Wednesday, August 27, 2008

detail post #5: last minute diy projects

Well, now that we've finally wrapped up our never-ending wedding and honeymoon photo extravaganza, I guess it's time to finish up the detail posts as well. This one chronicles the remaining d.i.y. and design projects we finished right before the wedding - sorry if it's kind of a hodge-podge. After this post, I'll cover our flowers and music and then I think we'll actually be done!

(as always, click each image to enlarge)


Although The Martha tried to entice me with her ribbon-bound, hand-sewn, double-stuffed booklets of information, by this stage of wedding planning I had finally learned how to "just say no". We kept them simple. So simple that they really don't need any explanation at all. We had white card stock on hand, so that's what we used. We designed them in Photoshop and printed them out with our own ink-jet printer. One particular note of interest, though - it was *Jesse's* idea to use the polka-dot pattern - I've finally won him over to the polka-dotted dark side...mwah ha ha.

Garland of Ancestor Wedding Photos

(the photos from our parents' weddings)

We wanted to do something to honor our parents' and grandparents' weddings and although I loved the images of other weddings with tables filled with framed photos, I'm kind of obsessed with garlands.

To make these, we scanned in each wedding photo (or a photo of each couple from around the time that got married if they didn't have formal wedding photos taken), cropped them, transformed them all into black and white files, and printed them on glossy photo paper. We then designed the frames in Photoshop and added name plates so that all of our guests would know who they were looking at. We printed the frames on cream card stock and cut out ovals with an exacto knife. We folded the frames in half like a top-folding greeting card and taped the photos to the interior with double-sided tape. We made two loops out of thin rectangles of card stock which we glued to the back of each frame and then threaded pink ribbon through. Since we weren't allowed to nail or tape anything to the walls of our reception site, we tied the ribbon ends to two lamps that were jutting out from the wall above our beverage table. See the finished product here.

Paper Circle Garlands

(part of one finished garland laid out on our kitchen floor)

Finally, I was able to unite two of my favorite things - polka-dots and garlands - together at last! We made several long strings of paper circle garlands to hang from both the ceremony gazebo and above the dance floor at our reception site. I got the idea after seeing this website. Colorful garlands always remind me of vintage circus tents and summertime, which is a definite positive in my book, plus they seemed cheap and easy to make.

To make ours, we bought several meters of thick embroidery string and a couple of large sheets of heavy-weight paper in our wedding colors from the local art supply store. Since they didn't sell paper in every color that we wanted, we also painted a couple of sheets of thick bristol paper on both sides with acrylic paint to finish off our color palette. After the painted sheets dried, we attacked each of our papers with a handy 1 3/8" circle punch until we had piles of colored circles covering our living room floor. Then we glued little rectangular tabs in the same color to the top of each circle and folded each tab in regular increments along the embroidery string. We ended up making four really long garlands and sprinkled some of the extra circles without tabs on side tables at the reception. Making the garlands turned out to be a pretty mind-less task that we worked on while watching movies (1 completed garland = about the running length of 1 movie). The supplies for this project probably cost about $8 total - score!

My Head Band

Up until the week before the wedding, I had no idea how to accessorize my hair. I'd practiced several up-dos and had a general idea of how I would wear my hair for the wedding, but it looked a little plain without any adornment at all. I'd tossed around all of these ideas for months, but none of them looked quite like what I had in mind. The veils got nixed because they seemed like they'd make my dress look over-formal and fussy. I tried a couple of fake flowers but they ended up looking like frilly tumors blooming out of the side of my head. Finally, during my last hair practice, I played with wrapping one of my silver beaded necklaces around my hair and everything clicked. It was the exact look I was going for - a simple little bit of extra shine.

My headband was EXTREMELY easy and cheap to make. I bought some small silver beads and a spool of thin silver elastic at the craft supply store and used a spool of really thin copper wire and two tiny silver brackets that I already owned from past necklace experiments ( those can also be bought at any craft store for a couple of dollars). First, I attached a bracket to the copper wire and strung enough beads on until it was just short of encircling my head. I tied off the other end of the wire with the second bracket and looped a short amount of elastic between the two brackets and then attached a piece of a third bracket at the center of the elastic to cover the its tied-off ends. You could use only elastic and beads, but the copper seemed stronger than the elastic, and I couldn't find elastic thin enough to fit through the bead holes. I think this project took me all of 5 minutes to make and about $5 worth of supplies. Finished product here.

Stuffed Birds

This was another project I completed in the last week leading up to the wedding. It was one of those projects on my list that I saved for the very end because it wouldn't make or break the look of the reception if I ran out of time. It would just be a nice extra touch if it did work out. I'd fallen in love with Ann Wood's ubiquitous birds like so many other brides before me (they were even part of the first gigantic inspiration board that I made ages ago), but we had absolutely no wiggle room in our budget by this point. If we had, I would have just bought several of hers and called it a day. Instead I figured I'd experiment and see if I could make my own on the cheap.

As you can see, mine are a lot more sloppy and no where near as cute as their inspiration, but they also didn't break the bank, so I'll call this project a success. I raided the local thrift shop for clothing and pillow cases in fabrics that complemented our wedding scheme because that ended up being much cheaper than yards of new fabric. I stuffed each bird with the insides of an old pillow and used wire and hot glue that Jesse already owned for their legs. It took one evening of experimenting with different patterns and several failed attempts to come up with the body shape that I had in mind. I completed the cutting, sewing, and stuffing of each bird's body while watching a movie or a couple of tv shows and tackled about one each night. I attached all of their beaks (felt, sewed or glued together), sewn eyes, and wire legs during one more evening of movie watching and added accessories (felt hat, mesh veil) to the bride and groom bird over the coarse of one morning. So I guess it took about a week of sporadic work to make all of the ones shown above + one extra legless bird that I tied to our card cage. All of the supplies (cloth, stuffing, felt) cost between $10 - $15 total, so this was a project cheap on money but not on time.

Since Jesse doesn't like the look of things plopped on top of a wedding cake, we decided to arrange the bride and groom birds beside our cake instead and add the other three to our sweet heart table centerpiece. A lot of the kids at our reception seemed enthralled by the birds, so I'll take that as a thumbs up on this project.

Getaway Vehicle

(documenting the first practice ride)

This wasn't a d.i.y. project at all, but I thought it could use a little bit of an explanation (if you haven't already fallen asleep from the rest of my over-exposition). I'd heard stories and seen photos of a tandem bike that Jesse's family owned, but had never actually seen it in person. Apparently they'd stuffed it in their attic a decade ago never to ride it again. I was determined to make it our getaway vehicle, especially since it was a vintage red Schwinn, even though it took many months of convincing to get Jesse on board. You see, he knows my clumsiness first hand. He was sure that this idea would end up a folly of skinned knees, torn clothing, broken bones or worse. But we took it out for a spin around the block with no major mishaps and I bought a short 2nd dress so that we wouldn't have to worry about my long train getting tangled in the spokes. After some cleaning and a replacing of the breaks he was convinced and the bike was ready to go.

Our ride was one of my favorite parts of the day. After all of the craziness (although fantastic craziness) of that morning and afternoon, it felt like a little bubble of peaceful bliss to escape for a few minutes and pedal down the wooded paths of the community center all by ourselves. I'm also happy to report that we didn't fall once! Now I just have to figure out a way to steal it and bring it back to our tiny apartment in Philadelphia.

Up Next: Flowers

Sunday, August 24, 2008

HONEYMOON! (days 7 & 8)

"This is the end, Beautiful friend"- The Doors

We took a variety of albums along with us on the trip that neither of us listened to all the way through or on a regular basis. (Many thanks to the UPenn library for their extensive collection) So we had a musical reeducation during our long drives. One of the albums being "Doors" by the Doors as mentioned above. Most of the selections were from Rolling Stones top 500 albums list. We listened to a lot of Beatles and Pink Floyd. I recommend Dark Side of the Moon if you ever find yourself driving through dark Redwood forests. Some of our favorites that got played through a few times were:

Devo- Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Pixies- Doolittle (listened to that A LOT)

The Zombies- Odessey & Oracle

The Kinks- We are the Village Green Preservation Society

Anyway, onto the day...
We left our chic little hotel in Big Sur and started back down CA 1. Big Sur was very foggy that morning and we drove through it for 45 minutes or so. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

We stopped off a couple of times to take pictures of the coast bathed in pea soup.

There were also a few places in Big Sur where we could really see the damage from the wildfires. This section shown above was pretty expansive and stretched over a couple of ranges. We piled back in the car and drove out of the fog eventually. The road around this area started to twist and turn a bit more and continued to have great views. We started seeing more sprawling farmland the closer we got to San Simeon. We were expecting to pass by Hurst Castle, which we weren't too interested in, but we were not expecting this...

In the San Simeon State Park area there is a elephant seal refuge. We saw the pull off from pretty far back , and weren't sure what it was. As we got closer I asked Deanna if those were really big shiny rocks or seals. We pulled in and got really close to these giants. They didn't do a whole lot. They were not as active as the seals or sea lions we saw before. They did bellow loudly, though, which was really incredible to hear. It was a very low but loud fog horn sound.
There was also some type of wild squirrel there that was very used to human interaction. They would eat food right out of peoples' hands and even crawl up into their laps. After hanging out there for a little we drove on to San Luis Obispo. Deanna had found this hotel online that caught her interest. Its called the Madonna Inn. It features over 100 rooms, each of which has its own theme. We thought we would stop off there for a quick lunch, and weren't sure what to expect really. We got there and knew right away that this was going to be an experience. It felt like you were entering some sort of theme park.
Pink. Pink everywhere... The lamp posts were pink. The flowers were pink, the buildings were pink. We walked in and poked around a bit. We took a lot of pictures. I could make three posts strictly about this place, we have that much material...
Above is one of their dinning areas. I think this is where the dinner service is. As you can see, no one ever said "I don't know, maybe it's too much?" while decorating the Madonna Inn.
This is Deanna exploring the men's bathroom. Don't worry, no one else was in there, and I was keeping watch at the front door while photographing. Its a little hard to see here, but Deanna is standing at the urinal which is actually a large motion sensor waterfall. Yes, you pee into a waterfall and there is a drain in the floor at your feet. This was one of the two men's bathrooms I explored. The other had a large watermill and trough for the urinal and water pumps for the sink faucets.
This was the women's restroom in the lobby. Deanna was infatuated with this room. The whole time we were there she kept saying everything was INTENSE! The women's bathroom had chandeliers, pink iridescent wallpaper, and lots of deep red vinyl fabric, and lots of light bulbs. I forget if it was this one or the other ladies' room (I didn't venture in those, just saw pictures) that had a large strip of carved wood that said "YOUR BEAUTY IS YOUR SMILE".
We got our lunch in the Copper Cafe which is part of the hotel. This is a panorama of the area we were eating in. We were seated on puffy red leather stools at a counter. It was quite a place.
We split a sandwich and then got a huge banana split dubbed the Madonna's Delight. The service was great and the food was good. I was expecting this place to be a little more seedy or weathered by age, but it's incredibly well kept and clean. We went over to the check-in area to look at postcards. They had postcards of a good majority of the rooms, if not all of them. Seeing all of those made us wish we had scheduled a night there. Check out the hotel and rooms here:
We got back in the car to do another two hours or so drive to Ventura where we were staying for the night. On this stretch we were away from the coast. We were driving through a lot of rolling hills. We saw our first wine vineyards here. I was a little more impressed by those than Deanna. Neither of us are big wine drinkers, but it was a sight to see. We pulled into Ventura and found our hotel which was not too far off the main road. We were pleasantly surprised with a slightly upgraded room, which is always nice.
The hotel was next to the Ventura Marina, so this was the view from our second floor balcony. We relaxed for a few minutes, then changed into bathing suits and drove to the beach that was only about a 3 minute drive from the hotel.
The beach was really pretty and it was late enough (5-6ish maybe) that there weren't too many people around. We had yet to really go into the ocean since the water had been too cold further north. I was able to talk Deanna into coming in with me. So we got to dip into the Pacific which was fun. It was a little chilly, but not bad. We went back to the hotel and freshened up before heading to downtown Ventura for some dinner. We got a slice of pizza on main street and walked around for a bit.

I was pretty happy with this shot of Ventura at dusk

Ventura's City Hall, Father Junipero Serra statue

We tried navigating our way back to the hotel, which took a little guess work. We stopped off at a Circle K (several times on the trip I got to use the "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K" quote from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) and picked up some snacks to take back to the hotel. I ran to the balcony just in time for the tail end of the sunset.
And got one more panorama of the marina at night. We kicked back the rest of the night and watched some cable. Deanna got to indulge in some popcorn and John and Kate Plus Eight in a king sized bed, tough to top. We got up early the next day in hopes of making one more trip to the beach. We went, but it was too cold and not sunny, so there was no more swimming for us. We got some breakfast, then were off to LA. LA......uhhhhh(long sigh, not a good sigh either) This was my grumpy day. I did not enjoy driving this day. We went down the coast through Malibu and all of the coastal beaches you hear about in movies and tv. It was pretty in parts, but cars were beginning to stack up. We eventually got to Santa Monica and did a few circles until we figured out where we were and parked. We walked on the beach for a bit toward the pier. We went through an adult playground area with exercise stations. I tried out an enormous row of metal ring swings and determined I am not destined to be on American Gladiators. Deanna faired much better on the curvy balance beam. We walked around the rides and stopped in an arcade looking for a picture booth. For those of you who don't know, Deanna loves picture booths. They can't be the newer digital ones though, they have to be film process.

We also hit one earlier on the trip in San Francisco. She appears to be clawing my eyes out it both.

This was taken from the pier looking down at the Santa Monica beach. On our way back we saw a lot of Segways for rent. They seemed to be as popular as the bike rentals, and they had kid sized Segways which I hadn't seen before. The rest of the day was planned very vaguely. We knew we wanted to see Sunset Boulevard, and Mulholland Drive. So we drove, and drove and drove. Nothing was within walking distance, and once you got to one destination, the rest of the sites were still very spread out. We drove around LA for 4 hours, stopping shortly for lunch at Arby's. So we covered a lot of ground, but didn't feel like we saw a lot. Beverly Hills had some pretty parts. We drove through studio city by accident which was probably my highlight of the day. We pulled off at a vista view on top of a hill and saw the Hollywood sign. We saw it throughout the day and kinda thought, "well, there it is". So LA was not our favorite place on earth. I think if we had found a couple specific places we wanted to see it would have been better, but we left with the impression that it was just an odd and kind of dirty city. So we looked around for cheap gas (which ranged from $4.50 a gallon to $4.17 a gallon on the same block) and a carwash. We got to the airport and checked in. Our plane ended up being delayed by an hour because we had to de-board and get on a different plane, but aside from that everything went smooth. We both slept for the majority of the overnight trip. We had to run a bit in JFK airport due to our plane delay, but we made it and got back to Philadelphia in one piece. Once back at our apartment we collapsed for a couple of hours. The next couple of days were a little slow paced as well until we got back into the groove of things.

It was a fantastic trip! We both had a lot of fun, and gained a ton of new experiences. I liked the north much more than the south, but we really enjoyed Ventura and the Madonna Inn, too, so I wouldn't change a thing.(except maybe skipping LA) I hope we get a chance to travel a lot more in our future since Deanna makes a very good travel partner and navigator. Thanks for reading about our journey!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Professional Photos (Reception)

Finally, our professional reception photos. It was really hard just picking a few to post here, so check out the rest of the flickr collection if you want to see more. I might add one or two stragglers to that site sometime during the week, but otherwise I'm through uploading wedding photos.

I know I'm posting a lot of detail shots of flowers and craft projects, but being around all of our friends and family was really what made the day so special for us.

Like always, click each photo to enlarge and all should be credited to the amazing Mariano Delgado (although we added our own photoshop flourishes to #s 24 and 25 )

our sweetheart table

the table card for our sweet heart table

part of a garland of our parents' and grandparents' wedding photos (my grandparents above didn't have a wedding photo so we used this cute one instead)

my bouquet and some birds (i'll write a post about that project and our flowers soon)

our yummy cake. we also served mini fruit tarts, eclairs and several pies made by Jesse's mom

i'm about to stab my new groom

nope, we decide to eat cake instead!

first dance

about to toss the bouquet

my cousin, Kristin, is the lucky winner

Jesse congratulating Bucher for catching the garter

our getaway ride! (I'll post more about this soon, too)

Up Next: A return to the final detail posts and more honeymoon goodness from Jesse