We have Programs

I wanted programs for our guests.  I wanted them to know who was who, what to expect, and more about the beautiful building they are visiting.  Besides, I wanted them to have something to keep them occupied while they waited for the ceremony to start…Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve sat through many a graduation ceremonies with nothing to keep me company other than the program.

Our programs!

wedding program 1

Two versions, above green cover paper with ivory bond paper; below black cover with green bond paper (hard to tell it’s green in the photo).

diy wedding program 3


The programs are small (6″x5″), but very readable (14 point font), 9 pages long, but less than the thickness of a dime.

The inside starting with the time line for ceremony & reception:

diy booklet program wedding 1diy booklet program wedding 2


Some additional information (bunch of professors and trivia buffs at our wedding)–gives guests something to read if they arrive early.

diy booklet program wedding 3


And of course a thank you/memory page as the inside back cover:

diy booklet program wedding 4



The Layout & Assembly:

Double sided printing and binding can be a bit mind-numbing, but it really isn’t difficult.  To avoid the trial and error (and wasted paper/ink) here are steps with pictures of the layout.

In your word processing program create text boxes of equal size (mine are 6″x5″).  To bind on the left side as I did, leave  a 1″ margin on the left side for odd numbered pages and a 1″ margin on the right side for even numbered pages.  Make sure all of your text boxes are lined up the same on each page (if you uses iMac Pages, this is really easy).  You can create the first page with two text boxes, and then just duplicate that page as many times as you need–that way all the text boxes will be in perfect alignment with one another.  I strongly suggesting testing the double print on your chosen paper.  You want a heavy enough bond (paper) so the double sided printing doesn’t show through to the other side.

Your page numbering order is as shown in the photos, and then print using your double sided -capable printer (long edge binding setting). Or you can manually do this with a printer/copier by printing only the odd number program pages and then flipping the paper over to print the even sided on the other side.

I was able to fit two text boxes (program pages) per document page (as shown)

Word processing document page 1 (pages 1 & 3 of the program):

wedding program pg 1 blog

Word processing document page 2 (pages 2 & 4 of program):

wedding program pg 2 blog

Word processing document page 3 (pages 5 & 7 of programs):

wedding program pg 3 blog

Word processing document page 4 (pages 6 & 8 of programs)

wedding program pg 4 blog

Word processing page 5 (inside back cover of program–or page 9)


To assemble, cut all the pages to the size of the text box (if there is a line around your text box, use that as a guide).  A guillotine cutter is your friend–you can cut multiple pages at a time.


To create the “cover”, cut a piece of card stock 1.5″ longer than your pages and 1″ wider.  For my 6″x5″ program pages, I cut card stock strips 7.5″ across and 5.5″ high. I cut two pieces of program covers from one 12×12 piece of paper.

Fold over your cover card stock 1″ on the left side, slide in your pages (in order!)  and make sure everything looks nice. Use a binder clip to hold everything together and punch two holes through all pages and cover.

programs binding 2

progams binding 1

Optional step: insert eyelets into the holes you just punched.

Thread ribbon through the holes and tie securely.  This is your binding.



wedding program 2


I made 85 programs for approximately 120 guests, figuring some couples would only take one.

How much time did it take? Designing them took the most time.  I started them nearly a year ago, our best man changed, some the time line changed….I waited to print them for as long as I could.  I probably worked way too long on the design tweaking this and that, getting the spacing just right, etc.  But allow yourself at least 3-4  to do this and make sure you get someone else to edit them (up to the last minute, I still had “groom” spelled wrong!).

Printing & cutting takes maybe an hour–with a guillotine cutter.

Final assembly took me 2-3 hours, but I also had the extra step of eyelets, which were not really necessary.  I also seared the ends of the ribbon so they would fray, which adds time.

The Little Ones

I haven’t posted in a while.  Most of my DIY is done.  After all, I had a year and a half!

The past month has been filled with sending invitations, attending parties, and taking care of last minute details. Most of the gifts for the wedding party have been purchased/made, but I still needed gifts for the little members: two flower girls and our ring bearer.  They are all very young, ranging from 2.5 to 4 years old.  We purchased three small silver frames for their picture at the wedding as a keepsake.  But what 3 year old wants a photo frame?

I decided to go with activity totes, personalized for each child.  A gift, and something to keep them occupied and entertained at a nearly 100% adult wedding.


children's totes wedding gift


I had these black ones left over from my Vegas bachelorette (fun!) and used my Silhouette machine and smooth heat transfer material for the names and flower/car.  For the flower girls, I also glued on some fabric flowers for a little extra fun.

I filled the totes with the usual suspects, coloring book, crayons, stuffed animal, and some toys.

flower girl gift totering bearer gift


But what was so fun was making the little personalized coloring “books” for them.

flower girl ring bearer gift 2


I just used free-use clip art, some fun fonts, and my regular word processing program (Pages).  They are printed on standard 8.5″x11″ copy paper.  I quickly painted a piece of cardboard for the back (they may need something sturdy in which to color) and bound each with a piece of 3″ fabric folded over the top and eyelets to hold the whole thing together.  The ribbon is just decoration.

The books are 12 pages and each one is personalized with their name and a little story (sort of).

ring bearer coloring bookring bearer coloring book 22014-05-11 21.08.012014-05-11 21.08.34

flower girl coloring bookflower girl coloring book 2flower girl coloring book 3flower girl coloring book 4


They took maybe an hour to make all three.  Each one is unique and I tried to keep them “age appropriate” with words and story.  I can’t wait to see them scribble all over them!

Here is a link to the files in PDF form.  If you don’t have a PDF editor to change the names, you can simply put a text/caption box over them in your photo editor.

flower girl coloring book 1

flower girl coloring book 2ring

bearer flower girl coloring books

Happy gifting!

Origami Pomanders

simple wedding pomanderwedding pomander1

origami pomander diy

Styrofoam balls for craft projects gives me sticker shock.  I wanted some smaller pomanders to go with my large origami topiaries I made earlier (posted here).  They will be hanging about the ceremony space and on the ends of the pews.  The best thing about this project is no styrofoam balls needed (yay!).  So the cost is the cost of paper and some ribbon.


Paper cut into squares (recommend 4″ or 5″ squares or the pomander will be too tiny).

Ribbon (about 2′ per pomander)

Glue gun, scissors

Maybe a stick/skewer to help thread the ribbon.

origami pomanders 1

Cost & Time:

The cost is paper.  A 12″ x 12″ sheet of scrapbook paper makes almost 2 flowers and is about $.20 each (about 7 sheets of paper per pomander). Glue sticks, the cost of your ribbon (I spent $3 for a spool which was more than enough to do eight pomanders).

Folding the flowers takes about 5 minutes each (x 12 flowers); gluing them together in the pomander takes about 10 minutes.


1) Cut your selected paper into perfect squares and make kusudama flowers.  Each pomander requires 12 completed flowers all of the same size.  For instructions on how to make the flower, see this tutorial.

2) Cut your ribbon to length (how far you want it to hang down) –about 2 feet–and fold it in the middle.  Thread it through the center of one of your flowers (this will be your top flower in the pomander).  I had to use a skewer to help thread the ribbon through.  Knot the ribbon close to the ends and pull the loop taut so the knot sits snuggly right at the base of the flower (see the pics below).

origami pomander 2origami pomander 3origami pomander 4origami pomander 5

3) Now you will start the first row of 5 flowers.  Take a loose flower and place it snuggly against the ribboned (top) flower so that one of the petals fits between two petals of the top flower.  Make sure the base of the flowers line up with each other.  Glue in place.

origami pomander 6origami pomander 7

4) For the next flower, you will get a better fit if you match two petals of the loose flower to the two petals of the top (ribbon) flower.  A petal of the previous glued flower (step 3) will sit in-between of the loose flower (picture explains it much better!) —

origami pomander 8

Glue three more flowers working around and that completes row 1.  As you go, just make sure the base (pointy end) of the flowers all line up.  At this point you have completed half of the pomander and it will sit flat.

origami pomander 92014-02-20 18.56.29

5) This step is a repeat of step 3 & 4 above.  This is just row two –five more loose flowers glued to the flowers of the first row.  Again, keep the flower base lined up.

origami pomander 11origami pomander 12

6) You now have one flower left and one hole to fill.  Glue in the last flower.  Look over your pomander and glue up any loose spots.


easy origami pomander diy

Add an extra bow around the base of ribbon if you like.  Or some pretty button/crystal centers to the flowers.

Table Years (paper time pt 2)

Still printing, cutting, embellishing away.  I am so happy to have this little project done.  It has been on my TO DO list for nearly a year.  I knew I wanted our table numbers for assigned guest seating not to be just functional. I wanted them to be a little fun, and represent “us.”

The years of our lives…

table numbers years 1

With bonus factoids 🙂

table numbers years 2

An easy enough project, inspired by other pictures I’ve seen with actual table numbers to represent the couple’s age at that point (e.g., table 1 – the bride and groom at 1 year old).

But when it takes you 5 decades of living to find your mate, years just seemed a better choice for us. Besides, we selected years that represented milestones in our lives (born, first day of school, graduations, etc.).

The hardest and most time consuming part of this project was selecting just a few photos to represent our life up to the point we met and fell in love (awww).  We spent an evening down memory lane, and made a deal that each would select their own.  

table numbers years 3


I had purchased Tolsby frames from the classifieds for about $1 each.  These frames are perfect for this project in that they are two sided -so two pictures (one bride, one groom) per frame.

They were grey/silver, but I painted them with texture spray paint (Krylon Stone) and added a little sparkly with some black glitter while the paint was still wet.  To protect the texture and paint, I used a clear high gloss acrylic sealer.

I measured the inside frame size (4″x6″) and created text boxes in Pages (or any word processing program), scanned the photos into my iMac, and typed the text I wanted (see below). I didn’t worry about the photos fitting exactly in the box since they would but cut down to size once printed anyway.  I just made sure the photo was centered and the text wasn’t too near the edge to keep the frame from covering it.

blog table years imac

My groom loves trivia. So including little historical “factoids” was a nod to him.  I am a Denver Bronco/NFL junkie and like movies.  He has hockey in his bones and is a music aficionado. Hence, the factoids chosen. [And yes I made sure to include the years in which our teams won their respective championships–woohoo!]

I printed on ivory medium weight card stock and just cut them out old school with scissors on the lines.  The edges don’t have to be perfect since the frame covers them.

To make the table number “year” readily visible for our guests, I cut card stock the width of the overall frame, hand punched the corners, added the glitter 3D stickers for the year, and cut out notches so it could slide into the top.

table numbers years 4table numbers years 5table numbers years 6table numbers years 7table numbers years 8

So, we now have table numbers years so our guests will be able to find their seat. I think our family and friends will enjoy our goofy pics too.

I mean, can you get more 1960’s than this?

2014-01-17 23.26.42

That’s me at 2 years old on the right.  Loving my mom’s hair 🙂

And this is the man I am marrying–What a cutie!

table numbers photos 9



Paper Time (part 1)

What is it about weddings that make you go all paper crazy?  I’ve always been into hand-made invitations (especially in the age of FaceBook/E-vites), but I was little prepared for paper learning curve…And that I would care so much.

This post is a first in a series dedicated to the paper productions for our wedding.  I have been designing, tweaking, shopping (with coupons and during sales of course), and having a great time.  Who knows, I may become a scrapbooker after this.

So the Save the Dates were the first thing I made (earlier post here).  They have all been sent. One hurdle down.

Next, the invitation.  I have been tweaking so long on this design, I feel I can tweak no more.  After working on all the bits and pieces, I finally put together one complete invitation last night and I am happy.  Very Happy with the cost (under $60 for nearly 100 invites!).  Hope you like them!

DIY Envelope liner

First up, the “outside.” I did a DIY envelope liner using silver tissue paper that I embossed using my Cuttlebug. I just traced the flap of the envelope onto card stock and added a few inches in length (so the liner would fall below the visible opening).  I can cut and emboss about ten to twelve sheets of tissue paper at a time, so this went really fast.  The tissue paper is so light, just an ordinary glue stick is all that is needed to paste it in.

I wanted a modern twist on the classic invitation, so I used vellum to wrap the invitation card which mimics the inner envelope. I purchased this particular vellum from the craft store open stock collection for $.12 per 12″x12″ sheet.  The vellum is sheet is cut down to 10.5″x12″ and then cut into thirds (short ways) which gives me three wraps per sheet (note: my invitation card size is an A2 –5.5″x 4.25″).

To hold the vellum is a circle with a smaller circle inside–but not completely cut (so more like two half circles inside).  These are cut from pearl card stock and then embossed with the Cuttlebug with a swirl design (more swirls to come!).  The circle “buckle” is about 1.5″ square and I can get 20-24 circles per 12×12 sheet (again, open stock paper at $.12 each).

DIY wedding invitations

So you open up the vellum to the actual card.  Who knew you can cut a standard 8.5″x11″ piece of paper and get two A2 cards? OK, I may be the only person who didn’t know that.  But what a deal! Two cards per sheet of card stock which I bought in a pack of 50 sheets for about $5.  Nothing fancy about the paper here.  I didn’t want a sheen or texture because I wanted the heat embossed stamp to be the star (and stamping/embossing on texture or glossy/shiny/satiny paper is nightmarish).

Stamping and using embossing powder takes a little practice, but is not difficult. On black paper, I found I needed a light pigment ink (like silver or white) and then the powder in the color of choice. I used a pearl green fine powder).  To keep the green powder only where I wanted, I quickly rub each card surface with a dryer sheet.  I do about ten at a time, stamp, pour powder, set aside. Stamp, pour powder from the last invitation onto the new one, set aside….  It is surprising how little powder you actually need. Just one little 1/2 jar of the powder is probably enough to due a 1000.

OK, so after I have about 10 stamped and powdered, I use a small angled painting brush to clean up stray powder bits.  I then use the heating gun on all ten (one at a time).  Still I found a few green embossed sparkles where they shouldn’t be.  Depending on how anal you are, I used a black crayon (yes, crayon) over those green spots which made them disappear like magic.  I then stack the completed cards and put a heavy book on them to take care of any warping during the heating process.

diy wedding invitation 2Open up the card to the text insert and rsvp card (names and personal information blocked out–but all your missing are our middle and last names and the location–no biggie).  Both the invitation text and little rsvp envelope are made from ivory bonded resume’ paper.  It doesn’t show in the photo, but it has a very subtle (and I think classy) design and texture to it.  I printed the text using a laser printer. I created a text box in Pages (or Word, or what ever word processing program you use) in the size I wanted (in my case 5″x3.75″) and just typed my text inside –right justified so I could do another matching heat embossed stamp.  With my size, I could print four text inserts on a 8.5×11 sheet, and again the resume paper came in a box of 50 sheets for about $8.

I used the same paper to make the little rsvp envelope on top.  I created it using my Silhouette machine, but it is a simple cut to do by hand.  Here is the template (Download the JPG by clicking HERE).  I, of course, then had to emboss the envelope with the swirl design using my Cuttlebug 🙂

envelope template

Onto the actual invitation text insert: Not a gazillion of different fonts (just two: copperplate and Channel, both available for free at Dafont.com) , little stories, etc., but just the facts.  We are the hosts (so no parents’ names), our wedding is not in a church (so “pleasure of your company” instead of “Honour of your presence”), date, time (all spelled out), location (place, city, state, no zip code), reception at the same location.

For this inside heat embossed stamp, I used green pigment ink and then used clear, detailed embossing powder.  With the clear powder, the stray bits do not show up and you do not have to be as careful getting all the strays that are sticking apart from the stamp off the paper.  When heating, the clear bits really just don’t show.

diy invitation 3

I cut a frame (1/4″ thick) to go over the text sheet –sort of a reverse layering than one usually uses.  This will help protect the heat embossed stamp, and hides any crooked hand cuts on my text cut.  I used the same card stock on the frame that I used for the rsvp card.  In fact, I printed the rsvp card inside the frame to conserve paper (see below). I use 1/4″ double-side tape to attach the frame and invite text to the card.

rsvp card frame silhouette

The RSVP card is a simple designed, inspired by gift card holder/old library card holders.  Designed in Silhouette (see above), I wanted the “RSVP” to really stand out in hopes (*fingers crossed*) that guests will rsvp in a timely manner.  We opted for online rsvp’s because:

1) Half of our guests are international –International post is subject to delays and we will really need a timely headcount,

2) Adding return postage for a mailed rsvp card adds significant expense due to international rates,

3) It is more environmentally friendly (less paper),

4) It reduces the outgoing postage because it helps keep the entire invitation under one ounce (standard postage for standard letter sizes under one ounce).  If you can keep your invitation to a standard letter size and underweight, you will save significant $$$$ on your budget.  As I was designing and tweaking, I kept weighed the invitation on our kitchen scale just to make sure.  I should also add, that the whole design started with the selection of the envelopes.  Not so great when you design a great card/invitation only to find there is nothing out there to mail it in 😦

I love the rsvp card.  I think it adds a little something-something to the invitation.  Just a touch of special.  You will notice I also added a little printed swirl design to the card itself.

 diy wedding rsvp insert 2

And so there it is.  Our wedding invitation (awww).  This just got real!

 diy wedding rsvp insert 1

Here are a few general pointers I learned along the way.

1. If you DIY, skip the pre-boxed print yourself invitation suites available at paper/craft stores.  I have used them before and they are a nightmare to line up correctly, etc.  You can buy really nice paper that is easier to print on, and then trim/cut to the size you want.  You will have a lot less stress, a lot less waist, and something more unique.

2. Select your envelopes first, design the invitation to fit the envelope.  Selecting standard, non-black envelopes will save you significantly in postage costs.

3. Buy a few papers, stamps, embellishments, etc., and play around with it months before you need to get serious.  Open stock paper is cheap, stamps and inks are too.  A good paper trimmer/cutter is your friend (and has many uses beyond the invitation).

4. If you can, use colored pigment ink to stamp, and then CLEAR embossing powder.  Stray bits of powder will not show nearly as much with the clear.  However, when heat embossing on dark colors (like black), the colored ink just didn’t work for me.  You have to practice on scrap to get the look you want.

5. Edit. Edit again. Get others to look at it and edit.  Then, edit again.  Once they are out, typos, wrong phone numbers, addresses, times, etc., cannot be fixed.  You need other people’s eyes on your wording.  Trust me. Up until the last minute I had a wrong phone number on our rsvp card.  It was my own phone number.  You stare at something so long, you just don’t see details anymore.  Luckily, I hadn’t printed a lot of cards before my fiancé noticed the mistake.  I also had the design critiqued online on a wedding forum (thank you Wedding Bee!).  Very helpful!

So here is the price breakdown/supply list for my design:

Bonded resume’ paper 50 sheet pack (invitation insert and rsvp envelopes) …..$5

Black card stock 50 sheet pack (card) ……$5

32 Open stock vellum 12″x12′ sheets @ $.12 each …. about $4

32 open stock green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each ……about $4

5(ish) open stock pearl green card stock 12″x12″ sheets @ $.12 each….round to a $1

Stamps, ink, embossing powder……$13

Various practice bits (paper, stamps, powder, etc.,)…..Let’s say about $10

150 Envelopes (found these on clearance as part of a note card suite, still have the cards left over)….$8

Silver tissue paper (envelope liner)…..$1

1/4″ double-sided tape….$7

Total cost for 95 invitations*….$58 (about $.60 per invite, including the practice bits)

Postage will add an additional $70.  We had budgeted about $500 for invitation, so WOOT! WOOT!

It is only fair to note that I did not add in the price of a paper cutter/trimmer (about $10ish), Cuttlebug machine & embossing folders (about $50), heat gun (about $10), and Silhouette machine (about $250).  I already had all these tools and use them on a number of other projects.

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: 


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.


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!


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 🙂

2013-09-22 15.32.00

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


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.

Origami Paper Flower Topiary (the WTHWIT? project)

So there I was, happily folding Kusudama flowers for cocktail hour centerpieces, boutonnieres, etc., and thought I should make a topiary of these.  I wanted some more decor around our dessert/candy/ice cream bar, but also wanted to block off the tables, nicely, so guests wouldn’t indulge before the cake cutting.

After days upon days of folding these flowers, I began calling this the WTHWIT? project–as in–What The Hell Was I Thinking?  This took hundreds of flowers, each flower takes 5 petal folds –Well, you can do the math.

But, I really love how they turned out!

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So if you have lots of time to sit and fold (and fold, and fold)–like several seasons of Breaking Bad or Mad Men, this is the project for you!

What You’ll Need:

Paper–lots.  I used 12″x12″ because it easily cuts into 3″ &  4″ squares to make the Kusudama flowers.

Styrofoam ball, 2″-5″ smaller than the desired finished size of your topiary ball 

4″ wood skewers-100s of these (check the BBQ section of your supermarket)

Half inch or larger wood dowel or pvc pipe cut to 5″ inches shorter than desired finished height of your topiary

Pot(s) or container(s) for the base & method for hold dowel/pipe in place (e.g, packed sand/dirt, plaster of paris, cement, styrofoam)

Low temp glue gun & lots of glue sticks

diy topiary supplies


About $25 for both topiaries, with parts left over.

I spent about $10 on the nicer papers (12×12 sheets); I had the pvc pipe, but dowels cost about $.75 each; Plaster of Paris is about $10 for a large bag (which is more than you’ll need for 2 topiaries)-or use free dirt; the skewers were $.19 for a bag of 100; the 8″ styrofoam ball was the most expensive item at $8 retail, but I used a 1/2 off coupon for them; ribbon $2 for a spool of organza green 1.5″.

Step 1:

Cut your paper into 3″ and 4″ squares.  If you are doing a smaller topiary, you’ll probably want smaller flowers.  This is a design decision.

Get very comfortable.  Fold, fold, and fold some more.  For a tutorial on how to make these Kusudama origami flowers, check out this tutorial.

I used approximately 200 flowers per topiary to get the 12″ diameter I wanted.  Smaller topiaries will require less flowers.

Step 2:

Skewer your flowers.  Insert the pointy end through the top of your flower then pull through so there is about 1″ of the skewer left inside the flower (see the pics below).  Secure with a drop of hot glue on the base.

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Step 3:

After you have many flowers made and skewered, start sticking.  The skewer on the end of the flower will increase the overall diameter of your finished topiary.  Now if you are like me and got sticker shock and the price of larger styrofoam balls ($20 for a 12″ –are you kidding me???), the skewer method is a much more economical choice.  Plus, it allows for re-poking and fine adjustments, as opposed to directly glueing onto the ball.

Get the flowers as close together as you can and try to avoid large gaps.  I ended up adding some smaller flowers from a punch to fill in as well.  But this is optional.

I did find it quite helpful to first attach the dowel/pvc pipe to the styrofoam ball before I started adding the flowers so it would give me something to hold onto.

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Step 4:

Secure it all together.  Add some styrofoam glue (or low temp hot glue) to your dowel and re-attach to the styrofoam ball.  Then attach the other end to the base inside your container.  I used plaster of paris in old plastic flower pots because I wanted a nice heavy, secure base.  But for smaller topiaries, styrofoam will work  too.  You can even use packed garden dirt and/or sand.

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Just make sure everything is stable, non-wobbly and can withstand a cat rubbing up against it (ha ha).

diy kusudama topiaries

Step 5: 

Finish it off.  I put my ugly plastic containers inside these nicer metal ones (which is great -I can change them out if desired), some raffia or petals to cover up the base top, and perhaps a nice bow on where the styrofoam ball meets the dowel.

I’ll be stringing a ribbon between these two as a way to “rope off” the dessert table with a nice “wait for it” sign.

diy origami topiaryorigami topiary

It may be a while before I fold anything more….

Corsage Pins for my Lovely Attendants

I know having attendants is old fashioned.  Most brides have their bridesmaids, and that’s it.  But I have four lovely nieces that I wanted to include. They each have a small duty (e.g., guest book, flowers, cord presentation, and dinner MC).  Once I finished the boutonnieres for the groomsmen and ushers, I wanted a corsage pin for the lovely ladies.  I have two kinds of paper flowers as decor for our wedding, painted rose-like flowers (soft and organic) and the kusudama origami flowers (more structured).  The men got the kusudama flowers on their bouts, so that leaves little tiny versions of my painted paper roses for the ladies.  The giant (or even large) corsage was out given their taste, so I made these small pins for them to wear to show their special status in the wedding.

diy corsage pinsdiy corsage pin paper flowermini corsagemini paper corsage

The instructions are a bit long since I included how to make the little rose flower.


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Paper cut into little tear drop shapes (about .5 to 1″ long).  Optional–Paint a piece of paper first and then cut out the little petals (or use patterned paper).  Regular copy/printer paper will work or slightly heavier, but not card stock.

Small cocktail straw/stirrer

1.5″ or wider satin ribbon

.5″ complimentary ribbon

Floral wire (22 gauge)

A brooch/pin finding (or a regular corsage straight pin would work)

Glue gun (a must)

Needle & Thread to match your wider ribbon

Making the Flower

This is just a tiny version of my large painted paper flowers I previously presented.

Step 1:  Cut out about a dozen tear-drop shaped petal from your paper about 1″ long and in various widths (.3 to 1″ wide at top).

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Starting with the “skinny” petals, dab some hot glue on the pointy (small) end and adhere to the tip of your cocktail straw. Shape the petal by gently bending it inwards towards the straw.

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Glue another one opposite of the first petal.

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With a scrap piece of paper, roll it up and glue in the center of your two glued petals.  The center of your flower is complete.

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Step 2: Continue adding petals and shaping going around the tip of straw.  Use wider petals as you work your way to the outside of the flower. I use a small skewer stick to gently roll the tips of the petals as I go. Keep going until you like the looks of it.  Put it aside.

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Making the Corsage Pin

Step 1:  Cut a piece of your wide ribbon about 8″ long.  Fold over the ends and glue them down to give it a finished edge.

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You need to sew a loose gather stitch about 1/4 up from one end. Nothing fancy here.  This is to just make working with the ribbon a lot easier.  Gather the ribbon and tie off.  It should NOT be a tight gather/ruffle, but semi-loose. It should form a seashell shape (see pic below).

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Step 2:  A wee bit tricky of a step, but not too bad…

Cut a piece of floral wire and bend it into a “U” shape.  (note: I have my gathered ribbon smoothed out a bit in this pic, but when evenly gathered it still looks like the picture above-sea shellish shape. Your gather should be loose enough to do this).

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On the end with stitching, gather up the ribbon so it is even (see picture).

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Take your wire and place it over the end of the ribbon (just about where your stitches are) and loosely twist the ends to close it.  Just enough to hold the ribbon.

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Now turn your pieceover and fan out the top of your ribbon so it looks like this:

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Step 3: Slide your flower on the cocktail straw down through the wire.   Get the flower base under the wire. Make sure all the ribbon edge is still in the wire loop and everything is where you want it.

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Turn it over and twist that sucker tight.

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Flatten out the twisted wire so it is flush with the back of the ribbon.

Step 4 (optional): If you are attaching a brooch finding to the back of your corsage, form a sort of “field goal” shape with your two wire ends.  Thread your finding over the wires (see pic), put some hot glue on the ribbon where the finding will rest, and bend down the wires to hold it all together (the glue is for a little extra assuredness).  You may need to cut excess wire off of the ends before bending it down.

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Step 5: Time to cut that straw.  The first one I made, I cut the straw right away and it really made the piece hard to work with, so be sure to cut the straw down as a last step (or close to last step).  My little skewer is pointing to where to cut, but basically you don’t want the straw to show, but leave enough so that it is still under the wire.

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After cutting, you can pinch your ribbon together over the straw, with a little glue to hold it.

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Step 6: Cover the wire with a little bow in your complimentary color (just a dab of glue to hold it on)   I used a small sheer organza ribbon.  You could also glue some flatback pears or rhinestones too.  At this point I also put a little bit of glue at the top back of the flower to hold it to the top part of the ribbon.

DIY corsage how to


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DIY Boutonnieres

Or “bouts” for the spelling challenged (like me).

I was making these Kusudama origami flowers for our cocktail/social hour decor:

origami flowers centerpiece

and my fiance thought they would make nice bouts.  Always looking to do things in advance (and save a few dollars too), I happily agreed.

Here are bouts!

diy boutonnieres

DIY paper flower boutonniere  DIY paper flower boutonniere 2 DIY paper flower boutonniere DIY paper flower boutonniere 4

I was happy with how easy they were to make.  Just a few hours for all ten, and that included making the flowers.  The cost is under a dollar for each one–if you have to purchase everything.  It is less than that if you already have a few supplies on hand.  Also, I think they look great.



Floral wire: 18 gauge for the “stem” of the bout.

Jewelry wire for wiring your beads (gauge depends on the size of the hole in your beads)

Beads for the center

Leaves, or tulle, or fabric/ribbon for the backing of the bout (optional)

Plastic Straws-I recommend the shorter/smaller cocktail stirrer/straws

Floral tape (or wasabi tape) and ribbon (the ribbon is optional)

Scissors & Wire cutters

Kusudama flowers (for a how to on making these, click here).  I used 2″ squares to make mine, except for the ring bearer’s bout–I used 1.5″.

Step 1: The Center

Assuming you already have the flower made, you’ll need to string your beads for the center of your flower. I chose these glass teardrop beads and thought five of them in the center looked nice.  Cut your jewelry wire about 2-3″ long.  You’ll need one wire for each bead.

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Thread the wire through the bead and bend over about an inch and twist your wire tightly to hold the bead.  Do this for each bead.

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Grab all five of the wired beads and keeping them even on top, twist the wires so they are all connected together.  You’ll then want to twist in a 18 gauge floral wire. The floral wire will be your stem.  The beading wire is just not strong enough on its own.

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Step 2: Assemble the Bout

With the beaded wire and floral wire all twisted with one another, thread these through the center opening of your flower.  Cut your cocktail straw down to the desired size.  The cut straw needs to be a tad shorter than the floral wire on the flower (see picture).  The straw will serve to thicken up the stem of your bout and give the tape/ribbon something to cling to.

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Thread the wires through the straw.  You should have some floral wire sticking out of the end of the straw.  Bend it up over the straw.  This will hold everything nice and tight.

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You may want to put a touch of glue at the base of the flower where it meets the stem for added stayputtedness (not a real word).  At this point, you wrap the stem in floral tape (or whatever tape you choose), just be sure to wrap tightly around the base of the flower and get all the way to the bottom of the stem.  With floral tape, I have to do in two parts.  I use about a 5″ section to wrap just the base, and then another 5″ piece to do the rest.  If you are as bad as me with floral tape, you can wrap the whole thing in ribbon when you are done and the tape will not show.

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There are lots of things one can use as a background for their flower. I found these leaves taking up space in my craft room.  If I didn’t have them, I probably would have cut a circle of tulle, or stole a leaf from a plastic plant, or even made one out of paper.

Lay your flower and center it on your background piece.  Secure it with floral tape. Since my leaf was bigger than the base of the flower, I just pinched it in on both sides and then wrapped with tape.

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Congratulations! Your bout is done! You can add a few finishing touches if you like…

Step 3: Finishing Touches (these steps are all optional)

Since floral tape is sticky and I have cats, I finished off the stems with organza ribbon to prevent the bouts from being cat hair magnets. I just placed a dot of hot glue on the back of the bout (where the flower meets the stem) and wrapped all the way to the bottom.  A spot of hot glue on the tip of the end held the ribbon in place.

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I used a pair of small pliers to curl the stem of the bout as well.

Here they all are with cute little tags and their pins.  I love the little tiny one for the ring bearer 🙂

DIY paper flower boutonnieres