Congrats Alison and Gareth!

On Saturday Bruno and I had the honor of being the wedding day coordinators for Alison and Gareth; fellow book people, friends, and crafters-in-crime. They had just the loveliest wedding! It was set at a summer camp for inner city youth, and filled with 100 beautiful handmade details. It was a joy to return the favor of working their wedding, as they did such a smashing job of being our wedding day helpers. This is a trade I highly recommend to any folks out there getting married who don't have a wedding planner- and honestly it is SO much fun.

While the wedding party dressed and spent time together and took photos (they have incredibly talented photographers, One Love Photo, can't wait to see the pictures), we coordinated the decoration of the ceremony site, the reception hall, and were point people throughout the evening.

These two planned so many amazing and original craft projects that sadly I was too distracted to take pictures of (I'm sure she will post them on her blog anyways), but I will share a few shots from later in the evening...

The reception ceiling was strung with papel picado and a million twinkle lights, it looked so magical:

And here is the first dance... Alison and Gareth didn't choreograph their dance they just, um, happen to be AMAZING swing dancers:

Thanks for letting us be part of such an amazing day!

Made by hand: buttons

Since I posted about the buttons I'm making for Abigail Spells below, I thought I'd add another installment in the Made by Hand series, in case you are dying to know more about the crafts we undertook for our wedding :)

We made little bunny buttons for our guests, similar to the ones I'll be making for Abigail... they aren't exactly made by hand, but they were designed by me and a lot of fun to put together. First I sketched these bunnies:

Next I scanned them into Photoshop and filled them in with color:

I sent the file off to Pure Buttons and a week or so later had these in my hands:

We set them out on the gift table with the napkins, expecting folks to take them.

What we didn't realize is that our guests would all put them on and wear them throughout the wedding! In retrospect I guess that was kind of obvious. But still, it was a nice surprise to come out and see a crowd of people all bunny-clad...

Photos © Kelly Lorenz

Made by hand: paper bag flowers

Early on in our wedding planning, fellow planner-in-crime Alison discovered this ingenious craft by Martha Stewart. I love how simple the project and sweet the result. After months of contemplating a million options for how to decorate the room where we held dancing after our wedding, we decided these paper flowers were a quick, easy, and charming way to go.

Here is how to make them...

You'll need about 9-12 bags depending on the size of the flower and how big you want the petals to look (the more bags the smaller the petals). I bought yellow, green, and white bags from Michaels in a few different sizes.

The first thing you do is cut off the bottom of the bags.

Next cut a petal shape by trimming the top edges of the bags.

Using a hole punch, punch a hole in the center of each bag, along the bottom edge.

Attach the bags to each other by placing a small (2-3 inches in this case) piece of double stick tape to the bottom side edges of each bag, then place another bag on top of it. Don't adhere the whole edge, just the bottom bit, or the flower won't open.

Once all the bags are taped to one another, string ribbon, yarn, or thread of some kind through the holes and tie a knot. This part is a little tricky because if you make the loop too small the flower won't open, and if you make it too big it will be too loose. So you might have to experiment a little.

When you're ready to hang the flower, tie a long piece of ribbon or yarn or thread to the loop. Then put some double stick tape on the top paper bag, and pull the bag on the bottom around to meet it. Make sure the long piece you've attached hangs down the center of the top flower petal (between taped edges). You will use this to hang the flower with.

Made by hand: organza roses

Early on in wedding planning I posted about making organza roses, but didn't include much of a "how to" or include the end result, so I thought I'd do that here.

I got the idea from browsing on Etsy, looking at the lovely fabric flowers made by Viemoderne and Tijusai:

So I searched around on the internet for instructions so I could make my own. Turns out its really pretty simple.

First you get your hands on some synthetic organza fabric and cut out circles of varying sizes:

Next, you run the edges of the circles over a flame for just a second (too long and the fabric will discolor). I used tweezers to hold the thin, slippery fabric.

Heating the edge of the fabric will melt and curl the edges slightly. I wanted relatively flat petals, so I gave the fabric less time over the flame. For a more curled petal, leave it a touch longer.

Layer the petals on top of one another. I alternated a matte organza with a shiny one to mirror the matte/shiny stripes in my dress.

Hold them together by sewing through the center, anchoring the stitch on the top of the flower with a bead of some kind. I picked a tiny glass bead because I wanted a pared down look, but you can use any combination of colorful beads in varying sizes.

Before the wedding I pinned a few to my waistband.

I also sewed a few to bobby pins for my hair.

Made by hand: paper cranes

More wedding craft talk! I am almost through our craft-y wedding details, I hope you won't mind me indulging me a few more posts... if you're not into weddings though, please do skip ahead.

An element of our handmade wedding that was especially meaningful were the strings of origami cranes created by my mother and our guests. This was a spontaneous project in that I had been so distracted by the rest of my wedding planning that I'd neglected giving much thought to decorating the ceremony site. Fortunately my mom loves to make cranes and has been doing it since I was a kid, so we picked up some pretty origami sheets on our way up to the wedding site.

The day before the wedding everyone pitched in to help with great enthusiasm. Before long we had a rotating table of crane-makers, instructed by my mom, working late into the evening.

She takes her crane making very seriously; there were breathing techniques applied and lots of careful mental focus. As exhibited here by Alvina (fellow Blue Rose Girl), very sweetly at work.

The next day the cranes were carefully strung together (here the mother of the groom does some stringing).

Our photographer, Kelly Lorenz, got some beautiful shots of them as they were assembled,

hung from our wedding tree,

and around the edge of the tent.

It was so lovely to be surrounded by little works of art made by our friends and family as we got married.

Made by hand: cupcakes and an apron

One of the loveliest handmade items at our wedding had to be the cupcakes, generously prepared by Grace (friend and cupcake queen). She baked two flavors for our reception; banana coconut pineapple and lemon for the more faint at heart. They were all painstakingly decorated with bees, frosting flowers, or pineapple flowers.

A close-up of one of the bees, my favorite:

To thank her it seemed only fitting to make something in return. So I found some fun cupcake fabric online, then used one of my aprons as a pattern to make a pretty pink cupcake-y apron.

Happy cupcake baking Grace!

Made by hand: table numbers

Last week I began posting about some of the handmade wedding crafts I worked on for our wedding. This week I thought I'd tell you about the making of our reception table numbers.

When we started planning last fall, I spent a lot of time poking around on the web for ideas and discovered this beautiful wedding on Design Sponge. I used it as inspiration for a number of elements on our tables. I especially loved the idea of using tree stumps as a way to display the table numbers- it fit perfectly with our rustic, crafty wedding.

Then I got lucky. When we were picking out our Christmas tree I spotted a pile of sawed off tree stumps in the corner of the lot that were headed for the trash. Score!

A little sawing and filing and we had a place to put cards or signs or whatever we needed to display.

Next we needed the table number cards. I like to save my old calenders for just such a project. My very favorite one is by Snow & Graham.

I picked out two patterns that matched our chartreuse table runners and the napkin patterns (such as the yellow and grey pattern below).

Then sliced them up into 4 x 5" cards.

Next I printed out the table numbers on my inkjet printer and glued them to the back side.

They fit in the tree stumps perfectly.

I love how they looked on the tables with the flower arrangements, which were made by my very hard working friends (more on that later).

Planning the tables was my favorite wedding project, SO much fun.

Made by hand: napkins

I thought I'd post about a few of the handmade projects we worked on for our wedding. We wanted to be as environmentally responsible as possible, do a lot of reusing, and keep throw-away stuff to a minimum... so we decided to hand sew napkins for the table settings, and then make an extra set to give away to guests as a gift (since we had a very small wedding this was manageable). That way we wouldn't be throwing away a lot of paper napkins, and people would have a nice memento from the day.

At first I thought I'd recycle fabric from thrift stores, but couldn't find enough of any one fabric for the job, or a mix of patterns that went well together. So instead I did some searching around online and ended up falling in LOVE with Amy Butler fabric. Her color palettes vintage inspired patterns are so so lovely. I ended up buying a yard of about 30 different designs (though I wanted a whole apartment full).

I estimated about 6 napkins per yard for a 13 x 16" size when hemmed. Finished and folded the napkins looked like this:

How did I have time to do all that sewing before the wedding you ask? I didn't! My mom pitched in and did the bulk of it, thank goodness. She is a much better and faster seamstress than I.

Once they were done I assembled my lady friends and we put them all together, tied with a bit of ribbon.

It was fun to see them all laid out- our color palette for the wedding was shades of yellow and blue and green...

Most of them went into a basket for the gift table.

And the rest went on the dinner tables (the runners were sewn by hand too, with fabric from Ikea).

They were a big hit; the basket was emptied and most of the table napkins went home with folks too! But we do have a nice set left to use and remember the day by.

Returning from wedding-land (or getting married is lots of fun)

After a week of getting back to regular life post-wedding, we just got the pictures from our photographer (Kelly Lorenz) and we are THRILLED. She did such an amazing job of capturing the day, how we felt, and all the beauty around us. Looking at the pictures is like walking through the whole experience again (only this time without the nerves)! Here is a little sampling.

Also, a request. If you leave a comment on her blog post about us we can win a free print... will you do that for us, pretty please? Just comment here.

Wondering what these were for?

The wedding provided me with ample opportunity to make lists, one of my favorite pastimes.

The dress, in hiding.

One of my childhood friends has the most adorable little boy. He ran up to me about ten times during the wedding to tell me there were PRESENTS inside. I think he was very confused about why I didn't run in to open them right away.

We made a sign-in book out of a Kolo photo album, complete with a Polaroid Pogo printer so guests could print out a picture of themselves and stick it in the book (think old Polaroid instant camera meets digital camera meets stickers). We ended up with the most goofy and adorable pictures of our friends and family.

Yes, we read The Rabbit's Wedding by Garth Williams. Its my favorite.

Bruno's ring was, er, a little tight.

But I managed to get it on anyways.

My mom enlisted the help of our guests to make dozens of little paper cranes to hang all around. I loved being surrounded by little pieces of art made by our friends.

There was this really cool house made of trees next to the ceremony site that we took pictures in for awhile.

Then we took a walk in the woods to contemplate our married-ness (and take some more pictures).

Made by hand: rows and rows of roses

I promise not to make this blog entirely about wedding planning (though it is tempting), but will be posting some crafty fun from time to time... planning a wedding offers oh so many opportunities to make stuff! Its really important to me that as many elements of our wedding as possible be handmade.

So this weekend I decided to try my hand at organza roses. Turns out its super easy and I think the result is pretty nice. First I gathered a few different shades of organza and cut out circular petals.

The next step is so singe the edges over a flame, then layer them on top of eachother.

Once you have a bunch layered, all that needs to be done is to sew a bead in the middle to hold the flower together.

Do I need 20 organza roses for my wedding? Not sure. But they were fun to make!

*Title of post is a quote from Like Likes Like by Chris Raschka

Gettin' hitched!

In case you didn't know, this summer I am gettin' hitched- yeehaw! I've been kind of haphazard about telling people I'm engaged- so apologies to those I should have told already, eek sorry!

We're still at the early planning stages, but that doesn't mean I can't start designing the invites. I feel a "bunnies in love" theme coming on.

Self portrait with Bruno (my fella in his new glasses) for the invitations:

The craftiness of DIY weddings has been my main form of entertainment as of late, more crafting goodness posts to come soon...