Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inspiration: Blue and White Wedding Bouquets

Another post for a project I'm working on for a soon-to-be-wed friend!

Her colors are black and white, with hints of sapphire blue.  I'm ordering flowers in bulk and constructing the bouquets the day before the wedding.  Let's just hope I can make enough fridge space for all the flowers!

I've never made a bouquet before, but I watched a few videos on youtube!  Doesn't that count?  No worries, I'll practice before the big shipment of flowers arrives!

Here are some inspiration photos I'll use:

Has you ever ordered bulk flowers online?  Have you ever tried making bouquets?    It seems pretty straightforward, but any insight would be much appreciated!

Update: The flowers came out beautifully.  Check them out here!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Building a Cornhole Set

I'm pretty sure my love of projects is genetic.  My parents are the most projects-oriented people I know.  As an engineer and seamstress, projects are pretty much their professions, but my parents love a good project even in their off time.  Since I was little, many of our family activities have centered around working on projects together.  What a great way to bond!

My Dad was in town over the weekend, so in keeping with our family spirit, we did a project!

Tommy and I have been wanting a cornhole set (or two!) for a while now.  We've never quite gotten around to building one, but I thought it would be a really fun project to tackle with my Dad.

Some light googling led me to an excellent set of instructions.  We took their advice on making two sets - it's cheaper and more efficient to make two at once.  Besides, Tommy wanted one for his company, and I wanted mine to be pink!

Buying supplies was fun!  It's happened again and again, and true to its name, everything fit in the Fit!  Except my Dad, who kind of had to ride on top of the lumber.

We got to work cutting the boards as soon as we got home.  It went quickly, and we managed to get everything cut in the time it took to preheat the oven and cook a pizza!

I did all the drilling and screwing, and Dad did all the measuring, cutting, and hammering. 

We made a good team!  A few more hours of work and we had finished up the construction phase!

All in all, this was a fairly simple and quick project.  We spent about $45 on supplies which included lumber, screws, nuts & bolts, and a few new drill bits (I already had the saws, drill, wood glue, triangle, and measuring tape).  The entire construction phase, including four trips to the hardware store, took about five hours.

We ran into a few issues:
  • Quarter sheets of plywood are NOT exactly 2' x 4'!  We had to go back and shorten some of our frame sections so it would all line up properly.
  • Lowe's does a poor job of sorting their carriage bolts, so we bought some in a weird size and had to go buy special drill bits to make the right size holes.
  • We glossed over the directions about how to do the legs on the boards, and ended up having to go back to the store for new 2 x 4's so we could make new ones.  Always read the directions first, and actually follow them!!!

But I also learned a few things:
  • If you sand the cut ends of your boards, they fit together nicer.
  • Fine-toothed jigsaw blades do a better job than really aggressive blades when cutting wood with a weird grain (like plywood)
  • You don't need fancy tools to do a quality project (we only used a hand saw, a jigsaw, and a drill)

And was reminded of a few things:
  • My car is awesome
  • I love doing projects with my Dad!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Know Your DIY Limits

I saw an article today on Apartment Therapy that really hit home: Do You Know Your DIY Limits?

Most of the time my projects turn out ok, but I almost always run into a few unexpected snags along the way.

For instance:
  • Just as we started installing the wood floors in my condo, I turn to my Mom and ask, "You've used a circular saw before, right?"  Mom: "No, I always held the board for your Dad.  You've done it though, right?"  Me: "Nope, I always held the board for Dad.  There's a first time for everything?"
  • Discovering that the studs in my condo were metal while trying to cut the wall (tin snips and many hours of labor fixed that)
  • I have never ever in my life made a piece of clothing that I will wear.  Thankfully, my prom date was willing to wear the suit I made for him, but my Mom helped a lot so it probably doesn't count.

I'll be sure to let you know how future projects turn out and hold up.  It's an important aspect of projects to consider before you decide to jump in!

Have you ever had a DIY project disaster?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Installing a Sink Faucet

We threw my boyfriends birthday party at his parents house.  The night before the party, their kitchen sink faucet busted and was completely unusable.  Understandably, his Mom was frantic about it, even more so after a plumber quoted her $250, just for the labor!

I'm of the mindset that most home improvement projects can't be that hard to do.  Besides, even if you screw it up and have to do it twice, it's still cheaper than hiring it out.  So I volunteered us to fix it!

It took two hours to remove the old faucet because the nuts were rusted onto the bolts.  We finally loosened it up enough so that we could get bolt cutters around it to just cut it off.  The look on his Mom's face when we cut her faucet in half with bolt cutters was priceless!  It was also a lot more fun that painstakingly messing with nuts and bolts like we did for the first hour and a half.  The worst part of removing a faucet is having your head stuck in a cabinet for hours.

Installing the new faucet was super easy!  All we did was follow the instructions in the packaging!  Tommy and I have decided that when tackling projects, he's assigned the brute force tasks, and I get the precision tasks.  So he tightened the fixture down, and I got to do the water hookups.

When messing with plumbing, the most important factor is to make sure nothing is leaking!!!  I always use lots of teflon tape, and check it again and again in the hours and days after installation.

In the end, we saved enough money to fund the birthday party and got to look like pros in front of the family

Have you tackled a DIY home improvement project that you previously knew nothing about?  How did it turn out?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wedding Centerpieces for a Friend

I'm helping a friend design the centerpieces for her wedding reception at Sequoia in DC.  I'll be doing 16 tables in a space which will more or less look like this:

(photo borrowed from

I'm thinking something simple and sophisticated, perhaps a grouping of vases with floating candles or tall glass vases filled with orchids.  But I'd love some advice!  Please leave any ideas in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


A new project!  Create a blog.

I've been thinking of blogging for a while now, but now I'm finally taking the leap!  I was having trouble finding a focus, but the idea of writing about my "projects" is appealing because it can encompass so many different areas.

I love projects.  I'm not the kind of person who enjoys sitting still or relaxing; instead, I like moving around and being productive.  My job doesn't really allow me to see short-term results, or even tangible results at all, so crafting things with my hands in my free time helps to balance my need for this.  Nothing feels better than a completed project, a job well done.

I plan to write about all sorts of projects I engage in.  This might be as simple a new recipe, or as complex as a kitchen remodel.  I'll probably include a fair share of sewing projects, as well as a lot of home improvement projects.  But I hope to provide fun pictures, a realistic take on the rewards and p.i.t.a. (pain in the butt) costs of projects, directions so you can try some yourself, and more than anything, inspiration to get started on your own bevy of projects.