Wedding favors and other small details

So you may have noticed a few more items on our wedding tables that I failed to go into more detail about in the last wedding post, mainly the wedding favors, the table numbers, and the confetti:

Table numbers, favors, etc.

Well. I got quite the deal on the table number frames. My mom was perusing her local Craigslist looking for nice, reusable items from other weddings when she came across the ad for these Ikea Tolsby frames.  The recently married woman had used them for her wedding and I knew that they’d be perfect for our table numbers. They are sold at Ikea for $0.99 each, but I got 15 frames for $10 – obviously the deal of the century :-)  Actually, the real savings was in: 1) ending my indecisiveness about table numbers and 2) saving me the 2-hour drive to the closest Ikea.  Ben designed some simple table numbers using the Lavanderia font and printed them on white cardstock – done.  Simple and easy!

The confetti you see on the table was simple, easy and almost FREE!  I picked up a few large paint chips at a hardware store in our wedding colors, I only needed maybe 5-6 of each color because they were the larger approx. 3×6 paint chips.  Then I spray-painted the back of the paint chips white (they were covered in typed information about the paint), waited for the white spray paint to dry, then used a great craft punch to cut out hydrangea petal-shaped “confetti” in our wedding colors! I used this punch, and it was a pretty mindless task that I completed when I watched TV. The whole confetti project only cost about $5 for the cost of the paper punch because the paint chips were free and I already had white spray paint.

To go with our Lego theme, we decided to fill some simple jars with “Lego” candy. We bought the candy in bulk at a local farmer’s market, but you can also purchase it online from a million types of vendors if you do a search for “Lego candy”. The jars I purchased for a pretty good price from TheKnot.com.  I wasn’t crazy about the free personalized stickers that came along with the jars, so I asked a friend to design a pretty image/logo for us (she chose cascading mountains because of our wedding venue).  I printed about 25 circles to a page on 8 1/2 x 11 sticker paper then punched them out using this 1-inch round punch. Then we just peeled off the paper backing and centered the stickers on the lid of the mason jar.

Wedding favors

Cost Breakdown:

  1. 15 Ikea Tolsby frames from Craigslist: $15
  2. Table numbers printed on white cardstock: $2-3
  3. Paint chip confetti – $5 for the paper punch
  4. Wedding favor mini mason jars: $75
  5. Mountain logo stickers: $5 for punch, $5 for labels
  6. Bulk “Lego” candy: $25

Total: $133

For those of you keeping count, $100 of the $133 was for the wedding favors. We had 59 guests, so that comes out to spending a grand total of $1.70 for each wedding guests’ favor. Not too shabby!

Do any of you have any unique ideas for wedding favors?  I’d love to read all about them!

December 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm 2 comments

Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails

Ok, well there aren’t actually any puppy-dogs’ tails in this post, but there are plenty of frogs and snails!

Green, blue and gray baby quilt

This is a baby quilt I made for my sweet little baby nephew – it was a simple design and it came together pretty quickly!  I used part of Michael Miller’s Backyard Baby fabric collection, along with a few other coordinating fabrics my local quilt shop had on hand.  I used the Swirly Girls Fat Quarter Four Patch quilt (from their Think Fast! book) as my jumping off point and kinda tweaked the cut sizes and dimensions to make a baby quilt.

I think my favorite part is the fabric – I just LOVE the little snakes and snails and bugs crawling all over – perfect for a little boy.  Here’s a close-up on the quilt fabric, please forgive my dark chalk quilting lines:

Close-up

Personally, I’m not a fan of baby quilts with “baby themes” (like little diaper pins and bottles all over them) because I want the baby to use and love the quilt well into their toddler and elementary school years.  I tend to go with themes that will transition well into older years, like dinosaurs, cars and trucks, animals, etc.

Here’s one final look at the quit before I sign off…isn’t the quilt that much cuter with a sweet baby on it?!  My nephew’s such a little doll :-)

Cuter with a baby

December 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm 2 comments

Simple Yet Beautiful Table Decor

Our wedding venue was a small local brewery in Afton, VA  called the Blue Mountain Brewery. I showed you photos of the brewery here. We can’t say enough wonderful things about Blue Mountain – the service, food, and ambiance can’t be beat.  Their event coordinator was absolutely saint-like and patient a pleasure to work with during the planning process, and their day-of event staff is first-rate. Ben and I would recommend them to anyone who’s looking for a small, casual yet beautiful, wedding. My beloved blue mason jars fit right into their decor :-)

Since their decor was already pretty nice, I felt that only very simple table decorations were necessary. Keep it simple, right?  I love, love, LOVE blue mason jars and so I knew the table decor would center around those.  And I found a table runner edged in lace that I fell in love with on Pinterest that was our inspiration for the runners (see it here). So that was the general idea, here’s what the final product looked like:

Wedding Table Decor

And this is how we accomplished this look on a pretty small budget:

Table runners – all fabric and lace was purchased at Joann Fabrics (with a coupon!) for about $100. The lace was the most expensive part of the purchase – I think the fabric was $5/yard and we bought about 5 yards. We had 8 tables, so that comes to just about $10/table.  After doing the research on rental table linens, we knew this was an absolute bargain. The brewery’s tables were gorgeous and in great condition, so we were able to forgo basic table cloths and just use our DIY table runners. They took my mom and I about a day to sew and were pretty simple to make. We just measured the width/length of fabric we needed (based on the size of the table), folded the raw edges of the fabric under, pinned them, and sewed the lace to the edges. Easy peasy :-)

Mason Jars – Most of them were either borrowed/free (a family friend had a collection she lent to us for the day) and my mom and I were able to purchase some for pretty inexpensively, for about $20 total (I refuse to pay more than $2-3/jar and some antique store vendors try to charge $7-10 per jar). Be frugal people! You CAN find blue mason jars for a good price! We used about 15 mason jars of varying sizes in the indoor and outdoor decor.

Flowers – I found an awesome florist in town that was willing to work with my small budget. You’d be amazed how many florists simply told me my wedding/budget was too small and they couldn’t be bothered to help me. I was SHOCKED. It never occurred to me that would be an issue! We spent a total of $330 for flowers and this included my bouquet, my 2 bridesmaid’s bouquets, and a daisy halo for Ben’s friend Abby (who was one of his attendants, she was a “groomsmaid”) and all of the flowers for the mason jars. The table flowers arrived loose to help us save some money – 4 of us arranged them in the mason jars the day before the wedding. The brewery allowed us to store them overnight in a refrigerator on the premises. Our florist ordered “wildflowers” per my request and tried to order as much as she could locally to keep the prices down. And she did a SPECTACULAR job on our bouquets. Here they are:

Bride and bridesmaid bouquets

Lego buckets – Oh, did I forget to mention that we had a Lego theme at our wedding? Ben’s just crazy about them and I thought it could be a cute idea as long as it wasn’t overdone. It was pretty cute, if I say so myself :-) We purchased 10 galvanized metal tubs in the Target dollar spot (1 each for the 6 smaller tables, and 2 each for the two long skinny tables) and bought ribbon that matched the bridesmaids dresses (from Joann Fabrics again) to thread through the holes on the sides. Ben bought a bulk tub of legos online for about $60 (I think) for a total of approx. $75.  The legos were a HIT! All of our friends and family seemed to get a kick out of them and built all sorts of neat Lego creations. Here’s what our sweet nephew made for us that day:

Lego_JenBen

Cost breakdown:

  1. Fabric for table linens: $100 (Blue Mountain provided the fabric napkins, the flatware and the glasses)
  2. Mason Jars for flower arrangements: approx. $20
  3. Flowers for table arrangements: approx. $150 (the other $180 went to the 3 bouquets and daisy halo)
  4. Lego Buckets: $75 (for the Legos themselves, the Target Dollar Spot buckets, and the ribbon)

Total: $345 for the table decorations and entertainment. Not bad, considering all we got for that amount!

What do you think about our DIY wedding table decor? Has anyone else abandoned traditional table cloths for a simple table runner?  I’ll be back soon to talk about our other wedding DIY projects!

December 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Our guiding philosophy to wedding planning…

Ok – now that we’re almost 7 months removed from our early June wedding, I guess I should start to introduce some of the projects we tackled to keep the wedding budget affordable!

Wedding-Arrow

Before we were even officially engaged, Ben and I talked about what we both wanted our wedding to be like.  We both agreed that we wanted a small event (around 50-60 people) and we wanted to keep the costs as low as possible. Here’s our philosophy that guided every aspect of our wedding planning:

1) Neither of us are fans of being the center of attention and hoped that a small event would alleviate some of that uncomfortable feeling we both knew would come with being THE bride and THE groom at OUR OWN WEDDING.

2) Budget was an issue, and neither of us wanted to go into debt over paying for our wedding and honeymoon.  We have aspirations to own a house one day, and the idea of spending the equivalent of a house downpayment on a wedding (it’s ONE DAY, people. One day!) made us cringe.  Yikes.

3) We’re not millionaires.  Though each of our parents contributed financially what they could (and we are so grateful for their support!) we knew that the remainder would be on us and we wanted to minimize expenses as best as we could without skimping and making the event look cheap.  This last part is a big one for me – it’s one of the reasons I take DIY projects as seriously as I do…nothing’s worse than seeing something and knowing at first glance that it was a DIY…a good DIY should trick someone into thinking you hired it out or purchased it outright: “Oh, wow, this is great, where did you get it?”  “Thanks, I made it, actually!”

4) I plan events for a living and wanted to keep things fairly simple, if only for my own sanity.  I’m a perfectionist, and didn’t want the stress that a large event brings.  The venue we chose allowed for simplicity because of its classic, yet rustic decor and gorgeous location. We really didn’t need a bunch of extra “stuff” to make it pretty.  I’m convinced that simplicity is good for the soul!

So what’s your wedding philosophy?  Do you and your significant other agree or disagree on your vision for your special day?

December 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

Simple DIY Gift Idea – DIY Bath Fizzies

Well Christmas day is right around the corner, and I know many people (including me!) are still scrambling to find last minute gifts for friends and family. I am always looking for inexpensive gift ideas and found a great gift idea in these DIY bath fizzies.   I came across many posts on Pinterest on DIY bath bombs, fizzies, bath salts, etc.  But all of them were slightly different, and many of the instructions contradicted other sets of instructions.  After doing LOTS of research, I found a great “recipe” for bath bombs that met all of my musts:  simple, inexpensive, and QUICK!  I made the mistake of waiting just a few days before Christmas to make these, so time was of the essence.  No worries, they came out great and seemed to be a hit.  Here’s what you need:

Fizzies_1

- Baking soda

- Citric acid

- Epsom salts

- Fragrance oil or essential oil (I bought mine at an expensive natural foods store then a few days later found it at Wal-Mart for much cheaper.  Oops!)

- A mold/shape for the fizzies (I used small tart pans from Bed Bath & Beyond – worked great and only 25 cents each)

- Spray bottle (must release a mist of water, not a stream)

- Gel food coloring (optional, I didn’t use it)

- Measuring cup

- Large mixing bowl

- I also found this YouTube video extremely helpful (I’m a visual person)

The only ingredient that I had a hard time finding was citric acid.  I found some at a local wine store, but cleaned them out of the tiny 2-ounce bottles they had.  I would recommend planning ahead better than I did and ordering a 1-lb. bag online (you can get a better price when you buy in bulk, it’s about $5-6 for a 1-lb. bag).  I spent double that for less than 1-lb. of citric acid when buying in 2-ounce increments   I also spent a little more than what I should have on my essential oil at an organic, all-natural foods store.  After Christmas I found fragrance oil at Wal-Mart for $2 (in the candle section).  Oh well, live and learn!

The basic recipe calls for 1-part citric acid to 2 parts baking soda.  Everything else is added in addition to those ingredients.  Mix together 1 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup citric acid and 1/2 cup epsom salt.  Mix these together well with your hands, making sure to loosen any lumps in the mixture to make it as smooth as possible.

Fizzies_2

Then you can add the food coloring if you’d like.  It doesn’t take much, so add very small amounts at a time (mixing with your hands) until you’re satisfied with the overall color of the mixture.  Now it’s time to add the fragrance/essential oil.  I added about 4-drops of my oil, but a little goes a long way, so be careful not to add too much!

Now this next part is the most subjective, and is where this project can go off track if you’re not careful.  Water will set off the reaction between the citric acid and the baking soda, so it must be added sparingly – hence the spray bottle.  Quickly, spritz the water (about 3 spritzes) on the mixture and then rub between your hands to distribute the moisture evenly.  Continue this until the mixture begins to change texture to the point that you can squeeze a handful and it stays together (for the most part) when you drop it back into the bowl.  In the above YouTube video, she uses 14 spritzes of water which is about what worked for me.  However, the amount of moisture in the air will affect this, as will food coloring, if you choose to use the liquid kind.  Too much moisture will cause the fizzies to fall apart, as will too little – so again, add a little at a time!

Fizzies_3

Now the mixture is ready to mold.  Pack the mixture into your chosen mold as tightly as you can, paying special attention to any corners or angles that the mold may have because these tend to crumble first.

Fizzies_4

When you’re sure it’s tightly packed, slowly and carefully upend the mold over a piece of wax paper.  Repeat these two steps over and over until you have used all of your mixture.  Then let the fizzies dry overnight (at least 8-12 hours) without disturbing them.

Fizzies_5

In my research, I found that the many tutorials varied greatly on this last step – some specified letting them dry for 6 hours, some vaguely said “overnight” and some said to leave them for 24 hours.  Well, I defied instruction and picked them up repeatedly at various points to see if they were “ready” and didn’t see much of a difference in them from the 6-hour point to the 20-hour point.  With the exception of a few slightly crumbled corners, mine came out just fine :-)  In the end, I let mine dry for about 18-20 hours because I’m paranoid cautious.  If you have the luxury of waiting longer, I think it’s always a good policy that more time is better than less.

So that’s basically it!  I purchased a package of clear plastic favor bags from the gift section of Target and placed 4 in each bag.  One of the tutorials said that 2 small fizzies should be used in one bath, so this was enough for 2 baths.  I also saw beautiful renditions of fizzies in pretty ball jars wrapped with ribbon.  I chose my favor bags because they were inexpensive (about $2 for 25), but anything will work, really.  Just don’t use tissue paper or fabric (or anything else that’s porous) to wrap them in because that will allow the scent of the essential oil/fragrance oil to disappear very quickly.

Fizzies_6That’s it!  My fizzies seemed to be well-received and I definitely plan on making them again.  They would make great gifts for colleagues at work, and are perfect teacher gifts.  Has anyone else had success with homemade bath fizzies or salts?  Please feel free to share any alternate recipes you have had success with!

Fizzies_7

December 16, 2013 at 7:08 pm 2 comments

After a little break, I’m back!

I feel terrible, really I do.  I have been a terrible blogger in the last 6 months, but at least I have a good excuse – I got married!  I’ve officially been a newlywed for a little over two weeks and am slowly but surely acclimating to a world that consists of neither grad school assignments nor wedding planning.  It was overwhelming at times, but Ben was a very involved fiance, which helped tremendously.  There have been many projects along the way and in my humble opinion, I think the end result was pretty fantastic :-)

Proof that there are some DIY wedding projects to come in future blog posts...

Proof that there are some DIY wedding projects to come in future blog posts…

Now that I have more time, my goal is to document our process, decisions we made and even some of the projects that we tackled ourselves.  We’re pretty happy with the end results :-)

June 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm Leave a comment

Baby Elephants!

No, this isn’t a blog entry about going to the zoo :-)  Even though I haven’t blogged in a few months, I did find time for a little sewing and crafting.  And during that time I made a baby quilt that I absolutely LOVE for my brother and his wife!  They are expecting a baby boy in January and won’t be traveling at Christmas, so we exchanged presents at Thanksgiving.  I was pretty excited to give them this baby quilt.  And here’s where the baby elephants reference starts to make sense:

Jason1Elephant

I think I’m a bit obsessed with this fabric.  It’s called Karma Baby by Northcott (isn’t that the most perfect name?) and comes in a pink and green scheme called Pinkle and this blue and green scheme is called Sweet Pea.  I used a kit from my favorite quilt shop, Patchwork Plus, and tweaked it a little to get the look I wanted.

Zoom_Focus Fabric

It’s a pretty simple design, but the fabric is the star here…it’s pretty stinking adorable.  The kit came with a fabric panel of the little birds, elephants, and paisley swirls.  Each had a border, and each border was a little different in size, so I had to cut everything out, size it, and sew another border around it.  It was simple piecing, and I rocked out to some music while I sewed.

Backing_Binding shot

After finishing the quilt top, I put together my batting and backing like usual.  I used a blue paisley fabric for the backing, the same striped fabric for the binding as I used for the inner border (both from the Karma Baby line), and quilted everything simply by “stitching in the ditch” along the many borders.

My brother wants to use it as a wall hanging so the baby doesn’t mess it up – I desperately want them to use it all the time!  I want the quilt to be used and loved by my nephew – if that means it becomes a little worn and tattered, that’s all right by me :-)

So what do you think?  Quilters of the world – how do you feel about your quilting masterpieces being used by their owners?  Priceless masterpieces or wearable/usable art?

January 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm Leave a comment

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