Wedding Projects No. 4 & 5 (the last ones!)

You’ve seen the photo guest book (huge hit with our guests!), the photo wall (way more work than anticipated, but great pay-off in the “awe, so cute” department), and our card box which was my grandmother’s sewing basket a la new lining and heavy-duty cleaning. The sewing basket to card box has such sentimental value; I’ll treasure it forever.

The last two projects we worked on – again with the invaluable help of others – are the flowers and the table assignment signs.

Table assignments. Our venue was split into two areas: the main area on ground level and a mezzanine/loft area above overlooking the main area. We arranged family on the ground level as we had a few folks who wouldn’t do well with stairs, and friends were seated in the mezzanine. Since we wanted everyone to be relaxed and comfy, we opted for no seat assignments in the mezzanine – friends could sit where ever and with whomever they wanted! Woohoo! For family seated on the ground level, although we did not assign specific seats, we did put folks at specific tables.

I planned to print in a funky font, on the same card stock used for the photo wall, the names of each person at each table and put that into a black photo frame. Understated and classic. My two middle names. Here’s how it actually played out…

After the photo wall project that eventually included buttons hot glued here and there, Emilia sort of got the button bug. And why not – if you’re going to do something then do it all the way, right? So she started attaching buttons to the frames and it. looked. adorable. It really tied things together – sort of like a theme – but we won’t use that word because I really don’t care for themed weddings, so we’ll say it ‘coordinated.’

The problem arose when, around midnight (6 hours before the alarm) my printer ran out of ink. Egads! I had about a hot second of panic and disappointment, but quickly decided I was way too tired for that kind of drama, so I grabbed a pen and started writing the names in my best I’ve-been-up-all-day-and-it’s-midnight-now handwriting. I have to say, they turned out just fine! With the personalized handwriting and the buttons, they took on that same homey feel that we brought with the card box and photo wall. It was perfect!

Again, no photo of this “in action” at the venue.
Hopefully will have one when we get the professional
photos.  Will post an update for you then!

Now the flowers. The beautiful, gorgeous flowers! Since most everything related to the wedding was in the DIY realm, you’ve probably already guessed the flowers would be no different. Who am I to disappoint and do something the easy way? Haha! Again, in keeping with the relaxed, homey atmosphere, I really wanted the flowers to have the same feel. For the longest time I planned to use only baby’s breath – for the bouquet, the tables, and everywhere. That was until I started pricing baby’s breath. It looks like such a dainty and unassuming filler. Who would think it’s actually a bit pricey when you want it for your main act?

Luckily, I was at the farmer’s market on my lunch break (you may recall from a previous post) and came upon the nicest lady selling roses. These were not those half-opened, non-fragrant commercial roses. These looked like they came from your grandma’s back yard. They were fully opened, had huge blossoms, thorns and leaves everywhere, and smelled like heaven! First thing out of my mouth was “can I buy a bunch of these for my wedding?!” And so it came to be that the day before my wedding I picked up 150 fresh cut roses from Stager’s Fresh Cut Garden Roses in Ken’s little Escape and away I went.

Me and Mom all loaded up
at the rose garden
Stager’s front yard (more in the back!)
Mom stopped to smell the roses.
She is so darn cute!

Surprise of the day: I’m allergic to roses. Can you believe it? By the time I got home (15 minutes later), tears were running down my cheeks and my eyes and nose were of the Rudolph variety. Who would have thought? I’ve never had a reaction like that to any flower. I don’t think ragweed is considered a flower, is it? My guess is because they were freshly cut and I had 150 of them in the small SUV they just got to me. Thank goodness the next day when they were scattered throughout the venue they didn’t bother me a bit. But what a scare. Yikes!

So this is what they looked like when we got them home:

So beautiful!

Then we worked, and we worked, and we worked to get them wedding ready. My nephew Chad drew the short straw and got the job of stripping thorns from the ones to be used for my boquet. Thank you Chad! That was a job. Emilia made for me not one, but two boquets so I would have a choice. I felt like a princess even before the big day!

Emilia found a youtube video on
how to make a bouquet. She could
do this for a living!
Here is the finished product.  The charm is a photo of my father
who passed away several years ago.  The satin ribbon around the stems
is the fabric cut from my wedding gown when it was hemmed.

And all of us got busy cutting stems and putting roses into vases. In the months leading up to the wedding, I collected vintage bottles and vases from various thrift stores. The look could not have been better – we were both so happy with how everything looked at the wedding. I know I’ve said it before, but gosh I do love it when a plan comes together!

collecting vintage bottles
Vintage jar with yellow roses.
Two jars or bottles at each table
with tealights between.
It was so pretty!

But the hard work and craftiness were only a small, albeit taxing, part of our event. What made it the most wonderful day of our lives were our friends and family who came together and helped us, and helped us, and then helped us with things we didn’t even know needed attention. Our wedding was filled with beautiful flowers, sweet little touches here and there, and lots of fabulous food & drink, but it would have been nothing without the celebration, love and kindness shown to us by our friends and family. We are so blessed, so fortunate. And let’s not forget, I married my best friend, the man of my dreams. Swoon…


Wedding Project No. 2 (and No. 3)

Admittedly, my last post should have been titled “Wedding Project No. 1.” I was knee-deep in wedding stuff and likely didn’t have my wits about me, so let’s pretend the last post was Wedding Project No. 1. This one is Wedding Project No. 2 (and No. 3). Good.

With the card basket complete, and with my Mom and soon-to-be niece-in-law Emilia in town for the wedding, I enlisted some much-needed help to finish the last of the wedding projects. And thank goodness for Emilia – I truly could not have done this without her help! She is Commissioner of RBI Baseball in Chicago (sponsored by the Cubs), and now I unofficially bestow upon her Saint as well. Saint Commissioner Emilia. I like it!

So here’s the thing: I often underestimate the scope and time commitment of my projects. Ken will tell you I always underestimate the scope and time commitment of my projects, but no need to beat a dead horse. First up was the photo wall project. Ken and I are fans of the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” and when we travel we try to hit as many of the featured diners as possible. So far I think we’ve eaten at 15 of them. Yes, we loooove to eat! I thought it would be cute to drape a ribbon horizontally on a wall and have the photos of us at each diner dangling from vertical ribbons along with little print-outs of the well wishes left for us by our friends and family on our wedding website. Sounded simple to me.

To start, I cut rectangluar pieces of card stock of different colors and used a glue stick to adhere them together. Then I used some pre-cut labels we found at Michaels to print the well wishes (which I copied from our wedding website). The labels were self-adhesive.

Cardstock is cut and glued together
Labels are printed and ready to peel & stick
One well-wish card done!

Then we cut the length of the horizontal ribbon. Easy peezy. But how to attach the vertical ribbons? How long do we make the ribbons? How much space between the photos and cards? We have an uneven number? What goes in the center? You should have been here. No really, we could have used the help! The kitchen floor became our workshop for lack of any other space large enough.

Emilia was fabulous with the details and finding the answers to all of those questions. I’m learning that I’m more of a visionary when it comes to craft projects – not so much the detail-oriented individual I am at work. What I thought would take 30 to 60 minutes tops took about 5 hours. That includes another run to Michales to purchase another hot glue gun so we could both work at the same time. But it was well worth it (well, in my opinion. E may feel differently since this wasn’t her wedding). The finished product was terribly cute and everyone enjoyed the little cards with the wishes and the photos of our food travels.

Emilia measures between ribbons
It’s taking shape
Finished product! The photo doesn’t do
it justice – I guess sometimes you really
do have to be there to get the full effect.

If I get any better photos I’ll post an update. The book you see in the bottom right of the photo above is our guest book. I’m so proud of this idea as it was actually MY idea – an original from me! That never happens! I ordered a photo book with pictures of each person invited to our wedding, and they each signed next to their respective photo. It was a hit – we received so many compliments on this! The very last page has our wedding ceremony so we’ll always have that with us too. Another warm fuzzy…

We’re on page 1
Friends & family wrote sweet messages
Last page is our ceremony – it spoke to the
importance of friends and family and the
support of our loved ones 🙂


Basket to Card Box…Check!

A few months back I posted some pics of my Grandmother’s sewing basket and planned to clean it up and add a lining so I could hopefully use it as the card box at our wedding. Well, voila!  I actually completed one of the many wedding projects…and not a moment too soon! We are 17 days out and the wedding checklist is looming heavier each day. So checking this one off felt good as this was probably the most challenging task on the list.

Covered in stuck-on dust
Inside was not pretty

I started by giving it a super good cleaning. I used whatever spray furniture polish lives under my kitchen sink and a soft cloth. It took some time because of the weave, but I got every little spot. Removing the dust from the crevices made a world of difference and the polish gave the basket a deeper patina and sheen. It’s much prettier than I originally thought – bonus!

I used furniture polish sprayed on a cloth to
get at all the little nooks & crannies

Now time to start the lining. I haven’t sewn in years, and actually gave my sewing machine to my Mom a few years back. She has since taken it to Wisconsin, so no chance of borrowing it back. My sweet friend Jayne was happy to lend me her machine and away I went! I measured the bottom both width and height and added an inch for seam allowance, and then cut a square to size. I did that for the four sides as well.

Measure first, cut second!
The first square is cut

After cutting all five pieces, it was time to rev up the machine. Completely forgetting the first rule of sewing, I sewed wrong sides together. Then I dug out the seam ripper and took it all apart, complete with flashbacks to Miss Wagner’s Home Economics 101 in 9th grade. A little trip down memory lane!

Sewing wrong sides together 🙁
Now I’m sewing RIGHT sides together – yay!

Once all five pieces were properly sewn together, I sewed a 1/2″ hem along the top edge. Then on to the dreaded hot glue gun (another loaner from Jayne). It’s been years since I used one of these too and forgot what it feels like to basically burn my fingerprints off. Ouch!

I put a thin bead of hot glue along the top edge
and pressed the hemmed edge of the fabric in place
Clean basket outside
Fully lined basket inside.  The mini chalk board
will read “Cards” just in case anyone is confused…

So there it is!  What do you think? I love it. There are, of course, imperfections here and there since I’m terribly out of practice in the sewing realm and was never a master seamstress to begin with. HOWEVER, I think it looks pretty darn good! Can’t wait for this sweet little keepsake to be proudly displayed at the wedding catching all the well wishes from our friends and family. I think Grandma would have smiled at this. Warm fuzzy 🙂


An Easel, a Clown, and a Wedding Cake

I’ve been thinking about baking my own wedding cake for a while, and this weekend I finally hunkered down and gave it a shot, a practice run. The cakes I love are simple, even rustic, so I thought ‘how hard can this be?’ You can see where this is headed. Here’s an example of the style of cake I really like. Easy peasy, right?

I’m a pretty good cook, but baking is not really my thing. This should have been my first clue that I am not to bake my own wedding cake. But try I did. I used a box mix because I really wanted to focus on whether I could do the assembly and the icing. Hmm, turns out the answer is a big fat noooo! It’s super moist and tasty, but looks kind of like a grade school paper machet project.
not exactly what i had in mind…

So off to Square Rabbit I go! Their cakes are awesome, and I’m sure they’ll bake something for our special day that is fabulous. And, one less project on my list!

One thing I stumbled upon though is an awesome frosting recipe. It is delicious! Not too sweet, creamy, just right. I’ll skip the pre-made in the tub every time now that I have this recipe. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting at

After the wedding cake experiment, we headed downtown to the spring open house at Revival Antiques. I’ve only been a few times, but this place is quickly becoming one of my favorites! Their pieces are beautiful, they have tons of vignettes set up to get those decorating idea wheels turning, and it just plain feels like home when I’m there. I went there with nothing particular in mind and found these sweet little easels.


It took me the better part of an hour to decide between the two…walking around with both of them in my hands to get a feel for them. Do you all do that? I especially do that with clothing. Always have to carry it around before I decide, like it’s going to give me a vibe or something! Haha! Anywho, I chose the darker iron easel on the right and have it in the kitchen holding one of my cookbooks. I love it! I’m pretty sure I’m going back for the white one too.

Another project I’ve been talking about FOREVER is painting Ken’s bedroom furniture black. I snapped a couple of pics at the antique store for inspiration – and also to remind me to get on it!


i wonder if the kitty comes with the set?

And, of course, there was our usual clowning around. Really, what’s a Sunday without a clown?


Moving On (from his home to our home)

Ken and I have made the decision to list our home and move on. Woohoo! We initially were of the mind that we should wait until after the wedding. Ok, Ken was the voice of reason there. His thinking was why add the stress of selling our home on top of planning a wedding? It makes sense, however, as you can see from a previous post, our combined lives don’t quite fit in this sweet little condo. Alas, I have convinced him that now is the time to list and not in July when most folks are already settled for the start of the new school year. Score one for persistence!

But before I do the ‘we’re selling our home and moving on happy dance’ I must acknowledge the list. You know, The List. Like any other project (and preparing a home for market is definitely a project), each task creates another project. We met with our wonderful and talented realtor, Rick, last night who went over my list and added and subtracted where his professional eye saw fit. Are you all list makers? I make lists for everything. It comforts me to know everything is on its respective list.

So now comes the work. Our goal is to be on the market by March 1, but first we need to replace, paint, spruce up, pack away, and declutter like nobody’s business! Some of the specifics are to replace a light fixture (we’ll have to hire this job out as it is in a precarious spot we can’t reach…no way, no how), replace carpet, paint a couple of walls and entry door, and empty out the overstuffed closets – yes, my closet-o-stuff must go!

I’m going to start with the door this weekend. As you can see it’s quite dingy. I’ll show you the finished product hopefully later this weekend. Although I have a strong history of starting projects, finishing them has never been my forte…so maybe early next week. And you know what’s going to happen here – the place is going to be made fabulous and I’ll want to stay! We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

What’s most exciting for me about this endeavor is that Ken and I will finally be moving into a home of our own. We have stayed at my place, and we have lived at his place, but now we’re going to find a home that is ours together. It’s true, home is whereever we are together, but I think actually creating a home together is going to add yet another dimension to what’s already in our hearts 🙂


Are you my card box?

I have been on the hunt for something unique to use as a card box at our wedding in June. Since we began planning, the words casual, rustic, vintage, and budget have all become part of our daily vocabulary. Our venue is a restored historic property with exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. We are not really decorating other than old vintage bottles we find here and there at antique stores, flea markets, and thrift stores which will be filled with baby’s breath and set at each table. You get the idea – very casual and understated. So in keeping with that, the typical ornate card box was really not what we were looking for.

I thought we might use an old wood toolbox; I recall my father having one when I was a kid. I found one on craigslist similar to this one. We agreed on the vintage toolbox idea, but rather than purchase the one right before me, that we both liked, I felt the need to shop around first and explore all my options. Do you all do that too? You find the perfect sweater, or pair of jeans, or whater it is you’re looking for right out of the gate, but you feel compelled to try on more just to be sure? So off to Antique Village I went. This place is great! It’s on Durant Road, between Capital and Falls of Neuse. There are several independent antique stores on one property that make up the little village. I found a few wood toolboxes that would fit the bill, but I also found an old bird cage, a small antique leather suitcase, and various wood fruit and vegetable crates that would look awesome as well. Enter confusion. I was so confused that after a couple of hours of looking and comparing and making myself crazy, I went home with none of the above.

But not to worry, I opened my trusty closet-o-stuff and right there before me was my grandmother’s old sewing basket – perfect! I need to check with my Mom on the specifics when she visits in June, but I believe Grandma used it as a sewing basket. It looks more like a picnic basket, but regardless, it will be the perfect card box. It’s unique, antique, fits the budget, and best of all it has a family connection. I’ll give it a good cleaning, line it with some vintage fabric (I’m thinking black and white bird print or something with a rich yellow/gold hue), and make a fabric banner that reads “C-A-R-D-S.” Like those triangular sports pennants all strung together, one letter on each pennant. Now I’m excited to go fabric shopping – I’ll let you know how it turns out!


Curio Cabinet Make-Over



It’s taken me longer than anticipated to post this one. I started this project about 10 days ago thinking it was a one or two day project. Hmm, this has such a familiar ring to it… This curio cabinet was a Christmas gift from my Mom about 20 years ago. I loved it for a few years, and then it took up residence in my closet. I wasn’t into the Queen Anne style any longer – I had my eye on clean, sleek lines and something a bit more modern. And I’m one of those folks who has a huge guilt complex about letting go of something that was a gift. You should see my closet. But, fast forward to today, I have the clean, sleek lines and am still loving it, and now have that inkling to add a sprinkling of vintage. I opened the spare bedroom closet, and there it was – the curio from Mom.


What added several days to the project was the fact that I disassembled the cabinet and painted each piece separately. And, since I was going from dark wood stain to a very pale and gorgeous shade a blue called “skylight,” it took three coats to cover. I lightly sanded all of the surfaces first so the paint would have something to adhere to. Then I painted, and I painted, and I painted! Our kitchen was a workshop for nearly two weeks. Once it was fully painted and reassembled, much to Ken’s horror I took the sanding block and began sanding here and there all over again. He thought I had lost my mind, but I gently explained to him the process of distressing the piece to give it that vintage look I wanted. To add to that feel, I left the door off for more of that shabby chic essence. Here are a few shots of the before, the after, and a close-up of the subtle distressing. It turned out great – I love it and it now resides on my desk filled with notecards and stationery. And it feels so nice having Mom’s gift to me be a part of my home again [insert genuine warm fuzzy]…

Lightly Distressed Edges

Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate

Combining our two households has been a challenge to say the least. Our personalities and compatability are great; it’s the stuff that has us vexed. Admittedly, I have an unusually large amount of kitchen things. I love kitchen things. We moved a couple of large book cases into the kitchen to hold said stuff, but it was crowded with those and the dining set. The dining set didn’t quite fit in the dining area, so the sofa table resided in the dining area (stay with me). Made perfect sense at the time. But the kitchen crowding got to me. So, the solution was to use the sofa table as a kitchen island of sorts, move the dining set back to the dining area (sans two chairs), and voila! Sometimes it pays to put a piece of furniture where it was never intended to be. Console in the kitchen, absolutely. Granted, this is a temporary fix until we find our next home, but for now it makes life in the kitchen a little easier!

not enough space
sofa table as an island
dining area once again for dining!