Thursday, February 25, 2010

DIY Decorative Balls

Decorative balls are in home stores everywhere, but why pay $5-10 each when you can just as easily make them?  Here are some great ideas I've found:

From HGTV:

From "We Can Make That"
Stuff Needed:
styrofoam balls in different sizes
preserved eucalyptus leaves
decorative pins
rope or twine
low-temperature hot glue and glue gun

Eucalyptus Leaf Ball
1. Begin at the top and place the first eucalyptus leaf as desired.  Secure it with a pin or glue.
2. Continue until the entire ball is covered.

Moss Ball
1. Glue or pin moss over entire surface of the ball.
Rope Ball
1. Glue the rope or twine to itself in a small circle for a starting point.  Tack this end onto the ball with a decorative pin.
2. Continue gluing the rope in circles and covering the ball completely.

From Kreative Knack:

From "We Can Make That"

Stuff Needed:
Colored Ball Ornaments or
Painted Styrofoam Balls
Glass Vase Gems
Hot Glue and Gun

1. Glue gems on ornaments or styrofoam balls to cover entire surface.

You can really do this with just about any medium.  Use little silk flowers to make a tiny pomander.  Use dried lavender or chamomile to make a potpourri sphere.  I've also seen neat ones with pieces of cut twigs glued vertically to make a sort of "porcupine".  Tons of fun.  Limitless possibilities.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old School New Trends

I love tying in the old with the new and I especially love the look of apothecary jars!  This is a fun idea because it has a whimsical, foresty feel.  These items are also neat because they get away from the traditional foofy flower arrangements and tie in some different natural pieces: pinecones, berries, fruit and bean pods, etc.  I don't know about incorporating any candles (maybe LED).  I'm thinking another eyecatching touch might be to bunch some moss around the bases of the jars.  Or tie a wide black ribbon around the lid of the tall jar.

From "We Can Make That"

Might not use everything pictured but it's a good plan so far :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Forget Safety, Let's Get Dangerous!

When I first started designing my dress it was lace and ruffles and very country.  It was in my safety zone for seamstressing skills.  But as they've said on Project Runway (my guilty pleasure), you can't always be safe if you want to be wow.

I bought the fabric and ended up having something completely different in mind.  The strapless bodice was in a pinched taffeta and the skirt was a-line and dupioni.  To jazz up the bodice my mom and I planned to incorporate some of my late Gramma's pearls.  But again, the design was safe and the silhouette was really boring.

So I went online and started looking at designer dresses.  I knew the basic necklines and knew I wanted strapless or sweetheart.  I also knew all the basic skirt styles and wanted a-line: not slinky enough to be nightgownish but not poofy enough to be obnoxious.  However, I discovered a new element...  The Dropped Waist.  If there was ever a more beautiful way to flatter an hourglass figure, I've not seen it.  Here is my inspiration:

From "We Can Make That"
Sottero & Midgley

My jaw dropped when I saw this dress and I almost considered scraping my sewing project, recouping my losses as best I could, and scraping pennies to go out and buy it.  Then I recovered my sanity.  I don't know how much this dress is.  Honestly I don't really care.  I know I can do that and I'm giddy to try.

I want to incorporate the fabric I've already purchased (the taffeta was special order so I can't return it) so I checked out a few more bodice ideas:

From "We Can Make That"
Sottero & Midgley

From "We Can Make That"
Demetrios: Sposabella

I want to use the taffeta as the main bodice but then wrap it with the dupioni (I would also still use that for the skirt).  I don't want to add any lace or sparkles, we'll stick with my Gramma's pearls.  I was thinking that I may do a taffeta panel on the "low hip" of the skirt too since I ordered waaaay too much.

So I'm ready to go!  I've got six yards of muslin just waiting to become a mock-up....

A Wedding Is All About Marriage

A marriage of ideas, opinions and color schemes.  I suppose changing your mind a million times is the pitfall of a 15 month engagement...

I had been thinking a lot about our brown/green/yellow scheme and the style of my blush/champagne dress.  Through whatever process of deduction, I decided that yellow just had no place.  Don't get me wrong, I love those colors but my idea of my dress is slowly becoming more elegant than informal and I'm feeling the need for something a little more sophisticated.  The other day my mom joked that I should add some blue for the "bluebird of happiness."  It's not a bad idea.  Brown/green/blue go nicely together.

Then C comes up with the idea that we should go to the hardware store and get designer palette paint schemes to see what colors the pros put together.  Smart thinking.  So we do, and we found something that jumped out at us.  Granted, there were eight colors in the scheme but we settled with four.

True Black (C would like black over brown)/Peacock Blue/Plum/Olive Green

The palette is actually quiet rich and vibrant, very bold and saturated.  It's a fun yet sophisticated scheme.  We could pull it off in either a garden or a posh wine bar.  And it's unique in that I've never seen it pulled off without the use of peacock feathers (we will not be using peacock feathers).

The colors also work well with my dress color and style.  I'm inspired (after seeing pictures in one of my mom's magazines) to make a contrasting petticoat, most likely in the same color as my bridesmaids dresses.

We'll see how long this one lasts.... ;)

EDIT: I removed the image of our palette because the colors were just mutilated and weren't even close to being accurately represented.  Use your imaginations.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I just learned that according to English lore, it's rather bad luck for a bride to make her own wedding dress.  Hmm.....

Designing Stationery says, "Don't confuse designing your own wedding stationery with a DIY project. It's all about working with a professional stationer to master the perfect look."  I say, "HA!"  Any person with a decent sense of creativity and a basic understanding of, say, Photoshop can DIY the heck out of their stationery.  Wedding invitations don't have to be multi-layered with ribbons and vellum and six different envelopes (I'm not saying they can't be -- just they don't have to be).

I'm especially fond of "poster" style invitations.

More Fun Guestbook Ideas

Here's a few more "outside the norm" ideas for a guestbook that I've found.

A signable poster seems like it could be just the thing for our "musically inspired" reception.  Put a wide mat on it for guests to sign and we'll have an instant wall-art memento to hang in our home.

An instant photo guestbook is also a neat idea.  Fuji, apparently, has had an instant print (think Polaroid) camera around for quite some time and this album is designed to fit the prints perfectly.  It's cool, but a little pricey when you consider you need to buy the camera (only $65 at this site but...), lots of film (a single cartridge only holds 10 exposures), and a few albums (1 album holds 30 pictures).

All very cool ideas that will make guests feel more involved.  Now it's just to decide which one (including the previous "wish tree") will fit our style best...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Presents For The People

I've always hated wedding favors.  Not that it isn't a nice gesture, but I've always thought that a fancy dinner and open bar is thank-you enough.  I can't bare the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on favors that most guests will probably throw away at night's end.  Candies are cool but boooooring!  Not to mention you're already feeding them cake!  However, everyone I've talked to seems appalled that I want to do away with favors ("But they're a tradition!  People will think you're cheap!").  So I've come up with a few things that I wouldn't mind dropping a penny on, and I think that guests may actually keep them.

1) Custom-printed pint glasses.  It's fun, it's different, and surprisingly, it's cheap.  Plus, people can use them at the reception.

2) I found this idea in a Real Simple Weddings book that my mom bought me: custom button pins.  Who doesn't love "pieces of flair"?

3) Not so much a favor, but I've seen these really cool wedding-themed cootie catchers that people will put on the tables for guests to play with. sells them for around $1 a piece.... I can totally make them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Dress

I knew from day one that it would be a cold day in hell before I spent $1,000-$1,200 on a dress that I would only ever wear once.  (BTW, that's what's considered an affordable gown.)  I heavily considered buying a pre-owned dress or even going informal and just finding something pretty.  However, for some reason I love giving myself things to do.

Over the years I've become a fairly decent seamstress.  Several "special occasion" gowns, self-designed Halloween costumes and some fun, funky outfits have, through trial and error, taught me a thing or two about crafting an ensemble.

So, I'm designing and sewing my own wedding dress.  It took a lot of time deciding on a style I liked.  C hates anything that looks "corsety" so I had to be careful in designing the bodice.  I think I've come up with something good though.  Either way, it's guaranteed to be absolutely original and one-of-a-kind!

After a few trips to Jo-Ann Fabrics I've acquired all the necessary materials for $100.  Yep, that's right.  $100.  Love coupons.  Love sales.  Love Jo-Ann.

The Coolest Guestbook Alternative Ever

I think ours will have leaf shaped wish cards and be wrapped in some sort of ivy garland versus crystals.

Brown, Green & Yellow

Originally the idea was just for brown and green, but since C isn't too into green flowers and I love color pops, we added yellow into the mix.  It works, it's my fave color anyway. :)

Do What You Love

Having a creative mind is a bit of a curse because I love everything!  I could plan twenty different weddings and have no regrets for any of them (there was a time I thought about becoming a wedding consultant).  However, I've found that when it comes to planning your (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime special day you really have to dig deep and think about who you are and what you love most.

When my fiance, C, and I started planning all we talked about was throwing convention to the wind.  We DID NOT want your typical run-of-the-mill "cookie cutter" wedding!  But the more we talked and the more we planned, we realized that all weddings fit some shape or another; it's just in how you decorate it that makes it absolutely unique.  It's all about the details and personal touches and how your guests will see you and your grand ideas and think "Wow, this is so them!"

So this started me on a personal journey to discover what kind of person I am, what kind of couple C and I are, and what I love the most.  Here's the top five:

I'd have to say that first and foremost C and I love music.  He's played a number of musical roles in several bands and works as a recording engineer.  I was raised in a musically inclined family by a piano teacher mom and floated in and out of school choirs.  This deep interest has already surfaced in a few different areas of planning.

Another thing we both love is simplicity.  No drama.  No fru-fru.  No bending over backwards to give guests an impression of something we're not.

We love the planet.  I admit it -- we're kind of eco-nuts.  We used compostable plates made out of palm leaves for our "fine Thanksgiving china". We recycle like crazy and buy local as often as we can.

Personally, I love color.  Keep your dark and smokies, leave your pastels at home.  I want bright and bold and beautiful and I want it to pop up in unexpected places.

Fun!  C and I love fun.  Our goal (as I'm sure is everyone else's) is to make this special day as fun and memorable as possible.  Sadly, I've been to some really booooring weddings and no one wants the day they've worked so hard to plan being remembered like that!

So there is our direction in planning.  We hope to meet all these things, perhaps not in every aspect but certainly in some.  It makes wedding planning so much easier when you have clear-cut goals and ideas that you can then build upon.

From "We Can Make That"

Friday, February 5, 2010


I grew up with 2 brothers and 2 budget-wise self-employed parents.  My mother's motto throughout my childhood was "We can make that!"  Being young, those words frustrated the hell out of me.  However, thanks to Mom, I grew up a very resourceful, artistic, creative person.

Now, my fiance and I (both of us self-employed) are embarking on the adventure of planning a wedding.  I'm blogging because 1) it'll help keep me organized and 2) maybe another bride-to-be will find inspiration in it.  We've been engaged for about 6 weeks now and have already logged countless hours scouring the internet for tips, tricks and ideas -- some found in blogs. 

So read on treasure hunters!  Perhaps you will find your own gem of wisdom hiding within my wedding rambles. :)