Photo Friday + Freebie

Tim and I are lake-side in Massachusetts visiting family and the water was just begging to be a subject of Photo Friday. Once I had the photo on my computer screen I thought it looked a lot like the glitter and shine I associate with January and the New Year. So... I made a little calendar out of it.

Not too shabby for my first desktop calendar and you can have one too! Download your own via flickr here.

Happy New Year!


I Have Bedroom Eyes

Dear Mr. Sandman, I'm pretty sure you were involved in the making of this amazingly comfortable new bed Tim and I got each other for Christmas. Thank you for all of your hard work. xox Jen

Tim and I have been itching for a new bed for a looong time now. As you can see, we decided to pull the trigger. All it took was a serious decorating itch that started when I bought this great vintage wool blanket and parking in front of a Sleep Train when the lot near the Jamba Juice was full. Go figure.

Aww yeah. Combined with our curb-find dresser and deer art, I feel like the room is starting to get a "look" and I like it very much.

Anyway back to the bed.

A mix of southwest, vintage floral, and brass, we're right on track with the inspiration post I shared a few weeks ago.

So here's a breakdown of the current setup:
CA King Brass Bed - craigslist for $125 (she's from the 70's and shows her age beautifully)
Floral Sheets - Anna's Linens for $30
Wool Blanket - Thrifting in Montana for $25

We're still looking for the perfect duvet cover, but motivation is high and post-Christmas sales are a-coming (right?). So, whatchu think? Anyone down for a sleepover?


Photo Friday

Yesterday Tim and I headed off to Florida to visit family for the holidays. First day here... it was craft time!! We have a tradition (two years makes a tradition right?) of making our own Christmas ornaments. We're up to four, so I'm sure we'll be able to fill a tree eventually ;)

Here are last year's ornaments >> riiiight here

Enjoy your holiday!!

Easy and Affordable DIY Wedding Seating Chart

Because I've been sitting here for 30min trying to find a way to start this post, let's pretend for a moment someone just asked me, "Jen, how in the world would you go about seating 60 people at different tables for a party?!?" Well imaginary internet person, I am so glad you asked! It just so happens I got married a little while back and had to deal with this very question.

So this is what I made (yes, we're going to use the word "made" very loosely): a cute little stack of index cards to nostalgically direct my loved ones to their seats. They went on the table pictured below with our cake (and topper) and family photos.

(Photo above and below by Kaitlin Jane Photography)

But, why little bitty index cards? Well, while I love all of those gorgeous pinterest seating charts made with old windows, chalkboards, botanicals, or vintage keys, at the point I was making our seating chart (coughtwodaysbeforetheweddingcough) I needed something cute and simple.

So I looked at all of the finished elements of our wedding for inspiration. What do we have that I could write names on and display in some interesting but functional way...? Index cards! I'd already used them for our wedding invitations, our wedding website, and they would be making an appearance for our guest book. Done.

Bonus - We already had most of the necessary supplies and everything else was was available at Staples:
Markers (we used black and red Sharpies)
Sticky Tabs
Index Cards
A Business Card Holder

For the "doing" of this DIY, I made three types of cards:
A "Find Your Seat" card - to sit in front and tell people what this thing is
Letter Cards - for organizing the seating chart alphabetically
Name Cards - just a name and table number... done!

Double Bonus - it worked! Everyone found their seat and we had a lovely dinner. Yay for working, being cute, fitting in with other design elements, costing less than $10, and taking less than an hour to finish!


Photo Friday

Because it's early, I feel like musing... how in the world does a plant that's meant to frighten off predators end up looking so beautiful? Cactus, you don't scare me.

Also, a few links for your reading pleasure:
Must Do: Cross Stitch a Cane Chair by My Poppet
Must Blog: Password Protect a Blog Page by SillyGrrl
Must Buy: The Fixer's Manifesto by Sugru

Enjoy your weekend!


Handmade Bird Wedding Cake Topper

The Wedding Cake Topper... a strangely fun and high-pressure wedding decoration. I mean, you're kind of putting a version of you on the cake right? It's a weird feeling, but also very cool.

After some day dreaming and shopping around I found the. PERFECT. one - an adorable bird couple. Unfortunately it was way out of my price range. Ain't that always the way?

So, I made my own.

For whatever reason this wedding DIY scared me more than any other wedding projects. And how do I deal with scary things? I avoid them. Lame and true! So I put this project off until I was getting really nervous I wouldn't be able to pull it off in time. What if I started and it was a disaster?? Not only would I have wasted time, but money I didn't have to spend. See? I worked myself up a little ;)

But, as with many scary things in life, it wasn't bad at all. In fact, it only took me two days to finish these suckers. And... it was fun.

Some Make-This-Tips for the curious at heart: I couldn't find ANY bird patterns that matched my vision for this project. If you want to make your own birds, I would start with this pattern by lavender's blue and alter it to fit your wishes. Before I started my actual topper, I made a test bird to figure out the basic shape. It seems like making an extra bird would take forever, but it saved me a lot of time in the end.

Also, making the tail separate from the body gave me a lot of flexibility. For the boy bird I used felted wool that didn't need seams, so the tail is literally glued inside the body (with wire supports on the inside to make it stand up). The girl bird uses the same technique, but the raw seams are hidden by a lace aplique.

The legs are long pieces of floral wire poked through the fabric, deep into the bodies, and secured with a little glue. I spoke with my caterer about the legs before finalizing their design, and she told me that the deeper they could go into the cake the better, so I left the legs extra long!

The most fun part of it all was the details. Using leftover materials from the hairpiece and boutonni√®res I made, I was able to add details that matched our other wedding decorations at no extra cost! The eyes and beaks are made with little bits of leftover felt that I tore apart and rolled into new shapes.

Even though Tim didn't wear one, I just had to give Tim's bird a little felt hat. It didn't even have a top, but no one noticed ;)

So that's it! Facing crafting fears - check. Cake topper ready for crazy-faced Jen during the cake cutting...?

Double check!

(wedding photos by Kaitlin Jane Photography | other photos by insideways)


Photo Friday

I'm setting a few new goals for myself and one of them is to get my camera out more often. As part of that project, I'm starting a little series called Photo Friday where I post a random snapshot of my life. They'll probably all be cat pictures, but I'll try to be creative! :)


Pretty Small Things: a blanket and antlers

Last week I got to spend some serious quality time in Montana with my Diagenesis Duo partner, Heather Barnes, while we performed in The Helena Pierrot Project. Um hello Montana? I'm gonna go thrifting! And that's what we did on our day off :)

Antlers are a great form of animal-based decoration because they're beautifully sculptural and no animals are harmed from using them - they just fall off the deer seasonally. There are tons of deer in Montana, so these were very affordable at $6 each from the local thrift store.

Right now I'm using them as decoration in my bedroom which is (finally!) starting to take shape. As you can see, the antler partners very well with the deer paintings I bought and this dresser I found on the curb in Boston. I'm not 100% sure of the colors I'll use, but that dresser is getting a makeover in the near future...

Also in the bedroom is this great vintage wool blanket I bought for $25. Tim and I are upgrading our bed this January so I'm working out the bedding details. This blanket has definitely helped :)

Maybe something along these lines:
    :: sheets from JC Penny ::
    :: duvet cover from Bodie and Fou ::
    :: blanket (mine) from Montana ::
*also imagine an antique brass headboard (that I already bought from craigslist)

But there's a really big debate about it all...

I think these are birds, but Tim thinks they're rockets? What do you think????


A Family Photo Wedding Diplay

More wedding stuff!!!! I'm sure I'm annoying with wedding DIYs at this point, but this post actually has to do with home decoration too. Promise.

One wedding decoration I really wanted to include was a display our families on their wedding days; a tribute to the families and weddings that made our big day possible! I'd seen a bunch of solutions on Pinterest (of course!) but I wanted to find a way to display the photos that I could re-use after the wedding.

I've always liked photos hung from string, and I thought I could reuse something like that for notes in the future, so you know what? That's what we made. A simple box with string! Sometimes the best solution isn't very complicated...

Tim made the box in about an hour using cheap fence wood ($1.08 for 6 feet!), nails, and some leftover walnut stain. The photos were hung from a mini clothes line made from twine and little eyelet screws twisted into the wood.

Six family photos and paperclips later - DONE.

And now? The little box lives as a shelf in our bathroom :)

I styled it with a few leftover wedding jars (more on that later), cute wedding cards, and the cross stitch QR code I made last March.

I kind of love it and am definitely feeling inspired to paint and decorate the rest of the bathroom!

And the rest of our wedding photo display? You know, the important part? The family photos? They made it into our hall way framed in the super affordable and pretty Ikea RIBBA frames.

I love the vintage film quality of the photos and it feels SO GOOD to have more art on the walls.

When we get around to printing our wedding photos, we'll hang them in similar frames on nearby walls. I'm so excited to have photos of our family around us - why didn't I do this sooner...?

(All wedding photos by Kaitlin Jane Photography | other photos by insideways.com)


Tips For Making Your Wedding Hair Piece

Initially, I hadn't planned on DIYing my wedding hair piece. Mostly because I had no idea what I was doing and I figured it would be pretty easy to find something I liked. Not the case.

So yup, I ended up making my own and it really wasn't very hard!

Here's the hairpiece sans my head for your viewing pleasure.

It looks like one seamless piece, but I actually made the bird cage veil separately (using this GREAT tutorial by The Dapper Bun) so I could take it off later in the night.

Like so...

(Photo by Aleks Messier)

Because everyone has different tastes, I'm not doing to do a full tutorial for how to make this particular hairpiece, but I will give you some tips you can apply to any hairpiece :)

My first step was to explore Michael's and Joann's for supplies I thought were pretty. I landed on ivory beads on gold wire and fake peonies. I was shocked at how real fake flowers look these days! Pro Tip: Make sure you choose whites that match your wedding dress. For example, get ivories if your dress is ivory and bright whites if your dress is white.

For the hair piece's base, I used a plastic comb, BUT metal ones are better and I hear hairstylists like clips best - plastic is what I could find and it ended up working just fine. Note: I have thick curly hair, so I don't usually have a problem with hair clips etc. falling out.

Before I attached anything to the comb, I tried various layouts of my flowers and beads and attempted to hold them to my hair in the bathroom mirror.

Once I was satisfied with my general arrangement, my basic technique was to use thread and hot glue to attach the flowers and beads in any way manageable. Think lots of experimentation and gentle nudging. Really that was it, which is mostly important to know because it's not more complicated or scientific than that. You can get a really great result from not very much effort :)

I do recommend using thread instead of hot glue as much as possible. Hot glue can fall or melt in a hot car, but thread will stay where you tie it.

As a finishing touch I put a piece of ribbon across the comb so glue/thread bits wouldn't get caught in my hair.

If you decide to use fake flowers you will need to remove their green bases so your flowers can attach flush against your comb or clip. Carefully remove the base then run a needle and thread through the resulting hole to hold your flower petals together. You might also need a bead as an anchor in the middle of the flower.

The last tip: If you have a professional stylist do your wedding hair, bring your hairpiece with you to your trial hair appointment  Your stylist can give you feedback or suggest improvements based on their professional experience, allowing you plenty of time to make adjustments.

Though I was hesitant at first, I'm really glad I took this project on and got exactly what I wanted. Now I just need to find another occasion to wear it!

(All wedding photos by Kaitlin Jane Photography unless noted | hairpiece photos by insideways.com)