Will you be my bridesmaid?

Now that summer is winding down, I’m returning from the unplanned ‘vacation’ that I took from blogging. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been willingly sucked into a wedding planning frenzy. Although our wedding isn’t until July, every wedding “to do” list I’ve consulted has quite a lengthy list of tasks for 10-12 months out. A side note – I’ve learned that the initial gathering of ideas is slightly (and by slightly I mean significantly) more fun that actually learning what those ideas cost…

One of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make so far is selecting the wedding party. Admittedly, my number of bridesmaids is pretty high at nine (yes, nine) but I wasn’t willing to compromise. Kyle and I finally agreed that even if we ended up with more bridesmaids than groomsmen, I could keep my nine. (And come on, what groomsman isn’t going to prefer walking down the aisle with two girls instead of one?)

I loved the idea of sending out cards to the girls I wanted on my side and found a cute paper chain idea on OnceWed a few months ago. I shared it with one of our designers at work, Jill, who does some freelance on the side, and she agreed to create something similar for me. I was absolutely blown away by the final product. (Although I’m pretty sure I nearly gave her an early onset of arthritis with all of the cutting that was required). I was thrilled to mail them out to the girls last week. Pictures below!

Also, be sure to check out Jill’s Etsy shop here. Her stuff is adorable!

bridesmaid card

Image: Jill Brewer

Michelle_BridalCards1

Image: Jill Brewer

A Sunny Shower

It’s been awhile since my last post and I have lots to share in the next few weeks.  May was a busy month with an engagement (mine!!), a long-awaited trip to the beach, and preparing to help host a baby shower the first weekend in June.

The baby shower was for one of my closest friends, Andi, which I hosted last weekend with my mom and three other family friends, Kathy, Cindy, and Katie. Andi and her husband, Tony, opted not to find out the sex of the baby, so we stuck with a gender neutral theme of “you are my sunshine” to reflect the décor of her nursery.  The yellow-and-blue color scheme felt fun and summery – perfect for an early June afternoon. The menu was a compliment to the light mood with an assortment of tea sandwiches and salads; pineapple chicken salad on croissants, mango shrimp salad in cucumber cups, strawberry romaine salad, and fresh fruit.  For dessert, lemon squares and brownies sat next to a towering display of cupcakes – each topped with a fondant sunshine or cloud. Instead of favors, we opted for a candy bar. Apothecary jars and glass dishes held a variety of yellow candies for guests to fill treat bags with as they got ready to leave.

Throwing a shower is always fun but there’s an excitement and anticipation with baby showers, especially when the mommy-to-be is a close friend, that makes it all the more special. (Plus, as Katie put it, diaper cakes, toys, and tiny outfits are a lot more fun that blenders, towels, silverware.)

Invites

Invitations by Frilly Milly Events

Flower

Sunny flower arrangements by Kathy, one of the other hosts

onesies

Onesies clipped to a ribbon ‘clothesline’ decorated the fireplace.

name tags

Diaper-inspired name tags

fruit

Fruit, baby! (Made by Katie, one of the fellow hostesses)

cake

Sunshine and sugar

A swim in the sherbert punch...

A swim in the sherbert punch…

The mommy-to-be with her mommy.

The mommy-to-be with her mommy.

candy bar

Sunshine-inspired candy for guests to take home.

DIY: April Showers Bring May Flowers

My newly married (and now domesticated) sister recently sent me a picture of a spring wreath that she wanted to buy for her front door. After seeing my last silk flower DIY, she asked me if I could make her a similar wreath. I agreed but having never decorated (or even owned) a wreath before, I advised her to keep her expectations low. Much to my surprise though, it ended up being an incredibly easy project that took only a little over an hour. At only about $15-$20 in material costs, it’s an affordable and fun way to spruce up your entryway for spring.

Scroll for step-by-step directions.

DIY Spring Flower WreathMaterials

  • 1 grapevine wreath
  • 2-3 bunches silk tulips
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors or wire cutters

Directions

  1. If silk flower stems can be pulled off wire, pull off and dispose of wire base. If stems do not pull of base, clip the stems near the base so that you have 5-6 inches of stem to work with. Remove leaves if possible. (The flowers I used had tubing around the bottom of the leaves that allowed me to slide them of the stem.)
  2. Begin decorating the wreath by tucking the stem of each flower into the wreath base so that it’s anchored between sections of the vines. Continue until wreath is covered to likeness.
  3. If you removed leaves, snip the tubing around the base so that you can easily add back onto stems.  Use hot glue gun to close tubing.
  4. Once your wreath is completely decorated, use a hot glue gun to secure stems into place.

Mirror Makeover

My boyfriend, Kyle, is finishing up some renovations to his house and asked me to help decorate. I was lusting after a silvery quatrefoil mirror from Z Gallerie; price tag = $499 (+$50 delivery and processing). While I swore there was no piece more perfect for the dining room wall than this mirror, there was just no way…

Z Gallerie Quatrefoil Mirror,

Z Gallerie Quatrefoil Mirror, $499

So when I ran across a similar mirror in black at Hobby Lobby for $70 on sale for 50% off, I was clearly ecstatic. A couple coats of paint and I had my dream mirror for a total investment of under $50.

Materials and instructions below.

Mirror Makeover

Materials:

  • Quatrefoil mirror, available at Hobby Lobby (in store only) or Lowes
  • Metallic paint
  • Primer
  • Scouring pad
  • Brush (I used a bristle paint brush; use a foam brush for a smoother finish)
  • Razor blade (or painter’s tape; however, if your mirror has rounded corners, it may be easier to scrape any paint off with a razor blade once the paint has dried)

Directions:

  1. Scuff surface with scouring pad.
  2. Prime and paint the frame according to can or bottle instructions.
  3. Let frame dry overnight.
  4. Use a razor blade to scrape any dried paint off the mirror (or remove tape).
  5. Voila! You’re done. Hang the mirror and enjoy.

A New {Old} Valentine’s Tradition

When I was growing up, my dad put together a Valentine’s day scavenger hunt around our house every year for my sister and me. He would give us each a bag and a piece of paper containing our first of many clues and sent us on our way. The clues were always rhymes, which I loved, telling us something about the gift and then giving us a hint as to where we would find our next clue, leading us to places such as the lint trap in the dryer or the back seat of my mom’s minivan in the garage. This tradition made Valentine’s Day a favorite holiday in our house, one that we begged our dad to keep doing year after year (along with Easter egg hunts) until we were practically adults.

Because this tradition was so special to me, I decided to create my own scavenger hunt last year for my boyfriend, Kyle. I bought small gifts that I knew he liked (trail mix, Almond Joys, Kentucky Bourbon Ale, etc.) and then wrote short clues to accompany each gift. For his first gift, I hid the following clue with a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon Ale:

Enjoy a bottle of one of your favorite brews;  find your next clue in an old pair of shoes.          

I then tucked an Almond Joy and Mounds bar into a old pair of shoes in his closet with the following clue, leading him to his suitcase.

Coconut and chocolate is a delicious combination; your next clue is in something you take on  vacation.

And so forth. (I had 8 clues and gifts total.) His last clue led him to a dozen homemade (by me!) cream-cheese filled red velvet cupcakes and a card. The scavenger hunt marked Valentine’s Day a success – Kyle enjoyed the unique spin on gifts and I think I had just as much fun as he did recreating a tradition from my childhood.

Here are some ideas for creating your own scavenger hunt for someone special this Valentine’s Day –

Valentines Scavenger Hunt

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts, candy stores  |  2. Ted, Amazon.com  |  Kate Spade ‘Two of a Kind’ glasses, Nordstrom.com  |  4. Modern House Wines, swansonvineyards.com  |  5. Kentucky Bourbon Ale, most supermarkets  |  6. Chipotle gift card, chipotle.com  |  7. Floating heart boxers, jcrew.com

DIY {Faux} Flower Arrangements

I love fresh flowers – especially peonies, hydrangeas, and roses. They bring an instant sophistication and chic vibe to any space. But always having fresh flowers around my apartment simply isn’t doable on my budget. It recently hit me that I could use silk flowers instead. While silk flowers get a bad rap for looking cheap or unnatural, they can be used to achieve the same effect as real flowers if they’re quality and arranged correctly.

I found some lovely silk arrangements on Etsy but couldn’t believe the price tag that came with them ($225 for peonies in a small square vase) so I came up with the DIY version below for under $35.

faux flower diy

Supplies

  • Glass vase (I used a 4” square vase from Jo Ann fabrics)
  • Silk flowers (Depending on the quality of the silk flower you use, flowers can get expensive. However, stores such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann’s often have 40% or 50% off some varieties of silk flowers, or check online for coupons. You’ll want to make sure to get enough flowers to fill your vase minus the leaves.)
  • Quick Water, or another clear floral setting resin (available at craft stores)
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters

Instructions

  1. Determine the height at which you want your flowers to stand within in the vase and cut the stems accordingly with a good pair of scissors or a wire cutter.
  2. Trim the leaves off or back to your liking.
  3. Mix the floral resin according to package directions. Pour into the center of your vase.
  4. Arrange the flowers in the vase. Most clear resins don’t begin to “cure” for about an hour after mixed, so you can spend some timing arranging. I recommend having at least some idea of how you plan to arrange your flowers before putting them in the vase. NOTE: The resin is sticky! Try not to pull your flowers completely out of the resin (but rather just move them around in it). I did this and things got a little messy! If you do spill any, some rubbing alcohol will clean it right up.