crafty-crafty

Ring pillow shmring pillow….

Posted on April 21, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty |

We won’t have a ringbearer, lacking boys of the appopriate age in our circle of friends and family.  We will, however, have the world’s best Junior Bridesmaid in my 12 year old niece, L.  She’s too grown up to be a flower girl, and too young to be a bridesmaid, so we decided that Junior Bridesmaid was the perfect role.

But what responsibilities to give her?  My stepsister, as flowergirl, will be charged with scattering rose petals along the path, but since L isn’t a flowergirl (an important distinction when you’re 12), what will she be doing?  Why, carrying the rings!  Yes, the real rings… but not on a pillow, no sirree.  She’ll be sporting a finger posy.  Behold.

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(Again, excuse the quality of the cell phone picture… we’re working on a deadline here.}

That little bit of happiness is the latest creation of my fabulous Mama and is both pretty and pretty darned functional.  The rings, as you can see, are tied on with ribbons to avoid any last minute fumbles.  The fluffy posy hides an elastic band that will fit over her finger, again avoiding any accidental fumbles while leaving her hands free for any of those necessities that you can’t think of until you’re stuck holding something that you can’t put down.  Or to help keep a flowergirl upright while navigating a trail down a hill.

Is anyone else foregoing a traditional ring pillow for something more unique?

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Because my mom is the best

Posted on March 26, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty, Thanks |

So, back before I unsubscribed to wedding inspiration blogs, I saw this on Junebug Weddings:

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Oh!  The very first wedding dress I was smitten by, before we were even engaged, was this one (and I can’t find the source to save my life, so if you know it, please speak up!):

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Something about that ruffled collar makes me swoon.  So, when I saw the picture in my blog reader, I sent my mom an email that went something like, “Hi, my favoritest dearest mom in the whole world.  Have I told you how much I love you?  Can you make me a shrug like this {the first picture}?  I would try it myself but that seems like a bad thing to attempt for the first time with only two months to go.  Love, your favorite oldest daughter.”

And I kid you not, within fifteen hours (eight of which she spent at work), I got this:

0325092239Forgive the quality of the photo; it was a cell phone picture.  More importantly, HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS MY MOM?  That pretty little shrug was designed, materials sourced and sewn in less than a day.  One. Day.  I can’t even pick out a paint color in a day.  And it’s silk shantung.  *swoon*

Go on, scroll up to the first picture and compare, then come back.  Don’t you wish you had my mama now? (Sorry, had to gloat a bit to make up for all of the times I’ve come here, sad face on, to confess that I suck at something.)

I will share more pictures when I receive it in the mail and commence to dance around my house in it, promise.  I’ll even put on other clothes on first so you don’t have to scream “ARGH!  Put some clothes on!”  In the meantime, there’s a lesson: if you’re willing to ask, you’ll often get responses beyond your wildest dreams.  So maybe inspiration blogs aren’t so bad. 😉

{Oh, yea, and while my mom doesn’t have a shop or store or webfront, she’s usually willing to help a girl out — even if the girl isn’t related to her.  PM me if you have a need that an awesome sew-er can fill.}

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Is DIY a state of mind?

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty |

In my head, I’m a DIY’er.  I’ve built furniture, painted (and painted and painted) houses, laid tile, and sewed slipcovers.  When it comes to anything home-related, I think, “I can do that!”  And then I do.

Then I started planning a wedding.  I assumed that I could pull together a fabulous wedding on a super low budget by being creative about materials.  I mean, c’mon, I practically LIVE at Home Depot and Lowe’s. (True story: every time I walk in, I’m greeted by at least one worker who asks how my latest project is going.)

The DIY bride in real life is not living up to the DIY bride in my head.  I got to thinking today, maybe I’m NOT a DIY bride.  Maybe I’m a DIY homeowner who has to accept her limitations on the bridal front.  Because boy, oh, boy, the DIY thing is not going well.

Here’s an example: wedding-day makeup.  I’ve done three makeup trials and none were quite right.  I’ve taken to wearing full makeup on a daily basis (looks really cute with my work-from-home attire, let me tell you) just to practice.  Today, at lunch, on a Walmart run for cat food, I found myself paralyzed in indecision — pinkish or yellowish eye shadow?  Um, hello, it’s FIVE BUCKS.  So I chose one, tried it out in the car in the parking lot (yea, I’m totally classy like that) and didn’t like it.

That, in a nutshell, is my DIY experience.  I assume I can do something, discover that I lack the necessary skills to make the right decisions, and get fed up and annoyed.  Then I still don’t make the right decision.  Remember my invitations frustration?

I think that it’s time to admit that I’m out of my element, and as proud as I might be to claim that I did it all myself, I just can’t… and still keep our budget low and my sanity intact.  I’m not a DIY bride, not in the “holy cow, she did just as good a job as a  professional!” sense of the term.

And yet, this post isn’t going to end like you thought it would, with me admitting that I just can’t do it and that I’ve decided to hire some pros.  While part of me would love to do that, budget-be-damned, it would feel like giving in.  And speaking of the budget, it’s definitely a factor.  I don’t want to spend much money, but I don’t want it to look like I didn’t spend much money.

So I don’t know.  I’ll let you know what happens next once I figure that out, but I’m wondering, is anyone else coming to terms with the fact that they’re just not good at the wedding DIY stuff?

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Invitations and life lessons

Posted on March 6, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty |

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I’m grumpy, and I blame it all on invitations. Well, that and ginormous vet bills for emergency ICU admissions of poisoned dogs, but since I’m more relieved to have alive dogs, I’m blaming this on the invites.

Way back when, I declared that I didn’t care to spend any money on invitations. I love, love, love paper (it’s the nerdy teacher’s pet in me who always loved stacking up her new notebooks and writing utensils at the beginning of the school year) and have drooled over invitations online just like any other bride, but in the big scheme of things they didn’t matter enough to me to warrant more than the minimum outlay. I’d rather buy furniture.

So, on one of my many wallet-sucking trips to Wal-mart, I grabbed a couple of packages of cheapo invitations (on clearance, no less). My intention was to show everyone that it didn’t matter if you spent $26 or $260, you could still have good-enough invites while saving a bundle. In fact, I joked that I could hand-write every invite on a different type and color of paper because nobody would ever know; only the “insiders” ever see the invites all together in happy stacks. But now I’m stuck.

Like Sara, I struggle with DIY. First, I’m fired up. “I can do that!” I think. “Piece of cake!” Then I get started and freeze up. “Oh, this is harder than I thought.” I walk away. Eventually, I pick it up again intending to research and make decisions, and before I know it I’m exhausted, grumpy, and overwhelmed.  “This is going to suck,” I think, “and there’s no way I have the skills to get it done.”  I pick whatever is closest, decide I really don’t care anyway, and then obsess about whether I should have done this differently or chosen that instead.

True to form, I have fifteen versions of invite wording and keep messing with font sizes. I think constantly about swoopy versus upright fonts (yea, yea, I’m going all technical on you with the terminology, ha). I ask the mister for input, then decide I like the other one better. I feel hopeless and sad that I’ll ever come up with something not-sucky.  Next thing I know, I’m back on the Paper Source website with a cart full of colors that have nothing to do with our wedding palette, all because I don’t want people to get our invite and think we’re cheap. This from a woman who declares her unwillingness to “pay retail” regularly.  To everyone.

The challenge is finding a balance between not wanting to spend a penny more than necessary with meeting my own expectations. When the going gets tough, I tend to settle for whatever’s easiest and then regret it. Looks like this has become invitation-deciding-as-life-lesson, hasn’t it?

I’m going to have to accept my inner perfectionist, find a way to make her play nice with my inner cheapskate, and either make the decision myself or trust the input of those whom I ask for guidance. And then reward myself with a glass of wine.

Does anyone else feel hopeless or overwhelmed halfway through every project you take on? How do you get past it?

{Yes, the contest is still on, until midnight today.}

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Random conversations

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: crafty-crafty, inspiration |

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While at the Aveda salon the other day getting my makeup done (oh, have I not blogged about that? *innocent look*), my stylist got to telling me about her sister’s fun and fabulous beach wedding.  I was poised to hear all about the over-the-top resort or the phenomenal food when I heard this:

“They gave us these great welcome bags with all of their favorite candy in them.  How cute is that?”

And then my world shifted on its  axis.

What she remembered most were the special touches highlighting the couple’s uniqueness.  That he loved m&m’s.  That she always had Jolly Ranchers in her purse.  That they met at a bar.  (Okay, I totally made up that last one; projecting, anyone?)

I’ve never considered doing favors or welcome bags, thinking them pain that I don’t want to take on.  I didn’t want to have to figure out what would make our loved ones happy.  Do most people like chips?  What about ginger ale – that’s a pretty benign drink choice, right?  Now I’m rethinking them.  The idea isn’t to be the Marriott, after all, making sure that they’re hydrated and managing their blood sugar levels!

If, as a wedding guest, you enjoy knowing more about the couple whose wedding you’re there to celebrate (note to self: duh), then this couple will oblige.  The mister’s gonna love another project.

Please, share your eye-opening random wedding conversations, will ya?  Or, better yet, take off your bride lenses for a bit (brides think differently than guests) and tell us what you remember about the weddings you’ve attended.

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Inclusiveness and drama

Posted on December 1, 2008. Filed under: crafty-crafty | Tags: |

I’ve been thinking a lot about our wedding party, having read and considered every one of your comments.  The theme seemed to be to surround yourself with people who support you, to include family if at all possible, and to choose bridesmaids and groomsmen to honor each phase of your lives.  I hear ya.

Your comments plus the Thanksgiving holiday (and a chat with my little brother) got me thinking that there are really two strategies for choosing a wedding party: inclusive or exclusive.  I didn’t know which way to go.  As I told my brother, the “point” of a wedding party is to surround yourselves with the people who will support you and your marriage going forward, not necessarily just to honor childhood friends or family.  He then reminded me that many wedding traditions are also about honoring the people in your life, regardless of your current feelings.  Hmmmm.

Because I always want to limit drama, I’d leaned toward keeping our wedding party small.  More people = more input = more coordination = more drama… right? Yea, except that the more I think about it, the more it seems that leaving people out is what creates drama.  People want to be included, honored, needed – especially when it comes to weddings.  And me?  I want to have a good time without having to worry about hurt feelings.  If that means more people rather than fewer, so be it (and yay, I’m a lucky girl!).  The mister and I had a couple more conversations, and we agreed to a larger wedding party. Yay! I love making wedding decisions!

So, with the decision made, I embarked on my very first wedding-related DIY project: Will You Be My Bridesmaid? cards.

I already had flat blue cards from Paper Source with no specific plans (What? They were on CLEARANCE!), so even though they won’t match our invitations, I decided to use them.  I bought a 99-cent roll of navy blue velvet ribbon and a package of paper scraps in assorted colors for another two bucks at A.C. Moore.  Voila!  DIY cards.

Disclaimer: I have not a crafty bone in my body, even though I have crafty yearnings.  It’s kind of like my experience in middle school band, where in spite of my best intentions, I was the worst oboe player known to man.  I swear, it sounded like geese were dying (or getting it on) when I played. My parents will corroborate my story.  In a nutshell: keep your expectations low.  Okay, ready?  [The weather here is very nasty and gray so my pictures are kinda funky.]

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I formatted the card using OpenOffice.org’s Draw application.  The font is Jane Austen from daFont.com (love), and I borrowed Mrs. Hydrangea’s dress outline (as well as the idea to make the dresses black).  In the space next to the dress, I’ve written a more personal plea (“You KNOW I need you, so please say yes?”).

Now that you DIY divas are finished pointing and laughing at my super simple cards, I’ll share my lessons learned for the less talented of us:

  • Paste the ribbon, THEN cut it to be flush along the edge of the card.  Duh, I know, but I kept cutting the ribbon to fit and then finding myself unable to match it up once the glue was on.
  • Cutting out little tiny dress outlines is no fun.  I have more respect for second graders now — they have to do this stuff with dull scissors!
  • When you’re not a DIY diva, a simple design is best as it offers less opportunity for flubbing.  My first designs were much more intricate but I decided that the frustration wasn’t worth it.

I should be seeing every one of my girls over the holidays, so I haven’t decided whether to mail the cards or wait and hand them over in person.  I’d also love to include a little gift, but after being reminded of my (lack of) crafty abilities, I’m scrapping my original idea (personalizing stationery).  Back to the drawing board.

Y’all know that I lurve to know that I’m not the only one who’s {fill in the blank}, so here goes: who’s not crafty, but wishes they were?  Who went the simple route with bridesmaid’s cards, not because they didn’t have time to be more crafty, but because they didn’t have the ability?  And if you ARE crafty, this would be the place to help those of us who aren’t!!

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    About

    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.

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