Archive for May, 2010

In this post, I mentioned a few other decorative tidbits that I didn’t have photos of at the time. For those who were curious, here’s the little umbrella I bought:

I picture this in a few wedding photos, and then as a prop at our faux photo booth. And here are the little buckets we bought, perfectly sized to hold plastic forks, spoons and knives:

We thought we might also use one to hold the markers at the photo booth. These two decorative elements together might give you the impression we’re going for a beach theme, but if you look at all the decor as a whole, it’s really not. I’d say it’s a colorful backyard party theme. Or something.

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Here’s a little peak at some of the decorations we’ll have at the wedding. First, we took scrap fabric we had from our Unity Quilt donations, plus some of the fabric and embroidery floss I always have laying around, and made candy favors. We used the nostalgic candy we purchased awhile go. I love that we found another way to use the quilt fabric we received.

We made just about 60 – one for each person. I’ll put these in a basket that I usually store some of my craft supplies in. The cost for this project was zero except for the candy.

My stepmom suggested paper lanterns in the garage (where the food will be) or around the yard, but it sounded like just another thing to spend money on, so I told her probably not. But then I was walking through Walgreens and saw this pack of six self-lit colorful paper lanterns for $10. I decided for ten bucks, these would add a fun touch of color to the yard.

Aren’t they cute? And so easy!

I’ll also be making tissue paper poms, likely similar to these. These will be hung in the garage with a few strands of white christmas lights, just to class it up a bit. Keeping with the colorful theme, I bought this pack of multicolored tissue paper. I want my poms to be colorful damn it! Cost of tissue paper: $7.00.

I stole a few sheets of tissue paper to use in gift bags, but I admit, I stole the ugly colors: black, brown, gold and silver. I used these colorful bags though, so it’s ok. The bags are part of my ever-growing gift bag collection, the attached cards are from my ever-growing collection of clearance blank notecards, and the gifts are for a few people who are doing special favors for us. I can’t show you what they are yet, but we spent $41 on gifts.

We also made cootie catchers! I love these. I bought colorful paper (of course), used MS Publisher to design them (let me know if you’re interested in the template!), printed, cut, folded and ta da! Cootie catchers! Paper cost $4. I’ll share a little more about the process and what they say in a later post.

Aside from these decorations, we’re also making table decorations using thrift stores vases, bulk candy gumballs, and Whirly Pops. And I’m going to assemble a few paper pinwheels to use as props in our “photo booth” (have I mentioned that yet?) and our wedding photos. I won’t be making those until just before the wedding though, so no photos. I also forgot to take pictures of the orange bamboo umbrella I bought as a photo prop ($2.49), and the little buckets we bought in orange, green, yellow and purple to hold cutlery at the buffet table ($3.98 for 4). I’ll work on that. Plus we have the piñata and the homemade food labels. I think that’s it.

Total on decorations we spent $133.11 of the $150 we budgeted. I love all the fun stuff we’re doing for such a reasonable cost!

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A couple weeks ago, we got a few of my family members together to prep my dad’s yard for the wedding. I, unfortunately, couldn’t help much because of some issues I’m having with my knees and ankles. But I was on baby duty while my sister, who actually enjoys yard work, played in the dirt. While my nephew was napping, I also worked on some of the decorations for the wedding (cootie catchers and candy favors).

But I have to say a HUGE thank you to my dad, my stepmom Des, my sister Andrea, and Mike for all the hard work they did on the yard. It looks beautiful, and it’s such a lovely place to get married!

Thanks guys!

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The Unity Quilt is taking me a little longer than I had planned. I made the fabric contritubution deadline March 15 so I’d have plenty of time to put the quilt together and be done by mid-May. I wanted to have the last month before the wedding to focus on details, so I wanted the quilt done.

Oops. Didn’t happen.

I finally got all the squares together a week and a half ago, and on Saturday, I laid the whole thing out and sewed the front together. Mike and I also picked out some fabric for the back this weekend. Man was that a process. I didn’t really have a vision of what I wanted, but nothing I was seeing seemed right. Finally, after 20 minutes of circling the store, we decided to choose something based on the name of the fabric, and Mike found one called “Candy Carnival” which seemed appropriate since one of our unofficial themes for the wedding is candy. But damn it, there wasn’t enough left on the bolt! By then I was pissy and so over it, so we just picked something that seemed good enough. I hope it ends up looking ok.

Still not going to show you the quilt, but here’s a sneak peek at the pile of quilt squares:

Because we’re moving, we just took apart the table that my sewing machine usually sits on to make room for boxes, so I may not be able to sew the back on until we’ve made the move. Hopefully I get it done before the wedding!

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The Bachelor Party

First, my apologies for my serious lack of posting. I wish I had an excuse involving a plane crash on a deserted island (apparently people like those), but I’m afraid I can only blame it on personal business, exhaustion, and writer’s block.

That said, my bachelor party was Saturday. I don’t have a lot of experience with bachelor parties. I went to one bachelor party in college, and none since. So I didn’t have a lot of expectations or intentions with regards to mine. In fact, until my friend Joe offered to throw one, I hadn’t even really thought about whether I would have one or not. I had thought maybe I’d like to hang out with the guys and play poker, but I had way too little energy to go about planning it. I just didn’t have it in me. But Joe came to my rescue. In corresponding with Joe for planning, I came to some realizations.

First, I am not a tradition-bound guy. I didn’t really discover this until a co-worker found out I was having a bachelor party.

She: “You’re having a bachelor party?!?”
Me: “Yeah…”
She: “With strippers?!?”
Me: “No…why?”

Apparently guys often have strippers at their bachelor parties. I knew this, but never made the connection to me until confronted about it.

Second, I don’t have many friends. I emailed Joe a list of invitees, and among them were 2 former college friends, my Dad and brother, my future brothers-in-law, my future father-in-law and step-father-in-law, and my boss. I don’t know quite how, but I lost contact with most of my college friends. And the ones I still talk to live between 2 and 32 hours away. So, small crowd.

All in all, it was a good time though. Shannon’s Dad graciously sent Oberon (with matching baseball cap) and Molson, although he couldn’t be there. Several guests generously provided food.

We grilled burgers,

played poker, ate ourselves stupid, and then, in a late-night fit of foolishly misplaced energy,

played Nintendo Wii Fit for about 2 hours.

I woke up the next morning with stiff muscles instead of a hangover.

I feel satisfied with my bachelor party experience.

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My bachelorette party was on Saturday. I got ready for the night with my sisters.

Then we met everyone at the restaurant. Including me, we were a table of 20! I was so thrilled to have so many awesome people there, people from the many different walks of my life – high school friends, past and present work friends, mom and sisters – it was perfect. And they very generously spoiled me with gifts. Because I didn’t want the usual bachelorette party, I got everything from massage oils, spa gift certificates and lingerie…

… to popcorn makers, towels and a power drill.

It was absolutely the perfect combination for me, and oh how I felt loved. After dinner several people broke off to head home or to other plans, and a group of 9 of us went to the bar to drink…

… and dance.

There were several other bachelorette parties in the house, all much more recognizable than mine. My sister stole that pink bow from a gift to tie around my neck, and that was about the extent of it, thank god. After the bar, my sisters and I headed to a local dive for some hotdogs.

And by then, my feet and ankles were so swollen, we went home. It’s a long story, but I’ve been having issues with my knees, ankles and feet lately, so my rockin’ bachelorette party didn’t help. They were so ugly, I just have to show you.

And sadly, I don’t even think this photo fully does them justice. But look at that left foot. Damn!

Everyone kept asking me if I was having a good time, and truly, I was. I didn’t drink a whole lot (much to a few peoples’ dismay), and I wasn’t in a hideous 80s wedding dress like one bride-to-be we saw, but it was exactly what I wanted. A good time with some of my favorite people. Thanks everyone!

(I didn’t feel comfortable posting several peoples’ faces on here, so I was limited in photo selection. Sorry it’s so me-centric!)

(Hopefully Mike eventually gets around to telling you about his bachelor party. Don’t worry, it was even tamer than mine!)

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First you design them. I used MS Publisher, but those who are more savvy will surely prefer something more sophisticated.

Then you print them. I used black ink on red, orange, pink, green and blue cardstock. I worried the cardstock would be too thick, but it worked fine.

Then you cut them into squares. I used a fancy paper cutter, but a steady hand could get away with scissors or an Exacto knife with a straight edge.

Once you have them all in squares…

… gather a few helpers to fold them. This got a little chaotic because, as 5 to 9 year olds, their skills and knack for precision weren’t exactly fine-tuned. I thought about insisting on folding them all myself so they’d be PERFECT!, but then decided the experience of letting them have a part in the wedding decorations, even if it meant some janky cootie catchers, was more important.

If you don’t look too closely, they’re pretty darn good! And quite fun, don’t you think?

Here’s what I decided to write on them:

Z(my last name)
M(his last name)

Inner flaps:
(12/11/2008 is the date of the first time we met… our first date)
(6/12/2010 is the date of our wedding)

Very inside flaps:
Take your picture at the photo booth!
Hit the buffet line again!
Talk to someone you don’t know.
Check out the Unity Quilt.
Have another cupcake!
Make yourself a sundae!
Hug the bride and groom!
Write some advice for the couple.

I only made about 30 of these – since they’re all the same, I didn’t think we needed one for each guest. We’ll just scatter these around and people can play with them as the mood strikes.

When I was making these with the kids, I also helped them make their own with their own creative prompts. They had a blast running around to the adults and each other, getting everyone to “play” their cootie catcher. I hope the adults have as much fun!

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When we were first engaged, my friend Robin (of Plume Creations) told me she’d design our invitations for us. I then conveyed a vision to her, and even though it was not like any invitation she had created before, she managed to bring my vision to life.

Sorry for the ugly black blocks – protecting private information. Anyway, it’s an 11×17  poster! Which of course we framed.

She took a photo from our “faux engagement” with my friend Erica of Photography by Arika Reed, and made it into a silhouette. Mike and I picked this photo because we love how it’s so obviously us.

I wrote the words and they read:

Shannon & Mike
met on Match
in November 2008.
Shannon contacted Mike
(S: I like to laugh)
and he quickly replied
(M: so do I).

Shannon & Mike
met in real life
on December 11.
Their first date involved
food, sangria, spilled water,
a long drive, a long night,
and a first kiss.

Shannon & Mike
matched well.

Five months later,
they became roommates.
Happily they shared an apartment, a cat,
laughter and I love yous.

Shannon & Mike
decided they wanted to be
together forever in July 2009.
They bought rings and called
each other fiancé.

Shannon & Mike had
met their match.

Now exactly
one year, six months and one day
after they first laid eyes on each other

Shannon & Mike
are making this happy match
an even happier matrimony.

Please join us on Saturday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m. in the backyard of [address]. RSVP by June 1 to [email]. Don’t miss the casual celebration immediately following.

Most of the invitations we were able to hand deliver to friends and family. We rolled them up with the maps we created, and tied them with colorful embroidery floss.

The rest we had to mail using mailing tubes from Staples.

We had budgeted $75 for invitation costs, and we came in at $56.30. Robin generously printed the posters for free, the mailing tubes were $21 (we had to buy 24 of them even though we didn’t use them all), and the rest was spent on postage. Fifty six dollars to mail our invitations seems a little ridiculous, but when you consider that some people spend hundreds of dollars on their invitations, I think it’s pretty good.

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One thing that Mike and I decided to do as we prepare to get married is write “love letters” to each other. The love letters can be anything really, but primarily they’re supposed to express why we love and chose to marry each other. The idea is that we won’t read the letters right away. We’ll put them in a box, the Love Letter Box, and on our anniversary we’ll read them. It’s supposed to serve as a reminder of how happy and in love we were at the time of our wedding. Times will be tough, that’s inevitable. Not always, but sometimes. And I think these letters will help us remember where we started and why we’re together even when things are hard.

Each year we’ll read the letters and each add a new one, and the next year we’ll do the same thing, and so on. In each letter we can reflect on the past, write hopes for the future, offer thoughts on the present. Whatever. So they’ll also serve as a timeline of our relationship.

I think it’ll be a great tradition for me and Mike, and it might also be something really cool for our future children and/or grandchildren.

The other cool part is that I asked my dad to find us a box. He has access to a variety of boxes, like wooden wine boxes, etc. We didn’t want to buy anything, and we thought it would be more special coming from a family member anyway. But he took it one step further. He told me the other day that he’s working on making some kind of box for us!

Maybe someday our grandkids will discover in an attic an old box made by their great grandpa, filled with love letters written by their grandparents…

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Before I show off our awesome wedding invitations, let me show off the bachelorette party (sort of) invitations that Robin of Plume Creations made (same designer (and friend) that did the wedding invitations).

Aren’t they so cute? These were printed and pasted on nice black cardstock, and of course didn’t have giant ugly black blocks on them.

I can’t wait to get a good mix of my friends and family together next week to have fun!

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