Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Invitation Suite

The pre-engaged Bonnie had no idea what a "wedding invitation suite" even was.  For those of you not regularly inundated with wedding blogs and magazines, this is simply the collection of all the paper stuff associated with your wedding, typically the save-the-date, invitation, RSVP card, information card, ceremony program, escort/seating card, table number card, menu, and thank-you notes.  There's probably more stuff, but that was all we messed with.

I also quickly discovered that this "invitation suite" can cost, and often does cost, upwards of $10 per guest.  To which my response was, "are you kidding me?!?!"

**None of the businesses mentioned in this post paid me to say things about them, and all opinions are strictly my own.

We wanted premium refrigerator-front real estate with our save-the-date, so we did a magnet.  I got them from Magnet Street, and I was super happy with them, especially the price.  They even came with lined envelopes!  Done!

The RSVP card, information booklet, programs, menus, and thank you cards were designed by me.

RSVP card, with map showing where everyone was coming from

Thank you notes, designed and printed by me

The information booklets echoed the invitations, and had information inside like accommodations,  schedule for the week (cookout, beach day, etc.), important phone numbers, and an awesome map made by our friend Maizie!

Everything else (invitation, table numbers, buttons, and escort cards) came from DIY Wedding Templates.    This site is really great because they have entire sets of matching products that you download, customize, and print on your own.  Each template costs only $6!  So that means I spent a grand total of $18 buying the templates for our suite!  Bargain.  The only negative thing about this site was the slow response from the company when I had questions.

The templates came with a cute font already, but we wanted one that was more loopy.  It was really tough choosing a font, but after googling "free fonts" for hours and testing out dozens, we settled on Halo Handletter.
We started with the escort cards and table numbers.  We thought it would be fun to name our tables after streets in historic Charleston, so we consulted a map and picked our top 30 (not that we had 30 tables, but extras seemed like a good idea).  Tommy got the templates looking great, and printed them all out one night.

On another night, he printed ten escort cards for each table (again, more than necessary, but better safe than sorry).  Most people can't print escort cards months ahead because they don't know yet who's coming and where they should sit.  We got around this because we made name buttons for our guests, and attached them to the escort cards a week before the wedding.  I supposed you could also glue a name on.  It was great not having to print stuff the week before our wedding.  I hear this can be agony.

Next we printed the invitations.  It took a lot of trial and error to come up with wording we liked, but we finally decided on something nice and basic.  One of the biggest issues was figuring out how to deal with Jr.'s and III's!

Escort card name buttons
To skip the need for an inner envelope or "belly band", we addressed each individual invitation specifically to the guests.  I liked this partly because it saved paper and extra work, but mostly because I liked the level of intimacy it brought to the invitation.  We attached the invitations to a navy blue cardstock backer to jazz them up a bit more.

some info removed for privacy!
The invitation, RSVP card, and info booklet all got stuffed into Bonnie Pink envelopes.  I made a Word doc with all the addresses in it, so anytime we print envelopes, I can just throw envelopes through the printer!

printing directly on envelopes

We saved the menus and programs for last.  The projects I signed us up for got to be a little overwhelming by the end, and we felt like these items could be skipped if necessary.  We did end up finding the time, but not by much!

I drew up a rough menu, using language from our caterer.  Tommy's business partner gave me some great comments about white space and letting words breathe, and even though it took a lot of trial and error, the end result was beautiful!  The poem you see on the front lets guests know to take their dinner napkin home with them as a souvenir.

For the programs, I basically used the menu design, but with people instead of food!

I got the cardstock and envelopes for everything from Paper Source.  While they weren't the cheapest, I preferred their colors, and trusted their brand to provide paper when I knew nothing about it.  Everything shipped quickly and professionally, and I was very happy with my order.

The paper products summed to a grand total of $185, including shipping.  That's $1.40 per invitation (and free menus, programs, table numbers, and escort cards).  Take that, wedding industry!

We were really happy saving money by printing our own invitation suites.  Yes, I could have bought them for a similar price, but the quality and style wouldn't have been the same.  BUT, they took a LOT of time.  Like dozens of hours.  Dozens!  So please don't think this is a one-night kind of project.  We also found it helpful to use a printer that takes cartridges for individual colors.  Most of our printing was pink, so we didn't have to use up a 3-color cartridge, just the magenta one!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Project FAIL: Spring bulbs

Back in the fall I merrily grabbed a few bags of bulbs to add color to our yard at the first sign of spring.  Yellow daffodils and blue hyacinths would be so pretty...

I read the packaging and realized you plant them 5" deep.  Wowzers.  Out came the big shovel.

I dug a long trench in front of the azaleas, plopped in the bulbs, and covered them up.  Easy peasy.

Finally, they're up!  The daffodils are beautiful, healthy, and in full bloom!  The hyacinths aren't far behind.

But remember that trench I dug?  Looks like it was a tad close to those azaleas.  Whoopsies!

It's not a total loss - after they bloom and the foliage is on the way out, I'll dig everything up and move it somewhere not so ridiculous.  But this year?  Fail.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kitchen Update: Plantation Blinds

After four months of having our kitchen wide open to the public (you know, after we tore out the existing blinds without a plan for replacement), we can finally get a little privacy!  It had gotten so bad that Tommy was cooking in the dark just so the neighbors wouldn't look at him at night.

I had big plans to make roman shades for the kitchen, but for a variety of reasons I'll cover in an upcoming FAIL post, they didn't work out.

Our backup plan was to order plantation blinds.  We tried Next Day Blinds, but they wanted $450 for two windows.  Um, no.  I had used Just Blinds for my condo, and have been happy with those.  Upon further investigation, I was also quite happy with the $150 price tag.  66% less?  I'll take it!

I wanted to mount the blinds inside the windows, but they're not set back - they're flush with the wall, so that was a nonstarter.  Then I wanted to hang them from the wall above the window so as not to drill holes into our brand new trim.  But if they were attached to the wall, they wouldn't hang out far enough to clear the trim.

Finally we decided to just attach them straight to the trim.  Rather, through the trim.  I wasn't confident the trim was hung securely, so we used 2.5" screws to go through the trim and into the studs.

My own stud did all the heavy lifting and usage of power tools.  I got to take photos and hand him stuff!

They definitely took longer than the promised 25 min. each to hang, but that was due to a special circumstance.  Our pretty new trim isn't flat!  And if you screw things onto it, they flop over at an angle.  Some well-placed shims got everything back on track, but it took a few attempts to get there.

And now we have blinds!

After four months of waiting and two hours of labor, we are smitten!  They make the kitchen feel like a finished room.  The clean simpleness of them meshes well with the rest of the house.  And now I can make coffee in my pajamas!

One more before and after, and a deep sigh of satisfaction :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Red and Turqoise Cubes Necklace

While making my Mom's birthday brooch necklace, I rediscovered a baggie of square beads I had bought with my Mom in mind.  She LOVES square stuff.  The turquoise and red are often echoed in her clothing, so square beads in those colors is a big win.  I mixed in some lime green for fun.

Of course she needed some medium-length dangly earrings to finish the look!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Name Buttons

I hate going to a wedding and not knowing people or how they're related.  So when I saw this photo of a wedding, I knew I was on to something.

I dug our ancient Badge-A-Minit out of storage.  I couldn't believe they were still in business!  Thankfully they were, and I was able to order buttons and plastic covers.

So the buttons would coordinate, I printed off pages of seating cards from our print-at-home invitation set.  Then I ran them back through the printer and printed the names on them.  Relatives got special treatment, like "Aunt Cathy" and "Cousin Brianna".  I assembled the buttons during some down time on a weekend trip to the mountains. 

Then I printed seating cards on cardstock, this time with the table name. Having the table names separate from the guest names meant that I could match them up mere days before the wedding, if the seating chart was still changing.

My Mom's family (thank you guys!!!) did the last-minute matching, applying the buttons to the seating cards.

They were laid on a table at the entrance to the reception.  

I couldn't believe how many people wore them, but I think it helped the families mesh a little better and get to know each other!  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Field Trip: Los Angeles Fashion District

Man oh man, you want to see a kid in a candy shop?  Just put two crafters in the Los Angeles Fashion District!!!  My Mom and I were giddy!

Mom had been there a number of times, but this was my first trip.  First stop: Micheal Levine's!

Imagine a fabric shop the size of WalMart, and you'll get Michael Levines.  They have every kind of fabric imaginable, and I'd never seen anything like it in Hancock's or JoAnn's.

I especially loved their cotton knits, and got yardage from several different prints for a few upcoming projects.

I also found adorable quilters cottons for a baby quilt I'm making soon!

huge batik section

a whole row of polka dots!

From there, we wandered in and out of stores, looking at everything.  I don't have any specific projects coming up (besides the baby quilt), so I was mostly just looking at everything.

Fabric stores are just the beginning.  There are also stores that only sell ribbon, or bridal stuff, or beads.  We went in one bead store the size of my local grocery store, where every vertical inch of the place was covered in beads.  Talk about sensory overload!

I bought a few strands of beads with some upcoming projects in mind...

All that oohing and aahing over stuff made us hungry, so we dined in the International Food Court.  Chicken Shawarma, yum!!!

If I ever get really into making clothing or crazy fabric crafts, I know where I'm taking my pilgrimages.  The LA Fashion District was beyond cool.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Jet Setting: Los Angeles

You didn’t think all I did for my Mom’s birthday was make a few pieces of jewelry, did you?  I also took a weekend trip to visit her and my Dad in Los Angeles!

Tommy wanted to make sure she knew the trip was part of her birthday, so he came up with the idea of wrapping me up as a gift for her.  She loved it!

My first day there my Dad had to work, so Mom and I had a girls days.  We started off by getting our nails prettied up.  From there, we headed downtown to the Fashion District.  We finished off the day with a happy hour with friends in Pasadena.

Saturday my Dad and I tortured ourselves with the P90X yoga workout.  After recovering over lunch, the family went to tour the Getty museum.  I wasn't a huge fan of the art, but the architecture and gardens were amazing!  I think the Getty would be a lovely place for a picnic date, or just a place to relax and spend time with loved ones.  Plus (besides $15 parking), it's free!

After the Getty we had a healthy dinner of salad and wine at Tender Greens in West Hollywood (yum!).  That put us in close proximity to the Roxy, where we went to see the Unknown play.  The guitarist is the 13 year old daughter of my Dad's work buddy.  How cool to play at the Roxy at 13 years old!  They were pretty rockin', too!

Sunday morning we took a whale watching tour out of Long Beach.  Unfortunately the "whale highway" was slow that morning, but we did see sea lions and a pod of 500 dolphins!

Sunday afternoon my Dad and I rode bikes along Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach.  You can't ride very fast due to all the people, but it was great being out in the sun and there's pretty good people watching there.  That night we had friends over for dinner and went to bed early.

Monday morning Mom and I messed around the house doing alterations and computer stuff.  I also got a chance to photograph her sewing room, so check back soon for the tour!  And to finish off a great weekend, we all stopped for In-and-Out on the way to LAX.

All in all, it was a fun-filled weekend in Los Angeles with my parents!  I'm really glad I went :)