Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cara's DIY Wedding

I was looking through my pictures and realized that I totally forgot to post about my sister Cara's outdoor/ indoor wedding that happened in October.  Which is sad, because it was a completely beautiful, totally DIY wedding.  So I'm going to remedy the situation, and post some of the awesomeness now.

First, my husband BJ and I took engagement photos:

My sisters Marissa and Anna and I threw Cara's bridal shower, and a friend was kind enough to host it for us.

Here's the shower invite that I designed using Inkscape (a free Illustrator-like program).

Here's a somewhat better view of the refreshment table.  We had a tea and hot chocolate bar as well.

Here are the favors for the guests- a packet with an herbal tea bag and a honey stick.  The tags were designed by me- again in Inkscape.

Cara and I spent hours making bridesmaid jewelry using beads and findings she bought online and at Hobby Lobby. Each piece was totally unique, but had a unifying theme. There was a necklace, bracelet, and earring set for each of the 11 bridesmaids.

The house and yard was transformed for the wedding and reception by the tireless help of many friends and family members.  Tables and chairs were covered with fabric from the stashes of my mom's friends and sisters.

My cute and talented mother did all of the flowers- bouquets, boutonnieres, table arrangements, indoor/ outdoor, etc.

This photo doesn't do them justice, these are just the only flower photos I could find.

Here's one of the bridal bouquet.

Photo credit to Giffy Pix.

My mom also made the cake pedestals by gluing together glass plates and vases, filling the vases with dried flowers, and tying ribbon around them.

My aunt, sister Marissa and I did Cara's makeup, hair, and nails respectively.

My mom made this lovely wedding gift with words of advice, featuring a hand- crocheted doily (My grandmother made one for each grandchild before she passed away, and my mom saved them to give at each wedding).

My mom and my aunts took a basically strapless wedding gown bought for under $200 and using their brilliant sewing wizardry, transformed it into Cara's dream wedding dress- a much more modest, and classy looking frock.  I wish I had a more close-up detailed photo of the dress, but you can get an idea by the picture below.

My dad is a bishop- a lay clergyman in our church, so he was able to be the one to marry Cara and Jeff.  My sons were ring bearers.

These 2 photos courtesy of Giffy Pix
I made the ring pillows my sons are holding in the above pictures (tutorial to come).

Marissa was the fantastic artist behind this lovely cake and multitude of cupcakes. (Check out her baking accessories shop on Etsy!)

I also made marriage advice cards for guests at the reception to fill out and compiled them into a book for the newlyweds to enjoy down the road.

It was a bit crazy to arrive just a day or two before the wedding and everybody work like mad to throw it together (after a several months of distance planning), but I think it turned out fabulously!  And the newlyweds are still doing great!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beat Nausea... Naturally!

About a year ago, when I was starting to try to get pregnant, I began making a mental list of ways I could treat common maladies (mainly just the annoying ones that I'd normally take ibuprofen or an antacid for) without using medications that would be potentially harmful to an unborn baby. My husband and I also started thinking about emergency preparedness and wondering if we would be able to treat these issues if we didn't have access to our regular medicines.  Eventually, I transferred my mental list and research to a trusty notebook which is growing as I add more and more lists of "natural" treatments.

I am going to start sharing some of those lists as a mini- series called "...Naturally!" So here is the first installment, focusing on the nausea of pregnancy, but the tips could be useful for other tummy situations too.

I have to laugh about this picture... what kind of picture are you supposed to use when you're
talking about nausea anyway?  I figured a stick figure drawing would be my safest bet. :)

For many of us, nausea is much more debilitating than pain, exhaustion, or just about any other malady.  So the first several months of pregnancy can be really difficult if you don't have any tricks up your sleeves.  Here is my list of things that I have researched and tried (most of them anyway) with success.  Keep in mind that I am not talking about Hyperemesis Gravidarum here (the severe continual vomiting that affects some women during pregnancy), I'm talking about regular-ish morning sickness (or all day sickness as the case may be).  So if you are looking for more natural ways of combating the urge to lose your lunch, try some of these. {My disclaimer is that I am not a physician, and so this shouldn't be considered medical advice.  Do your own research, and consult with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your health.}

  • Bland crackers first thing in the morning
  • Eat fermented foods
  • Apple cider vinegar (Read more about the reasoning for these first two items here)
  • Peppermint tea- Peppermint is a digestive aid. Drinking this at night (sweetened with Stevia) has helped me a lot this pregnancy.
  • Peppermint, ginger essential oils- you can just sniff these, or you can rub these oils onto your belly (dilute the peppermint in a carrier oil first to avoid skin irritation- also, some people say it's fine to use peppermint during a normal, healthy pregnancy, and some advise caution- so do your own research.)
  • Ginger Ale (anything with real ginger in it, really- not just ginger flavoring)
  • Diet Coke, coke syrup- this nausea remedy has been around a long time, and you can get coke syrup at many pharmacies. Also keep in mind that while caffeine helps some with various types of nausea, it can make it worse for others, especially if the nausea is due to indigestion, so you might need to experiment a little.
  • Slow deep breathing (4 counts in, 6 counts out)
  • Cold air- I don't know why this works, but opening a window and breathing in cold air can be very very helpful in that moment where you start feeling hot before vomiting and may prevent you from throwing up altogether.
  • Positioning- lying on left side and a modified child's pose (on knees, head down, bottom up)
  • Accupressure/ Sea bands (see this wiki for more info)
  • Eat raw carrots- This is less for pregnancy nausea than an upset tummy that may be the result of food poisoning, but still good to know... see this post by my friend Lani:
  • Magnesium- I started doing magnesium soaks before I got pregnant, and continued them after I found out I was expecting, and it seemed that my nausea was less severe the 24 hours after doing the soak. Then, I came across this post from Mommypotamus about replenishing the body's stores of Magnesium before pregnancy to reduce the chance of experiencing nausea. That confirmed to me that magnesium levels can play a role in morning sickness.
  • Unisom and Vitamin B6- ask your doctor or a pharmacist about taking this combination of pills at night to help with nausea the following day. It isn't a cure-all for every woman, but I have been assured by several different prenatal care providers that it is safe, and it has helped in each of my pregnancies so far. With this pregnancy, it wasn't as effective at the beginning, but I kept taking it and adjusted the dose a bit, and after several weeks, I could tell a major difference from taking it.
For all my sisters out there dealing with morning sickness... I feel ya!  Hopefully some of the things on this list will help.  

For those of you who have a special remedy for dealing with nausea of some kind- whether of pregnancy, vertigo, or some other type, will you share what has worked for you? We all love more ideas on how to combat this particular malady!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Maternity Shirt DIY Inspiration

For me, being pregnant has a way of warping time, leaving me somewhat disoriented as each day seems to last forever... but then somehow I find myself 6.5 months pregnant and thinking, "Wait, I still have so much to do before this baby makes his entrance!" Yep, that's pretty much where I'm at right now, coming up for air as I get some of my energy back and nausea under control.

So, I'm looking at my pile of projects, and maternity clothes are close to the top of my list of things to work on, because my belly has popped out and I have already grown out of some of my maternity shirts. (What?! Aren't maternity shirts supposed to fit the whole time you're pregnant?) So while I work on a few sewing projects for me, I thought I would share my inspiration with you, and then when I finish, I can share the results of my dabbling.

This men's shirt to maternity shirt refashion at Cotton and Curls

This lace tunic top at A Beautiful Mess

Also check out my tutorial I posted last pregnancy on how to refashion a long, stretchy skirt into a maternity shirt:

I hope to post more pregnancy- related projects, including some natural remedy type stuff for dealing with aches and pains without using medicines that are a no-no in pregnancy- so stay tuned!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Learn How to Gift Wrap Like a Pro in 3 Simple Steps! (Guest Post)

I am so excited for this guest post today, by my amazingly talented mother-in-law!  She has been known for her love of wrapping gorgeous gifts, and she has it down to a science.  Back in April, Rochelle and I asked her if she would be kind enough to write a blog post about how she wraps her gifts, and she happily agreed to do so.  Thanks Mom! 

Who doesn’t delight in a beautifully wrapped gift?  Beautiful package trimmings enhance the enjoyment of the gift and communicate to the recipients that they are important to you!

But how do you turn out those beautiful packages that are only seen on TV?  With a few tips and pointers, you too can wrap your gifts beautifully.

Apply this one basic wardrobe principle to your gift wrapping:  Start with the basics, then accessorize.  Any women’s wardrobe advisor will tell you that you need a few basics, which always include these essential items:  black pants, black skirt, white button down shirt, black pumps, a good pair of dark jeans.  With these basics, you can accessorize with scarves, jewelry, sweaters, shoes, handbags, hair accessories, etc. in prints, colors and metallics to jazz up your basics, add variety, and make your wardrobe seem much more extensive than it actually is! 

This principle, applied to gift wrap, will turn you into a pro! 

Step 1:  Choose a color scheme; then pick a basic wrap color.  My favorite is the kraft brown.

 Step 2:  Accessorize with other rolls in complementary colors, in prints, stripes and geometrics.  Designs should vary in size – small, medium and large.

Step 3:  Choose coordinating ribbons and package decorations.

Kraft brown is my favorite because it is so versatile!  I’ve used it for Christmas (with red and white; with red, gold and leopard; with green and gold; with blue and gold; with gold and red), 

birthdays (with any color for children; with red, yellow and green for adult women; with black and gold/leopard for men; with pink for girls), 

anniversaries (with gold), 
baby gifts (with pink or pink and green, or pink, gold and leopard for little girls; with brown and blue for boys, and even with red, yellow and blue for a shower gift for a baby whose gender I didn’t know).

Other Occasions (Like Weddings and Graduations): 

I love these 3 simple rules to make your gift wrapping beautiful and coordinated!  I applied these rules to my wrapping this year, and love how my color-coordinated gifts look under my tree! Super simple, with an awesome impact! 
And, just for fun, here's my tree with my presents (please excuse the poor photo quality, and...all the pine needles):

And some close-ups of my favorite presents: 

Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Embed a Google Doc in a Blog Post

Ahem! Announcing a temporary break in crafty type stuff for a techy post!! We will return to the regularly scheduled material shortly!! :)

We are big fans of Google products and open source software in my family.  (FYI open source means that the "code" behind the software is available to anyone, and can be modified and redistributed.  This means that it is FREE! Examples are Libre/ Open Office, Inkscape, Gimp, etc. that replace pricey word processing and editing software. It's awesome.) I especially love Google Docs (not technically open source, but still free if you have a gmail or google account), and I use it for tons of stuff, including sharing many of my patterns which are free here on the HSHb blog.  My little brother Tayler made my day last week when he casually mentioned that he figured out a way to embed a google doc in a blog post.  Wha?!  For those of you who use blogger, you know that there just isn't any good, easy way of embedding documents right into a post, which is frustrating.  Anyway, Tayler graciously agreed to write a tutorial on how to do it, which I was eager for, so I have something to refer to next time I want to share a pattern here! :)  So thanks, bro!

Hey everyone! I’m Rochelle’s little brother, Tayler. We were talking the other day, and I mentioned that I had figured out how to embed Google Docs into my portfolio blog, and she mentioned that she hadn’t been able to figure that out before. So here’s the tutorial for the not-so-obvious way to embed your google docs into a web page, blog post, etc.

Step 1
When you are within the Doc that you want to embed, go to File>Publish to the Web

Step 2
Click on “Start Publishing.” Leave the checkbox checked, it makes it so that if you need to make changes, you can, and you won’t need to go through this process all over again.
Step 3
A box will show up asking if you really want to publish it. Click OK. This box will show up after that. You will want to copy the embed code in the box.

Step 4
Here’s the more technical part. In whatever publisher you’re using, go to the HTML, and paste the embed code. Before you save it, there’s one more step. The code as is will give you a tiny little box that won’t show the entire document. To fix this, you have to add a little coding. DON’T WORRY! It’s really easy. The code below is similar to what you will have.
<iframe src=""></iframe>

Here are the changes you need to make:

<iframe width=“100%” height=”500”
The numbers in the quotation marks can be adjusted to fit your needs. They represent pixels. The 100% means that however big the publishing area is, the document will stretch to fill up the entire width. You can do it with the height too.

Embedding a Word Document or PDF file that has been uploaded to Google Drive

These Steps are much simpler. If you have uploaded a PDF or other file to Google Drive, just open the file in drive, and click File>Embed Link.

This box will show up, and all you need to do is copy and paste the embed code. You’ll notice that the width and height values are already there, and you can still change the numbers in the quote marks as desired.

One last thing- make sure that your sharing options are set to at least allow people- anyone who has the link to view the document, otherwise no one will be able to see your document (this applies whether it’s a Google Doc or an uploaded document).

Thanks Tay!  You're awesome!  I will totally be using this in the future, and I hope this will be helpful to some of you readers/ bloggers too!

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