Saturday, October 30, 2010

DIY Fever - Welcome Bags

Last weekend, Mike and I took on our first DIY project for the wedding.  I am personally obsessed with DIY weddings.  I scour blogs like Project Wedding and Wedding Chicks for DIY ideas and the simple and unique weddings with DIY touches are always my faves.  I consider myself a pretty crafty person, my mom and I used to do DIY projects all the time making wreaths out of paper, making our own cards, we've even made our own jewelry.  I have great ideas all the time.  The only problem is, I have an incredibly short attention span.  I get all hyped up to do a project and then the second it gets irritating or difficult, I get bored and quit.  This is where Mike is a perfect match for me.  The second I get irritated, (or fussy as he calls it), he steps in, solves, the problem, and gets me back on board.  We're a pretty great team.

The project we took on last weekend was making our welcome bags for the wedding.  We're only inviting a small amount of people to the wedding and all of them are having to come from out of town and spend the night, so we thought doing welcome bags that will be waiting in each guest's hotel room would be a nice way to say thank you for making the trip.  I got this idea from a small post in one of my 800 wedding magazines with a welcome bag done by Sara at Woods & Company.  It was a super cute suitcase welcome gift filled with goodies about San Francisco.

I actually e-mailed back and forth with Sarah about having her do mine, but at the end of the day...I'm a cheapskate and wanted at least one DIY project for my wedding so I opted to do it myself.  So sorry guests, you're getting my handiwork, not Sarah's!  I feel a little bad for you...

I decided to do canvas tote bags as the container for our welcome bags so that our guests could use them again as grocery totes, (how very green of me right?!).  I ordered some simple canvas totes from Cheap Totes for only 99 cents each.  Crazy good deal!

Rather than buy already custom totes like a lot of places sell for about 14 bucks a piece, I ordered a design by the woman who did our save the dates at NMI Photo Creations.  She did up a cute design that matches our save the dates and only charged me 10 bucks.  This is a steal because I can use this design for anything forever and trust me, I love this thing, I'm going to be re-using it.  After that, it was just a matter of getting our DIY on.  Here is how we did it:

Print out your pattern onto iron on transfer paper. I couldn't find ANY in my stupid town so my bridesmaid Kristin bought me some out of town.  25 bridesmaid stars for her.

Keep in mind that even where the design isn't, there is going to be a shiny outline from the iron on paper so either cut all the way around your design, (which there was no way in hell I was going to do 19 times), or just cut off any excess you don't want showing.  Mike whipped out his razor blade and a round ruler, (because of course, he had to make sure it was perfect), and cut off rounded edges around each design.

Something Mike quickly realized while cutting the already printed out designs is that you have to be careful with them. Once they're on the iron on paper, it's really easy to screw up the design and scratch off parts of it.  Case in point:

Then lay out a pillow case on the kitchen counter.  Apparently, you need to do this on a hard surface, not on an ironing board.  Iron the pillow case and each bag to make sure they weren't wrinkly. Place the design face down onto the bag and iron it, putting a lot of pressure on the iron.

(Here's a side hint, don't wear a gigantic shirt and/or let your fiancĂ© photograph you from underneath when you know you're going to post pictures on the internet) One thing we came across when ironing is that the instructions say to iron for 3 minutes, but that is not nearly enough time.  We did each bag about 7 minutes.  This is probably because we were ironing onto canvas and not cotton.  Just tug at the corner and see if it is stuck on and if not, keep ironing.  Once you're sure you've ironed long enough, let it sit and cool for a couple of minutes and then, starting with a corner, pull the backing off.

And you're donezo!  Here is the finished product: 

I love them and can't wait for our guests to get them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Engagement Pictures

This post is a late one, but when you come home every night after being verbally harassed at work, typing up a witty blog is not high on your list of priorities.  Drinking wine is.  And whining to your beleaguered fiance.  But today is a better day, so blog I shall!

A few weeks ago we randomly decided to take our engagement photos.  We've been engaged now for like 8 months, (holy shit I had to count that time twice.  Time has FLOWN by!), so we're a little late on the engagement photos bandwagon.  We never intended to take engagement photos because Mike refuses to put an announcement in our local paper, (which I'm okay with because they consistently spell people's names wrong and leave huge gaps in their type...especially in the obits...which I find tacky and obnoxious...go Ridgecrest journalism!), and we weren't planning to send out engagement announcements.  Our fantabulous photographer Ray Hocker, (Sierra Photography Studios check him out!!), offers them free with our wedding package so we figured what the hell.  We had planned to take them months ago, but Mike's father got sick so we kept having to reschedule and never really found a good time.  A couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Ray's wife saying that he could do them that weekend if we were free.  Perfect, let's get these suckers over with!

The day arrived.  Panic ensued.  I had NO plan.  As a hopefully future wedding planner and a bride planning her own wedding, I check wedding blogs and magazines daily.  I have an overload of ideas and images in my head.  There are some adorably cute engagement sessions out there with props and themes galore.  I had nothing.  While planning my wedding beyond an inch of its life, I had let this little detail slip by.  Shit.  Mike and I literally spent that day bickering.  I was pissy, he was pissy, it was not conducive for romantic lovey dovey engagement photos.  Mike also chose this day to decide to veto using our dogs in the photos which was my only prop.  I couldn't get my hair to work, Mike bickered with me about his outfit choice, and I realized as we were about to leave that our outfits completely clashed.  To top it all off, Mike and I both HATE having our pictures taken and neither of us are particularly photogenic...especially me...the queen of blinks and double chins.  It was too late to cancel now, so I chugged a glass of wine and off we went.

So we start taking pictures and I'm not feeling totally comfortable.  I've never been good at standing still and I always feel awkward in poses.  Ray also informed me that I blinked in the first four takes.  It's official, I will never be America's Next Top Model.  After a few shots, Ray let us come around and look at them on his camera.  I was shocked.  Thank God for Ray, his fancy schmancy flash, and lenses.  We looked faboosh.  I was immediately put at ease.  Mike and I just embraced the poses and laughed through the rest of the shoot.  Ray was so complementary and sweet and might I add FAST.  We got through with our shoot in about an hour and less than two weeks later had 83 perfect shots to choose from.  Here are a few of my favs:

Aren't they pretty?!  Everyone loves them and I'm so pleased with how they came out!  Ray rocks.  I do, however, because I am after all ME, have some regrets.  So here is my advice for ladies getting ready to take their engagement photos:

1)  Don't wear something you've never been photographed in before.  I love the dress I wore in this and it's my wedding colors so I thought it'd be perfect.  The top photographed so baggy and for someone like me with big boobs, wearing a baggy top made me look even bigger.  Some of the shots, to me, are unusable because of how the dress made me look.  Case in point:  

Thanks to Ray's photography and Mike's hotness, this would be a totally cute picture.  Except, the bagginess of my top and my bad posture makes me look like I have the saggiest boobs in the world.  Not cute.  Shot from the front, this dress makes me look wide as a house too.  So do some photos in what you want to wear to make sure you look as cute as you feel!!

2)  Have a plan and make sure your photographer knows about it.  I had researched engagement sessions I liked and sent some ideas to Ray's wife months before the impromptu session, but without the ideas fresh in my or Ray's mind, they fell to the wayside.  If I could do it again, I would have printed out examples of pictures and poses I liked so we could recreate them in our own photos.

3)  Bring props!  I wish we had brought at least SOMETHING.  I especially love the photos where the bride and groom to be hold signs or flags that say Thank You on them so you can use them for your after wedding thank you cards.  Just bring something.  Balloons, flowers, dogs, umbrellas, something to change it up.  Even if you don't use the photos later, options are good!

4)  Be more vocal with your photographer.  Ray was great and did exactly what we asked, but I wish I had asked him for more.  I was so flustered from the bad day we had had and from my nerves that I didn't ask for things I wanted.  I will definitely not make this mistake at the wedding!