Sugar and Dancing

And paper lanterns.  They go together, right?

The dance area at our venue is separate from the banquet area (the pass through bar area is in-between the two spaces).  The dance hall will be dimly lit because I have my heart set on a star-field projector so we can all pretend we are dancing under the night sky (and the room is in rougher shape and all white).  This space will also hold the sweets tables.  The ice cream bar, the wedding cake, the dessert bar and the candy/popcorn bar.  Yes, I definitely have a sweet tooth.

But food requires some light.  So I came up with this idea:

paper lanterns wedding

 

paper lanterns signscandy bar sign

 

Using battery operated LED string lights (after Christmas clearance), 84″ double shepherd hooks, two buckets (OK actually Tidy Cat litter bucket containers), four 12″ paper lanterns, and lettering from plain black paper using my Silhouette Cameo.  I have lights and signs!

These will be placed right behind the sweets tables–lighting your way to a sugar high.

 

And while I was at it, I made these to demarcate the dance “floor” (area) in the same room:

paper lanterns wedding

These six foot lights will go in each corner of the area where people will be dancing.  Since it is just one large room, I liked the idea of marking it off.  Plus they give off such a pretty glow.

I used a 1″x2″ cut to length and set it in plaster of paris inside regular flower pots.  I wrapped battery operated LEDs around the wood pole, and used tea cup hooks to hang the lanterns (one hook on each end of the lantern to keep them from bopping around).  The black band hides the seam between the two lanterns since they don’t meet up perfectly.  The band is a 2″ piece of paper looped around.  To finish it off, I also put a loop of paper at the top too.  I have not yet covered the plaster at the top of the pots, but am planning to just use shredded tissue paper (or raffia, or silver sparkly stuff–whatever looks best).

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They are quite stable, but I do wonder how long they will last at the reception before someone puts their hand (or head, or other body part) through the lantern.  Good thing the lanterns are only a couple bucks each 🙂

 

A Stand-Up Bar Menu

I love our venue.  It is a historic old courthouse with hight ceiling, beautiful chandeliers and woodwork, grand doors, and intricate moldings and carvings.  But with all the rooms on such a grand scale, some of the decor has to be as well.

So I made this:

 

DIY Bar Menu wedding

 

A five foot bar sign, big enough for even my older guests to read from far away (and my fiancé who needs reading glasses, but often does not seem to have them with him).

The sign will go as noted in the below photo of our venue:

reception hall bar set up

 

The large floor bar menu is an easy, and very inexpensive project. It takes a foam board (available at most home improvement stores for about $4-5) such as this:

foam board

 

Which usually come in packs of 6 to 8 boards roughly 14″” by 4′ tall (made for insulation in-between studs).  I bought a few packages to make our photo booth backdrop and had a few left over to make the bar sign.

I covered it in fabric (some old drapes I had), just wrapped it like a package.  Printed and cut out the signs and pinned them on.  I did use my Silhouette Cameo to design, print and cut, but the same thing can be done with any word processing program and scissors/punches (or even pre-cut shapes).

diy bar menu wedding 2

There are many serious things about a wedding. But this is one area we both decided early on to be whimsical.  Signature drinks named after our cats.  Hence, the cat photos on the bar sign.   Three cats, three signature drinks (one is non-alcoholic, which I highly recommend so all your guests feel included).

Unfortunately, we had a last minute change and could no longer have a full liquor permit.  So wine and beer only.  No problem –there are plenty of wine-based cocktails.

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So just about a month away now.  I *think* things are all coming together.  Just a few more last minute DIYs such as programs and menu cards (posts coming soon).

Random Acts of DIY

As the wedding approaches (only 3.5 months to go–Woot!), I have been organizing and packing away all the projects, decor, etc.  There are several projects that don’t really need a tutorial, but I wanted to include here anyway.  I actually use this blog in part to help keep myself organized.

A ring bearer box instead of pillow.  We will not be putting our rings in this, my grand-nephew will only be 3 years old.

diy ring bearer box

Supplies needed: unpainted wood or paper mache’ box, paint, ribbon, flower or other decor.  If you wish to decorate the inside (which may not be needed if you won’t have the rings in there), you’ll need  foam/styrofoam cut to fit the inside of the box and material or wide ribbon to cover the foam.

Total cost for this project was about $1-2, the box was $.90, plus a little ribbon, a few paper flowers, and paint.

ring bearer box

The flower girls will be wearing these tutus I made from strips of tulle and crocheted bodice.  They both will have a strapless slip underneath so that they have full coverage.

Each one is embellished differently so the girls will know their dress.  On their request, I added the crystal strands coming down.  They are 3 & 5 years old and want that extra sparkle.

[Please ignore the pillow and floor lamp I am using as dress forms 🙂 ]

flower girl tutus 1

flower girl tutu

flower girl tutu diy

Supplies needed. Lots of tulle.  If you buy it on a spool (6″ to 12″ wide, it will save you a lot of cutting), a tube-top like bodice (I crotched mine, but lots of people use headbands), embellishments.  Optional are the shoulder straps and belt sash.  I actually used chair sashes for both.  I had to make both of these last fall, and little ones grow fast.  So I took their measurements, added a few inches (everywhere) and made the whole thing adjustable with elastic and ties (you can see this in the back of the dress where the shoulder straps are weaved through). There are lots of tutorials available for diy tutus such as this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIsdx62Qtlg

Total cost for this project (both tutus) was about $20–most of that in tulle, but I wanted them very full.

The flower girl pomanders match their dresses (I used the same yarn) and was one of the first DIY projects I did.  I crocheted mini flowers (learn how here), beads and straight pins to attach to a 4″ styrofoam ball.  The littles ones can toss these around all they want with no damage, except for dirt.  The cost and supplies are: styrofoam ball ($2), yarn ($2), ribbon & pins ($2-5 depending on type).

crotched pomander

Bridesmaids’ jewelry which is not their gift, but for them to keep.  I’m still a novice at jewelry making, but I love how these turned out. Cost and supplies depends on the jewelry you are making.  For this set, about $5 using sterling silver findings and beads, and glass/crystal beads.

bridesmaid jewelry

When trying on my wedding dress, I fell in love with look of statement necklace with it.  So I made this one.  I still haven’t made the earrings, but I’ll get to work on that 🙂

I used Swarovski crystal pearls, crystals, and silver lined beads.  Total cost was about $10-15.

diy statement necklace

bridal statement necklace

My garter is another crochet project that I did early on.  I have a simpler one without the crystals for tossing. You need yarn, beads, elastic, ribbon/embellishments.  Total cost is about $3-5 (for both garters).

diy crocheted garter

And finally, our cake topper. Yes that is Barbie and Ken, but they were the right size (2.5″ tall –they were ornaments in a previous life) and they are higher quality than the little plastic ones in the stores.  Plus, they kind of look like us (fiancé is tall and thin, I have dark hair and bangs). I painted them to match our scheme, added a cat and hockey stick/puck to match our life.  They are mounted on a 4″ wood round outlined in flat-back pearls.  I blinged Barbie out a bit just because.

Cost and supplies: the Barbie/Ken ornament was $5. I had the little ceramic cat. The hockey stick is a popsicle stick cut and sanded to shape.  The puck is a sweet tart painted black and sealed. The wood round is $1, paint, flat back pearls (about $1-2 if you don’t already have some), ribbon (I used one-quarter from a $3 spool).

DIY cake topperdiy cake topper 2diy cake topper 3diy cake topper 4

So it is all packed up, semi-organized and waiting.  If you want further details on any of these projects, leave a comment and I will answer the best I can.

More little things…Bathroom Baskets

diy bathroom baskets

 

A simple bathroom courtesy basket or tray.  Easy, inexpensive, and a simple way to let guests know you are thinking of them.

Are they necessary? No.  Generally they are not missed if not present.  But if you have about 30 minutes of time to assemble and $5-$20 to purchase some products, your guests will be touched.

Bonus–Can serve double duty as an emergency kit for you & and your bridal party.

 

courtesy bathroom basket

What you need:

A tray, a basket, box, pail (etc.) to hold some items

Items (see suggested list below)

A little sign (let them know it is OK to use and that it is from you)

Decor/fabric/flowers (all optional)

Suggested Items:

  • Mints*
  • Hairspray
  • Lotion
  • Aspirin/Tylenol/Ibuprofen*
  • Tums/Rolaids/Anti-acid*
  • Bandaids (various sizes)*
  • Tampons/panty liners
  • Nail file/Emery board(s)
  • Nail clippers
  • Clear nail polish (hose runs)
  • Sewing kit*
  • Mouthwash
  • Individual use floss pics (or dental floss)*
  • Body spray
  • Bobbie pins
  • Hair ties
  • Safety pins
  • Combs
  • Baby powder
  • Stain remover stick*

*What I feel is most important

Most of these you purchase for a $1 or less (BigLots! Dollar Store) or use your stash from hotel stays (am I the only one that grabs the courtesy items from the room?).

My basket has all of the listed items, and it was less than $20, including the basket and “decor” (which is just a $.50 chair sash I had left over used as a liner and puffed to make the side bows).

2013-11-13 09.36.35

 

The (easy) fabric flower experiment

Lace, ribbon, organza, frilly sashay yarn, tulle.  Pretty material for pretty fabric flowers.

I have been pondering the fabric flower bouquet, but I still really love the idea of real roses for me to carry.  Of course that doesn’t stop me from playing around and experimenting with different techniques for fabric flowers.  They make beautiful hair pieces, belts, decor.  This morning I think I found the easiest way to make them.

I experimented with all types of ribbon, fabric, yarn, lace, tulle…

easiest fabric flowers 1

easiest fabric flowers 2

easy ribbon flowers 1

These are so, so easy to make.  No sewing, no gluing.

Supplies:

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Buttons, beads, pearls –anything that can be wired for the center of the flower

Wire–I used common 22 gauge silver wire

Scissors, wire cutters, round nose pliers

Your ribbon (or lace, or tulle…)

Step 1:

Cut a piece of wire about 10″ (longer or shorter is fine, it depends on what you wish to do with the flower). Wire your center button/bead.  Use just enough wire to twist enough times to hold it securely.  Cut excess off of the tail piece.

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Step 2:

Thread the other end of the wire through the end of your ribbon.  Then you will “sew” back and forth along the edge of the ribbon.  This will make the gathers/petals of your flower.

diy lace flowers2013-11-02 16.06.26 2013-11-02 16.07.09 2013-11-02 16.12.14

For most of my flowers, I found I needed about 2 feet of ribbon, but you can decide this one for yourself.

Step 3:

Pull the ribbon up towards the center button/bead.  Mess with it so it looks pretty.  If you find you need more/less ribbon, add & take away at will (the beauty of no sew or glue).

2013-11-02 16.16.28 2013-11-02 16.16.52 2013-11-02 16.18.39 diy easy ribbon lace flowers

Step 4:

Once you’ve messed with it long enough and like how it looks, use your fingers to hold the lace tightly against the center.  You want the flower as flat as you can get it.  Take your round nose pliers up tight against the ribbon of the back of the flower & twist the wire into a loop.  This will hold the fabric/ribbon in place.  You can make two loops for extra security and then flatten them against the fabric.

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DONE!

Different fabrics & ribbons give completely different looks.  You can experiment with different types of gathers too.  The grey flower was done with sashay yarn.

2013-11-02 15.29.16 2013-11-02 16.23.38 easy ribbon flowers 1 easiest fabric flowers 2

Little Details, continued…

Napkin rings.  Not a big deal except I need them for 160 guests.  I thought of just folding the napkins at the place setting, but that would mean a portion of my precious set up time would be used up by folding napkins at the setting.

Napkin rings

Pros -fold the napkins, put in ring & store away in a tote.  Take it out, plop it at the setting. Easy. Can add to the overall decor.

Cons-How much does 160-ish napkin rings cost? If I DIY, how long will that take?

In my continuous pursuit to minimize the setting up process before the wedding, I said YES to the napkin rings.  I toyed with different designs:

The bling ring: 

bling_napkins

Now this one is easy, but the raw material (the bling ribbon) is pricey. Buy about 10 yards to do 100 rings (around $40). Using a piece of paper you’ve wrapped around your folded/rolled napkin as a template for length, cut the ribbon, glue the seams.  I recommend a higher end craft glue or low temp glue gun.

But I am not having a bling wedding.

The ring to double as wine charm triple as guest favor:

images crystall charms diy napkin rings

The most expensive and time consuming choice, but very pretty, serves extra functions (favor/keep track of one’s drink).  I will admit I made a few of these using just regular wire and a few beads on each.  They looked good, but not great, on the napkins.  If I were to do this, I would use memory wire for the ease of making them, taking them off the napkin/putting on the wine glass.  Memory wire will get pricey though, and the costs of these will be about $50-$100 for 100 depending on the type of beads you use.  They will also take the longest to make.  But this would be worth it since it may serve as a favor for your guests.

A few cons though for my situation–I already made favors (doesn’t mean I couldn’t have more though, right?), the rings would need to be different for each guest if they are to serve as wine charms (no big deal for me either since I’m not a fan of match-matchy). Many/most guests would leave them on the glass creating more of clean up headache at the end of the night.  We are at a DIY venue with rented china/glassware.  All the charms would have to be removed before packing the dirty glasses to avoid extra rental charges.

In the end, I decided the extra DIY time (and it is time consuming), the extra expense, and the extra clean up time was not worth it. (Well mostly the extra DIY time).

The Ribbon Ring –cheap and easy (but still pretty & functional):

DIY ribbon napkin ringsDIY ribbon napkin rings 2

Ultimately my choice 🙂  The ombre ribbon I used was/is the inspiration for my entire wedding color scheme -from the light warm ivory-apple, sagey-willow greens-to the near black.  Imagine the above setting on the table with willow (or apple green) table cloths, black satin runner, and of course my painted flower centerpieces.

Reminder photo:

painted paper flower

So much ado about this little detail.  But here is the quick tutorial on how I made these.  The total cost was the cost of the ribbon (about $15) for 160 napkin rings.  All the napkins are neatly rolled and ringed waiting in a plastic tote.  Easiest set-up ever.

Supplies:

Cardboard rolls –as in paper towel/toilet paper innards.   1 four inch toilet paper roll = 4 napkin rings.  Plan accordingly. You could also use strips of cards stock/thin cardboard–just add and extra step to glue them into a circle.

1 to 1.5  inch ribbon in chosen color/style.  Each napkin ring requires 6″ of ribbon, so 1 yard of ribbon = 6 rings, 160 rings = 27(ish) yards. You do not need wired ribbon for this project.

A combination of these (but you don’t necessarily need them all): glue stick, double sided tape, fabric tac glue.

Napkins (ha ha)-I purchased these lovely black satin pin-tuck napkins from a previous bride for $.25 each.  A bargain!

Steps:

1.  Cut the cardboard rolls to 1 inch thickness.  A guillotine cutter works well for this, but so would a decent pair of scissors:

diy napkin rings 2diy napkin rings 3

2 (optional). Quickly paint the inside of the cardboard tubes.  Why? So they blend with the ribbon and look less like a toilet paper roll.  Spray painted black for mine, took about 2 minutes to do around 30 or so.  Besides, laying them out like this is its own art form 🙂

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3. Cut your ribbon.  You need a little bit of overlap when covering.  For standard rolls, 6″ is perfect.  You can cut the ribbon all at once, or do as I did, cut as you go by just wrapping the ribbon around the roll and cutting off.  Notice the overlap below–

diy napkin rings 4

4. Fold over one side of the raw edge cut ribbon and secure with a small piece of double sided tape (fabric glue or glue stick works as well).  Cover the cardboard roll with glue stick glue (or again use double sided tape).  I caution against fabric glue over the whole thing as it may seep through your ribbon giving it water-like marks.  I used a regular (kid’s) glue stick and it worked wonderfully.

diy napkin rings 5diy napkin rings 6

5. Wrap the ribbon around the cardboard, line up the outer edges so they meet at the seam.  You can put a small dap of fabric glue on the overlap if you feel the double sided tape isn’t enough to hold the seam in place.

diy napkin rings 7diy napkin rings 8diy napkin rings 9diy napkin rings 10diy napkin rings 11

Done.

In the time I wrote this post, I could have easily made a dozen, so it is very quick work.  The cardboard is just enough to make them really easy to slide on and off too.  These work well for bow-tie napkins to (see below), but we opted for a simple double rolled design.

diy napkin rings 12

In the end, do people really care about the napkin rings. No, not really.  I just like the little details.  When you have enough of the “little things,” you end up with a cohesive overall look and design.

The little details

It’s football season, so time to tackle those simple projects that can easily be done while watching the game(s).  First up, dry embossed cocktail napkins.

If you have a Cuttlebug (or similar embossing machine), you can turn plain and boring $1-for-50 cocktail napkins into something a little bit more interesting.

DIY embossed napkins 1DIY embossed napkins 2

I found I could run 2-3 napkins through at a time, completing a several hundred napkins in about an hour.  All while watching my Denver Broncos Sunday afternoon.  Not too bad. Maybe just a little bit too easy 🙂

If you don’t have an embossing machine, you can still personalize plain napkins with a permanent ink pad and a stamp.  Make sure the ink is permanent/water proof (it will state it on the pad).

diy personalized cocktail napkins

How many do you need?  

For the bar/beverage station–

       -about 3 per guest  (150 guests x 3 napkins = 450 cocktail napkins)

For appetizer stations–

       -about 1-2 per guest  (150 guests x 1.5 napkins  = 225 napkins)

For dessert stations–

      -about 1-2 per guest  (150 guest x 1.5 napkins  = 225 napkins)

Better to have more than you need than to run out.  If your event is longer than 4 hours, add a few hundred more napkins.  They are rather inexpensive after all. If you do a general emboss design rather than a personal/wedding specific stamp/emboss (e.g., names & date), any that are left over can be used for future occasions.