Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wedding DIY: Escort Cards, Gift Table and Mr./Mrs. Signs...

Wedding season is approaching! Figured I should mak good on my promise to share more of my wedding and help out the brides-to-be out there...

First, the card basket. This is always one of those pieces that is so simple and yet so stressful. It's a great way to show your personality or the theme of the wedding with something quirky and fun, but it could just as easily be a standard basket and turn into something boring that just blends into the gift table...

Keep in mind, as mentioned in previous posts (Welcome to Married Life...) this wedding was intended to be in Vermont, not Massachusetts, so there is a bit of a Vermont-in-Fall theme. Now, what type of basket screams "Vermont" to you?? A Ben & Jerry's container? How do you find one big enough? An apple crate? We were doing anything else apples. A ski boot? That's winter, not fall. Suddenly, something simple was stressful, and I was not going to do the same old antique bird card every bride seems to do.

We were leaving our wedding dress rescue mission when I finally found the answer. In Quechee (go check out the Gorge!) there is a little Quechee Village shopping center, which includes a Danforth Pewter shop, a Cabot annex, an antique store and more. We passed and I asked to stop. Mostly because I'm obsessed with Cabot cheese, and I also wanted to check the antique store for some type of crate. And I found...   nothing. 

We were getting ready to leave, and my stepdad was purchasing some Cabot cheese spreads when I looked around. Sitting on the counter was a round, wooden cheese box with the Cabot logo stamped on it. On a whim, I asked if they sold these boxes. Yes, for a mere $5!  So we picked out the perfect one (which just happened to have been shipped on my mom's birthday), and had our card box!

Photo by Jay Ericson Photography

To complete the gift table, we brought in the basket of programs in case anyone had missed it at the ceremony, and my mom displayed two photo collages she had created with childhood photos of each of us. 

Photo by Jay Ericson Photography

Now on to our simpler DIY project.  Using many of the same items that I used for the programs, I created a  Mr. sign and a Mrs. sign to hang on our chairs at the reception. DIY - Wedding Programs  For the back, I used a size A7 note card from Paper Source (A7 Note Card), then used the yellow paper previously used for the program belly bands, and the same piece of cream luxe paper used to print the front of my invitations (A6 Note Card). Turning the card horizontal, I first measured out a top border of approximately a half inch. The rest of the borders are approximately 1/4 inch. Be sure you print the Mr. and Mrs. cards first, then simply trim the front and second card to fit.  Again using my trusty tape runner, I simply attached them in a stack.

To create the hanger, I punched a hole in each of the top corners and inserted a brad (see my post about programs for these tools). I tucked the ribbon through each and tied a knot in each end.  Also, if you have a lighter, you can easily sear the ends of the ribbons so they don't fray.

Photo by Jay Ericson Photography

Photos by Kelly Burton

Photo by Kelly Burton

Escort cards!   ...are a pain in the ass! This was actually probably the most intensive part of the wedding prep. The escort (or seating) cards themselves were fairly easy. I was able to use Adobe inDesign to create a layout where I could fit 4 names per A7 card. I ringed the full layout, the horizontal middle and the vertical middle with a leaf design I had created. Once I cut the card in half each way, I had 4 name cards, each with a leaf border.

Using my tape runner, I adhered each name onto a folded cardstock back. I had quite a bit of card stock, so actually cut down and folded larger pieces, but Paper Source does sell pre-folded cards (4-bar Folded). Just  work to ensure you have your sizes right!

I decided I liked the ribbon board look, but wanted my own twist. First, I found cheap bulletin boards. Target had some in the home office section for roughly $6 each. I painted each one so the colors fit into my brown, orange, yellow theme. Home Depot sells paint samples for less than $3, and one in each color was more than enough to paint 4 boards. Once the boards were dry, it was time to attach the ribbon. This was a pain!

I used Paper Source's natural cotton ribbon to wrap around my invitations and hold all the pieces together. It turned out to be sturdy enough for my card boards too. (Natural Cotton Ribbon) First, measure and re-measure the boards! I found that I could fit 5 rows. Measure one escort card, plus roughly half an inch and split the height of your board by that amount. Mark where the top of each ribbon should attach. 

Because I wanted clean edges, I used a flat head screwdriver to press down the cork at the connection spot of each. This gave me just enough room to tuck the ribbon under the wooden border of the bulletin board. The Paper Source brand of tape runner is actually strong enough to connect these, but I used a dot of super glue on each. Just put the dot as close to the end of the ribbon as possible and tuck it into the small space. Be sure to measure and cut the ribbon because you will not be able to hide any extras, and you want the ribbon to be taut. 

Our wedding coordinator hung the actual escort cards onto the ribbon for me, and scattered the table with maple candies we bought at the Cabot annex and leaves we pulled off trees at our property in Vermont. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Moving On Up...

To Michigan! I've been MIA, I know. But the move to Michigan is complete, we are first-time homeowners, and my lingering unemployment allowed me to fix the house fairly quickly.

The move went very smoothly. The cats were well-behaved, if scared. We stopped at a rest stop and discovered that one cat was actually shaking in her carrier. When we opened the door, she hopped out, hunkered down in some soft items right below her carrier and was fine. Aside from one day of hiding in a closet, both girls have adjusted very well to their new home!

We chose a nice suburb of Detroit with plenty of restaurants and parks. I have to say, these two Midwest kids are loving that we have a yard and trees again. For the first time in years, I have neighbors that I've actually met, who say hello and bring over 'welcome to the neighborhood' flowers instead of just glaring at me when we pass in the apartment hallway!

Anyway, on to the fun stuff...  Painting!  I used all Behr Ultra paints (the paint + primer). I've included the colors just in case you love them as much as I do. Here's a quick look at before and after in our home:

The front door opens into a decent-sized front room. Back in the 40s, when the home was built, this was probably their main gathering room, but since our home had a large 'great room' addition in the back, we decided to turn this one into a study. The hardwood floors and coved ceiling? Awesome. The weird yellow/tan color and maroon-ish drapes? Not awesome. 

So I painted it grey! The color worked out fantastically! It feels more open and peaceful. I've since hung a few pictures, and may add white drapes later..   

Paint Color: Ashes. 

There is actually a large room upstairs (seemed to be a common feature in homes we looked at) which runs the width of the house, and has angled ceilings. We eventually intend to use that as the Master, but right now it is painted lavender, and has almost no storage. Temporarily, we are using a downstairs bedroom as ours. And it came with more of that icky golden tan color...

Green! I did worry this color would be too dark, but it is still muted enough that it works very well  (this picture is a bit dark). We will use this color upstairs as we fix up the room for our use.   

Paint Color:  Sanctuary

 We haven't fixed up the kitchen yet. One of our earlier projects will likely be a complete kitchen remodel. Despite its large size, we've found that the cabinets are not very good, counterspace is wasted, which doesn't leave enough for canisters and small appliances, there is no actual pantry, so we have to use a small rolling pantry that is not roomy enough, and while the appliances all work, they're an off-white color that makes them look incredibly old. Not to mention, the faucet drips when turning it off, and the side cabinets are slightly drooped and the previous owner added a light that she screwed up through the bottom of the cabinet...

The deck also has a patio portion next to it. We need to clean it, get some furniture/decor, and add a grill, but nothing too major out there. I can't wait to plant my vegetable garden!

Ah, the great room. (You can see the kitchen to the right... we will definitely put in half cabinets and extend the counter to open that up). This room made me happy (it's huge), and crazy (the fireplace mantle is red, the room is that icky golden tan the previous owner seemed to love).  This took the longest, and was delayed a few days when I dropped a sign on my toe, cracking the nail (it's a different color now too!).

Love! Ok, don't judge me on the tiny portion on the right wall. Me + 6 foot ladder still was not tall enough to reach it. My husband and his extra 8 inches will fix that this weekend.   So first, we painted the mantle an espresso brown color (I'm somewhat obsessed with espresso brown, it's OK). After way too many color swatches and some nervousness that we went too bold, we chose a gorgeous blue. I actually could not be happier with this color. It works with the espresso brown and white, I can easily add nautical accents in the living room side, and  (not pictured), it looks great with my espresso brown leaning wine bar AND the greens and tans that make up our dining set.

Paint Color (mantle): French Roast

Paint Color (walls): Juniper Ash

Now, I just need to find a job! And remodel the kitchen. And create a man cave in the basement. And fix the Master Bedroom. And plant my garden.   Stay tuned, the (mis)adventures continue...