DIY or Buy?

Wedding invitations…there are so many gorgeous wedding invitation suites out there! OMG! That was actually the first thing the Mr. and I looked at, lol! We went to the most beautiful paper boutique in Portsmouth, NH just days after our engagement.  I was so excited! Just a little fair warning it only takes you about umm 5 minutes to fall in love with everything! If you are ever in that area you have to stop by Gus & Ruby, not only do they have beautiful paper goods but, they also have great gifts! But, for us buying the type of custom wedding invitation suite that I soo wanted was just not in the budget. So, I got to work! I was going to get the custom suite I wanted by DIYing my heart out.  One thing that I would definitely recommend if you plan on DIYing your wedding invites is to wait until after you have your wedding venue selected and your general design plan for the wedding: decor, cake, dress.  So you know what type of look would suit everything. I started out just researching design elements that fit with our look that I could incorporate easily.  Our venue as I have mentioned before reminds me so much of Jay Gatsby’s house straight off of the 1974 set of the film (swoon Robert Redford). So, some of our design inspiration has come from the Jazz Age.  However, at the same time I wanted to keep them modern with a bit whimsy.  Here are some of the elements that inspired me:

1, 2, 3

The design process was actually a lot of fun for me.  I would print out the updates as I incorporated different elements to show the Mr. and he would give me some input.  It was really a great team project.  Then we got them printed using our handy, dandy Groupon saving tons of money.  All that is left is assembling them, postage, and calligraphy. We were actually snowed in yesterday so, we got a good dent into the assembly process.  It was such a great sense of accomplishment seeing how it all came together.  I couldn’t be happier! Plus, I am so grateful that we didn’t have it in our budget for the fancy letterpress suite.  We would have missed out on collaborating on such an amazing project together.  We were snowed in with the fireplace on in our PJs putting them together.  It was a great day!

DIY or Buy?

Our venue doesn’t have an actual bar…so there are few things I wanted to do to spice up the area that will be serving as our bar.  This is one of the inspirations that started this DIY attempt…notice I say attempt.

bar sign inspiration

style me pretty

They look so simple, so pretty…all you need is a hot glue gun, some paper mache letters from your local craft store and some yarn…which I already had from the pom pom project.  This should be a breeze, right? WRONG! I am still physically (I got a gross blister on my finger from the hot glue) and emotionally recovering from this DIY attempt.  This is a definite BUY for me.  Maybe some of you are a bit more patient and crafty and this could be a DIY but, I am not sure if you want to chance it…I put in 2 hours and only got like 25% of 1 letter finished and it looked awful. SO I recommend, you BUY this one.  Check out the various sellers on etsy that make them.  I mean look how gorgeous they are:

CiaoBellahDesignsCiaoBellahDesigns

crannycrannyfoundfavorites

DIY or Buy?

Good morning! Welcome to my new series, “DIY or Buy?,” throughout my wedding planning thus far there have been lots of crafty projects that I have attempted.  Some have turned out so great and others have been epic failures.  While Pinterest may make all of these projects seem so simple, they aren’t!  I am hoping to save you some time & money by showing you which ones you should DIY and which ones you really should just go ahead and Buy.

OK, so onto Project #1.  This was an early on project.  I think we were only a few months into planning.  Lucky for me it was an easy one.  This one is a definite DIY.

Pom Poms.

They are so cute!  And they add such a whimsical element to your BIG day, not to mention they can be used in sooo many different ways.  First things first let’s get to the how to:

What you’ll need:

  • yarn
  • pom pom maker (I used this one)
  • sharp scissors

What you’ll do:

  1. Snap the two halves of the pom pom maker together and open up one of the sides. Wrap your yarn around the open side. Be as even as you can and wrap as densely as you can manage.
  2. When you get to the end of that side, close it and clip it into place.  Then bring the yarn around to do the opposite side in the same way. 
  3. Close up both halves and use some sturdy scissors to trim all the way around in the center groove. 
  4. Now you have to tie a piece of yarn inside that groove as tightly as you possibly can. Use a long piece to tie it, so that I have something for later when you use the pom pom in your wedding project.  
  5. Open it all up and pull out your creation. Fluff it up to make it pretty. Celebrate with a happy dance! I did :)

Here’s how you can use them:

pom pom DIYsfinal

1 Shoe Clips 2 Flowers 3 Boutonniere 4 Backdrop 5 Placecards 

Getting Organized

Needless to say, I have a lot of plans for our wedding day decor.  I had been losing sleep as to how it would all come together and I started pricing “day of” coordinators, but it’s just not in the budget.  In an effort to get more sleep, I started researching.  When I stumbled upon this tip from Martha Stewart Weddings, I was so relieved.  Thanks for inspiring me once again Martha!

Box Sets for Your Decorations

Box Sets for Your Decorations

To make sure your centerpieces and table settings look as beautiful at the reception as they do in your mind’s eye, photograph each vignette ahead of time. Then tape the photo to clear boxes filled with all of the necessary elements, and nobody will have to think twice about how to put them together.

The Container Store’s “Our Clear Storage Boxes.”

I spent the majority of this past weekend packing these babies up with all of the wedding goods we have collected so far.  My dining room is actually functional again! Yay!

Wedding Shoes

Happy Friday! Is there a better way to end a work week than with shoes, not to mention glamorous shoes for any budget.  I think NOT!  Just like Marilyn Monroe said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”  I’m not trying to conquer the world but, I am pretty sure the right shoe will make my BIG day that much better :) But, I just can’t make up my mind about the all important wedding day shoe.  I can’t decide if I want to go sparkle or pop of color.  I guess the answer would be both.  These are some of  my favorites for all budgets:

a little sparkle for the ceremony

sparkleshoes

{1 Elisa, $625, Christian Louboutin; 2 Karolina pump, $328, kate spade; 3 Ice Pump, Betsey Johnson, $140}

& a funky pop of color for all of the dancing

popofcolorshoes

{4 Rockstud Patent Leather Ballet Flats, $695, Valentino; 5 Notion flat, $328, kate spade; 6 ‘Know What I Mean’ Flat’, Seychelles, $90}

I may have to DIY those kate spade flats with brooch shoe clips….perhaps an upcoming post!

Save the Date, Quick Tip

We dropped our Save the Dates off at the post office yesterday, YAY! When I was on my way out of my office headed out to the post office, I was chatting with one of my lovely co-workers who shared a great tip with me…so I wanted to share it with you.

I was fully attending on just dropping off the Save the Dates with a smile and a thank you.  Boy was I wrong… you do not want to use the automatic sorter for your precious wedding stationary.  You can easily have the post office weigh your Save the Date or invitation and verify that you have the correct postage and then opt to stamp on the postmark yourself, its called hand cancelling. This will eliminate the necessity for the envelope to go through a machine that often results in some damage to the invitation (at least some sort of crease), and always leaves machine marks and creases on the beautified envelope that was electronically addressed in a illustrative font or tastefully addressed by a hand calligrapher.  Just make sure when hand cancelling that you get the postmark on each stamp and then you are all set.  These are all of our lovely guests’ Save the Dates looking sharp with their postmarks (and their addresses blurred out).

std - Copy

It only took me like 5 minutes and it provided me with so much relief.  Lucky for me there won’t be any nightmares of the automated machine destroying all of my hard work.  DIY wedding stationary is a labor of love and it is definitely not worth risking!

Wedding Paper, Part II

I wasn’t  initially planning on doing a blog series on wedding paper…but let’s be honest what’s not to love about the beautiful stationary that is wedding.  So, I decided to keep our conversation about fonts, artsy, vintage, and all things paper alive.  Today we are going to look at just how beautiful envelope liners really are and why it’s worth the extra effort if you’re DIYing.

Let’s take a looksy at just how pretty it is…

the perfect pop of color

liner3

just a touch of whimsy

liner2

 the city skyline setting the tone

liner1

I knew that envelope liners were absolutely necessary after browsing through the beautiful work of Cheree Berry Paper. Then after reading Cheree Berry’s bio it all made sense.  She was an associate art director at kate spade in New York City, that’s why it was love at first sight.  My mild obsession with kate spade has been prevalent for years now and of course it would inspire the wedding in some way.  And here it is…in paper! Next week I am going to walk you through just how easy it is to DIY envelope liners, so stay tuned.

DIY Elva Fields Inspired Statement Necklace

DIYBingSteps

So, I decided to take my self imposed challenge to DIY my wedding day bling, mostly thanks to some encouragement, see here and some much needed help from Ms. Elise Keeney:)  In an effort to calm my nerves about the whole process I have decided to do a trial run of a similarly styled necklace to the one I’d like to wear on our wedding day.  I would just feel more comfortable “practicing”  before I actually embark on THE necklace for the big day.

For my trial run I simply sourced the beads and supplies from my local Michael’s and I actually picked up a beautiful vintage Lisner brooch from the late 1950s from the Goodwill store down the street from my office, (there are a lot of similar options here).   The practicing will hopefully enable me to get an idea of the process, so that I don’t panic when actually creating the wedding day bling (also with hopes of getting an additional beautiful custom piece to add to the jewelry collection: a win, win).

So, my first decision was to decide on the pop of color I wanted to go for.  I love green!  It’s one of my favorite colors.  Plus, I thought it would be a perfect for the upcoming green holiday, St. Patrick’s Day.  God knows I love a holiday to get dressed up for, decorate the house for, do a craft project for, bake something for…poor Chadwick.

Anyway back to the necklace, since I am so fond of green I went with a green dyed quartzite, round 10 mm bead to create the necklace with…they caught my eye when strolling the numerous bead options at Michael’s.

Beads, Beads, Beads

soooo many options

The inspiration:

Oh Joy's necklace by  Elva Fields

Oh Joy’s necklace by Elva Fields

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1:  Gather all the goods.

photo_supplies

You’ll need/what I used:

a brooch, preferably vintage/a vintage 1950’s Lisner brooch

a strong, but flexible beading wire/19 strand silver satin Beadalon beading wire

crimp tubes/silver Beadalon crimp tubes, #2 size

4 jump rings/4 silver jump rings

beads of choice, size 10 mm/green dyed quartzite, round 10 mm beads

spacer beads, in complementary color/silver spacer beads

chain/silver chain

clasp/hammered silver toggle clasp

You also want to have a pair of scissors, wire cutters, as well as a bead crimper/pair of needle nose pliers which they sell on the cheap at any craft store, or you could always use what you have in your tool chest. Luckily, Chadwick had me mostly covered on the tools.  I did buy a bead crimper, I just think that the finish is much cleaner with a bead crimper as opposed to the pliers.

Step 2:  Be Prepared.

step 2

Prepare your beading wire by cutting a length of about 12 inches and string 1 of the crimp tubes and a jump ring through the tail end of one side.  Loop the wire over the jump ring and through the crimp bead again, creating a loop that is held together by the crimp bead.  Gently but firmly squeeze the crimp bead shut with your bead crimper/pair of needle nose pliers.   Trim the extra beading wire.

Step 3: String your Beads.

photo

Now, you are ready to begin stringing your beads.  Start out with 14-20 spacer beads then follow-up with 14-20 of the 10 mm sized beads you chose and then again with 5 spacer beads. Once you have completed one strand, close it off using the same method that you began with, using a crimp bead but this time instead of a jump ring you will loop the beading wire through the brooch.

photo9

Then attach your other 2 strands close by on the brooch.  Trim the extra beading wire.  Note that each strand will be approximately 7-8 inches long when finished.  You don’t want all 3 strands to be exactly the same length so that they lay better on your neck.  Repeat on the other side of the brooch with a mirrored set of 3 strands.  In my design I wanted the brooch to be offset so one of the sides strands were longer than the other side  I started with a 15″ wire for the second side.  It just depends on the orientation you desire for your brooch.

Step 4: Finishing Touches.

photo6

Once the beads are strung, it’s time to attach your chain.  Adding the chain polishes off the design it gives the necklace a more put together look and it also makes it adjustable.   Cut off 2 pieces of chain with your wire cutters.  I did one about 2.5″ long and the other about 1.5″ on the opposite side.  Attach each piece of chain to the jump ring on either side.  When you are opening and closing your jump rings; gently pry each end apart, and then squeeze shut.  Take caution to maintain the shape of the ring.

Step 5: Wrap it up.

Untitled

Grab 2 more jump rings and attach it to the end of one chain, and attach it to the clasp and chain on the other end.  Now you have your closure. Go look fabulous! I know I will :)

photo

asking my ladies

with the engagement party behind us and a few packages arriving to the long distances lovies in my life i can finally share with you how i asked my ladies to be in our wedding, the craft project i alluded to here

being in a friend or family member’s wedding is a big deal. i am a firm believer that no one should half-heartedly say yes to being a bridesmaid. it’s a commitment. a commitment of time, money, sometimes emotional stability. lucky for me the brides that asked me to be in their weddings were incredible. XO Lisa, Donna, & Ashley! but, i really think it is definitely what you make of it. and i think the #1 key to making the best of this incredible time with someone that cares a ton about you is to be honest. if you can’t make it to something let a girl know…if you can’t afford a crazy expensive bridesmaid’s dress just say something (at least that’s my opinion). i don’t want any of the women in my life to feel stressed or uncomfortable about anything i just want to share this special time with them and look back on great memories when i’m old and wrinkly

knowing all that, i wanted to ask these awesome women in my life to be my maid of honor/bridesmaids in a way that showed how much i care about them and how excited i am to marry my best friend and have them be a big part it.

i did my best to outline my expectations for their role in the whole process and our big day to ensure that no one would stress out about the upcoming parties, dress fittings, craft projects, etc. this was included in their, “will you be my bridesmaid?” package…

your role

i hear weddings can get a little crazy for bridesmaids. please don’t get overwhelmed. if you can’t make the bridal shower or bachelorette party it’s not the end of the world. your presence on our wedding day is the most important.

as my bridesmaid your main focus is to:

feel beautiful.

hold gorgeous flowers.

wipe away my happy tears.

understand how much your presence means to me.

know how much i love you.

basically you are to have a complete blast and maybe challenge me to a dance off.

i also included the following note to help my ladies pick out their own dresses with just a little guidance as to what i was thinking

your dresses

more than anything i want all of you to feel comfy and gorgeous. you are all so beautiful in so many ways and i want what you wear to reflect that.

and who’s better suited to pick out your dress than you! each of you will pick a dress that says “you.” i’m onboard for a great mix of eclectic dresses if it means my girls will feel fabulous. enclosed you will find a few paint chips to get a feel for the colors i’m digging: 50 shades of gray (come on: are you surprised?!) i’ve included some sample photos for inspiration, but your options are pretty limitless. just a few guidelines:

keep it short: knee-length give or take a few inches

go sleeveless: you have the right to bare arms!

send me photos before purchasing: i just want to make sure all of the dresses are unique just like you.

i’m still deciding on accessories + shoes, but i will keep you updated.

and i included these notes as well as some wedding day inspiration in a crafty personalized memory box:

 

i topped it all off with a personal note in these fun cards that i designed and ordered on zazzle

Front of Card

Front of Card

Inside of Card

Inside of Card

i feel so lucky to have all of these ladies in my life and i am so excited to have each one of them be a big part of our day.

Wedding Day Bling

Elva Fields 1 Elva Fields 2 Elva Fields 4Elva Fields 3

I have been obsessed with Elva Fields since the first day I gazed upon the beauty of the Leading Ladies collaboration with Joy Cho (see her custom designed bling here). While the insanely gorgeous statement necklaces are beyond lust-worthy  they are also just a little bit outside of the wedding budget.  But, I find all of the love and history of individually designed pieces to be inspiring.  All handmade by very talented ladies and perfectly suited to my personal taste of a little bit of vintage, a little bit of modern, and a lot of color.  A girl can dream right…maybe I’ll be able to make something similar. We shall see, everyone knows I love a little crafty project!

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