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!

Mother and Baby Shower

I mentioned very briefly in my last post that while in Oregon, we had a baby shower.  What I didn’t mention was that it was a shower (or, more accurately, a mother and baby shower) for my sister Marissa!  My mom, my sisters and I collaborated and planned it all, with Marissa’s help and input, and I think it was a success!


Marissa wanted frilly, lacy, pink-y loveliness as the theme, and so that’s what we did!

Marissa and I got together and laughed hysterically- as we usually do- while we designed the invitations.  We were able to make them entirely out of what we had on hand already. :-)  The pink part is a sleeve which the invitation slides out of.  The umbrellas, clouds, and hearts were cut using my Silhouette machine.  I designed the text part of the invitation in Inkscape.

If you are going to ask people to RSVP, it is a good idea to not only include your phone number, but also your email address- some people (including myself) don’t like to call.  We also created a facebook event.  Hey, we just figured that the easier it was (and more ways there were) to RSVP, the better response we would get.

I had read about an idea of a “mother blessing shower” in one of my favorite new books (The Gift of Giving Life– seriously an amazing book; I would say that reading it, along with their blog for the past two years has changed my life and the way I think about motherhood- I’m not paid to say that, it’s just true.  Go check it out; you won’t be disappointed, even if you just read through the archives of some of the positive birth stories).  I was charmed with the idea that while it is great- and really fun- to focus on the baby, a shower is also a great opportunity to celebrate motherhood.  So, taking the suggestion from the book, in our announcement we invited people to bring a blessing or good thought for Marissa and a bead or charm to represent it, which would be put on a charm bracelet for Marissa to wear and feel happy vibes! 😉

This was a blank paper we included in the invitation for people to bring their written good wishes on.

The shower was fun (I really enjoyed seeing people I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with for many years in some cases) and lovely of course.  We used pieces from our mom’s wedding china to hold flowers and candy.  My mom also had a great collection of crystal and glass serving dishes, and glass snack sets which she inherited from her mother.  I had picked up mini- chalkboards from the craft store recently, and those were fun to use, along with ribbons, and tons of tissue paper that we turned into flowers and pom-poms.

Ooh, before I forget, the menu included assorted fresh fruit, gluten/dairy/egg free brownies (which were amazing), oreo truffles, jordan almonds and Dove chocolates, dark and white chocolate drizzled popcorn, and heavenly pink sorbet punch.  Mmm.

Here’s the cute pregnant mama… I wonder why I couldn’t get her to look at the camera?!

Something else we did that I have seen done at other showers is pass around a basket of blank envelopes for people to address to themselves to make it that much easier for Marissa to send out her thank-you notes.  (Whoops, don’t have a picture of that one, but you can use your imagination…)

A few nights ago, Marissa and I got together, and we added jump rings to all the charms, and attached them on to a bracelet that we made.  I think it is adorable, if a bit crowded- but you can never have too many blessings, right?!  Some of the charms were meant for the baby some day, so ultimately, a few charms will be removed and it won’t be quite so crowded.

Here’s what it looks like on.  Artsy, unique, lovely, and a reminder of all the love, blessings, and good wishes from friends and family!

As a gesture of gratitude/ favor of sorts for those who attended, we made about 30 of these crocheted friendship bracelets with a bead in the middle.  The idea was that people would grab one as they walked out the door, but of course we forgot until half of the people were already gone.  😛  Oops.  Maybe they will go out in some of the thank you notes.

We definitely had fun with this baby shower, and I really liked the “mother blessing” part.  It seems appropriate to me that this portion could be done for any mother- regardless of how many babies she has had, or if she needed an actual “shower” for the baby.  Honoring motherhood and womanhood is always a good move in my book!  Tell me what you think in the comments!

A few Christmas gifts

We’re back! After an exhausting but fun- filled out- of- state vacation, we are ready to go again! Did you all have a good time during the holidays?

I’ve got some fun projects that I am just itching to share, but first I want to show you some of the things I made for Christmas this year… ready?!

I created a “Nativity Story” binder based on one my mom made when we were young. It was something we read out of on Christmas Eve and the children acted out the story as it was read. It was a tradition that I loved, and have missed it since I have been away from home, so it was time to make one of my own.

It includes the Christmas Story from the Scriptures, Christmas Hymns, and beautiful artwork which I was able to get off the internet- legally, I might add, as all the art was either public domain or explicit permission given for downloading and printing. Score!

I spent 20+ hours compiling and beautifying to my satisfaction, and getting it ready for printing. I had it printed on glossy cardstock and put it in page protectors in a three- ring binder. I covered the binders with fabric, decorated, and gave several away as gifts, as well as keeping one for myself.

 I referenced this tutorial at for the binder cover, and this one for the ornament embellishment.

My son needed a tiny pillow for sleeping, because he is old enough to need/ want a pillow, but regular sized pillows usually have too much loft (at least after washing them so many times) so they aren’t comfortable, so I bought a little pillow which is a decorating pillow meant to be covered, and I cut down a regular pillowcase and embroidered his name on it.  Overkill?  Probably.  What two year old is going to appreciate that kind of detail?  The truth is it is for me.  I like that kind of stuff.  So there.

 My mom requested an eye pillow/ cover thingy, so I drew one out and this is what I came up with:

Crepe backed satin on the front, and also for the elastic casing, and a sateen finish cotton from the extra pillowcase fabric for the back:

I saw this cool idea on Poppies at Play and promptly made some of these stylish washer bracelets for my youngest sister.  I liked the idea of giving her a variety of colors and patterns, so I mod podged different papers to both sides of the washer, and used a variety of ribbons with the idea of making it all interchangeable.

Here are the other sides of the washers…

And here she is modeling how cute the bracelets are on…

I decided to add the option of a necklace…

 Fun and easy project!

For our Christmas Eve pajamas tradition for my boys, I made these Superman PJs out of Marissa’s husbands PJs that he got last year which were too big for him.  Didn’t cost me a dime!  My husband got similar PJs at the same time so all three of my boys had Superman pajamas!  Oh the cuteness!

I used pajamas my boys already had as patterns for these.  I used the tutorial for the 90 minute shirt from made for the baby’s shirt.

As a companion to the pajamas, I made these Thomas the Tank Engine slippers for my toddler.  I made these slippers so they wouldn’t slide off his feet, and they keep his feet so toasty warm!  I am putting together a tutorial/ pattern which I will share if I can ever finish it.

Action shot!  Toddlers are not very cooperative models, but you get the idea.

Well, there’s more, but this post is getting long, and frankly, I am tired (only been home 24 hours, and fairly sleep deprived).  I will post more of my Christmas projects and stuff soon, and then we will get to some new stuff- yay!

Anthro-inspired Necklace (DIY)

I’ve been so inspired with all the anthropologie/jcrew jewelry I’ve seen lately, and wanted to make some of my own! I didn’t do a copycat, but I took some elements of different necklaces I liked, such as:

– ribbon or fabric woven through chain,
– multiple tiered strands,
– and fun bead combinations

and then I combined those ideas to get this:

Here’s what you need to make your own:

– jewelry chain with big enough links to weave ribbon through
– beads of your favorite color (I chose teal with a matte finish)
– contrasting accent beads (mine were sparkly silver)
– satin ribbon in matching/contrasting color
– toggle closure
– bead stringing wire
– 12mm jump rings
– pliers

1 – Shorten chain to about 10″ by pulling out a link with pliers; with remaining chain make another 5″ chain
2 -Weave two ribbons through the 10″ chain, tying bows at either end of the chain.
3 – Attach two jump rings (for added strength) to each end of each chain (10″ and 5″)
4 – Attach toggle clasp to ends of chains with jump rings (using pliers)
5- string beads of main color onto bead stringing wire to make first strand (mine is about 14″). Attach each end of string to a jump ring and attach to the ends of the 10″ and 5″ chains on both sides (so now you have a full necklace)
6 – string beads of main color onto second strand (about 11″), with accent beads strung on at random, and finishing with 3 accent beads on the end.
7 – attach jump rings to either end of short strand, and attach them to the jump rings on the longer strand.

There you have it! Enjoy your new anthro-inspired necklace and have fun telling people that you made it!

Pearl necklaces + Another Anthro-inspired necklace tutorial

I am a fan of pearl jewelry, and tend to make it…frequently. Last Christmas, I decided to try and replicate some of the pearl jewelry I had seen in stores and online, and made this as a Christmas gift for my sister:

And then, I made this one after I saw an awesome tutorial on Infarrantly Creative.

And then Rochelle, made this one – she threaded a ribbon through the pearls and tied a knot between each pearl as she went. I really like how it turned out!

My most recent pearl necklace creation was inspired by a necklace design I saw a few months ago at anthropologie:

I really liked how the strands intertwined, and thought that this design would look pretty in pearls, and I had a ton, so I decided to go for it. It turned out to be kind of an interesting/tedious process, but I like how it turned out – here’s what I did:

– bead stringing wire
– a boatload of beads
– 2 x 16″ lengths of ribbon

1. Figure out how long you want your necklace to be, and string the beads onto the whole length of the string.
2. Tie both ends of the strand into a good, tight square knot (plus a couple more for good measure 😉 )
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have what looks like 4 necklaces. I used different sized beads for each strand – so I had one strand with large pearls, 1 with medium, and 2 with small.
4. Repeat step 1, and this time, loop the strand through the first 4 necklaces, and then tie.
5. Repeat step 4 until you have 8 total strands.
6. Now, tie one piece of ribbon securely (I tied it in a knot) on each side of the necklace, this is what you will use to put the necklace on – you just tie the ribbons together in a bow.

Hopefully that makes sense! I think its pretty straight forward, but please let me know if you have questions or anything!