Sunday, December 19, 2010

flowers to dye for

My brave friend, Sarah, came over on Saturday to help me dye 200-something coffee filter roses. It took us about four hours, but much of that time was spent playing with the RIT dye trying to get the colors just right.

We (very scientifically) mixed different batches in mason jars, dipped coffee filter test strips into them, and put the strips on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 250 degrees for quick drying.

Satisfied with the spectrum we created, we began with yellow flowers, moved to shades of pink, coral, and red, and ended with the oranges. The tree outside was the best place to hang them to dry.

But we decided to speed up the drying process for a few of them, just to get a better idea of the final product all together.

Fluffed, to speed drying of the inner layers.

Annnnnnd... Flowers! Now, I have to decide between merely fluffed:

Or fluffed with each petal curled at the edges. Much more rose-like, but also much more work.

What do you like best?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DIY decoupage vases

A few posts back, I made mention of a literary theme to our wedding decor. There is a perfectly good explanation, and it's this: the library at Michael's university regularly cleans out its archives and puts dusty, old, crumbly books out on shelves in the lobby for anyone to take. Every time I visit him, I stop by the library to haul a stack of free books to my car.

They will be used in many ways -- probably even some ways I haven't thought up yet. But today I'll share one use for these tattered tomes.

I've been collecting smallish, cheap-o glass vases like these from garage sales and thrift stores...

... and decoupaging them with torn up pages.

Simple, cute, and cost-effective, but like many of my other wedding decorations, time-consuming, since I'm making enough for 20 tables. Only elect to do this if you're long on time or short on guests.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

pretty things!

Wedding blogs are a blessing and a curse. They're a great source of inspiration, but every time I read, my list of DIY decoration projects gets a little longer.

I saw these pictures online a few weeks ago...

And decided I had to have them. Which led to some new estate sale purchases, and a new mission every time I hit the thrift stores:

I'm a little torn over whether or not to paint such pretty frames. I think they would look awesome painted bright colors to match the rest of the decor like this one...

...but I'd also kinda like to use them in our home after the wedding. At the very least, I plan to find paper related to the color scheme to put under the glass.

I have a few possible uses in mind:

1) As bases for groupings of pillar candles.
2) As a tray for the ink pads that will go with our guestbook thumbprint tree.
3) A place to stash bags of birdseed or bubbles (if we use those for our exit...)
4) Dessert trays

I'm open to suggestions, of course. Any other ideas?

Friday, November 12, 2010

sizing myself up

Like many brides, I would love it if my body looked a little different on my wedding day.

Unlike many brides, I don't want it to get smaller.

Last week when my mom, grandma and I were sitting around the kitchen table, talk inevitably turned to them telling me to eat more.

My grandma lowered her voice so my grandpa and dad wouldn't hear in the living room.

"Don't you want to be voluptuous for Michael?"

I get comments about eating more from my grandma a lot. Usually they don't bother me, but my mom has gotten in on it the last couple of weeks, and I started feeling frustrated.

But then I remembered a dress pattern I had bought at an estate sale earlier that afternoon:

It was made in 1985, and the size chart on the back made me feel a lot better:

Today, I am a size nothing. At J.Crew, I'm a double nothing. In 1985, I would have been a size 8! This is comforting to me. It makes me feel less abnormal.

This is related to the wedding, I promise. My wedding dress is a size 0, but it 's still a little tiny bit big. It would fit perfectly if I could just gain an inch all over. The problem is, I don't put on weight easily (I know, roll your eyes at me for calling this a "problem").

I always eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. I thought this was the healthy way to go about it, but my trousers have been fitting a bit loose in the back lately. This may have something to do with my eating less meat since I read about the hormones and antibiotics that are fed/injected into the animals we consume. Blech. I'm currently working on my parents to convince them to by "happy animal" meat. Anyway, not the point.

The point is, I'm going to try to start eating foods with a higher fat content to gain weight for my wedding. And maybe just eating more in general, even if it's just slightly beyond a comfortable full feeling.

Luckily, I can get started on this right away. Dinner tonight is potato soup made with bacon grease and half and half, and homemade bread and butter. Yum! I'd better go get started on it now. Those potatoes won't chop themselves.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

just dance

Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Usher are on our reception playlist, to my fiance's chagrin. He's not a fan of pop music.

A year ago, I wasn't, either. I never listened to pop, as it was obviously garbage made for the unwashed masses. Growing up, I never owned a single CD by Hanson, N*Sync, Smash Mouth or Britney Spears.

I didn't slowly warm up to pop. It wasn't a gradually acquired taste, like grapefruit or wine. It happened in an instant.

I was on a charter bus full of American and Thai English teachers headed out to Kanchanaburi province for the weekend. The driver had a mix CD on, and about halfway to our destination, Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" came blaring through the speakers. My friend, Christy, was sitting in the seat across from me, rocking out a little bit until she noticed that a Thai driver in the next vehicle was staring. She yanked the curtain over her window and slid down in the seat, embarrassed. It was hilarious and awesome, and in that moment I experience a musical paradigm shift. I liked pop.

With my newfound appreciation for pop came an enjoyment of dancing to it. Before Bangkok, I had never been out dancing. Ever the bookworm, I spent my college years holed up in the library most nights. Going dancing in a big, foreign city with my girl friends was exhilarating and fun, and I'm so glad I didn't miss out on the experience before I got "too old."

So this new, dancing side of my personality wants to ensure that guests will boogie at our wedding reception. I am putting together the most irresistible dance playlist known to mankind. It will feature a mix of decades, from the Beatles to Beyonce, Michael Jackson to (dare I say it?) Miley Cyrus. Motown, a little disco, swing, and pop. And a little booze to get people loosened up. Yep, that's my recipe for a par-tay.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I decided to turn this into a wedding planning blog with the end goal of maybe, perhaps, possibly attempting to apply to be a Weddingbee blogger.

For those who are unfamiliar with wedding blog-land (which includes most of my friends and acquaintances who might be reading), is a big 'un. Its readership is far and wide and blogging there would be a great opportunity to put my writing out there.

My last couple of entries have been an attempt at the Weddingbee style of blogging. Or maybe just wedding blogging in general. And I found out that it's not working for me; it feels forced. I'm just not one to internet-squeal (OMGEEEEEEE!!) over the cuteness of a [insert random wedding-associated thing here].

And I want to write, rather than provide a brief commentary on various "inspiration pictures" I find.

I'm going to continue chronicling my wedding planning/crafting as long as I have things to say about it, I guess. But I'm going forget about being a blogger on a major website and start sounding more like me.

That's all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

guestbook 4.0

In the wedding blogosphere, the days of guestbooks like these are pretty much over:

Traditionalists may cling to the white satin cover and the stark, lined pages, but, for me, it leaves no scope for the imagination.

Happily, there are lots and lots of more creative, sentimental, and aesthetically pleasing options out there today.

First up is one of my personal favorites: the fingerprint tree:

Guests "leaf" a fingerprint and sign their name. I've seen these at two weddings so far. They turn out really cute, and it's something a couple will actually display and enjoy once the wedding is over.

Another arboreal option is the wishing tree. Guests write advice, a memory, or well wishes on a piece of paper and tie it in the branches.

Another trend I've seen on a few wedding blogs is the vintage postcard and mailbox setup. It's basically another incarnation of the wishing tree.

For those who are set on a bound book, there are some great options:

A book of engagement photos:

A book of photography -- perhaps featuring a place that has special significance for the couple, an artist they love, a favorite sports team... There are unlimited options.

For the couple with an incurable case of wanderlust, an atlas!! (Photo to come when I track it down.)

Music lovers could have guests sign old records with a silver Sharpie, and display them in their new home, like so:

Personal photo

When you forget the old pearl and satin standby, the sky is the limit.

So what would you most enjoy putting your name on?