Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just a couple of quick pics

I'm not dead!

I feel bad because I hadn't realized that there were people that were even reading my blog here so I didn't think to update when things got crazy right before and after the wedding. I'm fine! And married! And despite a few hitches, it was an awesome and beautiful and amazing day! The week after the weddding got kind of crazy - my Mom has a heart attack (she's fine now!). Then my husband's dad (I still keep calling my husband my boyfriend!) developed heart problems, my Mom broke her ankle, my husband's Mom and grandmother went into the hospital and we had to refinance our house(and since it's an old ramshackle historic house, this isn't as easy as just going to the bank). Things have calmed down though and I'll try to post some pictures of the wedding after this weekend. We actually have a keg of beer left from the wedding so my hubby and I are throwing a Mardi Gras party and having a whole crowd of people over to help us drink it. I need to make some gumbo and clean but I promise to get back with vendor reviews, pics and such next week. Thanks for caring!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spiffing up our invites - the envelope liners

One of the ways that I thought we could jazz up our invitations was by adding an envelope liner. I've always thought that envelope liners add a nice touch and they didn't seem difficult to do. Since I was getting my invitations from HelloLucky, I asked Sabrina if she could send me a couple of blank envelopes so I could measure them and figure out what I'd need to do to make envelope liners for them. I ran to AC Moore and Hobby Lobby and found a bunch of cute papers I could use. Now all I needed to do was to cut out the liners and see which one looked the nicest. First tip - make the shape as easy as possible. If you're picking your own envelopes out, pick the plainest ones you can - the liner will fancy it up plenty. If you can simplify the liner shape, do it. When I first started cutting mine out, I was trying to add a tiny bit of a curve. After driving myself insane, I realized that if I followed the outline of the glue pattern, I really just needed straight lines. Another tip - don't use an instant drying glue. It's nice to be able to slide the liner around a little to make sure it's in the correct place.

After making several test liners, I ended up deciding that I wanted to get the actual invites before deciding on a final liner. I'm glad I waited - some of the liners I liked the best by themselves actually didn't look as well with the invitations as the final liner I went with.

Here's the liner we went with in the end:

Last tip - when making these, don't stack them in a pile while drying. I managed to stick several together because I was dumb enough to do this.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ready to mail!

We've got 54 invites ready to go into the mail tomorrow! We'll be hand delivering about 8 to friends in our neighborhood and we still have to get ten more addresses. It's such a relief though to know these babies are going out! A little scary too!

Assembling invitations is exhausting work!

I'll have pictures and directions for the rest of the parts of our invites tomorrow.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My weekend project

I've been busy putting the finishing touches on my invites so we can mail them tomorrow and Tuesday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our Cake Topper

How adorable are these?

Oilpainta will be making our cake topper. There are so many cute cake toppers on Etsy but I was definitely smitten by her toppers. She's also not crazy expensive. What I love about her toppers is that she sends you a very extensive questionnaire asking about your wedding details and about things that are important to you. We've asked her to include some kitties at our feet. We're going to have the Sunsphere and our 1894 Queen Anne Victorian in the background. She's adding flowers in our wedding colors and we sent her pictures of the tuxedo Marcus will be wearing and pictures of my dress for her to copy on the topper.

We will be having a doughnut cake like above (ok - maybe a tiny bit smaller) on our junk food buffet at midnight. I'm on the hunt for a rather large vintage cupcake topper in a wedding theme to throw in the top - the uglier, the better. Anyone else looking for something fun for their cake?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hot Chocolate & Hot Apple Cider Bar

For our wedding, we're having a hot chocolate and hot apple cider bar. If we get lucky, we might even have a chilly evening so we can all sip these drinks by the fireplaces. Since I'm a neurotic online researcher, I had to see what chefs and other people online recommend. I couldn't find anything for a hot cider bar but I did find a bunch for hot chocolate. Here's a list (what I'm planning on serving is bolded):

•Coffee options - instant espresso powder or Espresso Shots
•Crumbled up candy bars (Heath, Milky Way,3 Musketeers, Snickers, or Butterfingers)
•Truffles (cappuccino, dark chocolate, raspberry)
Miniature baking chips (semisweet, peanut butter,white chocolate, butterscotch or mint)
Caramel syrup or caramel squares
Peppermint candy pieces, smashed
•Flavored syrups of all sorts by Torani or Da Vinci
•Peanut Butter
Red hot candies

Cinnamon sugar
•Candied ginger
Orange twists
Chocolate shavings
•Cocoa powder
•Fresh mint leaves
Grated nutmeg
Cayenne pepper
Marshmallows (regular or chocolate ones or try online for coconut, cinnamon, caramel and peppermint)
Whipped cream (regular and flavored - see recipe below)

•Rock-candy swizzles
Peppermint sticks
•Pretzel rods (dip them into melted chocolate and coat with candy sprinkles)
Cinnamon sticks

•Grand Marnier (orange flavored)
Kahlua (coffee flavored)
Frangelico (hazelnut)
•Godiva chocolate liqueur
Malibu rum - sounds weird but tastes heavenly!

Flavored Whipped Cream: Whip 1 pint of heavy whipping cream to the soft-peak stage. Add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the flavoring of your choice. Store chilled (up to an hour) until ready to use. Here's an example of a flavor combination: To make chocolate-pecan whipped cream, add 1 tablespoon pecan extract and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.

I couldn't find much for hot cider. Of course you've got to have cinnamon sticks for stirring. I did find a few liqueur suggestions. Any other ideas?

•Applejack in cider is my go-to fall thermos sipper. It's great for hay rides and haunted houses!
•Apple brandy

Email woes

Today we were working on the Google spreadsheet that contains addresses for our invitations. We were testing the form feature on it and I sent it to my email address. Nothing came. After trying a couple more times, I sent an email from our business email to my personal email. Still nothing. On a whim, I turned off my spam blocking at ATT and resent all of the above emails. This time everything arrived. Sooooooo...if any of you have tried to email me in the last couple of weeks, I'm not ignoring you! Please email me again or reply in this post. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spiffing up our invites - the leaf inserts

I want to start off by saying that I'm not a very artsy person, meaning that I can't draw to save my life and walking into a Michael's store tends to overwhelm me. I'm not a complete crafting reject but Martha Stewart would never worry about me. I tend to be too much of a perfectionist so I get frustrated very easily. I'm telling you this because I want to encourage those of you who look at a lot of wedding DIY projects on blogs and think "I could never do that". We're not doing anything super-fancy for our invitations but I think what we came up with is very cute and it really wasn't hard to do. A little tedious at times, but not hard. I was very nervous when we started out but printing with the Gocco is very, very easy.

Here's a step-by-step guide to our leaf inserts. We wanted a way to spruce up our invites and include our website information so we came up with the idea of a leaf.

The first step is understanding that no matter what it is, a cat is going to be a part of it:

That's our design template. We traced a leaf from the maple tree outside our house and scanned that in. Then I used Illustrator to add text - I wish I had thought to use Photoshop because it's so much easier for me to use. We printed it out and since our inkjet printer is broken, we had to print it on our laser printer. That meant we needed to take it to Kinkos so that we'd have a carbon ink based copy. The Boy shrunk it down to three different sizes because I was being a spaz about it fitting in the envelope. The one above is the size we went with.

That's the Boy burning the copy onto a Gocco screen. I suggest ordering extra screens when you buy a Gocco. It's much less nerve wracking if you know you've got several backup screens at the ready.

That's the image burned onto the Gocco screen!

Cutting the paper we're going to print on. If you don't already have a paper cutter, I'd strongly urge you to get one. It made so many things easier because we had it. Buy one with the 50% Michaels coupon.

Inking up the screen with gold ink. We bought this ink from Northwood Studios.

This is peeling off the protective paper layer on the screen.

Printing the first one!

Getting into the groove now. That's the drying rack with cards stacked up. If you're going to be doing a lot of big Gocco projects, you might want to think about buying one or two more.

That's a leaf that's been printed and cut out. We used scissors on the first few but quickly changed to an exacto knife.

This is the finished product - all that's left to do is cut it out.

This is where the Boy thought he might need to reink the screen.

As you can see above, using the Gocco wears your ass out!

First lesson learned - don't ever let the Gocco close once you've got it inked up. What a bleeping mess! Also, the cleaner from Northwood Studio works so much better than the cleaner that comes with your Gocco kit. Use this and paper towels to clean things up.

Start with a smaller project to build your confidence. Don't try to do a complex design with four different ink colors for your first project.

If you're going to cut out a shape, if it wouldn't be a hard shape to line up with the words on the screen you burn, cut the shape out first, then Gocco it. Since we were going to have to squeeze our words into our leaf shapes, it seemed easier to just Gocco the leaf shape on the paper as well. That almost made it impossible to cut out the leaf shape with scissors without leaving some of the gold leaf outline around the edges. We remedied that by cutting out the leaves with an exacto knife. This isn't quick but it does look nice and the Boy watched football while doing it. The differences aren't really noticeable in pictures but they are in real life. The leaf we cut out with scissors was also fussed over several times, just to get most of the gold outline gone. The exacto knife takes a little longer at first but then it's done.

Above is the scissor leaf

Above is the exacto leaf

Remember that the ink you use will dry to a slightly different shade. This worked out well for us because we used the gold ink on cranberry red paper - the lighter color actually shows up better.

Unless it's a huge mistake, please don't sweat the small stuff. I realize that I'm being quite the hypocrite by saying this but I did try not to let the little imperfections bother me and for the most part, I succeeded. You're creating a one of a kind work of art, not something that's mass produced so please keep that in mind. That being said, make about 15-20 more than you need so you can weed out the worst offenders.

We did the printing over two nights. The first night was to test which paper the ink looked best on when it was printed. Then we ran to the store the next day, came home and printed some more. We stored our screen in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

Try to make your design so that you don't have a lot of detail work close to the edges of the screen. This is where you're most likely going to deal with spotty ink so don't frustrate yourself by putting detail work there. I'd stay far away from borders around the edges - you'll get spotty ink and you'll be able to see easily if your card wasn't lined up exactly right.

Try to stay away from tiny print. There may be some secret way to do this but I haven't found it yet.

If you can find one, I'd recommend getting one of the PG11 models if you're planning on doing more complex printing jobs involving multiple screens.

I'm sure I'll think of more tips and pitfalls later but I wanted to get this posted since we're all done with this part of the invitation, except for cutting some of the leaves out. I've been working on the envelope liners, the address labels, the monogrammed belly bands and the leaf envelope seals.