Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lovely Letters

My latest crafting endeavour - large paper mache letters! I stumbled upon them at JoAnne's a few month ago while trying to come up with a unique baby shower gift idea. I had originally intended on copying a toy block idea I had seen, but they were out of blocks in the size I wanted. However the wealth of paper mache and wooden letters got me thinking. I knew I wanted to do something personalized and my general fear of all thing's baby related ruled out spending much time in Babies'R'us...place creeps me out! So I decided to decorate letters and spell out the baby's name (fortunately my freinds did not change her name last minute when she was born). They turned out so cute that I figured they'd work as a wedding gift for another friend, and while I was at it, shouldn't I have some for myself? After some careful questioning to figure out favorite colors and general decorating style, I set about spelling "family" for my friend's wedding gift. That way she can group picture frames around the word for a whole wall of family related art. I also made myself "NYC" to go with pictures I took while visiting the big apple last year. Here's the run down on how I made them...
I spread out some paper to keep my kitchen table clean and laid out my letters. I painted the sides of each letter with acrylic paint and let them dry. Next I traced the letter on some scrapbooking paper and cut it to size. I used spray adhesive to adhere it to the letter. My exacto knife helped get the edge's really clean once the paper was on. Next I used a contrasting (or darker in some cases) color of paint to distress the edges and the sides of the letters. I then painted a thin layer of Mod Podge onto them to set the paper and keep it from peeling off. Last I used fun scrapbooking ribbon and embellishments to add some more visual intrest to them. However, they look good with just the paper as well for a more minimalistic look.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Festive Affair

Every year, the company I work for supplies us all with Turkey's at Thanksgiving. Last year, trying to decide what to do with an entire turkey when it's just the two of us, we decided to have our friends over for a post Holiday dinner. This year, we upped the ante and had our dinner before the Holidays, in the middle of December. We also doubled the guest list and it turned into quite an event. I had started out planning for a simple, thrown together gathering, and somehow it was transformed into a much nicer affair. I put the blame on my friend sending me a link with some holiday table layouts. http://www.thisyounghouse.com/2008/12/tis-the-season-to-set-the-table/ After browsing those, I knew I couldn't just toss a paper tablecloth out with plastic plates and call it good. There entered the planning for a vestive, pretty, holiday table.

My first order was deciding what the color scheme would be. I found some really cute dark and light green ornaments that I loved, those became the inspiration. I hit Dollar Tree for more fun and inexpensive items that would fit the colors I had chosen. I swipped three green table runners, two spools of gold ribbon, several glittery gold flowers and a few other items that I thought looked like fun. Two tableclothes (for $9.99 no less) were scored at Target, along with enough real wine glasses for everyone, and honestly, it's not like I won't end up using my two dozen wine glasses! Solving the plate dilema took a little more time. What with table clothes and table runners, I couldn't very well serve a delicious turkey dinner on paper could I?! In entered the fake china. Whoever invented this stuff is a genious. It's pricier than paper, but not as nerve wracking as serving on real china...and look how nice it looks all laid out...
So with some things I had laying around already and a few well spent dollars at the store, I had a turkey dinner worthy table. My father-in-law liked it so much that we ended up washing the disposable china and using it again at Christmas. Here are a few detail shots or the table...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jen's Baby Shower - It's a Jungle Out There

Last summer (two broken feet aside), I threw my friend Jen a baby shower. After we looked over a bunch of fun options, a Jungle theme was decided upon as that was the theme for the nursery as well. I used my Cricut to make a fun 12x12 sign that I used as inspiration for all of the decorations. Starting with the invitations....
I just used some fun striped card stock and coordinating solid card stock to make them. I printed the wording on cream stock and cut to fit. Then I simply used my circle punch and a bunch of cute Elephant cut-outs from the Cricut to add a cute jungle touch.

I wanted a fun Jungle Banner as well. I couldn't find anything at any party stores or on the internet that I liked, so I made my own. I traced a leaf pattern onto poster board and then cut out a ton of grean leaves. Then I cut out the letters I needed (as well as a few more elephants) using my Cricut. I placed Eyelets and used brads to hook each leaf together. The finished product was just what I was going for.

I then scoured the internet for a fun idea for favors. I found a few neat ideas, and made them my own. I found the little pails at the dollar store (as well as the ribbon). With a dot of glue from the glue gun and a perfectly placed baby foot (again cut with my cricut), they made adorable little favors.

The cake was made by Queen of Hearts Bakery in Depot Town. I'd say they followed the design I gave them pretty well, wouldn't you?!

The last thing left was my gift. I decided that I wanted the gift to be as much a decoration as a gift. So a diaper cake was the logical choice. They look really cute, and are practical as well. This one made a great focal point to the gift table. I had an absolute blast planning for and decorating for her shower. I can't wait for my next party to plan!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ruth's Baby Shower

When my best friend got pregnant a few years ago, I got the opportunity to throw her a baby shower. It was the first party I threw and did all the decorating for. She didn't want the typical baby shower decorations, or the typical baby shower. I decided on a brunch with no games, just a girls morning that happened to include baby gifts. I pulled inspiration from a note card I found at target, using the Brown, Teal and Light Blue as the color scheme. I found out that while blue and teal balloons are easy to find, brown is a bit more difficult. The centerpiece for the large single table were three Ivy bowls filled with daisy's (the mom to be's favorite flower), with two fish bowls with floating daisy candles. I used some tulle and tissue paper to add color as well. The brunch was a huge success and everyone had a blast.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kevin and Kelsey's Wedding

This was my first big project after my own wedding. I've been friends with Kevin for years, ever since high school, he was the default date that all my friends brought to dances because he was always a lot of fun. When he got engaged in 2006, I was really happy for him and his fiance Kelsey. Once wedding planning started, Kelsey was having trouble figuring out decorations. Her sister was able to do all the bouquets, but with two small boys, doing all the wedding flowers was too much to tackle. That's when I volunteered to help out. Little did I know that it would entail hours of sitting on thier livingroom floor with my glue gun and a very large glass of wine! However, I believe the results speak for themselves. Kelsey wanted a winter wedding with pink and a lot of flowers, that's what she got!

We started with centerpieces. I took circles of styrofoam and glued flowers, plastic snowflakes and bows to them. This created a nice base for the bowl of floating candles that she wanted on each table. We also stuck snowflake stickers on cheap votive holders to add to the candle light at the tables. I repurposed the large wreath's from my own wedding for use above the head table and for the entry way into the reception. I also added some flair to a card box that Kelsey had purchased. Then with some tulle and left over pew decorations, the gift table and head tables were done.

By far the largest undertaking was the two large alter arrangements. While I had made a few smaller floral arrangements, I had yet to try something so large and important. By utilizing some large glass vases that I already owned, I was able to pull it off. I won't lie, I was pretty worried it wouldn't turn out, but in the end, I didn't need to worry about it.

Upon hearing that the event planner at the church wasn't sure that it would be possible to decorate the pews, I set about proving her wrong. They didn't want us using anything sticky or permanent. Ever resourceful, I rigged a loop of wire that fit just fine without doing any damage.

I alternated the floral swag that I put together with hanging flowers and ribbon, with the smaller one using tulle, a snowflake and ribbon. The effect, as seen in the picture at the beginning, was just what the bride wanted. I also did a little last mintue fix to the unity candles, plain white looked a lot better with some ribbon and swaravski crystal beads. I think everyone was happy with the outcome!

Budget Warrior

When me and my husband got engaged in 2004, we realized that our budget would be pretty small. This meant no big hotel reception, no wedding planner, etc. It would be me, the internet and my handy glue gun. At this point I had never really undertaken anything this major craft wise. I played around in high school, making things, but had never really been serious. That was all about to change. I found a great hall for a great price in Milan, Michigan. The downside was that they would set up the tables, that was it. I had to set-up and tear-down myself. I got out my paper and pencils and began to draw...

After looking through a million magazines, I decided on long tables versus the traditional round ones. It allowed for more seating and would accomodate smaller, less expensive centerpieces. I've laways loved lilacs and (bonus) they grew in my parents yard and at my in-laws, so they would be free. So each table had three vases with lilacs and cream roses, and two candles stretched down the length of the table. Here is the head table and one of the guest tables.

One of the things I've always loved are pew candles. I grew up with them in my church during the holidays and love the way they look. So I knew that I absolutely had to have them for my wedding. I managed to spruce them up with some Ivory ribbon and lots of Ivy I bought on the internet. It really did look exactly like I always imagined it would. Then once the flowers were there, it was perfect. What could have been disasterous, buying flowers from a website, turned out to be a great desicion. My husband's cousin did an amazing job!

Probably my favorite part was the cake. I found a baker in Milan, who made the cake exactly like my pencil sketch, then I got to put the flowers on when she brought the cake. Here are a few other pictures of things I made and how I decorated for my wedding.