Stream On

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about our wedding, and I promised here to share details on the DIY projects that made the day happen.  So, in order to not break promises, today I thought I’d spill the beans on the  big focal point of our reception – the streamer backdrop.

I was actually inspired to do this pretty late in the game, with only a few months left ’til the wedding.  But, this project seemed so simple and inexpensive that I simply couldn’t resist.  First, I’ve got to share my inspiration.

Rachel’s (of Heart of Light) inspirational backdrop. Click on the photo to be taken to the blog article at 100 Layer Cake featuring her amazing instructions.

How beautiful is that?!  When I stumbled upon this photo, I was smitten and knew such a simple decoration would fit right in with our backyard reception, while adding some drama.  Rachel created this backdrop herself and provided very helpful instructions.  Please visit the  source article to view those instructions.

Rachel also directs folks to Oh Happy Day, where she learned to make fringey streamers.  This tutorial was also so helpful.  I also found that I LOVED this blog and fell in love with a number of additional articles featured there.  I highly recommend stopping by.

So, with both tutorials at my fingertips, I got to work.  I purchased my crepe paper from crepepaperstore.com per Rachel’s suggestion.  The online store had great prices.  My husband (or fiance at the time) was tasked with buying wooden dowels from the hardware store. We bought four, 5′ dowels for a total of twenty feet of backdrop.  I also bought silver foil curtains from Amazon (it was the same price on Amazon as at Oriental Trading where Rachel made the purchase, but I got free shipping on Amazon).  And I already had hot glue gun supplies.

After my supplies were gathered, I arranged my crepe paper and prepped all of my streamers.  Then I arranged them by color to make it easier for me to see which colors I wanted to use while I was applying them to the dowels.

My crepe paper ready for dowel attachment.

My crepe paper ready for dowel attachment.

I filled one dowel at a time.  I completed the first dowel at my home, attached the foil curtain to the back, wrapped it in a sheet and transported it to my sister’s house (the reception site) – all per Rachel’s instructions.  When I got to my sister’s, and we unrolled the streamers, we found that the foil backdrop had gotten extremely tangled and it took us quite a while to sort everything out.  I was so concerned because everything felt so delicate and I still had three more dowels to complete.  Then, my sister had a bright idea – why don’t I put everything together at her house.  Then we wouldn’t have to worry about transporting anything.  My sister – so smart!!

I spent the next couple of weekends at her house building the backdrop.  I think my favorite part about this project was getting the extra time with my four-year old nephew and ring bearer, Ricky.  He was very interested in what I was doing.  He was caught up in the excitement of the big event taking place at his house.  He assured me that he was going to have a wedding of his own and he was also rather interested in getting one of the streamer dowels installed in his bedroom.  But, of all of our conversations, I think my favorite went something like this:

Ricky: Auntie, you’re getting married.
Me: Yes, I know.  Are you excited for the wedding?
Ricky: Yes. And I’m going to look handsome and you’re going to be beautiful… Mommy said so.

I think my heart about burst out of my chest at that.

But, back to the streamer project.  We finished everything on time.  When deciding where to hang the dowels we discovered that the foil curtain continued to get tangled up whenever the slightest breeze blew, so I decided not to add anymore of it to the remaining three dowels.  My brother-in-law and his dad hung up the streamers the morning of the wedding and it was and is the hit of the party.

This backdrop helped create some of my favorite photos caught by our photographer.  It served as the backdrop for toasts and the dance floor and over all was the least expensive way to add drama, style, to our wedding celebration.

My favorite photo captured by our photographer.  My husband and I dancing up a storm with the streamer backdrop catching a breeze behind us.

My favorite photo captured by our photographer. My husband and I dancing up a storm with the streamer backdrop catching a breeze behind us.

My beautiful sisters, and matrons of honor, making a toast in front of the streamer project

My beautiful sisters, and matrons of honor, making a toast in front of the streamer project.

What do you think?  Do you have any similar backdrops that you’ve created for parties or weddings?

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A Homemade Valentine

Okay, I know this one is a bit late.  But, I didn’t want to post what I was working on until after I gave the gifts I created to their recipients.

Each year, I create little Valentine packages for our local nieces and nephews.  I will usually go to Target and pick-up a plastic bucket from the dollar aisle, add candy to it, et voila a completed valentine for the kiddos.  This year, the only thing I bought from Target was the candy.  I was determined to make my own receptacles for the goodies.

At home, I gathered my supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Colored paper (two shades of red, and a mint green for contrast)
  • Letter stickers
  • Tape
  • Brown lunch bags (of which I have hundreds left over from the wedding)
  • Cellophane bags (also wedding leftovers)

Then, I set to work.  I cut out multiple hearts in various sizes.  I would need enough for five bags (four for the nieces and nephews and one for my folks).

I arranged some hearts on a bag until I found the design I liked.  Then I taped them down.  I added letter stickers for the name of the recipient.  On a couple of the bags (for the older kids) I added a scrapbook sticker with a special quote.

An example of my first treat bag for our niece, Mary.

An example of my first treat bag for our niece, Mary.

Each of the bags only took about five – ten minutes and were rather fun to create.  When they were done, I lined them up and started to divide the candy.  Some of the candy – like Jelly Beans and M&M’s – didn’t come in individual packaging.  So, those went into a cellophane bag.  I ended up adding some other colorful candy to the bag as shown below.

Valentine shades look sweet altogether.

Valentine shades look sweet altogether.

I tied off each bag with a silver tie and added it to the brown bag.  The whole project could not have taken me more than an hour and as I said before was a lot of fun to work on.

Here are some shots of the final products.

Something special for Mary and Jacob.

Something special for Mary and Jacob.

Presents for my other Valentines, nephews Ryan, Ricky, and my folks.

Presents for my other Valentines, nephews Ryan, Ricky, and my folks.

So, what do you think?  Did you make any homemade Valentines?  What did you do?

A Quick Update

Last month I had an extra day off of work and decided to use it to get some things done around the house.  I’m pretty sure I was a domestic goddess.  In the midst of my cleaning, cooking, and laundry, I took notice of a bookshelf in our living room that just kept bothering me.  It simply looked a mess.  But, I wasn’t sure what I could do with it.  Books were neatly arranged on it, but every time my eye wandered over to it, everything just felt amiss.

I wish I had a “before” picture to show you.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t caught on to the need to take such photos.  So, I’ll just have to ask you to trust me on this one.  Anyway, while I was cleaning, I found myself standing in front of the bookshelf and wondering what to do.  And then it hit me.  I had already pinned some inspiration a while back.

I’ve actually got a pinterest board dedicated to my obsession for books – but that’s a post for a whole other day.

So, with my inspiration photo in mind, I got to work. I removed all the books from the shelf and grouped them by color.  I started with basic color groups like black, blue, green, red, yellow, white, etc.  I pretty much started with primary colors.

After I had these main groups organized, I pulled out sub-groups if any emerged.  For instance, in the yellow group, I felt like there were enough beiges and golds that were quite different from the yellow.  So, those colors got their own group.

Finally, I re-shelved the books, according to color, starting with the darkest colors on the bottom and worked my way up to the top.  What I have now, is a bookshelf organized by color but much more pleasing to view.  (This would be a really great moment for a “from this to this” photo.  Argh!)  Check it out:

The completed bookshelf.  Much more pleasing to the eye.

The completed bookshelf. Much more pleasing to the eye.

A close-up of the shelf.  Now, I'm looking for a great piece of art, dominated by light colors to hang on the wall just above it.

A close-up of the shelf. Now, I’m looking for a great piece of art, dominated by light colors to hang on the wall just above it.

I think one of my favorite things about this is that during college I used to work at a bookstore.  On more that one occasion, a customer would come into the store and become infuriated with the staff when we couldn’t help them find a book based on its color. The conversation would go something like this:

Customer: “I’m looking for a book.”
Me: “Great!  What’s it called?”
Customer: “I don’t know, but it has a blue cover.”
Me: “Uh.  Okay.  Who is the author.”
Customer: “I don’t know, but it has a blue cover.”
Me: “Uh. Er. Um. Do you know what it’s about?”
Customer: “A girl. It has a blue cover.  Don’t you know the book?”
Me: “We don’t organize the books by color.”
Customer: “Is there a manager?”

If only that customer could see me now!

What do you think?  Any quick updates or quick fIxes you’ve made lately?

Music Friday: Heartthrob

Currently spinning

This week, I’ve had Tegan and Sara’s latest album, “Heartthrob” spinning out of control in my car, making my commute to and from work absolute heaven.  I’ve been a fan of these gals for some time (I’ve seen them live three times – yep, I might be bragging), but their latest contribution just might be my favorite.  Which, is saying something.

I was first turned on to the sisters when I purchased a soundtrack (I went through a huge soundtrack phase many years ago) and this song was featured:

A good friend of mine (shout out to Sandi) was already a big Tegan and Sara fan and proceeded to conduct my education.  I’ve got so many favorites and perhaps I’ll have to devote a Music Friday to sharing a top ten list (as impossible a task as that seems).

Today, though, I want to spend more time on Heartthrob.  It seems rare these days that I get a new CD where there isn’t at least one song I feel like skipping.  But, every song on this album is amazing.  The lyrics (which the girls have always been rather adept at writing) are so powerful.  A couple of the “break-up” tracks, like “How Come  You Don’t Want Me,” and “Now I’m All Messed Up” are heartbreakingly awesome.  They’re songs you can really sink your teeth into.

Though it’s difficult for me to pick a favorite, “Drove Me Wild” continues to drive me wild (Ha ha – cheesy, I know).  But seriously, this song has been sticking with me.  Check out this video of the girls talking about the song (they actually did one of these for each of the tracks on the album), then go here to stream the entire track:

Any other Tegan and Sara fans out there?  What are your favorite songs?

Help Those Kids!

Two gifts I would love to have – to be able to write music and jokes.  New Zealand’s Flight of the Conchords have got both of those, in spades.  These guys crack me up and I desperately miss their HBO show.  Last year, the pair produced a charity song for  Red Nose Day featuring a gaggle of New Zealand’s biggest stars.

There are many things I love about this song.  For instance, it’s hilarious and catchy and the money raised supports charity.  However, I think my favorite thing about it is that the guys incorporated children’s ideas in the song.  I love how innocently creative these kids are and maybe I’m naive, but I feel like there’s a bit of earnestness amidst the fun FOTC had in making the song.

Check out the video below and then visit iTunes to purchase the song and support Cure Kids.