Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Let There be Lighting!

I remember years ago we were directing a wedding at Bay 7 in Durham and the bride was talking about her 'lighting guy' She was listing off the different types of lights that she had ordered such as pin spots for the centerpieces, Up lighting, and Down Wash. I remember thinking why would anyone spend THAT amount of money on just lights....well on the day of the wedding those questions were answered....because it looks AMAZING....that's why!! Now whenever the budget can accommodate it we try to suggest a lighting package. It really sets the mood and tone for an event and can transform even the most mundane of spaces.

A cocoon of pink....lighting can change the color of a room.
Cake Lighting (they focus a pin spot on just the cake)
A monogram on the dance floor all done with lighting. 

This is an example of extreme up wash and pin spotting.
You can see that the lighting can really change a space! Pictures don't really do it justice, it is more about the feeling that you have when you are in the space....it can really be amazing!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Thoughts .....

It seems hollow to rattle on about weddings and Christmas and whatever else maybe on my mind when there are families preparing to bury their 6 year olds today. I can't wrap my mind around it....it shakes me to the core and alters my state of reality in a way that is unexplainable. I look at my babies and hold them a little tighter...wishing that I could permanently tether them to me so as to prevent a splinter let alone a tragedy! I know common sense tells me that I can't prevent everything that could and may happen and at some point you have to let go as it is no life for you or them. But it is so hard! So hard.....

I have always been of the mindset to live in my own corner of the world, off the land, and probably churning my own butter (it's true...not brought on by this tragedy)....and my first thoughts are that homeschooling is the only option. This does not help those irrational thoughts. Pretty sure I may end up killing my own child if I choose that option....and well what would be the point then?! You can't live in fear of the "what if" because then you are not living and aren't allowing your child to live. It is soo easy to slip into that mindset though.

I know that God is mourning along with those parents...I know that his heart is saddened by this tragedy as our is, I know one day they will be reunited with their babies in eternity, I know it is little consolation at this time.

Our heart and thoughts are with you....

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's a cookie Friday!

Today, I am attempting to get 6 batches of cookies done and a carrot cake for the our Family Christmas celebration tomorrow. EEK! I use my Grandma's cookie recipes, who hand wrote all of her  famous recipes for me, but that means that "batches" really should be called "an army's worth." They make so many cookies!! I have tried half batches, but it just doesn't taste the same.

Ada pick Peanut butter to start with - she enjoyed helping put on the criss cross pattern
Here goes nothing! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A new Challenge

I know that you all are so very excited! I am declaring a re-match!

Yes, this time I am setting the parameters! Here is the challenge. You have $30. You will be creating a look for a Valentines party/date (we need lots of time for these things!). You can use items from a thrift store or craft store. Your main item can not be made from scratch - it has to be an up cycle  Tights and shoes are not included in the budget - they can come from your closet. All other accessories have to fall into the $30 budget and be made by hand. 

Are you ready Courtney??

Anyone else want to play along?? Chime in, we will add you to the polls and post your process on the blog!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Wedding

Hello everyone! Today, we are going to share some really great inspiration for a winter or Christmas wedding. We have had the pleasure of planning only 1 Christmas wedding. ONE! So sad! It was so much fun to shop for. Courtney and I were like a kid in a candy store on Black Friday! We would love to do another Christmas Full Plan. Until then, here is some inspiration..

winter wedding
Love this bouquet! It is different, and so beautiful!

Remember the Christmas song "Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let It Snow!" That's what this wedding cake is all about! Whether you're in sunny California or Hawaii, you can still have a white Christmas with this wedding cake.
We have been seeing a lot of this lately - different tiered cakes. I love the simple, yet fun approach

Christmas wedding diy
Such a good idea! This would be awesome in place of the traditional pomanders or a chandelier.

The "Snow Flurry" Holiday Ornament Place Card and Photo Holder is a snow-lover’s delight inside and out, making it the perfect favor for your winter wedding or holiday party.
Great idea for escort cards!

Kate Spade Holiday Shoot by Styled Creative + Alison Conklin. something just for fun? What do you guys think about doing a Christmas themed shoot in the December issue? There are a lot of holiday weddings done super poorly.
I really love this idea for an escort card display.  You could do a more modern approach like this, or use a real tree. 

christmas wedding

Perfect for a ceremony!

for a Christmas wedding
What a cute idea! Who doesn't love hot chocolate?

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Monday!

I hope everyone enjoyed our 5 days of Christmas last week! I know I really enjoyed doing the projects and I would LOVE for some people to try it out and give us some feedback. You know you want to!!

It's Monday - and while being a small business owner, your weekends are never truly free - it is still nice to have a little break, a little less pressure, and time to just be. As I was drinking my coffee this morning, I started making a list of all the things I needed to get done while the sitter was here and it just seemed overwhelming. Although it is nothing compared to wedding season - it still seems like so much! Is it just the fact that it is Monday? I am not sure. It just seems that no matter how much time is in the day, I always have something to do, someone to respond to, and something to update. As our advertiser/accountant - it is never ending. Yet, as I was making my list feeling slightly overwhelmed and looking at the clock as to how I am going to get it all done, I was grateful for the ability, drive, and motivation to get it done.

I use to feel like this!
You see - I've been burnt out before. I have put my heart and soul into something and just got tired of it. I was tired of the people I interacted with, the job I had to do, and the constant pressure to rise to the challenge. It is not like that with this job. I should be burnt out. I should be exhausted of looking at design ideas, making timelines, confirming vendors, uploading pictures, balancing check books, making advertising decisions and budgets for 2013. But I am not. I enjoy my Mondays because on Mondays for about 4 hours, I am solely a small business owner. I get the opportunity to look at our business and figure out how to make it better, more efficient, more profitable, and more manageable. I enjoy this aspect of the business - something I never thought I would ever say or even be good at! But here we are - it's Monday, and I am oh so grateful.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Yarn Tree

Happy 5 Days of Christmas!! I know, I know....it is upsetting that this is the 5th day....but keep the spirit alive and do a project or two and tell us all about it! We would love to hear about your improvements and modifications....starting with this one! (there is definitely room for improvement!)

I messed with this thing over and over again! Thought it would be the easiest and ended up being a bit more time consuming than I thought.....I could have made 2 pajama pants in the time it took me to make this one tree! I will type the tutorial under the pictures but before then......

Helpful Hints in your Yarn Tree Endeavor:

1. Make sure there are no big gaps. Big gaps = Floppy tree
2. Don't try to remove until it is nice and crispy....or again you will have a floppy tree.
3. Glitter while your glue is wet (seems obvious) or you may have to re-glue
4. Re-gluing means the whole thing will be floppy again.

Learn from my mistakes.....or you two may experience a bit of yarn-tree frustration! (tis the season)

The Supplies- Cone shaped Floral foam, Glue, Vaseline, and Yarn
Start by smearing your floral foam with Vaseline. You want a pretty thick coat. 

You want to drench your yarn in glue - I used a plate to our my glue  on a pulled my yarn through it.

My first try - Not enough yarn my friend!

Added more yarn and had a helper smear it with glue

This time we decided to add some glitter to make it more  festive.
Let it dry over night and then CAREFULLY pull the cone out from under it. 

Finished product, I hope to have a more stylized picture for you when I finish decorating that area of the house where it is going.
I know it leans a bit....But I think I can work with that in a tablescape of sorts...stay tuned for another picture!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Welcome to 5 days of Christmas!! We are on Day 4, and I have a good one for ya! Well- it is quite lengthy, but so worth it..

Every year - EVERY.YEAR - I tell Sam I am going to make us stockings. It never happens. Luckily this little blog made me follow through with it. I scoured the internet one night to find a style I liked. I liked way too many! I couldn't narrow it down. I then sat and thought about how mad I would be if I made red stockings and say, 5 years down the road, I wanted to switch my red and gold mantle decor' for silver and purple. The stockings wouldn't match and in my type A fashion, I would insist on new ones. So in preservation of my marriage and sanity, I decided to go with a neutral design. I LOVE them. They are so cute, and I actually really enjoyed making them! 

Please excuse the antenna. I already moved it once to put up the decorations and when the hubs could not get the football game, you would have thought I shot his dog. I couldn't move it again..

I have made collages of sorts for each major step. It is helpful if you click on the picture to enlarge it. Enjoy and feel free to ask questions!

Dad Stocking - farthest right

Step 1: Cut out pieces of fabric, batting, and muslin

Step2: Quilt and sew together

Step 3: Cut out and hem one side of the cuff

Step 4: Make and sew pleats

Step 5: Sew cuff to stocking

Step 6: Make the tassels 

Step  7: Make ribbon and finish

Ada Stocking - 2nd from right

Step 1: cut out fabric, muslin, and sew together

Step 2: Cut out cuff, make and sew on pleats

Step 3: Sew cuff onto the stocking, add bow, and finish

Henry Stocking - farthest left

Step 1: Cut out fabric, muslin, and sew together

Step 2: Make the cuff

Step 3: Attach cuff to stocking, make tassels and finish!

Mom Stocking - 2nd from left

This is actually an upcycle - all I did was redo the cuff - so it is just one step. If you wanted to make from scratch, follow the dad stocking until the cuff. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flannel Pajama Pants

Merry 5 Days of Christmas!! Every year (well most years) we try to take a pajama picture of the kiddos on Christmas Eve. It is fun to look back and see how much they have changed in the past year...and it is nice to get a picture of them all together...not an easy task...but one we deem worth while! This year instead of purchasing pajamas, I decided that I would make them! Joann's was having a killer sale on flannel for Black Friday and I decided to put my ideas into action!

I saw a great tutorial on Pinterest (here) and used her directions to make mine (got to give credit where it is due!) My first pair ended up great...fit great, right length, etc....second pair (Henry's) I used a pair of his pajama pants and the butt ended up a little weird.....Third pair (Nora's) I just tried on her and they are too small....so now Henry has a future pair!

So while it does seem simple....a couple of tips!
1. It is better to make it wider than you think you need...you are going to cinch the waste with elastic so no need to cut yourself short here.
2. Surgers make things smaller! I know, seems obvious, but well...thought I would mention it!
3. It is worth the ironing step....don't try to skip it, it will make things so much easier in the end!

Using an existing pair of pants (folded in half down the middle) as a template, I folded the fabric so that the two outside edges are touching. This makes two folded seems along the sides. I lined up the straight part of my pants along the folded edge. Repeat on  other side. 

I gave about an extra inch and a half to all my edges.

Place the two sides right side facing. and sew from the top until the end of the curve. 

Place the curved seems in the middle (this is now the front and back of your pants) and sew up the legs. 

I ironed a 1.5 inch cuff for the waste band and the hem. I used the inch wide elastic and threaded it through using a safety pin.

Finished product...Mason loved them!
Reflections on pants making: So...since these I have made Mason another pair of pants in about 30 minutes. He literally sat next to me last night and watched me make them....(he has a severe lack of pajamas...and I told him that these (snow globe ones)  have to stay white until Christmas Eve) If you have a good template...it will work out every time and be super simple...if you don't, well...frustration will ensue! I am going to try on a pair of Mason's old Pj's before I attempt another pair for Nora...and Ada!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

DIY: Christmas tree branch

Welcome to 5 Days of Christmas!! Can you tell we are super excited this week to reveal what we have been up to? It is Day 2, and I, Dana, am going to enlighten you on the easiest DIY project ever. Well, I am not sure EVER, but it is pretty easy :)

I saw this picture on Pinterest...isn't that how everything starts?!? But seriously, I saw this picture on Pinterest..

Branch out from conventional tablescapes by using an extra-long tree limb as a platform for displaying ornaments. Simply knot lengths of twine around the branch and hang it from a row of five or six ceiling hooks    Read more: DIY Christmas Decorations - Handmade Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas - Country Living

I was drawn to the simple, yet different tablescape. This year has really made me want to decorate and try something new. I saw it, pinned it, and then didn't look at it again because, who has time to hang a branch? I can tell you - you do. It literally took me 20 minutes from start to finish (not counting picking out the branch- that took much too long) and about 10 minutes to decorate. So easy! 

The Tutorial...

That is it! Seriously - that easy. The one trick I would say is that if you do hang it this way, you have to be deliberate about your ornaments. You have to make sure the weight is evenly distributed or else it will be off balance. One solution is to tie it to the ceiling with hooks at multiple places. 

Now for the decorations..

I love it. It makes me smile when I walk into the dining room! Anyone else gonna try??