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 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.