Category Archives: Wedding Planning

Handmade Wedding: I lied!

Handmade Wedding: I lied!

Yes, It’s true…I thought I was done with the wedding posts but nope, got one more in me…

7 a.m., Nov. 15th, I got this Facebook message from a very dear friend who shared with me a couple of months ago that she had found a very special “beau”, “Do you plan to be in town November 30th?”.  I had a feeling what was coming.  She was getting married!  Very excited for her as she deserves every bit of the happiness she has found.  What could I say, other than “Do you need some paper flowers?” wedding2flowers She had two weeks.  I had lots of sticks and flowers (and spreadsheets!)  Let the turbo-planning begin!   Made that four month timeline for the first wedding seem extensive!  Although that quick turnaround presents all kinds of obstacles, there is also a wonderful simplicity in planning and designing a wedding with a tight timeline. Obviously there is stress, but it is not a prolonged stress.  Decisions just have to be made.  You have to work with what you have.  You cannot worry about that which you cannot change.  And for the most part, it turned out absolutely perfect.wedding2back

Starting with the theme of joining hands to become family, we wanted to be sure that we hit the main features that the bride felt were important. Creating an intimate space, just for the two of them, was the most important with a bit of drama and a dash of glamour. Look familiar?


Since the groom was a great friend with their pastor, who also served as the best man, the venue was set. The bride’s four grown children along with her sister formed the bridal party.


A hand blessing read by the matron of honor, sister of the bride, had special meaning for the bride and her family. Gotta love that hooplah!

DSCN7741In order to include the children of the bride in the ceremony and create the family bond, the couple presented each child with a special necklace to commemorate the day.DSCN7760It was a wonderful gesture that along with their family sharing in communion together, symbolized the new oneness of their family.DSCN7762The look on her face here says it all…wedding2toast

There was a sparkling cider toast..(how do you like the giant flowers’ new role? Pretty cool way to fill up wall space.)wedding2cuttingcake….a wedding cake to cut….

wedding2ladies…great food…(I see black and white engineer prints!)DSCN7765friends and family to witness and share it all…wedding2prekiss…and a honeymoon in the mountains.   .

As we were breaking down the wedding decorations in April, some of the helpers( let’s be honest, mostly the menfolk) asked, “What do you want us to do with this stuff? Put it in the dumpster!?!?!”  WHAT!?!? ARE YOU INSANE?!?!  However, truth be told,  we really had no idea what we were going to do with them. They have been in storage ever since. To be able to reimagine and share them with this couple on their special day made the decision to hang on to them a blessing.

Now, who’s next?

Handmade Wedding: Hooplahs and Jellyfish

Handmade Wedding: Hooplahs and Jellyfish

What do hula-hoops and jellyfish have in common?  I didn’t know either until this wedding.

Creating intimate spaces with big impact looks in a large generic banquet room using handmade personalized elements on a budget pretty much was our design mission statement for this wedding.  Finding creative answers was sometimes easy and sometimes not.  These particular projects were so easy, it was stunning!  They were the answer to what we were looking for at a cost that was next to nothing considering the impact that they made.IMG_4509

Naturally, the bride wanted to have “The Walk” down a long aisle, so we picked a spot in the room that gave her plenty of time for that moment leading to a simple but magical destination. The windows provided a great view for the ceremony backdrop but  what we needed was an intimate atmosphere for the vow exchange. Enter the hula-hoop – or “hooplah” as our finished products came to be known – tiny white lights, plus yards and yards of silky organza and crepe paper.  Nothing ground-breaking here, but extremely easy, effective and inexpensive.

garage hooplahs

Left: ceremony hoop Right: Jellyfish (cake-table) hoop

 A smallish kids’ hula-hoop purchased for $3 spray painted white, with white icicle lights zip-tied on with white zip-ties, formed the base of the ceremonial hoop.  The jellyfish hooplah was a wire wreath frame from a craft store, purchased for about $4, with white in-line string lights draped in big loops and twist-tied on.   Even though we did spray the cake table hoop white as well, we left the green wires as they actually sort of disappeared in the dark center of the jellyfish when we were done.  icicle lights boxThese were a great find at the after-Christmas sales.  Knowing we had this event coming up we stocked up and bought about 30 boxes.  We used them in several different ways throughout the space and the effect was sparkly and magical…gotta love a twinkle light!DSCN2824Of course, precise measurements and advanced mathematical calculations were employed to make sure that the ceremony hoop hung at the right height above the couple’s heads.  Okay, maybe we used some unconventional methods but they worked!DSCN2917

A few yards of organza, a couple of wraps n’ tucks, and the ceremony hooplah was finished. .DSCN3939Easy-peasy and a lot of mood for about $10 and 20 minutes!Day 94 (2)At the venue, we laid out 32 yards of the dreamy white organza ($8 a yard before the 40%off coupon). At first we thought we would be able to wrap it around strands of lights, but we did not have enough of the in-lines in white wire,  most were of the icicle variety. So, in the end, we chucked that idea for the more simple plain fabric drape.DSCN3812Creating the illusion of floating chiffon was as simple as 4 hooks, some fishing line and a couple of poles. The dropped-ceiling grid gave us the perfect center point to hang the hooplah form the grid using hooks we got from a office furniture outfitter.  After that, we just lifted the panels on either side and tucked the ends of the organza in and let the panel weight hold them down. Then, using bamboo “rods” we cut from a neighbor’s yard, with holes drilled in the ends, we threaded fishing line through them, allowing us to loop them onto the dropped-ceiling hooks.   When the hoopah was lit …ceremony hooplah…it created just enough glow to create the most important spot in the room.


At the opposite end of this gigantic room, in a corner, was the cake-cutting table, lonely and  in desperate need of an attention-grabbing something. That’s where the jellyfish hooplah was doing its job but on the way there…DSCN3946…can we take a moment to check out the fabulous overhead effect of the hundreds of white icicle lights over the dance floor.  Complete with a pink mirrored disco ball, paper pom-poms and ribbons in the bride’s favorite colors.DD7_8274

When we lit it up after the ceremony,  It just screamed, “FUN happens here!”.  And it did!

cake hoop stairs paperWhen you write it down on paper, this project does not sound like something you would expect to class-up a wedding, but it really ended up being a show-stopper.Crepe paper streamers – only around $1 a roll – created the drama for the jellyfish hooplah.  That’s right, kiddie birthday party crepe paper streamers.  Sounds kinda tacky, right?  That’s what I thought!cre[e paper rolling deviceWe had to use so much of the darned stuff ,and in such long pieces, that we devised this clever factory assembly line method for measuring and cutting the many, many strips.  The sheer volume of color and paper is what elevated it from cheap to chic.DSCN2864All that was involved in the production, was folding over the strips a couple of inches and stapling them to the frame, alternating the colors all the way around and on all of the sections of the wire wreath frame, creating a depth of layers.  Having a spiral staircase to hang it from was genius!jellyfish closeup

We simply zip-tied some chain from the hardware store on and presto… we had a jellyfish hooplah!  Crazy good!.

DSCN2878How do you store a 10 foot long jellyfish hooplah until you need it?  Go ahead, Google that!  Our method was to put the bottoms in a big black garbage bag…jelly storage…and haul it up to the storage area over the garage to hang from the rafters. Then we took the bag off because we didn’t want to wrinkle the tendrils.  It still puddled on the floor a bit.IMG_4313That’s how we learned once crepe paper gets a wrinkle, it is there.  We considered ironing them all out but then came to our senses and just  pushed the cake table a little closer.DSC_0657Jellyfish hooplah did its job and brought the punch of color to that corner that was needed.DSCN4186When the sun went down, the orange glow was ethereal. Hoops, lights, fabric, crepe paper, a couple of poles and some fishing line and chain.

Big effects.  Little cost.  Easy execution.  Perfection.

Next up: Rock, Paper, Sticks

Handmade Wedding: Chalkboard Banner Tutorial

Handmade Wedding: Chalkboard Banner Tutorial

If a great DIY design project serves its purpose beautifully (and on the cheap!) that’s fantastic, but then if it can be used over and over for many other functions,well, now we are talking project perfection!!  Nothing is more trendier these days  than a photo booth at a wedding, except maybe chalkboard art, and certainly, it was our duty to make sure this wedding did not miss out!  How else would the bride and groom be able to look back on their 10th anniversary and say, “Remember when THAT was popular? What were we thinking?”banner wide (2)This chalkboard pennant banner for our DIY Photobooth was kind of an afterthought.  We had plenty of projects to finish and even though it seemed pretty obvious what this area was intended to be,  it felt like we needed something in this huge room to let guests know that , yes, this was where they needed to be to play in the photo booth.  The  idea came to me and I had to just go for it.  The whole project took less than 3 hours and tied together elements from the theme in a totally different way.  The best part? It cost virtually nothing as I used things I already had on hand! Love that! Here’s what I used:

  • paper – any kind for template
  • canvas
  • chalkboard paint
  • jute twine
  • safety pins – to feed twine through tops of pennants, and to attach some embellishments
  • sewing machine
  • pinking shears
  • embellishments and whatever you want to decorate the spacers withbanner 1 (2) It started with making a paper template to figure out the size (on the Left).  I wanted the pennants to be fairly large to be seen from a distance but not so big they looked ridiculous.  Each pennant ended up being about 11 inches from top to point and that worked.  I just eyeballed the size I thought would work, cut it out and tested it, then made another one and taped them together to use as a pattern. Note my superior cutting skills of the canvas piece on the RIght!  Nice!  Just goes to show you don’t always have to be a perfectionist to get results.banner 2 (2)

The plan was to go with a diamond shape then fold them in half so that they formed a double-sided triangle with a channel at the top for the hanging string to go through. Using the paper template and some canvas I had lying around from another project, I cut out the number of diamonds I needed to spell out “photo booth” plus 3 extra for the ends and one for a spacer in the center. banner3 (2) To give them some rigidity making them easier to write on, I cut used manila file folders I had in a pile (or cardstock) into triangles about 1/2 inch smaller than the face of the pennant and inserted them into the folded over fabric and sewed all around.  banner5 (2) At the top,  I sewed a line about about 3/4 of an inch from the folded top (or center of the diamond) to create the channel  to pull the string through that would hang the banner. banner4 (2) Here’s what they looked like when the sewing was done. chalkboard 1 (2) We had painted one wall in a couple of the kids’ bedrooms with chalkboard paint so I had some on hand. Day 84 (2) I did gesso the pennants first so that the blackboard paint wouldn’t soak into the fabric and saturate the cardstock inside. I decided to leave the 3 spacer pennants gesso white to give some contrast and possibly do something different with them. banner6 (2) At first, I thought I would like the raveled kind of grungy look of the rough edges but not so much. I ended up trimming them all with pinking shears to even them up and stop the raveling.  I liked the fact that it created the look of more triangles….hadn’t thought of that!  banner 11 (2) Then I wanted some way to incorporate our white paper flowers, so I made a smaller version and added a book text center.  Loved it!  Perfect addition of the sort of grungy old fashioned hand made look I was going for but in a subdued way.  Made two of these for the end and the beginning of the banner, each about 8 inches in diameter. I just safety pinned them on so I can change the tone of the banner for a different occasion at another time.DSCN3647 (2) Liked that look so much that I added a few petals of book text on an even smaller flower about 3 inches wide to put on the center “space” pennant. Banner10 (2) I wanted to do something a little different with that one to create a focal point and add some color – the bride’s colors of orange, pink, and yellow – to go along with the black and white of the chalkboard paint and the white paper flowers. I didn’t want anything too bright, however, as it didn’t seem to fit the old fashioned feel the banner was taking on so I opted for some circles traced from a template filled with Pitt Pen in  and some Distress Inks in . banner12 (2) I was on a book-text-loving-roll, so I ripped out some more pages, tore them into 2 inch strips, added some scrap fabric from pillows that I made for the wedding space foyer bench, sewed it all together folding it over as I went along and there you go….grungy ruffle with all of the bride’s colors incorporated in a subtle touch on the banner!  I did hot glue the ruffle to the banner and the flower to the ruffle so this would be a permanent (ish) pennant design.  These were so simple to make that I can see customizing spacer and end pennants for any occasion that I bring the banner out for..banner9 (2) Using a safety pin and my hand Precision Poker Tool (bamboo skewer), I threaded the individual pennants onto jute twine from the tool shed, starting with a blank white pennant, then counting out the number of chalkboard ones I would need to write out “booth” then adding the center “spacer” and the additional chalkboard pennants for “booth” and ending with the last gessoed white pennant.banner13 (2) I used safety pins to attach the bigger white flowers to the white pennants so that if the banner needs to be used for a different theme it can easily be changed.  The whole pennant is interchangeable and easily added on to.  I love it!  Not only perfect for weddings but birthdays, anniversaries, show booths, or even home decor.     photobooth4 (2) The banner literally spelled out what this was this display was all about.  It seems obvious but we needed to make sure that guests knew that this was indeed a place to come get a photo taken and have some fun. You can get as plain or fancy in the lettering as you want.  Add some doodles or attach any kind of embellishment you want.DSCN3959 Judging by the photos from my last post….I think it worked. This banner will be the perfect addition to many occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, welcome home, craft shows, or just an inspirational word or two on the wall – just add chalk. Thanks for stopping in for a look,


PS – Now I am not the first, nor the last to make one of these things. Here is another version of a chalkboard banner, using a totally different material and method.  I love that!  It does make me realize, however,what  good  blog photos are supposed to look like!  Thanks Delia!  (I do think I am going to try her little pocket idea.)

Handmade Wedding: The Groooom’s Cake

Handmade Wedding: The Groooom’s Cake

Grooms’ cakes can be a whole lot of fun…this one was no exception!  Traditionally, the cake is a gift from the bride to the groom and in this case it was a gift from my family to the bride to give to the groom. (Did I mention that the groom was stationed in Germany and the bride was traveling 5 hours back and forth from her home to a graduate internship the whole time we were planning this wedding?)


Well-loved photo of the groom from basic training taped to his mom’s dashboard

bridal shower1 (2)

The bride and her future sister-in-law. So cute, right?

We wanted to reflect the groom’s interests, of course, as that is the purpose. The bride and I sat and talked and came up with basically four themes: the Army, music, Jack Daniels and BACON!!! (Not necessarily in that order)

So, we started with that.  We had all kinds of ideas….

  • Army men surfing on bacon surfboards on Jack Daniels flowing out of a bottle holding music notes.  Scratch.
  • Glasses of  Jack Daniels with Army men in them eating bacon all sitting atop sheet music.  Scratch.  
  • Then we thought –  Army men, guarding bacon roses (Pinterest!) around a giant Jack Daniels bottle with a custom label reflecting all of the groom’s musical and Army career highlights all sitting on atop envelopes from the letters they had written to one another when he was in basic training that ultimately led to his proposal during a visit at Ft. Benning.  Bingo!  Now, who to make it?!!?

It turns out, through my husband’s work in the restaurant business, he had someone in mind who does some pretty awesome cakes.  Mill Steet Sweets is part of Charley’s Waterfront Cafe’ in Farmville, VA. Charley’s is a great place to have lunch when you are in town to shop at Greenfront Furniture or visiting Longwood College.  Whoa!  I should work for the Farmville Chamber of Commerce!

All we really needed was the bottle with the label, that was the hard part. We could take care of the rest.

Bacon Roses, you say?  Easy.  Take a mini-muffin pan and drill a pretty good sized hole in the center of each cup.  This allows the copious amounts of bacon grease to drain out.  Take a pound of bacon( or more) and begin by rolling one strip at a time from the end into a flower shape.  Use your imagination…it will take some finessing but nothing too technical.

bacon rose 1

Place each “rose” into a cup in the pan and set the whole thing on top of a broiler pan with the base attached, again, to capture the copious amounts of bacon grease associated with this project. (It’s not that bad but really, you want to do it this way.)

bacon rose 2

Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 mins.then check them.  I found that they were looking pretty good on top but the bottoms were still pretty raw.  Not appealing.

baconrose 3

I just flipped them over and placed them back in the oven for another 10 mins or so. Actually, I ended up flipping them again and making sure the tops were nice and browned for another 5 or 10 mins. If you make them, you will have to judge how long you want to belabor the point.


Although my camera flash made these appear to be almost neon and no means of editing could help, they really did come out perfectly.


Kent is a cavalry scout and this guy just seemed like he was calling in to tell someone he had spotted something GOOD!!


This guy was just standing there whistling trying to hide the fact that he had just had a teeny weeny little green finger full of fondant.  Move along.  The leaves are bamboo in remembrance of the groom’s great grandmother who had tons of it growing in her yard and every important event has to have some bamboo somewhere.


“Stand Down!  Put the fork down and back away from the roses, ma’am.”


The baker nailed the label.   (Please forgive the little bit of smushing of his last name.  That was our fault trying to get it out of the ginormaous box it was in all taped and perfect. The baker did it perfectly.)Kent was the bass player in a band called Fools and Horses and that is their logo on the neck of the bottle.  Both Kent and Amy lived in Maryland before Kent shipped off to the Army but the wedding was in Virginia, where his family is from.  In fact, the venue was on the water in Maryland but you entered the front door from Virginia. They actually had to go outside after their ceremony to get married for real on the beach in Virginia because the officiant was not authorized to conduct a wedding in Maryland! 


Speaking of ginourmous, did I mention that this cake is at least 2 feet long and probably 10 – 12 inches wide?  Those army men are 4 inches tall!  It weighed a good 20 pounds. It was massive. Of course, it had to feed 40 people, which it did beautifully..


How about the attention to detail on the bottom of the bottle, I mean cake?


I had the bride and groom each fill out an envelope using the addresses where they lived during their correspondence while Kent was in basic training.  Then had photocopies made and we cut them out and had them all around the base of the cake.


Not only did it say it all…..

grooms cake bite with rose

…it was DELICIOUS!  Super moist yellow sponge cake smeared with raspberry preserves & filled with French vanilla butter cream. YUM!  The groom’s favorite flavors.  (Awful picture, sorry!  Hard to eat, drink and be merry while holding a clipboard and a camera!)


It looks like someone is helping themselves with a spoon!  And the Army men, well, they are just overcome.  There was very little cake left at the end of the night.  Hmmmm…..

528424_10151565784623024_1338588521_nAND all of the Army men were AWOL by the time we packed up, by the way. I know they have found new assignments as I have seen glimpses of them from time to time on Facebook.  Carry on.

A perfect tribute to the groom and a great ending to a fun rehearsal dinner.

Thanks for checking it out…..



A Handmade Wedding: Paper Flowers

A Handmade Wedding: Paper Flowers

I know, I know….what has taken so long?!  It’s way too much to explain and it’s not all my story so I will have to leave it at “life happens”. But here, finally, are the beginnings of the details from our April handmade wedding.  There are a SO many photos and projects….I will do my best to keep it flowing over several different posts in the next few weeks.  The last 3 months of 2013 have been all about confusion, transition, adaptation and acceptance.

Paper Flowers and Cloud Documents – that was what the first three months of this year were all about.  What started with a Pinterest idea, a roll of butcher paper, some cardboard, a glue gun and an Excel spreadsheet ended with what we feel like was a handmade tribute to a wonderful couple who deserved a truly special event to start off their married life.

The groom is now on a one year deployment in Afghanistan.  They both deserve our prayers and our thanks.  DSCN2977 (2)DSCN2320The venue was perfect, our hosts were easy to work with and the food was great. Our number one issue was the huge space we had to fill in this banquet room, how to make it more intimate and give it some wow factor.The enormous span of drop ceiling, along with the generic furnishings, made the space seem more like office space than wedding venue.

ceremony space b4

The windows were nice as they let in a lot of light but there were two gigantic industrial A/C units mounted on the roof of the lower level that just killed the view in a major way. The string lights didn’t quite cut it either. Our budget was tight and our timeline short (3 months) but our creativity was high so we got on Pinterest and started the hunt.


The original flower “pin” was for something not nearly as big as the ones we ended up making – 60 inches in diameter (almost as big as the tables they hung over – all 16 of them!)  And at first, we were thinking maybe a swath of them on the wall might be fun.  But the more we thought, the more we figured they were the perfect distraction for all of that ceiling.


The prototype flower was made with a cereal box base but when we realized how big and how many we were going to make we opted for a large cardboard shipping box found out in the garage.


Our idea was to hang one over each table so we had to devise a way to a) hang them and b) make them hang straight.  We tried a few different configurations that were pretty iffy but in the end came up with 6 eyelets placed around the circle in pairs and using one continuous piece of fishing line looped through them attached to a ceiling hook.  We did all of the prep and measuring beforehand so the day we loaded in, all we had to do was hang them from the hook and make a few tilting adjustments.


Next it was paper ripping for hours…we were counting how many of each sized petals to make one flower – approximately 40 – and then multiply that by 16 and start ripping and stacking different sizes for each flower and putting them with a circle base.  This took a few days with lots of breaks for phone calls, emails, and spreadsheet updating.


After tearing all of the lengths, the ends were then hand torn to for the rounded edges of the petals.  We could do probably 4 petals at a time.  Each petal was “scrunched” at the not rounded end to form the folds in the petal. Then it was “Let the gluing commence!”  I was the official gluer and T was the official paper ripper/tallier.  I  believe we used somewhere close to 65 extra long glue sticks for these flowers!


The simplicity of the projects was remarkable.  It just was time consuming….


Glue! Glue!


and more glue!


Big globs of glue, scrunched up end of paper petal, paint stirrer stick to press it down, next petal.  After making it around once, the next row of slightly smaller petals were glued until the center was reached.


Then a long (3 – 4 feet) of 4 inch wide butcher paper was torn, crumpled and then smoothed out and rolled up loosely like a cinnamon roll.  There is a certain amount of twisting, folding and fluffing of the paper as it is turned and it is stapled every so often along the way to hold it together.  The photo above is the only shot of the strip form of the center but it is after the centers had been painted.


The bride wore a traditional long white dress, the bridesmaids wore short black dresses and the color all came in with the flowers and decorations in hot pink, bright yellow and orange.  The paper ceiling flower centers were coordinated to match – 1/3 orange, 1/3 yellow and 1/3 hot pink.


We had them all rolled and took them outside to spray with liquified (watered-down) spray paints and fabric dyes – whatever we had on hand.

day 70

The colors came out quite saturated and intense – exactly what we were hoping for!  Storing and transporting them was a whole different challenge.


It’s a flower with feet!  We had several helpers and a covered pick-up truck bed to get them all there (many trips)…


Placed them all on their respective table scattered according to our color plan….


Then hung each one.  Thanks to our pre-strung grommet plan, the whole hanging of the flowers only took about an hour….

DSCN3847 In retrospect, it would have been nice to make them even bigger but then we would have needed a few more months.  The room was SO huge, and it would have been nice to have the flowers make even more of a statement but all in all we were pretty happy with the idea and execution.  We coordinated the centerpieces on the tables with the flower floating above.


Using an oversized (14 inches tall by 10 inches in diameter) martini glass filled with water, we floated a Gerbera daisy the color of the flower center above.  A waterproof tea light submerged under a collection of clear glass and white marbles and glass fish cast a subtle glow.


Pine boughs sprayed metallic silver, tea lights with tissue paper sleeves in glass votive cups, black and white photos of the bride and groom tied with orange, yellow and pink ribbons embellished with charms all set on a hot pink fabric square completed the tablescape.  Total cost under $25 per table and the photos were available for the guests to take home.


Can you tell this was taken during the festivities?  It was hard to be the aunt, the mistress of ceremonies, the decorator and the photographer of all things crafty and have FUN!

Day 96

Of course, a couple of aspects we hadn’t considered in all of our planning was to add ice to the martini glasses for beer chilling!!! Or the thirsty guest who couldn’t get to the bar quick enough…


Who knew?! It was all good, sort of a sign of how much fun everyone seemed to have.


It wasn’t just giant paper flowers, by the way, there were also lots of little flowers….everywhere. It was our theme, sort of.


Lots and LOTS of little flowers…small, medium, large and even really teeny tiny little flowers!  That’s our pack of Precision Placement Tools (aka wooden skewers) critical in the placement of small scrunched petals into hot glue….



Yes, discovered that low temp is best.

DSCN3645 (2)


Mixed with book text for the photo booth banner…


Floor vases for the ceremony space….

cigar box

The ring “barrier’s” (as he called himself!) box….


Family row designators…and more that will have to wait for the next post.  Thanks for stopping by and your patience while all things post-wedding got sorted out.

Life is good!





What do extra-large rootie toots (what some call the inner cardboard liners of paper towel rolls) have to do with a wedding?  Well, I would have asked myself that same question a few months ago.  But now I know…


Besides generally just being fun to talk into…they will serve a very important purpose.  We had two 4 foot tubes -actually cardboard forms used to pour concrete pillars for building footings in construction.- one 12 inches in diameter and one 8 inches in diameter.  We cut them in half so there were four 2 foot long tubes.


Next we drew circles on masonite to fit over the bottoms of each tube…

cutting circles

then cut them out with a jig saw.  Fun stuff there!miter box

Then we cut little chunks of wood to create blocking so we would have something to which to glue the circles.

crock of blocks

Lots of little blocks….


Two kinds of glue – E6000 to hold it forever, and hot glue to hold it while the E6000 dried.

wood blocking

After gluing all of the blocks in place around the inside of the tube, the bottom was attached using the double glue method.


A coat of white was applied in a large stripe on the center third of the tubes, taped off and then…



…a thick coat of high gloss black was brushed on to the top and bottom thirds. (I see uncooperative icicle lights hanging in the background on another project!)


That’s all I can share right now….but it’s gonna be good!  Despite the fact that they look like traffic barrels right now.  Gotta run and heat up the glue gun!

Three weeks til the big day!

Sweet dreams…

Sweet dreams…

One of our big plans for the wedding venue is to have icicle lights hanging over the dance floor for some extra pizzazz during the “dance party” portion of the event.  Being the frugal designers that we are, we – well my cohort – tt, I am known as LL in this capacity – purchased 15 boxes of them at an after Christmas sale knowing this was coming.  Great!

icicle lights box

However, have you ever wrangled 15 boxes of icicle lights?  To start they are twist-tied in maybe 6 little individual bundles of 50 lights per bundle for a set of 300 lights, with a precision that is really kind of stunning.

tight lightsOnce you have all of the twist ties off, the lights have a remarkable ability to retain their twist-tied zig-zagged non-icicle shape without even the slightest hint of relaxing..  We tugged and stretched them out but they sprung right back to their pre-boxed state.  (SO glad we decided to try this a good 5 – 6 weeks before the wedding.) We even Googled “how do you get icicle lights to look like icicles?”  Not a whole lot of help there but there was actually a suggestion to hangthem in the steamy bathroom after you showered like a wrinkled shirt!  That would have been interesting… but most said just let them hang.  Easier said than done since we didn’t need to put them up for another month or so.

barbed wire bed

Our solution? We strectched them across a bed frame from headboard to footboard, twist-tied them on with their own little twist ties and let them have some rest.  It has now been two weeks since we devised this medevil torturous looking set up and guess what.? STILL not so relaxed!  Our next move is to stretch them out across the garage.  We had our handy helpers nail some nails up for us but we decided to hold off hanging them until we finish spray paint

Can you imagine?  Who knew that this would be such a huge part of our little “hang some icicle lights” project!  This was not on our list!!  Sweet dreaming on our part thinking it would be that easy…

The Power of a Flower….

The Power of a Flower….

Wedding design involves many, many, MANY decisions.  Add into the mix the fact that the main parties involved are on two different continents and you have decision overload   Thanks to technology, however, we have been able to keep things moving with Google Drive documents and tons of emails.  With exactly one month left to the day, we are pretty much on schedule.

google drive

The bride does not have a specific “theme” in mind for the wedding except that the location lends itself to some beachy kind of elements although  it’s not really a “beach” wedding. Her colors are black (bridesmaids dresses) and white (bride, of course) with flower colors providing the punch – hot pink, bright orange, and deep yellow.

This was our starting pont.  We found a few ideas on Pinterest, did some test runs, shopped a LOT, made some decisions and took off. I can only give sneak peeks but trust me when I say we have done some pretty ingenious things with a few simple ingredients.  The absolute profusion of a simple material used repeatedly will give us all the muscle we need to make a stunning impact. using nothing but her colors and one simple flower design.

tearing paper

Let’s just say, there is an awful lot of ripping and  tearing going on !

petal close

Petals in all different sizes…

glue flower tile

Hot glue….

close flower fingers

…more hot glue….

flower fingers

…and a few of  these moments led to….

Als Bar Gluegun

… this!

Cam cat

and THIS!

glue flower

Some little flowers…..

pool table flower

some bigger.

All have a special place in the design.  Fun to make and lots of impact.  More later….

Pickle Jars and Rooftop AC Units

Pickle Jars and Rooftop AC Units

Wedding Update:  Windows

We spent five hours today in the wedding space  measuring, re-measuring, standing on chairs trying to reach the ceiling, taking pictures, counting ceiling tiles, trying out decorations and planning.  Lots and lots of planning….tomorrow lots and lots of creating.

River window ceremony space

The 270 degree view of the Potomac River through the windows in our second floor ceremony space ….oh my!                                      It was a cloudy grey day when I took this but believe me, the view is pretty awesome since the river is about 7 miles wide right here.

Wide AC ugly

What’s not so awesome? These roof top mounted AC units so BIG and BOLD right outside the windows….oh NO!

Ugly AC

Those jars….oh yeah!  They just may hold the answer to our “camouflage” of those BIG BOLD AC units….Stay tuned.

We have so many “moments” that we are working on for this wedding….but we can’t reveal most of them until the big day -six short weeks from yesterday!   It has to be, for the most part, a surprise for the bride and groom.

So until then… stay tuned!