Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Save the Date!

I sent out our Save the Dates at the end of June, and now that I have been assured by the majority of my guests that they have arrived, I can share with you the process by which they were made!

Even though our wedding is pretty much "no frills, no fuss", I still wanted to send a Save the Date: 1) so people knew when we were planning our nuptials (obvs, that is the purpose) and 2) because I was so excited about the upcoming wedding, I wanted to make *something*, but wasn't sure what. Thus, the Save the Date was born! I was super-inspired by Emily's wedding invitations that had recently hit my mailbox, but I wasn't sure about the Save the Date. I wanted it to be simple enough that it would not upstage the actual invitation, and I didn't want to go the route of magnet or photo of the two of us (ew). I really loved the idea of having it serve a purpose, and I almost went with a bookmark idea -- the Save the Date would read "You're booked!" (or something equally cheesy) and have the info on it. Logistically, I couldn't get it to quite work out, so I went with this idea instead.

I originally saw the wording/folding idea on the Martha Stewart Weddings website (the inspiration, sadly, did not come from MAD magazine, as one of my friends suggested after receiving his card). So, I set out to make a Save the Date that would incorporate our colors, some cool paper stamping, and my love of ribbon, while keeping the cost low. I went to the stationary store next to where I work to pick up a few paper samples, and quickly fashioned a prototype. It was pretty easy and not too time consuming! I finalized the guest list with Deane and figured out what I would need. Here's the cost breakdown (because I am a huge nerd and think people will actually care?):
  • Cardstock, pack of 25 (2 cards made from one sheet): $3.99
  • 3 spools of ribbon, $2.99 each, used coupons to make them $2.19 each
  • One large rubber stamp, used over and over for the paper and the envelopes, $9.99, fancy coupon price adjustment made it $5.99
  • One ink pad, $6.99, coupon made it $4.99
  • Martha Stewart bone folder (I caved): $3.99
  • Brush tip pen for lettering, $2.24
  • Green envelopes, 30 cents each, $12.00 for 40

...for a grand total of $39.77, not including postage. Considering I made 40, that's less than a dollar per Save the Date. Normally, I would break that down into an average savings, but even as I perused wedding invite websites, I couldn't find anything like the Save the Date I wanted and ultimately sent. Plus, I think my guests are happy to have a handcrafted souvenir of our upcoming wedding. (I would also like to interject that JoAnn's has AWESOME coupons, and you should never buy anything there without one!)

I set up the process in an assembly line style. First I stamped all of the cardstock on front and back along two sides, since I would be cutting it down the middle to make two cards:

I used a Sharpie to mark the rubber stamp -- it was a large square, and I only needed to use part of it, as well as needing to make sure the pattern would line up. This stamp was clear, so it was easy to see through to what I was stamping.

Once all the cardstock was stamped and dried (and my kitchen table half covered in green ink), I measure and cut each piece in two. Then I measured, measured, measured again and folded the creases (bone folder is highly recommended!) to line up with the wording:

Next, I folded them together, penciled in lines to keep my wording straight, and hand lettered each Save the Date. It was time consuming, but I really liked doing it, and I only suffered one minor breakdown (when the green ink seemed to be smearing all over evvvvveeeeerrrrrything). The only part I didn't enjoy was erasing all the pencil lines at the end, and I actually had a hard time getting them all to go away. I hope that, in some way, the remaining lines added to the handmade charm :)

After that, I hole punched along the bottom (with a fancy schmancy small rectangle hole punch that I already owned) so I could thread the ribbon through. I laced and tied up each one and put them in an envelope, which I had stamped with the same design as the inside card. I hand addressed each one with a fine point Sharpie, and I was done! Here it is (complete with smeared out last names and addresses due to internet paranoia)...

And once you untied the ribbon and unfolded...

Overall, I think they came out super cute. I really loved making them and was so excited when I got to send them out -- now everyone better be saving the date!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fancy Footwear.

I love, love, love footwear by Coach -- partially because their stuff is always adorable, but mostly because their shoes are always a perfect match my ridiculously large, blister-prone, might as well be water skis "feet" (not to mention availability in size 11, which is sometimes needed).

Their new "Poppy" collection is completely fun and 100% fabulous. Normally when I celebrate a promotion (yay, me!), I reward myself with a new handbag, but since I've recently purchase a leather hobo gem by Joe's, I'm not really in the market. Besides, with all the money we need for the wedding, etc., I probably shouldn't be splurging on non-necessities.

I'll let you know how they fit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Confident Craftster.

Do you ever walk around craft fairs, or art shows, or see something adorable and ridiculously overpriced, and think, "Well, that's SO cute, but I mean, I could make that." I think this all the time, but the more important follow-up question ("Will I actually ever make that?") is rarely asked. I have been better about this in the past few years, and I will gladly dish out some loot for something that I may have the ability to make, but know that I do not have the time or (more often) the patience. I know that I am capable of craftiness, but I always doubt whether or not I will see the project through until the end, or my meticulous perfectionism sidelines it in the early stages.

Fueled my a surge in self-confidence that came from finally mailing my Save-the-Dates this past week, on Friday I bucked this mentality, and decided to take on a project that I'd really been hoping would work out for my wedding. I had been thoroughly inspired by a cute as pie cupcake stand I had seen at work (not availble online, so no image to show here. Boo). It was a multi-tiered stand, all one piece of white ceramic, that looked as though it had been fashioned from tea cups and saucers. Price? $148. Otherwise known as the price of my wedding dress. Considering we need several stands in several heights for my dream dessert bar, there was no way this was going to fit into my budget. So, naturally, I started thinking that I could easily make this myself.

I took it as a sign that I saw a link on Emily's blog the next day: "DIY: Vintage Wedding Cake Stands". I clicked through a few links and found some instructions on how to make these darling little creations. I skimmed through them quickly, assured myself that this could be done, and got down to it. A quick conversation with Mother-in-Law-to-be (dying to get her hands on to some part of this wedding) secured a barrage of teacups, crystal glassware, plates, and saucers, as well as the 5 Minute Epoxy I needed, which means this project has cost me ZERO dollars (although, to be fair, she did shell out 4 bucks at the consignment store). And so, I present... my first (cup)cake stand!


It's really not crooked, I am just a horrible photographer.

It was super-easy to make -- the hardest parts were 1) getting everything centered so it wouldn't lean or break, 2) not getting my fingers stuck together for the rest of eternity, and 3) keeping the dogs away from the project area (when they hear glasses or dishes clinking, they think there is food to be had). Now that I've had a practice run, I have some really great ideas for single and multi-tiered stands for the wedding, not to mention using bowls, vases, or candlesticks to make them as well as cups, glasses, dishes, and saucers.

As with any new hobby/project, I am certain that I will quit my job in the near future as my handmade cake stands business takes off (even though there are several available on etsy already, I am convinced that mine will somehow be better). Better place your orders now...!

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Actually, I live here."

This month we are celebrating 4 glorious years of home ownership. Despite the countless trips to Lowe's, innumerable nights of eating Ramen (never thought I'd go there again) to counteract new-home-needs costs, rage over doggie accidents, and general new-place-move-in breakdowns, I still love love love the home we have made here.

One of my favorite things about where I live is just that - where I live! I am gloriously lucky to be able to claim a mailing address with the word "Beach" in it, a fact of which I am also extraordinarily proud. I grew up in the midwest, and while I loved it (Go Colts), it didn't take much longer than a 48 hour visit to my relocated parents during college to thin my blood. I knew that, post-graduation, I simply could not deal with the depths of winter (unless that pain was assuaged by 50 yard line season tickets to the aforementioned sports team of choice). But south Florida was a little *too* all sun and fun for me, so when I met Deane we decided to head to a northern part of the state where we could still experience seasons (and I would be able to pick up a knitting hobby without being forced to only make tank tops and home accessories).

When we moved here, I was so thrilled to live within minutes of the beach. I was there on every single one of my days off (when the temperature was over 65 degrees) and sported an even year-round tan. I even moved beyond my "laying and reading books only" policy at the beach and started letting Deane teach me how to surf. This experience has probably been the most trying one on our relationship -- he is an excellent surfer and a patient teacher, but I throw a lot of bullshit toward him because I know he has to put up with it (he loves me, after all). I've done a lot of whining, complaining about sore arms, and complete refusal to go in the water, but he always pushes me to get in and get to work. I had been doing pretty ok, too, until an injury sidelined me early last year. I kept going to the beach, but since my first summer here, my frequency has really tapered off.

This week, I realized I hadn't been to the beach ONCE since the summer began, and it was almost July! I made a pact to hit the sand on my first day off this week, an attempt to re-discover my love for where we live and remind myself why life is so great. We have a million beach access roads, so parking and sort-of privacy is never a problem. The other great thing is, since it's only a ten minute drive, it's easy for me to keep the sunburn in check (meaning, I don't feel obligated to spend dawn to dusk parked in full sunlight, since I can always come back the next day!). This picture is where I spent this week's beach day -- one of my favorite beach access roads by Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (who lovingly provides chairs and umbrellas for their guests, which I take to mean any city residents).

Every time I talk to someone at the beach, they ask me where I'm from, and I get to say that I LIVE here. Almost everyone else there is usually on vacation or a weekend getaway, and it makes me feel guilty for not taking full advantage of the beautiful surroundings within miles of my home. I spent a few hours at the beach this week, and I tried to soak it all in. I laid, I read, I went in the water. I gazed at all of the other Elizabeth Pointe guests in their provided chairs and thought about how they chose to come here for vacation. I looked in front of me and saw sand and waves, and I looked behind me and saw the vacation rental at which we are hoping/planning to get married. I felt so much better -- calmed down about wedding prep, ok about being broke (I mean, look what we're paying for, a great place to live!), and blessed for good health (did I mention I am re-reading "My Sister's Keeper"?).

The beach definitely has healing qualities, and I am hereby making a pact to embrace its fabulousness for the remainder of the summer -- starting with a full beach day tomorrow in celebration of the 4th (and countdown to the best day of the year in one week!) Enjoy your holiday :)