Thursday, April 29, 2010

DIY: Direction Signs

We're having our ceremony at a church out in the country, 20 miles south of town.  Only a few of our guests have ever been there, and most of them don't even know it exists.  So I thought we needed a way to make finding it a little easier.
So I made a trip to Menards the other day and bought some wood.  (It would have been much easier to go out to my dad's shop and find some scraps, but I wanted to finish this project before heading back home to IL)
After some painting, this is what I came up with:
On the back it says Reception with an arrow facing the other way.  There is also another sign that says Wedding, I just haven't finished it yet.  The reception really isn't that hard to find, and most people know where it's at, but I figured since I was doing a wedding one, I might as well do a reception one too.

Now all it needs is a post to stand on, and some balloons to make it more noticeable.  We'll figure out the stand when we get back home.

-(2) 18"x36" boards (or the size of your choice!)
-Acrylic paint
-Printer and computer

So here are the steps, it was really easy to do!
I bought the wood from Menards.  It's pine and measures 18"x36".  It's one of those packaged boards that are made up of thin strips glued together.  This actually made it a lot easier for painting the arrow.
If you look close in this picture, you can see the seams that run horizontally.  I painted along them to make the top and bottom edges of the arrow.  For the bottom edge, I started 3 seams up.
The top edge of the arrow is five seams above that.
Doing it this way made it so I didn't have to print out a template, or break out a straight edge and pencil.

Then just keep painting using those edges as your guide until you've made your way down the majority of the board.
Then you need to paint the end cap of the arrow.  I just did this freehand, but painting vertically to connect the top and bottom.
Then you do the same at the front end of the arrow where the head will be.
Then paint vertically, up two seams.
And do the same going down two seams.
Now you need to finish the head of the arrow.  So to do this, I made a dot in the center of the body, out ahead of it.  Since the body is 5 "pieces of wood" thick; make a dot in the middle of the third one.
Then connect this dot to the vertical lines you painted.  Here's where a ruler would come in handy, but I just freehanded it.
And then fill in with paint!
Depending on the color, it may take more than one coat.

Now for the wording.
Pick the font of your choice, and blow it up really big.  I think when I did this, I fit 3 letters to a piece of paper.  Now lay these out on your board how you'd like.
Then all you have to do is trace around the edges with a pen.  As you write on the paper, it leaves an indent on the wood.
Then all you have to do is paint inside the lines and you're good to go!
And then I'm planning on putting a coat or two of polyurethane on it to protect the paint and the wood, but I'll do that at home as well so I don't have to go out and buy any.

Price Breakdown:
2 pieces of wood and tax = $17.20
paint (already had) = $0
Total: $17.20

We'll be making the stands out of scrap wood at my parents' house, so that doesn't factor into my price.  The only other addition will be the balloons, but those will be a last minute thing.

Hopefully this can be of help to some of you! Even if you're not planning on making signs, I use the pen indent on wood method for a lot of craft projects that I do.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DIY: Chalkboards

I was shopping at Michael's last week and was in the paint aisle picking up some acrylic paint.  At the end of the aisle, a lady was looking into the "cage" of spray paint, and for some reason it reminded me of a project I was hoping to do.  I asked the guy helping her if they made chalkboard paint in a spray can.  I knew it came in a can, but I wanted something quicker and easier.  And as luck would have it, they do!  He showed me where it was at, and for $7.50 I picked up a can of Krylon chalkboard paint.
Then I wandered through the picture frame aisle and found some frames on sale for $3.50
It's a 10"x13" frame, and what was funny was that the 8x10" frames were on sale for $3 more.  So I grabbed four of them and took them home.  (Plus I had a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase.)
I popped the glass out of all the frames and laid them out on some paper outside.
I forgot to take a picture of the next step, but basically you just follow the steps on the back of the can, and spray the panes of glass.  I ended up doing three thin coats, letting each one dry in between.  In the meantime, I sanded down the frames since they were finished and gave them a few coats of green paint.

After letting everything dry, I put the glass back into the frame and put the back on.  After waiting 24 hours to let the chalkboard paint set, they were ready to use.  It said to rub chalk all over the board to "activate" it and then it was good to go!
I made three in the green and then the fourth I did in a different color to hang in our kitchen.
I'm planning on having one of these for in the photobooth we're having and then I'm not totally sure on the other two.  I was thinking of maybe putting one on the guestbook sign in table, and the other on the gift table with a little message on each.

I probably only used about 1/4 of the can on these four boards, so I'll have to think of some more projects to use up the rest!  So each board only cost about $4.  Not too bad!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Dress For My Next Shower

The other day I decided to go shopping to treat myself for my weight loss and the success of my Etsy shop since opening up.  The plan was to buy a bunch of cute tops for the summer, maybe a couple pairs of shorts, cute get the idea.
Well I ended up spending almost more time shopping for Mr. T and really enjoyed it! But along the way, I ran into a little corner of Kohl's that sort of surprised me.  Apparently Lauren "LC" Conrad has her own clothing line at Kohl's.  You don't want to get me started on her (what is she famous for anyways?) but this time I can't complain.
I found an absolutely adorable dress that I just HAD to buy!  I was planning on just wearing the same cute white dress from my MN shower to the one I have coming up this weekend, but after seeing this dress, all bets were off.

It was marked at $60 and I decided I was going to buy it even though it was a little pricey and totally unnecessary.  Then I looked at the rack when I came out of the dressing room and saw that it was 45% off dropping it down to $35.  And I had a 15% coupon on top of that, so it worked out wonderfully!

I took it home and attempted to take some pictures of it.  Sorry they're kind of crappy, but Mr. T is always at work so I couldn't have him do it.  (And I can't find it online anywhere to show you!)
I love it! It's all sequin-y and gorgeous!

Oh and p.s. my cousin had her baby on Saturday...on her own birthday!! What an awesome birthday present.  My parents were planning on going camping over the weekend but about an hour into the trip my dad got sick so they turned around.  Once they got back to the house my mom left for IN and made it to the hospital a couple of hours before she gave birth.  So here she is with Brady Thomas.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Bridal Shower For My Bridesmaid

A couple of weekends ago I headed to Wisconsin for my bridesmaid's bridal shower and her bachelorette party later that night.  It was also the weekend opener of our camping season, so it made for a great time!

I didn't really have anything to do with this shower, but my mom and I got pulled in for backup to help setup and get everything put together.
Her shower was on Saturday afternoon.  Friday when we got into town, we headed over to the church with her cousin and aunts to start doing some preliminary stuff.

We spent a couple hours on Friday dipping strawberries in chocolate and white chocolate to make centerpieces that the host Amanda and her mom came up with.

Once they were finished they sat in the fridge overnight and were put out the following morning.  Amanda had previously thrown a shower that was red and black in theme, so most of the decorations were reused from that.  All of the tables got one of these cute centerpieces.

She put together pretty gifts for the winners of the games.  They're all so coordinating and cute!  I even managed to win one during the crossword puzzle game.  It was a cute glass block with a love saying on it.

All of the aunts and the bride's mom were responsible for bringing different foods for the shower.  We ended up with a huge spread of food that was absolutely delicious!
 They're hard to see, but I made little tents for all of the foods from some of the extra little bags Amanda had left over.

I forgot to take a picture, but to the right of all the presents, there was a dessert table full of goodies.  They even did an ice cream buffet after cake was cut.  Yum!

I just realized I never got a picture with Bri at her shower, but here's my favorite one from the day.
This picture is full of so many girls that I love.  My sister/maid of honor is to the far right in the turquoise.  My bridesmaid Britt, that I've known from the day she was born, is 2nd in from the left.  To the far left is her sister; my sister's best friend.  And to my right, is Britt's cousin Amie who I've known forever and lives here in Minneapolis, so that's one person I know up here!
(p.s. that cute black dress I have on, I bought at Walmart the day before for $12.  It's so comfy!)

Later that night they had their joint bachelor/bachelorette party.  They rented a bus to drive us all around for 5 hours to all of the bars around the area.  All of their aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends were there.  So it was basically all of the people that we go camping with every summer.  It was a blast!
 Me, the bride to be, and Britt

A shot of the bus we quickly decorated before it picked everyone up.

 And the majority of the rest of the pictures are full of drunken debauchery.  It was a great night, we all got drunk with our parents, and no one had to drive home!

And I just had to share...
This little horse and carriage was in the parking lot of the Walmart I stopped in.  And it's not the first time I've seen one there!

Are any of you contemplating a joint bachelor/bachelorette party? Or did you already have one?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Update On My Weight Loss

Since I'm living here in MN and none of my friends and family from back home have seen me lately, I feel like I need to brag about my weight loss you guys are the lucky ones!

I told you a few different times about what I was trying to do, and it's finally paying off.  To date I've lost 25 pounds, and I'm planning on losing about 5 to 10 more by the wedding and hopefully 15 total by the time summer kicks into gear.  I even bought two new bathing suits that I can't wait to wear!

Want to see the results?
Here's an icky picture from December when I topped out, heaviest of my life, and was totally fed up and needed a change.  It took me about 2 more months after this before I kicked my butt in gear.
See the puffiness in my face?  And that cardigan...I have it in grey also and I used to wear those almost every day because it covered everything up because all of my jeans were too tight.

I think this picture was about 10 pounds in.  I'm back into some of my older jeans, but my face is still not so pleasant and defined.

This was just last weekend.  I'm so glad to see my face getting back to normal, and now I'm actually getting excited for all of the wedding pictures we'll be taking! I definitely don't want to look back on puffy face pictures for the rest of my life.

And just one last picture...this one's from yesterday.
I have a confession to make...
I've kind of been checking myself out lately. haha.  I feel like I'm still surprised every time I look in the mirror.

But I supposed that's enough bragging...I just needed to share with someone.  The best part of all this, is getting back into my old wardrobe.  I fit back into like $300 worth of Express jeans.  I have a ton of tops that I finally feel comfortable putting on again.

Do any of you have tips and tricks for losing those last 5-10 pounds? Or any favorite healthy recipes to share?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gifts for the Groomsmen: Update

Remember back in March when I shared with you guys what we finally decided to do for the guys as gifts??
I just thought I'd give you guys a little update as to how it's all coming along.
My dad knocked out 5 sets of boards in two weekends, and my mom and sister got them all painted in the right base color so my mom could bring them all up to me when she came up here for my shower.
And since then I've been busy working on them.
This set will have two matching Chicago Bears heads for his friend from grade school who is a big Bears fan.  I still have to finish the other one.
This set will have one buck and one bass.  There are two matching sets of these, one for each of his brothers.  We couldn't think of anything more fitting for two guys that love to hunt and fish.
All I have left for these is to do one more bass.
There will be two of these sets for the two guys that Mr. T played football with at U of I.  Each set will probably have this Chief head and a U of I football helmet.  If there's time though, I'd like to do matching Chief heads on each board.  They're just so detailed so I'm not sure how it will go.
I still have to paint the other Chief, and then whatever for the other two boards.

So, I have 5 boards left to paint.  I'm hoping to get them done before I head back to IL next Thursday, but we'll see how that goes.
Then when I get home they all need 3 coats of polyurethane to seal everything in.  I went and bought all of the fabric for the bean bags, but those will have to wait until I get back home also, because we don't have an iron and ironing board yet!

Just thought you might enjoy some pictures of the progress.  I'm so excited to surprise the guys with these at the rehearsal dinner...I think they're going to love them!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The One Month Mark

Well....April 22nd has snuck up on me real quickly!
We officially only have ONE MONTH UNTIL THE WEDDING!

Em knows what I'm talking about! (We're wedding twins)

When we got engaged last March and decided to have the wedding over a year away, I was a little disappointed because I thought it was going to take forever to get here...but it most certainly has not!
Since then we've moved to MN, I graduated from college, we got a puppy, I opened my own Etsy store, and added a million and one things to our to do list.

And now?  Well it's here more or less.  I'll leave MN for IL next Thursday and I'll stay home until the wedding.  All of our vendors are officially paid off except the Country Club, but that all happens 10 days before the wedding.  The hotel unblocks our rooms as of today.  We're sitting down with our pastor today to plan out the ceremony.

It's here and it's coming fast!  I'll be doing nothing but wedding things for the next month in order to tie up all my loose ends that I have floating around.  But no worries, I'm not stressed yet.  It's kind of nice not having a job while you're trying to plan a wedding.  I'll go home and enjoy my second bridal shower next weekend, and the weekend after that we're having our joint bachelor/bachelorette party, and then the weekend after that is my birthday, and then the weekend after that we're getting married!!  So I'll have some ways to let off steam if the projects get the better of me.

One month from today I'll walk down the aisle towards my future husband, and in front of God and our family and friends, we'll pledge to one another to love, honor, and cherish as long as we both shall live.

I'm getting so excited!

For those of you already married gals out there, how did your last month go? Was it hectic or did you try and remember the important things?

My Minnesota Bridal Shower

I just got some pictures back from Mr. T's mom, so I thought it was finally time to share with you guys the shower I had at the end of March.

Since ALL of Mr. T's extended family lives in MN, we decided to have a separate shower up here with all of them.  His aunts went above and beyond planning and getting everything together.  I received the invitation in the mail and all I had to do was show up that day!

My mom and Mr. T's mom drove up from IL on a Friday night and stayed through until Tuesday.  It was really nice having them both around.  Mr. T's mom went to visit her family on Saturday and then left to see her other son after the shower on Sunday and Mr. T was working so I got to spend a lot of time with my mom...which equaled a lot of shopping!
We meant to get to the Mall of America two different times, but it never happened because we got sidetracked with other shopping instead.

But anyways, back to the shower.
My mom and I showed up on Sunday afternoon to Josh's aunt's house.  We got there a little bit early so that I could say hi to everyone as they got there and introduce my mom since none of them had met her yet.
She decorated with cute flowers that matched my colors...I loved the centerpiece!  There were even green and white balloons out front on the porch so people knew where to go.
Both sides of the his family got to mingle.  From previous family functions, every one had met multiple times before, so they enjoyed getting to catch up.

We sat down and played a couple of games and then moved on to presents.  Opening presents in front of a bunch of people while sitting in a dress is a little challenging and awkward!
Then we all went and ate a delicious spread of food that Mr. T's aunts and cousin put together.  The shower lasted probably 2 1/2 hours or so before everyone started heading out.  My mom and I stuck around and chatted with his aunt and his cousin's fiancee for awhile before heading out.
All in all, it was a great day and it was nice that my mom could finally meet some of his family.

Here are a few more pictures from the day.
With Mr. T's cousin's little daughter Lily.  She is going to be a "junior bridesmaid" in her uncle's wedding in October.  She's so cute!  She was the only other person in a dress that day =]
With Mr. T's mom's mom.  We call her Grandma Bob.  (p.s. notice in all these pictures my cute outfit?  I bought the dress at JCPenney's and talked my mom into buying the green cardigan at Kohl's for herself and letting me wear it for the shower.  And I bought new shoes!)
With Mr. T's mom and Grandma Emmy trying to sneak out of the way in the background. (It's her mom's 80+ year old ring that I wear as my engagement ring.)
With my mom, future mother-in-law, and my spread of gifts.

Favorite presents from the day?
I don't know if I can pick a favorite.  We just used the pizza pan and pizza ingredients last night for the first time and it was awesome!  I'm also super excited about our sleeping bag and camping stove.  I would HIGHLY recommend the Calphalon 5 piece baking set from Target, it's amazing!  I'm also loving the new Crockpot so I don't have to burn myself on our old one anymore.
They all did a great job, and I didn't end up taking anything back!

Did any of you have a separate shower with your fiance's family??  How did it go and what were your favorite gifts?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Invitation Unveiling

Okay's finally time for me to share my invitations with you!!
I have probably put a combined 100+ hours into these things.  And I'm not kidding when I tell you that.
I made all of the invitations and pocketfolds from scratch, printed out all of the inserts and individually cut them out, hand addressed all of the envelopes, lined the majority of the invites, and designed and redesigned the layout.
But enough whining about that.  Here's what I know you guys want to see.

First a little of the process?
Building of the envelopes.
Inserts printed 4 to a page.
A small amount of the overall mess I've made over the last two months.
100+ invitations times 5 inserts = a whole lot of cutting!
Stacks of finished invites.  I got so sick of these that I went through the whole process 5 different times.

But now for the details =]
I forgot to take pictures before sending them out, and at the moment I don't have one to keep (but don't worry I still have more to make so I'll be making an extra for myself) so these pictures come from an invitation that got sent back to me.  I noticed that some of the ink smeared from the processing.  I know they didn't all turn out like that though, because I've seen some that other people got.

I'll show you my inspiration pictures that influenced my invites.

Inside layout:
RSVP card and other inserts:
I used the "fauxligraphy" method of printing out the addresses in a very light grey ink, and then tracing over with an ink pen.  It took forever, but I love the way they turned out!

And I just wanted to give you guys a close up of my RSVP cards and the back in case any of you need help with layouts and wording.
I made sure to indicate how many people were invited, because we're inviting a lot of single people and not allowing them to bring a guest, so I wanted it to be clear to the guest how many were invited.  It's helped a lot.  So far we haven't had anyone try and return an RSVP for more than they were allowed.
For the most part, people have been putting their names on the line following the "M"  The only times they didn't, they wrote out their full names on the back so it worked out fine.
At the bottom it says See reverse for entree choices.
For the people that said yes, I had them put down their names and what they wanted to eat.  If anyone left this blank, I decided that they were getting chicken (because it's cheaper!)

Well that's it! I suppose it's fitting that the post is super long, since they took me super long to make.  Coming up next is a budget breakdown so you (and I) can find out if I saved any money doing this myself.

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