Friday, October 28, 2011

More Wedding Project Inspiration

Bouquets - I think I've decided to make my own bouquets!  I have some practice now, and with help from my bridesmaids it should go quickly.  I'll make them the morning before and they should stay fresh enough!  I might have to get someone from my Dream Team (Mom's friends and sisters) to make the boutonnieres on our wedding day though.

Here Comes the Bride - I would love for our flower girls to carry a sign like this.  I think I can iron on letters, then sew fabrics like I'm using in the rest of the decor around the border to bring it all together!

Art - Tommy and I have a few cute sayings that we frequently use with each other.  I would love to put them in a cool font, print, and frame them.  They are "I love you Moore", "You're the love of my life", "What's up Granola Bar?", and probably a few more I can't think of right now.  Maizie made some cute things like this recently, and I love the idea!  I think these would be adorable both as decor at our wedding and at our home.  (Hint hint, maybe a good wedding gift???)
Honey Bee Printable from Chic Done Cheap

Buttons - I want to make buttons for people to wear so everyone knows who they are!  I made a lot of these in high school back when I thought it was cool to have a lot of "flair" on my backpack, so it'll be fun to get out the badge-o-matic again!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DIY Fall Wedding Bouquets

I had so much fun making bouquets and boutonnieres for my friends' wedding this past weekend!  Their wedding was scheduled to be outside overlooking a field and forest in late October, so they chose harvest colors to coordinate with the natural beauty of the landscape.

You can see the autumn-themed bouquets and flowers that inspired us here.

Early Friday morning I made the trek to Potomac Floral Wholesale in Silver Spring, MD.  As always, the staff was very helpful and accommodating!  I also lucked out, and they had about 50% more flowers than usual, so I had lots of selection to choose from.

I spent about an hour picking out flowers and fillers in burgundy, red, burnt orange, and yellow.  My bride really wanted sunflowers, so I made sure to get plenty of those!

My selection at the flower shop

When they added it all up, it turned out that I had quite the eye for expensive flowers!  My bride had really liked these burgundy and yellow calla lilies, but at $3 each, I ended up trading them in for more roses.  I have an affinity for Billy Balls, but those were also on the pricey side, so I replaced them with yellow poms.  I also discovered that you have to be careful with roses!  I had picked out some gorgeous orange garden roses, but they were over $3 each, so I traded those in for more gerbera daisies.  These tradeoffs took about 30% off the total.  While I loved the textures and colors they provided, I was able to substitute flowers in similar sizes and colors for much less.  Even though I was trying to be cost-conscious, I still splurged on the red-tipped yellow roses I used for the boutonnieres and of course the sunflowers!

The staff was also very helpful in helping me find good deals.  The red roses that were in the showroom were all long-stemmed and thus $1-2 each.  I asked about more affordable red roses and was led to the back room where they had plenty of shorter-stemmed roses for only $0.59 each!  For bouquets, you're just cutting them down anyways, so there's no need to pay for extra stem length.  If you try this for yourself, please take the time to talk with the staff about your budget and how to meet it - they can be very helpful.

In addition, I opened an account!  So now I'll get even better discounts if I get to do bouquets for more friends.

As soon as I got home, I got to work cleaning the flowers.  First I recut the stems and placed them in water so they could hydrate.  For most flowers, all I had to do was remove all the leaves and any dead petals or flowers.  Roses are more difficult - I had to cut off all the thorns and remove a number of the outer petals to get down to the pretty ones.  I saved all the petals, and the decorator ended up scattering them in the aisle where they were a beautiful touch!  While they weren't nice enough for boutonnieres, they were gorgeous scattered around.  In all, it took maybe an hour to and hour and a half to clean all the flowers.

I divided up the flowers for the bouquets into seven stacks - one for each bridesmaid and one for the bride.  Everyone got more or less the same flowers and amount of flowers, and I doubled those counts for the bride.  This way I could be sure I'd have enough for everyone, especially because I saved the bridal bouquet for last.

I started by grouping 3-4 flowers together and securing with floral tape.  Then I would add 1-4 more stems at a time, again securing with floral tape.  I mixed colors, sizes, and textures and continued this process until I had used all the flowers.  It was a great idea to prep all the flowers first, because then I could simply add them to the bouquet, rather than having to stop to clean them as I was going.

After all the flowers were added, I wrapped the stems tightly with floral tape.  Next I cut the stems to the desired length.  Finally, I covered the floral tape with a 1.5" satin ribbon, and secured it at the top of the handle with corsage pins.  Then I set each one in about 1" of water in a glass cylinder, to stay hydrated as well as look pretty and stay safe!

In all, the bridesmaid bouquets took about 4 hours.

I made the bridal bouquet Saturday morning using the same technique as with the bridesmaid bouquets.  It took longer because I had more flowers, but wasn't too much trouble.

Next I worked on the boutonnieres.  I used one red-tipped yellow rose, a fern, and a berry bunch for each one, to keep with the autumn color scheme.  I secured them together with floral tape, then cut the stems to my desired length.  To finish them off, I wrapped a 1/2" satin ribbon over the floral tape and secured the end with super glue.  I made 22 of these, and they took a little over an hour.

I ran into a problem with my super glue though!  It was supposed to dry in 30 seconds, but some of them NEVER dried.  The groomsmen had to be really careful about which ones they used, so they wouldn't get glued to the tuxes.  Next time I plan to either use hot glue or simply secure the end of the ribbon with a tiny shirt pin.

In the end, the bride, groom, and parents loved the bouquets!  The kids in attendance had a blast carrying them around all night, and I think even took a few home.

The autumn colors really popped against their clothing and stood out beautifully in photos!  My bridal bouquet even withstood a bouquet toss, so I guess I made it pretty stout!  I noticed a few ruined boutonnieres in the box, but that's why I make plenty of extras.

So was it worth it?  Absolutely!  Congrats to my friends!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Wedding Bouquet Inspiration

I'm doing the bouquets and boutonnieres for another friend this weekend!  I'm super excited!

Her wedding has an autumn theme, so I want to use burgundy, red, deep orange and yellow, and dark purple flowers, especially roses, calla lilies, mums, sunflowers, dahlias, and gerbera daisies.  I might also add in some berries and peppers for visual interest.

A few weeks ago we made a trip up to Potomac Floral in Silver Spring to get inspired.  I took photos of flowers she liked so I'll have a better idea of what to get when I go shopping this weekend!

I'll make primarily floral bouquets (little or no greenery), and finish them with a garnet satin ribbon.  The boutonnieres will either be roses or calla lilies, but the choice and color will depend on what looks nice on the day I go buy everything.  All in all, it will be seven bouquets and fifteen corsages/boutonnieres!!!

Now that I have some experience doing all this, it will hopefully go smoother and be faster than last time.  Skipping the 20 centerpieces should help, too!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Forays using Etsy

If you haven't heard of etsy, it's about time you get over there to check it out!

I've recently found some excellent gifts on their site, like this sign I got my parents for their anniversary (obviously I customized it for them).

There are so many darling things on there, and just browsing really juices up my creativity.

adorable, but out of my price range

I was even inspired to start selling some things of my own!  Going online increases your audience tremendously, and it only costs 20 cents to list an item.  It's easy to create a shop and start listing items for sale.

The first product I listed was a quilt kit.  The process of making eye spy quilts produces LOTS of those hexagons with the pictures on them.  The fabric store won't just sell you just a snippet, so I usually buy enough fabric to make 10-25 hexagons (1/4 to 1/2 a yard).  While I love my friends and family dearly, I just don't need to be making THAT many baby quilts.  So I decided to make kits and sell them online!

My kit comes with all the hexagons needed to make a baby quilt, templates so you can cut out your own pictures, and detailed instructions.  I would rank the difficulty level at "intermediate", and they take about 20 hours each to make (including design, cutting, sewing, and quilting).  I've already sold a few!!!

After making earrings for my bridesmaids recently, I realized that they might also be a good product to list on etsy.  I can custom make them for any wedding (or other occasion).  I'll let you know if I have any luck!

What neat products have you discovered on etsy???  Have you had any luck selling items?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY Bridesmaid Jewelry - Earrings

I started making jewelry when I was about eight years old - putting together simple earrings to sell in my Mom's clothing store.  Since then, I've designed and made lots pieces for myself, as gifts for others, and to sell!

I have this idea for my bridesmaids to all wear different yet coordinating dresses in a color my best friend calls "Bonnie Pink."  It's kind of a watermelon/coral shade of pink.  Rather than give the girls paint swatches or something, I figured I would go ahead and make their earrings, and they can use them as color inspiration!

They'll be able to pick/design whatever dress and shoes they want, and I hope the overall effect will be whimsical and fun.  And it's not my fault if they can't wear the dress again!  They're picking it out!  Given that many of them are still in school of some degree, I'm also hoping this will be budget-conscious.  Better yet, my Mom offered to make them if they want.  I see guest blogs in the future!

I chose a variety of beads in different shades, shapes, and textures that I'm hoping will be good inspiration.

I put each bead on a head pin first, then attached them all to a short chain so they dangle nicely.

It's really simple!  Like all my projects, it took some trial and error to get them looking nice, but I like the end product!

I'm a strong believer in good presentation, so I put them on little cards in coordinating colors to show them off pretty.

This was a quick (< 2 hours), fun, easy, and functional project, and I hope my girls love them!  I can't wait to see what dresses they pick out!

If you love the earrings but aren't up to DIYing them, check out my shop on etsy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here Comes the Bride DIY Sign

A month before our wedding, we'll be celebrating the nuptials of Tommy's best friend!  His fiance and I have very similar tastes about weddings, and I've been loving all her ideas!  Recently we made a "Here Comes the Bride" sign for her ring bearer to carry down the aisle.  So cute!!!

our inspiration

She's going for a rustic feel, so she used reclaimed wood from shipping pallets.  (Green, and saves green, too!)  The letters were made with basic stencils from the craft store.  FYI, they have some really awesome stencils out there these days!  Who knew?

We ran into a few snags getting the paint right.  We tried a stain first, but it ran and looked smudgy.  Then we  tried flat wall paint in her wedding color, but it was too watery.  It also didn't give enough contrast for the letters.

Finally we settled on black craft paint applied with these paintbrushes called "spouncers" which is basically a round sponge on a stick.  They helped tremendously with the paint bleeding around the edges.  The wood was rough, so we still had some bleed around the edges, but I thought it added to the look!

She's going to let it "weather" outside for a while to give it an even more rustic feel, then finish it off by hanging the sign on a ribbon.  I can't wait to see it walk down the aisle, followed by a beautiful friend!

In all, this project took about one hour, $5 in supplies, and was super easy.  Can't beat that!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding RSVP Map

I saw these adorable map save-the-dates while skimming blogs for wedding ideas, and really wanted to use the idea.  I love the idea of making your guests feel special, and including them in our invitation suite seems like a great idea.  Unfortunately, the artist is no longer accepting orders!

I contacted a few artists through etsy, and tried finding talented friends on facebook, but I either came up empty or couldn't afford it.  So what did I do?  Tried making them myself!

I've never tried graphic design before, but I took a photoshop class ten years ago in high school, so how tough could it be???

Well, I failed at photoshop.  Completely.  I simply cannot figure out that program.  However, my years in the cube farm have taught me a thing or two about using powerpoint, so I thought I'd try that instead.

After the usual trial and error, a few hours of labor, and some feedback from my lovely bridesmaids, I came up with this map.  I managed to represent almost all our invited guests (though there would be a thick line from Northern Virginia if it were accurate), by drawing lines from their homes to our wedding city.  I think it's a really fun map, and I can't wait to send them out.

I'm going to print these at home as postcards to use as our wedding RSVPs.  Postcards are a big money saver due to the cheaper printing and postage, and are greener too.

I was pretty proud of myself on this one!  I've never tried such a thing before!  But, I saved a lot of money and produced a personalized wedding RSVP I'm really happy with!

So I'll say it again, don't sell yourself short - just muster up some courage, give it a try, and you might surprise yourself!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Project Inspiration

Now that we have our date and venue nailed down, I can get into the really fun part of wedding planning - PROJECTS!!!

For now, I'm mostly in the idea generating phase, but I wanted to share some neat projects I've been seeing online.

Ribbon Wands - We're not allowed to have sparklers (even for our 4th of July week wedding!), but I'd be plenty happy with these.  Friends of mine did them, and they were so much fun to dance with.  I don't think I'll bother twirling them up though - takes too much time, and they'll be pretty with all the ribbons hanging down anyways.  Let's just hope they don't get tangled!

Bunting - I can't wait to use this for decor.  My Mom is already making them!!!  (Watch for a guest blog post!)  I'm really excited about the versatility of these.  I might use them at some of our wedding-related parties.  I could also keep them for showers I throw in the future.  I'm definitely saving some for our future baby room.  And the rest I want to reuse the fabric to make us a wedding quilt!

Paper Flowers - These are so adorable that I really want to find a way to use them!

Dessert Trays - We're doing a dessert table, and these would make some of the selections stand out so cute!

Faux Milk Glass Vases - My friend Maizie at Chic Done Cheap did some of these, and I can't wait to try them out!

Painted Shells - A nod to my college major, I think it would be fun to add some lacquered shells to our tables.  Again, I'll be stealing an idea from Maizie!

I'm sure there will be much more to come, but I've been really excited about these this week!  Please leave a comment if you have any other ideas to add!