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DIY No-Sew Paper Dot Curtain

2 Apr

In a rare departure from food, I was inspired to share a DIY project with you all today. I made this for my wedding in September 2012, and this lovely curtain has been hanging on my living room wall ever since mostly because I really just don’t know what to do with it! Until I figure that out, it’s bringing a nice splash of color to our home.

The first thing I fell in love with when researching wedding decor was this sewn paper dot garland. I could make it fit perfectly with my shades-of-purple dots theme, and I decided that I would have to have it, no matter how long it took to make one myself.

I bought heavy two-sided scrapbook paper in a few different shades of purple and a metallic gold.

photo 2 (2)
I went to town with my circle punches. I punched SO MANY circles. Then my wonderful Aunt Darlene took over. Amazing — between work and wedding planning, I was running short on time! She’s a life saver.

Aunt Dar thought the curtain needed a little more sparkle, so she added in a strand of metallic gold and purple pailette sequins for every two paper circle strands.

photo 3

The curtain turned out amazing! We hung it behind the dessert table for a super awesome backdrop. In a venue with almost all white walls, it created a great focal point. Aunt Darlene also created a few extra strands NOT attached to the curtain, to hang from the ceiling over the dance floor.

Here’s a shot of our wedding cake and dessert table, where you can see the dots hanging in the background:

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And a neat black-and-white shot from our clever photographer:

Purple Dot Curtain

I won’t lie, this project took FOREVER. But I thought it turned out so well, and it was my favorite part of the decor. If you’d like to try this project on your own, go for it! Depending on your mood, you could spend some time on your own working on this mindlessly while watching TV and enjoying a glass of wine, you could invite your wedding attendants over and make a party of it, or you could delegate to someone wonderful in your life.

A few notes on the numbers I used, and then instructions to make your own!

  • I picked out coordinating colors of scrapbook paper (make sure it’s not white on one side). About 50% of the paper I purchased was a dark plum purple, which would be my main color. The other 50% was divided evenly between another dark purple color, a light lavender purple, and gold. I recommend buying extra paper and returning what you don’t use — I found it difficult to purchase additional paper in the same shade from our local stores.
  • The curtain rod is adjustable and ended up just over 7 feet wide. We wanted the length to be just under the length of the 8-foot table we were using it behind so that no strands would escape and risk being tugged on by people coming up to the dessert table.
  • There are 39 strands total, tied to the curtain rod about 2 inches apart. 26 strands use paper circles and 13 strands use metallic sequins.
  • For each paper circle strand, there are about 20 random circles, spaced 2-3 inches apart. For each metallic sequin strand, there are 28-30 circles, alternating purple and gold, spaced 2 inches apart.
    • If I was very careful about lining up my circle punches, I could get about 11 3″ circles and 14 1.5″ circles out of each 12×12 scrapbook page. I needed about 520 circles total, which would mean about 20 sheets of scrapbook paper. I bought 30 or more to accommodate error and to have extra strands to hang over the dance floor.
    • We needed about 400 sequins. We found packs of 250 at Hobby Lobby, so we needed just one of each color.
  • The overall length of the curtain is only about 5 1/2 feet. Since we were using it behind a table, it didn’t need to be long at all as it didn’t need to reach the floor. From where we hung it, the strands dropped a few inches below/behind the table.

photo 1Supplies:

Scrapbook paper in chosen colors
Fishing line
3” circle punch
1.5” circle punch
1/16″ pinpoint hole punch
Adjustable curtain rod
Tulle (optional)
Posterboard or construction paper
Tape

Instructions:

Punch out circles in varying sizes (3″ and 1.5″ circle punch suggested) from thick paper of varying colors. Punch the edge of each circle with the 1/16″ hole punch.

String the circles in random order along the fishing line, tying a knot through the pinpoint hole of each circle. Space the circles 2-3 inches apart. Continue on the same strand until you have about 6 feet in total (or whatever desired length). Leave an extra 12-18 inches of fishing line on the strand.

With the extra length of fishing line, tie the strand to the curtain rod. (I recommend leaving extra space between the rod and the beginning of the paper dots. It’s easy to roll all the strands up the curtain rod if it’s too long, and the extra length may come in handy depending on where/how you hang it.)

If you are planning on MOVING the curtain to another location at any point, DO NOT skip this step: Cut 4” or so wide strips of posterboard or construction paper. Tape them in a row to the fishing line, backing the paper dots. This will keep the dots from tangling with each other during transport. (I guarantee that if you don’t do this step and instead try to roll the dots around the curtain rod, it will take you about 40 hours to disentangle them. BTDT.)

Continue tying circles and creating strands until the length of the curtain rod is filled.

Optional: When the curtain is finished, wrap the length of the curtain rod in tulle, tying knots on each end. Roll the curtain rod so that all the strands wrap around the rod for a few inches, using the empty fishing line to secure the tulle more closely to the rod.

 

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Life of the Party from The Grant Life
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
City of Links Party from City of Creative Dreams

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The Budget

30 Jan

And now, finally… a wedding-related post. I said a couple months ago that I was going to share our budget, and then things got busy. You know how they do. But hopefully, this will get me back on the wagon.

First, a few suggestions:

Wedding Budget 101

1) Use Wedding Wire! They have an excellent budget tool that will give you suggestions to get started. More on that here.

2) Track everything! Save your receipts so you can enter when you get home (and in case you need to return something later). Or enter immediately if you’re using their mobile app.

3) Track who paid for what — was that expense on your credit card? Your fiance’s? Your parents’? Wedding Wire allows you to track this too. .

4) Whenever you enter an item that comes in below budget, Wedding Wire will ask you if you’d like to distribute those funds to another category — JUST SAY NO! You will think you’re doing well, all like, hey, my dress was $200 cheaper than I budgeted for, so now I can buy $200 more flowers. Don’t do it. You will have hidden costs, surprises down the road, et cetera, et cetera. If you come in under budget on one category, congratulate yourself, and then stick to your budget on your other categories. You’ll thank yourself later.

So in full transparency, here’s the stats on the budget from our wedding this past September. We aimed to keep it at $10,000. Originally we wanted to go less than that, but when I used Wedding Wire’s budget tool and realized how quickly things add up, I realized there was no way to have a wedding for less than that in our town. So instead of aiming for under budget, we aimed to not go over $10k. Overall I think we did well, coming in at about $11,500. And that includes my engagement ring and both of our wedding bands. Not too bad. We still have some items we plan to re-sell, so hopefully we’ll bring that down even more.

Our Budget

Venue: $3,000

Food: $2,900 (dinner for 100, catering fees, tip)

Alcohol: $550 (Includes alcohol, supplies, and bartender fees)

Cake: $205 (Does not include the rest of the dessert table, which my older sister prepared as her wedding gift.)

Flowers: $400

Décor: $645 (Includes centerpieces, decorations for entrance/ceremony/reception, and purchased linens.)

Table/Chair Rental: $190

Officiant: $55 (We asked a friend to marry us. This cost is for his gift.)

DJ: $65 (We used my iPod for both the ceremony and reception. This cost is a gift for a friend who managed the music plus a few dollars of downloaded music.)

Photographer: $645 (We asked a student from UNC — he was excellent! Includes his fee, 200 digital images, two sets of prints, and a few larger-size prints)

Stationery & Postage: $400 (includes invitations, thank you cards, programs, and postage)

Bridal Apparel: $880 (Includes dress, alterations, post-wedding dry cleaning, undergarments, and shoes. My MOH’s mom made me two hairpieces, and my dad gave me my jewelry as his wedding gift.)

Groom’s Apparel: $170

Rings: $635 (includes both our wedding bands and my engagement ring)

BM Gifts: $78

GM Gifts: $56

Beauty: $425 (hair, makeup, mani/pedis for me and the bridesmaids)

Bridal Lunch: $100

Wedding Day/Night Accommodations: $180

Total: $11,600

* I know this doesn’t add up exactly. I’ve rounded a bit here and there, to spare you weird numbers.

The Stats

We got married in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Between the wealth of the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) and the popularity of UNC weddings among Tar Heel grads, not the cheapest place to get married. Not exactly New York City, but for North Carolina… expensive.

We had just about 100 people attend. I ordered takeout boxes, and we sent everyone home with leftover food and desserts.

We had the venue from 1pm till 11pm.

The Story

First Married Kiss!We did a lot of stuff ourselves. Obviously, no wedding planner. My Chief of Staff Lauren (a.k.a. Maid of Honor) and I arranged all the flowers and created the centerpieces. (My dad helped by spray painting a million things gold.) Lauren also made our bouquets and boutonnieres. My aunt, mom, and older sister created most of the decorations. We ordered one 14″ cake and 4 dozen cupcakes, and my older sister prepared the rest of the dessert bar. We had a friend playing our iPod instead of a band or DJ — for both the ceremony and the reception. A friend of the BF’s dad loaned us a sound system. We ate off eco-friendly paper plates and served ourselves buffet-style so as to not have to pay for the catering staff that would be required if we went with real dishes and silverware. My dad and brothers picked up cases of wine and a keg, set up the bar, and purchased our own wine glasses, which also saved the cost of catering staff. On the day of, an event planner friend managed the wedding and told everyone where to be and when.

On the other hand, there were plenty of things that pushed our costs higher than expected. The venue was much higher than I wanted. They gave us a really small window to prep, have the event, and clean up, so I ended up paying extra to get a couple more hours. The food cost was high — certainly higher than I expected it to be. But after a mix-up about their arrival time, the restaurant ended up sending extra staff to help set up and cater, which was pretty amazing of them.

A lot of our purchases will do double-duty. My brother is getting married in April and will use some of our decorations and extras like the wine glasses. I also plan to sell whatever I can online, from the linens to decor to my dress. I won’t do all that until after their wedding, so maybe I’ll update my final budget then.

Overall, I think we did well. We got everything for under $11,500, including our wedding bands and engagement ring. I don’t think most people’s budgets include ring costs. All that’s left to pay for is our honeymoon, which we’ve delayed due to work obligations. But when it happens, Costa Rica is going to be awesome!

Getting Started on Wedding Planning

14 Nov

When I told you that I got married, I said I’d write a little bit about planning a wedding, some DIY projects, et cetera. I’ve been a little busy posting pumpkin recipes, but I thought it was about time to get into wedding stuff. Maybe it’s Wedding Wednesday. Ha. Anyways, I thought I’d get started with, well, where to get started.

 

The first thing I did was to register with Wedding Wire and create a wedding budget. Well actually, that’s a lie. The first thing I did was buy these purple polka dot paper straws. LOVE them.

Wedding WireA lot of people wonder which wedding website to go with. I highly recommend Wedding Wire. And they’re not even paying me to say this. I thought it was very user-friendly, easy to navigate, and it had everything I needed in one spot. Compared to The Knot, much better. In terms of site design, Wedding Wire is much cleaner and nicer-looking. The Knot is covered in so much random stuff, you can’t figure out where you want to click. WW also offers personal websites, which I set up immediately.

So what was Wedding Wire good for?

Personal website

Ours included some pictures of us, our story, our bios, information about the ceremony and reception, links to our registries, a link to RSVP to the wedding, a form to request music, a place for people to send us ‘guest book’ messages, and a ‘contact us’ form. It was really great to be able to refer people to one place for everything.

We also saved money on invitations by having online RSVPs — we didn’t have to buy RSVP cards or return envelopes or postage for said envelopes. (Along the bottom of the invitation, we added the line, “Please RSVP to http://www.weddingwire.com/…and….” This also solved the problem of giving people access to the registry without being tacky and writing it on the invitation.

Bonus: There are a million design template to choose from, including the one we used, a Vera Wang design.

Our wedding website

Homepage of our wedding website

Budget

One of the most important tools is budgeting! I tracked everything because I wanted to make sure we stayed within a reasonable budget. The categories are helpful to get you to think about what’s important to you and what you’re willing to spend. Then as you’re planning, enter in your purchases. It will even let you say who paid for it, so if your parents are helping you out, you can indicate if they paid that bill or if you did. Excellent for tracking. Anything I bought online went automatically in, and any receipt from a store went into my wallet to be entered later.

Checklist

The checklist tool kept me all together. It came automatically filled in with tasks to do, arranged by month. So I had a great sense of when I needed to get my dress by, when I needed to send invitations, and all that. The checklist also allows you to personalize it by deleting or adding anything. You can also assign tasks to other people — super helpful if you’re having an argument with your fiance about who was supposed to call his mother to talk about the rehearsal dinner. (And for the record, he was.)

The checklist is also handy in that it increases motivation. If you miss a deadline, a little orange exclamation point will appear next to that task so that you know it is VERY IMPORTANT. When I logged on one day 2 months before my wedding and saw 27 exclamations, I knew it was time to step it up a notch. Which I did the next day, after I spent that day totally losing it.

My November Checklist

My checklist always has overdue tasks. Le sigh.

RSVPs

I highly recommend online RSVPs, but even if you do paper RSVPs, WW will keep them all organized for you. I uploaded our guest list from an Excel with the click of a button, and then everyone was stored with their addresses. I was able to say who was coming to which event. The ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner are already listed, but you can add anything — for example, bridal shower, bachelorette party, or engagement party. I ignored the ‘ceremony’ option, but I definitely used the rehearsal option and the rehearsal dinner. It was very simple to make sure everyone had been invited, to track RSVPs, and to get a final headcount for the caterers.

Other Things

Presumably Wedding Wire does many other things as well; I just didn’t really use any other functions. These were the most practical and helpful. There are areas of the site that allow you to interact with other users, read and write reviews of vendors, and more. They also have a mobile app for on-the-go planning. If I didn’t have such a crappy phone, that might have been useful. It seemed cool.

Alrighty, next time: more on budgeting. For any weirdos out there interested in personal information like how much money I spent on my wedding, you won’t want to miss it.

 

An Engagement in Floyd, Virginia

17 Oct

It’s been a while since I posted (newsflash, right?), but this time I actually have a good reason — I got married! What?! Crazy, huh? Yep. I kinda stopped working so much on the blog since I planned a wedding in 6 months. It was a pretty quick turnaround time, especially considering we were both working full-time. But from here on out, it’s official… I will now call him my BF. What? What’s that you say? That’s what I’ve always been calling him? Well, yes. But it no longer stands for “Boyfriend.” Now it stands for my “Boo Forever.” FOREVER.

Sooo… I have a backlog of posts from the past few months. I have some food pics to share with you, of course. And I’d also like to start posting about travel, crafts/DIYing, and (drumroll, please)… wedding, of course! In addition to random stuff I think up, I’m going to start back at the beginning and share my tips, tricks, and DIY instructions for various elements of planning a wedding. But I’m not promising anything because especially when it comes to blogs, I seem to have trouble keeping promises. Besides, I’ve made enough of a big promise in my life lately.

So I propose I start at the beginning with the proposal. (See what I did there?) Back in March, we had a certificate to stay at the Hotel Floyd that was going to expire soon, so we took a couple days off work and headed out for a road trip to Floyd, Virginia.

The Legend of the Fairy Stone: Many hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, fairies were dancing around a spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away. He brought news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.On our way up north, we stopped at Fairy Stone State Park for an afternoon hike, so named for these weird stones they have there that form in the shape of crosses. They have some legend about fairies crying or something, but mostly it was just a beautiful place to hike that we’d never been to before.

I pretty much knew something was up, and I had decided to get the BF a gift — a pair of hiking boots. When we arrived and get ready for our hike, I pulled them out of the trunk and jokingly asked him, “Will you do me the honor of wearing these boots?” He asked me if I had really just proposed to him with a boot, and I was like, “No no no, I was joking. Joke.” And I started to turn away and he said, “Well, do you want yours?” I was all confused thinking he was going to hand me my hiking boots, when he reached into his bag, got down on one knee right there, and proposed! It was silly and sweet and perfect. The perfect balance for us of romance and humor, planned spontaneity. He gave me my ring, we laced up our respective boots, and we hiked around a park we pretty much had to ourselves. 

The LakeThe park was really beautiful, even for the gray-brown bleh that is March. There isn’t a big mountain anywhere or anything like that, but there is a lake. We hiked around for a while, explored the lake, and then found a nice bench to read on. A lovely day.

We headed on to Floyd, eager for a shower and dinner. Floyd is an amazing little mountain country town. They have about one city block containing a couple restaurants, a book store, a general store, and a hotel. They are well-known for their music, particularly Floyd Fest, which brings thousands to town every summer. Their 2012 line-up included Alison Krauss, Punch Brothers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Brandi Carlisle, and dozens of other awesome artists. And even outside of this awesome annual weekend, Floyd hosts a small outdoor music concert every Friday night — just head downtown and follow the music, you’ll find it.

We had dinner at Oddfellas Cantina, a downtown restaurant that serves “conscious comfort food with an Appalachian Latino twist.” It was delicious. And after a day of travel and hiking, we headed back to the Hotel Floyd to hit the hay in the Bell Gallery Suite. Very roomy, very comfy.

Scenic Overlook

The next morning we stopped at the local bookstore/coffee shop before heading out to the Chateau Morrisette Winery. We had a delicious and fancy lunch (I had champagne!) in their restaurant and then headed next door for a tour and tasting. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, it was a beautiful drive and just as beautiful relaxing on the grounds after the tour. We even brought home a couple bottles of wine.

On the drive home, we spotted this guy…

Floyd Dragon

We headed back to enjoy a quiet weekend at home. All vacations should end with two more days off at home. That’s the best way to do it.

Engaged! I look hella chill. This must have been AFTER the wine tour.