Runner FRENZY!

Or not…I’m actually not a huge fan of running in the traditional sense.  TABLE RUNNERS, however, I like.  In fact, I seem to be thinking about them (and Pinning them) a lot lately.  Until I can post photos of the Christmas/holiday-themed one I’m making for my dining room table, I thought I’d post photos of the ones I made last December.

I made one for my mother as a Christmas present, and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I wrapped it up and put it under the tree!  Oops 😉  Mom took a couple photos and emailed them to me, so here it is:

Mom_TR

I know it’s a little hard to see, so here’s a close-up to get an idea of some of the details:

Mom_TR2

I also made one for our dining room table last year – but then we got a new table!  Our old table was round and the new one is much longer (oblong-shaped?) so the square-shaped runner made for the round table doesn’t quite work.  So I’m using it in the entryway and love it there.  It looks so pretty when the twinkle lights inside the glass-block “present” are glowing 🙂

Hall_Runner

I actually am THRILLED with how it fits the square table – looks like I made it to fit perfectly!  Don’t you just love happy accidents?  Happy holidays, everyone!

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December 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

I’m Back!

So it’s been a while…I mean, I haven’t posted since SEPTEMBER!  Yikes.  Sorry it’s been so long, but I have a good reason…I’m graduating on Saturday!!  As I’ve probably mentioned before, I’ve been working full-time and going to grad school part-time for THREE looong years.  And it’s my 2nd master’s degree.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment 😉  Well I’m DONE and am excited to dive into my “new normal,” which will consist of fun DIY projects and wedding planning.

So even though I was writing a paper over Thanksgiving break, I made time for hanging with my family (my mom, brother and sister-in-law, and Ben’s family) and my mother’s two new kittens, Zoe and Max, the cutest little things you’ve ever seen. Here they are with my brother – I think Max is on the left and Zoe is on Jason’s lap but I’m not quite sure because I get them a little mixed up 🙂

Zoe and Max

And I did a little decorating around the house.  Ben’s favorite Christmas movie is Die Hard (yes, it’s evidently a Christmas movie…who knew?) and we watched it while decorating the tree and the house.  I really had fun, and think this may become a tradition in our house!

Christmas Tree

My ongoing project is making a Christmas-themed runner for our dining room table…I’m excited about the project because I love the fabric I’m working with.  Here it is below, but please forgive the photo – I was curled up on the couch with my t-shirt quilt so there’s a lot of fabric going on in this shot!

fabric_runner

And finally, here are the blocks I’ve finished so far.  I can’t wait to show you the finished product!

Quilt Runner

My next project is a Christmas tree skirt…it’s a good thing I’m done with school, because I have A TON of back-logged projects!  What DIY projects are you working on for the holiday season?  Please share 🙂

December 13, 2012 at 2:53 am Leave a comment

Find your inspiration on Pinterest

Ok – so it’s been a WHILE since I’ve posted.  Things have been pretty crazy at work (the fall’s always busy in the college admissions world) and I’m trying desperately to get through the LAST class in my master’s program before I graduate in December…yay!  AND there’s this little wedding that must be planned.  Sigh.  So much to do and not enough time!

So the REAL purpose of this post isn’t to talk about how busy I am 🙂  It’s to talk about the wonder that is Pinterest!  I log on intending to kill a few minutes and end up spending an hour.  Or two.  Pinning things.  Who would have ever thought?  With my upcoming nuptials, I am pinning more than ever, and have gotten some awesome DIY ideas.

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Pinterest is a way to store all of those project ideas online.  Instead of bookmarking different recipes and projects (and then forgetting about them), in one click you can “Pin” an image to a themed Board which allows you to organize your ideas and see photos of them in one place (not just a long list of bookmarked items).   One more click takes you to the original online instructions for the project.  Here’s what just one of my Pinterest boards, “Inspiration Quilts,” looks like.  In one glance, I can see everything that I’ve pinned and can easily choose my next quilting project 🙂

Here’s a recipe that I made a couple of months ago for a dinner with Ben’s family.  His dad is on a gluten free diet, and I found a great recipe online that I pinned to my “Recipes & Stuff” board.  It was delicious!  If you click on the link from Pinterest, it takes you to the original online post for the recipe and instructions.

Do any of you have any experience with Pinterest?  I taught my Mom a few months ago, and now she’s a fan as well.  Oh, and you can follow me on Pinterest here.  Happy Pinning!

September 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

So many wedding books, so little time!

Seriously.  Have you looked been to a bookstore lately and seen how many wedding planning and wedding etiquette books there are out there?  Hundreds.  Thousands.  It’s a little overwhelming!  A few weeks after Ben and I got engaged, I decided it was time to start thinking about details and thought that purchasing a wedding book would be helpful.  So I went to Barnes & Noble after work with the intention of buying one.  Simple, right?

My wedding planning book must-have list included:

  • Easy to read (I’m talking bullet points, not lengthy paragraphs)
  • A detailed timeline of when to accomplish wedding items (when the heck are you supposed to mail save-the-dates?)
  • Helpful tips

Well let me start by saying that I plan admissions events for a university.  I’ve never planned a wedding before, but I have a good idea of where to start because it seems pretty simple.  Following the logic of how I plan my work events, I know to start with the big-ticket items first (date, venue, vendors, etc.) and leave the small details for later (decor, etc.).  So while I’m not a complete events novice, I still have A LOT to learn about weddings (hence the need for a book).  All this being said, I was at Barnes & Noble for 2 and 1/2 hours!!

I had no idea what I was in for – so many of the books seemed incredibly simplistic.  Not helpful at all, really.  Think I’m being harsh?  It took me going through 4 or 5 books before I even found a wedding planning timeline, and I thought that was something pretty basic that all the books would include.  Obviously my expectations were a tad high.  Oops.

So I bought a Frappuccino and grabbed a table and a big stack of books.  In general I found a majority of them to be a little too “dated,” like I was planning a wedding in the 80’s instead of 2012, and many were too formal for the casual feel we’re after.  Some books spent as many as 30 pages on how to pick a venue.  Is that really necessary?

Anyway, I decided on a book called Wedding Planning Made Easy Featuring DIY and Green Wedding Tips from WedSpace.com by Elizabeth and Alex Lluch.  Right away I noticed that it featured an extensive timeline (awesome) and was super easy to read.  I love that it includes great charts for making budgets as well as things I never would have DREAMED I would need, like how to address invitations (with multiple examples) and what to pack for the honeymoon.  Just going through the timeline gave Ben and I ideas of things we hadn’t considered yet.  We definitely consider it a good investment for the $12 (or so) that I spent.

Am I the only one out there who had this experience with wedding planning books?  And have any of you found any helpful wedding books you can recommend?  I’d love to hear about your experiences (and your book recommendations)!

 

August 22, 2012 at 2:12 am 2 comments

Yard sales are a girl’s best friend

So, I’ve been thinking about wedding decor for a while now, and it didn’t take me long to decide to go with the whole casual, country chic look.  For me, this means mason jars and other simple details.  I know that some are saying that the blue mason jar thing is “so last year,” but I just don’t care.  I’ve loved the look for years, and I’m using them at our wedding.  So there 🙂

I’ve searched the internet for blue mason jars and looked at antique/junk shops when I have the chance.  They are SO expensive in some places!  I swear, some people will pay anything. Not me!  I have a bad habit of wanting nice things but refusing to pay top dollar for them.  With our small wedding budget, we definitely can’t afford to pay $12 per mason jar…$2 per jar is much more in our price range.  I’ve found that if I’m patient, then I can get the blue mason jars I want at yard sales and estate sales – definitely worth the wait!

A little earlier in the summer, a friend and I went to a large community yard sale in our area.  It was seriously a yard-saler’s dream – park and walk to 5 or 6 different yard sales before driving to another street and starting all over again!  Amazing 🙂

Here’s what I found that day:

An old wooden box, a wooden organizer with a handle, 3 blue mason jars (small, medium, and large, $2 each), and an old milk bottle.  I think I spent about $16 on everything that day.  The plan is to use the glass pieces on the tables and use the wooden box and organizer in the reception area.  Pretty, and I’ve already used the largest mason jar and the milk bottle as vases for flowers that Ben surprises me with.  He’s pretty sweet like that 🙂

Do you all have any tips for finding hidden gems at yard sales?  I’d love to hear them!

August 14, 2012 at 2:31 am 2 comments

Isabella Claire

I  have the day off today, and shockingly, I’m spending my day watching the Olympics.  I am constantly inspired by the Olympians and the obstacles they have overcome to be successful.  I’m a little sad that my favorite Olympic sport, swimming, is finishing up.  As a former swimmer (just my neighborhood’s summer swim team – Go Sharks!) I could sit and watch heat after heat of swimmers and be a very happy girl.

Anyway, as I’m sitting at home, my cat Bella is keeping my company so I thought I’d introduce you to my sweet little pet.  She’s a pretty important part of my life and just don’t know what I’d do without her.  I adopted Bella almost 7 years ago when she was just about 6-7 weeks old, and we’ve done a lot of growing-up together.  Bella is short for Isabella Claire, and no I did NOT name her after Twilight’s Bella. It’s just a coincidence, I promise.  The first 2 photos are of Bella as a kitten, and Bella now.  She used to be so tiny!

Bells is a complete fraidy cat.  She hides whenever people come to the house, and it’s a HUGE deal when she mixes and mingles with people when they come to visit.  Ben had only seen her 3-4 times before we moved in together.  She’s a regular ‘ole domestic short hair, but I’m told that her father was a Siamese, which may explain why she’s bonded so strongly to one person (me) and why she likes to “talk.”  She also loves to hide in plain sight – mostly behind pillows and under chairs.

Bella loves to “help” me when I’m working on projects.  And by help, I mean that sometimes she gets into a little trouble playing with my project supplies.  The worst is when I’m working with ribbon and/or wrapping presents because she likes to be right in the middle of what I’m doing.  Most of the time this means sitting on my wrapping/tissue paper (see below).  Otherwise, she’s quite dainty – she steps over and around things.  I can’t remember the last time she knocked anything over or broke anything!

So that’s your introduction to my Bella.  I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of her – she’s just so darn adorable that I can’t help taking photos of her doing cute things!

I’ll be back soon with some updates – I’ve had some great luck at yard sales and estate sales lately.  Once I take the photos, I’ll post about my plans for what I’ve purchased!

August 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm 1 comment

And we have a venue!

So even though we weren’t officially engaged, Ben and I have been talking about getting married for at least 6 months.  It has been amazing to see how similar our views are on what we want our wedding to be.  As an event planner, I tend to be pretty meticulous about details and I knew a small wedding would mean fewer pesky details for me to obsess over focus on.  That, and I’ve always hated to be the center of attention – I shudder at the thought of standing in front of 100+ people.  Luckily Ben agreed to a smaller, more simple wedding, and we both like the idea of NOT spending $20,000.  Actually, our total wedding budget is more like $5,000.

Keeping a small budget in mind, it was pretty frustrating to find a venue for the ceremony + reception.  I have great colleagues who put up with me talking A LOT about this issue, and one of them (thanks Caitlin!) recommended a brewery about 40 minutes away.  I know what you’re thinking – A BREWERY?!?  But after doing some research, this place, the Blue Mountain Brewery, began to look like a major contender:  our ideal date was available; the rental fee was reasonable because it included lots of amenities; the event coordinator was really great to work with; and the food was delicious and affordable.  Oh, and Ben liked that it was a brewery 🙂 I have to tell you, this was major.  I really want him to be excited about our wedding location, and if it takes beer to make him love the venue, I’ll take it!

We went to visit, and here’s what we saw: a beautiful location for an outdoor ceremony, and a casually elegant indoor reception location.

Beautiful, right?  So we came home and talked about it and ultimately decided to put down a deposit!  For the record, I don’t care that our venue is a brewery.  I actually think it’s a beautiful place, and that’s all I really care about.  The beer doesn’t bother me in the least 🙂

Do you know of anyone who has gotten married at a brewery?  Or are we trail blazers in the wedding world?  🙂

August 2, 2012 at 3:29 am Leave a comment

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