Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Countdown: Flower Friday

Well we have made it all the way to Friday morning! The day before the wedding and the day of the rehearsal. There was still SO much to do … even after all the work we had been doing. My main focus was the DIY flowers. I had 160 sunflowers that we needed to arrange into a bouquet, 11 centerpieces (5 high and 6 low) and about a dozen mason jars.

I don’t have a lot of pictures because I had my hands full of flowers. It was messy! Lots of water, cut off stems, bits of floral tape littered my mom’s nice new kitchen. I helped with all the high centerpieces and I think they turned out beautifully.

I am not so sure what went wrong with the low centerpieces. The oasis we bought didn’t seem to hold the flowers the way the styrofoam had during the trial mom and I did. They held up ok for the wedding, but it was definitely not as nice as the trial centerpiece had looked. In hind sight I wish I had just scrapped the idea of the low centerpiece and made them all taller. Oh well … hindsight is 20/20 right?

What I did not get done on Friday was my bouquet. I really wish that I would have taken the time to get it done before the rehearsal. Time just slipped right thru my fingers. My mom and SIL ended up making it the morning of the wedding. They did a beautiful job, but mom hadn’t seen me make the trial bouquet and my SIL never saw it at all. Looking at some of the pictures I can see the flaws, but I am positive nobody else did. I guess that is just part of my control freak nature. I wanted to do it all.


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I had read MANY blogs about outdoor, backyard, home and park weddings. One thing that I knew would be key was lighting. My parent’s and I had discussed different ideas over the last 6 months. Now it was time to put those plans into practice. The first area to get lights was the patio. It got a simple strand of white Christmas lights along the edge. These went up the weekend before the wedding.

After the tents were up on Thursday and the sun had come up the guys started lighting the inside of the tents. Again, they are just white Christmas lights that we already owned.

Next to go up with the chinese lanterns with the throwies that I had made. This DIY project got a little assistance from my Dad and his Cousin (the electrician) They wanted to use cable to put up the lanterns, but mom & I held firm to the fishing line. They did have to make some adjustments to my throwies though. The first time they put them up we didn’t get a lot of light from them.

So the next morning while my Dad was out doing some last minute errands they went and bought some clothespins to help hold the LED wires onto the battery so they would have a stronger connection. This worked much better than my tape, I will admit. The night of the wedding they had the perfect glow:

(You can see the blue glow in the lanterns AND the lighting in the tents in this photo)

The last minute addition to the lighting was actually because some of the lanterns didn’t stay on the fishing line and we didn’t have time to put them back up. They used some of the taller shepard hooks and attached the lanterns to them and just rearranged the mason jars on the other hooks.

The only lighting that didn’t happen was my luminaries. We had purchased white paper bags and they were supposed to line the driveway/walkway from the parking area up to the house. It was probably needed, but with the slightly windy conditions it was making set up difficult, so they did not get set out. Now I have about 500 white paper bags for all future birthday parties, class parties and probably even Christmas LOL.

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Now that the tents were up, the lawn was mowed and I had my toe nails done .. it was time to start assembing the last minute details prior to setting up and decorating on Friday and Saturday.

My girls showed up to help and we started getting as much done as possible. We started with assembling the lanterns and putting the throwies into them.

Then we finished up the mason jars. I used the basic steps from previous tutorials I had seen on Weddingbee. No re-inventing the wheel for me LOL. The only slight difference with the wired twine that my mom found at Michael’s. Half the jars got tea-lights the other half got sunflowers.

While working on the above projects we also were doing dishwasher loads full of goblets, beer pilsners and champange flutes. We had been buying them at the Dollar Store all summer and storing them, but they had to get washed up before our guests could use them.

Once they got washed we separated everything into boxes. There was one box for each table. The box was marked with the seating chart for the table. It had the total number of chairs for the table, the number of children and was marked wither “high” or “low” depending on the centerpiece for the table. Everything “loose” for the table went into the box: tablecloths, candles, kid goodie bags, goblets, candy dishes, and table numbers. The only things that didn’t fit in the box were the water bottles and the napkins.

Speaking of water bottles. We had 4 cases of water (120 bottles) to put the custom labels on.

I had already cut them apart from the file that Staples had printed out for me. But some needed a little minor trimming to remove extra white space or smooth a rough cut edge. We had a nice little assembly line: remove printed label, cut new label, glue new label, attach new label. We had then done very quickly. I was very surprised. My only suggestion would be to use extra glue if they will be sitting out in the sun. Some had to be re-glued on the day of the wedding because the sun was heating up the glue too much.

With many projects completed for the day, we settled in for a nice big pasta dinner and some Margaritas to calm my nerves.

Only 1 more day left before the wedding!

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Countdown: Folding and Flowers

Wednesday (T-Minus 3 days) was 9/9/09 … this was the day we had originally planned to be married. That is what was in the back of my head ALL DAY LONG. I could not dwell on that little tidbit of nostalgia of what could have been … I had work to do.

That morning the napkins were delivered by the uniform company we already have an account with. I only paid 17 cents a napkin!!! If there is a local uniform company in your town give them a call. They had all the same colors that the party rental place have for a quarter of the price. It was a great deal.

Now that I had 120 napkins in my office I needed to start folding them. I had already sent off my 4×6 Flickr card to Walgreen’s and had 120 printed for 10cents each. I could have made smaller ones and done them cheaper, but I wanted them to be seen and not lost on the tables.

The 4×6 worked perfectly when I did the pocket fold as well. I worked all day at the office during the down time between phone calls and customers. By the end of the day all 120 had been folded and packaged into stacks of 10 and boxed up. Here are the napkins with the flickr card peaking out before I packaged and boxed them.

Today was the day we had also arranged for FiftyFlowers.com to deliver the sunflowers for the centerpieces and my bouquet. I had went ahead and purchased 160, knowing that I could use the extras as fill in decor about the house and yard.

Unfortunately the problems started right away. My mom was set to be at the house all day Wednesday to wait for them. Then we got a call that she would need to drive and pick up a guest at the airport … in San Diego (which is about a 6 hours drive round trip)

I called FiftyFlowers first thing in the morning, which is 8:00am for me. The tracking numbers I had been given were coming up invalid on the FedEx website. The customer service rep that I spoke too told me that she would look into it and get back to me. I wait about an hour or so before I tried calling back. This time I could not speak to a live person. I left a message that I stated was urgent, left my contact number and wait some more. At about 11:30 I emailed with “Urgent” in the subject line. An hour later I got a response. I was told that the tracking numbers were for a company called Ontrac (has anyone else heard of them? I had not) and that they would be there by 5pm. I replied back asking for more information, and did not receive a returned email. Luckily my mom got back to town earlier than expected and was at the house before the delivery driver arrived.

I arrived at the house at 4:55pm to see the delivery van leaving the house. The 2 large boxes looked man-handled and were slightly crushed. Upon opening the boxes I was very worried about my sunflowers. They looked very sad crammed into the boxes. Many head were bent over and were crushed from being smashed against other flowers in the box, some were even losing their petals. Take a look for yourself:

I followed the directions and filled up our 5 gallon buckets with fresh Reverse Osmosis (filtered) water and began cutting the stems of all 160 flowers. Because they looked so sad we cut about 6-8 inches off each sunflower to be safe.

I had been told that the flowers would perk up and hydrate so I did not contact customer service (but I should have). I left the flowers soaking in a room with sunlight and air conditioning until Friday. This saga will be continued! LOL

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Countdown: Seating Chart woes

This brings us to Monday before the wedding. Projects were either getting completed or thrown out. One project that I had to get finished and NOT throw out was the seating chart and water bottle place cards.

I had been using Martha Stewart Wedding’s seating chart program and it was working perfectly … expect I kept getting late RSVP’s. Just when I thought it was done and I was ready to print, someone would email or call in a change. I was getting VERY frustrated. Finally on Monday I had to create my seating chart.

The Martha Stewart Wedding program online generated an excel list of my guests in a custom report and emailed it to me. All I had to do was copy each table of guests into my photoshop document, one group at a time. I used the same background graphics from my Photobooth Poster. In no time I was done. I saved my file and uploaded it to Staples, just like I did before. Only this time something went wrong!

When I went in to pick up my poster it was shrunk down and illegible because the font had become SO small. The Staples associates where very nice. They told me just to come back with my file on a flash drive. I drove home, saved the file to my flash drive and took it back. There was a customer before me, but the manager took my flashdrive and saved my file to the computer and said it would be ready in an hour or so.

Unfortunately I did NOT make it back that afternoon. Or the next day … or the NEXT day! Yikes. Before I knew it I still hadn’t picked up the seating chart on the morning of the wedding!!! I left time in my schedule Saturday morning to swing by and pick it up on the way to my hair appointment. I walked in, gave the associate my name and he pulled out my poster. It was the correct size. It was legible. BUT Somehow the colors had been distorted 😦 The associate had no idea how it happened. Instead of tans and blues and oranges …. everything had a greenish tint! I had to use it 😦 I had no choice, no back up. It was this or nothing (and I couldn’t have nothing.)

Honestly I am sure nobody noticed, since the 2 signs were not together. Only I know that they were made to match. It is still one of the things that I wish I had NOT procrastinated.

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Even though I was content to just stand on the deck and get married, my mom (knowing better) decided we needed some kind of arch. We had previously tried ordering one online that my mom liked, but shipping was more than the price of the arch. We went to the local rental company and the only one we kind of liked was still $50 just to rent. My mom came up with a plan while at Lowes … She would MAKE one. Yes, we had a DIY (by Mom) arch for our ceremony.

You already saw the silk/dry floral arrangement that mom made.

Here is how she made the arch for the arrangement to go on.
3 – sections of wood trellis from Lowes $12.50 each
white spray paint $4.50 each
Dad’s nail gun
heavy gauge wire

Using the spray paint she coated all sides of all 3 panels. I believe 1 can was more than enough to complete the task.

She took the arrangement that she made and using heavy gauge wire attached it to one section of trellis across the front. That became to top of the “arch”

Next Dad stepped in with the nail gun. He set the top portion on the deck and arranged the two sides while it was laying down. The nature of the pattern in the trellis made it easy to get the sides even. He put a few nails in at the top to secure it. We then lifted the arch into place on the deck.

After a few minor adjustments to make sure it was even in the corner, he put a few nails in to hold the arch against the railing and then a few at the bottom to hold it down on the deck.

This is how the arch looks in place. The little white table is where the vases for the sand ceremony will be.

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As my mom said that last week … bark fixes (and covers up) anything! For less that $4 a bag it is a very easy and inexpensive way to cover up plain dirt areas in the yard and fill in between the more expensive greenery.

Saturday and Sunday before the wedding we spent working in the yard. Unloading the plants, arranging them around the yard and filling in the rest of the areas with bark.

The front entrance to the yard:

The walkway leading to the ceremony/back porch. You can also see the Shepard Hooks that we had arranged in this photo as well.

Plants replace the blue barrels around the center post on the back porch.

My Mom’s second time saving tip … don’t take the plants out of the black plastic containers. With only 6 days till the wedding the plants did not need to be planted directly in the ground. This saved us HOURS of work. We simply made a small hole to stabilize the plastic container in the dirt, then we put bark around to cover the container. There was actually less of a change of the plants dying, all they needed was regular watering.

The beginning of a seating area to block guests from walking off the pathway and possibly getting hurt. Those palms won’t stay there so we just removed the labels from the plants and the rest of the seating area covered the pots.

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