Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

image

Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

image

Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

image

crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!

Faux Mercury Glass Experience

I wanted to create some votive candle holders to double as décor and wedding favors, so I gathered my DiY wits about me and went after a beautiful vintage mercury glass look.  There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this, and I read several, devising a plan that worked!

My ingredients included 72 small votives purchased from amazon.com for about $36.  What a deal!  Add to that some painters tape, a squirt bottle, and metallic silver spray paint, and you’re ready to go.

 DSC00292

Since the votives came neatly packaged in these boxes, I opted not to cover them entirely in tape.  The cardboard shielded the bottoms just fine from extra overspray!

DSC00293

The key here is to spray the insides of the glasses with water to achieve an antiqued look, before spraying the paint.

DSC00399

On the porch with my tools and paper, so as to not continue to paint the concrete, like we’ve already done.  Squirt and spray, and then leave them for a while, of course.

DSC00398

I also purchased some LED tea lights because, hey, it just seemed safer.  No worries about kids or relatives lighting themselves on fire.  Also, LED tea lights?  Just kind of awesome.  Here’s the look, along with my sample table centerpiece (and some other stuff that I have on the dining table).  I love the soft, glowing look; I think it will really suit our reception location!

Did I mention this was ridiculously easy?  It only took me a few hours to complete 50 votive holders (I’ve reserved 24 for other designs, mwah ha ha!), plenty for the decorations and our attendees.  Next I will be creating the copper tags (saying “B & N”) to add to the votives, as a personal touch!

Made or seen any great DiY décor or favors?  Share them!

What am I saving for storage?

Now that I’m in full-on preparing-for-teaching mode, I’ve been saving all sorts of containers left and right.  Spice jars, pickle jars, peanut butter jars, you name it, I’ve got some!  I’m saving them for a number of purposes: to store small craft supplies, for pens and pencils, or even just because I like the look of them.  Here’s a few I have in stock!

DSC00337

Spice jars!  These are the kind that typically come from the Simply Organic line at Target, and I love them because of their classic square shape and screw caps.  I’ve been collecting these with plans to keep them at home for small craft items like gems and buttons.

DSC00338

Glass jelly jars are wonderful for so many things, even as cute drinking glasses!  Right now, this one is storing a few buttons and wrapped with a bit of leftover ribbon for some decoration.  These are also great for storing pens and brushes, even mixing paints and other raw materials.  Need them to have an even more distinctive look?  Try coating the inside with paint for a unique display (and to hide any messy stuff inside from view!)!

DSC00339

Ah, the plastic peanut butter jar!  This I am planning to take to my classroom for storage of small items.  Unlike the glass jars, there’s no risk of breakage with this little guy, but you can still easily identify the contents.  Small items like dice, counters, pompoms, or pattern blocks will fit perfectly and safely into this container, even around the littlest of hands.

How are you repurposing your leftover containers?

Baby’s First…

My friend’s beautiful daughter just had her first birthday over the weekend.  She specifically asked for handmade gifts, and I was delighted to get the chance to create this fun little project that I saw recently over at Craftzine Blog.  I didn’t make mine into a game, but included instead several different options for a delicious sandwich: peanut butter, jelly, ham, and cheese, and two pieces of bread, of course!  Each piece was machine-stitched with the name of the item, as well.  The birthday girl loved it!

5542215072_2160b77ebb_b

5542209756_2d6dc6368e_b

thing-a-day nineteen: bursting the bubble

SONY DSC

Nick and I had a few engagement photos taken today by our friend Lilacwire, using both her camera and Nick’s.  As a part of the project, I made these two chalkboard speech bubbles for us to hold!  They came out super cute, and we’re thinking of having smaller versions of them at the reception.

I know it doesn’t really follow my ‘wearable’ theme for thing-a-day, but they’re just too cute, and so easy to make.  Just cut out shapes from foam core, spray on a few layers of chalkboard paint, and write away!  We did these for about $5 for both.  Come to think of it, you could make cute pin-sized versions that would be really fun, and indeed wearable!

thing-a-day twelve: Candy Heart Pin

DSC00106

I’ve seen a lot of similar style projects for the quickly-approaching holiday, and I wanted to do up one of my own!  Made with felt and poly filler, stitched on my machine with a sweet message and finished with my new favorite, the blanket edge stitch.

thing-a-day one: Dotty bracelet with a secret!

Even though it was a snow day, I couldn’t quite motivate myself to make a piece of clothing… but with my wearable challenge, there were still lots of small options left!  So I started out with a fun one, a fabric cuff bracelet.  This was a good recycle/reuse project, too, as the fabric came from an old pair of pants!

DSC00070

Starting with fabric, foam, and ribbon…

DSC00071

Sizing the foam for the bracelet base…

DSC00074

And the finished project!  The fabric was wrapped around the outside of the foam base and then the raw edges inside were covered with the dotty ribbon.  I love that it’s kind of a little surprise decoration on the inside, and the button sewn on the outside echoes the pattern.  Super simple, and really cute!

A Forest of DiY

I have about a million DiY ideas for the wedding (ARE YOU SICK OF THIS BANTER YET?  NO?  I DIDN’T THINK SO), so I’m going to take a minute to record them!

image1. Faux mercury glass votives with letter-stamped copper tags (just like my wordspell tags).  This brings in the grey and brown in our color scheme (okay, copper is NOT chocolate, but it’s the closest of the metals).  Best thing about this?  Decorations that double as wedding favors.  Needed?  Votives, mirror spray paint, copper sheeting, glue, and an ampersand stamp.  Expected total?  $50.  I can get about 72 of the votives with candles included for $40.  Spray paint will be about $10, copper I have (or can get cheap), glue and/or epoxy I have, and I have several sizes of ampersand metal stamps (and if I didn’t, sets can be purchased for as little as $10 at places like Harbor Frieght, including numbers!).  I think this is a delightfully classy item to give to friends and family in memory of the event, especially with the handmade touch of the tags.  So this is what it should look like in theory… Photoshop, ahoy!

image2. Centerpieces of dark chocolate bamboo in paper-wrapped ‘vases.’  Remember these bamboo reeds from the wall feature project?  I have TONS of them left.  I really wanted the pretty bunches of branches in vases as a decoration, but manzanita or other branches can be expensive to buy (and for some reason, the park behind our house is always mysteriously clean of any laying around…), and why waste those great bamboo reeds?  They are so perfect, and so FREE.  I also still have the dark brown paint left that we used on the box, and that serves perfectly for our chocolate.  The best part? The vases will not actually be vases, but sections of PVC pipe.  For pennies each, wrapped in old book paper and glazed with our robin’s egg blue color, they’ll be a feature that’ll cost us nearly nothing. Similar to the photo, it’d be a lovely, economical way to decorate our dinner tables.  I hope to add some decorative large letters to the head table – a B, &, and N, of course.

3. Antique book ring holder.  Since Nick and I are voracious readers (we got each other e-readers for birthday and holidays this year) I suggested we go the route of having a book instead of the traditional pillow for the ring bearer.  I sought out Ebay as a good source for vintage and antique books with that pretty, aged look and prayed for the right color… and I think I may have found it (bidding is in process, so I won’t link to it!)! We also went the direction of choosing specifically a Jules Verne book, since we both love sci-fi and fantasy and those make up the bulk of our reading habits.  Loads of blogs have instructions to DiY this project, and hopefully a small splurge of $15-20 won’t be stretching the budget too out of whack.

image4. Super simple baby’s breath bouquets.  This is the SIMPLEST bouquet I’ve ever seen, and I immediately fell in love with it.  It’s simple to create, can be done ahead of time – even with fresh baby’s breath – looks gorgeous, and will be really inexpensive.  This photo from the Sweetest Occasion really illustrates how beautiful, elegant, and timeless this look is.  I’d like to add just a few navy flowers of some kind to my bouquet (probably silk, as navy flowers do not exist in nature, according to the internet!), as navy is the color that Nick chose.

That’s just a short list… I think a lot more things will come up in time, but I also want to keep things simple.  I plan on making my own jewelry, as it’s such an important part of my own life, for one thing.  DiY for me isn’t just about saving money, after all, it’s about expressing who I am and doing what I love: creating.

What are your favorite wedding DiYs?

The budget dilemma

I am home on a sick day from school, trying to stem the flood from my nose and browsing more wedding sites (I really wanted to finally get up a project I’ve been working on but I can’t get off the couch =p).  I’ve picked out items both reasonable and outrageous.  Especially my dress. 

image

I have two sides to this internal argument.  I have fallen in love with a delightful designer gown that is in the $2000 range.  If it suits my figure and looks attractive, I will splurge on this wonder and move on with the rest of my life.  I deserve it, I figure.  If it doesn’t suit me, I have another picked out in a very reasonable three digit range that will more thoroughly please my parents, who are offering to help me pay for it. I know this less expensive dress suits me, as I’ve tried it on before, and I’d be delighted with it… but only if the one I am desperately in love with doesn’t.

Everything else in the wedding must pass though the veil (hurhur) of “does this make sense to pay money for, and what can it be used for after the wedding?”  My dress, of course, I can rationalize on many levels.  I’m a skilled seamstress after all; why should I not wish for the highest quality, even if it costs more?  But then chimes in the voice that says, “Really, Beverly?  For one day?” A question to which I really have no answer, and constantly grates against my practical, frugal ideals.  I rail against $120 bridesmaid dresses and stomp over to Target.com to find equally nice (better even!  No yucky satin!) dresses for $30, and feel satisfied with my choice.  But why?  Wedding party members have offered to pay some, if not all, their share for their clothing.  Parents on both sides have offered financial support.  Both Nick and I will be working full time and be able to save plenty for our expenditures.  We don’t NEED to stay in a four figure budget, but I’m fighting to do so anyway.  Why is that?

I think it all chalks up to the way I live my life, my nature to be reasonable in spending money, in defining what are ‘needs’ and what are ‘wants.’  It’s always been an important focus for me, and now for Nick and I as a couple.  While we know there will need to be money spent on the wedding, I can’t help but want to do much of the work myself, cut out the non-essential fluff, and make the most of our money.  We’re also saving for a house, a long term investment, and to spend portions of that money on a one-day event takes away from that.  Even so… I know this day is important.  It’s the first celebration of our life, and I want my family and friends to enjoy it… I want Nick and I to enjoy it, too! 

So I continue to seek that fine line between the necessary and the frivolous, wavering here and there, but not falling off the tightrope, and always with  my eyes on the goal of having a beautiful, memorable day with which to start our life together.

Photo from Vaguely Artistic on flickr.

Lookie lookie!

Okay, I admit it!  I have wedding fever!  I did a lot of browsing over the weekend for ideas for a look book, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

ideabook1

We’re looking at a base of soft dove gray with accents of robin’s egg blue, chocolate, and navy.  I’m looking forward to a lot of DiY projects for favors, décor, flowers, and wedding party gifts.

Where do you find your wedding inspiration?