Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wreath and next craft...

What you're seeing here is two crappy pictures that I uploaded directly from my cellphone.... isn't that awesome! I can auto upload to my blog from my phone! Ah! Sometimes I really love technology and all that it does to make my world more seamless.

Now back to the pictures: although the quality isn't quite there, the point is that I wanted to show you my wreath, all finished up and looking quite adorable if I do say so (remember that the idea originally came from Betz White). I've decided that I need to make at least 1 or 2 more. One that is dominantly white, and one more red. What do you think?
In the meantime (and in Weddingland) I've run into a bit of a dilemma. I found the most beautiful headband ever while I was ordering my dress a few weeks back. It's stunning I tell you! Oh, wait! I can mobile upload a picture of it! Sweet! Ok, so check it out. It's real cute, right? The problem here (you know, besides the fact that this picture makes my nose look absolutely GIANT) is that the headband is $200! Where do people get the nerve... charging that much for a headband? So there you are, standing in your overpriced dress, wearing your overpriced shoes and jewelry, and you think to yourself "$200 isn't that bad... I'm not wearing a veil..." and you're trying to justify it. Because in Weddingland, outrageous prices are fairly standard. Hey, I just paid $80 for glitzy buttons, $150 for pockets to be added, $150 for a sweetheart neckline and another $80 to cut off the train...(yes, paying for them to remove some of the dress). So what you need to do in this scenario is walk away. Leave the shop, get out of the dress and out of the fairy tale! I've actually been getting quite good at this... (after walking away from a $4,000 dress that I was in love with). Once you've walked away and gone home, you'll notice something in your house that needs replacing... holey socks, a holey kitchen floor, whatever. Suddenly, $200 on a headband seems a bit more ridiculous.

And this is the point that I always do my little thing where I twist my mouth to the side and say "I can make that." So yesterday I went to Michaels with a 50% off coupon and started scouting out the rhinestone scene. Oh yes, I picked some up and I fully intend to use them! I'm not sure how its going to work out, but I figured I would give all of you a little heads up about what disastrous project could be coming down the line!

So keep your eyes peeled for rhinestones or sparkly buttons or what have you, and send them my way! Stay posted....

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Nerve.

Question: What business does theknot have e-mailing me to tell me that there is only 334 days til my wedding?

Answer: No Business! Now I am in a panic! I have reviewed my DIY list, and there is just not enough time to complete these tasks if there are really only 334 days until the wedding. Do you think it's possible theknot is just trying to trick me?

Probably not, huh?

On that note, I've been hard at work on those WIPs I showed you last week. The pink on pink fleece you saw is a blanket I am making for my sister, if it's done soon I'll give it to her for her birthday (Nov. 1), if not... Christmas is right around the corner. Speaking of Christmas: the green rosettes you saw are coming together nicely on a wreath form. The roses are made from recycled wool sweaters that I threw in the wash with *GASP* hot water! And then... I put them in the Dryer! OH NO! Actually, this is what is called "fulling" or "felting" a sweater, and it's awesome. Idea Stolen from Betz White, who I am rather obsessed with. The target bags are being recycled into reusable totes.

Yes, I know I can reuse plastic bags as they are without making more work for myself - but does that sound like something I would do?

On top of those things I also have a very long list of things that need to be done at home, for example I am currently working on cleaning up the attic and organizing all of my crap. And there is an amazing amount of crap up there. Dan says he wont start work on the kitchen floor (which the dogs chewed up) until I organize my stuff in the basement and attic. One down, one in progress.

Debating whether to give it to goodwill and be rid of it once and for all, or, save for a tag sale next year. Too hard to decide.

Cleaning the attic has reminded me of what a jerk I am. I must have 3 rubbermaid bins full of fabric, and loads of wreath forms and foam and trims and such. Does that stop me from going out and starting new craft hobbies like felting sweaters? No, it does not.

So I'm trying to stay away from joanns and michaels and ac moore and goodwill and savers.... the list goes on. No more new projects for a while. I've got to work with what I've got: which is an extensive DIY wedding list and a stash of supplies.

So sorry for the utter lack of pictures in this post - I swear - things are really happening. I will prove it one day soon!

Friday, September 24, 2010


So around the craft-blog scene, WIP is a pretty standard acronym: Work In Progress. Tell me about it! I like to keep at least 10 WIPs going at any given time - not always on purpose, but life is a WIP so why not, right?

The latest projects aren't wedding related, but they are adorable, so I thought I should share anyway. I've been easing into new craft styles and projects lately after purchasing a few books: Sewing Green, Warm Fuzzies and Fa La La La Felt. Not to mention how inspired I felt after stumbling upon the craft blog world... In any event, these pics can offer you a sneak peak of whats to come later on.

Any guesses?


Monday, September 20, 2010

Tin Can Lantern Done Right!

Utter (ugly) Failure.
After my initial failure with the tin can lantern I was determined to get it right. I spoke with my boss from my real-life job about this experiment. Being the crafty girl that she is, she knew exactly what I was doing wrong. So she gave me this great little tip: add water and sub-zero temperatures. Viola! By having ice inside the can, the force being directed to the tin is stopped abruptly rather than absorbed around the cyclical opening. The energy I was putting into hammering down (with the wrong tool mind you) was going all over instead of stopping. Boy, Dan would do a much better job of explaining this than me - he could probably draw a diagram and show you the right equation.

I digress. The point is: ice makes this way easier - so, a tutorial:

1. Hoard tin cans - check with your Grandmother. I don't know about yours, but mine loves to pack things in her basement: tin cans, glass jars, pinecones... (You know I love you Gramma, but it's true).

Trial #2 - on ice.
2. Clean out tin cans and dry promptly (one of mine rusted out from neglect)

3. Fill cans with water and wait for ice to happen (in the freezer, of course)

4. Get out a hammer and nail and bang away. It helps if you start at the bottom because as you get towards the top the ice starts to chip away. Also, Have a few cans in the freezer at a time. The ice will start to melt around the edges, so pop that can back in the freezer and pull the next out.

5. Melt Ice with hot water You'll want to see the results immediately due to the pain in your neck from staring down at the can. It will be well worth the pain.

6. Light a candle on the inside and admire. Say "I told you it would work" to fiance for doubting the light would shine through such tiny holes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trying Things

I don't know about you, but I am a visual learner. This is usually a pretty good thing for a crafter - because it enables me to create things without patterns or instructions. Hey, maybe it's some of that "engineer skill" rubbing off from the fiance.. some mechanical gift bestowed upon me: I look at something and can generally figure out how it works and how to put it together.

Alas, sometimes my confidence in this "ability" can get me into blunders. Like for example when I take something apart completely and then forget how it went together (camera lens). Last night was one of those instances.

You've seen these tin can lanterns before, I assume. I look at something like that and think "I can do that!" So I have been putting some cans aside for a trial. Last night in the darkness of the basement, I started banging away on my tins cans. I used a vice to hold the can in place, a hammer and some strange looking drill bit I found in Dan's workbench area. This was probably the wrong thing to do. I probably ruined that pokey drill bit. Don't tell him.

Anyway I went to work banging and hammering and it took me forever to get some really crappy holes that are completely mismatched and disastrous (pictures to appear later). Sometimes Mandy, you need to read directions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Inspired Bride is a D.I.Bride

So here we are, exactly 355 days from my wedding, and I already have all of my vendors, my budget down to the nearest dollar and I have exhausted every single page on theknot.com looking for original ideas, or anything just a tad bit inspirational.

I found nothing, theknot does not strike me as a muse. The tools are great, and the message boards can be amusing - but there is no inspiration for the truly creative and unique bride. I had stopped looking at theknot for about a month when I had my idea for paper flowers.

The Paper Flower Idea came to me when I realized I didn't want to spend a ton of money on real flowers, but I wanted each chair at the outdoor ceremony to have some sort of flair. Ah-ha! I said to myself (as I often do) I could make paper flowers to attach to the programs and tissues. So I messed around with paper for a few days trying to create my very own.... it just wasn't happening. I needed help - I needed google.

I stumbled upon Elizabeth Anne Designs on my google quest to create a paper flower. What I originally searched dropped me right into this page with instructions for making a Japanese Kusudama folded paper flower. Cute, right? I then found the instructions for the accompanying rose here.

But I discovered far more than a way to make paper flowers - I had stumbled upon an entire world of people JUST LIKE ME! Crafty people, funny people, domestic divas. I am not alone, and it feels good.

All this happened just days after I had e-mailed my girlfriend who transplanted herself to Atlanta begging her to come home. "I'm all alone up here, no one else is domestic, everyone makes fun of me, I have to do everything myself..." wah, wah, waaaah.

So to say I was excited to find this crafty blogging world would be the biggest understatement ever! I hopped from one DIY blog to the next, making like 45 bookmarks in the process. A place where other people think trash is treasure (street finds, goodwill, tag sales) - a place where everyone thinks "I can do that...."

My heaven, essentially.

And then I became jealous - all of these people are paid to craft and write about it all day. I can craft, I can write, I should be paid to do these things! Alas, talent can't be found if it's hiding in a little city in Connecticut amidst unappreciative 25-year-old friends.

So then, the birth of my blog, the D.I.Bride (play on DIY, of course). Granted, I'm certainly not getting paid to do this, but I am sharing what I love in the hopes that I will someday give inspiration to other people out there just like me.