wondering what this has to do with a flower girl basket, well, the souvenir shop at the museum had "make your own basket" kits. I thought it was cool, so I bought one. Later on, once we moved to Maine, I pulled the basket kit out and decided to give it a whirl. A couple hours and many sore fingers later I had a cute little basket with a handle. Being a bride goes straight to your head, and the first thing I thought was, "What a cute little basket! It would be great for a flower girl!"

I'm not going to go through the steps involved in weaving a basket, since it came from a kit and all, but I took pictures of the whole process.

Now I have a finished basket. But it needs to be a little more fancy to be a flower girls basket...

You will need:

  • Basket with handle
  • 1 yd of wide ribbon (I made my ribbon with left over fabric from my ring bearer pillow)
  • 1 yd of narrow ribbon
  • seashell or other motif
  • hot glue gun
  • pearls or beads for embellishment
What you do:
  1. With the wide ribbon, tie a bow around one of the handles.
  2. Wrap the narrow ribbon around the handle just under the wide ribbon bow and tie a simple knot.
  3. Put a drop of hot glue on the center of the large bow and over the knot in the narrow ribbon. Place your shell or other motif in the glue.
  4. Wrap the narrow ribbon around your shell and tie a square knot over it.
  5. Put a drop of hot glue over the knot and add your embellishment, I used three pearls.
Depending on your basket, you might want to add a piece of fabric or a small pillow inside to prevent flower petals from falling through. I am going to be using silk rose petals which are fairly uniform in size, so I'm just leaving my basket as is. This is a really simple project, but it's nice to have a matching flower girl basket and ring bearer set that fits with my purple/green nautical theme. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIY Ring Bearer's Pillow

In terms of ring bearers, Tom and I have a variety of suitable young boys to play the role, but we chose Tom's oldest nephew to do the job. With such an important job, carrying the "rings" down the aisle, a ring bearer needs a proper pillow. That was where I ran into trouble. I wanted a pillow that incorporated my wedding colors of purple and green, but also incorporated my nautical theme. The problem is, almost every purple pillow I found was either lavender or dark purple, and every nautical pillow I found was basically a white pillow with shells glued on. Not to mention, the average price of a ring bearer pillow ranged between $20 and $30, not an amount that I am willing to pay for an item that will only make it's appearance during the aisle procession, and with the temperament of little boys, could end up drop kicked. I opted to make my own. I looked at various pillows online to get my inspiration, and you can see what I came up with. Now to attempt to give directions...

You will need:

  • 1/3 yard of your base fabric, I used an ivory cotton/poly blend with sparkles
  • 1/3 yard of your accent color
  • 1 yard of thin ribbon
  • Flat shell or starfish
  • Fiberfill
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread or a sewing machine
  • Paper
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pins
What you do: 
  1. First things first, you need to make a pattern. For my pillow I used white paper to create an 11" square. Just tape sheets of paper together to make things big enough and use a ruler to measure your sides and everything.
  2. Next, you will need to make a pattern for the sashes that go across the pillow. I decided to make my sashes 4" wide, so I started by marking 4" from the top and bottom corners on the right and left side of my pattern, then I connected lines to make an X pattern. 
  3. I then used another sheet of paper to trace one of the sashes of the X to create a pattern for my purple fabric. The way I designed my pattern was I placed one long side of the pattern the fold of the fabric, and I added 1/2" to the other long side to allow for seam allowance. 
  4. Once your patterns are designed, you will need to cut two squares of your base color, you will also need to cut both sashes of your X. What I did is I cut one out, then I turned the pattern over and cut the other out so it went in the opposite direction. 
  5. With the right sides together, stitch the long side of each of your sashes, and reverse. I ironed mine so that they would lay flat. 
  6. Pin your sashes in an "X" shape to the right side of one of your base squares. I ran a quick 1/4" seam around the edges of the square to hold everything in place.
  7. Pin the right sides together of both squares, and stitch together with a 5/8" seam allowance. Remember to leave a hole for the stuffing. Reverse.
  8. Stuff the pillow good and firm, and stitch the opening closed. 
  9. Take your ribbon, and tie it tightly in a knot around the center of the "X", this will gather and pleat both sashes.
  10. Hot glue the shell on top of the knot, this will secure everything, and you are done!
I apologize that this project is a bit more complex and involved than previous projects, but in reality, it is fairly easy to do. It took me about two hours to make mine, and that includes eating dinner in the middle. The end result is beautiful, and the best part is that all the fabric only cost me about $3!

Monday, September 20, 2010

DIY Seashell Table Numbers

I realize that yesterday I mentioned I would post about my thank you banner, but I managed to finish my table numbers up today, and I am so proud of them I wanted to give them their moment in the sun. As I mentioned in a previous post, Tom and I had our engagement pictures taken at the beach when Hurricane Earl was off shore. In addition to having some really nice surf at the beach, we also found a bunch of large clam shells. I brought a couple dozen home, I figured I would be able to use them somewhere. Sure enough, the idea came to me one afternoon to use the shells as table numbers. At first I just painted the numbers on, but quickly realized that they needed a bit more. That's when I called my mother in for help. I think the finished product came out beautifully.

What you need:

  • Large flat shells, I used clam shells, but scallops or even sand dollars would work too.
  • Bleach
  • Steel Wool
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • White Glue
  • Sand
  • Smaller seashells (periwinkles, miniature scallops shells, small clam shells, smaller sand dollars)
  • Hot glue
  • Pearls
What you do: 
  1. If you purchased your shells, you can skip this step, but if you just picked them up at the beach, like I did, it is necessary to clean your shells to prevent any funky odors from developing. Simply fill your sink, bucket, whatever, with a solution of 50% bleach to 50% water and let everything soak for a couple of hours. This is actually really interesting because the bleach breaks down some of the calcium deposits on the shells and brings out the natural colors. Scrub each shell down with the steel wool to get any debris or barnacles off, rinse with cold water, and allow the shells to dry thoroughly. 
  2. Once dry, use the acrylic paint to paint numbers or table names on each shell. I attempted to put a satin coat varnish on mine, but for whatever reason it just powdered off. 
  3. Once your paint is dry, run a line of glue along the bottom of the shell and smooth it out with your finger. Cover the glue with sand. It should create a gluey-sandy mud type texture, this is what you want. Once the glue dries, you won't have to worry about sand falling off all over the place. Allow the glue to dry over night.
  4. Decorate your shells with the smaller shells and pearls using hot glue to hold everything together. Allow the glue to dry, and you are done!
In addition to the table numbers, I painted Mr. and Mrs. on a set of shells. I decorated those shells with wedding rings. As of now, I don't know if I want to use my Mr. and Mrs. shells on the head table or on the guestbook table. Either way, they are really nice looking. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reception halls, financing, and everyday stress

I haven't posted in a couple of days, so I figured that it was time for an update. I have been working on wedding stuff, I make it a goal to do something each day, no matter how little it is, because I know that that I have less than a year to go, and that year is going to go by quickly. Last week I looked at a couple of reception halls, we also talked to a potential DJ for the wedding. I have found the perfect place for the reception, the only problem is paying for everything and getting deposits down. I hate pity parties, so I'll make it quick. When Tom and I moved to Maine, we were expecting things to be relatively seamless. We expected Tom to be able to maintain the amount of overtime that he was getting in Kansas City and I was expecting to be able to fall right into a job. Unfortunately, that is not exactly what happened, I'm still unemployed, and Tom is struggling to get overtime hours. Fortunately, my mom is perhaps the most generous person I have the pleasure of knowing. On the downside, on the list of priorities, wedding deposits are not at the top of the list. I'm stressing, I'm not going to lie about it. I just feel like every day that passes without a deposit increases the chance that I'm going to lose the people I took time to pick out. I know in my heart that everything will work out, maybe not exactly as planned, but regardless, I will marry Tom on 9.10.11. I just wish that things would improve on the job front for me. That is the end of my rant.

When I'm stressed, I tend to bury myself in projects to keep my mind off of what is stressing me out. So I have a couple of DIY projects in progress. First, a few weeks ago, Tom and I had the pleasure of having our engagement pictures taken while hurricane Earl was out to sea. The rough surf washed up tons of shells, and I brought home a couple dozen large clam shells. I figured that I would be able to do something with them. Well, that something finally came to mind, and I am now in the process of decorating them into unique table numbers. As always, I'll post pictures and directions once they are done. My other project was a thank you banner for the gift table, which I will post pictures and directions tomorrow. 

I have also discovered and fallen in love with Vista Print. A couple of posts ago, I typed up and posted pictures of my save-the-date magnets and photo sharing cards. Since then, Vista Print has sent me e-mails for free stuff! So, I have been taking my time creating custom brochures for welcome packets that I will be giving out-of-state guests. I also created post cards with directions from the hotel to the wedding venue, those are also free. Any one who is planning a wedding, or any type of social function for that matter, should really go check out Vista Print. I'm in love. 

On a personal note, Tom and I took today as a Jenny and Tom day. Tom works a busy schedule, and we are living in my mother's basement, so it has become all too easy for us to neglect each other as of late. Today, we made up for that by spending the entire day together. We watched football games (I'm starting to figure it out), played with our pets, played some old school mario on my mom's Nintendo, and went against the English on Age of Empires (what can I say, we are geeks). We went out for barbecue with my parents, and on the way home stopped at LL Bean for some window shopping. It was a quiet day, but quite possibly one of the most relaxing days I have had in a long time. Sometimes in the stress of life, we just need to take the time and cherish the things that make everything else worth it. In this case, each other. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Program Mock-Up

As of late, one of my favorite activities has become searching through the nearly endless amount of wedding pictures online to gain inspiration for my next DIY project. My wedding has a nautical theme, but I am also striving to make my wedding unique in every way I can. I guess that is the whole purpose of making pretty much everything that I can from scratch, to make it mine. Programs are no different. I was searching through Purple Weddings and I found the wedding programs pictured to the left. I instantly fell in love with them. I love how they are different from the traditional fold-paper-in-half-to-make-a-booklet programs, and the overall look of them sitting in the basket caught my eye as well. So then I did as any other crafter would do, I looked at the picture again, thought about it, and figured out how to make it.

I want to stress that this is definitely a program mock-up. I wanted to use supplies that I had around the house to see if I could make the programs, as well as to determine what materials would be necessary to make the 100 or so that I am going to need for the big day. I also wanted to gauge just how much work went into each one so I could determine if this was something I wanted to do over 100 times. What I came up with is pictured on the right.

The lighting wasn't the greatest when i took the picture, but the card stock is purple, the ribbon is a light green, the paper is standard white print paper, and the tags were cut out of some left over scrapbooking paper I had kicking around. In terms of making the mock-up, the biggest pain was creating a template on Open Office. I had to do a bit of math when formating the page, and I ended up having to print the whole thing three times before I was able to get the margins right and the text centered. If anyone would like the template that I created, just comment to my post with your e-mail and I'll send a copy your way. Once I got the pages to print correctly, construction was relatively simple. I cut the pages out with a paper cutter so they were all the same size, then I cut an 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of card stock in half and folded the top over 1 1/2". I punched holes with a smaller hole punch, I believe I used a 1/8" punch, but I'm not 100% sure. Finally I ran about 12" of ribbon through and tied a bow. I strung two tags on the ribbon before tying the bow. The first tag says "Jennifer and Thomas" and the second tag says "9.10.11".

The mock-up of my program is currently 7 pages long. That sounds like a lot, but each page is only about 5"x5". I need to tweak my template a bit, because at the present time, just the wedding party takes up three pages. I also have a page listing the order of the ceremony, a page explaining our ceremony because we are having a non-traditional type of wedding, a page explaining the history of Fort Popham, and a "special thanks" page. It definitely is not perfect, but I have a year.

Overall, these are fairly easy to make, and I really love the way they look when they are completed, which totally justifies the work involved. For the finished product, I plan to use the same type of purple cardstock that I use for my invitations, with ivory paper for the pages. I will probably use the same type of ribbon as in the mock-up, but I'm thinking about just tying it in a knot and gluing a sea-shell on top so that the programs will match my flower cones. As for the tags, I'm planning on using vellum so that the wording shows up better, and I will probably use simple rectangles so that I can print everything. So far, so good... I'm sure that come spring I will be saying otherwise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Photo Guestbook

Okay, so this isn't quite as DIY as some of my other projects, but I still made it myself, if that means anything. This was actually a rather easy project, I went through and set up a photobook. Then I uploaded my engagement photos, and played around with various layouts and backgrounds. Overall, the result is a gorgeous coffee table style book that I am sure that we will treasure long after the wedding. It serves a dual purpose, it showcases our engagement pictures, but it also has plenty of space for our guests to leave notes and well wishes in the white space. Now that I know how easy (and affordable) these photobooks are, I plan on visiting shutterfly again after I get all my wedding pictures back from the photographer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Everything Happens for a Reason

So, yesterday I was stressing about my reception space, today I am giddy and jumping for joy. I found THE place. It's perfect. It easily fits over 100 people, which means we don't have to be picky anymore with the guest list, the hall just happens to already be ivory and purple, so it matches my color scheme, catering is done in house, which saves me a ton of money, theatrical lighting is available at a modest cost so we are all going to look gorgeous, I'll have plenty of room for a floor plan, no more wondering what I can scratch out. I'm psyched. I visit tomorrow, and hopefully putting down a deposit, and thus will be the end of my wedding stress. Hopefully. More on the reception venue tomorrow, once I've seen the place in person and make everything official.

In other news, now that I'm all excited for the wedding again and not worried about it falling apart in front of me, I ordered my save-the-date magnets yesterday. I really love the idea of magnets, because people can stick them right to their fridge and are less likely to lose them. They also make a nice keepsake of the wedding after the fact. I ordered them through Vista Print, they are white and purple with one of our engagement pictures on them. I'm very happy with how the proof came out, and I can't wait until they arrive in about three weeks. I've officially ordered my first piece of wedding stationary. Woot!

At the same time, in effort to save money on shipping, I also ordered 250 photo sharing cards. For those of you who may not be familiar with wedding lingo, let me explain, because I just learned about these things myself. Back in the 80's and 90's it became all the rage to put disposable cameras on the reception tables so that guests could take candid shots of the wedding. This led to multiple issues, including people stealing the cameras, pictures not coming out due to poor lighting and crappy flashes, and the cost of developing all the film in 20+ cameras. In today's world, many people have the option to take pictures digitally, be it with a camera or a cell phone. The purpose of the photo sharing card is that it gives the log-in and password to a website that people can use to upload pictures that they took of the wedding. The website is free (I used photobucket), it's free for the guests to upload pictures, and then the bride and groom can go through the uploaded pictures and print/download the ones that they like. It's a total win-win situation. Vista Print offers a variety of free customized products on their website, I took advantage of the free business cards to make my photo sharing cards. There is an advertisement for vistaprint on the back, but who stares at the back of a business card anyway?

Overall, I am feeling happy and relieved. I was so stressed about the reception situation that at one point I was actually seriously considering rescheduling the wedding for a week later. Now I get to keep my wedding date and get back to making pinwheels... Until next time!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hunting for a reception site... or, gah!!! the stress is getting to me

It was all going to easy, something was bound to go wrong. It did. When I fell in love with Kennebec Tavern, I had this idea in my head that my reception was going to be significantly smaller than it actually is. Maximum of 72 people? No problem. Tom and I even worked through our guest list and it sounded like it would work. Try again. It turns out that we forgot groups of people from both sides, people that have now expressed interest in wanting to come. So, in the best interest of not offending everyone, I get to start from the drawing board in regards to a reception site. I need to find something that is a reasonable drive from my ceremony spot that can fit closer to 100 people. Yay me. This has been more of a vent than anything else...  it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Inspiration Board- The Wedding Party

Wedding Party

This inspiration board is fairly self explanatory. I haven't officially chosen a bridesmaid's dress, but the one picture matches the cut and style of my dress and it comes in a purple that is almost identical to the trim of my dress. The tux is also a work in progress, the one we have pictured is a black tux with an ivory shirt and purple vest/tie. Tom said that he wanted to have at least two buttons on his jacket, but we really aren't putting a lot of planning into men's attire until March when the rental catalogs are updated for 2011. I also have the hopeful flower girl dress, the petals on the skirt are just adorable. I included green hydrangeas, which the bridesmaids will be carrying, along with a hypercum berry boutonni√®re, which is what the groomsmen will be wearing. The bridesmaids bouquets will also have berries in them for texture. The rose petals are silk, for ease of clean-up in lavender and ivory. I also include my inspiration for a ring bearer's pillow, I will be making something similar to this, I think. Lastly, I included green accessories and purple flip flops, for no particular reason other than inspiration and to see how everything looks. The purpose of choosing long dresses was so that my bridesmaids could wear whatever shoes they wanted, heels, flip flops, army boots, whatever. They can go crazy, I think it would make for some cute pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

One Year to Go

Today is a special day, a day to honor where Tom and I have come from, and to look forward with excitement to where we are going. Today is a day best described in pictures.

It hasn't always been an easy journey, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Jenny and Tom
Friends since March of 1999
Became a couple on February 15, 2009
Became engaged on February 8, 2010
Handfasted for a year-and-a-day on March 30, 2010
Become husband and wife on September 10, 2011

Thursday, September 9, 2010

DIY Earrings

A couple of weeks ago I posted about making my own bridal jewelry. At the time I made a necklace and a bracelet and I made note that I would be making earrings as soon as I figured out how to make them. Well, I visited various websites, and I got some ideas, but in the end, I opted to make my own design. My inspiration was chandelier style earrings, and I think I pulled it off. I was also able to use left over supplies from my necklace and bracelet, I only needed to buy ear wires.

You will need:
Mono-filament thread
Glass pearls
Glass seed beads
Austrian crystals (eight total)
Ear wires

What you do:
1. Cut about three inches of mono-filament thread, knot one end.
2. String on an Austrian crystal, a seed bead, a pearl, a seed bead, a pearl, a seed bead, a pearl, and another seed bead.
3. Thread through the loop on the ear wire and tie a knot.
4. Cut a four inch segment of mono-filament thread, knot one end.
5. String on an Austrian crystal, a seed bead, a pearl, a seed bead, a pearl, a seed bead, an Austrian crystal, a seed bead, a pearl, a seed bead, a pearl, and a seed bead.
6. Thread through the loop on the ear wire and tie a knot.
7. Repeat steps 1-3
8. Repeat the whole process again on the second ear wire.

And now I have a complete set of bridal jewelry!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DIY Pinwheels!

In my free time, I like to surf the web looking for unique wedding ideas to set my wedding apart from everyone else's. Everybody has been to weddings where guests shower the newly married couple in rice/birdseed/rose petals/bubbles/etc. This blog suggested handing out pinwheels and ribbon wands to guests to s pin and shower you with ribbons as you walk down the aisle. I instantly fell in love with the idea, especially because part of the joy of being on the ocean is the near constant wind. The blog happened to provide DIY instructions on making my own pinwheels, so I decided to give it a try. As with all my other projects, I had to tweak the design a little, and I should also give the disclaimer that while the pinwheels look relatively simple, they are a major pain. The first four I made took me about two hours, and I spent the better part of Labor Day making eleven more. Needless to say, I need at least thirty by this time next year, and it will probably be a while before I make the rest of them. That being said, here are the directions!

You will need:
6" squares of paper, I purchased 12" squares from a scrapbook store and cut them down into four 6" squares
Pins, the kind you use for sewing, I used 1 1/2 inch pins with pearls
A fun shaped hole punch, the original directions called for flowers, I used stars, just make sure it is little
12" dowels, 1/4" wide works well
Hot Glue Gun

What you do:
On the back of the square of paper, draw two straight lines diagonally across the paper from corner to corner, to form and X. With a pin, punch a hole in the center of the X, then punch a hole (again with the pin) in each corner directly under the line. This sounds a little confusing, so I marked with a Sharpie where each pinhole should go in the picture on the right. With your scissors, cut along each line until you are about 1" from the center.

Now take your pin, and put it through what ever shape you used your hole punch to make (star, flower, etc.) This decorates the pin a little and I'm pretty sure it helps protect against friction on the finished product, but I'm not a physics major. Now, with your beautified pin, start threading on each corner through the hole you already punched, working clockwise around the paper. when you are done, go through the center hole. By this point, you should have something that looks pinwheel-like.

Now onto the hard part. The original directions say to use the pin to poke a hole in the dowel, cover the hole with a small dot of glue, and then put the pin back in. Maybe my dowels were made from oak or something, but I had a difficult time putting the pins in. Several curse words later, my wonderful fianc√© offered to help by using a hammer and a small nail to make pilot holes. The next difficulty was getting the pins to stay inside said holes. After much trial and error, what I found worked best was to put the pin in a pre-done pilot hole, squeeze a good gob of hot glue over the pin and dowel, and hold everything straight until the glue set. Once the glue hardened, I could then clean things up a bit by breaking off the excess. The important part is to sort of squish the pinwheel up towards the pinhead while gluing so that the paper doesn't touch the glue, as this would make spinning rather difficult.

Once the glue was dry, I gave each one a test drive to make sure that it spun, and added it to my collection. As much of a pain in the butt as they are to make, when they are all together in the silver bucket, they look absolutely adorable, and I'm sure my guests will like the change from the norm. I plan on making ribbon wands too, so that guests have a choice, but that will have to wait until after Christmas, when ribbons go on sale. Until next time!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DIY Flower Cones

In regards to ceremony decorations, there is not much that I can do to compete with the natural beauty of Fort Popham and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. So I decided to keep things simple. I have a personalized aisle runner to mark the aisle and to protect my dress from the ground, my mother is going to help me decorate a wedding arch for the ceremony to take place under, and I made flower cones to hang at the end of each row of seats for an added bit of decoration to my aisle. I opted to make flower cones because they are different from standard pew bows, and I think they add a nice touch. They are also extremely easy to make and cost effective. For eight flower cones, I purchased eight sheets of cardstock at 25 cents a sheet, and four spools of ribbon, on clearance, for 97 cents each for a grand total of just under six dollars. My inspiration for making flower cones is from this site, although I ended up making my own subtle changes.

For each flower cone, you will need:

  • A sheet of cardstock
  • Approximately 36" of coordinating ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Scissors that make a decorative edge
  • Hole punch
  • Hot glue

I started out by trimming my cardstock into 8"x8" squares. The cardstock that I chose is double sided, the side I have on the outside is ivory with a linen texture. Trim the top and right side with the decorative edge scissors. Next is the tricky part, roll the cardstock into a cone shape, I rolled mine with the left edge on top. I found it takes some fussing with the paper to get it to come to a point, but with patience it is possible. Once I made my cone, I ran a bead of hot glue under the overlap to hold everything in place.

The next step, once your cone is assembled, is to use your hole punch to punch five holes: one in the exact center of the front, one hole about 1/2 an inch away from the center hole on either side, and two holes on the back point. Now, take your ribbon, and run it from the inside of your cone to the outside through each of the back holes, leaving a loop for hanging. you want both ends of ribbon to be fairly even, so adjust accordingly. Now, wrap the ribbon around the outside of the cone, and go through the first hole, come back out the center hole. Repeat on the other side. This is where you can get creative. You can tie a bow in the ribbon and call it finished or go ahead an embellish it any way you want. I used a wide ribbon for my flower cones, so I opted to tie a knot and hot glue a seashell over the knot with the remaining ribbon hanging like streamers. Overall, the result is very elegant, and I like I said, easy to assemble.

My flower cones are going to be filled with green and purple hydrangeas. The white roses above were just added to the finished design so that I could get an idea how it would hang with flowers in it. I made all eight of mine in a little over an hour, minus the time it took to take an emergency trip to the craft store to buy more ribbon. I'm really pleased with how they turned out, I keep pulling them out of my wedding box to look at them, it's like I can't believe I made something that looks so elegant. The icing on the cake is that you can purchase handmade flower cones online through various crafting sites for upwards of $10 EACH. I didn't even spend a dollar each for mine, and they are custom for my wedding and theme. Until next time!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Engagement Pictures

I was really excited to get engagement pictures done, primarily because up until now, Tom and I didn't have any really nice pictures of the two of us. Tom is not a fan of having his picture taken, so I am eternally grateful that he gave us two hours of is time and about 65 pictures worth. The least I can say is that I am more than thrilled with the results. One of the benefits of having my mom take the pictures was that we got to pick the exact time that would be best without much advance notice. We wanted pictures taken both at our ceremony venue and at the beach, and when I woke up the morning after Hurricane Earl had passed to bright blue skies, I knew that Saturday was the day. Even if it was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, sure we had crowds to face, but in the end it was well worth it. At Fort Popham we played with the architecture of the fort, and took full advantage of deep window sills that I could sit in, the spiral staircases, and the archways. Tom was a little hesitant at first, like I said, he doesn't like having his picture taken. He eventually loosened up a bit, put the presence of the camera out of his head, and that's when we started getting the nicest shots; the kisses, the cuddles, at one point we even started waltzing in the old fort.

Our intention was to take the second set of shots at Popham Beach, but the holiday tourists made that rather difficult. Not a problem, we got back in the car and headed to another beach that is not as well known. We were greeted with huge waves from the remnants of Earl out to see, truly an awesome back drop for pictures. Tom and I walked along the beach and looked at the waves. Originally, we were only going to walk along the beach without getting wet, but mother nature had some other plans. By the end of the afternoon I was soaked from the waist down, but it was all in fun. We got some nice shots, and the ocean was gorgeous, as always.

I set up an album on photobucket with all our engagement pictures, if you would like to check them out, click here. That is about all that I have to say for today, I have tons of crafting projects underway, so stay tuned for more DIY posts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Inspiration Board- My Nautical Wedding Reception

Reception Ideas

So this is probably my last inspiration board for a while, I made one for the bride (ME!) but I then decided that it would probably be best if I kept that board for myself, since it has a picture of MY dress on it... wouldn't want to be giving away fun surprises now would we? Anyways, back the the current inspiration board. Tom and I both want our reception to start out elegant with a nice cocktail hour with various hors d'oeuvres, a plated sit-down dinner, formal toasts, our first dance, etc. then the reception will digress into a dance party so we can all have some fun. My inspiration board focuses on the formal part of the reception, I want to use a Maine/nautical theme throughout, but I don't want to go overboard with it (no nautical themed clothing or sailor hats here!)  But little nautical touches here and there to bring everything together. The reception area is already decorated with sailboats, so to repeat that as centerpieces just works. Then the whole seashell thing came into being, specifically starfish and sand dollars. There is just a natural beauty to them, and being that the wedding is set on the coast of Maine, they also happen to be an easy thing to get a hold of. The top right corner features a sweetheart table, which is in lieu of a more traditional head table. I like the idea of me and Tom having a table to ourselves, even if it is just for dinner. I think that's about it. Tom and I had our engagement pictures taken yesterday. For those of you that are my friend on facebook, you've already gotten to see them. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until tomorrow's post. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Inspiration Board- Wedding Stationary

Stationary Inspiration

Have I mentioned that I love making inspiration boards? The one I made yesterday made my whole ceremony suddenly come alive. It's still over a year away, but now I can see my vision really coming to life. Next up, as you can see, is wedding stationary. The two big pictures are my inspiration for my invitations, I'm going to use the picture invite as the base for my pocket folds. The pocket folds will be ivory linen, and the invitation base will be the purple square up there. As for everything else, I put up some random things that I like for inspiration. The more I look into it, the more I realize just how huge of an undertaking it is going to be to DIY all my stationary. The only exceptions picture above are the possible cookie-cutter favors (so cute!) and the napkins. Good thing I have a year to go! Bring on the paper cuts!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

DIY Wedding Stationary, or, the beginning to the ultimate "Labor of Love"

Pocketfold invitations, NOT mine
Wedding stationary is a quintessential part of the whole wedding planning process. The invitation is traditionally the first thing that guests see in regards to your wedding and is supposed to indicate the style, tone, and formality of the ceremony and reception. This being said, wedding stationary is ridiculously expensive. About six months ago, when I was first engaged, I came across this blog and immediately fell in love with the idea of pocketfold invitations. For those of you out of the wedding-lingo loop, a pocket fold is sort of like a folder that goes around the invitation in place of the second "inner envelope" with a pocket to hold the various invitation inserts (RSVP cards, reception cards, etc.). It looks really snazzy, as illustrated in the picture to the left. With an idea in mind, I hit up various wedding invitation websites to get a price idea of just how much my snazzy pocketfold invitations would cost. My jaw hit the floor. $300 for 50 pocketfold invitations, in an ugly black, and that did not include the various inserts that go inside the pocket. I also fell in love with another invitation that utilized a picture of the couple, only $200 for 50 invitations, envelopes and various inserts not included (note sarcasm). This was when a light bulb went off over my head that I could probably make invitations that were a combination of both invitations that caught my eye for significantly cheaper. Fast forward to today. I found this website which sells a variety of different types of paper, including my pocketfolds, already assembled, for $36 for 50 of them. I played around, found all the supplies that I needed, and for around $100 and change I will be able to make my dream invitations, menus, place cards, table numbers, and put a good dent in my programs. Take that expensive engraved invitations, I knew my scrapbooking skills would come in handy someday.