April 5, 2010
I’ve devised a unique way of displaying our escort cards: on a magnet mirror!
I first found this magnet mirror at one of my favorite home decor sites, Layla Grayce:
I did a Google search and up came the same product cheaper at other online retailers, score!
After procuring ribbon, eyelet escort cards from Martha Stewart that I found at Big Lots, and small butterfly magnets that I made, I put together 150 cute little magnet escort cards. They’re currently blank, awaiting names to be written.
A close-up of the butterfly magnet:
I made each one by attaching a small-yet-strong circular magnet to the back of the brass butterfly bead with hot glue.
Then I strung wire through a bead, strung that through the hole in the bead, and used the wire to secure the ribbon.
The ribbon was strung through a hole-punched, skinny escort card, which was cut from larger eyelet escort cards courtesy of MS. The guests’ names will be written on the front, and the table number on the inside of the card.
I just love how they look on the magnet board mirror:
We’re going to hang the escort card mirror from its white silk ribbon from a branch of a huge old white oak tree, right next to the beverage bar.
I thought the magnets would be handy for guests to tack on to their beverage jars, to mark them for the evening, as there’s only one jar per person. I’m going to buy magnet paint (it exists, I Googled it!) and paint some small circular tags, hole punch them, and then tie them on to the rafia bows I’ve already attached to all my half-pint mason jars.
We’re not going to have any signs telling people what to do (I don’t really want to clutter up the beverage area and oak tree with signs) so the Paisley bridesmaids will be on hand to spread the word about the nifty magnet escort card’s ability to do double-duty as a drink marker. Hope it works!
Have you strived to find a totally different way of displaying a certain element, like escort cards, at your wedding? Spill the details, please!
April 4, 2010
I’m back with pictures of the drink bar Papa Paisley and I constructed.
We based it on this lovely wine barrel design:
I thought I’d try to add some drift wood and a shelf to the drink bar, like in this photo:
But while I was in the house, Papa Paisley surprised me with a new idea, and built the drink bar shelf using stacked flagstones:
I love it! The walnut burl slab as the shelf is beautiful, and the flat rock is as well. My glass beverage containers fit perfectly on it, and lifted up like that it will be easier for guests to turn the nozzle on the dispensers to get their drinks.
And it’s a big plus that this design saves me tons of time–I won’t have to glue small pieces of driftwood all over two cinder blocks like I’d previously planned to do.
On the Big Day, I plan to dress up the bar using lemons and a large container full of grosso lavender, a deep blue lavender variety. There will be 140 small mason jars (half pint) with rafia bows on the first shelf for drink jars, and of course the beverage containers on the second level.
On a side note, I think it’s hilarious that my dad kept putting this weird rock on the shelf in all the pictures he took.
He was so proud of that rock. He found it with a piece of mud dried onto it in such a way that it made a little stand for the heavy rock:
Haha, my dad’s so cute.
And, yes, those are blue mason jars I scored at a tiny antique store in Kelseyville from a super sweet lady for $20. A total of 25 jars plus the dusty, neat old chest they came in. They had been untouched since the ’70s and were covered in so much grime they were black until I scrubbed them clean. But, hey, you can’t beat less than a dollar for antique blue mason jars!
While we were at it, we made a recycling receptacle. Or rather, Papa Paisley made it. By the way, I LOVE that to do this project, he took one of his tractors (he has over 100–he owns a farm equipment repair business), went across the street to the vineyard owners who have some extra barrels, loaded them up and brought them back all before I woke up that morning.
To make the wine-barrel-recycling-receptacle I had dreamed up, it took him all of three seconds to cut a hole for the cans and bottles to be tossed through:
My dog Trixie really liked it:
I’m thinking next we’ll make the dinner buffet tables (my caterer says I need three of them in a row) using found wood and wine barrels.
Have you constructed any major elements of your wedding like a drink bar or maybe dance floor? Do tell!
March 22, 2010
I first fell in love with the concept of birch vases when I saw wedding planner Beth Helmstetter’s design:
These photos by Jose Villa are incredible, and I swooned for birch!
How gorgeous, right?!
This wedding is one of my favorites. I’ve also copied Beth’s lace-covered candles from this wedding:
Mine aren’t quite as gorgeous, but it was such a rewarding DIY project, that I highly recommend it:
My table mock up, with candles, birch vases, and white hem-stitch table runners on clearance for $19 each from Pottery Barn (waaay cheaper than even renting long table runners from the linen rental companies):
Anyway, let’s get down to the birch vase tutorial. First, collect your birch bark. I got mine used from a bride, and paid too much (I was so excited to find birch cylinders at all, that I jumped the gun). I paid about $7 per cylinder for 20 of them.
Then I found a bunch more at Pottery Barn on clearance. They had them the past two winters, so maybe they’ll have them again next winter.
I also found a seller on Etsy who lives in Canada and sells birch bark cylinders, so you can try Etsy. I can’t remember the seller’s name, however–sorry!
Chances are, some of the birch cylinders won’t be the right size you want them to be. If that’s the case, measure your “inside” vase–it can be a jar or can since it will be hidden, and measure how large you’ll need your birch cylinder to be, allowing for about a 2-inch overlapping seam of bark.
Here are my Pottery Barn cylinders and my tools: scissors, a pencil, and a ruler:
The cylinders were way too big, so I pried them apart at the seams (they had been hot glued together at the seams).
I then measured and cut them to the size I needed. Some of them were funkily-made with several “seams” and sections of bark forming one cylinder. I want only one seam so I can position the cylinders in pairs on the tables with the seams pointing in to each other so they’re hidden.
Here’s a picture of a PB birch cylinder cut in half, showing the funky extra pieces Pottery Barn had used to make them larger. I simply pulled those off.
Then I measured, traced a cutting line in pencil, and used scissors to cut the bark. Depending on how thick your bark is, you might want to use heavier shears or cutting tools. I used an Xacto knife once to start the cut, but I don’t recommend doing that! The Xacto knife was way too flimsy for the beefy bark.
Now you’re ready to put ‘em back together again!
I got a couple balls of twine and rafia ready, plugged in my hot glue gun, and started putting them back together again.
Some of the bark pieces weren’t very flexible, so I soaked them in the bathtub for an hour, which I found made it easier to bend the bark.
I held the cylinder together the size I wanted it, making sure the seam overlapped about a couple of inches so I’d have room to hot glue it securely. I then traced a line in pencil, as you can see in this picture, so I knew where exactly to apply hot glue. This also helped me create a perfectly straight seam in the haste of trying to quickly apply hot glue and then put the cylinder together before it dried on me!
I applied hot glue quickly and liberally. This was hard, because I needed to stop in the middle each time and add another hot glue stick into the glue gun. I used a lot of glue! About one stick for each cylinder! You might find you need more or less, depending on how large your cylinders are.
I held it together as tightly as possible while the glue dried.
I found this technique of smashing it down on the table using my palms worked pretty well:
I used both palms, for the record. (I had to remove one hand to take a picture!) Oh, if you’re wondering what that cardboard cylinder is on the inside, it came with the Pottery Barn cylinders, and for this particular vase, I was only shortening the length, not the circumference, so I decided to stick the cardboard cylinder inside for extra support.
I tied it in twine, to secure it. I’ll remove the twine for the wedding.
All done! My friend brought me some pretty wedding flowers, and I did a little mock up:
Have you used birch in your wedding? What did you make or buy that was birch?
March 13, 2010
As I work on wedding projects, I sometimes change the lyrics to My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music and belt it out for a little self-made background music to all my crafting:
“…lace-covered candles and pink-colored parasols, signature cocktails and birch-bark flower vases, these are a few of my favorite things!”
My lyrics can get a little wordy.
“Blue-colored mason jars and crisply-ironed table runners, pale aqua favor boxes and milk glass cake pedestals, cream-colored macaroons stacked up in tiers, these are a few of my favorite things!”
OK, a lot wordy. And it usually doesn’t rhyme. But it helps me slog through my seemingly endless to-do list of DIY projects.
Lately I’ve been focusing on the lace-covered candles, inspired by these lovely things made by wedding planner extraordinaire Beth Helmstetter:
Beth has a tutorial to show you step-by-step how it’s done!
My way of doing it was a little different. I ordered lace fabric super cheap online. I ordered a 10-inch eyelet design, so I knew I would have a continuous eyelet pattern whether I was covering 4-inch vases, or 10-inch tall vases. Then I cut out pieces according to the sizes of the glass cylinders I’d collected:
I love that the 10-inch long eyelet pattern means I have a lovely scalloped edge for each glass cylinder, and I don’t have to worry about finishing or folding over the edges.
Being a very impatient person, I didn’t bother to run to Michaels to buy spray adhesive for the fabric. I just busted out some old glue sticks and rolled it all over each fabric piece.
Then I put it on the cylinder at one end and carefully rolled the cylinder until it was completely covered in the fabric. Next, I smoothed out any bubbles and set it aside to dry. This project went surprisingly quickly. I tried to do about eight per night for a couple of weeks straight. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve done at this point. It’s more than 150. I have about 50 left to go.
I can’t wait to see how they look with hundreds of ‘em lined up on super long tables. They’ll be grouped together along with dozens of small tealight votives, and interspersed ever so often with birch-covered vases full of home grown flowers by mamma Paisley.
Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to make birch-covered vases!
March 11, 2010
Yup, that’s what’s on the to-do list with Papa Paisley this weekend. In other words, I’m crazy! I’m heading up to wine country to my grandma’s house tonight, where the wedding will be. There, the plan is to build a driftwood arbor, drink bar, wine bar and a couple of other projects are in the works as well. I hope brother Paisley helps us out, too. That would be awesome, because we’ll need all the help we can get!
Here’s our inspiration driftwood arbor:
That should take up one day pretty sufficiently! It takes a long time to collect pretty driftwood from around the lake.
The next project on the list is building a beverage bar to house 140 small mason drinking jars, and four large 5 gallon glass beverage dispensers for our signature cocktails.
Here’s our inspiration for that:
But I’m going to add a second level to it inspired by this driftwood design:
See all those tiny pieces of driftwood magically holding up that shelf with the beverage dispensers on top? I don’t know how the designers for Pottery Barn built it, but for mine, I’m going to just prop a driftwood plank up on two cinder blocks and then use a glue gun to disguise the cinder blocks with the driftwood pieces.
We’re also going to take wine barrels and cut cylindrical holes in them to transform them into recycling and trash receptacles for the wedding. And one wine barrel will be the designated wine bar, with a couple of stocked wine racks at the base and an opener attached to the barrel “tabletop” with a small rope. That way, those who want wine can serve themselves throughout the night, but our day-of coordinator won’t have to worry about the wine opener disappearing!
Stay tuned for pictures of everything once it’s built!
February 13, 2010
Hello there! It’s so nice to see you! I’m Miss Paisley, and I’ve actually been a Bee since I was a very young gipper. First, I was a “busy bee” at Busy Days Preschool, where I adored the mascot bee with all the unbridled enthusiasm of a five-year-old.
Then, my first job out of college was as a daily news reporter at the Record-Bee newspaper! Of course, the bee was also the mascot there. On a recent visit back to my hometown paper, my dear friend and editor of the Bee gifted me this lovely hat:
Which I think is so appropriate considering I’m once again…a bee!
I can’t wait to get started telling you all about our chic, family-lake-house wedding we’re planning. Get ready for a healthy serving of DIY projects, a little letterpress printing, and a side of bumps, surprises and relationship lessons.
But first, let me tell you more about Mr. Paisley and me. He’s a Spanish professor, and I’m a journalist. I used to work as an editor for a national glossy magazine, before I decided to start my freelance writing career last summer (so glad I did).
Professor Paisley and I met on the forever-exquisite day of Jan. 3, 2007. The date is seared into my mind because I was moving back to Santa Cruz to complete my Feminist Studies degree after just having finished a 10-month stint in the UC Center Sacramento journalism program. The future-Professor-Paisley greeted my mom and me in the hallway.
“He is SO cute!” I said to Mama Paisley.
“And he’s a professor, too!” I squealed. “Biology, wasn’t it?”
“I think he said Spanish…but now don’t you go after him, young lady!” Mama Paisley warned. I’m pretty sure she even wagged her finger.
She was right about the first part–the Spanish Professor bit–but the second? O-oh no! I’m glad I made the first move. He followed up with a date to Greek food, and we’ve been pretty much inseparable since, save one year when he was in Orange County and I was up in NorCal working. Let’s just say there were a lot of long nights in the newsroom followed by 8-hour-long drives with me arriving in the OC at 5 or 6 a.m., only to turn around and leave again 24 hours later. Yup, it was love!
Together, we’re a couple of goofballs who dig all things outdoors. He’s a Utah boy and an avid rock climber. I’m a NorCal-turned-SoCal girl, and an ex-river-rafting guide and ropes course facilitator.
Here we are in August about to summit Mt. Whitney, with Groomsman Josh. I think we all look pretty funny.
But not as funny as this:
Weddingbee has been an important community for me for the last year-plus, so you can imagine I’m feelin’ extra honored to be here. I relish this opportunity to build friendships in the ‘hive, hear what you have to say and share my thoughts.
With less than 5 months until the wedding, get ready for some busy bee days ahead!
January 18, 2010
The feather hair flower: the trend of the ’10′s (is that what you call the year/decade we’re in now?) I believe a hair flower–and I’m talking a normal-sized (nothin’ against the gimongous ones, they’re just not my thing), plain ivory, with or without a few feathers–will become the one trend of the early 2000′s to transcend all time and become a classic. I’m talking, Grace Kelly-chignon-classic. Audrey Hepburn’s-French-twist-and-tiny-bangs-classic. Don’t believe me? Take a gander (haha) at these feathery finds in an inspiration board I made:
And even if they do date your pictures, who cares? I’m on the train to feather town and not lookin’ back! BUT. Why do they have to cost so much? $40 or more for a few feathers and scraps of ivory silk. Well, I can just do it myself! (Do you like to…do it yourself? *Rapid succession of suggestive eyebrow raising* 40-year-old-Virgin anyone?)
Sooo, I researched feather flowers, and learned the pretty, delicate feathers are roosters’ tails, otherwise known as “coque” feathers. I found them as cheap as $3.75 online for a pack of 60 dyed white. I’ve ordered them, and when they arrive, I’ll do a tutorial to show how I strip them (you have to strip the bottom section of feathers off to leave the delicate “tuft” at the very top), and create my hair feather flower. And I’m sorry if I’m being wordy calling it “hair feather flower”–it’s just that the word “facinator” bugs me.
Other than the feathers, I’ll just have to buy the clip to attach the flower to, because I plan on using a couple of ivory silk flowers taken off a J. Crew shirt I own. I never wear the shirt, so it’s a good way to repurpose the flowers. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!
Have you made your own hair flower? Share a link to pictures, I want to see them!
January 17, 2010
I fell in love with this hair inspiration from Knottie Mrs. Pdxbride06 pretty early on in my wedding planning process:
I realized more than anything, I loved that hair clip! Turns out they’re custom-made hair pins from August Veils according to Mrs Pdx’s planning page, and I’m guessing they’re most likely based on the Donna style:
But the price tag wasn’t so pretty, so I decided to pop online and find the cheapest beads and crystals I could. I really didn’t look around for very long, because it seemed like Beaded Impressions had what I was looking for and at the right cost. I ordered one strand of 4mm rose quarz beads, and 4mm preciosa crystals in light rose, capri blue in case I want a little somethin’ blue, and crystal (clear). I also ordered a strand of freshwater pears in natural, which are a mix of pinks, metallics and ivories, as nature intended.
I had some fine-gauge wire already cut into two-inch long pieces from my paper pomander ball project. And I had a bunch of regular bobby pins I thought I’d use. Well, this weekend my beads arrived in the mail and they were everything I’d hoped they could be and more! With around 48 beads per strand, I’ll have enough to make my ‘maids presents, too! Not bad for $25.
My “workstation” aka the couch, for my wire and beads as I watched Sleepless in Seattle and twisted away:
I didn’t use any professional beading tools, just a pair of pliers. This is what I pulled off in about 10ish minutes:
In person, it looks just like the August Veils’ photo hairpin. I am so happy with how they’re turning out! I think I’ll try to do five pins per Grey’s Anatomy night.
Tip: Do this project well ahead of your wedding, because it wreaks havoc on your fingernails.
January 16, 2010
I letterpress printed my own invitation suite, in four colors, and I saved more than $10,000, no joke.
I spent a total of $650.
Let me explain briefly why I saved $10,000: A high-quality, one-color invitation alone costs about $700 for 100 invitations. Add on additional colors, and elements like save the dates, response cards and programs, and the price mounts exponentially. This is why most people have two-colors-or-fewer invitations. I did 20-plus total press runs for my save the dates, invites, programs and response cards. That means for each color, the invitation was hand-fed into the press about 130 times in my case (I allowed for spoilage…and man, was there a lot of it.)
The entire process took one week, an exhausting yet exhilarating 50-plus hours with my new-found friend and mentor. I worked from 9 a.m until 7 or 8 p.m., often without taking breaks or eating. I was focused. I didn’t want to stop. I loved it. Here’s the tale of how it happened:
I started getting serious about the process a year ago. But the story actually starts two years ago.
I began with a non-wedding related interest in the art of letterpress. I took four workshops that cost me $90.
I got engaged, and began dreaming of printing my own suite.
One year ago, I began learning up on letterpress printing by checking out books and online forums.
Nine months ago, I met and made “friends” with people in the letterpress forums. One of those people would become my mentor, and truly a great friend.
We exchanged hundreds of emails. I learned everything about printing that you possibly could over email.
Eight months ago, I found a design I LOVED on Style Me Pretty. I found out who the graphic designer was, and contacted her. She agreed to do the same design, with tweaks, for me, plus design an all-new save the date and response card for me. She ended up making a bee-eautiful monogram as well, free of charge as a wedding gift:
Five months ago, I used a 20 percent off coupon at Paper Source to buy all the paper and envelopes I needed. I got an additional 40 percent off for buying a discontinued luxe white, and the ice-blue envelopes I coveted also had the same sale, so I lucked out and bought $400-plus worth of paper products for around $115.
I began working with Boxcar Press to create my poly plates I needed to letterpress the designs. I ended up being overcharged $40, because they spaced out my designs incorrectly–with huge amounts of white space on plates that are paid for by the inch.
Four months ago, Boxcar finally had the correct file format they needed, and they made and shipped my plates. Around the same time, I worked out my schedule with my best friend and bridesmaid, Alexa, in the Bay Area with whom I would stay while printing, and my letterpress mentor, and set a date to go north and print.
Three months ago, I printed for five entire days.
My trip up north and back, and daily commute to my mentors’ letterpress shop, equaled 21 hours of driving. My friend Alexa came to visit as I printed one day. She’s a journalist and a great photographer, and luckily she documented the process so I have a few pictures. At the end of the day, she, my mentor, his wife and I had a lovely dinner at his house filled with great conversation.
In December, with my suite printed and ready to go, I forgot about them for awhile (highly recommended!) and focused on writing (my profession), two internships (quarter life crisis=exploring new avenues) and celebrating the holidays with my fiance and our friends.
At the six-month mark from our wedding, I went to Kinko’s and used their paper trimmer to achieve a perfect “bleed” of the letterpress design on the edge of my save the dates.
Then I began what I call the two weeks of utter envelope hell–collecting more than 100 addresses, cutting out envelope liners, gluing them in, then addressing my envelopes by hand. In calligraphy. Calligraphy I’ve never done before. And, might I mention, my natural hand writing resembles that of a serial-killers’. What? I can’t help it–I’m dyslexic!
In early January, I began mailing out my save the dates. They’re all received by now; some people have had them for a month. They were sent as close as one building down, to as far away as Japan.
Only a few people have told me whether they received them. My bff Alexa told me she’d keep it forever, and that made my heart swell.
Cost all told for design, paper and printing: $650. I’m not including the gas costs here, because I had planned to make the trip north anyway to go to my parents’ house and my hometown, where the wedding will be come June.
My mentor refused a small monetary donation in a moving speech he gave that made me cry. I felt so, so eternally grateful. I am still so grateful.
Before I met my mentor, I had my graphic designer put his name on my program in a message of gratitude for his help. It’s that kind of faith–and his faith in me as I operated his antique platen press–that helped me have one of the best experiences of my life. People told me I couldn’t do it. Experts told me it couldn’t be pulled off by a beginner. And although most guests don’t know the time and effort put into their invitation, and indeed many will toss it out without a second thought, that doesn’t matter to me. Because I’ve learned a new craft, made a lifelong friend, and I’m personally gratified to have hand-made this important element of our wedding.
Please stay tuned for a how-to on invitation calligraphy and envelope liners.
All photographs are personal photographs. Letterpress photos by Alexa Vaughn.
December 27, 2009
I used my Craigslist Cricut purchase ($100 for a perfectly good Cricut Create with a cartridge, yeaher!) to cut out little labels to decorate my apothecary jars for the candy buffet:
The shape of the labels mimic the shape of my invitations:
My candy labels DEFINITELY matchy-matchy the favor boxes I made:
But I think it’ll turn out OK despite the matchy-matchyness. Here’s an inspiration board I made using a cream, blue, pink and yellow color palette:
So, that’s basically what I’m goin’ for. I may even throw some chocolate (non-white) into the real thing. I’m not ‘fraid. I don’t NEED to do all pastels. We shall see once I order my candy! For the macaroons, I’m either going to DIY, or bite the bullet and pay $3 per macaroon at Bouchon Bakery:
I’m only going to have about 15 on a plate, so it wouldn’t be totally cost-prohibitive, depending on how well I do managing my budget toward the end of wedding-countdown-2010.
Finding inspiration for a candy spread has been one of the more challenging, yet fun, parts of wedding planning. What inspiration have you come across to help create a gorgeous and cohesive candy buffet color palette?
Inspiration board photo credit: Ian Grant, Project Wedding, Martha Stewart Weddings, Style Me Pretty.